tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 20, 2014 7:30am-9:31am EST
so what happened was the two of them flew from yemen to kuala lumpur. california. and since nobody had been tipped off by the cia, no one was there to watch them arrive. they went down to san diego. then managed to get this house here. it was a house in san diego. done by somebody, muslim and san diego and needed a place to stay, let them stay there. the guy happens to be an fbi informant which was very interesting. you had to terrorists there were on their way year. the cia knew about it, did not tell anybody, and they're living
in a house that is owned by an fbi informant. then his wife was pregnant in yemen. so he caught her -- calder fairly often. the nsa was eavesdropping and everything in that house, everything going in and coming out. so what happened was that the cia wanted information from that house. it wanted to say, well, give us the transcripts, give us with these people saying. the nsa would not give the cia and the information that they were picking up from the house. they went up three times asking senior officials at the nsa for that information and they would not give it to a. the cia is a building near on a listening post the communications announced. the problem is, they're only getting the downlink. they don't have the satellite, so they are not getting the uplink of the communication.
so they go back to the nsa and say, look, you know, we get the downlink. we have our listening posts. can you just give us the appalling? tsa says no well, that is the -- that is one of the key issues right now. this is another case that is coming. let me back up to this one. he accepted the argument that the nsa command even know for two years there were listening to everything going in and out of the house, there were not able to pick up to five they're inedible to find out that the calls from that house are going to the house in human. now, of vases 1982.
they just can't believe that the nsa is saying that they did not have the capability to find out where those phone calls were coming from. that is the nsa problem. did not know whether those calls were coming from. there were listening to the calls in yemen, but they could not tell that there were coming from san diego. that is the key point. so judge pauley accepted that argument. that is the argument for a message dated because the nsa could not sell well it -- or those phone calls were coming from. you had to collect everybody's minute data in the united states so that you have it in one place then you can go through it so that you don't have another
9/11. that is their argument. again, these are things that are somewhat complicated, not usable in a sound bite on television, but they're critical to this whole issue of better data and it needs more writing about and a journalist committee because a lot of it, are you kidding? you know, we put all of this technology out there and you can't tell where a telephone is coming from? so -- but the story is not over yet. there is any -- there is going to be a third bite of the apple year. we have a split decision, the judge in new york, the judge in washington. well, this another case coming up called first unitarian church in los angeles this is the nsa. a played a little role in this case myself. the electronic frontier foundation, income in the case that focuses on the legality of
matted data. but there's another little twists and they're also focusing on another issue. that is the americans right of assembly. the government should not have a right to know every time a committee for the republicans are meeting here to get all our phone calls and find that that we're having a meeting, or the naacp. any political gatherings are anti-war gatherings. that is where the other aspects of this case that makes a little bit different from the other two commanded should be decided hopefully in the relatively near future. so you have these three cases, and they will go to the appeals court in the supreme court for decision. we are just at the entry position, but i really do have to -- every time i see judge leon after, for the first time, see was right. and rather he was right on this issue here. what i did was wrote an amicus
where i helped. i taught at berkeley at one point. law students at berkeley wanted me dealt into an amicus brief, friend-of-the-court brief for that case. the third case that will be coming up. memo we focused on large new was looking back to the church committee, for example, in 1975, the church committee, we can sell the nsa was just running amok. millions and millions this was only when the church committee came along -- publicize it cannot their hearings and there for reports that there was a
change made. that was the creation of the foreign intelligence surveillance court, the first court to ever put any kind of regulation on the nsa. and it worked really well for 30 years. i mean, i was not perfect, but they never turned the government down. at least it was there and did make some -- i think it was -- i used to make jokes about it, but i think it actually did do a fair amount of good work. certainly better than not being there. so what happened after 9/11, the bush and ministration went around the court, violated the law and just bypassed it. and then two and a half years later or so after the new york times revealed the program then they created this thing called the foreign intelligence surveillance amendment to act which legalized but there were doing in the first place. now we're at the point where we were at just prior to the church
committee with the nsa has run amok. we need another church committee to look get this. i admire the president's panel because they actually came up with some really good suggestions, but it was just a panel that looked as some of the issues for a month or a couple of months or never was and that's it. and in the oregon. so i think what we really need is a church committee to do this . it has been since 1975. let the technology, like the amount of weaknesses that they have created in the foreign intelligence surveillance forum. and then i was down in rio back in november. i saw greenwell while i was there. he showed me one of the documents that he had. i thought it was fascinating. this one here was -- this is just an excerpt from it, but --
and i've got another slide that you can actually read what it was. but when i read that i thought, wow, we are here. we have finally arrived at the point we were in 1975 when the government was doing a lot of really bad things. back them what they were doing was there were looking for ways to get martin luther king who is considered a radical, and they wanted to discredit him in front of his followers. and one way of doing that was by finding out what kind of sexual activity he might have and then using that tie their blackmail them, and stored them, or basically just discredit them in front of his followers. and that is what this document was. it basically said the same thing it was back in october of 2012.
and what it argued was that -- and the director of the nsa, general alexanders title at the very top of it commanded said they let her personal vulnerability. sexually explicit material on line and so forth. a lot can be learned by people visiting pornography sites. besides, it's probably more from a listening to the north koreans . said in the nba here is to exploit. i was amazed at the language of the used, let no one would ever see this document. so then they would exploit the vulnerabilities of character. and they said, we are not talking about terrorists come across. these are people or radical. and actually in identified the people. i saw the original document when i was down there.
actually saw the names, but you know, i agreed that you should not publicize it. when i saw the names it was not a division between -- because one of the names i saw was a u.s. citizen, are u.s. person the college, and others are foreigners. there was not a division. verily going after the foreigners, americans, u.s. persons, and foreigners. and then, you know, what is interesting to me, among the distribution tests, the justice department and commerce. is because they're trying to regulate the porn industry something? i did not give what the commerce to permit would be giving a top-secret document from the nsa about use dropping out peebleses to porn sites. there's a lot i don't understand about the nsa. so going back, this is what happened back in the battle and
1960's. the fbi used wiretapping. ♪ -- discover vulnerability for radicalizes such as mine with the king. back then the idea had come up with j. edgar river, the longest serving fbi director who now comes from general alexander, along with serving nsa director witt says something about not letting people stay on the job too long. and the nsa player roll back in those days as part of eavesdropping and the anti-war protests and so forth. so they would pick up the information and pass it on to the fbi. so in terms of reforms, you know, i could not see anything that i really disagree with on those 46 recommendations that came out from the white house
panel, you know, hearing all these rumors that the president is killing ted do cosmetic changes tomorrow and nothing really sensitive which would be very disappointing, but actually it goes along with his track record. i mean to me is the guy that triple the number of people -- tripled the number of forces in iraq instead of ending in the first six months -- i'm sorry, and afghanistan, triple the number of forces in afghanistan and the first cut its office said in a minute. george bush had won drone attack in yemen in a year's. and obama has declared war on yemen. there are drawn attacks all the time. the first attack was not even address our attack. it was december 17th 2009. that was when he launched his first attack which was very telling. there were not enough runs in
the area. there were all in afghanistan and pakistan. but there was a navy ship. it was either a navy guided missile cruiser. in it whenever casey used that. and if that that there were some terrorists down in the rural part of southern yemen. so they fired all these cruise missiles this crew. this tiny little village. the cruise missiles happen to be filled with cluster bombs telling you know, 109 countries. this is the person i voted for president. really. shooting cluster bombs -- yes. shooting cruise missiles or cluster bombs at a country we are not at war with and then missing the target and killing 15 women and children. but that wasn't the end of it. the next day he made a very
public phone call to the president of human thinking and for such a great terrorist operation is performed. the president of yemen had nothing to do with it. it was entirely the obama administration. he agreed to go along with it. which gives me kind of to the point i'm making or the point i want to make. we find out a lot of these things, not from the u.s. government, but from whistle-blowers. a lot of this came from the material that was leaked by mana -- chelsea manning. among the documents released was a meeting between patraeus and the president of human. and at that meeting he place after that attack. there was one on christmas eve and other attacks in yemen. then then that meeting there was a transcript that was leaked by
the documents. it says there were laughing about it in the meeting. the president of yemen said i will keep lying about it. as a matter of fact, on line to my own parliament about it. one of the things that i thought was fascinating since i number of people at the church committee, they were able to get the nsa to come up and name a lot of the people that work targets of their eavesdropping, the antiwar protesters and so forth. there were 1600 of them. they actually came out with the names of my fear some people like dr. benjamin spock.
