LETTER: Know the truth and pass it onTo the Telegram: In his video The Seven Biggest Economic Lies at robertreich.org, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich rebuts the biggest whoppers currently being told:
To the Telegram:
In his video The Seven Biggest Economic Lies at robertreich.org, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich rebuts the biggest whoppers currently being told:
1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else. False. After Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush cut taxes for the rich, median hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, stagnated and dropped.
2. High taxes on the rich hurt the economy. Not true. From WWII to 1981, richest Americans paid a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent or more, yet the economy grew faster during those years than it has since. Small business owners, who create most jobs, wouldn’t be deterred by higher taxes; fewer than 2 percent of small business owners are in the highest tax bracket.
3. Shrinking government generates more jobs. Wrong. It means fewer teachers, firefighters, police officers and social workers, and fewer workers building and maintaining roads, bridges, transit systems and schools.
4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy with additional spending. Untrue. The long-term goal is to reduce debt as a percent of the economy. Budget cuts now will shrink the economy, increase unemployment and reduce tax revenue. The first priority is getting jobs and growth back, and only then should we turn to cutting the deficit.
5. Medicare and Medicaid are killing the budget. Incorrect. Rapidly rising health care costs are the problem. The best ways to slow these costs is the use of government’s bargaining power to control drug, medical supplies and hospital service costs.
b. Move from a fee-for-service system to a fee-for-healthy-outcomes system.
c. Because Medicare has far lower administrative costs than private insurance, make it available to everyone.
6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. No way. It’s solid for 26 years and could be solvent for the next century by simply raising the ceiling on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, now $106,800.
7. It’s unfair that lower-income Americans pay no income taxes. Not true. What’s unfair is lower-income Americans pay a much larger share of their paychecks in payroll taxes, sales taxes, user fees, and tolls than everyone else.
Reich notes that demagogues through history have known that big lies, repeated often enough, start being believed — unless they’re rebutted. Make sure you know the truth, then pass it on.