By Dr. Ed Holiday/James Hull
Point: Ed Holliday
It was bad decision-making that in January 2009 the administration reached all the way back to the Depression era and initiated government takeovers that never got our country’s economy going. We would have done well to reach back instead to the early eighties when unemployment was also over 10 percent. The initiatives by President Reagan during that time placed our country’s economy squarely on a robust growth path.
The Obama administration could have crafted an economic plan like Reagan used to build the economy. Reagan used tax cuts to allow American businesses and entrepreneurs to find the best ways to innovate and pursue excellence. These tax cuts allowed the economy to be greased where needed, and better profits by businesses led to millions of more jobs. More profits were pursued and a robust economy ensued.
Today we have wasted much of the $800 billion dollar stimulus. As the government bureaucrats, lobbyists, and members of congress directed this massive stimulus to pet projects and only the things they understood, our businesses overall were weakened. Substantial tax cuts like Reagan influenced for businesses would have motivated profits and excellence in the places within the economy that only “business” could know best. Politicians believed that they knew better how to spend money to get the economy moving than experienced business people. Therefore unemployment went way over the 8 percent mark that President Obama said would not happen if Congress passed the bill.
Counterpoint: James Hull
It’s interesting how many of us – namely, those like Dr. Holliday – tend to rewrite history to justify their view towards current events.
Let’s start with disdain for Depression-era policies: Quite simply put, they saved this country from bankruptcy and ruin. Had it not been for projects like the WPA, putting millions of Americans back to work, the acceptable standard for unemployment would probably be 15 percent and not 8 percent. And these weren’t just “feel good” projects. Several years ago, Tupelo city workers discovered an water main near downtown, built during the Depression. It’s still holding up just fine, thank you. And what about all of the arts and parks projects, which have preserved our history and strengthened our country’s legacy?
And slamming President Obama for the stimulus package in the name of Ronald Reagan is just plain wrong. In the first instance, the first stimulus initiative – the one which went to AIG and Wall Street, not to Main Street – came out of the Bush Administration, not Obama’s. And in the second instance, it is a proven fact that the real economic stimulus – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – has saved jobs, rebuilt infrastructure, and helped small businesses. To say anything different is disingenuous and nothing more than political posturing.
But Dr. Holliday and I do agree on one thing: Ronald Reagan was good for the economy… of billionaire corporate owners and directors. But Reagan’s economic policies weren’t so good for working-class Americans.
“Trickle-down” didn’t work then, it won’t work now, because the profits never trickle down to workers. Under President Reagan, wages stayed low and dividends stayed high. Who wants to go back to that?
Dr. Ed Holiday, is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books, the most recent entitled “Walk with Me: A Patriot’s Guide from the Boston Tea Party to Today’s TEA Party Revolution.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. James Hull, is an award–winning print and broadcast journalist and political consultant. Contact him at email@example.com.