tv Washington Journal CSPAN February 19, 2014 7:00am-10:01am EST
recovery act five years after implementation. later, special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction john sopko talks about concerns over u.s. funds given directly to the afghan government. host: good morning. president obama travels to mexico city to meet with that country's president as well as the canadian prime minister. in advance, a wider deal with pacific rim nations. we will talk about nafta in the program. we will get your take on the washington post reporting that the u.s. is behind the scenes contemplating tops of the taliban and in -- taliban in afghanistan. in exchange, they would like
five prisoners from guantánamo bay released. we want to get your take. should the u.s. negotiate with the taliban for the only prisoner of war? republicans, (202) 585-3881. democrats, (202) 585-3880. independents, (202) 585-3882. you can send us a tweet, @cspanwj or post your comments on facebook.com/cspan. you can e-mail us at email@example.com. have a fourth line for active and retired military, (202) 585-3883. no negotiating with terrorists versus leave no soldier behind. with the war in afghanistan boding down, the plight of
bergdahl has left the u.s. government trying to reconcile those two long-standing policies. the official declined to be identified. the defense department is also involved. declined comment, but bowe bergdahl's family welcome d the statement. we welcome this development and we applaud the unity and purpose and resolve of the white house
and other u.s. government agencies involved. we hope everyone takes this opportunity seriously. we are cautiously optimistic these discussions will lead to the return of our son after more than four and a half years in captivity. we want to get your thoughts. what do you think about this? should the u.s. negotiate with the taliban for bowe bergdahl ? should they be negotiating over this? those are the numbers on the screen. the daily beast first reported about these discussions. josh rogan had the story. last month, the press revealed that the taliban had delivered a video showing that americans only prisoner of war was still alive. was thatnot reported the u.s. government requested this proof of life as a precondition to resuming direct talks over a prisoner swap.
for prisoners in guantánamo bay. postnday, the washington story online was published tuesday in the paper. in an effort to free american , theve, bowe bergdahl obama administration has tried to resume talks and sweeten an offer to trade taliban prisoners held at guantánamo bay. five prisoners who have been held for years would be released to protective custody in qatar in exchange for the release of bowe bergdahl. lee, sterling, virginia, active military.
lee, what do you do? what do think about this? left the reserves in 2012. . served with the marines pows have a special place in our hearts. , but i do notout think we should be negotiating. a way to be finding bring our p.o.w. home, but i feel very strongly that we should not negotiate like this. it is a code. it is our position that once we start negotiating this way, we
lose the edge and the enemy will know that we could falter. tryhe same time, we should with all of our might to bring him home. host: what does that include? caller: that includes with force. and capability, there is no way that we cannot bring in a strike team. we are fighting a war. we should -- we found the bin laden. we should be able to find him. host: there have been reports that it is difficult to use some sort of military strike to go in there because they not sure where he is. think that is what we
need to be -- we need to be our allies. cents is that we have not been doing enough. the easy way out is to negotiate. this situation, that is the easy way out. the hard way is to put together and work with our allies. no way wed there was would find bin laden. there's a code that we never leave a man or woman behind peer we never leave a service member behind. you think it is appropriate that this is being negotiated through diplomatic channels? the military is involved, but
this is mostly being done by the state department. caller: i know this has been doing things that have been done in the past, but i don't -- we should not be negotiating at all. i think we will be taken advantage of in the future. host: the united states believes one route to getting him back may be through qatar officials. bowe bergdahl is believed to be held by operatives from the haqq ani network. it is not clear whether they would abide by any agreement among the united states, qatar, and the taliban. i think we should negotiate. i think the taliban and should tell you the united states
government -- i think the taliban and should tell the to letstates government everyone out. the guy that was before me, he is living in a fantasyland. this war should have never happened. when did you serve? caller: i was in the navy. i got out in 1980. host: did you serve overseas? caller: i was in the philippines. this takedo you have on afghanistan? what we are doing in afghanistan and in guantánamo is horrible. the way we are torturing and waterboarding people and doing everything we claim we would never do. look at our black prisons all
over the place. prisons where we kidnap people and put them in there and no one ever sees him again. the things we're doing in the world is around us. i am glad i am out of the military. we have nothing but a bunch of sock puppets in our government. ,ost: chris, democratic caller would you think? no, thanks. i also want to comment that i like the sure that you are wearing. host: nathan, what do you think? person ise previous crazy. we went to afghanistan because -- bombed us.e
we should not negotiate at all. they killed their own prime minister. good bunch of dirty bastards. host: should we negotiate? caller: no, we should bomb them. osama was a block away from the police station. maybe we should give them some more f-16s. host: democratic caller. caller: i would like to say that i do not even know why this is an issue. respect, one of your caller said he thought the military -- diplomacy.
diplomacy is the way out of this. this man should not be sitting there another day longer. host: paul, pittsburgh, pennsylvania, retired military. negotiate should not with any of these terrorist groups. it gets us nowhere. it sets a horrible precedents. this soldier walked away from his unit. when he did that, he surrendered the protection that he was under. that is unfortunate. i do not think we can get into the position of negotiating with terrorists. we should put as much pressure as we possibly can on pakistan.
there is a country that harbored bin laden, imprisoned the doctor that helped us find bin laden. we should cut off some of the money we give them. those are my comments. bergdahl, this is his twitter page. he has been to afghanistan many times. he sent out a tweet in response to the stories that were ,eported by the washington post quoting, and now the united states is primarily focused on getting bergdahl home. they see this as a hopeful sign. in idaho, there are billboards
that have gone up across that state asking for people to call their member of congress to get him home. billboardowe bergdahl in eastern idaho. should the u.s. negotiate with the taliban over the release of bowe bergdahl? he was taken captive after walking off of his base, a decision that confounded his comrades and commanders. the u.s. military launched a massive manhunt, fearing it would be nearly impossible to find him if he was smuggled into pakistan. the taliban offered to exchange afghan $1 million and 21 prisoners. that was dismissed by the united states.
there are talks underway. jay carney was asked about this yesterday. here is what he had to say. [video clip] >> we will not discuss all of the details of our efforts. the president reiterated when he fy 2014 defense authorization act that we will not transfer a detainee unless the threat the detainee may be posing is only consistent with our humane policy. exchange for a pow held by a terrorist group, would that be the kind of negotiation with terrorists that -- >> we have made clear that we will support an afghan led process of negotiation. we are not involved in active
negotiations with the taliban. if negotiations resume, we would press the case of sergeant bowe bergdahl. we are engaged in an effort to see his return. effort, document every but that includes our military, intelligence, and our tools. host: responding to her sports talking tots of the taliban and about the release of a prisoner of war. givechange, the u.s. would five taliban leaders that were being detained at gitmo to qatar officials. our view is that this is a new hope for bowe bergdahl's release. they say that anybody who spouts
off about knowing what is going on behind the scenes is likely in a position to not know. silence is the standard operating procedure. these deals employee nuance upon nuance and they are often as delicate as they are dangerous. we are getting your take on this. we will continue to take your phone calls. some other headlines of the newspapers this morning -- from page of the washington times -- the congressional budget office looked at minimum wage proposals from the democrats, wanting to raise it to $10.10 an hour. the headline is that the wage hike is projected to cut jobs by half a million. white house gets hit again by the cbo. the new york times put the story in their business section. studies find mix effect in changing the wage law. she writes that is the mixed
conclusion of an assessment of how raising the minimum wage would affect income and the federal budget. the report was released on tuesday. the white house disputed the budget math. the estimate of the potential loss jobs might be too hi. mr. furman said that finding no jobs affected all would be a perfect lady -- perfectly reasonable estimate. jobs, less poverty. inside the paper, here are the numbers. if you raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, this will be the change in employment. the loss of about 500,000
workers. this is the numbers of workers who wages would increase. 16.5 million people would see their averages increase. the change in the number of people below the property threshold would decrease by 500,000. if you raise it to nine dollars an hour, 100,000 workers would be unemployed. it would have the impact of raising wages for 7.6 million. look at the difference between those two numbers. $10.10 an hour raises it for 16.5 million. that is in "the wall street journal." we mentioned president obama is traveling to mexico city oh. he is meeting with the mexican president. they're talking about nafta and how to make changes to it as
part of this trade agreement with pacific rim nations. we will be talking about nafta in the washington journal. we will take your phone calls about nafta 20 years later. from page of the new york times this morning has the story about president obama's announcement yesterday. was in upper marbury maryland yesterday. he does -- he ordered the development of tough new fuel standards. it is the campaign to tackle climate change. the new regulations to be drafted by the epa and the transportation department by 2015 and completed a year later so they are in place before mr. obama leaves office are the latest in a series of actions intended to cut back on greenhouse gases without the sort of comprehensive legislation the president failed
to push through congress in his first term. yesterday thevent president announced this ahead of what the epa is going to do. says thisork times" will be in effect before he leaves office. here's what the president had to say. [video clip] develop goal is to fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks. they will partner with manufacturers and autoworkers and estates and other stakeholders, truckers, to come up with a proposal by march of next year. they will complete the rule a year after that. businesses that buy these trucks have sent a clear message to the nearly 30,000 workers that build them. we want trucks that use less oil, save money, cut pollution. onthat was president obama
his latest executive action. this headline about using authority. imperial presidency. the republican house chairman spearheading investigations of president barack obama's partystration urged his tuesday to unite against mr. obama's imperial presidency. he said he is not running for president despite the setting in the nation's traditional first in the presidential -- first in the nation presidential primary state. he questioned the leadership abilities of hillary clinton. i came here hoping to change the debate for those who do run for president. that is in the washington times this morning. "the star-ledger" has the story
about a physicist who championed the liberal causes, but earned fame --.est he said he was leaving congress for a variety of reasons, personal and professional. star-ledger"the this morning. we are talking about whether the u.s. should negotiate with the taliban and for the release of bowe bergdahl. christine, cherokee, north carolina, democratic caller. what are your thoughts? caller: i believe we should do whatever we can to get this guy out. i have a son in the marine corps. if it were my son, i would do whatever it took. karzai is not our friend.
