The tax plan proposed by Mitt Romney, which he says will avoid adding to the debt and won’t cut taxes for the rich, will work exactly the way the 2003 high-income Bush tax cuts worked, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said during an appearance on CNN on Thursday. Romney has faced criticism over how his tax plan will provide a 20 percent, across-the-board tax cut without adding to the debt or raising taxes on the middle class. The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan analyst, recently found that Romney’s plan as outlined is mathematically impossible.
But Hensarling has confidence that it will work, because the Republican Party has tried this before. In fact, Hensarling said, Romney’s tax plan will work just because it followed the “recipe” outlined by earlier GOP-led tax cuts, including the 2003 Bush tax cuts:
HENSARLING: This is the tax plan: fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive tax code. We broaden the base by getting rid of a lot of these special interest deductions, exclusions — by one estimate, one-third of the tax code is what is known as tax expenditures.
HOST: Why couldn’t Paul Ryan explain that 11 days ago?
HENSARLING: My guess is he could have had he had time. But we did this in ’03, it was done in the Reagan administration, it was done under President Kennedy under JFK, and guess what: when you follow this recipe, you get more jobs, more economic growth, and more tax revenue.
Even worse, the Bush tax cuts, which the Romney plan maintains before cutting taxes even deeper, were heavily skewed toward the rich and failed to lead to the economic and job growth Republicans promised. The decade following was one of the worst on record for economic, job, and income growth.
Hensarling is correct: the Romney tax plan certainly follows the Bush recipe. That recipe, though, is one that leads to fewer jobs, slower economic growth, and even bigger debts and deficits.