In the spotlightDemocrats do a very poor job of letting the nation know their accomplishments. On the other hand, the Republicans do a superb job creating catchy, even if misleading, headlines that leads one to believe the Democrats do little but over-reach.

The supposed liberally biased media freely repeat the Republican mantras. Reporters seem to repeat what they are told without raising substantive questions about the motive behind the sound bites or reporting serious policy differences. All of the talking heads just make things worse by exaggerating events to raise their ratings.

Because of the forces I have mentioned above, you would not know that the Democrats have been very constructive over the last year. Their latest accomplishment has been a jobs bill based almost entirely on tax cuts for business, especially small business. As anyone knows, Republicans are big tax cut proponents but that did not stop the majority of them from voting against this bill.

Their major criticism of the Economic Recovery Act last summer was that it did not contain tax cuts for small business but when such cuts were offered in the jobs bill, they decided to vote against them. Republican may not like it but the people are looking to the government to save them from this economic crisis – small government talk to the contrary.

Fortunately, Scott Brown gave some backbone to the more moderate Republicans and five of them voted to prevent a filibuster that would have prevented a debate of the bill. When the filibuster failed, 13 Republicans jumped ship and voted for the jobs bill but 27 Republicans voted against, including both of Georgia’s Senators.

How can you hammer away at the theme of job creation and then vote against it? The lame, very lame, excuse is that the jobs bill will create more debt for our children. Am I the only one who, since the time of Reagan and supply side economics, heard Republican preach the gospel of tax cuts leading to revenue and tax growth? Because Democrats do not believe such malarkey, the jobs bill identified sources of revenue to pay for the tax cuts, a process called pay-as-you-go that Bill Clinton used so effectively, and Republicans abandoned as soon as they gained control of the government.

The Democrats have paid a heavy political price for rescuing our economy from Republican excesses but it is a feather in their cap that the steep decline has been halted. Yes, the recovery is likely to be slow and unemployment might remain in the 9% range for a while but I shudder to think what could have been.

Frankly, I do not want to know what would have happened if Republican advice had been followed and the banks, brokerage houses, and some businesses been allowed to collapse. Feckless Republican spending left the Democrats nothing to work with so piling on emergency debt was inevitable.

People started yelling about the national debt too late, and suspiciously not until Democrats inherited a mess. The debt piled on by George was wasteful spending but the debt piled on to save the economy – and jobs – was necessary, even if regretful.

Obama was forceful in staunching the rapid destruction of our economy and should be given credit for turning things around. He took emergency measures, nasty but necessary emergency measures. Had he not taken such forceful action, I suspect unemployment would have more than doubled from the current 9%, retirement accounts would have declined more than the 50% hit they took, and the human toll and suffering would have resulted in another generation with a great depression psyche.

Republicans can yell all they want but the new debt would not be there if it were not for their fiscal excesses and gross mismanagement of government over eight years. So much for a Contract with America. Democrats may not be blameless but Republicans were in charge.

The Economic Recovery Act was another milestone for the Democrats. A full one-third of that bill was middle class tax cuts. Rather than dole out a one-time check as George did, Obama cut the payroll tax so that workers received a little more in their paychecks over a year. Maybe that explains why slightly more than 12% of the population believes that Obama gave them a tax cut. Another one-third was to strengthen the social safety net such as unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance benefits – both aimed at the middle class. Many states, including Georgia, were able to balance their budgets with money from that act. The final one-third was for infrastructure projects, projects that are direct job creators.

Every Republican voted against this bill so even though they attempt to take credit for the money flowing into their communities, the credit goes solely to Democrats. Moreover, Democrats have faithfully extended unemployment benefits for over a year and are intent on extending them again – in spite of overwhelming Republican opposition all along the way.

Republicans have set a new record with filibuster use over the last year, revealing their true motive – screw America, it is all about the GOP.

How will we ever pay the national debt if we allow our middle class to collapse? However, the bigger question is why do Republicans think people are expendable but business is sacred?

There are many more unheralded accomplishments over the last year but space and time does not allow me to list them in detail at this time. However, we have a new hate crimes law, new emission standards, new environmental standards, and are very close to health care reform at the very moment health insurers are raising premiums to unaffordable levels. More Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been captured or killed under Obama, in one year, than under Bush in seven.

A lot can happen between now and November but remind your friends of what the Democrats have accomplished in spite of fierce opposition from the Republicans. I do blame the Democrats for not advertising their successes more as I think public perception would be different but I guess we cannot have everything.

Jim Fitzgerald

Jim Fitzgerald

A clinically trained psychologist, Jim had a private practice in Cobb County for almost 30 years. For the last ten years he has been a Professor of Psychology at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, but lives in the North Georgia Mountains.