Taxes & prosperity, single-issue politics

Blunt Instruments

James Kloppenberg’s article “Two Cities, Two Americas” (October 26) is refreshing in its optimism that America’s elected leaders might soon be able to build consensus and move forward. Some of us recall the days when principled leaders on both sides of the aisle could meet, listen, consider, compromise, and move substantive legislation through to completion. Tip O’Neill was able to share a drink, a joke, and some legislative progress with Ronald Reagan. George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton were similarly gifted at working with opposition majorities in Congress. Perhaps we will see that again, and may it be soon.

One statement in the article strikes me as odd: “Much higher tax rates on the wealthy failed to blunt economic expansion in the three decades following World War II.” But the “Right Reverend New Dealer John Ryan,” whom the article cites correctly as a progressive FDR supporter, also noted in his 1935 book A Better Economic Order that if a luxury comparable to the automobile “were now invented which would be within reach only of the rich and comfortable classes, and for which they had a powerful appetite, consumption would be increased...

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