The Bush tax cuts, the bubble, the collapse, the $2.5 trillion: what might have been instead

The Bush tax cuts were signed 10 years ago today. We gave the wealthiest among us $2.5 TRILLION dollars. That worked out well. Here’s some stuff we might have done instead with that revenue.  But all these things would have done of course is educate and employ people.

  • Provide 43.1 Million Students With Pell Grants Worth $5,500 Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide 31.5 Million Head Start Slots For Children Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide VA Care For 30.7 Million Military Veterans Every Year For Ten Years
  • Provide 30.4 Million Scholarships For University Students Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 4.19 Million Firefighters Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 3.67 Million Elementary School Teachers Every Year For Ten Years
  • Hire 3.6 Million Police Officers Every Year For Ten Years
  • Retrofit 144.6 Million Households For Wind Power Every Year For Ten Years
  • Retrofit 54.2 Million Households For Solar Photovoltaic Energy Every Year For Ten Years

The tradeoffs paint a stark picture. For the same price as the Bush tax cuts, which did little to help the economy, we could’ve sent tens of millions of students to college, retrofitted every household in America with the capacity to generate alternative energy, and hired millions of firefighters and police officers.

UPDATE: Drat! Kay posted this too. She gets up earlier.

30 responses to “The Bush tax cuts, the bubble, the collapse, the $2.5 trillion: what might have been instead

  1. Yup, but public education creates socialism – and employment drives up wages. Both Un-American. Perhaps evil also.


  2. Speaking of Elvis – pwire noticed that he had told both Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann that each of them are his personal pick for President!

    And Huckabee was told not to run.
    Other plans for him perhaps…


    • The good elvis will let us know in his own blessed time how we are to exercise our free will.

      I think Huckabee should go straight to the stage – he’s dying to.


  3. But the tax cuts created jobs!! Oh, wait….


  4. Pingback: The Bush tax cuts, the bubble, the collapse, the $2.5 trillion: what might have been instead…Whatever Works… - Politicaldog101.Com

  5. As has been patiently explained many times by visitors to this blog, the wealthy, who are creative and entrepreneurial by nature, and endowed by the Almighty with an innate superiority so elevated that it’s imperceptible to ordinary humans, would invest that capital, THEIR capital (theirs by right, since they earned it, and besides, without them we would still be savages scrabbling in the dirt for grubs and worms), thereby creating wealth and jobs for all; but in the current statist, collectivist, socialistic, and generally business-hostile environment, encumbered by labor laws, tort laws, environmental protection laws, public and private unions, class action lawsuits, looters, moochers, punks, thugs, ruffians, and hoodlums, the super rich are simply too wise to do so, knowing that the benumbed and bovine masses are too dimwitted to realize that what is good for the rich is good for everybody, that the rich are the living, breathing generators whose blood and brains fuel the productive and creative engines of this, the greatest civilization the world has ever known or will ever know, that the bloodsucking welfare queens, public unions, the aged and infirm, i.e., those who only take and give nothing in return, must be crushed, stomped so deep into the ground by the invisible boot of the market that there is no possibility they can ever rise again to drain the lifeblood, to suck dry the productive energies, of society’s proper rulers and decision makers, and that then, and only then, will the productive floodgates of the wealthy burst open, magnanimously showering us, the little people, with a prosperity far beyond the wildest fantasies of our imaginations. I mean, how much clearer can one say it?


  6. Ms. Holland ,

    How about we talk figurrrs that matter , shall we ? So you don’t think we got anything for the Bush tax cuts for the evil rich ? I calculated the unemployment rate during the Bush years . It takes in the dot com bust , 911, Katrina and the Fannie and Freddie engineered housing collapse . I took the yearly average for the Bush years .I then used monthly averages for President Obama ‘s 29 month record .

    I do not pretend to be super accurate , but I believe it is close enough for government work .My boy, George W. averaged 5.3% over 8 years . Your guy, Barak Obama has averaged roughly 9.3% over just under 2 1/2 years . Feel free to calculate your own numbers . Even if I’m off a little that is a stark contrast .

    Capitalism verses Progressivism . Tax cuts verses stimulus . Tell me , what do you think has worked better ? . You guys are going to have to post some amazing numbers from here on out , to get your average close to what Bush had . But I’m pulling for you .


