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Video and Transcript of Ed Rendell--"The President Can't Sell This (Grand Bargain) Twice To His Base"

Alexa's picture

CNBC, Squawk Box
With Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin

[Hat Tip to Mr. Alexa for tipping me off to this interview.]

This entire video is rather interesting, if you want to know what the PtB are planning regarding the implementation of Simpson-Bowles.

[The first 2:06 minutes of this video is interesting, in that Ed Rendell's remarks regarding members of the Democratic Party base, are rather insulting, IMO.]

The transcript immediately below, pertains to that portion of this video.

BTW, this is the real face of the Democratic Party. To think that this "big time" neoliberal and fiscal hawk, Ed Rendell, recently served two terms as a Democratic Party governor is truly mind-boggling.

I was also not impressed with Rendell's "snickering" at host Joe Kernen's derisive remarks "about the 47% who voted for raising taxes on the wealthy." No different than Romney's comments, IMO.

Here's a brief snippet of the most insulting portion of the transcript. It is Joe Kernen and Ed Rendell talking about the Democratic Party base, tax and entitlement reform, and the "Grand Bargain."

Joe Kernen: For more on the politics on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, we're joined by Judd Gregg and Ed Rendell, co-chairman of the fix the debt campaign.

Joe Kernen: Ed, are you as impressed with me that you can actually get 47% of the people to agree to raise taxes on somebody else? Pretty easy task. Steve really likes that number but that is amazing. 47% will agree to raise taxes on 2%. [Laughter.]

Joe Kernen: No, what do you think will finally happen, Governor Rendell? Do you think at this point are both sides--I can tell you both houses feet are in concrete on letting the tax cuts expire for the 250 and above. Is the President going to be set in stone on that as well? Ed?

Ed Rendell: Well, see, I think the president's got to, people say let's do a short term thing to get past the fiscal cliff and then do the negotiations. I believe you got to do the negotiations first on a big deal, because it's the only way. The president can't sell this twice to his base. He's got to go to his base and say, "Look, we needed x amount of new revenue. we got it. Don't you worry about where we got it from. And by tax reform, the rich are going to pay more. So don't worry.

Joe Kernen: So is there anything to the notion that it's not as important for him to sell something to his base at this point, because he's not going to need them again in four years?

Ed Rendell: Also his base in the senate. There are a lot of senators who wanted at least a Millionaire's Tax. The base wants something, their pound of flesh and -- that's interesting.

Ed Rendell. My message to them, Joe, would be, "Look, let's do what's right for the country, and if we do tax reform, there's going to be additional revenue and that additional revenue will come from people who are well off. So, don't worry about raising the rates.

Say what?

Apparently Mr. Rendell considers "the base" to be the Democratic Party senators.

He also very breezily dismisses the notion that the Democratic Party should attempt to raise the marginal tax rates on the wealthy.

Never mind that President Obama has spent well over a year, promising to do so.

REVISION: Additional transcript of Joe Kernen and Judd Gregg interview.

Joe Kernen: Judd Gregg, do you think that the President and his base would agree to that higher effective tax rates, but not getting back to that 39.6%, the holy grail. Once they did health care the holy grail was getting back to the Clinton tax rates for rich people.

Judd Gregg: Ed is right. You have to do a comprehensive deal that addresses the larger debt issue, in order to get past the fiscal cliff. And part of that deal has to be a tax reform package which reduces rates, keeps the code progressive, keeps the distributional situation progressive, but gets your rates down by eliminating deductions and exemptions.

And in the process, you generate more revenue through more economic activity, plus you maintain the burden of the tax burden on the higher income individuals, by eliminating deductions and exemptions. And that's the way you sell it to Republicans, and I think it's the way you sell it to Democrats

But it also has to be coupled with major "entitlement reform," it has to be structured off of basically the outline of the original Simpson-Bowles, which had significant savings on the spending side, revenues driven by tax reform agreement that basically reduced rates by eliminating deductions and exemptions, and reduced the debt by $4 trillion.

