Nancy Pfotenhauer Gets Her Punishing The Rich Talking Point Shot Down

[media id=7586] You Tube Joan Walsh and Peter Beinart do a pretty good job here of tag teaming Nancy Pfotenhauer on her punishing the rich talking p

You Tube

Joan Walsh and Peter Beinart do a pretty good job here of tag teaming Nancy Pfotenhauer on her punishing the rich talking point. It was nice to watch a panel where they didn't let her talk over everyone the entire time as she likes to do if they let her.

HUGHLEY: Nancy, what do you think? Is he a communist?

PFOTENHAUER: I heard communist and socialist thrown around, and they are two different things. If you want to talk about communism, that's more "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." So it would be more the redistribution of wealth aspect.

I do think his tax the rich thing is punishing prosperity, which is an antithetical to the American dream, and completely ignores the fact that the top five percent of the earners in this country, they do earn about 36 percent of the income. They pay about 60 percent of the income tax, and the bottom 40 percent pay zero. So I'm not sure that's the way he should be going. So that would speak to the redistribution act.

WALSH: But why is it --

PFOTENHAUER: Excuse me?

BEINART: Sorry, go ahead.

HUGHLEY: We just turned into Jerry Springer. Who is going to say -- Joan, what were you saying? You were about to say something.

WALSH: I think that we have had a situation. We are not punishing the rich. Let's be honest. In this country, we have a game that is rigged. If you're born wealthy, you stay wealthy. It's very hard to climb out of the middle class into wealth.

It's still possible. It's a great country. We provide a lot of opportunity. But the rich are finally about to pay their fair share, and Obama, finally a president did what he promised to do. He gave a tax cut to 95 percent of the country. And if you're lucky enough to be in the top five percent who will pay a little bit more, well, you're a lucky person to start with and you should be paying more.

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: What happens is Republicans always play this game, Republicans always play this game when they start talking about taxes. They start talking about taxes, and then they add the word "income taxes."

PFOTENHAUER: I will talk about payroll.

BEINART: Payroll taxes are much more regressive. They fall much more aggressively on poor people. So do sales tax. So Republicans always talk about income taxes are so weighted against the rich. That is actually the most progressive part of our taxes.

PFOTENHAUER: Let me talk then, particularly, to payroll taxes. When you include payroll taxes with income taxes, the numbers do drop, but not demonstrably.

So you can look at it. You still see the top earners paying the lion's share of both the income and the payroll taxes, and you see the prime earners -- I'm not arguing for anybody to pay more taxes. In a recession, no one's taxes should be raised.

Since President Obama is not talking about raising anyone's taxes other than the upper earners I don't think Nancy is really too worried about everyone's taxes. Just the types she used to lobby for. Just a hunch.

Full transcript to follow.

HUGHLEY: Well, it has been 55 days, and the president is working his ass off. Seriously Mr. President, stop doing so much. You're making George Bush look bad.

Joining me now is Joanne Walsh, Peter Beinart and Nancy Pfotenhauer. Is Obama working too hard, because I heard that charged leveled against him, that he's trying to do too much?

BEINART: No. I think we've actually realized that a hard-working president is something valuable.

Now George W. Bush putting in more hours might have actually made things worse. But I think for Barack Obama putting in more hours, particularly given the amazingly difficult set of thing he's got going on now, I think he's good.

HUGHLEY: OK. Nancy, do you think the stimulus package, is that going to work, or are we just throwing money at a problem?

PFOTENHAUER: I think it's a big mistake. When you look at about like spending $300 million on golf carts or $400 million on beautifying places like the Tidal Basin, which are already pretty beautiful, or $46 billion on 15 programs that's have already been determined to be ineffective, I don't think that's going to stimulate the economy.

And I do think he's been working hard. I think he has even lost weight, if that was possible, because he looks like he's even thinner. But, unfortunately, I believe spending $1.2 trillion in the first 50- plus days is a bad idea. And to give it some perspective, that's like $24 billion, a day or $1 billion an hour, most of it borrowed.

WALSH: That's ridiculous.

PFOTENHAUER: That's not ridiculous.

WALSH: Come on.

PFOTENHAUER: That's not ridiculous. And most of it is borrowed.

WALSH: This money is spent out over years. That's a ridiculous claim.

HUGHLEY: No one was as vocal or adamant when the Republicans were spending money like drunk sailors. I didn't see the aversion to it. And I think the problem, to me --

PFOTENHAUER: That's not true. That's not true, because I got a lot of push lack because I stood up and said they are spending like it's a taxpayer-funded party. Sometimes I said the term "orgy." And that's not responsible. It is mortgaging our future. It's not good when Republicans do it. It's not good when Democrats do it.

HUGHLEY: Parties are bad, but orgies are something I have to look into. But what do you think, Joan? What do you think?