  7. Pingback: War-making as domestic policy « All Tied Up and Nowhere to Go

  8. Capitalism verses Progressivism . Tax cuts verses stimulus . Tell me , what do you think has worked better ?

    Dyadic thinking at its finest Mr.Scott. Mixing categories, blurring boundaries, heck even comparing unlike quantities.

    Capitalism is an economic theory, Progressivism is not. The US has maintained its hard free market stance throughout the entire period. Therefore, your statement is like trying to compare the price of lard based on the correlation between apples and bananas. It does not work.

    Tax cuts verses stimulus.

    As has been pointed out many times before, the stimulus spending was enacted by the previous president and carried out by the current. The stimulus program was, for the most part socialism for the rich and it worked extremely well in getting them ‘back on their feet’ (yea for profit!).

    I hesitate to go further because of the inaccuracy of the binary solutions being proposed.


  9. The Arbourist ,

    Thank you for responding to my statement . As I commented on your site , you Canadians are doing well moving towards capitalism as we Americans move toward the failed European Socialist model . I want to leave you with one Country that truly symbolizes the failure of what you believe , and I want you to respond . That Country is Greece .


    • It would seem that Greece, was plagued by decisions to spend beyond their means in order to curry political favour with certain classes of its’ people.

      But the New Democracy party, with which PASOK has alternated in power since the restoration of democracy in 1974, is no less guilty of bloating the public sector and buying “social harmony” by giving workers whatever they wanted, leading to a relentless rise in wages and pensions irrespective of what the country produced. As deficits and the country’s debt burden grew, governments just kept on borrowing – borrowing to meet their obligations in terms of wages and pensions, borrowing to import more than Greece exported, borrowing to pay off previous debts. There was no effort to break the borrowing habit. In addition, membership of the eurozone brought monetary stability and historically low interest rates, prompting a massive boom in 20 mortgages and consumer loans, which hid the economy’s underlying weaknesses.

      So, it is the irresponsible spending of public money that can be attributed to the Greek Debt crisis. So what Moe said: “We gave the wealthiest among us $2.5 TRILLION dollars.” is like what Greece had been doing until they were caught by the fiscal crisis on 2008. Except that beneficiaries were going mostly to the middle class, while in the US, it is going mostly to the rich.

      So, it looks like we agree Alan, irresponsible government spending whether it be for the rich in the US, or the middle class in Greece is a bad thing.

      Please note, Mr.Scott, that irresponsible government spending, is not a feature of socialism alone as explained above, but a feature of both capitalist and socialist economies. Therefore, it would be good of you to revise your opinion about teh evilz of socaizm and perhaps refocus your commentary on less of a ideological basis.


      • Also, wasn’t part of the problem that Greece has so many tax loopholes that most of the country wasn’t paying the taxes necessary to support the government services? I would also like to leave everyone with the example of another country with a strong safety net of government benefits: Germany. I believe that at one point last year, Germany’s economy was growing at a faster rate than ours was.


        • eurobrat, Germany is an excellent example of a country with a strong safety net of government benefits AND a strong economy.

          It is also a model social democracy: German workers sit on the boards of the big corporations as part of works councils and participate in the decision-making process. And boards themselves are “co-determined”, meaning workers choose a full half of the members of the supervisory board of directors.

          Ironically, this model was imposed on the Germans by the Allies in 1945 to counter any possible reawakening of fascism.


  10. ojmo ,

    ” Alan, Fannie and Freddie engineered the housing collapse? I don’t understand–why would they do that? Thanks. ”

    Fannie and Freddie bought mortgages from the banks . They did not intentionally collapse the system .. They were part of the early lowering of lending standards that began in the 90s . Granted Wall St. came later and made it worse , but Fannie and Freddie took on astronomical amounts of risk . Everyone talks about the bailouts of the banks and car companies, well look up how much these two GSEs have cost the taxpayer .

    If you look hard enough you will find some GOP villains, but the people who protected Franklin Raines and Fannie and Freddie were Congress persons like Barney Frank and Maxine Waters . I think it was OFHEO which had oversight and tried to reign in the GSEs . Well Democrats roasted OFHEO in committee hearings . Also Barney Frank got one of his boy friends a nice job at Fannie while he sat on an oversight committee in 1991 .

    I know, way too much information , but I thought I would give you plenty to google .


  11. The Arbourist ,

    Thank you for the reply . Greece is relevant , not only as an example of failure , but because it is one of the great threats to the world economy . One other thing about the Greeks that hurts them in paying their debt , they have raised tax evasion to an art form .


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