President Obama’s vision offers change we voted for
Every day I hear from families in south-central Wisconsin who are experiencing layoffs, foreclosures, loss of health insurance and the increasingly high cost of sending their kids to college. In Janesville, unemployment is now at 13.1 percent; in Beloit, it is 15.1 percent. President Obamaís budget addresses these very real problems with real solutions.
One thing is clear: When Americans went to the polls in November, they voted decisively for change. Presidential candidate Obama told the American people that, if elected, he would cut the taxes on 95 percent of American families who were working hard, playing by the rules and struggling to make ends meet; and raise taxes on those Americans making more than $250,000 a year. His budget blueprint fulfills those promises. He has offered us a plan that will grow our economy and reduce the federal deficit by 50 percent in five years. These are bold proposals, and they are the right ones. If thereís anything weíve learned during the past eight years, itís that the Republicansí plan didnít work. Itís time to move on.
President Bush took a $5.6 trillion surplus and left us trillions of dollars in debt, never showing us the real bottom line so we could call him to account. He conveniently omitted from his budgets the staggering costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistanó$864 billion over the past eight years. He insisted on cutting taxes for the very wealthiest individuals and corporations while grossly underfunding education, ignoring the millions of Americans without health care coverage, and allowing bridges and roads to dangerously deteriorate. He never budgeted for natural disasters, though weíre still paying for them and can surely expect more.
President Obama inherited a fiscal disaster, and now he and the Democrats in Congress are working to clean up the mess. His budget starts with a commitment to honesty and transparency. The real financial cost of two wars is now included in the budget. Itís a painful accounting, but one that we must accept if we are to move forward.
It rejects the Republican trickle-down economics that left working families high and dry. President Obama restores balance to the tax system so all Americans pay their fair share.
He calls for greater investment in education from pre-school through college so children in Rock County will be prepared and trained to compete in a new, global economy.
His budget lays a strong foundation on which to build a new, green economy. It invests in creating quality jobs in emerging fields such as energy efficiency and biofuels so displaced workers in Rock County can find good-paying jobs to support their families.
And it invests in rebuilding our nationís crumbling roads and bridges and upgrading outdated transportation and telecommunications systems. Ironically, many of those who championed spending billions of dollars to build schools and power plants in Iraq are now actively opposing Presidentís Obamaís investments in our infrastructure here at home.
This is the real change we voted for. Enough said!
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin represents Wisconsinís 2nd Congressional District. Readers can reach her at 2446 Rayburn, Washington, D.C., 20515; phone (202) 225-2906.