This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 19, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The House may want to make those tax cuts permanent, but not one of its more vocal members, a Democrat. Charlie Rangel says it's a bad idea to make these cuts stick, and he doesn't care what Republicans think. With us now, the ranking Democrat of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel. Surely, Congressman, you're joking?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY), WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE: You sure stated my position, Neil. I think we as Democrats, or the Congress, is indeed fortunate that this issue has come up to crystallize the difference between Republicans and Democrats. I don't think we go into this election now with people saying it doesn't make any difference who you vote for, that they are all alike. Clearly, if the Republicans wanted a tax cut to be permanent, they had ample opportunity to do it.
CAVUTO: No, actually within the language of the tax law, they couldn't do it at the time, right?
RANGEL: Everyone we do is permanent. They deliberately, in the Senate, dovetailed it so that we would not see the fiscal impact of it. The House passed a bill.
CAVUTO: A number of Democrats voted for it in the Senate.
RANGEL: First of all, the House passed a bill that was permanent. When the House bill and the Senate bill got together, no Democrat was allowed in the House to participate in the conference. When the bill got back to the president, they had a temporary bill, and the truth of the matter is...
CAVUTO: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Thirteen Democrats went along with this.
RANGEL: Well, big deal. Out of all of the Democrats...
CAVUTO: Because maybe those Democrats, Congressman, thought that, yes, we are overtaxed.
RANGEL: Let me tell you something: We lost 52 House members, Democrats, for voting for a tax increase. And so whenever you talk about tax cuts or tax increase, make no mistake about it, you pay a political price for it. Those people...
CAVUTO: I'm not talking about a political price. Don't you feel that, just looking fundamentally, that as a country, we pay too much in taxes?
RANGEL: Even if that is so, we're involved in a war now. We have invaded the Social Security trust funds. We have invaded the Medicare trust fund.
CAVUTO: Wait a minute. We haven't invaded these funds. I mean, back to this intrinsic argument, war, no war, Social Security. When people are paying on average in this country a third or more of their income to the government, isn't that wrong?
RANGEL: Well, it is the lowest of any industrialized country and the tax cut, 37 percent...
CAVUTO: So what? So what? Congressman, I mean, so what? Sweden and Italy, they are paying more. It's offensive.
RANGEL: Thirty-seven percent of this tax cut goes to the top one percent of the wealthy...
CAVUTO: Who pay more than 50 percent of the taxes.
RANGEL: Let me tell you, if you really want to bring some equity to it, you could consider the Social Security taxes and the Medicare taxes that the lower income people. They don't get a break out of that.
CAVUTO: Wait a minute. Congressman, you know these numbers better than almost anyone I know on Capitol Hill. You know the fact that before this tax cut, upper-income folks were paying roughly a third of the taxes. After this tax cut, they're going to be paying roughly a third of the taxes. When it comes to total money collected, they account for more than half the money paid. They are still going to account for more than half the money paid. So, they are still paying through the nose.
RANGEL: You know, I can see, Neil, perhaps in your income category, how you're sensitive to the arguments that I have. But do you know...
CAVUTO: This has nothing to do...
Congressman, and I have a great deal of respect for you, but every Democrat I know make this is a class argument. Why do we have to do that?
RANGEL: Because the upper class...
CAVUTO: No, no, no. It is intrinsically what people are owed.
RANGEL: I am telling you that the higher income people have not plead for a tax cut. They have talked about education. They have talked about health care.
CAVUTO: So you're saying when it is all done, good-bye?
RANGEL: You started off talking about why...
CAVUTO: Real quick.
RANGEL: ... permanent and why not permanent. We have 40 million people that's going to become eligible for Social Security in the next decade. And at the same time, we're going to have a $4 trillion dollar hemorrhage in revenue.
CAVUTO: All right. Charlie, thank you very, very much.
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