After the Deluge: New York's Congressmen Explain Why Yes, Why No on the Debt Ceiling Vote

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Congressman Michael Grimm from Staten Island. (Azi Paybarah / wnyc)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, US Representative Jerrold Nadler of NY-08 explained his no vote on the debt deal, followed by Congressman Michael Grimm of NY-13, representing Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, who talked about his yes vote on the deal. 

After an epic and often nauseating Congressional battle over the extension of the Federal debt ceiling, to pay bills for debts already incurred, progressive Democrat Jerry Nadler could not bring himself to support the compromise.

I voted 'no' because I think it's a) a terrible deal, it will really hurt the middle class, b) it will make it harder to get out of the recession we're in and it almost guarantees that the unemployment rate will continue over 9 percent for a good many years to come. Three, it sets a terrible precedent.

Nadler argued that the bill will increase unemployment in New York City and potentially take benefits away from recipients of the Zagroda bill as well as hospitals, major employers in the state. He added that Republicans have misconstrued the truth of why the country is in a debt crisis.

The reason we have this huge deficit now is not because spending has run amok, discretionary spending is about the same now adjusted for population and inflation as it was in 2001 when we were running a very large surplus. What has changed is number one, accounting for about half the deficit, is the Bush tax cuts, number two, two unfunded wars, and number three, the recession, those are what have caused the deficit.

He criticized Obama for underestimating the ruthlessness of the Republicans, and says in hindsight, the President should have dealt with the debt ceiling right after extending the Bush era tax cuts, instead of assuming the GOP would compromise.

Freshman Republican Michael Grimm considers himself part of the Tea Party, but ended up voting for the bill even as other Tea Party freshman held out for more cuts. He said he didn't feel the bill went far enough but he has accepted that this government is so broken it will take several steps to fix it.

Unprecedented in U.S. History

Nadler and Grimm agreed that the Republicans had done something unprecedented in American history, but disagreed on what that was.

According to Nadler, the Republicans "hijacked" the economy:

What the Republicans did here was not negotiate in good faith, they literally said to everybody, like a bunch of gangsters, 'that's a nice economy you got here, a pity if something would have happened to it.' They threatened to destroy the economy and that was a threat. This was not normal negotiations, this was hostage taking and giving into the hostage takers lest they murder the hostages, the hostage being the economy.

According to Grimm, Republicans pushed Congress to be responsible for the first time:

Republicans are saying we can't just raise the debt ceiling irresponsibly and not put a plan in place to tell the rest of the world that yes, we recognize we have a problem, and yes, we're going to deal with it in way that is responsible and will eventually bring economic security for this great nation.

The next fight

Grimm denied Nadler's claim that raising taxes on the wealthy would improve the deficit. "They want to say it's a revenue problem but every economist who looks at it understands its a spending problem," he said. However, he did say that he backs closing tax loopholes for corporations and simplifying the tax code. We'll see if that remains true over the next six months, as the playground is sure to get bloodied again before the next debt ceiling deadline, the day before Thanksgiving.


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Comments [91]

Arlene Dorfman from Long Isalnd

Very disappointed with how Brian handled the interview with Grimm. It was truly grim. I believe Republican politicians feel if they repeat inaccurate facts often enough the public will believe them. Brian did not have his facts ready to counteract the statements made. Respectfully, Jon Stewart would not let less than accurate statements go by w/o a dispute.

Aug. 04 2011 11:42 AM
thomas goggin

I agree with Cong. Nadler. Another thing, if the deficit was a crisis, interests rates would be very high because banks etc would be in a seller's market and could raise the rates for lending. The fact is they can't get away with that because people are cutting back rather than spending or borrowing. Liars on the right wing of politics claim that the interests will rise at some point. Yes, and the sky will fall someday. Say anything enough in as many places as possible and fools will believe it. tomg

Aug. 03 2011 12:36 PM
Xtina from E. Village

Scott from Noho, so your restaurant pays fees, fines and sales tax - to the CITY and STATE. None of this is going to the federal gov't. The taxes that millionaires would pay would be on INDIVIDUALS not BUSINESSES such as your own.

This has nothing to do with FEDERAL taxes, the lack of which due to Bush Tax Cuts, have resulted in deficits of trillions of dollars.

It's very convenient to blame the city's inefficiences and conflate this with the federal government. But prove your point about inefficiencies. Medicare for example has an overhead of 4% compared to PRIVATE insurance which has an overhead of 30%.

And please let me know what restaurant you own so I can stop patronizing it if I am doing so. Most restaurants in this neighborhood 'charge' tax and deal in cash with no receipts and pocket the sales tax.

Aug. 02 2011 08:52 PM


why don't you call on Grimm's lies?
I thought you read The New Yorker too!
Grimm is a narcissistic full-of-himself, his circular tal has no limits!

