Letter - Wegner 11-18-23

Posted 11/18/23

Writer states current government financial struggles are based in tax cuts to wealthy

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Letter - Wegner 11-18-23


To the Editor:

An immediate government shutdown has been averted. A short-term stopgap measure has been passed and signed by the president. However, fully-funded government operations will be on hold after February 2024, until two more funding bills get passed in January and February.

Passage of those two bills will be blocked by House Republicans unless they contain provisions for reducing the nation’s debt. Do these House pirates not realize that it was Republican presidents and legislators who, over the past 50 years, cut-and-cut-and-cut taxes for the wealthy, until insufficient revenue was collected for paying down the debt in an orderly way?  

Government debt began increasing in 1982 with President Reagan’s rate reductions for wealthy families and corporations. Those reductions were supposedly going to trickle down to the middle class - I never understood how this mechanism was supposed to work. Reagan also initiated two outright tax-cuts for the wealthy. President George Bush followed suit in 2003 and 2008. I refer you to studies  conducted in 2015 and 2019, which assessed the results of these tax cuts.  

A 2015 study performed by the London School of Economics found that 50 years of tax cuts have only helped the rich. They found that tax cuts simply exacerbated inequality. University of California at Berkeley did a follow-up in 2019, finding that Trump tax-cuts lifted the fortunes of the ultra-rich, so that the 400 richest American families paid lower taxes in 2018 than did most members of the American middle class.

A later study by King’s College London, stated in summary that “our recent research shows that the case for low taxes on the rich is weak.” Tax cuts for the rich since the 1980s have worsened income inequality without boosting economic performance. Higher taxes on the rich makes perfect sense.

Dave Wegner
Sioux Falls