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The Ed Show for Thursday, April 14th, 2011

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Guests: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, David Cay Johnston, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, John Nichols, Loretta Weinberg


ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Well, guess what?  Middle class wage earners are under attack by a Republican governor.  Have you heard that story before?  I‘ll tell you all about it.

That and a lot more right here on THE ED SHOW.  Let‘s get to work.




SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Tonight, the rich are making more money than ever, but the right wing is freaking out because President Obama wants to raise their taxes back to the rates they paid under Clinton.  You know who supports taxing the rich?  The American people.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took his act to Capitol Hill today and admitted the truth about his union-busting.  So, how many Republicans hearing his testimony got money from the Koch brothers?  Place your bets.  We‘ll have the numbers.

And Republican Governor Chris Christie lashes out at a 76-year-old widow?


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY:  Can you guys please take the bad out her for once?


SCHULTZ:  Tonight she joins us exclusively and she‘s swinging back.


SCHULTZ:  This is the story that has me fired up tonight.  Good evening everybody.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW.

Republicans and their mouthpieces in the right wing media—I‘ll tell you what, they are absolutely freaking out because President Obama wants the rich people in this country to share in the sacrifice.  The president put it this way earlier today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It is a balanced plan that asks for shared sacrifice in order to provide shared opportunity for all Americans.  It‘s not appropriate for us to ask for sacrifices from everybody except for the 2 percent of Americans who are doing best, but rather we should ask everybody to participate in this effort to get our fiscal house in order.


SCHULTZ:  Oh, that‘s plenty of meat for the sound machine across the country, isn‘t it?  The top three conservative talkers are jumping all over the president for even mentioning the fact that maybe raising taxes on the top 2 percent might be a good thing for the country.

Take a look.


GLENN BECK, RADIO HOST:  He goes on to say in this—do you have the part where he says, hey, and the rich, they want it.  Look at the way they‘re dressed.  They want us to rape them with the IRS.  They want it.

Look at them.  They‘re in pin striped suits.  They want it.  You can‘t blame me for raping them.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST:  Those savages that make up the Obama base are fit to be tied.  He had to get them back, and the one way to do it is go out and savage us.  That‘s what they love.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  Nassau County where I live in, ridiculous sales taxes, hidden taxes, about 55 percent plus of my income goes to the government.  How much more do you want?  What‘s fair?


SCHULTZ:  Rush, Beck, and slant head—you know, all these guys make multimillions, and here they are telling the American people that they might have a hard time making it if the president wants to raise their taxes?  Conservative talkers—let me tell you, folks, they don‘t have a worry in the world when it comes to taxes.  And compared to the middle class, it‘s not even close.

The president wants to take a simple number and move it forward on the richest Americans.  He talked about patriotism in his speech yesterday.  He talked about helping the country in need.

Where are these right wing talkers?  Is this just fodder or do they just hate the guy?  No.  It‘s the money.  I mean, they actually think that they‘re not going to be able to make it if they have to pay more taxes.

And I‘ll tell you why they have to pay more taxes in my opinion, because they can, because we can, because the country needs it.  It‘s about economic patriotism.

And here we go with the right wing hate machine propping up guys like Scott Walker and Chris Christie going after public employees to give up 10 percent or 15 percent of their income.  Conservative talkers refer to Ryan‘s budget as their path to prosperity?  Ryan pulled this one out off the charts today and spit out this ridiculous talking point.


REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN:  Mr. Speaker, we do not have a revenue problem in Washington.  The problem here today is not that people don‘t pay enough taxes.  The problem is Washington borrows and spends too much money.


SCHULTZ:  We spend too much money as a country.  You know what?  I think Congressman Ryan is dead wrong.  America has a major revenue problem because if we had the tax rates back to what they were we‘d be in a hell of a lot better shape.

Take a look at this chart.  The top marginal income tax rate has been great for the rich for decades.

Take a look at a little bump during the Clinton years in the 1990s. 

Clinton raised the top tax rate to 39 percent and guess what happened? 

Twenty-two million jobs were created.

So, where is Mr. Boehner who is so concerned about where are the jobs?  He attacked President Obama‘s attempt to turn back to the Clinton tax rates.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Raising taxes on the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs is the wrong move.


