April 20, 2004

Posted by Jon Henke

You recall how much of a fuss Bush supporters made when the Democrats claimed current deficits were the "biggest ever". "No they weren't....not if you adjust for inflation, or measure it as a % of GDP! Everybody knows that's how you do it!"

Of course, they were right. Current and recent deficits haven't really been close to the "biggest ever".

Anyway, the Republicans seem to have (surprise!) forgotten that lesson when it comes time to criticise the Democrats, and Fact-Check.org calls them on it...

In speeches and fundraising appeals the Bush campaign keeps making a distorted claim that Clinton 's 1993 tax increase -- supported by Kerry -- was "the biggest in history."

Republicans have been repeating this gross overstatement for more than a decade, but now there's less justification for it than ever. The GOP claim is contradicted by a study published last year by the Office of Tax Analysis of Bush's own Treasury Department.
Now comes a thorough study of every tax bill enacted since 1940, showing that the Clinton tax increase was indeed large, but not the largest.

The biggest? In inflation-adjusted dollars, it was a 1942 tax hike under Roosevelt. As a % of GDP, it was the "Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982" signed by....Ronald Reagan.