Here is what really happened. Those Bush tax cuts quickly ended the 2001 recession, despite the contractionary economic impacts of 9/11, and the economy continued to grow for another 73 months. After the rate cuts were all fully implemented in 2003, the economy created 7.8 million new jobs and the unemployment rate fell from over 6% to 4.4%. Real economic growth over the next 3 years doubled from the average for the prior 3 years, to 3.5%.
In response to the rate cuts, business investment spending, which had declined for 9 straight quarters, reversed and increased 6.7% per quarter. That is where the jobs came from. Manufacturing output soared to its highest level in 20 years. The stock market revived, creating almost $7 trillion in new shareholder wealth. From 2003 to 2007, the S&P 500 almost doubled. Capital gains tax revenues had doubled by 2005, despite Bush's 25% cut in the capital gains rate.
The deficit in the last budget adopted by Republican Congressional majorities was $161 billion for fiscal 2007. Today that deficit is nearly 10 times as much. Total federal revenues under Bush soared by nearly 30%, from $1.991 trillion in 2001 to $2.568 trillion in 2007. The day the Democrat Congressional majorities took office, January 3, 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.6%. George Bush's economic policies, "the failed policies of the past" in Obama's rhetoric, had set a record of 52 straight months of job creation.
What has continued to fail us now is that Obama's own policies, the exact opposite of Reaganomics in every detail, have failed to produce any timely real recovery from the last recession. Before this last recession, since the Great Depression recessions in America have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously at 16 months. But here we are today 48 months after the last recession started and there is still no real recovery. Instead, we have record poverty, and record extended unemployment.
They can't say that is because the recession was so bad, because the historical record in America is that the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Based on the historical record, we should be ending the second year of a booming economy right now. The failure to achieve that is the responsibility of Barack Obama.
Obama himself was counting on precisely this history making him look like a hero. That is why he so confidently told the Today Show on Feb. 2, 2009, "a year from now I think people are gonna see that we're starting to make some progress…if I don't have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition."
Before Barack Obama as President, the rest of the world looked to America as the example for the economic model that works to achieve prosperity. But today Obama tells America "It doesn't work. It's never worked. It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar boom of the 50s and 60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade."
But it's President Obama, who fundamentally doesn't understand his own country, that doesn't work.
Obama's Tax and Spending Fantasies
In his Kansas speech, Obama offered as his solution increased government spending as the foundation for rising prosperity. He says:
Today, manufacturers and other companies are setting up shop in places with the best infrastructure to ship their products, move their workers, and communicate with the rest of the world. That's why the over one million construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing market collapsed shouldn't be sitting at home with nothing to do. They should be rebuilding our roads and bridges; laying down faster railroads and broadband; modernizing our schools -- all the things other countries are doing to attract good jobs and businesses to their shores.
Instead of the American capitalist model maximized by Reaganomics, Obama tells us to look at the basic infrastructure spending of other countries as the model that works. But American economic growth is not suffering because of a lack of basic infrastructure like a third world country. It is suffering because Obama is so doggedly pursuing the opposite of every policy that would free the economy to produce and boom. Under such Obamanomics, soon enough America will be suffering from the lack of a reliable energy grid like a third world country.
Obama whines that Bush's massive deficits (if his deficits were massive what are Obama's?), supposedly caused by his tax cuts (not--revenue again rose during the Bush years), "have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure; science and technology; Medicare and Social Security."
But spending on all of those items soared during the Bush years, and they have rocketed up all the faster under Obama. To no avail, because government spending is not the foundation of increased economic growth and prosperity. Increased production, spurred by ever stronger incentives, is.
Of course, essential to all of President Obama's essential spending is to increase tax rates on the rich, otherwise known in English as the nation's investors and job creators. As President Obama tutored us in Kansas last week:
But we don't have unlimited resources. And so we have to set priorities. If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values. We have to make choices…. Do we want to make the investments we need in things like education, and research, and high-tech manufacturing? Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country? Because we can't afford to do both. That's not politics. That's just math.
So there you have the Obama formula for economic growth and prosperity. After the greatest runaway spending spree in American history during the Obama Administration, the answer is for government to increase spending even more, financed by increasing tax rates even more on the very investors and job creators that produce the jobs for the middle class and working people in America's economic system. That is a perfect prescription for another recession, not the long, long overdue recovery America is still waiting for under Obamanomics. Obama tells us, "It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay a higher tax rate than somebody pulling in $50 million." That would be wrong if it were true. But it is not.
What Obama is peddling to America on tax policy is only the ugliest example of his well-established rhetorical style of calculated deception. It is based on what he thinks the average voter does not know and will not know, and can be manipulated to believe to Obama's political advantage. For the picture he is painting of the rich getting away without paying their fair share while working people bear most of the tax burden is the opposite of reality.
Even before Obama was elected, under those "failed policies of the past," the top 1% of income earners in 2007 paid 40% of federal income taxes (up from 17.6% when Reagan entered office), while the CBO just reported that they earned 17% of the income in 2007. Moreover, that 40% of federal income taxes paid by the top 1% was more than paid by the bottom 95% combined, according to official IRS data. While the top 1% paid 40% of federal income taxes, the bottom 40% paid no federal income taxes as a group on net. Today 47% pay no federal income taxes.
Yet, Obama has already enacted under current law further tax increases on the nation's job creators, investors and small businesses going into effect in 2013, when the tax increases of Obamacare become effective and the Bush tax cuts expire. Consequently, that year the top two income tax rates would rise by close to 20%, the capital gains tax would soar by nearly 60%, the tax on dividends would nearly triple, and the Medicare payroll tax would rocket up by 62% for these disfavored taxpayers. This alone would take us well beyond the Clinton tax rates, despite Obama's outdated talking point that he is still repeating from 2008.
This is in addition to America suffering with virtually the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world at nearly 40% on average, counting state corporate rates. As I have previously noted, even Communist China imposes only a 25% rate, with the rate in the EU even less on average. Our Canadian neighbors, enjoying a booming economy since Obama was elected in America, will enjoy a 15% rate next year, down from 16.5% this year.
Yet Obama barnstorms America calling for still more tax increases on American business, large and small, and the job creators and investors on which jobs and prosperity for working people depend. The galloping regulatory burdens he is now imposing effectively involve still further tax increases stifling production. It all adds up to a brew for another recession in 2013, unless the American people force a change in course in 2012. END QUOTE