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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  April 10, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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roundtable on the news of the week with liynn sweet and josep schatz. we will talk with grover norquist and then john gage president of the american federation of government employees. "washington journal" is next. host: congress back in session a vote on the budget for the rest. fiscal year and debate before the full house an republican plan put forth by the chair of the house committee paul ryan. all this as the president yesterday in private signed a short-term spending bill that pays for the federal government
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through this friday called a clean c.r., congressional resolution. the rest expected to pass. the big debate, what happens next year. some of the discussion points including the weekly standard ryan versus obama and fred barnes calling it the great debate. "new york times" focusing on the agenda the fight over the debt. we want to hear from you as we discuss what congressman paul ryan is putting forth. full expected in the house. the numbers are on the screen. let's look at some headlines. c.q. weekly going for bold the ryan budget plan. we will have highlights in moment. from the weekly standard ryan versus obama. the front page of "new york times" moving the agenda to the
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debt ceiling limit a vote that needs to take place as early as may 16. we heard from the treasury secretary from that. next on the agenda for washington fight over debt. she writes the congressional republicans are vowing before they will agree to raise the current 14.25 trillion dollar federal debt ceiling a step that will be necessary in favor weeks president obama and senate democrats will have to agree to deeper cuts for next year and beyond than those in the six-month deal agreed to cut $38 billion and avert a government shutdown. from fred barnes his piece is ryan versus obama will this ye year's main event." the section of the obama care at the white house healthcare summit february 25, 2010, elevated him to a stature in washington rare for house members. the summit lasted seven hours
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six minutes of analysis by ryan as president obama listened a few seats away broke the tedium. obama's reply is largely forgotten. he was evasive. he ignored ryan's sweeping critique and said he wanted to on a couple of points. he picked one ryan had not mentioned and thought medicare advantage was working well and didn't give ryan a chance to answer. that is how barnes begins his piece. as you saw yesterday the president making an unannounced visit to the lincoln memorial to showcase that washington is up and running. hard to follow a $3.8 trillion budget but the city gets security release is the story. honest abe is still open with a photograph of the president and greeting some tourists at the memorial. here is more of what he said yesterday afternoon. >> i just want to say real quick that because congress was able
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to handle its differences that is why this place is open and everybody can enjoy their visits. that is the kind of future cooperation i hope we have going forward. because this is what america is all about. everybody from different places enjig those things that bind us together. it is wonderful to spend time with you. hope you have a great time. >> the president at the lincoln memorial yesterday. he is in town this weekend. congress is back this week. two big budget items. voting on a budget for the rest of the fiscal year that expires at the end of september and the tkaebt that begins on a budget put forth by paul ryan. we carried that last week in a series of mark-up votes that extended seven to eight hours. that is what we are focusing on. harold is joining us from cleveland on the republican line. good morning. harold, go ahead. are you with us?
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caller: yes, i am. i was just calling to say i definitely support paul ryan, what he is doing, as well as what the republicans are doing get our fiscal house in order. people have to realize, especially the democrats, have to realize that we have a $14 trillion debt that is sinking the country. and the democrats don't want to cut anything. the reason why we have gotten so close to the government shutdown is president obama didn't lead. he put out a budget that was very political, didn't take any chances. then somebody had to if i am the vacuum and -- fill the vacuum and luckily the republicans filled the vacuum. one thing i find interesting and sad is telling you everything you need to know is this
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government, they have the hardest time in the world trying to cut a few billion dollars but they can spend a trillion dollars in the blink of an eye and it doesn't make sense. something has to be done. i'm glad the republicans are starting to act like grown-ups. host: that is one of the themes in a couple of editorials. from politico abortion foes gird for the next round as the issue of planned parenthood one of the con 10 shus -- contentious points. next is tim from gainesville, florida. democrat line. welcome to the conversation. caller: thank you for taking my call. c-span is a great network and i'm glad i have an opportunity. i want to first ask everybody to make sure that you watch ed's show. i'm sorry, i'm having a little trouble hearing. host: that is ok.
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caller: they will be talking in the black agenda, noon on msnbc. i think that is really important we talk about the budget issues we remember the poor and people left out and i don't think the ryan budget does that. i was watching a c-span program and heard that the president is pursuing a race neutral policy and i called earlier and talked about making things better for black america and all of america. the reason i can say that is i have lived in the north and south and i know for a fact that the south did not have the wealth that it had until black people had their freedom. host: appreciate the call. "atlanta journal-constitution" the bigger budget battles to come is the front page story. the "houston chronicle" the next brawl is the debt ceiling front page of "new york times" also and why celebrate our kick the can congress funding government one week at a time is a massive
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failure. what are we, zimbabwe? you can log on to and journal at c-span org. caller: i was a third generation republican but quite frankly there is not a republican party any more. they have no belief in the future of the country when they are taking money away from health and from education. they are talking we will save money for this generation to come. we don't educate the generations to come, we are a dead country. the sooner the people realize that the better off we are. host: we appreciate the call. over the weekend for the annapolis become fascism you can -- book festival.
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you can check it out. from "new york times" next on washington's agenda a battle to raise the debt ceiling. executives of the nation's largest financial institutions have a meeting with geithner and john boehner and others arguing for the importance of raising the debt ceiling. jamie dimon from jpmorgan chase saying his bank has devised a plan to protect its global businesses in the event of a default. the u.s. is one of the few nations that limits its debt by law and votes in congress to raise the ceiling. something that happens every few years and least popular item. further in the body of the nearly $14.2 trillion of debt roughly $35 trillion is money the government borrowed from mostly social security revenues. several messenger policies from the past when republicans controlled the white house and
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congress tax cuts and medicare prescription benefits account for more than $3.2 trillion of the overall debt. charlie republican line fairview, texas. good morning. caller: good morning. this is really the first time in my 78 years i feel concerned about the economy of our coun y country. it is going to get to where we can't do anything about it. we are paying too much money on interest. we can't hardly pay that. we could never pay it. what i'm getting at, we ought to go to a flat tax so everybody would pay for it. i recently had a vacancy in a house and one of the authorities of the rental assistance association called me about it and said they had a real deserving single mother looking for a house.
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this is a three-bedroom, two-bed brick house, fireplace and two-car garage. i said it feels -- was $800 a month. they said we can get you more than that. i said what does the tenant have to pay. they said $50. his is the breed iing -- they don't need a three-bedroom house but the other thing is the immigration deal here in texas, in the next decade the mexicans are going to control the majority of the population hear. host: from human events the cover story is senator schumer and his regressive pals want to spend, spend, spend. did he make any statements that didn't include the word of the week, extreme?
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it is like they never want that shared sacrifice. that is part of the problem. ryan has not said anything about eliminating tax breaks for the rich or corporations. nothing about the military. until we all on all sides share the sacrifice we are going to continue to have these problems out here. host: next call is john joining us from holyoke, massachusetts. welcome. caller: number one, i will have a question after i make my comment. it is not going to work, number one. number two, between religious, the religious right, corporations, government, consolidating power, when you hear these people making harassment judges, threats
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against the president, you would think that the white supreme ilist have just gotten voted into office. this is what happened in the days of hitler. if the nation won't stand together and know that we have a problem and you have the industrial complex building up with corporations, listening to people, controlling the media, dictating what should happen here and 3% are going to control the 97% of the country, here is another thing. you have people that made deems with hitler in the 1940's. where are we going with this? are we americans or livestock that are just being thinned out. >> now under the 2012 budget red machine will the democrats promote something or just criticize his plan? front page of the "washington
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post" we showed you the president at the lincoln memori memorial. he was scheduled to go to williamsburg, virginia, for the weekend but was in town in part to sign the extension of the c.r. for the rest of the week. two headlines below can obama cut the budget and keep democrats happy? next to that the intersection of three visions, obama, boehner and reid. with handicap. i will again with paul kane. john bane aoehner entered the negotiation as the head of the republican majority but he worried conservative lawmakers might desert him if the deal didn't meet their expectations. the president was trying to change his possible image midstream from america's top democrat to a chief executive immune from partisan squabbling. reid watched his party lose the momentum. his job had shrunk to defending
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past gains. then americans might ask which is the real obama, the politician who embraced the biggest stimulus package in history, a bailout of banks and takeover of the automobile industry or the one on friday who hailed the new budget deem as including the largest annual spending cuts in our history? tony joins us from california, republican lane. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm a college student and i'm into politics and -- host: where do you go to school? caller: i studied med school in california and been watching our country destroy itself between democrats and republicans. i'm a republican and my party is so embarrassing right now, they forgot how horrible bush was and how bad bush made all of us look. he put god into everything and lied to everybody. now the democrats are injuries
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as worse. so, they are such racist people with their tea party and b.s. what we need to do is rich people need to pay their fair share and we need to tackle the entitlements now. we need to raise the spending limit -- we need to raise the trade deficit and that needs to shrink. we need to stop trading with china and get out of nafta. grew up in america and my son who is nine will never, ever experience the america that i grew up in and it sucks. i'm mad at both parties. host: from one of our twitter viewers this senior knows how extreme congressman ryan's g.o.p. tea party is, a plan that would cut us from medicare and give us death vouchers. we have a story inside the
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"washington post." one paragraph that gets to the essence of what we are focusing on today, this week and the rest of the year. congress nearly choked over a six month budget bill bringing washington to a stalemate last week but that was merely a dry run for the clashes to come this spring. the debt ceiling and vote on the budget is forthcoming. ryan and the budget committee releasing a video about three 1/2 minutes on the house budget website in which ryan outlines the spending problem as he sees it from his perspective. >> here is what would happen under our proposed budget. what we are calling the path to prosperity. as you can see, we won't come anywhere close to the tipping point and will pay off the debt over time. so, how will we do it? we will cut spending. the spending is driving our permanent plunge into debt.
