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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  December 17, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST

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coverage of republican presidential candidate michele bachmann in spencer, iowa. >> this morning on "washington journal," marilyn werber serafini and later kevin mccormally.♪ host: in the headlines this morning, senators make last- minute deal. bill would extend tax cuts and jobless benefits. obama would decide soon on pipeline. one of the lead stories in the "atlanta journal constitution", vote expected on tax it stunt -- tax cut extension.
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in the arizona daily star, senate leaders also agreed to extend jobless benefits. vote set for today. the senate is expected in that 9:00 a.m. this morning to vote on a tax cut extension and that is what we will be talking about for the first 45 minutes of this edition of the "washington journal." good morning. today is saturday, december 17. they will be voting on a tax-cut deal today. if you want to get involved in the conversation regarding that vote, give us a call. the numbers are on the screen. if you're calling from outside the u.s. this morning, and electronically, a couple of ways to do that.
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you can send us an e-mail, if you want to follow a set twitter, cspanwj. this is the story on the front of the "wall street journal." lawmakers dialing back ranker, and erect two-month extension, pipeline approval as part of talks. top senate leaders reached a tentative agreement friday evening on a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut. the article goes on to say that a deal which the house is expected to vote on early next week would extend for two months the current tax cut in the
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social security payroll tax for wage earners. it would continue a program that provides up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. some democrats worried about the environmental impact and president obama who had delayed a decision on the pipeline strongly opposed to accelerating the approval. to get more on what is happening this morning in the senate, we are checking in with stan freeman of the national
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journal. he is a congressional staff writer, and you can read his writings there. welcome to the "washington journal." guest: thanks. host: tell us about this vote that is expected in the senate and how we get there. guest: they should have a couple of votes. the main one is voting on the extension on the existing produced employee payroll tax rate. it would extendin the so-called top affects -- doc fix as well. senate democrats last night thought that they would reach an agreement to get an 11-month extension, not a 12-month period because the payroll tax rate, along with the year-long
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extension of unemployment and the doc fix. but they cannot get an agreement with republicans on how to pay for that. it would be a $190 billion cost, but could not figure out the difference. the main problem was republican insistence on the mean for wealthier medicare recipients, and republicans say that was not the issue. host: that cost of this payroll tax that deal is between $30,000,000,000.1345446923 dollars. guest: that is what we -- $30 billion and $40 billion.
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guest: that is what we were told last night. they have to check down from a larger plans that they had hoped. host: and what will happen after the extension, the two month extension, will they have to come back and do it all over again? guest: yes, and democrats made the argument that that will be big politically. senators schumer made the point that he thought that continuing to talk about this in february would be a very helpful thing for democrats. he also said that they would attempt again to raise taxes on people who earned in their income more than $1 million a year. we will see how that pans out. but for a lot of people, it is frustrating to get a resolution to this. -- to get no resolution on this. guest: what else happens with the senate this morning?
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guest: they will fund the government for another year or for the rest of the fiscal year. that isn't on the must pending bill that will be voted on, and the payroll but is around 9:00. the senate will vote on the omnibus -- there is a package that the house has passed. the house also funded disaster aid separately. the senate will approve the disaster bill, probably, and not paid for the house approved of. that is the understanding in both chambers. funding for disaster aid is not counted in the overall numbers of the national budget. it is an offset and that has been a place of contention.
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host: after the senate votes on this today and house is expected back on monday to vote on this, is that correct? guest: that is correct. the house will be back on monday. they have been vague on when they would come back but they will come back and approve the two-month paper a bill. they have already approved on a bus. host: we have a picture of john boehner and he has not signed off on this. guest: he may not like it, but yesterday he said he was specific in saying that the keystone pipeline provision was not included and that -- in the two-payroll bill. host: stan freeman -- dan freeman of the national journal,
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you can read his reporting on this and other issues at their website. thank you for being on the "washington journal" this morning. we continue our discussion regarding the senate vote on the extension of the tax cut, expected later this morning. because the san diego, california on our line for republicans. you are on the w j" go-ahead. caller: -- you are on the "washington journal", go ahead. caller: those are our contributions to social security. so when we receive our annual statement for this benevolent tax cut that the government is giving us, it will show that we are making zero contributions to social security, correct? host: what is your point on this? caller: how will we make that
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money up? you have to put some much money in per quarter in order to increase her social security. it is just craziness. secondly, on the pipeline, the president stood there and he said that the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance would create more jobs than the pipeline would. so our president, the leader of this country, is standing there saying that unemployment is more beneficial to our country than actual jobs. it is just mystifying to me. host: let's move on to wilson on a line from democrats. little rock, ark., go ahead. wilson? [unintelligible] host: let's go to jim in lakeland, florida on the line for independents.
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good morning. caller: one thing that has not come up about the two month social security, that 2%, by the end of february the millionaires will already have all their benefits for the year. after that, the republicans do not care if it goes in, because they will have made the maximum in social security by the end of february. is anyone bringing that up? host: you just did. we're moving on to our line from democrats with jimmy. louisiana. go ahead. caller: i do not understand why they have to tie the pipeline into it. my question would become a where the material in the pipeline would come from. would it be made here or would
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it be put on trains and shipped to china. thank you. host: our next call comes from kirk on our line for republicans. washington, d.c., go ahead. caller: i am all for including the keystone pipeline under the condition that kent conrad and mitt romney have provided, the offer would not be exposed. and under words, the water table could easily be attacked by terrorists at its weakest point and cause all kinds of damage. as long as the pipeline goes around the offer, i am all for it. in that i am all for it and i would like for it to go around the oaquifer, which contrast with the position of doing it in the most efficient way. there will be direct relevance and a couple of months in the way that this will be decided.
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and i agree with kent conrad and mitt romney and not newt gingrich. host: in the baltimore sun, this headline. they write the short-term extension of the payroll tax cut comes as democrats and republicans fail to achieve a consensus on how to pay for the full year extension of the tax break which expires december 31. the article goes on to say that house members left town friday after approving an $915 billion bill.
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back to the phones and new york on our line for democrats. you are on the "washington journal." caller: i want to amplify what the gentleman said about the aquifer. i am a democrat and not your typical tree hugger. we should look at some facts. that provides about one-third of the ground water used to irrigate u.s. crops. this pipeline is going to cross approximately 70 rivers and streams. it is projected to be four feet underground. we have 88 inspectors overseeing 2.3 million miles of gas and oil pipelines. in 2009, there were 2800
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pipeline acted cents -- accidents. so before we rush it, i agree that we need jobs, i worry about whether it this is going to get all shipped off to china, but before we rush hit, we need some background information. host: let me ask you this -- if it came down to a choice of extending the payroll tax cut or not doing the keystone pipeline extension, would you favor putting off that keystone pipeline extension for now? caller: temporarily i would, yes. i definitely think that we have to have all the information in front of us, whether this is worth better not. this is going to cross the united states entirely. host: and senator john barrasso of wyoming is giving this weekend's republican radio
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address. he expresses on the keystone pipeline situation. >> the president has threatened to veto this bill because the pipeline is opposed by a number of extreme environmental groups. this is the same groups in the past have supported the president and he needs their support for his re-election. it appears that president obama is opposing these new american jobs in order to try to save his own job. it is time for the president to stop playing politics. after repeatedly saying we cannot wait for american job creation, the president now wants americans to weigh on the jobs from the pipeline until after next year's election. canada has made it clear -- if we do not build this pipeline, the united states will lose these jobs and it will sell the oil to china. and we will be forced to get more of our energy from the middle east.
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if the president successfully blocks these new jobs, it will add to his long list of bad economic decisions for this country. while the president may have inherited a bad economy, he has made it worse. the: we're talking about vote in the senate this morning on extending the payroll tax cut. and it is the lead story in this morning's "washington post." new york, new york, on our line for independents.
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caller: noticing that everything that is being done seems to have no real backing in terms of a net some loss. the government is continuing to give away money and they are making claims that these expenses are paid for. but in fact, they never seem to be. every year, probably for the last 15 years, you hear that the government is talking about cutting doctor fees for medicare and somehow that never happens. and then on top of everything else, the president, who seems to be a very rational guy, as apparently giving and on
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environmental -- is apparently giving in on environmental essays. you just had someone talking about the radical environmental groups. if you go back in time, the sierra club was considered a radical environmental group. and in conclusion, is anything going to change in this country? host: richard in new york, new york. richard brodeur of medicare and we're going to be talking about a bipartisan plan to limit medicare costs in our next segment of the "washington journal." back to the phones in our line for republicans, allen in richmond, virginia, go ahead. caller: i am a working class,
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blue caller worker. it seems like the obama administration is more concerned with creating jobs concerning oil in the pipeline, with all but billions of dollars that he sent to brazil, for all their workers to have jobs. i really have not seen any jobs that he has created for the working class americans in this country. what about all the shovel ready jobs? the woman who spoke earlier so concerned about the environment, i am concerned about the environment but i am also concerned about my fellow americans in the middle class having jobs and making a living. right now, i will be honest with you, unless their jobs created in this country, the working class are going to become third world class. host: how would it affect your personal economy if they had not
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passed this tax cut extension? caller: to be honest with you, with the income that i make and with my fellow middle-class fellow americans, i do not really think it is that big of a deal. perhaps someone who is making a very good salary, and right now all those middle-class americans are struggling. host: ron in cleveland, ohio, you are on the "washington journal." caller: when i hear our elected officials talk about social security, i never hear them talk about paying back all the money that has been borrowed from social security. they see -- they keep saying that it is going broke but they do not want to pay the money back. number two, about the pipeline, our environment is the most precious thing, not only we have but the world has, and you can keep putting it in danger.
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and expect nothing to happen. thank you very much. host: we will take at look at other news items in the papers this morning as we continue our discussion regarding the senate vote later on this morning. extending the tax cuts. and from the "wall street journal," it party favorite joins others backing romney. another high profile republican endorsement friday.
