The Slatest

R.I.P. “Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to speak to the press on Capitol Hill December 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to speak to the press on Capitol Hill December 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

September 1974: “If you tax a product less results. If you subsidize a product more results. We’ve been taxing work, output and income and subsidizing non-work, leisure and un-employment. The consequences are obvious!” – Arthur Laffer

April 1980: “Four times in this century we have known such across-the-board tax cuts. And every time the response of the economy has been such that even the government wound up getting more money.” – Ronald Reagan

June 1991: “ Low taxes are equal to Republicanism… . A capital gains tax [cut], especially in this environment, would certainly generate more revenues.” – Vice President Dan Quayle


February 1996: “[F]or years, the liberal establishment has been insisting that the Reagan Revolution increased the deficit dramatically…The result is a barrage of attacks on pro-growth tax proposals, based on the mistaken charge that cutting taxes would cause the deficit to explode.” – Jack Kemp


July 1996: “The economy is limping, incomes have been falling, tax revenues are stagnant, and it is projected that the deficit will more than double in the next ten years…History shows clearly that the way to reverse this trend is to cut tax rates.” – Daniel Mitchell, The Heritage Foundation

June 2005: “The theory is really one of the simplest concepts in economics. Yet its logic continues to elude the class-warfare lobby whose disbelief is unburdened by the multiple real-life examples which validate its conclusions. The idea is that lowering the tax rate on production, work, investment, and risk-taking will spur more of these activities and thereby will often lead to more tax revenue collections for the government rather than less.” – Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal


February 2006: “You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase.” – President George W. Bush

March 2007: “Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues.” – Sen. John McCain

November 2007: “Tax relief pays for itself.’ – House Minority Leader John Boehner

February 2009: “Every major tax cut we’ve had in history has created more revenue.” – Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson

July 2010: “That’s been the majority Republican view for some time…That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell


April 2011: “A broader base with lower rates is central to a fair, efficient and sustainable tax code, and the economic growth spurred by such a reform is a precondition to fixing the nation’s fiscal mess.” – Rep. Paul Ryan, The Path to Prosperity


April 2015: “The last president we had was Ronald Reagan that said we’re going to dramatically cut tax rates. And guess what? More revenue came in…” – Sen. Rand Paul


June 2015: “If you look at the revenue that came in after the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax rate cuts, yes, there was more money coming into the treasury.” – GOP strategist Ron Christie

April 2017: “The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.” – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

September 2017: “I am one who is convinced that if we reduce tax rates, eventually we will bring in more money into the Treasury.” Rep. Ted Poe

December 2017:

Ed. note: Tax cuts do not pay for themselves.