tv The Last Word MSNBC December 13, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
chamber but we shall see. in other news there's news tonight there will be news tomorrow. after don't ask don't tell repeal failed as an amendment that funds the whole u.s. military there's been talk and discussions about hurriedly introducing the same language, repealing don't ask, don't tell from that defense bill as a stand alone bill. that may happen as soon as tomorrow in the house where it's expected to pass without much difficulty. in the senate if it can come up for a vote the vote are there to pass it. movement on the repeal of don't ask, don't tell and everything passing in the lame duck is fast and furious over the next two days, which means you should keep watching msnbc. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> rachel, i have steny hoyer, i'm going to ask him about don't ask, don't tell as a stand alone bill in the house. >> excellent. >> thanks, rachel. 83 members of the senate have voted to move the president's tax deal to the next step. it will soon go to the house
where many of last week's complaining democrats are secretly polishing their speeches announcing their eventual votes in favor of the deal. the speeches will stress everything they hate and concede the only way to get the things they like in the deal is to follow their president's leadership. >> at this hour, the united states senate is moving forward on a package of tax cuts that has strong bipartisan support. >> overwhelming vote developing in the senate. >> the white house wins a battle in the war over the tax cut compromise after a week of objections from democrats. >> it's a good thing to do because the first thing i would say is if the president has really stepped up and shown leadership here. >> senate moves toward passing the tax deal after an army of senators, governors even the former president stand behind the obama deal. >> in my opinion, this is a good bill now.
>> it was so smart politically, seriously, to bring that guy back and have him back this tax deal. >> then the unthinkable, the conservative columnist says the white house got the goods and republicans got taken for a ride. >> i think this is a triumph for the democrats. >> read the column. >> republicans in a real position of strength gave away, they gave away hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus. >> wait a second. you mean republicans have sold out the very principles that got them elected. >> he pointed out that they got the divisive tax cuts, but most of them were targeted to middle classworking people. >> but don't ask liberal democrats in the house to join the clinton chorus. >> the white house got for that is very little compared to what they gave. >> i urge the house of representatives to act quickly
on this important matter. >> somehow progress i was are planning to fight the deal's estate tax provision. >> if i was a democrat in the house, i would in a second. >> as predict add week ago, the president is on the verge of one compromise victory. what about the other struggles still ahead? >> federal judge in virginia struck down toy a key part of the president's health care law. the new s.t.a.r.t. nuclear arms treaty. >> i reject. i'm lawrence o'donnell. another big legislative victory for the president. this one bipartisan as the obama compromise on the bush tax rates moves one step closer to becoming law of the senate voted today to proceed to vote as early as tomorrow. enall, only 10 democrats and five republicans voted against allowing the bill to proceed. the house democratic leadership is still trying to secure a consensus before they vote on
the bill despite house democrats sharp objections to some elements of the deal, all signs continue to point to easy passage in the house. >> i've been talking with several members of that body. i recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and i understand those concerns. i share some of them. but that's the nature of compromise, sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us. right now that's growing the economy and creating jobs. and nearly every economist agrees that that is what this package will do. >> joining me now white house press secretary robert gibbs. robert, the president obviously has a big victory in the united states senate, over 80 votes for what is essentially the obama compromise deal on taxation. do you think that you actually pick up even more votes when you
go to final passage? just to clarify, today's vote was just on the motion to proceed. final passage is the vote on the real bill. some of these senators may be moving over into the direction of the president as we go forward from here. isn't that possible? >> it certainly is. look, i don't know what the final vote will be. certainly if there's any indication the vote today, the procedural vote in the senate demonstrates that the senate believes this is a good bipartisan agreement much like most of the person people, i believe, think this is a good bipartisan agreement. it ensures middle class families don't see taxes go up, ensures middle class families will actually see a tax cut next year. >> the action will be moving to the house, the president and his statement today says he's hoping for quick action in the house. a lot of objection we heard in the last week from the house. but very few saying they would absolutely vote against a bill that extended the top tax rate
