IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Ed Show for Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

January 30, 2013

Guests: Sheldon Whitehouse, Dan Gross, Joy Reid, David Cay Johnston, Dr. Rani Whitfield

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

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords showed unbelievable courage on Capitol
Hill today. Now we`ll see if the cowards in Congress have the character to
do something about guns in this country.

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


FORMER REP. GABBY GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: Too many children are dying.
We must do something.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Gabby Giffords makes a surprise emotional plea,
and the NRA responds with nonsense.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: Background checks will never be universal.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: You missed that point completely.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on today`s dramatic day
of testimony.

Plus, Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign on the heroes fighting for gun
safety and the villains who want to keep it the way it is.

The Republican obsession with European austerity -- kneecap the
nation`s economy. David Cay Johnston on today`s troubling GDP report.

Bobby Jindal breaks his own rule.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We`ve got to stop being the stupid

SCHULTZ: Find out how the poor in his state are about to start
suffering on Friday.

And brand-new polling proves again that we`re living in a center-left
country. Tonight, I`ll tell you why it`s up to one person to keep it that


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

An emotional scene on Capitol Hill today. Former Congresswoman
Gabrielle Giffords returned to Congress for a Senate hearing on gun
violence. Two years ago, Giffords was shot in the head during a shooting
spree that killed six people in Tucson, Arizona.

The 71 words Giffords spoke today did not come easy for her. But her
message is one every American needs to hear.


GIFFORDS: Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important
conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and

Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important.
Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying -- too many

We must do something. It`s -- will be hard, but the time is now. You
must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank


SCHULTZ: It remains to be seen if Congress will show the same kind of
courage Gabby Giffords displayed today.

Her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, also testified. Kelly`s message --
demanding change is not the same as taking away people`s guns.


very seriously, and we would never, ever give it up, just like Gabby would
never relinquish her gun, and I would never relinquish mine. But rights
demand responsibility.


SCHULTZ: Giffords and Kelly are pleading on behalf of common sense
here. This is why gun safety opponents like the NRA`s Wayne LaPierre need
to create multiple straw men instead of talking about the facts.

The gun lobby will do anything to keep all guns free from
restrictions. Fewer restrictions means more sales, which means more money
for gunmakers and manufacturers and guys like Wayne LaPierre.


LAPIERRE: If you try to do this universal background check, which
sounds whatever, it ends up being a universal federal nightmare imposed
upon law abiding people all over this country. Criminals will ignore it.
So what`s the point of the whole thing?


SCHULTZ: This is LaPierre`s newest argument. A universal background
check won`t do anything, he says.

But more than 40 percent of gun sales escape background checks thanks
to gun shows and internet sales.

Senator Chuck Schumer explained the reality.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Why should someone going to a gun
show have a different rule? There`s no logic to it, none. I was there. I
was the author of the Brady Bill. And that was something that we were
forced to put in the bill, those of us who weren`t for it, as a way to get
the bill passed. But the last 15 years has proven it doesn`t make sense.


SCHULTZ: Gun lobbyists created the background check loopholes, and
they want to keep them in place.

Mark Kelly is not going to put up with it.


KELLY: We will prevent gun crime. That is an absolute truth. It
would have happened in Tucson. My wife would not be sitting in this seat.
She would not have been sitting here today if we had stronger background


SCHULTZ: Baltimore Police Chief Jim Johnson destroyed LaPierre`s
argument about the inconvenience of background checks.


the individuals that go in to try to do a background check at a gun shop,
in a minute and a half, they`re done. I can`t write a ticket, a citation,
in a minute and a half. Even with e-ticket technology, I can`t do it that
fast. It`s not inconvenient.


SCHULTZ: The husband of a mass shooting victim and the top cop of a
major city have some authority on this issue.

But if you don`t trust what they say, maybe you can trust Wayne
LaPierre back in 1999. You see, he told a congressional hearing, "We think
it`s reasonable to provide for instant checks at gun shows just like at gun
stores and pawnshops."

NRA members agree with the 1999 Wayne LaPierre, 75 percent of them
want a universal background check system in place.

