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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 02/02/15

Guests: Kaci Hickox, Bonnie Bertram, Dean Baker, Liz Winstead, Mike Pesca

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. HAYES: Chris Christie suggests the government should let parents have a choice about vaccinating their kids. Back in October, he had a very different opinion on the government`s responsibility. CHRISTIE: We`re not going to take any risks with the public health in New Jersey. HAYES: Kaci Hickox, the nurse Christie locked up in quarantine on the off-chance she had Ebola, joins me exclusively tonight. Plus, the president goes honey badger with the budget, the Northeast gets walloped with weather, and the Super Bowl ads go dark. UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I couldn`t go off, because I died from an accident. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. (END VDIEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie`s staff is attempting to walk back controversial comments their boss made about vaccines today, as U.S. health officials continue to battle the worst flare up of measles in two decades. The Centers for Disease Control is warning, we could see a large measles outbreak in this country as the number of reported cases now surpass 100, a total of 14 states. Most of them linked to an initial outbreak at California`s Disneyland in December. According to health officials, unvaccinated individuals were a principal factor in the outbreak. Just 15 years ago, in year 2000, the highly contagious virus was declared eliminated in the U.S. But since then, the vaccination rate from measles has started to fall off, thanks in large part to misconceptions and misinformation about vaccine safety. According to Scientific American, concerns about safety have led up to 40 percent of parents in the U.S. to delay or refuse some vaccines for their children. And from 2013 to 2014, the number of measles cases in the U.S. shot up from just over 150 to almost 650. That`s in just a year. Now, in his big pre-Super Bowl interview with NBC`s Savannah Guthrie, President Obama was unequivocal about what the science tells us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The science is pretty indisputable. We`ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated. There aren`t reasons to not get vaccinated. SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: Are you telling parents, you should get your kids vaccinated? OBAMA: You should get your kids vaccinated. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That assertion has been backed up by the country`s top public health officials, not just the CDC, also the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which said in a statement that all children should get the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella between 12 and 15 months of age, and again between 4 and 6 of years old, because while measles is one of the two most contagious infections viruses known to modern science, according to a top U.S. health official, the CDC rates the vaccine over 95 percent effective. Nevertheless, during a trip to England today, Chris Christie sounded a somewhat, well, surprisingly ambivalent note on the need for vaccinations. Responding to a question from our own MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt, the governor called for balance between health concerns and personal freedom. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: Do you think Americans should vaccinate their kids if the measles vaccine safe? CHRISTIE: All I can say is we vaccinated ours. So, you know, that`s the best expression I can give you in my opinion. You know, it`s much more important I think, what you think as a parent, than what you think as a public official. That`s what we do. But I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice of things as well. So, that`s a balance that that the government has to decide. But I can just tell people from our perspective, we had our children vaccinated and we think it is an important part of protect their health and the public health. HUNT: Do you think some vaccines are dangerous? CHRISTIE: I didn`t say that. I said, different disease types can be more lethal, so that the concern would be measuring whatever the perceived danger is by vaccine. We`ve had plenty of that over a period of time, versus the risk of public health. We have to have that balance. That`s exactly what I mean by what I said. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Now, this is not coming out of nowhere. In a 2009 interview with Don Imus, posted today on "Talking Points Memo", Christie defended the possibility of a link between vaccines and autism, which has long been debunked. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: We need to look at all the different things that are affecting autism in New Jersey, because we have the highest rate in the country. Not just the environmental concerns, but vaccinations and, you know, parents of children with autism need to be heard. They need a seat at the table to be talking about these issues. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The plot thickens further, because as our own Benjy Sarlin reported, an anti-vaccination activist in New Jersey says her organization goes way back with the governor, who purportedly sent them a letter in 2009 offering his support for families affected by autism, and quoting from what they say is a letter from him, "Many of the families have expressed concern over New Jersey`s highest in the nation vaccine mandates. I stand with them now and will stand with them as their governor in their fight for greater parental involvement in vaccination decisions that affect their children." Now, Christie`s office tried to walk back the comments the governor made earlier today, saying in a statement, "To be clear, the governor believes vaccines are important public health protection, and with a disease like measles, there`s no question, kids should be vaccinated. At the same time, different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate." For observers of the hysteria over Ebola this past fall, there is something more than a little ironic about Governor Christie`s iconoclastic stand of personal freedom in the face of a public health mandate. He is, after all, the same governor who implemented what was effectively a forcible quarantine against public health advice on someone who tested negative for Ebola. Remember that nurse, Kaci Hickox, was confined to a makeshift detention center outside of New Jersey airport for three days in October after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. In an exclusive interview today, Kaci Hickox told me exactly what she thinks the governor`s comments on vaccination. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KACI HICKOX, QUARANTINED BY GOV. CHRISTIE: You know, I think this is a good example of Governor Christie making some very ill-informed statements. We heard it a lot during the Ebola discussion and now it seems to have happened again, making these statements about vaccines and sort of balancing parental choice. And, of course, a few hours later, his office had to come out with a statement to kind of mitigate some of his words. I think the unfortunate thing or the scary thing is that I want a leader who consults experts and thinks about sort of all of the different sides to an issue before making statements and policies that are unfounded in science. HAYES: You had an experience which, it seemed to me if I can editorialize for a moment, the governor had a choice between demagoguing in a way that might proved popular or short term by taking this hand-fisted approach, or listen to experts who said there is no medical reason to do this quarantine. She hasn`t tested positive for Ebola. And what did you learn about the governor based on your interaction with him, and how he made that choice. HICKOX: You know, I keep learning that I just -- you know, I don`t see a lot of great leadership qualities in him. We need to consult medical and public health experts about these kind of decisions and discussions and again he is not doing that. Again, he is going against science. So, before he ignored science and is still ignoring science because of health care workers returning from Ebola affected areas are still being required to in-home quarantine in his state, which I think is completely unfortunate and unscientific, but also, you know, now, he is saying parents should be able to choose vaccines and we have a real threat in America today. The outbreak that started in California has had over 100 cases in 14 states. And we have seen what measles can do if we allow the disease to continue to grow in the community. So, we really need to advocate for vaccines. HAYES: Having worked up close at tremendous personal risk, I would add, in West Africa on the Ebola outbreak, an outbreak that does seem thankfully, mercifully, to kind of possibly be in its waiting stages, it looks like it`s in finally kind of being brought under control, what do you want to tell Americans about the stakes here, about what we maybe take for granted here in U.S., about the efficacy of our public health system compared to a place like Liberia, for instance? HICKOX: Yes, you know we know that vaccines are safe, and we know that vaccines save lives. I have worked in a measles outbreak in northern Nigeria before. You know, we were seeing about 2,000 children a week with measles and it`s a scary disease. I know these families of these 100 people who have the disease now can tell you a little bit about what the disease looks like and how much misery it causes. After the vaccine was kind of implemented in 1963, there was a large reduction in cases, about 98 percent. And in, I believe, in 1989 to `91, there was a resurgence. So, there were 55,000 cases in the U.S. and over 120 deaths. So, the stakes are high. You know, we have to protect our most vulnerable populations. And vaccines against measles and whooping cough are really important and necessary. HAYES: Kaci Hickox, nurse, current resident of the great state of Maine, if I`m not mistaken -- I really appreciate you talking to me. Thank you. HICKOX: Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Quick correction there, Kaci Hickox was put in a tent outside a hospital in New Jersey, not outside the airport. It was shortly after she went to Newark. Now, Chris Christie is not the only potential Republican candidate to express some skepticism of vaccinations. In an interview with "BuzzFeed", former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, who got good reviews in an Iowa cattle call last week, said, parents should have the right to make choices for their children. Quote, "I think vaccinating from measles makes a lot of sense. But that`s me. I do think parents have to make those choices. I mean, I got measles as a kid, we used to all get measles." In an interview today on Laura Ingraham`s radio show, Senator Rand Paul made a similar argument saying vaccinations should be a personal decision. When a CNBC host later challenged him on that idea, this was his response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I`ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines. I`m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think parents should have some input. The state doesn`t own your children. Parents own the children. And it is an issue of freedom. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In my own experience, the anti-vaccination debate does not fall along typical partisan, really even ideologically lines. I mean, I have certainly encountered in my life a fair share of lefties and liberals and Obama sticker toting yuppies who don`t believe in vaccinating their kids. But what the heck is going on, on the political right that apparently these Republican candidates think the anti-vaccines are strong enough in that constituency that they can`t be crossed. Joining me now to answer that question, MSNBC contributor and former RNC chairman, Michael Steele. This is, I got to say, this is surprising to me, like I don`t -- MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It surprises me, too. HAYES: I was not anticipating a -- I was not anticipating a vaccination A block in 2015, on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES", I`m being completely honest. And I was not -- and