NPR’s Totenberg Urges Imposition of a “Katrina Tax,” Says “I Want More Taxes”

On the Inside Washington TV talk show aired on three Washington, DC stations over the weekend, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, decked out in NewsBusters orange, suggested that President Bush’s Thursday night speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" Host Gordon Peterson repeated her point: "You want more taxes." Totenberg chuckled as she reiterated: "I want more taxes, yes." Two weeks ago, as recounted in this NewsBusters item with a video clip, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”

Fuller quotation of Totenberg follows.

Totenberg advocated a tax hike on Inside Washington, a show taped at ABC’s Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where it airs after This Week on Sunday mornings. It first runs Friday nights on the PBS station, WETA-TV, channel 26, and then on Saturday nights at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.

Full recitation of the exchange quoted above, as Totenberg offered her reaction to Bush's Thursday night national address:

Nina Totenberg: "I thought it was weird lighting. It all looked a little strange to me. I was very happy to see him take responsibility and to not pretend that the buck stops someplace else. But it would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’"

Gordon Peterson: "You want more taxes."

Totenberg, as she chuckled: "I want more taxes, yes."

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center