On Morning Edition yesterday, Representative Jeb Hensarling, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, was interviewed by David Greene. At one point, Greene asked him about the Republican tax cut proposal. After blaming President Obama for the slow growth of the last eight years, Hensarling commented:
"Every time we've had a pro-growth fundamental tax reform, be it under President Reagan, President Kennedy — you can even go all the way back to President Coolidge. We have seen paychecks increase, economic growth be ignited and actually more revenues come into the government."
It would have been helpful for Greene to have corrected Hensarling here. We had a big tax cut that was sold as "pro-growth" under President George W. Bush. This was not followed by strong growth and, in fact, the recovery following the tax cuts ended with the collapse of the housing bubble that gave us the Great Recession. This was the basis for the weak growth that Hensarling was complaining about in his prior comment.
The strongest period of growth since the 1960s followed a tax increase put in place by the Clinton administration in 1993. While it is not plausible to attribute this growth to the tax increase, obviously it did not prevent the growth.
It would have been helpful to point these facts out to listeners, some of whom might have been misled into believing Hensarling's claims.