tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 21, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
." host: from 1 million in mohair subsidies and $1.5 billion in interest subsidies to eliminating the stimulus money, the house of representatives has proposed $2.50 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. we will get some of those proposed cuts this morning and get your reaction on the "washington journal." the lead story this morning, gop bloc and house calls for deep cuts.
republican study committee is making. our numbers are on the screen. please allow 30 days between your calls. you can also send us a tweet. or an e-mail. you can see the e-mail address there on the screen. the chairman of the study committee, jim jordan, spoke at the heritage yesterday. here is a little bit of what he had to say. >> we have got to get this headed in the right direction, get the ship turned around on the right path so we can begin to pay down this $14 trillion in debt. our bill takes the first step. goes back to 2008 levels and to truly do that, rescind some of the stimulus dollars to get $100 billion in savings. and then this next year
forward, go back to 2006 spending levels. what we did is we went to members of the rnc and said, bring us your ideas, things that you think are redundant, ridiculous and they brought us their ideas and we put them in the bill. there may be some that some may not like, but for the most part, we are in agreement on a lot of items. for the first time in 10 years it will save us about $2.5 trillion. host: we will start in massachusetts, jim, what do you think of these proposed cuts? caller: as to the weaseling that brian is trying to accomplish by saying the they cannot do the holding this year, when they were elected, they were elected in large measure because of the repeal of obama care, etc.
they knew they were going to have this fiscal year. to go back on that now is indicative of the way that washington tend to warp -- tends to board, even the most conservative republicans. i cannot believe my tax dollars are spent on anything like this in pr a, or any of this liberal stripe -- such as npr, or any of tripe.iberal trie host: next call, good morning. caller: basically, this is about corporations, oil companies, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies controlling all the money. secondly, if they wanted to cut, cut their role in pay. and as far as the health care bill and all of this stuff,
that it is raising the debt, no, they want to go back to the insurance companies getting a a x amount of dollars that they are not getting any more. all of these different reforms and all of this stuff, the reason that these reforms have to take place is because these particular businesses are the ones that are draining the life blood of the united states america. host: sorry, i thought you were finished. ken is an independent from mount clemens, michigan. what do you think about some of these proposed cutbacks caller: good morning, and thank you for of taking my call. excuse me if i do not start crying here. by live on less than $15,000 per year -- i live on less than $15,000 per year and i'm doing fine. i am healthy. i served in the military and i
get a lot of flak because i ask for very, very little, just enough to get by. i have people telling me to go home and suffer when i go to the v.a. hospital. i'm wondering what else you want to cut. when you make these cuts, you get what you paid for. you get a lot of these entitlement programs and you are going to have a lot of people knocking on doors. good luck. host: here are some more proposed cuts by the republican study committee.
and that is about these references to acorn. i have had three encounters over the last 15 years with acorn, you know, being a handyman downtown. each time it has been the same. i have been approached by gun black men, you know, clean, well spoken and they would inquire as to whether i would be interested to sign the register to vote. each time i would say no and they would say, i will give you $5. that is what they always started with. and finally, i would say, no, i do not have time. and then they would say, surely $6 or $7 would be worth your while and i would say no. finally, i would tell them, look, i am a felon. i have a record.
and each time i got the same reply from them. host: gary, do you want to talk about budget cuts? i'm not sure what that story had to do with anything we are talking about. caller: that is just some chat i heard come over. we could save a lot of money on the irresponsible and unmanageable parenting. host: san bernardino, calif., tonya is a democrat. caller: i find it redundant that if it was all about balancing the deficit, then the republicans would not have pushed so hard for tax cuts. you would have to do both. i find it disingenuous because they passed a $4 trillion tax
cuts or budget or stimulus or whatever you call it and now they want to put taxes on the backs of the poor people. i find it disingenuous that they want to balance the budget. i do not think they care about that at all. i think they are shifting the money again to the rich. and i think they're cutting the programs of the port. and in regard to the last caller, and acorn, everyone knows that acorn is supposed to help low-income and minority people and programs. i believe in his comment was baseless. thank you, c-span. host: and we are talking about the republican study committees proposed $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years this morning. this week from john --
we have never taken the dollar and will never take a dollar of federal monies. clinton on the independent line. caller: hi, how are you doing? my question is about the cuts on the environment. i mean, if we do not begin looking at where we are doing to the plan there right now, cuts will not even matter -- to the plan that right now, cuts will not even matter. 200 species per day are dying. we are killing them. they're going extinct. and we are cutting back on any program that would do anything at all to try to save the planet. these people are not even paying attention to what is going on. host: would be opposed to cutting funds for species to survive all? caller: exactly. host: what would you cut?
would you cut anything? caller: the other guy talked about being in eisenhower died and i remember watching and eisenhower -- being and eisenhower guy and i remember watching and eyes and hardy of the of the day on the military- industrial complex. the right now, we spend more money on at that than any other country. and yet, we are willing to continue to give billionaire's tax breaks, which does not make a lot of sense. host: thanks for calling in this morning. patricia in danbury, conn. caller: good morning, c-span. it's one of the things veteran not because any money to amtrak. some of the cuts i have thought should be about abortion, anything to do with head start should be cut. if you should not even exist.
-- it should not even exist. and on a lot of the money that is spent on feeding kids when they are in school. all the money spent on the obama family vacations. and every federal employee that has been hired since this presidency began should be let go. host: patricia, why you want to preserve money for amtrak? caller: because it is important for transportation. host: karl, a democrat, chicago. caller: good morning. we went through something like this in 1860 where we had a political party that was willing to divide the country by starting the war. what the republicans are doing
from what i see, anything that is democrat, we are going to get rid of it. what should our government be? how much should our government spend? that is the first thing that you have to do. instead, they are going to make sure that they cut everything that this administration has done. and basically, they have taken the attitude of someone who is anorexic. they look in the mirror and say, well, it is too big and i've got to cut something. then they look in the mirror and say, it is still too big. when they are skin and bones, they will still say, it is too big. i've got to cut something. basically, they do not want government. host: couple more cuts proposed by the republican study committee, --
mike, independent line from brooklyn, good morning. caller: good morning. a host: we are talking about spending cuts. what do you think? caller: it is a no-brainer. number one, we should end the war on drugs. we are failing miserably and if we end the war on drugs and legalize them, we do not have to spend all of this money housing prisoners that are just off drug users and doing drug crimes. and we shall eliminate all aid,
except for maybe wheat or corn for people who are starving. we cannot afford one penny in foreign aid while americans are .uffering host host: connecticut, republican line. caller: any program that is not in the constitution should be eliminated off the top. i would start with the department of education, the department of energy and so forth. and if people want them, make the case that is constitutionally justified. host: milwaukee, robert, a democrat. we are talking about spending cuts. caller: good morning, peter. i think in the previous administration when republicans have house and the senate prior to 2006 they put us up in a lot of this mess in the first place.
and when the obama administration came in, along with the nancy pelosi faction, they had to do a lot of things in order to try to correct some of the mis deeds that were done in the previous administration. and as of the november 2 election, people are realizing that they have gone through what the republicans wanted and how they want to cut everything. the thing that really bugs me is the fact that they want to cut child care. that is just not right, peter. i am a vietnam veteran and i'm all good. 5 blessed, goodbye. host: from the "financial times this morning -- the "financial times" this morning --
proposed cuts are a good idea. my only issue is that a lot of republicans use this as an excuse to raise the debt ceiling. the only congressman that i have heard that has been a truly committed to vote against the increase of the debt ceiling is congressman ron paul. we saw the same thing happened back in the reagan era. basically, we were promised that with spending cuts, you know, if they went ahead and increase the debt ceiling that it would not be used, so to speak. host: don lambeau writes this morning in the "washington times," --
next call is from mississippi, gene on the republican line. what you think about some of these proposed budget cuts? caller: i think they are great. and i think the government should have to do like all americans are doing now, slashing the budget. and i have a comment. i do not understand the air -- the earned income credit. most of the people that receive the earned income credit do not pay any taxes. they get all of their taxes back that they do pay in and then we turn around and give them another lump sum of money. i just do not understand how the budget can afford that. thank you for letting give my opinion. host: loretta is a democrat in georgia.
hi, caller:. hello, i disagree -- high, loretta. caller: hello, i disagree with some of the comments. andy comment of the lady that said do not -- and of the comment of the lady that said do not take away the railroad transportation and of these people that said garrett of the food -- get rid of the food for kids at school and head start, i agree with defense cuts. and i agree with ron paul. we need to just close the walls down and we can save some money. i just disagree with some of the things that i am hearing. and the guy that was talking about a chord, i just do not believe what he was saying. i think he was lying. host: tampa, good morning. we're talking about cutting
spending. caller: good morning. the first, there is a tremendous lack of transparency when it comes to the federal budget. orszag winds up at a big investment house. these guys go for making $250,000 to making $1 million or more. the why? because they have to say what is going on with the budget. when you go out to get a job, you are going to invest. you are going to get a hair cut, maybe for a short, maybe a new suit. and the democratic primary, two guys spent $70 million. as americans, we will never be able to find out what is going
are working overtime to hide the truth from me. i do not think they are very eager to point out anything that our good friend, mr. obama, is doing that might be a tipping things to friends. how cozy as mr. obama with google? with all of the company -- how cozy is he with all of the companies that may have opted out with the new health care plan? if it is such a great plan, how come so many companies need to ask for permission to opt out of the new government health care plan? host: of bed this morning by the chairman of ge, jeffrey immelt. he is chairman and chief executive and was just named to a new position within the white house.
