Morning Joe | February 27, 2013
>>> kind of a hazy, rainy day in washington .
>> you see that? you were talking about the cover of "the washington post ." show that cool picture.
>> it is a cool picture. this is taken from a car window . you got it, barnicle? just taken from inside the car. and it kind of looks like an impressionist painting. and here with us now from washington --
>> gorgeous picture.
>> -- we have a columnist for "bloomberg view," margaret carlson . she joins us from washington for the "must-read opinion pages." we start with sheila bair . she writes about income unequality in "the new york times," and it's entitled "grand old parity." "i am a capitalist and a lifelong republican. i believe that in a meritocracy, some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable. but i fear that government actions, not merit, have fueled these extremes in income distribution through taxpayer bailouts, central bank engineered financial asset bubbles and unjustified tax breaks that favor the rich. this is not a situation that any freethinking republican should accept.
>> it cuts against everything our country and my party stand for. government's role should not be to rig the game in favor of the haves but to make sure that the have-nots are given a fair shot. having worked for senate republicans in the 1980s , i remember a time when republicans stood up to special interests and purged tax code of preferences for investment income and other special breaks. they managed to survive re-election by showing leadership, taking principles positions and defending them vigorously. it's time for the grand old party to return to those roots."
>> it's a fantastic op-ed by sheila. i couldn't agree more. the big shock when i was looking through my cross-tabs the morning after my first election was the fact that i did best among people making from, like, $30,000 to $50,000.
>> in the republican primary . i owned that group. and owned them pretty much in the general election whereas people making more money voted against my opponent. that was the big revelation, margaret carlson , with ronald reagan . ronald reagan got reagan democrats , got working-class people to believe that he was fighting for them. but now with carried interest , with warren buffett paying lower tax rate than his secretary, with all of these things going on that sheila talks about, suddenly the republican party stops being the populist party . they need to listen to her, don't they?
>> they sure do. you know, the thing about it, there are two women who are making this point. sheila bair and senator elizabeth warren about how the playing field is so tilted in favor of investment income and away from the person who's, you know, ironing your shirts and, you know, mowing the lawn. everything goes in their favor. and the idea that we still have carried interest after we've been talking about it as one of these terrible loopholes for years, that you come in in the morning. and if you're investing capital, you turn on the light. you sit down at your desk. and you're taxed at a rate that's half of what i pay or, i don't know, joe, but maybe what you pay.
>> oh, i pay 12%.
>> such a target.
>> i am a target.
>> things have gotten in this crisis. look who's recovered. the people who caused the crisis have recovered. and they watered down dodd-frank before it was out of the crib. there is just so much, you know, influence given to that sector of the economy. and so many of the people in government, not just on capitol hill , but in the white house are s sympathetic to the banks and investment.
>> jon meacham , a republican that went out talking about breaking up the banks, ending too big to fail, ending carried interest , ending a tax code that makes billionaires pay half what their secretaries pay, i think that republican would catch fire and would start being able to cobble together a reagan-type coalition.
>> i think so. and what's so interesting about the bair op-ed, that's essentially a jacksonnian op-ed, the interests of the few and the many. what i think is so remarkable about the last five years is even after the crash, the real weakness of economic populism in the country. we continue to be driven more by cultural populism even when we make the intellectual arguments that bair is making and that margaret alludes to.
>> i think this is why some would say that the republicans are failing in this sequestration battle because who would be against closing loopholes when you think about the way it's all set up? i don't get it.
>> let's see what happens.
>> i don't get it.
>> i don't think this is as clean cut as the others. i don't think republicans are going to take a pounding, but we'll see.
>> jon meacham , thanks so much.
>> thank you all.
>> come to a city that has sunlight. he's in nome, alaska. it gets light about 4:00 in the afternoon. margaret, stay with us, if you will.
>>> coming up on tomorrow's show, this is going to be huge. i'm not going to be able to sleep, i'm so excited.
>> we have melody barnes, also " mad money 's" jim cramer . and in just a few minutes, chuck todd will help break down the new nbc/" wall street journal " polls. we'll be right