tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN November 28, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
tonight, what would you do with half a billion dollars? >> i can't conceive what it would be like. >> do something good with it. >> you're not going to win. >> but there is a dark side to powerball frenzy, many americans simply can't afford it, but on their last dime for a winning ticket, should government get out of the business? or is it just good clean fun. and what to do to avoid the fiscal cliff. >> i hope to get it done before christmas. >> i'm an optimistic, i hope to work together to avoid the
crisis sooner rather than later. >> should the rich just pay more? i'll ask former officials in the obama office. plus, raising taxes. and tavis smiley, he is on a crusade. >> you can't have 1% of the people who own and control more wealth than the other 99% of the population. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening, our big story tonight is really big, $550 million worth of money, powerball. you probably heard your odds of winning are one in 175 million, 223,000, 500 million in ten. and you are more likely to be crushed by a vending machine as you shake loose a candy bar. the odds of that, more than just
112 million. and many people, most of my staff included have bought tickets by the bucketload tonight. joining me now, this could be the quickest way to ruining your life. dave ramsey, the host of "the dave ramsey show" welcome. >> thank you piers, good to be with you. >> on the face of it. a good bit of fun everybody can hope and dream, what is wrong with that? >> well, the problem is several things. one is false hope, because as you said in your open analysis, you are more likely to be struck by lightning six times than win the ticket tonight. so this is just crazy. and the problem is, that it is a tax on the poor and on people who can't do math. rich people don't do the lottery, look at who is in line, daryl and his other brother, daryl. >> well, i know a lot of people
who play the lottery, basically, greedy pigs. there are statistics to that, the majority of people say that the majority of lottery ticket buyers tend to be poorer, uneducated, minority groups, and so on. those statistics are there, but at the same time aren't they the most designed to gain by winning? and what is wrong with giving that section of society a bit of hope, even if in the end it turns out to be a hope that is not realized? >> well, because it is false hope, is the problem. were they to take the same amount of money and invest it, they could build wealth over a period of time. and so we're teaching people that a game of chance with very low probability of winning is actually the way to live your destiny in america today. instead of living frugally, going to work, saving money, not spending everything you make. i mean, these are values that
this country was built on as opposed to this idea that i'm going to gamble my way into wealth. which really, statistically, doesn't happen. >> okay, dave, stay where you are, we'll come back and talk more about this in detail. and obviously the fiscal cliff. we'll talk to two men on opposite sides of this, the executive director of stop gambling. i'm going to start with you, terry rich, you obviously run one of the big lotteries in america. you obviously heard what dave said, they don't like it, a tax on the poor, and really it should just be cancelled. >> you know, as he said that, i would just add one word, it is opti optional revenue, people don't have to play. and as lotteries work across the country under great leadership of the governor and legislature, who wouldn't allow, as you say, preying on the poor, it is important that we continue to talk about the lottery.
that it is not an investment. i absolutely agree with that. this is a chance to have some entertainment. and in this tough economic times to dream just a little bit. so anybody who is spending too much, we'll say don't play. we don't want you to play, get help, you know somebody who is doing that. every lottery has a website and an address with how to get help. this is distinctional, where they need the revenue for education and other good causes. >> i know you don't agree with that, but explain to me why you don't agree. >> sure, a lot of folks call this powerball fever. a better name for it is "the swindle flu." powerball, you name any other lottery program. i mean, this is a government program that is based on pushing citizens into deeper personal debt. it is a classic gimmick, and has become the public voice of american government today. and it is a lie. when people say they don' play