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look at the growth under the path we are on. the government growth is at such high levels by the time my three children are my age the government will be twice the size for them than what it is for me. our plan brings spending become down to the historic level of 20% in the share of our economy. washington has not been telling you the truth. if we don't reform spending on government health and retirement programs we have zero hope of getting our spending and our debt crisis under control. next year the government spends 68 cents out of every dollar you pay in taxes to pay for the health and retirement programs and interest on the debt. by 2025 they will consume every penny of every tax dollar you accepted to washington -- send to washington. our plan fixes the flaws in medicare and medicaid that have made rising costs nearly impossible to check. this is the only way the programs can hope to survive and
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function into the future. host: that video was put together by the house budget committee as part of his rolling out of his proposal that would cut up to $6 trillion in spending over the next decade. also keeps taxes at the levels put forth by the bush era and changes the whole medicare and medicine kaid proposal. there is a piece in the "washington post" in search of the goldilocks budget. the white house budget blueprint released in february was to put it mildly a dud. deficits would be $950 billion a year. what kind of fix is that? officials didn't fully embrace it calling it a down payment on reform and saying if they put forth a serious proposal republicans would have skewered
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it that all the recommendations would have been harder to pass. the president has to lead and he hasn't. norma joins us from illinois on the democrat line. caller: good morning. i want to say i was one of the democrats who walked to indiana in the snow without boots for obama. he has been such a disappointment. what difference does it make what the republicans put up? he is going to go along. he is going to be bipartisan. he is going to be a nice guy with a nice smile. i can tell you one thing. he ain't getting my vote or anyone i know. i wanted a president lake f.d.r. he doesn't have any. host: before you hang up. can i ask you a question. i was going to ask her at what point she was disappointed with
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the president. his campaign organization is gathering up in chicago. lynn sweet will join us in the next half hurry to talk about 2012 politics for the president and illinois politics. debra joins us from piedmont, new york. welcome to the conversation. we will go to maxwell in fredericksburg, virginia. caller: good morning. i'm kind of like the lady that just called in. the president threw the district of columbia under the bus. with the planned parenthood there are a lot of poor people in d.c. and i don't think they should agree with republicans on that. other than that, i think he is doing a pretty good job. from my understanding the bill will raise the deficit instead of lowering it. host: obama disappointments me every day from our twitter page.
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i can't tell the difference from bush to obama. he had the nerve to keep patraeus. next is john from cape cod, massachusetts. good morning to you. caller: good morning, steve. host: how are you today? caller: i'm good, thanks. i would like to call for a transformation in our culture. if we got on a program of early retirement so that over 10 years you would have a complete change in people who work in governm t government. that way i think with the great employment opportunities for people who are now unemployed. you would transform the voting
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patterns so that people with be much more receptive to the ryan proposal. because everybody would be basically dependent on the private sector for their lifetime overall economic well-being. i think the times call for a radical transformation like t s this. host: another twitter comment from mick saying the president has disappointed by leaning way right continually but i'm not bad mouthing. we weaken him and you get a war crazed wacko. we have a couple of viewers who have sent in e-mails including every-clark. am i missing something? we speak about mexicans and poor people but no comments about tax breaks. the budget gives tax breaks to the richest 1%. he wants to move it from 35% to
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25% for the richest people. wake up, america. your money is going to the richest among us. are we stupid? from bob who joins from venice, florida, the problem is not president obama's failure to lead as spin doctors would have you believe. it is politicians' failure to follow. everybody seems to forget the obstructionist approach shown by the g.o.p. and record filibusters during the obama presidency. sandra joins us from summerville, south carolina. caller: good morning. this is the first time i have ever called in any kind of program like this. host: welcome to the conversation. what is on your mind? caller: i think that all of these people that are looking to reform the government are looking in the wrong direction. they need to start at the top, which is congress and the white hou house, reduce their buckets,
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their employees -- budgets, their employees and all this business with the chief of staff for john boehner and for reid and for obama. work being out this deal, i'm sorry, the people who should be working out this deal are the people who are actually elected. not their employees, of which they have too many. they need to -- legislatures need to spend more time in their districts so that people like me can go to their office and tell them, hey, you need to fix this. they need to reduce all of the government across the board by 5% or 10% and bring every troop that we have overseas back home.
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before we have an invasion from mexico with these drug lords. because it is coming and they the border over rrun states. host: for a first-time caller you did a great job. caller: i thought about this a whole lot, and the thing that the news media is not asking congress is how much are you going to cut your budget. because i haven't seen yet where they have cut anything from congress, not one dime. your call. you for don't be a stranger, ok? host: ok, bye. host: peter bake are in "new york times" weekend review above the fray the president struggles to define liberalism in an era of debt. week of brinksmanship the president elected to respond
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to sharp clarity rather than outline a clear vision of what the role of government should be in the era of the tea party and rocketing national debt. his reserved approach came when he is being premis pressed as n before to define liberalism for the 21st century. the president spoke about this yesterday in his weekly address. >> i just want to say real quick that because congress was able it settle its differences that is why this place is open. host: that was the president at the lincoln memorial. we will get the weekly address in a moment. carol joins us from jonesboro, arkansas, republican lane. caller: good morning. i want to say a couple of things. one thing is i want to say from the young man from california this called earlier, i will let him know that he needs to get off and everybody else needs to off president bush and get off his back.
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the other thing is on the tax thing and mr. ryan the republicans are doing everything that they ran on last november and they are keeping their word to us. the other thing is i live on social security and i am keeping my budget as i planned every month. they are keeping their words so everybody else needs to keep their word and live on their own budget. so everybody else keep your word and stay on your own budget. host: here is the president from his weekly address yesterday. >> beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect the investments in kids' education and student loans and clean energy and life saving medical research. reducing spending while investing in the future is common sense. that is what families do in tough times. they sacrifice where they can,
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even if it is hard, to afford what is important. host: comments of the president yesterday in his weekly address available on line. next is a caller from hot springs, arkansas. tony is on the air. , i appreciate it. i was calling. i noticed that your student cam thing this morning was about veterans and i just got 100% service was about veterans. i was at the va on friday. my doctor told me that he could not run a test on me for vitamin d because it was too expensive, even though i was 100% certain it was connected. i guess they are trying to balance the budget through the primary care doctors at the va.
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basically i was trying to transfer that message to the people that that is what is going on with this budget debacle. that is what is in store for them in the future. host: thank you. back to paul ryan this morning, conservatives -- host: good morning, kansas city. democratic line. caller: i am disenchanted with all of this political rhetoric. i never saw in my life a bunch
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of so-called educated men that said around in back like floods every time a democrat speaks. the president cannot even speak. that lady on social security, she had better think about that. they are after social security. what makes her think that no one else deserves it? that is something that we pay for. host: in "the washington post," the budget shutdown came down to maneuvers. good morning, caller. caller: look at the budget, it actually is going to do something. obviously, everyone wants to argue against it, but half of the people arguing against it
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ever read it. how can you argue against something that is going to do that much good for the country? if you do not mind, everyone was talking about this new era of civility and toning down the rhetoric. i do not know if anyone heard, but the other night you had eleanor norton say something about reforming the budget and that what the republicans are doing is the equivalent of bombing innocent civilians. what happened to civility? host: thank you for the call. from the twitter page -- host: this is an e-mail from paul.
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host: another point of view from "the new york times." host: that is "the new york times" this morning. chad, massachusetts. caller: good morning. until the republicans take back that tax break for the rich, they have no credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility. host: from the front page of "the new york times," just some of the color in the
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conversations between the speaker of the house and president obama.
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host: that is the front page of "the new york times" this morning. pat, texas, good morning. go ahead, please. caller: i would like to say that -- i would like to say that the problems we are having right now are because of the people that did not go out and vote. mr. ryan's plan is to balance the budget on the backs of the older people in the children. here in texas they are laying off teachers left and right. this country has become not about the people, but about the money. the lady that called to say to get off the back of george bush, george bush, if he had kept taxes in line when he was president, we would not be
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facing this. so, yes, we will, as they try to take all of the power away from president obama. they forget, a vice-president cheney said that deficits do not matter. host: thank you for the call. the president for tax reform will be joining us later. one of our viewers saying -- host: congressman ryan delivering the republican response yesterday, here is a portion of what he had to say. >> by removing the anchor of debt and advancing pro-growth tax reforms, this is a jobs budget. sending signals to investors that a better signal is still
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possible. a future where america is still an engine of growth that leads the world. right now that legacy is in great danger. this nation is going deeper into debt and the spending choices that we make today will determine the kinds of lives that our children be tomorrow. washington has not been telling you the truth about the magnitude of the problems we're facing. unless we act soon, government spending in health retirement programs will crowd out spending on everything else, including national security. host: it will be one of the leading issues dominating congress this week as the full house takes up the measure. "the weekly standard" has "ryan v obama." that is the front line.
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steve, good morning. caller: i appreciate c-span. thank you. programthat mr. ryan's is another disaster for working people in america. when he talks about social security issues, the kinds his budget will be addressing. let me give you a quick example of the rude awakening when i was doing what taxes and found myself paying $8,000. it was from being put into a different tax bracket. nell, with the pension that my wife received, we cannot pay for it with the legitimate deductions that we have had for
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the last 10 to 15 years. it put us into a different bracket. and you hear the issues coming up with companies like general elektra, paying no taxes based on the degree of profits. the working people and senior citizens of america are in big trouble with the entire congress. what is happening here is the so-called tax savings that are happening bar on the backs of working people and senior citizens. i always like it when you are on the program, steve. thank you. host: thank you. this comment from the twitter page. host: her point is that the
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budget needs to be corrected and is full of errors, like the number of jobs. this is the 400 -- this is the anniversary of the start of the civil war. a number of ceremonies are taking place across the country. host: at c-span we will be covering a number of these ceremonies in the coming weeks and months as we mark the start of the civil war and the anniversary of the swearing in of abraham lincoln. you can check much of it out of our c-span 3 network.
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clint, dayton, ohio, good morning. caller: i believe the republicans have everything wrong. people collect them because they didn't have jobs, they were not about cuts. republicans have not put up a proposal for any kind of jobs. these " current proposals are just going to lose more jobs. at least 100,000 people will be out of work. it will look bad for the president of the next election. that is their plan. doing the same thing for last election. this budget thing is going to cut more people out of work.
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host: john wants to respond to jan's. -- host: from "the washington post" this morning, "given a rest." host: dave, tennessee, good
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morning. caller: good morning. i want to talk about the rise and budget for a second. i want to throw out some corrections. first of all, america today is composed of one-third republicans, one-third republicans, and one-third independence. we have a real bad conversation going on here, talking around each other instead of to each other. here is the simple truth, the bush tax cuts were extended by the 111th congress, which had an overwhelmingly strong, democratic majority. as a proportion of the taxes paid, the lowest income or payments into the tax system went down while the richest 25% went up. they know that. they know that they would be hurting the poor.
