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Sen. Joe Biden tells ABC’s Kate Snow it’s time for the wealthy to ‘be patriotic’
Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden a “socialist” for arguing that it’s “patriotic” for workers to fork over more money to Washington.
Biden drew fire earlier this week for equating paying higher taxes under running mate Barack Obama’s economic plan with patriotism. He said that any household earning more than $250,000 will have to pay more income tax.
“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” said Sen. Biden, D-Del. “It’s time to be patriotic, time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”
Gingrich ripped Biden for the zeal with which he and Obama want to “take” other people’s hard-earned money for government redistribution. He equated it with socialism, calling into question Biden’s own patriotism.
“Every once in a while when you listen to Joe Biden, you know why he used to like Neil Kinnock’s speeches,” Gingrich said yesterday on the Fox News Channel, “because in his heart, Joe Biden is a good English socialist.”
Kinnock is the former British Labor Party leader from whom Biden plagiarized a speech in his doomed presidential bid in the 1980s.
Gingrich’s remark, which he made during an interview on “Hannity & Colmes,” drew groans from liberal co-host Alan Colmes, who called it out of bounds.
“Oh, come on,” Colmes complained.
Gingrich explained that Biden’s suggestion that Americans “should patriotically pay him more money to subsidize the government” is socialistic.
“That’s not true,” Colmes shot back. “I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of what he said. He said the richer people can – you can rescind the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and having those people contribute to the Treasury is a patriotic thing to do. Do you disagree with that?”
Gingrich argued that taxes aren’t voluntary contributions, while suggesting Biden is not as generous with his own money as he wants others to be with theirs.
“Alan, first of all, don’t use the word ‘contribute’ and ‘Joe Biden’ in the same interview, because there’s no evidence that Joe Biden has contributed very much (of his own money) to anybody,” he said. “Second, you don’t contribute to the U.S. Treasury. You are taxed. It’s coercion. It’s compulsive.”
Over the past nine years, Biden, though the poorest member of the Senate, still earned $2.5 million, yet contributed just $3,000 to charitable organizations.
Asked if he were against all taxation, Gingrich replied: “No, I’m just saying that I think for Biden to decide that his desire to rip off people and take their money should not be disguised as their patriotism when, in fact, it’s about his desire for bigger government.”
On the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain also ridiculed Biden for his remark and argued Obama’s tax-hike plan would only hurt the already-flagging economy.
GOP vice presidential hopeful Gov. Sarah Palin also took a swipe at Biden’s higher taxes-equals-patriotism remark.
“To the rest of America that’s not patriotism,” she said. “Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse.”