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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  April 3, 2015 11:01pm-12:29am EDT

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to freedom. ". >> host: arthur brooks, where did the phrase "gross national happiness" come from? [laughter] >> guest: the phrase comes from the government of bhutan, i should say the king of bhutan about 30 years ago realized that a process of development of economic development, was great. it would pull millions of people out of poverty. people wouldn't starve to death, but it wasn't enough for human flourishing. so instead of counting narrowly the amount of money people had per capita, he had the idea of trying to measure the amount of happiness. he started an index called gross national happiness. that's where the expression comes from. >> host: and what did he find? >> guest: he found that a lot of the traditional measures of economic growth were, as i said, great and kind of a predeterminant for living a good
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life, but they weren't sufficient and so some of the things of cultural integrity, of family values, of being able to maintain one's faith, one's faith in god, that these are the things people needed for a truly flourishing life. and in so doing in a developing country, had a lot of lessons for the rest of us. >> host: can you measure happiness via economic success? >> guest: no. you can find some predeterminants for having a relatively good life by looking at economic indicators, but that doesn't get you far enough. there are really four things that can lead us to happiness and they don't involve money per se. let me back up for a second peter. money, one of the things that we find is enwhen people are poor and -- that when people are poor and they have deprivation and deciding whether or not to pay for medicine or food they're less likely to be happy. and some of the most miserable places in the world are places where people die of starvation and preventable diseases. once you get beyond basic
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subsistence, the four things that bring happiness are faith, family, friends and work. those are the things we have to keep in mind those are part of human flourishing. >> host: from your book "gross national happiness," this is a book about america's happiness. doing sums across our population, can we say that the united states is a happy country? what's your answer to that question? >> guest: the answer is generally, yes. now there's so many indices of which country is happier than another and they're generally not reliable. and part of the reason is because different cultures answer the question differently. so just getting a survey how happy are you, you're going to find that countries that have germanic languages answer the question different than those with romance languages, for example. it's that, it's really that ridiculous. but that said, you find that the united states is a country of largely of immigrants and strivers, and these are some of the people that are most optimist inabout their lives. and so i -- optimistic about
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their lives. i think it's pretty fair to say on balance we're a happy country. that said happiness has suffered in recent years in part because of the recession, in part because of the great kind of malaise that a lot of people are feeling about, you know, optimism about the direction the country's going. and i think this is a real opportunity for policymakers and leaders around this country to try to change the direction that we're going. >> host: so should our politicians make us happy? >> guest: well, our politicians, no. our politicians don't have a responsibility to make us happy. and in point of fact, throughout history the politicians that have called themselves the purveyors of happiness are usually the worst dictators. the american secret is not that leaders make us happy, it's that they help us to be able to pursue our own happiness. that's the key. that's the reason that faith, family, friends and work are so important to it, because they're part of the pursuit of this elusive goal of happiness that politicians per se can't give us. >> host: from green "gross national
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happiness," conservatives are happier than liberals. my own reaction to this, you write, is primarily one of surprise because virtually everything about the politics of happiness turns out to be at variance we heat intellectual -- elite intellectual opinion and what i always thought. but the evidence is the evidence. >> guest: indeed, it is. when you find that the intellectual elite around the world, not just the united states, is relatively hostile to organized religion. tells us that traditional family organization is wad deal and that it's -- is a bad deal and it's kind of keeping people down, that community as we traditionally understood it is a force for repression which we often hear and that work work is something that we should actually do less of. what we need is more leisure time as opposed to more work. it turns out all of those pieces of advice, all of those elements of philosophy are wrong when it comes to having the happiest
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life. >> host: if you asked me how you could be happier and i told you to vote republican or go to church you might justifiably tell me to go jump in a lake. but if i told you to give to charity, i would for -- i would be giving you excellent advice. everyone can give and give more today. each and every one of of us can afford to dig a little deeper. giving to charity makes one happy. >> guest: it's true. it's true. there's a lot of evidence on this. but, you know we don't have to dig very far in each of our own lives to think about cases in which we felt happier by serving others. the most miserable people are the most self-conscious, the most inwardly directed those who are serving their own purposes and not thinking about others. the fast way to break the cycle of melancholy in your own life is to stop focusing on yourself. i mean, this is a common -- this is not my philosophy, this is what the research indicates to us. so there are a lot of really
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interesting studies on this peter and some of this i lo. there are -- i love. you study the happiness of high school seniors where you have a natural experiment, kind of like a drug experiment. treatment and control. half the kids just play board games and the other half are randomly assigned to help little kids with their homework. the kids who were helping the other kids are happier after the experiment. one of my favorite experiments recently is kind of related to this. there's one at the university of liverpool that was just published where the researchers asked men to come into the laboratory with their significant other, with their wives or girlfriends and they said, okay here's the experiment. you need to walk from one building to another, it's that simple. when they're halfway through there's an alleyway and a panhandler came out and asked the man for money. when they got to the other building, they did the interview and they asked the man how much did you give the panhandler. they asked his wife or girlfriend how attractive do
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you find him? the more money you give panhandler, the more your wife likes you. so it turns out people are healthier happier and even more handsome when they give to charity. >> host: so we should give to panhandlers. >> guest: absolutely. on the way home, and your wife will like you more. >> host: political extremists. you write that they are happier on average, but you also write that there is evidence that people with extreme views affect everybody adversely. because they are less compassionate than average less honest and less concerned for others. >> guest: yeah. the thing about political extremism, i wrote about this in "the new york times" a couple of years ago, as a matter of fact. people with extreme political views are not troubled by the idea that somebody else might be right. i mean it's -- it's actually, it's hard to be secure in your point of view when there's a possibility that your philosophy is wrong. political extremists never entertain that possibility, and
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so the result is they're more secure and they tend to be happier. the problem is if you're not willing to entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, you're not going to humanize other people who don't share your point of view. now, we all deserve to be able to have a world view, we deserve to be able to say this is right and this is wrong, i think but it's the right thing to do to be tolerant of other people's point of view. if you're not, you're probably going to have an easier time of it in life and maybe a little bit happier, but you're going to be spreading more misery around you. >> host: arthur brooks, when you talk about the concept of flow in "gross national happiness," what do you mean by that? >> guest: flow is a state. it was first described by a great psychologist who was a philosopher, actually, a social psychologist. he teaches at claremont graduate university in california. he was at the university of chicago for many years, and he wrote a famous book, and his research looked at the state in which people are in the zone. when they're doing work that's
