Video: Gregg schools Mitchell on “paying for” tax cuts

posted at 11:36 am on December 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Via Radio Vice Online,outgoing Senator Judd Gregg gently schools Andrea Mitchell on the concept of “paying for” tax cuts.   That construct, Gregg explains, assumes that all income belongs to the government, and that there is a cost in allowing people to keep their own money.  Why hasn’t anyone started demanding an explanation of “paying for” the increase in government spending, Gregg wonders, that has risen from 20% of GDP to 24%, on its way to 28%?  The only thing with explicit cost is government spending, not tax rates, and it’s high time people remembered that:

For a bonus in schooling on taxes, we turn to Suitably Flip, who does more math than the New York Times’ David Kocieniewski.  The Times reporter warned that the deal cut by Obama yesterday will benefit the wealthiest 1% the most:

The deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years includes a bevy of additional credits and deductions that will reduce the burden on nearly all households.

But the tax benefits will flow most heavily to the highest earners, just as the original cuts did when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

Sounds bad — unless one remembers that the wealthiest 1% currently pay more than 25% of all income taxes:

What the Times left out was the fact that the top-earning 1% currently pays more than 38% of all income taxes.

Had the tax cuts expired, the seethingly evil top 1% would’ve pitched in just $0.25 of every new tax dollar (per the Times‘ analysis), ratcheting down their 38% share.  While taxes would’ve gone up for everyone, the relative burden on the wealthiest would’ve eased.

The “savings,” then (a creative choice of words, given that we’re talking about maintaining the status quo), are indeed disproportionately shared by the highest earners.  But not nearly as disproportionately as they share in the existing tax burden.

In other words, the deal keeps the current system a little more progressive while lowering everyone’s tax burden.  If you’re a New York Times reader, you never would have gotten that additional context, which is one reason to keep Suitably Flip handy while reading that paper.


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An economic illiterate liberal?

Who knew?

Wolf Blitzer “won” -$4,500 on Jeopardy.

dthorny on December 8, 2010 at 11:41 AM

We don’t need to review test scores to find that the US is lagging in mathematics compared to other countries.

One merely needs to read government financial reports and the MSM articles that support them.

BobMbx on December 8, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I do wish these guys could get better at making this point succinctly. It takes two minutes for Gregg to get it all out there, and by the time he makes it past Mitchell’s obtuseness, it sounds like a mealy-mouthed drone.

They need to hammer this point over and over and get it out in twenty seconds. It’s your money, and you should get to keep it. It’s your money, and you should get to keep it. It’s your money, and you should get to keep it.

Kensington on December 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I have thought for a while that he would make a good VP. This confirms it

ConservativePartyNow on December 8, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Government is spending 24% of GDP. But government can’t take in more than 19% of GDP, regardless of the tax rate that they use.

Gregg is also absolutely right about these uber-rich asking to pay more in taxes. They can always send the government more money. But instead, they set up a non-profit foundation and donate their money to it, which reduces their taxes.

hawksruleva on December 8, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Yikes. I hope Alan Greenspan’s understanding of the consequences of tax policy is better than Andrea Mitchell’s. She has an irrational exuberance for high taxes with no understanding of how it affects the economy at large.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM

He was much more obtuse about this than necessary (been in DC too long). Lead in should have been that tax cuts don’t cost anything. He got around to making the point with the “it’s not our money” line, but I’m looking forward to seeing the more blunt responses to this faulty line of reasoning from some of the well-spoken incoming congressmen in January.

Dead Hand Control on December 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM

It’s your money, and you should get to keep it. It’s your money, and you should get to keep it. It’s your money, and you should get to keep it.

Kensington on December 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Huh? What is your message? :)
“I am in the highest bracket. I want government to take more!!!” – lib with some money and without creativity

Electrongod on December 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I wonder when Comcast will make some on-air personality changes? Soon, I hope. In the meantime,the Libs are melting down over this and it’s quite enjoyable.

kingsjester on December 8, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Next they’ll figure out how much it costs to let us live, breathe the government’s air, use its water, and eat the government’s food grown on its land. I wish that was as sarcastic as it sounds.

abobo on December 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM

When did having the money to pay for something stop them from spending in the first place? Details, details.

