LETTER: Republicans in charge hasn't worked for America

Republican method of cutting taxes doesn't work
Thursday, October 30, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:39 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 30, 2008

I am writing regarding J. Karl Miller's column dated Oct. 29. In his column, he defines Republicans as those who "opt for lower taxes and free markets." This is indeed true. However, how well has this worked?

We went to war, and Bush cut taxes for the rich. We were told we could pay for the war by "going to the mall and spending money." This is the first time in American history a president cut taxes in a time of war. President Polk in the Mexican-American War simply left taxes alone, which generated America's first real budget deficit.

Further, Republicans went on a massive spending spree, which included the pork-laden Highway Bill, creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the prescription drug program and other programs that greatly expanded government and government spending, contrary to their beloved ideals of smaller and less government. And how did Republicans pay for this spending spree? They borrowed it, much of it from Communist China. They doubled our national debt to a point where we now spend $281 billion in interest. This is 9 cents of every tax dollar.

This notion (and that is all it is, a notion, not a proven economic policy) that cutting taxes for the rich will stimulate the economy and pay for itself has generated an enormous drag on our economy and subjected our national security to the whims of a communist nation. What the Republicans say is one thing, but what they have done is pursue an economic policy of attempting to borrow our way out of debt. Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave at 7,000 rpm.

Free markets? Oh, how has that worked out? Do you not own a TV, Col. Miller?

Col. Miller defines the Democrats' policy of taxation "as a government tool to level the playing field for the disadvantaged..." This is indeed a contrast to the Republican policy of creating an uneven playing field for the rich. The statistics are clear: The rich have gotten richer, and everyone else's buying power has declined. After all, who got rich on $4 gas? Not me.

The truth about the Democrats' policy on taxes is that taxes are a tool to pay for the expenses of running our government. Clinton left office with a balanced budget. However, to give credit where credit is due, this was a bipartisan accomplishment with "old school" Republicans.

It would have pleased me to no end had the recent Republican policies of lowering taxes for the rich, expanding government and deregulated free markets worked.

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Christopher Foote October 31, 2008 | 11:39 a.m.

Here are some statistics that Mr. Miller may want peruse before extolling the virtues of the Republican Party's economic platform:
Annualized percentage change in real GDP per capita (post WWII)
JFK/LBJ 3.48%
Clinton 2.49%
Reagan 2.45%
Carter 2.14%
Nixon/Ford 1.70%
GW 1.53%
Ike 1.11%
GHW .93%
(Source is the Bureau of Economic Analysis from the US Dept. of Commerce)
Notice any trends? Three Democratic administrations, 5 Republican administrations, Dems top 3 out of 4. I realize that the change in GDP is a rather blunt measurement of economic performance, but if Mr. Miller would like to suggest another metric I'll gladly run the numbers. Lets look at one of the Republicans biggest whines; big government, i.e. federal spending. Under which administration did government spending increase the least (excluding Social Security and Defense spending)? I'll give you a hint coming in at number 1 for the 8 administrations is a Big dog who happens to be a Dem. Why just last week you acccused Clinton of being a tax and spend liberal. Yes Mr. Miller facts do matter, when your columns start acknowledging them maybe than we can have a grown up discussion.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller October 31, 2008 | 9:38 p.m.

I am a bit uncertain just what columns Mr. Foote may be reading or what he may be smoking inasmuch as I have no recollection of mentioning GDP nor "extolling the virtues of the Republican Party's ecomomic platform." And, I would like like him to locate the source of the "Why just last week, you accused Clinton of being a tax and spend liberal" as I have neither written nor uttered those words.

Mr. Foote you speak of facts and grown up discussion; however, your deliberate misstatements and personal attacks are hardly the traits one expects of an adult.
J K Miller

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller November 1, 2008 | 7:54 a.m.

Mr. Long...I thank you for reading my column and also for taking the time to comment. However, regurgitating the tired old saw "Republican tax cuts for the rich" mantra of Democratic Party propaganda is a dog that just won't hunt.

Had you done but a minimum of research, you could have discovered that following the Bush tax cuts, the top 10 percent of earners paid 70.8 percent of taxes compared to the 67.3 percent in 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration. Also, the top 50 percent paid almost 97 percent, leaving very little for the other half to pay.

In addition to that 3.5 percent increase in taxes paid by the wealthy, the myth that the Bush tax cuts benefited only the rich is but another myth propagated by the DNC. For example, a single person earning 30 K in 1999 paid $8,400 in taxes but, paid but $4,500 in 2008. A married person with 60 K income under the Clinton administration paid 16,800 while the tab dropped to $9,000 under Bush– those married making 125 K saw a reduction from $38,750 to $31, 250. Anyone who bothers to review the U. S Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History, 1913-2008 would learn that the benefits from the Bush tax cuts occurred across the taxpayer spectrum.

Additionally, anyone who understands simple arithmetic should be able to devine that in the event of any round of tax cuts, those who actually pay more in taxes will receive proportionately the larger share of relief. How would you cut significantly the tax burden of those who pay little or no taxes? Do you advocate "sharing the wealth" by taking from those who earn it and dividing it among the non productive?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote November 1, 2008 | 11:12 a.m.

Woops, Checking the record Mr Miller did not accuse Clinton of being a tax and spend liberal. His statement about Clinton was in respect to unfunded mandates, my apologies for that misattribution. My basic point still stands however, and that is that with respect to economic policies, Democrats have consistently outperformed Republican administrations with respect to economic growth as well as other metrics. I'd be interest to hear why McCain's economic plan is better than Obama's. My frustration with right wing arguments as put forward by Mr. Miller and others is that they are reduced to talking points, i.e. redistribution of wealth, class warfare, he's a socialist etc... Give me a metric by which to compare the two. For example, if you think progressive taxation is wrong, why is it wrong? If it's not wrong what is your reasoning for what the rates should be set at? Instead we get comments like this,"Democrats lean more liberal and populist and look to taxation as a government tool to level the playing field for the disadvantaged, as well as for those who don't wish to provide for themselves." I don't know anyone that feels we should provide for people who don't wish to provide for themselves. I think we get these comments because McCain's plan is not as good as Obama's and the right can't defend it with logical arguments. So we get the right attacking Obama for giving the wrong kind of tax cuts, because the cuts are for the middle class. Good luck with that argument on Nov. 4.

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