updated 12/11/2012 10:55:31 AM ET 2012-12-11T15:55:31

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
December 10, 2012

Guests: Chris Van Hollen, David Cay Johnston, Gary Peters, Cindy Estrada, Derrick Pitts

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.

President Obama and John Boehner are on a collision course. Tonight,
I`ll tell you who is going to be blink first.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The leverage is going the shift to
our side where hopefully we`ll do the same thing we did last time.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Republicans reveal their fiscal cliff end game.
Give in on taxes and take the economy hostage again.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen responds tonight.

Somehow raising the Medicare eligibility age is back in the fiscal
cliff discussion. David Cay Johnston says it would be a betrayal to do it,
and he is here tonight.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just got to say this.
What we shouldn`t be doing is try to take away your rights to bargain for
better wages and working conditions.

(APPLAUSE)

SCHULTZ: In Michigan, the president stands up for workers like he has
never done before.

OBAMA: These so-called right-to-work laws, they don`t have to do with
economics. They have everything to do with politics.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, the president`s big speech, and why the fight in
Michigan is an assault on workers everywhere.

Plus, major news on a White House push for immigration reform. In 40
years, after man`s last trip to the moon, a return voyage may be a reality.

Astronomer Derrick Pitts will tell you why the golden spike is a big
deal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
watching.

The new Republican strategy is to take the American economy hostage
when they don`t get what they want. They realize their back is against the
wall on tax rates for the rich, so they are turning their attention to
another target, and it`s a familiar one.

Here is Tennessee Senator Bob Corker talking about tax rates for the
top 2 percent of Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORKER: A lot of people are putting forth a theory -- and I actually
think it has merit -- where you go in and give the president the 2 percent
increase that he is talking about, the rate increase on the top 2 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: As usual, there is a catch. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORKER: But Republicans know that they have the debt ceiling that`s
coming up right around the corner, and the leverage is going to shift -- as
soon as we get beyond this issue -- the leverage is going to shift to our
side where hopefully we`ll do the same thing we did last time. And that is
if the president wants to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion, we get $2
trillion in spending reductions. And hopefully this time, it`s mostly
oriented towards entitlements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So it`s about leverage. It`s not about the people.

Let`s put this into context. The Republicans held the middle class
hostage two years ago and won. The Bush tax rates were extended for
everyone, including the wealthiest Americans.

This time around, Republicans have no leverage on the tax issue, and
they know it. So they want to force negotiations on the debt limit.
Republicans are willing to take the American economy hostage again.
President Obama said very clearly that he would not play that game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So I want to send a very clear message to people here. We are
not going to play that game next year. If Congress in any way suggests
that they`re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to
the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which by
the way we have never done in our history until we did it last year, I will
not play that game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Today, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina challenged
the president and laid out the same strategy of Senator Corker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, we will play that game,
Mr. President, because it`s not a game. But in February or March, you have
to raise the debt ceiling. And I can tell you this -- there is a hardening
on the Republican side. We`re not going the raise the debt ceiling. We`re
not going to let Obama borrow any more money or any American Congress
borrow anymore more money until we fix this country from becoming Greece.
And that requires significant entitlement reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Meanwhile, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner
met Sunday at the White House. But the spokespeople for both men said they
agreed not to release details of the conversation or characterize the
meeting. It was their first one-on-one meeting in 18 months as Boehner
spokesman Michael Steele says the speaker is still waiting on a
counteroffer from the president to last week`s Republican offer.

In Michigan today, President Obama said the House just needs to pass
the bill already passed by the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If Congress lets middle class taxes go up, economists will
tell you that means people will spend nearly $200 billion less than they
otherwise would spend. Consumer spending is going to go down. All
Congress needs to do is pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the
first $250,000 of everybody`s income.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama still has the American people firmly on his
side. This is what the Republicans don`t get, apparently. Sixty percent
support raising taxes on households earning more than $250,000 a year.
This is why a Republican Congressman Tom Cole once again said his fellow
Republicans should pass a tax cut extension for the 98 percent of
Americans. Cole said he believes the measure could pass in the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your caucus, is there a lot of burgeoning
Republican support for that?

REP. TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: Honestly, I think if it got to the
floor, it would carry. This doesn`t say we`re going to raise taxes on
anybody. It says, OK, this group for sure, your taxes aren`t going up.
Get that done with. Get it over with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That sounds good until you realize Republicans have already
chosen their next hostage.