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when nancy pelosi took over, the democratic majority in the house caused 8.63 trillion dollars. as of october, 2010, it was a shade under $14 trillion. that is 8 $5 trillion increase. she and that congress spent more money than all of the house speaker's before. now, to the paul ryan plan. let's talk to each other for a second. this is a modest proposal. in that budget it will take 23 years to achieve a balance. he understands, adults understand, you cannot have a great big massive drop in any kind of spending while we are
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enjoying the fruits of the great recession. but we have to stop talking over and around each other and start talking to each other. this is a very modest and responsible proposal and hopefully there will be enough democrats in the house and senate, and obama has already signed on to it, in case you missed that. host: thank you for the call. we will have a look at the sunday shows, and you can listen to them all on c-span radio. but the guest this morning on our own program is the gop national committee chairman. here is an expert -- excerpt of the program. >> are you worried that the president is going to emerge as the political leader here? the grown up in the room going forward? >> i am not worried that he will
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come across as the political leader. i think that if spending issues are not put under tight rein and if we do not get some real sanity, i think, we will all be losers. everyone is going to be a loser to the american people. i am not really worried about whether the president will be seen as a winner or loser. in my mind he already comes across as a loser in this debate in that he has only just recently engaged after doing his n.c.a.a. brackets on espn. he is not engaged. we all know that the president has not been engaged in the budget debate until just recently. host: a former chair of the republican party in wisconsin, now the chair of the republican national committee.
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nancy is in the c-span radio studio to talk about the other guests and issues dominating the sunday morning programs. >> topics include budget negotiations on capitol hill, the situation in the middle east, and presidential politics. we begin with the "meet the press." the house budget committee chairman, paul ryan will be the guest. on abc "this week," abc -- mike pence and chris van pollan, ranking members of the house budget committee. another appearance by david + on open -- "fox news sunday." 3:00 p.m., more from dick durbin, david +, and donald
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trump on 2012 presidential politics. tony blair on the crisis by libya. finally, 4:00 p.m., it is open " face the nation." senator chuck schumer, and jeff sessions. brought to you as a public service by the networks and c- span. beginning at noon eastern with open " meet the press." 1:00, "this week." 2:00, "fox news sunday." 3:00, "face the nation." you can hear it on c-span radio, and nationwide on satellite, download online apple c- >> as a host and a traitor, you
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are not necessarily a republican or democrat. it is about the impact of what government is doing on the financial mayor -- financial market. fast money cnbc's anchor on her career and influences and what she believes is her role in reporting business and financial news. watch the rest of the interview tonight at 8:00 on "q&a." one of our many signature interview programs, you can find /podcast. applt >> from the white house and around washington to the floor of congress, watch everything we have covered online since 1987. >> "washington journal"
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continues. host: our sunday roundtable with joseph schatz, from "cq." lynn sweet, of the "chicago sun times." we want to welcome both of you. we want to begin with the budget debate that started this week. who came out ahead? who came out behind? guest: john bowler and president obama can both claim success. just a few months ago president obama was talking about increasing spending. the republicans did not get everything that they wanted on the so-called policy writers that they were asking for, but they did get the spending cut totals that they were working
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towards. harry reid in the senate was able to stand firm on core issues for democrats. not allow republicans to cut off funding for family-planning clinics, environmental regulations, things like that. president obama was able to say that we are not shutting down the government. it was pretty unpredictable, what would happen. what the fallout would be from shut down. looking at public opinion polls, the blame might have been spread pretty evenly. host: by all accounts, this was the warm-up act? guest: absolutely. the real battle is coming from the paul ryan fiscal 2012 budget. republicans were very successful in this round because they put social issues on the table and now they have these democratic
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interest groups that have to play defense. they forced the democrats to make deeper spending cuts than they intended. whether it or not we look at the top end s to comes out looking like a leader, ok, but that will last very long because we of come right into the budget debate. it is important to understand that the discussion that was just under way in washington, this entire shut down issue, which over the six months remaining, that is all that it was. a warm-up act to another flight that is starting now, it actually started last week with the fiscal 2012 budget. this was just a dress rehearsal. host: you have been talking with key committee members. in essence, to summarize what of your pieces, this was the harry
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reid, barack obama, john boehner show. guest: indeed. a test run for the coming debate over the fiscal 2012 budget. ultimately congress needs to vote to increase the debt limit. having that relationship work is the key. host: people like hal rogers, what is his role? guest: his role is to carry out what he is told by boehner. he is in charge of the minutia of what goes on in that budget for the rest of the year. but it will be moving in a very high level. host: the relationship between the speaker and congressman eric cantor, how would you describe it? guest: you have a situation where boehner is more of an
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older, more mainstream member and then you have there a cantor, taking a look at his power. boehner has been able to keep the caucus behind him so far, but there's always the possibility of a challenge. eric cantor was top -- telling him about conservative lines. i think you see boehner coming out pretty well right now. host: the letter going out to congress, raising the debt ceiling, jimmy diamond saying that his company was already working on a contingency plan. guest: i saw that. it is prudent. that is what bankers do to make sure they do not get into trouble.
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the banks do what they do. at the same time, the debt limit will be another fight. each fight, each chapter that is developing in the budget seems to be a dramatic showdown. i think we have five weeks left before we hit the u.s. that limit. something has to happen. it is not as if the democrats want more debt. but if you have a certain amount of revenue and spending, that is where we're heading. the issue for republicans is that the discussion comes on when some have elected to have firm commitments not to do that. it will be hard to see what a compromise could be. host: two secretaries of state, jim baker and henry kissinger, the piece from "the washington
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post" this morning, spelling out the details about whether de u.s. should get involved or not. host: this comes at the same time we are dealing with budget cuts. guest: this is exactly what the president said in his address on libya the other night. about how the u.s. has to take this country by country. the issue coming just as the president announced a reelection
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campaign last week. the president was elected on the backs of democrats, attracted to him because of his opposition to the iraq war, he now finds himself the overseer of the war in libya. the vote -- the word, war, something that the obama white house is very hesitant to use. host: we spoke to a woman this morning to said that she would not be voting for him again in 2012, that he did not live up to his goals. guest: we will see that as a story line developing. the obama campaign recognizes that people were putting their own aspirations and hopes on him, even though it was stuff that he never talked about. you will see it with people that still vote for him but
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without the excitement that they had in 2008. people that were just so enthusiastic about him. they are not about to vote republican, but the goal of the campaign is to try to recapture that energy. guest: you are seeing that on capitol hill as folks tried to figure out how much sway the president has. particularly in these budget negotiations. there is a sense that he stepped into the fight late. a lot of folks were not clear where his bottom-line priorities for on the spending side. guest: i think that is part of negotiations. you never get things done until the last minute and to show your hand earlier would have messed up the deal.
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host: as usual, please join us in the conversation. for republicans, 202-737-0001. for democrats, 202-737-0002. for independents, 202-628-0205. you can send us an e-mail,, or join the conversation on line, walk us through this week on capitol hill. the government running through the end of the week, the house budget committee taking the agenda to the floor. guest: lawmakers will be writing the broader deal that will be getting us through the end of the year, coming to the house and senate floor on tuesday, wednesday, thursday fraught -- time frame. then the house will vote on the budget plan that you mentioned before. a budget plan that would set up a blueprint, which is out how
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ryan and the republicans would like to see it go this year. including not only budget cuts in discretionary spending, but also a framework for major spending changes and medicaid. but we have been talking about up until now has been the unfinished business of the last year. host: the president made a surprise visit to the lincoln memorial. is this the picture that the white house wanted? guest: absolutely. the family was supposed to go to colonial williamsburg this weekend. the trip was called off because of the last minute budget negotiations. a brief visit, it got the job done. it gave us some great video that everyone is playing. the ability of the president to
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commend the bully pulpit is always there, but if you want an example of how woodworks, looked at yesterday. host: what is on the agenda? guest: for obama? he kicks off his campaign fundraising in chicago on april 14. depending on your pocketbook he has a series of events. anything between $100.30 $5,000 to go see him, based on your means and appetite for it. this last week, obama opened up his campaign to filing with the sec. the papers that you need to collect money. they will start collecting it. in joint fund-raising with the democratic national committee. after chicago on the 20th and 21st, he goes to los angeles and
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san francisco. the need for money is the first priority of the obama 2012 campaign. his campaign is running in a skeleton form in chicago. this will be his first visit back to the city since his headquarters has been established. host: you mentioned this week, the press secretary of the campaign. guest: well known to reporters that cover washington. perhaps very well known to reporters in chicago, he was the mayoral secretary for rohm emmanuel. rohm emmanuel will be among -- inaugurated in the middle of may. soon, ben will transition into the obama, 2012 campaign. amy hogan, known to everyone covering the campaign and white house, is also going to the
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campaign. host: on to your phone calls, jeanne, tulsa, okla.. thank you for your calls, good morning. caller: good morning. in a child of the depression. i wanted to make some small contribution to my country. i want to challenge other seniors to do the same that can afford to. giveback half of my social security that i get every month. also, to pay for my doctor's visits and to help medicare. also, i challenge others to think about what they can do that is very small. i love my country.
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i would be willing to pay on my capital gains. the same rate as someone that risk their life for this country in coal mines, being a police man, being a fireman. i would also like to know if anyone has compared the paul ryan proposition with [unintelligible] host: thank you for the call. the president referred to the president's budget by senator simpson and erskine bowles. which the president has not completely embraced. guest: the main difference that you see between those plans is that the debt commission basically puts everything on the table. they talk about the budget tax
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code on the table. eliminating so-called tax expenditures and cutting defense spending on the table. mr. ryan's plan would get into discretionary spending and does not get into the tax overhaul in a big way. the main criticism from democrats and other critics. that it deals with only half of the problem. as mentioned, it could more of everything on the table. host: this story this morning, the finding being liberal in the years of debt. guest: i think that he is -- i disagree, respectively, with peters premise here. president obama has never been
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pressed to find anything. i think that president obama has defined himself in his own politics outside of the context of the different movements within the democratic family. one of the reasons that president obama, even as a senator, was successful, is that he never tried to fashion himself as the liberal or the progressive. i do not see how it helps them to be seen as progressive -- as the leader of one movement within the democratic family. host: peter, good morning. go ahead. caller: with every discussion that i watch, and i watch a lot of them, i have heard people bringing it up but no one ever answers it. the gentleman that called earlier from tennessee said that
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we need to talk to each other. obviously, he is a man of wealth. i am 60. not retired yet. my wife is retired. we do ok. simply because we have some benefits. but many people, the majority of people, do not. i do not see how everyone can ignore the fact that under president bush there were so many loopholes and tax breaks, giving to the wealthy people, the rich. the corporations that have the luxury of doing business in the united states but have moved out of the united states to avoid paying their fair share taxes. until people address that, how can they even suggest taking more money from the middle class? taking away programs that benefit people? i do not understand that. can someone make sense of that
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to me? host: thank you for the call. to further illustrate your comment, jeff says -- host: how would you respond to those points? guest: you are seeing the president play a fine line in terms of how he deals with congress. when it comes to dealing with congress and being a liberal champion, he is trying to look at it as though he is staying above the fray right now. positioning himself, going into the re-election. on the tax point, there have been a lot of calls from democrats to put taxes on the table. so far in these budget discussions, it has been a non starter with republicans.
