John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

What Bush Boom?

Mirrored from BudgetBlog…

The conservative Bruce Bartlett echos a point Lee Price (from EPI) and I made in our report “Bush’s Tax and Budget Policies Fail to Promote Economic Growth.

Bruce Bartlett – The Right Stuff – What Bush Boom? – New York Times Blog
What Bush Boom?
Categories: George Bush, Taxes

One of the main criticisms I have received from friends on the right about my new book, “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy,” is that it ignores an important point — that Mr. Bush’s tax cuts have been so good that they in effect compensate for or excuse his huge increases in spending and other anti-free market policies.

When I ask what was so great about the tax cuts, they point to the “booming” economy. I have yet to hear any other evidence offered.

Thus we see that real G.D.P. is very slightly higher, but all the other numbers are substantially worse in this expansion compared to the last one. And it is worth remembering that taxes were not cut at all during that business cycle but were, in fact, raised twice. George H.W. Bush raised taxes as part of the 1990 budget deal and Bill Clinton raised taxes substantially in 1993, shortly after taking office. The hallmark of both tax increases was an increase in the top tax rate — considered anathema by supply-side economists — which went from 28 percent at the end of the Reagan administration to 39.6 percent during the Clinton years.

Therefore, I do not see how President Bush’s tax cuts can be given any credit for the “booming” economy. All we have seen is the upturn we get after every recession. In other words, without any tax cuts at all, we would be pretty much in the same place economically. The burden of proof is on those who say otherwise and cannot merely be asserted, as my supply-side friends do.


Filed under: Economics

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