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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:06 PM

"They'd Rather Have No Government Than Good Government"

Right from Day One of the new Congress, Congressman Alan Grayson has been saying what needs to be said, and fighting for what's right. Here is an MSNBC interview of Alan from a few days ago, regarding the agenda in Congress:

Craig Melvin: President Obama is saying that he does not want to negotiate over the debt ceiling, and says he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. From the looks of things, it could be the next big fight in Washington. Joining me now is a man who has never backed away from a fight: Congressman Alan Grayson, Florida Democrat. Congressman, always good to see you.

Congressman Alan Grayson: Thanks.

Craig: You are back in Congress after losing your seat in 2010.  First of all, how does it feel being back?

Alan: Oh, it's great. It's great to be back in the saddle again, and we had the greatest comeback in the history of the House of Representatives. We won by 25 points.

Craig: We've talked about the debt ceiling over the past week or so, and I want to read you something that John Cornyn wrote. This is an op-ed from Senator John Cornyn. This is what he wrote about how things could go down here in the next month or so: "It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain."  Pat Toomey said almost the same thing on "Morning Joe" this past week. Are we headed for a government shutdown in the next few months?

Alan: If the Republicans are crazy enough to want to do that, it's possible that they'll be able to pull that off. It's a very divided party on the other side—divided between the far right wing and the extreme right wing. The extreme right wing wants to shut down the government because they just don't like government at all. They'd rather have no government than even good government. So it's a possibility.

Craig: Does the extreme right wing of the GOP still yield that much power?

Alan: Well, sure. From what I can see, their caucus is divided almost equally between the corporate shills and the Tea Party. That's what passes for diversity on the other side of the aisle. The Tea Party represents a good hundred votes on the other side.

Craig: Republicans of course would argue that we just passed this fiscal cliff deal, and we should note th no spending cuts. The national debt is now more than $16 trillion and the Democrats, a lot of them aren't wild about the idea of making cuts to entitlements. How does that work?

Alan: Listen, if they were serious about reducing the debt then they would be serious about taxing people who have money. It seems the only people that the Right Wing is willing to tax are the people without money. The people with money are those whom they regard as untouchable. If they'd do that, they'll reduce the deficit, just as we did during the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Administration ran three or four different surpluses, one after another, because the income tax rate was high enough to pay for the needs of the government and the needs of the people.  But look at what they want to do instead: they want to cut Social Security benefits and they want to cut Medicare benefits. And those are the parts we actually make a profit on. The Social Security Administration has run a profit every single year since it was created. Medicare also runs a profit each year. It doesn't make any sense. They're basically trying to cut those programs because of some sadistic attitude toward old folks.

Craig: The President has indicated he might be willing to cut Medicare, and also willing to make an adjustment to the cost of living calculations used with Social Security.

Alan: Well, no. I think you have to be very specific when talking about this. What the President has generally indicated is to make these programs more efficient. I don't think the President has come out in favor of actual benefit cuts. These are two fundamentally different things. We're all interested in making the programs more efficient, at least people on our side of the aisle are. We're not interested in cutting the benefits.

Craig: There are so many issues still outstanding from the 112th Congress that you guys have to deal with. The sequester, of course, that's coming up March 1st, the Farm Bill, the Violence Against Women Act, and even more aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Make a prediction for us, if you can.  What, if anything, is going to get done with the 113th Congress at the helm?

Alan: Well, the Congress will deal with the crises as they come up, but remember that a lot of these crises are artificial crises. Some of them are created specifically for the purpose of trying to get things done that could never get done by the will of the people through the regular order. Naomi Klein has written about this in the book, "The Shock Doctrine." What we've seen is a series of artificial crises in order to steal from the Middle Class.

Craig: Again, going back to a prediction for what's going to be the first or even the second order of business. Are we talking about immigration? Are we talking about gun control? What might we be looking at here for the next six months?

Alan: Oh, I think we'll have to deal first with the sequester, a completely artificial contrivance created by the Republicans to cut Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits. That's what's coming up first and right after that, possibly right before that, depending on Tim Geithner's private calculations, we'll have to deal with the debt limit.

Craig: How real is the concern among Congressional Democrats that as you crawl from crisis to crisis that it prevents the Administration from advancing any sort of long-range policies with regards to immigration or energy or climate change, or even gun control?

Alan: I don't think it should. I think that the Administration has enormous powers under existing law. For instance, the Administration probably could institute large parts of the Cap and Trade bill, which passed the House but not the Senate when I was in Congress, through regulation, through rulemaking. The President actually did institute a large part of what would have been our bill on immigration, the Dream Act, through administrative action. The President has a lot of power, and he should use it to solve the country's problems.

Craig: How would you characterize your last stint in Congress? How would you characterize that compared to this upcoming stint?

Alan: Well, we did a lot of good for a lot of people, particularly in our district, and I think they'll be able to do it again. A lot of the best things that we did for people in our district had nothing to do with votes on the Floor . The job creates opportunities to do good things, and we'll do our best.

Craig: We certainly hope. We certainly hope that you will do your best and that your colleagues will also fall in line and do yours as well. Do come back again—I always enjoy our conversations and congrats to you.

Alan: Thank you.

Congressman Alan Grayson – telling it like it is. If you would like a chance to join Congressman Grayson for breakfast on Inauguration Day in Washington, DC, on January 21st, please contribute $25 or more to our campaign] by Tuesday night. (Or you can send an e-mail to inauguration@graysonforcongress.com.)

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:14 PM

1. Kind of annoying the way the comments keep getting cut off.

 

But I'm a big fan. We need 434 more just like Mr. Grayson. We'd be the envy of the world again.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:24 AM

2. To the greatest

Kickety

I would love to contribute, but I'm one of those people msot of the Congress thinks should live on air or just die off already.

Hoping for a better year for all of us.

Keep up the fight, Mr. Grayson.


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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:52 AM

3. Alan Grayson ROCKS!





I only wish he was a Washingtonian so I could vote for him...

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