May 4th, 2010
10:41 AM ET
13 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. jay1975

    It is not the tax cuts that add to the deficit, it is government spending. Nice bias there CNN.

    May 4, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Publius13

    It's beginning to sound like we re-elected Bush. These tax cuts should not be extended in their present form. Let a portion of the tax cuts expire and watch the economy take off, just like it did after President Clinton's tax increase of 1993. Take a lesson from President Clinton. The financial community, despite their constant pursuit of lower taxes, knows that higher taxes will put us on a better fiscal footing. The economy would respond in the same way it did in 1993.

    May 4, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Told you so

    Okay perpetual complainers, how much have your taxes increased since Obama was elected? Please, please, please find something else to complain about.......if there is anything you haven't complained about yet.

    May 4, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. steve

    There is no "paying" for taxcuts. Why is this so hard to understand.

    Do you pay for a salary decrease at your job? NO. you cut spending to manage the reduction in revenue/

    Tax Cuts are not spending they are reductions in revenue. So what Congress must do is CUT $2.2 trillion in spending to make up for the lost revenue and/or create new revenue streams to offset this loss.

    BUT TAX CUTS ARE NOT SPENDING. The government is not GIVING any money to anyone. YOU as a taxpayer get to keep it. The government never gets it. So they cant spend what they never got

    May 4, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    There is nothing wrong with adopting and or maintaining effective elements of a previous administration, however few those may be to find.

    My immediate question is what do the Teabaggers think of this? Will they still CONTINUE to protest something that DOES NOT EXIST, ie tax hikes? Or will they, once and for all, shut the hell up in light of the fact that Bush's name has been resurrected vis-a-vis this issue?

    I rather have the deficit increased by these tax reliefs to Americans who need it, than have it increased by NOT INCLUDING THE COST OF TWO WARS IN THE BUDGET. The deficit hawks better take their high blood pressure and heart medications before they pop a vessel.

    May 4, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. John

    Every taxpayer now owes $110,000 and should be paying $4,500 per year in interest because of those tax cuts (and 40% higher gov't spending). Assuming we pay off that $110,000 over 20 years, we each owe $10,000 in higher taxes every year to pay for those tax cuts ($5,500 in principal and $4,500 in interest). The bottom lines are these: A) It is not a real tax cut if, as is true here, our kids have to pay for our irresponsibility. B) This policy is better described this way "Pass on to our children the largest tax increase in history and subject them to the largest transfer of wealth in history so wall street traders can buy more cocaine and so we all can take that Alaska cruise that we've so richly earned by being willing to shaft our children." How noble of us all.

    May 4, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I would venture to say that W is whispering to Obama: Better you than me man! The Jack Daniels is in the bottom drawer in the Oval Office. You're going to need it!!!


    May 4, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What is the difference? Where is the Change? Both od the major parties are owned by the special interest, lobbyists, PACs, unions, and global Corporations.
    Wake up people this is not Governemnt of the poeple anymore. This is a plutocracy...

    May 4, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Paul from Phoenix

    Just wondering where the outrage is at the "revised" health care numbers that the Obama Administration supressed:

    **Estimated 14 million employees will lose their health care because their employer will decide to pay the fine (Obama promised on more then one occasion that this would not happen)

    **Additional $389 Billion added to the deficit after 10 years (Obama promised budget neutral).

    This report came from Medicare and Medicaid actuarial services. Obama lied to our faces, and hardly a word gets mentioned.

    Well libs? Can you explain this? And stop using the "We just had 8 years of lies" excuse. Just because Bush lied for 8 years DOES NOT give Obama the right to lie as well.

    May 4, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Where was the t party then? In the Rose garden!

    May 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Michael

    Why do billionaires need tax cuts?
    Has thier community not blessed them with riches far beyond the dreams of 99.99999% of humanity?
    Yes, they might be creative or hard-working (unless they are unscrupulous or dishonest like our recent Wall St. billionaires, using their knowledge to funnel money lost by hard-working families into their own pockets), but even so, the fact remains that they would have nothing were it not for the community that supports their wealth. The right thing (and even the self-interested thing) to do is to ensure the continued prosperity of your community.
    Yes, tax the rich and don't feel bad about it! If they can watch other people's kids go hungry without feeling any responsibility, then shame on them. A hungry kid is a hungry kid, no matter what the parent might be. And a nation as rich as ours should not have any hungry kids.

