2018-02-07 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Sloganeering

To The Editor:

President Trump is never short on slogans. It’s finding real solutions to our nation’s very real challenges that he struggles with.

Our nation is far too divided. Too many Americans are struggling economically and too few are benefiting from our gains. America deserves real leaders who have both a vision for our future and the capacity to lead us there.

President Trump performed tonight (January 30), but real leadership is not measured in one act. It’s the everyday actions that demonstrate one’s ability to lead. President Trump has shown over the past year that he lacks the ability to bring people together and lacks the transformational ideas that we need to usher us into the future.

Democrats stand ready to tackle the tough issues like education, criminal justice, health care, immigration, wages, and job growth. I hope President Trump and congressional Republicans put aside their partisan interests to work with us for all Americans.

Joseph Crowley
House Democratic Caucus Chair

No Moral Compass

To The Editor:

Nearly 90 percent of Republicans believe spouses should be loyal to each other. Not surprisingly that number is shared by most Americans, regardless of political affiliation. Seventy-two percent of Trump supporters maintain he is a role model for their children, even if a call girl was paid $130,000 for her silence.

Tribal hatred is so extreme that moral corruption that in the past would have ended political careers is excused. Perhaps it is easy to deny facts when they would define the icon in unfavorable light. As much as the Democrats find the current state of affairs beyond explanation, many excused Bill Clinton from his sexual inappropriateness.

The abyss separating the political parties is so extreme that children are told not to marry outside of the political party of the family. Even members of the military are disdained if they are member of the other party. Seemingly, military service to the nation does not equal patriotism if (one is) a member of the other party.

Trump is defining the presidency differently than any of his predecessors. It is questionable whether the Office of the President will ever be what it once was. One can foresee outliers becoming president in contrast to the current occupant.

Yet the very values that have made America what it has been to its citizens and to the world is in jeopardy. When morals, ethics and devotion to marriage can be altered to accommodate political loyalties and facts easily morphed into fake news, can the decline of the nation be far behind?

Ed Horn
Baldwin, LI

‘Spectacularly Unproductive’

To The Editor:

The fact checkers will be working overtime tonight for the State of the Union Address. In the meantime, I’d like to offer some thoughts about what the President likely will say about the economy and why it will be not only misleading, but just plain wrong.

President Trump no doubt will take full credit for the strong US economy. However, he should be thanking Barack Obama for the economy he inherited because is riding on the tailwinds of his predecessor.

For any president to take credit for a strong economy after only a year in office is preposterous on the face of it because it can take many months for a new presidential policy or legislation to affect the economy. That is especially the case for this President, given how spectacularly unproductive his administration was for most of its first year.

Nevertheless, tonight (January 30) President Trump will pat himself on the back for the economy he inherited from President Obama. This will complete a cynical tactic he began during the Obama administration—claiming that strong economic indicators are fake, then a year later taking complete credit for those same numbers and for economic progress that merely is an extension of a well-established trend.

For example, during the Obama administration the unemployment rate was more than cut in half, from 10.0 percent at the peak of the Bush-era recession to 4.9 percent when President Obama left office. However, on the campaign trail Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the unemployment rate calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was a “phony” number, “false” and a “fake.” The Washington Post found that he made such statements at least 19 times while campaigning. But now, as unemployment has continued to drop to the current rate of 4.1 percent, the President has flipped and he hails the same “fake” statistics as a miracle of his making.

The same pattern can be seen in his recent claims about African American unemployment. During the Obama administration the African American unemployment rate was cut nearly in half, from about 16 percent at its recession peak to about 8 percent when President Obama left office. However, during the campaign Donald Trump claimed that this figure was also fake, cooked up by the BLS. But as the African American unemployment rate continued to drop during his administration to the current rate of 6.8 percent, he did a complete 180 and now claims that this economic indicator is dead accurate and that it’s a triumph of his genius. It is as if he believes that taking credit for this continuing trend will wash away memories of Charlottesville, and numerous other racist and incendiary actions.

Likewise, he employed the same strategy in his all caps tweets about the stock market. Under the Obama administration, the Dow went from a Bush-era recession low of about 8,000 to approximately 20,000 when Barack Obama left office. Candidate Trump claimed that the stock market was a “big, fat bubble” that would soon burst. But now that the Dow has continued climbing to about 26,000, President Trump now proclaims this as his greatest triumph.

It is no surprise that stock prices have continued to rise. The President and Congressional Republicans borrowed more than one trillion dollars to finance huge corporate tax cuts, boosting the bottom lines of corporations that were already making record profits. Because stock prices respond strongly to profit projections, it is no surprise that the market would continue rise—disproportionally benefitting the very rich.

The President will also employ other methods of numerical trickery—most notably cherry-picking. He again will praise himself for the fact that the economy has added almost 2.4 million private sector jobs since he was elected. However, as The New York Times has reported, he is taking credit for jobs created even before he took office, as if the mere expectation of a Trump presidency would spark a hiring frenzy. Moreover, the Times points out that this figure lags behind the 2.8 million private sector jobs created in the previous 14-month period before Trump was elected. In fact, private sector job creation during the Trump administration merely continues a trend that was established during the Obama administration, during which the economy added more than 15 million private sector jobs after climbing out of the depths of the Great Recession.

The President also will cherry-pick GDP numbers, pointing to quarters in 2017 when the annualized GDP growth rate exceeded 3 percent. He will neglect to mention that the quarterly real GDP growth rate during the Obama administration exceeded 3 percent 8 times. Moreover, the overall 2017 real GDP growth was 2.3 percent, barely above the average of the entire Obama administration including the horrible recession that began under George W. Bush.

Finally, it is critically important to remember that President Trump and President Obama inherited vastly different economies from their predecessors. Barack Obama inherited from George W. Bush what former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke called “the worse financial crisis in global history, including the Great Recession.” In sharp contrast, President Trump inherited from Barack Obama a robust economy, which he had trashed as a candidate, but for which he now takes credit.

Although we don’t know what exactly to expect from the President’s State of the Union Address, we surely know one thing—the fact checkers will be busy.

Carolyn B. Maloney
Senior House Democrat,
Joint Economic Committee

Great Job!

To The Editor:

This week’s Gazette featured powerful statements from three leaders and I admire and applaud them. Rep. Crowley is firm when he expresses his anger at the US Justice Department for withholding grants to New York City because it is a sanctuary city. Borough President Katz spoke highly of Queens. It is the World’s Borough and has a bright future. She is doing a great job and (so is) Senator Gianaris, of course, with his Voter Empowerment Act wanting a constitutional amendment ending the 10-day waiting period for registering to vote and more access to the ballot box. I am proud of these three lawmakers who are great leaders. I also applaud the fact that those who were indicted for corruption cannot run for office.

I commend the FDNY for appointing two women to high executive offices in the department. No longer is the FDNY the all-boys club. I am proud of these strong women and admire them. Yes, keep the door shut when there is a fire. Where I live at Brandywine Senior Living, there are fire doors that automatically close when a fire alarm is sounded. Also I heard of a volunteer firefighter on Long Island who is teaching fire safety to disabled children and am proud of him for including them.

Both political parties must compromise on the federal level.

I agree with the four members of Congress who want postal service improved in Queens. They are so right. The cost of a stamp is now 50 cents. I remember when it was 5 cents in 1959. The price of stamps rises yet the quality of service is horrible. It takes about 10 days to receive letters and with free matter for the blind, Braille material, it takes longer.

I am not in favor of congestion pricing and it should be taken off the table.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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