July 1, 2010

Chris Matthews had on wingnut Rick-Gather-Your-Armies Barber to explain his extremely over the top campaign ads and managed to take down another teabagger by just asking him very simple questions about what he meant to say in his ads and what his policies are and the man showing himself to be incapable of defending himself. It looked like shooting fish in a barrel and I'm really surprised he thought it was a good idea to go on the air with Matthews. I have quite a few grievances with Tweety and his brand of "journalism" or whatever you want to call it, but making wingnuts look like the incoherent asses they are as he did in this segment isn't one of them.

MATTHEWS: Republican House candidate Rick Barber of Alabama came out with an ad earlier this month that got a lot of buzz. The spot begins partway through an imagined meeting with founding father Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington.


MATTHEWS: Mr. Barber, that’s quite an ad.

Let me ask you, what -- the -- the first part struck me is, "I would impeach him."

Well, who would you impeach and for what? Which president?

BARBER: It’s not necessarily meant for a president. We would have said president if that’s who we intended.

It’s a metaphor to the fact that we don’t seem to want to hold our leaders accountable. We have got leaders that are doing illegal acts, that are not representing the people. And we don’t seem to want to use the tools that are there -- impeachment is one of them -- to hold them accountable.

MATTHEWS: Well, they have committed illegal acts. What are they? Which presidents committed illegal acts?

BARBER: Well, you’ve got...

MATTHEWS: We have had the progressive income tax since 1913. Have all the presidents since then been committing illegal acts?

BARBER: Again, you just look back over the years, there are several who have been caught for tax fraud, tax evasion. You’ve got the potential offering of Democratic candidates not to run in replacement for possible high-level offices. There’s a lot of stuff out there. And if anything of it is found to be true, we should hold those people accountable, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Well, sure. I want to go through what your ad says. You stand by the ad, of course?

BARBER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let’s talk about the progressive income tax. Would you like to replace it?

BARBER: Absolutely. I would love to replace it with the fair tax.

MATTHEWS: And you would like to get rid of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which created it back in 1913, get rid of the whole thing?

BARBER: Absolutely. I think it’s -- it’s counterproductive to our economy.


MATTHEWS: OK. Sure. You want to get rid of the income tax, period, not just the progressive income tax, but any kind of direct tax, income tax, is that right, and go to an indirect tax, some sort of ad valorem, VAT kind of tax? That’s what you want to do?

BARBER: I think the science is there, the data is there to show that a consumption-based tax is far more productive for a society and far more fair.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. We get rid of the income tax, period.

What interests -- or, rather, what sales tax rate on top -- here in D.C. we pay 8 percent. What would you add to that for -- as a national sales tax? What percentage of sales?

BARBER: No, you wouldn’t be adding any tax.

The fair tax is a replacement for all the embedded tax that’s estimated to be in the products and goods and services that we have already because of our current income tax.


MATTHEWS: We have sales taxes all around the country, sir. In addition to the current sales tax we have in other states -- you can’t stop states from having sales taxes, so in addition to the sales tax, you would have a national sales tax, right?

BARBER: Correct.

MATTHEWS: OK. What rate?

BARBER: It wouldn’t be in addition. It would be replacing the product and service. It would be a replacement of the taxes that are already there. And you can’t -- the local locations would have to take care of their own tax.

MATTHEWS: You would get rid of the sales tax in localities?

BARBER: You would get rid of Social Security, capital gains.

MATTHEWS: No, no, no.


BARBER: You would get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. You would get rid of the death tax.


MATTHEWS: Would you answer the question?

What do you do about sales taxes in states like Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C.? All across the country, states have sales taxes. Would you get rid of those? And how can you do that constitutionally, denying the right of states to pay for their expenses? How would you do that legally or constitutionally?

BARBER: You wouldn’t -- you wouldn’t necessarily do that. The states would have to choose in what way they want to tax on their own. That’s their sovereign right.


MATTHEWS: Well, they have. They have sales -- OK.


BARBER: But I think they would follow the national standard.

MATTHEWS: Right. Everybody listening knows what’s going on here. You’re not answering the question.

You want a national sales tax. What rate of taxation do you want in that sales tax?

BARBER: The estimated tax that’s already embedded in the goods is 23 percent. You would get rid of the embedded tax, replace it with the fair tax, and the states would then have to choose how they want to tax beyond that.


MATTHEWS: Well, in the states that I live in, it’s about 8 percent. So we’re adding 23 percent. So we would have a 31 percent sales tax. What would you apply that to? Food, clothing?

BARBER: Well, you keep saying add. You would not -- again, you would not be adding a tax, Chris. You’re putting words in my mouth.


BARBER: There’s an embedded tax in every product and service that we buy today.


MATTHEWS: OK. What about the local sales taxes? Would you get rid of those when you create the national sales tax?

BARBER: No. You could not.

The states and local communities would have to choose whether they wanted to remain on a state sales or income tax or move to a sales tax. That would be up to them to follow whichever path they want to do locally.

MATTHEWS: So, what would --


BARBER: -- you set the example at the national level.

MATTHEWS: Right. You set the example by having a national sales tax and you think that’s going to discourage states and localities from having sales taxes? It’s going to duplicate it?

BARBER: No, absolutely not. But I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of them that would shift away from an income tax and they move to a consumption-based tax as well and --

MATTHEWS: But we already have those sales taxes.


MATTHEWS: Sir, you are advocating a national sales tax on top of local taxes and everybody knows it.

Let me ask you about this thing: you say the government can increase taxes today without representation. Don’t you have a congressman? Don’t you have a U.S. senator? Don’t you have representation as a citizen?

