msnbc | December 06, 2012
>>> okay. welcome back, everybody. with 26 days to go until the country falls over the fiscal cliff , are we seeing some shift in the gop opposition to the president's plan? the president spoke with house speaker john boehner by phone yesterday. it was their first conversation in a week but neither side would characterize that conversation. they agreed not to talk about it publicly. there is this, though, on the front page of today's " washington post ." many gop centrists and some conservatives are calling on house speaker john boehner to concede on rates now while he still has leverage and shows concern. ed, as we dive in on this post article, it goes down to points out the republicans do want something in return for this. they want to have some wins in this fight. perception is reality in washington, d.c. and across the land. so if they can give something that looks like, okay, we got a couple things out of this. but that's really not going to be the case when we look at the whole big picture , unless they do that two step, which is get the 98% out of the way and maybe fight over the next eight weeks before the debt ceiling debate.
>> well, this is where i think the white house needs to continue to put the pressure on boehner , saying that we're prepared to go over the cliff . keep in mind there's no mortal sin committed here if we do go over the cliff because this is an expiration of bush tax policy passed if 2001 and 2003 . the president is willing to accept 98% of bush tax policy just to get a deal, okay. if we go over the cliff , it clears the slate and gives the obama team an opportunity to come back and really focus in on things better for the middle class . boehner knows this. this is why boehner is now coming to the table saying, all right, we can't do the cliff thing, we'll get the political hit for it and we'll also be in a bad negotiating position. but he has to identify where the money's coming from. and it's got to be rates. i get a sense in washington that the democrats have drawn the line in the sand on rates. if you can't get rates, you can't get anything else. boehner 's going to come out and identify a bunch of deductions. that's not going to be enough. you got to go the rates. once you do the rates, everything else might fall in place because do i think the white house will negotiate.
>> i want to go over the stakes of all of this just for the average american family, if we do go over the cliff , about 90% of households would end up paying almost $3,500 more in taxes and one in five action pai -- taxpayers would have to pay the alternative minimum tax, which would mean an increase of $3,700 more of what you already know and those on unemployment it would drop from 99 weeks to 26 weeks. they say they're willing to do this. is this the fight that the obama administration really wants to take up freshly inaugurated, freshly into its new term to try to map out big, bold leadership instead of digging these trenches down the line that are going to have pitfalls and stakes all buried in it?
>> i come from the school of thought that this country has overcome a lot more than just a few extra dollars. i do believe that this economy will continue to thrive, this economy will continue to move forward. i don't believe that we're going to go into a huge, deep recession again if these bush tax cuts expire. i do believe that you can strengthen the economy if you let everything go off the cliff and come back and put in front of the american people and do a better job for the economy. there's up side either way you go. the president has got boehner in an untenable position. he doesn't have very many avenues to a victory right now but he's got a good escape, thomas. all john boehner has to do to exit out of this quickly is to say he won the election, we didn't, the american people in every survey say this is where we're going to go, we're going to go along with the wishes of the american people and the republicans would get goodwill for doing that. they have to get out of this ideological headrow that they're stuck in and do something for the company.
>> the polls give them plausible acceptability of this plan of trying to move forward and, as you say, with the will of the american people . real quickly, though, the jim demint announcement this morning. surprised by that that he's going to be leaving?
>> not really. he is one vote in the senate. demint is a staunch conservative. he is pretty well connected to business because that was his culture before he came into the senate. fact is is that he may be able to do more for the conservative movement in this country as head of the heritage foundation than he would be what he's doing in the senate. he was the lead dog about going after obama care. well, that didn't work. there was no waterloo. he is somewhat scarred national live now as far as being legislatively inept because he can't work with anybody over on the left or in the center. he is so ideologically bent, i think the heritage foundation is going to be a good home for him and could be a good come back for conservatives because they're in disarray right now.
>> you can watch "the ed show" every night at 8:00