he begged george bush to come in and help him. he has turned around and established in the back, negotiate with the taliban and. he is untrustworthy. years andn gone five obama has done -- released so many presbyters from gitmo. what is five more? it is an opportunity to put tracking devices and these guys. send them in for medical treatment and track them. get our guy back. he has been there long enough. host: what would your son say? caller: i think you would agree. two years in. he has not gone overseas yet area he is in north carolina still. the obama administration
has done more things to undermine our foreign policies than i can count. this is a bad idea and obama needs to get better advisers. greg, what do you think? should do whatever it takes to go in there and get him. if we have to do more bombing, do more bombing. if you have to send in an a-team type team, let them go handle the business. do whatever they got to do. get the man out of there. when those slick people come in there and say those racist comments, cut them quick. that is not fair to us or nobody else. you are a very pretty lady. the potential movement towards securing the release of captured u.s. army sergeant bowe bergdahl.
reported by the daily beast and reported yesterday -- monday, excuse me. it was in the paper on tuesday morning. we are getting your take on this. what do you think about this idea of negotiating with the taliban and in exchange for the release of the only american prisoner of war, bowe bergdahl? bristol, tennessee. hi, james. caller: i am for releasing that guy. i have a sticker on the back of my car. i am with a veteran partnership
that sponsors wounded warriors. we want our brother back home. host: do you think they should negotiate for him? yes.r: we want our brother home. if they're going to fight a war, let's fight one to wipe the taliban and out completely. outhe taliban completely. this is not cutting it. host: an e-mail. they should do whatever is necessary to take care of our pow. lovedyers go out to his ones. they fought for us. now we have to fight for them. garrett, republican caller. caller: we need to get our men
back home. i wish the crisis that we have here in the united states, you the classes that we have, i wish everything here in the united states would be --. he needs to come home. we have the equipment to do the job with. let's do it. let's not toy around with him. let's bring our people home with able on. a story about violence in the ukraine. ukraine hits tipping point. at least 20 are dead and thousands injured in antigovernment demonstration. no one knows who fired first. the death toll climbed to at least 20 people. says that theyst nation of 50 million is on the verge of a civil war. industrial might,
producing everything from food to aircraft, means its markets will be a major influence on europe's economic future. -- thehas this story european union is calling an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers to decide the 28 nations reaction, including possible sanctions to the recent escalation of violence in ukraine. european commission president said wednesday he expects the eu to adopt targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force. that is the latest on ukraine, making the front page of usa today. vice president joe biden waiting -- waiting in. he is calling on the ukraine government to use restraint against those antigovernment protesters. we're talking about whether or not the u.s. should be negotiating with the taliban
over the release of prisoner of war, bowe bergdahl. charles, bristol, virginia. democratic caller. caller: hello. we should negotiate to get him out. host: why is that? in the middle east, we do not have allies in that part of the world. host: jack, waukesha, minnesota. why don't you see if you can use your influence with the producers to get a book tv wisode at the eagle center in abesha.
as far as the ukraine, we are probably behind the turmoil over there. we love stirring up turmoil in other countries, even though we do not tolerate it here. victoria nuland was caught talking on the phone saying f- and arranging the person that we would want representing the government so they could be our little puppet. as far as the exchange with darrell from missouri? exactly right. the guy from minnesota was exactly wrong. he said afghanistan attacked us. is on the no afghan plane that hit in 9/11. the money came from saudi arabia. host: can i get you to weigh in
on our topic? caller: yes, we should negotiate with the taliban. they are probably our creation. people we moved into afghanistan to combat the russians? those are the people that became the taliban and. . the department of homeland security wants a private company to provide a national license plate tracking system. give the agency access to vast amounts of information from, shall law and enforcement tag readers. the national license plate recognition database, which would draw data from readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, what help catch fugitive illegal immigrants. the database could easily contain more than one billion records and could be shared with
other law-enforcement agencies, raising concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens could be scrutinized. that is only from paste of the washing -- the front page of the washington post. pat, carnegie, pennsylvania. democratic caller. what is your take on this? the brother of a veteran navy seal for 28 years, retired as operations director for seal team 6. we have been negotiating since day one. billions of american dollars have ended up in banks in dubai. the absurdity of this discourse when it comes to the united states, we are not good actors anymore. the american people need a convention to rein in the two
taliban ran stay. themention -- rein in totalitarian state. one leg of the hydra doesn't know what the other leg of the hydrant is doing. -- the man is correct when he talks about the ukraine. the reality is, china and russia are not going to tolerate it. start another war. we are seeing the israelis united states in syria into another confrontation. there is no question that the american people have reached a breaking point with the direction that america is going towards. host: billy, miami, florida. what do you think? caller: the last caller had too
much coffee this morning. secondly, i am a gay, retired military veteran from the vietnam era. they tell you to follow rules. he walked off the base at his own consequence. we do not negotiate with terrorists. we should follow israel's attitude in that regard. we are giving money to pakistan after the way they have acted -- we should cut them off. thank you. host: david, el paso, texas. the caller that just call did not know what he was talking about. a terrorist.s not we invaded their country. they did not turn over bin laden, just like putin is not turning over snowden. israel does negotiate with their enemies to get back their soldiers. that is what we need to do.
in guantánamo, it is likely they were taxi drivers i got turned over to the u.s. for money. host: so you question the detainees and why they are there? caller: yes. the one that was involved, we know he was involved. the rest of them have been cleared and they're trying to -- they think the military wants to murder innocent people and the military is telling them that we don't have anything on these people and we are not going to do a. congress is scared to put these guys in some kind of prison in the u.s., the ones that are guilty. they can't hurt the united states. they're just people. the spokesman was asked about this on friday. --ossible risen are exchange
a possible prisoner exchange. clip] boberg all has been gone too long. he is not just a member of the bergdahl family. he is a member of our family. we want him back. we have never stop trying to bring that about. about theoing to talk details of how we are trying to do that. been far from anyone possible mind. we are working to see if we can get him returned. reports that the u.s. is possibly negotiating with the taliban for the release of the only prisoner of war, boberg all. -- yes, we should do what we can to secure his release. the taliban and did not attack
us. bob, ohio, republican caller. you have to listen through your phone, not your tv. can you turn it down? caller: i apologize. i am an uneducated voter. i am a republican, but what i would like to do is ask you what your opinion is. in my views, no prisoner must be harmed and things of that nature, but at the same time, we do not negotiate with terrorists. it is kind of like a catch-22. what do you think? the role of the hostess to moderate the conversation. .he show was about all of you whoever sits in this chair is just a moderator. phone is the the
diplomatic correspondent with "the washington post." she has a story that was posted on monday. whatowed that the viewers jay carney had to say when he was asked about these news reports. what did you make of his response? he said a couple of things that were interesting. he said bergdahl has been gone too long and we will try to bring him home. he did not deny the the premise story about how the administration is trying to revitalize those efforts. he would not comment on them. commentsnd most of his to what happens to boberg all. he is the only p.o.w. from the longest war. it is perfectly appropriate and
right that the united states is trying to figure out ways to bring home. then you get into the business of, how do you do that? the people who are holding them are not nice guys. as your previous caller was alluding to, you get into a what messy, murky area of the united states is willing to do to bring him home and to they're willing to talk to to do it. this being done through diplomatic channels and who is doing it? guest: it is diplomatic and the little the military. is not government that the united states recognizes. it is not a formal diplomatic channel. they do not have embassies and ambassadors you can call up on the phone. it is being done through an intermediary, through the government of qatar.
