During the President's State of the Union address, it was interesting to watch the Republican side of the aisle. It is clear that the Party of Personal Responsibility still refuses to accept responsibility for their past policies. The GOP seems determined to demonize the present and obstruct the future. Republican revisionist history denies the Obama administration a valid accounting of the Bush legacy. Born-again "fiscal conservatives" refuse to acknowledge Bush's $1 trillion deficit ($8 trillion projected over the next 10 years) to finance two wars, two tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent and Medicare Part D. In the fall of 2008, when unregulated banksters caused the near collapse of the American economy, Republicans supported the financial bailout of the banking system. Though it occurred on their watch, they still refuse to own it. The financial crisis added another $1 trillion to the deficit in the form of the Stimulus Package. During the first year of the Stimulus rollout, the Obama administration took the following steps to ease the financial burden on the middle class: cut taxes for 95 percent of American families; cut taxes for small businesses; provided $8 million for college loans; enacted tax cuts for child care; passed tax cuts for first-time homeowners; extended unemployment benefits; reduced COBRA costs; and passed energy efficiency rebates for homeowners. Republicans opposed the Stimulus package and, failing to acknowledge Bush's deficit, blamed the Obama administration for creating "generational debt." The economy has stabilized and is growing again. The stock market has rebounded significantly. Most of the money loaned to banks has been recovered, and the American auto industry has a pulse. Although 7 million jobs were lost during the recession, the difficult steps taken by the new administration saved 2 million jobs, of teachers, firefighters and police. President Obama is focused on creating jobs and sustaining small businesses. Republicans response: The Stimulus failed, too much government, too much debt.
President Obama proposes using $30 billion of the Wall Street repayment to offer tax credits to small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages. The new jobs bill would eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses to invest in new equipment. The bill has passed in the House but not in the Senate. Republican Senators oppose it.
Obama proposes banking reforms to prevent the reckless practices that caused the near collapse of our economy from ever happening again. Republicans oppose it.
President Obama proposes a fee on bailed out banks that still owe the government money. Some large banks have announced plans to pay out huge bonuses. Obama wants banks to repay taxpayers first. Republicans oppose it.
Obama proposes belt-tightening measures in the 2011 budget. Except for national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, he has proposed a three-year freeze on discretionary spending. Claiming that a "partial freeze" is not enough, Republicans oppose it.
The Obama administration continues to fight for health care reform to provide quality health care to all citizens, protect families from the worst practices of the health insurance industry, and reduce costs and premiums. The health care reform bill will bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. Republicans oppose it.
And what was the Republicans' plan lead the nation through this crisis? Blame the problem on the Democrats, demonize everything they do, and say "no" to everything.