Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), who could be the richest woman in the House of Representatives, could not help but laugh on Thursday when she was told that 65 percent of Americans would like to see higher taxes for the top 2 percent of earners.
During an interview with Black on MSNBC, host Thomas Roberts pointed to a recent Quinnipiac University poll that showed 65 percent of voters wanted to raise taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year, compared with 31 percent of voters who did not want a tax hike.
“Over 65 percent of Americans agree that taxes need to be higher on those making over $250,000 a year,” Roberts noted as Black chuckled off camera. “And I know you like to say these are small business owners, these are people that are going to give jobs to the American people.”
“But when we look at this as a whole and the mandate that was given as a collective voice with the president’s re-election and he ran on the fact that he was going to raise taxes, and now this polling supports that Americans want to see taxes raised,” Roberts continued with Black unable to stop herself from snickering again at the mention of the survey results. “How can you stand there within the halls of Congress and say that’s not something you are willing to do?”
“Well, I think that’s a really good question,” Black replied with a smile. “But here’s my question: If I say I want my neighbor to pay more than what I pay — I don’t care what level you’re at, you will always have that happen — but I think that what a lot of the American people are not aware of is how it’s going to directly impact them, and that is their jobs. Because these are the job creators.”
“How in the world can you just continue to stay on that topic and not turn to the other side and say, ‘Our spending is the problem,’” she continued. “We can not raise taxes enough to take care of a trillion dollars worth of deficit spending every single year.”
“And so let’s get off of this and get onto the other side and start talking about what we have to do to cut our spending, to reform those entitlement programs that are the debt drivers. And then do pro-growth tax reform that will stimulate the economy, get the money coming in. It’s the best way to get the money coming in.”
The National Journal reported in 2011 that financial disclosure information put Black’s net worth at between $16 million and $74 million. At the time, she was one of only two freshmen lawmakers on the Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for writing tax law.
As early as 2001, Black had been active in protesting income taxes in Tennessee.
“That was what I considered the Tea Party before the Tea Party became vogue,” she told The Weekly Standard in 2011. “I think that the people’s values and my values have matched.”
Watch this video from MSNBC, broadcast Dec. 6, 2012.