Letter to the Editor

President Obama and federal debt

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In his Oct. 16, 2016, op-ed column Gary Rust indicated that the Obama economic policies have failed, leaving the United States with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 1.2 percent and a rapidly expanding Federal debt. I have three problems with Mr. Rust's observations.

First, the only source given for his information is "Private Newsletter." He does not fully explain why he does not use sources such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, and other organizations that are generally considered reliable sources for economic data.

Secondly, we have a government in which responsibility for its fiscal operation is divided between the legislative branch and the executive branch. President Obama took office during the Great Recession. In the 25 percent of his term when the legislative branch was controlled by the Democrats, the GDP growth rate increased from -2.9 percent to 2.5 percent. Since the Republicans took over the House of Representatives and stymied Mr. Obama's economic program, the GDP growth rate has fallen to 1.5 percent.

Thirdly, historical data kept by the Office of Management and Budget shows that the National Debt declined from 106.1 percent of the GDP in 1945 to 25.2 percent of it in 1980. Following tax cuts enacted in the 1980s and 2000s, the debt has increased to 76.5 percent of the GDP. If we are serious about reducing this debt, we need to realize that our rate of taxation must increase.

John Piepho, Cape Girardeau