Cross Post from IfLizWereQueen
I’m not at all surprised by Gingrich’s rise in the polls. The American People realize that it will take a bold, intelligent leader to make things better–someone who is willing to shake things up in a big way. And at the moment, that’s more than either Obama or Romney seem to realize. You need to take their pulses to determine if either of them are still breathing.
The USA is not likely to get better fast enough to save a lot of drowning people without a bold leader with bold, specific, new and credible solutions who is able to stand up to the establishment and fight for the 99%.
Many Americans I talk to believe that it will take someone who is a fighter and a screamer like Lyndon Johnson who is willing to make waves and crack heads–perhaps someone a little crazy and grandiose–not some pious religious fanatic like Rick Santorum who criticized Gingrich for being grandiose and not a Wall Street yes man like Obama who gives away the farm even before negotiation have begun as he did with health care insurance and certainly not someone like Mitt Romney, an avowed plutocrat.
The tepid leadership of Barack Obama has been great for Wall Street investors as many of them have more than doubled their wealth (including Congressional members) over the past three years. However, his leadership and his hand selected, Harvard and Yale graduated Wall Street groomed cabinet and administration have not been nearly enough for the 99%. His campaign team still don’t get it because they have surrounded themselves with people who agree with them–people who like them belong to the Wall Street invested 1%.
The tepid leadership of a mealy-mouthed private equity plutocrat like Mitt Romney certainly would not be enough. After all, why vote for someone who looks so much like the current President we have–especially in his unabashed support of Wall Street. The people realize this and that is why Romney is losing South Carolina with its 9.9% unemployment and why Gingrich is winning.
Gingrich Needs to Work on His Solutions for the USA
But if he wants to win, Gingrich is going to have to do a lot better than offer Associates Degrees for unemployed workers as he suggested in one of the debates: He is going to have to be able to offer the unemployed jobs that pay a living wage.
The problem in the USA is not lack of education, nor is it an unwillingness for Americans to go to work. Ask a friend of mine who holds a Masters degree and is working as a checker at a WalMart in Houston. Ask any one of the 1,000 people who last fall applied for four jobs at a McDonalds. I’m sure there were several hundred of them who even had four year degrees. Tell me how an Associates degree is going to help them obtain a non-existent job.
Gingrich and Clinton’s welfare reform act was one of the cruelest examples of “bipartisan” leadership in the history of our nation and few Americans realize what really happened. Gingrich is going to have to do better than offer solutions such as his and Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act. Peter Edelman, a Clinton appointee was so disgusted over the injustice of this bill that he resigned over it, calling the bill the worst thing that Clinton had ever done [ Rwanda must have slipped his mind and of course this was before the "Bank Modernization Act of 1999".]
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) was passed August 22, 1996–just in time for Clinton’s presidential campaign that year. PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. TANF put a time limit on poverty. It gave the poor parents (usually just one parent in these families) assistance for 2 years. After that, if they didn’t have a job–tough luck. No more help. The rug is jerked out from beneath them. This is justice? This is humanity?
Making people work instead of keeping them on the dole sounds great and fair and few Americans including me would argue that.. However if there are no jobs to be had, what the hell good is an education and what are these parents going to do. Even more basic, what are their children going to eat?
At the beginning of his first term Bill Clinton passed NAFTA (with the assistance of Rahm Emmanuel shoving it down the throats of reluctant Congressional members). Then throughout the Clinton presidency, they turned a blind eye as Wall Street cooked the books and inflated the value of stocks–particularly for all the newly formed dot com tech companies. Clinton’s parting gift to the 1% and Wall Street investors was the deregulation of the financial system of the USA with the “Bank Modernization Act of 1999″.
But back to the “welfare reform” and its time line. USA Trade agreements like NAFTA hit the people of the other countries hardest first. There is lag time in the USA, a lull before the American people feel the full brunt of such one-sided agreements for the rich of both countries. Within the first two years after the passage of NAFTA, the Mexican corn farmers were decimated. They could not complete with the heavily subsidized USA corporations such as ADM and Cargill. As the Mexican corn farmers failed, so did hundreds of other cottage industries whose prosperity depended on the corn farmer. Within two years inflation had gone through the roof and thousands of Mexicans were out of work. They did what all citizens of a nation do when they are displaced by war, famine or unfair trade agreements that decimate their local economies: They migrate. From 1996 to 2000 the illegal immigrant population in the USA swelled from just under 2 million (which it had been for almost 10 years) upwards to estimates as high as 15 million.
TANF became active in 1997–just in time for the USA to start feeling the full impact of NAFTA in our own country. It is estimated by most reliable sources that by 1998 NAFTA had resulted in the loss of over 2 million jobs for Americans. Then the crash of the dot com bubble brought more job losses. So here these people are, mostly young women with children under the age of five with their training and associates degrees but no jobs to be had.
Newt’s not going to win by regurgitating solutions from the 1990′s–or if he does, he is not going to make any more difference for the 99% than Obama has.
We’ve been living with an administration for three years who have been reliving the Clinton solutions from the 1990′s so we already know that doesn’t work.