Transcript: Thom Hartmann Owes Peter Ferrara an Apology 11 April '11


Thom Hartmann: And welcome back, Thom Hartmann here with you and we had been talking earlier with John Nichols of the Nation about what’s going on in Wisconsin, about the elections, about my experiences in Germany, sitting around the table with people from literally allover the world, from South Africa, from Australia, from Scotland, from Germany, from Croatia, from Serbia, I’m starting to get redundant here. And their combined astonishment that America uses voting machines, that America does not have a national healthcare system, that you can actually get sick in America and go broke. That we count our unemployment rate based on who gets unemployment payments and those payments end after a year or two if there’s no jobs available. I mean it’s just, it’s like, I felt like I was trying to justify a third world nation. And that 400 individuals in America control more wealth than 150 million Americans, than the bottom 150 million Americans. Which is, I mean the definition of an oligarchy, you know? And in fact one of the people there spends a lot of time working in Russia and another person was there from Latvia and they’re like, our oligarchy is nowhere near as well developed as yours is.

Peter Ferrara is with us. He’s the general council for the American Civil Rights Union, the conservative group, Peter, you must just be in hog heaven. Taxes on the wealthy during Eisenhower’s administration, 51.2%, dropped down to, this is actual paid, 42.4% in ’61, 29.9% in ’95. This is all kind of post-Reagan. 24% in ’97, 19.5% in 2003. Right now the richest in America pay an average of 16.6% whereas average Americans earning less than $70,000 in today’s dollars, in ’55, were paying 7.4%, today they’re paying almost 14%. And all of these programs for the middle class, for poor, for women, for children, are being slashed by the Republicans. You guys must just be in hog heaven.

Peter Ferrara: Well you know I don’t know where you get those numbers. But here’s my numbers from…

Thom Hartmann: I would suggest if you want those numbers that you head over to, right now it’s on their website.

Peter Ferrara:

Thom Hartmann: And these are numbers that are compiled from, yeah from 1955 to 2007 this is right out of the federal government.

Peter Ferrara: Well here are the numbers from the Internal Revenue Service, which is not a left wing website. The top 1% of income earners pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 95%.

Thom Hartmann: You know why that is, Peter?

Peter Ferrara: What?

Thom Hartmann: You know why that is? Because they earn more money than the bottom 95%.

Peter Ferrara: Well let’s see they earn, this is IRS data, they earned 22% of the income but they pay over 40% of the taxes.

Thom Hartmann: No, not a chance.

Peter Ferrara: That’s official IRS data. Sorry but that’s a fact.

Thom Hartmann: Peter, you are …

Peter Ferrara: You can’t, you are entitled to your opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts. Those, that’s the fact. You’re going to have to deal with that. The top 1% earn…

Thom Hartmann: Peter, first of all you’re talking just about income taxes.

Peter Ferrara: Yes I am talking about income taxes. That’s what you were talking about and that’s where the reforms are. That’s, and that’s what we are debating so that’s why I am talking about income tax. Let me just make this point. In my new book…

Thom Hartmann: No, Peter…

Peter Ferrara: …“America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb," coming out in June from Harper Collins, I in fact propose phasing out payroll taxes entirely so they, that’s the highest tax that working people pay. So if you want to talk about payroll taxes, good. My plan is to phase them out. What’s your plan for payroll tax?

Thom Hartmann: Peter, I am so tired of slimy crap from people on the right. I mean just absolutely frigging slimy crap. The bottom line is that the…

Peter Ferrara: I give you facts and you respond…

Thom Hartmann: …and I am also tired of having my sentences interrupted halfway through. The reality of the situation is that in the 1950s corporations paid 30% of the total federal budget, today they pay 6%. The reality is that…

Peter Ferrara: That’s because the rate was higher.

