The Ed Show for Thursay, July 1, 2010
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Guests: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Annie Lowrey, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Xavier
Becerra, Brian Bilbray, Ann Friedman, Alex Wagner, Roger Hickey; Gary
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening, and welcome to THE ED SHOW. I‘m Chris Hayes, Washington editor of “The Nation”, in for Ed Schultz.
These stories are hot tonight.
An alarming spike in jobless claims is stoking fears we are falling back into a recession. Meanwhile, Republicans, with the help of Conservative Democrat Ben Nelson, have brought down the latest effort to extend unemployment benefits. The Waterloo strategy continues. The NRA comes out against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Will it scare off Republican support? Our panel takes it on in “Rapid Fire”. And the ugly practice of exploiting the poor to get rich. There‘s an entire multibillion dollar industry created to prey on people‘s vulnerability in tough financial times. We‘ll expose some of the worst offenders, coming up.
Our top story tonight is bad news on the job front, and the partisans of misery, also known as the Republican Party, attempting to push the nation back over the economic brink. After several weeks in which new jobless claims stayed steady at 460,000, today the Labor Department announced new claims had jumped up to 472,000. Economists are now bracing for a bad monthly jobs report tomorrow.
And yet, somehow, Senate Republicans and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson teamed up last night to filibuster an extension of unemployment insurance. It‘s roughly akin to voting against funding for sandbags in the midst of the worst flood in 30 years. And after doing it, they left town for recess.
This is compassionless and idiotic, but it is also terrible macro economic policy. As the Recovery Act spending tapers off and job growth begins to flat line, we now face the very real and very terrifying possibility of a double dip recession.
So far, the history of the economic crisis has gone like this. First, there was a financial crisis. Then, things started to go very badly very, very quickly. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Then, thanks in large part to the Recovery Act, things started to go less badly, less quickly. We started losing less and less jobs.
And, finally, things actually started getting better. We started adding jobs and GDP began to grow again. But that last bit of momentum has stalled and in the absence of further aggressive government action, we will very likely start to tumble back into the same vicious cycle we saw in late 2008.
If you don‘t believe me, look at this graph. These are the new jobless claims. They spiked when the crisis began and started declining and now, the last few weeks, they‘re inching upward again. We were on the cliff. We edged away. Now we‘re sliding back towards the precipice. And what is the reaction of the Grand Obstructionist Party? They seem to want to deliver the final shove.
The leaders of the Republican Party seem to think that the worse the economy is, the better their political chances this fall. It is a war against the president, with America‘s middle class as the collateral damage.
Tell us what you think in our telephone survey. The number to dial is 877-ED-MSNBC. Our question tonight is who do you blame more for killing the unemployment benefits extension? Press 1 for Ben Nelson, press 2 for Republicans. I‘ll bring you the results later in the show.
Joining me now is Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
Senator, thank you so much for joining me.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), FINANCE COMMITTEE: It‘s good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: Senator, was it a surprise, the vote last night, or was it basically what you had expected? I mean, was this done hoping you were going to swing a vote or was it done to make a point?
STABENOW: Well, we hoped that we could get one more vote. I knew going in that we had our two colleagues from Maine - and I want to thank them for their support - but with the passing of Senator Byrd, we knew we had to have one more Republican and we knew it was going to be tough. But, as you said in your opening, and I want to thank you for that because I couldn‘t agree with you more, I mean, we‘ve spent nine weeks - nine weeks, trying to overcome a filibuster by Republicans on a jobs bill that would focus on investments and innovation, help for manufacturers, help for small businesses and helping people out of work. Nine weeks, and we‘ve not been able to overcome this filibuster yet.
HAYES: Senator Stabenow, I have to - I have to ask you this because it‘s true, obviously, the Republicans are driving this filibuster. But you do have a Democratic colleague, Senator Ben Nelson, who voted against the bill. Had he voted for it, it would have passed. He is the - this - we had 59 votes. He would have been the 60.
STABENOW: Right. That‘s true.
HAYES: What do you say - what do you say to Senator Nelson in the caucus room?
STABENOW: Well, you know, I‘ve given him my best case. I mean, I‘ve said, you know, we‘re never going to get out of deficits unless we have 15 million people working. You know, we - with 15 million people plus, we know it‘s actually more than that, out of work, we will never get out of deficits.
And so, for folks concerned about deficits, they should start with focusing on jobs and the jobs crisis and then we will begin to get ourselves out of this deficit hole.
HAYES: So my understanding of the plan going forward, and I want you to kind of guide us through here, the Senate‘s in recess, is it going to be the case that the - the late Senator Byrd will be replaced by a Democratic senator in time when you to - to vote on this package when you come back and provide the 60th vote? Is that how things are looking now? STABENOW: Yes. We expect that the Monday after next that we will have a replacement for Senator Byrd, and once that individual is put into place and sworn in, then Senator Reid intends to take this bill up right away. He is very committed, as am I, and all of the rest of our caucus to get this done.