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the president has not pushed that tax issue very far. host: another viewer says that her main issue with president obama is that he is just like president bush. host: let's go back to frank barnes and the great debate. he says that paul ryan would add incentive for individuals to create a more dynamic country. is that what this debate is all about guest: the debate over the future is there. that is why obama has a slogan, winning the future. again, i think it is an unfair comparison for how you phrase the issue. both are well-intentioned about trying to help the economy. you have different visions and it is not the way that michael barnes but it.
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the way that -- the question of government spending is at the core of what makes government work. people have to realize that no president can make it work solely on their own power. president obama, even when he had the democratic run house and senate could not even get a budget passed. that is why we were at the brink of midnight, showing how difficult is to get, but even a majority, but a consensus in this town. host: some calling it a goldilocks budget. not too hot, not too cold. if you want to read it in advance of her appearance on c- span, it is in open "the washington post" today. dan, good morning. caller: good morning.
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i wanted to say that the budget is out of control. i am a 22-year-old iraqi veteran. i went there and had one future. i came back and my son has completely not as much opportunity that i had. it is ridiculous. the entire idea of america blaming the rich. i am 23. i make less than $20,000 each year. one day i would like to be the next billionaire, a millionaire, the next opportunist. that is the idea of america of. the idea is to blame the rich is ridiculous. corporations overseas, cheating, what not, get that in line. but this idea is ridiculous.
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why not try to be the next millionaire? what do something for this country? like jfk, as not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. guest: it is a fairly common feeling. the idea that upper-income folks pay the majority of taxes, but folks want to believe that they could be next. so, tax increases, they do not favor that. it is always easier for congress to pass tax cuts. last year when the bush tax cuts were about to expire, president obama and congress came to eight years -- came to a deal to extend everything for two years. it is one of the reasons that tax increases have not gone on the table in a real way.
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host: from nick christopher this morning, "our caught -- our cowardly congress." host: bid was not the height of -- guest: it was not the height of responsibility. but there were uncertainty plans for federal workers this week. lots of energy in planning for an orderly shutdown. but the way that the system is set up, it works towards having this showdown with deadlines. it is not the most appealing part of the system, but part of it is to let the voices of the representatives and power groups within parties be heard. that is what you saw. one of the reasons, in the end
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the two had three principles negotiating, as each hour when but and the need for a deal was there, the realization came in the final week that she cannot do this as a committee. host: david, hudgins, kan., independent line, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i am 60. my wife is 49. i am worried that they are coming to collect for what she will never see. what are they going to do when this ryan gets ahold of medicare and social security? whether the people on that now supposed to do? curl up in the corner and die?
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guest: he does have an exemption that will exempt everyone over 65. host: are you with us? i think the hon up. guest: i hope that gave him some comfort. one of the reasons that provision was put out there by paul ryan is that he knows there are a lot of people like the caller who are dependent on this money, who planned their retirements based on the promise that this kind of money would be there. seniors often vote more consistently in elections. paul ryan knew that to the frame lists, it would have been politically silly. coast to listen to what he said it this past week. the house budget committee released this 3 minute video. let's show it again and get your reaction to what he said in specific detail about what his plan will do.
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>> here is what would happen under our proposed budget. we call it the path to prosperity. we will not come anywhere close to the tipping point. how will we do it? we will cut spending. washington's unsustainable standing is driving the nation's plunge into debt. look at the growth of government under the current path that we are on. by the time my children are my age, the government will be twice the size for them as what it is for me. our plan brings spending back down to the historic level of 20% to the share of our economy. washington has not been telling you the truth. if we do not cut spending on government health and retirement programs, we have the zero hope of getting the debt that crisis under control.
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next year the government will spend 68 cents of every dollar in taxes to pay for health programs. by 2025, they will consume every penny of every tax dollar that you send it to washington. flaws in medicare and medicaid have been rising costs and possible to check. guest: -- host: that begin the discussion point of where democrats and republicans will be voting this week. caller: -- guest: exactly. one of the biggest challenges that republicans face in this plan -- keep in mind, they have been pushing him to take a hard line when it comes to mandatory spending. one of the big worries is that seniors over 55 are not going to
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understand that this would not apply to them and it will quickly become a campaign issue. many democrats have already said that republicans are destroying medicare. republicans are behind this right now, but the political fallout are not entirely clear to everyone. host: from "chicago sun-times," lynn sweet, the outcome of the showdown? guest: i still think that john boehner, making his public appeal in a tough situation, had the edge. he came across well. he was able to deliver more spending cuts -- savings cuts than the democrats wanted. he did not get the figure that some members of his caucus wanted, and he was able to put social issues on the table.
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host: eric, democratic line, good morning. caller: how are you? i am a pour american and i have an idea that would be a good compromise to both parties. we have corporations owned by the employees instead of a couple of rich people. we could cut spending in the government. then they could use the profits from all of the employees to purchase their own health care, their own retirement, and they would have less that they would need from the government. balancing the budget, everyone would be happy. host: thank you for the call. either view? no? jones, perry, ohio, go ahead. republican line. caller: almost $40 billion was cut from the budget. i read where we spend 40 cents
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of every dollar on interest. that would be about $16 billion in interest, if by math is correct. i am wondering, how much money would we have to pay to get that interest rates down? how much money would be saved? guest: a lot. guest: i do not know the calculations, but yes, darling less saves on interest. host: chris rights -- host: going back to that issue that clearly the democrats and the president or when to be fighting over, the tax rate. guest: only in the context of a broader reform in the tax code, if you started eliminating taxes
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from corporations. once you get into specifics, the different groups of people are going to fight back. guest: it was all very dramatic last week because the three principals were making the deal. you have a different set of characters now. not only paul ryan in his details of tax planning being brought to the ways and means committee -- this is what they do. figuring out other ways to make our tax is so complicated that you have to hire people to do them for you. the other issue that the commission put on the table was something called -- i think that this is the phrase that the senator used, corporate welfare. talking about safety nets for
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individuals. also on the table for the fiscal commission were cuts in corporate entitlements, which is what some of these taxes are. a very leading discussion and the other is time to look to the 2012 tax season. host: mary says -- host: i am not sure what her last point is. but it is this debate between private sector and the public sector. guest: let's try and immediately attacked this as another version of what president bush attempted to do a few years ago with social security. a long cherished entitlement program. that is the argument that you have democrats making.
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there is a smaller group of democrats and republicans in the senate right now trying to negotiate a broader deal based on what the president's that commission put out there. guest: which included other ways to save money. one of the ones the debt commission came up with was raising the retirement age for social security and medicare. which has been raised for the life of the program. many people do not realize that. 65 was the retirement age. certainly it was for many people coming up now. it does involve a cut in the pocket book right now. everyone 55 and older you put them in a box in view string out
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these age increases, you can save a lot of money in a relatively painless way, politically and to the pocketbook. host: joseph schatz, lynn sweet, you were trying to get an answer this week from the secretary about recordings and files from the fbi that could be involved in the rod blagoevich retrial. what is going on? guest: the former illinois governor was facing a new trial. he was convicted of only one count in the first trial. his defense lawyers this week wanted to, for the second time, try to get the notes from the president's fbi interview that he gave in 2008. this has to do with details and allegations over the blagojevich senate seat that obama had
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vacated. the answer that was looking for, the white house got that to me and had no comment because it was an ongoing criminal matter. host: the trial is coming up? guest: in a few weeks. the first trial was very entertaining. now that the drama is gone, it may not be so, but certainly his defense is going to have to find a new way to present its defense. they have dropped some of their charges to streamline the case. it was very confusing, i think that they put too much in front of the jurors. , a conversation with -- host: tonight, by the way, but a conversation with rod blagoevich in your competitor's publication.
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guest: he did not like the way that things were going early on, so he was dropped as a client. host: if you are interested, by the way, the conversation between james warren and david axelrod airs tonight at 6:00. guest: recorded at the city club of chicago. host: correct. tampa, florida, you are with lynn sweet and joseph schatz. caller: i am disabled and have been trying to get by this ability for years. i have watched c-span for years. you have got the media on your lot. i am sick of it. i cannot sit back and say nothing now. we bitch about the price of liberty. everything is going up in price. gas, food. we always want to complain. time for america to stand up.
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stepping back to let the government run everything. it is like obama when he first came out. people out in the neighborhood, dancing around, we have got a black man in the white house. i am a christian. i have for three years -- i have got a sandwich bag with my philosophy on the back. i can get the reverse surgery. people like me -- i give homeless people my clothes. but have not got any money. it is pretty damn bad. we have to sit out here and listen to these politicians that are lying to us from the get go. i am telling you, we the people is not we the people anymore, because we are too cowardly to do what we need to do in america. we need to get the people running our country out of our
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offices. they are not helping us. host: who are you going to vote for next year? guest: i have never voted. if i voted for someone that gets was blown to hell, but would be just as guilty. guest: with respect to his terrible situation, you know, when you do not vote it is harder to complain that you do not like the outcome of the election. senator chuck schumer, -- host: senator chuck schumer, called senator schtupid this week. guest: he has taken a fairly large will in these -- fairly large role in these talks. you saw him talk, trying to put
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some pressure on boehner to make it look like he was catering to the so-called tea party element in the caucus. he has become a big target. guest: actually, it was the democratic line of the week. harry reid, chuck schumer, they were all on the floor saying that this is not about the budget, that it is a social agenda. when your listeners andyou wills about the social agenda and not the budget. schumer may be in the cross hairs, but this was part of the democratic strategy on messaging. host: this is from the front page of the "washington post." it says they were even more about the coming fight over raising the debt ceiling.
