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tv   American Perspectives  CSPAN  March 13, 2010 11:00pm-3:00am EDT

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may or may not -- it may have to go to the imf. we have not had that problem yet, because we can borrow. we have been borrowing at high rates. we may have to -- we may have had to go to the imf. since there seems to be a developing european contingent plan, which i have been working on with my partners in the european union, that lowers the possibility that, even if there is a problem, we would have to go to the imf. we are talking about creating an ad hoc instrument which would help if we needed it to, when we want to borrow. we need to look at the necessary institutional changes in the european union, such as euro
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bonds european guarantee. it would not be an immediate response, necessarily. that has become very central in the discussion in europe. i would like to see that the european union -- because of the greek crisis that we went through -- it is something we can make an opportunity to strengthen our coordination. . and create the necessary institutions in the european union. what we can do right now is take an initiative on dealing with speculators, and that's why we're taking some joint political action from myself, angela merkel, nicolas sarkozy and others, and i will be able to give and it is also to
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president obama tomorrow because i believe this needs coordinated actions throughout the world. secondly, the issue of greek competitiveness and what we would say, what i would say to you as business people, if they you as business people, if they were here, first of all, greek core competitiveness. i know there's been a lot of emphasis on wages increase, but we have to also differentiate between public wages and private wages. there's a big difference there. and investors come in, and when they come and they want to look and see what private wages are and the private sector and not the public sector. sometimes the public sector will set the tone for the private sector. what happens with the public sector is the fact that we have
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a bloated public sector, and a much larger public sector than necessary. and somewhat chaotic salary scale where you have some very, very high wages, which are exorbitant and the public sector and very, very low wages also in the public sector. so that's another area where we will spend money. now what we will be doing of course is creating other types of incentives which will also be much more helpful. first of all, the tax system will come in fact, create incentives for investment. secondly, it will create a much more lean and simple system for investment. for example, we estimated to invest in green energy as we call it, or renewable energy, increase simply by going by the book and estimate their would be some kind of a glitch on the way, might take five years just to get the investment ready to be, to be implemented, to be --
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to be developed and start rolling the company in renewable energy. we brought a law which we are cut that down to eight months. that you shows how we are cut down on bureaucracy. we are moving ahead now on making it much more simple to create a company and get through the red tape. so bureaucracy and red tape is one issue. the second is transferred to and corruption. i was another problem, sometimes often for investment. that's another area we are cutting into. and that is going to make much more lucrative. thirdly, we are also opening up professions so that there is greater competition. and there is which we are closed professions and that will be much more important i think both for investment but also bringing down the prices in certain areas. fourth, we are creating incentives for specific areas of
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greece, taking for example, the items which have great potential, actually greece has the biggest when potential per capita in europe. but we have to do all of that. so we will make the possibility for investment in this area very simple. also like a one-stop shopping of investment. these types of areas, these types of changes we're making, i believe, going to create an are creating because we're doing this already, are creating the environment for a much more, much more effective system of economic development and investment. i would just add one more major point, which we're doing in our administration. we now have five levels of it administration from center to local. there are five levels. that's a huge bureaucracy. we now are, have proposed and in the next few weeks we will be putting it to parliament, a
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major revolution administration. we will be cutting it down to three levels. central regional and local. we will be cutting down the number of cities from something like 3000, to 350, unified local government in many areas. and we're also cutting down about 6000 local government businesses that have been creating huge bureaucracies there. so there is a huge change is now been made in greece, which never would have been made before. i think the fact that we are in a crisis has also helped not only me but our government, and i would say a wider consensus in greece say yes, now is the time. we reached the bottom. now is the time for us to make these big changes. someone i think said here, someone, one of obama's aides i think is well known, will quoted to say you shouldn't miss a crisis, if such an opportunity
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to make changes, and that's what we're doing in greece. now, on cyprus, well, this has been around with us for many, many years. i felt we came somewhat closer to a solution in 2004. as you know, the solution had to have a the green light from both the communities. and we have come back to this, and are re-examining this question. but it really needs strong political will. now, this is not something from the side of greece. we feel that we want to interfere in a direct way, because we see cyprus as a sovereign nation, even though it is divided because of the invasion in 1974.
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and we see that the community has all its rights to decide what the solution will be. that's why what i can do is certainly support this process. and certainly in my relations with turkey, to create the necessary atmosphere, if turkey is also responding in a positive way, so that we help things happen on the ground. but in the turkish, on the turkish cypriots community, you have 3000 troops. you have much more direct involvement. i would say more of the turkish army maybe less, the turkish government, i would rather see the turkish government being more involved rather than the turkish army in the cypriots problem. and this is were i think you need a real political will from turkey to move ahead. now, prime minister tayyip erdogan did show this in 2004.
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i believe he can show his will again. but what we also need to take into account is we need to create a functioning cyprus, a cypriots republic which is something we have to communities which will not be be doing one and another in every decision, which the type of governance is there which allows for a smooth functioning and a smooth function within the european union, don't forget cyprus is now a member of the european union, even though de facto the turkish because of the situation better, don't have their full participation. although cypriots citizens have all the rides as european citizens. but there are very big issues here that we need to make sure that as cyprus is a member of the european union, we must make sure that it is going to be able to fulfill all its obligations
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as a full and functioning and democratic country in the european union. so that's why we're talking about a federation by zone and by communal. which can be, which can be functional and therefore, as it is functional it is also something which will be european. i would also add to this, finally, that the european is something we need to follow as cyprus is part of the european union. and the solution should be colored by the european, we should make that it is applied to cyprus and to the solution of cyprus. if these elements follow, i believe we can find a solution. and i do know that both the present and tayyip erdogan our old friends, and if they are really allowed to move ahead and
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particularly, i would hope that we find a solution. as soon as possible. >> thank you very much. and i think we will have to close it now. the prime minister has as you might imagine an extremely heavy schedule. please, everybody be seated, because the delegation, the prime minister and his delegation will the first. so may i please ask you all to remain seated. thank you very much, mr. prime minister. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> coming up next on c-span, a look at new national standards for what students should be learning in english and math. after that, first lady michelle obama donates her inaugural gown to the smoke -- smithsonian's history museum in washington. and later, chief justice john roberts on the confirmation process and whether or not supreme court justices tread attend the state of the union address. -- should attend the state of the union address. the health-care debate moves to the house budget committee on monday as committee members markup health care legislation. we will have live coverage beginning at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3, c-span radio, and that the budget meeting is part of an effort to put the matter to a vote by march 18. democrats want to have the
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budget committee approved a bill under expedited reconciliation procedures. then the rules committee will meet on wednesday to work out the structure for the debate. house speaker nancy pelosi says that she hopes to start debate on thursday with a vote possible later in the week. stay tuned to c-span for the latest on the health-care debate and visit our health care hub. you could lead -- you can read the legislation. see what president and members of congress are saying. you could also find cost estimates for the bill and hundreds of hours of video from the house and senate floor debates, committee hearings, markups, and other events. c-span pose a health care hub, sunday, live coverage of "newsmakers" with oklahoma senator james inhofe. he will talk about climate change issues, health care, and
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federal spending. c "newsmakers" live at 6:00 p.m. on c-span. it will also re0-air sunday at 6:00p.m. and now, a look at what students should be learning in english and math. this is from this morning's "washington journal." an organization known as achieve. guest: we are a nonprofit organization led by governors and business leaders and we help states set academic standards so students are prepared for what they face after high school. host: this is the week that governors and states came out with a plan. what is that plan? guest: standards, for people who are not familiar with this langwg, a description of what students need to know what they need to be able to do grade by grade so by the time they finish high school they are
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pretared to do college level work or with the same kind of skills go to a job training program or the workplace itself. what happened this week is that the governors and the state superintendents of education had organized a group of people, achieve was part of this. to develop a set of standards for the country on a voluntary basis. this builds on the best of what states have done. these standards look at what the best, highest performing countries in the world include in theirs. and what has been created is really a next generation, a step forward based on the best that's out there already that describes very clearly grade by grade by grade what students need to know in each grade in reeding, writing, listening, and speaking and in mathematics so that they are prepared to succeed after high school. host: so if a group of states decide they want to adopt these standards, what does that mean as far as technically what they have to do in the schools?
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guest: so any state that adopts this -- and we expect quite a few will -- over time. this doesn't happen overnight. but overtime they will change their curriculum to be in alinement, they will provide teachers with development to help them teach to standards. they will change how they prepare teachers, who are going to become teachers so they're grounded in this content. they will also change the assessments so when they measure student performance they're measuring against these standards. that will occur over a number of years. host: so if three states get together and say a bunch of fifth graders are taking these tests, is it going to be the same test in every state? guest: that's a hope. that's not a guarantee yet. the secretary of education is launching a competition, a grant competition. he will provide up to $350 million for states to work together to develop common assessments. you would like for the most
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part all states to use the same test. then you can measure students around the country with the same yard stick and have honest comparisons of where states stand and let students know. but they may find several groups of states, in which case there will be work to do to get those comparisons made. host: and so how does it also affect technical curriculum? does that mean that students or states that opt into this would be required to have to buy new text books? guest: some are statewide decision, in other places it's a local decision. but every jurisdiction updates its text books on some regular cycle. you wouldn't want 20-year-old science text books. so there will be a phase-in of new textbooks and i would presume that every textbook publisher in the country ought to be overhauling their
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textbooks so that they're aligned with these standards. that would lead to a more to cuck -- focused curriculum. host: it seems there's a bit of turf wars going on. how does that factor into these goals which are ambitious? guest: keep in mind that this whole initiative was led by states, governors, state education commissioners. they came together in recognition that the current system, 50 different states, 50 different sets of standard, 50 different tests, nobody can understand how we're doing. but overall, we're falling behind other countries. so this is an effort to recognize that our students are competing with others around the world, not with others in the next school district or the next state. and that the real with world demands that students face don't vary depending on their zip code. so this is an effort to make a
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common set of standards and then have a consistent set of expectations for students. this is all voluntary. so states that look at this and say this isn't for us or this doesn't meet our needs, the proper response to that is to not adopt it. and then they will be done. host: am i right to saying that texas and alaska have already said that this guest: texas and alaska said a year -- a year ago 48 states came together and said we want to work on this. so that's quite remarkable. everyone focuses on the two that haven't. it's important to keep in mind the 48 that have. and they have worked with this process for a year. they've provided input all along the way. they've reviewed drafts and provided feedback always with the intent of trying to get this to a point where it is high quality and worthy of adoption. now that this -- there's a public comment period now, so more input and one more round of revisions, and then the ball is in each state's courts. texas has made clear that it
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has no interest in adopting, the governor has. alaska seems to say the same thing. host: is there a reason? guest: you know, some of this has to do with politics, quite frankly. but what governor perry says in texas is that he wants to make sure that texas standards are written by texans. other states have taken a different approach. they said not every kid who starts in kindergarten here is going to remain in our state forever. we want them to be prepared for the larger world. and i think that's an important decision. host: michael cohen is our guest until 9:15. you can ask him questions yourself. here are the numbers. we have divided them politically. what does this mean for the teacher workday? guest: it's going to be better. one of the things that teachers suffer from now in many states is the standards for each grade
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are jam-packed with content. we expect teachers to teach an awful lot. one analyst who has compared u.s. math standards to those in other countries describes the u.s. standards as a mile wide and an inch deep. every week there's a new unit and a new topic. and what happens is first teachers have to rush through the curriculum, students don't get an in-depth learning of it. next year, the teacher reviews what was taught because students haven't really grasped it. with these new standards it's a much more focused set of expectations for each grade so the teachers in, say, kindergarten through grade five have a focused set of topics mainly around teachers teaching students around number concepts, addition and subtraction. they understand not just the formula but understand the thinking and can apply it. that will be easier for teachers to teach. they'll be able to teach in demtsdz, have more time to do it, and have students who come to them each year better
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prepared for the work. so this is a win. host: does it mesh with what was set up with no child left behind? you described the rush that teachers would have to do to keep those standards. guest: it meshes in the following sense. what no child left behind says every state should set its own standards. the federal government doesn't -- is not going to make a decision about whether the standards are good, bad, or indifferent. so the states have the authority under the current law right now to change the standards to be more focused, so they measure in-depth what students learn and move on. the other thing to keep in mind is that no child left behind, the elementary and secondary education act is goin to be reauthorized. congress is going to change it hopefully this year. and members of congress in the obama administration are keenly aware of the work that's under way. seeing that it is in the right direction. and are trying to figure out
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how to best line the federal government's efforts up behind what states states are trying to do. that's the best way to do it. host: carolyn, go ahead. caller: thanks for taking my call. i have a question and a comment. the comment i have is that occasionally i watch who is, are you smarter than a fifth grader. and it seems that the kids are being taught a lot of interesting but yet just completely useless information. and my question is, i really am concerned that the schools aren't turning out good citizens. what's happened to civics? it's just not taught in school any more. thank you. guest: very good question. and we need to keep in mind reading and math matics are a very important foundation for an acdemition foundation for what students are going to do next. in later grades and beyond school. but they also need to be good citizens. they need to understand the history of our country.