that is a little bit of jeffrey immelt's of bed this morning in the "washington post." laurie -- lauren is joining us on the democrats line. caller: i am a commercial loan officer and i managed a portfolio on small businesses across this country. budget cuts, $250 billion is what i see on the screen over 10
years. -- what i see on the screen. and over 10 years, $2.5 billion. that is exactly the amount of money that the rich do not want to spend. they have been getting a socialized cut since 2001. we do not need one dime in tax cuts. we need revenue. that will balance our budget along with a lot of people who have already said cutting the military budget. it is over $1 trillion per year. back to 300 billion per year, which would still be the largest in the world. host: what did you say you did at the beginning? caller: i have a commercial loan officer for 30 years. i know what the budget is. it is over $3.5 trillion and revenue is not coming in because of all of these tax cuts. we do not need these cuts to
people services in this country. every single person pays taxes and there are 300 million people now in this country. i saw that list. i do not see the republicans being on that list. they're not going to be heard. -- hurt. i heard someone say to cut head start. that is horrifying. meanwhile, you have the rich refusing to pay the exact amount of this program? host: what would you think about returning spending levels -- one of the republican proposals was a back to 2008 levels. caller: that is a ridiculous republican plan back from nixon's time. you cannot do that. we are not making toasters. this is government of 300 million people. host: we've got your point. caller: you cannot bring leslie
cut services. host: thanks for calling in this morning. there'll from mobile, alabama, you are on the independent line. caller: thank you for taking my call. the guy from massachusetts pretty much stole my thunder. the only thing i would add is that we seem to be going through a national schizophrenia where we want tax cuts and yet, we do not want to cut spending. we have $14 trillion in debt. basically, when you have a credit card, you do not say, i'm not afford to pay my bills. -- not going to pay my bills. we have to pay our bills. repeal the tax cuts. cut the military. some of the parts that you have enumerated, ok, we can put those things on the table, of course. but come on, people, we cannot do this with cuts alone.
host: peter in cleveland, republican, good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. i think it definitely have to do some cutting to get the budget within order. first, they are to cut the wars in iraq and afghanistan. all of the money that is going to cost, all of the hundreds of billions of dollars from all of the soldiers coming back crippled and wounded. it is time to declare victory and get out of those wars. we ought to cut foreign aid, too. how can we give all of these other countries billions of dollars when we are so far in dead? and it is time to reduce cuts at home. -- so far in debt? and it is time to reduce cuts at home. i fear that i will see our economy totally collapse. i fear that more than i feared getting blown up in a terrorist
attack. host: richard, what do you do for a living? caller: i and in construction. host: how is business? a caller: i am laid off and i might have to go get another job. i'm not sure what i will do. host: thanks for kmiec -- calling in this morning. james in for worth, texas. caller: to talk about budget cuts without coming into the offshore tax havens is absolutely ridiculous. once again, the robber barons will take from the poor and give to the rich. the wealthiest corporations in america, exxonmobil making $34 billion and pay no taxes. also, we've got the most expensive management in the world. most -- the rest of the world gets by with making 20 times the average worker's salary. we pay them 500 times the average worker's salary and then they want to take our retirement and give it to them. if we do not stop this trend of
moving the cost of services to the masses and letting the wealthiest individuals and the wealthiest corporations get away with it -- i cannot wait for this wikileaks information about these offshore tax havens. it is criminal. it is cotton economy. host: from the "washington post" the new gop deficit plan we have been talking about.
that is in the "new york times" this morning. the next call on spending cuts comes from merkel beach, south carolina, go ahead, joe. caller: there should be no foreign aid to anybody right now until we get ourselves back on our feet. we need to take care of ourselves before anybody else. then we also need to take better care of our veterans that are coming home. military cuts should not be anywhere in there because these guys give their lives for our freedom, our freedom. and we should take better care of these guys. it is a shame that they are trying to cut the military spending. the only question that i have not -- and i appreciate your time -- you know, they passed
this health care bill and mlk with some parts of it. but what i did not understand -- and i am ok with some parts of it. but what i did not understand for theit is so good fro people of this country, why is it not good enough for congress? host:, dean, republican. caller: i am a disabled veteran and as far as social security, i have not had a raise in four years, but everything has gone up. the v.a. hospital is doing a great job with me, but i do think we need to cut some military spending. but not the aid to the veterans. we need to cut all of these bases, we have all over the world. we do not need to be in japan or korea anymore.
there are billions of dollars we are spending on helping those countries and no country has tried to help us out of the mess we are in. yes, cut the budget, but do not cut the aid to the veterans or the troops. and cut all of these bases out. billions of dollars we are spending in england and germany. why do we have to fight a war and never leave? host: we have got your point. very quickly, here are some of your headlines about president ought hu's visit this week. this is from the "washington post" -- and now from the "wall street journal." we just want to show you the headlines in case you're interested. president hu met with lawmakers on capitol.
and finally, from the "chicago tribune" -- last call on spending cuts, milwaukee. caller: i do not agree -- i do agree with helping out other countries, but what i do not agree with cutting is cutting funding for children. with strong families you have a strong cities and with strong cities you have strong nations and strong government. how can you even think about hurting the children? and i agree 100% with the veteran. our forefathers built this country. pay attention to the veterans. pay attention to those that actually take on jobs that honor, sir, and protect.
those should actually get the money. listen to the people and give the people more adequate information to actually help them bring about a better government. the spending, i do not feel that is fair. how are you going to spend over here and not over here? host: what you do in milwaukee? caller: i own a business, children and family service. i have been working with families for over 14 years and i am disabled. i am trying my best to get back in progress. i work with families.
host: n/a, we are going to have to leave it there. -- we are going to have to leave it there. coming up and about 45 minutes this morning, karen ignagni will be here to talk about health care. but up next, looking into obama's first two years. >> i have to practice staying alive and preparing to die at the same time. >> sunday, our guest is dr., vanity fair, this, and atlantic monthly contributing editor christopher hitchens. >> there are treatments that i can see that are just out of my reach probably, which is both encouraging and annoying.
>> son -- sunday on c-span's q&a. >> this week on american history tv on c-span3, and domestic terrorism of the late 19th and 20th centuries. learn of the century-old traditions of preparing for a presidential and military were drawn funerals and greg carr explains mayor rich and of former slaves and experience life. see the complete online at c- span.org/history. does he stand networks. we provide coverage of -- the c- span networks, we provide coverage of public affairs available on television, on- line.
radio, and retakes the stand on the road with our digital was and digital content via gorda. now available in more than 100 million homes, created by cable and provided as a public service. >> "washington journal" continues. host: on your screen now is bill adair, the editor of an organization called politifact. bill adair, what is the obameter? host: it is the measure -- guest: it is the measure of how we read the accuracy of political statements and we rate the progress of president obama's 506 campaign promises. host: where did you get the #506? guest: we actually hoped there would be fewer.
what we did is went through his position papers, speeches, his campaign website and looked for things that he said that were clearly a promise. it ended up being 506. everything from very specific promises on western wildfires or children with autism to big goals on foreign policy and health care. host: ok, let's look at the obameter scorecard at the midway point in his term. promises kept 134 -- what were some of the promises that president obama kept?
guest: a couple of them were foreign promisee -- foreign policy promises. he has made promises and get them regarding troops. and this one, we call it is the promise. it is not one that gets a lot of headlines. but he has made considerable progress in afghanistan. and he has made progress on some small ones, too. host: "top obama promises" --
one of the big promise brokens there, repeal of the bush tax cuts. you call that a broken promise because? guest: in the lame-duck session when president obama and republicans made a deal about extending a tax cut for everyone, in doing so, he had to go back on a promise of for the wealthiest americans. we rated that when a promise broken. and this is very interesting. many of the promises broken that we have involved calculations by the white house that they are going to sacrifice something to achieve something else.
for instance, we had a promise broken on the promise to allow imported prescription drugs, which had been a big promise during the campaign and it was wondering the health-care negotiations that president obama gave up to win support of the pharmaceutical industry. many of the promises broken, it is not that the white house has failed to achieve it. in many cases, the white house has made a political calculation to give up that to get something else. host: have you looked at this historic plea and how this compares to other presidents? guest: we have not and i often get asked that by our readers if we have done this with george w. bush and president clinton. we do not have the staff to do that. we are a for-profit company. it is a project of the "st. petersburg times." but we focus on fact checking
and checking the promises, but we have to focus on the now rather than the past. host: and what is the, "st. petersburg times?" guest: i think of it as a journalism think tank. it is really a remarkable newspaper in that it is truly independent and truly committed to good journalism. host: by the way, the numbers are on the screen. we are talking about president obama halfway through his term with bill adair, editor of thank you politifact and also the editor of the open court st. petersburg times." if you were asked to write an article about midway through the obama administration, what would be the headline? guest: he has made considerable progress. if i were to give him one
obameter rating, it would be in the works. if you get big things that got passed in the first two years, the economic stimulus -- included in the economic stimulus for many individual promises he made during the campaign, many important projects to the democratic majority in congress. they were sort of talked to in there. every time we look at the bill we find another one that was a promise kept. in passing the health care bill, that has to rank as one of the major accomplishments by a president in modern history. however, it is very controversial and as we have seen in the continuing debate and vote on wednesday, there is still a substantial chunk of the americans nor opposed to the law. -- a chunk of the american public opposed to the law. i think we are ready for the second act.
