Where did our elected leaders go?

           In 2009 President Obama took over as our first African-American president. That was the day government shut down. The Republicans vowed that making him a one term president was there number one priority. They would do anything to make that happen. In their efforts to unseat him, they did irreapairable harm to America. They created a divide so wide that if you disagree with a conservatives point of view, you are a Nazi, a marxist, a socialist and a traitor.

Health care costs were raging out of control. Increasing about 200% since the year 2004. I did not have a copay in 2004, meds cost 10-20-30. By 2008 I was paying $65 a week and 20-35-55 for meds. Office visits went from $10 to $20 and specialists $25 to $75. The ACA was put into effect to stem the rising costs, help get the uninsured insured at a reasonable rate and stop people being denied for pre-existing conditions. Despite the President and Democrats trying to stem health care costs, which were crippling our manufacturing sector, Republicans railed against it. In fact they have voted 41 times to repeal it, costing us $60 million dollars with those votes, some fiscal hawks right. What is wrong with stopping people from losing their homes when they get sick. Shows who Republicans really work for.

Republicans attacked President Obama over unemployment. While at the same time shooting down his jobs bill, which would have created a million new jobs. They said the unemployment rate was to high. But when the president got it under 8%, they said the president doesn’t create jobs. Republicans took over the House in 2010, they have not created a single job. They are much more concerned with anti-abortion laws and religious laws. The president’s economic plan is working despite sequestration and continued Republican interference. If Republicans were willing to work with Democrats maybe their input would be in these bills, possibly even improving them.

Paul Ryan, John Boehner and several other prominent Republicans have said that there is no longer a debt crisis. Yet these so called budget hawks try to take the country hostage on the debt ceiling. First this is just for bills that Congress already approved. Why would they not approve money for spending they already approved? It is a domestic terrorist attack designed to further an agenda that caters to corporations, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and NRA amongst others. These is not what our forefathers envisioned when they wrote the Constitution.

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Governor Perry vetoes the Buy American bill.

                  Governor Rick Perry vetoes the buy American Bilk the passed the Texas House 145-0 and the Texas Senate 23-7. Rare enough is it that a bill gets bipartisan support, rarer still with no dissenters, yet the bill still gets vetoed. The bill was meant to give preference to American made goods for purchase by the State of Texas, when they are of equal cost and quality to foreign made products.

If an American made product and a foreign made product are of equal quality and cost, when Texas is purchasing a good or service, the state would always give preference to the American made product or service. 96% of the Texas legislature voted for it, yet Governor Perry vetoed it. Why would Perry veto something with that kind of support? Republicans claim that Democrats will not work together, yet Republicans won’t even work with their own party.

This obviously has nothing to do with creating American jobs or supporting American made products. The only thing Governor Perry seems to care about is giving contracts to his corporate buddies who use cheap international labor and outsource American jobs. This follows his recent veto of a Republican backed bill, which have forced Social Welfare groups that spend more than $25, 000 a year on political expensed, also to disclose contributions that exceed $1, 000.

He has continued his stance on denying millions of Texans living in poverty healthcare. This is by avoiding provisions in the ACA. This is the type of leader Republicans and conservatives vote for, it shows the low I.Q. and single topic voters that encompass the Republican party. This is a man who slammed the 2009 stimulus bill, while privately using money from that very same stimulus to balance his budget. He is just another Republican hypocrite.

A balanced budget was Perry’s main talking point during his 2010 reelection campaign and again during his failed 2012 presidential run. During his 2010 reelection bid he refused to talk to any Texas media outlet or to debate his opponent. What kind of politician hides from a debate? That is an oppurtunity to show that your plan is better.

Under current law it is required for State Agencies to give preference to goods produced in Texas. It does not mention manufactured goods. The bill can still become law if the Texas House and Senate hold a vote to overturn Governor Perry’s veto.

This is the Republican party’s way of doing things. Instead of creating jobs and helping American as they reward companies that take jobs overseas. They have fought Democrats wholeheartedly on this issue, as they have on nearly every other issue. President Obama is trying to adjust our Government buying methods much to the chagrin of Republicans. Buy American is a good, solid Bill that helps Americans at no extra cost. Why not pass it nationwide?

