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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Even on the economy, Trump misleads

Cascading bad news for Donald Trump prompts him to heighten attacks on the truth and the rule of law. Growing ethics scandals and criminal counts within Trump’s circle force him and his spokespeople to escalate their distractions from reality.

The culture of corruption and dishonesty that is the Trump administration drowns out good news that could be reasonably touted. Ongoing positive economic performance is a case in point.

We are in an extended recovery that began early in the Obama administration. The Obama/Congressional Democrat stimulus package lifted us out of the Great Recession that started under George W. Bush. As the recovery ensued, Obama’s priorities shifted to reducing federal deficits. Since the 1980s, Democrats have a stronger record on reducing deficits contrary to the lip-service Republicans pay to fiscal responsibility.

Trump inherited a solid economy with sustainable growth trends. Trump undermines the positive economic storyline with over-the-top braggadocio such as “better than anyone could have imagined.” Preposterous. The recent quarter’s GDP growth rate is not unprecedented: similar rates of 4 percent were achieved four times under Obama.  

Another reality check on Trump’s hyperbole is that in the 20 months since Trump’s election approximately a half million fewer jobs have been created than during the previous 20 months under Obama. It is great that minority unemployment figures are the lowest on record, but Trump’s role in this is that he has not yet derailed the extended recovery. July marked the 94th straight month of U.S. job growth. Trump’s reckless trade policies and the ballooning federal debt due to the pro-rich tax cuts will likely cause a premature end to this sustained recovery and put us back into the boom/bust cycle.

Another reason the Trump/Republican tax cuts are so unpopular is that they widen the after-tax income gap in favor of the rich. The growing deficits are fueling inflation which is higher than the average wage increases going to the working and middle class. Many wage earners are seeing a decline in real income.

The blame for Trump’s unsustainable, corporate-based, pro-rich economic policies is shared with Republican legislators who helped enact these laws. Other destructive policies are solely the fault of the Trump administration. However, our Constitution prescribes legislative oversight of the Executive Branch and the Republican majority is failing to meet this responsibility. Too little is being done by the Republican Congress to keep the harm caused by Trump in check.

Patrick Welle

Bemidji