this as an investment, according to the consumer federation of america, you have one in five americans who think the most practical way to build wealth is to play the lottery. >> yeah, but terry rich -- >> return to america's working class. we turned america's working class into its lottery class. >> okay, terry rich, what do you say to that? you have no way, do you running a lottery, of knowing who is buying these tickets? their demographic, their wealth, anything. you don't really know if they are very poor people who are spending much more than they can afford on a weekly basis, maybe even addicted. you have no way of knowing, do you? >> well, we actually do know. and it almost exactly mirrors the demographics of any given state. so if 50% of the people make $50,000 in a certain class, that is about the exact numbers when you look at the statistics of people who play the lottery, i
take offense to the idea that hard-working people are not smart enough to understand. hard working people, i grew up on a farm in iowa, and my dad taught me. and ramsey, i agree with him on many philosophies on investments. this is a form of entertainment, you need to take it as that. i absolutely agree, we don't want anybody going out, emptying their savings on a night like tonight. you want to go out with a couple of friends, buy a couple of tickets and dream, what could happen. i guarantee you, everybody realizes i probably wouldn't win tonight, but what if? >> i mean, you make it sound wonderfully harmless, but here are statistics, ticket sales in five states, including the carolinas, texas, they found statistically higher people are unemployed, and in households that earn $13,000 a year spending 9% on lottery tickets. i mean, that is more than false
hope. that is a huge chunk of a very needy selection of families' income, being frittered away on something they have very little chance of winning. >> by the same percentage, the people, if they're not making enough buying food or other types of things, the percentage of their total income is obviously much higher. we don't anticipate, and encourage or tell and would want people to spend the majority of their income on lottery tickets. and that is an important message, if you're listening right now. or you're playing over your head let's get them help, we're absolutely in agreement with every one of the folks that are talking. >> now, in your state of massachusetts, there are the lottery is the single most largest unrestricted aid. just in 2012 alone, the lotto
amount, that is a huge chunk of change. >> government gambling has been a failed revenue source, across the country. whether it is massachusetts, california, across the country. that money you talked about is a small portion of the money. it represents 4% of the total spending of the municipal budgets across massachusetts. >> i mean, but it is nearly a billion dollars that otherwise wouldn't be there, going to very important local causes. what is actually wrong with that? >> but if you had sales -- that money comes from $4.7 billion worth of sales, lottery sales. if that money was spent on other forms of products and services in our economy, the return, the economic growth from that would be immensely higher, they talk about not making the money from a small amount of players. the new york times, reports that 80% of lottery money comes from
lottery players. it is a predatory business, and it is a deception. >> there is one exception i would take to that. here is the facts, is that lotteries in states began to do lotteries because people have a desire. we do $68 million in lottery business in fiscal year 2012, more than the movie and music industry combined. we have nearly 70% of people playing the lottery at some point in time. if we didn't have state lotteries, the integrity is above reproach, but if we didn't have it. people would find ways to gain, they would do it illegally. the mafia, that was the problem, people took over, as you look at the future and things going on with that. that is important, integrity, and oversight, to make sure you don't over-promote things.
>> a fascinating debate, thank you for joining us. we'll have to take a break, and back to dave ramsey, his words and wisdom on powerball, and also, the fiscal cliff, words that would be very useful to all of us. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day
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>> wise words, the irs always wins when you play powerball. and dave ramsey, has more on the money-make over. and a spirited debate, by somebody who thinks it is a ghastly curse on society. and if i was to win tonight, and i will purchase tickets. if i was going to win tonight, should i take the lump sum, or should i take the other option? the cash option? what would you do? it is the annual annuity, you could just take the lump sum, what should i do? >> well, i'm going to side bar for a second, i'll come back to you if i can. i think mr. rich sounds like a really nice gentleman. but we need to know that the lottery organizations, their advertising is targeting the lower class, and targeting the lower income zip codes. so to say it is not predatory is
not accurate. because again, the zip codes are next to the payday lender, the rent-to-own people, they know who their market is. not the rich zip code into town. so if you do win, take the lump sum, if you're good with money, which i question with the lottery you would take the lump sum. because you will avoid the increase in taxes that will come to you in the next few years. because apparently, the tax rates on the rich are going up. that is what it looks like right now. so you avoid that, every time you get a payout on toh the ann, if you're not good to protect yourself, you would take it on the dole, so to speak. if you inherited money and took it out of a trust, because you were not capable of handling it. >> aren't you being a bit of a
pre-christmas scrooge, dave ramsey? because people, whatever they do, is going out, eating, having a drink. what you're missing is the pure pleasure aspect of the hope, of going to buy a ticket that could win you half a billion dollars. you're not factoring in the pleasure of playing that game. >> well, the pleasure of playing that game averages about $37 per household. were you to invest that in a decent growth stock fund, a mutual roth ira, you would have that happen about 90% of the time, instead of a one bazilion plan, yeah, i am calling on folks to do it. >> there will be somebody tomorrow watching this avidly, saying dave ramsey, i just won half a billion dollars, you
don't know what you're talking about. >> and there is 175 million watching, i hope your ratings are that good, that didn't win. >> let's turn to the fiscal cliff, i know you don't want to get clinical or partisan, or even talk about this ridiculous phrase "fiscal cliff," just in your dealings with the financial issues for the last 30 or 40 years, what is your view about taxation, generally. doesn't america suffer when taxes are slightly higher in terms of economic prosperity? or is that just a bit of a myth? >> well, i think there are a lot of theories running around out there. and i have the formal education, and finance degree so i studied economics like a lot of us did. i was formally taught, the proper way is that way. that seems to be the direction of the obama administration, the idea to raise taxes. and the government control the
reinvestment interest the economy. really, there is not much evidence that that has worked. it didn't work under obama or bush, even an argument it didn't work under fdr, which is where it came from. that probably world war ii bailed us out of the economic slump, probably called the great depression, rather than that. i am a sophisticated guy, i don't have a lot of sophisticated looks on things. i just know that i have 350 employees and if you raise a bunch of taxes on me, i really don't have as much money to hire people with. and sometimes people act like i take that money off and stick it in the bank. and i'm just trying to get richer and richer or something, and don't hire people. like i'm a greedy jerk. it helps me to help more people, i can't do that if i'm sending more money to the government. to me. it slows the economy to raise taxes. >> final question, dave, despite
your opposition ideology to powerball, have sneakily bought a ticket? >>, you know i have done a lot of stupid things, but never done that. >> you make a lot of sense, as always. >> honored to be with you. coming up, the fiscal cliff again. the man that helped to bail out president obama, one of mitt romney's top money men. is efficiently absorbed in small continuous amounts. citracal slow release continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release. ♪ ♪
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les ber . i'll call you at 1:00 tonight, and i will tell you, john, i have got the best idea i ever had. i am going to put every penny i have in it. you want to come along. and you say how much tax do i have to pay if i make a fortune? >> i think the first thing is why are you calling me at 1:00. >> that is warren buffet, talking about taxes and why rich americans should be paying more of them. can you get republicans to agree?
steven ratner, under the task force under president obama, and the senior adviser to the romney campaign. welcome to you both. warren buffet, one of the richest men in the history of planet earth is demanding to be taxed more give me a logical reason why he shouldn't be granted that wish. >> well, i tell you what, i'm sure it makes him feel good when he says that. two issues, one, hwhen he says that, that tax scheme that he talks about, would do very little, a drop in the pond, to fix our fiscal condition. and it may be part of a solution, but it is so far from being the solution. and the second reason is, you know some things people stand on principle on? and there is a reason that over the years the tax code has had lower taxes on investment.
and savings -- and dividends because we like to encourage investment savings. we don't like to tax two or three times, which dividends or other taxes might be taxed. so too small. and there is a principle involved. >> steven ratner, is there a principle, or just bloody mindedness by republicans, led by grover norquist, we shall not pay anymore taxes ever? >> at some point, there are too many taxes, but we're a long away from that. let's just look at earned taxes, lower than they were under president clinton put in place ten years ago. and all president obama is saying let's go from 35% to the top earners, to 39.6%, same as it was under president clinton, the economy did well. it is more than just a drop in the bucket. just raising rates on people
making over 250,000, would be a trillion deficit -- >> a trillion dollars, henry, is nothing to be sniffed at. some urged the party to extend the bush-era tax cuts, for the households that earn less than $250,000, to insure the taxes don't go up. who cares anyway? >> sure, there is a point in there. i might dispute the numbers. i would argue as the members of my party, i would argue that we have a spending problem. as opposed to a revenue problem. to my friend steve's remark, about the clinton tax rates, that sounds great to go back to 39%. and yes, that was a time of balanced budgets. but actually, those balanced budgets bear little resemblance
to the tax rates. in the clinton years, in the latter clinton years, one, we were in peace time. and two, there was a capital gains tax cut as part of the 1996 package. and let's not forget, most importantly, there was a little small thing at that time called a technology boom. so much so that it led to aacce. and of course there were tax revenues. so pointing to one tax rate at one point in time -- >> there is no one panacea or fix, we have a big problem, a trillion dollar deficit that has to be addressed, in a number of ways. the math is pretty simple. you need something like that four trillion of deficit reduction over the next four years, just to keep the size of our debt from growing. and everybody agrees that most of it will come down from
spending. but there has to be a tax element, as well. you have to have a tax revenue. we couldn't have afforded the tax rates we had in the early 2 thousands, i am not as rich as warren buffet nor was i on wall street when he -- i was on wall street for 30 years, there with high tax rates, low tax rates. it didn't change my work ethic, in the margin we're talking about, 35%, 39%. it won't change work ethic, but will raise revenue that we sorely need to get the budget down. >> let me play a clip. >> at the end of the day, i don't want to quibble, you know, you fight about the tax rate, but the more important thing is to increase the size of the wealth pie. and the idea of keeping rates
low, and then you pay a low marginal rate of a shrinking pie because the economy is impaired, that is crazy. i would rather get the country on the proper footing as a really important objective. >> it is a really interesting debate about how do you get america back on a sound economic footing? putting your pragmatic hats on, if you were in that negotiating room, emil henry, what would it be? >> broadly speaking, one, recognize what we are facing is a spending problem. the -- you know, my friend, steve, talks about spending, and the balanced budgets of the clinton years. the spending since the clinton years has increased 50%. it is really out of control. that is why we have trillion dollar budgets. and the reason it is out of control is because of entitlements.
when you look at the budget, the budget, of all the government's expenditures, it is roughly 60% entitlements. so if you're going to get at spending you have to go to entitlements. so big picture, there has to be a solution around entitlements on revenues again. what i would like to see is i would like to see the bush tax rates continue as they are. however, give the process, give the country north of a trillion dollars. but do it by getting rid of all the deductions and loopholes that comprise 70,000 pages of the tax code. and you can do it, these are the plans that are being offered. and that is the sensible way to create revenues and less impair growth. >> okay, steve, if you were in that room, that was on the table, what would you say? >> i would say you need to have a compromise more in the middle. you need to have a package. spending is not the only problem, spending is a problem,
i would agree with that. but as i said before, we had tax cuts in the early part of the century, that we couldn't afford. it has to come from both sides. as far as where it comes from on the revenue side i believe it should come from the wealthy, from the top 2% of the americans. that is the group, and i'm happy i'm a part of it, emil is a part of it, i'm sure you're a part of it, piers, that benefitted the most. the average american is behind. i don't think you take it from the average american, but from those making over $250,000, and people like warren buffet, should be paying a minimum of 30% as buffet has proposed. i'm all in favor of closing loopholes and deductions, but when frank talks about the shrinking, the big risk is going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year.
then the economy will shrink, the pie will, and we have to meet in the middle. and so far, there has not been progress getting there. >> a fascinating debate, thank you both very much. >> thank you, piers. coming next. who better than politics, powerball's and the fiscal cliff? i hate that praise, let's call it financial hilltop. tavis, we'll discuss that after the break. >> i just renamed it. ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. part of a whole new line of tablets from dell.
