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Business Panel Can’t Explain Why Bush Tax Cuts Did Not Save Economy

Reported by Ellen - February 8, 2010 -

Co-authored by Brian

Saturday’s (2/6/10) Bulls & Bears featured a debate about Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) proposal to cut taxes across the board. Mike Papantonio, the lone liberal guest among 4 other panelists, questioned why, if tax cuts are the answer, the Bush tax cuts did not protect us from the high unemployment currently facing the country. Nobody could answer the question. With video.

Eric Bolling liked Brown’s proposal. "Scott Brown, has it right. Cut the taxes, make ‘em permanent."

Papantonio said, "Sounds like the old trickle down again. Let me ask you, Eric, if cutting taxes worked, we would be at zero unemployment right now. Look at the tax cuts we've had over the last eight years, but right now, we have an employment problem. The only way to solve the employment problem is what Obama is talking about. Put money into small businesses." Papantonio added, “Scott Brown is Newt Gingrich, 100 pounds lighter and less gray hair. All he wants to do is talk about trickle down, the same thing we've heard for 8 years, it doesn't work."

Tobin Smith said, "Entrepreneurs are more aggressive when they feel that they're going to keep more of what they earn and what they make." But he also failed to rebut Papantonio.

Dr. Bob Froehlich also wanted tax cuts. "If we have across the board tax cuts, the economy is going to strengthen… Lower the taxes, the economy grows. Every time, the economy grows, every time."

Papantonio (who is a previous News Hounds Top Dog) said, "Biggest tax cuts we've ever had was under the GOP, and we're still in the job hole. How do you explain that if you're theory is right?"

Claman, the guest host, asked Gary B. Smith, "Mike makes a point, that we had the Bush tax cuts, and we're in this situation right now." She continued with a helpful talking point for the conservatives, “Granted, we had the force majeure situation of the fiscal crisis but, what do you think?”

Smith said, "The greatest period of growth… if you look at 25 year increments was from 1983-2007. What happened during that time? Low taxes, high employment, high stock market."

Papantonio was smart enough not to politely wait his turn. He jumped in, "Gary wants it both ways… You know what you want to go back to, Gary? Trickle down - it didn’t work. Deregulation - it didn’t work. Big is better - it didn’t work."

Smith buried his forehead in his hand and Claman stepped in to tell Papantonio to let Smith finish.

Claman gave another boost to the conservatives (as if they didn't already have enough people on their side) by asking Papantonio, "Isn't it better to give people the money back in their pockets to then spend it? …It doesn’t automatically create a job but at least they spend it on things to grow their businesses."

"We gave the wealthiest part of this population $400 billion under Gary’s president, George Bush," Papantonio said. "Did they spend it? Is the job market good? Is our economy good? It was a disaster. Gary knows it. Everybody on this panel knows it.”

Finally, Claman conceded, “Maybe the time to have cut taxes was not during boom years… But now is not the time, you would say, to raise taxes?”

But raising taxes was not the issue.