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did the president give away too much, too soon? guest: expectations were certainly raised within the republican caucus about what they could get. in the end, the deal was closer to $40 billion. john boehner was able to get a lot more. some democrats did complain that the president give up too much on the spending side. bass has still fears -- stoke fears about what republicans think they can get. host: they could eliminate corporate taxes and what the economy work. the white house is getting some questions as the -- about the
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jobs initiative. ge was paying taxes last year. guest: the business council was reconstituted with a fancier name as we go into the election season. it is a side matter that the white house did not need our reach to america to talk about jobs and businesses to have this come up. center bernie sanders -- center bernie sanders put out a list of about 10 companies that avoided paying u.s. taxes. this is an expensive issue. when i put bernie sanders'list on my blog, i could see that it touched a nerve. that is why this appointment in the white house may become a focal point during the campaign.
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host: joy jones -- joe joins us from massachusetts. caller: i was on the internet and pulled up something about previous democratic presidents that have cut into the debt. all the democratic presidents as far back as kennedy have cut into the debt by increasing revenue. unlike two years some of your comments about that. -- i would like to hear some of your comments about that. and like to hear about how the revenue was increased. guest: i think paul ryan said we do not have the tax problem. it is spending.
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when you talk about closing tax loopholes that will raise taxes for somebody, you do raise revenue. you also may create a fairer system for funding government. it is hard to have these discussions about tax equality when people ask if you are going to raise their taxes or give someone else a break. part of what ryan is talking about it seems will have to include an equalization. usually people in a position like ryan will say they did not raise taxes, they just closed a loophole. host: we turn to presidential politics. a poll out this week by nbc news indicates that number one in new
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hampshire is mitt romney. number two would be donald trump. donald trump will be in florida this weekend campaigning at a tea party event. he is in iowa on june 10. reince priebus asks about donald trump's potential candidacy. >> is donald trump a credible presidential candidate? >> you have a phone call with him. >> i think they are all credible. they all have a different viewpoint they will articulate. i think it will be up to the voters. i do not get to choose to the canada it is going to be. i have to make sure we can do what we can do to get them across the finish line. >> what does it do to have the potential candidates like him talking about with the president is an american citizen?
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is the debate could for the party? >> it is up to primary voters to decide. people will have different opinions. different candidates are running. they will talk about different things. i think is the primary voters. host: the entire interview is coming up at 2:00. guest: it seems the new rnc chairman just took a side on about thesubtle lly question of whether president obama was born in america -- which he was. there are some groups out there show overwhelming evidence out there that obama was born in the united states.
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host: i have heard it said his birth certificate is not authentic. guest: i have watched with fascination the interviews that trump has had. it the values him and his success as a businessman -- devalues him and his success as a businessman to take this route. -- at first, i thought it was just something to get better ratings for "the apprentice." when you put it all together, it is overwhelmingly conclusive that president obama was born in the united states. nbc did a great job. one of the interviews trump had been relying on saying he was not born there, nbc placed the whole interview and showed the translator made a point of
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saying to the person doing the interview that he was born in america and not pulling their. -- not born there. trump marginalized himself. and i do not know why this would be productive for him in winning poet house. it runs up the ratings and numbers in polls. this discussion the republicans want -- americans are dealing with very serious issues like the budget, taxes, and more. host: on friday, ron paul is in new hampshire. haley barbour will be in south florida on saturday at a tea party rally. things are starting to heat up. guest: the rise and budget is
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going to be a defining aspect early on -- though ryan budget is going to be a defining aspect early on. they are being asked to take the position on it. the contenders are dancing around it. nobody is committing to a yet. mitch daniels gave one of the more effusive endorsement. most folks are laying back to see how it plays out. host: this asks if anyone thinks the tea party will nominate a lobbyist. the next call is on the republican line. caller: i have a question. they keep saying they want to raise the age of social security. i am against it. it is my money i paid for taxes.
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when people make poor choices like using illegal drugs and get on disability -- i know this is a fact. my ex-sister-in-law is a drug addict. they get $800 a month. i want to make a clear statement about who i will support in a presidential primary. that would be mr. mike huckabee. guest: no one is disputing -- you can look at the withholding on your check every week called fica taxes. people pay into social security. the question is whether the benefits and revenue will even out to have money when people need it.
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the amount on this ability alone is not enough to change the progression that the medicare fund is in and the problems. i understand you may think some people get disability unfairly. that is an issue, but it is probably not the one driving the financial discussion long term in the debate. the retirement age in america is not chiseled in stone. it has changed before. it may change again. people should be braced for that. it has changed in my lifetime. i have to work longer to get my full retirement benefits. people should pay attention to that and plan accordingly. understand that whatever age you think it is, it may not be that way later. host: david broder passed away.
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his memorial service was not in a church, but in the shrine of the first amendment -- the national press club. it says it was like an era had ended with his passing. >> none of this slowed him down. he kept at it with an intensity and pace of someone half his age and for far longer than any of the rest of us might have tried. he was still out there last fall at age 81 making his rounds. he did it despite aging legs and a body giving out on him. he wanted to see and hear for himself what was happening in the campaign. to the end, he had an indomitable spirit. now he is gone. we all miss him terribly. he leaves an extraordinary legacy that embodied values that
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can guide all of us in these difficult times. he leaves a huge void. he is irreplaceable. i have said this before and want to say it again. i cannot imagine there will ever be another political reporter like him or a colleague for homeless so many people have such respect and affection. goodbye, friend. may he rest in peace. guest: i agree with everything he said. and did not know him personally. he was a great example. on issues like we're talking about now, he was a standard. guest: i was at "the tribune." he was a reporter for out his career. he is a good model to try to replicate. those are big parting thoughts on david.
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host: congress will be focusing on spending and the budget in the week ahead. guest: they will be getting the plan passed to keep the government running and then debate paul ryan's plan. guest: first lady michelle obama this week kicks off a big drive to help military families. that is coming tuesday at noon with dr. jill biden. she then takes off for a multi- city tour. she is going to support her efforts with a much bigger platform on anti-obesity. she is also going to the critical state of colorado. host: lynn sweet and joseph
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schatz, thank you for your time. we will be talking about the potential impact of the shutdown. congress begins looking at the next budget in earnest. up next, reince priebus will join us to talk about taxes and the deficit as "washington journal"continues. >> let's meet another winner from our competition. students produced a video on a specific issue, topic, or even to help them better understand the role of our federal government. we go to oklahoma to meet matt dixon, a senior. congratulations. what was your video about? >> it was about providing for veterans in the united states. it was about the parts that v.a. is lacking and what they're
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doing well on. my friend's father is a veteran. he has problems with his back in the spine. he has had to deal with bba. -- he has had to deal with the v.a. he has had some problems. we were inspired to learn more about that. father is having to prove that he fought in the war. that can be a problem if the people he served with -- his commanding officer is now dead. he is having a lot of problems proving he actually fought. it is causing problems in getting the care that he needs. >> you interviewed representative john sullivan. >> we learned about what congress is doing to provide more funding for the v.a. he said they are making up a huge appropriations bill that
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will do more for ptsd and veterans eye care. he felt that is an underfunded part of the v.a. the veterans are having problems with their eyes in combat. the government is to provide for the veterans in the mental and physical injuries they proceed in combat. i heard from the veterans, it is just like what you would expect an employer to do. if you got hurt on the job, he would what your employer to take care of you via workers' comp. it is the same thing with the military. we learned about what the v.a. is exceeding hat with the day to day work. the veterans can pretty much get all of their medications paid for and all of their routine medical things taken care of.
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they are lacking in specialists. that is what a lot of veterans need. combat inback wifrom need a special kind of care. >> thank you for joining us today. let's watch a portion of his winning video. >> i came to understand that the veterans administration is not doing welfare. we're simply paying the commitment we are to the veterans. they went and served of the greatest cost. my father is being served for what he did for this country. my family would probably be without a home right now because of the disabilities my father has. he has problems with his back and knees and ptsd issues.
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i have come to respect the role of the federal government in my life and what the v.a. does for these veterans. >> you can see this video and all of the winning video documentaries online. you can continue the conversation at facebook and twitter. host: we want to welcome back grover norquist. "the new york times" says the next step on the agenda is the debt. guest: a lot of things do not have to happen in washington. the democrats never passed a budget in 2010. that is why in the last couple of days, we were finishing the 2011 budget. there is the explosion of spending and debt that hit in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
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it is pushing us up to the legal limit of the amount of debt the united states can have. between may and july, we will have to vote to allow that to go up. the republicans are asking for reforms in return for casting the vote. the president would like to raise the limit without passing reforms. host: "the washington post" service to give it a rest. can we have an adult conversation about spending without getting into the back and forth between democrats and republicans? chuck schumer was featured as senator "schtupid" this week. guest: he can play name calling.
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that is derivative of the real conflict. people in washington talk about the good old days of bipartisanship. ,ack in the 1950's and 1960's when there was a fight, liberal democrats and liberal democrats would get together and fight conservative democrats and conservative republicans. the parties were divided on the basis of the civil war and not small versus large government. you do not have a lot of bipartisanship. they can be bipartisan when they're raising their own pay, opposing term limits, to pass campaign finance laws that make it difficult for challengers. on issues of spending and taxes, they're going in different directions. republicans would like a smaller government. the democrats want a larger,
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more expensive government that does more to help manage your live for you. they're going in two different directions. what is the compromise when somebody wants to go east and somebody wants to go west? you could have gridlock and still make. the compromise is not the option. host: let's put the arguments on the table. when george bush took office, he did inherit a budget surplus and the projected surplus over 10 years. republicans were in control in the house and congress. they brought taxes down. they put on the medicare program that was not paid for and two wars that were not funded. if a fight today was between george w. bush's republican party and obama, the republicans would be in grave danger.
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guest: because of failures of the bush years and spending too much with tax reductions that did not help to grow the economy, we had a not very successful eight years. the government overthrew governments in afghanistan and iraq. i supported both decisions. then they decided to stay in occupied both countries for the next decade. that is what was expensive in lives and dollars. that is without end at present. both of those things have the country voted against bush and his party in 2008. they were doing earmarks as democrats had been when they were more popular. the tea party has changed the modern republican party. it is yet to be understood by the democrat party.