BARBER: What we have and I think is universally agreed on at this point in time, and we’re going to see the result of which in November is that we have misrepresentation, which is almost as bad as no representation. Our leaders today are not representing the views of the people.


BARBER: And you’re going to see them pay that price in November when the elections come around.

MATTHEWS: So, we don’t have a representative form of government?

BARBER: No, we absolutely do.

MATTHEWS: Well, you just said without representation they can -- you’re saying the people can raise taxes without being people elected as representatives of the people, and that people who raise the taxes are the ones that have been elected as representatives of the people, including your Congress people who represent you. Why do you keep saying this government is a tyranny?


BARBER: Chris, you need to look at the forest through -- look at the forest through the trees.

MATTHEWS: Well, I’m looking at your ad.

BARBER: The ad is a 60-second spot.

MATTHEWS: You’re talking about a George Washington character, talking about gathering an army against our own self-elected government, not the British government, not a foreign tyranny, but our own elected government.

BARBER: No, sir. No, sir.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Look --


BARBER: You’re putting those words in my ad. It says gather the army and the army we’re referring to --

MATTHEWS: Against whom?

BARBER: Gather our political army.

MATTHEWS: Oh, political army. You didn’t say that.


BARBER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: He’s wearing a military uniform and says gather your armies and you’re saying that’s a metaphor.

BARBER: Chris, do you know who a metaphor is? Do you know what hyperbole is?

MATTHEWS: Well, it sounds like everything in your ad -- are you a metaphor for a guy running for office? Or are you a real candidate? If you’re a metaphor, I understand what you’re talking about.


MATTHEWS: You’re talking we have a government that doesn’t represent us. We have a government that’s a tyranny. We have a progressive income tax you wanted to replace --

BARBER: That’s true.

MATTHEWS: -- with that sales tax. And you won’t deny the right of states to continue having their own sales taxes, which add up to 31 percent sales tax. And I don’t think anybody is going to vote for a 31 percent sales tax, sir, or a 23 percent sales tax.

BARBER: Well, again, Chris, that’s your ignorance with what I’m saying, because again, it’s not an addition.

MATTHEWS: OK. Repeat it so I won’t be ignorant. Repeat it, sir. Anybody who wants to look at this tape can catch it -- 23 percent, you said, and I’m saying, people are now paying 8 percent in many states and localities. That adds up to 31, and you don’t like the arithmetic, but that’s a fact -- isn’t it?

BARBER: Yes. Your arithmetic is bad. You’re not listening to what I’m saying. Yes.

MATTHEWS: OK. Tell me again what rate of taxation --

BARBER: Again, it’s a replacement for --

MATTHEWS: -- do you recommend for the national sales tax, the fair tax, as you call? What rate?

BARBER: It’s not the rate. It’s not the rate, Chris. It’s not the rate.

It’s the fact you’re saying we’re going to add that. We’re not. We’re going to replace what’s already there embedded that you don’t see every day in your cost of goods with the replacement tax that’s seen on the receipt now and that’s where a lot of folks like to sling mud and misrepresent the fair tax.


MATTHEWS: And what rate will that be? And what rate will be and what will be the rate of taxation on the fair tax?

BARBER: Again, it’s estimated to be 23 percent.

MATTHEWS: OK. Now, if I get --

BARBER: But it’s not added on to the price.

MATTHEWS: No, it’s not added on -- it’s not added on to the national income tax.

BARBER: That’s right.

MATTHEWS: But it is added on to all local taxes, right, sir, so we get on the same page here, right?

BARBER: No, sir.

MATTHEWS: No, it’s not added on.

BARBER: Here’s an example. You’ve got a Coke -- Coke today costs a dollar. Today, you pay a dollar. In that dollar are already 23 percent of taxes that we don’t see. The difference is now that Coke is going to cost 77 cents, but you’re going to see 23 percent of tax on top of that 77 cents to still yield a $1 Coke and then you add your 8 percent sales tax locally on that. There’s your correct analogy.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me tell you what happens in the real world. We have a state tax; we have a federal tax if you apply one. That’s 23 plus 8. That’s 31 percent. It’s a cruel world. Arithmetic matters.

Thank you for coming on. Have you ever been audited?

BARBER: The fair tax has more research that --

MATTHEWS: Have you been audited?

BARBER: Have I been audited?


BARBER: My business has been audited, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Why? What have you done to cause to be audited?

BARBER: I didn’t say I didn’t anything to cause that. I said it’s a tool that came to use and has been used in the past.

MATTHEWS: Why were you personally audited, your business?


BARBER: I’m sorry?

MATTHEWS: Why were you audited?

BARBER: I’ve had local government audit my business.

MATTHEWS: But why?

BARBER: I’m assuming they wanted to verify everything was correct.

MATTHEWS: What was wrong with your paperwork?

BARBER: Nothing was wrong with the paperwork. We actually had some of the best paperwork they’d seen for our industry.

MATTHEWS: But why were you audited? You know, they never figured out why you were audited?

BARBER: All right. You’re splitting hairs here again.

MATTHEWS: No, I’m asking an open question.


BARBER: -- conversation to talk about the intrusive part of the government.

MATTHEWS: No, in your ad, you go after what you call "malicious audits" and I figured you must have had some experience to use language like that.

BARBER: That’s right.

MATTHEWS: So, you’ve been audited. How many times have you been audited?

BARBER: Have you not heard about during the mortgage crisis, when banks were told take the money or they’re going to be put -- they’re going to be subject to audit, which are costly and time-consuming whether they had done anything wrong or not?

MATTHEWS: How many times have you been audited?

BARBER: It’s irrelevant. I’ve been audited once.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Barber, for coming on.

Can you help us out?

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