UP with STEVE KORNACKI
May 11, 2013
Guests: Kirk Bloodsworth, Ed Pilkington, Christina Swarns, Fmr. Rep. Patrick Murphy, Josh Barro, Jared Bernstein, Lori Montgomery, Heather McGhee, , Sarah Kliff
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good Morning from New York. I`m Steve Kornacki.
A string of attacks has killed 17 people and left many wounded in Pakistan today as that country votes to elect a new parliament.
A task force in Newtown, Connecticut voted unanimously last night to raise the Sandy Hook Elementary School were 26 children and educators were killed last November and to build a new one at the same site.
But right now I`m joined by Ed Pilkington, the U.S. correspondent for "The Guardian," newspaper, Kirk Bloodsworth, the first death row inmate ever to be exonerated by DNA evidence, now the director of advocacy at Witness To Innocence, an anti-death penalty group and support network for exonerated death row survivors, Christina Swarns, the director of the criminal justice practice at the NAACP Defense and Education Fund, and MSNBC contributor, Patrick Murphy. He`s a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania.
This week, we saw three separate sensational criminal cases captivate the nation. And a fourth just this important case go totally unnoticed. More on that one in a moment, but first, what the three big ones have in common. In Cleveland on Thursday, Ariel Castro was formerly accused of imprisoning three young women for the last decade of kidnapping them, holding them against their will, of raping them.
The charges may grow worst, much worst as Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty indicated after Castro`s arraignment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY J. MCGINTY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH PROSECUTOR: Based on the facts, I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That last part about terminating pregnancies by force is key since it could make Castro eligible for capital punishment, something McGinty made clear he`s willing to seek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCGINTY: My office of the county prosecutor will also engage in a formal process in which we evaluate whether to seek charges eligible for the death penalty. The law of Ohio calls for the death penalty for those most depraved criminals who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The death penalty, the possibility of it is what the horrifying story in Cleveland has in common with the others. In Massachusetts, federal prosecutors are awaiting word from the Obama justice department on whether they should seek to put accused Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to death if he`s convicted.
The federal death penalty was revived 25 years ago, but it`s carried out rarely. Public opinion, though, is strongly on the side of executing the 19-year-old Tsarnaev if he`s convicted. Seventy percent support for that in the poll last week. Strong political pressure is being exerted as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: The federal law allows the death penalty. It is just the kind of case that it should be applied to in fact the only other time it`s been used since 1994`s on Timothy McVeigh. And given the facts that I`ve seen, it would be appropriate to use the death penalty in this case, and I hope they would apply it in federal court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And then there`s Jodi Arias convicted on Wednesday of killing her ex-boyfriend. Her case gripped much of the nation with revelations that Arias had stabbed her victim dozens of times, slit his throat, shot him in the head, and drag his body to a shower, and claimed he`d been killed by an intruder, only of change her story later.
The jury in that case will begin deciding next week whether she should be executed for her crime. Each one of these cases in Cleveland, in Boston, and in Phoenix explained perfectly why there is such a broad support for the idea of capital punishment. Since the Supreme Court affirmed the power of states to kill back in 1976, support for the death penalty has polled at over 60 percent.
The basic appeal of capital punishment from murderers is at least as old as the book of Exodus, but it`s not quite as popular in America today as it was a generation ago when crime rates were soaring.
That`s because the fear that almost exclusively drove public opinion back then is today at least partly rivaled by another emotion, doubt, which brings us to the case that should have been a big deal this week. Doubt is the reason that the Mississippi State Supreme Court intervened to the last minute on Tuesday to stop the execution of Willie Jerome Manning who is convicted nearly 20 years ago of killing two college students near Starkville, Mississippi.
The state came after the FBI and justice department both informed Mississippi officials the report from FBI examiners that was critical in winning Manning`s conviction included, quote, "statements that exceeded the limits of science." Manning may be guilty, and he may not be and there are a lot of cases like his.
Two years ago, the state of Georgia put to death 42-year-old Troy Anthony Davis, even though, most witnesses who testified against him had recanted, even though there was no physical evidence linking him to the scene of the crime, even though there was strong evidence of police mishandling in the case, and even though one of the witnesses who testified against Davis may himself had confessed to the crime.
There were also clear cut cases of totally, completely innocent people being sent to death row. It`s been nearly 15 years since Anthony Porter came within 50 hours of being executed in Illinois, only to be exonerated and freed literally at the last possible moment. That story shook the state`s governor, a Republican named George Ryan who saw Porter walked free, turned to his wife, and asked, "how the hell was that happened?"
A few years later, in his order with his final act as a governor, Ryan commuted every death sentence in the state to life in prison, and nearly a decade after that, Illinois out lawed capital punishment all together, a step that other states, some other states, had followed. Last year, it was Connecticut, and just last week, it was Maryland.
So, let`s pick it up on Maryland, and Kirk, you`re from Maryland. And you have the experience we were just talking about, a totally completely innocent person who was sent to death row who was exonerated. You have the governor of Maryland, Martin O`Malley a Democrat, who -- this was his second attempt to outlaw the death penalty. The first one failed. He pushed forward with it.
Public opinion not really on his side to believe the polls, and I guess, what I kind of think of when I look at this is, imagine if this story we`re talking about in Cleveland right now where there`s so much outrage and the idea of having the death penalty for Ariel Castro is very, I think, distinctively very popular to people.
If that had played out or something like that were playing out in Baltimore right now in the face about Martin O`Malley for outlawing capital punishment, what would you tell the governor? What`s the message to voters who look at a case like Castro and say we want the ultimate punishment for this? What`s the message then to say no?
KIRK BLOODSWORTH, FMR. DEATH ROW INMATE: Well, I have to tell you there`s been 142 individuals in the United States that have been exonerated from death row. I think we have 300 plus DNA exonerations in the United States. We really have a problem. The policy has failed us by large part, and I would tell any governor that this is the time we have to think, and when crimes of this nature happens, it`s a real heavy thing and people are going make choices.
But we need not make too hastily a choice. I always tell people, you cannot -- you know we`re in a place that we talk about the polls and everything like that. You cannot climb over an innocent man to kill the guilty.
KORNACKI: It is--we should say, I guess, the story in Maryland probably isn`t finished yet either, because the supporters of capital punishment now want to have a referendum on the ballot, I guess, next year. And like I`m saying, you have the political will of the governor right now on the side of outlawing it, but the popular will to believe all the polls we see, you know, capital punishment still polls at 60 percent plus.
BLOODSWORTH: That`s their right, you know, to have this referendum that you`re talking about. But honestly, the people have already spoken. I mean, the senators, it was 27-20 vote out of the Senate and 82-55 at the Maryland house. We cannot, you know, say the people have spoken. They had elected these officials, and of course, they have that right for the referendum, but the people have said what they want.
ED PILKINGTON, THE GUARDIAN: What strikes me is that there`s a wind of change coming across America, but it`s coming across the north. And increasingly, death row is shrinking down into the Deep South. And I think that`s going to be really problematic going forward because your increasingly two countries within one. What we saw in Mississippi with this case, four hours before he`s due to be executed, the - eventually, that was a stay.
On the back of the FBI and the Department of Justice making multiple pleas, admitting that they got it all wrong. I mean, it really went to the wire. And the fact that Mississippi Supreme Court, just a few days before his execution, ruled that there should not be DNA testing in this case. I think it was fairly jaw dropping.
So, I think what`s happening in the south, you got a judiciary that`s increasingly willing to go ahead with executions. And in the north, a political classes increasingly unwilling to go ahead with it.
KORNACKI: It is fascinating to look at that. We just put the map on the screen to the states that have outlawed it, and you see really the red state/blue state divide starting to creep into the death penalty, but I guess, what I wonder is, we have the case in Mississippi this week where there`s doubt. We have the case in Georgia that, the Troy Davis` case I talked about, where there`s clearly doubt.
But then what happens in situations where there really isn`t doubt? When, you know, I think the people look at, you know, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston right now. Now, you`ll have a trial and we`ll see what happens there, but I think most people look at that and say, there isn`t much doubt here what this guy did. You couldn`t do anything worse than what this guy did and how is death not the appropriate punishment for that, for killing others?
CHRISTINA SWARNS, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: You know, I think in those cases, I think we have to be careful. I would bet that Kirk would say at the time that he was prosecuted and I bet the 125 other people on death row would say at the time that they were prosecuted. The prosecutors, the public at large were saying this is a very clear cut case of guilt. This is a person that`s definitely, absolutely, unquestionably guilty.
You know, in the excitement and the anxiety and the upset of what are unquestionably brutal, terrible crimes, mistakes are made and we know that. There`s no question about that. Not only are people convicted that are innocent, you see prosecutorial misconduct, you see mistakes made by the police department, you see constitutional error over and over and over again in capital cases in the United States.
So, certainly, you know, these are terrible crimes that call for punishment. But I think what we have learned is because there is so much error when you`re talking about the death penalty, it`s something different and you have to be more careful, and of course, in my view, we shouldn`t even have the death penalty.
