UYGUR: Welcome back, everybody. Now, here‘s a shocker. Republicans are refusing to budge an inch in budget negotiations. You don‘t say. Well, with Democrats and Republicans bellying over whether they extend the government‘s debt limit and trim budget deficits, negotiations are being complicated by disputes over basic economic facts. Well, there‘s a reason for that. It‘s because the Republicans are lying on purpose about those facts. Now, I‘m not just saying that. We‘re going to show you, we‘re going to prove it to you.
For example, John Boehner speech on Monday, he said this.
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REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The reason stimulus spending binge frankly hurt our economy and hampered private sector job creation in our country.
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UYGUR: Not remotely true. The CBO finds that the stimulus put between 1.4 and 3.3 million people back to work. And cut the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8 percent. That is what economists agree on. There aren‘t almost any economists out there saying, oh, no, no, no, we did the stimulus and it actually causes jobs. There is no such theory, John Boehner made it up. He also made this up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: We will never have real economic growth if we‘re going to raise taxes on those in America who create jobs.
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UYGUR: Now, under Clinton, the economy growth average of nearly four percent a year. Now, remember we had much higher rates at that time. Actually, we‘re much higher and a little higher. And guess what happened? Twenty two million jobs were created. What resulted was the largest economic expansion in history. So they say, well, you can‘t raise rates. If you raise rates on the job creators, we don‘t have any jobs. You‘d have to be unconscious the entire decade of the ‘90s to believe that. You can‘t possibly think that they just missed the decade of the ‘90s, oh, 22 million, jobs are created under the Clinton race. Whoopsie, doopsie, they‘re know they‘re not telling the truth.
And then you‘ve got another doozie by Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: It‘s possible to make sure in just a way that will ensure a future beneficiaries and we‘ll have access to the same kinds of options that members of Congress currently have.
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UYGUR: They just keep saying that. I‘m amazed. Not remotely true. Here‘s the reality. Under the Ryan plan, by 2030, the government would cover only 32 percent of the average 65-year-old‘s health care costs. In comparison, the government covers 75 percent of health care cost for the average member of Congress. Look, these are not matters of opinion, these are facts. Either Speaker is ignorant, and he has no idea what the fact are, or he‘s purposely misleading you. And what‘s worse is why. Because they don‘t care about you. They care about their donors, you‘re pawns to be manipulated. What they want to do is get you to believe things that aren‘t true. So, they could do what‘s right for their donors, where there‘s the big insurance companies, the big oil companies, the big banks. Those are the guys who pay people like John Boehner. And that‘s why John Boehner and those Republicans who say things that demonstrably false are not honest actors, and we shouldn‘t treat them as such.
All right. Now, joining me is columnist for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank. Also, with us, a reporter for the Huffington Post and MSNBC analyst Alex Wagner. All right. Dana, let me start with you. Look, those things aren‘t true. So, what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to call it even and say, well, on the one hand, this guy who‘s got the wrong facts and on the other hand, you‘ve got these guys with the right facts?
DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, Cenk, what you have to do is retaliate by making up a whole bunch of things on your show. And see if we can get people to believe that.
UYGUR: Not a bad plan.
MILBANK: I can help you with that. I think you‘ve really hit on the nub of the problem here, and that is why we can‘t have a rational debate.
We‘ve got these echo chambers going on and, you know, John Boehner‘s
followers believe those things he said. He can find validators in the
media to say what he said is true even if he look at it and then objective
say it‘s not. This is why we can‘t have a rational debate going on in this country. Look, you know, both sides have a times been guilty of this but now, we‘re at a point where you‘re not even operating with your own opinions, you‘re operating with your own facts. That‘s why people are legitimately worried that we‘re heading for a real collapse with the debt limit here because they can‘t have a reasonable discussion.
UYGUR: Well, Alex, I want to play you another clip from Boehner and this is where he talk about the massive borrowing, and spending by the Treasury Department and he says something else that is interesting. So, let‘s watch that real quick.
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BOEHNER: And this massive borrowing and spending by the Treasury Department crowded out private investment by American businesses of all sizes.
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UYGUR: In order for that theory to be true, and there is an economic theory, that if the government spends too much, it crowds out private investment.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: Sure.
UYGUR: The interest, and the way it does that is interest rates go up, but interest rates have not gone up. They are incredibly low. So, for anyone to make a statement like that today, they would have to not know what the interest rates was or they‘d have to be purposely lying. Is there any way that I‘m seeing that wrong?