>> there was one name in particular that they refuse to release to the church committee. despite all that there would never releases one name. that name was finally released. i think it was last september it was released. here is to it was. which is why we need another church committee. thank you very much. [applause] >> i'd be happy to take questions. at think john has -- >> good. who do we have? this fine.
>> i think the audience. that think they learned much from the narrative recounting the national security ministration. one of the things, created by a top-secret memorandum by harry truman in 1962. no congressional or public debate. just sort of embarrassed. i am sure that harry truman thought he would be embarrassed by this session. >> it is the only agency in the u.s. government that was not created by a law in congress, hearings, by a bill through congress. it was created by a top-secret memorandum signed by harry truman in 1962 that was -- even the congress was not allowed to know about it. it is the only agency in your government that was born secret. >> which is the opposite. the government must be transparent in order to have government by the consent of the governed.
it seemed apparent inconspicuous that other than a few cameo to appearances nothing involves congress. we have those the bourse, where is congress. >> nasa's 1975. >> and now was this sort of an episodic instance in any event. we're talking about the constitution of the united states. forty-seven classified volumes. he was investigated for espionage by the next demonstration. >> we can't depend upon our liberties that some brave whistle-blower from time to time will expose wrongdoing of the executive branch. needs to be institutionalized, which is the whole reason why yet congressional oversight. and then tell that change we
made gate and snowden from time to time, but it won't change that night unless they're is a systematic assistance by the american people in congress that this be made public it is a joke if anything they have the cover-up. -- >> exactly. and that was one of the points i usually make. i'm not asking for a church committee in congress. ms confer an exchange of church committee to my committee head would be like a 9/11 commission. and also one that just is not have former government officials but as a civil libertarian so forth. we have to get other questions. >> un question. >> that was my question the frank church in 2014. >> that was why -- unless we can
find somebody with the medical ability to bring them back to life and put them back into the senate, i would not -- i would not allow the senate or the congress to do this committee. but when it comes so far. i've been following this ever since the church committee. and the church committee, they took it upon themselves, their mission, there were the beverage win the american public and the nsa or the intelligence community. it is draw said the intelligence committees in congress feel that they are the protector of the agency. not the protector of the public. they argue for a bigger budget for the intelligence agency whenever there's a cut in the
budget argue for more freedoms for the agency. where were they doing that here in half years, the times release , the information getting out about the enormous eavesdropping which came from the whistle-blowers, not from our overseers in congress. >> any other questions? >> so, yes. sorry. deborah is a really good friend of mine. she was the lead attorney on the tom drake case. i worked on that case and it was a tremendously successful case. a whistle-blower from the nsa who is charged with 5-pound to five counts of espionage. leaking some rather mundane information. i was able to show with the help of to me that the member mentioned there were charging him with was not only unclassified and that one of the
put him in jail for 35 years, not only unclassified, but it was in the public domain and put there by the nsa and the pentagon. so when it came time her child the prosecution rift -- please to sign this green tell mr. mayor with no jail time and no fines the judge spent 20 minutes and yelling at the prosecutor and the nsa. it was a good case. i appreciated the deputies work on it. >> it's good to see. thank you for that. >> you're embarrassing me. >> and i'm going to take a different role and play devil's advocate which is driven in part by this and comparable -- uncomfortable feeling that i have. it is driven in large part on my
experience in tom's case which is i have read articles in the post and the times the there are millions of documents -- well, i guess one-and-a-half million documents he took. the best majority of the documents that are in his possession have really nothing to do with medical data are spying on americans. one of the slides you show was a map of the world showing where our mouth where is. i don't want to comment on whether we need to know about that, what and what point is and word snowdon going to be not this clamors zero, but a thief. >> she's a journalist. >> that is one of the major questions that people have. the question is, you have one half million documents. by the like i did not show me all of them. i was down there.
he happens shown a couple. but that's a really good question. the major questions are, is -- to the chinese about naxos? could the russians of rednecks us? according to what he says, that did not get access. speaking in his defense to some degree if your whistle-blower and it's trying to get the documents out, you don't have time to edit the documents lawyers sitting there your desk. the idea was who would pull the documents out and not just put them up on the internet, but to give them to responsible journalists, and the journalists would go through them. that is what happened with dan l. burke is a good friend of mine. he did that. he gave it to the new york times on "washington post". and we ended at helping to
shorten a war that we should never have gone into. there is no -- i don't think you went to whistleblower school. he probably did not read out to be a whistle-blower. you know, i give him a lot of courage for he has and what he did. i think there's a lot that the government is always saying. the world's going to come to an end. they said the world was going to come to an end when david connecticut wrote the codebreakers. it the world will come to an end . but so far the world is in good shape. the main problems we ever getting into wars that when i suppose to be in. if we don't have whistle-blowers' occasionally, they may not be perfect people,
may not make mistakes. we will laugh a government that we don't want one about. anyway, i always am happy to debate you. you're such a great lawyer. and always feel that i'm up against the greatest challenge. i appreciate it. thanks to free a question. >> i wanted to pick up and follow a bit further on khalid al-mihdhar and nawaf al-hazmi business because you probably know this is part of this is a subject of the 28 page section of the original joint congressional investigation into 9/11 that was suppressed by president bush and remained suppressed by president obama. this section from what we can derive from other writings and speeches by senator bahrain who
chaired that committee -- senator bahrain, saudi intelligence connections with the two hijackers in san diego, funding mechanism and apparently also the fact that the fbi refused to allow the congressional committee investigators access to the informant who owned the house where these two guys were staying spent i no -- i wrote a book on 9/11. just give me the question. >> two members of congress have introduced a bill, walter jones and steve lynch, calling for every member to read 20 pages and have it declassified. i wonder what her thoughts are on that dimension statements well, i completely agree. i actually have a lot of admiration for walter jones. walter jones, a republican from north carolina, and he was the person who put a bill in when we went to war in iraq to change
the name of french fries to freedom fries because the french weren't supporting our war. and then one day he read the book i wrote on iraq called a pretext for war and he completely changed and he became one of the most vocal antiwar opponents within congress. so i've always had a great deal of admiration for him for admitting a mistake and then trying to get out of this to change also. it's amazing what's still classified in those reports. i have no idea, i haven't seen anyone leak it to me. i don't know what the saudi part is. there's a lot of people that i speculate what the saudi part is. .. job on the essay aspect which i wrote a lot about because they never focused on what the nsa did not know. and so i agree that that should
be released. >> judge, commented the question. is several years ago i was told that what the nsa really meant was no such agency. >> now is stands for not secret anymore. >> you might want ask those visiting here to give their comments later on from the nsa. my question is in light of the situation where the nsa and the cia were not cooperating but for 9/11 and if they had it might have prevented it, going for word what do you think would be the proper balance between this kind of data collection and analysis for national security in protecting individual privacy what should whatever the nsa turns into or other agencies be doing and-a they cooperate with the cia and others to protect interests while still protecting privacy.