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they need to understand how our country fits into the larger world and they need to know how to behave and take responsibility as individual citizens. and that needs to be taught both as subjects as a content in school. civics ought to be taught. but also, the expectation to have students behave in and out of school is really important. and that's an obligation both to the school and also the family. that takes all of us to do. host: buford, south carolina. earnest. democrat's line. caller: hi. god bless you. i'm going to tell you what's wrong with schools. when they desegregated, that's when the schools started to fail. you can take 900 kids all the way through high school from the seventh to the ninth grade, 100 are going to college. when we came through school, you had all kind of occasional schools or -- vocational schools or trading. this isn't a part of the program right now. yet, you bring on all they talk
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about is academic this and that. ask him, can he do plumbing, can he build a foundation, can he put up a wire house? can he drive a bulldozer? the girls don't even know how to cook now. when i went through school, they learned how to cook, how to sue, they learned how to do everything -- sow. identify got a nephew. he dropped out of school and he went with my uncle. he knows how to do drafting and everything else. some of these educated individuals that go into engineering come to him to figure out the problems that they've got. they pay him a little $3,000 extra. host: so caller with all that in mind, what's your question? kiveragetteds my question is you've got too many people who went to college coming on your program talking about math. math and vocational and all of the -- to turn this around you're always talking about
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jobs host: we'll leave it there. guest: i think it's an important point that the gentleman makes. we want schools to not just prepare people for college or some kind of post-secondary education but for the workplace as well. but what's happened when we were in school is there were plenty of jobs that were available for people who dropped out of high school or just had a high school diploma that could pay a good wage. you didn't have to be highly skilled. you had to work hard, think, use your hands and you were in good shape. that's not the economy that our students are growing up in now. if you want to be -- if you want to work in the building trades now, you're working with computers and digital tools. you're not just working with hammers and nails. you have to work closely with engineers and be able to understand what they're talking about. so it turns out that even what we think of as blue collar jobs
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require a fairly high level of math skills, quantitatetive reasoning, geometry, and very sophisticated communication skills. so the point here is not that everyone needs to go to college, but that jobs of the future require a pretty similar level of academic preparation as do colleges and we need kids up to that level in order to give them a chance to succeed. host: tony on our independent line. caller: yes. i'd like to ask him that if we had all these jobs back that we used to have that what bill clinton signed the trade agreement sent away, but i'd like to ask if we had them jobs back they'd have an opportunity to go to college and stuff, these kids would. and they have opportunity to do things like we used to do. we had a choice. you know, to finish high school, go to college and stuff like that, these kids could.
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and have opportunity to make bread and make money. you know? that's all i mean to say. thank you. guest: i'm not an expert on free trade issues. but i do know that oftentimes countries to which jobs are moving are countries that have more highly skilled high school graduates than with do. and i can't help but think there isn't a connection there. so the emphasis on better preparing young people in the u.s. is really important if we're going to keep those jobs here. host: some of the standards for grade seven in reading would be to cite several sources of teckedtullevered when useful to support analysis of the what the text says. analyze how two or more themes or central ideas in a text relate to one another drawing on key details. and to analyze how particular lines of dialogue or specific incidents in a story propel the action, reveal the character or provoke a decision. but do you tell the teacher how you do that?
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guest: no. standards talk about what students need to be ainl to do. and what those say is students need to be able to read very carefully so that -- and accurately so they know what the text says. but also think about it, analyze it, compare it to other things and see what it means. it's important that students develop those skilesf skills. but this is not a standardized approach to teaching. this leaves teachers free to select their curriculum torks be innovative in how they approach teaching. to do whatever it's going to take to help students meet these standards. host: you talked about teacher preparation, and that takes money and time. how does that account for making these standards a reality? guest: well, so teacher preparation takes money and time. we're already spending a lot of money and time preparing teachers as undergraduates in teacher education programs. the problem is they're not often prepared to teach to any often prepared to teach to any specific set of standards or they are taught generically how to teach content.
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the more space about the centers, the more incentive there will be for teacher education programs to prepare the students to teach these expectations. at the chance to figure out how best to do it, but the public schools will get a more well- prepared class that they currently get now. if you look at the other countries that are high performing, how they do that, there is a very tight relationship between -- i have visited singapore and went to their college education, the national institute of education. i met a physics teacher that was preparing teachers to teach the same physics, preparing to teach those people the way we teach physics when they got to the secondary school. we are this far apart in the west. with the same money, we can do a much better job. petersberg beach,
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florida. steven on our republican line. caller: good morning. i'd like to thank you for taking your time out for us today. guest: you're welcome. caller: and the question that i've had is we've had horrific education in the united states for the last couple decades that i know about. i believe we're currently ranksed 23rd in the world. what remedy are you taking to remedy this? guest: the call ser absolutely right. on most measures of education performance when we compare ourselves to other countries, we are 20 ds or so in the world, whether it's on reading achievement, math, high school graduation rates, college. we used to be at the top and we're well behind now. one of the things we've learned from studying how other countries do that, and this is particularly true in mathematics, i think i mentioned earlier, in the u.s. our math curriculum is what one analyst called a mile wide and an inch deep. we teach a lot of subjects
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every year. we don't teach them very well and in great depth. students are not expected to understand. they're not able to understand the math. so next year they have to go through the same cycle over again. the result is they spend a lot of time being taught but not a whole lot of time learning math very deeply. that's why other countries outperform us. and standards that were released last week, we took a lot of lessons from how other countries do this. many fewer topics in the almost are elementary grades. much more focused. they begin to be introduced gradually to algebra thinking, for instance, in the early grades as part of that learning number sense. and by the time they're in seventh grade they will have a solid preparation to take algebra after that. right now, students who try to take algebra in ninth grade don't have the foundation. this does a much better job and ought to make us much more competitive internationally. host: here's a bit of
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criticism. guest: i've read the standards. and i'm a parent. i'm not a specialist in each discipline. the math standards will be hard for many parents because if you don't have a strong math background at some point that gets to be a little complicated. but they are very clear for teachers to understand. we need to do a better job of translating that so parents will understand. in english, though, i read those. thr very clearly written. you read some of those standards. those are not hard to understand. in fact, if you read those you can see a real progression from grade to grade. so if you went to the reading standard that you had for grade seven and looked at grades four, five, six, you see how students expect to be able to do more complex tasks, more
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sophisticated work from grade to grade. and if you looked at the writing standards in grade seven next the reading and the listen and speaking, you would see thou whole curriculum is providing a coherent approach to teaching. >> tomorrow, mark tapscott of the washington examiner and the david waldman and the main stories on the week including health care. and after that, joan claybrook national highway safety administration looks at the toyota recalls a and of the problems were overlooked. plus, your e-mail and phone calls. next on c-span, first lady michelle obama donates her inaugural gown to the
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smithsonian's american history museum. after that, chief justice john roberts on the confirmation process and whether not they should attend the state of the union address. and weekly addresses with president obama and massachusetts skinned -- massachusetts senator scott brown. earlier this week, first lady michelle obama donated, inaugural gown to the smithsonian's history museum here in washington. the tradition of putting clothing on display dates back to 1914. the collection includes at least one item from every presidency. this is half an hour.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome designer jason wu, the director of the smithsonian's national museum of american history, the secretary of the smithsonian institution, and the first lady of the united states of america, michelle obama. [applause]
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>> good morning, everyone. welcome to your national museum of american history. i would like to extend a special welcome to the first lady of the united states, michelle obama, to the smithsonian secretary, to the designer, jason wu, to all of our board members of the national museum of american history, and our chairman, all of our special guest, students from huntington high school -- welcome to all of you and thank you for the great support you provided this museum. mrs. obama, it is an honor to have you and your guests here to join with the museum in a tradition that is now almost a century old. the presentation of the first
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lady's inaugural ball gown to the smithsonian institution and our national collection. we have a unique mission. we have the mandate to tell the whole story of america. through our collections, research, exhibitions this museum, which is the largest and most popular history museum and the country, offers a unique opportunity to visitors to discover the american dream and to understand what it means to be an american. we are assembled here in the hall which serves as the museum's public square -- the place where we connect our visitors with information and ideas, and with each other. it is also the place where we sponsor a number of important programs. naturalization ceremonies take place here. we have hands-on learning activities, living history programs, and we have special events like this. inspirational moments have happened here -- the spontaneous performance of the boys choir of kenya when they were here and sang "the star spangled banner."
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at this museum, we are in the forever business. americans trust us with their family heirlooms and prized possessions. we are very grateful that mrs. obama is entrusting us with this wonderful gown that she wore at the inaugural ball last year. i'm sure this dress as many memories for you. it will become part of our country's collective memory. it goes into one of our best known and most popular
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exhibitions and collections at the smithsonian. it will become part of a personal memory for millions of visitors who come here every year. over the years, our first lady collection has evolved, in response to the changing role of women in american society and the changing role of the first lady. i am pleased to announce that, thanks to a generous gift, the museum will be adding a new gallery called "the first ladies' debut." it offers a 50-year review of first lady fashion at the smithsonian. not only do we have a world- class collection at the smithsonian, but we have a
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world-class staff. i recognize and thank the production staff and many others who put together this exhibit and contribute so much to the success of this museum. [applause] for the past two years, we have enjoyed the inspired leadership of the 12th secretary of the smithsonian institution. it gives me great pleasure today to introduce them to you. >> thank you. good morning and welcome to this great museum. it is a very special occasion for us. thank you to the board members who help support the role and to the chair for the generous donation of this time, talent,
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and resources over the years. this collection is one of the most enduring and popular collections at the smithsonian. today, we celebrate the newest addition to this collection -- the ball gown worn by michelle obama on inauguration night. we thank you, jason wu, for your beautiful design. this is the museum's and america's public square. it is our public square on the national mall where history is made and celebrated and more than 1 million people were on the national mall for the inauguration of president obama. who could forget that moment? at the smithsonian, we're dedicated to making sure nobody forgets. we had nearly 750,000 of those
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individuals at this museum during that time. we present some of america's greatest treasures including "the star spangled banner." we tell the story of all americans to all other americans and those who come from other countries. the first lady collection is a display of the creations of talented designers such as jason wu and it is the story of the challenges are nation's first ladies have faced. we have been blessed with many gifted and determined women such as dolly madison, eleanor roosevelt, nancy reagan, hillary clinton, laura bush, and michelle obama. their lives are inspiring stories for all young women and men, such as the students from
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huntington high school who are with us today. the students are our future. it is the job of our generation to pass on the values and beliefs that make this country great. the smithsonian, with more than 107 million items in its collection, is ideally positioned to do that. our commitment is that we will. take for example what we celebrate today -- clothing. in our collections, we have amelia earhart's jacket, marian anderson's fur coat. this is just the starting core for what we will be a journey of discovery. we are here to initiate, engage, and continue the dialogue. we do so thanks to the generous
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support of people on capitol hill and here in this room. we take our duty to the american people seriously. at the reopening of the museum in november, 2008, a historian and board member said, "never has an understanding of our story as a people, of who we are, and how we came to be the way we are, and what we stand for, been of such importance as right now." thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, mr. secretary. jason wu's story embodies the american experience. born in taiwan, he was 9 years old when he moved to vancouver and learned how to sew. he enrolled in the parsons
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school of design in new york city and interned with a designer. all eyes were on michelle obama in the beautiful jason wu design. an inaugural ball gown is the most important dress in the country. mr. wu, i think many will agree with me that by adding this dress to the national collection of the smithsonian, it will be remembered for many years to come. please welcome jason wu. [applause] >> first of all, thank you for such a wonderful introduction. i would like to also thank the smithsonian for inviting me here today. i would also like to thank mrs.