Republicans are willing to risk putting our country into default once
again because they`re losing a tax fight. President Obama shouldn`t give
an inch to any of these jokers, especially Speaker Boehner. In these
negotiations, the president still has the upper hand and the American
people on his side.

So we go off the cliff. Big deal. It`s going to be the Republicans
who are going to be held responsible for doing this to the economy. It`s
what they have wanted to do to the economy all along.

One thing is for sure. Liberal voices are starting to speak up in the
blogosphere and social networking. Americans by the majority do not want
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to be held hostage by the
Republicans in this round of negotiations.

They want to play the debt ceiling later on? We`ll have fun with that
too. That`s not where the American people are.

Issue after issue, step by step, the Republicans are walking
themselves right out of any influence whatsoever, and all they can do is
threaten the president. And they`re pretty good at it.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, will Republicans use the debt ceiling as their hostage -- as
their next hostage?

Text A for yes, text B for now, to 622639. You can go to our blog at
Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you results later on in the show.

Joining me tonight is Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. He is
a ranking member on the budget committee.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Some Republicans are now saying that they`re willing to accept a rate
hike on the top 2 percent, but there seems to be a catch. The quote that
is catching everybody`s attention comes from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker.
He said Republicans know they have the debt court of appealing that`s
coming up right around the corner, and the leverage is going to shift.
Hopefully, we`ll do the same thing we did the last time. And, of course,
he is referring to the summer of 2011.

So the question is are they agreeing to rate hikes and then go ahead
and take the economy hostage? What`s your -- what`s your response to that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, they have part of this right, and they have part of
it totally wrong. What they`re right about is they see the handwriting on
the wall and the fact that they`re going to have to join with Democrats to
extend the middle class tax cuts. Because if they don`t, the whole country
will see that they were willing to tank the entire economy and give
everybody a tax increase in order to get this bonus break for folks at the
top. So I think you`re seeing more Republicans recognize that fact.

Where they`re just dead-wrong, Ed, is thinking that they`re going to
gain leverage over this debt ceiling, because the American people are not
going to stand for Republicans turning right around and threatening to
destroy the American economy by having the United States default on its
debts, by refusing the United States government to be good, make good on
its full faith and credit, because that`s what they would be doing. This
will boomerang on them, just like it did in the summer of 2011.

SCHULTZ: So is Corker bluffing?

VAN HOLLEN: I think that they`re totally miscalculating both for the
country and for themselves politically.

SCHULTZ: Is Corker bluffing then?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, he may think in his mind right now that that`s
going to be leverage. But I think when we get into the New Year, if this
were to happen, if this scenario were to play out, he is totally deluding
himself because threatening to tank the entire economy, which is what would
happen if we ever defaulted on our debt, is not a kind of negotiating
strategy that is going to be popular with the American people.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

Congressman, this is a one-shot opportunity for President Obama to get
more revenue. So why not just go over the cliff? Let the rates go up, and
work from there. I mean, the case can be made that the Democrats will have
plenty of leverage after the first of year.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think the president would rather resolve this as
part of an agreement where we did deal with things like the debt ceiling so
that people weren`t playing games with that.

There are also other important things that the president wants to do.
He wants to extend unemployment insurance compensation. We want to
increase our national investment in our infrastructure, in our roads and
bridges and our transit ways.

There are important things we need to do to boost economic and job
growth that you cannot get simply by going over the cliff.

SCHULTZ: Yes, you think you can get this done, or do you think the
Democrats can get Boehner to agree to those kind of things, infrastructure
investment now?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, that`s what the president has said. I think he has
been very focused on trying to get those important investments to help grow
our economy. So that`s why an overall agreement would be better than just
doing it the messy way.

SCHULTZ: And are you comfortable with just President Obama and
Speaker Boehner doing the negotiations right now? You know, like maybe
just saving Speaker Boehner`s position in the Congress, but maybe bad for
America. What about that dynamic?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, the president has said publicly that he is very
focused on the priorities that he ran on in this last election. And as you
have talked about, this whole question of budgets and asking wealthier
individuals to pay more was not a side issue in the campaign. It was a
central issue in the campaign.

And I have faith that the president is very focused on that.
Obviously, every member of congress reserves the right to look at any
agreement to make sure that it does reflect those priorities. But
everything the president has said indicates that he is working to get an
agreement that`s good for the economy and deals with the long-term deficit
in a balanced way -- meaning that high income individuals are going to have
to contribute more and share greater responsibility.