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not too easy but not too hard. they're challenged, but they're not overwhelmed by a task that completely engages them emotionally cognitively, psychologically and even spiritually, and the hours turn into minutes. i bet you've had these experiences in your life where you say whoa, three hours, are you kidding? i can't believe it, it felt like ten minutes. that's the state of flow, when you're doing just what you're supposed to be doing, and the hours fly by. >> host: so translate this talk of "gross national happiness" and u.s. as a happy country into politics. >> guest: well, you know, politics it's a funny business. as i mentioned a minute ago the job of politics is not to make us happy people. that's a very dangerous thing. stalin was called the purveyor of happiness. there's virtually nobody in the 20th century, save hitler and maybe a couple of others, who created more misery and, you know, deep -- sort of the deep moral malaise that was such a
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transgression across the 20th century. so when politicians claim this, there's a problem. but when they talk about giving people the pursuit of happiness, creating the conditions for the pursuit of happiness then it's a uniquely empowering situation. this is the secret to the american dream, it's the secret to the great american life is giving us the ability to pursue our happiness, and that's what politicians should be talking about. that's the reason opportunity is the most important thing that politicians can be fighting for today. >> host: so translate that whole concept into a policy. >> guest: the policies that we should be working for are getting people to the starting line. what should we be talking about with respect to education? making sure that people at the bottom have the opportunity to get ahead. we should be thinking about policies not that redistribute money such that everybody can have the same amount of money or closer to it, but rather, that people can work so they can be rewarded on the basis of their hard work and merit. these are the opportunity society policies that actually
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lead to the pursuit of happiness. >> host: arthur brooks in your most recent book "the road to freedom," you write that increasing income equality as a social goal means either you don't understand the evidence, or you think it is desirable per se to punish people at the top because they are rich. there's no way around this fact. >> guest: indeed. now, my view is that the problem with income inequality that we have today is that some people are living in poverty, and it's an avoidable error. it's something that as a rich society we can avoid. the way not to worry about it, however, is on the basis of equalizing incomes so people have the same amount of stuff. that's material itch. materialism is tyranny, and it's wrong on the right and the left. but when the president of the united states or a politician or a business leader gets up and says the greaters scourge of our society the greatest problem we have is income inequality, what he's saying that you, peter
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because you have something less than someone else you are a victim of society, and that's to reduce you to pure economic men, and that is a disservice to you and to our society. >> host: reading a little bit more from "the road to freedom," added up the evidence is clear: america has already effectively slipped into a big government social democracy. about 40 cents of every dollar americans earn goes to the state. >> guest: it's true. the size of the government has continued to grow. virtually without pause. and the result is that we like to tell ourselves that we're not a offpeen-style -- european-style social democracy, but the truth is that we are. we have redistributive tax code that's more progressive than most of our european allies if you measure that in terms of the people who don't pay anything. you see regulation that's on par with the regulatory regimes of the big states of europe.
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the difference is that americans still don't consider them to be european social democrats, and that's a really earn couraging thing. -- encouraging thing. we may have the economic characteristics of our european cousins, but we still don't have their mentality, and this gives us a possibility for a way of escape. >> host: well how do you square that that we like government programs, and we don't like big government? >> guest: well, it's the american -- the basic american zeitgeist, the philosophy is that we are pretty rugged individualists. the problem is that we've, government has worked like a ratchet. so when big government programs and social welfare benefits come, they almost never go away. they're very, very hard to get rid of. i mean, the main area of government spending that's redistributive in this country is on entitlements as everybody watching us knows today. doesn't matter if they're liberals or conservatives, they know entitlements are almost 70%
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of every dollar that goes to government goes to the social spending programs that are entitlements; social security medicare and medicaid. the problem is that we haven't been responsible as a society about a way to iran in these -- to rein in these programs that won't beggar our children, that won't make it harder for my kids and grandkids and yours and everybody else's out there to have the same opportunities that you and i had because we'll be spending so much money. with the spillover benefits as well of the united states not being able to take its rightful place as a leader among nations, because that will become too expensive. effectively, all of the oxygen in the government will increasingly be devoted toward the social spending that's suboptimal socially and suboptimal internationally, and that's the big problem that we face. >> host: again translate that into a policy. how do you reform these programs? >> guest: the first thing that we need to do is we need to have leaders that lead as to oppose -- as opposed to leaders
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that follow. if you're putting your finger in the air and say tell me what the polls say, you're being a follower. you're not being a leader. what leaders do is they can actually induce sacrifice. they can help people in a country. they can help citizens to see something bigger than themself. great leaders can take a country to war, which is the ultimate sacrifice. if we can go to war when we need to, we should be able to reform entitlement programs and make the sacrifices as a society to protect america for future generations. okay, so how do we do it that's your question. practically speaking, we need politicians who have policies that will reform social security and especially medicare and medicaid which we know how to do in a way that will cause some temporary discomfort among certain interest groups but where those groups will be empowered to be heroically in charge of saving our country. now, there's specifics on how to do it. we can go into those specifics. we can talk about how to count inflation differently and change the formulas so that people are
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not retiring at 65 and 67 so that they're retiring in line with the demographic profiles of the american public where we allow states more latitude in how they use their funding where medicare is actually not a system that's completely open-ended and where people are responsible for seeing the prices of medical care and making the decisions on the basis of that. those are, that's the basis of good policies where we can rein in the spending in a responsible way and americans can take care of their own issue before it gobbles up a big part of the american dream. >> host: george w. bush tried social security reform ten years ago. >> guest: yes. look it's a tough thing. if it were easy, it would already be dope. but there are ways to do this. ronald reagan was able to do this in a bipartisan way, to help reform and save social security for a long, long time. how would we do it? just a couple of basics. we don't count inflation in the right way. we have an inflated social security benefits stream. we need to take care of that.
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two, people are retiring at relatively close the same age as when the social security system was implemented decades ago, yet they're living for decades longer. that's an obvious actuarial problem, you know? if you and i are going to live to whatever we're going to live to be i mean, let's hope, 85, 87 or 88 years old yet we're retiring at 65 that's something the public can't maintain and we have to reform that as well. >> host: from "road to freedom," the job of a social safety net starts with an answer to this question: what is an unacceptable standard of living in america? in my view, you write, it is unacceptable for someone in america's wealth society to go without access to basic medical care, sufficient food and basic shelter. pretty uncontroversial, i think. >> guest: yeah, you'd think, wouldn't you? yet we have lots of people who are not going -- who don't have basic access to those things.
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these are effectively unforced errors. we're spending more and more and more money, yet we have lots and lots of people who are living in poverty. so we have to deal with this in a way that transcends politics. the first thing to keep in mind for my friends on the right is we need to declare peace in the safety net, per se. the conservatives should be the ones that are fighting for a reliable safety net for those truly indigent. for my friends on the leavitt we need to talk about -- on the left we need to remember that a dignified life always has to attach work to welfare. if we can decide on these things, the safety net is the greatest achievement that we've ever encountered and it's, of course, responsible for it. the answer is the free enterprise system which has created so much wealth for our society. the safety net is a wonderful a good and moral thing and we should fight for it. but it should be for the indigent attached to work and reformed in a way that doesn't waste money like we're currently wasting money. we could be well on the way to solving these problems.