>> the one problem here is that first of all i would like them to add these to start telling the truth about how useful some of these programs are. the nsa when for years telling congress how useful the e-mail meditate a program once. it was not until senator wyche and senator you know poked their fee to the fire and said, come back here and show was word has been useful. the nsa could not to the debt had to shut the program down in 2011 then mom we're discussing those telephone minute data programs director kim batten said there are 54 cases where this could help prevent attacks. and then it was down to like 32 or whatever. and then all of a sudden she wasn't really talking about the manner data program, the 215 program. he was talking about the present
program will lead. when it came down to the actual net it it a program it came down to one success, one success. and actually, the deputy director admitted this. he admitted it on public radio about a week ago. it was this one case, and the case was a guy in san diego who sent $8,000 to some group in somalia. did not have anything to do with the united states, but that is the one success for collecting all of your telephone records since 2001. so that's what i really hope. begin start to understand the useful programs from the useless programs and to apply not just
the standard of some guy in the back room or the bomb and a backer of the nsa listening post, but people who are in the civil liberties privacy community hear other voices in this debate. >> i would like to five my question is just about this. you'd think there is really -- >> what? >> and american society to really restrict, to really end this kind of restrictive -- [inaudible] this permanent threat of terrorism. panera said the show. >> it's a good question. the question is basically, do you think there is any public
support. the problem is it going up against the tehran machine. the fear mongering machine. .. >> i mean, we've had, what, 3 people have been killed from terrorism in the united states states -- [applause] >> since 2011, and half of that was major nidal has soon, the army major, and the fbi in san diego had been picking up his conversations with anwar al-awlaki. so it wasn't even a question that they didn't know about it.o
so, you know, it's this -- i've always been amazed at the united states how it's against the law. to take a bottle of shampoo onto an airplane, but you can buy as many assault weapons as younst want. [applause] what sense does that make? that's a good question. unfortunately, i've got to onlyp answer the questions where there's a mic because this is being recorded by c-span, so if i answer a question where there's no mic, they won't hear the question, so i have to go with john henry where the mic is.i >>ke my fortune, i suppose. i wanted the highlight to people that we'll be having an event tomorrow to remedy system of the problems with the press.>> we'll have some of the he is l blowers that -- whistleblowers that youme mentioned, russell te will be there immediately following obama's address, so people can check it out online.s it'll be live stream ared at 12:30. obama's speaking at 11.n they can go to accuracy.org to get the insights of the12
whistleblowers immediately following obama's address. i'd like to ask you a briefo question about sort of a pushback on the international scope of it. immediately following obama's address. i would like to ask you a brief question about a pushback on the international scope of it. certainly nations spy on each other but should we have some kind of limits on can the nsa spy on democracy activists in egypt for example? is the delineation between u.s. person and non-u.s. person does generally the most meaningful one that we want to set up? thank you. >> again that's another good question. this whole issue doesn't resonate as well and that's what about the rest of the people in the world's? i mean we don't care about any of the people in germany or france or anybody else? yes they have their own intelligence services and spying but still.
it's a question of digital imperialism in a sense. i hear that argument a lot. we all spy. every country spies but every country doesn't have the nine largest internet companies home-based in their backyard. and when you do have the nine largest internet companies in your backyard you can force them to do things that other countries can't do. you can go to google and force them to give you whatever you want. but the nsa goes well beyond that. there's the front door but they also go into the backdoor and tap into the fiber-optic link between the data centers so i think that's something i would like to see at least addressed and where is this leading us in terms of worldwide surveillance of everybody and is a rational we are paying for this?
are we just building the haystack so high that we will never be able to find the needle so those are good questions. >> jim marc rotenberg from the electronic privacy information center and i want to thank you very much for your talk and all your work on this issue. as you know it was the epic that brought the omission -- initial challenge to the nsa program. we were supported in that effort by dozens of legal scholars and former members of the church committee who agreed under section 215 there simply wasn't the authority for the nsa to collect all the telephone records on american citizens but i will want to ask you about the historical significance of the president's speech tomorrow morning. it seems to me if you take a step back and think about the significant reform efforts in this area we were called for example in congress of 1974 in
watergate to pass the privacy act to strengthen the freedom of information act and the congress after the church committee established the foreign intelligence surveillance act. don't you think we have sufficient evidence at this point that points toward comprehensive legislative reform in light of what we know to save guard privacy in the country? >> i certainly do mark and that is a true big organization and has been on the advisory board. they are the ones that originally fought nsa during the 1990s when nsa wanted to do a thing called the clipper ship where the nsa would force the u.s. to turn the keys over to nsa for letting them use the backdoor. the public and the congress rejected that largely because of what epic was doing and then we
find out from the snowden documents that it doesn't make any difference. they are going around the backdoor anyway and eavesdropping so it's a good question. the problem is as somebody mentioned earlier frank church isn't in congress anymore. we have dianne feinstein and i just don't see an awful lot of momentum in congress to work on or to actually pass some privacy bills with teeth in them. i would really like to see that happen and you know we are living, still living in this post-9/11 period which we weren't living in back in those days and as i mention itself generating so you get the congress people who know that they have to go up for re-election every two years and they know that if they vote against a new budget increase for nsa or they vote for a
privacy bill instead their opponent is going to say well, my opponent is weak on terrorism so if you are blown up by the next terrorist bomb it's going to be his fault. that is the incentive for these congresspeople to push for you know progressive legislation and falling back on pouring more money into the intelligence community that yeah that is one of the reasons why epic does a great job at trying to get these bills passed. >> there has been a couple of references here or at lease one to the fact do we have to balance our rights against national security. a vigorous effort by a lot of people to reframe the argument or frame the argument that we have to balance constitutional rights versus national security and what seems lost and that is the back of the bill of rights as mr. henry alluded to the beginning really the means for us as a sovereign people versus
what we previously saw subject under the monarchy to be the overseers and provide oversight for the government meaning the malfeasance or misfeasance of government officials. going back and some of us are earlier -- old enough to remember the 70s the army and agents of defense spying on antiwar activists and to suppress their free speech in right now and here we have the nsa and the dod agency doing on on a massive scale worldwide. the question seems to me to be why are we willing to relinquish to government officials military especially do have a very narrow focus that we as american citizen should have. i think vietnam was the best example showing that the army, the military was wrong and the antiwar activists were right and they are the ones who manage to keep us from degrading into the same catastrophic failure that the soviet union did 15 years later because we have that right
to know. where is the outreach i guess is my question? [applause] >> that is always the problem. i write looks and i write articles and i do documentaries and so forth so i'm always hoping we are going to create momentum for things but it's hard for any american public to get energized between issues that don't deal with saving them from the terrorists are saving them from iraq or saving them and i don't have the answer to that. i wish i did but you are 100% right that during the 1970s the army actually was used in the united states to spy and to eavesdrop on u.s. citizens. it's another reason why the committee was formed. motivating the public, if i knew the answer to that i would be
selling toothpaste to make millions of dollars but i don't know how to motivate the public. >> jim, i am curious. you warned us of the danger of inadvertent release of all of this vast score of information but to your knowledge or we intentionally sharing any of this make a data with foreign countries and if so do you have any idea which once? >> is really interesting. people don't realize this at its not just the nsa. the nsa is one element of the much larger organization. it's called the u.k. usa agreement otherwise known as the -- i don't know why they call it the flybys. it should be 10 years but that is what they call it the flybys and that's the united states the u.k. australia new zealand and canada.
