Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y) equated higher taxes with patriotism during the third nationally-televised Democratic Presidential debate Thursday evening.
When asked if she believed Americans were paying enough taxes, Clinton praised billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett because, as she said, “He’s honest enough to say, look, tax me because I’m a patriotic American.”
She went on, “We have to change the tax system and we’ve got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country.”
Buffett made headlines earlier this week when he said the wealthy should pay more taxes at a Manhattan fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign with a $4,600 per person admission fee. Clinton raised $1 million at the event.
Because Buffett is the son of a former Republican U.S. Congressman from Nebraska, Clinton asked Buffett why he was a Democrat. He replied that Republicans were more likely to think "I’m making $80 million a year, God must have intended me to have a lower tax rate."
Buffett said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”
After reflecting on that conversation, Clinton concluded at the debate, "So, yes, we have to change the tax system. And we've got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country."
Clinton also said that she would raise taxes to prevent the outsourcing of U.S. jobs. She pledged she would “end the tax breaks that still exist in the tax code for outsourcing jobs,” as well as enforce trade agreements with stricter labor and environmental standards and increase job training.
“Global warming would create millions of new jobs for Americans,” said Clinton.
The debate was held in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, a historically black college. It was hosted by PBS and was moderated by television and radio personality Tavis Smiley.
Before introducing the candidates, Smiley explained the purpose of the debate: “It’s called the All-American (that means you) Presidential Forum. We call it that because it’s about time we had a debate that focused on the issues that affect all of us including those of us who happen to be black and brown.”
Clinton received great applause for the thoughts she shared about the AIDS rate among American women. ?"If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country," she said.
“I’m working to get Medicaid to cover treatment,” she said. “I'm working to raise the budget for Ryan White, which the Bush administration has kept flat, disgracefully so. Because there are a lot of women particularly who are becoming infected in poor rural areas, as well as under-served urban areas in states where, frankly, their state governments won't give them medical care.”
During the debate, Clinton managed to plug her 1996 child-rearing bestseller, “It Takes a Village.” When asked why the unemployment rates of black high school graduates was 33 percent higher than an unemployment rate for white high school dropouts, Clinton replied, “Well, I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and the American village has failed our children.”
All eight Democrats running for their party’s nomination for President participated in the PBS debate and a full transcript is available here. PBS will sponsor a Republican debate in Baltimore in September.