Another look at a letter

In a letter to the editor to the News and Sentinel, a writer called into question my assertions from an earlier editorial questioning Rep. David McKinley’s honesty regarding Trump’s first year in office. Allow me to retort.

(1) “Between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, GDP growth was about 3.1 percent; and between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, the economy grew by 3.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.” “Between 2009 and 2016, GDP growth reached at or above 3 percent on a quarterly basis about eight times,” according to Fortune Magazine. “Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect GDP growth to hit 2.1 percent this year [2017], 2.3 percent in 2018, and 2.1 percent in 2019.”

The Obama economy grew at approximately 2 percent annually in light of the great recession, though, so the 2.9 percent average growth was too high a figure on my part. 1.55 percent, however, is inaccurate.

(2) Consumer confidence grew under President Obama, according to the University of Michigan, to highs not seen since historically high rates in the 90s . It is completely dishonest to say Obama never cut taxes. Not only did he extend Bush tax cuts that were set to expire in 2010, but taxes were cut as part of the stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

(3) The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows unemployment dropping from 10 percent when Obama took office to 4.7 percent when he left. The economy was hemorrhaging nearly 800,000 jobs per month when Obama took office thanks to financial deregulation, which led to the worst recession since the depression.

(4) Kimberly-Clark, AT&T, Walmart, Comcast, GoPro, and many other companies are laying off employees by the thousands since the tax cuts. “Major companies including Cisco, Pfizer and Coca-Cola say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class.” –Chicago Tribune.

(5) Finally, the Lazard Ltd. Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Analysis for 2017 shows that both solar and wind operate at a lower cost per kilowatt hour than coal. Cheap natural gas, cheaper Powder River Basin coal, cheaper renewables and decades-old declines in the industry have killed West Virginia coal, not the Obama administration. With NASA and NOAA showing that 2016 and 2017 were the hottest and second hottest years on record (2017 was the hottest without an El Nino event) and that 17 of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, the stability of our climate system relies on the elimination of and just transition away from coal.

So, yes, McKinley was and is dishonest, and so is the writer.

Eric Engle