Every attack by a progressive is an opportunity to persuade with facts and logic. Recently, I wrote an article about the House and Senate tax cut plans. I posted it on my Facebook page and on my blogsite. The Elmira Star-Gazette ran it on Sunday, December the 9th. It drew a rebuttal from Michael Fitzgerald, a writer from the Finger Lakes Times, who commented: “Quoting Calvin Coolidge-considering what happened in the year following his presidency (1929) is a poor choice to support any argument in favor of a poorly drafted, almost incomprehensible tax bill passed by the House and Senate. Perhaps use Herbert Hoover instead.”
Fitzgerald implies that the Coolidge tax cuts led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed, which is untrue. First, tax cuts do not lead to depressions. After taking office following President Harding’s death in 1923, Coolidge (like Harding) cut taxes throughout his term of five years. Mr. Fitzgerald implies that suddenly, Coolidge cut taxes and the Great Depression fell on us like an avalanche a year after he left office. If tax cuts were responsible for the Great Depression, then why didn’t the Kennedy tax cuts in the 1960’s and the Reagan cuts of the 1980’s cause depressions? They did not. They led to wide and deep prosperity, just like the Coolidge tax cuts of the 1920’s.
To Mr. Fitzgerald’s second point, “perhaps use Herbert Hoover instead,” I would never use Hoover, because his policies were essentially FDR’s.
Hoover raised taxes, raised tariffs and increased government spending. Hoover-Roosevelt policies failed to pull us out of a recession and turned it into The Great Depression. The Harding-Coolidge administration cured the depression of 1920, which was as deep and painful as the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s treasury Henry Morganthau testified before Congress on May 5th 1939. The New Deal was in its’ 7th year. Morganthau said:
“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started And an enormous debt to boot!”
Why do Progressives attack when Republicans cut taxes? First, every religion has a creation myth. And so it is with Progressives and the Democrat Party: it’s that Roosevelt’s policies worked, and that a few so-called smart people can grow the economy by spending taxpayer dollars. But the myth must be preserved, because it burnishes the concept of central planning. Second, it must really annoy the Democrat Party that someone other than them can be Santa Claus. Al Smith, a Democrat stalwart of the 1920’s, said of FDR, “no one shoots Santa Claus,” referring to FDR’s plan, and that of every Democrat since: buy votes with taxpayer dollars. Only they can be Santa. But this betrays something deeper and more sinister. They believe they own all that we earn, and they “give” us what they think we need. Tax cuts at the margins create growth, and this puts to the lie all that they believe.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.