On Fox News Sunday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked by Chris Wallace what he thought of Paul Ryan and the House Republicans' budget proposal compared to the President's proposal to raise taxes of those making over $250,000 to pay more in taxes and who he agrees with.
Bloomberg responded that they were both right since it's started a conversation on budget cuts even if he doesn't completely agree with either of them. Of course, Bloomberg thinks that going after our social safety nets is a good idea but, surprise, surprise.... says it's not a good idea to raise taxes on the wealthy, at least right now.
Does anyone else think that he's ever going to say there's a good time to raise taxes on the rich? Me neither. At a time when we've got some of the greatest income disparity since the Gilded Age in the United States, Bloomberg thinks he and his rich buddies should not be asked to pay more in taxes. Any "shared sacrifice" is going to have to come out of the hides of the poor and working class with "entitlement" cuts.
WALLACE: Well, let's talk about a difference. The president and House Republicans have offered two very different plans for national budget. The president does want some spending cuts. But he also wants the rich, the wealthy, those over $250,000 to pay $1 trillion more in taxes. The GOP wants to get it all out of spending cuts, including major overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid. Who's right?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think they're both right. All of the above things need to be addressed. The encouraging thing is maybe kicking and screaming, but they finally are willing to start addressing the issue.
In all fairness, Ryan deserves some credit because I don't know that I agree with most of the things or all of the things he said, but I will say that at least people are now talking about whether we can afford to continue to do what we've been doing, whether or not we're getting good value for our money and whether we're targeting those things that work or just staying with the things that have been there for a long time.
WALLACE: Now you now say they're both right. Back when they made the budget deal in the lame duck session in December, you said that both sides were right to extend the Bush tax cuts because raising taxes now would be a bad thing. Do you still feel that way?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think long-term, we have to reduce expenses and find alternative revenue sources. You can have revenue sources that are politically palatable and you can have revenue sources that aren't.
You can have revenue sources that expand the economy and revenue sources that keep the economy from growing and maybe send it in the other direction. In the end, long-term you have to grow your way out of problems.
That is true for cities. That's true for states. That's true for the federal government. Short-term we have to make sure we have a tax code that is understandable, and that everybody agrees is fair. And one that we can live with in terms of how we collect and how we make sure that everybody pays their fair share.
The same thing is true on the other side. We cannot continue to say we've got to cut, but we can't touch Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, defense. That's virtually 90 percent of all of our spending.
When people say well, we can always cut 1 percent. Yes, you can cut 1 percent out of 100. You can't cut 1 percent out of 10 percent. We don't want to shut down air traffic control. We don't want to shut down the IRS or we won't have any tax revenues.
We don't want to shut down the CIA and the FBI. We can't protect ourselves. A lot of things the government does that everybody says too much government. But when you tell them which programs, "don't cut mine."
That is what Congress and the president have to deal with. The political realities that everybody wants to continue their own services, willing to cut the other guy's services, doesn't like layoffs and doesn't want to pay more taxes.
WALLACE: Specifically -- because you say eventually you have got to grow your way out of this -- would you raise taxes on the wealthy?
BLOOMBERG: Today, no, because I just think this economy nationwide is at a point where it really could go either way. I don't think that we shouldn't -- I do think we should have to have taxes. People have to pay their fair share.
I do think the majority of the money is going to come from the wealthy. That is where the money is. On the other hand, today is not the right way to do it. If you were to do it, you have to do it with meaningful cuts done in a time frame that is believable.
If we say we're going to do something for the year 2030, nobody believes that that is ever going to happen. 2010 is right now. 2011. If you are going to do something for 2020, it starts to be believable, but you have to have an awful lot of things in place so everybody understands we are going to face this issue.
You know what we have, Chris, in this country, fewer and fewer people supporting more and more people. The youth in our country are assuming a burden to take care of people our age, you're in -- the age of mine and older -- that they will just not be able to satisfy. That is another reason why we need immigrants.