they have relationships with the taliban movement. what happens is the united states sent diplomats to talk to qatar and says what they would like to do and qatar goes and talks to the taliban, which has an unofficial office and presence. i will try to keep this simple. the answer comes back, yes they will talk, no they won't. yes they are interested, no they're not, that sort of thing. this could go on for a long time. for about two years, it has not gone on at all. fromaliban walked away talks with the united states. they have not shown much interest in returning to that kind of actual bargaining.
there was an effort last year to try to get things going by giving the taliban one of the things they asked for, a diplomatic office outside of afghanistan. they would have preferred one in stan -- inside afghanistan. this was a major concession by the united states. it was one they said they were willing to do. the whole thing fell apart. ae taliban tried to raise flag they had flown over afghanistan when they were in charge of that country prior to the u.s. invasion in 2001. theyd states objected and brought the flag down, things going.ot
things never open for talks. months later, there has not been any direct contact, meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the u.s. military presence in any numbers in afghanistan. the feeling is that when the u.s. pulled its combat troops downit's leverage will go with the taliban, which is holding bowe bergdahl. host: they want the release of five detainees at guantanamo bay . who are they? are they dangerous? guest: their members of the movement who were picked up on the battlefield in the early days of that u.s. invasion in 2001. the timing and nature of their have invaries, but they
common that they have all been at guantanamo bay. most of them are the original prison ats of the guantánamo. they have been sitting there for more than a decade. they are people that the taliban considers their own. in some cases, mid-level to senior figures in the government that were in the movement before the invasion. it has been a long-standing thatd of the taliban these guys were wrongly picked up and should be released. is their opening negotiating line for any possible discussion of who they might talk to and what they might do in return. we have been asking our
viewers whether or not we should be negotiating with the taliban over this. what are you looking for in the story? guest: the ball is more in the taliban's court. the u.s. has been willing to return to talks and hthe taliban has not. is there something more the united states can do to get these discussions going? is it at a point when the talib an sees diminishing returns so they may be more willing to help negotiate his release? is what open question will happen in congress. congress was opposed to terms of the original proposal to release these guys from gitmo in exchange for bergdahl.
there will be a political aspect of this as well. host: the diplomatic correspondent with the washington post. thank you for your time. chuck, what do you think? caller: i want to say something that defines the state of the republican party. caller said he was an uneducated voter and he was a republican. that is a sad no. that is where we are. we will go to justin, buffalo, new york, retired military and independent caller. go ahead. i do not think we should negotiate. as a person who is decorated , im iraq and afghanistan signed a contract, knowing that
my country would not negotiate to get me back. you signed a contract? what do you mean? what does the contract say? caller: i was taught that we would not negotiate with terrorists. if i get caught in a situation, i keep my mouth shut, i will not give out any secrets, i will not give locations of my fellow soldiers and i will deal with it. other liesabout the of not leaving any other soldier behind? but i: i agree with that, don't know if the rest of your callers understand there is more thenwe bergdahl's story they're letting on. he left the base on his own accord. kidnapped, he was not on a mission. he happened to leave the base and go somewhere.
i don't know if everyone else knows that, and i agree with not leaving a soldier behind, but once you start telling people that she will give them some of their people back, when does it stop? that does a four-hour conversation on that. coming up, we're going to talk trip toe president's mexico city. he will look at the issue of nafta and we will talk about the impact of nafta on our economy. later, a discussion will look at the economic stimulus bill five years later. that is coming up after this break. ♪
>> thursday night, we will talk with senators about their personal lives, careers, and interesting facts about their names. how heidi's name went from mary catherine to heidi. classes were all in the same classroom. at that time, there was a small group of girls. there was a mary beth and a marianne and a mary jo. there was a mary catherine. i parents never called me mary. my name is kathy. my best friend's name was cathy. in the third
grade that she would rename me. she had read hundreds of books by the time she was in the third grade. heidi was one of her favorite books. she thought it was a great alliteration and she gave me the name heidi. it stuck. john will talk to senator thune on how his grandfather changed his name. >> when they got to ellis island, they did not know any words except apple pie and coffee. they were asked by the immigration officials to change the name because they thought it would be too difficult to spell and pronounce for people in this country. elsvik.ame was gj when they got to ellis island, they picked a name of the farm where they lived near norway, which was the bethune farm. had got to ellis island and
a sponsor in south dakota and came out to work on the railroads. viewsofile in inter and johni hite camp thune. washington journal continues. have gary hufbauer and robert scott. they are here to talk about the north american free-trade agreement, 20 years later. yearry march the 20 anniversary of that agreement. president obama traveled to to negotiateo try and look at the nafta agreement and another trade agreement. let's focus on nafta here.
what was the goal of nafta? was it achieved? guest: the public objective was to create an integrated north american market for a good -- for goods and capital and labor. subtext was to create a market that companies could use to minimize the cost of and increase their control over the labor markets in north america. that has been the objective outcome. what has happened is -- in is the, we have seen power of companies to move production to mexico has allowed
them to put downward pressure on wages. and has not helped workers in mexico and canada. host: what do you think the goals were and have they been achieved? guest: we have different views. we have discussed this over the last two years. the principal goal was the threeation of the economies, canada, united states, and mexico. we are competing with asia and other parts of the world. increaseocess to incomes in all three countries. objective.e big there is also a political .bjective
if you go back to the story of mexico in the 1960's and 70's, it was a one-party state. it was a country which was firmsted by a number of and private monopolies. there was more similar to poland than one might think. the hope was to transform it into a marketable one. there has been progress on that.
there has been a big transformation of the economy, which has benefited a lot of people. has been a huge growth of the middle class in mexico. that has been the payoff of nafta. i grew up in san diego, california. a time when the u.s. and mexican relations were very antagonistic. the schools in mexico would teach hostile things about the united states. it has changed quite dramatically. the president is traveling to mexico city today. supporters of nafta and the with pacificdeal
rim nations are saying this is a chance to revisit nafta and negotiate higher labor standards . what is your response to that? that would be a laudable goal, if we could achieve reform of nafta. nafta is broken. year periodo a 20 sf stagnant wages in worker pay. win, win, win for the corporate sector and lose, lose for workers throughout the hemisphere. nafta, i going to fix think that is our only choice. we are so integrated that we cannot go backwards. looking forward, we need to implementing
policies that will share the benefits that gary talked about with workers throughout the hemisphere. host: how do you do that? social contract that would incorporate rising labor and environmental standards and also talk about raising minimum wages throughout the hemisphere. at at the same level, but higher levels in each country. guaranteeing health care, improving levels of education, i think in those ways, we can ensure that benefits of the growth that has come about as a result of nafta is broadly shared with workers throughout the continent. that is what we failed to do the job. host: what is your take on adding more label standards -- labor standards? cannot legislate
posterity. if you could, we would do it. you can do it at the capital -- if you could do it at the capital building, it would be done. infrastructure. in this country, our in for structure -- our infrastructure is dreadful. we are down at 17, 19, 20, depending on what part of the structure you look at. education, i will not going to that in detail. everyone knows that story. our education does not match up with other countries. basics that will lead to better prosperity. i do not object to raising minimum wage. that is fine. that is a very small part of
a broader prosperity in the united states. i do not object to higher taxes on individuals, the upper 1%. that is fine, too. i think we need to look at other fundamentals. being talkeds about today in mexico city because of the transpacific ownership trade deal. why are they tied together? the transpacific is 12 countries. it is a big outfit. there are a lot of things that have not been done that were not none and after that, that could be done in the transpacific and update the whole model. let me talk about a few of those.
there is a lot of piracy that goes on. the could be something in tpp that we carry over into nafta. we need some rules for state owned inter-prizes. we need to update the labor roles. i don't think that's where the big prosperity will come but we need rules for the new minimum and we have this constant of the ilo rules and rights at work .hich was not often to nafta it will be built into the tpp and then climate change. we did not talk about that in the 1990s very much.
