October 29, 2017

Sunday School 10/29/17

So, what was happening in the NBC classroom this morning?

Chuck Todd had Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman and Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill on  Meet the Press.

Todd and Portman talked a little about president Trump; Portman didn't vote for him, he said, but it is his job to work with the duly elected president - as he did with Presidents Obama and Clinton, people with whom he didn't always agree. And, Portman said, character does matter.
Of course. Yeah. Of course character counts. And I don't agree with every tweet. As you know I've spoken up on occasion. And yet, if you're focused on the tweets and not focused on actually accomplishing what people are looking to have happen for them and their family, I think you're getting out of touch with the American people.
They also talked about tax reform, and about the deficit spending that will allow that reform to happen. Todd wove together a few old Portman quotes:
The American people are rightfully frustrated by the fact that we have the biggest deficit in the history of our country and the biggest debt ever.
Debt and deficit will end up in a fiscal crisis and an economic crisis.
It's a question as to whether we're going to just sort of turn our heads and allow this to occur or whether we're going to actually deal with this issue in a way that's responsible for current and future generations. 
Here's what today's Portman says:
First, I'm really excited about this tax reform because I think it will generate a lot more revenue. I actually think it will over the ten-year period. Chuck, you're talking about (what will) result in deficit reduction. Why? Because for the first time in over 30 years we're going to reform the tax code to provide a middle-class tax cut,which is really important. 
But also to encourage more investment for more jobs, more earnings and to improve the economy And what we've said is if we can just improve the economy slightly instead of the 1.9% growth that the Congressional Budget Office says is going to happen let's take it .4% more. If we can just do that, then we begin to actually reduce the deficit. And I think that will happen.
Todd asked what many people outside of DC ask:
Do you realize it's hard to really believe the idea that somehow cut revenue, cut taxes and somehow that's going to increase taxes into -- 
Portman's answer?
Not if you do tax reform... It's not just tax cuts, it's tax reform...  We have a tax code now that actually encourages jobs and investments to go overseas. And this reverses all that. And it's going to result in more investment coming here to this country, more economic activity. Everybody (who) looks at this tax reform proposal will be able to say, "I think across the spectrum this is going to change behavior and it's going to change behavior in a way that encourages more job creation and economic growth..."

McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, was also asked about taxes and about what Trump said to Democrats he met with. McCaskill noted that it's hard for Dems to support the plan when they have no idea what's actually going to be in it. (Like the rest of us, its seems they'll find out when the GOP unveils the darn thing.) But she did hold out hope.
It's hard for me to take seriously that they want Democrats to participate when they won't show us the bill... So I want to work with them. If we can make this about the middle-class and make this not trickle down but deliver to the middle-class and small businesses, then I think they could get a bipartisan vote on this, and that would be so much better for the country.
Todd pressed her on what she would support, knowing that the minority will not have a ton of chances to get what they want.
I certainly support lowering the corporate tax rates so we're globally competitive. I could live with something in the low twenties. And depending on what they would do on a child tax credit or on making sure that kids can afford college, retirement income - the notion that they're going to mess with the retirement accounts in order to give a tax break to millionaires and billionaires, that just doesn't work. So yeah, I'll compromise. But Chuck, I've had a front-row seat to what happened in Kansas... And they said exactly what Senator Portman said, "Well, we're going to have growth. It's not going to be a problem." It's been a huge problem in Kansas...
We'll close out with  a statement from McCaskill that made Chuck Todd, well, chuckle.
You referenced a couple of cable news hosts. And you said 30% of Missouri is worrying about (what) one cable news host says. 20% is worried about another. And you said half the state's watching Dancing with the Stars. And you focus... you say "I try and focus on the folks watching Dancing with the Stars."
There's some common sense in that statement, for sure.

One other thing we learned today: Trump's approval rating is singularly noteworthy.
Our brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning shows president Trumps approval rating at a low for his presidency. 38% approve, 58% disapprove. It's actually down considerably from where Mr. Trump was just a month ago in the first aftermath of those hurricanes.  It's also the lowest in modern times for a president in the first year of his presidency.
It's going to be a busy week -- an indictment expected from Bob Mueller, the tax bill, and of course, there'll be tweets, for sure. Maybe not about that approval rating, though.

See you around campus.