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Democrats run the economy better

There are many reasons to be a Democrat — civil rights, environmental protection, protecting national security without being the world's policeman, and more. Yet, the Democratic Party's strongest advantage over our Republican opponents is that Democrats run the economy far better than Republicans.

Whether measuring GDP, employment or market returns, economic history since 1932 proves the economy does substantially better with a Democratic president. Job growth has been twice as good during Democratic than Republican presidencies, and stock market returns have been far higher too.

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Democrats' superior economic performance is no fluke but the result of an economic approach that invests in people and science while ensuring markets are competitive but have necessary oversight.

Democrats know a strong, growing economy requires educated, trained and healthy people. It's education and training that creates jobs, technology and innovation, not tax schemes to benefit the rich or markets without effective, enforced rules.

And so, Democrats support public education from early childhood through higher education. Democrats respect teachers, while too many Republicans repeatedly bash public schools, teachers and higher education. Democrats support financial assistance to make training and college affordable for all students because nothing is a better investment in our economy and future.

Democrats know that good economic performance requires healthy people, so we support preventive health care and the right of every American to go to a doctor or hospital, without going bankrupt. Democrats also know that discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation harms individuals and our economy.

Democrats also understand a strong economy requires roads, bridges, railroads, modern telecommunications — a world-leading infrastructure.

And Democrats believe that a good economy requires a clean environment to attract new people and investment. Green jobs in renewable energy, water treatment, energy efficiency, green buildings, electric cars are among America's fastest growing sectors, thanks to Democratic policies that build our economy by protecting our environment.

Most importantly, Democrats know a strong economy must benefit everyone, not just the richest few. Huge inequality in wealth and income slows growth, kills jobs and creates economic instability that ends in a bust.

Thus, Democrats support unions and livable wages to make sure working people get a fair paycheck and that income distribution promotes strong growth as well as better jobs. Henry Ford recognized this Democratic economic principle when he insisted on paying his workers well enough to buy his cars.

Social Security and Medicare are programs created by Democrats (over endless Republican opposition that continues even today) that put money in the hands of all Americans who then spend it in their communities, thus creating employment.

By contrast, Republicans seek to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a shrinking voucher. They funnel more money to the richest few. Eventually the economy becomes unstable and collapses.

Look no further than 1929 or 2008 for the inevitable disasters that resulted from the Republican economic policies of tax cuts for the rich, disinvestment in education, health and infrastructure, disregard for the environment, assaults on workers and more and more deregulation of the financial system.

But when the predictable collapse struck, Democrats answered America's call. Roosevelt did so in 1932, after Republican economic policies produced the Great Depression.

So did Bill Clinton in 1992 when he cleaned up the mess created by reckless Republican fiscal mismanagement. The Clinton years created more than 20 million jobs and a booming stock market and turned massive deficits into surplus.

And President Barack Obama and the Democratic party answered America's call again in 2008 when George W. Bush's economic policy destroyed job creation, exploded the deficit, caused a 57 percent decline in the stock market, and yielded a 10.1 percent unemployment rate.

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Over the bitter resistance of Republicans, President Obama and Democrats have created 10 million jobs since 2010. Democrats produced 56 straight months of jobs growth — the longest period since World War II. President Obama and Democrats cut the unemployment rate from 10.1 percent to 5.9 percent.

Democrats have triggered the greatest bull stock market in history, with the Dow skyrocketing from 6,509 in March 2009 to more than 16,000, despite massive Republican opposition. And Democrats have cut the George W. Bush deficit by more than 60 percent.

Democratic policies create stronger GDP growth, more jobs and better market returns while Republicans advocate ever more extreme, even nutty positions like the gold standard and austerity economics.

John Hanger served as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Environmental Protection and was a Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. His email is john_hanger@hotmail.com.

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