Members of Congress are showing signs of accepting a background check
bill, including several Republicans who were part of today`s hearing. It`s
not a lost cause. There are signs of progress. But time is of the

During the hearing today, a workplace shooting happened again, this
time in Phoenix, Arizona, killing one person and injuring two others.

The crime-troubled city of Chicago -- well, a young girl who performed
at the president`s inauguration was an innocent victim of a street
shooting. Little Ms. Pendleton was a 15-year-old honor student.

As President Obama said today, these instances of gun violence are not
going to stop without our action.


something to try to have an impact on that, to lessen it, even if it`s not
perfect, even if it doesn`t work every time, even if it doesn`t save every
person who is a potential victim of gun violence, but we save a few. You
know, if we don`t do that, shame on us.


SCHULTZ: And shame on Congress if they cannot find the courage to act
on this issue.

Get your cell phones out. We want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, is today`s testimony enough for Congress to act on gun laws?

Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can go to our blog at I`ll have a commentary on this in just a moment. And, of
course, we`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

But joining me now is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island who
was part of today`s hearing.

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet. This is an emotional, gut-wrenching issue on both
sides. People on the other side of the issue, LaPierre`s crowd think that
they`re being attacked. Did today`s hearing move the needle any closer
towards meaningful reform do you think?

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, I think it did. I think that first of all, it`s
hard to overlook Representative Gifford`s remarks to us closing with "be
bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you."

Second, there were some concessions from the gun side. One of the
experts conceded that these big, huge high capacity ammunition magazines
were unusual, were a novelty, which in the language of this issue means
that they`re not protected by the Supreme Court`s Heller decision, which
means that we can safely legislate to get rid of them. And that`s their
own side speaking.

And as you point it out, I think this is room to move on the universal
background checks. I think that it`s very, very hard for the NRA to
continue to defend the position that people are on the terrorist watch list
should be allowed to buy firearms in this country. That`s their position.
I don`t know how they stand by it.

SCHULTZ: Senator, Mr. LaPierre is presenting to the American people
that it would be a quagmire, a nightmare, to do universal background
checks. His position all of the sudden is there is no way it would work,
that it would be actually targeting the law abiding citizens.

Your thoughts on that?

WHITEHOUSE: Well, it really makes no sense.

First of all, we`re doing it already with respect to gun shops and
pawnshops. To do it in the environment of these big gun shows, which are
basically a giant gun shop with many dealers really doesn`t add anything to
it. As police chief Johnson said, it takes a minute or two to go through
the background check.

The second thing is that the whole point of the exercise is that it
keeps the criminal from coming in and buying guns. So, when Mr. LaPierre
says, well, you know, this is no good because criminals won`t subject
themselves to a background check, that`s precisely the point.


What was the feeling in the room from you and your colleagues after
hearing Gabby Giffords speak today? How much of an impact do you think she

WHITEHOUSE: I think she had a real impact.

I think the other moment of real impact was when her husband, Captain
Kelly, talked about the child at Gabrielle Giffords` shooting who was
killed by the 13th bullet, and pointed out that if the shooter hadn`t had
that high capacity magazine, before he got to that 13th bullet, he would
have had to reload. And that shooting came to an end when the shooter had
to reload. So, the moment when you have 20 stop firing out of your
magazine and reload is the moment for people to escape. It`s the moment
for people to counterattack and try to disable the shooter.

And I think seizing on that little girl and the fact that she was
killed by the 13th bullet, and that her life would have been saved if there
had been only 10 or 11 rounds in that weapon was a very, very poignant

SCHULTZ: Senator, what is the political downside here? And there is
always calculations being made. Eight out of 10 NRA members support
universal background checks. Who is Wayne LaPierre speaking for?

WHITEHOUSE: The gun manufacturer, of course.

It`s not the first time that we have had a big lobbying organization
in Washington that purports to represent a grassroots or a local
membership, but is in fact doing the bidding of a very, very big interests.
Probably the most prominent example of that is the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, which purports to represent small businesses across the country,
but in fact is the mouthpiece for global, multinational, huge corporations.


WHITEHOUSE: So that`s nothing new to anybody watching these hearings
take place in Washington.

SCHULTZ: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, good to have you with us tonight
on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much for your time.

WHITEHOUSE: Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

You know, if you want a good example of the cultural divide that we
have in this country.

