Local view: National Republican policies based on fallacies
National Republicans continue to use inaccurate information to support their arguments that Democratic administrations are the big tax-and-spenders and created the present income inequality gap. From these faulty premises they conclude budget cuts for the working classes are required.
Two charts from usgovernmentspending.com and from inequality.org easily negate these fallacies.
The first chart shows the federal government spending since the time of President Ronald Reagan. It shows that spending increased during Reagan’s administration. The same trend line continued under President Bill Clinton. But the biggest increase in spending occurred under President George W. Bush, even though he received a budget surplus from Clinton. Federal spending leveled off under President Barack Obama.
Under Reagan’s administration and also under George W. Bush the national debt was doubled.
The second chart shows the development of the income inequality gap since Reagan’s administration. Without going into the increases under Reagan and George W. Bush, one can see the income inequality gap issue started long before Obama was elected in 2008. Thus, any claim that President Obama is at fault is not supported. Under Reagan, income taxes on the upper group were reduced to 30 percent. George W. Bush reduced them even further.
It is this kind of factual data that must be considered in political discussions. Opinions are arguable but facts are not. Furthermore, should we repeat our mistakes?
By the way, if one looks at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget it can be seen that programs benefiting the middle class and poor are being put up for elimination while there is no to little decrease in government benefits to corporations and the wealthy. Far from reducing the income inequality gap, his proposals would cause it to explode, it looks to me. Who benefits from that?
At the congressional level, concrete proposals are needed to deal with the problem of income inequality between social classes other than those proposals we know don’t work such as reduced government, reduced taxes on the rich and deregulation of the financial industry. These policies created the present financial problems being faced by many American families.
Increasing the minimum wage, long-term unemployment compensation, keeping jobs in the U.S., reducing costs to students, funding schools adequately, job opportunities, immigration reform, and tax reform on large corporations and the wealthy would get us pointed to a more-just society.
One could question the motivation behind the national Republicans’ continued obstructionism. Republicans’ destruction of the social safety net will increase the gap. Is that really the kind of society Americans want?
Donald E. Maypole of Lake Nebagamon was the first director of the Department of Social Work at the University of Minnesota Duluth and has taught and consulted in Europe, Qatar and China.