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before the tea party, there was no part of the republican party that said we needed to spend less. no part of the coalition would walk out the door because of spending too much. i am on the board of directors of the nra. if you spend too much, they're still with you. i run americans for tax reform. we focused on keeping taxes down. the keep taxes down but then spent too much. can you throw a punch at them for that? it can be damaging over time. religious liberty, home schooling -- bush was good on those issues but he spent too much. host: if you take every nickel paul ryan wants to cut from spending without raising taxes
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-- 1 not keep taxes were they are or go back to the pre-bush levels, cut spending? guest: the target is total government spending. he takes it down by $6 trillion from where obama wants to take in the next decade. he does it by reforming government rather than by cutting government. he does for much of the government what the republicans and bill clinton signed on the bill with welfare reform. the states took 50 different approaches. welfare was administered better. the economy did better. more people got jobs and took care of themselves. he wants to do that with all welfare programs. aid to families with dependent children was just one. the thing to focus on its total government spending, keeping that down.
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the second part is that you want spending to be a smaller percentage of the economy. it would be a lot less painful on april 15. we need pro-growth policies to expand the economy at the same time we're reining in on spending. the republicans to the house and senate in 1995. for the next five years, they did not raise a single tax. they cut the capital gain tax and the company group. what bill clinton have was out the door when the republicans took the house and senate. the weight was lifted off the economy. we had strong growth. several challenges happened in 2000. september 11 was one part of that. there was a bubble prior to that. the democrats ran the senate for
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the first two years they ran the house and senate for the last two years of the bush administration. the economy goes down the first two years. it goes up four years and then down 40 of years when democrats took the house. we had a graph for it. people get confused when they talk of the nixon, carter, and reagan years. look at who controlled congress and not the presidency. republicans give you lower and unemployment and a higher stock market. a democrat-controlled congress does the reverse regardless of the presidency. host: if you had control for one day, what programs and departments which eliminate or reduce? guest: i would argue for the approach that ryan has taken.
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some would say not to do it if is not mentioned in the constitution. i would eliminate farm subsidies. i would just s soon phase them out. people organize their lives around commitments from the government. i think we can more permanently reduce the size of government. we phased out farm subsidies earlier and they got put back in during the bush years. that was one of the financial crimes of the bush years to allow those to come back when they have been phased out to zero. we should phase those out. we should take all the welfare programs and send it out to the states. we should say we will cap how much we're giving you.
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here is $4 billion for 90 programs. we will capet and it will grow with the economy. if some things strike you as a bad idea, you can end them. you run them as you see fit. we did that with welfare. it was bipartisan. he was supported by the public. the establishment considers it a success even though it reduced government. i think we can replicate that. medicare needs to be reformed so people have more control over their own decisions. the government involvement can lead to rationing in health care. that is the only way democrats can control the cost. with price fixing, we make the price so low that no one will produce it. or you can have more
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competition. i think we would be much better off reforming government to make it more competitive and smaller than to just chop. it does not fix the original problem the government created with interference. host: we're speaking with grover americans for taxse reform. the bush cuts have never lived up to the promises made and never will. do you tweet? guest: i do, almost every day. it is great fun. people tweet back or retweet. bush did some tax cuts that did not help the economy much. when he cut the capital gains tax in 2003, when they cut the
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tax on dividends down to 15 -- those were so powerful and helpful to the economy that obama refused to let them lapse, even though he said he would to keep the leftist center happy. both of those gave us strong economic growth. 2003 to 2007 was a strong, economic growth. before and after that it was not. the tax cuts of 2003 were very helpful. there's one more i think obama can and will do. this is my prediction on cooperation over the next year. in 2005, the republican house and senate passed something called repatriation. when american companies earn money overseas and bring it
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home, they have to pay taxes on it. if they leave it overseas, they do not pay additional taxes. about $400 billion flowed back into the united states in 2005, the year after the election. they brought that money back after the almost lost an election. the obama people are smarter. there's no $1 trillion of american money overseas. if the democrats get back in power, it will be taken away. the republicans want to pass a bill that says 5% nick on the way back in. it could bring $600 billion back in. that is a real stimulus program of money being brought back into the united states.
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that is more resources in the united states. it is in obama's interest to have that money back this year so the employment numbers and growth improves. they are not good. we're still recovering from the damage that obama and the democrats did in the last two years. $700 billion flowing in would be good. it is called repatriation. it is the only tax change i think is likely to happen this year. host: one of our regular twitter followers had this to say. bush had less debt. obama has more. i can see why the liberals love him. we will try one more time for ohio. please go ahead. caller: their are too many ignorant, and educated voters
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who do not know what is going on. they believe all of the b.s. from the democrats who do not know what they're doing. it seems like the leaders of this country have never gone to college and studied economics. i would like a remark from you pertaining to that. here is my question. have you ever heard of the apt tax? x. is a transactional tal i do not know why it is not pursued by the government more often. i never hear anybody speak of it. is it too complicated to enforce? guest: i am not familiar with the att tax. there are enough taxes that i do not know them all. i would like to try to the u.s. response, but i am not familiar
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with that. host: general electric did not pay taxes because it had to write off about $37 billion in losses. immelt is heading up the president's effort to create jobs, the head of ge. guest: some companies are too close to the government. some companies seem to earn a living off of cooperation with the government. ge appears to be in that category. host: they do employ a lot of people in new york, pa., and elsewhere. guest: i would hope that ge would disentangle itself from its relationship with the government. you can make an argument for abolishing the corporate income tax. they do not pay them. they collect them from you and
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me. when we buy something, some of the money we are paying gets paid as corporate income tax to the company that produced the good. they pay property taxes, sales taxes, taxes on social straightforward occurs. they do not pay those taxes. they collect them. the great thing about the corporate income tax is that people pretend that you and i are not paying billions of dollars when we pay them every time we buy something at the store. i understand the criticism that they manipulated the tax code. i would like to go to lower rates, a broader base, -- particularly lower rates makes all those deductions and credits less valuable. a 35% rate, businessmen will fight hard for special rates.
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we need to start at 25%. the european average is 25% for the corporate tax. we are at 35%. of course we're having trouble competing in the world. our government shoots our businesses in the foot at the beginning of the day. it stomps on it the rest of the day. in the evening, it winds because they have not created any jobs. what do they expect? host: ge has laid off 20% of their workforce. you are on with grover norquist. good morning. caller: this has to do with social security. i started working at 17. i retired at 62. i started drawing social security. we have not gone the race for the last two years. i recently got a letter from aarp that says our president
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hired a commission to check on social security. they want to "severely" decrease it. the cost of living has gone up. i do not know if we're still going to have social security, if they're going to decrease benefits, or what. guest: you are right to be skeptical of what aarp tells you. in this case, they're partially right. president obama put forth in the simpson-boles commission. simpson is a big advocate of higher taxes, unfortunately.
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not conservative, not reaganite. the commission came up with a series of reforms that are some cutting. there is $1 trillion in tax increases, depending on how you want to count it. the heritage foundation says $3 trillion. they have written it without a lot of detaile. there is some promised spending restraint. some of it has to do with social security. i am in favor of reform programs so they cost less, not necessarily slashing them. unfortunately, the way people treated social security in the past is that rather than reform it, they raise taxes. that makes the return on social
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security taxes worse or they cut benefits. that makes the return on your social security taxes also worse. i am not terribly excited about the simpson-boles commission. the real part of it is tax increases. we did this in 1982 and 1990. each time, it was not delivered. the tax increases were real. spending went a after the deal with reagan. george herbert walker was a cheaper date. he was only offered to dollars for every $1 of increased. spending went up faster than the baseline. taxes and spending went up. the deals to lower taxes and cut spending, we have been there
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before. it is lucy with the football. it is not a good idea. host: what about the fair tax? guest: it is an interesting question. that is the retail sales tax a number of people have advocated as a complete replacement for the personal income tax and social security tax. to get that done, you have to pass a constitutional amendment to forbid the reintroduction of an income tax. that requires 2/3. that is challenging to accomplish. a flat rate income tax on consumed income and a retail sales tax are the same thing. they are economically the same thing. you may prefer one or the other for political reasons.
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there the same economics. i am in favor of moving in that direction. that is way down the line from where we are now. we have real hurdles on spending and reforming the tax rates and then we can think about the other. host: the paul ryan budget was marked up by the house budget committee. it is available on our video library. one viewer says the estimate is it would leave us with a larger debt by 2022 in the current trend. what is the relationship between the tax cuts and job creation as a number? guest: the relationship between tax cuts and job creation. some tax cuts are clearly pro- growth. when john f. kennedy took the rate to 70%, we have strong he
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economic growth. with reagan, we had strong growth. bush took it to 33 and that hurt the economy. you can strengthen the economy were hurt it by raising them. some taxes are more damaging than others. capital gains taxes tend to be more damaging. during the reagan years is probably the best example of cutting marginal tax rates and getting stronger economic growth, about 20 million jobs. host: are you seriously trying to give president bush credit for the housing boom and bust? that whole thing was criminal. almost no one has gone to jail or will go to prison. only bernie madoff because he stole from the rich. guest: what fannie mae and freddie mac did in making loans and being quasi-governmental
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entities, people took a real risk assuming the government would pay them. it was a moral hazard. the government says to invest in this company and if it goes bankrupt, we will pay you. you do not have to look at the books much. they do not get audited. it got bigger and bigger. people could get a fixed return they thought was guaranteed. bernie madoff's guarantee was a lie. fannie and freddie's guarantee was the tax payers. even that has a limit. that person is focused on the fact that the bush and mr. she did not focus on fighting fannie and freddie. there were some real heroes like senator shelby who wanted to reform those.
