LETTER TO THE EDITOR: There are other motives at work
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:40 PM
To the editor:
I have recently come to the conclusion that the Republican Party actually favors budget deficits, and the larger the better.
It sounds like sacrilege - how can Republicans, who lay claim to being fiscal conservatives, actually favor fiscal irresponsibility? I believe it is because the overriding goal of the Republican Party is to eviscerate all of the progressive social programs that the Democratic Party has put in place over the past 70 years - programs such as Social Security, Medicare, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Endangered Species Act, minimum wage legislation, the Environment Protection Agency, OSHA and other work place legislation, numerous educational programs, et cetera. The list goes on and on.
So what do budget deficits have to do with dismantling these programs?
I believe it is a cynical strategy to try to force cuts, changes or the elimination of the aforementioned programs. Republican rhetoric to the contrary, here is how their strategy works - they give huge tax cuts primarily benefiting the wealthiest taxpayers in the country thereby significantly reducing the revenue stream which in turn drives the budget into deficit.
There are really only two principal ways to get back into budget balance: (1) raise taxes to increase the revenue stream (Republicans would rather eat their first born because that won’t force the second option); or (2) cut or eliminate existing programs (this is their real goal).
Economists will tell you that the revenue stream can also be increased when unemployment decreases and wages increase (i.e., more workers making more money and, therefore, paying more taxes). Bill Clinton proved that such a model can work from the bottom up (i.e., when the working class is the target of tax and fiscal policy), however, this model has never been proven to work from the top down (i.e., the so-called "trickle down" model). Reagan and both Bushes have proven that the "trickle down" economic model, or voodoo economics as some have referred to it, simply does not work if the extent of the tax and fiscal policy is to give tax relief to the wealthiest among us and to then rely on them to apply some of their tax windfall to the benefit of the working class by investing in a manner that leads to the creation of huge numbers of new jobs.
Time and again the wealthiest recipients of the largest tax reductions have proven that they simply do not act in the manner the proponents of this model claim.
Instead they take their tax reduction windfall and use it for their own purposes. In other words, they act selfishly (rationally in an economic sense) and not altruistically.
I believe that Republican policy makers know full well their version of "trickle down" economics will never work, but to them that is a good thing because it forces us back to the issue of cutting social programs, which is, after all, what this deception is really all about.
So, the next time you hear a Republican make the claim that he or she will balance the budget without raising taxes, or even more deceptively that it will be done by reducing taxes even further, ask yourself how that is possible without huge cuts in programs that have become a part of the fabric of American life.
Perhaps the very wealthy do not need good paying jobs during their working years or Social Security and Medicare in their senior years, but most Americans do, and our tax and fiscal policies should be about what is best for all Americans, not the wealthy few.
By the way, I wonder how many Republicans refuse out of principle to sign up for Social Security and Medicare, when eligible, or to take advantage of other government programs that inure to their benefit? You can probably count them on one hand.