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Rep. Charles Rangel Headshot

Cutting's Not Saving

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Our country is facing many challenges right now. At a time when our priority should be creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and reducing the $14 trillion deficit, the Republicans continue to put partisan politics ahead and try to run the government few weeks at a time.

To secure the prosperity of future generations while getting our fiscal house in order, we must keep investing in the resources, especially education and health care, that will give people the tools to improve their lives and get back on their feet.

The GOP answer to President Obama's spending proposal has been a "so be it" spending bill that would cost 700,000 jobs and stall our economic growth. And as we've witnessed in Wisconsin, they are using the current economic crisis to strip away the collective bargaining rights of unions.

Lost in the midst of the current debate over budgets and collective bargaining is an understanding of how we got here. The current economic plight we are mired in is not a product of the policies enacted by President Obama and the 111th Congress. Middle-class workers and public employee pensions did not diminish America's fiscal vitality. Rather, the Great Recession our country faces was caused by the failed policies of the Bush era and the greed of Wall Street.

President Bill Clinton left office in 2001 with a budget surplus. On the other hand, President Bush led our country into two unjustified wars which went unpaid, extended unfunded tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and created a culture of unaccountability and deregulation that fueled the recession.

A decade later, our nation is calling for shared sacrifice to pull through these difficult times. Yet it doesn't make any economical or moral sense that the heaviest burden should be shouldered by already struggling middle-class families while the financial giants, big corporations, and the Koch brothers are enjoying major tax breaks.

It is the middle-class that has made this country all that she is and all that she can be. No longer can we continue to assign the entire responsibility of cutting back and sacrificing to those who need our support the most. The Republican assault on their rights would do serious damage to America's middle class and the fragile economic recovery. As we move forward in our recovery, no longer can we continue with the same GOP policies that created the financial disaster in the first place.