Letter: Uninformed electorate refuses to face facts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2021

In his Friday column, Byron York cites a Congressional Budget Office analysis that indicates the Build Back Better plan will increase the national debt by $367 billion over 10 years. Try as I may, I can’t find Mr. York’s op-ed piece where he expressed such grave concern over the same agency’s analysis showing the Trump tax cuts would cause a $1.9 trillion increase in the debt — five times that of the Build Back Better plan. He just may have cornered the market on hypocrisy!

Mr. York states, “Americans aren’t stupid.” While that may be true, it certainly seems that many of us are either terribly naïve about economic matters or too intellectually incurious to critically question political claims such as “corporate tax cuts will pay for themselves in economic growth.” The Trump tax cut for American corporations would have required 5.24% annual economic growth over 10 years just to get back to the same level of tax collections at the end of that period that existed before the cuts. During that 10-year period, another $1.2 trillion would be added to the national debt. To be debt-neutral over 10 years, economic growth would have to be over 9.8% annually. It should be noted that the 5.24% growth figure greatly exceeds the 2.5% actual growth rate during the Trump administration. The U.S. economy has never achieved a sustained annual growth of 9.8% and, in fact, has only averaged 3.18% since the end of World War II.

We’ve all heard the conservative mantra about “tax and spend” liberals. The truth is that both ends of the political spectrum like to spend. The difference is that conservatives practice “borrow and spend” economics. During my 73 years, this country has added more to its national debt under Republican administrations than under Democratic administrations.

President John Adams, one of our founding fathers said, “Facts are stubborn things.” Unfortunately, politicians and an uninformed electorate are even more stubborn in their refusal to face up to the facts.

— Thomas J. Strini