All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
December 18, 2013
Guests: Thomas Perez, Dedrick Muhammad, Alexis Goldstein, Robert Costa, Jess McIntosh, Ryan Grim
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from our nation`s capital. I`m Chris
Well, there will be no holiday cheer for America`s long-term
unemployed, it seems. Tonight, the Senate appears poised to go home for
the holidays without extending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million
Americans depending on those checks, checks which will run out December 28.
The White House, along with Democrats in both chambers, pushed to
include an extension of benefits in the larger deal, but in the end, they
were cut out of the Murray-Ryan budget compromise.
Although Harry Reid promised to -- quote -- "push for an extension
when the Senate convenes after the new year," no help seems forthcoming.
But, for Republicans, not extending benefits is all part of the plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I do support unemployment benefits for
the 26 weeks that that they`re paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you
do a disservice to these workers. You`re causing them to become part of
this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressional Budget Office estimates that extending benefits
for the long-term unemployed would grow the economy by 0.2 percent and add
It would also keep thousands of Americans out of poverty. National
Employment Law Project estimates that 1.7 million people were kept out of
poverty through federal unemployment insurance just last year, including
And yet due to Congress` failure to extend insurance to the long-term
unemployed , 1.3 million Americans are slated to lose benefits just three
days after Christmas, at a time when the long-term unemployment rate
remains at near record-highs, and the cost of extending the benefits just a
quarter of what many of America`s wealthiest families have saved on their
taxes by 2000 by exploiting a single tax loophole. We will be talking
about that later in the show.
But joining me now, Ezra Klein, MSNBC policy analyst, editor of
Wonkblog and columnist at "The Washington Post."
Ezra, it`s great to be here in person with you.
This is just outrageous. It`s indefensible that we`re doing this.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we`re cutting the deficit by $20
billion more, so at least we`re doing that.
No, it is genuinely an insane moment in American politics. And it`s a
broader thing where Washington has become resigned to a long-term
unemployment crisis, it`s become resigned to letting millions of people go
into the rolls of the long-term unemployed or the permanently jobless.
When I saw your Rand Paul clip, one thing I find so infuriating about
that, aside from the sort of callousness towards the unemployed, the idea
that you`re doing them a disservice if they have enough money to feed their
families or pay their rent for an extra month because of a spiritual
hollowness that would come I guess from getting unemployment benefits,
besides that, oftentimes, in order to qualify for unemployment you have to
actually be looking for work, the benefits are what would keep people in
the work force instead of dropping out.
HAYES: That`s exactly right. Just to be very clear, in case anyone
doesn`t understand the basic facts here, to qualify for unemployment
insurance you have to show that you`re looking for work. You have to be
And right now it is not like there are jobs falling off job trees as
we like to hear on the program.
KLEIN: That is really the core here. Right?
So the argument that Rand Paul is gesturing towards, I think, is that
what unemployment benefits do is they make it so you don`t have to get a
job because you`re getting this great paycheck from the federal government
that can not cover any kind of life any of us would ever consider
But what they actually do in a period like this one when you have at
least three people looking for every one open job, and more to the point,
because unemployment is so regionally distributed, in the areas where you
have a lot of unemployed, you have many more than three people looking for
a job, five people, six people, eight people.
We`re helping people at a time when we can`t find jobs for them. This
is not 1997, when labor markets are tight and people want to hire and there
are folks who just don`t want to work for the pay. This is a time when
Wall Street and frankly regulators in Washington and Congress helped crash
the economy, threw tons of folks out of work. And now we`re saying, you
know what? At this point, it`s your fault again.
HAYES: The political economy of this is also really interesting.
I remember you have written a lot about the challenge, political
challenge of, for instance, expanding health insurance in America. And
it`s often been the case that the uninsured are not a particularly potent
constituency. They`re not necessarily organized, even if you have got 40
million of them at a given time.
We`re seeing a problem right now where the unemployed are just a
completely powerless constituency. It generally seems like no one in
Washington, aside from I think a core group of progressive Democrats,
genuinely cares about their plight.
And much of Washington -- and this is something that I have become
very concerned about -- is simply resigned to it. There are a lot of folks
who care. There are a lot of folks who want to do something, but because
the thing they want to do, they can`t get it through Congress or they can`t
get it through the regulatory structure, they`re giving up and moving on to
They`re moving on to thinking about other big issues, important issues
in many cases. But what it means for the unemployed is that, at this
point, even the people who want to help them, they don`t have the stomach
for it. The fight has gone on too long. They have become too frustrated
And that is when you get not just long-term unemployment, but
something economists call hysteresis, where people become -- because they
end up out of the work force for so long, they lose skills and they lose
social attachments that would help them get back into later on.
HAYES: I came back to a Windows computer working environment when I
was hired at MSNBC after many, many years away from it.
And it was like a completely -- I mean, this is a small, trivial
example, but let`s say you`re working in health I.T. right now, let`s say
you`re working in manufacturing, now, let`s say you`re working in the
service sector, in a hotel in which there is new logistical methods to get
things to where they need to go. All of this changes rapidly.
