President Obama exposed the Republican agenda by calling out the morally repugnant GOP budget plan to give 4,000 of the wealthiest Americans a $4 million tax cut while passing the bill on to every other citizen.
In his weekly address, the President said:
Five years ago, after the worst financial crisis in decades, we passed historic Wall Street reform to end the era of bailouts and too big to fail.
As part that reform, we created an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with one mission: to protect American consumers from some of the worst practices of the financial industry.
They’ve already put $5 billion back in the pockets of more than 15 million families. And this week, they took an important first step towards cracking down on some of the most abusive practices involving payday loans.
Millions of Americans take out these loans every year. In Alabama, where I visited this week, there are four times as many payday lending stores as there are McDonald’s. But while payday loans might seem like easy money, folks often end up trapped in a cycle of debt. If you take out a $500 loan, it’s easy to wind up paying more than $1,000 in interest and fees.
The step the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week is designed to change that. The idea is pretty common sense: if you’re a payday lender preparing to give a loan, you should make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back first.
As Americans, we believe there’s nothing wrong with making a profit. But there is something wrong with making that profit by trapping hard-working men and women in a vicious cycle of debt.
Protecting working Americans’ paychecks shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But the budget Republicans unveiled last week would make it harder, not easier, to crack down on financial fraud and abuse. And this week, when Republicans rolled out their next economic idea, it had nothing to do with the middle class. It was a new, more-than-$250 billion tax cut for the top one-tenth of the top one percent of Americans. That would mean handing out an average tax cut of $4 million a year to just 4,000 Americans per year, and leaving the rest of the country to pay for it.
I don’t think our top economic priority should be helping a tiny number of Americans who are already doing extraordinarily well, and asking everybody else to foot the bill. I think our top priority should be helping everybody who works hard get ahead. This country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
That’s what middle-class economics is all about, and as long as I’m your President, that’s what I’ll keep on fighting to do.
The reason the budget process is always a bad time for Republicans is because it is the one moment where the true GOP agenda gets exposed. Republicans want to cut taxes for the super wealthy while passing the bill on to the non-rich. The Republican budget isn’t just bad economics. It’s morally wrong. Since 2011, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly stung Republicans on their agenda to shift all wealth upwards to the top.
It could be argued that President Obama won reelection in 2012 based on his middle-class economics campaign. What Republicans are trying to do with their budget is a form ideological illness that refuses to see reality. The nation tried the tax cuts for the wealthy grow the economy approach under George W. Bush, and the result was a historic failure.
The role of government should never be to make the rich richer and life more difficult for everyone else. The budgets paint a clear picture of the contrast in priorities between the two parties. Democrats have got your back while Republicans are trying to pick your pocket.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association