SCHULTZ:  Oh, here we go with that failed theory again.  If we give more money to the rich, they‘re going to go out and just create so many more jobs.  Don‘t you think the Republicans have a pretty hard time explaining that there was zero net job creation over the last decade?  Wasn‘t that when the Bush tax cuts were in effect for the wealthiest Americans?  Where are the jobs?

Boehner‘s counterpart in the Senate is all worked up about taxing the wealthy just a little bit more.  Listen to the straw man argument here.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, KENTUCKY:  Take all of the tax money from everybody in America who makes over $100,000 a year, take it all, Mr.  President, and you wouldn‘t cover the deficit this year alone.


SCHULTZ:  Take it all.  They don‘t want to take it all.  They just want to take 39 percent of people who make over $250,000 a year.

But here‘s a key point: if the president and the Democrats were to come up with a plan and say, OK, we‘ll keep the tax rate where it is for people up to $1 million, or $1.5 million , or $2 million, it wouldn‘t work.  They are against any kind of tax increase whatsoever because, you see, these are the people that line their pockets when it comes to elections as we all know.

McConnell is trying to scare the people.  He is trying to scare the American people.  All President Obama is talking about is taking the top tax rate and returning it to what they paid for in the past during the Clinton years.  And all President Clinton did was go out and add over 20 million jobs to the economy.

So, this idea that if—if—we go back to the old rates—oh, gosh it‘s going to kill job creation.  That is the straw man.

And, by the way, you know, the people have spoken on this issue.  According to a Gallup poll that‘s out, 59 percent—almost six in 10 Americans—think that the next budget should raise taxes on the top wage earners in this country.

Now, Bush 41, what did he do?  Well, he raised taxes. OK, he lost his job.

And then what did Clinton do?  Clinton came in, fixed the economy, gave us a surplus and he did it by a little bit more taxation of the wealthiest Americans in this country.  And I can guarantee you that there isn‘t one Republican—it‘s almost doctrine for them—there are going to be no Republicans in the House or the Senate that will ever sign their name on to any kind of a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans.  It just goes against everything they believe in.

You know, today, here in Las Vegas, I spoke to a group of trial lawyers.  They‘re wealthy.  They‘re well to do.  They‘ve had success.

And after the speech was over with, I had a chance to talk to at least a dozen of them and I asked many of them—I said, “What about the tax rate?  What if you were to ask to be paid just a little bit more?  Let‘s go back to the Clinton rates of just over 39 percent.”  They got no problem with it.

The thing that is so phony this whole argument that the righties are throwing out there on talk radio in America and the Senate is they act as if the American people are against this, they act as if that there‘s just no way that we could put this on the wealthiest Americans who have enjoyed the fruits of the land over the last 10 years and their wealth has gone through the roof.

Look, if we‘re going to get our fiscal house in order in this country, we‘re going to have to have shared sacrifice.  That‘s all the president is asking for.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think on this story tonight.  Tonight‘s question: are the rich paying their fair share of taxes?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no, to 622639.  And you can also go to our new blog at  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now: Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS:  Thanks so much, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  I think it‘s doctrine for the Republicans.  They just—they‘re never going to sign their name on to anything.  I don‘t think there‘s one Republican in the House, one in the Senate that would ever go against the leadership and their position on raising taxes—meaning going back to the old Clinton rates.  Am I right or wrong on that?  What do you think?

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well, you‘re absolutely right.  But the thing that the

president was able to do was to paint these very different visions of

America, one that‘s very pessimistic, that says that he gives examples that

you can‘t afford to go to college—well, so be it.  Bridges and roads are

crumbling, we just can‘t afford to do it.  And if you‘re an old person and

you can‘t afford that, that voucher doesn‘t pay for your health insurance -

well, then that‘s just too bad.  You‘re on your own.


And he painted a vision that we believe in that says that, no, everyone in this country deserves to—we take care of ourselves but we also take care of each other, and we take care of our country.  I wonder if you‘ve got that—my favorite chart that I walk around with, Ed, that I sent over that shows that the top 1 percent -- 0.1 percent of Americans are in the red.

