The Ed Show | November 27, 2012
>>> show." president obama can and should rely on labor to bolster his position in the fiscal cliff negotiations. labor is a major ally in protecting the middle class . today senior white house officials met privately with representatives of labor and other progressive groups. and attendees of the meeting say they were encouraged. one said, they expect taxes to go up on the wealthy and to protect medicare and medicaid benefits. they feel confident they don't have to compromise. another attendee said the white house did not want to go over the fiscal cliff but would do so if necessary. would they do it? if it's between that and compromise on their core principles, i was left with the impression they would. white house officials also reportedly said they will insist republicans deal with the debt ceiling now as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations and not later. also today, aflcio local leaders from 33 states are putting pressure on congressional lawmakers to let the bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy and keep social security off the table. let's turn to james hoffa , general president of international brotherhood of teamste teamsters. always a pleasure. good to have you with us. sometimes when you get politicians and supporters and voters, it's like hurting cats, so to speak. everybody goes in their own direction and they all want their own thing. how do you feel right now about the unity of where this is going for the democrats? what's your understanding of how the white house meeting went today?
>> right now, people are saying we have to stand tall. we had an election. these were the issues in the election. what organized labor is doing is urging this administration to stand tall. that was the message that was delivered today. we won and these were the issues. they wanted to send you a voucher for your medicare. they want to reform basically everything and take it away. we won the election. now we have to stand tall to make sure we protect the safety net of medicare and medicaid . we should stand tall. there's no sense kicking the can down the line. what they are doing is trying to hold the 98% hostage r for the 2% who aren't paying their fair share . every american realizes the rich should pay more money. that's the message we have to deliver. if they are playing that game, it's a losing hand and we're on the right side of this. i think we should say this is what it is. let's have reform. let's make sure we keep tax cuts for 98% of the people. but the 2% have to pay their fair share .
>> but mr. hoffa, if we go off the fiscal cliff, you're prepared to do that. that would hurt a lot of your members. are your members, do you think middle class americans are prepared to go down that road and bare the brunt of a tax increase just because republicans are stubborn?
>> no one want s s to see that happen, but guess what? this is something that's not going away. they have done this for the last two years. they held hostage every issue from fixing the roads, the reauthorization, unemployment benefits , we can't keep letting them hold us hostage every time we want to do something that's good for the country. it would be very damaging, but i don't think it would last long because the pressure would be so strong they'll have to do the right thing. they are not going to sacrifice their future for the 2% and basically hurt the 98% of the people that would keep the basic changes that they have.
>> so you're saying political russian roulette , bring it on. you think the democrats are in a solid position now and that will hold with the american people . that's interesting. i also want to bring up this. here's what the ceo of goldman sachs said about entitlements.
>> you're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations. the entitlements and what people think they are going to get because they are not going to get it. social security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. so there will be certain things that the retirement age has to be changed. maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. but entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
>> the average worker gets 16 years of social security benefits. what's your response to that mentality and that misinformation he's throwing out?
>> it's so outrageous. here's a guy that's a billionai billionaire. he's telling people that go out and work every day, work 40, 50 years and try to get benefits for a short period of time that they shouldn't get it? it's so wrong and so wrong headed. it's funny that the rich people really resent basically the average american after the guy that works every day. they resent him getting everything from the government. they are getting all the benefits that the government gets. they are the ones that are billionaires. but they resent the average worker, even getting social security . it's an odd mentality. it shows you how selfish they are.
>> if that comment by that ceo doesn't unify democrats, i don't e know what will. good to have you with us.
>>> john mccain continues his attack on susan rice . where's this all going? joan walsh weighs in.
>>> then the fight over the filibuster. this has been quite a discussion on liberal talk radio . a small rule change sparks a big debate over the future of the united states senate . what's at stake? that's next. stay with us.