Kissmygrits on December 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM

The last line was the best and needs to be repeated anytime Buffet and Gates and their ilk are mentioned as a case for raising taxes on more normal taxpayers. Another pet peeve is whenever libs argue that they just want to put tax rates to where they were when Clinton or Reagan were in office, they should immediately be told that that would be fine if we could have government spending at the levels it was during the Clinton or Reagan years.

txmomof6 on December 8, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Dead Hand Control on December 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Good point about having to defend one’s own money as if keeping it yourself costs the government anything.

fourdeucer on December 8, 2010 at 11:56 AM

I love that he repeated the line at the end… !

RalphyBoy on December 8, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Dead Hand Control on December 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I agree he could have been more articulate, but compared to Andrea Mitchell it’s genius.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Andrea’s starting to look like Alan Greenspan.

petefrt on December 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Botox leaks into the frontal lobes of these liberal media divas.

slickwillie2001 on December 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Gonna miss Gregg. Ayotte is a good conservative and a smart gal but Gregg’s grasp on money issues is awesome.

jeanie on December 8, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I really do believe that Andrea is that dumb…

d1carter on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

It takes two minutes for Gregg to get it all out there, and by the time he makes it past Mitchell’s obtuseness, it sounds like a mealy-mouthed drone.

Kensington on December 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Because he is a mealy-mouthed drone. They all are. The only conservative who knows how to make these lodestar points with incision and concision is Gingrich. And that’s sad for us.

These people need to go to a conservative communication bootcamp. Or listen to Reagan. Do they even think about what they’re saying before they open their mouths? Do they care? That two minutes with Andrea Mitchell could have been hugely significant. What an opportunity. But Gregg looked like he was sleepwalking.

This is bar none the number one problem in conservatism today. The essence, the pure appeal, of our message is garbled and muted and lost by woefully inadequate messengers.

Palin says all the right things, eventually. But she needs work, too. She needs to bear down, get punchier and pithier, Thatcher-like.

rrpjr on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

How is Andrea Mitchell still employed?

cyclown on December 8, 2010 at 12:02 PM

The “cost” of tax cuts meme is maddening, isn’t it?

Kensington on December 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Yes, someone needs to come up with a “drill here drill now” kind of slogan that gets the point across and is quick enough to make a soundbite. I hate it, but you have to give the audience what it wants.

“If the government ran your finances, you’d be in jail” is my best effort.

Mord on December 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Can we dodge paying taxes as Warren Buffett has while complaining tax paying Americans need to pay more?

Buffett, upon his death, will donate 85% of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The largest tax dodge in American history.

Oh, thats right. Buffett is a liberal and an Obowma tool.

dthorny on December 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Zombie calling to Andrea Mitchell, “I want my brain back.”

Citing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiot

“An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. Archaically the word mome has also been used. The synonymous terms moron, imbecile, and cretin have all gained specialized meanings in modern times. An idiot is said to be idiotic, and to suffer from idiocy. A dunce is an idiot who is specifically incapable of learning. An idiot differs from a fool (who is unwise) and an ignoramus (who is uneducated/ an ignorant), neither of which refer to someone with low intelligence.”

Trying to define Andrea Mitchell, I would put her in the following categories:

1st – idiot (though I think moron would suffice)
2nd – dunce
3rd – ignoramus

Or, borrowing from Napoleon Dynamite, she is my favorite liberal… an ‘idiotuncegnoramus’.

Danny on December 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM

rrpjr on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Gingrich is a great communicator. I don’t agree with his latest idea to force people on unemployment into job training programs though. Not only would that require a new bureaucracy to oversee it (the last thing we need right now), but many of these people are highly skilled white collar workers. What are you going to do – teach them how to sweep floors? They’ve trained thousands of people in “green jobs” but there are no jobs for them to go to. It’s grandstanding and pandering and I was disappointed to see him take this route.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM

… Lead in should have been that tax cuts don’t cost anything. ….

[Dead Hand Control on December 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM]

I have the same problem with Libs and DC career types using the word invest, in all its forms, to weedle their way into getting approval to confiscate more money to spend they way they want.

Dusty on December 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM

But instead, they set up a non-profit foundation and donate their money to it, which reduces their taxes.

hawksruleva on December 8, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Just one more example why a flat tax would be better. NO more “special” loop-holes to be exploited at the expense of the other taxpayers.

belad on December 8, 2010 at 12:12 PM

“Andrea, is your paycheck yours or the governments? I take less of your money why should I confiscate more from someone else? Shouldn’t I just not spend money I don’t have? But if you want to give us ALL of YOUR paycheck we will take it. Is that what you want to do? I can send someone over right now.”

barnone on December 8, 2010 at 12:12 PM

How do you “pay for tax cuts”?

“Ya stop spending, ya farking hag” should have been Gregg’s answer.

bloviator on December 8, 2010 at 12:16 PM

The construct of “paying for” tax cuts needs to be ridiculed every time it’s brought up. It’s straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

petefrt on December 8, 2010 at 12:17 PM

If you’re a New York Times reader, and believe what they write you never would have gotten that additional context, which is one reason to keep Suitably Flip handy while reading that paper you’re basically a part of the nation that is sadly just plain stupid.

FIFY

Rovin on December 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I really do believe that Andrea is that dumb…

d1carter on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

She doesn’t even have any formal journalistic training-she was an English Lit major.

Del Dolemonte on December 8, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Government cannot lose what is not yet theirs.

blatantblue on December 8, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Greenspan taught Andrea NOTHING!

jbh45 on December 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM

This is the product of a public school education system run by unions. The average American has no clue how the world works.

angryed on December 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Just one more example why a flat tax would be better. NO more “special” loop-holes to be exploited at the expense of the other taxpayers.

belad on December 8, 2010 at 12:12 PM

There we go.

Count to 10 on December 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I really do believe that Andrea is that dumb…

d1carter on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I agree, but she’s not paid to be smart. She’s paid to be a shill, puppet, parrot of progressive talking points. Right or wrong, she’ll push the narrative, and the agenda.

capejasmine on December 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM

If someone is working a second job to make some more money, and get tired of it and think about quitting that second job, do they ever talk about “paying for” quitting?

I don’t know anyone who talks about “paying for” a reduction in income.

The Monster on December 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

I really do believe that Andrea is that dumb…

d1carter on December 8, 2010 at 11:59 AM

She doesn’t even have any formal journalistic training-she was an English Lit major.

Del Dolemonte on December 8, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Knowing what I know about journalism schools, that means she is probably smarter than the average journalism major, just sayin’…

A bit OT – My grampa was a banker before the depression. He went off to work as a lumberjack until the economy turned around. He eventually re-opened the bank and no one lost a penny. They seemed to be made of tougher stuff back then.

Gingrich is a great communicator. I don’t agree with his latest idea to force people on unemployment into job training programs though.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM

I am not totally opposed to unemployment insurance (within the maximum number of weeks available) being used to supplement rather than replace the income of lower paying jobs up to the unemployment benefit amount.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do until things get back to normal or normal-ish. It will save money currently being doled out and it will get people back into the workforce (temporarily underemployed rather than permanently unemployed) and all that that entails psychologically and physically…

Fallon on December 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM

It will save money currently being doled out and it will get people back into the workforce (temporarily underemployed rather than permanently unemployed) and all that that entails psychologically and physically…Fallon on December 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM

How? It won’t save much, if any, money if a bureaucracy needs to be constructed to administer it. Meanwhile, is there a huge demand for workers who would benefit from job training right now? I fully understand the costs to the economy as well as the psychological/physical damages to those who are unemployed, but I just don’t see a mandatory job training program as the answer.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM

I am not totally opposed to unemployment insurance (within the maximum number of weeks available) being used to supplement rather than replace the income of lower paying jobs up to the unemployment benefit amount.

Fallon on December 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I agree completely.

If someone makes $100K and gets laid off, he will not get a $30K a year job if he can get $20K a year from UI. But if UI instead paid $20K in addition to the $30K from the low paying job, the person would probably work the job knowing his income would be $50K instead of $20K.

Make UI payments add up to a % of the former income even if that means allowing one to work and collect UI simultaneously. It would certainly be better for the economy and that $100K a year job would be created much faster than having this person completely out of the work force for 3 years as the current system allows.

angryed on December 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I have never understood the argument liberals use when they say we can’t “pay” for the tax cuts. What the heck?

SueM on December 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

These shining stars will never understand that you can’t pay for what does not exist with what is not yours.

Hening on December 8, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I thought Gregg’s response to Mitchell in this video clip was inarticulate, muddled, and milquetoast. Ed’s summary led me to believe that Judd Gregg really did “school” Andrea Mitchell. It could have so easily been done. But Gregg ends up sounding like he’s just offering a counter-argument, and less authoritatively so than Mitchell’s ridiculous leading question.

We need leaders who can make the case, and make it forcefully and succinctly. This exchange was not it.

IronDioPriest on December 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM

If you’re a New York Times reader, you never would have gotten that additional context, which is one reason to keep Suitably Flip handy while reading that paper.