where it is. what they were saying is we will not vote as is. as you and i know, they never get as is, they always adjust it a little bit. we're looking after a few adjustments there will be an overwhelming democratic vote in the house, similar to the overwhelming democratic vote we've seen in the senate today. >> lawrence, just last week at the he vevery end of the week, bill rejected, the change, added in tax credits. certainly the president believed are important. our hope is this goes later this week to the house. we hope as well for another bipartisan vote. i think it will be a tremendous signal to the american people that we can get a good agreement. we can get stuff we might not all agree on but something that moves this issue forward and ensures for middle class families their taxes don't go up. i think it will be a good message this holiday season for
the american people. >> the tax credit was something nancy pelosi requested as a requisite for going forward. what it actually is, though, and one of the reasons the republicans opened up the agreement and agreed to insert it is it is basically a tax cut for businesses. >> absolutely. >> it can be phrased in environmental terms which does still make sense. does that indicate there is room to open up this bill more in possibly a conference committee between the house and the senate? and be able to maple tan the republic republican, the 60 votes in the senate. >> my guess is, the basic framework the house takes up, i think the legislation the house will eventually pass, that ensures we also have time for the senate to deal with some very important issues like the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty and getting that ratified. so i think certainly by the end of this week we're going to see
bipartisan agreement and bicameral agreement on getting this stuff done. >> there's no surprise for me where this bill stands now. when i heard the president's announcement of what the framework was a week ago tonight, i thought as soon as i heard it, this thing is on an inevitable track to easy passage in both bodies. what do you think we were hearing in the last week from democrats in the house? were we hearing basically them go through a process of rhetorical reversal, meaning they were just coming off a campaign season in which they were saying they absolutely would not extend that top tax bracket as it currently is and now they are being faced with a piece of legislation that was going to require them to do it? it takes legislators a while to do a reversal on an item like that. >> sure. >> is what we were seeing the last week just the rhetorical reversal process or were we seeing real objection? i guess we'll have to wait for a
vote count to see how much real objection. >> i think the president certainly said this as well. i think there's great frustration. that includes the president that despite having a majority in the house, and we had a majority in the senate just to extend middle class tax cuts, but we understand because of the procedural hurdles in the senate that wasn't the legislation that could get through. the president had to make a decision what was best for the economy and what best protected middle class families from waking up on new year's day with a bigger tax bill. as the president said on numerous occasions, there's certainly things in this bill he doesn't like. if he was writing this alone, wouldn't be in there. the nature of compromise is you've got stuff you want. you've got stuff the other guys want. that's where you see the road map for 80 plus votes in the united states senate. i can't think of something in the last two years that has been hotly contested and hotly debated that ended up with
80-plus votes in the united states senate. >> let's listen to what i don't know boehner had to say on "60 minutes" about the nature of compromise. >> governing means compromising. >> it means working together. >> also compromising. >> finding common ground. >> okay. is that compromising. >> i'm not going to compromise on my principles, nor am i going to compromise the will of the american people. >> you're saying i want common ground but i'm not going to compromise. i don't understand that. i really don't. >> when you say the word "compromise" a lot of americans look up and say oh, they are doing to sell me out. so finding common ground i think makes more sense. >> your reaction to what the next speaker just had to say. >> well, i think he was basically saying the same thing the interview was without repeating the term obviously. look, i think this is an agreement that does basically both of those things, without in a sense compromising our values. the president fought for middle chas families.
