NewsNation | November 29, 2012
>>> politico is reporting that a framework for fiscal negotiations has already emerged. here is what they say to expect. about $1.2 trillion in tax increases on the wealthy. at least $400 billion in entitlement cuts mainly from medicare, not to mention spending cuts. that figure, at least $1.2 trillion, according to politico. let's bring in news nation political panel. nationally syndicated radio talk show host and msnbc contributor micha michael smir connish. zacha zachary carabel. zachary , as we look at this and what we know so far and the talking points that go back and forth, we haven't got specifics, details from the right. we hear what the left wants. isn't the onus on john boehner and the right to say exactly what they want.
>> i think it's on the onus of everybody to give a little in this. everyone talks about the simpson/bowles commission as a template for across the board reductions of long-term spending along with tax increases. that would obviously be ideal. right now we're talking about $2 trillion of spending decreases plus tax cuts , which even though running a trillion dollars of deficits a year, that's over a ten-year period. we're not talking a huge dent in the situation here. granted, any progress is probably better than no progress. but what we are talking about versus the ten-year horizon that we're facing, there is still a huge gap between washington in general and those economic realities.
>> meanwhile, timothy geithner goes to the hill today to take all of these big meetings. i want to play what former fdic chair sheila blair told our david gregory about why geithner might not be the best choice to have gone and done this. take a listen.
>> i don't think this is tim 's strong suit. tim was given the job of secretary treasure because he understood the banking system . he's not a budget guy. he's not a tax guy. he's never really worked in this sphere.
>> zachary , your reaction to that? do you think he should have gone?
>> i don't know who else goes at this point unless it's obama himself. it's not like the white house is replete with people. make jack lou. i think there is a lot to be said for the white house and their position is going to be able to go through with tax cuts . you know, the middle-class tax cut 's going to go through. the tax increases on the rich is going to go through.
>> the president has the leverage. the gop accusing the white house of failing to put forward the specifics. are democrats saying we told you what to expect farce revenues, now tell us what you want.
>> i think the democrats are really at this point just trying to play this game of chicken. i've just come from capitol hill just now. there was a press conference with harry reid and senator murray, senator schumer, senator durbin. i think what they're trying to do, this is a very high stakes game of chicken. they're trying to have the other side blink first and put out a detailed proposal they can then pick apart without having to do that first themselves.
>> meanwhile we have republican congressman tom cole , one of the many on the right out front saying he's willing to break the grover norquist tax pledge. basically urging the party to take the president's deal of extending the tax cuts for 98% of americans right away. i want to play what he had to say to our chuck todd earlier today, though.
>> the president says he wants to make 80% of the bush tax cuts permanent for 98% of the american people . and take them out of the discussion. i think we should do that. now, that advise was given in private.
>> you didn't intend for this to go public?
>> no, i absolutely didn't. again, it is what i said. it's not an inaccurate report.
>> all right. he didn't really want it to get out there, but it's out there. it's feathers to the wind. michael , you can't get this back. you know that well with radio. once you say it, it's out there. feathers to the wind. do you agree congressman cole is actually giving the speaker more flexibility in the negotiations?
>> yes. thomas, there's a tendency to watch these negotiations from the sidelines and to think that the prince iples speak for everyone. i think we learned two summers ago speaker boehner may be in a position where he's ready to cut a deal with the president but he can't control his caucus. to me the significance of congressman cole saying that is that it showed there's residual interest on the part of the constituency boehner must control to make this deal. you're right. you can't take it back. it seems quite obvious now those tax cuts are going to be extended for all but those earn earning in excess of $250,000.
>> the president has the leverage going into this, basically the mandate of a federal election and the fact that these, you know, the taxes are going to go up on everybody after the first of the year anyway. the republicans need to get something done now while they still have a little bit of wiggle room here. democrats need 25 republicans. that's it. to get a middle class tax cut through the house before the deadline on this, michael . then we've got -- there's cole . then there's tim scott from south carolina who's shown that he's flexible as well. are these people going to be critical, the critical congress people in getting a bill through the house?
>> they are. but i read the mandate a little differently than i think your question suggests. i think that the mandate was for compromise. i think that one of the takeaways, one of the nets of this election is that people liked seeing the president working with the man who delivered the keynote address for the republican convention , governor christie, together on superstorm sandy. that's what they want more of. i think members of congress --
>> there's no chris christie in washington . michael , there's no chris christie that's circling around washington , d.c., right now that actually needs something from the president. christie needed stuff from the president and fema and wanted it directly to get to his people. of course they're going to play nice .
>> i would like to think, though, the president was elected with a mandate. i can't say that. he doesn't control the house. he didn't have the house before. he doesn't have the house now. so compromise has got to be the word of the day . i think that that's what the constituents of these members most want.
>> all right. zachary , senator durbin says he could see $400 billion in entitlement cuts. democratic aides telling politico most of it is going to come from medicare in part by raising the retirement age. a move that more than two-thirds of americans oppose. that's according to the latest " washington post " poll. this is something that democrats are going to have a hard time signing off on.
>> remember, the deal that was at least we know tentatively struck in the summer of 2011 was a much more extensive one in terms of entitlement cuts. i think it was up to $2 trillion. that was going to be really difficult for the democrats then. now you're talking $400 billion over ten years. $40 billion a year. these things have to happen. the question is will they happen in the next two weeks. this is w simply are in a weak position . if we go to january 1st and the dynamic is everything is going up because the republicans will not agree to taxes on the rich, i cannot see how that is a politically winning hand or an economically winning hand.
>> we don't know all the things that are going on behind the scenes with these meetings with tim geithner today. but after the meeting with geithner senator mitch mcconnell released a statement accusing democrats of taking a step back, away from the consensus needed to bring compromise, get us away from the fiscal cliff. but i want to play what he had to say on the senate floor earlier today as well. take a listen.
>> the only reason democrats are insisting on raising rates is because raising rates on the so-called rich is the holy grail of libberloo. their aim isn't job creation . they're interested in wealth destruction.
>> wealth destruction, nancy. back to this wealth distribution thing and their whole narrative of punishing success. what role is mitch mcconnell going to serve in these negotiations at all?
>> he'll play a very key role. although you really have to keep in mind the final deal is really going to be struck between president obama and speaker boehner . and those are really the two people to watch. and their staffs right now. of course, mitch mcconnell will play a key role in bringing around senate republicans, excuse me. but it's really between the house republicans and the white house at this point. you know, we have to watch and see what they do. i think there's a lot of public posturing. but i do think that all these people have been at this table before. they're very familiar with the contours of what they will agree to from the debt ceiling negotiations. and so it's really just a matter of getting closer and closer to that deadline, having the markets start to freak out and then realizing that they have to come up with something.
>> seems like there's a lot of public theater going on with this one.
>> quickly on michael 's point, if the mandates for compromise, accusing the democrats of being wealth destroyers probably doesn't move the compromise needle very far.
>> michael , zachary , nancy, thanks to all three of you. i