Befuddled Bill Press Wants to Go Back to the Clinton Era 'Tax Cuts' That Were Actually Tax Increases
Bill Press appeared on Fox News' Geraldo At Large, on Sunday night, as part of a discussion about whether the Bush era tax cuts would be extended and the former CNN host couldn't get his story straight as he recommended that Congress go back to the Bill Clinton era "tax cuts." In fact Clinton, back in 1993, passed the largest tax increase in history but this bit of truth didn't get in the way of Press claiming, three times, that Clinton had cut taxes.
Oddly enough Press, near the end of his segment, eventually backed into truth, when he bragged: "I have to add Bill Clinton raised taxes, not one Republican voted for it, and 20 million jobs created under Bill Clinton."
The following exchange was aired on the December 5 edition of Geraldo At Large:
GERALDO RIVERA: So continuing our quest for common ground, when it comes to avoiding the automatic tax increase, now just 26 days away, two prominent protagonists. On your left our own Fox News political analyst Andrea Tantaros and veteran reporter, talk show host and author most recently of Toxic Talk, Bill Press joins us. So doesn't a compromise, Andrea, seem in the offing?
ANDREA TANTAROS: I think they're probably gonna get there but it's gonna be a long fight this week. You're gonna see Republicans, Geraldo, they're not gonna back down on extending them for everybody. And you're gonna see Democrats, what they tried to do last week, they tried to embarrass them by only forcing a vote for the middle class. But I think they're gonna use unemployment benefits as the carrot. That's where I think you're gonna see the pressure come from Democrats and say "This the holiday season we gotta keep extending them." And I think that's where you might be able to see a little bit of a compromise with Republicans, even though they're not gonna want to.
RIVERA: But it does seem, I mean I agree that there's a lot of resistance on both sides-
RIVERA: -which there has to be in any compromise. But it does seem, everything you read or anything you hear says the compromise, the basic structure is there. They, the Dems get the unemployment extension, the Republicans get their "rich guys get to keep their money."
TANTAROS: Yeah but they gotta stake out their ground. I mean particularly Republicans. They came in here and they believe that they have a mandate after this last election. Democrats are the ones that are gonna have to move over on this one, particularly on tax cuts. Because they do not want to be responsible, Geraldo, for raising taxes in a recession.
RIVERA: Well let's see if my old friend Bill Press agrees to any compromise.
BILL PRESS: Well first of all I agree that there is going to be a compromise. I think-
RIVERA: There is going to be a compromise?
PRESS: No, I think the deal is done.
PRESS: I think Obama has cut the deal and the deal is going to be, as Andrea pointed out, the tax cuts will be extended for everybody. That's on every dollar they make. They already get a tax cut up to $250,000, right? But this will give everybody a tax cut on every dollar they make.
RIVERA: Everything up to the billions and trillions.
PRESS: Right. And in return for that President Obama will get an extension of unemployment benefits, which I think is particularly important at this, at this election year. But I think it's a mistake because I don't think we can afford - look we've got a $1.4 trillion deficit. You've got a $13 trillion national debt and we are going to borrow another $800 billion and pile it on top of the debt so Donald Trump gets a tax cut.
TANTAROS: So wait a minute. We can afford to extend unemployment benefits-
TANTAROS: -but can't afford to give people the money that they earned back to them?
PRESS: No, no, we're not giving them money they earned, back to them, Andrea. What we're gonna do is go back to the tax cuts that existed under Bill Clinton where, by the way, we had the eight most successful years of economic growth in the history of this country under those tax cuts. And I don't think you can compare, one final point-
PRESS: -somebody who's been out of a job for 12 months, can't make their house payments, can't feed their family, compare them with giving Donald Trump another tax cut?!
TANTAROS: You know what? You know what? You're right. Donald Trump is a job creator. We can't keep rewarding, rewarding the people who aren't working. We gotta get them jobs so that they can start to pay taxes.
PRESS: No I think you got Donald Trump wrong. He's the guy that says, "You're fired."
TANTAROS: No, no, no.
PRESS: Yes he is, no he is! He's the guy that fires people!
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TANTAROS: He employs a lot of people. He employs a lot of people. Why, why does this administration, though, keep insisting on penalizing the business community?
PRESS: One final point. He hired more people under Bill Clinton. I'm saying go back to those eight good years. The tax cuts then, right, we're not too onerous for Donald Trump.
TANTAROS: Historically any time you've raise taxes, you've seen it hurt the economy. Go back as far as you want, Bill.
PRESS: Not true.
TANTAROS: This is why Democrats aren't gonna do it. This is why they are gonna compromise because...
RIVERA: What happens with the estate tax? If I die this year my family gets everything, 100 percent. If I die on January 1st they get half or less than half of what I, I mean they have a lot to do. Plus they have the Christmas holidays coming up.
TANTAROS: Yeah, that's right.
RIVERA: They want to get out of town early. They, no one trusts them. No one likes them. They're gonna, how are they gonna resolve all these issues before January 1st?
TANTAROS: Well they're only gonna, yeah they're only gonna handle this one. I mean Republicans sent a letter to Harry Reid and they said, "Forget Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Forget the Dream Act. We can deal with immigration later. We've got to deal with the economy, first and foremost.
PRESS: No, no, what they said was, right? "We don't care about nuclear weapons reduction."
TANTAROS: That's not true.
PRESS: "We don't care about getting rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Let me finish. "We don't care about extending unemployment benefits. All we care about are tax cuts for millionaires." And I have to add Bill Clinton raised taxes, not one Republican voted for it, and 20 million jobs created under Bill Clinton.
TANTAROS: Final point.
RIVERA: Final point, final...
TANTAROS: These tax cuts, these tax cuts passed with bipartisan support and $250,000 does not a millionaire make in this economy Bill.
RIVERA: Andrea Tantaros, Bill Press! Out of time. Thank you both. Excellent debate.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here