the president fought for ensuring that those that lost their job and potentially could lose their unemployment benefits would be protected and we made sure our milling class families got a tax cut out of this. i think in a sense we all found some common ground. i will say this, i think no matter what we call it, we are going to have to work together this year. that was the message in this election was people are going to have to be able to sit down at the table like adults, discuss issues like adults, come out of that room and get results for american people like adults. i think if adulthood could break out that's a good thing. >> adulthood broke out in the west wing on friday. you had the former white-haired president of the united states joining this younger president in an unprecedented moment in the white house press briefing room. i understand you guys now have working there what you call west wing moments meaning things occur that their that you think only could have occurred in the
fictional version aaron sorkin created with martine sheen as president. was this one of those moments and how did it happen? >> the meeting with the two presidents in the oval office broke up about 4:15. behind me in the briefing room there's a door that leads into a series of office, which is normally completely unlocked so reporters can come up and see people that work for me back here and certainly come right up to my office. that door was locked because most of the staff was in a christmas party and we didn't have anybody down here. so i'm in my office and katie hogan, one of our press assistants was sitting at her desk near my office. i hear some shuffling, and i hear president obama say to katie, hey, do you know how to open up the briefing room? apparently the two presidents left the oval office, told no one, walked down here and tried to come in the briefing room and found the door was locked. president clinton said to katie
hogan, yeah, the door is locked. can you unlock it for us? that's when i walked out of my office and said, hey, what are you guys up to? president obama said to me, we're looking for some reporters. i said, well, what have you guys got on your mind? former president clinton said he'd like to come in and talk about the tax agreement. most reporters were out of the west wing at that time. i asked the two presidents if we could get five minutes, find them some reporters. katie hogan ran down here and got on the loud speaker, asked for everybody to come down. i came down and asked everybody to get seated. even as i asked them for five minutes, they walked down with me. they were standing right behind this door. somebody said to me, how long do we have before the news conference started. i said, guys, they are 10 feet behind me. this thing could start any moment. the only thing we were missing was the theme music and we would have been on the tv show. it was completely surreal.
people at the christmas party, my staff look up and see bill clinton, president obama owned tv and came over and said what in the world happened while we were gone. the truth is you couldn't make up a story that good. it was quite a moment. >> in the west wing writer's room there were plenty of writers more talented than i was who would come up with ideas like that and i'd be the first one to say, no, it can't happen. we can't do it. i would have been wrong yet again. robert gibbs, thank you very much for insight on that west wing moment and on where we are legislatively. thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you. one of the democrats voting in favor of moving forward on the tax deal in the senate today, missouri senator claire mccaskill. senator, thank you for joining us tonight. during the last week since the obama framework was announced, we've heard an awful lot of objection from house democrats to the general principles of the framework. this weekend i think it was on friday, you sent out an e-mail
that included a lot of the democratic party boilerplate rhetoric against it. i want to quote from it here. you said republicans down toward the end of it, you said republicans are holding middle class tax cuts and help for the unemployed hostage to give a tax bonus to the wealthiest americans while sticking us with the multi-billion dollar bill. i just don't see how they can call themselves fiscal conservatives with a straight face but if we want to save, the economy needs now, we may have to at this point. was it a vote to save the hostages. >> it was a compromise. i held my nose in many ways. very expensive. there's goodies in there i'm not pleased about. i particularly was disappointed we couldn't get them to at least say on your second million dollars and your third million dollars, we can take that very
marginal personal tax rate that was involved here and apply that to the deficit. they were unwilling to do that. i understand why the president made the compromise he did and i think it's one that we need to support and move forward and keep fighting this issue in the month to come. >> today's vote is largely symbolic. there was absolutely no doubt it was going to pass. there was a hand full of democrats who voted against going forward today. when you get to final passage on bills like this, normally yes votes turn to no votes. do you expect a larger democratic vote in support of the bill? >> i think some of that will depend on what happens over at the house. as you well know, lawrence, there's political momentum in congress sometimes. i think if this goes -- if the rhetoric begins to talk about the necessity of a compromise over the coming weeks, you may get as close to a unanimous vote
as we would ever see in the current makeup of congress. >> going forward after this vote, do you think there's going to be room in what's leaf of the lame duck session on don't ask don't tell and the dream act? >> i think it's unclear at this point what we'll have votes on but i would be surprised if we don't have votes on those. moving forward into next year, i think you'll see democrats continue to fight about this incredible tilting of the tax code towards the multi-multimillion airs and how we can look at that, along with spending, i might add, we need to look at spending also in order to get to where we need to be. >> deductions. you can do things on the deductions side that in effect change the top tax rate if you have a top tax rate of 35, you could change deductibility rate to 28 so that in effect pushes it up. there's still a lot of territory to struggle over here, isn't there?
