CNN's Christine Romans and Ali Velshi tried to argue that no evidence exists linking tax cuts to job creation while interviewing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) Thursday, on America's deficit problem.
The financial gurus challenged Toomey's conservative point that tax hikes should be off the table as a revenue increase, because they would hurt the economy. "So, where is the evidence that not cutting taxes creates jobs?" Ali Velshi asked. "We haven't seen it."
"We've been cutting taxes for 10 years," Romans strangely argued, as if each year since the 2001 Bush tax cuts the federal government has been granting additional cuts. "And we haven't seen the job creation," Velshi added.
However, Senator Toomey responded that small businesses would be affected by a tax hike, as well as risk-taking and investment.
"Well, let's remember that after cutting taxes in 2003, we did have a tremendous job creation," Toomey pointed out. "The unemployment rate dropped to below 5 percent and as recently as 2007, our federal deficit under the current tax regime was only 1.2 percent of GDP, a tiny fraction of where it is now."
Romans also referenced 2009 IRS statistics reporting that only 3 percent of taxpayers earn an income of over $200,000 per year. She implied that few Americans would be "affected by tax increases." What Romans did not report is that according to 2008 numbers from the Tax Foundation and the IRS, the top 1 percent of income earners paid almost 40 percent of the entire federal personal income taxes.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 11 at 8:09 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
ROMANS: There's a IRS report – the IRS has released its numbers for 2009 that show just 3 percent of taxpayers who make more than $200,000 a year, and only two-tenths of a percent make more than $1 million a year. And, of course, that's the whole idea that if you raise taxes on the richest part of our society, it would really – it would not affect 97 percent of people. Do you think that we need to be talking about - or we need to be – being honest about how many people are affected by tax increases for wealthy Americans?
TOOMEY: Well, we should be honest about every aspect of this debate. But we also should be honest about the fact that raising marginal tax rates is counterproductive to economic growth. It discourages investment and capital formation and risk-taking and job creation. It's a tax that'll land heavily on small businesses. So, I think we ought to be honest about all aspects of this discussion –
VELSHI: So, let me ask you this –
TOOMEY: – and as I said, I think the guiding ideas ought to be deficit reduction that's pro-growth.
VELSHI: Good point. But Senator, we haven't seen a tax increase in a long time. In fact, we got an extension of the Bush era tax.
ROMANS: We've been cutting taxes for 10 years.
VELSHI: And we haven't seen the job creation. So, where is the evidence that not cutting taxes creates jobs? We haven't seen it.
TOOMEY: Well, let's remember that after cutting taxes in 2003, we did have a tremendous job creation. The unemployment rate dropped to below 5 percent and as recently as 2007, our federal deficit under the current tax regime was only 1.2 percent of GDP, a tiny fraction of where it is now. So, look. I think there's a lot can be done to improve the tax code, to make it more sensible, to make it more fair, to make it simpler and lower marginal rates. And if we do that we'll have stronger growth and more revenue as a result.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center