tv [untitled] April 2, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
there are opportunities for non-qataris in the workforce at a skilled level, at a high paying level, and you're not taking any jobs from qataris. there is too much work to go around and local -- the local population can't fill the jobs. so it's a very different dynamic there. >> look, there is one last question that is also a group question, i think it might be a good one to end on. the first part of this question i'm going to have to ask you, you'll have to address, is this a true perception. and then if so, what should be done about it. the questioner asked, why are european businesses more successful than u.s. businesses in your country. is it true? if so, what is the problem. why don't we start, ambassador corbin, with you. >> it's not the europeans that we need to worry about, it's the turks, chinese and indians the europeans are competitive. french and british are active. they have very good business councils, they have -- very
competitive and they're prepared to go overseas in a way that we're only seeing u.s. companies do now, but i think it's not the europeans we need to worry about. i think it's the other countries and i think we need to be more aggressive, we need to highlight the fact that we have innovation, the example of food when you look at 80% of them have some form of diabetes, the fact that we have healthy foods. del monte won all sort of awards. we do things competitors aren't doing, same thing in health care the same thing in other areas where we have a real advantage. i think that's what we have to take on. i don't think it's the europeans. i think it's the other countries i mentioned that are a problem. >> others? did you have a different view or the same view? >> no, i hear this from bd guys all the time who say that sarkozy comes in so they win all the contracts. that's whining.
if it you follow the money, it takes you to riyadh. the economy is twice the size of any economy in the region. there are 51000 saudis going to school in the united states today. that is their choice, they want to come here for a reason. they want to connect with american businessmen and businesswomen. we ca home after 9/11 and left a void. i mean, we were unaccompanied at riyadh for 5 1/2 years. my wife janet was the first spouse to come back in 5 1/2 years. well, guess what? the world doesn't like a void. who filled it? the south koreans and the chinese. and if you want it cheap, go to china. but here's the problem. china wants to be the world's manufacturer and they are doing exceptionally good job of that. what is saudi arabia's problem? jobs.
and if you want technology transfer, if you want training and education, if you want to develop your own infrastructure, you're not going to get that from the chinese, you're not going to get it from the south koreans. you will get it from americans. so i repeatedly talk about the value proposition they are offering and if they ever let a competition result in a price competition with the chinese, they are going to lose. if they can present a value proposition that comes with the education and training package where you're going to create an entity that the saudis can run over time and creates an industry there where you're creating a job here as you're creating one in saudi arabia, you got a winning combination. so the american business and industry is very competitive because of that value proposition. >> others? >> i do hear the perception and i think maybe it's sometimes the
-- fed by the fact that european governments are generally follow a very aggressive policy of supporting commercial travel and visits and often senior government officials from the european countries will be accompanied by large business delegations and we might look at doing more of that. but i certainly don't see that bearing out in the trade figures. at the end of the day, it comes down to what's the type of product. the areas i touched on, what i think they have in common it's education and health care and that type of infrastructure. this is where at least in kuwait they want the u.s. involved. because that's where they feel -- that's -- this is where it's touching my life, this is where the value is. they want the best of, and they turn to the u.s. for that. >> look, don told us we're on a tight schedule, we need to close but before we do, i want to thank all of you for your insights and your service. [ applause ]
>> thank you, ambassador larson. i just want to really thank all the bam ambassadors today. i'm an old guy, and when i started kicking around in the middle east back in lincoln's second term, the last place you would visit was the american embassy. where no one knew anything about what was going on commercially, and anything you said was going to go into cable and get slugged to 19,000 recipients in 45 countries. so it was all as we saw it, a one-way street. we gave information. we got painfully little in return and certainly no great commercial wisdom. and i can remember back when -- i'm having a senior moment. the wonderful secretary of state
who just died recently, larry eagleburger. i credit larry who said we have to change this, we have to make this very user friendly. we've got to help our american companies. and i was at commerce and skeptical about all this, but larry made me a convert. and it's just extraordinary today. i don't think there is a better cadre of informed ambassadors that any country has than ours. not only informed about what is going on commercially, but understand what is going on commercially. as ambassador smith says, it even gets down to the value proposition, understanding that and how to increase business. so on behalf i think of all of us in the many roo, i want to salute you guys. thank you very much for your service and i hope you can come back and we do this again next year. thank you. god bless you.
