MSNBC’s Ruhle: ‘Income Inequality Is the Biggest Issue That Plagues This Nation’

On Monday’s MSNBC Live, host Stephanie Ruhle — also a business correspondent for NBC — was inserting a left-leaning view of economics into the discussion of the Republican tax cut plan as she proclaimed that “income inequality is the biggest issue that plagues this nation — one of the biggest issues.”

Right-leaning MSNBC contributor Bret Stephens had a mixed view of the plan as liberal contributor Eddie Claude of Princeton University twice derided it as “highway robbery on the part of the top one percent.”

After Stephens — also a New York Times columnist — ended his commentary by recalling that, according to “nonpartisan tax committees,” the tax cuts would be “stimulative” for at least a few years and help Republicans politically, host Ruhle shot back:

But does it? They have supercharged the economy — the economy that was already doing well — and the portion of the economy that has been — that has benefited since President Trump won, and that benefit from this plan are the rich. And income inequality is the biggest issue that plagues this nation — one of the biggest issues.

After Stephens argued that it would lead to “repatriating” of capital back into the U.S., but worried that it might lead to bad investment decisions like the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, Gaude jumped in to liken the tax cut plan to a “sugar high” that would have consequences later. Here’s Gaude:

It’s going to be super-charged, but its going to be a sugar high, right? And you know what happens when our kids are on sugar highs, right? There’s a kind of crash that happens, and eventually it harms them in so many different sorts of ways.

He soon complained:

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They should actually be very clear about what this tax bill is all about. It is basically highway robbery on the part of the top one percent in terms of the national coffers.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, December 18, MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle:

9:03 a.m. ET

BRET STEPHENS: And even nonpartisan tax committees say that at least in the initial years, this is going to be a stimulative tax bill, so it solves a lot of their political problems, especially in the wake of the failure of the Obamacare reform — if “reform” is the word you want for it.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: But does it? They have supercharged the economy — the economy that was already doing well — and the portion of the economy that has been — that has benefited since President Trump won, and that benefit from this plan are the rich. And income inequality is the biggest issue that plagues this nation — one of the biggest issues.

STEPHENS: Look, I’m not — there’s sort of good, bad and ugly in this bill. I think one of the biggest failures of the bill comes really with the individual rates. That being said, I mean, this is, remember, this is me speaking and I’m conservative, so people should know where I’m coming from. Cutting corporate taxes, repatriating billions of dollars of capital that are unnecessarily parked —

RUHLE: That’s a good thing.

STEPHENS: — in places like Ireland, those are good things. Those do end up creating jobs, stimulating wages, Ultimately, people end up having to find jobs from somewhere, and repatriating all that capital and putting it to more productive uses is terrific. The problem comes with individual rates where the bill is just kind of a flat failure. And the 100 percent business expense worries me a great deal because one of the things that that does is it means that companies are going to make decisions based on tax considerations rather than the actual quality of investments. We went through this before in the early 1980s — we ended up with the savings and loan crisis.

RUHLE: We did. Eddie, this thing is most likely going to go through. Is there any silver lining that you see in it? I know you don’t like this bill.

EDDIE GLAUDE: No, not at all. And, you know, the question, it’s going to be super-charged, but its going to be a sugar high, right? And you know what happens when our kids are on sugar highs, right? There’s a kind of crash that happens, and eventually it harms them in so many different sorts of ways.

(…)

I think they should be participating in this sense — they should be offering an alternative economic vision. They should actually be very clear about what this tax bill is all about. It is basically highway robbery on the part of the top one percent in terms of the national coffers. They should then lay out an economic plan, right, that would be really and seriously an economic plan for the middle class working people and working poor people and show exactly what the Republican tax plan is.  That this is not and has little to do with everyday ordinary people. That the tax cuts that are supposedly going to middle class folk or will be — how many years now? I mean, you talk about this every day, they’re not permanent, that the corporate tax cuts are permanent. We need to show exactly what this is, and this is highway robbery on the part of the top one percent.

This post originally appeared on NewsBusters

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