FMR. REP. PATRICK MURPHY, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: But I think that`s --I mean --I`m a person who believes that the death penalty can be a deterrent, and it should be a deterrent, but that`s why we need to have reform. And, you know, I understand what just happened in Maryland last week. But you just think four years ago, we had the D.C. sniper who killed ten people, who had the whole region in lockdown, and he was put to death four years ago in 2009.
When cases like that where it`s very clear and convincing there`s forensic evidence. And in these type of cases, when I argue for reform because I do believe it can be a detriment, that we need to make it the highest priority, where to case where it has national or statewide significance. Not just a case where it`s sensational like Jodi Arias or what`s going on elsewhere, but a case where it had national significance, I think, we absolutely need to move forward with the death penalty.
KORNACKI: Well I (INAUDIBLE), because ultimately, this is still a political question and we see in Maryland, it could be, you know, very obviously a political question if this is on the ballot, but you also have elected officials who are answering to a public and when there are cases like the sniper or when there cases like Boston, those elected officials are probably taking into account, you know, that public grounds well for we really want these people to pay.
I want to ask -- you know, we have Patrick here, former member of Congress, I want to ask how you balance what Christina raised with that public desire for the ultimate justice when we come back.
KORNACKI: So, I was talking about how this is, in a lot of ways, a political question, and it strikes me the last time there was a presidential candidate who ran who was basically unequivocally openly opposed to capital punishment, it produced sort of an iconic moment in presidential (ph) politics, in death penalty politics. I want to play that clip right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF BERNARD SHAW, DEBATE MODERATOR: Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?
GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS, (D-MA) THEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don`t, Bernard and I think you know that I opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don`t see any evidence that it`s a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.
We`ve done so in my own state and its one of the reasons why we have had the biggest drop in crime of any industrial state in America, why we have the lowest murder rate of any industrial state in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I mean, so that moment gets a lot of attention and people look back on that, but I don`t think that`s the reason Michael Dukakis lost in 1988, but obviously, people look that -- it really got to the heart of the emotional appeal of the idea of capital punishment. People just think of crimes where it`s either personalized like that or where the evidence seems to be so clear cut that it cries out for, you know, that kind of punishment.
And I just wonder how in the political arena you can balance that sort of instinct that people has, you know, if it was my wife, if it was my child with, you know, especially in cases where it`s clear cut. And Kirk, what would you --
BLOODSWORTH: I have to say that, you know, trying a case and, you know, through politics is really not the way to go. You know, we have to really watch ourselves when we try cases from a bully pulpit, so to speak. Probably, Mr. Dukakis, probably, lost because he was in a tank in running across the road, or -- but, you know, and I`ve seen all the Willie Horton ads.
My thing is that we cannot go forward and put people in the limelight when we don`t even know the facts yet about a case, you know? You`re talking about when we`re really are sure about something. You know, I had five identification witnesses positively identified me as the last person. I had one of the smartest prosecutors in the state of Maryland, judges, really concerned citizens, but in the end, they were all wrong.
And we`re going to get to this point one time where we`re going to make the mistake if it hadn`t already happened, you know, with like Troy Davis and others that -- and how can we pull it back. I`m just going to say this real quickly, you--Freddy Pitts (ph) who used to be a board of director, a chairman of the board at Witness of Innocence, he said it this way. "You can free an innocent man from prison, but you can`t free him from the grave," and this is what we really have to worry about.
KORNACKI: Maybe that`s seems to be that`s part of the challenge of death penalty opponents is making the case that, you know, just not having a death penalty and having life in prison isn`t going easy on anybody.
MURPHY: And that`s what--this is my point. I mean, listen, I don`t sit here and calling colleagues and say I`m for the death penalty. I mean, I was in Congress for four years, you know, when as someone who prosecuted terrorists, who`s -- as a federal prosecutor and I look at this and say it`s not a deterrent right now in America and it needs reform.
And so, the easiest thing to do is for Michael Dukakis say, well, it`s not only a deterrent the evidence and the evidence does shows it`s not really, because we haven`t, the Congress of United States and the state legislatures, but especially the Congress hasn`t taken the initiative to really look at this thing and say, is this really the right thing to do or we make it to deterrent? Yes.
Did it work for Timothy McVeigh? Absolutely. You know, that was right away done the right way. It would have worked probably for Bin Laden if we have brought him back alive. Yes, probably. But in my case, at least how I see it, as someone who is a devout catholic, and I look at the life issue and I happen to be pro-choice, so I get beat up from the left or -- I get beat up from the right on that one.
But there`s no real people saying, well, let`s reform this thing, let`s make it happen, because there`s not the political will, but to me, when I look at, you know, the commandments, the Ten Commandments, the fifth commandment, you shall not kill, well, that means, basically, murder in the catholic faith. You cannot commit murder. And so in my case where -- or in my view, the death penalty isn`t murder if it`s used as a deterrent. St. Thomas Aquinas said --
KORNACKI: Could it ever be -- when we say a deterrent, that`s what I kind of wonder, because we have this -- to me, if it`s going to be a deterrent, it has to be something that`s carried out what relatively swiftly, in a lot of cases, people really get the message, but the lesson of the last 20 years, cases like yours Kirk, seems to be that if you isolated to a few cases like Bin Laden or something, OK, you have a good chance of not executing somebody innocent, but the wider it`s used, the more likely it`s going to be somebody --
MURPHY: But most of these cases aren`t being done there right away. I mean, there`s not the highest priority from these cases. I mean, my argument for reform is, if you put the highest priority on both sides of the aisle where you have not just witness statements, you had DNA, you have the forensics that prove it, but also, you have the best attorneys on the other side and the full weight of the justice system on both sides going at each other for true justice.
Remember, those who advocate for the death penalty including, you know, folks of the catholic faith. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "The death penalty should not be used for vengeance, it should be used for deterrent to prevent others from being killed." The deterrent aspect is the key aspect to this argument, and I will agree with everyone on this panel.
It is not really deterrent right now, but unless, we reform it to make it, then I would agree with you. But, in my opinion, you could reform it to continue to make it or to make it more of a deterrent.
KORNACKI: I see Ed wants to address that, and I wanted, too, right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. Patrick was just talking about the death penalty as a deterrent. Ed, you wanted to say?
PILKINGTON: Well, you were talking about reforming and about speeding up the process. There is a state that`s currently in the process of speeding up the process. It`s called Florida. They`ve just introduced a law to introduce -- to bypass many of the hurdles and go straight for the execution. Problem with Florida is they have the highest rate of exonerations from death row in the country, 24 out of 130 that Kirk told about.
And, you know, that`s kind of makes my point, and there`s a bit of an European in me, I have to admit, that wells up in a discussion like this because what we -- come back to the basic point we`re discussing should we or should we not kill a person.
And I`ve sat in many courts over and around (ph) the country for many death row cases, and I`ve heard the country`s top lawyers just like you say, you know, the best legal minds in the country coming together to discuss the question, shall we kill this man? And for me, that`s just like -- that`s so primitive. The country that is the -- that calls itself in many ways, I think, is the greatest country in the world has this extremely primitive need to kill people.
Aren`t we, you know, reducing ourselves to the level of those people we`re actually confronting?
KORNACKI: And there`s -- so we -- you talk about Florida and we talked about the regional divider earlier where sort of in the south, in a lot of red states, you have the death penalty. There`s also disparity even in states in north that have a death penalty versus states in south that have a death penalty (ph), which is frequently they use it.
Texas also comes to mind as a state that uses a lot. There`s a famous clip I really want to show this. This is from two years ago when Rick Perry was asked in a debate about the 234 executions in Texas. This is what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOICE OF BRIAN WILLIAMS, DEBATE MODERATOR: Your state has executed 234 death row inmates more than any other governor in modern times. Have you --
WILLIAMS: What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?
GOV. RICK PERRY, (R-TX) THEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Americans understand justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I mean, there`s been a fair amount of attention say to the possibility that at least one innocent person was among those 234 executed in Texas, and yet, the instinctive response of, you know, sort of the red state America crowd there, Christina, was to applaud?
SWARNS: Well, we can -- I`d be happy to talk about Texas justice. I currently represent a gentleman who was on death row in Texas named Dwayne Buck (ph). He was sentenced to death after a psychologist presented testimony on cross-examination by the prosecutor, indicating that Mr. Buck was likely to be dangerous in the future because he`s Black. Period.
We did further investigation, and we found out that in Harris County that`s Houston, at the time of this trial, the DA`S office was more likely to seek the death penalty for African-Americans like Mr. Buck, and Harris County juries were twice as likely to impose death sentences on African-Americans like Mr. Buck.
There was a long, long history of racial discrimination in the administration of the death penalty in Texas, and that literally goes back to the beginning of the death penalty in Texas. In fact, there`s never been a time in Texas where there hasn`t been a problem in terms of the way it has been administered. There has been a race of victim of disparity. There`s been race of defendant disparity.
There is an unbroken record in Texas in terms of being a problem of racial disparity and disproportionality in the administration of the death penalty. So, Texas, has nothing to be proud of.
