Scott made his remarks to a group of about 60 who gathered at Local Lodge 709 in Marietta on Monday evening.
“The Democrats and Republicans agree on getting 98 percent of the people the tax cut,” Scott said. “The Republicans want to give 100. Well, if we agree on all but two let’s not hold hostage the 98 percent of the American people, right?”
Scott was asked after the meeting why he wouldn’t support extending the tax cuts for everyone.
“We need this continual jolt in the economy at the middle and lower income,” Scott said. “What it is, we’re in a recovery in this economy. We need jobs. It is demand that creates jobs. We need spending to create demand. That sector that does the spending is your middle and lower incomes that will spend this money and keep it going in the system. What the wealthiest do is … it’s an investment. They hold onto it.”
Scott said the tax cuts have an expiration date because former President Bush intended them to eventually expire.
“We’re asking the wealthiest people here to just abide by what Bush intended the law to do and expire,” Scott said. “We’re just simply saying we’re in a tight (spot) here. If we don’t do this then we’re going to cut the military. We’re going to lose jobs at Lockheed. Our hospitals are going to close. Teachers are not going to get paid. We’re going to lose our standing in the world.”
Scott said the majority in the top 2 percent bracket favor doing more for their country.
“They’re not going to feel it,” he said. “Even the majority of the people in that bracket have said, ‘yes, we can do more. We can do better. That’s what made this country great.’ It is moments like this when we rose to the occasion and made those sacrifices. This cannot be made on the backs of the lower income senior people and the middle income strata of this country. They’ve taken too much pain already.”
House Speaker John Boehner supports the proposal, Scott said.
“But the issue is we have some people who are just hell bent on not compromising at any point and believe we don’t need any revenue. Just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. But we can’t do that. We’ve got to protect these jobs,” Scott said.
Melissa Pike, chair of the Cobb Democratic Party, explained why she believes the top two percent don’t need the tax break.
“There comes a point in time when the folks who were backing especially the wars that we were in, that back in the good old days everybody pitched in, and it seems to me that it was the same people except for that 2 percent who were pitching in to these last two wars. It’s time for them to pay for their share of these last two wars,” Pike said.
Denise Rakestraw, president of Local Lodge 709 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said it’s critical the defense cuts that come with going over the fiscal cliff don’t happen.
“It will have a drastic effect on the defense industry, and the fiscal cliff needs to be avoided, and that’s the message we need to get out to everyone,” Rakestraw said. “Call your congressman and let him know this is how you feel. This is what we need to do.”
Like Scott and Pike, Rakestraw also believes the top two percent don’t need the tax cut extended.
“Those who have more can afford to pay more,” she said.
Scott said revenue that would come from not extending the tax cuts on the top two percent is estimated to be between $600 and $700 billion. He proposed using that revenue “to take the downward pressure off the necessity of sequestration. That’s what threatens Lockheed.”
Sequestration would leave Lockheed with a skeleton crew, he said.
Scott said while he was “cautiously optimistic” that the proposal he favors would pass and the fiscal cliff would be avoided, it has opponents.
“You have some people who just do not want to be on record because they owe this oath to (Grover Norquist),” Scott said. “There are all kinds of reasons which I respect as a politician. I understand that. But we got a time frame here. We’ve got a country to save. We’ve got companies like Lockheed to save which means communities to save, and if we don’t do this, and you let sequestration walk through that door it’s going to be devastating for Lockheed, and that’s one of the reasons I’m pushing this so hard …We’ve got to disavow sequestration, but in order to do that we’ve got to put something in its place.”
Scott also addressed the debate going on in Michigan over right-to-work legislation.
“I hope to goodness that right-to-work legislation will be defeated,” he said. “There’s so much, so much that you all, organized labor, have done for this country, and you’ve got to get out and let your light shine. You’ve got to speak it, and you’ve got to use these opportunities to remind people, because labor is under attack.”
Scott said the labor movement must become reenergized.
“It’s no different from the civil rights movement,” he said. “I mean prejudice, racism, all that, hanging, lynching, Ku Klux Klan, all that was going on a long time, but not until Rosa Parks sat down on the front seat of that bus and said she’s tired did the galvanizing spirit come.”
The Journal asked Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy, who was not at the meeting, what he thought of Scott’s remarks.
Dendy believes the Bush tax cuts should be extended for everyone.
“All the economists say that that expiration of the tax cut on the top two percent would only last the government — how many days is it? Eight days? Something like that. Not even a dent in what we need, so I can’t see where what they’re saying is going to give a jolt to the economy by extending tax cuts to the 98 percent,” Dendy said. “That isn’t going to give any jolt to the economy. If it would have it would have already jolted, right?”
Class warfare is the reason the political left is targeting the two percent, Dendy said.
“I think that their far left base backed them into the corner during the campaign, and he’s having to deliver as he’s having to deliver by addressing these unions on the right-to-work legislation that’s spreading across the nation,” Dendy said. “That right there is going to be something that might jolt the economy if people can stop having to pay union dues out of their salaries to some union boss that’s making way more than any of our CEOs of corporations are making. If you want to jolt the economy there’s a lot of different ways to it than just taking money from the top two percent.”