Political Triage – Who to Save?

It seems that everyone has their hand out these days – bankers, auto companies, homeowners, the unemployed. In each case a rational argument can be made for helping these people deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

But since this country is already in debt up to its eyeballs and billions and billions of dollars are already being spent on bailouts and stimulus packages, the question now becomes who do we help, or more precisely should we pick and choose who to help? To borrow a medical term, should we engage in a kind of political triage?

The Bush administration’s triage approach was to bailout the banks and the auto companies and to stay away from the Main Street homeowners and unemployed workers. Obama seems to  be taking every opportunity to bash the banks, pressure the automakers and concentrate on average Americans who are losing their homes, their jobs and their futures.

If this political triage is looked at from the perspective of history, in  the last eight years the W. and his conservative supporters went out of their way to shun regulation, cut taxes at the high end, and side with big business. Middle class Americans got a few crumbs and when the crash came they saw most of their savings go down the drain.

Now with Obama it appears that the new administration is looking at the national economy and its impact on Americans from a new perspective. This is long overdue. The members of the middle class are capitalists too, in fact they are the heart and soul of our capitalist system. So why not give them stricter regulatory rules that protects their assets, tax cuts that make their lives more secure and a shift of attention toward their needs and their future?

The conservative right always moans and groans about class warfare and how providing benefits to the middle class at the expense of the wealthy business class is somehow anti-American. This argument is just shorthand for continuing the failed policies of helping the rich at the expense of everyone else.

So let’s try something new in this economy. Let’s save the little guy and gal; let’s build up their nest egg; let’s give them a few breaks. After all, the little guys and gals of Main Street are the one’s who will ultimately get us out of this mess, not the bankers on Wall Street.


8 Responses to Political Triage – Who to Save?

  1. I agree with Mr. Kryzanek’s views on how President Obama should be handling the economy. The middle working-class does make up most of the heart of this country, and I believe that the focus of help should be given to these people. Most of the population is made up of the average working-class citizen, not the wealthy bankers on Wall Street, and in finding ways to better the financial lives of these people, the majority of the population, the economy as a whole will improve.

  2. jessml20 says:

    I also agree with Mr. Kryzanek’s opinion. When you look around your community, it’s not full of millionaires and 4 story houses, it’s made up of the working class people with average salaries. Most of the nation’s population consists of the middle-call, and even the lower class. “Let’s give them a few breaks,” because to be honest, in our society right now, everyone is working as hard as possible and just barely making it by.

  3. justin florio says:

    I feel that the middle class is being cheated out of alot of money that they deserve. Obama has the right motive to give more to the less fortunate, but i feel he is going about this in the wrong way. He shouldnt be taking more money from the hard working middle class who work harder than most upperclass. The middle class needs that money that they are putting all of their time and effort into making.President Obama needs to find a new solution to giving the less fortunate more by not taking more from the rest.

  4. Marty says:

    The importance of the middle class is a great point, and seems to have been overlooked by the last administration. With big businesses still mishandling their money, it’s counterproductive to focus more on them than working class Americans. Obama ran on the idea that he was going to give back to the lower and middle class families, and less breaks for the rich, which is something that he needs to follow through on in order to help the economy.

  5. Katherine Hopkins says:

    As I type this, I am watching the Presidential Address. What amazes me is that no matter what Obama says, no matter what point he raises, and no matter what opinion he holds, one gigantic section of Congress remains resolutely stoic and critical. I am in half a mind to believe that Obama could say “there are 50 stars on the flag” and still he would be met with the same harsh stares from the opposing party.

    Tonight he speaks mostly of the stimulus package that he believes will rejuvinate the economy, partly by shifting the wealth from the rich to those who are of the middle and lower class. I don’t see how the people who will be initially affected adversely (and they are people who can absorb the losses, or in some cases even just disregard them)can fail to see or fail to care how many people this will help.

    In short, I agree with what you have to say here, because I agree with what Obama is doing. And its not because I’m a democrat and a liberal, but because I believe it’s the best thing to help fix the state of the country.

  6. Here’s a radical thought. How about we help the poor for once? The poor have been thrown under the bus since the Reagan Revolution and many live in abject 3rd world poverty right here in our own backyard. The middle class got a few token crumbs, but what the middle class does not care to admit is that many of them are one pink slip, one illness, one injury, one pregnancy, and one sick parent/spouse/whatever away from poverty – maybe even destitution. And thanks to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, there is no real safety net to catch people when they fall into poverty – for any reason.

    We could help both the middle class and the poor by raising the floor, which means we repeal all the tax cuts and government “gimmies” given to filthy rich corporations and Wall Street banksters over the last 20 years. We repeal utility company deregulation and NAFTA. We repeal the funding cuts to social programs that not only provided a real safety net to that the poor could live with a bare minimum amount of dignity and that downwardly mobile middle classers could get back on their feet; but also protected the (luckily) employed against unfair labor practices and gave them access to AFFORDABLE college educations. How about we repeal Reagan and Bush Sr’s decimation of CETA, which provided subsidized employment opportunity and experience to America’s underprivileged and marginalized so that they could gain meaningful work experience in adequate jobs and realistically springboard into middle class non-subsidized employment. How about we raise the taxes on corporations and investment banking syndicates that have profited from the “prison-industrial complex” because these corporations didn’t have to pay workers’ comp, unemployment tax, social security tax, or even the paltry federal minimum wage for the convict slave laborers in the US prison system. The best way to help the middle class is to raise the floor by helping the poor for a change. For every middle class person fortunate enough to have a good job, a 401(k), a nice home and a car; every marginalized and socially and economically excluded American struggling in poverty is their place-keeper.

  7. Shannon McComiskey says:

    I agree with what President Obama is trying to accomplish. I feel that the middle class people have been taken advantage of beacuse they are the ones who are suffering. I think that it is a good idea to try and give money back to the middle class. It’s not right that the big businesses and large companies can keep getting money that they will just waste away because they aren’t smart about how they use it, they’re only making everything worse for the economy. I think Obama needs to stick with this plan, giving a break to the lower and middle classes in order to help and try to repair our economy. The lower and middle classes are working hard to earn their money and it’s not fair that they bigger businesses who have seemed to just get everything handed to them in the past, get even more money than they need; they will only be wasting it.

  8. Amanda says:

    I agree with Obama’s plan to help out the middle class. I believe that our government should help out the people who are actually working hard. The people who work hard and are still struggling should get help. I agree with all of the comments that are stated here. It is not right that the big corporations get tax cuts. Those companies are the ones that can actually afford to pay high taxes while the smaller businesses can’t. If anyone should get a tax cut it should be the smaller businesses. Hopefully with Obama’s plan the middle class can be helped out financially. The money from the new stimulus plan should go to the people that are suffering. It is ridiculous that in the state I live in which is Rhode Island that $4,800,000 from the stimulus bill is going to Roger Williams Zoo to build an exhibit for polar bears. If our country was smart then the money would go directly to the middle class people who make up most of the population and not taken away from those people.

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