EX-REAGANITE DAVID STOCKMAN SAYS REPUBLICANS "SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES" FOR CONTINUING THE "RELIGION" OF TAX CUTS - "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
Democrats Wrong, too, as Obama Says Cuts for Middle Class Can be Permanent
Ronald Reagan's budget director, who once championed the positive trickle-down effects of tax cuts, now says Republicans pushing to extend the Bush tax cuts should be ashamed of themselves. David Stockman tells Lesley Stahl that to continue tax cuts as the debt grows by $100 billion a month and not have the will to cut spending is "demagoguery." Stahl's report on the tax controversy will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Oct. 31 (7:00-8:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Cutting taxes has become gospel for Republicans, says Stockman. "It's become, in a sense, an absolute...something embedded into the catechism and so scratch the average Republican today and he'll say 'tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.'" To pursue this mantra is "rank demagoguery" says Stockman. "If these people were all put in a room on penalty of death to come up with how much they could cut, they couldn't come up with $50 billion, when the problem is $1.3 trillion," fumes Stockman. "So to stand before the public and rub raw this anti-tax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, they should be ashamed of themselves," he tells Stahl. Watch an excerpt.
Stockman says the Democrats have also embraced this religion to a degree, with President Obama recently advocating a permanent tax cut for the middle class. "We have now got both parties essentially telling a big lie with a capital B and a capital L to the public," says Stockman. "And that is that we can have all this government, 24 percent of GDP, this huge entitlement program, all of the bailouts and yet, we don't have to tax ourselves and pay our bills," Stockman tells Stahl. "That's delusional."
Does the former budget director have a solution to the budget mess? He has a partial solution, which he says would cut the national debt in half: a one-time 15 percent surtax on the wealthy. Says Stockman, "Today, after serial bubble after serial bubble, the top five percent have a net worth of $40 trillion. The top five percent have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980," says Stockman.
But he acknowledges that such a tax would never be passed. "There's the rub," says Stockman. "We've demonized taxes...We've created almost the idea that they're a metaphysical evil."
A proposal for a similar tax on the richest residents is on the ballot in the state of Washington, which, like most states, faces huge deficits. Stahl goes there to report on it and to talk to the father of the person it will impact the most - Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Does Gates want to pay the many millions such a tax will cost him? "Well, wants to is a little strong," says his dad, Bill Gates, Sr. "He is for it. He's very willing."