Building success brick by brick |

Building success brick by brick

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” David Brinkley, American journalist

On Nov. 8, we will elect the next president of the United States. We have two choices: a woman who has worked her entire adult life to help others, and a lying, scheming conman who has spent his life taking from others. For example, after the 9/11 attacks, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., fought to get funding for those impacted by the attacks. Donald Trump manipulated the system to take money intended for small businesses needing help.

Also, as First Lady, Clinton helped create and pass the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Here it’s called Nevada Check-up. Anyone who has used this program to insure their children owes a big “Thank you” to Hillary Clinton. This is what she does.

Trump has ignored Hillary’s accomplishments, saying that electing her would be a continuation of the Obama administration. Let’s see what that might mean.

When Obama took office, the economy was in a giant meltdown. The housing market had crashed, the stock market had tanked, unemployment was soaring, and we were losing over 750,000 jobs a month. Clearly, stopping this massive hemorrhage was Job One for Obama.

The stimulus Obama passed in February 2009 lifted 13 million Americans out of poverty, provided $300 billion in tax cuts for families and businesses, prevented 300,000 teacher layoffs, and upgraded 42,000 miles of road and 2,700 bridges. It led to a record-breaking 78 straight months of private sector job creation, with over 15 million net new jobs created since March 2010. Nevada has recovered all the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent; it rose to 10 percent by October 2009. As the stimulus and other policies took effect, the rate began dropping. It’s now down to 4.9 percent.

Republicans claim to be concerned about the deficit and government spending. In 2009, the deficit was $1.4 billion. Under Obama, the deficit has shrunk to $438 billion, a drop of 69 percent. The debt has continued to grow, since Obama is paying bills run up during previous administrations, but he’s reduced spending growth more than any recent Republican president, and limited federal spending increases to 1.4 percent a year, compared to 8.7 percent in Reagan’s first administration, or 8.1 percent in Bush’s last administration. The next lowest level of spending increases was under Bill Clinton, averaging 3.55 percent a year.

Republicans also claim to want a secure border. Over the last seven years, the number of undocumented immigrants in America has not increased but has dropped by up to 9 percent. Obama has deported more people than any other president, including G.W. Bush. He’s increased the number of border guards and upgraded other surveillance tools. Claims that people are “pouring over the border” are false.

Crime has been dropping steadily since 1995, including murder and other violent crimes. The number of police officers killed in the line of duty is also declining. As far as terrorist attacks in the US, over 3000 were killed under GW Bush. Under Obama, 42 people have been killed in jihadist terrorist attacks in the US. If keeping Americans safe from terrorist attacks is a goal, Obama has done a much better job.

The American economy as a whole has also improved. The U.S. trade deficit has shrunk by 24 percent, as exports grow. The stock market, which was at 7,949 when Obama took office, hit 18,253 as of Oct. 3, 2016. In 2014, the revived U.S. auto industry produced 11 million vehicles. Oil imports have dropped by 60 percent since 2008 as domestic production has increased; gas prices are low. Renewable energy sources are helping us become more energy independent.

By almost every measure, we are far better off than when Obama took office. The Republican candidate wants to reverse that and put us back on the same path that led to such misery and despair for millions of Americans. Why would we want to do that?

Republicans have been throwing bricks at Obama since the day he was elected. He didn’t let the bricks cripple him. He just kept working for the American people. Hillary Clinton has been battling those same brick throwers for most of her life. Republicans want to return to the George W. Bush failures, but if Hillary is elected, she will continue the progress we’ve achieved under Obama. We should be very thankful.

Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at