tv Newsmakers CSPAN November 13, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST
there is a section on the home page to access our most popular series like "washington journal", "booktv" and "the contenders." and we have added a handy channel finder. at the all new c-span.org. >> this week on "newsmakers" grover norquist is joining us. the president of americans for tax reforms. susan, go ahead with the first question. >> right now, everyone is focused on the super committee. their job is to come up with cuts or savings that will reduce our deficit by a minimum of $1.20 trillion. cuts across the board. right now, we are really close to a deadline. they have to have something by november 23.
they do not have a deal yet. part of the reason they do not have a deal, according to the senate majority leader, is you. harry reid says you are enforcing a no-tax pledge to the point that it is getting in the way of a deal for the supercommittee. congressman tom wolf of virginia has come out and said you are paralyzing congress with this no new taxes' pledge. can you answer to those charges? guest: sure, this is exactly what reid and obama and wolf said last spring when we were coming up with the $2.50 trillion in spending cuts. president obama won a several trillion dollars in tax increases instead of spending cuts. there were even a couple of republicans who flirted with the idea. but 236 -- 238 members of the house have signed the pledge not to raise taxes. 41 senators. they are going to keep that commitment. i am not in the way of a tax increase.
the commitment by congressmen and senators stands in the way of a tax increase. the good news is we have been through this exercise once before -- last june, july, august, and we got $2.50 trillion in spending cuts, no tax increases. the reason the deal was reached was because we knew we were not raising taxes. in 1982 and 1991 taxes were on the table, you had tax increases and no spending happened. the only reason spending restraint was enacted august 2 was because tax increases were off the table, and that is happening again this time. and harry reid is right that the legislature is not going to raise taxes. we are going to get $1.20 trillion in spending restraints either as a committee or through the sequester so taxpayers will win. >> to follow-up on that, there's the argument that the only way to achieve real savings for this grand bargain but there would be multi-trillion dollars in savings would be through a combination of getting new
revenue, which in a substantial amount would only come through a tax increase, and cuts, and that that grand bargain will rally -- really help our economy by protecting our credit rating and steering our economy back on track and giving the financial world some confidence that we can straighten out our budget. how do you answer that? >> that is the sales pitch of the modern democratic party. that is what they set in 1982 and 1990. the only would it help the economy is big deficit reduction. when democrats do this, one of the things to watch is we use to talk about spending as the problem because spending is the problem. spending has jumped from 20% of gdp to 25% to gdp. spending is too high and needs to come down. raising taxes is no part of cutting spending. raising taxes is what politicians do instead of cutting spending. in 1982, they said deficit spending and just turned it to just deficits. all that happened in 1982 was
taxes were raised. spending increased rather than decrease. in 1990, after the deal to cut spending and raise taxes, taxes went up -- spending what up, not down. both times, spending got worse, not better. all of the discussions are around now, democrats are now suggesting to add $1 trillion in additional spending to the spending reduction package because they want $1 trillion of tax increases to pay for one trillion -- $1 trillion of higher spending, and the phony spending they are now offering is the promise not to be in afghanistan and iraq for the next 500 years. >> but the group of people generally when they think about the 1990's and clinton administration have a favorable view of the surpluses that were there after the deal you just talked about was brokered and the economy was broken at that point. -- was growing at that point.
