May 4th, 2010
10:41 AM ET
12 years ago

'Bush-ama' tax cuts: The $2.2 trillion decision

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Proposing they be extended indefinitely for most Americans, President Obama has embraced the tax relief measures introduced in 2001 and 2003 by former President George W. Bush."]
New York ( - They're often called the "Bush" tax cuts. But at this point they might as well be called the Bush-ama tax cuts.

That's because President Obama has embraced the tax relief measures introduced in 2001 and 2003, proposing they be extended indefinitely for most Americans. If lawmakers do nothing, the measures expire Dec. 31.

The tax cuts lowered income and investment tax rates, boosted the child credit, reduced the estate tax, and narrowed inequalities affecting married taxpayers.

Another reason for the new Bush-ama moniker: Like President Bush, President Obama has not called on Congress to pay for the cost of the tax cuts. In fact, the extension of the cuts is exempt from the new "pay-go" rules that Obama signed into law recently.

Extending the tax cuts for most Americans will increase the federal deficit by an estimated $2.2 trillion over 10 years.

Deficit hawks are uber-frustrated.

Full story on

Filed under: George W. Bush • national debt • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dave

    What is not mentioned is the defeict will grow EVEN LARGER if the Bush tax cuts are not kept in place. That is the predominant opinon of most economists.

    The answer to the defeict and the debt is simple: less government, less spending, less taxes.

    History has shown that it works every single time.

    May 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. 8 Years of the Bush Error = Recession and Record Unemployment for ? Years.

    Sorry, President Obama but this is a bad idea just as it was under Bush.

    Bush gave a false "tax cut", it is false if the tax cut only increased the deficit, his by 1.2 trillion and yours by 2.2. trillion.

    The holiday is over and we should start paying the cost to run the government.

    I feel sure the commission will nix this plan and recommend it be allowed to expire.2.2 trillion is a false "tax cut" if it runs up the deficit.

    May 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Don't worry, the republican Tea Partiers (I mean, who are we kidding, that's what they are) will still spin it as if Obama is a socialist dictator who is taxing them too much. 'More educated than the average American' my hind! They make up facts as they go.

    May 4, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Bob in PA

    Here is my recipe for relief

    Extend the Tax cuts, pay for it by
    Firing the Tsars
    Cut the Budget of every Bureaucracy in D.C. by 35%
    Repeal the Health care debacle
    Ground Air Force One for all but essential diplomatic visits.
    Cut the power to all Congressional buildings at 5:pm.
    Last but not least, stick a sock in Nancy Pelosi's mouth. This one has nothing to do with saving money, it would just cut down on my Aspirin use.

    May 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. John in Brooklyn

    This is appalling. I agree that tax cuts for working class Americans are important – especially during tough economic times. But the Bush tax cuts were designed specifically to target the richest and most entitled people in the country...impacting most dramatically the richest 2% of the population. Frankly, its sad that Obama has sold his soul to Reaganomics.

    May 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. horse

    the FOUNDING FATHERS told me that i should never have to pay taxes for any reason. the preamble to the constitution sates 'we the people, in order to make a more perfect union, refuse to pay taxes for anything.'

    drill, baby drill!!!

    May 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. obama victim

    let's cuts, Iraq, Afghansitan, Gitmo...domestic surveillance, predator drones...I could go on, but you get the idea.....Obozo is just Bush lite

    May 4, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Gary a proud Canadian

    Another attempt by cnn to rewrite history and make bush and his cronies out to be good for the american people. All you gopers at cnn should face up to the fact that bush& cheney were criminals and should be behind bars.These weasels lined their own pockets at the expense of all americas, shame on cnn for tring to hide behind lies.

    May 4, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. FM

    Is GOP going to abandon "W" seeing him hugging Pres. Obama as they did to Charlie Crist?

    May 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Harry Baxter

    Extending Bush's absurd tax cuts is not why I voted for Obama. Disappointing, to say the least.

    May 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Dave Harris

    What is this, Obama turning into Bush? Did he have a lobotomy? Maybe the Tea Party will stop hating him so much. But no, he's still black.

    May 4, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. larry

    This is crazy. The rich are paying too little in taxes. The trickle down theory is BS. The rich are making enough off there investments at a very little tax rate so they don't need to invest in real businesses that provisde jobs. The rich just sit back and watch America suffer. Or the tards just go to "The White Annoying Teabagger" Nazi meetings.

    May 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Extending the tax cuts isn't the question–people in this country are already over-taxed and letting those cuts expire would just add to the already-too-great tax burden. Further, raising taxes on small businesses–which letting the tax cuts expire would do–would worsen unemployment and certainly drive a large number of small businesses out of business.

    The right question is how Obama plans to cut back government by at least that $2.2 trillion. At least–it should really be a lot more.

