Email letters, Sept. 18, 2012

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Michele Thornton’s on-line letter – “After four years of economic woes, voter must choose next president well” – aptly expresses the legitimate concerns of “low information voters” who are only now tuning into the Presidential election contest.

Thornton’s confusion is entirely understandable – given the Romney-Ryan campaign’s refusal to provide any meaningful details about their intended policies (or his tax returns) or adequately explain the obvious inconsistencies in their statements, and their repeated resort to outright falsehoods – promulgated in television ads that objective fact-checkers categorize as lies.

Thornton plaintively asks why President Obama hasn’t already fixed all the problems he inherited from Republicans four years ago.  Apparently, she doesn’t know (or has already forgotten) both how bad things were – and/or were about to become – in early 2009, and what President Obama did to prevent economic catastrophe.

After first continuing the TARP program – thereby preventing collapse of the worldwide financial system, President Obama next “bailed out” GM and Chrysler—saving some one million jobs that Romney was willing to write off.  Simultaneously, President Obama implemented a “stimulus” package that has gotten us back to where we are now.

According to Michael Grunwald’s book, “The New New Deal,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was responsible for saving and creating 2.5 million jobs, helped the economy grow by as much as 3.8 percent, and kept the unemployment rate from reaching 12 percent – all despite persistent Republican obstructionism.

During those four years, Republicans’ stated “primary objective” was to thwart President Obama’s re-election – not to responsibly address the serious problems he was confronting.  In fact, House Republicans refused to even vote on the American Jobs Act of 2011 –lest some Republicans support it and give President Obama credit for a bipartisan success.

So, I encourage Thornton to “actively find the truth”, courageously “face the facts”, and vote accordingly.
                Bill Hugenberg

Richard Udd’s on-line letter – “Stats do not show economic success during Obama’s first term” – applies a ridiculously bizarre version of “objective evaluation” to prove the truth of Mark Twain’s observation that:  “There are three kinds of lies:  lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

Udd employs fallacious reasoning – post hoc, ergo propter hoc – to argue that events during President Obama’s first term were caused by policies adopted during that period.

However, as the Christian Science Monitor reported this week, while net job creation during President Obama’s term is minus 261,00 (not “minus 1 million”), both statistics hide the fact that – during the past 30 months – the economy added 4.6 million private sector jobs while shedding some 600,00 public sector jobs (teachers, police, etc.).  This impressive record is nonetheless insufficient to overcome the loss of over 4 million jobs as the direct result of the financial crisis and resulting economic collapse in early 2009, circumstances that no President – including Ronald Reagan – ever confronted before.  Likewise, no President has ever encountered the kind if in-going obstructionism demonstrated by Republicans—who refused to even vote in the American Jobs Act of 2011.

Nevertheless, according to Michael Grunwald’s book, “The New New Deal,” President Obama’s “stimulus” created or saved 2.5 million jobs, kept the unemployment rate from reaching 12 percent and helped the economy grow by as much as 3.8 percent.

Moreover, while the national debt increased by “only” some “$0.7 trillion” during Reagan’s first term, that was a near doubling of our debt – which became a tripling by the end of his second term, and a quadrupling by the end of Bush I’s presidency.  Similarly, during Bush II’s first term, the national debt increased by 40% and nearly doubled again before President Obama was inaugurated.

Moreover, the $4.1 trillion increase under President Obama is entirely attributable to the unfunded “structural deficits” he inherited from Bush – $400 billion in annual interest on the $10.7 trillion Republican debt, TARP, two wars, and the Medicare Part D benefit.

Thus, the facts do not bear out Udd’s claim.  “In fact, they clearly show the opposite is true.”  Our economy cannot withstand a return to the “failed [Republican] policies of the past”.

                Bill Hugenberg

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