The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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February 2, 2001 Issue

We can do better

The country deserves something better than any of the tax cuts proposed so far

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

Congress needs to pass -- and Pres. George W. Bush needs to sign -- not only the biggest tax cut in the nation's history, but more importantly, the most inventive one in human history.

Tax cuts were a focus of last year's presidential campaign and as President, Bush is pushing a 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax reduction.

Democrats have said they too favor cuts, though not as much as Bush. They had relied on Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan to limit such cuts, until he gave his blessing last week to a broad tax cut in testimony to the Senate Budget Committee.

The problem with all the proposals that have come up so far is that they don't go far enough.

As nice it will be to have extra money in our pay envelopes, our elected leaders, in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government -- and the best and brightest minds they can call on -- need to think outside the tax-cutting box.

What our country needs is a win-win-win way that would allow more people on the bottom rungs to climb up without hurting those on top or in the middle.

Basically, we need to find a way to create a partnership between those at the top of the economic ladder and those on the bottom. It will need to provide the wealthiest with tax credits or similar means for encouraging and making it possible for the poorest people to get the education and skills they need to find better jobs or start their own businesses. Figuring out how is the challenge our leaders and the nation's most brilliant thinkers need to solve.

The solution would not be a hand out. Rather, it would be a mutually beneficial partnership. The wealthy would end up with more money, both through lower taxes and through increased sales for their businesses and greater profits for their investments. The poorer elements of society would gain the skills they need to prosperously live the American dream.

Can it be done? Henry Ford did something like it in 1914 when he more than doubled his workers' wages to what was considered a ridiculously high sum of $5 a day, knowing they would use the money to buy more Model Ts and help fuel the economy.

We need something that will do even more. It will take a great deal of work to devise the means, but it shouldn't be impossible for a nation that's been able to convince people that smoking cigarettes or drinking a certain brand of soft drink is a good idea. There must be a way, if only we have the will.

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