>> barrett there were two tax increases in 1990 under bush. the deficit continued to worsen. in 1993, the deficit was projected under clinton's numbers to increase to be $200 billion as far as the eye could see. when did the economy recover? when did the stock market go up? when the jobs created? when the republicans took the house and senate in november 1994 is when the stock-market did this. the dispute with the growth go up? 1997. when we cut the capital gains tax. republicans cut the capital gains tax and clinton signed it and growth went from here to here. there was in the second half of the 1990's, when republicans took control of the house and senate, took all of clinton's tax and spending programs off the table and cut the capital gains tax, you had a very good six years there towards the end. but the first two years of the clinton administration was not a period of growth or jobs or opportunity for stock market going up or deficits falling. his tax increases were only scheduled to fund additional spending what happened was
republicans came in and we're stuck with these tax increases but did not do the spending, and that is why we ended up balancing the budget. >> what tax increases were specifically walled off toward deficit reduction? that is it, there can be no new spending and you took the tax increases to help achieve real deficit reduction only. whatever fall under something you would agree to? >> if we were to put it into a lock box? the reason is not just because he said lockbox in an awkward, but because everybody knows if you lock box, you hide it somewhere in d.c., it will be like the tombs in egypt. they have all been open pe-- ty have all been looted. there was really cool stuff at one point, and it is not there anymore. it is a really interesting idea, but in the real world, it does not exist. host: on the sand dock -- >> o >> on the same thought, there
are 40 gop house members who have said they want the committee to look big. the panel has now said to hundred $50 billion in revenues and democrats want even more. does it sound like the talk is going away? are you unsure of where they are headed? >> no. again, we went through all of this. all the same approaches. 40 republicans signed a bill saying we should have a $4 trillion reduction in debt. every one of those republicans house also voted 4 $6 trillion --- voted for a $6 trillion reduction in debt. and a $6 trillion reduction in spending. that is the call ryan but it. sometimes people ask how come republicans do not compromise. they wrote a budget to reduce spending by $6 trillion from where obama, reid, and pelosi wish to spend. there was a tremendous amount
of compromise on the part of the republicans, not cutting spending as much as they would like to. i have no objection to republican saying, "let's go to a $4 trillion spending restraint." they did not say raise taxes. ron paul was one of the signers of that. this is not a collection of people that want to raise taxes or the whatever that into the -- or they'd have written that into the agreement. it is kind of fudge. if i were a member of congress, i would say, let's go big. that is not problematic. we do know the the republicans -- the two narratives -- obama has decided that his presidency is a mess and while he was a very good campaigner, he has been a very bad president on domestic discretionary stuff, and he is going to run for reelection. how do you run for reelection? what do you say? do you want four more years of this? are you better off than you used to be? cannot run on four more years.
cannot run on better off than you used to be. you have to run on "i hate those guys," and that is the congress fear the fact that he had an overwhelming democratic covers the first two years and did everything he wanted to make that kind of laughable, but it is the best argument he has got. the white house plays no role in this deficit reduction effort which in the spring back when obama's numbers were not so collapsed, and he thought the economy might recover, given all of his spending programs, he was in to negotiations. vice president with in negotiations. he is scheduled to be out of town during the time when you have to turn your work in, which has been by house republicans as the 21st because it has to be available for everyone to see in two days so it can be scored. they really have the 21st as their deadline.
obama is going to be out of town. he is not playing and is trying to pretend that republicans are unreasonable, which is why the republican radical proposal of reducing rates and showing some ankle on revenues [inaudible] that narrative. but these will not be part of it. but any time there's a revenue increase from this, all the money does not go towards reducing rates. it is a tax increase. what republicans are talking about is a tax increase. does that worry you at all? >> no, because the modern democratic party has made it clear that what $1 trillion in tax increases. they want the spending cuts to be completely funded and the 1 $1 trillion in additional spending. their position is set up to make this fail. there was an effort by republicans to think maybe you could do tax reforms inside the super committee. there were two of the democrats, one of whom i ran into today on
the hill, we're hopeful that maybe you could do something. harry reid, obama, pelosi want it to fail. it will fail. but the narrative has changed. the idea that they could blame republicans will not work anymore. >> if the deal offered was the final deal and lots of republicans voted on it, that would be a tax increase in your mind. could you support the deal if it is the one that came out? because it is not written down, because it has all sorts of moving parts, it would be inappropriate to talk about a hypothetical. since it is not going to happen, it does not keep me up at night. >> what is your idea of tax reform? >> 1986, reducing marginal tax rates, broadening the base, revenue neutral. what rick perry put forward i think is a very fine model -- >> the flat tax plan? >> 20% single rate tax on companies and individuals. one of the things that i need to remember and that is important for congress to remember is that there has been a lot of focus on reforming the
corporate income tax. a reason for that is when we have a high personal income tax, you notice it, but you do not notice it compared to what. people do not live in france and live here, but companies live in france, live here, live in china, live in all sorts of countries, and because of our worldwide tax structure, our rate puts it at a very serious disadvantage. american manufacturing and other companies are harmed compared to french or german or irish companies fear they are doing the same business in the same companies. there are literally worth more because they have lower marginal tax rates. the european average is 25%. the americans 35%. you are really talking about 40 dresses 25 pier that is a disadvantage really hurting him. we need to fix that. but if you only fix it for companies and it revenue-
neutral, bring the rate down to 20%, it is federal. plus 5, state and local, so that you are equal. european average only gets you as good as the average in europe, not as good as the better ones. but if you eliminate deductions in credit on the corporate side, you also take it away from the 20 million americans who file for chapter s partnership spirit -- many of the small businesses, self-employed people, grocery stores, and some other large companies with hundreds of employees that pay at the individual rate. you take away the deduction in credit. you have to do both at the same time. >> what about herman cain's 9- 9-9 plan? would you approve any part of that? >> i commend herman cain for two pieces of his program. one, his observation that the president was a system is redistributionist, the present system is too high.
