When former President George W. Bush first passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy, they weren’t expected to be a permanent addition to the tax code. But in 2010, the lame duck session of Congress held unemployment benefit extensions hostage in order to have them renewed through 2012. Concerned about the job market and how the unemployed would make ends meet, Democrats caved and voted the extension of the Bush Tax cuts, and that extension is becoming a campaign issue for yet another election.
But as for the tax cuts’ namesake, well, he admits he sort of wishes they were called something else.
“I wish they weren’t called the ‘Bush tax cuts’,” the former president told a crowd at tax conference. But that doesn’t mean he thinks they should disappear. “If they were called some other body’s tax cuts, they’re probably less likely to be raised.”
But unlike the rest of his party, he does believe that there needs to be more done to stimulate growth, even if that means bypassing some spending cuts “Most of the political debate — and I guess rightly so — is about our balance sheet. But we believe that, in order to solve the balance sheet, first and foremost, you’ve got to grow the private sector. And therefore, the focus ought to be on private-sector growth….The pie grows, the debt relative to the pie shrinks, and with fiscal discipline, you can better solve your current account deficits and your entitlements.”
Still, as always, raising taxes just isn’t an option. “If the goal was public-sector growth, it’d be a short conference. We just raise taxes.”
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