Science and Taxes

I remember when the Bush Administration lowered the capital gains tax to 15%, my father was horrified. The ordinary American he told me was still paying 25% in taxes on a CD that they had in the bank. He was also aghast at the the Bush Administration gradual repeal of the estates tax. My father believed that the wealthy in America were the ones to pay the most taxes. He predicted that the extreme “Voodoo” (ironically dubbed by George Bush the elder) economic policies of the Bush Administration would lead to fiscal chaos for the United States of America. I wish he was around for me to say from Newburyport, MA, “Dad, wow were you ever right.”

My father was a tax lawyer, one of the first. His job was to help wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes. But what I discovered was that he used his influence as a tax lawyer to persuade folks to give to things like research for mental illness and the cure for cancer.

My father believed in and encouraged investing in science, even when the government, in the dark ages, under the former Bush administration refused to do so, by refusing federal money for stem cell research.

I briefly got to know an artist by the name of Eliza Auth and her husband Tony Auth, the syndicated political cartoonist and cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, who has been mentioned before on the Newburyport Blog. Tony Auth graciously gave this political cartoon that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 27, 2005 to my father for his 90th birthday, and also gave me permission to use the image on the Newburyport Blog.

Tony Auth, May 27, 2005, Used with Permission

So on November 4, 2008 we as a country decided to put away childish things, voted for a candidate who wanted to once again embrace science, and go back to a more realistic tax structure. And all of a sudden the country, or as the media would have us think, is surprised and some of them aghast.

This is my theory, and I think it’s one that my Dad would have agreed with, that for eight years under the Bush Administration, the wealthy have had a basically, pretty close to, almost, tax free, relatively speaking, free ride. And possibly that part of why the market is down so much, is a petulance on the part of the 15% capital gains folks on Wall Street, that the existing tax disparity might have only been an eight year Christmas present by the former Bush administration.