Conservative Economist Ben Stein appeared on Fox News yesterday and said something which made him fear for his life: “I hate to say this on Fox, I hope I’ll be allowed to leave here alive. But, I don’t think there’s any way we can cut spending enough to make a meaningful difference. We’re going to have to raise taxes on very rich people, people with incomes of, say, 2, 3, 4 million a year and up.” I guess he was right to fear for his life!
When asked if Washington had a spending problem, Mr. Stein replied: “I do not think they just have a spending problem. I think they also have a too low taxes problem. And, while all due respect to Fox, whom I love like brothers and sisters, the taxes are too low.”
Mr. Stein continues that there could have been more economic growth under President Bush had taxes not been lowered. “The evidence is that there is no connection between the level of taxation and the level of economic activity. The biggest growth we’ve ever had in this country was roughly 1941 to roughly 1973, that was the best years we ever had and those were years of much, much higher taxes than we have now, during war time and during peace time. So, the economy can grow very fast, even with much higher taxes.”
The flabbergasted anchors on Fox quickly picked their jaws up off the floor and exclaimed that taxes were 70 and 80 percent back then! In fact, Mr. Stein corrected them, during the 1950’s, some tax rates climbed above 90 percent and yet the economy still grew. I think the feelings of the anchors could be summed up quite easily: Oh d-d-d-dear!
When a highly respected conservative economist disproves a large portion of the Republican platform, little commentary is needed. Here is the video.