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Report: Treasury Chief Can't Guarantee Middle Class Won't Pay More Tax; CNN Poll Shows Trump Approval Rating at Historic Low; CNN Talks to Trump Voters in Key States. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 27, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] DYLAN RATIGAN, BUSINESS ANALYST: The fantasy is fantastic. I honestly hope that Arthur is correct. I do want to believe. I'd be interested to hear this from you. The thing that gives me the greatest concern, first of all, let's call it a sketch.

ARTHUR LAFFER, BUSH CALLED HIS THEORY VOODOO ECONOMICS: It's a sketch. My curve was a sketch, too.

RATIGAN: Fair enough. This could be what Arthur is describing or it may be a plan by billionaires to raise the U.S. Treasury and in the process just internalize all of this cash flow and concentrate wealth even further into a utilization that amounts to nothing more than stock buybacks and executive compensation. While the talk about the headline corporate tax rate is so aggressive, the amount of write-offs and deductions, that's one of the problems, by the way.

LAFFER: That's right.

RATIGAN: We have a high corporate tax rate that absolutely nobody pays. We have a fleet of lobbyists and tax accountants who are then carving their way down.

LAFFER: That's right.

RATIGAN: I'm going to set that aside. My main concern is this. Arthur, you know this better than anybody. It's incentive. Taxes are an incentive or disincentive. That's a fact. If you don't have a tax plan as opposed to a tax rate. But a tax plan that incentivizes long- term capital investment that can yield to us the sort of benefits that Arthur pontificates about and dis-incentivize the internalizing the cashflow for buy backs and executive compensation, I don't see how you don't end up with a plan by billionaires to raid the Treasury.

LAFFER: Your point about the tax shelters and all that is perfectly correct. They are There are very profitable, lawyers, accountants, deferred income specialists and favor grabbers are profitable at 35 percent. They are not profitable at 15 percent and they'll get rid of all of those guys and pay their taxes. You're completely correct. It gets rid of all of the sheltering, brings the companies back. I don't want to go over your head on this one. You say I'm the expert. But if you have two locations, A and B, if you raise taxes in B and lower them in A, producers and manufacturers and people will move from B to A.

RATIGAN: We know what's been going on at the capitol.

LAFFER: That's all been leaving our country.

RATIGAN: Again, if you don't adjust the capital, the tax structure to incentivize long-term infrastructure investment, you simply are not going to get anything like the glorious fantasy that you described today.

LAFFER: The tax rate deduction -- the tax rate you talk about doesn't solve every problem. There's going to be murders in Chicago, the Flynn problem. All of these other things -- it doesn't solve every problem but it does solve one problem and one at a time is worth doing.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me jump in. Let me jump in.

LAFFER: Sorry, Brooke.

BALDWIN: No. You guys guy for it. When I read your piece in "The New York Times," you said they should stop insisting on revenue neutrality in the short term, the bill will add to the deficit. They are not saying that.

LAFFER: They are saying it will pay for itself, increase jobs and output employment.

RATIGAN: Also, they are going to build a wall in Mexico.

LAFFER: Come on. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. I'm a Kennedy Democrat. I just happen to think this plan is pretty good and I'm a Reagan Republican all the way. But this plan is great and has nothing to do with the wall or any of the other things. Does the corporate tax rate create a better economy? Of course, it does.

BALDWIN: You understand his point. Obviously -- and maybe he's speaking in hyperbole. It sounds like this rosy picture. It will be a boon for the economy and jobs and everything else but that's not a guarantee.

LAFFER: There's no guarantee. I'm far better at forecasting the past than I am the future. You're very right. I don't know if anyone can guarantee the future. What I can tell you, this makes a lot of sense, it's a good plan based upon academic research. It should work very, very well and doesn't justify every other plan that Trump or anyone else has ever done. This plan by itself will make a major dent on the economy in a very positive way.

BALDWIN: OK. We'll leave it.

[15:35:00] RATIGAN: Absent other tax structure I couldn't disagree more.

BALDWIN: Where is that napkin? Is your napkin in a museum?

LAFFER: Yes, it's in the Smithsonian, as a matter of fact.

BALDWIN: Thank you for coming on.

From economics to the blame game. More on this breaking news that Sean Spicer at the briefing today blaming the Obama administration for approving the security clearance for fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. We also have now Flynn's attorney's response. Stay here.


BALDWIN: The President is raising the score with a legislative win, less than 48 hours to the 100-day mark of his presidency. This is all happening as House Speaker Paul Ryan says he's setting no deadline on passing a replacement plan for Obamacare even though the conservative wing of the party just announce aversion they would indeed support. The focus is now on whether moderate Republicans will support this as President Trump builds his 100-day resume. 44 percent give him the thumbs up. Also, 61 percent do not find him honest and trustworthy. Let's start with some of those numbers. I've Maeve Reston with me here in New York. Run through some of these numbers for me and tell me where there are signs of positivity for the President.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: One thing interesting about our poll is that our pollsters found that a third of all adults say that they are not sure if their judgment of Trump will remain the same. So, it means that there is growth there if he can start to impress people even with his historically low disapproval numbers. Also, the idea that I think we find six out of ten people who disapprove of his handling on Obamacare and immigration, which is really a telling thing about what his administration has done and not done so far.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: Two huge promises all through the campaign.