we all have to be concerned about carbon emissions. i hope that will come into the discussion. host: what is your reaction to revisiting nafta under the context of the transpacific partnership trade deal? guest: i think there are great threats in the transpacific partnership. with nafta, we had relatively balanced trade with mexico and canada before the agreement was put into effect in 1994. were going to see improving trade balances and that would lead to job creation and united states but in fact we got the reverse. we have growing trade deficits and now we have a trade deficit with mexico in excess of $100 billion. that has cost us 700,000 jobs. that is the tip of the iceberg of the cost of nafta. the tpp starts with a trade deficit of over 260 billion dollars. the deficit has been growing every year for the last four years. i ask why we would want to
negotiate an agreement with small countries with whom we trade deficitsge that cost us millions of jobs. that is the concern. the way to fix that is to get it right. the first thing to do is to address the most fundamental issue which has been left out of all exchange agreements which is -- which has been left out of all agreements, which is the exchange traded -- strange rate. sustained trade deficit in the united states. we could address that in the court trade agreements in addition to some things that gary talked about. host: we will dig into jobs a little bit more and i want to get viewers involved. the c-span bus is continuing its big 12 conference tour with a visit to the university of kansas today over the next hour,
we will have six students from a variety of majors who will participate and ask our guests questions here about nafta. we will get them involved in the conversation as well. let's go to debbie in arlington, north carolina, a republican. caller: the reason i'm calling is regarding the north american free trade agreement. now a new freight trade agreement -- a new free trade agreement that united states is trying to enter into is my personal opinion is it has been a total debacle for the u.s. worker. thead a book right before nafta treaty was put into effect. it was a book written by dr.matra. it should be required reading for every american citizen. it talks about what happens with the free trade agreement. for example, if you want to move your company to another country
s,ure, your labor costs may be fine and the u.s. consumer made me able to purchase a basketball manufactured in another country cheaper but the problem is, eventually, you run out of jobs here and nobody can buy basketballs. it implodes. if you look at the unemployment figures, that's a prime example. we don't make anything anymore. guest: we have it difference of view on that. i think the way to look at trade agreements is to increase the total volume of trade. it's not a matter of looking at trade deficits or trade surpluses but increasing the total volume of trade. the trade deficits and surpluses are a result of our imbalance for savings and investment, including the government in this country. they are not the result of trade
agreements. issue, i think, again, i disagree quite strongly with the observation that was made by the caller. agreement do is they change the composition of jobs within a country. each country produces what it produces best in each firm, the successful firms, produced the better basketballs or golf balls for caterpillar tractors or whatever. that is how you get greater iniciency in the economy both countries, in the united states, mexico, and canada as well. we have unacceptable unemployment now. that is not a result of trade agreements. that is a result of our problems in our fiscal system, lack of
infrastructure investment and other issues. host: i want you to take on the issue of trade deficits. those who are critical of nafta like yourself want to trade deficits. gary says that is not a measurement of the success or failure of nafta. guest: we have been having this discussion for 20 years. 20 years ago, president clinton and gary and his colleagues projected that we will have exports that grow faster than imports and the president continues to make those kind of claims. he says we will have growing exports and that will support jobs. i want to be clear -- increasing exports supports jobs in the states but increasing imports displace his production and costs jobs. the best way to measure that is to look at the difference. the difference is the change in the trade allen's -- trade balance.
that is the tip of the iceberg. everything this agreement has has put workers into competition not just in mexico but ultimately in china where wages are much lower and that hurt workers throughout the u.s., 100 million workers who don't have a college degree. they are involved in manufacturing that is involved in trade. that has been the biggest cost of nafta overall. your caller hit it spot on. she got the wages and jobs issue right print the something that voters on both sides of the political spectrum see quite clearly. there is widespread agreement that nafta has been bad for workers in the united states. host: let's get our first student involved in the conversation
from the university of kansas aboard the c-span bus. caller: thanks for having me. all of the students you will hear from today are members of the student advisory board. ofare direct benefactors promoting bipartisanship across campus. going back to the history of what was the role of congressional members in the discussion and promotion and ratification of nafta? dole, he is a well-known republican figure and like most republicans, i will not say all, but like most he was quite supportive of nafta. there were many democrats who were supportive of nafta as well. president clinton worked very hard to get it agreed and ratified. thee was some democrats, on
big majority of republicans helped get the boat across within the u.s. house of representatives for the -- where the main debate was at the time. point, when you have a moment, i would like to take on what robert said about the trade deficits and how you should count that. we could maybe come back to the wages. forward,olutely, going the student was asking about what happened in the past and how it got signed into law. here is a piece in "the financial times" -
he voted in favor of nafta andcafta. what do you make of his role in trade? guest: generally, the senate has been more positively disposed for the free trade agreements. the challenge has come in the house where representatives have to talk to their constituents on a much more regular basis. the senate is a little more removed from day to day politics. they only have to go back for reelection every six years. of nafta, this helps us understand this. it was proposed by ronald reagan in 1979 and was negotiated by george h w bush senior in the late 1980s and early 1990s. president bushi could not get
it through congress. bill clinton in 1992, he made that the first key issue in his agenda to get that passed through congress. that was a political shift. before that, democrats have not been particularly warm to these kind of trade agreements. -- he surrounded himself with advisers from wall street and they were pushing him to do this. it changed the politics of the democratic party. suddenly, that opened the door to influence from wall street which has changed the character of the party and democrats in the senate have become much more supportive of trade. t has created this legacy of influence that we are dealing with today. host: let's talk to randy, an independent caller. i was a truck driver at the time when nafta went to affect.
we went to a lot of these companies and all these small towns were decimated within five years. these factories closed up, the ones that make towels and levi strauss. they close down and went to mexico and it's a conservative estimate of 700,000 great i think it is more in the millions of jobs that were lost. about thesear a lot manufacturing towns that were impacted by nafta. guest: they were impacted. if you go back to the industrial revolution, there were a lot of people who were spinners of cloth and the judgment to textile mills. ins is how you get progress any country, you increase productivity and put the production where costs are lowest and so forth. i don't disagree with what the
caller is saying. what i do think he does not reflect our the jobs the other sectors which are created and it's not just manufacturing jobs. the talk is manufacturing, manufacturing, manufacturing. we are a service economy. there are a lot of high paid, well paid service jobs that people don't think about but are created and supported by trade agreements. those are researchers in places like north carolina. you can go up to microsoft. they sell their stuff around the world. oracle, amazon -- that is neglected in this conversation. many small firms and medium- sized firms have closed up.
this is the inability to keep up with the competition. that is the economy. better firms survive and the less able firms, workers go elsewhere. if you don't like that process, you can just stop economic growth. host: "the wall street journal" - we are talking about the nafta connection to the transpacific partnership. guest: this argument has been made for over 20 years that somehow nafta was going to allow us to compete with the world
economy and we were going to be able to produce the goods in mexico and sell them to the rest of the world and it has not happened. since nafta took effect, the u.s. trade deficit with the underhas increased from $100 billion to over $650 billion last year. those trade deficits translate into 3-5,000,000 lost jobs in the economy. these are not just my numbers. these come from gary's colleagues at the peterson institute. issue ofelated to the currency manipulation which is the biggest cost of trade related job losses. 2-costs anywhere from 5,000,000 jobs as a result of currency manipulation. host: do you want to weigh in on trade deficits? journal" haseet these numbers --
you should focus on the growth of trade between them after countries. of economic evidence to evidence that. it is the growth of trade meaning every firm is doing what it does best, people are doing what they do best, which is to pay off from these agreements. i want to correct the record a little bit -- robert is absolutely right that politicians at the time, president clinton on down, focused on creating jobs through trade agreements. we, in a very short passage in -- in our book, we
tried to go through the arithmetic of the job creation argument. we said right at the beginning that jobs are not created by trade agreements. they are created by the overall economic policies of the country. we went through the arithmetic and it looked to us at the time that there would be a few more exports then imports from mexico. that projection was wrong. that is not the big issue. we have learned a lot in more than 20 years. in 20 years, if you look at the data, when our economy is good, we get a lot of imports. we have a bigger trade deficit when our economy is good. when we go into recession, as we did in 2009, thanks to the then the debacle, trade deficit shrinks. was that a good year for jobs?
think back to 10% unemployment in 2009. there is no connection between these trade agreements and the job loss figures. or job gains. is the overall macro economics. i know that is a hard thing to accept but that is in fact the truth. to lawrence,o back kansas. our bus is touring the university of kansas. we've got students aboard the bus participating in the conversation. quinn reed is next. caller: good morning, in my role as coordinator of the student advisory board, i fostered discussions that demonstrate not only respect for differing viewpoints but also in appreciation for the complexities and contradictions that have been inherent to complicated questions. can you speed to the ways in which nafta might be having both positive effects on long-term trade while also making it more difficult for companies to compete?