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back to the ponds. tonic in malibu, california, you are on the "washington journal." caller: a couple of comments. on the tax cuts in the pipeline, it is political. it is a political thing for either party. they are supposed to be representing all the people in america, including the president especially. on the pipeline, it carries oil. there is an environmental impact report. anything in that project that was not in compliance totally with our rules and regulations were changed to meet debt. the empowerment of impact report of that pipeline is the government's approval of something. there is no environmental danger. people walk around and a cloud say, oh, my god.
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and that is simply not true. it is positive and it does help the country. it will benefit us in the future and it is something they really should be done. we should not be playing politics. i certainly appreciate your program and i thank you very much for your fortitude for listening to all the different views. sometimes it is difficult for me to watch. thank you. host: william on a line for democrats in florida. go ahead. caller: about the tax cuts and a pipeline, the pipeline has no business being involved with the tax cut. two different things. and about the environment, everyone knows that any pipeline in the goes underneath the ground is always a danger. someone is causing damage to that pipeline and then fixing that pipeline, then you have
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the spill like in the gulf. unless they have a way to fix these problems, that pipeline should not be coming across the state like that. it should have been done the old-fashioned way, and it would at the environment get that oil gets into our water table. people, be smart. host: the lead story in the kit you new york times," winehouse surprise shift on a uniform rules is the effort to address the gop complaint.
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next up is louisiana on our line for republicans. you are on the "washington journal." caller: how are you doing, sir? i live-in kenner. i had been living here all my life. they have a shipyard over and avondale. but they do not have any workable there. they got all the work over there in mississippi. [unintelligible] they did offer the people to get a job over here, building ships
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for the u.s. government, what they had doing all these years. i got a dispute also about with the unemployment they got down here. they speak about where some weeks get 99, but they only get 33 weeks down here. either been trying to get a job , fortunate to get a short-term job, that ran out. they talk about our employment so great in the state, i do not see where it is that. host: rudi on a line for democrats. caller: two quick points. this pipeline thing, if they rush into this thing and it is a terrible accident, then the president is going to be blamed on it. he needs to take his time on that even other republicans make it seem like it is a political
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move. also, if it came down to whether or not to do the pipeline or scratch the payroll tax, as a democrat, i would scratch the tax. sometimes you just got to stop and stand up and do the right thing. host: what kind of stress with that put on your personal finances that the tax cut were to go away? caller: it will hurt a little bit but sometimes you got to take the pain. you've got to take it. "new in this morning's york daily news," 8 video put out by the administration yesterday, present and obama unveiled a video friday that talks at the end of the iraq war and perhaps offered a look into his 2012 reelection campaign.
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in his weekly radio address, the president also talked about ending the war in iraq. generation of veterans, the 9/11 generation of veteran, is armed with a skill, discipline, and leadership to a attack the challenges of our time, responsibilities rewarded, and anyone can make it a try. now it is up to us to serve these brave men and women as well as they served us. every day they meet their responsibilities to their families in their country. now it is time to meet our stars. especially those of buzzy serve in washington this cannot be a country where discord and division stand in the way of our progress. we need to come together to make sure that every american has the chance to work for a decent living, on the run home, send their kids to college, and ensure a decent retirement.
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host: and we go back to the funds. we continue our discussion regarding the senate vote coming up on the tax deal struck last night, of load on this morning somewhere around 9:00, you can see that on c-span2. as that leaves iraq, u.s. military hands over final prisoner. this is indeed "washington post."
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back to the phones. jennifer online for republicans calling from dallas this morning. caller: i am little bit nervous. i never call them on a talk show before. i am republican and i think republicans should do what i have been doing, look at the issues, look at how your representatives are voting. i am not satisfied with the republicans. i'm very upset with them. i have been ever since all these things, since george bush, the last president. host: jennifer calling from dallas this morning. an e-mail from steve, a democrat, it does not say where he is from.
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our next call comes from orlando, florida. tom online for independents. caller: first-time caller, and a devoted c-span junkie for probably 20 years. i would just like to say that we are considering this pipeline based on what we read and hear on tv and in the papers. and there is an important fact
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about the pipeline that is not being put out there for us to consider. and that's that the canadiens anticipate that with the pipeline, they will be able to receive world oil prices for their oil, whereas now, they have a limited market for the oil. they are anticipating that the cost to the u.s. citizens for the oil once they gain access to the oil markets, they will be able to get up to $4 billion a year more from us for that very same oil. it is heavy crude oil, more easily refined into diesel in -- rather than gasoline.
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so we let them build the pipeline, we have a few extra jobs, but then we end up seeing the prices at the pump in the midwest go lot because the crude oil that we were buying now costs more. host: off the debt on a line for democrats, you are on the -- althea on our line for democrats. what you think about the budget coming up? caller: if they include that pipeline, they are dying fools. mr. maynard, you are not the president. obama is. as far as that tax cut is concerned, you know that 88% of you blue-collar workers voted these republicans into office. these tea party people, so if you do not have a job, i think
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herman cain was right. if you do not have a job, it is your fault. you voted those stupid republicans end. thank you. host: "the hill,"this was posted last night. senate leaders strike short term deal to extend payroll tax holiday. democratic aides said it would have the effect of killing the project because the obama administration has said it would not grant approval on a truncated timeline. the two months out that measure would also freeze scheduled cuts in medicare reimbursements to doctors until march. the senate has scheduled a vote on the agreement on saturday morning. back to the phones come and fell on our line for republicans. -- phones, and thelma, on
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online for republicans. behind they're hiding being elected, getting out there, trying to get the president again? he is having to do a little bit of work. so i am proud of what the republicans are doing. i hope they get the old thing through. not because of the oil, but to put people to work. and i'm sure that the oil line comes down, they just have to check it. they do not have to have somebody -- i can tell you it was wrong, though. and as far as new, they're just scared that they will have to go face-to-face with obama and michelle obama for you we really is.
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-- and show obama for who he really is. host: a civil case set against a former executive, action relates to the extent of high-risk,. it includes daniel mudd and current chief executive of fortress investment group, and richard syron, accused yesterday of understating fannie and freddie holdings of high- risk home loans. you can read more about that in this morning's."
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financial times" weekend edition. caller: i just want to say, some of the people that call and, i sit here and listen to, today what is going on is that we have people who know nothing about politics really wanting to say something politics. something about politics all of a sudden because obama is empowered or president or whatever, just like the ridiculously talking a minute ago, absolutely nothing, they don't know nothing about politics. i think people should stay out of the that they don't know anything about politics. or about these -- yes, i think we have the greatest president there is so far. the last eight years, this president is the best that we
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have. the reason -- what is is what it is. we have republicans that had been nasty about such questions that they do not need to be so bad, but the thing is, we need to address this situation today. you did not go to school for polities, please stay out of it so that people that went to school for it can really educate us about the situation. host: ali in seattle. we have a tweet. tampa, florida on our line for democrats, you are on the "washington journal." caller: good morning and thank you for c-span. host: what is in your mind this morning? caller: that lady, i do not
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know, but anyway, this pipeline deal, too much stuff that we do not know about it. it bothers me. for example, the land has to be leased or bought for the pipeline. and there is just a lot of deals i feel that we have not aired out yet. secondly, there should not have been the other part of the bill, that should be a separate bill by itself. i just do not -- try to get people back to work, but this would be a limited work job deal that we need to get all the people back to work like some kind of a work program. host: this from the associated press this morning. defense chief pass says that -- leon panetta arrived in tripoli saturday, taking advantage of the ouster of muammar gaddafi
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bay to become the first pentagon chief to set foot on libyan soil. he has indicated that the u.s. will give more time to gain control of the militias that overthrew gaddafi before determining how to help the fledgling government. he said the last thing you want to do is impose something on a country that is just gone through what the libyans had gone through, and he said on friday before landing in tripoli. he will meet with members of the transitional government in tripoli and make an emotional visit to what historians believe is the grave site of 13 u.s. sailors killed in 18 04. those deaths were caused by an explosion of the u.s. ship intrepid which was going into the tripoli harbor to destroy pirate ships. back to the phones. north carolina on the line for independents.
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caller: i like to comment on the pipeline's proposed pipeline should not go through. if you want to get a pipeline, have one running from the mississippi river and run it out for the colorado river just for water. then you do not have the epa mess going on and you create plenty of jobs for the united states. host: what about the extension of the payroll tax cut? caller: it should be extended. people are struggling in need every dime that they can get. i am below the poverty line though i am working. it is a struggle for everyone in this country. it's funny how they come together yesterday to make sure that they get paid. host: phillip on online for republicans. caller: i am for the pipeline and also for the extension. i think that the president of united states likes the presidency but he does not act like a president.
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for the young man they called earlier, ali, everyone has an opinion. you do not have to be a political expert to give your opinion. but everyone notices that president obama is not acting as a president. does not have the experience of and no ha -- or they know how or what he is doing. therefore we have to get him out of office, get someone who does know what they are doing, and hopefully save this country from financial disaster, which is what he is bring nixon to -- he is bringing us into. i am helping the opposition party will get him out of there. host: two stories about the crossroads between politics and sports. the first one, sec accuses rudy of fraudulent tax. -- fraudulent acts.
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also this morning, in the newspapers, in the kit you new york times," college football analyst at weighing senate run. craig james, the often contentious espn football analyst, is contemplating a run for the united states senate seat being vacated by kay bailey hutchison. back to the phones.
