September 04, 2012

My Response to the Rhetoric of a Conservative Friend From High School

I was having a chat with an old high school friend on Facebook who is a Romney supporter, which I am obviously not. He posed this question to me:









Now, there was not enough room for me to say all that needed to be said in a Facebook reply so, I decided to answer him here.

1.      Unemployment is higher

Really? Obama was inaugurated near the end of January, 2009 so; the first unemployment rate under his Presidency was in February, 2009. It was 8.3%.

The newest numbers released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate currently at 8.4%.

Now, that number would be significantly lower but, during the last four years, there have been major differences in the number of public vs. private sector job growth.

Check out this chart (red is public sector employment, blue is private sector employment):


In case you’re wondering, that spike in public sector employment was due to the hiring of temporary census workers in 2010.

Who, you may ask, is responsible for the massive number of public sector job losses? Why, states that are GOP-controlled.

There were 12 states in which Republicans came into power in 2010 – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. There was no data available for Mississippi but, the remaining 11 states were responsible for 40% of the total state and local public sector job losses in 2011. Add to these Texas, which because of its large size is responsible for 31% of the total at the state and local level.

Taken together, these 12 red states drove over 70% of the total losses. The rest of the states suffered much smaller losses or even slight gains.

In other words, erosion of public sector employment isn’t a problem affecting the entire country equally—it’s a problem in particular states, thanks to very particular legislators.

2.      He has increased the Nations debt by 60%

I sure would like to know where you’re getting your numbers because that’s absolutely incorrect. Let’s compare the *actual* numbers, shall we?

Increase in the National Debt by President & percentage:

            Reagan - 189%
            Bush 1 - 55%
            Clinton - 37%
            Bush 2 - 86%
            Obama – 35%

Federal spending under Obama, including his stimulus bill, is only rising at a 1.4% annual pace – slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.

            Reagan (first term) - 8.7%
            Reagan (second term) - 4.9%
            Bush 1 - 5.4%
            Clinton (first term) - 3.2%
            Clinton (second term) - 3.9%
            Bush 2 (first term) - 7.3%
            Bush 2 (second term) - 8.1%
            Obama - 1.4%

While it *is* true that Obama has increased the debt, Bush 2 actually increased federal spending by more than 2 times as much as Obama has.

Bush 2 inherited a budget surplus (the first surplus in decades) from Clinton. Then, a recession hit and he took the budget into deficit. Then, Bush 2 cut taxes, which grew the deficit to $400 billion a year. Then, we had a booming economy between 2005 and 2008, which reduced the deficit to $200 billion a year. Then, we were hit with a financial crisis, and the Bush deficit ballooned back to $400 billion a year.

President Obama took over in early 2009, during the worst recession since the Great Depression. He signed an $800 billion spending increase at the same time that GDP and tax collections tanked. The combination of these two factors (a growth in spending and a drop in revenue) exploded the deficit to $1.4 trillion. In 2010 and 2011, the economy and tax collections improved slightly, and the deficit shrank to $1.3 trillion a year.

In addition, the increase in federal spending is not the only factor that has caused the deficit. Another factor—equally, if not more, important--is the reduction in government revenue (you know, tax receipts). That can be blamed on 2 things:

1.      The Bush tax cuts, which reduced revenue.
2.      The weak economy, which reduced incomes of the middle-class and poor and capital gains upon which most federal taxes are based.

And since America is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and we have 3 equal branches of government, even you must admit that Congress plays a big role in spending and debt creation.

3.      His foreign policy stinks

That’s an opinion, not a fact, and I don’t care about your opinion.

4.      The average price of a gallon of gas has almost doubled

I was unaware that the President sets the gas prices. Please, tell me when he was awarded the authority to do that.

I do not have the time to explain how they are ACTUALLY set to you but, a simple Google search yields the answer. And to make things simple, I have done the research work for you: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-consumption/gas-price.htm

5.      He has increased the gap between the middle class

Between the middle class and what? The rich? The poor? The elderly? The aardvarks? What?

6.      Consumer spending has decreased along with personal savings

Actually, that would make sense in a down economy because, as I previously explained, incomes of the middle-class and poor have been reduced, and many of those households have pulled equity from their homes and overloaded on debt to simply maintain living standards. This has happened while wealth has concentrated at the top 1%.

I can go on on on.

Feel free, because so can I.

Oh and I think it's really sad when the DNC comes to town that all the local hotels kick the homeless out on the street to make room for all the LWingers.

Then, take it up with the ‘job creators” who own the hotels. I guess that’s just the free market at work, right? And perhaps your right-wing blogs or The Blaze…wherever you heard that, forgot to mention that the exact same thing just happened in Tampa for the RNC.

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