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The Journal Gazette

December 01, 2016 1:00 AM

Historically, GOP power bad for nation

Bruce Norman Stier

Bruce Norman Stier is a Fort Wayne attorney and member of the Wayne Township Advisory Board.

In his letter to the editor of Nov. 16, Jeremy Kitson stated his opinion that Republicans will finally be able to improve the country since this is the first time we will have “a sitting Republican President with majorities in both chambers since 1928.”

Mr. Kitson has his facts wrong. Republicans, in fact, controlled the presidency and both chambers of Congress from 2001 through 2007. Remember? I do. I remember because when Bill Clinton left office in January 2001, he left four years of surplus, unemployment at 4.2 percent, rising wages, a Dow Jones which had grown during his term of office from 3,200 to 11,000. In fact, Clinton was the only president to actually reduce the rate of growth of the federal government and reduce the national debt. Republican partisans might want to check out my facts and figures. You can do so at www.presidential debt.org.

The day Clinton left office, the surplus was projected to reach $1 trillion by 2012. That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because a thing called Republican government ensued. George W. Bush held the White House from 2001 through January 2009 with Republicans in control of both chambers of the House and Senate from 2003 through January 2007. What did they do? Our Republican national government took us into two wars, passed tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and increased the rate of government growth by 11 percent.

And in a mere eight years, they doubled the national debt. The result? On the day Bush left office, America was shedding 800,000 jobs per month and had an annual deficit of $1.4 trillion. As for the Dow Jones, it declined to 6,900. This was the mess Republican government handed President Barack Obama on Inauguration Day 2009.

Mr. Kitson says he hopes Republicans will “pivot the country in a better direction.” History, however, proves that whenever our government is led exclusively by the GOP, we suffer explosions of debt and economic debacle. In contrast, Obama is ending his terms in office adding jobs of between 180,000 and a quarter of a million every month for 40 months, rising wages, a Dow Jones above 18,500, and an annual deficit about one-third of that left us by Republicans in 2009.

Incredibly, Mr. Kitson’s letter further expresses nostalgia for the good old days of 1928. Those were years in which Republicans also controlled the presidency, House and Senate. At that time, their tax cuts, immigration restrictions, deregulation of Wall Street, high tariffs and low wages created the greatest economic crisis our country has faced – the Great Depression.

There’s a pattern here with Republican government, one that is in the process of repeating itself. Trump’s prescription for the country is to replicate Republican mistakes of the past: more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, restrictions on immigration, more spending on defense, deregulation of Wall Street and high tariffs. The Commission for a Responsible Federal Budget and the respected Concord Coalition have both projected that Trump’s tax cuts alone will add $5 trillion to the nation’s debt.

Hillary Clinton is an effete and ineffective spokesman for Democratic policies. Trump is a demagogue. But this election was not about them. Like every election over the last hundred years, it was about whether we will have Democratic growth and prosperity or Republican debt and depression. No matter how irresponsible the national candidates are, we as Americans have a solemn duty to remember these facts when we vote.