RESTON: Yes. Exactly. I think what is so interesting, is this sort of desperate attempt to prove to people that they've gotten so much done. But it's very hard to explain to the average American what an executive order does and how long it takes for things to actually change. So, I think that the fact that people may be giving Trump more time is an interesting thing to watch.

BALDWIN: OK. I know you have a piece coming out tomorrow on looking into his first 100 days. We'll look for it. Maeve Reston, good to see you. Thank you so much.

RESTON: You, too.

BALDWIN: Inside Donald Trump's first 100 days is on

Up next, CNN goes back to the swing states it elected President Trump into office to see how voters are grading his first 100 days. 100 days is on


BALDWIN: Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. These are all states that went for Obama twice and then for Trump in 2016. Almost now 100 days into the Trump's presidency, how are those voters feeling now? Miguel Marquez went to find out.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you think of his first 100 days?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's shaking things up. I like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not failing but he's stuck in a hard spot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we're all screwed.

MARQUEZ: Three swing states, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and three counties in them flipping by the biggest margin blue to red. What do the voters think now?

TONY DEBEVC, OWNER, DEBONNE VINEYARDS: I think he's sending the right messages in a way but he doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut.

MARQUEZ: Tony Debevc, third generation farmer and now owner of Debonne Vineyards in Ohio's wine country, a registered Democrat who voted for Trump.

DEBEVC: Is he the perfect guy? No, he's not.

MARQUEZ: But you voted for him?

DEBEVC: He's the only guy there that showed signs of change.

MARQUEZ: Nine counties of Ohio flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, none by more than here, as Ashtabula county. Trump did even better and beat Clinton by 19 points. That's a whopping 31.7-point swing.

DEBEVC: I voted out of rebellion of what's happening in Washington.

MARQUEZ: A common refrain voter frustration at fighting between Republicans and Democrats.


MARQUEZ: JP Ducrow is a new Republican county commissioner here, swept in on the Trump wave.

MARQUEZ: First 100 days in office, how is he doing? It's a question even some Republicans wrestle with.

DUCROW: How do I answer that question? That is a hard question.

MARQUEZ: He says it is his promise of jobs, above all, that Trump will be judged on.

DUCROW: We have had a tough time. We've lost a lot of manufacturing and industry over the years.

MARQUEZ: Then, there's tourist destination, fisherman's paradise in Lake County, Michigan, solidly Democratic, or at least it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a true Trump believer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to vote Democrat and I ended up voting for Trump.

MARQUEZ: 12 Michigan counties flipped from blue to red in Lake County more than any other. Obama meet Romney here by just over five points. In 2016, Trump trounced Clinton by nearly 23. A massive 28-point swing.

SEAN MUNSON, TRUMP VOTER: We're going to cut this tree down.

MARQUEZ: This 37-year-old Sean Munson had never voted in his life ever until Trump's promises to bring back jobs and fix health care.

MUNSON: I took it as maybe he might try to do like Canada, pay a little extra in taxes and get free health care for everybody instead of whoever can afford it.

MARQUEZ: Bridget Lamoreaux owns, cooks and serves up beers and burgers at Government Lake Lodge. You live upstairs?


MARQUEZ: So, you're here 24/7?


MARQUEZ: Trump's promises to lower taxes and create jobs got her on board.

LAMOREAUX: He's very business savvy. And that's what I thought we need to get into office.

MARQUEZ: And what are you feeling now 100 days in?

LAMOREAUX: I like it. I mean, he's definitely eccentric. I'm not a fan of a twitter but I don't care.

MARQUEZ: John is the local tree trimmer and the only Democrat to survive a

contested race in Lake County.


MARQUEZ: Lucky 13.

BRUNN: Lucky 13.

MARQUEZ: He can't account for why the county went so hard for Republicans. This is a Democratic county.

BRUNN: Has been for decades.

MARQUEZ: What happened?

BRUNN: I'm not -- that's a tough question, really.

MARQUEZ: Donna Featherstone, a retired long haul truck driver, now scoops ice cream, the independent voter has no health insurance. She says Trump scares her but --

DONNA FEATHERSTONE, RETIRED LONG HAUL TRUCK DRIVER: If they can get things done, I'm ready to give them a chance.

MARQUEZ: Finally, there's Pennsylvania, one of only three in the keystone state to go from blue to red. Obama won here by 4.8 points in 2012. Trump easily won the county by more than 19 points. A swing of 24.2 points. And Ann Marie Bossert has worked in the family business for 53 years. She flipped and likes Trumps aggressive foreign policy.

