Glenn Hubbard, Mitt Romney’s “go to” economist and potential Treasury Secretary, said during a debate in New York on Wednesday that “the rich are taxed enough” and argued that asking the super wealthy to pay more “is both counter-productive and unnecessary to fund the government we want”:
While steering clear of specifics, Hubbard told the audience at the Intelligence Squared Debate that “higher tax rates won’t necessarily produce enhancements in revenue.”
“We can and should achieve fairness and growth without taxing the rich more than they are today,” he said.
The comments conform with Romney’s tax cut proposal, which offers a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut for all income brackets, ensuring that the richest Americans receive an $87,000 tax cut on average (even if Romney fully finances his plan.)
But millionaires, who received an average annual tax cut of more than $110,000 a year in the last nine years as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts, don’t need more tax relief. In fact, during a period of unsustainable budget deficits — and raising income inequality — they’ve seen their tax burden shrink. The highest tax rate on income “has been steadily falling over the past 50 years.” Taxes on investments are historically low and the percentage of income the wealthy and super wealthy pay in taxes has plunged.
Lower taxes on the wealthy hasn’t created more economic growth. In fact, under the Bush administration’s economic policies, the country saw tepid job growth, 8.3 million people fell into poverty and child poverty rose by 3 percent. A recent analysis from the Center for American Progress found that “in the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now.” In fact, “if you ranked each year since 1950 by overall job growth, the top five years would all boast marginal tax rates at 70 percent or higher.”
Hubbard was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.