Sunday, July 6, 2008

Especially when it comes to valuing families, actions should speak louder than words

Thanks to Mark Thoma for pointing out the important Los Angeles Times article by Peter Gosselin "Working without a net", and his new book, which I've ordered, "High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families".

Republicans, and their ideology, have for the most part controlled government for the last 28 years. That's a very long time, and in it they have aggressively attacked, and in many cases decimated, the financial security of American families in every area, from medical care, to consumer protection, to most of our young people graduating with heavy, or in many cases crushing, student debt, making them reluctant to take risks and innovate, as well as to have children. Republicans put on an act that they value families, but their actions tell a very different story.

There is so much to add to Goslin's article. A great place to start is with Yale Political Scientist Jacob Hacker's book, "The Great Risk Shift". For something quicker, there is Harvard Bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren's 19 page, "Testimony Before Senate Finance Committee, May 10, 2007, The New Economics of the Middle Class: Why Making Ends Meet Has Gotten Harder". And for a particularly outrageous example of the results of Republican Ideology, there is the December 10th, 2006 Los Angeles Times article, "So you think your 401(k) money is safe". Finally, One more article I'd like to add, that I especially hope anyone considering voting Republican will read, is the May 4th, 2008 New York Times article, "Even the Insured Feel Strain of Health Costs".

Some will argue that things like globalization and a changing economic structure are responsible for the appalling level of financial (and medical and other) danger American families now face. There is some truth to this. But the more we elect Democrats, the more there will be measures to alleviate these risks; the more we elect Republicans the more there will be aggressive efforts to make them much worse.

Republicans will say that any government action will hurt the economy, but that's not what happened when the New Deal was passed over their vehement objections. The opposite happened. We entered a golden age of widespread economic growth. Republicans aren't much for science, evidence, and thinking when it goes against their ideology, but the economics community has proven long ago that there are many situations and ways where a government role can add greatly to efficiency, wealth, and welfare.