>> there's so much of this tax code we could do that could dow rates, at the same time look at spending we've got two of the three legs of the stool we're doing something serious about, then we've got to go to the third leg of the stool which is looking at entitlements. >> i for one love hearing you talk about higher brackets above the million dollars. i wouldn't cut it off at a million. 1936 the top tax break was $5 million. now we have these extraordinary incomes, $50 million short stops paying exactly the same tax rate
as a hardworking dentist. so please stay in there and try to push up those rates on the multimillion airs and billionaires. claire mccaskill, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. happy christmas and have a great new year. >> same to you. still ahead, the fight over the tax cut compromise will go to the house where some democrats are planning to change it. democratic majority leader steny hoyer joins me next. i've been tg like, this is such a great opportunity for us to write at least an hour to two every single day. you can see this? of course i can see you. but, steve, i'm thinking-- it's like you're standing-- it's like you're standing right there. it's like i'm touching you. yeah. introducing cisco umi, together we are the human network. cisco. it's like i'm talking to you from the future.
hoodwinked, bamboozled, conservative columnist says president obama tricked republicans into violating their campaign promises with the tax deal. did the president outsmart republicans? next, democratic majority leader steny hoyer on what happens when the tax deal gets to the angry democrats in the house.
representatives to act quickly on this important matter because if there's one thing we can agree on, it's the urgent work of protecting middle class families for removing uncertainty for america's businesses and giving our economy a boost as we head into the new year. >> with 69% of voters polling in favor of the obama tax compromise and 83% of senators casting the first votes in favor of it, attention turns to the house where last week the democratic caucus voted nearly unanimously in favor of a
nonbinding resolution to oppose the bill. house democrats remain most unhappy with the estate tax which if the bill passes in its current form will be 35% for states over $5 million. the house will try to raise that percentage or lower the $5 million threshold before voting on the bill. earlier today house leader steny hoyer made the case before the national press club for passing the bill in some form despite his and democrats objections. >> i simply do not believe the deep debt that comes from republicans upper income and estate tax cut is worth their minimal impact on job creation. those cuts, in my view, harm our long-term prosperity with little short-term gain in return. they are found on the fiscal fiction as the billions included for the best among us will have a significant positive affect on job growth. having said that, i believe
action is necessary and compromise was inevitable. >> thank you for joining us, congressman hoyer. congressman hoyer, after all the objection you've been hearing in your caucus about this deal, are you surprised by the overwhelming democratic vote it got in the senate tonight including leading senate liberals like barbara boxer, al franken, as well as most republicans getting behind the same vote? >> i think what happened in the united states senate was a recognition of the position we're in. the republicans in the united states senate would not move on milling income tax freezes or on unemployment insurance or some other aspect of this bell unless taxes were cut or maintained for the wealthiest in america. as a result they were recognizing reality not necessarily the policies they thought would be productive to grow the economy, but they took those which would with those they thought wouldn't.
i don't know that i was -- i was surprised, i think, at the number of votes but was not priced that it passed handily. >> nothing surpriseing to me. i said a week ago i thought it would move through this way. i've been listening carefully to the objections you've been dealing with in your caucus. what i'm not hearing, are members of your caucus saying that i will vote against any bill that contains an extension of the top tax bracket, the current top tax bracket. what i do hear people saying, we will vote against the bill as is, which to me is a meaningless statement. of course the bill changes as it moves along. how many members of your caucus said to you, steny, i'm going to be against you on this bill no matter what they do do it. i absolutely will not vote for a bill that extends the top tax bracket. >> lawrence, i'm not going to give you a number because frankly i don't have a number in my head. >> have any said that to you?
