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tv   [untitled]    May 17, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT

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is right. if that prevails, we're toast. we'll look like a bush league country. because one party, our party, the democrats, will look like we're hanging onto the status quo of -- our budget will be -- we can balance it better than they can, but it will be so much on the baby boom generation and on health care delivery systems that haven't been modernized, that we will be holding on to the past too much. and their budget will be in la-la land because it will defy arithmetic. and it will just say, just cut every millionaire's tax like bill clinton to zero, 1,000 flowers would insfit of the fact they they ever produce thele jobs where you invest and balance and try to grow.
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>> let's talk about politics about this in a more specific way if we can for a moment. wisconsin. it's going to be one of the milestone this is year what happens with the recall effort. money pouring in from both sides. what would have happened when the governor took such hard position on the unions, and when he said we're not going to have collective bargaining anymore for the public unions. what would have happened if those unions said and a voice, governor, we just want to come sit at the table with you and work all of this out. we're not going to just gather outside the capitol, we're not going to start a recall, but invite us in. this is our future as well as yours, this is our state as well as yours. we stand on the steps of the capitol wanting to come into the inner chamber, sit down with you and negotiate this in a way that is traditionally done in this country. would that have been a better strategy for the union? >> it might have been a better strategy but i think they would
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have wound up in the same place. because he was elected on a promise to break them. and the people voted for it. they voted for him thinking that obama and the democrats had given him -- this is like 94 all over again. the basic thought is american people really have been conditioned to believe government would screw up a two-car parade. and they have always been skeptical of it. then it's become part of the orthodoxy of the right since the mid 1970s. so, they probably should have done that and said here's what we offer in terms of concession. because they had some long term problems. although the wisconsin problems are not all that severe. and the voters voted for this guy because they thought well, the democrats are giving us too much government, we need rein them in. they didn't pay attention to the specific things. the governor is doing what he
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promised to do. but again, voters often vote on the thematics and the direction and they think we're all a bunch of slug who is don't care about our commitments. overwhelmingly people running for executive office actually try to do what they say they are going to do. increasingly since newt gingrich proved you could nationalize a midterm election, people running for congress try to do the specific things they promise to do. on the assumption that the voters actually ratified that course by electing them. so, i think you know, frankly, they just decided that they had rolled over and played dead long enough and that somebody needed to beat them since they got beat by an extremist rhetorical campaign. they said the republicans have taught us that the harder you are and the more extreme you are, and the more demonizing you are of your opposition, the more
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likely you are to win elections. i mean, and if you are reasonable and everything, they eat you alive in the primary and in the general. people think you're weak or wishy washy or whatever, they don't know what the heck you stand for. so, i think tactically they should have offered that first plus what they were willing to accept. but i doubt if it would have worked. not because -- look. after 2010, everybody drunk the cool aid. they thought the american people's with us on everything. they are with us. how else could we have won all of these elections with these things we said. and you know, they did all of that, liberals thought obama wasn't liberal enough, and the conservatives said you know, he wasn't american enough. bob english got beat in a republican primary in south carolina with 100% conservative voting record on two issues.
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after his injury he said he had an e5y knee he said he didn't have to hate the president to oppose him. he was a christian, not a muslim and as near as he could see was a good family man. he thought he was wrong about everything. that was a cardinal sin. and the other thing was he said i listened to my senator lindsay and i think global warming is real. we need to conservative market based solution to bring down green house gases. that violated the theology and they threw him out in a republican primary. this guy was on the judiciary committee that impeached me and it wasn't enough for them. he's a very good guy, by the way. but i like him but he just like, it was never enough. now, and guys like you always act like well, if there is an impasse it must be everybody's fault, there must be both parties at fault.
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our party's problem is we are always reluctant to give up the gains of the past to create the future. that's a different problem. but we have a lot of people in our party who will not be drummed out, if they depart from the conventional wisdom. and i think you could put together sufficient democratic votes to enact some variation of simpson-bowles or maybe even to do more, but the numbers have to add up and it can't just be an ideological food fight. so that's really what the american people want, they have to make that clear. and i don't know how they are going to make it clear before the election. >> is there something to be learned how you were successful in getting welfare reform through parts of your party so reluctant to embrace that? >> yeah. but you got to understand. most people don't know what happened in welfare reform. most don't know what it did. but i had already given 44 of the 50 states waivers to enact
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welfare reform before the law ever passed. and then the republicans wanted to use welfare reform to hurt -- to cut benefits for legal immigrants, and to basically block grant food stamps and medicaid. health care and nutrition for poor kids. so, i vetoed the first two bills because they block granted food stamps and medicaid. and in the third bill they got off of that, and i ate the cuts in benefits to legal immigrants, in return for getting a lot more money for transportation, housing and job training for people on welfare. there was by 1996, people said well, i got rid of the federal welfare benefit. let me tell what you the federal welfare benefit was in 1996. it was that no state could pay a family of 3 or 4 less than they paid them in 1973.
