Treasury Dept. Study: Bush's Tax Cuts Did Not Grow the Economy
This is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
On July 25, the Treasury Department released a study entitled "A Dynamic Analysis of Permanent Extension of the President's Tax Relief." This study refutes many of the exaggerated claims about the tax cuts that have been made by the President and other senior Administration officials, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and various other tax-cut advocates. Contrary to the claim that the tax cuts will have huge impacts on the economy, the Treasury study finds that even under favorable assumptions, making the tax cuts permanent would have a barely perceptible impact on the economy. Under more realistic assumptions, the Treasury study finds that the tax cuts could even hurt the economy.
In addition, the study casts doubt on claims that the tax cuts are responsible for much of the recent growth in investment and jobs. It finds that making the tax cuts permanent would lead initially to lower levels of investment, and would result over the longer term in lower levels of employment (i.e., in fewer jobs).
The Treasury also study decisively refutes the President's claim that "The economic growth fueled by tax relief has helped send our tax revenues soaring," -- in essence, that the tax cuts have more than paid for themselves. Instead, under the study's more favorable scenario, the modest economic impact of the tax cuts would offset less than 10 percent of the cost of making the tax cuts permanent.
Finally, the conclusions in the Treasury study are based on the assumption that the tax cuts will be paid for by deep and unspecified cuts in government programs starting in 2017. The Treasury study is consistent with other research on dynamic scoring in finding that in the absence of such budget cuts -- i.e., if the tax cuts continue to be deficit financed indefinitely -- the tax cuts would end up weakening the economy over the long run.
The following are four key findings from the report.
Finding #1: At best, making the tax cuts permanent would have a barely perceptible effect on the economy.
Finding #2: The tax cuts would pay for less than 10 percent of themselves in the long run.
Finding #3: Tax cuts will benefit the economy modestly only if they are paid for by large and unspecified cuts in government programs.
Finding #4: The Treasury study confirms that it is more prudent to raise taxes by a small amount today than to raise them by a larger amount in the future.