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obama for this opportunity. to say she has changed my life is an understatement. there is no doubt that this was my single greatest accomplishment so far. what an honor. i could not have imagined that as a 26-year-old, taiwan-born immigrant -- that i would one day be standing here today. i have learned that america is truly a land of opportunity. over the past year-and-a-half, many people have asked me what it felt like when i first learned the first lady had chosen to wear my gown to the inauguration. frankly, i had no idea. i did not know i was being seriously considered until i saw her step out on television. imagine my surprise. not only to witness history in the making, but to actually be
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a part of this incredible moment. many people also ask me about my inspiration for the gown -- what was i thinking? what was the meaning? the truth is, i was simply inspired by the moment. i was inspired by mrs. obama's poise, grace, and intelligence. i was inspired by the overwhelming optimism she and president obama represented. i was inspired by the fact that i would be able to realize my dreams. i cannot think of anywhere else where this kind of opportunity exists. finally, the question most people ask me is, what would i say to mrs. obama if i were to see her in person one day? that is the easiest question of all. i'm happy to answer it today. mrs. obama, thank you. thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your incredible support.
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thank you before having the courage and vision to choose a gown made by a young designer who did not fit the traditional mold, and for reminding us that nothing is impossible. thank you for allowing my store to be a part of this incredible moment in american history. thank you. [applause] >> beautiful words. we thank the first lady for coming here today and for her previous support of the design museum's national awards, where she graciously hosted a luncheon. at the first lady, she is
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active on a number of issues, supporting military families, helping working women balance careers and families, encouraging national service, promoting the arts and arts education, and fostering healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across our nation. in a speech last year, the first lady said, "the arts are not just a nice thing to have, or to do if there is every time, or if one can afford. whether it is paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, it all defines who we are as a people and provides an account of our history for the next generation." ladies and gentlemen, the first lady. [applause]
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>> thank you, everyone. thank you so much. clearly, it is a pleasure and honor to be here with you today. let me begin by thanking you for your generous introduction and for your dedication to the mission of the smithsonian. i want to thank our hosts from the national museum of american history. thank you for making this such a wonderful place for people of all ages to learn and explore. i also have to do my part in recognizing our very special guests -- the students and teachers from huntington high school, who made the trip all the way from new york to be here. please stand so we can see you. [applause]
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now there is a special reason why i invited these students. they sent me in this book of beautifully-designed inaugural gowns of their own creations. i had so much fun looking through those designs. you are all obviously very talented and beautiful. i am so pleased to be able to share this special day with you. you make us proud. thank you for the gift. i also want to thank the board members, staff, and supporters of the museum for all you do every day and for being here to share this moment with me. here we are -- it is the dress. [laughter] i have to say, to be honest, i am very honored and very humble and a little embarrassed by all this fuss being made over my dress. i am not used to people wanting
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to put things i have worn on display. all of this is a little odd, so forgive me. at the same time, i truly recognized the significance of this day. this gown and that items in this wonderful exhibit help us connect with the moment in history in a very real way. when we look at the gown that jackie kennedy wore 50 years ago, it takes us beyond the history books and photographs and helps us understand that history is really made by real, live people. the detail of each gown -- the fabric, cut, color -- tells us more about each first lady. it is a visual reminder that we each come from different backgrounds, different
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generations, and from different walks of life. each gown places us right in the moment and makes us wonder about the intimate details of that evening -- how did she feel in that dress? did her feet hurt in the shoes? [laughter] how many times did her husband step on that train? more importantly, these gowns define a moment in our american history. when i look at my gown, which i have not seen since the day i took it off, memories of that moment come back. i remember it was freezing cold. i know we all remember that. despite the frigid temperatures, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the mall. nothing would stop them from being part of history. that day was so hectic for us. i remember the inaugural parade and how the president and i
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stood and waved until every last man walked by -- band walked by. then we only have less than an hour -- ladies, if you can believe that -- [laughter] all of my friends left us in the stands. thank you, good luck. we have to get ready. yeah, so did i. i was not focused on what i was wearing -- i was trying to stay warm. i will never forget when i put on this beautiful gown. i remember how luscious i felt when we were announced on to the stage for the first of many dances. i will cherish that moment for the rest of my life. now that the crowds are gone and the mall is silent, and our family has settled into our new home -- the white house -- this is one of the most tangible things i have left to remember that day.
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that is why it will always hold a special place in my heart. when i look at the dress, i remember the incredible people that we met along our journey and on that day. i remember how warmly welcomed we were. i remember the joy on the faces of so many young people who devoted so much time to getting us to that point. i remember wonderful letters we received from people who were there and others who watched the event from home -- people who told us about how much that they meant for them and their families. we receive letters from octogenarians, who told us how they never thought they would live to see the day. i remember the men and women who worked so hard and long to make sure that every single detail was just perfect. i remember the time we shared
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with americans from every corner of this nation. one person who made that a possible is the creator of this beautiful gown, jason wu, a young man who, not so long ago, was just an aspiring designer like many of you here. when he was just five years old, growing up in taiwan, his parents would take into the bridal shops so that he could sketch the gowns in the windows. he started making clothes for dolls when he was 16. after studying under some of the best designers in the world, he opened his own shop with the money he had saved. you can see this is a masterpiece. it is simple, elegant, and it comes from this brilliant young mind -- someone who is living the american dream. the countless hours you can see he spent sewing this piece made my night even more special. i am proud that millions more visitors will see how talented this young man is.
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thank you, jason, for your vision and your hard work. at the end of the day, today is about much more than this gown. it is also about how, with enough focus and determination, someone in this room could be the next jason wu, the next barack obama. it is about how the american story is written by real people -- not just names on the page. it is about how something you create today, whether address or painting or story or song, could help teach the next generation in a way that nothing else can. thank you all so much. [applause]
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>> thank you very much, mrs. obama. thank you for your words about how people make history. i think it is fair to say that the first lady of the united states is one of the most influential, and the elected people in the world. -- unelected people in the world. i think the words you have spoken about the importance of people in history and how we make history cannot be repeated too often. mrs. obama, on behalf of the smithsonian and the american people, thank you for presenting your inaugural ball gown to the smithsonian and for helping us tell the continuing story of the people. we hope that you and your family will visit again, often. you have an open invitation. this concludes our ceremony. -- the formal part of our ceremony.
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we invite the members of the media, as ordered by our press office, to come forward for photographs. mrs. obama, if you would do us the honor of joining us next to your inaugural ball gown. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] . .
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>> here is a look at our schedule. next, chief justice john roberts on the confirmation process and whether or not supreme court justices should --
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should attend a state of the union address. after that, weekly addresses with president obama and recently elected representative scott brown -- center scott brown. -- centre scott brown -- senator scott brown. >> the house returns monday at 12:30 p.m. eastern, followed by legislative work at 2:00 p.m.. bills relating to congressional pay and also at the programs. it is possible that the chamber could also debate a tax extenders' bill that would extend unemployment benefits and insurance. also, health care legislation lighthouse coverage on c-span. and in the senate, members
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return at 2:00 p.m. eastern. they will get back to work on a $17 billion jobs bill. it also includes a payroll tax credit on businesses that hire new workers. several amendments are in the works and after an agreement on those can be reached, a final passage vote could follow. live said it coverage on c- span2. >> tomorrow, your chance to talk to karl rove. starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the former adviser to president bush will take your phone calls and emails and tweets. afterwards, bill cohen and wife janet on race relations in america. all this weekend, live coverage of this year's tucson festival
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of books. find the entire weekend schedule on >> this is c-span's america and the courts. up next, chief justice john roberts. he spoke on the confirmation process and what he wants in a law clerk and whether supreme court justices should attend a state of the union address. >> the chief justice has agreed to take questions. he has asked me to call on those of you who have a question. he would especially like questions from students. particularly, for the upperclassmen, he is ready to hear your questions. >> what ever it is, make sure it
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is not a question on architecture. everything that i know, you know. >> what led you to study law? >> i did not know i was going to study law before i was in law school. in college, i was a history major. school. in college, i was a history major. i wanted to teach history. there was no job for people to teach history when i came out of college, so i thought maybe i would go to law school and perhaps teach legal history. when i found myself in first- year law school, i found i enjoyed it so much i dropped history as a career choice and focused on wall. -- on law. >> justice roberts, a follow up. i also have an undergraduate degree in history. how have you found, through your
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legal career, that that prepared you for the practice of law? >> i think it is great. there are a lot of different undergraduate disciplines that i think are a preparation for law. history was good for me because that is what we do. the first thing that happens when we get a case is we look at the precedents, the history -- what have we done before. at a more fundamental level, it is important to understand what the people who grew up our original documents, the framers of the constitution, what their experience was when they did that. the same with respect to the civil war amendment -- what was driving them? it is not always determinative. the road certain texts. that guides us. you have to understand the history behind it. >> what are your views on the
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helgrin case, circa 1937? >> that is the kind of question the senate asks during confirmation hearings. i cannot comment on particular cases that will have pertinence to my ongoing work. >> when justice thomas was here, he had some strong opinions about the confirmation process, which i tended to agree with -- that a contentious process does not make for a better court. i have seen some of your confirmation hearings on the internet. i wanted to hear what your thoughts were. >> the first-year students i talked to this morning heard me expound on that a little bit. i agree with justice thomas. i think the process is broken down. senators ask questions they know we cannot answer.
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we tell them, and they ask more questions we cannot answer. i think they view the process as a vehicle for them to make statements about what is important to them, and perhaps their constituents, but not about matters on which we can opined. they want to know how we're going to rule on certain cases. we cannot tell them that. they think maybe they will get us to reveal something. we cannot tell you how we view the ongoing significance of those cases. we can figure out they are trying to get us to say something about how we are going to decide. they know that is true. i am happy that recent nominees from both presidents and political parties have adhered to the view that is impossible for nominees to tell the senators how they are going to vote in a particular case. i think that is important. the senators are the only ones who can change the process.
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if they are interested in finding out information that is pertinent, they should change the way they do it. there are a lot of questions they can ask that would reveal something about nominees. what is your theory of the constitution? how are you going to approach to judging? when you write your opinions, who are you going to write them for? are you going to write them for the academic community? for the public? the decision in brown versus the board of education was about 20 pages long. warren wanted the public to be able to read it, not filter it with experts. are you going to write it for your colleagues? are you going to explain the dissents? are you going to footnote the debate? ask the nominee but the latest book she read was. that would tell them something. what is your interest? what did she think?
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something that would start giving a better sense of how a nominee would approach the important job. asking them how they are going to rule on a hot-button issue of the day makes no sense. it is counterproductive. you go back and look at the theories of the judges who participated in a row versus wade, and you will not see any questions about abortion. whenever hot-button issue is going to appear in 10 or 15 years -- the senators do not know. the judges do not know. it is a backward-looking process. i think the process is not very fruitful. i think the only people who could change it are the senators to run it. i hope they do. >> thank you for coming to alabama. since you have argued many cases before the supreme court, could you comment on the process of granting circuitry uri to the
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case -- certioriori to a case? >> we are not always saying that decision was right. often it is so wrong we do not think it is going to have an impact on the development of the law. we try to make sure federal law develops uniformly. that is one reason our docket is not very interesting, once you get past a handful of cases. if you have a court in new york deciding a bankruptcy case one way and a court in california deciding the same issue another way, we will grant cert and resolve it, no matter how uninteresting it might be. whenever there is a conflict in the uniformity of federal law, addressing constitutional issues -- it strikes down an act of congress, we are going to review
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that, even if there is not a conflict. those are the main reasons. it is vitally important. there are supreme courts around the world that have similar case loads. they are required to act as a court -- the opposite of a court of error. the chief justices of those courts tell me it is a deliberate means of the other branches to keep them from being a significant part in the political process. if you have to decide 9000 cases a year, you do not have time to sit back and say, "this is an important issue about how the government functions." the legal reforms that gave us the right to choose which cases we hear are vitally important to our assuming our role in government. >> chief justice roberts, earlier in the season, the supreme court had a 5-4 decision
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to remove corporate funding limitations on federal elections. some have said that provides a corruption of democracy. >> i did vote on that. i will have to let my opinion in that case before itself. -- speak for itself. >> how has your private practice experience helped to perform your job as a justice? >> i think it has helped a little bit, in the sense that i know what many of my friends -- former friends -- [applause] [laughter] i think they get -- i think i get a sense of how they are trying to make their points, what they might be holding back that might be worth exploring. i think i learned a little bit
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about the process, about how i could be helpful in the court. that allows me to get as much from the lawyers as i can. we do a lot of writing in the briefs. it is somewhat on like riding a decision, but you are dealing with the same precedents, the same statutory language. i like to think that was good practice. i obviously had the chance to engage in a dialogue with the justices on the best days. that gave me some experience, trying to do that, which is what i spend some of my time doing now. i think it was good preparation. my colleagues all come from a different background, some with a great deal of experience as appeals judges. that gives them a different experience. experience as an academic allows them to take a different perspective on some of these issues. justice thomas ran a government agency. that benefits and a great deal.
