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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  April 13, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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taking out. by the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. think about that. that's the interest. just the interest payments. then, as the baby boomers start to retire in greater numbers, and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse. by 2025 the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs, medicare and medicaid, social security, and the interest we owe on our debt. that's it. every other national priority, education, transportation, even our national security, will have to be paid for with borrowed money. now ultimately all of this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy.
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it will prevent us from making the investments we need to win theç future. we won't be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads. all of the things that create new jobs and businesses here in america. businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. and if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money, making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage. here's the good news. that done have to be our future. that doesn't have to be the country that we leave our children. we can solve this problem. we came together as democrats and republicans to meet this
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challenge before. we can do it again. but that starts by being honest about what's causing our deficit. you see, most americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract but like the stuff that it buys. most of us regardless of party affiliation believe that we should have a strong military and strong defense. most americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. most americans think that we should protect commitments like social security and medicare, and without even looking at a poll, my finally honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes. so because all of the spending is popular with both republicans and democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often
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eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse. you'll hear that phrase allot. we just need to eliminate waste and abuse.ç the implication is that tackling the deficit issue won't require tough choices or politicians suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminate things like foreign aid, own though foreign aid makes up about 1% of our entire federal budget. so here's the truth. around two-thirds of our budget, two-thirds, is spent on medicare, medicaid, social security, and national security. two-thirds. programs like unemployment insurance, student loans, veterans benefits, and tax credits for working families take up another 20%.
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what's left, after interest on the debt, is just 12% for everything else. that's 12% for all of our national priorities, education, clean energy, medical research, transportation, our national parks, food safety, keeping our air and water clean, you name it. all of that accounts for 12% of our budget. now up until now the debate here in washington, the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in washington, have focused exclusively on that 12%. but cuts to that 12% alone won't solve the problem. so any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table. and take on excess spending
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wherever it is in the budget. a serious plan doesn't require us to balance our budget overnight. in fact, economists think with the economy starting to grow again we need a phased-in approach but it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties nowç above all it will require us to choose a vision of the america we want to see five years, ten years, 20 years down the road. now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by republicans in the house of representatives, and embraced by self-of their parties presidential candidates. it's a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of medicare and medicaid in the years after that.
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these are both worthy goals. they're worthy goals for us to achieve. but the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different america than one we've known, certainly in my lifetime. in fact, i think it would be fundamentally different than what we've known throughout our history. a 70% cut in clean energy, a 25% cut in education, a 30% cut in transportation, cuts in college pell grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. that's the proposal. these aren't the kind of cuts you make when you're trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. these aren't the kind of cuts
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that the fiscal commission proposed. these are the kind of cuts that tell us we can't afford the america that i believe in and i think you believe in. i believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. it's a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can't afford to fiç them. if there are bright, young americans who have the drive and will but not money to go to college we can't afford to send them. go to china and you'll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. south korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. they're scrambling to figure out how to put more money into education. brazil is invest billions in new infrastructure and can run half of their cars not on high priced gasoline but on biofuels. yet we are presented with a
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vision that says the american people, the united states of america, the greatest nation on earth, can't afford any of this. it's a vision that says america can't afford to keep the promise we've made to care for our seniors. it's says that ten years from now, if you're a 65-year-old eligible for medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6400 more than you would today. it says, instead of guaranteed health care, you will vet a voucher. if that voucher isn't worth enough to buy the insurance that's available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck. you're on your own. put simply it ends medicare as we know it. it's a vision that says up to 50 million americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us reduce the deficit.
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who are these 50 million americans? many are somebody's grandparents, maybe one of yours, who wouldn't be able to afford nursing home care without medicaid. many are poor children. some are middle class families who have children with autism or down syndrome. some of these kids with disabilities, the disabilities are so severe that they requireç 24-hour care. these are the americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves. worst of all, this is a vision that says, even though americans can't afford to invest in education at current levels or clean energy, though we can't afford to maintain our commitment on medicare and medicaid, we can somehow afford
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more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. think about that. in the last decade the average income of the bottom 90% of all working americans actually declined. meanwhile the top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. that's who needs to pay less taxes? they want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that's paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. that's not right. it's not going to happen as long as i'm president. [ applause ]
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>> this vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in america. ron al reagan's own budget director said there's nothing serious or courageous about this plan. there's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. and i don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on capitol hill. that's not a vision of the america i know. the america i know is generous and compassionate. it's a land of opportunity and optimism. yes, we take responsibility for ourselves but we also take responsibility for each other.
