July 12, 2006

Something For Everybody

Government has more to spend than ever before, thanks to the tax cuts of 2003. From the WSJ: (ellipsis mine)

The real news, and where the policy credit belongs, is with the 2003 tax cuts. They've succeeded even beyond Art Laffer's dreams, if that's possible. In the nine quarters preceding that cut on dividend and capital gains rates and in marginal income-tax rates, economic growth averaged an annual 1.1%. In the 12 quarters--three full years--since the tax cut passed, growth has averaged a remarkable 4%...

...This growth in turn has produced a record flood of tax revenues, just as the most ebullient supply-siders predicted. In the first nine months of fiscal 2006, tax revenues have climbed by $206 billion, or nearly 13%...

...Remember the folks who said the tax cuts would "blow a hole in the deficit?" Well, revenues as a share of the economy are now expected to rise this year to 18.3%, slightly above the modern historical average of 18.2%. The remaining budget deficit of a little under $300 billion will be about 2.3% of GDP, which is smaller than in 17 of the previous 25 years. Throw in the surpluses rolling into the states, and the overall U.S. "fiscal deficit" is now economically trivial.

This would all seem to be good news, but some folks are never happy. The same crowd that said the tax cuts wouldn't work, and predicted fiscal doom, are now harrumphing that the revenues reflect a windfall for "the rich." We suppose that's right if by rich they mean the millions of Americans moving into higher tax brackets because their paychecks are increasing...

...As for the 2003 tax cuts, the current revenue boom is one more argument for making them permanent. They are now set to expire in 2010, and, even if they are extended, federal revenues will continue to climb as a share of GDP as more taxpayers earn higher incomes and move into higher tax brackets. If liberal Democrats are really determined to soak the rich--and we don't doubt it for a second--they'll also vote to make the tax cuts permanent.

Posted by dan at July 12, 2006 9:33 PM