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>> host: arthur brooks, this e-mail came in from a viewer. as a society we appear to be mad for big programs. why do you suppose we don't do trials of these programs first? >> guest: well, we don't know how to do that very well. we have a tendency with, i mean, let's back up for a second. the philosophy of public administration, the philosophy of government is that if we just can get experts running things, if we can get the people who really understand, and we spend enough money that we can solve the problem all at once, that's wrong if you go into business, that's wrong if you look at finance, that's wrong if you look at any other area of society. people don't have the conceit of thinking that the smartest people will be able to solve something. they do trial and error. they look at markets. they do pilot tests of programs and business ideas. that's what venture capitalists and entrepreneurs do. yet government works in a different way. it's almost as if i can just get the equations right and just
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have enough trillions of dollars, i can solve these problems. that's the wrong philosophy. the reason to our viewer our e-mailer, that's such a smart question. the reason is because government is designed in the wrong way. we need the same philosophy that entrepreneurs use to figure out how to dominate a market. we need humility as opposed to bombastic, big government, once and for all final solutions which simply don't work and waste money. >> host: all right. let's follow this up with another e-mail. this is from bill. when i look at republican leadership, i am reminded of the saying "be bold but not too bold." do you think the new congress can take some bold action to help us all and what is the most important action they need to take? >> guest: bill, smart question. will they be bold enough? that's, that's -- i want the answer to that question myself. i think they have a real opportunity to show a new direction in leadership, to show kind of a new right movement. now, they didn't everyone --
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let's think about november 4th. what was the signal from november 4, 2014? it wasn't we love republicans. the favorability of republicans is about 9%. i think north korea's like 11%. so nobody was saying we love republicans. no i heart republicans on the back of bumpers as i'm driving to work. what they earned was the right to try some new things and to show some leadership, and that requires some real boldness. i understand the conservative tendency is to say, you know, don't throw a long ball down the field, you know? just keep with the running game let's see what we can do. but now's not the time for that. now is the time for aspirational leadership that does different things. what's the most important thing that conservatives can do? the single most important thing is a new approach to poverty in america. now, there are other things that are critically important. also critically important we need a foreign policy that brings back aggressive international optimistic spirit to american foreign policy which we've largely lost because we've
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been kind of in a foreign policy tailspin trying not to have foreign policy. that's a mistake. we need to continue with that or reestablish that as well. we need education reform we need criminal justice reform. there's a long list of things. but number one where republicans can have the opportunity in the next two years to distinguish themselves is to become warriors for the poor. to say i don't even care how poor people vote. this is our opportunity to do the right thing for this country where the bottom half has effectively been left behind by the economic policies of the past six months and sorry, six years. the economic policies that have effectively marooned 150 million americans who are at the bottom with less opportunity, less optimism, less aspiration. that's what we need to be able to turn around by having a bias for working people and poor people in this country. how? we need to have policies that reward work an expansion of the earned income tax credit that makes work pay.
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actually, this is a wonderful thing to do to show common cause with the american public who's trying to get back to work. .. the if you can't get through on the phone line and the like to talk to aei president arthur brooks you can send an e-mail, booktv at
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you can send us a tweet at the booktv as our handle and final you can make a comment on our facebook page, take one of those forms and send a question or a comment. arthur brooks is the author of four policy books that we want to show you. "who really cares" was his first in 2006. "gross national happiness" which we've been talking about quite a bit. 2008. "the battle: how the fight between big government and free enterprise will shape america's future" came out in 2010. and his most recent book "the road to freedom" mac came out in 2012. what was your career path to becoming president of the emerging enterprise institute? >> guest: nontraditional
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peter. when i was 19 i dropped out of college. dropped out, kicked out living here. i went on the road as a musician. i spent 12 years as a professional horn player. i was a classical musician. this was my dream. had no aspiration to become a think tank president. what little kid says mommy come when i grow up want to be the president of the conservative think tank. i wanted to be a french one clear. i was able to do the. i play chamber music and a bond of in the barcelo symphony were spent several years. that's where got married was when i was living in worse alone. at the end of that time i went back to college and finish my college education by correspondent when i was about 30. it'sit's a nontraditional path to being a think tank president. truly un-american path and virtually everybody watching today has some peculiarities in the on background. this is not so special. i left a music after that and would graduate school and got my
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masters in economics of my ph.d in public policy. graduated when i was 34 became a college professor at georgia state university for three years and at syracuse university for seven years. the syracuse university has a wonderful school of public affairs top rated school. it was a privilege to be there. i loved that. it was a great joy. and i came to aei at the end of 2008. i became president at the end of 2008 where i've been ever since. >> host: why did you leave music? >> guest: i left music because i was i felt an almost physical need to use my brain in a different way. music is great. i love the music. i still listen to great deal of music. most of how i see the world is formed from experience as a classical musician sort of the spiritual side of aesthetics. the sense of how i appreciate beauty. this comes from a time as a musician but i realized there was so much more in the world of
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ideas. my father was a college professor a mathematician editable arts school in seattle. my mother was a painter, an artist. i have satisfied the aesthetic side and i was interested in develop the intellectual side. i also had been influenced by a lot of thinkers. here's the weird part peter. when i'm still a musician of reading the work of james q. wilson of urban crystal, milton friedman charles murray and thinking this is changing how i see the world. it made me into a free enterprise advocate as a matter of fact, which is completely contrary to my background. my parents were very nervous about this. but what i found i noticed there was this one institution that all of these thinkers were involved with which is a place i'd never heard of before called the american enterprise institute which tie together this moral sense of what a free society looks like and how we can executed through the free
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enterprise system and american leadership. it was so positive optimistic that the this boundless understanding of what human dignity can be and how can be our gift to the world. i was attracted to it naturally. there's no greater joy every day and he actually out the helm of this isn't stationed by pure serendipity. >> host: you used the word moral throughout your writing. moral arguments for free enterprise. >> guest: we are moral people. people are moral animals. it's very interesting to note when people are expressing the deepest sentiments they talk about morality. at the lowest talk about materialism. they don't talk about money. they don't quote the data and statistics. they talk about what is right, right for them and write for others. if we fail to make moral case of the things we most deeply believe we are not making the best case. this is what's been wrong with the conservative movement for a long time. conservatives have dominated the material case to their point of
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view. conservatives have talked about the fact that capitalism free enterprise, american greatness is the best way to bring the most material abundance to the most people. that's true and that's good. the question is why does that matter? why does it matter? the answer is because it is deeply good and moral for people to be able to feed their families, to work with dignity come to support themselves and to live in safety and freedom. these are good moral things to do. not good material things to do. remembering the why of our work always brings us back to morale the. when we lose moral language were using the language that is written in our hearts. this is what we deserve to be able to do. this is what americans should expect from leaders is to to the moral stuff they are made of. >> host: in "the road to freedom" -- where did that come from try to what of the greatest economies is friedrich hayek. friedrich hayek who was at the university of chicago who is involved in and tanks on
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washington, d.c. knew the end of his life wrote a great book called "the road to serfdom." "the road to serfdom" basically says the way we're going or with central planning, government control scientism which is his word for this conceit that people in government can solve human problems once and for all, that this is going to lose to the kind of servitude, both moral and material servitude. that's the philosophy that led to the central planning regime that ruled lives of hundreds of megs of people in the 20th century. look out in the west. look out and supposedly free countries so these things can come to you little by little by little to "the road to serfdom," the positive outburst of that is "the road to freedom." what do we need to do to get to freedom? hayek book is more important better than mine but still it's my little attempt. >> host: in the book come in your book "the road to freedom" the right big governments codependent wife is the corporate cronyism.
