JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): So, Steve, let's take a trip down memory lane for you over 33 years, and I know you'll remember as far as debts and deficits go, these debates raging back in 1993. Bill Clinton getting red-faced when he talked to Alan Greenspan and said, "You mean my economic program depends on a bunch of bond traders," realizing he was going to have to raise taxes to actually pay for his programs. And of course the economy exploded throughout the 1990s even after he did that. But when I left Congress in 2001, we had $155 billion surplus. The national debt was 4 trillion. When Bush left eight years later, the national debt was up to 11 trillion. When Obama left eight years later, it was almost 20 trillion. Now, you throw everything in there, we are up to 27, $27 and 1/2 trillion. It's been exploding exponentially. At some point this madness has to stop, doesn't it? .
STEVE PEARLSTEIN (FORMER WASHINGTON POST BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS COLUMNIST): Yes, it does. And if you ask -- by the way, if you ask liberal Democrats, “Well, OK, if 1.9 won't do it. If the next 4 trillion won't do it, tell us when you think.” Because they say, “Oh, yeah, I understand that we can't just keep printing money and borrowing money forever. We understand there is a limit.” And you say, “well, you tell me where the limit is then,” and they can't answer that question either. It's a question of when you're going to hit a tipping point. These things are not linear. It's not like you can see it coming. It’s when foreign lenders lose confidence, they lose confidence very quickly. And then it all becomes unwound. And the more you've already taken on, the more vulnerable you are to that unwinding.
The question is -- you know, they say we are a rich country. Yeah, we are a rich country, which means we don't need to do this. If there are things that need to be done, we can afford to pay for them. I would take a little issue with my friend Susan to say that every one of the $1.9 trillion in this bill is necessary to get through the current crisis. That's just not true. There are probably 6, 7, 8, $900 billion, which used to be a lot of money, that is in there that we should do. But going beyond that, there is no reason to stimulate the economy beyond that. Every economist that I've spoken to pretty much thinks we will have a robust rebound in the second half of the year. It won't get us to 3% unemployment but it will get us closer to five or six. We don't need money to reopen schools this spring because that ain't going to happen. We don't need to permanently raise the wages of all working class people. That's something we can talk about later in the year with Republicans who are interested in talking about it, and we can come up with a good plan for that. But there's a lot of things that are thrown in here. This is a little bit of a Christmas tree bill, and if you think this is, trust me, wait until you see the next one.