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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  December 10, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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out by latinos. romney's percentage of the latino vote, 27%. obama got 71%. down out gone. manny pacquiao was a conservative politician in his home country of the philippines. i'm happy to put him in the middle of the ring where he belongs, oh, no, there you have it. manny with the elbow from the sky. he also got a punch from this guy who knocked him out over the weekend. we'll see you guys tomorrow. [ ♪ music ♪ ] >> eliot: good evening i'm eliot spitzer and this is "viewpoint," with 22 days left until we go over the so-called fiscal live, and even after president obama and speaker boehner met for the first time in over a month we still appear to be no closer to a deal. but over the weekend, for the first time both sides did seem
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to be softening the edges of their ideological swords. today in detroit the president continued his campaign-style push for congress to pass tax breaks for those below $250,000 and allow tax breaks for the wealthy to expire. >> a lot of people are putting forth a theory, and i actually think it has merit where you go and give the president the 2% increase that he's talking about, the rate increase on the top 2%. so there is a growing body. i actually am beginning to believe that is the best route for to us to take. >> in my view we all agree that we're not going to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000. we should just take them out of the discussion right now. >> i think if it got to the floor it would carry. >> eliot: as the republicans begin to come around on the tax rates democrats have become open to limited entitlement reform. there is no question that the entimes are a key component of
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the strength and success of the country. asthmaas mahatma begunked di said, a nation's greatness is measured by how it treats it's weakest members. >> i think we've got to deal with it, and i think most rational people including democrats realize at a we've got to make some cuts ordeal with the medicare. but know what, let's have some means testing. >> i do believe there should be means deathsing and those of us with the higher income in retirement should pay more. that could be part of the solution. >> eliot: joining me now is ruth marcus,cal almostist editorial writer fog the "washington post," and "new york times" washington bureau chief david leanhardt. thank you for joining me.: is this a strategic ploy for the republican party to remain
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strategic cohesiveness on this issue. >> no, i don't think it's a strategy. except on the part of the people like senator corker deviating from republican orthodoxy. the republican position has been no new taxes. that's the highest of the theology and first commandment no matter what, thou shalt not raise marginal tax rates. i think it's significant and very positive that some of the saner voices are talking about the prospect of raising top tax rates. it started and now you have the schisms between bill kristol blast the weekly standard and one hand and the wall street journal editorial page on the other.
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i think this is going to be a developing story on the republican side. >> eliot: i'm trying to figure out how to carry this theological metaphor. >> it might be better to stop. >> eliot: i'll use another one. will rogers you say the republican party is more like the democratic of yore where there is no capacity to have order. do you think david the grover norquist is althoughing its capacity to tap down every opposing voice. >> i think what you see here is the party has two different forces pushing on it. the majority of americans want to see taxes go up on high incomes, and the republicans know the polls that americans tend to blame them more than obama for the gridlock in washington. all that pushes them to a compromise that they have not
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wanted to do for 20 years on taxes. on the other hand, a lot of republicans were elected with big majority, and they have legitimate fear about getting primary opponents from their right. whatever the national polls say, compromising is not that easy for a lot of republicans because they have real political reasons to fear a challenge from the right. they'll say hey you're a so-called representative who voted for a tax increase. >> eliot: i remember as analect analected executive, and they said we got 70% also. we're not going to be susceptible to pressure from you, that is a political reality we have to deal with. david, i want to drill down on even over this past weekend we heard the fiscal cliff is a cliff. no parachute. bad things happen if we go over it. i have never been persuaded of that. the payroll tax is likely to go up either way. the taxes in the healthcare bill will kickback in no matter what.
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sequestration could be remedied. is it in your view a slope, a cliff, what is the metaphor, and is there hysteria attached to this that is excessive? >> cliff is a problematic metaphor because it is not like the debt ceiling. it's not even like the government shutdown. you don't necessarily have an enormous market reaction. this is not like the country defaulting on its debt. but it's serious for two reasons. we don't know what the reaction could be. there it is a chance that it could spook the markets. the second thing, the combine pieces of this passage is a combined 4% of the gdp. if they went into affect and remained in affect not just for a couple of weeks but for the full year it's hard to see how the economy avoids a recession next year. it's not guaranteed but it's more than enough to push the economy into a recession. if you go over for a few weeks it's not clear if the damage would be so great.