Aug. 02 2011 07:32 PM
Mr. Bad from IL

OMFG - 16 years! The freshman congressman Dimm from Staten has been in "government" for 16 years. Don't believe me, skip ahead to 21:35 on the player and listen!

Can you believe the chutzpah on this glandular case? Yup, that's right, if you're a corporal in the marines, an FBI agent or a dog catcher or a mail man you have been "in government"... Look, this guys is a liar, a bad liar, he makes it up as he goes along and he keeps getting caught in lies but NOBODY calls him on it. Listen PRODUCERS OF WNYC, next time he's on ask him to explain how he's been in government for 16 years.According to my math he's been in "government" since he was 25, quite an accomplishment, why shouldn't he talk about this long career more? Also ask him about this since everyone seems to have forgotten all of the sudden:


Aug. 02 2011 05:22 PM
scott from NOHO

As a small business owner and avid listener of the Brian Lehrer Show, I find it shocking that the majority of listeners feel that the government should demand additional tax money from anyone before doing everything it can to improve its own inefficient operations.

For a small restaurant, I am happy to report that we employ 23 people and have sent over $1 million dollars in sales and income tax to our government. If you count all of the parking tickets, noise violations, fire department inspections, DEP inspections, and Health Department Fines, you can add another $100,000.00 to the total. (Thanks for the small business help Mr. Bloomberg)

I am still trying to figure out where all the money goes. Once you open a small business in New York, you immediately see the amount of waste and fraud that surrounds our local government.

The next time you leave the house take a look at the subway rafters, are they clean and painted or dirty and rusty? Take a look at the sidewalks and roadways, are the smooth or filled with pot holes? How was your last experience at the DMV? Were you able to make it through in a reasonable amount of time or were you left to languish on a bench waiting for the staff to return from a lunch break during the busiest hour of the day? Have you taken a look at the condition of your local school. Is the building clean and well kept or does it look like its falling into disrepair?

The city, state, and federal government has been collecting plenty of tax dollars to accomplish what they are supposed to do. The real problem is how those tax dollars are managed and stolen after they leave the treasury.

I think the country as a whole would be much better off if we start asking our representatives to show us exactly where our current tax dollars are being spent and less time asking citizens to pay more.

Aug. 02 2011 03:06 PM

I guess his name isn't Grimm for nothing.

Aug. 02 2011 02:37 PM
Is Obama a closet REPUBLICAN ?

Is Obama a closet REPUBLICAN ?

It is true that most Democrats nowadays are to the right of President Nixon. Many are to the right of Ronald Reagan's policies. But now it seems that President Obama, and the democrats who are supporting this bill are to the right of 1990's Gingrich!

What happened to the Democratic party ?
Who will represent the poor and middle class ?

Perhaps it's just that the Republicans have found the solution to Bill Clinton's triangulation strategy - the answer : each time Pres. Obama tries to run right to triangulate, the Republicans run even more extremely to the right, until the Democrats are chasing them into extremist right wing territory.

But maybe we're just foolish outsiders.

Maybe, despite his flowery words, in his heart Pres. Obama IS A CLOSET REPUBLICAN.

Perhaps this piece of theatre was his way of getting his own party to vote to harm their own base - and to accept extremist Republican arguments without disputing their validity or premises, and without proposing any constructive real Democratic alternatives.

Aug. 02 2011 11:55 AM
Xtina from E, Village

Rep. Grimm - you know who pays no taxes at all - GIANT CORPORATIONS! That's who.

Aug. 02 2011 11:26 AM
valentin from brooklyn ny

Brian, I was disappointed with you.
I was listening to Rep. Grimm's comments on the neccessity to cut our debt with understanding, until he, responding to the arg. of Bush's tax cuts role in the deficit, pointed out, as all rep-ns do, to Obama's 3.7 trillion spendature for "nothing". I hear this "argument" all the time and never hear a logical challenge to it from a moderater - wasn't Obama forced to spend this money by all the preceding spendthrift?

Aug. 02 2011 11:23 AM
Lou from New Jersey

The Tea Party tells us not to raise taxes on the rich because they are the people that invest. It's a bogus argument. Our economy is now plagued by unused economic capacity. Factories, etc., sitting idle. The reason: too many tax cuts for the rich who did indeed invest while also taking the lions share of national income leaving the middle class to finance consumer purchases (demand) and economic growth with personal debt; that created a bubble. When it burst, purchasers couldn't buy, demand fell, businesses closes, unemployment rose and government debt went through the roof.

We do not need the rich to engage in private domestic investment which they won't do so long as there is a large stock of unused economic capacity and people out of work. That is why government stimulus is needed, to provide income through investment in degraded infrastructure which helps grow demand and insures a more robust recovery.

There are only two choices: government stimulus or an American lost decade. In passing the debt limit bill, we chose the latter and economic disaster.