>> there have been a number of members who have said that to me but by no means a majority of the democrats have said that. i think there are a large number of members, as i stated earlier, that believe we have two considerations. first of all jobs. and secondly debt and deficit. they believe this bill with respect to middle income tax freeze, with respect to unemployment insurance, with respect to fica, 2% reduction in taxes for working men and women, they believe that is very productive to grow jobs. what they don't believe is the upper income tax freeze and the estate tax have anything to do with growing the economy. that does not mean, however, as you point out that they are saying they won't vote for this bill, just as in the senate they recognize that we don't want to see middle income taxes go up. we do want to see unemployment insurance for 2 million people
that have run out and worrying about putting food on their tables. we want to see that extended. we think the fica reduction will have a positive affect on giving consumers more money in their pocket to spend on goods and services that they need of the legislative process, as the president said today, is a series of taking some things you want and taking some things you don't want because you think there's a net plus in the action. i think that's what happened in the senate. i think that may well happen in the house. >> assuming you get this done quickly, has the president asked you to publicly today, do you think you'll have time to move onto other serious business? you've announced today you want to do don't ask, don't tell as a stand alone bill, what are the prospects for that in the house? >> lawrence, i don't think -- i didn't announce that today. i don't know who you're saying that's a -- who you're saying
announce thad today. that certainly is a possibility. we need to fund government for the coming year. that's still the remaining big piece of big we need to get accomplished. i'm for don't ask, don't tell. i'd like to see it passed. we may pursue the policy you suggest but that has not been announced. >> the misstated announcement. that's the leaks we're picking up on capitol hill. >> i'm not going to confirm leaks. >> would you like to make the official announcement right now? >> i also would like to see the defense authorization bill pass. i think that's an important piece of legislation. it's been hung up in the senate for almost eight months or nine months. we need to see that bill pass as well. there's some other pieces of legislation still pending that i think are important to pass. but clearly the tax bill and the
appropriation bill or budget bill or continuing resolution, funding of government is one thing we must do. >> congressman hoyer thank you very much for joining us on the last word if you have any announcement on don't ask, don't tell or any business in the lame duck, don't hesitate to do it. >> thank you, lawrence. chart krauthammer putting his conservative career on the line saying the deal from obama was a trick to get them to support a new stimulus. ♪
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earlier today at a state department holiday reception president obama took a moment to talk about veteran diplomat richard holbrooke in intensive care at george washington hospital. the president said he's simply one of the giants of american foreign policy. as anyone who has ever worked with him knows or had the clear disadvantage of negotiating across the table from him, richard is relentless. he never stops. he never quits. shortly after the president made those remarks, ambassador ho holbrooke died. he collapsed thursday. he had been serving as the president's special representative for afghanistan and pakistan.
his death comes just days before president obama's latest review of the afghan war expected on thursday. known for his brazen diplomatic tactics, ambassador holbrooke earned nicknames like the bulldozer and raging bull. he served his country for nearly 50 years. the honorable richard holbrooke dead today at the age of 69.
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today president obama took his case for the bipartisan tax cut compromise to the american people in a series of interviews with local tv stations. >> the truth of the matter is, i get along fine with mitch mcconnell and i get along fine with john boehner. on this narrow issue, i disagreed with their approach.
my preference would have been to provide all those good things i just described but not give tax breaks to the top 1, 2%. but i do think that this package required me to take some things i didn't like. it requires them to take some things they didn't like. >> house majority leader steny hoyer made the case for the deal by invoking charles krauthammer's latest article entitled swindle of the year. >> everybody in the legislative process takes a hit. krauthammer apparently believes the republicans took a hit, a pretty big hit according to charles krauthammer. >> so did barack obama and his chief negotiator win this round of deal making with mitch mcconnell? returning to the last word, ed rendell and founder and director on the public and policy
priorities and making their last word debut, nbc analyst of the "huffington post" and john from the "wall street journal." all right. we're going to the central question of the night on charles krauthammer's column. he says "barack obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010, and house democrats don't have a clue that he did." governor rendell, is krauthammer right? did joe biden sneak one by mitch mcconnell? >> well, i think president obama did very well in the tax deal. but most importantly of all, lawrence, this is going to sound like a cliche but it's true. the american people benefited. if you're in politics, you don't always get what you want to quote the rolling stones. president obama didn't get all that he wanted. we certainly shouldn't be giving a tax cut to millionaires. there's no reason for it.
the extension of the estate tax and upping the estate tax threshold, those are things our side didn't like. on balance it's a good package for working americans. i think it was a draw with a slight tilt to the president. >> bob green stein, you were here last week advocating democrats vote for this, hold their nose and vote for it on the upper end tax breaks for the wealthy. you're the first person most liberal house democrats turn to on questions of this kind. are you recommending democrats vote for this because joe biden and barack obama outsmarted the republicans in this deal? >> i'm basically voting they vote for it because i think if it goes down we get a worse package in the next congress. as to who won, this may sound strange, lawrence, i don't think we really know who the winner is. ask me three or four years from
now. if it turns ow the upper income tax extension and this egregious estate tax giveaway do expire in 2012 then the democrats and obama will be the big winner in this deal. on the other hand if it turns out those upper income tax cuts and eadviceration of the estate tax become permanent law and this was a first step towards it, then the republicans will be the bigger winner. we won't really know who gets that upper count until we know the outcome after 2012. >> howard fineman, who won? >> well, i think on balance barack obama won, except that he was playing on republican turf. everybody loves tax cuts, lawrence. what the president did was get into a bidding war with republicans over more tax cuts. now, as bob says, if it results in a lot of economic growth, then the president wins. but i think there's problems down the road protecting social
programs which will be under additional pressure because the funding sources won't be there. however, if the president can lure the republicans into cooperating with him or he can cooperate with them on the spending side of this in the next year or, so i think the president's victory will be complete. el have political protection if he gets boehner and company to go along with spending to equal tax cuts. >> our ambassador from the conservative side of the world, how is krauthammer's article landing over there on your side of the world and do you believe it is correct? do you believe barack obama did win this? >> i think krauthammer has a point about the long-term of this. there's nothing that reduces the debt or deficit the tea party was so worried about. for that i think the republicans did go for the easy attack of
tack cuts rather than spendinging reductions. this is symbol win or republicans. you had bill clinton and barack obama saying tax cuts are better to improve this faltering economy than the spending we tried two years ago. it's very important for the two democratic presidents to basically say the bush tax plan has to say in place. they may squawk about it. in washington you watch what politicians do not what they say. they signed onto the continuation of bush tax cuts and made continuation beyond two years more hikely. >> okay. we're going to declare barack obama a winner on this negotiating round. everyone stay with us. we have to take a quick break. more with the panel on the last word. one thing our scientists are working on is carbon capture and storage, which could prevent co2 from entering the atmosphere. we've just built a new plant to demonstrate
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some of whom will probably end up voting yes for final passage of the bill. the president made a statement saying the passage proves both parties can work together to grow the economy and look out for the american people. will this bill do barack obama those things? more from our panel next on the last word.
and john fund from the "wall street journal." gentlemen, i want to go back to the charles krauthammer column in which he made the case president obama won, outsmarted republicans on this deal negotiation. he said, the package will add as much as 1% to gdp and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. that could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012. obama is no fool. while getting republicans to boost his own re-election chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound second chance post bush tea party this time we're serious persona of debt averse fiscal responsibility. governor endel, what do you make of that political reading of the obama deal? >> i think it's crete and in cite if -- insightful.
