Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Build the Economy from the Bottom Up

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Build the Economy from the Bottom Up

Article excerpt

This is the first tax cut that we have been able to legislate in 16 years. Let us remember the context in which we are talking today.

Over those 16 years, people at the top have seen their incomes go up by 90 percent. Constituents I talk to have been stuck in place or they are falling behind. They have seen no increase in their income, and they are working harder and longer to overcome that problem - more hours, more jobs.

People say to me, "I am working two and three jobs in order to pay my bills."

So we in the Democratic Party feel strongly that people in the middle - people stuck on the bottom - are the people we need to be dealing with in the majority of this tax cut.

Our friends on the other side say, "Well, let us give the tax cut to the people who pay taxes." That is what they always say. The truth is people in the middle and at the bottom pay a lot of taxes. And we have always had a progressive tax system. That is, you pay proportionate to your ability to pay taxes.

This bill will make the tax code, unfortunately, less progressive.

But let us talk about the economics of it for a moment. And this is where we must part. I am a Democrat. I am a supply-sider, but I am as much a demand-sider.

Why is it smart to have a progressive tax system?

Why is it smart to give the bulk of the tax relief to people at the middle and stuck at the bottom? Because they need help and because it is fair, but also because they need the money to spend in the economy.

What do the economists always talk about when they talk of keeping the economy growing? They say, it's if we can keep retail demand going.

What do people in the middle and at the bottom do with the money they earn? They go to Wal-Mart. They go to Kmart. They go to Sears. They spend their money. And because they spend their money, if they have more money, all the boats can rise. …

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