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dodd and frank fought against in the reforms. when everything went wrong because of the collapse of those institutions, they passed a reform that did not change anything of what went wrong. they regulated wall street and not the government problems. when the government takes something over, they do not watch it or do it well. fannie mae and freddie mac should be broken into pieces and privatized. it should be clear that if you invest in them, you are on your own. the government will not back them. host: that is one issue congress and the white house agrees to. guest: really? that would be progress. i am waiting to see that happen. host: let's go back to another tweet. guest: we have about a hundred
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thousand donors through -- 100,000 donors through direct mail. some are donors and some are activists. host: if you want to get more information. glenn beck joins us. -- belinda joins us. caller: social security is a concern for me. the baby boomers have gotten everything they ever dreamed of. i am in my 40's. i am a working class person. i am not expecting to be a rich person. you are telling me i might have to return at the age of 70 -- retire at the age of 70. what i do for a living, i do not think i can do pass the aged 62 or 63. there are people that work in factories and work hard. you are expecting them to work
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in labor until 70. they might not be able to finish that job at 65 or 67. your body breaks down as you get older. that is a fact. you are telling me i have to vote for something i will not get. the benefits are going to be for 55 and older. they will get a better life than we can. host: they were suggesting increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67. that would not impact you. it would impact your children. what do you think of that idea? caller: i think it is not such a great idea. if you are behind a desk, you can probably work until 90. if you are in a labor situation
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, you lose your job if you cannot continue working past 62 or even 67. host: americans are living longer. caller: that has nothing to do with it. they can live longer because they are retired and have some happiness. guest: you are not speaking about me. you are speaking of them. i am in favor of moving these programs to where they are more like a defined pension contributions. this is been going on in the private sector for 30 years. pensions have moved from pay as you go to unfunded commitments of defined benefit contribution plans. all new companies have them. many companies have switched to them. this is happening with state and
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local governments as well. utah past a law where all the pensions for state and local governments will have a defined contribution like a 401(k). then you can decide to retire any age you want to. it has been discussed as an option for those on social security. you can put your contribution into a 401(k). the government does not tell you what age to retire. it is up to you to make the decision. i am in favor of reforming government to put the decisions in your hands, to make individuals in charge of their lives. i think there will make better decisions than the government. if you try to get together with five people to decide where to go to dinner, it is a lot of work. how do you do that with millions
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of people? it is not practical to pretend that you can. host: people living longer does not mean that you can labor longer. because people are living longer, they're getting social security for a longer period of time. what is the long term solution? guest: the way social security was set up under fdr, he was told it would crash. he knew it would be after he was gone. the problem is we're nthere now. every time the government gets in trouble, they want to save the system instead of protect workers. they will cut benefits and raise taxes to make the system whole rather than help people who worked all their lives. i support the idea of moving to a defined contribution plans were people take the fica taxes and put them in a 401(k) plan.
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the federal retirement system has largely moved over to defined contributions. the gives people more flexibility. some people want to work until they're 80. some people do not want to or cannot. the money saved up for retirement is available to them when they retire and not at some arbitrary date. host: you have been in this town a long time. can the tea party, liberal democrats, the white house, moderates, and blue dog democrats get around the table and have the adult conversation to deal with the issue of entitlements, medicare, medicaid, and social security? guest: probably not. you have the reagan republican house of representatives. they're not republicans as they were in 1995. they are reagan republicans. they are post-tea party republicans. they do not do earmarks.
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they do radical reforms. they will pass the ryan bill. that would have been unthinkable 10 or 20 years ago. is a different republican party. you have the senate divided against itself. 41 gusy can filibuster anything. the republicans can filibuster. they want to shrink the size of government. durbin can filibuster. we did not freeze at the higher level. we brought it to where republicans wanted it. the president wanted to add $40 billion to where we were. we went $40 billion below that. that was not a compromise. the president lost. the democrats lost the direction they wanted to go in. the republicans compromised.
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they did not get as much as they wanted, but it moved in their direction. that is what you are looking for. if taxes are going up, republicans are losing. if taxes are going down, democrats are losing. spending is going up, republicans are losing. there is real conflict there. this is why the president and senate chickened out in his last fight. in 2012, 23 democrats are up for reelection. half of them are in red states. conrad is leaving from north dakota. in virginia, the democrat, webb, is not running again. it is likely to go republican as a red state.
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in florida, nelson. it is a moderate state with a left-wing voting record. republicans will likely pick up the 23 democrats up for reelection. half of them are vulnerable. of the republicans running, maybe one is vulnerable. i am not sure that is accurate. in 2014, 20 democrats are up for reelection. 13 republicans are up for reelection. in the next two elections in the next three years, we will have 43 democratic senators up for reelection and 23 republican. of the 23 republicans, none are in states they should not be elected in. half of the democrats are in red states. a lot of republican senators went down because of bush's foreign policy. those are now going to reopen to
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republican candidates. we can have 55 or 60 republican senators after the next two election cycles. if you have a republican president, the ryan plan can pass. it is something that might happen in 20 years. this could happen in four years. host: our guest is grover norquist. our next caller joins us from oregon. caller: we have a classic war between the aristocracy and the sharecroppers. me and my minions are sharecroppers. if you think the rich should not pay their fair share, then you are on the right track -- but you are wrong, dead wrong.
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they lost their head. that is what we're faced with now. guest: i have always stood against the aristocracy. i am a small r republican. obama and the democrats want to take us where europe is today. this country was founded on the idea we did not want to be europe. we were going to be a different country with economic and personal mobility and freedom of religion and speech -- all the stuff they did not have in europe. i do not want to end up with like you are up with slow economic growth and where the government puts limits on your aspirations. i do not want to be like europe. there are some people who live in this country as if it were an aristocracy, as if there were european. the average american earns $60,000 a year.
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that is pay, pensions, benefits. that is the average person in the private sector. state and local government workers averaged $80,000. the people who pay taxes earned $60,000 a year. the people who live off those taxes are $80,000. federal workers average pay is $120,000. it is about $400 billion plus additional pay given to government workers above what they would be paid commensurate with the same work in the private sector. when people talk about reducing the cost of government, pain government workers the same amount we pay people who pay their salaries would save about $400 billion plus every year. that is $4 trillion over the next decade. there should not be an aristocracy in this country. everybody should work on the same basis. some people should not be given
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gold-plated pensions and health care benefits that the taxpayers pay for. the fights in new jersey, wisconsin, and ohio are the teachers unions saying to make the taxpayers pay for their pensions. make the taxpayers pay for our health care. by the way, we cannot be fired because we have tenure. but you can be fired and have your tax raises. when marie antoinette of the teachers' union starts talking, you tell them no. host: let's go to steve, our last call from colorado. caller: mr. norquist, thank you for showing up today. i appreciate that. i have a couple of different things.
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i was reading the article about north dakota. the unemployment rate is 3.8%. they divided that into two different things. the farmers are not taking subsidies. they are selling their crops. they are dealing with natural resources. the housing and foreclosure rate is 70 times less than the average in the country. i would like to have people think about it and do research. stop listening to people who do not know what they're talking about. they're trying to spend at -- spin it to their advantage. guest: you raised an interesting point with north dakota. i was up there recently. north dakota has discovered
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shale oil and natural gas. the federal government and obama cannot stop the people of north dakota from drilling for oil. they have been drilling and making a lot of money. they have low unemployment. people are moving into north dakota. that is the opposite of what has been happening for the previous 50 years. texas, louisiana, mississippi, and others are worse off. california is more for because the government is putting limits on allowing people to look for natural gas and oil offshore. also on federally owned land inside these states. because north dakota is not a colony the way that you talk, nev., and iowa are with the federal government funding two-
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thirds of the land in the state and telling you cannot drill for oil, coal, or other minerals underground. we have more minerals in this country including saudi arabia with kohl, shall come and natural gas. the government says we would -- coal, shale, and natural gas. the government says we do not want to irritate the earth mother and not have jobs. north dakota does write because the government cannot tell them know. that is why the people in the louisiana and everywhere else are suffering because they are not letting them look for oil. the rest of us are paying higher prices because he is taking an instruction from radical environmentalists. host: the 2012 ticket is out. barack obama from a stroke and
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change and now defends the status quo. thankfully, the republican party in 2011, and did the leadership of wisconsin congressman paul ryan, has decided to get serious. thank you for joining us, grover. coming up in a few minutes, john gage, the head of the american federation of government employees. a look at the guests making the rounds on the sunday television programs. and nancy, good morning.
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>> follow us on twitter. you can join in on the conversation and tweet questions directly to our "washington journal" guests. from the tv to american history on c-span3 and c-span radio. host: our next guest is the president of the american federation of government to employees. john, good morning. welcome back. i could hear you in the green room as a grover norquist was on. he says government workers get paid more when you take the package together compared to private sector employees. guest: i think it is a false comparison. the bureau of labor statistics does not bear that out. congressman ryan in his house
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budget has some really disingenuous things to say about pay and it is the same statistics that mr. norquist was quoting a. the average pay is about $70,000, and it is. then he said that the median pay for private sector is about $49,000. that is taken from census material. the census takers stop that $150,000. you have these minimum wage people added in, but the real life is they are comparing an average to a median. steve, the real issue is what are we on this quest to lower and the working family's pay in this economy. we have lost 8 million jobs. speaker boehner says this is a revenue issue.