And today, right, we have the attorney general and the DA`S office pursuing Mr. Buck`s execution despite the fact that United States --now a U.S. senator --then Texas attorney general, John Cornyn, promised that in the face of this kind of racial discrimination, Mr. Buck would get a new fair sentencing. They`ve gone back on that promise and they are actively fighting to see Mr. Buck executed.
KORNACKI: And this was -- this is part of the story in many cases in Mississippi, too, right? The evidence that we`re alluding to in the intro of it would be the feds basically said we cannot vouch for the scientific accuracy, but that was in FBI investigator saying that he could say clearly that the hair removed from the scene, he could say which race the person it came from. And now, the federal government is saying, no, no, we can`t stand by that anymore.
BLOODSWORTH: That`s failed science. Hair comparison testing never has worked. There`s been so many different things involved. And they wrote a report and told them that there were errors in this testing. There`s not even -- it`s not even that, the science is junk. Hair comparison testing is sent many a man and person to jail. I knew -- I have a friend of mine, that`s how he went to jail, Chris Connor (ph) from the state of Maryland.
He had two head hairs. Both of them were not his, but they were two different. They tried to say they were his, and they`re beginning demanded like 19 years in prison for a crime he didn`t commit. I think we really need to take pause here and do the right thing.
SWARNS: And I think that Kirk`s point is really important because speeding it up doesn`t get us past the fact that there are mistakes going to be made, right? That actually increases the likelihood, frankly, that mistakes are going to be made when you talk about moving up, you know, the pace of the process. Even in a streamlined death penalty system, mistakes are going to be made, because ultimately, human beings are administering this process, right?
Biases like racial discrimination are going to come in. Biases like extreme emotions in the face of really offensive and horrible acts are going to come in. Mistakes are going to be made no matter how you structure and frame this system. And because you cannot be sure like in Texas that someone is going -- you know, that isn`t going to be killed who is innocent, you can`t -- you just can`t continue to have this penalty.
KORNACKI: I want to ask if we`re maybe at a key turning point in history right now in terms of the politics of the death penalty because there`s something particularly striking about the fact that it`s Martin O`Malley doing this in Maryland. I want to get into that after this.
KORNACKI: So, the fact that it`s Martin O`Malley in Maryland who is sort of leading the way in that state to abolish capital punishment is interesting to me because I think everybody knows Martin O`Malley is interested in running for president in 2016. And we play that clip from Dukaki`s earlier, you know, being part of with the death penalty question in 1988.
Everybody kind of thinks he flubbed that -- the sort of next example after that, sort of maybe notorious example is Bill Clinton running in 1992, sort of trying to be the anti-Dukakis, and during the primary was a man on death row in Arkansas that named (ph) Ricky Ray Rector who had very limited mental abilities. He had killed a police officer, he had turned the gun on himself, and he basically, I think one report I read, basically, there`s the equivalent of being lobotomized.
And Bill Clinton took a break from the campaign trail in 1992 to sign off on the execution of Ricky Ray Rector. And it just strikes me, you know -- I know it still polls. The death penalty still polls and 60 percent, overall, but I seems, maybe, we`ve reached a new point now where if you`re an ambitious Democrat at least from one of those blue states, the correct position now politically, at least, is to oppose capital punishment. It`s now safe to do that in a way maybe it wasn`t a generation ago.
SWARNS: I think that`s right. I know that we`re at an all-time low in terms of support for the death penalty in this country. And I think that`s reflective of the phenomenon of the innocence movement, right, the exposing over the last 15 years of people being condemned to death who are innocent. It`s also a product of the cost, right? We are in a very, you know, tough economic times, and death penalty prosecutions, death penalty defenses are very expensive cases.
And so, it`s hard to justify in terms of cost. It`s also, of course, hard to justify in terms of deterrent effect. We just don`t see it as Governor O`Malley commented on in his remarks he said, you know, you see the states with the death penalty have higher, you know, homicide rates than states without it. And so, there really isn`t a clear justification to support it or certainly not a political need to run on it.
BLOODSWORTH: In Maryland, it was so obvious that from juror just -- it was applied differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Gov. O`Malley appointed me on -- I was one of the commissioners that studied capital punishment back in 2008, and we found out so much, so many different problems with the death penalty.
Economic disparity, racial disparity, I mean from one county to another couldn`t apply it well. The policies failed, and it`s failed for America. Honestly, the death penalty hasn`t protected or deterred any of these things that happened in the United States and it never will.
MURPHY: I would just argue the execution of the policy has failed. In my argument --
PILKINGTON: You mentioned 2016. It`s interesting about the only state outside of the dEEP south is really quite keen on the death penalty still is Ohio. So, obviously, a big swing state for a presidential election. So, that could be quite interesting to see how it plays out.
KORNACKI: Although, Patrick from Pennsylvania, from a swing district in Pennsylvania. We talked about maybe the incentives in the Democratic Party now lining up for opposing capital punishment, but what was your experience with that running in, really, a swing district in Pennsylvania?
MURPHY: I had people that cared deeply about they`re anti the death penalty on a Democratic -- and that`s where most, I would say, democratic base are against the death penalty. But at least with me, I was always straight with everybody. Whether you agree with me or not, I`m straight with everybody. And I think it can be a deterrent if it`s reformed.
And I think a lot of folks would agree with me, but I think those folks who don`t agree with the death penalty, there`s no Michael Bloomberg there. Maybe, there will be. But until there`s a game changer like that -- and I -- that`s really cold. But I think that`s potentially what needs to happen on the other side. And, that`s just a reality of politics.
KORNACKI: Well, if there is a Michael Bloomberg doing anti-death penalty ads, Kirk, ought to be starring in them. I can say that for sure.
KORNACKI: Anyway, I want to thank Ed Pilkington of "The Guardian" newspapaper, exonerated death row inmate, Kirk Bloodsworth, Christina Swarns from the NAACP legal and educational fund.
Austerity debunked in destroying our economy, that`s next.
KORNACKI: In a speech in Texas on Thursday, President Obama sought to put job creation and economic growth back on the national political agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re poised for a time of progress if we`re willing to seize it. Not even five years after the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, our jobs market, our housing market, are steadily healing. Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in decades.
The American auto industry has made a comeback, it`s thriving. American Energy is booming. But we`ve got to keep on moving forward. And we got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we`re making progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But self-inflicted wound may be the best way to classify the nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction that Republicans and even Obama, himself, have implemented over the last two years through the 2011 budget control act, the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012, and most recently, the automatic spending cuts knows as the sequester.
Basic economic theory not to mention the painful real world experience of our current lackluster recovery tells us that austerity is suppressing demand and needlessly restraining growth. That evidence has largely been ignored by elite opinion-shapers this past four years at least until now. On Wednesday, "The New York Times," the country`s paper of record surveyed non-partisan economic analysts and private sector financial advisors.
Their unanimous consensus, America`s deficit reduction policies are harming the recovery. Private sector has been steadily gaining jobs since early 2010. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.5 percent, the lowest for the Obama presidency. But that number could be much lower, economists say, if the federal and state governments hadn`t shed as many public sector jobs as they have since the official end of the recession in 2009.
As the times grow (ph),the nation`s unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011. In prior recoveries, everyone they`ve gone through (ph) since 1970, the government has added on average 1.7 million public sector jobs according to a new study issued this week.
But in this current recession and recovery, public sector employment has actually decreased by more than 500,000 jobs. So, this current recovery look anything like the previous recoveries, but the austerity crowd hasn`t made draconian cuts and public spending that force massive government lay-offs.
We might have as many as 2.2 million more people working right now. But the elite consensus on austerity is starting to shift but still no signs it`s having an effect on top Republicans in Washington as House speaker, John Boehner, indicated just after that "Time" story appeared this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: What the president doesn`t seem to understand is that it`s his policies that are undermining economic growth and job creation. I`m running a small business. There`s no surprise to me that the economy is struggling. We`ve had four years of slow, anemic economic growth and job growth, and frankly, it`s unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: I want to bring in MSNBC contributor, Jared Bernstein, former chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, now a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Heather McGhee, vice president of the progressive think-tank, Demos, Josh Barro, columnist with "Bloomberg View," and Lori Montgomery, economic policy reporter for the "Washington Post."
Josh, I guess, the striking thing to me about what Boehner said there is you have this story in the "New York Times" that`s basically saying -- not just economist saying -- wall street investor class is saying austerity isn`t working. The deficit cutting in the last four years isn`t working. It`s harming the economy. If that won`t move John Boehner, if that won`t move Republicans, what will?
JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Nothing. And the reason is that everyone is fighting over this short term issue about what do we do to grow the economy and coming out of a deep recession, but really, their eyes are on this long term goals about how big the government should be and what it should do.
So, I think both the right and the left view this as an opportunity to shift government policy in the direction of either more or less spending for the long term. And so, even though, fiscal austerity causes short term economic pain, I think Republicans are -- they want it because they hope to achieve permanent reductions in the size of government, and so, it`s similar at the state level.
So, when you have governments shrinking head count, maybe some of the jobs that are going unfilled are things that the government shouldn`t have been doing in the first place, but it was the wrong time to cut those jobs, but the focus is more on getting the shrinking of government that we want rather than doing it at the right time.
