Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 12:33 am | Fair 67º


David Harsanyi: Debate Exposes Obama’s Ridiculous Tax Myth

Blaming tax cuts for a recession is so ridiculous that even a fake study doesn't exist to prove it

Not long ago, a former staffer for President Barack Obama working with a left-wing think tank concocted a study using an assortment of cooked-up assumptions that claimed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would have to increase taxes on the “middle class.”

In Washington, this is referred to as an “independent study.” At the Denver debate, the president called this an “impartial” analysis.

The report, by the Tax Policy Center, “estimated” that Romney’s revenue-neutral tax plan would necessitate an $86 billion tax increase on the middle class, and more crucially, it allowed every Democrat in the country to pretend that an objective group had run the numbers somewhere and found that the GOP nominee was going to hike taxes on every family by — I don’t know, let’s say — $2,000 a year! Why not, right?

Few in the media were particularly put off by the fact that this fictitious assertion was endlessly repeated by Obama and friends. As the president explains it, there’s simply no way to cut taxes and grow revenue at the same time. Math is math, after all. The president, most likely because of his own record, seems to have forgotten about economic growth.

A recent (independent!) paper by the American Enterprise Institute found that even using the Tax Policy Center’s parameters, Romney could reform the tax code and cut taxes by 20 percent and, with the modest growth encouraged by cuts, the plan could remain revenue-neutral.

Would it? Economic forecasting is about as reliable as campaign tax plans. The president’s economic policy, on the other hand, has been deployed and has been focused on wealth transfer in the name of fairness and spending in the name of recovery — all of it rooted in the necessity for higher taxes.

Take this piece of warped logic from Obama: If Romney were to keep tax rates exactly where they are, he would be, in fact, cutting taxes for the rich. Only raising taxes can keep the status quo.

The president’s plan already features a slew of increases. Some, such as taxes on investments, might not be felt directly by you — at least not yet. Obamacare, as we know, is loaded with tax hikes you’ll pay soon enough, one way or another. And the individual mandate is a tax (at least according to the administration) that promises to be one of the largest in American history.

Moreover, the American Action Forum recently released a study (an independent one!) examining the Obama administration’s tax plan itself: To achieve primary budget balance by 2022, as Obama claims he can, taxing only millionaires would require raising their taxes to 123.9 percent. Taxing people making $500,000 would require an increase to 95.5 percent, and assuming the deficit reduction Obama promises, taxpayers making $30,000 would see a $1,500 hike in taxes every year over the next 10.

So even if someone could conduct a study factoring in every make-believe tax-cheating plutocrat of the liberal imagination, there simply aren’t enough people to pay for Obamaworld. But it’s one thing to believe in the supernatural ability of raising taxes to fix the economy and lift the poor; it’s another to argue that lower tax rates can cause mass destruction.

Democrats regularly maintain that the George W. Bush administration’s policies have driven the country into a metaphorical “ditch.” Which policies, exactly, caused this wreck? Obama claimed in Denver, as he has often, that lower tax rates helped cause the recession. Now, blaming tax cuts for a recession is a contention so ridiculous that even a fake economic study doesn’t exist to prove it.

David Harsanyi is a columnist and senior reporter at Human Events. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him. Follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi.

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