13 June, 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Re: Read my lips…
Ever since the first President Bush uttered those words—and actually since long before—Republicans have made the mantra “no new taxes” their overriding priority. Heeding the command of the upstart Grover Norquist, they have even been required to sign pledges to oppose tax increases, no matter how dire the circumstance, and have worked instead to cut taxes for the already wealthy.
Now, finally, I read that Kansas State Senators have voted to increase taxes, even overriding a veto by Sam Brownback, who only this year lost his lead as the nation’s most unpopular governor, the poster child for supply side economics. For years he preached the gospel of tax cuts and resulting economic growth, and for years his state continued to disprove this long-discredited economic theory. As Michael Tomasky wrote in his New York Times op-ed piece:
As the rest of the country was growing at rates of just above 2 percent, Kansas grew at considerably slower rates, finally hitting just 0.2 percent in 2016. Revenues crashed. Spending was slashed, even on education: In March, the State Supreme Court ruled that state-level school spending was unconstitutionally low. The court is ideologically mixed, but its ruling was unanimous. The experiment has been a disaster.
Is it not time, finally, to recognize that this linchpin of Republican economic principles has been tried, tested, and proved an unmitigated failure? Will you, Congressman, continue to promote this disproven theory that tax cuts for the wealthy are the panacea for the US economy? Are we all to follow the disastrous lead of Kansas before we recognize this simple truth: that the function of government is to provide essential services, which cannot be provided without paying for them—or continuing to go more deeply into the debt for which you are eager to blame Democrats, but which is equally your responsibility?
Tax cuts, you argue, must be offset by cuts in spending. But spending—on everything but the military—is already cut to the bone, and people are suffering as a result. You cannot in good conscience, for the benefit only of the wealthy, impose more austerity upon them.
Peter Clothier, Ph.D.