Morning Joe | November 28, 2012
>> till the deadline comes.
>> it wouldn't be like killing time to me.
>> until the final week and the jet fumes from the national airport and people get out of school and the holidays come and people will sit down and --
>> look, here's a fact. the president has on the table a proposal that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion. that is substance. so he has not waited for people to start smelling the jet fumes at national airport . he has actively put forward a plan.
>> okay. welcome back to " morning joe ." welcome back. christmas is coming .
>> all right.
>> can you believe it?
>> yeah, the christmas tree . it's looking beautiful. harold ford jr . is still with us and co-founder of the no labels organization, market mckinnon, also with us, "fortune" magazine's leigh gallagher. mark, good to see you. jeff zucker .
>> a struggling --
>> taking over cnn.
>> looking to jz.
>> jeff zucker to run the joint.
>> that would be interesting.
>> smart guy if see what happens. all right. well, good, good. so how is our republican party -- so mark mckinnon , it's been a very, very rough month for you as a republican. you haven't shaved since the election.
>> you're not --
>> looking very handsome.
>> you're not brushing your hair.
>> your scarves look a little out of touch with the rest of your outfit like this is a bad -- are the republicans though turning the corner? what are we doing? how are we doing?
>> well, joe , there are a lot of things that give me encouragement.
>> yeah, there are, there are. in the broader sense i've seen more movement faster from some big, important names in the party like jeb bush and others who i mean i thought there would be a harder line on revenue earlier than there has been. so i think they threw a flag --
>> you bring up jeb. what has he done have.
>> jeb just seems to be -- he was in washington yesterday and he seems to be a calm voice of the party. i think the most significant thing he's throwing a rock in the pond. you don't come to washington as jeb bush and don't create a lot of murmurs.
>> looks like he's gearing up for 2016 .
>> he does and i hope that he will. just even the idea of him thinking about running is already creating a lot of good talk about where the party needs to go.
>> so when you have jeb bush out there even just -- even just moving around. his message is getting traction and it sends a good signal for the party and plus, i think there are more cracks even in the conservative entertainment collection.
>> are there really.
>> what is he saying?
>> i think he's shown some body language that we need to due pathway to citizenship on immigration and charles felt felthammer and long way to go and talked about the lack of women in significant chairs in leadership is a problem because that sends a --
>> what, mika, is that story?
>> it's -- let's see. there are 19 members that speaker boehner recommended yesterday to chair committees in the new congress and not one is a woman. isn't that hard? i could send him some binders. i could. i mean i'm serious.
>> that is bad -- i guess that is kind of bad timing .
>> really bad timing and seems like -- it seems like they're going backwards and i think this susan rice situation doesn't help, again.
>> you know, that's the situation where somebody can exercise some leadership and say, we're doing this despite protocol or whoever was supposed to be next we'll get a couple women out there and, you know, sorry, mr. chairman or mr. who, we have to jump over you --
>> pretty crazy.
>> we had eric cantor on and he seemed, again, he did what i think most leaders would do. not -- he's not going to negotiate on tv but seemed a lot more willing to put revenue on the table and say we're open to talk. dick durbin yesterday wouldn't say anything that i would consider responsible on saving medicare and yet he sounded very willing to talk. even if they're not saying the right things, sort of giving us a nod and wink saying we all want to get it done.
>> i think absolutely it will. i think the big question will this be a two-part deal or sort of down payment and then we have something later which, of course, doesn't really help anybody. but i think absolutely we're clearly inching towards something. you're seeing so many big names start to say for the first time putting revenue on the table. we'll see how much this does anything, but obama is meeting with the ceos today and going externally this time around.
>> what's the approach with the ceo meeting? who is he meeting with and --
>> meeting with several big people. sort of a second batch. the first was a couple weeks ago like jeff immelt and ursula burns and employed blalloyd blankfein but the key thing is if you take a ceo like lloyd blankfein , he's not going to be building plants so not in the same position as the ceo of dupont who yesterday said that, she has stopped spending or pulled back spending significantly because of all this. because she is making plant decisions and she's dealing with the agriculture industry. there's so many -- the farm bill is up in the air. so many things you don't think about but the question with the ceos , is it really going to move the needle or just to show that he is clearly trying to repair his relationship with business.
>> harold, these meetings with ceos , are really important because you and i both know and can say it now that the election is over, there were a lot of democrats , loyal lifelong democrats that ran a lot of really big corporations that went in, talked to president obama , they left and they left and in 2009 , 2010 would say to people like you and me off the air, the guy is clueless when it comes to business. he is absolutely clueless. i supported him but he scares the hell out of me, that's been evolving and now that he's calling these leaders back in, it seems like the president's sort of putting his head down and i think we may be moving to a new chapter where he provides comfort to a lot of these business leaders and maybe that does more to help kick-start the economy than any bill we can pass over the next two months.