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>> guest: yeah. this is a real blind spot for republicans and conservatives, the idea that if it's good for business it's good for america. it's simply not true. particularly in modern life. what you see, i live in washington, d.c. i like to tell audiences other than washington so they don't have to basically. it's not a really healthy environment necessary. one of the things that's most disheartening about washington is this will to power that people have in the way they exploit it by wiring the system to the benefit. some of the worst offenders are corporate interests that are able to change policy and legislation and government leadership to their benefit. the way you solve that is not having so much power for bureaucrats and politicians to be able to do that. that's the reason the codependent big government is corporate cronyism to give some people benefit at the expense of a lot of the people around the country. >> host: is that a call for
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massive tax reform? >> guest: it is a call for massive tax reform. it's a call for massive moral reform for people to be really outraged and to seclude what's going on in this country. you remember two or three years ago when we were seeing the occupied demonstrations. occupy wall street occupied k street occupy main street for that matter. there were demonstrations all over the country. conservatives like me were tended to say well you know so ridiculous. they're angry about the free press system how ridiculous. they were right. they were wrong in their policy prescription less for enterprise. that's wrong. we need real free enterprise. they were right in the diagnosis of what's wrong. or something was enough for you. the system was gains against ordinary people by increasingly a government interest. because increasingly we see the government% as the special big interest that is warping american life and giving special privileges to people in power.
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occupy wall street was quite correct as was the tea party. there is something deeply wrong and unfair. watch the prescription? less government more free enterprise pushed all the way down to the bottom recognizing that the safety net is the basis of equalizing some of the systems so people can get a leg up in a opportunity in the first place. >> host: as president of aei are you a scholar? are you an administrator? are you a fundraiser? >> guest: i like to thank all three. i was a scholar before i came to aei. i got my ph.d working in a nonprofit organization and that's where did most of my research when i was at syracuse partners. when i came to aei my job is to promote the brilliant work of my colleagues. again my heroes my intellectual heroes were at aei. michael novak, charles murray. this is people that were working at the american institute to the
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american enterprise institute. it's trading in my research agenda to give to promote that of others. the biggest part of that is raising the funds we need to support an entirely donut driven organization. we get $0 from the government. since 1938 we have taken not a dime from the u.s. government. we take all of our funding from our investors beware private individuals wants it a better america. the real privilege i have is i can go out to donors around the country not all of whom are wealthy and say, i can do magic. i can take your little bit of money and i can transform it like alchemy except real into an expression of your values. you want a better country. you want more freedom and more appearance but you would lift up the poor. you want to protect our nation but you have to start with ideas. we are the source of ideas so it's my privilege to be able to take somebody's money and help transform that into an
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expression of values. truly a wonderful thing. i was a donor before it came to aei by the way host the arthur brooks is our guest. let's take some calls. eugene in maryland. you are first up. >> caller: i am enjoying this conversation. i did want to piggyback what arthur brooks it earlier with regard to time to work to welfare for federal programs. i also believe and i discussed this with friends this should be a term or time limitations on these programs similar to what unemployment has come let's say six months. if you have not been able to improve your financial situation in six months you have to should due diligence on your part resume job application from education, something on your in to show you're trying to improve your situation. if you have shown due diligence, then maybe you can get a continuance. but i do believe that putting a time limitation on some of these programs will provide the necessary 500 people to get them to get up and be more active, proactive in their own improvement. i just wonder what mr. brooks thinks about that tragic thank
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you. that's a great observation. point of fact there were two elements in the welfare reform legislation in the 1990s that these are ideas that came out of aei scholars by the way. the welfare reform ideas that were signed into legislation by -- a congress and president who were not paralyzed by fear willing to do bold things which was wonderful of bill clinton and republican congress were able to do together. the two things that they did was, number one of the required work as part of welfare number two, they have time limits. within reason. there are certain people that simply aren't going to be able to work in the safety net will take that into account and also you have to guarantee that there are certain things they can do with respect to learn how to work, being and substance abuse programs or actually having worked programs the government can backstop so that people can do that. once you put those guarantees in place you are right. work requirements and time
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limits are a smart policy. >> host: palmdale california. you were on booktv. >> caller: hello there. mr. brooks, i have a question regarding your mentioning of a western democracy. in europe social democracy but it seems to me you mentioned negative context as it they are infected by some kind of the disease were as in fact these countries, they do have quite a few of these countries in fact have a high growth domestic product per capita and i growth domestic happiness per capita. than the 20. what is wrong with social democracy in your opinion? >> guest: there are a lot of studies that compare happiness between countries. so your point is there are some studies that show for example, the nordic social democracies have higher happiness per capita. they have higher happiness.
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there are also studies that show the happiest country in the world are mexico and brazil and there are some that should happiest countries are the united states and candidate. is not uniformity on these studies. the fairest interpretation of that is not if you want to be happy move to denmark. you can try it but i don't recommend calling the moving company today. i think the way to measure that given the fact people answered differently in different places is to look at happens over time and uniformity between communities. when you find certainly communities really happy compared to others then you will see that difference is something you should deal with. when it comes to per capita income as a general matter the united states is more prosperous than virtually all of the societies in europe. so for example, sweden which is held up as a model of reform, they'vethey have done good things of late sweden is in per capita income and services is poorer than all the three american
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states. again i don't care and i don't think any of us should care because money is not the deal. once you're above the level of basic substance and. and even more than that, when you're above lower middle-class levels what people can take care of themselves and their families. i'm just saying the united states has done quite well for prosperity per capita what we need to be think about is our values such that we don't slip into the malaise a lot of the southern european and periphery countries in europe and increasingly the mainstream of european economies are falling into. those european countries are going the wrong where happiest of the runway on prosperity. i think in america we should decide to get we don't want that. >> host: (202)748-8200 if you live in east and central time zones. 748-8201 if you live out west to if you can't get through on the phone lines we have very social media ways of contacting us it will put those up on the screen as well.