after world war ii it was very successful in codebreaking the purple machine in japan and so forth so the countries continue doing codebreaking and so forth. what they did was they divided the world up in terms of its fears of eavesdropping capabilities. the u.k. could eavesdrop on europe very well. the u.s. could do south america and the australians and new zealanders could do southeast asian and so on and so forth. it's one big organization that does the spying so everything is picked up by the united states is shared with those five countries. there's a lot of sharing that goes on beyond that. one of the documents that i thought was fairly shocking from edward snowden was the nsa was turning over to israel all of our data that the u.s. was collecting without everything
going through having some oversight or overview, just turning it over. so that's the problem you have when you have a situation like that. you have the government that collects all of the stuff. there's no real oversight and nobody saying you were not allowed to do that. they just do anything they want and i don't particularly want to know the police to know who i'm calling every day. why should they no? i agree it's a big problem. once they collected its going into this place i wrote about in utah called bluffton which apparently is not being a very big success. it's a $2 million, 1 million square feet and every time they turn the switch on one of the servers melts. so they haven't had a lot of luck with that at that is where supposedly it's going to be stored. i think it's shared easily and
they can share with whoever they want. norman. >> you mentioned senator church but senator church was from idaho and came from a distinctive political culture. his ancestry was sent at -- predecessor was senator board who was a great opponent of centralized power governmental tyranny and arbitrary decisions so the question that we have all raised how come our citizenry isn't more active or more outraged or how come the aclu protests and their editorials in the times and so on but there isn't a kind of study abroad taste popularly rooted protest and probably the answer to that lies in other features of our political culture in the
gigantic system of our social institutions and the fact that when you sign a contract for a phone you are signing something away that's powerless in the face of these very sizable institutions will whether they are big banks or communications companies. i would suggest that this induces a kind of general paralysis which requires real bureaus to oppose and as everybody knows it is in everybody's forte. >> that is why all whistleblowers are so rare. in a society like this is much easier to go along and if you are in certain areas of society and you are saying that there is
no threat to terrorism people are going to look at you like you are a screaming radical or something like that. if you actually look at the statistics that person would be absolutely right. there's this fear-mongering that goes on. that is really to me the worst part about it, the fear-mongering and it hasn't encountered much in the press either. what to do about it i really don't know but i tried to indicate the level of risk and if the level of risk is very small from things like terrorism or its very large on gun control and things like that. anyway i wish there was some solution. i just don't know. >> my question is earlier you were describing the 54 events whereby they were tried to come up with evidence. do you have any idea how much money they spent specifically on
that program and how many people are being employed to do nothing essentially? >> yeah i have no idea but nsa, it was all top-secret until the document came out with the budget was so there is -- nsa is the largest intelligence agency in the world. his 35,000 employees and you have another 15,000 or so that are contractors. you've got all that money and all those people out there and yeah that's the big question, what do you get out of that? it's on most like they are doing it because it's an academic exercise because we can do it or we are eavesdropping because we can so we will. that's really a problem and that is why the senate house and
intelligence committee don't hold their feet to the fire like the church committee. it wasn't just church but there were other committees back in the 70s that did that. you are going to have these programs. as i mentioned the nsa kept arguing that the internet metadata, the e-mail metadata program was a roaring success until they were forced by only two senators udall and wyden to put up or shut up and they couldn't put up so they had to shut the program down. while i'm thinking of it just so i can mention it but we were talking about whistleblowers and so forth and penalizing whistleblowers. where are the penalties to the u.s. government for breaking the law? where his clapper? [applause] es he is an indian been criticized by the government let alone indicted and how many
people from the warrantless seeds dropping the operation were prosecuted? that was a complete violation of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. even in a time of war you only have five extra days to do warrantless eavesdropping. nobody ever gets punished. there's this lack of accountability. general alexander headed the nsa captain of an aircraft carrier that ran into the rock of gibraltar. what a navy captain still be running a ship? he still running the nsa after the worst security breach in u.s. history. there's no accountability within the administration. you have to start with accountability before you start getting any reform. you let the same people make all of the same mistakes continue to make them. >> i am from the government
accountability project. [applause] >> we represent -- represent edward snowden and i just want to point out that the congress actually took out of the whistleblower in protection enhancement act any protections from retaliation for the intelligence community whistleblowers and therefore they are vulnerable to any action the government takes against them for a corporation. do you see on the horizon and he and enhanced protections from reprisal coming from the congress or the obama administration? >> yeah you point out some really important facts. the fact that the whistleblowers don't have protection and that is why the things the administration keeps talking about, they have these proper channels they can go to. well they don't have those proper channels and i don't see
any legislation. i have been watching this for years because that is my bread and butter comes from whistleblowers. to give you one quick example here one of the people that i quoted in my last book the shell factory was adrian kinney who was an employee or who was in nsa what they call voice intercept operator down at the nsa's huge listing post in the state of georgia here that eavesdrop on a lot of of -- remotely from satellites and so forth created she was among the things they were doing was eavesdropping on americans calling americans come in other words journalists are aid workers or americans in the middle east to happen to call their spouse in the united states and were having bedtime conversations and so forth.
she didn't particularly want to listen to that. she said it was like reading somebody's diary so she protested all the way up from her position at the listening post in georgia all the way up to the head of the army intelligence and security committee which ran all of that. his name happened to be keith alexander at the time. and that got nowhere so then she climbed up the ladder on the congressional side and got all the way to the senate intelligence committee chairman leahy and again nothing happens so she finally talked to me. i really asked her to go full face and full name and let me use that because otherwise they would just say i'll go you are just making it up. she did and it was a very brave act on her part but she felt very strongly that the
government was doing this is in this is the problem the whistleblowers they spray they don't have any real protection. we were a will to do a few things behind the scenes that got her protection within two hours of the time i came out with mike look and was on abc news. senator rockefeller and the chairman of the senate intelligence committee at the time agreed to hold a hearing, not hold a hearing but agree to an investigation and they immediately asked her if she would testify. she said she would which made her witness before a committee. they couldn't prosecute her without obstructing investigation of congress. i have never had a source get arrested or prosecuted and i want to keep it that way. >> jim lee told c-span 8:15 and we have so many questions out
here. >> i don't want to keep people here if they don't want to be here so if you want to leave. i am happy to keep asking them. >> thank you so much, jim. >> thank you very much. i really appreciate it. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> oh, by the way, i think they're selling books out there, and they've asked me to notify] you that my books are for sale. the capitalist society here. yeah. [inaudible conversations]
>> and we're live at politico here in washington, d.c. this morning where national economic council director gene sperling is expected to talk about the obama administration's economic agenda. politico chief economic reporter ben white will conduct the interview. a recent congressional budget office report says the president's plan to raise the minimum wage will increase earnings for 16.5 million americans, but it will cost about 500,000 jobs. we are a couple of minutes away from the start of this discussion. we'll have live coverage when it gets under way. while we wait, here's the latest on the violence in ukraine. from the associated press this morning, government snipers are reporting to be shooting at some of the demonstrators in ukraine's capital today where fierce clashes between police and protesters have left at least 22 people dead. the violence shattered a brief truce in kiev. the two sides are locked in decades-long battle over the identity of the nation whose loyalties are divided between russia and the west.
president obama had comments yesterday about the unrest in ukraine. here's what he had to say during a trade summit in mexico city. >> let me thank the president for his wonderful hospitality in hosting us here today x it's a special treat to be able to visit his hometown. [speaking spanish] >> this is my fifth visit to mexico, and i think it underscores the incredible importance of the relationship between the united states and mexico not only on commercial issues and security issues, but because of the intimate person-to-person relationship that exists between our two countries. [speaking spanish]
>> i want to congratulate president pena nieto on a whole range of reforms that promise to make mexico more competitive and increase opportunity for the people of mexico. [speaking spanish] >> and i'm also very interested in hearing president pena nieto's strategies as he embarks on dealing with some of the reforms in the criminal justice system and around the treaty issues which i know are very pressing on his mind and where we have excellent cooperation between the united states and mexico. [speaking spanish]
>> more broadly, the the summit gives us an opportunity to build on the enormous progress we've already made in making sure north america is the most competitive union in the world and we're able to the no only to continue to integrate our -- [inaudible] effectively to create jobs both in the united states, mexico and canada, but we're able to project american and mexican and canadian goods and services around the world for the benefit of our people. >> [speaking spanish]
>> and with the cooperation ranges from how do we make our borders more efficient to moving forward on the trans-pacific partnership that offers the opportunity to open up new markets to most populace region of the world, the asia-pacific region. >> spur spanish -- spur spanish. [speaking spanish] >> and we'll also have the opportunity to discuss how we can work together to work more closely on scientific and educational exchanges. we're particularly interested in making sure that young people in mexico and the united states and canada are able to study and travel in each country, and we're trying to expand those countries' exchanges.
