Melissa Harris-Perry | December 08, 2012
>>> there are a lot of things possible to put the revenue the president seeks on the table. none of it is going to be possible if the president insists on his position, insists on my way or the highway. that's not the way to get to an agreement that i think is important for the american people and very important for our economy.
>> that was house speaker , john boehner , saying the same thing he has been saying for weeks and weeks. here we are, another week closer to that january 1st deadline and washington is stuck in the same political feedback loop with the speaker playing to the podium and the president playing to the people. here is president on thursday in a made for television photo op with that average middle class family in virginia. it is down to these two men. at the speaker's request, the deal will be hammered out without senate lead derts or congresswoman pelosi. they are fighting to try to reach a deal. i'm interested in this family that the president went and sat with, because the santana and massenberg family is an intergenerational family. they are saying it takes all four of us to raise the kids, all four of us to pay the bills. not only have we moved beyond a time when one income could support an american family . we are now at a point where four working adults are required. isn't this sort of the bigger issue than where we are on the fiscal cliff.
>> if you are a family values person, how can you possibly support this low wage economy where we are pushing wages down and down. we now rank second in the world, in the modern world , only slightly better than south korea in the share of our workers with low wages. we have flooded the market with low wage workers. it is a very serious problem.
>> this feels like where the social safety net is coming in. if we look at walmart workers, the quintessential sort of low wage workers, the state of california , congresswoman, ends up paying $86 million in basically social safety net , food subsidies and the floor that is not provided by walmart, the employer. isn't this the thing that we need to be having a conversation about?
>> that's one of the reasons the republicans have such a problem with obama care, for example. we are talking about moving away from employer-based, in a sense, requirement of where you work for your safety net and really saying everybody should have it and, by the way, everybody is going to put in towards t a lot of employers are having a problem. for once, we are telling them, people need to be insured. it would have been better in my opinion if it wasn't health care insurance form.
>> just health care reform .
>> this is a route going down towards what we need, which is that all americans should have an ability to walk in at a very local arena and get a physical, get a checkup. if something is wrong with them, start down the road to improving their health. when we see that happen, i can't tell you how many businesses are scared to death of the fact that we are finally going to push back on them and say, you need to also take care of your employees.
>> the better solution is to take it off the back of small business . my sons and i have a business. why are we spending any time dealing with people's health, their religion, their views of the world, their race is none of hour business, who they love is none of our business but their health care is. small business people know this is a terrible burden on them. let's get it off the books of business where it is inefficient and on to the books of -- that's what every other modern country has done. we spend $2.64 per capita for every dollar the other modern countries spend on health care . if we got to the level of the french, universal care, no out-of-pocket costs and probably the best system in the world, it would totally almost eliminate the individual income tax . that's how much we are wasting.
>> the idea of entitlement, if you think about the fact that they are saying, these folks think they are entitled to health care , entitled to this and that and you are entitled to a 15% tax rate . that's a subsidy. that is its own form of welfare. you get to not be taxed. therefore, we lose billions of dollars but you want to make sure that people don't make the right wage or health insurance . it is okay that you are paying barely anything in taxes.
>> not only entitled to a subsidy on the taxes but entitled to us subsidizing their low wages, enormous profits pulled from the labor value of workers and through food stamps an the provision, and medicare, we end up subsidizing these big corporations making big profits.
>> let's go back to the small business thing. i do not want to leave on this table the fact that somehow small business is going to be detrimentally after feblged by obama care.
>> how big is your small business ?
>> we only have two people, my sons, who are covered by the health care .
>> if you are a two-person company, you are a small business person, obama care is not going to affect you in any way, other than the fact that you are going to be able to go to a small business and actually as an employer pick up some affordable health care for your employees or if you don't want to be involved, the individuals will go to the individual health care insurance place where they will purchase their own insurance but it will be at a level that will be -- that they will be able to afford.
>> this is still baked into the system? it is the fatal flaw of the health industry in this country. it is the world war ii e.r.a. the employer has to do this because we couldn't increase wages back then. thats wa the link. we had an opportunity during the obama care discussions to break that once and for all so we could take our own health care from "a" to "b" to "c."
>> i don't want to leave it out there that somehow small business is going to be adversely affected by this. it is going to be positive.
>> very positive.
>> the issue was that small business , small business right now is impacted by this overall tax structure which is benefiting the large corporations.
>> their workers with wages, with lower wages because health care costs so much.
>> is there any possibility of coming to a political agreement about these sort of more entrenched, deeper questions. you talked about the credit card , consumer protection act.
>> not today or tomorrow.
>> if you are going to make change, we didn't dig ourselves into this hole overnight. elizabeth katy stanton raising her children and susan b. anthony spent their entire lives before they got back the right for women to vote. this will take time. people have to work at it. of course, we can change.
>> what most people don't realize is that think about how -- the amount of money political money that's been put against a person like nancy pelosi . now, nancy pelosi , you can say a lot of things but at the end of the day , nancy pelosi is an italian-american grandmother. she carries the values of exactly that. so when you saw -- okay, it wasn't perfect but when you saw obama care actually breakthrough and make it, it was because the burden was on nancy to pull it through.
>> that's part of what makes me nervous, that nancy pelosi is not at the table.
>> hello. that's why over and over and over, they have demonized her and over and over and over they have wanted to eliminate her. some even on the democratic side. why? because she is actually the values person in the room saying --
>> we are going to break now. as soon as we come back, i'm going to talk on another value that's getting demonized about the rights of workers to organize. my letter is next. this week, to the governor of michigan. why is the birth place of modern labor movements trying to kill unions when we come back. [ man thinking