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tennessee on our line for democrats. go ahead, larry. caller: thank you for c-span. i do not think they should be putting the pipeline in from canada when they have got all the natural gas and the oil all over the united states, thousands of wells drilled that are sitting there idle. as soon as they drill one, they cap at all. they do not use the oil and gas, and neither one, it is just sitting there. and about the unemployed rate, when they say that it drops, those people are not necessarily going to work. they are losing their unemployment. host: we are running out of time in this segment but thank you for your call. 45 minutes, we will talk about a year in tax preparation and
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thighs. sometime between now and then, get some pen and paper. you'll probably want to take desperate coming up after the brakes, a discussion about a bipartisan plan to limit medicare costs. you're watching the "washington journal." it is saturday, december 17. we will be right back. ♪ >> sometimes i think it would be best for government to stay completely out a sports. a lot of the times, when congress gets involved, the hearings are basically television shows designed to get congressmen and women involved exposure. >> john feinstein on the intersection of sports in government. >> the flip side, sports is a
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multi-billion dollar business in this country. it has a huge effect on the lives of people. people as fans, in terms of raising money for the universities, for higher education, there's so many different ways that sports affects our lives -- the stadiums that our existing are built with government funds. oftentimes the federal government should be more involved. host: his new book is "one on one." you can watch the rest of the interview sunday night. >> i always knew that there is a risk in the bohemian, and i decided to take it, because whether it is an allusion not, i just think that it is. it helped my concentration, it stop me from being bored, it stopped other people from being boring to some extent. it makes it easier to go on in a
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conversation. if i was asked i would do it again, the answer is probably yes, i would quit earlier. easy for me to say. it sounds irresponsible. if i say, yes, i would do it all again, but the truth is, it would be hypocritical to say to them. i did know. everyone knows. i decided, i am going to wager on this. i cannot make it come out any other way. it is strange, i almost even regret it. though i should. it's just impossible to picture life without it. one another things fuelling the company. keeping me reading and traveling in the journey.
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>> thursday, christopher hichens passed away at the age of 62. complications in his cancer. watches nearly 100 c-span appearances online at the c-span video library. >> "washington journal" continues. host: marilyn werber serafini is with the kaiser health news, a special correspondent there and joins us to talk about the bipartisan plan to limit medicare cost that was introduced earlier this week by democratic senator ron wyden and house budget chairman paul ryan. that took place at the bipartisan policy center. welcome to the program. guest: good morning. host: the title of their plan, guaranteed choices in health security for all.
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what are the main provisions of the wyden-ryan proposal? guest: the main point is to try to limit the spending in medicare. currently we have a set benefit provided to seniors and disabled, and the government pays for that no matter what it costs. this proposal would limit what the government pays for medicare to gross domestic product plus 1%, and that the government spends more than that or looks like it will spend more than that, then there would be provisions in place to automatically cut back on spending. a lot of details are left out of this proposal. this is a campaign season and they have purposely left out -- left out a lot of the details. they want this to be a lower decibels discussion leading to the election.
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we do not know all the details but what we do know is they -- what would happen is if they need to reduce the spending automatically, it would come out of seniors pockets in the way of higher premiums. but they are counting on is that congress could never let that happen. they are thinking that that is enough pressure that congress would step in before hand and make what they would hope are wiser decisions. such as, increasing premiums for wealthier seniors or deciding that hospitals could take a cut here or there. host: part of the proposal includes congressman wyden's current fee-for-service. why was it important for that to be included in the proposal? guest: premium support was part
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of the budget resolution. it did not go any further than that but it did pass. what it would have done was -- and what this does as well is include us premium support model whereby you take -- the government would pay a portion of the premium. what they would do is tie that, ok, take a step back for a minute. currently have 75% of medicare pit of his years in the traditional fee-for-service program. you have the other 25% in a program called medicare advantage. these are private plans, mostly is's, and what he would do have private plans also, and he would have them compete with medicare fee-for-service. in a competitive bidding sort of system, so what you, with our competitive bids, and he would take the price of the second lowest plan, and base the
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formula for what the government would pay on that second lowest priced plan. that is not to say that the government would pay the entire premium and it appears that a lot of details are not here, but it appears that the government would pay a percentage of that premium. host: and one of the headlines that came out earlier this week in the few new york times," lawmakers offer bipartisan proposal to limit medicare costs in overhaul. the proposal talks about caps and spending and requires a minimum benefit levels. what exactly does that mean? guest: good question. when we're talking about minimum benefits levels, you hear the words actuarial value. it is not clear and there has been discussion of the next couple of days, in medicare
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there is a minimum level of benefit. all plans that participate, with a traditional fee-for-service of the private plan, they all must meet that minimum set of benefits. they have to operate. the question is, if you have -- if it has to meet the same actuarial they argue, that is a very specific formula. you could have higher premiums and lower deductibles, higher premiums, more benefits, fewer benefits, any combination ticket to what the actuaries would say is the equivalent. the same value in essence. host: before we get to the segment, this article says that this consideration of the proposal would not come up in congress until 2013. guest: right. host: why throw this out now? guest: another really good
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questions, and some of the answers are political. senator wyden and congressman ryan made it clear that they wanted to put it out there now to lower the decibels of the discussion around medicare, which has been politically charged. it is really important take a step back and look at where we have been. in the 2010 congressional midterm election, seniors played a very large role in that election. a lot of republican freshmen were elected and will say absolutely i was elected because of medicare. the republicans were very successful during that campaign season of saying, look, in the new health care law, the 2010 health care law, democrats cut $500 billion out of your medicare. we republicans are your medicare champions. and the message really worked. a lot the republicans were elected because the republicans
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to control the house in 2010. fast forward to last april when congressman ryan has his new premium support proposal that would limit government spending on medicare, and really get rid of the fee-for-service program, make it all private system. all the sudden, republicans got nervous and some of the political pundits were questioning whether republicans would then lose their bandage on the medicare question. again, seniors come out in greater numbers than the rest of the population in elections. now they're looking to the 2012 elections, and republicans have been a little bit concerned. i am now on record as voting for an unpopular medicare program which was in the house budget. and it was -- polls have shown time and again that there were a
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lot of elements in their that poll on popular such as raising the eligibility age, such as may be not seniors keeping their traditional medicare. as a result, there are some political aspects to this. and there is a belief by many around town that this could potentially but some republicans off the hook, provide them with political cover. by coming out and supporting this kind of a plan, which promises -- the sponsors promise you could keep your traditional medicare if you like it. host: talking about the bipartisan plan to limit medicare costs introduced by democratic senator ron wyden and house budget chairman paul ryan. they unveiled the plan to revamp medicare and make a fixed
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federal contribution. we like for you to get involved in the conversation. the numbers are on the screen. you can also send us an e-mail or call us on twitter. our first call for marilyn werber serafini comes from buffalo, new york on our line for democrats. go ahead, herb. caller: one of the biggest cost of health care system is the failure to negotiate drug prices with a major pharmaceutical companies. in fact, as she knows, congress at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies even passed a law forbidding medicare and other government agencies from negotiating drug prices. most of the other countries that
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have national health care systems, canada, europe, negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. that is why there drug prices are cheaper than the high cost in the united states. i guess i am asking her, is there anything in this new proposed, what i consider, a wacko wyden-ryan plan that would eliminate the law stopping medicare and other government agencies, other than the va, which gets it now, from negotiating prices with the pharmaceutical industry? guest: congress can do what ever wants. and one of the hopes of senator wyden and congressman ryan is that the pressure the threat that there would be these automatic cuts that could hit
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seniors in the way of higher premiums, that congress would never let that happen in as a result they would step in before any such automatic cuts could take place to do whatever they think makes more sense. so would they allow these plans to negotiate with the drug companies? that all depends. it depends who is in charge of congress and sitting in the oval office. if it is democrats all around, there is a chance that could happen. the republicans have been leery to make that kind of change. host: next up, our independent line calling from virginia. caller: good morning. i wanted to raise a different aspect, and that is all these issues with costs -- the value
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system is changing. the congress is taking away any kind of program that has been designed over many years with the consensus of the values in america to take care of the population. that is not how it is discussed in that context. the cost is high. the cost of everything is high. you pay more for food every day. all of the population pays into the social security system and medicare for all the years they lived, and then they receive a kind of health coverage, the only universal health coverage we have in this country, and now congress wants to undermine it. if the cost of something goes up, but you will have to pay more for it. for many years, the converse has not had the courage to increase
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the contribution because at the age of the population is going up, and naturally, anyone can understand the cost goes up over time. host: we will leave it there, and give marilyn werber serafini a chance to weigh in. >> seniors are not a terribly wealthy group. much of the senior population is living on a fixed income. there are elements of this proposal that are designed to help the lower-income seniors. first off, the proposal would create -- would mandate that there would be no -- it would actually limit what seniors could spend out of pocket. so, for those seniors who spent a lot average -- a large amount of money on their bills, there would be a limit on what they
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would spend, what they could spend. so, you have your lowest-income seniors on both medicare and medicaid. currently, medicaid already covers what ever costs they would have -- cost-sharing, premiums, co-payments, but there is a a group -- you have to be pretty low-income. if you do not qualify for medicaid, but are still relatively low-income, this proposal would provide a savings account that could be spent to cover some of the costs on medicare, some of the cost- sharing that would be for the seniors. whether that would be enough, the wording is something like a "fully-funded account." whether that means to a certain
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level, or whatever it takes to cover these costs, that is not clear. host: this from twitter from don ritchie, who writes -- host: is that the purpose, to eventually take away medicare? guest: he is saying that is not the reason. is the opposite. he is trying to save medicare. there is no doubt that spending on medicare is a huge, giant program, and spending is an issue in this program. the question is really what to do about it. how to slow the growth of spending? if it is a difficult problem to fix. democrats, of course, want to find new spending to keep the program going.