>> [speaking spanish] >> so this is a wonderful opportunity for us to build on the work that we have already done over the last year. >> [speaking spanish] >> the president, let me say one last thing, and that is about the situation in ukraine which, obvious, has captured the attention of the entire world. >> [speaking spanish] >> the united states condemns in the strongest terms the violence that's taking place there. >> [speaking spanish] >> and we have been deeply engaged with our european partners as well as both the ukrainian government and the opposition to try to assure that that violence is finished. >> [speaking spanish]
>> but we hold the ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression. and i want to be very clear that as we work through these next several days in ukraine, that we are going to be watching very carefully, and we expect the ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters. we've said that we also expect peaceful protesters to remain peaceful, and we'll be monitoring very closely the situation, recognizing that along with our european partners
and the international community there will be consequences if people step over the line. >> [speaking spanish] >> [speaking spanish] >> tuning in on c-span, if you have questions for gene, you can send them on twitter, hashtag morningmoney. we're delighted to have the director of the national economic council, gene sperling, who reportedly is going to leave the white house on march 5th,
though i'll believe that when i see it since he's been reported to be leaving pretty much every day the last couple of years. before we get to mr. sperling, i want to thank the peter g. peterson foundation for its continued support of these events, and i would like to introduce loretta to say a couple of words. [applause] >> thank you, ben, and good morning, everyone. the peter g. peterson foundation is proud to support this morning's discussion. we are a nonpartisan foundation whose mission is to increase awareness and accelerate action on the nation's fiscal and economic challenges. one, one part of our mission is to facilitate discussions like this with leaders like gene sperling who have been at the helm of the nation's fiscal and economic policy for decades. i worked with gene in the
clinton white house, and so this is the first time in a long while that i've had the pleasure of listening to him in a morning briefing. i'm very much looking forward to this morning's discussion, and i hope you are too. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, lorettament -- loretta. let's not waste any more time and into cues the -- introduce the director of the international the fiscal council, gene sperling. [applause] >> good morning, sir. >> good morning. >> thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> the first question, obviously, is, is march 5th really your last day at the white house. [laughter] and tell us about what you're doing next. you're moving to california, but what's next in the gene sperling story? >> i know my credibility has been slightly weakened by delaying twice, but there's a logic to this which was, first, agreeing to stay past the state of the union and then past the budget.
so march 4th is our budget. we'll be doing more rollout march 5th. and, yes, i think that is likely my last day. remember, i have an excellent successor who's just a fantastic guy, person. you couldn't, you know, dream of having a better successor and going through a greater transition than with job -- with somebody like jeff simes. >> how are you going to extricate from wanting to talk about what's in that document? i would imagine it'll be a strong poll to want to talk about it and explain it. >> well, i, obviously, have that opportunity on march 4th and march 5th, and then after that i guess i will be in that very, you know, really high perch of commentator. >> there you go. well, give us a quick preview of the budget. should we expect any surprises
in here? is there going to be further deficit reduction? loretta talked a bit about the efforts you've been involved in to reduce near-term deficits which seem to be, at least in the short term, under control, longer term less so. what should we look for in that budget document? will there be anything more on deficit reduction? >> i think you should look for the constant movement towards a more pro-growth budget, a more pro-growth fiscal posture than i think that we've had. i think we've made some progress this that way. but i think there's three components that help make a budget more pro-growth and do more to support the type of middle class opportunities and middle class job creation that are so important. one is that you, the most important thing on the fiscal side is to get the savings in the long term. that's what people are worried about. they're worried about our long-term situation. will there be enough revenues,
is there enough control over mandatory spending. so, you know, so what gives -- what's important for confidence is are you dealing with that long-term fiscal situation? secondly, are you doing enough to provide acceleration for this recovery? economy is getting stronger, but when you're come back from, you're still coming back from the worst downturn, the worst financial crisis since the great depression, we do need stronger growth now particularly i because -- particularly because of the problem of long-term unemployment. of course it's good to see unemployment go down. i think when i started it was around 9.4, it's 6.6. that is, obviously, a lot of of progress. but the issue of long-term unemployment is one the president thinks is very soars, and greater growth right now, greater demand right now would make employers reach out further into the work force, give more people that second chance they need. and then, third, be you look at the things that are important
for investing in our future, many of those are on the domestic discretionary side which are nih, early childhood, pell grants. these are the things where maybe there's not as great of a constituency because it's about chirp, it's about the future. and -- it's about children, it's about the future. and i think what we don't want is our deficit reduction to come at expense of the investment if the future. -- in the future. you want to have a more robust ability to invest in research and children and training and higher skills. those are things, infrastructure, those are the things where one generation invests for a stronger future. so i think those, that's the component you look for. ryan murray moved in that direction. it had savings that did more in the long term, but it relieved some of the drag on the economy now and created more room for investments going forward. so i think that what you'll see
in our budget is more of a move to be more pro-growth and to change the composition of deficit reduction so that we do allow more investment in the future of in education, in training, in the middle class and that our savings are more directed towards the long term and that they are a responsible mix of revenues and sensible mandatory savings. >> so there'll be further tax increases included in the budget, is what you're saying, in terms of the revenue piece. >> what i would say is that compared to what the status quo is right now, we would have the mix of -- a mix of future mandatory savings and future revenues that could be used to deal with the long-term situation but would put less of a drag on the economy now and allow for more investments in the things that we think are the most important for growth and productivity like research, like education, like skills enhancement. >> and would the chain cpi be in
there? that's something the president has supported in the past. obviously, we talked backstage about the boehner talks, the grand bargain talks that fell apart which you all had put on the table. is that something that's still viewed as possible? >> >> i think i've given you a good preview, i be i think i probably will let you see the movie when the movie comes out. i think that, i think in terms of having the type of future long-term deficit reduction deal that would meet, really, those three tests we put forward -- more growth in the short term, more ability to invest, more long-term savings -- i think the president has shown that he is willing to compromise to achieve that and that he's willing to do some hinges that he doesn't personally support in his ideal budget. but as we've seen, we were very close to having that type of compromise twice. but over the last year even with the president, i think, going to very far levels to keep his
offer on the table, we did not see reciprocity in 2013 in seeing equal movement the try to reach an agreement. >> let's talk a little bit about the president's efforts to address economic inequality, particularly the minimum wage and the push to raise it to $10.10. obviously, we had the cbo report come out, i'm thinking the cbo must be your favorite organization in the white house with the aca report and minimum wage report. maybe you could abolish the cbo, that would be your final act, but i want to talk about the minimum wage piece and their argument that the job loss could be anywhere from very few to a million, leaving it at 500,000 as their prediction. white house in its response came out very hard and said we believe that it would be a net zero job loss if you raise the minimum wage, which i thought was somewhat surprising given that, on you, anytime you raise the price of something, you're going to get less of it.
so there will be some job loss. why come out so hard saying zero job loss instead of here are the benefits of raising the minimum wage? first question is, why that approach, and the second, is this something you could really get through congress, a $10.10 minimum wage, this white house could get through? >> just a brief comment on the premise of your question. no, this is serious in that it is a great hinge in our country -- great thing in our country that we have an independent scorekeeper for our budget. we all have to live by what the congressional budget office does for budget scoring. we don't always agree. we have an equally talented group of people at the office, many are career people who work with their counterparts in cbo. so in all, you know, just to be serious for a second, the fact that we as a country have an independent scorekeeper that we abide by for budget rules is, i think, very important for the integrity of the budget. i don't think that that means that people of good faith who
have honorable policy disagreements can't express them in ways that are real debates about real policy issues. the first issue on the affordable care act we were really not debating them. we were, actually, joining them in explaining that their report simply showed that people would have more choices and not that it would cost that would lead to, you know, people being fired or losing jobs. so we were actually both together explaining something in the report. ..
and it started around 93-94 when alan krueger and david carr, two of the preeminent economists said rather than just except that, let's look at this interesting natural experiment. new jersey just raised the minimum wage and it's right on the border with pennsylvania and, in fact, what on each side of the border are fast food restaurants that look exactly the same. so they went and looked and he found when the minimum wage went up in new jersey, not only did
it not cost jobs, it almost seemed like it had a slightly positive affect. and people started to study that. there was researched by debate, right, others that looked at every contiguous county in the country, i believe 504 or 288 pairs of counties, and found the same thing that we are right next to each other, places where the minimum wage went up, it did not have this job impact. so what that pointed to was other human behavior other than simply what happens to price, which is study after study showed that there was greater retention, less absenteeism, companies didn't have to spend as much time hiring, searching for people. there was better morale and productivity. so that explains that with the least a higher minimum wage we have seen through actual study, actual, multiple analysis, that
it actually does not have a negative economic impact. i guess where we disagree is we think the gradual increase to $10.10, bring about works, 95 cents, then another 95 cents, 20, 15. by 2016 doing that then indexing so quite a bit of certainty, that that is in the range of reasonable increases in which one should rely on the substantial body of economic literature. this isn't a case with the cbo was being the budget scorekeeper. they're expressing of you, and we think some of the top labor economist of the country and in our view you do not have to make that choice at a reasonable increase like $10.10, you can increase the wages according to congressional budget office 24.5 linked table, 69 directly, 16-foot by going directly, another 8 million indirectly would get a bump up, and if you
look at this literature it should have no negative employment effects and, in fact, it could have a positive effect. look at what just happened yesterday with the gap in this context comes out and says as we're making a business decision to basically support this idea and they will go to $10 by 2015, osco is already there. and i think, so i think we feel that having a respectful disagreement based on the literature is appropriate. and in this case we believe that is right and what -- the right analysis is the minimum wage will lift wages, lift people out of poverty, health both people making sure that basic value that if you work full time, that you don't raise your children in poverty, but also for middle-class families were sending back another spouse to work extra to help support them, that it's helpful there as well.
