Friday, June 22, 2012

Republican Congressman: Cutting Taxes Doesn't Increase Deficit Spending

On MSNBC's, The Daily Rundown, guest host Luke Russert invited Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to discuss his thoughts on an upcoming vote for the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Thought this was a noteworthy exchange:




For those of you that can't watch clips at home, here's a partial transcript:


...


Chaffetz: Remember, we deficit spend as a nation spend, deficit spend [sic], $4 billion a day! You can't continue to do that. You can't. A market needs stability as Kevin McCarthy, earlier on your program was talking about, you need predictability in the market place in order to get the capital markets to move and make investments.

Russert: But the tax cuts add to the deficit, which incurs that deficit spending.

Chaffetz: No, no, no. In isolation I think that's wrong. We have a spending problem in this country, we really do.

No, we don't have a spending problem, congressman. We really don't.

I'm not exactly sure what Chaffetz means when he says "in isolation", but he's pretty much wrong with his assessment. This has been part of the Republicans' crafty little strategy on screwing over democrats, their constituencies, and government programs for decades ("Starve the beast" as it were). They ask for tax cuts, which most of the time diminish the revenue streams, which in turn cause deficits to go up, which they then point to, so that they can make the argument that spending caused those deficits to go up (because hey, spending was higher than revenues, so isn't it obvious?), thus we have to kill the EPA.

It's especially egregious when they try and pull this same shit with Obama's stimulus. The same stimulus that was 1/3 made up of tax cuts, which the Republicans are only too happy to include when calculating the higher deficits, which they then use to blame 100% on spending. It's quite the racket they have running.

Now, in fairness, if you continue watching the same clip, it seems like Chaffetz is trying to argue that tax cuts don't add to the deficit as long as you cut spending too. Which is true, but it also needs to be pointed out that if you have tax cuts, then the spending cuts you have to enact would have to be even GREATER than they would be without the tax cuts.

And one final thing. The idea that we have a "spending" problem and not a revenue problem at the moment is absurdly idiotic on its face when you take a few seconds to think about the logic required to have such a rationale. It implies that revenues are fine right where they are, which is absolutely stupid, because it implies that the tens of millions of people who are either unemployed or underemployed (which the Republicans like to constantly remind everyone) are not putting a drag on revenues. If all these people were working, and thus paying federal income state, local taxes, would we seriously not have MORE revenues? It's infuriating to see hardly anyone call these guys out when they try and make such an argument.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Luke Russert, but kudos to him for pointing this simplistic and otherwise inconvenient fact

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