[15:50:00] ANN MARIE BOSSERT, TRUMP VOTER: He's not going to take no baloney off of anybody. He's going to be and he's going to kick it.

MARQUEZ: Richard and Eilene Sorokas, both volunteered and voted for Obama. You were a Democratic county council member for Lucerne County and you voted for Donald Trump?

EILENE SOROKAS, TRUMP VOTER: Yes. And I'm on the executive committee for Democrats but still went for Trump.

MARQUEZ: But flipped, but watching closely.

RICHARD SOROKAS, TRUMP VOTER: He tried to go with the health care act, was really a disaster.

MARQUEZ: At this family bowling, we caught up with commercial pipeline construction worker Andrew Coleman. He has a wife, two kids, they have insurance. He doesn't.

ANDREW COLEMAN, TRUMP VOTER: Right now, I don't have insurance through my employer and I can't afford it the way it's going now. That's a big thing for me. That's the reason I voted for him.

MARQUEZ: Christine Napierkowski, a Republican and mother of two, gives the President so far an "A."

CHRISTINE NAPIERKOWSKI, TRUMP VOTER: I think the President is doing well. For someone who has not had -- what would you say, government experience before.

MARQUEZ: Clinton voter and veteran Darryl Smith says Trump's lack of experience still worries him.

DARRYL SMITH, CLINTON VOTER: He is ticking off a lot of people. I'm afraid it is going to backfire on us.

MARQUEZ: Swing voters still sizing up the new President but expecting results soon. Miguel Marquez, CNN in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.


BALDWIN: Miguel, thank you. More on breaking news. United Airlines reaching a settlement with the passenger who was dragged off that plane. We have the details next.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Portland, Oregon. It has become known as a foodie city. It is, after all, one of the first places to jump on the food truck craze. But it has also become a top business destination. And if you find yourself traveling through town, skip the food scene. This is where you should go. We drove an hour outside Portland, and we ended up in Rainer, Oregon. At a sloth sanctuary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this is our main sloth building.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This doesn't seem like the natural habitat to a sloth. I mean it is snowing outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct. Sloths are endemic to South America, so a warm, humid climate. So, the temperature in here runs about 82 to 86 degrees daily. About 40 percent humidity --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This is the Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center. They save sloths who are at risk in the wild. The sloth house is kept very zen. Their sole job is to sleep 22 hours a day, mate and eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, these are the tents we do the for the sloth sleep over.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The sloth being a nocturnal species, they're most active at night, so that's the best time to see them and spend time with them, is when they're up and about.


BALDWIN: So, one of the most pivotal moments in American history have a sound track. During the civil rights movement, Vietnam war, black lives matter, music was there. CNN's original series "soundtracks, songs that define history" highlights these moment, like when Lee Greenwood sang the national anthem at NASCAR the day the U.S. started bombing Afghanistan after 9/11.

LEE GREENWOOD, SINGER: Wow. That was tough. I didn't make a mistake, you know what I mean. It was something I had to deliver and not get choked up like I am now. O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

BALDWIN: My goodness. Flawless. Lee Greenwood is with me now. Lee, it is such a pleasure to have you on. My goodness. I can't even imagine how emotional, all of the feelings, you know, bubbling up, how tough that would be. What was going through your mind when you were out there singing that song?

GREENWOOD: Well, it was very difficult. Of course, we do the national anthem occasionally at sports events, but this was a very, very important moment. It was the first sports event in America to take place after 2001, and, as you know, I sang 2001 my own song "God Bless The USA" at Yankee Stadium twice, and then for the fourth game of the World Series. But beyond that, this NASCAR event was highly- charged because this was the first event that America would see on television. And so, we were live, I guess on TNN, and as the track had had cleared and the drivers were introduced, we've got 250,000 people at the track but how many billion watching on television? And it is a little bit intimidating, but I wanted to live the moment as an American as well because this was -- this is cool for us, to finally live the American way of life again.

BALDWIN: Can you think of any other major musical moments in this country, you know, when people really rallied behind a song or a moment?

GREENWOOD: Well, of course, many times history's defined by war, and there's been many moments in my life when war has been an important part of our fiber. The years I was in Nevada and lived there during the Vietnam conflict and how much you wanted to be involved as an American, then moving to Nashville, Tennessee and starting my country music career and how many times we sang not just at the white house but sports events all across America. After 2001, I toured the country for two years trying to up lift the spirit of the United States, and you could just feel that emotion. I know that many people said, well, right after 2001, the terrorist attack starts as retribution for, you know, what happened. You know, it wasn't that. It was like we need to be united as a country, and I did all I could to make that happen.

BALDWIN: Thank you for giving this country such a special song and a powerful voice behind it, and the meaning of everything lee greenwood. An honor and privilege to have you on. Thank you for talking about you and your music. To all of you watching, please don't miss "soundtracks, songs.