ABC's Halperin: Obama Should Promise to Tax the Wealthy

During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week on ABC, when host George Stephanopoulos asked why Barack Obama had not talked about the economy more in his campaign ads, ABC political analyst Mark Halperin argued that taxing the wealthy should be a strong issue for Democrats this year, although he conceded it failed when tried by Al Gore and John Kerry. Without making any mention of the case that lower taxes on all Americans is beneficial to the overall economy, Halperin merely talked about President Bush's tax cuts that "disproportionately benefitted the wealthy," and seemed to suggest that eliminating those tax cuts may help the economy. Halperin: "That's one issue, again, Gore and Kerry went up against George Bush whose tax cuts disproportionately benefitted the wealthy, one of the best issues the Democrats could have. Neither of them made it stick. I think Obama, again, compared to the last two Democrats to run, has a real chance to make that case on taxes and fairness and how to grow the economy in a way that, I think, could be one of the decisive issues in this race."

Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange between Stephanopoulos and Halperin from the Sunday, July 6, This Week on ABC:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Mark, here's what I don't get. And maybe this is coming soon. But if you look at the conditions in the economy right now -- record high oil prices, 85 percent of the country thinking we're going in the wrong direction, more signs this week that we could be in for a long, slow recession -- I'm wondering why Obama, in his paid advertising, hasn't been out there hitting this issue, to the exclusion of all others.

MARK HALPERIN: The economy?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes.

HALPERIN: Well, I think we're going to see both the candidates planning to talk about the economy this week. There's a memo out this morning from the Obama campaign, incredibly, crisply making the contrast on taxes. That's one issue, again, Gore and Kerry went up against George Bush whose tax cuts disproportionately benefited the wealthy, one of the best issues the Democrats could have. Neither of them made it stick. I think Obama, again, compared to the last two Democrats to run, has a real chance to make that case on taxes and fairness and how to grow the economy in a way that, I think, could be one of the decisive issues in this race.