In a recent report the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded government spending under president Barack Obama was not the prime reason for today's massive deficit. "The fact remains, the economic downturn, president Bush's tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years," the center concluded.
Nor have the tax cuts benefited most Americans. According to itscalculations the cuts put an average of $860 in tax benefits the pockets of people earning between $40,000 and $50,000, a 2.2% increase. For those earning over a $1m the benefit was $128,832, a 6.2% increase.
The center concluded that the Bush-era tax cuts did not spur economic growth and had made a significant contribution to the deficit. Scrapping the tax cuts for the wealthy alone would be enough to make up for the shortfall in social security; scrapping them entirely would halt the rise in the national debt over the next decade.
Even some prominent Republicans have come out against the controversial taxes. If anything, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has been more radical than the Democrats. "All income groups have to be part of the solution," the mayor said in a speech in Washington last month. "Allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012, not just for high-income workers as the president has proposed, but for all tax brackets."