Aug. 02 2011 11:12 AM
Joyce from Palisades

Congressman Grimm appears to be completely misinformed if he thinks that no stimulus money was spent on infrastructure projects. The following links from ProPublica show otherwise:

Aug. 02 2011 11:04 AM
Lenore from Upper West Side

Jerry Nadler is right and Brian, who has fallen for the "centrist" and "compromise" nonsense, is wrong.

Look at the RESULTS of the deal, not who or how many people voted for it. The RESULTS show that the Repubs won and this is NOT a compromise. It is not BALANCED. There is no revenue. How can the government of the "richest" "greatest" country in the world function and provide for its citizens if it cannot raise the necessary REVENUE?

The Pew results last week show that one-third of black and one-third of Latino Americans have NO wealth, nothing. That is millions of people. And who is talking about that? Nobody.

Aug. 02 2011 11:03 AM
Walcesca from New Rochelle, NY

Republicans like Grimm never get tired of making up facts--and they are belived by a segment of the population because they state their point with such conviction. He should listen to Republicans like Bruce Bartlett who are honest enough to say the problem was created by Bush. They all want to blame Obama for the deficit when the guy came in when we were in a deep hole and had to spend money to try to get us out of the hole. Money that a lot of them took for their districts while condemming it.

Aug. 02 2011 11:03 AM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!

So now the Republicans call everyone who makes over $200 grand ' Job Creators'?

Last time I looked at my fellow graduates from the 1980's and later: Most of the people who made 'Six Figures' were just high paid EMPLOYEES. And a lot of them filled a lot of cubicles doing jobs that were not all that essential enough to keep them employed when the Companies decided to slash employment in 2008-9.

People with IDEAs create jobs, not necessarily people with Six Figures. A lot of them are making AVERAGE Incomes measured in FIVE Figures. But Grimm must think of them as 'peons'.

Aug. 02 2011 11:03 AM
Brian from Hoboken

At least he recognized the need to eliminate loop holes etc. I am in an income category were we get hit hard by taxes, especially the AMT (only from trying to deduct high state and local taxes- nothing fancy). We do well, but not so well that we can afford the tax lawyers who hide income for the very rich. The upper middle class gets hits the hardest these days. 47% of Americans pay no federal taxes after deductions, and the very top use their wealth to hide their money. It's those in the middle-upper middle who pay the most.
For those of you complaining about entitlement reform, you need to wake up. SS ad Medicare/Medicaid make up about 65% of the budget. It is unsustainable. I am 36 and recognize te need for reform, otherwise there will be nothing for me. It is much like a pensioner of GM during bankruptcy- you can agree to take a haircut on future benefits or roll the dice and may end up with nothing. We have to do something about SS and health spending.

Aug. 02 2011 10:55 AM
MELANIE from Brooklyn

Is this guy serious? The people making $250K per year are the job creators? What jobs are they creating? Dog walkers, housekeepers and nannies? All illegal immigrants paid as little as possible? Or are they picking up the out-of-work people that the "job creators" won't hire since they have been out of work too long...

oh, wait...who are the job creators again??? And what jobs have they been creating? And why is unemployment still at 9 point something? Although they have been bailed out, and their taxes have remained so low since the Bush era?

We are talking about taxing millionaires and billionaires and eliminating corporate welfare for multinationals!!!!! THAT is the revenue we are talking about. STOP the POLITRICKS!!!

Aug. 02 2011 10:55 AM
MELANIE from Brooklyn

Is this guy serious? The people making $250K per year are the job creators? What jobs are they creating? Dog walkers, housekeepers and nannies? All illegal immigrants paid as little as possible? Or are they picking up the out-of-work people that the "job creators" won't hire since they have been out of work too long...

oh, wait...who are the job creators again??? And what jobs have they been creating? And why is unemployment still at 9 point something? Although they have been bailed out, and their taxes have remained so low since the Bush era?

We are talking about taxing millionaires and billionaires and eliminating corporate welfare for multinationals!!!!! THAT is the revenue we are talking about. STOP the POLITRICKS!!!

Aug. 02 2011 10:54 AM
Mark Stollar from New York City

Congressman Grimm spoke persuasively. He would have been even more effective if he used facts accurately. He belittled Bush's fiscal policies as a contributor to our current debt. Bush added $6.1 Trillion to our current debt of $14 Trillion while Obama contributed a bit over $2 Trillion.

Grimm also said that raising taxes on the wealthy would have a neglible impact on our debt. However, the Bush tax cuts, which were greatly skewed towards the wealthy, added over $2.5 Trillion to the debt. And the argument that tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations would increase jobs, well, we've had these lower tax rates for a decade and look at the state of our economy. Compare that with the 10-year period before the tax cuts and you'll see the longest period of prosperity our country enjoyed in decades.

