Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Politics, Taxes and Mount Rushmore

Politics straight ahead
this time, it's righties who might want to come back another day since I probably offended 3/4 of my readers with the last one, might as well get the rest

To the right wing, Reagan not only was the greatest president we ever had but he's not really gone as his philosophies are still with us. The largest of these and probably the most damaging, although there are two which fall in line, is that government is the bad guy. Reagan had a famous quote about how evil government is and how whenever it says it is here to help us, we should be suspicious. He set about doing what he could to ruin government as a power for any kind of social programs. His philosophy on government was definitely part of Bush's agenda during his 8 years in power.

Reagan only liked big military and anything else was supposedly not needed. So forget regulating banks, checking on quality of food, building freeways, taking care of the sick, elderly or poor. A Reaganite will typically see all of that as something the private sector should do. You know, the good guys who take care of us all so well through their corporate and financial maneuvering.

To say Reagan is no longer president and therefore is insignificant today is to ignore what has gone wrong with the Republican party-- even the part that actually does have good intentions. The right wing sees him as so wonderful that they'd like to carve his face into Mt. Rushmore. (The photo was by the way among the negatives that I recently scanned from old family pictures. This one obviously when my family visited there and Mt. Rushmore was still being created.)

The corollary to government is the bad guy is his saying that if we cut taxes, we will have more revenue. I am pretty sure Bush believed that one at least he said he did. It turns out that if you look at the fine print it says if you cut taxes on the richest people and increase them on everybody else, your debt will still go up and the richest will get richer which is where we are today.

There was some talk about trickle down as a way to solve the problem of the poor. You cut taxes on the richest and it trickles down to everybody else. Turns out that didn't work so well. What the richest did was to buy multiple homes which made housing values go up and when possible, they put their money in offshore banks to avoid even the taxes they were paying. They pushed paper around to create more wealth for themselves and nothing trickled down to the point where with our current income tax situation 47% of Americans don't pay federal income taxes.

Now they don't pay them for assorted reasons. Some are elderly, disabled, or very poor. Some make a good living but have large large families. A long time ago it was decided that everybody who had a child should get a tax exemption. That adds up for some families.

However you look at the reasons, half this country is not only not paying but isn't making enough by government reasoning to have to pay (although, if they work, they do pay SS and Medicare taxes). Agree with that reasoning or not, it means a lot of people are not doing all that well-- a lot more than back when Reagan began the tax cut thinking that was engraved in stone for Republicans and makes even Democrats fearful of raising taxes.

Now we have a bunch of people marching around the country complaining about their taxes... except unless they made over $250,000, they didn't pay more taxes last year. They paid less. So maybe their marching really isn't about taxes but we won't go into that for the purposes of this topic.

What I heard a week or two ago that blew me away and then I began to think yes, it's so. We should roll back the Reagan tax cuts. Not just the Bush tax cuts but the Reagan ones too.

You won't hear any Democrat say that either although some writers, like Michael Moore, have expressed it as a way to begin to build bridges again, to get our infrastructure repaired, to pay down our debt. There is though a better reason for rolling them back.

When taxes are higher on the richest people, they can leave the country; but most don't want to do that. What they will do instead is look for ways to cut their taxes and that would be where the benefit of raising them comes in.

They will invest in new technologies and manufacturing. If their fancy home won't earn an exemption, and it should not, then they might put it into an inventor with a new idea for improving energy. If they can't get a tax break for investing in pushing paper around, they will invest in what made our country strong to begin. If they can't keep it, they will either have it taken by the government or they will begin to rebuild our country.

You know, the four men whose faces are carved into Mt. Rushmore did believe in this country and the government. They invested heavily in their belief.

George Washington physically fought a war to make it a reality and became our first president refusing to be named a king.

Thomas Jefferson wrote our Declaration of Independence and helped create the Constitution that still governs us today. He invested into this country the idea of freedom from oppressive religions.

Abraham Lincoln invested his whole being in keeping this country together and recognizing that nobody here should be a slave. When he gave the Gettysburg Address, he really was putting into words our foundation and the creed that many of us would claim our government was here to secure for all citizens.

