Matthews: Ten years ago today George W. Bush signed his historic tax cuts. Today the US faces a mounting national debt: $2.6 trillion are from those Bush tax cuts enacted 10 years ago according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Democrats are looking at millionaires and billionaires to shoulder the burden and pay higher taxes once the tax cuts expire next year.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is a Democrat from Illinois. Let me ask you about this, Congresswoman. $2.6 trillion added to the national debt by Bush’s tax cuts according to these groups, a couple of them, by the way, include the Joint Economic Committee. Would we be better off without the Bush tax cuts never been enacted, period?
Schakowsky: You mean for middle income as well as for upper income?
Matthews: If we had to choose between no tax cuts at all or what we got, would we be better off with not having passed that ten years ago?
Schakowsky: Well, we may be better off, but certainly, the bulk of the tax cuts went to the wealthiest Americans and created the biggest gap in income between the very rich and everyone else that we’ve seen since 1928. But you may be right, but certainly —
Matthews: I’m asking. I don’t know. I’m asking still, I will ask you one more time. Would we be better off without having passed the Bush tax cuts?
Schakowsky: I think the tax cuts for middle income people are appropriate and that the bulk of the tax cuts should be repealed.
Matthews: Let me ask you about the future. Do you think the president, when he gets in these negotiations with Joe Biden, the vice president, et al is Medicare on the table? Is everything on the table or not?
Schakowsky: Well, John Boehner said that no revenues are on the table at all. Of course, we know that Medicare is on the table. Both the Republicans in the House and the Senate overwhelmingly—only four Republicans in the House didn’t vote for it. This is the way they want to solve the debt and the deficit problem when 81% of Americans say tax millionaires and billionaires.
Matthews: So what is it—the last time we had this fight, Congresswoman, we had a proposal by the Democrats to begin to take back the tax cuts for people that make over $250,000 a year. Now you’re moving that up to $1 million. Why are you moving it up to a million as the cut line?
Schakowsky: Well, actually, I support the president’s proposal at $250,000, but in addition —
Matthews: Oh, okay.
Schakowsky: I’m creating new tax cuts in my fairness and taxation act that start at $1 million earners per year, 45 % would be their new tax rate racheting up to people who earned in one year, and they do, $1 billion, and that would be a 49% tax rate and that’s lower than during the Reagan years. So, I’m giving them a bargain and yet asking them to pay their fair share.
Matthews: Do you believe the President agrees with you?
Schakowsky: Well, I don’t know what he thinks is possible, but I certainly think that he does agree that the very richest people, and he said it in his speech at GW last month when he said he believes that rich people actually believe in this country and believe that paying their fair share of taxes is the right thing. I had a millionaire at my press conference this morning who said he doesn’t think it’s moral for him to have his taxes low while seniors are being asked to pay more for Medicare.
Matthews: Well, you’re on the popular side of this issue. Let me ask you about this sticky business with your colleague, Wiener. Anthony Wiener. Should he leave the Caucus? Should he leave the Congress or is this going to go on and on and on? Are you comfortable with him deciding to stay in Congress as long as he can or should he leave?
Schakowsky: Well, you know, you know, Anthony Wiener is my friend and I think he is a great Congressman. I know that Nancy Pelosi, and I think correctly, asked for an investigation to see if any of the resources of the Congressman….
Matthews: Yes, but if that doesn’t prove anything against him, should he leave? If that doesn’t prove he broke any ethics laws, should he stay?
Schakowsky: He said he wants to stay and let the people of his district decide. I think fair enough. but I’m not sure that the pressure, you know, if the pressure mounts anymore that that’s going to be possible, but I understand where he’s coming from. Put it to the voters in that district.
Matthews: So it’s not up to the House?
Schakowsky: Well it is up to the House, I think. And —
Matthews: Well, you just said it is up to the voters of his district. Which is it? Is it up to the house or is it up to the voters in his district, which is it?
Schakowsky: If he violated rules in the House that is a different matter. If he didn’t, I think it is up to the voters of his district.
Matthews: I know where you stand. Thanks very much for coming on “Hardball.” Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
Transcribed by the Barefoot Accountant of Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC
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