Finally, Grimm said he was in favor of closing tax loopholes. If so, then why didn't the Republicans add these revenue enhancers to the final deal? Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the Tea Party make it clear they are willing to destroy the country in order to save it.

Aug. 02 2011 10:53 AM
David F. Cope from Upper west side

Mr. Lehrer, how could you let that dastardly (and appropriately named) Grimm get away with the baldfaced lie that "not one dollar of stimulus money went to infrastructure"? You know it's not true, I know it's not true, he knows it's not true; but I fear that listeners who don't read much, and who get their news mostly from television, can accept that kind of big lie when it's not challenged immediately. Anyway, thanks for your wonderful work (on the whole); we know it's not easy, but don't buy into their gaming of "liberal media bias" to give 'em a break when they lie.

Aug. 02 2011 10:51 AM
gary from queens

Both wars under Bush never exceeded 10 percent of the budget in any year.

So explain why Dems keep citing the "2 unpaid for wars" for our national debt?!

Aug. 02 2011 10:48 AM
eric from brooklyn

Rep. Grimm & the repubs keep sighting this 51% of americans don't pay taxes bullsh*t. It's just more of the right wing lies.

the number he's supposed to be pushing is 41% and that's only federal income taxes which make up 40% of tax revenues. another 40% is from payroll taxes which most working americans pay at a disproportionately higher rate than do millionaires paying income tax. a minimum wage worker pays exactly the same dollar amount of FICA as does a billionaire CEO. Let the repubs explain the fairness of that this fall when they propose raising the retirement age.

further it would be nice if Grimm were concerned with getting the low wage workers and the unemployed up to the income levels necessary to pay federal income taxes; instead of proposing to "broaden the base:" which is another way of saying raise taxes on the poor.

Aug. 02 2011 10:46 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

I lost count of the lies and half-truths put out by Dim Mr. Grimm but did anyone else catch that hilarious one where he spoke of his 9 years in government? Don't quote but I could have sworn that's what he said. Mr. Dim was just elected last year so I guess the other years "in government" were counting his time as a Marine/FBI agent... who we all know do a lot of "governing". You want to laugh? Leave it to staten island - can we please, PLEASE give that place to Jersey? Oh god PLEASE let them go and be with their "people".

Aug. 02 2011 10:46 AM
Brad from Northport

Grimm is yet another misinformed sound-bite parrot who's over use of the word 'reality' refuses to grasp 'it'.

Aug. 02 2011 10:45 AM
William from Manhattan

Republicans should review the concept of "loyal opposition". America discovered 2 centuries ago, and Britain a century earlier still, that democracy cannot function if the party out of power does not accept the legitimacy of the authority of the party in power. By all means, criticize policy and propose new ones in the hope of gaining a majority in the next election. But the battles between Hamilton and Jefferson teach us that government cannot function if both parties cannot agree that a properly elected majority has the right to govern without their legitimacy being undermined.

Aug. 02 2011 10:45 AM
Lee from TN

I think the democrats and liberal quacks are right on target. The solution here is to simply blame any and everyone who thinks that any mention of fiscal reality is a murderer or a terrorist. I also think the left is correct in peddling the idea that we should continue to spend like drunken sailors until we can borrow no more and truly destroy the US as we know it. After all, you can always blame Bush since NO liberal or democrat EVER had anything to do shaping the government that we see today.

Aug. 02 2011 10:44 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

On my first question to Grimm, it should read that

EVERYONE agrees that taxing the wealthy (even slightly) will help reduce the deficit, especially over time, although it would not balance the budget.

Anyone that thinks additional revenue won't help is therefore delusional.

Aug. 02 2011 10:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Let's call the extreme Right wing bluff. Let's offer to eliminate the income taxes altogether, as Republicans have always claimed to be against, and replace with a high energy tax. The bigger your home, the more cars you have, the more taxes you will have to pay in your energy bills. The smaller and more modestly you live, the less taxes you will pay if you use very little energy.

I'd like to see what the Republicans would say to that.

Aug. 02 2011 10:43 AM
Robin in Brooklyn from Brooklyn

Grimm is either a complete ignoramus or just a total liar. Why didn't Brian call him out on such statements like "all economists agree that our deficit problem is one of spending, not revenue." The vast majority of economists - including Nobel Prize winners - insist on revenue as part of the equation. After listening to this guy, I am just even more sickened than I was already.

Aug. 02 2011 10:43 AM
Hillary Brizell-DeLise from NYC

Grimm used the same tired argument that if people have to keep to peronal budgets, why shouldn't the US government? Are you kidding me?? The government is responsible for disparate groups of people and myriad issues, structures, processes....there is no comparison between these 2 types of entities! Hillary NYC

Aug. 02 2011 10:42 AM

"none" of the stimulus money went to infrastructure???? He should to talk to all of the other republicans that tried to take credit for infrastructure projects. The Wall Street Journal listed a lot of them a while back. Love how the Tea Party creates it's own facts.

