Larson on Hardball: Let’s Solve the Real Problem — Jobs
WASHINGTON – On MSNBC’s Hardball tonight, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (CT) told Chris Matthews that the political theater must end and instead we must focus on jobs, deficit reduction, and fiscal security for American families.
Chris Matthews: Here’s Congressman John Larson, thanks for joining us. He’s the leader, Chairman actually, of the House Democratic Caucus, he’s from Connecticut.
Sir, you just heard the diatribe—you know, I just want to be fair about this—this national debt we’ve got right now, the 14 trillion, wasn’t invented by President Obama, he inherited overwhelmingly most of it, especially the seven trillion added up by Bush because of wars and because of prescription drugs and tax cuts for the rich, and they walk away from that and blame it all on him. I don’t know how they have any morality about this, but you just heard this guy with one million words make that point.
Chairman Larson: I think we ought to mail everybody a copy of Eric Hoffer’s “True Believer”. What we have here is pure ideological theater. And what these guys are doing is a shame. The rest of the world is looking in. The world economy is teetering. Clearly the national economy is in frail recovery. And most importantly, Chris, household economies. People who want and are anxious about getting back to work and making sure they hold on to what they have, look in at Washington that should be engaged at putting them back to work and solving the real problems that face us, see nothing but ideological theater and pledges and true believers, and disinformation, totally re-creating history before us, having amnesia when it comes to how we got to this point and if you dare raise it, oh geez, there you go again, raising George Bush.
Let's get out of the blame game. Let's keep everybody at the table. And let's solve the real issue, which is jobs in this country. Let's put people at the table and talk about what cuts have to be made strategically so that we can have job creation here, and what we have to do to incentivize people and to invest in the American people to put them back to work.
I don’t think it's that complicated. But elections, and you've acknowledged this on your program, have consequences — and America is watching those consequences unfold. This is—it's a sad time. If you believe in this institution, you worked for Tip O’Neill, you saw how he was able to get together with Ronald Reagan—imagine accommodating Ronald Reagan more than 18 times on the national debt, this shouldn't be an issue. This is about the full faith and credit of the American people.
Chris Matthews: I know, but you just heard the other side, and that guy come on, Scalise, he’s a Member of Congress, he got elected, he’s authentic, and he came on with a lot of words and made the simple point, the President has to think up programs to cut. I said name how you’re going to get down from 25 to 18 percent of GDP, which I think in undoable—I think the government spending ought to be about 22 percent if you look at the aging population—it’s going to grow a bit over time, it’s never going to be as small as it once was in Thomas Jefferson’s time—but these guys say now it’s the Presidents job. I mean they’re throwing it on his side. Not only is the debt his problem, which they gave him, but now he’s got to come up with all of the Republican spending program cuts. They want him to list their cuts for them. I’ve never heard anything like this.
Chairman Larson: Listen, If Obama came up with a cure for the common cold or cancer, as Carolyn Maloney said the other day, these guys would say no.
When Obama had everybody in the room—and let’s talk about the real driving of cost as you project short term and long term, is the cost of healthcare, why it had to be addressed. But you never hear them—they’re always talking about the benefits that are accrued to people. As you pointed out, what person is going to give up those benefits, and I would add, and why should they?
When you look at these escalating costs, where is the outcry for medical devices, pharmaceutical, insurance, doctors, hospitals and the trial bar to come up with the same savings that we see a nation that is spending close to 20 percent of its gross domestic product on Medicare.
Put America back to work, address this issue—don’t go after the beneficiaries, go after the true cost escalators. We should all be in a room engaged in that, that’s what adults do. That’s what Tip would have done, and in fact, that’s what Ronald Reagan would have done.
Chris Matthews: Well I agree with you. I agree with you about the lawyers too, throw them into the mix. By the way, when people get sick and they get old, they have two requests, give me what I can get, and get somebody else to pay for it—and that’s the way people are when they get old, and I understand completely. When somebody’s 80 years old they’re not exactly out there swinging a pick, they can’t pay for it, they need help.
Anyway, thank you Mr. Congressman John Larson, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, thanks for helping tonight.