At a recent town hall meeting, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) spoke to constituents about a host of issues. Many in the audience expressed their frustration that Dent and his party are holding the nation’s economy hostage over tax cuts for the very wealthy.
At one point during the meeting, several constituents challenged Dent to explain why he won’t budge on raising taxes for the wealthy back to Clinton-era levels, while Democrats have made trillions in concessions on vital programs:
CONSTITUENT: Three percent, we’re just saying, three percent that they gave in 2001, ask those wealthy people who have been doing great, who are doing better than anyone else. Just ask them to give their fair share. That’s all these Middle Class people are saying. Don’t saddle us with all of it.
DENT: I meant to ask you, what should the income tax rate be since you want to raise the income tax.
CONSTITUENT: I think it’s fair to say, put the wealthy tax rates back to where they were before 2001. Not a big deal.
DENT: Which rates are you referring to? Seriously–
CONSTITUENT: Thirty nine to thirty five percent–
DENT: You just want to raise the rates straight up.
CONSTITUENT: On the wealthiest people! To fix our fiscal problems.
DENT: That’s small businesses in many cases– [audience boos]
CONSTITUENT: You guys are protecting your sacred cows. Your oil company subsidies, everybody understands that. Just take ‘em, they don’t need them. The tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, they’re doing great, they don’t need them. You can’t come to us and say, ‘We’re going to take your Medicare away because we don’t think it’s working for you.’ [...] That’s why your boys [Republican leadership] are walking out of the room. They say take these off the table. Tell Mr. Cantor to put them back on the table.