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lillian, boca raton. good afternoon call back good afternoon. i'd like to take exception to what mr. brooks referred to as the old-fashioned i say old-fashioned method of giving charity. he claimed that this little woman, you know, looks up to the man who gives a more. first of all i think that if she wants to she can get just as much because we are equal, not unequal. and then i found some inconsistency when later on he said that when he's asking for money he goes to the widow. now, i know that women live longer than men, but i think that he's got to look at the marriage or the partnership as equal rather than the woman looking up to the man. i'd like his comments.
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>> guest: i'm not exact to sure what you are referring to. the truth of the matter is i agree with what you said. i'm not sure what i said that led you to think that. i believe that there are equal moral worth between all forms of giving, the charity is critically important all of us. those who are rich and poor have an equal moral obligation privilege to be able to get to the truth is and that britain about this extensively in my research that the working poor are more generous as a percentage of their income than any other class in society. and they have a lesson for the rest of us. this is critically important. he also find that women tend to be a little bit more generous than men. they tend to be happier than men. they tend to live longer than men. maybe this is all correlated to my guess is you've got a lot of things right in your life and you're going to be rewarded for it, and thank you for weighing in posted i think he might've been referring to the phrase you use when you said widows might. >> guest: the widows might
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which is of course a biblical phrase but the idea, it makes lillian's point. the widow who gives a tiny fraction because she is poor in the bible, who has as great or greater moral worth than the contribution that came from the prince's crown. the prince puts his crown towards the temple. the widow gives her might, just a couple of little coins and get the weather is giving something as equally important more important. i think that was making lillian's point post that in your first book, "who really cares: the surprising truth about compassionate conservatism," you write the people who think the government should redistribute income -- let me start again. people who think the government should we do should income more are less likely to donate to charity and people who don't think so. this is nothing more than substituting political opinions for private donations. >> guest: i was shocked by this but when i first started writing "who really cares," expected people who expressed
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greater compassion for those who have less but you don't find that to be the case. you find the more likely you are to say that the government should reduce she bit more income to be bloodless, the less likely you are to give away more of your own income. in other words you have a systematic substitution of political opinions for private should be. this shouldn't be the case in my view. and again i don't begrudge anybody their political opinion about redistribution from government. i may not agree with it but understand and think people should hold it sincerely. what is the real problem is if you say look i voted for politicians who want to register but my money away. see a compassionate i am and walk away? we still have the responsibility will be get need. they are not substitutes. they should be complements to each other. >> host: you criticize fdr and his presidency in "who really cares" saying that charitable giving went way down once
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government programs started going out. but that also be the fact we're in economic crisis in march of that decade transferred no doubt that is the case be defined a couple of different things. you find when income goes down terrible donations go down. that's been the case since 2008 in the united states as well. but you also find what we call proud that when the government does more individuals do less. this is not to argue for the government not doing something. i will anybody is watching to misunderstand and think we need to get rid of government programs wholesale. what i'm saying is its call to more action from individuals cannot be crowded out. our purpose is be able to take matters into her own hands notwithstanding what our government does every metric that is a key to our own quality of life and to prevent the cold light of others traveled just in cyprus texas. you were on with arthur brooks. >> caller: yes, mr. brooks. dan to the for granted happiness that you mention, i am reminded
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of a great quote by russell kirk who said that if you want to order in the commonwealth you first have to have order in the individual soul. i'm wondering whether increasing "gross national happiness" depends on the restoration of traditional conservatism which russell kirk was arguably the founder of and whether you see anybody on the horizon right now that's capable of facilitating rather than on these laid -- obviously making this pursuit of happiness a reality? thank you tragic thank you, jeff. why i love c-span is you can if actually go and quote russell kirk. it's great. it's right. the whole idea that markets can do good things for us in free enterprise is outstanding. i believe these things deeply but a predetermined is properly ordered human rights. markets have become after morality where we have -- again,
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people will disagree about what that morality comes down to it, i just had but if we rely only on markets as opposed to the moral sentiments we'll be going in the wrong direction. the same we can't say a car make you a better person. a car is a means to do so just as markets are a means to do so. how do we need to do without? we need politicians and policymakers and family members and community leaders who say we need to feed properly upstanding moral ethical lifestyles such that capitalism can be a good thing for us as a society. adam smith said this in 1759, he rode the ferry of moral sentiments. this for 17 years before "the wealth of nations" which was his great book about how we understand us at economics today. "the theory of moral sentiments" said we have to be able to earn freedom as society on the basis of our efforts. he came back to the booklet is
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often said said it was disgraceful and he was right. this is the book everybody should read. you need properly ordered morals. you need a well ordered life stuff. at that point if we do this together, free enterprise can be an unbounded lesson for our society and setting is free and giving us more prosperity husband lonnie, north carolina. >> caller: good afternoon mr. brooks. as a small businessman i have become really concerned about this momentum towards a higher minimum wage, sometimes, some places a living wage which is almost ruined ruinous to some small businesses. i was wondering what your take on it is and is there any movement or anyway we can get rid of the minimum wage completely? >> host: what kind of business do you have? >> caller: i have a doggy day care but my wife and i have a remodeling business paint crews floor covering. we kind of have a lot of different businesses.
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i've never myself paid a minimum wage. i've always started people above minimum wage but some of these numbers are we're talking about now would put a couple of by businesses out of i just couldn't handle it. i just found a lot of people do really well at first if you give them a chance and make raises real quickly. some people just wash out right away. if you have to start at one at 12 to $15 an hour it would be difficult. >> host: thank you. >> guest: great point. let's talk about it from the perspective of the real problem with the minimum wage. i don't think any of us should dispute the fact that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be up to support yourself through audits were able to support your family. let's just all agree to that right do. the question is how best to do the. the problem with minimum wage
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isn't even just what you say which is that hurts small businesses, although it does. the biggest profit if it hurts disproportionally certain parts of the population. we find today for example, in minority communities among young men unemployment is about 36%. just terrible, the scourge inside these commuters. who are the people least likely be higher and most likely to be laid off when you increase the minimum wage? the answer is young men minority men. that's a factor the problem isn't even it lays off everybody in the minimum wage pool. it disproportionately hits the people we need to help the most. how can you take that on? wider studies as it increased minimum wage by 15% it would only have a destructive impact of two or 3% on jobs. that's all concentrated in particular communities and you can't have that with welfare. welfare is not a substitute for work. welfare checks can't substitute for paychecks in terms of human dignity and opportunity in
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building one's life. that's just the fact that the question is what are we going to do to meet the criterion that people should be able to support themselves through honest work that the minimum wage increase doesn't do it and heard certain populations? and the answer is you need the kind of policies that make work pay. for those of you are really policy wonks, you know a great policy is an expansion of the earned income tax credit. for those of you are not policy wonks i want to congratulate you and let's talk of what the policy does. it's a government subsidy through your tax bill you get a tax credit we could basically a check from the government that augments the wage that you earn. you have a job you work. if you're below a certain level the government will top your weight as a tax subsidy. that something comes can get a hold of and a thrill successful policy. the problem is that single men who are the people who need it the most don't have said that access to those in need to expand. to increase the minimum wage.
