'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Sunday, August 19, 2012
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
Guests: Sam Seder, Maya Wiley, Judith Browne-Dianis, Michael Grunwald, Tanya Wells, Ari Berman, Chaka Fattah
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta pressed Afghan President Hamid
Karzai in a phone call yesterday to tighten up the vetting process for his
military recruits after recent attacks by Afghan forces against U.S. forces
and NATO troops.
And there`s new video of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan
heaping praise on the power of stimulus to create jobs when George W. Bush
was president. We`ll have that video exclusively later on the program.
Right now, joining me today, we have Sam Seder, host of the daily
podcast, "Majority Report"; Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center
for Social Inclusion, a nonprofit that works to fight poverty; Judith
Browne-Dianis, co-director of the voting rights group, the Advancement
Project; and my colleague Ari Berman, political correspondent for "The
Fantastic to have you here this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.
HAYES: On Thursday, a new "Boston Globe" analysis showed Republican
and independent registrations in toss up states are far outpacing those of
A new Suffolk University/"USA Today" poll shows a large number of
people who are sympathetic to President Obama are also unlikely to vote for
him. Forty-three percent of unregistered voters would vote for Obama
compared to 14 percent for Romney. And 43 percent of registered but
unlikely voters would vote for Obama compared to 20 percent for Romney,
which is why the campaigns are engaged in a fierce battle in many states
over just who gets to vote.
Liberal groups are planning to appeal a judge`s ruling Wednesday to
let a Pennsylvania strict voter ID law take effect. That law could
disenfranchise close to 760,000 Pennsylvania eligible voters who lack
proper ID, or about 9 percent of the state`s registered voters, according
to Pennsylvania`s Department of State and Department of transportation.
In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted cancelled weekend
voting statewide, something the state allowed in 2008, and then suspended
two Democrats on a county election board after they voted to allow weekend
voting. That`s an amazing story that I want to get into because really
The Obama campaign has filed a lawsuit in federal court to restore
voting on the three days before the election and that is being dealt with
There are some good news for Democrats and voting groups rights in
Florida where a federal court rejected part of the state`s new law that
would have restricted the number of early voting days. The court said the
new law cannot take effect in five counties covered by the Voting Rights
Act because it would, quote, "makes it materially more difficult for some
minority voters to cast a ballot."
So this is happening -- there`s a variety of battles that are
happening over this issue. Let`s talk -- let`s stay with Pennsylvania
because I think that`s the headline of the week and we also have
Congressman Chaka Fattah who`s going to be joining us in a moment.
I`m really interested in -- so when you`re dealing with voter ID laws
those that got the most attention, I think it`s fair to say in the press,
right, voter ID laws -- and when you`re dealing with voter ID laws you have
an argument on the other side that there`s this problem of voter fraud and
voter impersonation. Every single empirical look at it shows it`s just a
nonissue. It`s not a problem.
But what`s -- OK, leave that aside. Then it turns out the same
people pushing voter ID also happen to think we should shorten early
voting. What is the argument there, precisely?
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Well, I mean --
HAYES: I mean, I`m asking an unfair question because you`re on the
other side of it. But is there an argument there?
BROWNE-DIANIS: You want me to make up one?
BROWNE-DIANIS: So, if I were to make up one, I mean, some of the
things that we`ve heard is that it costs too much to have weekend voting.
In fact, most election officials like it because it spreads out the -- all
of the voters over a number of days so they don`t get that Tuesday crunch.
But Republican legislators say no it costs too much, let`s shorten
it. And, you know -- but then why shorten it and cut out that particular
weekend that African-American churches on the Sunday do Souls to the Polls
We know disproportionately African-Americans participate in early
voting in Florida in particular they are more likely to vote on that last
Sunday before Election Day. And the governor said when he signed the law
he said I didn`t even know that the black churches did that. But, I mean,
all of these statistics show that African-Americans and Latinos
disproportionately vote during early voting.
ARI BERMAN, THE NATION: And, Chris, can I just say?
BERMAN: There`s four principle ways that the right to vote has been
restricted since the 2010 election. And it`s restricting voter
registration drive, cutting back on early voting, it`s passing voter ID
laws and it`s disenfranchising ex-felons. And there`s different rationales
for different things.
I mean, for voting registration, it`s ACORN. It`s always a one-word
answer from Republicans. For early voting, it`s too expensive. Voter ID,
that costs a lot of money so you don`t have the expensive argument, but you
have the voter fraud, even though as you mentioned earlier, it`s a canard.
And for ex-felons, it`s basically that they don`t deserve to vote.
Even though they paid their debt to society, they shouldn`t be back in the
But if you look at all of these different restrictions together what
you see is a trend and the trend that you see is that the people that are
most likely to be harmed by these restrictions are people that would have
voted for Barack Obama in 2008. It`s no coincidence it happened in 2010.
BROWNE-DIANIS: We should also add to the list the purgers, right?
BERMAN: Yes, absolutely.
BROWNE-DIANIS: The Florida purge, which has now spread to 13 states,
with that one being the underlying so-called reason is that we don`t want
noncitizens voting even though they are again just like the fraud, there`s
really no evidence of that happening.
SAM SEDER, MAJORITY.FM: Make no mistake this is not something new to
2010. This is something that`s been going on, Republicans have said --
HAYES: -- reconstruction, it goes back for a while.
SEDER: Of course. I mean, there`s been an understanding that the
less people who come out to vote, the more that it`s going to benefit the
Republican Party, frankly. So, this is more of the same.
BROWNE-DIANIS: But it`s not different but it is broader and deeper
and more wide scale.
SEDER: Actually technology has improved.
HAYES: This is really interesting to me. It seems to me that
there`s been a massive expansion of these kinds of activities at the state
level and what is that about? Is that just because of the 2010 brought a
lot of --
BROWNE-DIANIS: Right, exactly. They are empowered to change the
rules. So instead of having to do the way that it used to happen, which is
through intimidation, last minute misinformation, the robocalls, they now
are in a position to change the rules of the game and be able to stack --
BERMAN: Well, the 2008 election added momentum to Republicans
needing to do this because they saw the coalition Obama turned out, the
coalition of young voters, Hispanics, African-Americans. They said, we
can`t let this happen again.
So, when they got in power in 2010, it was different than years past
because they said this has to be priority number one. We have to shape an
electorate to our favor because of the demographics of the country are
changing that don`t benefit us as a party.
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FROR SOCIAL INCLUSION: I think we also have to
get in here, ALEC, because remember that these laws, in addition to there
being different people in control, also has been that there have been
specific nonprofit in this case, ALEC, that has pushed these laws across
the state. So, it`s a combination of having the not for profit
infrastructure that supports the lawmakers who are there and we actually
have to think about how we do that combat these.
HAYES: I think it`s interesting to think, you know, what you see in
this is that there`s one -- just take away the moral problem here, right,
which is that the right to vote is a matter of human dignity, human rights.
HAYES: Cornerstone of democracy, self-determination, just throw that
out for a second, OK? And just talk about raw politics. One political
coalition in America, I mean, this is just a fact. I`m not -- I think
everyone would agree one political coalition benefits from a larger turn
out one benefits from a smaller turn out. Democrats benefit with larger
turnout than Republicans.
But what I think is so fascinating in this Ohio case is that when you
have the individual county boards of elections, right, making county by
county policy about early voting and every county board of election has two
Republicans and two Democrats, if I`m not mistaken -- Ari, you basically
broke this story, groundbreaking reporting, I thought it was so
In the counties that were very Republican, the county boards of
elections were saying, hey, let`s keep stuff open make it easy for people
to vote. The Democrats on the county board went along with it because as a
matter of principle their pro of that. In the counties that were heavily
Democratic, the Republicans on those county boards said, nope, no, no, too
expensive or whatever, and that`s why we`ve had this impasse.
BERMAN: And the back story of this is that Ohio obviously had
extremely long lines on election day 2004, up to 3 percent of voters didn`t
vote. That was larger than the margin of victory that George W. Bush won
the state of Ohio, for decisive in electing George W. Bush to a second
So Ohio expanded early voting drastically in the 2008 election, a lot
of people used it, it was very convenient. Then in 2010, when Republicans
took over the legislature they cutback on early voting drastically from 35
days to 11 and again banned it on Sunday before the election. Then that
was so unpopular there was a huge drive to create a referendum on this law.
It was subsequently repealed by the legislature, they repealed their
own law except they banned early voting still on three days before the
election. So, county boards had some discretion in terms how they could
implement the early voting hours now that the law was back in their hands.