If you`re outside the work force, your skills, your ability to
interface with that degrades.
KLEIN: But even beyond that, the very simplest the way this works,
right, is that when you`re unemployed because you`re unemployed, when an
employer looks at your job application -- and they have done studies
sending out identical job applications, but with periods of unemployment on
When an employer looks at your job application and sees you have been
out of work for four months or eight months or two years, they just pass
you over, they don`t even call you for the interview, because they figure
there must be a reason. There`s somebody else who has not been unemployed,
so I`m going to go to them.
KLEIN: Yes, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
HAYES: I want to bring in Dedrick Muhammad, senior director of the
Economist Department for NAACP, and Alexis Goldstein, communications
director for The Other 98%, nonprofit grassroots network of activists.
Great to have you guys here.
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, THE OTHER 98%: Thank you.
HAYES: In terms of this mass unemployment, I want to talk a little
bit about a piece that Ezra wrote about the defining challenge of our time,
and in fact mass unemployment being the defining challenge of our time.
But before we get to that there is another big bit of news for the
unemployed today, for the jobless, and for all of us in the American
economy, which is that the Federal Reserve has decided they`re going to
start paring back a series of actions they have been taking to kind of
boost the economy. Basically the landscape we have been for years, since
the Tea Party was elected, was austerity coming from Congress, cuts,
slashes to public sector workers, slashes to budgets, all that pushing,
pushing, downward pressure.
The only thing that has been lifting up the economy really has been
the Federal Reserve. Today, they announced we`re going to start stopping
to do that.
What does it mean, Alexis?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, it means we won`t have as much stimulus through the
one mechanism by which we have been able to do it, which is through the
I`m a little bit skeptical that that has actually been a benefit to
ordinary Americans because so much of that sort of monetary policy has
really enriched Wall Street. But I think it removes one tool from the tool
set. I`m also concerned that we`re fighting a war of messaging right now,
and we see the Republicans going so extreme and so hard, cutting
unemployment insurance, even as pretty soon we will vote on whether or not
the tax extenders, which include things like research and development tax
breaks for corporations, that will probably stay in, while unemployment
insurance is thrown out.
But I`m concerned that people kind of like what Ezra was saying are
kind of resigned to this as the new normal. We see very few people in the
Democratic Party willing to say, not only should we not cut unemployment
insurance, we should be growing it and extending it.
KLEIN: We`re starting to -- we are seeing on Social Security, we have
seen a small caucus of progressive centers talk about expanding Social
Security benefits. But this fatalism, Dedrick, do you see that developing
DEDRICK MUHAMMAD, NAACP: Yes.
To me, that`s the big takeaway. It just we`re continuing with
austerity for the middle class, for the working class, and we will allow
the corporations and Wall Street to continue to boom and think that that is
positive, because that is economic growth.
As long as the economy is "growing" -- quote, unquote -- no matter how
the middle class are doing, no matter how many people are employed or in
the labor market, things seem to be OK. And it is acceptable to then
forget the fight. And for us at the NAACP, we see it`s a more dire and
dire fight, because we see the weakened American middle class is being
dismembered in some ways.
GOLDSTEIN: And I think that is part of the way that this inequality
works as unemployment comes in, because if we increase the employment
across the -- sorry -- reduce that employment across the board, but most of
these jobs are going to these minimum wage, $7.25 an hour jobs, is that
really going to help somebody?
We have this huge fast food strike that is all about this is not
enough to live on.
HAYES: There`s right now -- Ezra, you wrote this piece. The
president gave this speech.
He called income inequality the defining challenge of our time. And I
think you have seen this crest at different moments, I think in Occupy Wall
Street, in other moments. But right now there`s been I think a confluence
of things that have brought to the forefront of the national conversation
this real inequality problem, partly because you`re starting to see growth
It`s OK, well, the economy is actually growing relatively well. Wall
Street is doing remarkably well. But there is this big problem, which is
these gains are not being distributed at all. And you had a response. You
said, "Growth simply is not producing enough jobs. This is a more severe,
more urgent problem than inequality. Moreover, fixing it is necessary but
not sufficient to make real headway against inequality."
What do you think is the defining challenge of our time?
KLEIN: Full employment.
That means something very specific. There is a great by Dean Baker
and Jared Bernstein on this point. That doesn`t just mean more people with
jobs. It means you get to the point where adding another job would
actually not -- or adding more demand to the economy would not create
another job, but would create inflation.
HAYES: We are so far from that.
KLEIN: But what is important is about trying to think about getting
back to tight labor market -- and that really does hit important policy
questions around inflation.
People lose when you go to a full unemployment equilibrium. And part
of the folks who lose are folks who are very rich are (INAUDIBLE) assets.
And so we have got a political conversation where things like how
strong the dollar will be, what inflation will be have really been decided
in favor of sort of the winners of the economy now, and not in favor of
folks at the bottom.
But the important thing about getting not just jobs back, but to a
tight labor market, is that the moment at which workers have power again.
