PoliticsNation | November 14, 2012
>>> president obama had a blunt message for republicans today. he's the boss and he's standing strong. say good-bye to the bush tax cuts .
>> what i have told leaders privately as well as publically is that we cannot afford to extend the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. what we can do is make sure middle class taxes don't go up. when it comes to the top 2% what i'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it which would cost close to a trillion dollars. we should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy.
>> hold the middle class hostage. make no mistake about it, he means business. but republicans are already digging in their heels. speaker boehner, senator minority leader mitch mcconnell , paul ryan . all of them saying they will fight the president on taxes. all of them saying the president doesn't have a mandate. but president obama has something to say about that.
>> i have one mandate. i have a mandate to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class . that's my mandate.
>> this is a clear message . it's what americans voted for a week ago. are you sure you want this fight, republicans ? democrat from pennsylvania chuck fatah and ezra klein , msnbc policy analyst. he's writing about the fight over taxes today and the piece is called "the big
question: how, not whether, to raise taxes." thank you for joining me tonight.
>> thank you.
>> good to be here.
>> congressman, do you think republicans will make a deal or is this 2010 with the tea party all over again?
>> well, what the public needs to understand is the income tax system is not fair to them. there is a report done by the congress each year by the joint committee on taxation . shows thousands of americans who filed income taxes who made over a million dollars who paid zero in federal income taxes . our corporate tax rates are unfair to certain businesses. two-thirds of american corporations pay nothing in terms of corporate taxes . we need to reform the system. what the president is saying is that we are not going to have a system in which the middle class bears the bulk of the burden. i know ezra has seen it. perfectly legal which is a book written by the leading surprise winner tax reporter on this issue john clay shows if you make over $500,000 a year you pay a much lower share in taxes than if you make $70,000 or $80,000 a year. the president will hold to his position. he has one thing working in his favor which is this sale on taxes that's been around ten years, the bush tax cuts , expire by law on december 31. everyone know ifs they go out of existence, they are never coming back.
>> congressman, mr. ryan says the president doesn't have a mandate. let me let you hear for yourself what he said.
>> does barack obama now have a mandate?
>> i don't think so. because they also re-elected the house of republicans . whether people intended or not we've got divided government.
>> does your colleagues on the other side of the aisle feel that they have the mandate on taxes, not the president, and they will not make a deal or do you think ultimately mr. boehner, mr. ryan and others will make a deal with the president around this issue?
>> i think before people sit down for holiday dinners this december there will be a deal. it will be essentially on the president's terms because the leverage really rests with the president. the congress has to present a bill that he's prepared to sign or all of the tax cuts go out of existence. when we come back in next year and the senate passes a tax cut bill for the middle class , it will pass in the house. it will not have any of the tax cuts in existence for higher income people.
>> ezezra, let's look at the breakdown of the national debt through 2019 . you're the man that knows the charts better than anyone. you can see the light blue area at the bottom shows various recovery measures like the stimulus. the darker blue area is the impact of the recession. that's the second biggest driver. the red area that's the wars in iraq and afghanistan. then the orange area is the largest piece of the mountain of debt, the bush-era tax cuts . nothing else is close. how can you deal with the national debt without dealing with the bush tax cuts ?
>> you can't and we are not going to. it was fascinating the way the discussion has moved in the past week or two is you have seen in a clear way what it means to win an election. two months ago the question in american politics was will we raise taxes as part of the fiscal deal? now the only question in american politics at least on the budget is how will we raise taxes as part of the fiscal deal. republicans want to do it by some version of taxes. they say they are not going to leave the top rate unchanged. they will let the bush tax cuts for the top income expire. if after they expire and they have banked the trillion dollars in revenue republicans want to come through with tax reform , fine. but this discussion is different than it used to b. the fact we'll have new revenues is a foregone conclusion.
>> congressman, the president talked about it today. let me show you his statement.
>> this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. if there was one thing everybody understood was a big difference between myself and mr. romney, it was when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced responsible approach and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more.
>> congressman, the president seemed clear to me. i think the question is how does your colleagues deal with the tea party and far right element in their caucus? do they have enough votes? if you look at the breakdown in congress now, congressman -- and, ezra, i would like your response. you have 233 republicans , 196 democrats. six are still undecided. are there enough republicans to vote with the democrats on a compromise on the president's term in your opinion, congressman? i believe there will be enough votes. they will get it in january. it's a matter of time. we have had billionaires and millionaires too used to getting free stuff. that's to have the most powerful country in the world to call home, the best military and not pay their fair share . they have to pay their fair share and the president said so. the clock works to the president's advantage. if nothing happens then all of the tax cuts go out of existence existence.
>> if nothing happens automatic spending reductions take place and the deficit drops to half of what it is now. the president promised to cut it by half. he's saying do it my way or the way congress voted to do it which is through a hatchet. they're going to have to make a choice to do the deal in december or live with the consequences.
>> put away the charts and take out the crystal ball and tell me what will happen.
>> there will be to be a deal before we hit the cliff or after. if we go over the deal we have is five to one tax increases to spending cuts because of the bush tax cuts expiring. that's a much worse deal than what president obama is offering the republicans . at some point, and i don't know how much we have to damage the economy before that, republicans will do something they haven't done in years and vote for a tax increase.
>> thank you both.
>> thank you.
>> coming up, the fallout from karl rove 's $300 million fail is getting humorous. wait until you hear the new plan.
>>> and breaking tonight for the first time we are hearing what mitt romney really thinks about why he lost. you will not believe who he's