August 19, 2010
Mark Haines — my hero — rolls again! He just does not allow anyone to blow smoke without calling them on it. And today he couldn’t have picked a more deserving person.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (a more open definition by SourceWatch and a critique by Right Wing Watch; also an extension of the neo-conservatives of the Republican Party) was a guest on CNBC today along with Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Although Haines has some tough words for Dean toward the end, it was Norquist that got hammered.
The subject of today’s discussion was “Tax Day”; a day the ATR has deemed “cost of government day”. That is to say, in order to pay for the cost of federal, state, and local government for this year, taxpayers would have had to donate all their earnings so for this year according to ATR.
Norquist begin his speech with saying he wanted lower tax rates, especially for corporations. Surprise, surprise! This is Grover Norquist — what did you expect. But don’t despair; Haines nailed him on the reality of current tax rates versus GDP, which is at their lowest in 60 years. He also reminded Norquist that in 2008 the total rate paid by corporations was only 1 percent of GDP. This left Norquist with only one way to go.
As is with Norquist, he started blaming everything on President Obama and the Democrats, at which point Haines politely reminded him that the data was from 2008, before Obama was President. But that didn’t slow Norquist down. He went on to say that the Democrats were poised to impose the “highest tax increase in history”. Ooooops! Nailed again.
Haines rightly told him there were two other tax increases that were higher than the one the Democrats are proposing. The first was in 1942 to pay for World War II, with the second in 1950 to pay for the Korean War. To combat Haines, Norquist turned to “dollar sense” to claim the upcoming tax increase was the biggest. Oooooops, again.
Haines asked how one could compare 1940 dollars to 2010 dollars. Although Haines didn’t say it — the Old Man is — any one that tried to compare the dollars would be showing their own ignorance or insinuating that everyone else was stupid. Depending on what you are comparing it against, 100 dollars in 1940 would be anywhere from 13 times to 140 times more in 2009 (you can check the figures here).
After that comment from Haines, Norquist settled for “it’s a rather large tax increase”, to which Haines said “thank you”.
Of course, Norquist is talking about the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of this year. Those ARE NOT tax increases. It’s just an end to government subsidies Bush imposed back in 2003. You know, at the same time we were at war with Afghanistan, and he was starting a war with Iraq.
Now Norquist did say one thing that made a lot of sense. He said government workers are overpaid to the extent of $500 billion per year. And from the most recent reports, he’s right. USAToday published their article a couple of weeks ago comparing government pay to private sector wages, and there is definitely a sizeable disparity.
At any rate, a BIG THANKS to Mark Haines. Most at CNBC and other news places would have allowed Norquist to just spew out his lies and nonsense without any challenge, knowing full well that he was grossly misspeaking. We need more people in the news media who will challenge these (BS) spreaders regardless of which side of the political isle they stand on. However, most of the media has taken sides and will only allow guest who speak for them to have a free hand while depressing those who don’t.
Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs [with] facts.
Economist Henry Rosovsky