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losing 8 million jobs makes this a revenue a share. now there is a herd mentality to simply rip apart government programs, i think, is going to hurt our economy for the long run. host: we were close to the possibility of a government shutdown. that did not happen with the agreement reached friday evening. what message did this send to you and government employees as we move ahead to the next budget battle, raising the debt ceiling, and next year's budget? guest: it is very frustrating that all public employees find themselves in the middle of this. just a little history. in 2000, we had a surplus as far as the eye could see. then we had the tax cuts, 9/11, katrina, wars, the financial meltdown, and we found ourselves in a deficit. federal employees did not cause
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the deficit. to say now that they will be the cure for this deficit by cutting pay, cutting pension, cutting health-care as well as ripping apart the ability of some of our agencies to complete their missions is, i think, more of an ideological attack than any kind of serious deficit discussion for our country. host: we are approaching a $15 trillion debt in this country. spending has to come down. where will it take place? guest: revenue has to go up. if we replace the 8 million jobs, the deficit will look better. if we continue to lose jobs, then i think mr. ryan's budget will exactly do, there is no amount of spending cuts that will get our country on the right economic track. host: he talked about it in the weekly address, congressman ryan giving the republican response. here is a portion of which he
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had to say. >> by removing the anchor of debt that was down our economy and pro-growth tax reforms, this is a jobs budget. it sends signals to job creators that a brighter future is still possible, a future in which america is still an engine of growth that leads the world. right now, that legacy is in grave danger. this nation is going deeper and deeper into debt. but the spending choices that we make today will determine the type of lives are children enjoy tomorrow. the facts are these. washington has not been telling you the truth about the magnitude of the problems we are facing. and leslie act soon, government spending on health and retirement programs will crowd out spending on everything else -- including national security. host: your response to congressman ryan? guest: we have congressman ryan
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and mr. norquist talking about working people, their jobs come and salaries, you need to listen with a grain of salt. key went after president obama for hiring 155,000 federal workers. meanwhile, those federal workers, 70,000 were defense workers in direct support of the troops, 20,000 were being employees taking care of the wounded coming back, and 12,000 were for border security, and a few thousand for social security disability cases. these were all job increases that the republican party supported. to use that in his budget and say that there is "rampant federal spending" and president obama is increasing the size of government is simply wrong. he knows it is wrong and should not been gratuitously placed in the budget to try and prove a
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point that the government programs are out of control and they are out to tear them apart. i did not hear a lot of talk about jobs back before christmas when the tax cuts were being pushed. now, once that is done and we are into the deficit, i do not hear more talk about jobs and i still think him that the number one focus -- still think the number one focus needs to be job creation. this mysticism of cutting taxes, cutting government programs, cutting jobs in the public sector is somehow going to miraculously increase private sector jobs has never happened and i do not think it will happen. host: one dealer said they agree with you, but will not be harder to get growth if everything is being cut? guest: year lot of people saying that they do not know
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what the future of the country will look like for our children with this debt. what will the future look like with fouled water, air, not inspected food, no basic social security or health care for our people? i do not know. i have a lot of kids, seven of them, and i think i would rather see an approach to provide basic services to our children and to have the a civilization where it is not every person for themself. this is not the wild, wild west. these programs are a central for our country and they are essential for countries around the world. host: when you look at the size of the debt under president obama, which has been the single biggest increase in any
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administration every two-year period, they want to bring it back down to levels of the reagan years, not to the level of the obama years. guest: we would love to, but i do not think president reagan went through this financial collapse. now, the spending spike when it was decided by both sides of the political spectrum that we cannot let the financial community tank, much of the spending was done to call our country out -- poll our country out of. we are still not up yet. we were going to make up for the deficit with these federal programs that were not the cause of this deficit and they are not the cure. these programs are essential to the american public. to say that we do not like government therefore we are going to take out the epa, the
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department of labor, heidi, tear these programs apart. -- labor, hud. then we will tear up their retirement and health care. i did not see that as responsible deficit discussions. that is political payback. host: our guest is john gage. from west haven, conn., good morning. caller: i am 81. i've been a non-union worker in an office for 25 years, two months, and nine days. what irritates me is that every time at there has to be reductions, they always pick on the workers. what bothers me also is that the worker's president, maybe he is not allowed to answer, but why can they not pass the wheels
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upstairs to give up a little bit? everything is on the workers. whether it is municipal, federal, or whenever, workers have to give that up. one thing you never hear is what do the people upstairs give up? guest: i could not agree with you more. to really look at what is happening on wall street now with the obscene and bonuses all back in favor and no repercussions are sacrifices from wall street on this deficit. i do not think working people are above sharing sacrifice, but what is happening from the republican budget is really just spreading the pain. i have a real problem with that. if you look at mr. ryan's budget, reducing taxes to & --
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taxes to corporations, medicare, medicaid, these are working people programs. working people need medicare. where is the shared sacrifice from the top end of society? host: with the discussion of its potential shutdown, a lot of discussion on the essential verses of non-essential personnel. the department of education is not very important, he writes. the whole department was to be closed if they shut down the government. how do you respond? hud, allt was the epa, o agencies that, let's say, certain political persuasions.
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on the shutdown, we sued on friday under the constitution and the constitution says that the congress has to an appropriate and executive disband. what is happening under the shutdowns is they are using the anti-efficiency act which says that if there is not money that the government can rule these classes of employees to work without pay. there was no guarantee on the pay. here is what we are trying to do, steve. these people, who cavalierly think if we shut the government down, what the government was really a shutdown, we would stop. we would not be talking about the cherry blossoms. we would be talking about the va, border protection, air security, social security.
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i think it is very disingenuous when people say that the government does not matter and to close it down. government is really being kept open. what we want to do in a court case is have the court to really define the parameters of a shutdown. if the only option is a true shutdown, we think it would be off the table because no responsible person would ever even contemplate shutting down the entire government. hopefully our lawsuit will lead to that and get a government shutdown out of this lexicon of debate. host: 202-628-0184 if you are a government worker. from new mexico, good morning. caller: good morning. when you first started the conversation, you responded to
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the previous speaker, but what are the comparisons of averages and the comparisons of medians? an additional comments, when you talk about the government is shutting down, you say it is an inconvenience. the military would not have gotten paid until this started up again. these are among the lowest income and a live paycheck to paycheck and it would have been more than an inconvenience. guest: comparing an average to a median is apples and oranges. this whole thing about federal employee pay, if you compare a federal employee come and use the example of an electrician, they work on sophisticated
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radar-guided missile. if you get a job in the private sector, and there are some that compare to that level of sophistication, education, the private sector is higher. that is the point that the bureau of labor statistics has been pointing out for years and years. we have a comparable job, the private sector pays more. va doctors are paid less than doctors in the private sector. virtually at and down the line, and job classifications in the federal sector, when it is accurately compared to a similar one with responsibilities in the private sector, the feds are paid less. those are the facts. host: a federal employe rejoining us from st. louis. good morning. caller: good morning. love your show. have been watching for years. i am a mail handler.
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and i have watched jobs disappear, not just because the work was not there but because of her management has determined that jobs do not exist even though it takes away from our position and we have to cover three or four spots or five or six instead of the two or three that we were doing before. the amount of pain that people are given when they discuss union and non-union, you have to remember that in the 1980's under ragan there was a giant move to crush union organization. there was a giant move by the law firms in d.c. to completely obliterate union for dissipation. what we are getting to now is where everyone is going to be working for nickels and dimes. instead of a minimum wage, we need a cap on maximum wage.
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we need to tax these people to where it is no longer profitable for them to keep making these salaries that they can simply put in the bank can ignore everyone else. host: how long have you been working for the postal service? caller: eight years. host: what is your salary? caller: $50,000. guest: this really underlies the attack on unions. there is nothing about deficit reduction, about what happened in wisconsin. the attack on union rights, i think, really put a fire under the labor movement. we do not tell the story well enough. we really have to get out there and some people say that unions are passe. i do not think so at all. the environment we face today, unions are more and more relevant and i think it is up to
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the people. people will understand this as the race to the bottom continues and as salaries are stagnant for 10 years. host: off of twitter, can we see a protest like ohio, wisconsin, and others like these in dc on the same day as the tea party? guest: we have been geared up for a series of demonstrations should the government shut down. on tuesday, we're going to call people back to work and let the public see that our people really know the damage being done by closing down the government. they know what the backlogs are. they know that there are americans out there waiting for our services. in addition the government down and cause a delay of the services are not even delivering the services is something that our people were more concerned about the and there were in losing a couple of days' pay. host: our guest is john gage.
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from new jersey, robert. good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen. i have a couple of comments and questions. the government is now involved in so many different issues that it does not seem to be the government's responsibility in like housing, food stamps, farming. where does the government get the authority to deal with those kinds of issues, be involved, and spend taxpayer money dealing with that, first of all? number two, when the government- employee union negotiates a contract, they are negotiating against taxpayers which, in essence, are the management. the management should never have to pay the employees more than
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they earn. i would like you to talk on that. guest: i think the management of the public sector and organizations have done very well in bargaining against the unions. the public sector salaries and federal sector salaries, people are not getting richer being federal employees. the salaries for education, the experience, the responsibility of federal workers is much lower than that of the private sector. some of these activities, housing, food stamps, these cannot be done by the private sector. first of all, you have to come to the conclusion that there is a pressing need and there are people who need help, citizens of the country and many times because this is not their fault
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come there has to be a safety net for many of our fellow citizens. the private sector can really do this. and there is not a profit involved. so many of the government activities state to let the private sector do this, well, the private sector cannot unless they take out taxpayer money and profit. that has been demonstrated over the years when the bush administration, for instance, tried to wholesale and contract out many federal and state activities. you cannot really cut a profit motive when you are dealing with food stamps or section 8 housing. i hope that the caller understands that. there is no question that this is a give and take. how much, you just cannot say that there will be no limit on the amount of resources put into
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some programs, but i think the federal government as a really good job of balancing the resources and the need. i think housing and urban development has done a nice job, and many of these agencies if they would blow their own horn and the public would really see what they do. the public could have a much more positive of a federal workers and federal agencies. host: how do you respond to this? "the unions are nothing more than another lobbying arm of the democratic party." guest: we have surveyed our union. we have quite a republican membership, a sizable percentage. we balance and we try to balance who we give our support to. and the last several cycles,
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there has not been much of a question on how federal workers will support, basically, because the republicans are running against federal employees saying government is bad. as grover norquist says, he wants to be able to throw it down the bathroom drain. we look at each candidate, we surveyed them, we get their opinions on issues in the best interest of federal employees and we vote. that is the way that we determine how we're going to support. host: a federal employees from ohio. the last caller. caller: c-span, you guys do a great job. you put the person right up there, who says what, and keep up the good work. i think people do not realize, like your congressmen, senators, representatives that they are
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federal workers, okay? sharon brown wants to try to pass a law to where congress, when they retire, they have to reach the same retirement age like a normal worker, ok? he also went on to say that they can retire now at the age of 50. he wants to make it to where if they raise the retirement age to 67 that they also have to meet that requirement. last year, thanks to c-span, i sat there all summer and listened to republicans and t party complain about help the 50 year old and 55 year-old's retiring when they could keep working to a read -- an older age when these guys have been retiring.
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guest: sherrod brown is one of the strongest advocates for working families in the country. he has not forgotten where he comes from. he has been very articulate and really out there in trying to put balance back in this country especially to get a fair share for working families. it is very interesting. there was one tea partyer from maryland against all these benefits. when he found out he was not going to get federal health care for one week or so until he was sworn in, he was very upset and went public asking for his health care. there is quite a bit of hypocrisy going around. i appreciate the caller's point of view. host: john gage, thank you for being with us. where can people get more information? guest: host: the


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