12:39pm September 19, 2012

Why the GOP Always Peddles Tax Cuts and Why It Doesn’t Work


On a surface level, tax cuts appeal to everyone. After all, who wouldn’t appreciate having a little extra money from their paycheck? In a world without fiscal consequences, it should be easy to win election after election with the simple act of promising voters more money.

The GOP has run on this line ever since Reagan took the White House in 1980. Republicans, holding the Gipper as their political lodestar, see tax cuts as both the cure to all of society’s problems and as the tonic to their electoral fortunes.

Other than tax cuts, theoretically to shrink the size of government (which, incidentally, they never do), what does the GOP offer? Lately, it’s been obstructionism, which has defined the Republican Party of 2012 as the party without any creative ideas to move the country forward. As a result, it is just too easy to define what the GOP is against than what it is for.

For instance, whatever your opinion of healthcare reform, Democrats should be given credit for at least trying to tackle the problem of health care spending in the country. What plausible alternative did the Republicans push?


Instead, their response, exemplified by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was that the Republican Party’s objective was to make President Obama a one-term president. In the early part of Obama’s presidency, congressional Republicans seemed gleeful at earning the moniker of the “Party of No.”

On budget matters, Republicans rejected a plan that consisting of far more in spending cuts for revenue increases.

Despite their insistence, many Americans do not buy the Republican mantra of continually lower taxes. There is proven declining utility of tax cuts. In other words, tax rates are so low today, compared to historical tax rates, that further reduction of taxes has even less of an ability to stimulate the economy than before. And, that’s only if you believe that tax cuts stimulate the economy. A new 65-year study shows that tax reductions do not correlate to economic growth.

In 2012, of all people, it only comes across as disingenuous when Romney talks up the need for tax cuts. Given his penchant for offshore tax shelters, it is hard to find Romney credible on this matter, when the evidence indicates that under his tax plan, benefits will accrue to the wealthy.

Americans recognize that the budget cannot tolerate any more significant tax cuts.

There is a reason that Romney’s convention “bounce” was so abysmally small and short-lived. The GOP convention produced no new ideas, only tired old tropes that are easily defeated by facts and common sense.

About the Author

Marvin King
Marvin King
Marvin King received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Texas and his B.A. from the University of Texas. Now, he is an Associate Professor of Political Science with a joint appointment in the African American Studies Program at the University of Mississippi. He conducts research into how political institutions affect African American politics. Marvin is available for public speaking engagements and you can follow him on Twitter @kingpolitics



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