It seems that, as Susie formerly called him, Pete Peterson's pet dog, the smarmy David Walker, made his way back onto MSNBC this Friday and surprise, surprise, he's endorsing Mitt Romney. Color me not shocked, even though the media constantly tries to portray this guy as some bipartisan straight shooter.
Apparently Walker isn't too happy that he hasn't managed to get his "grand bargain" passed under President Obama and he twists himself in knots trying to defend Romney's fuzzy math on his budget numbers that simply don't add up without raising taxes on the middle class and resorts to more or less questioning what the definition of middle class is.
As Susie noted in the post linked above, regardless of what Walker says here, she went to one of his seminars and the people who were in attendance were not buying the snake oil the man and his group were selling. You can read more about Walker and Pete Peterson here: Peterson's Grand Bargain Campaign To Kick Off After Election and here: Meet Pete Peterson, Architect of Social Security and Medicare Cuts.
Rough transcript of Walker's interview below the fold.
WALKER: Well, because I just came back from a 9,500 mile tour and met with thousands of vote voters around the country. 97% believe that the economy, jobs and fiscal responsibility should be the top priority. Only 8% have confidence in the current line up getting the job done.
I endorsed him, not because of his plan, because neither candidate has a plan that I think is detailed enough for the American people , but because of his proven leadership ability, because of his track record of transforming organizations and working on a bipartisan basis and I think it's critically important that we have inspired leadership today, because this country faces key challenges that are getting worse with the passage of time, and we're not making progress.
KORNACKI: So I'm having a little time understanding, a hard time understanding this, because the debt is such an important issue to you and if you look at the framework for what Mitt Romney is proposing, it's something we've seen before. He's talking about a 20% across the board tax cut. He's talking about ending the estate tax. He's talking about ending the alternative minimum tax. He's talking about tacking on $2 trillion more in defense spending.
And when he's asked about the effect on the deficit, the only thing he will say is he will close unspecified -- and unspecified tax deductions , which he refuses to spell out because they're politically poisonous. This seems to me the basic recipe of trickle-down economics in the Reagan and in the George W. Bush years, both of which resulted in exploding deficits. What am I missing here?
WALKER: Well, first I have the benefit of meeting one on one with Gov. Romney and Paul Ryan and probing in more depth what are their thoughts with regard to taxes and defense. you're talking about the things being thrown out, but when you look at a 20% rate reduction and when you look at what rates are now, that will take the top rate to 28%. We lose $1.1 trillion a year in revenue through deductions, exemptions, credits and exclusions. Over ten years that's probably $15 trillion, when you count inflation. So all you have to do is eliminate about a third to 40 percent of the deductions, exemptions, credits and exclusions, and you can be revenue neutral. With regard to defense, we're spending 4.6% of GDP on defense. He's committed to spend four. Four is less than 4.6. My personal view is we shouldn't commit to four. We shouldn't commit to more than three and it should be facts and circumstances and we'll ultimately see what happens.
KORKACKI: Has he spelled out... because the economists who looked at this say he has promised that he will not hit the middle class at all to pay for his tax cuts and it will only affect upper income earners. If you eliminate all of the deductions right now only for upper income earners, it leaves you short of paying for a 20 percent across the board tax cut.
So how, has he spelled on you for you specifically what he's going to be cuting here in terms of deductions for the middle class? Did he spell out something out for you that he's not telling to us? Because these numbers do not add up from what he's proposing.
WALKER: I understand your frustration. First, who defines what the middle class is? That's a problem. Secondly in all candor, neither Gov. Romney nor President Obama has laid out a comprehensive plan with enough specificity that meets the criteria that I laid out as part of Come Back America Initiative when you go to KeepingAmericaGreat.org. Neither one has. Therefore, not being able to effectively analyze a plan like every other American, I have to go on leadership ability. I have to go on proven experience and a track record.
KORKACKI: But David, can I just put it to you this way? We have a tax plan from Romney that doesn't add up. It screams major deficits unless you're willing to tell the middle class all the deductions are gone. It screams more deficits. You look at Obama. One fundamental difference is he says you know what we're going to do? We're going to end the Bush tax cuts for upper income earners. Now, that's not going to solve everything, but that is a step towards the closing the budget deficit. In terms of the deficit, I see more about addressing it from that alone from Obama than anything from I'm seeing from Romney, which screams exploding deficits.
Walker: Well, you've ignored the fact Steve, that he's committed that he will not allow the deficit to increase. In fact, he's willing to hold himself accountable for a significant reduction in debt as a percentage to the economy. Here's one thing about this. You can't play games with the numbers. You know, ultimately one of the things that you really can hold a president responsible, accountable for is how do the numbers actually turn out? What does the deficit look like? what does the debt look like? What does economic growth look like? What does employment look like? What does inflation look like? These are objective numbers that you can hold people accountable for, and he will be hold accountable. I will tell you, he's got proven leadership ability in all three sectors of the economy. He's got proven transformational change experience in all three sectors of the economy. He's proven he can work on a bipartisan basis, and he has experience that I think demonstrates that he is willing to do the right thing thihing even if it means that he will be a one-term president. Because our country is in serious trouble right now.
CUPP: Well David, It's S.E. here. I don't know if you can convince Steve that Mitt Romney is the guy for the job, but tell me why maybe President Obama is not the right guy for another four years.
WALKER: Well, first, I truly believe that both President Obama and Mitt Romney want to do a grand bargain, but I don't think they both have the same leadership ability to get it done. I think President Obama's biggest problem is not his intellect, not his communication skills. He has not led. And when he had the Senate, the House and the White House , he spent way too much time on the Affordable Care Act, and that poisoned Washington, because even though a majority of the American people doesn't want the Affordable Care Act, and even... nonetheless the effort was taken to pass it on a straight party line vote. and that poisoned the well.
I think the worst of all scenarios is the House stays in Republican hands which it's gonna', the Senate stays in Democratic hands by a smaller margin and President Obama stays in the White House. We haven't gotten any progress on that in the last two years. Why do you think it's different in the next two years? And by the way, it's likely that the Republicans are going to take the Senate in 2014. And so I think you just have to be recognizing reality. it's not just who the president is, although that's by far the most important. It's also who controls the House, who controls the Senate, and who can get a deal done.
BALL: It sounds to me like your plan is to reward the McConnell and Boehner strategy of obstructing everything the President possibly wants to do.
WALKER: No, absolutely not. I think... look if the Jouse changes, that's a change. If the Senate changes and that's a change. If the White House changes, that's a change. I think at least one of them needs to change if you want to get different results in Washington, D.C.
BALL: The House would be the best one.
KORKACKI: Republican obstructionism, that's a whole other subject of conversation. We'll get to that another time.
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