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2001 tax cuts fifteen years later

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Most economists will likely admit the U.S. economy wasn’t performing wonderfully during the George W. Bush years. But there was a lot going on, so it’s tough to simply blame tax cuts. But Bruce Bartlett doesn’t think they did what they said would. He served as an economics advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. 

“The tax cuts didn’t just fail in a macro sense, they failed to accomplish their micro-economic purpose,” he said. 

Bartlett said the tax cuts’ main purpose was to encourage businesses to pay out more dividends, which didn’t happen. 

“Yet the dividend tax cut is still in effect.”

2016 being an election year, it’s unlikely Americans will hear much about getting rid of tax cuts. At least Leonard Burman, director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington D.C., isn’t holding his breath.

“It says something about what the debate about taxes has become,” he said. “People don’t necessarily see a connection between the taxes they pay and the services they can get from the Federal government.” 

Burman says until that changes, current tax policy is likely to remain the same.

 

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