Support Democrats on Nov. 8
Inflation has become a top campaign issue, which is fair. Rising food and fuel prices in particular disproportionately affect people with the least disposable income, and that should concern us all. But it’s important to look at the whole economic picture and the truth about reasons for inflation, and compare the solutions the two parties propose.
For MAGA Republicans, who are in charge now in Concord and would dearly love to be in charge again in the US Congress, the plan is laid out in their “Commitment to America”:
• Cuts Social Security and Medicare
• Raise Medicare Eligibility age to 75 and cut off eligibility at age 90.
• Tax disabled veterans’ benefits
• Eliminate aid to Ukraine, breaking our commitment to European and American democracy.
• Tax employer-sponsored health care plans.
We must take this promise seriously. They have already proved their lack of commitment to stemming inflation by voting against the gas-gouging bill and the Inflation Reduction Act in Congress. Here in NH, they have consistently voted against (in the Governor’s case, vetoed) minimum wage bills, paid family medical leave, and other programs that support 98% , in favor of budget-busting tax breaks for big donors and money-laundering schemes like education vouchers.
For over 40 years, the GOP has been promising that these handouts to the wealthiest 2% will create jobs and “trickle down” to the rest of us. What has happened is that wages have stagnated while corporate profits continue to balloon. This has hollowed out the middle class and created the worst wealth gap in a century.
The Democrats’ plan is to continue doing what we know works. Pandemic relief provided by the American Recovery Act supported schools, small businesses, families, and workers during the disastrous first wave of COVID. We now have half a million more jobs than we did pre-pandemic, and wages have risen because of the strong labor market.
Most of the inflation we’re seeing now is a result of global issues like the pandemic, climate change, and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which is a big oil and grain producer. But even there, we’re seeing easing of costs. Emergency measures like releasing some of our oil reserves have helped, but Democrats are planning for the long-term, too. Instead of funneling tax dollars into the pockets of the international oil cartels, the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill invests in roads, bridges, power grids, rail, air safety, and water and sewer systems that will reduce the costs of production and transportation of basic services and goods. It has already contributed to our present job growth. As part of an “all of the above” strategy, domestic fossil fuel production is up by about 300,000 barrels a day since 2019, while we also invest more in sustainable, renewable energy production and the systems that support it.
This year, the Inflation Reduction Act has already led to reductions in health care costs, since Medicare is at last able to negotiate prices, and there are now price caps for some essential medications. Lower prescription costs and copays are making a significant difference in our budget. President Biden revived the Obamacare signup and advertising campaign that Trump eliminated, and now 92% of Americans (and more than 98% percent of kids) have health insurance, an all-time high.
GOP leaders like Kevin McCarthy and NH’s Free Staters have made it abundantly clear that their Commitment to America is to continue supporting economic policies that have led to unprecedented wealth for the billionaires and scrambling for their crumbs for the rest of us, and once they accomplish that, they’ll deliver the coup de grace for everyday Americans by cutting social safety net programs. The cruelty is almost unfathomable. Democrats have proved in the last two difficult years that their policies add jobs, increase wealth for workers, ensure access to health care for millions, and create a healthier future for our children and grandchildren. Democrats have supported us, and we need to support them on Nov. 8.
Jean Lewandowski is a resident of Nashua.