WHITEHOUSE: Clear. Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet. Thank you.

If you want a clear example of the cultural divide in the country, I
need to tell you about this story right in the middle of the country. This
isn`t just North Dakota, it`s all down through the middle of the country.

There is a youth hockey organization in west Fargo, North Dakota.
This was picked up by "Huffington Post" and some other media. They`re
raffling off 200 guns, including three AR-15 assault rifles, perfectly
legal. It is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

This is just another day at the office for how to raise money for
youth sports in the middle of the country.

Now, we`re a diverse country when it comes to religion, when it comes
to race. We have a big tent. The Democratic progressive party, liberals
have a big tent. They understand a lot of things.

We have a real cultural divide on how we accept firearms in this
country, about how we accept the use of firearms, and people`s rights to
own firearms. But when you get down to the level where it is a fundraiser
for a youth hockey program and you`re going to tell those folks we can`t do
it, we can`t do the assault weapons ban, you know, this is -- it`s another
day at the office for them. And that`s the diversity.

Try to have something like that on the East Coast right now or the
West Coast right now, no way. You couldn`t do it there is no way you could
do it.

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

Wayne LaPierre says only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with
guns. Well, today one of the good guys ripped apart the NRA logic. Dan
Gross of the Brady Campaign will join me next.

Stay with us. Lots more coming up.


SCHULTZ: Hillary Clinton dodges more questions about her political
future. "The Grio`s" Joy Reid tonight will discuss why Hillary Clinton
would be center left`s best candidate for 2016.

And later, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal`s new budget cuts would
destroy Medicaid in his state. Dr. Ronnie Whitfield (ph) of the National
Association of Free Clinics will explain the impact on the state`s poorest

You can listen to my radio show on SiriusXM Radio Channel 127 Monday
through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m.

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

And we are coming right back.


SCHULTZ: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy
with a gun. That`s what NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told America following the
massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.

Well, one of the good guys with a gun came to Capitol Hill today and
ripped apart the NRA logic. Representing a national law enforcement group,
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson says the good guys can only do
so much, and the tougher gun restrictions are urgently needed.


JOHNSON: The best way to stop a bad guy from getting a gun in the
first place is a good background check.


SCHULTZ: Johnson explained that the so-called gun show loophole
allows 40 percent of firearms to be purchased without a background check.


JOHNSON: Allowing 40 percent of those acquiring guns to bypass checks
is like allowing 40 percent of passengers to board a plane without going
through security. Would we do this?


SCHULTZ: The good guy charged with protecting the people was
countered by the lobbyists charged with protecting the multibillion dollar
gun industry. Wayne LaPierre says he is against closing the gun show
loophole, even though he had supported closing it in the past. Recent
polling shows that eight out of 10 NRA members say they support universal
background checks.

So who exactly is LaPierre speaking for?

The man`s twisted logic didn`t stop there. LaPierre used his platform
to stoke more fear and paranoia.


LAPIERRE: They had lived under the tyranny of King George, and they
wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never
be subjugated again and have to leave under tyranny. I also think, though,
that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by
their government.

SCHULTZ: Are you kidding me? Do you really feel that way? Take a
poll on that one.

Baltimore County police Chief Johnson didn`t quite know what to say
about that.

JOHNSON: I find it to be scary, creepy, and simply just not based on


SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to
Prevent Gun Violence.

Dan, good to have you with us tonight.

What do you make of LaPierre`s performance today?

showed his true colors, the true colors that he always shows -- which is he
is not there to represent the voice of the American public. He`s not even
there to represent the voice of the members of the NRA.

He is there to represent the interests of the gun lobby, and he`ll
drum up whatever fear and paranoia and mistruths he can to promote that
agenda. You know, it`s kind of ironic that he began his testimony -- I was
sitting right there in the front row today -- he began his testimony by
saying he is there to give voice to 4.5 million NRA members.

If he is there to give voice to the members of the NRA, he would be
there advocating universal background checks, because that`s what they

SCHULTZ: Because nine out of 10 Americans and eight out of 10 members
of the NRA support universal background checks. So how he can speak for
them, I don`t know.

