Obama’s economic record Regarding “Good news for a change” (Your Views, May 17): Millie Grime hit the nail right on the head in that our economy is in a great recovery, there is a surplus and the mean ol’ Tribune won’t cover this miraculous result of current government policy. Plus, the president has fixed all the messes W. made.
Uh, wait a minute. Let’s look at the economic report of the president, February 2012. During Ronald Reagan’s tenure the adjusted ratio of deficit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP, which is the economy) was 4.2 percent. Deficits under H.W. Bush also averaged 4.2 percent. Bill Clinton averaged 0.5 percent, but he benefited from the Internet bubble, which burst toward the end of his tenure, and the housing boom caused by unwise government policy, which also was starting to cool by 2000. W. Bush’s ratio of deficit to GDP averaged 2.7 percent over his terms in spite of fallout from the Internet crash and the already-under-way housing collapse.
Compare any of those to President Obama’s average deficit ratio of 8.9 percent of GDP so far. It’s obvious he’s taking far more out of the economy than anyone before him, and I don’t think he’s finished finding new spending. On top of that, the Fed is creating some $85 billion to $90 billion unsupported new dollars each month out of whole cloth. China is irate because inflating the currency will mean our debt to them will be repaid with cheaper dollars. If they stop lending, and with Europe in the economic shambles it is, we’ll find no one in the rest of the world in a position to replace China as the lender of choice.
As the dollar gets cheaper and politicians and the media can no longer rearrange the truth, confidence will crash and so will all these rosy, phony reports the writer extols. The financial locomotive bearing down on the public will swamp families under heavy debt because of the rise in the price of everything, and surely the economy will crash further than it already is. Great Depression II, anyone?
Congressional shell game The letter writer from Sebring remarked in Friday’s Tribune that all’s well in the Obama economy. A factoid she cited relates to the crushing federal debt, an amount when correctly tallied is estimated to exceed the entire annual output of the U.S. economy. Her point of view is fine as an opinion, but as smart guy once said, you can’t have your own facts. She has evidently seen recent reports that observe the federal deficit for the current fiscal year to be declining. She calls it a “surplus.” She even suggests that we’ll eliminate the deficit.
Oh, if that were only true! In fact, the number she cites refers to something Washington officials quaintly call the “budget surplus.” The real shortfall in revenues and a budget surplus are as alike as night and day. The shortfall is real; the surplus is an illusion.
Congress and its accountants don’t consider the real costs of programs such as Medicare and Social Security in counting the so-called budget surplus. Nor do they use zero-base accounting. Every year they spend more, and the money they spend represents a vast sum that may have otherwise been spent by families and businesses to truly grow the economy. Instead, Congress plays a shell game.
Since our elected representatives and their many staffers actually write the laws, they can call it a surplus or a deficit for any reason they choose, but that won’t make it real.
The progressive agenda I’ve been exposed! Robert Reich has told the world about me, a lifelong conservative (“The triumph of progressivism,” Other Views, May 16). Now everyone knows that because I oppose progressivism, I am a bigot who hates blacks and Hispanics and don’t want women in the executive workforce. Furthermore, I also hate homosexuals, am against cleaning up our air and water and don’t care if you have health insurance or not.
He tells our college graduates not to be cynics because since 1968 real progress has been made against people like me, the Koch brothers, billionaires and large corporations who buy elections. We have advanced from President Nixon to President Obama.
I believe that Reich doesn’t know that I don’t want my children and their children to breathe bad air or drink or swim in polluted water. He might be surprised to know that I have a biracial great-granddaughter I love with all my heart. I don’t want people exploited whether they are citizens or illegal immigrants. Hate is a word I do not use or an emotion I do not feel.
Reich lists many things that progressivism has nurtured. There is much he has left out. Since President Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars to erase poverty and help minorities. Today, there are more people in poverty than ever before, more black children being raised in-single parent homes, and the percentages are rising every year. Welfare has become a way of life for many, with some families on the fourth generation. As long as we are subjecting inner city children to substandard and deplorable schools, encouraging welfare instead of promoting the God-given talents these children have, we are destined to remain having the government take care of them.
A socialist/progressive society has never helped anyone but those running the government and the people who are its friends and supporters. Everyone else takes what the government gives them.
Nixon conducted an unpopular war, was very secretive, had an “enemy list” and was going to be impeached for misuse of power for using the IRS to spy on his enemies. Today we have President Obama and his administration conducting an unpopular war in Afghanistan, the Justice Department being investigated for violating the First Amendment rights of the AP, the IRS being investigated for harassing his enemies and the State Department being investigated for its handling of the Benghazi debacle. At the same time he is trying to implement universal health care, which may be the final thing that pushes us into a financial crisis.
It was just the opposite of progressivism that made this country what it has been and could be again. Reich’s article doesn’t prove that cynicism in society is because of people fighting progressivism. It does, however, bring credence to the old adage: “Conservatives think that progressives are wrong; progressives think that conservatives are evil.”
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