It's past time for President Bush to make a strong push to extend his income tax rate reductions before they expire in a few short years. The tax cuts have been instrumental in stimulating economic growth, and their extension is absolutely essential to meet the onerous challenges we'll be facing, including the ongoing war on terror and rising fuel prices.
The president's newly appointed chief of staff, Josh Bolten, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," made encouraging statements about the president's plan to reenergize his domestic agenda, including extending the tax cuts.
But Democrats have a vested interest in blocking the extension and seeing to it that the confiscatory, government-empowering rates enacted in the Clinton years are restored. Democrats are using three principal -- and familiar -- arguments against extending the cuts, all of which are fallacious and deceptive. All are rooted in destructive class warfare.
First, they say that our deficits have skyrocketed under President Bush (which is true) because of his tax cuts (which is patently false). They say that this was entirely foreseeable because Reagan's tax cuts produced similar -- though not as severe -- drains on the national treasury, which is also empirically false.
As Mark W. Smith points out in the newly released paperback version of his "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Handbook," "President Bush's tax cuts produced a 14.6 percent increase in federal revenues in 2005 over those in 2004." The Reagan tax cuts nearly doubled revenues in the Eighties, and even after accounting for inflation, produced major revenue increases. In both cases (Reagan and Bush), the strain on the national debt has resulted from excessive spending, not the tax cuts. But lies to the contrary never cease.
Second, Democrats say that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts aided the rich at the expense of the poor, which, in both cases, is outrageously and maliciously false. Refreshingly, Josh Bolten signaled an awareness of the Democrats' propaganda schemes when he made a point of contradicting their oft-repeated lie that Bush's tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
Bolton plainly made a point I and many others have made for years: The Bush tax cuts made the tax code more progressive. The lower income groups received a greater percentage tax rate reduction than higher income groups.
According to Bolten, the top 10 percent of income earners would be paying about 64 percent of the federal revenues if the Bush tax cuts were not in place. But since they are, they are paying 66 percent of the revenues.