Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Hard Numbers: Taxes & the U.S. Economy

Over at, economist David Cay Johnston lays out a detailed, by-the-numbers case for just what a disaster the Bush tax cuts have been for our country, and why they need to expire.

The bottom line? By even the most forgiving metrics, the Bush-era tax cuts cost the United States $1.8 trillion and completely failed to produce any of the benefits that the GOP promised they would yield. (A more thorough accounting suggests the true cost is closer to $2.7 trillion.)

I found myself nodding in agreement as I read Johnston’s post-evidentiary summary (emphasis mine):

The hard, empirical facts:

The tax cuts did not spur investment. Job growth in the George W. Bush years was one-seventh that of the Clinton years. Nixon and Ford did better than Bush on jobs. Wages fell during the last administration. Average incomes fell. The number of Americans in poverty, as officially measured, hit a 16-year high last year of 43.6 million, though a National Academy of Sciences study says that the real poverty figure is closer to 51 million. Food banks are swamped. Foreclosure signs are everywhere. Americans and their governments are drowning in debt. And at the nexus of tax and healthcare, Republican ideas perpetuate a cruel and immoral system that rations healthcare — while consuming every sixth dollar in the economy and making businesses, especially small businesses, less efficient and less profitable.

This is economic madness. It is policy divorced from empirical evidence. It is insanity because the policies are illusory and delusional. The evidence is in, and it shows beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts failed to achieve the promised goals.

So why in the world is anyone giving any credence to the insistence by Republican leaders that tax cuts, more tax cuts, and deeper tax cuts are the remedy to our economic woes? Why are they not laughingstocks? It is one thing for Fox News to treat these policies as successful, but what of the rest of what Sarah Palin calls with some justification the “lamestream media,” who treat these policies as worthy ideas?

The Republican leadership is like the doctors who believed bleeding cured the sick. When physicians bled George Washington, he got worse, so they increased the treatment until they bled him to death. Our government, the basis of our freedoms, is spewing red ink, and the Republican solution is to spill ever more.

Those who ignore evidence and pledge blind faith in policy based on ideological fantasy are little different from the clerics who made Galileo Galilei confess that the sun revolves around the earth. The Capitol Hill and media Republicans differ only in not threatening death to those who deny their dogma.

How much more evidence do we need that we made terrible and costly mistakes in 2001 and 2003?

Go check it out.

It’s raining outside…

…which means it's pouring inside, figuratively speaking.

Just got a visit from our landlord. His first reason for knocking on our door was to mumble about new recycling cans outside the house, because he got slapped with a couple of fines because the downstairs tenants and/or his nephew who lives in the basement don't know how to properly separate paper from plastic/glass/metal.

The Landlord tried to make me feel guilty about not having paid one of the fines, and implied that I might be asked to pay the next one — despite the fact, as I pointed out to him, that Kara and I separate our recycling properly inside the apartment and bring it downstairs already bagged and ready for pickup.

Then he starts moaning about rising costs for heating oil, property taxes, repairs he had to make, etc., and I know what's coming about two minutes before he says it: He wants to raise our rent. At a time when we're already hemorrhaging a few hundred dollars a month, this is the last thing I want to hear.

So now Kara and I have some fun choices to make: Give up all of the little things we enjoy (cable TV, wine, fresh food); start selling possessions on Craigslist; or I give up being a full-time writer and start applying for one of those impossible-to-get-right-now jobs, and let my editors know that I once more have to limit myself to three books per year, and then let go of other freelance pursuits.

Well, I guess it was nice while it lasted. Some restaurant must need a short-order cook somewhere in this neighborhood…