Business boomed, the markets surged, welfare was reformed and America’s middle class grew and prospered.
Clinton’s progressive policies undeniably succeeded.
We then saw eight years of the exact opposite, topped off by a devastating economic calamity.
George W. Bush’s conservative policies undeniably failed.
Americans elected another Democrat in 2008 who, during his five and a half years in office, pulled America out of the tail spin.
Today’s numbers don’t lie:
• 288,000 jobs added in June, the 52nd straight month of jobs growth;
• 1.4 million jobs added in the first half of 2014 are the most since 1999 (under Clinton);
• The Dow reached 17,000 for the first time last week; and
• Unemployment fell to 6.1 percent in June.
Barack Obama engineered all this with absolutely no help from House Republicans, including Representatives Phil Gingrey, Tom Price and Jack Kingston.
Since 2010, the GOP has refused to cooperate with the president or pass any legislation to ensure the rebounding economy benefits every American. They won’t even raise the minimum wage.
So while the wealthiest Americans get wealthier, the middle class is shrinking and the ranks of the poor swell.
The consequences are ominous, says Nick Hanauer in a Politico Magazine “memo” to “My Fellow Zillionaires.”
Hanauer calls himself a “proud and unapologetic capitalist” writing, “What sets me apart is … an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks. ...”
“At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country — the 99.99 percent — is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast.”
Hanauer explains that in 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of America’s national income. The bottom 50 percent, he notes, shared about 18 percent.
Just 34 years later, the top 1 percent share about 20 percent and the bottom 50 percent, 12 percent.
“The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day,” the billionaire continues. “Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.”
Critics would do well to consider that Hanauer saw the Internet coming long before most everyone else. He was an early investor in Amazon and sold his aQuantive online advertising company to Microsoft for $6.4 billion in cash.
“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality … You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”
Hanauer agrees with Obama, writing real economic growth comes from the middle out, not from the top down. With a thriving middle class, the wealthy do well, the poor better.
Yet, middle class communities like Cobb County, where the median household income is $65,000, continue to struggle with stagnant incomes.
Cobb County voters are also overwhelmingly conservative, inexplicably electing the very people hurting their pocketbooks.
They do so for all the wrong reasons, mistakenly believing Democratic policies are hurting the country when the aforementioned economic data emphatically speaks for itself.
Having done zero to aid the recovery, Republican candidates are now frantically trying to divert voter attention away from this Democratic-driven success story with bogus scandals.
That’s all they have left, folks.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.