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”.