CNN's Rick Sanchez on Thursday actually asked an Arizona state Congressman, "What is your beef with illegal immigration?"
Imagine that, a so-called journalist asking an elected official what his beef is with people breaking the law.
Honestly, I had to watch this segment four times to convince myself that Sanchez said something this absurd.
On the other hand, those familiar with Sanchez's work will view his interview with Arizona state Rep. Rick Murphy (R) par for the course (video follows with transcript and commentary):
RICK SANCHEZ, HOST: Mr. Murphy, thanks so much for joining us.
RICK MURPHY (R), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: My pleasure, Rick.
SANCHEZ: It seems this thing has gotten so heated, by the way. And I just want to start right from jump street, as they say. What is your beef with illegal immigration?
You thought I was kidding, right? Need to read that again a few times to absorb the stupidity?
I understand. I did as well.
Take a couple of cleansing breaths, and let's continue:
MURPHY: Well, Rick, the problem with illegal immigration is that it it's -- it is multifold. First of all, you have got some folks that are here that collect benefits and that put a burden on the taxpayers, and there is not enough balance to the benefit they're providing...
SANCHEZ: OK. Just a quick -- just a quick stoppage there. Just a quick stop. You know those people are paying taxes, right?
Now, when most of us think about paying taxes, we consider the federal and state income kind, correct? Not Sanchez:
MURPHY: Some of them do pay some taxes, sure.
SANCHEZ: No, they all pay taxes.
SANCHEZ: No, no, Mr. Murphy, they all pay taxes, sir. Stop and think for a moment. Are you an elected official?
MURPHY: Yes, I am, Rick.
SANCHEZ: So you think that people who come to this country all steal?
What? What does that have to do with paying taxes? Shhh. Wait. Sanchez is going to explain:
MURPHY: I'm sorry. I didn't quite catch that.
SANCHEZ: Do they all steal?
MURPHY: Well, no, they don't all steal. But let me give you an example, OK?
SANCHEZ: Just answer the question. Do they all steal? Do they all live in caves?
MURPHY: I don't think very many of them live in caves, no.
SANCHEZ: OK. So, if they go to grocery store to buy goods, they pay taxes. It's called the sales tax, right?
Well, first of all, five states don't charge sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
More importantly, 29 states and the District of Columbia completely exempt food purchased for home consumption from sales tax. Most other states offer lower tax rates or some kind of tax credits to offset their sales tax on groceries.
ONLY Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina tax such purchases at their regular sales tax level.
As such, Sanchez was once again showing his audience how little he knows:
MURPHY: Well, most cities here don't tax groceries. But, besides that...
SANCHEZ: OK. Let's suppose.
SANCHEZ: Since you are going to be real smart...
You mean as opposed to being REAL DUMB?
MURPHY: My wife and I are foster parents, OK?
SANCHEZ: No, let's continue the conversation. I don't want your talking points.
MURPHY: All right.
SANCHEZ: When a person comes to the United States, if they live here and they don't steal and live under the cave, are they paying property taxes and sales taxes?
MURPHY: If they buy a home, they're paying property taxes, sure.
SANCHEZ: What if they rent a home and the person who rents it, who collects their rent charges them that property tax?
What? A landlord charging his tenant for his property tax? How often does THAT happen?
MURPHY: Well, with our real estate market, there is not a real clear issue there.
SANCHEZ: Can you live in property in the United States, sir, without paying a property tax?
Obviously, the answer is "Yes" if you're living with someone and NOT paying rent OR renting and you don't have a bizarre landlord requiring you to pay his/her property taxes. Unfortunately, Sanchez's bullying tactics clearly threw Murphy off:
MURPHY: Not very easily.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
Can you buy something at a store without paying a sales tax?
MURPHY: Not in most states.
SANCHEZ: So, why do you go around telling Americans that these people don't pay taxes, or some of them, as you say, when that...
MURPHY: I didn't say they don't pay taxes.
SANCHEZ: You just said that a minute ago. You said some of them do.
MURPHY: I said the costs they incur -- I said the costs they incur do not balance out the costs, the taxes that they pay.
SANCHEZ: So, they pay -- so, OK, so let's just leave it at that. So, even illegal immigrants pay taxes right?
