As part of a promotional tour for his new book, “The Way I Heard It,” former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe appeared on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning and was inevitably asked about his response to the Democratic presidential debate that took place the night before in Ohio. As he’s famous for doing, Rowe offered some incisive commentary summing up the Democrats’ economic agendas.
The Fox hosts led into their initial questions about the fourth Democratic debate by playing a few clips from the event, starting with a comment by democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) describing his plan to tax the 400 wealthiest Americans at a top rate of 97.5%.
“When you have a half a million Americans sleeping out on the street today … and then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage,” said Sanders. “So if you are asking me, do I think we should demand that the wealthy start paying — the wealthiest top one-tenth of one percent — start paying their fair share of taxes … Yes, that’s exactly what I believe.”
The hosts then played a clip of frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is also running on an aggressive tax-the-rich plan. “Taxing income is not going to get you where you want to be the way taxing wealth does,” she said. “We need a wealth tax in order to make investments in the next generation.”
Asked about his response to the Democrats’ various economic plans, particularly Sanders’ 97.5% tax on the 400 wealthiest Americans, Rowe said, “Yeah, okay. It’s a free country. Float ‘em. Fly ‘em. Run ‘em up the old flagpole — see who salutes.”
He then offered a memorable summary of his takeaway from Tuesday’s debate. “Look, in the end you’ve got millionaires arguing with millionaires over who hates the millionaires the most,” said Rowe.
“And I guess it’s a conversation we’ll have,” he continued, “but I remember a couple of years ago, I took my meager staff over the Reagan Ranch … One of the stories they tell is the time when Ronald Reagan just finally decided he was done doing movies. He was just done because he was paying 92% of every dollar he made on films. And it was just math. He wasn’t done acting, he just looked at it and did some basic calculus and said, ‘Not for me anymore. It makes no sense to do this.'”
“I live in California. I just read a report that said the exodus this year as a result of a 13.5% state tax and some other tweaks to the system is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before,” he said. “So I know it’s convenient. It’s fun to kind of hate the rich and all, but in the end they’re just people and they’re going to do the math and they’re going to go where the math is better.
Asked about the plan to give every American $1000 a month to account for lost jobs due to increased automation, Rowe said, “Why not two thousand? Why not three?”
“You can’t ignore the human condition,” he explained. “We’re fundamentally lazy people. We have to be taught, I think, to not be lazy … If you give me a choice — and I don’t see myself as lazy — but if you give me a choice of the easy way or the hard way, I can’t help it, I’m going to default to the easy way.”
“Once you say, okay, free money, the next question has to be: Why not more?” said Rowe.
Asked how he thinks the increase in average income for Americans under Trump will play in 2020, Rowe said, “If I learned anything from 2016, it’s I don’t know.”
Partial transcript via Washington Times.