Morning Joe | March 19, 2013
>>> good morning. you're looking at live pictures from the vatican. where pope francis is being formally installed as the new pontiff of the catholic church . representatives of 132 countries, including a u.s. delegation led by vice president joe biden were onhand for the ceremony. pope francis has projected himself with humility over the past few days taking time to personally greet the faithful in the crowds.
>>> and welcome to " morning joe ," tuesday, march 19th . with us onset, we have senior political analyst mark haleprin. we've got the president in the council of foreign relations richard haass and former democratic congressman harold ford jr .
>> what's going on?
>> oh, we have more.
>> i know.
>> i saved the best for last.
>> thanks a lot, mika.
>> and what is richard haass ?
>> and we've got david ignatius coming up, as well.
>> yes, it is fantastic.
>> all right. what do we have in news?
>> hi, harold, how are you doing? what's going on?
>> oh, really?
>> who are you picking in march madness ?
>> it hurts me to say this because i'm a michigan man, but ohio state is playing extraordinarily well. i've got michigan state .
>> do we have a story on cypress? or can i make chitchat with haass.
>> if you have a few more, thad be good.
>> what about cypress, richard haass , isn't that something?
>> it is astrange approach to economic policy . turns out, it's the willie sutton approach to dealing with the european economic crisis . one of the few places they have any resources. anything that approaches the scale of what they need. and it makes no sense and it's not going to last.
>> very good.
>> this is interesting. fresh poll numbers out from cnn opinion research showing there is very little support for leaders in washington. to boast about right now. 47% of americans approve of the job that president obama is doing compared to 50% who disapprove. his net approval rating has dropped 15 percentage points since january. now, despite his recent outreach to republicans , 56% believe the president's not doing enough to cooperate with a full 70% thinking the gop is not reaching out. that matches an all-time high. as far as the budget goes, only 31% say they approve of how the president is handling how government raises and spends money.
>> just 19% support the way congressional republicans are dealing with it. and it was nearly split. 47% sided with the president, 46% sided with republicans , and i wonder, joe, if this is at least inspiration enough for them to just get a deal. is anyone going to get worse than this? really? why can't they at least get something done.
>>> i think politically the pressure is more on the president for this reason. you go -- you ask somebody -- it's kind of like lawyers. i found that everybody hated lawyers, right?
>> yep. everybody loves their own lawyer. you should have seen what she did in court. man, let me give you my lawyer's number. it's the same thing with congressmen. everybody hates congressmen, but hey, my guy, my woman, they go up there and boy they fight. so, again, you've got to put yourself in the position of a congressman looking at 31% approval rating going, yeah, that's fine. i'm saying that 74%, the words of dire straits , you know, i got a daytime job, i'm doing all right. i think the pressure when you look at these numbers are a little more on the president. because this is a president who wants a legacy, thinks he deserves a legacy. but it's horrible for republicans , as well. they're facing the prospects with these numbers of not controlling the house h.
>> that's my point.
>> a year and a half from now. so it's a curse in both of their houses.
>> i think you said legacy, if he does not get stuff done in 2013 , it's hard to see momentum, at least in domestic policy getting done after that.
>> unless they take over the house.
>> it's hard to see them taking back the house unless they have some success in the next few months. i think they've done a great job in teeing things up. i think they've moved along on guns, immigration a lot. they've moved along on some of the budget stuff. but now he's got to perform. and i think republicans have a choice. will they give the president a major deficit reduction victory or not? if they really believe that needs to be done and the president put something on the table that gets them significant entitlement reform and savings, i think they've got to do it.
>> harold, i think the possibility of deals and immigration, possibility of deals on guns, possibility of deals on the budget, on the long-term debt, i think the possibilities are actually -- excuse me for being optimistic, pretty darn good on all fronts. you've got republicans who daily are holding press conferences wringing their hands trying to figure out how to save their party. and you have a president who, again, he's a 47%, pretty damn good considering everything. but still, he wants to be over 50% and he wants a legacy. he doesn't want to just talk about what he did the first two years.
>> i agree. i believe the prospects for progress on both immigration and gun control are gun regulation . if we get progress on the budget and the debt. i think immigration and gun regulations are easier to win. if the economy hobbles along and don't get me wrong, the markets are roaring, we've had a few days where it has slowed just a bit. but the average american , the pedestrian middle class family how well are they doing? how confident are they? and if the economy slows for them, the prospects for immigration reform , i don't believe are nearly as high, if you don't get what mark has been saying now for over two weeks. the sequencing done right on this cut spending cuts and tax reform . things sound great and they're moving along now. but joe, as we talked about earlier, you're going to have reticent democrats. and even key congressional races who are going to slow down a bit and saying, look, i want immigration and guns dealt with, what are we doing about the economy and the budget, the debt, and tax reform ?
>> and this is, richard haas , you can only push people so far, i mean, not the republicans ' best friend . this weekend said democrats you're about to lose me. i pay 40% federal, 15%. well, i hear we have it cued up. let's go. this is bill maher this weekend.
>> -- actually do pay the freight in this country. i just saw the statistics, something like 70%. and here in california, i'm just going to say, liberals, you could actually lose me. it's outrageous what we're paying. over -- i'm willing to pay my share, but yeah, it's ridiculous.
>> and not only that --
>> people like bill maher pay 55% in california, people in new york pay over 50%. in new jersey, why is a republican sitting at 70% plus approval rating ? you can only -- and economists, liberal economists write about this, you can only tax people so much. and then on top of that, for democrats to go around saying when bill maher is paying 55% in taxes, you know what, but the rich aren't paying their fair share . we need more. both sides have got to figure out how they come to the table. and moderate.
>> absolutely. and you know, after the $600 billion tax increase on top of what the rates increases, on top of state and local taxes, the cumulative package for most people in high-end brackets -- high income is well above 50%. i think essentially we're done with the tax part of this, possibly other than closing a so-called -- so-called tax expenditures , maybe reducing things like mortgage deductions and charitable donations for wealthy people. also, it argues again, you've got to start talking about growth. whichever side gets serious about growth. and there's one or two positive things on that, i would say. one is the energy transformation . the other is after the first term where the president never did anything serious about trade, right now, we are on the verge of starting -- well, one started the other. we're going to start two major trade negotiations. one the transpacific negotiation. and the others we're going to start a u.s./european negotiation. this involves something like 60%, 70% of the world's economies. this is potentially a major engine if we can actually get serious about trade. that would help a lot and help compensate for some of the drag that's been introduced by the sequester in some of the other budget cuts.
>> the paradigm around this conversation has been so narrow. it's either been tax increases, spending cuts, to haas' point, might not immediately approve it. it might be more environmentally dangerous transporting it by freight and by ship to approve that natural gas exports. the energy department has said we'll not have negative impact on u.s. manufacturing growth, particularly in the middle of the country. do it now. and finally, stop talking only about it in these terms. the country's growing in many ways. and if we trade another prime example. if we were to do those things, it would change the psyche in congress, get people more courage and get us closer to doing things you've written about over the years.