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The Ed Show for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Guests: Donna Edwards, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Dean Baker, Laura Flanders,
Dennis Kucinich, Liz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
Six days away from the American economy going down the drain, and Republicans—they still can‘t get their act together. John Boehner is swearing up a storm, while his party holds the American economy hostage.
Meanwhile, Democrats say they have a plan to avert the crisis.
Lots to talk about tonight.
It‘s THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Last time, it was John Boehner yelling at the Democrats. Now, the tan man is blasting his own caucus.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: Is it true that you told some of the Republican members this morning that you need to get your a-word in line?
BOEHNER: I sure did.
SCHULTZ: Tonight, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Katrina Vanden Huevel of “The Nation” all on the latest.
In “Psycho Talk”: Republicans are worried the weak economy might be hurting the country club crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don‘t continue paying for country club dues.
SCHULTZ: And Mitt Romney is measuring the drapes for the Oval Office. He‘s already naming his V.P. picks. This guy needs some help.
“Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead is here to give it to him.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks.
At this hour, John Boehner, speaker of the House, is twisting arms and cutting deals to round up enough votes to pass his plan to hold President Obama accountable. Last night, I told you Boehner had a short fuse, today he proved it. Less than 12 hours after his original bill went down in flames, the tan man ripped into the members of his own caucus this morning. The speaker of the House said, “Get your ass in line, this is the bill.”
After the meeting, Boehner went on a hard right wing talk show to brag about just what a tough guy he is.
INGRAHAM: Is it true that you told some of the Republican members this morning that you need to get your a-word in line behind this debt ceiling bill?
BOEHNER: I sure did. Listen, this is time to do what is doable. And this bill isn‘t perfect, I told the members that the last couple of days. But it—that‘s what happens when you have a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House.
SCHULTZ: Sure. Boehner‘s a complete fraud. He always claims to have the pulse of the American people.
BOEHNER: What the American people want is for us to work together.
The American people want us to cut spending.
The American people want us to get our fiscal house in order.
The American people want us to focus on cutting spending and growing our economy.
SCHULTZ: Boehner has no clue what the American people want. He doesn‘t even know what the people in his own caucus want.
It‘s easy for the speaker to act tough on conservative radio. But he toned it down a bit, when he faced a real interview on NBC “Nightly News.”
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Mr. Speaker, is it fair to say you have a
bit of a rebellion on your hands? Or do you feel
BOEHNER: Oh, I‘ve got a little bit of a rebellion on my hands every day. It comes wit the territory.
WILLIAMS: You‘re not worried?
BOEHNER: Never let ‘em see you sweat.
SCHULTZ: Really? Even on the golf course?
Boehner doesn‘t have to worry about keeping his job. He has a huge government pension and lifetime health care.
This debt fight is ideological for those in Washington, but it‘s life or death for the rest of the country. Those who live on fixed incomes.
The Boehner crash is already under way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its largest one day drop since early June. It has fallen four straight days—maybe that will get their attention. The Dow is headed for its worse weekly decline in nearly a year.
NASDAQ had its worst day in five months.
Boehner and the House Republicans are basically playing a very dangerous game here as the president previously stated.
If the stock market takes a nosedive, it will add millions more of American workers to the unemployment lines.
The speaker planned to hold a vote on his new bill tomorrow. Only five days before the deadline.
Boehner is wasting valuable time. His bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. Every Senate Democrat including independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders sent Boehner a letter this evening. They wrote, “We heard you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it.”
Even Senate Republicans know that Boehner‘s bill will never fly.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: What is really amazing about this is that some members are believing that we can pass a balanced budget amendment of the Constitution in this body with its present representation, and that is foolish. That is worse than foolish. That is deceiving.
That is not fair to the American people—to hold out and say, we won‘t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It‘s unfair it‘s bizarro. And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that.
SCHULTZ: Well, with Boehner‘s plan dead in the Senate, it‘s up to Mitch McConnell to line up enough Republicans to sign on to Harry Reid‘s plan. Even if the bill passes the Senate, House Republicans are going to have to step up and get it through.
Former Reagan Adviser, Bruce Bartlett doesn‘t think Boehner can get it done.
BRUCE BARTLETT, FORMER REAGAN ADVISER: I he think at this point, there‘s nothing that could pass the House of Representatives. I think the Boehner plan --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, “HARDBALL” HOST: Because it‘s too much of a zoo?
BARTLETT: Yes. I think—I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards who are desperately afraid of the Tea Party people. And rightly so.
SCHULTZ: That leaves the president with very few options. The House Democratic leadership wants President Obama to use the 14th Amendment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to have a fail safe mechanism. We believe that fail safe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of that can continue. But I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets.
