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MSNBC "Countdwon with Keither Olbermann" Interview - Transcript


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MR. OLBERMANN: A pleasure to be joined again tonight from Washington by Congressman Maxine Waters of California and the Financial Services Committee.

Much thanks, as always, for your time, Congresswoman.

REP. WATERS: Delighted. Thank you for having me on.

MR. OLBERMANN: Congressman Ryan's budget offers lower deficits, lower spending, lower taxes, and at least 2 million more jobs. Apparently he forgot to include the pony for everybody.

REP. WATERS: (Laughs.) Well, I think you described exactly what's happening with this budget. First of all, it doesn't have many numbers in it. Secondly, this does nothing but rehash the same old Bush policies, and those are the policies that drove us into this recession that we're in -- the worst job creation in the last 75 years.

In addition to that, they have the audacity to continue to give big tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our society, another $4 trillion worth of tax breaks on top of the already Bush tax breaks that's in the system. And so it's unrealistic. They don't talk about how they're going to have this trillion dollars more in cuts. And I think it is laughable.

MR. OLBERMANN: Why would -- and we heard Congressman Ryan seem a little on the defense right from the beginning there -- why would Mr. Ryan think anybody was going to accuse him of draconian cuts?

REP. WATERS: Well, I don't know why he thinks that he would be taken seriously. This is worse than draconian. This particular plan will take away funding for Medicare, for Medicaid. It would even reduce and eliminate some people who are available -- I mean, who are eligible now for Social Security.

And so when you take a look at the tax cuts for the rich, pulling the safety net out from under the most vulnerable in our society, and you also understand, when you look at this budget, that there's no way that they can accomplish what they're saying that they're going to accomplish, and they didn't even try and put the numbers with it, you recognize that not only is it old Bush plan rehashed, but this is what got us into the recession that we're in now. And they would take us into a depression with this kind of budget.

And so we, the Democrats, have the budget that Nancy Pelosi describes as the blueprint for economic recovery, where we talk about how we are going to invest in Head Start, what we're going to do about health care and education and housing. And so this budget that they are presenting, the Republican budget, is a budget that is absolutely shameful. We left Bush with a surplus. Not only did he get rid of that surplus and spend like a drunken sailor; they took us into deficit. And so I don't think the American people are going to buy what they're attempting to sell, because they're not even doing a good job of selling it, trying to put it out there without numbers.

MR. OLBERMANN: Yeah, especially -- I mean, Congressman Ryan doesn't look like he doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't look like he's a slave to dogma. He doesn't look like he's a pure politician the way much of the Republican leadership is. And yet he's out there saying, just as you suggest, that this thing amounts to "Remember how well the Bush tax cuts stimulated the economy?" I mean, purely as political strategy, how would you assess this move?

REP. WATERS: Well, I'm just surprised that they would come back with the same old thing. I'm also surprised that not only are they giving away these tax cuts to the richest Americans in our society; they are trying to make sure that they keep the subsidies for the oil and gas industry of this country. In the president's budget, he's taking out that $31 billion worth of subsidy for the oil and gas companies.

And so this budget that the Republicans are offering is not credible. It is not possible to execute it in the way that they're talking about it. And I just don't think the American people are going to buy it. And I don't know what their political strategy is, because you certainly can't fool the people with these budgets, this budget that they're coming forth with. So I think it's, you know, just throwing something out there.

People have been waiting for days to see what the budget is from the Republicans. They said they were going to have an alternative. The first time they rolled out, it was simply with a folder with nothing in between. And then they rolled back out with very few numbers and, of course, targeting, you know, tax cuts again for the rich, pulling the rug out from under the most vulnerable, saying nothing about what they're going to really do about economic recovery. And you said it too -- they're going to do away with the stimulus plan that's designed to put money into our economy, create jobs, repair our infrastructure, and get us back on the road to a solid economy again.

MR. OLBERMANN: Congressman Maxine Waters, Democrat from California. As always, Congresswoman, it's a pleasure. Thank you for your time.

REP. WATERS: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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