T. Boone Pickens is apparently very upset that President Obama has been calling for the rich to pay their fair share in taxes and on this Wednesday's Morning Joe, he wanted to do plenty of griping about it, but wasn't willing to be straight forward about exactly how much money he earns. Scarborough for his part, did try to get Pickens to say what percentage of income he thought was a fair amount to pay, but after Pickens was only willing to throw out some obscure number of what he paid in taxes over who knows how long of a period of time, Scarborough jumped all over Mika Brzezinski for daring to try to pin Pickens down on how much income he was talking about so they could know what percentage he actually paid.
PICKENS: The President is confusing me. Every time he's on TV he says that the rich should pay their fair share.
BRZEZINSKI: What's wrong with that?
PICKENS: Well, I don't know what fair share is you see. That's what's bothering me. I always want to be fair and historically I've been a very fair guy. I'm 83. I still go to work in the morning at eight o'clock. I have 150 people work for me and some place in here I feel like I'm letting the country down and so I need to know, what they want.
BRZEZINSKI: Well, we could start with taxes.
SCARBOROUGH: Warren Buffet paid about eighteen percent of what he made... seventeen percent in taxes. Is that fair?
PICKENS: Well let me take you back. After I was 70 years old, I paid I paid $665 million in taxes, is that fair?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you made a lot of money.
BRZEZINSKI: Well, I don't know how much you made, Mr. Pickens. Why don’t you give me the full numbers?
PICKENS: Full numbers? Tell me exactly what full number means? […] How much did I make? […]
SCARBOROUGH: You don’t have to answer that question,” interjected Scarborough. Come on! No, it’s none of your business! You going to tell everybody how much you make?
BRZEZINSKI: I’m not making an argument about how much I paid in taxes. It sounded like such a big number and then not disclosing...
PICKENS: You feel like I’m not paying my fair share after $665 million and I’m over 70 years old?
Sir, with all due respect, it depends on what you make.
SCARBOROUGH: I, for one, am glad you’re paying $665 million in the United States treasury.
Willie Geist later got Pickens to admit that he makes most of his money through investments and is probably just paying the rate for capital gains. Pickens then went on to say that he didn't pay any taxes this year because he didn't make any money and claimed they did not ask him what he made (which Brzezinski clearly did since that's what Scarborough was chastising her for).
So who knows over what period Pickens was talking about when he said he paid the $665 million since he didn't specify how many years he was talking about other than to say he paid that much after he was 70. What is clear is he came on with the intention of playing the poor over-taxed millionaire and was hoping he could just toss some meaningless numbers around and no one would call him out for it. Why Scarborough thought it was fair to ask him what percentage he paid in taxes, but that Brzezinski's follow up was not is beyond me, but not surprising coming from Scarborough.
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