Is the 1-2 positive punch for Tom Horner in today’s Strib a game-changer in the governor’s race?

Today was a very good day for Tom Horner in the pages of the Sunday Star Tribune, the state’s largest newspaper.

For starters, there was a prominently played, virtual editorial endorsement of the Independence Party’s gubernatorial candidate.  That editorial may not translate directly to Horner votes, according to Dean Barkley, who was chairman of Jesse Ventura’s 1998 independent campaign, but it could help do something nearly as important: It could open more checkbooks.

The near-endorsement of Horner didn’t seem to come as a surprise to either DFLers or Republicans. The newspaper has been leaning toward Horner since shortly after the Aug. 10 primary,  those associated with the campaigns of DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer said.

But it was a different story in a different section of the newspaper, combined with the editorial, that raised the hackles of Tony Sutton, chairman of the state’s Republican Party. On the front page of Sunday’s Strib, the news story there had to be seen as a positive by Horner supporters.

“GOP hasn’t locked down business vote,’’ the headline of that news story read. The subhead: “Some business leaders unsure about Emmer are taking a closer look at Horner.’’

A conspiracy? Strib says no
“I’ve never believed in the conspiracies about the paper that many conservatives believe – until now,”  Sutton said in an interview.  

The conspiracy theory is that the historic “liberal” bent of the editorial department is reflected in the paper’s news columns.

“I’ve always thought the paper’s news reporters tried to be objective,” Sutton said.

In fact, though he disagreed with the premise of the news story about business leaders being reluctant to support Emmer, he didn’t question the journalistic integrity of the story.

But again, it was that combo package — the big, bold, unusual near-endorsement and the front-page story — that angered Sutton.  It seemed to him like “a Hearstian effort to make Horner seem viable.”

Nancy Barnes, the executive editor of the Star Tribune, was quick to deny there was any sort of teaming up of newsroom and editorial department decision-making.  In fact, she said, the news story, several weeks in the making, originally had been scheduled to run a week earlier.

Tom Horner
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Tom Horner

“But I held it from last Sunday’s paper [Sept. 5] because I wanted more reporting done, she said in an interview.

The reporter, Baird Helgeson, did do more reporting, and the subsequent story passed muster with Barnes. She and the Strib’s managing editor, Rene Sanchez, then scheduled the story to run today.

It wasn’t until late Friday, Barnes said, that she learned that the editorial department was planning the Horner editorial.  She learned about it then, she said, only because the editorial department wants to make sure that its columns and editorials are clearly labeled when they go up on the newspaper’s website.

Once Barnes did learn of the editorial, she said she and Sanchez talked about whether the news story should be withheld from the newspaper.

“But we decided we had to stick with our belief in the separation of church and state [news and editorial],” she said.

The only way to honestly do that, she said, was to go ahead and run the news story.

“There’s no conspiracy,” she said, “but I do understand how some people would feel that way.”

She said she hopes to have a conversation with Sutton to explain what happened.

Could this be a game-changer?
The big question in all of this is whether the Strib’s near-endorsement is a “game changer’’ in terms of this race:  Is this the sort of push Horner needs to get him above the 13 percent mark, which is where he stood in the most recent polls.

Not surprisingly, Sutton said, “Absolutely not.”

He said that the Star Tribune editorial board is rallying around Horner only because “Mark Dayton is a deeply flawed candidate who cannot win.”

Sutton mocked the Stib’s editorial board’s fascination with Horner.

“He’s their perfect candidate,” Sutton said. “He’s a milquetoast policy wonk who couldn’t lead himself out of a paper bag.”

The editorial — and news story — he predicted will do nothing but strengthen support around Emmer.

The Dayton campaign shrugged off the editorial as “too bad” but “no surprise.”

On Esme Murphy’s Sunday morning interview show on WCCO-TV, Dayton said that the Strib is trying to protect its corporate advertisers by endorsing Horner.

“He’s a corporate Republican,” Dayton said of Horner. “Emmer’s an extreme Republican. I’m a Democrat.” 

Barkley, the father of the modern Minnesota third-party movement and Ventura’s campaign manager in 1998, said newspaper endorsements no longer have the power to swing votes, if they ever did.

