Rick Santelli, the CNBC talking head who helped launch the Tea Party/John Bircher/Angry Conservative movement, was at it again on CNBC on Monday. We credit his rant against homeowners as playing a major role in originating the Tea Partiers in our new book, Over The Cliff.
He's like a lot of these free-market religious freaks who believe that tax cuts magically pay for themselves, even when Ronald Reagan proved that a fallacy. For anyone to deny the First Commandment of Conservatism was too much for him to handle and he stormed off the set.
Contributor Steve Liesman rebutted, asking Santelli, “Unaffected how? Unaffected by being much higher if more teachers and policemen were laid off?” Liesman also challenged the familiar conservative tax refrain, stating, “In general, I would say the rule is this, is that lower taxes generally do not pay for themselves.”
Liesman’s points threw Santelli into a mental breakdown. When prompted on whether tax cuts would truly help address the deficit, he and fellow right-wing economist Jeff Nielson launched into a childish tirade against government spending and the capital gains tax:
LIESMAN: Let me get this straight, all you guys wanna cut taxes en route to bringing down the deficit,
SANTELLI: No I didn’t say anything about taxes Steve. I want the government to stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! That’s what we want! Stop spending!
NIELSON: And cut capital gains spending! Cut capital gains. Cut capital..make it zero percent and see what happens. [...]
LIESMAN: You know, you know I just — I just keep saying what the data show and the data show that the tax cuts don’t pay for themselves. By the way –
SANTELLI: Oh you wouldn’t know data if it bit you on the nose.
SANTELLI: Go read some Austrian economist instead of the funny pages!
Liesman tried one more time to question how “we are going to cut taxes and deficit spending at the same time.” Santelli yelled in reply: “Go back to Russia where you understand the state and the citizen” and walked off the set.
Santelli and Nielson are just flatly wrong on their stance on federal spending and taxes. As Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman recently noted, “[P]enny-pinching at a time like this isn’t just cruel; it endangers the nation’s future” and “doesn’t even do much to reduce our future debt burden, because stinting on spending now threatens the economic recovery, and with it the hope for rising revenues.”
Santelli acts just like your typical WATB conservative when confronted. I had a similar situation with Andrew Breitbart at a panel we were on together in Los Angeles. He's a typical bully and he didn't like it very much when I got into his face after he picked up my notebook when I wasn't looking and began reading my notes. Santelli doesn't appear to be drunk, as did Breitbart, but a hissy fit is still a hissy fit. It tells us everything we need to know about them.