Okay, it’s been nearly 40 years since we started to hear all the Brietbull about how lowering taxes on the wealthy will free up money for them to invest and make the world awesome and wonderful for everybody. We didn’t just HEAR it, though…we DID it. Well, part of it. We did the lower-the-taxes part. We just never got the reinvest-the-freed-up-capital part. Do you know why? Because it’s been a lie, all along.
I totally get why rich people want the rest of us to believe this fantasy might have some kernel of truth, somewhere deep in the bowels of the ideology. They’re rich, they like it, and they want to be richer – which lower taxes on them actually produces. I completely understand why the corporate media wants to promote the message. It’s owned by those self-same rich people – who like being rich and want to be richer.
I don’t understand why rank-and-file Americans continue to play along…
In an effort to be a better me, I’m trying to avoid making simplistic intelligence assessments about people…but how would YOU characterize a person who keeps pounding their own thumb with a hammer – despite the pain – just because someone told them it wouldn’t hurt if they pounded their own thumb with a hammer? Stubborn? Okay, maybe. But it’s hard not to make snap judgements about intelligence as a person pounds the bloody, mashed stump that used to be his thumb – again – and, with tears streaming down his face insists it didn’t hurt a bit…
Some of us are capable of remembering a time when we accidentally pounded our own thumb with a hammer and recalling the pain so when someone tells me it won’t hurt if I pound my own thumb with a hammer, I think to myself, “Wait a minute…yes it does. What YOU mean is that it doesn’t hurt YOUR thumb when I pound mine with a hammer!”
That’s what you might call a “thumbnail” sketch about the low-tax lie…
I’ll say it again: it’s been nearly 40 years! If the money freed up by low taxes was ever going to start flowing, it certainly should have by now, yes? So I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and suggest that low taxes on the wealthy doesn’t do anything but make the wealthy wealthier.
As it happens, HIGH taxes on the wealthy actually does what the wealthy always promise low taxes will cause them to do: reinvest. You might want to read that again. Certainly, I want you to read it again so I’ll write it again. HIGH taxes on the wealthy actually does what the wealthy always promise low taxes will cause them to do.
The people who are standing around out there gleefully pounding their own thumbs with hammers and, perhaps, some younger people who have never heard anything other than the Supply Side Brietbull offered by the corporate media are essentially offering what I call a philosophical position. That’s a position that may seem right on paper, but has no practical application.
What they DO have is charts and graphs and studies and opinions – all generously provided by the wealthy people who want you to believe. What they DON’T have is any actual proof of success. I’ll tell you this: I’m tired of arguing philosophical positions. If there’s no practical application, let’s not waste time discussing it.
To that end, I’ve devised a little game and it goes like this: I’ll name a place where HIGH taxes on the wealthy has resulted in a stronger society for everyone in that society – INCLUDING the wealthy people, then YOU name a place where LOW taxes on the wealthy has had the same effect. We’ll keep taking turns naming our places until one of us has to shut their thumb-pounded face, once and for all, okay? (And let’s not get cute, right? I’m not asking you to name a place where the tax rate created the perfect utopian society that never experienced one whit of difficulty. The measure isn’t the “perfect society in every way”…)
And let’s not limit our options. I’m not trying to be tricky or sneaky, here. Let’s agree, either of us can use ANY time in history, ANYWHERE on the planet. Anything beyond that, we’ll have to consider on a case-by-case basis…fair?
Now, remember…I’m naming places and times when HIGH taxes on the wealthy has resulted in a stronger society – better infrastructure, better education, social mobility, and improved financial freedom and opportunity – and you’re naming places where LOW taxes on the wealthy has produced the same results, okay? I’ll go first.
I name…the United States of America, from the time FDR introduced the New Deal until Ronald Reagan used his professional charm to inflict “Trickle Down Economics” in 1980.