Meet the Press   |  October 13, 2013

3: MTP Panel: Political depression washes over America

A Meet the Press roundtable discusses how the current fiscal crisis has sunk the country into a political depression.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> "meet the press" is back with our political roundtable. here this morning, harold ford , kathleen parker , judy woodruff and chuck todd . now, david gregory .

>> i want to check in with andrew sorkin, because we've been talking about the impact on the markets. so far the markets have been okay, but you listen to christine lagarde and get closer to thursday with the default, that could change, correct?

>> absolutely. we haven't crateered yet. it hasn't been too bad. wall street considers this all bad theater at the moment, expecting some sort of rationality at the end of all this. tomorrow is columbus day . the stock market is open. i imagine it might be down a bit, but the day to watch is going to be tuesday. that's when the bond market reopens and that's when people are going to be really focused on treasuries and you're going to start seeing banks and other institutional investors who haven't positioned themselves for this on expectations we would get a deal start to say, maybe there's more to this and maybe we actually have to get ready, and if that's the case, i think we could be in for a bit of a ride.

>> people may also not understand how much money it costs the government to be shut down. we talked about that on twitter in our interview on friday. you made the point, $1.6 billion last week according to an analyst from ihs.

>> each day in terms of economic output in this country is $1.6 million. there are huge stakes here. if we get past the debt ceiling without a deal, even if we increase the interest rate on treasuries by one point, that's $120 billion annually. so huge costs to the real economy . there is going to be a cloud, an overhang either way , because whatever deal we get sounds like it's going to be a short-term deal. through the holidays people are going to continue to be nervous. it's going to impact investment. i can't tell you that this ends badly, but i can't tell you that it ends well.

>> all right. andrew ross sorkin, i know you'll be watching. thank you fo taking the time.

>> thank you.

>> as we look at the impact of this at the end of the week, here a poll about reelection. here's the question. would you vote to replace every member of congress if you could? 60% in our poll, 60%, said yes. chuck, you talked about it as a political depression. that is the question for all of you. are we in a political depression?

>> well, when eight in ten americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction and we're not in an economic downturn -- we're not in an economic downturn . it is a fragile economic recovery, but we're in recovery. it's clear we're in recovery. there is a little bit of optimism. so when you have weight in ten americans saying we're headed in the wrong direction, what is it? the only other time we were this bad in our poll was during the great recession and right after lehman brothers . there is no other way to explain it, and i think the country is totally now fed up with this broken political system . and, you know, yes, right now democrats are quote, unquote, benefitting because the republicans are taking the beating. but this is the crisis in confidence with the government and the political system . this is the hangover.

>> judy woodruff , you covered these issues over time , but back in 1996 they were talking about the need to deal with medicare. it's washington 's inability to get to pass this fundamental belief that you're 100% wrong and i'm 100% right.

>> that's right, david. i didn't cover the great depression, but when you think about it, this is as bad as it gets. if you go back to the 1930s before fdr and what the similarities are is back then it was the rich and the poor who were hurt by what was going on. today it is, as chuck just said, it's democrats and republicans . yes, republicans are hurt in the short run because people don't like that they think they're majorly responsible for the shutdown. but in the long term when people lose confidence in government and they think washington is dysfunctional, democrats believe government should be there to help solve our problems. so if the public no longer believes, has any faith in government, that hurts the democrats , too.

>> kathleen ?

>> i'm actually surprised it's not more than 60%.

>> that is high, though. we'll get there.

>> it is a high, but even on the hill, republicans and democrats are equally frustrated and equally disgusted with not only one another -- not the opposite party, necessarily, but even among themselves. and one of the strangest things, as we watch all of this, is it seems to me that the two pro protagonists, speaker boehner and the president, have similarly drif bven by the other parties. it's funny that they each know what the other needs. but the president has been driven primarily by senator reid , and for poor john boehner , i always precede his name with poor -- poor john boehner has this tea party resurrection. there is almost no one that can take control of what's come apart and almost everybody wants to.

>> i raised this before and i raise it a second time because, as chuck said, the republicans have taken such a beating on this, harold. but the president knew this was coming as well and didn't have to face reelection again. is there a certain aspect of this where he says, look, not only am i going to protect a future president from having to deal with these kinds of demands, but i can also deal with republicans if they want to shut down obama care and don't have support.