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I want to just to amplify that and raise a kind of an interesting -- what I think is an interesting question about where we are right now. I think Josh is absolutely right. Folks are not be driven by the kinds of kind of rational Keynesian economics that you just outlined in your introduction.
They`re being driven by a desire to use deficit anxiety, kind of get everybody`s hair on fire about the budget deficit so that we can slash and burn the size of government. What`s interesting now is that as the deficit really comes down and the "Time" article is indicative of this, people just aren`t able to say as much. Lori has written about this as well.
Oh, you know, we`re looking at, you know, horrible budget deficits. We have to cut everything right away. And so, their kind of main talking point is coming out from under them and what you see in the rooms of that is an economy that should be growing considerably quicker than it is.
KORNACKI: We have the chart. I just want to put it up on the screen. So, these are deficits from October -- for the October to April period. If you look over the last five years, this is sort of the big news at the last few weeks as you look at the projections. These projections have ended up being, you know, pretty dead on in the past. I mean, you look at that, that`s a really steep drop just this year.
Enough that actually we keep hearing about, you know, the next debt ceiling deadline, and now, it sounds like the next debt ceiling deadline is going to be pushed all the way into the fall because these numbers coming in so much lower than expected. And I guess, when I look at this, I say, I guess, that`s impressive in a way, but also, if we had not had austerity for the last two years, if we had had more stimulus instead, we`ve had more growth and be positioned for more oppressive deficit reduction right now with more people working in paying taxes.
LORI MONTGOMERY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, that`s a good question. And you have to sort of wonder at what point do we declare the deficit reduction crisis over? I mean, were -- as Jared and I were discussing before the show, on the trajectory we`re on now, if we keep the sequester which is looking increasingly likely to me, within three years, we`re at a point where the deficit is at a sustainable level.
The debt will be growing no faster than the economy. So, you kind of have to wonder, we get through this next debt limit and there`s really no crisis to gin up the kind of stuff that we`ve been seeing for cutting and raising taxes.
HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: And of course, what we`re left with is the ongoing job crisis where we still won`t get back to the kind of employment that this country deserves until 2020 at the current rate. So, I mean, this has always been the problem with this strange moment in history in which we`re in an unemployment crisis.
We have a party that is, you know, is dead set on shrinking government is supposed to be the party of growth but has stopped caring about growth because of political aims is taking aim at the deficit while not wanting to raise the taxes or grow the economy that would be the fairest and most popular way to actually reduce the deficit. And what we`re left with is that millions of people are suffering because of the political gain that the party has been playing.
BERNSTEIN: I always thought that the biggest problem we face in the near term, Josh emphasized the near team, is not the budget deficit, it`s the jobs deficit. So, now, the budget deficit is coming down and the jobs deficit is still staring us in the face. Does policy pivot -- does Congressional policy pivot from the budget deficit to the jobs deficit? And as Heather and I would like to see and the answer is probably no.
MCGHEE: Not if the president gets credit for any kind of job growth.
KORNACKI: Well, that`s it. So, we have that Boehner clip from the beginning where, right now, none this is rubbing off on Republicans. Republicans still control the House of Representatives. They still can filibuster anything in the Senate. So, I want to ask that question, will this, you know, sort of the lead (ph) consensus trickle down to the political system at all, and if it doesn`t, then what? We`ll get into that after this.
KORNACKI: So, Republicans have opposed the idea of stimulus for the entirety of the Obama era, but Republicans have not always opposed stimulus. Very, very recently, relatively speaking in the George W. Bush years, they saw -- stimulus when the economy was going in the wrong direction.
So, I guess, I do wonder, well aware, obviously, of the polarization of the gridlock right now, but I do wonder, is there a scenario when Republicans would go back to being the Republicans of, say, 2007.
MONTGOMERY: I think that`s hard to see right now. I mean, they have so much built their identity about shrinking government. The whole Grover Norquist, get it small enough to drown in a bathtub thing is totally what they`re about. And, at this point, actually, I think Grover is less influential than like the club for growth which is punishing these guys if they`re talking about any kind of spending without, you know, forget about paying for it, any kind of spending, period.
I mean, they want to see tax cuts and they want to see government go down. And this is their entire identity at this moment. And it`s very strange, Jared and I were talking about this before the show, why this has between the reaction in the wake of a financial crisis that was caused, you know, here on Wall Street. Why has it been a right-wing reaction?
BERNSTEIN: There`s another piece of this, though. You said, when the economy is going down, well, the economy is actually going up. It`s going up too slowly, but the idea that you could say, you know, we`re headed into recession which is, by the way, when George W. Bush got behind a stimulus that actually, you know, passed and ended up with, you know, 150 billion going out, that one of the problems for stimulus is that, you know, the economy is improving but it`s improving very unequally.
It`s doing pretty darn well at the top. You look at the stock market on a tear, but for middle and low-income workers, it`s not going very well. So, the macro numbers point in a different way than they did when we`re headed into a recession.
BARRO: I think the economy is actually doing better than we can reasonably expect it to be doing given the fiscal policies that have been coming out of Washington. And I think a lot of people fought that this year we`d see real weakness in job growth and economic growth driven by the sequester cuts and the fiscal cliff, the old both of which were, I think, it was a point and a half of GDP --
BERNSTEIN: But that`s the macro economy, right? I mean --
BERNSTEIN: If you`re talking about like middle income paychecks or something --
KORNACKI: But didn`t we see -- did we see it in the job numbers, too, this year, because when you look at the most recent report and the revisions, it looks like we had a lot more job growth in the first month or two of the year than we`ve had since then.
BARRO: Well, the more recent months will have revisions on so we won`t know yet. The spring looks better than the last two springs did when we had declines in job growth compared to other parts of the year. And I credit the Federal Reserve for this. I think that a lot of the malfeasance that we`ve seen from Congress has been offset by a very aggressive monetary policy that is basically picking up the slack for them.
That`s the difference between us and Europe where, in Europe, you`re seeing austerity driving economies back into recession partly because their central bank is not taking action to offset that. So, I think the deficit numbers we`re seeing now we should remember are good news. The reason the deficit numbers are coming in lower than anticipated is because government is receiving more tax receipts than it expected which means the economy -- I mean, it could be a lot worse --
KORNACKI: What will it took like, though, if the sequester is here to stay, if there`s no further stimulus? What are we looking after the next couple of years?
MCGHEE: I think we`re looking at anemic job growth, but also, I think Jared is really right to raise the question of what kind jobs? I mean, yesterday, in Detroit, a place that has seen the most amazing transformation from sort of the birth place of the middle class to a place where there`s been depopulation, obviously, a huge increase in poverty and also a real replacement with those middle class jobs which were, let`s remember, not high-skilled educated jobs but were the sort of jobs of today being replaced by low wage under paid fast-food jobs.
And this week 400 by last count workers at fast-food restaurants across the city walked out and went on strike, which is unbelievable to think that people who have no union protection, who are living and working in an industry where most Americans say, yes, those are low wage jobs, but the fact is those are the jobs that are replacing the middle class jobs in our economy.
So, those jobs are our future American jobs. So, if we don`t make them better, we don`t have a middle class.
BERNSTEIN: Two points that are coming out of this conversation, I think, are critically important. One is kind of where we`re headed we`re just going, which is, yes, when you talk about the economy getting better and I totally agree on the macroeconomics and even on the employment points that Josh -- you really have to ask for whom is the economy getting better, because it`s not getting better for everyone.
This inequality problem is back. You know, it`s kind of maybe submerged a little bit -- anyway, that`s one -- number two, and you maid this point earlier. There is a connection between the, quote, "good numbers" we`re seeing on the deficit, deficit reduction, and the weakness in the economy, because fiscal policy is actually pushing the wrong way. That makes the budget deficit looked better, but it doesn`t help enough on the jobs deficit.
KORNACKI: There`s something interesting that I think is related to this that struck me this week and it`s related to what Lori has written about in the "The Washington Post" and it`s about a calculation, a very revealing calculation, I think, republicans have made in the last month. I want to talk about that after this.
KORNACKI: Hello from New York. I`m Steve Kornacki here with MSNBC contributor, Jared Bernstein, Heather McGhee from the progressive think-tank, Demos, Josh Barro of "Bloomberg View," and Lori Montgomery of "The Washington Post."
So, we were talking about what is not currently on the agenda in Washington, and that is, you know, more stimulus. But what is on the agenda, still supposedly, is this long elusive quest for a grand bargain, balanced long term fiscal deal where Obama would get further revenue increases and in exchange, Republicans would get these entitlement cuts that they had been seeking, or they had been seeking -- and that gets me to the point I was sort of teasing at the end of last hour.
And, Lori, I know you`ve written about this recently. But to set this up for months at least we heard Republicans saying the test of Obama seriousness in these discussions, the test of his seriousness as a president is his willingness to put Social Security and Medicare on the table. In the last month, we saw the president put Social Security on the table with chained CPI. And also, the Medicare a little bit too.
