Saturday, July 18, 2015

Taxation and Patriotism

A common claim among the Republicans is that tax cuts have always created prosperity. History shows them to be wrong.

In 1950s – a time of great prosperity – the tax on highest incomes was the staggering 92%. Tax cuts worked when Kennedy did it because taxes at that time were ridiculous. When Reagan did it, it created short-term prosperity and long-term accumulation of debt. When Bush did it, the result was a hige accumulation of debt and an economic crisis. Their claims do not pass the muster of reality.

Nor has raising taxes always undermined prosperity. Clinton raised taxes on highest incomes, and under him the economy boomed. And yes, I was in the higher-income bracket at the time, but I had no problem at all paying taxes. 

Not wanting to pay taxes is unpatriotic and irresponsible. You want your military, you want your roads, you want your police and fire departments, you pay. And yet we are seeing people who claim to be American patriots howling over having to pay some of the lowest income taxes of all developed countries. These people appear not to know what patriotism means.

Nor is taxing the higher incomes more heavily than the lower incomes “punishing success” or “class warfare.” Rather it simple reason. The millionaire is not made to suffer from paying a 40% instead of a 30% tax, whereas money gained that way for the treasury is substantial. The progressive taxation system is the rational taxation system: One that maximizes revenue and minimizes suffering.

So we see many Republicans looking back with fond memories on a decade when the highest income tax was 92% even as they continue to howl about having to pay a 35% tax. And they claim themselves to be American patriots even as they want to bankrupt the government. How do they get away with it? I don't know. But I am willing to do my part to stand up to these people and their lies.


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