Issue Clash on PBS NOW: Maggie Debates Phil Kerpen

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been involved in an Online Debate for NOW on PBS.  The subject: “Should Wealthy Americans Be Taxes to Pay For Health Care Reform?”

During the three rounds of debate, my opponent,  Phil Kerpen, Director of Policy at Americans for Prosperity, brought up some interesting issues about just how much the very wealthy pay in taxes.  It turns out that they pay so much because they earn so much more than everyone else. .

Did you know that, since 1975, the wealthiest 1 percent have enjoyed a  232 percent hike in their income? Over the same span, the bottom 90 percent watched their income creep up by just 10 percent.

NOW has just published the debate online here: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/health-care-reform/ic-health-reform-wealthy.html

To read the second and third rounds of the debate, click on “Rebuttals” and “Follow-Ups, right under our pictures.  Viewers are voting on who won the debate; to see how I’m doing, click on Who Won the Debate? at the bottom of the page.

5 thoughts on “Issue Clash on PBS NOW: Maggie Debates Phil Kerpen

  1. There is talk of a soda tax that would “raise billions of dollars in revenue that could be used to fund healthcare.”
    The soda tax is a regressive tax. It disproportionately affects the poor and minorities.* If you are looking to a soda tax for money, you are looking towards a group who can least afford it.
    * http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/87/5/1107

  2. Bix–
    I have to say that I’m in favor of a soda tax–but against a tax on “juice packs” and fruit juices.
    There is very little to no nutritional value in most sodas–colas, etc.
    The exception: club-soda/seltzer. No there is no nutritional value per se–it’s just water– but for kids, it can quench their thirst, giving them the bubbles that they like in sodas, and, for all of us, provide the benefit of drinking many glasses of water a day.
    As for the fruit juice and fruit juice packs which both low-income and higher-income people buy . . .
    On the one hand they are are high-carb–ideally people would be eating the actual fruit instead.
    But given that fresh fruit is not availabe at reasonable prices in most poor neighborhoods, fruit juice is a good substitue, particularly for kids.
    I do support higher taxes on cigarettes–though I know that this is a regressive. The vast majority of adult smokers in this country are very poor.
    But higher taxes make it harder for teen-agers to start smoking.
    I also think we should use those tobacco taxes to set up Free Smoking Cessation Clinics giving out Free Nicotine patches (and whatever else works.

  3. Why have these taxes at all? Step one is to take the money out of medicine, then a whole lot of people can be treated at less than is paid now.
    I agree with someone I saw on a business channel today — problem one is reducing costs and that isn’t being done.

  4. Ed–
    I totally agree that reducing costs, and eliminating waste should be a number one priority.
    But at the saem time covering Everyone is going to require some seed money.
    A great number of uninsured and underinsured people haven’t seen a doctor in a long time.
    This will be expensive,and there is no quick fix.
    The tax hike that the Obama adminsitration and the House bill propose would raise taxes only on the wealthiest 1 1/2 percent and take those tax rate to where they were in 1995 when Geroge Bush Sr’s administration set tax rates..
    By historical standards, these 1995 tax rates are still very, very low for the wealthiest Americans
    Meanwhle, in the last 30 or so years, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have begun to take a much larger share of the nation’s total income.
    Since 1975, income for the top 1% has risen by 232%.
    During that same periodof o time, the lower 90% of all Americans saw their income creep up by only 10%.
    Meanwhile, since 1975 tax rates for the wealthiest 1% have been slashed substantially. So they are taking a larger share of income–and paying less in taxes.