Is Obama Stimulus Plan Also the Biggest Tax Cut Ever?

Sort of yes, sort of no.


By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Are the tax cuts in the stimulus bill the largest is U.S. history?

Yes, sort of. 

Steven Waldman, a former U.S. News editor (well before I wandered these halls), makes an interesting case that the coming tax cut will indeed be the biggest ever.

The compromise stimulus plan includes $282 billion in tax cuts over two years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bush's first two years of tax cuts amounted to $174 billion. A second batch in 2004 and 2005 cost $231. And those were thought to be bigger than the tax cuts offered by Reagan, Kennedy, or others.

But wait, you say, wasn't Bush's 2001 tax cut, at $1.35 trillion (funny how the GOP didn't mind draining one trillion dollars from the government coffers then), the largest in history?

Yes, over the full 10 years of its existence. But over the first two years, as Waldman points out above, the price tag was much smaller. So the Obama stimulus tax cut would be the biggest ever for the first two years. Or something like that.

Steve Benen points out over at Political Animal that this means that Republicans will be voting against one of the biggest tax cuts ever. Democrats don't point this out very much, I suspect, because they are so busy arguing that spending will do more than tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

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