On the Democrats’ upcoming health-care machinations in the Senate:
We just watched Senator Durbin lift up a very heavy package, which he said [was] this bill — well, that’s not this bill. We haven’t seen it yet. It doesn’t exist yet.
Reid has it in his office. He knows what’s in it, or maybe he doesn’t either. He has got, as you mentioned earlier in the show, until noon tomorrow, because it will start a clock which has got to end presumably before Christmas or the deadline is missed.
And the process is really insane. This is a reform of one-sixth of our economy. The one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that this is the most important, transformative piece of legislation that’s going to pass for years, and they haven’t seen it as of today, and it has to be all done and approved or disapproved by midweek. . . . Right now, I think the Democrats in principal can purchase the vote of each and every senator needed but there may not be enough time. So it’s a race against the clock. . . .
On Ben Bernanke as Time’s Person of the Year:
The man of the hour and the year and the decade. He has gotten a lot of criticism, a lot of Republicans voted against him, which is I think sort of a cheap populism.
He is the guy who when there was no radar, no roadmap, no way ever tested, he took a risk in ‘08 and ‘09 and essentially he decided we had to take the private debt that was destroying our economy and to nationalize it, which is highly risky. He did it. He was right. He stumbled around but in the end he got it right.
The job now is to unwind all the debt that he took on, and that’s going to be an incredible challenge over the next few years. But he’s an American hero — at least as of now.