New York Times economist Paul Krugman has made the absurd decision to label President Joe Biden’s unicorn economic agenda “as American as apple pie.”
Krugman’s column for April Fools’ Day promoted one of many Big Lies emanating from the Biden administration, that “Bidenomics consists, roughly speaking, of large-scale public investment paid for with highly progressive taxation. And both of these things are as American as apple pie.” Krugman’s revisionist view of American history was as follows: “[O]ne way to think about the Biden program is that it’s an attempt to bring back the Dwight stuff — that is, in fiscal terms it would represent a partial return to the Eisenhower era, when we had much higher government investment as a share of gross domestic product than we do now, and also much higher tax rates on both high-income individuals and corporations.”
Fascinating that Krugman never mentioned that former President Dwight Eisenhower “deplored high taxes.” Eisenhower’s view was that “it doesn’t help if government only taxes a little so long as it spends a lot.” Eisenhower said in 1953:
‘[R]eduction of taxes is a very necessary objective of government–that if our form of economy is to endure, we must not forget private incentives and initiative and the production that comes from it. Therefore, the objective of tax reduction is an absolutely essential one,’ [emphasis added.]
Krugman’s glorification of the postwar “era of big government investment and high taxes on the rich” is historical revisionism. The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) specifically criticized Krugman for touting the “‘35 years after World War II’ as evidence that top marginal rates in excess of 70 percent were compatible with ‘the most successful period of economic growth in our history.’”
AIER stated that while “statutory rates were extremely high” after WWII, “practically nobody actually paid the taxman’s full sticker price on their earnings. Instead, a plethora of intentional tax exemptions, deductions, and legal income shelters ensured that wealthy individuals paid a much lower effective tax rate.”
But for Krugman, “[S]uch [progressive] taxation is another long tradition in this country. As Thomas Piketty, the inequality scholar, likes to put it, America basically invented progressive taxation.”
Krugman’s historical views are just as useless as his economics. America’s founders had “rejected the income tax entirely,” according to retired Hillsdale College professor Burton Folsom in 2003. The 16th Amendment constitutionalized the federal income tax but was not ratified until well over 120 years after the nation was founded.
Folsom pointed to two instances in American history when a progressive income tax was attempted in the 19th Century prior to the 16th Amendment. Here’s what happened: The first one passed during the Civil War was repealed in 1872. The second was passed by Congress in “1894—one that only hit the top 2 percent of wealth holders—the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional,” Folsom said. [Emphasis added.]
Conservatives are under attack. Contact The New York Times at 800-698-4637 and demand it distance itself from Krugman’s pro-Biden nonsense.