Dan Flathers' misstatements published in the Northern Virginia Daily's "Online Comments" column on Friday, Aug. 31, need to be examined carefully.
Flathers states that, "The Anointed One had a unified government his first two years." Just for the record, President Obama had a working (filibuster proof) majority in the Senate for only 25 days during his first two years in office. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) was not seated until July 7, 2009. Congress was not in session that August. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) died Aug. 25, 2009.
Furthermore, Flathers states that President Obama's stimulus was a trillion dollars. The stimulus (otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) authorized only $787 billion. Quibble you say? Not so.
Obama's stimulus package was designed to solve a problem which everyone at the time thought was best measured by the fourth quarter 2008 negative Gross Domestic Product of 3.8 percent. That was the Bureau of Labor Statistics's initial estimate released on January 27, 2009, just seven days after Obama's inauguration.
The economy was in free-fall - in the 31 days between Dec. 12, 2008, and Jan. 12, 2009, we lost another 818,000 jobs. President Obama quickly did something. He got the best deal he could on his stimulus package and signed it into law on Feb. 18, 2009. Nine days later the Board of Labor Statistics revised its fourth quarter 2008 GDP estimate to a negative 6.2 percent. The final figure eventually turned out to be a whopping negative 8.9 percent. So the stimulus package of less than $800 billion which was designed to solve a relatively small problem, was entirely inadequate. The stimulus, which Flathers says was too large, should in fact have been much larger.
According to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research - the official arbiter of U.S. recession - the "Great Recession" began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. George Bush did nothing to solve the problem and it continued unabated for the last 12 months of his term. Obama inherited the mess with his inauguration on January 20 and in less than six months the recession was over. All be it slowly, we have been digging ourselves out of a very deep hole ever since.
And for those of you who continue to advocate austerity, just look at what austerity has done for Greece and Spain.
Waller H. Wilson, Front Royal