Martin Bashir | July 27, 2012
>>> mitt romney wants to cut taxes on the wealthiest americans , as well as corporate tax rates on the country's largest businesses. at the same time, he promises to increase defense spending to even higher levels than the military itself is calling for. he is even taken to slamming president obama for defense cuts republicans demanded.
>> this is no time for the president's radical cuts in our military. don't bother, by the way, trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of that, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. strategy is not driving the president's massive defense cuts.
>> dana milbank is my colleague and a political columnist for the pennsylvania coast. dana, thanks for being here.
>> you're a natural there in the anchor chair, john.
>> thank you very much. you're very kind. so in your column, you called those remarks by romney some of the most mendacious of this campaign. why? these are supposedly obama's defense cuts. that's true, but they're also john boehner 's defense cuts. they're mitch mcconnell 's defense cuts. they're the defense cuts of the vast majority of republicans in the house and the senate. and that is because it comes from the budget control act of last year. and how did we get to that? well, the republicans said they were going to throw the country into default unless the democrats agreed to certain cuts. and if the super committee didn't reach a deal, they had to agree to these automatic cuts. the reason they're in place is because the republicans held the country hostage last year.
>> right. so romney and his prendes in congress want to increase defense spending by more than $2 trillion. but he also wants to cut taxes on individuals and large corporations. has he even explained where the money would come from to pay for the military spending ?
>> no. but we figured it out for him. if you do the math on this. so if you're going to have the kind of tax cuts that he has endorsed in paul ryan 's budget, and you're going to increase military spending by $2.1 trillion over ten years, you can cut all over government function, including current social security and medicare benefits by 15%, or if you want to leave those in place, because romney says he also wants to do that, you can eliminate all functions of eight cabinet agency, including the department of justice , the department of commerce , the national institutes of health , the department of the treasury . so you may actually want to send all this money to the pentagon, but you won't have an irs left to collect the taxes.
>> so what about other things that could be done. say what mitt romney did in massachusetts, raising fees. what about that? would they even consider these things?
>> wow, $2.1 trillion worth of fees.
>> it's a big country .
>> look, this is the central dilemma for mitt romney . you can't have it both ways. you can either have a massive increase in military spending , or you can have a tax cut . arguably, you can't really afford either one. it's not just an abstract choice. it came on the floor of the senate this week. and you had the senate republicans saying no way to any sort of a tax increase. at the same time, literally the day after the leader of their party, the nominee of their party is bashing the democrats for cutting spending.
>> real fast. on wednesday, senate republicans had a chance to vote for a small increase in taxes on salaries, over $250,000. even though that first $250,000 wouldn't be touched, only what is earned above 250. but instead they voted against it, thus ensuring the cuts to the military would happen. so are republicans in congress really willing to sacrifice the military for another tax cut for the rich?
>> exactly. that was $50 billion they could have had in that tax revenue , which is exactly the amount that next year the pentagon would be deprived of that mitt romney says is so devastating.
>> interesting, dane. that i look forward the reading your next column. dana milbank of the " washington post ," thank you very much.
>> thank you, sir.