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i thought for a long time that one of the gaps we had on the board was somebody with experience as a trial court judge. hw2p@ @ @ @ @ @ @ b@ @ @ @ @ @ s >> i will ask you about the opinion, i will ask if the state of the union address is a proper the new for the supreme court? >> first of all, i think that anybody can criticize the supreme court without any qualms. we do enough in our descent -- should feel
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perfectly free to criticize what we do. i think it is an obligation, given their office, if they think we have done something wrong. i have no problems with that. there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances, and the decorum. the image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the supreme court, cheering and hollering while the court-appointed requirements of protocol mean we have to sit there expressionless, it is troubling. it makes the question whether it makes sense for us to be there. the state of the union has degenerated into a political pep rally. i am not sure why we are there. >> thank you very much for coming to see us, mr. chief justice. you mentioned how when a decision was written briefly so
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the average person could read it -- what other issues do you think -- what other attributes to you think a good decision, as a piece of writing, has? >> that is a good question is senator could ask. -- a good question a senator could ask. [laughter] it should be intelligent to -- it should be intelligible to intelligently people who are not lawyers. they should be able to pick it up, read it, and understand it. they are not going to care if it is a case where there is a conflict on interpretation of the bankruptcy code. on a case like brown, and the other important public interest cases, i think it should be accessible to them at least at some level. they may not have to follow all the nuances but they should understand the reasons. it should give an adequate explanation. that is what we have to do.
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congress does not have to explain why they are doing something. the president does not have to explain. they usually do, but they do not have to, because you can vote them out of office if you do not like what they are doing. you cannot do that to us if you do not like our decisions, so we have to explain to you why we are doing them. it should not be an opinion, densely written, with 180 footnotes, that is impossible for people to understand except lawyers, or even most lawyers who do not specialize. it should be understandable, concise. explain what you are doing. let the public be the judge of whether you are living up to your oath. show you decide these questions according to the rule of law rather than your personal policy preferences. i think that is what a decision needs to be. >> justice roberts, what is your best advice for somebody holding a judicial position?
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>> being a judge? that is kind of hard. you have to do the work. there is a lot of reading involved. there is a lot of thinking involved. that would be my advice. you have to read a lot, you have to write a lot, and you have to think a lot. that would be my advice to law students as well. you are too quick to find all the cases, to read all the history, to make notes about all of this. what you have to do is also stop and think a lot. you have to think, "here is a problem. here is some legal material." sit and think about it for a while. judges have to do the same thing. do not be too quick to start drafting an opinion, if you are a judge. think about things a little bit more. people tend to bring to bear --
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law student's work hard. you think you have to work hard, to find something to solve a problem. you have to sit back and think about it. most judges and lawyers do not do that enough. >> when justice thomas was here, he suggested that oftentimes when he is listening to oral arguments, his mind is already made up. i was wondering, after you have done an initial look at a case and are leaning one way or another, how much influence does conversation with your colleagues have on your decision? is that a diminished role? what is the significance of oral arguments? >> my take on it would be a little different than justice thomas's .
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the oral argument is important to me, maybe because i participated it -- participated in it a lot as a lawyer. i would hate to think it did not matter. [laughter] it is a constant process of narrowing your communication. a question is presented in our cert petitions. that is on the first page. you have to explain what it is. you read the opening brief. it sounds pretty good. there are good arguments. your view of the case narrows somewhat. you read the other side's view, and all of a sudden the opening arguments do not sound so good. you read the reply and your view of the case -- your notion of how you should vote crystallizes. you go back and read the cases they are siding, the statutes, the language. you go firmly in one direction or another. your perspective is filled. i sit down with my law clerks,
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talk to them, play devil's advocate, get different views. the process crystallizes. you come up to the argument. does the argument ever change your vote? if you took a vote before the argument, would it be different? i do not know. we do not take boats before and after. -- we do not take votes before and after. it may cause you to change your view, just like reading a respondence brief caused you to change your view a little bet -- a respondent's grief caused you to change your view a little bit. this is also the first time i hear the views of my colleagues. if i hear one think a particular issue is important that i dismissed, that may change my opinion on the case. we may have different rationales that could support the decision. maybe i am focused on one but it
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seems like the other is gaining credibility. i'm i want to focus on that. the lawyers might turn as one way or the other. the oral argument plays a very important role, just like the other steps leading up to it and beyond. the conference with my colleagues plays an important role. people do not ask if my boat changes in conference. sometimes. it is not carved in stone until we reach that point. the opinion process helps explain what we are doing. sometimes, when we talk about what the opinion should be -- sometimes you find you cannot explain it. it does not work. it is easier to write it coming out the other way. that should tell you something. we change even at that late stage. >> when you are looking at law clerks, what is something you are looking for? >> they have to have a good
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academic record. i have to be comfortable they could read a lot, get a lot out of it quickly, they can write well. i like them to be able to talk well. i do not have them do bench memos, but i sit down with them and discuss. some people are better writing stuff than they are talking. i want somebody who's going to be good at talking. that is how i like to prepare -- bounce ideas off of someone. they have to seem like nice people. you spend a lot of time with them, over the course of a year. they not only have to get along with me, but they have to get along with other clerks as well. i like people with self- confidence who are going to feel comfortable expressing their views and defending those views without wilting. once, when i chose my clerks, i had a great idea for assessing their degree of self-confidence. this was at a time when at least
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court of appeals courts -- you were basically choosing them on one day. we had 13 or 14 interviews scheduled for one day. i brought in one dozen crispy cream doughnuts. -- one dozen krispy kreme donuts. there were powdered sugar and glazed. i put them out there and said help yourself. i figured anybody who had enough self-confidence to pick up a doughnut that is glazed or with powdered sugar would be the sort of person i was interested in. i remember saying, "anybody who has a doughnut, i will hire." i am not making this up. there were a dozen donuts left at the end of the day. i had to go back and look at their resonates. [laughter] -- i had to go back and look at
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their resumes. [laughter] i am looking for people with a high degree of confidence. >> reading the future -- what is a book you have read? i heard the twilight books are good. [laughter] >> legal books -- edward white has a biography of john marshall that has been around for a while. i really recommend it. i read it after i became chief justice. i learned a lot about him. very well written. a nice introduction to the major cases of the founding. it teaches you a lot about john marshall that people do not know, a remarkable figure that was largely responsible for shaping the supreme court in its current role, and through that decision shaping the country -- defining the nation,
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as he put it. a lot of people do not know about john marshall. he was a war hero. he was george washington's favorite lt. at valley forge. valley forge is where he began to think of himself as a citizen of the united states rather than a citizen of virginia. a remarkable man. that is a good book to pick up, if you have not. it is very readable. i do not get a share of the royalties. [laughter] >> mr. chief justice, were you more nervous the first time you gave oral arguments or the first time you heard them? >> the first time i gave them. it is easier to ask questions and answer them. i mean, i was certainly nervous. it was an emotional day, among other things. the day began with justice stevens reading the court's
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message on the death of my old boss, chief justice rehnquist. i took over and presided. that was an emotional day. when you are there arguing a case, that is an intimidating thing. you have to have that self- confidence i was talking about. the issues are always tough. it is exhilarating arguing a case. you have an added stimulation of the competition. on the bench, we never win or lose. even when we are debating among ourselves, you never think of yourself as winning or losing. you are engaged in the same process. if you are on the floor, you win or you lose. it does not depend entirely on what you do, but it can depend a lot on what you do. it is an exciting process. i would say it is nerve wracking.
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>> mr. chief justice, i am getting married this weekend. how would you balance law practice and family life? [laughter] >> congratulations. that is great. i will tell you one thing. it is easier as a judge than as a lawyer. as chief justice, it must be hard. it is easier. if you are a lawyer, and your brief is due tomorrow and your son's basketball game is today, it is tough. if you are a judge, your opinion is not due tomorrow. if it does not come out tomorrow, it will come out the next day or the next week. you have more flexibility to do things with your family. my old boss, chief justice rehnquist, once said, "if you want to spend time with your want to spend time with your young children,
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do not fall into the trap you are going to work this week and not next week. that becomes next month and then it becomes next year and then you wake up and they are 16. it is like anything else. you find the work intellectually stimulating and you have to balance that with other things. it is not easy. but, you do have to remember that if you are a good lawyer, you can make that compromise. do not listen to the partner that tells you that you have to do this or else it is not going to get done. tell him that you have other things to do that are important. if you get yourself in a position where that doesn't leave you the time to fulfill your responsibility as a husband or father, then you have to reassess your priorities.
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>> first off, and want to express alabama's collective gladness that the rumors of your resignation were greatly exaggerated. [laughter] >> before you get started on that, i have to announce that the professor who said that has been so overwhelmed he has decided to leave teaching. [laughter] i feel sorry about it, but what can you do? >> i have a question about, essentially, the other branches of government's role in interpreting the constitution, which it seems to have given up. the best example comes from president bush's example to sign something into law while saying it was not constitutional but the courts would shake it out. what do you think the result of that is?
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is it a bad thing? what would you like to see happen? >> i think it is a bad thing. congress does is at well -- does it as well. they take the same oath we take to uphold the constitution of the united states. they have the same obligation. it is wrong for them to think it is not part of their job and we will figure it out. congress passes the laws. if they think it is unconstitutional, they should not pass it. if the president thinks it is unconstitutional, he should not sign it. it is a high obligation should take more seriously. >> would you comment on the role that you believe international law should play in the american constitutional order? >> sure. without any reference to any particular case, that is a discussion where i think each side is deliberately missing the point of the other side.
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nobody doubts for a minute that we can gain a great deal from looking at international law, the decisions of other courts. if another court has dealt with an issue of the relationship of a particular type of national security question to individual liberties, we should look at it and benefit from it. i do not think there is a dispute about that. the question comes up when the issue is whether international decisions should influence our interpretation of our constitution. members were looking at contemporary norms, that kind of thing. you look at the decisions of other courts around the world. i think it is more difficult in a number of respects. which decisions do you look at? you may like what the german high court says. you may not like what the indonesian high court says. if you just decide which ones you like, what are you doing?
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you are looking over a crowd and picking out your friends. it does not help narrow your discretion in any way. there are serious legitimacy issues if you follow the french high court. you are following somebody none of us had the opportunity to vote for, in the confirmation process, inform the substance of american law. that is problematic. it is an issue the justices debate. it is important to keep those two aspects in mind. if people say those justices do not believe in international law -- of course we benefit from looking at that. we do. the other question is a more difficult one. >> mr. chief justice, when justice thomas was here, he informed us that in conference chief justice rehnquist had a signature clear that he would
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employ to move the discussion along. he said most often it was on just as briar -- on justice bryer. what tactics do you use to restrict your colleagues time on the bench and move along the discussion? [laughter] >> as a law clerk, i think you know -- i think i know what where you are talking about. i saw that often enough when i was working with justice rehnquist. discussion and conflicts are an important part of our process. i let it go on longer than all -- than my predecessor, maybe because i'm getting used to it. he was there 25 years. he made a judgment he knew what was going to be said. i am not at that point yet. it is a difficult point -- a difficult part of the job to not control the discussion but make
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it move along in a profitable way. i think i will get better at it as i go along. i will look to justice thomas for advice on how to do it. [laughter] >> what are your views on the ninth and 10th amendments? >> argued the same guy who as the other question about that case? you know i cannot answer a question like that. >> i had a question. you mentioned that in the past year you had 9000 petitions for cert. i know the discovery is causing a problem with electronic documents and arbitration. do you think our methods of dispute resolution are the most effective? how can we adjust to account for the share increase in litigation?
