American Action Network: “Tax And Spend”

American Action Network goes after congressional candidate Val Demings (D-FL) over her support for the Recovery Act and for ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, saying she supports wasting Floridians’ money. But the stimulus, which passed without any involvement from first-time candidate Demings, helped save the economy from an even worse recession, and ending the Bush tax cuts for top-tier earners would impact few real small businesses.

“Failed” Recovery Act Created Millions Of Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes

Demings Was Not In Congress When the Stimulus Was Passed. From the New York Times: “In Florida, Val Demings, 55, is a first-time candidate, a black woman vying for a seat in Congress from a district that is overwhelmingly Republican and white.” [New York Times, 10/17/12]

Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [, 5/29/12]

At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [, 11/24/10]

Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [, 2/17/10]

Demings Supports Ending Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy, Closing Loopholes

To support its claim that Demings would raise taxes on families and small businesses, the ad cites and Fox Business from July 10, 2012.

Demings Wants To End Tax Breaks For Big Oil And For Companies That Send Jobs Overseas. According to Demings’ campaign website: “Current law allows companies to escape paying taxes indefinitely when they move American profits offshore while deducting many of the expenses associated with moving American jobs overseas. This provides a double subsidy to U.S. companies that ship work overseas, effectively penalizing those companies that keep jobs in the U.S. Ending overseas tax breaks would generate as much as $12 billion a year in tax revenue and eliminate the incentive to move work abroad. Val believes that we should be rewarding local companies that create jobs here, not multinational corporations that avoid paying taxes and ship our jobs overseas. […] Val will fight to end $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil. That’s billions in savings for American taxpayers and investments in energy independence. Closing loopholes that amount to windfalls for the most profitable of companies would enable the U.S. to put its money where it counts.” [, accessed 10/24/12]

Demings Supports Ending Bush-Era Tax Cuts For The Wealthy As Part Of A Deficit-Reduction Plan. According to a cached version of Demings’ campaign website:

Val Demings will fight to invest in our economic future while working cut wasteful spending by:

  • Opposing the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it and slash vital services including border protection, health care, and education;
  • Ending corporate welfare to oil companies that are earning record profits;
  • Ending the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy, which costs taxpayers $700 billion over ten years. [ via Google Cache, accessed 10/24/12]

Demings Supports Using Tax Credits To Aid Start-Ups. According to Demings’ campaign website: “Val wants to work with the Small Business Administration to make sure local small businesses have access to start up loans. In addition, Val would propose increasing the tax deduction from $5,000 to $10,000 for start-up costs. With small business start-up costs now averaging $80,000, this can help more small businesses get off the ground and stay viable. […] Policies such as a targeted tax relief program providing a 10% income tax credit to companies that hire new employees is the common sense solution we need.” [, accessed 10/24/12]

Few Top Income Taxpayers Are Actual “Small Businesses”

CBPP: “Only 2.5 Percent Of Small Business Owners Face The Top Two Rates.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Allowing the top two marginal tax rates to return to pre-2001 levels as scheduled next year would affect very few small businesses, a recent Treasury Department study found.  The study shows that only 2.5 percent of small business owners face the top two rates.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]

  • Conservatives Rely On Definition Of “Small Business” That Counts President Obama And Mitt Romney. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners — as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]
  • Conservative Definition Of “Small Businesses” Includes Multi-Billion-Dollar Corporations Like Bechtel And PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to the Center for American Progress: “‘That’s 750,000 small businesses in America, the most productive, the ones that are the most successful, getting hit by a tax increase on top of everything else that’s happened to them in the last 18 months of this administration,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But McConnell’s number is only accurate if you take an incredibly expansive view of what constitutes a small business. Included in that 750,000 is the Bechtel Corporation, the largest engineering firm in the country. It is the fifth-largest privately owned company in the United States, posting gross revenue in 2008 of $31.4 billion. […] The auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has operations in more than 150 countries, fits the bill as well.” [Center for American Progress, 10/21/10, emphasis added]
  • Former Bush Economist Alan Viard: GOP’s Definition Of Small Businesses Is A “Fallacy.” As reported by the Washington Post: “Which is why Republicans continually define pass-through entities of all sizes as small businesses, a position [former Bush White House economist Alan] Viard called a ‘fallacy.’ ‘How can it be that 3 percent of owners are accounting for 50 percent of small business income? Those firms they’re owning can’t be all that small,’ Viard said. ‘And that’s true. They’re very large.’” [Washington Post, 9/17/10]

Joint Committee On Taxation: “3.5 Percent Of All Taxpayers With Net Positive Business Income” Fall Into Top Tax Bracket. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation: The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013 approximately 940,000 taxpayers with net positive business income (3.5 percent of all taxpayers with net positive business income) will have marginal rates of 36 or 39.6 percent under the president’s proposal, and that 53 percent of the approximately $1.3 trillion of aggregate net positive business income will be reported on returns that have a marginal rate of 36 or 39.6 percent. [Joint Committee On Taxation, 6/18/12]

Those In The Top Bracket Still Benefit From Middle-Income Tax Cuts. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Furthermore, as Figure 2 shows, under the proposal to allow tax cuts on income above $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers) to expire, taxpayers in the top two brackets would still keep sizeable tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income ($200,000 for single filers).


[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12]

CRS: Allowing Tax Cuts For The Rich To Expire Will Reduce Deficits “Without Stifling The Economic Recovery.” According to Reuters: Letting tax rates for the wealthy rise will not put a short-term damper on the economic recovery, according to a report by the non-partisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. […] Republicans want the cuts continued for all income groups while Democrats favor letting them expire for the most affluent Americans. ‘If the economy is still weak, a temporary extension (of all the rates) will not harm the economy,’ despite adding to the deficit, the CRS report said, citing CRS economist Thomas Hungerford. But allowing the rates to rise just for the wealthy could help ‘reduce budget deficits in the short term without stifling the economic recovery.’” [Reuters, 7/19/12]

[NARRATOR:] Politicians have made it tough enough to pay for the things we need. Val Demings would take more of your money and waste it on things we don’t. Demings supports policies like the $800 billion failed stimulus that let Wall Street executives take bonuses. And Demings would raise taxes on families and small businesses. Keep tax and spend politician Val Demings out of Congress. American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising. [American Action Network via, 10/23/12]