Reaganism dictates that taxes are the enemy: any tax, anywhere, anyhow. In 2010, while most other states were going disturbingly red and setting themselves up for disaster, Minnesota did something curious: they elected a DFL governor specifically on the policy of raising taxes. Curiously, this did NOT lead to a statewide collapse, as the followers of Reaganism claimed for decades, but instead lead to Minnesota being a shining beacon of progress and prosperity in the middle of other Midwestern Republican-led states falling into ruin.
And yet, the Big Lie of Evil Taxes goes on. Cutting taxes, the Republicans claim, will allow those at the top to have more money to invest, and in investing there will be more supply, which will lead to more business, which will lead to more jobs, which will lead to more money. This, in essence, is the “Trickle Down” theory of economics.
Now, anyone with five minutes of economic study can tell you that increasing the supply while most people don’t have enough money to demand or even afford new products is ridiculous, stupid, and backwards, but let’s not assume the Republicans have any actual experience with how economics works in reality. Indeed, if Paul Ryan and his magic asterisks are the best they have, it seems rude to kick them when they’re down.
So, we know Trickle Down Economics doesn’t work because… well, reality exists, I suppose. But something does end up trickling down when those at the Federal and State level drool over the idea of cutting taxes here, there, everywhere, in a box, with a fox, and so on like some sort of demented Dr. Seuss character. It’s not the prosperity that trickles down, however… it’s the taxes.
We live in a social society. Certain social services and items are provided for us through public works, mainly because they are too big or too complex to make money for a private firm. We have public schools, public roads, public parks, and so on… and all of them are paid by taxes. So, when DC and St. Paul decide to cut taxes to save their own political skin, the towns and counties and townships have to pick up the slack. Suddenly, your local school tax goes up. The price to fix your roads or your bridges goes up. The price of having clean water goes up and, as we’ve seen in Flint, Michigan, it leads to shortcuts that damage lives. All the while, the rich and powerful sit in their cushy estates or in one of their many, many houses and count the cash they saved in tax breaks, while you and your neighbors struggle to get by with even half of what you had ten years ago.
The answer is simple: when someone like Greg Davids or Jeremy Miller bloviates about cutting taxes, saying it will be good for all, ask them if they’re going to cut your local taxes, too, or if the benefits of tax cuts are only for the richest people instead. Governor Dayton and the DFL have proven that if you tax the rich, we all do better, so this November you need to bring the DFL back to a position where they can make sure we all do better, even if it means one less townhouse for a billionaire.