NBC's Savannah Guthrie bluntly questioned House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) during a Wednesday interview on the “Today” show, asking Ryan if he was “living in a fantasy world” to believe his party's bill will jump-start the economy.
“I'll ask you plainly, are you living in a fantasy world?” Guthrie said.
Guthrie's question quoted former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who panned the GOP bill in an op-ed:
CEOs aren't waiting on a tax cut to “jump-start the economy” — a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company — or to hand out raises. It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that.
“I would compare that anecdote to the surveys of businesses, like the National Association of Manufacturers' surveys, which show the vast majority of businesses are going to do just what we say,” Ryan explained. “Reinvest in their workers, reinvest in their factories, pay people more money and higher wages.”
A December survey from the National Association of Manufacturers had 48.8 percent of respondents indicating they would increase employee wages and benefits if comprehensive tax reform was enacted. 53.8 percent of respondents said they would hire more workers as a result.
“Workers benefit from this through higher wages,” he added. “It's not a question of if, it's a question of how much they benefit.”
In another awkward moment, Ryan responded frankly that “nobody knows the answer to that question” when asked if the economic growth from the bill would offset the deficit increase.
This tax cut is going to cost 1.6 trillion dollars more to the deficit- are you saying that the growth we’re going to get from this tax cut will equal what we get from the deficit?
Speaker Ryan: “Nobody knows the answer to that question.” pic.twitter.com/fCtWT8AQ3S
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 20, 2017
“What we do know is that this will increase economic growth,” Ryan said. “You have to get faster economic growth so people can get ahead in America. That's what we're doing.”
You can watch the interview below, via NBC.