Bill Clinton didn’t mention his own tax cuts.

Sept. 6, 2012

By John Seiler

I enjoyed Bill Clinton’s speech last night. He’s still Slick Willie. After his bypass, he’s a little more fatigued than he was when he occupied the White House. But he still has that Clinton charm that seduced 44,909,806 voters in 1992, 47,401,185 in 1996 and Monica Lewinsky.

As usual, he was a little fast and loose with the facts. But he rightly has bragging rights over the prosperity of the late 1990s. Here’s how he said it was done:

“People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.”

He got a laugh there.

“If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan — the — arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen:

“1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or

“2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or

“3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.”

“Double-down on trickle-down”: great slogan. Democrats often accuse Republicans of “trickle-down” economics, meaning rich folks get the best tax breaks, then a little of that money “trickles” down to the middle-class and the poor.

Except he didn’t mention that House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican House and Senate worked out the budget cuts with him after they won the 1994 congressional elections. If Democrats would have controlled Congress in the late 1990s, there would have been no surpluses.

And, true, Clinton and the Democratic Congress in 1993 increased taxes. But it was a small increase, and the last he would ever pass.

And he didn’t mention that after 1994, he — William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd president of the United States — cut capital gains taxes three times. That encouraged investment in American companies, especially propelling the dot-com boom of the time. More economic growth meant a bigger tax base, which in turn helped cut the deficits to zero, then produce surpluses.

Most capital gains tax go to rich investors, who then use the money to create new businesses and jobs. It was Clinton himself who enacted “double-down on trickle-down.”

Slick Willie. Gotta enjoy his performance. Gotta also check everything he says. It’s arithmetic.

Tags assigned to this article:
Bill ClintonJohn Seilertax cuts

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