And another way of restating the inequality argument, and it`s an important
argument, is that over the last 30 or 40 years, the top 1 percent has
gotten an enormous amount of economic political power and workers have lost
What worries me sometimes about the way inequality gets talked about
is you do need to bring down the gap between the top 1 percent and
everybody else. But if you just did that and you didn`t take care of the
lack of power among workers, you actually would not have solved the core
MUHAMMAD: But the other argument, most people who fight for the
equality agenda -- and that`s kind of the heart of the NAACP mission -- are
fighting to make sure that workers are empowered.
Those progressive forces are on the same side. I think you see
whether it`s progressive forces fighting for increased minimum wage across
the country and looking into that as fighting against inequality. But
they`re also fighting for greater job opportunities and more jobs.
HAYES: The biggest thing, I think the thing we all agree at and the
thing I want to direct to any member of the United States Congress who
happens to be looking at this right now, and anyone in the White House, is
that there is a human tragedy, a disaster, an absolute, unnecessary, forest
fire that is burning, is burning down people`s lives.
It`s burning down people`s job skill. There is no reason for it. It
is cruel, it`s sadistic, it`s economically stupid, it`s bad for our
society. It`s all of these things. And we`re letting it happen. That`s
the jobless crisis in America.
And I agree. The single most urgent economic policy mechanism right
now is getting to full employment. But I do think also, Ezra, there is a
degree in which that doesn`t solve the deepest structural problem. If you
go back to the 1990s, you see that. Workers had a tremendous amount of
bargaining power in that `90s boom under Clinton, right?
We saw wages go up for the first time in a long time, but as soon as
the economy got weak again, it went way. And that`s, Alexis, because I
think there was no structural power built in there.
GOLDSTEIN: That`s right.
And I think we`re starting to see the unions come in and try to
organize around these issues that have been very successful, like the fast
food strikes and painting the pictures about, look, McDonald`s is receiving
over a billion dollars in subsidies because the workers don`t get paid
enough to not be on public assistance.
But I think we were talking before about tools and how the Fed is one
of the few places where we can make a difference. President Obama could do
something for two million federal contract workers who work at the cafe at
the Smithsonian right now, for example, who are making minimum wage. He
could do an executive order for those two million federal employees and
give them a raise, and he has not.
That is something that does not have to go through Congress. There
are ways that we can address the problem. I totally agree with you it is
horrible, we need to do something. I would like to see more than just a
speech out of the Obama administration, I would like to see some actual
HAYES: And there is also a lot of political traction right now.
I thought one of the interesting things about the piece you wrote, and
it got huge amount of attention, Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong and Jared
Bernstein and Dean Beaker and a whole bunch of people were writing about
it. One of the things I thought, you made the interesting point that
actually in some ways inequality and attacking it is more politically
appealing and beneficial than the mass unemployment crisis, there is more
talk about that.
It is sort of -- it`s not seductive. It is right on the merits, but
it has the kind of political sexiness that hey, by the way, millions of
people are out of work for no reason, what are we going to do about that
KLEIN: Yes, I think that is exactly right.
I want to be very clear. Inequality is a huge problem. I`m thrilled
to see it as the fore of the economic agenda. And social mobility,
declining social mobility is a huge problem. But, as you say, these are
problems that somehow connect to the American story in a way we find
intuitively morally offensive.
And so politicians like to talk about them. Paul Ryan gives speeches
about declining social mobility. And hedge fund managers...
HAYES: Ted Cruz was talking about inequality.
KLEIN: But the unemployed, as you said earlier, they`re not a
politically powerful group and they don`t affect, even morally, even
institutionally, people who are at the top.
One of the things that really worries me about as we seem to be moving
on from unemployment -- and that is why I sort of wrote this piece -- is
that there is an easy politics towards talking about problems that are sort
of long-term that are morally offensive that we can`t solve right now,
whereas a lot of Democrats, for instance, find the politics of talking
about further stimulus to be counterproductive.
HAYES: Put the fire out.
KLEIN: But if you give up on that, the way we structure our thinking
about our economic problems will matter when moments come that action can
actually be taken.
HAYES: What action can be taken, Dedrick?
MUHAMMAD: What action can be taken is action that is taken across the
Yes, people are looking for work, change can happen. It won`t get
through Congress, so people are looking at state legislators, city
legislators. There was that remarkable move of the minimum wage up to $15
an hour at SeaTac. And now they`re talking about doing something similar
And so I think we`re having a whole bunch grassroots fights across the
country. And you`re right. There`s more that can be done at the
HAYES: The problem is full employment and the kind of policies we
need to get there, the place that can most effectively from is Congress,
and is from the Federal Reserve.
MSNBC policy analyst Ezra Klein, Dedrick Muhammad from the NAACP, and
Alexis Goldstein from The Other 98%, great thanks.
Coming up, introducing the big legislative fight of 2014.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The American people believes
that if someone works for 40 hours, they shouldn`t be on the rating as
being poor. They should be able to support themselves and their family.
But that isn`t the way it is now. We need to raise the minimum wage and
there will be a sustained effort to do that when we come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I will talk to the U.S. secretary of labor, Thomas Perez,
about the fight for low-wage workers ahead.