>> i agree. the more he can connect passing something before the end of the year and how it creates jobs, if you're a congressman and in the middle of the country and you read the front page of your local business paper and the lead employer or medium size employer saying we could create a thousand to 2,000 more jobs over the next two years if we had regulatory certainty. if we don't go off the cliff. those are the kind of issues personalizing it for members of congress who need to understand in explicit ways the impact of going off the cliff may have.
>> by the way, republicans -- listen, republicans , mark mckinnon seem to listen more to ceos in the house at least in my experience than democrats . whenever there was a contentious issue, bill clinton would bring corporate leaders over whether boeing or mcdonald's or ges and convince them sean come to the hill and say, guys, you're not helping bill clinton when you pass the bill but helping america. if the president could team up with these ceos --
>> that would be significant. the other point about what's different now, we saw this through the labels community is people are looking for problem solving and don't want to see tricks on the sequester. no games. put it forward, be real. we're ready for the real news but let's not dance around in this time. let's step up and whatever it is and seeing good plans like the one from corkery was was good --
>> one top republican is pushing members of his party to cut the deal with the president now. just cut a deal. congressman tom cole urged members to accept a plan that would extend tax breaks for households earning less than $250,000 and deal with the hiring tax cuts at a later time.
>> a powerful statement from tom cole ?
>> i would agree it's a powerful statement from tom cole . i would disagree that's what republicans should do. that's like democrats saying we'll raise retirement age on medicare and worry about it later .
>> because of the negotiation tactic and timing --
>> i'm not giving up that ship. if i'm a republican, i don't criticize tom cole . anybody that throws --
>> you want to exhaust every other possibility.
>> he's an ally of paul ryan and sits -- if you look at where he sits along --
>> and he's a former pollster.
>> i'm not being critical of tom cole .
>> i know you're not. having the guts but as a guy that abhors raising taxes , if we're going to raise taxes, i say we raise taxes after we get the other side agreeing they'll save medicare . that they'll save medicaid and social security . that they're going to cut discretionary spending . you know, i will pay more taxes and americans will pay more taxes but not just so they can cop out like so many governors do and not make tough cuts.
>> i talked to really severe republicans in the south and alabama and arkansas and they say the same thing and say we're prepared to do that but not unless there's some significant cuts on the other side but they are. talking about the fact they really are -- they're prepared to raise revenue.
>> if you give washington money is my opinion and give washington money with no strings attached they will not only spend that money. they will create new programs that will not only spend that money but spend additional money in the future. we've seen it time and again. guess what, that's like leigh, we're $16.5 trillion in dealt. this didn't happen because politicians in washington are too responsible with tax dollars.
>> but thement side is starting to be put on the table. discussion -- all we've heard about is the tax side. this is sort of the next, you know, the other side equivalent and tastarting to talk about it.
>> what is the change you want to see? i agree with you. i hope entitlements are on the table between now and the end of the year. if not at least get us past it. what are one or two things you'd like to see?
>> i'm not talking about a short-term debt and said all along about paul ryan 's plan when it first came out, you don't do two things at once with one of the most important programs for americans. you don't change it into a voucher program and cut it. at the same time. that's too much for my mom to take. that's too much for your mom to take. republicans , democrats alike. what you do is look at the math. and you figure out among republicans , democrats , over the next 20 years to take medicare and medicaid and slow down the rate of growth and maybe that is gdp maybe gdp plus half a percentage point
>> that's what the president --
>> that's what the president supports that position too. i'm not talking about massive cuts over the next couple of years. you know what, i hate deficits. i am a budget hawk. i'm a freak on that stuff. but you know what, we can't balance the budget next year. we can't count -- balance it. we can handle a few more years of deficits if we take care of the long-term debt.
>> i agree. asking about one or two specifics. i don't have one or two specifics. because i'm not looking at medicare over the next year or two. it's the next 10, 15 years that medicare and medicaid together cripple us as a country.
>> here's a few. gradually increase the medicare age.
>> yeah --
>> which is what joe said.
>> means testing for social security --
>> i agree.
>> and by the way, means testing ought to get more focus. i think there are a lot of higher income earners who are willing to say we're willing to give up benefits. but so --
>> we talk about over time . like, for instance --
>> 10 or 15-year.
>> i don't want to raise it over five years. unfair to people banking on this for 30, 40 years but need to raise retirement age .
>> i'm 42. i should not, people under 45 should be asked today to make a sacrifice for the country particularly if you earn over a certain amount.
>> people my age.
>> increase medicare premiums for those making more than 50,000 a year.
>> those make perfect sense.
>> when you look at the math and look at the reality and this country, i don't understand who would have -- who would disagree with that.
>> not -- ? special accommodations for people earn -- a certain may have used their arms, backs --
>> why is it so hard to say.
>> we're a different country and retirement is a great example. 20 years ago you retired at 65. you are didn't -- you know, maybe retirement was ten years, now it's 30 more years so, we're in a different -- things change in more ways than once, advances in health care , wonderful thing.
