Email letters, Sept. 11, 2012

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Dave Kearsley’s on-line letter – “Just running in place on jobs front” (September 11, 2012) – offers the latest theme in Republicans’ talking points:  nothing President Obama did mattered much.

Bush’s recession technically began in late 2007, prompting him to propose a $145 billion “stimulus” (tax rebates) in January 2008 – having already increased the national debt by almost $5 trillion during his term.

While TARP was initiated by President Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulsen, they disbursed only $250 billion.  President Obama and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner supervised the remaining $300 billion “that averted a meltdown of our banking system”.

True, President Bush used $17.4 billion in TARP funds to begin the bailout of General Motors, but President Obama added $62.9 billion and shepherded a comprehensive bail-out of both GM and Chrysler – thereby directly saving at least 1 million jobs.

True, “by June 2009, the economy was already recovering”.  While this was “before much of the stimulus could be distributed”, it was after—and because of – the payroll tax cuts and extension of unemployment benefits championed by President Obama.

Even if Kearsley is correct that the “stimulus wasn’t needed to avert a depression” – we’ll never know for sure.  The CBO has concluded that the stimulus created, sustained, and/or saved anywhere from 700,000 to 3.6 million jobs – even if only temporarily.

Moreover, even if the stimulus “did little to help the private sector”, that result was the outcome intended by Republican obstructionists – who forced a smaller-than-necessary initial stimulus and have refused to even vote on the American Jobs Act of 2011.

“The proof is in the [now 8.1%] employment rate”, which would be below 7% but for Republican efforts to thwart President Obama’s reelection.

“What this economy needs is” a Congress that “can be trusted” to put “country first”. 

                Bill Hugenberg

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