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Varney Attacks Democratic Tax Plan In Advance Of Understanding It

Reported by Guest Blogger - November 29, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

On the November 25, 2009 Your World, guest host Stuart Varney interviewed Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) about his plan to tax stock trades a quarter point. It would raise $150 billion; half to balance the budget, and half to pay for jobs creation. Varney repeatedly interrupted and sneered at Perlmutter, though his questions indicated a lack of in-depth understanding of either the purpose or the details of the plan. With video.

Varney began by accusing Perlmutter (without any real proof) of using the plan as a kind of second stimulus. Varney said, "Explain to me… why is it that the first time you did that, with the initial stimulus plan using $800 billion of government money (it) didn't work?"

Perlmutter replied, "This kind of transfer fee was in place from …1929-1966. (It) helped in connection with the Depression, and raising money for World War II. Now in Colorado, in my district, you’re asking about the stimulus, we have about 15 transportation projects going right now, we have the National Renewable Energy Lab that has added people."

Varney interrupted. "This is a repeat performance of stimulus plan number one isn't it? …You spent $800 billion, you didn't create the jobs you were expected to create, and now you want to do it again with $75 billion from stock trades."

Perlmutter said, "In Colorado, we’ve gone from 7.8% down to 6.9% unemployment in the last 60 days, so we're headed in the right direction… The country came to the rescue of Wall Street. Wall Street can help Main Street, that’s the bottom line."

Varney did not dispute that. Instead, he went on to scoff at Perlmutter for other reasons. "Two points if I may… The AFL-CIO is behind your proposal. I have to point out that the unions have huge pension plans which trade stock frequently. They would pay this tax. It would come out of their pocket. Secondly, …all taxes are passed along… to you and I to ordinary Main Street Americans. This is just another tax that's going to the government for government-funded programs."

But Perlmutter shot those criticisms down. "Qualified pension plans, 401k's, and trading under $100,000 would be exempted in this proposal… We’d have trades on stocks and bonds, derivatives, and swaps.” Then he added, “It is also intended to help with the volatility. When a stock like Intel trades 5,000 times a second for the big players, that’s different than somebody here in Golden, Colorado holding it long term."

Varney interrupted with more disapproval. "That sounds like a hidden agenda. That is not just revenue raising, that is an attempt to affect the way stocks are traded.” Then, as though he were on to some kind of conspiracy, Varney added, “Is that the purpose of the bill, the real purpose?"

Perlmutter answered that was not the purpose of the bill. “The purpose of the bill is to have Wall Street help Main Street. It’s to create some jobs and pay down the debt. But it may have the effect of having people be in the market longer term instead of just short term.

Comment: Varney was rude, smug and arrogant and he made me miss Neil Cavuto. Rep. Perlmutter did a fine job.