Wednesday, August 29, 2012

That national debt clock…

That national debt clock should have flashing lights that say "Bush-era tax cuts are mostly to blame."

You know the idea of the big national debt clock, it ticks in dollars and shows the continually growing national debt. The Republicans decided to hang one of these on the wall at their convention, in an effort to hang the national debt around President Obama's neck.

A mystifying decision, because both Republicans and Democrats over the last 50 years have fully and equally contributed to the government policies that created and perpetuate the national debt.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of the national debt. The annual interest payments are high. I don't like the idea of being perpetually in debt. We should be committed to paying it off slowly. I'm willing to pay more taxes to do it.

But let's talk straight about what causes the national debt.

Every dollar spent without a matching tax dollar coming in, and every tax dollar NOT collected without a matching cut in spending, contributes to the national debt.

And the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the Bush-era tax cuts are now the biggest factor in boosting the national debt. Without those tax cuts, we'd all be paying more taxes and the national debt would be a lot smaller.

The Bush tax cuts increase the national debt three times as much as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush tax cuts increase the national debt two times as much as the national economic downturn.

Now, full disclosure: the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a liberal-oriented think tank, doesn't mean their data is wrong, and anyway you can make your own decision about whether keeping the Bush-era tax cuts in force actually helps or hurts the national debt situation.

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