WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Reaganomics leading to Roman Empire-style collapse

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I am fed up with hearing from Joe Scarborough and other Republicans saying what a great president Ronald Reagan was. In my view, Reagan was the worst thing that could happen to the American working class. I consider him to be the godfather of the greed-is-good economic system that is still supported by the Republican Party today. Let me explain.

The stock market prior to Reagan got to its highest in the ‘60s at around 6,400. This was when the economy was booming and anyone who wanted a job could get one. Prior to Reagan, the number of American billionaires was 41. The national debt was $908 billion. And American workers were compensated fairly by employers.

During his tenure, he cut the top tax rate from 78 percent to 28 percent and the corporate rate from 48 percent to 34 percent, giving the wealthy tremendous tax breaks. But what he also did was allow corporations to buy back their stock. This was illegal prior to his administration, and for good reason. He allowed corporations to base their executive bonuses on the value of their stock and the bonuses would be paid in stock. This allowed corporate executives to receive larger bonuses and to pay a lower tax rate on these bonuses. They could claim a long-term capital gain by holding onto that stock for just one year. This was the fodder that spurred the greed that overtook corporations. They cut back on employee benefits and froze wages, using the money saved to buy back their own stock, thus raising its value along with their bonuses.

Republicans today are still touting this Reagan economic policy. The Bush tax cut and Paul Ryan’s mirror Reagan’s. This is why today we have the stock market sitting above 20,000, the number of American billionaires at 1,542, the income gap between the working class and the investing class becoming a chasm and the national debt at more than $21 billion and growing. Has anyone considered what would happen to this country if foreign countries like China, Japan and Saudi Arabia stop financing American deficits?

People need to get their heads out of their rear ends and figure out a way to right this ship. I see the country going the way of Rome in its final days. Greed, ignorance and arrogance brought down Rome. It can bring down the USA.

Merrell Washington

Rocky Mount

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