Letters to the editor on Laffer theories, care for poor, opportunities for all

12/20/2013 12:00 AM

12/19/2013 5:22 PM

Laffer’s theories haven’t worked

The Laffer curve is just a theory, but still the backbone of Republican tax philosophy. The theory’s author is Arthur Laffer, who believes that lower taxes pay for themselves and do not cause deficits.

Laffer was hailed by many conservatives, including President Reagan, and quickly his theory became a rebuke of Keynesian economics. However, the Reagan-era tax cuts produced huge deficits, and America suffered because of trickle-down or supply-side economics.

Though Laffer’s theory failed in the 1980s, it was used again when Republicans passed a new tax bill in 2001. Increasing debt followed and the economy stagnated, followed by a recession. In comparison, the Clinton-era economy grew nicely, even with tax increases signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

It is only out of hubris that anti-government reactionaries keep insisting Laffer’s theories work. History says differently. Laffer’s curve was bad economics and left the country bankrupt. Coupled with failing revenues and a dying economy, the result is still with us today.



Not state’s role

Many letters to the editor argue that it’s the responsibility of the state to care for the poor, needy and elderly. There is a state responsibility to create an environment to allow success, but no guarantee of support is granted by the Constitution.

Does the state have this responsibility? The state can survive only if its energy is on opportunity and growth, not on moral or religious deeds. Time and time again, government social support has been shown to be detrimental and counterproductive in the long run. The good future depends on some pain in the present.

“Forgive them” (Dec. 17 Letters to the Editor) condemned the current governor and leading political party for not making the state enact religious principles in the form of entitlements. There needs to be a distinct division between taxes and social support.

The progressive is proud to have walled off religion, but the wall has two sides. The state should now stop any actions that contain support for any non-state business. Care for the poor, needy and elderly should be the responsibility of the family, people and organizations – where any moral or religious component in our society belongs, not in government.



Need opportunities

Columnist Cal Thomas said that “envy, greed and entitlement are not the things that built America” (Dec. 15 Opinion). But neither did arrogance, greed and selfishness.

The “I built this” philosophy is the ultimate in arrogance. Who is the billionaire who built an empire all by himself?

Only when we sincerely pay attention to doing more for the “common good,” and focus less on taking advantage of “white privilege” (a position that Thomas enjoyed), will the disenfranchised people have a chance. The concern should be to provide opportunities for the millions of people who are looking for work to find jobs that pay living wages, so they can be productive and contribute to a healthy society.

To cut food stamps, Head Start and unemployment benefits and to defeat minimum-wage legislation while at the same time promoting anti-abortion legislation is like saying, “Let’s make sure all the babies get born so we can let them starve.”

Thomas said that the first step is for people to realize they can excel if they apply themselves. To me, it would seem like that would be the second step. The first step would be to make opportunities for advancement available for the people who have the ambition to succeed.



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