SCHULTZ: That is a big statement. House Democratic leadership team coming out saying that.
So far, the president has rejected the 14th Amendment solution. But we‘re still six days out. For leaders like, Mr. Clyburn to go down that road, I think, gives the president some pretty good cover and a pretty good idea. The president doesn‘t want to overreach, but his base would love it because if he uses the Constitution, it‘s going to protect the big three, take them off the table and wipe out any discretionary cuts that would hurt low and fixed income Americans.
Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s question: should the president invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt crisis? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639, and you can you always go to our new blog at We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining us now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland. She is a member of the Progressive Caucus.
Congressman Eliot Engel, Jerrold Nadler and John Garamendi, are holding a press conference to urge President Obama to use the 14th Amendment as a backup option.
Congresswoman, would you join those folks tomorrow? What do you think about the 14th Amendment option right now?
The White House has said repeatedly no, but the game could change.
What do you think?
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Let me tell you what I think. I mean, the Republicans were watching Ben Affleck, I was watching “A Few Good Men.”
To the president, what I want to say is: we want you on that wall.
We need you on that wall. We need you to use the 14th Amendment.
SCHULTZ: You‘re on board with that.
Now, is this something that‘s been discussed in caucus by the Democrats in the House? Or is this just Democrats such as yourself coming out speaking like this and, of course, the press conference tomorrow? What‘s happening?
EDWARDS: Well, it has been part of the discussion, and I think the reason is because Republicans have been so recalcitrant. They have been so stubborn, that it‘s time for the president to send a signal to world markets, to send a signal to our markets, and to send a signal to the American people who are expecting their Social Security checks on August 3rd, that he means business.
We want him on the wall.
SCHULTZ: So, would this be the best available Democratic option in your opinion at this point? Or is a deal possible?
EDWARDS: Well, I think we can also press for a clean debt ceiling. I mean, there are a couple of options here. I mean, there‘s no reason that we can‘t take a vote on a clean debt ceiling that will get us over this crisis that will stabilize our markets, that will ensure Americans whether they‘re veterans or military retirees, or whether they‘re our service members or Social Security recipients, that they will receive their checks on August 3rd.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the White House just isn‘t showing all of their cards right now? Is President Obama possibly taking the position, you got me do it? Is he waiting for those such as yourself to come out of the Congress and push hard, gin up some public support and conversation to do that? And then, in a more safe manner, go down this road?
EDWARDS: I don‘t know. But what I want to say to the president is that I talked to people throughout my congressional district, I was on the phone on Monday with 7,000 people in my district who are Social Security recipients, who are saying that they need the president to stand with them to receive their checks on August 3rd, because they depend on them to buy groceries.
And I think that they are looking to the president to stand down these stubborn kindergarteners and say to them, they cannot hold the American people hostage because of their ideology. And that‘s what this is about.
And so, I‘m going to urge the president really—the American people are with you, we will stand with you. We want you on the wall.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Congresswoman Edwards. Appreciate your time tonight.
Now, let‘s turn to Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of “The Nation” magazine.
You know, I think this is all part of the grand plan to bring the president down. Keep this negative story out there every day, daily, negative, because he‘s such a positive guy, and when he gets on the campaign trail with any kind of positive news, he can take them to the firewall better than anybody. I think it‘s gamesmanship.
Your thoughts?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: Oh, I think this is brinkmanship, gamesmanship, I think you‘re watching a Republican Party that I think at this point wants to sabotage the economy, because they want to run against President Obama, undermine him. That‘s been the message from the get-go.
Where has the job creation been, Ed? I mean, people watching us tonight are saying, the real crisis of this country, jobs, unemployment.
And you got a Republican party that talks jobs, but doesn‘t walk the walk—hasn‘t done a single job creation plan.
So I think, you know, listen to Representative Boehner—he came out of a meeting with Tea Party freshman. He talked about how they‘re looking to pitch this country into default, because they‘re seeking chaos that could lead to a balanced budget fight and starving a government that‘s already desperately needing revenues.
So, I do think there‘s a measure of the Republican Party seeking to sabotage this president.
SCHULTZ: A lot of talk about the credit rating. OK, so the United States has its credit rating reduced. Well, that‘s going to force spending cuts.
Isn‘t that what the Republicans want? I mean, they‘re trying to starve government even further. If we get our credit downgraded which I think the Republicans would be a good thing.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Two and a half things in there. First of all, you got two dueling plans at the moment. You got Boehner, you got Reid. You got Boehner selling toxic snake oil, and have you Reid, which is all cuts.