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23 years earlier. so this alleged federal benefit went from a low of $187 a month in mississippi and texas, to a high of $655 a month in vermont. what we did to try to offset what is now happened in this recession, was to say that every state would receive an amount of money for this equal to what they were getting in february of '94 which was the all-time high in federal reimbursement. and what i did not foresee is that after i left the states would be allowed to spend this money on non-welfare things and so the guarantee faded away which is why the safety net didn't hold up as well. the other thing that was wrong with the welfare reform law was there was a 5-year lifetime limit. that should have told or stopped if you will, whenever there was a recession, that is when there was more than six months of negative growth, if we stopped
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that and we had harder requirements that required that money to be spent on preparing for people to go in the work force, i think it would have worked better. and the mild recession of 2001, people moved from welfare to work were actually less likely than employees overall to be laid off. so, but we worked through all this. and it took two vetoes but that was part of the process. they wanted it. i wanted it. and they knew that we were doing it because 44 states had already been given waivers to do essentially the same thing. >> mr. president, we have a facebook page you'll not be surprised to hear as part of this symposium that peterson has organized for us. pete has always been on the cutting edge of technology, i mean, i can just see him twittering all night long. this is from linda in ft. collins, colorado. i'm a registered independent, i
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believe that we must raise taxes and make radical cuts to entitlements in order to assure that my daughter and her friends won't have a lower quality of life because of our borrowing excesses. howen earth do you get the democrats to agree to the entitlement cuts and the republicans to admit taxes must go up and not just for the rich. this is some of what we've been talking about but this is the essence of what a lot of people out there in the middle feel. >> i think first of all, i think you ask people to actually read what simpson-bowles did on social security. you should read it. i read every word of the simpson-bowles report. if you haven't read it you should read it. and on the corporate tax reform thing, for example, i agree with what they did. they would raise slightly more money by flattening rates. the one thing they want to do i disagree with is get rid of the r and d tax credit.
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we're already 17th in the world in the generosity of our research and development tax credit and we're trying to get high end manufacturing back. we're getting a lot. manufacturers increasingly like to have r and d done at the site where they do manufacturing. but otherwise, i think you know, those two things are good. on the medicare, entitlement, you have two problems. one is demographic. if the baby-boomers consume health care at the same percentage of gdp our kid desire we're i mean, our parents did, we're sticking to our kids. about i would say $200 billion of the trillion dollar difference whan we pay under our system than we would pay if we had any other advanced country system, is because of diabetes and other lifestyle-related things that older people and children do. so we have to deal with that.
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i think you can -- the democrats i think could be induced to do some of that, to actually make changes in the law and the distribution system of food and what's done in the schools, you see a little of that, that would deal with that. about $500 billion of the difference is because we still pay for procedure and not for performance. but one of the reasons i don't want this health care bill to be repealed at least it has the germ in it of these accountable care organizations which are paying for performance and not for procedure. and there are lots of them around the country now that have far lower inflation than overall. then about 200 i'd say 30 billion dollars of the difference is because of the way we finance health care with huge paperwork costs. and cost shifting, which will be diminished under this new system. you know, we've had $1.3 billion in health care premiums returned
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this year under the 85% rule. so, i think the democrats would -- should be willing to gamble that the ideas that are just floating around but not pushed through in this budget, the difference in the obama plan and the one i passed, is that mine had less government but did it have a very hard health care budget because every other country in the world has one. and everybody said bill clinton's trying to ration health care. we ration health care every single day in america. in millions of ways that we don't see. but the president, even with 60 votes, to overcome the filibuster couldn't get a budget through. i understand that. the budget cap. i think that we could get the democrats into this if they thought that they weren't going to be accused of putting a country at risk by taking defense reductions that are
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basically related to ending the wars in iraq and afghanistan, and shifting to more mobile forces like these special forces like the navy s.e.a.l.s that went after bin laden. there is a lot of effort being exerted to figure out how to deploy mobile forces more quickly, and we don't need a cold war military structure to do that. so i think if the republicans showed a willingness to work with us on the defense cuts, and some willing ness to do somethig on revenue. i don't think it would kill the country if we had growth, to have the tax rates across -- this is just me now, i'm not speaking for the white house -- but i think you could tax me at 100% and you wouldn't balance the budget. we are all going to have to contribute to this, and if middle class people's wages were growing up again, and we had some growth in the economy, i
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don't think they would object to going back to the tax rates that obtained when i was president. the country did pretty well then and few people thought they were overtaxed because we had a growing income, tight labor markets, low inflation in health care and rising wages. you got to put it all together to make it palatable. but again, i think that we cannot be in a position where one of the negotiating partners says that's non-negotiable. not only will we not raise taxes we want the bush tax cuts and want more tax cuts and the right to disregard what the budget office says that our budget will do. you can't do that. it's hard to have a deal if there's no arbiter. and i don't always agree, i didn't always agree with what cbo said when i was president but we had been through 12 years where the debt had gone up 4 1/2 times in the 12 years before i took office, and the government