The reaction from Republicans I think has been revealing. The most famous one, I want to play this first. This is Greg Walden in Oregon. You`ve probably seen this. He runs the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.
This is what he said when Obama put it on the table and got serious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG WALDEN, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: His budget lays out a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. We haven`t seen all the detail yet, so we`ll look at it. But I`ll tell you when you`re going after seniors the way he`s done already on Obamacare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare to put in Obamacare and now, coming back at seniors again, I think you`re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And I want to play one more here. Paul Ryan who was sort of -- he was the gold standard, right, for Republican seriousness what was his reputation. This is Paul Ryan after President Obama made that proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS: Is it a positive sign, though, that he cracked the door at least on entitlement reform?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, I don`t know if I`d say he cracked the door on entitlement reform. He proposed to change the statistic which saves money. That`s really not entitlement reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: OK. It`s fascinating to me that, you know, the minute President Obama did what Republicans had been demanding of him in terms of putting entitlements on the table, they seem to be backing away from it.
And, Lori, you`re writing seems Republican leadership on Capitol Hill has a new target. It has nothing to do with entitlement reform, it`s tax reform. Now, they`re saying this is the new test. It`s tax reform.
LORI MONTGOMERY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, they`re super really it to, because tax reform is much more popular than cutting people`s entitlements.
So what happened was, right, Obama said fine. You want to cut entitlements I`m going to propose some entitlement cuts.
But when these guys had to defend the Ryan budget, which cuts Medicare in 10 years out and changes it into a voucher program, the way they defended this and sold it to their constituents to voters was by saying, well, we`re not going to hurt anyone for 10 years. We`re not going to touch your benefits now.
So this chained CPI thing comes out and realize, holy -- this is cutting people`s entitlements right away. We don`t want to say we support that. So, it sort of forced them to retreat and think about this -- yes, the president made an offer but we`re not sure we want to accept it.
KORNACKI: There`s tension in the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, right now, with the leadership sort of making the political calculation that you`re talking about but you do have the true believer Tea Party type members who are still -- who still want to really be going after entitlement programs.
MONTGOMERY: They all -- don`t get me wrong. I mean, they want to cut entitlement programs. They are very clear that the trajectory, you know, forget about the deficit today, it goes like that in the out-years. And the Republican Party has staked its claim to dealing with that problem. And to a certain extent they deserve some credit for that.
What they don`t want to do is get specific about how they would handle it other than this Ryan voucher Medicare thing, which is way far away and we can explain that. So, what you got now is, you know, yes, we want to deal with the problem. But we have no idea -- I mean, the Republican Party is in complete disarray right now because they don`t know how to respond. They don`t know what to do other than these vague platitudes about tax reform and entitlement reform. They don`t want to get specific because they don`t know how to sell it.
HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: They also have been all over the place in the past ten years. Think back to the Republican Party in 2003, which had a huge expansion of Medicare when it was popular. Remember who the base of the Republican Party is. It`s the people who are drawing on Medicare and Social Security, all right?
So that`s the lens we have to look at. And the other base of the Republican Party is a lot of corporate donors and big pharma and big insurance companies.
So, 2003 was kind of a sweet spot, right? They were able to give a little bit to Republican base voters in terms of giving a prescription drug benefit and then writing it in a way that was really good for the campaign donors. But then they went through 2010, you know, running ads saying that Obama has killed Medicare through Obamacare, right?
And then in 2011, you had Paul Ryan saying on the one hand Obama killed Medicare and then on the other hand, I want to end it as we know it not for you current or near retirees -- just for the strange people coming up and drawing on entitlements not Medicare or Social Security, but drawing on entitlements a generation or two in the future. And then we have them going back again to rejecting chained CPI, which, of course, was originally a Republican push and saying now we actually don`t want any of that. We just want tax reform.
JOSH BARRO, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I don`t think the Republicans really have a strategy on Social Security. I don`t think it`s correct to say they are wholesale chained CPI.
There`s Republicans in Congress who would like to take that. Part of the reason they`re not enthusiastic for it is, this political concern, because this is their base. But part of it is also, they don`t like what it`s packaged.
Chained CPI isn`t just a change to Social Security. It`s also a change to the tax code that would be a modest tax increase and Grover Norquist talked about how this is a tax increase and you can`t vote for it. And then, it also -- when the president puts out this deal with the entitlement cuts half the package is spending cuts and he also want tax increases to go with it. More tax increases on the wealthy, and the Republicans definitely don`t want to do that.
But I think since Social Security privatization sort of blew up in Republicans face in the middle of the last decade, politically, and then since then I think there`s also been a policy retrenchment on it where the Republicans have seen how badly the stock market did over the past few years, and no longer feel it`s as wise as a matter of policy to privatize Social Security. But with that policy gone, there`s no real Republican message about what old age income security should look like.
KORNACKI: Well, there`s still all the talk about Medicare, too -- in Paul Ryan, not just talk, there`s the Paul Ryan plan.
If you learned the lesson from Bush in Social Security, I don`t know how that party turns around and puts the Paul Ryan plan out there?
BARRO: Well, I think the difference with Medicare is that Medicare really is a genuine fiscal and sustainability problem. Social Security is about 5 percent of GDP now. It`s going to go up about to 6 percent and then stabilize.
So, there`s a little gap you need to close there. There are a lot ways you can do it.
Medicare, you really need aggressive cost control and both parties have ideas about how to do it.
KORNACKI: The costs are coming down, though. Right.
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: A lot of this to me is just an "Alice in Wonderland" discussion, I got to say, because it has very little to do with what`s really going on not just in the economy, as we discussed in the earlier segment, but in the fiscal accounts, because not only is the budget deficit coming down in the near term, but, you know, Lori made this kind of arc about the out-years in terms of the deficit, and there`s definitely something to that. But it`s actually under scrutiny right now, because health care costs are growing a lot more slowly than we thought that were.
Now, whether that`s a recessionary effect or whether that`s structural changes in how health care is delivered, but the congressional budget shaved half a trillion dollars off their 10-year debt forecast, because of slower health care cost growth. Part of that, by the way, is related to some of the cost savers that are in the Affordable Care Act.
So, if they are implemented and if they grow, it`s going to look a lot different. There will be a lot more oxygen in this debate than we have right now.
MCGHEE: And Medicare and Medicaid are more efficient than the private sector. The growth in the Medicare and Medicaid per enrollee is about 3 percent, 3.5 percent. Whereas, the growth in the private market has been about 5 percent.
You look at the fact that we have what basically the Republicans want, which is cost control in Medicare, without harming beneficiaries through the IPAB and they are refusing -- they are doing this great jujitsu where demagoguing on it as a death panel, right, and sort of -- getting sort of gains in voters through that but then also refusing to do what they say they want which is actually control spending through cost efficient delivery mechanisms that don`t actually hurt recipients.
So, they`re really actually -- I just can`t see a genuine with integrity through line in the position on Medicare or Social Security.
KORNACKI: But in all of it, I feel grew out of it. I`ve been figure out philosophically what the Republican Party is really looking for. This is sort of Tea Party -- it`s pretty clear. You talk about 2003 and the expansion of Medicare, and what that grew out of the Republican Party that thought Clinton -- Bill Clinton in the 1990s had won the compassion game. So, we need compassionate conservatism. They have the Karl Rove big government conservatism.
And what we`ve seen in the last two years is sort of a reaction to, well, they lost badly in 2008 and the conservative base of the party concluded, well, it`s because of the compassionate conservatism that gave conservatism a bad, we need purify it. We need to purify ourselves.
But I wonder, is there really anything philosophically at the heart of it, or is it just a party that`s going from one election and the other saying, we lost, we got to readjust. We won, we got to keep doing it. We lost, we got to readjust.
MONTGOMERY: I don`t know. But I think the other thing that`s happening is that`s why they are focusing on tax reform, because this is something that they can all rally around. Let`s lower tax rates, let`s get rid --
BERNSTEIN: How can they do tax reform -- how can they do tax reform if they won`t accept any new revenues?
MONTGOMERY: Why do they have -- of course they can do tax reform without new revenue. What do you mean?
BERNSTEIN: Because tax reform as far as Democrats are concerned involves accepting some new revenues in the deal. So, if your tax reform says we will never accept any revenues, it is not tax reform, it is a recipe for further gridlock. I mean, do you disagree with that?
MONTGOMERY: `86 was revenue neutral. 1986 tax reform is revenue neutral.
And the Republican argument, of course, is accept it or don`t is, let`s do tax reforms, let`s lower the rates, it will unleash growth.
KORNACKI: This gets to the basic impasse that we`ve had since Republicans won the House in 2010, and that is the Democrats are looking for ways to raise revenue, to bring more revenue in, and Republicans have a base that absolutely won`t let them do that.
I do want to ask, where -- if anywhere we`re going on tax reform, or if we`re going anywhere at all with any of these fiscal talks this year -- I want to get into that after this.
KORNACKI: So my big question on tax reform is what is the point of tax reform because it seems to me that Democrats and the Obama administration maybe are open to it because they looked at every other avenue of getting more revenue and that`s been closed off to them. So, tax reform, maybe there`s a way to do it through that. And Republicans, again, it`s just this basic divide we`re talking about that we`ve seen in the last three years we`re not going to be giving any more revenue. So, it just seems -- to me, it seems like it`s another dead end.