And then what happened is you saw this deadlocking. Republicans were
never against early voting until it was something that Democrats started
using. Even if you look at these people that were suspended in Toledo, in
the Montgomery County Board of Elections, Democrats refused to go along
with it they were suspended.
Those Republicans were for early voting in 2011, they reverse this
year. So there`s so much inconsistency with the Republican position on
HAYES: The Obama campaign has sued on not just -- there`s sort of
two issues in Ohio. Early voting and what that will look like three days
before the election and three days before the election which have been
Actually just as a matter of disclosure my wife, is an ex-White House
staffer. She`s been doing some work in the campaign.
BROWNE-DIANIS: And they wanted to equalize how early voting
happened. So, for military voters, but they wanted it to be for everyone.
HAYES: We`ve been more or less cursing the dark horse. I want to
light a candle about what to be done. I mean, there`s 80 days until the
election, a little less.
We`re going to bring in the Congressman Chaka Fattah and talk about
turnout essentially in Pennsylvania, what to do if the case doesn`t go the
way that the Advancement Project wants it to go. Then what`s next, right
HAYES: We`re talking about voter disenfranchisement, voter
suppression and making sure there`s access to the right to vote and the
underlying fundamental tectonic plates in all of this, of course, are the
fact that one political coalition has an overriding interest in marginal
voters voting and one political coalition as an overriding interest in
making sure that marginal voters don`t vote.
Pennsylvania has become, I would say, the place where this seems,
where the battle is the most intense and partly because of the stakes the
number we gave at the top, an estimate of 760,000 eligible voters who lack
the kinds of ID necessary under the new regime.
There`s this amazing moment, it got a lot of play on this network.
It`s gotten a lot of play in the left broadly. Ari, you`ve written about
But I think it`s worth showing, the kind of mask falls off for a
second in talk being about what the rationale is. This is State
Representative Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania talking to Republican state
committee about the -- what voter ID will allow to happen in Pennsylvania.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Voter ID, which will allow
Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Done. So that`s what is on the table right now. The court
ruled and Judy you`re a lawyer on this case, Advancement Project and the
ACLU brought the case. You lost the ruling this week.
BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right.
HAYES: You`re appealing to the state Supreme Court.
HAYES: I think you have a good case. What the heck do I know? I`m
not a lawyer.
But, I want to talk to you and I want to bring in our representative,
Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah from Pennsylvania, second congressional
Good morning, Congressman.
REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning. Good morning to
you and to the panel.
HAYES: It`s great to have you.
I want to hear from Judy, from you and from Congressman, OK, let`s
say the state Supreme Court follows the lower court`s lead here, upholds
the voter ID law, what is the next step?
Congressman, what is happening among your constituents in your
district, among Democrats and other folks in Pennsylvania to deal with this
FATTAH: Well, you know, there`s going to be an election on the first
Tuesday in November and, you know, the court offers a complaint window and,
you know, we had an argument in Commonwealth Court. There will be
continuing arguments in the state Supreme Court.
But the election offers us claims (INAUDIBLE), and that is that we`re
going to focus on winning this election, getting through whatever the
hurdles are and obstacles are to make sure every single person who wants to
cast a vote is able to cast a vote.
Now, previous generations had to fight for the right to vote. People
have died. People went to jail. And, you know, we don`t really see any
excuse, we have to fight this battle and win notwithstanding the best
efforts of our opposition.
The Republicans have clearly been engaged in this activity for a long
time. This is a broader scale. But, you know, usually it`s ballot
protection schemes on election day.
FATTAH: But now, they`ve decided to use these voter ID laws. We
can`t argue that while there`s some problem with ID and I think the public
listening in this morning should know most people don`t have a problem with
having some form of ID, the issue here is the state prescribed a form of ID
that`s very specific and most of the case would be very difficult for many
people to get in the categories that we`re talking about -- the elderly and
the young and then disenfranchise groups of people in our state.
HAYES: I want -- I want to give an example of just that because we
have somebody, a page on our staff went to Bucknell, and got a letter from
the Department of State. The letter to the Bucknell students saying,
"There are many forms of acceptable photo IDs, but every ID must have a
current expiration date unless noted otherwise."
Now, elsewhere in the letter it says, a student ID is valid, but a
Bucknell ID doesn`t have an expiration. So, you can read that letter and
say, Oh, I have a student ID and our page in question voted the last time
around as a Bucknell student.
And you can read that very easily and then say -- when you think
about OK what`s the theory of the case here about the voter fraud that`s
happening? Right? Like there is someone going around collecting old
Bucknell IDs because they know -- that`s the theory of the case. There`s
some systemic effort to go around collecting old Bucknell IDs because they
don`t have an expiration date, finding students that look approximately
like the people in the IDs and then organizing them, giving them those IDs
and sending them off to the polls.
SEDER: For the second time.
SEDER: It only works if they vote once.
WILEY: But I think one of the important things that we have to lift
up in this conversation is while there is all this evidence that this is
actually a partisan attack, right, and trying to influence the outcome of
an election, it does hurt everybody because there will be people who will
choose to vote Republican, who will be prevented from voting.
HAYES: Yes, good point.
WILEY: Think about this category, 18 to 24-year-olds. So for many
of them, perhaps the first time they`ve had the opportunity to vote, we
don`t know who they will vote for.
HAYES: Right. That`s good point, really good point.
WILEY: But what we`re saying is we`re going to make it very
difficult for you. We don`t care who you are going to vote for.
HAYES: Maybe they are angry about the failed stimulus.
WILEY: Right. They might be angry with the failed stimulus, so I
think this -- we`ll talk about that later -- but this is an attack,
actually an attack on who gets to say who leads our country.
HAYES: That`s a good point.
BROWNE-DIANIS: One of those cases where we have evidence of voter
suppression political gain, right? It`s clear from the statement, this is
what we call us lawyers who do trial cases the smoking gun evidence, the
Perry Mason moment. Aha.
BROWNE-DIANIS: And unfortunately, it didn`t make a difference.
HAYES: Did you cite that in the brief?
BROWNE-DIANIS: Yes. It was cited in the brief. It was discussed in
BROWNE-DIANIS: He acknowledged it and acknowledged it was a problem.
However, he didn`t think that it was enough.
FATTAH: Chris, what was worse is that in the stipulation at the
beginning of the case, the state stipulates that there absolutely has never
been any case of in person voter fraud or investigating or suspecting any.
So, this is a problem -- this is a solution in perch of a problem.
But notwithstanding that, we have to make sure we get people registered,
that they get the proper ID under whatever the law is, and we have to win
Pennsylvania because they have a political agenda but notwithstanding that,
we have a background of these efforts in the past that we can`t allow it to
be successful --
HAYES: Congressman, I want to talk about that. When you -- my
brother is an organizer, my dad was an organizer, I worked as an organizer
a little bit. And when you say oh, the organizing task of getting 760,000
people identification in 79 days that`s a tough one.
I want to talk about whether that can to be done and if it has to be
done, how it might go about getting done after we take a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA WILLIAMS, THE DAILY SHOW: There are some new regulations
introduced that will further battle this rampant voter fraud. For
instance, if you would like to vote, you`ll be matched against this, OK.
WILLIAMS: You`ll have to fall in the nonvoter fraud color range,
somewhere between venetian dream and toasted meringue over here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The "Daily Show" satirizing the new Pennsylvania voter ID
But, Congressman, the question I left before the break is -- what
does an effort to get 760,000 people ID look like? Is that happening? Is
there evidence of that happening? Is there organizing happening on the
ground to make that happen should the state Supreme Court uphold the lower
FATTAH: Without a doubt. We have been working for months to prepare
an effort that will have the capacity to reach and to assist people who
want to be able to have the right to register and to vote.
At the heart of this is you have to correlate between the driver`s
license list, what we would call the Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation list and voter registration list, and figure out who doesn`t
have the proper form under the new state law of ID in the system to get it.
For those born in the state, they don`t have to produce a birth
certificate, for those born out of the state that`s where the real
challenge comes in is assessing out of state birth certificates,
particularly for people who are elderly in states in which those records
might be difficult to acquire.
But we`re putting together the networks necessary with elected
officials in those other states to assist us. We`re not going to be
stymied in this effort. You know, we`ve come much too far and there`s been
efforts throughout the history of the country to deny people to franchise
whether women, whether young people, whether African-Americans, and we`re
going to overcome it.
And this is a -- you know, the Republican Party has lost its way.
It`s morally now by putting its principles aside really is just a
conspiracy to steal power and it`s outrageous but we have to put the
outrage to the side and focus on getting the work done.
