CNBC’s Joe Kernen cut off one of President Joe Biden’s White House advisers Tuesday for budget deficit “demagoguing” after the administration laid out a budget Monday that includes new taxes.
While speaking to National Economic Council director Brian Deese, Kernen asked how the White House would tackle spending and whether the government needed to raise revenues.
“I understand there’s a lot of pressure from the progressive wing to get at a lot of the billionaire money, but is that punitive, or is it — is it necessary that we do that to fund the government’s needs?” Kernen said. “It seems like we have plenty and should be looking at the expense side of things and I wonder if you think we should be spending another, I don’t know, whatever the latest Build Back Better is going to look like. It doesn’t look like what it had looked like. Were you in favor of adding that to what we already spent on the pandemic the last couple of years and that you can actually bring down the deficit by spending more, you’ve heard that argument from Speaker Pelosi.”
“There’s a lot of questions in there so let me try to unpack them. I think to your first question the answer is both. I think we need to be very thoughtful about both the expenditure and revenue side of our budget. What you see in the budget we released yesterday is deficits coming down by about $1.3 trillion this year, and that’s a function of both. That’s a function of rolling off some of the emergency spending programs that were put in place by the prior administration,” Deese said.
“Well, that’s pandemic spending, and that’s another — I don’t know if we should be demagoguing that, bringing the deficit down, when everybody knows that it’s because we’re not going to spend so much on the pandemic and emergency relief,” Kernen said. “We’re still increasing everything.”
“Well, that wasn’t a — that wasn’t a guaranteed thing,” Deese responded. “Part of why we’ve seen that progress is because of the really stronge economic growth which both allows us to roll off pandemic spending but also increases tax revenue.” (RELATED: Biden Calls For Raising Taxes On Oil Drillers Amid Energy Crisis)
Deese then said the new billionaire tax isn’t punitive but rather is meant to “create a more efficient tax system that doesn’t have these glaring loopholes that allow people to go and earn income, and potentially forever, without that ever being taxed.”
The Biden administration announced Monday plans for a new minimum tax targeting billionaires, proposing a 20% tax rate for both income and unrealized capital gains. Households wort more than $100 million would be subject to the new tax, with the administration estimating it would reduce the deficit by roughly $360 billion over the decade, according to Fox News. Under current law, a gain in the market is only taxed once the asset is sold.