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January 20, 2013

Letter: Playing gotcha

Obama was right in 2006. The unemployment rate ranged from 4.4 to 4.8 percent. The World Bank says the USA economy was growing at 3 percent from 2003 to 2007. Not great economic activity but not a recession.

The budget should have been balanced or running a slight surplus. There should have been no reason to increase the national debt ceiling. Instead, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the on-budget deficit was $434 billion. The Bush tax cuts were temporary because they couldn’t pay for them, but the theory was the tax cuts would increase economic activity to such an extent that the tax on the added activity would pay for the cuts and they could be made permanent without any pain.

Now it is 2013, times have changed. In 2012 the unemployment rate ranged from 8.3 to 7.8 percent. From 2008 to 2011 the economy grew at 1.7 percent. So Obama is right now, the government should be running a deficit to get the economy going. I agree that trillion dollar deficits are obscene but the on-budget deficit for fiscal 2008 was $642 billion. When you start in such a hole where do you go?

I don’t blame Bush for this mess, but we can blame the tax cuts that he signed into law. The tax cuts were an economic experiment that failed and we will suffer the pain of recovering from that failure. The economy will have to recover and the country will have to run surpluses to pay down at least part of the debt incurred during the recovery and experiment. It is a shame that our elected leaders can’t work together to rebuild America instead of playing gotcha and trying to shape opinion for the next election.


Ben Walker

Rocky Face

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