Today our nation stands poised on a fiscal cliff. Today we are faced with extreme economic challenges and yet our leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington are blinded by political ambition and self-preservation.
Economics is not an easy subject to master; there are many opinions on the philosophy of any economic planning. The prognosticators analyzing any budget priorities or economic plan have a history of reflecting personal bias supported by twisted statistics to render their own position valid.
So it is on this day that I turn back the hands of time and apply some of the teachings of another man to look forward as we face economic peril fostered on us from our elected leaders in Washington. I also remember that the study of economics comes from a family tree with the roots of basic mathematics. In other words the numbers have to add up to make sense.
“Our present tax system … exerts too heavy a drag on growth … It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking … The present tax load … distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities.”1 There is no doubt we have seen investments and jobs driven overseas by our own tax policies.
“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”2 More taxes on your neighbor while politically popular are not the answer.
“In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”3Taxing the rich as an economic solution to our federal deficit is mathematically folly; there simple are not enough rich people to accomplish the goal.
We need more people working and paying taxes to enable our economy to pay off our debt. “The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.”4There is a solution, “Expansion and modernization of the nation’s productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry … An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment.”5
On this date in history November 25, 1963 we laid to rest President John F. Kennedy. His memory is recalled in the above words on economic policy. They were words of wisdom and a proper solution for our economic woes.
It is time for the Republicans in Congress to embrace the words and economic philosophy of an icon Democrat and it is time for the Democrats to abandon political rhetoric and join together to solve our economic woes. It is time our leaders set aside personal political posturing and pandering to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”6.
Our nation buried the man but let us not fail to honor his memory. It is time to enact his message.
- John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference
- John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.
- John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference
- John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform
- John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery
- John F. Kennedy, Jan. 20, 1961, Inaugural Address