Up | November 17, 2012
>>> we have a conversation that's happening, the center of which to me seems wrong. the focus of which seems wrong. not on mass unemployment and the massive waste of resources and livelihoods, and just human happiness that is represented by that. just emotional level, just like, it's like causing psyching destruction amongst our fellow citizens and depression for no good reason. like we can't fix it. that's not the conversation. conversation is about what are the projections of the balanced payments in 2026 . okay, fine. so then the question is, as member of the united states congress , and as member of the minority in the united states congress in the house of representatives , what can be done? what are the actual political points of leverage to change this or do we just sit here on my show and go like oh, they're saying the wrong thing?
>> the main point of leverage is the so-called fiscal cliff, which isn't really a cliff, but, the fact is that come january 1st or so, all the bush taxes including those on people below 250,000 expire when the payroll tax cut expires the alternative minimum tax hikes up, sequestration of 1.2 trillion dollars kicks in and various other tax breaks for moderate income people go away, that will hit the economy hard. and everyone wants to avoid that. now we don't have to avoid it on jaush 1st.
>> if we make an agreement on february 1st , or march 1st , you can make it retro active. people get nervous. but we can do that. there's no hard deadline, really.
>> but, the -- the one leverage we really have, i guess, pure republicans, saying what they've been saying, is that all the leverage changes on january 1st .
>> because right now, you've got to vote to extend taxes and they're saying we're not going to vote to extend the tax cuts without everybody's tax cuts not just for people under $ 50,000. after january 1st the tax cuts expire.
>> they're gone. everybody's taxes have gone up. and now, you come in to the building and you say, let's reduce the following taxes, and there are the republicans.
>> so that is that. i've heard that -- is that what you want to see happen? or --
>> well, i guess i think the one thing it seems like we all agree on is we have the wrong starting point, and deficits are the frame and that's where we're starting and so we need to break that up. and then, at least i feel like the election created some opening, so we have this kind of fairness moment in america. and actually occupy, play a big role in that. i think people were feeling something wasn't working. feeling a lack of fairness in their lives and somebody named it. then it became real credence to what people were feeling and the election was about many things but i think it was about fairness. so i think to actually, i mean, an insider strategy will only get us so far. and a fight that's starting up on such a bad place. so what are we going to do? you've got to go out and engage constituents all across the country to get into this. i think with the fiscal cliff frame also like i was in a cab on my way to the airport yesterday to get here and the cabbie is like they've got to fix this fiscal cliff, the world is going to come to the end. we started saying no it's the inequality cliff.
>> that's very deliberate. that frame is very deliberate to frighten people and set up the political nature to which people would do things they never would otherwise do such as voting to cut social security and medicare and medicaid. which would normally be unthinkable. you've got to do it to have a balanced solution.
>> and i think it's amazing the exconsistent to which despite the fact that we've had occupy, despite the fact that the wall street is their ultimate candidate mitt romney who is their embody, right, lost the election, we still frame everything in terms of what will hit the street. what will happen to wall street ? which made tremendous profits over the last four years. they haven't been hurt at all. but they're so terrified of this fiscal cliff, it's their frame.
>> last week, former partner of bain capital the irony is two things are happening simultaneously. the one hand, as actors in the political sphere, people in the 1% and in finance and wall street are saying, oh, my god, we're screwed. our deficits are going to be too big, and it's going to mean huge interest rates and a run on u.s. treasuries , right? this is how they talk when they're in the sphere of politics. then during their day job when they're trading bonds, right, the actual yields on the bond prices which is a market reflection. these are people who believe that market prices convey the right information, when they're in their day job trading the bonds it's historically low yields. all everyone cannot give the u.s. government money fast enough and leave their jobs and take, sell it down to washington and say oh, my god it's a total disaster the whole thing is going to blow up and go back to trading their bonds.
>> and by the way, i saw some of the news mentioned the other day 448 days or something like that since the u.s. was downgraded by one of the rating agencies . what are we going to do about it? what it shows is nothing will happen. the rating agency was dumped.
>> talk out this idea of direct action. i want you to talk me through where that goes. because it seems to me like people are going to say, look, sorry, there's a republican -- the republican house of representatives we've got to deal with them. i want to hear more on that when we come