Chuck Marshall, with his letter in the Nov. 23 Record-Courier, gives us an excellent example of how an argument can be developed from false information. Any argument so developed is therefore false as it follows from a false premise.
Mr. Marshall claims that government spending is out of control. The Congressional Budget Office provides data that shows that current spending has averaged a 1.4 percent increase since 2009. Putting this in perspective, the spending increase during George W. Bush's second term averaged 8.1 percent. Average spending increased 4.9 percent under Ronald Reagan, 5.4 percent under George H.W. Bush, and 3.9 percent under Bill Clinton. So rather than the out of control spending claimed by Mr. Marshall, the spending under Obama is significantly lowered.
The result of this lowered spending is actually a reduction of deficits as opposed to the deficit of $2.58 trillion as claimed by Mr. Marshall. The high point of the deficits under Obama was $1.55 trillion in 2009 (most of this was inherited from George W. Bush). Since then, it has declined each year to the point of an estimated $0.642 trillion this year. Obama's deficits never came close to what Mr. Marshall claimed, and the total debt is about $17 trillion, rather than the $20 trillion put forth by Mr. Marshall.
I have to wonder why Mr. Marshall and, for that matter, conservative Republicans in general have not been equally concerned about the deficits and spending from Reagan and the two Bushes? After much study and reading on this issue, it seems that this excessive focus on debts and spending by conservative Republicans is all part of a disingenuous Republican agenda.
The Republicans have been creating this large debt with their tax cuts to create a crisis that they then use to go after the social spending that they so dislike. Notice their focus on the entitlements of Social Security and health care. Their cutting of food stamps and assistance to poor people is a matter of public record. Their opposition to more unemployment compensation is also a matter of public record as well as their opposition to any serious job programs to lower unemployment. They supported the earned income tax credit as a way to get people to accept a low income wage instead of welfare payments. Now they blame the poor when the policy they put in place allows the "47 percent" to escape the income tax. Ask them if they support raising the minimum wage to a level where people will not have to use the earned income tax credit to escape poverty. Talk about "Catch 22." They exemplify it.
Remember that Dick Cheney said, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." George W. Bush justified his tax cuts and huge deficits by saying that it would be bad if we paid off the debt too quickly. So Chuck Marshall's "sky is falling" rhetoric is based on false information and his proposals for a balanced budget amendment and term limits are equally flawed. Is he duped or part of the scam?
David E. Chlysta, Suffield