The Truth, Revisited
This post is from a year ago. Maybe I should re-post this annually, or even monthly. It bears seeing again, and again. Recommend this. Share it. Post it. It’s the Truth.
Precisely. I’ve also been reading Thomas Frank’s Pity the Billionaire, which deals with the same topic from a different perspective.
The frustrating thing is, this should be so obvious, as obvious as the fact that the Laffer curve was full of crap. And yet millions, even a majority, buy into the bull.
Money naturally circulates upward; in order for an economy to work well, there must be some kind of mechanism to circulate the money back down. Conservatives think that jobs will perform this function all by themselves, even as they try to destroy unions, deny workers benefits, and otherwise minimize that precise flow downwards. In fact, a healthily progressive tax system and good working conditions are what create jobs and a prosperous economy.
The best way to stimulate the economy is to inject the money into the lower half of the economic cycle; injecting it into the upper half is counter-productive.
Taxing the rich is not only a good thing, it is a necessary thing. Government spending on infrastructure, education, and supporting the poorest among us is not just a good thing, it is a necessary thing. If you truly wish to have a robust economy.
But just as we still prosecute the same old drug war despite decades of studies telling us that decriminalization and treatment would be light-years better, we still bridle against the bloody obvious in economics.
We know it’s a fact that dollar for dollar, food stamps are the most effective stimulus mechanism, followed closely by unemployment benefits and infrastructure spending, and yet most of the nation seems to accept Republican whining about how that will destroy the economy.
It is just as solid a fact that dividend & capital tax gain tax cuts, corporate tax cuts, and the billionaire-slanted Bush tax cuts are among the absolute worst stimulators–and yet we somehow allow right-wingers to insist that these be given a priority.
We’ve tried it the Republican way for 30 years and we have nearly destroyed our economy. Now right-wingers complain about how they have never gotten a chance and how liberals have ruined everything. They are absolutely wrong. Tax rates for the wealthy and for corporations should rise, for their own good as well as everyone else’s. Tax rates for the middle class should stay the same (being as low as they are) or be eased. Money should be spent on infrastructure, scientific & technological research, and education.