msnbc | November 12, 2012
>>> welcome back, everybody. you're just in time for the spin room . with the fiscal cliff looming, the white house will embark on a campaign to gain support for its plans to attack the deficit. on tuesday, the president meets with labor leaders at the white house . on wednesday, he powwows with ceos. and then congressional leaders will meet with him at home. joining me now are ed rendell and judd gregg . co-chairs of the "fix the debt" campaign. great to have you here. this is an important and timely consideration that needs to be had. senator gregg and the governor, you're from two different parties. senator, since you're in front of me, coming together for this one common cause, explain from your vantage point now how you can see bipartisanship working, knowing d.c. as it is now.
>> as a practical matter, you can't address the huge issues like social security , medicare, medicaid and tax reform unless it's bipartisan because the american people won't accept action until they believe the action to be fair. and fairness requires bipartisanship. we've pulled together a fairly large group to try to show there is a pathway to getting together a comprehensive agreement that gets the debt down and makes our country fiscally responsible. it's a very important thing for our future and our children's future.
>> the president is attempting to bring in leaders this week. how critical is that toward the effort, the steps needed to get this done and basically what the president and your group wants to accomplish?
>> very critical, thomas. what our group has done is reached out to the corporate leaders, big business , small, mid-sized. we've raised over $35 million from those business leaders from a p.r. campaign to learn what's at stake here. i think it's important. i think business has to deliver a message to both sides, to the president and to the republicans in the house and senate. and that is that this has got to get done. we have on our board, bob zoellick , the former head of the world bank . and bob zoellick said the u.s. is one debt deal away from cementing its role as the leading economic power in the world for the next 25 years. that's how high the stakes are. and business has to be a big part of persuading all sides to take a little pain and get this zbloen as everybody is paying their fair share , the extension of the tax cuts for those making $250,000 has been one of the sticking points so far. but conservative voices were brought up, like bill crystal, made a glare og mission over the weekend that i want to point out to everybody.
>> it won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on million nairs. it really won't, i don't think. i don't understand why republicans don't take obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000. the republican party is going to fall to --
>> throw it on the hollywood libs. tax the hell out of them. get those hollywood libs. but now that he's hut in it that frame of mind and people can see, we're going to go after those hollywood liberals, tax them, get their movie money, do you think members of your party would be more amenable to this.
>> you do a significant amount of reduction in spending along the lines of simpson/bowles where 75% of the savings on the debt came from spending reductions and 25% came from revenues. generate more revenues and apply some of it to the debt. the issue of taxing high-end folks is a straw dog. you generate about $50 million a year on that. you don't resolve the problem. you address a political issue. if we want to resolve the problem, it has to be a comprehensive agreement .
>> it boils down to this arithmetic. this was said over the weekend.
>> i think the speaker's comments have been encouraging and obviously there's money to be gained by closing some of these loopholes and applying them to deficit reduction. so i think there are a lot of ways to skin this cat, so long as everybody comes with a positive, constructive attitude toward the task.
>> governor, are you as equally confident that the speaker will be able to rally the support? certainly last week, we watched in the speaker's briefing, he was very tight on his language, as everybody was going to be looking to break down semantics of exactly what he said. but he said twice in the briefing he didn't want to box himself in with anything just yet.
>> that's why it's important the speaker gets help and gets help from the business community and from ordinary citizens who say, we want you guys to solve this problem. we want it done in a bipartisan way. and we're ready to take a little pain. i think the point that judd made is so important. taxing rich people , let's say we decide to do a millionaire's tax, that brings in a whole lot less than the $250,000. that tax would be about $10 billion a year which hardly adds up over ten years. that's more symbolic. the key is from our side, we want rich people to pay more. and that's, let's say "x." we can do that by reforming the tax code , particularly on the corporate side. that money that comes -- the revenue that comes from reforming the tax code is predominantly going to come from rich people . why fight over something symbolic when we can accomplish the same goals by doing exactly what simpson/bowles suggest and what judd just talked about.
>> gentlemen, thank you so much for your time today. ed, are you in baltimore today?
>> i am, absolutely. two speeches.
>> thanks again.