The 1950s might look like the golden years to some Tea Partiers. It was back before the Kennedys, the Clintons, and Obama ruined this great country, always looking to tax the rich, ignoring the guiding principles of capitalism. That view of the world ignores the actual history, argues author Toby Barlow in the Huffington Post.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, president from 1953 until 1961, passed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, a massive public works project that today would be the equivalent of $197 billion, reports Barlow. Obama’s $50 billion infrastructure proposal clocks in at a fraction of the price. And the Federal Aid Highway Act wasn’t paid for by some grand Republican—or Tea Party—plan that all at once lowered taxes and the deficit; it was paid for by a lot of new taxes. The richest among the U.S. population during the tenure of that celebrated Army general were taxed a staggering 91 percent, compared to today’s 35 percent, and Barlow writes,
They still golfed, drove around in shiny automobiles, and ate caviar in fancy dining cars, but they paid a lot more back to society. Instead of fleeing en masse to Cuba they stayed in Connecticut and sent their kids to boarding schools and private colleges. America rewarded them by becoming a stronger nation, allowing the wealthy in turn to become even wealthier. America rocked.
We have been trained to believe that taxation is the worst ill that can strike a society, and yet for decades our nation prospered while asking those who profited from our strength to give significantly more. Ike understood this and protected our nation's prosperity.
Barlow suggests that we all start wearing “I like Ike” buttons again to show that there is a way to work together, a way beyond the hysterical rhetoric that now injects itself into most of our political debates. And, Barlow suggests, we should start asking Tea Party candidates what they think about Ike.
(Side note: Barlow writes regularly for the Huffington Post and other places, but if you’re in the mood for a highly entertaining read, pick up his book Sharp Teeth. Set in L.A., the book is about gangs of werewolves and is written completely in verse. I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s great.)
Source: Huffington Post
Image by John Munsch, licensed under Creative Commons.