Debunking Liberal Myths About Tax Cuts and the Economy – Michael T. Griffith
A bit of education, here…
MYTH: We can only cut taxes if we cut spending by the same amount; otherwise, tax cuts will reduce revenue and cause deficits.
FACT: Historically tax cuts have always paid for themselves. Federal revenue increased after the JFK tax cuts, after the Reagan tax cuts, after the Clinton tax cuts, and after the Bush tax cuts. The problem has not been taxes. The problem has been runaway spending. Total federal spending has not dropped once in over 40 years—not once:
- Under LBJ revenue grew by 25%, but spending grew by 24%.
- Under Nixon revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 21%.
- Under Ford revenue grew by 11%, but spending grew by 22%.
- Under Carter revenue grew by 20%, but spending grew by 13%.
- Under Reagan revenue grew by 15%, but spending grew by 25%.
- Under Bush Sr. revenue grew by 17%, but spending grew by 18%.
- Under Clinton revenue grew by 35%, but spending grew by 9%.
- Under Bush Jr. revenue grew by 10%, but spending grew by 25%.
If we would just stop spending so much money, we would have a surplus, taxes could be even lower than they are now, and we could start paying off the national debt. The problem isn’t that we aren’t being taxed enough. The problem is that the government is spending too much money.
MYTH: Raising taxes in the 1990s caused the boom years of that decade. This proves that raising taxes leads to economic growth.
FACT: Tax cuts, not tax hikes, caused the boom years of the 1990s. The economy grew modestly after Clinton raised taxes in 1993, but the economy grew even more after Clinton signed the tax cuts that were passed by the Republican-controlled Congress under Newt Gingrich’s leadership in 1997.
Dr. J. D. Foster:
Following the [Clinton] tax hike, the economy performed reasonably well, but not as well as one would expect given the conditions at the time. The real economic boom came later in the decade, just when the economy should have slowed as it made the transition from a period of recovery to normal expansion. Further, this acceleration coincided to a remarkable degree with the 1997 tax cut. . . .
In 1997, the Republican-led Congress passed a tax-relief and deficit-reduction bill that was resisted but ultimately signed by President Clinton. The 1997 bill:
* Lowered the top capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent;
* Created a new $500 child tax credit;
* Established the new Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits to reduce the after-tax costs of higher education;
* Extended the air transportation excise taxes;
* Phased in an increase in the estate tax exemption from $600,000 to $1 million;
* Established Roth IRAs and increased the income limits for deductible IRAs;
* Established education IRAs;
* Conformed AMT depreciation lives to regular tax lives; and
* Phased in a 15 cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax. . . .
In 1995, the first year for which these data are available, just over $8 billion in venture capital was invested. Venture capital is especially critical to a vibrant economy because high-risk/high-return investment permits promising new businesses to blossom, rapidly spreading new technologies and new ideas into the marketplace and across the economy. Such investments, when successful, generate returns to investors that are subject primarily to the tax on capital gains. By 1998, the first full year in which the lower capital gains rates were in effect, venture capital activity reached almost $28 billion, more than a three-fold increase over 1995 levels, and by 1999, it had doubled yet again. (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/wm1835.cfm)
MYTH: JFK’s tax cuts were more responsible than Reagan’s or Bush’s. They were aimed at the middle class and didn’t help the rich.
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“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.” – John Maynard Keynes – The Economic Consequences of the Peace
While Barack Obama vacations on Martha’s Vineyard this week he’ll be thinking about his grand vision to save America – again. There is one thing you can say about Obama – he’s predictable. He promises to unveil his “new” plan for America in early September. The White House said Obama will give a speech after the September 5 Labor Day holiday to outline measures to boost hiring and find budget savings that surpass the $1.5 trillion goal of a new congressional deficit-cutting committee. It is heartening to see that Barack has turned into a cost cutter extraordinaire. He should be an inspiration to the Tea Party, except for one little problem. The plan he unveils in a few weeks will increase spending now and fret about spending cuts at some future unspecified date.
