Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bob Dutko and I Talk Tax Policy

I caught just a bit of Dutko today just prior to free for all Friday.  Tax cuts will slow economic growth, Bush's tax cuts caused an increase in government revenue.  A variety of other points.  So I gave a call and you can download here.  Left click that link and it will take you to a new page where you can download or stream.

A couple of interesting things.  He bragged about Bush's tax cuts because revenues went up after they passed.  So I pointed out to him that they sure did, but taxes go up every year.  They went up less under Bush than they'd gone up in prior administrations.  His response is now "I'm not saying Bush was the best in terms of raising revenue, only that revenue did go up after he cut taxes."  In other words he's not willing to defend the frequent false right wing assertion that tax cuts lead to more tax revenue.  They actually produce less revenue than would otherwise exist.  We agree right, Bob?  Nope.  He does not agree.  He does think tax cuts lead to more revenue.  Which is it?  He's flipping back and forth between arguments, sometimes pretending the Bush tax cuts were great for revenue generation, then switching away from it, and finally switching back.

The thrust of his argument prior to the call in segment was that tax hikes harm an economy.  So I just stated the obvious.  There is no evidence that this is true.  The best economic performance in our nation's history corresponded with the highest tax rates on the rich.  What Bob says in response is he once again completely abandons the argument he had been making.  It's not about what works and doesn't work.  That's irrelevant.  He just has a philosophical problem with high taxes.  Somehow it offends his moral sensibilities.

OK, fine.  That's pretty arbitrary and not a great basis for policy in my view.  What matters is what works, not some arbitrary line in the sand.  But as I said for Bob it had been all about what works.  Suddenly that's irrelevant.  He's forced to abandon his bad arguments that can't be sustained in light of the data we have and he must run to new arguments.  That's progress.

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