WALSH: It was an orgy of bad behavior for eight years, and poor Barack Obama is working overtime to clean it up, just like we elected him to. We elected him to work hard. Nancy's candidate was the one who said, "I'm going to go back to Washington because I can't work more than one thing at time," trying to block the TARP.

And Barack Obama told us, "I'm going to work on a lot of things all at once because that's what the world needs." And so I think he's done an awesome job. I think it's funny we are sitting here. It's like 55 days. We can't give people 100 days anymore.

HUGHLEY: Right. When you're black, have you to get it done faster. Now, Timothy Geithner, Barack's appointee, is he doing what needs to be done, Joan?

WALSH: That is where I would be a little bit critical. He too, has an almost impossible job, D.L. But I think he's been slow out of the gate. I think that a few weeks ago he came out and said "I have a plan, I have a plan," and he didn't have a plan. I think that shook the markets.

I think the markets want certainty, and they still haven't delivered certainty about what they're going to do with the banks and the toxic assets and all that zombie stuff we get scared about.

HUGHLEY: Right. I have heard this term a lot, so much in the last couple of weeks. But could anybody please explain to me how Obama is a communist. I don't understand that. I hear it so much.

WALSH: It's vicious, vicious.

BEINART: Here's the problem. Capitalism works really well when there's effective regulation. It's like a car that has a really fast motor, but you need a steering wheel, brakes, and some traffic lights.

What happens is when Democrats and liberals try to impose some legislation, which is what they did a hundred years ago under Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, under Franklin Roosevelt, then conservatives actually say it's communism.

If fact, what it is, it's saving capitalism from itself, because without the regulation, with we run straight into a wall, which is what happened under of the Bush administration.

HUGHLEY: Nancy, what do you think? Is he a communist?

PFOTENHAUER: I heard communist and socialist thrown around, and they are two different things. If you want to talk about communism, that's more "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." So it would be more the redistribution of wealth aspect.

I do think his tax the rich thing is punishing prosperity, which is an antithetical to the American dream, and completely ignores the fact that the top five percent of the earners in this country, they do earn about 36 percent of the income. They pay about 60 percent of the income tax, and the bottom 40 percent pay zero. So I'm not sure that's the way he should be going. So that would speak to the redistribution act.

WALSH: But why is it --

PFOTENHAUER: Excuse me?

BEINART: Sorry, go ahead.

HUGHLEY: We just turned into Jerry Springer. Who is going to say -- Joan, what were you saying? You were about to say something.

WALSH: I think that we have had a situation. We are not punishing the rich. Let's be honest. In this country, we have a game that is rigged. If you're born wealthy, you stay wealthy. It's very hard to climb out of the middle class into wealth.

It's still possible. It's a great country. We provide a lot of opportunity. But the rich are finally about to pay their fair share, and Obama, finally a president did what he promised to do. He gave a tax cut to 95 percent of the country. And if you're lucky enough to be in the top five percent who will pay a little bit more, well, you're a lucky person to start with and you should be paying more.

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: What happens is Republicans always play this game, Republicans always play this game when they start talking about taxes. They start talking about taxes, and then they add the word "income taxes."

PFOTENHAUER: I will talk about payroll.

BEINART: Payroll taxes are much more regressive. They fall much more aggressively on poor people. So do sales tax. So Republicans always talk about income taxes are so weighted against the rich. That is actually the most progressive part of our taxes.

PFOTENHAUER: Let me talk then, particularly, to payroll taxes. When you include payroll taxes with income taxes, the numbers do drop, but not demonstrably.

So you can look at it. You still see the top earners paying the lion's share of both the income and the payroll taxes, and you see the prime earners -- I'm not arguing for anybody to pay more taxes. In a recession, no one's taxes should be raised.

HUGHLEY: But the amazing thing to me is, I have heard all kinds of plans bantered around, and I heard all kind of ideas bantered around. But what is happening here is that we did let capitalism run unchecked. And it has brought this country on the brink of devastation.

There are no good options. We constantly discussed this. But at least what he's doing seems to be giving people at least some idea that the government is trying to help the individual and not a corporation. And that seems to be the idea that I can grasp onto most.

But another question I would like to ask is this week, Obama is talking about working with the Taliban. And that drew a lot of fire from people. I just don't know how talking to someone who is your enemy hurts you, if you're going to find something else. You can reach across and find out what's going on and maybe have some level of dialogue with somebody. How is that horrible?

BEINART: That's actually what we did in Iraq, you know. The success -- and give George W. Bush some credit -- the success we had in Iraq is largely because we turned to a lot of these former Saddam loyalists, basically, paid them off so they stopped attacking U.S. troops.

And that is now the model they are trying in Afghanistan. It may or may not work. Afghanistan is a different place. But it's actually a good idea, because we've shown we can't kill all of these people, even if we really wanted to.

HUGHLEY: Thanks Joan, Peter, and Nancy. We appreciate you being here. Thank you very much.

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