Mr Schieffer asked Speaker Pelosi if it would be possible to balance the budget without raising taxes. I thought her answer was pretty good:
I think you can put many thing--everything on the table and start by saying that there's $300 billion in taxes which are not collected in our country each year. Can you imagine that? You can probably start, also, with cutting waste, fraud and abuse. Congressman--well, no, Chairman Henry Waxman has taken the lead on that issue as chairman of the Government Reform Committee. Waste, fraud and abuse, collect taxes that are not collected, close corporate loopholes--you start there, you can find some money to make investments in education, which brings more money back into the Treasury than any initiative that you can name. If the president's willing to join with us in fighting waste, fraud and abuse, collecting the taxes and closing the loopholes, we can start there.
This is certainly better than the last answer she gave to this particular question. However, Mr. Schieffer didn't rest. He then asked the all important direct question, "Are you promising no new taxes for anybody?"
Speaker Pelosi's answer is...interesting.
No, I'm talking about tax cuts for many in the middle class. We've had tax cuts for small businesses to provide health insurance to their workers, R&D, making permanent and modernizing research and development tax credit for small business. We are talking about helping families with the higher education of their children. We're talking about tax credit...
SCHIEFFER: So you're talking about more tax cuts?
Rep. PELOSI: We're talking about tax cuts for the middle class. And as we review what we get from, again, collecting our taxes and reducing waste, fraud and abuse, investing in education and in initiatives which will bring money into the Treasury, it may be that tax cuts for those making over a certain amount of money--$500,000 a year--might be more important to the American people than ignoring the educational and health needs of America's children.
SCHIEFFER: So what you're talking about is you may have to raise taxes for some people in the upper income levels in order to cut taxes for some below them?
Rep PELOSI: What we're saying is Democrats propose tax cuts for middle income families.
Let's be clear that "repealing a tax cut" is the same as a tax increase. So Speaker Pelosi is advocating higher taxes for those that make over $500,000 in order to lower taxes on those that make less than $500,000. I fortunately fall into that "below" category, so that'll be nice. But what does that mean? Isn't that sort of a wealth redistribution scheme? A Robin Hood, steal from the rich to give to the poor kinda deal?
But let's be honest here. All of you other "below" category people out there, take a look at your paycheck for a minute. Look at your withholdings. You'll see state taxes, federal taxes, and then you'll see withholdings for Medicare and Social Security. I'm a poor, single-income father of three, so those first few boxes don't amount to very much. It's the last two that really hit my wallet the hardest, and I can't do anything about it. Speaker Pelosi's plan won't do anything about it either, because those things aren't included when politicians talk about "taxes". That's because in theory you and I will get all that money back when we retire. We'll get our own Social Security income and get to use Medicare for all our health needs. Or at least 80% of our health needs. The rest we'll have to cover ourselves. With our Social Security money. That is, if either one of those programs still exist by then.
My other question is is there enough "waste, fraud and abuse" to not only balance the budget, but to then invest more into education as she proposes? Of course there is! But is anyone in Congress really going to do it? I hope so, and I applaud Ms. Pelosi for at least talking about it.