Déja voodoo

Remember “voodoo economics"? That was the apt term George Bush the Elder, then vice president, used 20 years ago to describe the fiscal policies of his boss, President Ronald Reagan. Reaganomics, as it was called, held that cutting the taxes of the wealthy would increase investment and cause the economy to grow, thereby creating jobs, giving everybody more money to spend and bringing in more tax revenues than before.

Yeah, right.

Reagan wanted to have it both ways: more money for defense and tax cuts for the wealthy. The result was a decade of borrowing and spending, and the inevitable results were huge budget deficits and ballooning federal debt leading to fiscal crisis. It wasn’t until President Clinton’s second term, following several tax increases, that the country regained its fiscal equilibrium—and with it prosperity.

Bush’s son, our current president, apparently was too busy partying at that time to notice what a debacle Reaganomics turned out to be, because he’s now doing everything in his power to revive it.

While spending more money than any president in history on the military, he’s pushing for huge tax cuts for the rich. Business magnates, he says, need the money to invest and create jobs. But that’s nonsense. Interest rates are at historic lows. Plenty of money is available for investment. The problem is not lack of investment; it’s lack of paying customers. Business leaders aren’t investing in products because people don’t have the money to buy them.

If the president truly wanted to stimulate the economy, he’d cut taxes for working people, who will spend their cuts because they need to. And he’d send more federal money to strapped state and local governments so they don’t have to raise taxes—that is, take money out of consumers’ wallets—to make ends meet.

Of course, the rich own the Republican Party. They’re the very people who paid to put George W. Bush in power and $200 million in his re-election war chest. We’re not holding our breath.