Martin Bashir | December 05, 2012
>> in case you needed reminding, it's 21 days to christmas, but just 27 days to the fiscal cliff. the president is john boehner are facing off for what could ? be a down to the wire nail-biter of a fiscal fight. indeed, the stakes are so high, the pressure so intense, that the house is calling it quits for the week. giving themselves another much deserved break. of course, not before demanding action from the president.
>> where are the specifics? where are the discussions? nothing is going on, so we asked the president, sit down with us.
>> i'll be here, i'll be available at any moment to sit down with the president to get serious about solving this problem.
>> of course the speaker had to clarify that since the house is not back in session till tuesday. leaving just three days on the legislative calendar to get a deal. don't work too hard, guys. the president began his day meeting with business leaders a suring them he passionately roots for their success. even as he broke the news face to face that their taxes are going up.
>> let's allow higher rates to go up for the top 2%, that includes all of you, yes. but not in in way that will affect your spending, lifestyles or the economy in any significant way.
>> yes, indeed. the president is standing confident standing firm on middle class tax cuts and against any effort by republicans to throw the debt ceiling into the equation.
>> if congress in any way suggests that they're going to tie ? negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again, as part of a budget negotiation, i will not play that game.
>> as the president perfects his steely gaze, keep in mistake he's keeping side eye on splintering cracks appearing amongst congressional republicans ' supposedly solid front.
>> personally u i know we are to raise revenue. i don't care which way we do it. i would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way.
>> let's take the american people out of the line of fire. particularly that 98%.
>> maybe there's something in the oklahoma water supply. if republican lawmakers are falling pray to the mendacious middle class those at fox news are standing up for the needs of those persecuted top earners.
>> this is a different america. how did we get to the point where success is now viewed as evil? i almost want to go out and beat up a rich person, kirstin.
>> i know if i was there, i'd beat you up.
>> oh, dear. that's about to get a bit awkward. let's bring in our panel, in miami, julian epstein. here in new york, my colleague joy reid, manager of "the gree yoe" and author of ?"blackwards." joy, one is beginning to feel a little sympathy for poor speak are boehner . all he did was chop together erskine/bowles proposal to the super committee and not only opposed by the president but opposed by a large number of republicans . what does he do?
>> this general's troops are running from the battlefield. when you read right wing sites you see a mix of despair and a lot of anger. i think the despair comes because they understand the capitulation is warranted. imagine a world in which wall street wrecks the economy and decides its wisdom to dominate the equivalent of a hedge fund manager and say, he should be the next president. when you do that and lose, have you to expect your next move is capitulation. they're going to lose on the top tax rate . just go ahead and do it.
>> do republicans like to be seen as protecting millionaireses amillionaires millionairesmillionaires and billionaires from taxation? do they enjoy what comes from always defending the top 2% of society?
>> no, good afternoon, martin. i think republicans , particularly in the house, would be very wise to do a simple thing. they should recognize that they should pass a bill in the house, extending all bush era tax rates , let that go to the senate and see what harry reid will do. i think the republicy have boxed the republicans in saying they're sitting in a circular firing squad . put the bill on the floor, take it to the senate, have that discussion and see what the president will have to say.
>> ? julian , what's your reaction to that? that makes sense, doesn't it?
>> i don't think it's a deal that will get anywhere. the larger deal is republican dealers thought they were making a faustian deal with the tea party and what they did was grab a tiger by the tail. it kind of exposes the phoneyness of the conservative movement because even if you consider where boehner and so-called moderates in republican party are, what they're offering, they're offering tax revenue increases most economists would agree are more harmful than what obama is proposing by raising the upper two brackets. and then this party that paraded around as the big deficit hawks, the guys that wanted to control spending, the only cuts they put on the table is playing at margins, increasing retirement age from 65 to 67 and adjusting rates for social security . this hasn't presented itself as a party that wants to cut spending. on one hand you have president obama 's proposal, which most agree is the responsible way of raising the debt, raising rates. and responsible cuts on entitlements and discretionary spending versus republicans who are divided against something that is a chicken hawk when it comes to the deficits, that is the boehner approach, or the more extremist position which is absolutely nothing. ? so this is an extraordinary position for the republican party to have evolved into.
>> you must respond to what julian just said.
