Sir, Those reading Simon Schama’s litany of Barack Obama’s accomplishments (“full employment”; “the Affordable Care Act that has provided for 17m previously uninsured”) may wonder why so many Americans support the insurgent candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (“Clinton needs some music in her message”, February 6).
Some context may help. The widely quoted US unemployment rate (currently 4.9 per cent) doesn’t count those who have fallen out of the labour force. According to St Louis Fed data, there are now 94m Americans out of the labour force; when President Obama took office, that figure was under 81m.
Similarly, statistics regarding health insurance costs are bleak. The Affordable Care Act expanded coverage, but did so at steeply higher costs for average workers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, from 2010 to 2015 employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose 27 per cent and deductibles rose 67 per cent on average. It may take more than music for Hillary Clinton to assuage Mr Sanders’ supporters.
Hackensack, NJ, US