One Cheer for Bartiromo's On-Air Rant Directed at Ben Cardin

December 22nd, 2012 10:38 AM

CNBC host Maria Bartiromo went after Maryland Senator Ben Cardin on the air on Thursday (HT PJ Tatler; original here) after it became clear that Cardin and his fellow Democrats won't support any measure to prevent the fiscal cliff from arriving as currently scheduled on Janaury 1 which does not include increases in the highest marginal income-tax rates. At the end of her tirade, she got applause and cheers from those around her.

I'll give her one cheer for clearly exposing Democrats' "my way of the highway" approach. She missed the opportunity to get to three cheers because it seems that she's just now recognizing after all these months that Democrats, including President Obama, won't accept any kind of a solution that doesn't involve raising the top rates -- even though they've been saying that very thing all along. Far more important: Even if you believe that the tax hikes discussed will actually increase government collections by $1.2 trillion over ten years, that amount is a tiny percentage of the trillion-dollar deficits the government will continue to run as long as the economy putters along at its current mediocre to poor pace.

Radio station WBAL's reaction to Bartiromo's performance: "Wow! When did CNBC become the antithesis of MSNBC? Watch as Maria Bartiromo lets out all of her frustration about the fiscal cliff talks on MD Senator Ben Cardin."

Key segments:

... Bartiromo: Are you guys just incompetent or what? I mean, if you can't do this, if you can't do what the American people pay you to do, why don't you just step aside and put somebody in there who can actually get a deal done?

... Bartiromo (after asking Cardin a series of questions about what he's willing to do to break the stalemate, and either getting responses of "no" or non-committal answers): You're talking about $1.2 trillion in revenue, but you're not prepared to put anything on the table. People are not stupid.

... Cardin: The easiest way to get the revenues is to get the rates on the higher-income taxpayers.

Bartiromo: That's all you want to do. That's it. It's your way or the highway. Raise the rates on the rich. No other way. Your way or the highway. That's it.. That's where we are. Thank you, Senator.

Cardin: Next time, let me answer the questions --

Bartiromo: Oh, you've answered them. Clearly.

Again, Bartiromo almost seems surprised that for Democrats, it's all about rates.

It's been that way forever, Maria (like going on ten years, since the second round of Bush tax cuts become law in 2003). It was the one and only specific economic and fiscal talking point in Barack Obama's entire election campaign, month after month. After the election, Obama made it clear that it wasn't a campaign talking point, telling the press that, as paraphrased in an Associated Press report, "he campaigned successfully for re-election on the point." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been similarly intransigent.

Additionally, the tax increases don't come anywhere close to addressing the projected fiscal gaps involved (I would say "budget gaps," but Congress hasn't passed a budget in over 3-1/2 years). The Congressional Budget Office's "alternative fiscal scenario," which despite its name more closely reflects the government's nightmarish future, projects $10 trillion in deficits over the next ten years.

Washington leftists and the establishment press are obsessing over tax increases which will at best solve only 12 percent of the problem. Meanwhile, they act as if the other 88 percent of the problem isn't there. Bartiromo and CNBC continued that negligent treatment.

My "one cheer" evaluation is probably too generous.

Cross-posted at