These are the personal views of Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission:
The Bush tax cuts were a huge success, and failing to extend them for all Americans–not just families earning less than $250,000, as President Barack Obama proposes–would be a terrible mistake.
Contrary to current White House propaganda, President George W. Bush achieved a lot of growth prior to the financial crisis, and lower taxes for all helped. The Bush prosperity was the byproduct of several multidecade policy trends that freed markets and empowered individuals to innovate and create wealth.
Freer trade championed by presidents since John F. Kennedy, and deregulation (begun by Jimmy Carter with the airlines) were critical to this trend. Also key was reducing excessively high tax rates on upper-income Americans, initiated by Ronald Reagan, somewhat interrupted by Bill Clinton, and reinstated by Bush.
Economists recognize highly productive people, if taxed punitively, create less wealth in the U.S. through arcane tax planning or simply move investments offshore. Higher taxes for high-income families would raise rates on fully half of the income earned by proprietorships and leave those small and medium-sized business with less to invest in creating new jobs.