The Washington Times is ordinarily a fairly conservative publication, so I was a little surprised to see this in a recent article:
More than a dozen bills with costs that are not fully offset elsewhere in the budget have passed the Republican-controlled House and threaten to add nearly $1 trillion to federal debt over the next decade.
The measures include a slew of tax breaks known as tax extenders. Among them are a $155 billion research and development tax credit, a $90 billion expansion of the child tax credit to higher-income families and a $2 billion enhanced tax deduction for businesses that make charitable food donations.
Author S. A. Miller of the Times has obviously fallen for the leftist canard that tax cuts decrease revenue to the government. In fact, there is good evidence that just the opposite is true, both from Forbes and from the Mackinac Center.
A little thought and common sense would also help debunking this myth. Consider: people don’t like paying taxes. Even most leftists pay only what they owe and don’t send an extra $100 or $1,000 to the IRS with the note, “Consider this a donation to the government.” Therefore, when taxes go up, most people will find ways to avoid paying more. So, higher taxes means more people will change their behavior to avoid said taxes.
Even leftist organizations like the “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids” (which gave almost exclusively to Democrats in the 2012 cycle) agree that higher cigarette taxes lower smoking rates (link to pdf). The leftists seem incapable, however, of extending the same logic to other things. For example, if you raise gas taxes, thus making it more expensive to drive, people are going to reduce their elective driving. Rather than loading the kids in the SUV to go to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, they may fly, or they may just videoconference with grandma over Skype, for example.
All in all, the idea that tax cuts lower government revenue just doesn’t hold water, and the Washington Times should be deeply ashamed for having run an article making such a claim.
Update: Earlier in this article, I pointed out that even leftsts don’t like to pay taxes. As a case in point, let me offer leftist Robert Redford’s own lawsuit against the State of New York, claiming he doesn’t have to pay the taxes NY says he does. Gee, Mr. Redford, don’t you think high taxes are a good thing? Or is that just high taxes on other people?