our ultimate goal is an agreement that gets our long-term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced. that kind of agreement would be good for our businesses, it would be good for our economy. it would be good for our children's future. and i believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. in fact, my hope is to get this done before christmas. >> president obama saying what americans all hope for. a fiscal hilltop deal. before time runs out, i renamed it that, and both sides can make it happen. tavis smiley, his new book is
"the rich and the rest of us." bring it altogether for me, is this about powerball, fiscal cliff, where are we with all of this, tavis? this is the increasingly impoverished in america, and then you have this washington battle that appears intrangient as it has ever been. meanwhile, the debt rises to $16 trillion. >> i hoped that the president would say this, he has not, as yet. and i'm not holding my breath any longer, giving the clip you just showed. but the short answer, fiscal cliff is really just a masquerading of austerity, it is austerity in disguise. and the president and those of us who care about the future of this country in terms of this
gap between have gots, and have notes, this is just austerity, they want to now basically scare those americans who are already on the short end of the stick with this conversation about a fiscal cliff. when the reality is that millions of americans have already gone over the fiscal cliff. and so this is a conversation that in some regards is a waste of time in washington, we ought to be talking about creating jobs and not about deficit reduction. it troubles me when the president himself even seems to go for that line about deficit reducti reduction. it ought to be about job kraeks. >> is he being bold enough? because the one thing everybody hoped, president obama, second term, would come out fighting and swings and be the obama they came out voting for four years ago. and this moment, it doesn't
strike me as being too audacious. >> one thing i hoped he wouldn't create in the second term, too much compromise, capitulating to the republicans, everybody saw what he was up against in the first term. and i just don't want to see him again let the republicans clean his clock. over the past couple of days, irskin bowles said earlier today, i saw on the internet that when he met with the president, the president signalled he may be willing to talk about the raising of taxes. so again, the signs are kind of ominous that we may end up like we were in the first term, with the president striking a bargain. when really this is just austerity in disguise. >> you talk about the fiscal cliff, millions of americans being plunged into higher taxations. at the same time, many americans
have gone out and spent loads on black friday, record numbers. and also spent what little they had left on the lottery tickets for the powerball. how would you stop that? should you stop that? are you with dave ramsey? is this a tax on the poor? >> it is a tax on the poor. i think dave is right. again, that is a tax on the poor. for some, it is fun and games. and i don't regret or begrudge anybody if they want to spend their money on the lottery. here is what troubles me. nothing wrong, necessarily, using the money to fund education. it is when education itself becomes a lottery. every time i see the balls bouncing around, i think of the movie "waiting for superman." i mean, there were parts of that movie that i agreed with. anybody who saw the documentary, and saw the kids sitting with
their parents at the school meetings, with the balls bouncing around, hoping their number would come up so that they could get a seat, high access to good quality education. when you see the balls bouncing around, i see americans not just wasting money on lottery tickets, but again, when education becomes a lottery, we have a problem. >> what about black friday? what about the fact we broke all records, is it healthy that americans rushed out with 8% unemployment, and all the rushing out, tempted by all the deal and advertising, and so on, is that healthy in america, that didn't just happen on friday. that carried over on monday. it is a gimmick, isn't it? >> yes, it is, when you have corporate greed and political indifference, and yes, some bad decisions. a lottery ticket will no more bail you out than is a flat screen television. but we allowed ourselves to be
sucked into this. america long ago has gotten so caught up with consumerism that we can't seem to break from it. meanwhile, you have these corporate ceos who just made out like a bandit on black friday. because of these people who they sucked in. now they will go around washington tomorrow to try to get the best deal they can to save their money in this fiscal cliff. >> let's take a short break, we'll talk about money and also about president obama, just reelected. he gave mitt romney a good beating which surprised a lot of people. we'll get your take on that. i have a cold... i took dayquil,
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my special guest, tavis smiley, and president obama got reelected, quite an easy victory, were you surprised? >> not at all, i think when the republican nominee has to run to his right to try to get the nomination, and then to hustle back to the center to try to win the general, you're going to get caught, flip-flopping on a variety of issues. as mr. romney's campaign said, you're going to get caught doing
your ech-a-sketch thing. i thought the race would be closer, but i expected from the beginning, once romney was the nominee, he was the guy they didn't want from the very beginning. >> what was the extraordinary gap between romney, african-americans, 96%, asian, 73-26, and so on. and almost every demographic, he got slaughtered. >> he did. and now the president has to represent -- the president would not be in the white house right now were it not for these groups you just mentioned. everybody seems to talk about women, and indeed they showed up in huge numbers, latinos showed up in huge numbers. i did a blog, asking why it is the black folks were pushed off the stage the most. with all due respects to latinos and women, it is this coalition that allowed him to get to the white house.