This is the first time I`ve heard Wayne LaPierre kind of go into the
fringe thinking that we have to have these firearms because we`re not so
sure whether the national guard is going to be called out to take our
rights away from us, or there is going to be some kind of coup against
people who own firearms and the government.

Have you ever -- this is somewhat of a new approach by him. And I
call it into the fringe zone.

Your thoughts?

GROSS: Yes, I mean, he certainly is representing the point of view of
a very extreme minority when he starts espousing this, you know, black
helicopter kind of stuff. You`ve certainly heard that coming from the gun
lobby before. I don`t know if it`s ever come as directly from Wayne
LaPierre, but, again, it certainly exposes his real agenda here, which is
not to have a constructive conversation about what we can do to prevent gun
violence, but to at all costs, with any means necessary to promote the gun

SCHULTZ: Well, I think it exposes his desperation on this issue.

GROSS: That`s the hope.

SCHULTZ: Now, the lawmakers that I talked to say that you`re not
going to get -- you`re not going to get the assault weapons ban, that the
filibuster rule, if you had 51 votes, you could probably get it. But now,
that it`s the 60 rule, it`s not going to happen.

So what is the best thing you can get out of this? What are you
hopeful for right now? What is realistic?

GROSS: Listen, I don`t think it`s time to take any part of the White
House task forces and the president and the president`s recommendations off
the table. You know, every element of that proposal is supported by the
majority of Americans. It`s solutions from the assault weapon ban to
universal background checks that the public is clamoring for a discussion


GROSS: And we have to look at this whole issue. We need a sea

As I sat there today, I couldn`t help but think this is one of the
issues that there are some people who are on the right side of history and
there are some people who are on the wrong side of history. We need a
civil rights level sea change on this issue where the voice of the American
public is heard and the interest of the American public is felt to create
that kind of change. If that`s the spirit, we shouldn`t be prioritizing
solutions now.

SCHULTZ: Did you get a sense that the Republicans who were on that
committee were moved at all?

GROSS: Yes, I mean certainly everybody was moved and touched
genuinely and deeply by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly`s presence there. I
think you learned a lot, not only from what was said, but what wasn`t said.

You know, there was a lot of conversation from the Republicans there
about the assault weapons ban and, you know, talking about that and the
context of the Second Amendment. You didn`t hear as much conversation
around universal background checks, because I think there is a real
acknowledgment of the reality that universal background checks actually
have the opportunity to strengthen the Second Amendment because it
reaffirms the rights of law abiding citizens, people who aren`t criminals
or terrorists --


GROSS: -- or dangerously mentally ill to own guns. You know, I took
solace -- you know, partially what was said and the sympathy that seemed to
be there on both sides of the aisle. But very importantly on what wasn`t

SCHULTZ: Moving Republicans on this will not be easy. That`s stated.
I believe that.

Dan Gross, good to have you on THE ED SHOW tonight. Thank you.

Hillary Clinton is leaving the door open, and center-left America
needs to hear or carry the movement forward. That`s what I think. Joy
Reid joins me for the discussion.

And then later, Republicans could be learning a real tough lesson
about the economy. Find out how regular Americans doing their part. But
Republican-style spending cuts are basically holding back and maybe even
killing this economy.

We`ll explain why Paul Ryan is so terribly wrong when we come back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Many Americans are following the exit of Hillary Clinton with
tremendous interest. She is ending her tenure as secretary of state. And
the same question is on the mind of every progressive in this country --
will she run? Will she lead the movement in 2016?

Here is what Secretary Clinton said when Andrea Mitchell asked her
about her health, and if it would be a factor in her decision.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I have no doubt that I`m healthy
enough and my stamina is great enough, and I`ll be fully recovered to do
whatever I choose to do. But I don`t have any decisions made. I have no
real plans to make any such decisions.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: In 2012 in December, you told my
friend Barbara Walters that you had no intention of running for president.


MITCHELL: That brought to mind, it sounded familiar. So, we looked
it up. In December of 2001, you told Tim Russert you had no intention of
running for president.

CLINTON: And I didn`t.


SCHULTZ: Can we come to the agreement that the door is being left
wide open? She is tactfully positioning herself with a very artful

But don`t expect Secretary Clinton to give an answer now, but this is
something we as liberals should be pushing for big-time. We are now a
center-left country, and we need a strong standard-bearer once President
Obama step downs four years from now, and President Obama`s popularity is
now the highest it has been since the first few months he was in office.

