During the presidential campaign, President Obama has been criticized for the increase in the debt, as it now is at $16 trillion. However, when George Bush took office, the debt was only $5.8 trillion, and was on the decline from the Clinton administration, which had budget surpluses during his last three years in office.
Instead of considering the fact that some day we may have a recession and thus would need room for a stimulus to spur the economy, President Bush put his own best interest first and initiated tax decreases in order to get elected.
Thus, the debt increased to $10 trillion by the end of his administration. Instead of entering the recession with a debt of around $2 trillion, we entered it with $10 trillion. Was this good for the country? I think not.
Yes, the deficit has increased but it was nearly $1 trillion a year when President Obama took office.
The decline in employment reduced federal tax revenue, causing the deficit to increase, and the stimulus and increases in other programs to deal with those out of work also caused increases.
I have to ask what would have happened in 2009 when President Obama took office if his main concern had been reducing the deficit, and he had turned his back on those out of work and cut other federal programs.
All we have to do is look back at the Depression to see that these types of actions drove us from an unemployment level of 3.2 percent in 1929 to nearly 25 percent in 1932. I think the president did the right thing.
I also have to ask what is more patriotic, to increase deficits during a strong recession to avoid a full depression or to increase deficits during good times so you can lower taxes and use this as a vehicle to get elected?
A bailout for the UAW
The Oct. 16 article, “Mandel says he wouldn’t have backed auto bailout,” repeats the myth about the supposed “industry” bailout that in fact went only to General Motors and Chrysler.
Ford and the foreign-owned companies that build cars in America received no taxpayer bailout money.
The ancillary jobs that allegedly were “saved” by the bailout can be counted as saved only if one assumes that GM and Chrysler would have stopped all operations. This assumption is faulty.
If GM and Chrysler had entered a normal bankruptcy, they would have continued to operate their profitable plants. Their unproductive assets would have been sold to someone who could make them productive, or would have closed.
Their onerous UAW contracts would have been reworked to become competitive with other car companies. Smaller and nimbler versions of GM and Chrysler would have emerged, and the ancillary jobs would still be around, although maybe at reduced levels.
Under the bailout bankruptcy, the companies’ bondholders and most other creditors received nothing, while the president rewarded his UAW constituency (through its health care trust) with ownership stakes in both companies.
Best of all for the UAW, its wage scale remains overpriced relative to the market, which will hurt the auto companies’ future competitiveness.
In the case of Chrysler, the bailout also transferred ownership to the Italian company Fiat, at minimal cost to Fiat.
It’s ironic that for this wealth transfer, you didn’t hear the usual protectionist pablum from the Democrats and the anti-free trade crowd.
It would be understandable if the bailout supporters simply said, “The big banks got their taxpayer money, so GM and Chrysler deserved it, too.”
Instead, the bailout apologists pretend that GM and Chrysler were the last two car companies on Earth. In fact, they were the only two car companies whose workers were able to call in a big favor from the president.
Dickensian photo opportunity
Charles Dickens must be rolling in his grave.
Paul Ryan’s recent impromptu visit to the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society saw him shamelessly using the poor as an opportunity to promote himself.
Oliver Twist presents a classic image of the unseen and unvalued in society, like those whom St Vincent De Paul serves. Living in destitution in an English capitalist system out of control, Oliver asks for more and is mocked.
Ryan comfortably co-opts Oliver, and the social services that help keep the poor from falling into the abyss, to put a new shine on his political persona. But his policies would gut the funds of an organization like St. Vincent De Paul.
The Ryan budget would threaten to turn organizations like St. Vincent De Paul into 19th century Dickensian workhouses, underfunded, to discourage the 47 percent of Americans who Republicans think are leeches. They are the middle class, veterans, the elderly and children.
Ryan’s visit to the soup kitchen does not make us forget his policies toward the poor.
It only reminds us of exactly how disingenuous he really is when it comes to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society.
So the visual message is, “I’m washing dishes. Aren’t I helping the poor?” But the reality of his fiscal policy ridicules the very people and services he is using for his photo opportunity. His fiscal policy would bring about the collapse of our economy for the gain of the very few, while telling those who aren’t successful not to bother us with your needs on the way down.
Where are the jobs?
This may seem to be a rather simplistic question, but no one seems to be addressing it: Because the “job creators” have had their tax cuts for at least 10 years, where are the jobs they should be creating?
It seems to me that they are sitting on piles of money that they do not want to use to put people to work — unless it is in China.
Or perhaps they are waiting for President Obama to be defeated and — voila! — suddenly there will be jobs galore. Just asking.