MSNBC hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle held Rep. Jim Renacci's (R-PA) feet to the fire on Thursday after he floated budgetary math that didn't pass the smell test.
After House Republicans paved the way for tax reform negotiations by passing a budget on Wednesday, Renacci insisted to the MSNBC hosts that tax cuts would be focused on the middle class.
"That's really not what the studies show," Velshi pointed out. "But actually everything that [we've seen indicates] the top 1 percent get 80 percent of the benefit out of this tax plan right now."
"I just don't agree with that," Renacci countered, arguing that because of lower business taxes, "it's going to end up looking like the 1 percent [benefit] but it's just not true."
"Take away the business side of it, you're going to see that the goal here is to get middle American taxpayers with less taxes," he insisted.
"That's an interesting way to do that," Velshi interrupted. "That's a little bit like saying if you just take away the fact that I don't have hair, I'm not really bald."
"Business is business," Renacci replied. "We need to be able to compete. We have the highest tax rate in the world."
"Sir, we don't!" Ruhle said without letting the congressman finish.
"You know that full well!" Velshi agreed. "You know full well that you don't have a single corporate client that pays a 35 percent statutory business rate."
Ruhle piled on: "You're a CPA, you talk about the fact people don't go through itemized deductions, corporations do! We can look at the statutory rate all day long, but if you find me a Fortune 500 company -- their stocks are soaring -- that pay that rate, I will eat my hat."