I can reveal his plan today because the White House has already leaked the major aspects of his plan. He will call for an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut of 2% for all working Americans. This was supposed to give a dramatic boost to GDP in 2011. Maybe it will work next time. He will demand that extended unemployment benefits be renewed. Somehow providing 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is supposed to create jobs. It’s done wonders thus far. He will propose some semblance of an infrastructure bank or tax cuts to spur infrastructure spending. It will include a proposal for training and education to help unemployed people switch careers. He will attempt to steal the thunder from the SUPER COMMITTEE of 12 by coming up with $2 trillion of budget savings by insisting the Lear jet flying rich fork over an extra $500 billion.
You may have noticed that followers of Keynesian dogma like Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Brad Delong, Richard Koo, John Galbraith, every Democrat in Congress, and every liberal pundit and columnist have been shrieking about the Tea Party terrorists and their ghastly budget cuts that are destroying our economy. They contend the stock market is tanking and the economy is heading into recession due to the brutal austerity measures being imposed by the extremists in the Republican Party. There is just one small issue with their argument. It is completely false. It is a bold faced lie. This is 2011. The economy has been in freefall since January 1. No spending cuts have occurred. Nada!!! As the CBO chart below reveals, the horrendous slashing of government will amount to $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013. Of course, those aren’t even cuts in spending. They are reductions in the projected increases in spending. Politicians must be very secure in the knowledge that Americans are completely ignorant when it comes to anything other than the details of Kim Kardashian’s wedding and who Snooki is banging on Jersey Shore.
The Great Depression officially lasted from 1929 until 1940. What is not well known is that real GDP was at the same level in 1936 as it had been in 1929. In no small part because real GDP soared by 37% between 1933 and 1936. The unemployment rate in 1929 was 5%. In 1936, even after real GDP had recovered to pre-depression levels, the unemployment rate was still 15%. It spiked back to 18% in 1938 and stayed above 15% until World War II. Tellingly, in 1936, private domestic investment was 21% below the level of 1929.
By contrast, government expenditures surged by 46% between 1929 and 1936. With the government creating new agencies and employing people in make-work projects, private industry was crowded out. The extensive governmental economic planning and intervention that began during the Hoover administration swelled drastically under Roosevelt. The bolstering of wage rates and prices, expansion of credit, propping up of weak firms, and increased government spending on public works prolonged the Great Depression.
The facts powerfully contradict the notion endorsed by Krugman and other Keynesian devotees that the supposed 1937-38 Depression within the Great Depression was caused by Roosevelt slashing spending. In fact, real GDP only dropped by 3.5% in 1938 and rebounded by 8.1% in 1939. What actually collapsed in 1938 was private investment, which fell 34%. By contrast, government spending declined by only 4.5% in 1938, proving that Roosevelt did not drastically cut spending. To the extent that he eased up on the accelerator, it was by cutting back on useless jobs programs like those provided by the Works Progress Administration and the Public Works Administration. Austerity did not derail the recovery.
The reason private investment collapsed in 1938 was Roosevelt’s anti-business crusade. He denounced big business as the cause of the Depression. In March 1938, FDR appointed Yale University law professor Thurman Arnold to head the antitrust division of the Justice Department. Arnold soon hired some 300 lawyers to file antitrust lawsuits against businesses. Arnold launched cases against entire industries, with lawsuits against the milk, oil, tobacco, shoe machinery, tires, fertilizer, railroad, pharmaceuticals, school supplies, billboards, fire insurance, liquor, typewriter, and movie industries.
Paul Krugman’s recent veiled yearning for a war or staged crisis to revive the economy through spending to fight the war is another Keynesian fallacy perpetuated by the mainstream media. These mindless non-critical thinking talking heads actually believe World War II ended the Great Depression. Doug Casey obliterates their fantasy:
“People say that World War II cured the Depression, but in fact, it made it worse. As bad as things were in the ‘30s, they were worse during the war in the ‘40s. You couldn’t get shoes. You couldn’t get gasoline. You couldn’t get tires. You couldn’t get just about anything that was being used for the war. The war prolonged and deepened the Depression. The thing that ended the Depression was not the war but the fact that since people could not consume, they were forced to save. That delayed consumption resulted in a huge amount of savings, and that’s what caused the recovery in the late 1940s.”
And read Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics by clicking below…