HAYES: Yesterday afternoon, the Twitter account of Barack Obama
tweeted a new promotional image to help spur young people to sign up for
Obamacare. How do you plan to spend the cold days of December, it asked,
along with this image of a hipster looking young fellow, reading, wear
pajamas, drink hot chocolate, talk about getting health insurance,
The image was like a big old e-vite for mockery. The Internet was
happy to oblige. Pajama guy in the Situation Room, the pajama guy getting
in on the Obama selfie at the Mandela memorial, the pajama guy, Biden,
The pajama guy Senator John Cornyn tweeted by his right-wing primary
challenger Congressman Steve Stockman, wear pajamas, drink hot chocolate,
talk about how you killed Ted Cruz` filibuster and voted to fund Obamacare.
Coming up, we will talk a bit about that primary battle. And I
promise you there are even crazier photos. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I support people making more than $9.
I want people to make as much as they can. I don`t think the minimum
wage law works. We all support, I certainly do, having more taxpayers,
meaning more people that are employed. And I want people to make more a
lot than $9; $9 is not enough.
The problem is that you can`t do that by mandating it in the minimum
wage laws; minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of helping the
middle class attain more prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not really true.
The Washington, D.C., City Council unanimously approved a minimum wage
hike from $8.25 to $11.50 yesterday, which is set to go in effect in 2016.
D.C. joins California, New Jersey and the SeaTac area of Washington
State surrounding Seattle-Tacoma Airport as the other cities and states to
raise their minimum wage this year, although the SeaTac decision is being
challenged in court, with the ruling due the 1st of the year.
Still, this local and state action comes in the absence of federal
action for four years. The president has been pushing hard for a minimum
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is well past the
time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it
was when Harry Truman was in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The push for a higher minimum wage has been given a renewed
sense of urgency, as the recovery creates more and more low-wage jobs.
According to the National Employment Law Project, lower-wage jobs made
up 21 percent of recession losses, but make up almost 60 percent of
recovery growth. Think about that for a second.
What we see now is workers` strikes in these low-paying jobs, fast
food employees, Wal-Mart workers and so on, grow from just a smattering of
to hundreds across the country. All this is setting the stage for the
minimum wage and the fight to raise wages more broadly at the bottom of the
wage scale to be one of the definitive political battles of 2014.
Joining me now is the secretary of labor in the Obama administration,
Secretary, it`s great to have you here.
THOMAS PEREZ, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Great to be here with you,
HAYES: Can you get the minimum wage done? And does it really have an
effect when we have a smaller share of -- of workers working for the
minimum wage than we have had in a fair amount of time?
PEREZ: Your first question, I think the answer is yes.
You look at the history. 2008, the minimum wage was increased under
President Bush 2007 or 2008. I was working for Senator Kennedy in 1996. I
believe the speaker of the House was Newt Gingrich. The minimum wage was
One of my predecessors, Elizabeth Dole, indicated that one of her
proudest accomplishments was securing the passage of the minimum wage. So
I think it can be done. It has enjoyed a rich bipartisan history.
HAYES: Yes, a lot of things have enjoyed rich bipartisan histories,
food stamps, unemployment insurance, and we have seen those bipartisan
consensuses come undone.
Is the minimum wage another example of that?
PEREZ: Well, I think you are seeing the brushfire, is turning into a
prairie fire, is turning into a wildfire across America, because it`s a
wildfire about fairness.
People understand that nobody who works a full-time job should have to
live in poverty. And that is what we see in America.
HAYES: The president could take some unilateral action on that front.
Members of the Congress in the Progressive Caucus are calling for him
to issue an executive order that would raise the wages of people that were
working in low-wage work for federal contractors. Why hasn`t the president
PEREZ: Well, the president has heard those calls of people.
And the president wants to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to
enact an increase in the minimum wage. And we hope we will do that. But
the president has shown through past actions that if Congress doesn`t act,
then he needs to look at what can be done.
So we are going to continue to work on a bipartisan basis. I think
the minimum wage can be increased. I know it must be increased. It is a
moral imperative. It`s really an economic imperative if we want to grow
the economy. The way to grow the economy is to put money in people`s
pockets. And that`s why we need to increase the minimum wage.
HAYES: What do you make of the -- we have been covering the story of
striking fast food workers across the country. From your perch as
secretary of labor, what is your reaction to watching this movement grow?
PEREZ: Oh, it tears my heart out.
I have met with many of the workers in my office. And you remember
the stories. I mean, one person told me: I`m a second-generation fast
food worker. I don`t want there to be a third generation.
Another person told me: I was sick. I couldn`t go to work. And my
employer told me, if I don`t come up with a doctor`s note, I will be fired.
How can you get a doctor`s note if you don`t have access to a doctor?
And so you hear these stories, and then you look at the data.
Productivity has increased 94 percent since 1979, yet wage growth has been
roughly 3.2 percent. When we have tough times, we have shared sacrifice.
As productivity increases, that should be shared as well.
And so increasing in minimum wage to $10.10 for a family of four would
put them, if you take into account the Earned Income Tax Credit, would put
them just above the poverty line.
