I want to comment on the Mallard Fillmore cartoon strip of Nov. 6. The idea that nobody has to pay for a tax cut because every tax cut increases revenue to the U.S. treasury, as projected in that strip, needs to be thought about carefully. Tax cuts should stimulate the economy to some extent. And everyone would enjoy having less tax to pay.
But to follow Mallard’s premise to its end suggests that to reduce taxes to zero would result in the treasury overflowing with money. Part of the believability of the idea comes from the 1980s when a big bipartisan overhaul of the federal income tax system was made. (Top marginal progressive tax rates were 72 percent; they were lowered greatly to much nearer current rates.) At the same time the tax rates were lowered, government spending was not curtailed, and large deficits were incurred.
The economy at the time improved to everyone’s delight and was attributed to the tax cuts. But the “improvement” more logically should have been acknowledged as the result of deficit spending. The government had more money to spend, but more of it was borrowed. All of us can feel good if we have money to spend and don’t understand the money we are spending will have to be repaid.
I agree with Mallard that we all need to be very concerned about federal deficits and its total debt. The idea that we can improve our situation greatly by lowering taxes seems incomplete and even misleading.
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