The Ed Show | December 03, 2012
>>> welcome back to "the ed show." thanks for watching tonight. republicans are doing a lot of maneuvering on the fiscal cliff. president obama and the democrats have put forward a plan relying mostly on raising more revenue from the wealthiest 2% of the country. republicans rely mostly on cuts affecting the middle class and the poor and republicans aren't specific about how they get $800 billion in revenue. for the conversation, let's turn to richard wolffe , msnbc political analyst and vice president and executive director of msnbc.com. and molly ball, political reporter for "the atlantic." the republican proposal includes ryan's voucher program for medicare. we're not even a month away from the election and they are throwing up on the wall everything that was reejected. why are they doing this?
>> well, i can tell you why they think they have a mandate. they are throwing insults at each other and that means they are engaging. they may be way apart in terms of the lessons learned. but house republicans have put in their initial offer here. and you know, the problem for house republicans is not only have they nod looked at the polls, maybe they are choosing their own before the election, but not only are they not looking at the same numbers, but they are trying to address a different problem. they think entitlements are the only thing that matters. that's the longer term issue. it isn't even dealing with the deficit problem that needs to be dealt with. as long as they are engaging, something is going to move here.
>> molly, the priorities in these plans couldn't be more different with republicans getting almost everything through cuts. how could the white house begin to accept this at any level. are we headed for the cliff?
>> the white house doesn't seem to be accepting it. the reaction from the other side seems to be, okay, this is a good start, but let's see something real. you can see, i think, the box that republicans have painted themselves into. i think this offer is sort of a recognition of how little leverage they have. they were being hurt by this perception that they weren't offering specifics and coming to the table. they offered something. it's going to make some conservatives scream with the tax hikes in it, but it's also not seeming to get any traction with democrats who are saying it's not specific enough and doesn't go far enough because it doesn't raise those rates.
>> what about the report from abc news? what about what's going to happen to let the middle class tax cuts pass and everything else go over the cliff?
>> it's quite clear they are going to want to say they reduce taxes and try and cushion themselves against the political fallout for what's going to follow. but you know, they are not being honest in the kind of offer that the house speaker made. in letting these tax rates slide and playing around with inflation measures, this is the kind of smoke and mirror economics and cuts that they said they didn't like when they were talking about the grand bargain. there's an honesty approach that they have to deal with as they think about the politics and the optics of how the fiscal cliff gets resolved. in the end, they have got not much. they can say they have a mandate so it's equal, but it really isn't and they know that.
>> we seem to know as much about mitt romney 's taxes as we do about the loopholes republicans are willing to close in this. they can't offer any specifics. is this a turnoff for the people?
>> in fairness we have to recognize that there's been a lack of specifics on both sides here. they are negotiating in public. you notice that that's how this stuff is coming out. it's not phone calls between the two sides or closed-door meetings. we don't know what spending democrats would cut and we haven't even begun the entitlements discussion, which the president is theoretically open to. so there's a lot that still needs to happen. i mean for you and me and normal people, three weeks away may seem like a short time, but there's a feeling that this has barely even begun.
>> here's senator bob corker and clairk mccaskill. here it is.
>> great detail, very painful cuts to medicare. i just did it in a 240-page bill that i have shared with the white house , shared with my colleagues.
>> if you don't think there's more money to be cut in contracting at the pentagon, you don't understand what has happened at the pentagon.
>> as much as i love claire, those are not the painful cuts that have to happen. we have to look at deeper reforms to entitlements.
>> it amazes me how republicans can sit there and label the earned benefit programs as the cuts that have to take place when we have been in two wars that weren't paid for and big pharma that took us to where we are. how did we get here? molly, how did we get so far in the hole? what did we do?
>> well, we spent money we didn't have, obviously. now we're looking for a way to resolve that. i think what you're hearing, too, part of the nervousness and part of the problem pr republicans is the things they are talking about aren't popular. as you've talked about a lot, there's political will to raise taxes on the wealthy. there's political will to make cuts in the pentagon. there isn't political will to cut entitlements. . so the kinds of things that republicans say they want to do, including preserving the tax rates for the top 2%, are not things there's a huge amount of public support for.
>> republicans clearly are ignoring the political will of the people .
>> they are just picking and choosing, which is what mitt romney did. you pick and choose and you don't get above 47%. they are trying to deal with the secondary problem and not with the first one. we got into this deficit because there was an economic downturn because of the bush tax cuts . you have to deal with that. you want higher tax rates and you want actually to lower spending on military. but you have to deal with entitlements, but until you agree on the problem and the politics, you're not going to come up with a resolution.
>> richard wolffe and molly ball, thank you.
>>> coming up, republicans told voters the president's policies were bad for the economy. new data tells a different story. we'll set the record straight , next.
>>> and after another senseless tragedy involving gun violence, bob costas speaks out. now the right wing noise machine is going after him. dan gross is here to talk about the