One economic theory has been repeated so often for so long in this country that it has become an accepted fact:
Tax cuts spur growth.
Most Americans have gotten so used to hearing this theory that they don't even question it anymore.
One of our two Presidential candidates is so convinced of the theory that he has built his entire economic plan around it--despite the huge negative impact additional tax cuts would likely have on our debt and deficit.
But is the theory true? Do tax cuts really spur growth?
The answer appears to be "no."
According to a new study by the Congressional Research Service (non-partisan), there's no evidence that tax cuts spur growth.
In fact, although correlation is not causation, when you compare economic growth in periods with declining tax rates versus periods with high tax rates, there seems to be evidence that tax cuts might hurt growth. But we'll leave that possibility for another day.
One thing that tax cuts do unequivocally do--at least tax cuts for the highest earners--is increase economic inequality. Given that economic inequality is one of the biggest problems we face in this country right now, this conclusion is very important.
Before we go to the charts, a few observations.
First, this topic has become highly politicized, so it's impossible to discuss it without people howling that you're just rooting for a particular political team. Second, no one likes paying taxes. Third, everyone would like a tax cut, including me.
So I think we can all agree that everyone would prefer that tax cuts actually did spur economic growth.