Today`s poll numbers are a reflection of the president`s inauguration
speech when spoke boldly of progressive values in the country.

I`m joined tonight by Joy Reid, managing editor of "The Grio." I
mean, if she were to run, if she were to announce, wouldn`t there be just
this groundswell enthusiasm? Because we know she is so qualified.

JOY REID, "THE GRIO": Well, I think partly because of her clear and
obvious qualifications. But also Hillary-land has a pent-up desire for
this woman to be president that has never gone away. There was tremendous
resentment between the Obama and Hillary camps in 2008, in part because her
supporters are so passionate about the idea that she should be our first
woman president, that it was really hard for them to walk away from that.

Remember, there was a big push to get her on the ticket, to get her to
be vice president. There was a lot of disappointment that didn`t happen.
She then takes the job of secretary of state and really acquitted herself
well. She is the most popular political figure in the country. I think
her approval ratings might even be higher than Barack Obama`s, probably

She has now positioned herself in terms of her qualification. She
isn`t just a former First Lady, not that that`s not amazing. But she is
also now a qualified international figure in her own right.

SCHULTZ: And she is going to go home and take a nap, a long one. She
is going to exercise. She is going to take care of herself. She is going
to read. She is going to do some philanthropic type work, do some
speaking. And she is going to hear, wherever she goes, you have to do it.

And I think most Democratic candidates who are thinking about it would
say, I`m not even going to go down this road. Hillary is running. Would
she be a shoo-in? Would there even be any other competitors out there?

REID: I think there is no one who can really compete with her. By
the way, she would never admit that she wants to run now because it would
undermine her still current boss, which is Barack Obama. You never want to
admit, when a president is just reelected, that you essentially make him a
lame duck the minute you say you`re going to run.

Because somebody with that kind of star power, one word, first name
only name recognition, universal, somebody like Hillary Clinton, the minute
she said she wanted to run, it would then compete with President Obama in
terms of the public`s attention. And by the way, saying that you have no
intention of running is meaningless in politics. I went back and looked at
an old Chicago magazine article from 2006 in which Barack Obama was quoted
in 2004 saying he wouldn`t run, and in 2006 saying he had no intention of
running for president.

SCHULTZ: The thing that I would be excited about is that Hillary
Clinton would be the perfect Democrat to move the health care pendulum even
further where most Americans want it to go. She is an advocate of
universal health care, if you can get it there, which I think would be
absolutely the best thing for the country.

Here she is at a town hall when she was asked about her future plans.
This is interesting.


CLINTON: I do want to see more women compete for the highest
positions in their countries. And I will do what I can, whether or not it
is up to me to make a decision on my own future. I right now am not
inclined to do that. But I will do everything I can to make sure that
women compete at the highest levels not only in the United States, but
around the world.


SCHULTZ: You know, the big issue right now for the president is
getting immigration reform passed.

REID: Right.

SCHULTZ: That was the issue that somewhat became problematic for
Hillary Clinton in one of the debates, when she was talking about a
driver`s license --

REID: Correct.

SCHULTZ: -- of an undocumented worker. And then it kind of
snowballed. That was kind of the game changer in the competition between
she and President Obama. How important would it be to get immigration
reform done, and then set the table for her to take on another big issue in
this country, which of course could be health care, which of course could
be women`s rights?

REID: Right, absolutely. And remember that the health care plan that
we have right now is a lot closer to the one that she proposed during the
campaign, because Barack Obama was against the individual mandate and she
was for it. But yeah, on immigration, if immigration reform were to get
done, I think Republicans are starting to even realize this, it would
redound mostly to the benefit of Democrats, because Latinos, if you look at
the polling, are trending toward the Democratic party on most issues.

So I think it would help Republicans only marginally. It would help
Democrats a lot more. And it would get that issue off the table. Then
when she -- if she were to run, which a lot of people think she will -- I
think she will -- she is going to have a lot of successes in the previous
administration to kind of push off and run.

SCHULTZ: Joy Reid, great to have you on THE ED SHOW. Thank you.

