Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Mr. Gary Hofmeister's commentary of March 8, 2009, warrants a response - a response from someone who, in 35 years of voting, never voted Democrat until this past election.
Inflation indeed is a danger. But add up the deficits accumulated by our beloved Republican president during the past eight years, and Mr. Obama's proposals look rather tame. Inflation is not purely a monetary phenomenon as you suggest. Unless the printing presses are running unfettered, which they are not, industrial capacity utilization calls the inflation tune. Given our Bush depression, there is no chance we rev up our factories to anywhere near capacity.
Enough already on taxing the rich. Our highest 5 percent of income earners pay an 18 percent tax rate. That is what they actually pay per IRS figures, not what their publicists want us to think. The very rich pay less taxes than us middle-classers. And isn't it surprising how 90 percent of America's banks did not make dumb loans, despite the urging of Mr. Frank and Mr. Dodd? Why didn't the big bank chieftains heed the Wall Street Journal warnings and not make those loans? Bonus envy?
Our government does not want to own companies. But in too many unfortunate instances, idiotic and rapacious management has forced it to.
Some people are paying higher taxes. They can afford it (see 18 percent above). Were it not for the Republican administrations' largesse during the past 40 years, we wouldn't have enormous deficits. Yes, Democrats tax and spend. Republicans spend and don't tax. Which is fiscally sounder? And, by the way, did you know that 25 years ago, the average corporate CEO made 20 times the average Joe's wage? Today, that figure is more than 200 times. And look where the "rich overtaxed" have taken us - to the edge of financial oblivion. Sorry, I don't empathize with them, nor do I think them deserving of anything other than scorn, a paucity of stock options and more than an 18 percent tax rate.
The scientific community is in broad agreement that global warming is man-made and for real. I agree we must find the most cost-effective solutions to our problems. But please, at least stipulate to what the vast majority of credible experts tell us. Most Colorado ski resorts have contingency plans already drawn up about how to get skiers up the mountains to the remaining snow in 25 years. Base developments will be where you work on your tan.
There is no easy solution to our current economic mess. The best solution is time - time to allow individuals and businesses to repair their tattered balance sheets. Time to allow some businesses and individuals to go bankrupt and start again. This is painful. It will continue to be painful and unpleasant. But much of the laissez faire low tax and lower regulation government that you and I, Mr. Hofmeister, have supported for the past 30-plus years is very clearly to blame.
Our business and government leaders on all sides of the aisle have failed us dramatically in the past 40 years and driven us to this abyss. Our strength is our system. And the democratic system is saying these rich gods are swindlers and false prophets. Not an unexpected reaction, don't you think? And certainly not all true. The vast majority of businessmen, big and small, are hardworking and impeccably honest. The system works; big spending or lower taxes may or may not. But barring protectionism, drastic spending cuts and much higher interest rates and taxes on the consumer, we will come out of this better than ever in four to six years.
Time, ladies and gentlemen, time.
Blair R. Picard
Steamboat Springs and St. Charles, Mo.