On the left, you see that over—from 1976 to 2005, that‘s the increase in income.  The top 0.1 percent saw their income increase almost $6 million.  The bottom 20 percent of Americans: 200 bucks.  And even when you get up to the 90 percent you only saw income increase about $31,000.

We‘re asking those people that live in the red to just pay their fair share.  That‘s a picture of the unshared prosperity.

Do you think those people in the red are 6 million times smarter than those people at the other end who are just trying to make a living?  Of course, they aren‘t.  And as I think the president pointed out, many of them—and you pointed out—are willing to pay their fair share.

SCHULTZ:  Well, they are willing to pay it and that‘s the fallacy in the Republican argument throughout all of this, is that they paint Americans who have had good fortune as people who are totally greedy.  It‘s about leadership and the president is trying to give leadership but once again he is running into a bunch of financial obstructionists over in the House and the Senate who will never go on to it.

The other thing is that the president said that he would not sign on to extending the Bush tax cuts.  We should point out that the cuts that were passed today in the House and the Senate now the president is going to sign it.  These cuts are effective this year.  Yet, the tax increases that the president is talking about aren‘t going to take place until after this agreement that was made during the lame duck session of the Congress.

So, they‘re going to get the fruits of this tax cut this year and next year.  So, why is it so hard for the Democrats to collectively just go on the offensive on this issue and challenge the Republicans to change that time line?

SCHAKOWSKY:  This issue is a winner for us.  Eighty-one percent of Americans actually said that if they—that the best way to deal with the deficit and debt is to ask millionaires to pay more.  And so, we have the high ground here.  We should be pushing this issue.

They certainly don‘t want to see Medicare guarantees erased.  That‘s part of the Republican budget.  They don‘t want to see slashing of Medicare.  They all want to protect Social Security, education, infrastructure, investment, clean energy.


SCHAKOWSKY:  And so, we need to press this.

You‘re right, Ed.  We are on the side of the American people.  We ought to listen to them.  We should have the courage to follow what the American people are telling us and we are winners with these issues.

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thanks for joining us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.  I appreciate it so much.

Let‘s turn now to David Cay Johnston, columnist for and former tax reporter for “The New York Times.”

Mr. Johnston, good to have you on.

Your thoughts on restoring the top tax rate of the Clinton era.  What impact would it have?  And what are the chances of it happening, in your opinion?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, TAX.COM:  Well, we don‘t necessarily need to go to that rate.  But if we‘re going to raise rates, we certainly want to raise on the highest income Americans‘ taxes and perhaps also taxes on their capital incomes.

Since 1993, the effective tax rate, the share of income paid by the top 400 taxpayers has gone from 30 cents on the dollar, down to 22 cents at the end of the Clinton administration, down to less than 17 cents on the dollar.

So, ask yourself, were your taxes cut 43 percent between 1993 and 2007?  Mine weren‘t.  And I suspect anybody outside the 400, they were not.

The president here has a very powerful tool to use.  He‘s already invoked Abraham Lincoln against the Republicans on this, and he very sly brought up without naming them, Reagan and Bush, pointing out that we would be at historic low levels of debt, but for their policies that were put in place when the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House.

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Johnston, does President Obama‘s numbers—do they add up?  Do they make economic sense?  Does it take the country in the correct direction?

JOHNSTON:  Yes.  And to balance the budget, which we need to do in the long run and we‘ve need to do for a long, long time, you‘ve got to do this from all different directions.  You can‘t just cut spending—and especially not at the bottom.  It will produce other expensive costs for us.

So, raising the taxes somewhat on the very highest income Americans, and we may see the president cave at some point on some tax increases, minor ones for people further down the income ladder—and at the same time, putting some restraints on all areas of spending, the Pentagon, Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security are, after all, most of the budget along with interest.  And interest rates at some point will go back up.

SCHULTZ:  And do we have to nip Medicare and Medicaid to make our budget work?  Do we have to get in, in the immediate sense, and do something about Medicare to make sure that it‘s going to be better for the country?

JOHNSTON:  Yes.  We need to—in the case, though, of Medicare what we don‘t need to do is treat it more as a business.  Our entire federal budget deficit would go away if we simply went to an efficient single payer health care system.  You watch.  I bet you the president will start talking about the burdens on small business of health care—


JOHNSTON:  -- as we go forward.  But if we—if we got our health care house in order, these problems go away, Ed.  This is such an obvious thing.  The Republicans right now with this extreme “We will not raise taxes under these circumstances” approach are painting themselves into a corner that I think they will regret.

