Union Democrat staff

Larry Kudlow column misleading

To the Editor:

Larry Kudlow, in his Union Democrat column "Obama's comment about Reagan misleading" (4-18) is a pot calling the kettle black. Reagan's Economic recovery Act of 1981 reduced individual tax rates by 23 percent, reduced the top marginal rate from 70 percent to 50 percent and accelerated the pace at which corporations could write off new investments, amounting to $143 billion in tax relief over each of the following 4 years.

However, 2 months later, he asked for nearly a third of it back because of concerns for the deficit, which would grow from 2.6 percent of the Gross National Product in 1981 to 6 percent in 1983.

Kudlow fails to mention that Reagan scorned the idea of closing loopholes, but within weeks of his tax cut he and his advisors were asking Congress for "revenue enhancements". Guess whose euphemism for tax increases was this? You guessed it: Larry Kudlow, then the Assistant Director for Economics and Planning in the Office of Management and Budget. He told the New York Times: "There is no better way to sell economic theory than by the euphemistic route"

Former Senator (and Republican and close friend with Reagan) Alan Simpson, while sitting on the federal commission looking for solutions to the current deficit crisis, said: "Let's just disengage ourselves from the myth that Reagan never raised taxes." Among these: 1982 gas tax; 1983 increasing payroll taxes for lower and middle income families; the 1984 closing of corporate loopholes; the '86 Tax Reform Act, increasing taxes on corporations by $120 billion over 5 years - the largest such increase on business ever. And as Governor of California, he increased state spending by 177 percent in his first term, and raised taxes to 30 percent of the state general fund.

Mr. Kudlow looks to be a rhetorician right from the pages of Plato's Gorgias: using rhetoric as a means of deceit instead of truth.

Donn Hohengarten