The House discussion on debt reduction / budget issues made Rep. Neal compelled to state chronologically how we got into this fiscal mess.
It is factual in relating the events and heavily footnoted. Neal obviously has a clear memory of events, having been in Congress throughout this nearly 20 year period.
My first comment is, “There must be a more effective way to get the voter to understand this mess than a 3 page chronology.” I’m pretty sure Neal intends the activists in his district to read and remember this and communicate it to voters. I’m also sure he knows we have to simplify it and use parts of it to apply to individual voters who have a partial and therefore likely incorrect view of these events.
My last comment is, “This is an example of the bind we Democrats are always in – trying to combat bumper sticker thinking with mind numbing facts rather than a bumper sticker of our own backed by a complete grasp of the facts when asked.”
Those of us who follow these things pretty closely fear not having an answer to the following facts:
a. Clinton and Congress reduced the top tax bracket percentages.
b. Clinton pushed for and got a reform of welfare that limited the time benefits could be received, thereby pushing people to seek work seriously. This may have been in response to Reagan’s ‘Welfare Queen’ harangue that did resonate strongly with voters.
c. Clinton was fortunate in that the economy grew strongly during his tenure. There’s little evidence than any single or group of his initiatives caused this – it was probably the beginning of the ‘tech bubble’ that did it.
“a.” – The question a voter may have is how much cutting taxes had to do with the recovery and the debt pay-down? Republicans like to point out Clinton’s position on tax cuts.
“b.” – On the surface this seems to help the argument that government does not need to help the poor so much. Stabilizing the debt is more important
“c.” – Democrats need to press the reality into voter’s minds that there is very little a president can do about private sector jobs, the economy, and what companies do. The only big tools lie within Congress and those are largely ones that allow the government to create infrastructure repair jobs to temporarily alleviate unemployment caused by the collapse of the construction industry (brought on this time by the mortgage mess).
So, how do we make bumper sticker comments? ‘a’- tax cuts only during downswings. ‘b’-help the poor when nobody else will ‘c’ – Congress ! it’s the economy, stupid