We‘ve talked about the need for shared sacrifice, responsibility.
Those in this country who have done well should do well by this country.
The ratings agency, I think it‘s a fraud, and—because they invented a financial crisis which caused millions to lose their homes. It is—they are craven. They are cynical.
And as Representative Kucinich and the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde has said, they should not be playing a role in being an arbiter of our country‘s economy.
SCHULTZ: Do you agree with Bruce Bartlett, nothing‘s going to pass the House?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I don‘t think anything is going to pass the House. I think Boehner has a hard time. I think the 14th Amendment, by the way, which I wrote about July 5th in “The Washington Post”—it was a small discussion then, President Clinton then last week went out and talked about it.
I have no evidence, but it‘s hard for me to believe there wasn‘t talked about with the White House to bringing that 14th Amendment into the mainstream discussion. I think it‘s a doomsday scenario when that has to be brought forward because, listen, section four of the 14h Amendment, you know it well—debt ceiling is unconstitutional. The validity of the debt shall not be questioned.
The Republican Party has made Americans hostage and put us in a position—it‘s complicated, executive power is always complicated, but it could be used.
SCHULTZ: So, what do you make of Jim Clyburn coming out today, you mentioned Bill Clinton.
VANDEN HEUVEL: And John Larson --
SCHULTZ: -- and then you got Mr. Clyburn coming out today. I mean, it seems rare that a member of the Democratic leadership team, and he normally does—Jim Clyburn is a well-thought out guy, he doesn‘t shoot from the hip.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely. And you have John Larson, head of the House Democratic Caucus, you have the respected Representative Edwards—it‘s growing. There‘s a sense—as Representative Edwards said—that a president who has been conflict diverse, great leaders change, confronted by adverse circumstances.
SCHULTZ: Yes. I think Boehner‘s best play right now is to go back to President Obama and say, can you get that $4.7 trillion back on the table again? Can you really do that? Because if the president does invoke the 14th Amendment, it is a lost opportunity for the Tea Partiers, it‘s a lost opportunity for the Republicans to get what they want—a chip away at the big three, and also a chip away at big spending numbers.
So, why would they miss this opportunity?
VANDEN HEUVEL: You know, I‘m not opposed to ideology. I believe it‘s about principles. But his party is astonishingly reckless and astonishingly in the grip of what a Wall Street guy called the other day, calling Grover Norquist, the big anti-tax mania guy, a fiscal terrorist.
I mean, you have people who are unwilling to think about what it
takes to run a country. And we are now looking at a major struggle in this
country that‘s going to play out over the next few years. The size and
scale of government and what it means for people who depend on services on
programs that have been part of the fabric of this life as these people try
to roll back the 20th -
SCHULTZ: You‘ve been around this racquet a long time, politics.
I mean, we got some big stories brewing. We got this story. We got Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: I mean, I think they‘re connected.
VANDEN HEUVEL: There‘s a connection.
SCHULTZ: There is a huge connection. I mean, you have got the people rising up and pushing back, a—and a sea of change taking place. That‘s where America‘s talking right now?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes. What‘s going on in Washington which is the oxygen that is being consumed when so much could be done to invest in this country, to build this country. But you know what? I see below a resilience, people saying we got have to build an independent movement, take back this country and clean it out.
Because what‘s—the culture of Washington is stacked against ordinary, working, middle class low income people—
SCHULTZ: Big time. We‘re going to talk more about that in this program.
Katrina, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us.
SCHULTZ: Remember, answer tonight‘s question at the bottom of the extreme. I want to know what you think.
The Tea Party has gotten so extreme on the debt ceiling debate even other Republicans are running scared.
And later, Congressman Dennis Kucinich joins us tonight to talk about the real victims of the debt showdown—the poor and the middle class.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Tea Party Republicans are starting to scare the hell out of the Republican establishment. Senator John McCain chimed in. He was on a roll today. He quoted an editorial from “The Wall Street Journal” talking about how delusional the Tea Party really is.
MCCAIN: The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama. Republican House failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all the blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the Tea Party hobbits could return to middle earth having defeated Mordor.
SCHULTZ: There is no doubt the radical righties are at the heart of the problem and everybody knows it.
Laura Flanders and economist Dean Baker join me next to talk about it.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for watching tonight.
Sounds like John McCain think the Tea Partiers are delusional. His former running mate Sarah Palin, well, she doesn‘t agree.
Here‘s what she said about the debt ceiling crisis.
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, I think this is more Obama drama it‘s being created, the August 2nd deadline that he‘s insisting America must act on incurring more debt, raising that debt ceiling otherwise we will default. Well, we will not default.
