Unconservative Tax Cuts

Historian David Kaiser had a few comments about the source of the current financial crisis on his History Unfolding blog. Here is an excerpt from his thoughts on this graph:

The President is now also taking political heat because of the size of the deficit, which as a percentage of the GDP is higher than at any time since the end of the Second World War (although a long way from being as large as it was during that war.) Republicans, of course, are acting as if this problem first emerged on January 21, 2009. The following graph, produced by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities with the help of data from the Congressional Budget Office, very usefully tells us where our current woes come from.

This table seems to leave no doubt that the Bush tax cuts were, and remain, the principal cause of our financial crisis. Had the Bush Administration maintained the existing tax code, the then-existing surplus would have been eaten up by the recession of 2001 and the wars that Bush began, but the country would have been in far better financial shape to meet the current crisis.
I think that David confirms what many of us have suspected for some time. Some might say that those Bush tax cuts actually created revenue and stimulated the economy.. well maybe they temporarily did.. but the long term affects of the tax cuts were not good.

I guess what troubles me the most is the idea that some have that cutting taxes is a conservative approach. Somehow many have embraced the idea that low taxes by themselves are what conservatives believe in. In truth what conservatives believe in is not spending more than you bring in. A balanced budget is a conservative idea.. cutting taxes without cutting spending is not conservative.

These things trouble me because I think that our congressional leaders have lost the ability reign in spending and do not have the political will to raise taxes to support past spending. The economy is in a mess and I do not see conservative solution on the horizon. Let's just hope that in 2010 we do not hear conservatives chanting the "we need tax cuts" mantra!


  1. My guess is that if you asked many of today's tax-cut proponents if they would prefer to go back to the tax rates of the "good-old-days" of the 40's, 50's and 60's, they would say yes.

    Of course, the top tax rates during America's most prosperous times were much higher than today.

    1950's - 91%
    1960's and 70's- 70%
    1980's - 50%
    1990's - 40%
    2000's - 35%

    Spending? Congressman and Senators from both parties spend tons of our money to get re-elected and do favors for friends. Sad.

  2. I'm glad to hear someone bring up the suggestion, as you have Bob, that cutting taxes is by definition a conservative approach. Personally, I am concerned with the budget deficit and have been for a long time."Few" conservatives even brought it up until Obama became president. Common sense suggests to me, if the deficit spending is becoming a problem than cutting spending and raising taxes seem to both be legitimate options...but...most conservatives in my neck of the woods seem to believe that any kind of tax increase is a mortal sin.


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