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Monday, November 22, 2010

Reducing Deficit With Higher Taxes is "Sucker's Bet"

Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder explain why a plan to reduce the deficit through higher taxation is nothing more than a "sucker's bet." Every time it's tried, Congressional spending goes up by even more.

Using standard statistical analyses that introduce variables to control for business-cycle fluctuations, wars and inflation, we found that over the entire post World War II era through 2009 each dollar of new tax revenue was associated with $1.17 of new spending. Politicians spend the money as fast as it comes in—and a little bit more.

...Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the president's deficit reduction commission, suggested at a briefing several months ago that there will be $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. Sound familiar? Reagan used to complain that he waited his entire presidency for the $3 of spending cuts that Congress promised for every dollar of new taxes he agreed to in 1982. The cuts never came.

...The only era in modern times that the budget has been in balance was in the late 1990s, when Republicans were in control of Congress. Taxes were not raised, and the capital gains tax rate was cut in 1997. The growth rate of federal spending was dramatically reduced from 1995-99, and the economy roared.