tv Washington Journal CSPAN December 21, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EST
host: you can send us your e- mails, and also your comments at twitter. the vote early in the morning 60/40, too late for many early editions of the east coast newspapers. a look of the west coast newspapers -- health reform clears turtle, and the vote likely means that the senate will ok the vote by christmas. look at the orange county register -- different headline, same story. health bill passes vote. it appears headed for passage. lots of online reporting from the likes of the politico, congressional quarterly, the hill. here's a look at "the politico" this morning -- senate advances landmark health bill.
they have less than two days after releasing a bill with 383 pages of changes, harry reid crowd his politically diverse caucus and delivered the 60 votes necessary for the crucial test vote. political rights that this effectively assures that it will pass later this week. senators seated at their desk, are rarely used practice amid only for historical boats. in this article they also right that if the senate passes the bill as expected after two more procedural votes this week, house and senate negotiators will begin the arduous process of building two substantially different bills. the senate is back to debate today. coverage later today on c-span2. daniel on the democrats' line,
first up. caller: good morning. i like to say that in both proud of the president and speaker harry reid and nancy pelosi about how they handled this debate so far. i'm also proud of howard dean who was out there doing a great job. i remember in the 1960's when the civil rights legislation passed. same thing. on the left everyone thought the legislation was too weak. it was not strong enough. it was correct. it needed strengthening. the same with this health care bill. host: caller, you said you were proud of power game. last week he cannot and was not in favor of this final measure. caller: he thought the measure was too weak, watered-down.
the same thing was said about civil-rights back in the 1960's. on the right they feel that it is too much too fast, too radical. but it needs to be worked on. host: let's hear a republican view from lake charles, louisiana. caller: i am a republican, but i do believe this is a good thing to pass. there is all lot of corruption and i see it as a ploy to get this prolonged. host: lots of senators on the
sunday shows yesterday. one of the key members of the 60-foot coalition is senator ben nelson who was on yesterday on "state of the union." >> there are some who say that former governor, now senator nelson perhaps enjoy is this a bit too much. some of your liberal colleagues did you love the spotlight, love being able to be the guy with leverage? >> i don't think that is accurate at all. i could not create the opportunity to be the 6oth vote. it happened. i would say, if you think it is fun having both sides on an issue matt you when your turn to do something in good faith, just think -- it is like going on and being a bit by the family dog. [laughter] host: your thoughts on the senate health debate. passing in the wee hours the
mining a good morning, houston, dustin come on the independent line -- dustin, on the independent line. caller: sorry. i was not expecting to get through. the question i was having was, the entire way that you will be -- how will work? will be like car insurance? how will then know that you do not have it? the entire thing really interests me. when you go to get your driver's license will they ask for your insurance the with that they ask for car insurance? that is really interesting me. i don't know how they will do that. host: here is milwaukee, robert on the democrats' line. caller: i was calling to say
that the party of yes, yes, yes during the bush administration is now the party of no, no, no during the obama administration. ñithe republicans are definitely saying no to everything. i think that the vote last night -- i stood up until 1:00 a.m. in the morning because i'm very interested in our government. the things that the republicans are saner just totally out of whack. -- that they are saying. when the pharmaceuticals past that caused a $600 billion deficit during the bush administration or the wars which created a the deficit problem -- now there trying to blame obama
for the jobs lost during the bush administration -- seven of 35,000 jobs per month -- people need to wake up and smell the coffee. host: that caller mentioned watching the vote at 1:00 p.m. -- the hill rights that the route to the vote which took place with solemn ceremony as harry reid requested that every lawmaker but at their desk was not a smooth one -- he can under with three -- came under withering criticism. the public here at tom harkin yesterday on the floor debating the bill. -- have a look here at tom harkin. >> the last couple weeks of we heard from the other side is attack, attack, attack. no, no, no -- ñryou know, they
keep talking. i just heard the senator from arizona saying this is not a bipartisan bill. i have heard so much talk on the other side about how this should be bipartisan. let's look at that for a second. as i see it the republicans have no bill of their own. our bill has 60 democrats, a super majority. my friends on the other side are all over the place. they cannot even agree among themselves what they want to do. they have no comprehensive bill. not like we have come up with. i keep hearing that we democrats are not bipartisan, but who do we deal with? just the senator from arizona? just the senator from tennessee? how about the senator from
oklahoma or from south carolina? so, i am sorry -- i feel sorry that the republicans are all split up. host: ted, from endeavor new york, on the republican line. caller: i like to know about senator chuck schumer from new york. how he has not made a deal like mary landrieu or ben nelson, and gotten $300,000 or the medicaid pay off? that would be an interesting question for chuck schumer to answer. host: "usa today" writes a little about that. the story this morning that dubbing them the louisiana purchase and the cornhuskers set backickback --
louisiana, next up, ronald on the independent line. caller: my opinion, getting back to miss mary lender of think that she did great for the state of louisiana and that is why she was elected -- to get things done. -- that is married landrieu. as far as both sides, the republican and democratic parties are fighting among us, doing worse than any terrorist could ever do. they are dividing the nation. eager to the coffee shop and hear people discussing and getting angry with each other. we need to get together. we're no longer the united states.
host: this headline, durbin said afterwards that he hopes cooler heads will prevail. he said he does notñr see a purpose in further delay. next up, cleveland, ohio. good morning. caller: well, i was not paying so much attention on debate as to the spin on the debate with people's talking points. no one remembers the 52 weeks ago the stock market crashed. to me, this is a good bill. ain't as good as it could be, but the politics of our time make us so we have to take what we can get.
host: the headline this morning, online edition of "the washington post" -- helped health care bill clears crucial vote in senate, 60/40. the tally taken shortly after 1:00 a.m. followed 12 hours of acrimonious debate and required senators to trek to the capitol in the aftermath of a snowstorm. the vote was the first of three procedural hurdles that democrats must cross before final passage now scheduled for christmas eve. we will look at senator john mccain of arizona. >> just less than one month before the election, then candidate president obama said
ago concerning health care reform "i will have all the negotiations around a big table here. we will have negotiants televised on c-span said that people can see who's making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies -- keep that in mind, or the insurance companies'." that was a statement made by then senator-candidate obama. what we have seen here is a dramatic departure. there has never been a c-span camera, never been a serious negotiation between republicans and the other side. i say that with the knowledge of someone who has negotiated many times across the aisle. do not stand up and said that there were serious negotiations between republicans and democrat. there never were, but there was negotiations with special
interests, with pharma, the same ones the president said the american people would see who are on the side of. host: senator john mccain from yesterday. the senate will reconvene at noon eastern for continued debate. follow it on c-span2,ñr ñiñrand- span radio. even call it also on your iphone with the news ap app. caller: good morning. ñimy question was whether senatr byrd was there to vote? host: he was. it is written about in the washington post this morning by david milbank. -- dana milbank.
at 2:00 on sunday afternoon -- at 4:00 p.m. sunday afternoon, nine hours before the vote would effectively clinched the legislation's passage, senator coburn went to the senate floor to propose a prayer. next up is arlington, new jersey, on the independent line. caller: 01 to make a few comments on tom harkin's remarks -- i want to make a few commons.
the statement that republicans are in disarray is the biggest joke. they have stood firm in opposition of this massive entitlement. the democrats of the ones who could not get their act together until they bribed landrieu and now nelson. with respect to senator mccain's statement, it is obvious that this is not the reform politics in washington that obama promised during his election. this has been the least transparent said the negotiations on a major piece of legislation, 17% of our economy. i think it is good that the democrats are passing it on a party-line vote. i think many will be voted out of office in november next year. 61% of the people would rather have now changed and this change. host: next up, boston, beatrice.
caller: good morning. merry christmas and happy new year. i have watched all of yesterday. i stayed up for the count. and it jumped up and down on my bed. in the 65-year-old woman, and i thank god for that vote. people need it to listen and stop taking in the lies. they need to be think a lot they have medicare/medicaid. they need to be thankful and stop wishing the people don't have the same thing they have. the majority of people listen to your program our senior citizens, sitting home with their medicaid and medicare and their food stamps. the stimulus package, their taxes are reduced and they are complaining and the want people to have health insurance.
that is a shame. host: the call from boston, ted kennedy's widow wrote an opinion piece yesterday, the headline which read the moment that ted kennedy would not want to lose -- a look at it here on line from "the washington post." from victoria kennedy. good morning, michael. calling on the republican line. caller: i am 31 years old and i am sad to say i have never really followed the politics the way i've been following it the past few months over the healthcare debate. i have medicare/medicaid and am on social security. both of my daughters get health care through the state. i am wondering what the cuts to medicare -- i really can get the answer. how this russian my care?
will still be able to choose the doctor i want to go to? host: michael, the best advice i can give you is to go to our website where we have some comparisons. c-span.org/healthcare. next up is greg, an independent caller. caller: i am in favor of the health care, more less hold out for the hr 676 by dennis kucinich, but i'm hoping that between the congress and representatives, and senate, they might actually come up with something at least with the public option. regarding the republicans, to borrow a line from a popular disney movie, i would like to say that their perspective on things is "take what you can and give nothing back." host: thanks to greg from pennsylvania.
the lead editorial, lead outlook opinion piece in a "the wall street journal" -- change nobody believes in. they write that the rest, a secretive way this destructive and unpopular bill is being forced on the country shows that reform has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently extending the american entitlement state. ted, on the democrats' line from new york city. caller: you do a great job, c- span. the republicans at this time are nothing but benedict arnolds. not one vote from them. when we ask them they offered nothing. i think republicans will be the ones voted out of office because the democrats have been doing all they can. they have tried to get this medicare buy in down to age 55. that was the exact right thing
to do, lowering the age. where we would be buying into it. this is not a giveaway, a government handout. so that we would just have an option. in approaching that age. maybe the republicans want to raise the age to 75? nobody is really arguing what it means for them to take the position that they have. lowering the age to 55 -- joe lieberman is a panacea for the insurance company. it to be put out on suzanne the money he takes from the insurance lobby. the fact that the democrats have been trying and trying -- the republicans are the ones who should be worried about being voted out of office. i hope the democratic handlers of this come election time will do exactly that. host: just to ted's point, we will be talking about public and corporate spending in politics a
little later this morning with bruce freed. here is a tweet. ted from new york city talked about the politics of this. back to "the wall street journal" -- democrats penn 2010 hopes on a bill. part of this article says that mr. obama standing with the american boaters has fallen more dramatically in his first year than any recent president. partly because he was so popular at the outset, but also because voters perceive he has not accomplished much. his 47% approval rating is only the start of his problems. that is said by pollsters.
here is gloria from san diego on the republican line. caller: figure for the opportunity to speak out. in 2005 the california legislators voted down this type of health care. i have something to say about those who are speaking out. this state has supported this nation, would have stood by itself had it not been wrecked by politics. this state has fed the world, done everything possible to make life better for other human being.
it is too bad that the people louisiana and ohio and these states who have never had any economy and never will are not speaking up and doing something. this is what is dividing this nation. people who want to take a vantage of one another and to want to cry and say that they are this party or that -- you're nothing but a loser if you can get off your [beep] and do the right thing. >> we know that the american people are overwhelmingly opposed to this bill. and get the people road will not give the 300 million americans whose lives will be profoundly affected by it as much as 72 hours to study the details. imagine that. when we all woke up yesterday morning we still had not seen
the details of the bill we are being asked to vote on before we go to sleep tonight? when we woke up yesterday morning we still have not seen the details of the bill we will be asked to vote on before we go to sleep tonight. how can anybody justify this approach? particularly in the face of such widespread and intense public opposition. can all of these americans be wrong? down to their concerns count? host: the republican leader yesterday on the floor of the senate. bangor, maine. what do you think, george? be sure to mute your set. caller: i'm sorry.
