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July 10th, 2012
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Rep. Steve King: President Obama's 'class-envy move' on taxes, wants Americans to step up and carry fair share of work

This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Steve King (R-IA) weighs in on President Obama’s plan to extend a portion of the Bush-era tax cuts, saying that it's a move that's 'playing into' an election year.

King says Obama's tax cut plan is a 'class-envy move'and many non-working Americans are shirking their responsibility by not doing their fair share to contribute to the United States GDP.

In the clip below, Rep. King explains why he thinks President Obama's tax cut extension plan is a political move.

See transcript after the jump.


ROMANS: Joining us now live, Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Iowa and member of the Tea Party caucus. Good morning, sir.

REP. STEVE KING, (R) IOWA: Good morning.

ROMANS: The president wants to keep lower taxes for 97 percent of Americans, the treasuries department's office of tax analysis for the tax year 2007, under Bush, three percent of all tax returns were for incomes over $250,000. Explain the view that Obama's proposal would hurt. Walk me through it.

KING: I recall back when the Bush tax brackets were first implemented, a decade ago. The argument was how do you give tax breaks to people not paying taxes. That's a number approaching or exceeding 50 percent. The lowest bracket would receive a 50 percent tax increase if the Bush tax brackets were allowed to expire. I think this is just another one of the class envy pieces the president has done, dividing people along whatever lines he can demographically to try to win an election.

ROMANS: How is that class envy?

KING: I'm sorry.

ROMANS: You say this is a class envy play by the president. What do you mean?

KING: If you demonize the people making over $250,000 and say they aren't paying their fair share, and you if you ask people what is a fair share, the people over $250,000 are paying more than the people paying less than $250,000 think they are. You can always make the argument you want to raise the taxes on somebody else. The president doesn't think he gets a lot of votes out of that group and thinks he gets more energy and more from his base if he just simply targets people making over $250,000. That's where the jobs are created.

ROMANS: Let's look at the polling here. A majority of people would support this proposal of extending tax cuts for all people, increasing taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year - Democrats, 83 percent of them favor it, independents 63 percent favor it, Republicans only 37 percent favor it. You can see this is where there's a real ideological difference here. That's something both are playing into in an election year.

KING: And I see this and it begins as a shift within the culture I think that poll reflects. That says there are more and more people looking at others saying they shouldn't be making that much money because I'm not. And they don't feel as much guilt about the 72 different means tested welfare programs that we have. If you go back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the four freedoms, freedom from want, freedom from fear, those were manufactured freedoms. It's almost a government guarantee from a middle income standard of living from programs. I like when Americans feel guilt about that and want to step up and carry their fair share of the work. There are too many Americans not contributing to the gross domestic product in the United States today.

ROMANS: You're saying the president is talking about fair share, saying that people above $250,000 a year should pay what he says is their fair share. Are you saying poor people and people in government programs are not paying their fair share, that that's not fair?

KING: I don't think that's arguably. If they aren't paying federal income tax, and that's a number of 51 percent of the working households aren't - yes, their paying property tax and sales tax and those kind of things. But if they are not going to work and there are a number approaching 100 million Americans of working age not in the workforce, and that includes the 13 million that are unemployed, some can't do anything about it. Some aren't willing to do anything about that - when you add that up, roughly a third of Americans of working age are not contributing to the gross domestic product of the United States.

ROMANS: Whose fault is that? Because the economy is not giving the opportunities it used to?

KING: I think one of the things is people are told they aren't required to create opportunities. It's up to somebody else to offer them a job. I've heard that with the people that are occupying Wall Street. There's that theme there. So once you get that into the minds of people that it's not their responsibility, they don't step up to the responsibilities Americans have traditionally had. And that's a negative to our country. And the president promotes these things with these kinds of policies.

ROMANS: Let's talk about whether there could be action on taxes anyway, before an election because we know that we talked about this fiscal cliff that is looming. If the president is going to say he's 100 percent committed to only tax - extending the tax cuts for up to $250,000 a year, could we be at an impasse if Republicans are only saying, no, it's got to be for everyone?

KING: I think we are at an impasse until beyond the election. As I'm asked from constituents across the district in the country, I tell them the results of the election in November will determine what happens in the lame duck session after November and before the December 31st expiration of these tax brackets.

And I think that's what this is about. It's about the election for the president. It's not about ending his spending spree. This tax increase on those making over $250,000 a year does not do a thing to solve the president's spending problem. It is a spending problem, and it's a problem of a stagnant economy with a burden of Obamacare and burden of regulations and uncertainty out there.

I'd like to see people making over $250,000 a year make more. They'll create more jobs with that. And Republicans and Democrats have forgot be to remind the American people that, yes, jobs, jobs, jobs, but you pay for those jobs you have to have profit. Business will not invest capital, not take the risk that creates jobs if they don't have access to profit and a confidence that the government is not going to confiscate it.

ROMANS: And there's also certainly this certainty issue when you have a fiscal cliff in Congress and can't really do anything in an election year that adds to uncertainty as well. Congressman Steve King, thanks for joining us.

Filed under: Economy • Politics • Tax cuts • Taxes
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