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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mike Pence Challenges Americans to ‘Check’ His Facts: Guess What? He’s Got Them Wrong

Via: Think Progress -

Appearing on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the third ranking Republican in the House, repeatedly claimed that the solution to the economic crisis was to “do what Ronald Reagan did” and implement “across-the-board permanent marginal tax reductions.” Towards the end of his interview, however, a caller challenged Pence’s idea, saying that deficits exploded under Reagan, forcing the first President Bush to raise taxes.

Pence replied that the caller was right that Reagan “saw deficits and the national debt grow,” but claimed it was the fault of spending in Congress because Reagan’s tax cuts “resulted in more than a doubling of the revenues.” Pence then asked viewers to “check me on this”:

PENCE: You’re absolutely correct in saying that they saw deficits and the national debt grow under President Reagan, but it was — and check me on this, people can check things easily on the internet these days, check me on this — the rate reductions that President Reagan enacted resulted in more than a doubling of the revenues over the next seven years that went from the American people to the federal government.

Watch it:

ThinkProgress loves a challenge, so we looked into Pence’s claim. As he suggested, it wasn’t hard to find out on the internet that this common conservative claim is wrong.

As Media Matters noted when Sean Hannity made the same argument, revenues did not get close to doubling under Reagan:

According to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), when adjusted for inflation to constant fiscal year 2000 dollars, receipts (revenues) increased only from $1.077 trillion to $1.236 trillion during Reagan’s term in office. Even in unadjusted (current) dollars, Hannity’s claim that revenues “doubled” to more than $1 trillion during the Reagan administration is false: From 1981 to 1988, revenues in current dollars increased from $599.3 billion to $909.3 billion.

Additionally, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has found that “Income tax receipts grew noticeably more slowly than usual in the 1980s, after the large cuts in individual and corporate income tax rates in 1981.” In contrast, “income tax collections grew much more rapidly in the 1990s,” when “marginal income tax rates at the top of the income spectrum were raised,” wrote CBPP.


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