What is the Democrat alternative to President Trump’s tax plan?
With a tip of my imaginary hat to Tom Blumer of newsbusters.org, here is your answer, via this verbatim transcript of Tuesday’s discussion (if you can call it that) on Fox Business Channel’s “Happening Now” show, between host Melissa Frances, GOPAC chair David Avella and Democrat strategist/Clinton advisor Simon Rosenberg. The bold print is mine.
DAVID AVELLA: Here is what gets Democrats to the table. Republicans getting to 51 votes. And then all of a sudden, six or seven Democrats will all of a sudden be for tax reform. Democrats are not going to help pass tax cuts unless Republicans get it across the line, and it’s already going to vote for it. Democrats think that if they stop tax cuts they can put Republicans in a bad spot going into the elections. Democrats aren’t going to do one thing to pass tax cuts. If we’re going to get tax cuts for the American people it going to be because the Republican majority deliver it.
MELISSA FRANCIS: Simon, do you want to prove him right? Are you guys not going to do one thing to pass tax cuts? I mean, I asked you for one thing. Do you want to give me one thing?
SIMON ROSENBERG: Melissa, you know I’ve come on this show with you many times. You do the same thing over and over again.
FRANCIS: No, I don’t. I just want you to answer the question I asked.
ROSENBERG: No, I’m not answering the question. I’m answering the —
FRANCIS: I know you’re not answering the question. That’s the problem.
ROSENBERG: So the point is, is that Democrats aren’t going to agree to a tax cut plan that overwhelmingly benefits wealthy people —
FRANCIS: You already said that.
ROSENBERG: drives up the deficit —
FRANCIS: You already said that.
ROSENBERG: That’s what being proposed. But that’s what being proposed. So we’re not going to support.
FRANCIS: Repeating yourself isn’t helping the argument. I’m asking you, like we’re asking everyone, to come to the table and try and offer something productive. Give me three things you want to strip away. Maybe it’s the estate tax, maybe it’s SALT (state and local tax deductions — Ed.). Tell me what you don’t like about this. Can you be specific?
ROSENBERG: No, we reject the entire — Melissa, I just told you, right, that we reject the frame that is being proposed here. We do not agree —
FRANCIS: So you don’t want to work at all? There is literally nothing in there that’s decent?
ROSENBERG: No, no. We don’t agree with the frame of the deal. What Senator Wyden said is the Democratic position. If the Republicans want to come to the table and work with us on tax cuts that actually really benefit middle class people and don’t drive up the deficit, we’re game to do it, right? We’ve done it before. Our party has done it before. We’re happy to do it again.
FRANCIS: So the tax cuts that are in there for the middle class, doubling the standard deduction, all the things that are in there, you don’t like any of that that would help working people?
ROSENBERG: No. You understand, right, based on the analysis, because I know you went to Harvard and studied economics, that in fact over time a majority of middle class people will be paying more in taxes rather than less.
FRANCIS: No, I don’t accept that math because it’s static analysis and I don’t accept static analysis. I only agree with dynamic analysis. Because when you cut, the economy will grow. I know you don’t believe that.
ROSENBERG: (Sarcastically) Good for you, Melissa. Good for you.
AVILLA: Melissa —
FRANCIS: Let’s let David finish. David, go ahead.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, sure.
AVILLA: Democrats could start by being for things they’ve been for in the past. Ron Wyden and Senator Crapo have actually put a framework not a lot different than what the current Republican bill in the Senate is talking about. So Democrats could actually be for things they’ve been for in the past and they could then get on the board for tax cuts.
But right now this is in to honor Roy Halladay. Republicans have the ball in their hand. We have to start throwing strikes. If we start throwing strikes, one, the economy will continue to improve for Americans, and two, we’ll be rewarded on Election Day in 2018.
FRANCIS: All right, gentlemen. Let’s leave it there. You know, Simon, you and I are going to have to get a drink sometime. We can’t show up and fight like this all the time.
ROSENBERG: Melissa, don’t worry, I’m never coming back on this show ever again so it doesn’t matter. Thank you.
FRANCIS: (laughs) All right. Thank you
Asking the question again: what is the Democrat alternative to President Trump’s tax plan?
Well, if Rosenberg is any indication, we now have our answer. And the answer is…
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Just an assurance that Republicans are wrong and Democrats want something else, but not a hint about what that something else might be.
If you can figure out a way to take what Rosenberg said seriously – or, if this is reflective of his party, Democrats in general – please let me in on it. Because I don’t have a clue.