again, the so-called fiscal cliff, austerity masquerading, i hope he remembers the people that put him in the white house, the mandate. and that budgets are moral do t documents, you can say what you say, we'll see what you are, you can say what you think of women, the suffering, african-american communities. completely off the charts. the hispanic community not doing much better. i just saw a number today, in fact, piers, the median net worth in this country is now at the level of 1969. from 1983 to 2010, the top 1%, their median net worth jumped 73%, the rest of the country, we're now at 1969 levels for median net worth. the president has to understand that. he can't cave in on this debate with these republicans in washington. >> who do you think the gop
should turn to now to try and become more electable. putting aside your obvious preferences. where should they be going? should they have had a vp pick of a condoleezza rice, or a marco rubioo. >> well, first of all -- >> it is always healthier. >> sure, i agree, i agree in competition. i like real contests. so i want to see this kind of contestation. i think the problem, the republicans are making right now -- they think it is about a personality, rather than about a policy change. they think it is about outreach, rather than inclusion. and that is not going to get them where they want to go. if they want to be a competitive party in the most multi-cultural, multi-racial, they have to understand they're out of step with many americans.
>> you have this nationally televised nation, 6:30, at 9:00, january. >> we're going back to washington in january to remind the president, to remind the nation that poverty is threatening our very democracy. that poverty is now a matter of national security. this is an issue that we did not see debated during the campaign. it is an issue now the president has to deal with. there are all sorts of things, i think pulling at him with regard to what his legacy has to be. but he has to channel lincoln and fdr if he wants to be transformation, i want to call on the president to convene a white house conference on the eradication of poverty, the white house conference to eradicate poverty. we're going to washington, altogether on one stage, at george washington university.
let's call a conference, bring the experts together and let's craft a national plan that can cut poverty in half in ten years, and be close to eradicating it in the year 2025. this is not a skill problem, we can do it. >> the number one priority. >> jobs, jobs, and jobs with a living wage. we need to be creating jobs, not trying to cut the deficit. there is a time for that. we need jobs. >> tavis, good to see you, and you have a very famous voice. you were just on -- >> well, it is not that english thing you have, though. >> obviously, mine is much more. >> and coming up, something with a memorable voice, a lottery queen herself. we'll talk powerball. she has the name millions know and love, please reveal your name to us. >> i am yolanda vega. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you?
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say piers, you have won. >> you have won the big jackpot, piers? >> we'll have a big debate, everybody is talking about very little else because there is not much else going on other than fiscal cliff. and it seemed the powerball was gripping the nation. you have heard the debate on either side, is it a good lottery, or does it have its negative side and can you appreciate that, too? >> well, i have to tell you, piers, i have been doing this 23 years, and there is nothing but goodness as far as i can see. all the winners i give the giant over-sized checks to are definitely very excited. and for the time being that people purchase their two-dollar powerball ticket, they have a source of entertainment. an opportunity to dream and to hold you wion to what they belin happen positively, and hopefully for the best for all the people around them. >> isn't it a problem, though, all the winners tend to have a
miserable time. because they seem to alienate themselves, not by choice, but friends, by default. they disconnect themselves from their kind of comfort blanket community. >> that might be because the media shows you that. what i see are all the positive people that stay positive and know how to invest their money and know how to make it happen for themselves. there is so many people that win millions of dollars. and i believe there is a small pocket of those people, negative people that you do see and are focused on. >> and yolanda, are you allowed to play the lottery or not? >> nobody in the new york lottery can play. no one under my roof can play. my family can play if they live in other boroughs, obviously, my husband and daughter can't play, and they're not very happy about it. >> do you every sneak off to another state to get your hands on a ticket? >> i do go to other states and
play scratch-off, and that is fun to do once in a while. but we can't play powerball or mega lotto. >> what is the biggest amount of money you won on a scratch card? >> oh, i think i won $250 in the state of georgia. >> so you decided not to retire? >> yes, absolutely not. and i bought a $20 ticket, i was very disappointed on that $20 ticket, i won zero. >> if you won, i know you can't, but i'm talking about, if you won half a billion dollars on the powerball tonight, what would you spend it on? >> i think right now, i always thought i would buy an exotic island or a bunch of cars for family and friends. but right now in this time structure at this holiday season i probably would get lots and lots of bills and go visit all of my family and friends out in new york city. >> well,