It’s amazing that the most damaging attacks on the fringe-right for their role in undermining the American economy are not coming from the competing Democratic machine, which is dependent on donations from many of the the same powerful special interests, but rather from former officials in the Reagan administration like Bruce Bartlett.
Bartlett just wrote an excellent NYT column in which he slammed current GOP leaders for advancing the fiction that the huge tax cuts for the rich enacted under Geedub Bush did not build our current deficit. It’s worth noting that Bush inherited a huge budget surplus, which he converted into a huge deficit. He also oversaw the destruction of millions of American jobs and permitted loopholes that encouraged American companies to shift operations overseas.
Bartlett held senior policy roles in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush – Geedub’s daddy. He notes that federal tax revenue now accounts for 14.8% of GDP – the smallest amount since 1950. That compares with an average of 18% of G.D.P. since 1970.
So, the idea advanced by Fox News and the fringe-right that high federal taxes are suffocating American business is fiction. In fact, the true situation is exactly the opposite, according to Bartlett.
The traditional business claim for low taxes has been that they would lead to more job creation, and that’s still true. But because the Fortune 500 has moved so many operations overseas the jobs they’re creating with their record profits are also overseas. They’re going to workers in low-wage economies like China and India, instead of Americans.
The private sector isn’t using this lower tax burden to create more jobs here in the U.S. as it once did.
Here’s Bartlett verbatim on Geedub’s tax give-away to the rich: “Few people remember that a major justification for the 2001 tax cut was to intentionally slash the budget surplus. President Bush said this repeatedly during the 2000 campaign, and it was reiterated in his February 2001 budget document.
“In this regard, at least, the Bush-era tax cuts were highly successful. According to a recent C.B.O. (Congressional Budget Office) report, they reduced revenue by at least $2.9 trillion below what it otherwise would have been between 2001 and 2011. Slower-than-expected growth reduced revenue by another $3.5 trillion.
“Spending was $5.6 trillion higher than the C.B.O. anticipated for a total fiscal turnaround of $12 trillion. That is how a $6 trillion projected surplus turned into a cumulative deficit of $6 trillion.”
Let’s not forget that Geedub also created the tremendous economic mess that Obama inherited by dramatically reducing private sector regulation, which led to the big risks taken by Wall Street financial services providers and banks, and facilitated predatory lending in the housing sector and by for-profit colleges.
Geedub really hurt working Americans in order to favor wealthy Americans at their expense. His tax cuts for the rich were supposed to be temporary. It’s time to let them expire.