This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 20, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If you've been waiting for more tax cuts, well, keep waiting. Republicans, with the blessing of the president, shelving plans to introduce more tax cut legislation, saying that such talk is doomed any way this year. They'll try again next year. Former presidential candidate and publishing magnate Steve Forbes says that is a mistake.
STEVE FORBES, CEO, FORBES, INC.: It's a huge mistake, it's a huge mistake because if they expect to get good tax cuts next year they'd better get a mandate from the voters this year for those cuts. That's why they should have put them out on the table. Sure, Congress probably wouldn't have passed them but they could have gone to the voters. Remember, when President Bush gets his approval on the a Iraq war in a couple of weeks from Congress, the Democrats are going to rush that thing through because they want to go on domestic issues for these November elections.
CAVUTO: But that's not enough time to make domestic issues a big issue, right?
FORBES: It's enough time - well, what they should have done after the August summit that he had in Texas, was to put legislation on the table by Labor Day, given it a good boost, get those spokespeople out there and made it a campaign issue. The domestic agenda is going to be dominated by the Democrats, they've ceded it. So if they expect to get good tax cuts next year, good luck.
CAVUTO: But then you were hearing calls from some who will argue at least on the upper income tax payers, don't finish the rest of the year's tax cuts that the president has in that 10-year plan, what do you make of that?
FORBES: Well, that's the problem of phasing these things in over 50 or 100 years, they always face possible derailment. And that tax cut that was passed, as you know, in 2001, despite all of the ballyhoo, was fairly small beer, weak beer. And...
CAVUTO: Well, you know, the Democrats are seizing on that, saying, ah, this is why we have the deficits.
FORBES: They can say that, because people didn't feel the tax cuts. All they see, their property taxes are going up, most major states are going to enact major tax increases next year. We need federal tax relief, the Republicans should be pushing that. They are not.
CAVUTO: All right now, what is the risk to the Republicans though if these deficits get worse and even if they want to revisit tax cuts next year, you know how the argument goes, Steve, people are going to say, well, we can't afford it.
FORBES: Well, we can't afford not to have a strong economy, especially if we expect to have a long war against terror around the world. And the way you get a strong economy, Reagan showed it, John Kennedy showed it, is by reducing the tax burden.
CAVUTO: They are saying what? $100 billion more for defense, God knows what for emergency relief.
FORBES: How do you produce those resources? You do it through a vibrant economy. Remember, Reagan put in the biggest military buildup in history, and yet we spent less of our economic resources on that buildup than we did in the 1950s.
CAVUTO: You know what they argue, Democrats come back and say, ah, but remember the Reagan deficits.
FORBES: Remember that for each dollar of deficit that we got during those Reagan years, the nation had $10 of new wealth. There is not a CEO or even investor who wouldn't take $1 of debt for $10 of equity.
CAVUTO: Let me ask something about you while you are here. You never ran for Senate in New Jersey, why not?
FORBES: I didn't feel in the gut to do it, you have to have the drive and real fanaticism to do it because otherwise it will eat you alive. I may run for some other office some day, not for the big one, but right now...
CAVUTO: You've ruled it out altogether?
FORBES: Yes, I've had two chances.
CAVUTO: A lot of people say Treasury Secretary Forbes.
FORBES: I think would you have a better chance than I would. But I'm going to be on the side, being a good agitator, trying to push for things like tax cut and...
CAVUTO: Market guys love you...
FORBES: ... more easing...
CAVUTO: Market guys love you, that might help.
FORBES: ... more easing on the Federal Reserve.
CAVUTO: Are you saying, no, no, no? If asked you would say no?
FORBES: Oh, you wouldn't say no, but I'm not going to get asked. So I'm not losing sleep over that one.
CAVUTO: Steve Forbes, thank you very much.
FORBES: Thank you.
CAVUTO: He's the CEO of Forbes, Inc., former presidential candidate, another guy that speaks his mind.
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