Morning Joe | November 09, 2012
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>>> welcome back to " morning joe ." now we bring on democratic senator from new york , senator chuck schumer . senator, i've got so many questions to ask you. let's start, first of all, with the rockaways. let's start with the pain and the suffering of our friends on staten island . you know, i've been saying this the past couple days. when you go through a hurricane in florida, the electricity goes off. you basically strip down to your bathing suit and you clean up. here you have exposure. you have the elderly. you have the young, suffering, enduring -- it's terrible. tell us what's going on, and tell americans how they can help.
>> what's going on is the devastation is both broad and deep. it's more widespread than you've ever seen. and so deep, there are probably 150,000 houses, probably that many that will never come back. 150,000. that's the size of a medium-sized american city, spread out over the southern shoreline and in new jersey, and people have nowhere to go. their cars, electricity and water is gone.
>> we're showing shots of staten island right now. it is the forgotten borough all too often, but right now i know they've got to be on your heart. it's devastating.
>> i've had more grown men cry in my arms. they just don't know what's going to happen. on the other hand, new yorkers are resilient. i was in lindenhurst, a community on the water in suffolk county . there was an older guy named romano. he looked like a fisherman. he had a beard. i said, what are you going to do? he says, you know, look at the view. he had a small house , maybe cost $250,000, $300,000, which is low by new york standards. he said, i've got 364 beautiful days each year and one rotten day, i'm rebuilding. you know, after 9/11, we thought new york was over, too. no one would live south of canal street . we'll bounce back, but the devastation is heartbreaking. what people can do, the main thing we need is money. money to the red cross . money to the various foundations. fema -- this is one of the big problems -- will only cover $31,400 in terms of rebuilding your house . a lot of these people are poor. they're poor homeowners, the house has been in their family for generations. $31,400 in new york ain't going to come close.
>> can i ask you a question about the red cross ? because when we were covering katrina and i was driving over, we were all driving over every day because it was only a couple of hours from our home, we were disappointed by the red cross . they failed miserably like fema failed miserably, like so many others failed miserably. i'm starting to hear -- and it's anecdotal -- i'm starting to hear complaints on the ground about the red cross . how can you make sure that the red cross does their job, that they're in the right position, that they don't do what they did in katrina ? can you -- and i'm asking -- i'm asking, actually, as a guy that's been through a lot of hurricanes. and like all of us who have friends, can you make sure the red cross is held accountable that if we tell people on this show, give to the red cross , that they won't store that in warehouses away from places and then resell it the way they did in katrina ?
>> there are funds that go explicitly to specific causes. and you know, we've done very well now between everybody with food and water and the basic necessities. clothing. but there's real help down the road that people are going to need.
>> but you understand my question.
>> you'll hold them --
>> yes, absolutely.
>> you'll hold them responsible.
>> and they were not there. they weren't on satin island for two, three days. two, three days.
>> i just don't understand why there's such a delay from the red cross in every storm.
>> because it's like our needs -- now, we say give to aher americares. so you're looking over their shoulder.
>> yes. there was a lady on all the tv shows who was crying to me and saying, i'm going to die. the next day i went back to her, and we had gotten food to her, clothing to her, and she said, "i feel better. i'm going to start rebuilding." there are scenes of horror, and then there are scenes of some growth. and i try to look at the optimistic part in this terrible tragedy .
>> senator, as a former house member, you get constituent service . thank you for working so hard for the whole state.
>> it's my old district. the rockaways, fire, because the pumping system failed. so it just spread. and there's like a four-block area, it looks like dresden with just the brick chimneys standing back.
>> let me move you to the fiscal cliff, you get the dynamics of the house . you've commented a lot on speaker boehner throughout this process. what's your best sense, based on what the speaker said since the election, the senate seems ready to compromise. what's your best sense of the dynamics that speaker boehner is operating under now?
>> the house wants to -- boehner wants to compromise. that's why he gave that speech. you know, boehner 's a mainstream conservative. but he's a scarborough conservative.
