It is discouraging to realize that the difficult issue of whether or not to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts has to be based on partisanship and hypocrisy. In his letter to the editor on Monday, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, invoked the words “Republican” and “Bush” more than 10 times (“Bush tax cuts the opposite of benign”). He continued the unrelenting Democratic subterfuge of politics and class warfare to cloud the issue rather than relying on history and honesty.
Mr. Hoyer ignores the negative history of tax increases going back to President Hoover’s 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which raised tax rates to 63 percent, precipitating the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt then raised the tax rate to a high of 79 percent in 1936, and the U.S. economy went into a double-dip depression with unemployment rates as high as 20 percent in 1938. Mr. Hoyer ignores the history of prosperity after tax rates were adjusted or cut by Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton and, yes, George W. Bush.
Mr. Hoyer’s hypocrisy is evident when he ignores perhaps the most relevant part of the Bush tax cuts - a decrease in dividends and capital-gains taxes. It isn’t only the “wealthy” who benefit from these sources of income. An estimated 65 percent of Americans own stocks, funds or annuities. The income from these sources is used to supplement Social Security and make life easier for the working middle class.
Not extending the Bush tax cuts would amount to a tax increase on these sources of income, reducing disposable income at a time when we are experiencing a severe financial crisis. What is more important - political and class warfare or resolving tax issues that have a tremendous impact on our economy?
WARREN A. MANISON