good point. and that he has dramatize the need to go to a single rate tax. those are great. my very serious concern, but because it is not for a vote tomorrow, i am not losing any sleep over it, but if it did come to vote tomorrow, i would be worded not that it was not a tax increase. heavy the structure it so it would not be or made it clear that they thought it would, it would be 8.7-8.7-8.7 -- but it created three taxes. % income tax. much less painful than 35%. 9% tax on wages. it is really a tax on wages, not a tax on sales.
and a 9% sales tax in addition to state and local taxes. if you create three of those during a transition, what if during this transition, democrats when the house or senate for the presidency, or something happens and the plan to move from here to one does not happen? i think there's a very real danger of creating new taxes. those of your viewers who live in new jersey will remember that new jersey used to have the highest property taxes in the country, and to fix this problem, democrat governor byrne's created the income tax, promising that property tax would come down. before they had high property taxes and no income tax here now, thanks to the governor, they have high income taxes and high property taxes. by creating additional taxes, they all go up. then, connecticut -- slow learners in connecticut -- did the same thing about a decade after -- two decades after. they have high income taxes and high property taxes. creating new taxes, i think, is dangerous.
>> we have a little less than 10 minutes. there are a two parts to the pledge. can you explain it? >> it was designed in 1986. it says do not raise rates. if you are going to broaden the base, do so by bringing rates down. there are two ways to raise the income tax. raising rates or eliminating deductions in credit. it is like the alternative minimum income tax. as the touch marginal tax rates. it's all at the value of deductions in credit, which raises your taxes. do not raise rates. not broaden the base unless you bring rates down. we are very much in favor of tax reform. the top rate down to 20. rodney base, revenue neutral.
as long as it is not a net tax increase, tax reform is both pro-growth, creates jobs, creates more equity, more transparency on what everybody is paying for not paying. i think that is very, very helpful, and that is a central part of it. and it gets misstated sometimes by people who want to raise taxes by having an alternative minimum tax redox and acting as if you cannot raise trillions of dollars in higher taxes. >> on that note, we were talking about this pending super committee deal. i have heard republican leadership talk about perhaps agreeing to what we call closing tax loopholes. what does that mean? it means maybe eliminating tax deductions on certain things like yachts, corporate jets, resources, things that the average american may not have. they sound like they are agreeing to the idea of that. i have heard the mentioned it several times now, it looks like
something that will probably end up in the deal. this past week, you wrote an editorial saying that anyone -- any republican who supports this is supporting a tax increase. >> if it will stand alone and would raise revenue, it would raise taxes. i have talked to leadership and members, and they're talking about bringing rates down dramatically, or to make it revenue neutral. one ought to be open to eliminating any particular deduction of credit. the pledge is you just do not want to use it as a trojan horse for tax increases. >> on that note, everyone is wondering what will happen with the bush tax increases. the potential for those to come back into play. it expires at the end of the year.
everyone's tax rates would go up if they are not renewed. how would you -- part of the deal includes letting tax rates expire. >> under present law, they expire now, but under present policy, they are the policy. there are some tax cuts or increases that repeal so often that they are policy. the optimum -- the alternative minimum tax patch has been in every two years. to decide that you are going to make the permanent or extend it another two, that is not tax cuts. that is continuing present policy. same thing with the bush tax cuts. keeping those rates at 35%, that is the status quo. it is not a favor from the government. >> conversely, if those members approve of letting those expire, would that be considered a vote for a tax increase, then. >> if there was a vote to continue them and someone voted against continuing the, that would be a vote. >> what is the super committee
lets them expire? >> if the supercommittee -- the supercommittee is not going be in a position of voting on those except possibly make them permanent, which was one of the interesting questions. if they were silent on it, it is not a tax increase until you got there. >> on the same token, if no deal is reached, that would be across the board cuts, which would be pretty tough for the defense. there are some on the right more hawkish folks who said that they would prefer a tax hike to those kinds of cuts. does that worry you again that some in the gop are opening the door to tax increases to sort of stave off those? >> the only person i have heard say that is mckeon in charge of the spending for the military. i have sat down and talk with him on this. one of the few things the government does that affect women and in the constitution is the armed forces.
