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When at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again

Further evidence that when reality doesn’t match their political needs, Republicans will just ignore reality and lie. The tax cuts for the wealthy that Bush and the Republicans got passed in 2001 and 2003 were completely insane, marking the first time in our nation’s history when taxes were cut during war time. But now those tax cuts are about to expire, and the Republicans want more tax cuts. But there is just one problem — Republicans are currently attacking Obama and the Democrats over the deficit, even filibustering extending unemployment benefits. So how can they block unemployment benefits (because they will raise the deficit), while simultaneously wanting to hand out more money to the rich (which will dramatically increase the deficit)? Easy, just lie.

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) started it by saying on Fox News that he wanted to extend Bush’s tax cuts, but that they didn’t have to be paid for, even though he insists that unemployment benefits be paid for by cutting other government programs. But the real whopper came from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who claimed:

There’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.

McConnell is trotting out the old myth that cutting taxes for the wealthy raises revenue, because it stimulates the economy. That may be his opinion, but when he said that there is no evidence that Bush’s tax cuts diminished revenue, he is blatantly lying.

Bush ran the largest deficit in the history of our country, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, over 75% of the deficit was due to Bush’s tax cuts. Less than 25% of the deficit was due to increased domestic spending, such as Medicare Part D, which Republicans crammed down the throat of Congress, and which was actually a huge giveaway to the drug companies.

But you don’t have to believe the CBO. The Atlantic has put together a lengthy list of hard evidence that Bush’s tax cuts diminished revenue. Most damaging to McConnell’s claim that there is “no evidence” are statements from Bush’s own economic advisors:

  • Hank Paulson, who was Bush’s Treasury Secretary, said “As a general rule, I don’t believe that tax cuts pay for themselves.”
  • The chairman of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors said “I certainly would not claim that tax cuts pay for themselves.”
  • The chief economist of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors said “No thoughtful person believes that this possible offset [the Bush tax cuts] more than compensated for the first effect for these tax cuts. Not a single one.”

So even Bush’s economists don’t believe that his tax cuts didn’t decrease revenue, and yet this is not only exactly what McConnell is claiming, he is doubling down and saying that there is “no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue”.

UPDATE: Read this article about conservatives and deficits.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    The figure that Christian Science Monitor came up with was $120 BILLION a year that the treasury would reap if these tax cuts to the rich are allowed to expire. I have alerted all my tax clients that their $40 dividend in company stock will be taxable if the tax cuts to the rich are allowed to expire. They say exactly what I’ve said since Bush put the tax cuts in “That is only fair.” LET THE TAX CUTS TO THE RICH EXPIRE. As Iron Knee said before, he and I will both be paying more taxes which is only right. Obama says he is going to let them expire so that is step one.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink
  2. patriotsgt wrote:

    I’d have to agree with EBDOUG, let them expire and use the revenue to pay down the deficit or debt. I also think our tax code is antiquated, unfair and ineffectual. Everyone should pay a share, even the poor. It doesn’t have to be huge, but everyone should contribute something the greater good. It could be something as simple as flat tax of 1% for 10K, 2% for 20K up to 10% for 100K, etc until you hit a maximum say at 30%. We need to get away from tax welfare where refunds are given even if you pay no tax. No deductions, no child tax credit, everyone contributes. Then we can do away with most of the IRS, that would save a huge bundle too. Then if the Govt wants to give tax relief (ie. tax cut) they mail us a check, we spend it, help the economy, everybody wins. Too simple. (thats why our legislators would never go for it -i’ve tried to read their bills)

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink
  3. Michael Dare wrote:

    In the first paragraph, I believe you need the word “to” before the word “hand.”

    [thanks Michael, I fixed it. -iron]

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  4. Bert and/or Ernie wrote:

    I never got it. My thought experiment is basically:

    You’re a rich guy with a company. People aren’t buying your products so you cut jobs. The government gives you lots of money, but people still aren’t buying, so why would you hire? Stock the money away until they are.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  5. Welfare for the rich.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  6. Sammy wrote:

    The problem is that this neocon mantra is repeated so often and by so many on Fox News and right wing radio, and the audience is largely otherwise uninformed and uneducated, that it’s believed as fact. And recent studies show that the conservatives with strong political opinions, when shown opposing FACTS to disprove their beliefs, actually wind up with strengthened (erroneous) beliefs! (See Iron Knee’s previous post about this.)

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Bert/Ernie — Exactly!

    Much better to give unemployment benefits to the workers, so they can start buying things.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    My son has a dairy farm. He netted $11,000 last year. OK, so take away all his extras from the government, he can’t possibly stay in business with four children. Your milk prices go up. Minimun wage worker full time, can’t live on that money. Raise his pay, cost of goods go up. So the government subsidizes that person to keep price of goods low. and if that person doesn’t have a job, rather than let the children starve, the family goes on welfare. So we pay my son and others money to keep working for practically nothing except the reward from the government (us) at the end of the year. We “redistribute wealth” to keep cost of goods down.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    And if would be even worse if we kicked out all the illegal immigrants who work in agriculture. Food prices would have to go up significantly.

    I’ve lived in countries that don’t subsidize food production, and food is significantly more expensive, but it balances out eventually. Just hugely disruptive to try to change it all of a sudden. But being the capitalist that I am, personally I would prefer it if we didn’t have any agricultural subsidies, and paid farm workers a decent wage, even if it meant my food budget would go way up. Of course, I’d hope that something else (like my taxes) would go down to balance it.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

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