Rep. Bachmann Admits Tax Cuts Will Increase Deficit, Wants New Definition Of "Deficit"

December 10, 2010 10:25 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

A few weeks back, far-right Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) decided that she wanted a "redefinition" of earmarks after learning that "roads and bridges" in her district would be considered congressional pork. Now, as Bachmann struggles to justify deficit-increasing tax cuts while denouncing deficit-increasing unemployment benefits, the conservative firebrand has found a new target in the political dictionary.

This morning on NBC's Today Show, host Meredith Viera asked Bachmann how spending almost $500 billion to extend all of the Bush tax cuts for two years jibes with her fiscally conservative principles. Bachmann flatly rejected the premise, saying, "I don't agree with that definition" of a deficit:

VIEIRA: But how — how do you justify adding more money to the deficit, that much more?

BACHMANN: Well remember, that money is — when people are allowed to keep their own money, that's considered a deficit. I don't — I don't agree with that definition. When people keep their own money, that's considered a deficit to government, but it's not a deficit to your pocket or mine, so I think it's important that people can keep their money.

In a separate appearance on CNN, Bachmann repeated her claim that "a deficit to government" is "not a deficit to people," adding that it's about "how you frame it." But when host John Roberts pointed out that tax cuts add to the federal deficit, regardless of 'framing,' the congresswoman finally admitted that cutting taxes will dig the country's fiscal hole deeper:

BACHMANN: And remember it's a deficit to government but it's not a deficit to people who get to keep their money. So it's how you frame it. I don't think letting people keep their own money should be considered a deficit.

ROBERTS: But it is, though, because it adds to the federal deficit.

BACHMANN: No, you're right about that, John, that it is to the government, but remember what we could also be doing right now: Cutting back on spending. We've had the biggest increase in spending in the last two years that anyone can remember in modern times. We can also cut back spending to that level and that's not on the table right now. 

While many conservatives maintain that tax cuts pay for themselves, despite strong evidence to the contrary, Bachmann is now on the record admitting that cutting taxes will increase the deficit. She's simply arguing that it's perfectly acceptable to add to the deficit by giving tax cuts to the rich, but irresponsible to add to the deficit by giving aid to the unemployed. 

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