Outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) did the double duty Thursday of going after some of his biggest Republican enemies -- conservative pundits and former president George W. Bush -- and keeping his trusty Capitol Hill print shop in business.
Grayson took to the House floor to debate the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy with seven large cardboard slides, each complete with a color headshot of the person and a description of how prolonging the current tax rates for the top two-percent of income earners in the United States would benefit those individuals.
His argument: Fox News contributors such as Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sarah Palin, as well as the previous president of the United States himself, support, and in some cases aggressively lobby for, the complete extension of the Bush tax cuts because they would pad their pockets with an additional six-figure (in Rush Limbaugh's case, seven-figure) sum each year.
"They want tax cuts for the rich because they want a tax cut for themselves," Grayson said. "Instead of placating these people and letting them spew out onto the airwaves their lies about the Bush tax cuts without ever revealing the fact that they stand to gain millions, millions of dollars each year from their selfish desire to take advantage of the rest of America, let's do this: Let's take that money and create jobs."
The House passed an extension of the middle class tax cuts only on Thursday, but many fear that the GOP may get its way on an across-the-board extension if Obama concedes to them in exchange for progress on some of his other initiatives, such as the reauthorization of unemployment benefits.
Here's the entire transcript (via Mediaite):
Madam Speaker, we've heard endless braying from the Republicans, time after time, demanding an extension of tax cuts for the rich in this country. They tell us that somehow extending tax cuts for the rich will somehow create jobs. When we've had tax cuts for the rich for nine years and I haven't noticed a lot of jobs being created in nine years.
They tell us it will boost the economy well I haven't noticed that happening for nine years either. So you have to wonder why they persist in this mania, this obsession of theirs that we need to have tax cuts for the rich when the economy is flat on its back and unemployment is almost 10%. I think I have the answer. The answer turns out to be very simple.
They want tax cuts for the rich because they want a tax cut for themselves. What do I mean by that? Let's take a look at the people who are really in charge, the ones who actually run the Republican party.
Let's start with this gentleman here, the man with the cigar, Rush Limbaugh. Doesn't he look happy? According according to Newsweek, he makes $58.7 million a year, and extending the tax cuts means he'll have another $2.7 million. Mega dittos, Rush, and mega money. Let's look at the next one.
Here's Glenn Beck, according to Newsweek Glenn Beck makes $33 million a year as a pundit and extending the Bush Tax Cuts means a cool $1.5 million for Glenn bBeck's ongoing imitation of Howard Beale from Network. Now let's look at the next one.
Sean Hannity. Newsweek says that Sean Hannity, this man of the people makes $22 million a year from his act on Fox. And that means the Bush Tax cuts mean an extra $1 million. $1 million for Sean Hannity. Maybe he can afford some anger management classes. Let's take a look at the next one.
Bill O'Reilly. He makes a modest $20 million a year from his gig on Fox. That means that the Bush tax cuts give him not quite seven figures, nearly $914,000 of extra cash. It's easy to see why Bill O'Reilly wants to see the Bush tax cuts extended. And I have to say, he's no pinhead when it comes to that.
And Now, Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin has made $14 million this year from cashing in on her fame. In fact, she's done a better job of turning fame into cash than anyone in American history. $14 million. So she wants the Bush tax cuts extended so she can make an extra cool $638,000. As she was -- as she would gesture (shoulder shrug.)
And now on to Newt Gingrich, the man who did such a great job of running America in the 1990's, he wants a second chance in this decade. Newt if you do to us now what you did to us then, we'll be in trouble. But Newt Gingrich makes $5 million a year from his punditry, he'll get an extra quarter million dollars a year. An extra quarter million dollars a year from the Bush tax cuts being extended.
Now let's go on to the big cheese. George W. Bush himself. The man who got us into two endless war. The man who brought us to the brink of national bankruptcy. The man who gave us $4 a gallon gasoline. George W. Bush makes a cull $4.2 million a year, according to Newsweek. That means that extending the bush tax cuts for George Bush means an extra $187,000 in his pockets every single year.
I have a better idea. Instead of placating these people and letting them spew out onto the airwaves their lies about the Bush tax cut ever revealing the fact that they stand to gain millions, millions of dollars each year from their selfish desire to take advantage of the rest of America, let's do this. Let's take that money and create jobs.
All that money that the Bush tax cuts are charging us that can create jobs for three million Americans a year. $30,000 job a fair wage for fair work, a dignified wage for dignified work and a way to -- a dignified wage for dignified work and a way to help our economy, a better idea than putting money in the pocks of the rich. The problem is not that the poor have too much money, that's not the problem at all, it's that they need jobs. Thank you.