>> would etyou asked, would each of you be willing to blame the other 100%, and it was interesting their answer. there are two issues. whether or not we raise a debt ceiling. you have a proposal to raise it for six weeks, a proposal to raise it to the end of january, and you have a third one where it takes it to the end of the year. second, you have a group that wants to push it out to the end of january and another group wants to push it out for a few months later. when we look back we're going to wonder how on earth could the president and others not come to some agreement when you have plausible, attainable kind of goals in front of us. two, the economy is ready to take off. you saw last week the market exploded. the biggest single gain the day of the year once it looked like a deal was within reach. last week reports demonstrated that america is now the number one interview produced in the world, about to take russia in natural gas and petroleum products , which means higher paying jobs. americans want to work. they want to get beyond this moment. it seems for those who are outside of this, and i'm not as close to washington as i was before, a deal is within reach. to kathleen 's point, it appears there are forces. tea party on one side, perhaps progressive liberals on the other, that are stopping us from each side taking a small step and conceding a little bit. boehner conceding on spending and president obama conceding with democrats around whether it's obama care or spending cuts.

>> to your point, the fact is there were several proposals made that were completely within reasonable bounds by anyone's measure, including senator susan collins ' proposal.

>> to me none of these are reasonable to me right now because we're talking about six weeks, six months, eight weeks, maybe three months. you go to the cost of the shutdown. the cost of doing this six weeks at a time, even six months at a time, the cost of not having a budget that we haven't had in i don't know how long, an actual budget, the cost of doing that for the federal government is also costing us money . that's where it's sort of, to me, the most frustrating part is that they're fighting over a six-week deal.

>> we need something to get be kwond this moment.

>> you talk to the white house and they make it clear the president is not going to bend on the debt limit. he does not want to go with a short-term agreement on the debt limit because you turn around and it's december or january and you do it again. but they say if you can remove the threat of a debt limit, the president is ready to talk about spending, about appropriations, about the sequester, those automatic across-the-board cuts, so they're saying that ability is there but republicans have got to get over --

>> what is the -- here i asked the senators, so if you do get a deal by thursday, what will they have overcome, chuck? part of it is how much do you spend for the next fiscal year? but obama care seems to be off the discussion.

>> listen to rob portman . his two demands now were --

>> but he's not a house republican.

>> -- no, and the demands on health care now are very, very tiny. the problem for republicans would be the deal that john boehner and mitch mcconnell would take they can't sell. john boehner is a guy that wants to do something about medicare and social security . the problem is, that does not sell with the tea party . the tea party caucus does not want this. they do not believe a big entitlement deal is really something to tout, certainly not something to take home to voters.

>> john boehner could win an increase in the debt ceiling as well as a reopening of the government if he chooses to reopen the hassle rule. if we get to tuesday and wednesday and he does not have a majority of republicans , all the democrats could bring maybe --

>> talks broke down last night between mcconnell and reid . the senate republicans thought they had a deal friday night. everybody thought yesterday it was all going to happen, and then reid backed off. part of that is the white house . they didn't like the sequester issues and these numbers that were rallying around collins. i think on wednesday boehner just takes the senate bill that's sitting there -- don't forget, at any point in time, he can just throw that out there, throw it in, put it out as one bill ask then we sort of punt for six weeks.

>> kathleen sebelius has been sort of the debating point of this, and we talked about her, she's the director of health and human services . she runs the health care plan. she runs obama care.

>> she thinks she runs health and security.

>> it's part of the security verification.

>> she was on jon stewart this week and it didn't go well. watch this.

>> we're going to do a challenge. i'm going to try and download every movie ever made, and you're going to try to sign up for obama care and we'll see which happens first.

>> funny line. unfortunately, a lot of truth. she struggled to answer why you would give a business a year delay but not an individual who has to, you know, adhere to the individual mandate.

>> well, they don't want to give the correct answer, which is that obama care falls apart without the individual mandate. i mean, we need the young people to pay --

>> the unhealthy people.

>> right, the unhealthier folks. as a fellow kathleen , i think we could cut her a little bit of slack. she was not effective. she should have been far better prepared with her answers. there is no good answer to the individual mandate. there is also no good answer as to why this disastrous rollout. these people had plenty of time to get it together on wunt hand, but they also had plenty of time to get their answers straight so when asked they could say not it's getting better, every day it's getting better. it just shouldn't have happened this way.