>> you've just insulted the speaker of the house , but go ahead.
>> i considered it a compliment. in any case, so he does. and i think it's going to help because the hard right is chastened in a lot of ways. democracy works in its slow, grinding way. all these tea party guys went home. they didn't complain on the same platform they campaigned in 2010 . oh, no, i'm for this, for that, i'm not for cutting this or that. so first i think they're going to be less hard-nosed. will grover norquist and his group? no. and that's why yesterday what we really need is some counterbalance in the republican party . we need the business leadership of this country to say, come to a compromise, and it means revenues, not fake revenues, you know, this idea that if you cut taxes, you gain revenues. they call it dynamic scoring . cbo put out another report yesterday which showed it doesn't work. i called it rumplestiltskin economics, the guy that turned straw into gold, it doesn't work. but bolster these guys. and the business community leaders, conservative leaders of businesses worried about the fiscal cliff have said to me, i'm willing to have my rates even go up if i know it's part of a big package that reduces the deficit.
>> that there's spending cuts on the other side.
>> and that's key to the deal.
>> the election, what did it say? you elected a republican house , and what is their number one watch word, 2010 and even throughout? cut spending. you elected a democratic senate, a handsome victory for obama. what was our major platform? the wealthy should pay a little more and there should be new revenues. just marry the two. and the trick will be, if speaker boehner 's instincts to preserve the republican party and preserve the nation in a certain sense, will prevail over the hard right. he needs some help.
>> senator, what do you make of wall street 's support of obama which, of course, they all, you know, went to romney, and now they're in a position where all these hedge fund managers, the banking ceos, they have to now come to terms with someone who they to terms with someone who they vilified for the past few years.
>> there's a mutual interest to get together. i wouldn't be surprised -- do you know what would be great glue? this issue. most of the people on wall street are t not too far away from the president on the position on fiscal cliff. cut spending but raise revenues. they're willing to raise revenues. not everybody but most everybody i talked to. and i wouldn't be surprised if the president invites 50 business leaders, business round-table types to the white house and says, let's work together to make this happen. then they're doing something significant. it's not one of these things for show which they have come to resent. and they have a common ground . and it also says, you can do some good for the -- you can do some good for the country, which i think our hedge fund and wall street people would like.
>> so, senator, you've correctly, i think, identified the dynamic tons republican side and why they're more likely to give ground. talk about the dynamics on the democratic side. democrats feeling pretty -- feeling their oats right now but in order to do a grand bargain. so talk about that, is your -- are your people on the senate side and on the house side ready to accept restraints on medicare, medicaid, social security , all that stuff?
>> let me divide those. i think on social security you're going to find more resistance. it's not part of the deficit. if you were to increase revenues in social security or decrease cost, that would not go into deficit reduction. there were 29 democrats. i was one of them, who signed a letter saying do it but do it separately and later. it's not as immediate as the crisis of medicare and medicaid . on medicare and medicaid , yes, we have to change the way it works but without changing the fundamentals. what i like to say about medicare is, it gives excellent health care highly and efficiently. the trick is to get rid of all of these inefficiencies which everyone who goes through the system, every one of us knows and still preserve the basic system. i think we're willing to do that. will some people howl when that happens, yes, but we have to do it. i think we're prepared to do it. i'll tell you, the president is clearly prepared to do it. i think in today's speech you're going to hear him take leadership, reach out in a bipartisan way. i think he's going stick to his position on the 39-6 and on the revenues. but at the same time say we've got to work together and lead my party.
>> the 39-6, you're talking about the bush tax rates .
>> all right. thank you so much, senator.
>> good luck.
>> let's hope it happens.
>> please let the people at staten island , everyone effected in this storm, that our thoughts and prayers are with them. please let us know how things are going. keep us updated and let our people now how we can help.
>>> a little change of pace now. when he was oo 7, agent james bond , sir roger moore was worldwide renowned and, you know, had some great films.
>> shaken, not stirred.
>> he's going to be with us next hour onset. you're watching " morning joe " moved by starbucks. at optionsxpress we're all