what you're saying is that there is middle ground? caller: middle ground but also complexity. both things might be true. guest: i think we agree that nafta has resulted in increasing trade. essence, that essentially amounts to noise and the economy. it has a relatively small effect. it is quite tiny on overall economic growth. the pie has not been expanded very much but it has had relatively large effects on the distribution of jobs and much larger effect on income. that is quite clear. you have to keep in mind that the small danes inefficiency which we all agree on, and they are small -- my colleagues have looked at this and many studies have been
done that overstate these gains. they are just efficiency gains. it is specializing in what we do best. in terms of who wins and loses, there are clear winners and losers. the winners have clearly been large multinational companies. anothermyth is that most of the trade takes place from small businesses but that is not true. 80% of all u.s. imports and exports are done by multinational companies and their subsidiaries. this is benefiting the business. when trade grows, it helps big whoanies and the other ones gain are the ones on wall street. that's what we see in the small towns throughout the south. host: these are the numbers from 2010 --
what are we exporting and what are we importing under nafta? guest: i'm glad you mentioned the mineral fuels. we taken a lot of mineral fuels from canada. if we did not take them from canada, we would probably take them from venezuela or nigeria or possibly the middle east. were talking about oil. oft is the big source deficit within nafta. people should recognize that we are still a big oil importing country. we will shift to be an exporter but we are not there yet.
we are an oil importer and we are a big gas importer from canada, not mexico. if you take the oil numbers out, the trade is more balanced than what robert has said. if we did not get oil from canada and mexico, we would get it from other parts of the world. this is not a problem. the caller asked about winners. think of apple. apple is a really big company. on a global basis and sells its product around the world. they are very successful and it can do that because of a certain openness and a world economy including in mexico and canada. that is a big winning company. think of caterpillar. that is a big company. it is doing extremely well globally and think of general electric. the bignd i agree is companies which account for most of the trade because the fixed
cost of doing trade in another country are very high. unless you have a lot of volume, you cannot cover those costs. that is reality. if you listen to robert and people of his views, you think the money goes into the new multinational corporations and it all goes to the shareholders. that is not so. , the moreations successful multinational corporations, may keep 10% of revenue as profits. the rest is paid out to workers, employees of all kinds. this notion that you've got this money bag sitting there and is removed from the rest of the economy, that is the wrong image. host: let's go back to our viewers, mississippi, republican caller. caller: good morning and thanks
for taking my call. i have my own views about trade agreements. it should be a fair trade. not free trade. host: what do you think fair trade looks like? what does that mean to you? caller: it means that for every dollar of trade that we accept , we sendreign country them one dollar. host: host: do you agree with that definition? about we need to think what trade agreements due to the balance of trade. these deals we have negotiated starting with nafta have changed the rules of the game but there was no intention -- attention given to the forces that influence the growth of these trade deficits. one of the biggest issues that
has been left out is the question of currency and manipulation. it's an issue that has to be addressed in the proposed tpp. or i think it will not happen. at the deal will not get through congress unless this issue is addressed. caller makes an interesting point about fair trade versus free trade. the idea of having balanced trade is great. it is difficult to work that out with a rules-based agreement. that's why we have to include issues like currency manipulation. host: here is a tweet -- guest: about $300 billion of
trade and now it's about $1 trillion. contrary to what robert said earlier, our calculations indicate that the gains to the economy that participate like canada, mexico, and the u.s. and this 700 billion dollars increase in trade are about the same amount as the increase in trade. it is divided between the three countries. the u.s. probably gets 1 not --e than/3 third of that 1/3 of that. we might be 350 billion dollars richer as a country as a result of nafta. $250 billion is not a small number. that is more than warren buffett or bill gates has. in the size of the u.s. economy trillion, $250
is only a couple of percentage points. it is not a very big thing for the u.s. economy. it is improvement at its in the right direction but $350 billion is not a big number for a $16 trillion economy. about $1an economy is trillion. if they got $150 billion out of it, that's a big number for them, 10% or more of their economy and likewise for canada. fortunately, for those countries, there is a bigger uplift them for the united states because we are just a giant economy. here is "usa today" - nafta has been very tough
for mexicans. in addition to many in the united states. many workers in the united states have a jaundiced view of nafta but it was disastrous in mexico for small businesses and especially for small farmers, peasant farmers hurt by massive flood of subsidized grains from the united states especially corn and sugar products. that has been very costly for mexican farmers. as a result, we got a big increase in illegal immigration coming to the united states in part from mexico and many mexican families are still divided. are 12 million illegal immigrants here of mexican origin and they are left in legal limbo because we cannot seem to address the migration issue. millions and millions of mexican families are being torn apart by the situation. our next student at the
university of kansas aboard the c-span bus, go ahead -- caller: good morning, regardless of the effect of nafta, we know it created a strong relationship between the member nations. agreementseve trade or economic agreements are productive way to advance diplomatic relations between the u.s. and other countries? guest: can i answer that? for sure. as i am whichold hopefully you are not, you will remember the cold war. the whole world trading system on tariffs and trade and other agreements was a response to the cold war. it was a pretty effective response amongst the free nations p of thateriod of time. let's come to right now and the transpacific partnership. agreementnother big
which is forming in asia and that is called rsep. the dominic countries, one is china and india is second and there are a number of asian countries in the group there. forward with the transpacific partnership, who is the leader in asia? it is clearly china and it's clearly rsep. so that is the current diplomacy setting thep, rules of the world trading system for the next 20 or 30 years. that is was at stake. going back to nafta, this was a big diplomatic initiative. colin powell who is well remembered. he was head of the joint chiefs of staff at the time under
resident clinton, his testimony was decisive. congress, nafta is a security arrangement. peaceful relations with canada which we have had for many decades and with mexico. were very a kid, they testy. they were very hostile. colin powell had it right. we have quite a friendly relationship with mexico across a number of difficult issues like the drug issue or other issues. we do very well. the caller is right on point. these have a big geostrategic component built into an economic agenda. astoundse reality here me. how can nafta have improved
relations between the three countries when we had to build a 3000 mile fence along the border to keep out mexicans? it was not there before the agreement was put in place. it is a striking comparison with presidentic and host: obama travels to mexico to meet with his mexican and canadian counterparts. the headline in what the washington post." it will be a quick trip and he will go there for the annual summit and return to washington later this evening. middleton, new jersey, democratic caller -- morning, the trifecta has been our trade policy, our tax policy, and a disregard of our regulations and enforcement for them. yes, wages do matter. for my industry, the fashion industry, it started with
cafta. we had tariffs to protect their industry and we no longer produce anything. we shuffle around money to make more money. the inequity in our nation as far as ownership is due to these three occurrences per it i would like to hear your response. guest: i think the caller is spot on. she has perceived how this thing works in reality. nafta was really an agreement designed to help corporations, large corporations, escape from labor and environmental standards that were getting tougher in the united states. consequence, there is a race to the bottom in wages and taxes. in canada, they used to have a large social welfare state like western europe, the government spending is a share of total economic output. about 10own by percentage points, about $1 trillion. it is a huge decline.
nafta and other movements toward globalization like the formation of the world trade organization have led to a deregulation of financial markets. this really has been part of the movement away from regulation over the last 2-3 decades and that has contributed to the financial crisis of 2009 and some of the other issues your caller raises. host: let's get another student involved at the university of kansas. caller: hi, critics of nafta claim it has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the u.s.. some have said free trade creates jobs. what has been the true effect of nafta on the north american job market? -- let me is a tweet add this.
guest: as i've tried to say a couple of times, jobs revolve on trade agreements. , theobs that are lost small factories or whatever in the south, they are very visible. expands toany produce more for the export market like knowing or whatever, you see the announcement in the papers about the jobs created? you do not. we have an economist try to calculate this but there is a which a lot of job revolution on account of trade agreements, not the biggest source of job revolution. you do get jobs supported. i would urge you to go back and look at some of the companies
that we mentioned. caterpillar, boeing, ge, apple -- go right down the list and all of them have expanded and created jobs. i have to hit this issue on the wages. of biggest reason why wages the median household happened relatively flat over the last decade and a half does not have to do is trade agreements. it has to do with bill gates. he is a great guy but look around you -- we don't have tellers anymore. isok at how efficient taxe are in picking up people. i had a friend who went to the caterpillar factory. it is three football fields wide and only 100 workers. these factories are being run by robots. that is mr. gates and mr.
jobs and larry ellison and all these guys. that is a big impact on the u.s. economy. that is the big reason why wages are flat. yes, we need to do things about it but we have to realize why wages have been flat. high productivity growth and united states for 60 years. after the 1970s, we had growing trade deficits. trade is a big part of the story. increases in exports support jobs. increases in imports 11 a jobs. eliminate jobs. havee united states, we about $1.5 trillion worth of exports. about $2.2 trillion worth of imports and they eliminate a lot more jobs.
