Morning Joe | February 25, 2013
>> see this? i'm very happy about this.
>> i stumbled outside the orphanage and picked up "the new york times" and i saw this on the cover of "new york times" magazine. we're in for a long day.
>> no, you're in for a long spring.
>> is that mesquite barbecue chip?
>> you know, i can't just eat one. seriously, i had two bags yesterday. because i saw it. and something flew into my head. i had two of those bags.
>> thank god for this article. that's all i'm going to say. thank god. stop.
>> by the way, look at this. is that impressive or not?
>> "minding mika."
>> thank god for this article. okay.
>> be careful. my youngest daughter.
>> that's norah o'donnell.
>> that wasn't you.
>> looks good, really good. no, really, that's fine. so this article --
>> there's got to be one more picture of you.
>> very excited about it. i'm writing a book that comes out in may that i thought you all would think is crazy, but you can't anymore.
>> they basically say the same thing you say.
>> yeah. i just say it in more of a personal way. let's go now with news. we'll get to that later.
>> hold on.
>> we're going to talk about the sequester. stop.
>> hold on a second. huh? sass. there we go.
>> the medium.
>> first communion outfit.
>> look at this. the first communion outfit. and look at this.
>> or i could go scrub the floor.
>> for work and play.
>> that's enough now.
>> stop it. i think that's a great, great picture.
>> the book. that's the book about food right there.
>> and the family.
>> we're going to get to the news now. officials on the state level are trying to prepare for those across-the-board cuts set to kick in on friday. automatic funding reductions known as sequestration that would slash $85 billion in spending. president obama will meet with the nation's governors at the white house today after the administration rolled out new details over the weekend describing what impact the cuts will have across the country. according to the report, the effects include tens of thousands of lost jobs as well as fewer resources for education and the environment, but some republicans say the white house is more interested in scaring people than finding a solution.
>> senator coburn, is the president exaggerating the impact of these cuts?
>> absolutely. it's a terrible way to cut spending. i don't disagree with that. but to not cut 2.5% out of the total budget over a year when it's twice the size it was ten years ago, give me a break.
>> in "politico," by the way, there were tons of opinion pieces over the weekend on this. we pulled out a few here that really captured the conversation about this. rich lowrie writes about the panic.
>> when you have a brzezinski circling one of your columns, you might be making some good points.
>> that doesn't mean i agree with it.
>> he made some great points. you said i can't say this on tv, but this is a really great op-ed that i agree with 100%.
>> i really didn't say that. "prepare for the end of food safety as we have known it. for a breakdown in public order. for little children languishing in ignorance. if only edward gibbon were here to chronicle the devastation. on march 1st , the fabric of our civilization begins to unwind. that's when the economy begins to stall and we turn back on our values all because the federal government will have to begin to cut a few tens of billions of dollars from the largest budget the world has ever known over the next ten years. the sequester amounts to a $1.16 trillion cut, or roughly 3 cents on every federal dollar. if we can't squeeze a couple of pennies out of every dollar, we might as well begin our great national bankruptcy proceedings right now. it's hard to see how a cut of a little more than $40 billion this year can possibly tank a $16 trillion economy. what i do agree with is how can you not cut $85 billion responsibly? how can they not come together and figure this out?
>> and by the way, take what rich said, combine that with what tom coburn said, talking about how the budget has doubled over the past decade. so really what we're talking about is we can't take 3 cents out of a dollar today, but putting it in historical perspective, that's 3 cents out of a hyper inflated dollar, if that dollar we're talking about is federal spending, which has exploded at obscene rates under barack obama and george w. bush .
>> you can at the macro sense, and it's not going to sink --
>> again, we're talking over ten years.
>> it's a trillion dollars roughly over ten years, 80, $90 billion, this year is will be $45 trillion. it's only on discretionary spending . you're putting off to the side most of the budget, as you know, entitlements and everything else. and even within discretionary spending , it's quite limited. so depending on, for example, you can't touch personnel accounts and all that. so it will have more impact than it should. will it sink the economy? no. is it a smart way to run this airline of the united states ? absolutely not.
>> absolutely not. peggy noonan writes also i thought in "the wall street journal ," i thought it was fascinating.
