FULL 'This Week' Transcript for Nov.29, 2009

SANDERS: Well, let's see. We spent perhaps $2 or $3 trillion in the war in Iraq that Bush got us into that we never should have been in, which we didn't pay. We sent that bill to our kids and our grandchildren. And what Senator Graham is now saying is, as I understand it, is hey, we can cut back on education so middle-class families can't afford to send their kids to college. We don't have to rebuild our infrastructure. We don't have to invest in sustainable energy, so we stop importing $350 billion a year of foreign oil. We don't have to do all that stuff. Let's just spend more money in Afghanistan, while Europe and the people of China and the people of Russia watch us do that work. I think that is a very poor set of national priorities.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Senator Sanders, if I hear you correctly, if you're against -- if you have a big problem with sending more troops, does that also mean that you're against this surtax that Congressman Obey is talking about in order to pay for the troops?

SANDERS: Look, we have a presence in Afghanistan now. No one is talking about bringing the troops home tomorrow. What we need is more international cooperation. We need an Afghan government that resonates with its people, that is not corrupt. But if you're going to have a presence there, you just can't pass the bill on, as we did in Iraq, to our kids and our grandchildren. I think that's wrong. I think that's immoral.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, let me turn to health care now. Senator Graham, there is a new study out by Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based on Congressional Budget Office numbers, which shows that premiums for most Americans are actually going to go down under the Senate health care bill. So then, what you've got lined up now, according to Congressional Budget Office numbers, the deficit goes down over 10 years, costs get under control, and premiums will go down for most Americans. Why can't Republicans support that?

GRAHAM: Well, because I don't believe that's true. To make that happen, we're going to have to reduce Medicare spending by about $400 billion over a 10-year period to get the math right. We haven't reduced Medicare spending by 40 cents, so that's not going to happen. You have to increase taxes to get the revenue neutral. And when you look at the second 10 years, the deficit goes up to $2 trillion, because in the first 10 years, you collect taxes for four years before you pay out any benefits. And when you look at the 10 years to follow, that's when the spending goes up.

This whole idea of have we been spending enough and the Afghan war is the problem to me is ridiculous. We have been spending money on stimulus packages, growing the government in appropriations bills by double digits, now a $2 trillion spending package on health care too, and a half-trillion dollars in the second 10 years. We'll make premiums go up, because taxes go up to pay for it, and we'll never cut Medicare benefits to make it work, nor should we.

So I think the whole thing is a sham. And we've done nothing with the doctor fix. Are we going to let the $200 billion doctor fix go into effect over the next 10 years? The House just passed it without an offset. So when you look at it, it makes an Enron accountant blush the way they're trying to make these numbers work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your answer, Senator Sanders?

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