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“Won’t Tax Rich, Corporations, End Wars — Isn’t Congress Basically Bought and Paid for?”


From Sam Husseini

Two House budget committee members — Rep. Heath Shuler, (D-N.C.), and Rep. Mike Simpson, (R- Idaho) — have been making the media rounds as the new faces of establishment bipartisanship in favor of a letter 100 congress people signed on to stating “all options for mandatory” — presumably including Social Security, which adds nothing to the deficit — “and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table.”

Sam Husseini questioned them as they left the Fox studios on Sunday morning.

Husseini: Most Americans want to see an increase in taxes on the wealthy and corporations, ending the wars, and Congress doesn’t do that. Is that because Congress is basically bought and paid for?

Shuler: “I think the thing that you look at: here’s an opportunity that we can do so much because once the Supercommittee releases its finding and that becomes a bill, and it’s put on the House floor, there’s no amendments to it, it can’t be altered or changed when it goes from the House to the Senate. So that gives us an opportunity to have a clean slate to be able to put everything on the bill, to increase the revenue. The problem is, you don’t find this very often when you have members of the different political parties working together and acting. It’s much easier to split the screen and let us debate and argue something. But we’re united. We’re together. Now we have 100 members in the House and counting, with the 45 members in the Senate. That is the best, most newsworthy thing we can provide for you under the most difficult situations that we have. And to be able to come up with the cuts that’s necessary and the revenue that’s necessary to put us on a more sustainable path.

Shuler and Simpson’s handlers begin shouting to try to stop the questioning.

Husseini: “Why aren’t you united to tax the rich and the corporations and end the wars? Why aren’t you united for something that is actually popular rather than pursues monied interests?”

Simpson: “We’ve ought to be looking at everything.”

Husseini [holding up box of Band-Aids just off camera]: “Let me ask you this: yesterday I went to a pharmacy and there’s a tax on Band-Aids. Why isn’t there a tax on financial transactions? I had to pay a 6 percent tax on Band-Aids that people need.”

Simpson: “Probably a state sales tax, right?” [Actually, it's D.C. and D.C. is not a state, with many of its laws set by a Congress that D.C. residents have no real voice in and which Simpson and Shuler are members of.]

Husseini: “What’s your position on financial transaction tax?”

Simpson: “You’d have to look it up.”

Husseini: “Why can’t JP Morgan pay its transaction tax on their dealings [like ordinary people have to pay on necessities like Band-Aids]?”

Shuler and Simpson walk away.

Special thanks to Chris Belcher (video), Sam McCanne (transcription), Jonathan Schwarz, Matthew Bradley, David Swanson, Wendy Mink, Thomas Ferguson and Elisa Salasin for helping.

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