Republicans have spent the last two weeks trying to create a fantasy world in which — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — tax cuts inevitably pay for themselves through economic growth. This absurd claim supports their demand that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans be extended beyond their January First end date, and that the $830 billion in lost revenue they represent doesn’t need to be offset.
Marco Rubio, who is running for the Senate in Florida on the GOP ticket, has also been a proponent of this alternate reality. When pressed on MSNBC last month about how he would offset the cots of extending the tax cuts for the wealthy, Rubio suggested there’s no need to, saying, “they will be paid for because they create economic growth.”
But at a recent campaign stop in Fort Lauderdale with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rubio seemed to be suddenly struck with a dose of reality, admitting that “tax cuts don’t pay for themselves“:
With the Bush tax cuts set to expire in January and debate in Congress heating up, Rubio has been staking out his position at recent campaign events. […]
“The tax cuts don’t pay for themselves, but they certainly lead to [economic] growth,” Rubio said. “Combined with the kind of measures we’ve proposed to hold down spending . . . put us in the place we want to be.”
Asked how he would pay for the tax cuts, Rubio pointed to his support for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget and his 12-point plan to spur economic growth. His proposals include repealing the new healthcare legislation, freezing nonmilitary spending and banning so-called earmarks for members’ pet projects.
Perhaps Cantor’s presence contributed to Rubio’s off-message reversal. Cantor recently admitted — very reluctantly — that extending the Bush tax cuts would indeed “dig the hole deeper” on the deficit. Of course, Cantor and the new Rubio are correct — the Bush tax cuts did not pay for themselves, and extending them on the wealthy will only increase the deficit.