Guests: John Harwoo, Ben Jealous, Richard Trumka, Jack Reed, Tom Harkin, Scott Paul, Bill Press, Michael Medved, Gary Peters, Debbie Stabenow, Sam Stein
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW from New York tonight.
It is all about jobs. Unemployment now at over 10 percent nationally, but the numbers are even worse for President Obama‘s base.
Unemployment for Latinos is over 13 percent. Unemployment for African-Americans is almost at 16 percent nationally.
In the state of Michigan, the unemployment rate for blacks is now at 24 percent. It is a staggering number. One in four blacks in that state of Michigan is out of work.
Senator Deb Stabenow will join us later in the program tonight to talk about that.
People who put this president in office have been hit the hardest in this economy. Now the NAACP, the AFL-CIO and the Hispanic advocacy group La Raza are calling on the Obama administration to do more.
They want a massive investment in infrastructure, schools and highways.
They say this will provide good jobs for skilled workers.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are both working on job bills right now. The House wants to get it done by Christmas, but I think the muscle on this is going to have to come from the administration.
The economy was the defining issue in the last presidential election, and the key in all of this, for the midterms, is going to be job creation. I know it‘s a heavy lift, but the president has got to show some progress on this or it‘s going to be a real tough year in 2010.
You know, this isn‘t brain surgery, folks. I really believe that if this is going to happen, they‘re going to have to loosen up the credit to small business.
We had a start a couple of weeks ago when the Obama administration announced, well, we‘re going to get this TARP money out to community banks. OK. Now let‘s get to the next stage. I want to see the deposits into these community banks and I want to know what these community banks are going to do with it. We‘ve got to follow up on the process.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Will Democrats pay a political price in the midterm if they can‘t create jobs? Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
A big focus on jobs tonight in our first block. Joining me now is Ben Jealous. He is the president and CEO of the NAACP.
Mr. Jealous, good to have you with us tonight. You and I have never met, but it‘s great to have you with us. And I know...
BEN JEALOUS, CEO, NAACP: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Your big concern is job creation.
JEALOUS: That‘s right.
SCHULTZ: And obviously you‘re a huge advocate and supporter of President Obama. Is this a wake-up call or is this a little bit more than that to the administration? You‘ve been very vocal on, you‘ve got to have focus to get jobs for young black Americans.
What‘s happening here?
JEALOUS: You know, Congress needs to be very clear that we need jobs for the entire country. As far as we can tell, white workers are just about a year behind black workers.
You know, a year ago, black workers were at 8.7 percent, you know, as far as unemployment. Now it‘s 16.5 percent. Whites now are at 9.5 percent. Where will they be next year?
And so, what we‘re saying to Congress is, job creation has to be job one. And that means the sort of big investments that you talked about. That means about getting credit back down to Main Street.
I‘ve heard from a lot of small bankers, a lot of small black bankers that are having a very hard time getting the sort of treatment that the big banks have gotten. They have toxic assets they have to get rid of, but we need to see more money pushed down so that small businesses can get access to the credit they need and begin to grow this economy again.
SCHULTZ: So, Mr. Jealous, what do you want President Obama to do? What could he do, in your opinion, to turn this around? I mean, you‘re saying that he‘s got to get after it. What do you want him to do?
JEALOUS: You know, I think—I travel to three to five cities per week, and what I hear from people is that what they want to hear more about, you know, from the government, from Congress is direct job creation, targeted job creation. There are pockets of extreme joblessness—you were talking about the situation in the great state of Michigan, at the top—where we just need to come straight at the problem and actually create jobs.
That‘s what the people that I talk to each week want to hear more about. And certainly, you know, rebuilding schools, rebuilding highways is one place to start. But what they don‘t want to hear about is sort of three steps from now that will lead to job creation.
They want to hear about solutions. And we‘re hoping that the jobs summit that will be a part of that at the White House on December 3rd, what comes out of there is something that we can bring back to the people and say, look, you know, Congress, the president are going to solve the problem quickly.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Jealous, I‘m going to ask you a direct question here tonight, and it has not been talked about in the media, but I‘ve thought about this in recent weeks, because the credit should not be this tight as much as the American taxpayer has done for Wall Street.
Do you think that there are maybe some institutions on Wall Street that do not want to see a black president succeed and that‘s why the money‘s tight?
JEALOUS: I don‘t think that‘s the case. I don‘t think that‘s the case. I don‘t subscribe to those theories.
What I do think is real is that the barons on Wall Street have a lot more power than the small bankers, have a lot more power than the small business people. And all of us—again, as I said, as far as we can tell, white workers are just a year behind white workers. We‘re the canaries in the great American coal mine. We‘ve got to stop focusing on race, start focusing on reality, which is that all of us right now are hurting, all of us need to deal with getting this country—pushing folks here in Washington, pushing Congress on the Hill to make sure that jobs are created, and soon.
SCHULTZ: You think the jobs summit is going to help next month?