HAYES: There is a broader problem, though, here, aside from the fact
that we have a very slack labor market, the fact that the recession has
created a lots of jobs at the lower end of the wage scale.
There`s this growing inequality. And there is a lack of labor power.
I mean, Department of Labor is an entity of the New Deal and it`s created
at a time when there was a huge federal push to make sure that workers had
concerted power in the face of a very disempowering economy.
There are a lot of people who feel like that process right now is
broken, the NLRB process is broken, that there are so many workers in
fields like home health care who are not even covered by the old
legislation that was passed that created the Department of Labor.
Is there something fundamentally broken about the way our labor laws
function in this country that has disempowered the American worker?
PEREZ: Well, I actually think there is still quite a bit of power
that the Department of Labor has and that the administration has and that
organized labor has shown.
And let me give you one very quick example. We recently issued a
regulation relating to home health workers; 90 percent of home health
workers are women, 50 percent of color; 40 percent are on food stamps.
PEREZ: And because of the loophole in the law, they were treated as -
- like my daughter the baby-sitter.
PEREZ: And they were not entitled to the protections under the
minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
PEREZ: We fixed that. And we enacted a regulation, and 1.8 million
home health workers...
PEREZ: ... will now get those basic protections.
And we`re taking at other regulatory approaches that we can take to
these issues. And we -- there was just a conference at the White House
recently that was shedding a light on remarkably promising labor-management
partnerships across America. And I have seen them.
I have been to New York City. I have watched SEIU 1199 working
together with the health care industry to make sure that the work force is
trained and that they receive a fair wage.
You go to Las Vegas, you see the Culinary Institute out there, a
wonderful union-management partnership. You go to Kentucky. I was at the
Ford plant in Kentucky, one of the most productive plants in North America.
They had 900 workers there 4.5 years ago. They have 4,400 and counting
right now. That doesn`t include their supply chain.
A wonderful partnership between the UAW and Ford, and manufacturing is
coming back. And so there are many examples of partnerships where labor
and management are recognizing we don`t fight yesterday`s battles. We need
to tackle tomorrow`s challenges together.
HAYES: Though there are a lot of fights left.
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, thank you so much.
PEREZ: Pleasure to be here.
HAYES: Coming up: America`s richest people have found a way to get
even richer and pass it on. I will explain next.
HAYES: If you are among the nearest and dearest that J.P. Morgan
Chase had hunt your Jamie Dimon this holiday season, you were recently
graced with this panoramic holiday card in your mail box. It shows the
first family of finance having a great time, hitting tennis balls inside
what seems to be their home, an image that says, "Hey! We are so rich we
can destroy our own stuff with a smile."
If you think the Dimon family has lost perspective. Do not worry,
the message on the back of the card reads, "All You Need Is Love." At
least they were diplomatic enough not to put, "Let them eat cake." It is
always fascinating. Chesapeake are lives of what are affectively America`s
royal families whose goal of remaining royalty has been made easier by a
sustained republican and a right wing assault on the inheritance tax and a
whopping, shocking loophole uncovered by Bloomberg that keeps $100 billion
in tax revenue out of the hands of the government and in the hands of some
of America`s wealthiest families; families, who avoid inheritance taxes by
quote, "Rapidly turning assets into and out of trust."
The Dimons were not mentioned in this article, but among those who
were reported to use the loophole are Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and
Goldman Sachs head -- the tactic is actually named after a family member of
Walmart`s thing who is enterprising a lawyer first discovered and exploited
this particular loophole. That lawyer, William Colby openly admits that we
cannot let this keep going if we are going to have a sound system.
Perhaps, among the most aggressive utilizers of the loophole is none other
than this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Sheldon Adelson and his wife donated a
staggering $10 million to the pro-Romney Super Pac, restore our future.
Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam are worth a cool $25 billion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, Sheldon Adelson, the 80-year-old anti-union casino mogul
billionaire, who reportedly poured as much as $150 million into efforts to
defeat democrats in the 2012 campaign cycle. And, who has according to
Bloomberg, given at least $7.9 billion to his the heirs, while legally
avoiding -- get this, about $2.8 billion in U.S. gift taxes since just
That is right, he has used this loophole, first found by lawyer for
the Walton family, to keep nearly $3 billion from the government since 2010
alone. Now, that is more than enough to keep unemployment benefits in
place for another month to get through the holidays for 1.3 million
Americans, instead, the money is simply being handed over to people who,
Well, let`s be honest, in no way need it." As warren buffet says, "That is
no way to run a country."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN EDWARD BUFFET, AMERICAN BUSINESS MAGNATE: I do not really
think that as a society, we want to confer blessings on generation after
generation who contribute nothing to society, simply because somebody in
the far distant past happened to amass a great amount of wealth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, as one of the most unproductive congresses ever wraps up
its year, let`s take a commemorate -- a moment to remember how closing tax
loopholes what was supposed to be one of the few areas that could bring
republicans and democrats together. As a GOP scare mongers about the
deficit while trying to cut food stamps and refuses to renew unemployment
insurance and looks to sustain its austerity program putting increasing
pressure on the middle and working class, make no mistake, America. You
are the one taking the tennis ball to the face.
