Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Reagan tax cuts made things worse, not better

Jobs and economic growth are not triggered by wealthy investors, but by broadly distributed middle-class prosperity and consumer demand. That's why "supply-side" economic theory, in which tax cuts for the wealthy are supposed to stimulate the economy, has been thoroughly discredited and is worse than useless. And that's why it was discouraging to read in the Herald that Reagan's tax cuts during his first term were "so influential in reviving a sluggish economy" (your lengthy essay of July 27). ("Supply-side" is also known as "trickle-down" or voodoo economics. Google "Reaganomics" to learn more.)

Actually, economic growth during the Reagan years was stimulated by a major increase in government spending, a result right in line with the highly regarded Keynesian prescription for recovery from a normal recession. According to Wikipedia, increases in payroll taxes negated Reagan's tax cuts for the middle class, but spending during Reagan's two terms averaged 22.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), well above the 20.6 percent GDP average from 1971 to 2009. But in the end, Reaganomics failed him. Reagan's spending increases and tax cuts tripled the national debt, a result Reagan described as the "greatest disappointment" of his presidency. (Not learning from history, the Bush tax cuts doubled the national debt, and it's still climbing.)

It's even more important to understand that the current recession is not a normal one. The economy continues to expand slowly, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and millions are suffering. Why? The middle class has been largely drained of its purchasing power by the increasing effects of automation, off-shoring jobs, and union-busting. Meanwhile, a few very wealthy Americans have siphoned off much of the profits, are paying historically low tax rates, and are investing millions of dollars in this election to increase their political clout and further impoverish the rest of us.

A well-informed national debate is desperately needed to deal with this major, new structural problem. It's important that the drumbeat of false and misleading information be minimized. I urge you and my fellow readers to fact-check information before passing it along and then help create innovative, evidence-based solutions.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Nice to read about the school district's achievements

The report on our schools in the July 30 Baker City Herald was very welcome to all of us - parents and community members who are not parents of students now in school here. Learning that the percentages andndash; test scores in reading and math, building assessments are far above the state percentages tells us more than opinions without any credible data that have been expressed previously.

Thank you Supt. Wegener and Chairman Burroughs for compiling this data-filled report, and to the Herald for publishing it.

Maryalys Urey

Baker City

The real meaning of 'once in a blue moon'

Sounds to me that almost everyone uses the term "once in a blue moon" like they know what it means. Well, as usual that is all talk, with little "knowledge," meaning understanding gained by actual experience, not from hearsay from folk that know even less than you think you know.

Once in a blue moon is when there is a full moon twice in the same month, as is the case in August of 2012, once on Aug. 2 and again on Aug. 31. Now you know what a blue moon is.

Jim Smeraglio

Baker City