NY Times & MSNBC Agree: Dems’ $2 Trillion Tax Hike Not Enough

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On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe joined The New York Times in hitting Democrats from the left and whining that the plan by left-wing lawmakers to hike taxes by $2 trillion to fund massive socialist spending was too “moderate.” After hyping a Times article that wailed about the proposed legislation failing to “dent the vast fortunes” of the wealthy, the show’s liberal host launched into a tirade demanding the government seize more money from its citizens.

“Democrats in the House presented a plan yesterday to pay for their social policy and climate change package by raising taxes by more than $2 trillion, largely on wealthy people and profitable corporations,” co-host Willie Geist explained. He then read from a supposed “news” article in the Times that read like an far-left op-ed:

 

 

But this morning, The New York Times reports that plan, quote, “[S]topped well short of changes needed to dent the vast fortunes of tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, or to thoroughly close the most egregious loopholes exploited by high-flying captains of finance. It aimed to go after the merely rich more than the fabulously rich.” Instead, the Times reports, “[S]enior House Democrats opted to be more mindful of moderate concerns in their party than of its progressive ambitions. The focus on traditional ways of raising revenue, raising tax rates on income rather than targeting wealth itself.” The Times continues, “[T]he bill dispenses with measures floated by the White House and Senate Democrats to tax wealth or to close off avenues that the superrich have exploited to pass on a lifetime of gains to their heirs tax-free.”

Moments later, Joe Scarborough began his screed about Democrats not hiking taxes enough: “I don’t understand what’s going on when you have the people writing the tax bill for the Democrats saying they’re concerned about moderates’ concerns. What?”

He desperately tried to dismiss the notion that the Democratic Party agenda was radical:

This whole income redistribution thing we keep – “Oh, you can’t raise taxes on people because that will be income redistribution. You’re a socialist.” Well, guess what. The very people who are saying that, the very people who are funding think tanks that’ll say that, the very people that are paying lobbyists to get the message out to say that, the very people who are spending millions and millions of dollars on lawyers and lobbyists on K Street who are saying that. They are the people who have scammed you.

Instead, Scarborough worried that Democrats needed to do more: “Please, please, Democrats, do better than that. Tax capital. Take a dent on these super wealthy billionaires who keep accumulating, keep amassing fortunes.” He then scolded: “If you want to make this country a fairer place, if you want to get us back to where we were before where there wasn’t just such massive divergence between the super wealthy and the rest of Americans, you’re gonna have to rewrite your tax plan because that one is just lousy.”

The idea that a $2 trillion tax hike to fuel the Democrats’ massive spending on a radical agenda is too “moderate” just proves that liberal media outlets like The New York Times and MSNBC are the hard-left base of the Democratic Party.

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Here is a full transcript of the September 14 segment:

6:15 AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: Democrats in the House presented a plan yesterday to pay for their social policy and climate change package by raising taxes by more than $2 trillion, largely on wealthy people and profitable corporations. But this morning, The New York Times reports that plan, quote, “[S]topped well short of changes needed to dent the vast fortunes of tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, or to thoroughly close the most egregious loopholes exploited by high-flying captains of finance. It aimed to go after the merely rich more than the fabulously rich.” Instead, the Times reports, “[S]enior House Democrats opted to be more mindful of moderate concerns in their party than of its progressive ambitions. The focus on traditional ways of raising revenue, raising tax rates on income rather than targeting wealth itself.” The Times continues, “[T]he bill dispenses with measures floated by the White House and Senate Democrats to tax wealth or to close off avenues that the superrich have exploited to pass on a lifetime of gains to their heirs tax-free.”

Democrats caution the proposal is likely to change. This is just out of one committee as it makes its way through Congress. Joe, so the top marginal tax rate is proposed to be raised to 39.6% from 37%. But that, as you know, doesn’t get at the way the super-wealthy and corporations make their money and avoid taxes.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And we see it every year. I don’t understand what’s going on when you have the people writing the tax bill for the Democrats saying they’re concerned about moderates’ concerns. What? Do they want Jeff Bezos and Amazon to keep paying zero dollars? Is that a moderate concern or is that actually a lobbyist’s concern? Because over the past few years, there are corporations that have paid zero taxes in a year and just over the past couple of years, that includes Amazon, Chevron, Avis, Delta, Eli Lilly, GM, Goodyear, Halliburton, Honeywell, IBM, Netflix, Occidental Petroleum, Owens Corning, Salesforce, U.S. Steel. Last year, Archer Daniels, FedEx, Nike, on and on and on. Are moderates really concerned that those corporations may actually have to pay millions of dollars in taxes? Because right now they’re paying zero.

