Reasons for income inequality
David Leonhardt’s Aug. 10 column did not identify the reason for the flattening of incomes for middle- and lower-class workers while the top earners skyrocketed, even though the answer is right in every study done on the subject. All of these studies on income inequality prove before 1980 wages grew the same for all classes and after the top grew rapidly while the rest has remained flat. What happened in 1980? Republicans view it as a seminal moment in our country’s history — Ronald Reagan and trickle-down, supply-side economics was foisted upon us.
From Reagan to Bush to Romney to Trump, the Republican mantra has been the upper income is paying too much in taxes and and the rest of us don’t pay enough.They justify this position by promising if we lower upper income taxes the economy will take off. There is zero evidence it has happened, in fact the opposite did. Bill Clinton raised taxes on upper incomes, balanced the budget, had more jobs and higher GDP than Reagan. Bush’s eight years was a disaster with Obama having more jobs, lower deficits and higher GDP while raising taxes on upper incomes.
J Duncan, Wichita
It is beyond disheartening to read and hear of the recent gathering of big-money interests to plot their strategy to use their vast financial resources to influence legislators and legislatures toward their narrow self-interests, both nationally and regionally.
Our best hope is that there will be enough sensible people across the country, including Kansas, who will see through this charade and turn a deaf ear to those voices that are trying to convince them to use their vote and influence against their own self interest. It is past time to work toward the common good, and act in ways that provide adequately for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities, including health care for all, educational opportunities, food security, and other human services.
It is unimaginable to even think of extending tax breaks to the wealthy to the detriment of the safety net that is so critically important to so many, who otherwise live with little hope for themselves and their children.
Bill Zuercher, Hesston
Characterizing the 2017 session
Dave Trabert characterizes balancing the state budget as a gigantic tax increase (Aug. 10 column). He knows there must be inefficiencies, and if those could be eliminated, there would be no need for balancing anything. He argues that public schools cannot succeed if you “just throw money at the problem”. He quibbles with, and parses, court cases, which he argues show that the Kansas Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to rule in school funding cases.
Here are the problems with Trabert’s arguments. If more than 330,000 LLCs had not been partially brought back into funding (by restoring taxes earlier eliminated, not by a huge tax increase), the state would not be able to continue to provide roads, schools, law enforcement, and children’s health programs. Many of us consider those important. The public schools have never had money thrown at them, and they are essential. No solutions here, just a misleading point of view.
Dave Crook, Derby
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