Dan Gross has written what is likely the most informative and intelligent thing you will read about the tax cut expiration debate this entire year.
I want to excerpt all 5 bullet points — but I would end up posting the entire piece. Points 1, 2 and 3 are the most informative, but point 4 is the most amusing — so that’s the one I will excerpt here:
4) The bold and confident assertions made about the links between tax rates and economic growth, market performance, and prosperity are almost certainly wrong.
Turn on CNBC or look at the Wall Street Journal op-ed page these days, and you’ll learn that we must keep tax rates on capital gains, dividends, and income precisely where they are because shifting them to different levels will retard economic growth.
Keep this in mind: The people who designed the current, unsustainable tax system promised us that lower marginal rates, and lower taxes on capital and dividends, would boost the economy, promote investment, create jobs, spur market performance, and raise everybody’s income. They were wrong. (It’s no coincidence that these same people also warned us that raising taxes in 1993 would kill market returns and the economy. They were wrong then, too. They’re pretty much always wrong.)
As I’ve pointed out, the years under the current tax regime have been a lost decade. Pick your metric—median income, employment, stock market returns, economic growth—the low-tax ’00s sucked. Yet proponents of keeping the tax cuts persist in making the argument: To avoid a repeat of the past decade, we must have the exact same tax policies as we did for the past decade.
Shorter version: You suck now, you sucked then, you are highly likely to suck in the future, too!
Taxing My Patience
Five points to keep in mind as Congress debates the Bush tax cuts.
Slate, Sept. 16, 2010