i did not expect to get right on. i'm calling to say that the people who are jumping up and down for joy over this bill -- they don't understand this country is bankrupt. these people, to get what they want right now, they are selling their own children into a soup line 10 or 15 years from now and are willing to do that knowingly. i'm on disability, getting social security. i have a lung disease that is my own fault for smoking for 30 years. the truth of the matter is, i have cost hospitals around this country over $100,000 that i could not pay because nobody would give me insurance because
i have all lung condition. the truth of the matter is that the country would have been better off if they have let me die. ong ago. i'm too much of a coward to let myself by here on the couch. when i get to the point that i cannot agree that call an ambulance and they take me to the hospital and fix me up. -- there should have let me die long ago. i would have been better off if they let me die long ago. i have cost at least $120,000, possibly $150,000. host: george, you have no health insurance at all? caller: no. hey to me i will be above the medicare in march of next year. host: how old are you? caller: i am 54. host: we get an update on the
vote in the wee hours. getting a phone call from david drucker of roll call. what does that the mean and where are we in the process? guest: the big test for harry reid and the democrats was last night's vote -- that of this morning, because it was the first of a series of votes in the end game toward final passage. last night all 60 democrats voted with the majority to end debate on a particular amendment to help the health care reform bill. they have done that. i think it signals that this will pass the senate. even though the majority leader had secured the support of his members in advance, there's
always a little trepidation before you get to the vote. you could tell once the vote occurred and was successful for the democrats that the leadership and the members on that side were very jubilant, very excited. they think it is now done deal. host: what did the democrats have to do to get nelson on board? caller: acquiesce to a few of his demands and now for a couple of deals as part of legislation. there is compromise abortion language in the bill to make it a little harder for women who want to use insurance with federal funds to pay for abortions. also, the state of nebraska will never have to pay for the expansion of medicaid that is called for in healthcare reform bill. decade is a program that provides health care to the poor that is jointly funded by state and federal governments. for nebraska it will not be
partly funded by the state. it will only be paid for by washington. there are few other things in there that nelson wanted which he got. host: any chance of that schedule which now looks like a christmas eve vote for final passage -- any chance it will be shortened? callerguest: no, the only way if the republicans feel the back time. they could say that although we have the votes to end debate or break a filibuster, we will not require you to use although 30 hours of debate time leading up to cloture, but there's no where republicans will do that. they do not like a build. not only would they take a lot of flack for not forcing democrats to use all the time, but in their mind want to stretch this out to make the
votes as difficult as possible. they want to signal that they are not in favor of its. host: when the final vote comes will the democrats need 60, or with a simple majority do? guest: final passage is simple majority. there are three cloture votes because of the way it is set up. last night it was on an amendment that included all the compromises and changes that harry reid the good ship was senators like ben nelson, and other. coming up on tuesday morning, although i do not believe it will be as ridiculously early as this first vote, that will be on the substitute amendment to the main bill. coming up on wednesday you have the underlying health care bill itself. christmas eve night you just have a simple majority, final passage. host: that is david drucker from roll-call on the final passage.
thank you for joining us this mine. we will speak to steve forbes, former presidential candidate. his new book is "how capitalism will save us" -- why free people and free markets are the best answer. though be all hold our with steve forbes right after this. steve forbes right after this. >> tonight, head of the motion picture association on efforts to improve copyright protection and reduce movie pracy. tonight on c-span2. >> c-span on christmas day. a look ahead to 2010 politics including eric cantor and nbc's reporter. a discussion on the role of muslims in the world.
later, the former cia intelligence officer on the u.s. strategy. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, remembering the lives of william buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. "washington journal" continues. host: joining us from new york, steve forbes, the author of "how capitalism will save us" -- former ceo. you indicate in your introduction that he began writing the book in 2007 before the economic collapse. what prompted you to write a book on capitalism at that time? guest: well, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what true free markets are. how they work and what rules are needed. in that sense even though most have a favorable view, it is like the proverbial fish not
knowing that it is swimming in water. we have the system but people really do not understand how works. i thought the book with a question and answer format would be useful. then the disaster came along in the along2007, so we have to focus it on the fact that the whole idea of free markets and capitalism has taken a real hit. -- the whole disaster came along in 2007. the major economic disasters in the past 100 years have had disastrous government policies as the origin. host: as the crisis happened, tarp was passed another efforts were made,ok what is your overal view on how things have gone on? guest: one of the points we make in this book is that there is no
party who has the virtue or lack of virtue in terms of economic policies. sometimes democrats get it right, sometimes republicans get it right. many times. both it times the crisis itself was a series of disasters from the fed and regulatory ones. it made for the perfect storm. since the fall of 2008, unfortunately some of the mistakes have been perpetrated. a boring but devastating one was an accounting thing called mark to market which unnecessarily reduced capital of banks and insurance companies. it was a hearing that finally got the sec and other board to change it. it is when the stock market and financial restitutions began to give back on their feet. so far the process of the bill has not been completed. the dollar is still weak which
is hurting investment. the credit system is still not making, not fully working in providing reliable credit to small, small businesses and consumers. the uncertainties out there, particularly with this massive health care bill passed -- uncertainty about cap and trade and other things, is hurting business investment. next year we will get economic growth, but it is like a baseball player who has been hitless who is now heading 250. host: i want to invite viewers and listeners to join the conversation. steve forbes is with us until a 30 a.m. eastern to take your
calls on the economy, politics, and capitalism. you write in your book about democratic capitalism being the most moral humane system, but has the system itself had some major problems in the last couple of years? guest: well, when you have an economic disaster which had its origins in massive money printing by the federal reserve, fannie and freddie guaranteeing $1.50 billion of disastrous mortgages, when the egregious behavior of those on wall street breaks the law and will be punished -- one of the things to recognize is that human nature will not change. you will always have people trying to game the system. there are laws about fraud and
the like to deal with them. but would government policies create the disaster is always free markets that get the blame. in the 1970's and the fed and other banks went on a binge of money-printing and gave us a devastating decade of inflation. business got the rap for it. in the great depression of the 1930's had its origins in a tariff from 1929, 1930. it destroyed the global trading system. the they put in big tax increases including one on checks. if you wrote a check in the 1930's you also have to pay a stamp tax. those kinds of things turn this into an unmitigated disaster. you need sensible rules of the road for free-market spot, but also the government to do its part in making sure that we have things like a stable currency.
and the government not trying to manipulate, always with good intentions, the economy. host: first call, on the republican line. caller: good morning. i read your book. it is an incredible book. we're really fired up here in georgia. we just got a speaker of the house elected a. we are trying to organize 27 million small businesses who are against higher taxes and regulation. if we get them fired up down you think that could be an incredible force? we're trying to make our home town the capital, the small business capital of the world. guest: i think businesses and the american people are getting fired up. we saw the first indications of the tea parties early this year.
people instinctively understand that you do not make radical changes in one sixth of the economies without thoughtful debate and discussion. people are also upset by the massive debts ideficit spending. yes, people rising up, especially small businesses. theyi] are the job creators. they will be hit hard by the changes. again, that is why we will get a recovery next year. but will be a flimsy one like the 1970's. host: here is wellington, florida. caller: hi. host: please mute. caller: sorry.
yes, the problem with the free market economy is that it is not pre-market at all. the banksñiñr make $10. you put your heart-earned money into the bank. it goes at the speed of light to the federal reserve and the bank gets credit for it. say, chase, and then they get fronte-weighted interest. the bankers have done nothing. you do not even need a degree to have a bankers license. it is because people cannot pay off their loans. they get no equity in their house until 25 years on the 30- year mortgage. they still pay more interest and principal. then, the use the scam that you get to deduct taxes, but if you
have a 17% tax bracket you must pay one of dollars to save $17. they are behind $83. all they have to do is eliminate the front-weighted interest. you have community banks, local not for profit banks. to ensure they did find a banker to do it and loan it out without the front-weighted interest. he would have a 20-year mortgage and in 10 years you have paid off after loan. host: thanks. will get steve forbes a response. guest: right now, there are several parts of your observations, in terms of the banks today because of the federal reserve having a virtually zero-rate policy which i think is a mistake -- banks have no incentive to lend money. they get it virtually free and then can buy government bonds
yielding up to 3%. that is a very nice spread. that is one reason why the system is not working. another reason why the system is not fully working yet is because while the president urges banks to lend his regulators are going into banks and telling them to get more capital and tighten standards. banks are getting a contradictory message. they the other one i get in trouble with their regulars by simply buying deposits and buying government bonds. if the markets were working at the banks would have to pay a true market rate for your interest. in terms of mortgages and how they work, when you say how about a 20-year mortgage were you pay half of it after 10 years -- the very careful because that would front-load the principle and would end up having to pay both principal and interest.
a big jump in the first 10 years. the monthly payment would end up being higher rather than the traditional 20 or 30 year. host: the caller also talked about income-tax. are you still a proponent of the flat tax? how would it work? guest: i am a believer in the flat tax. we have a 9 million-word tax cut that no one understands. money magazine years ago did a survey of the amylase-- the took a hypothetical family taxes and give it to 46 tax preparers and as for the returns. what you got back was that the 46 preparers, no two could agree on what the family owed on federal income-tax. you have thousands of dollars of difference.
what i believe should be done is just to jump this monstrosity which gets riddled with special provisions, replace it with a simple single rate. i propose a 17% with generous exemptions. a family of four would pay no federal income tax on the first $46,000 of income. only 17 cents on the dollar above $46,000. no tax on savings and no death taxes. on the business side for we have some of the highest taxes in the world right now, it would cut the rate from 35% down to 17%. it would get rid of bill depreciation schedules. if you buy a piece of capital economy you have to go through all kinds of accomplishments on how much you can write off. i believe that you should write it off on the year that you make it and if you have a loss carry
afford towards future profits. 25 countries have done it and it has worked well wherever it has been tried. host: chicago is next. caller: how are you doing? i see steve forbes on other services and i am familiar with what you are basically doing. it is two different contradictions. you have had the economy for the last 25 years and made money. you forget about those left. the object of the game is to make money, but to people like you have already bankrupt the country and want to do it again. you want to tell everybody that you know how to fix its. how could you fix it if your ideas are so plentiful -- then how did you get into this mess in the first place? guest: in terms of the last 30
years since the early 1980, the u.s. among developed countries has been the biggest job craig torres in the world. seeing a huge expansion in our standard of living. little things on the day to day basis like cell phones, ipods. longevity has gone up. what open a the economy was the federal reserve. that is a government institution deciding if needed to help the economy by printing too much money. it is the equivalent of an automobile. you can have a fine vehicle, but if you don't put in enough fuel you will stall, and if you put in too much will flood the engine. the fed flooded the engine. it first went to commodities in 2004. oil, copper, gold all shot up. in the housing market it put the booming market on steroids to banks with lower lending standards. you got to the time were you did
not have to make a downpayment on a mortgage. experience says that is a formula for disaster, and it was. if we get the policies right, there is no reason why we cannot resume expansion again. host: republican column next. he is from bloomington, ill.. caller: on the mark to market accounting you are suggesting that the financial institutions should be able to assign arbitrary values to the assets they hold. that is what got us into this mess. i cannot go to a bank and sit at my house is worth $200,000 and get a loan. my house is worth $150,000. you did not make any sense, steve. guest: this gets to an arcane, boring area. it gets to how banks and insurance companies, how you value of what they call their
regulatory capital. institutions must have reserves obviously for losses and to meet future obligations as for life insurance policies. the question has always been how to value assets held for reserves for regulatory purposes? until 2007 for 70 years the tradition had been that if a bank bought an asset, for example, a bond for $1,000 -- a 10-year bond, it kept it on its books $4,000 unless it sold it or it went bad. otherwise, for regulatory purposes and kept the bond on four $1,000. that was true for the great depression. marked to market becoming was done away with in 1938 because it was destroying bank capital unnecessarily. marked to market accounting does without $1,000 bond -- for regulatory purposes no longer
keep it for $1,000. you marked it up or down according to what you think the market price is. when you have a downturn the banks suddenly not only has losses on its loans which reduces capital, but it must now reduced the value of its reserve capital even though the money is being paid along with the principal and interest. it would be the equivalent if you were told to sell your house in the next hour. what kind of price would you get for it? you rightly say that is ridiculous. you would not get much price at all. marked to market accounting did that to banks and insurance companies and up and did 70 years worth of a sound tradition. it because the banks to panic. most of the losses are book losses, not actual cash losses. you took the equivalent of a flood and turned it into a
tsunami. in march and april of this year we amended that, thanks to pressure from congress including community banks. it stopped the bleeding. we went through this in the 1930's and it was not pleasant. this is about regulatory capital. if you treat it like a day trading account you will have less capital flowing. banks do not know how much capital they have. the tendency will be to collect the cash. host: a political question from twitter. how can capitalism drive while our president's policies and ideology oppose it in favor of marxism? guest: the recovery in 2010 will not have any kind of the vigor we normally would get given the
rate of decline from late 2008. in the meantime, however, there are pressures you can put on your representatives. you can still try to get them to delay the healthcare bill. it is amazing that no one has read this. we know that it will put a lot of new taxes on. it will turn insurance companies into utility. ask there will be big tax debates coming up next year. the will be debates about cap and trade. the more small businesses make no upset they are, the better chance we will get change.
