Worth Trying

Aug 08, 2018

To the Editor:

This is a comment on a column by Gene Moynihan (“Jobs-for-All Plans Would Be a Colossal Federal Failure,” 8/1).

A program for “jobs for all” might not work, nor a “guaranteed annual income for all,” nor “health insurance for all.” But for the sake of the less fortunate in our nation, they should be explored, planned and tried.

Big programs are always a function of money available to run them. The USA is the most broke, in-debt country in human history, by far, and it’s getting worse. Tax breaks for the wealthy are not a plan for prosperity; this has been tried before and failed under Reagan. It is a plan to make the rich much richer, and that is working. Suddenly taxing the lower or middle classes more isn’t fair, reasonable or possible. Taxing the rich is, though, through income taxes, estate taxes (they are so low) and capital gains taxes. So much for where the money might come from.

Other western countries have tried this, and although the historical window is short, countries like Norway and Holland are thriving “socialist” or “welfare” states. The label does not matter. What does matter is how the well off, or rich, or comfortable treat the less capable and less fortunate. Money given, or paid to the beneficiaries, spins back into the economy with buying power. It does not disappear into Swiss banks, the Cayman Islands or titanic trust funds.

Does this country not have the skill, the wit, the technical savvy, the character to run such programs? It was done 80 years ago under FDR, and what a flowering of bridges, dams, parks, roads and art was the result, but also the salvation of human life and pride.

We could do it, I think, if we are not mean and stingy – if we really want to do it.

M. Kahn

Brant Beach


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