In recent weeks, Republicans have been trying to create an alternate reality in which tax cuts don’t add to the U.S. deficit. Specifically, these deficit frauds have been arguing that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 — which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year — actually increased government revenue, and a further extension doesn’t need to be offset. Some examples:
— “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
— “The Bush tax cuts led to a couple of things. They led to first of all, the largest amount of revenue being received by the government. They helped encourage economic growth and grew tax revenues.” — Karl Rove
— “This is a continuation of a tax policy, so I would say you don’t have to ask for a paid-for continued tax policy. This is a tax increase if we let this happen without doing something happen about it. They have also demonstrated they increase in revenue with the capital gains as a part of that.” — Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Today, however, MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie pressed Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to admit that tax cuts do indeed increase the deficit. Cantor tried to evade her question by saying the issue needs to be looked at “through the prism of the working families seeking jobs,” but when pressed, he conceded that her point was right.
GUTHRIE: [W]ill you just as simply acknowledge that passing these tax cuts worsens the budget deficit problem? I mean, you can’t deny that, right?
CANTOR: Savannah, let’s look at it through the prism of the working families seeking jobs and the small business people who are creating them. It’s not a tax cut they’re looking for. They don’t want a tax hike. And that’s —
GUTHRIE: But that wasn’t my question. … I just was wondering if you had any dispute with the notion that it does exacerbate the deficit picture?
CANTOR: Well, what I said in the beginning is, if you have less revenues coming in to the federal government, and more expenditures, what does that add up to? Certainly you are going to dig the hole deeper, but you also have to understand if the priority is to get people back to work, is to start growing this economy again, you don’t want to make it more expensive for job creators.
Basically, Cantor is acknowledging that raising taxes on wealthy Americans would significantly contribute to his professed desire to cut the federal deficit, but he doesn’t care; he’d rather cut programs (like unemployment benefits) that benefit the middle class.
(HT: Political Correction)