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    Routine checkup..., 2003-05-25 16:13:11 | Main | in the cable news today..., 2003-06-03 14:50:03

    Bush - the Megatron of class warfare:

    I have trouble merely filing my taxes, so talking up the domestic beauracracy is bound to take me into troubled water, stemming from the fact that the basic gist of these discussions fail to make any sense to me whatsoever. I do know that to begin with the basic terms of the debate make no sense, so the paper trails and statistics one gets lost in while trying to sort out economic policy are generally built from the figments of some economicist's imagination: a meaningless exercise in real terms, leading to wasted effort. Luckily the world of online journaling is rife with good folks engaging in such efforts so I don't have to.

    But whatever, this tax cut looks less like class warfare than class massacre. Looking at this graph I wonder how it is that this tax cut could even pass in a democratic republic: the top 1% make out like bigger bandits than I would have thought possible for the other 99% to tolerate, and the top 20% get 80% of the tax cut, while the increased child tax credit misses the folks who need it, dropping 12 million children.

    Ideologues who measure economic prosperity purely by GDP growth are no doubt excited by the prospects. Being as we're repeating Reagan's policies it might be worthwhile to remember what followed his 1981 tax cuts: because of the budgetary crisis that ensued and the deepening of the recession the following year there were numerous tax hikes: a tax hike in 1982 that cancelled a third of the 1981 tax cut - the largest tax hike since WWII, a gasoline tax in 1983, a massive payroll tax increase in 1983 affecting primarily the working poor and middle class, a tax hike on business in 1984, and the tax reform in 1986 that closed sieves in the corporate tax code opened in 1981, effectively raising corporate taxes while lowering income taxes for middle and high wage earners in the balance.

    In some folk's fantasyland this record of raising taxes built Reagan a "liberal legacy" to speak of, though how anyone could characterize the looting of the social security fund as "saving Social Security" or countless atrocities in Latin America as "peacenik" is beyond me. I suppose such details are worth noting for folks like me who tend to think there's some difference between the Parties on domestic issues. No need to exaggerate.

    The GDP growth during this period was unmatched, so it's said in the legends of old, since the mid 1960s. Unlike the mid 1960s there was, oft unmentioned in these ancient tales, no corresponding rise in the living standard, as evidenced by genuine progress indictators that strip out burdens on the economy that are included in GDP as a gain, such as divorce, crime, pollution cleanup, frozen water pipes, potholes, etc. Standard practice would include the cleanup of the WTC site in the official record as "economic growth", putting terrorism in the list as well, which adds some grit to the phrase "class massacre" when you're chewing the fat over this at the bar.

    Minus all this "economic growth" that represents the management of economic and social destruction it's easily observable that since the end of the Korean War we have in all actuality really gotten just about nowhere, and beginning with the "liberalization" measures that started under Carter and have continued with every administration and congress since we seem to be going backwards. Sawicky has described the Bush tax policies as moves towards exempting all income other than wages from tax. The caviat is that we're shifting the tax burden to a sector - that being laboor - that hasn't seen a significant gain since 1960, during which time the GDP tripled. And that's a conservative look at it, break it down by income class and over time the bottom 60% get a buzzsaw up the ass. Very unsightly.


:: posted by buermann @ 2003-05-28 15:56:33 CST | link





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