>> "government by freakout. republicans on the hill, of course, are being cast as the nihilists in the drama, as the ones who want to blow things up. but is that even remotely fair? they just lost a battle on taxes. they fought and accepted an increase in rates. what they are saying now to the president is okay, we gave you tax increases, don't demand more right now. work with us on spending cuts and a broad and coherent tax reform plan. don't do the kind of targeted loophole-closing that's just meant to torment the dead rich. do something more solid and comprehensive. and yes, let's move to do what we can on entitlement spending."
>> willie, as long as the democrats and the national media had grover norquist as their strawman, it is this one man. it is this one terrible, terrible, small, evil man who is stopping goodness and justice from prevailing in america's budgetary wars. when they had him, this worked. he's no longer on the stage. and this whole tax cuts for the rich boogeyman has also been taken off the stage because we had this battle in december, and republicans , as peggy said, got their hat handed to them. now the president comes back and says if we could only tax the rich. but these republicans don't want to -- and by the way, they want to slash and burn the budget. see, democrats are on thin ice , i think personally on this argument to say the world's -- everybody knows that bush spent way too much. everybody knows barack obama spent way too much. i don't think they buy this argument. on a gut level.
>> yeah. i think you're right on most counts on that part of it. it's not going to tank the economy. it's just not. but there are real-world impacts immediately. some people will be furloughed. some people will work four days instead of five. there will be things in the short term.
>> in the larger question, it's not going to tank the economy. the bigger thing to me is we put this in as something so draconi draconian, something so terrible that there's no way we could ever go there, and it would force the hand of our elected officials to do something about the deficit. again, if this doesn't do it, and it's not, sequester is going to go in some form by the theme we hit friday. what will? if they put in poison pills that won't kill them, what will change anything?
>> how fascinating over the weekend, sort of a subplot going on here was the battle between bob woodward and the white house . willie just talked about how the draconian cuts were set up. the white house said it wasn't our idea. bob woodward said, yes, it was. i've got you guys on the record telling me before that it was jack lew's idea aproved by the president. the president came out directly earlier, and woodward wrote this all down this weekend where the president said the debate, oh, the sequester wasn't my idea. it was the republicans ' idea. this past week woodward coming out, made them back down. this actually was hatched at the white house . but then you've got the white house lobbying rhetorical bombs back at woodward saying he's not telling the truth. a fascinating back and forth there.
>> i think the argument over who came up with it is silly because everyone voted for it, number one.
>> except for the fact that the president's not telling the truth when he says it wasn't his idea.
>> and --
>> that's not -- is that not -- is that silly when a president intentionally misleads the american people about who came up with this idea at a presidential debate ?
>> i think republicans looking at --
>> i'm just curious. can you answer that? if george bush didn't tell the truth to the american people on something like this, even a small matter, would that be silly?
>> i think the whole thing is silly, yes.
>> the president not telling the truth.
>> i need to talk. hold on one second.
>> i'd like you to answer the question, though.
>> yes, it's silly. i'm answering. now i'm moving on.
>> the president not telling the truth is silly?
>> will you let me talk for a second, please?
>> i'm just curious. when did we get to a stage that it's silly?
>> i said yes. it is silly.
>> the president is not misleading the american people in this important debate, if this is an important debate?
>> i think the republicans yammering away with who came up with it is is a fantastic ploy if you want to be a house republican forever.
>> so the next time a republican doesn't tell the truth in the middle of what we're told is an important debate -- and i just want this for the record -- we're going to come back to this tape where you say it doesn't matter whether the president tells the truth or not.
>> i didn't say that.
>> yes, did you.
>> i said it's silly if he's arguing that he didn't come up with this. the bottom line is, the white house came up with the idea. everyone supported it. the point was to come up with a better plan, and they didn't. and everyone should be ashamed of themselves, and quite frankly , arguing over who came up with it is not where we're at right now. we are four days away from cuts that will hurt people, cuts that are maybe not the right cuts, cuts that may impact our national security , and both sides ought to figure out how to cut $85 billion without doing such drastic damage to some people's lives immediately on friday. and quite frankly , the president does have a plan on the table that involves chain cpi and about, i think, $400 billion in medicare cuts. that's better than the sequester. it is. so the republicans ought to stop bickering over who came up with this because everyone did, to avoid it. to come up with something better. it's silly.
>> i think those --
>> that was my answer.
>> -- richard house are very cogent points that i think the american people should consider and listen to and consider. and stop interrupting.
>> what you have here --
>> in their minds.
>> are you two done?
>> yeah, we're good. everything's fine now.
>> just having fun . a little fun in the morning.
