Video: Rubio grills Geithner on taxes

posted at 11:25 am on October 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

If anyone doubts that Sen. Marco Rubio has earned his status as the star of the Class of 2010, this clip of his interrogation of Tim Geithner should cinch his reputation. Rubio picks apart Barack Obama’s proposals on deficit reduction and job creation by pointing out how high the top marginal tax rate will go under the plan — all the way to 45%, a large increase over today’s 35%. Geithner protests that it only impacts a “tiny fraction” of taxpayers, but Rubio then hits him with Obama’s 2009 quote about the disaster of hiking taxes at all in a recession. Geithner sputters about deficits and the need to raise revenues, but in the end admits that the economy is in serious trouble:

A couple of notes are in order here. First, note how Geithner tries to defend the proposal by telling Rubio that the tax hikes come at the end of 2012, so they won’t have a bad impact until the economy is recovering.  That’s simply sophistry.  If tax hikes are coming, people will change their behaviors to account for them now, and that means less investment, fewer jobs, and protracted stagnation.  The additional uncertainty for the next year will cause even more retreat by capital on top of the effect of pending tax increases.  And pushing the tax hikes off until after the next election is so blatantly political that the term hackery doesn’t quite cover it.

Geithner also tries telling Rubio to check out CBO scoring as a defense against one of Rubio’s arguments, a response that should have elicited gales of laughter after the collapse of the CLASS program.  In fact, Republicans in the Senate want to impose some reforms on the CBO and its scoring of legislation after the CLASS debacle:

Demands to reform the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) rules have roared into life amid bitter accusations of disingenuousness following Friday’s collapse of a key component of President Obama’s healthcare law.

The implosion of the long-term care benefit known as the CLASS Act, which administration officials acknowledged could not be made to pay for itself, as its critics had always maintained, is giving new life to lawmaker proposals to change the way CBO scores legislation.

“Congress knows the scoring rules and then manipulates them to achieve the appearance of savings that don’t really exist,” said Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Sessions, who has introduced legislation to end a host of budget gimmicks, sees the CLASS Act’s scoring as “one of the most spectacular examples” of budgetary manipulation in history, according to Miller.

Geithner is left with no argument at all, except that this administration simply won’t cut budgets and reform entitlements to address deficits, and so has no choice but to raise taxes in a recessionary/stagnation environment.  Rubio operates as deftly as a surgeon to make that point clear without overplaying his hand.

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VegasRick on October 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Who’s on first?

Tim_CA on October 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What this country needs is moar Rubio!

joe btfsplk on October 19, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Geithner must have had a no good very bad day yesterday. Even Olympia Snowe laid into him. Yes, that Olympia Snowe.

DanMan on October 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Of course the CBO would say higher taxes have little effect on jobs; the CBO’s very misguided mandate is to do static analysis.

theperfecteconomist on October 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM

VegasRick on October 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Rubio 2016 or 2020, along with a few others who didn’t jump in this year.

peski on October 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Speaking of Geithner!!

41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes — and they’re not alone
September 10, 2010

And then we learned this guy Timothy Geithner owed something like $42,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, which is one of the agencies that he’d be in charge of as secretary of the Treasury.

The fine fellow who’s supposed to know about handling everyone else’s money.

In the end this was excused by Washington’s bipartisan CYA culture as one of those inadvertent accidental oversights that somehow never seem to happen on the side of paying too much taxes.

And under Geithner’s expert guidance the U.S. economy has been, well, wow! Just look at it.

Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents’ names.

But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama’s very own White House owe the government they’re allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes.

That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

canopfor on October 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM

When you have lost Olympia Snowe, you’re in deep trouble…

Static21 on October 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

With Tom Geithner’s torturous answering,me thinks,
it was Taxation Waterboarding!!


canopfor on October 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Rubio is sharp- it’s impossible to try to BS him on economic issues.

Book on October 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Rubio is just using Ryan’s analysis from last week on the top rates. And Ryan did a better job at explaining it too.

lorien1973 on October 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

So Geithner is saying we screwed you earlier but now we’re trying ease up on you a little bit but if you’re a business you’re just screwed either way.

What the President and Geithner are saying is don’t expect a job anytime soon.

Speakup on October 19, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidates debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it,
When you’ve got to choose,
Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose.

