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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • America has always like to conflate circus freak shows and politicians. Although I don't have examples ready, eighteenth century American politics are full of dubious candidates. I'll wait to see what kind of governator Arnie is. Who knows? Perhaps he'll do an ok job. I'll be amazed if the Republican war on taxes (while spending gobs of money on the military and spook projects) has any positive long-term benefit for the country as a whole. Somehow, it just seems petty and self-serving.
    • The concept is simple: cutting taxes puts more money in the hands of people which helps businesses grow which creates more tax revenue. You can end up with the same amount of increased revenue and help taxpayers at the same time.

      It has worked in the past. It worked under JFK, and it worked under Reagan. Will it work again? Time will tell, but to imply it doesn't make sense is to ignore cases where it's actually worked as planned.
      • I know that I shouldn't reply to this, but I have to -- ears burning.

        [cutting taxes to spur the economy] has worked in the past. It worked under JFK, and it worked under Reagan.

        There were two recession under Reagans 8 years in office. Crime increased in 7 of his eight years in office (I'm excluding crimes that happen inside the White House, like Iran-Contra) and the crime continued to increase under Bush Sr. The crime dropped dramatically during the Clinton years (again, I'm excluding activities in t

        • by pudge (1) on 2003.10.10 12:06 (#24815) Homepage Journal
          You're missing the point. Even if I conceded most of what you claim, you did not and cannot claim that the economy did not grow significantly under Reagan, and it is perfectly reasonable to give much of the credit to "trickle down."

          As to the specifics, some of what you say is true but uninteresting. Yes, the "top 1%" got a big tax cut, because their taxes were disproportionately high. You disagree? Wow, surprise, coming from a Masshole! :-) But JFK cut the tax rate of the top 1% more than any President, ever. The top tax rate now is less than half of what it was before JFK, not because the "rich are benefitting off the backs of the poor and middle class," but because the tax system was grossly unfair.

          I do agree somewhat that payroll taxes are too high, but this is a tension between what seems fair versus what is fair. Payroll taxes go to Medicare and Social Security which were always designed -- and still are, to a significant degree -- to be something you pay into for yourself. When you draw the money out, it is your money. To lower payroll taxes for the poor is to either change that system, or lower benefits. Either path is quite difficult.

          The Earned Income Credit is one interesting way to address the problem, though it has created new ones (including teaching our society that if you don't get a tax cut because you don't have tax liability, then you are being treated unfairly, such as we saw with the child tax credit last spring).

          As to some of the other things -- increased crime and S&L scandals -- those have nothing directly to do with what I am talking about, and could have happened, or been prevented, irrespective of the policies being discussed here.

          I am not a full-throated defender of Reagan's policies. Social spending was increased too much in many areas, and cut too much in others. The poor really did take in the nuts over the payroll tax and overall increased spending in Congress.

          And yes, Reagan had recession in his second and third year in office, largely as part of a carryover from Carter, combined with some transition in the implementation of his policies. But in 1984, the economy made a dramatic comeback, one that got him 49 of 50 states in that year's election, and it carried over through his remaining four years in office.

          This is not dissimilar to Bush, who was in a recession in March 2001, which could not possibly have been due to his economic policies, none of which had yet been implemented. Bush inherited a sluggish economy that started about a year earlier, in Clinton's last year. Do I blame Clinton? Not at all. But if any administration is to be blamed for it, it would have to be his. Again, I am not assigning blame, but warning against people who would attempt to assign it to Bush.

          And also -- for whatever reason -- the economy is making a dramatic turnaround. GDP is up above all expectations, and most of the leading economic indicators are positive. The main remaining question is whether jobs will follow. We know the increase in the jobless rate has stalled, and most believe the increase will soon become a decrease. It remains to be seen.

          I would just warn you to not conflate these various issues. We know that the economy was great for the last 5 years under Reagan, so to say his economic policies failed is nonsense. To point fingers at some issues (like crime and S&Ls) is fine, but don't use these issues to say the economy sucked. You were talking about "the country as a whole," and the country as a whole did very well under Reagan. It could have been better, no doubt.

          And Bush's economy could be better too, with more fair tax cuts (I would make only minor changes to this year's cut, dropping the 10 and 15 percent brackets to, say, 8 and 13) and doing more to protect our nation's businesses from *unfair* international business practices, while not imposing tariffs just to protect one industry from fair trade. He should be cutting spending in many more areas: temporary deficit spending is fine, but not when we are seeing the same amount -- some estimates even say an *increase* -- in pork.

          So I won't defend all of what Bush says or does. But every time we've had major recessions and cut taxes -- JFK, Reagan -- the economy has grown, and so far it looks like the same is happening with Bush.