Saturday, September 15, 2012

What They Would Have You Believe (But I'm Not Buying It)

We're broke or nearly so they say. But, analyze the facts.

The greatest gap between rich and not rich in nearly 100 years. Now. Lowest tax rates in around 50 years. Now, too. The richest country the world has ever known. Still. It doesn't add up.

If we cut taxes deeper or even maintain large chunks of the Bush tax cuts, surely we will have major problems. If the middle class keeps losing real income and therefore purchasing power, the tax base will continue to shrink.

We didn't pay for the last round of tax cuts, or two wars or the Medicare drug benefit. HOWEVER, there is no reason we couldn't have either chosen to pay for those things or even chosen to have not done some of them (or some combination of the two).

The reason we're in trouble is not some secret. We had a president and congress (both parties in that congress) that for eight years during the Bush administration spent but didn't tax. It wasn't an accident on the part of at least half the congress and all of that administration that it played out that way.

One half of the congress was intentionally screwing with our debt and deficit in order to make it impossible to ever add programs because they don't believe in government. That half of the congress believes in or is terrified of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party. A fiscal, debt and deficit crisis gives them cover to gut everything they don't like about America.

The other side of tha congress was and still is too terrified of losing their seats in the House or Senate to do the right thing and to stand up to all of this.

None of this is inevitable. We can afford to pay taxes and doing so is patriotic.

Over the past several decades of economic cycles the best times for growth and employment and income were never when taxes were at their lowest nor at their highest.

We don't need a 90% income tax, but we also don't need lower income taxes than we have now. The argument that we do is specious.

The notion that Ronald Reagan is god and that god cut taxes is also false. Yeah, Reagan did cut some taxes, but he also raised them again and again. The economy actually got better when he did. The biggest boom we've had in decades came after George H.W. Bush broke his promise and raised taxes, followed by Bill Clinton raising taxes. Good times for more folks then we've seen since. Yeah, give old HW a little credit for Clinton's economy. The main thing is that growth and relatively full employment generally come when taxes are fairer and also when they are higher than are now.

What baffles me the most about our present situation is not why the politicians in both parties do what they do. It's a combination of hunger for power, weakness, ignorance, belief in the tooth fairy, etc. What I don't get is how vast swaths of the public, I'm talking about all those people whose income is not $250K or above, think they're going to benefit from the Ryan/Romney voodoo economics. HW was right. Supply side, trickle down is bunch of hoodoo bullshit. I get why people making loads of money, especially unearned (read: investment income) are pissing themselves over the thought of more high end tax cuts. Of course they are. You would be too if you were them. I can't blame 'em. It's all the rest of that are living in never-never-land.

Wake up.

By the way, that arrow in my photograph above points to the left. Of course, I found it that way at the courthouse. But it's symbolic of why we're in the pickle we're in now. The Republican Party likes to pretend, and is incredibly good at getting away with it, that Democrats spent us into our current situation. It was Bush's tax cuts and wars that did it. Obama, like him or not (you know I like him) has actually shrunk government by almost all measures. Fewer federal employees -- lots fewer.

Stop letting yourselves get hypnotized. Especially those of you who aren't making millions each year. If you don't, you will end up in bankruptcy court.

Photographs: US Federal Bankruptcy Court, Bowling Green, Manhattan. Leica M8. CV 15/4.5.

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