This post originally appeared on Think Progress.
At the end of the year, President Bush’s tax cuts are set to expire. President Obama and many Democrats in Congress favor extending those tax cuts for the middle class. But Republicans — seemingly not worried about the $700 billion cost — want tax cuts for the rich included as well.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) seems to be one of those Republicans. But when C-Span host Steve Scully asked the California Republican about the tax cuts issue on Washington Journal this morning, Nunes went slightly off message:
SCULLY: Tax cuts, do they increase the debt or do they spur economic growth?
NUNES: Well, I think that they increase the debt. If you let them expire at the end of the year we’re going to have a huge, the largest tax increase in American history.
Nunes drifted back on message later, saying that the deficit is “going to grow” if all the Bush tax cuts expire. But when asked why, he couldn’t provide any specifics. “Because it’s going to throw the economy into a tailspin,” he said. Watch it:
Nunes is right about one thing: Tax cuts do increase the debt, but he’s dead wrong in claiming that they reduce the deficit. In fact, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out, the Bush tax cuts will cause $3.4 trillion in deficits between 2009 and 2019 while the “debt-service costs caused by the Bush-era tax cuts, amount to more than $200 billion through 2008 and another $1.7 trillion over the 2009-2019 period — over $330 billion in 2019 alone.”
Moreover, the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has noted just how the federal debt will skyrocket if the Bush tax cuts are extended as opposed to allowed to expire:
“If they’re willing to let the tax cuts expire,” Klein writes, “it’s good evidence that they’re serious about cutting the debt. If they’re not willing to let the cuts expire, it’s irrefutable evidence that they’re not.”
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