SCHULTZ: The hero of the Tea Party, Senator Jim DeMint made the same claim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s heading to the 11th hour. Do you think the president of the United States wants a crisis?
SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: Every evidence suggests he does.
SCHULTZ: The Tea Party even wants to pretend their supporters were lighting up the phones after President Obama asked the American people to call their congressmen on Monday night.
JUDSON PHILLIPS, TEA PARTY NATION: We made the call to light them up, and guess what? The House and Senate servers crashed. Their Web sites went down, you couldn‘t even get through to them.
SCHULTZ: And there‘s another wrench thrown into the debt ceiling debate. The credit ratings agency telling lawmakers the deficit needs to be cut by trillions of dollars.
Do you think we would be hearing that if Republicans hadn‘t started this drum beat months ago? In a congressional hearing today, the executive notice credit rating‘s agency refused to endorse a specific plan or say exactly how substantial deficit reduction should be.
Let‘s bring in the host of GRITtv on Free Speech TV and editor of the book “At the Tea Party,” Laura Flanders. And also, the co-director for the Center for Economic Policy and Research, Dean Baker.
Great to have you with us tonight.
Dean, do you think Wall Street regrets backing some of these Tea Partiers? They‘re about to destroy their bottom line in six days. What do you think?
DEAN BAKER, CTR. FOR ECONOMIC & POLICY RESEARCH: Well, we‘re going to find out. I mean, my guess has always been at the end of the day, the Wall Street boys are going to call the Tea Partiers and tell them who pays the tab. And they‘re going to run down and approve the debt ceiling.
But, you know, I could be shown wrong on that. And in which case, certainly, the Wall Street people will regret it because better or worse, they‘re on the front lines here. So, if we don‘t get the debt ceiling raised, they‘re going to be hit more than anyone.
SCHULTZ: Laura Flanders, what do you think? Do you really believe that there are Tea Partiers in there? Are they bluffing or do they really want to see default?
LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV: I think they want to see the government shrunk. And hat they‘re forgetting is the country being shrunk. I mean, look what‘s happening to Greece. You got 20 percent economic decline under these austerity packages.
And I think what the Tea Parties are after that you talk about earlier in the last segment is an ideological win that takes down Mordor, is that what McCain call them? Meanwhile, the Republicans, the rest of the Republicans are saying, wait a minute. We get what we want. We‘re getting the submission we wanted from the Democrats on spending, on revenues, on the big three. Whoa!
The frustrating thing, Ed, is to see people like “The Wall Street Journal” editorial” page who rooted for some of these Tea Partiers, egged them on when it was convenient, now saying, wait a minute, let‘s not go this far.
SCHULTZ: Dean, what about the country seeing its credit rating lowered? I think there are Tea Partiers out there saying good, the only way to work yourself out of that, is either tax increases which they think they can hold off with the Democrats and the other way is spending cuts. And if we have a lower credit rating as a nation, and we can‘t borrow the money, that‘s going to force us to do some massive cuts, and that‘s what they want. What about that?
BAKER: Well, actually, lower credit rating will probably have no effect. They lowered Japan‘s credit rating, they couldn‘t even—I think basically credit rating agencies are playing games here. You‘re talking about Dennis Kucinich earlier. He‘s pointed these are the guys that raided off the junk bonds, AAA back in the housing bubble. They missed Lehman. They missed Bear Stearns.
I think they‘re trying to incur any favor probably with the Republicans by making these threats, because this is totally out of line with the normal operating practices. They‘re not supposed to be prescriptive. They don‘t tell government here‘s what you have to do, they make judgments, I won‘t value their judgments --, they‘ve been very bad.
But this is really extraordinary to say you have to do a $4 trillion deal.
FLANDERS: It was pretty interesting, Dean, that today, the hearing at which these Senate board guys were appearing --
SCHULTZ: They wouldn‘t say what kind of cuts you have to make.
FLANDERS: Well, but it was also—a hearing, was supposed to be about what changes they‘ve made since they themselves were criticized in the investigation in the Senate earlier this year. They are the folks who couldn‘t tell a deadbeat mortgage from a AA rating, AAA.
These are the people required to make changes. Instead, they changed the topic, here‘s what we‘re talking about now, our lords and masters, our financial managers have become Standard & Poor‘s?
SCHULTZ: And what about the regrets of the Chamber of Commerce, who supported a lot of these Tea Partiers and now, of course, they want a deal.
FLANDERS: Well, you want to see? Are you going to see any apologies coming out of the chamber? I don‘t—I think you‘re going to be holding your breath.