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force the people most mobile out of the workforce and soak it up with welfare. no. let's have a wage subsidy or in earned income tax credit expansion that will make work pay for more people. i know it costs money. conservatives might be going to eyes and said look this guy who runs aei is talk that spending more government money. that's what i want the government to do. not the boondoggles who waste the money we do right now. we can really help people to get head and to increase opportunity we know how to do it. let's just do it host larry tweets into you arthur brooks with regard to churchill contributions, and they write their charitable monies off their taxes. poor pay the tax instead. >> guest: well the way that the charitable deduction worked in america is that in 1917 in a tax code the congress said look we have these public goods
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we need to pay for. if we are going to have people pay taxes, and people are going to be giving money to charity to provide some public goods, let's have a public-private partnership. let's allow people to effectively designate some other tax bill towards these private charities they are paying for. not 1 dollar for one. it's by the amount of their tax rate that we're going to let them write it off a tax bill. in other words it was kind of a moral contract between the governments and citizens it wasn't just a loophole or a workaround. and ever since then there's been this sense that private citizens should be able to designate some of their taxes through tax deductible to the. it's not the case that is being paid for by poor americans. poor americans pay virtually no income taxes at least at the federal level but they pay other taxes social security. they pay property taxes and pay consumption taxes, et cetera but those aren't the taxes you can write off when it comes to your
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tax-deductible charitable contributions. it's the taxes that are so paid by people on the top half and that's what the attacks are coming from. >> host: paul tweets in as well. are you the arthur brooks who writes a column for "the new york times"? >> guest: yeah. and i'm so grateful to be able to do it. friends of the new times and it's been such a wonderful expense to write for a different dignity and a different paper that the free enterprise, the movement has been associated with. it's a privilege to do so. short answer yeah, i'm the same guy. ..
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whether they have the metastasizing iraq or see we have covered that can get privileges to the companies and unions and well organized individuals who all of us should be reason for that because that hurts ordinary americans. if people can benefit from them we live in washington, d.c.. we have a lot of powerful friends but we shouldn't even be able to come and that is something we should agree on. >> milford connecticut good afternoon. you are on with arthur brooks. >> i'm wondering if you can comment on the incarceration
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relative to other nations in the rise of the prisons and how these impact in america. thank you. >> thank you. criminal justice reform should be a major component of the new conservative agenda over the next two years. criminal justice reform is an area we can make big strides in improving fairness and having a better opportunity in the society. right now it's not that we lock up too many people, we lock them up for the wrong reasons. the movement towards alternative sentencing and justice methods and everything from drug courts to getting rid of the three strikes laws. this is the way to go and i think that conservatives should be the vanguard of making it so. it's very encouraging to me the other day when a conservative leaders were writing open letters at a profoundly mentally ill but the idea of what the conservative movement should be able to recognize as the wrong
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way to go in this country no matter your views on the death penalty that is something we can recognize we are going in the wrong direction so i think that this is a big opportunity for a better criminal justice movement. >> host: stephen westhaven connecticut go-ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: i think that you're just great, but i have a comment i made great believer in term limits. you don't hear much about that because you don't want to make people argue that. it should be called every two years and they would just disappear to get rid of some of the same to the campaigns are just ridiculous. thank you very much.
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>> the term limits have been coming up for a long time and the technical aspects into the constitutional aspects are something we don't want to address. there are constitutional difficulties and at the state level they've been relatively successful. look at florida where the members of the florida house are term limited out. even the speaker of the houses of great political entrepreneur named will weatherford. he's a leader for the future. they are serious about this stuff so at the state level it can be a lot of good. the other thing that is a force for good i think is a commitment coming in from the politicians that say i'm not going to stay very long to be held to it from the get-go. i think that the moral station that comes from private commitment can be every bit as powerful as simply the law so if we can understand what these intentions are with respect to citizen politicians one quick thing i don't think their jobs are that cushy quite frankly.
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they have to keep two apartments at the same. a friend of mine who's a congressman from idaho, can you imagine going home to idaho every weekend? it is really tough stuff and he did it because he's a patriot. he wants to help save his country. watching today i bet he's not but i hope he is he's saying cushy job are you kidding me? but i think that your point is a good one. >> host: i would like to hear the opinions on the appetite of americans for libertarianism today and whether or not we have a chance of moving that we as a society in the near future perhaps over the next 30 years. >> guest: libertarianism has been a political favor by about
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3% of the population. that isn't to say there are not elements of it that people like a lot there are elements on the political left that are pretty appealing. but it hasn't really expand all that much for a few different reasons. one of them is the traditional libertarianism has been relatively unsympathetic to the way that we from the national security policies. they tend to be relatively popular. so i don't know what the future of libertarianism is going to be. i think it's incredibly important that they played an outside influence on the direction of the country. whether or not they can grow into a kind of movement that has political force i'm not quite sure. my friends at the cato institute are terrific at turning a 3% movement into something that looks like about a much higher percentage of the political influence. >> host: from your book a the
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battle of the fight between how the free enterprise will shape america's future with its the 70-30 nation that you're talking about? >> guest: was a question whether we changed in the country. president obama was predicated on the idea that the united states was comfortable being less of a traditional free enterprise country and i don't mean that in a critical way. some people agree with that and some people don't. i'm talking as an analyst at this point looking at the data you find that sympathy for the free enterprise system is always about a 73 go 30 prepositions are you can find the people are willing to question a lot of the practices in the country or willing to let the government step in and provide more of a safety net and solve some of our problems from the method of stimulus good and bad in times of real economic crisis but
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where are their hearts come in the 70-40 proportions it in in a society that's towards the free enterprise. this actually makes the point that you made a little bit earlier that there is a conflict here. we are becoming a democracy but emotionally we are in a 70-30 nation. that could look like a sort of detachment from reality and what that is is an opportunity. if our hearts are one place, that our country is one place else we need to follow our heart. what what does it mean to reflect our deepest values in the enterprise system it is the reason that our ancestors came here. yours and mine our great-grandparents we are not steaming into the harbor saying things are dying in america to get a system of the forced income redistribution. they were here for the freedom to be rewarded for their hard work and that is that he does we can get back when it's still written on our heart so the