and with republicans in charge of the house, even with the full repeal that passed the house on wednesday unlikely to go anywhere, there are still many ways that the republicans can achieve what they want, which is repealing various aspects of the law. host: before we go to calls, polls show president obama on the uptake. currently in the "wall street journal" and nbc news poll, 53% approval rating. guest: i think we see this a lot in the comments that we get. a lot of people have been frustrated by the stagnation here in washington, the lack of progress, a lack of talking. i often say that the parties hurl these talking points at each other, but never actually talk. what we saw in the last two months was they actually talked and got things done. in some ways, the republican majority in the house may be the
best thing to ever happen to the obama presidency because it has broken this logjam that allows the parties to come together to achieve common goals on some of these issues. host: and our first call comes from lawrenceville, ga., eddie on the republican line. usual: i'm not like the americans the call in here. i am from that 1 percent on that has eight credit rating of 850. i know a little bit about money. what i've seen with obama is that the government rolls have gone up, regulations have gone up, unemployment has gone up, food stamps have gone up, entitlement programs have gone up, unfunded liabilities has gone up, and spending has gone up. i do not think he has done such a great job. guest: what we do read politifact is not rated whether he has done a good job. we try to give you the tools to
do an assessment of thhim. we tried to raid the accuracy of what president obama and others say. we're going to read the progress of his promises. you can decide for yourself whether that is good or bad. some look at the achievement of his health-care promises as a great success. others may look at it as a failure because of his approach to health care. we are not saying he is a success. we are saying that it is truly remarkable, the magnitude of the legislation that he has passed. but as i have noted, there's a lot of opposition to what he has done. host: north carolina, william, a democrat. caller: i would like to know, how long have you been doing president tracking, or is president your first president to track? guest: president obama is the first that we tracked. politifact started in 2007 as a
unique news organization that would fact check the presidential campaign. we raided more than 750 claims in the presidential campaign in 2008. after that we decided we could supplement our work by tracking promises and doing it in this distinctive way on the web. we are primarily a web publication. that is when we added the obameter. we do not have historical perspective to go back and see how president obama's progress compares to president bush or previous presidents. host: will you track the next two years? guest: absolutely. and we introduced a new feature, gop pledge-o-meter. host: the 2010 cycle, house
republicans? guest: the republicans ran on the pledge to america. we went through the pledge to america and through the speeches of congressman boehner and congressman cantor and look for things that will promises, similar to what president obama had done. similar in a sense they were promises. host: you found 57. what are some of those promises? guest: they range from repealing the health care law, which is probably their most significant promise, two things that they said they would do and house rules, such as required that every bill have a citation from the u.s. constitution that shows why the bill is authorized. there is one about the amount of time bills have to be made public before they can be voted on in the house. we are following those in the same way that we do the obameter, and there has been
promises there. 7 we have rated in the works and one kept -- host: repeal of the health care? guest: actually it was the house republicans promised to cut congress' budget and this is what they did in their initial vote when they came into office on the first week of january. that was a promise kept. on the health care repeal, we yesterday raided that "in the works." they promised to repeal health care. they did not just promised to pass it through the house. if i had to look ahead, i would say the promise is not likely to be filled given the democratic senate and democratic president. there are other things the republicans said they would do to go sort of piece by piece at the health care law. so, we will be tracking those, too. host: bill adair has worked in washington since 1997 and has won an award for distinguished
coverage of congress. st. paul, minnesota. mark, republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. you brought up "the washington post" and "the wall street journal" and the poll. if you take a look at the methodology looked in the poll, you ultimately discovered that of the people who are asked questions, 42% voted for president obama, 26% of them voted for senator mccain. the point being, i think the sample was a little skewed so i am skeptical of the approval rating. with regards to politifact, i was poking around on the web site. it struck me that there seems to be a real left-leaning bias in regards to what promises are examined or what statements are examined with regard to whether or not they are true or not. host: can you give an example? guest: for example, if you look
at david axelrod, everything he has -- the worst trading, apparently true, and bobby jindal, he has liar, liar, pants on fire. the reason why he is not a liar, liar, pants on fire it is because he predicted the new orleans saints would go undefeated the year they won the super bowl. i do not know how you can say he was a liar, liar for that. if it is just a stupid sports prediction, i do not know how you can say it is a liar, liar on that. guest: let me address that. first of all, you happen to have chosen one of a handful of items that we do that are light hearted. we tried to keep politifact from being too serious. we do not want it to be like in your vegetables every day. we like to have a little fun. as for the overall rating, we
get criticism from both sides. i'd like to introduce you to the many people i have heard from this week who think that we leaned over to far in favor of the republicans. we are accustomed to the criticism. we welcome it. we like to focus on the individual claims. and we don't strive for partisan balance and a sense that we never say, well, we just gave the democrats a false so we will give the republicans a false. we call them as we see them. we fact check things we think people are curious about. obviously there is a sampling decision. i am not sure i would read a lot into comparing david axelrod and bobby jindal. i think if you look at our work over all you will find it is very accurate, very fair, and i think it presents a really helpful tool to assess the political discourse. host: politifact.com is the
website. pauline is in cleveland. she is a democrat. guest: good morning. i want you to take into consideration that when a president obama walked into the house, the house was on fire, impending depression, and then when he used the water to put out the fire everybody complained about the water bill. you can fact czech president obama as much as you would like, -- fact check president obama as much as you would like, but how many presidents we have to go back to find the environment, the situation president obama stepped into. guest: it is an interesting metaphor. your point about the economy is an important one, and i think as you look at what so much of what president obama has done in the first two years, he really
has had to focus, maybe a majority of his time, on the economy. what is interesting to us at politifact is how he used the economic stimulus as a tool to the bill so many of his campaign promises. as i was saying earlier, as we were looking at our obameter at how he has done on promises we discovered things -- and how he has, promises, we conclude that things from the stimulus. the house was on fire but he used it as an opportunity to shape a government the way he wants to. host: bill adair, of want to get your reaction to the story -- white house begins shipping staff to campaign. it is january, 2011.
is this an early start? guest: i do not know if it is an early start as much as it is an interesting decision to locate in chicago. i think the peace in "the new york times" -- piece in "the new york times" noted the tradition for president is to keep the election headquarters here in the washington area. in 2004 the bush-change campaign was headquartered across the river in arlington -- bush-ch eney. it was a step -- important step for the obama administration to say we will not be in the beltway but be in the heartland of america. host: al gore in 2000 started in nashville. you think there is a chance he could pull back here to d.c.?
guest: i think the notion of a campaign headquarters is less important these days given how connected everybody is. at politifact, we have staffers all over the country, some who work from home. one of our interest is at the university of chicago. -- one of our interns is at the university of chicago. the office is less important as it used to be. host: dave, independent line. caller: i would like to make a statement about president obama. i think he has done a fantastic job considering what he inherited when he came into the white house. but my one disappointment is his campaign promise to reopen those trade agreements that were so unfair to the labor force in this country.
host: trade agreements. guest: i am trying to remember exactly what trade promises we have on the obameter. i do not recall specifically. this is an issue many may remember from the campaign because it was alleged that even though obama was speaking out against nafta, that supposedly there were back channel communications from his campaign to canada saying, wink, wink, he is just saying that stuff, it was never proven. particularly in the industrial states, we have a politifact site in ohio, and when i was there became very aware of the importance of these trade agreements to states like ohio where there is still a fair amount of manufacturing. a lot has been lost and there are a lot of concerns about trade and jobs going overseas.
host: joe public tweets in -- guest: joe, no, we don't have plans to do the fed. with a limited staff -- three staffers and a couple of interns, we just don't have of the staff to do this sort of big enterprise projects like this that we would like to. we tend to focus on three areas. we focus on fact checking members of congress with the truth-o-meter, members of congress and the white house, we also fact check pundits and talk-show host -- bill o'reilly, rachel maddow, keep older men, ed schultz, two fact check some of the claims they make -- keith olbermann. we also have the promise of feature. in our 8 state sites we track
the promises of the new governors. host: steve in illinois e-mails in. las vegas, roy, republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i hope c-span stays on the air forever. this topic seems like not only politically divisive but racially. i am a republican, conservative, but i do want to extend to president obama his ability to bring up these tough issues that have been the third rail of politics for so long. history, i think, will show b showlacks -- will show that
blacks can be proud of him, even though i disagree. i want a smaller government so i am opposed to much of what president obama is doing. but i do think blacks should feel proud. host: what does a racial issue have to do with anything we are talking about? guest: i listened to the caller: iowa visit to c-span a lot and a lot of blacks call in -- i watch c-span a lot and a lot of blacks call in and vehemently against the statements that a lot of people calling and saying. host: paladino they are black? caller: probably a steepen assumption on my part but sometimes i can't tell -- probably a stupid assumption on my part, but sometimes i can tell. host: we will move on to dixon,
illinois. lee on our independent line. please, go ahead with your comments. caller: i think president obama has done a fairly good job. the only problem i have is he ran on the promise of change, and the changes that i voted for was not to keep a bunch of leftovers from the bush administration might ben bernanke -- like ben bernanke and hiring people from wall street like this guy he just appointed to his administration. i think those people from wall street, i think they are all special interest and i think he is involved in that and i don't like it. that is not the change i voted for. guest: that is an interesting point. one of his promises we have on the meter -- obameter is he
would end the revolving door. he promised to prohibit people who served as lobbyists from working on any of the same issues if they joined his administration. so, initially we rated that as a promise kept because on his first day of office he signed a it -- an executive role that put that in effect. but we quickly found there were loopholes that would give recusals whenever the administration basically wanted to do so. we move that promised a promise kept on ultimately to promise broken because now there were several lobbyists serving in his administration, where they are working on issues they had dealt with. my sense of that is backed -- that i think the obama white house discover the reality of
washington, which is lobbyists have a lot of expertise on things and wanted expertise the way previous administrations did. although they talk a good game about lobbyists before hand, when encountered with the reality they decided they wanted them into the administration. host: bill adair, as you take the next call, think of other promises that were kept or broken on the obameter that we have not talked about yet. florida, tony, republican my. caller: can you hear me clearly? host: go ahead, tony. caller: i want to challenge the politifact assertion they are non-partisan. number one, the founders, the most left-leaning papers in florida. and i question how they rate some of the promises kept and broken. for instance, president obama's promised kept of taking troops
out of iraq. saying he got credit for making the sunrise. the troops were already coming out, it was signed under president bush. to have as a promise kept. he promised to do what? watch president bush's plan come into place? and that nobody would see any taxes raised. is that pants on fire? guest: you are mixing and matching ratings. pants on fire is what we use on our truth-o-meter. let me address the politics of "the st. petersburg times." that editorial-page does in fact have a reputation for writing editorials that are often liberal. it is separate from politifact. we don't have a dog in this hunt. we don't lean one way or another. we are truly independent journalists and i think our work
shows that. you need to separate the reputation from editorial page from politifact. as for the iraq promise, i would urge you to go to politifact.com and look at a specific promise. i think the promise was to remove, back -- combat troops from iraq. as i recall, president obama sped up the timetable president bush had in place. indeed, you are right, he inherited you could say a positive situation there, on the other hand you could say he inherited a lousy situation in terms of the economy. you get what you get when you become president. you look -- we look at each promise individually and we rate it based upon what he said he would do, specific words, and what progress is made. to a large extent he may inherit a good circumstances that allows
him to pass things, on the other hand, he has to deal with a republican house. that make it difficult for him to fulfil some of his promises. we rate them individually and we truly do it independently. we don't expect the raiders to agree with everything we say. like i said, we have a lot of democrat readers to get unhappy with us and similarly republican ones, but over all, readers love politifact because we provide them tools to assess what is going on in washington. host: the next call for bill adair comes from amherst, massachusetts. ben on the democrats' line. caller: i appreciate your tracking of president obama, and really appreciate being able to see where we see disparities between promises and action. that transparency itself is very important, i believe. being a 21-year-old student, i
would like to say in my generation, where we see the disparity between prophecy and action, it is hurtful to us. i think the bit that continues to be hurtful is we have so many people overseas in the military causing harm and so many people contained in our own nation being caused harm, and i believe those are things that tend to matter. thank you so much for keeping track. host: again, back to the oba meter -- 506 promises made during the 2008 campaign. guest: correct, an awful lot of promises. host: promises kept in the two years, 134. compromises, 41. promises broken, 34. stalled, 74. in the works, 221.
