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'On Taxes, George W. Bush Has Won'

February 13, 2013 3 minute Read by Robert Asahina

That was the subject line on the e-mail alert for Ezra Klein's Washington Post column that arrived in my inbox this morning. But Klein didn't stop there:

"I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts," the 44th president said in remarks on Wednesday. "If they were called some other body's tax cuts, they're probably less likely to be raised." Perhaps. But George W. Bush is selling himself short here. Most of his tax cuts are, at this point, an almost foregone conclusion ... Democrats have, for the most part, admitted that Bush was right, and the Clinton-era tax rates were too high on most Americans. For all that Democrats talk about returning to the Clinton-era tax rates, they only ever mean for the top two percent of taxpayers — the folks who are now in the 35% bracket, but whom they would like to see in a 39.6% bracket. The reality is that, on tax policy, Democrats are now closer to Bush than to Clinton...

The president's remarks that Klein quotes were made at the 4% Growth Project's conference on economic growth and tax policy, held at the New-York Historical Society yesterday (April 10). In addition to the standing ovation that greeted an unannounced but not unrecognized President Bush as he entered the auditorium before he was formally introduced, the conference attendees rose to their feet after show-stopping presentations by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. At the panels and breakout sessions, the Fellows of the 4% Growth Project and invited guests — including state governors and other politicians and officials, business leaders, policy analysts, and journalists — discussed lessons learned about tax policy and economic growth from the states, other countries, markets, and American history. What emerged was a consensus on the importance of incentives, the need for sustainable tax reform that broadens the base and lowers rates, and the overriding imperative of a long-term economic growth strategy for dealing with the looming debt crisis. As Klein's column suggests, this is a consensus that reaches well beyond the walls of the New-York Historical Society. As Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas put it, “Now is the time to propose bold solutions.” They can be found among the proposals made by the featured speakers, panelists, guests, and attendees at the 4% Growth Project's conference.


Author

Robert Asahina

Robert Asahina has been a newspaper and magazine editor and writer, a book publishing executive and editor, and a data management consultant. He was editor in chief and deputy publisher of Broadway Books, president and publisher of the adult publishing group of Golden Books, and vice president and senior editor of Simon and Schuster; deputy managing editor of The New York Sun and an editor at The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, George, and The Public Interest; and a consultant at Freddie Mac. He is the author of "Just Americans" and of numerous articles and reviews for The Wall Street Journal, Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.

 

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