A new report argues that the Bush tax cuts actually cost Americans $6.6 trillion in personal income — more than enough to pay for every student loan, car loan and credit card debt in the U.S.
In an Al Jazeera America column on Wednesday, investigative reporter David Cay Johnston calculated the average income of Americans between 2001 and 2012 — the years President George W. Bush’s tax cuts were in effect. After adjusting for inflation he compared that income with the average income in 2000, and determined that $6.6 trillion was missing.
“Consider what $48,000 of additional income over those 12 years would have meant to you,” Johnston wrote. “It is the equivalent of $11 appearing in your wallet every morning from the start of 2001 through the end of 2012.”
“Had that $6.6 trillion shortfall been realized as income, it would have been enough to pay off all the student loans in United States ($1.26 trillion), all the automobile loans ($892 billion) and all the credit card debt ($827 billion),” he noted. “After paying all that debt off and taking taxes into account, Americans still would have more than $2.4 trillion left in their pockets and bank accounts.”
Speaking to MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Johnston recalled that President George W. Bush had promised during his 2000 campaign that his tax cuts would lead to greater prosperity.
And the investigative reporter pointed out that tax cuts not only damaged personal wealth, but they also took a toll on government services.
“What we’re seeing in America today is our country is falling apart, we are not maintaining it, we are not doing the things we need to do to continue to have our government,” Johnston explained. “And the answer that we’re provided with by people like [Republican Kansas Gov.] Sam Brownback: ‘We need more tax cuts.’ You know, what are we going to do? Bleed ourselves to death?”
Watch the video below from MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, broadcast July 10, 2014.
[Photo: Senior woman counting savings money via Shutterstock.com]