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>> laura tyson is the -- the way i really know her was when she was at the berkeley roundtable on international economy. we know her because she was president clinton's economic adviser, now on a key advisory board on the economy and jobs for president obama. i wanted to start the conversation about your days at brie. we read your book on basically how to manage the economy back then. and you were -- you were i see bernard swartz here in the front of the room. you were kind of, i wouldn't say -- bernard swartz was a tyson acolyte in that sense because you were talking about the importance of infrastructure and to some degree industrial policy. where we are today and given your experience in both the clinton and you know somewhat within the obama administration although you're an adviser in
that, not an official of the obama administration, what will do you think you won't have thought or won't have written at brie given your government experience? >> what would i -- no one knows in the audience what i wrote there. i would i guess to frame it in a way which relates to what we've been hearing today, i was involved very early on really in the definition of competitiveness. competitiveness as a term was not commonly used, believe it or not, a quarter of a century ago which is about how long i've been working on it and actually it was quite a foreign concept to economists who might think of something like cop pairtive advantage but those of us who began to worry about competitiveness began to think about nations as creating a set of foundations to make themselves a competitive place to locate to do essentially high value added business. so we were worried at the time about investing in the
foundations of public -- the public foundations of competitiveness. infrastructure, research, education, and we were very much of the mind that other countries were beginning to pay attention to this. and that our time as the global super power in the world economy was actually limited, that we were going to face tougher competition. that we may as well recognize that and begin to make those kinds of investments and to begin to think carefully about not just those public investments and competitiveness, but also what kinds of activities we wanted to be engaged in. so i heard several speakers today talk about the importance as we go forward of the energy sector. so that is, you could call that an industrial policy. you look at the sectors of the economy. you say hmm, this is a sector
that has all kinds of effects on the rest of the economy. we don't want to be strategically dependent on a resource that comes primarily from politically unstable countries, many of which are not our allies. so that would be a kind of strategic industrial policy. >> and from that time, do you think we need that sort of industrial policy today? and before you answer, i'll share a little anecdote. late last year, i heard dominick barton, the managing ceo of mckin zi speak at a conference in france and he gave a remarkable talk in which he said that their biggest clients were clamoring and wanted an industrial policy in america, that they felt that you know, these are large scale multinational corporations for which those twos words were about as an na theme ma as you can get and they all want it. i tweeted it at the time, and
thought that i would have, you know, the high priests of mckin zi come and pound on my door for misquoting their guy but they stood by it. when i talked to the folks in the white house and some of the people that were involved with the auto bailout and also looking at other strategic sectors, one of the individuals whom i can't name said we can't say the words industrial policy inside the obama white house, that those two words immediately stop discussion. now maybe things have changed but you sit on the inside of some of these meetings and telling barack obama what to do. is industrial policy back? >> we've had very polite meetings. there's been no pounding. >> mike splinter told me he pounded the table once. >> you know, i'm on the president's jobs council. the president had the voc ker commission and i was also honored to serve on that. by the way, on that major focus of what we did was on infrastructure.
i want to say you've heard again and again and i'm going to underscore it once. amazing bipartisan labor management, around the country, around the country support for the idea that in order to enhance our future competitiveness, a long-term goal and in order to create jobs for construction workers now and in the next few years, the best thing we could do given the interest rates the government faces is a major infrastructure policy. the estimates are we could spend an extra trillion dollars in the next five years on high-return projects. the estimates are that we're spending about half of what we should be spending on our from structure on transportation alone. so this is as area where you don't have to talk about industrial policy. you can just talk about a lynch pin of competitiveness. and i know these ceos who talk about looking at places around the world. that's at the top of their list.