even though things are dicey now we have gone through rough periods in the past like the 1930's and 1970's. we have always emerged and gotten back on track again. host: wilmington, vt.. caller: good morning. you're dealing with the effect of all the terrible things that have been done to our economy. i like to focus on what i believe is the core. our 800 military bases worldwide and expanding south america presents -- a $700 billion more funding bill that zipped through congress with no real opposition -- we have imperialists wars we regularly wage to support our industrial base. we have exported the
jobs from the manufacturing base of working americans. we have plantation capitalism where few people prosper greatly. everyone else works very, very hard. i have heard 7-8 trillion dollars of debt was passed along to obama who i believe is doing his best to work with right-wing extremist in both parties. wars that do not and. guest: i think on the awar side, to put the money in perspective, even though we're spending a lot of money in afghanistan and iraq, if you add up all we're spending on those two wars, it is still less
proportionally than what was spent in the 1980's. far less than was spent in the 1950's and 1960's. in terms of both iraq and afghanistan -- let me be careful here -- on the money side, we spent in those two places is proportional" we spend every three weeks on world war ii. we were able to finance world toii with government debt that was paid at 2.5% or 3%. people then had faith in the dollar. the problem with iraq and afghanistan is the blood we're shutting of our young people. on the money side, and i want to be careful bit from supporting
it from the young people on the line -- and economy of our size can easily do it. we have had far greater bertrand's in previous decades. in terms of the lives and strategies -- that is where the real debate is. -- we have had far greater expenses in previous decades. host: back to your book "how capitalism will save us" -- you write that those who buy into capitalisms bad rap, who believe free markets are based on exploitation and greed to appreciate how the invisible hand work. people and a free-market are mobilized not by greed bye-bybuy self-interests. tellus the difference?
guest: you mentioned adam smith's. one of his great observations is that a transaction must be mutually beneficial. both sides have to get something out of it. you go to restaurants, you want the fu, the restaurant one german. it is a mutual exchange. in terms of self-interest you may want money and a big house and all that -- but the essence of free-market says that you do not sell something or get the money unless you provide something, a product or service that of the people want. -- go to restaurants and you won thefood, and the one your money. you can have your own interest in developing your own talents, but if you do not succeed -- do not succeed unless you provide something that someone else wants.
you get these extraordinary webs of cooperation. host: sunnyvale, california . caller: a have been reading a book by john vogel, the founder of the vanguard. he has two concepts when he is talking about the large corporations. he says there is an owner capitalism and then there is management capitalism. i believe that honor capitalism is what you and most people mean by cabalism. but what he is talking about is management cabalism where the ceo's and other management, and
perhaps management all the way down the line in fact operate the corporations not for the owners benefit, but for the management's benefit. it seems to me this is maybe what is actually happening. the problem is that with honor capitalism, but with the group of management. to me, that would explain the perverse incentives you see. i'm afraid you might actually end up with oligarchy if we do not already have it. host: a response? guest: there is a huge difference between a large corporation employing thousands and traditional small businesses from whence they grew to be what they are. when bill gates began microsoft over 30 years ago it was only a
to be responsive to the needs of shareholders or somebody's going to come after them, and they won't be able to put artificial barriers to stop them from doing so. host: hasn't the s.e.c. recently made moves to provide for more trance pearns a in the stockholders' position, more trance parents siff management and bonuses and c.e.o. pay? guest: they have, but the challenge is not so much transparency on pay. if you will go in the innards of these filings about the s.e.c., you can pretty well figure out at least 9 % behalf these people are getting and what the prospect that they're getting if certain performance standards are met. but the problem is that -- and i think, bill, in the 1990's and early part of this decade, in reaction to what some call crony capitalism where the c.e.o. stacks the board with his friends and they give them a large pay increase and the
like, outside of the financial industry, there was starting to be a reaction to that, and the s.e.c. has been sympathetic to it, and it's had it real effect. the problem were the egregious pay packages which took place in the financial industry, and that had its origins with the federal reserve printing so much money, and then the s.e.c. allowing these companies, especial investment bankers to leverage up, that is borrow a lot, not as much as fannie and freddie did proportionately, but much more than was sound. and so temporarily it looks great, and then when you got a little bit of a down turn, by golly, that whole thing came crashing down. again, the government needs sound and stable money, and then you have to have transparency, and management knowing that they're answerable to share holders and they can't erect artificial barriers to stop it. host: about another half-hour with steve forbes and his new book, "how capitalism will save us." we go to john in savannah,
georgia. good morning, john, on our republican line. caller: yeah, we've spent trillions in iraq and afghanistan, so i don't know what this three weeks is about, but i want to ask you about per knack eerk the "time" man of the year. then i hear congressmen saying we don't need to de lve into what the feds are doing. isn't it time we did de l very into what they're doing? thank you. guest: on your point on the three weeks, if you -- again, this gets a little arcane, but if you take the size of the u.s. economy and see what it's spending in terms of iraq and afghanistan, it's thee qui lent in world war ii what we spent on that war, a global war, about three or every four weeks as a proposition of the commesm it's real money, but we've had bigger military financial burdens before. it is amazing this most
powerful institution in washington hasçó virtweal no accountability which the u.s. congress which created it. and so a congressman from texas, ron paul, senator from south carolina jim demint and others, including also, i might say, the democrat social frist vermont, bernie saunders, all favor a bill that would have the government audit the federal re, that is, what agreements have they made with other central banks, that ought to be made available. where the money goes, if they put in the market, what criteria they use. that isn't about independence, that's about accountability. and the fed has reacted leak a scald cat on the thing, saying it's the end of civilization. no, it is not. everyone in government has to be account able. the c.i.a.,s fed has less accountability to congress not that central intelligence agency does, which is ridiculous. so it's a benign bill that congressman paul and others have proposed, and i hope it gets through congress. host: steve forbes, i have a
comment for you, one of our to witters users, a twitter from stockmarketscam is his handle, writes that your book title does not make any sense, steve. you should change it "how the rich stole from the poor q. i'll tie that into one your chapters, chapter they're, "aren't the rich getting richer at other people's expense"? if up to the reply to that and tell us what that chapter, how that chapter would answer our twitter comment this morning. guest: well, it gets in, you say, the rap that the rich get rich expert poor get poorer. but the essence of free market is you don't succeed unless you provide something that other people want. and if you look at how the thing actually works when it's allowed to, you find you have great mobility out there. for example, the i.r.s. did a survey of tax returns from the mid 1990's to the mid part of this decade to see what actually happens to people's well-being, their incomes over that 10-year period. and what the survey found was
that people in the bottom quinn tile, starting out with very little, the qu intile mean fifths, so the people on the bottom quintile starting off with very little going in the workforce, they went up. their incomes went up, and their relative standing went up. the majority went up at least one quin active le, many went up two or three. in other words, as they got skills, their well-being improved. you also have people, though, moving down on the thing, so there is mobility in the economy. and in terms of people getting rich in a free economy, the only way they get rich, like a bill gates, again, is if they create something that is providing something people want or they take something and investigate the capital correctly in a way that it expands. so it's a flute situation, it's not like oligarchs you find in other countries, no chance for entrepreneur toss start
independent businesses, and have a chance to succeed. you look at i.b.m. in the 1960's, the government filed an antitrust suit against the company because it seemed to be so powerful. the trust suit went nowhere, but what upended i.b.m. was the rise first of mini computers, and then personal computers so. by the early 1990's, i.b.m. was virtually broke. they brought in new management, have turned it around. today the company is a thriving, vibrant company. but markets are allowed to work, competition will always bring these companies that get big, they won't stay big unless, again, they are providing things that people want. otherwise competitors will come in and upend them. host: you write a bit about the founder and owner of whole foods and his conversion, his view of capitalism. tell us about that briefly. >> john mackey began whole foods, as you know, originally based on organic foods. he started the business years ago. he looked around at these
stores, saw that they weren't very attractive to people, and he figures that if he had an attractive store that brought people in, get customers who normally wouldn't consider organic foods, that the thing could grow. he started out as a very far on the left, but realized in terms of how he made his own business work -- again, serving the needs and wants of others -- all the capital, sweat capital he had to put in, investing, risk taking he had to take to expand his business, he became a convert to entrepreneurial free market capitalism. he read friedman, he read others like adam smith, and he became a convert and is almost an evangelist on the subject because he's lived the idea of an entrepreneur, somebody starting out with an idea, having a chance to expand and all of the hard work that goes into it, and that's the thing about an entrepreneur, bill, is that the entrepreneur can only -- the entrepreneur is usually the last one to get something
he -- he or she puts the money in, then you have to pay the workers, the suppliers, your backers, and then if there's something left over, you can get ahead, and that's why most new businesses don't succeed. but you have to have a system that allows people to keep trying so you get extraordinary successes like whole foods, which introduced the idea of fine foods and organic foods to tens of millions of customers who normally wouldn't have considered buying those kind of foods. host: back to our phone calls. this is spencer, west virginia. jeff, good morning, independent caller. caller: yes, hello. host: good morning. caller: first of all, i want to say it's an honor to speak with mr. forbes t. the top five guys in history that i admire. he's right there, he's in the top five. guest: thank you. caller: i want to bring a little bit more to grass roots. we've been talking about big business and the economy. i'm a construction worker. i'm living paycheck to paycheck. what advice would you goif a
guy like me that probably makes , say, 50% or maybe more of the population, what would you tell me would be a good way to invest in my future, retirement, you know, i got a 10-year-old son who, eight more yeerks he's going to go going off to college. i mean, what would you tell me to do? i.r.a., treasury bonds? i bought a little bit of gold back in the days when gold was like at $320, and now it's almost tripled that, which i go investment for someone that does not own the market at all. i'm just wondering, someone at the grass roots level. host: jeff, thanks for your causm i'm sure a lot of other people want to ask the same thing. steve forbes? guest: very, very, very basic question, and apropos of gold. every portfolio should have a part of, it not a large part, but a part of it just as an insurance policy. you did well on, it but there
are times when the dollar price of gold goes down, when the government gets its act together, which happens occasionally. but you always have it there as an anchor, as an insurance policy in case things do go wrong as manifestly has happened in recent years. now, in terms of long term on things like your youngster's college education, you're probably familiar with a thing called a 529. every state now offers them. you put money in, it grows tax free for your kid's education. take advantage of that. in terms of other kinds of investing, yes, you should have an i.r.a., 401, you should contribute to that if you can do so. and on those, realize that they are retirement vehicles. you're not trying to hit grand slam home runs. and so on those, don't let your emotions be your enemy. put in a certain amount each month. if you can afford to do so, put in a certain fixed amount each
month, make sure that these funds have low expenses. that's a public information, get from forbes and from others so that you don't lose a lot of money to all these expenses they have. look at their long-term record. put a certain amount in each month, and then when up get these down turns, in effect you're buying more shares. and so when the market comes back, which it inevitably always does, you're even better off. it's called dollar-cost averaging. but the tendency is, even though people nod their heads about the need for discipline, investing, and being long term, when their emotions take over, so when the market goes up, they say, well, is it too late to get in? i want to put more in. or when the market takes a plunge, sickening plunge as we had happen in 2008 and the early part of this>x,eerk the tendency is, oh, my god, is it too late to get out? so if you have flexibility in terms of time, you're not about to retire, then do that monthly cost averaging, certain amount each month. take advantage as much as you can of a 401-t, if you can do a
roth i.r.a., you put in tax money, but when you retire, it's tax free, do those things. do the 529 with your son, and you're doing as much as you can. then other thing do you, just to get in a plug on tax reform, the current tax code is really hostile to people trying to accumulate real capital on a salary because of the huge tax rates and the like. that's one reason why i like a simple flat tax. it encourages people to generate real capital instead of being eaten up in the tax code we have today. host: good morning to jackson, mississippi. good morning, dee, on our independents line. caller: thank you, c-span. thank you for taking my causm i've been listening to mr. forbes as well as a lot of other republicans, and i have one question at this point before i go any further. where were you in the last eight yearsñr when george bush ran -- excuse me -- ran our
country's tab up to over a trillion dollars? mr. obama has only been in office less than a year, but you want to accuse and hold him responsible for trillions of dollars, but your voice was not heard when mr. bush was in office. secondly, i have a problem with the republicans who talk against medical reform when we are the ones who pay the insurance for their insurance. they won't allow us to have the public option, but they are the public option. they are on the public option. again, you speak about 50 years ago in terms of what the budget was in comparison, comparing it to what it is today. we're going back 50 years. there is no comparison. please do not continue to use that.
