History lesson: Do big tax cuts pay for themselves?

Politician Direct Taxes_Health_Care_QA_53897.jpg-bb8ce History lesson: Do big tax cuts pay for themselves? Politics Washington Post
(Associated Press)

“It’s not just economic theory but economic history. … The bottom line is we will be able to fill any deficit hole with additional revenues. And we basically saw the same during the Reagan tax cut, frankly the Kennedy tax cut. You can even go back to the Coolidge tax cut. We will be able to raise more revenues.”
— Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), in an interview with Bloomberg News, Nov. 30, 2017

During an interview about a proposed “trigger” to stem tax cuts if the budget deficit unexpectedly widened, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) made a reference to economic history that caught The Fact Checker’s attention.

Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, dismissed the trigger as a “uniquely bad idea” because it would leave businesses uncertain about their tax rates. Moreover, he predicted that “we will be able to fill any deficit hole with additional revenues,” citing the tax cuts engineered by Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. He said that if a deficit widened, it could be handled with spending cuts, but he indicated he was not worried.

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