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republicans, of course, and for the most parties are generalities, but many republicans want to find some kind of a captain in growth. one thing we have not talked about is there are efforts under way. a lot of the consumer groups, insurers, providers -- a lot of the key people who are part of the stakeholders in medicare and the medical community are already starting to talk behind the scenes about what they can do now to plan for after the election. it is really common thinking that you could do very little before the election. ron wyden en paul ryan do not think they can put their plan into place before the election. there are these discussions happening about what we can do to get at their root, core
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issues of medicare. why is funding so high? how could we reduce costs and a positive light. could we better coordinate the care of the people who care for both medicare and medicaid? right now, it is a little haphazard, the way they get their care. could we coordinate it, make sure they're not getting duplicate tests, and make sure that one doctor is talking to the other doctor. they are trying to figure out ways to save money that makes sense. host: mary is on our line for democrat from ohio this morning. larry, you are on the "washington journal." caller: this is another republican plan to do away with medicare. they have been fighting to get rid of medicare since the day it was started. they will do everything and
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anything they can do, and i hope they will run on wanting to get rid of medicare as we know it, because every republican will be dodging like rats to get away from it. host: ken, had his third, mississippi, good morning. caller: what i am interested in is prevention, and to lower the costs of medicare, and medicaid. one of the things that i would expect that would be something that would lower the cost is a record-keeping. i would like to have the ability to go to the doctor's office anywhere in this country and present it hard -- present a card, i would pontian my
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number, and all my medical records would be available to that doctor, rather than the record-keeping problems we have now. i would like to see the government support making medical records electronically available. the other thing is tort reform. we have doctors paying enormous amounts of premiums for the anticipated cost of a lawsuit. i think some lawsuits are justified, and some are just frivolous. host: ken in mississippi. marilyn werber serafini, are his concerns addressed in this proposal? guest: yes. the caller talks about becoming more efficient. what this plan is trying to do
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is create competition between the private plans and the traditional medicare fee-for- service plan. if you can get them competitive with each other, the thought is that will lower costs. he also talks about electronic records. we are moving very slowly, what most people would believe it is painfully slowly towards electronic records. a lot of the hospitals have these records in place. they are already using electronic systems. it is difficult for physicians to do this at present. it is a very expensive up-front cost. it is very difficult for them to make the investment, especially when they do not know whether the system they purchased today will be outdated in a year or two. host: upstate new york, george, and our line for independents.
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caller: hello? host: yes, george, go ahead. caller: i probably should not be calling in because i am not a politician, but i am on medicaid, and i see a lot of fraud. if they do not have some sort of reform in it, to contact the patience to report such fraud -- i went to a hospital and medical technician who was a student took a dozen x-rays when they only had to take two. the x-ray machines are paid for already. that was crazy.
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host: transparency -- how is the address in the proposal? guest: there is a lot of fraud in the system. i am not sure, but i do not think anything in the proposal says anything about fraud. a lot of the details -- again, this is not a legislative proposal. we're talking about fraud and abuse. yes, there is some in the system. there is fraud and abuse in medicaid and medicare, and in the private health care system. if it is medicare, it can be reported, 1-800-medicare. they like to hear about this sort of thing. there are a lot of folks in washington who would like to see more investment to get at the bad players. host: marilyn werber serafini is
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a special correspondent with kaiser health news and is here to talk to us about a bipartisan plan being floated by ron wyden and paul ryan. our next call is wayne, on the line for republicans. caller: i have been a republican for a while, but i am about to change my affiliation to independent. if paul ryan is playing political football. i have been heard on the job. this man belongs to the millionaires' club. there will never need medicare because they will have a retirement plan all lot better than we got. we worked for hours, i do not know what they work for. the republican party has sold me out, and sold to seniors out in this country. i have about had it with the
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republican party. i hope to get voted out of office. host: is this proposal were to become law, how did the fact people currently served under medicare? -- how would it effect people currently served under medicare? guest: paul ryan and ron wyden say people would get more choices between many private plans, and also, if they wanted to, they could keep their traditional fee-for-service medicare. it is interesting. there is an aspect of this plan that does not really in effect seniors, but its effects pre- seniors, and small businesses. what they would do is include a plan to allow small businesses, who as we all know have a great deal of difficulty providing health care plans for their workers -- hit his expensive when you are not a large company
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and you cannot pull together a lot of people. it is costly, and small businesses sometimes do not of the money to do it. what this plan would do is allow small businesses, the employers, to instead of providing health care, make a financial contribution to each worker, if they choose to do so, add a tax-preferred, on a tax-preferred basis. currently, individuals buy insurance on their own do not get a tax break, but if you get it through your in the foyer, the employer gets a tax break, -- your employer, the employer gets a tax break and the individual gets a tax break. for companies with 100 employees or less, they're talking about giving a monetary contribution to the worker which the worker can take out into the marketplace and buy insurance on their own. if the price of the plan they
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purchase costs more than what the employer has given them, they pay it out of their own pocket. if it costs less, they put the difference in their pocket. that part, the part they put in their pocket, is taxed. the point of doing this, they say, is to give them the kind of health plans they would then be able to stay with, once they qualify for medicare. one of their concerns is that the day you turn 65, you switch everything out -- you get into the traditional medicare, or you have to leave your employer- sponsored health coverage and have to change plans. they won a more seamless transition. host: the administration has already weighed in, and on thursday white house secretary jay carney said the obama
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administration is concerned the new proposal would undermine rather than strengthen medicare and it could over time cause the traditional medicare program to wither on the vine. here is more of what he had to say. >> concern that wyden-ryan, like congressman ryan's earlier proposal would undermine, rather than strengthen medicare. it could come up over time, cause the traditional medicare program to "weather on the vine" forcing many seniors to leave medicare enjoying private plans. would shift costs from government to seniors. the wyden-ryan proposal is the wrong way to reform medicare. host: marilyn werber serafini, your thoughts and let the press
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secretary had to say on behalf of the president? guest: there were democrats in congress that said exactly the same thing. there is some concern by many democrats and consumer advocates around town that this would eventually put additional costs on to seniors in the way of higher premiums because you are really limiting the amount of money coming from the government to support the medicare program. there is no doubt about that. whether congress steps in and makes its own decision, or an automatic cut takes place, so there you have reduction in premiums, you will see less money flowing into the system. again, paul ryan and ron wyden say this is absolutely not their intention. they want seniors to have the choice of traditional medicare, and they say that absolutely
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would not happen. host: of ohio. dave, on our line for independence. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. when the democrats took over the house in 2007, they proposed a bill to negotiate medicare and negotiate the price of drugs from the pharmaceuticals, and the bill immediately on the next day when to the senate, and then was tabled, and has been there ever since. i think that is a shame. i have not seen anyone say let's bring it back, and it is there. the other thing i would like to know or have her comment on his what is the status of a war on medicare fraud? i know there were task forces set up, but i've not heard anything about it.
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guest: right. regarding the ability to negotiate drug crisis, it will be hard to bring that back because -- prices, it will be hard to bring that back because republicans do not like this because they claim allowing medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies is essentially a price-fixing, and they do not believe in that. they want to have -- they believe in competition. they do not want the government to say this is what we will pay. so, again, i believe it would take a very strong democratic, washington congress and the white house to even consider that. even if you have democrats in control of everything, you would still need 60 votes in the senate. if it is difficult to do a proposal that republicans are
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adamantly opposed to. you also s about the status of attacking medicare fraud. everyone wants to attack fraud and save money this way, but the problem is it costs money to make money. the problem in today's economic environment is coming up with the initial investment to hire the people who can do the legwork to find a fraud, and to go after it. host: karen, in washing -- rochester, new york. go ahead. karen? let's move onto plantation, florida. tom, and our line for republicans. caller: marilyn werber serafini, i am disappointed in people like yourself said to not discuss the 800-pound gorilla in
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the middle of the living room when it comes to health care costs, and that is the end-of- life-costs. i notice that it fairly dangerous to talk about this, but do you not agree needs to be talked about, and have you mentioned it? host: when you say end-of-life costs, what exactly are you talking about? caller: is well known that in the final year, 90% of the person's lifetime costs are taken in the last year of life. marilyn werber serafini and politicians are part of the problem because they do not educate the public. host: marilyn werber serafini, here's your chance to educate the public. [laughter] guest: baidu right about this
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issue. this proposal does not address this issue, which is why we have not talked about it today, but you are a symbol the correct. this is a very high-cost problem, and when i talk about folks around washington who are beginning to talk about ways in which to decrease spending -- decrease spending in ways they see as making sense, these are the kinds of dishes that are likely to get some discussion budget issues that are likely to get some discussion. -- issues that are likely to get some discussion. this is an issue that some people were turning "death and a local call in the last election. when you talk -- terming "? panels -- "death panels" in the
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last election. host: jimmy, you are on all called the washington journal." caller: i want to echo what that gentleman talked about from florida. we do not talk about ddebt issue, the last year, the last six months, if that seems to cost the most. if people do not realize it yet to take some responsibility for yourself. if i did not believe health care is a right. you -- i do not believe health care is a right. you have to take responsibility for your life and yourself. host: donna is on our line for republicans calling from augusta, ga. us this morning. go ahead. donna?
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i am sinotech i have marked in georgetown. -- i am sorry. i think i have martha in georgetown. donna? donna are you there? all right. we have another story from this morning's "wall street journal." host: is there any type of between -- and a tie-in? guest: i did not think they're terribly related, but this is big news. as part of the health care law, they were supposed to set up what is called essential benefits.
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they were supposed to be deciding what benefits epps a building must be covered the benefits absolutely must be covered by any plan that is going to get -- what benefits absolutely must be covered by any plan that is going to be offered. it is not clear at this point. this is very new. it is not clear as to what this will do, but we will have differences between the states. look, states are always looking to make these kinds of decisions. right now, insurance is regulated by the states, and the states want this kind of power to decide what is best for the people of my state. we will have to see how that works out. host: betty, on our line for democrats from datsun rouge, louisiana. caller: i think what she is
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talking about now is euthanasia. host: betty? in guest: this is -- people get very emotional about this subject. the first caller talked about this issue as why don't we talk about it. you have to remember, i am a journalist. i read about what both sides are saying, but when you -- right about what both sides are saying this, the when you talk about politicians, this is why they have a difficult time talking about this. sarah palin made this a big issue using the term death panels. when you get beyond the politics and politicians, people that are serious about health care policy around the country do talk about this issue, but even they are
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scared to use the wrong word in, and they are careful because they are concerned they will get pegged as wanting euthanasia. so, it is a very difficult issue, but one that really deserves attention, and serious health care policy analysts believe it deserves attention. host: from twitter from the shell. guest: again, it depends which way you want to take this. if you want to look at it the way ron wyden and paul ryan are looking at it, they say at tivoli not, you will have traditional medicare if you -- absolutely not, you will have traditional medicare if you want it, but democrats and liberals
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are raising questions about what that means. will you have fewer benefits? what will that mean for my plan? will list of at the same thing ahead before. are my premium -- we will i still have the same things i had before? are my premiums for dehired? we're talking about the traditional plans. if you base it on the second- lowest bidder, if traditional fee-for-service is not the second-lowest bidder and comes in a lot higher than that in costs, are more people going to be drawn to the private plan? possibly. host: paul, independent line, arkansas. go ahead. caller: the best medicare system is the va system. i am a retired veteran.