It‘s really shameful. I mean, I think about tens of thousands of people in my state that are going to lose help next week, and these are people - most of whom have never lost a job in their life. They worked hard all their life, and they‘re just trying to hold it together until they can get that next job.
HAYES: Last question here. Do you think there is - have you noticed a correlation between the job situation in the home state of some of your colleagues and the urgency with which they‘re dealing? Obviously you and Senator Reid are representing two states that have been the hardest hit by this.
HAYES: Senator Nelson, the - the jobless rate is actually not that bad in Nebraska right now. Do you think that‘s - these kind of local concerns are playing a factor?
STABENOW: Well, local concerns always play a factor. But, you know, I didn‘t have to be in Louisiana to support the efforts with - after Hurricane Katrina or the efforts now. I mean, we are in Washington, two senators from each state, to come together and to look at not only our states, and I fight hard for Michigan, but to look at what‘s happening nationally. And so we have a responsibility do that.
But Chris, I would go back to what I said in the beginning. For anyone that cares about national deficits, we will never get out of the hole with over 15 million people out of work. And so we need to all be focused on jobs.
HAYES: Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. Have a good Fourth of July.
STABENOW: Thank you. You too.
HAYES: For more, let me bringing in Annie Lowery, economy reporter for the “Washington Independent”. Annie, how are you doing?
ANNIE LOWREY, WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT: I‘m great, Chris. How are you?
HAYES: I‘m great.
You wrote a really great piece over the “Washington Independent”, sort of tracing the long, tragic history of the attempt to extend unemployment benefits. What - what is the - what are the tactics that the Democratic caucus has used to try to get this pushed through over the last, God, four, five, six months?
LOWREY: Well, you know, in the past they haven‘t had to actually resort to that many tactics to break the Republican obstruction, because the Republican obstruction has either been with one senator or it‘s been over something not germane to the bill.
So it was actually in October of last year that they first started putting in these unemployment extensions in place and the GOP put up all sorts of amendments regarding ACORN and regarding other things that had nothing to do with joblessness. They held that up for a month. And then, obviously famously, over the winter, Senator Jim Bunning went on a one-man crusade to stop the further extension of unemployment benefits. And so this is the - you know, has been the first time that they‘ve really had to go to brass tacks to argue, basically to - to convince senators like Senator Brown, Senator Voinovich and Senator Nelson that it‘s worse than (ph) to pass it immediately and that it isn‘t worth thinking about the deficit, you know, as much as it‘s worth thinking about jobs. HAYES: One of the - one of the things you note in - in the piece, that clip at the “Washington Independent” is that they have trimmed back the size of the package. They sort of - they‘ve shucked away things that are not germane directly to unemployment. Is there anything left for them to bargain away? Have they hit bare bones?
LOWREY: No. and, you know, the most remarkable thing about this long, excruciating nine month - the sort of fight to get Congress to keep on reupping these benefits is that Republicans want these benefits also. They don‘t actually argue that the extended unemployment benefits are a bad thing. They argue about how to fund them and how to pay for them. The argument is no longer about the benefits themselves. The argument is about the deficit and - and how to actually deal with the funding of these.
And so that‘s why Senator Nelson, if you look at his statement as to why he chose not to vote for this, you know, he basically just says it‘s about the deficit and he thinks that, you know, it should be funded out of stimulus money.
HAYES: Now, the problem here, right, is that macro - macroeconomics 101 is that if the government‘s going to provide these unemployment benefits and then they‘re going to take away spending on the other hand, you‘re going to get a no net effect in terms of stimulating demand in the economy, which is exactly what you would want out of this, right? LOWREY: Yes. Exactly. And so, you know, it‘s basically unprecedented that Congress would say, no, we wouldn‘t fund these unless they come out of the deficit, or unless they‘re deficit funded. Time and time again, Republican and Democratic presidents both, they‘ve have chosen to do that. They‘ve chosen to deficit fund them.
And, you know, there are unspent stimulus funds. That is true. But they‘re dedicated to other things, to creating jobs in construction, to cleaning up the Gulf, to doing hundreds of other things, but not this. And so, you know, if you talk to Democrats on the Hill, they believe that, you know, the deficit should be expanded by less than 1 percent to fund this round of unemployment benefits.
HAYES: I think part of the quibbling, if I‘m not mistaken, is over whether this technically constitutes as an emergency. It was something you highlight in your article.
HAYES: I thought that was pretty revealing. I mean, I guess the argument from people opposing it are that the joblessness situation does not constitute an emergency.