Theodore Roosevelt really was our first environmentalist president as he helped create a park system that left us beauty for future generations to enjoy. He spoke on many subjects Almanac of Roosevelt Speeches (try the one called Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine for a lot more responsible attitude toward foreign affairs than we see today from a lot of the right).

Ronald Reagan doesn't deserve to be in such company on Mt. Rushmore because what he grew was an attitude that has led to some wanting to destroy what the other four worked so hard to build. He called himself a patriot and used (or allowed to be used) underhanded methods to achieve foreign affair aims which we are still suffering under today. One example was the Iran Contra Affair. I think the day will come where the negative things that happened under Reagan will be obvious to all but it won't be today with the right wing. They still want another Reagan.

Lincoln ended his Gettysburg speech with these words: "--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

It's what we should still demand from our government but people don't. They only want things for themselves. Today they don't even want to pay their share of keeping this country going, to keep strong what so many died to secure. 30% didn't fill out the census form. Some were encouraged to not do so by people like Representative Michelle Bachmann. The census is decreed by our Constitution, you know that thing they claim they value so much, with the rule that it be done every 10 years to be sure the people were being represented.

And with all of that some of those people proudly call themselves tea partiers as though they have any concept at all of what patriotism means. If we can't sacrifice now by agreeing to raise those taxes to get our country back in control if its own destiny, we don't deserve those in our past who fought for it with their own blood.


Always Question said...

I don't get the Reagan-worship. Virtually everything he asserted was disproved during his administration. I was gobsmacked when he (who came into office railing that government was too big) split HEW into two Departments and added the Department of Veterans Affairs. He lost all credibility with me for the Iran-Contra business.

Put him on the one hundred dollar note? No, he was no Benjamin Franklin. Put him on the fifty; Grant's was another ineffective and corrupt administration.

Anonymous said...

Reagan ws no Lincoln, but then who is ? I think that history will judge Reagan to be a good President. Some of the Left love to denigrate the man ad nauseum. That is their right as citizens so don't feel bad when the Right goes after Obama or Clinton.

Dion said...

I'd like to see Reagan on the $3 bill.

Darlene said...

I always said that the best acting job that Reagan did was pretending to be President. I don't think he was capable of any deep thinking, but was led around like a puppet by the very ones who served in George W. Bush's cabinet (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al)

And how did those two administrations work for the country? Total disaster.

Ingineer66 said...

I do not agree with everything Reagan did, but he did bring America back to Superpower status and ended the malaise in the country after Vietnam and Jimmy Carter. One of his campaign promises that he kept was getting rid of the national 55mph speed limit. That was huge in the wide open western US.

Some of the economic changes he made like allowing rental equipment costs to be written off jump started an entirely new industry and promoted the sales of thousands of new earthmoving and construction machines. This created thousands of good jobs, not stimulus funded temporary positions but good paying manufacturing and sales jobs.

As for the "Reagan Tax Cuts", yes he did reduce rates, but he also eliminated many right offs so that revenue increased and many rich people said that they would rather have the higher rates back if they could get the right offs back because they were hardly paying taxes before.

Ingineer66 said...

Oh yes and he did all that with a Democratically led Congress. The current crowd in Washington had a super majority plus the presidency and all they could do was spend $9Trillion dollars and we still have double digit unemployment.

mandt said...

Being less inclined to be as generous as you my friend, I say quite simply that Reagan was a fraud, a brilliant avatar of Wall Street. Qualifying as 'nice' does not mean that the man was great. He surrounded himself with the worst of Nixon's henchmen, sold weapons to America's enemy, overthrew a democratic State in South America and finally, ended his Presidency with Alzheimers, while First Lady, Nancy, consulted astronomers for guidance. Reagan doesn't belong on Rushmore. He belongs in a gravel pit!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Reagan does not deserve to be on Mt. Rushmore ---PERIOD.
He is responsible for our Ant-Trust Laws going Bye Bye...He is responsible for the reyurn of Monopoly's---One man owning everything. I believe he was a pawn for Big Business and Wall Street.
Great President? NO!