Listening to President Obama’s state of the union speech and his recent proposals, you might wonder where this President was for the past six years. We hear calls for free tuition for community college students and support for Net Neutrality. Obama vows to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline and promises joint action with China on climate change. He claims he will support guaranteed paid sick days for workers and create jobs by rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
"Fool me twice?" We heard promises like this from candidate Obama in 2008. The Democratic Party had a majority in the 111th U.S. Congress for the first two years of Obama’s term. So what happened? Money flowed to the Wall Street banks and the big corporations. Meanwhile, the rest of us faced foreclosures on our homes, loss of our jobs and cuts to safety net programs.
For six years we have been hearing about how the economy is recovering. The big banks and corporations seem to be doing very well. But for regular folks it’s hard to believe that the “Great Recession” has ended. Wages have been stagnant. Government statistics claim inflation has been low, but we know the cost of all the basic necessities of life has been going up. Obama raves about job creation and the dropping unemployment rate. Yet the majority of all the new jobs are minimum wage or close to minimum wage jobs. A large part of the drop in the unemployment rate since the “end” of the recession can be attributed to workers giving up looking for work and therefore not being counted in the labor statistics.
It’s time to put aside the hope that Democrats who act like Republicans “Lite” can rescue the 99% of the country that can’t make ends meet. It’s time for a party that is independent of the big banks and corporations. It’s time for the Justice Party!