I`m a little flabbergasted by Rand Paul and Christie and Fiorina. What`s going on? What am I missing? STEELE: You know, I don`t know exactly what`s go on with this. I think you`ve seen with Christie, his people are already beginning to mitigate some of those comments and put them in a different lane. I think a lot of people are surprised because Rand Paul is a doctor. So, he knows, he had the medical training to know the importance of vaccinations. And again, with Carly, I`m not sure what the thinking is there. But I think in all these instances, I get the whole idea of freedom. And this is not a question about freedom. No one is, the government is not coming to impose anything on you. This is a public safety issue. I mean, as one parent said to me this evening, you know, my kid can`t take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school, but he can take measles under this thinking, because you don`t have to vaccinate the kid. And that`s just not where we want to be for a public policy perspective. HAYES: Yes. So, I think -- I should note in the case -- in the interest of fairness -- Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all seem to kind of do a similar sort of pandering on the campaign trail back in 2008. STEELE: Sure, they did. HAYES: There is some perception maybe that the people that care about this issue care enough, you don`t want to alienate them and everyone else just gets vaccinated, so who cares? STEELE: Well, again, I don`t know why this is a real question or concern given the cases that have arisen so far in the country. This is a disease that we have eradicated. So, why do we want to go back to it? Why do we want to allow kids to be subjected to this in communities across the country, particularly poor kids who generally don`t get the level of medical treatment and vaccinations that they should get? Now, you`re laying on top of that his craziness? HAYES: Let`s also say, the Rand Paul, I mean, this sort of Christie dodge, the Rand Paul thing about I`ve heard about people walking around -- that is like grade A irresponsible nonsense. STEELE: It`s not even science. It has completely been debunked by science on both sides of the aisle, if you will. HAYES: Yes, right. STEELE: So, I don`t -- again, this is not an issue that should be political, folks. HAYES: Right. STEELE: This is an issue that deals with the public health and safety of our kids. Every politician in this country that get their head out of their you-know-whats and understand what parents need to have done here. HAYES: I wonder also how much -- it`s a weird kind of ideological transformation that`s happened because of the Obamacare and the mandate? The idea that like the mandate is toxic, right? The Obamacare mandate is toxic, that`s a government telling you do something. This is a mandate. And then I thought back to 2012, there was a vaccine issue in 2012 Republican primary. Take a listen to this. This is Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum talking about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong. That should never be done. That`s a violation of a liberty interest. RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is big government run amuck. It is bad policy, and it should not have been done. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That is directed at HPV vaccine mandate, passed by Governor Rick Perry in the state of Texas, which I believe was the correct policy, that he got attacked on. But you see the seeds of similar -- not to say they are the same from a policy standpoint, because they`re not. STEELE: But they`re not. HAYES: Right. STEELE: And I think that`s the clear thing that you need to distinguish here. HAYES: Yes, they`re distinguishable. STEELE: They`re very different, and that becomes a very different conversation when you talk about 11, 12 and 13-year-old child, versus, you know, a kindergartner, or whatever. Having said that, that belongs in a same public debate environment in which you can have that conversation about what to do with my pre-teen or my teenage child. In this instance, this is very clear. This has been part of our policy for 60, 70 years. I don`t understand why all of a sudden now, we are backing away from it and we`re finding a liberty interest and not keeping our kids healthy. That makes no sense to me. HAYES: Thank you, Michael Steele. Let me just say for the record, Dr. Ben Carson had a statement to "BuzzFeed" that was evidently sensible about the importance of getting vaccination. So, good on you, Ben Carson. OK, Michael Steele. STEELE: You got it. HAYES: Even people who have been vaccinated are now in danger in getting measles. How herd immunity actually works, next. But, first, Senator Rand Paul`s charm offensive wasn`t limited today, this comment on vaccines. Here is how he reacted when CNBC`s Kelly Evans, who conducted a great interview, tried to get him to clarify the details of his bipartisan offshore tax holiday proposal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: The whole purpose of doing this is to bring money home. There`s -- (CROSSTALK) KELLY EVANS, CNBC: I`m sorry. Go ahead. PAUL: Shhh, calm down here a bit, Kelly. Let me answer the question. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Huge news in the world of the Internet today. "The New York Times" reporting the FCC is expected to propose regulating Internet service like a public utility sometime this week. This is really a huge, huge deal. It`s one of the biggest titanic policy battles happening underneath the surface in our country, and it could mean big things for what`s called Net Neutrality, basically insuring broadband providers aren`t cutting deals with online providers like Netflix, where their content plays faster, or slowing down content for other companies that are trying to disfavor it. It also mean no content is blocked. Now, the FCC wasn`t fully behind such a plan initially. But after President Obama weighed in on the issue in November, here we are, apparently. The vote by the FCC on the proposal is slated for February 26th. This proposal comes on the heels of the FCC increasing broadband speeds last week by changing the definition of broadband internet service, essentially what you get when you pay for that service, which now will be download speeds that are six times faster. So, all in all, yea for faster Internet. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: If you`re watching the show right now and you`re among the overwhelming majority of Americans who vaccinate their children as recommended, you might be wondering what is going on with the people who don`t. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are very scary statistics out there regarding what is in vaccines. We feel like we are making the best decision for our kids. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A personal decision. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: OK. Personal decision. Now, getting your child vaccinated against potentially deadly diseases is being seen by a growing number of people, reality TV stars included, as a personal decision. Take, for example, the measles which is enjoying a major comeback here in America right now. Measles was declared eliminated in this country 50 years ago and vaccines were available for decades before that. And so, it seems we have gone so long without endemic measles outbreaks, that we kind of lost our collective cultural memory on what a horrible, and horribly contagious disease it is. Plus, since so many people did do vaccinate, the folks who might be swayed by those so-called various theory statistics they find on the interwebs, they probably figure their kids won`t get measles anyway, because everyone else is vaccinated. But here`s the thing -- that is really not how it works. The way we eliminated measles was something herd immunity. Crucial concept, OK? The idea is that pretty much everyone who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated that almost no one will get the disease, no one will spread it, and everyone is protected, including people who can`t get vaccinated, like people with allergies or compromised immune systems, or, this is important, babies, OK, before they get their vaccinations. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to man. If you`re not protected and you`re exposed to measles, there is a 90 percent chance you`ll get it, OK? So, herd immunity, it doesn`t work if everyone who falls prey to scary Internet junk science starts opting out of the vaccine. Let`s say only some people are vaccinated, the yellow stick figures represent the people who are vaccinated in this chart from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the blue stick figures are healthy not immunized people and red stick figures -- well, they are the sick ones. In this case, an insanely contagious disease like the measles can still spread like crazy. Look at that. Medical experts say you have to get to a high enough threshold, 92 percent or 94 percent of the entire population needs to be vaccinated in order for this thing called herd immunity to kick in against measles. But anyone who hopes to maintain those crucial number should be worried about these numbers. While 73 percent of people 65 years or older think children should be required to get vaccinated against childhood diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough, only 42 percent of 18 to 29 year olds share that belief. If you`re looking for what`s behind that gap, there is a piece of reckless, debunked, fraudulent pseudo science that`s really taking hold in recent years and it spread like its own virus. And joining me now, Bonnie Bertram, a producer for, a nonprofit news organization whose documentaries are distributed by "The New York Times". She produced a fantastic new report called "Vaccines and Unhealthy Skepticism", which traces the current vaccine movement back to its origin. Excellent work. BONNIE BERTRAM, PRODUCER, RETROREPORT.ORG: Thank you. Thanks so much. HAYES: How did this get started? Why did this -- where did -- what happened? BERTRAM: Well, so, what`s interesting about Retro Report is we started looking into this story in April, and we thought this is so funny. Lots of people aren`t vaccinating. There are these enclaves where it`s really popping up. So, we started working on it last spring. And so, then, lo and behold, the Disney outbreak happens and we`re thinking, oh, my gosh, there is more to the story than we ever imagined. HAYES: OK. Where is -- who is patient zero of this? I mean, how does it start? BERTRAM: You mean the Disney outbreak? HAYES: No, I mean, of the anti-vaccine movement. Yes. BERTRAM: Well, it`s interesting. So, vaccines, since their inception, sort of been greeted with some element of skepticism, because it`s kind of a weird concept. You`re sticking something in your body that`s going to make you sick just a little bit. HAYES: That`s right. Yes, you`re introducing a foreign antibody. It`s a shot. It`s your little child. It`s kind of traumatizing when you take your kid to it. BERTRAM: Right. But if you look at where we are now, a lot of it goes back to this 1998 paper that was published in a very well-respected medical journal called "The Lancet", out of the U.K. And so, this guy, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, studied 12 children. He was a gastroenterologist. And he thought, there might be some correlation between gut disorder and autism. So, "Lancet" publishes it. And there`s all this wording on "The Lancet" study, early report, you know, it`s all very sort of precautionary. But he holds a press conference. And in the press conference, he goes way above and beyond what`s in the paper. And all of a sudden, he says, "I don`t think you should get the MMR vaccine in combination." So, all of a sudden, people like, oh my gosh, if I get my kid a shot, they`re going to get autism. HAYES: Autism, and we also see at the same period of time, huge rising autism rates. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, the key thing. Here is a bit of your report about Andrew Wakefield. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that you take a 12-person case study and make claims about the population as a whole is ridiculous. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Follow-up studies of hundreds of thousands of children could not find any evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism. An investigation into Wakefield`s original paper revealed he distorted the data and acted unethically. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: So, the paper is withdrawn officially by "The Lancet" in 2010, am I correct, right? BERTRAM: Yes, and he lost his medical license. They`re telling him, you can`t practice medicine anymore. HAYES: So, the whole cornerstone, to the extent there were some kind of cornerstone -- BERTRAM: Crumbles. HAYES: It crumbles, and yet, it has taken on this cultural light of its own. BERTRAM: And yet, he`s sort of put himself in a position, where he is like a martyr to all of these people who need something to believe in about why their child has autism, because he is debunked. And then what happens is, there is a preservative in vaccines called thimerosal, and it contains ethyl mercury. And not a lot is known about ethyl mercury. But we all know methyl mercury, the stuff we find in fish, whey we don`t eat tuna fish, it`s really dangerous. So people were sort of confused about the nuance between ethyl and methyl mercury. And so, what happened was, the public health services and the American Academy of Pediatrics said, OK, let`s just take it out. And so, they sent this message, we`re going to take the preservative out of vaccine just to be safe. But, of course, some people hear that, if you hear say, just to be safe, then you`re thinking, oh, my gosh, it wasn`t safe to begin with. HAYES: This is exactly, I remember after the whole death panel thing was sort of level to Obama, there was actually an end of life care consultation provision of law that was taken out in response to it because they said, see, no more death panels. There we told you. BERTRAM: Right, it looks like you have culpability. So, what we also encountered in the course of doing this -- interviewing Seth Nukin (ph), who you heard that clip from. HAYES: Wrote a great book called "The Panic Virus" about this. BERTRAM: Terrific, and really sort of definitive word on all of this stuff. So, he wrote the book and he started talking about how, you know the language of science is very different than the language of English, of every day English. So, a scientist always talks in parse language because in their world, nothing is absolute. HAYES: Right. It`s probabilistic and they don`t say, 100 percent, you got to do this. BERTRAM: Right. HAYES: So, people hear those little nuances around the edges. BERTRAM: Right, all these parents want to hear a doctor say it`s 100 percent safe, go for it. HAYES: And they will never say that. BERTRAM: Because the scientists won`t, it`s like not in their DNA. HAYES: Well, I`m here to tell you, as not a scientist, 100 percent safe, go for it. Bonnie Bertram, thank you very much. BERTRAM: Thanks, Chris. HAYES: The Republicans are increasingly rallying around a pretty darn surprising economic message. Will we see Paul Ryan doing a mic check before this is all over? I will explain, next. And every year, we get an opportunity collectively to peer into the nation`s cultural subconscious. I speak, of course, of the Super Bowl ads, and last night, they were bleak as hell. What is wrong with us? That`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Today, another major winter storm tore through much of the northeast. Don`t worry, I`m not about to get a new car. Boston, Massachusetts suffered through the second major storm in a weekend, and the victory parade for the Superbowl victors, the New England Patriots was postponed to Wednesday, perhaps the smallest price to pay really for bad weather. But Boston was not alone. The storm dumped snow and freezing rain from Bangore, Maine to New York City. And we know that winter brings winter storms and much of that is normal, include the attendant economic costs. But, over time, scientists have tracked extreme whether to see if winter is producing more damaging storms than normal, and if spring and summer and fall are producing more drought or tornadoes or hurricanes than usual. The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that extreme weather is on the rise. Over the past 34 years, the number of billion dollar weather related disaster events has increased, according to the National Climactic Date Center of NOAA. It`s not a tidy straight line increase, you get the picture, the trend is pretty obvious. Last year, there were eight billion dollar weather related disasters in the U.S., that`s less than the 16 billion dollar weather related in 2011, but still worse than 29 years of the past 35 years. Now, according to President Obama`s latest budget proposal, the U.S. has incurred $300 billion in direct costs from extreme weather and fire over the past decade. The president`s budget for fiscal year 2016 proposes 7.4 billion dollars to fund clean energy and 4 billion dollars to incentivize states to cut emissions from power plants and 400 million dollars to help local communities assess flood risks. Now, that may or may not sound like a lot in the context of a $4 trillion budget. It doesn`t sound like a lot, but climate change has far greater costs not in the abstract as in the future. Right now. And it is only getting more and more expensive, possibly exponentially so, in the very near future. It is a bit like infectious diseases. Prevention is far, far less costly and invasive than the alternative. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Republicans seem to be zeroing in in their economic message for the 2016 campaign, and I will admit it is not at all what I had anticipated. Faced with a resurgent economy in which the unemployment rate is below 6 percent, stock markets have risen to record highs, budget deficit has been slashed by two-thirds to below pre-recession levels. Prominent Republicans have been turning towards stagnating wages and rising inequality in a kind bizarro world Occupy Wall Street style argument that pins the blame for these trends on President Obama. That`s week John Boehner said the president`s policies made income inequality worse. During his brief flirtation with a third presidential run, Mitt Romney complained the rich have gotten richer under Obama. Ted Cruz said he chuckles when the president brings up inequality because inequality has increased during the Obama presidency. And yesterday it was Paul Ryan`s turn. In an interview with New York Times, Ryan complained, quote, "the Obamanomics that we`re practicing now have exacerbated inequality," adding the White House is "practicing trickle-down economic." Interesting rhetorical jujitsu. It is absolutely true. Inequality has rising during Barack Obama`s tenure. It is also true that in the face of massive Republican opposition, the president has consistently pushed redistributive policies designed to boost the poor and middle class often at the expense of the rich. That is basically the entire structure of Obamacare, not coincidentally the Obama policy Republican hate the most. The president is once again pushing for redistribution in the $4 trillion budget proposal released today which would hammer corporate profits overseas and raise taxes on the wealthy while boosting tax credits for families and the working poor. This budget, in keeping with everything we have seen from Barack Obama since the midterms is an unapologetic statement of his priorities as the New York Times points out it makes an unfettered case for, quote, in their words spreading the wealth. It`s also the president saying the age of what today he called mindless austerity is over and the time for investment is upon us. Joining me now economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economics and Policy Research, author of many books including "The Conservative Nanny State," which is one of my favorites. So, my prediction Dean, when the midterms happened, was with Republicans in control of both houses, we were going to see an end to essentially the budget control act era, that`s the piece of legislation passed with the threat of debt default in 2011 after the Tea Party was elected that has created the sequester, that has created this austerity. That`s over now. Do you think I`m right? Are we going to see the end of it? DEAN BAKER, CENTER FOR ECONOMICS AND POLICY RESEARCH: Well, we are seeing it whittled away. I don`t know if I`d go quite so far as to see the end of it. So, we are seeing more spending. And I think there`s agreement on both the Republican and Democratic side, the Republicans in particular want to see more military spending and they`re willing to go along with some more infrastructure spending because you know these are going to be Republican contractors that are going to be getting that, and, you know, you have Republican governors that want to see their roads in their states repaired as well. So I think we are moving away from that somewhat. Now I won`t go that far, because we`re talking about still in the scheme of things relatively small increases. We`re still very much bound -- I hate to disagree with President Obama here -- but by the age of austerity. I mean, we have a lot of people who would like jobs, people who are working part-time would like full-time employment, involuntary part-time, and that`s because we don`t have enough demand in the economy meaning the deficits are too small. Talk about junk science, concerns about deficits today, that`s junk science. So, you know, we`re going in the right direction, but very little. HAYES: Yeah, so what you`re saying is that we are still -- even if we sort of wriggle out from the most constricting elements of this kind of austerity era that we entered into, I would say, in 2011, even if we`re feting out of that, we still are under appreciating the size of the kind of gap of unused resources in our economy and what the federal government can be doing to, you know, essentially use those resources. BAKER: Exactly. And you know this is really basic economics. There is a clear story about how a deficit can be a drag on the economy. The idea is it is pulling away resources from the private sector. And we`re supposed to know that because, a, we`d see higher interest rates and, b, we`d see inflation. There`s too much demand in the economy. We`re seeing the opposite of that. Ten-year interest rates are at the lowest levels we`ve seen, you know, apart from you know 2009 they were a little bit lower. But these are way lower than what we`ve... HAYES: They`re insane. BAKER: and inflation, of course, keeps falling. So we clearly are not suffering from deficits that are too large, which means we`re wasting resources and, you know, there`s so many needs. You were talking about global warming. We could be pushing clean energy. We`re doing some. President Obama has some in there. But we could be doing much, much more. So it is a long, long list. So, I give him credit for steps in the right direction but again we could be doing more. HAYES: You know, one of the reasons I wanted to have you on to talk about this is because it seemed that Republicans really succeeded, starting in 2010, in a, setting the terms of the kind of budget politics, about the need for austerity, tightening our belt, things like that; language that President Obama and other Democrats adopted, I think, much to their chagrin and much to the harm of the economy. But also this idea that the principle ideological battle of our time was the size of government and Democrats want to grow government, Republicans want to shrink that when there`s just nothing in the record that bears that out as actually the defining political feature. And I think we`ll see that once again in this budget fight. BAKER: Well, that`s right. I mean, this whole argument, we`re arguing about the size of government, Republicans look at the big government programs, the two biggest Social Security and Medicare, apart from the military, those enjoy overwhelming support from Republicans. You know, they get upset -- I mean, Mitt Romney when he was running in 2012 was attacking President Obama because he wanted to cut Medicare. I mean, it was largely nonsense, but the point was that is big government, right? HAYES: Yes. And we see this time and time again where what has ended up happening is the part of the budget that is most politically palatable for Republicans to focus on, which is non-defense discretionary spending, which is the part we`ve seen coming under the sequester, is actually a very small part of the budget, although I should say defense got hammered in the sequester as