SCHULTZ:  David Cay Johnston, always a pleasure.  Love your take. 

Thanks for joining us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.

Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.

And coming up: it was a day of reckoning for Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin.  He was on Capitol Hill today.  He finally took questions from someone other than FOX News, and we finally got a little bit of the truth out of the guy.

And major defections today by Republicans voting against the largest spending cut in history.  Details ahead on that.

And you are looking live inside the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom in

Chicago where the president of the United States is expected to speak at a

re-election fundraiser.  There he is, the president at the podium.  We‘re

keeping an eye on this event.  If he says anything about what we‘re just talking about, the budget and raising taxes.

Stay with us.  We‘re right back here on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Our new blog has got a lot of material on it.  You can find it at  There, you‘re going to find links to my radio Web site at, Twitter, and Facebook.

House Speaker John Boehner—can he add and subtract?  Not really. 

In fact, it‘s put him in a real pickle.  That‘s next.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight from Las Vegas.

John Boehner‘s big deal budget-cutting bill passed today.  But not before lawmakers started figuring out—you know, this isn‘t such a big deal after all.  The bill passed 260 to 167 and, of course, it funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year.  Fifty-nine Republicans voted no, 81 Democrats voted yes to the bill.

But the Congressional Budget Office determined the immediate savings from this big budget deal would be only $352 million in 2011, not the advertised $38 billion.  And with wartime contingency funds, spending for 2011 will be about $3.3 billion higher in 2011, not $38 billion lower.

So, it looks like speaker Boehner is suffering from some—I guess you could say addition and subtraction education.  It‘s a real problem.

That left him with some real explaining to do today.


BOEHNER:  Let‘s understand that we‘re cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated.  And anybody that doesn‘t believe this money wouldn‘t be spent, if we don‘t act, is kidding themselves, because this is real money and these are real cuts.


SCHULTZ:  So, are you convinced?  Some Tea Party darlings—they are not convinced.  Like Congressman Mike Pence who said in a statement that the deal was just not good enough in the face of our fiscal crisis.  Congresswoman Michele Bachmann kept her promise to vote no because the bill did not defund health care reform.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, well, he ripped into his fellow Republicans who voted no in an e-mail.  He compared those Republican colleagues to Hanoi Jane.  He later apologized.  The bill passed the Senate today as well, 81-19, and goes to the president of the United States for his signature.

Let‘s bring in the chief executive officer of Green for All, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.

Phaedra, great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

Is this going to be a problem for John Boehner?  He seems to have boxed himself in and now, we have to depend on his credibility as far as what was going to be spent and what‘s not going to be spent.  How do you see it?

PHAEDRA ELLIS-LAMKINS, CEO, GREEN FOR ALL:  Well, today was not a good day to be John Boehner.  It‘s a good day for people who are rooting for him to not succeed.

Today, he showed the Tea Party that he wasn‘t for them.  He passed a budget.  He was elected and the first three months in office, he has managed to alienate the people that helped elect him.  He committed to saving $100 billion and now, we know he‘s going to spend more than he did last year.

And so, it‘s not a good day to be him.  It‘s not a good day for the American people.  But it‘s not a day to be John Boehner.

SCHULTZ:  And tomorrow might be even tougher.  What‘s going to happen when he‘s going to go out and try to get the votes for raising the debt ceiling?  How is that going to come down?

ELLIS-LAMKINS:  You know, it‘s going to be really telling.  You know, that thing you and I would laugh about is John Boehner didn‘t just check in with the Tea Party but he checked in with Wall Street, first.  And I can‘t believe the American people aren‘t going to be able to see through that.

You know, you and I wouldn‘t believe in GOP economics.  If I said to you, “Hey, let‘s balance our checkbook,” would you go, “OK, let me walk around my neighborhood, first, let me see who‘s on birth control?  Ask my neighbors, are they on birth control?  Nope.”

Then I‘d say, OK.  Second step to be able to balance the checkbook the GOP way is I‘d say, who is the richest person in my neighborhood?  Now let me go give them all my money.

