In a recent letter to the editor titled “Obama wrong leader for hard times,” Chris Hsu promotes the popular conservative concept that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are responsible for pushing America to the verge of economic collapse.

I would suggest he consider the fact that about 60 percent of our national debt was amassed during the administrations of only three former presidents, Republicans Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Hsu also charges that Obama has a “hidden agenda to promote alternative energy at any cost and to do away with oil and coal” and that this is responsible for the decline in our standard of living, unemployment and potential loss of confidence in the economy.

I submit that record job losses, the market meltdown in 2008, doubling of the national debt and the grinding recession that followed, all from the George W. Bush presidency and inherited by the current administration, has done substantially more harm than any “hidden agenda.”

Hsu continues with “Just look at the economic success of the two recent administrations when we know oil played an important role” and identifies them as Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s administrations.

I would point out that when sworn in as president along with a Republican Senate in 1981, Reagan inherited a national debt of $900 billion. In his eight years as president this figure more than tripled to $2.7 trillion, and America slipped from being the largest lender nation to the largest debtor nation in the world! The year 1987 brought what was then the worst stock market crash since 1929.

Later, during the second Bush presidency, Vice President Dick Cheney famously replied when Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill voiced concerns about rising debt, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter!”

Concerning oil during the Reagan presidency, I’m quite sure I am not alone in remembering the collapse of the drilling industry along the Gulf Coast. The number of drilling rigs fell from 4,500 to 900, and practically every independent oil and gas operation went bankrupt, putting 200,000 people out of work.

All this said, I am not far from finding some common ground with Hsu concerning the current crop of Democrats. Their cowardice in not confronting Republicans who are against everything and have no plan for anything is disgraceful.

Consider, however, that when these Republicans recently were elected to majority in the House, they insisted on extension of the unfunded Bush tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 before anything else could be considered, adding hundreds of billions to the deficit while braying about fiscal responsibility.

Frankly, I wonder how much more Republicans will have to do to prove themselves incapable of any fiscal responsibility.

Jim Wright

pipefitter welder

Baton Rouge