RE: “But you’re right that the stimulus got us out of the recession.”
The common refrain that invariably comes out of the left during economic downturns is that the unfeeling Republicans are against stimulus programs to revive the economy because they are cruel and unfeeling.
Are you kidding! What do you think defense spending is? The defense budget is undoubtedly the biggest ongoing government stimulus program of all is is widely supported by virtually all the supposedly free market Republican politicians and many Democrats. Unlike many pure welfare programs, it continues in times of both prosperity and economic downturn. The Republicans support this funding because it directly benefits their own middle class constituents. Cut out this defense spending your will see places like Seattle, Houston, and Los Angeles, all of which all have sizable aerospace industries, going on like support. A place like Fort Hood, Texas will have its residents foraging for aluminum cans overnight if significant defense cuts are made.
The cries for more taxes on the upper middle class and the rich are also problematical because these people are easily able to vote with their feet and move. I recently read that the high tax rate in California has resulted in the departure of one third (50 out of 150) of its highest tax payers. These people are moving to places like Texas and Florida that don’t have state income taxes. They could just as easily move out of the US and renounce their citizenship if they felt that the government was unduly picking on them. This is apparently what a growing number are thinking of doing. These people aren’t just socialite, coupon cutters living on inheritances. In many or most cases they are the entrepreneurs that set up companies that hired thousands of employees. When they leave, jobs leave also.
Many on the left have a short memory of the effects of high taxation. The last time a country truly went after its highest income makers was in the UK starting post World War Two and ending in the 1970s. This was true income redistribution, not the fake sort like in the USA (or like that in the rest of Europe) where high marginal tax rates were mitigated by numerous deductions, tax shelters, or outright cheating which governments chose to overlook.
The result of the high tax rates in the UK was the so called “brain drain” that occurred during this period. Huge numbers of technologically skilled high earners (medical doctors, engineers, etc) simply fled the country for places like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, a loss that crippled the UK for decades to come. (It ended up with the UK government totally corrupting both its tax system and the accounting systems of its private corporations by allowing tax free “perks” to be used in lieu of regular income in order to stop its most talented workers from fleeing. It wasn’t uncommon to see tuition at Eton College, gourmet lunches, free use of company owned villas in mainland Europe, or even prostitutes being doled out as tax free “perks” to favored employees.
The ultra wealthiest UK citizens simply moved to places like Switzerland where the income they made outside the UK wasn’t taxed. When these mega earners moved they often ended up bringing defacto their company headquarters along with them. (Google the current residences of the founders of mammoth, privately held companies like IKEA and ALDI (owners of, among other things, the Trader Joe’s chain of stores). None live in their native countries because of high taxes. When they left jobs invariably followed them.)
What people are seeing now is an economic debacle that resulted directly from an unfettered Federal Reserve Banking system that has promoted deficit spending for all sorts of government funding, both for defense and welfare, for decades. The Republicans always have made made great, faux, wailing sounds about this deficit spending but made no attempt to really control the (privately owned) Fed, its ultimate source, simply because they, like their Democratic brethren, are absolutely dependent on this unfunded spending for re-election. Ethanol anyone!