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President John F. Kennedy would not approve of today’s Socialist Democrats

Written By | Nov 17, 2019
President Kennedy, Democrat Socialist, Economic Growth

WASHINGTON: On January 20, 1961, Democrat John Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States.  He spoke words that day that were motivational for an entire generation.  Today’s Democrats are reversing Kennedy’s most famous words:

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

Instead, the Zoomers (Gen Z) and Millenials (Gen X) ask “what can this country do for me?”

Today’ Democrats say your country can provide you with health care, regardless of your ability to pay for it.  Your country can pay off your student loans. Despite your incurring the debt your country can pay your college tuition for you.

Your country can even pay you $1,000 per month guaranteed income and you don’t have to do anything in return.

President Kennedy’s inauguration meaning was clear.  This country allows you to pursue your dreams and achieve your goals.  But as you travel that road, don’t forget to give back to your country.

President Kennedy’s emphasis was on individual freedom and individual responsibility.
The four principles that made our country great.

These were, in fact, some of the principles that allowed this country to grow from the birth of the nation to the largest, most prosperous and most powerful country on earth.  The US surpassed countries that were hundreds and in some cases thousands, of years older. All since about 1920, or about 150 years.

In 1913, Congress ratified the 16th Amendment to the constitution which permanently established the Federal Income tax.  Once this was established, the government began to shift away from individual freedom and individual responsibility and toward less freedom and more social responsibility.  Over time, the tax rates increased until the maximum rate was raised to 91%.

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President Kennedy also knew that the country’s rapid growth was not just a result of pursuing policies that encouraged individual freedom and individual responsibility. One thing that put America ahead of other countries was low rates of taxation.  That meant Americans could always keep nearly everything that was earned.   The Kennedy/Johnson tax cut reducing tax rates for all Americans.

The Kennedy/Johnson tax cut took the maximum tax rate from 91% to 65%.  Annual economic growth accelerated to more than 6%.  With economic growth, the unemployment rate reduced as Americans found new opportunities.  The new opportunities did not just improve the individual’s life but contributed to the improvement of the overall welfare of the country.

Higher tax rates and more social responsibility.

The rate of taxation increasing steadily as more taxes were placed on the American taxpayer.  Social programs were enacted which shifted away from individual responsibility and toward social responsibility. In the mid-1930s, the Social Security Act initial tax rate was relatively low, rising to the level of 12.4% on the first $132,900 of wages.

In the mid-1960s Medicare provided guaranteed healthcare for all Americans starting on their 65th birthday.  This again shifted from individual responsibility to social responsibility. The Medicare tax is now 2.9% on all wages.  There is an additional .9% Medicare tax on wages in excess of $200,000.

This means that for about 80% of Americans, 15.3% of their wages are taken to pay for Social Security and Medicare taxes.

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Compassionate Americans generally approve of both Social Security and Medicare so that the elderly will always have at least a minimum income and will have healthcare.  Still, the 15.3% in taxes must be added to the taxes paid for Federal Income Tax, state income tax, sales tax on almost everything purchased, property taxes on homes and estate taxes. In addition to lifestyle taxes on products like gasoline, cigarettes, and alcohol.

We now have a government with an ever-increasing role leading to high rates of taxation.  This tends to slow economic growth, explaining the 2% annual economic growth from 2006 to 2016.  The Trump administration, by reducing government and tax rates reversing trends to show a 3.1% growth over 2018.  (2018—A Banner Year for the U.S. Economy)

President Kennedy, Economic Growth, Socialist Democrats

Democrats want Americans to ask “What can my country do for me?”

The proposed Democrat socialist policies will further reduce individual freedom. There will be a further shift from individual responsibility to social responsibility. Rates of taxation will rise even higher as the role of government increases.

All of which is why so many economists warn of the economic stagnation that Democrat Socialism will incur.

If President Kennedy were alive today he would not support Democrat socialist policies. He would recognize that the world’s most prosperous nation can afford some individual social responsibility.  Caring for the elderly and the disadvantaged make sense.  But having the country do more for able Americans, or providing for masses of non-American (illegal) immigrants is counter-productive to what made America great.

Democrats should be challenging their base as President Kennedy did in 1961. They should ask how each American can contribute to the welfare of the country rather than asking how the country can take care of every American. They should be looking back at the policies and American exceptionalism that sent astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon.

President Kennedy would want to keep America great. It is unfortunate that nearly 60 years later, Democrat’s are forgetting Kennedy’s 1961 message.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.