Republican views not beneficial to all
The Republican presidential Candidates this week discussed their financial plans for the U.S. should they be elected in 2016. It was a conversation where facts had no place and history was paid no respect.
But the candidates did have some degree of agreement within their diverse budgets plans. Each candidate promised to cut taxes and to shrink Big Government. And each candidate, though proposing budgets that would expand the debt significantly, argued in favor of a balanced budget.
Perhaps as significantly as anything said in the debate, candidates Trump and Carson agreed that one problem holding our economy back today is, as Donald trump said”…wages are too high.” Carson said the high unemployment rate in predominately Black communities exists “That’s because of higher wages. If you lower wages that comes down.”
All of the republican candidates other than John Kasich opposed any increase in the minimum wage claiming as Rubio that raising the minimum would not help workers, but raising support for businesses would raise wages.
The Republican candidates have argued on the campaign trial that the Obama economy has left behind the middle class, where incomes have frozen or declined over nearly 30 years. Indeed middle class incomes have suffered, but the republican solution is to oppose an inflation tagged minimum wage, argue that wages are too high, propose lower taxes on business and the richest Americans, and allow the free market health care system in America to continue to pass on its highly profitable price increases without end.
Which of the republican solutions run into problems when facts intrude on the discussion. Consider these facts:
Carson says lower wages in black communities will create jobs. Ok, maybe, but today average black incomes are $606 per week compared to $765 for all races. So Carson’s solution is still lower wages as a help to black families.
Trump claims wages are too high for America to compete globally. Then by further lowering the American standards of living we will have greater prosperity, just not for employees.
Rubio argues we should lower business taxes because that will stimulate economic growth, and it will…for corporations. But according to the New York Times “Corporate profits are at their highest level in the last 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.” If profits would grow the economy then would that not already be happening without additional corporate tax breaks?
And do corporations need more tax breaks? Corporate effective tax rates, the actual rate of tax actually paid after deductions, is now under 20 percent, the lowest since 1931. Yet republicans tell us if we cut corporate taxes even more, increasing the deficit, they will grow the economy, just not by sharing that growth by increasing worker’s wages.
And the republicans all promise to shrink what they call Big Government. This has been a mantra since Ron Reagan claimed government was the problem in America. But Reagan increased the federal workforce by 324,000 during his presidency. Reagan also turned a debt reduction in the federal budget into a debt increase, the debt going from $1 trillion to $2.9 trillion, a 190% increase.
In 2012 the federal government had almost a million fewer employees than the last year of the Reagan administration. Big Government, as a percentage of population was 7.4 percent in 1988 and is 6.9 percent under President Obama. The Big Government argument has been Republicans expanding government while decrying it at the same time.
Finally, cutting taxes does not increase revenue. The only thing that policy has increased in the last 40 years have been the federal deficit.
Republicans plan for an economic boom if you are a big corporation, just not for everyone else.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.