Janis Ramquist: Cleanup, aisle 2

November 19, 2012 

Cleanup, aisle 2

Thank you for the chart on the federal debt Nov. 18 that reminds us that in 2001 the U.S. was on a path to a $2.3 trillion surplus by 2011. Several policies reversed this trajectory.

Decisions by the Bush administration substantially reversed that course to a $11.3 trillion debt. The primary change to the federal budget was doubling defense spending and two major tax cuts, chiefly for the rich. Coupled with those policies was a long campaign by the Republican Party that chipped away at regulations of financial institutions put in place as a result of lessons from the Great Depression.

Deregulation clearly contributed to the greatest economic near-collapse since the Great Depression, increasing strains on the federal budget.

Added to that disastrous policy mix is the largest income gap since just prior to the Great Depression. In the last 30 years, lower and middle-class earners have lost economic ground while the 1 percent richest incomes increased 300 percent.

Capitalism is based on consumption, and if the majority of people don’t have money to spend, consumption and the economy fall.

I’m puzzled why President Obama wants the cleanup job, but I am grateful he has the determination, intelligence and patience to plow forward.

Janis Ramquist

Raleigh

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