MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell confronted former political rival Newt Gingrich on Sunday, asking the former speaker of the house to apologize for falsely predicting the economy would be pushed into a recession if President Bill Clinton raised marginal tax rates for most affluent Americans.
Now we know that many economists say the higher rates, which placed the top percentage for the wealthy at 39.6 percent, are compatible with strong economic growth. But in 1993, the conservative Gingrich said the tax increase would destroy jobs and increase the federal budget deficit -- an argument that has come full circle as President Barack Obama insists he will not accept a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff without raising rates on the wealthy, which were slashed under the Bush administration.
O’Donnell, who was a member of the Senate’s tax-writing committee during the consideration of Clinton’s 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, reminded Gingrich of his false prediction during a roundtable discussion on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”
"Who said this?" O'Donnell said as he started to read off a piece of paper. "'The tax increase will kill jobs and lead to a recession, and the recession will force people out of work and onto unemployment and actually increase the deficit.' That’s Newt Gingrich in 1993 on the Clinton tax increase."
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Gingrich, in the face of his epically failed prediction, did not falter. In fact, he said claiming the economy soared during the Clinton years because of a tax increase is “baloney” and insisted the credit should be given to his Republican-led House.
"The fact is, if you look at all the indicators the day I was elected speaker, virtually all of the economic growth occurs after Republicans take control. Virtually all of the increase in the stock market is after the Republicans take control," Gingrich said.
But the former GOP presidential nominee did not admit that he was wrong in warning the nation would fall into a recession because of the higher tax rates.
According to the Center for American Progress, the U.S.'s “longest period of economic growth in U.S. history -- increased business investment, 23 million jobs added and, of course, budget surpluses” -- was during Clinton’s two terms. The organization notes that clearly cannot be said for the Bush-era tax cuts, which did not result in the economic boom predicted by Republicans at the time.