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Missoulian mailbag

So much arguing about economics, so little understanding of them.

To folks who complain about debt under Barack Obama while excusing Donald Trump, first get your numbers correct:

  • Trump's addition: an estimated $8.282 trillion, an increase of 41 percent; $1.4 trillion is flat-out wrong.
  • Obama: $8.588 trillion (74 percent increase);
  • G.W. Bush: $5.849 trillion (101 percent increase);
  • Ronald Reagan: $1.86 trillion (186 percent increase). 

Guess which three of those four addressed recessions.

In a recession, you spend into the red in order to lessen the effects of/end that recession. You reduce taxes to do the same. See: Obama, late-term Bush and first-term Reagan.

In a growing economy, you pay down the debt so you can respond to the next recession. What you don't do is give the rich huge payoffs while giving the rest of us tiny ones (buyoffs, really), thereby increasing the debt and hobbling the government's ability to respond to future GDP declines. See: now.

"Blame" Democratic-controlled Congress (2007-2011) for getting us out of a recession. Blame Republican-controlled Congress (2015-today) for what comes next.

People who understand economics recognize that not all debt is created equal, including the differences between household and national debt.

People who don't understand economics write letters equating Trump's debt to Obama's.

These are the facts.

Jon-Claud Nix,


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