that is about 3.5 million jobs lost through trade. host: when obama was first elected come a he said he wanted to help the economy by increasing exports. what was his goal and how has -- and has he achieved it? guest: he said in five years. he has not done it that imports of grown faster than exports so it's a non sequitur. imports were costing us more job and that's the problem. host: ohio, independent caller. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i am sitting here listening and i cannot believe the disconnect with reality. butn't mean any disrespect the big issue here in nafta is the forgotten man. a&b get together and create something good for themselves and mr. c pays for it
all. that's exactly what we have done with nafta. with my daughter, i had a print shop that we were running very well and growing exponentially, over 100% per year for the first five years when the chamber of commerce came around and said we need you to support nafta. i asked them who would replace the jobs. they said it will all work out. that mistake cost 45 people in my business a job. it cost me my retirement. well, the caller is quite right. he is one of the losers. in the agreement. i don't think any proponent of free trade said there will be no losers.
systemt that our support where the loser is not as strong as it should be in terms of retraining, income support, and so forth. which theations caller will say i am disconnected from reality but the calculations we make and others make our that for every job lost, there are jobs supported. for every job lost, the u.s. 500,000-$1between million. the payoff in terms of the overall economy, the cheaper products, the better products is terrific. that does not make losers happy. i understand that. host: let's hear from a student at the university of kansas. personally, as a
, my friendeographer and colleagues were concerned about the future of enterprise and entrepreneurship. is whereunited states this happens. in order to prove the lot of people everywhere, how does nafta act as a catalyst to ensure liberty and innovation not just at home but at ♪ ♪ caller: a broad caller a broad? guest: small businesses are sort of the engine of job creation in the u.s. especially new businesses. it is large businesses that to most of the trade. what nafta has done is create an environment that protects the interest of those large businesses.
if nafta was just a free trade agreement, it would be two pages long. it would say we would eliminate tariffs but nafta is about 20 chapters and over 2000 pages of agreements on property rights and government procurement and it includes a whole new court system just for multinational inpanies to sue governments country so it creates a whole new set of property rights for investors and that is not helpless for innovation or entrepreneurship. host: our next caller is alex montgomery. caller: can use week about the transpacific argan ship and the potential impact on nafta? guest: sure, the potential for the transpacific partnership is to update nafta within the context of this big umbrella in 12 countries and there is a lot of updating that needs to be done. if you travel across any of the
major corridors between u.s. and canada or between u.s. and mexico, at most times, they are extremely congested. we have not kept up with the infrastructure. that is a big problem and hopefully within this transpacific partnership we will get some infrastructure which is much needed on both borders. nafta is a vintage of the 1990s. the fundamental principles at work were not part of nafta. hopefully, that will become. many companies in mexico, maybe even most by terms of employment, are respectful of these is a principles the some are not and they are not in the u.s. that would be in upgrading. environment was not much thought about, it was kind of an
afterthought. it is now a much bigger issue. hopefully, that will come in. -- thewned enterprises big oil giant in mexico is a state owned enterprise. it is huge and needs to be reformed. hopefully, that will be part of it. i could go across a number of issues. canada as well but it is updating all of these things where new things happen over 20 years and we need to address them. host: let me get your final thoughts on this. we negotiated a trade agreement and president obama completed the deal between the u.s. and korea. 10,000ected we will gain -- $10 billion worth of increased exports and create 70,000 jobs in the united states. the reality has been that exports have fallen and imports have increased got a growing
trade deficit in the first year the cost is about 40,000 jobs. you have to hold these politicians to what they promise and the promises are not being fulfilled. i am very much afraid the same thing will happen. we will get a bunch of countries that are active currency manipulators like korea and -- you havelaysia vietnam coming in with low wages. there are lots of threats to jobs and workers in the united states so we should be concerned. host: we want to thank our students from the university of kansas a board the c-span bus. thanks for your questions and i want to thank their teacher for preparing the students andwow internet cable and phone. we appreciate it the questions. i want to thank our guests. thank you both. i appreciate the conversation.
coming up next, we will turn our attention to the stimulus will five years later and later, we will talk about special inspector general -- we will talk with the special inspector for afghanistan about foreign aid to the afghan government. first, news update from c-span radio -- >> the u.s. navy says one of two u.s. warships sent to the black sea before the sochi winter olympics is being inspected for damage after it ran aground at a turkish port last week. ground taylor renna february 12 as it was preparing to moor in turkey about 230 miles southwest of sochi. the navy says no one was injured. republican senator thad cochran in mississippi said he is not familiar with the tea party. he said the tea party is something i don't know a lot about. senator cochran is being challenged in the june 3 primary by the state senator.
he is an attorney with strong support from tea party groups. the 76-year-old senator cochran is running for his seventh senate term. the 41-year-old says the tea party remarks show that senator cochran is out of touch. the energy department is set to approve $6.5 billion in lending for two nuclear reactors under construction in georgia. the twin reactor plant is the first new nuclear power plant construction undertaken from scratch in three decades. the energy secretary is expected to announce the deal at a speech today3 you can watch live coverage on c-span or listen to it here on c-span radio. it begins at 1 p.m. eastern time. those are some of the latest headlines. "down to theis crossroads." it is a civil rights march that begins in memphis the beginning of june, 1966 and ends three weeks later. you can make an argument that
that is when civil rights transforms. the call for black power was first heard on the merit of march. -- on the meredith march. it generates controversy. it immediately generates a great swelling of enthusiasm among many local black people. in many ways, it ignites a new direction in black politics. those changes might have happened over the course of time anyway but the meredith march drama ties to the ship because it brought together civil rights leaders and regular people white and black from across the country and put them into this laboratory of black politics as it moved through mississippi. a created these dramatic moments that highlighted some of the key divisions and key tensions but also some of the key strengths. >> a look at the civil rights movement saturday night at 10:00 eastern and sunday at 9:00.
march 2, more about black power and the civil rights movement josephistorian pinneal on booktv. you still have time to comment on the in depth guest. read a woman's history for beginners and go to booktv.org to enter the chat room. "washington journal" continues. host: michael hirsch is with us to talk about the stimulus bill five years later. the white house released a lookingver the weekend at the impact of it. what did they say? surprisingly, they were extremely positive both in terms of how many jobs it either created or saved. they cited about 1.6 million jobs per year from the start thr
ough mid-2011 and they also said it added 2-3% growth to gdp. they claim it did not add very much long-term debt because it added growth to the economy. it was quite a rosy picture for what has been, from the start and what the came particularly in the 2012 campaign, real lightning rod of controversy. host: what did they promise when the stimulus will was signed into law? are these claims that the white house is making, are they true? line withy are in most estimates. economists,ority of there was a survey by the university of chicago booth school of business in 2012, i believe it was --
that 80% ofshowing economists surveyed said there were clearly growth benefits and job benefits to the stimulus package. for several years now, since the stimulus, there has been a aligned minority mainly with the conservative wing of the republican party who have denied that there have been any benefits. the real issue is just how much impact it really has. congressional budget office which is considered nonpartisan in 2012 came out with a study showing a wide range of growth benefits. they concluded there were growth benefits. said in testimony that there were clear benefits. the ranges are extremely between 200,000-one million jobs. , there is nor
direct cause and effect necessarily. you have a slew of different kind of programs that were put into place as the economy again indissent --descend rapidly 2008. we were looking at eight percent contraction of the economy and a financial disaster unlike any since the great depression. that was the original reason for the stimulus. in addition to that, you had other fiscal programs. you had revolution or programs put in place by the federal reserve chairman ben bernanke that had never been done before. it is difficult to unscramble that omelette. here is what the house speaker had to say about the stimulus bill --
well, saying the worst is yet to come, i don't necessarily think that is justified. most of what john boehner says is correct. we are even with decline in unemployment which is been fairly rapid in recent quarters. which somell at 6.7% economists are suggesting could when we usedormal to be at 4.5% unemployment. that is an unsettling bit of news. the u.s. is currently the best performing economy in the world if one excludes china whose own growth has slowed down considerably. there is some element of self congratulation going on here by the obama administration. we saw it recently when ben
bernanke left as federal reserve chairman. there was a lot of back patting going on. he had saved the country from the depression and i think must economists would agree that he averted what could very easily have been another great depression. what's interesting to me about all this criticism is among many economists, the real issue is not so much did the stimulus work but was it enough? that itnomists argue just was not nearly enough given the level of the catastrophe. one reason you did not have more of a good effect on job growth was as large as it was, it need to be much larger. host: vice president joe biden is expected to make that argument today after traveling to illinois to call for more infrastructure spending and marked the five-year anniversary of the stimulus bill. a formerhave had
administration officials -- i rnstein andjared be asked him what they did wrong in the stimulus. . one thing he said was they did not sell it quite right. disaster depth of the the economy was in, rather than being sold as a one off cure, it should have been sold as the first step in what probably needed to be a series of stimulus programs. instead, after the passage of the stimulus, particularly in the first year or so, there was all a lot of too optimistic talk about new green shoots growing in the economy. for a variety of reasons like the problems in europe, we did not see those greenchutes for a
long time as unemployment continued to climb. that gave a lot of impetus to the republican narrative that the stimulus was not working. littleton, colorado, republican caller -- we are talking about the stimulus, what do you think? caller: you are a journalist. do you feel the american media has failed the public by deliberately looking the other way from the scientific evidence proving that building seven was brought down -- host: that is not our topic today and we have taken those questions from groups like yours. i will move on. oak ridge, tennessee, democratic caller. mr. john boehner was very wrong about what he was saying. 2010, he asked where are the jobs?
