8:05 a.m. E.T.
Here’s my MSNBC conversation with Joe Scarborough on the coming fiscal fights and why Democrats want to stall entitlement reform.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The President cannot escape the simple arithmetic, Mark, any more than he can escape the laws of physics and I’m dead serious. This is our reality. And, you and I have had disagreements over the past four years. You say, okay, because you just couldn’t imagine him being reckless and irresponsible, you say, “Okay, you know what? After the midterms he’s going to get serious. After this…” And I’m not saying that to poke at you. I think most reasonable, responsible people would think the President of the United States would do what’s in the best interest of senior citizens and people on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, to save those programs. But he hasn’t been and why is that? And when is he going to get responsible?
MARK HALPERIN: There are three big pots of money that are related. One is the sequester cuts, kicking in in two months. The next is entitlement reform. And then there’s still tax reform, where the President is hoping to get more revenue, the additional revenue that he didn’t get from this round of new revenue. If those three pots can be dealt with together there can be a legacy thing. The big problem is Harry Reid because, as Dan pointed out, Harry doesn’t want to do anything with entitlement reform, really, so it seems. So, the President is going to have to find a way to make a deal, I think, once again, in the Senate, on those three big pots, simultaneously, and then move back to the House.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But Harry Reid knows, whether you’re talking about left of center fiscal groups, whether you’re talking right of center fiscal groups, whether it’s Pete Peterson’s foundation, whether it’s the Concord Coalition, whether it’s basic mathematicians—
MARK HALPERIN: Here’s what they want: they want to wait until the economy is better because if the economy is growing, you don’t have to cut things as much. That what he wants. He wants to put it off.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But this isn’t even the Paul Krugman argument, which is don’t cut now, it will hurt the economy. This isn’t a Keynesian argument. I’m talking about Medicare and Social Security. I’m talking about 20 years from now.
MARK HALPERIN: But the 20 year numbers look a lot better if — I think what a lot of Democrats are hoping is the deal they just did gets the economy growing by the middle of the year while this stuff is still being debated and you can then cut a lot less from entitlements because the projections look a lot better if we have higher economic growth, lower payments going out.
Watch the video above.