Read His Lips: Jeb Bush Unwilling to Rule Out New Taxes

When pressed, Jeb Bush said that he would not rule out new taxes if he were to win the presidency in 2016:

Jeb Bush has enthusiastically endorsed a “grand bargain” tax increase with Democrats, says his father’s 1990 “Read My Lips” tax increase “created the spending restraint of the 90’s,” . . . and refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people.

Interesting. Perhaps Jeb Bush should actually talk to his father about the tax increase bargain he struck with Democrats. Because it didn’t actually reduce spending. At all. Democrats promised they would cut spending by $2 for every $1 in new taxes. Did this happen? Half of it did. Democrats made good on their promise to tax people more. They did not, however, actually reduce spending. Quite the opposite:

Every penny of the tax increases ($137 billion from 1991-1995) went through. Not only did the Democrats break their promise to cut spending below the CBO baseline by $274 billion—they actually spent $23 billion above CBO’s pre-budget deal spending baseline. Thirty-four House Republicans broke their own Taxpayer Protection Pledges and went along with this one-sided “deal.”

In fact, George Bush, Sr. weighed in concerning this “grand bargain,” saying it was in fact, “a mistake.” So why exactly does Jeb Bush think things are any different now? I guess we’ll never know. The civil government has never been good at cutting spending however. It has always been better at raising more revenue than spending less of what it already has coming in.

In fact, anyone with half a brain knows that spending generally increases up to and beyond your level of income. This is as true in personal finances as it is in government finances. How many of us have survived on a certain income thinking we would be able to “save more” if only we had a raise, only to find that our spending level just stayed at the level of our income after a raise?

It would be wrong for me to say I’m disappointed in Jeb Bush. I don’t expect anything different from this out of career politicians, no matter what party membership they claim.