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it's hard to see how the economy sacrifice next year healthy if it's not averted in some way. >> eliot: david, that's clearly correct if the entirety of it continueed uninterrupted, but some pieces will occur regardless, other pieces could be remedied, which is why the timing issue and the cataclysm in january 1st has struck me whereme--we'll wait and see if anything happens. ruth, turning to the other half of this. >> i was going to argue with you about the cliff metaphor but go ahead. >> eliot: go ahead, i love the argument. >> well, so i think it's somewhere between a cliff and a slope. and you're both totally right. if it gets remedied within two weeks or a few weeks, not healthy, not good, the market could react badly. there is a lot of uncertainty that drags down growth during
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that time but not disastrous in any way. but there is a risk if you think you have a parachute and you jump off a cliff and it turns out that your rip cord doesn't work you go a couple of weeks off the cliff, and it turns out that it's dragging on and on and on because you really can't get to a resolution, then it becomes disastrous. i don't think anybody really knows what happens post cliff and how quickly it gets resolved. that's why i think people are legitimately concern. >> eliot: legitimate concern i'll grant you that. we've gone from cliff, slope parachute with no rip cord. >> it got out of control. >> eliot: we're out of metaphors. moving on to a new topic. i want to move onto the issue of entitlement. what does it actually look like? ruth what are democrats willing to do that is meaningful and should be done. you've written about this for years. what do you think should be done
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with medicare? >> should and willing to do are two different things. we know what the president laid out in his budget. it was about $340 billion worth of medicare reform. we know the extra steps that he agreed to take with speaker boehner during their private negotiations last summer including things that have become really at the top of the republican wish list like raising the age of eligibility for medicare and changing the way that social security cost of living benefits are calculated. whether they're still on the table is a huge open question. whether they would be tolerable for members of the party is a really big question. i think it's going to have to be some of that. you could raise the entitlement way but do it in an intelligent way that protects the people who are really at the bottom of the earnings chain while those of us who are easily going to be working and easily going to be
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getting our employers' sponsored health insurance until 67 could easily deprived of our medicare for that time. so there are things to do, but i think the democratic party really has it's back up on entitlement reform. >> eliot: ruth, i agree, but david, it seems to me that the republicans will cave on the rate and then turn and aante up. is means testing the best way to go in terms of the entitlement reform. >> there are still a lot of arguments for mean testing but there are a lot of arguments against. you would hear in particular the liberals in congress. arguments that fdr understood that the popularity of these programs were connected to the
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universality. i think a means testing would face substantial debate. >> eliot: once the republican cave on marginal tax rate, the democratic party may have a hard time doing anything significant on entitlement reform. writer for the "washington post," ruth marcus and "new york times" washington chief david leonhardt. thank you for joining me tonight. another mishe'ding statement from mitch mcconnell utter right from the floor of the senate. that's next. smartest comics i could find. my comedian friends and i will raise money to rebuild homes and lives one laugh at a time. so tune in next friday for my all star comedy special. >> together we can get new yorkers back to yelling at strangers and ignoring our friends.
