You really should watch this video if you care about the core argument of what’s driving our political brinkmanship. Grover Norquist is the guy behind the Republican anti-tax fetish; he is the guy that goes after any Republican who even thinks about raising taxes or allowing it to happen. But he’s really not interested in cutting taxes for the middle class – his job is to reduce taxes for large corporations and rich people. Period.
And Fareed Zakaria says to him point blank that people want more government services but if we continue to cut taxes – we won’t be able to afford it and the only potential result is a huge deficit. And that is what has happened. Conservatives support the “starve the beast” model which they believe will motivate Americans to push for cuts in government spending if the deficits increase. But even though many people talk about wanting “smaller government” as an idea … when you cut to the chase and ask them if they support Social Security, Medicare, Defense, Medicaid, Roads, Schools, Police … they support spending for all of those in huge majorities even among Republicans. Well – we can’t continue to afford all of that if we keep cutting taxes.
Norquist repeats the lie again that “we know if we reduce capital gains taxes we’ll get more growth” etc etc. The top 1% of Americans get 57% of all capital gains each year and that is why he is pushing to eliminate the capital gains tax. Mitt Romney made $62 million from 2010 to 2011 according to his campaign; if we eliminated the capital gains tax then he would pay less than 1% of his taxes. That’s what Paul Ryan’s plan calls for (source) and that’s what conservatives are trying to do. It is a regressive system that will then force a decision …. either we raise taxes on the middle class or we cut programs like Medicare, Social Security etc.
And – no … cutting taxes on the rich does not lead to higher economic growth. One need only look to the Bush economic record to see the result of that model. Fareed said it plain as day, “Bush had the biggest tax cuts in a generation, and he got the weakest growth in 30 years.” And he’s right.
Part of the discussion:
ZAKARIA: Are you telling me that you believe you can get all, you can close that gap entirely by cutting spending, that is by taking something on the range of 7% or 8% of GDP out of government spending? That is cutting $800 billion out of government spending every year?
NORQUIST: You do two things. You reduce spending, and you have stronger economic growth. This is one of the weakest recoveries we’ve had –
ZAKARIA: You can as a practical matter, this is a wish, not a plan. I would like stronger economic growth, too….This is all rhetoric, Grover. You’ve got a plan as a practical matter. As I said, Clinton raised taxes, he got growth. Bush had the biggest tax cuts in a generation, and he got the weakest growth in 30 years. All I’m saying is as a matter of practical planning for the fiscal future of the United States your answer can’t be, well we’ll have stronger growth. Yeah, if we grow at 6%, we don’t need to do anything. Everything is solvent, right? But I can’t wish for that. We’ve got to plan realistically.
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