LOWREY: Yes. And, you know, the Republicans actually said that, you know, that, like, you know, since the unemployment rate is going to be really high for a really long time, we don‘t want to fund these any more unless the funding is coming out of stimulus. You know, this isn‘t an emergency anymore.
But if you talk to the 15 million Americans who remain unemployed and
and have, you know, or - and to the millions of families that are
dependent on these benefits, you know, it‘s an emergency to them.
Annie Lowery, the “Washington Independent”. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.
LOWREY: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, House Minority Leader John Boehner is whining again. He‘s blasting back at the president. Democrats will be happy to keep the ant defense in the headlines. D-Triple C chairman Chris Van Hollen sounds off ahead.
Plus, a shocking new study compares the way newspapers described waterboarding before the Bush regime versus today. The results are eye opening.
And I‘ll get answers on the question everyone really cares about - True Blood or Twilight. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
HAYES: Coming up, President Obama gives comprehensive immigration reform a push. He made the case point by point today. He faces a very familiar problem. He needs help from the Republicans.
We‘ll get both sides of the debate at the bottom of the hour. Stay with us.
HAYES: Democrats are not letting House Minority Leader John Boehner get away with saying the financial reform bill was like, quote, “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought it up during her weekly press briefing today, and yesterday President Obama hammered Boehner for it at a town hall meeting.
This morning Boehner responded to the president‘s attack and opted against taking the high road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: For someone who asked to be held to a higher standard, President Obama spends an awful lot of time making excuses and whining about others. The American people want leadership from this White House and not childish partisanship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats seem to have plenty of political ammunition heading into this year‘s midterm elections. On top of Boehner‘s out of touch ant comment, there‘s the Republican push to repeal health care reform, the unbelievable apology to BP and the GOP‘s insistence on obstructing as much legislation as possible, including the jobs bill we just talked about. For more on what this all means for the Democrats this November, let me bring in the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), DCCC CHAIRMAN: Good to be with you, Chris. HAYES: Congressman, I wonder what - if there‘s a message that‘s taking shape across platforms for Democratic candidates this fall that has to do with the economy and the Republican obstruction in trying to - trying to repair it.
VAN HOLLEN: Why, yes, Chris, because there‘s a clear pattern here and the evidence is mounting every day. Beginning with Joe Barton‘s comments where he apologized to BP, revealing once again that the Republican energy policy is one where they‘re always on the side of big oil.
John Boehner saying that the Wall Street reform bill, which is designed to make sure that never again do millions of Americans lose their job because of bad bets and bad decisions made on Wall Street. He compared that to an ant. And there have been numerous stories about how the Wall Street lobbyists were crawling all over the Republican leadership to work with them to try and derail the Wall Street accountability bill. So what‘s very clear is that time and time again, when the choice is between helping tax payers and consumers and small businesses or helping the big special interests, whether they‘re big oil or the big banks on Wall Street, these guys are running as fast as they can to help the big special interests. And it‘s harder and harder for them to run away from the evidence because they keep casting these votes and they keep making these comments.
HAYES: Let me - let me ask you a question. There - there is a poll out, I think yesterday. It showed that - that health care reform has - has been getting more popular in - in the months since its passage. I‘m wondering if your - if the members of - of the House on the Democratic side are going back to their districts and campaigning on health care reform or is that something they‘re not really talking about?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, it‘s the Republicans that had made this an issue, and John Boehner just signed the legislation to repeal the health care reform. And, in doing so, they‘re clearly siding in this case with the big insurance companies.
We know that the big insurance companies spent millions and millions of dollars on the airwaves trying to defeat health care reform, and they did it for a reason, because we‘re giving more power to patients and consumers at the expense of the insurance industry. And so they‘re fighting back. They‘re using the Republican in Washington, the Congressional leadership in Washington, to really lead this repeal effort. And I think most Americans, when given the choice between repealing and starting to scratch and going back, you know, to the whole debate again on health care or trying to make this work and making corrections as they arise, they don‘t want to turn back the clock.
And—and see, this is what the debate and this election is going to be all about, because what‘s been very clear is that the Republican platform for the future is simply a rehash of the same Republican economic agenda that got this country into such a big mess to begin with, and why in the world would we want to send back the same guys or put the same guys back in power that got us into this mess to begin with? Whether it‘s Joe Barton who would be the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee or whether it‘s John Boehner who just compared the effort to hold Wall Street accountable to using a nuclear weapon against an ant.
HAYES: Let me ask -
VAN HOLLEN: Yes. Go ahead.
HAYES: Let me ask you this question before we get out of here. The House has taken a lot of tough votes and it‘s - it‘s passed a remarkable amount of legislation. You passed a clean energy bill, you passed financial reform, you passed a - you passed a recovery act, you passed a health care bill before the Senate did.