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>> eliot: i've said it before. factors matter. you've heard me say it many times right here on this show facts matter. yet time and again you see cable news hosts fudging the facts in order to make a point or worse politicians skirting or completely ignoring the facts in order to advance their argument. so here on "viewpoint" we'll show you the lie and then tell you the facts. and we'll start with this gem from thursday when senate minority leader mitch mcconnell took to the floor of the senate to further perpetuate a myth about the debt ceiling. while discussing a bill that would permanently allow the president to raise the debt ceiling mcconditional had this mcconnell had this to say. >> by demanding the power to raise the debt limit whenever he wants by as much as he wants he showed that what he really is after is assuming unprecedented power to spend taxpayer dollars
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without any limit at all. >> actually, two points here. the first is a conversation that we already had last summer when the g.o.p. was threatening to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised, arguing that it encourages more spending. but that's not what the debt ceiling does. it deals with the debt accused by past government spending including the wild and unfunded spending of the last republican administration. and the second point is this. even if this bill were to pass, the power to raise and spend money would still lie solely with congress, that is in the constitution. full stop. the executive branch can only spend as much money as congress tells it to. what's more is senator mc mcconditionalmcconnell knows. this he proposed this last year. why is he now knowingly ms. leading the american people. senator mcconnell i know you don't think so, but facts matter. [ male announcer ] shift the balance of power
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that this guy, to the best of his ability, is trying to look out for us. >> eliot: at times it may seem like the president is powerless against a congress that's intent is to obstruct, delay and destroy any legislation he supports. but that's simply not the case. some of the finest accomplishments of the president obama's first term came through executive orders, a strategy he should be more willing to pursue pursue. last week i had a chance to walk with john podesta head of the center for american progress and former chief of staff for president clinton who knows a thing or two. >> you had a congress that was not controlled by the democratic party. you became the master using executive power. president obama faces the same problem as we look at it, the range of issues that he has to
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deal with. take climate issues, for example. is there anything that he can do on that particular issue administratively? >> yes, i think in the second term in particular you have to learn to use the full sweep of the power you have under the constitution and the laws of the united states. you mentioned climate specifically. if you look at what the president has been able to accomplish it's really through the executive authority. he raised the average for automobiles and light trucks and now for heavy trucks. that's contributed significantly to reduction in co2 emissions in this country. president von trap kept his copenhagen pledge to keep his reduction on a basic 2005 level by 2020. that's because he has taken action not because a lot of has happened on the congressional side. on the recovery bill they did put in a fair amount of money and they doubled it.
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i think the first order of business he has got to complete regulation on new power plants, and then take a look at how he wants to approach regulating existing--particularly coal power plants. >> eliot: he has done yeoman's work prospectively about coal burning and really nobody is building coal burning plants these days. but if he moves retrospectively that will make a huge impact. >> i think you'll see coal power plants switch to natural gas which is economic for the utilities because of the big movement towards production because of fracking. so that we'll see more gas in the system, less coal, more renewables in the system, and it will put us on the trajectory towards much more clean energy in the u.s. >> eliot: take from this an
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enormous range of options for the president. i want to touch on one or two other areas in a moment, but the media focuses so much on congress and the dynamics between the president and congress. the public seems to think that's all that goes on. as you said at the top of the segment, the power of the presidency is so much more expansive than what people see if you merely watch capitol hill. >> i think i was somewhat critical of the white house structure in the first term because i think that they really told the story and defined the presidency almost like the president was the prime minister, that his relationship with the american public was completely set through the lens of dealing with the congress. i think there is so much more to the presidency. take healthcare. you know, he put so much energy into passing the affordable care act, but now the real work gets done. putting in place the state exchanges, the federal exchange, moving the delivery system forward, reducing costs over all
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in the system, providing that big expansion of coverage that is embedded in that legislation. that takes enormous effort, enormous work. i think he has to work not only with his own agencies but with governors around the country. >> eliot: it's interesting because not many people focus on this, but when the president regalvannized his election, i think plays to your point and there is so much residual power. >> there was a big meeting with immigration activists and people wanted to see reform, including people from the bush administration. we encourage him to take that step particularly for the dream act kids. i think he was reluctant at that moment and thought he could work with congress. it's apparent that congress was not going to do anything. he did the right thing to take that action and it probably helped him politically.
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>> eliot: it was right substantively, and helped him politically. i want to switch gears. when i look at the issues that we're facing and ignore the momentarily crisis, the fiscal cliff or the ben gas bengahzi kerfuffle how do we begin to think about that, you mentioned, you are the think tank of this administration. >> we put put forward a tax reform plan that meets the levels of revenue that they put forward, but does it in a fairer way that supports the middle class and working people by changing the structure of the personal income taxes. it does raise the rates up to back up to the clinton levels, which by the way the economy did pretty well under for the people at the top but it converts deductions into a simple credit, which would make the income tax
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system rather than exacerbateing income and inequality, it would dampen it by giving everybody the same credit. if i'm a teacher and i have $1' worth of mortgage, i get $0.18. if i'm a millionaire i get $0.18. >> eliot: right now, the higher income get a bigger deduction. >> that's true for retirement and across the range of benefits that you get under the incomes tax. >> eliot: i want to focus on a piece of that proposal that you put forward. you want to raise the capital gains rate. not all the way to ordinary income but from 15% to 28%. that's hugely important. >> that's what it was under reagan. >> eliot: i would take it up to 35%, the top rate, but this is important with revenue and progressivity. >> there is argument about where you maximize the revenue gains
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from the capital gains rate, but absolutely, you know, i think income is income. if we have a fairer system, and there is no economic evidence, by the way that having these ultra low rates on wealth and investment income spurs growth. the experience is quite the contrary when rates were higher in the 90s we saw twice as good economic growth, job growth. there is no evidence that these rates on capital produce a better economy, more jobs and more growth. i think we have to go back to a sensible plan. >> eliot: that last point is so hugely important. if there is one flaw the other side has made over and over, lower rates spur investment and helps the economy it's simply not the case. >> my proof point is compare the eight years of clinton to the eight years of bush.
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>> eliot: we owe you a huge debt. good economy and wise wisdom. thanks for soming by. >> good to see. >> you coming up, a showdown on civil rights. i want to have that conversation. let's talk about it. really. really! that you're gonna lay people off because now the government's going to help you fund your health care. really? i wanna be able to have those conversations. not just to be confrontational but to understand what the other side is saying. and you know, i'd like to arm our viewers with the ability to argue with their conservative uncle joe over the dinner table.
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>> eliot: when it comes to the civil rights issue of our times same-sex marriage, will the u.s. supreme court confer with the court of public opinion which now favors same sex unions? 16 years ago congress enacted and the president signed into
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law the so-called defense of marriage act stewing governmental discrimination against gay couples we defining for federal purposes a marriage as an union between a man and a woman. on friday the supreme court announced it would weigh in agreeing to take a pair of cases challenging the definition of marriage. with me now to weigh in on what we can expect as gay marriage heads to high court as richard coraide former president ofe quality matters akhil reed amar. thank you for joining me. >> if you're legally married in a state like new york, the federal government cannot recognize your marriage. a number of couples sued and said that was unconstitutional, and that's the issue in the defensive marriage act case. in the other case, the
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proposition 8 case, a number of couples from california sued to overturn the proposition 8 which is the 2008 law which outlawed same-sex marriage after the courts said it was required. >> cenk: and so, akhil you're able to thread the needle. explain the constitutional difference between these cases and how the supreme court could say doma could be unconstitutional, the federal government cannot discriminate against a couple married in new york and still not rule that the california statute and referendum itself was not unconstitutional. >> the court has a whole menu of possibilities and a theory might go something like this. marriage has traditionalcally been decided by states. it's very unusual for the federal government to not just follow state law for its own purposes for internal revenue purposes, pension purposes, it's
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weird and untraditional for the federal government to disrespect a state's law on marriage. on the other hand, if you take that traditionalist approach, most states have until now not recognized same-sex marriage and you could say there is not yet a count veiling tradition. so if you wanted to thread the needle you could. >> eliot: the referendum in california itself it was unconstitutional. yet the federal statute that says we don't respect new york state's respect for same-sex marriage, a and then you're left with a crazy quilt across the nation. are you excited about the prospect of this twin set of decisions from the supreme court or nervous about it because of massive uncertainty. >> i'm not nervous at all and i'm very excited. i think that result which we
