Hannity-Weiner Tax Cut Debate Gets Heated

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: President Obama has taken a lot of heat for his tax cut compromise. And most of the anger is coming from members of his own party. And one of the most vocal critics is New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. And last week, Congressman Weiner said that the president was acting more like a negotiator in chief rather than the leader of the Democratic Party. Joining me now to explain all of this is the man himself, Congressman Weiner of New York. Congressman, welcome back, thanks for being with us.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Well, look, you said he's punting on 3rd down. You've basically said, "I have to tell you something, it is only going to get worse for the president if he allows himself to be pushed around like this." We have other congressmen using more colorful language like "f" the president, you are pretty angry about this.

WEINER: You love it when we fight on your left, huh? No, this is just.

HANNITY: No, no, I'm really upset, I was hoping that you put me in the middle of negotiations and I could negotiate a peace.

WEINER: Look, this come down to is, I think the president could have gotten a better deal for the American people. And I recognize the compromise as part of the deal here in Washington and I'm not saying that's a necessarily a vice. The question is simply whether we should have gotten a better deal? And I think we should have. I think we gave part too much away to people who are doing very well and who frankly, it adds to the deficit of great deal whether we can afford.

HANNITY: All right. But when you say the president is allowing himself to be pushed around, punting on 3rd down. Look, there's only one way to interpret that. You are suggesting that the leader of your party is weak.

WEINER: No, I'm suggesting he could have gotten a better deal. I think that to a greater degree the president believes that his hand wasn't stronger than it was. And I think that if he sold this to the American people and said listen, do we really need to give millionaires and billionaires a tax cut that will be financed by the Chinese by borrowed money from the Chinese. I think people would have said no and it would have moved the meter in the Senate in the House to get more votes.

HANNITY: All right. You used this word millionaires and billionaires, it sounds like a pejorative to me, I know most people, I can't think of one person that I knew in my life that has money that grow up with money. Most of the people that I know that became wealthy worked really, really hard, they went to school, they studied, they worked 12, 14, 16 hours a day, they delivered goods and services to other people.

You know, the top 10 percent pay 70 percent of the federal tax bill. You are from New York. Let's go through the New York numbers. If you have your way, federal tax will be 40 percent. State tax is almost 10 percent. And sales tax which is high in New York, property tax in New York, and other hidden taxes. And then when you die, you got to tax people again with an estate tax, so, you're dealing with 55, 60 percent of people's earned income and you feel you have a right to their money, why?

WEINER: Look, it just depends on who you are standing up for. I'm standing up for the middle class and they're struggling to make it. Those people have not done very well in recent years. Those people are actually found their real earnings actually have been flat. I do want to give them a break. I do want to give them a tax cuts.

HANNITY: Me too. I agree.

WEINER: And I do want to make sure that their children aren't financing --


HANNITY: I agree with you.

WEINER: So, it is just about choices. And I believe that in addition to it not creating more jobs, I simply believe that already the very well to do have done very well. I'm not saying they should do less well. I'm just saying, I don't think they need an additional tax cut right now.

HANNITY: I'm saying, at some point, you are missing my point. You're going to take away their incentive to create the jobs. Because they are the job creators. Let me go through the numbers again, because these numbers are astounding. Hang on a second. Federal tax, you want 40 percent, 39.6 percent, whatever it is. New York State around 10 percent sales tax -- I'm sorry income tax. You got city tax on top of that. Then you've got property taxes, then you got sales taxes, then when you die, you want 35 or more percent of what people pay taxes on in their life. And I'm asking you, Congressman, why do you think you have a right to 60 percent of people's money?

WEINER: Well, first of all, I want everyone to pay no taxes. I want you to pay zero tax. I'd like to have no tax.


HANNITY: That's not what you are supporting. You're slamming millionaires and billionaires.

WEINER: But that's also I assume what you're not supporting, right? Everyone agrees that there have to be some tax and there's something that we paid for it in the community.

HANNITY: I agree.

WEINER: And so we collect taxes, so the only question is, how you do that fairly. In my abiding judgment, and the thing that I'm represented to and that I fight to do every day is I focus -- not on the rich people that you seem to be so concerned about, but on the overwhelming middle class struggling to make it who are being pressed harder and harder and harder. We have to make choices. If the choice is whether to provide very well to do millionaires and billionaires, let their tax rates not come down.

