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Maher: Romney 'Only Paid 11% In Taxes,' Clinton Tax Hike 'Turned Around' The Economy

Noel Sheppard's picture

The ignorance of HBO's Bill Maher was oozing from every nook and cranny of his being Friday night.

After telling his Real Time audience that the national debt has only gone up by $1.5 trillion under Obama, the host during the Overtime segment actually said, "Mitt Romney we found out made $27 million, only paid 11 percent in taxes” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary, first relevant section at 4:00):

Readers are reminded that this is information just revealed Tuesday and Maher still can't get it right.

As NewsBusters reported, Romney in 2009 had Adjusted Gross Income of $21.6 million and paid federal taxes at a 13.9 percent rate.

Maher was wrong on both counts. I guess these numbers came out so long ago he couldn't attain the precise ones to put on his index card.

As an added bonus, a few minutes earlier at the 1:45 mark, Maher said to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.): “You were in Congress in the ’90s. You came in in ’89. Clinton came in in ’93. There was a tax, a small tax raise that he put forward that not one Republican voted for. The economy turned around. Turned out that that tax raise really did a lot of good things for the economy.”

First of all, that wasn't a small tax increase. At the time it was the largest tax hike in American history.

As for it turning around the economy, it had actually been growing since the second quarter of 1991 and was starting to explode by the time Clinton was inaugurated.

What Maher and the rest of his liberal colleagues refuse to acknowledge is that the Gross Domestic Product grew by 2.7 percent in the second quarter of 1991 followed by gains of 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent in the next two quarters.

Surely, this was not explosive growth by any means, but it signaled that the recession had ended in the first quarter of 1991, an immutable fact supported by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the entity charged with deciding such things. 

But that's not the whole story, for in 1992, the GDP grew by a robust 3.4 percent. By contrast, in Clinton's first year in office, the GDP actually slowed in response to his tax hikes growing by only 2.9 percent.

Tell the Truth, Bill Maher!

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#1 The Reason for the Clinton economy

The Clinton economy was the result of the dot com bubble and the $1000 PC. Clinton had nothing to do with it.

#2 So Bill Maher - did Clinton tax increase cause the econ collapse

Indeed. I'd bet that Bill Maher is fond of liberal/socialist economist, Dean Baker of CEPR; certainly most of the liberal media adores him.

Here's how Baker summed it up in a 2008 piece, The high priests of the bubble economy

Clinton had the good fortune to be sitting in the White House at the point where the economy finally enjoyed the long-predicted dividend from the information technology revolution.


Rather than handing George Bush a booming economy, Clinton handed over an economy that was propelled by an unsustainable stock bubble and distorted by a hugely over-valued dollar.

I must call Baker on the little error there in the second statement, as the bubble collapsed in March of 2000, and between then and the end of the year, any leading economic indicators which had not already turned on a dime heading straight south, promptly did so.

The question for Maher, therefore is: Did that Clinton tax increase cause the economic collapse which Bush inherited?

Would someone ask him that question, on air, please! (or any other sensible question about what Clinton actually left behind)

(;~/ gary

#3 Bush 41 kept saying the

Bush 41 kept saying the recovery had started. Amazingly Clinton got credit for the recovery early February 1993 and the reports from the MSM were fawning.


"DumbAssity of Dope"

#4 Tool

30 seconds into the clip Maher said: "there are lots of people in this country that have nothing better to do .. than wait to get outraged". He then engages in a lie, intended to outrage his sycophant base...

The irony is as thick as Michael Moore's waistline

#5 Warning!

Bill Maher is your brain on drugs.

To more fully comprehend the Left, one must read “Leftism As Psychopathy” by John Ray, M.A., Ph.D. Caution, it might scare you a little bit.

#6 1. Maher was off on Romney's

1. Maher was off on Romney's tax rate by 2 points. I mean it's fine if you want to be super technical, but that hardly takes away from Maher's point.
2. I'm impressed you managed to mention that the economy started growing again in 1991.( I'm even more impressed that you didn't feel the need to give the credit to Reagan somehow.) But didn't a certain Republican president raise taxes not too long before that? One who was punished by his party soon after for doing the right thing? Thanks for admitting that tax increases helped grow the economy.

As far as the Clinton taxes, well I dunno if they were responsible for it, but they certainly didn't hinder 22 million jobs from being created. Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts didn't do diddly squat for the economy. Even before the recession, Bush presided over the slowest economic growth since the great depression.

