CNBC Panel Calls Out Tom Perez for Partisan Talking Points: ‘Talk the Economics!’

• November 2, 2017 3:04 pm


A CNBC panel quickly called out Tom Perez on Thursday when he began to launch into political talking points to criticize the Republican tax reform plan, telling the Democratic National Committee chair to discuss economics rather than make a political point.

Perez, who served as secretary of labor during the Obama administration, joined a CNBC panel to discuss Republicans' newly proposed tax bill.

When asked about how the GOP plan would affect capital expenditure in the U.S., Perez said that he does not have a Ph.D. in labor economics but does have a Ph.D. in Buffalo, N.Y., where he grew up. He said that people in Buffalo are asking how tax cuts and trickle-down economics would help them now when they have not in the past.

"What people in Buffalo and places like Buffalo ask is, you told me this before," Perez said. "You told me this back in the Reagan era that these tax cuts are going to benefit everyone like trickle-down. You told me this when George W. Bush was president. It's not hard to figure out why people are so skeptical."

Multiple panelists then interjected to criticize Perez for using talking points rather than discussing policy.

"Come on, Tom. This is CNBC, Tom. Get off the talking points!" CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman shouted. "Talk the economics!"

Multiple panelists then shouted over each other until Perez began to address specifics in the tax plan.

"Let's talk the economics. The elimination of the estate tax benefits only wealthy people. That is a fact," Perez said. "Come on, guys, the one percenters are making out big time on that."

"There's a legitimate debate here, Tom," Liesman responded as voices could be heard off-camera disapproving of Perez's response.

"There's a very legitimate debate about why we need to eliminate the estate tax permanently," Perez said. "Why these corporate cuts are permit and middle-class tax cuts sunset."

Perez said that some middle-class Americans will "have to pay more" under the GOP tax plan and referenced the proposed cap on the deduction of mortgage debt for newly purchased homes to $500,000. The Republican tax bill does maintain the current deduction of up to $1 million in mortgage debt for current homeowners.

"If you have a home in the D.C. area, $500,000 is not a wealthy home in the D.C. metro area," Perez said.

CNBC's Larry Kudlow got the last word, reminding Perez that not everyone lives in D.C.

"We don't all live in D.C," Kudlow said.