I mean, but I do think that we have a possibility as a nation to say, wait a minute, you‘re saying even if we make these cuts, we still might see our credit rating brought down? Even if we don‘t default, we still might have this gun held to our head? I think it‘s time to do what Donna Edwards said, and use this Constitution, and we need to say, the people are too big to fail.
SCHULTZ: And, finally, Dean, there is no expert out there on exactly what is going to happen, because this is foreign territory for this country. We‘ve never defaulted. What‘s your call?
BAKER: Well, that‘s right, I mean, we are definitely in unchartered territory. What the world looks like if we get past August 2nd and we can‘t pay the bills, we really don‘t know what‘s going to happen. And people are talking about, you know, the 14th Amendment, and, you know, you‘d have people saying, would that be, you know, usurpation of power.
President Obama is obligated under the Constitution to spend money that was appropriated by Congress. So, he doesn‘t—you know, he‘s going to have to figure out what law you follow and what doesn‘t. There is no way to reconcile these two contradictions.
SCHULTZ: Laura, does he go 14th Amendment?
FLANDERS: I think he does, and I think we say, you know what? Rupert Murdoch used to have people quaking in their boots. It‘s time we stop quaking around Standard & Poor‘s.
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s happened before. Harry Truman did it.
FLANDERS: Yes. I mean—
SCHULTZ: So, I mean, there‘s a precedent there.
Laura Flanders and Dean Baker, great to have you with us tonight—thank you so much.
Republicans thought it was a good idea to use this man‘s violent bank robber movie to motivate House members. It turns out the message of the movie was totally correct.
And Georgia Congressman Paul Broun proves how out of touch Republicans are with the middle class in this country—in “Psycho Talk.”
SCHULTZ: It‘s hard to take House Republicans seriously when they pull stunts like this. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy came up with a questionable way to motivate caucus members who were hesitant to support Speaker Boehner‘s debt ceiling plan.
He played a clip from the bank robbery movie “The Town” to encourage party unity. This is what House GOP leadership thought was a good message for the caucus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need your help. I can tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. And we‘re gonna hurt some people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose care are we going to take?
SCHULTZ: Yes, you heard it right. One guy says they‘re gonna hurt some people and the other guy says, no problem. Here‘s what happens next.
SCHULTZ: This is the House GOP hard at work on your tax dollars, folks. Tea Party Congressman Allen West reportedly stood up and said, “I‘m ready to drive the car.”
It shouldn‘t be a surprise that West responded to a violent call to action. This is the same Allen West who was relieved from his command in Iraq for assaulting a detainee.
But sadly, the movie clip is correct. The Boehner bill will hurt a lot of American people, a lot of people, in fact. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says “the plan could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.”
Congressman Dennis Kucinich will join me next to talk about how the middle class and the poor will suffer under both congressional plans. And a caller to my talk show today said something very profound that I want you to hear, and I‘ll play it for you.
With Washington in crisis, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney‘s arrogance—folks, it is on display. He‘s already thinking about running mates.
“Daily Show” co-creator Liz Winstead here to give him the good medicine.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for watching tonight. The House Republicans thought a movie clip with a guy saying he‘s going to hurt some people was the best metaphor for the Boehner debt ceiling plan. And they were right. The revised Boehner plan has spending cuts that would drag down the nation‘s GDP during a time of unstable economic recovery.
It also proposes future reductions to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Who gets hurt by those losses? The people who can least afford it.
But the plan in the Senate, it isn‘t much better. By not including any tax revenue, Harry Reid‘s proposal relies on over one trillion dollars in program cuts. And who benefits most from spending programs? The people who can least afford it.
All of this pain will be put on the lower and middle classes of America, because the wealthiest members of society are not being asked to kick in their fair share. And it‘s all based on what I think is a big lie, that tax increases on the rich will somehow kill jobs.
Joining me tonight is Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. Congressman, good to have you with us. I want to have you hear this audio clip that—from a caller from my radio show today. I think he sums it up pretty well, the income disparity in this country. His name is Dennis. He‘s calling from Kansas City. He‘s the owner of a publishing company.
I want your response. Here it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a small business owner. Most years, I make over 250,000 dollars a year. And you know, Republicans keep on saying they can‘t tax the wealthy. They‘re the job creators. Ed, they‘re wrong.
As a small business owner, I am not a job creator. The middle class in this country are the real job creators. Those people making 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 a year. Ed, you know, two thirds of our economy is driven by consumption.
That consumption is not being done by the top two percent. It‘s the vast middle class. People listening have to understand that businesses exist to create a profit. You have to make businesses hire by creating demand for their goods and services.