well. BAKER: Well, also it`s -- you know, when you talk about as non- defense discretionary, that is something you know, people don`t know what it is. You go, OK, you`re talking about our national parks, you`re talking about the criminal justice system, you`re talking about environmental regulations. Most of those things actually are very popular. So non- defense discretionary isn`t popular because no one knows what it is, but when you look at the specific programs they`re for the most part quite popular. HAYES: Dean Baker, thank you. All right, there are several endearing question we are left with following last night`s Superbowl. Like, why didn`t the Seahawks just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch? Is Tom Brady now officially the best quarterback ever, and what was the deal with Katy Perry`s left shark. At one point during Katy Perry`s medley, she introduced a Yo Gabba Gabba cast of plushies to dance along to Teenage Dream. And while the routine started out routine, at one point the shark on the left seemed to kind of lose the beat. And guess what, Twitter noticed. The hashtag #leftshark is still trending into today. But we may now know why the shark`s dancing was off. During a Reddit AMA today, one of the Palm Trees spilled the beans. As I`m reading this script, I`m realizing that none of this would have made sense to anyone just like six years ago. OK, according to the downstage right Palm Tree, the one that did the grinding with Katy Perry, there was a late shark substitution. "The sharks were originally supposed to be dancers from Mesa Community College, but two to three days before the performance, Katy decided she wanted her own people in costume." NBC News has not independently confirmed the right Palm Tree`s story about left shark, but this reporter can honestly say he didn`t mind Katy Perry`s sharks. It`s not like she cut the thing open and had the Kitner boy (ph) spill onto the stage. No, that was Nationwide Insurance, and we`ll talk about that next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAM SEDER: I have done calculations that show Mitt Romney is behind 18. HAYES: He has the hot touch. He`s like Brady with an underinflated ball in his hands. Does he have it here? Unbelievable. Mitt Romney, unbelievable. ANNOUNCER: Mitt Romney, the founder of Bain Capital. Former governor of Massachusetts, and he did something with the Salt Lake City Olympics. MITT ROMNEY, FRM. GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: Bonjour. Je m`appelle Mitt Romney. ANNOUNCER: Is the third time the charm for Governor Mitt Romney? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Not even 24 hours after Sam Seder chose Mitt Romney as his final draft pick in the All In Fantasy 2016 Candidate Draft, his formidable roster, which also included such promising 2016 possibilities Scott Walker, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, lost a little bit of it`s luster when Mitt Romney suddenly announced he was bowing out of a running the president triggering a rush by supporters of other candidates, most prominently Chris Christie and Jeb Bush to scoop up his donors. So that is one of the 25 draft picks definitely out and a big one too. Watch this space to see how the rest of our players fair with their draft picks as the race for 2016 heats up. Who knows, maybe Josh Barro even has a chance. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: One certainty about the Superbowl, it pretty much guarantees advertisers their biggest TV audience of the year. Last night, more than 114 million people, about a third of the country, tuned in to watch the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks, a very exciting game, making it the most watched program in U.S. TV history. And the ads, those millions of people saw, they cost a whopping $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time. And because those ads reached so many people every year, they serve as a kind of statement of our collective unconscious. Where do we think we are as a nation, or more specifically, where do advertisers think we are as a nation? In recent years, the ads have been a lot like the one from super glue company Locktite -- goofy, random, slapstick. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don`t. This year, that ad was an outlier. Rather than playing for laughs, many of the Superbowl ads went for sobs instead. The one of Budweiser, in which a band of Clydesdales rescues a puppy from a wolf and leads him safely back to his owner, or the one for Nissan in which dad is there for his son`s birth, but after that it`s back to racing cars, because that`s what dad does. And while listening to Harry Chapin`s "Cats in the Cradle" mom and son are left wondering if dad`s next crash is going to be his last. But it was Nationwide Insurance that provided what is probably the darkest and most morbid Superbowl ad in history. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOY: Hey, wait! Guys, wait! I`ll never learn to ride a bike. Or get cooties. I`ll never learn to fly. Or travel the world with my best friend. And I ever get married. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Why won`t the cute little kid get married or travel the world? Let`s just say the answer will probably leave you depressed and more than a little confused. And that is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOY: And I won`t ever get married. I couldn`t grow up because I died from an accident. ANNOUNCER: At Nationwide, we believe in protecting what matters most, your kids. Together, we can make safe happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: A short time after that ad ran during the Superbowl, Nationwide released a statement read in part, quote, "the sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation not sell insurance. While some did not care for the ad, we hope it served to begin a dialogue to make safe happen for children everywhere." Joining me now Liz Winstead, co-creator of the Daily Show; Mike Pesca, host of`s daily podcast The Gist. That ad really... LIZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR DAILY SHOW: Did not strike up a conversation about making your house safer. It just made people go