Via the Free Beacon, if you want to see a train wreck in slow motion, please watch this interaction between Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Million Student March National Organizer Keely Mullen. Yesterday, college students across the country protested the ever-growing student loan debt, and called for tuition-free public colleges, a $15/hour minimum wage, and debt forgiveness. Cavuto asked one simple question about how we would pay for this ambitious agenda, which is where this whole thing went off the hinges fast.
“Um, great question,” replied Mullen. “I mean, you know, so–I’m not sure if you’re talking on a national level or at particular schools, I could sort of touch on both.”
“Well, if you wanted all that stuff, someone has to pick up the tab. Who would that be?” asked Cavuto again.
“Um, the one percent of people in society that are hoarding the wealth and really sort of causing, um, a catastrophe that students are facing. I mean, we have a relationship right now, where one percent of the population owns more wealth than the 99 percent combined,” said Mullen.
In short, the whole interview is a complete and utter disaster. It rehashes many of the talking points we saw during the Occupy Wall Street movement (yeah, remember those guys), and Mullen even has temerity to say that she and her friends would be happy to pay a 90 percent income tax rate if they start making a salary at some point in whatever careers they embark on in the future, that placed them in the bracket. Cavuto aptly noted that one would have to be on drugs to voluntarily pay more taxes. Everyone hates paying taxes. And even when the country had a top rate of 90 percent, the wealthy never really paid it due to deductions and exemptions.
It got even worse when Cavuto cited how some European nations, like Greece, promised tons of benefits, which has led to the current financial crisis. They simply ran out of money. It also doesn’t help that Greece has never been able to collect the majority of its taxes, as Bloomberg noted in their excellent video on the European debt crisis.
I’ll leave you with these three points. One, everyone, except for the top-earning 20 percent of American families in the United States, pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes, according to Pew Research. They also noted that those making $250,000 or more paid almost half of all the income taxes. Second, on the most basic level, the explosion of student loan debt is due to increased government involvement into the student loan market. Higher education institutions have a guaranteed revenue stream every year. Why wouldn’t they increase tuition and room and board rates? Third, minimum wage jobs are not meant to support a family, let alone pay through college. It’s absurd to think that they could. These are low-skill jobs, and not even paramedics get paid $15/hour. Maybe there’s some debate on the latter, but to argue that stocking shelves, flipping burgers, and checking out groceries requires more skill than saving lives is ridiculous. Also, it’s quite possible that employers would either cut hours, staff, or replace everyone with machines in such circumstances. That’s why minimum wage hikes are responsible for gutting 700,000 jobs in 2013.
I don’t do media hits often (I’m very shy), but as people who have extensive experience with television interviews have told me–it’s always good to have three to five points you want to make. If you get through two of them, that’s a good day. Mullen obviously had no clue what she was talking about, which is why this whole event turned into a fiasco.
The death knell was when Cavuto said if we were to confiscate all the wealth from America's one percent, it wouldn't be able to support one entitlement program for three years.
Mullen responded by saying, "yeah, I don't believe that."
Last Note: Reason’s Nick Gillespie on why forgiving student loan debt is a bad idea.