Lawrence O'Donnell and Other Liberals Make a Fool of Rep. Alan Grayson

For the second night in a row, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell exposed a prominent liberal for being totally ignorant about the tax code.

His victim on Wednesday's "The Last Word" was liberal media darling Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), and this time O'Donnell had some assistance from two very unlikely participants (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D-FLORIDA): So they are giving a 100 percent tax cut to large corporations only. And I mean large corporations only because small corporations already get to write off $250,000 of their investments, but no more than that. So taking this tax cut that was meant, this tax benefit that was meant for small corporations, and they're applying it to Microsoft, they're applying it to GE, they're applying it to huge multinational corporations to cut their taxes to zero next year, because some people in the White House evidently think that the real problem with the U.S. economy today is that corporations aren't making enough money.

Did you notice the man in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen shaking his head saying “No?’ That’s Robert Greenstein, the head of the liberal think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who in a few minutes was going to strongly challenge Grayson’s assertions.

But before he got to the plate, there were others holding bats waiting to get at the Congressman:

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: Congressman, if the -- if you were to succeed at this and kill this bill, all tax rates would increase on January 1st. Do you know which bracket would be hit with the largest percentage increase?

GRAYSON: Yes, the people who have dividend income.

O’DONNELL: Wrong, Congressman. Stop there, it's the bottom tax bracket, not the top tax bracket. The bottom tax bracket would go from ten percent to fifteen percent. That is a 50 percent increase in the bottom income tax bracket…

GRAYSON: I'm sorry…

O’DONNELL: the one that none of you Democrats ever talk about. You are wrong, sir.

GRAYSON: Respectfully…

O’DONNELL: You are wrong, sir!

Sweet. But that was just the beginning, for when the Washington Post’s liberal blogger Ezra Klein got his turn, he too went right after the Congressman:

EZRA KLEIN, WASHINGTON POST: I can’t agree with Rep. Grayson’s opinion on the business tax cut. That tax cut isn’t a secret. It was first proposed by the Obama administration in September. What it does is it takes investments, you usually get a deduction for that over time, and instead of giving it to them over ten years, it gives it to them in one year. So, you’re trying to pull investment forward from the future into 2011. Over the next ten years that would cost $30 billion not $150 billion, and it isn't a zeroing out of the corporate tax rate. I take his point that, you know, you can argue that corporations pay too little already, they have mountains of profits they're sitting on, and so there’s arguments about how effective it will be. But it isn’t, it isn’t just a giveaway. It's an attempt to try to move investment from the future to here. And that does make some sense in the current situation when they have this level of profits they could spend if they wanted to.

Nicely stated, and quite the contrary of what Grayson claimed. But there was still more, for after the break, when Grayson got a chance to respond, it was quickly met with further opposition first from Klein then from Greenstein:

KLEIN: Sir, I must respectfully disagree with you.

O’DONNELL: Ezra, go quickly, and then I’m going to get Bob Greenstein in.

KLEIN: Number one, I’ve sat with Larry Summers while he explained this number one is domestic, not foreign. I can't speak to the materials you got on this. But number two, this does get paid back, I don't believe you're suggesting, or maybe you are, that over the next – that they are not -- there's not a depreciation that is going to get ratcheted back, because what you're doing is moving an existing tax break into one year rather than over a period of time. But why don’t I let Bob speak to this because he knows it better than anyone.

O’DONNELL: Bob Greenstein, go ahead.

ROBERT GREENSTEIN, CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES: You know, Lawrence, I'm not sure any group in town has put out as many reports over the years attacking as many corporate giveaways as we have.

O’DONNELL: That's correct.

GREENSTEIN: This isn't one them. Congressman Grayson is misinformed, Ezra’s right. What this provision does is it accelerates into the next year or two tax deductions that corporations would have taken anyway in subsequent years. They get 150 billion in the next year or two, but they get 120 billion less. They pay 120 billion more in taxes than they otherwise would in the years after that. Those are the official figures, they’re not from the White House. I think they're from Congress's own official estimator on this.

And there it is: in the course of about fifteen minutes, Grayson’s views on this tax plan were completely discredited by three different liberals on the nation's most left-leaning cable news network.

This wouldn’t be at all surprising if he was a Republican. But this is a devout liberal that gained prominence with the far-left and MSNBC when he took to the House floor in September 2009 claiming that the Republican healthcare plan was, “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”

Since then, he’s been a darling with the Netroots and folks like Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Schultz.

Makes one wonder if the bloom has come of this rose because of his defeat in the November elections, or if folks on the left have finally figured out what a buffoon he is.

Either way, it sure was entertaining seeing him torn to shreds by folks on his side of the aisle on the network that does its darnedest to advance a far-left agenda.

Please also see "Lawrence O'Donnell Exposes Liberal Ignorance of Tax Code."

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Taxes Washington Post MSNBC Robert Greenstein Lawrence O'Donnell Ezra Klein Alan Grayson
Noel Sheppard's picture