When Bill O’Reilly tried to complain that his taxes were already too high, Jon Stewart beat him down with facts, and debunked the GOP’s howls of class warfare.
Here is the video from Comedy Central:
O’Reilly claimed that he is paying through the roof in taxes, and when Jon Stewart said that wasn’t true, the FNC’s top rated host moved the goalposts.
Here is their exchange:
O’Reilly: I’m not going to give you. I am paying now through the roof in taxes.
Stewart: You’re paying less than you paid in the nineties.
O’Reilly: That’s not true. Property taxes are up. If you had a home you’d know that. Sales taxes have gone up.
Stewart: The marginal tax rate was 39.6%
O’Reilly: Yeah, and now it’s thirty six.
Stewart: No, it’s thirty five. What is it?
O’Reilly: Thirty five and a half, you round it up.
Stewart: So, it’s 4% less. The rich have…
O’Reilly: But every other tax in the country has gone up. What’s the matter with you? Every other tax, sales tax, state tax.
Stewart: You are not living in reality. Here’s the reality. Here’s the reality. The top 1% taking nearly 25% of income today…
O’Reilly: And pay how much of the tax? 30% of it.
Stewart: The top 1% control 40% of the wealth. Twenty five years ago it was 33%. Top 1% have had incomes rise 18% over the last decade.
O’Reilly: So we should shoot them.
Stewart: I’m not saying we should shoot them, but we shouldn’t act like returning to the tax rates of the Nineties is class warfare on par with Lenin and Marx.
O’Reilly said that he would be in favor of raising taxes if he got big spending cuts. Stewart pointed out that this was Obama’s plan, and Bill-O replied with Solyndra. O’Reilly typified the Republican position by saying that he would agree to a tax increase on the wealthy if the federal budget was cut by 10% across the board.
The statistics Bill-O used to defend the wealthy were misleading. What he didn’t tell you was that 34% of federal revenue comes from the payroll tax, and the top 1% only pay 4.1% of the payroll taxes in this country.
Bill O’Reilly complained that state and local taxes have gone up, but he didn’t mention why. When the federal stimulus money dried up, states were forced to raise taxes and slash funding to local governments, which then caused a budget shortfall for local governments, who were then forced to raise taxes. Unemployment and the mortgage crisis have also caused state and local tax bases to erode. Economic factors combined with the fact that the term stimulus has been turned into a slur by Republicans, left many states with little choice other than to raise taxes in order to meet their constitutional requirement of a balanced budget. (A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget is also a GOP fav).
The tax increases that Bill O’Reilly was moaning about are a direct result of the Republicans refusal to pass more stimulus. Stewart was right. Bill-O is not living in reality. The economy of the past decade has been so good to him that he easily can afford to pay the increased state and local taxes, and still come out with a profit due to the Bush tax cuts.
This latest Stewart/O’Reilly exchange on taxes demonstrated why it is impossible to negotiate with Republicans. Jon Stewart offer of rationality and facts, was met with a sarcastic rebuttal from O’Reilly that we should shoot the rich for doing well, and dismissal of the president’s deficit reducing plan by bring up Solyndra.
It isn’t class warfare to suggest that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, and no, Bill O’Reilly you don’t get to demand that the poor and middle class get hurt even more with a 10% spending cut to programs that they depend on. Why do we have to cut spending on schools, roads, grants for police and firefighters, Medicare and Medicare, and programs for children, the poor and the elderly by 10%, just to coax people like Bill O’Reilly to do what’s right and pay their fair share?
Bill-O caused his own local and state taxes to go up by supporting the slash and don’t spend policies of the GOP.
This isn’t a negotiation. Bill O’Reilly, stop whining and pay your fair share.