If it were only that simple – that is the way CNBC’s Rick Santelli would have it.
On CNBC’s June 28 “Squawk Box,” CNBC’s senior economics reporter Steve Liesman vigorously defended the need for higher tax rates as a measure to cut federal deficits. Others argued that government revenues would increase if tax rates were lower because it would stimulate growth.
“Let me get this straight – all you guys want to cut taxes en route to bringing down the deficit?” Liesman asked.
But according to Santelli, it has nothing to do with taxes, but the role of government in the economy.
“No, I didn’t say anything about taxes, Steve,” Santelli shouted. “I want the government to stop spending! Stop spending, stop spending, stop spending, stop spending! That’s what we want, stop spending!”
Liesman continued his defense of higher taxes, arguing they wouldn’t “pay for themselves,” but Santelli followed up with a suggestion for Liesman.
“I just keep saying what the data show,” Liesman said. “The data show tax cuts don’t pay for themselves.”
“You wouldn’t know data if it bit you on the nose,” Santelli, the CME Group reporter, said. “Go read some Austrian economists instead of the funny pages.”
And Santelli suggested Liesman try a change of venue to get a better understanding of economics.
“Go back to
However, “Squawk Box” co-host Becky Quick said the government is occasionally needed to step and she alluded to the near financial collapse and ultimate passage of TARP in 2008.
“I’m on Steve’s side on this,” Quick said. “There are times when the government has to step in. I think probably what happened two years ago was the time.”
But that has caused a political backlash, demonstrated by European nations and their lack of willingness to employ government-spending policies.
“Yes they did and a couple of trillion of dollars later they're [the federal government] done because the taxpayers are the people voting and they're done, Steve,” Santelli said. “Talk all you want, they're done. Merkel's done.
Liesman stuck to his line of reasoning argued the deficit was directly correlated to the economy and not as much as the amount government spending.
“I don’t even care, Steve. Our deficit is too big and we need to knuckle under and we need to live too prudently, prudently,” Santelli fired back.