SCHULTZ: And what about raising the age of Medicare eligibility? I
mean, there are reports that a deal where rates would go up to only 37
percent in exchange for raising the Medicare eligibility age. Is that
workable?

VAN HOLLEN: Yes, I think that`s a bad idea, Ed, because that doesn`t
reduce health care costs overall.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

VAN HOLLEN: That simply shifts rising health care costs on to the
backs of seniors. Their median income, the median income of a senior on
Medicare is below $22,000. So I think that that`s the wrong direction to
go.

Republicans always talk about Medicare reform. When they do it, they
don`t mean that they`re going to reduce costs in the health care system.
They mean they`re going to unload those rising health care costs on to the
backs of seniors.

A very different approach than the president and Democrats took in the
Affordable Care Act, where we reduce the overall expenditures without just
passing them on.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Chris Van Hollen, good to have you with us
tonight. Thanks for your time.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you too, Ed.

SCHULTZ: And remember to answer tonight`s question there at the
bottom of your screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow, and
on Facebook. We always want to know what you think.

Coming up, will he or won`t he? President Obama hasn`t officially put
raising the Medicare eligibility age on the table, but some progressives
are worried that he might. David Cay Johnston will explain why that move
just doesn`t make any sense at all.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We are right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: President Obama stands up for workers in Michigan as
Governor Snyder launches a stealth attack to strip union rights.
Congressman Gary Peters and Cindy Estrada of the UAW on why Snyder`s move -
- what his move means to Michigan workers. That is coming up.

And later, your next vacation could be out of this world. Find out
how soon you`re going to be able to blast off to the moon, and just how
much it`s going to cost you.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using the
#EdShow.

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching
tonight.

President Obama didn`t campaign on it, but it`s now being floated as a
real concession in the fiscal cliff talks -- raising the Medicare
eligibility age from 65 to 67.

Why would Democrats offer it? Are they really going to do it? To get
a tax deal done they would do that?

The idea was first brought up during the grand bargain talks of 2011.
The White House seemed open to the concept at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID PLOUFFE, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: It`s been reported the
president is willing to look at things like raising the retirement age and
Medicare, additional savings in Medicare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Now, a Democratic aide tells "The New Republic", "The
president put it on the table once before. I wouldn`t be surprised if he
did it again."

For progressives, it`s a bad idea, because Medicare is a program that
works. And raising the retirement age isn`t going to solve the problem at
all. In fact, raising the eligibility age would shift costs elsewhere.

But Republicans seem ready for a fight with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: He is afraid of going into a progressive meeting and say, if
we don`t adjust the age for retirement, it means test benefits for Social
Security and Medicare, they`re going to go bankrupt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Nancy Pelosi was skeptical about the possible proposal last
week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: First of all, show me the money.
I don`t even know why that is something that people think is going to
produce money.

What are we going to do with people between 65 and 67? What is it, a
trophy that the Republicans want? Is that the trophy that they want in
order to do what is right, to raise -- to raise the rates for the
wealthiest people in our country?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: In addition to giving Republicans a victory on entitlements,
progressive thinkers make the point that raising the eligibility age is
really stupid way to save money because it just forces people to stop
buying health care through Medicare, which is relatively cheap, and start
buying it through private insurance, which costs way more. As "The New
Republic" points out, "The federal government would save money, yes, but
only because state governments, employers, and individual seniors would pay
more."

How much more? Estimates from the Center for Budget Priorities and
Policy shows the federal government would save about $5.7 billion, while
the rest of the health care system would spend $11.4 billion more to give
the same benefits.

Actually, this is what the Republicans would like because it would
help them kill the program.

I`m joined tonight by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay
Johnston, author of the book, "The Fine Print."

David, great to have you with us tonight.

The number --

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE FINE PRINT": Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: The numbers are so telling here. Why would the Democrats
even consider this in conversation?

JOHNSTON: Ed, stunning that they would do this, because it`s going
backwards. Five years ago, Senator Barack Obama said that by 2013, we
should have universal health care.

This is going in the wrong direction. And it`s Paul Ryan economics.
We`ll save you $1 of taxes, but you got to spend $2 somewhere else. And
this is a good idea because?

This is a very bad idea. And the thing to do I think people should be
calling the White House, calling their congressmen and saying go the other
direction. Tell the Democrats you want -- the Republicans you want to
lower the age of Medicare to 55 and make it optional at age 55. That`s the
direction we should be going.

SCHULTZ: But why -- if the numbers don`t add up, and if you`re going
to spend twice as much money on health care, why would they even consider
it? Why was it even considered in 2011 for that matter?

JOHNSTON: Well, because I think that President Obama is not nearly as
progressive or liberal as a lot of people think. He surrounded himself
with people from Wall Street.

But also we have unfortunately had the liberal and progressives in the
country reacting to what the right-wing Republicans want instead of
promoting their own agenda.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

JOHNSTON: And as long as you`re reacting, you`re playing defensive
ball, you`re going to lose the game here.

The reality is that it will save us a lot of money if we get universal
health care. In fact, if we got universal health care with no out-of-
pocket expenses and ran it the way the French do, it`s the functional
equivalent of eliminating -- almost eliminating the income tax. People
don`t realize, that`s one of the two big things ruining our economy.

And why is health care an entitlement that`s bankrupting the country?
Why isn`t a national security apparatus that costs more money than all the
income taxes we pay for all of the things that it does to fight a war we`re
not going to face, why isn`t that an entitlement issue we should be
raising?

SCHULTZ: You know, I think about the American worker. Having someone
work a couple of years longer -- this in a way, as you`ve said, it`s a
death sentence for some people who don`t have office jobs. What do you
think?

JOHNSTON: This is cruel. It contradicts the religious teachings that
so many Republicans are constantly throwing at us. They should go back and
consult the Old Testament about this, which has a very simple word to
describe policies that take from those with less to give to those with
more. And that word is evil.

SCHULTZ: Would this strengthen Obamacare in any way, shape or form as
you see it, the way the numbers scratch out?

JOHNSTON: I have a very hard time seeing that. Obamacare, remember,
retains the insurance companies. It builds on our inefficient, high-cost
system of sick care, non-system sick care, instead of moving us toward a
public service model.

But raising the age here, to those people -- Ed, simple fact: the data
show that wealthy Americans of all races, but especially white Americans,
their life span is expanding. Poor people, white poor people, black poor
people, their life expectancy is not growing, and in some cases is falling
back.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

JOHNSTON: This is unbelievably cruel. And I can`t believe we`re
discussion it. People should call the White House and say no, no, no.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston, great to have you with us tonight on THE
ED SHOW --thanks so much.

Coming up, a critical issue affecting millions of workers.
Republicans put union-busting on the fast track in the state of Michigan.
Even the president is weighing in.

If you`re an ED SHOW viewer, you`re not going the want to miss this.
Stay with us. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We don`t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the
top.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us on THE ED SHOW tonight.

The president did something today he has rarely done before. He has
taken sides on a local issue in the state of Michigan.

The lame duck Republicans are trying to turn Michigan into a right-to-
work state. It means workers can take advantage of union wages and legal
protections without paying any dues. It`s union-busting. And the
Republicans are doing it at a record pace.

Michigan Republicans fast track the bill on a technicality. There are
no public hearings. There will be no public hearings. Public hearings are
a thing of the past right now.

Small groups of local workers started rallying at the capitol on
Thursday. But the controversy could be over in the next 24 hours. The
Republican governor could sign the bill into law as early as tomorrow.

This is where the president comes in. He had been scheduled to help
announce Daimler Chrysler`s factory expansion outside Detroit. President
Obama took the opportunity to tell the workers and Michigan Republican
leaders where he stands on union-busting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We should do everything we can to encourage companies like
Daimler to keep investing in American workers. And by the way, what we
shouldn`t do -- I just got to say this -- what we shouldn`t be doing is
trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages or working
conditions.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We shouldn`t be doing that. You know --

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You know, these so-called right-to-work laws, they don`t have
to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics. What
they`re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less
money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This is what the president is talking about. A union
membership goes down. As it goes down, all middle class income shrinks.
Without collective bargaining, workers lose the power to demand better
wages.

This is a direct attack on the middle class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You only have to look to Michigan, where workers were
instrumental in reviving the auto industry to see how unions have helped
build not just the stronger middle class, but a stronger America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So how do they stack up here?

Here is a comparison between union states and nonunion states.
Federal statistics show people in so-called right-to-work states make
$5,500 less per year. Their states spend more than $2,600 less on every
school student. The workplace fatality rate is almost 53 percent higher in
right to work states.