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for the country we want and the future that we share. we're a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. we sent a generation to college on the g.i. bill and we save millions of seniors from poverty with social security and medicare. we have led the world to technological breakthroughs that saved lives. this is the america i know. we don't have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country. to meet our fiscal challenge we will need to make reforms. we will all need to make sacrifices. but we do not have to sacrifice the america we believe in. and as long as i'm president, we won't. so today i'm proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4
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trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. it's an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission that i appointed last year and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction i already proposed in my 2012 budget. it's an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table. but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future. the first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week. that stepç alone will save us about $750 billion over 12 years. we will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs that i care deeply about, but i
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will not sacrifice the core investment to grow and create jobs. we will invest in medical research. we will invest in clean energy technology. we will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. we will invest in education. we will invest in job training. we will do what we need to do to compete and we will win the future. the second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget. now as commander in chief i have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and i will never accept cuts that pcompromise ou ability to dedepend our homeland or america's interests around the world. but as the chairman of the joint chiefs has said, the greatest long-term for national security is america's debt. so just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we
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must do the same in defense. we can do that while still keeping ourselves safe. over the last two years second bob gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. i believe we can do that again. we need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we're going to have to conduct a fundamental review of america's missions, capabilities and a role in a changing world. i intend to work with secretary gates and the joint chiefs on this review and i will make specific decisions about spending after it's complete. the third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. wi the house republican plan could not be clearer.
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their plan essentially lowers the government's health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. our approach lowers the government health care bill by reducing the cost of health care itself. already the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. my approach would build on these reforms. we will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. we will cut spending on prescription drug business using medicare's purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine on to the market. we will work with governors of both parties for more efficiency and accountability for medicaid. we will change the way we pay for health care. not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve
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results. and we will slow the growth of medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all of the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need. now we believe the reforms we've proposed to strengthen medicare and medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023. and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that. but if we're wrong, and medicare costs rise faster than we expect, this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving medicare. but let me be absolutely clear. i will preserve these health care programs as a promise we
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society. i will not allow medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. i will not tell families who have children with disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. we will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations. that includes, by the way, our commitment to social security. social security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that's growing older. as i said in the state of the union, both parties should work together now to strengthen social security for future generations. but we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees or the most vulnerable or people with disabilities without
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slashing benefits for future generations and without subjecting americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market, and it can be done. the fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code. so-called tax expenditures. in december i agreed to extent the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans because it was the only way i could prevent a tax hike on middle class americans. but we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. we can't afford it. and i refuse to renew them again. beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. while i agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from home ownership to charitable giving, we can't ignore the fact that they provide millionaires
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an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle class family that does notç itemize. so my budget calls for limiting itemized deducts for the wealthiest 2% of americans, a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years. but to reduce the deficit i believe we should go further, and that's why i'm calling on congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple. so that the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford. i believe reform should protect the middle klatt, promote economic growth and build on the fiscal commission's model of reducing tax expenditures so there's enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. and as i called for in the state of the union, we should reform
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our corporate tax code as well to make our businesses and our economy more competitive. so this is my approach to reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. it's an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. it will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. it calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures, spending in the tax code. and it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors and protecting our investments in the future. now in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up, our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than i've pledged here. but just to hold washington and
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to hold me accountable, and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt fail/safe. if by 2014 our debt is notç projected to fall as a share of the economy, if we haven't hit our targets if congress has failed to act, then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. that should be an incentive for us act boldly now instead of kicking our problems further down the road. so this is our vision for america. this is my vision for america. a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future. where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all of the