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all i have to do is show my id. . they do not have costs for filing claims. i have talked to several, asking how would you feel about being converted, and people would just show their id. host: we will leave it there, call in arkansas. -- call in arkansas. guest: the va system is known as being efficient, and has what many look to as a model for electronic records. a va system for everyone? but as a lot like same medicare for all, -- that is a lot like saying medicare for all, and republicans would not go for that. some democrats like a single-
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payer style government system, but even democrats who have supported that in the past have now disregarded them as a model lead is not politically possible. host: pensacola, florida, on our line for democrats with marilyn were searching need. -- marilyn werber serafini. caller: someone brought up the issue of last year of life. how do we determine what is the last year of someone's life? guest: that is a good question. we know people that are in hospice care, and then they're out and then back in, and then they are out. there is really no way to know. the medical professionals do their best, but that is an excellent question. host: the name of the report is "guaranteed choice is to strengthen medicare and health
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security for all," written by ron wyden and paul ryan. you can find it online at their various web sites, and also on our website. we of the and talking to marilyn werber serafini, a special correspondent of "kaiser health news" was helped us understand all of this. thank you for being on. guest: my pleasure. host: we will take a short break, and when we come back, some year-end tax advice. 's grabbed a pen and some paper, and we will be right region go grab a pencil and paper, and we will be tested go grab -- go grab a pen and some paper and we will be right back. >> i always knew there is a risk
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in the building in lifestyle, and i decided to take it, because what -- bohemian lifestyle, and i decided to take it, because whether it is an allusion not, it kept me away, maybe prolong the conversation, enhanced the moment. if i was asked what i do it again? the answer is probably yes, i would have probably quit earlier, possibly, hoping to get away with the whole thing easy -- the whole thing. easy for me to say, and it sounds irresponsible, but the truth is it would be hypocritical of me to say i would never touch the stuff if i had known, because i did know, everyone knows. i decided all of life is a wager. i will wager on this. i cannot make it, and the other way. -- have any other way.
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it is strange. i almost did not even regret it, though i should, because it is impossible to picture live without wind and other things fueling the company, and keeping the reading, and energizing the. >> thursday, the journalist, author, critic and vanity fair editor christopher hitchens passed away at the age of 62 from cancer complications. watch his over 100 c-span appearances at the c-span video library. >> sometimes i think it would be best for government to stay completely out of sports. a lot of times when congress gets involved, the hearings are basically television shows designed to give the congress men and women in involves exposure. >> author and sports commentator
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john feinstein on the intersection of sports and government. >> the flip side is sports is a multi-billion dollar business in this country and has a huge effect on the lives of people, fans, people raising money for universities, higher education. there are so many different ways sports effect our lives. many of the stadiums that exist are built are well with -- are built with government funds. isjohn feinstein's new book "one on one pai." host: we are joined now with -- by kevin mccormick, for discussion on tax you can --
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text moves you can take before the end of the year. we wanted to call in and asks questions. if you are in the eastern time zone, to the sick call -- give us a call -- host: while we're waiting for calls, i want to get your thoughts on the payroll tax cut extension that we've seen? guest: i have always expected for the full year. i do not understand why these people are the buttons for punishment of their wants to pass it for two months. ed kiplinger, we have expected them from the beginning to extend.
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our question is will it ever end? it is really hard for politicians in an election year to take away a tax break it would cost the typical family $1,000. they will have to pass it. they will come back in january, fight like hell for it, and then the fight -- intesa for the rest of the year. host: de think this is a yearly battle? g, i think it is. as been 25 years since the tax reform -- guest: i think it is. it has been 25 years since the tax reform act. right now, it will be a yearly battle and it will come down to the wire. guest: estimates are right now but it is about 160 million american workers it effected who are those that it does not effect -- effects.
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who are those it does not effect? guest: it does not effect those are retired. when i worked on capitol hill 35 years ago, we were not social security, but we changed that. host: let's go to your-end packs -- your-end tax language. guest: at this time of year, the door for 2011 tax savings closes december 31, two weeks from today. people have to make decisions to save. these folks have one example -- advantage by procrastinating the song. one of my favorites as -- is a
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guess to charity. if you itemize what you give to a qualified charity, congress will subsidize it. in a 25% bracket, congress pays 25 percent senator the nation. instead of giving cash, a few of appreciated securities, give some appreciated securities that you ever owned for more than a year, and you can deduct the full market value of those securities on the day you give the gift. if you get $10,000 in cash, you get it $10,000 reduction, the charity gets $10,000, and everyone is happy. if u.s. securities that are now but -- worth $10,000, the charity gets $10,000, and they do not to pay tax. he gets to deduct $10,000, -- you get to deduct $10,000. it is a cool thing people can do.
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if you're planning a substantial gift, get in touch with a charity and your broker. host:, we're talking to kevin mccromally, the editor of kiplinger magazine. you oversee the tax letter and the agricultural letter and the web site. what is the subscription? guest: i wish there were a single subscription. host: numbers? guest: about 100,000 to the tax letter. 100,000 for the retirement report. the agricultural one is much smaller. host: before we take calls, use e. coli about taking care of your 401ks.
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whether your suggestions? -- you have suggestions for taking care all your 401ks. guest: if you get 25% bracket, putting an extra $1,000 in your 401ks, cost is seven and $50. we encourage anyone who could afford to max out. there will be money in retirement. host: we are taking calls a little differently. if you're in the eastern time zone, does it call, -- give us a call. we will start with angela, minnesota. caller: good morning. i was just a gifted $10,000 from the parents -- $10,000 gift from
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my parents. what kind of account should i put it in to protect it from being taxed? host: did you have a chance to hear angela? guest: no, i'm sorry i did not hear anything. host: angelo was asking about -- angie lau was asking about gift- giving. -- angela was asking about gift-giving. were your thoughts? guest: what is important is the annual gift tax exclusion. every american can give of to $13,000 a year to any number of people without triggering the gift tax. if you do not use the exclusion now, it disappears. we encourage anyone -- it is and estate planning tool. money you give away to your kids
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and your relatives or friends, can not be taxing your estate when you die. the reason there is a $13,000 limit is because congress is not what you giving away all of your money. we encourage people to try to make gifts before the end of the year. if you give a check, you need to make it early enough to clear before the end of the year. parents are trying to help kids by house. and dad to each give their son and daughter in-law, $13,000. if that is something to think about -- that is something to think about. host: we are talking to kevin mccromally. the latest article is at your-
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end tax moves for 2011. host: let's see if we can get angie lau back. -- angela back. caller: will i have to pay taxes on that money? guest: on the gift, and no. the tax applies only to the giver of the gift. all of us have a lifetime credit debt is big enough to cover gift tax on the first $5 million of our taxable gifts. very few people ever paid as. if you're threatened, you want
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to take advantage of the annual exclusion. host: tanya, fairfax, virginia. caller: i have two questions. who will pay for the tax rate congress just voted on? my second question is if i plan to open a small business, would it be a benefit to have a corporation? because i cannot understand the second question. -- guest: i could not understand the second question. in generally, they're finding bits and pieces in a lot to pay for it. i cannot ask for that question. is it going to be millionaire's surtax? now it is not her we cannot do that. there will be little loopholes
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they will close here and there. these of the little things they fight over. senator or later, hopefully mixture, they will come up with decisions on how to pay for these things. h of the other question was how to open your own company, and how to file. guest: the great thing about being a small business person is you give tax breaks for the things you buy. this year, there is something called a 100% bonus appreciation law, which allows it to deduct the full cost of equipment you buy for your business, whether it is a computer, a printer, -- 1 ended% bonus depreciation. that -- a 100% bonus depreciation. that might carry over to next year. it is set to expire december 31. we think congress will come back and expand the it -- expand it
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retroactively. we do not think they will get it done this year can't they are fighting over everything. -- get it done this year. they are fighting over everything. december 31 is an important date host: are there certain extenders' out there that are impossible to make retroactive? guest: this year, and now. most things work through december 31. the tax return people filed in april is covered. last year, the past extenders' so late in the game may delay the filing season. -- it delayed the filing system. the deduction that teachers get -- that ends this year.
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the rate from direct charitable contributions and is this year. they always extended, but they like to drag their feet. host: jim, from aberdeen, s.d.. caller: i make about $23,000 a year, and i was looking into putting money into a 401ks. i was wondering what i should really put it into? the last thing as what you think of tim tebow. guest: let me take the 401ks question. we would recommend that you could be very aggressive with investments. if you have an s&p 500 fund, for some sort of stock fund -- even though the market has been
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crazy, we know that since 1926 until now, the average return on big companies starks in america is about 10%, and that includes the great depression and the great recession. we would recommend a stock fund. host: a question from iraq on twitter. -- rick and twitter. guest: absolutely, the self- employment tax, self-employed people have to pay the entire 50% tax, but they get the same to distance and cut that applies to employees. when his theory not his estimate, -- when he is figuring out his estimate, he can take that into account. if estimated taxes can also be reduced to reflect the reduced taxes he will all cost. host: a question going back to
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the conversation about extenders and the irs having trouble. if the payroll tax debate becomes a month-to-month debate, which the irs have any trouble dealing with this? guest: it is not the irs. his employers. -- it is employers. employers have to figure out how much to take out of the paycheck. this has been driving them crazy. host: and it will continue? guest: right. they have to take up the tax and if they do not, they will get in trouble. it is all up in the air. this is what drives business in america crazy, if the uncertainty of the tax law. we have the transit benefit that employees can get tax-free money to pay for commuting. the amount they can set aside drops to one of the $20.
