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It is Time to Raise Taxes on the Wealthy and Save the American Dream

By       Message Mick Youther     Permalink
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In 1980, the Republicans' first official Santa Claus, Ronald Reagan, cut income taxes on wealthy Americans from 70% down to 27%, and reduced Corporate taxes until they accounted for less than 9% of federal tax revenues, instead of the 33% they represented in 1951.

It was called supply-side economics (a.k.a Reaganomics, Voodoo economics, or the "trickle-down theory"), and it claimed that if we cut taxes on wealthy Americans, they would invest that money in such wonderful ways that it would stimulate the economy, and benefits would "trickle down" to all Americans.

Of course, like most Republican theories, it didn't work--unless its real purpose was to bankrupt the government and destroy the American middle-class. In that case, it is working pretty well.

  • In 1982, the first full year for Reagan's policies, the economy shrank by 2%, the worst performance since the Great Depression. -- Robert Freeman,, 5/14/06

    • "Although it had taken the United States more than 200 years to accumulate the first $1 trillion of national debt, it took only five years under Reagan to add the second one trillion dollars to the debt. By the end of the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administrations, the national debt had quadrupled to $4 trillion!"-- Allen W. Smith, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Eastern IllinoisUniversity, Dissident Voice, 4/14/10

    After a brief period of fiscal sanity during the Clinton Administration, George W. Bush was appointed President and took up right where Reagan and Poppa Bush had left off--cutting taxes for the rich, raising "defense" spending and starting wars; and paying for it all on the taxpayer's credit card. Bush's final year budget showed a record deficit of $1.4 trillion, and he had increased the National Debt to $9.849 trillion--the largest increase by any President in U.S. history.


    America is now mired in the Great Recession, and we need to do the same thing that Roosevelt did to save us from the Great Depression--raise taxes on the wealthy. They can afford it:

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    • "In the last 30 years"the top five percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 81 percent while the lowest-income fifth saw their real incomes decline by one percent..".--Progress Illinois, 3/27/09

    • All of the income gains in 2005 went to the top 10 percent of households, while the bottom 90 percent of households saw income declines. (Economic Policy Institute, 3/28/07)

    • In 2006, taxpayers in the bottom 20 percent received an average refund of $23 from the Bush tax cuts; the middle 20 percent received $448; the top 1 percent received $39,020; and taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent received $200,523. (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 2/7/06)


    To hear the Republicans tell it; raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans would have an effect similar to a direct strike on earth by a planet-killer asteroid.

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    "but history tells a much different story:

    "After the Republican Great Depression, FDR put this nation back to work, in part by raising taxes on income above $3 to $4 million a year (in today's dollars) to 91 percent, and corporate taxes to over 50% of profits. The revenue from those income taxes built dams, roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, schools, hospitals, train stations, railways, an interstate highway system, and airports. It educated a generation returning from World War II. It acted as a cap on the rare but occasional obsessively greedy person taking so much out of the economy that it impoverished the rest of us."--Thom Hartmann,

    When the Clinton Administration reversed Reagonomics and raised taxes on the wealthy and lowered them on the middle class:

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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