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burden, where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children. there will be those who vigorously disagree with me approach, i can guarantee that as well. some will argue, we should not even consider ever, ever, raising taxes even if only on the wealthiest americans. it's just an article of faith to them. i say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. i don't need another tax cut. warren buffett doesn't need another tax cut. not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for
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medicare or by cutting kids from headstart or taking away college scholarships that i wouldn't be here without and some of you would not be here without. and here's the thing. i believe that most wealthiest americans would agree with me. they want to give back to their cugtry. a country that's done so much for them. it's just washington hasn't asked them to. others will say that we shouldn't even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. these are mostly folks in my party. i'm sympathetic to this view, which is one of the reasonize supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in december. it's also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit so, so we ca
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keep making investments that creates jobs. but doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don't begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order. finally, there are those who believe we shouldn't make any reforms to medicare, medicaid, or social security out of fear that any talk of change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of steps that the house republicans have proposed. i understand those fears. but i guarantee that if we don't make any changes at all, we won't be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer and will face higher health care costs than those who came before. indeed, to those in my own party, i say that if we truly
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believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. if we believe the government can make a difference in people's lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works by making government smarter and leaner and more effective. of course,ç there are those wh simply say, there's no way we can come together at all and agree on a solution to this challenge. they'll say the politics of this city are just too broken, that choices are just too hard, the parts are just too far apart. and after a few years on this job, i have some sympathy for this view. but i also know that we've come together before and met big
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challenges. ronald reagan and tip o'neill came together to save social security for future again rathss. the first president bush and a democratic congress came together to reduce the deficit. president clinton and a republican congress battles each other ferociously, disagreed on just about everything, but still found a way to balance the budget. and in the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts. and i know there are republicans and democrats in congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction. and even those republicans i disagree with most strongly, i believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. we may disagree on our visions but i truly believe they want to do the right thing.
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so i believe we can, and must, come together again. this morning, i met with democratic and republican leaders in congress to discuss the approach that i laid out today. in early may the vice president will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of june. i don't expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach i laid out today. this is aç democracy. that's not how things work. i'm eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum. and though i'm sure the criticism of what i've said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the house republican approach has been strong, americans deserve, and will demand, that we all make a difference to find common
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ground. this larger debate that we're having, this larger debate about the size and the role of government, it has been with us since our founding days. and during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we're living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. that's not a bad thing. in fact, it's a good thing. as a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this one of the most important debates that we can have. but no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we've always held certain beliefs as americ americans, we believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own
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happiness, we can't just think about ourselves. we have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. we have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. we have to think about what's required to preserve the american dream for future generations. this sense of responsibility to each other and to our country, this isn't a partisan feeling. this isn't a democratic or a republican idea. it'sç patriotism. the other day i received a letter from a man in florida. he started off by telling me, he didn't vote for me, and he hasn't always agreed with me, but even though he's worried about our economy and state of the politics here's what he said, he said, i still believe,
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i believe in that great country that my grandfather told me. i believe that somewhere, lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station the american dream is still alive. we need to use our dollars here, rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create to maintain. we, as a people, must do this together. no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on i still believe, i still believe as well, and i know that if we can come together and you hold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is america, we
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will keep the dream of our founding alive in our time. and we will pass it on to our children. we will pass on to our children a country that we believe in. thank you. god bless you. may god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> the president wrapping up his nearly 40-minute speech at george washington university. i'm tamron hall and the "news nation" following developing news now as president obama reveals his plan for the country's economic future. chuck todd joins me now. chuck, the white house kept the details of this speech close to their vest, details started to leak out earlier today. what is the big surprise here? >> reporter: well,ç i think that -- i wouldn't say there's a big surprise. i guess it's one of the surprises is what he -- how much he did borrow from the debt commission, the decision to take the tax reform and the long-term government spending operational
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ideas in the debt commission seemed to hint that that is a path forward that he would like to see, a blueprint worth following. the defense of his own health care plan that should not have gone unnoticed in this speech. this decision to sort of draw a line in the sand on what and how medicare and social security are defined, how they're defined as a benefit, that seemed to be the contrast he was trying to create with the paul ryan, the house republican budget committee chairman he put out, at least when it comes to medicare. there are some that will say the president laid out a vision and called for yet another commission. but in this case it is a commission of people that actually have to vote on these proposals. it's my understanding it's going to be a bipartisan group of members of the congress led by vice president biden to come up with this plan. i guess the fact that we're going on yet another commission -- >> is interesting, certainly. >> like you shake your head going, how many commissions is this going to take.
