Chris Wallace Presses Axelrod Into Sneering: 'We Don't Run Bake Sales'
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace clearly frustrated Obama spokesman David Axelrod on Sunday. (He’s probably used to puffballs from David Gregory on NBC.) But what clearly irked him most was when Wallace asked if the president feels so strongly about the Buffett rule, and his tax rate is less than his own secretary’s, will he send a check to the Treasury? Axelrod thought that was a gimmick, unlike the Buffett rule.
“Listen, well, that's not the way we operate our tax system, okay? We don't run bake sales,” Axelrod complained. “It's not about volunteerism. We all kick in according to the system.” Apparently, there are free rhetorical gimmicks, and there are costly wallet gimmicks. Here’s the larger exchange:
WALLACE: It turns out that he paid a tax rate of 20.5 percent, which is a lot less than the 30 percent he talks about and yes, it is lower than what his secretary pays.
AXELROD: It is.
WALLACE: And the president has -- if I may, David, the question I have for you is: if the president feels so strongly about tax fairness, is he going to he contribute money to the Treasury and they have a special department just for this, to help with the deficit?
AXELROD: Listen, Chris, first of all, the reason that his tax rate was so low was in part because 22 percent of his income was donated to charity, mostly to these Fisher Houses around veteran hospitals. So --
WALLACE: Mitt Romney contributes a lot to charity as well. It's not the issue.
AXELROD: That's right. Not quite yes. But there's no proportionality there. But here is a larger issue: the president's proposal would have him pay a higher rate of taxes in the future. Governor Romney's proposal would make him pay a lower rate in the future. So, that's fundamentally different.
We are arguing for a system that is fair. He's arguing for a system that would exacerbate the great gaps that we have in our system today.
WALLACE: I take it that he's not going to contribute money to the Treasury to help with the deficit.
AXELROD: Listen, well, that's not the way we operate our tax system, OK? We don't run bake sales. It's not about volunteerism. We all kick in according to the system. And the system allows that -- look, the fact that Mitt Romney pays 14 percent on $20 million income is not the issue. The issue is that the system permits it and he would perpetuate that and he would enhance it.
It makes you wonder that if every network asked tough questions about whether Obama can live up to his own gimmicks, they might not be this shameless. Wallace also underlined what a tiny amount of money Obama's Buffett-rule gimmick would raise:
WALLACE: But here's the math: under the Buffett Rule that millionaires should pay a minimum tax of 30 percent would bring in $47 billion over the next decade, while the president's budget adds $6.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade David, according to one estimate -- the money you would get from the Buffett Rule would cover just 17 days of the increased deficit under the Obama budget.
AXELROD: First of all, Chris, the president's proposal in total would cut the deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade and put us on the path to where the debt is stabilize and we are able to manage it. Where it's just 3 percent of the total economy, which is where everyone agrees we need to be.
In terms of the Buffett Rule, I remember when $47 billion seems like a lot of money. It is a lot of money. There is a -- when you reduce the -- when you eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, that adds another $800 billion. So, this is a piece of a larger pie...
Axelrod insisted Republicans can't say you must remove $300 million in Planned Parenthood subsidies to reduce the deficit and then call their Buffett savings tiny. But Wallace's questions underlined what mathetmatics the liberal media's news reports aren't including.