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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Republicans - All Wrong, All the Time, Pt 4

Note the changes in the number of Americans living in poverty. The only big declines have happened during Democratic administrations. The first big decline on the chart was the result of the Kennedy/Johnson Great society. Nixon/Ford followed by Carter did little to affect poverty numbers. Reagan wasted no time in getting more people back into the chains of poverty. Though his irresponsible fiscal profligacy might have contributed to a slight decline after the initial surge, by the end of the Bush I term, poverty was almost back to the 1959 level. The next big decline in poverty occurred under Clinton. There was good and bad in the Clinton Presidency. This good thing was totally undone by Bush II.

Do you see any hope of this trend improving in the near future?

Note: I could only find an earlier version of this graph with data through 2007. So I grabbed the above chart from DeLong.


J said...

LBJ did much to bring po' folks out of poverty via the Great Society--but that was at a cost, like substantial tax increases--not only on wealthy (who could afford it) but middle and working class.

LBJ started the American welfare state, really, and also built up the govt. bureaucracy (including the military bureaucracy). It wasn't so much like, say, FDR's WPA stuff, but handouts. LBJ also initiated Medicare--great in principle, but not so great in practice.

I have mixed feelings about the Great Society really, though I grant LBJ did alleviate poverty for many, especially in the south. LBJ-style policies seem fundamentally populist--not the same as progressive.

Jazzbumpa said...


Top maginal tax rates:
1963 - 90%
1964 - 77%
1965 - 70%
1968 - 72.5%
1969 - 77%
1970 - 71.75%


At no time was the top rate applied to amounts less than $200,000 - big bucks in those days.

My first full time job in 1968 payed about $8000/Yr, as a college grad in industry.

Most anti-medicare rhetoric comes from libertarians. The only problems I can uncover are with funding. Restoring even the early 80's tax rate of 50% would go a long way toward solving our finacial woes.

J said...

The first cut from 91% down to 77% was due to King Kennedy. Some Demo. Poverty also had been in decline for some time--since end of WWII, actually.

The numbers would be more significant with the tax raises (and cuts) on the middle/upper middle classes. LBJ did kick the taxes up on all except the poor once 'Nam started--to pay for war and the various bureaucracies he had started (some were valuable, at least in principle).

Really, jzb, I object to NRA worshipping, anti-tax, vegas-loving commando libertarians or GOPers--nearly as much as I do the union and corporate-supported bureaucrats who run Demos Inc. (let's not forget the Demos control the public employee unions, cops, schoolmarmies, firemen, secretaries, etc).

Jazzbumpa said...

I looked at incomes between $4K and $40K. In 1964, the marginal rates in each bracket were reduced from 1963 levels. Frex, at $16K it went from 34% to 28%.

There was no change in these brackets between '64 and '68. In 68, there was a 7.5% tax surcharge. In '69 this became 10%, but tax rates for incomes below 16 K were reduced, by more than 10%, relative.

The surcharge was reduced to 2.5% in 1970.

So, in this income range, marginal tax rates - even with the surcharge - were lower at the end of Johnson's term than they were in in 1963.


Jzb the fact-based trombonist