Rebuttal to the rebuttal

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To the Editor:

Steve Auerbach’s attempt to discredit the critical assessment of Barack Obama’s legacy by Peter Robb (Aug. 18, “He got it all wrong”) in a previous Letter to the Editor is replete with inaccurate and misleading statements.
The financial crisis at the time of Barack Obama’s ascendancy to power in 2008 began years earlier with lending practices instigated by the progressive, politically motivated evolving legislation initiative known as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requiring banks to grant loans to individuals with no conceivable ability to pay them back. The individuals stopped repaying their loans, and banks found themselves in danger of going bankrupt. In an attempt to avert their potential collapse, banks slowed down their lending, causing prices to fall. This forced those who borrowed too much to sell their assets in order to repay their loans. House prices dropped further and the bubble burst. Panicking banks cut lending even further causing a downward spiral and the economy tipped into recession.
The war started in 2003 was not U.S.-instigated, but was the response defined by tens of coalition partners using the available intelligence. Success was achieved, Iraq was stable. The premature pullout orchestrated by Obama and Hillary Clinton without a “Status of Forces Agreement” in place left a power vacuum, giving rise to the current radical Islamic organization ISIS. So yes, the current mess in the Middle East can be linked directly to Obama’s lead-from-behind foreign policy.
We are asked to hold judgment on the Iranian nuclear deal. It’s another example of the arrogance of the progressive left, assuming we are too stupid to fully appreciate the potential for danger. The Iranians have made it abundantly clear they will be building a nuclear weapon. A “wait and see” strategy will guarantee the Middle East will glow in the dark as a result.
The Affordable Care Act has not been “highly successful.” Insurance companies are fleeing Obamacare’s exchanges. Amid $650 million in expected losses, UnitedHealthcare announced that it would take itself out of all but “a handful” of its 34 state markets. Aetna recently announced it was pulling out of many additional states. Currently we have health care costs skyrocketing out of control, medical professionals leaving their practices, and insurance companies pulling back on a weekly basis.
A once world-class medical system serving over 300 million (and more if you include the foreigners disappointed with terrible services from utopian socialized medical services) was dismantled to accommodate maybe 20 million people who could have been served in a more efficient way within the existing structure — quite an accomplishment.
Let’s look inside the unemployment numbers before declaring this a success for Obama. The number has diminished because the measuring stick and circumstances have changed to allow the Labor Department to cook the books. This unemployment measure includes a value for the number of people looking for work. However, many Americans have stopped looking for work, the labor force participation rate has fallen from 65.7 percent to 62.8 percent, and over 94 million Americans are no longer employed or looking for work. The real unemployment rate is near 23 percent. The percentage of families in which no one is employed has grown from 17.8 in 2008 to 19.7 in 2015.
Annualized GDP growth nearly is down from already tepid 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. Obama is the only U.S. chief executive in history not to preside over even a single year with 3 percent GDP growth. During Obama’s reign, the number of Americans below the poverty line is up 3.5 percent. Real median household income is down 2.3 percent. Americans on food stamps were 33 million at the beginning (2008), and 46 million now, up 39.5 percent. Americans who own homes are down 5.6 percent. The national debt was $10.63 trillion in 2008, versus over $19.19 trillion now, up over 80 percent.
Benghazi was covered up and linked to the instability in Libya. The ambassador had been voicing security concerns and submitting requests for additional security support, all falling on deaf ears or perhaps lost in Hillary’s private email server. When the incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, Hillary Clinton propagated the Obama party line, “tell the American people it was caused by a video.” The battle went on for many hours, and help was less than two hours away. A stand-down order from the State Department prevented the launch of a support effort to counter the offensive.
Mr. Robb got it right. Mr. Obama’s presidency is fourth from the bottom of the list of 39.

Joseph J. Passafiume

Edgartown