Utah Senator Mike Lee (R) appeared on Glenn Beck's radio program Wednesday to defend the controversial tax plan he introduced with recently-announced Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Beck tore apart the plan on Tuesday, calling it "bizarre" and an "absolute jobs killer." He said putting individuals who make more than $75,000 in the top tax bracket could actually constitute a tax hike for many working Americans -- even if the top rate drops from 39.6 percent to 35 percent -- and said a fairer alternative is a flat tax.
Lee said he agrees that a single-rate system would be better, but "you can't really get there from here."
"You can't really go from a seven-rate system to a one-rate system without raising taxes on a lot of poor and middle class folks," Lee said. "So we want to simplify the code and do it in a way that's pro-growth and pro-family."
"Can I ask a question?" Beck remarked. "You were saying you were worried about raising the taxes on a lot of people paying at the lower end. So you've got a 15 percent flat tax there, right? ... [Why not] one 15 percent, and one 25 percent?"
"That would be one approach. But as we have run the numbers, we think it is the best way of making it work in a way that doesn't add unduly to our deficit," Lee said. "Rome wasn't built in a day; we are open to all kinds of suggestions. We are open to considering something like that. We weren't able to make the numbers work the first round when we put it together. But this is still a big tax cut. This is still a $1 trillion tax cut, and that's putting it conservatively. ... This is a very aggressive tax cut, a Reagan-esque type of tax cut."
"You are so good with the law. How good were you at math?" Beck said. "We just don't see this the same way. ... You said, 'We can't get there from here.' And I understand. I really do understand you can't change a tire going 150 miles per hour. But Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Johnson, Barack Obama, they all gave us the biggest tire changes at 150 miles per hour this country has ever seen. On our side, on the conservative side, we had Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Regan. That's it. I'm sorry, and Calvin Coolidge. That's it."
"Why is it we are so afraid of standing up and talking common sense and saying, 'You're damn right. If the Soviet Union can figure this out, we can do it,'" Beck continued heatedly. "I don't remember the number, and I'm sure you know it, like 17.9 or 18 percent, that no matter what you do to the rates, you always collect about that much. Why aren't we just targeting that number?"
Lee agreed and said "on average we are able to collect about 18 percent of GDP through our income tax system ... regardless of how high you set the top marginal rate."
"But again, what we are looking at here is the biggest simplification we can get -- " Lee began.
"Mike, you know I love you, right?" Beck interrupted. "I respect you. We all respect you and love you. We are just so frustrated because if people in Congress ... would stand on their desks and shout at the top of their lungs, 'The IRS has become a weapon against the American people!' You could re-do it because you could shut it down. There is nobody on the right or the left -- except for those in power -- that want the IRS to become a weapon. And you have the best shot of shutting the IRS down and cleaning house right now that you have had in 100 years."
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