Up | November 17, 2012
>>> senator's office and you get arrested, or you have a group of people -- i don't want to minimalize that, it's not fun to be arrested, but what is -- there is a disconnect. i think we all agree on that. there's this conversation that's happening, there's a fear on some people that because of the president's -- that the president's resounding victory is in some ways a double-edged sword. on one level it shows he campaigned on some of the progressive priorities, taxes at the high end , but also he doesn't have anyone to worry about. that he has free-range to make this deal. what is your theory of action here about how you exert some real kind of grassroots accountable on this conversation, which is happening on an insider baseball kind of way?
>> let's take the senator durbin action on friday what would have happened if people had moved into the streets, occupied the building and got arrested, we would have a sign-on letter from all the organizations in illinois saying don't do a bad deal. like, that's not going to get it done. so, senator durbin is not used to having progressive people, people doing a demonstration. he definitely shakes up the way he thinks about this debate and makes him react. the senate is a key fire wall in ensuring we don't have a bad deal. that's part of the theory. secondly, this is difficult stuff to understand. this is, like, turn -- if you want -- i don't know -- we're probably killing ratings now talking about the fiscal cliff. i think these demonstrations and the level of people putting their bodies on the line, these were like students, cleargy. i was in the holding tank with a senior who was 75, trembling, barely able to stand up with his face against the wall cuffed for three hours. basically saying you all need to wake up because this is a big deal . you voted for fairness but you won't get fairness just because you voted. that's a key. on the republican side , we know that a lot of people that voted republican are actually with us on this issue. so how do we get in there and actually start to organize people and build a wedge there.
>> one issue, i want to show this, that's a key point. like, here's bill crystal last week saying basically, you know, do we need to protect these tax cuts at the top. one of the most consistent polk results was that raising tacks on people at the top is incredibly popular. it's a majority position among republicans often.
>> and the other popular position is don't cut benefits on medicare or social security . that's a majority position among republican voters, too. what is amazing to me is you open up the paper, you watch on television, there's boehner, mcconnell, all these people saying he has to have major entitlement cuts, cuts in social security , medicare and medicaid . right after the republicans got finished beating up on the democrats for allegedly taking $760 billion for medicare , that's terrible, now they're insisting we have to take more money for medicare , medicaid , social security . the democrats are stupid enough to go along with that. they will criticize the democrats the next election.
>> that's a great point. heather, you were in washington and watched the sausage making happen. how much leverage do you think there is?
>> that's a good question. i think unfortunately we may have to get through this period of time of complete detachment from reality. and then the conversation will shift as it will as people start to gear up for the midterms. people start looking out into the country again and saying, hey, we're still at about 8% unemployment out here. jobs are still the number one concern of voters. not on the donor class, but of voters. then there's going to be a whole, okay, we have all these recessionary spending caps, but what can we do to get people back to work.
>> a bad deal can get baked in the interim. is it possible to create, when you talk about medicare , social security , some reporting suggesting that jack lew who is the president's chief of staff, in the last round of these said medicaid , no, no no can't touch medicare .
>> medicare , i assume?
>> no. this is on medicaid . medicare search more open. medicaid is a huge way of how the affordable health care act will get people covered. medicare has already done some stuff, they have done stuff in terms of the payments providers, and in the president's proposal there are additional changes to payment formulas. that's already on the table. but are there red lines for you, congressman, because here's an interesting way that this will come down. if there's any revenue at all in this deal, if there is a deal, they're going to lose a lot of people on the house republican caucus . they might lose 30, they might lose 40, they might lose 50, they might lose 60, maybe 70 did pending how much revenue is on the table. which means in order for it to pass, nancy pelosi has to come over and knock on your door. what are your red lines on this?
>> i suppose i'll have a number of red lines . number one, not a nickel in reductions and cost of living increases, social security , not a nickel in reductions to benefits to medicare and medicaid . those are probably the most primary red lines . then i would want to see --
>> that's interesting.
>> i would want to see -- where you draw the red line , i don't know. i don't want to see more cuts in discretionary spending , i don't want to see increases to the military. i don't want to see revenue -- revenues, so-called, that will impact the middle class , like eliminating state and local taxes. that's a very important one. some of the proposals that are on the table now, they came from romney. they came from democrats saying great idea. let's cap deductions at 35,000 or $40,000. that will, in a high tax rate like you are, that will really almost eliminate to a large extent, deductibility, state and local taxes. which, in turn, will put more pressure on state and local golf t governments not to provide social services , and to cut their spending. it would ratchet it down.
>> would be amaze forget losing candidates signature policy, which is dealt with ad hoc reverse engineered around the things he didn't want to say, was what ended up being --
>> we see people like conrad saying it's a good idea. let's be clear, you can start reducing upper income deductions as you used to do. that's one thing. but hard caps deductibility, local and state tax deductibility, out of the question.
>> i want to get your sense of where the president