HAYES: One of the lead plaintiffs the case, Vivienne Applewhite, 93-
year-old woman, this is her -- she has managed to get ID, she`s holding her
But I -- I`ve moved now from -- I was in Chicago, and then I moved to
Washington, and Washington to New York. And whenever you`re in a situation
where you have to get a new driver`s license, you know, you go on your
calendar and x out three or four days because that is a situation. I got
to get my birth certificate.
BERMAN: It`s going to be a herculean effort to get all these people
who don`t have IDs, IDs by Election Day. And you can debate the wisdom of
voter ID laws, but the state of Pennsylvania is not prepared to implement
I mean, they`ve only allocated funds for 75,000 free IDs, even though
the Department of Transportation ten times as many voters don`t have state
issued IDs. So, there`s a tenth of the funds they need. I was looking at
a reporting by Dave Weigel of "Slate," another friend of our program, he
said, there are 71 Penn DOT, basically DMV offices, in Pennsylvania
counties. But 13 were open only one day a week. OK. Nine counties don`t
have an office at all.
So, simply obtaining this ID for 750,000 voters --
BROWNE-DIANIS: It`s the responsibility of the state to provide these
free IDs. It`s not the responsibility of organizing of unions and others
to do this. The big problem is that, you know, while Congressman Fattah
talked about, you know, we fought this before -- you know, Ms. Applewhite
said to me the last time I saw her that in fact she can`t believe that
we`re going back.
BROWNE-DIANIS: You know, that she`s somebody she said you know as an
African-American women, 93 years old, she said she`s been voting since we
could. And so, here she is going back, right?
And the state -- yes, she got an ID but there are 768,590 more people
that need to get the ID and they`re not ready for it.
WILEY: And this just isn`t Pennsylvania. Texas, one-third of
counties don`t have a DMV office in them.
BROWNE-DIANIS: They closed them because of budget cuts.
WILEY: And this is the other conundrum, right? In the same
conversations in these states where we`re talking about needing, to you
know, get people these kinds of voter IDs because we`re committed to
helping them vote are the same states saying we`re going to cut -- we
shouldn`t have so many state employees.
Now, we can`t -- so, we in fact government shouldn`t be so big. On
one level --
WILLEY: So, on one level what we`re saying is, we`re going to make
it necessary to have much bigger government because we`re going to make it
more difficult for people to vote at the same time that we`re going to say,
oh, and we don`t want government.
BERMAN: A day after the Pennsylvania ruling, Pennsylvania dropped
efforts to allow you to get an absentee ballot online and to register to
vote online. So, they restricted the right to vote and dropped provisions
to make it easier to vote.
HAYES: I want to make just this point, it really puts in stark
relief what an amazing piece of legislation the Voting Rights Act was. So
we have this one example which is in Florida, while all this is happening,
in Florida, where you`re under the rubric of voting acts jurisprudence, not
state constitution, not the United States Constitution on the Crawford
decision, when you`re on the Voting Rights Act, the five counties by the
Voting Rights Act, three judge panel of federal judges said, no, you can`t
cut the hours because it has disproportional effect.
And the genius in Voting Rights Act is that the mechanisms used to
suppress the vote that cause the Voting Rights Act were facially race
neutral. A poll tax or literacy tax isn`t about what you look like, right?
It`s just disproportionate effect.
And when you`re in the world of Voting Rights Act jurisprudence, you
can just point to the effect.
BROWNE-DIANIS: You can use disparity.
FATTAH: Chris, what was important is that by using section two of
the voting rights, they had to be pre-cleared. I want to congratulate my
colleagues in Florida for their fight and the win there, but these laws in
Pennsylvania, if I were at the school district, even though government ID
is permitted for a voting purposes, a school district employee and in any
of our 501 school districts, and it`s an outrage that we have 501 school
districts, can`t use that ID at all.
But, you know, it`s same in Texas where you can use a concealed
weapons permit, but you can`t use a state ID from a state university.
These laws are particularly focused on a political result, the same people
who don`t want people educated or don`t want women to have opportunities in
terms of health care and preventative care. It`s a big issue.
HAYES: Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah from Pennsylvania and Ari
Berman, contributor to "The Nation" -- thanks so much. It`s a really
important conversation. We`re going to keep tracking this all the way into
BERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: The massive constituency ignored by the campaigns when we get
HAYES: All right. This week the campaign turned largely into a
conversation around cuts to Medicare with the bizarre through the looking
glass muddying of the waters about who supports cuts to Medicare and who
Rather than a sober discussion about spending and deficits that many
thought would be precipitated by the addition of Paul Ryan, and thus the
Ryan plan to the Republican ticket, the Romney campaign spent the week
emphasizing the spending cuts they advocate would not go to the politically
powerful constituencies that are at the core of their base.
Here`s Ryan campaigning yesterday with his mother at The Villages, a
retirement community in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Like a lot of
Americans, when I think about Medicare, it`s not just a program, it`s not
just a bunch of numbers, it`s what my mom relies on. It`s what my grandma
How many of you are 55 or older? Wow. OK.
OK. How many of you are not?
All right. Our solution to preserve, protect and save Medicare does
not affect your benefits. Let me repeat that. Our plan does not affect
the benefits for people who are in or near retirement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Let me just say, important fact -- not true. Part of the
Ryan budget is repealing at any time Affordable Care Act which closes the
doughnut hole, A.
So, presumably repealing -- I`m off the prompter now. I get back to
the intro. But I just have to respond to this.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act which would presumably repair the
donut hole. The other thing is, those folks, people we`ll talk about this,
a lot of them will rely on Medicaid for long term care.
SEDER: Also, his plan would create a death spiral in Medicare. So,
assuming you live beyond age 65 once those other people come in it`s going
to start to eat away at Medicare.
HAYES: Let me also just say this -- the politics of like, guys,
we`re not screwing you.
Anyway, the irony here is that while the Ryan plan`s Medicare cuts
have received the most attention of the campaigns, the media, and likely
from Paul Ryan himself, the most shocking aspect of Ryan`s budget is this
unprecedented bludgeoning of services that benefit the poor, a constituency
with far, far less political power than the retirees in that senior center
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has calculated that 62
percent of the cuts from the Ryan plan come from programs that help the
poor, 62 percent. Medicaid would be cut by 1.4 trillion over 10 years, a
third of the entire budget effective immediately. Food stamps or snap
would be cut by $133 billion, throwing between 8 million to 10 million
people off the program, and there`s an additional $754 billion in cuts that
benefit to the poor that Ryan doesn`t even bother to spell out.
At this week, Ryan repeatedly took to the stump to attack Obama not
only on Medicare but rather unbelievably on poverty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Nearly one out of six Americans are living in poverty today as
a result of these policies. That`s unacceptable. We want the American
idea of opportunity, of upward mobility of getting people back on the
ladder of life so they can reach their destiny and tap their potential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Joining me now is Michael Grunwald, the author of
a fantastic, absolute, must-read new book, all of you watching right now go
to Amazon, go to (INAUDIBLE), order it go, to your local book store," The
New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era" and a senior
national correspondent at "Time" magazine.
Michael, it`s great to have you here.
MICHAEL GRUNWALD, TIME: Thank you so much.
HAYES: So, this to me is so key. We`re having this conversation
about Medicare. The reason we`re having a conversation about Medicare is
because of the constituency that benefits from Medicare is politically
powerful and we just said at the top of the show, there`s a relationship
between the top of the show and second part of the show, which is the folks
who are not voting, the folks who are in that 43 percent, 13 percent
polling that was done, a lot of the folks are poor folks. And they are the
ones who are getting their ox gored in the Ryan budget, way worse.
I mean, the Medicare part is the best thought out part of the Ryan
plan. The things for the poor are just like --
WILEY: Well, one point to add is it`s also a fast growing
demographic because for the past three years, the poverty rate in this
country has been increasing. That`s for a lot of reasons including the
fact that we`re still struggling to create living wage jobs in this
So one of the thing we have to recognize is it`s also the trend. And
that percentage of people is getting bigger and bigger and bigger not
SEDER: I know you touched on this. I think the point can`t be made
those people sitting in that community center in Florida, a huge percent of
them will end up on Medicaid when they go into nursing homes. What happens
HAYES: You think cutting medicate won`t affect you.
SEDER: It will affect them. And that`s the thing. The dirty little
secret a lot of those people end up on Medicaid once they exhaust their
assets and they go through Medicare.
WILEY: Not to mention the fastest growing demographic in this
country is young people. So to say all of you who are under 55, you will
have your benefits impacted and you will need them. So, both those things
HAYES: The other thing about the Medicaid block granting is that if
you block grant the states and you have some fixed pool of money, right,
it`s going to be about, well, who gets that pool of money. And there`s
different constituencies. There`s poor folks and folks in long term care.
And I can tell you, I can predict where the distribution of those
benefits will tend to go based on who has political power.
Michael, you write about in "The New New Deal," about some of the
anti-poverty aspects of the Recovery Act, which I think is one of the great
untold stories of the Recovery. I want you to respond to the invocation of
the poverty level by Paul Ryan saying, due to these policies, we`re also
going to talk to someone who has gone through, who has lived through
firsthand the great recession and what I want means to enter the ranks of
those on Medicaid, after we take a break.
HAYES: We`re talking about the great untalked about part of the
social contract right now in the campaign, which are poor Americans and
poverty rates increase. The only people talk about the poverty rate
increasing are the Republicans because they can use it as a talking point
to attack the president. But, ironically or not ironically, the budget
they are proposing would really be savage on the poor.
Could we talk about the president`s record on this, Michael? I feel
like one of the things that got lost and so many things got lost by the
Recovery Act as I learned from your book were the quite substantial
investments made in folks who were struggling through poverty in the wake
of the financial crisis.
GRUNWALD: Absolutely. I mean, I can bore you with some statistics.
HAYES: Please. I love that.
GRUNWALD: All right, great. I come to the right place.
Just the safety net, direct spending on things like unemployment
benefits, food stamps, the expanded earned income tax credit for the
working poor that directly lifted 7 million people out of poverty and made
essentially 32 million poor people less poor. You also had the first real
reforms of the unemployment insurance system since it was set up in the New
Deal when it was a set up for a male workforce.
And now, there was $7 billion in incentives for states to expand it
to part time workers, to spouses who have to leave their job because their
spouse relocates. Essentially that`s for a modern economy and 31 states
have adopted that. There`s a homelessness prevention program that had I
think $20 million in 2008. They gave it $1.5 billion.
It`s an entirely new way of addressing the problem and it took 1.2
million people that would have been on the streets and helped them out. It
hadn`t been for that homelessness, would have doubled.
HAYES: Why don`t we know that? Seriously? Why did I learn that
when I read your book? Why am I learning this thing now?
GRUNWALD: I guess the first answer is because my book has not become
a runaway best seller.
HAYES: We`re working on it, America.
GRUNWALD: Look. It was partly I do describe this really remarkably
relentless Republican campaign of distortion. You`ve had a really
incompetent Democratic messaging. You`ve had a media that just really
screwed the story. And finally, you have the sort of unavoidable problem
of this is a jobs bill that was passed while jobs were hemorrhaging. We
lost 800,000 jobs in `09. The recovery is going to make it look good.
HAYES: You have one more issue, though -- Sam.
SEDER: I was going add it didn`t help that President Obama turned
towards austerity so quickly after this because then how do you tout the
success of those programs if you repudiate the idea that the government
should be spending money.
WILEY: Three points, jobs, jobs, jobs. This is what I think
complicates the conversation, I think Mike is absolutely right. It
prevented jobs from leading the economy and that`s a really difficult thing
to articulate and to identify. It was a huge and necessary benefit and
we`re not able to calculate it.
The second jobs is it created some jobs of up to 1.2 million.
There`s some debate about how many because the CBO said in the first
quarter of 2012 it was 200,000 to 1.2 million. Pinpointing it, the fact
that pinpointing the actual number of jobs either that we didn`t lose or
that we, or that we grew has been so difficult that it`s made it an easier
HAYES: Let me just say this also, I mean, all the things you ticked
off why don`t I know about the homelessness. I do this for a living. I
didn`t know it until I read your book, right?
Maybe that`s my bad, right? I should know, I`m a reporter. That`s
partly on me as well. But part of it is there is no -- it gets to the
fundamental power calculation here, right? If he had done something like
that for those seniors in The Villages everyone would know about it because
they are a powerful constituency and the poor are not.
And that`s fundamental -- they don`t want to talk about the poor --
I`m talking about the Obama administration because they are going to get
attacked for giving your taxpayer dollars to those lazy folks. I want to
talk to someone who has been through the recession and seen what it`s done
to her own balance sheet, her own family and how she interprets the
discussion we`re having about this social contract, right after we take
HAYES: I want to bring in Tanya Wells. Both she and her husband
lost their jobs in 2008. They have gone back to school and trying to get
back on their feet. Their family survives student loans, Medicaid and food
stamps, three programs directly targeted by the Ryan plan.
I want to ask you, how as you`re watching the campaign unfold, how
are you perceiving it? Do you feel that the issues you`re facing day-to-
day are being addressed and do you have feelings about either of the
TANYA WELLS, FOOD STAMP RECIPIENT: Well, it is extremely scary
experiencing what is going on right now. I have until November to try to
reorganize my life plans because I don`t know which way this is going to
And we`re talking about my family. We`re talking about my, my
dependency on the system to keep us afloat. And it is in serious, serious
jeopardy right now and that is a very scary thought to live with every
My thoughts on the candidates, President Obama what he did at the
beginning of the recession is what kept my family alive, essentially. I
played all my cards right before the recession. We had jobs. We were
making good money. We were your average middle class family, living
All of a sudden the rug got pulled out from under us and we are along
with the rest of the people from the middle class and we are now poor.
We`re poor. And the president helped keep us afloat with the changes he
MADDOW: When you say the rug was pulled out from under you, what are
you -- my understanding is that you hadn`t used SNAP in the past, you
hadn`t used Medicaid and now you`re relying on those programs. Is that
WELLS: Correct. Our household income was right around $100,000 a
year. So we were fairly comfortable. After the recession our household is
now around $18,000 a year. So if that gives you and idea of the severity
of the matter. It`s pretty severe and it`s scary.
HAYES: I want to play a clip for you because when we have debates
about programs like student loans which I believe you`re federally
subsidized student loans.
HAYES: Medicaid which you`re now qualified for I imagine, and SNAP.
I want to play a clip from Congressman Paul Ryan talking about the dangers
of a safety net that gives too much to people that are struggling. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: What you have is a government, a plan that turns this safety
net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people in the lies of complacency
and dependency, which drains them of their will and incentive to make the
most of their lives. It`s demeaning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I just want to hear your response. Do you feel that Medicaid
and food stamps and student loans are demeaning to you? Do you think it
would be less -- more demeaning -- less demeaning and you would have more
dignity if those were cut?
WELLS: That is an absolutely ridiculous statement right there.
Those programs are an extreme help to a lot of people. I`m not the only
one in this situation. I`m sure there are thousands if not millions of
Americans in the exact same situation as me.
That we never wanted to depend on the system, we don`t like depending
in the system. It is a horrible, horrible life to be living. All we want
to do is get off this system.
I developed the plan for my family. I took it on as a project
management task and I strategically figured out well what will give me the
longest lasting security. I can have temporary fixes, I have long term
So what do I need to do? What does my family need do in order to
make sure we get to the best option available to us?
We qualified for unemployment when we lost our jobs. But
unfortunately unemployment end the second you decide to go back to school.
So that`s one of the things.
HAYES: Please continue.
WELLS: So, that`s one of the things we had to decide. OK, we can
stay on unemployment which was far more than what we`re getting with food
stamps and student loans and Pell grants, but at that point we`re creating
a temporary fix.
WELLS: Do we want a temporary fix for our family or do we want a
HAYES: So you have to make that decision between getting -- saying
good-bye to unemployment which is providing with you very needed income in
order to go back to school because that`s an investment in long term
building skills you think can help you get a job for the future.
WELLS: Precisely. And we wanted to secure our finances. We wanted
to make sure that we picked what was going to cause the most stability for
our family and going back to school was going to be that.
Before, we were in two industries that were extremely severely hit by
the recession. My husband worked with the sheet metal union and I was
working in logistics. Those two industries totally disappeared during the
We knew there was no stability. Before that, we didn`t even buy a
house because we knew those industries were very, very, very much on the
rocks at all times. There was no security in them.
HAYES: Tanya, I want to talk about how the experience you`ve had has
changed the way you think about politics, the way you think about the
candidate, about the campaign.
We`re going take a break and talk about that with the panel when we
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
With me this morning, we have Sam Seder, host of the daily podcast,
"Majority Report." You should all be listening to that. Maya Wiley,
founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion. Judith Browne-
Dianis, co-director of the Advancement project. And Michael Grunwald,
author of the fantastic, must-read new book, "The New New Deal: The Hidden
Story of Change in the Obama Era," and senior national correspondent for
I also have via satellite, Tanya Wells.
