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Mailbag: Emails and Economic Growth

This week, readers sent us letters about Hillary Clinton’s emails and Jeb Bush’s comments on economic growth.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.


Why Hillary Clinton Released Her Emails

I would like to thank you for your valuable service. However, I would argue with your latest piece on Hillary Clinton and her email [“Clinton’s Email Narrative, Interrupted,” Sept. 23] in which you claim her previous statements are incomplete or misleading.

From my reading of your article, you say that Clinton has said that her providing the emails was in response to a State Department request that was sent to her and three other secretaries of state. As far as I can tell, the rest of your article confirms that to be true.

What seems to be the point of contention is that the State Department apparently decided to do this after discovering they were missing her email and that of other secretaries, while responding to a Republican request about Benghazi, and realizing that Clinton was using a private email server.

Is your argument that Clinton should have volunteered that fact somehow? As you note, it wasn’t a secret — a State Department spokesperson acknowledged that in March 2015. That hardly seems grounds for calling her account misleading or incomplete.

Steve Chien
San Carlos, California


Tax Cuts and Economic Growth

In a recent fact-check on comments made by Jeb Bush on a Sunday news show [“Jeb Bush on Poverty, Economic Growth,” Sept. 30], you said that average annual growth under [George W. Bush] was about 2 percent. Gov. Bush had claimed that tax cuts under his brother had led to dynamic growth in the economy. It seems to me that in the last year or so of President Bush’s time in office, we were in a recessionary cycle caused, in no small part, by failures in the banking system and the resulting significant reduction in the amount of capital available for lending.

While there are significant conflicting opinions on the impact of tax rates on economic growth rates, I don’t think there should be much debate that the economic issues facing this country in the latter part of President Bush’s time in office were impacted, one way or the other, by the various tax rates. Accordingly, it would be more meaningful to measure the average growth rate of the economy between the time that the tax cuts were enacted and the beginning of the recessionary cycle referenced above. Further, I think it would be more telling to compare that average growth rate against the average growth rate PRIOR to the tax cuts. These calculations would be a better indicator of the impact of tax cuts on economic growth and the validity of Gov. Bush’s claims.

Rick Zeckel
Carmel, Indiana