Eubanks: Let’s get real about fiscal responsibility
There seems to be a belief that Republicans are the fiscally responsible party. I would like to present some facts that dispute this belief.
Let’s start with the “Republican revolution” that began with the election of Reagan. He cut taxes (especially for the wealthy), cut corporate taxes, and increased defense spending — the theory being trickle down economics — give tax cuts to the “job creators” and the magic invisible hand of the free market will grow the economy and everyone will prosper.
What actually happened was a huge increase in the debt and the deficit.
“By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced by the previous 200 years of American history” (The Great Republican Tax Cut Scam of 2015 by Jon Perr of the Daily Kos).
When Clinton (a Democrat) came into office, he raised taxes and cut spending in a judicious, fiscally responsible way. The result: when Clinton left office he had created budget surpluses that the Congressional Budget Office predicted would last 10-plus years. Then along came Bush Jr. and the Republican control of both houses of Congress. They passed two huge tax cuts (again mainly benefiting the wealthy) — increasing the debt by about $2 trillion; started 2 wars — increasing the debt by about $3 trillion (some even estimate the total cost is more like $6 trillion); passed a prescription drug benefit — increasing the debt by another half trillion dollars. In fact this was the first time in history that America cut taxes and went to war. The result: not only did the Republicans wipe out the Clinton surpluses, they created the biggest deficit and debt we had had in history.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy priorities, “Two-thirds of our present national debt is from the last three Republican administrations – more than twice as much as all other presidents combined”.
We have had some 30 years of Reaganomics. The result has been the rich have gotten super rich. The 1 percent income has grown over 200 percent. There has been no “trickle down,” no shared prosperity. The average CEO makes 300 times the average wage earner. Before Reagan the average CEO made about 25 times the average worker. Middle and lower income wages have been flat for some 30 years. And we had the biggest economic collapse of our economy since the Great Depression.
More recently, since the Republicans took over control of Congress, they have shut down the government. The cost of this shutdown was about $2 billion – taxpayer money down the drain. Time is money and they have wasted time voting over 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have had over 50 hearings on the non-scandals of Benghazi and the IRS – result: nothing. They refuse to pass the comprehensive immigration reform that would create additional tax revenue of about $60 billion. They refuse to eliminate tax loop holes and subsidies to large corporations. Result: in 2010-12 some 30 companies made a combined profit of over $160 trillion and these companies not only paid no taxes, but actually got tax rebates of over $10 trillion. Even the budget proposal from Rep. Ryan — supposedly the guru of Republican fiscal responsibility — proposed a budget that would actually add $1 trillion to the debt. They refuse to cut waste in the military/industrial complex. The latest waste — we bought $430 million worth of airplanes for Afghanistan. The plans have now been reduced to sharp metal for $35,000.
Enough is enough. It’s time for fiscally responsible people to start voting for Democrats. Even David Stockton (Reagan’s budget director) has recently been quoted as saying “[The] debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.”
The one signature piece of legislation the Democrats were able to pass before the Republicans took over in 2010 was the Affordable Care Act. It had provisions for tax increases and efficiency savings that the CBO estimates will actually save $1 trillion over the next 2 decades. And if Republicans really cared about saving money for the taxpayers and consumers, they would embrace universal health care, as every other industrialized country has done.
Democrats in California have shown the way toward fiscal responsibility. Vote for Democrats to get the rest of our country back on the right track toward fiscal health.
Nancy Eubanks, who lives in Rough and Ready and is a member of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinion is her own and does not reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board.
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