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>> how many meetings can you have. >> critics are waiting to see if he would name a number. he said $4 trillion. the only applause line i believe was when the president talked about the gap between the wealthy and those who are middle american. he says in the last decade the average income of the bottom 90% of all working americans actually declined. the top 1% saw their income rise by an average more than a quarter. he says, not as long as he's president will we see a tax increase on the wealthier americans. >> reporter: when you look at it in polling and the different choices, and, look, a lot of this depends how you ask the poll question, but what comes out of it,ç particularly with independent vote i'm not going to say it's focused group but the speech seemed to be adesigned to swing independent
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voters who are going we want fairness to this system. and you know the president endorsed this method of 3-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. which is probably can get him some republican support. and i know in talking, tamron, to some republicans the big fear they had in what the president might do today is that he might fully embrace that debt commission and create this divide inside the republican party because the leaders, you heard mcconnell and boehner, all tax increases are off the table. listen to saxby chambliss, a conservative republican north from georgia who says you can't take revenues -- the idea of expanding revenues off of the table. tom coburn, who supported the original debt commission plan, which called for in the simplifying of the tax code in essence did raise taxes on some people, particularly the wealthy. >> chuck, we greatly appreciate you joining us. i have a couple of lawmakers
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ready to respond to the president's speech. robert andrews of new jersey and republican congressman of arizona, a freshman, representative on the financial services committee. congressman, let me start with wow, your impressions of the president's speech he draws the line on several occasions in the speech with the proposal made by congressman ryan including the issue of health care saying the other proposal would increase what seniors and four familipoo pay, seniors by $6,000. >> the first third of the speech i actually loved. i have -- >> what did you love about it? >> welling he was actually articulating the crisis that faces all of us and even the willingness to talk about social security and medicare, when you consider how many on both left and right around here, but particularly brothers is sisters in the senateç don't want to touch any of this subject. he gets credit for that.
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i will say the second two-thirds were a little bordering on schizophrenic. >> elaborate on that. >> a classic case. when he was talking about poor children and seseniors, talking about dollars from medicaid. part of the discussion in the ryan budget is would our states if we give those states the dollars manage those benefits better. and design those benefits for the demographics of the individual communities. >> the president said he would work with governors to look for effective ways to handle medica medicaid. >> you have a problem. you can say i'm going to work with them to deliver these dollars bet somewhere more efficiently and the other sentence to demagogue it? here's where you get very tired of the political theater around here and wish it was a bit more like the first third of the speech, some honesty about the problem. >> congressman andrews, let me bring you in on the conversation here. do you believe there was honesty
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addressed by the president regarding the problems as your colleague in the house just stated. >> yes. and i think the president laid out a chance we ought to make. in order to restrain medicare spending and reduce the deficit, do you ask mill airs to pay more in taxes or do you ask senior citizens to pay $6,000 a year more out of their pocket for health care? th that's a pretty obvious choice to me. do you let medicare negotiate for prescription drug prices to get the same deal the v.a. does, or do you have tax cuts for millionaires? i think that's -- that's not a demagoguery, that's a choice. i would ask my friend from arizona which of the choice his would make. >> congressman? >> brilliant point. look the top 5% of american earners pay 59% of all the income tax. so how many jobs do you want to crush? how many small businesses do you
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want to destroy? if we're trying to save this country we need economic growth. we need those jobs. you can't continue to be demagoguing the job creators in this country. >> can i ask another question? >> sure, go ahead. >> we didn't get an answer to that one. >> you did. congressman, that's -- that's tacky. look, that was an honest answer. >> let's ask another question, then. we tried this formula of tax reductions for the wealthiest people under george w. bush and we had a small increase on taxes for the wealthy under bill clinton. which administration created more jobs? >> when we had the republican congress that did welfare reform and many of the great policies in the mid '90 snts? >> you're making a great point. >> let me interrupt, gentlemen, here. the tack burdtax burden on the
