Opinion

When Democrats Believed in Tax Cuts for Everyone

There was a time when Democrats believed in tax cuts. Unfortunately, like many Republicans and most Democrats, there are still too many taxes, too much spending, and ever-expanding governmental control and overreach.

Since the time of JFK’s presidency, the growth of government has been staggering with new departments siphoning off more money to empower a bureaucratic nightmare that perpetuates itself.

Here’s some of what Pres. Kennedy said on taxes and their impact on an economy:

  • On September 18, 1963, Kennedy said, “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”
  • In a message to Congress on taxation on April 20, 1961, he said, “In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment.”
  • On February 13, 1961, in a speech to the National Industrial Conference Board, Kennedy said, “We must start now to provide additional stimulus to the modernization of American industrial plants … I shall propose to the Congress a new tax incentive for businesses to expand their normal investment in plant and equipment.”

The following is a portion of Pres. Kennedy’s message from January 1963:

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Our tax rates, in short, are so high as to weaken the very essence of the progress of a free society, the incentive for additional return for additional effort.

For these reasons, this administration intends to cut taxes in order to build the fundamental strength of our economy, to remove a serious barrier to long-term growth, to increase incentives by routing out inequities and complexities and to prevent the even greater budget deficit that a lagging economy would otherwise surely produce.

The worst deficit comes from a recession, and if we can take the proper action in the proper time, this can be the most important step we could take to prevent another recession. That is the right kind of a tax cut both for your family budget and the national budget resulting from a permanent basic reform and reduction in our rate structure, a creative tax cut creating more jobs and income and eventually more revenue. And the right time for that kind of bill, it now appears in the absence of an economic crisis today — and if the job is to be done in a responsible way — is January 1963.

Such a bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across the board, top to bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand. And it will date that cut in taxes to take effect as of the start of next year, January 1963.

The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy. Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy.

Instead of being permanently saddled with excess plant capacity and the budgetary deficit that is created by this means, our goal must be fuller capacity and full employment and the budgetary surpluses that that kind of employment and capacity can produce.

By removing tax roadblocks to new jobs and new growth, the enactment of this measure next year will eventually more than make up in new revenue all that it will initially cost. By lightening tax burdens as the Common Market countries have done so successfully — and they have full employment and an economic growth rate twice ours-it will improve the competitive position of American business, encourage investment at home instead of abroad, and improve our balance of payments and will help make us all — individuals and as a nation — help us make the most of our economic resources.

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