we believe you can do that and not have any negative impact on jobs that they were reason level. on the politics, or the legislation, we will have to see. i will tell you that as we've been seeing, i've been around a while, in 1996 when the republicans control both houses of congress and dick armey with the majority leader who did not believe there should be any minimum wage at all, a minimum wage increased past. i think is because there is such a strong value in the american culture, american value system. someone who works full-time should have a degree of dignity that someone who works full-time should be able to raise their children, that someone who works full-time should not have to raise their children in poverty. that it cuts across all the entire political spectrum. so i think people are going to have to think very, very hard before they say no to raise for
24 and half-million people in 2014. so i know most people are not betting on it but we will see. >> in terms of the level, the 10.10 level, it occurs to me that obviously there's hope for legislation and that would probably be the result of some negotiation, start high at 10.10 and hope to wind up at a lower dollar level for the increases they're talking, let's propose this and we will compromise at $9 or $9.25. >> well, i think you can say there's a particular magic number. i think that by going to 10.10 though gradually like that, you do reach a lot more people. we did, as you know, considered going at a lower level at $9 initially but i think as we did the analysis, we really found that we were unnecessarily leaving off probably another 10 million people who we felt
could get a raise gradually. and could do so without a negative job impact. but i'll give a reason why i think businesses should support this. i think if you're cute just go to $9, it's better than $7.25 but i don't think anyone would feel like our work is done. you would still be looking and saying the minimum wage is too little. they would still be a big movement to increase it after that. here you do a pretty serious erection over three years and then you index it. and in the way i think for companies, i think they should support this. i think they should see this as a correction for the degree minimum wage has been devalued and a chance for this to go up with inflation and b the somethg they can plan for in the future. now, you know, right now today the minimum wage is worth about in real terms what it was 50 years ago. imagine 50 years ago in 19 safety for having a debate and someone saying really, we can't afford as a country to have a
higher real minimum wage than we did before world war i. you would say that's crazy, over 50 years? of course you want standard of living have gone up enough you can have a higher minimum wage. so i think having the minimum wage solo as it is right now is not something that should be supported and i think as more companies like the gap come out i think it will build the that case that this is something that is good business policy, good public policy. and i think if we went to 10.10 that's a significant enough increase that with indexing you could take this issue off the table and give more certainty to businesses and workers going forward. >> i want to switch to help youu and your dispute with the cbo on aca and you said it was a matter of time with the job loss but the reduction full-time employees is on choices they would workers would have under the affordable care act. i think a lot of the criticism came from conservative commentators who argue with the
notion of giving a disincentive to work, allowing someone to make what could be a good lifestyle choice, take your kids, take care of an aging parent but doing that with the support of taxpayers. i want to just read the quote from clive crook who said as a text or more than happy to finance subsidy guarantees access to decent healthcare for all. unless happy to subsidize your early retirement or improve worklife balance, health care should be a basic entitlement. your lifestyle choices aren't. how do you respond to that criticism that taxpayers are subsidizing lifestyle choices? >> well, you know, i think you should be aiming far beyond the aca. look at k-12 education. i mean, that just takes, k-12 education and anti-child labor laws, i' i may, he gives so many potential workers the option to not work. you may think that's being a little bit sarcastic, but think about it really. as your an advanced society you
make certain elements that give people ability to have a certain quality of life. social security allows people to retire with dignity, 65, 70 years old, can partially retire. you could make the same criticism he is making a social security. >> that's a retirement program. this isn't a retirement program. >> well, it gives people the choice, not everybody takes it but it just people more of the choice. and they think, i think that it's not, i don't find it as serious of a petite because obviously -- a critique. you could have a far more generous program that pays for everybody health care, right, then you would never have a disincentive. but then you would have this huge expansion. so the fact is that when we give people tax relief or assistance, we try to target it well. then we try to phase it out. i don't personally believe that
people make as many choices again and the way the technical economist do. i'll give an example in the earned income tax credit. the earned income tax credit, if you ask something i'm most proud of oh, my 21 years is how much the earned income tax credit has been expanded at very stunned. so this is a very meaningful assistance for a lot of families who are some of the most hard-pressed in the country, people in 18, 19,000 a year, are raising children with the costs of going to work often takes up a huge amount of their income. very, very people really struggling. and the earned income tax credit is in significant support and it has a lot of support, but it does phase out. you could keep that for everyone and then you would say well, that costs too much. so the reasonable thing is to phase it out. some people would say that means
somebody's going to work less hard as they get the 25 or 30,000. but again when you look at real-life human behavior it doesn't turn out to be the case. most of those people desperately want to do better for their families. so i don't necessarily believe that there are so many people sitting with their calculators and saying, oh, my goodness, the earned income tax credit or my affordable care act subsidy is going to phase out at this little amount so, therefore, i'm going to make all these very subtle, precise choices. i think the best economic research is where people look at actual behavior. i think in the earned income tax credit they found that people don't make those kind of precise trade-offs because they're not just acting with these purely -- 100% information. they are real-life parents who are struggling to provide security for the family. and they're going to keep working harder looking to do
well because they want to do better for themselves and their family. now, what did you think any affordable care act is that there a lot of people who we think may be working more than they would like to for their family situation. because the existing edition or their child does and they are very worried about that. i think that that is a type of entrepreneurial lock where people who have a child who has a preexisting condition or a spouse are often afraid to go move to a place for a new job. they are often afraid to go start their own business because they worried that if they do they will never be able to get health care again. then there's people who can't get affordable health care and they're working very hard to save money or because they are scared. i think those kind of more basic choices is what's wrong with our
current system. so unacceptable with the status quo so i think that it probably does make sense that if you take away those barriers to health care and protect people more on preexisting conditions that you're going to get some people who say, i am working more than i want to, not so i can necessarily, you know, because i want to be there to pick my kids up from school, and now that we know we have affordable health care, are now in we don't have to worry that if we lose it and we have a child with existing edition, we're going to have to have a huge amount of savings, i may work less. to quote doug elmendorf community very good human distinction. he said, he says you have to look at certain things with somebody says, oh, i'm sorry, like i got my hours cut back. you say oh, i'm sorry. where somebody says oh, i was able to pull back a little, take care of my family more as i
would like. and people think that's great but i think what they were saying and we were saying is that this was largely in the category where people would say that's good for you. >> i want to talk about your experience in health care reform into different areas. you struggled the last two democratic presidencies, and in the 93-94 health care experience the end result was you didn't get health care reform passed. this time he did get health care reform passed. the price of that again to go off on the house of representatives and the future of the affordable care act is not secure at this point. should read publicans when the white house in 2016, conventional wisdom would be to be very strong efforts to repeal the affordable care act. du, given both of those experiences, are the things you would have done differently this time in passing health care reform, lessons learned the first time around, applied this
time around? do you think that it is safe legislation that will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future, or is there a risk if you lose the senate because of and then lose the white house? >> i think that this is than a year or the era of threatening the default of the united states government is over. i think by the time we come to 2015, the era of threatening to repeal, completely repeal the affordable care act will be over for serious people. and the reason why is that, at a certain point you can't beat something with nothing. i mean, the affordable care act says for every woman of the first time ever you can't be discriminated against in health care because of your gender. it says over 100 million americans, you can't be discriminated against because you have a child who's got some form of preexisting condition or
a disability. the tax credits will help more and more people over time. it's an interesting thing, alan krueger and i did a study on this, and over a decade probably half of americans would at some point use the tax credit. one thing about in the country is there are certain things that people may initially think are for other people, but did they find over time they can be very helpful to them and their families as well. so i think when you have over 100 million people getting protection of preexisting conditions, i think when you have people under 26 on their parents coverage, and when people are seen, the stories of people unexpectedly were diagnosed with cancer were able to get affordable treatment it wouldn't have been able to, i think simply saying we're going to repeal it is going to be less and less tenable.
