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Forum, Aug. 30: The good economy didn’t start with Trump


Thursday, August 29, 2019
The good economy didn’t start with Trump

John Nelson, like many of the president’s supporters, is under the mistaken impression that the economy was suddenly improved by Donald Trump’s policies (“The good times have been rolling since 2016,” Aug. 21). Let’s take his points in order.

■ The economy is as good as it has been in decades. In 2000, the last year of the Clinton presidency, the unemployment rate was 3.9%, the gross domestic product went up 4.1%, and inflation was 3.4%. We also had a budget surplus of $236 billion. In 2018, unemployment was 3.9%, GDP was 2.9%, and inflation was 1.9%. Because of Trump’s tax cuts, the budget deficit reached an estimated $779 billion in 2018 and now, according to the Congressional Budget Office, bigger deficits stretch as far as the eye can see.

■ There have been 6 million jobs created. In a growing economy, jobs are created. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that job growth during Trump’s first three years in office has been significantly worse than during Obama’s last three.

■ The stock market has been “booming.” According to Bloomberg, at this point in Obama’s presidency, the stock market was up 46% since the crash of 2008. Since Trump was elected, the market has risen 25%. While the market loved Trump’s tax cuts, both market growth and GDP have cooled.

■ Unemployment is lowest in decades. This is correct, but the jobless rate has been falling since 2011, according to BLS data, and there’s been no discernible difference in the decline since Trump took office.

■ Many trade agreements have been reached. Wrong. As Forbes reported, the only trade agreement that has been completed is a minor one with South Korea. The so-called USMCA was negotiated but awaits ratification, and most economists see it as making only small adjustments to NAFTA.

As the adage goes, some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple. Trump inherited a good economy and — so far — his erratic trade policies have not ruined it.

MICHAEL HILLINGER

Etna

Whose side are they on?

It was great to see so many friends and neighbors turn out for the rally and march against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“Activists block traffic in Hartford: At least 26 people cited at protest,” Aug. 15). Also appreciated was the presence of the ACLU of Vermont, residents, certain Hartford Selectboard members, and activists from far and wide. I’m also thankful for the media coverage that supports and bolsters freedom of speech. I appreciate sharing the podium with people having alternate views, especially when we need to air grievances and resolve differences. David Davison’s letter (“The message of Woodstock is missing,” Aug. 27) asked how blocking traffic solves problems. I posit that all sorts of rights were gained in the riotous 1960s through protest.

Less appreciated was the police presence, both state and local. They must be so conflicted. They know undocumented folks live and work in our communities. They know they have a responsibility “to serve and protect.” There is such a drastic need to stop the vicious Department of Justice in its relentless pursuit of the poor and downtrodden. It’s important to understand that when an individual is apprehended, that may start a process that breaks up a family. Let’s hope they’ve seen the error of their ways.

I was proud to help take a position blocking traffic at the intersection of routes 4 and 5 in White River Junction with my confederates, and I hope the Hartford Selectboard continues to work to ensure that the town’s police department does not become an arm of the Department of Justice. After all, whose side are they on?

KEVIN McEVOY LEVERET

White River Junction

Let’s Trade Puerto Rico for Greenland

The prime minister of Denmark has characterized President Donald Trump’s offer to purchase Greenland as being “absurd.”

A more appropriate response would have been, “Let’s make a deal. I’ll trade you Greenland for Puerto Rico.”

On this side of the Atlantic, we know how much Trump loves to deal.

GEORGE SUTHERLAND

Grantham

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