And then I‘d say, step three.  Figure out what else I should do.  Hmm, I don‘t know.


ELLIS-LAMKINS:  And then I look at my checkbook and it wouldn‘t be balanced.

SCHULTZ:  And I think going back to step one, it looks to me like the

White House budget director has his act together with the numbers and it

looks like Mr. Boehner put his numbers on a bar napkin.  I mean, this looks




SCHULTZ:  I mean, I don‘t know how else to look at it.  He‘s winging it.  He‘s winging it big time.

He campaigned on cutting spending.  And then he doesn‘t do the numbers right in the 11th hour and now finds himself in a political pickle with his own moderates, if there are any left in the Tea Partiers who have been so extreme on cutting.  And even putting Boehner‘s troubles aside, this budget battle, good or bad, for the Democrats?  How do you see it?

ELLIS-LAMKINS:  You know, I don‘t think it gets better than this for the Democrats.  It allows the Democrats to show who they are and then who Boehner is.

He not only is isolating his base but he gives us a chance to say, you know, we‘re the people that are for clean air.  We‘re the people that are for clean water.  You‘re for the polluters.

We‘re the people that believe people should have health care services in their neighborhoods.  You‘re the people who don‘t believe people ought to have health care.  There is no better time and no better budget because it shows, what are the values of people?  Who cares about the middle class?  Who wants to make sure middle income people can have a house and pay attention and be part of their kids‘ futures?

This is a battle about the type of country we‘re going to be and today was the beginning to show who‘s for the American people.

SCHULTZ:  Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much.

ELLIS-LAMKINS:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Las Vegas is a place where people take a lot of risks, but the Republican governor of Nevada is gambling with the futures of the state‘s young people.  If Donald Trump wants to be president, don‘t you think he‘s going to need some serious racial sensitivity training first?  The latest gaffe from the huckster in chief.  “The Takedown” is next.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  It‘s time for the Takedown here on THE ED SHOW.  I‘m starting to think that Donald Trump was born with a silver foot right in his mouth.  For weeks, this guy has given us plenty of reasons to doubt the seriousness of his presidential ambitions.  And today of course was no different. 

Speaking on talk radio in Albany, New York, Trump referred to African-American voters with an absolutely stunning lack of sensitivity. 


DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  I have a great relationship with the blacks.  I‘ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.  But unfortunately, it seems that, you know, the numbers that you cite are very, very frightening numbers. 


SCHULTZ:  Hang on now.  Did Trump really just casually refer to the African-American community as the blacks?  This is a guy who says he wants to be president, and he thinks it‘s OK to call African-Americans the blacks? 

That is so insensitive and ridiculous, I have to wonder if he actually meant what he said.  I mean, maybe Trump was talking about someone specific. 

Look at this headline, “Trump to Appear at Black Trial.”  Maybe he meant convicted felon Conrad Black, who Trump defended in court.  He has a good relationship with him?  Or maybe he was talking about comedian Louis Black, who recently mocked a potential Trump candidacy. 


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN:  And I for one couldn‘t be more onboard. 

Trump, 2012, you‘re fired, America!


SCHULTZ:  You know, I‘m just trying to come up with some kind of

excuse here, because it just doesn‘t make any sense that in 2011, that a national media figure who wants to be president of the United States could be so unaware of how insulting he just was to an entire community in this country. 

Folks, we‘re past the point of wondering whether Donald Trump is a serious candidate anymore, aren‘t we?  At this point we should just cue up the circus music every time this clown opens his mouth. 

That‘s the Takedown. 

Governor Chris Christie says the press should take the bat out on—wait, take a bat out?  Well, we‘re going to tell you who he‘s talking about attacking now?  It‘s unbelievable. 

And the governor of Wisconsin tells members of Congress that his anti-worker agenda is truly progressive.  Scott Walker‘s day of reckoning on Capitol Hill.  That is next.  You won‘t believe it.


SCHULTZ:  Thanks for watching tonight here on MSNBC, THE ED SHOW.  Now, this is ultimate spin.  Today, Governor Scott Walker out of Wisconsin, he testified before the Republican led House Oversight Committee in Washington and explained his attack on unions and the middle class is, quote, “truly progressive?” 

