Printed letters, October 9, 2012

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Kenneth Brownlee’s letter – “Obama’s job comments detached from reality (October 9, 2012) – reveals that it is really he who is “detached from reality”.

While the President was less than clear about his job creation plans (and was trumped by Romney’s lie-a-minute snake-oil-salesmanship), the record shows that – as a result of the economic recovery initiated by his “stimulus” proposals – the economy has created 5+ million jobs in the past 3 ½ years.

Michael Grunwald’s book, “The New New Deal,” demonstrates that President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved and/or created at least 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 Republican obstructionism.  In addition, another 1+ million jobs were saved by his “auto bailout” (which Romney publicly opposed).

President Obama’s plan to “create another 1 million jobs” is the American Jobs Act of 2011, which would have funded the rehiring of some 300,000 teachers, firemen, and police and created 1+ million new infrastructure construction jobs, but which the Tea Party House never even voted on – lest some Republicans support it and thereby give the economy a boost that would have enhanced President Obama’s chances of reelection.

According to Moody’s Analytics in August, the ongoing economic recovery sparked by President Obama’s stimulus efforts will generate nearly 12 million new jobs over the next four years, regardless of who is President.  Thus, it is completely ridiculous and willfully ignorant to suggest that “the president’s goal and his plan for the country are to grow fewer jobs in a second administration than in the past one”.

Rather, because Romney promises only to generate that same “12 million jobs” (without saying how), Brownlee should be asking “Is his ambition for the future that meager?”

Of course, President Obama realizes that 8+ % unemployment “is not a good thing”, but Republicans now hysterically insist that neither is 7.8%.  (See Daily Sentinel, October 6, 2012, “Theorists claim jobless rate drop is number crunch”).  Had the American Jobs Act of 2011 been enacted, that rate would now be below 7%—certainly “a good thing”.

After reading Brownlee’s letter, I’m not sure he comprehends the words on his paper.

                Bill Hugenberg

Robert A. Tallarico’s letter – “Time is coming for us to pay up Chinese bankers” (October 9, 2012) – aptly suggests that our growing national debt is both a fiscal/financial and national security concern, and perhaps “a premonition of things to come”.

Unless Congress acts responsibly before December 31, 2012 (or shortly thereafter), the Bush tax cuts will expire and most Americans will almost immediately begin paying more in federal income taxes on income earned during 2013.

President Obama would extend Bush’s tax cuts (originally financed with borrowing from China) for joint income up to $250,000.  Romney wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for all income—thereby incurring an additional $1 trillion in borrowing from China, and also proposes another $5 trillion tax cut (a 20% reduction in all marginal tax brackets) – if (but only if?) Congress entirely pays for it by closing as-yet-unspecified “loopholes” and/or by limiting/eliminating as-yet-unspecified deductions for the top 3%.

Romney also wants to increase defense spending by $2 trillion over ten years, while most objective analysts conclude that we could reduce defense spending by $1 trillion without compromising our national security.  In sum, Romney’s proposals could add to “the indebtedness that the government and we as its beneficiaries owe for services rendered” by from $3 to $8+ trillion (also borrowed from China).

“While the debt principal”—$16 trillion – and annual interest—almost$400 billion – “continue to grow”, Tea Party Republicans exacerbated the problem by threatening to declare “bankruptcy” and by obstructing and/or rejecting every bipartisan effort to responsibly address the debt (e.g., the Simpson-Bowles Commission).

Nevertheless, these problems are not insurmountable – if we do not return to the failed Republican policies that dug this hole in the first place (tax cuts and wars).

Readers interested in better understanding these complex issues should try the “Federal Budget Challenge” exercise at http://federal.budgetchallenge.org/respondents/summary#.

                Bill Hugenberg



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