McConnell: Let's Not Play Russian Roulette With the Economy
From the man who was willing to take the the debt ceiling and our nation's credit rating hostage, we now have him warning Democrats not to "play Russian Roulette with the economy." Which of course means give us everything we want because we're never going to agree to raise taxes on our rich campaign contributors in a million years.
I hope the Democrats stick to their guns and let these Bush tax cuts expire. You can't trust Republicans to negotiate in good faith or to keep their word about anything and as the Think Progress article noted, "So Republican claims about tax increases on the rich destroying the economy — which they make every time such a policy is suggested — are just fearmongering, with no evidence backing them up."
Here's Mitch McConnell on Greta's show this Monday evening on Fox doing just that: Senate Minority Leader McConnell to Democrats: Let's not play Russian Roulette with the economy:
VAN SUSTEREN: Looks like a little bit like the showdown at the OK corral over these taxes. Senator Patty Murray says that she's essentially going to let all the tax cuts expire and put it on the Republicans that the Republicans are raising taxes for everybody.
MCCONNELL: Look, this really ought to be about the economy. We know we've got a fiscal cliff coming at the end of the year. If everybody's taxes go up and the sequester kicks in, you're going to have a major recession.
So we ought to quit playing games with this and settle the country down. And step one would be say, Let's extend the current tax rates for one more year. And during that year, do what everybody on a bipartisan basis says they want to do, which is to have comprehensive tax reform. It'd take about year to do that correctly.
Secondly, we need to sit down and figure out if we want to turn off the sequester, how to pay for it. We had a lot discussions last year about how to pay for these kinds of things. They're all still on the table. We ought not to scare the country half to death. They've got enough uncertainty going on with 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it seems to me both parties have a little bit of selling to do to the American people. The Democrats have the problem in that according to the -- what they propose, president proposes, where taxes go up for everybody over $250,000, that means that the government is financed for eight days. And so they need to sell the American people why the eight days offsets any sort of stimulus effect of having people use that money for business.
The Republicans, on the other hand, need to explain why the people who are very wealthy who may not need tax cuts, why they would feel so inspired to use the tax cuts to create more jobs.
MCCONNELL: Well, you certainly made the point about the president's proposal. It doesn't do anything for deficit reduction, just pay for the government for four or five days. So it's not a serious proposal. It's all about class warfare.
Our point is, when the president says we're going to raise taxes on people making over $250,000 a year, he in fact hits over a million small businesses that don't pay taxes as corporations, they pay taxes as individuals.
VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning the money goes through them personally.
MCCONNELL: Yes. They are -- they are corporations organized in such a way -- S Corps, LLCs -- that they pay taxes at the individual rate. That is some of our most successful small businesses in America. In fact, it's 53 percent of small business income and 25 percent of the workforce.
And here we are going after the biggest job creators in America, small businesses, under the guise of raising taxes on rich people. It's just a nonsense proposal. It'd be bad for the economy. We ought not raise anybody's taxes and the end of the year and use that year to begin to rationalize the whole tax code, which really needs it. Corporate tax rates now in America are the highest of any country in the world. That's not competitive.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, let me take the other side, is that -- is that why should the American people believe that Washington really is going to reform the tax code? It has had many opportunities and people have known it's been bad and it hasn't been done. And if you do the tax cuts, extend them fully one more year, that still doesn't sort of build in the stability that money business operators need in order to make plannings about capital investments.
MCCONNELL: Well, comprehensive tax reform is actually something Democrats and Republicans agree that we ought to do. It's just that you can't do it in a couple of months. It takes about a year to rationally work our way through it. Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did this on a bipartisan basis in the '80s. It's time to do it again. This is one of the things that we actually agree on, it's just that you can't do it on the back of an envelope over a couple of months.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who's going to blink first? I mean, because this really is sort of a showdown. Either the Republicans are going to blink first on this or the Democrats on this tax. Right now, the Democrats have sort of drawn the line in the sand, saying, Either Republicans agree to our way, or we're going to let all the taxes go up and stick the Republicans with the blame.
MCCONNELL: Look, I don't think playing Russian Roulette with the economy is a smart thing to do. We need to be responsible here. Everybody knows what we need to do at the end of the year. We need not to raise anybody's taxes, particularly do we not want to raise taxes on almost a million of our most important and effective small businesses.
That would settle us down in terms of the fear that rates are going up. And then sit down and talk about how -- if we want to turn the so-called sequester off, there are ways to pay for that. Let's do it as responsible adults and not play Russian Roulette with the American economy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can we have that done before the election, I mean, before the lame duck because, you know, the American business people, whether you raise the taxes or not, they're sort of sitting on the sidelines, trying to figure out what to do. And every month that goes by as we watch what goes on in Washington, business people really feel apprehensive about making decisions.
MCCONNELL: Well, the House is going to vote, and I think they will approve extending the current tax rates. We are going to make sure we have that vote in the Senate. I can't guarantee the outcome, but I know there are at least six to eight Democrats in the Senate who've said they don't even agree that $250,000 over is rich.
In fact, they're having an internal debate about what's the definition of rich. Some people say a million, some people say 250, some say 500.
Maybe we ought to just come together and extend the current tax rates for a year with an important commitment of the American people that we're going to do something we say we're all for anyway, which is to go through comprehensive tax reform again because we're in an uncompetitive situation with a corporate tax rate that's the highest in the world.