Transcript: Sens. Kent and DeMint

STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that let me bring in the "Roundtable". I am joined, as always, by George Will, David Brooks, of "The New York Times", Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, also the paperback edition of -we have vividly titled books today, on the program -"Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America"; Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, also of "The New York Times" and Princeton, and Donna Brazile.

Welcome back.

So, George, you see Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare, President Clinton giving his mea culpas on health care back in 1995. Which fate does Obama have in his future right now?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Bill Clinton's fate, it seems to me. Because of Bill Clinton's experience, which they sometimes ascribe this White House to the fact that it took so long to get to it. The White House, the Obama White House, has been saying speed is essential. And they're right, for the reason that Emerson said, that "when skating on thin ice, speed is essential".

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the strategic decision they made early on to go for everything was the right decision?

WILL: Well, they should go for this, but not go for it with cap and trade and new energy-wise and all of this thing. The country has a sense, I think, of overload.

The president has 60 senators. He has a 70-vote majority in the House of Representatives and he blames Republicans. That's not the problem. His difficulties extend from the Mayo Clinic to the Congressional Budget Office, which just yesterday said of the president's latest proposal, a panel, a magic silver bullet to constrain costs, that it would save maybe $2 billion. But for four years, beginning in 2016, and that's a rounding error on the GM bailout.

PAUL KRUGMAN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think I should say something about that CBO thing, which really surprised a lot of people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because it was important and interesting timing.

KRUGMAN: Well, and also most of the health care economists I talked to think that the Medpac reform, that having these judgments, would actually be quite important, especially going for the long run. So they were really kind of surprised. And there was a kind of sense that CBO, faced with the -- no one could put a hard number on this. The CBO sort of said, well, if we can't put a hard number on it, we're going to say it's zero. And that seems to be wrong. There is every reason to think that being more careful about what Medicare is going to pay for can save a lot of money. And this was a kind of destructive comment by Doug Elmendorf at CBO.

DAVID BROOKS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Actually, if you follow (ph) on the substance of it, the health care economists do think it is bigger, but the political reality is the CBO out rules, they are the arbiter.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...