Tanya, you have -- you were saying earlier in the program that you
had a household income of six figures, both you and your husband lost your
jobs in the wake of financial crisis in the great recession, trying to get
back on your feet, you`re going to school. Your family income is down to
And I asked you before you went to break to talk about how this has
affected the way you think about politics, the way you think about the
world, the way you think about American society. I mean, how -- what do
you know now? What do you think about now that you didn`t when you were
making $100,000 a year?
TANYA WELLS, FOOD STAMP RECIPIENT: Well, I figured out that there`s
a whole invisible civilization that you really don`t see until you hit rock
bottom and you`re at their level with them. There is a completely
different world down here that most people don`t know about. I think
that`s why I decided to come and be on the show because there`s so many
people out there just like me and most people that are nice and comfortable
don`t even realize how much of a struggle it is every day to live in these
And hearing constant battles on politics, about getting rid of
programs that we depend on, it`s sad and the way they manage to turn the
stereotype on people that actually pulled from the system that they paid
into -- I paid into the system for more than 16 years. I made more than
enough money that completely makes up for what I`m pulling right now.
I`m at a time in need. I`m asking for help. I received the help
that I paid into.
And there`s a big stigma on the people that do receive help, that
they are lazy, that they are moochers.
Well, no, that`s not the case. I`ve worked very hard since I was 15
years old. I worked straight and paid into the system the whole entire
time. This is the first time I`m drawing from it.
Why? Because it`s an absolute necessity to my family right now. We
got hit very hard and this is our chance to make some changes to our lives
and create some stability for ourselves once again. We`ll be there. We`ll
payback into the system afterwards as well.
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: You know, one of the dirty
little secrets here is that many, many people who need these kinds of
safety net programs work. They work. The truth is there`s 48 million
Americans in this country today who are hungry. And 40 percent of them are
So there`s this kind of myth that safety net systems are for lazy
people, the Paul Ryan statement is actually undermining to the actual --
you know good laws are based on facts not fiction.
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: For him to say that this
is a hammock that lulls people. This is actually a lifeline for people,
right? And Tanya`s story is the story of millions of Americans.
But unfortunately our perception in this country of poor people, it
has an actual, we can like see them. We see them as people of color. We
see them about people that we don`t know, that we don`t want to deal with
but the lazy people who are sitting around housing projects -- when in fact
even the people who are living in public housing who are working class
folks who are struggling every day.
HAYES: Tanya, in terms of the -- in terms of how this has affected
the way you think about politics, my understanding is that you didn`t vote
in 2008, right?
WELLS: I did not vote. I was not very active in politics
whatsoever. It really took that life change for me to get involved with
politics. And now I stay on it, of course, because my life depends on it
at this moment, but I keep up with politics. I am very active with
And I`m totally happy with all the changes and the support that the
poor people of America are receiving from President Obama at this time. I
have to thank President Obama for helping my family as much as he did when
we needed it the most.
HAYES: You have a child in the prescription that costs almost $300 a
month and that`s paid for through Medicaid.
HAYES: If there were Medicaid cuts that started after the new
Congress, that conceivably that would impact you quite directly?
WELLS: Yes. Most definitely. That is a very scary experience.
When you`re sitting at a doctor`s office and you find out that your child
needs this expensive medication.
And you think well if I put my child on this medication? Will I be
able to afford it if something happens to this program and I no longer have
access to it? What am I going to do then? Because that is a big chunk of
money to try to come up with to make sure that your child gets the
medication that she needs.
SAM SEDER, MAJORITYREPORT.FM: Tanya, I think you may have answered
this question already. But from your perspective is it the inability to
draw on aid programs while you`re going to -- or unemployment -- while
you`re going to school, is that the biggest obstacle you have in terms of
facilitating this plan you have for your family?
WELLS: Well, my plan is going good. I realized how many cuts I had
to make. I`ve reduced every single penny that I had to from our budget in
order to make this work. We figured that all out ahead of time before we
even embarked on this quest.
So -- but if we would have been able to maintain our -- we were
receiving the maximum levels for unemployment, if we would have been able
to maintain that unemployment insurance while in school, that would have
been a tremendous help. We wouldn`t even have to get food stamps at that
point because we have been able to afford everything on our own. We
actually qualified --
HAYES: I`m sorry I didn`t mean to cut you off.
WELLS: We actually qualified for a lot more services, our benefits.
But we don`t draw for them. We take what we need and we leave the rest for
other needy people because we realize there`s people that are in far worse
conditions than we are. We take what we need.
HAYES: Can I make a mere argument when Paul Ryan is talking? I
mean, incentives do matter, right?
So, just so we were clear here. I mean, if you have a system
incentivizing people not to get more education because they will turn away
income support that comes from unemployment, that`s a bad system. That`s
doing precisely the thing that Paul Ryan alleges it`s doing in an
ironically way, which is incentivizing people not to do the thing necessary
to build the human capital that will make them --
WILEY: Let`s be fair. Let`s be fair. Both Republicans and
Democrats have made this very difficult for people to have jobs in the long
term 21st century economy, because the Clinton administration which brought
about welfare reform, what we called welfare reform in the early `90s
actually allowed states to kick people out of college and force them to
sweep streets in order to hold on the their welfare benefits.
New York City alone, 27,000 people got pushed out of the CUNY system
because they were forced to go and do menial labor instead of staying out
of the safety net programs to give them the credentials they needed to stay
in the labor market. What we`ve seen even post-recession is that there are
jobs, but the jobs are for people like us sitting around this table who
have graduate degrees.
So, we`re much -- well OK, you can go back. A bachelor`s.
WILEY: The point is education pays. Education helps keep people
stay in the economy and we`re not actually supporting people to do that.
HAYES: One of the perverse things here, we`ve talked a lot about
TANF from welfare reform, because one of the first things about the way
performance has been judged is that less people are on the rolls, that
people are still super poor.
HAYES: Here`s some statistics. In 1996, 68 percent of families with
children living in poverty who qualified received TANF. By 2010, 27
percent of families with children in poverty who qualified and received
TANF. That`s just a percentage of poor people. It`s not that people have
gotten less poor.
There`s more poor people, less people drawing benefits. That`s the
gap between those two, the people who are poor and people on benefits.
That`s not a success story of social policy. That is a failure of social
BROWNE-DIANIS: This gets back to politics. No one expects for poor
folks to be engaged in our political system, and therefore we`re discarded,
like we can do anything to them and poor children.
I mean, we haven`t talked about the impact on children. These are
families. And the idea is that they`re not going to vote. They`re not
going participate. They have no political capital.
HAYES: Here`s polling for the two candidates among those making less
than $50,000 a year. Less than $50,000 a year, 57 percent lean Obama, 38
percent lean Romney. Again, there are huge -- there`s a huge division in
our politics how these political coalitions work.
SEDER: That is the Ryan budget, right? It`s simply, we`re
essentially going to just make these programs smaller. We`re not going to
solve any problems by it, we`re just going to throw more people off of
That`s it. I mean, there`s no solution there.
WILEY: It also comes back to the voter ID laws, right? When you are
working two jobs and you`re working 18, 20 hours and you`re still not able
to pay for food at the end of the month and then you`re told in the state
of Pennsylvania to drive 45 miles and you may not even have a car or be
able to afford to put for gas in the tank and take a day off from work
because you may not earn wages when you take that day off --
HAYES: Yes. How do you do it? Tanya Wells --
WELLS: Here`s one of the things --
HAYES: Tanya, please.
WELLS: Here`s one of the things, if you want to bring America back
you have to focus on the middle class. The middle class is struggling.
We`re now the poor class. You have to get us back up to that level so we
can start helping out to get this country back on track.
And one of the things you have to do is invest in the people. The
people are like people like me -- the people who are doing what is right,
who are doing what we need to in order to get back on track.
We thought about what we needed to do for education. We thought
about the best careers. But unfortunately there are a lot of people in the
system that I have met now that don`t have the ability to make a life plan,
as elaborate as the one I created for myself. And I try to help them.
But it would be a lot better if the government would try to help
these people create a real life plan. Help them go the schools that aren`t
going to rip them off. Help them figure out what they have to do percent
for long term solutions.
They need help with food in the meantime while they are trying to get
themselves on track. I mean, all these things are things that are being
addressed and it`s so important for the middle class to come about again.
HAYES: Tanya Wells, I can`t thank you enough for coming on this
morning. I would like to check back in with you over the course of the
next few months and we wish you all the best.