And 14 percent of nonunion workers are uninsured. That`s almost five
times more than the average among union workers.

Women make more if they work in union-friendly states. African-
Americans make more, Hispanics make twice as much in union-friendly states.

The lame duck Republicans in Michigan in their legislature, well, they
don`t -- they don`t want to hear anything about that. They claim they`re
helping the Michigan economy.

But Michigan voters don`t seem to agree. This is a number that is
astounding. A new poll out shows that only 6 percent of voters surveyed
want the legislature to make Michigan a right-to-work state? Union members
say Michigan Republicans are simply hurting the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what democracy looks like!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still here. We`re still going to fight,
even when the odds are stacked against us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that they`re saying that right-to-work
will make more jobs. But I don`t think that. I believe that right-to-work
is going to hurt the people out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To take that away by this kind of right-wing
attack by the Republican administration is a disgrace to everything
Michigan has stood for decades and decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So, Governor Snyder, I find it interesting. If you sign
this, how can you stand in front of the people and say this is what the
people want with a number like that? This is how serious this issue is
tonight. The entire Democratic delegation called a special meeting with
the Michigan governor. Senator Debbie Stabenow had to join by telephone.
They all asked the governor to either veto or delay the legislation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We told the governor something which
we`re not sure that he fully, frankly, understood, which is that nobody is
required to join a union. Quite the opposite under law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Congressman Dingell and Conyers say that they tried to
explain to the governor that people won`t lose their jobs if they don`t pay
union dues. The meeting might not have helped. The governor said this
moments after the Congressional press conference was held.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNYDER: Michigan workers are hard-working people. And shouldn`t they
be able to make the choice to say they see value in the union? And again,
hopefully it would make the unions more accountable and work harder to make
sure that they`re showing workers the value proposition as why they should
pay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Governor Snyder is set to sign the bill tomorrow to make
Michigan the 24th state to become a right to work state. Senator Carl
Levin called this a tipping point. The president calls it a race to the
bottom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t want a race to
the bottom. We want a race to the top.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA We -- America -- America is not going to compete based on low
skill, low wage, no workers rights. That`s not -- that`s not our
competitive advantage. There is always going to be some other country that
can treat its workers even worse. Right?

CROWD: Right.

OBAMA: What is going to make us succeed is we got the best workers,
well-trained, reliable, productive, low turnover, healthy. That`s what
makes us strong. And it also is what allows our workers then to buy the
products that we make.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Because they got enough money in their pockets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president is correct. Workers make this country great.
When unions take a hit, the workers do as well. But here is what I find
interesting. Take the pen, Governor Snyder, sign it, and then turn to the
cameras and say this is what the people want. You can`t do that, because
you`d be lying. Or maybe you have the guts to do that.

I have never seen a number like this, that six percent of the people
want this to go through. It kind of makes you feel like you have lost your
democracy, doesn`t it?

But this is what happens. The Republicans have never stopped their
attack on labor, and they never will. Is this a result of 2010 and low
voter turnout? It could be. But this certainly sets the table for 2014 in
Michigan, in Wisconsin, and in Ohio.

I`m not nearly done talking about this tonight. I`m just getting
started. There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED
SHOW. Stay with us. We`re right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNYDER: I took a position, and I believe I`ve got a good position
because I believe in the workers of the state of Michigan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Michigan Democrats make a last-ditch appeal to Governor Rick
Snyder to stop his sneak attack on workers. Congressman Gary Peters was in
the meeting. He joins me, along with Cindy Estrada of the United Auto
Workers, next.

There is a big announcement from the White House on immigration
reform. I`ll have the details ahead.

And your vacation to the Moon may not be out of reach. A private
company will offer space travel in 2020.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could change space travel forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Astronomer Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute will tell
us why the concept isn`t so out of this world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Governor Snyder, just say no! Governor Snyder, just say no!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with THE ED SHOW tonight. A state known
for its unions is in serious jeopardy tonight. Republicans are about to
really stick it to organized labor in the state of Michigan. Lame duck
Republicans want to turn Michigan into a right to work state. It would
mean workers could get all of the benefits of the unions without paying
dues.

They want to just rip apart Democratic infrastructure. That`s all
they want to do. Today, Democrats called a special meeting with the
governor to stop the bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: This is a very, very -- as serious a matter as we have seen in
labor/management relations in this state I believe in our lifetimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Tonight, workers are planning to stage massive rallies at
the state house tomorrow. Security is tight. The governor could sign the
bill within the next 24 hours.

