Monday, February 24, 2014

From Reagan to Bush, how the GOP has broken the American dream


Robert Sorbel writing from the Orlando Liberal Examiner posted an article for the Examiner.com, "From Reagan to Bush, how the GOP has broken the American dream," that shows us exactly what happened to our country from a tax perspective when we weren't looking - the Conservatives' Battle Against The Middle Class was over without a shot being fired :

"For over thirty years, the growing gap between the rich and poor in the United States has widened at an alarming rate. The once proud and strong middle class has deteriorated over the last three decades and if the American dream is to be achieved again, the country needs to drastically change.

"When Ronald Reagan was elected president, he started the United States down a path of economical and social destruction. In his first four years in office, from 1981 to 1985, Reagan lowered the top income tax bracket from 70% to 50%. Over the next four years, Reagan took the top bracket from 50% and cut it down to only 28%. With the lack of revenue coming into the federal government, the national debt tripled and to make up for the loss, Reagan raided the Social Security trust fund and went on to raise taxes eleven times, primarily on working Americans.


"Ronald Reagan isn't the only one who is to blame for the shrinking middle class. One major source of revenue that isn't talked about is capital gains. The capital gains tax is the tax put on the wealth that an individual has that is not part of their regular income. Stocks, bonds and real estate are prime examples of what is considered capital gains. While Reagan did lower the top capital gains rate from 28% in 1980 down to 20% by 1986, he did feel the pressure of the debt crisis and brought it back up to 28% by the time he left office. The two big cuts that followed were disastrous.

"In his first term, President Bill Clinton raised the top tax rate slightly to 29%, but in his second term, with a conservative congress at his throat, the rate was lowered down to 21%. The economy was doing well, mainly because of the dot-com bubble and President Clinton raising the top tax rates for the highest earners, but things did change once he left office. As part of the Bush tax cuts, he lowered the top tax rate down to 35%, but took the capital gains rate down to its lowest level since the start of the Great Depression, taxing investment income at only 15%.

"At the low rate of only 15%, the wealthiest Americans pay the same tax rate as a greater at Walmart. The Republican reasoning is that if you give the wealthy tax breaks, they will then create jobs and strengthen the economy. The problem with this logic is that it doesn't work, at least not in the way conservatives say. The wealthy use their tax cuts to either create jobs outside the United States or take advantage of the low capital gains rate through investments. Under the current tax code, many companies actually get tax breaks for creating jobs in other countries, something the president is trying to end.


"In President Obama's American Jobs Act, he had called for an end to corporate loopholes and an increase in the top tax rates. Even the 'Buffett Rule' targets capital gains in an attempt to even the playing field in the tax game. President Obama has offered many tax cuts, but unlike the cuts offered by Republicans, they're tax cuts and credits that will be put into the hands of people who will invest and create jobs, the middle class and small businesses.

"While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or the stimulus bill, put a cork into a sinking economy, it didn't fix the problem. The Recovery Act prevented unemployment from reaching record levels and it did create and save over 3 million jobs that otherwise would have been lost. The president understands that the country wants investment, but also that the American people want to see that investment paid for and not just put on the country's credit card.

"If the tax rate is increased on the highest earners, including the capital gains rate, the United States will have the revenue to truly get back on track. What conservative voters don't seem to understand is that the best way to chop away at the debt is to put Americans back to work. Creating an economic agenda that enhances the workforce and increases wages, in the long run, will get the national debt down to a manageable number. The American dream was once something that seemed attainable through hard work, but that dream is fading in today's America. There is an old saying, 'you have to spend money to make money,' and that's exactly what the country needs to do today."


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There's another old saying that says you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and this fits our current situation perfectly if you substitute "free country" for omelette and "Conservative" for eggs.

What would the country look like if Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and the Bush Boys had never been elected  (We'll toss in Gerald Ford with his daily dose of obstructions in the form of vetoes, even though he was never elected)?


Up to Eisenhower's election, the GOP feared that they would never occupy the White House again after the Republican-caused Depression took hold after the Republican-caused Crash of 1929, but astute public relations experts were the answer for their soiled reputation as the first appearance of paid political consultants made their appearance.

Nixon was probably the first to make effective use of these slimeballs, and it's no coincidence that he remains the best example of Conservative criminality in politics in American history.

Without lies, October Surprises, treason, "second rate burglaries," and other assorted felonies it's difficult to elect Republicans, no matter how they hide their true Conservative colors....and the key to remembering the difference between Conservatives and criminality is the word "Conservatism."

There oughta be a law.



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"Just as the financial crisis has created toxic assets and 'zombie' financial
institutions, so has it transformed conservatism into a movement of the living dead."

Thomas Frank. (American political analyst, historian, journalist and columnist for
Harper's Magazine. Born March 21, 1965.

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