not decorated, two. give us one more example from each -- promises kept. guest: a light-hearted one comes to mind. he promised -- we included as for variety. that he would by his daughter a puppy. that was a promise kept. guest: speaking of unimportant promises, where does bcs fall? guest: he promised to push for a college football playoff system. we have as stalled. host: what about compromises? guest: a good compromise example was he had promised during the campaign to provide a tax cut to 95% of americans. he succeeded at that, calling it a making work pay tax cut, but had to settle for, i believe, $400 per family instead
of $500. host: promises broken. guest: the previous caller mentioned transparency, and that has been a challenging issue for president obama, i think, in the same way as with a lobbyist promise. he had promised that they knew what had a centralized database for lobbying and ethics -- that they would have a centralized database. host: stalled? guest: guantanamo bay is a good example. he promised he would close the detention center at guantanamo bay. came out of the block on the first day in office saying, not just that he would close it but close it within a year. of course, that didn't happen and it has run into a fair amount of opposition in congress. host: two more categories. in the works.
guest: there were many in the works, particularly on taxes, he has a lot of promises in the works. in the case of some of the nuclear disarmament issues, one of those big ones there is to secure nuclear materials within four years. he made a fair amount of progress on that, but still has not fulfilled it. we have that one rated in the works. host: you have two, not yet rated. guest: those both involve situations that have not existed yet. they both involve major hurricane hitting the united states and how the u.s. government would rebuild. we have not felt we could berate those until there was such a situation. host: if people go to politifact.com, would they see them all listed? guest: and taken by subjects, rating -- rated. a lot like to go to the promises broken. you come look at them by
subjects. you can see our gop pledge-o- meter. host: 57 promises made in the 2010 campaign by the republicans. richard on the independent line. we have a few minutes left. caller: one of the biggest promises by either party was job creation and we have not seen at mentioned. obama is criticized for not tackling that but the biggest point republicans make in job creation is cutting taxes, and obama gave them that, big tax cuts to help create jobs. guest: a great question. one of our challenges in developing the obameter and the gop meter is how to define a promise -- we define it as a guarantee of prospective action that is verifiable. i do not think in the 506 we
have any promises specific to the number of jobs. i did not think president obama said it would create a number -- a certain number. individual promises that are about the economy and jobs. you would have to look individually at those. interestingly, when we started similar features in the last few weeks in our politifact state site, particularly ohio and florida, the governors during the campaign to make specific promises. in florida, rick scott promised he would create 750,000 jobs. in wisconsin, gov. scott walker promised to hundred and 50,000. -- 250,000. we will be tracking those in those politifact sites but i do not think we have a specific one for president obama. host: women'sworkusa tweets in
-- guest: they are correct we rated that as a promise broken. this is one that was said during the campaign, we found in some of the campaign materials, but did not really catch on. it wasn't a big point that president obama made in his campaign speeches. once he got an office he did not pursue it. i don't believe it was even actually introduced in the house or senate. so that quickly became a promise broken. i think i would count that one with some of the others, sort of part of the calculation of washington. barack obama came into washington, working to the white house and realized he could not do everything. he had to pick his shots. another one along those lines is immigration. he promised he would provide a path to citizenship for
undocumented immigrants. and he has failed to pass anything like that so far. we have it rated stalled. that is likely to be a promise broken. host: spooney tweets in -- guest: world peace is not one of the -- maybe a playoff system and football might be realistic. we have not looked at it that way. my sense of going through all of the 506 is because the campaign was very careful with its words. promises to specific constituencies, there was a whole page of promises about western wildfires, promises for parents with autistic children.
this was a campaign that targeted promises to very precise constituent groups. i think probably there are few like world peace. host: bill adair, the state of the union is coming up next week. president obama will probably make present -- pledges or promises. will they be included? guest: no. you have to draw the line when you create a feature like this. the obameter rates campaign promises. if you allow the president or republicans to keep making promises, you allow them to move the goalposts. the goalpost on closing guantanamo bay would be, i will close it within one year. at the end of the year it would be, i will close it. you have to draw the line. what we said with these features, both on politifact national and also the state site is they are campaign promises. what we will be doing during the
state of the union is fact checking. the white house will put out his speech the night that he gives it, the transcript, the repaired remarks -- prepared remarks, and we will be fact checking them and rating them on our truth-o- meter. host: last call for bill adair. atlanta, jonathan, republican. caller: two comments related to health care promises. i believe president obama and many of the democrats promised that health insurance costs would go down since the passage of this bill. if i am not mistaken, they have gone up quite significantly, for the most part. the other one, during president obama's campaign i heard a clip of him speaking to a group of supporters talking about his
support of a single payer system. this is about a year ago. and he talked about employer coverage for employees -- we will not be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. it will be phased out over time. and now that we see this bill incentivizes many employers to actually drop coverage and just pay a fine, especially in this economy we are under, it seems like that is a promise kept. guest: i an not sure that i agree with your interpretation of the bill. i think the way the bill is set up is indeed, as you noted, to require employers to provide health-care coverage. i think the economics of the do not expect employers will drop it and pay the fine -- economics
of its do not expect employers will drop it. a law that actually relies on the private health care system to provide health care. this is why we have often found the claims that it is a government takeover of health care to be inaccurate. as to your claim about a big increase in health-care costs because of the law, i have heard some of the same charges and i am curious about them. i don't know how much is truly caused by the health care long verse is just the market forces in health care. the challenge in health care is it is a relatively inefficient system. a small portion of your dollar goes to health care so the price increases are a function of the inefficient system and competing forces at work. but we will look for
opportunities to fact check claims about the increases and health care costs because i am curious about them, and i expect many viewers are. host: at what point does it end, the obameter end? guest: the conclusion of his presidency. just like the gop pledge-o-meter we anticipate to be a two-year project. it is important to note, this is a work in progress. we created something entirely new. this is a whole different form of journalism. we take good, solid journalism and put it behind our judgments. we are doing research, talking to independent analysts and then reaching conclusions. but as we did this, we are inventing something so we sort
of find our way. i would think we will be back in 2012 with a new meter, whether it is a continuation of the obameter or a promise feature on a republican president but politifact will continue to hold public officials accountable in as many different ways we think will help democracy. host: bill adair is the editor ofolitifact, politifact.com and also the washington bureau chief for "the st. petersburg times." thank you for being on "washington journal" this morning. next is a question on health care costs and health care reform with karen ignagni. >> i have to practice staying
alive and preparing to die at the same time. >> sunday, our guest is author, "vanity fair" columnist and "atlantic monthly" contributing editor. >> this is a -- time to have cancer for me, because there are treatments -- both encouraging and annoying, if you like. >> sunday on c-span's "q&a." >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, historians discuss the first age of terror, domestic terrorism of the late 19th century and early 20th-century. learn of the century-old traditions of preparing for a presidential and military force- drawn funeral and howard university professor explains how former slave's escape and started to lives. experience american history tv on c-span 3 all weekend, every
weekend. see the complete schedule online at c-span.org/history where you can press the c-span alert button and have our schedule in mailed to you. >> this weekend on c-span2's "book tv" on "after words" the history of the neo conservative movement. 52 women look back at their work in the civil rights movement. former british prime minister gordon brown on coming back from the economic downturn. find the complete schedule at booktv.org. >> tuesday, president obama deliver is the state of the union address to a joint section -- a joint session of congress. c-span's live coverage starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern. then the republican response and your phone calls. live on c-span, c-span radio and online ad c-span.org. you can also watch the press
and's address on the c-span2, followed by reaction from members of congress from statuary hall -- you can also watch to the address on c-span2. host: karen ignagni is chief executive officer of america's health insurance plans. could you give us your thoughts on what the house did this week repealing the healthcare bill signed into law? guest: i think this is part of the discussion that began two years ago about what is the right thing to do with respect to health care reform, how we proceed, what do we expect, what needs to be accomplished, what was accomplished and what still needs to be done. one of the points we made last year and we talked about when we were last together on this program, is the issue of cost containment. that was left on the cutting room floor in the debate last year. we have to go back to the issue. we have to look at what are the issues surrounding individuals who are purchasing on their own, the issues surrounding
small business, the issues surrounding large businesses, state and local governments. i think this is a continuation of many of the themes and discussions that were begun a couple of years ago. i think there is far more that needs to be done. host: do you support repeal? guest: we have been focusing very specifically on the issues we were talking about last year, and even the year before, and we will continue to talk about which is, how do we make sure there is affordability in the system, how do we improve quality. there are specific elements of the legislation that we believe need to be an approved unchanged. host: such as? guest: there is an unprecedented sales tax on small businesses and individuals. it is a health care sales tax that was put in the legislation and it is going to be funded largely by individuals purchasing on their own and small businesses, because it is on insured plans, and it will increase the cost of coverage.
