Transcript: 'This Week' Economic Debate

This president, who we need to make sure he succeeds -- I mean, this country has to succeed -- but he wants to put more things one on top of the other faster than I think we can assimilate it.

I'm prepared to bring the business community to a legitimate discussion on health care. I'm prepared to bring them to a discussion on CO-2. But if we jam all this stuff at once, if you look at what's going up on regulation, on taxes, on costs, you see that job number and those job pictures, it'll be worse. So let's do it in an orderly fashion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator McCaskill, he does bring up an important point on revenues and -- and -- and timing here. And from what I could tell this week in my reporting, talking to Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, it was almost impossible to find anyone who would support the president's plans to pay for this health care by shaving the deductions for wealthy Americans.

MCCASKILL: But he gets credit for saying he's going to pay for it and laying out a plan to pay for it. I mean, we did Medicare D. And -- and -- and Bush lobbied for it and gleefully signed it into law with not any way of paying for it, no means test, billions of dollars into the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies without a second thought of public money.

So I think the fact that this president is showing the discipline to say, first of all, we're going to have an honest budget, no more cooking the books. We're going to put all of this stuff on the budget so the American people know how serious the problem is. And the fact that's committed to paying for the way we get health care reform...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But can you sign on to the plan, for example, to shave the deductions for wealthy Americans to pay for this?

MCCASKILL: I mean, it's -- we're talking about somebody who makes $4 million a year, instead of getting a $350 deduction on $1,000 contribution, getting a $280 deduction on $1,000 contribution. Does that really sound like something really tough?

DONOHUE: Well, that's a -- that's a fundamentally different issue than the question that George asked about the tax rates. The issue of shaving the deduction for people that are at this time, in this economy, from people that are putting money, willingly and voluntarily, into the needs of others is not going to fly. It's dead on arrival.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You agree with that?

BAYH: Well, first, I think the president is confronted with a lot of these simultaneously because the world has confronted him with them. He didn't ask to have to deal with the recession and the global warming and the health care crisis. He's been confronted with that, so he has to deal with a lot of these things.

With regard to budgeting, I think Claire's right. At least -- remember Vice President Cheney, George, said deficits didn't matter? And they pretty quickly took the largest budget surplus in history and turned it into the largest deficit. Now we have a president who wants to get the deficit down.

I think we need to go through a progression on health care, first, look for ways to -- to economize within the health care system. By just looking at the way we practice medicine in different parts of the country, there's a lot of money to be saved. That's number one.

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