Fox News’ “fair and balanced” discussion about Democratic candidates’ spending plans started off with host Neil Cavuto calling the plans “nuts.”
Guest Nomiki Konst pushed back saying, “Capitalism is expensive.”
“You’re making it more expensive,” Cavuto claimed.
“We are losing revenue from offshore tax havens,” she shot back.
”Do you know why they’re leaving? Because taxes are too damn high here,” Cavuto said.
Konst replied, “Taxes are lower than they’ve ever been for corporations. Come on.”
”Ireland just halved their corporate tax rate to 6%, ours is at 35%," Cavuto argued.
In fact, according to the GAO, U.S. corporations pay a 12.6% effective tax rate, CNN reported in 2013, “thanks to things like tax credits, exemptions and offshore tax havens.”
Cavuto turned to his other guest, who shared his opinion, and asked the "fair and balanced" question, “What do you make of this mixed up message?”
”Capitalism is the only way to equal the playing field for both the poor and the rich and individuals in between,” guest Lisa Boothe argued. “It’s socialism and big government policies that are actually oppressive.”
Boothe began taking the requisite swipes at Democrats. “Democrats are living in la-la land because Bernie Sanders’ proposals would cost the country $18 trillion, and Hillary Clinton’s would cost the country over $515 billion over the next 10 years. …The spending and the higher taxes end up hurting the very families that Democrats proclaim that they’re trying to help.”
But those figures are misleading. As Paul Waldman explains in The Washington Post, Sanders’ plan is not $18 trillion in addition to what we’re already paying, but changing how we’d pay. Using health care as an example, Waldman notes that Americans already pay $42 trillion in health care costs, about $10,000 a year per capita. Under Sanders’ plan you might be spending more in taxes but you’d be saving on health insurance premiums, deductibles, etc.
By the logic of the scary $18 trillion number, you could take a candidate who has proposed nothing on health care, and say, “So-and-so proposes spending $42 trillion on health care!” It would be accurate, but not particularly informative.
Waldman later adds, “The question when it comes to government should always be not what we’re spending, but what we’re getting for what we spend.”
That was a point Konst implied when she talked about how student loans are crushing her millennial friends and that with higher graduation rates (presumably with less debt), “the better it fuels our economy.”
”How is that paid for?” Cavuto asked peevishly.
When Konst said, “It’s an investment in our economy,” Cavuto complained, “It’s like both sides have lost sight of basic math to me.”
But who’s really lost sight of the basic math?