Aug. 02 2011 10:42 AM

come on, Martin. 6% may have gone to infrastructure, but you're a smart man, and you know that the bulk of the money was dished out to states to pay teachers, firemen and police. Don't be so disengenious. There was no choice, and even you would have not voted against that.

Aug. 02 2011 10:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Grimm didn't say 6% went to infrastructure, he said *no* money from the stimulus did. Which is not true--I saw signs where highway construction was going on that said it was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Aug. 02 2011 10:42 AM
Robert from NYC

Let's get clubs and torches and go to this guy's district and beat the crap out of the people who voted for him. LOL. No let's not, but it felt good to say.
I don't pray but if some of you do, pray for these folks that they get back their senses.

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM
Edward from NJ

Grimm just rolled out the "50% of Americans don't pay taxes" line. Of course, they do pay payroll taxes, but for some reason Republicans don't count those. Here's my question, if we don't count payroll taxes as taxes, can we also not count Social Security and Medicare as expenses? Debt problem solved!

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

How can he possibly say NONE of it went to help the debt? He's shooting himself in the foot by saying absolutely NONE of the spending by the president went to help the country's debt. It's absurd.

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM
Louis from Demarest NJ

Bryan, why have a program about economics when you don't know a thing about it. If the BBC were interviewing Grimm they'd put him to shame. A long line of cliches and the same talking points the Tea Party uses. Cutting debt in a recession has never, and will never increase growth without which you'll never reduce government debt. They tried here in 1937 and in Japan during its lost decade. We know that doesn't work.

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM
RBC from FiDi

Mr. Grimm has stated another set of fallacies in his argument:

1. The stimulus has generated improvements to our infrastructure. Since the stimulus was issued, I've been in many states and I've seen how many highways and roads are being repaved and replaced. Even NYC has seen a number of infrastructure improvement projects - particularly in Lower Manhattan.

2. The only reason why Obama has "spent more than any other president" is because Bush and the GOP never included the amount spent on the wars when counting national spending.

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM
jb from manhattan

Brian, this interview with Michael Grimm is embarrassing. Falsehood after falsehood, into nearly every sentence. The he-said-she-said model just doesn't work when one of the participants doesn't live in reality.

Aug. 02 2011 10:41 AM

Grimm - sure 50% of people don't pay any (you meant FEDERAL) taxes - because they're in POVERTY. Hard to get blood from a sonte.

Aug. 02 2011 10:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To John from NYC

I don't understand what you mean by "the US is a rich country?" Russia and Indonesia have more coal, oil, gold, tin and other energy and mineral resources. More land to plant food on. Argentina once had a standard of living comparable to the US in the 1920s, and it went downhill because of the way it was mismanaged.

A land can be rich, and the people can be poor. OTOH, there are countries with few natural resources, like Switzerland or Japan and many others, where the people are rich but the country is poor.

There is no such thing as a "rich country" or a poor country. Only a country that has been well managed, and those that have been mismanaged. China is getting rich now because it is now being properly managed, not like under Communism or under the Mandarin bureaucrats and warlords.

Aug. 02 2011 10:40 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Stephen from Inwood

What difference would it make? Any other Democrat would roll over and die also. It's apparently a prerequisite in being a Democrat these days.

Aug. 02 2011 10:40 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Fact check: Grimm just said that 50% of Americans pay any taxes at all. That is an oft repeated talking point, but it is only true if you are talking only about income taxes. The vast majority of those pay other taxes such as payroll taxes.

Aug. 02 2011 10:40 AM
Mike from Bklyn

Who is this Clown????(Grimm)

Aug. 02 2011 10:39 AM
Arthur Pellman from Port Washington, NY

Republicans and Rep. Grimm keep claiming that the upper income earners are the "job creators." These Bush era tax cuts have be in effect for 10 years. So where are the job? Businesses are making money, but they are not investing in job creation. They are buying stocks, keeping , money off shore. Business need customers not tax breaks?

Aug. 02 2011 10:39 AM

"Laura from UWS
Why did WNYC wait so long to have Jerrold Nadler explain this?"

Probably for the same reason the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) only now is beginning to report on the effects of austerity measures on fragile economies. I noted below that this bill, per JP Morgan analysts, will affect the GDP as a drag on the economy, a negative 1.5%./

Today, there was a discussion on Market Watch about how different approaches to national debt have worked in other countries.

Where was this reporting when the only story, the only Narrative, was debt ceiling and cuts???

It's almost as if the MCM don't work to report the news, but to report on what the Monied Powers That Be WANT us to hear, to think about.

