On the Fox Business Network on Tuesday, Happening Now host Melissa Francis would not let her Democratic Party guest get away with refusing to answer her question about tax reform.
Eventually, she goaded former Clinton adviser Simon Rosenberg into acknowledging that he was refusing to answer her question; when she wouldn't move on without getting one, he promised that "I’m never coming back on this show ever again." Boo hoo.
All Francis wanted to get out of Rosenberg were examples of something he and the Democrats might propose to improve the tax reform measures that are currently being considered in Congress.
Before we get to the confrontation, readers need to be reminded that Democrats were publicly on board with the idea of reducing the corporate income tax rate last year. Yes, they really were (whether they meant it is another matter).
In late October, Emily Miller at the Daily Signal proved it (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Democrats Have Done a 180 on Corporate Taxes. Here’s What They Said Last Year.
The president proposed cutting the corporate tax rate in his budget.
He wrote that cutting the rate to 28 percent was necessary for “putting the United States in line with major competitor countries and encouraging greater investment here at home.”
Which president am I referring to? You’re probably assuming Donald Trump.
Nope. Barack Obama.
... Just last year, (Democratic New York Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer said in a committee hearing on cutting corporate taxes: “I’m game to do it because I think it’s really important for American competitiveness.”
He also told CNBC that “it would be a permanent lower rate, not a holiday rate,” meaning not a one-time cut for the so-called repatriation of trillions in U.S. companies’ profits, which are sitting offshore to avoid getting whacked by U.S. taxes.
... (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi put out a press release in 2016 that called for congressional action, saying, “It is long past time for tax reform that would lower the corporate rate.”
Schumer, Pelosi and other Democrats now oppose the tax reform bills in Congress, leaving Miller to observe that "Nothing has changed in the last year, except that ... this good policy would now be credited to (Donald) Trump instead of Hillary Clinton."
Democratic Party politicians and their apparatchiks who appear on TV and radio shows now appear to be under strict instructions to stick to their talking points at all costs on this topic.
Simon Rosenberg certainly adopted that posture, as seen in the three-minute video segment with Francis and GOPAC Chairman David Avella which follows. Viewers will see that the segment joins the discussion in mid-stream, after Francis, as seen in the full segment shown here, has already tried and failed to get something, anything specific out of Rosenberg:
DAVID AVELLA: Here is what gets Democrats to the table. Republicans getting to 51 votes. And then all of a sudden, six or seven Democrats will all of a sudden be for tax reform. Democrats are not going to help pass tax cuts unless Republicans get it across the line, and it's already going to vote for it. Democrats think that if they stop tax cuts they can put Republicans in a bad spot going into the elections. Democrats aren't going to do one thing to pass tax cuts. If we're going to get tax cuts for the American people it going to be because the Republican majority deliver it.
MELISSA FRANCIS: Simon, do you want to prove him right? Are you guys not going to do one thing to pass tax cuts? I mean, I asked you for one thing. Do you want to give me one thing?
SIMON ROSENBERG: Melissa, you know I’ve come on this show with you many times. You do the same thing over and over again.
FRANCIS: No, I don’t. I just want you to answer the question I asked.
ROSENBERG: No, I’m not answering the question. I’m answering the —
FRANCIS: I know you’re not answering the question. That’s the problem.
ROSENBERG: So the point is, is that Democrats aren’t going to agree to a tax cut plan that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy people —
FRANCIS: You already said that.
ROSENBERG: drives up the deficit —
FRANCIS: You already said that.
ROSENBERG: That’s what being proposed. But that's what being proposed. So we're not going to support.
FRANCIS: Repeating yourself isn’t helping the argument. I’m asking you, like we’re asking everyone, to come to the table and try and offer something productive. Give me three things you want to strip away. Maybe it’s the estate tax, maybe it’s SALT (state and local tax deductions — Ed.). Tell me what you don’t like about this. Can you be specific?
ROSENBERG: No, we reject the entire — Melissa, I just told you, right, that we reject the frame that is being proposed here. We do not agree —
FRANCIS: So you don’t want to work at all? There is literally nothing in there that’s decent?
ROSENBERG: No, no. We don’t agree with the frame of the deal. What Senator Wyden said is the Democratic position. If the Republicans want to come to the table and work with us on tax cuts that actually really benefit middle class people and don’t drive up the deficit, we’re game to do it, right? We’ve done it before. Our party has done it before. We’re happy to do it again.
FRANCIS: So the tax cuts that are in there for the middle class, doubling the standard deduction, all the things that are in there, you don’t like any of that that would help working people?
ROSENBERG: No. You understand, right, based on the analysis, because I know you went to Harvard and studied economics, that in fact over time a majority of middle class people will be paying more in taxes rather than less.
FRANCIS: No, I don’t accept that math because it’s static analysis and I don’t accept static analysis. I only agree with dynamic analysis. Because when you cut, the economy will grow. I know you don’t believe that.
ROSENBERG: Good for you, Melissa. Good for you. (Note the tone of condescension. — Ed.)
AVILLA: Melissa —
FRANCIS: Let’s let David finish. David, go ahead.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, sure.
AVILLA: Democrats could start by being for things they’ve been for in the past. Ron Wyden and Senator Crapo have actually put a framework not a lot different than what the current Republican bill in the Senate is talking about. So Democrats could actually be for things they’ve been for in the past and they could then get on the board for tax cuts.
But right now this is in to honor Roy Halladay. Republicans have the ball in their hand. We have to start throwing strikes. If we start throwing strikes, one, the economy will continue to improve for Americans, and two, we’ll be rewarded on Election Day in 2018.
FRANCIS: All right, gentlemen. Let’s leave it there. You know, Simon, you and I are going to have to get a drink sometime. We can’t show up and fight like this all the time.
ROSENBERG: Melissa, don’t worry, I’m never coming back on this show ever again so it doesn’t matter. Thank you.
FRANCIS: (laughs) All right. Thank you.
Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out, Simon.
Rosenberg might as well have sent a parrot in his stead.
More hosts need to challenge guests like Francis did.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.