Rep. Scalise: Obama Is Attacking Freedom, History Has Redeemed Bush Tax Cuts

Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) appeared on Washington Watch with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins yesterday to discuss the State of the Union address where he pushed the standard right-wing canards that President Obama is leading an attack on freedom and trying to exploit “tragedies that he uses to his own benefit.”

Perkins: There’s not been an administration that’s been more hostile to our first freedom, our fundamental right of the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion.

Scalise: Right, look, just go in order. Right after that, he’s gone after freedom of speech and religion, now in that same speech he is going after our second amendment rights, our freedom to defend ourselves by having the ability to own guns for law-abiding citizens. All of these things he talked about, these tragedies that he uses to his own benefit, none of them would have been prevented by his own gun control measures, it just takes away the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Responding to Rep. Steny Hoyer’s insistence that Congress let the Bush tax cuts expire, Scalise falsely claimed that the tax cuts raised revenue and led to an economic boom.

Scalise: You know they are just living in some kind of parallel universe that doesn’t mesh with reality. You know I’ll just give you one point that he mentioned there Tony right out the box, he said, ‘oh we didn’t pay for the Bush tax cuts.’ Maybe Steny Hoyer needs to go back and look at the history, back in 2003 when those tax cuts took full effect the federal government actually took in forty percent more revenue, it actually brought in more money to the federal treasury to cut taxes because people had more money in their pockets and the economy took off in 2003. Go look at the history of this.

Of course, the economy didn’t “take off” after the Bush tax cuts passed. In fact, under President Bush the country had an exceptionally anemic recovery.

Scalise’s assertion about tax revenues also reveals that the congressman himself hasn’t taken a “look at the history of this.”

Citing data from the Congressional Budget Office, the Annenberg Public Policy Center concluded that the Bush tax policy “had a total negative effect on revenue growth,” and former Bush economist Alan Viard of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute said that there is “no dispute” among economists that “federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts.”

Former Reagan economist Bruce Bartlett also determined that “revenue as a share of G.D.P. was lower every year of the Bush presidency than it was in 2000,” citing this helpful chart:

source: Congressional Budget Office.

“Perhaps the whole point of the apparent Republican disinformation effort to deny that the Bush tax cuts reduced federal revenue is to make the reverse argument next year,” Bartlett writes, “allowing them to expire will not raise revenue.”

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