that means pivoting off this. he has to do a good education bill. forget cap and trade, a renewal energy bill in it, something with nuclear and natural gas. lastly, deficit reduction. if the president can demonstrate to the american people he's for those things and can move the ball towards deficit reduction, then i think he's a huge winner. he looks like a strong leader, looks like he understands the message and looks like he's pointing the country in the right direction, no ifs, ands or buts about it. >> is charles krauthammer right? >> sure. if the economy really gets geared up, and if it's roaring back by the summer of 2012 and this the reason, yes. the president will worry about whether he can get tax cuts for the rich abolished then. probably not but he won't care because he'll be more popular. i'd like to mention something
noneconomic. this posture suits barack obama. he's a judicious and judicial guy. he likes to be the adult in the room. he wants to be bipartisan. the fact he got a deal, especially one that gives everybody a tax cut, plays into what his strengths are as a leader if not a candidate. >> what do you make of the economic projections he's citing, 1.5% drop that the unemployment rate? >> i think that's about right. maybe a 1% rather than a 1.5% drop in unemployment rate. even so, that's 1.5 million more jobs. think about this, we have 9.8% unemployment. in this one obama did in a bit call the republicans bluff. they have basically been blocking effort after effort to help the economy grow and create
more jobs. they blocked a series of things that probably would be more effective than the provisions of this package but they are from the spending side. so he basically said, fine. if you're going to block everything on the spending side, we'll try things on the tax side to create jobs. and it was impossible for them to say no. >> john, you cited earlier what now becomes an agreement between democrats and republicans on the stimulative quality of tax cutting. it seems to me there is still a difference. the republicans have this supply side notion that is very different from keynesian notion about raising tacks during recession, it is not a wise idea by historical liberal theory to raise taxes during recession. that's what they are relying on as opposed to supply side theory tax cutting is a good thing and will always increase revenue
with the treasury. >> look, two years ago we passed $800 billion stimulus package. the large bulk of that was spending. the obama economist said unemployment won't go over 8%. look where we are, 9.8%. this agreement the is an acknowledgement, the sprending program, pump priming didn't work. there may be different reasons we're pursuing tax cuts but this program is exclusively tax cuts. so much so i'm worried about long-term debt. this is a mainly philosophical shift for liberals. they aren't acknowledging it, won't acknowledge it but it happened. >> mr. fund is absolutely rewriting history of the original stimulus plan was over 40% tax cuts. >> 35% and most of those were not -- we're going to have to break it right there. this will be our last break. >> most were to get republican
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we're back with our panel. bob, i want you to give a complete response to what he was saying. >> he's wrong. 8% unemployment was the blue chip prediction at the time they put into the first obama budget. people like mark zandi an economist that advised john mccain said without the stimulus package the unemployment rate would probably be 12% now. one of the main reasons the president did this package was so he could get $56 in unemployment spending,
unemployment benefits for another year into the package. they are very effective as stimulus. finally the only reason he agreed to the weakening of the estate tax was -- which will have almost no affect on economic growth was that was the republicans price for agreeing to continue tax credits for working poor families rather than raising taxes on the working poor, even as people at the top of the income scale continue to get tax cut wind falls. >> governor rendell before we go i want you to do tonight's rewrite for me. i want you to imagine you were one of the democrats who spend last week rejeking this deal and in the end you would vote for this deal. how would you rewrite your objections into a statement announcing you're in favor of the bill. >> can i object to evisceration of estate tax and giving millionaires a tax cut, but we
had to protect the working people of america, did it by income tax credit, the guys earning $50,000 and payroll deduction and unemployment benefits protecting our constituents. >> howard fineman, how many democrats do you think have been talking as if they are voting no will move into the yes column including democrats in the senate who voted no. can senator gillibrand, hagan vote no on the tax cut bill in the final passage. >> i think it would be pretty hard, lawrence. i was really impressed by that number 80 that came out today in terms of the total vote. there are a lot of democrats in that vote. i looked carefully at that list of democrats that voted no it was an unusual collection of people. i think some of them will vote for it. i think part of the game will also be in the democratic leadership has the votes, you know how this works, in both the house and senate, they will let people vote no if they feel like