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Article published December 29, 2012
Kelly’s tax math bad
Geno Mariotti Butler
Early in the Bush administration, the extravagant financial commitment mandating two wars and 10 years of tax cuts for top earners led to a wild spending spree. These miscues added trillions of dollars to the national debt that carried over into the Obama administration. Obviously, the American electorate believed that after only two years in office, President Barack Obama should have magically stopped the country’s financial bleeding. So, in 2010, the electorate saddled him with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, hellbent on making him a one-term president. The ensuing gridlock sabotaged the president’s ability to move the country forward. In the Dec. 16 Butler Eagle, Congressman Mike Kelly addressed the looming financial crisis (the fiscal cliff) predicted to occur on Jan. 1. If that should occur, taxes will increase — for all taxpayers. Entitlement spending will be slashed. It’s estimated that the average middle-class tax burden will increase by $2,200 in 2013 over 2012. There is no better example of the danger inherent with congressional gridlock than this pending calamity. To fix the national deficit, Kelly said revenue needs to increase while spending needs to decrease. Conversely, Kelly says increasing taxes on top income earners would not make a difference in the deficit. That’s bad math. Under that scenario, where would the revenue then come from? Apparently, Kelly has learned little from the 4.6 percent Bush tax cut, to 35 percent, for top-earners, costing the national treasury trillions of dollars over a decade. Most importantly, these tax cuts failed to produce jobs promised. Kelly calls Obama’s spending “dangerous.” What spending cuts would Kelly have recommended over the last four years? Would he have brought two wars to a screeching halt, before the job was completed; eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency and not aid the victims of natural disasters; eliminate food stamps and unemployment benefits during the worst recession in 80 years; not intervene in a stormy Middle East; bring all our troops home stationed all around the world? Yes, we even have troops on Okinawa. To all of the above, I think not. Sadly, Medicare would be a prime target for spending cuts that certainly would hurt the poor and the elderly. From 1936 to 1980, top tax rates never were set below 70 percent. Apparently, that was the tax stand-ard by which America remained solvent. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, elections are of no value if the voters fail to understand the issues. Case in point: This outgoing Republican Congress has a favorable rating of 11 percent. Yet, this past November, we voted that these same Republican culprits maintain control of the House for yet another two years. I think Jefferson was on to something.