Bush Tax Cuts

A series of temporary income tax relief measures enacted by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. The tax cuts lowered federal income tax rates for everyone, decreased the marriage penalty, lowered capital gains taxes, lowered the tax rate on dividend income, increased the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000 per child, eliminated the phaseout on personal exemptions for higher-income taxpayers and eliminated the phaseout on itemized deductions and eliminated the estate tax.

Because the tax cuts were in place for so many years, they began to feel permanent rather than temporary, and taxpayers and politicians raised a major outcry as their expiration date approached. Those who wanted to let the tax cuts expire as scheduled argued that the government needed the extra tax revenue in the face of massive its budget deficits. Those who wanted to extend the tax cuts or make them permanent argued that because taxes reduce economic growth and stifle entrepreneurship and incentives to work, effectively increasing taxes during a recession was a bad idea.


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