The PJ Tatler

Obama: 'You can't lower (tax) rates and raise revenue'

Perhaps it’s time for CBS to retire Steve Kroft and promote Sharyl Attkinson in his place. Read through the transcript of Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama — not one question about Solyndra, or how that and other failed administration “investments” discredit Obama’s approach to forcing Americans onto “green” energy. No questions about whether the administration may have delayed recall action on the Chevy Volt, a GM product that President Obama himself has touted. No questions about why the administration called Maj. Nidal Hassan’s terrorist massacre at Ft. Hood “workplace violence.” No questions about that other major incidence of “workplace violence” under this administration, Fast and Furious. No questions about whether the Obama administration scolded CBS reporter Sharyl Attkinson over her Fast and Furious reporting. No questions about those emails that provide evidence that the administration sought to use Fast and Furious as an argument to promote more gun control. No questions about the growing calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. No questions about over-regulation, no questions about the ongoing DoJ lawsuits against states over border security and labor laws, no questions about any of the serious and sharply divisive issues that have lowered the president’s approval rating to the low to mid 40s. None.

That’s not to say that the interview wasn’t accidentally revelatory. Take this passage.

Kroft: Let’s take the issue of tax reform. It seems to be an issue everybody’s interested in right now. The Republicans, your own Simpson-Bowles Commission recommended cutting the basic rates, getting rid of deductions, and making the tax form simpler. The Republicans made a couple of overtures during those negotiations to raise revenues–

Obama: Steve–

Kroft: –by tax reform.

Obama: Steve, it–

Kroft: And you didn’t–

Obama: No, Steve, that’s just not the case. What happened was that they made overtures, where they were willing to raise about $200 billion in exchange for $2 trillion or so worth of cuts of core programs like Medicare that seniors depend on for their security in their golden years. And what I said to them was a balanced approach means exactly what it says. It means it’s balanced. What we haven’t seen is any serious movement on the other side.

Kroft: Well, they say they’re ready to do it. They say it’s your insistence on raising the taxes to the upper– you know, to the wealthiest Americans, that you’re fixated on that and that there are other ways to raise revenue.

Obama: Steve, the math is the math. You can’t lower rates and raise revenue, unless you’re getting revenue from someplace else. Now, either it’s comin’ from middle class families or poor families or it’s comin’ from folks like you and me that can afford to pay a little more.

Either President Obama doesn’t understand economics, or he is saying something that is untrue so that he can maintain his political position on taxes (or both). The fact is, as the 1980s and tax cuts since then have demonstrated, you can cut taxes to spur growth and broaden the tax base, which leads to increased revenues for the government. In fact, tax cuts may be the quickest way government can spur economic growth. Kroft seems not to know that; he doesn’t challenge Obama’s assertion.

The entire interview reads like a commercial for Obama to make his case without any serious or detailed challenges. Kroft only challenges Obama from the left, you compromised with the Republicans too much, you gave them too much, etc.

CBS should have had Sharyl Attkinson conduct this interview. She has walked point on revealing the Obama administration’s gunrunning schemes, and she would have asked the president much tougher and more interesting questions.