Bush Tax Cuts

George W. Bush, Middle Class Champion

Less than one-fourth of the Bush tax cuts benefit "the rich"

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So: Where does George W. Bush go to collect his apology?

You're thinking: Apology? What &%$#@  apology?

Why, the one he's owed by the countless liberal Democrats who slammed him for pushing "tax cuts for the rich" in 2001 and 2003. Boy, were they hot under the collar!

Start with Paul Krugman, the liberal conservatives love to hate. In 2003 he spilled more than 7,000 words in the pages of The New York Times magazine denouncing "The Tax-Cut Con."  "The selling of the [Bush] tax cuts has depended heavily on chicanery," he insisted. "The administration has carried out a very successful campaign to portray these tax cuts as mainly aimed at middle-class families…. The reality is that [the] tax cuts mainly benefit the very affluent."

The Gray Lady herself agreed—arguing that while Bush had sold the tax cuts as "primarily benefiting middle-class families," in fact, "the numbers show the opposite."

"Big tax cuts for the rich, sacrifices for everybody else," sniffed Leon Panetta, currently Defense Secretary but then the lowly chairman of the House Budget Committee. Al Gore agreed that the cuts were a "redistribution of wealth from the middle class." Ditto presidential candidate Howard Dean, who said in 2003 that "most middle-class people never got a tax cut from George Bush." Countless others added their voices to the chorus.

Fast-forward to the present. Washington is having another budget fight, and the biggest sticking point is taxes. The Bush tax cuts are set to expire on Jan. 1. Republicans want to extend them all. (Apparently the party had its fingers crossed behind its back when it adopted the 10-year sunset provision. Big shock, right?)

President Obama is willing to extend the Bush tax cuts, too—but only for those making $250,000 or less. But hey, guess what? It turns out doing this will, in the President's own words, keep taxes lower for a whopping 98 percent of the American people. 

The White House has even produced a convenient infographic on "Extending Middle-Class Tax Cuts" to make that point. The president, it says, "has called on Congress to act now to extend middle-class tax cuts and to not hold our economy and the middle class hostage." It urges "continuing tax cuts for 98 percent of American families." And just in case you didn't get the message the first three times, it points out that "President Obama's plan will make sure … 98 percent of American families" will continue to "fully benefit from the income tax cuts." 

Back in 2007, Obama said, "the Bush tax cuts—people didn't need them, and they weren't even asking for them." A few days ago he insisted: "We've got to make sure that taxes don't go up on middle-class families." Perhaps he has, as they say,  grown in office.

Like good soldiers, many liberals quickly have fallen in line. For instance, ThinkProgress says Republicans are "Holding the Middle Class Hostage." The President, it says, has "called on Republicans in the House to immediately pass a bill extending tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans…. House Republicans are literally the only thing standing in the way of trillions of dollars in tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans."

Liberals aren't the only ones who have changed positions, by the way. Republican Sen. John McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts because he wanted to "see much more of this tax cut shared by working Americans…. It still devotes too much of it to the wealthiest Americans." McCain later concluded extending the tax cuts was a good idea—once he started running for President himself.

To be fair, these two decade-apart positions are not entirely incompatible. Bush cut the tax bills of the rich by much bigger dollar amounts than the tax bills of everyone else. Still, more middle-class people got a tax cut than rich people, and many of them got a bigger reduction in percentage terms, too: The top tax rate fell 4.6 percentage points; the lowest rate fell 5, and the second-lowest rate fell 13.

As a result, The Joint Committee on Taxation says extending the middle- class tax cuts will shave $2.7 trillion in revenue over 10 years. The White House says ending the tax cuts for the richest 2 percent would raise $849 billion over a decade. In short, less than one-fourth of the Bush tax cuts benefit "the rich."

But you'd never have known that latter point from the way Bush's critics talked at the time.

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  1. If you keep extending tax rates beyond the point they were supposed to expire, can you really call them “tax cuts” anymore?

    Obama should really just come out and say, “We want to raise tax rates on people making over $250K by (this much). Everything else we want to keep the same as it is now. No, I have no idea how we’ll meet our SS and Medicare obligations this year, why do you ask?”

      1. No, fuck you, my Kirk picture was better.

        1. Well, the committee considered your image, shouted “KHAAAN!!” in unison several times, but went with the other image because (1) it was more angsty, (2) was Kirk Classic, and (3) the “KHAAAN!!” business was just Kirk faking out Khan–he wasn’t really upset.

          Besides, the Penguin added text to the TOS image, so, by default, that won.