SCHULTZ: OK. Mr. Jealous, appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much.
JEALOUS: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Richard Trumka. He‘s the president of the AFL-CIO.
Richard, great to have you on tonight.
RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT: Thanks, Ed. Thanks for having me back on.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
I know yesterday you met with House leaders. What did you tell them about the jobs situation in this country?
TRUMKA: I told them that it‘s dismal, that we have a 10 million-job deficit, and we have to get on job creation right now and every day from here on out until we have everybody back at work. We have a five-point plan that I laid out to them. It was well received.
They were very, very enthusiastic about job creation and understood that it had to be done now. They are going to have something done and passed before Christmas out of the House side. We‘re very, very heartened by that.
SCHULTZ: Can you tell us, what is the five-point plan, Mr. Trumka? What is it?
TRUMKA: Well, the first thing we have to do is extend unemployment benefits, health care and food assistance. That program will expire December 31st, so we have to extend that for another year, at least. That will allow all the people that are unemployed to keep personal spending that also creates jobs.
The second thing is money into infrastructure creation where we repair our schools, our roads, our bridges and things. That will create jobs up and down the line from construction to design to engineering to transportation.
The third thing is to give aid to state and local governments. They‘re in a tremendous deficit situation right now.
SCHULTZ: Didn‘t they do that with the stimulus package?
TRUMKA: They did some of it. They need to do a lot more because we‘re going to have $187 billion deficit with state and local governments...
SCHULTZ: So, do we need a second stimulus package, you think?
TRUMKA: I think we need more spending on job creation, yes. I don‘t care what you call it, but it needs to be done and it needs to be done in the things that we‘re talking about.
SCHULTZ: And what about the fourth and fifth thing? What do we need to do?
TRUMKA: The fourth and fifth thing is direct job creation, going into targeted areas with high unemployment and creating jobs. And I‘m not talking about what they did before and substitute an existing job for a new job, I‘m talking about creating a new job directly with good wages and good benefits.
And then the fifth thing is to do some TARP lending directly from the federal government with those TARP funds that are left over so that small and mid-sized employers, so that they can do job creation.
SCHULTZ: Well, that is one of the things that the Obama administration wants to do, but after that announcement of the TARP funds, there hasn‘t been much talk about where they‘re going to the community banks to loosen up the credit. I mean, that is the whole key. Your union workers will not get jobs unless there are contracts signed for work, and somebody‘s got to want to do something.
TRUMKA: Well, that‘s absolutely true. I think you have the will. I think the administration and I think the Congress are both—understand the importance of jobs. I think they‘re going to push a job program.
SCHULTZ: Can they get one done this year, in your opinion?
TRUMKA: Yes, we can.
SCHULTZ: All right. Mr. Trumka, appreciate your time tonight. Always a pleasure.
SCHULTZ: Unemployment is at 10 percent nationally, but in 10 states it‘s even higher. Local and state governments are taking matters into their own hands to stem the tide on job losses so workers can stay afloat in this recession.
Rhode Island has the third highest unemployment rate in the country, sitting at 13 percent. But it would be even higher without the job-saving program Rhode Island put in place along with 16 other states. They‘ve done the same thing. That program is getting a lot of attention, someone to take it to a national level.
For more on that, let‘s go to Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed. He‘s a member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Senator, good to have you with us.
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: The framework of this job-saver program, what is this? I mean, if I‘m running a small business instead of laying people off, you mean the government would come in and help me save them?
REED: Absolutely. There‘s a plan that‘s submitted to the state agency to allow employees to take some time off and be compensated by a pro rata share of the unemployment compensation. The employer has to continue benefits, whatever the benefits are, health care or retirement. And it‘s a win, win, win.
First, the employer gets to keep skilled workers and keep morale, keep productivity up. The worker does not have to take unemployment and lose benefits like health care. And the states who are under so much pressure in terms of their unemployment insurance funds don‘t have to pay out all of the unemployment. It‘s just a pro rata share.
SCHULTZ: Senator, if it works in your state, why is your state sitting at 13 percent unemployment?
REED: Well, as you pointed out, without this program it would be 13.8 percent. This is helping. This is a job retention program, as all—Rich Trumka and everyone else indicated, you indicated, we‘ve got to do more to create jobs, not just retain them. But if we don‘t take this very cost-effective, very—I think very effective step, we‘re going to see more people who are necessarily laid off completely.
SCHULTZ: OK. So, I‘m a small business guy, and instead of laying off some employees I can get a percentage of that. And you‘ll pay for some of their hours on the job.
I get that, and I can see where, you know, you can save some employees from being on the unemployment line. But how do you protect against fraud? I mean, who‘s checking up on these companies? How does it work in your state, how does it work in the 16 other states?
REED: Well, there has to be a plan submitted by the company. And currently, under Rhode Island law. But at the national level, the legislation we‘re proposing first would prohibit companies who have been aggressively laying people off.
This is for those companies that really want to keep their workers at work, at least part time. And second, there would be oversight requirements.