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>> the way the judiciary is developing has problems. it is an extraordinarily complicated process. only the very wealthy people with a lot of resources can look to them to resolve disputes. people who have no resources who are being represented -- they have to be represented in a way that takes that into account. if you are a medium-sized business with an important dispute, the last we want to look is to litigation. i think that is bad. the judiciary has to have part of their docket represent the economic life of the nation. reform is needed in the discovery process. for those of you who do not follow this, if you have a dispute over a particular question, you file a request saying, "give us all your e- mails." that is literally millions for a big company. you have to go through those to
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make sure they are not privileged material. it becomes the determining factor in the case. whoever can position or discovery -- clever can position their discovery request in the right way will win. discovery, the way it was developed, was a wonderful innovation in its time. but it has kind of grown in a way that no one anticipated. we have to figure out a way to make that more successful. >> did you have any reservations about your nomination for chief justice? >> of course. it is a tremendously important office. i feel very privileged to occupy at. -- to occupy it.
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it was quite a week. i was preparing saturday night. i think the hearings were starting the next tuesday. when i get nervous, i do not get much sleep. my wife came up and told me that she justice rehnquist had died. i was at that point nominated to replace justice o'connor. i was asked to become chief justice the next morning. in a short time, a mentor who i respected and admired died. the nomination had been changed. all the sudden, it was to be a chief justice. i felt my own inadequacy when i was appointed to replace justice o'connor. now these additional responsibilities were in the offing. i was not quite nervous, but i
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was aware of the significance of the opportunity. i felt very privileged to have the opportunity and to serve the country that has been so good to me and my family in an area of the law which i enjoy very much. i think anybody who is given that sort of opportunity appreciates the significance of it. when you go around -- we have our two conferences. they have pictures on the wall of the prior 16 chief justices. there is not room for another one. the first eight are in one room. the second eight are in the other. you go in and look at them. on a quiet evening, you see john marshall and all that he has done. next to him, you see roger thomas. each of them served about three decades. one was a huge success, the
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other a huge failure. you go into the other room and you see charles hughes, the chief justice during roosevelt's patent crisis. the way he handled that maintain the independence of the judicial branch. you wonder if you're going to be john marshall. you are certainly not going to be john marshall. but you want to avoid the dangers. the study hall they approached their jobs differently. marshall established the judiciary as an independent branch of government, protected our liberties, and insured that the supreme court would be able to do that. tawny -- marbury versus madison, dread scott.
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he almost destroyed the court. its reputation was tarnished for two generations before it recovered. something justice rehnquist taught me in describing how he approached things -- he said it is an important responsibility on which some much rides, but it is also a job. you have to do the best you can with the limited abilities you are given and then move on to the next case. i am comforted every day by the fact that it is not my decision, but the court's decision. i have eight wonderful, talented, hard-working colleagues. i cannot do a thing until four of them agree with me. that spreads what would otherwise be an almost unbearable burden of responsibility. >> i was wondering if you thought the court was an insular
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institutions, given that most justices and clerks are graduates from a handful of elite law institutions. >> i think they would all benefit from a broader representation. i know justice rehnquist always tried to broaden the scope of schools from which he took clarks'. i have tried to do the same. as far as the justices go, i do not know. i think presidents should pick people they think are the most talented, accomplished, and best suited. i do not know they should be terribly concerned about where they went to law school. >> in reference to war crimes, how do you feel about the talk we have heard around the world the last few years? in their opinion, if federal courts had looked into allegations -- that americans
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should be responsible to international court jurisdictions. >> that is the kind of question i cannot answer. you will enjoy life in the senate. [laughter] >> thank you. i know i do not qualify as a student, but to all the students i wanted to say, in this wonderful room -- as chief justice of the supreme court, i want to thank you on behalf of the 249 state judges we have in alabama for coming to alabama. i want to stay to the students -- i want to say to the students that you have a rare opportunity that i promise you great trial judges here would love to exchange places to have this privilege to be here. thank you so much for being here.
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i want to ask a question. for someone who is on the board of directors for the conference of directors for the conference -- the chief justices have been increasing concern about the increasing amounts of money that are being required to elect judges in the state trial courts this is a significant issue for the justices and chief justices across the state. one of the former justices of the supreme court, sandra day o'connor, since her stepping down from a court, she spent time on the issue. it is impacting the impartiality and the independence of the state courts. do you share justice o'connor's concern? concern?
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>> well, i do share her concern. the question becomes what to do about it. there, i think, the subject is more open to debate. these days if you are going to have elections there is going to be the issue of what role money is going to play in them. it is going to be a difficult and important one. i cannot talk too much about what to do about it in the judicial forum, since it does implicate broader issues of funding in elections in general, but also issues of whether you should have an elected judiciary in the first place. those are broader public policy questions that i have views on that i am not sure it makes sense for me to share. even though i did this morning. [laughter] >> mr. chief justice, there is
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an excellent article in the most recent "aba journal" about justice rehnquist. it speaks of his frugality. i wonder if you could share some stories of that character trait. >> i certainly can. there was a famous story. it was not my year. back then, he had three clerks. he could have had for, but he liked to play tennis and that made good doubles. even though it meant more work, he did not care. one of the clerks would drive from the court to the tennis court, a short drive, less than a half a mile. one time, the chief leaned over, it took a dollar out of his wallet, and said, "i am giving david a dollar to help pay for gas. i think you should all do the same."
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he was quite concerned about the gas money that was being spent on a very short ride. >> last question. >> mr. chief justice, do you enjoy what you are doing? >> every day. i really do. i was talking to the faculty earlier. i have given some thought to why that is the case. the thing that is great about the job is that you have a limited number of things to do. you have to do a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of thinking about cases. you have flexibility. if you are researching and are not getting much out of the reading that day, you can put it outside and right opinion. if you are writing an opinion and that is not working, you can talk to your law clerks about upcoming cases. if that is not working, i can try to focus on some
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administrative obligations. you should never have a day that is not productive, where you are not enjoying something that you like to do. i feel extraordinarily privileged to have that opportunity. as i said, i enjoy every day and feel that i am very lucky. >> we have one announcement for those of you who are in overflow rooms. we regret that. the chief justice will come to each of your room so you can see him in person. it has been a wonderful afternoon. we thank you for spending your time. >> thank you all. >> we appreciate it. [applause] >> i will follow you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> this was a 45 minute portion of the discussion. you can watch this program in its entirety on our website, c-
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join us next week for america and the courts, sub -- saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> next week, president obama puts forward his plan for elementary and secondary schools. he talks about this in his weekly online address. then, senator scott brown of massachusetts criticizes the democratic plan to overhaul the nation's health-care system. lost in the news of the week was a headline that ought to be a source of concern for every american. it said, "many nations passing u.s. in education." now, debates in washington tend to be consumed with the politics of the moment. who's up in the daily polls? whose party stands to gain in november? but what matters to you -- what matters to our country -- is not what happens in the next election, but what we do to lift up the next generation.
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and the fact is, there are few issues that speak more directly to our long term success as a nation than issues concerning the education we provide to our children. our prosperity in the 20th century was fueled by an education system that helped grow the middle class and unleash the talents of our people more fully and widely than at any time in our history. we built schools and focused on the teaching of math and science. we helped a generation of veterans go to college through the gi bill. we led the globe in producing college graduates, and in turn we led in producing ground- breaking technologies and scientific discoveries that lifted living standards and set us apart as the world's engine of innovation. of course, other nations recognize this, and are looking to gain an edge in the global marketplace by investing in better schools, supporting teachers, and committing to clear standards that will produce graduates with more skills.
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our competitors understand that the nation that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow. yet, too often we have failed to make inroads in reforming and strengthening our public education system -- the debate mired in worn arguments hurled across entrenched divides. as a result, over the last few decades, we've lost ground. one assessment shows american fifteen year olds no longer even near the top in math and science when compared to their peers around the world. as referenced in the news report i mentioned, we've now fallen behind most wealthy countries in our high school graduation rates. and while we once led the world in the proportion of college graduates we produced, today we no longer do. not only does that risk our leadership as a nation, it consigns millions of americans to a lesser future. for we know that the level of
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education a person attains is increasingly a prerequisite for success and a predictor of the income that person will earn throughout his or her life. beyond the economic statistics is a less tangible but no less painful reality. unless we take action -- unless we step up -- there are countless children who will never realize their full talent and potential. i don't accept that future for them. and i don't accept that future for the united states of america. that's why we're engaged in a historic effort to redeem and improve our public schools. to raise the expectations for our students and for ourselves, to recognize and reward excellence, to improve performance in troubled schools, and to give our kids and our country the best chance to succeed in a changing world. under the leadership of an outstanding education secretary, arne duncan, we launched a race to the top, through which states compete for funding by committing to reform and raising standards, by rewarding good teaching, by supporting the development of better assessments to measure results, and by emphasizing math
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and science to help prepare children for college and careers. and on monday, my administration will send to congress our blueprint for an updated elementary and secondary education act to overhaul no child left behind. what this plan recognizes is that while the federal government can play a leading role in encouraging the reforms and high standards we need, the impetus for that change will come from states, and from local schools and school districts. so, yes, we set a high bar -- but we also provide educators the flexibility to reach it. under these guidelines, schools that achieve excellence or show real progress will be rewarded, and local districts will be encouraged to commit to change in schools that are clearly letting their students down. for the majority of schools that fall in between -- schools that do well but could do better -- we will encourage continuous improvement to help keep our young people on track for a bright future, prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. and because the most important factor in a child's success is the person standing at the front of the classroom, we will better prepare teachers, support teachers, and encourage teachers to stay in the field.
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in short, we'll treat the people who educate our sons and daughters like the professionals they are. through this plan we are setting an ambitious goal. all students should graduate from high school prepared for college and a career -- no matter who you are or where you come from. achieving this goal will be difficult. it will take time. and it will require the skills, talents, and dedication of many principals, teachers, parents, students. but this effort is essential for our children and for our country. and while there will always be those cynics who claim it can't be done, at our best, we know that america has always risen to the challenges that we've faced. this challenge is no different. as a nation, we are engaged in many important endeavors, improving the economy, reforming the health care system, encouraging innovation in energy and other growth industries of the 21st century.
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but our success in these efforts -- and our success in the future as a people -- will ultimately depend on what happens long before an entrepreneur opens his doors, or a nurse walks the rounds, or a scientist steps into her laboratory. our future is determined each and every day, when our children enter the classroom, ready to learn and brimming with promise. it's that promise we must help them fulfill. thank you. hello, i'm united states senator scott brown from the commonwealth of massachusetts. when the people of my state elected me in january, they sent more than a senator to washington -- they sent a message. across party lines, the voters told politicians in washington to get its priorities right. and from my travels and conversation with people throughout this country, they told me that they want their president and congress to focus on creating jobs and reviving america's economy. instead, for more than a year now, we have seen a bitter, destructive and endless drive to completely transform america's healthcare system. in january of last year, unemployment hit 7.2% and our economy was hurting badly. but, early in president obama's
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term, he and the democratic leadership of congress made takeover of healthcare their first priority. today, times are even tougher across our nation when it comes to our economy. nearly one in 10 americans are still out of work. and still, the president and congress are focused on ramming through their healthcare bill, whatever it takes, whatever the cost. maybe you remember what president obama promised in his state of the union address. he said he was going to finally focus on jobs and the economy for the remainder of this year. i applauded him for that. well, here it is, it's almost spring. and what is he out there talking about again? that same 2,700-page, multi- trillion dollar healthcare legislation. so, an entire year has gone to waste. millions of americans have lost their jobs, and many more jobs are in danger. even now, the president still hasn't gotten the message.
