The Ed Show | January 05, 2012
>>> good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching. you can say at home, oh, there goes eddie playing class warfare again. no, i'm not. mitt romney hopes to win the new hampshire primary five days from now. establishment republicans, well, they're out and about saying that, well, he's probably the nominee in waiting. i don't think so. romney is going to have a real hard time selling himself to middle-class americans . the proof is in his bank account , my friends. a financial consulting firm figured out the net worth of presidential candidates from the past 20 years. pretty lofty numbers. billionaire ross perot is the richest. steve forbes comes in second, who by the way is endorsing mitt romney . romney is third. that's right. he is the third richest candidate to ever run for president over the last 20 years. he's worth, ding ding , $250 million. now, let me give you another number. 3,140. mitt romney is one of the 3,140 richest people in america . good for him. nice to know he can make a dollar. those 3,140 people are in the top .001% of all wage earners in this country. and let me make something perfectly don't have a problem with anybody that makes a dollar. i just don't want them picking on people that don't have that kind of success because that's really an elite group economically in this country. but as president mitt romney will protect these folks. the richest people in this country. while asking the poorest americans to pay a little bit more. that's what i don't like. now, if you call that class warfare , go right ahead. i think it's about fairness. the tax policy center crunched the numbers on mitt romney 's tax plan. see, mitt's got a tax plan. this is what he wants to do if he's president. romney 's plan would increase taxes on families making less than $40,000 a year. now, you tell me if that's not class warfare . he wants to pick on the little guy? american workers making less than $10,000 a year. they're going to see the biggest increase. now, you tell me what's fair about that. people at the top, what's going to happen to them? well, they're going to pay less. that's where he comes from, the country club . a millionaire will see his taxes drop by almost 5%. keep in mind, romney will still not let you see how much he pays in taxes.
>> with regards to income taxes , that's not something that's required by the law. i'm not planning on releasing my income taxes anytime soon. but we'll wait to see what happens. never say never.
>> oh, yeah, we'll wait and see. romney won't even commit to releasing his tax records if he wins the presidency.
>> it's not is that hard to make a commitment that if you're elected president of the united states that you would release the tax returns . every president does.
>> you know, if i become president, then i'll consider that. it's a little premature for me to be talking about that at this stage.
>> is there some secret? people know you're wealthy.
>> yeah, i understand.
>> there's nothing to hide.
>> no, i agree. there's nothing to hide.
>> you know what i think? i think that's one of the most revealing interviews so far in this entire campaign season. because if you're proud of where you came from and what you've done you shouldn't have any reservations at all as a person if you want to lead to tell people about it because you want them to have the same kind of success that you've had. now, that's just a personal view on my part. we know why mitt romney won't release his tax returns . his investment income is worth millions. and he's taxed, my friends, at a much lower rate than regular wages. romney pays a lower tax rate than the person driving the campaign bus . he pays a lower tax rate than the janitor who cleans up after the campaign events. he wants that guy to pay more than the rich folks proportionately. you know, so where's the break? what has mitt romney ever done for the blue liners? now, hold it right there. think about that. we use this graph a lot. i said months ago this is the only graph you really need to know about going into 2012 . well, we're here. see, this is the blue liners. these are the middle classers of america . the wage earners of america . they're right down here on this line. they haven't gone too far in the last 30 years. but here's the country clubbers and the people who maybe don't want to reveal their taxes. the fact of the matter is romney 's policies will continue to separate working americans from those at the very top. and don't take my word for it. the tax policy institute did it. if you were a wage earner, if you're down here, you're a wage earner, you're a blue liner, do you think mitt romney understands your struggle? check out this video from his campaign when he was running for senate back in 1994 .
>> the lady of the house .
>> just a worker.
>> just a worker. that's what we all are.
>> nice to meet you.
>> good to meet you. i'm mitt romney . how are you doing? good. good to see you. how are you? good to meet you. how's business?
>> struggling. how are you doing? i'm mitt romney . good to meet you. thank you very much. appreciate it.
