During a discussion on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” former Vermont governor Howard Dean became frustrated with Larry Kudlow and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus for their criticism of President Obama’s big government, pro-tax solutions.
“I’m tired of hearing people in the private sector talk like they don’t owe the government anything. We do. This is a great country because we all pay into it. It’s about time we all pay into it,” said Dean.
His remarks were prompted by a broader discussion on the opposing economic solutions of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and President Obama.
“What I heard from the president today, just a whole lot of the same old big government tax and spend solutions,” Kudlow said, referring to a speech the president gave in Ohio on Thursday.
“No pro-growth policies. Nothing to help us get out of the recession -- the tax cliff, fiscal cliff. President, what are you doing? Just spending our money and trying to tax rich people and small business owners to pay for it? I don't get it,” Kudlow added.
Bernie Marcus didn’t have much to say in favor of the president’s speech.
“I will tell you that Barack Obama is one of the great orators I have heard. He can make something out of nothing, which is exactly what happened here. He talked about nothing,” Marcus said.
“I think the problem is that he’s surrounded by people that know less than he does. I don’t expect more of the president. He never worked in the real world. He doesn’t understand how a business survives or how a business runs,” he added.
Apparently, Dean didn't appreciate Marcus saying this and the conversation turned a bit more personal.
“You made a lot of money because you live in the United States of America,” he said. “We owe something to the government to grow up in this great country.”
Watch the debate [via CNBC]:
So what does Dean think should be done to repair America's economy? First off, the country should return to the policies of President Bill Clinton:
If we paid the same amount of taxes we paid when Bill Clinton was president, I would be a happy guy, and the budget would be closer to balanced. You cannot give away money, whether you give it to rich or poor people. That’s what George Bush did -- excuse me, trillions of dollars. You can’t do that.
Second, whatever you do, don’t elect Mitt Romney:
Why turn the economy over to a guy who invests in the Cayman Islands, has a Swiss bank account and who’s advocating doing the same things which wrecked the economy in the first place, which is giving the Wall Street guys free rein to do whatever they want.
That makes no sense at all. I think the idea that Mitt Romney will be the next president — given the record of Wall Street and creating this mess — is laughable.
But despite these well-reasoned solutions, Marcus and Kudlow both firmly believe that more spending is not the answer.
“The billion dollars [President Obama] spent did nothing for the economy, and he wants to spend more money, and where is the balance of the budget? I don’t understand how you can be balancing the budget while spending a trillion dollars more,” Marcus said.
“If somebody can explain that to me, I’m only a business guy. I don’t know anything. Maybe the economists, maybe the politicians understand this. I don’t get it. I don’t really understand it,” he added.
Front page photo source contribution: Ross Oscar Knight photography.