              1. Pfah, those aren’t even animated. See also this.

                1. And this one for all your tiling wallpaper needs.

          1. Link?

              1. Where?

  2. Funny pictures don’t alleviate the need for alt text, they just make the alt text crafting process more delicate.

  3. Bravo, Mr. Hinkle, bravo.

  4. Bush didn’t intend the cuts to be for the middle class, it just worked out that way. He passed them because he is evil.

    Obama cares about the middle class, so he’s keeping the same exact tax cuts. But he intends them to actually go to the middle class, not the rich, so he is beautiful and brilliant and good.

  5. Well done.

  6. What ever happened to the Dem line that the Bush tax cuts were just for the rich? If that were the case, then why the need to preserve any of them?

    1. Well, you see, because…

      *throws smoke bomb*

  7. Al Gore agreed that the cuts were a “redistribution of wealth from the middle class.”

    …and Mr. Gore went to say that “all this talk of tax cuts is a distraction from tackling the true crisis of our time: Manbearpig. I’m super serial.”

    1. I understand Manbearpig more easily than I understand how a bloody tax cut is a redistribution from anyone to anyone else.

      1. Not taking is giving. When you take less from the rich, you are actually giving money to them. Where does that money come from? Everyone else. Thus a tax cut for the rich is a tax on the middle class and the poor.

        /Tony “logic”

  8. As much as I dont want to defend the Democrats, being against a tax cut, and then being against the expiration of that same cut are two different things. The expiration of the Bush tax rates should really be called what it is: a tax rate hike.

    1. being against a tax cut, and then being against the expiration of that same cut are two different things.

      Uh, how?

      1. Because one is a tax increase. You may not want taxes to go down, but that doesn’t mean you want them to go up.

        1. Except the ‘tax cuts’ are expiring. At one point, the Democrats opposed these tax cuts, which means they should be pleased to see them expire.

          It’s the same logic.

          1. Its much harder for a pol to be for a tax increase than a tax decrease. Think of it like a politician and you’ll get it.

            1. Think of it like a politician and you’ll get it.

              Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby.

        2. Well it’s not the goalposts, but the baseline sure is dancing around.

  9. So “Bush tax cuts” has morphed to “middle class tax cuts”. Excellent.

  10. The ebb and flow of populism? Maybe the Bush tax cuts were simply ahead of their time.

  11. Referring to them as “tax cuts” frames them as a temporary privilege granted by government. Thus, allowing them to expire really isn’t raising taxes but restoring the balance.

    I hear The Party is going to raise the chocolate ration again…

    1. To be more neutral, Democrats opposed lowering the tax rates when Bush did it and now are against raising the tax rates to what they were before Bush.

  12. The tax cuts were fine if Bush had had an ounce of spending restraint in him.

    $1.8 trillion to $3.5 trillion is the worst % increase (and real increase) on record.

    1. Compassionate conservatives are big government liberals who opposes abortion.

      1. Previously referred to as Blue Dog Democrats… before the socialists grasped control of Team Blue.

    2. Total spending in2008, Zbush’s last year was 2.9 trillion. Stop pretending Bush was in office in 09 you fucking little retard.

        1. Not for fy 08. Look it up dipshit. You continue to count fy 09 like Bush stayed in office, which he kind of did in the form of Obama.

          1. here is the CBO report from Jan 2009.

            http://www.cbo.gov/publication/20445

            $3.54 trillion for FY 2008-/09 (page 16)

            1. FY 2008 was $2.9 trillion.

            2. shrike, seriously, FY 2008 was 2.9T and FY 2009 was 3.1T.

              That table is projections, shrike. The Bush budget was 3.1T. Look it up.

              1. The projection for 2009 included off-budget spending (like the Iraq War).

                The budget said $3.026 trillion like you note.

                Obama put the wars on budget first thing.

                1. The on and off budget stuff has always been in the projected outlays. Do you think “off budget” means it just isn’t counted?

                  1. “Off budget” means spending not on the budget.

                    It takes a special appropriation. Bush didn’t want the wars on budget and Dems fought him every time a supplemental spending bill came up.

                    1. It’s still in the total outlays. Jesus, I just wrote that.

                      Dems fought him every time a supplemental spending bill came up.

                      That is a rank, rank lie. The Senate voted 92-6 in favor of the 2008 war appropriations. The parties conspired to split the 2008 bill into two parts so Rs could vote against domestic spending and the Ds could vote against the war, but everybody knew the score and both parts managed to pass.

                2. The projection for 2009 included off-budget spending (like the Iraq War).

                  Which is beside the point. The budget Bush proposed was $3.1 trillion (which was bad enough). The Dems wanted another $400 billion and Bush threatened to veto, so the budget wasn’t actually passed until after Obama took office and approved the additional $400 billion in spending.

                  The bottom line is that for you to claim that Bush took the spending up to $3.5 trillion isn’t accurate. If you had said $3.1 trillion, less the $400 billion Obama additions, that would have been accurate.

