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Wash. Post Fact Checker: “Three Pinnochios” For “Obama Claim That The Bush Tax Cuts Led To The Economic Crisis” | Missouri Political News Service

Wash. Post Fact Checker: “Three Pinnochios” For “Obama Claim That The Bush Tax Cuts Led To The Economic Crisis”

October 4th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler takes down another favorite talking point of President Obama and Democrats in Congress today: that the economic crisis was somehow caused by the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Kessler writes, “While one can argue whether deregulation under Clinton or Bush played a bigger role in the financial crisis, the notion that the Bush tax cuts ‘led’” to the 2008 crisis is especially puzzling. The campaign’s back-up material for the Obama ad cites only one source — a column by our colleague Ezra Klein. . . . There’s one problem though: the column does not back up Obama’s statement about tax cuts. . . . Just to be sure, we checked with Klein, and here is how he responded: ‘I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there’s no evidence of that.’”

Further, Kessler notes, “we are unaware of any respected academic study making this link. . . . Indeed, the official government inquiry, the 631-page final report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States, makes no mention of the Bush tax cuts.” And, Kessler points out, that report was “endorsed by every Democrat on the panel.”

It’s also worth pointing out that it’s rather odd for President Obama to be making the claim that the tax rates approved under President Bush were calamitous yet Obama signed a two-year extension of these tax rates.

Kessler concludes, “It is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point . . . . The financial crisis of 2008 stemmed from a variety of complex factors, in particular the bubble in housing prices and the rise of exotic financial instruments. In any case, the Bush tax cuts belong at the bottom of the list — if at all. Moreover, it is rather strange for the campaign to cite as its source an article that, according to the author, does not support this assertion. We nearly made this Four Pinocchios but ultimately decided that citing deregulation in conjunction with tax cuts kept this line out of the ‘whopper’ category. Still, in his effort to portray Romney as an echo of Bush, the president really stretches the limits here. Three Pinocchios.”

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