And, by the way, tax reform happens like once every generation. It`s nothing you can`t just do in a couple of months. I mean, is there any point to it?
MONTGOMERY: -- 1986. I mean, I think what the political function of tax reform right now is to permit some Republicans like Dave Camp in the House to talk to Democrats like Max Baucus in the Senate about a way to get to a deal because the only way Republicans are ever going to agree to give Democrats more revenue is if they get something out of it in terms of lower rates.
So, that`s the function of it. Can they do sweeping tax reform? I don`t think a lot of people think that`s likely. But it let`s them at least start to talk about, we`re going to get some lower rates out of this, so maybe we can begin this conversation that gets us to a place that raises taxes and cuts entitlements.
BARRO: I think it makes sense to focus on tax reform. Now, I still think they probably won`t get it done. But I think the chances are better than something on a grand bargain on fiscal issues. And the reason for that is that there`s areas of genuine bipartisan consensus, both Republicans and Democrats recognize our tax system is screwed up in a number of ways.
We have an extremely high statutory rate, yet there`s so many loopholes in the code, so it doesn`t collect much money. On the individual side, there are all these tax preferences that distort the economy and require us to have higher tax rates than we would need if we have a broader tax base.
So, I think there is real opportunity to achieve a little bit of extra economic growth by making the tax code more efficient in ways that people in Washington can broadly agree on. It`s sort of similar to immigration in that way where there`s an elite consensus on both the right and left through better immigration policies we can have more economic growth and more wage growth.
So maybe Congress can get something done on this. I think it`s probably still going to fall victim to the political process but it`s more hopeful.
KORNACKI: We had tax reform in 1986. It was Reagan`s probably big second term achievement besides dodging the Iran/Contra stuff. But it was his big second term agreement, but I wonder, what did actually -- what did that mean to the average person you had tax reform in 1986? What did that mean to the economy? I mean, it probably helped accountants, navigate this new system, but what did that mean to anybody?
MCGHEE: It`s such a great point, Steve. I was thinking about this. I`m thinking, you know, this is my job to pay attention to this stuff. But if it weren`t my job, I would just be shaking my fist, because the obsession in Washington is with the federal budget and basically has no -- is paying no attention to families every day budget. And it`s like, what are we going to do with taxes? What are we going to do with spending?
And I know that those two ways to indirectly affect the macro economy. But the thing that are really keeping people up at night, child care, the cost of college, are just not on the agenda. And it`s so frustrating. If it weren`t my job, I would really have --
BERNSTEIN: I feel your pain. And I do think that what the problem that we have is -- I be if you ask all four of us what does Congress mean by tax reform, you`d get four different answers. I mean, to a lot of people on the Hill, I can tell you, Lori will back me up on this I think, to a lot of people on the Hill, Capitol Hill, tax reform means cutting taxes. All right? That`s what it means. I mean, that`s all they want to do is cut taxes.
They say they want to cut tax rates, but they say to broaden the base to help make up for the lost revenue. Revenue neutral tax reform means by definition somebody`s taxes go up. OK? That`s what it means.
You can have -- lower the rates, broaden the base, without raising somebody`s taxes. And as far as enough Republicans to block anything called tax reform, that`s not going to happen.
So unless there develops a kind of a taste, a kind of a compromise that would actually help clear out code in ways that Josh correctly suggested or needed, I don`t see it going anywhere.
MCGHEE: And let`s look what some Republicans are doing, some Republicans are doing at the state level when they go in to do tax reform. They are killing corporate and income taxes and raising the sales tax.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
MCGHEE: An incredibly regressive measure that they do in the name of economic growth at the top, that formula of economic growth. And so, I`m just -- I`m very concerned because Jared obviously raises the excellent point that somebody`s taxes have to go up and given the vision of the economy that the conservatives have right now that basically, the more money you have the more merit you have, as an individual that is going to be that people who are struggling already in this economy end up paying more.
BARRO: I think this is a well road block to tax reform.
In 1986, when we got a revenue neutral tax reform done -- the way it work was that they actually cut individual income taxes and they raised corporate income taxes, not by raising corporate tax rate, but by doing a lot to broaden the corporate tax base. Now, I don`t think that`s possible because I think there`s a consensus on both sides in Washington that we actually can`t really collect more corporate taxes than we do right now.
MCGHEE: Whoa, really?
BARRO: Or it wouldn`t be desirable. I don`t think -- I don`t think the Obama administration has any interest in revenue positive corporate tax reform. They would like revenue neutral corporate tax reform that gets to the rate down from about 35 to 28 by broadening the base.
MCGHEE: That is a sweeping success for corporate lobbyists. I`m sorry, but given the numbers of where corporate revenue is as a share of the economy and as a share of federal budget, the idea that there could be consensus with any intellectual integrity that we don`t need more corporate revenue, I just don`t buy it.
BARRO: I mean, when you do international comparisons with U.S. tax receipts, one thing that makes us look low on that is that about half of the businesses in the U.S. are organized such as they are taxed through the individual income tax code. That`s a big -- that`s a big tax savings.
MCGHEE: There are a lot of big U.S. multinational corporations that pay below 5 percent, an effective tax rate down to zero. I mean, you hear these reports regularly. And that`s because as Josh said earlier, there`s a huge gap between the statutory rate and what corporations actually pay.
Now, in order to get even revenue neutral, you would have to close that gap and that means that somebody in the corporate sector would be paying considerable more in taxes and that has blocked every reform. What we`re really talking about here is the Mitt Romney problem and the Paul Ryan problem.
Both of them said I have huge cuts in the tax rates and I`m going to make it up in ways that I`m not going to tell you about.
KORNACKI: Because if --
BERNSTEIN: If I`ve told you, you`d hate it.
KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Heather McGhee of the progressive think tank Demos, Josh Barro of "Bloomberg View" and Lori Montgomery of "The Washington Post", the president stands firm on Obamacare. That`s coming up next.
KORNACKI: President Obama kicked off his latest campaign yesterday to raise awareness about his signature achievement, one is that`s still being debated more than three years after its enactment. Critical deadlines for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are fast approaching and the White House wants Americans to know exactly what`s at stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you`re one of the tens of millions who of Americans who don`t have health insurance, beginning this fall, you`ll finally be able to compare and buy quality, affordable private plans that work for you.
OBAMA: If you already got health insurance, this is just enhanced it. And if you don`t, you`re going to be able to get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So far, Obamacare has survived a Supreme Court challenge in the 2012 election but the intensity of Republican opposition is hardly letting up.
House majority leader Eric Cantor announced on Twitter Wednesday that he will hold another vote to repeal Obamacare next week, making that nearly 40 attempts at repeal since the passage in 2010. Next day, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to President Obama, informing him of their refusal to nominate individuals to an advisory board created by the law to contain Medicare spending.
Boehner and McConnell also reiterated their support for killing Obamacare entirely. And Boehner was asked whether he thought there was a way to improve Obamacare which he called the law of the land briefly after the 2012 election and he had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don`t believe there`s a way to fix this and to make it acceptable to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: This came after the spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said on Monday that his party sees Obamacare as a driving issue in the 2014 midterms, said, quote, "The implementation of the law over the next year is going to reveal a lot of kinks, a lot of red tape, a lot of taxes, a lot of price increases, and a lot of people forced into health care that they didn`t anticipate. It`s going to be an issue that`s front and center for voters even in more tangible way than it was in 2010."
I want to bring in Sarah Kliff. She`s a health policy reporter for "The Washington Post," MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon Jr., also political at our center Web site thegrio.com. And returning to the table, we have MSNBC contributor and former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, Patrick Murphy.
And, Perry, I guess I`ll start with you because I`m a little confused, I guess, when I see Boehner talking this week, when I look at Republicans planning to make this the issue of 2014. We had the Supreme Court case, this got all the way appealed to the top and it was upheld. We had the 2012 election. This was a centerpiece issue in the presidential election. The president was re-elected, whether you like it or not as a Republican.
And then you had as we said very briefly after the election, John Boehner said it`s the law of the land. And yet, here we are, and rhetorically, we`re still in 2010.
PERRY BACON, JR., THEGRIO.COM: We`re going to (INAUDIBLE) 36 times, why not 37th?
KORNACKI: Try again.
BACON: The key thing here the Republican Party is divided on immigration, gay rights, divide on social issues. Obamacare is the one thing they can agree upon, like John Boehner has a hard time getting his members to agree where to go lunch. But he`s sure that when he has an Obamacare vote, it`s an issue where they can sort of mobilize, the governors agree, the base agrees, the congressmen agree.
And I think that`s this sort of -- this is the one thing they can push in 2014 where they are confident the conservatives are behind it.
KORNACKI: I wonder where -- the conservatives will be behind it -- I wonder where the public will be, because like we said, the implementation is going to start happening in the next year. We say implementation, what we`re talking about right now is setting up these health insurance exchanges. It`s people right now, a lot of people who don`t have insurance, aren`t covered through their employers will get it through these exchanges.