HAYES: Hey, you want to see some crazy pictures? Take a look at
these for a second. What do you think this is? Abandoned home? An office
that have survived some kind of nuclear holocaust? The dashed dreams of a
one-time hot tub impresario?
No, it is none of those. It is, if you can believe it, a campaign
headquarters. Apparently, people worked out of there, trying to get
someone to elected to office. The person they are working for is none
other than Representative Steve Stockman, America`s wackiest congressman of
Texas` 36th district. Steve Stockman of the bumper sticker ands tweet
reading, "If babies had guns, they would not be aborted."
Congressman Stockman also sponsored a voter bill but 435 copies in
the world net daily book on impeaching the president and distributed to
everyone in the house. Stockman has recently declared himself a candidate
for U.S. senate against the incumbent Republican, John Cornyn.
But, those photos have to be making Cornyn feel pretty good about his
chances. Cornyn was also endorsed by the NRA despite Stockman`s, let`s
just say, quite vocal support of gun rights. The Texas` primary is just
one of what are shaping up to be another round of incredible hard frap, no
holds barred competitions within the republican party to get as far right
as possible in order to win the affection of a base that demands no less.
In North Carolina, the frontrunner to take on Democratic Senator Kay
Hagan is House Speaker Tom Tillis, who has pushed an aggressive right wing
assault on governing on education and voting rights and gave an interview
calling a protesters of that state`s republican governance, "Whiners and
And, yet, he is too much of a squish over the rights of red state`s
Eric Ericsson`s who`s preferred candidate is Greg Brennon who`s bonafied
include a recent appearance on a rally dedicated to, and I am not making
this up, secession. Well, actually, I am sorry, nullification, the gateway
drug to secession. Brennan also told a Red State gathering through the
part of a wacko He said he would be part of the wacko-bird caucus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG BRANNON, (R) GOP SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Looking at recent
history, we are seeing a narrative play out in the Republican Party right
now especially on the National Scale especially in the U.S. Senate. Would
you be proud to call yourself a member of the wacko-bird caucus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Oh, yes. I have done papers on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Done papers on the wacko-bird caucus. Meanwhile, in the great
state of Wyoming, a primary battle with absolutely zero ideological
content. The planning of Sheer Hubris -- fund raising email is get this,
attacking of the national republican senatorial committee for being apart
of the establishment.
Father has called in favors with his inner ring of donors in
Washington restaurants to write her big jocks. The single republican who
is taking it on the chin the most thus far in 2014 is the most powerful
republican in the senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky.
McConnell has already been robbed of the ability to be majority leader in
two successive elections because of such two party luminaries like
Christine O`Donnell and Todd "legitimate rape" Akin.
McConnell now faces the specter of being knocked out of the senate as
he fence up a right wing tea party primary challenge, battles nose-diving
approval ratings and finds himself only a point ahead of his likely
democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Republicans, they have
managed to give away a senate majority in two successive elections. Can
they make it three in a row?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BRUCE "DICK" CHENEY, 46TH VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES: The fact of the matter is, Washington is not going to elect the
next senator of Wyoming, the people of Wyoming will elect the next senator.
Mike has a record if you go back and review his finances, of getting a 84%
of his campaign funds from the Washington-based pacs.
That is more than any senator of either party. He does not get much
from Wyoming. Well, in the quarter just reportedly, Liz got 13% of his
from Wyoming. He got 13% of his from Wyoming. Now, she out-raised him in
the last quarter of a million dollars in the first quarter out there. So,
I think it is a great campaign. She is going full speed. She is going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is former Vice President Dick Cheney, talking about a
little upstart grass roots insurgent campaign in the great state of
Wyoming, talking about his daughter. Joining me now is MSNBC Political
Analyst Robert Costa, Jess McIntosh, Communications Director for
Progressive Action Committee, Emily`s List; Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau
Chief of the Huffington Post.
So, it is already a very entertaining crowded senatorial field in
2014. And, the context here Robert, I mean I remember looking at the
election night results in 2012 and watching, you know, Indiana, which
should have been in the republican hands, go out of the republican hands,
and Missouri, which should have been out of their hands and basically
hearing Mitch McConnell from all the way across from Kentucky to the studio
sitting in New York, throwing his Bourbon against the wall as his chance to
be majority leader was dashed -- he has been absolutely screwed twice by
tea party candidates in terms of taking over the senate.
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean to look back in
McConnell`s crew, he started as an intern in the senate in the 1960s and he
has been eyeing the majority leader`s position --
HAYES: He was an intern.
COSTA: I think so. I mean he is the student of the senate. He has
all of these Henry Clay pictures in his office. This is the man who wants
the job bad. That is why you see McConnell going right after the senate`s
conservative`s fund -- affiliated group and you see Boehner, as well, but
it was sensing the republican establishment to pushback to get back to
HAYES: We have seen a kind of interesting turning of the screws after
the shutdown in terms of this dynamic particularly between leadership,
Boehner and McConnell, and the senate conservative fund Heritage Action,
the sort of outside groups that have been calling the shots but do not seem
to be calling the shots after the shutdown as much.
