This week is the 10-year anniversary of the Great Recession. I am reviewing what has changed in the intervening years…thankfully President Obama chose a slow and steady approach to get America back to stability with TARP funds after many banks, mortgage and investment companies turned their backs on integrity and ethics. The Fed held the line on interest rates until this year. The car industry survived, mortgages tightened at lower rates, some companies met their demise but few people went to prison to pay for the poor practices and unethical behaviors. The Iraqi war was quelled for the most part. Iran signed on to the multinational agreement which reduced their nuclear threat to our allies. The Paris Accord improved the approach to climate change. The DREAM act was a compromise to address the immigrant children brought to the USA by their parents.
The lower and middle class got no bailouts. Income for them has stagnated. Thankfully the Obama Affordable Care Act was passed so that 20 million Americans could avoid anxiety and pain when facing the stress of health issues. Not much happened with the minimum wage, particularly in Pennsylvania. The low unemployment rate doesn’t ever look at whether the jobs are life-sustaining for a family.
Those college grads of 2008 were met with a devastating economy and much in the way of down-sizing of companies. Many university graduates resorted to minimum wage employment or jobs not in their career of choice just to start to pay off tuition loans. Many older Americans who planned to retire couldn’t and decided to stay in their jobs reducing the openings for the new crop of talent. So many of these now thirty-somethings have delayed marrying, didn’t buy a home which would tie them down to a particular city if a job opportunity called and have opted to delay having kids or decided not to for financial reasons. This underemployment reduced the payments to Social Security, Medicare and Workers Compensation.
I’ve witnessed immigrants fleeing gang violence and corruption turned away and separated from their families. Charitable organizations nationally and locally are swamped with requests for assistance getting close to the breaking point. In our county alone we have nearly one-fourth of our students on free and reduced lunches. Weekend backpack programs were established to help kids’ nutrition when not in school.
The past 20 months have shown D.C. leadership giving tax breaks to those wealthy corporations who may not have made a change to better business tactics. Hedge funds still exist. I’ve seen Congresspersons vote numerous times to eliminate Obamacare and rumor has it Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block. What will happen with no middle class to purchase goods since they are underemployed or receiving minimum wages which cannot lift them from poverty? Who will care for the ill without coverage as our lifespans plummet and our birthrates fall?
Take some time to review history and decide is this the United States of America you want? Then remember to vote for those who reflect your conscience and your concern for your fellow citizens. Tuesday, November 6th the PA polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.
Mrs. Karen Davis,