Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show

Published: Saturday, June 16 2012 10:49 a.m. MDT

Dan Liljenquist: Doug, of course, look, when you go into a business to turn them around, you go into a (unintelligible) and you find a business is broken, you do three things. First you fire the management team that got you here. And then you look at revenue and then you look at costs. On the revenue side of the equation, I think we're taxed enough already, but, what we don't have is equal taxation and fair taxation across the board. So, on taxes, I'm in favor of raising taxes on GE, who got themselves their own tax loophole, but I'm afraid I'm in favor of broadening the base, everybody should be paying something, cutting out the loopholes that Congress has granted to people like GE, then lowering the overall tax rate. You gotta do that: broaden the base, stop playing favorites, and lower the tax rates, and then you gotta stop monkeying with the thing, and let people have predictable revenues. We can raise revenues. Our biggest challenge with raising revenues is unpredictability. That's in the tax code, and the regulatory environment in this country. So, look, over the years our tax code has ballooned to be larger than the collective works of Shakespeare entirely. And that is because Senator Hatch and others in Congress have used that tax code to grant subsidies. A new subsidy just extended to grant 100% subsidy to sugar growers in this country. It's just not right.

Orrin Hatch: Which I voted against, by the way. Let me just say that, uh, that, uh, I'm against raising taxes. I believe, every time we've done it, one of the guys, like, a while back, if we'll raise taxes, uh, one time, they give us two times the effect in deficit reduction. We raise taxes, not we, but they raise taxes, I voted against it, and they spent, we never got the spending reductions that they promised, the two-times spending reductions. The problem with raising taxes is that it isn't going to be a question of revenues, we generally average about 18 to 19% in revenues, we're not right now because of the recession, but it'll come back to that. The real problem is that the Democrats will just take it and spend it. And liberal Republicans, by the way. Everything Dan described happens on my committee. I mean, my gosh, this is a committee where, if I take over as chairman, we're going to get these matters under control. One way or the other. We gotta have Mitt Romney as president though to do it. And I'm doing everything I can to get Mitt elected as president as well. And this is one of the reasons Mitt has endorsed me. He knows that I'm an anti-tax person, I've been for my whole senate service, and by the way, if I'm gonna be criticized for everything that's wrong in government, maybe I ought to get some credit for everything that's right in government.

Doug Wright: Uh, Mr. Liljenquist, your 30-second rebuttal.

Dan Liljenquist: Sure. Look, um, Senator Hatch has held the line on overall tax raises. What he has not held the line is the worst kind of taxation. The worst kind of taxation. Where you spend a future generation's worth of wealth and you foist it on a whole bunch of Americans who didn't have a chance to vote for you, with interest. That is fiscal child abuse, and that's what's happened in this Congress, under your watch as you voted over and over to raise the debt ceiling. That is a tax increase, that you've deferred on a whole generation of Americans.

Orrin Hatch: Well, let me get this straight. Apparently I'm responsible for everything that's wrong in the federal government. That's total B.S. and everybody knows it. Everybody who knows me knows that I'm conservative, that I fight for conservative principles, I fight to keep spending under control, I fight to make bills work, and almost everything he defines as being important is in my committee! My goodness, I mean, let's just be honest about it. Utah, Utah is going to have a great advantage in having me as chairman of the finance committee. It's just that simple.

Doug Wright: Your response.

Dan Liljenquist: Look, Senator, what you don't mention, is who will be chair of that committee if you are not there. Senator, Mike Crapo from Idaho, if we take the chairmanship of the or take the majority of the Congress, it's my Mike Crapo from Idaho who voted against TARP, he voted against the bailout, he voted against the creation of SCHIP and the re-authorization of SCHIP. He voted against his votes on those issues are better than yours.

Orrin Hatch: OK, well I gotta answer that, because they used this at the state convention. Mike Crapo came down here to endorse me, and go around the state with me. Now look, if you think you're gonna be better off having a senator from another state who wakes up every morning thinking, What can I do for Idaho? rather than a senator who wakes up every morning saying, What can I do for Utah? then I think you're off track. But Mike and I are going to work really well, bringing him into the orbit, he knows it. I'm gonna make sure that when I leave he will be somebody who, uh, can not only help Idaho but Utah and the entire country.

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