Poor old Brit Hume. Seems he didn't have much of an argument during this segment on Fox News Sunday when Juan Williams pointed out that corporations paying zero in federal taxes wasn't exactly working out so well to solve our deficit problems.
From Think Progress -- VIDEO: Fox’s Brit Hume Is Left Speechless When Asked About G.E. Paying Zero Federal Taxes:
While any sober solution to the country’s deficit problem should include both revenue enhancement and spending cuts, conservatives have been completely unwilling to even consider tax increases, proposing steep cuts that will do little to solve the deficit, while doing much to hurt the middle class and the most vulnerable. Toeing that conservative line on Fox News Sunday today, Fox personality Brit Hume argued that cutting taxes will actually lead to increased tax revenue. Fox analyst Juan Williams responded by noting this is often not the case, citing the fact that G.E. — the nation’s largest company — paid nothing in taxes last year. Williams’ response flummoxed Hume, who appeared dumbfounded and at a loss for words. Host Chris Wallace had to jump in to smooth things over with a joke.
Full transcript below the fold.
WILLIAMS: And what you see on the Republican side is the need, then, I think to sell it not only to Republicans, but sell it to constituents. And what Ryan's solution is, oh, we're just going to grandfather in everybody who is over 55, I think he told you this morning.
WILLIAMS: You know, at some point you say, well, if this is really a national emergency, don't we have to make some kind of sacrifice, everybody in the country working together to cut back on these entitlements? The one point that I think Paul Ryan is exactly right on is President Obama hasn't led on this. Why hasn't he led? Because he thinks Republicans will beat him about the head politically and endanger his re-election prospects if he gets out there and says we need entitlement reform in this country.
Well, let's see Ryan really get out there, gain political support for it. And I think then President Obama might come along.
But I'm impressed that Paul Ryan wants to do something. I think it's what needs to be done for our generation in terms of substantially reducing the size of the government.
But let me just say, tax increases should not be off the table. I don't know why it is that he somehow suggests the rich in this country have no obligation to support the country.
WALLACE: I want to talk about the politics of this, because the Democrats -- and you can certainly already see it, if not from the president, from Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer in the Senate -- they think that budget politics is going to work for them, that they're going to be able to go out in 2012 -- and that's exactly what Paul Ryan said -- and say look at these Republicans, they're going to take away your Medicare.
HUME: Throw mama from the train.
WALLACE: And they're going to take away all the goodies that you have depended on. The counter-argument from Ryan is that we're in such trouble, and the country has woken up to it, that being serious about the debt is actually good politics.
HUME: What the Democrats are likely to do has always worked. Always worked. The question is, in the aftermath of the 2010 election, is whether things are now different and whether the party that leads on trying to do something serious about this mammoth, yawning deficit and debt that we face will win politically.
I'm not sure. Look at Wisconsin, where they passed this bill which will have a major effect on the budget in years to come. Labor fought it tooth and nail. Labor may end up winning a judgeship election out there to throw a judge that rule in favor of the bill that was passed off the Supreme Court in favor of their own guy.
Public opinion is mixed out there at best. Governors who have fought this issue on the budget have seen their popularity decline markedly. In some cases, their popularity has recovered.
But the indispensable ingredient was winning. In other words, having the reforms, the proposal, the cuts go into effect, and the benefits that flowed there from become recognizable to the public.
These House Republicans, they can't single-handedly do that. All they can do is vote something and go as far as they can --
WILLIAMS: In taking taxes completely off the table, remember Governor Walker out there cut taxes for the rich. Remember that there has been extension of the Bush tax cuts. And you're going on as if, you know what? We don't know in America how to help our own deficit problems.
We do. We just have to tax people.
HUME: Juan, what we need is not higher tax rates. What we need is higher revenues. And how do you get higher revenues? You get higher revenues from an expanding economy. That's where the big money comes from.
WILLIAMS: Yes. GE paying no taxes, that's good for America? Come on. You know that's not right.
WALLACE: I just want to say I pay all my taxes.
WILLIAMS: Good man.
WALLACE: Thank you -- if there's any IRS agent out there.