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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 1

December 01, 2012

Cheap stunt will not divide and conquer


To the editor:

This letter is in response to “Obama voters have made their bed.” (Nov. 17, 2012)

It is an interesting sociological phenomenon how groups of people can view the same incident and interpret it so differently. For example, the way the right responded to President Obama’s decisive election victory.

One major highlight to be taken here was the indisputable fact that this election could not be bought. Despite the Citizens United ruling and the unfathomable influx of cash from right-wing billionaires and various super PACs, the people spoke. In a democracy, the majority rules, and the Democrats won. Two times in a row, as a matter of fact.

I question the validity of the writer’s claim that the Democrats have divided this nation into two Americas. Such terms as class warfare, moochers, givers and takers became this year’s version of terrorist, socialist and Kenyan born. It is a cheap stunt designed to instill fear and thus divide and conquer. It did not work then and, thankfully, it did not work now.

As to the claim that the Affordable Health Care Act is causing layoffs. I saw one study that said that a major pizza chain (threatening layoffs) could add 11 cents to its product and provide its employees with health care. I know many who would pay it. This is a virtue known as empathy.

The fear-mongering forecast of doom and gloom for the next four years rings eerily familiar to the same negativity following the 2008 election. Since that time, we now have health care, Osama bin Laden is dead, the Dow Jones has doubled, the war in Iraq has ended and we have had 38 months of consecutive job growth. Did I mention G.M.?

The half truths, untruths and total misrepresentation of facts by those on the right brings to mind an old adage of H.L. Mencken: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

Thomas H. Rockwell
Hagerstown



Tax rates, revenue and the rich


To the editor:

Everyone knows that the country is facing major fiscal issues. Our national debt exceeds GDP, we are running trillion-dollar deficits, we have over $100 trillion in unfunded federal liabilities, etc. There are only two options to solve this issue; we either decrease spending or increase revenue. Between all of the federal government handouts there are very few in this country who have an incentive to promote decreased spending. So how do we increase revenue?

There are those who are now arguing that we increase revenue by taxing the rich at a higher effective rate. The main issue with this is that higher tax rates on the rich do not necessarily correlate to higher revenues. An easy way to visualize this is to think about a business selling clothes. They can raise the price of clothing from $20 to $400, but this will most likely result in people buying less from that store. In a world with competition, consumers will just go to another store selling clothing for less than $400. They can afford to move and, in a world where world governments are competitive and there are alternatives for the rich, this could effectively lower the tax base.

The real determinate of how much revenue the government collects is economic growth; the more prosperous the country, the larger the tax base, the higher tax revenue is. If the tax base remains the same for the next 10 years you can tax the rich 100% and it will not even put a dent in our projected obligations. When rating agencies look at the U.S. to see whether or not we will be able to pay our future obligations, they forecast economic growth, which shows them what kind of tax base the country will have.

Even if you believe you can increase revenue by increasing rates on the rich, do you really think increasing taxes on the rich will make the economy grow faster? The answer to that question depends on who you think is more productive with capital. Do you think letting the rich keep their money and invest it will produce more economic growth or will letting the government take it and have politicians spend it produce more economic growth? 

Andrew Joliet
Hagerstown

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