The Republican Party and its cronies are using dire predictions about America's economic future to sell the public massive cuts in Social Security benefits and huge deficit-financed giveaways to Republican political supporters. Stagnant wages, declining worker productivity, mediocre economic growth, and unmanageable budget deficits are welcomed by Republicans as useful for pushing their agenda. Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the best way to save Social Security is to invest in American workers and the American economy – that we should not accept as inevitable a decrepit future.
As Bush and his apostles of decline travel the country attempting to convince younger Americans that a secure retirement is a luxury they can not afford, they are cutting the very investments necessary to ensure that his dystopian future does not come to pass. Bush's budget proposes to cut Pell grants, cut student loans, cut college preparatory programs, cut investments in science, cut education funding, cut health care programs. He is telling young Americans that they should not work for a brighter future, that they should get out of the American economy while they can.
Democrats know that there is still hope for America. Just five long years ago, we enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, rising wages, and a booming stock market; the result of prudent investments and good government. Since then the administration's misplaced priorities, wasteful spending, counter-productive tax cuts, and military adventurism have almost erased our memories of those responsible times. But not entirely. We know how to move forward, how to solve the challenges looming on America's horizon: increase wages, raise productivity, improve health care, and lower barriers to education.
But first we must stop Republicans from accelerating the timetable for American decline.