John Gizzi– The White House yesterday stepped up its longstanding effort to generate support for repeal of the Bush tax cuts on the highest American wage-earners. At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House yesterday, Press Secretary Jay Carney again denounced what he called “historically large tax cuts that were unpaid for and have contributed mightily to the debt that we have now.”
But the President’s top spokesman also went a step further. When HUMAN EVENTS cited figures from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) showing that the Bush tax cuts in 2004-06 produced the highest two-year tax revenue increase in the preceding 40 years, Carney dismissed the OMB statistics as “a very convenient slice of a figure.”
According to the Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2007 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006, pp. 25-26, Table 1.3, Jan. 16, 2007), with final 2006 revenue figures added in, there was an inflation-adjusted 20% tax revenue increase between 2004 and ’06, and this represents the largest two-year revenue surge since 1965-67.
Following his characterization of OMB’s statistics as “a very convenient slice of a figure,” Carney told HUMAN EVENTS that what is known about the period during which these tax cuts were instituted, “is it was the slowest period of economic expansion in modern time, that middle-class incomes stagnated or declined, that the wealthiest Americans got substantially wealthier, and that overall in that eight-year period there was substantial—there was rather anemic job creation.”
“I would take issue of taking that slice,” replied Carney, “and suggesting that somehow … the massive tax cuts did not contribute to our deficit, because they unequivocally did, and that those tax cuts created or were responsible for what, by any measure, was an anemic period of economic growth.”
Carney did not elaborate further on his view of the impact of the tax cuts on the deficit and the OMB’s analysis of the issue, which would seem to contradict his view.
Clearly, there is a lot more to be heard on the issue of what the Bush tax cuts did to the deficit—and, almost surely, on Carney’s opinion of the OMB’s figures on the subject.