MURPHY: They do pay some.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
Let's move on to another point. Do you think that the benefits that they give -- do you know any benefits that they give Americans?
MURPHY: That the illegal immigrants give Americans?
SANCHEZ: Yes. Yes. Like what?
MURPHY: Well, some companies and some people benefit from the cheap labor. But, on the other hand, you have fewer available jobs for Americans. And it drives down wages for Americans that do the same jobs. So, I'm not real sure that it's clear that there's a benefit there.
SANCHEZ: No, you are right. You are right. And it's very well stated.
But let me ask you this. How about Social Security? Do you know that illegal immigrants subsidize you and your Social Security to the tune of $7 billion, so that some day you can retire on money they put into the system that they can never collect? Study, "New York Times."
MURPHY: Well, Rick...
SANCHEZ: You should know that if you're going to argue this stuff.
MURPHY: I would say that $7 billion is a drop in the bucket. For Social Security, that's a drop in the bucket.
SANCHEZ: Seven billion dollars is a drop in the bucket?
Indeed it is. According to a new report by the Federation for Immigration Reform, illegal immigration is currently costing taxpayers $113 billion. As it is estimated that illegal immigrants are now paying about $13 billion in taxes, this means we're losing about $100 billion a year.
Of course, if I brought this up in Sanchez's presence, he'd disdainfully accuse me of being smart:
MURPHY: Compared to the total amount of the obligation? Compared to the total amount of the obligation, yes, it is.
SANCHEZ: Well, so did you know that?
MURPHY: Yes, I know that they do pay in. But they also do that mostly on the backs of people whose identities they have stolen. And it creates a huge burden and cost and inconvenience and disruption to those people's lives.
SANCHEZ: Actually, once again, you are wrong. Did you know that most illegal aliens are given something by the federal government called a tax I.D. that allows the government off to collect Social Security taxes from them? Did you know that?
MURPHY: Rick, I realize that some of them have that. But I also realize that many of them have stolen identification. It happens in this state all the time. As a matter of fact, we probably lead the nation in it.
SANCHEZ: But here's the point. And, look, I don't mean to get into an argument with you.
You don't mean to get into an argument with him? You've been arguing since the opening bell:
SANCHEZ: But it's almost like when we have these conversations, we only hear one side. And the bottom line is this, isn't it? Tell me if I'm wrong.
Illegal immigrants in the United States have been all but recruited by businesses in the United States. They have said, here, come here. I want you to come to the United States. I have got a job for you.
And then when they get here, our U.S. government with our broken immigration system gives them the wherewithal or the tax I.D.s and all the other papers so that they can work legally, even though they're not here legally. And now we hear folks like you saying, it's all the illegal's fault.
I guess I'm just trying to put this in perspective. Is it really?
MURPHY: Well, you kind of put words in my mouth. I don't think I ever said it is all the illegal's fault.
Now, nobody put a gun to their head and made them come here. But I would grant you that administrations from both sides of the aisle have done pretty much what you said and turned a blind eye.
SANCHEZ: Yes, you're right.
MURPHY: And I don't appreciate it from either side.
The fact of the matter is, Arizona is paying a disproportionate price for this problem because we're right on the border. And California and Texas have their borders sealed much better than Arizona does. They have been intentionally funneled here, because they assumed that it would be too inhospitable and people would stop crossing, but that didn't happen.
We need to have our border secured and we need to have that done first before we do anything, because people frankly don't trust the federal government to do what they say they're going to do. They need to prove themselves.
SANCHEZ: You are 100 percent right. And I think most Americans watching this newscast would say, you are absolutely right. The federal government has to come up with some kind of system to control the borders and a system for comprehensive immigration reform.
Unfortunately, most of the time, the anger that comes from one side or the other doesn't allow that to happen. And maybe that's why guys like you and I need to have these conversations more often.
My thanks to you, Mr. Murphy, for taking time to join us. I enjoyed the respectable discourse.
MURPHY: My pleasure, Rick. Thanks for having me.
Amazing. If you needed any more proof that members of our media actually support illegal immigration, you got it in this segment.
As the proprietor of The Right Scoop noted, "It's hard for me to believe that a CNN host would ask someone 'what's your beef with illegal immigration.'"
It's not hard when the host is Rick Sanchez.