Let`s turn to Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan, and also Cindy
Estrada, vice president of the United Auto Workers. Great to have both of
you with us.

First of all you, congressman. You were in that meeting today. How
determined do you think Governor Snyder is to get this thing done, when he
has said previously that this was not one of his top priorities?

REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: He seemed very determined in that
meeting, which was really quite surprising. As you said, he has been
saying over and over again, this is not part of his agenda, not something
that he wanted to move forward. And yet we`ve seen a 180-degree switch
right after the election.

And now he is bound and determined to push this through. This is a
bill that will undermine labor unions in the state that really created the
labor movement in America. He wants to push it through. He listened to
us. But I don`t think it had made any difference in his mind.

And what I think is particularly outrageous is not only does he want
to push this through, he wants to do it in such a way as to prevent the
people of the state of Michigan to actually have a vote. And one of the
things that we asked in that meeting is that if this bill is signed into
law, take out an appropriation.

They put into this bill a one million dollar appropriation. And under
our state Constitution, if there is an appropriation, you cannot have a
public referendum from the people getting out there and signing petitions.
So using a parliamentary technique, he is trying to stifle the ability for
the people in the state of Michigan to stand up for something that is
absolutely critical for the middle class in our state.

SCHULTZ: So the only thing labor can do right now is wait until 2014,
change both houses and the governor`s chair to have a chance at eliminating
this.

Cindy Estrada of the United Auto Workers, how could labor not see this
coming?

CINDY ESTRADA, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: You know, part of not seeing it
coming was because for a long time the governor has said he didn`t want
this divisive fight. And we went to the table, a number of unions, to talk
to the governor about how we work together in the same way that we did in
the auto industry.

So he misled us. He made it sound like he wanted to sit down and
figure out how to keep this off the table. But when the time came for him
to take leadership and be a real leader, he failed. And he blindsided us,
frankly. He was saying that he wasn`t going to put this on his agenda,
only to turn around after many, many talks and put it on his agenda.

SCHULTZ: Here is Governor Snyder explaining why he might sign the
bill. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNYDER: I don`t believe this is fundamentally anti-union. I believe
it`s pro-worker, giving workers more authority about their own lives and
situation and giving them the freedom to choose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Cindy, is this pro-worker?

ESTRADA: This is not pro-worker. Pro-workers is when you have a
transparent process, when you invite workers to the table to be part of
that process. And what the governor did with the legislature, by not
allowing it to be an open debate, by not allowing the public to take part
in this debate, is not pro-worker.

Pro-worker is when you do what we did in the auto crisis, when labor
and management get together, and you value what workers have to say, and
you value the creativity that they bring to the table and the innovation.
This governor is not pro-worker. Let`s make one thing clear.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, this cuts right to the fabric and the culture
of the state, the history. Is it all over?

PETER: It`s not. This is going to be a fight that is going to
continue. It`s unfortunate, Ed, this governor wants to push this through
in a lame duck session. In fact, he knows because Democrats picked up
seats in the state legislature, if it went into next term, he would not be
able to pass this.

In fact, he is basically just thumbing his nose at the voters of the
state of Michigan, putting this through in a lame duck, and using a
parliamentary technique in order to prevent a referendum. This just makes
people angry. It makes them outraged. And I believe this is an absolutely
an outrageous action by the governor, and there will be a price to be paid.

SCHULTZ: Cindy, what about the outside groups that have poured money
into the state to try to make this a right to work state? How much of an
influence have they had in this?

ESTRADA: You know, I don`t think they`re going to have the influence
that they want to have. They put two million dollars just in the last few
days into the state of Michigan, the Koch brothers, groups with ALEC. It
really is these outside influences trying to change our state.

You know, we had a governor who ran a campaign saying that he wanted
to be transparent. He wanted to be data-driven. He wanted to work
together with management. And he wanted to work together with labor so we
could create jobs and change education and get the skills that are needed
in the state.

Instead, he is allowing these outside groups like ALEC and other
insiders like Dick Devass (ph), very rich corporate CEO types. And they`re
not going to be successful in beating back workers. We`re going to show
that it`s actually energizing our base. And people are saying that they`re
angry about it.

SCHULTZ: What was the name you put out? What was his name? Dick
what?

ESTRADA: Dick Devass.

SCHULTZ: That`s the Amway guy.

