JAMES BROWN: I disagree with columnist Jim Hightower

To the editor,

I am writing in disagreement to Jim Hightower’s column in the Monday, Feb. 20 edition of the paper.

It’s one month into President Trump’s term in office and he is getting attacked and hit hard. The big surprise is that it is mostly from the left or Democrats, who are having a tough time with defeat from last November. Trump and Congress actually haven’t done much in the first month. For the most part it has been Trump’s executive orders that actually mainly clarify positions within laws that are already on the books in our nation.

By this time in Obama’s first term in office we were already getting a trillion dollar “stimulus” deal shoved through Congress and added to our debt.

Mr. Hightower’s column is titled “The banksters are free at last,” and he is implying in his piece that President Trump is already off and running by helping the rich and hurting the poor/middle class. This is a common approach when attacking Republicans and conservatives.

Mr. Hightower states that President Trump is doing nothing to help Americans and is instead attacking the “fiduciary rule,” a program initiated by President Obama’s Department of Labor during his final days in office. The “fiduciary rule” actually hasn’t even begun. There is still much debate on it and its effectiveness. Therefore, Mr. Hightower is attacking something that hasn’t even started. It is just theory right now.

The biggest disagreement I have with Mr. Hightower’s piece is his line that “Rather than pushing an urgently needed FDR-style jobs program, Trump & Company are rushing to aid the richest Americans at the expense of the working class…”. This is an amazing statement. Why do we urgently need a “FDR-style program”?

First of all, our economy is anemic, but I would not say in a 1930’s-style depression. Second, FDR’s programs did not fix anything.

Many economists and historians have brought to light that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) did not help get out of the Great Depression, but instead prolonged it. His massive expansion of spending, bureaucracies and government programs did not drop unemployment or create an economic recovery. Before FDR, President Hoover created a large tariff, increased spending and launched government programs that started the Great Depression, and FDR accelerated what Hoover began. Hoover has actually been blamed for causing the Great Depression by “doing nothing,” but it was the opposite.

He did too much!

Economists and historians like Thomas Sowell, Amity Shlaes, Jim Powell, etc. have gathered the data and facts that show FDR, and Hoover before him, pushed those “urgently needed” programs that Mr. Hightower wants right now. They actually created and prolonged the Great Depression. The only time unemployment dropped below double digits during FDR’s time in office was during World War II when the production for war focused things differently.

There have been times in the past, like the early 1920’s and 1987, when we have done nothing after an economic down turn and things recovered well on their own. Why do we need urgent programs? My fear is that President Trump will listen to the Mr. Hightowers of the world and push more “stimulus” and other government programs. He needs to focus on tax reforms and repealing programs created under Obama, like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, that are the real drags on our economy.

Trump has only been in office one month and there have been a lot of obstructions and distractions to boot. I don’t feel Mr. Hightower’s
urgencies.

James L. Brown
Big Rapids

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