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congress says they will extend that, but employers cannot let people have to the $30 tax-free to pay for metro fare. -- $230 tax free to pay for metro fare. host: james. caller: good morning. when we get our -- to, it will show how much our employer contributed to our tax benefit. what about in future years? i feel they're putting all this information on for a reason. i would like his opinion on this for the future years, 13, 14, and 15. guest: a lot of people think this is the camel's nose under the tent. as soon as employers tell us how much they pay, they will start taxing certain people.
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law already has 2017 where the plans will be taxed. i think we have to watch these things one year at a time. we will give advance notice. if they do it, it will be like everything else, graduated, high-income people first, and then squeezed down. somehow, they have to close the deficit and deal with the debt. i hope the economy comes back and that takes care of all of our problems, but few analysts believe that. most believe someone's taxes are going up and that might be on the health-care end. asia talk about home upgrades and energy efficiency up grit -- host: talk about home upgrades and engergy-efficient upgrades. guest: the maximum credit is
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$500. if you are going to get it, you have to have them installed by december 31. i did not want someone to put the windows in my house -- i do not know if i want to hire someone to put the windows in in my house. this kind of cold in washington. caller: i work part-time for an insurance company for about four months. i made about $6,000. they terminated me, or claimed i quit, then i started with an independent agent, 1099, and they did not take any taxes are. i probably made about 6000 with them. is there a limit on how much you make if you did not make a certain amount? guest: are you single or married? host: i think we lost him. guest: it depends on your filing
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status. it has to be $13,000 of taxable income on a joint return. if you go to and check the publication 17, there is a section called "do i have to file?" you will not go very much tax at all. host: anthony, boston, massachusetts. caller: i spoke with a tax attorney, and i read it indeed "wall street journal" recently, that there was no longer a gift tax in 2012. who is right? guest: your attorney is wrong if he said that. there is a federal gift tax.
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did did increase the gift -- they did increase the gift tax exemption to cover $5 million worth of gifts. if you use any part of debt to cover taxable gifts what you are alive, it disappears when you die. there is a gift tax applies to almost no one. this was the debate about the estate tax. the only year there was not one was 2010, and that year congress said you decide, but do not step up in basis for appreciated property. in 2010, people have a choice most people chose no state tax. there is a federal gift tax. it's all a question on twitter. -- host: question on tatters --
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twitter. what kind of specific tax reform bill you favor? guest: there are so many things. i think simplification his the key. i think the tax code is too complicated. the 1986 law is when i covered, and we lowered the rates in thrall deductions. but that is what most economists want to do. -- that is what most economists want to do. unfortunately, in america, we love deductions. the talk about taking with a charitable deduction, and cherries go query's -- crazy. universities say do not to get away. it has been 25 years since we have done it. i am not in favor of a flat tax because i think it would have to be too high. the national sales tax talk about adding 23% to 27% on top
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of everything we buy. would be tough. simplification is the only way to go. host: we're talking to kevin mccromally here, how long did you been at kiplinger? guest: it is my 35th year. host: how many questions do you respond to? guest: it is thousands of dancers a year. is not just me. -- answers a year. it is not just me. we have a policy that we answer every question. one of the the advantage that the letter subscribers have it is they can call our to plunder editors -- our "kiplinger " editors, and they can ask them any question.
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host: what to do before? guest: i worked on the hill. it was during tumultuous times. it was less partisan. before that i was in newspapers in iowa. host: illinois, you're on with kevin mccromally. caller: i have a question concerning the 401k plan. my wife and die when we were working contributed religiously. i've not been working since 2007. my wife continues to work. we have recently decided to have her stop to should into her for 01 k -- 401ks. our logic was a we should pay taxes now because we think the rate is low enough to we feel taxes will be going much higher in the future.
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what do think our logic? guest: i think your logic is good we of the big fans of the roth conversions. u.s. to pay taxes at today's rates have anything you move over, but all future earnings are taxed-free. you can take the 401k money. you can put it in an ira and transfer it. sooner or later, tax rates are going to go up. with fundamental tax reform, there is a chance that rates will go down for top earners for a while, but what happens -- in 1986, and what will happen again, is the start to creep back up. it is really smart to have diversity in the kinds of income
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you will have in retirement, not only between stocks, bonds, and cash, but have some money that will be accessible, tax-free, some taxable, and then in retirement you can play the game to your best advantage. host: dog, from boston, massachusetts. caller: is time given a gift by someone who -- if i am given a gift by someone lives overseas and it remains in an overseas bank account, do i have to report that gift? i remember some time ago the owner of carnival cruise lines renounced his united states citizenship in order to revise taxes. do you have information on that? guest: over $10,000 in an overseas bank account has to be reported, and the reason is probably caused the bank account will not send a -- is probably
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because the bank, will not send 81099 to the irs. -- a 1099 to thehost: want ton update. the senate is getting ready to come in today. you can watch it on c-span2. they will be voting on four different measures. the agreement that was reached last night on the payroll tax cut will be the first bill on the floor. there will also be a second vote on passage of the disaster aid bill, subject to a 60-cold threshold. the third bill that is up today is actually paying for the disaster aid bill. finally, there'll be a vote on the conference report on the omnibus spending bill that the house passed on friday. that is all happening on c- span2. the senate is getting ready to come in right about now.
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we're going to stay here with kevin mccormally to answer your questions about year-end tax moves. we will go with sean from salem, oregon. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you. host: do you have a question? caller: yes, he covered my question. it was about the debt. most of the people in the middle class understand that we're going to have a higher tax burden. we're just worried about the debt. is there debt looming over the whole country, including people's personal and home realistic and other investments, everything -- thehome real- estate and other investments, everything -- what can we do? guest: elect the best people you can to the congress who will listen to you. i think congressmen are not
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going to have a lot of -- if this and any time with their constituents this season, people are angry -- if they spend any time with their constituents this season. people are angry. we have two or three that conditions that had such great promise, but when it came down to agreeing on anything -- we will get through this. we will survive this. they will figure it out. the grievance -- the brinksmanship will take us to the edge of the cliffs probably several times, but sooner or later we will figure this out. host: a twitter comment about the 9-9-9 plan. is this a simple plan you would recommend? guest: no. it would not raise enough money. it would raise taxes
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significantly in the middle class and the port. it is a simple plan -- and the poor. it is a simple plan that sounds good, but, anybody who series looks at it says, this is a great slogan, but not -- anybody who seriously looks at it says, this is a great slogan, but not a good plan. host: good morning. caller: i go to my accountant. i have my taxes daunted he tells me, since i am on social security, -- i have my taxes done. he tells me, since i am on social security, i did not have to fill out the form. is that true? guest: there is a filing threshold. if social-security benefits are all you have, they are tax-free if your income is under $25,000. they are at least half-tax-free if your income is under 30
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$2,000, i think -- $32,000, i think. it is possible that you do not have to file any more. if you do not have a pension with withholding or withholding from social security that you want to get back, it is very likely that you did not have to file. there are a lot of americans who do not have to file tax returns because it is an income-based system. if your accountant told you you do not need the file, you need to make sure nobody is withholding anybody for the irs out of any payments received, because, if they are, you want to get back at and you have to file the refund -- get that back and you have to file a refund. host: we are on with kevin mccormally for about another half an hour.
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guest: when you take a 401k, you have to pay interest back. the interest you pay back is not taxable income. you cannot deduct that interest, though. in order to deduct the interest, your home loan has to be offered as security. inside the 401k, the 401k is your security. using that as a downpayment limits the deductibility. host: christine from phoenix, ariz.. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i have a student loan that the fault did several years ago.
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i have been -- that defaulted several years ago. i have been paying it back. the last year, a mother supported me financially. i am disabled now -- the last year, my mother supported me financially. i am disabled now. when she claims me, are they going to take any money out of her return for me? guest: no, they will not. we did a piece in the magazine last month. the debt on student loans is now more than all americans owe on credit cards. we did a huge thing about this debt burden and how it is going to weigh on this generation for years and years. it is going to hurt the economy. student loans are one of the very few things you cannot discharge in bankruptcy. it is one of the very few debts that the federal government collects for itself by taking people's tax refunds, but they
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will not take your mother's tax refunds because she claimed to as a dependent. -- claims you as a dependent. host: are there any recommendations for students? guest: most younger people do not itemize deductions. only 25% of people itemize. things like charitable contributions, other itemized deductions -- they get the standard deduction because it is worth more. t cats get breaks because they spend a lot of money. younger people need to take care of their retirement investment index account. they should make payments towards 529 plans.
