MSNBC host Joe Scarborough might as well have been wearing a Senator Bernie Sanders costume on Tuesday’s Morning Joe since the supposed conservative ex-congressman from the Florida Panhandle took time to push for a “billionaire tax.” He also blasted as “tone deaf” new Speaker Mike Johnson and his fellow House Republicans for proposing a bill that would fund aid to Israel by rescinding an equal amount of funding under a Biden bill designed to increase IRS tax audits.
Scarborough’s proposed solution will warm the class-warfare cockles of Bernie’s heart:
“They’re taking the money that was passed, they’re taking the money and they’re gutting their IRS’ ability to go after rich billionaire tax cheats. They think this is the solution. I’d say, I have a solution. Why don’t we just have a billionaire tax?”
All that was missing from Scarborough’s rich-baiting rant were Bernie’s dulcet Brooklyn tones railing against “millionaires and billionaires.” Then again, Sanders began to downplay his denunciations of “millionaires” when it turned out that he was one!
Scarborough framed the billions by which Biden wanted to increase IRS funding as simply permitting the agency to go after “billionaire tax cheats.” But according to Forbes, as of 2023, there are only 735 billionaires in the US. Depending on whether you ask Democrats or Republicans, Biden’s bill would fund somewhere between 20,000 and 87,000 additional IRS agents.
That works out to something like 27 to 118 new agents per billionaire—in addition to the countless ones already in place. That would surely be overkill. The truth was that under the Democrat plan, millions of non-billionaire Americans would be subjected to the gimlet gaze of the IRS’ green-eyeshade gang.
Scarborough called the Republican proposal “tone deaf.”
Tell you what, Joe: spurred on by liberal media types like you, have your Democrat buddies run on this platform: “Vote Democrat: We’ll Sic Tens of Thousands of Additional IRS Agents On Middle-Class Americans!”
We’ll see what kind of “tone” that strikes with voters!
Here’s the transcript. Click “expand” to read:
MSNBC’s Morning Joe
6:13 am EDT
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Let’s get to politics here at home.
In his first major move since becoming Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson has taken the bipartisan goodwill of providing aid for Israel, and launching a fight with President Biden over his signature achievement, while setting up a collision course with the Senate.
House Republicans released the details of their aid package for Israel yesterday. It includes $14.3 billion in emergency funding. But here’s the catch: the bill rescinds that same amount of IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. The act is the major climate, health care, and tax law that President Biden signed into law last year. The GOP bill also focuses solely on Israel, despite President Biden’s request for aid to both Israel and Ukraine. The measure is set to be considered by the Rules committee when the House returns tomorrow, and a vote in the full chamber could happen later this week.
Speaker Johnson spoke about the bill to Fox News in an interview set to air later this afternoon.
MIKE JOHNSON: We understand what’s at stake here. And I hope that everyone will put politics aside, get that bill over the line. We’re going to have pay-fors in it, we’re not just going to print money and send it overseas. Because the other concern we have which is overriding this is our own strength as a nation, which is tied to our fiscal stability. And that’s a big problem that we have, as well. We have to keep it in mind as we try to help everyone else.
MIKA: If the bill passes the Republican-controlled House, the IRS provisions are all but guaranteed to be rejected by the Democratic-led Senate and the White House, setting up a clash over how to approve the aid to Israel and, of course, leaving Ukraine out of the conversation.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, of course, leaving Ukraine out. Michael Steele, it’s –
MIKA: Great start.
SCARBOROUGH: — It’s remarkable, remarkable, how tone deaf, how tone deaf — my former party is.
MICHAEL STEELE: I know. I know.
SCARBOROUGH: They are actually putting billionaires between the protection of Israel and the United States Congress. They are slashing funding for the IRS to go after billionaire tax cheats. Let me say that again. They’re taking the money that was passed, they’re taking the money, and they’re gutting the IRS’ ability to go after rich billionaire tax cheats.
And they think this is the solution. I would say, I’ve got a solution. Why don’t we just have a billionaire tax?
Like, all the parts of the, the, the Trump tax cuts that were giveaways to billionaires and multinational corporations, why don’t we take that money from the multinational corporations that got massive windfalls and did all of those stock buybacks. And take all of the billions that billionaires got from the Trump tax cuts, why don’t we take that money and help the Israelis, instead ofhaving the Republicans in the House try to help billionaire tax cheats?
It’s really, it’s breathtaking.