CNBC sat down for an interview with Maria Bartiromo, and everyone was eager to see if he would go off message, and undermine Obama again by saying something about Mitt Romney’s “sterling” track record or something like that.Anyway, the headline for the CNBC article on the interview is:
US Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton
And in the article it says:
However, Clinton did say that Congress would be best off agreeing, at least for the time being, to extend all the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, including the so-called Bush tax cuts named after Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush.
Those across-the-board cuts have been criticised by Democrats who say they were skewed toward upper-income earners.
So because of the headline, people are saying that Bill Clinton backs the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and yes, undermining Obama gain.
He really doesn’t appear to say that at all. He says he’d be fine with an across the board extension, but in fact, the only thing he says about the Bush tax cuts is that they shouldn’t be extended permanently, and that Republicans need to yield.
Here’s the whole exchange about taxes via the full transcript:
MARIA BARTIROMO: So what about this upcoming fiscal cliff? Because a lot of people are worried and the markets certainly have been reacting to the– to the idea that these Bush tax cuts will expire at year end along with the spending programs that will expire. Should those programs and those tax cuts be extended?
PRES. BILL CLINTON: What I think they should do is find a way to keep the expansion going. And I think the– as weak as it is here, you know, unemployment in the euro zone I think is 11%. And– Germany’s doing well but the– and a lot of the smaller countries are doing extremely well, many of which are not in the euro.
But they’re trying to figure out a way to promote growth. And what I think we need to do is to– find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election.
MARIA BARTIROMO: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?
PRES. BILL CLINTON: Well, I think what it means is they will have extend– they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s going to– that’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
But– the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.
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