A friend posted this chart on Facebook, and I understand it is making the progressive rounds. There are several huge problems with the chart. It selectively mixes a “loss” in assumed revenue due to a tax cut and recession against a number of spending programs on the same chart. Calling the assumed loss of revenue from a change in the tax code a “spending item” is hugely disingenuous. The other spending items were incurred by congressional programs and funding. The taxes or lack thereof belong on the revenue side of the equation. Why not include a chart item called “Deficit Gap Due to Poor People Not Contributing Enough in Taxes” and make up some stats about welfare recipients not paying their “fair share” of the loot? So, there is a big agenda apparent in the very labeling. There are other big problems with this argument.
First, the Congress passes a budget every year and knows approximately what the anticipated revenue will be. Any deficits must be regarded in this light. Counting the "lost" revenue every year is a charting trick, as you compound the "lost" revenue as a spending item each year and it just grows larger. For a mental test of how this would look, image this item compounding continually, counting all the previous year's "lost" revenue and run it out for 50 years. The Bush Tax Cuts would dominate the chart, with the other items looking like tiny lines - barely visible. If this is the name of the game, why not include the entire deficit and put it on the back of that conservative tax cutter from yesteryear, John F Kennedy. The same goes for the Economic Downturn item, which attempts to pin deficits on the reduction in revenue rather than on a spendthrift Congress and President.
Second, the chart discounts any additional revenue from the larger tax base and better economy as a result of the tax cuts. The Austrian economists have been right on this time after time. Lower taxes all around spread prosperity and growth, while higher taxes lead to stagnation and collapse. Less money in the hands of government, which is inherently wasteful, is a good thing. Note that progressives want it both ways in order to blame el Diablo George W Bush for the deficit while defending their anointed one. They cite the "Bush Tax Cuts" and the "Economic Downturn" for the deficit, without acknowledging that tax cuts (minuscule as they are) actually help the economy and likely prevented an even greater recession.
Speaking of wasteful government programs, wasn't Nobel Peace Prize President Barack Obama elected in large part on his promise to end the wars that are an actual spending item on this chart? Can progressives agree that a President who claims the power to kill anyone on earth without any due process (except Americans on US soil not engaged in combat, wink, wink) also has the power to immediately order all troops back to their home bases in the US or nearest NATO allied country?
Finally, keeping money out of the government's hands and in the hands of the people who earned it shouldn't need defending, but again the agenda at work here is the progressive notion that all revenue belongs to the government unless proven otherwise. Just like their communist brethren – Rachael Maddow and her progressive ilk see no limits on government power to make the world a fairer place by whatever shady charting tricks necessary. Forward and post as appropriate – it’ll bolster your free market friends and infuriate the liberals who might otherwise get away with these sorts of shenanigans.