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great majority of americans that we want for ourselves and our kids and especially the poor to give them the freedom and opportunity to lift themselves up. >> host: are we unique as a nation >> guest: we are pretty unique. not entirely and i have great hope for all parts of the world. when i see -- i went to india and i love it i tell you it's totally inspirational. it's my favorite place to go when the whole world. i spent as research on the book i'm writing right now i spend half of the day in a huge slum just like in the middle of mumbai. when you go to the slum you're going to see begging, depression, illness poverty. at the thing that strikes you the most is busyness. you see people that are just working. and i'm not a guy who's job is
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sorting used toothbrushes to recycle. you can say she shouldn't have to do that but the point is he is doing that. that's the kind of post that you would think about as your ancestors in the united states doing and i want to sort out the poverty. don't get me wrong it's important to upgrade that lets recognize the prosperity for the whole world is started with the american model and now we are seeing these american values of faith, community and work and that's something that we want to inculcate. that said this is the country that showed the way and that should still show the way to the rest of the world. >> host: falls river massachusetts. >> caller: i'm a longtime fan. reading 700 page book the reef formation -- d. formation of american capitalism and he really skewers the new deal
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about johnson and especially nixon and reagan and even bush and obama and bernanke. so i was wondering if you could get a book review of this because he really takes off on them. >> host: david stockman is a brilliant guy. he is as smart as anybody that i've ever met quite frankly. he has a strong point of view. and it is a 700 page volume. this isn't a beach read my friends but it is worth reading because he had a strong point of view about how we fix the country. it's a strong view that we were selling out the future and that step-by-step we have worked in this ratchet toward the social democracy and it is a point that is undisputably true. this is not an opinion. it's something the right and left should agree on. the question is whether it is bad or the downfall of america
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and this is where the arguments are going to come in. they will say it's a good thing that the government is doing more and that we are sucking up more gdp in the government services because this is how we can have a more civilized society. they can say it has happened but it isn't the case that all of this is going to have to happen and the safety net is a good thing that's written along with the lbj reforms and policies. i recommend david's book because i'm going to learn about one of the polar views in this debate. >> host: robey posts you briefly mentioned in one of your answers that the u.s. should reform the foreign policy. could you please expand on that and explain how and why does foreign policy should be modified and what effect it may have on the influence the u.s. may directly or indirectly have in the world?
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>> guest: it's co it's easy to talk about free enterprise to be sure, but when we talk about how america is going to be a gift to the world lets talk about how they are kind of the same and this will give the sense of how we can reform foreign-policy. if you understand how foreign-policy has changed the world of the leave it or not look at china. they played 650 million people out of poverty. how? the answer isn't central planning or the authoritarian regime. it's not the nightmare civil rights problem in the country. it's a movement towards capitalism and particularly toward trade in the left and the united states. what has made that possible? it is made possible by doping the ceilings in the global comments. it is a pacific that hasn't been run by militarism for the first time in recent history were even
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over the past several centuries. that is because of american military power. that's an idea americans will patrol the global comments. and in so doing it can help set people free all around the world. we need a foreign policy that understands if we that we are the hyperpower we have to act like one and a hyperpower has to be able to be militarily sound capable have a strong foreign-policy that understands the art a unique nation and the willing and able to share our values with people around the world that are ready to absorb these ideas and that means intervention and a sense of internationalism but most importantly i know people are going to disagree but here's what we should agree on we need a foreign policy. it's not okay that we have a chaotic sense of leading from behind and that is basically a foreign-policy of looking busy. that isn't going to get us where we need to go.
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we need a foreign-policy end of the ideas i laid out at the beginning or the basis. >> host: arthur brooks is the guest president of the american enterprise institute and author of several books on public policy. catskill new york. >> caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. the leave me. two questions if i may or would like to have you defended the social security tax cap if you can't and i would also like you to comment on the sad fact that if you're in modern times both parents need to work in almost every situation. the friends i have every couple has had to have both parents working. >> i recommend the work of my colleagues who writes in "the wall street journal" a lot and he has the best voice on this. one of the things he helps us understand is that it isn't just make the tax regressive and get a pass to rich people.
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it was set up by fdr originally as a forced savings program, not as a pay-as-you-go program. it's that senior citizens at the time were disproportionately indigent after they were retired because they were working, they were not able to work and so their incomes into their incomes were way down. incorrectly the economists correctly identified at an insufficient savings was the corporate culprit and associated okay let's take the first part and impose a tax on it. we are actually taking it is what the government is more likely doing. but the idea is right and forced savings along the lines. so it is a tax that is supposed to make sure that everybody saves a certain amount, that everybody has a base amount. then you have a formula you get more than a few are richer.
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on the second question about the earners and every household at the structure in the economy changed a lot since i was a kid. you have more rewards that come from higher education and the result is if you don't have an educational attainment level that is following the new economy you will be making less per hour and this is a structural change in our economy and we should have this earned income tax credit for the working poor can make ends meet without taking second and third jobs and having to go on public assistance. we need to find better ways to create for human dignity and then we need a long-term solution that improves human capital in the country. we have a public education system that's suitable for the 1950s. it hasn't changed very much since my parents were children.
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you need an education system that has twice and has innovations and understands we need to improve people in poor communities disproportionately and we need education reform. this is a huge struggle for this country so let's have policies that make work pay writenow and let the policies that improve human capital. >> host: is there a politician out there that is speaking some of the ideas that you are espousing? >> i see a lot of politicians at the state and local level that are aspirational. they are visionaries along these lines and the key thing politicians have to have is if they want to get these things right it why he of the work and the faith of the person that they were trying to help the most. what we need in america is a left and right that are more entrepreneur. if we do that than we are going to see a lot of these ideas and to say i have a better idea on
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how to do criminal justice reform education reform deregulation and how to create more jobs and have an energy boom. i want want a right and left to be fighting over these ideas as opposed to not effectively colluding to ignore poor people that happens in the conversations that we have today. so a lot of state and local people are very promising and we are going to see on the national scene in five to ten years. >> host: any names you want to name? >> guest: i just named one in florida. he's really fantastic and i see a lot of people in some of the state committed to texas florida, arizona. you are going to find some of these places where they have nonconventional views along the lines. some of the presidential candidates are interesting. some of the governors running for president on the republican side are willing to wind up. i like a lot of what we are seeing. some people might get in the race. really interesting stuff is going on in indiana.