Where have you gone, Marco Rubio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you

Knott Buyinit on October 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

It’s not too late for Rubio to enter the race. NH deadline is Oct 31st. He gets in, he’ll be at 50% in the polls tomorrow. What is he waiting for?

milemarker2020 on October 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Rush has it right: Rubio will be prez one day… if we can last that long.

petefrt on October 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Tax Cheat Timmy Geitner is such a Weasel – he could be a cartoon character. Amazing that he just states that reputable trade organizations are JUST LYING when they say raising taxes on top tier earners will affect jobs creation. HOW MANY JOBS HAVE YOU CREATED IN YOUR CAREER TIMMY??? Here’s a man who accused Turbo Tax for his tax cheating. And we know he ended up paying the taxes but it’s still unclear if he paid interest and PENALITIES.

IlonaE on October 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM

It seems Geithner was saying that increasing taxes by way of the surcharge would do two things: marginally effect growth and marginally effect deficit reduction. So the question then should be, how many jobs lost are acceptable to marginally reduce the deficit? Followed by, we’ll get you a podium and 20 minutes if you’ll go up to Wall Street and explain to the protestors that a certain amount of additional job losses are necessary to reduce the deficit by .01%.

BKeyser on October 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Paul Ryan here.

lorien1973 on October 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM

DanMan on October 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Actually the Maine twins are acting a lot more conservative these days for some reason. Hmmmmm…..

cktheman on October 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

lorien1973 on October 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I’ll give him some brownie points for at least knowing it existed.

Cindy Munford on October 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Actually the Maine twins are acting a lot more conservative these days for some reason. Hmmmmm…..

cktheman on October 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Olympia is up for re-election soon… of those dems that’s distancing themselves from teh won and his admin.

sicoit on October 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Geithner reminds me of that guy in Eraserhead….

golfmann on October 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM

The correct response to tiny Tim would have been to ask if he really thought a 1 year break would mean anything to businesses who are looking to hire. Geithner seemed to say he was lowering taxes now, and would then raise them at the end of 2012. What good would that do?

Kill the loopholes, lower the overall taxes and simplify this nonsense.

Dash on October 19, 2011 at 12:04 PM

9 9 9

golfmann on October 19, 2011 at 12:05 PM

no, 9 9 :)

golfmann on October 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I like Rubio. He wasn’t particullarly sharp. He asked simple straightforward questions.

Geithner was bad. he slithered and spun. Geithner is always twisting in the wind because Obama tells hom what to say and he know it just ain’t so,

seven on October 19, 2011 at 12:10 PM

“Geithner is left with no argument at all…”

Once you realize that our current economic collapse and malaise was all man made by politicians and the federal government…

… listening to Geithner should leave you all warm and fuzzy.


Seven Percent Solution on October 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Next time Rubio should just cut to the chase…

“Stop Spending!”

Seven Percent Solution on October 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM

I <3 Marco Rubio. His time will absolutely come. :-)

CantCureStupid on October 19, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Geithner is dumb. This is just plain bullying on Rubio’s part.

I love it!

Wingo on October 19, 2011 at 12:46 PM

all political theater.

Rubio and Timmy were probably back slapping after this “confrontation”.

Marco has been assimilated into the Beltway.

PappyD61 on October 19, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I think one overlooked admission (at about the 40-45 second mark) is where Geithner says that economists don’t agree on anything and that the answers they give depend upon where they are on the political spectrum.

This is horrendous because it is an admission (or at least and assertion) that there is no intellectual honesty in the field of economics, and no objective way of assessing which economc theories and/or solutions are correct. It is an intellectual loophole which allows the Dems (or even the GOP, come to that) to simply locate sympathetic economists to support their policies…it remind me a lot of the old (okay…feudal) practice of “oath helping”.

We can laugh because it undermines Paul Krugman’s credibility once again (if that is still considered to be necessry) but on a larger plane it means that the State can simply pick and choose the theories of the economists who agree with them and cite them as support for their policies…regardless of how objectively disasterous they may be.

Blaise on October 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

The seems like part of the USSA’s plan for absolute control of all industry, to Raise Taxes on the Middle Class to prevent money from fleeing the country they will have the IRS seize passports and block international Money Transfers on that segement who speak out.

Egfrow on October 19, 2011 at 2:11 PM

That clip sounded like someone who understands economics talking to an under educated little boy. Little Timmy needs to go.

duff65 on October 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Geithner protests that it only impacts a “tiny fraction” of taxpayers

This sort of argument has to be rejected, no matter what the topic. Only a “tiny fraction” of Americans were slaves or subjected to Jim Crow laws. Does that make it okay?

Buy Danish on October 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Rubio asked fans to “check out this video at Hot Air” on facebook:)

Buy Danish on October 19, 2011 at 9:10 PM

I love it when he tells people ‘businesses will always oppose tax increases, thats their job’.

Well Timmy, I guess governments job will always be to oppose spending within its means. Tell me why your needs outweigh the needs of the businessmen who oppose the tax increases?

DavidM on October 24, 2011 at 9:10 AM