REID: Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: Lots more coming up in the next half hour of the program.
Stay with us. We`re coming right back.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cutting spending.


SCHULTZ: Republican cuts lead to an ugly new report on the economy.
Up next, David Cay Johnston on why Republican obsession with austerity is
hurting the country.

Just like the villains from "Scooby Doo," Republicans keep getting
busted stealing votes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would have been mine if it hadn`t been for
those meddling kids.


SCHULTZ: I`ll have the latest state to back off their scheme.

And Bobby Jindal is not keeping his pledge.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Stop being the stupid party.


SCHULTZ: You won`t believe what is happening to the poor in


SCHULTZ: And you know, there is this old saying in business, you can
only cut your way into a profit for so long. We are learning the ugly
truth about our economy and how devastating Republican spending cuts could
really be. Here is what is happening to the economy when you cut federal
spending. The Commerce Department announced the GDP dipped 0.1 percent at
the end of last year.

The economy has actually grown over the last 14 quarters. But that
growth nearly stopped in the last quarter of 2012. The numbers don`t lie.
Republican-style spending cuts caused this slowdown. You can`t blame the
private sector. Business investments, they picked up. The housing market
continues to show signs of recovery as well.

And you can`t blame the American people either. Consumer spending
makes up two thirds of the GDP. Sales grew for things like cars and
kitchen stoves, hardware in the house, you bet. But you can blame the
government federal spending was way down in the last quarter, especially on
what? Defense.

The Pentagon spent almost 13 percent more than normal in the third
quarter. But at the end of the year, defense spending suddenly dropped 22
percent. That`s the biggest drop in defense spending since 1972. The
private sector did its part to grow the economy. Families worked hard.
They spent some money. Businesses made some investments.

But government spending dipped and pulled the entire economy down with
it. Less spending caused less growth. But Republicans like Paul Ryan keep
saying, well, these cuts are going to boost the growth.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We`re not preaching austerity. We`re
preaching growth and opportunity. Our job, our goal is to prevent and
preempt austerity so we can get back to growth.


SCHULTZ: Really? Countries like Greece, Italy and Spain and France
have done exactly what Ryan wants this country to do. They cut government
spending to pay off their debt. Now the Eurozone has posted record
unemployment and poverty.

We are facing $85 billion in automatic spending cuts on March 1st. We
probably shouldn`t trust Republicans who think austerity is the best way to
go for the American economy.

Let`s bring in David Cay Johnston, professor at Syracuse University
College of Law and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. David Cay, good to
have you on tonight.


SCHULTZ: We`re getting some numbers now that this progressive
philosophy of investment in government is a good thing. It comes back in
so many good ways. Is government spending good for the economy? Are we
finding that out now in the last quarter?

JOHNSTON: Yes. And we need to spend more money on those things that
invest in the future: education, infrastructure especially, that we`ve been
using up, research. Those are things that will make us more prosperous in
the future, not the kind of proposals Paul Ryan has.

SCHULTZ: Now, not to overstate this, but is Ryan really, in your
opinion, professional opinion, proposing exactly what those foreign
countries that were just mentioned in this piece -- is it similar, what he
is trying to do in this country?

JOHNSTON: Yeah. Paul Ryan is pathologically against government
spending. He objects to it, perhaps not for his family business, which
gets financed with government spending. They build highways and roads.
But he believes firmly and honestly that this is bad for the economy. And
he is blind to all the benefits that grow and all the benefits business get
because of public investments.

SCHULTZ: So are the Republicans really worried about the debt? Or is
something else going on here?

JOHNSTON: If the Republicans were worried about the debt, they would
have been eager to let all the Bush tax cuts expire. The CBO has shown
that if we did that, debt as a share of the economy would fall to half in
the next 10 years. And if we were to leave the Bush cuts in place, it
would double. So, no, they`re not serious about cutting deficits. They`re
serious about continuing to pose as the party of tax cuts for the rich.

SCHULTZ: And I want to point out that just about an hour after we got
the report on the GDP, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave this
warning about government spending. Here it is.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: This, my colleagues, is
the Europeanization of America. This is the pathway to Greece.


SCHULTZ: Really? Your thoughts on that.