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bob, bobby jindal, people are people so you can say 100% of what somebody's doing is great but these are people that had some pretty interesting ideas. >> host: david e-mails research has shown that some traditional democratic voting groups tend to be more risk adverse than others may be. this makes sense in that democratic economic possibilities often feature protection. >> sure. if you offer people more security come you're going to find that you're going to attract people that like security. there's nothing weird about that. but there's a deeper consideration which is that when people are poor, the stakes are higher on losing what they've got and so they are going to be a lot more worried. if you are living from paycheck to paycheck it isn't going to take that much time before you are homeless and you're going to care more about the policies
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that make you more secure. this is a natural and a normal thing. so they can avail themselves of the system of opportunity enhancement. again they are politicians one of the best people ever heard on this issue. he talks about the right to rise and is comfortable with the safety net that can take care of a lot of the security concerns, economic security concerns come in and takes things very seriously about the bias and opportunity for poor people. >> host: the national review in a couple of different essays put part of the blame on the deck in new york on the fact that new york regulates the sale of cigarettes, so heavily. >> guest: we talk to the criminal justice reform. i think a lot of the conservatives and liberals are coming together beyond that. i mean it is too simplistic to
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say that death was the death was due to the cigarette tax. you can find all of these we are secondary causes. what we do know is that right and left a lot of people are coming together to talk about the way that the police are trained and kill the particular issues and everybody regrets that. one more point to make on that and any of the cases i don't have answers but i will tell you if we have a society that had more opportunity for everybody including the 36%, taking care of the 36% unemployment problem for young minority men that we would have a lot fewer of these types of problems. opportunity is the key to solving a lot of these problems. >> host: the next call comes from cheryl in claremont. >> thank you for taking my call. i just had one question. have one question. what specific structural policy changes can be implemented so all people will be treated as
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they want to be treated? >> the structural policy reasons i wish i could say that here is the one policy that would make everybody understand that every single person as a child of is a child of god and is equal to moral worth. the reason i can't do that is that isn't policy. there are policies we need like equal treatment in the law. that's language from the declaration of independence to be sure and it wasn't even brought to the full provision and we got rid of the slavery and women have the right to vote and other things so we need to make that a reality every single day that fundamentally that is anti-policy question it's a cultural question. fundamentally, we need cultural and moral renewal in this country when we remember why this is an exceptional nation and why we were founded, so each of us is a warrior until each of us understands every single person truly is a child of god and equal in the eyes of god we are not going to get the job
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done is what it comes down to. so i would suggest that our viewers in each of us consider ourselves moral revolutionaries revolutionaries as much of policy revolutionaries. >> host: tom, montgomery alabama. good afternoon. i was wondering how religion fits into your happiness index. you mentioned that we were animals and the last time i checked they didn't have a soul so i would like to know your idea on that. >> guest: sure. again, the four basic elements of a happy life life for faith and family can faith and family can community and work and you can interpret it however you like because the truth is when i look at it and hear a clean i it clear i have the views as a roman catholic but you can interpret it according to the data which is to say that traditional and nontraditional views bring happiness to people.
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the key is not ignoring the transcendental forces in life, not becoming a pure materialist. that is the key thing that matters the most. i spent a lot of time in india and people are deeply satisfied with their lives. there were a lot of very religious people of a different religion than i have but i would suggest that simply as a social scientist it's very difficult to ignore the elements of life because in doing so you focus way too much on materialism. one of the things i write about is the formula that comes from the materialistic modern life that tells us how to live a good life is exactly wrong. the formula is used people and love things. >> host: from your book the
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book to battle the fight between how big government and free enterprise will shape america's future and a poor man at the bp successfully created something of value would be much better off than the rich man who is not earned his success. the big problem isn't that people have less money than others, that it is that they have less earned success. >> guest: it is one of the key concepts of how it works. one of the reasons honest work is incredibly important to human dignity, again if you fall below subsistence all of the bets are off. safety net matters and a society that can lift people up to the point plate is critically important as anybody that says it's okay to be poor i have this friend who teaches at marquette university and just to be the superintendent he grew up poor and he was saying the other night money doesn't matter. he says they are always rich. i tell you what to give me your
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money and i will let you know. once we get above the level of being able to support ourselves money doesn't bring very much happiness at all. it's the feeling that you are creating value with your life in a value in the lives of other people, that's it. so if you want to bring people into force, think what can they do today to make it more possible for people to earn their success. what am i doing today to give people a sense of worth so they can create more human capital in the education committee job where they can separate themselves and their families and where the skills and passion can actually meet. don't dismiss the jobs as a dead-end jobs and put them on public assistance. that is the wrong thing to do because that was a way of success and away from happiness. >> host: preston in denver colorado. >> guest: i just felt the need to share on your facebook page some thoughts in the defense of
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government. i hear a lot of kind of the demeaning of our government. and people like ralph nader think that actually is big business that is the major problem right now. and also regarding his assertion that we don't have a foreign-policy, i think we have one. we had a worse one under bush and a lot of the aei scholars were supporters of the invasion of iraq and i think they owe the people of iraq and apology for devastating the country and i was wondering if you had a response to that. >> guest: i appreciate your view. there's a lot for me to disagree with. i'm glad you your point of view deeply however. on the question of iraq apology is due to the citizens trying to bring their lives that have been since devastated by the lack of foreign-policy and the invasion of isis.
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that was an unforced error on the part of a non- foreign-policy from the united states. so i think all of the data support, but what i'm saying here you can -- anybody can legitimately go back and forth. it had to be finished and it wasn't in a rush to get out and what i think was the lack of the foreign-policy. the the people or something trying to get on with their lives and their families as they an apology to the iraqi people it's because of that. >> host: if you're interested on seeing what he has come he posted an article from government is good and one from
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slate as well and the article is headlined why are they investing in happiness. have you read this article plaques >> guest: everybody should invest in happiness. everybody investing in happiness and the forces of happiness in their life and i think it's great to great that philanthropists are thinking about not just happiness but the deeper things. i think it's great. i think george soros as well as david coke should invest in happiness because i think it is a worthy thing to have a good discussion as a country. >> host: every month we asked one author to come on this program can take your calls take your e-mail comments etc. but we also ask the author his or her favorite books in the biggest and biggest influences and what he or she is reading now. here are some of the arthur brooks answers.
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♪ ♪ >> host: arthur brooks, one of her favorite people in the biggest influences charles murray. >> guest: a scholar at the american enterprise institute who has written voluminously on so many different topics. he wrote the first book about welfare reform. charles murray's work ended up going back to you know i think that we talked about this quite a lot. the book is called losing ground. it is written in 1984, and it basically made this one profound point.
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charles murray said the problem in the welfare system is not that it wastes so much money which invaded rules the life of the people that we are trying to help by making them permanently dependent on the state. this is such an important point that people agree left and right and it is beyond contention at this point. he has a visionary ability to get some major ideas across and it is a privilege to be working with him. >> host: it was pretty controversy over when you go to the bell curve. >> guest: the essential point of the bell curve, the controversy is that these were some of the work that he did where he talked about the differences with respect to race but that wasn't his central point. the central point that he was making is the class is disproportionately starting to revolver out of the difference is people have in their ability to perform cognitively and that the class society is immoral and un-american and it's hurting the way that we are setting up our country. so that was the central point that he was trying to make in the book. the book that he's c


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