Liberals' biggest myth: Unions and high taxes caused the post WWII economic boom

Rasselas

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Feb 2010
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Unions and high taxes didn't CAUSE the post war boom, but they certainly didn't inhibit it. And it gave Americans the sense that they were part of a more level playing field in a society based on fairness and opportunity--exactly the sorts of ideals they'd fought for during the war.
 
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The narrative from the institutional left wing is that high marginal taxes on the rich coupled with strong unions "created America's middle class" and was the cause of the U.S. economic prosperity between 1945 and 1980. The starting point is credited to FDR's liberalism and the New Deal, high top marginal tax rates, and "strong unions," and the end of it is pinned exclusively on the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

That is the left wing gospel. It shall not be questioned or challenged. No other explanation is valid or welcome. And this narrative is continuous from the left wing. It is referenced constantly.

The narrative is a lie. A myth.

If High Taxes In The '50s And '60s Produced Good Growth, Then Let's Have High Taxes Again
Unlike YOUR simplied version of what created the BOOM, our LIBERAL narrative is much more nuanced. (We know the RIGHT has particularly difficult with that word)

PENT UP BUYING POWER coupled with converting production capabilities post war with 4 years of rationing created a whole lot of demand. Organized labor who negotiated during the war for benefits like HEALTH CARE and 40 hour work weeks and overtime gave the BULK of Americans more buying power and TIME to spend their money. HOUSING, probably the most important economical boon of at the time, when us BOOMERS started coming, added a shitload of demand for durable goods and automobiles. Add TRUMAN'S GI college bill to help return soldiers to the economy by phasing them back into the workplace over time and low interest loans and you get ....

50'S and 60'S GROWTH and EXPANSION.
 
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Feb 2011
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the "myth" you speak about is a partial truth. there were many contributing factors involved here. some have been discussed, others have not. yes, we had the resources and the manpower to spare. we had an undamaged infrastructure. but, the aggressive policies of FDR to curb the Great Depression was also a factor - and a testament to his sales expertise. we spent money to arrest the effects of that depression earlier than other countries - and it cost us a bundle. this was paid by increasing taxes and restraint on other issues. many factors were involved as to how this happened which probably will not be repeated.
That's a reasonable statement, but it's not the conclusion that comes from a partisan political narrative.
 
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Claiming I'm a "tax cuts create jobs" type of person is a straw man. Secondly, what did I say that is a myth?



You're claiming the left wing does not suggest high taxes and unionism caused the post-war economic boom?



Well I don't.



Straw man.



It's explained in the link I posted, last paragraph.



That and several other/related unprecedented and non-replicable global economic factors.



We've got another person denying the left wing narratives tries to associate unions and high taxes as causal of the postwar boom.



What did I say that is B.S., specifically?
Read your OP and what it suggested "liberals" think as a whole and something you state as fact, then even question anyone who questions your stating it as fact, and you present no actual proof of what you are suggesting you "know" to be a fact. A "fact" that has already been challenged, by "liberals" who object to your suggestion that all unequivocally believe what you claim they believe.

Also, explain how the economy was a BOOM economy in SPITE of the REALITY of High Taxes AND UNIONS?

The purpose of your OP, was what, other than to try to suggest that unions and high taxes were not responsible for the boom years and present the false narrative that ALL "liberals" believe that the only thing that WAS responsible were unions and high taxes? Correct me on this, please, because I'm not the only one seeing what you wrote as something that is unproven, in spite of your assertion it's true and as if it is fact.

What is it you believe was behind the boom economies of those years and how do you explain that unions and high taxes were also in existence during the same period? It appears obvious from the wording of your OP that you believe all "liberals" have it wrong and you, whatever ideology you hold, have it all right.

How is it you suggest others, NOT YOU, are expressing partisan views? Read your own postings.
 
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Read your OP and what it suggested "liberals" think as a whole and something you state as fact, then even question anyone who questions your stating it as fact, and you present no actual proof of what you are suggesting you "know" to be a fact. A "fact" that has already been challenged, by "liberals" who object to your suggestion that all unequivocally believe what you claim they believe.

Also, explain how the economy was a BOOM economy in SPITE of the REALITY of High Taxes AND UNIONS?

The purpose of your OP, was what, other than to try to suggest that unions and high taxes were not responsible for the boom years and present the false narrative that ALL "liberals" believe that the only thing that WAS responsible were unions and high taxes? Correct me on this, please, because I'm not the only one seeing what you wrote as something that is unproven, in spite of your assertion it's true and as if it is fact.

