Monday, October 8, 2012
Washington Post Fact Checker: Obama’s Claim That the Bush Tax Cuts Led to the Economic Crisis:
“Now Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.”
While some on the left have speculated about some kind of Rube Goldberg phenomenon — that the tax cuts put so much money in the pockets of the rich that they had nothing to spend it on but risky and exotic financial instruments — we are unaware of any respected academic study making this link. The Bush tax cuts have been amply criticized for costing too much and generating too little economic growth, but that’s entirely different from causing the Great Recession. Indeed, the official government inquiry, the 631-page final report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States, makes no mention of the Bush tax cuts. ...
It is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point, no matter how much it seems to resonate with voters. The financial crisis of 2008 stemmed from a variety of complex factors, in particular the bubble in housing prices and the rise of exotic financial instruments. Deregulation was certainly an important factor, but as the government commission concluded, the blame for that lies across administrations, not just in the last Republican one.
In any case, the Bush tax cuts belong at the bottom of the list — if at all. Moreover, it is rather strange for the campaign to cite as its source an article that, according to the author, does not support this assertion.
We nearly made this Four Pinocchios but ultimately decided that citing deregulation in conjunction with tax cuts kept this line out of the “whopper” category. Still, in his effort to portray Romney as an echo of Bush, the president really stretches the limits here.
(Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds.)