Last month, a handful of prominent Republican lawmakers tried to advance the false claim that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 — which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year — actually increased government revenue. “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,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Republicans need to invent this fantasy world in order to justify complaining about the federal deficit while simultaneously advocating an extension of tax cuts that would blow an $830 billion hole in the budget, all for the benefit of the richest two percent of Americans. Today, Bush White House adviser and GOP operative Karl Rove appeared on Fox News, where he not only claimed that the Bush tax cuts increased revenue, but that the cuts resulted in the highest amount of government revenue ever collected:
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…At the top, half of small businesses are going to pay higher taxes because they file at the personal rate, and they’re going to get hit.
Rove’s claim is simply wildly inaccurate. Here are total government receipts as a percentage of GDP since 1990:
The Wonk Room has further look at the historical receipt tables, both in terms of percentage of GDP and real dollars, which prove Rove has no idea what he’s talking about.