Letter: Deficits and the GOP

To the Editor:

In a letter to the editor on Dec 13, Sean Archambault takes issue with Alex Harris’s Democratic View column from the previous week. The first issue is that many of Sean’s deficit numbers are way off. For example, for Fiscal Year 2010, Sean pegs the deficit at $1.652 trillion, while the actual deficit, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, was $1.294 trillion. For FY 2016, Sean states the deficit was $1.423 trillion – the actual number was $584 billion. I don’t know where Sean is getting his numbers, but it illustrates Alex’s point that there is a great deal of misinformation floating around in GOP circles.

Sean goes on to quote Louis Woodhill, a “Forbes contributor”, on what a terrible job Obama did in terms of GDP growth and employment, and attempts to compare him unfavorably with previous presidents. It should be noted that Mr. Woodhill is not an economist, but rather a retired mechanical engineer, and his distortion and cherry-picking of facts would not pass even a basic economics course.

Finally, Sean states that by cutting marginal tax rates, Reagan initiated the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. First, Clinton’s expansion was longer. Second, Reagan also drastically increased spending, which significantly increased the deficit. And while Reagan’s deficits certainly helped fuel the expansion, a much more important factor was the Federal Reserve, which cut interest rates from 20% down to 6%. Finally, Reagan left office with large budget deficits (3% of GDP) while Clinton left office with a budget surplus of 2.3% of GDP.

All of which supports Alex’s claim that Republicans in office blow up the deficit, largely by irresponsible tax cuts to the wealthiest, and when the Democrats take over, Republicans cry crocodile tears about the deficits they blew up in the first place.

Arnold DiLaura

First Lane, Dec. 14