WELLS: Sure thing.
HAYES: I feel there might be a future in TV for you also. I don`t
know if that`s part of your lifestyle. Seriously, thank you so much.
WELLS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: We`ll be right back.
HAYES: All right. You probably have heard about this, this week
that Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was forced to
backpedal from a glaring bit of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he had
sought millions of dollars in stimulus funds for his district despite
publicly repeatedly denouncing the 2009 Recovery Act as, quote, "a wasteful
In relation to the Recovery Act, Ryan has forcefully danced the
underlying basic concept of Keynesian economics, the idea that during a
recession or depression, the government can boost economic recovery through
spending -- sometimes deficit spending. Here he is in July of 2010 making
just that argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Too many are
searching for answers in the discredited economic playbook of borrow and
spend Keynesian policies. I reject the false premise that only forceful
and sustained government intervention in the government can secure this
country`s renewed prosperity.
Adherence to this premise has given us a damaging policy mixture. It
has sparked government spending spree and borrowing binge. Workers,
taxpayers and families across this country have been guinea pigs in this
neo-Keynesian experiment long enough. The results are in, Washington`s
economic experiment has failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. So, no Keynesian economics, borrow and spend,
deficit spending to boost recovery and jobs during a period of an output
gap when you`re in a recession, all that`s bad -- not just bad but just
conceptually broken, fundamentally and conceptually broken.
As it turns out Paul Ryan`s request for millions of dollars in
Recovery Act spend is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his
hypocrisy on stimulus. Reviewing all tapes of Ryan this week, we turned up
video of Ryan in which he does far more than advocate for one specific
stimulus item but actually makes a full throated, no holds barred argument
at length for the basic concept of Keynesian stimulus, government spending
to create jobs, deficit government spending to create jobs.
In 2002 with President Bush in the White House as the country went
through the post-9/11 recession, Ryan made a powerful, unapologetic case
for the government to step in with $120 billion stimulus package, including
not just tax cuts and tax incentives for business investment but also an
extension of unemployment benefits and health insurance benefits.
Here`s a look at some of that video from February 14th, 2002, in
which Congressman Ryan argues on the House floor that government spending
has historically created jobs and that unemployment insurance and health
insurance are necessary even after economic recoveries begin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: What we`re trying to accomplish today is to create jobs and
help the unemployed. Now I`ve just recently read in our local Capitol Hill
newspaper that members from the majority party and the other body wants
stimulus. They are breaking with their party leadership and asking for
stimulus legislation to pass because in their home states, they have a lot
of people who are losing their jobs.
What we`re trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation
that they passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back
to work. We want to make it easier for employers to keep people employed.
We want to make it easier for employers to invest in their business, to
invest in their employees and to hire people back to work.
On top of it for those people that lost their jobs we want to help
them with their unemployment insurance and with health insurance. What
we`re trying to accomplish here is recognition of the fact that in
recessions, unemployment lags on even well after recovery has taken place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You guys get all that? Did you get all that? Do you get the
full thing there? In the same House session Ryan, I should say when he`s
talking the majority in the House, he`s talking about senate Democrats who
are helping President Bush pass a stimulus because they think it`s the best
thing to do even though their partisan interest is to destroy the agenda of
the president from the other party. Senate Democrats went for the
All right, in the same House session, Ryan argues, I love this, he
argues that those worries about fiscal discipline and deficits, right
because this is, is borrowed money that they`re going to spend for
stimulus, should still support the stimulus it will get the economy going
again, which will then lead to a rising revenue, smaller deficits and
extended solvency for programs like Medicaid and Medicare down the road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: We have a lot of laid off workers and more layoffs are
occurring. And we know as a historical fact that even if our economy
begins to slowly recover that unemployment is going to linger on and on
well after that recovery takes place. What we`ve been trying to do
starting in October then in December and now is to try to get people back
That things we`re trying to pass in this bill are the time-tested,
proven, bipartisan solutions to get businesses to stop laying off people,
to hire people back, and to help those people who have lost their jobs.
It`s more than just giving someone unemployment check. It`s also helping
those people with their health insurance while they`ve lost their jobs and
more important than just that unemployment check is to do what we can to
give people a paycheck.
We`ve got to get their engine of economic growth growing again
because we now know because of the recession we don`t have the revenues we
wanted to. We don`t have the revenues we need to fix Medicare, to fix
Social Security, to fix these issues, we`ve got to get Americans back to
work, then the surpluses come back, then the jobs come back, that is the
constructive answer we`re trying to accomplish here, yes on a bipartisan
I urge members to drop the demagoguery and to pass this bill to help
us work together to get the American people back to work and help those
people who`ve lost their jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is that guy?
HAYES: It gets better.
SEDER: Were do I get to wear a pin.
HAYES: Not just a line that Ryan gave in Washington. According to
Wisconsin newspaper "The Journal Times", he goes back to his people. And
at the town hall meeting with the constituents back in his district, he`s
making the case for Keynesian stimulus spending in much simpler terms.
This is what he says, quote, "You have to spend a little to grow a
little. What we`re trying to do is stimulate the part of the economy
that`s on its back." Paul Ryan, 2012, you have to spend a little to grow -
- no, Paul Ryan 2002, you have to spend a little, grow a little.
Paul Ryan 2012, we hate and reject the failed experiment of
I want to talk about this and I talk about the stimulus in the way
that it is the absolute bedrock of this kind of political hypocrisy and
what it meant for the era that fold it right after we take this break.
HAYES: All right. So, we just played I think a pretty jaw dropping
bit of tape from 2002, and it shows Paul Ryan defending what was then a
Bush, George W. Bush stimulus and using every single argument on the basic
deficit argument about stimulus.
I`m curious, Michael Grunwald, you`ve written this book that`s the
most I think thorough investigation of the Recovery Act and politics of it
and what did it. What is your response when you hear that?
MICHAEL GRUNWALD, TIME: Shocked.
GRUNWALD: You know, I think I to tell the story in the book about
how, you know, Republicans even before Obama took office had decided that
essentially anything Obama stands for they are going to have to fight.
Stimulus, you know, Paul Ryan supported the 2002 Bush stimulus, he
supported the 2008 Bush stimulus.
GRUNWALD: This was not a controversial topic. In 2008, every
presidential candidate had a stimulus plan. The largest was actually by
some guy that you might have heard of, he`s governor of Massachusetts, the
name escape --
GRUNWALD: That`s right. It was $250 million, Mitt Romney stimulus
HAYES: He has the largest stimulus plan.
GRUNWALD: The largest of all of them.
And, you know, Republicans -- you know, the $780 billion Obama
stimulus which had tax cuts and spending was, of course, tyrannical
socialism, but there was a Republican substitute that was $715 billion of
spending and tax cuts that was apparently good public policy. Paul Ryan
voted for that one, too.
So, this is --
HAYES: Paul Ryan voted for $75 billion in stimulus?
GRUNWALD: He most certainly did. And there was an interesting
argument inside the Republican leadership where Mike Pence side, you know,
the kind of true ideological kind of conservative said, hey, you know, we
our stimulus should not be this you know, we shouldn`t be trying to out-New
Deal the Democrats. But Eric Cantors and Paul Ryans said, hey, no, we need
to do something that, you know our moderates can vote for because the most
important thing is to get everybody something to say yes to so they can say
no to Obama.
And Ryan, of course, fell off both sides of the horse. He vote for
the ideological one and he voted for the political one, and then he went
out and trashed the very similar Obama one as the death of American free
BROWNE-DIANIS: This goes to show Romney and Ryan are a match made in
heaven. They walk around with etch-a-sketch.
BROWNE-DIANIS: We`re not seeing these clips on FOX News. It`s great
this hypocrisy has got to be exposed because in fact we have to stimulate
the economy through this kind of spending.
WILEY: Well, we have to have another stimulus. I mean, if we`re
really being honest, I mean, as mike points out that importance, and also
as Ryan points out, economists actually when we had the first stimulus were
already saying it wasn`t big enough. You can`t plug a hole of a $1.3
trillion deficit with $700-some-odd billion bailout and that --
GRUNWALD: Not bailout.
WILEY: It was a bailout.
HAYES: Let`s make sure. A large part of Americans think those two
things are the same.
WILEY: That`s really important distinction. But point being that
the conversation we should be having is exactly the same conversation now.
HAYES: But I want to go to this, right? Because when we talk about
the Recovery Act and here`s the bizarre thing about recovery. First thing
this president, he does signs the Lilly Ledbetter extension. That happens
before the Recovery Act.