>> well, there it is. romney never stops to ask the woman why she is struggling. i thought he was into turning businesses around. he could have given her a tip. instead he presses the flesh and just moves on. just a snapshot of maybe who he is. there is only one person in this race really trying to make the top liners a little closer to the real folks of america . you know, or the blue liners to get back up to the top and be with them to have a better life and i think his name is president barack obama . you will never convince me that a guy who will not reveal his tax returns after a life of success is really concerned about the folks down here. i think that's very revealing. i think there should be full disclosure . you know, we can't find out who the heck is bankrolling their campaigns with these super pacs that are out there. but can we at least, mitt, know exactly where you are financially? we know that you're up there really high with ross perot and steve forbes . you're the third richest guy in the last 20 years to run for president. you ought to be proud of that. so show us what you pay. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question. percentagewise, do you think mitt rom mi pays more or less than you do in taxes? text a for more. text b for less to 622639. you can go to our blog and leave a comment there at ed.msnbc.com. i have nothing against anybody doing extremely well. that's what capitalism is all about. that's what america is all about. i think the republicans, what do they call it? oh, american exceptionalism . that's what they call it. hey, go have at it. but when you get there and you want to be in a leadership role, why is it that you want to give more to the top liners and expect these folks down here to pay more taxes? and that is exactly what mitt romney wants to do. that is not where president obama and the democrats are. joining me tonight, msnbc political analyst eugene robinson . also associate editor and pulitzer prize -winning columnist for the " washington post ." eugene, great to have you with us tonight.
>> good to be here, ed.
>> good americans knew about the wealth -- and this story is getting around. if every voter out there knew exactly what romney 's wealth was and just how much he pays in taxes, do you think that would affect how people might view him as the president, or view him as the candidate or maybe affect their vote? what do you think?
>> well, i think it's something people would want to know. look, i'm with you. i have nothing against a guy making a dollar. that's what, you know, this country's economic system is all about. it creates wealth. you know. the problem is that that wealth has become increasingly concentrated in just a few hands, and mitt romney is one of the, what, 3,140 top beneficiaries of what's been happening to the economy. now, i know the answer to your question, i think. he almost certainly pays a lower tax rate than your listeners do because he's paying the capital gains rate, which is 15%.
>> well, you knnoknow what? why doesn't he just come out and say that? it would seem to me it would be a credibility issue, full disclosure . if someone's running for president, everyone's going to find everything out anyway, you might as well come forward and do it. so what in the world he be hiding? ah, probably a pretty nice rate. has barack obama , the president, do you think he's positioned himself well with this populist approach that he's taking over the last few months?
>> yes. i think obviously he has. i mean, his numbers are going up as the republican party 's numbers come down. and i think it's due to the fact that the president has more aggressively and more definitively, i would hope, positioned himself as with the people, as with the 99%, or the 99.99% in this case. it's a smart political move on the president's part and i think a sincere move because i do think if you think of his background, for example, he did lead not a privileged upbringing. his family was on food stamps for a while. he earned what he has in life. and i think he appreciates that.
>> i think there's really something to what you're saying because i think people, when they have success, they have to remember where they came from to help others also have the same kind of success, especially if they're in a leadership position. president obama came from the blue line . okay? he hasn't forgotten. because his policies have helped people on the blue line . there's no question about it. i'm going to spend more time looking into what mitt romney has done for the blue liners of america . i think that is the story. when we talk about income inequality in this country, and it is a big issue. its polling is a big issue with a lot of americans out there. this is the story about who they're going to be electing. and i really do think if you've been there done that you can't forget how you did it. and i just think that romney 's got some serious economic questions to ask. now, establishment republicans, i guess you can say are circling the wagons. karl rove wrote this editorial in the " wall street journal " calling romney 's eight-vote win in iowa "a big victory." and here's what john mccain told cbs after endorsing romney in new hampshire.
>> well, i think that it's very much timed to select our nominee and to move forward into the general election mode.
>> well, will the establishment -- the establishment republicans, i guess we can call them, are they going to shut down any threat to romney ? is he really the threat?
>> well, you know this is what they've been saying for a while, ed, trying for months now to con convince the party, the party faithful just to say, okay, accept mitt romney , you don't love him but he's the best shot we've got. and people aren't buying it. i was out in iowa, and i talked to a lot of republicans. some supporting mitt romney . not a lot of passion. and some who told me they wouldn't vote for mitt romney under any circumstances, even if he were the nominee. now, that was a minority. but there's a problem there, that the republican establishment is trying its best to deal with. but they haven't put out this fire, i think.
>> well, a guy that bounces around on the social issue of abortion the way he has, and he doesn't want to reveal his taxes to you, i don't think that's a way to kind of build up any trust in anybody. eugene robinson , good to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your time. thanks for being with us on