>> i like julian an awful lot but i think what he said is entirely wrong. it's fascinating president obama last july, july of 2011 , said we can get $1.2 trillion in revenue where we don't have to raise marginal tax rates and close loopholes and julian says most economists agree, in fact, this won't add to the deficit. look, you're only talking about $89 billion a year of the tax dollars of top two drapes. julian and i will agree, however, this deal is not serious. you need to have a lot more on the table for entitlements and --
>> let me correct him on a couple of factual matters. we have already seen more than that trillion, probably closer to $1.6 trillion, $1.8 trillion. those are already on the books. point two, economists are in agreement that if you raise the rates on the upper income, the top 2%, you'll have virtually no impact on the economy, virtually no impact on the employment figures, crs has found that. the cbo has found that. there isn't much argument in economic circles that the obama approach here in terms of going after the deficit, is far more responsible than what republicans are talking about which is only revenue from ? closing loopholes. most economists think you will have at least some pain in the housing markets and for hundreds of thousands of charities in this country. again as i say, which ron didn't respond to, this party that has paraded around, the party that wants to rein in government spending , they are unable to identify any changes in medicare or entitlement spending which shows the tea party at its core was a phoney, phoney movement.
>> joy, it's interesting to hear ron referring to august 2011 because a number of refers appear to have forgotten something happened in november 2012 called a presidential election .
>> right. it was an election in which president obama , unprecedented for a democrat, actually ran on a platform of raising taxes . he said, i'm going to raise taxes on the top 2% and he was re-elected resoundingly with it. to what ron said, if it's only $14 trillion, what's the big deal , go ahead and let the rich pay it? that's number one. number two, the other thing that's been exposed and what's true, what's always been true about conservativism is that the core principle is the rich don't pay too much, they pay too little. when they say things like broaden the tax base , they think it's a moral hazard to have a progressive tax code. you want a flatter tax code for those with less money pay more into the system. republicans have tried to talk around that because that's an ? unpopular thing to tell your tea party base, middle class people, no, we think lower income people and middle income people should pay more. but when we strip away all the rhetoric about job creators and the rest, that is the core of conservativism. rich people should not pay more. they should pay less. poorer people should pay more. that's what they believe.
>> i enjoy listening to progressives and liberals talk about the core of conservativism because you have it wrong.
>> what does slashing the tax code --
>> this whole notion, like president obama has this fetish, we have to raise the rates on the top 2% to raise the deficit --
>> ron , ron , just one -- just one second.
>> i'm almost --
>> no, you're -- ron , your narrow -- i'm sorry, ron , but you're now doing what eric can'ter, you're saying the sense the president has been speaking and converting it into a psychiatric condition. you're describing it as a fetish. in fact, it's neither of those, as you know. the president --
>> let me finish my thought here. just so we can clarify that. we're not going to diminish the president's comments as a psychiatric illness . he's argued this based on economis economists. it's not nonsense, an illness.
>> first of all, going back to my core argument , the idea if you're grg to ? take $89 billion a year and reduce the deficit, it's laughable in its face. the president is calling for more spending with his new stimulus. number two. point number two, the democrats have shown nothing by way of spending cuts. julian talks about there's $1.6 trillion. only in washington, d.c. can you say we're winding down the war but we're going to count that as savings. baseline spending doesn't make any sense. the president of the united states --
>> if we --
>> julian , hang on one second. the president of the united states should call the congressional leadership up to camp david , go up there and they should get in a room and they should sit there until they hammer out a deal.
>> i agree with that.
>> julian , go ahead.
>> there are three big points the viewers need to understand and they need to take note that ron did not respond to. first, on the economists. the economists are almost entirely in obama 's camp in this question. cbo did a study and republicans didn't like that study so they asked crs to do a study. they found no impact. economists are with obama on this issue. obama campaigned on tax fairness, won on tax fairness. the public is with him. the third point ron didn't respond to, it is a matter of fact republicans have paraded for the last -- since anybody can remember as the party that wants to rein in government spend ?pentagon. austerity regiment is a republican idea. when it comes time to put the your money where the mouth is, republicans are unable to identify significant cuts other than play on the margins? it makes my central point which is the tea party movement, which are the inmates in control of the asylum and republican party right now is an intellectually bankrupt movement. there is time to show the cuts and they can't do it.
>> can i very quickly --
>> that was a psychiatric reference there, martin. you didn't cut him off on that. in fairness --
>> i just want to quickly say, in 2002 dick cheney said deficits don't matter. when republicans crammed through the bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 through reconciliation, they wrote them to expire. they are the ones who made them expire and they did it because it was an accounting gimmick to hide the cost of the bush tax cuts just as they hid the cost of the bush wars, which were also done off the books. they don't care about deficits. they care about flattening the tax code so lower income people pay more.
>> that's the dirty little secret . thank you. i wish we had more time. we don't.