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always had these rosy scenarios, so i instructed our congressional budget offs to be at least as conservative as the congressional budget office was. our omb. it worked out pretty well for us. i think you could get there. i believe you could put together enough democrats if you can make the simple argument that you simply cannot spend all of your money on the present and the past. and we may have a better balanced budget plan than the republicans do or better debt reduction plan because the numbers add up but it's still too heavily bogged down in health care and in retirement costs of the baby boom generation so it's too oriented toward yesterday and today, and i don't think it's a good idea for us to have discretionary spending where it was when eisenhower was president when we're 15th in computer down load speeds and south korea is four times faster. i don't think -- i can give
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you -- i don't think it's a good idea when we have fallen in 12 years from first to 15th in the world in college graduation rates, when you can say whatever you want about whether people are getting their money's worth. unemployment rate in college graduates is half what it is among people who don't have a college degree. i don't think it's a good idea to take that the low when we know if we retrain even middle-aged unemployed workers for jobs that will be available by the cleveland clinic is doing with the community college in cleveland on health care jobs that will be there whatever happens to the health care. i don't think we ought to be gutting that. i think it's hurting, will hurt us significantly with the economy over the long run. and it's a piddlely little amount of money. >> erin burnett is taking notes because she is going to interview speaker boehner later this afternoon. i think the president is helping her out some. >> don't be too -- don't make much after fight because we're doing something for flight 93 tonight together and i want him
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to speak to me at least. >> constituencies and their part, i had not a dust up actually but a little exchange with the aarp when they had commercial that ran at some length in december i think of last year, maybe late november, in which you may remember the tough guy comes onto the screen and says who am i, they fill in behind him, i'm the aarp, we need our benefits and we want all of these benefits. medicare and social security and it was kind of in your face. so i went on "meet the press" and said something about it. it seemed to me there was a better way of dealing with that. we have lots of people in the aarp who could probably afford, for example, social security as outlined -- >> absolutely. i think, look. if you live to be 65 in america today, for all of our other, our life expectancy is not high compared to a lot of countries but if you get to be 65 you're in the oldest senior population
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on earth. and a lot of us are not poor. but half of the people 65 and over are kept out of poverty because of their social security payments. so the whole idea behind simpson-bowles is to ask people like you and me either to pay more or do with less, because we don't need it. so that we can bring the debt down and put a little more into the people on the low income of the scale. this is crazy. i saw -- robert samuelson had an article the other day saying that roosevelt wouldn't recognize social security today because it has been -- a third of the money goes to supplemental security income. i love that program. it does a lot of good. and it's targeted toward people who need it. but the rest of us are going to have to ask ourselves whether it
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wouldn't be better to have this means tested or income based in some way, than any other change you could make. you take medicare for example t problem i have with the premium support argument, all of the basically give a voucher and privatize it, is pretty straight forward. medicare costs have gone up 400% a person in 40 years, and private health insurance has gone up 700%. in the last decade, private health insurance went up way more than medicare and medicaid did. so if you privatize with it a fixed voucher, you're giving people a fixed amount of money putting them 18 more expensive system so there is no way that the whole population won't wind up either being poorer or sicker. it will fix the budget problem. get medicare off the budget. but it will fix the budget problem without the organic
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changes that we need in the health care system that would help the private sector even more than the budget. so, i would rather see us show restraint, increase the co-pays for people on medicare who have more money to pay for it. and those of us who can afford it should pay for it, keep it as a back stop if we need it, you and i got our medicaid -- medicare card. but i favor that. we cannot -- you can't say we want it all just like it used to be. that's the problem in a lot of these european countries where they are asking for these accumulated pension liabilities to be ignored into the future. you know, for a very long time when -- i was stunned when i became governor of arkansas which has a very conservative pension program, we were never underfunded but some people were drawing, started drawing pension at 50 and i said how can this be
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justified. they said well, we never had money so these people never made good salaries, so we made it up to them by letting them retire early, draw a retirement and then get another job so they could finally end their days with a decent income. a lot of this stuff made such good sense when these decisions were made, and they just don't work because of the demographics. so i guess we're having a vigorous agreement on this. if that's aarp position, i disagree with that. >> well, actually, they called me and changed, they took that ad down and they have now more of a dialogue ad on there. i care about social security and what should i know about it. >> the one thing you said that i agree with, by the way -- >> only one? >> no, but i mean the most important thing is that when you asked me the wisconsin question, here's what i know. most of my life has nothing to do with this today. i work in my foundation and i sell medicine to 70 countries, we're building health systems in
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30 countries, we're doing agricultural and interview projects all over the world. and here's what i know. the places that work best are where all of the stake holders get together, openly acknowledge their different interests as well as their different ideas, and then talk to each other like they got half good sense. i mean, i was down in brazil last year on the edge of the rain forest. because they are really worried that after stopping 75% of the destruction of the rain forest, under president lula, it's ginning up for two reasons. one is the sugar cane that they grow for ethanol and they are the only country in the world that burns more ethanol than fuel, doesn't use rain forest land but pushes the soybean farmers and the cat ranchers in the rain forest. they need more pow ir. it's all hydro, and the only places where the rivers run deep and hard enough to build new dams are in the rain forest. here's the important thing. i go to this meeting.
