This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts, and Annie Lowrey of Slate is looking for reasons to celebrate. Unfortunately, she can’t find any. They’re “a failure in every conceivable way,” she writes. In 2001, Bush promised the cuts would create jobs, generate wealth, and “starve the beast,” reducing the size of government. Even leaving aside the 2008 recession, they did none of those things. From 2003 to 2007, median wages actually fell.
Jobs grew, but at their slowest rate since World War II, and the only “new wealth” generated was for high-wage earners and the wealthiest 1%. And of course, government spending, deficits, and debt skyrocketed. “To state the obvious, tax cuts are not magic,” Lowrey concludes. “They can help a strong economy get stronger … but they cannot goose employers into adding millions of jobs, pay for themselves, and arrest the growth of government, all while delivering everyone cupcakes.”