Does the United States Senate drive you as crazy as it drives all of us watching this? I mean, what do you say to your colleagues over there? What are thinking in the House when you watch legislation that are tough votes for members - your - your caucus to take, go over to the Senate and die?
VAN HOLLEN: Look, there‘s a saying around here, Chris, that in the House the Republicans and the Democrats, they‘re the opposition, but the Senate‘s the enemy, and the fact of the matter - the fact of the matter is you don‘t know what - you don‘t want to hear what we say behind closed doors with our Senate colleagues.
What I would say is that Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is as frustrated with what‘s happening in the Senate as - as those of us in the House are. And the American people need to watch this every day because we saw the most recent terrible case of it with unemployment insurance, trying to make sure that folks who are out of work, through no fault of their own, get a little relief, Republicans in the - in the Senate said no as if this was some kind of a fake recession, right? As if people who were looking for work were faking it and really wanted to somehow to stay on unemployment insurance rather than get a job when we all know that in order to qualify for unemployment insurance, you have to demonstrate you‘re looking for a job.
But for the Republicans, this seems to be a - a fake recession, just like for John Boehner the consequences of the meltdown on Wall Street were just an ant.
HAYES: Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, head of the D-Triple C, thanks so much for joining us and have a good weekend.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. Thank you. You too.
HAYES: Coming up, newspapers caught red handed aiding and abetting the torture apologists. With the help of a shocking study, I‘m exposing them, next.
HAYES: Imagine for a moment our country elected a bunch of people who thought that rape should be legal. Now, these pro-rape politicians knew that simply coming out and proposing that we legalize rape would be toxic and odious and rightly inspire moral revulsion among the populace. So they say this instead. Look, we don‘t support rape, but we want to legalize unilateral physical intimacy. And after they say that, they set out to make sure that no one ever called rape, rape but instead in every instance called it unilateral physical intimacy.
It‘s pretty clear that if supposedly objective news sources, say, for instance “The New York Times”, adopted that same language, they would be granting the pro-rape camp a monumental political victory. Unilateral physical intimacy is not a neutral phrase in our little thought experiment. It is propaganda, as ideologically phrased as the term welfare queen or Islamo-fascist.
Well, the same is true for the pro-torture euphemism enhanced interrogation techniques. A new study out from Harvard shows that the torture apologists won the semantic war to redefine the term. The study from Harvard University (INAUDIBLE) on the press compared the way the major newspapers used to describe waterboarding before the Bush regime and how they describe the practice afterwards. The results are eye opening. From the 1930s to the last decade, “The New York Times” called or characterized waterboarding as torture 82 percent of the time. But from 2002 to 2008, that number dropped to 1 percent of the time. From 82 percent to 1 percent.
“The Los Angeles Times” called or characterized waterboarding as torture 96 percent of the time before the last decade, and after 2002, it dropped to 5 percent. And the number of times “USA Today” called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture, zero.
Confronted with this damning evidence that they had allowed a group of immoral thugs to bully them into complicity with systemic crimes, the response from the “New York Times” was shocking. A spokesperson told Yahoo! News, quote, “As the debate over interrogation of terror suspects grew post-9/11, defenders of the practice (including senior officials of the Bush administration) insisted that it did not constitute torture. When using a word amounts to taking sides in a political dispute, our general practice is to supply the readers with the information to decide for themselves. Thus, we describe the practice vividly and we point out that it is denounced by international covenants and an American tradition as a form of torture.”
The phrase “enhanced interrogation technique” was designed from the beginning to diffuse our moral circuitry. It‘s the job of the independent press to trigger our moral alarms. “The New York Times” and “L.A. Times”” failed this basic test of duty and they could begin to atone now with a simple, clear policy. Just call torture what it is.
Coming up, President Obama made his case for immigration reform today, but don‘t get your hopes up. There is a major roadblock ahead. Reactions from both sides, coming up.
And the NRA is opposing Elena Kagan‘s nomination for the Supreme Court. I think the technical term for this is overkill. My panel weighs in.
All that, plus, there are magazines for just about anything and anyone, “Sports Illustrated,” GQ,” “People”. Now al Qaeda is coming out with one. Details ahead.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
HAYES: Welcome back to the Ed Show. The battleground story tonight, immigration reform. For the first time in his presidency, President Obama took the issue of immigration reform head-on. In a speech at American University, the president forcefully pushed back on claims, his administration has not done enough to secure the border. He also sharply criticized Arizona‘s paper please law set to go into effect later this month calling it, quote, “ill conceived devices and unenforceable.” We have reaction from both sides of the political aisle tonight. First of all, joining me is Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra of California. Congressman Becerra, thanks so much for joining me.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), California: Chris, good to be with you. HAYES: Congressman, what did you make of the president‘s speech today? Do you think this is going to provide momentum or was this an attempt to sort of deal with the issue without really actually having to deal with the issue?
