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Letter to the editor: The wealthy don’t need tax cuts


In his Nov. 14 opinion piece, North Dakota Republican Chairman Kelly Armstrong makes some strange assertions. Not wanting to question his honesty or intelligence, I will assume that he is talking about a different tax reform initiative than the one I have been following.

It is true that our income tax system is very complicated and could use simplification. However, the so-called tax reform (think tax cuts) being considered does not do that. All independent nonpartisan analyses of the current proposals have determined that the major change will be huge tax cuts for the wealthiest people on the planet. Middle class taxpayers will experience only modest cuts and some will actually see tax increases. The federal debt will increase. Note to Republicans in Congress: We already had class war. The rich won! Our disparities of income and wealth concentration are among the largest in the world. The wealthy don’t need tax cuts and I don’t believe most of them are asking.

Armstrong correctly says that real wages have been stagnant since about 1980. But he then argues that tax cuts will raise wages. If that is true, why didn’t the 2001 tax cuts put in place by President George W. Bush do that? Instead, the federal debt exploded, the economy went sour, and he ended his presidency presiding over the Great Recession. On the other hand, President Bill Clinton got a modest tax increase passed while Republicans warned that the economy would tank. But instead, the economy grew and jobs were created. The icing on the cake was a budget surplus for the only time in our lifetime, and the national debt was actually reduced. How many times does the supply side argument need to be discredited before they get it?

Yes, tax cuts are nice. But Republicans in Congress are going after a problem that does not exist. Our economy is healthy and unemployment is at a 17-year low. There already exists idle capital that could be invested if its owners were so inclined. Tax cuts and deficit spending should be saved for times of recession when their stimulus is needed. We should not pass on more federal debt to our children and grandchildren so the wealthiest on the planet can pay less taxes.