Something was missing at the Republican National Convention earlier this year. Something, or perhaps someone.
Did anyone notice that two-term President George W. Bush was not a speaker, not even a presence? Obviously, Republicans do not want us to remember the disastrous years of the Bush presidency. They do not want us to remember that he began with a surplus and left us with a record deficit. They want us to forget the senseless Iraq War that he initiated without scrutinizing the false intelligence he based it on, failing to consider the consequences of that futile venture, the tragic loss of our blood and treasure.
Republicans say they are sick and tired of hearing about blaming Bush, so perhaps we should look at the underlying causes of those disappointing Bush years, and stop pointing our fingers at George Bush alone.
What were the causes that led us to the worst recession in modern memory? The answer is simple. It was Republican policies, policies that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to reinstate, only on steroids.
Foreign policy. Romney wants to assist Syrian rebels against the Assad regime. More nation-building with reckless disregard to consequences. Does he want to send in ground troops, start bombing, use taxpayer money to buy weapons to support the rebels? Typically, he does not specify what he would do, which is scary enough, but with armed forces still in Afghanistan and combat troops only recently brought back from Iraq, does he really want to follow the path of another foolish war? Wars are easy to start, but difficult to end.
Social Security. Romney wants to privatize Social Security, claiming that the program is bankrupt, ignoring the fact that it is completely solvent until 2037 (never lets facts get in the way of his assertions). Fortunately, George Bush and his fellow Republicans lost the Social Security privatization fight they championed. Imagine what would have happened to the hard-earned money paid into Social Security had it ended up in the stock market and left to the Wall Street slot machines.
Medicare. Romney and Ryan propose ending Medicare as it exists and replacing it with a "voucher" which seniors could take to vultures who consistently raise premiums and provide less and less coverage, leaving those with pre-existing conditions out in the ether. They ignore the fact that in the public sector, administrative costs are anywhere from 14 percent to 22 percent, while under Medicare, they are only 3 percent. Hooray for the private sector. They can and should make all kinds of money in private-sector businesses, but not at the expense of the health care of our citizens.
Economy. Then there is the famous "trickle down" theory so prized by Republicans. Why, if we just give the rich all the tax breaks they want, some of it will "trickle down" to the rest of us because those "job creators" will provide jobs to the 99 percent, the real working people. How has that all worked out? Since the Bush tax cuts in 2001 we have not seen these promised increases in jobs by those alleged "job creators." In fact, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal the last month of Bush's presidency, he had the "worst track record for job creation since the government started keeping records."
Undeniably President Obama has been in charge for the last four years trying to clean up the mess made by Republican policies. In spite of obstructionist Republicans whose admitted goal was to "make Obama a one-term president," we have seen 5 million private-sector jobs created since he has been president. That is up from the 800,000 jobs per month we were hemorrhaging at the end of the Bush presidency. President Obama has created more private-sector jobs in the last four years than Bush and his Republican friends in eight.
Moreover, Republicans have opposed Obama's jobs bill, which would have created 1.9 million jobs and prevented layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Finally, Republicans thumbed their noses at veterans by opposing the Veteran's Job Corps Act of 2012, which sought to lower unemployment among military veterans. Anything to prevent Obama from succeeding, event at the expense of our veterans. Shameless.
But Republicans have a solution. Send Big Bird to that big nest in the sky. Even though that program would cost only 1/100th of one percent of the U.S. budget, $400 million, Republicans would rather retire Big Bird than: 1.) Reduce taxes on the wealthy, adding about $5 trillion to the already alarming deficit; 2.) Bestow our tax dollars for subsidies to oil companies who even now escalate gasoline prices for political purposes; 3.) Give the Pentagon a blank check for purchases that they have not even requested to the tune of $2 trillion dollars, and then voucherize and privatize.
If these Republican policies constitute your vision, Romney and Ryan are your guys. On the other hand, you may want to consider the fact that these same Republican policies were proposed and imposed from 2000 until 2008 and caused the worst recession in modern memory.
Cynthia Neely of Lodi is a retired city attorney.