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there's every electric company, every oil country, the head of the chambers of commerce, the president of the green party who ran third in the race for president, the representatives of the native american tribes that are now constitutionally protected there. advocates for poor people, advocates for the environment and all sitting around tables talking to each other like they are intelligent beings. in other words, to go back to what you said, you know, i don't have a vote in congress. my opinion on the details is not as important as the process. and our politics favors conflict and the only thing that is working anywhere in the world are created networks of cooperation. that's why san diego has the highest number of nobel prize winning scientists in america because they are the center of the human genome. you got defense, nasa, disney
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world, global entertainment and the video game division of global entertainment arts and the universal theme park they are all supporting this. so, if you work, look at in america around the world, getting all of the stakeholders together with the goal of making an agreement, doesn't ask anybody to change their mind, doesn't ask anybody to ignore their interests, it says in the end, a decision is better than an impasse. that may be more important than anything else in this whole thing. these people are plenty smart, lots of really smart people. they can figure out how to do this. but their goal has to be to make a deal, it new have a fight. >> i'll share with you as we conclude a couple of experiences i had recently that worked pretty well. the president and i talk about these issues a lot personally. we have known each other a long time. i had the privilege of being on the mayo clinic boardsh, it's a
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nonprofit, one of the most interesting things i do. i was in phoenix and they brought in a lot of people from the phoenix area, most of whom i assumed were conservative from a political point of view and we walked them through the clinic that morning in scottsdale putting in the labs and the icu and showed them a couple of the big operations going on, then we gathered for lunch. and i was going to stand up and talk to them about the place of the clinic in their lives and the health care system in america and i was trying to think of a way in which to connect to them. i said you saw those laboratory technicians or you saw the nurse practitioners and the surgeons who were scrubbing for a very complicated operation, or you were with the medical unit did you notice, did any of them ask are you from a blue state or a red state? did any of them say, are you a conservative? or an independent or are you a tea party member? they didn't ask that. i was in my home state of south dakota the other night speaking to an organization out there that does a branch for troubled boys. again, in south dakota my guess
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is that most of the audience, big business men in sioux falls, we all grew up in a state in which they came out here and couldn't have been more difficult breaking the prairie and building these communities and putting up barns and starting farms. i don't remember any one when i was a kid in which we all put our shoulder to whatever the wheel happened to be in front of us saying are you a conservative? or are you a liberal or are you a tea party member? we all kind of knew where everyone stood when it came to common cause everybody was willing to step forward on that. i think that we have to recapture that in some fashion. >> i just gave a speech a couple weeks ago to a big health care group. and there were people there from big health insurance companies, running big health care networks, and small health care networks and doctors, all of these people in health care. and a lot of them were, i had known a lot of them for years. i didn't know what the division
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was but plenty of republicans and a few democrats there. but to the person after i spoke, they -- i said i thought it would be a disaster to repeal this health care law because we have to go back to square one and come up with 60 votes and right now there was an incentive to cooperate. what was the first bill passed in health care after the president signed the bill? overwhelming bipartisan majority to clean up the small business reporting requirements which were screwed up. why? because once there was a bill and a process, there was an incentive to cooperate. so, all these health insurers and health care providers came to me and said boy, we agree with that. we think we're making progress now. we're being forced to rethink the delivery system. which as i explained to you is where half the money is that we spend we wouldn't spend in another country. that's what we have to do, we have to create a system in washington where we say to a guy like speaker boehner, i think
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we'll make a deal. you know, if he didn't think he was going to be deposed. that the -- nobody's going to be right about all of the specifics. we are living in a complex world. what drives progress is direction. and what people afraid -- are afraid about america now is that we don't have direction because we're going to be paralyzed. you can see it more clearly in other countries. how many articles have you and i read about the aftermath of the arab spring in egypt, now the muslim brotherhood wins all of the elections. why, because they have been organized, and they go to voters that aren't part of the arab spring who don't understand the need for religious and cultural and intellectual diversity, and the magnets can pull the


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