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Weighs in on tax policies

August 14, 2012
Messenger News

To the editor:

Tax cuts for the super rich?

Do tax cuts for the super rich help the economy?

Compare a time of no income tax to a time with a 91 percent income tax bracket.

From 1870 to1912 there was no U.S. income tax. From 1947 to 1999, the top income tax bracket ranged from 28 percent to 91 percent. Both periods had the same average per capita growth rate of 2.2 percent.

Look at 1951 through 2004. Look at 18 years with the lowest income tax rates brackets.

Seven of the 18 years had some of the highest unemployment, the worst GDP growth, the worst employment growth and worst investment growth of the entire period from 1951 to 2004.

From 2004 thru 2009 on average 13,000 jobs per month were lost. The Bush tax cuts became law mid-2003.

Maybe history can suggest some options.

The 1936 U.S. Olympic rowing team was composed of kids from working - and middle-class families in the midst of the Depression. They could barely afford lunch, much less a trip to Berlin.

Several paid their college tuition and living expenses from money earned through the National Youth Administration, one of several new government programs of FDR's presidency. The championship race times: USA 6:25.4, Italy 6:26.0, Germany 6:26.4. Just one second separated the three boats.

The national debt grew larger from the cost of FDR's programs. Americans collectively owed themselves more money while the nation gained in real wealth and battled one of the greatest wastes of all ... the waste of idle workers.

In 1933, unemployment was peaking at 24.9 percent. FDR's administration created another program, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Three million undernourished and poorly clothed young men enrolled. Average enrollee: 18 to 19 years old.

The 18-year-olds turned 26 in 1941. The average American soldier in World War II was 26 years old. Those 26-year-olds helped earn the recognition for America's Greatest Generation, living their finest hour: World War II -1941-1945.

Should the next president invest in infrastructure projects? Raise teacher pay to keep and attract top talent? Increase the minimum wage? Most any program would appear less of a risk than a tax cut for the super rich.

Chuck Kotlarz

Fort Dodge



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