Yesterday, I proposed CNN ask the Republican presidential candidates, “Why didn’t the Bush tax cuts create jobs?”
CNN’s debate moderator John King asked that precise question to Tim Pawlenty in last night’s debate. Pawlenty had no answer.
JOHN KING: Where’s the proof that just cutting taxes will create jobs? If that were true, why during the Bush years, after the big tax cut, where were the jobs?
TIM PAWLENTY: Well, John, my plan involves a whole plan, not just cutting taxes. We’re proposing to cut taxes, reduce regulation, speed up this pace of government, and to make sure that we have a pro-growth agenda.
Cutting taxes on corporations is not enough, silly. You have cut their regulations too!
Of course Bush also used the executive branch to deregulate oil drilling, coal mining, drug producing, toy manufacturing and financial dealing just to name a few. Deregulation not only failed to create jobs, it set the stage for the job-decimating Great Recession that we are still trying to recover from.
None of the other Republican candidates, who all propose further Bush-style tax cuts, offered an explanation why Bush’s cuts failed, and what they would do differently to prove that they learned some sort of lesson.
They gave no answer, because there is no answer.
But that is not an excuse for the media to stop asking the question. When politicians duck questions, the proper response is to keep pounding away, and force them to acknowledge the truth.
The principle applies to Democratic politicians who spend too much time on Twitter as well as Republican politicians who spend too much time recycling bad ideas proven to lose jobs.