Fred Thompson, a possible GOP presidential candidate, writes in the Opinion Journal about the positive effects that low tax rates have had on the government’s tax revenues:
It’s that time again, and I was thinking of the old joke about paying your taxes with a smile. The punch line is that the IRS doesn’t accept smiles. They want your money.
So it’s not that funny, but there is reason to smile this tax season. The results of the experiment that began when Congress passed a series of tax-rate cuts in 2001 and 2003 are in. Supporters of those cuts said they would stimulate the economy. Opponents predicted ever-increasing budget deficits and national bankruptcy unless tax rates were increased, especially on the wealthy.
In fact, Treasury statistics show that tax revenues have soared and the budget deficit has been shrinking faster than even the optimists projected. Since the first tax cuts were passed, when I was in the Senate, the budget deficit has been cut in half.
Remarkably, this has happened despite the financial trauma of 9/11 and the cost of the War on Terror. The deficit, compared to the entire economy, is well below the average for the last 35 years and, at this rate, the budget will be in surplus by 2010.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this success story is where the increased revenues are coming from. Critics claimed that across-the-board tax cuts were some sort of gift to the rich but, on the contrary, the wealthy are paying a greater percentage of the national bill than ever before.
The richest 1% of Americans now pays 35% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay more taxes than the bottom 60%.
The reason for this outcome is that, because of lower rates, money is being invested in our economy instead of being sheltered from the taxman. Greater investment has created overall economic strength. Job growth is robust, overcoming trouble in the housing sector; and the personal incomes of Americans at every income level are higher than they’ve ever been.
Read the rest of the article; it’s a great lesson for those who incorrectly think that only punishingly high tax rates can bring in more revenues.