CBS Stands Up for Democrats, Pushes Trump Economic Adviser with Liberal Talking Points

Monday’s CBS This Morning was broadcast live from the White House’s East Room and while there were plenty of fun, historical, and nonpartisan segments on various rooms inside the White House, the liberal bias didn’t receive a day off as the co-hosts pushed Trump advisor Gary Cohn from the left on the President’s tax plan. 

Later on, co-host Gayle King made things awkward when she wanted to know “[w]hat’s a nice, registered Democrat boy doing working in a Republican administration...who worked for Goldman Sachs?”

In that case, Cohn simply replied that he enjoys being a part of a team with diverse views that’s “working here to drive the President's agenda to make America better for all Americans.”

Going back to policy, co-host Charlie Rose wondered about the current state of repealing/replacing ObamaCare before moving to the tax plan: “But you rolled it out with one page. When will we see the details and the remainder of it so we’ll have some sense between cuts and where the revenue might be increased?”

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Cohn replied that it was a one-page rollout so as to “get an enormous amount of input before we draft the final bill.” Nonetheless, co-host and Obama family bestie Gayle King employed a liberal talking point: “Right now, there seems to be a lot of conversation about it's very helpful to the wealthy, but what about the middle class, Gary?”

Cohn emphasized to King’s befuddlement that this is “a middle class tax bill,” and calmly dismantled the claim put forth by King and CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley:

I really am confused why people don't understand what we're doing here. If you look at what we've done, we've doubled the personal exemption in this bill. We’ve taken the personal exception for a family of two to $24,000. The median income in the United States today is somewhere between $56,000 — and about $56,000. You take the $24,000 away from the $56,000, you've got taxable income of $32,000. At a 10 percent rate, that’s $3,000 of tax. If you have one to three children and we give you a $1,000 tax credit, you could end up with a very marginal, single-digit, tax rate to no taxes whatsoever. That, to me, is a middle income tax cut because you’re going to owe no taxes potentially[.]

King complained about “also eliminating the estate tax,” but Cohn again pointed out that, according to the current plan, “we’re also eliminating deductions” that would then mean the wealthy would “pay taxes on a much broader swath of their income.”

“Will it be revenue-neutral or are you comfortable adding to the deficit in the short term in order to increase growth,” countered co-host Norah O’Donnell in a sudden attempt to care about the national deficit and debt.

Before going to King’s awkward question about being a “nice, registered Democrat,” Rose wondered: “You believe you can make it up by simply eliminating deductions — the giant ball of difference between the tax cuts and what you need to make up for them? You can do that with deductions?”

“We can broaden the base significantly. So, we're going to tax a lot more revenue and a lot more income but we’re going to tax it at a lower rate. Instead of taxing at a high rate but subtracting a lot to get to the taxable income, we're going to tax a much bigger number at a much smaller rate,” Cohn responded.

Later on in the show, more of Face the Nation host John Dickerson’s extensive interview with President Trump aired, including Trump abruptly ending the interview when pressed on his claim that President Obama spied on him.

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from May 1's CBS This Morning:

CBS This Morning
May 1, 2017
7:13 a.m. Eastern

CHARLIE ROSE: President’s Trump’s tax reform plan was unveiled by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. He's a resident Democrat and the former president and chief negotiating officer for Goldman Sachs. Good morning. 

GARY COHN: Good morning. Thanks for having me. 

ROSE: Do we have the votes for health care? 

COHN: Do we have the votes for health care? I think we do. This is going be a great week. We're gong to get health care down to the floor of the House. We're convinced we've got the votes and we’re going to keep moving on with our agenda. As you said, we just rolled out our tax plan last week. We’re very excited about our tax plan as well so we’re going to continue to drive President Trump’s agenda forward? 

ROSE: But you rolled it out with one page. When will we see the details and the remainder of it so we’ll have some sense between cuts and where the revenue might be increased? 

