During that recession, sales of luxury cars and powerboats dropped significantly, resulting not in CEOs flying coach, but in the laying off of employees from boat and private airplane companies that build private planes and yachts. When the tax was repealed in the early days of the Clinton administration, many of those who had been laid-off were rehired as sales improved.
What was that about those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it?
The stock market reacts not to the past, but forecasts the future. With proposed income tax increases and a boost in the capital gains tax rate, the stock market has fallen at percentage rates last seen in the Great Depression. The elderly and those about to become older Americans are seeing their savings and investments built up over a lifetime wiped out. Where is the party of compassion? Can the elderly, who have increasingly voted for Democrats after being peppered with demagoguery that Republicans will end Social Security, wake up and realize that the more rich there are, the richer they become?
President Obama can cling to liberal ideology and appease the left-wing fringe of his party, or he can do like President Clinton did and reduce capital gains taxes (how about eliminating them at least for a few years?) and watch the markets respond, re-filling individual retirement accounts and rekindling hope that millions of Americans won't have to abandon their lifestyles and their independence and become dependent on government.
This isn't about politics. It is about doing what works. We know what works. The question is will the president and congressional Democrats stop worrying about the rich and start worrying about the potential for increasing the number of poorer people?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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