“Where Would We Be If…”

This article has been accepted by The Huffington Post for publication.


…we didn’t have the safety nets established years ago?

As Republicans strive to strip the programs that prevented us from falling into another Great Depression their arguments are devised to distract us from the truth.

Programs like Social Security and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, put into place after the financial collapse in the 1930’s, were borne of the pain and suffering millions of hard-working people endured throughout the thirties.

Where would we be today without them?

We would be helplessly trapped in the throes of depression and not just a bad recession — a catastrophic financial mess that would have decimated the entire global financial system.

But we were spared the terrible burdens of a depression due to incredible vision and compassion of legislators from the 30’s through the 60’s. They created programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and legislation like Glass-Steagall which also created agencies like the FDIC — programs and agencies that should be celebrated not reviled, cheered not crucified.

So why isn’t the conversation about the protections and benefits of these programs?

Republicans’ are loathe to admit that any program that helps the 99% has made America the great country that it is. They attack and vilify them calling them socialist programs that are bringing down the country. Arguing that they ruin the free markets and slow growth.

But the recovery from the recession their policies caused — the current stability and slow growth that is occurring right now — can be attributed to the very safety nets they malign.

Millions of Americans have avoided suffering the indignities of poverty, starvation, poor health, and yes, even death, due to the selfless implementation of these programs. They’re able to pay their rent, eat well, remain healthy, and continue to shop, thereby stimulating the economy, because they’re blessed with the safety of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment which they paid for all their working lives.

The current problems in the economy, the reasons for long term unemployment, the increase in food stamps, the drain on the FDIC, and even the unprecedented deficit are not their fault. They were caused by the very legislators that crucify and defile the programs, calling them welfare (implying handouts from the government) though most have been funded by the recipients.

It was the Republicans that caused the banking crisis that destroyed our economy. It was the banksters, none of which have gone to prison, who gambled with our money requiring those same lawmakers to bail them out with taxpayer money — with our money. They wiped out 68 years of financial protection, The Glass-Steagall Act, which protected us from the predatory capitalist’s who began to pilfer Americans after the Gramm/Leach/Bliley Act was passed in 1999.

This one act, pushed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic president, is responsible for the Great Recession. All the little things on the periphery have added to the downturn, but those failures are a direct result of the banking crisis.

Despite the causes of the recession it is important to thoroughly understand the value of the programs put in place by caring and conscientious legislatures of years past.

Without these programs the situation would indeed be dire.

Claims by right-wing heretics that the government is out-of-control due to entitlements, ignores the causations and masks their own duplicity.

The burdens 30 years of Republican policies and actions have placed on the American people are the primary causes of the recession and unprecedented government growth. Programs like Social Security, unemployment, and food stamps have been compromised by this deep and extended recession.

As a result, more older citizens were forced to take early retirement benefits — an increased burden on the system. Likewise, the recession has caused greater poverty which increases the number of families in need of food stamps. Without assistance millions of kids would go hungry in the richest country in the world.

Add a stifling jobs market with corporations reluctant to hire new workers to help this economy recover — causing long-term unemployment — and it forces government to intervene, adding to the size of the deficit and government. This is one of the many consequences of 12 years of Republican rule and the ubiquitous policies they championed and passed during their majority time in office.

We are still struggling, fighting to stay above water, but without the social safety programs put in place by smarter, more courageous, and selfless legislatures, we would be drowning – selling pencils on corners, standing in soup lines, rolling in the muck, and begging on the streets of a dispassionate nation.

Where would we be now if the Republicans were still in charge?

We would definitely be in the grips of a second Great Depression fighting off the fear of becoming a 3rd World Nation.

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