>> life expectancy grew 18 years and moved the age up one or two.
>> fdr started social security . you get it when you turn 65.
>> we went to school in the south. we could figure --
>> that's good math. a program for a couple of years.
>> no, you don't get it for a couple of year, die at 62. this is a program but -- ? back into the kitty.
>> but a program that, you know, that works for --
>> with generations, a net earner.
>> now we got --
>> we figured out a way to make money for people.
>> three people working for every one person on social security . soon it'll be two person for every one person on -- life expectancy now is 79 and it's going to keep going up. the numbers don't add up. so, again, we can figure this out over time , we can -- but we've got to take care of long-term debt now.
>> i think it's positive the president is meeting with ceos who did not support him and backed romney. that point was -- you made that and didn't want to gloss over that. don't want to salute my own ceo to reach out and urge members to strike a bipartisan deal. but reaching out to those who did not support him hopefully will allow some republicans to feel more comfortable in coming around on a bigger deal .
>> i also want to say we talk about the president's leverage and capital with republicans and focus on it with democrats , as well. and that this is a time where, you know, he's not going to make republicans happy but also should be prepared no the to make democrats happy, as well.
>> yeah, and he's just saying it. i think he will. the ceos that he's meeting with today. this comes in the past couple of weeks, i think it was the front page of " wall street journal " like some 80 companies have come together and said, we understand this is going to take a mixture of things that we're all going to have to hurt a little bit and we need compromise. we need certainty even if we don't like it. we need some type of certainty and a good sign to see that support around the president where i think you've seen him in the past sort of almost at odds with wall street and big business and at this point i think that's the third component is corporations stepping up and saying, okay, okay, whatever it takes, let's help washington be better.
>> here's what it means if you do it. create the investment we make.
>> here's what we'll give back. they're not hiring and some making record profits are not hiring and still cutting and doing part-timers and some of it is very legitimate. but there are some companies that are just saying we don't feel certain and keep our profits. that's not fair either.
>> the economy is so much stronger than it was when we were dealing the debt ceiling negotiations. it's night and day compared to where we were. we're like almost like there. it's if we can just get and move this through, people -- it won't be rosey and sunshine.
>> let's reflect. where were we during the debt negotiations.
>> that was, what, august 2011 . that was eight quarters ago -- i mean i'm not good at math either.
>> we have alex just put this up with consumer confidence which is hitting a four-year high, housing is moving. there are signs that businesses can depend on poor -- at least for a certain level of certainty.
>> if you are a publicly held company and you sit on a board of a company and decisions are made that hurt your company, you're accountable. we pass rules in the congress, joe and i both where we hold officers of companies and members of boards of these publicly traded companies for decisions. if you were the ceo of a publicly held company and i served on your board and you wanted to do things, i would balk if we didn't have a sense of what taxes would be or a sense of what -- big taxes -- what dividend taxes would be. largely because we are accountable, not to you and i but accountable to a huge number of shareholders and --
>> including unions and endowments and including a public university endowments et cetera , but i do think there is a big and legitimate argument they're making about certainly and if they got it, then i think your argument is spot-on. congress and the government is given certainty.
>> get over it. get moving.
>> if there was one word that defined the top companies, the top leadership you're talking about, boardrooms over the last two years, it was uncertainty. we all heard it. uncertainty. uncertainty -- well, guess what, there's going to be certainty now and that's good.
>> we need demand on top of that because then they need the actual business to come back and starting to see that. if you look at what happened over the thanksgiving weekend. black friday sales were strong almost everywhere . everybody is expecting it to be a great holiday season .
>> you're not good at math?
>> i'm not good at math. i'm not afraid to say it.
>> i didn't -- don't tell andy serwer.
>> i didn't take a single math class at the university of alabama but you know what, though, at alabama we don't have to be good in math. we only have to count to number one every year.
>> i have not heard that.
>> i took rocks for jocks geology, science requirement.
>> i did that too. i almost failed.
>> seriously, i had pretty -- i had really good grades as long as it was liberal arts but had to take one more science class and waited till the last semester and started calculating out my average, it was like, objection, my god, i got to get a 94 on this test -- i failed and i -- had like a "d" and i don't graduate and my family is coming up. talk about sweating. i'm sweating just thinking about it high.
>> you hit the number though.
>> i hit the number.
>> you could do that math.
>> i could do that math.
>> les miles is doing math as we speak as he thinks --
>> should les go to arkansas.
>> 5.25 versus --
>> lsu expects you to be number one every year. if you're not they hate you.
>> build the program up. that's exciting.
>> all right.
>> get lsu to pay more.
>> which i think he's due. i think this is negotiations.
>> i don't think you need to say that for him but you still helped him. still ahead the author of a buying gras fry on winston churchill discusses the life of the revered --
>> this is great.
>> and today's leaders can learn from him.
>>> larry summers joins us on set. you're watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks. at optionsxpress