BTW, this Republican guy who says the people wanted what was done in this bill? NNNNOOOOO!! The people wanted a combination of some cuts, tax increases, especially on the rich, and no messing with SocSec, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Also, this Repub guy is lying. A lying liar.

Aug. 02 2011 10:39 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo, Cong. Grimm!!!
Only 6% went to infrastructure.

Aug. 02 2011 10:39 AM

Just a reminder:

When the Monied Powers That Be speak of shared sacrifice, YOU are the sacrifice and THEY get your share.

Aug. 02 2011 10:38 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ chuzzlewit -

I'm so happy that the Tea Party and other right wing extremists of the Republican Party have showed that they care nothing little about the American people and the American economy, which they don't (actually I'm not).

Also if you don't like how Obama is running the economy, then that means you don't agree with the Tea Party/Republican/American libertarian(nihilist) agenda, which Obama is largely following. Sounds like you are self-loathing.

A few questions to Grimm:

Who thinks that raising taxes on the wealthy (slightly) will help but not solve deficits? (No one but the self-deluded.)

Who thinks that the problems in DC will be solved overnight? (No one)

Who thinks that the US Federal govt. and the US macro-economy is akin to a small business owners and one's home finances? (No one because that's a fallacious argument.)

Finally, I challenge Grimm on the point that NO money was spent on infrastructure. That's risible and out and out lie! (Many tracking services were set up on that, some taking photos of Republican politicians in front of their local infrastructure projects.)

Aug. 02 2011 10:38 AM
john from office

Our house, the white house. All about getting the brother our of office. Tea party is racist. They want the White House back.

Aug. 02 2011 10:38 AM

Getting tired of the myths of the "job creators" and of "most" economists saying tax cuts and spending cuts are the way to go. Why aren't these guys ever challenged on these "facts"?

Aug. 02 2011 10:38 AM
CL from NYC

The challenge in listening to Grimm is trying to sort out the ignorance from the lies. Health care costs are certainly a major factor driving the national debt, but to suggest that increased taxes will not help is "absurd" (to use his favorite word). Ending the Bush tax cuts will go far towards reducing the debt. That is a fact.

I would be ashamed if this guy represented me.

Aug. 02 2011 10:38 AM
Katrina from North Plainfield NJ

Would the Republican congressman have said that President Bush (under whom we managed to get ourselves where we are today) "was addicted to spending" and needed to be kicked out so the Republicans can "impose our will" on spending cuts? Thank goodness for term limits. And btw, if you have been in office for 16 years, you ARE Washington (and/or big government) so STOP pretending like you are not the problem too! You guys are a piece of work.

Aug. 02 2011 10:37 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Nadler was right about everything.

The Dems roll over yet again. Obama displays absolutely no "audacity" (I guess his definition of the word does not match mine).

And Lehrer yet again allows a Repiglican have the last word.

This is absolutely pathetic and to hear these scumbag politicians pat themselves on the back, calling this blackmail a "bi-partisan" agreement is disgusting.

The Tea Party is a fifth column trying to destroy this country for everyone else except the rich.

Aug. 02 2011 10:36 AM
Robert from NYC

Tell this Grimm guy that just by saying something doesn't make it true. These guys are masters of rhetoric. I think the repubs actually now believe the lies and half truths they spew.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM

My brother is employed thanks to the stimulus. A blanket statement saying that no jobs were created is a ridiculous statement.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Grimm is right on one thing: Washington is systemically broken. One aspect of it is that economic illiterates have too much sway.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM

Will the "systemic cuts" slash the military budget by 25-50%, Congressman Grimm? Or will it only target groups the right wing doesn't like?

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I'm of two minds on this whole business. On the one hand I know that the extreme Right Republicans care about the rest of us the way Feudal Lords cared about their serfs, or southern plantation owners about their slaves, or the Master Race "Aryans" about their concentration camp workers.

On the other hand, the poverty-pimp Liberals care about us like the Party did for its Gulag inmates.

But we know if we raise more taxes from the rich, they will be able to afford fewer slaves, unless those slaves are Mexican or are located in China or India.

So we lowly serfs and slaves have to be concerned about the welfare of our masters, so that they can afford to let us live.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM
John from NYC

Well, once again.

Why does the US have any debt or deficit at all?

The US is a rich country.

You borrow in order to build something that will increase income and wealth in the future that will pay off the borrowing. Such as an Interstate Highway System. Or a state building a state university system.

That is NOT what we are doing. So what are we doing?

Could it be that congress is spending money to buy votes to keep their power? There is a name for this. A BANANA REPUBLIC.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM
Brian from Hoboken

I wish te Republicans would stop with the mantra about taxing the "job creators". Taxes over the last decade are the lowest they have been in 50 years, yet the jobs keep disappearing. This refrain rings hollow. It's like a doll and you pull the string and hear this over and over from the GOP.

