To the Editor:
Most Americans believe that they would be wealthier if they paid lower taxes. In this they are quite wrong as the following facts show.
1. The worst depression in American history came after the low taxes of the presidency of Herbert Hoover in 1928-32.
2. President Roosevelt's modest increase in taxation in 1933 did little good and America in 1938 fell back into depression.
3. Roosevelt and Congress raised taxes and borrowed money which brought America both victory in war and prosperity at home.
4. Presidents from Harry Truman through Jimmy Carter continued high taxation (the top income bracket under Eisenhower was 96 percent) with the result that GDP rose two and a half percent a year, every year; and not just for the wealthy.
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5. The end of the Golden Era, as the years from 1945-80 came to be called - came in when Reagan, saying government was the problem rather than the solution, slashed taxes and the growth of GDP crept to a crawl.
6. Clinton in the 1990s raised taxes, balanced the books, and saw employment soar.
7. Bush followed Reagan's pattern, ran a huge deficit, fought two wars without asking Congress for money, and caused the greatest recession since 1929.
8. Obama did not cause the recession of 2008. Bush did. Obama had to wrestle with the consequence of it. He chose not to follow the policy of austerity, as the Europeans did, but that of tax and spend. He did not make as much progress as he had hoped to do because of Republican opposition to taxation.
There's the facts, and very impressive they are. Four presidents - Hoover, Roosevelt briefly in 1938, Reagan and Bush tried lowering taxes and all saw an economic downturn. Roosevelt, those in the Golden Era, Clinton and Obama increased taxes and saw an economic upturn.