1950’s – Halcyon? (Maybe Not in Terms of Tax Rates)

Fingers Crossed Behind Back

You know what makes me sick: certain disconnects between hypocrisy and fact; i.e. manipulation.

One thing that comes to mind is the conflict between proclaiming absolute devotion to the sanctity of life while balking at even the most minor limitation (as in a three day waiting period) upon the accumulation of massive numbers of assault weapons.

But I don’t want to talk about gun control–a subject seemingly verboten in this country – or even about women’s health issues.

No, let’s just go straight into the wonderfully entertaining subject of taxes.

Many, especially on the right, seem to view the 1950’s as a halcyon time of an expanding economy, increases in home ownership, stable families and values.   A time when men were men, women were women, and everyone, in either arrow or peter pan collar, knew their place (including in kitchen or closet.)

Actually, I have nothing particular against the 1950’s!  (A fine-enough decade to be born in.)  But guess what?

Under the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, genuine American hero and Republican, the marginal federal tax rate on regular income of over $400,000 was 91-92%.  (Gulp.)

The maximum capital gains rate was 25%.

Just for comparison’s sake, the maximum marginal federal tax rate on regular income under President Obama has been 35% (on income over $372,950 – 388,350).

The maximum capital gains rate has been 15%.

Although Obama is regularly characterized as socialist, he has never proposed a return to anything like the tax rates of the good old 1950’s.  What Obama has proposed is a return to the Clinton era tax rates (another age of economic prosperity) — but only for those earning over $250,000.  His proposals would raise the top marginal rates for those earning over $250,000  (now 33% and 35%) to 36% and 39.5%.

For many, that extra 4 per cent or so upon those earning over $250,000 feels like a death blow to liberty.  But don’t worry, even with such raises, some of the very wealthy (like Mr. Romney) will still probably be able to keep their operable rates to at least 13%.

(Please note that I do not know the best way of healing our troubled economy, or the world’s troubled economy, and I don’t particularly like paying taxes any more than I like paying for health insurance, car insurance. airplane fees, clothes that are not on sale, or a whole bunch of other things.  I just bring up these figures because I feel like the numbers, as well as our historical decades, are constantly being manipulated and mischaracterized.)

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5 Comments on “1950’s – Halcyon? (Maybe Not in Terms of Tax Rates)”

  1. David King Says:

    Oh, the synchronicity of the web! I, too, went to the fifties today for my effort, though people rather than issues. Looking back it seems to have been a period in which I encountered mostly folk I couldn’t take to in any great degree. Interesting that Obama wants to go back to Clinton. Our politicians also are wanting to go back for their solutions – mostly to failed ones.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I don’t think Obama wants to go back to Clinton exactly. Right now, we still have the “Bush tax cuts.” These are actually programmed under the law to expire at a certain point, which will automatically take us to the tax rates of the Clinton era. What Obama wants, as I understand it, is to keep the Bush tax cuts for those earning below $250,000 and to go back to the Clinton rates for those earning above $250,000. What I object to is the way that this is portrayed as something radical or revolutionary–when it is going back to prior policy.

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Heard this morning that the latest proposal on the right –a new party plank, along with studying a return to the gold standard(!) –was a flat tax for every US citizen. Because ten percent is so much fairer for everyone–like those with tax accountants and mega-millions won’t be paying two percent, while the average family pays every dime, and the poor who currently are exempt will start ‘contributing,’ on incomes of under $20K–ie–we will no longer have a progressive tax system where the less you make the less you pay in, and vice versa. OTOH, by simply eliminating the Bush tax cuts,the figures I’ve seen(and I also make no claims to knowing the ultimate solution) say that defense, social security and medicare no longer have any issues and the deficit will rapidly disappear. But NO. ;_) You’re getting me cranked early here, K. 😛

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I was thinking this morning that what really makes me mad is the idea that some states are trying to make it more difficult to vote than to buy an assault rifle. (Or ten.)

  3. brian miller Says:

    ugh…what a jacked up place we live in…..ha we were just talking about the parties today in govt class and talking baout being for sanctity of life and guns….smiles….and taxes…wish i would have read this before our discussion…smiles.


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