A handful of Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and California’s GOP senate nominee Carly Fiorina — have been claiming recently that extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans (at a cost of $830 billion) will pay for itself. “Let me propose something that may seem crazy to you: you don’t need to pay for tax cuts. They pay for themselves, if they are targeted, because they create jobs,” Fiorina said.
There is a whole host of economic data showing that this claim is clearly and demonstrably false. But Colorado’s Republican senate nominee, Ken Buck, not only thinks that the tax cuts will pay for themselves, but that they will actually help to “pay down the deficit“:
By extending tax cuts you pay down the deficit, you grow the economy by giving people more money and giving people the certainty they’ll know how to spend, they’ll have more money down the road to spend.
If there is no evidence that tax cuts pay for themselves, there is certainly no evidence that they reduce the deficit. After the Bush tax cuts, revenue plunged from 19 percent of GDP to 17 percent, and never recovered. Same thing after the Reagan tax cuts. And in both cases, deficits certainly did not go down.
But asserting that cutting taxes for the rich will somehow cause the deficit to magically vanish into the night is symbolic of Buck’s wider economic agenda. He is an avowed supporter of privatizing Social Security, saying, “we’ve got to peg Social Security to individuals so those individuals have the ability perhaps to invest in various funds that are approved by the government. But those individuals also own that fund.”
He also wholeheartedly supports Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Roadmap for America’s Future, which is a plan for slashing entitlements and raising taxes on 90 percent of individuals, while still losing $2 trillion in revenue. “The best plan that I saw to try to balance this budget is Paul Ryan’s plan,” Buck said. “He has put out a plan that has suggested that we can balance the budget through some spending cuts and changing some of our tax structure.”
Of course, calling a plan to dramatically reduce Social Security and Medicare “some spending cuts” shows that Buck either doesn’t understand Ryan’s plan or has no sympathy for the millions of Americans who depend on those programs. And his pronouncement that reductions in revenue also cause the deficit to go down shows that he doesn’t really understand the federal budget either.