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the district of columbia, it is deductible up to $25 in such a plan. -- $2,500 in such a plan. host: let's go to and from long valley, new jersey. you are on with kevin mccormally. caller: i am a manufacturer in new jersey for its aerospace and automotive. i am on an accrual basis. i can expense 11% of what is needed to make these products. -- expense 100% of what is needed to make these products. the pay terms have changed. today, the average's 90 days, sometimes 120. because i am on an accrual basis, the irs expects me to pay
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tax on my receivables. well, basically, i am paying tax the last quarter of the year on moneys i have yet to receive, which makes capital investment very difficult, because it is creating a major cash-flow problem. i guess my question is, it is congress aware of this, that this is happening -- my question is, is congress aware of this, that this is happening, that is taking longer and longer to get paid? guest: that is a fabulous question. i cannot answer it. i believe that most congresswomen and congressmen are not aware of this. the accrual-basis rules were written generations ago. the pay-term issue -- everybody drag their feet and paying bills. people like you get caught in the middle -- everybody drag their feet on paying bills -- everybody drifeetdrags
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on payingtheir feet bills and people like you get caught in the middle. the irs is dealing with laws that they have to enforce. host: on twitter -- guest: simple answer, no, it's not. the money has to go in by december 31. you can get until october 15th of the following eyar, but -- year, but that's as far as you
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can go. host: an e-mail -- guest: misunderstanding here. most social-security recipients do not pay a dime on federal social security benefits, because their income is below the level. only if you make more than $25,000 can be income be taxed. the 85% rule is for high-income people. they are not taxed at 85%. 85% can be taxed. 15% of the 85% -- the writer is correct that when congress set
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the threshold -- this was part of the 1983 social-security law. they set the $25,000 and $32,000 thresholds' and they did not index them deliberately -- thresholds, and they did not index them deliberately. in the same proposal, they raised it gradually from 65 to 67. nobody was threatened right away, so they were able to make that change. that is a misunderstanding on how social-security benefits are taxed. host: bennett from king george, virginia. caller: thank you for having me on. this guy seems like he has a lot
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of common-sense. if you go back to the 1800's or early-1900's, the first on the stock market crossed 2000 was a fwe years -- few years ago. we have pushed the stock market up dramatically, but it seems like things have leveled off. guest: i cannot go back to the 1800's. we have faith in america. we have faith in american business. despite all the problems of the last 20 years -- you are right, since 2000, the stock market has not been a great place. a lot of people made a lot of money. a lot of people lost a lot of money. it has a way to abolish child -- way too volatile. we feel that people, at least 10 years away from the time they need the money, should be
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investing heavily in stocks, because they can ride the ups and downs, because it will pay off for them. can we guarantee it? no. we believe we will come out of this recession. we do not think there will be a double dip. we think earnings will be up next year. for 2012, we are predicting an 8% to 9% total return for the s&p 500. if we are right, it is going to beat the dickens out of the 2% treasury bills. host: you are on with kevin mccormally. caller: good morning. thank you for taking the call. i am enjoying your comments. they are informative and very helpful -- very helpful. guest: thank you. caller: i would like to make a comment about the fair tax. it applies only to new products
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and services, not to used products, such as a used car. the second point i'd like to make, what is added to the cost of everything we buy is based on a lower cost because of the federal obligation being eliminated. the [unintelligible] the cost goes up something like -- we need to put jobs back in the country. host: thanks, bob. give you a chance to comment.
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guest: a lot of people have analyzed it and i think it will be even more expensive -- they think it will be even more expensive. one of the problems with the shift to someone like fair tax, it is so difficult for congress to make a small change. the inertia of what we have had since the 1920's -- 19-teens, it would be such an enormous transition. it scares people away from it. i do not think of your tax is -- think the fair tax is the alternative. host: mr. mccormally, how do parents with children with
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disabilities while deductions for medical expenses? -- file deductions for medical expenses? guest: i do not think there are any different rules. keep track of your expenses. if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, they are deductible. if the mom or dad have the option to use a flexible spending account at work, that is a way to funnel some of your salary into a special account pre-tax and use that account to pay for the medical expenses. it is much more valuable to people than the itemized deduction, because you do not have to worry about the 7.5% threshold. take advantage of anything like that, health savings accounts, where you can set money aside for out of pocket expenses -- out-of-pocket expenses.
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host: one of your colleagues at to plunder road and article about anteing you're flexible spending account -- add to one of your colleagues at kiplinger wrote -- specific tips for emptying your flex account? guest: the use-it-or-lose-it rule. most employers in this country have adopted an extension to december 31 date and allow their employees to extend -- spend 2011 flex money till march 15, 2012. if you do have a december 31 deadline, if you have money in
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that flex account that you set aside tax-free and you do not use it, it goes back to your employer. marybeth's comment about next year and a limit after 2012 is important. we always encourage people to be really aggressive when they set aside money in a flex account. you can lose 1/3 of the money you set aside and still come out ahead. you do not want to forfeit a dime, but, if you lose 1/3 of it, the tax savings still make up for it. anything you can get in -- come 2013, it goes down to $2,5000. -- $2,500.
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host: you are on with kevin mccormally. caller: i e-filed. it was rejected. i wrote a nice letter to the irs. they charged me about $800 in penalties. i paid everything except for a penalty of $657. my advisor told me, usually, if you e-file for an extension, it is rejected. guest: i think he is right. ask them to abate this penalty -- this penalty. that is "forgive" it. if you have a good reason for
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missing a deadline, they might waive part of the penalty. that's all i can suggest. consider contacting the irs taxpayer ombudsman. you can find mina wilson's number, whose job is to help taxpayers who feel like they're getting the runaround. it's worth a shot. host: we're talking about year- end tax tips. on c-span2, you can watch the senate vote. while we have you for a few more minutes, i want to talk about tips for taking deductions. there was a recent article on
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kiplinger about the most overlooked tax deductions. guest: it is one of the most popular stories on the site. even though you do not file your tax returns for three -- two or three months, it is one of the most popular articles. the irs says that most people screw up their social security number. it is the easiest error to spot. overlooked deductions -- an ira. people overlook the deduction -- if they have payroll deductions for charities, they forget that. they remember the check they wrote to their church. there is a list there. it can save people a lot of
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money. host: we talked about tips for younger taxpayers. one of the most overlooked deductions is the cost of moving for your first job. can you deduct that? guest: you cannot deduct their expenses for looking for your first job. you can once you are looking for your second job. you can deduct expenses of moving for the first job, including from your college. if you graduated and moved across country for a job, what you pay for that is deductible. you not have to do itemized deductions to do that. most people could not take advantage of it. moving expenses are now deductible, which means anybody can use them. host: is there a certain -- certain geographic limit?
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guest: you need to move at least 50 miles away from where your old job was. take the distance from your college dorm to the new job. host: let's try to get in a few more calls. leah from queens, n.y., you are on the air. caller: i retired four years ago. so far, i have been able to use my savings for living expenses. now i have to use my ira's. my question is, what is the difference between simply changing from an ira account to a non-ira account and paying the income tax, compared to rolling over to a roth ira? guest: if you take distributions
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from your traditional ira, every dollar is taxed the year it is taken out. with the roth ira, let's say you take $50,000 and move it to the roth. that whole $50,000 will be taxed that year, but anything tyoyou take out will not be taxed. some people think you cannot touch it for five years. as soon as you want, you can take it out free, because you paid taxes already. as long as you don't have to tap earnings for five years, they
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will come out tax-free as well. your tax bracket might be low enough that it would not cost you to move the money to the roth. there might be a little bit taken out of your traditional ira, than other money on your tax-free ro -- then other money on your tax-free roth. you can be a big winner. host: let's go to ross. caller: i'm thinking about buying a second home in arizona to get of the cold weather in washington in the winter. i was wondering if i could take money out of the 401k and cover that under the investment umbrella of the 401k.
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guest: no, you can't. you take money out of the 401k, and it will be taxed. there is a way to take money out, but not for a second home. you can't make your investment in the house. sorry. host: a question from doug -- guest: a check to a charity does not have to be, nor a check for equipment. as long as it is in the mail, you are safe. if you are trying to -- the
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check needs to be cashed before the end of the year. it should be postmarked. how will they know? get it in the mail by december 31st is what the law says, but who is going to know? caller: i won a vehicle at a casino in michigan. it is worth approximately $48,000. it is in my possession. the casino gave me a 1099 misc. can i use my losses against that? guest: yes, you can. if you have proof you lost
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$48,000, you can deduct that. you have to itemize. host: ray from maryland, you are on with mr. mccormally. caller: i put central air- conditioning in with a heat pump. i received a letter that i would get a $500 energy program when i filed my taxes. talking to an attorney, i was told i would not qualify because i did not have social security and did not have any taxable income. can you tell me how to get my $500? guest: i think the attorney is correct. most tax credits are not refundable.
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the energy credit, which we talked about earlier, is one of the non refundable credit -- non-refundable credits. if you do not owe any tax, you're not going to get the tax credit. host: mr. mccormally, in a timely have left, the biggest tax changes being contemplated -- in the time that we have left, the biggest tax changes being contemplated -- or are you looking at for 2012 -- what are you looking at for 2012? guest: nothing. we expect very little change in the 2012. 2013 could be a different story. they did so much work this year with the congressional committee and the sins and-bolts committee on tax reform -- simpson-bowles committee on tax reform.
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we expect something more similar to the 1996 plan. host: if 2013 is when it starts, when could we start seeing the effect? guest: some of the deductions got phased out shortly, rates came down gradually over a few years and then started going back up. it will depend a lot on who has the senate, who has the house, who is in the white house. a few weeks or months ago, everybody thought the senate was a slam dunk for the republicans. now, as you start to see some of the races begin to develop a, -- develop, it could be a big role in 2012. host: mr. mccormally, we have
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to end it there. thank you. will be going to the open phones to get your comments on the action that has happened this week and perhaps what is happening on the floor right now. we'll be right back. >> sometimes, i think it would be best for government just to stay completely on sports. a lot of the times when congress gets involved, the hearings are basically television shows designed to give the congressmen and women involved exposure. >> author and sports commentator john feinstein on the intersection of sports and government. >> the flilpside is -- flip side is -- sports is a multi-billion dollar business in this country. it has a huge effect on the lives of people, fans, in terms of raising money for universities, higher education.
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there are so many different ways that sports affect our lives. stadiums are built with government funds. there are often times when i think the federal government should be more involved. >> dianne feinstein's new book is "one on one." you can watch the rest of the interview on sunday night on c- span's "q&a." >> i always knew there was a risk. i decided to take it, because whether it is an illusion or not -- i do not think it is -- it helped my concentration. it stopped me being bored. it's got other people being boring, to some extent -- it stopped other people being boring, to some extent. would i have quit earlier? possibly. easy for me to say.
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it sounds irresponsible if i say, yeah, i'd do all that again. it would be hypocritical for me to say no, i would not have touched the stuff if i had known. everybody knew. all of life is a wager. i cannot make it come out any other way. it,most down't even regret though i should -- should. it is hard to imagine life without wine and other things. it worked for me. >> thursday, critic, author, and editor passedchristopher hichens passed away.