>> the white house is focusing on who came up with it. the real question here is where we go from here. people want to see when the polls come out. whichever side gets the preponderance of the blame.
>> republicans always get the blame.
>> but mika's on to something. what's so discouraging about this, we're talking about a small amount of money in the larger scheme of things. you always have threats to cut fire engines first. we're not going to do that. the society will survive. the u.s. military will survive. and at the end of the day , we're no closer to anything serious on the budget. we're no closer to anything remotely serious on getting this economy growing again. this is such an enormous distraction from what really matters when facing the united states . that is what's truly depressing.
>> i'll tell you, people always get tired of me telling stories about when i was congress. so i'll tell a story before i got in congress. the first thing i ever did politically was in 1993 , lead a tax revolt , pensacola city hall tried to raise taxes by 65%. and they tried -- if we don't raise taxes 65%, this was right after the clinton tax increases and the state. and i was saying this is going to be devastating for our economic development . well, the city -- every city councilman got up there and councilwoman saying we don't get 65% tax increase, the firefighters aren't going to be able to come and rescue your little doggy from the tree. when your children are going to walk down streets that aren't going to be -- and they went on and on, tumbleweeds are going to be rolling -- guess what? we killed the tax increase. you know what happened? they gave their 11 city managers a 35% pay raise the next week. how many times -- why do i bring that up? it ain't just pensacola. every time americans hear politicians on any level saying, you know, we've got to spend more money, or else the world comes to an end. they just don't believe it anymore.
>> i have a list of the national horrors that are going to occur when sequestration takes effect according to the administration released last night. look, they -- you get the sense they have oversold fear. people are not buying the fear.
>> who's "they"?
>> the white house . they've oversold fear with regard to sequestration. however you want to pronounce it. the other thing that's going on here -- and it's a pox on both their houses -- people aren't afraid of the dismantling of the economy so much as they're afraid of who are these people in washington?
>> why can they get nothing done on anything? and to your point, anybody, anybody with a checkbook and children sits there and wonders, they can't take 3 cents out of every federal dollar? they can't do this?
>> after we gave them the money for them to double that dollar, the spending, over the past ten years.
>> they can't do that? they can't make those cuts? get them all out of there.
>> i thought your point was made. what i was saying, i was just moving the debate along. sometimes, you know, i just try to spur debate, right?
>> that's what you do.
>> i'm the stirrer.
>> the pot stirrer?
>> the pot stirs the drink.
>> that's what i am.
>> really? is that what you call that?
>> and i knew if i criticized the president --
>> -- that would wake you up, make you angry. because i love the president. i love them all.
>> you do?
>> i do. i love everybody .
>> and i just knew that if i criticized president obama , that would wake you up, and you'd get really angry and defend your man. and that's exactly what you did.
>> you're the rodney king of morning television.
>> i get no respect. i stir that drink.
>> too soon?
>> it is way too soon for a headache.
>> what, to make rodney dangerfield jokes?
>> rodney king jokes.
>> oh, rodney king joke. yeah, it's way too soon.
>> totally too soon.
>> dangerfield. that's a horse of a different color . wow! rodney dangerfield is dead, right?
>> okay, it's too soon.
>> too soon.
>>> still ahead on " morning joe ," transportation secretary ray lahood will be here. also, "hardball's" chris matthews . he's a movie buff. perfect day to have him on. economist dr. jeffrey sachs and legendary music producer clive davis .
>>> up next, yahoo! tells their employees if they can't work in the office, don't work at all.
>> wow! so much for the new economy, right?
>> okay. the impact of ceo marissa maier maier's decision next. first here's dylan dreyer with a check on the forecast.
>> keeping an eye on the second blizzard in just a week back through the plains. blizzard warnings, watches stretching into the great lakes into the chicago area as well. you can see the snow is coming down real heavily through the panhandles of texas into oklahoma moving up into kansas. we also have the potential for very strong storms today down through the gulf coast states and the southeast. another foot of snow is possible through the plains. and that is going to spread into the kansas city area where a foot of snow is also possible out that way. in the northeast, we actually have a nice day on tap. lots of sunshine. temperatures starting to warm up, too. we should actually get into the mid-40s in new york city today. washington, d.c., about 40 degrees. and up in boston, about 38 degrees later on this afternoon. and then tomorrow, looks okay. a couple of spotty showers in new york city . but new england should top out right around 40 degrees. we are getting to the end of february, starting to turn the corner into march. you are watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks.