MSNBC’s Chris Matthews apparently forgot that at the beginning of the year, a variety of tax increases hit virtually every wage earning American.
Fortunately for the limited number of Hardball viewers Thursday, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele was on the set to offer the truth telling his clueless host, “Everybody’s taxes went up at the beginning of the year, so don’t sit in this little bubble and act like it didn’t happen” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: It seems to me that your Party, not your regular Party, your part of the Party, the regular, old Republican Party, but the right-wing of your Party is now saying the following: unless Obama, the President of the United States, agrees to no revenues at all in a new package on the budget, agrees to no paying off the national debt if there is one, just not agreeing to any kind of debt extension, and killing Obamacare, there will be a government shut down and probably a default on the government. What kind of a statement is that by responsible office holders?
MICHAEL STEELE: Well, it's basically saying, “Look, we’re not going to go down the road where we continue to spend without some idea of where the end point is.” I mean we gave, you got the tax increases at the beginning of this year.
MATTHEWS: For who?
STEELE: $600 billion.
MATTHEWS: Who got taxed?
STEELE: Everybody got taxed, Chris. Everybody’s taxes went up at the beginning of the year, so don’t sit in this little bubble and act like it didn’t happen.
MATTHEWS: I’m talking about income taxes. They went up on the two percent.
STEELE: Income taxes, payroll taxes, everybody got a hit to their bottom line at the beginning of the year. Okay? Republicans signed off on that at the beginning, at the end of last year.
MATTHEWS: They signed off on it? They were for it.
STEELE: They signed off on the tax cuts [sic], we have not seen the spending cuts, and that’s part of the conversation going forward.
Steele of course was correct. USA Today reported in January:
Most Americans will pay higher federal taxes in 2013, even though the tax package Congress passed New Year's Day will protect 99% of Americans from an income tax increase.
About 77% of American households will face higher federal taxes in 2013 under the agreement negotiated between President Obama and Senate Republicans, estimates the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group.
That's because even though just 1% of households will pay higher income taxes, an increase in federal payroll taxes will hit nearly every wage earner, the Tax Policy Center says.
Of course, that was almost seven months ago. Why should the host of a nationally televised political talk show be expected to remember?
After all, accurate knowledge of recent history isn't a requirement at MSNBC.
Quite the contrary, when such things interfere with the agenda, it seems the network encourages its hosts and contributors to play dumb.
Steele mustn't have gotten the memo.
Matthews certainly did.