COHN: So, Charlie, as you said, we did roll it out with one page and we rolled out one page for a specific reason. We want to get an enormous amount of input before we draft the final bill. When we deliver the final bill, we are going to have a bill that is bought into by House and the Senate. You have just been talking about how difficult it is to get things through congress. We understand how difficult it is to get things through Congress, and you were talking about how it’s designed to be difficult. We understand that. We're going to make the tax bill work and the way to make the tax bill work is to work with Congress before we draft the bill and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. 

GAYLE KING: Right now, there seems to be a lot of conversation about it's very helpful to the wealthy, but what about the middle class, Gary? 

COHN: This is the a middle class tax bill.

KING: How so.

COHN: A middle and lower class tax bill. That’s exactly what it’s designed. I really am confused why people don't understand what we're doing here. If you look at what we've done, we've doubled the personal exemption in this bill. We’ve taken the personal exception for a family of two to $24,000. The median income in the United States today is somewhere between $56,000 — and about $56,000. You take the $24,000 away from the $56,000, you've got taxable income of $32,000. At a 10 percent rate, that’s $3,000 of tax. If you have one to three children and we give you a $1,000 tax credit, you could end up with a very marginal, single-digit, tax rate to no taxes whatsoever. That, to me, is a middle income tax cut because you’re going to owe no taxes potentially

KING: But you're also eliminating the estate tax. 

COHN: We are, but we’re also eliminating deductions.  We’re eliminating the deductions that were added to the tax legislated over the years to favor the wealthy. The wealthy have deductions. Middle income people and lower income people don't have deductions. Wealthy people have deductions. So, we're going to have wealthier people pay taxes on a much broader swath of their income. 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Will it be revenue-neutral or are you comfortable adding to the deficit in the short term in order to increase growth?

COHN: As I said, we're working with the house, with the senate. We had a great meeting with the leadership last week. We're going to go through the tax plan in its entirety. We don't know what it's going to score yet because we're going to work on very specific details. We’re going to eliminate as many of the deductions as we can. We think we’re going to get them all out. If we get them all out, I'm pretty positive this is going to score quite favorably. 

ROSE: You believe you can make it up by simply eliminating deductions — the giant ball of difference between the tax cuts and what you need to make up for them? You can do that with deductions?

COHN: We can broaden the base significantly. So, we're going to tax a lot more revenue and a lot more income but we’re going to tax it at a lower rate. Instead of taxing at a high rate but subtracting a lot to get to the taxable income, we're going to tax a much bigger number at a much smaller rate. Yes, we believe we can make that work. 

KING: What's it like for you, Gary Cohn. What’s a nice, registered Democrat boy doing working in a Republican administration? 

ROSE: Who worked for Goldman Sachs!

KING: Who worked for Goldman Sachs!

COHN: I'm working here to drive the President's agenda to make America better for all Americans.

KING: I know that, but what is it like personally? Are you enjoying this job? We hear reports about warring factions within the White House. It’s Game of Thrones. It’s House of Cards. It’s us verus them. Really, tell us what is it like for you? 

COHN: I came from a very team-oriented environment. This is no different. We’re a team-oriented environment. The president has put together a phenomenal team of advisers. The Presidents likes lots of different opinions, which is the exact way I have worked my entire life. I used to working an organization where people are allowed to and encourage to express their opinions and express their views. 

KING: So, disagreement is good?

COHN: Disagreement is good. This White House is no different. The President wants to hear everyone’s opinion. He wants to hear both the pros and cons of every decision and he encourages that and I'm very comfortable in that situation.

ROSE: First of all, we're pleased to be in White House and there’s so much to talk about, so thank you for coming. 

COHN: Pleased to have you in the White House.

NB Daily Economy Budget Business Coverage National Debt Taxes Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CBS CBS This Morning Video Government & Press Gayle King Charlie Rose Norah O'Donnell Donald Trump
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