NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”:
All right, we have been telling you the president wants to revive these debt talks, but it’s not looking good. He plans to meet with Senate leaders from both parties on Monday.
Now we are learning why Republicans, though, bolted in the first place -- sources telling Fox the Democrats wanted to eliminate tax breaks for anyone over the 28 percent bracket. That would impact couples making around $200,000 and individuals sometimes a lot less than that.
With us now, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who, to be fair, had said that was pretty much the strategy all along, right?
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, I think it was, to be able to force the Republicans to a tax hike.
A lot of people are going to say that this whole thing is just political. And it is political, no doubt about it. But, Neil, there’s something else going on. There is a philosophical difference and a fundamental difference between where the Democrats are and where the Republicans are.
The Democrats honestly believe that you ought to tax people more, that we just aren’t paying enough. They ignore the fact that half the people in the country don’t pay any tax at all at the federal level, zero.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
HUCKABEE: They have no skin in the game. Do they want the rich people to get taxed? Of course they do.
What they don’t understand is, when they get taxed, it’s not going to mean that the middle class improves. It means that the wealthy people simply do things that will cause the middle class to lose income and lose ground, like jobs, like extra things.
Remember when Bill Clinton said, let’s have that luxury tax; we’re going to hit the yacht owners and the airplane owners?
HUCKABEE: You know got hurt? It wasn’t the people that were in the yachts.
CAVUTO: The people who built the yachts.
HUCKABEE: The people that built the yachts that cleaned the yachts that serviced the yachts. That’s the way it works.
CAVUTO: I don’t even get into the class argument of it, though, Governor. The one thing I said was, before we talk about charging more for the product, I think it’s incumbent upon us to look at the underlying product, and then, if you spruce it up, make it better, and people all of a sudden say, hey, well it is worth paying more for, have at it.
But I think it takes the discipline away if you automatically put more revenues on the table. That’s my fear.
HUCKABEE: Well, it’s like saying to a person who is grossly overweight that you need to lose weight, but what we are going to do...
CAVUTO: Careful here.
HUCKABEE: Well, look at me.
But what we’re going to do is to take you to an all-you-can-eat buffet and give you a ticket and you can just continue to eat all you want. Obviously, that’s not the solution. We do have a government that is...
CAVUTO: Why not? Why not?
HUCKABEE: It just doesn’t work.
CAVUTO: All right.
HUCKABEE: And neither does it work when the government continues to spend money with no discipline.
CAVUTO: So, why is it always raised -- you know, Governor, I always think there has got to be a method to what seems like madness. And it is a strategy obviously the Democrats keep using.
CAVUTO: We’re not taking this off the table. We’re not taking this off the table, even though it has been repudiated certainly in elections and surveys, in countless opinion polls. So, why?
HUCKABEE: I think the Democrats believe that they can out-demagogue the issue. I really think that that’s what they’re hoping for in the election.
CAVUTO: But if it works, I would say, have at it, right? But it doesn’t seem to work.
HUCKABEE: Well, it doesn’t, at least for now.
CAVUTO: So, it rallies the base.
HUCKABEE: But if they can continue to portray the Republicans as wanting to hurt grandma, take her Medicare and Social Security away, and make it so little junior can’t go to college, it’s the doomsday scenario.
But the fact is the doomsday is upon us because we’ve spent ourselves into oblivion. And we’re going to have to at some point accept the discipline of saying we just can’t keep spending.
And it doesn’t matter where the spending goes. When you’re broke, which we are, at some point, you have to own up to it and quit spending money. It’s really not that complicated.
CAVUTO: But you know what? You’re talking about not complicated, but a lot of people say, well, Neil, you sound heartless, not being for strategic investing and everything. And I always tell people, Governor, I’m all happy for strategic investing. But that makes the assumption you have money with which to strategically invest. And we don’t.