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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Barney, is there an answer in there?

MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews asked the right question of Rep. Barney Frank:
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the numbers. Do you think there‘s enough money in the added income—the re-added income taxes of those above $250,000 a year—is there enough income up there to tax, enough taxable income to bring into the federal Treasury over time to pay for the cost of a real national health care system?
Here is Frank's non-answer, which you can see in context here:
FRANK: Well, thanks to the incompetence of the—where the financial system has worked the deregulation, there aren‘t as many rich people as there used to be and they‘re not as rich as they used to be. But over time, it will be there. But you do have to do more.

And one of the things that I most liked about the president‘s state of the nation speech—which I thought was a very good speech, very well delivered, even better than very good—he talked about ending the spending on cold war weapons. One of the great things of inconsistency that I think, Chris, of people who worry about spending—they brought us the Iraq war, the single biggest addition to the deficit, and unlike some other things, it‘s all money that we lose. We don‘t get any of it money back.

They have projected—you know, we are now—according to the Bush budget, we‘re going to spend billions of dollars to protect the Czech Republic from being attacked by Iran. Now, I‘m not a regular reader of the fatwas...

(LAUGHTER)

FRANK: Well, that‘s true. I don‘t regularly read all the fatwas that come out of Teheran, but I am not aware that they are about to declare war on the Czech Republic, and I don‘t see why I should spend billions of dollars to stop it.

Somehow, we got from asking a real question about how to finance TARP, stimulus, the 2009 and 2010 budgets and whatever comes next into fatwas. Too bad that Matthews inexcusably let Frank get away with it.

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