MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript
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Joining us now is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Senator Brown, its really nice to see you. Thanks for coming back on the show.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Its good to be back. Thanks.
MADDOW: Am I right that "cash for clunkers" is working as intended?
BROWN: Yes, not quite. Its actually working better than intended. This town is full of ideology and sort of this knee-jerk reaction generally from the far-right that, well, if this is a government program, by definition, it cant work.
And this, as you pointed out so well in each of those three or four points, has clearly worked every bit as well or better than expected. It works for jobs. It works for creating demand. It works for the environment. It works to put people back to work.
Its the bestits in some sense, its the best stimulus that weve seen. The money goes out in peoples pockets. Its spent. Its back into the community exactly what we want to create demand in the auto industry.
MADDOW: Well, Republicans in Congress, on the issue of stimulus, they have been critical of the economic stimulus efforts, thus far, in part by saying that things werent happening fast enough. Now, we just heard that argument from Senator DeMint saying we need to slow this "cash for clunkers" program down. We just need tonot even necessarily arguing that it isnt working, hes just saying it should work more slowly. We should make it take a break.
Whats your take on this issue of timing and his argument there?
BROWN: Well, it goes back to what I said at the beginning. I think, Rachel, its a question of ideology. And they just, you know, they dont like the public option health care becausewell, its a government program. They didnt like Medicare. Theyif we had waited for bipartisanship in Medicare, we never would have had Medicare.
They dont like a government program, whether it works or it doesnt. And what really aggravates them is when it works. When we do something like this, it works better than expected, 10 miles per gallon better, 85 percent of the cars turned in or the vehicles turned in are trucks. Only 40 percent of themthe new vehicles are trucks, much higher mileage ones.
So, were seeing success all the way up and down in this for the environment, for getting money in peoples pockets, for helping dealers, for helping the largest industry in America, the car, auto component manufacturers, its the largest industry we have. And if were going to get out of this recession more quickly, we need to stimulate the auto industry and all the auto suppliers and the dealerships in every community in America because we know recessions typically, the auto industry drives us, leads us out of a recession.
And thats why this program is working sowhy the effectiveness of this program is so good for the economy.
MADDOW: There is a little late breaking news just on the politics of all of this tonight, that if some Republicans, some individual Republican senator or a group of them decides to try to stop this program in its tracks, they may have to block the Senate from going into recess in order to do that. They would have tothey would have tothey would have to delay the recess if they wanted to stop the program, which means theyd be taking a big public political stand on this issue.
Would that be an opportunity for the Democrats and Republicans to have a great ideological debate about whether or not the government should actually try to be good at doing stuff or whether the government shouldnt do anything at allwhich is I think what the conservatives are arguing here?
BROWN: Sure. And I think if they want to block it and, you know, into next week, we stay as long as we need to. This is an example ofthis is working, this is good for the economy. Its obviously especially good for my state. I dont deny that for a second. But its good for the economy overall.
The auto industry leads us out of recessions historically, can help lead us out of this one. And well stay as long as we need.
But Ithat debatethat debate needs to happen. And I hear Republicans complaining on the Senate floor tonight. Senator Dodd and Harkin and White House and I were talking about the public option. On the other side, Republicans were trying to scare senior citizens about Medicare and about the health care system and the government takeover.
And its clear that government cant do everything but government does some things very, very well. Medicare, "cash for clunkers," the list is pretty long.
And bring them on. Lets have thelets have the debate. Lets have the discussion.
MADDOW: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
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