Maybe instead a ‘field-leveler’
But if not a game-changer, the Sunday splash could be more of a field-leveler.

“When you’re the third  peg in the wheel, such a huge editorial has to help nudge some of those undecideds into believing he can win,” Barkley said.  “It will help him crack into that Republican money.  If Horner gets that $2.5 million he says he needs, you never know what will happen.”

Barkley, it should be noted, is a Horner supporter but is not actively working on the IP candidate’s campaign.

To back up for a moment, today’s Strib featured a long editorial that offered considerable praise of Horner.

“It’s too soon for us to recommend one candidate for governor,” the editorial read. “But after watching a full month of general-election campaigning, we’re issuing a challenge to moderate Minnesota voters seeking a break from polarization. A genuine three-way race is on. Independence Party candidate Tom Horner ranks as a serious contender, and he deserves full consideration by Minnesotans who in more ordinary times might not look at a third-party candidate. “

 The editorial was placed at the top of the front page of the weekly Opinion Exchange editorial section and was accompanied by a photograph of a smiling Horner. The editorial noted that this placement wasn’t “typical.”

“Extraordinary times warrant a break with usual patterns,’’ the Strib editorial said of the  placement of the glowing editorial.

Ventura never received such positive press,  Barkley noted.

“At this point in the campaign [of 1998)] Skip Humphrey [the DFL candidate] was at about 48 percent and Jesse was at about 10 percent and getting a little coverage, but nothing substantial,” Barkley said. “He started to get decent mentions in stories when he did well in the debates.”

 Today’s near-endorsement, Barkley said, won’t have much impact on the demographic that pushed Ventura over the top — young men who loved the Ventura persona. Horner is in no way the big, macho personality that Ventura was, and he won’t likely attract large numbers of Ventura’s more rowdy followers, he acknowledged.

 “They aren’t reading Star Tribune editorials on Sunday morning,” Barkley said, laughing. “They’re recovering from hangovers.’’

Different factors from Ventura’s 1998 surprise win
But the circumstances in this election are far different from 1998.

“It’s such a different scenario,” Barkley said. “The Emmer-Dayton schism is so big. The polls show there is a huge pool of undecideds. He [Horner] doesn’t need the big personality.”

What he needs is to build his name recognition [which Ventura never had to do] and prove to the political middle that he’s viable. To do that, he needs money for advertising.

Already, there has been some of the old Republican money coming into Horner’s campaign. Even before the big Sunday Star Tribune double hit, some of that money was moving to the middle.

“I was having a drink with someone the other night who was showing me a couple of invitations to Horner fundraisers that are going to be held by people who haven’t supported the [IP] party in the past,’’ Barkley said. “The people who read this editorial are the people who write checks.” 

Not surprisingly, the Horner campaign was quick to capitalize on the positive press in the Star Tribune. The campaign cranked out a release — sent to statewide media — highlighting the positive comments in the Strib editorial and the news story. It also used the release to highlight other positive comments Horner’s stances have received in articles in other media outlets around the state.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/12/2010 - 07:09 pm.

    This is all about attempting to split the republican vote between Emmer and Horner so the liberal wins. Dayton has no chance otherwise and we all know it.

  2. Submitted by Matthew Williams on 09/12/2010 - 07:27 pm.

    I have a feeling the bigger consideration for the Strib is to not alienate one party over another. The wise choice for them, for a paper already on the brink of a readership disaster (as with all MSM outlets), is to avoid pissing off a big percentage. Endorsing Horner is endorsing the smallest group they can feasibly piss off, risk losing what little non-web readership they have left, and still survive.

    Not sure this has much to do with politics (although, since the departure of Nick Coleman, the Strib has listed heavily to the right as of late).

    In other words, this isn’t an endorsement for Horner, but an attempt to avoid getting shot in the crossfire.

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/12/2010 - 08:12 pm.

    Many economists believe that the Horner’s approach to revenue is better. And even the business community is realizing that Tom Horner’s approach makes economic sense.

    Mr. Horner has laid out a plan that will be paid for. Rep. Emmer’s proposal for balancing the budget assumes first that massive tax cuts will have no impact on revenue. Senator Dayton does not offer the kind of budget cuts that show a serious level of concern about reducing state spending. Tom Horner’s plan involves adding revenue and making budget cuts. It is the honest way to deal with the states long-term budget deficit.