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

Good news in the jobs report.

             During April we added165,000 jobs. Which helped push the unemployment rate down to 7.5%, the lowest number in over 4 years. In addition the jobs numbers from February and March have been modified, adding more jobs.

               The public sector added 176,000 jobs, while the public sector, government, lost 11,000 jobs. We only lost jobs in the government and in construction. Asians were the only ethnicity to rise in unemployment claims. 16-19 years goldsmith dropped slightly and post 9/11 Vets dropped slightly as well.

             The major concern despite the addition of jobs is how well they are paying and if they are offering benefits of any kind. Many of the jobs that have been added were part time affording no benefits to the employees. But despite these concerns it shows that our economy is recovering, all be it slowly.

            If Republicans jump on board and work with President Obama this recovery would be much stronger. Despite Democrats best efforts the Sequester, which Republicans liken to austerity, which they want, is hurting our economy. The Sequester is causing a loss in government, federal, state and local jobs. These are normally good paying jobs, with stability and benefits. If we grew even slightly there we would very in a much better position.

             If you listen to the conservative windbag Rush Limbaugh, you would hear him downplaying these numbers. That is after years of blaming Obama for job losses and taking March’s numbers and touting them as a Democrat failure. It is sick how the right wing wishes failure so bad on our President, that they are happy when people don’t have jobs. But that is just another difference between liberals and conservatives, liberals care.

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NAFTA

       NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., creatina a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force Jan.1, 1994. It supereseeded the Canada/U.S. Free Trade Agreement between just the U.S. and Canada. NAFTA has 2 supplements, the North Ametican Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC).

      It brought an immediate end to tariffs on more than half of Mexicos exports to the U.S. and than a third of U.S. exports to Mexico. Within 10 years of implementation of the agreement, all U.S.- Mexico tariffs would be eliminated except for some U.S. agrucultural exports to Mexico that were to be phased out within 15 years. Most U.S.-Canada trade was already duty free. NAFTA also seeks to eliminate non-tariff trade barriers and to protect the intellectual property rights of the products.

             NAFTA created the worlds largest free trade area. It now links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. U.S. goods and services trade with NAFTA totaled $1.6 trillion in 2009. Exports totaled $397 billion imports $438 billion. In 2009 our trade defecit with NAFTA totaled $41 billion.

           When NAFTA was signed proponents said it would eventually create jobs for the U.S. economy. In 2011 it was estimated that hundreds of thousands of jobs were actually lost. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) economist Robert Scott, an estimated 682, 900 U.S. jobs have been lost or displaced because of thee agreement and resulting trade defecit. The EPIs calculation of jobs lost to NAFTA takes into account jobs created as well. For example U.S. exports to Mexico supports 791,900 jobs. It is just that those jobs created pale in comparison to the 1.47 million U.S. jobs that would be necessary without the imports resulting from NAFTA, according to the report.

           Despite the agreement being considered a boon to Mexico, the countrys economy grew only by 1.6% per capita on average from 1992-2007. in 1993 , before signing NAFTA, the U.S. held a $1.6 billion trade surplus with Mexico, which supported 29,400 jobs. By 1997 Mexico had a much larger surplus of $16.6 billion. As of 2010 Mexicod trade surplus with the U.S. hovers around $97 billion. The U.S. manufacturing sector has suffered the most, losing 415,000 jobs about 61% of the total jobs lost in the agreement.

              I have personal experience with NAFTA. I work for a manufacturing company, who for many years specialized in wire shelving and later moved into heated cabinets and also plastic medical carts and storage for hospitals. In 1994 there was approxamately 800 employees, today there is 236. We lost almost half of the wire shelving to Mexico, with a quarter going to China. The company continues to move jobs to Mexico because of the lower pay to workers. Any kind of large or very important job comes here because in the words of our CEO, it gets done right and people are very please with our work. All special work comes through our shop. Just to end this I would like to say that if companies paid people in opposite countries money they could live on, it wouldnt ge as easy to move jobs away. These are 500 and some goid paying union jobs that are gone so they can pay some other worker a quarter to do it. NAFTA helped kill manufacturing.

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