New Jersey Democratic Leadership Buys into Voodoo Economics [Updated]


Promoted by Rosi

The other day I was seething at an article about Chris Christie’s openness to raising the gas tax in exchange for ending or reducing the inheritance and estate taxes when I was shocked into fury by Senator Paul Sarlo’s and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s acceptance of Ronald Reagan’s tax myth.

By eliminating the estate tax, Prieto and state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, said, the state would likely lose out on roughly $400 million but would be able to spur enough economic activity to round up the same amount of money through growth in the sales or income taxes.

This is not a direct quote, but an interpretation of their position. If this is not their position, Prieto and Sarlo must say so. There is no place in a reality-based party for tax policy that cuts taxes on the rich (estate and inheritance) in exchange for raising taxes on the poor and middle class (gas tax) by following disproven ideology spouted only by those who care about party more than people.

For the past 30 years we have watched the federal government cut taxes on the rich by claiming it would spur economic growth. Ronald Reagan did it, the country fell into recession, and he allowed taxes to increase. Despite calling it “voodoo economics” in 1980, George H. W. Bush did it, the country fell into recession, and he raised taxes. Bill Clinton skipped the first step, just raising taxes, and we had the longest and largest economic boom in history. Then George W. Bush did it multiple times and we had the longest and deepest economic depression since the Great Depression. Obama raised taxes and … economic growth.

I expect to hear Republicans spouting nonsense like this, that cutting taxes on the rich will “trickle down” to the middle and working class. The GOP has demonstrated that they’re not bound by reality, denying facts, logic and the laws of nature repeatedly. They have to, because their voters demand that reality conform to their beliefs rather than the opposite.

But the Democrats are supposed to be the ones who pay attention to facts, and are willing to change course if the data in front of them demands it. And with more than three decades of data – just look at Kansas — New Jersey’s Democratic leaders should know better.

[UPDATE: Speaker Prieto’s spokesman Phil Swibinski responded that the Speaker’s position was improperly characterized by the reporter:

Speaker Prieto was talking about the potential economic impact of funding the TTF (with a gas tax increase), which would result in a huge increase in construction activity for road repair and other infrastructure jobs. He was not claiming that reducing or eliminating the estate/inheritance taxes would create revenue.

We do not know about Senator Sarlo’s position.]

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