The Unsettling Truth About “the Good Old Days”

Remember the Good Old Days? Back when everything was better? When the world was full of opportunity… and the government didn’t make your life miserable?If you do, you need to take your rose-colored glasses off. Because you’re almost certainly living in a fantasy world. Truth be told, the Good Old Days you’ve heard about aren’t what you thought they were.

And I have the numbers to prove it. If you want to get back to when America was on top of the world, you need to see this. Because almost everything you’ve been told is probably wrong.

If You Want Tax Relief, You’re Probably Backing the Wrong Party

Most of today’s conservatives have relatively short memories. Some remember Reagan… but probably not his specific policies. Most conservatives don’t realize Bill Clinton cut taxes more than Reagan.

Under Republican icon, Dwight Eisenhower, the highest marginal tax rate sat at 92%. Under Lyndon Johnson, it dropped to 77%. That’s right: This highest marginal tax rate in history – outside of WW II – was under a Republican. It dropped 16% under a Democrat.
And under “conservative” president Richard Nixon, taxes on capital gains rose 9%.

Under Reagan maximum tax rates dropped from 70% to 28%. Which may seem like a big deal… but the drop applied to a vastly different income level.

The change in rates mirrored a change in incomes effected. The 70% rate applied to incomes over $215,400. The new “lower” rate was applied to incomes over $30,950… or just 28% of the old rate. Which added a huge number of Americans to the new maximum rate.

So, Reagan’s “cut” wasn’t quite what it seemed. This “conservative” traded quality for quantity. Which means the rich paid less in taxes, while the middle class absorbed the difference.

Even “ultra-liberal” Jimmy Carter raised the threshold for those facing the highest marginal tax rate. Not by much… but could you use a good chunk of $12,200 every year?

Oh – and, under Reagan – the capital gains tax rose 8%.

Economic Growth May Not Be Where You’d Expect to Find It

The longest period of unbroken period of economic growth in recent years? The Kennedy/Johnson years. A close second? The Clinton Administration.

The worst recession in recent years? The so-called “Great Recession” – that began under George W. Bush.

That’s right Republicans inherited a booming economy… and left the nation in a complete mess just eight years later. On the bright side, the Obama/Biden administration oversaw a massive come-back… and handed off a booming economy to Donald Trump.

A boom Trump has squandered… as he spent nearly 20% of his time in office at his golf resorts. Even as the Coronavirus pandemic worsens, he’s out playing golf. In fact, Trump has played golf more than twice as often as Obama in his first term.

Trump berated Obama for playing golf, but Trump claimed over and over again, he “wouldn’t have time to play golf.” Not bad for a guy who’s spent 20% of his days as president on the golf course.

Of course, golfing is a sure sign a president has his eye on improving his country’s economy.

This seems like just another step in a pattern: A party inherits a growing economy… under their management, growth reverses… and the opposing party has to pick up the pieces.

• Hoover’s policies led to the Great Depression, and FDR led us out.
• Bush’s policies led to the Great Recession, and Obama led us out.
• Now Trump’s policies have led to another recession… and it’s up to Biden to lead us out.

The truth is, the Good Old Days were only good thanks to Democratic policies. Every time Republicans gained control of the economy, we saw a downturn or an outright recession.

The numbers don’t lie. Even if Conservative pundits do. If you want a return to the “Good Old Days,” you need to back the left.

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Fowler, M., “From Eisenhower to Obama: What the Wealthiest Americans Pay in Taxes,” ABC News. Jan 18, 2012.
Dale, D. and Lybrand, H., “Fact check: Trump has spent far more time at golf clubs than Obama had at same point,” CNN(dot)com. My 5, 2020.
Polti, D., “Trump Insists Obama Played More Golf as President. The Numbers Say Otherwise,” Slate(dot)com. Jul 12, 2020.

Surprise! Coronavirus Relief Favors the Rich

The GOP sure takes care of its masters.

A full quarter of the recently passed $2 trillion relief bill is earmarked for giant corporations. These are the same folks who used billions in Trump tax savings to buy back stock… instead of investing in the economy.

Even worse, Trump crippled congressional oversight by announcing he’d ignore the bill’s requirements for an independent inspector general. Instead, he will only allow reporting he approves personally.

Now, the Washington Postreports, tax changes in the relief package will largely benefit people with annual incomes of $1 million or more. These changes were inserted into the bill by Senate Republicans.

According to a report by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), more than 80% of the benefits go to a small group of high earners. How small a group? About 43,000… out of our population of over 320 million. Just one of these tax breaks will cost taxpayers a whopping $90 billion. And that’s in 2020 alone.

These tax breaks go mostly to people who invest in hedge funds or own real estate businesses. People like Donald Trump and his cronies.

Republicans are funneling relief money into the pockets of the rich. Meanwhile, Americans are dying and going broke. No wonder Trump wants to hamstring congressional oversight!

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Sources:

Snell, K., “What’s Inside The Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package,” National Public Radio. Mar 26, 2020.

Lanard, N., “Trump Says He’ll Ignore Key Oversight Provision in Stimulus Bill,” Mother Jones. March 28, 2020.

Stein, J., “Tax change in coronavirus package overwhelmingly benefits millionaires, congressional body finds,” The Washington Post. Apr 14, 2020