once he got in office, we did not see it. the economy is doing better. we were up to 10% a couple of years ago. that is the main democratic counterpoint in this debate. unfortunately, they say the stimulus was limited and when spending slowed down and the funding ran out, we began talking about austerity and programs like the sequester, that really slowed the recovery. shape ifbe in better those had been longer-lasting. obama issident expected to call for more infrastructure spending in his budget when that is released.
senator ted cruz tweeted this -- if the president called for more infrastructure spending, as we mark the five-year anniversary of the stimulus bill, politically, how is that achievable? sadly, it is not that achievable. ae ted cruz tweet reflects purely political and ideological play to the republican base. it is not really about the economics of the situation. you talk to a number of republican governors around the country, they all readily agree that there is a huge need for infrastructure investment. this is a traditionally
republican idea going back to at least eisenhower and the national interstate highway system. it goes as far back to the 19th century. right now, and this polarized government today, you cannot talk about government spending on the republican side. it was something that infected the original debate over the stimulus. it ended up being a compromise where the administration had to create more tax cuts as part of this $800 billion stimulus package. it really wanted to do more infrastructure type spending. reporthe white house that was issued on monday shows the breakdown of how the funds were allocated. billion for entitlement under the programs, 279 billion dollars for contracts and grants and $212 billion for tax cuts. marco rubio tweeted this --
fort river, new jersey. would you think? -- what do you think? aller: why are we in position, right out-of-the-box, when president obama took office, to give stimulus to -- readyat were in a position? host: let's talk about that. guest: economically, there were some criticisms of the way this was designed. one was the issue of tax cuts. n andd was down in a
conomy. -- in an e one of the problems the administration created for they melded the president upon campaign promises about investment in green energy , to grasp that onto what was supposed to be a stimulus package. he did not get as much job growth as you might have if you had funneled it out to projects that were closer to ready to that were closer to ready to go. the stimulus may not have been ideally designed to get the economy out of the trench that it was in. caller mentioned the
unemployment rate. recovery act was signed, it was 8.3%. point --nt is six 6.8%. guest: the unemployment rate climbed over 10% before it started. if you measure the decline from just over 10% to 6.7% today. recovery in 10of consecutive quarters of recovery. that is what the white house is pointing to. how much of is, that is related to the stimulus versus other programs? some of the programs were dwarfed by the things the federal reserve did. sheet.ploded its balance
comemists for decades to are going to be hashing over these measures and to some degree, rewriting economics. bornill see a lot of phd's of what over studies happened during this period. we are in the early stages of a rough draft of history. much like ben bernanke's phd on the great depression. down becausewent of the workforce declining, not because of new jobs. guest: that has been a factor. , althoughunemployment it is slightly lower as a percentage of the unemployment rate, has been a huge problem in this economy.
a lot of people, it is not just any particular ethnic group, but a lot of people drop out of the workforce. after six months, that is when be are determined to long-term unemployed. a lot of people simply start look -- stop looking. you imagine how well off we would be if obama had not doubled down on obamacare and spent on infrastructure? bad choices. charlie, new york, republican caller, your next. mr. hersh is the perfect guest. the mecca of the low information voter. there are 92 million americans not working. that makes the real unemployment rate 37.2%. not 6.6%. 37.2.
six percent of the stimulus money went to shovel ready jobs. the rest went to a slush fund for the unions and obama's campaign bundlers. your industry is committing suicide. you are ignoring obama's corruption, his scandals, his ineptitude. you think people don't see it? you people are killing yourself. host: do you go to nationaljournal.com? caller: c-span is the only liberal media iwatch. how can you make that claim about national journal if read it?
caller: i am making it about the mainstream media. host: we will have him respond. guest: that is the official figure that the bureau of labor statistics puts out. there are many disputes over what the actual unemployment rate is. heard 37%, that is a little high. some have argued it should be as high as 16 or 18%. it depends on who you count. how many people do you count? serious -- a very serious long-term problem is the people dropping out of the workforce. somewhat stabilized compared to the last few years when it seemed to be shooting up at an alarming rate.
gdp and that0% of there has been a debate over how high the debt can get before it starts to be a drag on economic growth. there was a paper that came out suggested very high debt was a drag on growth, but there was a lot of controversy over that. out, yours they put have to get pretty far over 90% of debt to gdp for starts to be a drag on economic growth. where we are with the debt right downwhich has been slowed by congress, you're not at that dangerous level where the debt level restricts growth.
he was the national economics correspondent and senior editor at newsweek. he wrote a weekly column for newsweek. we will go to michael, houston, texas, democratic caller. we are looking at five years of the stimulus package, but to get an overall picture, we have to look back to the first -- this is the second stimulus package. one targeted banks, financial institutions with no mechanism of paying that money back. we had the first stimulus package under president bush. it targeted the banks and financial institutions. they had no mechanism of paying that money back.
we lost millions of jobs from president bush first came into office. when president obama came in with a second stimulus package, we were still losing jobs, but that was targeted to other institutions and other financial networks. also, you have to look at, with the shovel ready jobs, texas did not want -- because they had to be accountable for the money. you have to look at the states .ndividually when you look at the shovel ready jobs, these are companies that were put on the back burner because of economics. in the states got the money, these same people came in as they did before. that is why you have some the states that do not want the
money. you have to be accountable. host: okay. michael, houston, texas. it was a way of rescuing wall street from complete collapse. there was some stimulus by the bush administration towards the and, before obama came into office. it gets back to parsing after the fact, what could have been done more optimally with this giant $800 billion plus jim projects the number of that were ready for investment and ready to create jobs. that they wereay not always that easy to find. -- did the states did in
risk in that investment. host: give the money to the poor. they have the highest density to spend. jeff, independent caller. caller: good morning. scholars talked about -- the federal reserve act of 1913 on jekyll island. three senators sealed our fate. people in this country don't know that offshore families on the federal reserve. the repeal of the glass-steagall act, that is the second thing. if people in this country are actually waking up, i hope and pray that we can try to save this great nation. you know that i am right. a lot of people don't know that the federal reserve is owned by offshore families.
host: what is the evidence of that? why did three senators at 2:00 the morning seal our fate? -- from jekyll island. conspiracy here rising. there was a book that was about the supposedly dark and shady origins of the federal reserve. not owned by offshore families. it is a government institution that has been in place since 1913. are a substantial the population that sees it as enough arias. i think the federal reserve under bernanke in the past eight , since the crisis, has done an amazing job of
preventing what could have been another depression. on the other points, i declined to comment at this point. host: i have heard claim the stimulus increase increased gdp to plus 2%. is that true? 2008, whenhe fall of obama was taking office, just after the election, the economy was contracting during that quarter by about eight percent. time, a few years before a got up to the growth we're seeing now. historically, we have reversed that decline. 8% drop was during a very short time when the recession
was at its most severe. jack, missouri, republican caller. i would suggest the stimulus was no stimulus. you cannot borrow your way to prosperity. stimulus would be if your grandpa gave you a bunch of money to start a business and it helps you get going. you cannot borrow money to stimulate yourself. guest: underlying this debate has been going on for the past is anver the stimulus ideological divide. it goes back to questions about economics.
