This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: Is President Obama trying to divide Americans according to their class? Here's what he had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans, and I want to extend those middle-class tax cuts. The tax cuts I am proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: There it is. My favorite new class of rich people, the corporate jet owners. And we were surprised to hear economist Ben Stein apparently agrees with Mr. Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST, ACTOR & AUTHOR: We've got to raise taxes. There's just no way around it. The deficit situation is so serious that while I wish we did not have to raise taxes, we just can't cut spending enough. I wish we could. We can't. We have to raise taxes. Mr. Obama is going to have to do it. I don't know if the Republicans in the House will go along with it. If they don't, there will be a genuine crisis, and I am frankly frightened about it. I'm extremely concerned about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: So is Mr. Stein in synch with the president? He joins us now from Los Angeles. And by the way, you should pick up his book, "The Little Book of Alternative Investments." Ben, it's great to see you. How are you?
STEIN: I'm great. Thank you very much, Laura. It's a very complicated book.
INGRAHAM: OK, so -- well, OK, excellent. Now, I'm not going to make a Clear Eyes joke, but how do you have clear eyes and actually make that comment about Obama? I'm not going there. But I will say that if -- if he confiscated the upper income earners, right, tax them at the highest rate -- this is Wall Street Journal; I'm sure you read this back in April. The millionaires and billionaires, as Obama points out, and you get, you tax them at really –- what you would call confiscatory rates. It yields at about $938 billion. That's what would come in the federal coffers.
STEIN: That's a lot of money.
INGRAHAM: In a $4 trillion budget, $4 trillion, $14 trillion plus in debt, that's a drop in a bucket. Don't we have a spending problem, not a -- not a revenue problem at this point?
STEIN: No, $900 and some billion dollars is not a drop in the bucket. It's a tremendous amount of money, and I am in favor of greatly raising the taxes on very wealthy people, millionaires and billionaires. I wouldn't raise the taxes on people making $250,000 a year.
Look, it's a basic arithmetic thing; it's not an ideological thing. We are spending an enormous amount of money that we're not covering with tax revenue; we're borrowing it. At some point we're going to have so much debt that there's going to be a crisis and there will have to be austerity measures here just as they were in Greece. A simpler way would be tax people who have a great deal of money, tax them more, let them help pay down the debt. Look, if a person is a millionaire or a billionaire…
INGRAHAM: Well, they are helping to pay down the debt.
STEIN: …who are making $20 million a year, he can afford a tax increase.
INGRAHAM: No that's -- well, first of all, it's their money. So I don't know who's to judge what they can afford or not, but what we do know is that they spent…
STEIN: Well it is -- with all due respect, everybody's -– no, with all due respect…
STEIN: It is -- of course it's their money, but the Congress has a right to tax it and the president has the right to sign that legislation.
INGRAHAM: Well, yes, and right and Ben –- Ben…
STEIN: Yes. Yes.
INGRAHAM: As you know, they pay the lion's share of the tax burden for the country already.
STEIN: But they're not paying enough.
INGRAHAM: So let's -- well, again, to listen to you, I mean, and Obama, I guess, because you seemed joined at the hip on this -- that these people are just like flitting around and they really care about the country, they're not creating jobs.
STEIN: That's not the point.
INGRAHAM: They are not spending. Ben – Ben, what -- but what we know about higher taxes, what we know about higher taxes right now is that they do not in any way address the real problem in this country which is entitlement reform, which this president has been MIA on. He's not produced a single plan to address the real spending that goes into the tens of trillions when you -- when you game it out 10 and 15 years. That's the real problem. It's not whether you hit up a gazillionaire another five percent on the taxes.
STEIN: We have to address entitlement reform but whether or not we're going to be able to make meaningful cuts in Social Security, it's highly debatable. Everyone knows that's the third rail of politics in America but we do know that if we tax rich people more, we will raise more money. Look, I live in a neighborhood…
INGRAHAM: What else happens?