BECERRA: No, I think it was the president‘s effort to try to rally take ownership of the issue. But Chris, think about this. How many politicians, how many political leaders do you know who have actually been willing to talk so candidly to the American public about immigration? It‘s a very tough issue. Politically it doesn‘t sell. And so for the president to get out there and be very clear about what he thinks we should do, you got to give him a lot of credit for that. And now, it‘s just a matter of trying to help him get a few decent courageous republicans in the senate to come forward and guess what, if we could do that, we could have comprehensive immigration reform that would help end the frustration of people feel whether in Arizona or any part of the country. HAYES: In other pieces of legislation, the house, even when there‘s been Senate obstruction or it‘s been unclear there‘s going to be republicans, when it‘s been a priority for the White House and been a priority for the house leadership, the house has moved and passed it first. They did that on clean energy, they did that on health care, they did that on financial reform. Will the house now move to get a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed first out of the house before the midterms? BECERRA: I think you‘ll find the House ready and willing to do any big lift that the president believes is essential for the country. And we will succeed. But the problem is not the House. It‘s the Senate. There are 350 bills some extremely big important bills like the energy reform, like the jobs bills that are sitting in the senate. We‘re waiting for a few courageous republicans to stand up to help the American people move forward. We have a majority in the senate to pass all these big bills. We just don‘t have a supermajority which the republicans in the Senate are demanding.
HAYES: I want to ask you this question about immigration reform. People talk about a sort of emotional topic it is and it‘s certainly is. I wonder those sometimes whether the degree to which the anti-immigration forces are so well organize skews perceptions on Capitol Hill about just how widely share that view is. Do you think that—there was all this talk back in ‘08 that it was going to be a big issue and then it really wasn‘t. Do you think there‘s a misperception amongst your colleagues how much of a third rail the issue is?
BECERRA: Chris, you‘ve hit it right on the money. We saw what happened in ‘06 and ‘07 when senators tried to tackle this issue. They were barraged by e-mails, faxes, calls by those who were against doing the reform to fix the system. And they became all these voices against reform became bigger than life. Yet, when it comes to elections in most cases, those folks don‘t have the impact that they seem to have on the process itself of legislating. And so the reality is the public is way ahead of the politicians when it comes to immigration reform. Most polls since 2005 have shown that the American public is ready for a fix. A real way to fix the system. And they‘re willing to deal with the issue of the undocumented immigrants in this country. Politicians aren‘t because they know they can get hit in campaign literature and campaign commercials and so they‘re more hesitant. But the public is way ahead of the politicians when it comes to fixing our immigration system.
HAYES: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Becerra.
BECERRA: Thank you very much, Chris.
HAYES: President Obama laid out the obstacle to immigration reform today. It‘s a nonstarter without republican support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I‘m ready to move forward. The majority of democrats are ready to move forward. And I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem. Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without republican votes. That is the political and mathematical reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is a real live republican, Congressman Brian Bilbray of California. Congressman, thanks so much for coming on the show.
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY ®, California: Great to be with you.
HAYES: Congressman, what did you think of this speech today?
BILBRAY: I think the president went over the same ground that everybody‘s been going over for the last few years. Sadly, I was hoping for him to look for that bipartisan effort that he could have brought up, that he ignored. And that‘s the big bipartisan effort is the Shuler bill where you have over 230 democrats and republicans almost evenly split supporting a bill that kind of follows up on what the president‘s been doing with requiring e-verify for all federal contractors. He missed that one and that‘s the middle ground where everybody can work together. HAYES: OK. I‘m going to jump in. Because I know you‘re a big proponent of the Shuler bill. First of all, bipartisanship, isn‘t it the case that any kind of comprehensive reform is going to look very much like the already crafted bipartisan McCain-Kennedy bill that members of the republican caucus killed several years ago? So, isn‘t there already a bipartisan framework in place for comprehensive reform which I don‘t think you can call the Shuler bill comprehensive?
BILBRAY: Well, I would. And look, Chris, you used the word and a lot of people in this town use comprehensive as catch word for the amnesty proposal that reflexes the mistake we made in ‘86 which is something that really gets people upset. If you‘re talking about requiring all employers use e-verify, we crack down on the source of the problem, illegal employers but to hold all the process hostage for a proposal to somehow accommodate those who are illegally here before we talk about stopping illegal immigration is the one that sets people off.
HAYES: Why is that such a problem? Explain to me why that‘s such a problem. Why is it such a problem that there are 11 million people illegally here?
BILBRAY: Because you ought to come down to Latin America like I do. You‘re telling the world that we‘re going to reward the people that come here illegally while we have 100 million that waited patiently and played by the rules. You won‘t be able to control the border if you announce another amnesty, you won‘t be able to deal fence tall enough, if you announce to the world we‘re going to reward those who break our laws while we tell those who play by the rules to wait patiently. It‘s just countering to it.
