Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Owning the Bad News

It was inevitable.  Obama's economic push could only work in red states for so long before our own backwards economic policies dragged us back down.  We've been listening to Nikki Haley brag on -- and take credit for -- South Carolina's declining unemployment rate for some time now.  I wonder if today's news about its recent upswing will cause her any problem, message-wise.

Here's where our Democratic candidates should be jumping in, first of all, to let us voters know that this has happened.  And then they need to offer the logical explanation, and the logical alternative.

Where candidates like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky have stumbled has been in their fear of owning the best policies of the Obama administration.  In fact, employment began growing due to stimulus dollars, and has continued to grow because of programs like those he has undertaken to encourage alternative energy initiatives as well as protecting the environment.  Good for business, good for jobs.

Imagine where we might be if Obama had not had to waste time and tax dollars fighting a Congress which Republican members have had as their sole priority blocking administration initiatives.

Because of old-timey Republican philosophy, we have continued to have wealth stagnating in the reaches of the top one percent, while the consumers who are the actual "job creators" are unable to spend dollars they don't have.  Robert Reich describes in his documentary Inequality for All the "virtuous cycle" of economic growth that occurred up to the 1980's, followed by the "vicious cycle" that has resulted in the economic stagnation and increasing inequality that continues to this day.

What is frustrating is that the evidence is clear.  But we continue to spiral downhill due to lies and misdirection by right-wing politicians.

Take, for example, Nikki Haley.  Her policies have not been able to stop some economic growth in South Carolina in the past six years, but the bad ideas she has been pursuing have caught up with us.  The jobs she claims she has brought to the state have been not enough to counterbalance the drain on services that have resulted from her tax giveaways.  Bad business like refusing to accept Medicaid expansion dollars not only hurt uninsured individuals but result in loss in business due to employee illness, public safety issues, and loss of thousands of jobs in the health sector.

And then, of course, we have Tea Party's poster child, Tim Scott.  As long as he is prospering, he will promote any program groups like ALEC and the Koch Brothers are trying to sell.  And sell they do.  Scott's message sounds like Reagan's Morning in America, pretty words that belie the bad policies during the 80's "trickle down" years that began our decline from prosperity.  And if you look at his pro big business and anti middle class voting record, it becomes obvious why those polices just don't work.

So as we see our unemployment rate creep back up, let's spread the word that it's because of the bad policies of politicians like Nikki Haley and Tim Scott.  We have a state that stands to grow and prosper if only we are able to understand why we are in decline even as national employment continues to grow.

We have some great candidates and despite the occasional ambivalence of our state party and shoestring budgets, the word is getting out about them.  Joyce Dickerson is one candidate to watch.  She is not afraid to speak up about what has been wrong with our state, and what national policies need to change to get us working and thriving again.  The thing is, that with Tim Scott's wealthy supporters, it is all too easy to miss this strong, wonderful opponent.  I am hoping that we all will do our best to spread the word about the election coming up on November 4, and the difference between our Democratic candidates and their fiscally backward opponents.

Joyce Dickerson
for US Senate

Let's make sure our elected officials own the bad news they have created through their bad policies, and let's elect candidates that will truly make a difference.

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