The Dismal Republican Record on Taxes

Given their past predictions, how can anyone take these people seriously?

By + More

He got the Christmas part right. Unemployment, which had been 7.1 percent in January 1993, fell to 5.4 percent by the end of 1994. Real GDP grew from 2.9 percent in 1993 to 4.1 percent in 1994. The final tally of the Clinton years was 23 million new jobs and a budget surplus. [See editorial cartoons about the Democrats.]

Clinton and his villainous tax hikes were followed by George W. Bush and his cure-all tax cuts. "Tax relief will create new jobs," Bush argued in April 2001. "Tax relief will generate new wealth." When the bill was enacted that June, GOP Rep. Mike Pence (now running for governor of Indiana) gushed that they would "stimulate our economy" and "put the ax to the root of the Internal Revenue Code as it wages war on the American dream."

How'd that turn out? From 2001 to 2007, jobs grew at one fifth the pace of the 1990s, the slowest rate in the post-World War II era. GDP in those years grew at half the rate of the 1990s. Oh yeah, and the deficit exploded. Fully 10 years after the largest tax cuts in history, the economy had shed 1.1 million jobs. It seems Pence's ax was put to the root of the American dream itself. [Check out editorial cartoons about the GOP.]

Given the historical and economic record, one has to ask: How can anyone take the GOP seriously, especially when they are playing fast and loose with economic disaster in service to a political philosophy that not even their main icon—Reagan—followed with such monomania?

Decrying the Clinton tax plan in 1993, Boehner recalled the quote: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." He went on, "It very appropriately applies to Congress today." That's one piece of rhetoric Boehner really should recycle. And learn from.

  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.
  • Check out political cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.
  • Subscribe to U.S. News Weekly and read more by Robert Schlesinger.