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somehow, the greater the public opposition to the healthcare bill, the more determined they seem to force it on us anyway. their attitude shows washington at its very worst -- the presumption that they know best, and they're going to get their way whether the american people like it or not. and, when politicians start thinking like that, they don't let anything get in their way -- not public opinion, not the rules of fair play, not even their own promises. they pledged transparency. instead, we have a healthcare bill tainted by secrecy, concealed cost, and full of backroom deals -- and that's just not right. they should do better. the american people expect more. they pledged a true bipartisan effort. instead, they have resorted to bending the rules, and they now intend to seize control of healthcare in america on a strict party-line vote. in speech after speech on his
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healthcare plan, the president has tried to convince us that what he is proposing will be good for america. but, how can it be good for america if it raises taxes by a half-trillion dollars and costs a trillion dollars or more to implement? in addition, how can it be good if it takes another half a trillion dollars away from seniors on medicare, and still includes all the backroom deals you have been hearing about for months? well, for the past year or more, the new establishment in washington has tried again and again to sell this plan to the american people. but the americans aren't buying it, and for good reason. and now, what's going on is a last, desperate power play. they actually tell us that passing the bill is necessary, if only to prove that something can get done in washington. well, i haven't been here very long, but i can tell you this much already: nothing has distracted the attention and energy of the nation's capital more than this disastrous detour.
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and, the surest way to return to the people's business is to listen to the people themselves: we need to drop this whole scheme of federally controlled healthcare, start over, and work together on real reforms at the state level that will contain costs and won't leave america trillions of dollars deeper in debt. this, above all, was the message that the people of my state sent to the president and the congress in the election over a month ago. you know some of my democratic colleagues, you know, are being leaned on mighty hard right now. speaker pelosi and others are handing down their marching orders, telling them to vote for this bill no matter what. rarely have elected leaders been so intent on defying the public will. for many members of congress, the time for choosing is near -- do what the party leadership demands, or do what the people have asked you to do. if my colleagues don't mind some advice from a newcomer, i'd suggest going with the will of the people. after all, from the very
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beginning of this debate, the american people have called it correctly. . . >> still to come tonight on c- span, treasury secretary timothy geithner testifies about the 2010 budget request for his department. after that, secretary of state
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hillary clinton holds a briefing on the annual human rights report. later, a hearing on the proposed merger between nbc universal and comcast, estimated to be worth $30 billion. >> obama and his socialistic ideas, this is a life lesson in progress right now for conservatives. >> sunday, michele east man on her work to promote conservative women in leadership roles, sunday night. >> next, treasury secretary timothy geithner testified at the 2009 budget request for his department. under the president's plan, nearly $6 billion would go to enforcement programs at the irs, a 5% increase. it held by a subcommittee, this
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is a two hours, 15 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> the subcommittee will come to order. mr. secretary, before we go on, i join ms. emerson in having you convey to the folks at the irs our deepest sympathies and our condolences. you convey to the folks at the irs our deepest sympathies and condolences. that was a tragic situation and one that can never be tolerated, regardless of how anyone feels about anyone in government. please let them know as we told commissioner schulman that our
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thoughts are with them, our prayers are with them. and personally, and i know joanne feels the same way, we respect and admire the work they do on a daily basis. >> thank you for that. i wanted to begin my remarks today. i agree with everything you said. that we owe them our support, our gratitude, our respect. they are a remarkably great group of public servants, they take great pride in their work. nobody in that position should have to face what they faced. and they showed great bravery in evacuating the building quickly. they saved tens of hundreds of lives in how they acted quickly in that moment of panic and attack. when i went out there, they were strong and brave and remarkably dedicated and committed to the
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work of the service. >> thank you. let me also say, mr. secretary, that all of the families of -- and employees are in our deepest prayers and in our thoughts every day. and they showed a remarkable resilience in my opinion, as well. and often times bureaucrats are not treated with the respect that they are due, but in this particular case, i think it just points out to how many hardworking people there are, really working for all of us on a daily basis. >> today the subcommittee meets to consider the budget requests and conduct oversight over the department of the treasury. we welcome the secretary of the treasury, timothy geithner back, for his second appearance before
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the subcommittee. for fiscal year 2011, the treasury department is requesting authority to spend $14.1 billion, an increase of $551 million or 4% above 2010. i welcome the second straight requested increase for irs enforcement, efforts to prevent offshore tax evasion. while most americans rely on salaries from employment that are taxed before they receive their paycheck, many wealthy individuals and businesses continue to use offshore accounts to hide billions of dollars in income generated by investments and income from abroad. i know that treasury's budget request also proposes to reform our taxes on international activity and to counter the use of offshore tax havens. these proposals would increase revenue by more than $120 billion over the next ten years, these are good initiatives. i also welcome your proposed
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increase in funding for financial and technical assistance by the cdfi fund and look forward to learning more about the proposed new cdfi initiatives on healthy food and banking. i believe the cdfi has done some of the most important work in lifting up disadvantaged communities and look forward to discussing this work with you today. the treasury budget request has other notable increases, including a 13% increase for treasury's departmental offices after a 9% boost for this year. i am concerned, however, that the treasury budget proposes to reduce grants for low income taxpayer clinics, tax counselling for the elderly, and volunteer assistance program. all three programs assist low and moderate income taxpayers. i believe that supporting these taxpayers is of paramount importance and have made them a priority in my years as chairman of the subcommittee.
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in addition, i am dismayed that the administration has once again included a $106 million proposal to tax all stores selling alcohol and tobacco the same amount regardless of their size. i'm opposed to charging my neighborhood bodega the same flat fee as big suburban malt liquor stores and congress under both parties has repeatedly rejected it. as a practical matter under the current budget circumstances, i would probably have no choice but to consider budget cuts elsewhere to make up for this unrealistic proposal. mr. secretary, you may have come here to defend your budget. but as you know, we never allow you to leave without a discussion of economic policy. you are the highest administration official with a major role in economic policy who is required to testify before congress from the outset, you have been at the center of the debate over how to respond to the financial crisis.
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first as president of the new york fed and then as treasury secretary. much of that debate here on congress has been concerning the troubled assets program, tarp which continues to be a point of great interest among members on both sides of the aisle. thankfully it seems that, perhaps, the worst of the economic crisis is behind us. and yet we still have plenty more to do to get the economy back on its feet again. to that end, over the course of the last year, have you announced initiatives to respond to the concerns of every day americans. small business credit, mortgage relief, and limits on executive compensation at firms rescued by the taxpayers. many of the next steps for these issues, remain in the hands for congress. we must trust that you are looking out for the american people on a day-to-day basis. i feel confident that you're doing so. and look forward to discussing the administration's efforts on behalf of the american people with you today.
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and with that, i turn to my colleague miss emerson. >> thank you so much for being here with us this afternoon. and i know as treasury secretary you're facing many, many daunting challenges, including the attempts to reinvigorate bank lending to consumers and small businesses. and most important, protecting the american taxpayer. their investments and preserving the long-term financial health of the federal government. i know you and your staff have been work extraordinarily hard on these issues, and we appreciate your dedication. regarding the financial condition of the federal government. i'm very concerned that there does not appear to be a short or a long term plan to address deficit spending. the administratioadministration estimates that the fiscal year will be $1.6 trillion with deficit spending, continuing to exceed 700 billion per year
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through fiscal year 2020 when it increases back up to $1 trillion. this level of spending will increase our debt to gdp ratio to almost 80%. the highest level since 1950. how is this level of debt sustainable? especially as more and more of the baby boomers like joe and i reach retirement age? and are we on the same fiscal path as greece? are we irrevokably damaging the economic opportunities for future generations? regarding the economy and unemployment? i'm concerned with the administration sometimes confusing message with regard to job creation. on the one hand the federal government is running up enormous debts to stimulate economy and create jobs. however, on the other, the administration is pushing for massive new regulations on health care and the financial industry. these new regulatory policies don't stimulate growth or small
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business lending. they're creating a lot of uncertainty among lenders, among the many, many small businesses with whom i speak on a daily basis and consumers. while i agree that there are some common sense reforms in all of these areas, massive intervention in these areas will hinder short term economic growth. i'm concerned that while the administration is trying to spend our way out of the recession and high unemployment at the cost of future generations, you are advocating policies that will hurt short term job growth not stimulate it. as i said, to begin, you face a lot of challenges in managing the financial government's finances and attempting to reinvigorating the economy. i hope to work closely with you to address these matters. so thank you, thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. secretary, you know the routine, we hope you stay within five minutes, your full text
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will be -- presentation will go in the record, and that will give us time to grill you as the time goes on. >> thank you, chairman serrano. and members of the committee. it's a pleasure to be back up here. i want to thank you for all the support you've given treasury and the irs in the past. i want to begin, mr. chairman, with a few remarks on financial reform. many of you may have read today in the paper, we saw a number of the nation's large banks decide to sharply limit the practice of charging customers outsize fees for overdrafts. i want to say we welcome these efforts by banks to try to begin the process of restoring trust and confidence of their customers, and we welcome the fact that we're seeing banks try to get ahead of the president's financial reform effort, now working its way through the congress. after years in which we saw many financial companies competing to exploit vulnerable borrowers,
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it's good to see banks once again competing to benefit their customers. i want to urge other banks that have not acted to follow the lead of their competitors. voluntary action is not enough. the president's proposed a very strong set of reforms for wall street, including an independent consumer agency charged with making sure that customers get better access to information, better the house has acted, and we hope that the senate will support chairman dodd's efforts to move ahead now. we can't afford to go through another period where we see a "race to the bottom" across our financial system. now, a little over a year ago, when president obama took office, the urgent challenge facing the country was preventing a second great depression. and that time, as you know, the american economy was shrinking at an annual rate of 6 percent. now, in the fourth quarter of last year we saw a growth -- the economy grow again at about that rate, about 6 percent. and this was the result, of course, of forceful action by the president and congress,
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under the recovery act, and the result also of the steps we took to prevent the collapse of our financial system. but we still face enormous challenges as a country. the recession caused enormous damage. millions of americans are still out of work, many still facing foreclosure, many still struggling to keep businesses open. they're still living with the consequences of the worst recession in many decades. that's why job creation remains our principal focus. working with congress, we propose to expand and extend tax cuts for job creation and investment, a $30 billion small business lending fund, and expansion of the sba's programs. the president's budget also proposes investments in american innovation and education, in exports and infrastructure that'll help lay a foundation for stronger future economic growth. and we're proposing to make these investments and reforms in a fiscally responsible way. as part of this commitment, the president proposes to freeze
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non-security discretionary government funding for three years starting next fiscal year and this along with other steps to restore fairness to the tax system and what we hope will be the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission will help limit the growth of government spending in the future and reduce our deficits over time. bipartisan fiscal administration will reduce our deficits overtime. the treasury department plays a central role in this agenda, encouraging innovation and investment, restoring responsibility to our nation's finances. i want to highlight briefly some of the key features of the treasury department's budget request. at the start of this budget process, i asked the senior staff to identify efficiency gains, program cuts and reforms. and as this process you have before you today, program cuts and new reforms that would generate nearly a half a billion dollars in savings and revenues
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for the department. just to cite two examples, we propose to cut $100 million by not funding the cdfi capital magnet fund and bank enterprise awards. and savings for the irs $43 million through more electronic filing and by eliminating the automatic mailing of tax booklets to taxpayers. we're proposing to use these savings for investments in the irs service. our global economic and national security priorities and rebuilding the treasury department's professional staff. the resulting budget amounts to a modest but significant increase over last year. just very briefly. for the irs, we proposed to strengthen irs inforcement with a $250 million investment to
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increase compliance. an effort that would include as much as $2 million in tax revenues. we propose to expand the cdfi fund which has a long record of leveraging private money to help attract private investment to some of the country's hardest hit distressed communities. on the international side, you know treasury plays a key role in u.s. economic interests abroad and protecting our security interests. and our proposal would provide funding for international cooperation. and to make sure we have adequate resources put into our national sanctions program, which is designed to deprive terrorists nuclear proliferators access to financing. now, treasury entered this economic crisis with its professional ranks seriously
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depleted. we entered the worst economic downturn with only 25 economists it the office of economic policy, which is a third fewer than in 2000, about a decade ago. just to give you, by comparison. similar offices at the departments of housing and urban development and agriculture have 140 and 330 economists respectively. the federal reserve system has over 500 ph.d. economists. another example, our two domestic -- our two key offices of domestic finance and tax policy had very modest levels of staffing coming into this crisis, significantly below the levels that have prevailed in the past. we have a long tradition of operating with a lean staff. we have no intention of changing it, especially given the severe restraints the country faces as a whole. we have to make some target investments of rebuilding that if we're going to have an adequate capacity to respond to
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future economic challenges. we've proposed a modest additional investment to try to rebird and strengthen in a very targeted way, those three offices in the treasury. domestic finance presides over the financial system, tax policy and our economic policy division. now, i had the honor of leading a team of very smart dedicated individuals who are working every day to make our government more effecter, make our economy more strong and fair. treasury officials work every day in critical priorities from helping restart small business lending, to working to contain the nuclear ambitions of iran. from extending the benefits of growth to the hardest hit communities in our country to promoting american exports around the world from cracking down on mortgage scams to providing technical assistance to the governments of afghanistan and pakistan for example. we've accomplished a lot over this year, but we have a lot of challenges ahead.
