The Corner

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The cover of the New Republic has Bush’s picture and the line, “He’s Still Lying: Jonathan Chait on Bush’s Most Dishonest Tax Cut Yet.” It’s not a bad article. It’s quite convincing in making the claim that Bush’s Keynesian rhetoric doesn’t square with the tax bill that he got Congress to enact. It makes a reasonable argument that the supply-side effects of the bill will be small–although I am less convinced of this point. What the article does not do is establish that Bush is lying. Does Bush not believe that his plan would stimulate the economy and create one million jobs? The most common argument for the “dishonesty” of Bush’s tax cut is that its revenue impact is being lowballed–since its provisions are supposed to expire but will in all likelihood be extended. But that’s just not dishonest. The projections were made for the period the bill actually cuts taxes–which is entirely defensible. When Congress actually extends the tax cuts, it will incur, and debate, additional “costs.” Chait may think the tax cut was irresponsible public policy. But his long piece does very little to establish its dishonesty.


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