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Hillary Backs Rangel Tax, Calls For Sacrifice

From the transcript of last night’s Democrat debate, via MSNBC:

Oct. 30 Democratic debate transcript

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania presidential candidate forum at Drexel

Russert: I’d like to talk about taxes.

Senator Clinton, I’d like to start with you. Because the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, is a strong supporter of your campaign.

He wants to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. But he also wants to have a 4 percent surtax on a single $150,000 income or $200,000 married couple.

You went to Harlem with your husband, with Charlie Rangel. And the former president said, quote, “Charlie Rangel wants me to pay more taxes so you can pay less and I think that’s a good idea.”

Is that also your view?

Clinton: Well, I am a great admirer of Chairman Rangel. And what he’s trying to do is deal with a very serious problem. You know, the Alternative Minimum Tax was never intended to hit people are in middle income, upper middle income. It was meant for people who are rich and evading taxes.

Now I don’t know all the details of what Charlie is recommending, but I certainly agree with the goal. We’ve got to do something with the Alternative Minimum Tax.

There are a lot of ways of getting there. I want it to be fair and progressive. It starts in the House, it starts in the Ways and Means Committee, which he chairs. But I think my husband was expressing an opinion that a lot of people who have been very fortunate and blessed over the last six and a half years feel.

You know, we’ve not been asked to sacrifice anything. You know, young men and women wearing the uniform of our country are dying and being maimed. We have the average American family losing a thousand dollars in income, and George Bush and his cronies can’t figure out how they can give even more tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans.

Now, I never thought Bill and I would be in that category, to be honest with you. So it’s kind of a new experience. But it’s not one that make us very comfortable, because we should be investing in new energy, we should be investing in college affordability, universal pre-K, the kind of health care plan that I’ve outlined.

That’s what we intend to do. But we’re going to have to deal with the AMT, something that the Republicans have refused to do because, very frankly, it hits people who are below their concern. They’re concerned about the real top wage earners. This hits people that are, you know, the police chief. This hits people that are, you know, two income families that are doing well.

So we’re going to have to do something about it. I think Charlie’s being very courageous in moving forward. I don’t agree with all the details, but he’s on the right track to say we’ve got to do something about the AMT.

Russert: So in principle, you would be in favor of looking at a 4 percent surtax?

Clinton: No, I didn’t say that, Tim. I said that I’m in favor of doing something about the AMT. How we do it and how we put the package together everybody knows is extremely complicated.

It’s not going to happen while George Bush is president. Everybody knows that. I want to get to a fair and progressive tax system. The AMT has to be part of what we try to change when I’m president.

And there are a lot of moving pieces here. You know, there are kinds of issues we’re going to deal with as the tax cuts expire.

I want to freeze the estate tax at the 2009 level of $7 million for a couple.

There’s a lot of moving parts. So I’m not going to get committed to a specific approach, but I applaud Chairman Rangel for beginning the conversation.

Russert: But you will not campaign on the Rangel plan?

Clinton: No, no. That’s Charlie Rangel’s plan. And, as I say, I support and admire his willingness to take this on.

It is somewhat surprising that Mrs. Clinton was even asked such a question. But it is no surprise that she refused to give any kind of meaningful answer.

In point of fact the AMT should be reversed. But instead of increasing taxes to make up for the shortfall from the government’s undeserved windfall, there should be a reduction in spending.

Funny, though, that doesn’t seem to have occurred to either Mrs. Clinton or her cats paw, Mr. Rangel.

Nor did it occur to anyone else at the Democrat “debate” to suggest it.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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