The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Ad Watch

Giuliani Hits Democrats on Taxes

Rudy Giuliani

The Ad: When I became mayor of New York City things were out of control. I lowered taxes. I reduced the growth of government. Made government more accountable. And New York City boomed. I would do these things for America because I know they work. I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues. Democrats don't know that. They don't believe it. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, here's a promise I assure you they'll keep. They are making the promise to raise taxes. The only thing I can tell you in addition to that is they'll raise taxes even more than they promise.

Analysis: The ad, airing in New Hampshire, is accurate--but selective--in saying that the three Democratic contenders would raise taxes. What Giuliani leaves out is that Clinton, Obama and Edwards have pledged to repeal the Bush tax cuts only for the wealthiest Americans--Clinton pegs the level at over $250,000 in income, Obama at $200,000--while keeping the reductions for everyone else. The assertion that they will raise taxes even more is purely speculative.

Giuliani's insistence that tax-cutting "produces more revenues" is the supply-side gospel first preached by Ronald Reagan, and a matter of fierce dispute among economists. Indeed, Giuliani invokes National Review and conservative commentator Larry Kudlow to validate the claim. The former mayor did cut taxes and tame the New York bureaucracy, but slightly increased the number of city employees during his tenure.

By depicting his Democratic rivals as big taxers, Giuliani is looking past his Republican opponents and trying to appeal to economic conservatives who may disagree with his moderate stance on social issues.

--Howard Kurtz

Posted at 12:05 PM ET on Nov 29, 2007  | Category:  Ad Watch
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The fallacy behind the "no tax increase" pledge is that my own taxes were raised massively by Bush, albeit indirectly, and they would go up under Giuliani as well. As a middle class homeowner, I pay taxes in several directions- property taxes, sales taxes, state and local taxes, bridge/road tolls, transit fares, water and sewer etc. Because of Federal policies these are all up. In particular, I pay something I never had to pay before Bush- the alternative minimum tax. If I were rich and my income came from capital gains I wouldn't have some of these problems. As it stands, as a middle class employee/wage earner I pay a higher percentage in overall taxes and fees to governments, caused by Bush's tax policy at the Federal level and his mishandling of the Federal budget. And the Lord only knows what the taxes will have to be when the government needs to pay back the deficit Bush ran up to support the tax cuts he gave to his rich contributors at the same time he started an enormously expensive, discretionary war in Iraq. I'll take the Rangel tax reform any day over Giuliani's phony pledge, which he has no more intention of keeping than his pledge years ago to support Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | November 30, 2007 7:00 AM

"The former mayor did cut taxes and tame the New York bureaucracy,"

But he also turned a surplus into a deficit. While he claims the opposite - which is also true - he fails to mention the state in which he left the NYC budget. When he arrived, he was faced with a deficit. During his tenure, he produced a surplus. By the time of his departure, he left his successor with a deficit.

In short, Giulianni's story sounds good, when he tells his half. Upon hearing the whole story, one's left with a different opinion.

Posted by: bsimon | November 29, 2007 4:18 PM

"a matter of fierce dispute among economists"

This is false. No reputable economist argues for Giuliani's claim. This should be corrected.

Posted by: zukermand | November 29, 2007 1:04 PM

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