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wealthiest at its lowest level in a century. should everything be on the table in how do you make up the revenue here? >> you actually go back to somewhat where i'm hoping the president was leading, which is from his own deficit commission saying, look, we're going to have to lower marginal rates, broaden out the base, take away a lot of the special exceptions, these special lobbyist-driven tax cuts. but you also now got to deal with another problem from the president's own state of the union speech and now this speech. if we're lowering corporate income taxes how do you deal with our brothers and sisters out there that their income comes from their llc, subchapter s? a lot of devils in the detail here on the tax policy. >> i'll let you get the last word in congressman andrews. >> how do you borrow $1 trillion from the chinese to lower taxes forwelly people and raise health care costs for seniors by
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getting rid of medicare? i like the president's direction. >> thank you both for your reaction. with us now for aç third reaction, phillip dennis, found or of the dallas texas tea party. let me get your reaction to what the president said about the tax burdenen and the wealthiest are paying the lowest level in half a century and quoted the bible, saying for the grace of god there go i, and there is a responsibility if you will, that there should be a shared burden when we're trying to make up this deficit. >> well, gee, i would think the top 1% of income earners in the united states paying 40% of all taxes and the top 10% paying 70% is taking care of their share and other people here. i was very -- i was not surprised by president obama's speech. sounded like jimmy carter 30 years ago talking about cutting defense and massively cutting defense and increasing taxes on the evil rich, that
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accidentally -- incidentally create the jobs in this country. it was pretty much what i expected. >> you're with congressman ryan and his plan which according to the president would increase what siors pay for health care by $6,000 a year, you're okay with that difference? >> i was listening to the congressman from new jersey, no wonder that place is so screwed up like it is with people like that running it. >> let me stop you for a second. when you say things like that this is when people have a hard time taking people seriously when you're from the state. we can have a civilized conversation based on the facts, don't you? >> we have a surplus while they have a tremendous deficit and it's that kind of thinking. why do you have to increase taxes on the rich or seniors lose their health care? what about the department of education? what about the department of agriculture? the department of energy? all of these have massive increases in their budgets over the last several years and no one talks about cutting any of those things. we are tired as americans -- >> but the president notes, when
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you look at the budgets for those, it's nothing compared to what we need to look at with defense, social security, "t&ook at taxes, look at progra like unemployment insurance, student loans, veteran benefits and tax credit for working families, that's 20%. >> the tea party is not saying anything is off the table. we have continually said everything including defense and we're not really adverse to tax increases. but we would have to see major, major spending cuts before we ever agree with that. we don't have a revenue problem. we have a spending problem. you hear that over and over and it's the truth. president obama will create more debt in america than created between 1787 and 2009 combined and not working. it's destroying our country. >> i think the headline is you're not opposed to a tax increed but you need more
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spending cuts and that might be a surprise to a lot of people. >> they would have to be spending cuts that would kick king kong's butt. >> thank you very much. greatly appreciate it. more ahead on "news nation" including breaking news. another air traffic controller asleep on the job as a medical flight is attempting to land. ? plus the latest on a horrifying story out of new york. a 10-year-old escapes as his mother drives her van into the hudson river killing three of her children and herself. didn' t? well, v8 v-fusion juice t? gives you a full serving of vegetables, plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. v8. what's your number? i know what works differently than many other allergy medications. omnaris.
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welcome back. breaking news here on "news nation." another air traffic controller has fallen asleep, if you can believe, on the job. the controller's suspended after a medical flight tried to land at the reno tahoe airport. tom costello joins me live from washington, d.c.
