This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," Sept. 7, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Battling with the boss! Well, the ex-boss. Former White House budget director Peter Orszag, hardly out the door at the White House, and now he just dropped an economic stink bomb on President Obama in the form of an op-ed piece in The New York Times, Orszag publicly breaking with the administration! Now, Orszag in the column published endorses extending the Bush tax cuts for two years, but then ending them in 2013.
But that's not what his now ex-boss, President Obama, supports. President Obama wants a permanent, not temporary, extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but wants the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of America to expire at the end of the year. White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs is pushing back at Orszag today, saying President Obama disagrees with him.
Tucker Carlson, editor of The Daily Caller, joins us. And the plot certainly thickens! Good evening, Tucker.
TUCKER CARLSON, DAILYCALLER.COM: Hey, Greta!
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Great to see you!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, isn't this fun in a political sense? He's hardly out the door, and he does this.
CARLSON: This is a big deal. He was not some low-level staffer. This was not a guy who was, like, a junior coffee bearer, who's writing a tell-all. This is the OMB director. This is a big deal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
CARLSON: Because he is flatly contradicting kind of essence of the Obama economic program when he was a central part of the formulation of that program. He's saying -- he's basically arguing the opposite of Obama. He's saying, Look, we need to not raise taxes in the next couple of years because we know for a fact that doing so hurts job growth, and the most important thing. And we probably can't afford, he argues in The Times, today a middle class tax cut because we're basically out of money.
That's not the position of the Obama administration at all. You would not know that there was this terrible debt, listening to the president. I mean, they just announced another massive spending -- infrastructure spending program, $50 billion, you know? This -- he's flatly contradicting the president. And let me just say, I think the White House is not in touch with reality on this question. If they think they're going to get congressional Democrats to get behind a tax increase this year -- or by the way, next year -- no chance! There's no chance of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think there are two issues, or maybe even three. There's the substantive issue about whether the Bush tax cut should be extended or not.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's one issue. But the second thing is that you've got a high-ranking member of the economic team, the OMB director, Peter Orszag, not even out of the White House five weeks and he's...
VAN SUSTEREN: There's no reason for him to pen this unless it's sort of poking a stick in the eye of the president. And you've got Christina Romer leaving the economic team. To me, it suggests -- and I don't know, but there's an awful lot of dissension at the top because you stay when it's fun. You stay when you're having success.
CARLSON: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: If it starts to look really bad, everybody, you know, jumps ship.
CARLSON: Look, the president was elected in part -- heavily, I think -- on anxieties about the economy. You'll remember the election was a month after the collapse. And yet the first year or more of this administration was consumed by this health care question. And the truth is, they haven't given the economy the priority attention that it deserves and that I think that any other wise administration would have given it.
And you're you seeing it in the behavior of his top economic advisers. They don't agree with one another. They don't seem to be reading off the same page. They don't seem to have a cohesive vision of what recovery should look like.
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm wondering how much of this is legitimate economic planning, that the president truly believes this, or even, you know, Peter Orszag truly believes it, and how much of it is political in the sense trying to create almost political warfare, trying to divide the upper 2 percent from the rest of the population because I'll never forget in 1992, when President Clinton who I -- who, you know, had wonderful years as economic leader of this country, when he said that the rich needed to pay their fair share.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, the rich may need to pay more for whatever reason, because we need to get the economy going or whatever, but they certainly were paying their fair share in that they were paying everything that was asked of them. And it was almost a class warfare in terms of the tax -- in terms of the discussion about the taxes. Now fast-forward to now, and we talk about the upper 2 percent as eliminating them from continuing the tax cut as almost a class warfare political weapon.
CARLSON: Well, it's very flatly and plainly a question of class warfare. I mean, look, I'm hardly defending rich people. I'm not a rich person, unfortunately, though I aspire to that. They pay for everything in this country. The top 10 percent pays more than half of federal taxes. You take out rich people, and the country doesn't run. That's just a fact. That's not defense of a class or a social system, those are...
VAN SUSTEREN: But is it...
CARLSON: ... numbers you can't debate.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's not just taxes (INAUDIBLE) I mean, an economic theory is that not just that they pay the taxes or the revenue to run part of the government, but they are also are the ones who are likely to invest in businesses because they have the cash to do it, the wherewithal, which creates jobs and gets, you know, the economy going. So you can't sort of disregard the rich as being sort of, you know, just greedy people who -- who don't -- who don't have an important...
CARLSON: Well, two...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... function in the economy.
CARLSON: Well, and you're exactly right, and two other very quick points. One, they're citizens. And it seems unfair on the level of principle to ask certain citizens to do more than other citizens. I mean, where did we get that idea? And two, rich people supported Obama. Just to be totally blunt about it. You may go over $100,000 in the last election, and you're more likely to have supported Obama. So the idea that the rich vote Republican and the, you know, working people vote Democrat -- that hasn't been true for some time.
VAN SUSTEREN: I also think a lot of rich people are willing to help out, willing to pay more, as long as they are treated as contributing and not as cheats.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it's, like, you know, they'll reach into their pockets and help. They'll be very humanitarian. You'll see them, you know, contributing to all sorts of, you know, cancer wards at hospitals, building buildings and stuff. But they should be treated with, you know, We need you -- we need your help, not that you're a cheat.
CARLSON: Well, it'd be interesting to get the charitable contribution numbers of every member of the Obama administration, find out exactly how much of your own money have you given away in the past 12 or 24 months. I think that would be deeply revealing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tucker, thank you.
CARLSON: Oh, Greta!
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.