The only thing an NYT reader needs to keep handy while reading the Times is a spare roll of toilet paper, in case they run out of NYT before their backside is clean.

Midas on December 8, 2010 at 1:14 PM

If Washington wants more money,
-
they should adjust tax RATES to a level that will
-
maximize REVENUE.
-
The Cap gains tax RATE increase in 1986, from 20 to 28%,
-
resulted in a large decrease in REVENUE.
-
The 1990 marginal income tax RATE increase, from 32 to 39%
-
caused a recession, a loss in tax REVENUE
-
and more handed out in unemployment comp.
-
-
From current levels, a reduction in RATES will result in
-
an increase in REVENUE.
-
Sadly, when you’re brain dead in DC, this is apparently
difficult to comprehend.

esblowfeld on December 8, 2010 at 1:19 PM

If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett want to send us money, we’ll take it.

I absolutely agree. There is no law which keeps these billionaires from giving more than their tax rate. I’ve got an idea, why don’t Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pay for everything that the government does, then no one else has to pay taxes and get to keep 100% of their earnings. Just do it for two years. 1 billionaire per year. That’s what we’ll call it. Every year, one uber billionaire picks up the tab for the government so the rest of can keep our earnings. Deal?

76United on December 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

IronDioPriest on December 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I agree.

I have been saying all along, its our money, not the governments, I do commend him for trying to explain it, but a messaging campaign REALLY needs to be rolled out explaining, and much more clearly and concisely than Gregg, that its our money, we dont have to “pay” for a continuation of current rates. No one is getting a “tax cut” and if the wealthy bozo’s think their rate is too low? They are welcome to pay more. —-On a side note, it would be nice to finally define what your “Fair Share” of taxes is so we can put that argument top bed.

Koa on December 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I remember when I used to try and argue with a liberal…now I just shake my head and walk away. They always want to spend someone else’s money, never their own.

search4truth on December 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

but I just don’t see a mandatory job training program as the answer.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I don’t think there should be mandatory job training, either. (I don’t like Gingrich but edited out my nasty retort about him, it had something to do with being a good communicator, fornicator, communicator.)

I think people should be encouraged to take any job available (no mandatory re-training required), no matter the salary or hourly wage and then let them be supplemented up to the amount they would receive through unemployment benefits or as angryed said, even a little more, just to get them back into the workforce. *taking a breath* Wean them off the government and back into being productive.

As I said, my grandpa was a banker before the depression but he took a job as a lumberjack to feed his family. This ia what people used to do, swallow a little pride and get back to work. It should be encouraged.

Fallon on December 8, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Sorry, Danish, I meant to quote you not strike it out… Grrr.

Fallon on December 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM

How is Andrea Mitchell still employed?

cyclown on December 8, 2010 at 12:02 PM

They pay people big money to make decisions on how to increase viewership/ratings/etc. Somebody at NBC keeps throwing Andrea out there and wondering why Fox keeps beating them all the time. Picture Megyn Kelly having the same interview with Gregg vs. Mitchell’s interview and you wonder how NBC executives keep their jobs.

PatMac on December 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Andrea Mitchell. The quintessential “limosine liberal”. The Leona Helmsly of NBC. I’m sure she uses every possible tax deduction she can find. Are Alan’s underdrawers a write off like Bubba’s?

As has already been pointed out, she and her rich lib friends should just cut checks to the Feds each year. Live on 30K a year and donate the rest to go toward the federal budget. Or better yet, start a business and put the unemployed to work.

JimP on December 8, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Megyn Kelly just missed an opportunity to school Anthony Weiner on this point. He kept saying ‘tax cuts cost money’ and since she was trying to hammer a different point he kept evading she didn’t pick up on the chance to make him squirm.

James on December 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Yikes. I hope Alan Greenspan’s understanding of the consequences of tax policy is better than Andrea Mitchell’s. She has an irrational exuberance for high taxes with no understanding of how it affects the economy at large.

Buy Danish on December 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Especially since they’re married to each other…

Khun Joe on December 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM

76United on December 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I don’t believe for a moment, that what they preach would ever be what they’d practice.

They won’t volunteer anything. They simply want it forced on everyone. All in the name of fairness. Look at Oprah. Did she volunteer a wad of cash to help the country? Nope. She’s shopping for yet another mansion in New Jersey. Land of lower property taxes, thanks to a *GASP* Republican governor.

