Meet the Press | December 02, 2012
>>> we are back with our roundtable for more on the economic vision over the next four years and how the fiscal cliff plays into it. and it's like those presidential debates, grover norquist . when you're mentioned by name, we have to give you a chance to respond. you heard senator mccaskill. but how about the headlines this week? you have been front and center in the debate. here are some of the headlines. "the new york times" really stands out. is grover finally over? and then, this is really about the pledge that you introduced that is a pledge between these office holding republicans and the people who have elected them. it's not a pledge to you, as you often point out. the bottom line is, are you over? is this tax fight over?
>> well, actually, that was last week's news. the president and mr. geithner have really changed the direction here. because there were a few people, including the senator you just had on, who were seduced into thinking, well, maybe i'll have a small, tiny tax increase and have real reform and move forward.
>> you're talking about corker?
>> and there were others who said -- and, look, corker wants tiny tax increases and very serious reforms. but you're not going to get that. what the obama administration and geithner said is massive tax increases and zero reforms. our savings come from not occupying iraq for the next 20 years. the budget they put forward was laughed out of the house and the senate last year. no democrat wanted to agree to that before they ran for re-election.
>> but you're making the case because there is still the fundamental question of whether republicans feel beholden to the position that they cannot raise taxes, even if it's mandatory for how government out to operate.
>> well, it didn't work that well in greece. not so positive in spain. these countries were deeply committed to your position. no tax increases.
>> those states were bankrupted by their overspending.
>> no one wanted to pay for it.
>> the modern republican party wants less taxes and lower spending. they passed a ryan plan which reforms entitlements, reforms taxes, doesn't raise taxes. it's the democrats who don't have a legislative budget.
>> make the case for why you view this the president making a truly balanced approach to not just solving this problem but really moving the economy forward.
>> well, he has. and first of all, let's be clear. the way you get massive tax increases, $5 trillion tax increases, is if you go over the fiscal cliff. what the president has said, let's just ask higher income individuals to contribute a little more to reduce our deficit to prevent that from happening. the president has taken a balanced approach. look, we already entered into $1 trillion in cuts which we'll have to enforce and implement over the next 10 years, including, by the way, cuts in defense. you mentioned defense cuts as part of the clinton deal.
>> that was 1993 .
>> we did the first half of the clinton deal as part of the budget control act. we're going to do $1 trillion in cuts. as secretary geithner pointed out, the president's budget contains additional cuts. and i don't think people recognize this. the president's budget over the next 10 years has more additional savings in medicare than the republican ryan budget over the next 10 years. let's see their plan. the reality is, they attack the president viciously, claiming he cut medicare by $716 billion. what they wanted to do was to add that $716 billion back into medicare , which would have cut the solvency by eight years. so they attack him for $716 billion, and now they are coming around saying, mr. president, you don't have enough medicare savings in your plan when in fact his plan over the next 10 years --
>> well, both things can be true. there's still not enough detail about how you fundamentally restructure medicare because the president does not want to make that commitment yet before he solves the tax issue. we'll come back.
>> absolutely the right point, david. the fact is i find is extraordinary that we are zeroing in on this discussion only about taxes and we do not have this kind of discussion when it comes to spending cuts. two points. americans realize that the three biggest drivers of our debt are medicare , medicaid, and social security . we need structural change. we haven't heard that. number two, on taxes, you really can't put all of the taxes into one category. dividend taxes, for one, is probably the biggest threat to the markets and the economy right now when you're just looking at taxes. and dividend taxes are not a rich tax. nor a capital gains . you're talking about pension funds, 401(k) plans, invest in companies that pay dividends. if you're expecting a dividend tax to go from 15% to 44% that, completely removes the opportunity or the incentive to buy dividend paying companies. and that's going to hurt not just the rich. that's going to hurt everybody if we see that. that's very dangerous, and it would create a massive selloff.
>> one of the things that the president has done, going to congress and said, going out and encouraging people to tweet and post on facebook my 2k, meaning the $2,000 they would get in the extended tax breaks for the middle class . but he is also meeting privately with ceos . he has a bad relationship with wall street and with corporate america generally. he has presented much of this plan. what's the feedback he's getting?
>> there will be a big recession if you don't get behind him. i'm finding many republican ceos -- by the way, most ceos are republican. they are on board. they are not on board with you because they fear your view because they think that you do not favor going -- you favor going over the cliff. that's what they think. they think that you favor --
>> just for the record, since we're on tv, that's silly. if they think that, they shouldn't be in office.
>> they had 13 months to deal with this. we are down to 29 days. the time for opening salvos is over.
>> two years ago, we had exactly the same conversation, even here, on the question of having a debt ceiling increase. and the democrats wanted $1.6 trillion in higher taxes. they didn't want to reduce spending. and eventually we got $2.5 trillion in spending committed without tax increases. we got a good deal. now the president wants to take back off the table spending cuts that are already in lock. so when he talks about spending restraint, he is adding $1 trillion, $1.5 trillion, you might count $2 trillion, in additional spending by taking the $1 trillion away and deciding he'll put off the sequester forever. he has a massive spending increase because he is trying to undo his previous agreement. i opposed going over the cliff two years ago. we didn't. we cut spending. i'm not for it this time. two years ago, we extended all the bush tax cuts . we didn't go over any cliff. it's the president who is in the bank screaming he'll shoot the hostages and it's your fault if you don't give him everything he wants. that's not a reasonable position, and it won't hold.