HANNITY: You are not answering my question.

WEINER: ... and lower.

HANNITY: You are dodging my question.

WEINER: No, I'm making it a choice. You seem to believe that it is not.

HANNITY: I believe in economic...


WEINER: Do we need to have taxes? Do you believe that we need to have taxes?

HANNITY: Excuse me. You are missing my point. Let me see if I can explain it another way, you say rich, let me use another term for rich, job creator, taxpayer and those that donate to charity.

WEINER: I want that to pay no taxes.

HANNITY: I point out that 55 percent of your constituents' income is going to pay taxes and you defend it. And I'm asking you at what point, taking their money is enough? Why do you think you have a right to it?

WEINER: I want them to pay zero in taxes. Do you believe anyone should pay taxes?


WEINER: So, then it is only a question.


HANNITY: Fifty-five -- give me your number.

WEINER: It is only the question of the relative burden of different people. So, if I can say to someone who makes a million dollars, you pay a point more if it means that people in the middle class.

HANNITY: Five points more.

WEINER: I'm trying to answer the question. You and I are just talking about, how you make the choice. I choose to stay on the side of the middle class. You want to defend the rich, I understand that. That's always been your --

HANNITY: No, that the bottom 50 percent of wage earners only pay 2.9 percent of the federal tax bill.

WEINER: Do you want them to pay more?

HANNITY: No, I do not.

WEINER: You want the middle class to pay more.


WEINER: You want no one to pay more?



WEINER: I want everyone to pay less but everything is a choice.

HANNITY: Congressman, listen to my answer. I want you guys to spend less. And the first thing you can do is stop taxing people 55 percent of their money and then take a sledge hammer when they die and taking another 45, 35 or 55 percent. You seem to justify empowering our government to steal 55 percent of people's income.

WEINER: All right. Stop with the steal. Stop with the steal. You and I both agree that you need to have taxes to on the government. Do we not agree on that?

HANNITY: OK. Give me a number. How much is the maximum amount you're willing to pay?

WEINER: It depends how much your billionaires and millionaires get in tax cuts each year.

HANNITY: All right. Here's my question, I'm going to let you go through your answers, 55 percent of what people pay in your district in New York, when your state, local, federal, city taxes. What percentage of people's income, at what point do you say enough is enough?

WEINER: As little as possible. But given the choice between.

HANNITY: But now it is 55 percent you are supporting.

WEINER: Hold on a second. As little as possible, I would like it to be lower for the middle class and I'd like the rates to stay what they were in President Clinton's time which was extraordinary successful times for the very well to do.

HANNITY: That would mean 55 percent of their money would go to the government and then when they die, you take more.

WEINER: Sean, this is your show not mine. But let me ask you a question, do you believe that we should have taxes at all?

HANNITY: Congressman, I answered the question. The answer to your question is yes.

WEINER: The only disagreement is should the middle class be lower or should be wealthy people be lower? I believe the middle class should be lower.

HANNITY: The only question is, you feel justified in taking 55 percent, I think that number in percentage is too high. I would cap it out --

WEINER: In that case, you feel justified in borrowing 40 percent of that, don't you?

HANNITY: No, no, you feel justified taking 55 percent of people's money.

WEINER: You want to borrow for Rupert Murdoch's tax break.

HANNITY: Excuse me, listen, I'm telling you.

WEINER: You want to borrow that money.

HANNITY: Listen, we pay 55 percent people in your district and then you take a sledge hammer and tell them they're selfish.

WEINER: If you give a tax cut to Rupert Murdoch.

HANNITY: How dare you!

WEINER: We got to borrow the money to pay Rupert Murdoch's tax break. You want to do that?

HANNITY: Listen, thank God, you know why for Rupert Murdoch?

WEINER: I guess that's a yes, I guess that's a yes.

HANNITY: Rupert Murdoch is a taxpayer, Rupert Murdoch donates to charity and more than you do Congressman based on your salary.

WEINER: He's a very fine man. He's a very fine man but that is not the question. The question is, you want to give him a tax cut and borrow it from my kids, no deal. No deal.

HANNITY: You know what, thank God Rupert Murdoch created a job for me. So, I could tell you, you're taking way too much in spending too much of the taxpayers dollars. But Congressman, thank you.

WEINER: Thank you.

HANNITY: It is always a pleasure. And I mean that sincerely.

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