, Gloucester, MA


August 29, 2013

My View: On taxes and courage

“One man of courage makes a majority.”

Andrew Jackson, quoted in John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage.”

In these recent pages it was written that tax increases are good, and deserve, in effect, a complimentary chapter in JFK’s “Profiles in Courage” for any politician who votes for more of them. Perhaps this was also meant to cast a spell of reflected glory over the rubber stamping of repetitive tax increases, displayed by our own Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Congressman John Tierney. Baffling, isn’t it?

When I was a Democrat, and John F. Kennedy my boyhood hero, I re-read his book often. I wish I could find my dog-eared copy. However, I don’t remember that any of the senators profiled there were praised for tax increases. Rather, the subjects of each chapter were praised for having had the courage to stand apart from their powerful colleagues, voting their own consciences against strong peer pressure.

Incidentally, didn’t JFK himself lower taxes in 1962? To “Get America Moving Again?” Here are some words from a speech he gave then:

“The federal government’s most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities of private expenditures. ... When consumers purchase more goods, plants use more of their capacity, men are hired instead of laid off, investment increases, and profits are high. Corporate tax rates must also be cut to increase incentives and the availability of investment capital.”

Nevertheless, for decades, since Lyndon B. Johnson’s grandiose founding of a “Great Society” (to accompany his disastrous Vietnam War escalation), one hears time after time how courage and statesmanship are noble qualities displayed by sponsors of repeated tax increases. Isn’t it true that these very increases have depressed our economy? And, more personally, don’t so many families’ tax burdens now also make it impossible for one adult to decently support a spouse and their young, allowing a father or mother to be at home with little children? Also, please notice Barack Obama’s new health care taxes, fines and red tape that are throttling crucially needed new employment, on Cape Ann as well as everywhere else.

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