we have to have an armed forces because the canadians are there and we have to keep an eye on them and we need a strong national defense to protect the country. i am very interested in working with him and others to make sure that as we reduce spending, we do not do it in a way that damages defense, but that does not mean the pentagon does not need to reduce spending. some of the structures of the retirement benefits they have got to be rethought for new hires. we do better off hiring young marines and army and navy guys and paying the more and giving them for 1 k -- 401k's rather than saying we will not pay much now but they will really like it when the our 75. people want to get paid more. we need to protect the amount of defense we need, but we should never announce it. calling it education does not
mean education happens. you can spend money and call a defense. noteed to make sure we're wasting money on anything. >> when you hear someone say something on the house floor and set it sounds like a tax increase, are you picking up the phone, heading to capitol hill right away? >> yes, and now. -- yes and no. now, it is more e-mail. press calls, it comes up from time to time. someone will say something, and the press will say we thought it was opening to a tax increase. you e-mail over and ask what
they said and what they are saying you are saying. i do not want to jump out and to just for someone is for tax increases. they were either misquoted or misunderstood. i have misspoken. i am hesitant to say i jump on them because they misspoke. rather what did they say, what did they mean to say. usually -- in fact, almost always when leadership has said something, maybe i heard concrete cracking, it was not that. so i am have been very careful -- i am very careful to check. >> are you talking to members of the super committee? >> i have been over the last several weeks, sure. >> what are you saying to them? >> urging them not to do a net tax increase and to instead focus on spending restraint.
recognizing that there are only six republicans there, and all of them have taken the pledge not to raise net taxes, there are a lot of moving parts in this. you can play on the issue of revenue. if you sell land, if you start leasing more opportunities to drill for oil and energy, you can raise a lot of money. i think the competitive enterprise but came up with $300 billion is one of the numbers you could come up with in terms of selling assets, all of which are a good idea. whether or not we had a debt or did not have a debt, we should .e selling assets now appea when some people talk about revenue, double checked. >> is part of what the six are saying part of why you're sleeping well at night? are you hearing what you want to hear from them? >> we talk to everybody at the leadership. anything that comes out of the committee has to go before the
entire republican house and the senate as well. there will not be a tax increase. part of the reason the democrats have decided they are going to blow the process up in order to blame republicans for nothing happening. that is the political decision. >> one final quick question for you -- a lot has been made of the supercommittee meeting behind closed doors, not having a lot of public hearings, not talking to reporters about what they are saying. yet, they're talking to you. is that appropriate? >> actually, i get half of my information from reporters they do talk to. but also speaking to republicans in the house and senate, and i have spoken to democrats on the committee as well. because people do understand that while the pledge is between a congressman and a senator and his constituents, we obviously speak to the press because we share it with people and they know there's a line in the sand that a lot of elected officials have made.
i think that -- i thought you were going to go with, "should the c-span be there?" i wanted to put in a plug for c- span. i have treated -- tweeted on this subject at the whole thing should be in front of cameras. one of the things that is disappointing is that obama said all bill writing like health care was going to be in front of c-span cameras. i think we would have much better government and would not have passed obama's health care reform if it actually had to make that sausage in front of cameras. the same should be true about the deficit reduction package. >> we have to leave it there. thank you for being on "newsmakers." >> we are back with our reporters. susan, what did you hear up there from grover norquist? >> super committee and possibility of a deal.
>> he is reiterating the importance of the pledge, and it really is playing a big role of whatever deal comes out of the super committee. i think it will make the deal smaller. the eight chemical plants to -- two other groups and the gang of six each came up with plans to reduce the deficit and balding raising revenues through tax increases, and that was the only way they were able to come out of the big number. there will not be any kind of tax increase at all, if you are not going to get first of all the bigger number by bringing in that revenue, you are also not going to get cooperation from the democrats. can -- >> can you get to $1.20 trillion, which is what they are assigned to? >> without taxes? you could, but what i think is
interesting now is that the gop originally said that they put revenues on the table set for a smaller deal, and grover has this way of saying probably not, but he does not seem worried about that at all. he seems to think that these numbers will fall into the line of the new tax pledge they have always had. >> he is talking to all six, and they have signed this pledge. >> there does need to be sort of in the rank-and-file simple to -- folks who do not seem to be down by the pledge or say they are not. there's not much indication that that is going arise. >> i ask that it was appropriate -- i asked if it was appropriate that he is talking to members of the super committee, and he turned it around and said it should be a camera, but a lot of the negotiations take place, and he will threaten them with primary challengers and threaten them with their jobs
basically and say their jobs are on the line and if they do not support the pledge. he takes a hard-line. he does a lot of this brokering off-camera. nobody sees him doing it. that is how a lot of these deals are made in congress. that is how a lot of decisions get made without people see it happening. >> we will have to leave it there. thank you both. appreciate it. host: cal[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> president obama formally welcomed asia-pacific leaders to a summit in hawaii on friday. the president is hosting