WAGNER: I don‘t think so. It‘s sort of like Rip Van Winkle economics, you just fall asleep for the parts you don‘t like. But, you know, to your point, Cenk, private business is actually doing pretty well in some sectors. You look at the fortune 500 list that came out last week, you know, the top 500 companies in America saw a soaring 81 percent increase in profits. I mean, it‘s the largest profit increase since the index was created. So, this idea that somehow once private, you know, for the private sectors flooding with money that‘s going to translate into jobs and a better economic forecast, the country doesn‘t seem to really hold any water.
UYGUR: So, Dana, isn‘t that the crux of the problem here? We‘ve got all Washington talking about how we‘re going to do spending and we can‘t raise taxes, because then, you know, that would hurt jobs. We just showed you the facts, and the facts don‘t match that, so why are we still having that conversation? Why don‘t the Democrats change the conversation and go, no, no, no, we‘re going to create jobs. And the way we did that for example was through the stimulus but not by cutting spending.
MILBANK: Sure. And I mean, the argument about the stimulus is a good example. I mean, you can make the case that, well, it wasn‘t worst the expense for the economic benefit we got. You could argue that in the long term, maybe it‘s more harmful to the economy. But you can‘t argue that it had a negative effect in the short term. That‘s just simply as near, the problem is when President Obama goes out and tries to knock this down and explain these things, it‘s like what‘s happens with the health care debate. He looks like he‘s deep in the weeds, and you know, Mark Twain said, you know, a lie can make it halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. The problem is, it‘s just very hard to keep up with this sort of thing.
UYGUR: All right. Well, Alex, John Boehner now has a new problems as well and that‘s with some Catholics. Let me show you what a Catholic leader wrote to John Boehner, he said, this Stephen Schneck he‘s Catholic University of America from them. He said, “Your record and support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policymakers, yet even now you work in opposition to it.”
Now, Dana was talking about strong responses. That‘s a strong response. Is it interesting to see Catholic community in some portions coming out and calling him out and saying, hey, how about the poor? Why do we forget all about them?
WAGNER: Well, I think what we‘re seeing is this argument that the White House has long wanted, which is a fundamental sort of debate about the compact that the government should and can have with the American public. And I think that the Catholic representative is speaking to that. It‘s his idea of, should the government be accountable to the poor and be uninsured and those are the disadvantage in society. And I think they‘re beginning to see some real blowback from certain corners with regards to the GOP‘s policies on some of the stuff. Look at what AARP said to Eric Cantor. I mean, there‘s real concern that their, quote, unquote Medicare reform is going to harm seniors in the long run. And the GOP has tap that up to a messaging concern but I think that there is a larger argument here, and when that both sides are going to have to address, you know, what is the role of government in public life?
UYGUR: So, Dana. That is the fundamental question. I think Alex is totally right about that. So, when today for example, the Republicans demand another $45.7 billion in spending cuts, how do the Democrats respond? I mean, they say that their priorities are different, they say that for example, as with the great majority of the American people, we should consider going back to the Clinton tax rates, meaning raising taxes for people making over a quarter of a million dollars. Now, the Republicans say, that‘s off the table. So, what do you do next when the other guys say, it‘s off the table?
MILBANK: Well, what the Democrats are doing, which is politically effective, is to stay on the offense on Medicare. And, you know, the Republicans are say, it‘s medi-scare and that they are frightening people about, that they are going to lose their Medicare. Of course, this is the same thing the Republicans did during the health care debate. That‘s a way of seizing the offensive for the Democrats. It works politically. The problem is it‘s, you know, it‘s irresponsible in some way because it‘s not getting everybody to the table to actually have a discussion here. In fact, the Republicans, freshmen Republicans in the House, they said, come on, White House, could you please cut it out with the medi-scare. And I suspect they‘ll do that as soon as John Boehner backs down on his tax situation.
UYGUR: No, but Dana, we‘ve got to go, but I‘ve got to disagree a little bit there. I mean, those guys is crying to the president, I find to be hilarious. But they viciously attack Democrats all the time. They‘re going to come to the table with their own set of priorities, no matter what you do. And the only thing they respond to his strength, that‘s why they ran away from their own Medicare proposal, because the Democrats actually came out strong against it.
Now, I‘m sorry I got the last word there, but we‘re out of time. So, Dana and Alex, it was a great conversation.
WAGNER: Thanks, Cenk.
MILBANK: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: As always, thank you for joining us.