people haven't focused on. it will be a significant hit and we need to address that. that move is in the wrong direction. the whole idea of health reform was to get everybody in, make sure we are reducing cost and improving quality. it was a three-legged stool, if you will. we have to make sure we are reducing costs. the bill has not done that. this is an example of something in the legislation that moves and the wrong direction. we have been talking about that for a while and will continue to talk about it and now more people are beginning to focus on it. there will be democrats and republicans focusing on that, and i think it is a good example of something that could see bipartisan attention. host: implementation of the bill, how is it going in your view? guest: our present -- prism is through the eyes of our members, insurance plans working at ground level to make sure two
things are accomplished -- that we do this as an affordability -- affordably as possible and we have been focusing on each of the provisions that have been implemented so far. we have been focusing from that perspective to make sure that we are making recommendations on how to minimize disruption, making recommendations on how to reduce costs. we have had very productive discussions about both of those issues. and there are some important -- there have been some important steps forward. at the same time, there are some issues that really significantly need to be addressed. well, i think one example of something that needs to be addressed is that there are caps now on what health insurers stand with respect to administrative costs. -- spend with respect to administrative costs.
here are the consequences. if you are limited on what you can spend on administrative costs, it means programs that we need to an investment to create more accountable health care systems, to partner with doctors and hospitals, to get transparent information to consumers, those other kinds of investments that need to be made. what we said as part of this discussion, let's think about where the implications on those innovations as a result of these provisions. it is just beginning. people don't have a line of sight. we have a line of sight because from our plans' perspective they see how this is put together. it two, how you make the transition of where we are today -- the states regulate health plans in a different way than the federal level. how do you make that transition? how do we deal with brokers? they are a good example. they provide a kitchen table test for individuals purchasing on their own or small businesses, they provide a
valuable services. right now many health plans have longstanding contracts with brokers. they are small businesses. they depend on those contracts. we have now seen as a result of the legislation significant amount of shock therapy for brokers for home people significantly rely. we made recommendations to the administration, to the state insurance commissioners, about transitions that could be made that could move from tier to 2014 so they don't have the shock therapy. the investments they need to be made to fulfil the expectations of more accountable and lower cost health care services, they can and fact be made and they are not discouraged. host: karen ignagni is chief executive officer of america's health insurance plans. you saw a lot in the health-care debate in the last two years. jonathan is a republican from washington, d.c.
police, go ahead with your comments. caller: thank you, c-span2 and i watch it every day. i appreciate the ability to get news from you guys without having to watch commercials. first of all, i am just really frustrated with the insurance companies and your ability -- you exacts so many abuses on the american people. health reform unfortunately was a further entrenchment -- infringement on the system. i went and we go further to repeal your monopolist control over the system. why are you exempt from antitrust laws and what is your position on that? guest: thanks, jonathan, for it your question. first of all, our plans are subject to all of the antitrust
review is that every other type of industry subject to end the federal as will as state agreements. that is a discussion that has very little substance to it. we are happy to talk about that. we have a long track record of having any kind of activity reviewed by the justice department from antitrust perspective what the federal trade commission, and we are comfortable with that. we think that is the way things should proceed. also, there is a tremendous amount of competition out there. one of the things that has happened as a result of some of the changes in health reform, hhs.gov, is a website where consumers now can go and see a wide range of products that are being offered. you can put in your zip code and you can see the very wide range of alternatives that are offered now to people in the individual market and small group market.
it is important because it really gives perfect representation to the points we have been making about competition across the country. but now consumers can get up close and personal, get transparent information and see for themselves. host: karen ignagni, do you agree preconditions -- pre- existing condition should not be a precondition to health coverage? guest: we have a chance to talk about that a couple of years ago. our members felt very strongly that one of the things we were hearing from individuals, regular people, they were concerned about being able to get into the system. we worked two years prior to the development of any of the health plan proposals that aren't capitol hill, from either democrats or republicans, we worked in our industry to come to the legislative environment with specific recommendations on how to do away with those proposals.
and number of state had previously moved to do away with those kinds of provisions. remember, in a market where people are buying on their own, the way that you can get everybody in and not have a pre- existing condition limitations is to make sure everyone participates. so, that is one of the lessons learned from a state experience in the past and we have worked very, very closely with people on both sides of the aisle on capitol hill, first to present the state information and then talk about what we can do. we are strongly supportive of the market reform. at the same time, to make sure that everything works, and a promise that was made to the american people about health reform, we are going to have to do more in the area of containing costs. that is an issue that is very much akin to crying fire in a crowded room. it clears the room immediately on capitol hill. very controversial to talk about cost containment. we need to talk about cost containment because we can't get
deliver on promises without containing the cost. our members, peter, had a early- warning of trends. we see it before legislators do, government regulators do, and before businesses do. we see what the charges are from hospitals, what is going on with respect to cost. and we need to do far more because they have gone up quite significantly. host: what are some of the trends? guest: they are disturbing. i will give you a couple. one, a very significant uptick in what is called unit costs. there are two components of health care expenditures -- price times utilization. that is health care expenditures. it is very simple formula. everybody can get their hands on that. from a utilization perspective, there has been a great deal of progress made in terms of looking at on necessary tests and procedures. physicians have taken a major
leadership role, working with health plans and hospitals, and we have made progress in that area. there are some areas that still need to be attended to. unit costs, what are the prices themselves? that is the area where we have seen significant uptick in expenditures. a couple of different areas. one, in areas that have been highly consolidated in the hospital arena, we are seeing costs that are far higher because i have a market position where they can increase cost, which is a very important issue to take account of for policy leaders and members of congress, as we think about creating new structures in terms of an accountable health care organizations. we have a problem of their in markets that have been highly consolidated. -- we have a problem there in markets that have been highly consolidated. host: which one of those markets? guest: northern california -- so your viewers can get a tangible sense of what is going on.
if you look at how much health plans are being charged by hospitals that are highly consolidated in that market relative to medicare, it is running about 200%. that is not the only market. ballston is another market. illinois as another market -- boston is another market. research showing the amount of consolidation, the implications on pricing. basic pricing related to consolidation is number one. number two, just basic pricing and outpace route -- outpatient hospital side, pharmaceuticals side. the range of issues that need to be attended to but it is very controversial. no member of congress is reelected by going back home by saying it is detaining -- i am containing costs because it has implications on a range of stakeholders but we need to work through that in an organized way so in the end, the american people will know that costs will be brought under control.
because health care costs, in fact, are crushing our economy. whether you are a small business, large business, state or local government, business competing internationally. we can't afford to continue -- to continue to ignore it. host: carl from los angeles. caller: i would like to ask -- this is a reform law, not obamacare. 89% would have to go back and to medical care instead of the cost of insurance. why did you spend so much time of the reform law instead of the banking system? i don't understand c-span anymore. guest: i think that one was to you. host: that one. anything you want to address? guest: i think carl makes a point about how does it all work. one of the points i was making earlier, that we have a number of changes, and now the question
is how you access this -- these changes and exactly what is happening. caps on expenditures, as carl just indicated, has some potential unintended consequences. if it limits investment in the kinds of tools and techniques we need to improve care coordination, to help hospitals and physicians provide more accountable health care, to get information to consumers, to simplify the administrative processes for doctors and hospitals, that would move us in the wrong direction. what we are trying to do is take account of what are the consequences, what are the issues that need further attention, and clearly one issue that i am sure we will hear about from callers is the implications for that with respect to brokers. the costs are higher because plants rely on brokers to offer
products to consumers in their homes. it is more costly to do that. they don't have human resource managers. they don't work for large companies, individuals, so they rely on the brokers. to have a law that changes everything for brokers overnight, that is something that i think members in our community, as well as the broker community and the consumer community, and at the state level, are taking account of. host: we had a twwet about brokers. is mike leavitt -- guest: he is former secretary of hhs doing a range of things around the country, but a very thoughtful commentator on health-care issues and a number
of domestic policy issues. host: not a broker. guest: he is not a broker. host: when you hear the term government takeover of health care, you agree the bill passed last year is a government takeover? guest: i think the whole question is balance, where you put the fulcrum between public and private. we have been talking about this for decades. the american people clearly have a division of opinion. the idea is how we create a uniquely american system and balance the public and private sector and get the best from both. we think there could be more attention to provisions that need to be improved to get the best of both basically. but there are strong views on either side. i think it is a balancing act and creating this uniquely american solution. one of the things that is very interesting, our members now are being called upon by european governments -- that clearly have a very different health care system than we do -- governments
in asia as well -- to bring disease management, to bring care coordination, to bring new reimbursement system that encouraged accountability and quality. we are doing very innovative things with physicians and hospitals all across the country. and we are being asked to export those services, which is very, very exciting. that is another example -- even and the european system that most watch and say they are a very different structure than ours, they are asking for these services and our members are helping them improve their systems. it is a balance between public versus private. host: spokane, washington. please, go ahead. caller: i wanted to talk about health care that ties into the global economy. i am against the employer-based health-care system. it is an extra cost for them, extra overhead for as competing
with other countries. i think we need to do away with that and maybe go to a single payer system. what do you think about that? guest: i think you are asking an important question about international competition. this is where i think it is very smartly put on your part, i in a sense that to be aware of the impact of health-care costs on international competition. through the lens of health care costs, we need to look at what are the burdens on individuals, what are the burdens on small business, domestically focused, what are the burgeoned -- burris on large businesses that compete internationally. you just made one of the best cases of attending to the issue of health care costs, bending the trend. if we can just take a point off projected rates of growth, there are trillions of dollars of savings possible. that is quite significant, that we otherwise would not spend.
that is worth investing some significant time in the national debate to talk about how to do that. but politically, it has proven to be very, very tough. but we can't afford not to do it because we won't be able to afford the promises that have been made. host: do you think we should move away from employer-based insurance? guest: i think employers should be allowed to make decisions they believe are appropriate. employers have long viewed offering health care coverage as an important part of the compensation package for individuals for whom they are competing, workers. i think in our society we should make sure that that whole system, which covers a very significant number of individuals, is not disrupted. because when you begin to disrupt things that work well, you create other problems.
