Melissa Harris-Perry explains why the American economy performs better under Democratic Presidents. Reverend Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation, Monday, October 17, 2011, MSNBC TV

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Reverend Al Sharpton of MSNBC TV's Politics NationSHARPTON: Folks, sometimes a picture says a lot more than words ever could. Just take a look at this photo of Mitt Romney from his days as a Wall Street businessman at Bain Capital.

This is Willard right here in the middle. They`re posing with dollars and big bills, even dropping literally out of his suit.

This is the man that is obviously in the culture of where they think it`s just fine to have money literally dropping out of their pockets, just money everywhere, rolling in money. This is the man that wants to preach austerity.

At Bain Capital, Romney was a “vulture capitalist.” That`s in quotes.

He often bought companies just to break them up and sell them off for large profit, laying off thousands of workers in the process. Some of those laid-off workers spoke out in this political ad from 1994 when Romney was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t like Romney`s creating jobs, because he took every one of them away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I worked there 30 years, and I never dreamed that I`d lose my job.

NARRATOR: Mitt Romney says he helped create 10,000 jobs. The former workers at SCM in Marion, Indiana, say something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he`s created jobs, I wish he could create some here, you know, instead of taking them away.


SHARPTON: All those worker layoffs made Romney a lot of money. He`s now worth between $190 million and $250 million, yet his estimated rate is just 14 percent. Fourteen percent is his estimated tax rate, much lower than 35 percent tax rate paid by working class folks like teachers and firefighters.

Fighting that kind of injustice and inequality is what the Wall Street protests are all about. That`s why thousands of people turned out for our jobs rally on Saturday.

It`s clear what the American people want. They want justice. It`s clear what Wall Street wants. They want Willard Mitt Romney, because he`s their kind of guy.


Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate for 2012ROMNEY: Corporations are people. There are people who work there. There are customers that are people. Shareholders are people. They`re people. Raising taxes on corporations is raising taxes on people.

When you tax corporations, either the employees are going to pay or the shareholders are going to pay or the customers are going to pay. And so corporations are people.

We could raise taxes on people. That`s not the way —

AUDIENCE: Corporations!

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on —

AUDIENCE: No they`re not!

ROMNEY: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.


ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes?


SHARPTON: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane professor and columnist for “The Nation.”

Melissa, can a Wall Street candidate like Willard really succeed in this political climate today?

Melissa Harris-Perry, Professor of Political Science, Tulane UniversityMELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Possibly, and here`s why. Because we have a big mismatch between what we think is true about how Republicans perform economically and how Republicans actually perform economically. So, ,after I talked with your producers, I was so excited that we were going to be on set today. I did a little bit of my wonky research and was looking up to be sure that I wasn`t going to misstate any facts here.

SHARPTON: Well, you`re our favorite wonk. So what did you come up

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, from the period of FDR until 2000, we had just as many years with Democratic presidents as we had with Republican presidents. So it makes a nice kind of comparison.

And when you look at economic performance on all the major economic indicators, Democratic presidents outperformed Republican presidents on GDP growth, on full employment, on relative equality — there`s always a great deal of inequality in the system, but relatively more equality in the system when Democrats are presidents than when Republicans are. And yet, business leaders tend to prefer Republicans as candidates.

SHARPTON: OK. Now, let`s take this slow. Let`s un-wonk this for those that are at home like me that are not wonks.

You`re saying that since FDR, we`ve had just about an equal amount of Democrats in the White House as Republicans, but that the gross —

HARRIS-PERRY: GDP, which is sort of gross domestic product, how much the economy is growing —

SHARPTON: — grew more under Democrats than Republicans?

HARRIS-PERRY: Consistently.

SHARPTON: But isn`t their calling card that they grow the economy?

HARRIS-PERRY: It turns out they actually grow the deficits. Deficits get higher under Republican presidents. GDP gets higher under Democratic presidents. Relative equality under Democratic presidents, higher inequality under Republican presidents.

But business leaders consistently prefer Republican candidates. Do you know why?

SHARPTON: Let me show this to help support your argument to the American jury watching.

Under George Bush, the economy, 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains went to the rich.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, and that`s why. So the reason —

SHARPTON: This is to the top one percent.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. The reason business leaders prefer Republicans isn`t because they`re better for the economy. It`s because they`re better at growing the individual wealth of the wealthiest group.

So the one indicator that goes way up under Republican presidents is that the very top percentage actually accumulates a higher percentage of the wealth.

SHARPTON: You see, you`re answering something that I didn`t understand, because I got up yesterday morning to go to the King Memorial dedication, and I see in “The New York Times” this story that Wall Street, who President Obama helped bail out, is giving their money to Romney.

Look at this. I mean, how do you have a guy bail you out and then you contribute more to the guy that`s trying to run him out?

Look at the figures — $1.5 million has gone to Romney already. Only $270,000 has gone to President Obama. That doesn`t make sense — or maybe it does.

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, it`s a really clear formula. The fact is that we actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around.

Remember those kind of, oh, he wants to spread the wealth around, he`s some kind of communist, socialist, that sort of discourse? But the fact is, just in a capitalist system, just in a system where we want to grow our economy, have more consumers, have demand for the products that people are creating, all of that actually does better when working class people have disposable income to purchase homes, to purchase cars, to purchase iPads, all of those things. But what Republican administrations typically do is grow deficits, because they grow military spending and they cut taxes and they grow the wealth of the tightest top one percent.

SHARPTON: Wow. Well, thank you.

That`s why everybody thinks I`m smart. I talk to you, and then I walk out and I just rehash it. Sometimes I give you credit. Just sometimes.

Melissa Harris-Perry, thanks for being with us.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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One Response to Melissa Harris-Perry explains why the American economy performs better under Democratic Presidents. Reverend Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation, Monday, October 17, 2011, MSNBC TV

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