Letter caused confusion, wonderment
I read Patrica Bender’s letter to the editor published March 15 regarding “deficits” by recent White House administrations with confusion and wonderment.
Confusion as to where on Forbes she found her article – I spent hours trying to find the article she alludes to – and wonder of what the percentages she cites were a percent of: Gross Domestic Product (the benchmark metric for economic reporting), federal expenditures or Treasury revenue. Just what the numbers are a percentage of is important for context.
I’ll address just a bit of it as she stated the numbers:
1.) Her numbers are not correct according to federal government’s various agency standards, like the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget or the Department of the Treasury.
Per the CBO report Sept. 17, 2013, “Between 2009 and 2012, the federal government recorded the largest budget deficits relative to the size of the economy (GDP) since 1946, causing federal debt to soar.”
That’s the Obama administration years.
2.) She lists former President?Bill Clinton’s deficit percentage in his second term as 3.9 percent.
The fact is because of accounting gimmicks like shifting Social Security surpluses into the general fund balance, Clinton had budget surpluses, though only on paper, in his second term.
3.) She states, “It is obvious that, from past performance, voting Republicans into Congress or the presidency is a vote for greater increases in the deficit as well as cuts in help for people with lower incomes.”
I’ll remind the author the Bush tax cuts gave the lowest brackets the highest percentage of tax relief, nearly 33 percent, compared to about 13 percent for the highest earners.
Included in those packages for the low and middle class was a doubling of the child care credit from $500 to $1,000, as well as a nearly 50 percent increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit; a fully-refundable credit by the way – you get the money even if you have zero federal tax liability.
Tax revenues to Treasury increased under the Bush cuts, though he spent like a conservative Democrat -way too much, in my opinion.
I’ll save added debt as a percent of GDP per administration for a later rebuttal.
CARL P. CHRISTENSEN