msnbc | November 27, 2012
>>> to the other big story unfolding in washington . the president's fiscal cliff campaign. live pictures of the white house are president obama will meet today with 15 small business owners. the first of a series of meetings this week as the administration puts the pressure on congress to make a deal. the " washington post " reporting the talks are accelerating between president obama and top congressional leaders, including john boehner who was on the phone with the president over the weekend. the white house 's pr campaign is being buoyed along by warren buffett who is voicing support for tax hikes for americans just like him.
>> i think it would have a great effect in terms of the morale of the middle class who have seen themselves paying high payroll taxes , income taxes and then watched guys like me end up paying a rate that's below that, you know, paid by the people in my office.
>> joining me now is wisconsin's republican senator ron johnson . senator, it's great to have you with us this morning. and as we talk about what's taking place in washington , d.c. right now, the million dollar question is all concerns around senators lindsey graham , saxby chambliss , congressman peter king among other republicans who said they'd be willing to break away from grover norquist 's anti-tax pledge. will you say if you're willing to break that pledge in order to save the country from the fiscal cliff.
>> hello, signed that pledge two years ago, and the reason i signed it is because i think increasing tax rates , increasing the amount of money that the federal government takes away from job creators is going to harm economic growth and economic growth is the number one component to a solution. what all these senators are saying is they'll take a look at their pledge only if the president puts forward his plan. how is he going to close the other part of that deficit? you know, his proposal right now, the most he can say would raise would be about $68 billion when our deficit last year was $90 billion. what is the president's plan for closing the additional additional $1 trillion worth of deficit? i think that's incumbent on the president to put forward his plan.
>> from your standpoint alone, there's no way you see fit in the coming 35 days that you would break that pledge with glove norquist.
>> well, thomas, let's use a couple numbers here. even with this measly economic growth we've seen the last three years, revenue at the federal government has increased $344 billion per year. if we just return to a normal economy that returns about 18.5%, that would increase revenue an additional over $400 billion per year, that's $750 billion of revenue per year through economic growth . and the president, his proposal would raise 1/10 of that but would put at risk the economic growth and that $750 billion. so --
>> sir, with all due respect, though --
>> that's an answer to the question. there's nothing you see over the next 35 days that would have you break that pledge with grover norquist ?
>> no, because raising taxes harms the economic growth . you get ten times the revenue by economic growth rather than punishing success. and, again, all of us are saying president obama , show us your plan for restraining the size of government, that's the main problem. again, his revenue proposal would raise $68 billion when we have over $1 trillion worth of deficit. where's the other $1 trillion in his balance plan? mr. president, show us your plan.
>> sir, one thing, mitch mcconnell has said that revenue is on the table as long as entitlements would be on the table. conducting a fly-in lobbying day there in washington , d.c. this is where union leaders from 33 states are going to pressure their representatives to let the bush tax cuts expire and keep social security out of the fiscal cliff negotiations. lawmakers are being presented with this written letter in part by richard trumpka who is the president of that. accusing republicans of holding the economy hostage in that letter saying the ransom demands are tax cuts for the wealthy and benefit cuts for working people . how do you respond to him saying that basically the right is holding hostage takers basically of the american economy at the expense of the working man for the benefit of the wealthiest americans ?
>> the only senators i've heard, you know, threaten the american public in terms of taking the economy off the fiscal cliff is harry reid , president obama , he says he wants to compromise. he says there's only two options here, take the economy off the fiscal cliff or do it my way. that doesn't sound like something he's willing to negotiate in good faith. so, listen, republicans want to restore confidence and certainty to this economy. i don't think want to play brinkmanship, the way to do this is through pro-growth tax reform . i'll quote the numbers again. you'll get ten times the amount of revenue by growing the economy, $750 billion versus the measly $68 billion that the president's proposing by punishing success. i think that would work far better.
>> and you're saying revenue because by taxing the wealthiest americans , it cuts off what has been referred to as job creators from actually getting americans to work so we have more americans working that are then paying into the tax system .
>> thomas, i'm one of those job creators, those small business people. i could have explained to him what's on the minds of job creators, the people that make those investment decisions and capital equipment, make the hiring decisions. he doesn't understand that because he's never participated in it. so the problem with punishing success is you put at risk that economic growth that can increase revenue by $750 billion a year. now, you tell me, what works better? growing the economy or punishing success?
>> sir, thanks for your time today, i appreciate it.