- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

It’s past time for President Bush to push strongly to extend his income tax rate reductions before they expire in a few years. The tax cuts have been instrumental in stimulating economic growth, and their extension is absolutely essential to meet the onerous challenges we’ll face, including the ongoing war on terror and rising fuel prices.

The president’s new chief of staff, Josh Bolten, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” was encouraging about the president’s plan to re-energize his domestic agenda, including extending the tax cuts.

But Democrats have a vested interest in blocking the extension and seeing to it that the confiscatory, government-empowering rates enacted in the Clinton years are restored. Democrats are using three principal — and familiar — arguments against extending the cuts, all of them fallacious and deceptive. All are rooted in destructive class warfare.

First, they say our deficits have skyrocketed under Mr. Bush (true) because of his tax cuts (patently false). They say this was entirely foreseeable because Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts produced similar — though not as severe — drains on the treasury, also empirically false.

As Mark W. Smith points out in the newly released paperback version of his “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Handbook,” “President Bush’s tax cuts produced a 14.6 percent increase in federal revenues in 2005 over those in 2004.” The Reagan tax cuts nearly doubled revenues in the 1980s, and even after accounting for inflation, produced major revenue increases. In both cases (Presidents Reagan and Bush), the strain on the national debt has resulted from excessive spending, not the tax cuts. But lies to the contrary never cease.

Second, Democrats say the Reagan and Bush tax cuts aided the rich at the expense of the poor, which, in both cases, is outrageously and maliciously false. Refreshingly, Josh Bolten signaled an awareness of the Democrats’ propaganda schemes when he contradicted their oft-repeated lie that Mr. Bush’s tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Mr. Bolten plainly made a point I and many others have made for years: The Bush tax cuts made the tax code more progressive. The lower income groups received a greater percentage tax rate reduction than higher-income groups.

According to Mr. Bolten, the top 10 percent of income earners would pay about 64 percent of the federal revenues if the Bush tax cuts were not in place. Under the cuts, they pay 66 percent of the revenues.

Democrats can play semantic games all they want by saying the rich get more actual dollars back with the tax cuts, but that’s shamelessly misleading. In the first place, they don’t get any money “back,” because tax cuts just mean they pay a lower percentage of their earnings to the government. It is their money, and the amount they save on the “cuts” is money they will never pay in, not money they will actually get back.

Of course the amount of money the upper income groups are spared from paying in due to the cuts is much greater, in actual dollars, than the amount spared lower income groups because the higher income earners are paying so much more in actual (and percentage) dollars.

Only the fraudulent or willfully ignorant can claim the tax code or the Bush cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy when the top 10 percent pay two-thirds of the revenues and the bottom half of earners pay very little at all. Indeed, how could lower-income groups save much money from tax cuts when they pay so little in, if any, in the first place?

Third, Democrats say the economy has been sluggish under President Bush. This, also, is false. The best-kept secret of the current age is that the Bush economy is and has been very strong, with current growth rates of 4.8 percent — notwithstanding the enormous shocks on the economy the last 51/2 years, another point Mr. Bolten emphasized.

Democrats are famous for accusing President Bush of dividing, not uniting, the nation. But the Democrats actually always pit people against each other based on racial, gender and economic differences.

The American dream and America’s remarkable success have not been based on suspiciousness, envy and covetousness between groups, but the ideal everyone should have an opportunity to succeed and that one’s success does not mean another’s failure.

It appears Mr. Bush will persist in ignoring the class warriors and press forward with his plan to extend his tax cuts. If so, I trust he’ll be aided enormously by press secretary Tony Snow in making his case.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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