  4. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 09/12/2010 - 08:34 pm.

    You’re probably right, Matthew. But who cares who the Star Tribune endorses any more? It’s become a right-wing rag.

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/12/2010 - 08:36 pm.

    I saw and read both pieces. Well written, but not persuasive, at least not in my case. If I thought the times called for a Republican, Horner would certainly be my choice over Emmer, but the times don’t call for a “business-friendly” Republican. Corporations have rebounded nicely from the crash of ’08, and many are awash in cash – they can thus afford sizable donations to campaigns featuring people they can put in their pocket. It’s the guy or gal who was laid off weeks and months ago, whose house is “under water” or foreclosed, who needs a break, and lowering taxes does nothing for someone whose primary income is unemployment, and doesn’t do very much for the person who had to take an entry-level job, if they were lucky enough to find one, when they got laid off from their other one. Paul Udstrand had an instructive comment (#6) on the math involved in tax cuts following a piece by Sharon Schmickle on property taxes last week.

    When I moved here, I’d hoped that the ‘Strib would prove to be unabashedly progressive, but describing the paper’s editorial positions as “milquetoast” seems too polite. As much as other dailies in other cities where I’ve lived, the ‘Strib’s editorials are a disappointment, and too often are apologies for corporate interests, which don’t need defending in the current economic environment. Not surprising, considering the paper’s ownership and slipping circulation, but disappointing, nonetheless.

    Matt Williams (#2) might be correct – perhaps it’s less an endorsement of Horner than a strategy to keep from finding themselves in the middle of the crossfire. Or, maybe Dennis Tester (#1) somewhat different take is correct, and the Sunday articles are an attempt to split the Republican vote. If so, I certainly hope it’s successful…

  6. Submitted by Bruce Anderson on 09/12/2010 - 09:22 pm.

    If the very professional, adult leader of the Minnesota Republican party investigates when his paranoid newspaper conspiracy began, he’ll probably discover it started right after the Star Tribune endorsed Norm Coleman in 2008.

  7. Submitted by William Crum on 09/12/2010 - 09:23 pm.

    It’s worth noting that Finance & Commerce was five days ahead of the Star Tribune with essentially the same story, with a narrower focus on the commercial real estate industry.
    http://finance-commerce.com/2010/09/developing-support-commercial-real-estate-pros-backing-horner-for-governor/
    Paywall could trip you up on that link.

    Listen to Tom Horner in his own words:
    http://drop.io/HORNER2010_BUDGETOUTLINECUT2

  8. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/12/2010 - 09:25 pm.

    #5, for Dennis Tester to be correct the Star and Tribune would have to be a Liberal paper just as wingnuts claim. We know that not to be true. They made a huge shift to the right. They haven’t gone completely to the dark side, but they do give Republican voice much more credence then they do Liberal. Horner is a Republican running as an independent because the Republican party chose to run someone who has gone completely over to the dark side. Sensible Republicans, there are one of two left here in the state, see Emmer for the extremest that he is and they know that he will be bad for the state, thus the Stib endorsement.

    As far as it mattering any more, maybe to low information and older voters, but the Star and Tribune has no credibily with anyone else. The Right never trusted it and made the same false claims of bias that they did to all papers who weren’t blatantly Conservative. The Strib took that claim to heart and tried in be more “Fair and Balanced” meaning they moved to the “he said she said” style of journalism that is so popular today. In the process they lost the more Liberal of us. So, there is a small part of the population that they have not lost. A small portion of them may be swayed. No one else.

  9. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 09/12/2010 - 09:27 pm.

    The Strib needs to declare this 1-2 punch as an in-kind contribution to the Horner Campaign. And then Strib Chairman Michael Sweeney should apologize to the readers for the blatant bias.

    As for Emmer’s plan, yes, there will be cuts to business taxes . These businesses can then lower the price of their goods in order to sell more. Meaning more workers, and therefore more payroll and income taxes, and more profits and more business taxes. This money is then spent, leading to more sales taxes, and more jobs for additional people, leading to another positive economic cycle.

    It is not a static system, folks.

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/12/2010 - 10:20 pm.