we have a runoff by way of problems and a system that need to be attended to, rather than up ending everything -- up and everything. host: why can't we buy health insurance on the open market like auto insurance? guest: one of the things that is definitely coming -- we are seeing leadership at the state level but also now significantly the national level encouraging states to have entities -- whether they are called exchanges or something else -- that transparent -- transparently lists product so individuals can in fact look on a web site, the way we can shop for airline fees or anything else. we are very supportive of that. we don't think that entities should become -- duplicate existing government operations. i think they should be an opportunity for individuals to be a part of the market, have a transparent choices, and, in
fact, it should support choice and competition. now, there are some who believe we should basically duplicate all of the provisions in state and law for those types of entities. we don't agree with that because we are already doing that in certain places. host: orlando, joe, democrat. you are on with karen ignagni. caller: good morning, thank you. thomas friedman of "the new york times". a term recently, -- coined a term recently, sub-optimal solutions. this health care bill, although i think hopefully it is a good beginning, it is kind of sub- optimal. the main reason why in my mind it comes out like this is because of the republicans' control of the situation via the
filibuster. recently they read the constitution. if you notice, the word filibuster is not in the constitution. a quick aside, we should pay more attention to changing the filibuster rules and the senate. host: we are going to leave your comment and moves to jack and minnesota. caller: my comments would probably disappoint ms. karen ignagni, which frees me because she is a very pretty young lady. at this health-care system in the united states is not tenable because it is going toward the for-profit health system. the cost of this system is so huge that it boggles the mind. it is not only the brokers and the advertisements, etc., but
the cost of the ceo's and their spokesman. dr. william mcguire was paid $142 million per year running united health, or a lease for one year. he got -- or at least for one year. dr. rick scott, recently elected governor of florida, he was paid off after he got in trouble with the fed. you, i checked your salary on google and a couple of years ago it was $1 million. i think it is heading for $2 million. i wonder -- my question to you is, i wonder if you would be so kind as to lower your salary to that which is the salary of the president of the free world, maybe 400,000 year host: what do you do? caller: it is not only the
patience that debt -- i hate to use the word, egypt. the providers take a big hair cut, guaranteed. it is all going to things -- i think it is really hard that they benefit the beneficiaries of these insurance policies. guest: i think he is asking a fundamental question about how we look at administrative costs in the system across the board and what has begun, clearly, is a discussion about administrative costs and costs in general, but if the debate and discussion stop, it is only focused on health insurance. a process in the health insurance industry is only one penny per health care dollar. we have to deal with the other
99 cents. we are happy to participate in a discussion about costs, about administrative costs, broad costs, broadly speaking, but for individuals, and particularly retirees who are cost sensitive, we are going to have to do a much better job in our country to join this health-care debate about the minister of costs not only for our sector but for each and every other sector in the health-care arena. you cannot have a health care reform discussion and focus it exclusively on health plans and think we are accomplishing much of anything other than at reform. this year, we can see the limits of that discussion. costs are continuing to escalate. health-care premiums follow underlying costs. they have not been brought under control. we need to do more. what we are excited about all the efforts around the country
among health plans, terrific health plans up in minnesota, collaborating in very innovative ways where the physicians and hospitals have agreed to share risks for a certain amount of money, managed care for patients. they are showing very exciting results. this is what hospitals and physicians can do together. we need to encourage it. clearly, we have to have a broader discussion about costs that is separate from the health care discussion. >host: who sit on your board? guest: the leaders of our industry. large companies, middle sized companies, for-profit, not-for- profit. host: one author is very
critical of the health insurance industry. the next call comes from a fairfax, va. caller: i have a few questions. [unintelligible] there has been a back-and-forth between public and private, trying to strike a balance. is it true that [unintelligible] host: could you get your question very quickly? caller: will provisions of the new law could be changed -- what
provisions of the new law could be changed? host: we are going to go with your second question. guest: i could not really hear it. number one, this is going to sound very wonky. this will be illustrative. in the legislation, there is a provision that talks about how the individuals who are older relative to people who are younger actually are charged. in the market today, 85% of the market, that ratio is anywhere from 5 to 7 to 1. individuals pay according to their [unintelligible] in the legislation overnight,
that ratio goes to 3:1. for older people, that is good news because they will pay less. for anyone under the age of 40, that will be an increase in cost. obviously, the highest increase will be for people between the ages of 20 years and 30 years. nonetheless, anybody under 40 years old will see an increase. there is a good example of something that really needs to be looked at in terms of this happening overnight and the economic consequences. two, the issue of the health care sales tax. that is a big issue and will be a very big issue for small businesses because when folks see it -- it does not happen until 2014, when they see it, they will be wondering why i am paying a sales tax on the health
insurance. it does not make sense because we are supposed to reduce costs, not increase costs. in terms of the essential benefits package, there has been a lot of talk this week about what it should be. there are individuals and small groups who have an essential benefit package that they have tried to reduce their premiums by relying on copays and deductibles to reduce their premiums. if the package is so broadly structured that these individuals and small businesses, are going to find that their current proposals are on affordable, they will be a third leg of the school in terms of cost increases. and, if we see that with medicare costs being reduced, if hospitals in particular do what was done after the balanced budget act of 1997 with the
medicare costs were reduced, there will be a step back as well. i have not gotten even to the overall trajectory of health- care costs. if you put all that together, we need to look at the cost issue. we need to look at the side of the scale that is potentially increasing costs and have a discussion on how to get our hands around that. host: silver spring, md., you are on with karen ignagni. caller: thank you. my question is this. is it true that health care and -- in other advanced countries cost about half of what it does in the u.s.? and yet, people there live longer. is this true? why is it? guest: there was an interesting
study done several months ago, where they look at total health- care costs, the united states versus all the other countries. your points are quite right. we are ascending far more, and we need to begin at a good place to start thinking about this and looking at it. we really need to look at this issue of how costs are increasing. one example of what can be done immediately that would have very significant and positive consequences for physicians who are practicing today who are worried about the damocles hanging over their head, if we had all this discussion about best practices in this country, the best and brightest in that decision -- and the physician community, how do we get best practices encouraged?
if the physicians practicing best practices could be protected, that would have two results. physicians would no longer be afraid to practice best practices and would not be afraid to do the tests they feel are absolutely necessary. two, it could help us shrink variations and improve quality. that is a very sensible area that we think could be attacked and could have a bipartisan support and discussion now. that is a tangible way to proceed. there are other ways, but we have to begin to chip at this in very strategic ways to bring the cost differential down. you are right about the differential. the most comprehensive one i have seen, and you should take a look at it.
host: several tweets about non- profits and profits. are there cost differentials between the two? guest: i think it is very similar and easier for people to see this in the area of physician groups. we have for-profit and not for profit. in pharmaceuticals, we have for profit. in our arena, we have not-for- profit and for-profit. we have outside review, quality review and quality performance reviews, that looks at outcomes. how we are doing on patient care. there has been a strong effort to move into other sectors. i think that'll happen over time, but our for-profit plans and not-for-profit plans are
reviewed. consumers can look at them and the most important thing is to look at what you might need, where you want to go, what facilities are in various networks. that is how you begin to think about the health care plan appropriate for you. i think we have a very exciting track record across the board in our industry in terms of the value been provided. guest: good morning. you are on with karen ignagni. we are going to put you on hold, carl. i punched the wrong number. carl, i am so sorry. go ahead. caller: i think it is disingenuous to say that you have been trying to rectify the problem. i think you are going to continue to fight against any
kind of reformation. host: could you go back to the first part of your comment? caller: these people are already profiting. you guys are already profiting so well off of the current system. when you say that you have been trying to rectify the problem in the system as far as cost containment, you guys are already doing very well. i can understand why you are against reformation of the system. host: we got the point. guest: we spent three years prior to 2009 and the discussion that occurred nationally on health care reform, talking and working within our industry to come to 2009 with specific proposals. the market reform that everyone is talking about was talked about and believed in according to all the polls.
no pre-existing conditions, getting everybody in, etc. those are the reforms that we proposed. which came to a discussion in 2009 with a very specific set of proposals on market reform in our industry. on cost containment in our industry as well as all the other stakeholders. quality improvement across the board. no other stakeholder, no other community came to two dozen nine with those proposals. this was leadership that was executed by our board. they worked very, very hard. what we talked about it during the discussion of health care reform were two basic things. one, we were very concerned that in the summer of 2009, health reform was a trunk. the discussion got shrunk to insurance reform. we thought dropping the issue of cost containment and the kinds
of things that needed to be done aggressively was the wrong direction, and we talked about that. we never wavered in our support for market reform. two, which were very focused on the issues that peter and i talked about earlier. it does not make a lot of sense to have an unprecedented health care sales tax on small businesses and individuals. that moves in the wrong direction. we offer remedies. we thought there was a number of other issues that could be improved, and now a number of people are beginning to look very specifically at a certain provision. we think we can be productive participants in those discussions. host: karen ignagni, shortly after or right around the health insurance reform passed, the state of california bluecross blueshield came out with these large increases in premiums.
it was that a political mistake on their part -- was that a political mistake on their part? guest: i think what you have, people forget basic rules that health care premiums and follow underlying health care costs. there are several various aspects of increases. one, what is happening to overall health-care costs. we are seeing a major increase, and that is the point we made last year. we are seeing real increases, and that is a strong concern not only to our members but anyone who pays the bills. two, with the economy suffering and under the kind of stress that it has been under for the last couple of years, people are dropping health care coverage. as a result, those costs are
going up. if you put all this together, the various factors, you have a real problem. the question is how do you talk to the american people from a health plan perspective. how do you talk to your prescribed years? how do you communicate that these issues need to be taken into consideration? that is a discussion that did not end with health-care reform. it will not end until we actually begin to address the factors that are causing costs to increase. again, politically, i cannot say this enough. it is difficult to confront those factors. that is what we are focusing on a way to improve quality improvement but at the same time protecting patients. we think that is a great place for bipartisan activity that could be done very quickly. we think looking at additional
taxes that are causing the costs of health insurance to go up at a time when people are very worried about costs, again, should have another look. those are the issues we are going to be talking about. " is the state-based exchanges a positive thing? guest: i think we need to have entities that are close to the ground where people live. so i think this concept of state-based insurance exchanges make a great deal of sense. what i think does not make sense is if we change those exchanges into something that is yet another version or duplication of what states are already doing with respect to their insurance functions. i think it should be every market that offers a choice and competition and give people the kind of transparency that they want and need. host: karen ignagni, thank you.
coming up, a discussion on food prices. >> this weekend, bill kristol and discusses his late father's essays on the conservative movement. also, 52 women look back at their work during the civil rights movement. gordon brown on coming back from the economic downturn. fund complete schedule online. -- find the complete schedule online. >> tuesday, president obama delivers the state of the union address to a joint session of congress. c-span live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. then, the republican response and your phone calls, live on c-
span, seized and radio, and online at c-span.org. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs every morning on "washington journal." connecting you with elected officials, policy makers, and journalists. watch live coverage of the u.s. house on weekdays. also, supreme court oral arguments. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview programs. you can also watch our program in any time at c-span.org. it is all searchable on our c- span of video library.
