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Notes from the April 10, 2011 broadcast of Meet The Press

April 10, 2011

Today’s broadcast began with a review of last week’s budget deal and the looming fight over the next budget and the debt-ceiling with White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe.

Host David Gregory pushed Plouffe on whether or not the Democratic leadership (including President Obama) failed on the budget issue last year and this year. Plouffe tries to keep the focus on the future.

Plouffe repeats that failure to raise the debt-ceiling would be catastrophic. He repeats Speaker of the House John Boehner’s quote about the need to act like adults on this issue.

The big news of the morning was Plouffe’s announcement that the president will lay out his deficit reduction plan this week.

On the plan offered by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Plouffe notes that it would give millionaires a $200,000 tax break. Instead, he said the president thinks taxes should increase on people making more than $250,00 a year.

Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, was up next. He said he feels good about the deal which averted a government shutdown, but the cuts there are just a drop in the bucket. On the debt ceiling limits, he said the discussion must be linked to very real spending cuts.

Ryan brought charts showing an explosion in the growth of the federal debt if we do nothing. Gregory read a quote from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles (chairs of a special deficit reduction advisory committee) which said Ryan’s plan doesn’t cut enough from defense and puts too much of a burden on the most disadvantaged people in the country.

Ryan argues that the tax cuts for the rich are offset by closing loopholes the rich use to avoid taxes. And for the disadvantaged, he says we are fixing a system which will fail them anyway if we do nothing. On Medicare and Medicaid in particular, Ryan has a lot of compelling facts about the problems facing these programs. But his plans for fixing them are controversial to say the least.

In the end, Ryan expects his budget proposal to pass the US House this Friday.

In the roundtable, NBC’s Chuck Todd says the whole government shutdown battle made everyone look very bad. Todd said the Republicans are now in the driver’s seat on budget issues. But this also shows that Democrats know how important this is to independent voters.

Gregory reads a quote from journalist Charlie Cook who predicts senior voters will go ballistic over any Paul Ryan-type change to Medicare. Which links to the 2012 presidential race since most of the GOP potential candidates have said very positive things about the Ryan proposal.

On the bright side, MSNBC’s Jim Cramer said unemployment is easing in the country very quickly. And in the end, if the economy is recovering, the roundtable seemed to think President Obama has a very good chance of being re-elected.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

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