OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
It is a question that should be asked of so many of today’s Democrats, and finally, one Fox News anchor asked it to one top Democrat. Are you a capitalist or a socialist?
It happened on Wednesday when “America’s Newsroom” co-host Bill Hemmer went toe to toe with Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan, the chair emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“Why is it smart to pump trillions of more dollars out of Washington into the economy especially now?” Hemmer said.
“We just had a presentation from an economist this morning from Moody’s and did a great explaining just we’re at the peak of the inflation right now because everything did just reopen from Covid,” Pocan said. “In many cases, things are just coming back to pre-Covid prices, but they went down became of Covid when people were out work, etc… and now they’re getting back to where they were.”
“But they also show the trajectory going right back down. The problem is not everyone has benefited from all parts of the economy. Many people in my district and across the country are still hurting, which is why…,” he said but then he was cut off by Hemmer.
“But a lot more people can hurt with inflation. You know the trap that comes with that type of economics know,” he said. “Do you consider yourself a capitalist or a socialist?”
And then the dancing began.
“I’ve been a small business owner for 33 years, so you tell me,” he said. “I know a little bit about capitalism, let’s put it that way,” he added.
But Hemmer pressed, “You’re saying you’re a capitalist, correct?”
“Yeah, when you’re a small business owner since you got out of college and had hair and longer than probably anyone,” Pocan, who is now bald, said. “You know, the Republicans in Congress have owned a small business, more than 98 percent of them, yeah, I think I’m pretty good at understanding capitalism.”
Hemmer said “love the answer,” but then continued.
“However,” he said. “in this tax plan here you’re going to go after some Americans and you’re going to tax more than 60 percent of their gross income depending on where they live in the country. I know you want the revenue. Is that fair?”
Pocan said that the premise of the question was “a misrepresentation of what Joe Biden has in his plan.”
“Oh is it?” Hemmer said.
Pocan used the Joe Biden talking point, insisting that those “making more than $400,000 and corporations that often haven’t paid their fair share like my constituents have of their taxes often who hide their profits overseas they’re the ones that going to pay it.”
“So all of this talk about how big the bill is, it’s going to cost nothing to the average person. They will finally…,” he said before being interrupted by Hemmer, who said, “My point is some Americans who are high earners between state and city and Washington and Obamacare, they’re up 60 percent, 61 percent, of gross.”
Hemmer attempted to ask another question but was interrupted by Pocan who said that the State and Local Tax deduction, or SALT, “that was taken out during the Trump-era tax cut that affected those folks more than anything, so you’re right, if those folks are upset that they’re paying more in taxes, you should go to the Republicans that passed that bill that benefited the top 1 percent.”
Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer: "Do you consider yourself a capitalist or a socialist?"
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI): "I’ve been a small business owner for 33 years, so you tell me. I know a little bit about capitalism."
Hemmer: "So you're saying you're a capitalist, correct?" pic.twitter.com/DIjfyMzvWE
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 20, 2021
But Pocan is incorrect as the 2017 tax bill did get rid of SALT, but rather placed a $10,000 cap on it.
This month Rep. Pocan pushed for the plan, saying its provisions were popular with Americans.
“It would be very hard for people to take things away, and that’s part of our goal,” he said. “Once people see how popular these things are … many of these debates are the same debates we had when you created Social Security and other programs. And once people got them, you saw how wildly popular [they were]. We think some of these are going to be in that wildly popular category.”