By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
In the Las Vegas office of former Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, hangs a letter in a frame. It is dated Nov. 8, 2010, days after Reid had secured an election victory over Republican challenger Sharron Angle. It marked Reid’s final election fight. The former Senate Majority Leader would retire in 2017, after his term expired.
The letter read:
Congratulations. You are amazing.
With best wishes,
Donald J. Trump”
“I’ve got this office spread with a bust of FDR, a picture of him up here, (pictures of) my mentor, (former Gov.) Mike O’Callaghan and Sen. Bryan,” Reid said on Nevada Newsmakers. “So I thought I had to have a picture (of Trump) to show my bipartisanship.”
Reid and Trump go way back, Reid told host Sam Shad.
“He did fund raisers in his home for me, in the days he was a Democrat, or at least we thought he was,” Reid said. “I’ve been to his home a number of times.
“I don’t think he has been a very good president but I have always liked him,” Reid said. “He is a very personable man.”
One of Reid’s biggest concerns with President Trump is his lack of concern for the mushrooming national debt.
“We have a president who seems not to care about the debt,” Reid said of Trump.
Experts point to Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and growth in military and discretionary domestic spending as key culprits for the rising debt.
Plus, the U.S. government continues to spend more than it gathers in taxes — despite a robust economy, according to a June 2019 report from the Congressional Budget Office. The federal government has spent about $800 million more than it took in during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, according to reports.
“What we have going on is not sustainable,” Reid said. “We can’t continue to do what we’re doing.”
The national debt — teetering at $23 trillion — is “one of the biggest problems facing the country,” Reid said.
He’s amazed how the Republican Party’s view of the national debt has turned since he began his career in politics.
“I hate to keep saying this but it is true: When I was first elected to the House of Representatives and to the Senate and for several years after I was elected to the Senate, the No. 1 issue of the Republican Party was to lower the debt,” Reid said. “We had all kinds of legislation that was passed, sequestration was established, things of that nature.
“But anymore, Republicans don’t seem to give a damn about what the debt is. And, frankly, I don’t hear the Democrats raising much hell about it either, and I think that’s a mistake. I think the debt is not sustainable.”
The government must raise taxes on the rich to combat the problem, Reid said.
“We can’t get the Republicans to sign onto debt relief,” he said. “That is what we have to do and there is only one way of doing it: We have to raise taxes for the rich.”
The wealthy know they should be paying more taxes now, Reid said.
“We have to make sure that people who can afford it, pay more taxes,” Reid said. “I know a few millionaires. I know a few billionaires. And frankly, I don’t think any of them that I know would mind paying some more taxes. It is a myth that they don’t want to pay more taxes.
“But whether they like it or not, they should pay more taxes,” he added. “And that is the only way we are going to get this economy in the right position. The rich have to start doing more. We can’t continue like this. We can’t continue having one percent of the American people controlling most of the money in the country. And I said and I repeat without any qualms, the middle class is getting squeezed and we can’t continue that way.
“The only way we can do this is we have to have more income,” Reid said. “And where is that income going to come from? It can only come from rich people. The middle class, they are not going to be paying amounts of money that make up for what rich people are making. The rich are gonna have to bear the burden and they should.”
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