Rush Limbaugh on Tax Reform

Conservative Talk-show Host


FactCheck: JFK lowered top income tax rate from 91% to 65%

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show on Oct. 12: "JFK made the case for tax cuts as a means of growing the economy. JFK, a Democrat, is advocating tax cuts in the same sense that Arthur Laffer always has.

Rush referred to this 1962 speech by Pres. Kennedy, pledging "across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes" for the purpose of stimulating the economy.

Rush seems to have a case. But in fact, the top marginal tax rate in 1962 was 91% and JFK proposed lowering the top rate to 65% (compared to a top rate of 37% today). Similarly, the corporate tax rate in 1962 was 52% and JFK proposed lowering it to 47% (compared to a corporate rate of 15% today).

In the context of the much higher rates in 1962, cutting tax rates meant something very different than today--Rush presumably knew that context, and hence was lying about JFK's proposal. No politician of any party today would even consider RAISING tax rates to the LOWER levels proposed by JFK in 1962!

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on the Rush Limbaugh Show , Dec 10, 2012

JFK believed in tax cuts to stimulate economy

RUSH: In a speech made by Pres. Kennedy, Dec. 14th, 1962, at the New York Economic Club, JFK made the case for tax cuts as a means of growing the economy. In 1962. There is no Democrat alive today who would make this speech. If JFK were alive today and hadn't changed, he wouldn't find room for himself in the Democrat Party. Here they are:

KENNEDY: "This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes to be enacted and become effective in 1963. The federal government's most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities of private expenditures. When consumers purchase more goods, plants use more of their capacity, men are hired instead of laid off, investment increases, & profits are high."

RUSH: JFK, a Democrat, is advocating tax cuts in the same sense that Arthur Laffer always has or Ronald Reagan or me or anybody else with a brain.

Source: Rush Limbaugh Show, "JFK's 1962 Speech" , Oct 12, 2012

FactCheck: No, Bush tax cuts did not lead to more revenue

The clearest evidence of how Limbaugh's economic theories are wrong is George W. Bush's record: Tax revenues in constant dollars went from $2.026 trillion in 2000 to $2.006 trillion in 2008, a decline of 0.3%, and the $236 billion surplus turned into a $364 billion deficit, all while the top marginal tax rate was cut from 39.6% to 35 %. Anyone such as Limbaugh who says that reducing the top marginal tax rates inevitably increases tax revenues is simply ignorant of economic reality. But Limbaugh often claims, "We all know that lowering taxes would be the correct way to generate more revenue." The idea that lower taxes leads to more tax revenue is one of the holy writs of conservative economics, but it has no basis in reality. If lowering taxes always generates more revenue, then we could create the highest possible revenue by lowering taxes to 0.
Source: The Most Dangerous Man in America, by J.K.Wilson, p.124 , Mar 1, 2011

FactCheck: No, Gen.41 is not about wisdom of cutting taxes

"People take me seriously because I am effective." In his book "See, I Told You So", Limbaugh claimed a biblical basis for low taxes, citing the story in Genesis about "the lowering of tax rates on grain from 90% to 20%, giving 7 fat years during the days of Pharaoh in Egypt. You can trace individual prosperity, economic growth back to the Bible, the Old Testament." As FAIR noted, "Genesis 41 is about the wisdom of instituting taxes, not cutting them." After dreaming about 7 fat years followed by 7 lean years, the pharaoh imposed a 20% tax during good times to sustain his empire during a recession. The 90% tax existed only in Limbaugh's vivid imagination.
Source: The Most Dangerous Man in America, by J.K.Wilson, p.147 , Mar 1, 2011

No trigger on tax cuts, “trigger lock” instead

The Democrats are running around all over the place talking about a “trigger” on President Bush’s tax cut. Here’s the truth: Gephardt and the Democrats want a trigger that calls off any scheduled tax cut if the surpluses fail to materialize. What can Democrats do to kill the surplus? Spend it!

If they go on a spending spree, they wipe out the surplus, trigger the trigger, and there is no tax cut. That’s why they’re for it. The existence of a trigger, in essence, puts their finger on it. They can pull the trigger on the tax cut and kill it, simply by spending more money! You know what we need instead of a trigger? We need a trigger lock in this bill. If they’re going to put a trigger in, that cancels tax cuts if the surplus doesn’t materialize, then we need a trigger lock so they can’t pull the trigger and spend your money. In reality, the trigger should be on the spending, not the tax cut. The Democrats have it completely backwards.

Source: RushLimbaugh.com , Feb 27, 2001

Targeted tax cuts make middle-class beholden to liberals

Lieberman doesn’t want a tax cut. He wants brand-new entitlements for the middle class. He said that 25% of the surplus should go to tax cuts with the remainder going to targeted spending increases in federal programs, most of them for the middle class.

Folks, the liberals already own the lower class. They’ve already got them totally dependent on Washington. Now they’re going after the middle class, in order to get them totally dependent, so they’ll be afraid to support tax cuts at any time down the road.

They hope that middle-class Americans will think that tax cuts will mean less benefits from the government rather than more freedom, independence, and liberty. This is just outrageous. Lieberman wants a nation of slaves.

Source: RushLimbaugh.com, “Stack of Stuff” , Feb 9, 2001

Tax fairness is simple: Give our money back

According to Daschle and Gephardt, the rich guy who gets this tax cut is going to go out and buy a luxury car - and to them that’s bad. It’s gotten to the point that we stigmatize the people who make this country work. We tell them that they’re greedy if they demand to keep more of what they earn. It’s almost a crime, which can be used as a negative to defeat policy.

But it’s none of your damned business, Misters Daschle and Gephardt, what people do with their legally-earned, hard-won money, whether it comes from a tax cut or not. Your disdain for the people who make this country work and for liberty overall is shameful. The truth of the matter is, liberals are against any tax cut at all, because they want the money - your money - to spend themselves. It’s that simple. Who decides what is fair? Is it the liberal snobs of the Times editorial page? Is it Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt driving to press conferences in their limousines? Fairness is simple: Give our money back.

Source: RushLimbaugh.com, “Stack of Stuff” , Feb 8, 2001

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