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and the investments we propose in this budget will give us the tools to meet those challenges more effectively in the future. thank you, mr. chairman. >> when they devised tarp, our friends on the authorizing committees provided an open ended funding stream for operational expenses. congress has an obligation. in the report language adopted by the committee, the committee required the department to provide a full accounting of tarp spending and staffing to date and your projections for next year. that report was due with your budget request last month. but unfortunately, the committee has yet to see this information. do you have a time frame in place with prying this information to the committee? how much have operational expenses for tarp cost to date? and how much do you anticipate operating expenses for the tarp
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program which will cost the rest of the fiscal year and next? >> mr. chairman, we'll provide that information as quickly as we can. we can do it quite quickly, i want to underscore that we're now in the process of winding down tarp. we have been able to achieve in recovery in the financial system at dramatically lower costs than we expected. the cost of this program have fallen, overall costs to the government have fallen by over $400 billion, the initial estimates over a year ago. we've had $170 billion come back to the taxpayer. we're seeing a very substantial return to the american taxpayer on the investments the government made in banks. now, even though we've soon a lot of healing in the financial system, as you both said in your opening remarks, small businesses across the country face a difficult time getting credit.
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our housing markets are still in the process of recovery. and we're going to need to continue to make some carefully designed targeted programs to support additional credit expansion in those areas most damaged by the crisis, i think the administration costs of that are going to be a fraction going-forward than what they were at the peak of the crisis. the overall program is achieved a dramatic improvement in the stability of the system at much, much lower costs than anybody anticipated. if the congress joins with the president in adopting this fee we proposed to recoup any losses from the nation's largest banks. you can tell the american people they won't be exposed to a penny of loss in this program. >> let me ask you a question on that. experts if the field tell us that consumer confidence and investor confidence is what drives our economy. if people are afraid, it doesn't work. they don't invest, they don't
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buy, they don't purchase. but at the same time, there's another part to that, and it's the part that falls on members of congress, and the administration, and that's to create consumer confidence that what we're doing is correct. on one hand it might be, and it is in many cases, that so much of what is going on is beginning to take hold. the public thinks we just threw money away in many cases and we bailed out people we shouldn't have. how can you, and how can we work together to get a better message out if nothing else. why is there such a disconnect with what many believe is going on to what the public think is going on. >> it's very important to recognize that even though the economy is not growing again, and even though you're seeing the job losses fall from three quarters of the americans losing
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their jobs to repairing the economy. it created huge damage in confidence p.m. it's going to take a long time for that to heal. it's very important that we're able to demonstrate to the american people that the programs congress authorized in the recovery act and to help rescue the financial system are delivering what they were supposed to do. and again, the best measure of that, the economy was shrinking at an annual rate of 6% a year to an economy growing at an annual rate of 6% a year. you're seeing the cost of buying a car or putting a child through college come down dramatically. those are very, very substantial returns. in highlighting those returns,
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and they are the direct result -- the act was a third in tax cuts that went to 95% of working americans and to businesses across the country. it was about roughly a third in infrastructure investments, and support to state and local governments, and a substantial chunk went to help the unemployed -- help those people hardest hit by the recession, but these things are generating very substantial return, and you would not have an economy that had moved this quickly from deep contraction on the edge of a great depression, to an economy growing as i sid, at an annual rate of 6% a year in the 4th quarter of last year. i think the best thing we can do is make sure we can draw people's attention to the concrete aspects of those programs. when you ask people whether they support tax cuts for working families, whether they support targeted infrastructure investme
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investments, support assistance to save local governments so they don't have to fire teachers and firemen. the american people support and welcome those investments. and it's important to draw their attention to the specifics. it's hard to understand when you limit the debate to these broad programs out there. and again, just one more thing, mr. chairman, the efforts we took to stabilize the financial system were never going to be popular. but it's important for people to understand that when we came into office and when this congress took office in january of last year, the government had very substantial investments already in the banking system, and we have brought back two thirds of those investments already. we did not write a check to a major bank since we came into office. we did not give another dollar to the nation's major banks. we had a bunch of problems we had to solve, bombs we had to diffuse, but we've been very very careful in managing this very very unpopular program in ways that allowed us to get the
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american people's money back from the financial system to save them, as i said, over $400 billion in potential losses. and we have -- we're in a much stronger position as a country today to come out of this stronger, we've saved dramatic amounts of money. >> i'll defer now to miss emerson, because i suspect we'll have many members today, and the chairman should set an example for the five minute rule, which i just broke. >> i was hoping would go over so i could as well. let me switchgears to the federal debt for a moment, and i'm sure we'll come back to tarp, i have no doubt about it. i mentioned in my opening remarks, i have great concern about where we're going to end up in 2020, where our federal debt held by the public will be about 77.2% of gdp, which would
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be the highest percentage of federal debt to gdp since world war ii or 1950, when i was born. i have three questions i would like to ask with regard to this. actually, it's probably four, i know you'll indulge. given the size of the federal you know obviously to what extent are investors buying treasury bonds instead of investing in businesses? number two, given the trouble in the world economy, how difficult is it to attract buyers of treasury debt and are you increasing interest rates in order to attract those investors, and three, who's investing in treasury debt and are you concerned about our dependence on foreign investors, foreign governments, sovereign wealth funds, and the like to finance our deficit spending? >> excellent question. let me just start by saying as we discussed when i was here last year that you were right to point out that our deficits are too high. they are unsustainably high.
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if you just look at over the next ten years, they're unsustainably high and they get dramatically worse if congress does not act to reform our medicare and social security. they get dramatically worse in the succeeding decades. so they are too high, they are unsustainable, and if we do not act to address them then we will face much greater challenges of the country. growth will be weaker, america will be poorer as a country, and you're right to highlight these challenges and of course, we're deeply committed to making sure we start the process now of building consensus on the policies to bring those deficits down. now, on your specific questions. you asked are -- is government borrowing today crowding out private investment. no, it's not. in a financial crisis and a recession like this the only fiscally responsible way to act as a country is to make sure you are providing temporary targeted support to get an economy back on track, growing again, and the best measure of what i just said, which answers your second question is that u.s. long-term interest rates
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today, the rate at which treasury borrows today is really remarkably low and it reflects the fact that for the moment, again given the echoes of this crisis, the most responsible thing we can do as a country is try to make sure we are providing the support and the investments necessary to lay a foundation for strong sustainable private sector growths. providing the support and investments necessary to lay a foundation for strong sustainable private sector growth. these things need to be temporary and targeted and that's why we proposed in the president's budget to begin the process in fy-11 of bringing down these deficits overtime. one more thing that goes to your third question. today the american people are providing most of the financing for our deficits for these temporary exceptionally high deficits. over the last year or so, in particular, you've seen the savings rate of americans start to rise again. private savings rates rise from a modest negative -- at the same
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time our deficit -- which is the amount of money we're borrowing from the rest of the world has fallen sharply. if you step back generally, what you're seeing so far is a very high level of confidence among foreign investors in our economy, in our financial system, and a willingness of americans to provide the financing the government needs temporarily to help get through this basic crisis. you are right to underscore that these deficits are too high. as soon as we are confident that we have a self-sustaining recovery in place, it's important we shift at that point to bring those deficits back down to earth. >> i appreciate your answers. but if we're still at a trillion dollar deficit at 2020, when will the savings actually materialize? >> thank you for raising that. for an economy like ours, we need to make sure we're bringing
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the deficit down too a level that stabilizing or our overall debt burden is a level that's acceptable and not threaten future growth rates. for an economy like ours, requires we bring our deficits to bee lee 3% of gdp. it sounds like a magic number, but it's just -- given the structure of our economy, that's what it takes to stabilize the overall debt burden of our economy to an acceptable level. what we've proposed in the president's budget is a series of detailed measures that would bring our deficit down over the next four years to below 4% of gdp. that's not far enough. we were very explicit in the budget saying that's not far enough. that's one reason why the president's proposed to form a bipartisan fiscal commission, and ask a set of national states men to step back from politics and try to take a fresh look at measures that help get us down further over the next five to ten years, but also begin to propose measures that deal with
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the long term deficits in the future decades which will be damaging. >> you have great faith that that will work. >> no, it's -- you can't -- as you know, congress has to enact policies that restore gravity to the nation's fiscal position. we have proposed a series of detailed measures that begin that process, but we're following a model of president reagan who proposed and ran, helped to salvage the -- i think the best example of the bipartisan reform, we're proposing that model to bring sustainability back to the nation's finances. >> one more quick question, and then i'll be finished. how do you balance the desire for short term benefits to the economy versus the long term risk to the future generations of -- to future generations of increasing debt? i feel like we're being greedy or something?
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>> no, i think again -- when an economy is facing the risk of a great depression. a economy living with the echos of the worst financial crisis in generations, the only possible -- the only credible response of any government, and the only thing that's fiscally responsible is to temporarily provide the kind of support on the tax side and the investment side that can help re-establish a foundation for growth. that is what we did in the recovery act, and our financial recovery efforts, and we're still in the period now where as an economy, the best thing for us to do right now is provide modest additional targeted support for job creation and investment. but that will not work or be effective, unless we can make people confident. in the united states and around the world, that we're going to find the will as a country to start to bring those deficits down. the imperative right now is still job creation reinforcing growth. but once we're confident we have an economy that's growing again,
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then the right thing for the country to do is bring those deficits down. that's how you balance them. if you make sure these investments we make today are temporary and targeted, and they're focused on thing that will restart growth and job creation, you're doing the responsible thing, the effective thing to help restore our nation's finances. these deficits are high today as you know -- they're high today overwhelmingly because of the policy choices made by the country over the past proceeding 8 years, and because of the consequence of the recession. when we came in office, we had a -- before we did one thing, asked congress to propose one change to policy,we had a deficit in -- about $1.6 trillion more than 10% of gdp, and that was the legacy of the recession and the policy choices the country made. those choices left us with very high projected future deficits, unsustainably high debt burdens
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and we're going to have to work together to dig our way out of that. >> thank you. >> just a quick comment. not a question, but -- it seems to me that we never had major wars where we didn't raise taxes, so we're all guilty of the $2 trillion that it will cost us over the next generation just to pay for the last two involvements. but there is one resolution on the house floor today that we can all be fiscally conservative about and vote to get out of afghanistan. now, mr. fattah, the way i see this, your phillies will play the cardinals for a chance to get yankees in the fall. if we looked a year ark the first go moves the year we lost more than a million an a half jobs. these two months we've seen job
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losses of 50,000 in totality. but we've seen a major increase in temporary hiring and hours worked. all that is a prelude of what all of us i think expect to see net plus in job growth. and going forward. the stock market was at 6,000 yesterday, a year ago and it's now at 10,500. purchasing is up. manufacturing is up. if you look at all of the indicators, they're pointing in the right direction. there are still naysayers and there are people who are principally responsible for the conditions we find ourselves in who are critics of the work of this administration. i want to go through some of the details. now eight years before that, we
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had allan greenspan in here. we had the discussion that a $5 trillion surplus could take the country to be debt free at the conclusion of the bush administration. a bunch of decisions were made. rather than surpluses to erase a $5 trillion national debt and an intellectual discussion about the economics profiled the nation that was debt free, we had double the debt. and as it was the case at the end of world war ii, in part for national defense. i don't think anyone would suggest that we should have forfeited world war ii rather than run up some debt or should we concede to bin laden and company, you know, and sacrifice the lives of americans because we're afraid to spend money. so in part we spent on national security. and we also did tax cuts and so on. the point i want to get to now is there's been a lot of
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discussions and with the ranking member about the deficit. i want to talk about the debt. the deficit is just what the gap is year to year. we've seen the president set up the debt commission with erskine bowles and senator simkins. we've seen the vice president say that this national debt is a national security issue. the secretary of state last week said it's a national security issue. you have made comments about the challenges that it presents in the international framework of our dealings. what do you -- i know that you're sure to feel in the tax economy office, previous treasury departments looked at broad base tax reform. everyone who is knowledgeable in this says we have to raise some revenue. we have to cut our long-term costs on entitlements and we have to engage in broad base tax
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reform. now the reagan treasury department and the bush treasury department 20 years apart. they were fatally deficient and wouldn't work. they looked at the flat tax, said it wouldn't work. so my question to you is as we go forward, we need to have a deficit commission which we have in place. i'm happy to see they're going to make appointments. can you look at long term entitlements. and that's great. what i'm interested to know is what you think about an idea of a dedicated revenue focused entirely on paying down the national debt going forward as part of a constellation of things. we pass statutory pay-go and so on. but revenue source dedicated to debt what you think about that
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as a generality. and then specifically, i have proposed a transaction fee on nonstop, nonfinancial markets activity, penny on a dollar, dedicated entirely to the debt. i'd like to know what you think about that specifically. >> congressman, you're right to point out that we have an unsustainable fiscal pgs and we'll have to bring our commitments more into balance over time. now what we've asked this commission to do, what the president charged the commission with doing is to, as i said, step back in politics, take a fresh look. everything's on the table. no preconditions. and to see if they can come up with a recommendation on a bipartisan basis that will help address both problems. not just the long term problem of the next four decades. but the more immediate problem of how we get the budget down to a more sustainable level over the next five to ten years. both are necessary.
