Transcript: White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe

We have to get our fiscal house in order, and we have to really focus on the things we know are going to make a difference, education, innovation, investment. So this American Jobs Act can -- yes, it can help in the short term, but it's part of making sure we come out of this -- the American people understand, it took us a long time to get into this point. It's going to take us a long time to get out. But eventually we're going to get back to solid, consistent economic growth.

AMANPOUR: Now, part of paying for this jobs bill is taxes. Also, the president talked about the millionaire tax, the Buffett rule. Let me show what President Clinton has said about that, and, of course, playing golf with the president this weekend, I wonder if it came up. This is what President Clinton said about taxes.


CLINTON: I personally don't believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground. I'll pay more, but it won't solve the problem.


AMANPOUR: So, I mean, there are people who are really questioning this Buffett rule, as well, some people calling it a gimmick, asking, exactly how much is going to be raised? How many people will be paying more?

PLOUFFE: Well, first, President Clinton has been very supportive of the American Jobs Act and our approach.

AMANPOUR: Right, but on this particular issue of taxes.

PLOUFFE: Well -- well, the point is, obviously, the revenues -- none of them would start until 2013, just as we're careful in the spending cuts, because we are in a very fragile economic time.

It's really a question of fairness and what kind of country we're going to live in. There are 22,000 people making over $1 million. They're paying an effective tax rate in the teens. As Warren Buffett said, he pays less in taxes effectively than his secretary does. That's not right.

And what the president wants to do, throughout his presidency and what he's calling for next year, is to cut taxes for just about everybody in America, every middle-class person by $1,500, every small business. So this is tax cuts for just about everybody in America. But the people at the very top of the spectrum, the largest corporations, the people who benefit from special tax treatment and loopholes, we need to close those so that we are asking everybody to do their fair share so they can get a fair shake.

AMANPOUR: Back to the -- winning the -- trying to win the election and getting the economy back on track, James Carville, a former major strategist for President Clinton, as you know, said that it's time for the White House to panic. Last year, you memorably called people who were saying those kind of things "bed-wetters." Is James Carville a bed-wetter right now?

PLOUFFE: Well, I think that everybody understands the urgency of the economic situation. And so our focus is on what -- what Congress ought to do is act in a little bit more panic fashion, because people need action right now on the economy. And that's what our focus on.

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