Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was so unhappy with the way a television interview was going on Monday that he shushed the reporter so that he could speak.
During an interview with CNBC's Kelly Evans, Paul became defensive when pressed on his proposal to give companies a temporary tax break to bring profits currently held overseas back to the United States. When Evans asked Paul about research showing that such a tax holiday would actually cost the U.S. Treasury more in the long run than it gained, Paul grew feisty.
"That's incorrect. Your premise and your question is mistaken," Paul said. "Most of the research doesn't indicate that."
Paul, who has teamed up with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on the proposal, wants to fund infrastructure improvements with the short-term surge in tax revenue, as U.S. multinationals bring home profits now sitting overseas. Last year the Joint Committee on Taxation pointed to earlier tax holidays to conclude that a similar proposal would cost the government money in the long run, in part because companies would simply hold future profits outside the United States in anticipation of another one-time tax break.
The Kentucky senator argued on CNBC that his proposal would solve that problem by providing for a five-year tax holiday that could be renewed if there was a net gain in revenue. He also said that he supported permanently lowering the tax rate on repatriated corporate profits.
Paul referenced a study on how much money a similar initiative had brought home in 2005. But when Evans interrupted to explain that she was discussing long-term costs, Paul didn't want to hear it.
"Let me finish. Hey, Kelly, shhh," Paul said, as he raised a finger to his lips. "Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question."
Evans apologized, but the interview didn't get much better after that.
When Evans asked about a Washington Post story that described how Paul received his ophthalmology board certification from a startup medical board composed of family members, the senator again accused her of asking a misleading question.
"Once again you're mischaracterizing and confusing the whole situation," Paul said. He said that he started the new board because the certification process used by the established board was unfair.
As Evans tried to clarify that she was interested only in the potential conflict of interest, Paul began talking over her.
"You've taken something and you've twisted it," Paul said. "You've taken an interview and made an interview into something where we've got no useful information because you were argumentative and you started out with many suppositions that were incorrect."
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