Vote Based on Economic Record in NY, Not Promises
by Kiku, Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 08:26:28 AM EDT
This is cross-posted by request for Jocelyn, from dailykos.
Ladies and gentlemen of Indian, North Carolina and all remaining contests,
Hearing my senator, Hillary Clinton, stumping in your state[s], is driving me crazy. There seems to be a general acceptance of the idea that she's the stronger candidate when it comes to all things economic, particularly job creation. If anyone would take even a cursory look at her record in elected office, they would discover the opposite is true. Just google it.
Let's take a look what my senator's much-bally-hooed fighting skills have gained for the working people of my hometown, Buffalo, New York...
When campaigning for her first Senate term in 2000, Hillary Clinton promised western New York 200,000 new jobs. Buffalo alone has since lost 30,000; 40,000 lost in the region. When asked about it at the twentieth debate, she said, "Well, I thought Al Gore would be president." Asked about it again recently, she admitted she might have been a little "over-exuberant." But no apology for failing to deliver on that promise after seven years.
My Senator brings an astronomical amount of pork [at all US tax payers' expense], over $400 million a year, to this state, yet she couldn't find a way to help us instead of the rich and powerful in Albany and New York City? One-time resident (briefly), Matt Taibbi lays it out well. Of course, she won't release specifics regarding her earmarks, but the best I can find indicates that the only real beneficiaries of pork around these parts are the defense contractors. They're people, too, and employ people, and we are on an international border here, but....really? This is the best all that pork can do for Buffalo? Give it to companies in the one sector that's doing just fine anyway, in the one suburb of the city that is likewise prosperous?
To add insult to injury, we New Yorkers carry the second heaviest tax burden of any state in the union. In Western NY, our birthrate does not keep up with the aging of our populace [not to mention people being forced to move away, as delineated below], so each year that tax burden gets spread between less and less wage-earners. Our taxes are set to go up again next year.
Senator Clinton has pointed to her record in New York as evidence of her fitness to serve as economic commander-in-chief. Since 2000, 37,000 of my neighbors have moved out of my county alone in search of jobs. In 2007 - after seven years of Clinton's brand of leadership - Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York, was named the second-poorest city in the country by Forbes Magazine. [Side note: Anybody else noticing how we Buffalonians always seem to come in second, even in the crappiest things?!?! WTF?!?] Over 30% of our population lives below the poverty line - a rate that's 32% higher than the other end of our own state; I wonder how John Edwards would feel about that fact? As these things always seem to go hand-in-hand, we also had the second lowest median income in the nation in 2007. Basically, only Detriot sucks more than Buffalo in this regard.
And maybe that's the hardest part of listening to my Senator prattle on and on about all she's done for "her" state. That Buffalo is STILL a wonderful place to live, but it's in spite of the leadership [or, rather, lack thereof] of the likes of Hillary Clinton. We have some crazy-ass drivers here, but they will ALWAYS let you out into traffic after a concert. And speaking of concerts, we have a world-class music, theatre and art scene here. I mean really amazing. Not to mention the food! Are you kidding me?!?! I always figured that it goes back to a magical confluence of immigrant roots and REALLY long winters - What is there to do but be nice to your neighbor [cause you never know when you might not need digging out, may not have power, etc], make your own fun and eat some great food? Oh, and p.s., a little-known secret; Buffalo may have long winters, but we're a real Garden of Eden the other half of the year. I could [and maybe should] do multiple diaries on what a great town Buffalo is, full of really terrific people, like everywhere in this country. Which is why it makes me ears bleed when I hear my Senator making more empty promises to more great folks elsewhere. Oh, I think she believes what she's saying about trying to bring you economic prosperity. She just doesn't realize she doesn't have either the skill set or the mind set to deliver on those empty promises. She'll then blame her failure on someone else, like Al Gore or those very people she said she'd help. I know there are different and greater opportunities open to an executive office, particularly THE executive office, than there is to a legislative one, but, even when she's had an opportunity, she's blown it more often than not by not rallying support behind her efforts. Most likely because those "efforts" were flawed in the first place [see her last shot at national health care.]
A recent story on MSNBC First Read said, "she saw Indiana not as part of the Rust Belt but as a chance to build what she called a Manufacturing Belt and an Opportunity Belt." Look at how she's helped the "Opportunity Belt" in my home state. My city and the rest of western New York continue to rust away.
I actually voted for Clinton as my Senator, proudly, both times, but this primary season forced me to really look at her record and has taught me some truths about what she is willing and able to actually accomplish. Please really look at what all my Senator's "years of experience" have actually wrought for her less-powerful constituents so you don't make the same mistake I did....and think about visiting Buffalo someday! You'll feel right at home! :-)