The first major piece of policy that comes from the administration is
the Recovery Act. You never hear about the Recovery Act from anyone. No
one talks about it.
Republicans decided it was tyrannical socialism. Democrats abandoned
it. The only time Democrats and liberals even, people on the left talk
about the Recovery Act is that this debate of it should have been bigger.
That`s bizarre. What your book has convinced me that didn`t matter
that much, even if it was an extra $200 billion lower or $300 billion
,which is a lot of money, it wouldn`t have made a hugely appreciable
difference of where we are right now in the economy.
GRUNWALD: It`s really important point. It goes to your guest that
you had who was on food stamps and is struggling in this economy.
People forget that in the fourth quarter of 2008, GDP fell at a 9
percent annual rate. That`s a depression. At that rate we would have lost
an entire Canadian economy in 2009. In January 2009 we lost 800,000 jobs.
Then we pass the stimulus. Next quarter had the biggest improvement
in jobs in 30 years. But it was still terrible. And that really, that
crashed the politics because essentially, you got a jobs bill while you`re
hemorrhaging jobs and like you said, you have 8 million job hole and this
was a 3 million job solution. There was no stimulus --
HAYES: In the book, you`re pretty tough on liberals on this, right?
I mean --
GRUNWALD: That`s right.
HAYES: You make the case that liberals didn`t defend -- that they
should have stood with the law and defended the policy, defended the
Sam Seder, you`re a liberal. Why didn`t you defend it? It`s your
SEDER: I think it was -- in defense of it, but I mean, clearly, it
was not big enough. The question is whether or not it could have been
bigger is, you know, debatable.
GRUNWALD: Not debatable.
SEDER: Even if I stipulate -- I mean, look, even if I stipulate that
it could not have been bigger in any way, even though we just mentioned how
the Republicans had already voted for one, that was $750 billion.
But even if I stipulate that the president should have made it clear
this is not enough because there were people saying contemporaneously at
that time, including Krugman for man, I mean, has a fairly large problem,
saying the idea that you`re going to back and get a second bite is
SEDER: The president should have said at that time -- and I think he
didn`t because he didn`t believe it, or at least his advisors, that this is
not going to be substantial enough, we`re going to do this again unless
we`re really lucky.
HAYES: I want you to respond to that. But, first, let`s take a
HAYES: I was referring to Obama`s failed porkilus and the camera
But -- OK, this question about, two things, right? It should have
been bigger but also that it should have laid the ground work and said
basically protected himself from the charge that we tried your way and it
didn`t work because unemployment is still elevated, because unemployment
didn`t come down as far as projections of your economic team at the time
the Recovery Act was proposed. Sam makes the contention Recovery Act, the
president should have said, OK, we`re doing this but this is not going to
GRUNWALD: Let me take the first part first, which is this idea that
Obama wimped out and should have been bigger. That`s just wrong.
You know, I interviewed the people who are in the room, and, you
know, you got to remember that just a few months earlier, the Senate had
rejected a $50 billion stimulus -- $800 billion was a pretty big step and
the three Republicans whose votes were needed said absolutely no more than
800 billion. So did half a dozen centrist Democrats.
GRUNWALD: And if President Mark Begich of Alaska was going to go
along with this thing, you know, bills that don`t pass Congress don`t make
But Sam raises a really good point I think about whether he should he
have been more, this is just a start. We`re going to need more rather than
this is a great triumph.
And I think -- I would make a few points, which is first of all he
did get another $700 billion of stimulus over the next two years, very
quietly. It wasn`t easy with Republicans fighting unemployment benefits.
HAYES: Tax cuts.
GRUNWALD: Not just tax cuts. Unemployment benefits, you know,
extensions of some of the stuff that was in the Recovery Act. And, again,
we had Republicans even fighting small business tax hikes. Not an easy
list. He did get it.
That said, I do think there are some questions about whether the
bully pulpit of Obama coming up and saying we need more stimulus, the
history of the Obama administration is that him making a full throated, you
know, defense of something does not necessarily mean that that`s going to
help the legislative get through Congress. It creates a target.
SEDER: But the point isn`t whether or not that`s necessarily going
to bring about results. Neither one of us can sit here and say, that would
have changed 2010. It could have. Maybe the Democrats aren`t down 25
seats. Who knows?
But the point is, is that you`ve got for two years the president
attacked austerity in a way that will have implications down the road. I
mean when people argue that government is not like a family, all it takes
is somebody to say is that not what the president told.
GRUNWALD: This is an important point you`re making because
rhetorically, that is absolutely right. And I think there`s -- you know, I
think a lot of people thought of Barack Obama as a words guy, right? He`s
like the big talker and that`s what makes him so great.
And it turns he`s sort of a more of a deeds guy. A lot of people who
are very disappointed with his rhetoric, my big issue is global warming.
And, you know, it kills me that he doesn`t -- wait a second, he -- it kills
me that he doesn`t talk about global warming but he`s done more than
anybody else about global warming with $90 billion for clean energy.
And it`s the same with Keynesian economics, where he told his
economic team, I say it in the book, that by the fall of 2009, he was
saying, like, you know what, I get the Keynesian thing but it`s not where
the electorate is. I`m not going to keep talking about it. And that does
have an impact and you`re right about.
What he did --
SEDER: This is arguing against it. There`s a difference between not
going out there and espousing Keynesian and going out to say we need to
GRUNWALD: But there`s been no short term austerity and that`s an
important. There ahs been no short time austerity. There`s this fiscal
cliff which is the only --
HAYES: Which is huge, which is a big thing.
GRUNWALD: You want to bet whether it happens? Sitting there in 2013
and it`s a big deal. There`s been no short term austerity.
HAYES: This is an important point because the battles that have
happened with Boehner and the House, Boehner I think you can make a good
case got rolled in terms of short term. The big question, the can has been
kicked down the road numerous times and the question whether they will pick
up the can this time when they kicked it before is the question.
OK. Here, I want to talk about not just about the politics. This is
the conversation you get a lot among liberals in the Recovery Act. Then
it`s like OK what did the Recovery Act do? I want to talk about that. We
talk about it as this thing, he should have defended it more or should it
have been bigger -- $800 billion, what the heck is in there?
Let`s find out after this.
HAYES: Michael Grunwald, so the Recovery Act gets talked about in
kind of the abstract and one of the things that`s such a service about this
book and I learn so much from is going through that $800 billion was a lot
of money. A lot of that was tax cuts. So that is what it is, making more
pay your tax cut, which was quite beneficial for people and didn`t give the
Obama administration a lot of credit because they choose to immediately
start implementing it in people`s paychecks so the majority of Americans
didn`t realize their taxes were cut.
What`s in there that people should know about that they don`t that`s
had some kind of concrete lasting impact on the country?
GRUNWALD: Sure. Because a lot of it was this sort of standard
Keynesian stimulus that Paul Ryan loves so much, you know, the largest
middle class tax cut since Reagan, food stamps and unemployment benefits
and other aid to victims of the great recession and very important aid to
states so that they don`t have to layoff hundreds and thousands of cops and
HAYES: And as soon as that was done we saw layoffs in states.
GRUNWALD: That`s right. Of course, you know, it would have been
worse -- which makes a lousy bumper sticker but it`s true.
But what`s really interesting and nobody realizes about the Recovery
Act is it`s called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and there was
this long term reinvestment. This was sort of the Trojan horse by what
Obama meant by change. We talked during the campaign about energy,
education, health care and restructuring the economy and this is where you
have $90 billion for clean energy when we have been spending a few billion
dollars a year when solar and geothermal, other --
HAYES: That`s that had an effect. I`m like you, climate change --
I`m really focused on global change. Has that had an effect in actually
where we get our energy from in the country?
GRUNWALD: We`ve doubled our renewables in this country. In 2008, we
were dead in the water. We started to build a smart grid. We got a
domestic battery industry for electric vehicles. We had $25 billion worth
of investments in energy efficiency which will not only create jobs for the
guys with caulk guns but it reduces our emissions, reduces our dependence
on foreign petro thugs. It reduces what taxpayers have to pay on our
energy bills. It`s sort of good all around.
You know, you`ve had just unprecedented investments advanced bio
fuels. You got the world`s largest wind farm. Half of the world`s largest
There really is starting to --
HAYES: And that is from the Recovery Act money?
GRUNWALD: This is all from Recovery Act and it really starting to
begin our transition to a low carbon economy. Of course anybody here,
Solyndra which was 1 percent of the loan portfolio.