JOHNSTON: Well, there is one way that we are on a pathway to Greece.
In Greece, they do not have an effective tax system, and people cheat left
and right. We are starving the IRS. I`ve been talking to people inside
the IRS whose units have been cut 30, 40, 50 percent in personnel. And
they`re not auditing, and they`re not going after the tough cases. That
will mean the less money for the government and the less money for all
government services, and cause real serious problems.

So in that sense, we are heading toward Greece, by taking away a great
tax system and replacing it with a weakened one.

SCHULTZ: Why are these changes taking place in the IRS? Why are they
not being as aggressive as they used to be?

JOHNSTON: Well, because for years now, the Republicans have attacked
the IRS. And at one point, you may recall, I broke the story years ago
that you were actually more likely to be audited if you were poor than if
you were affluent. We`ve cut radically the audits of corporations. And
the IRS now tells corporations, well, we`ll only audit you on these issues
and you have this many days. We`ll close the audit whether we`re done or

That`s not really doing the job they need to do.

SCHULTZ: I hear no conversation about this in Washington. And it`s
vital to the Treasury. Why not?

JOHNSTON: Because the -- you know, Dick Cheney said deficits don`t
matter. And as a political matter so far, they haven`t. But it`s also
because we`re not thinking about -- we`ve turned tax into a four-letter
word, Ed. And we need to recognize that our whole country and our
government, at its base, is about taxes.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston, always great to have you on THE ED SHOW.
Thank you.

Republicans might be backing down in their effort to rig the electoral
vote. But the fight is not over yet. We won this first phase of the
battle. There is lots more coming up. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW . You know, here on this
program, we have been focused on the latest Republican effort to rig the
2016 election by changing how the electoral votes are counted in a handful
of battleground states. Battleground states.

Currently, the winner of the state-wide vote gets all of the electoral
college votes. Under the plan proposed by Republicans, electoral votes
would be awarded by congressional district. Congressional districts, which
have been gerrymandered beyond recognition, to tip the scales for who? The

Their election-rigging effort would turn this 2012 electoral map into
this, a scenario where the loser of the presidential race actually wins.
There is a reason they say sunlight is the best disinfectant.

After almost a week of media attention, not only on this show, but
others, and the public outrage about key Republicans that are withdrawing
their support for the scheme because of all of the coverage. Virginia
State`s Privileges and Elections Committee voted 11 to four to kill
Republican Senator Bill Carricoa`s (ph) electorate rigging bill.

Ohio Governor John Kasich signaled that he`s not pursuing similar
legislation. Even Ohio Secretary of State of suppression, Jon Husted,
added "nobody in Ohio is advocating this."

Michigan`s Republican Governor Rick Snyder told Bloomberg TV, "I don`t
think this is the appropriate time to look at this."

Appropriate time is the key phrase there, folks. And just days after
calling the plan something worth looking at, Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker is now expressing, quote, "real concern. The change would make
Wisconsin irrelevant in presidential campaigns." Which isn`t exactly
taking it off the table, my friends.

So let`s be, in my opinion, absolutely clear here. This isn`t over.
Republicans talk -- can talk absolutely all they want, but I think that
this plan is still alive. And they have 1,378 days to find another way to
make your vote count less, which is exactly why we need to keep the
spotlight on this issue.

But it looks like round one goes to the supporters of democracy.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you is today`s testimony enough for
Congress to act on gun laws? Sixty four percent of you say yes; 36 percent
of you say no.

Coming up, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is slashing Medicaid while
people in the state are in desperate need of help. Pretty heartless move,
I think, by the governor. And we`re calling him out, next.



JINDAL: If you take nothing else away from what I say today, please
understand this: we must not become the party of austerity. We must not be
the party of austerity. We must be the party of growth.


SCHULTZ: Really? If only Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal practiced
what he preaches. Jindal is planning massive cuts to Louisiana`s
government health care and Medicaid programs. These cuts are going to have
a devastating impact on the state`s poorest citizens.

They include cuts to programs that provide behavioral health services
to at-risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV
patients, and home visit by nurses who teach poor mothers how to care for
newborns. The Medicaid program will no longer cover physical therapy for
nursing homes. Dental benefits will be cut off for pregnant women. And
doctors will be paid less when caring for Medicaid patients.

The cuts will begin Friday. That`s this Friday. Jindal says that it
will help close the state`s budget gap. But just a few months ago, he said
it`s all about the private insurance.


JINDAL: The best way to help the uninsured in our states is to create
good-paying jobs so that folks can go out there and afford their own
coverage, through their employer, through private sector coverage, not to
make them dependent on a government-run program.


SCHULTZ: Well, governor, you got a lot of jobs to create between now
and Friday. If there is one thing Jindal is horrible at, it is that,
creating jobs. Twenty one percent of Louisiana residents live below the
poverty line. It`s the second highest state poverty level in the nation.
Twenty percent of the residents rely on Medicaid. And 20 percent have no
insurance at all.

Now, I have seen the situation in Louisiana first have -- I have seen
it firsthand. And it`s not pretty, folks. THE ED SHOW hosted two free
health care clinics in New Orleans. And each time the line was out the
door. And to these people -- and private insurance just isn`t an option.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you looked for insurance and priced it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it`s high.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how much it would cost for you to
get insurance independently?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, what was it like, 300 or 400 dollars a month.


SCHULTZ: Over 20 percent of Louisiana lives below the poverty line.
Bobby Jindal wants people to pay 400 dollars a month for insurance. For a
governor who oversees one of the poorest states in the nation, Bobby Jindal
should be ashamed of himself for cutting assistance basically to the people
who have no political influence. They`re not going to be shaking down the
pockets or lining the pockets of any politician.

It`s a cheap way to go, governor, and it`s heartless. For more, let`s
turn to Dr. Rani Whitfield, also known as the Hip-Hop Doctor. And he is
the associate medical director of the National Association of Free Clinics
in New Orleans.

Doctor, good to have you with us tonight.

again for having me.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

WHITFIELD: It`s great to be here.

SCHULTZ: How much is this going to hurt the residents, the poorest
residents in Louisiana?

WHITFIELD: Significantly, Ed. It seems like our governor is building
his budget off the backs of the poor and those that are most vulnerable are
least considered, our poor women and children, those with disabilities and
mental health issues. And up until this week, those with hospice benefits,
that was being threatened to be cut as well. But we did get a reprieve on

So it`s going to be significant. He also mentioned physician
reimbursement. It`s not just about money. Ed. I`ve told you this before.
But we have to be compensated so that we can continue to care for our
patients. So this is something that is going to be very significant.

And I`m quite concerned about the state of Louisiana and my city of
Baton Rouge, which I`m very passionate about.

SCHULTZ: Will these cuts actually increase health care costs over

WHITFIELD: I think so. We`re closing this budget temporarily. But
when individuals have to access the emergency rooms and lack of health care
-- I`m all about prevention of chronic illnesses and diseases. So when you
have nurse practitioners that can go into home and educate first-time
mothers about how to take care of their children, how to prevent illness in
their children, how to care for them and feed them, when we eliminate those
services, later on in life we will have chronic illnesses and diseases that
we will have to deal with and that will increase health costs over time.

So we`re looking at a short-term fix. But I think it`s going to be a
long-term problem.

SCHULTZ: Doctors really have to be committed to see these patients,
because it might force some doctors not to take Medicaid patients at all.
Or is that a stretch? What do you think?

WHITFIELD: It`s not a stretch, Ed. And not just Medicaid, but also
Medicare. Three years ago, I would refer several patients to some
specialists in the area, and they were no longer taking new Medicare
patients. And now with threats of cuts for reimbursement with Medicare and
Medicaid, many of my colleagues are not taking either insurance.

So the primary care physicians are stuck with trying to manage chronic
illnesses and diseases that are quite difficult, when you need
endocrinologists, you need surgeons, you need OBGYNs and you`re having
problems referring your patients out for specialists and help. So it`s
quite difficult. It`s quite frustrating.

Everyone that I know that is a physician went into this field to help
people. That`s why I participate with the National Association of Free
Clinics. We want to help people. We want to save lives.

SCHULTZ: We need more Dr. Rani Whitfields in this country. There`s
no doubt. God bless you for what you`re doing. And thanks for joining us
tonight, doctor. Appreciate it so much.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now.

Good evening, Rachel.


Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>