another thing at their top of the list, by the way, is tax policy. we haven't talked a lot about that here. the president did just issue a framework for a business taxation. it suggests that we actually should go after a lower corporate tax rate. it suggests that we should go after broadening the base. there are some controversial parts of that. i don't agree with everything that he said, but the notion that in order to be competitive as a location, in order to promote certain activities. now where was the industrial policy in that? the president said in his business tax framework that there should be special treatment for manufacturing and even more special treatment for advanced manufacturing. he basically was saying as a general principle, he wanted to broaden the base and take away a lot of preferences, about you, but he felt that given the spillover benefits of manufacturing for innovation,
force exports, what do we export? we export manufactured products. what do we import? we import manufactured products. yes, services are growing. there is no way we can get out of our trade deficit or improve our country account deficit without a significant increases in manufacturing exports. you'll probably hear that later from fred. so basically you can at all it industrial policy, you can call it a manufacturing policy but what the administration has concluded is that for spillover benefit reads since there are lots of things that policy can do with a small adjustment to give some preference to manufacturing. that is one area where i've seen the industrial policy. let me give you another area. again the president's jobs council, very interesting. this is basically primarily chief executive officers of large and small companies. now, they came together to talk about what they viewed to be the important source of job creation in the neerm r near term.
in that case we focused on things like increasing the speed of visa processing or increasing the speed of getting an infrastructure project which was already funded out the door so you could actually start getting the people on the job right away. so things you can do quick little. the last report focused on competitiveness. and there we were actually focusing on things like setting up an infrastructure bank and a multiyear infrastructure plan, setting up what gene referred to the way the president talked about it some additional funding for community college because again, i listened to most of the presentations today, and a repeated theme is a significant number of jobs in the united states right now are unfilled because of a lack of adequate skills. and that -- the you know, the estimates are all over the map. let's say 5% of manufacturing jobs. that's a large number. surveys suggest that 80% of the
companies will say i can't fill certain jobs. i don't have the talent. that, of course, was one of the things that steve jobs said in that famous last interview with president obama. when he said the jobs were not coming back. he also said one of the reasons the jobs weren't here is because we didn't have the an adequate supply of the kind of intermediate i would say process, somewhere between a community college degree and a very, very good technical training program. we've let that the languish in the united states. we need to go back and invest. but what i want to say about industrial policy is this group also said, and remember, this is a group diverse sectors, business lieders, the u.s. really has to have a serious alternative energy policy. we have to have it. we look at the future. now, they also said we have to have a long-term investment strategy because we know we're
going to have to modernize and replace our utility infrastructure. so they talked about broad areas. but they also talked about things like the importance of broadband or the importance of alternative energy. so those are the kinds of industrial policies. it's not picking winners and losers in a snare row sense. but it is sort of in broad sector of terms saying there are things that need to be done. >> i'm going to pose one who are question, then we'll take questions from you, just identify yourself. laura, i know you've been also worried about and concerned about income inequality. it's driving a lot of the anger, frankly anger on the right and anger on the left that i've seen. and i'm interested, is there a way to get at that other than the tax issues? i mean, we tend to sort of look at the questions of rolling back taxes or charging taxes on one side or the other.
