“Feedback Friday” Letter to White House generated form letter response (on how to jumpstart the economy) March 7, 2011 (part 3)

I have been writing President Obama letters and have not received a personal response yet.  (He reads 10 letters a day personally and responds to each of them.) However, I did receive a form letter in the form of an email on March 7, 2011. I don’t know which letter of mine generated this response so I have linked several of the letters I sent to him below with the email that I received. However, if I had to guess which letter it was then it probably be this one below.

Government Spending Doesn’t Create Jobs

Uploaded by on Sep 7, 2011

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In the debate of job creation and how best to pursue it as a policy goal, one point is forgotten: Government doesn’t create jobs. Government only diverts resources from one use to another, which doesn’t create new employment.

Video produced by Caleb Brown and Austin Bragg.

___________________________

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

I have a son named Wilson Daniel Hatcher and he is named after two of the most respected men I have ever read about : Daniel from the Old Testament and Ronald Wilson Reagan.

One of the thrills of my life was getting to hear President Reagan speak in the beginning of November of 1984 at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock.  Immediately after that program I was standing outside on Markham with my girlfriend Jill Sawyer (now wife of 25 years) and we were alone on a corner and the President was driven by and he waved at us and we waved back.

My former pastor from Memphis, Adrian Rogers, got the opportunity to visit with President Ronald Reagan on several occasions and my St Senator Jeremy Hutchinson got to meet him too. I am very jealous.

Today we are going to compare Reagan’s record to that of Obama:

On this day last year, I posted two charts that I developed using the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s interactive website.

Those two charts showed that the current recovery was very weak compared to the boom of the early 1980s.

But perhaps that was an unfair comparison. Maybe the Reagan recovery started strong and then hit a wall. Or maybe the Obama recovery was the economic equivalent of a late bloomer.

So let’s look at the same charts, but add an extra year of data. Does it make a difference?

Meh…not so much.

Let’s start with the GDP data. The comparison is striking. Under Reagan’s policies, the economy skyrocketed.  Heck, the chart prepared by the Minneapolis Fed doesn’t even go high enough to show how well the economy performed during the 1980s.

Under Obama’s policies, by contrast, we’ve just barely gotten back to where we were when the recession began. Unlike past recessions, we haven’t enjoyed a strong bounce. And this means we haven’t recovered the output that was lost during the downturn.

This is a damning indictment of Obamanomics

Indeed, I made this point several months ago when analyzing some work by Nobel laureate Robert Lucas. And it’s been highlighted more recently by James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute and the news pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately, the jobs chart is probably even more discouraging. As you can see, employment is still far below where it started.

This is in stark contrast to the jobs boom during the Reagan years.

So what does this mean? How do we measure the human cost of the foregone growth and jobs that haven’t been created?

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, former Senator Phil Gramm and budgetary expert Mike Solon compare the current recovery to the post-war average as well as to what happened under Reagan.

If in this “recovery” our economy had grown and generated jobs at the average rate achieved following the 10 previous postwar recessions, GDP per person would be $4,528 higher and 13.7 million more Americans would be working today. …President Ronald Reagan’s policies ignited a recovery so powerful that if it were being repeated today, real per capita GDP would be $5,694 higher than it is now—an extra $22,776 for a family of four. Some 16.9 million more Americans would have jobs.

By the way, the Gramm-Solon column also addresses the argument that this recovery is anemic because the downturn was caused by a financial crisis. That’s certainly a reasonable argument, but they point out that Reagan had to deal with the damage caused by high inflation, which certainly wreaked havoc with parts of the financial system. They also compare today’s weak recovery to the boom that followed the financial crisis of 1907.

But I want to make a different point. As I’ve written before, Obama is not responsible for the current downturn. Yes, he was a Senator and he was part of the bipartisan consensus for easy money, Fannie/Freddie subsidies, bailout-fueled moral hazard, and a playing field tilted in favor of debt, but his share of the blame wouldn’t even merit an asterisk.

My problem with Obama is that he hasn’t fixed any of the problems. Instead, he has kept in place all of the bad policies – and in some cases made them worse. Indeed, I challenge anyone to identify a meaningful difference between the economic policy of Obama and the economic policy of Bush.

  • Bush increased government spending. Obama has been increasing government spending.
  • Bush adopted Keynesian “stimulus” policies. Obama adopted Keynesian “stimulus” policies.
  • Bush bailed out politically connected companies. Obama has been bailing out politically connected companies.
  • Bush supported the Fed’s easy-money policy. Obama has been supporting the Fed’s easy-money policy.
  • Bush created a new healthcare entitlement. Obama created a new healthcare entitlement.
  • Bush imposed costly new regulations on the financial sector. Obama imposed costly new regulations on the financial sector.

I could continue, but you probably get the  point. On economic issues, the only real difference is that Bush cut taxes and Obama is in favor of higher taxes. Though even that difference is somewhat overblown since Obama’s tax policies – up to this point – haven’t had a big impact on the overall tax burden (though that could change if his plans for higher tax rates ever go into effect).

This is why I always tell people not to pay attention to party labels. Bigger government doesn’t work, regardless of whether a politician is a Republican or Democrat. The problem isn’t Obamanomics, it’s Bushobamanomics. But since that’s a bit awkward, let’s just call it statism.

__________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

The White House, Washington March 7, 2012
  Dear Friend:

Thank you for writing.  President Obama has heard from many Americans concerned about inaction and gridlock in Washington, and we want to make sure you are aware of some of the executive actions this Administration has taken to strengthen the economy and move our country forward.

In October 2011, President Obama declared that as a Nation, we can’t wait for Congress to resolve their differences and start passing legislation that will jump-start the economy.  Since then, the President has taken a series of executive actions to support America’s middle class and create jobs.  He has launched new initiatives to boost travel and tourism in the United States, created the Summer Jobs+ program to provide employment opportunities for young people, ensured small businesses contracting with the Federal Government can get paid faster so they can start hiring more people, and made it easier for veterans to get jobs and put their skills to work.  These actions have also helped families whose home values have fallen refinance their mortgages, sped up the loan process for companies that want to rebuild our roads and bridges, and appointed Richard Cordray to be America’s consumer watchdog and to protect working Americans from financial abuse.

President Obama knows this is a make-or-break moment for our country.  He is committed to working with Congress, States, and leaders in the private sector to find ways to move our Nation forward.  But when Congress refuses to act, it hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, and the President is committed to doing what he can without them on behalf of the American people. 

Thank you, again, for writing.  President Obama is grateful to hear from thousands of Americans each day, and we appreciate your taking the time to write.

 

Sincerely,

 

The White House

 

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