Fed up with hypocritical Republican notions
To the Editor:
Mr. Dalquist (11/25) claims America is being criticized for Obamacare debt. ACA subsidizes those who can’t afford healthcare — $1 trillion over the next ten years. However, ACA makes no claim on the Treasury nor does it increase the national debt. Half is funded by eliminating “pork” that was Medicare Advantage, one quarter is a tax on Medical devices and drug companies, and a quarter is a tax on those earning more than $250,000 a year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a net surplus of $100 billion in the first decade and $1 trillion in the second decade.
However, America is criticized for the “shutdown” and threatened default on debt payments. Tea Party’s threats since 2010 are estimated by macroeconomic advisers to have wasted $150 billion in corporate output by increasing borrowing costs, lowering economic growth which cost 900,000 jobs. Likewise, the reduction of goods and services by the government has cost $300 billion in lost output. Without Tea Party interference they estimate the unemployment rate would be less than 6 percent.
Mr. Dalquist, opposing ACA, wants me to believe he cares about unborn children. Before ACA healthcare was rationed by wealth, yielding the highest infant mortality rate in the industrial world. ACA provides prenatal care. The Republicans demand food stamp cuts, half destined to feed children. Poor pregnancy nutrition produces underweight babies with weaker learning capacities and fetuses develop hunger traits leading to higher rates of childhood obesity. Republican tax cuts limit low-cost daycare, underfunded education and withhold highly successful early childhood education. Republicans block raising the minimum wage, which is 32 percent, lower than in 1986. Even two parent incomes can’t truly nurture a child: one in four American children are raised in poverty.
Republicans would deny health care, underfeed and under educate children while self-righteously coercing motherhood in that unwelcoming society.
Income equality is not a falsehood
To the Editor:
The commentator, Lawrence Kudlow (Dec. 10), makes several statements that I challenge. His main point stated is that income equality is a falsehood and we should return to economic policy (“trickle down economics”), of less regulation, more tax breaks for corporations, which will filter down prosperity from the top to the middle and lower class. But consider this. Until around 1980, wages kept pace with gains in productivity. Since then, productivity has continued to increase but wages have stagnated. There are more dollars going toward higher corporate profits, dividends, and capital gains than wages. In 2011, the effective corporate income tax dropped to a 40-year low of 12.1 percent. Add in the shrinking estate tax for the wealthiest and other tax advantages and one can see how the wealthy have recovered nicely from the Recession while the other 99 percent of us see taxes rising against shrinking wages.
Kudlow states that yes, the rich have grown richer, but they’ve used those gains also to prosper the lower brackets. But consider this. Low wage jobs are replacing middle-class ones. Sixty percent of the jobs lost in the recession were middle-income, while 59 percent of new positions the past two years were in low wage industries.
Kudlow believes raising the minimum wage will destroy job growth. If the minimum wage had tracked U.S. productivity gains since 1968, it would be $21.72 an hour today. The largest economic boost to our economy is consumer spending and studies by the Economic Policy Institute show that a $15 minimum wage would directly and indirectly benefit 81 million people using those dollars to buy goods and services.
We need job growth yes, but Capitalism hasn’t provided the stimulus for enough growth. It may have to come from federal programs much like FDR’s New Deal that created jobs and lowered unemployment.