Martin Bashir | December 07, 2012
>> thank goodness it's friday and it's a busy one at that. we have breaking news. within the last hour, the supreme court has announced that it will for the first time take up appeals on same-sex marriage. hearing cases on the defense of marriage act and california 's proposition 8 . much more on that in a moment, and the busy week ends with some good news for america's workers and the president. a little christmas cheer some early. the u.s. economy generating a stronger than expected 146,000 new jobs in november helping trim the jobless rate to 7.7%. a four-year low. happy holidays, right? not if you're john boehner .
>> this isn't a progress report because there is no progress to report. the president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff.
>> yes, indeed, it's like a visit from the ghost of christmas past , casual friday edition. another positive month of jobs numbers, another glum assessment by bah humbug boehner . he couldn't even be bothered to put on a holiday tie to take up the case of mr. scrooge and the top 2%. as nancy pelosi asked, why, oh, why is congress on another recess when they could be extending tax breaks for the middle class just in time for christmas?
>> this is a moment of truth , the clock is ticking, christmas is coming , the goose is getting fat, why are you not bringing this to the floor? is this a forever, forever protection of the wealthiest people in our country at the expense of the middle class ?
>> yes, that just about sums it all up. did we mention bain's congress has been in session all of one day this week, back on tuesday. six-day weekend. nice work if you can get it. if you listen closely to boehner and pelosi, you can perhaps hear the beginning notes of a harmonious christmas carol starting to take shape.
>> it's not about the rate. it's about the money.
>> there are a lot of things that are possible to put the revenue that the president seeks on the table.
>> i know. it doesn't sound like much, but, remember, this is congress. and listen to the president as he lit the national christmas tree last night. there is still reason for hope and cheer.
>> the tree has one message, it's christmastime, not disaster time.
>> god bless us, everyone, we are going to need it. let's get right to our panel now. in miami democratic strategist julian epstein, former counsel for the house judiciary committee . and in philadelphia lehigh university professor james peterson . julian , i want to get to the fiscal cliff in a moment, but you were the chief counsel for the democrats when they passed doma into law in 1996 . i need to get your immediate reaction to the supreme court news this afternoon.
>> well, i think it's very good for the advocates of marriage equality that the court took both of these issues up. the first issue is this question of the defense of marriage act . it was passed really in the middle of the night in 1996 and signed very reluctant lie by president clinton and e sings essentially says one state does not have to recognize the marriage equality rights another state may give. if you are married legally in the state of massachusetts and you happen to reside -- this is as a gay couple -- and you happen to reside in the state of california , the state of california does not need to recognize your massachusetts marriage, and as a result there are over 1,000 benefits that can be denied to a legally married gay couple if they happen to be living in a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage . my guess is the supreme court will declare that unconstitutional because there is a long tradition under the privileges and immunities clause of the constitution that says one state recognizes the contract rights that are given in another state. so i think that doma law goes by the wayside. the second question is an equal protection question and goes specifically at the california referendum which --
>> the proposition 8 .
>> the proposition, proposition 8 , which makes it illegal under california law to have gay marriage . they will look at that under the equal protection clause . i think it's a little bit hazardous to anticipate where the court will go on that question, and i would be reluctant to do that, but that's kind of an equal protection question. the request he is will the court be ahead of where the public is or behind the public. this is a question that eventually sooner or later , probably sooner, the public will come around to recognize and already is showing by the polls that marriage equality should be considered a fundamental constitutional right.
>> professor peterson , to julian 's point, despite its rulings on the president's health care law , on immigration, this court maintains a conservative tilt. is this necessarily good news for supporters of same-sex marriage or do you think it will prove bad news?
>> i think they're a little torn here because for supporters of marriage equality , it's always exciting for the court of the nation to consider these issues, but the challenge here is maybe the timing is a little off because, remember, part of the reason why some of us are excited about the fact that the president has been re-elected is because this court will undergo some changes over the next several years somewhere between one to three justices, and president obama will be able to appoint those justices. there's got to be some folk in the marriage equality activist community who would rather see this taken up a little bit later, but it's still good that it is.
>> because at the moment, professor peterson , we're talking about them taking it up in march, aren't we?
>> that's probably too soon, but there are some issues of import that they will be watching closely. remember, two federal judges have already sort of ruled against the ban prop 8 in california . it will be interesting to see if the supreme court follows those federal judges or if it will politicize this a little more and support prop 8. very, very interesting to see important social issues on the table for the supreme court but i think the timing makes us a little conflicted about it.
>> allian, ev .
>> julian , speaker boehner has the president is marching the nation to a cataclysmic fiscal cliff.
>> this ised kind of job owning you expect and i think all speaker boehner is looking to get a little bit of leverage because he really doesn't have any leverage. consider this political situation that boehner finds himself in, not just the frat tra side and the division, but remember this president won an election on the question of tax fairness. secondly, the economy is coming back, coming back strong as we saw from the jobs report. when i came into office, losing 800,000, we're not gaining 200,000. he's winning the question on the economic stewardship or he has won the question. all of the polls are showing that the public is in support of the president on this, and at the end of the day in the 11th hour the reality here is that if boehner continues to take an obstructionist position, taxes will go up on everybody, not just the 2%, and obama will win that argument and boehner knows that. so this is a kabuki dance . we know how this is going to end. republicans will have to concede a deal largely on obama 's terms and the question is when.
>> professor peterson , one is almost tempted to feel sorry for speaker boehner . his party lost the presidential election , they failed to swin the senate, the jobs numbers continue to improve, the president is adamant he's not going to concede over raising taxes . is speaker boehner now on the wrong side of history?
>> well, his entire party on a lot of issues is on the wrong side of history. we don't feel sorry for him because we're making progress economically as a nation. that's very, very important. and the issues that we are going to address with this sort of fiscal cliff, fiscal slope, hill, wharf you want to call it are going to be very, very important issues. i want to clear one things up. the republicans wants to talk about deductions all the time. one of the key distinctions between letting the taxes go up a little bit on the 2% versus trying to find this money through deductions, is the fact when we're talking about capping deductions, that's something that's going to impact middle class families and middle class earners the most. and so it really is -- i don't want to make this about class warfare . it's really about what is fiscally smart for the economy. most economists are telling us this tax increase will not have very much impact in terms of growth. if you talk about essentially raising taxes on 98% of americans either through some kind of crazy deduction plan or just letting the bush tax cuts go, that can have a very, very severe effect on the economy.
>> as usual dr. peterson makes a superb point. president clinton used to say if you want to live like a republican, vote for a democrat because they will give you better economics. and the fact of the matter here is if you poll economists, they will tell you that raising the rates on this top 2% has virtually no impact but when you begin to go after the mortgage deduction, when you begin to go after chair itses, that's when you have some economic chill you bring into the economy. so isn't it strange that the republicans and conservatives have said that obama doesn't understand the impact of fax policy on the economy whereas almost all economists are saying the obama approach is far superior to that that the republicans offer.
>> thank you both for joining