As millions of Americans go to file their taxes, this is a good time to remember what happened when the last Republican president slashed taxes for top earners without a plan to pay for it, and to consider what it would mean to our economy if one of the current extreme GOP candidates gets the chance to do the same, or worse.
George W. Bush's tax cuts, which were sold to the American people as a way to fuel private sector growth, instead increased income inequality
and mostly benefited the wealthy.
As a result of Bush's economic policies, by the end of his second term, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month, foreclosure signs littered the streets in communities across the country, and too many people had to choose between illness and bankruptcy from medical bills. CEO pay ballooned, wages stagnated for America's middle class, and fewer private-sector jobs were created than before the tax cuts went into effect.
The tax plans and policies proposed by today's GOP candidates would go even further than the Bush tax cuts and would not only continue to widen the income gap, but would also balloon the deficit.
According to the Tax Policy Center, Donald Trump's plan
would slash federal revenues by $9.5 trillion over 10 years and could increase the national debt by a staggering 80% of GDP by the year 2036. Ted Cruz's plan
, which includes a dangerous and ill-conceived promise to abolish the IRS, isn't any less extreme, and would slash revenues by $8.6 trillion over 10 years.
Under the plans of Trump, Cruz and GOP Gov. John Kasich, new tax cuts would once again largely benefit the wealthy over the middle class. These plans would require harsh cuts to life-saving programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and would slash investments in public goods like education and infrastructure to pay for them.
That's the wrong direction for our country, especially considering the fact that a new study
last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that progressive policies, "such as universal preschool, paid sick leave and paid parental leave ... ease the stresses associated with poverty that affect health." Life expectancies are higher -- in some cases a difference of three years -- in communities where these policies are enacted and a strong safety net exists.
But Republicans remain committed to rewarding the wealthy rather than working to improve the quality of life for hardworking families. All the candidates have vowed to repeal Obamacare
, a law that has allowed 20 million Americans to gain quality, affordable health insurance that they previously didn't have.
None of the GOP presidential candidates favor ensuring equal pay for women, despite women in the aggregate earning only .79 cents to every dollar
earned by their male counterparts. Not a
single Republican running for president supports raising the minimum wage; Donald Trump even went as far as saying that wages are "too high."
The American people deserve a leader who will stand strong against the winds of political pressure and deliver real solutions for the difficult problems hardworking families face every day. Republicans are only offering empty promises and more handouts to those at the top. That's why we need Democratic leadership in the White House to build on the progress of the last seven years.
Under President Obama, we've seen a record 73 straight months of private-sector job growth with 14.4 million jobs created. And because Democrats stand for smart fiscal management built on a foundation of fairness, we worked to cut taxes for over 98% of families with the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a fairer share.
That's the kind of leadership the next Democratic president will bring to the White House. We tried the Republican plan and it failed America's middle class. We must elect a Democrat as our 45th president if we want to continue to build on our economic progress.