David Cay Johnston puts a hurt on the myth of tax cuts

Not that some people won’t listen, especially the MSM: No, they don\'t improve wages or the economy, except for a few rich people

Johnston is a man to be listened-to, carefully. He’s a former NYT investigative journalist, someone many in our Flaccid Fourth Estate would do well to emulate, if they wanted to bother looking up from their steno pads. He’s written several books, including two stunners, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill, which exposes hidden subsidies, rigged markets, and corporate socialism, and Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else, which lays bare the machinations in Washington to make our lives harder so a few can have extra fluffy pillows.

Read the whole post through; he lays the case out clearly – tax cuts don’t stimulate the economy, and they don’t help the great majority of Americans.

This comes on the heels of the Bernstein piece I posted the other day and Robert Reich’s new book, through which I’m making my way as you read this – Aftershock. Reich explains, as many of us have, that the real crisis in the American economy is falling wages for most people. He points out that, in the late 70s, the richest of the rich owned about 9 percent of the country’s wealth. Fast forward 30 years, and that number was more than 23 percent. Care to guess when a similar hoarding of wealth at the top took place in recent history? Bingo, the 1920s, right before the Great Depression.

There were several triggers to the current Depression – yes, it is – including the repeal of Glass-Steagle, the Bush tax cuts, and the refusal of both Democratic and Republican administrations to regulate derivatives. But the fundamental problem has been growing since Ronald Reagan took office. The great majority of Americans have lost ground, and, with Bush, their tax burdens actually increased relative to their richer fellow citizens. This is part of the reason why so many Americans were strung out on credit, not because they went on buying sprees at Best Buy, but because they were trying to make ends meet. And in the first decade of the 20th Century, when – let’s never forget – the Rs completely controlled the federal government, incomes actually dropped. Not just in terms of inflation or buying power, but actual number of dollars taken home.

Now, with the safety net weaker than ever – part of the design, btw – and programs like Social Security on the block, most of us face a dreary future indeed, unless Obama and the Dems start showing some conscience, and some cojones.



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