Letter to the editor – Charities’ role critical

To the editor:

In his letter of Sept. 15, Sam Goldenberg writes: “The tax cuts help stimulate the economy, which eventually creates more jobs, and more money for people to donate to charities — and less people who need help in the first place.”

It would be nice if this were true, but the fact is that the Bush administration’s most recent tax-cut bill was really a tax-reform bill, which repealed the tax on dividends, cut marginal rates primarily for the richest Americans, and provided very little economic stimulus.

Nor was the 90s boom financed by the tax cuts in the 80s, as Mr. Goldenberg claims.

The 90s boom was financed at least in part by reductions in the federal deficit, in turn made possible by the end of the Cold War and the arms race.

A flagging economy is best stimulated in the short term by government spending, not tax cuts, and in the long term by wise government investment in infrastructure and social welfare, including health and education.

The Bush administration’s economic policy is, in the words of the Nobel laureate economist George Akerlof, a member of the board of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, a “form of looting.”

In this climate, the role of charities will be more important than ever.

The poor we may always have with us, but under the current policies we will have a lot more of them.

Kate Cell, general director, Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, Pearl River, N.Y.

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