are there other ways to sort of more structurally remedy income inequality in the u.s. through education, through other portals? >> i heard a number of things about income inequality in the audience today. let me first say a couple reactions to get to what you say. yes, it is true, that other societies, developed countries have seen similar trends. we do have to accept the notion that some of the inequality is due to globalization and technological change. but actually, not nearly as much as you think because the income inequality between, say a college educated worker and an unskilled worker, that premium has been growing over time and it's significant but it really can explain the top 1% and it rl explain the top 01% which is the pull away part of the income
distribution in the united states. that is a phenomena which is pretty much unique to the united states. i think we just need to accept that and there are -- and i also would say that the evidence is not that it's movie stars and sports heroes. if you look at the numbers, it's primarily as lawyers, doctors, and primarily chief executive officers and people in the financial services industry. that's who it is. so we could -- you need to identify and then sort of decide what, if anything, are the factors behind it. i just want to put those facts out there. one other fact i will put out there or actually a reference because i think it's a very good piece of work is a book called "winner take all politics," by paul pearson and jeff -- jacob hacker. >> one of our guys. >> and basically, this lays out pretty clearly the argument for why the u.s. ends up having the
biggest inequality problem and lays it at the doorstep of money and politics in the united states. and we haven't talked at all about money and politics here. but we do know that we, and in this election we're going to see it even more clearly than any other election that, those interests that can be well represented by money can become very powerful advocates of their position. and as you have increasing income inequality, think about what that means about the representation of the middle and the bottom if you have a political system where money plays such a significant role. so the argument of the hacker and pearson book laid out very clearly is that we've lost the ability to represent middle class interests in policy making because of the role of money in policy making. i leave that to you just as something to look at as the. >>. when i say he's one of our guys, in the new american foundation. laura was a member of the
foundation. jacob is a professor at yale was very involved with the issue of the so-called public option in the health care debate and he's this kind of ken dilesque inspired progressive. but you know, when i listen to jacob and i'm often inspired listening to him, the world that he will describes and the kind of commitment to education, the commitment to pensions, the commitment to keeping health care, it's as if everyone wants to keep all of the social safety net and all of the pieces not only there but build them bigger in terms of redefining a next era social contract. but when you're looking at budgets and having to make hard choices -- i guess i'd like to ask you, and i'm going to call on richard to come up and ask a question. what would you counsel those on the progressive left who want that return of the great society? what are they getting wrong? and and what hard choices are
they unwilling to make? >> well, another thing i heard today related to this is this issue of instead of focusing so much on what you can give people, what you need to give people when they're in stress situations is how you can help them make investments in themselves and their children so that they in the future will have less stress situations. so i do actually believe that, and it's a tragedy. i do believe in the importance of focusing on education above all else i guess. and the tragedy part of this, if i go back, if i go back, my first involvement in the debate about competitiveness was actually working on a commission set up by president reagan and john young then the ceo of hewlett-packard, a republican, was involved. and that's how actually bree got
started. the two issues on the competitive list, number one and number two, number one was we needed a stable macro environment. well, you've heard today most of the day how we haven't really had a stable macro environment although the last several years we've had a crisis and a recovery and a fragile recovery. and the second one was dealing with our educational challenges. we haven't made anywhere near the progress we should have made if you look today, the rate of educational attainment of young men has basically stabilized. the high school dropout rate has increased. the employment level, the share of working aged men who are working declined significantly. in part because the median wage has declined. but the point is in part because the skill development, the career trajectory, a lot of what
people are learning now about what works because there are a lot of experiments now going on about this, what works to get someone who might be a high school graduate or a dropout to stay in school, it may frequently be linking to a career path that is not through the a four-year college career path, but it may be through a technical training career path into a one-year specialized program at a community college which is designed very much with the interests of a sector and the interests of the business in mind. so one of the ways the jobs council talked about industrial policy was the importance of having community colleges focus on skills in areas where you col say over the next ten years, on advanced manufacturing skills, what are we missing? on health care workforce skills, what are we missing. and then setting up a very specialized program with the help of the community and the
help of the businesses that will employ these workers and even with the businesses providing things like apprenticeships. that is an industrial policy. you're taking the industrial basin an you're trying to help people invest in those skills which will get them johnsbs in t base. so i would say education. >> richard and then to this gentleman. i mentioned richard because richard helped instigate the idea tore for this conference. i won't say he's responsible for a lot of debt in the country. >> jobs. >> a founding ceo of first usa bank and sort of invented the affinity card. this is the guy who built his fortune out of all of you guys being addicted to points. >> thanks so much for your comments. i do want to note before i talk
about zwloobs alan meltzer earlier talked about a recent study of seven countries with totally different tax policies that more or less demonstrates that tax policy is the lesser factor in the difference between the 1% and the 99% and he said it's the entry of 600 million indians and chinese into the job market that are kind of depleting or decimating the wage structure of the bottom 99% and i think there's a lol of validity to that which would lead to my thought that it's really the invention of the futuring that creates jobs. when you think about where the economy is going to go, not just for the united states but for the world over the next generation or two, it's genetics, robotics, nanotechnology. james pinkerton who was in our session earlier today talked about you know, 0% of our health care costs are tied up in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and