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people will hear the story and won't be able to believe it happened again. >> reporter: this will raise more concern. this was happening overnight a medevac plane trying to land at reno, could not raise the tower, tried on multiple occasions, circling and had to land on his own. he was in communication with a controller in california but not the controller there in reno, nevada. we have also learned today there are other controller incidents we were unaware of. we know about the one at reagan national airport in washington, d.c., we know about knoxville but the faa today say there were others as well, investigating two controllers allegedly asleep or nonresponsive in lubbock, texas, in recent weeks and one at boeing field in washington state. the faa is ordering all 27 towers in the country using solo controllers in the overnight shift, that they will now go to a minimum of two controllers on duty at any one time. i talked to the secretary of transportation a short time ago who said he's outraged by this
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behavior and the american public has every right to believe when they are on a plane, whether a commercial plane, private plane, the controller in the tower is at a minimum going to be awake. all of the controllers thus far suspended. some could be fired. >> thank you very much, tom. and authorities in newburgh, new york, trying to piece together details surrounding the tragic deaths of a mother and her three children. this happened right outside of new york city. police say lashaun da armstrong drove her minivan intoç the hudson river killing herself and three children, all of the children under the age of 5. armstrong's 10-year-old son managed to escape that vehicle before it went into the river. a woman driving by stopped to help the boy and actually took him to a fire station. >> he was obviously very shaken up, having a difficult time, trying to explain what happened. he was soaking wet, you know, the river at this time of the year is probably 40, 45 degrees.
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so he's probably suffering a little hypothermia at that point also. >> distraught family members of the victims visited the scene of the tragedy this afternoon they put a small memorial of toys and balloons and candles for the children who lost their lives there. a south carolina jail only allows prisoners to read the bible. they banned all other reading material. the justice department says the inmates' free speech rights are being violated. people have all kinds of retirement questions. no problem. td ameritrade has all kinds of answers. call us for quick help opening your new ira. or an in-depth talk with a retirement expert. like me. stop by my branch for a free retirement check-up. retirement hows and how-muches? whens... and what-ifs? bring 'em on. it's free. you're gonna retire. and we're gonna help. retirement answers at td ameritrade. roll over your old 401(k)
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welcome back to "news nation." the transportation securityç administration says, it is now reviewing its airport screening policies. a kentucky couple posted this video on the internet of their 6-year-old daughter undergoing a pat-down while passing through security at the new orleans airport last week. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins us from
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washington. so obviously, pete, people have seen this video, it's gone viral and bet many are upset about it. >> reporter: right. after tsa announced the new more intrusive security measures last fall it said that children under 12 would receive a modified pat-down and tsa says it's looked at the video and the screener followed those rules exactly. tsa is always looking to refine its procedures it wants to get away from a one size fits all approach and they want to look at how to make changes for what they describe as low-risk populations like young children. now a member of congress has weighed in on this, congressman jason chaffets of utah is disgusted by what he sees in the video. so as you say, some people think that this goes too far. tsa says it's a sensitive issue and they're trying to figure out how to change it. >> pete, thank you very much on the update on that story. time for the "news nation" gut check.
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the u.s. justice department is pushing back against a south carolina jail and its policy of barring inmates from any reading, any reading material, other than the bible. the justice department believes the jail is violating those inmates' free speech rights and seeking to join a lawsuit filed back in october. the attorney for the sheriff of berkeley county, where the jail in south carolina is located she's surprised by the justice department's stance on the issue. she says since 2009 inmates have been allowed to receive any type of religious material so long as they meet strict physical requirements. so what does your gut tell you? should the jail be allowed to bar inmates from all reading material? except for the bible? go toç newsnation.msnbc.com. take a look at yesterday's gut check on france banning islamic face veil. should the government be allowed to tell people what they can and
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can't wear? 57% said yes. 43% say no. thank you very much. you can reach us on our twitter account, facebook. let us know your thoughts on the president's vision for reducing the deficits. that does it for this edition of "news nation." i'm tamron hall. martin bashir is up next. as a manager, my team counts on me to stay focused. so i take one a day men's 50+ advantage. it's the only complete multivitamin with ginkgo to support memory and concentration. plus vitamin d to help maintain healthy blood pressure. [ bat cracks ] that's a hit. one a day men's.
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good afternoon. it's wednesday, april 13th. it's great to be here. here are the stories that we're following. slasher. >> we have to live within our means. >> sacrifice and responsibility, the president outlines his plan to take the nation from debt to prosperity. republicans hit back. >> it's one area we know we're not going to get very far on the idea we're going to raise taxes. >> the battle over taxes for the rich. >> he cut me. >> the fight has just begun. plus --

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