Myths That Just Won’t Die

Yesterday was Columbus Day, the day that the federal government recognizes Christopher Columbus as the first European explorer to set foot in North America.

Over the last fifty years, we’ve seen the day’s celebration change dramatically as Native Americans have told their stories about what happened in their communities in the half millennia after Columbus sailed the blue in 1492. But still the myth that Columbus was the first European to encounter the Indigenous Peoples of North America has lingered on.

The reality is that Columbus wasn’t the first European to set foot in the “New World.” Leif Erikson and his Viking comrades landed in northwest Newfoundland at a place now known at L’Anse aux Meadows (“Land of First Contact”) in the year 1003. After three years, conflicts with the Peoples there before the Vikings arrived, led them to retreat to Greenland, rather than fight and expand their territories.

Myths are powerful things in our politics as well. Take the “Tax cuts create jobs” myth. In most voters own lifetimes they can remember the robust economic and job growth that followed the Clinton tax hike of 1993, and the surplus-turned-deficit and economic collapse that followed the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and yet the myth that tax cuts creates jobs continues to animate even voters who didn’t wind up with many of those tax cuts.

Add to this last month’s powerful report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that concluded that over the last 65 years, tax rates played no discernable role in job creation or job loss, but the myth continues to be repeated unchallenged in Presidential debates and mainstream news.

Job growth won’t follow another round of tax cuts, but increased social conflict will. For cuts in taxes will surely heighten the calls to even more aggressively reduce government investment in everything from social support programs, to infrastructure, education and basic research. Tax cuts, especially those which reward the wealthiest at the expense of all other members of society, seek to take the wealth created by all those who have worked to create it, and ship it back to the Kings and Queens who have financed the tax cutting voyages of Members of Congress supporting these plundering policies.

It’s time to bury both the Columbus myth and the “tax cuts create jobs” myth, and to tell a new story about taxes fostering investment in shared opportunity and a fairer economy.

Author: Scott Klinger, Policy Director of Wealth for the Common Good




  • http://www.facebook.com/keithMBender Keith M Bender

    All Income is the same. What we do with it either helps the Economic system it was taken from or becomes no different than Colonialism for the Benefit of the some distant Monarchy or Corporation created to serve the needs of that Monarchy.

    A 14% Tax Rate on INCOME because of some sort of specialized circumstances is a Privilege. Like Pre-Paying for Results in a contractual agreement this Privilege can be proven to be null and void because of lack of Results. Internalized rate of return for this non performance is well over 100% of original starting amounts after 10 years . It is but one of The Many Pay Offs that Politicians have bestowed on Campaign Funders and equates to Job security for the Politicians as long as the results favor the Funding sources. It is a bit too much of a Pollyanna Spin to ask us to believe otherwise.

    Large accumulations of “Public Equity” in the hands of a few people transfers Government from the People . Tax treatment is like a quiet persistent Overthrow of Democracy and the Social Contract it was built to protect. Capitalism is subordinate to Common Welfare. That is what insures we continue with Capitalism and the rewarding of efforts that serve us all ought to be the Prize winners. The pursuit of profit makes multinational corporations Vultures and Scavengers and reminds me of the 1600′s all over again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithMBender Keith M Bender

    All Income is the same. What we do with it either helps the Economic system it was taken from or becomes no different than Colonialism for the Benefit of the some distant Monarchy or Corporation created to serve the needs of that Monarchy.

    A 14% Tax Rate on INCOME because of some sort of specialized circumstances is a Privilege. Like Pre-Paying for Results in a contractual agreement this Privilege can be proven to be null and void because of lack of Results. Internalized rate of return for this non performance is well over 100% of original starting amounts after 10 years . It is but one of The Many Pay Offs that Politicians have bestowed on Campaign Funders and equates to Job security for the Politicians as long as the results favor the Funding sources. It is a bit too much of a Pollyanna Spin to ask us to believe otherwise.

    Large accumulations of “Public Equity” in the hands of a few people transfers Government from the People . Tax treatment is like a quiet persistent Overthrow of Democracy and the Social Contract it was built to protect. Capitalism is subordinate to Common Welfare. That is what insures we continue with Capitalism and the rewarding of efforts that serve us all ought to be the Prize winners. The pursuit of profit makes multinational corporations Vultures and Scavengers and reminds me of the 1600′s all over again.

  • ChristopherM

    Tax cuts take TIME to have an impact. The REAGAN tax cuts are what spurred the eventual prosperity under Clinton, by making risk capital investors willing to put money to work in early-stage companies again. Lord, don’t you people ever get tired of Telling The Big Lie over and over and over again? If higher taxes led to prosperity, then why don’t all of YOU voluntarily tax yourselves at 100%? Believe me, the IRS will gladly cash your checks.