Republicans keep telling us we’re being strangled by taxes, but the figures show otherwise. Bear with me. This isn’t hard to follow.
Check on the link at the bottom of this column and you will see a historical chart of federal revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product. From it we can see, for example, that in 2011 the revenue percentage -- everything taken in by the federal government -- was 15.4 percent of our total economy. Throughout the Reagan budget years of 1981-92, the percentage was about 18 percent, sometimes topping 19 percent. That might not seem like much of a difference, but in our fifteen-trillion-dollar economy, that 2.6 percent difference would just about cover the deficit.
Reagan may be a conservative deity, but he wasn’t nuts. When that revenue percentage fell, he made up the difference by raising more revenue. While congressional Republicans pay lip service to Reagan, their real deity is government-hating, ultra-libertarian author Ayn Rand. And she, unlike Reagan, really was nuts. Rand disciples like Ron Paul positively enjoy the grandiose Darwinian ethos of depriving the masses of essentials; they’ve got it coming for not being rich.
When deficit hawks say we’re headed toward a cliff, they’re right, but only because they leave out the most important part of the story, which is, they keep pushing us toward a fiscal cliff by cutting taxes for the people who need help the least -- the very rich ("job creators" in their parlance).
In 2000, the last year before Bush Junior took office, the revenue percentage was up to 20 percent, but the economy was healthier and we paid our way although the financial pieces of the pie were being distributed unequally, a trend that had been growing steadily worse since around 1980 and is now in the red zone. Following Bush’s disastrous Iraq War -- that he coupled with two tax cuts aimed at helping our wealthiest citizens -- we’re in the financial basement.
Cutting taxes for the rich was supposed to bring us paradise on earth. Where’s the proof? If Rand-worshipping crackpots would quit whining, pay their taxes, and stop undermining education, infrastructure maintenance, and all the rest, we’d all be better off -- including them. Instead they want to "shrink" government, to cut taxs of one-percenters even more, and usher in prosperity by firing teachers, firefighters, road workers, mine inspectors, air traffic controllers, and bank regulators. Wish I were kidding. You can find the chart here:
Causes Ivan Goldman Supports
American Heart Association
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