Re: “Gingrich right with ‘food stamp’ label” (letter, 1-24).
The writer criticizing President Obama’s economic record was incorrect in his assertions about Obama’s record on unemployment. The actual unemployment rate in January 2009, when Obama took office, was 7.8 percent, not 6.8.
As the Great Recession that began under President Bush gained momentum in early 2009, the rate increased and peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 – a 28 percent increase. Not until May 2010 did the unemployment rate reach a level significantly below the upper 9 percent level. But a second Great Depression was averted.
Since August of 2011, the jobless rate has been falling steadily and is now at 8.5 percent. The expectation is that it will continue to drop. By contrast, during the Bush presidency, unemployment started at 4.2 percent and eventually rose to 7.8 percent – an 86 percent increase.
As for federal debt ($15 trillion, not $16 trillion), the baseline deficit had reached about $1 trillion a year by the time Bush left office due to two unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare drug plan, the second Bush recession and an unfunded “bailout” program.
About half of the recent growth in the federal debt was due to the continuation of these programs. In addition, the Obama administration and Congress enacted programs to stop and begin to reverse the effects of the recession.
I would like to hear more from Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich about how they would revitalize the American economy instead of the mutual attacks on each other and the president.