CNN host Piers Morgan argued for tax hikes during interviews with two separate guests on his Tuesday night show.
The former British tabloid editor tried to persuade Rudy Giuliani, a possible GOP presidential candidate, that the Tea Party is in the minority in its stance against higher taxes and should consider spending cuts paired with increased tax revenues to cut the deficit.
Later on in the show, Morgan hosted libertarian author Penn Jillette and stumped for raising taxes. "The solution is probably to raise taxes, to cut spending, to do special incentivizing for small business people," he told Jillette.
Morgan used poll numbers and the words of billionaire Warren Buffett to support his position. "Recent polls seem to be more and more in favor of tax increases. And then you have Warren Buffett, for example, one of the richest men in the country, almost pleading to be taxed more," he told Giuliani.
"Why not have a two-tier attack on this economy where you have more revenue, but you also dramatically reduce spending? What is wrong with that?" he posed.
During his interview with Jillette, Morgan touted a liberal view on the role of government. When his guest spoke of his concern that people are "thinking that somebody above us, someone in power, can take care of all of us, can fix everything," the CNN host replied "They should. It's their job in government, isn't it?"
He added that "when you've had these great recoveries from difficult times, they've come through great leadership and good government and big ideas." In this case, Morgan was referring to strong leadership and not necessarily big government. However, his previous quote lends to the thought that he believes in both.
He also said that in order for the rich to give financial assistance to the poor, "They have to be directed by government."
A transcript of the segments, which aired on August 16 at 9:10 p.m. and 9:42 p.m. EDT respectively, is as follows:
RUDY GIULIANI, former New York City mayor: And I think the President should pay less attention to the Republican candidates and more attention to the economy. I also think, you know, his criticism of the Republicans saying they wouldn't raise revenues, and his desire to get higher revenues is kind of a big mistake. What it shows is he's addicted to spending. He can't seem to get himself off the idea that he needs more revenue so he can spend more money.
The reason I wouldn't raise revenues has nothing to do with the rich or poor or these class warfare battle that he gets into. I wouldn't give the government any more money to waste. I think this government is a profound waster of money. Just like I wouldn't give a business more money to waste, I wouldn't give this government more money to waste.
MORGAN: Recent polls seem to be more and more in favor of tax increases. And then you have Warren Buffett, for example, one of the richest men in the country, almost pleading to be taxed more.
So although I understand the Tea Party in particular, and many Republicans alongside the Tea Party have got a bit of traction with this "we will not raise taxation" campaign – the reality is it wouldn't be that unpopular, would it? So why rule that out? Why not have a two-tier attack on this economy where you have more revenue, but you also dramatically reduce spending? What is wrong with that?
PIERS MORGAN: Give me the atheist way to get out of economic strife? In other words, harsh reality, with your business brain, successful guy, where has America gone wrong? What's the answer?
PENN JILLETTE, author, "God, No!": I always seem to think that the most important thing is individuals. And the most important thing is diversity. And the most important thing is to have someone like you, someone like me, who disagree on a very important issue – constantly talking, constantly working it out. I think that the problem is maybe thinking that somebody above us, someone in power, can take care of all of us, can fix everything.
MORGAN: They should. It's their job in government, isn't it? That's why you vote for people. It's why they get elected. It's why they run for office.
JILLETTE: I'm not sure that's exactly the way I see it.
MORGAN: But that's how it ought to be. When America has been revived in the past, whether it's FDR or Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan – when you've had these great recoveries from difficult times, they've come through great leadership and good government and big ideas.
JILLETTE: That's not – the way it feels to me is that when you wait for a decision to be made from someone in power above you, and you give up your personal responsibility, you give up your own power. That's where the danger comes.
MORGAN: Yeah, but right now, small business people, for example, they have absolutely no mechanism out there to get their businesses going again. They just don't. It's just not there.
MORGAN: So what do you say to those people? How do they – how do they operate? In this government –
JILLETTE: – the solution to give them government money?
MORGAN: I think the solution is probably to do a bit of that. The solution is probably to raise taxes, to cut spending, to do special incentivizing for small business people.
JILLETTE: But we know – there is a place for charity and there is a place for compassion.
MORGAN: It's not charity, though. That's completely the wrong response. It's not about me or you giving a few handouts to these people. This is about a system in America that's gone horribly wrong. When one in seven Americans is living off stamps, this system is broken.
JILLETTE: Well that's six in seven Americans that can help them.
MORGAN: Yes. How? They have to be directed by government.
JILLETTE: They do?
MORGAN: I think so.
JILLETTE: You don't think can you help people directly? I've seen experience of helping people directly.
MORGAN: On a mass scale that can change –
JILLETTE: Yeah. I think so. I think so.
JILLETTE: I think, you know, you got your Keva doing the micro loans all over the world that are making huge changes without any government force at all. Micro loans have ended up doing huge things overseas and now they're working a bit in the USA.