Your Opinion: Are we advancing on tax policy?
Monday, September 26, 2011
After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt enacted policies that cut the income of America’s wealthiest families by 50 percent. Paul Krugman tells this story in his 2004 book “The Conscience of a Liberal”. The rich called Roosevelt a “... traitor to his class”. In a campaign speech Roosevelt responded by saying the “... economic royalists ...” hated him and “... he welcomed their hatred.”
Roosevelt played a strong hand and did what was necessary to secure the means to battle Nazi Germany. The automotive industry was forced into war time production that they otherwise would not have taken. In fact both Ford and GM were heavily involved in car production in Europe to the benefit of Germany. Henry Ford was such an anti-Semite that the Nazis thought of him as the major leader of the Fascist movement in America. In 1938 Ford and a VP at GM received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle which was the highest honor Nazi Germany bestowed on a foreigner.
Today a revitalized President Obama proposes increasing taxes on our rich by a fraction. The richest upper two-tenths of one percent make more income in one year than a median income family makes in a lifetime. To propose that they pay a modest increase in taxes leads to shrill comments from their political employees in Congress of “class warfare”.
Since Reagan the economic policies of our government at the behest of our wealthy royalty have led to the greatest economic disparity between rich and poor since the Gilded Age. The differences are on par with Rwanda.
There have been real advances in the last 30 years. We have the internet and big screen TVs. Cars have improved. Efficiency in found everywhere. At the same time the middle class built after World War II is losing ground steadily. Poverty is moving up rapidly. The truly rich live in gated communities to shield their lavishness from the public for good reason.
A conscious tax policy by Roosevelt during wartime lasted almost 40 years. This was the most prosperous time for the most citizens. Highly taxed wealth did not take profits but plowed the money back into businesses creating jobs and demands for goods. With much less demand from an impoverished public, business now sits on its money. If President Obama could pry some of that capital away from the super-rich it would be a good thing for America.