        2. Actually, it’s $3.1 trillion when you take away the $400 billion in additional spending that Obama authorized in FY 2009.

          http://www.whitehouse.gov/site…../hist.pdf, Table 15.2

          1. I don’t have a problem dinging Bush for the rest, even if Congress never actually passed his FY09 budget while he was in office, because they were his proposals. Obama just approved that amount plus another $400 billion in bullshit that Pelosi and Reid wanted.

    3. $1.8 trillion to $3.5 trillion is the worst % increase (and real increase) on record.

      First of all, to be consistent, Bush’s first administered budget was submitted by Clinton, and it was 1.9T. Second of all, Bush’s last submitted budget was 3.1T.

      So, both of your numbers are wrong.

  13. Given the fact that wealthy counties went for Obama, isn’t this just biting the hand that feeds the Democrats?

    1. Most people vote for cultural reasons (both parties).

      My extended family in Georgia is loyal GOP because they are Southern Baptists. They don’t know the first thing about taxes and the fiscal cliff.

  14. The total wealth of every billionaire in the country is less than a trillion dollars. The money is in the middle class. If you want to raise money rather than just engage in revenge against the successful, you have to tax the middle class.

    1. Since when was the raising money the goal?

    2. John, this simply can’t be true. The rich have tons of money, money they acquired by being evil and not giving enough to their workers or paying their fair share. Paul Krugman and Obama told me so!

  15. 1) No, fuck you, cut spending.

    2) I blame Bush.

  16. http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..50456.html

    Eric Erickson considering Chambliss primary.

  17. The tax cuts were fine if Bush had had an ounce of spending restraint in him.

    Wait, what? Booooosh increased spending?

    Why was I never told of this?

    1. Considering all that deficit spending was the only thing keeping the GDP afloat after dotbomb blew up, Gore would have done the same thing–although to be fair, GWOT wouldn’t have been as expensive.

      1. Huh? What the hell makes you think the party that gave you WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam would have waged the GWOT on the cheap?

        1. I seriously doubt Gore would have invaded Iraq.

          GWOT’s cost around $120 billion a year, on average. I’ll go out on a limb and say that would be lower without the Iraq adventure.

          1. You mean the Al Gore who was a member of the Administration who bombed Iraq on a regular basis for the entirety of its existence?

            Sorry, the idea that the Democratic Party is peaceful or less eager to get involved in foreign adventures is just silly. They love big government, and they love power, and war gives plenty of opportunity for both. Their opposition to Iraq was based purely on the fact that it didn’t go well, and it became a political liability to a Republican administration. It became a club to beat Bush with. They don’t care about dead soldiers or dead Iraqis.

            1. You mean the Al Gore who was a member of the Administration who bombed Iraq on a regular basis for the entirety of its existence?

              Carrying out a multi-year bombing campaign is a different issue than a boots on the ground invasion and multi-year occupation. Do you honestly think Gore would have sent his SecState to the UN to try and get approval for an invasion based on WMDs, while carrying out a campaign to get Bin Laden in Afghanistan at the same time? I’m sorry, but I just can’t see it.

              Sorry, the idea that the Democratic Party is peaceful or less eager to get involved in foreign adventures is just silly. They love big government, and they love power, and war gives plenty of opportunity for both. Their opposition to Iraq was based purely on the fact that it didn’t go well, and it became a political liability to a Republican administration.

              That doesn’t necessarily follow that Gore would have been hot to trot to invade Iraq. I think he would have been perfectly happy to keep bombing the shit out of them since it wouldn’t cost him anything in political capital.

              1. Do you honestly think Gore would have sent his SecState to the UN to try and get approval for an invasion based on WMDs, while carrying out a campaign to get Bin Laden in Afghanistan at the same time?

                “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
                — Al Gore

                “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
                — Al Gore

                I do actually think so. The removal of the Hussein regime was a bipartisan goal of American foreign policy. The issue, as with so many things, is that when Democrats embrace positions that are not directly based on writing checks in return for votes, they are willing to abandon them on a moments notice. Thus the entirety of the Clinton administration’s Iraq policy was discarded the moment the insurgency began, because it was a great way to drag down Bush’s sky high approval ratings leading up to the 04 elections.

                This cannot be overstated. The one true guiding principle of the Democratic Party is being in charge. Anything that helps them reach that goal is good, and they think that consistency is a foolish thing. I mean, remember it was Clinton who signed DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law. You’d never know that from the way they talk about those two laws.

  18. So to sum up, Democrats are hypocritical, lying pieces of shit.

    Who knew?

  19. Since women substantially endorse big government let’s call for a vagina tax. Got one,pay more.

  20. Tony missed his cue – Hinkle was writing his character profile.

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