Double D'oh! Another Maddow Guest Undermines Her Premise, This Time on Tax Enforcement

If this keeps up, the shrinking number of guests on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show could dwindle even more.

For the second time this week, a Maddow invitee offered an awkward contrast to what Maddow claimed earlier in the same segment.

On her show Monday, Maddow cited three reports claiming that $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by Republicans on Capitol Hill would lead to massive job losses -- followed by economist Robert Frank telling Maddow minutes later the reductions amount to "just a drop in the bucket."

On Wednesday, Maddow talked about how government can avoid the pain of spending cuts or higher taxes by "cracking down on tax cheats" --

If this were a small business, if you were a plumber doing this, it would mean getting better at your billing. Not raising your prices, not raising your hourly rates, but just making sure that money that's supposed to be coming into you is actually coming in. That's how it would work if you were a small business. For a government, the equivalent to getting better at your billing is cracking down on tax cheats. When people owe taxes, it's getting them to pay those taxes. It is catching them when they try to evade taxes or when they cheat. It's not cutting spending or raising taxes. Sorry, you guys. (holding up puppets representing both). But it does reduce the deficit.

Every dollar the IRS spends going after tax cheats pulls in more than $10 against the deficit. It's the technocratic, good government, efficiency way to cut the deficit without raising taxes or cutting spending. Um, and Republicans want to do less of it.

Republicans this year say they want to cut $600 million out of tax enforcement. How can you say you care about the deficit and then propose that? Whatever you think about these bad ideas (motioning with puppets), that has got to be the worst idea ever.

Wow -- worse than the Final Solution? That's one heckuva bad idea. Followed by Maddow's next guest, Syracuse University economist and author David Cay Johnston, referring to three specific states where tax enforcement is lax --

MADDOW: I am interested in what you alluded to actually there with your first sentence there, into what is being called fiscal policy but that is really about accomplishing other political goals. I think that's what we've had in Wisconsin, an attack on unions that's purportedly justified by the budget but it's not actually related to that budget at all. Do you, a), do you think that's the case in Wisconsin, and do you also think that's what's going on with this call to cut corporate tax rates?

JOHNSTON: I think this is going on all over the country. I've written a number of times about the former IRS official who figured out how to catch all sorts of tax cheats using computers. And I finally was told by an official in Kentucky that the governor's office had sent word that, no, they weren't going to do this because it might catch some of the donors to the governor. In New York, we have a huge amount of tax cheating going on that's easy to catch involving real estate. The state won't pursue it. In Wisconsin, we have the same thing. The previous administration fired state corporate auditors while saying we don't have enough revenue.

The "previous administration" in Wisconsin -- run by a Democrat, Jim Doyle, Scott Walker's predecessor.

In New York, the current governor -- Andrew Cuomo -- and the two who preceded him -- David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer -- Democrats all.

"The governor" in Kentucky -- Democrat Jim Beshear, who's held office since December 2007.

Had all three states been run by Republicans while turning a blind eye to tax cheats, think this would go unmentioned by Johnston or Maddow?

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts