Mitt Romney is lying. He and Paul Ryan teamed up for a joint town hall meeting on Monday at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Here is what Mitt Romney said to the more than 3,000 people who came to hear him:
” … raising taxes slows down growth, and it’s like a dog chasing its tail — you’re never going to get to the balanced budget by raising taxes.”
This is a lie, yet Mitt Romney tells it all the time — quite emphatically, as you can see in the video. It’s a standard part of his stump speech. He tells this lie over and over, and he gets away with it. The people in his audiences don’t bat an eye. The reporters covering his campaign rarely add a correction.
First of all, Romney’s declaration is silly. Since taxes fund the government, raising taxes is one of the only two basic routes for arriving at a balanced budget — the other route being spending cuts. Romney might as well be saying a household can never make ends meet by bringing in extra income. He’s talking nonsense, yet he’s somehow regarded as an astute businessman.
Also, anyone who was around during the Clinton administration (or who can at least look things up) has to know it’s a lie. Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress did raise taxes. They passed — and Clinton signed — the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993, which created 36 percent and 39.6 income tax rates for individuals in the top 1.2% of the income spectrum. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for it.
Growth did not slow down. On the contrary, GDP growth during the Clinton administration was 3.8% — better than the 1.6% of George W. Bush, who cut taxes, and better than George H. W. Bush’s 2.1% or Ronald Reagan’s 3.5%.
So when Mitt Romney says “raising taxes slows down growth,” he is lying. Very recent history has proven otherwise and we can all verify it.
When Romney says “it’s like a dog chasing its tail — you’re never going to get to the balanced budget by raising taxes,” this is more lying. Bill Clinton raised taxes and gradually lifted America out of the Reagan-Bush deficit. Clinton got to a balanced budget. He got to a surplus, in fact. Mitt Romney surely knows this, but he keeps lying.
This lie really gets under my skin because everybody lets him get away with it, but it’s not Mitt Romney’s only lie. There are others — and Maddow Blog contributor Steve Benen has been recording them in a series of Friday posts called “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity.”
There are 30 installments so far, which can be found here: