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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By Mary Lynne Dahl


March 30, 2016
Wednesday PM

Although I am encouraged by the wide range of people showing an interest in the upcoming Presidential election, some of the comments made in response to my criticism of Donald Trump were not accurate. Of course we do not all agree with one another. Of course we dispute the facts or view them from our own, unique perspective. That is all good, part of the flawed but marvelous system of democracy we enjoy. It is not a flawless system, but it is better than the alternatives.

However as Donald Trump steamrolls towards the Republican nomination, I continue to be as concerned about his rhetoric as previously stated. I understand why people are attracted to his mantra that things are really bad in the US and he will make them better. But he is wrong in saying that “the US doesn’t win anymore”. He says this to attract the disillusioned who pessimistically see the sky falling, when, in fact, the sky is not falling. I understand this and I too, am angry about how ineffective our federal government has been. That does not mean, however, that the US economy is bad. Today, in the US, we have the strongest economy in the world. Not perfect, but not in recession and not the shambles that Mr. Trump says it is. Our unemployment numbers are, in fact, improving. Whether you use the U3, the U5 or the U6 statistics (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) is not the point; the point is that they are all improving, which is a sign of a growing economy. U3 numbers are better by 15.5% from a year ago (5.8% then compared to 4.9% now). U5 the same (7.1% to 6.0%) and U6 (11.4% to 9.7%) numbers are better by 14.9% from a year ago. U3 is most often used because it is the official stat. U5 includes discouraged workers and marginally attached workers and U6 includes all those plus part-timers (who are part-time for economic reasons). All of them are noticeably better from one year ago, regardless of which one you want to quote.

In addition, the US dollar is very strong, regardless of the value of gold. Often times, gold and the USD are inverse to each other, meaning that when one goes up, the other goes down. However, this is not true 100% of the time and it is not the case today. For many years prior to 2005, gold did not exceed $500 per ounce. In 2006 it reached $657. In 2008 it reached $972. In 2009 it hit $1,196 and in 2011 it peaked at $1,837. By November of 2015 it had dropped to $1,061 and today it hovers around $1,200. So, gold is about twice the value it was in 2005 but about 33% less than what it was in 2011. And, by the way, the prime rate today is not near 0%; it is currently at 3.5%. I think the writer of the response to my prior comments was referring to the Fed funds rate being near 0%, not the prime rate. The Fed funds rate has been near 0% since 2008, fluctuating between .16% and .38%. The difference between the two rates is important to understand; the prime rate is the rate charged by banks to their best customers while the Fed funds rate is charged by the Federal Reserve to banks who borrow short term, usually overnight. A rising prime rate is an indicator of a growing economy and is healthy, until it reaches a rate that is inflationary. We are not to that inflationary point yet.

The issue of the security of our southern border is too complex for the simpleminded idea of sending millions of illegal Mexicans back or building a gigantic wall that Mexico will be forced to pay for. That is absurd. Whoever is elected will need to work hard on an immigration policy with the House and Senate, including a workable solution to illegals entering the country, but walls and mass deportations are not likely going to get much traction in either political party.

The issue of Donald Trump’s income tax return is really interesting because it goes to the heart of the character of the man. The question has been raised, asking why he has to show it to the American public. The answer is that he does not have to do so. However, that is not the point. The point is that he lied when he said that the reason that he could not make his tax return public now is “because it is being audited by the IRS”, but since being audited does not prohibit him from showing us his tax return, this is not the real reason. And by the way, Presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have all made their income tax returns public. In addition, former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush (Sr.), Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt all made their income tax returns public, as has President Obama, every year of his office. Even former candidates Sarah Palin, John McCain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made their income tax returns public, every single one of them. You can read any of these income tax returns at the web site: None of them were forced to do this. They did it and continue to do it in an effort to fully disclose to the American public. This voluntary disclosure is across the board for all of the candidates except Mr. Trump, who not only has chosen to not disclose but more importantly, has lied to us about the reason for not doing what almost every other candidate has done for many years. He may yet do so, and I am hopeful that he does. However, whether he does or does not, I am dismayed that he has lied about it. Don’t get sidetracked by all of the other rhetoric and overlook this very important point. The candidate is not telling the truth and that tells me a lot about his character. If that does not concern you, it should.

Mary Lynne Dahl
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received March 28, 2016 - Published March 30, 2016


Related Viewpoints:

letter RE: Donald Trump By Marvin Seibert

letter The Trump Wrecking Ball By Donald Moskowitz


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