Cramer and Scarborough out of touch with Americans' views on taxing wealthy to finance health care

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Joe Scarborough and Jim Cramer both claimed that because Americans aspire to being rich themselves, they would not support proposals to finance health care reform by raising the taxes of upper-income people. But recent polls do not support their thesis.

On the July 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and CNBC host Jim Cramer both claimed that because Americans aspire to being rich themselves, they would not support proposals to finance health care reform by raising the taxes of upper-income people. In fact, several recent polls indicate that such a provision is supported by a majority of respondents.

The House Tri-Committee legislation, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, would establish a 1 percent tax on taxpayers filing joint returns with income exceeding $350,000 but not exceeding $500,000 per year, a 1.5 percent tax on income exceeding $500,000 but not exceeding $1 million per year, and a 5.4 percent tax on income exceeding $1 million per year, with married individual filings and other filings subject to a surtax of 50 percent and 80 percent of those amounts, respectively.

During the segment, Cramer claimed that President Obama is "short the votes" on health care because "[e]verybody in this country" wants "to be a millionaire" and doesn't "want to hear when I get there I'm gonna be taxed heavily." He added: "You can't go out with the millionaire's tax." Scarborough agreed, stating in part: "That's what a lot of people don't get about why the class warfare game doesn't work. Because -- who wants to be a millionaire? Who wants to be successful? Who believes they can do it? Just about everybody." Cramer concluded: "I am telling you that the American people who are not millionaires are the people who are gonna defeat this, because they really believe in what Joe just described."

In fact, several recent polls indicate that Americans do support paying for health care reform through taxes on the wealthy:

  • A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted July 10-12 found that 58 percent of respondents support "[i]ncreasing income taxes on upper-income Americans" as a way to pay for health care reform.
  • A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted June 18-21 found that 60 percent of respondents support paying for health care reform by "raising income taxes on Americans with household incomes over 250-thousand dollars."
  • A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted June 12-15 found that 62 percent of respondents say that it would be "acceptable" to "[r]aise taxes for people with incomes over two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year" to fund health care reform.
  • A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted June 1-8 found that 68 percent of respondents "strongly" or "somewhat favor" "[i]ncreasing income taxes for people from families making more that [sic] $250,000 a year" in order to "help pay for health care reform and provide coverage for more of the uninsured."

From the July 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Talk about the president's performance last night, Jim. What did you think?

CRAMER: I think the president is still short the votes. I think that when you appeal for -- on the 47 million who don't have health care, and then you mention millionaire, I am always inclined to think about my friend Meredith Vieira. Who wants to be a millionaire? Everybody in this country. I don't want to hear when I get there I'm gonna be taxed heavily. It just is simple as that. It doesn't work. You can't go out with the millionaire's tax.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, that is so interesting that you say that because my parents, when we were growing up, would always drive past this really nice house -- and my dad worked for Lockheed in Meridian -- and would pass all these houses on Country Club Drive going to First Baptist Church in Meridian, and my mom always said -- we were about as middle class -- my dad was unemployed for two years -- and would pass, and she goes, if you go to school, if you study hard, if you work hard, if that's what you want, you can do that, too.

CRAMER: Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH: 'Cause I would be like, "Who lives in those houses? Who has those cars?"

CRAMER: Maybe you. Maybe you.

SCARBOROUGH: Who -- there they had a country club that I, seriously, I couldn't step foot on but my mom and dad always said, "Work hard." And you're so right. That's what a lot of people don't get about why the class warfare game doesn't work.

CRAMER: Right.

SCARBOROUGH: Because -- who wants to be a millionaire?

CRAMER: Look --

SCARBOROUGH: Who wants to be successful? Who believes they can do it? Just about everybody.

CRAMER: Right. Now let me be very clear: I like the idea of universal health. I'm not as addicted to the idea that the government's going to get involved. I would put -- I am a millionaire, all right. I pay my tax, boom, why not? I've got an unbelievable skate over the last eight years under Bush.

If this is why I voted for Obama, this is what I voted for. I am telling you that the American people who are not millionaires are the people who are gonna defeat this, because they really believe in what Joe just described.

Posted In
Economy, Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Joe Scarborough, Jim Cramer
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
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