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just talked about which is possible because anything is possible, i think that result is very unlikely. i think when the court took both these cases i think it signaled a readiness to deal with these issues. there is a range of options for the court, but most likely that range falls for incremental advance for same-sex couples or something truly historic. >> eliot: as much as my heart and soul and every bone in my body wants richard to be right but i'm the view of the roberts and kennedy will take the conservative view and say respect states rights, but the federal government cannot discriminate against new york couples, it will be a crazy quilt. what do you think will happen, and how do you understand kennedy and months. >> i think justice kennedy is the key and justice robert is the second key. i gave you the argument of
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tradition. but they may be thinking about the sweep of history. in 15 years i think--here's a reduction, and if i'm wrong i'll shave off my beard and my mustache. in 15 years we'll have gay marriage everywhere. that's going to happen in 15 years. the handwriting is on the wall democrat graphically and justice kennedy perhaps doesn't want to be on the wrong side of history. maybe he won't make that entire leap forward in this term, and one big leap nationalizing it everywhere, but i don't know if he really wants to set back the cause of re reform which he may feel and political scientists feel is inevitable. we're already past a turning point. >> eliot: i assume you agree with akhil about the sweep of demographics, and the change in
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tide has been remarkably fast that no one really predicted four or five years ago but it's been breathtaking and informative. >> absolutely. we're all basically in agreement. the changes in public opinion have been very fast. these case versus worked their way up to the supreme court very fast. but also the court is willing to move a little more quickly. things--progress moves more quickly now in the internet age anyway, but i don't think they would have taken both these cases if there wasn't at least some support on the court for an historic decision. now that may change after oral arguments. they may take a procedure off-ramp on this. but within the next small number of years three four, five years, the supreme court will have to tackle this issue head on and it will only move the country forward. >> eliot: i want to believe you but i think they could have taken both case because it permits them to respect both
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states rights, both california and new york's rights to define marriage. akhil, explain how that could be the decision. we may be reading tea leaves here. >> we don't know which for and the gained three three theoretical--do they have to respect marriages performed out of state. if so, then the nine states allowed gay marriage can be the nevada of america, and so even if 41 states don't let you get married in that state if you can go to another state get married and come back, we're go to have gay marriage across the country very soon.
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>> eliot: akhil that's is a hugely important point. we had to respect if from massachusetts and canada, and there was a constitutional provision that says that you must respect the laws of other states. >> full faith and credit. >> eliot: you used that as a stepping stone to then gay marriage in new york itself. the same thing that you did in new york would happen nationally. the full faith in credit could be a stepping stone to national gay marriage. richard socarides and akhil reed amar. thank you as always for your time. republicans need to face the real facts about climate change. those types are coming on to me all the time now. >> she gets the comedians laughing... >> that's hilarious! >> ...and the thinkers thinking. >> okay, so there's wiggle-room in the ten commandments is what
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you're telling me. >> you would rather deal with ahmadinejad then me. >> absolutely! >> and so would mitt romeny. >> she's joy behar. >> and the best part is that current will let me say anything. what the hell were they thinking? >> only on current tv. smiles make more smiles. when the chocolate is hershey's. life is delicious.
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>> eliot: when president obama was re-elected, it wasn't just a win for him. it was also a win for facts and science. while everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions on subjects like climate change health reform and tax policy, as the great patrick moynahan would tell you they're not entitled to their own facts. i had a chance to speak about these topics and more. >> eliot: senator sheldon whitehouse what can the president do. >> i give a speech every week on the senate floor to keep the pressure up on this.
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we have the problem here which the republican party has categoryically denied that climate change exists, and they're in a place where it's pure magic and fantasy. and we have to live in the real world as prepare as your state knows better than any about the consequences of the climate change. the storms and so forth. two things, one the president needs to engage on this issue. they gave it a pass in the first term and they can't do this any longer if they want a legacy in the future. second, we need to get the public engaged. that's how you'll move congress. this is a battle between the entrenchinged polluting special interests, and what i hope will become an energized public and white house. >> eliot: in your speeches time and again you point to the data. we have opposition that is devote of a scientific gene that want to ignore it and tonight want to acknowledge what is reality.
