Reassessing the Bush Tax Cuts

When the Tax Policy Center (TPC) calculated the ten-year revenue loss of the Romney tax plan, it, for some reason, did not include Romney’s proposal for permanent extention of the Bush tax cuts. Even leaving out the Bush tax cuts and other less significant cuts in Romney’s tax plan, the TPC concluded that,including interest, the Romney tax plan would create an additional $5 trillion in debt over ten years.

A release from the Citizens for Tax Justice (CFTJ) dated September 8, 2009, which was described as a newly revised estimate, puts the revenue loss of the Bush tax cuts at $2.5 trillion over the decade since first enacted (2001 – 2010). The CFTJ further said that 52.5 percent of the benefits go to the richest five percent of taxpayers. The $2.5 trillion figure includes an additional $379 billion in intereest payments aand also includes the cost of adjusting the alternative minimum tax (ATM) Notably, the Romney tax plan eliminates the ATM.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in an assessment dated April 21, 2004, calculated that when you include interest on the debt, deficits would increase by nearly $4 trillion between 2005 and 2014. The analysts concluded that without the Bush tax cuts, the deficit would have been under $100 billion in most years. With the tax cuts, the deficit would be $675 billion in 2014.

The upshot of what has been described above is that the estimated ten-year revenue loss of $1 trillion due to the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts may be a gross under-estimate.

The most stunning measurement of the Bush tax cuts is that the real GDP growth of 13.36 percent from 2001 to 2009 was the lowest GDP growth since the 13.33 percent GDP growth from 1966 to 1976.


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