What is it you believe was behind the boom economies of those years and how do you explain that unions and high taxes were also in existence during the same period? It appears obvious from the wording of your OP that you believe all "liberals" have it wrong and you, whatever ideology you hold, have it all right.

How is it you suggest others, NOT YOU, are expressing partisan views? Read your own postings.
agreed. as a matter of fact, there are few political, social or economic results which can be attributed to a limited (2 in the OP) causes only. it takes quite a number of things to contribute to any results. it doesn;t fit into mathematics.
 
Feb 2011
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Read your OP and what it suggested "liberals" think as a whole and something you state as fact, then even question anyone who questions your stating it as fact, and you present no actual proof of what you are suggesting you "know" to be a fact. A "fact" that has already been challenged, by "liberals" who object to your suggestion that all unequivocally believe what you claim they believe.

Also, explain how the economy was a BOOM economy in SPITE of the REALITY of High Taxes AND UNIONS?

The purpose of your OP, was what, other than to try to suggest that unions and high taxes were not responsible for the boom years and present the false narrative that ALL "liberals" believe that the only thing that WAS responsible were unions and high taxes? Correct me on this, please, because I'm not the only one seeing what you wrote as something that is unproven, in spite of your assertion it's true and as if it is fact.
You're kind of prattling here, but it sounds like you're disputing my assertion that this unions-and-taxes correlation with the post-war economic boom is not something the institutional left wing points to constantly. That's pretty strange to deny that.

Paul Krugman is probably the most prolific mouthpiece of the partisan narrative I'm talking about that exists out there in the economic community. For example, in this video, he says,

"the Roosevelt Administration through a whole set of policies, all of them equalizing, much higher tax rates on the wealthy, higher corporate tax rates, a pro-union organizing environment, so you had an explosion in union membership, tripling of the workforce, the minimum wage, Social Security, unemployment insurance. All of these things, and then the process accelerated because during WWII, there were extensive government controls on the economy that were used in a way that tended to equalize incomes. All of this created a middle class society in a period of not more than about 7 or 8 years...

...so the income distribution, relatively equal middle class society that was created by the New Deal that persisted for more than a generation after WWII.

THEN, it started to come apart. And you see this dramatic increase in inequality, not quite as fast as the Great Depression but this dramatic increase, starting around 1980, which itself is kind of an interesting date because Reagan comes to the White House. And it turns out that the increase in inequality is unique to the United States... the closest thing you can see to the U.S. to this unequalization that's taken place in the United States is in Britain during the Thatcher years, which again is itself a little bit... revealing."

That's the narrative. The narrative is that the New Deal plus high taxes and unions caused the postwar economic boom and "created the middle class society," and Reagan ended it. Partisan hackonomics at its finest. And we see this narrative repeated and reinforced by labor unions, ThinkProgress, EPI, and other operatives of the Democratic Party. It's been repeated and reinforced so consistently that it's basically become common knowledge, particularly for anyone with preexisting liberal persuasions.

What is it you believe was behind the boom economies of those years and how do you explain that unions and high taxes were also in existence during the same period?
The explanation in the article I linked in the first post does a pretty concise job answering this question.
 
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You're kind of prattling here, but it sounds like you're disputing my assertion that this unions-and-taxes correlation with the post-war economic boom is not something the institutional left wing points to constantly. That's pretty strange to deny that.

Paul Krugman is probably the most prolific mouthpiece of the partisan narrative I'm talking about that exists out there in the economic community. For example, in this video, he says,

"the Roosevelt Administration through a whole set of policies, all of them equalizing, much higher tax rates on the wealthy, higher corporate tax rates, a pro-union organizing environment, so you had an explosion in union membership, tripling of the workforce, the minimum wage, Social Security, unemployment insurance. All of these things, and then the process accelerated because during WWII, there were extensive government controls on the economy that were used in a way that tended to equalize incomes. All of this created a middle class society in a period of not more than about 7 or 8 years...

...so the income distribution, relatively equal middle class society that was created by the New Deal that persisted for more than a generation after WWII.

THEN, it started to come apart. And you see this dramatic increase in inequality, not quite as fast as the Great Depression but this dramatic increase, starting around 1980, which itself is kind of an interesting date because Reagan comes to the White House. And it turns out that the increase in inequality is unique to the United States... the closest thing you can see to the U.S. to this unequalization that's taken place in the United States is in Britain during the Thatcher years, which again is itself a little bit... revealing."

That's the narrative. The narrative is that the New Deal plus high taxes and unions caused the postwar economic boom and "created the middle class society," and Reagan ended it. Partisan hackonomics at its finest. And we see this narrative repeated and reinforced by labor unions, ThinkProgress, EPI, and other operatives of the Democratic Party. It's been repeated and reinforced so consistently that it's basically become common knowledge, particularly for anyone with preexisting liberal persuasions.