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watch his nearly 100 c-span appearances, searchable online at the c-span video library. >> "washington journal" continues. >> coming up in about 30 minutes, we'll take you live to a campaign event with michele bachmann. first, we will open up the phone lines. there has been a lot going on. on the senate floor, there is a vote going on on the payroll-tax extension. you can see it on the screen. later on, the later vote will be on the omnibus spending bill, which the house agreed to on friday, which runs about 3/4 of the government. give us a call. the republican line is (202)737- 0001. the democratic- -- the republican line is (202)737- 0002.
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the democratic-(202)737-0001. here is the headline in the "the washington post." if you want to talk about that or any other issue, give us a call. you can send us a tweet/ there is always a lively discussion going on on twitter. or send us an e-mail. the cost of the payroll-tax extension. this is from the quill -- "the hill."
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she writes the entire backdrop is a little less than $30 billion -- also wanted to give you a few statements that have come in from the white house. the white house put out a statement after the agreement was reached. the communications director said that the president said that congress cannot go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million hard- working americans. the deal announced tonight meets that test. this is an important test awards -- a step towards enacting a key provision of the president's americans jobs act and a significant victory for the american people and the economy. as independent analysts have said, failing to extend the tax cut would have a damaging effect on our recovery and job growth. president urges congress to
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finish up their business or the american people. -- the president urges congress to finish up their business for the american people. richard on our independent line. caller: good morning. just a quick comment. give me a few minutes. we need to scrap the tax cut and go to a simpler tax code. this is ridiculous. let me give you a comparison. the declaration of independence and constitution have approximately 13,000 words. the tax code has from 3.5 million to 4 million words. to enter the declaration of independence, we have four-court system, federal court, appellate court, supreme court. the tax code, which has 3.5 million to 4 million words, cannot be interpreted even by teams of attorneys. what the tax code is used for is to intimidate and threaten and
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control the people, just like crow marks said when he put it in the communist manifesto -- like karl marx said when he put it in the "communist manifesto." host: as you would for the rewrite that you're hoping for, do you support the -- as you wait for the right and you're hoping for to the tax code, do you support the -- as you wait for the rewrite that you're hoping for, do you support the tax cut? the burden will be shifted to the upper 50%. host: joan, a republican from kingman, arizona. good morning. caller: good morning. i am totally disgusted with the portrayal of this budget crisis when it gets to the end and they
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keep referring to a government shutdown, when, in fact, it is a slowdown. the essential services would continue. all these things would continue. to portray this as a shutdown and scare people into believing things that will not happen is just totally irresponsible on the media's part and i wish they would knock it off. host: that was joan from arizona. thanks, joan. i want to point you to a political blog. this week, he gave out the "worst year in washington."
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he writes -- tonearly october, a washingo post-abc news p oll showed that just 14% of the public approved of the job congress was doing, a lower ebb than before the 1994, 2006, and 2010
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elections. another poll showed that a measly 1% of people thought the 112 congress was amonth -- 112th the "best inamonth thg years." he takes it through the but the deal to the super committee -- the budget deal to the supercommittee. good morning, jeanie. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. this is open phones. i have been out of work since september 18 of last year. my unemployment has run out. i have gone off of --
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last year, we made around $50,000. with my husband, we will make about $31,000. $50,000 last year for three of us living here. we had to pay the federal government $954 and the state $288. this taxation that the government is putting on the poor -- i consider myself poor at $50,000. we are now at $21,000. by the time they take the taxes out, we're left with nothing. host: how important is this. tax -- how important is this payroll tax? caller: it is imperative. we need to get together as a
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whole society. there is a gentleman who won a nobel peace prize -- or a woman, i cannot remember. she was giving micro loans in south america or the south part of mexico. micro loans. they were as much as $100, $150 -- $100, $50. these people were able to take that little bit of money and start their own little businesses. host: that was jeanie. she talked about unemployment insurance. it is part of the deal that brought wrapped up last night and is being voted on now -- it is part of the deal that was wrapped up last night and is being onvoted on now. one thing that was done last night was a vote and the keystone xl pipeline.
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"wall street journal" gives a little bit of a breakdown of the keystone xl pipeline. "pipeline long passed through the -- pipline's -- "pipeline's long path through the oil sands of politics" -- it asks who supports this pipeline? -- it asks, who supports this
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pipeline? that is ended a's "the wall street journal." "the walltoday's street journal." rick from new york. caller: good morning. i am an atomic veteran from a cleanup project in the 1970's. there is a reason why military donate to ron paul. he has more military and the trend -- and veterans donating than all the other candidates combined. the mainstream media is downplaying his success.
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it is looking like a landslide. i would really like to congratulate him today. they still have the ron paul money bomb going on from yesterday. he is the godfather of the tea party. host: he is talking rock ron paul's standing in the elections -- he is talking about ron paul's standing in the elections.
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that is from today's "new york times." yvonne onashington, the independent line. good morning. caller: with the payroll tax extension, i am willing to sacrifice that money. we're in a deficit. all americans need to support the country and gives back the taxes to support the war efforts -- and give back the taxes to support the war efforts and everything else that is entitled to make america grow as a company. that is -- i am willing to sacrifice. host: that was yvonne from spokane.
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the other deal that is being voted on is the omnibus spending bill proposal. it was passed by the house on friday. the senate is voting on it on the floor. there are comments on c-span2 right now. the house adoption friday of the spending measure that would fund a 3/4 of the government through the end of 2012 -- fund 3/4 of the government through the end of 2012 -- that is from today's "the washington post." talking about the deal's going on through the end of the year. chicago, mary, a democrat. caller: hello. i am calling regarding what i
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see as the ineptness of congress and the lack of concern for the middle class, the lower class, and their prime objective being that they want to leave office as millionaires. most of them came in not as millionaires. now they are. usually, the only time they leave is after they have made millions. that let me know that their objective is not for the american public, but for their own growth. their own, if you will, making money for themselves. when will the people really stand up against these bureaucrats, and ask that they pass these bills that are going to completely help this country recover? we were once a great nation. we should be at this time.
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we should not be subjected to the people that certain people keep putting back in the office that do not care about them. all they want to do -- and i have heard them say -- is that this president of office. whatever comes -- is get this president out of office. whatever comes next, they are not concerned about. he could possibly turn this country around. host: we want to stop for a second and talk about a "newsmakers" segment coming up this week. senator john grasso, elected to the number for top to position of the senate leadership, will number four the to position of senate leadership, will be on the program. >> what you feel the public has
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a to lower impression of congress -- why do you feel the public has a lower impression of congress right now? them and they see the bickering -- . >> they see the bickering. even when there are things that we're able to accomplish, the president tries not to look at those. one was the free trade agreements with south korea, colombia, panama. he finally approved them. there was never a signing ceremony, even though there was broad, bipartisan support of those three free trade agreements. overwhelming support. there was no signing ceremony, because that would have stepped on the president's message of the do-having congress. there are a number of areas we have been working cooperatively on, but the public does not see that. >> you can see the entire -- host: you can see the entire interview with senator john barraso on sunday.
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it is also available online. we're getting news from the ap that the senate has voted 89-10 to approve a two-month deal extending the payroll-tax holiday and unemployment benefits, an issue that had been clogging up congress this week. a 89-10 vote to extend the deal. we want to turn to a release from gallup from last night. gallup has a new poll out that finds, in the united states, many more are dreading been anticipating the 2012 campaign season that is coming up. -- driving up than anticipating -- dreading than anticipating the 2012 campaign season coming up.
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let's go to douglas on our republican line from warsaw, missouri. caller: i am also a career in and atomic-bomb veteran -- a korean and atomic-bomb veteran. what i cannot understand, both the senate and house had full control for two years, they could not come up with a budget. now they run everything down to the last-minute. i really do not understand this. i do not think this extension that they just voted on, which i just heard has passed, will do much good, because it just gives them another year before the election to argue about it again. as far as keystone pipeline goes, that is one of the most
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wonderful opportunities that the united states has 5to put people back to work, work which we need -- to work immediately, which we need. not blaming that, not blaming this, just get the job done. obama should not be able to hold up 2000 jobs in the united states of america because he does not like the pipeline until after the election which he hopes to win. thank you very much. i enjoy your program. joanne on the to democratic line. caller: good morning. how are you? host: i'm doing fine. caller: merry christmas. people who call in about social security -- i am in my 80's.
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we paid into social security from the time i was 16 years old. my whole family did. another thing -- on this pipeline deal, it is it true that, when the pipeline is put in, does all of that go to texas and minnesotthen overseas? host: i am not sure where the profit goes. it is being run by a canadian company called the trans canada -- called transcanada. there was an explainer on the pipeline. caller: both parties need to grow up. host: thanks, joanne. turning to the primary calendar that is coming up. in about five minutes, we'll go live to a campaign event with michele bachmann in spencer, iowa. the campaign calendar -- the iowa caucuses, january 3,
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followed by the new hampshire presidential primary on the 10th. on the 21st, the south carolina republican presidential primary. followed on the 31st degenerate by the florida presidential primary. -- followed on the 31st by the florida presidential primary. a few stories from the campaign -- this is from today's "wall street journal. -- "wall street journal." it says -- this is from the "wall street journal." mitt romney won another high- profile endorsement as nikki haley joined others -- it goes on to say that mr. gingrich, a former congressman from georgia, has been endorsed
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by a number of legislators -- the governor romney is one person that president obama continues to go oveafter over ad over, she said. what does that tell you? i think he is a little scared. that is from today's "washington journal." caller: i was watching the
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passing of the payroll holiday bill on senate -- on the senate floor. even though it passed, it said that this bill was being paid for by extending the fees for fannie mae and freddie mac. to me, i didn't know any millionaire to go to their finance -- to go to fine -- i do not know any millionairess who go to -- i do not know any millionaires who go to fannie mae and freddie mac to finance their homes. i am fed up with this congress and the way they try to sham the people and squeezes for every coin in the middle -- squeeze us for every coin in the middle. i hope people realize that we are paying for this bill. host: will be going live to a


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