We have a demand problem in our economy, not a cash problem for businesses. Business owners, wealthy people, they don‘t need more cash.
SCHULTZ: Your response, congressman?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Well, you know, what he says is right. If you cut spending, that doesn‘t help our economy. It creates a drag on the economy. If we don‘t do anything about the 14 million people out of work, that is a continued drag on the economy. And it is one of the reasons why so many Main Street businesses are having trouble, because people don‘t have money to buy things.
So we should be focusing on creating jobs. And that means spending money, investing in our people and help to prime the pump of economy. This is not rocket science.
Unfortunately, the ideological horn locking which is going on right now is not serving the interests of the American people.
SCHULTZ: At all. And—but that sound clip pretty much sums up what the Democrats need to get across to the American people, as opposed to the short version, the Republicans saying, you can‘t raise taxes on the job creators.
KUCINICH: Let‘s look at that, Ed. The Bush tax cuts gave over a trillion dollars in tax cuts, most of it went to the people at the top. How did it happen that we have massive unemployment following that?
We have to understand that in order for government to be able to respond to the needs of the people, the private sector isn‘t creating the jobs—then the public sector has a moral responsibility to create the jobs.
FDR understood that. And we have to go back to that old time religion and get America back to work. And then people like Dennis in Kansas City, who spoke eloquently about the economic dynamics that are affecting small businesses—then people like him will find that they‘ll have more customers. They‘ll be able to sell more products and maybe hire people when that happens.
This is where the focus should be, not on shredding the social safety net. My God, they‘re attacking the very people that have been suffering.
SCHULTZ: Are you concerned that the social safety net is going to be on the table with this commission that might come out of the Reid bill?
KUCINICH: You bet.
SCHULTZ: How confident are you that the big three are going to be protected?
KUCINICH: You know what, Ed, I‘ll fight that all the way, because you cannot tell seniors that their golden years are no longer protected, Especially when Social Security is rock solid through 2036 without any changes whatsoever.
You cannot tell seniors that they have to worry about their Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
SCHULTZ: Would you vote for the Reid plan in the House?
KUCINICH: Not a chance. I‘m not going to vote for any plan which shreds America‘s social safety net, and which really puts the burden of America‘s economic problems on the people that didn‘t cause the problem.
SCHULTZ: So there‘s no plan out there right now that you could support, it sounds like?
KUCINICH: Ed, we don‘t need to have raising the debt ceiling contingent on any plan. We should have a clean vote on the debt ceiling. This is why this is so exasperating. If we have a clean vote on the debt ceiling, then we can deal with these other issues.
There‘s no reason the great United States of America should be subject to the implications of these crummy ratings agencies that sold themselves to their issuers and created serious ethical conflicts that led to investors putting their money into products that were not worth the paper they were written on.
This is wrong that the United States should be held hostage to another gang of banksters and their representatives on Wall Street. You have to remember what this country is about, and take care of the people here.
SCHULTZ: There‘s no question, I totally agree with you. But the 14th Amendment, is this the best avenue for the president to take right now? To put all this bickering aside, and just constitutionally make the move and fight it in the courts, if it comes to that?
KUCINICH: You know, Ed, I carry the Constitution with me. I want to tell you something. We shouldn‘t have to get to that. But Congress ought to familiarize itself with Article One, Section Eight, which says the Congress has the power to borrow money, sure, but it also has the power to coin money, to make money.
We gave that power over to the Federal Reserve back in 1913. It‘s time that we understood we don‘t have to go to banks to get money. The United States is a sovereign government. According to our Constitution, we should be able to invest in our own people, create the jobs.
We shouldn‘t have to rely on banks. We cannot be at the mercy of banks in this country. That‘s not a democracy. I think that it‘s time the Congress studied that provision of the Constitution as well.
SCHULTZ: What would be a good deal in your opinion here? What is feasible at this point after all this rancor that‘s taking place?
KUCINICH: What‘s feasible is this: raise the debt ceiling without any contingencies. Just get that out of the way. It should have been perfunctory from the beginning without any strings attached, number one.
Number two, end the wars. There‘s over a trillion dollars in savings in ten years.
Next, Medicare for all. That would solve many of our budget problems to begin with, because the insurance companies are still taking hundreds of billions of dollars every year in terms of their pound the flesh for a privatized health care system.
Save Social Security, strengthen it by taking the caps off, so that people who make over 106,800 dollars a year would be subject to the FICA tax. These are things that could be done and straighten things out.
We don‘t have to pretend that the sky is falling. It‘s not. This is a political, manufactured crisis. And it shouldn‘t be anything that‘s causing anxiety among the American people. We shouldn‘t be creating this debt psychology and having—
SCHULTZ: So this is a Republican made crisis. And it‘s all, in my opinion, an effort to defeat President Obama. And they‘re going to take this to the firewall, to the very last second before anything happens. That‘s how I see it‘s going to happen.
KUCINICH: We don‘t need to go into default, Ed. It would be a disgrace for America to go into default.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Dennis Kucinich, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight.
Georgia Congressman Paul Brown thinks average Americans can solve their problems by just dropping out of the country club? I‘ll tell Mr. Brown how things work in the real world in Psycho Talk.
SCHULTZ: All right, just a little refresher course. When John Boehner and his right wing buddies took over the House leadership back in January, don‘t you remember, one of the first orders of business was to read the United States Constitution on the House floor. I hope they were listening to part of the 14th Amendment dealing with the national debt, ironically read by Congressman Steve Israel of New York.
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of the insurrection or rebellion against the United States or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave, but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
SCHULTZ: Hey, righties, can you hear me now? If right wingers want to call themselves Constitutional conservatives, they better pay attention to the entire document. If President Obama invokes the 14th Amendment as a last ditch solution to prevent the country from defaulting for the first time in history, I don‘t want to hear a word from the Republican side of the aisle.
SCHULTZ: In Psycho Talk tonight, Congressman Paul Brown of Georgia, the guy who skipped President Obama‘s State of the Union so he could heckle him on Twitter. Well, he comes up with a dandy today. Broun isn‘t voting for Boehner‘s debt ceiling plan because he has his own bill to lower the debt ceiling. He thinks it‘s easy to reign in spending.
REP. PAUL BROUN ®, GEORGIA: When someone is over-extended and broke, they don‘t continue paying for expensive automobiles. They sell the expensive automobiles and buy a cheaper one. They don‘t continue paying for country club dues. They drop out of the country club.
SCHULTZ: Paul Broun is the perfect example of what I‘ve been talking about for years. Republicans are absolutely clueless about the middle class in this country.
Most Americans don‘t have the option of downgrading. They don‘t have expensive automobiles. They‘re hanging on to their eight-year-old minivan, hoping it won‘t give out on them. And they don‘t belong to country clubs. Very few people in this country do.
And a lot of folks can‘t even head out to public courses because they‘re working two or three jobs just to put food on the table. If Broun thinks it‘s so easy to cut back, he should introduce a bill to make the country clubber‘s contribute a little bit more.
Because working Americans have already tightened their belts about as far as they can. For Paul Broun to think the average American can deal with financial hardship by getting rid of the Mercedes and dropping out of the country club is sincerely elitist Psycho Talk.
Months to go until the Iowa caucuses. And already the Mittster, Mitt Romney, is ready to call the race for himself. Liz Winstead will weigh in on the Mittster and the debt talks coming up. Stay with us.
STATE REP. DARRYL ROUSON (D), FLORIDA: The word that we‘re being given is that it‘s about fiscal constraint and about conservatism, with finances and expenses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don‘t buy that?
ROUSON: No, I don‘t buy that.
SCHULTZ: Well, that was Florida State Representative Darryl Rouson talking about Florida‘s new voting law. Republican Rick Scott, the governor, claims it‘s about voter fraud. But as you just heard, it‘s really about voter suppression.
Now Reverend Jesse Jackson is urging the Justice Department to intervene. Jackson says the Florida law violates the Voting Rights Act.
Earlier this year, Governor Scott signed the legislation that reduced the amount of early voting days from 15 down to eight. You can bet it will affect the poor and working class the most.
ALEX SINK, FORMER FLORIDA CFO: They knocked out what used to be two Sundays to vote down to one Sunday. So you can‘t tell me that‘s not going to impact the people‘s ability to get to the polls.
SCHULTZ: All right, the other end of the country. Meanwhile, Republicans in Maine talking—targeting another typical Democratic voting block. The state‘s GOP chair claims that college students who pay out of state tuition rates and vote in Maine are committing voter fraud?
Charlie Webster has no proof that these students voted in Maine and in their home state. And Maine‘s state law allows students to vote in the district where they go to school. And yet Webster is still charging ahead and submitting a list of over 200 names to Maine‘s secretary of state to investigate.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: I‘ve had kidney stones, they‘re easier to pass than this.
SCHULTZ: That was Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee on the House floor earlier today. Here‘s where thins stand right now. Our nation is heading towards default. And here are the House Republicans popping popcorn and enjoying the latest Ben Affleck movie together.
Perhaps tomorrow they‘ll watch Gili (ph). Clearly the GOP needs better leadership. That‘s where former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney comes in.
