Letters to the Editor

I found columnist John Krull’s article, “Such Is Life in Today’s America,” quite offensive and I could not let it go without a response.

Krull attacked the president’s State of the Union address, stating that, “It was a snarl of triumphalism, a battle cry to summon his seething, resentful base to greater acts of defiance in the service of largely imaginary victories.”

I don’t mind that Mr. Krull disagrees with Trump’s polices or even that he detests the president personally. That is certainly his right, and I will always defend that right. It is that once again we have an attack on Trump supporters. Once again we have a journalist (like so many others) assuming the elitist view, perched on his high horse from which he looks down his nose at fellow Americans simply because they see things differently. It seems to me that the only ones snarling, seething and resentful are most journalists and all those smug Trump haters.

In regards to the president’s speech, Mr. Krull goes on to say that while, “Most of the claims that were not flatly false were either wildly exaggerated or contorted out of context.” When we examine the facts a little closer we will find that it is Mr. Krull’s article that is blatantly biased and filled with half-truths.

Mr. Krull states that, “the American economy has been growing slower, not faster, under Donald Trump than under previous presidents.” A little research on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) website says otherwise. Calculating the average annual growth in GDP for the entire eight years under President Obama, we get an average of 1.6% vs. 2.5% for three years under President Trump. However, it would be unfair to Obama to include the 2009 figure since the economy contracted 2.5% that year due to the Great Recession. So throwing out that number we get 2.2 for Obama, vs. 2.5 for Trump. Also, to make the comparisons perfectly fair, we must not overlook the fact that under Obama, a huge stimulus package of $831 billion was interjected into the economy in 2009 artificially raising the GDP for several years. Similarly, for the 8 years under President Bush, the average growth of the economy was 2.2%. So Trump’s GDP growth tops both previous presidents, and is the highest in nearly 20 years.

Mr. Krull also states that under Trump, wage growth has stagnated. Well that one gets five Pinocchios. According to the BLS, median earning of full-time workers in 2019 has increased 4%. In fact, our president’s claim of a “blue collar boom” can be verified. Data by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta show that the lowest paid 25% of workers had wage increases of 4.5% vs. 2.9% for the highest 25% of earners. In addition, a report by The New York Times, (certainly no friend to Trump) stated that wage growth among low-wage workers outpaced that of high-wage workers by the widest margin in over 20 years. Somebody didn’t do their homework.

Were there periods in the past when the economy and wages grew at a faster pace? Absolutely! However, those years of rapid growth were accompanied by high rates of inflation which wiped out any real gains for workers.

My extended family has workers in all categories, with a few of us holding advanced degrees and a few of us with no degrees of any kind. When we all gather around the holiday table we agree on one thing. Our lot in life has improved dramatically since President Trump was elected. Job opportunities are more plentiful and wages have increased. Some of us worried that we would be working until we keeled over dead at our desks. Now we see the possibility that a decent retirement is on the horizon thanks to the rise in our 401Ks – for which we credit Trump. Are we better off than we were four years ago? You bet!

I have been watching State of the Union addresses for nearly 50 years. I have yet to hear a speech in which a president did not tout the accomplishments of his administration. Every president since Reagan has introduced guests in the chamber to highlight some aspect of their policies. It wasn’t called theatrics then, so why is it now? Where was the criticism of Obama or Clinton or Bush?

I personally found the president’s speech uplifting and I enjoyed hearing the stories of fellow Americans that were introduced. Democrats that chose not to attend or chose to walk out of the speech to me are simply bitter and unpatriotic. I found the way Democrats sat there sour-faced and smirking all through the speech offensive and disgusting. They could not even applaud for what is good and right with our country. Can they not even celebrate the successes of average Americans? The speech ripping stunt by Nancy Pelosi was just icing on the cake. It exposed her for the vicious partisan hack that she is.

So there they were, showing their true colors: All the Democrats and their hate on display for the whole world to see. But then Mr. Krull, you said it best. “It was a snarl of triumphalism, a battle cry to summon [their] seething, resentful base to greater acts of defiance in the service of largely imaginary victories.”

Once again, our president, for all his faults, is not nearly as divisive as those who oppose him.

Beth Barker, Jeffersonville

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