    There are so many ways to call taxes fair or unfair that I really can’t buy a moral argument about who pays what, other than we can probably all agree that the poorer among us shouldn’t pay more in absolute dollars. But the fair share idea is kind of aesthetic more than anything.

  11. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/13/2010 - 05:56 am.

    Mohammed (#9) — Please see Jeff Van Wychen’s September 8 article, “Emmer’s Budget Plan: Part 1 – Expand the Deficit,” at Minnesota 2020’s Hindsight Blog (www.mn2020.org/hindsight).

    The Ventura/Pawlenty tax cuts for the wealthy have cost Minnesota $1 billion in revenue for each of the last eight or nine years. ON TOP OF this loss and the subsequent deficit we now face and the increases in regressive property taxes and fees we all pay now in an effort to help keep our cities/towns and the state afloat, Emmer would add these cuts to revenue:

    Corporate income taxes – cut by $368 million
    Business property taxes – cut by $100 million
    Other business tax breaks- $158 million in forgone revenue to come

    The cuts would increase the deficit from $6.86 billion to about $7.56 billion, after which the deficit would increase by various business credits and exemptions he has also planned.

    Emmer dreams that somehow these cuts will turn into jobs. Magically. Quickly. Ain’t gonna happen. And he still refuses to say what he would cut in order to get rid of the deficit. You can bet, however, that it would any program that tries to ease the suffering of the poor, the chronically ill or disabled and the homeless, plus to education, other public services and infrastructure.

    Dayton is the only candidate who will make the big corrections needed to end, and begin to reverse, the terrible damage done to Minnesota by Pawlenty and the rest of the anti-tax crowd.

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/13/2010 - 06:57 am.

    @ Mr. Mohammed Ali Bin Shah: It should be obvious now that while business has stopped large scale layoffs, they are just plain not hiring. Perhaps they see the same thing as me, the deadening impact of a slowdown in government spending or worse, a double dip recession that would kill them if they started adding overhead now. They have also probably figured out that starving, bankrupt consumers don’t buy much.
    Perversely, this means that productivity will keep soaring, as will corporate profits, which is how the stock market was able to hold its own today, despite the dismal figures.

    With tens of millions wiped out, and most of the rest recovering from a halving of their net worth, don’t hold your breath for a consumer spending boom. Frugality is here to stay.

  13. Submitted by Richard Molby on 09/13/2010 - 07:39 am.

    It’s not just a “huge pool of undecideds” it’s also a huge pool of “absolutely disgusteds.”

    With the GOP Dope and the DFL Twit both proving (to me, at least) every time they open their mouths that they have no new ideas and that either would be a horrible choice, I will seriously consider Horner (despite his awful plan to expand regressive taxation) IF I decide to not skip voting for governor the first time since 1988.

    This is absolutely the worst slate of candidates I have seen but I will have to go with “…a milquetoast policy wonk who couldn’t lead himself out of a paper bag” rather than either of the two candidates put up by the “major” parties. At least I wouldn’t have to pinch my nose as tightly when I pulled the lever.

    That is, unless I decide to follow the words of W.C. Fields; “I don’t vote, it just encourages them.”

  14. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/13/2010 - 08:00 am.

    Great discussion.

    So what will happen?

    Simply put, this makes it a two man race, the two being Horner and Dayton.

    I believe that Emmer was already out of it, but Horner simply did not have the traction, so most of the business community threw their weight behind Emmer. Now they are starting to realize that there is a serious chance that Horner might be a better horse to back.

    For Horner to actually win will require that moderate Republicans – if there are any left – will have to vote for him. The other important point is how many Dayton voters Horner can attract. I don’t know the answer to this question.

    As others have pointed out, economists seem to favor Horner’s economic plans. And I say this as a Dayton supporter.

    I still favor Dayton for basically two reasons:

    1) I trust his judgment [sic] and experience in putting an administration together. I hope that Mr. Gunyou is in it.

    2) Mr. Horner will run into a buzz-saw at the legislature. It will be bipartisan.

  15. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/13/2010 - 08:42 am.

    It seems Mr. Sutton would prefer that the election be decided on the basis of testosterone levels rather than what’s best for what Minnesota. I’ll take a wonk over a man who shouts first and ducks questions later, any day of the week.

  16. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/13/2010 - 10:04 am.