ESTRADA: Yep, that`s right.

SCHULTZ: OK.

ESTRADA: And Governor Snyder seems to have -- seems to pay more
attention to him than he does the citizens of the state. And that`s very
unfortunate.

SCHULTZ: Moving forward here, the only option you have here is 2014.
Congressman, in some way, could this really solidify Democrats going into a
midterm where they`re going to be needed?

PETERS: I think it will. It`s going to energize people who
understand that we had a governor who said that he was about bringing
people together, and instead he is driving a major wedge in our state, at a
time when our economy is recovering as a result of the auto industry
recovering, and all the work that President Obama has done.

At a time when our economy is coming back, instead of bringing people
together, he is driving a wedge between people. This is energizing people.
It`s an emotional issue. And I believe that people are going to turn out
and make sure that their voices are heard. In fact, we expect to see that
tomorrow on the grounds of the state capitol when thousands of people have
their voice heard.

I just hope the people inside the capitol actually listen.

SCHULTZ: Cindy, who benefits from right-to-work legislation?

ESTRADA: No one benefits from right-to-work legislation. We know,
and you said earlier that it means lower wages. It means less jobs. The
only ones that think they`re going to benefit are outside groups like ALEC
and the Koch Brothers. They think they`re going to break unions, that
they`re going to break communities so there is more for corporate CEOs.

What we`re going to show them is the opposite. This is going to
inspire us and galvanize us. Working people -- the only way you`re going
to recreate Michigan or any state is if everyone is at the table. So right
to work is bad for everyone. It`s bad for union, not union. But one thing
that it is going to be good for right now, it`s going to show working
people in the state of Michigan that we, in fact, need to be at the table,
that we can`t have outside organizations or legislatures or governors who
think that they have all the answers and they don`t want to include
everyone in the discussion.

That`s not the way you recreate a state. That`s not the way you
contribute in a global economy. Workers have a lot to offer. It`s
unfortunate that Governor Snyder didn`t get that.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Gary Peters, Cindy Estrada, UAW, great to have
you with us.

What`s on the president`s agenda after the fiscal cliff negotiations
are through? Well, stay tuned. We`ll tell you exactly where they`re going
in the next fight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: So what is going to be the next battle on the horizon, on
the president`s agenda? All signs are pointing to immigration reform.
With most Americans favoring a pathway to citizenship for undocumented
worker, fixing the country`s immigration system seems like a no-brainer for
the White House.

As "the Los Angeles Times" reports, the president will push for
immigration reform as soon as the fiscal cliff negotiations are over. The
Times reports "President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also
bolster border security measures, ratchet up penalties for employers who
hire illegal immigrants, and make it easier to bring in foreign workers
under special visas."

The White House will launch a social media campaign early next year.
Cabinet secretaries are preparing to make their case for how changes in
immigration laws could benefit businesses, education, health care, and
public safety. Congressional committees could hold hearings on immigration
legislation as soon as late January.

With some Republicans willing to come to the table and work towards a
solution, the timing seems right for the cause. And it`s the issue that
just makes fiscal sense. As Think Progress points out, legalizing the 11
million undocumented immigrants in the United States could boost the
nation`s economy. Tax revenues would definitely increase.

And giving legal status to young educated immigrants would have a
ripple effect, increasing wages and boosting employment. Progressives are
ready to back the president on this. As one Service Employees
International Union official puts it, the president can`t guarantee us the
outcome, but he can guarantee us the fight. We expect a strong fight.

Tonight in our survey, I asked will Republicans use the debt ceiling
as their next hostage? Ninety nine percent of you say yes; one percent of
you say no.

Coming up, a private company is now taking reservations for lunar
vacations. Astronomer Derrick Pitts will tell us what is involved on a
vacation to the Moon. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the big finish tonight, it`s been 40 years since
Apollo 17 made the last manned voyage to the Moon. And now a private
company from Colorado is planning return trips. The Golden Spike Company
announced Thursday plans to fly private clients to the Moon. Golden Spike
is led by a team of veteran NASA executives and rocket engineers.

Their expedition takes two people to the Moon at a time. And the
price tag, as you can imagine, isn`t cheap. For two people, the cost is
going to be 1.5 billion dollars. That would be 750 million dollars per
person, if you`re interested.

Included in the package is 36 hours of lunar surface time, two space
walks, equipment, and training all included. Unlike the Apollo missions to
the Moon, the Lunar Lander will be launched before the crew. And here is
how it`s all going to come down.

