Rep. Brady: We All Need To Tighten Our Belts (Except Millionaires)

December 02, 2010 1:15 pm ET — Kate Conway

Rep. Kevin Brady

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) thinks we all need to "tighten our belts" to get through tough economic times, unless you make over a million dollars, of course. Then your belt is plenty tight enough already.

On Washington Journal this morning, a caller took Brady to task over his salary and benefits, particularly his taxpayer-subsidized insurance.

CALLER: What is wrong with this picture? And you want the federal employees to take a pay cut. You want everybody to take a pay cut but you, and when I say you I mean the whole Congress. You guys need to give up at least 20 percent of your income, and you need to pay your own insurance. How can you — How dare you say you cannot pay our insurance, or offer us some kind of insurance, but we're paying yours?

Rep. Brady's response to the caller's distress? He made a joke, and then blew off her concern by suggesting that "we're just all going to have to tighten our belts."

REP. BRADY: A couple of thoughts. One, I thought when Dee [caller] said, "I'm looking at this gentleman," I thought she might say, "And he looks just like Bruce Willis." But that dream just didn't come about. Darn it. Secondly, I think, well, we're just all going to have to tighten our belts. And I know that in our office, the way we try to contribute as an office is we give back 20 percent, on average, of our annual budget each year. We try to live not just within our means, you know in our congressional office, but far below our means.

Everyone will have to tighten their belts, except, of course, millionaires. Mere minutes later, the congressman found himself describing the plight of those poor, poor top income earners who pay "more and more each day" towards the "burden of government." Host Libby Casey asked Brady: "So you would not support raising — returning to the old tax rate for people making over a million dollars?"

Brady didn't hesitate. "You know, I wouldn't, because history tells us what happens." He concluded:

REP. BRADY: I don't trust this government when they say we're only going to tax a few of Americans because ultimately what they do, always hungry for revenue, always wanna grow this government, feather their nest, and reach deeper and deeper and deeper into American families.

Yet the main thing not to trust seems to be the Republican agenda, which dismisses the interests of struggling middle-class families while trying to build a case that the wealthy pay too much.