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rising water levels, ice melt that is melting at a faster rate. >> those are things that you can measure like the acidification of the ocean. there aren't models for that. you go and measure. the republicans have gotten to the point where they disbelieve measurement. it's not just scientific analysis or projections. >> eliot: and we're getting to a tipping point where it will be harder and harder to pull back some of this damage. what would you want the president to do at a level, a carbon tax? we had legislation a few years that were so complicated they don't seem to move forward. >> there has to be a price on big emitters of carbon. they are creating enormous costs for the rest of us. look at what happened along the new york coast just recently all the way to the rhode island coast. we were hit hard, too although less so than your state. that is a big cost.
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while we can't show that sandy was caused by climate change, we can show that climate change loads the dice for those severe storms. which storms are the climate-caused one you'll never sort those out but you have to do more emergency response, more coastal defense, more preparation. that's going to cost money. that's a cost that we should find a way to put on the cause of the problem, which is carbon. that's economics 101. if you don't tax the thing or put a fee on the thing that is causing the harm, and you don't make them pay for the harm, then you get too much of it. right now we have too much of the carbon pollution. >> eliot: the point i was trying to make when we talk about that kind of burden shifting what you're describe something conservative economics. this is not some new liberal idea. you're talking about conservative economics. >> going back to the coca-cola
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bottling company. if you don't put the cost on the company that makes bottles that explode, then we'll have exploding bottles and we'll have to pay the costs of exploding bottles. >> eliot: i want to switch gears for a minute. obviously the budget battles and neither you nor i buy into this myth, they call it a fiscal cliff. what is the negotiating strategy for president. >> i think the facts on the so-called fiscal cliff are that if we go past january 1st without an agreement and then never do anything than the array of consequences is that the office has predicted that will begin to kick in. if you have a deal that concludes on january 31st, for instance, you can make the taxes retroactive so that people are protected. the regular middle class votes are protected and if that's what it takes to get a deal that actually protects the middle class, it is worth waiting for and it is worth fighting for.
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because if there is a stampede about the so-called fiscal cliff, and there is a reason, if as a result of that stampede the republicans are able to put protection of the super wealthy attacks on medicare and social security back into the equation, we will not have achieved the goal that this election put before us, which is it's time to protect the middle class. the high rollers and special froms have had it good for long enough. >> eliot: there seems to me an hysteria has been created and has been used to drive toward the conclusion we do not want to reach, which is the one the republicans are proposing. the delay not only strengthens the president hand, and one can retroactively fix any harm that might occur to protect the middle class. >> and it helps the republicans because grover norquist has that oath that he made them swear to him about never raising taxes
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and he presumes that those tax cuts last into eternity. on january 1st that's no longer true. that's no longer factual. they're actually gone. the deal that grover norquist would punish them because of the tax increase now from the new level becomes a decrease that they can take credit for and have done the right thing. that allows the republican party more roof to maneuver out from under the whip that grover norquist west valley cities around their ears. >> eliot: you say if we're going to confront our deficits, healthcare cost is the tough nut on this issue. how do you begin to confront that issue. >> the attack on medicare that the republicans bring is a fundamental misdiagnosis of our healthcare problem. if you look at our healthcare system across the country we're the most inefficient place in the world 18% of gdp. most inefficient in any other
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industrialized country is 12%. we don't deliver much better care as a result, so will is an enormous amount of money. whether it's $700 billion a year or 1 trillion-dollar as bush's treasury secretary says, it's a big number. 40% that have comes back through the federal budget. we've got to focus on improving the quality of care and lowering the costs for everybody grab the 40% of those savings that come back to the federal government but help the private sector have lower costs through kaiser, through blue cross united. >> eliot: it's not simply pairing 9 the benefits that individuals will get but the system going from you 18% gdp. >> when it looks like a third of our healthcare cost is waste inefficiency and bad design, if you don't fix that, and instead you go after grandparents on
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medicaid medicare, and families with disabled children who couldn't keep their children home without medicaid, you have done something that is not just a policy mistake it's morally disgraceful. >> eliot: what you're talking about is much more important. >> and the right thing. >> eliot: thank you, senator. >> always great to be with view after everything the country has been through the recommendation are still the party of no. congresswoman linda sánchez talks to us. coming up.