    Clearly the solution for Mr. Sutton is to have his rich cronies buy up all the media in Minnesota. That way, he’ll never have to read something that seeks to encourage him to consider that he (and Mr. Emmer, for that matter) might be wrong or at least mistaken about anything.

    Regarding endorsements, although it would have been a Godsend to the state of Minnesota to have had a pragmatic centrist such as Arnie Carlson, and presumably Mr. Horner in the governor’s office over the past decade, the facts are that the damage done by King Timmy is so wide-ranging and so severe as to render a centrist approach consistently “too little and too late” at this point.

    The state of Minnesota currently teeters on the edge of falling off a cliff into the abyss in almost every imaginable way, including ways which will kill many of the businesses in the state. Mr. Emmer (and Mr. Sutton) would act as a massive bulldozer to push us over the edge, giddily and gleefully exclaiming how exciting the ride was on the way down, then, together with all his math-challenged conservative friends, express complete shock at the total destruction that occurs when we finally hit bottom, while seeking to blame everyone else in the state for that destruction.

    Mr. Horner would try to slow the trip over the edge, but if he’s elected, we’re still going off the cliff.

    Mark Dayton is willing to bring in the bulldozers, too, and the log chains necessary to grab the state and pull us BACK from the cliff and up the steep slope required to rebuild the days when this state worked well for the vast majority of its citizens. He might cost me more in taxes, but I remember the state I used to live in. I’m willing to pay to bring that state back. Mark Dayton has my vote.

  17. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/13/2010 - 10:06 am.

    Bill Gleason writes
    “I believe that Emmer was already out of it, but Horner simply did not have the traction, so most of the business community threw their weight behind Emmer. Now they are starting to realize that there is a serious chance that Horner might be a better horse to back.”

    If the donors, as Doug reports above, are switching to Horner, this really could become a Horner-Dayton race.

    Regarding Sutton, I wonder what issues he imagines Rep Emmer is leading on? Tip-credits?

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/13/2010 - 10:14 am.

    Is anyone really surprised that the local big print champion of moderate bias would endorse (sort of) the middle of the road candidate?

    As for Horner’s plan, he doesn’t balance the budget. He needs to come up with 6 billion dollars and he only comes up with 3, and that’s if he’s lucky. Dayton gets us to within a few hundred million of balance. I honestly don’t know why anyone would vote for a 3 billion dollar deficit instead of a balanced budget.

    The real question for all these candidates is what are they’re going to do when their plan fails? We already know that two the three plans will fail so this is the only question that matters. Emmer isn’t even trying to balance the budget, apparently he’s bored with the idea of actually being a governor, and he doesn’t even have the job yet. We know when Emmer’s plan fails, he’ll deny it failed and propose more tax cuts. That’s what your voting for if you vote for Emmer. The question for Horner is whether or not he’ll support more tax increases, or adopt some version of a no new tax pledge. For Dayton, the problem will be much more manageable because if he still has a deficit, it will be a much smaller one. Still, what balance of tax increases and cuts will he tend towards?

    Look, you either think it’s the governors job to run the government or you don’t. One of the basic functions of running a government is making sure you have sufficient funding to keep it working. A budget either provides the funding or it doesn’t. When will this country abandon it celebration of mediocrity? Horner’s plan is a middle of the road demonstration of mediocrity. It doesn’t fail as spectacularly as Emmer’s, nor does it actually work.

    Middlism is the invisible ideology on our political landscape, and it will be our undoing. Tax cuts and increases don’t have much of an effect on economies, but paralyzed and inoperable governments can cripple an economy. We’ve been crippled for 8 years, do you think we can take another two or four?

  19. Submitted by Andrew Zabilla on 09/13/2010 - 10:47 am.

    @Mohammed Ali Bin Shah…

    Corporate profits are above pre-crash 2007 levels, but unemployement levels haven’t rising. I’m not saying that corporate taxes don’t have an impact on business, but to just say (as the GOP has been for some time) that lowering them will automatically create jobs is firstly false and secondly and attempt to simplify a complex problem into a sound bite that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  20. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 09/13/2010 - 11:15 am.

    I never thought I would agree with Tony Sutton on anything. But he is right on this one in this respect. It does not pass the smell test that the front page would have one pro-Horner story and that the editorial page would produce the unusually written and unusually placed editorial.

