Watching McCain and the GOP campaign the last few weeks has been like listening to the Greatest Hits of a washed up musical act. Popular at one time, they now travel the country trying to find that old magic with the same tunes.
Last week they played that sure-fire crowd-pleaser: “Democrat Voter-Fraud Stole My Election (But Just Vote for Me Once) “. This week GOPers are singing perhaps their all-time greatest hit: “The Democrats Strangled My Economy (But We’ll Cut Their Taxes Anyway)”.
As always the editorial page of the WSJ is singing lead. “Robust growth” in the past decade, they say, occurred because of the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. They even have a chart (this road show is multi-media).
The part of this chart I like the best is the huge spike in growth after the 2003 tax act. The centerpiece of that legislation was cutting taxes on dividends. I can’t think of anyone who would honestly argue that reducing the tax on dividends might stimulate short-term growth.
Actually economic growth through the Bush years has been remarkably weak compared to other business cycles, and few economists think the tax cuts had much to do with it. Even that anemic growth was built on a house of cards: consumer spending financed by the housing bubble.
None of this matters to the folks at WSJ or GOP central. For decades the tax cut mantra has delivered votes to their politicians on election day–and dollars to their donors on tax day. No reason to change tunes now.