so that's my first response. in terms of the challenges of implementation, one of the things i think that everyone, if they are being fair, has to recognize is the simple victim, that hard things are hard. but very positive, great change can be hard but it doesn't mean it's not positive and good for our country. look at the status quo. is the status quo great, the summit has worked hard their whole life loses their job and a child gets sick of the wrong time and to become bankrupt? is that a system we're proud of? so how are we going to change that? a lot of the criticisms of the affordable care act has been that while it does all this good or tens and tens of millions of
people, there is occasional disruption somewhere. so the administration tries to listen to that and then make reasonable transition changes. that's what you would do in any type of major reform that is positive for your country. they would be transition challenges and you try to smooth them out as much as possible. but that doesn't mean that it is flawed. that just means that it's significant that affects a lot of people. if you look at the affordable care act, i think it's uncontroversial that it is the least disruptive by far at the major health care reform plan that has been proposed by either democrats or republicans. in the clinton administration we're going to have a plan where people had to go into -- let's say john mccain had one. the mccain plan would essentially get rid of, or many republican plans would get rid of employers deductibility for health care. and then they would take that savings and they would give
people a tax credit to go by health care. we can debate that but what's not debatable is that that would have been dramatically more disruptive. you would affect all these people with employer provide health care and you would affect huge amounts dropping. now, you can have a debate about whether or not that's a better system or not a better system. what you can debate is that would have been significant more disruptive i think it's just taking political potshots to look at any air of destruction and say, well, that reflects a flawed in affordable care act as opposed to that reflects the type of transition and adjustments you would have to have it in any major health care reform. and that, in fact, most of the republican proposals and many of the proposals on the left, virtually all of them would have led to far more destruction than the affordable care act, which is fundamentally built on the shoulders of the employer based system. >> time is like an excellent
topic someone to cover. you can send questions to hashtag money morning. it has to do with out reform legislation but i know you've been deeply involved with the senate banking committee process in trying to come up with a proposal to reform fannie and freddie and reduce the role in the marketplace. can you tell us the status of that legislation and is the committee whatever product they can give us relatively soon? what will the role of fannie and freddie be when it comes out and what the future of it getting passed through congress? >> i can tell some. i can't reveal everything i know because we're in the middle of a process. what i would say is that this is a place where you're sitting in the senate banking committee some real bipartisan work happening together. it happened initially with senator corker and senator warner pulling together people.
that provide a good start to altar boy for something to happen you need an equal amount of leadership and bipartisanship from the chairman of the banking committee, chairman johnson. and the ranking member, senator crapo. and i think they, together with, the chief of staff, and others have really been working very well together and i think that chairman johnson and senator crapo deserve a lot of credit for the effort to now try to put things together. i don't know that i'm going to try to handicap the legislation but i would say this is one place in washington, d.c. right now where there is some serious bipartisan work going on. and i think that there is a recognition among a lot of people that we have to end too big to fail in housing, and that having a perpetual, you know, perpetuating the system we have
right now is not something that is acceptable and that we need to have a reformed system that doesn't have taxpayers on the hook as it would be now if something were to go wrong, that is real private sector capital in front, in other words, means that other people other than the american taxpayer are taking the risk, as it should be. so you don't have a system like we did in the past where it was heads, investors would, tails, taxpayers lose. now you want this to be a system where there's real competition, where there's a real ability to measure risk, price things correctly. i think that the challenge is to have a system that does reform our current system, that ends in and freddie as we know them and has a system -- fannie and
freddie come and create more stability, take taxpayers off the hook. and i think protect the 30 year fixed mortgage, which i think is very important to americans and i think has a lot of support. i think people have realized that in the end that as much as you need to put private capital first, you need to make sure that anybody, but anybody who is playing in this game would lose everything you for a taxpayer would loose want any. it even while you need that system, that you need some form of ultimate backup to provide that vast amount of capital that is willing to take interest risk but not credit risk, the ability to still invest in the united states housing system because of that i think has been very important to us having affordable, fixed 30 year mortgages. and i think what you've seen in the senate banking committee is a degree of pragmatism, not ideology, but there are tough issues. it's very important for the
president, to progress is to make sure you the basic protections of affordability, that no one is discriminated against in the new system or shut out, and you know, it's going to be difficult but i think it's been encouraging the kind of -- >> any prediction on when we might see something out of the senate banking committee? are we a matter of days away or still weeks and months? >> i don't think it would be helpful to put the kind of pressure on the system. i would say the following. i think that there is potential, you know, there is potential for bipartisan agreement. it's always difficult to reach. i do think that most of the parties involved understand that they want to move with some speed because they don't want to lose the window or something this serious to get done. so i think everybody involved feels a certain pressure to move
with some force and speed, but i think trying to handicap the odds, which day, which week, is probably not helpful but i think everybody understands that if it drags up too long that the political calendar could start working against you. you. >> so not tomorrow is what you are saying? or later today. we'll move on from the geodesic. spent the problem is were giving all that the competitor of yours. yours. >> i'll read the international journal later. >> just kidding. kidding. spent i want to talk about the gene sperling experience to lighten it up from gses although there. we're talking backstage about the sort of pollyanna view of what washington is like in the clinton years in the late 90s and republican the democrats got along better and better negotiations that led to agreements, whereas now it has been much more difficult to make that's a lesson that we don't
have a debt ceiling fight anymore. there seems be less of a desire on the republican side to create fiscal crisis. tell me about how your interactions in negotiations with republicans on legislation, what they were like in the clinton years versus what they are like now and tell us a little more about that last big budget grand bargain agreement that ultimately fell apart. by did it fall apart and how are things different now than they were when you're in the clinton administration? >> well look, i've been director for a little over seven years now through two administrations and i've never been nec director for day where we did not have divided government. so i have anything in this job other than that. and i think it's always been tough and there's always been tough fighting. i don't want to do over nostalgia for the '90s where we had shut down the and
impeachments and other very difficult things. what i would say that was a little frustrating this time was that while the opposition in the '90s was strong and aggressive, and often very much out to hurt the administration politically, i do think that when the allegations came where people wanted to work together or felt it was in everybody's interest to get things done, there was more ability to say, while we are fighting about this, let's get this done. and when, in 1997, steve kerr, newt gingrich cited after the election wanted to do a budget agreement with the president, they were able to stay at the table through the initial budget agreement that myself and others did with john kasich and pete domenici and overthrew the final
legislative battling over the summer, and i think, and i say this with some sympathy as opposed to accusation, to the speaker come which is that i think it was hard for him to stay at the table. in other words, i think that the fact that there was a significant third faction of his one party and that one house, that has so not wanted to work things out with the president, that it's made it hard for people to stay at the table. i think that's very difficult because when you're in a negotiation, if you can making progress you kind of think, you state that it until things start. to me went to different i'm sure we are very close and we're still making progress and we're still talking and they just left. and i think that that reflects not having enough strength and unity to allow your person to stay at the table.
