Sunday, November 24, 2013

Republicans Save the Worst Insult for Last and Call JFK One of Their Own

On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death the right-wing is attempting to claim his legacy for their own. After excoriating President Kennedy as soft on communism and a socialist they now call him a conservative, the cruelest cut of all. One of the biggest lies they tout is President Kennedy's tax cuts. Like all great lies it is wrapped in a kernel of truth. Kennedy did indeed cut taxes, but unlike tax give-a-ways to the rich President Kennedy's tax cuts were skewed heavily in favor of the working man. And that's why they worked and "Trickle Down Economics has never worked. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When Republicans Cite JFK's Tax Cuts They Are Not Telling the Truth, -here it is- Bill O’Reilly repeated a familiar refrain to go after President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy in 2013, relying on President Kennedy’s tax cuts in 1962 to make a misleading historical point. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is urging President Obama to follow President John F. Kennedy’s footsteps and propose lowering taxes for the rich to spur economic growth. […] “[I]n 1962, President Kennedy proposed a big tax cut for the rich in order to stimulate the economy and encourage investment. And the rates have been moderating ever since.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/22/11] This comes up from time to time. It’s a little game the right plays to make it seem as if tax cuts are, or at least were, a bipartisan approach to economic growth. Given the spectacular failures of the Bush-era tax breaks, it’s tempting to think even the most stubborn Republican hack would give up and move on, but apparently that’s not the case. So, let’s set the record straight. When Kennedy cut taxes, he lowered the top marginal tax from 91% to 65%. Many congressional Republicans opposed his plan at the time, citing concerns that the treasury couldn’t afford such a tax break — the Republican Party used to be quite serious about fiscal responsibility, but it’s been a half-century — but Kennedy proceeded anyway because the higher rates, instituted during World War II, were no longer necessary. Also at the time, the country had very little debt — Eisenhower, thankfully, kept taxes high throughout the 1950s — almost no deficit. Fiscal conditions, obviously, are far different now. Keep in mind, unlike contemporary GOP policy, Kennedy’s plan distributed “peace dividends” broadly across the wage spectrum. As the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation explained at the time, the bottom 85% of the population received 59% of the benefits of JFK’s tax cut. The top 2.4% received 17.4% of the tax cut, and the top 0.4% received just 6% of it. Those on the right who see themselves as descendants of the Kennedy policy are either deeply confused or they assume you won’t bother to learn the truth. Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Filibuster" is an old Dutch word for "Free-booter or Pirate"

That is exactly what the unprecedented Republican obstructionalism and massive abuse of that rule is, piracy. It is the theft of the treasure of democracy: civil discourse and deliberation. The Senate should have dealt with these thieves the same way President Obama dealt with pirates, quickly and decisively.

And as abuse of the filibuster grew, effectiveness in the Senate fell to record lows.