another question i have, you guys talk about mr. reagan all the time, and the good times that we have under mr. reagan. those times were not as great as you want us to believe that they were, and we also must factor in the fact that mr. reagan was in the throes of alzheimer's -- host: dee, lots there. several questions we'll let steve forbes address. thank you. guest: on the past eight years, in terms of mr. bush's economic policies, and i many other republicans were aghast at his spending policies and spoke out against them. they were minor compared to what we see coming out of washington today. but we did speak out against it, and i believe the biggest domestic mistake of the bush administration, which sadly has been continued by this administration, is its weak dollar policy. weak dollar means weak recovery. you cannot trash the u.s. dollar, let it get weak, and at the present to have a strong economy. that shouldn't be a partisan
issue. john kennedy, democrat, said the dollar should be as good as gold. ronald reagan killed the great inflation of the 1970's, and bill clinton had a strong dollar policy. so that was a huge mistake of the bush administration and the federal reserve, which i did speak out against. in terms of healthcare alternatives, there are positive alternatives out there than just simply having more and more government role and having it do to healthcare what it's done to the housing market, and that is simple things like nationwide shopping for health insurance. right now, each state restricts the companies that can compete. why not have nationwide? i live in the state of new jersey. because of our crazy regulations in healthcare, family policy, if you buy it as an individual, will cost youed sad,000 to $20,000. in pennsylvania, i can get the equivalent policy, virtually the equivalent for $7,000 or $8,000 a year, yet it's illegal for me to buy it in pennsylvania. i can buy a car in pen pernings open a bank account in
pennsylvania, but i can't buy health insurance offered to the citizens of pennsylvania. so let's have nationwide shopping. tax treatment, if a business buys health insurance, it gets a tax deduction. why not allow individuals get a tax deduction? unless you're self-employed, you don't. so a lot of people have credit and tax deductions for insurance. tort reform would be huge savings of money. why not allow small businesses to pool together through trade associations to buy affordable health insurance? so if you open up the market to true competition and get rid of some of these artificial barriers, you'll see an healthcare which you see everywhere else in this economy, and that is entrepreneurs figuring out how to supply more of it at more, affordable cost. just to give one example, the cell phone. 20 years of cell phone, if you look at those old pictures, was as big as a shoe box, clunky, expense simbings not working very well. today, small, you can do anything on them, they're cheap.
poor people around the world can all have cell phones. you see it in haiti, you see it in india. four billion of them out there today. why can't we do the same thing on healthcare? government can't do it, entrepreneurs can. in terms of ronald reagan, his performance was very real. what he inherited after the 1970's, high inflation, 18% mortgage rates, 21% somewhere rates, higher unemployment than what we have today. as a result of his policies, inflation plummeted, interest rates came down, the u.s. became a font of innovation, and they created more jobs under his watch and subsequent watches of more jobs in western europe and japan put together. so overall, not a bad record and one that i think any president today would love to grab on to. host: to our republican line next. steve is from parksville, mfment you're on. caller: yes, good morning, mr. forbes. i've been following up for many, many years. guest: good morning. caller: one of the questions
i'd like to you play somewhat of an economic north radio come as for just a minute. the -- an economic north dam us for just a minute. we have situations in iraq and afghanistan, and all the global situations that exist. we also have a congress that is spending more and more money that we don't have and we're borrowing from china, are who at one time was one of our biggest enemies. to the point, with the situation concerning moody's, a.a.a. credit rate where we are in jeopardy of losing that, what do you foresee in the next two, three, or five years down the road as to what our economic status is going to be? do you foresee some type of economic collapse, a global economic collapse? guest: to answer your question, i don't see a global economic collapse. one of the things you're starting to see emerge now is
that countries in asia, even in central and eastern europe, are starting to have more sustained recovery, stronger recoveries, than what we're having here in the united states. to be blunt about it, we and great britain are making the same economic mistakes, weak occurrence success, binge spending, raising taxes, and that's going to hurt the performance we're going to have in 2010, as i compared it to a baseball player who's going to hit about .200 instead of .400. but those kind of things do generate proposals, counterproposals. we saw that in the 1970's, dreadful decade, new ideas came up, which ronald reagan adopted, got our country back on track. i think we're going see the see the same phenomenon, you saw it in new jersey, candidates who ran on the platform of restraint in spending and cut ago way taxes instead of increasing taxes. i live in new jersey, very blue state, but a republican there
even though he's outspent 5-1, won a major victory. but you touched on something else that we have to keep our eye on. you're right, economies which are people are affected by events around the world, and the big one to watch for this year, again, is iran. i think the israelis are going to make a decision in 2010. they know the window of opportunity of delaying that program, nuclear program. they see it as an existential threat, and they're going to make a fundamental decision where they take military action against iran, and if they feel they have to do so, that's going to have huge repercussions, certainly short term, on oil markets and the politics of the world. so yes, those things do play a role. you can't foresee what exactly they are, but we have to be prepared. sometimes do you get a huge crisis like that, and i think we will have one with iran in 2010. host: steve forbes, you brought up politics in 2010. a moment ago, a question here
from one of our twitter users. steve forbes for president, how soon can you start? are you interested at all? guest: no, i'm an agitator now. i tried twice. so i'm trying to get out and get reforms like simplifying the tax code moving, help out candidates who are pro-growth, pro-opportunity. and by the way, that's what people should do in 2010, get involved not just in the general election, bill, but in the primaries where parties pick their candidates, get involved with thosmse it's going to be very interesting. host: and you got involved in the new york 23 special election. it's the seat that billow wins won. steve forbes endorsing doug hoffman, who was not a republican canned date, but he was the conservative party candidate. why did you make that choice? guest: i thought he best represented the principle it is of opportunity, it low taxation, great, giving people a chance to get ahead, better
than nominal republican candidate, and that's why he got most of the support and came close to winning. the republican party, to be blunt, gave no help up there when the republican candidate with drew. they sat on their hands. so the democrat won a narrow victory, but i think this year in 2010, when you have the regular election, i think there's a very good chance mr. hoffman or somebody of a like view can win the seat back. host: does that endorsement in that race mean that we'll be seeing more of those types of endorsements, including into the presidential race in 2010? are you leaning toward anybody in particular? guest:, no i'm look over the field like others are. but this, again, what happened in the 23rd, the republican candidate was not chosen by a primary. it was chosen by party leaders because it was a special election. if they had a primary, i don't think you'd have seen this situation crop up. but in 2012, i'm looking at all
the candidates, looking for somebody with those optimistic, pro-growth policies and a strong defense for the united states, and who know how to navigate washington. reagan, by the way, and i'll mention him again, even though a caller implied that i was doing it too much, but i will mention him one more time, reagan was one of the few individuals, bill, who could be both a movement leader, which i was in the 1960's and 1970 anticipates, and then become an effective political leader. in politics, you can't just go in a straightline. the world doesn't work where you snap your fingers and congress snaps to. you have to learn to detour and make compromises, but reagan did those that and never lost sight of his basic goals, which is why even liberals in the historian profession rate him as one of the our most important and he fective presidents. host: atlanta, good morning to will on our independents line. hi there.
caller: hi. thanks for c-span. appreciate you taking any call, sir. i agree with your title, capitalism can save us, but the adam smith capitalism the founders had in mind when they created us in covenant with the creator, god, and that has the bearing on truth, justice, freedom, honesty. when we get away from that, when we have crimes committed by what thomas jefferson referred to as the pseudo era -- which your grandfather's work creating the federal reserve, we were not -- we've become fascist, ruled by the rich and serving what thomas jemp son called the anti-crivements i would recommend everyone read the actual writings of thomas jefferson, who was an obvious prophet of god to know why we have these draft dodgers supporting other war dodgers like reagan, whose line has been cut o. if he was up a good man, why didn't god give him any children? if you're such a good man, why did you not bring justice to people who sent us to vietnam after you dodged it? this is unrighteous.
this is a spirit of the age. this is what thomas jefferson called the anti-christ, and you live cross the river and saw the world, done nothing about bringing bush and cheney to justice for doing it. host: will, we'll get a response. guest: well, i don't believe that bush and cheney created the world trade center. i think that's preposterous. as for my grandfather, he did not create the federal reserve. he was an immigrant to this country, came here a little over 100 years ago, was one of 10 children, grade school education, virtually no money. but like millions who came to merks he had an opportunity, had a chance to get ahead and realized the american dream. i'm glad he did so. but he had nothing to do with the fed. and in terms of the fed, we've talked earlier about congressman ron paul's bill to have an audit of the fed to bring about more disclosure so that people can see what it's doing and what it's not doing. i believe, my own view is in terms of the federal reserve, they should only v only two tasks, one is a strong and stable dollar, tied to gold, as
others have ads very indicated, and have the deal with panics that rise up if a crises rises up. but bank regulation, check clearing, the like, i think those are tasks that should be put in another agency. as for in terms of values, yes, free markets must have basic values, which adam smith talked about. and that's why you do have sensible rules of the road. you have james madison, the father of our constitution, pointed out if we were angels, we would not need government. we are not angels, so we do need government, but there's positive government and negative government, and i think we need more positive government where it creates an environment where free people have a chance to realize their dreams instead of having to dance to the dictates of regulations from washington. host: next up is cocoa beach, florida. jeff, democratic caller. good morning, go ahead. caller: how are you? i just wanted to say, i have no family money and i retired when i was 45, and i considered
myself an entrepreneur. but on the same question, i know for a fact if i'm making $1 hundred,000 a day, i can live real comfortable on 5% of that, and most people can. there's a lot of people who cannot afford -- who don't have the ability to become entrepreneurs. and the fellow who sweeps the floor has the right to live as well as far as free time and putting their kids through school having healthcare, as well as any entrepreneur and wealthy fellow. so my point is pre-round reagan, the tax structure was a hell of a lot better, even though no one realized then. since ronald reagan, energy prices dropped. energy prices is the key for our economy. it's the multiplier for our labor. as far as i've asked myself this question, how can all these people in this world owe out this much money? where is this money that everybody owes out?
there can't be this much money that people owe out so. therefore, moan is nothing but debt on poorer people. host: jeff, thanks for the input. last call. steve forbes, your thoughts. guest: well, the call serp right about the debt that we're piling up. go that i don't think many many n washington fully grasp yet is that the average maturity of the national debt now, bill, is 49 weeks, which means when short-term rates go up, as inevitably they're going to go up, that's going blow another big hole in the budget. so we're facing the same kind of situation we did in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and that's why we need pro-growth economic policies, start wag strong and stable dollar, a low tax rate so that people can get ahead, and allow more entrepreneurship in areas like healthcare and do there what we've done elsewhere where you can supply more at a more affordable cost and better and better.
we've done it in high-tech and elsewhere. why can't we do it in healthcare? so yes, we do need to make fundamental reforms, or else the debt will kill us. we need to groat asset side of america. we've done it before, and i believe we will do it again, even though we're going through a rough patch right now, are going through a rough time. host: steve forbes, whose new book is "how capitalism will save us," written with elizabeth ames. is it on the bookshelves now, steve forbes? guest: it is, and also you can get it online from amazon, barnes & noble, but it is at your bookstore so. if you do some shopping, give a gift or give a gift to yourself. host: thanks for joining us this morning. we appreciate that. guest: thank you. host: in just a moment, we'll talk with bruce freed. we'll talk about corporate accountability, corporate political spending. he's next, and will join us for an half-hour. first an update on the news from c-span radio. >> it's 8:31 a.m. eastern time.
president obama delivers remarks from the diplomatic reception room at the white house today on making government more efficient and effective. later the president meets with senior advisors in the oval office. remarks today from iran's nuclear negotiate for, said jal i willee, who's a visit to japan, he's calling for the disarmament of all nations with atomic weapons, but said all countries have the trite develop nuclear energy. mr. jal ali unlesses his country's new program is for civilian purposes, although the u.s. and other nations fear it is to produce weapons. meanwhile, republican senator john mccain, speaking earlier on "good morning america," said the united states must try sanctions to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon before considering other options, like a military attack. however, senator mccain wondered whether other countries like israel are willing to have the patient to see if sanctions will deter the country. turning to the economy, stock points are pointing to a higher
opening following gains in major marblingts overeast. though final reports on u.s. economic activity, housing sales, and orders for durable goods are all due out in the next coming days, trading is expected to be light this week due to the holiday-shortened week. and those are some of the latest head leans on c-span radio. >> all next week, a rare glimpse into america's highest court through unprecedented, on the record conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court, their work, and the history of the iconic supreme court building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices, starting next monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: bruce freed is the president of the center for political accountability, here to talk about his efforts to get corporations to release and unveil their political spending. why is it important to know about how a corporate entity, a
corporation spends money politically? guest: it's very important to know, because shareholders need to be able to assess risk. the public really needs to know how companies are using their money. right now, many companies do not disclose their political spending with corporate funds. our focus is on the political spending with corporate funds. p.a.c. contributions are disclosed through the federal election commission, but when a company gives money to groups such as 527's, it you know, that's only disclosed by the recipient, not by the contributor. you have companies that make payments, trade associations, dues, contributions, those payments are not disclosed. so you don't know how much they're giving. you don't know how the trade associations are using them. that means that a great deal of political spending is hidden, and that has tremendous consequences. host: why are those two pieces different? the political spending, donations tie candidate, and this other type of spending,
why is it treated differently under law? guest: this is the way it has been handled historically. you know, the disclosure of political spending has really been relatively recent. you know, you have hazard disclosure up unt) about the 1974 campaign finance law, and then they've been sort of broadening it slightly. you know, you've had the groups such as 527's where you have disclosure by the resilient. but you have this whole area of trade soirks payments, which is undisclosed and which remains undisclosed, and that -- i think that presents a very serious problem, because companies hide behind the trade associations to do a great deal of political spending today. host: scommow why are corporations treated -- as allowed to have individual rights under the constitution, things like free speech, etc.? aren't these personal libber
advertise and not counter liberties? guest: well, that goes back to the 1800's when corporation were gin the rights of personhood. you know, what that does is it presents issues today in terms of regulating political spending because corporations are given the first amendment protections, and that has created, i think, serious problems in terms of disclosure and regulating that type of spending. host: bruce freed to talk about corporate money in politics. 202-737-0001 for republicans. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents,&others, it's 202-628-0205. the senate passed in the wee hours. morning, or at least voted to move forward this healthcare legislation. what can you tell us about the money that's being spent in the lobbying efforts, etc., on this healthcare bill? guest: "usa today" did a very, very good article last monday
that addressed that. the center announced that four new companies had adopted political disclosure, microsoft, time warner, campbell's soup and wisconsin energy. "usa today" use that had to address this whole issue of what do we know about payments through trade associations? what they did is they focused on payments to groups such as pharma and were looking at companies like bristol miers squib and merck, and you found that there are millions of dollars that companies are spending or giving to their trade associations that are then being spent to lobby and to both doing regular lobbying and grass roots lobbying, which is a form of political spending on this issue. one of the things that was interesting is that, you know, it the disclosure, the figures that were used in the "usa today" arg were drawn from disclosures that companies have made as a result of their agreements with the center.
one of the things that's interesting is we have been working with companies for the past six years to ask them to disclose their political spending with corporate funds and to adopt board oversight. this is a matter of both disclosure and accountability. and today, you have 70 companies in the s&p 500 that have agreed to political disclosure, and nearly half of the companies in the s&p 100, those are the trend-setting companies. and so what the "usa today" article did is drew on what we know with some of the park companies. merk is given $6.8 million to eight trade associations in 2008. you had pharma spending about $19.9 million on lobbying. i think this is -- host: that he wants the trade association? guest: that's the pharmaceutical manufacturers of america. you have bristol-myers squibb, which reported $128 million of its money that's being used for political purposes by its trade associations. this is the first time that we
know share holders know and the public p what these companies are giving to their trade associations and what the trade associations are using for political spending. host: before we get to calls, you know, a lot of money being spent for lobbying. when they say that term lobbying, what does that entail? guest: that's quite broad. when companies make a payment to trade association, it's really divided into two parts. there's one part that's deductible, that's used for a variety of purposes, services provided by the association, but lobbying and political spending by the trade association, that portion of a company's payment is nondeductible, so we're talking about that type of spending. that could be lobbying that you have on capitol hill right now, where you have lobbyists going door-to-door, meeting with their members and meeting with their staffs, but there's a great deal of what is known as grass roots lobbying, political spending. for instance, when a group such as the chamber of commerce runs an ad, you know, thanking members of congress for taking a certain position or asking to you call your member of congress to, you know, to tell
them not to do something, that's grass roots lobbying. that's political spending, that's not disclosed. host: here we go to rochester, new hampshire. this is an crew on our republican line for bruce freed. hi there. caller: good morning. host: you're on the air. go ahead. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: what do you think -- does anybody know how much rheaume emanuel is worth? -- rahm emanuel is worth and how much he's involved in running our country and taking all this money? i hear people complaining. i've been watching c-span a lot lately, the senate especially, and once in a while people really -- especial until that pharmaceutical debate -- campaign about how rahm emanuel is really the puppeteer back there. what do you think, mr. freed? guest: i don't know what he's worth. i know he spent some time as an investment banker, so he probably made, you know, a nice amount of money, probably
several million dollars, which he has then been using or living on since he's been in public life, but i don't know what his real worth is. host: washington, alex, democratic caller. good morning. caller: good morning, c-span. i've lately become a complete c-span junkie since i'm unemployed at the moment i've got plenty of time to watch you. host: glad you have to, sorry you're unemployed. guest: yes, i agree. caller: well, unfortunately while i was on hold, you answered a lot of my questions. i guess i'm wondering what you would suggest in the wade of campaign finance reform to deal with some of these problems that you've mentioned. i'm especially concerned with seeing senators like leiberman, who apparently are heavily backed by pharmaceuticals and the insurance industry corporations and how they, you
know, kind of get poisoned by the money and what you would suggest as a remedy to that. guest: i think you have an interesting challenge in the citizens united case, which is a very important campaign finance case that's awaiting a does by the supreme court. this case was brought daverbs heard by the court last february, and then there was a rehearing back in early september. and this case provides an opportunity to the five of the justices, those on the conservative side, to address the issue of disclosure and the restrictions on political spending that date back to 1907, a piece of legislation known as the tillman act that prohibited companies from giving contributions to federal candidates. you know, i think there's grave concern that the court could, you know, severely restrict disclosure and remove the
restrictions on companies making contributions to candidates, and i think that that would make campaign finance reform much more difficult. you may get a broad decision. if you don't get a broad decision by the court, it could be a narrower decision that would open up a salami type approach to whittling these away. i think that the work that the center for political accountability is doing, using the corporate governance route to persuade companies to voluntarily disclose their political spending with corporate funds, that includes the trade association payments, and to have board oversight, is a very important way to address these issues, because it gets the disclosure by using board oversight, you begin to achieve the accountability that would have companies pay much more attention to the consequences of their spending host: was the center for political ict ability involved in that case? guest: we twoit super briefs. we submitted a brief for the
february hearing, and then when they had the re-hearing, the center submitted a second brief. the second brief had an impact, because the justice department cited it twice in its reply grief in the case. so we've been, you know, through our briefs, also helping to shape the dog use. host: any sense on when the court is going to rule? guest: the expectation had been that they would rule by last week, and they didn't. and then i think the feeling is it could be in early january. i mean, there have been newspaper reports indicating that the court may be quite divided on this. host: next subpoena long island. good morning to brad on our independents line, hi. caller: yes, hi, good morning. host: good morning. caller: yerks i'm a third-generation physician, a second-generation ophthalmologist, and a first-generation single father, but first-year law student who i still love anyway, and healthcare, this healthcare issue is emblematic of the
overt quid pro quo racketeering of our government. and as a physician, i can tell you it's illegal, grossly illegal, for c.e.o.'s of healthcare companies to determine whether a doctor's diagnosis or orders are legitimate. and when they refuse to treat somebody, that's more than racketeering. that's overt murder. and if they're held accountable, like everybody else, because on my and all the other physicians and healthcare workers' backs, c.e.o.'s are making $57,000 an hour, and they don't do anything. they don't provide anything. and all their surrogates who are selling policies are, in
fact, have no idea what they're selling. they don't know, for example, what the indications are for cataract surgery. andly, all the middle men and paperwork is going to them. and when they provide healthcare -- host: brad, we appreciate your call. any thoughts? guest: i just think the whole issue of accountability is extremely important. you know, one of the things that we have learned in working with companies is that there are companies that haven't changed some of their policies and procedures relating to their political spending because of the work that we're doing. host: what prompted merk and eli lilly, you mentioned they were one of the four companies to -- i think it's merk and eli lily -- to agree to reveal their political? guest: merck is really interesting, because they're really a leader.
there are several other companies that have been leaders in this, but merck, really about three or four years ago, recognized that they face certain problems with their political spending. they had made a contribution to a state supreme court candidate in mississippi back in 2004, and there was -- that candidate had not been thoroughly vetted. the jackson clarion ledger reported that he had run a racist campaign. and i think that when that was disclosed, merck, instead of sort of retreating into itself, said, you know what, there was a problem, we need to do more thorough vetting, we really need greater transparency and overseist our political spending, so i think they recognized that it really served the company better to be more open and adopt the policies and procedures to achieve that. so they've been a real leader. microsoft has been a leader. you have other companies that
are doing this. aetna, you know, i think it shows that when companies want to change, they can step up to the plate and do it. host: "usa today" political cartoon with a comment on the money being spent and the snow that fell in washington during this senate debate from today's today tofmente as we go to san antonio. our republican line, this is michael. good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen t. seems hypocritical that the cormses want the same statutes as us, joe public, but they don't want to -- if i give $200 or $300 to a candidate, i have to make known of that, but they can do the same thing and they don't have to. as far as the money that we gave to corporations when it came to tort and all of that, can that money be used for political campaigns, or was that money specifically jñ did we have accountability on how much that money was used as far as campaigning for theçó healthcar program that just was passed?
guest: i think we were asking about the tarp program. the tarp program involved funds that were provided to the banks to help them, you know, get through the very severe financial crisis. that's a very good question that you asked. back in the spring, the center and about 20 or some odd of our shareholder advocate partners wrote to 19 banks that received a million -- a billion dollars or more in funds from tarp asking them to adopt political disclosure. what was very interesting is that we heard from one bank that said that it had adopted political disclosure, u.s. ban corp, and then there was another bank that got in touch with us and said, you know what, this is the right thing to do, we've been working with them on adopting political disclosure. there were several other we entered into dialogue with, but there's been quite a bit of
resistance on the part of banks in disclosing their money. money is fungible, so if you give a company money for one purpose, that can free up money that's used for other areas. and i think that, you know, with the funds that were given to the financial institutions to help them, that there is an obligation to be transparent in their political spending and to have the accountability to assure that it's not being used in ways that can pose a real risk to the company. host: when you as president of the center for political accountability approached the corporations or trade associations to sort of work with them on reveeg their political spending, who do you deal with, the c.e.o.? guest: you tend to deal with the general counsel, with the corporate secretary, with some of the folks in the legal department. it really varies from company to company. but we deal with company executives at a high level, because these are marriage decisions, these are decisions that would have to be approved by the board of directors.
so we're dealing with decision makers in the company. scommoip how is your group funded guest: we're funded by foundations. no labor union money, it's just foundation money, because we're nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization. host: here's raleigh, north carolina. charles, digit caller, good morning and go ahead. caller: good morning. i just got a few things i want to say. i believe that as long as we have the lobbyist money in politics, we'll never have a fair country. you know, if you take the money out, maybe they can govern better. as long as they keep taking this money, these corporations, we'll never have a good system. you know, the healthcare system, the insurance company giving all this money to these candidates, making them change their mind about certain things, should be a law against them giving money.
we take the money out, have all these problems. we have a democratic president one time making things better. then you haveñi another candida turn around and become president, change things, make it work for certain people. you will never have a great government who continue to take this money. host: has the lobbying situation in washington changed at all in the last year under the new president? guest: well, clearly with the type of issues that they're dealing with, the administration is dealing with and congress is dealing with, you've had probably much more money that's being spent on lobbying because of how companies will be affected by this. but i think the thank we've had has really been developing over the past several years, perhaps going back to the 1990's or even earlier where you have much more money flowing into politics. there was a major change after the passage of mccain-feingold finance law back in 2002 that restricted soft money contributions to groups known as 527's.
members of congress used to have, or elected officials could take soft money for their leadership p.a.c.'s. but, you know, after that was prohibited, you've had a much greater flow of money to trade associations. that's something that we tracked in our report that we entitled hidden rivers. and so what that did is it drove the money underground, it drive millions, i would say hundreds of millions of dollars underground, so you have had a major difference that you really know much more about political spending since then, because so much of that spending is being done through third parties, through conduit groups. host: question for you from aaron at twitter.com. mr. freed, how do you feel about the current pay to play structure, and how will you feel about publicly financed campaigns? pipe pay to play presents real problems, because pay to play really gets close to bribery. host: what's it mean specificly? guest: pay to play is when you have to pay, make contributions, donations to be able to heard, to be -- to have
an influence in the political process. you know, the problem with pay to play has been, i think, with many of the municipal bonds. i mean, that's been a serious problem for some of the big financial institutions that have, you know, that will be floating bonds. state treasury you are, state controllers, you know, they would be giving money to them to be able to get investments and be involved in that business. public financing, it faces tremendous resistance on capitol hill and elsewhere. host: here's at amount springs, florida. bill, good morning, independent. caller: if you want corporate money and lobbyists out of washington, you have to stop taxes corporations. that way they have absolutely no stand to get involved in the political process for this country. question i have is, mr. freed, why is it necessary for us to have someone like yourself who inserts himself and tries to use the force of government
between to interfere in the relationship between an investor and their company and will you, when you succeed in getting this done, publish charitable donations next to the political contributions of the corporation that is you're able to get to comply? guest: first of all, there's no agreement with companies where agreements with reached. these are discussions, dialogues between shareholders and their companies. companies reach an agreement on their own through the disclosure, so there's no intervention by government. this is using the corporate governance process. that's what makes this unique, because companies themselves are recognizing that transparency and accountability are in their best interests and in their shareholders interest. host: let's say the hypothetical, if there were no corporate tax, would that greatly reduce lobbying on capitol hill?
guest: oh, god, no. you have regulation all over the place. you have corporations interacting on a whole slew of areas. you have contracts and many other things. so, you know, you're always going to have corporations or business dealing with government. host: next subpoena mesa, arizona, william on our republican line. good morning. caller: good morning, and thank you for taking my call. i would like to know what regulations are being put forth for foreign financial interests coming into the political spectrum. host: can you be a little more specific on that, william? caller: well, i'm sure that there has been talk about, during the campaign, foreign oil money was coming in to help our illustrious president, and i was wondering what kind of
regulations are being attempted to disclose what kind of finances those funds, where they originated and how they are influencing our decision making people in our government. host: thanks for the call this morning. any thoughts? guest: foreign companies are not allowed to contribute in the american political process. foreign nationals can't do that. if you have a foreign company that has a u.s. subsidiary, then that u.s. subsidiary can make contributions, but the money involved in american politics must be domestic money. host: we have one more call. clinton, maryland, good morning to ted on our democrats line. caller: good morning. can you hear me ok? host: we sure can. caller: with the stronghold that is corporation have on our economy and political process, it içó reflect back to the 1960
when approximately 18% to 20% of the population was african-americans, had to go to the streets and protest, and the civil disobedience in order to break the stronghold of these people who would deny people equal rights in this country, a way to be heard in this nation. i think what we have to do, american people have to stop paying their insurance premiums, we're going to have to get together as groups and get out here like the tea parties and say no more, we're not going give 30% of $2.5 trillion to insurance companies for absolutely nothing. and we have to do that, and we have to get together in groups and become vocal. i thank you very much. guest: i think we're being very successful using the corporate governance process where shareholders are engaging companies. companies are responding. you don't necessarily need to go into the streets to achieve this type of change. it can be done in many other ways structurively.
host: your political, centerer for political accountability, new companies bring political disclosure to half of trend-setting s&p 100, and a look at some of the leaders and political disclosure. this list available on your website, which is politicalaccountability.net. bruce freed, center of the president for political accountability, thanks for being our guest this morning. guest: a pleasure. thank you. noip just a moment, we'll turn our attention to politics. first, though, a news update from c-span radio. >> it's 8:59 a.m. eastern time. an update on healthcare legislation making its way through the senate. senator ben nelson, in a statement released earlier, says the senate bill isn't perfect, but he voted in favor of the proposal to help control costs. he went on to say that change is never easy, but it is needed in this case because so many are struggling to pay for healthcare. senator nelson provided the 60th vote democrats needed to
prevent a republican filibuster. the senate returns today at noon eastern to continue debate. live coverage on c-span2 and here on c-span radio. more on iran's nuclear program from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, ad airline mike mullen, writing in an annual risk assessment report, he says military force would have only a limited effect in stopping iran from developing nuclear weapons, but he add that had it must remain an option. he went on to say that he believes political means are best at achieving regional security. meanwhile, violence continues in afghanistan. police fought a three-hour gun battle in the center of a provincial capital today, finally killing two taliban militants firing from the top floor of a commercial building with dozens of civilians inside. three civilians and one police officer were wounded in the fighting. .
started." we are askingç you thisç hour, çhave your politics changed ovr the decade? if so, how so? h"if the 1960's were but democratic dominance, and the 1980's about republican resurgence, the past 10 years have been swings between the two bird depicted on with the remarkable 2000 presidential election -- between the two. the decade dawned with the remarkable 2000 presidential election. what seems to have lost along the way is the ability of the two parties to find ways to compromise, a result, perhaps, of the disappearance of leaders such as senator ted kennedy, who knew how to make deals, and the
historic $787 billion economic some as package passed early this year with exactly three republican votes in all of congress. an equally historic piece of legislation, the health care overhaul, may pass with no republican votes at all." have your politics changed over the last decade? we will revisit this story and bring you the news as well. republicanç line, texas, go ahead. caller: i guess i'm a productçf the 1960's. i remember my politics being as a bl -- a long haired radical, andw3 now i'm a republican conservative. host: how did that -- caller: come about? it came about, i guess, because of the old line of in your youth, you are more controlled by your heart, and in your older years, you are controlled more by your head.
i think as you understand more about economics, real mass of economics, if you studied economics of all -- math of economics, if he studied economics at all, you begin to understand how things work and the world. in your youth, you are so convinced that the previous generation is wrong. you get off on this emotional bent that does not have anything supporting it. i think that is where most of the country is right now and a supporting the socialist agenda . host: west virginia, democrats line. have a politics changed? caller: yes. i was republican until bush became president, even at the beginning of his administration. is policies -- his policies and policies of the republican party devastated this country. we have seen major unemployment,
and hundreds of thousands of jobs that have left of the state since bush became prew"ent. host: this is a look at "the wall street journal" this morning, part of a poll that they did, how we saw the leaders as most respected and most respected. most respected, 20%, barack obama, 20% colin powell, bill clinton, third, george w. bush here, hillary clinton for the top five. the least respected -- george w. bush at the top here, dick cheney at 27%, al gore following dick cheney, barack obama at number four, and number 5 is sarah palin. shreveport, louisiana, until on the independent line. caller: how you doing? i am concerned about how it is going amadeus. back in the day, they had an election and -- how is going
nowadays. back at it today, they have an election and they were serious about it. now with the media, it is likea game. how could you have a game with my lifeç and the economy right xdnow? it is like they're nothing serious about it. my life ain't a game with taxes and everything. it is to the point where it is not serious. just like the government, i feel like they should fix the stuff they have already got in place, all the housing programs that they filled up with stuff. what a they doing about the stuff they've been doing and now? they are going to let it fall down, too? host: you are going to happen as the name of your town in louisiana, because i do not whatq -- have to pronounce the name of yourç town in louisian, because i do not want to mess it up. fáhow to politics changed over e last decade? -- how have your politics
changed over the last decade? caller: they changed just this year. i was self-employed, i had only had 20 jobs this year. what i don't understandç is we could have gotten this big thing in louisiana where -- [unintelligible] a man who takes $300 million -- i think that louisiana will be the richest state in the world once they get them out of our government. what a they going to do to fix louisiana up? we've not seen our government do nothing yet but waste money. the democrats have got a lot of nerve to pass this bill knowing thatç i cannot make $29 an hou3 because my girl led open-heart surgery twice. -- had open heart surgery twice.
host: "democrats went first big vote on health bill," the headline in "congressional quarterly." "democratic leaders struggled to secure commitments from all 60 members of the caucus, aware that a single defection could allow pundits to prolong debate -- allow opponents to prolong debate and possibly talk the ooverhaul plan to death." coverage on c-span2, c-span radio, and you could also follow c-span with your iphone. san francisco, greg on the democrats' line. caller: i am becoming really frustrated with both mainstream parties. how could anybody not? first of all, president obama should get the peace prize back. -- should give the peace prize
back but you do not get the peace prize and start escalating wars. it is unbelievable how we go are the world dropping bombs on people, controlling resources, treating human beings like animals off the slaughter. host: we are asking how your politics have changed. caller: i'm getting ready to lead the democratic party because i have come to realize -- leave the democratic party because i've come to realize a couple of things. first of all, marijuana and gay marriage cannot scare people these days. let me tell you what scares people -- republicans and democrats. i do not know how anybody can stomach how either of them behaved. there is no thought process. we are throwing human beings in metal cages with murderers and rapists for using a substance that helps to save the lives. we are going to afghanistan to rid the world of poppies while we grow the most deadly,
addictive crop in the world in an arc and box and up and should worldwide. can you imagine if you look up and in the morning and read that marijuana killed 400,000 americans last year like tobacco has, at the average that everybody would have? -- the outrage that everybody would have an amending the death penalty for pot smokers? -- and demanding the death penalty for pot smokers? host: gerald seib write, "in both parties, moderates and the middle have dwindled over the decade. according to analyses of congressional voting patterns, to parties are more polite than any time since the civil war -- the two parties are more polarized than anytime since the civil war."
caller: i voted for reagan, and i voted for clinton. it just depends upon the politics of the time. what i find it now is the vitriol over the last decade has pushed me away from republicans. i do not always like the democrats, but it can to vote or democrat. -- i tend to vote for a democrat. i have not voted republican in 10 years. has been pushed to the right -- it has been pushed to the right, and everybody who does not agree with them as out in the cold. it scares me. i've never been scared by politics before. i've always thought -- always found it fascinating. host: virginia, lilly, republican caller. caller: my first vote was four eisenhower. you know how old i am. host: it sounds like you of that change your political views.
c-s -- you have not changed your political views. caller: it is getting to a point where i do not want anything to do with either party. they are bickering, they never did anything, and when they do something, one party does it all. i cannot see where the parties are going, and i just hit it for my children and my grandchildren. i don't think we are going to have anything left. i'm real disappointed in our government. host: thank you for your call. paul krugman writes about "dangerous dysfunction" in "the new york timesç." "it is nonetheless a huge step forward. it was, however, a close-run thing, and the fact that it was a close thing shows that the senate and the u.s. government as a whole has become ominously dysfunctional.