Thom Hartmann: Okay, Peter, thank you very much. I am going to put you on hold so I don’t start screaming obscenities at you. The fact of the matter is, actually, I am, Peter I am, let me just warn you I am in a really foul mood. I’m, I am so tired. I am so tired of these right wing fools coming forward and …

Peter Ferrara: I just give you the facts and you can’t handle…

Thom Hartmann: Okay I am going to put you back on hold. I am so tired of these right wing fools coming forward and saying oh gee look at this, the top 90% are paying more taxes than the… well of course they are, they’ve got most of the wealth. 80% of all increase in wealth since Ronald Reagan became president went to the top 1% of Americans. You start looking at the top 1% of the 1/10th of 1%. How could you, how could anybody, call themselves a human being when there’s 10 million children in this country who go to bed hungry, when there’s 40 million people in this country, 40, 50 million people in this country without health insurance. When you’ve got a country with the highest poverty rate in the developed world. 1 in 5 children living in poverty in the United States. How can you call yourself a human being, Peter Ferrara?

Peter Ferrara: Well real wages are falling under this so-called Obama recovery.

Thom Hartmann: Real wages have been falling ever since Ronald Reagan came into power.

Peter Ferrara: The unemployment rate for African Americans is 15.5%, it’s been at that level for three years now.

Thom Hartmann: It’s actually closer to 30%.

Peter Ferrara: Hispanic unemployment rate, 11.3%, that’s the third year of double digit unemployment. Teenage unemployment, 21.6 %, 3rd year over 20%.

Thom Hartmann: Peter are you trying to say this is all Obama’s fault?

Peter Ferrara: 42.1%, this is…

Thom Hartmann: Peter, would you please respond to my question? Are you trying to say this is all Obama’s fault?

Peter Ferrara: It’s the fault of the last three presidents in fact, but this is primarily Obama today because he’s president. His economic recovery…

Thom Hartmann: Peter, are you aware of the fact that we had no budget deficit problem from the presidency of George Washington until the presidency of Ronald Reagan? When David Stockman admitted, and Don Regan went out and did it and he was on TV this weekend on Fareed Zakaria lying through his damned slimy fungus covered teeth that they tripled the national debt, they took us from under a trillion dollars in debt to almost three trillion dollars in debt. You had George Bush, he threw in another 4 trillion dollars in debt. And Don Regan, this slimy sociopath who has destroyed this country, has the balls to be on Fareed Zakaria’s program saying, ‘well I don’t know why we don’t do something about the debt bomb, it’s more important than loose nukes or Daiichi’ when he created this. This is Ronald Reagan’s creation. This is, this is yours, Peter.

Peter Ferrara: President Obama’s own budget, 2012 budget document released in February shows that by 2012 he will have created more, added more to the national debt than under all prior presidents combined from George Washington to George Bush. That’s a fact.

Thom Hartmann: In real dollars?

Peter Ferrara: It’s in his budget document.

Thom Hartmann: In real dollars? In real dollars?

Peter Ferrara: This is from President Obama’s February budget document.

Thom Hartmann: In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars? In real dollars, Peter?

Peter Ferrara: Why do your listeners want to listen to somebody who is making stuff up all day long, what is wrong with them?

Thom Hartmann: In real dollars?

Peter Ferrara: In real dollars?

Thom Hartmann: Or in inflated dollars.

Peter Ferrara: In today’s dollars. Today’s dollars.

Thom Hartmann: So you’re saying that the amount of debt that President Obama is running up right now is more in real dollars…

Peter Ferrara: No, by 2012.

Thom Hartmann: …than what FDR spent fighting World War II?

Peter Ferrara: … says by the end of 2012, the national debt held by the public will be 11.8 trillion. That number…

Thom Hartmann: Peter, thanks so much for being with us. I’m sorry. I’m over it. I’m just, I’m over it. I will have to send him a thank you note or an apology. But I am just absolutely ****ing over it. Oh, beep that please. Yeah blot that out. Okay, my apologies. I really am in a bad mood. Louise, don’t look at me so shocked. I am so tired of watching, I think the reason why is because I just came back from a country that works. And I saw people who were able to take a day off work once in a while and who if they got sick didn’t have to worry about their kids you know getting sick or going bankrupt and who in their retirement would have a decent retirement. And I’m, and here are these, well, enough. I will pause and regain my composure, drink some Edison Factor, calm down. And come back and talk with you again. I’ll be right back. It’s 15 minutes past the hour.

Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.

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