Aug. 02 2011 10:35 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

I love these face-off's between Grim and Nadler - just classic. Grim is colmes to Nadler's Hannity. Last time these two came to grips with an issue I sent the Mp3 to a family member who listens to Limbaugh - even he had to laugh, this guy Grim is just soooooo stupid. Way to go WNYC and thanks Brian.

Aug. 02 2011 10:34 AM
Peter C from Paramus

Someone should tell Grimm that no one is suggesting that taxing the wealthy will solve the budget problem by itself. It is just a matter of fairness and everyone sharing the sacrifice.

Aug. 02 2011 10:34 AM
RBC from FiDi

Actually Republican Grimm is correct when he said if you tax the rich, it would only provide a fraction of the needed revenue. The reason for this is that so many of the richest Americans now report their income as capital gains. Capital gains income is taxed at HALF the top tax rate. If there was going to be a tax increase of the top rate, then it would only affect a small number of millionaires and billionaires. The only way we can really increase the amount of revenue is to increase the cap gains rate - but the GOP will fight any increase of the cap gains tax tooth and nail.

Aug. 02 2011 10:34 AM
John A.

Have to vote No for the on-message thug, unfortunately.

Aug. 02 2011 10:33 AM
Ed from Larchmont

And the people that create jobs are the people in their 30s and 40s who start companies - and these are the people who aren't here because of abortion. It's completely predictable that we're an aging society with economic problems.

Aug. 02 2011 10:33 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

Congressman Grimm,

If they're job creators, WHERE ARE THE JOBS!!!!!! It's been over a decade. I thought we moved from magic to evidence in the 17th century.

Aug. 02 2011 10:33 AM

Does Grimm have any comment on the fact that all statistics point to making cuts during a recession will only prolong things?

Aug. 02 2011 10:33 AM
Jacob from Brooklyn

Why do the Republicans refuse to accept that Bush spent money HE didn't have??

The recession is from the unfunded wars and the reckless Republican spending.

They can't admit this because they are disingenuous-- they are wolfs in sheeps' clothing and they want to protect the wealthy.

Aug. 02 2011 10:32 AM
Robert from NYC

First, that's not true and secondly that doesn't mean that the rich should not contribute. They should contribute and this is what this Grimm guy is trying to pull over (y)our eyes. Don't fall for it. This guy is lying thru his teeth. Simply, he's saying the poor and middle class SHOULD sacrifice but he rich should not. And as for these rich folks creating jobs? That's a long time lie that the American people have bought since Ronald Reagan. These folks create few or no jobs in this country, they create in developing countries.

Aug. 02 2011 10:32 AM
Marcello from Brooklyn




Aug. 02 2011 10:32 AM
Matt from NYC

Brian - As economist Dean Baker has made clear, it is not an "entitlement" problem but a healthcare problem? Why does the US spend twice as much per patient (for worse healthcare)?

Aug. 02 2011 10:32 AM

IF the millionaires and billionaires are the people who create the jobs, then WHERE ARE THE JOBS? They have gotten wealthier, but the jobs picture is getting worse!

Grimm is lying about the economics and about the fiscal picture.

Aug. 02 2011 10:32 AM
Laura from UWS

Speaking of good faith/bad faith negotiations .....can we have more exploration of the basic philosophy of each party?

It sounds to me like this debt issue is a smokescreen for taking apart the government, as if the government were a problem.

Aug. 02 2011 10:31 AM
Tim from Nyack

Grimm has his list of talking points.... why not ask him if the Bush tax cuts create jobs by the "job creators", when will they start creating them? They've had 8 years to do it. Phoney. This is about hold us hostage until you get a President they approve of.

Aug. 02 2011 10:31 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jerseyu

Mr. Grimm's misunderstanding of macroeconomics is laughable. The surprise in November 2012 will belong to him.

Aug. 02 2011 10:31 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@ Hugh Sansom
Why do you "tolerant" liberal males always obsessively zero in on Bachmann and Palin.
Last time I checked they weren't in the White House....why even bring them up?

LOL....why do you guys hate women so much?
LOL....their "conservatism' gives you sexists a cover for your obvious misogyny.

Aug. 02 2011 10:31 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Everyone who is upset about the capitulation of the Democratic Party or the kidnapping of the Republican Party by Tea Party extremists, check out
Washington is full of clueless millionaire politicians on full time campaign mode.

Aug. 02 2011 10:29 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes Martin Chuzzlewit, he mishandled the economy by doing what the republicans want him to do. The man has started moving to their side long ago and continues moving closer and closer to them.

Aug. 02 2011 10:29 AM

Does Mr. Grimm have even the faintest idea what the history of US debt is? As a percentage of GDP, we've had greater debt in the past. Japan did reasonably well with a greater debt-to-GDP ratio after it did exactly what the US is _not_ doing to get out of its 'lost decade'.

Grimm is either delusional, grossly ill-informed, or a lying. If he follows his Republican counterparts, it's all three.

As for millionaires and billionaires: Take JUST the 15 wealthiest individuals, and you have almost HALF a TRILLION in wealth right there. Grimm is lying -- again.

Will former professional murderer Marine Grimm cut the grossly bloated military budget?

Aug. 02 2011 10:27 AM

As Dean Baker, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, John Conyers and others have noted, Obama has argued _for_ ruthless cuts. Obama is _with_ the GOP on most of the this so-called deal. Obama has gotten what he wanted, just as he did on Wall Street, health insurance gouging, etc.

@Martin Chuzzlewit -- If Obama is too inexperienced, what are we to make of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and most of the Tea Brigade?

Aug. 02 2011 10:26 AM

Rep. Nadler, you are being too kind to Obama. He's the one who put SocSec and Medicare on the chopping block, er, on the table during these negotiations. Conyers spoke about that and was upset.

It's something Obama WANTS to do. He seems to feel he will be the 21st Century's Ronald Reagan and he wants to do what St. Ronnie could not: take down the New Deal and Great Society programs.

Obama's also the one who let the debt ceiling go undealt with last December. At the time, the Repubs were set on getting the Bush Tax Cuts extended, which requried Obama's cooperation. He could have demanded they include the necessary debt ceiling increase, he could have done a lot -- but I fear --and predicted- he would-- Obama wanted a "crisis" to use as a cudgel to force the DEMS into letting him go after SocSec and Medicare.

This is not a Dem Party I can support.

Representative, come help us form a new party!

Aug. 02 2011 10:25 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

If the Republicans are so concerned about the debt, why are they pushing policies that would undermine our long-term debt situation?

Aug. 02 2011 10:25 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

A suggested title for the debt deal: Recession Extension Act

To prevent the situation from happening again: get rid of plurality voting. Doing so would mean no longer having to winnow the field for the general election to one candidate for each major party, which would mean that we not need a primary, which would mean that the Tea Party would have no primary process to exploit.

Aug. 02 2011 10:23 AM

Of those Dems who voted YES on Obama's austerity measure yesterday, 14 of them had spoken publicly against the bill.

Okaaay, then, they did it for Obama? To save the economy/? Which Obama could have saved by acting like a leader, not a hostage negotiator?

Yes, I will not vote for Obama.

We need a new party which gives a rat's tail about we the non-wealthy people. There will be plenty of room for Democrats from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Presently, the Dem Party seems to have had a hostile takeover by those who work for the Monied Powers That Be. Obama's Corporatism has merely made that clear.

Time to DE-REGISTER, any Dems out there who feel you are not represented by the current Dem Party. And let them know you've done it-- send a copy of whatever paperwork you can get, along with why you've changed, to your Congress Critters, the WH, the DNC. Maybe some newspapers.

Aug. 02 2011 10:22 AM
Laura from UWS

Why did WNYC wait so long to have Jerrold Nadler explain this?

Aug. 02 2011 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I'm so happy to hear an extremist like Nadler inadvertently admit that his inexperienced and confused President has badly mishandled the economy.

Aug. 02 2011 10:19 AM

Jerrold Nadler is right on all counts. Paul Krugman has started to call this the "Lesser Depression." The so-called debt ceiling deal is _not_ about any debt crisis. As many have noted, if it were not for this contrived restriction on the debt (the ceiling) we would not have faced any crisis anyway, which is why many suggested that Obama take the 14th Amendment strategy. The debt is still nowhere near a record as a percentage of GDP. The US _does_ establish the world record among leading nations with military spending as a percentage of GDP.

Why did WNYC open with Vitter (Republican) at front and another Republican at close and now give Grimm Republican the follow-up on Nadler? Prosecutors love this in court -- first word and last word.

Should be interesting to hear what lies Grimm parrots.

Aug. 02 2011 10:19 AM
Robert from NYC

I hope so Stephen, I will NOT vote for that wimp who sold out on us. He's a loser or as it had aptly been put by a commentator on MSNBC, he's a dick. I sure as heck will not vote for a republican but I will not vote for Obama either. There is a movement to get someone to challenge him in the primary and I will go with that and push for it if it gains momentum and I hope it does.

Aug. 02 2011 10:14 AM

JPMorgan analysts reported yesteday that the economic effect of the debt bill will be a negative 1.5% in 2012.

That's an added negative affect for 2012, a mere -1.5%. However, when we're growing at about --what?--1% or so, it is meaningful.

Aug. 02 2011 10:11 AM
stephen from Inwood

is there a real chance we can have an alternative to President Obama in the upcoming 2012 primary voting?
(I voted for him but now would like an alternative)

Aug. 02 2011 10:10 AM

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