That‘s what he said?  Congressman Dennis Kucinich questioned Walker about some of those progressive tactics. 


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  Your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members.  Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget? 

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  It‘s the same reason we gave workers the right to choose, which is a fundamental American right, the right to choose whether or not they want to be part of a union and whether or not they want up to a thousand dollars taken out—

KUCINICH:  How much money does it save, governor? 

WALKER:  Doesn‘t save any. 


SCHULTZ:  Doesn‘t save any.  Now that Walker cleared all that up, what about his claim that he campaigned on his anti-worker agenda?  Pretty bold considering the drive to recall some of Walker‘s fellow Republicans is currently underway. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When you campaigned for governor, did you campaign on the issue of collective bargaining being a problem with respect to Wisconsin‘s budget? 

WALKER:  I talked about wages and benefits overall, even ran campaign ads on it.  But I didn‘t specific exactly what form.  I talked about the broad spectrum. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m asking a very specific question. 

WALKER:  Yeah. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you explicitly—


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  -- single out? 



SCHULTZ:  He said no.  Now that the Walker agenda may not save any money, but the cause sure has been receiving a lot of money, particularly outside money. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How much have you received in contributions from the Koch Brothers? 

WALKER:  From the Koch Brothers?  None directly that I know.  There are probably other groups that support us.  But I don‘t know what the total is. 


SCHULTZ:  Let me remind you, governor.  You took 43,000 dollars in direct contributions from the Koch Brothers.  Slipping on the truth again, huh? 

That seems like something that the head of the oversight, Darrell Issa should know about, don‘t you think?  Except Issa, well, he‘s gotten Koch Brother money as well, nearly 18,000 dollars of it. 

In fact, as John Nichols of “The Nation” points out, the Kochs have given out over a hundred thousand dollars to Republican members of this very committee, the House Oversight Committee, in the recent election cycle. 

Now like this guy, Congressman Tim Wahlberg of Michigan, he‘s gotten 20,000 dollars in Koch money.  And, boy, did he go after walker. 


REP. TIM WAHLBERG ®, MICHIGAN:  I did read your testimony and

appreciate you being here.  I did want to ask some questions, Governor

Walker.  I also appreciate the fact that what you build in Milwaukee—I

enjoy riding my Road King,

I understand you enjoy riding as well.  I‘ve enjoyed riding both in Wisconsin and in the beautiful state of Vermont.  And there are days I wish I were there right now. 


SCHULTZ:  I tell you, it‘s those tough, penetrating journalistic questions that we can get out of our elected officials, isn‘t it?  Time now to call in our friend, the Washington correspondent of “The Nation,” John Nichols. 

John, great to have you with us tonight.  Now, you were in Washington today and you were in the room when this testimony was being given by the governor of Wisconsin.  What was the mood of the room?  What transpired?  What did you see? 

JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION”:  Well, Ed, I want to clarify.  I was talking to these folks and I watched quite a bit of this on the big screen as well, because I really wanted to see how our governor came across. 

But I can tell you a lot about the mood.  One of the things that‘s important to recognize here is that the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, sat next to the governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin.  And that was a remarkable juxtaposition.  Because while Governor Walker argued that he needed to bust the unions basically to balance his budget, there was Governors Shumlin sitting next to him saying, look, I worked with my unions to balance a bigger budget challenge, to deal with a bigger challenge.

And so that was very powerful.  It really took a lot of the spin factor off for Walker.  I think Governor Walker had assumed he was going to come to Washington and have, you know, just basically a star turn, easy questions from Republicans and, frankly, ignorant Democrats, Democrats who didn‘t know much about it.  It was quite the opposite. 

SCHULTZ:  His answers on Capitol Hill today were directly opposite of the ones he was telling the people of Wisconsin, saying that this is a budget bill and he wanted to save money.  His testimony today was no, it‘s not going to save any money, I mean, going after collective bargaining.  Clearly there is a difference.  And he finally admitted it today didn‘t he? 

NICHOLS:  I think you‘re right, Ed. And it was quite remarkable.  You don‘t usually expect Congressional hearings to be revealing, to bring something out.  But Dennis Kucinich‘s pointed questioning was very powerful.

