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ASSESSING OBAMA

Critique of jobs plan fails to note GOP’s role in our woes

September 15, 2011

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JOHN SUNUNU’S “A $450 billion grab bag’’ (Op-ed, Sept. 12) gives President Obama a bad report card. Sununu deserves the bad report card - for consistently failing to provide context.

He complains about the government’s failure to deal with long-term liabilities without mentioning that Republican tax cuts transformed a balanced budget into a huge deficit (which Republicans now decry as if they were not the authors).

The “uncertain regulatory environment’’ he criticizes is and has been a problem. Republican antiregulatory fervor undermined the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ability to regulate Wall Street. The paucity of regulation made it easy for Wall Street to peddle its credit default swaps and other toxic products, resulting in a world recession. At least Obama is trying to clean up the mess left to him by previous government malfeasance.

More important, many Republicans and Wall Street confuse means and ends. Wall Street can provide a valuable service - raising capital for businesses to develop and expand. But brokerages got confused about their purpose. They aimed for profits above all else, forgetting that profits are an important measure of the service one has provided, not the ultimate goal.

Similarly, Republicans, with their carping about anything and everything Obama proposes, forget that getting elected is a means, not an end. It is the means of gaining power to govern for the common good. Their single-minded determination to retire Obama after one term has been at the expense of a solid recovery. Time and again, they have undermined confidence in our government and its attempts to rebuild the economy they destroyed.

John E. Hill
Quincy