so i think that is been not a good thing for the country because i believe there are things not unlike a budget agreement but like immigration reform. i believe that we can make a lot of progress in this country. i mean, you know, i'll give another example. the president in chattanooga talked about that maybe we could have a grand bargain on jobs. if you look at corporate tax reform, you can have, we've opened the door that you could have a corporate tax reform that is revenue neutral in the long-term. it would reduce a certain amount of tax expenditures, lower rates would be revenue neutral but virtually any business tax reform has one time transition revenues. so in the short term you could use that to foster a major infrastructure modernization. you talk to most business and job greeted in this country,
they would think the idea that we could do something that lowered rates, encouraged job creation in the united states, was revenue neutral but also dealt with what they think is one of the other really compelling issues which is the need for infrastructure modernization, and i think they would think that was an excellent agreement. so here we have a situation where the president is putting something on the table, that you could see the political logic of why people might come together and agree on it. you would probably have overwhelming this is support, and yet you really haven't seen much of a nibble spend although i notice that politico reported today i think that dave campo, with some tax reform act also next week, presumably with a lower rate and i doubt with infrastructure spending. but he is pushing forward on the proposals, but you think of much of a chance of that, for there to be a bipartisan agreement that includes a lower corporate
rates and perhaps some of the investments you are talking about? >> i think that, unfortunately, we have just not seen that willingness from the republicans to kind of come together and work in good faith on those type of compromises. but politically and economically there's a logic of that happening, and in terms of chairman camp's proposal, you know, to a degree he's going to bring down the individual rate. i would be skeptical of his ability to do that in a way that's consistent with the president's principles, that it be fair, keep the tax code progress in the fiscally responsible, but we will take a look. we will take a series look at anytime anybody puts acer's proposal. and what the president said in his proposal is that we should be trying to do things in a way that encourages more incentive for job location here. we think bringing the rate down but also having a minimum tax on
foreign earnings that prevents, takes away a lot of the incentive to move profits around and makes people focused more on job creation, more incentives for job creation. those are the type of things were looking at. we're going to look a lot on what it does encourage location in the training. that's why we still support having an r&d tax credit even in a text for because that's something that very much does encourage high-value added job production in the united states. but we'll take a look at but i think the principles the president put out, which is that you have a minimum for an earning tax, and that you could use some of the temporary revenues over the next 10 years to get infrastructure is exactly the kind of grand bargain on jobs that should happen, but you know, the president, as you saw what the president did in the state of union is we're going to be focusing very much on the things we can get done. we are going to make sure
whether it's a long-term unemployment, college opportunity, college costs, the manufacturing innovation institutes, what we can do and make sure it gets done we will do, but it doesn't mean that even if one would handicap a 51% chance of corporate tax happening, it doesn't mean that we are not going to keep open the possibility of the bipartisan legislation because we don't take where the obstacle. i think we've shown time and again we're willing to do good-faith compromise to get things done. >> i've got about three pages of questions left and on about three minutes of time so we will do a lightning round -- >> no. 17, 21% spent which white house is more like the west wing, clinton or obama? [laughter] >> i'll do the one thing -- >> thirty seconds. >> okay. when we were going through this absolute craziness of the first six much during the financial
crisis, i was in the oval with the president on one point and he says, is it always like this? and i said to him, i said, people used to asking what has consulted on the west wing, was that like the real white house? and i said, kind of accept that a real-life things happened in nine months and to convince it to inhabit and i said, during this financial crisis that's what it feels like, too. >> if hillary clinton were to get the nomination and win the white house would there be a gene sperling 3 in the white house? would you come back to the nec? would you serve under a hillary clinton administration? >> right now i'm more focused on what my flight to l.a. will be. after i leave and what's going to happen in the next few years, obviously i would always be loyal and supportive of president clinton, and hillary clinton, but boy, that's a long ways off.
>> i want to just a couple quick, more wonky question before we go. of patent reform later today where you will talk about some of things did administration can do. isn't this an issue on patent reform that needs to come up on capital hill to do anything real in terms of the patent control problem? >> you know, yes, yes. again, we're going to do what we can administratively. we will talk about some of the administrative actions. it will be a things like how we can get more information the main street of small businesses and end-users to make sure they are not being taken advantage of or simply because they are being threatened with bogus cases but we will talk about things like ensuring there's enough transparency to patent controls can't use complicated corporate forms to hide what they're doing. but yes the patent control issue needs legislation but and i will say that this is another area where i do think there's been some good faith work. i think when we put out our
proposal, president did, you saw some positive comments from both chairman leahy and chairman goodlatte. we may not agree with exactly what's in a good lottery bill that came out and out. are some things would would change but it was a good faith effort and we said positive things about it. i think right now you really have probably two pretty good issues which are the thesis shifting of this discovered practices and i think our view is these don't have to be black and white issues, that these things are reasonably coal can work out. and so we're going to keep working with both democrats and republicans, both the house and the senate. and i think this is the place where we should have some optimism. patent control litigation has not been going of the study. it's got up hot in the last couple of years. when i talk to people, they talk about you having, you haven't
dealt with this once every three months, then once every three weeks and now three times a week. and this is what is taking time and energy of our greatest innovators and greatest companies. but it really bothers me to see somebody who is not involved in all of this, they just, they are using some standard technology in a small business and they feel compelled and coerced and harassed to spend $10,000 to settle a bogus case but i think when the patent control issue starts hitting main street small businesses that should be really disturbing to us. so this is one time we can come together and say, let's be for innovation over costly litigation. and again i think there's pragmatic ways to work things out. obviously, i think we just have to look at this severely. i think there's compromises on key shifting that will not have any, have any effect on president on us for larger toward reform but you look in
this case, again i think in both of the heiress or outstanding, there's honorable differences but i think there should be a sweet spot for bipartisan legislation. >> i need ask you about -- your the national economic council director and we've seen a lot of mixed data lately, jobs numbers have been fairly soft, some of the other date has been coming in week, housing has slowed down a little bit. in your view are we at another spring swooned moment in the economy where we're going to see it decelerate again this year? or she would be hopeful for the rest of your that we had a crummy winter and everything will be better in the spring? >> you know, i think a lot of people are in the same place, which is i think they look at the fundamentals and they see certain amount of momentum. i think the fact that look it ls like we won't have a self-inflicted wound of threat of the default our government shutdown, will be good for certainty. i think that obviously, you
know, obviously i think many people saw good enough news about the longer-term, that it affected policies at the fed, affected other people's transactions to those work on temporary little things. those were about pretty solid underlying transfix i think it's most likely that a lot of what we have seen has been more weather-related. but i think we all have a responsibly to look. i think everybody is under figure how much was weather related. but i would still be, i would be cautiously optimistic that the general notion that there are positive trends in the economy, even during this period we've seen unemployment rate, 6.6%. the last jobs number was obvious and not as good as we would like but is projected to be 180,000, and private sector wants it was
143,000 your the other thing is to look at what's happening at the state and local level. if you want to ask what's frustrating to us and the president, is when you look and you see that under our administration, after this recovery we've lost about 677,000 government, state and local jobs. so you know, the president asked what if state and local jobs at the same growth as they did under the past recoveries? unemployment would be about 5.8% right now. if you look at private sector gdp in this recovery, if you just look at the private sector components of the recovery, since it started, it's about 3.5%. so i think to the degree we can see less contraction from the state and local government, a little more certainty, i think there's some reason for optimism. one thing people appointed to his consumer confidence and small business conference have stayed fairly positive.
those are two things that are likely not affected by the weather as much. so i would say cautious optimism but i think everybody in economics world is going to be looking at the numbers aren't next two or three months and see how much of it was weather related or whether something is changed. but i would still be cautiously optimistic that we are having, you know, increased momentum in the recovery, with the following caveat -- have to. it's not good enough. we need stronger growth. more pro-growth fiscal policy because we're going to work very hard on long-term unemployment, getting stronger throughout seeing more in the economy right now, would help get more people back to work, get more people connected to the labor market. that would not be good for right now, that would prevent, that might lessen to the degree we find ourselves several years from now having more people who are structurally unemployed. so people should not be -- we should be always happy in the
direction, or we should be encouraged when the direction is moving in the right place but we shouldn't be satisfied where we are. we still need stronger growth, lower unemployment, more demand and more confidence in the economy spent we will have to leave it on that note. i would just say we live in a very prison and divisive times, and a guy like gene sperling has spent his life in public service gives -- it's been a lot of hard time working on these issues and we thank you for taking time today. thank the peterson foundation. >> spent in a few minutes you
can find the discussion online at c-span.org. we'll take you crossline to the american enterprise institute, a discussion that is underway for a few minutes now. the dalai lama, part of a panel looking at the issues of free market economics. also on this panel the former chairman of the president's council of economic advisers glenn hubbard. it's live here on c-span2. [inaudible] >> i think not like ancient times. some people come from outside. okay. america i think is like that.
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