[First Aired May 21, 2002]
NOVAK: All right, Congressman Rangel, I'm going to turn to your eminent role as the leading tax authority for the Democratic party and the House of Representatives. There's a very interesting poll by CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup. And they asked, "Do you think, American people, do you think your taxes are fair? Last year, only 51 percent thought they were fair, 46 percent said no. This year, 58 percent thing they're fair. 37 percent said no.
That's after the Bush tax cut that all the bleeding heart liberals are saying is so unfair to the working people. I have -- have the Democrats misread the American people again?
RANGEL: Well, you know, Bob, they put people, anchors on television shows based on their popularity. They put people on the Ways and Means Committee not on popularity, but their willingness to take responsible votes, to do what's best for the United States economy, and what's best for the United States of America. Raising people's taxes is never popular. And some people and most people have never seen a tax cut they didn't like.
The real question should raise is that with the nation being at war, with the increase in the number of people becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare, will we have the money to pay for it? We're $7 trillion in debt. And so, would you ask that we cut tax further and be more popular?
NOVAK: Well, how about cutting spending a little bit? There's a runaway going up on spending. Do you want to go back to the Clinton share of the taxes, of the national income of 23.3 percent? It's down to 19 percent. Why not cut spending instead of taking away taxes from people, who can invest it into the private sector?
RANGEL: I can answer that. Because the Republican leadership would want to cut the spending in prescription drugs, which of course, they can't even come out with a bill. They'd want to cut spending in education. So far, only 7 percent of the nation's education is paid for by the federal government. And they would want to cut spending in Social Security. They call it privatization.
Now it's an election year. They don't even know what the word means. And so yes, we would like to see an increase in taxes with these corporations that are running away from America, being set up in foreign countries, just for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes. But the Republicans believe they should have safe haven, but they don't give that safe haven and security to Social Security benefits and Medicare beneficiaries.
NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're talking taxes with Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York and Republican Congressman John E. Sununu of New Hampshire.
CARVILLE: Sorry, congressman, we've established that you are for making a tax cut permanent. SUNUNU: Yes.
CARVILLE: You apply $350 billion, I think it is, prescription drug benefit. You're for increased spending on terrorism. You're for increased spending on defense. And you're for increased spending on education. Are you for the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States?
SUNUNU: Absolutely. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has one, and it would put in place a balanced budget requirement in peacetime. But the fact of the matter is, we're fighting a war, an unprecedented right now. And we've got an economic recession that needs to be dealt with. And you know as well as I do that that's...
CARVILLE: Name me how many federal programs you want to eliminate?
SUNUNU: Take the Farm bill, and you can probably find 15. I voted against it. It was a mistake. It provides...
CARVILLE: Other than the Farm bill, name me two more?
SUNUNU: Well, how many programs do you need? How many programs are in the subsidies?
CARVILLE: Well, you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Farm bill.
SUNUNU: A partnership for a next generation vehicle, which we finally eliminated last year. We've got a fossil fuel R&D program that funnels subsidies to oil and gas companies, that are very profitable.
CARVILLE: It's all part of one bill? So you have one bill?
SUNUNU: No, no, those are not part of the Farm bill.
SUNUNU: So that's about 50 programs right there, James.
NOVAK: Congressman Rangel?
RANGEL: Yes, Mr. Novak?
NOVAK: You talk a lot about revenue, but are you aware that there are studies that indicate that these tax cuts will add to revenue, just as the Reagan tax cuts did? I mean the only problem is you guys want to spend so much there's never enough revenue. But actually, when you cut taxes, it increases revenue. We've proven in the Reagan years, didn't we?
RANGEL: Yes, I think if you use the same accountants that Enron used, you can come up with that type of accounting.
[ applause ] But the truth of the matter that is that I'm for tax cuts. And I think they should be fair. I think they should be equitable across the board. I don't think they should just be for the rich. But I really don't think that you should borrow money to pay for the tax cut. The difference between John Sununu and me, that he's on the appropriations committee. That's the spending committee. And they do well. I'm on the tax writing committee. And we have to make the hard choices