Now, Romney won‘t say where he stands on the Boehner plan, but he did tell a bunch of folks in Virginia who he would consider to be his vice presidential running mate. Talk about spiking the football at the 10 yard line.
As conservative blog “Bearing Drift” reports, Romney was attending a fund-raiser in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and was highly complimentary of the state‘s, quote, incredible governor, Republican Bob McDonnell. Romney said that McDonnell would be on any candidate‘s vice presidential short list, including his own.
Romney said his short list would also include Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who I think probably, if he‘s watching tonight, is sitting at home saying yeah, right, you‘re gonna be my presidential guy. And Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. That would be the Mittsters other possible pick.
Joining me now is comedian Liz Winstead. She‘s the co creator of “the Daily Show.” It‘s always great to have you with us.
LIZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR, “DAILY SHOW”: I love being here sitting next to you. We‘re so often via satellite so often.
SCHULTZ: Yes, we are.
What do you think of the Mittster picking his people out in public already. He‘s a little confident.
WINSTEAD: Very confident. All of these people, it seems like the dumber they are, the more confidence they have. So far, you know, choosing a vice presidential candidate is like trying to figure out which package of expired meat would be safe enough to eat when he‘s listing those people. I don‘t understand.
SCHULTZ: Is he going to beat Michele Bachmann in the Iowa caucus?
That‘s her home turf, isn‘t it?
WINSTEAD: It is her home turf. She‘ll probably win Iowa. And then maybe fizzle out after that.
SCHULTZ: She‘s spent a lot of money on hair and make-up as of late.
WINSTEAD: Ed, Ed, Ed, don‘t go there.
SCHULTZ: I‘m just saying, it‘s an expense.
WINSTEAD: She‘s very fancy. She‘s very fancy. And she‘s got things to do are and she‘s got places to go. And whenever you have Michele Bachmann, trouble follows.
SCHULTZ: Speaking of her, she likes to criticize federal home loans, but she had no problem taking one out for herself?
WINSTEAD: No, she did not. She loves taking down Fannie and Freddie. I think she thought she could turn them straight. I think she got confused and thought she was going to put them through the gay cure.
SCHULTZ: Little hypocrisy there.
SCHULTZ: Do you really believe that John Boehner told these Tea Partiers to get their ass in line?
WINSTEAD: I think I do. I do believe that he did. I think that the Tea Party has basically replaced bed bugs as America‘s number one pest. And now—and their leadership—it‘s uncontrollable that they do not simply understand how and what the debt ceiling actually does.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of their caucus getting a clip of the movie “The Town?”
WINSTEAD: You know what? They should have gotten a clip of the movie “Thelma and Louise.” And Allen West and Michele Bachmann could have held hands and driven the car off the economic cliff,, like they‘re doing. That would have been more appropriate.
SCHULTZ: Taking a look at the Tea Party Nation, the founder, Judson Phillips, is trying to convince folks that the Tea Party, not President Obama, gave the go ahead to crash all the servers and call Capitol Hill. He‘s saying that well, it was the Tea Partiers who did that, after the president gave a speech the other night to the American people, asking the American people to engage. They have no boundaries.
WINSTEAD: They have no boundaries. And it‘s—I think their voters better figure out quickly that they‘re actually smarter than these people they‘ve elected. This is all a big fluke. Regardless, you look at all these plans, if John McCain was reading from “The Wall Street Journal” today and made that “Lord of the Rings” analogy—the one thing that‘s wrong about that analogy is that they‘re not hobbits. They‘re orcs.
SCHULTZ: You‘re going around the country. You‘re touring a lot.
SCHULTZ: Seriously, what are you hearing? Are people upset? Is there a sea change out there? What‘s happening?
WINSTEAD: People are upset. You know what they feel like? As they‘re learning about this debt ceiling and as they‘re seeing that they don‘t like the president‘s plan, and they don‘t like the Republican plan—they don‘t like any of the plans. And they feel like they‘re being sold out.
Basically what I‘m hearing from people is America‘s getting screwed without any protection. And we‘re going to need a morning after August 2nd pill.
SCHULTZ: Is Obama still in good shape with his base, in your opinion?
From what you hear on the road?
WINSTEAD: You know, he is—people still just look at the Supreme Court and say, I feel frustrated, but there‘s the Supreme Court.
SCHULTZ: Liz Winstead, thanks for your time tonight. Asked in our survey if the president should invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt crisis. Ninety six percent of you said yes, 4 percent of you said no.
That‘s “The Ed Show.” Lawrence with “The Last Word” is next. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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