HAYES: Right. But the problem is that if you don‘t deal with those 11 million people, what do you do with them?
BILBRAY: Well, what you first do is you crack down on the people that are paying them to stay here. That‘s what you do first.
HAYES: But congressman, you know that is not going to solve the problem.
BILBRAY: Well, to solve the problem is to prove to the American people that Congress is willing to get tough on the real bad guys here. That‘s the employers. That is the problem. That is overwhelmingly the number one source for people that come here and stay here illegally. If you really think they‘re coming here for some other programs, you really haven‘t seen the statistics. The employers are the source. So, why does a democratic president who claims to be progressive not be willing to crack down on the illegal employers who were exploiting this labor? The people that are making money off of illegal immigration. It‘s not just the illegal worker but it‘s mostly the wealthy employers who are exploiting it. How can someone call themselves a progressive and not be willing to crack down on these guys that are the source? That was the problem with George Bush. He was willing to do amnesty because it rewarded the employers with more cheap labor. The people that were his buddies. And that‘s why people were outraged at George Bush.
Now, this president is doing the same mistake by not willing to prove to the American people that he‘ll finally do the right thing, take on the rich guys, the employers who are actually the ones profiteering from all of this and doing it under the process that everyone agrees ought to be done, require everybody just to check the Social Security numbers matter. And not to talk about telling the world that we‘re going to reward people for breaking the rules. Any parent could tell you the only thing worse than rewarding a child who breaks the rules is reward the child in front of that kids who have played by the rules. You can‘t ask the world to respect our laws when we tell them we won‘t.
HAYES: Congressman Bilbray, thanks so much for coming on.
BILBRAY: Thank you very much.
HAYES: You have a good Fourth of July.
HAYES: All right. Let‘s now turn to our panel for some rapid fire responses on these stories. The NRA comes out against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a move that could scare some republicans into opposing her confirmation. And House republicans decide to go to the wall to repeal health care reform under pressure from the conservative fringe groups and the club for growth.
With us tonight, Ann Friedman, Deputy Editor of “The American Prospect” and Alex Wagner, the White House Correspondent for “Politics Daily.” I am so psyched to have you both here. Let‘s start with the Kagan anti-endorsement from the NRA. Is this going to spell trouble or this is sort of gilding the lily from a group that already didn‘t like her? Ann Friedman, what do you think?
ANN FRIEDMAN, AMERICAN PROSPECT: I mean, they try this last time around. It‘s basically like they took their Sotomayor press release into the fine replace with Kagan‘s name. And, you know what, it did work that, I don‘t think it has any demonstrable effect on the number of votes. And it‘s going to have the same lack of effect now.
HAYES: Alex, same question to you.
ALEX WAGNER, POLITICS DAILY: I wish I had something different to say but I‘m in agreement with Ann on this one. I mean, you know, you had AAA platinum certified NRA approved senator who‘s voted for Sotomayor. And I can‘t imagine that you‘re not going to get some republican senators voting for Kagan.
HAYES: The craziest thing about this to me is that the NRA, all they do is win everything already. They—the Supreme Court cases. They basically have had a Supreme Court and they‘re only replacing Stevens anyway. It‘s like, I think they really want to earn their paychecks over there in the Virginia headquarters. The Tea Party folks have convinced the republicans to sign on to this thing saying they‘re going to repeal health care. What I think is so interesting about this is when I asked Congressman Chris Van Hollen, he seems to think that even if health care isn‘t a winning issue politically, that being against repeal is. And I wonder what you guys make of that politically. Ann, what do you think?
FRIEDMAN: I mean, repeal is literally saying, we want to go backward.
You know, rhetorically, this is a gift for the democrats I think.
HAYES: Alex, what do you think?
WAGNER: Yes, I mean, absolutely. Look, the polls have, you know, the polls have come out, the Kaiser family foundation yesterday saying 48 percent of Americans are in favor of health care. So, it‘s like what are you going to do? Say no, we‘re repealing legislation that allows insurers, that doesn‘t allow insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions? I mean, the talking points for the White House in this in defense are just so strong, I understand what the.
HAYES: And that‘s what‘s so weird about it, right? I think it shows a little bit of the defensiveness on the part of the democrats that they‘re psyched about the repeal thing because they‘re worried about campaigning on the actual bill.
WAGNER: Yes. And what you know, what King and Harger (ph) for are—the legislation that they‘re sort of proposing, you know, Boehner and Cantor have sort of side stepped any actual change to the health care bill. I mean, they‘re just sort of—they‘re playing politics I think. HAYES: All right. You guys agreed too much. I‘m going to ask you super polarizing questions here. “True Blood” or “Twilight” as the best piece of vampire pop culture we have right now?