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Right. Not at all and partly that is
because they do not have any options left. They cannot take Boehner out of
this point because nobody is going to go for that. McConnell is not going
to lose his majority leader spot between now and then. So, the republicans
think that their best bet to win in 2014 is to shut up. Do not say a
HAYES: That is a strategy --
GRIM: Don`t get in our own way, don`t throw up on ourselves.
HAYES: You know what? I think I understand the wisdom of this, he is
GRIM: Now, that we have a lot of senators --
HAYES: Yes. Make a television show every day and you sit there and
you think, you know, some plutocrat who is exploiting the tax loophole, you
want to do a T.V. segment about the said plutocrat and there is no sound.
They do not go around talking to cameras for a good reason. The Todd
Akins, the Christine O`Donnells of the world, they can`t help but talk and
that is where the opening --
JESS MCINTOSH, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PROGRESSIVE ACTION
COMMITTEE, EMILY`S LIST: Yes. But the plutocrat is not trying to get
Americans to vote for him.
HAYES: That is right.
MCINTOSH: And politicians, assuming they should be selling some sort
of agenda for the future talking to voters about their lives, understanding
their day to days. There is a reason why they open their mouths. They
MCINTOSH: So, if we take as a given that they are going to have to
speak then all we can do is listen to their words. And, the reason why
Indiana and Missouri went the way they did in 2012 were because they open
their mouth on women`s issues. In 2014, you got Mitch McConnell running
against a really strong woman.
HAYES: I am fascinated by Kentucky for a few reasons. One, the
Shakesperean drama of Mitch McConnell who begins as an intern --
MCINTOSH: I feel bad for him --
HAYES: No. Don`t feel bad. He is a big boy. So, do not feel bad.
He begins as an intern -- senatorial leaders and stolen from his hands
twice. Second of all, he has a real challenger, right? Tell me about
Alison Lundergan Grimes.
MCINTOSH: She is the secretary of state. She is one of the highest -
HAYES: Won statewide office.
MCINTOSH: Won statewide office by a big margin. She is one of the
highest -- in the state. She is very young. She is 34. She does --
HAYES: My age.
MCINTOSH: Right. And she presents the most compelling contrast with
Mitch McConnell who is literally everything that is wrong with State of
Washington. He is the guardian of grid lock, and she is absolutely the
face of change. But, she is Kentucky through and through.
MCINTOSH: But, this is not somebody who is going to tripped up by
Washington republicans. Kentucky does not want Washington republicans even
HAYES: Well, part of the problem McConnnel is having is a part that
Harry Reid had him in the last round, which is there is no more unpopular
figure in the home state than you being in the party leadership, because
all you ever doing is talking -- is you are managing this process that
everyone hates, right? It is like you are in front of the cameras talking
about some process that some huge voters, "Hey, Harry Reid became very
unpopular in Nevada. He still pulled it out." There is a third element of
the Kentucky race I want to talk about and how that is going to play out in
the Kentucky. How it is going to play out in the budget battle we are
seeing. We will talk about it right after this break.
HAYES: We are back and I am here with Jess McIntosh, Robert Costa and
Ryan Grim. We left you with our delicious political cliffhanger about the
state Kentucky. The third thing that makes the Kentucky race fascinating,
were Mith McConnell, seeking re-election. He has a Tea Party challenger on
his right, who is getting money from the conservative funds. He has a very
strong young democratic woman candidate to his left. Is the fact that it
is the one state, not the one state, but one of the states where obamacare
is working its best.
This is the best twist to me that you know, the only state in the
south that is both expanding Medicaid, setting up their own exchange, is
kicking butt doing it. And, you guys at "Huffington Post," run this
incredible piece about McConnell`s before he became this kind of like
pseudo Tea Party sort, he was basically a kind of bring pork that kind of
politician and it is going to be hard to run against Obamacare, if
Obamacare is working for the people of Kentucky.
GRIM: Yes, he knows about the levering to people. And, he used to
call himself a progressive back in the `60s or `70s. He was pro civil
rights -- this is a man who has been a different vehicle for the wins he
has been a part of. And, yes, he has perfectly reflected that throughout
his career. You know, when he has run the last couple of times, the ads
that he has run has been targeted in those areas is, I brought you X
project. Looking right at the camera. Remember that?
That was me, going to get more. He was one of the fiercest fighters
against the ban on earmarks. So, he knows how important it is to deliver
benefits to people. And, now that Kentucky is delivering health care to
people when he has been the lead opponent of this is just killing him.
GRIM: Now, what helps him is that a lot of these white collar poor
people were actually still democrats in Kentucky. But a lot of them have
become republicans and you are going to see them drift back and if not some
of them drift back, he is in serious trouble.
HAYES: Well, that answers the question by whether they know it is
Obamacare or not, right? From the top gross reported piece of this sort of
iconic quote, which President Obama reportedly, which is someone to state
fare going up, signing up for KY -- it was a great deal, right? Much
better than Obamacare, right? Do you think -- how does the right wing
primary challenge for Matt Bennett to his right affect his behavior or does
not affect his behavior in terms of what deals he is onto, how is he going
to use any spoiling for a fight? Explain that.