çdemocrats won big last year running on a platform that but health reform front and center. in any other advanced democracy, this would have been a mandate and the ability to make major changes. but the need for 60 votes to cut off debate and end a filibuster, a requirement that appears nowhere in the constitution, turned what should have been straightforward legislating into a nail-biter, and it did a handful of wavering senators extraordinary power to shape the bill. consider what lies ahead. we need fundamental financial reform,ç we need to deal with climate change,çó the to deal wh the long run budget deficit. what are the chances that we can do all of that, if anything requires 60 votes in a deeply polarized senate?" good morning to diana on the democrats' line. have your politics changed over the decade? caller:q yes, sir. 2000, the way that that was
decided by the supreme court, it just sickened me that a president to be elected in that manner. but also, the two party system in this country, i think, is what is ruining this country. we have got to the point where, as you said earlier, just constant bickering. qlast night i was listening to the debate over the health care bill, and one senator that was a hold of, -- holdout, a behind- the-door situation, his state received i don't know how many hundreds of millions of dollars from medicaid to pay for ymmedicaid for his state, and something like this just makes you sick. that has nothing to do with
deciding the health care vote. çi just think that the two pary system in this country -- something needs to be done to reshape it. host: joe on the independent line -- that is not joe -- that is joe. good morning. how are you? caller: you guys were talking about government oversight and have lobbyist money gets involved -- how lobbyists money gets involved in politics. of course, the founders of the united states house and senate would never -- funders of the united states house and senate would never vote themselves out of office. but term limits are important, because the way all this money, record amounts used in campaigns, would be a moot point if the guy is going to be out of
office in two or a few more years, and they're not going to sit and nobody is -- two or four years, and they're not going to sit and evnobody is going to support the guy if they are going to be out of office in a few years. if a guy goes out of office and a new guy comes in, you might have a fresh ideas coming in with every new -- host: jo, are you still there? i think we lost show. this is jane from illinois? caller: some people savor rawness and some people say urbana. it depends onçç how old you a. i am a senior citizen, and since i went to church in 2000 and was told how to vote, i.e.d8 vote fr georgeç bush, i have been an
independent, and inñr fact, i dd vote for al gore and i did vote for mr. obama. i have changed because the religious right has taken over the republican party. the religious right are great people, they are good people. i have some in my family. but they did not compromise, because they believe that they have godç on their side. compromise leadsç to gridlock. that is why people are so disgusted with what is going on in congress. host: you think that religion has played a much more important role over the last decade? çcaller:w3ç i think it has. i think thatç has been a decise factor. çgod himself said render unto caesar what is cesarñr's. i]it has poisone"hour political process, even though these are good people. i believe that public financing is the only way to goç to get e
money out of politics. your previous guest wrote that off, and i think that is what the public ones. we want public financing. in other words, if you cannot go to the polls and vote, you should not be giving money to anybody. host: thanks for your input this morning. atlantic beach, florida, mary on the democrats' plan. caller: good morning. all my life i was a loyal republican and never paid the slightest attention to politics but i just voted every four years. then the president i voted for decided to attack iraq for no reason, except that he felt like it. i promptly became an independent. the next time i went to vote, i found out that independents
could not vote on very many issues at all, so i reluctantly became a democrat. and then ron paul came along and i would like everything he said, or almost everything -- i don't like what says about health care -- and i want to become a republican again to vote for ron paul, and then i saw the debate , and all of these warmongersç almost blew ron paul off the stageçi]çç, whent(ç all he o talkw3 aboutçççç was savingd they just -- host: you are havingç trouble finding footing in a party. caller: no, i am back to being a loyal democrat, because i like it like to do about health care, -- what they would like to do about health care, except i like what mr. howard dean said that without a public option, the bill ain't even worth voting
for. host: "gop expected to keep said that talking. -- keep senate talking. any gop member could object and a force 30 hours of debate senator harry lee and minority leader mitch mcconnell conferred u!for a few minutes after the senate vote, but it remained unclear what they were discussing." the senate coming back in, more health care debate on noon eastern on our companion network, c-span2. we're talking for the next 10 minutes or so about politics, specifically from an article in "the wall street journal," how yourç politics have changed ]vr the last lebade. pensacola on the independent line. caller: how you doing, sir?
host: doing fine, thanks. caller: i am honored to speak after theç last two ladies, the lady from illinois, the independent, and the last caller, who kind of stole my hundred thunder. i don't consider myself under any party. i'm an independent because i try to find the truth, more or less. i go to church all the time. i listen to people in church supporting the republican party so far to lead -- so hard to leave. when you talk about issues, they had no idea. the could not talk about issues. as far as the health-care issue, someone in my church argued that this is socialist. i said, "well, drop your car insurance. how can that federal government tell you to bite, insurance -- buy car insurance?"
my life and body is worth more than a car. it is ok for the federal government to say you should be responsible for your own health. i watched c-span and listen to arguments. for years they have said that health care costs are rising. in california, when you have so many dry trees, they do a controlled fire burned, because if you do not control it, if it catchesç fire, it will destroy and cost more money and more money. what the obama administration is trying to do is control health care where we will not get so far in debt. as far as going downhill so fast, they are trying to control it. i don't agree with everything they're doing, but i like to see the house and senate debate these issues. host: thank you, jay, in pensacola. back toçó jerry seib's openartin
"the wall street journal." "many voters appear to be reacting to the divide by turning away from both parties. and the latest poll, 42% of those surveyed identified themselves as politically independent." and dan on the republican line. del rey, west virginia, you are on the upp we want -- on the air. you go to -- we will go to our next caller. caller: this is buried. -- barry. i started out when bush got elected as a republican. i used to support the republican party, red, white, and blue. now i started leaning more towards democratic in the last seven or eight years. host: what is causing that? caller: i used to believe so hard, and then the war started be -- the more i started
reading and getting into things, i did not know what to believe. now i just stay away from all parties and all politics. i don't really know what is good at what is bad any more. they are pretty much the same to me. host: a look at "the baltimore sun" this month, a look at closing gitmo. "civil libertarians criticized obama on indefinite jailing." this is a tribune story in "the baltimore sun." "president obama began 2000 with a pledge to close the guantanamo prison and restored due process and the core constitutional values that he said made this country great. buf his administration has set up a will two-pronged legal policy for the remaining guantanamo prisoners that bears a striking similarityokç toxd f the georgeç w.ç bushç presid.
congress gave the president power after the s/11çç attackd çbush andç now the gb@ma administration's, and bush used to capture and imprison people he determined were a danger to the nation. nearly eight years after the first prisoners were shipped to the naval base, the u.s. government still is not completely settled on a clear legal framework for handling them. the obama administrationçç's illegal policy has some distinct offenses from the bush administration. obama explicitly supports the -- obama administration's legal policy has some distinct differences from the persian administration. obama explicitly supports habeas
corpus review rights that bush opposed." date on the independent line. -- gave an independent line. -- dave on the independent line. caller: according to the detainees and afghanistan, the attorney general sounded pretty confident, and he mentioned that there would be a conviction. now, i know that the definition of is was a technicality that least somebodyççç, and i do't believe that he has defined that -- that released to somebody, and i don't believe that he is xdis. host: youxd are talking about te president? caller: no, i'm talking about the detainees.
it is the letter of the law, correct, an airport? ç--?nd in a court? what is the definition of is, and will there be a loophole for them? host: story in "the new york times,"ç "amidxd scrutiny, kari defense cabinet picks -- defends cabinet picks." louisiana, this is alççu!. make sure you mute your television or radio. caller:çó has everything been changed in the last decade? as far as i can remember, it has been good and bad over the years. but right now, what could we the
people do to stop this mess that is going on? çit's impeachment in line? -- ist(q impeachment in line? çhost:i]çxdç one more call. a9q line. çhowever politics changed? caller: in past years, i voted republican, but i voted çdemocratic last time around. i've been very disappointed about the process. until we get money out of the çprocess, i don't think anyone will change. it is so divided. we have this system of cable-tv and spin doctors system has divided this country. i don't think americans are getting news on real issues so much its agenda.
we know that so many of the programs apportioned one side ofç politics. we have campaignxd laws -- so my of the programs are pushing one side of politics. we did not call this distribution of wealth it was just the system and strong for american infrastructure. there are so many things that are disappointing. for the most part, i've been voting democratic-leaning. host: thanks forç your call. more on politics coming up, as we look at the attitudes of young voters with john della volpe. he joins us to talk about their most recent survey of young voters, and we will set phone lines aside for young voters and those over 30. we will tell you about that and be back in just a moment.
>> tonight on "the communicators," head of the motion picture association of america, and dan glickman, on efforts to increase copyright protection and produce movies piracy. tonight on c-span2. -- reduce movie piracy. tonight on c-span2. >> congressman eric cantor and nbc's david gregory, buzz aldrinç on the legacy of apollo 11, and later, a former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy in al qaeda and afghanistan, and starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, remembering
the lives of william f. buckley, i]jr., and senator ted kennedy. ñr>> "washington journal" continues. host: john della volpe is the leader of the harvard institute for politics, joining us from cambridge to talk about the newly released poll from the institute looking at the attitudes of young americans towards politics and public service. we want to let our viewers know that we are going to set up our phone lines differently this half hour. for those under 30 -- john della volpe, thank you for joining us. this is an update from one you did earlier this year or around the campaign, correct? guest: this was conducted number 16, 2009 -- november 16, 2009. i]host: let us look at some of e
early data you have in the poll and it turns up the approval rating of president obama's handling of issues -- in terms of the approval rating of president obama's handling of issues. guest: 18-to-29-year-olds for the last decade have been an ally in american politics -- outlined in american politics. if not for young people, it is unlikely that president obama would have won the iowa caucus. the lesson here is in 2008, young people were critically important to obama's victory, and were an out liar relative to the rest of america. -- outlier relative to the rest of america. young people are still supportive of president obama, but far less optimistic as they were one year ago. they still support him, though,
54, 55% job approval rating. host: did you try to reach deeper beyond the numbers and find out why that is happening? w3guest: yes, we did. we reached a very, very deeply. all of our reporting is available at iop.harvard.edu. their support of the president's overall, the concern overç the job performance at a couple of key areasç, most said thickly s it relates to the economy and afghanistan. -- most specifically as relates to the economy and afghanistan. çhost: use it is critical to understanding the future of politics in america. why is that? guest: absolutely. 18-to-29-year-olds is actually the largest demographic in the history of united states. also known as the millenial
generation, most of these people off, of age. but we still have another for five years -- most of these people have come of age. but we have a number -- another four or five years. we found over the last 10 years that they are more concerned about community service, public service, and voting than most any other generation in history. host: we will show our viewers the bar graph on the pull of the issues of most concern. what did you find out? guest: again, the economy was by far the issue of great concern among young people. there's a discrepancy based on how 18-to-29-year-old democrat's view the economy versus 18-to- 29-year-old republicans and independents. democrats believe that the
economy is greatest concern, and are supportive of for washington -- of what washington is doing about the suppression. young -- about the situation. young republicans and independents believe that the policies out of the sea are hurting, not helping, there -- out of d.c. are hurting, not helping, their financial situation. most of the issues today are viewed through the prism of the economy for this 18-to-29-year- old group. host: our first call. good morning. caller: what you expect from young voters in the midterm election next year? do you expect them to turn at the same way they did during the presidential election in 2008, or do you expect them to stay away from the polls? guest: well, thanks, jeff, for the question. we need to dial down
expectations quite a bit. 2008 was a presidential election with the highest turnout in a generation or so. the previous election, 2006 midterms, did see a significant spike in youth participation as well. the highest since the ronald reagan era in 1982. the overall impact of young voters will continue to rise as they vote in even the midterm elections, but certainly not at the proportion they voted in the presidential election one year ago. host: good morning to herald the over-30 line. -- harold on the over-the line. caller: i have been disappointed in the system for so long. i'm a veteran of the vietnam war. there is not only a problem with the two-party system, but the way the media is covering what is going on in politics today. i don't and there is enough access -- don't think there is
enough local access for people to get the information out and to receive this information. i don't think they are getting involved enough with the way politics is being paid for by the health insurance industry. there is just so much that should be talked about that is not being covered in the media. i'm just disappointed in the media. also, i think something should be done -- the public ought to have more access to the facts, and there should be some type of watchdog media to cover this and to get the truth out. and to see where both parties -- i am a democrat, but i'm just disappointed in both parties. i just wish that the media should follow the money and find out -- show the public who was receiving funds from special- interest groups and make that more visible h.
host: john della volpe, your thoughts. guest: i think that is a good point, and young people are taking these issues into their own hands. young people are native to new media and are finding ways, whether it is through blogs, traditional and non-traditional news web sites, to find information that is reluctant -- that is relevant to them and passed on to other members of the generation. the ways that young people communicate and contextualize and pass on information is different from other igeneratios and will keep the media on their toes. host: jack in florida. caller: i'm not going to plug anything, but i'm president of the local young democrats in florida and i run a progressive talk show.
i just want to say the 2008 fire has turned into a member -- into ember. i notice this especially on social networking sites. in 2008, i was a field organizer for the obama campaign for change. but what happened was the fee for just died, and it seems that the youth don't understand -- fever just died and it seems that the youth to understand that there are these things called midterms. the fire has died. the presidential election definitely bring up the -- out the youth more in the midterms seems to favor the gop, or least they have for me. where is the passion? that is my question. i still have it, but when i go
on the internet and talk with my friends, young democrats, and we need for social gatherings, it is not there anymore. we don't know who to choose. host: thanks for the call. guest: i think that is a very, very great point. but it is important to remember that 2008 was a special, special election. we had both the obama campaign, which made young people the focus of the campaign, not just as one demographic group, but the entire focus of the campaign. what you saw was a movement both from the ground up, but also from the top-down. the obama campaign spent literally millions of dollars and thousands of people targeting young people on a daily basis. çif you are young voters in the election of 2008, you were contacted by representatives of the obama or clinton or mccain campaign's a couple times a month. i believe that young people still care deeply about america, they are volunteering and
voting, and it is up to other institutions, political parties, and candidates at the local level to reach out and make this election relevant to them in a way that they can understand. host: he talked about the drop in passion among those voters that he had on the ground, hands-on experience with, but the numbers must favor that group. they continue to grow, obviously. 2010 comes up, and they will be larger still as 2012 comes up. guest: absolutely. in the presidential election of last year, there were more votes cast by people under 30 than by americans over the age of 55. incredibly important segment of the electorate. again, it is something that we have seen where they are able to be mobilized, again, if there is an effort by the local campaign to reach out to them. in the 1980's and 1990's, that
was much more expensive and çdifficult. with the new kinds of technology and social networks, mobile phones and other activity, it makes it much less expensive and much more profitable to target those young voters. host: i want to ask you about the result of weather folks favor or oppose sending more troops to afghanistan. were you surprised by this? tell us the numbers for folks watching or listening on radio. guest: again, bill, just to set the context, the survey was president's decision to increase the number of troops in afghanistan, and was released a day after the president's speech at west point. however, 56% -- of% people 66% of young people oppose the additional troop buildup in afghanistan. anybody who is just a casual viewer anne dicker of about american politics should not is about -- viewer and a thinker
about american politics should not be surprised that the people oppose additional efforts for war. not too surprising. host: dallas, texas, over 30, you are on the air. caller: hello. i have been censored by twitter for being a dissenter -- host: let's go to cleveland, alabama, and jeremy and under- the deadline. --w3 under-30 line. caller: i want to bring up that i'm opposed to health care, and i switched from democrat to republican because of ron paul, and backing the constitution. i just feel that the constitution has been put on the back burner during this administration. i would like to have some comment on what the young
americans can do to spread the word of the constitution and thus bring that back. -- and thus bringing that back to i will get off the line and let you answer. guest: thanks. again, woulwe talked about earlr is that if nothing else, young people are fiercely independent. in 2003, young people were actually more supportive of president bush in the early days of the iraq campaign than many other americans at that point. we're seeing over the last 10 years, or seven years since then, that they have faded away from the republican party towards democrats, but remained a key independent voting bloc. what i would encourage anybody to do was concerned about politics from the right or the left is begin to get involved in online or offline communities and spread the message that way. host: you got a chance to ask
people to spread their thoughts on the intervention government efforts on the economy, with the stimulus and tarp spending. what did you find out? guest: we found out that there were specific differences based on political party affiliation. overall, democrats favor the last couple of your -- the last year's worth of economic stimulus, believed it helps them personally. but if you consider yourself a republican or independent, you are very likely to believe that those sorts of programs her to you, not help you. young americans, 18-29, are very concerned about these issues, very concerned about long-term economic process. host: johnv: della volpe, with e
harvard institute for politics and the survey on the people and politics and public service. guest: our findings and summaries and data are available on our website, iop.harvard.edu. host: doug is over 30. what are your thoughts? caller: i have been trying to answer this question and i've been concentrating for months and and and try to get an answer to it when they show people against health care, you cannot tell if it is republicans or democrats were against it because it is not far enough. whoever is interpreting the information is doing so to benefit their own viewpoint. how do we find this out?
why are to the questions asked -- why aren't the questions asked so that you could tell which side to or on? -- which aside people are on? guest: that is a great question. our data, on specific subjects for voters 18-to-29, which you can see on the web site, iop.harvard.edu -- let's talk about health care for a moment. many young americans support major reform for the health-care system. essentially 50-54 major reform of versus minor reform -- 50-50 for major reform of versus minor reform or moving the debate to another time. but when asked about specific elements, whether it is the public option or malpractice,
overwhelming majorities supported those elements of health care reform. in theory, young americans are very supportive of reform. it is the packaging that makes people less sure at the moment. host: jim on twitter sends us a tweet -- guest: that is a great question. we have not. but the facts are evident. the campaigns that have targeted young people have been the ones that have been most successful over the last couple of election cycles. if you look at the iowa caucus in january 2000 a -- 2008, the obama campaign made that, as a focal point of their campaign. 70-to-29-year-old -- 17-to-29-
year-olds were critical. he lost everybody else over the age of 30. when you target young people and you have a message that resonates with them and empower them to mobilize themselves, these things happen. it's certainly happen for obama in the primaries and the general election campaign. host: cleveland, under 30. caller: good morning. my question for your guest is, you have these other polls that opposed health-care, like rasmussen and the abc and "the wall street journal" pull oll. how do you focus on the particular demographics they have for young people our age that actually do, whether they support or oppose those different issues and things like that, like health care and
economy and things like that? guest: well, there is two things could we target all of our survey questions to 18-to- 29-year-olds. another thing about all the polling we do at the institute of politics at harvard university is that it is not atypical in that older people are -- not a typical pole in that older people are writing questions in a vacuum. it is people like myself and a dozen or so undergraduates here at the harvard campus. we do research and focus groups and other kinds of work. we collectively think about the right questions that our study group of undergraduates think is relevant to ask to the population of young people in america. one of the reasons that i think our findings have resonated a
particular way over the last couple of years is that it is a true partnership between young people as well as professional social science researchers. host: what about other polls, a year where there are a lot of political polls and especially under-30's are not using a home from, using a cell phone much more, and texting much more. how challenging is it for your group to get reliable data? guest: it is an incredible challenge, and our polling has evolved tremendously over the last 10 years. to give you a sense, we started the project in the winter of 2000 where it was relatively easy, relatively easy to contact young people. at that time, we just focused on college campuses through the telephone. four or five years later, we switched to an on-line methodology. this past semester, we switched
to another on-line methodology, conducted all of our service and young people using -- surveys with young people using a sophisticated online methodology. to be honest, over half of young people, especially on the lower end of the demographic, don't have accessç to any telephone, and frankly, it is very difficult to conduct in-depth research over somebody's cellphonexd in a way that we believe this project will -- that we believe is projectable. it is something we focus on to improve every semester. host: willow springs, alex on the over-30 line. caller: polls are great, but i think the ones that really count are the ones we put our votes in. if we don't like the way politics is being run, get rid of them. that is what it boils down to. they are too busy arguing
about pet projects rather than getting on with the job of governing. guest: i would say that that has certainly an important point, that our polls are not as important as a voting. but what our polls of try to do over the last decade or so is show government institutions, political parties and candidates, that young people are turned into politics and vote and a volunteer at record numbers. over 60% of 18-to-29-year-olds volunteer in the communities. çthey will vote and volunteer n campaigns in a significant way. host: you at a temperature- taking question about how things in the nation were going. what can you tell us about that?
guest:ñr like other generations and americans generally, young people are concerned about the current direction of the country. but again, a relative to where it was a year ago, a plea only 9% one year ago fought in -- i think only 9% one year ago thought things were headed and it the right direction, and a significantly higher number thinking is headed in the right direction. we will be asking the same question on our next poll, which ill be conducted nen january and released in early march. host: barrel in fort wayne, indiana, go ahead. caller: one thing missing from the polls and the conversation i've had with my younger colleagues -- one of the things we have actually noticed3politig the promises. what i actually noted, basically
over the last 10 years, of course, they pinpoint a message to us, and pretty much after ççthat, it is gone. the reason why is because of a special interest groups. of course, most of them have the money, so they use that money right there to actually appeal to the politiciansi],ç with campaign funds, etc., because most of us are basically uninformed. all have to doç is point a message out, and that is basically it. in question is -- my main question is, what can we do to actually stop this -- it is horrible, regardless ofç democt or republican. guest: well, i think like no other time in recent history, the use of technology allows the people to engage in ways that have not had the opportunity to do before. ((q!ook group or
other on-line activities is relatively small relative to a generation or a decade ago. the tools are existed, and that the number of young people who believe in the same issues is out there to tap. is a tremendous opportunity to engage in, and mechanisms -- it is a tremendous opportunity to engage in online mechanisms, but also offline. host: this group underçw3 age 0 has been referred to as the millennials. how did they get that moniker? guest: that was given to them in the early part of the century by a couple of social science researchers. i believe that refers to a number of different aspects that are unique to this generation. one refers to the fact that they
came of age in the new millennium, certainly. secondly, they are digital natives in a way that most other generations are notw3 or have nt been. they have grown up always in a place where the computer was used at home, in their classrooms, at work. the fact that they can connect instantly with people and with parties and with like-minded individuals around the world is something that is unique about this millennial generation. the other thing that is important is the focus that they attained after 9/11. ç9/11 was certainly the most important moment of their lives from a political point of view,ç and they think and act very differently based on the reflections of 9/11 compared to other generations. they realized that time is short and they did not necessarily trust other generations to vote and drive public opinion that they wanted to be involved, they
could organize themselves and make a difference in the campaign. host: one more call, connie of the over-30 lead. make sure you turn down your television or radio. caller: i just want to say that i have been so proud of the young people. çokçthey did not fall for republicans, all the lies that were told. i cannot believe that all people, by age, when we were young we did not -- old people, my ageç, when weç were young e did not understand anything about politics. young people softer all allies were told. -- saw through all the lies that were told. the democrats were the ones who made sure that we had a social
security and medicare and always look out for the working people. the republicans look out for the richer ones. they still believe all the things they're telling and not realizing that they're just telling them things to drive them away and vote for them. they take it serious. they really believe obama is a communist, is not an american. the young people did not buy that. host: thanks for your call. tie it in her comments about older voters -- older voters went to theç polls, generally , but regularly -- vote regularly. time in the voting of the millennials and the senior citizens vote. guest: a higher percentage of those groups a vote of that young people. however, there is more young people than there are senior citizens, so the overall share of the electorate, young people are a very significant group.