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SCHULTZ: Joining us now is the congressman from Florida, Alan Grayson. Congressman, well done.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: What gave you the idea to do this? And sometimes we don"t see the forest because of the trees. That was my response when I saw that.
GRAYSON: I think it"s a modest proposal. President Roosevelt created four million new jobs in two months when the country needed it. Why can"t we do the same thing? Are we so bent on giving the rich more money that we"re blind to the needs of everyone else?
SCHULTZ: A significant number of members in Congress own major shares
they"re major players in the health care industry. And financial services sector. You think that"s a conflict of interest?
GRAYSON: Well, it is potentially. But the bottom line is that the--the vastly wealthy corporations in this country and the top one percent, the people who have an average income of $1.4 million each year, those people stand to get an $83,347 tax cut under the Republicans" plan and they own the Republican Party lock stock and barrel.
SCHULTZ: You don"t believe that we"re possibly raising taxes on the job creators, that"s the bullet point wing nut on the right side bullet point that we hear all of the time. We"re raising--you know, we"re raising taxes on the job creators.
GRAYSON: That"s sheer nonsense. If they have the ability to hire somebody and make money of that person"s work, you can be sure they will. They would have done it already. The fundamental problem we have economically in this country is that the rich have almost all of the money and they"re not spending it and that"s why we end up with the government deficit as high as it is, because aggregate demand is too low in this country because almost everybody else in this country is broke. That"s the problem.
SCHULTZ: So, what"s going to happen with the tax cuts? What"s going to happen with the budget in your opinion?
GRAYSON: Well, we"ll see what happens. But it shouldn"t surprise anybody that the government has to take drastic means in a country where a quarter of the population now has a negative net worth, where a quarter of the population owes more than it owns on its house. And we"re desperate to just keep businesses running as it is. But what"s going to happen with taxes is this, President Obama needs to tell the Republicans, it"s my way or the highway. I have a veto pen. I was elected telling everybody in America exactly what was needed to be done. I won by 10 million votes, he should say, when I told America that I would not approve tax cuts from the rich any longer, that I would let them expire. The 2008 election happened. The Republicans have been pretending for two years, it didn"t happen and this was not by any means in 2010 some kind of referendum on tax cut for the rich. Nobody wants tax cuts for the rich, except the rich.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the president will do what you just said?
GRAYSON: Oh, I don"t know. I don"t know. But I do know that that"s what he needs to do. And frankly, if he does that, then Democrats and ordinary people will be proud of him. They"ll be proud of the fact that he stood up to the special interest, stood up to the big corporations, stood up to the rich who want to make this country into an oligarchy.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
GRAYSON: Thank you too, Ed. Always a pleasure.
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