Cantor Agrees with Principles of Basic Addition, Admits Bush Tax Cuts Add to Deficits
Last month, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a rather remarkable statement about the trillion-dollar Bush tax cuts, arguing, “[T]here’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.”
That is demonstrably false, a point Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority whip, noted today: “[I]f you have less revenues coming into the federal government, and more expenditures, what does that add up to? Certainly you’re gonna dig the hole deeper. But you also have to understand, if the priority is to get people back to work, is to start growing this economy again, uh, then you don’t wanna make it more expensive for job creators.”
Nevertheless, the GOP has argued that tax cuts do not need to be paid for, because they are stimulative, again, a mathematically indefensible proposition even in the minds of conservative economists — as Congress prepares to negotiate how to extend some or all of the Bush tax cuts, which expire on Jan. 1. But thankfully most Americans understand the basic checkbook-keeping here. Andrew Therriault notes:
Pew did a national poll which found that only 30 percent of respondents wanted to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, while 27 percent wanted to repeal them for the wealthiest taxpayers, and the plurality (31 percent) wanted to repeal ALL of the tax cuts (including, presumably, the ones which affect the respondents themselves!).
This is pretty amazing. We could argue to no end about the reasonableness of (effectively) raising taxes during a recession, but that’s not the point. Nor are the exact numbers themselves gospel — I imagine more than a few respondents are reacting to the “Bush” part of “Bush tax cuts,” and the option of sticking it to the unspecified “wealthy” does summon the populist rage in a bipartisan fashion. What’s really important here is that, while Democratic lawmakers are clamoring to get on the tax cut bandwagon (or off of the tax increase bandwagon, if you’re thinking about attack ads), Americans appear willing to have a reasonable conversation about taxes — that is, one in which raising taxes is at least on the table.