For a generation, the GOP (and a bunch of Democrats) has been telling us that the way to stimulate economic growth is to cut taxes. And people love to pay less and get more - our entire consumer economy is based on that idea - so it is usually a political winner to talk about tax cuts. These low taxes would put money in the hands of the taxpayers, which they would in turn spend, increasing demand for goods, increasing the economy, and generating more revenue through sales tax.
Just like a perpetual motion machine!
So, for the last generation, the nation and the states have cut taxes, and cut taxes, and cut taxes, and cut taxes. The last President to nominally raise taxes was George H. W. Bush, and he lost his reelection bid because of it.
Based on the bill of goods we've been sold, where are the jobs? Where is the economic growth and dynamism that is supposed to come with low, low taxes? Why does it feel like we are closer to 1929 than 1999?
And you can't tell me "it's because we're spending too much money." Even if our government has to borrow money to pay for programs that were already put in place through the process of lawmaking, how does that affect the low taxes that are supposed to be putting more money in the hands and increasing the buying power and economic participation of the consumer?
It doesn't. And it wasn't supposed to.
The plan was that the low taxes would lead to a hot economy that would produce more revenues through other taxes to pay for our levels of spending. Has that happened?
When it comes down to it, only one - one - conservative I know has been able to explain what is going on with taxes and jobs in a way that makes sense. That's Dante. He has brought up in the past (I can't find the link) that people are being taxed somewhere else and this is affecting their buying power & participation in the economy.
I absolutely agree. They are being taxed somewhere else, especially at the state and local levels. I don't even want to get into the feudal ways property taxes are used in a certain southern city to subsidize blighted properties and land speculation.
Lagniappe "taxes" can be found elsewhere, too, as private industry colludes with government to take advantage of the extra buying power tax cuts "provide." Insurance premiums keep going up and up for home ownership, auto-ownership, and medical coverage. Working families have to pay for child care. If you live in a city without a functioning public school system (that you already pay for), you have to pay for your kids to go to private school or get extra tutoring to make up for the shortfall. Your city can pay contractors to provide public services that you can also recieve a bill for. Best of all, cities and states can offer subsidies to businesses and sports franchises to welcome or keep them in certain places, while the "jobs they create" will be taxed higher to make up for the subsidy.
And that's where your "taxes" come from. And why no jobs are created by keeping tax rates low.
Update: Weigel at Slate investigates where the "Washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem" narrative comes from.
Update: As if on cue, the Georgia GOP Delegation ties together their constant work towards keeping taxes low while repeating the "spending problem" meme.