>> "washington journal" continues. host: this is a recent financial times' front-page article -- this is a of toronto, canada. -- this is out of toronto, canada. joining us now from iowa is , an assistant professor of economics at iowa state university. our food prices going up? if so, why? guest: food prices are going up. we are seeing global pressure, and it is a combination of factors. when you look at agricultural supplies, we have had natural disasters hit those supplies. droughts in argentina, flooding in australia. that is hampering food
production, so that is limiting the supplies that we have. at the same time, we are seeing stronger demand as the global economy continues to recover. host: so between some natural disasters or natural weather changes, and rising demand, what kind of pressure is that bringing to bear on which foodstuffs? guest: we are seeing it here in the u.s. with corn, wheat, soybeans, and especially in the meat sector. we are seeing it meet demand increase -- meat demand increase. host: given that, and especially with demand, let's go to the demand side of this. where is the demand rising? is it all over the world?
guest: it is all of the world. china has been a big factor in the demand rise over the last two years given its growing populations and incomes. we have seen more demand for meat coming out of asia. they have been pulling in tremendous amounts of soybeans over the last few years. this year was the first time we have seen them import corn from the u.s. in the last 15 years. host: are america's farmers benefiting from the higher food prices that people are experiencing? guest: they are benefiting in the fact that it is creating some additional demand for their products. they are seeing higher prices but at the same time when i am talking to farmers, they are concerned about rising prices as well because not only are they
food producers, they are food to consumers as well. host: we are talking about food prices and with an assistant professor of economics at iowa d hart.niversity , chard you can also send us a tweet or an e-mail as well. in the washington post recently, there was an article that cited some of these figures. grain prices accrue to the highest prices in the last 2.5 years. corn production dropped 5%. -- do those factors -- especially with the cotton production going up, is that taking land away from cropland?
guest: it is not necessarily taking it away from cropland. what we are seeing is each year when acker " for producers are making that production decision, they have to make it on the expectation where prices are, and then they have to plant crops and wait for them to develop and then harvest. what we have seen over the last few years is when you look at corn production, soybean production, over the last decade, we have seen those farmers increase the plantings of those crops, trying to meet the growing demand that they have had. we have also seen that for cotton. they are looking at agriculture prices to look to see where they can obtain the best value for their land, because farming is like any other small business. they are looking to capture whatever values they can from their production.
host: how much of the corn production is going into fuel production? is that creating and the shortages? i know there is a corn oil shortage around the world. what about the fuel consumption of corn? guest: the fuel consumption of corn has gone up. the ethanol industry has been growing fairly rapidly in the u.s. it has been growing at about the same pace that corn production has grown over the last several years. looking back to 2005, 2006, the u.s. ethanol industry used about 3 million bushels of corn during the year. this year, we are looking at approaching 5 billion -- 5 million bushels of corn this year. the increase on the fuel side has, for the most part, been
matched by an increase on the production side. host: according to reject the world population is expected to grow by 50% by the year 2015. food production will need to rise by 50% by 20 to seek to meet growing demand. and -- do we have enough capacity and technology to grow enough food for the world? guest: we are attempting to. it is an open question about whether we can keep pace. if you look back at production in the past century, production has been able to for the most part keep up with the
consumption that we have. in the last decade, we have begun to fall behind on the production side as that consumption continues to increase. it is an issue that agriculture is facing right now. can we ramp production up in order to meet the demand? in agriculture, we are seeing the investment in the technology into the production practices to try to keep supplies that meet those demands that are building up. do you see hart, an end to the rising food costs that we are seeing right now? guest: there is an old standard joke that the cure for high prices is high prices because those high prices create incentives for producers to produce as much as they can. typically, what happens, what we
have seen is that producers will over-produce. we see -- that tends to cause over-production and then we tend to recycle back-and-forth. host: go ahead, caller. caller: i understand what you are saying about the natural disasters for wheat, corn, etc. if you walk down the supermarket aisle, everything is going up. it is ridiculous. i want to know about what you think. my opinion is these food corporations are taking advantage of the economy. i would like to know your opinion on that. thanks. guest: i think we are looking at several factors. if you look at a grocery store
prices, there are a lot of other costs that get built into the cost of our food especially here in the u.s. the usda did a study about five years ago about the individual costs that went into a box of cornflakes. 95% of the cost had been added to that box of cornflakes beyond the farm gate. a lot of that is in the advertising, the safety features that we build into our food system. every little piece of the food system adds a little bit of cost. the other thing that it shows especially if you look at our packaging and transportation, food costs are definitely related with what is going on with energy costs. over the past couple of years, which have seen what has
happened to energy costs. we are looking at $3 or $4 and gasoline. host: chad hart, next call. on our republican line. hi. caller: good morning. and i have two questions for you. peter, i have a question to you. i understand the national -- the natural disasters on the food supply, but i used to work for a fortune 500 company as a contractor. i have ended a bit of reality- based information for you. when mr. ben bernanke lowered interest rates, and he flooded the whole economy with money, that was very predictable about what was going to happen to food
and energy prices. i think you failed to mention that. another thing that you left out -- you are talking about this recovering economy. are we not just recovering by virtue of money printing and inflation? and, for pete, the number one trend according to the n.y. times last year was do-it- yourself macroeconomics, and that is because classical economists have failed so miserably. i would suggest that you get on some folks that have had real success in predicting all these failures and everything, because like in the 1970's, when you forced the cost of interest rates down to nothing, say predictably go to food energy. host: what about his economic theory? guest: in this case, i would agree with al.
it is a contributing factor, what has gone on with the money supply. as you look at the u.s. dollar, over the past decade as it is weekend, what is it tends to do is make agricultural commodities less expensive to the rest of the world to come up creating more demand pull for our products. that increases u.s. prices for our commodities. i am going to slightly disagree with him on the recovery side mainly because when i am looking at the statistics we see in the demand for meat, which are seeing more demand for meat moving through the system. that is indicating a growing demand building back in. it might not be indicative that the national economy as a whole is growing as rapidly as we are seeing with the demand of meat, but at least it is a signal that we are seeing some gross out
there. when you are looking at our agricultural markets, there are a lot of factors trying to drive prices up and down. almost all the factors that have been moving the markets have been pushing the market higher when we are looking at those natural disasters, the building demand, the i'm not the money that is coursing through many of our global economies. all of that contributes to the higher prices which are seeing. host: james tweets in -- guest: it is hard to necessarily of a tribute how much one sector of demand adds to that price. when you are looking at corn demand in the u.s., the largest source is through livestock feed. that takes up around 55% to 60%. then you have ethanol growing
40% to 50%. we ship about another 15% to 20% outside the country. trying to attribute a price level to that is really hard to tear it apart. if you took away ethanol, you would see the some of those others are rise up to take away that demand as well. host: san francisco, and victoria, democrat. guest: please be patient with me. i have been trying to get in for eight years. mr. hart, you speak about the prices not going up. i am on social security and we have not gotten a raise in two years. they say the prices have not gone up. you do not address the issue of
an lot of companies are taking [unintelligible] away from all kinds of products even up to a pound. for instance, on sugar, yet they are charging the same amount for the item. could you address that for me because, like i said, no one has addressed this issue? i am a very good shopper and i notice when they take away ounces from food but they do not lower the price. please address this, please. guest: certainly. when food companies are looking at how the package their products, they are cognizant of these price increases as well. they have a couple of ways to deal with that. they can maintain their products at the same quantity and raise the price so they can maintain the price level at the same level. again, what they are facing in terms of their costs of producing that food product is
not only the body of the agricultural products but how much does it cost them to package the product, how much does it cost them to transport the product to the growth restores, and how much is it costing them to advertise. in the case of almost all those costs, those costs have been increasing. so it is not only what is going on within the agricultural sector, it is also what is going on with energy and other sectors of the economy. in the case of sugar, specifically, what they have done in many cases is they have kept the package the same size but they have reduced the quantities and kept that price physically at the same level or increase it a little bit but not as much as they would have had they kept that package the same quantity size. host: our guest has a bachelor's
in economics, mathematics, and astronomy. chad hart, did you grow upon a farm? guest: we had cattle. there is a relatively marginal crop ground there. we would raise the cattle on the farm up to about 600 pounds, take them to a feed sailed where they would be sold to a feed lot. we were in the feeder cattle business. host: this tweet comes from jeff --
guest: we have had more, if you will, investment opportunities in agricultural commodities. most of our agricultural commodities have future markets, markets that allow producers and users of the product to price it for future points in time. if they see opportunities for price increases or decreases, they can invest to take it vintage of those. there is a great debate going on now within the trading commission and within congress and little bit, talking about how those speculators are impacting our agricultural markets. economic theory would suggest that those speculators do have an influence on pricing, but it is more in terms of price volatility as opposed to price levels.