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both are partst commission's mandate. it's not just the very long term problems of entitlement reform. now they're going to take a look at a range of ideas. i'm sure they'll take a look at a range of ideas from both sides of the aisle. again, what we want to do is get a group of people together who can step back from politics, take a fresh look, no preconditions and, you know, i think that it's important for us to recognize that we're very strong resilient country. in the past we faced challenges like this we've acted. the world has confidence in our ability to do that. we need to make sure we're going to earn that confidence again. and i have no doubt that this is within our capacity to fix over time. we need to get some people to work on it now because, you know, again, as the economy recovers, this growth gets established and it will be time then to start to move. >> has treasury looked at any new ideas?
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>> treasury is a great -- >> -- revenue raises. >> treasury has a great tradition in tax policy and eliminati elsewhere of looking at all ideas. and, you know, we along with l lnb, we're going to help educate the american people about the challenges ahead. >> i understand. i appreciate. that the commission, obviously, has to have ideas that have been rigorousry analyzed in your department is most capable. so that they can make an informed choice. >> we will provide that as we always have attempted to add traditionally. >> then the last question is can we get the proposal that i made in hr 4646 analyzed by your department, torn apart and looked at to see whether it can be a part of perhaps addressing >> again, we don't -- we generally try not to tear apart proposals made by the appropriations committee, but we will take a careful look at anything that you all propose or ask us to look at.
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>> well, i'll ask the chairman to submit it to you officially and ask for its review. thank you. >> good idea. we will do that. we will do that. mr. kirk. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you met yesterday with the prime minister of greece. and i'm particularly concerned by -- as the washington post reported, greece's problems, critics argue, have only partially to do with speculators, more to do with false economic data, broken tax system, runaway spending. the greeks report that only 5,000 people make over $136,000 in their whole country. i'm particularly concerned about the role of u.s. financial institutions, particularly goldman sachs, that -- as greece got on the heroin of borrowed money, goldman was the crack dealer and did not disclose these increasing liabilities to the eu financial system, to the imf, or to the fed. increasing liabilities to the eu financial system, to the imf, or to the
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fed. it would seem not only should we very carefully review any requests he has, you have had any frank discussions with goldman about their very questionable role in this? >> they are digging their way out of the position. he has a lot of challenges to face. but he's beginning that process. and he also walked us through their discussions with the europeans to try to make sure they're managing through this carefully. now it is very important that they work with europe to put in place a comprehensive set of reforms to provide oversight
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over the derivatives markets. it's important to us and them. and as you know, we proposed in the house has passed a sweeping set of reforms and bring oversight to all participates in those markets, move the standardized parts of the markets on to clearing houses, bring transparency to the markets, make sure that our enforcement authorities, the sec have the ability to police, to go after, to deter fraud and manipulation. we are going to work very closely with the europeans to support the reforms. part of the imperative is bring as much transparency as we can. >> now to the question. >> i can't comment on any on going investigations. but, of course, as you heard the federal reserve chairman say, we're taking a careful look at these things as you would expect them to do. >> and so you have called goldman sachs and said what's up? >> i'm not going to kplent on anything specifically, but i
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will draw your attention to the statements made about it chairman of the federal reserve board and the sec. >> okay. >> they're going to take a careful look at this stuff, again, as you would expect them to do. >> as treasury secretary, you oversea much of the enforcements regime of the united states. we passed legislation in 1996 and the clinton administration to sanction any entity which invests more than $20 million in the energy sector of iran. congressional research services have identified 25 companies that appear to have violated this. we now learned that the u.s. government has provided $107 billion to companies who are in direct violation of the sanctions act. we also understand that the xm bank extended $4.5 billion to entities which are directly violated the iran sanctions act.
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49 of the companies have no plans to suspend any activities in iran. also, just a few blocks from your office, the world bank is about to send 258 million dollars to the finance ministry of the islamic republic of iran. since we own about 20% of the ibrd, that's $50 million in u.s. taxpayer dollars that will be paid to the ahmadinejad treasury. we understand that dalian industrial made a $700 million investment in iran oil refineries and direct violation of the act. that in 2009 the u.s. army contracted $111 million with them. petrogras invested $100 million in iran oil. that is five times the trigger level of the act. they offered a $2 million
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credit. mazda is in business with the iranian revolutionary guard corps. and, yet, still is winning u.s. government contracts using u.s. taxpayer dollars. any update? >> let me start by commending you for the support you provide a more aggressive approach. i think you're right on that issue. we're committed to working with countries around the world to put in place a stronger, more effective enforcement regime globally. as you know, the activities in the government and nuclear front to support terrorists in the region are a substantial threat to our national security interest, interests around the region and we're working very hard to build support for a stronger u.n. resolution. we're working can countries to encourage them to more aggressively enforce the existing sanctions regimes. the united states is running a very effective program now to tighten those existing sanctions using the authority we have and
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we're going to build on that record. and as you know, the treasury plays a very important role on the financial side. we've had remarkable success in making access to finance around the world. >> but no success in stopping u.s. taxpayer money going from companies who are directed by, no success whatsoever. i raised this with you before. no success, no effort whatsoever to stop world bank payment. >> i want to -- you know a lot about this, congressman. i know you've written the secretary of state about the concerns you began with which are enforcement of the -- >> iran sanctions act. let me address the world bank concerns directly. the world banks approved into new loans to iran since 1985. >> that's not the issue. >> you're right. i'm coming to it. there are only two loans outstand wrg the world bank is still dispersing.
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those are two loans that go to water projects that are consistent with the humanitarian exemption that is under the u.n. resolution, permitted under the u.n. resolution. >> i don't have a lot of time. are you naive enough to think that the money -- >> i don't have a naive bone in my body, congressman. but as you know -- >> let me ask the question. are you naive enough to think that $258 million paid from the world bank to the ahmadinejad treasury goes to those projects? >> u.s. worked very effectively across administrations to make sure the world bank was not authorizing any new loans as been successful policy of the government for a long period of time. the only two loans outstanding are the two loans that go to permitted under the u.n. resolution to support humanitarian and development projects. now i just want you to know that we agree with you and share your objective of making sure we're working around the world as we have been doing to tighten the
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effectiveness of the existing enforcement regime. you're right to point out that it is a on going challenge. you can't stay still. if you don't keep intensifying the sanctions, people get around the regimes. but for us to be effective, we have to work with countries around the world to tighten up the net. we're committed to that. >> i just would hope that this is -- right now, given "the new york times" article, it's throes do about what is happening with other governments and more that the u.s. government stops contracting with companies that do business with iran. >> that i wouldn't agree with. but, again, we have more in common than this than we do on many other issues. but the critical thing for us to is to make sure that we're not just using the authority that congress provides to make sure we get other countries to move us with as they are doing on a, i would say, we're having some impact now. and it's getting some traction. >> thank you, mr. chair.
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>> there's no way that no reflection on you, mr. secretary, no way that we can pass up this moment just to note that if any of those folks have invested $2 in cuba it would be a major scandal throughout the country. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here mr. secretary. i have questions related to two different areas. the first is the proposal the president to you some of the t.a.r.p. funding to encourage small banks, community banks to lend to small businesses. i'd like to know what the status of that is and what conditions or measures can be put in place to make sure that the small banks don't simply hold on to the money? i've heard -- well, we've all gotten unstoppable feedback from small businesses in our districts that institutions they've had long relationships with with perfect credit siftry, won't lend to them. they are arguing that the regulators -- the banks will tell them the regulators won't
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let them lend. i don't know whether that is a excuse the banks are using or whether regulators are putting on that pressure am i'm also hearing feedback, though, that banks, the small banks are saying, hey, you know, if we get the money we'll keep it. we're not going to necessarily use it to lend. so in order to avoid some of the pitfalls that characterize the support for the big banks that didn't always turn around and lend it, what precautions are put in place, and the second question is on the jobs issue. this recovery so far looks different than prior recoveries. it's not been as robust even though the gdp growth in the last quarter was encouraging. still the job numbers are sluggish. and i'm interested to know your both sense of why the jobs aren't bouncing back as quickly as in prior recessions and what are the most significant things that we can do to stimulate that
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job growth? >> excellent questions. first on the small business lending. we're proposing really four separate things to help address this problem. one is that we have a series of well designed target attacks measures that go directly to small businesses, expensing, depreciation, zero capital gains and small businesses, new jobs tax credit. the second is to expand substantially the existing guarantee programs. variety of specific proposals in the president's plan. we think those will be very effective. those are important. but they're not sufficient. we are encouraging the supervisors, they are independent of the treasury. but we're encouraging them to make sure they're providing a more balanced amount of guidance to the examiners across the country. so examiners don't overcorrect and contribute unnecessarily to tightening of credit conditions that would hurt viable businesses. in addition to that, we propose, as you said, a $30 billion small business lending fund that would give capital to small community bank that's commit to use that
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capital to expand lending. design this in a way that to lend the money out. if you go above a certain baseline, then we reduce the dividend you pay the treasury over time. our view that is a pretty powerful set of proposals. you can't be certain that they'll take a dollar of capital and increase lending. but if small banks who could otherwise raise capital and they can't raise capital, don't have access to capital, then they were cut lending. and that has a pretty negative effect on business access to credit. so capital is a very infective way of helping mitigate this problem. >> on that last point, though, what baseline are you using to measure whether they increase lending? and also, do you buy what the banks are saying about the kind of regulatory straitjacket they're in or do you think they're using that as a fall guy? >> i think you said it right.
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it has to could tut back on len and assets. what do you say to your customer that's been a good customer for 30 years? it's easy to say that supervisor made me do it. in every recession what happens is that there is a risk that examiners after a period where in lined sight they look too easy, tend to overcorrect. i think it's good that leaders of our supervisors across the country and this is the fdic, the fed, the ots need to make sure they're leaning against that tendency to overcorrect in a recession. that can cause a lot of damage,
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too. >> at the level in 2009, we designed that in a way, we think that is a realistic baseline. we can't force banks to lend without taking risks that the government ends up with too much loss and risk, but we think they designed this in a way that would substantially increase the odds that we're really helping mitigate the small business credit problem where it remains. on the jobs -- on the jobs front, you know, you won't have jobs without growth. growth has to come first. there's always a lag, but i think most economists across the country would say we're on the verge now of seeing a sustained level of positive job growth for the country as a whole, and i think the best story looking back of why unemployment increased so much and why


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