First, the lunar lander is launched and sent to the Moon. The lander
automatically orbits the Moon and waits there. Then the crew vehicle is
launched. The crew is sent to the Moon, where they meet up with the Lunar
lander. The crew then enters the lander and prepares to land on the Moon.

After 36 hours of Moon time, the lander takes off, meets up with the
crew vehicle, and returns to Earth for a splashdown in the ocean. Ah, so
simple.

Golden Spike hopes their first Moon expedition will be ready by the
year 2020.

Joining me tonight, Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin
Institute in Philadelphia. He has been designated by NASA as an
astrobiology ambassador.

Mr. Pitts, good to have you with us tonight. I don`t know if any
frequent flyer miles go with this or not. It`s pretty exciting. Do you
think they`re going to be able to pull this off? It`s such a huge project.
Do you think it can actually happen?

DERRICK PITTS, FRANKLIN INSTITUTE": I just want to know if I have to
bring my own sandwiches, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, I would imagine they have something packaged up for
them, seeing that these former NASA guys there. They know how to do this,
right?

PITTS: Yes, they do know how to do this. And you know what? They
can pull this off. The way they plan to do this is by using existing
technologies. And they`re planning to use the infrastructure that is
currently being built by the new commercial space ventures like Space X and
others that are coming on line, to fill in some of the international space
station supply needs and things of that sort.

And of course Space X is developing a heavy lift launch vehicle that
could take payloads up to the Moon. So this makes a lot of sense because
you don`t have to go through the great expense of building up the whole
system to start with.

SCHULTZ: So you have 36 hours on the Moon and two space walks. What
do you do on the Moon?

PITTS: Oh, there is so much to do on the Moon. It`s largely
unexplored. You know, we looked at a very small amount of the surface of
the Moon. So almost any rock you turn over on the surface is bound to be
some new and wonderful discovery.

So the kind of science that can be done if there is a way to get
people there on a more frequent basis, or for them to spend more time
there, or get more researchers there, that`s a boon to science of the likes
we`ve never seen before.

So this really would be a great way to jump-start exploration of the
Moon.

SCHULTZ: Pretty amazing. What type of training would take place to
get people ready for something like this? Just like what the astronauts go
through?

PITTS: Yes, just like what the astronauts go through. It`s a long-
term mission in that, you know, it`s easily a week or so to do this. And
you`re in zero gravity or near zero gravity for that. You have to get used
to living and working inside a space suit. You have to get used to the
idea of being in a craft that is going from the Earth to the Moon.

You have to get used to the idea of actually being on the Moon. And
since this is all such a new environment for anybody that is doing this,
you know, there is a consideration that one must have for what it would be
like to change environments like this, to be out there in space and be on
the Moon.

You wouldn`t want to have somebody freak out, Ed, on a trip like this.
It wouldn`t work out very well.

SCHULTZ: No. You would definitely have to have your act together
between your ears to do something like this.

PITTS: Yes.

SCHULTZ: There is no question about it. And that`s after spending
all the money. Is this safe? Do you anticipate this would be a safe
procedure?

PITTS: Yes, I do anticipate that it would be a safe procedure. After
all, any of these new ventures that are coming up are required by law to be
able to meet the same sort of stringent safety regulations that NASA has to
meet for any of its missions. And the difference here is that NASA has
spent a lot of time and money and effort to be able to iron out all of
those difficulties.

And the new entities that are coming on are taking advantage of the
work that is being done.

SCHULTZ: Ultimate goal here. What is it?

PITTS: The ultimate goal is to get us back in space. You know,
humans are meant to explore. It`s just part of our human nature to do
that. Whether you want to do it or someone else doesn`t or any of those
things, that`s what humans are meant to do.

So that`s what we`re about trying to do. And the Moon is the next
step to getting us on to exploring the rest of the solar system that is
reasonable to explore.

SCHULTZ: Pretty expensive. How did they come up with a price tag on
something like this, 1.5 billion?

PITTS: You know, that`s not such a bad price, actually, 1.5 billion,
when you consider that it costs maybe -- what -- 100 billion dollars to get
the Apollo mission up and done before. So 1.5 is pretty good. I`d do
that.

SCHULTZ: And no taxes on the Moon I hear. That is what I hear.

PITTS: Exactly.

SCHULTZ: Derrick Pitts, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

PITTS: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. .

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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