MILWAUKEE — Economic policies spearheaded by the Bush Administration and supported by Sen. John McCain in the U.S. Senate have been devastating to people across Wisconsin, according to a group of concerned citizens who offered their personal stories today in anticipation of McCain’s upcoming visit to Wisconsin.
The economic crisis has affected Wisconsin in a number of negative ways, and as families work to make ends meet, they endure job loss, skyrocketing health care costs and home foreclosures. One worker, a member of the United Steel Workers union who recently learned his plant will shut down, said the economic crisis facing Wisconsinites is lost on President Bush and Sen. McCain.
“I don’t want a government handout. I want leaders who aren’t so out of touch they don’t see people are suffering,” said Menasha resident Greg Hinds, who just found out the Appleton plant in which he works will be closing and 300 jobs lost. “We cannot keep supporting unfair trade deals that cost us family-supporting jobs.”
Wisconsinites are also threatened with home foreclosures due to the failing economy and predatory lending practices. Johndalyn Smith, a Milwaukee resident who’s facing the loss of her home, is angry that Bush and McCain support policies that bail out big corporate investment firms, but do nothing for middle-class homeowners like her.
“I cannot tell you how scary it is to think I may lose my home,” Smith said. “I work hard and play by the rules and George Bush and John McCain offer nothing to help me, but they are more than happy to have all of us bail out Bear Stearns for $30 billion.”
Skyrocketing health care costs are also causing economic harm for Wisconsin families. According to Polly Belcher, a public health nurse from Milwaukee, lack of comprehensive health care reform is among the factors leading to the current economic crisis.
“Not only has John McCain opposed comprehensive health care reform, he has offered a plan which discourages employers from providing coverage and will lead to 48 million uninsured Americans,” said Polly Belcher, a member of SEIU Healthcare District 1199 Wisconsin. “John McCain has done nothing to control escalating costs and instead supports a plan which would shift even more costs onto families.”
For seniors struggling to afford prescription drug coverage, McCain has supported the Bush agenda, which created a coverage “doughnut hole.” That means seniors whose lifesaving medications cost between $2,200 and $5,100 receive no assistance, but continue to pay premiums.
“The cancer medications that I have to take have me fall into the doughnut hole each year on top of still paying my monthly insurance premiums,” said Delores Detert, a retired teacher and cancer survivor from New Berlin. “The next president and Congress must close the ”doughnut hole’ because the gap will only grow over time, forcing retirees to have to make difficult financial and medical choices.”
Shane Sanderson, a retired 22-year Army veteran who served in Iraq, said that Bush’s plan to continue the endless war in Iraq, which is supported by McCain, has been a huge burden for the economy. Meanwhile, their lack of support for the current G.I. Bill will make life even harder for returning veterans.
“Bush and McCain refuse to admit the war has devastated our military and our economy. It needs to end and our troops need to come home now,” said Sanderson, who lives in Ladysmith. “If their unwillingness to end the war was not bad enough, Bush has threatened to veto and McCain has opposed a simple plan to provide our troops with the same G.I. Bill education benefits our fathers and grandfathers had after World War II.”
A Wednesday conference call, featuring some of these speakers, was organized by a coalition of organizations including: the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, SEIU Wisconsin State Council, ACORN, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Health Care United Wisconsin, NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and One Wisconsin Now.