Through various policies and legislative acts from the Progressive Era to our own day, Democrats have been inextricably linked to burdensome taxation, government expansion, limitations on individual liberties like gun ownership, and most recently environmentalism. In all these things, the Democratic Party goes against the history of free people and travels instead down the path to serfdom and despotism.
Do the Democrats do this incidentally, ignorant of the facts? Or are they so arrogant that they pursue their beloved agenda knowing the costs, yet simultaneously turn a blind eye to them?
Consider President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression. Although his fiscal policies were detrimental to prosperity, Democrats praise them.
From the moment FDR was sworn into the presidency in 1933, his solution for the Great Depression was characterized by high taxation. And while many of these taxes were on personal income, in a clear attempt to “soak the rich,” all were not. In fact, his tax hikes were so broad and varied that he actually “tripled taxes during the Great Depression, from $1.6 billion in 1933 to $5.3 billion in 1940.”
Tax increases at such astronomic levels were largely the result of various excise taxes, which FDR “levied on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, matches, candy, chewing gum, margarine, fruit juice, soft drinks, cars, tires (including tires on wheelchairs), telephone calls, movie tickets, playing cards, electricity, and radios, [among other things].” We don’t have to be economists (or senators and congressmen) to understand that while taxes like these may have indeed soaked the rich, they did so at the expense of drenching the middle and lower classes as well.
Such tax policies dried up the coffers of many employers and forced them to forgo adding personnel to payrolls, as demonstrated by the fact that unemployment “averaged 17%” throughout the 1930s. This detrimental effect aside, President Obama and the Democrat leadership cannot wait to implement similar tax policies during the current economic downturn. Just months ago, in July 2009, Obama talked about his openness to “sin taxes,” which would include taxes on soft drinks and many of the other things FDR placed excise taxes upon.
Historically speaking, higher taxes lead to larger governments, which in turn tend toward larger deficits. So with Obama’s tax proposals in mind, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 2008’s national deficit of just over 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) will grow to 11.4% of GDP by the end of 2009. This means part of Obama’s solution to our current economic downturn includes driving us deeper and deeper into debt nationally. It’s like FDR all over again.