In the Arena

Mary Contrary and Inaccurate

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I’m sitting here, doing my expenses–ugh!–and listening to Mary Matalin on CNN churn out talking points borrowed from the Museum of Reaganism. Some of it is just laughable. Obama is trying to do too much in a recession, she says. We just can’t afford it. “I’d like to have three houses but I can’t afford it.” Oh really? One of the things I like best about the Obama budget is that it’s going to make it much harder for Mary to get her third house–and much easier for the working poor to pay their bills and get health care.

Speaking of which, Mary starts to slag Obama’s cap-and-trade program on carbon emissions which, she says, would fall disproportionately on the poor. Wrong! Actually, most of the proceeds from the program would go to an expanded reimbursement program to those at the lower end of the income scale. Unfortunately, Mary’s debating partner, Hilary Rosen, seems unaware of this. There’s a lot that can be debated about cap-and-trade–I agree with Charles Krauthammer, among others, that a straight out carbon tax (with a suitable, progressive reimbursement program) would be more efficient–but what Matalin is doing here is standard GOP tax hike demagoguery. It’ll be interesting to see how many Republican votes cap-and-trade will get on the floor.

Finally, complete baloney: Matalin says Bill Clinton admitted that raising taxes on the wealthy was a mistake. Not true. In full bloviation-warp at a Texas fundraiser, Clinton came perilously close to doing so when he said a lot of people in the audience probably sorry he raised their taxes and then said, “I am, too,” but quickly added that the taxes had to be raised in order to convince the bond market that he was serious about fiscal discipline so that interest rates could be lowered. In truth, the fact that he had the guts to raise taxes on the wealthy is one of Clinton’s proudest achievements.