She cheer leads for Obama, and the progressive way, but privately, lives life as a republican.

Once again…hypocrisy has no boundaries.

capejasmine on December 8, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Andrea Mitchell works for a news agency, yet she is so misinformed, undereducated, misguided, and ill informed, and she wears her lefg wing, socialist, Marxist bias on her sleave.

Can’t MSNBC send her to a reputable economics class in a reputable institute of education?

I kinow that viewers of MSNBC are not necessarily very well educated or very bright, so when the likes of Andrea Mitchell and her coven of misguided, econimics ignorant fellow on-air personalities at MSNBC spew their venomous, incorrect nonsense the audience won’t necessarily know that it is BS, but hey, that is just how left leaning, low grade media outlets and their in-a-stupor audience roll.

William2006 on December 8, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I know he’s kind of RINOish, but he would be a very solid president or veep.

joepub on December 8, 2010 at 2:46 PM

It is times like this that make me THANKFUL that I do not subscribe to cable television (though I do miss HGTV).

Mitchell’s attitude toward taxation in general is appalling, but sadly not surprising. To paraphrase an old sawbone, there is a village out there missing its idiot.

itzWicks on December 8, 2010 at 3:39 PM

We need some way to follow up on Buffet and Gates in an embarrassing manner to verify that they calculated their higher tax rate and led by example by paying it.

scotash on December 8, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Yeah, I love this so called logic that tax cuts have to be “paid” for. Hey, maybe the people could say the same thing, like, the freakin government never should have spent tax money on things it had absolutely no right in doing!!
Oh sure, government could just keep spending into infinity with that logic! Can’t allow anyone to keep their money because the government spent it all and if they gave any back, well, all this other welfare crap wouldn’t be “paid” for then!

Hey, maybe all these non working people should give back all this free money and handouts their getting since it hasn’t been “paid” for!
I’ll tell you who pays for things, people who work for a living!

JellyToast on December 8, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Andrea Mitchell is on at the same time as Megyn Kelly? Boy, that’s a tight beauty contest, huh? Unfortunately for Andrea, Megyn is also about seventy points higher in IQ as well. Hey, when ya got it, ya got it(Andrea Mitchell….well, she ain’t got it)

adamsmith on December 8, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Someone in the thread reminded me of that advertisment: “It’s my money, and I need it now!” Rather than a flat tax, I prefer the Fair Tax. I keep ALL my money, until I buy something new. Everybody buys stuff, even the pimps, dealers and illegals. This would get EVERYBODY paying taxes.

odat on December 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan at dinner:

AM: So how was your day, dear?

AG: Great, we had to reign in the monetary debt in order to curb deflationary pressures on the US GDP, stifling investment initiatives, to prevent irrational exuberance.

AM hears chirping birds and crickets.

AG: Did you not come to the realization that I was conversing with you to stimulate a dinner conversation, thus regenerating a healthy relationship?

AM: Uhhhhhhhhhhhh.

AG: My day was fine dear.

AM: Oh honey, do you know how to use this ATM card thingy?
And Alan sweety, I paid the bills, I put checks in the
mailbox like you told me to.

AG: You did put the bills and checks in addressed envelopes
with stamps, whereby facillitating their arrival to
their correct place of business?

AM: Uuuuuhhhhhhh, what?

dthorny on December 8, 2010 at 6:53 PM

76United on December 8, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Will not happen, Warren Buffett, America’s richest man, will donate 85% of his wealth to the Bill Gates Foundation after his death. The largest tax dodge in American history.

Buffett dodged billions in taxes while he demands the American taxpayers pay more?

No liberal hypocrisy to see here, move along.

dthorny on December 8, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Underlying all the rhetoric on “paying for tax cuts”, tax cuts for the rich”, “income distribution” and “income disparity” is one single idea.

“From each according to their ability (tax the rich) and to each according to their needs. (government subsidies)

The funny thing is, I can’t find anything supporting this idea in the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers or the Constitution.

No where in the founding documents can I find any support for the idea that the Government can take property and give it to someone else.

Where do they get the idea that this is an American idea. and why does no one challenge them when they come up with this drivel.

schmuck281 on December 9, 2010 at 2:16 AM

Rather than raise tax rates for the rich, start revoking some of the special deductions and shelters that pretty much only the very rich can take advantage of. Simplifying the tax code should be a key element of any tax legislation.

Snidely Whiplash on December 11, 2010 at 4:23 PM