John Balentine’s Oct. 1 article “Mind your P’s this election season” warrants additional clarification.

He states that Trump’s 2017 tax cuts “benefit everyone from the wealthy to the working stiff and created the greatest economy ever.” Trump came into office benefiting from an economy that had been booming since its recovery from the Great Recession. Both Obama’s second term and Trump’s first rode this upward trajectory. One can quickly search for charts showing over that time, the growth in GDP and the S&P stock index and the decrease in unemployment rates. They all show the same positive trajectories, so it’s difficult to say how much Obama or Trump contributed. Neither harmed it.

Was the tax cut a factor in the robust economy? I suggest visiting and search for “2017 tax cut.” There, you’ll notice a number of articles in agreement on two things. The cuts had a negligible effect and they added an enormous amount to the debt. Corporations did not significantly raise wages (as promised) or increase hiring (as promised). Other financial reporting sources agree, including the independent nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Did the tax cut benefit the “working stiff”? The tax cut program lasts through most of the 2020s and how the lower-income brackets fare depends on the years one chooses. In the first years, there is a benefit for them. By 2070, however, virtually all of the benefit accrues to the top 1%. This is partly due to the fact that in 2025, some individual cuts expire. Per PolitiFact, “… by 2027, every income group below $75,000 would see a tax increase.” Analyses by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Justice, the Tax Policy Center and Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation all conclude that the overwhelming benefit throughout the duration of the legislation is to the wealthy. Sorry, working stiffs.

Mr. Balentine mentions “peace agreements to the Middle East.” This shows that he does not know the difference between a peace agreement and establishment of diplomatic relations. While I agree this should be seen as generally positive development, there is a small matter of the Palestinian status, which this agreement does not address and, in fact, is disapproved of by them. For a nuanced discussion, visit and listen to the Sept. 28 broadcast titled “A Big Deal, Not a Peace Deal.” Panelists are the NPR Jerusalem correspondent and the director of the Program on Palestinian-Israeli Affairs at the Middle East Institute.

One of Mr. Balentine’s P’s is personality. The world saw a stark display of Trump’s personality during the first presidential debate. Even among Republicans I’ve not heard of a big three cheers for that juvenile performance. Yes, he has admirers and does know how to work his crowds, but polls are suggesting that his luster seems to be wearing off on a number of those swing states that he took by surprise in 2016.

I’ll leave the pandemic lockdown vs. virus deaths debate alone for now, except to note that Cornell’s Alliance for Science program analyzed millions of social media posts looking for sources of misinformation. Yes, Trump landed in the list of top misinformation sources. Hardly appropriate stewardship of our attempt to conquer the virus.

True, Trump did not start a new war.

Jeff Tindall lives in Durham.

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