And I also want to mention that Congressman Bruce Braley from Iowa asked a devastating line of questions about cronyism.  He kept going back at the governor, saying, you know, why have you put people who are related to your major campaign contributors into top positions in your government? 

If you‘re all about efficiency, why are you basically practicing crony politics that puts under qualified or unqualified people into key positions? 

SCHULTZ:  Where does the anti-worker law currently stand right now in the courts? 

NICHOLS:  Well, Judge Maryann Sumi in Madison this afternoon clarified a number of the lawsuits that are in play.  She said the county officials do not have the standing to bring one of the suits.  By the same token, she said another major suit being brought by the district attorney, who has standing, can go forward. 

She has maintained her temporary restraining order.  So the law is still on hold.  I think that‘s an important thing to point out, because in this committee hearing, Governor Walker and some of the Republicans seemed to be trying very hard to suggest that the law is in place and that it‘s actually going forward, when in reality it is still under a great deal of judicial scrutiny. 

SCHULTZ:  How was Walker received today on the Hill?  Was he received by the Republicans as a hero?  How did that go?

NICHOLS:  It‘s am interesting thing.  I think Governor Walker presumed that he was going to come into a real hero‘s welcome. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

NICHOLS:  Instead, it seemed as if many of the Republicans were under prepared to question him, whereas the Democrats seemed to be loaded for bear. 

SCHULTZ:  Sure.  The Republicans, they‘re not going to throw some tough questions at this guy.  This guy is their hero.  He came in.  He‘s the union buster.  That‘s what they‘re all about. 

John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation,” I want to thank you for the great job you did in our town hall meeting last night there in Madison. 

Thanks so much.  I appreciate it. 

The Republican governor of Nevada is pushing through huge budget cuts that affect education.  Now teachers and students are pushing back.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, live from Las Vegas, Nevada tonight.  The Las Vegas Tourism Board gave us that famous slogan, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” 

But thanks to the latest round of Republican budget cuts, some of the best educators in the state, they aren‘t staying in Vegas or anywhere else in Nevada, for that matter. 

Let me know if this sounds familiar: a newly elected Republican governor proposes a budget cut that eliminates hundreds of jobs, borrows from future revenues, and shuffles money away from local governments.  All the while, he strongly opposes tax increases of any kind. 

Sound like this could be in Wisconsin or Ohio, but it‘s Nevada‘s Governor Brian Sandoval.  His budget also calls for a 668 million dollar reduction in education funding.  Students have been marching on the capitol in Carson City since last month to protest similar to those that have been seen in Madison and in Columbus, Ohio. 

Earlier this week, a Stand Up For Education rally was held outside Nevada‘s state house, with students and teachers making their voices heard.  And right on cue, here comes the Tea Party to try to drown out their voices.  The “Las Vegas Review Journal” reports that gatherings in support of Governor Sandoval‘s budget are planned for tomorrow. 

Quote, “the Friday rallies are being organized by”—you‘ve heard it before, folks—“Americans For Prosperity and a new group called—known as TRUNC, which stands for Tea Party and Republicans Uniting Nevada Conservatives.” 

Americans for Prosperity, as you know, is funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers.  The Tea Party of course likes to argue that raising taxes on corporations will prompt businesses to leave the state and go elsewhere.  But they put on blinders when cuts to education prompt the best educators to leave the state and go elsewhere. 

Here‘s a letter sent to the “Las Vegas Nevada Sun” signed by two Carson City teachers.  They write, “since our cries have fallen on deaf ears and the electorate in this state have some serious growing up to do, we are leaving Nevada.  Good luck fooling—I mean recruiting any young professional educators to your state.” 

No wonder their cries have fallen on deaf ears.  Governor Sandoval and the Tea Party have no problem rolling snake eyes on education, as long as they can keep corporations and the super rich from paying their fair share of taxes. 

The bully the GOP just absolutely loves to love has really done it this time.  He says the press should take out the bat on a state legislator he disagrees with? 

She is 76-years-old.  And she joins us exclusively next, on THE ED




OBAMA:  For Americans like Michelle and me, we‘ve been blessed.  This country has given so much to us.  We can afford to do a little bit more to make sure every child in this country has opportunity, that every senior is looked at. 