    May 4, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Steph

    I don't recall any "uber-frustration" when Pres. Bush proposed them. Anyone remember any anti-deficit rallies back then? How about any anti-deficit rallies for the two unfunded wars that have added so much to the deficit? I remember all the conservatives applauding the tax cuts and calling people who opposed the war "anti-American".

    Hmmm, what could have changed their minds???

    May 4, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Get A Grip

    I wasn't one of the biggest Bush fans, but I sure would take him over Obama any day of the week.

    May 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. ben san roda

    Doing nothing with the "Bush-Ama" will definitely help President O in the long run towards his second term candidacy and maybe appease the beneficiaries of the tax cut.

    May 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "President Obama has embraced the tax relief measures introduced in 2001 and 2003, proposing they be extended indefinitely for most Americans"

    That loud noise you just heard was the sound of millions of liberal heads simultaneously exploding.

    So O-Blah-Blah... Bush was right on a lot of things, wasn't her???

    Meet the new boss... same as the old boss.

    May 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Jim

    I can see extending the tax cuts for the middle class for a while to help stimulate the economy, but not for the upper class. They've gotten dramatically richer since 1980 and I don't think it will have an anti-stimulative effect to let their tax rates rise to where they were in the 1990s. But overall and once the recession is over, Americans have to start facing the facts that they need to pay more taxes. I would rather make less and have a well funded, functioning government than have no government and a few hundred dollars more in my pocket each year.

    May 4, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Mike in Oregon

    What a load of tripe. Out of control SPENDING is putting our government in the hole. Furthermore there is ample evidence to show when taxes are too high, revenue actually goes down, not up.

    May 4, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let the bush tax cuts expire and put the money back into the middle class where it belonged in the first place.

    May 4, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Eric

    The way you "pay" for tax cuts is simple: spending cuts.

    But, in fact, there is no NEED to "pay" for tax cuts. Just spend less.

    Every time a new government program/bureau is created to "solve" a problem, there is a 99 percent chance the program/bureau doesn't replace any existing program, rather duplicates existing programs.

    The purpose of taxes is to fund the activities of the government, not to have a steady supply of vote-buying bucks to dole out as the state planners choose. If the government was cut down to size, if it actually DID less and INTENDED to do less as well, the flow of dollars wouldn't need to be so large, which would mean you would keep more of your paycheck.

    And my friends, you keeping more of what YOU have earned is the second greatest anti-poverty program going, just short of an actual job itself.

    May 4, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Stephen Borte, Atlanta, GA

    The tax cuts need to be looked at and dealt with but not left to continue. The deficit bump caused by the Bush tax cuts is untenable. The wealthiest 1% own more of the US wealth than the bottom 80% – more than four times more. That is not the American Dream. Estate taxes should increase so that wealth is not passed along by lineage but is earned by hard work. Progressive taxes that lead to a strong middle class is what we need.

    May 4, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    I don't know about the rest of America but I didn't get that so call President Tax Cut my taxes went up.

    May 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Dean

    What about paying down the deficit ? I thought thats what the roll back of these was going to do.

    May 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Wisconsinite

    Ok . . . finally there is something that could make me vote AGAINST President Obama in 2012!

    May 4, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Albert R. Killackey

    With all the Party jumping going on in Congressional races, it should be no surprise that Mr. “Change you can believe in” is changing his tune. First he promotes so called “off shore” oil drilling (aka, shoreline oil disaster) as being safe and now the Bush-ama tax cuts. Yep, that is change I can believe should have been expected but I don’t want to. When you consider that the Supreme Court legalized bribery (Corporations have free speech, "Money-Talks") it all comes clear.

    May 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Steve (the real one)

    I am torn on this issue. Tax cuts are a wonderful thing. People keep more of their money and as a result spend it. With such few savers, people will spend. On the other hand, doesn't not appear this is something we can afford at the moment. I don't want to see my taxes go up but for an additional $2.2T over the next ten years?

    May 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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