And, Sarah, Jonathan Cohn, who covers health care extensively for "The New Republic," he wrote about this implementation phase. And he said -- and this is somebody, he`s very supportive of the new law, but his assessment was, it`s not is going to work as well as many of us would like in the initial adjustment may not be easy. He`s saying, basically, get ready, this is going to be rougher even if it`s good in the end, it`s going to be a little rougher than we expect.
SARAH KLIFF, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I think that`s a fair assessment. We`ve seen the president in a news conference last week said there are going to be bumps in the road. When you talk about the task, we`re looking at it -- signing 30 million people up for health insurance, for private health insurance, something the government has never attempted before that, you know, the last time we did something comparable was 1965 with Medicare and Medicaid.
And, right now, there`s a poll last week -- 42 percent of Americans aren`t even sure if the health care law is standing. And, you know, I have these conversations all the time, if you`re not in Washington, following the day-to-day, most people don`t know what the law is supposed to do or if it`s going to work or if it was repealed by the Supreme Court.
So, I think there`s definitely a lot of work to do and you`re seeing with the press conference you showed earlier, the administration is really starting right now to do its outreach campaign and you`re going to see, I think a ramp up through October when open enrollment starts and that`s when you`re going to see a lot of the really intense attempts to get the word out.
FORMER REP. PATRICK MURPHY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I was going to say, Sarah is absolutely right. There are going to be hiccups. The president has acknowledged that.
But if you take the long view of this, there were hiccups when the Bush administration passed Medicare part D. There were stories saying this is going to be the downfall, et cetera. It`s not true, because people understand it`s going to take some time.
But also, look at Medicaid and Medicare. When Medicare was passed under President Johnson, the majority of the senators, the Republican senators, were again it. Ronald Reagan, George Bush came out and said it was socialized medicine, one of the most popular programs in American history. So, when you take the long view of Obamacare, there`s no doubt this will be a popular program. It will save lives.
And I do want to say one last thing. When you hear the stories people like Barbara Stakes (ph), who is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 58 years of age, who had a seizure disorder. She basically lost her job and lost health insurance. She`s not eligible yet for Medicare.
She`s one of the folks that will fall through the gaps that will now be covered if the states do the right thing because the point earlier -- passed the 2012 elections and the Supreme Court. What the Supreme Court did, a huge hole when it comes to Medicaid expansions. It allowed states to opt-out.
KORNACKI: You don`t have to take Medicaid.
So, you know, you lay that history there and say Medicare was eventually accepted by everybody in the political system. Are we sure we`re on that same trajectory? And I ask because the success of the implementation requires getting really young, healthy people enrolled in this, because that brings -- you need the healthy people in the risk pool that`s going to keep the costs manageable. If they are not enrolled, if they say cheaper for me, you know, healthy, young, 24-year-old guy to -- that`s not me, that`s somebody --
KORNACKI: You know, healthy young guy to pay the penalty instead of getting, you know, you can`t get the bare bones insurance option any more. You`re going to get a more comprehensive, are we sure this is going to --
KLIFF: You can get bare bones for under 30, under the health care law. It would be catastrophic.
KORNACKI: Yes. See, I don`t even -- I got to learn.
KLIFF: So you`re part of the 42 percent.
KLIFF: I would say the administration did think about this and thought about the fact they really do need these young people, the kind of the key, these people we call the young invincibles, because they think, you know, they haven`t had health problems they don`t need insurance. So, they created a catastrophic option that`s available to Americans under 30.
So, only young Americans will be able to get it. And the idea is, it will be a lower premium that kind of entice them into the risk pool.
MURPHY: And the political thing -- I`m sorry, Jared.
BERNSTEIN: It`s key.
MURPHY: The political thing is people that are younger that are invincible and Republicans are trying to say, look, they`re going to make you get health insurance. And if you don`t get it, they`re going to tax you. It`s a fee. It`s a free-holder.
You know how much it is next year in 2014? Ninety-five dollars. Imagine saying, if you don`t want to opt-in, but $95 if you don`t, because we should all be in this together.
BERNSTEIN: Just one of the rules about health insurance and it is a "we`re in this together" kind of function is that, at the end of the day, basically in any kind of health insurance pool that works, you have the healthy subsidizing the ill, so you really do need those young folks in there.
One of the problems we haven`t hit on right now is that Congress, particularly Republicans in Congress, are really tightening the purse strings on the money that they are allowing the administration to use for implementation. I read a number the other day that said, if you compare this to the amount that Congress granted to implement Medicare Part D, the Bush program that included prescription drug coverage, they`re -- we`re at one-third of that. Congress is allotting one-third of that to implement the Affordable Care Act, which is much more complicated.
KORNACKI: Right. So, implementation is key to getting the people into the risk pool who need to be in the risk pool to make it work, to making this law be seen as a success.
Sarah, you broke some interesting news yesterday about where that money might be coming from to get public awareness up -- I want you to explain that after this.
KORNACKI: So, Sara, you broke some news about how the administration may be coming up with the very vital money it needs to get information out there about implementation.
KLIFF: Right. So, to kind of lay the groundwork for this, as Jared was saying, they see themselves as very cash-strapped right now. CBO said it will cost $5 billion to $10 billion over a decade to implement this law. They go $1 billion in the original law. Congress has said, you know, we`re not interested in giving you any more money.
So, what I learned what Secretary Sebelius has been doing over the past few months has actually been calling a number of health care executives and nonprofits and groups, and saying we need your help. And with some groups, groups she doesn`t regulate, she`s been asking specifically for financial donations to some of the nonprofits that are going to do outreach work, and it`s pretty unusual from what I understand, you might know more about this. But for a cabinet secretary to be going hand in hat to --
KORNACKI: It sounds like it`s skirts some sort of ethical questions there, maybe, you know?
KLIFF: Yes, and you`re already seeing, you know -- I think they really did expect, you know, with the way Republicans had reacted to this law, they`re going to get oversight no matter what they do. But you`re already seeing, you know, some calls for investigation, is this appropriate. HHS has told me, yes, we think we`re within the bounds of the law.
KORNACKI: But also speaks to part of -- you know, you hear all the criticisms about the ACA, about Obamacare, what everyone called coming from the right. But, you know, one of the criticism from the left is how friendly this is to the business of insurance companies.
And if you`re -- if sort of you`re looking now to that world to help pay for implementation, you`re saying there`s something in this for you.
KLIFF: Yes, I think so. I think you`re going definitely insurance companies are going to run their own campaigns, because they really love people to sign up for insurance. They really, really love them to sign up for Aetna`s insurance or Blue Cross`s insurance.
But there`s a sense in the administration that, you know, they just can`t pay for this themselves. That they are going to need more support from private industry, from nonprofits, from foundations, and especially I think one of the interesting things is the test has become much bigger than anyone expected. You have HHS running the majority of the exchanges, with the fact, a lot of (INAUDIBLE) Medicaid --
BERNSTEIN: Let me get in. These states themselves can decide we don`t want to implement the exchange. We don`t want to get the exchange up and running. And that`s just what Sarah is saying, and that want means the federal government then has to come in.
So, the more states that say we`re not interested, you set up the exchange, that creates another administrative problem.
BACON: And speaking about the states, Texas and Florida, one of every five who are uninsured live in those two states. If you have the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who is adamantly opposed to any part of this law and then, Rick Scott in Florida, the legislature said, you can`t operate here.
So, the problem in rural America is that group is set up to (INAUDIBLE) with the law, and really to sign up people and they spent a lot of money in Texas and Florida because those states basically having the governor every day, and particularly Texas saying, no, no. It`s bad.
BACON: You have an information challenge in Texas because Perry is so anti of this law.
KORNACKI: And there`s the added twist, the Arkansas I think where there`s a Democratic governor, but very Republican legislature and they say, we run it through private insurance.
KLIFF: They are trying to pull off this very odd thing over the past few months. They want to use the Medicaid expansion money to buy private insurance for anyone who would be eligible for Medicaid. It`s kind of, it`s really wonky issue --
BERNSTEIN: I think it could work.
KLIFF: It seems like HHS has been top option. Some other states have explored it. Tennessee looked at doing it. And one of the things they wanted to do is make it even more like private insurance an increase some of the co-pays and deductible. HHS said you can`t do that, like this has to look like Medicaid program. Patients have to get the same benefits.
And Arkansas seems to be moving towards a model like that one.
MURPHY: It`s not that talking about the states, but also private issue. When you talk about private issue, the person that Sebelius isn`t calling are hospital and hospital systems, because she regulates them. But hospital systems are the ones who carry the most brunt when it comes to Medicaid, because everyone can go, obviously -- anyone can go to emergency room and get treatment. The problem is that the hospitals aren`t getting reimbursed for that free care.
That`s why when I talk about earlier, Barbara Stakes in Bucks County, those are folks, and there`s 600,000 like her just in Pennsylvania. So, that`s why we need the governors to act, to do the right thing, to expand the Medicaid which is a major crux of the health care bill. But, unfortunately, as I said earlier, the Supreme Court blew a major hole in that on their decision.
BACON: Steve, we should emphasize, in 1966, I look this up, "New York Times," July 1st, 1966, a top Medicare officials said many doctors and hospital administrators as well as patient, do not understand the program. Sound familiar.
A committee of top Republicans from the federal government and the state said President Johnson had, quote, "failed tragically to prepare for the start of Medicare."
This sounds awfully familiar. We don`t want to get people too worried about, this -- I mean, all these things about Medicare and instead of part D, how the states are going to stop this. These things, earlier process, White House is trying to build the argument that this is going to have some problems at the beginning but we have a long arc to make this work.
KORNACKI: And there is, although there is, if we look at that intersection of public opinion and political system with the implementation of this, there is a deadline, or one deadline looming, that`s the 2014 elections. And I want to talk about if the Republicans are right, if this is going to be the issue they think it is in 2014.
KORNACKI: So, we have President Obama embarking on sort of an awareness tour for the ACA, for implementation. But, you know, it occurs to me, March 2010 was when this thing made it through Congress, when it got signed and we had a poll back then, favorable/unfavorable of the health care law, 46 favorable, 40 unfavorable. Now almost four years, more than three years later, I see one recently 43 favorable, 39 unfavorable.
So, for everything that`s happened in the last three-plus years, really these numbers haven`t budged. You know, I just -- is it any less polarizing an issue in the 2014 since 2010?
BERNSTEIN: I have no reason to think it will be. The public opinion remains pretty confused and I think in part is because people just don`t have to really pay attention to this right now. And they got a lot of other things that we`ve been talking about throughout the show to worry about.
And I do think that one of the important things in the law and the president emphasized in the comments you play earlier, is that for most people who have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act really won`t affect them at all. I suspect that includes us and a lot of people who are listening to us right now.
So, a lot of head-scratching, how is this big thing? Everybody is talking about all the (INAUDIBLE) affect us? It`s not going to affect you at all.
And that`s, you know, that`s a challenge on numerous levels.
KORNACKI: I could see that working two ways. OK, it didn`t hurt me no big deal, the law is actually not that bad. I could see, it seems to me that health care reform has existed simultaneously in two different spheres for people. One, there`s the component parts of the affordable care.
We have a poll. You have probably seen this before. We`ll put these poll numbers up there. The component part of the Affordable Care Act are all extremely popular. People like conceptually what they are trying to do. Then, you ask them, what`s your opinion of Obamacare and 37 percent up there.
So, it seems like people are thinking simultaneously, they like the law, the individual parts of the law, but because they don`t feel it, maybe, it leaves them room to think, oh, yes, this thing Obamacare, no, that`s blowing a hole in the budget, killing, something terrible.
BACON: Steve, we`re calling it Obamacare.
BACON: Forty-five percent of people in the country, or 47 percent that Mitt Romney won are going to skeptical because of the very nature of it.
One challenge the president mentioned yesterday, insurance companies raise rates all the time. People lose jobs and lose their health insurance all the time for all kinds of reasons. Now, if you`re a conservative, you`re a business that wants to lay off workers, you now have this convenient, it`s because of Obamacare.
And the president sort of talking, it`s going to come like a bit of excuse for everything that goes wrong in health care and that`s one big challenge I think will happen if you`re in a community somewhere, your company wants to lay off workers, to say workers are not (ph) going to have health insurance anymore, you can now say well it`s because that law even though it probably wasn`t and I think --
KLIFF: You have a lot of --
BACON: People don`t issues that carefully.
KLIFF: Papa Johns got a lot of blow back when they looked at it.
KLIFF: Red Lobster.
KLIFF: So, everyone who has tried it so far. Americans like having health insurance through their job and even if you drop it and blame it on Obamacare, it still seems to lead to some blow back in the public and you see them walk back quickly.
MURPHY: And I think it goes also to the political thing. I think the Republicans got out of it as much as they could. They took 64 seats in the 2010 election.
KORNACKI: I`m sorry to bring it up. But just people know, you`re somebody who voted for it and pay the political price.
MURPHY: But, at the end of the day, though, Steve, y know, my dad, you know, was a Philly cop and not political at all, used to say if you don`t stand for anything, you`ll fall for everything.
I campaigned on health care in `06 when I won and in `08 when I won, and I lost in 2010. For folks who look at these things and vote on them and really care about it, at the end of the day, you know, judgment day is more important than Election Day.
And when the Democrats help pass Medicare in the 1960s, 25 percent of the elderly were poor, were poor and basically suicide rate with the elderly was sky-high, versus now. When you talk about the positive things on -- you can`t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. Pregnancy is no longer a pre-existing condition. You`re going to give tax credit to small businesses.
Those type of positive things and the exchanges that they are creating -- I mean, the majority of doctors right now use electronic health records and that wasn`t the case before. Over half of them use that now.
KORNACKI: The other and you mentioned Medicare in the 1960s, the first mid-term election after the enactment of Medicare Democrats lost 47 seats in the `66 midterms.
Anyway, so, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My answers are after this.
KORNACKI: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We now know that Senator Elizabeth Warren is using her first piece of legislation to try to level the playing field for college students. On Wednesday, she introduced a bill to lower the rate that struggling grads pay on their student loans from 3.4 percent to the rate that big banks get when they borrow from the Fed, 0.75 percent.
We know on July 1st, the rates on federally subsidized student loans will double to 6.8 percent unless Congress strikes a deal to keep subsidizing the current rate. We know total outstanding student loan debt was over $1 trillion last year and that rising debt doesn`t hinder new grads right now, it can press their earning power for their entirety of their working lives.
House Republicans passed the Working Families Flexibility Act on Thursday to less employers compensate employees who work overtime with comp time, time off instead of overtime pay. Despite the bill`s name, though, this is not quite the working victims for families it may seem. It`s not even flexibility for working families, especially to families of low wage workers who depend on overtime pay to feed their families.
The real flexibility would go to employers, because not only would workers lose out on overtime pay they earn, they wouldn`t even have the flexibility to choose when to take their comp time. The Working Families Flexibility Act is expected to die in the Senate, but it does make it to President Obama`s desk, he has said he`ll veto it.
The year after Vice President Biden first expressed his support for gay marriage, we now know he may have gotten ahead of his boss again this week, this time on the Keystone XL pipeline. On Tuesday, "BuzzFeed" reported that in South Carolina last week, Biden told the Sierra Club activist that he opposes the pipeline but that inside the White House, he was, quote, "within the minority."
Biden`s office did not deny the comments but said he`s waiting for the State Department`s report on the pipeline before he makes his decision.
Thanks to a Pentagon report, we now know there were an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, of which only 3,374 were reported. The report found a 35 percent increase in military sexual assaults since 2010.
President Obama said of the report, quote, "if we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they`ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged, period."
The report came just two days after the officer in charge of preventing sexual assault in the Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, was charged with sexual battery.
In light to the news, we know Defense Secretary Hagel said the military needs a, quote, "cultural change" and announced new initiatives to combat the problem.
We already knew neglect of our active military and veterans is a national scandal. Now, we know how much worse that scandal is and how much more we must do to serve those who serve.
I want to find out what my guests know that they didn`t know when the week began. We`ll start with Jerry Bernstein.
BERNSTEIN: I think we know that the White House is really going to blow by a lot of the pushback on the implementation of Affordable Care, the thing we were just talking about.
Listen to the president`s speech yesterday, those very strong statement of we`re just going to plow ahead and get this thing into the system and I`m hoping they keep a stiff spine on that.
KLIFF: We now know the prices that hospital charge, which is actually kind of revolutionary and it sounds like a very mundane stuff, but up until Wednesday this week, those prices were kept private until the Obama administration through Medicare released hundreds of thousands of prices and now you can look at two hospitals on the same street and see that one charges double the price for hip replacement and their competitor down the street. And that`s really revolutionary thing for health care.
BACON: The Census show this week, the vote -- in the American electorate, 26 percent of people are minorities, up to two points from 24 percent in 2008,and that shows the population is changing so much and becoming more diverse. That`s a big challenge of the Republican Party you cannot continue to lose 70 percent of the minority vote and expect to win elections.
MURPHY: There will be hundreds of thousands less abortions in America because of Obamacare. A University of Washington study shows cut unintended pregnancies 80 percent. So, when you look at abortions, 90 percent of abortions happened because of unintended pregnancy. (INAUDIBLIE) less abortions in America because of Obamacare.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein, Sarah Kliff of "The Washington Post", MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon Jr., and MSNBC contributor and former congressman, Patrick Murphy. Thanks for getting UP.
And thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. when I`ll be speaking with the leader of Emily`s List and more, and "Mom`s Rising" about how mothers are changing the debate over guns and more.
Plus, Thomas Frank on Kansas and other states declaring the federal gun laws null and void.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY." On today`s "MHP," after the incredible news this week in Cleveland, Melissa examines some of the issues surrounding teenage girls, sex and whose safety is truly at risk. Also on Melissa`s show today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY," she`s coming up next.
And we`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UP with STEVE KORNACKI