Yesterday, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate has dropped to 9 percent (down from December’s 9.4 percent and November’s 9.8 percent), the biggest two-month decline since 1958. Although this still means that millions of Americans do not yet have jobs, it does prove that our country is making progress and recovering from the worst economic recession in decades.
Many cynics are quick to point out that the growth in private sector jobs in January (over 50,000 new jobs) was not as many as we hoped for. However, they fail to take into account that the number of jobs added in both November and December was more than expected, and that we have had 11 consecutive months of private sector job growth.
President Obama has done an excellent job to build on this momentum, passing tax cuts for millions of middle-class families; proving tax incentives for small businesses; ensuring fiscal responsibility and accountability for Wall Street companies; investing in education programs that will help us compete with the rest of the world; and most recently launching “Startup America,” a national initiative to support high-growth entrepreneurship, with more than $400 million in private commitments.
While Obama and the Democrats are making progress, however, it seems that many on the right are trying to move backwards. Instead of focusing on creating and sustaining long-term job growth, many Republicans are trying to undo many of the successes we’ve had over the last two years.
In particular, they have vowed to use their new majorities in Congress to overturn the Affordable Care Act (the new healthcare law), of which many of the provisions have just recently been taken into affect. Specifically, people can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition; young adults can now stay on their parents’ health plan until they turn 26; and seniors who used to pay thousands out of pocket to cover the “donut hole” are now paying less.
Ironically, these same Republicans that want to deny millions of Americans healthcare are quick to accept their own healthcare benefits that are generously provided to them by the new law. Apparently, it’s fair to subsidize the healthcare costs of those that are well off than those that are jobless and already have difficulty paying their bills.
If we are to truly improve our current financial state, we need to ensure that our citizens have all the available means necessary to get their lives back on track. This includes healthcare.
As was said during the midterm election, drivers, “push D to go forward, and R to go backward.” The U.S. has gotten itself out of the ditch and is moving forward. But now, it needs to avoid the tolls.