I think that‘s something that we can do.  That‘s our vision for America.  We‘ve got a big vision for America, of a compassionate America and a caring America and an ambitious America.  Not a small America. 


SCHULTZ:  That was President Obama just moments ago at a fundraiser in Chicago, backing up what he said in his speech yesterday.  And we started our program tonight talking about shared sacrifice in the top two percent paying a little bit more.  The president on that theme tonight in Chicago. 

We‘ll talk more about it on Monday. 

Finally tonight, the bully from New Jersey, the one that sits in the governor‘s mansion full of disdain and contempt, rudeness now, once again outright offensive language.  This time Governor Chris Christie set his sights, if you can believe it, on a 76-year-old state senator, Loretta Weinberg, who chose to draw on her own pension as well as collect her part-time salary as a legislator.

But, you see, the state senator has criticized Governor Christie.  So this is what Christie has to say at a state house news conference today. 


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY:  I mean, can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?  I mean, here is a woman who knows she did it, yet she comes to you and is pining about, oh, my goodness, how awful this is.  What a double standard.  When she‘s the queen of the double standard. 


SCHULTZ:  Senator Weinberg‘s granddaughter Shana wrote an open letter to Governor Christie, which says, “I want you to stop bullying everybody.”

Joining me now from New Jersey is New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg.  Senator Weinberg, thank you for joining us tonight.  What do you think the governor of New Jersey is up to, saying—using that kind of verbiage, saying that he wants the media to take a bat out on you?  What‘s your response to that? 

LORETTA WEINBERG, NEW JERSEY STATE SENATOR:  Well, my first response is that I am absolutely appalled at the language that the chief executive of the state of New Jersey chose to use at a press conference, words that suggest violence.

You know, we‘ve heard this said over and over again these last few months; words do matter.  And this governor is very upset at me, because I criticized him for defunding women‘s access to health centers.  I‘ve criticized him for defunding our education system in New Jersey.

And, you know, I might be 76.  And, yes, I‘m a grandmother.  But I have enough energy and enough spirit to tell Chris Christie he‘s not going to bully me.  And he‘s not going to bully the people that I represent in the New Jersey state legislature. 

And although Shana‘s spelling is not great, I do hope he reads her letter. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  He is complaining that you are drawing on your pension that, of course, you have worked for and contributed, and these are your deferred wages.  And yet you are also—is that correct? 

WEINBERG:  That is correct.  I have been in the pension system for 35 years.  So at age 75, after seeing my IRA wiped out in the Bernie Madoff scandal—by the way, somebody I never heard of before this happened.  My money was invested with a so-called, quote, trusted money manager, end quote, who had sent all of our funds to Bernie Madoff, unbeknownst to me. 

That happened three years ago.  So I decided this past year, after paying into the pension system for 35 years, and looking at myself in the mirror and saying, Senator Weinberg, you‘ve reached the age of 75.  It is time you start collecting the pension that I could have started collecting about 15 years ago. 

SCHULTZ:  And you are taking a part-time salary as a legislator.  And now you have become—you‘re a public servant.  But now you have become a target of ridicule by a governor who has a habit of bullying people.  And all demographics know about it in New Jersey.  Your granddaughter wrote that note, I want you to stop bullying everybody. 

WEINBERG:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  What does your granddaughter have to say about this? 

WEINBERG:  Well, my granddaughter is barely seven.  And she heard the discussion going on at the dinner table last night and at the breakfast table this morning, and sat down—you know, she‘s learning in school in the first grade about bullying and about respect and about civility. 

So in her mind, she connected those two together.  We have an anti-bullying law in the state of New Jersey, which I am a prime sponsor in the New Jersey state senate.  The governor chose to sign that into law really in the dead of night.  He was too embarrassed to do a public signing ceremony. 

I would suggest that the governor sit down and read the law of the state of New Jersey.  And any time he wants to debate me on anything that has to do with our tax plans, our pension reform, our access to health care for the working families of New Jersey, I‘m ready to do it. 

SCHULTZ:  New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg, I would love to moderate that debate.  But of course the governor of New Jersey would never come on a talk show where he might actually get a direct question about how he advocates taking a bat out against a 76-year-old woman.

I appreciate your time tonight.  You‘re very gracious to join us.



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