On Sunday’s broadcast of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and MSNBC “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell sparred over why President Barack Obama wants higher tax rates, and what effect they would have on the economy.
According to Gingrich, the president mainly wants to flex his muscle after last month’s election.
“I mean, the administration — the president won,” Gingrich said. “The president has a very clear simple position: He wants to prove he can dominate, and he proves he can dominate getting the rates up. And he has a veto pen, and it’s pretty hard for me to see how the House Republicans are going to get past the Senate Democrats to even get to a veto.”
O’Donnell countered Gingrich by arguing the former House speaker was wrong to say in 1993 that higher taxes rates would hurt the economy.
“The problem for Boehner is: How does he give on rates?” O’Donnell said. “He said this the other day: ‘I oppose tax rate increases, because tax rate increases cost American jobs.’ That gives you no room to give on rates. It is, by the way, not an original thought. Who said this? The tax increase will kill jobs and lead to a recession, and the recession will force people out of work and onto unemployment and actually increase the deficit? That’s Newt Gingrich in 1993, on the Clinton tax increase. And those of us who were working on the other side of that tax increase, Newt, have been waiting for your apology for 20 years for being completely wrong about that.”
Gingrich and O’Donnell then attempted to “re-litigate the 1990s,” as The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward put it:
GINGRICH: Well, I don’t agree with you.
O’DONNELL: Well with the– but the economy soared, no one lost a job…
O’DONNELL:…because of that tax increase.
GINGRICH: Baloney. Baloney.
O’DONNELL: There was no recession. You said there would be a recession.
GINGRICH: You now see the case.
O’DONNELL: There was no recession.
GINGRICH: The fact is if you look at all the indicators the day I was elected speaker, virtually all the economic growth occurs after Republicans take control, virtually all the increase in the stock– the matter of fact, all the increase in the stock market is after Republicans take control.
O’DONNELL: You did not reduce the rates, Newt?
GINGRICH: And– and when we balanced– wait a second.
O’DONNELL: You said the rates would cause a recession.
GINGRICH: When we balanced the– when we balanced the budget, we balanced the budget with a tax cut not a tax– four consecutive balanced budgets with a tax cut, not a tax increase.
O’DONNELL: A tiny tax cut compared to the biggest tax increase in history which is what Bill Clinton did. You didn’t dismantle it.