Morning Joe | March 14, 2013
>> i'm not mike today.
>> wait a minute.
>> no, no, let's work this out in the break.
>> you had to be there.
>> jim , talk business here. the president met yesterday with house republicans for the first time since 2011 face-to-face. the headline in politico, house republicans meet the new, same old president obama . according to some members who were there the meeting yielded little in the way of compromise. the president signaled he would only move on entitlements if republicans agreed to new tax increases. we have heard this before. however, the white house put a positive smpin on the meeting calling it a good substantive exchange and called it a good conversation. the president admitted more with abc news there is more to be done.
>> ultimately it may be that the differences are just too wide. if their position is we can't do any revenue or we can only do revenue if we gut medicare or gut social security or medicaid. if that is the position we probably will not be able to get a deal.
>> if your piece up on politico read conflicting reports, some say it was more of the same from the president and others say it was a step in the right direction for him to come up to the hill and visit bus. anything come out of this meeting yesterday and the ones that will follow today and the rest of the week?
>> i would just replay that clip over and over and over again and that tells you everything you need to know about the next year. the president wants tax increases and he does not want to do a bill with big changes in entitlement reforms. republicans don't want tax increases and they want to do some big changes on entitlements. so there's not really a middle ground to be had. you talk to people on the hill in leadership and they say no chance of a grand bargain because the two sides are too far apart. i think no doubt that the president going up to the hill, over time , can help, having these relationships, can at least maybe build trust over time to get deals, maybe not on the budget but on immigration which is important. i think the fact that dennis mcdonough come in as chief of staff and spending a lot of time on the phone with lindsey graham and mccain and others are helping relationships with senate behind the scenes so things the white house are doing i think can help them on other pieces of legislation and other debates. it's just on the budget, the two sides philosophically too far apart and neither have an incentive any more like last year.
>> you say too far apart. i have to disagree. by the way, we have a banner down below that comes from politico story, meet the new obama same as the old obama , that is just -- i know that people said that to you. that's just not true. the president is coming to the hill. republicans are talking to the president. now, the president said to george stephanopoulos if the president doesn't raise taxes we have no deal. john boehner said to reporters on the other side, if the president wants taxes, we are not going to have a deal. if he is going to hold it hostage. we have all seen this before. this is preliminary and they are negotiating and i think, carl , what is important is -- and jim , i'd love to get your take after carl talks here -- what is preside important here is the president is not just talking to the leaders, he is giving individual members a chance to talk to him and you can get five, six republicans , saxby chambliss and if the deal is big enough, lends lindsay graham you can get five, six deals and get a deal out of the --
>> i think that report is over simplified and not on the money.
>> my goodness!
>> no. i believe people --
>> not like that.
>> i believe people said this to jim and others. but i think the real fact is that obama is a pragmatist. he wants revenue and so far republicans won't give on revenue. if they give on revenue to some extent, obama as much or more than anybody in that town wants entitlement reform in terms of medicare and social security . knows it has to be done for the long-term health of those programs, cut down the percentage of gdp that they represent. it's basic to what he believes. and to think that this game is over, it's only beginning. we have got until september to come up with something. it could happen and it really depends on the republicans willingness to embrace some revenue.
>> the thing is, willie, if you go back to what the president said in 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2008 , the president really did talk all the time about needing to reform medicare , medicaid, social security . it's what he ran on.
>> i think if the president is practicing mat tick pragmatic, if the deal is big enough we will glad close loopholes because we believe the country's long-term debt crisis will destroy us. if the deal is big enough i think the deal will be done.
>> the president is floated out means testing and changed for social security to get the conversation started. on the other side of that, jim , speaker boehner said it yesterday, we just gave you $600 billion in tax increases. don't make it sound like we haven't given it all on this. we just did about two months ago.
>> i guess i'll keep the tension moving and challenge carl on this. you've got -- you guys are talking about a congress that you wish you had versus a congress that you actually have. the house of representatives , the republicans in congress are not going to do another tax increase. they just increased taxes in their own minds in december. the idea that house republican who is so much more conservative than the president, who are anti-tax by nature, are going to vote a second time for a tax increase going into the midterm elections, that is a tough, tough -- and i would argue -- impossible sale. could you get tom colburn and others --
>> if we were talking about raising rates, jim --
>> but you whether you call it a rate increase or whether you get rid of a deduction, somebody has to pay higher taxes so you get revenue, right?
>> i understand. the conversations that i've had with the republicans since we got our brains beaten out echo what bill crystal said after november which is, why do we want to continue to be seen as the party that protects billionaire, hedge fund brokers that usually give money to democrats to pay 16% taxes? if you go to people that, like me for my wing of the republican party , the populous wing of the republican party , the guys and the women that got elected in 1994 , guess what? when i hear people are paying 16% taxes, i resent them. i think they should pay at least 30% taxes. and you know what? there are a lot of conservative republicans that feel like i do. if you're talking about raising tax rates , i'm with you. hell, no. if you're talking about getting some loopholes closed on interest and on billionaires paying 16% taxes, jim , i think there may be a deal --
>> every republican we have on the show say they are for closing loopholes.
>> and am i naive on this front? again, if the entitlement cuts are big enough.
>> can i ask a question?
>> we are all pounding on jim . let jim finish.
>> i'm not going to pound on him. i'm going to ask him a question. can i ask you a question?
>> we don't do that here. pound on him or you don't get the floor.
>> how many members, percentage wise, in congress, on the republican side , were elected specifically on the platform of no new taxes, make the government smaller, thus, no deal ever?
>> almost every republican in the house would say that they were elected on that precise platform and i would say the vast majority actually ran on that precise platform. so the idea of getting those -- yes, in theory tax reform and getting new revenue sounds great and each sounds easy. until you get into the specifics. any loophole worth closing that generates enough revenue to actually then offset it with entitlement cuts is extremely difficult to do. you have to start getting into charitable dedeductions and mortgage tax dedeductions. you can't get rid of a loophole for a billionaire that drives a private plane. a drop in the bucket and doesn't give you real revenue you need to get any sort of big entitlement reform on the back end to get republicans to the table and why it's difficult. sure it's not impossible but a lot harder today than i think it would have been last year.
>> for instance if you do it warren buffett is talking about and set a 30% minimum tax rate which may not happen but if you do that 120 billion, 130 billion in revenue and ain't nothing. you're right, mike. republicans believe that you don't raise taxes and that is how they got elected like democrats believe 16.5 trillion later we don't have a spending program and there aren't really big problems with medicare . if you listen to house leadership. democratic leadership.
>> i found the story that i e-mailed to all of you at 2:28 yesterday and such a mockery in terms of what one fast food chain is doing to avoid litigation i'm putting it at the top of next hour in the news segment. willie?
>> we just elected a pope. and now talk about fast food .
>> the great part about this show we can have a spirited debate with jim and then go out for tacos.
>> take care.
>> thanks, jim .
>> see you later .
>> the new world taco.