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Mary Matalin: John Bolten, Architect of Tax Cuts, a "Raging Success"

Reported by Marie Therese - March 29, 2006

During an interview this morning on FOX & Friends Mary Matalin, former advisor to Vice-President Cheney, made the following statement regarding the President's choice of Josh Bolten to replace outgoing Chief of Staff Andrew Card: "I think Harry Reid should be ashamed of himself to, before Josh has even taken the job, to say that he's been a failure. If the economy is a - which is what Josh has been working on for the last couple of years - is a measure of Josh's performance level, then he's a raging success."

When asked by host Brian Kilmeade about the deficit issue, Matalin reached into her bag of stock answers and dragged out an old chestnut, saying, "The deficit as a percentage of GDP, which is the only accurate way to measure it, is at a forty year average. Josh has cut this deficit in half."

COMMENT

Matalin is playing word games here. Her statement about the deficit was somewhat misleading. The important thing is that under the Bush administration those deficits as a percentage of GDP have steadily risen year to year and will reach astronomical proportions after the year 2010. The situation is so bad that, in a departure from common practice, President Bush simply did not offer any deficit projections in his 2007 budget!

Another favorite conservative talking point is that federal tax revenues have gone up despite the tax cuts. Not quite true. The conservatives themselves conveniently forget to use that little phrase "as a percentage of GDP" whenever the numbers will not serve the message they wish to convey.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:

"While federal spending, measured as a share of the economy, is not above average levels, federal revenues are well below average. Revenues rebounded in 2005 but are still smaller as a share of the economy than their average level over the past three decades. The drop in federal revenues has been a key factor in the re-emergence of substantial deficits." (CBPP)

If the tax cuts are made permanent, conservatives like Grover Norquist and Steve Moore will rejoice over their brandies and cigars as they celebrate a major milestone in their forty-year plan - the elimination of the the social safety net. The chart below shows the hits that various entitlement programs will take, if we continue down the path charted by George Bush.


budslide9.jpg (Source: CBPP)

Matalin clearly allied herself with this POV when she told Kilmeade: "And the Hill also has to work with the President on both sides of the aisle to cut debt and cut structural debt and spending going forward on the big progams that the President has brought forward: Social security reform, Medicare reform."

Kilmeade then jumped right in to reiterate the same old talking point I mentioned above: "And that's true, Mary. And last week's Wall Street Journal points out that, even with the tax cuts, the revenues are through the roof like never before in the history of this country." (I tried to find the WSJ article. However, Kilmeade in typical FOX fashion, did not give the date of the story nor did he bother to give the name of the reporter, so unfortunately I could not provide a link.)

Matalin concluded her interview by putting on her political blinders, saying, "Politics is about choice and there is nothing that the President's put out there that is not working."

Except the following:

Afghanistan's drug trade
Iraq's budding civil war
Katrina's aftermath
Fence-mending with the rest of the world
Falling wages
Dubai Ports World
Escalating federal debt load
Escalating federal deficits
Bungled Medicare program


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