what is wrong with you? HAYES: What is wrong with you? WINSTEAD: I mean, it is tragic, and... HAYES: upsetting. WINSTEAD: And people felt guilty about having fun, and then you were like that kid looked like Damian from The Omen. Like, then I had no sympathy. MIKE PESCA, HOST, THE GIST: And who doesn`t know to drain their bath tub. I mean, do we need the insurance company? WINSTEAD: Turn the water off. HAYES: Well, no, but here is the thing. So, we were debating this earlier today and there were a few people who said, look, you know, it is true -- I mean, the morbidity numbers for accidents for kids are high, kind of shockingly so -- eating toxins. They had the shot of the little dish detergent pods that kids get at. They think they`re candy. OK, fine. But if you`re doing like a PSA that is one thing. Like it is -- Nationwide saying this was not an ad to sell insurance, it manifestly is an ad to sell insurance. They spent 4.5 million dollars. PESCA: I saw a Nationwide logo. And to start a conversation, which is truly the last argument of the scoundrel. They totally struck out. We started a conversation. WINSTEAD: I know, because everybody at my Superbowl party stopped what they were doing and said, you know what turn this game off and I`m going to go retrofit my house to make sure it`s safe. PESCA: They bummed out a record number of Americans. HAYES: That`s right. PESCA: I think they really saved no lives... HAYES: But it wasn`t even -- it is a thing. I mean, I do think it`s a sort of weird cultural moment, the Superbowl ads, it`s been built up to be a real thing recently and they roll them out ahead of time. And obviously they`re -- like there have been in the past there has been this kind of trend, I feel like, of goofy ads. And those goofy ads sometimes have been kind of offensive, or they`ve trafficked in sexist tropes, or homophobic tropes. This year, I don`t know if it was fear of a comedy backfire in the era of social media or some sense about the national mood being really dark, but they felt very airless, and dark, and maudlin and sentimental and reaching into your chest. What was that about? PESCA: Well, I think that`s what it was. I think the successful ones, the ones that USA gave the top scores, are nostalgic. They all -- they all struck on... WINSTEAD: ...had super hot guys in them. Like hot dads that were like epically hot. HAYES: It was the year of hot dads. WINSTEAD: Oh my god. HAYES: It was the year of hot dads. WINSTEAD: In fact, at one point, I was like I don`t even know -- you kind of shoot yourself in the foot if you`re like I don`t know what this product is for, I just know that that dad is hot. PESCA: Hot dads for Toyota. Hot dads for Chevy. Hot dads... HAYES: No, dads were a popular theme in this year`s ads. WINSTEAD: I do think part of it is with all of the assault that the NFL has been under, right, you just can`t have your goofy sexist lady ads. And I think that they just knew -- and the record amount of story telling how many women now are watching the NFL, how many women buy jerseys, how much we spend on merchandise. HAYES: You think the ad makers are making a calculation about what the news cycle of the NFL has been? WINSTEAD: Absolutely. PESCA: I think that`s true. I think that ad makers do a little bit of research and they get a fact like millennial enjoy experiences more than things. What does that mean to you and me? WINSTEAD: It means they`re broke. PESCA: To the ad maker... HAYES: It means nonsense garbage. Nonsense garbage. PESCA: means the Bud light commercial about the guy who was Pac-Man. Like that was their justification for that ad, because Millennials like experience... HAYES: By the way, I don`t know, I don`t know if we have the video of the Pac-Man ad, but it is like a guy who like wins this -- you know, Bud Light surprises him by like by like giving him the night of his dreams and he like plays human Pac-Man. The whole thing seemed like a horrible nightmare to me... PESCA: A garish nightmare. HAYES: Even this seems like super dark. WINSTEAD: We are human beings, and the night of anyone`s dreams involves having sex at the end of it, like let`s just be honest. Like that is the way it is, especially when you`re a millennial. And instead... HAYES: Yes. Certainly if you`re a Millennial. PESCA: I thought Inky, Blinky and Clyde were looking at him a little come hither. WINSTEAD: So you end up in a video game, yeah right. PESCA: What happens to that dog after he`s rescued? (LAUGHTER) WINSTEAD: Crazy PESCA: This is all dark now. HAYES: There was also this ad which I thought -- which pulled at the heart strings and I thought pretty effectively. This is the "like a girl" ad. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me what it looks like to run like a girl. Show me what it looks like to fight like a girl. Now throw like a girl. so do you think you just insulted your doctor. BOY: No. I mean yeah, insulted girls, but not my sister. GIRL: My name is Dakota, and I`m 10 years old. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me what it looks like to run like a girl. What does it mean to you when I say run like a girl? GIRL: It means fast as you can. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Totally got me. It`s like completely emotionally manipulative add, but 100 percent. WINSTEAD: Brought to you by Always. HAYES: Yeah, exactly. PESCA: Are you going to buy panty liners now? That`s what it`s for. WINSTEAD: No, but Marshawn Lynch runs like a girl wearing panty liner. His stance is like that is how women run wearing... PESCA: Another interesting thing about that, and I would tell you, but I died. WINSTEAD: What? HAYES: Can we make? Is it too soon, I guess it is a fictional world so we can make jokes about that, but I did think -- and I thought that also that particularly in the contest of what that game is, there was a PSA about domestic violence. It was interesting -- it felt like a lot of criticism in year`s past about the sort of gender politics of the ad had been listened to. It will be interesting to see if we can do that but also have like a little more fun with the ads next year. Liz Winstead, Mike Pesca, always a pleasure. Thank you. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END