Plenty to unpack from the most contentious roundtable on yesterday’s talk shows. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform squared off against CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who angrily challenged Norquist over his apparent protection of the “two percent” on NBC’s Meet the Press. Norquist parried by arguing that he supports growth rather than continued confiscation, and that Reaganomics would generate much more revenue over the next ten years than higher taxes and Obamanomics. If Washington doesn’t learn that lesson, Norquist warns, then the next version of the Tea Party will make the first look like, er … a tea party:
MR. CRAMER: Well, he’s talking about seducing that the Republicans have been seduced. He talked impure thoughts. This is not a pornographic debate, Grover. What this is about is avoiding a recession which is going to happen. I know you don’t want a recession. You don’t want people laid off. You’re going to sacrifice that on the cross of two percent. Is that what you want?
MR. NORQUIST: No. You have to listen to both what the Republicans are talking about. And again, I’m supportive of the Republican position, which is we need to have economic growth, not higher taxes. If we grew at four percent a year instead of two percent a year, Reagan levels instead of Obama levels, for one decade we’d net five trillion in additional revenue. That would pay down the debt that Obama has run up with the slanderous, stimulus stuff. That is…
MR. CRAMER: Clinton did so much better at the stock market with these rates.
MS. BARTIROMO: Well, that was– that was a different time where– where– where we’re at the edge of the new innovation, internet boom.
MR. NORQUIST: No Obamacare, no threat of regulations. Understand how ugly the next four years are going to get. Everything in Obamacare that Obama didn’t want you to focus on or think about, the– the ninety percent of his trillion dollar tax increase was pushed over till after he got himself safely re-elected. All those regulations you’re now hearing about, okay, that are being rebelled about, those all hit after the election. We had four bad years of regulation taxes. He wants to add higher taxes to that. Tea party two is going to dwarf tea party one if Obama pushes us off the cliff. Let’s not pretend who’s pushing us over the cliff.
When did we go from the “one percent” to the “two percent”? The “two percent” reference appears no fewer than eight times, six of them from Tim Geithner and Claire McCaskill prior to Cramer’s parroting of it here. Sounds like a talking point is being birthed.
Bartiromo pushes back on the “Clinton rates,” but fails to point out as so many conservatives have that the Clinton rates were married to Clinton levels of spending. Spending as a percentage of GDP during that time was significantly lower — and dropping, in fact:
That’s another reason for the late-90s boom, as well as lower regulation — we had just escaped HillaryCare, if you’ll recall — as well as the cusp of the Internet boom years. We are now well past the peacetime peaks of federal spending as related to GDP, and that’s still going up, not down. That’s the reason for our staggering deficits, and unless we reform the drivers of that spending (entitlements), we can’t possibly raise taxes fast enough to make up that ground.