The explanation in the article I linked in the first post does a pretty concise job answering this question.
You are creating what you claim to be a "narrative" which is NOT and doing EXACTLY what the author of the article, proposes should not be done, even AFTER he does it!



"It's a bit like those arguments over the pause in climate change. If you're allowed to pick your start and end points in measuring a cyclical occurrence then you can prove pretty much anything you like. Counting economic growth from the moment we stopped blowing stuff up is going to make that period look good whatever the policies."
If High Taxes In The '50s And '60s Produced Good Growth, Then Let's Have High Taxes Again

One might just as well say, if tax cuts and deregulation are so good for the economy, why the Great Depression, the recessions following their implemantation and the Great Recession? Once again, to listen to all the talk of how terrible Obama was for the economy and all that regulation and all of his policies did to stifle recovery, how is it recovery and the "economy:" he handed Donald Trump (as opposed to the one handed him,) possible........then go on to cherry pick opinions on how one or the other had or did not have an effect on the economy. One must first have some belief, which is likely false, that Presidents or political parties or ideologies can somehow completely control all aspects, all events, that shape any economy in any one era and that all aspects cannot be investigated as to their contributions and impacts on any economy of any time. A singular event, completely out of the control of those who have/had any control over their own economies, could totally trash, the most stable economy on the globe. The same could be said in the opposite direction regarding events in or out of the control of anyone, that cause a struggling economy, to do well. One thing anyone who studies economies should know, including investors in economies, is that there is not any one factor that controls all about any economy and economic analysts are analysts of a necessity to investigate all the variants and factors that are and could effect any economy, at any moment in time, as they are constantly changing. Policies have an effect, but the extent to which they have an effect is as debatable as it might be directly attributable.

By that, the assertion you have made in your OP about "liberals" or any proof you think the article suggests can be attributed to "liberals" seems to be doing, just what the article warns against, doing, even as the article itself, seems to be doing, what it warns against doing. In addition, the article does not discuss the history of how and why they became popular or why taxes were high or how, "DESPITE" the existence of high taxes and high union counts, the ECONOMY, STILL BOOMED! If they were a detriment to booming economies, then, how did the economies BOOM, DESPITE them? The same question could be asked of now, if the economies then were still able BOOM "DESPITE" union numbers and high taxes, then what is the resistance to them about, today? If they effectively had no effect or a negative effect, yet the economies still boomed, then why would they hurt, today? Good analysts do not see things in a singular direction and while that appears to be the point of the author's article, he forgets to analyse his own analysis, in reverse of his own contentions. He really did not ask the question and give the answer of how an economy can still BOOM "DESPITE" that which anyone might contend, would prevent them, from booming?


One thing that is for certain about climate change is, there WAS a start to humans walking the earth, regardless of what occurred before. there is also a start of the geometric and exponential human population growth. To ignore that humans have and have had an impact on both micro and macro environments, including the very atmosphere of the planet, is to live a false reality.
 
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Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
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The narrative from the institutional left wing is that high marginal taxes on the rich coupled with strong unions "created America's middle class" and was the cause of the U.S. economic prosperity between 1945 and 1980. The starting point is credited to FDR's liberalism and the New Deal, high top marginal tax rates, and "strong unions," and the end of it is pinned exclusively on the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

That is the left wing gospel. It shall not be questioned or challenged. No other explanation is valid or welcome. And this narrative is continuous from the left wing. It is referenced constantly.

The narrative is a lie. A myth.

If High Taxes In The '50s And '60s Produced Good Growth, Then Let's Have High Taxes Again
You think if unions didn't exist we'd have higher wages? Would the debt we have be lower if we just eliminated taxes altogether, or better yet, just let poor people pay them?
 
Sep 2013
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The narrative from the institutional left wing is that high marginal taxes on the rich coupled with strong unions "created America's middle class" and was the cause of the U.S. economic prosperity between 1945 and 1980. The starting point is credited to FDR's liberalism and the New Deal, high top marginal tax rates, and "strong unions," and the end of it is pinned exclusively on the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

That is the left wing gospel. It shall not be questioned or challenged. No other explanation is valid or welcome. And this narrative is continuous from the left wing. It is referenced constantly.

The narrative is a lie. A myth.

If High Taxes In The '50s And '60s Produced Good Growth, Then Let's Have High Taxes Again
What?

I have never heard that high taxes and unions caused post war growth, but it is for sure that neither high taxes, nor unions prevented economic growth (as conservatives claim).