This has worked out extreme well in Rhode Island and, as you point out, 16 other states. There‘s been no significant issues raised with respect to fraud. In fact, there are places I‘ve been to visit where the workers are saying, “This has kept me owning my home. Otherwise, I‘ve lost my home.”
SCHULTZ: What kind of money are we talking about? How much money do you think you can get appropriated to this nationally?
REED: Well, we‘re talking about $200 million. But as one of the figures -
· but as I suggest, and as I think it‘s obvious, you know, this is in lieu of paying the full unemployment benefits. So this is an efficient, cost-effective way to deal with the issue of at least retaining some employment.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, the one thing is, in small business, there‘s a lot of small businesses that count on other businesses, whether it be in manufacturing or service, and all of a sudden that business is gone. It has a domino effect, and it can have a ripple effect through the economy. I can see where that can help.
Is this going to pass the Senate? Do you think this will get implemented nationally?
REED: Well, we‘re picking up support. My colleague, Senator Murray, just joined us today from Washington, Senator Kerry, others. This is, I hope, going to be part of discussions when the president convenes the jobs summit.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Is the White House with you on this?
REED: We‘re going to push hard. We are pushing ahead, and we hope they will be. And we‘ve had some discussions, and I think this is an idea whose attractiveness and appeal is increasing each day.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you.
REED: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Jack Reed from Rhode Island, with us here on THE ED SHOW.
Coming up, it‘s basically put up or shut up time for “Trader Joe” and his obstructionist buddies. Senator Tom Harkin means business from the Senate HELP Committee. He‘ll join me in just a moment to get an update on health care.
Plus, Texans are hitting the deck tonight because “Shooter‘s” coming to town. I‘ll tell you what that‘s all about in the “Playbook.”
All that, plus, well, you‘ve got a couple foxes paying the price in “Psycho Talk” tonight.
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
It‘s put up or shut up time in the Senate. Conservative Democrats say they are willing to work with Republicans to block health care. Now liberals in the Senate are calling their bluff.
I like that.
They had a heated meeting with Majority Leader Harry Reid last night. Their message: No more compromising. They don‘t think any conservative Democrat will be there when the time comes to kill health care like the Republicans want to. It‘s put up or shut up time.
Joining me now is Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate HELP Committee.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), CHAIRMAN, HELP COMMITTEE: Ed, good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You want to call their bluff, do you not? You say let‘s belly up to the bar and see who wants to do what here.
HARKIN: Well, Ed, I was at that meeting last night, and it was a good meeting, a very forceful meeting. I think we‘ve all decided that we‘re going to work as a team, and our team has one quarterback, and that‘s Senator Harry Reid. And I don‘t think anybody on that team wants to run their own play and destroy the game, so I think we‘re all going to be together on this one.
SCHULTZ: So you think you‘ll have the 60 votes to move it to the floor?
Is that what I‘m hearing?
HARKIN: Yes, sir, we‘ll have the 60 votes.
SCHULTZ: And when is that vote going to take place?
HARKIN: Well, the first vote, Ed, is probably going to take place, we hope, this Friday. That will be the first vote to proceed. We‘ll have to put our amendment. Then the bill, the actually bill, will be up then.
I understand that Senator Coburn or one of the Republican senators will insist that the bill be read. That will take a couple of days off this weekend, and we‘ll see if Republicans want to stick around for the reading of that bill. But that‘s their right, if they want to exercise it.
Then we‘re out next week for the Thanksgiving break. And then we come back, and the Monday after Thanksgiving, that‘s when we really start to work.
So do you think that you can get a health care bill done by the first of the year?
HARKIN: Ed, mark my word, we‘re going to have this health care bill done before we go home for Christmas.
SCHULTZ: The CBO score, why is this taking so long, Senator?
HARKIN: Well, it‘s taking so long because the Finance Committee bill that came out of the Finance Committee was very late. I understand that. But a lot of the language they had in that bill had to be scored. It wasn‘t scored as they went through the process.
And then the CBO had to score the House bill, then they had to score the Republicans‘ alternative in the House. And so they had to do that first.
SCHULTZ: You think it will come in under $900 billion?
HARKIN: Yes, sir.
SCHULTZ: I‘m saying $880 billion. What‘s your call tonight?
HARKIN: Who have you been talking to, Ed, anyway?
SCHULTZ: Well, see, Tom, what I think is going to happen is that Harry Reid wants a little financial wiggle room here, and he‘s telling these guys at CBO, bring that baby in at $880 billion so I‘ve got some chips on the table here, so I can get these public option guys up to the bar.
What do you think?
HARKIN: Well, Ed, I‘m not going to confirm or deny. But let me say, you‘re in the ballpark, my friend.
SCHULTZ: OK. So, Lieberman and Nelson and Landrieu and Lincoln, they‘ll be part of the 60 on the first—to get it to the floor, to get this thing going?
HARKIN: I believe that‘s right. Yes, sir, I believe that they will be part of the 60.
SCHULTZ: With the public option?
HARKIN: Well, with the public option that we have. Now, that‘s in the bill right now.
HARKIN: But, now, that public option might be changed on the floor. You understand that.
HARKIN: I mean, we‘re going to have amendments. That could be changed on the floor.
SCHULTZ: I expect it to get a lot better. Absolutely.
HARKIN: Well, I would hope so, too, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, Senator Harkin, you‘re giving me a little confidence tonight that—and I think—I think American Democrats and liberals want to hear that this thing is still very much alive and the obstructionists are going to get pushed aside.
HARKIN: Ed, I just finished going through about two hours, just before I came on your show, of going through the bill, the merged bill. And I can tell you there‘s a lot of good stuff in that bill.
And so I‘m very much enthused right now that we have a good bill, we have a good product. We‘ll get the 60 votes, and hopefully we‘ll be able to fend off some of the disastrous votes in the amendments that the Republicans are going to throw at us on the floor.
SCHULTZ: And will the Senate bill do more than six million people on the public option? Can you give us a higher number?
HARKIN: That I can‘t give you right now, Ed.
HARKIN: But I can—because we—let me put it this way—the public option we have in the bill right now, I believe, is a good compromise.
HARKIN: That‘s the one that says there will be a public option and a state can opt out if they want to.
SCHULTZ: But last night—an opt out. But last night‘s meeting, no more compromises. You‘ve gone as far as you‘re going to go, right?
HARKIN: Well, you know, Ed, I never say never. There‘s always room to accommodate people. And don‘t forget that we still have to go to conference on this, even after it gets outside the Senate.
Senator Harkin, I appreciate your time.
HARKIN: Well, I‘m telling you, Ed, we‘re going to get this job done.
SCHULTZ: Hey, you‘re my source. I‘m counting on you, buddy. I mean, every time I talk to somebody I say, my friend Tom Harkin keeps telling me this is the way it‘s going to be.
HARKIN: Well, I‘m off a little bit, Ed. I said we were going to have it to the president before Christmas, but I didn‘t anticipate all the delays of the CBO. But I‘ll tell you what—this bill will be signed into law before the president gaves his State of the Union message in January.
SCHULTZ: I‘m all about it.
Senator, great to have you on tonight. Thanks so much.
HARKIN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Bill O‘Reilly has actually managed to say something that even “The Beckster” says was over the top.
That‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, holy smokes. It‘s a blue light special, two for one—Bill O‘Reilly and Glenn Beck.
Say, did you hear that they‘re going to be going on tour? That‘s right, it‘s going to be called “The Bold and Fresh Tour.” I think it will be a lot of old and stale, judging by the tired Republican attack lines that they keep throwing out.
O‘Reilly apparently went on “Beckster‘s” radio show yesterday to plug this new big tour, and he took the opportunity to sing the same old song about how Tea partyers are going to take down Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Last week, I heard you say that—you were on with Dennis Miller. You two were talking about an insurrection.
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS: A tax revolt.
BECK: He used the word “insurrection,” not in a comedic way.
O‘REILLY: Yes, tax people. I think people, when they figure out how badly they‘re going to get hurt in the next few years, there‘s going to be a Tea Party on taxes and it‘s going to get nasty. Nancy Pelosi is going to be bobbing up and down in the Boston Harbor.
BECK: I don‘t think that‘s necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Uh-huh. What‘s Nancy Pelosi going to be—did you catch that there at the end? Saying “unnecessary.” Even Beck thought that was over the top, the attack on Nancy Pelosi. That was unnecessary.
Beck and O‘Reilly need to get some—probably some couples‘ counseling before spending all this time together on tour.
But, Bill, when Glenn Beck thinks you‘ve gone tee far, that is definitely “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, John McCain says Chrysler‘s going down in flames. The congressman who represents their 7,000 employees has got a smoking hot invitation for the maverick. We‘ll talk about that in just a moment.
Plus, the president is making friends in China, but Americans, I think, are scared to death about the threat they really pose to our economy. And we‘re going to be talking about that with CNBC‘s John Harwood, who was on the trip with the president.
That‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
President Obama is in Beijing making nice with the Chinese president. But here at home Americans I think see China as a real threat. Not so much as a military threat, but a new poll is out there showing that 71 percent of people consider China to be an economic threat.
And I don‘t think it‘s any secret why. Our trade agreements with that country play to their favor. China‘s cheap labor market is absolutely unparalleled around the world and we owe them billions of dollars.
Joining me now, live, from Beijing, China, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and political writer for “The New York Times,” John Harwood.
John, this is a career first for me. I‘ve never interviewed anybody standing on a China soil, so this is pretty cool. Anyway, I want to ask you, if I may, is the president making some headway in talking about trade agreements and also bringing up the subject of outsourcing jobs to that country? Tell us about it.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Ed, the president did not come out of his meetings with President Hu Jintao of China with any big new breakthrough substantively on economic policy. But I‘ve got to say it‘s no surprise that poll number that talked about that Americans see China as an economic threat.
They‘ve been hearing, including from candidate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and others on the campaign trail in 2008, about the threat of Chinese imports, of Chinese taking jobs from the United States, of the Chinese holding so much debt in U.S. treasuries, which gives them a little bit of a banker-creditor relationship with the United States.
But it‘s why the president has a bit of an uphill fight when he says, as he said on this trip over and over that we don‘t see China as a threat, they‘re a potential partner for us, we can mutually benefit economically, and for us to do well economically doesn‘t require them to do poorly.
In the long run, of course, that is true, because a prosperous China can buy more stuff from the United States and create jobs in the United States, but it‘s going to take some time, Ed, to create that consumer society in China that will actually shift the relationship from one in which mostly we buy their stuff and have—run on a huge trade deficit with them.
SCHULTZ: Has there been any conversation between the president and Chinese leaders about the anticipated move of sending more troops to Afghanistan? Has that subject come up?
HARWOOD: Well, yes, they talked about security issues in those bilateral sessions from the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea to also the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. China is sort of cautious in their rhetoric. They are not a full-throated supporter of U.S. aims in those conflicts.
In fact, one of the questions the president got at the town hall that he had that was largely composed of questions asked by people picked by the Chinese, one of the questions was, is the war in Afghanistan going to turn into another Iraq war, which is a euphemism for quagmire in that question.
And that‘s one of the political issues the president‘s dealing with, so the Chinese are cautiously listening to the United States on security issues, trying to provide some help, but their interests are not the same as ours and they‘re going to be lagging behind a bit. It‘s Obama‘s challenge to bring them along, particularly with regard to sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
SCHULTZ: John Harwood traveling with the president in Beijing, China.
Thanks so much, John. I appreciate your time tonight.
Let me bring in Scott Paul, the executive director for the Alliance for American manufacturing.
Mr. Paul, good to have you on tonight. We have got some serious issues with China. They‘re taking a lot of our jobs, they‘re manipulating the currency. They are basically cheating. I‘ve had a number of union leaders in this country flat-out say that they are absolutely cheating when it comes to trade agreements.
Now these are real sticky situations for the president to dive into first time over in China. What are your expectations when it comes to the manufacturing sector? What can he accomplish this trip?
SCOTT N. PAUL, ALLIANCE FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURING: I think you‘re right. I think the expectations that he can completely change this around are a little too ambitious. But I think we do need to bring back something, because as you‘ve pointed out, we‘ve lost a lot of jobs to China.
In fact, more than two million jobs since China entered the world trading system. And we have not stood up to China. I mean, I hear lots of charges coming from China that the United States is protectionist, that the Obama administration is protectionist.
But I tell you, Ed, any country that‘s running a $20 billion a month trade deficit with China is not a protectionist country. We need to stand up for our workers and businesses a little more.
SCHULTZ: The numbers are pretty staggering. Jobs lost in the United States because of the trade deficit with China from 2001 to 2007, that number stands at 2.3 million American jobs lost. How do we turn that around?
PAUL: Well, it starts with the currency question, Ed. And it‘s an important one because China manipulates its currency where it gets a trade advantage with the United States. It‘s not supposed to do that. It‘s not supposed to do that under world trade rules.
President Obama promised to do this when he was a candidate last year. They‘ve yet to deliver on that. But it‘s in the long-term interest of both American workers and businesses and consumers as well as the Chinese government to adjust the Yuan compared to the dollar.
That would put a dent in the trade deficit. Reagan actually did that with Japan back in the ‘80s and with Europe back in the ‘80s and it brought down our trade deficits for a couple of years.
But we have to continue to hold China to account. The president did that with his tired decision in September. We‘re going to see more of these cases coming down. We‘re going to see them come down on steel, on paper products, and the administration needs to keep telling China that unless you play by the rules, there are going to be consequences to that.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Paul, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for speaking up on this issue.
For more, let me bring in our panel. Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and also Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and author of the book, “The Five Big Lies about American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free Market Economy.”
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight. What are the expectations, Bill Press, of President Obama on this trip to China?
BILL PRESS, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, I‘m not sure that the expectations are very high but certainly the need is very critical for him. Ed, the way I see it, this jobs summit that he announced for the White House in early December started there in Beijing and the president—certainly, as Scott has been talking about on the trade issue, on the jobs issue and on the currency issue.
I mean we‘ve got a bad deal with China today. It certainly is an economic threat. It‘s a bad deal for the United States because we buy their toys and their toothpaste, tainted as they are, and they‘re buying our country by buying so much of American securities.
So you can‘t fix the jobs situation at home unless he does something about the trade deficit and job loss to China.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, what do you expect out of President Obama and his administration, this first trip to China? And also, how do we change the dynamic with this country or will it ever change?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, I don‘t know if it ever changes. It has changed already very dramatically in terms of China becoming a more powerful and more prosperous nation. But I think one of the things that you were talking about there with your guest, Ed, is absolutely true, is that Chinese prosperity doesn‘t have to be a threat to the United States.