COSTA: I think he is spoiling for a fight in terms of a debt limit.
I think McConnell knows there is some political feed or some kind of
demands. I think he knows that he will win in the primary. If it is
really about Grimes and getting to Grimes when it comes to Obamacare, he
may know it has some success in the state, but his whole party, all the
senate candidates are running against Obamacare in 2014. So, we look for
him to walk away from that message.
MCINTOSH: Well, he just doesn`t seem to have anything substantive to
sell, either republicans or democratic from Kentucky, which is I think why
we are seeing the Nissan campaign sort of worked all over the place. He
just seems to be stringing big reflexes to non-sequesters together and that
seems to think we see the campaign --
HAYES: And, he is in no harm, obviously --
MCINTOSH: We have been told that he is a bare knuckles brawler, and
we should all be afraid.
HAYES: Everyone is fear. I mean there is a real question about the
democrats who is going to recruit a candidate.
MCINTOSH: But, the first thing he did was release a web video making
fun of her name.
MCINTOSH: like what rhymes with Grimes?
HAYES: Which is kind of --
MCINTOSH: I agree with you on that.
HAYES: This Texas primary, Steve Stockman is a curiosity. I still
am sort of 90% sure -- I guess I am 90% sure he exists. 10% of me thinks
that maybe Andy Kaufman from beyond the grave is playing some bizarre joke.
Well, I just cannot actually believe, but if he had threat Cornyn --
COSTA: But, you know what is more important about the Stockman`s
story is not Stockman`s annex, is the fact that Senator Ted Cruz is not
willing to endorse Senator John Cornyn.
HAYES: That is amazing.
COSTA: And, Senator Ted Cruz is vice chair of the NRC. So, Stockman
is a Tea Party guy who is --
HAYES: I would say -- I mean not to overstate the case, a unanimous
MCINTOSH: Stockman may not be real, but the culture that created him
HAYES: Yes. No, stockman is real. That is the thing. But, this is
the guy who in Kentucky, he got the example of Rand Paul, who endorsed
McConnell against the Tea Party guy. He is the right -- he provides him
cover. You would expect the same dynamic here at Ted Cruz. It is shocking
to me that Ted Cruz will endorse Cornyn.
COSTA: It really is shocking, but I think Cruz is of course looking
ahead to 2016. And, you are right, McConnell, this is something that saves
him in that primary. Remember, McConnell fought against Rand Paul in 2010.
COSTA: McConnell is so mucky about him. He hires Jesse Betten, who
run on Rand Paul`s campaign to run his own re-election campaign.
HAYES: Right. Let`s just show the Stockman tweet -- just as a
sample of what his Cornyn campaign looks like. This is him taking off on
the Obama pajama boy. Excellent work there. Wyoming is a place where
there is no ideological content to the battle. There is just the sort of
bald-faced grab for power that I can remember in recent history.
GRIM: It is interesting, Liz Cheney is trying to make it ideological,
but the irony is that everything that she stands for, basically the tea
party is against, you know? She is Washington. She is privileged. She
has promoted democracy in the Middle East. And, that she has sent actual
taxpayer dollars to Egypt when she was in the state department. Her
husband is this perpetual insider who went out and made a ton of money from
corporations that used that to buy a $2 million home in Jackson hole, which
-- it is just hilarious.
HAYES: Also, she lied she had to plead guilty to lying on her
fishing license application about her residency that she was in Wyoming,
which was by far the best. Georgia is going to be -- You`re telling me
that Georgia is sort of the sleeper rate. That is also -- a very, very
ideologically Zealist, let`s say republican primary.
MCINTOSH: And, it could be -- aside from Kentucky, it is democrat`s
biggest opportunity for a -- main stream Georgia republican retires. We
have the democratic side, this fantastic woman, Michelle Nun, who runs the
George H. W. Charity event that deals with volunteerism across the country.
HAYES: Deeply polarize.
MCINTOSH: Right. She is the daughter of Sam Nunn, whose name carries
a lot of weight in Georgia and the republican feel lining up to challenge
here, if Todd Aiken were in there, he would be the moderate. He would be
the same one. You have got Paul Brown who thinks that evolution is alive
from the pits of hell. That is the direct quote. Phil Gingri, who thinks
that Todd Akin is right because he is OBGYN, which is terrifying and he has
seen similar things in his own practice, and Karen Handler who had to step
down from Susan G. Komen after trying to sabotage --
HAYES: Right -- And that primary as an open one will be particularly
brutal. You have a bunch of incumbents. We didn`t even get to Lindsey
Graham, who got this whole -- that is a whole other world that is going in
South Carolina, and the battle to stake on Kay Hagan and the battle to take
on Kay Hagan. MSNBC Political Analyst Robert Costa, Jess McIntosh from
Emily`s List, Ryan Grim from "The Huffington Post." thank you, it was fun.
That is it for "All In." The "Rachel Maddow" show starts right now with
Steve Kornacki filling in.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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