Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews aired the clip of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) admitting that extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich would “dig the hole deeper” in terms of the national deficit. With his admission, Cantor has put Republican supply-siders in the awkward position of confronting the fact that their faith-based tax cut ideology would blow an $830 billion hole in the budget. Matthews pressed Bilbray on this point, only to witness his guest stammer and sputter to avoid answering the question directly:
MATTHEWS: Well there he is, Congressman Bilbray, your leader, your whip is now admitting that if you cut taxes, you’re raising the deficit. … Why would he say something like that that runs against your orthodoxy?
BILBRAY: The fact is, look, Chris, you can’t get around the fact –
MATTHEWS: Well the fact is that he just said that. Why did he just say that cutting taxes at this point is going to yield a lower revenue and therefore a bigger deficit? What he just said what contradicts to what you just said.
BILBRAY: We’re not even talking about cutting about taxes. We’re talking about not allowing an increase —
MATTHEWS: — continuing the Bush tax cuts is what we’re talking about. And that’s what he was talking about.
BILBRAY: And that is maintaining the status quo —
MATTHEWS: — Are you in disagreement with Eric Cantor? Just tell me you disagree with him and we’ll be on the same page.
BILBRAY: I am disagreement with anybody that thinks we can get ourselves out of this mess by raising more taxes on the American people.
“I oppose adding even one more dollar to the national deficit — instead we need to be paying it down,” Bilbray says on his campaign website.