If they are able to buy more of our stuff, that‘s a good thing, but one of the problems here is that if we succeed in getting China to jack up the value of its currency, the Yuan, then that will have a further depressing effect on the American dollar. And right now a lot of serious people believe that if the dollar drops further then this overwhelming American problem, it‘s the number one problem of national security is jobs, jobs, jobs.
SCHULTZ: Well, I want to ask you, Michael, what does the president and this administration have to do to create jobs? What—if you were in the oval office, and I know you‘ve been in the oval office with Bush before.
You and I weren‘t invited to that one, Bill.
PRESS: That‘s right.
SCHULTZ: What would be the advice from you to the president? Look, you‘ve got to turn these job numbers around. What are you going to do?
MEDVED: There‘s no question about it. The job numbers have to be turned around, in part, by unshackling business. And when you talk about we‘re going to put more regulation and more taxes and more tax burdens particularly on small business people.
SCHULTZ: They‘re not going to do that. Come on, now.
MEDVED: Well, that‘s what the health care bill.
SCHULTZ: The health care bill helps small business. The health care bill will help small business because a lot of small businesses hire people under $90,000 a year. Those people are going to get subsidies from the government. If the House bill were to play.
MEDVED: But a lot.
SCHULTZ: If the House bill were to pass as it is right now.
MEDVED: Ed, a lot of people don‘t believe that a 5.4 percent surtax.
SCHULTZ: That‘s on the rich. That‘s not on small business.
MEDVED: And look—I‘m sorry, on people earning more than $500,000 a year. That‘s a lot of small business.
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s not very many people in this country, that‘s less than 1.5 percent.
MEDVED: That‘s a lot of small businesses and job creators.
SCHULTZ: But the fact is, it is not a tax increase on small business. The way it‘s set up right now, I don‘t think it goes far enough. But it will be a help to small business.
PRESS: Hey, Ed, let me tell you. Let me take a whack at that if I can. I think it‘s very clear what the president has got to do. I don‘t care whether you call it a second stimulus or a jobs bill but there‘s got to be money out there, as Rich Trunk indicated earlier, money out there right now to create jobs and get people to work today.
SCHULTZ: You can‘t get money. The regulators right now on small—on small banks is unbelievable.
PRESS: No, no, no. I mean, no, you‘re not going to get it from Wall Street. It‘s going to have to come from the federal government.
MEDVED: More spending.
PRESS: They‘re going to have to put the money out there. You damn right it‘s more spending to get people at work. And Michael, when America is working, then this American economy will come back even further, faster.
SCHULTZ: Michael—that would just be more risk is what it would be. I mean we took a risk on Wall Street, why don‘t we take a risk on small business.
SCHULTZ: I mean that‘s what I‘m talking about.
MEDVED: OK. Ed, the problem right now is it‘s more than just a risk.
We‘re talking about a $1.4 trillion budget deficit this year.
SCHULTZ: It‘s going to get worse if we don‘t create jobs.
MEDVED: It‘s four times as bad as the worst budget deficit under President Bush. And you‘re right it‘s going to get worse. But one of the things you have to do.
SCHULTZ: If we don‘t create jobs.
MEDVED: . is unshackle business.
MEDVED: Not burden it more.
SCHULTZ: All right.
PRESS: But the problem is the unemployment rate today effectively is 20 percent. It‘s not 10.2 percent.
MEDVED: That‘s right.
PRESS: You‘ve got to do something about it and the government is going to have to put money out there to get people to work.
SCHULTZ: All right. All right, gentlemen, stick around. We‘ve got more coming.
Coming up right now, you know, everywhere we look, a blast from the past is flapping their gums. Sarah Palin—I don‘t know about you but she‘s driving me up a wall with all this coverage and so is shooter. He‘s back in the action.
He says the president of the United States, his show of respect to the Japanese emperor has really ticked him off. I‘ll set him straight in “The Playbook.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Get your cell phones out, it‘s not too late to let us know what you think tonight on the survey. Will the Democrats pay a political price in the midterm if they can‘t create jobs? Text A for yes, B for no to 2622639. Results coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my “Playbook” tonight, Senator John McCain is predicting the demise of Chrysler. He‘s still mad about the government help the taxpayers gave the auto industry. And this weekend he had this to say about it.
Quote, “I don‘t think we should have ever bailed out Chrysler and General Motors and anybody who believes that Chrysler is going to survive, I‘d like to meet them.”
Well, Senator McCain, my next guest wants to do just that. Wants to bring you up to Michigan for a face to face. Congressman Gary Peters joins me tonight from Michigan.
Congressman, good to have you with us. Now you have written a letter to the senator from Arizona, have you not?
REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: That‘s right, Ed. Because, as you said in you‘re opening, I‘m a guy that believes that Chrysler is going to survive. In fact, it‘s not only going to just survive, it‘s going to prosper. And I‘ve got tens of thousands of people back home that believe the same thing.
We‘d love to have him come to Michigan and see firsthand what the American auto industry is all about and where we‘re going in the future.
SCHULTZ: OK. So what is McCain‘s mission in your opinion? I mean he was at some NASCAR event, of all places, to say something like that. Isn‘t he talking down the American worker?
PETERS: Absolutely. There‘s no question. I mean it was very clear. Both General Motors and Chrysler, had there not been the assistance that they got from the federal government, those companies would have been liquidated and millions of jobs would have been lost.
Senator McCain seems to think that that‘s OK, that‘s just the way the economy should work. But in these tough economic times not to stand behind the American worker, I think, is absolutely outrageous.
He campaigned on “America First” was his slogan. To me there isn‘t anything more American first than standing up for American workers, American jobs and the American manufacturing sector. And that‘s really what the auto industry is all about.
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s interesting that you bring up the campaign because he pulled o out of Michigan a month before the election. He might be a little cranky about that right now.
But it would just seem to me that there‘s word that General Motors is going to be paying back their loan earlier than anticipated. How is Chrysler doing? Give us some positive news tonight in your opinion.
PETERS: Well, Chrysler is doing well. They just put—laid out their five-year plan focusing on some very strong products that have right now. They‘re a leader in the minivan market and certainly they have a very iconic brand, the Jeep brand, one that I drive myself. That continues to do very well.
And they‘ve got some very exciting products in the pipeline. Their partnership with Fiat will also allow them to expand into smaller cars, in addition to building on their strong truck, minivan and jeep platform so.
SCHULTZ: So McCain is out of line in your opinion?
PETERS: He‘s absolutely out of line. He shouldn‘t be making those kinds of statements. And I‘m looking forward to meeting with him. I sent that letter. I‘m willing and waiting. In fact I‘m in a Senate office building right now. If he wants to come out here and meet with me, I‘m willing to talk.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘d like to get him on THE ED SHOW to ask him who is he for? The foreign worker or the American worker?
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
PETERS: Great to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Congressman Peters from Michigan.
One last page in my “Playbook” tonight. Dick Cheney is trying to claw his way back into political relevancy. He‘ll be down in Texas tonight to endorse Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for governor over incumbent Rick Perry. Also, Shooter, well, he‘s kind of elbowed his way into this overblown debate about the president bowing to the emperor of Japan.
He said, “There is no reason for an American president to bow to anyone. Our friends and allies don‘t expect it. And our enemies see it as a sign of weakness.”
Dick, you‘re so predictable. A sign of weakness? This is a guy who had five deferments? I call it a sign of respect. And why is it only the conservatives on the face of the earth in this country are having a hard time with what President Obama did? He showed respect.
Coming up, I think it‘s time for the country‘s millionaires to fork it over for health care and pay for it. I‘ll talk to Senator Deb Stabenow of the Finance Committee about that next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. OK. Health care reform. Who‘s going to pay for it? A new AP poll showing that 57 percent support—support a surtax on individuals making more than $250,000 a year.
That is much harsher than the House bill, which would add an additional tax to individuals making over $500,000 or families making over $1 million a year.
Here‘s the bottom line, folks. It‘s going to take political guts to get a tax increase from the top two percent because they‘re going to nail the Democrats at the polls next year. If they‘re going to pay for health care reform. It‘s going to take political guts for the Democrats to do this.
Will they go down this road? Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow, member of the Senate and Budget Committee, joins us tonight.
Senator, good to have you on with us.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), FINANCE COMMITTEE: Ed, it‘s good to be back. I think it‘s Michigan night. My good friend, Gary Peters, was just on.
SCHULTZ: Well, you‘re a fighter just like he is. And maybe you should get John McCain to go up there, too, and check out that Chrysler factory and all the good things that are going on.
STABENOW: I would welcome him coming up to Michigan. We‘ll show him the best products around.
SCHULTZ: Senator, who‘s going to pay for health care? Is this a tax that the Democrats think they can get away with? That they hit the top two percent at the numbers that have been thrown out there and still not pay a political price for it next year in the midterm?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, there are a number of things. First of all, I would say in the last eight years under the Bush administration those that are the wealthiest among us got some huge tax breaks while the middle class were paying the price for that and we saw the deficit skyrocket because of the things that were passed in the last eight years weren‘t paid for. So we‘re going to responsibly pay for this legislation, bring down costs.
SCHULTZ: So that‘s a yes? So that‘s a yes?
STABENOW: And we are.
STABENOW: And we are going to, in fact, make sure that people who are the wealthiest who have benefited the most from government in recent years pay their fair share. Let me also say, though, that there are other folks that will be contributing as well. Insurance companies. Drug companies.
We‘re going to take those for-profit insurance companies that are getting overpayments right now and the privatized part of Medicare and we‘re going to make them competitive. It won‘t change benefits at all. We‘re going to strengthen Medicare for seniors but we have insurance companies right now getting overpayments.
