By Mack Rights
A member of the Bernie Sanders’ fan club named Ester Bloom wrote a piece for The Atlantic called “When America Was ‘Great,’ Taxes Were High, Unions Were Strong, and Government Was Big- The bygone nation Donald Trump’s supporters yearn for looks awfully liberal, at least in terms of economic policy.”
Our very own Chaplain Ayesha Kreutz dragged me into her dungeon-like office and started bladesinging with her sword until I agreed to write this response. The sound of her blade cutting the air at a speed just a bit slower than that of light sent piercing metaphorical daggers into my ears until blood was dripping down my neck. I surrendered quickly, “Yes, ma’am. Please stop. Please, have mercy.”
Our liberal Bernie Sanders sycophant Ester Bloom started by making fun of Donald J. Trump for trying to make America Great AGAIN. Apparently, she and her cohorts have put a lot of effort into making America ungreat, and she’s not ready for that to get fixed. However, at least she was honest enough to point out that America was indeed great in the 1950s.
To most Democrats, the 1950s were awful. Everybody was oppressed, and their communist-spy buddies were being harassed by McCarthyism. Even though she admits that America was indeed great in the 1950s, one can only infer from this woman that America must have actually sucked back when it was great. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but liberals don’t.
She then quoted Russell Berman making the racist argument that “white Americans these days are pessimistic to the point of despair:”
White Americans—and in particular those under 30 or nearing retirement age—have all but given up on the American Dream. More than four out of five younger whites, and more than four out of five respondents between the ages of 51 and 64 said The Dream is suffering.
She and her liberal conspirators are implying that only white people are educated enough to see the writing on the wall. She and her liberal editors must think that this implication is totally appropriate for The Atlantic. Rather than take responsibility for supporting the Democrat Party of Oppression and Abortion of Minorities, she tries to imply that whites are somehow racist because only they seem to have been educated enough to see what’s going on. In her eyes, blacks are apparently too stupid to see the truth. Either that or they love living in the squalor that is the future for many many unsuspecting Americans. That’s kind of racist liberals. Blacks aren’t as stupid as you assume, and they don’t love being poor.
However, she did bust out some questionable arguments that America was great back then because of high taxes, strong unions and big government, as stated in the title of her piece. She writes:
Still, Trump’s supporters might not appreciate what an economic return to the ’50s—even a ’50s lacking overt discrimination against women and political, racial, and sexual minorities—would entail. The ’50 were, as Stiglitz puts it, “a time of war-induced solidarity when the government kept the playing field level.” In other words, they were a time of Big Government. And Big Labor: As Alternet reports, “By 1953, more than one out of three American workers were members of private sector unions. That means there was a union member in nearly every family.”
Then there’s the matter of taxes. Though a conservative writer at Bloomberg View scoffs at the oft-cited statistic that the top marginal tax rate in the ‘50s was an astounding 91 percent, even she admits that “the Internal Revenue Service reckoned that the effective rate of tax in 1954 for top earners was actually 70 percent”—vastly higher than it is today. Indeed, for most of the past 100 years, tax rates have been much higher than they are now, including during some boom times.
Here is my response.
In the 1950s, government wasn’t anywhere near as big as it is today. President Eisenhower is famous for golfing nearly a thousand times during his eight years in office. He’s also famous for saying that, since he couldn’t shoot the members of Congress, he’d go golfing. Instead of passing legislation, he went golfing, sort of like Calvin Coolidge’s hands-off method of governing in the 1920s- “The business of America is business.”
While taxes were indeed high, there were many ways to avoid paying those taxes by getting deductions. One of the great ways was to create jobs. Unlike today, there wasn’t fifty government entities crawling up your butt every time you created a job. There weren’t Obamacare fees and fines. There was no OSHA, EPA or any of the other Stasi-like bureaucracies with their boots on the neck of the American citizen. Starting a business was easy, simply because the government wasn’t so big and in the way.
Regarding unions, they were nowhere near as powerful as they are today. Today, the government workers are unionized. That didn’t happen until Kennedy became president. Not even the socialist FDR would allow government employees to unionize, but Kennedy did. Think about it. If the government is so corrupt that its workers need to be unionized, shouldn’t it just be overthrown.
Now, I’m not saying that this is why Castro had Kennedy whacked. I think it has more to do with the fact that Kennedy was calling for lower tax rates. Referring to the Democrats in America, who served as Castro’s “useful idiots,” as Stalin used to called them, Castro didn’t like how Kennedy was telling his people in America that government could prosper while taking less from the people. Castro was so successful at teaching the Democrats a lesson by spraying Kennedy’s brains all over his wife that, even today, the Democrats admire and love their President Obama for opening up Cuba, even though the leader of Cuba had Kennedy whacked- think about that one. Democrats are happy to do business with the guy that assassinated their beloved Kennedy- that’s messed up and morally corrupt. I guess it’s no surprise then that so many Democrats celebrated the recent freeing of John Hinckley Junior, who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan, whom Democrats hate. CNN even smeared the Reagans as “harsh” for criticizing the political decision of freeing this Democrat-Party hero.
Regardless, the unions didn’t have the power that they have today. The unions in the government have fully bankrupted our nation with pension demands and high wages. Without our government’s ability to print money, we would be completely bankrupt because of the cost of unionized government labor. In the 1950s, only workers for private-sector companies were unionized. The workers got a good wage, but they weren’t bankrupting the auto industry like they did in 2009 by forcing GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy protection. After bankrupting the companies with the huge cost of labor, the unions forced Obama to steal the company from the bond holders and the shareholders, only to give much of it to the UAW (that’s a union). Don’t tell me that unions in 1950 were anywhere near as strong as they are today.
As well, back then, corporations didn’t have alternatives. There was no NAFTA to allow the companies to move manufacturing to Mexico. Nixon hadn’t yet opened China, so the Chinese serfs were still at the mercy of their merciless communist masters. Our jobs weren’t being shipped off to slave labor in other socialist countries where the people either accept their lives of squalor or die at the hands of their masters. America created and manufactured everything back then. Unions just ensured that people got a good living while doing it. They weren’t destroying capitalism in the name of socialism, as they are these days.
Back then though, American was also doing super well because the boys that didn’t die in WWII came back to the States. They had a bunch of money that they’d made in the war and a need to buy a house to settle down. The women were also in the workplace because so many men had left. In other words, people were loaded with money because they didn’t have time to spend it during the War. Demand for houses created a demand for people to build houses at a time when many families went from only one bread earner to two. Things were booming, FDR was dead, the government was out of the peoples’ way, and it was easier and logical to start a business rather than waste your money paying taxes on your income.
Now, let’s take a quick look at historical tax rates. Stanford has a nice historical chart here. Ester Bloom writes:
Everyone agrees that the midcentury boom times began after Allied soldiers returned in triumph from World War II. But when did they wane? The economist Joe Stiglitz, in an article in Politico Magazine titled “The Myth Of The American Golden Age,” sets the endpoint at 1980, a year until which “the fortunes of the wealthy and the middle class rose together.”
Joseph Stiglitz is a famous socialist economist from the Bill Clinton administration. Nothing he says should be taken seriously outside of a Marxist university professor salon. Notice that he says it ends in 1980, the same year that Ronald Reagan was elected and right before he lowered the top tax rate to 28% from over 70%. Over the next eight years, actual tax revenues to the government doubled from $450 billion to $900 billion. The deficit only went up because Congress spent so much money.
By lowering the tax rates to more reasonable levels, rich people didn’t go to extreme lengths to avoid paying taxes. They actually paid them. Weird, huh. It’s easier to be willing to pay the government when the government isn’t a parasitic thief with a gun to your head.
If you’ll notice on that Stanford chart, before 1970, only those making more than $400,000 a year were supposed to be paying the highest tax rate. After 1970, those making over $200,000 were supposed to pay the highest rate. Contrary to what Stiglitz and Bloom contend, the 1970s were horrible. It was a decade of stagflation, meaning high inflation, low growth and high unemployment. The Dow Jones Industrial average started the decade around 900 and change, and it ended the decade in the same range. The 1970s was a decade of higher taxes, low growth, high inflation, high unemployment, gas lines, high costs of living, a weak President Carter, a lost Vietnam War, an Iranian Hostage crisis, and an impotent President Carter telling us to wear a sweater because heating the house costs too much.
Only a person who misunderstands the meaning of “great” would call that great. But Joseph Stiglitz and Ester Bloom want you to think that the 60s and the 70s were greater than the 1980s. Yeah, I don’t know guys.
The 1980s began with Ronald Reagan, the hostages being released on the day of his inauguration, a dealing with inflation by raising interest rates and forcing us to suffer through a necessary recession to break the stagflation fever, a buildup of our military, a beat down of the communists in the USSR, a gold-medal Olympic hockey victory of our amateurs over the Soviet professionals, a tripling of the Dow Jones Industrial average, low unemployment, the invention of the synthesizer and happy-go-lucky pop music, big hair, fast cars, Mr. T pitying the fool and many unhappy enemies of America.
Bottom line liberals, America is always better when we have small government, low taxes and weak unions. The only people who disagree are those who make a living off oppressing others by wielding big government, high taxes and strong unions. Oppressors got to oppress, and that’s how they do it. A man without the burden of these Democrat-Party weapons of oppression on his back is a man who is free. Freedom is great. See Frederick Douglass for more on that.