Actually we need more than $4 trillion. But that has to be the goal.

Once you put that agreement in place, or the pathway to that agreement, that's what you're looking at here, then you can move on to moving the fiscal cliff off the agenda.

Notice that Gregg says: "You generate more revenue through more economic activity, plus you maintain the burden of the tax burden on the higher income individuals, by eliminating deductions and exemptions."

Gregg drops the reference to "the wealthy." And higher income in Bowles-Simpson's proposal means anyone who's eligible for tax deductions and exemptions. Period.

IOW, if you're a school teacher or a school custodian, and eligible for a mortgage interest deduction, "you're higher income."

This video puts to rest any doubt in my mind, that the Democratic Party base has been sold out by the Democratic Party Establishment.

[I apologize that the transcript is a little "rough." I corrected it a couple of times, but keep losing the corrections, before I can post it.]

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twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Gregg really summed it up nicely at the end when he was going on about how the entitlement savings will have to be significant in order to justify tax reform. This is going to be ugly.

I can't wait to find out which deductions and loopholes they're so eager to close. Mortgage interest deduction? I can't think of much else that would generate a lot of revenue, but who knows?

Thanks for this, Alexa -- always good to keep up with the enemies' plans.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I decided to add the transcript of that portion of his "rant" about eliminating tax deductions and exemptions, etc. Which as you pointed out, he very studiously avoided "naming or listing." They never do.

And yes, it is going to be very ugly. I hate the feeling of being a "helpless bystander." And more and more, that's how I feel.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

This really gives away the game, elect Obama get the Romney plan. I'm going to post my own transcript* of this Squawk Box segement over at the Sideshow. I'd be interested in what any Corrente poster or reader would suggest is a good response to Joe Kernan's snark at the beginning here:

[0:01] Joe Kernen: For more on the politics of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff we are joined by former New Hampshire Governor, and Senator, Judd Gregg and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. They are the co-chairmen of the Fix the Debt campaign. Hey Ed, are you as impressed with me that you can actually get 47% of the people to agree to raise taxes on somebody else?

Ed Rendell: [laugh] Pretty easy task.

Kernen: That's pretty good. Steve really likes that number but that is pretty amazing. So, 47% will agree to raise taxes on 2%. I think you could get higher than that couldn't you Judd? I mean that doesn't seem- I like to think you could get 47% to agree to more government entitlements, too. How do you do it, Ed?

My own response would start with a smart ass comment along the lines of, "Well, of course, the 47% and the rest of the 99% are about thirty years late getting riled up what's been going on with the tax code since the Reagan years but yes, I am impressed that they've found their voice. Now let me take a moment to explain to you the proper role for earned and unearned income taxes in a complex modern economy and why these rates at the top should be raised and why our efficient government social insurance programs should be expanded....." From that point on, I'd keep going with a serious response.

In my opinion, the left has a problem with not having a lot of canned but effective responses to right-wing talking points so that's why I'm interested in how some of you would respond to this one.

*Alexa, your transcript is a good one, but you talked me into making my own because you planted the incorrect notion that yours was a rough one and I wanted to make sure Rendell and Gregg were hanging from their own ropes.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

way that you see fit.

I'm getting ready to upload a "Grover Norquist" clip (or two).

I always listen to him when I can. Like it or not, he is one of the most powerful individuals in our nation's capital.

These folks all sicken me. IMO, Rendell (and the others, of course) were just as disgusting as Romney was, when he made his 47% remark.

Oh, regarding the transcript. If you check it out at the Squawk Box website, you'll probably notice how bad their transcript was. Well, I didn't mind correcting it, but some sort of glitch is going on, when I'm editing my posts. And I finally just had to let the transcript go as it was, due to time constraints.

Let me 'sleep on' what a good response would be. It's been a long day, and my brain's too addled to come up with anything right now. LOL!

reslez's picture
Submitted by reslez on

In a democracy, 47 votes will carry the day vs 2. As long as the rights of the minority are respected -- and they are, no one can pretend otherwise -- the majority rules.

Unless you're admitting this isn't a democracy.

Basically, they want 47% of people -- hard working average Americans -- to suffer so 2% can grab even more. I can't believe how far they've dragged this country into the mud.

smott999's picture
Submitted by smott999 on

I havent been able to get the YT on my BBerry but reading the transcripts I can't say that I'm as offended by Rendell's remarks as you are.
Maybe that's cos I'm a lifetime PA resident, had Rendell as Gov for 2 terms, and now have Corbett to compare.

When you start lumping Rendell in with Romney, you lose me.

Like Nader voters who could find no difference between Bush and Gore.

And no, I didn't vote for Obama, I voted for Stein.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

The subject is not just tax rates but Social Security and Medicare, too-- (the former program which, by the way, Al Gore wanted to protect with a "lock box" and Bush wanted to privatize). Here you have Ed Rendell joining with Judd Gregg and suggesting the ideal is to trade away Social Security benefits and Medicare eligibility in return for perserving the Bush Tax Cut rates* for the highest earners while cutting out some of their deductions and exemptions for a few years and you read that and conclude not to worry: back in the day, before he went native,** Rendell was more of a liberal than the current Republican governor in Pennsylvania.

* And make no mistake, this is not about keeping the top earned income rate 35% instead of letting it go back to 39.6%, this is about keeping the capital gains and dividend tax rates at 15% instead of letting them go back to the anemic 20% rate where they were under President Clinton. Keep in mind Rendell is proposing this just days after Gov. Romney was rejected in an election where he was staking out a negotiating position of lowering those tax rates with, no doubt, the hope of at least keeping them in place when they are scheduled to expire on January 1.

** From a story Glenn Greenwald has highligted:

... a large group of prominent former US government officials from both political parties has spent the last several years receiving substantial sums of cash to give speeches to the [Iranian dissident group in exile] MEK, and have then become vocal, relentless advocates for the group, specifically for removing them from the terrorist list. Last year, the Christian Science Monitor thoroughly described “these former high-ranking US officials – who represent the full political spectrum – [who] have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” They include Democrats Howard Dean, Ed Rendell Wesley Clark, Bill Richardson, and Lee Hamilton, and Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Fran Townsend, Tom Ridge, Michael Mukasey, and Andrew Card....

“‘Your speech agent calls, and says you get $20,000 to speak for 20 minutes. They will send a private jet, you get $25,000 more when you are done, and they will send a team to brief you on what to say.’ ...The contracts can range up to $100,000 and include several appearances.”

Hey, but a retired politician has got to make a living, too, right? That doesn't mean he still doesn't hold his liberal values sacrosanct. And Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court.

Submitted by jawbone on

should read it. But I'm pretty certain his mind set toward conservatism and auterity is so set he cannot be reasoned with or persuaded of the rightness of the New Deal and Great Society programs.


In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal policies and principles of government.

The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values.


The Democratic Convention, as appears clear from the events of today, is divided on this fundamental issue. Until the Democratic Party through this convention makes overwhelmingly clear its stand in favor of social progress and liberalism, and shakes off all the shackles of control fastened upon it by the forces of conservatism, reaction, and appeasement, it will not continue its march of victory.

It is without question that certain political influences pledged to reaction in domestic affairs and to appeasement in foreign affairs have been busily engaged behind the scenes in the promotion of discord since this Convention convened.

Under these circumstances, I cannot, in all honor, and will not, merely for political expediency, go along with the cheap bargaining and political maneuvering which have brought about party dissension in this convention.

It is best not to straddle ideals.

There's good reason Obama avoids mentioning FDR very much. He is so in the crew "pledged to reaction in domestic affairs." He is such a Republican in Dem clothing.

He will destroy the Democratic Party.