And billionaires are continuing to figure out how to pay little or nothing. Hedge fund titans are paying taxes at lower rates than their clerical employees, the people who chauffeur their Bentleys. You think that’s demagoguery? You think that’s populism – no, it’s not. No, that’s the fact. Billionaires’ capital, it doesn’t get taxed. Workers’ wages do. And so now Democrats in congress are saying, we need to raise the taxes on people who are working but leave billionaires alone as they continue to amass capital and continue – listen to me here. Listen to me here. Because everybody hates income redistribution. That makes you a socialist, doesn’t it? If you’re for a scheme that redistributes wealth.

Well, let me tell you something. In the world we’ve lived in over the past 40 years there’s been the largest income redistribution scam in American history. And it’s been the middle class that’s been looted while trillions keep flowing into the bank accounts of billionaires. Did you hear what I just said? Did you hear what I just said? This whole income redistribution thing we keep – “Oh, you can’t raise taxes on people because that will be income redistribution. You’re a socialist.” Well, guess what. The very people who are saying that, the very people who are funding think tanks that’ll say that, the very people that are paying lobbyists to get the message out to say that, the very people who are spending millions and millions of dollars on lawyers and lobbyists on K Street who are saying that. They are the people who have scammed you. They’re the people whose monopolies continue to be untouched. They continue to be untouched all because they can buy the best lobbyists, they can buy the best lawyers, they can buy the best influencers on Capitol Hill, across Washington, D.C., and across Wall Street.

Please, please, Democrats, do better than that. Tax capital. Take a dent on these super wealthy billionaires who keep accumulating, keep amassing fortunes. Because you’re just – I mean, when you’re taxing income a little bit more, 2% here, 3% here, you’re missing the target. If you want to make this country a fairer place, if you want to get us back to where we were before where there wasn’t just such massive divergence between the super wealthy and the rest of Americans, you gonna have to rewrite your tax plan because that one is just lousy.

Katty Kay, we’ve seen the super wealthy accumulate fortunes through capital. Capital accumulation that’s not taxed or taxed at extraordinarily low rates. While people who work for a living, people who have an income, keep getting taxed at higher rates every year.

KATTY KAY [WASHINGTON EDITOR, OZY MEDIA]: Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of stunning that this is not a bigger conversation here in Washington, and amongst the Democratic Party, that taxing dividends and taxing capital, taxing wealth rather than income, is actually the way you’re going to make some kind of dent on what has been incredibly rapidly growing inequality in this country.

And you’ve had people like Warren Buffett over the years who have said this has to stop. I mean, Warren Buffett one of the super wealthy people in this country has said you’ve got to go after wealth. You have to go after dividends because it’s just not fair that he is paying, as he says, less than his secretary is paying in terms of taxes. And when you keep fiddling around with the marginal rate on incomes, going from 37% to 39%, you’re just not going to get there. I mean, you will squeeze those people who are wealthier, who are taking back, you know, 400, 500, $600,000 a year, those families, but you’re not going to touch the billionaires who don’t have income. Their money comes from their wealth and from the dividends on their wealth, it doesn’t come from their income.

SCARBOROUGH: So, Jake, what’s the political calculus of Democrats to say, “Oh, we don’t want to upset the moderates. We don’t want to make Amazon pay taxes. We don’t want to make IBM pay taxes. We don’t want to make these super corporations pay taxes. We’ll just raise taxes on small business owners who make $400,000, $500,000.”

JAKE SHERMAN [PUNCHBOWL NEWS CO-FOUNDER]: Well, so they would say they are forcing those businesses to pay taxes. They’ve raised, at least marginally, the corporate rate from 21 to, I think, 25 or 26. But, listen, I think it’s more of a vote counting problem, Joe, than anything else in a – and it’s frankly my estimation is the House of Representatives, where they only enjoy a four-seat majority, and any step out of line, so to speak, any step away from the mean or from the lowest common denominator could provide them vote problems. And by the way, they have vote problems everywhere. They have enough problems right now on things ranging from prescription drugs to S.A.L.T. deductions, the state and local tax deductions. There are just so many trip wires right now for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that anything imaginative or out of the mainstream, so to speak – not out of the mainstream, but out of the kind of currently envisioned tax plan, is just not going to fly, I think.

And I want to say just one more thing here. I’ve noticed in the last couple of months, and this bolsters your argument Joe, Republicans are actually no longer even talking about raising taxes as being the central focus point of this plan because they realize, and I’ve talked to a lot of Republicans about that, that it no longer plays to talk about raising taxes, that the spending is actually the more potent political argument for Republicans. So that bolsters your contention, Joe, that this is actually no longer an unpopular proposition to be raising taxes on super wealthy and corporations. So that is new because for the last 20 years since you were in Congress, I would say that the tax argument was a much more potent argument for Republicans.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, boy, if I were campaigning in any congressional district, in any district across America, I would love my opponent, Republican or Democratic, to stand up and say, “You know, I don’t think we should make Amazon pay taxes. I really don’t think we should make billionaires stop being able to build up their loopholes to continue this, again, redistribution of income from middle class Americans to the super wealthy.”

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