host: next call comes from oklahoma, nick is on our republican line. caller: thank-you for c-span. i would like for you to relate to the consumer how many cents of corn are in a box of corn flakes. if the price of corn it was to double, how much of the raw product would add to the consumer's price? in the 1970's, my family has farmed for 104 years in this area. in the 1970's when i first started farming, the price of corn and the price of crude oil were virtually the same. .3 a bushel for corn i would like for you to explain to the consumer how disparity has come about and just how much
of the food price increases is not due to the raw farm product. i appreciate you and c-span. guest: thank you, nick. the idea is when you look at overall food costs -- i will take you back to the usda study that was done. they looked at the average dollar spent on food here within the u.s., and what they found is when you look at that dollar, 20 cents on the dollar went back to pay for the products off of the farm to create that food. 80 cents out of every dollar that you spend on average in the growth restorer is being captured beyond the farm gate, not by the former but by the processor, the warehouse moving the food to the growth restorer, by the grocery store. it is also paying for the
advertising around that product, the packaging, the plastic, the cardboard boxes that make our products so convenient. so there is a lot of convenience costs built into our food. when you are looking at this food costs, it varies tremendously. as far as looking at individual products, as i mentioned earlier, the idea is if you look at the box of cornflakes, it is a relatively small amount, 5% of the cost is paying for the corn that is going into that box of cornflakes. now as you look at other types of products, for example, where you will spend the most amount of your food dollars back towards the former is more at the meat counter. roughly 30% to 50% of every dollar that you spend their ends up going back to pay the producer or farmer for greeting
that product. host: how big our americas i corps corporal exports? do you have some numbers for us? disco they are fairly sizable. -- guest: they are fairly sizable. when you look at our exports to china, this is one area where we actually have a trade surplus with china and agricultural products. with china alone, over the year of 2010, we exported $11 billion worth of agricultural products just to china. they are the third largest market. we export even more to mexico and canada. exports represent a sizable economic activity for the u.s. host: gary is on our independent line.
caller: thank you for taking my call. am i on? host: we are listening. caller: the biggest concern i have is the fact about the volatility of our commodities and markets. one of the biggest problems we have as a producer is the volatility of the costs. even though you were mentioning wall street and some of the speculators, they may be up and down one day and so forth, but the problem with that is that hits us at the wrong time when we are trying to put on fertilizer. that increases the cost of fertilizer at a bad time. we are taking a bigger chance during harvest time. so you can see the dilemma of the volatility. host: what kind of form to you have? caller: wheat farm. dry land. one of the problems with that is
we have to be able to control our energy prices. we built this country on the cheap energy. now we have some of the highest priced energy. i cannot see that we can bring our economy back overall until we can control our energy prices. host: chad hart. guest: what we are seeing not only with technical crop prices -- as gary mentioned, the cost to the producer of creating that corn or soybeans or the wheat is increasing because they are facing these higher energy costs. gary mentioned fertilizer, which is a great point. as we look to create more crops to try to meet that demand, that causes us to increase those input prices as well.
the nitrogen market -- nitrogen is a key component when you are looking at crop productivity. the nitrogen market has basically exploded over the last three years because we have watched the agricultural demand growth. not only the building for u.s. producers, but you have the rest of the world trying to grow crops and develop them, and they need supplies like fertilizers. that has had an increasing pressure on those markets as well. we have seen it input costs such as a fertilizer increase dramatically. we have seen land values increased dramatically. those land values of to get translated back into the food prices because when you are looking at production especially here in the u.s., most producers rent a sizable portion of the land that they use.
as of land values go up, the rents that they pay for that land increase. host: with regard to world food prices, there have been some riots. the tunisia riots were all about food prices. is it because what is happening here in the states? is it because of some other natural disasters? guest: it is a combination. with algeria and tunisia, their main food grain is weak. when you are looking at wheat production worldwide, wehaheat s been impacted by this natural disasters. when you look at the drought that has happened in russia, that drop was mainly with their wheat-producing area.
when you are looking down at australia, which has been in basically a decade-long drought, that has hit their wheat production. you are looking at two very large wheat-producing countries suffering through a major natural disasters which has pulled down the production, leaving world supplies in a short supply, causing higher prices. especially in countries in north africa where wheat is the major food grain, that is a big impact for them host: erin, please go ahead with your question. caller: i want to make a quick comment. i want to know -- prices are going up on gasoline and food. the dollar is turning into a toilet paper.
i like to know your take on it. guest: definitely, the dollar has been getting weaker. when you look at the stimulus package put together by the federal government by the federal reserve, you are looking at a flow of dollars in, but that dollar had been weakening even before we saw that stimulus package. if you go back to 2001-2002 and look at the trend, the dollar has been getting weaker since that time. it has good and bad points about that dollar weakening. for agricultural exports, a weakening dollar has been a benefit to them because it has meant their products look like suspensive and they see more demand because of it. at the same time, a weakening dollar tends to mean that the imports we bring in to the u.s. look more expensive to us because of the weakness in the dollar. it depends upon which side of the market you are on as to
whether a weak dollar is a good or bad thing. host: have you figured out how much, if any, food is subsidized because of of of the agricultural subsidies the government around the world give to their farmers? guest: there are definitely a lot of agricultural subsidies. for example, one of the issues we had the last time we were concerned about food prices back in 2008 was that you could see a lot of countries that had consumer subsidies that tried to maintain low food prices. they had an issue arose stockpiling food in some areas where we were finding shortages of food in other areas of the world. those policies within an individual country can boomerang back to other countries in the world. here in the u.s., we have a system of support structures
which tend to promote the production of the product by creating an economic safety net underneath the product revenues or prices that you are looking at. those are contained within the u.s. farm bill that we pass about every five years. that is something the -- that is something the u.s. congress is going to be taking up again. host: dale, you are on with chad hart. caller " good morning, fellas. i have a cousin in tennessee and he farms about 3,000 acres of land down there. the government pays him not to grow a certain amount of money per year. it is a substantial amount of money. i do not know the exact figure. i think instead of paying them not to grow food, let them grow food, and more product that is
out there, that will lower the price of our food. the way our system is set up, if we are paying farmers to only form half of 3,000 acres so prices stay up so somebody in corporate america can get richer and richer, i see that as a very big problem in our country. i appreciate your time. guest: i do have a question for the caller. host: i have already hung up. sorry about that. guest: my guess is in the form we are talking about here, the payments to not farm are probably due to environmental programs that we have in this country. if you are looking at agricultural land as far as what the farm bill supports, if we are talking about support for commodities, those are all about
producing the crops instead of not producing the crops. when we look at our conversation -- our conservation programs, we do have some programs that satisfy agricultural lands because they are environmentally fragile. we do have the support structures in place. it could be used for other sources, but we find that it has a severe erosion problems or production could impact water quality for downstream users. then there is a program that does pay producers to set aside certain parts of their land, but is not in order to keep prices higher to influence, if you will, that supply of production. it is to protect the and pharmacology of the land and water in that area. when you look at how big that program is, we set aside
roughly 30 million acres through these environmental programs, but we produce crops on over 300 million acres. it is a sizable component, but the vast majority of the land in the u.s. available for crop production is actively engaged in crop production. host: ohio, gary, hi. caller: hi. i know that the warehousing distributors of food get a kickback on what -- they will not sell your food on the state get a kick back. -- unless they get a kick back. money makes them carry your product. host: how do you notice? caller: well, when i was young, i worked in a grocery store.
i would ask about certain products. then, a guy that was -- his brother who was it within the grocery business was explaining to me that they would not carry certain products because they did not pay him any money to carry his products. it is almost like they will not allow some people to play ball. ohio try to pass a lot about farmers could not raise and kill their own beef. i am sure that when mr. hart was on the farm, they took their own cattle to the butcher. host: any response to that caller? guest: when you are looking at the third production and supply system, each a grocery store and warehouse are, they are making individual contractors among
themselves. they are looking for the best economic opportunities. whether there are kickbacks or not, that i cannot address. they are negotiating product -- they are negotiating prices between themselves. you are going to see a give-and- take between the two. when you look at the supply system, it does flow fairly well when you think about moving the amount of products we are talking about through the system in order to feed these 300 million folks that we have in this country and the 7 billion people that we have throughout the world. food does move fairly rapidly and fairly quickly to the places that need it. host: we are talking to chad hart from iowa state university. go ahead, terry. caller: thank you.
i want to also thank you for c- span. also, there has been much debate. could you explain to the american people once and for all, with biofuels, ethanol is just corn whiskey. when you take out the ethanol, you have feed left. i take my corn up, take the mash back home, and then feed it to my hogs. the ethanol that is distracted, it does not make an impact on the food supply. the same with the soybeans. the oil is extracted.
by extracting the oil, the soybean meal goes back to feed my hogs. when senators made a plan for sustaining and renewing the tax credits for biofuels, people jumped all over it. this way, we simply get to increase the energy supply of fuel without hurting the food supply at all. also, when the man called about shippers, when we ship our products overseas to foreign markets, the shippers are making more profit per bushel than the farmer. also, you did a very good job explaining food for security and also going on marginal lands. host: terry, when it comes to
the rising food prices the last couple of years, have you benefited as a farmer from these prices? caller: yes, i have. we have had to pay income tax every year. i have -- it seems to be cyclical, about once every 20 years, farmers make a good profit. for others, it is starvation or banks foreclose on terms. 80% of my neighbors have gone out of farming, forced out, and the average age of farmers -- i am one of the young ones, and i am 56 years old. most of them are older and there are no children or grandchildren. there used to be 20 school buses picking up kids to go to our local school. now there is less than four because there is nobody living
out on the farms anymore. host: who is taking care of that land? caller: there used to be 200- acre farms. now it is consolidated into 5000- or 10,000-acre farms. now only six people are living off of those farms. we have satellite-guided trackers that make us more efficient to make sure we cover all of our land. they can plant 300 acres a day now. this year, my farm was planted in one day, where its use to take three weeks. host: we are running out of time. really interesting. thank you for calling in. he started with the ethanol food point. guest: w