Senator Claire McCaskill (D) was on Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, talking about the republican party establishment’s threat to force the United States to default on its debt.
Via our good friends at Fired Up!:
Chris Matthews: Welcome back to Hardball. On July twenty-second, just seventeen days from today, lawmakers need to start the machinery to raise the debt ceiling or we could be in an economic disaster. Are Republicans willing to default on United States debt because of intransigence on taxes? Senator Claire McCaskill [D] joins us from Capitol Hill.
Senator McCaskill, what I like about you is you’re normal, you’re a moderate, you’re somewhere near the center, you’re where I would be if I were lucky enough to have the power you do. And I look around me with fanatics. I see fanatics on, mostly on the right, some on the left. It seems to me that they’re quite willing, when I hear them talking, here’s your own colleague, Senator Roy Blunt [R] dismissing the debt ceiling deadline, saying, quote, the deadline is never really a deadline, I don’t think world markets are going to get roiled, and I don’t think our creditors are not going to get paid.
And here’s someone from the far right, [Representative] Michele Bachmann, dismissing the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling. Let’s listen to here now.
Representative Michele Bachmann: Well, first of all, it isn’t true that the government would default on its debt. Because, very simply, the Treasury Secretary can pay the interest on the debt first and then from there we just have to prioritize our spending.
Chris Matthews: This to me is scarey. What’s your view? That these people are willing to go right into Armageddon, not face the warning signs, go right off the cliff, and take this country into Greece in the way the world watches us go down the hill.
Senator Claire McCaskill: Yeah, it’s a real problem. Compromise has become a dirty word. And frankly our country has been the greatest country on the planet because our democracy has learned the art of compromise. And now compromise is something that the two ends of the spectrums don’t want to see happen and we’re gonna suffer for it.
You know, the other thing that’s frustrating about this, Chris, is that I think they are trying to tell the American people that when we raise the debt limit we’re asking for permission to spend more money. That’s not true. All [crosstalk]…
…Chris Matthews: Right.
Senator Claire McCaskill: …we’re doing is making good on the spending that’s already occurred. This would be like going out and buying a new car, these guys all voted for this spending, they all voted for the things that put us in this deficit position, and now they’re saying the don’t want to pay the bill. It, it’s like they bought a new car and they don’t want to make payments. It is defaulting. And we will default, um, on obligations or government has, whether it’s to people who are getting a Social Security check, or whether it’s to our military pay, or whether it’s to our debt that we have to pay. And all of those things will have serious and significant consequences. People need to quit trying to win elections and start solving the problem.
Chris Matthews: What seems to me is paper boys were told, you know, buy savings bonds because they’re as good as you can get. And now we’re saying renege, default on savings bonds, the very thing, it’s like a religion to us as kids, now they have this new crazy religion, you can’t raise revenues even when you have higher expenses.
Senator Claire McCaskill: Well, and I think one of the things we’re gonna do this week, which I think I hope will be helpful to people is we’re gonna debate a sense of the Senate that, you know, the median income has, has gone down for most American families over the last several years while last year the CEOs of the top Fortune five hundred companies got a twenty percent pay raise. Last year. [crosstalk]
Chris Matthews: Well.
Senator Claire McCaskill: A twenty percent pay raise. And all we’re saying is, shouldn’t the millionaires, the multi-millionaires do a little bit to help out here? Can’t we compromise on both ends of the spectrum, do a little bit on revenue, look at some of the means testing we can do in our entitlement programs, come up with a comprehensive package that repre, that represents a good compromise? And, and do what we should do for our kids and our grandkids. And that is, keep America the economic super power that it’s always been in the world.
Chris Matthews: Well, you know, Senator, I heard this weekend at the Aspen ideas festival all these big idea people get together. And the point was made, I’ve never heard it put so bluntly, and Ed Schultz, wait ’til he hears this, and maybe already knows this, my colleague, that the reason we’re not suffering from inflation in this country with all the oil prices going up is the workers are getting squeezed. They’re paying higher prices and they’re not getting wages to catch up with them. They’re the ones the, the middle class working person, the men and women, are the ones paying for inflation by making less real income.
Senator Claire McCaskill: I mean, if you [crosstalk]…
Chris Matthews: That’s what’s going on.
Senator Claire McCaskill: …that’s exactly what’s going on. And, I mean, I was, I was fascinated by all these Republicans who wouldn’t vote to take away paychecks from the oil companies from taxpayers. Taxpayer subsidies to the most wealthy and successful corporations in the history of the planet. And then they turn around the next week and say, well, subsidies to people who grow corn are terrible. Like, really? Really? This makes no sense. [crosstalk]
Chris Matthews: Um, my problem. Well, here’s my. Senator, there’s one thing we’re gonna hear from our, our friends on the left and that is, fight harder. My question is, the President have any choice between default and defeat? If he stands against the crazies and says, we’re, we’re gonna have to have revenues and they say, no, and then we face default that’s, everybody pays for that in this country. In history we pay. Is there any alternative to default or political defeat by handing the Republicans and the right exactly what they want, just spending cuts, no taxes? [crosstalk] Is there any alternative?
Senator Claire McCaskill: I think that. I, I think it’s a big mistake if we, um, don’t do what’s right and that is to do a little bit on the tax expenditure side, cleaning up the tax code, taking away some of the goodies from folks who are doing really well and, and at the same time look at some of the means testing that we should have put in place in the first place in Medicare part D. We shouldn’t be buying Warren Buffet’s prescription drugs for gosh sakes, we’re broke. [crosstalk] We can’t afford to buy rich people’s pre
Chris Matthews: Well, let’s do it.
Senator Claire McCaskill: So I’m gonna, I believe we should hold out for the compromise. I hope the American people agree. There’s nothing wrong with being in the moderate middle if it means you find some common sense solutions.
Chris Matthews: I’m with you Senator. Thank you so much Senator Claire McCaskill, the State of Missouri….
“…And now compromise is something that the two ends of the spectrums don’t want to see happen and we’re gonna suffer for it…”
Uh, it’s not compromise when the right wingnuts won’t even try and the “sensible middle” gives them everything they want.
“…It, it’s like they bought a new car and they don’t want to make payments…”
That’s a start for a decent meme. Did you mention that they’re also batshit crazy?
“…Is there any alternative to default or political defeat by handing the Republicans and the right exactly what they want, just spending cuts, no taxes?…”
Interesting question. You’ve heard of the 2010 election? If you capitulate to the crazies the Democratic Party base will not bother coming out to vote. Why bother?
“…They’re the ones the, the middle class working person, the men and women, are the ones paying for inflation by making less real income…”
It sounds so, well, abstract when multi-millionaires talk about it on cable television.