HAYES: See, you guys, I mean, absolutely. No civility. It flies out the window on that question.
WAGNER: Yes. This is a really hot button issue, Chris.
HAYES: Ann, what do you think?
FRIEDMAN: I mean, “Twilight” is the comedic movie event of the summer. Like, have you seen those CGI werewolves? I mean, come on. So, clearly team “Twilight.”
WAGNER: Well, I mean, like get me to the abs. It‘s all about the festival of abs. That‘s what “Twilight” is. How can you say no to that? Sookie Stackhouse has got nothing on that.
HAYES: I am firmly team Jacob for the record and I‘m sure Ed Schultz is as well. All right. Ann Friedman of “The American Prospect” deputy editor and Alex Wagner, who‘s the white house correspondent for “Politics Daily.” It was a pleasure to have you guys on. We‘ll have you back next time here.
WAGNER: Thanks, Chris.
FRIEDMAN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, the multibillion dollar business of preying on the boar. A new book exposes some of the worst offenders and the newest recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. Their own magazine. I‘m not kidding. Details ahead.
HAYES: Let us know what you think. The number to dial is 877-edmsnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, who do you blame more for killing the unemployment benefits extension? Press one for Democrat Ben Nelson, press two for the republicans. Again, the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.
HAYES: Since Ed is on vacation, I‘m putting a spin on his Playbook and calling it my Nerd Book this week. So, in tonight‘s Nerd Book, there‘s a battle brewing over the deficit, and it‘s one initiated by people who want to see America‘s safety net ripped to shreds. Progressives advocate measures like a financial transactions tax on big Wall Street traders and a reduction of military spending. Conservatives have their eyes set on detonating the main pillars of American‘s system of social insurance. President Obama‘s deficit commission is tacked with figuring out the solution. And my next guest just testified before this commission and fought to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid from debilitating cuts advocated by many deficit hawks.
Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America‘s Future joins me now. Roger, thanks a lot for being on the show. ROGER HICKEY, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA‘S FUTURE CO-DIRECTOR: Thanks for having me on, Chris.
HAYES: What do you have to say before the commission yesterday when you went up there?
HICKEY: Well, first of all, I had to tell them to remind them that they‘ve got a tough job if the economy continues to be sluggish and jobs are not created. That‘s the big news that they‘re grappling with right now and they heard it from a lot of people who testified before them. Including Rich Trumka, the AFL-CIO and myself. If you don‘t have economic growth, if you don‘t have job creation, they can‘t achieve the goal that they‘ve set for themselves on balancing the budget by 2015. It just can‘t be done. And the other thing is that there, as you said, they‘re focused on cutting Social Security and Medicare when they ought to be talking about first of all, growing the economy but also further steps to reduce the health care inflation that is driving Medicare costs.
HAYES: Let me jump in here.
HICKEY: There are also the wars and the current recession, so there‘s a lot of things that they‘re just ignoring right now.
HAYES: The thing that seems frustrating about the deficit commission is that, it is sort of ostensibly neutral commission of inquiry that yet is kind of emanating from a particular ideological perspective. Do you feel like the commission is engaged in a good faith effort to actually evaluate this or is the deck already stacked?
HICKEY: There are a lot of conservatives on that commission. The conservatives really got the president to create this commission. And they‘ve got 14 out of 18 have to agree in order to get something done. So, it‘s a tough but stacked with conservatives who might just agree to cut our Social Security benefits, to slash Medicaid and to do some things that really don‘t help the deficit situation any—for example, Social Security. It‘s not contributing to the deficit at all. But many on the commission, including some democrats, are focused on cutting Social Security. So, we‘ve got to the reorient that whole debate to focus on growth, to focus on you know, progressive revenues and cutting military spending.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. It does seem like you know, out of almost out of nowhere, this deficit obsession has kind of captured the imagination of sort of elite policy circles. What do you put your finger on as the cause for that?
HICKEY: You know, it‘s years and years of propaganda from the conservatives, Pete Peterson was instrumental in getting this—he‘s a Wall Street mogul who has spent a lot of money.
HAYES: A billion dollars he‘s pledged.
HICKEY: Promoting the idea that deficits are going to kill us and then you have this international consensus in Europe and elsewhere that cutting deficits at a time when Europe and the rest of the world need to recover economically. It‘s crazy. And I was proud to see that President Obama when he went to Toronto for the g-20 actually chastised those other countries and said, we‘ve got to grow first before we cut deficits. HAYES: Growth is the solution. Roger Hickey, thanks for making up point with us. Roger Hickey from the Campaign for America‘s future, glad you were here.
HICKEY: Thanks Chris.
