National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason appeared on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” last night alongside host Al Sharpton and The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson to discuss President Obama’s announcement that he will push to extend Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year, while letting the wealthiest Americans’ tax cuts expire. While Sharpton recalled the Clinton era, when the former president raised taxes on the wealthy to nearly 40 percent — which created 20.8 million private sector jobs — Conason noted that Sharpton left something out: “When President Clinton came into office, we had what was then considered a huge deficit,” and after Clinton proposed a tax increase, “The Republicans screamed, as you recall. Not one Republican vote…they all said… this will cause a recession, depression, worse. And we know what actually happened.” What happened wasn’t a recession or a depression, but instead, a historic economic surplus.
On the contrary, the Bush era brought about a tax cut to 35 percent, a loss of 663,000 jobs, and a national debt of $4.9 trillion. Romney and the Republicans are proposing even more extensive tax cuts for the wealthy — haven’t they learned from history?