Alan Morrison’s somewhat insightful and well written letter of August 1 in the Sun News needs a refreshing context. I apologize in advance for my rose colored glasses but they are conducive to a happy life.
Upon the election of President Obama, I instantly turned liberal even though I’m conservative at heart, at least fiscally conservative (thanks Mom). The lambasting of the President by Republicans, the tea party and especially Fox News caused the turn. I’m convinced the virulent attacks on Obama are mostly based on race. Senate leader Mitch McConnell set the tone by stating on inauguration day that his top priority was to make sure Obama was a one term President. The gates of hate were unleashed and have mushroomed.
So my communication to my right leaning friends in the past few years has been to promulgate the achievements of the past 6 years – the statistics that “belie the state of America’s well-being” per Mr. Morrison.
Here is part of my rant - South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.3% - the lowest in 13 years. The US rate is down to 6.1%. Thank you Governor Haley. Thank you President Obama. (Note: they had nothing to do with it).The stock market has more than doubled since 2009. Gross Domestic Product surpassed its late 2007 peak in 2011 and hasn’t looked back. The U.S. economy is now closing out its 60th straight month of growth. Monthly exports are at a record level and are up nearly 60 percent from the April 2009 bottom. Virtually all the bailout money to financial institutions and car companies was paid back. GM and Chrysler are thriving, and the U.S. financial system is on solid footing, as evidenced by the pervasive decline in financial failure. The economy has added jobs for 44 straight months—with the private sector adding a cumulative 8+ million jobs since February 2010. The deficit, which peaked at an unimaginable $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, is shriveling by the day. Blah, blah, blah.
My intent has been to blunt the vicious rants of the right wingers. Fair is fair. But the full truth and the perspective from the right and Mr. Morrison is not so rosy. The national debt is mind-numbing. The percentage of employed Americans is at an all-time low. The withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan has already had negative consequences. Blah, blah blah.
Never mind all of this political posturing, pandering and statistical crap.
Here is what I see. Notwithstanding Mr. Morrison, all the doomsayers and “nattering nabobs of negativism” to quote former Vice President Spiro Agnew, I am continually amazed at the advancements of the last 64 years, my lifetime. Computers, the internet, fax machines, cell phones, microwave ovens, DNA testing, spell check, online shopping, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fiber optics, laser surgery, bar codes and scanners, the birth control pill, GPS tracking, electric cars, electronic banking, cordless tools. The list seems endless and keeps growing. Taken together they have brought us closer and changed our existence in countless ways mostly positive. I wish I could be around another 64 years to see future innovations. Technology will set us free and may one day, I hope, also bring peace.
Alan, you may borrow my rose colored glasses anytime. Your lenses are needlessly political.
Here is Alan’s letter to the editor:
Statistics belie state of America’s well-being by Alan Morrison
The noted historian and educator Louis Danielle frequently opined that “…societies should beware when tyrants seem to kiss.” While prolific and insightful letter writer Terry Munson brings to light, accurately, copious self-serving activities (or lack thereof) interspersed with protracted periods of non-productive partisan rhetoric emanating from elected officials occupying both houses of Congress (“Schizophrenia requires colossal amounts of hypocrisy,” July 28), the insinuation that partisanship and, indeed, tyranny is restricted to the political right represents its own form of neurosis.
On the surface, references to “lower deficits, declining unemployment and withdrawal from a war zone” would seem to represent, certainly, “good news.” Let’s apply some context, however. The relative term, “lower deficit,” is applicable only to record budget deficits incurred throughout the term, to date, of the Obama administration.
While budget configurations are representative, of course, of Congressional delegation obligations, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office indicates, in irrefutable fashion, that the annual budget deficit accrual in each year since the election of President Obama has been larger than that of any previous year in recorded history.
Not unrelated, of course, is the resultant mind-numbing national debt figure, which is approaching $18 trillion and will have increased by several million dollars by the time readers have finished this piece.
Declining unemployment? One recalls a contention, unsupported by statistical analysis, prior to inauguration, when then President-elect Obama “guaranteed” an unemployment rate never again to exceed 8 percent. While the most current data suggests, in at least superficially encouraging fashion, a reduction to 6.1 percent in the national unemployment rate, the CBO further reports that the percentage of Americans actually employed to be at the lowest level since the 1970s.
It is difficult to envision those 284,000 Americans filing first-time unemployment claims last week (and the 303,000 filing the previous week, and the 305,000 filing the week prior to that — draw your own inferences) squealing with delight at this piece of “good news.”
History will judge as to whether withdrawal from the war zone in question represents a positive outcome for this country and the world. The unintended consequences of foreign policy decisions by elected officials invariably unfold over a period of time, and represent fodder for subjective pundits in perpetuity.
Likewise, the suggestion that this country is “…doing better than ever” under the stewardship of our current roster of elected officials is hopelessly subjective and lacking substance, perhaps no more so than from the perspective of 46.2 million recipients of food stamps. There is nothing abstract regarding the perception of the figure 46.2 million — but the concept can be made abstract, to the level of absurdity, should one so inclined.
How about a million families, each comprised of 46 and one-fifth persons? Or, how about every single citizen residing within those states which begin with the letter “M”… plus another 10 million? In any event, should one stipulate, for purposes of conjecture, that each of those individuals and families comprising the 46,200,000 figure prefer a system of capitalism to one of socialism, reasonable extrapolation would cause one to draw the inference that each, now representative of a subset of the population that is mutually exclusive of those 51 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes, might not, in fact, be “doing better than ever.”
Dick Bigelow, the outstanding northeast-based motorsports editor, is an accurate and thorough journalist who often, by way of critique, sarcastically intones that “you can’t allow the facts to interfere with a good story.” The good professor Danielle, lecturing upon an era of history that remains incomplete, might resort to paraphrasing himself; quite possibly, something on the order of “Societies should beware when demagogues seem to walk amongst us.”
The writer lives in Little River.