'This Week' Transcript: Madeleine Albright, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Kent Conrad and David Cote


MARCUS: ... and the grown-up in the room. I agree with what Senator Conrad said. The non-report, the recommendations from the co-chairs were a useful dose of shock therapy just to educate people about the incredible gulf that we have between the government that any reasonable person wants.

You could have a discussion about what size it should be and the revenue that we have to fund it going forward, and you need to understand the scope of the problem before you can agree on solutions.

Right now, 75 percent of people believe you could balance the budget without touching Medicare or Social Security; 75 percent of people believe that you can balance the budget without raising taxes. Well, you could, but it would be extraordinarily painful.

People need to get a little bit of reality therapy. There's going to be another dose coming on Wednesday when another group is going to submit their recommendations, very concrete recommendations about how to do it. That's the conversation we need to have before we start picking apart solutions.

KRUGMAN: If they were going to do reality therapy, they should have said, OK, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it's going to pay for. And at least for starters, it's going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all. In other words, it should have endorsed the panel that was part of the health care reform.

If it's not even -- if the commission isn't even brave enough to take on the death panels people, then it's doing no good at all. It's not educating the public. It's not telling people about the kinds of choices that need to be made.

MARCUS: But they did talk about -- just -- just as a fact, they did talk about strengthening that commission, the famous IPAB...


MARCUS: ... and giving it more power to go after more aspects of the health care system, which -- because it's now rather constrained.

KRUGMAN: They made no headlines with that. And some friends of mine are calling this the commission -- the commission to put caps on lots of stuff. It's a lot of numerical caps without any explanation of how they're going to happen.

AMANPOUR: What about the tax fight which is going to come up? I mean, does that even register with -- in terms of -- in terms of the Brookings Institution, in terms of what you're looking at?

KAGAN: It certainly registers with one-half of the Brookings Institution. It doesn't happen to be the half that I'm in, but, I mean, I think that clearly the whole bundle of issues are going to have to be dealt with together, including, by the way, issues like the national security budget and defense budget, which I think a lot of people think, oh, there's a good pot of money we can go into, but if you look at the foreign policy of this administration, I don't see where they're going to be able to find those kinds of savings.

AMANPOUR: Well, we had Rand Paul on last week and he said, for instance, he is willing to talk about cuts in military spending. He thought that that was one area where perhaps a wing of Republicans could start talking about in return for a wing of Democrats who could talk about real cuts in Social Security and Medicare.


WILL: ... Secretary Gates is talking about that.

AMANPOUR: Precisely.

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