Mitch McConnell: Extending the Bush Tax Cuts Didn't Work, So Let's Extend the Bush Tax Cuts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 8 2012 12:48 PM

Mitch McConnell: Extending the Bush Tax Cuts Didn't Work, So Let's Extend the Bush Tax Cuts

Jake Tapper's context-rich write-up of the Obama presser comes with some tasty icing: A logic-bending statement from Mitch McConnell.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

It’s baffling that in the face of all evidence to the contrary, this President still believes that spending money we don’t have to inflate the government is the answer to America’s economic problems. The economy would respond much more favorably to providing the tax certainty Americans deserve by extending all the tax rates and assuring employers they do not have to budget for the largest tax increase in American history next year.
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That's his message, and that's been his message. But... wait, didn't we already extend these rates? McConnell has that covered.

The Obama Economy is even slower now than when we extended the rates in 2010—raising taxes on job creators in this slow economy is simply not the elixir for his failed policies.

Did you catch that?

1) The economy is "even slower now" than it was when the Bush tax rates were extended -- and, McConnell could have said, when additional demand-side tax cuts were added.

2) The economy will "respond favorably" if we extend those tax rates again.

What's going on here? McConnell's invoked of the Uncertainty Fairy -- the theory that worry about new tax rates or regulation stops the Job Creators from making new hiring decisions. In December 2010, the Job Creators learned that they would not have to worry about higher taxes until January 2013. That's quite a lot of time -- a few more months than I've been at Slate, actually, during which time I've purchased a new car and an incalcuable number of paper and Kindle books. All the economic data suggests that the lower taxes saved people from cut-backs that would have hurt the economy. But the growth rate, as McConnell admits, hasn't been so great. So! We extend the tax rates in perpetuity, and at some point in the future, maybe they'll work.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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