Thursday, September 09, 2010

May sanity reign supreme

By Carl 

One hopes this stance will continue. President Obama seems pretty firm that no more tax cuts for those who don't need them is a good idea. 

The Clinton tax cuts for the middle class of 1993-1994, and concommitant tax hike on the wealthy created a gross domestic product (economic activity) of 3.8% per year on average. The Bush tax cuts, of which nearly all went to the wealthy, created a GDP of...well, 2.7% from 2001 to 2005 (he did inherit a brief recession) and a -0.002% from 2006 to 2009. This, despite blowing the budget surplus out of the water and creating the single largest deficit in world history (matched and exceeded only by the emergency stimulus package under President Obama).

So you tell me: which makes more sense? Giving a bunch-o-bucks to Paris Hilton to buy heroin, or a smaller sum to the family trying to choose between paying the mortgage or the car loan? Which is going to generate more economic activity?

History suggests that raising taxes on the rich has always, always, been the smarter move. As Harry Truman put it, "If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic." Historically, the largest spikes in economic activity have begun under Democratic presidents. The lone exception in the past 60 years was the Reagan "growth", which as it turns out was a roll of the dice on lower taxes across the board, but in reality was created by the deregulation of banks started under President Jimmy Carter which saw, much like this recent collapse, banks get too big and too greedy for their own good, and created an economic collapse that more than swamped the growth the expansion realized. So much for Reaganomics.

American history is filled with tales of, "if you just put money in the hands of the working and middle classes, things will get better." Give them Social Security, the elderly live longer, more productive lives. Allow them unemployment insurance, recessions become milder and shorter. Give them a tax cut, like Clinton did, and watch the economy soar, despite the fact that Clinton took the reins at a time when the economy was shakily returning from another Republican recession.

Those who take the most from a society have the patriotic duty to give back to that society that provides such strong support. The army and police departments protect them more, because the rich have more to lose. The roads are better in rich neighborhoods, because the rich have the resources to complain and the connections to complain effectively. Fires are fought faster in wealthy communities because firefighters are better paid, better trained and get better equipment. I could go on.

The price of premium service is to pay a premium price. If you have an expensive sports car, you don't put cheap gas in it, at least not if you want it to last. You use premium from a reputable service station. You'll pay more for parts and service, but you're getting better quality of both.

And one pays a premium in taxes because no one gets rich on their own. One takes advantage of government programs, and one reaps the benefits of government research. One gets back much more in return for the extra money one pays.

This isn't brain surgery. The rich should pay more.

 (Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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2 Comments:

  • Fine. At what levels, both from an income standpoint and from a marginal rate standpoint, would you be satisfied that "the rich" are paying their "fair share"? The answer from you and your side is always higher, higher, higher. Please provide a number that you will be satisfied with. Also, please provide what you think fair numbers are for the working and middle classes while we're at it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:33 AM  

  • "I like paying taxes. It's the price we pay for civilization." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 9:14 PM  

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