WILEY: Yes. So, this is a really important point because one aspect
of the Recovery Act was also to envision an economy that would be growing
over a long period of time. It wasn`t just short term fixes, it`s one of
the aspects of recovery that I think is not sufficient credit for and I
actually agree with Mike -- we really have to tout the importance of this
Recovery Act, and what it`s meant to the economy and people.
But here`s the thing. Here`s the thing. Take renewables, absolutely
important, fastest growing demographics in this country is the south,
southwest, particularly southern California. They`re also predominantly
communities of color, very little of this money actually went to local
scale renewable projects in communities that are experiencing depression,
not recession, depression, 15 percent unemployment not 8 percent,
nationally for black population alone, 13 percent for Latino.
These are solutions that communities have been trying to get that
can`t get the stimulus dollars to invest. Same is true of broadband.
HAYES: Quickly, Michael.
GRUNWALD: Well, I think anybody of any color can put a solar panel
on their roof and that`s increased 600 percent during the Recovery Act.
You look at some of the other spending on things like health information
technology, by 2015, we`ll all have electronic medical records regardless
of where we are in spectrum. You look at something like education, with
race to the top whether you agree or not, that`s going to transform public
HAYES: So, it turns out you can`t -- even if the program is two
hours and we spent 40 minutes on the Recovery Act, we get to spend on the
Recovery Act. I`d like to have you have back, because I want to -- we`ll
talk more about it. I think it`s absent from the campaign that`s shocking
You`re going to stick around for you should know. What we should
know for the news week ahead, coming up next.
MADDOW: Just what we should know for the week ahead. But, first a
clarification on the story we did yesterday. We were discussing the cuts
to Medicare providers under the Affordable Care Act, and neglects to
mention the ACA also included some very concrete briefs for current
Medicare recipients, including the so-called donut hole and prescription
drug benefit. If ACA were repealed, as Romney and Ryan favors, the gap for
Medicare recipients would re-emerge.
And Julian Assange just spoke from the Ecuador embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks founder thanked supporters and staff at the embassy where
he`s been holed up for two months. He called for the U.S. to release
Private Bradley Manning. He also said President Obama should, quote, "do
the right thing," renounce the witch hunt against WikiLeaks and not to
prosecute its staff and supporters.
So, what should you know for the week coming?
You should know that Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan
considers his vote for the Iraq war foreign policy experience. And FOX
News yesterday asked Ryan about, quote, "the deficit in the Ryan portfolio
foreign policy," here is how Ryan responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: The way I would say about foreign policy, I`ve been in
Congress for a number of years, more experience than Barack Obama had when
he came into office. Now, I`ve voted to send people to war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I voted to send to people to war. You should know that
Ryan`s primary claim to foreign policy experience included the skeptics
later proved right, of cherry-picked intelligence, fueling anti-American
sentiment abroad, costing U.S. taxpayers $800 billion and the death of
4,486 American soldiers and some estimates, at least 100,000 Iraqis.
You should know that rubber stamping a war does make you qualified to
And you should know that former New Jersey governor and Wall Street
banker Jon Corzine probably won`t be facing criminal charges for his role
overseeing the derivatives trading firm MF Global, which managed to lose
about $1 billion of its customers money without any particularly convincing
explanation as to where it went. "The New York Times" reported this week
that the federal investigation into the bankrupt firm is winding down with
no prosecutions expected, and get this according to "The New York Times,"
quote, "Mr. Corzine, a bid to rebuild his image and engage his passion for
trading, is weighing whether to start a hedge fund, according to people
with knowledge of his plans.
You should know that post-bailout, Wall Street is the definitive
reputation of Scott Fitzgerald`s famous and wrongheaded maxim that there
are no second acts in American lives. For the titans of finance, there are
more second than you can count.
As we watch the polling of the presidential race this week, you
should know that according to one new poll, if every American in America
voted, President Obama would breeze to re-election. According to a survey
conducted by Suffolk University and "USA Today", the president leads
Governor Romney by a stunning margin of 43-14 among the nearly 40 percent
of Americans who are eligible to vote but are unlikely to do so.
You should know the poll was of people who said they didn`t plan on
voting, or only 50/50 likely to do. And you should know that among this
constituency of the politically disengaged and alienated, the president has
a 55 percent favorability rating compared to 35 percent unfavorability
while Mitt Romney has a 25 percent favorable rating, compared to 51 percent
You should know that the Republican Party understands very, very well
that the smaller the electorate, the fewer people who vote, the more likely
they are to win.
You should know the census will be releasing in-depth poverty figures
on September 12th. And those figures expect to show that poverty rating
nearing 16 percent, with more Americans in poverty than any time since
We should know that while the attention of the Ryan budget focuses on
Medicare, it is most savage and cruel in its cuts to the programs to the
You should know that according to the Center for Budget and Policy
Priorities, fully 62 percent of the Ryan budget cuts come from programs for
the poor and you should know that despite that fact, poverty almost
entirely absent as a topic of the presidential campaign.
You should know that if you want to stay up to date on the politics
and poverties of policy, you can read my colleague Greg Kaufman`s
indispensable "This Week in Poverty" dispatch at thenation.com.
I want to find out what my guests think we should know for the week.
We`ll begin with you, Sam.
SEDER: Well, a couple of weeks ago, "The New York Times" reported
President Obama was support yet that Democrats weren`t getting enough
credit for being willing to cut Social Security and Medicare.
This past week, Vice President Joe Biden said and I quote, "I
guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there`ll be no changes in Social
Security. I flat guarantee you." He told this to a diner, to a patron of
a diner in Virginia.
So, the question going forward, people should be watching is whether
or not President Obama attacks Romney/Ryan for their plans to destroy
Medicare and, frankly, Ryan`s plans in the past to destroy Social Security,
or whether he attacks them as being impediments to a potential grand
bargain down the road?
And so, from my perspective, I hope the president calls Ryan/Romney
out for attacks on Medicare and Social Security and vows to protect
Medicare and Social Security the way the vice president has.
HAYES: Maya Wiley?
WILEY: You should know, I`m finally taking my kids on vacation, but
HAYES: That`s awesome.
WILEY: But one of the things we should know is that we`re getting
the end of the month and that means 46 million Americans, half of whom are
children, will not have food stamp benefits that are going to support them
buying groceries through the end of the month. And that`s important to
understand when we`re having and going to hear more this coming week of
this debate over whether we should be cutting programs or not.
We should also know there are, because of the -- the pushback on
people`s ability to vote, that there is a tremendous effort under way in
local community in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, to make sure
people understand whether or not they have the right to vote. And if they
are -- what they need in order to be able to do that fairly and that`s
really critical for people to get engaged.
And everybody`s elected officials are home, which means people should
know there are opportunities to go and complain.
BROWNE-DIANIS: You should know that there are more than 350,000
people in the state of Virginia who cannot vote, because of felony
convictions, and who have paid their debt to society, done their time, and
that Governor McDonnell actually has the power to give them automatic
restoration. And you also know that this week, we will know that the case
in Pennsylvania on voter fraud, how quickly the Supreme Court will take up
GRUNWALD: Last week, we found out Paul Ryan was one of 128 cash and
trash Republicans who described stimulus as a wasteful spending spree and
went and looked for stimulus funds, which struck me as mildly hypocritical.
But you should know that he was also one of many Republicans who voted for
$715 billion stimulus plan that was almost identical to the Obama plan.
Less green stuff, less money for the arts, less money for AmeriCorps, more
money for Army Corps of Engineers, boondoggles, but otherwise pretty
similar to this serious socialism.
HAYES: I want to thank my guests today -- Sam Seder from
MajorityReport.fm, Maya Wiley from the Center for Social Inclusion, Judith
Browne-Dianis from the Advancement Project and Michael Grunwald from "Time"
author of "The New New Deal" -- thank you all. Thank you for joining us.
We`ll be back next weekend, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00 Eastern.
Our guests will include Joan Walsh from Salon.com, who has a new book
called "What`s the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age
that Never Was," and Ta-Nehisi Coates from "The Atlantic" who has an
incredible, amazing, must-read new essay about race in the Obama area that
you`re going to want to check out.
Coming up next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," Paul Ryan
was supposed to bring big ideas into focus in the presidential campaign, so
how did the dominant story of the week become Mitt Romney`s taxes again.
That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up next. We`ll see you next week here
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2012 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
WATCH 'UP W/CHRIS HAYES' SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM 8:00A.M. ET TO 10:00 A.M. ET ON MSNBC.
MORE FROM MSNBC
Add msnbc headlines to your news reader: