Saturday, July 16, 2011

More Popular Lies

You know,  the classics: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery." And today's favorite, "Tax cuts create jobs."

The right's answer to solving the nation's economic woes has for the last thirty years been the dictum that cutting taxes creates jobs which, in turn, increases revenue, thus decreasing the deficit. Maybe sometime when I have all day to get way into economics I'll do an extended blog post about the Laffer Curve, and it's misapplication by opportunists, but today let's keep it pretty basic.

Check the trajectory of our debt and job growth: The above theory has been empirically proven wrong again and again over the same thirty year period.

A few of the facts (not ideological theories, but observable, measurable events):
  1. The Federal tax burden is at its lowest point in 60 years.
  2. The debt exploded the most under Presidents Reagan and Bush (Jr.), the Presidents most closely associated with the above economic theory.
  3. Job growth under George W. Bush, perhaps the strongest believer in "tax cuts create jobs" - even more so than Reagan - was the worst in 75 years, since Herbert Hoover and the start of the Great Depression.
Let's take a quick look at the 32 years leading up to the current administration:

PresidentJob Growth
Bush (I)0.6
Bush (II)0.2

Now, let's say I run a widget company. No amount of tax cuts will ever convince me to hire a new widget salesperson. The only thing that would convince me to hire a new salesperson is demand for more widgets.

The best thing for increasing demand is a growing economy that inspires consumer confidence. And, as we've seen, the economic answers of modern conservatives have repeatedly failed to do that.

We currently have a President who is at least nominally "progressive" in many areas, but held hostage to a conservative Congress, and all too willing to go along with them far too often.

What he seems prepared to go along with now is cutting Social Security benefits to appease the right. Do you believe that cutting the spending power of a large group of Americans is going to increase or decrease consumer demand? Cutting Social Security to "balance" a cut in taxes will be a double hit to the economy.

The Republican lies about economic growth have been repeated so many times that it seems the majority of the public believes them, despite the facts. Well, it's time for us to wake up and say enough is enough. It's time for the President and the remaining Democrats to stand up and tell the public the hard truth: we can't afford another tax cut today.

No, you don't create jobs by cutting taxes or benefits, and - listen carefully - you can't save the economy by defaulting on the national debt.

Read more here - and here.


  1. With all due respect Ken, this "left" vs "right" debate is getting old and going nowhere. It's digging us into a deeper hole than we're already in because everyone is blinding themselves with false ideology based on self interests. Let's face it, almost no one in Washington is doing the American people any favors.

    I am no longer even going to pretend I have any idea right now where we should be heading with tax cuts or the debt ceiling. I have ideas but we're in a crisis that has no hard and fast rules. I will maintain that the government is doing more harm than good, Democrats and Republicans. Neither party's leadership, including the President, Congress and by default, Bernanke, is conveying any sense to me (and a lot of people if you believe various polls) that they really give a damn about what happens anything west of I-95.

    What I'm trying to say is all of us need to rethink our point of view on economy and politics. Remember a libertarian is writing this and suggesting some government intervention may be needed here. Just not the kind we're getting now or received in the thirties or the eighties.

    ...and please, could we ALL stop this Reagan/Bush vs Clinton/Obama nonsense?

    end of rant...

  2. good piece; your stats are great given this whole business is about numbers and we get so few of those. more work to read and take in than generalities and theoriies, and equally if not more important as the more engaging info.
    its all so so dispiriting --whoever would have thought even 20 years ago how the US government and big business and even daily life would be playng out now? sometimes i go thru all the growing-old stuff people go thru of they're lucky enough for that to happen---how much here i don't want to be leaving in the next 15 or 20 years, etc.....and then with less fear but infinitely more sadness, i realize i'm lucky that i won't be here when the worst of the worst , now being set in motion, really hits....


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