#7 Mega


Actually, Maher was off by 2.9 points. Now divide that by the correct answer of 13.9, and that means he was off by 21 percent. Would you continue working with an accountant or a financial adviser if he or she was off by 21 percent? How many companies would keep employees that were 21 percent wrong? If you feel this is an acceptable error rate, please advise me what company employs you for I most certainly don't want to buy any of its goods or services.

As for which president presided over the worst recovery since the Depression, that would be Obama. At this point, it's not even close.

Thanks for playing our game. ns

#8 What is Mareh's point, anyways?

"I mean it's fine if you want to be super technical, but that hardly takes away from Maher's point.

What is Maher's point, anyways? Is it that Romney, who paid millions of dollars in federal taxes, last year alone, isn't paying enough? Romney paid more in taxes, in one year alone, than most people will pay in their entire lifetime, just as he's been doing for years. How is that "not enough?"

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. The US Constitution

Unless you're a fetus. The US Supreme Court

Or Anwar al-Awlaki.

#9 It did?

"Turned out that that tax raise really did a lot of good things for the economy."

So, that's why Bill lowered those same tax rates in 1996, just four years after he raised them! The higher rates worked! Whodathinkit?

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. The US Constitution

Unless you're a fetus. The US Supreme Court

Or Anwar al-Awlaki.

#10 I specifically recall Billy Jeff himself later saying...

..that the tax hike was probably too much.


Vote for the American in November

#11 To: Noel Sheppard - Oh wow,

To: Noel Sheppard -

Oh wow, I didn't think I'd get a response from the columnist who wrote this article himself. I rarely see such a thing happen on other news sites I post at (whether they're liberal or conservative), so I do appreciate having the courtesy to respond to a random commenter (not being snarky, totally sincere).

Cobraman -

What taxes did Clinton lower? They weren't income taxes, they were capital gains taxes (and it was in 97, I believe), AND even after the cut they were higher than what they are now. The income tax rates were the same throughout Clinton's presidency until Bush took over.

Also, re: Maher's point.

It's that whether it's 11% or 13.9%, the point is he's paying a lower percentage of his tax rates than most working class Americans. You guys may argue that the rich need those cuts to create jobs, but...where are the jobs then?

#12 Where are the jobs?---

You do know who is currently stinking up  hanging out in the Oval Office, correct?

The purple-lipped RBFSOB SCOAMF pos isn't exactly known for having an attitude that is conducive to having the business world clamor for more government benevolence, insight, or oversight, in their work-a-day world.

If and when Obama is dumped, jobs will appear like magic.


"The credibility of the story is undermined by the selection of sources." - (h/t Jer)

#14 We all remember the roaring

We all remember the roaring Bush jr. economy.

#15 Mega


Well, let's see. Before the Democrats took over Congress, unemployment was at 4.4 percent, Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 15,000, and home prices were 50 percent higher in most parts of the country.

So, yeah, I'd say we all remember the roaring GWB economy. Sure was a hell of a lot better than this. Or do you have statistics that would counter the ones I just presented showing things are actually better now than before the Democrats took over Congress? ns

#16 Noel, what policies did the

Noel, what policies did the Democrats enact after they took over congress in 2007 to raise the Unemployment rate?

Wasn't 2007 the year that the housing market started to falter? That's when the recession started. It was already on its way, no matter who was in charge of congress.

#17 Mega


They RADICALLY increased the deficit and the debt. They inherited a $161 billion deficit and in just two years turned it into a $1.4 trillion deficit. They increased federal spending by 41 percent IN JUST FOUR YEARS. They increased the national debt by $6.5 trillion almost doubling it IN JUST FIVE YEARS! They implemented financial industry regulation called Dodd-Frank that has totally stifled lending.

Add this up, and the Democrats since taking control of Congress and then the White House have destroyed this nation more quickly than any political party in history. ns

#18 Why do you bother

Mr. Mahers has not lived in the real world for at least a decade. He is a confirmed propagandist for the far left and the Obama administration.

He makes statements or claims that rarely have evidence, facts or common sense included. Can anyone remember the last time he said anything that was provable or was even close to logical? Does anyone believe that he has any credibility outside his loony toon audience (far left viewers)? Does anyone believe anything this man says?

I think he comes up with the most assine statement he can find to remind people that he still exist and give his ego (hugh) the false impression that he still is relevant to our society (clearly false).

I didn't think so, he is just another of the liberal firebombers that throw nonsense against the wall and hopes that the world is stupid enough to believe it.

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