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the natural energy of peanuts and delicious, soft caramel. to fill you up and keep you moving, whatever your moves. payday. fill up and go! you disgust me. prove it. enough is enough. d-con baits are specially formulated to kill in one feeding. guaranteed. d-con. get out. our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> david: the republican obstructionism has maiden made enacting
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even the most basic legislation an arduous process. which could be why so few bills are actually getting passed. i had a chance to talk with representative linda sanchez. >> thank you for talking with us. has the republican party learned anything as it moves forward with an offer that begins to makes sense to you? >> i would have thought that the republicans would have paid more attention to the election results because i think the voters sent a clear mention that they don't want this brinksmanship, and by being stubborn and old holding middle class tax hostage. >> eliot: the president has done a good job focusing the issue on whether or not the top two percent will get their tax relief, and why don't the republicans pass that bill and then push the issue to january and then hold the debt ceiling
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hostage and now say we have a serious negotiation. that strikes me as their best negotiating ploy. >> under the president's proposal you get 98% of what they want, they're willing to walk away from that to get the two percent of what they want. i don't understand the math of it. if you talk about everybody gets the tax cut up to $250,000. it's just the very wealthy don't get tax cuts above that $250,000. they actually get something out of this deal. republicans don't want to see it happen. >> eliot: now john boehner is in an interesting position. the last two years we tried him carefully to dance--he had the tea party there holding his feet to the fire. your estimation, you live with your colleagues within the house of representatives, has the tea party lost elections much to everybody's surprise, can john boehner now look at them and say i'm in command of the ship, not you. >> i think he has a greater
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position of strength because he has seen the vocal hard line tea party members are not going to be returning members. so there is wiggle room for him. but he has to be the guy that gets to yes. there are democratic votes that can be had if he's willing to compromise. but he has steadfastly stuck to the majority of the majority must approve everything that comes to the floor. when he can't get the majority out of his own party he needs to look to democrats for those votes. >> eliot: what you're saying if you went to the middle, he would certainly unable to get some democratic votes but he could get some democratic votes and some republican votes losing the fringe on either side. does that happen in today's house of representatives or do you need to pass bills with near unity among either party. >> i think it can happen. it has happened. back when bush was in the white house and the democrats were in control of the congress, we sent over 460 bills to the president for signature. in this congress in which we
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have a democratic in the white house, and republicans control the congress, they've sent less than half of that to the president. they're not getting the nation's work done because they don't want to drop the fringe and go towards the middle where the bulk of the consensus is. boehner needs to figure out he can get the nation's work done if he's willing to go to that center and not allow a fringe element of his own party to dictate what the agenda for the nation is going to be. >> cenk: that's why i'm waiting to see what if that fringe element which is weaker now will allow boehner to go to the middle. are we heading towards another crisis on on the debt ceiling. >> it depends oh if they'll kick the can down the road or if they'll if i can figure out a short-term
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solution. we want folks who will see what is best for the country to happen. for a party that is always screaming about the business unity that needs certainty they've created the most uncertainty by playing this game of brinksmanship getting to the point of where bad things could happen. >> eliot: it's a fiction behind which people could hide to explain what was going on economically but you're correct. if you're afraid of uncertainty this is creating it. the president's proposal is the right one and it has republican root pass a sweeping extension give the president the power to raise and congress could come in and veto if congress wants to come in and vote. but it puts the onous on the congress. >> the republicans don't want to give the president anything. they're willing to sink the captain or sink the ship for the
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captain. you might have thought the last election cycle would have told them where the americans' hearts and minds are standing with the president making sure that the nation is taken care of. >> eliot: senate's refusal to to--daughters there were 38 opposition votes to ratify a treaty for the disability acts internationally. senator dole came in, asking his colleagues to pass it. we're mystified. >> there is a section that don't want to do anything through the u.n. because come how they think that weakens our power as a country. i think they really cut off their nose to spite their face, and really forgone an opportunity to have our standard ada legislation set the standard globally for disabled people. and many disabled veterans. >> cenk: and every major
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veteran's gr
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