HAYES: A few final pages, watch out Conde Nast. Al Qaeda is launching a news magazine in English, it‘s called “Inspire,” and it‘s designed to move politically frustrated Muslim youth in the west down a road of violent extremism. The magazine is filled with fun interesting things like a message from the editor titled, How to Save the Earth. And an article called, make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom. It‘s possible, although not likely, the magazine is a fabrication. A U.S. official said this morning that it appears to be authentic.
And finally today is Canada Day, which we hereby recognize on the Ed Show. Ed is currently in Canada enjoying the fishing from our neighbors to the north and should he get ill, he can take advantage of their fine single pair health care system. Thank you for your metric bilingual politeness and the adorable way you pronounce sorry. Also for Steve Nash. Yes, Canada.
Coming up, the working poor are big business. Loan sharks preying on the financially vulnerable and getting rich at their expense. Gary Rivlin exposed just how seedy the business is and he joins me next.
HAYES: The last few decades have seen a surge in loan sharks exploiting America‘s working poor by luring them into debt they can‘t possibly carry. The recent recession only enhanced the problem as an increase in financial woes fueled a desperation for seemingly easy outs like quick credit and payday loans. Financial regulatory reform may end the worst abuses but these businesses permeate our society to such a degree it will take much more to successfully fight back against the freezing of working Americans.
My next guest Gary Rivlin exposes the seedy industry in his new book “Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. How the Working Poor Became Big Business.” Gary Rivlin joins me now. Gary, thanks so much for being on.
GARY RIVLIN, “BROKE, USA” AUTHOR: Hi, Chris. HAYES: This is a fantastic book. And I want you to talk us through, how this industry kind of went from the mom and pop pawnshop to a multibillion dollar business.
RIVLIN: You know, you start off with old line businesses like pawnshops which is been around for centuries, check cashers since the ‘30s. And they were essentially attacked by these entrepreneurs who got money from Wall Street, they got money from the biggest banks and now you have businesses like cash America, 650 pawnshops booking a billion dollars in revenues, $150 million in pretax profits. But at the same time, you saw in the last 25 years, all this innovation, subprime credit cards became big huge business in the 1990s. The payday loan was invented in 1993 and now less than 20 years later, there are as many payday loan shops in this country as there are McDonald‘s, Burger Kings, instant tax mills. You have a long, long list of businesses. There‘s a lot of creative energy being put into the poverty industry because there‘s so much money to be made. HAYES: One of the things you talk about in the book, that was a place where this sort of thing is going on, I hadn‘t necessarily thought about are the tax mills. A lot of tax preparation places are essentially functioning now as payday lenders.
RIVLIN: Right. I mean, there‘s a certain brilliance to this business. Once a year where the working poor feel rich. And that‘s at tax time because of the earned income tax credit dates back to the Nixon era. People who make 20,000, $30,000 a year, have a couple of kids, they are going to come into a tax refund of two, three, $4,000. So, lo and behold, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax to newer companies. They started opening a shops in neighborhoods specifically where there was a family income of less than $30,000.
And they would be selling at a very high premium, triple digit interest rates. They‘d be selling instant tax returns. So, instead of waiting two or three weeks for the IRS, these are people who are so desperate, they‘ll pay this huge premium for their money today or tomorrow. And on top of that, by the way, what they‘re charging these places for the actual tax preparation is also enormous. It‘s a few hundred dollars for a very easy simple tax returns. It‘s a $4 billion a year business that lasts about a month.
HAYES: Let me ask you this, and real quickly, we have a minute left here. You‘ve written that you think, that the financial reform bill that is on the verge of being passed could actually clear some of these abuses. How do you think that‘s going to work?
RIVLIN: Well, it‘s one place, this new agency is going to be one place where all the laws are being enforced. But it‘s hardly a one place to what I‘m writing about. There‘s talk in Washington of a national user cap of 36 percent which would essentially struggle to put the payday lenders out of business. That‘s not part of this. Check cashers, a third of the states have no cap on the rates that check cashers can charge. Ten percent of the face value of a check is not uncommon. This law does nothing about this. So, this is a good step. It‘s really important to monitoring the mortgage market and it helps on the payday check cashing instant cash front but there‘s a lot more that would need to be done.
HAYES: Gary Rivlin, author of “Broke, USA.” It‘s a fantastic book.
I really highly recommend it. Thanks a lot for joining us tonight.
RIVLIN: Great, thanks Chris.
HAYES: Tonight in our phone survey, we asked you who do you blame more for killing unemployment benefits extension? Thirty one percent say, Democrats Ben Nelson, 69 percent say, the republicans.
All right. Thanks for watching. Thanks for having me this week. I am Chris Hayes of The Nation. You can follow me at twitter.com/chrislhayes. Tonight I‘m going to get it right, last night I brooded. Coming up next is hardball with Chris Matthews. It starts right now.
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