This will certainly come back to haunt Louisiana’s senior senator next year when she runs for re-election. In a committee hearing today, Mary Landrieu chided Republicans for their lack of willingness to embrace higher taxes…
The transcript, courtesy of Real Clear Politics…
Sen. Landrieu: Why is it not that some of my colleagues on the other side will acknowledge the reality that the revenues coming in to the government are the lowest level since President Eisenhower was the president. What is it about that reality that the other side of the aisle will not embrace? Is it that they don’t believe the fact? Do they disagree with that fact? Do they have some other facts to put on the table? Because if they do, I will listen to that. I’ve not heard anyone question that. So that is a fact I would like to start with because it helps us frame the debate. Which is, we can not rearrange the passengers on the Titanic and suggest that we’re doing anyone a favor. We have to bring more revenues. And $600 billion from my friend from Missouri, is not enough.
Landrieu gets this “lowest revenues since Eisenhower” idea from tax receipts as a percentage of GDP, per a chart produced by the left-wing Tax Policy Center.
And by the way, she’s wrong. Because Eisenhower wasn’t the president in 1950. He didn’t take office until 1953. In 1950, when federal revenues as a percentage of GDP were 14.4 percent – they were 15.4 percent in 2011 and were estimated at 15.8 percent for 2012 – Harry Truman was the president. We’ll call that Factual Error #1.
But in 1950, federal spending as a percentage of GDP was 15.25 percent. In 2011, it was 24.09 percent.
Understand that GDP includes government spending. But government spending is not taxed. So when you inflate GDP by spending, and in particular by deficit spending, you are necessarily shrinking the number you’ll get from measuring revenue as a percentage of GDP.
Were we merely spending what the government takes in, federal revenues as a percentage of GDP would be 16.8 percent. Which might be a little on the low side, but generally within a point or two of the historical post-war average.
So that’s Factual Error #2, or Bulls**t Statement #1 if you prefer.
Mary Landrieu fails to recognize that our economy cannot generate enough tax revenue to support the size of the federal government. And rather than recognize that, she chides Republicans for refusing to squeeze more blood from that turnip.
And uses bad math and worse history to make her argument.
Whoever runs against this woman next year has a treasure trove of her easily-debunkable demagoguery and other stupid statements to use against her.