NPR's Nina Totenberg on Friday pleaded with Congress to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.
When she did so, her fellow "Inside Washington" panelist Mark Shields, as if at a revival meeting, said "Amen" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: The trouble is there have to be some tax increases as well as spending cuts. You can’t do this over the long haul without some tax increases.
GORDON PETERSON, HOST: We’ll see.
MARK SHIELDS, PBS: Amen.
PETERSON: Okay, you are a Republican member of Congress. You’re running for reelection, and you go home and you say, "I want them to raise taxes. We have to pay for this stuff.”
TOTENBERG: No, all you have to do is let the Bush tax cuts expire and it makes a huge difference. And those are tax cuts on people who make more than $250,000. Let me just point out…
PETERSON: Yeah, but it’s still, taxes still go up. You call it that.
TOTENBERG: Let me just point out that we have, we spend, we are at a spending rate in this country now that is higher than at any time since World War II, and our tax rate is lower than at any time since 1950. Does that tell you something? At both ends, you’ve got to do something.
Okay, Nina - I'll give you your tax cuts on the rich. As the liberal Brookings Institution pointed out last July, that will raise about $67.9 billion a year.
Can we now agree on $1.5 trillion of spending cuts to bring the budget in balance?