The big reelection mistake
President Obama seems to have a strategy to terminate all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for “the rich,” as he has been saying since 2008. He is offering the Republicans exactly zero concessions in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. No spending cuts, no entitlement reform, no compromise on the rates. It is entirely my way or the highway, and if the Republicans refuse to do everything exactly as he demands, he will let the Bush tax cuts expire entirely, for the middle class and working people as well as the upper incomes, and blame the Republicans for refusing to go along with him, and for the economic results.
It is a cynical game worthy of an undeveloped, third world country, not theUnited States of America. But this is just one more reason, with many more to come, for the American people to regret the mistake they made on Election Day.
Because so many major media institutions, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, have been so duplicitous and dishonest in discussing the Bush tax cuts, most Americans don’t know much about them, even though they have been living with them for 10 years or more now. Indeed, most of what they think they know is not true. But the American people will understand them better, when they see what life is like without them.
President Bush and his Congressional Republican majorities at the time cut taxes for everyone in the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Indeed, they cut more for lower and middle income taxpayers than they did for “the rich,” as Obama calls the nation’s job creators, investors, and successful small businesses. The top tax rate was cut by only 13%, while the lowest rate was cut by one-third, 33%.
According to official IRS data, the top 1% of income earners paid $84 billion more in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000 before the Bush tax cuts were passed, 23% more. The share of total federal income taxes paid by the top 1% rose from 37% in 2000, before the Bush tax cuts, to 40% in 2007, after the tax cuts.
In contrast, the bottom half of income earners paid $6 billion less in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000, a decline of 16%. The share of federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50% declined from 3.9% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2007.
The Bush tax cuts also included a doubling of the child tax credit from $500 per child to $1,000 per child. Because of that, and the 33% cut in the bottom tax rate, nearly 8 million more people dropped off the federal income tax rolls entirely, paying zero federal income taxes. Indeed, under the Bush tax cuts, the bottom 40% of all income earners not only paid no federal income taxes, as a group on net. By 2009, they were being paid cash by the IRS equal to 10% of all federal income taxes.
These Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit, as Obama and his echo chamber have alleged. By 2007, the deficit was down to $160 billion, less than 15% of Obama’s deficits today. Total federal revenues soared from $793.7 billion in 2003, when the last of the Bush tax cuts were enacted, to $1.16 trillion in 2007, a 47% increase. Capital gains revenues had doubled by 2005, despite the 25% capital gains rate cut adopted in 2003. Federal revenues rose to 18.5% of GDP by 2007, above the long term, postwar, historical average over the prior 60 years. CBO was projecting surpluses to return indefinitely in 2012 through the end of its projection period in 2018.
Bush did increase federal spending as a percent of GDP by one-seventh, erasing the federal spending cuts enacted by the Republican Congressional majorities in the 1990s. But even with that, deficits during the Bush years averaged just 2% of GDP, one-third less than the average over the prior 50 years. President Obama’s deficits have averaged 5 times as much, at 9.1% of GDP.
...There is more.
We also had 52 months of job creation and 4.4 percent unemployment after they were enacted. One of the other political frauds that Obama has engaged in is to blame the tax cuts for the 2008 financial crisis, but that event was caused by Carter and Clinton era housing policies that required financial institutions to loan money to unqualified borrowers.
Obama's policies will suppress job creation and increase the deficit. The man is ignorant of economics and history, but the country is the one that will have to pay the price for that ignorance.