  21. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/13/2010 - 11:21 am.

    Nice article in the New York Times about the myth of tax cut stimulus plans:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/business/economy/11tax.html?_r=1&src=busln

  22. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/13/2010 - 11:36 am.

    //economists seem to favor Horner’s economic plans.

    What economist? I’ve seen some analysts express some interest in some part of his plan, but the math doesn’t add up to a balanced budget. Most actual economists will tell you that the holding taxes down has negligible effect on the economy, and deficits to the extent they cripple government have a negative effect on the economy. And as far as taxes go, any economist will tell you that sales taxes are more regressive than income taxes, and our tax structure doesn’t need to be any more regressive than it already is.

    Horner’s leaves us with a 3 billion deficit. In practical terms that makes it just as bad as Emmer’s plan because it leaves government just as unfunded. As far as the government budget is concerned there’s no difference between a 3 billion deficit and a 6 billion deficit. Emmer’s plan piles one more problems for future budget cycles, but in practical terms Horner’s government will look pretty much the same as Emmer’s. They both defer education spending rather than raise revenue.

  23. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/13/2010 - 11:45 am.

    (#21) See Ed Lotterman’s column of 9/12:

    Tax debate needs to go deeper than politics.

    http://www.twincities.com/

  24. Submitted by Andrew Zabilla on 09/13/2010 - 11:55 am.

    Sorry, meant to say unemployment levels “have been rising” not haven’t… got distracted.

  25. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 09/13/2010 - 11:55 am.

    As a former newspaper reporter, who worked on editorial pages occasionally, people should be justly angry that the Strib lowered itself to the level of shilling for a nobody candidates 50 days in advance of the election. But the reality is: it won’t make one whit of a difference. The influence of even a major newspaper editorial is almost negligible. For all intents and purposes, the editorial is a holdover from the day when daily newspapers mattered. That day has come and gone and it is never coming back. Horner has no party – just three endorsements – Durenberger, Carlson and the Star Tribune.

  26. Submitted by Roy Everson on 09/13/2010 - 03:23 pm.

    Shrink government so that it can drown in a bathtub (Emmer) or shrink government so it can drown in a jacuzzi(Horner).

  27. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/13/2010 - 04:17 pm.

    #23 Ed Lotterman’s column is a very rosy interpretation of Reagan’s tax policy. The fact is Reagan’s tax policy reduced revenue, and ballooned the deficit, this fact would later be commented on by Dick Cheney when he famously said: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Those deficits caused severe cuts in any government spending that wasn’t related to military spending. I remember to this day Reagan holding aloft a government pamphlet on bed bugs and mocking it as wasteful spending. Have you seen the stories about the resurgence of bed bugs in the US lately? The deficit was also used an excuse to push taxation down to the states. This was all pure politics, it was in fact voodoo economics, and it left us with a weak and weakening economy as well as government deficits.

    As to the “broadening” of the tax base, this is a nice euphemism for shifting taxes from the wealthy to the poor and middle class. You can talk about closed loopholes all you want but the fact is the tax burden on the wealthiest Americans dropped around 7% percent while the tax burden for everyone else either remained flat or dropped by about 1.4%. In fact the bottom decile actually saw an increase from 8.3 to 8.4.

    Source: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=456

    That amounted to trillions of dollars of lost revenue because the top decile typically captures about 50% of the total income in the nation.

    Source: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/wpsipp.html

    This tax redistribution did not yield any economic prosperity, only increased economic disparity. The gap between the rich and poor has widened to Gilded Age levels. Since 1980 80% of the top income gains went to the top 1% in the US while nearly everyone else remained basically stagnate. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/magazine/27wwln-idealab-t.html

    You can brag about closed loop holes if you want but those closed loopholes netted less not more dollars from the wealthy, redistributed the tax burden downwards.

    And what did we get in exchange for that disparity? What did trickle down economics (often referred to as “Supply Side” economics by it’s champions) get us? Several economic bubbles that all burst with disastrous results culminating in the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    Yes, we need to separate politics from economics and when we do that, we see Reaganomics for what it really was, magical thinking that has almost crippled our ability to cope with economic realities.

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