Re "Bush Offers Tax Cuts to Spur Growth," Jan. 8: There is a better alternative to the president's proposed economic stimulus plan. It is to have the federal government increase its revenue-sharing with states. State budgets are falling into severe deficit around the country. California is only the worst example. Does it make sense to massively cut back on services such as health care, education and highway construction at the state level while at another level we cut taxes to boost the economy?
The priorities are clear. We should not be cutting back on those services that people actually need, simply to cut taxes, which we do in order to boost the economy in some amorphous way somewhere else. We're chasing our tail here. Let us do what needs doing in terms of public services, and let us collectively as a society agree to pay for it. The imbalance in our society between private affluence and public squalor has gone quite far enough.
The Democrats' and Republicans' plans to stimulate spending seem to be directed toward specific constituencies. We should give a tax break to everyone who purchases a manufactured item, rich or poor. That's what we want to encourage -- spending so there will be more capital investment. Save the receipts; salaried or commissioned workers could take a certain percentage of credit toward their taxes monthly. The self-employed could take it off their estimated tax payments. The purchase of a VCR or a yacht would be a stimulant to the economy. Everyone should benefit. This tax credit must be limited in duration; a certain percentage this year, less next year. Then no more. Buy now, don't wait for later, when you would get a smaller tax break, or none.
If the Bush administration took some of the $674 billion that it proposes to spend on a tax cut and put it toward completion of the 210 Freeway would that not also produce jobs? Likewise, wouldn't spending on education and health care result in more jobs for teachers, nurses and others?
The Bush tax cut proposals are not only inequitably distributed and ill-timed, in light of massive state budget deficits and approaching war, but their premise fails to make logical sense. The emperor's clothes don't look so fine to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
The president's stimulus package is useless because it is aimed at the wrong side of the economic equation. A vigorous economy balances production and consumption. At present we have too much unused productive capacity (that is: investment) but not enough consumption.
The best way to stimulate the economy is to raise the national minimum wage, which has less purchasing power now than when it was established. That raise would be spent on consumer goods and services immediately. It would also reduce pressure on public services for working people who cannot afford to properly care for their families, and it would increase the number of taxable workers.
Let us hope that California's Democrats have the courage to propose a workable alternative to Bush's useless tax giveaways.