As we continue to listen to the Republican drumbeat about how higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy will ruin economic growth (which, as Meteor Blades points out, was wrong then and wrong now), one should keep in mind the following editorial that appeared in last week's Los Angeles Times--penned by wealthy entrepreneur Garrett Gruener. To quote the key conclusion (emphasis added):
No one particularly enjoys paying taxes, but one lesson we should have learned by now is that for the good of the country, we need to tax people like me more. At a minimum, we need to return to the tax rates of the Clinton era, when the economy performed far better. Simply taxing the wealthiest 2% of Americans at the same rates they were taxed before the Bush tax cuts could reduce the national deficit by $700 billion over the next 10 years. Remember, paying slightly more in personal income taxes won't change my investment choices at all, and I don't think a higher tax rate will change the investment decisions of most other high earners.
What will change my investment decisions is if I see an economy doing better, one in which there is demand for the goods and services my investments produce. I am far more likely to invest if I see a country laying the foundation for future growth. In order to get there, we first need to let the Bush-era tax cuts for the upper 2% lapse. It is time to tax me more.
Given the fact that the higher marginal rates under Clinton didn't stop record job creation, and the fact that very low marginal rates under Bush didn't really pick up an anemic job creation climate, the least one can say is that the higher marginal rates under Clinton certainly weren't an impediment to record growth, and a return to those marginal rates for the wealthiest two percent of income earners would reduce the deficit by $700 billion over ten years.
The conclusion that higher marginal rates on the wealthy is smart policy is self-obvious to anyone who is sincerely interested in promoting the general welfare. But Republicans aren't interested in that. Instead, they seem far more interested in creating a neo-feudal society where the hyper-wealthy elite have so much money that they can insulate themselves from the huddled masses who weren't "Galt" enough to do the same.