Okay. Now I can devote some time to your reply.
1 — “[Our] country had literally just emerged from FDRs borderline communist experiment, which by all measurable accounts was a failure from an economic perspective, but were popular among the people.”
Ans. FDR’s “experiment was not “borderline communist” by any rational stretch of the imagination. If what he did was “borderline communist”, then we must be full-bore communist ever since LBJ. If you’ll look at worst-in-our-history economic crisis he faced when he took over and see what he did to stop the bleeding and put our economy back on track, you’ll find that by 1936, we were almost *out* of the Depression. Problem is, he was convinced by his Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. (who had originally helped craft the New Deal) to adopt austerity measures to balance the budget…and down we went into the second dip of the Depression.
That’s what many conservatives don’t understand about Keynesian economics — in time of economic crisis, use stimulus to boost the economy, and in times of economic prosperity, then adopt austerity in order to pay down any deficit previously accrued. When FDR approved the austerity measures, the economy was on the road to recovery, but it had not recovered.
What happened afterwards? FDR spent billions on a military buildup. Adjusted for inflation, in economic terms the military buildup (followed by the war) was the biggest economic stimulus in our nation’s history…and it worked wonders for pulling us out all the way out of the Depression.
However, according to the conservative-preferred Austrian school of economics, the New Deal should have pushed us further into the Depression, the billions spent for our military buildup should also have pushed us further into the Depression…and Obama’s stimulus should also have pushed us further into the Great Recession.
In other words, the conservative dogma of austerity in economic crisis is not backed up by history.
Now look what Trump did. He received an economy that was in far better shape than it was when Obama took over i.e. Obama did the heavy lifting of getting the economy back on track. Along the way, Obama did cut the deficit by more than half…but there was still a deficit. Republicans howled all the way about how terrible the deficit (and the resultant increase in the debt) was…but when Trump took over, what happened? A $1.5T tax cut (mostly benefiting the top 1% — how many middle- or lower-class have received any huge pay raises in the past two years?) and now we’re staring at having a $1T deficit again.
2 — “… how do you think Kennedy’s policies of cutting marginal rates and deploying a blockade around Cuba would play out in today’s Democratic party?”
Ans. First, as to Cuba, why the heck are we still punishing Cuba? Encouraging freedom of trade and travel is the best (and least violent) way of regime change! Yes, Kennedy blockaded Cuba, but you know doggone well that it had to do with the missile crisis and the all-too-serious Cold War. Today, we Dems want freedom of trade and travel with Cuba, and it’s the GOP that still wants to punish Cuba…and Puerto Rico too, it seems, for having had the bad manners to get hit by two Cat 5 hurricanes in two weeks.
Back to economics: note that Kennedy’s marginal tax cut was an adjustment from 90% to 70%. What y’all get wrong is that because the economy did well at the time after that tax cut, well, that means that tax cuts are *always* great for the economy. Just because marginal tax rates were cut from 90% to 70% worked well does NOT mean that further slashing those tax rates down to 20% is a good thing…because it’s not.
BTW, you do realize that “marginal tax rates” are those taxes applied to income above a certain amount (which was at the time $10M), right? What *had* been happening is that the rich would never pay the full amount of taxes, but would instead reinvest that income into their businesses…which practice is tax-deductible and also served to grow their businesses (and workers’ wages, too). That’s not “communism” — that’s encouraging the growth of business (and the ability of the workers to prosper and buy more stuff, thereby further helping the economy).
Anyway, you hate the national debt, right? Right? It shoulda, coulda, woulda been paid off if only we got spending under control, right?
The marginal tax rates were really slashed when Reagan came into power…and during his administration, he also added different taxes and fees that applied to everyone. In other words, Reagan shifted a great deal of our national tax burden from the rich to the middle class. The deficit (and debt) did NOT start skyrocketing until the Reagan administration — look it up! Bush 41 called Reagan’s “trickle-down economics” as “voodoo economics” for good reason…and we’ve been stuck with a mindset on the Right ever since that our economy depends upon the rich ever since.
Now, let’s look at Bush 41. He had feet of clay, too, but do you remember the recession in 1991–2? He raised taxes, a classic Keynesian move. What happened? Did the economy get worse? No. The economy began to boom in the mid-90’s, and because of all this, I give Bush 41 more credit than Clinton for that mid-90’s boom.
Clinton did have a budget surplus when he was done…and when Bush 43 took over, what did he do? Slash taxes again, and start wars (note that according to his Commerce Secretary, during Bush 43’s very first cabinet meeting in January 2001, one of the main topics of discussion was the invasion of Iraq, and who would get the oil fields — reference available upon request). So what happened to Clinton’s surplus (that was supposed to pay off our entire federal debt by 2012)? Tax cuts.
Oh, and bear this in mind, too. The last two times we had an budget surplus were under LBJ and Clinton. Obama didn’t have a surplus, but he did cut the deficit in half (remember, the 2009 deficit was from a budget (like all budgets) submitted the previous year). Ask yourself this: when was the last time a Republican president ever cut the deficit?
IIRC, it was Eisenhower.
Lastly, in terms of economy, freedom, safety, rights, and security are concerned, what are the most successful nations in the world? The answer is simple: the first-world democracies. That means they must be doing something right, right? Right.
All first-world democracies share three things in common: “big government”, high effective taxes, and strong regulation…all three of which are anathema to conservatives. If you’ll travel a bit, you’ll find democracies which do not have all three…and every one of them are third-world democracies.
In other words, all first-world democracies are to varying degrees significantly socialized, including America. The fact — FACT — that all first-world democracies (the most successful nations on the planet) are significantly socialized must mean that socialism is not the sure path to economic hell that the Right claims must be the case.
And that brings me to my final point in this long diatribe: socialism. Socialism, as practiced by all first-world democracies, is a very good thing. YES, the USSR was the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” but that name doesn’t mean a damned thing. Why? Look at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — is it a democracy or a republic? No. The name doesn’t mean squat. The kind of socialism practiced by first-world democracies is a very good thing indeed, for it is the first-world democracies that have the highest standards of living on the planet…which means that arguing against their socialism is arguing against success that has been sustained for longer than either of us has been alive.
Your turn :)