    The problem with an Entitlement State, as Maggie Thatcher suggested, is that eventually you run out of other peoples' money to waste. And that's exactly what's happening in the US. Americans are over-entitled and over-taxed and, to make matters worse, the people who receive the entitlements pay no taxes and the people who pay all the taxes receive no entitlements. This is a parasitical rip-off of the highest order of productive, working, Americans.

    Working Americans have taken a beating, first by being ripped off by grotesquely unfair taxes and, over the last year, high unemployment. At the same time, irresponsible, indolent, and improvident parasites just keep hanging out in the social safety hammock, mooching their "entitlements."

    This can't go on.

    May 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Wake UP

    So, if "rich" people pay 39.6% of their income in just federal taxes and people who are lazy pay zero...the RICH PEOPLE are the lucky ones?

    50% of households get taxed at is this fair? You liberal are ruining this country,

    May 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    The one tax credit the world cannot afford is the child tax credit.

    if you can't afford the kids.....don't have them, should become the by word for the world. We will kill the planet with human overpopulation, otherwise.

    May 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. CNN is the devil

    Is Bush actually crying on te President's shoulder? Just another indication that the big jobs need to be left up to the big boys. Bush clearly was not up to the task of governing.

    May 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Steve, New York City

    Here we go again – bashing people who make over 250K per year . . .as if earning 250K in New York City is the same as someone who earns that much money, but lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

    Politicians are too devious and/or too stupid to acknowledge huge regional disparities in cost of living, whenever peoples' salary levels are discussed (and close to half of the members of the US congress are millionaires – maybe Nancy Pelosi could give us a ride on her private jet).

    May 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Generation Mugwump

    I do believe there should be a tax cut but not just for lower income people but higher income as well. Studies have shown that higher income people save their money more effectively than lower income. Lower income tend to waste their money more than higher income.

    This President gotta be genius in predetermining what kind of taxes will be implemented. Taxes will be raised and is only a matter of time. Some decisions will have to be made that are not favorably among the public but I do believe the tax rate for both lower and higher income needs some reforming.

    That's just one of the equations. Increasing revenue is another direction and dimension.

    May 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Tina, NC

    VERY disappointed to see that Obama has caved on letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

    May 4, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Chas in Iowa

    This gives me serious pause in my opinion of the Obama administration.
    The Bush tax cuts were ill conceived to start with. A carrot for the common man and a healthy tax cut to the rich. The thought was the rich would then hire more employees. (They didn't, in fact they sent jobs overseas and off-shore at a higher rate)
    Now this article is saying Obama wants to extend those ill advised tax cuts? I thought some of the savings from letting the tax cuts expire was tagged as payment for the health care bill?

    May 4, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. SeaWolf

    I'm in support of the majority of those tax breaks with the exception of the investment income. Let that roll back to what it was previously. I am an investor and don't mind paying a little extra for capital gains when all I did was put some cash somewhere and let it grow. Income taxes should be low because you're esentially taxing work, though it does baffle me that a millionaire/billionaire can somehow squeak into my tax bracket. I really think that is where the inequities lie. Yes, the very wealthy provide the most substantial portion of the tax $$$, but there's no reason a multi millionaire/billionaire should be in a 38% tax bracket. Millions and billions should be taxed accordingly. Say everything over $5M/year at 50%, over $10M/year 60% and so on.

    May 4, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    This is an encouraging sign that the administration is serious about doing their part to help the economic recovery and actually do things to reduce unemployment. It's not my usual post, but on this one I say, " Bravo. Good decision.".

    May 4, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Curt

    I think this was supposed to be an internal memo. Bush Tax Cuts effecting higher income taxpayers = Bad, and shall remain known as "Bush Tax Cuts" by all who speak or write about them. Bush Tax Cuts effecting middle and lower income taxpayers (or non-payers as the case may be) = Good, but must transition away from the "Bush" association and here's how we'll start.

    May 4, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. grr

    Our nation has had a constant problem since 1980. Basically, we continue to ignore the deficits during good times. In particular, from 1982 through 1991 and from 2002 through 2007, we continued to run a deficit even though we had ok to good economic times. It is understandable that our feds runs a deficit during bad times (for example 1992-1993; 2000-2002, end of 2007-now). But, if we are coming out of this near recession, then we MUST force our deficits down. What is needed is for us to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and then force these deficits down and prevent future admins similar to reagan's and W's from running large deficits, while giving us the ability to run a deficit during bad times. THe ONLY way is to have a weaker BBA. Sadly, the 1996 killed our last attempt to do so. NOW, is about the best time to accomplish this.

    We ALL need to scream for this BBA and shoot down those that scream for lower taxes.

    May 4, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
1 2