SCHULTZ: So, Senator, 98 percent of the American people are not going to get taxed with health care reform. Is that pretty much it in a nutshell?
STABENOW: That‘s pretty much it. This is about helping middle class families, helping working class families, helping those who have lost their job to make sure they don‘t also lose their health insurance. And it helps everybody over time. It doesn‘t matter the income.
STABENOW: . that you make because we‘re gong to bring down cost.
SCHULTZ: Senator, I‘ve got to ask you about this Stupak Amendment that came out of the House.
SCHULTZ: And now you‘re going to be wrangling with this in the Senate.
SCHULTZ: What‘s going to happen in the Senate? Could this be the issue to kill health care reform?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, in the Finance Committee, this was offered and defeated because it goes beyond what has been 30 years of settled law and it‘s an extreme position.
SCHULTZ: So it won‘t be an issue in the Senate?
STABENOW: Because what it says.
SCHULTZ: So it won‘t be an issue in the Senate?
STABENOW: Well, it‘s going to come up.
STABENOW: It‘s going to come, again, because Orrin Hatch offered it in the Finance Committee.
STABENOW: He offered it again. But we‘re going to argue, and I believe we have the votes in the Senate to say that what a woman does with her own money, buying insurance in the private market, should be her choice. And that‘s what we‘re saying. This is.
SCHULTZ: And Congressman.
STABENOW: It‘s extreme.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Stupak said on “HARDBALL” that he was just going to set a law, that they just want the law the way it‘s always been. That‘s all his amendment does. Do you agree with that?
STABENOW: No, I don‘t. The Hyde Amendment says, the settled law, says that no federal dollars can be directly used to fund abortion services and we all are willing to accept that. We all agree with that. This goes beyond that.
STABENOW: And it‘s about people with their own money being able to purchase insurance for themselves and family.
SCHULTZ: Tom Harkin said you‘re going to get 60 votes. He said that tonight. Do you say the same thing?
STABENOW: I believe we are. I think, though, that, Ed, I mean you and I have talked about the process of stalling by the Republicans. And I don‘t underestimate that.
STABENOW: And we‘ve got a lot of hard work to do. But now we‘re up to 90 times, by the way, that they have objected to moving us forward.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Senator Stabenow, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you.
STABENOW: Good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet. For more, let me bring in Sam Stein, political reporter, “Huffington Post.”
Sam, jobs. This is a big issue with the White House. Is this summit going to do anything next month?
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, you know, that‘s totally remains to be seen. I completely agree that it‘s a massive issue. I mean everyone I talk to in Democratic operative circles is incredibly concerned about the job market. This is not something that‘s going to go away lightly.
They‘re worried that the White House underestimated the problems to begin with. And you know, at some point you‘ve got to start thinking about 2010 and we‘re getting to that point.
And if people are not back at work, there is an expectation that there could be a (INAUDIBLE) revamping of political power. The tea party protesters, as much as they‘re against big government, they‘re angry because they don‘t have jobs. And I think the Obama administration has really not been adept at handling this underbelly of concern going on there about the economic.
SCHULTZ: OK. So there‘s a real good chance that job creation—we might not see these numbers turn around, maybe for two or three more quarters? What if.
STEIN: Yes, that‘s what we‘re hearing.
SCHULTZ: Yes. But if the Democrat—if the majority passes health care, can they survive and keep the majority next November?
STEIN: It‘s a great question. Can you run a re-election campaign on passing your domestic initiative that, you know, realistically will not be in place until 2013? When we‘re talking about the public option, a lot of the reform efforts in health care, we‘re talking about four years down the road.
Now, I mean, if we‘re looking through a strictly political lens, that‘s not necessarily a good thing for the Democrats. However, if you can pass a historic achievement—I talked to many pollsters who say Obama, the Democratic Party is going to get a big boost.
They‘re going to look like they‘re actually getting stuff done, they‘re going to start bending the cost curve, deficits will become, you know, less of a growing concern and that might actually benefit them down the road.
SCHULTZ: Sam Stein, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us.
STEIN: Always a pleasure, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Don‘t you dare cancel dinner anymore when you‘re scheduled on this program. Little inside baseball there for our viewers tonight. All right. Thanks, Sam.
STEIN: You‘re embarrassing my wife. Thanks.
SCHULTZ: All right. Good—well, that‘s a good reason. I‘m glad you—
I‘m glad that all worked out for you. Thank you.
STEIN: All right. Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Earlier I asked our audience tonight, will the Democrats pay the price in the midterm if they can‘t create jobs? Here‘s the number, folks. Ninety-two percent of you watching tonight say, yes, the Democrats will pay a price if they don‘t create jobs. Eight percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to ed.MSNBC.com. Check out our Web site on the radio side, wegoted.com. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
This is the place for politics. MSNBC. We‘ll see you tomorrow night, 6:00.
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