House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) took the long, winding, possibly yellow brick road to explain Thursday that Democrats aren't considering a value-added tax.
"I would just take 10 seconds to say that I feel like I'm in 'The Wizard of Oz' road show here," Frank said Thursday during a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. "Because the straw is falling all over me — when my colleague said that the Democrats are talking about a VAT tax. This is a phantom of their imagination. There is no proposal for it. There is no support for it. And it is just a straw man that they are waving around."
House Financial Services ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) asked Bernanke about the possibility of a VAT tax in relation to providing much-needed revenues to the federal government's coffers to boost economic growth.
"Let me say that I appreciate your assurance that we're not considering a VAT tax. Thank you," Bachus said.
"You're welcome," said Frank to laughter.
Bernanke told the panel that the broader issue is maintaining short-term stimulus while taking steps to improve the fiscal situation in the long run.
"There are many ways to do that. As you know, I'm reluctant to take positions on specific tax and spending measures. I'm sure you can understand my position on that," he told the committee.