Archived Story

Perspectives from an independent voter

Published 6:00am Sunday, November 4, 2012

Column: Guest Column, by David Larson

I grew up in a Republican family. I learned to appreciate the values of a party that focused on fairness to all and financial responsibility. Disappointingly to me, the party in recent years has shifted its focus, becoming fiscally loose and socially conservative, seeking to restrict freedoms of minorities and the underprivileged.

Lately I have leaned more to the left, as Democrats now seem to embrace my Christian values of caring for the poor, the needy, children, the outcasts of society, and equality for all human beings, and fiscal responsibility.

David Larson, Power for Living

In addition, I have observed over the years some very smart people, once becoming committed to a particular party, seem to lose their ability to evaluate facts objectively, and end up seeking to defend their party rather than engage in open discussion of issues. And so, I remain independent, as I find that not needing to defend a particular party allows me to see things differently than many people of both parties are able to see.

Here are some examples of what neither party seem to be emphasizing, but are nonetheless interesting perspectives:

 

Unemployment

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since Obama took office, 4.2 million jobs were lost, and 4.5 million jobs have been gained. Of the 4.2 million jobs lost, 4.1 million of them were in 2009, Obama’s first year in office, when the country was still operating under Bush’s budget. When Obama’s stimulus programs were put in place in 2010, we moved to positive job creation very quickly.

It’s also interesting to me that Obama is often criticized that he has not created jobs fast enough. However, had the current administration not turned turnaround the trend they inherited, instead of gaining 4 million jobs, at Bush’s rate of losing 800,000 jobs a month, America would by this time have lost more than 33 million more jobs, which would have put our unemployment rate at 22 percent. The difference between losing 33 million jobs and gaining 4 million?

You do the math.

 

Tax rates

The median income for an American family in 2010 was $50,221 and was taxed at a 30 percent federal tax rate.

According to the Wall Street Journal, by paying a 14 percent tax rate instead of the 30 percent rate paid by the average American family, Romney saved $3,472,000 in taxes in 2010, more than 80 times what the average welfare family receives.

By paying more than double Romney’s tax rate, 432 average American families paid an extra $8,035 each to provide Romney with his $3.472 million tax break.

In the 10 years since the Bush tax breaks were provided to the very wealthy (including himself), corporate profits are now at a 50-year high. Instead of investing these tax breaks in producing jobs, the very wealthy tucked away the extra, including big business, which is now banking over $2 trillion. It seems that the previous Republican administration has proved through their experiment that giving more money to the very wealthy does not help the job picture.

What does seem to help the job picture is getting money into the hands of the middle class. Instead of hanging onto it, they spend it on goods and services they need, providing an incentive for businesses to hire on in order to meet the demand. When the middle class spends the money, businesses grow, profits increase and the rich get richer too.

 

National debt

Last year the national debt grew by 7.8 percent. The rate of national debt increase in Bush’s last year was 15.9 percent. Although the national debt has continued to increase under President Obama, the national debt growth has been dropping every year, from 15.1 percent to 13.9 percent, to 7.8 percent to 4.8 percent (partial year – 2012). Our national debt is now growing at less than half the rate as when Romney’s party ruled the White House.

Although there is still much work ahead, our forgetfulness and impatience can easily mislead us. Remember, it took Clinton five years to turn the largest national deficit in history into a surplus. If Clinton’s plan had been allowed to continue, the projected national debt was to have been eliminated by 2010. (Yes, two years ago.)

As MSNBC reported, two-thirds of our total national debt was created during the reign of the last three Republican presidents — more than twice as much as all other U.S. presidents combined. History shows that Republicans consistently outspend their Democratic counterparts.

In addition, according to factcheck.org, the Tax Policy Center concluded earlier this year that it wasn’t mathematically possible for a plan such as Romney’s to cut rates as he promised without either favoring the wealthy or increasing the federal deficit.

It would be to our advantage to take a look at facts and history with an open mind, lest we make real world decisions on Nov. 6 based on fantasy information. Let’s think before we vote.

 

Albert Lea resident David Larson is a licensed psychologist.