there was a time when private investment wasn't there, the government needs to invest. that is still the basic idea. a whole countervailing point of view which culminated in ronald reagan. milton freeman was one of the leading champions of this view that stimulus bending never works. you cannot spend and accumulate debt. what is lying underneath this. when you hear people like ted cruz saying it was a complete failure, they are reflecting that huge debate that has been going on for decades. host: stephanie, california. caller: i cannot believe we are still looking at the stimulus. that were tax cuts not paid for, wars that were not
paid for. the pharmaceutical bill that wasn't paid for. we're looking at the stimulus bill. i cannot believe it. we remember and know that the house of representatives holds the purse strings. can't nothing get through unless the house passes it. i cannot believe that. for all those people who are beating obama over the head, i cannot believe they don't remember that our economy was over when -- love. if you voted for bush, you cannot complain about obama. it is true that obama inherited a disastrous economy from george w. bush. if you speak to many on the far right tea party movement, many of them will say, the movement
began under george w. bush. spending, as she referred to the pharmaceutical plan, you had warsrugs, and tax cuts. there was a lot of anger. among the conservative base because there was a sense of the bus administration was betraying this idea of small government. obama did not fully realize that he had a train heading his way in terms of this rising movement . withhe did the stimulus obamacare, he took most of the blame. it is fair to look back over the whole past decade and say this was an accumulation of large
government programs. host: the problem is spending. it does not help anything. reduction helps the economy. james, harrisburg, pennsylvania. you touched on almost everything i had questions about, but you might want to delineate what the stimulus is actually used for. economy and one bunch of government bailouts and money spending that has been in the trillions. the real problem still seems to be the banks and the bailout portion of this. not the stimulus. guest: it is a legitimate debate the whole same time debate over bank and financial
reform began. the dodd frank bell, that was ultimately signed in 2010. there are progressive economists and anchors that think wall street was not performed. they precipitated this whole crisis by creating this securitization mania over subprime mortgages. they encouraged reckless lending so that wall street could securitize and sell the loans to the world. that was the heart of the crisis. there is some question about whether the same banks that were responsible for that has been adequately reform. yes, that is a legitimate concern. a separate debate from the economic impact of the stimulus, but it is very much out there. another part of this is the federal reserve.
one of our viewers wants to know if yellen has what it takes to situation. of our guest: she is seen as one prominent economist. she was described as perhaps the best prepared federal reserve chairperson in history in that she has spent almost a decade at the federal reserve and in the system as a governor or as president of the san francisco federal reserve. she is a highly regarded around the world. violent occasions, because she served alongside bernanke for a while it is vice chairwoman, and based on the testimony she has given, she will continue his policies, ratcheting back the quantitative easing program. the main concern is
unemployment versus inflation. host: k, new york, republican caller. caller: i love your program. i want to tell everyone why there's no jobs. 320,000 dairy farmers in 20 years. teachers,paying the keep paying them with big wages, the unions throw the money right to them. the dairy farmers, they are kicked out. milkingfarms today 30,000 tells. -- 30,000 cal's.
-- cows. they need to take the big farmers -- 600 count. df you can make a god damne living on 600 cows, you shouldn't be firemen. the dairym not up on farming issue. i will look into it. i would like to make a comment on the stimulus. it would have worked better had accepted more stimulus money, particularly for badly needed transportation here in florida. secondly, i would like to ask, real unemployment figures, historically, has that figure been used over time in
the past or is this some new invention? host: before you go -- guest: which figure are you referring to? caller: the number for real unemployment? is that something new or has it been used in the past? guest: that is the regular measure used by the bureau of labor statistics for at least a few decades. a spring we will go onto to joe, winchester, california. caller: good morning. i have three subjects here. stimulus ands the the second is tarp.
that called in about tarp said there was no mechanism for that to be paid back. those were loans to the banks. the banks paid them back and they paid them back with interest. yes bank that is true. the tarp money was paid back and that was a fairly successful program. other issues with the way the bailout money was paid out. it was paid back. host: what other issue about -- what ist happening with long-term unemployment benefits? is it likely to come back up when they return? guest: i would hope so. the program was allowed to expire. arehave a lot of people who really hard up. waspoint of that article
that contrary to some of the rhetoric you hear on the clinical stomp, long-term unemployed or not any particular ethnic group, it is not the urban poor, and is not the welfare queen that sometimes republican rhetoric says. it cuts across all parts of the tontry from african-american white, hispanic, older, younger workers. a lot of people caught in the middle of this job contraction. if you're a politician, you right off the long-term unemployed at your apparel. david, republican caller. caller: since barack obama was elected president, we have been
running deficits in the range of a trillion dollars a year. that means the government has been spending a trillion dollars a year more than i have been taking in and taxes. that is a lot of stimulus. the economy has not improved that significantly. we need to take a lesson from what is happening in north dakota. the economy is booming. orbody who can drive a truck turn arranges making six-figure salaries i have heard. it spreads to the rest of the economy. what is different about north dakota from the rest of the country? the resources available to be , thatped on private land puts them out of reach of the government regulators in washington. in california, we have an enormous amount of natural gas that could be developed, but we have a democratic legislature and a democratic governor.
there's no chance of world that they're going to be developed area -- developed. guest: one of the most interesting dimensions of the u.s. economy over this historic faced ar period when we national depression is that you have pockets of growth in different areas. a lot of them are metropolitan areas. minneapolis, st. paul, for example, is an interesting contrast to its neighbor, detroit. we have been writing about the disaster of destroyed. minneapolis, st. paul, they have had something like a five percent unemployment rate as a metro area. it has been continual growth through this whole period. you see the pockets and it is a reflection of local, state, and metropolitan area growth policies, regulatory policies that are different.
dois an interesting thing to , look at a country that while overall, the unemployment rate is high, it has had some successful regions that should be models for the future. i want to emphasize one thing. at the top of the comments, he referred to this idea of these enormous deficits during this period. one of the areas where the obama administration failed, was to impress upon the public just how dramatic a crash this was. tohink there was a tendency the crisishow severe was and how unique the stimulus was. this was not the start of the obama administration's program
on green technology. this was a shot of adrenaline to restart the heart of an economy that was going down. that was how dramatic it was. we tend to forget that there was no private investment. the man had collapsed. in that environment, almost every economist across-the-board would agree that you have to stimulate the economy somehow. the private sector is not doing it, the government is. we tend to forget how bad it was five years ago. i want to bring that into the discussion. host: that will be our final point. you can go to nationaljournal.com for more reporting. we appreciate your time. we are going to turn our attention to an analysis by the special sector general for afghanistan, highlighting concerns about u.s. funds giving to the afghan government. we will get to that after this news update from c-span radio. us home construction fell in
january for the second month. the weakness in both months reflects severe winter weather in many parts of the country. the expectation is that housing will deliver another year of solid gains, helped by an improving economy. saysommerce department builders started work at an adjusted rate of 880,000, down 16% from december. the cost of producing goods and services in the united states rose in january. higher food prices, partly offset by cheaper gasoline prices. inflation remains mild. the labor department says the producer price index rose 0.2% in january. in the past year, prices have risen just 1.2%. the federalw reserve's target rate. sanctions could be imposed on ukraine.
the latest clashes have left at least 25 people dead and hundreds injured. viktor yanukovych says opposition crossed the line when they called people to arms. government is accused of using excessive force. eu foreign ministers are set to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow. the international olympic to is banning ukraine's athletes from wearing black armbands at the sochi games. the beauty of america is that in this country we have the ability to write the script of our own life. we are in the driving seat of our own future. our biggest decisions in life are made by us. the sense ofes possibility. out of that, you can become an
activist, a community organizer, in essence, what are you doing, you're living off the great capitalist explosion of wealth that you did not even create. >> nobody said america was the most terrible place. there are a couple of assertions that are astonishing. one is the idea that america's a great adventure -- great --ention wasn't and in wasn't an invention at all. debate about what is so great about america. that is friday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. c-span. we bring public affairs events directly to you, putting you in
the room at congressional hearings, white house event's, briefings and conferences, and offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the house. there c-span, created by cable tv industry 35 years ago and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. like us on hd, facebook, and follow us on twitter. "washington journal" continues. sopko is at our table. you put out numerous reports over the years of what is going on with funds to afghanistan. done by private companies, looking into the money that is given from taxpayers to the afghan government itself, what did those audits find? at is an important on it. we looked at what usaid contracted out to do.
they contracted with two reputable accounting firms. they found that the 16 ministries they looked at were incapable, from a financial point of view, of handling our money. it was very risky. they came up with hundreds of recommendations. a id to that information into their own assessment on seven of the ministries that were about ready to get funding and they found that they could not handle the money unless they instituted a number of changes and a number of recommended fixes. the problem is, they recommended a couple hundred changes to how they handle the money. they only implemented 8% of them before they gave the money to the ministries. we were concerned about that. we thought that was risky. money are weh talking about and why were the audits done? guest: we are talking about a
billion dollars, but there is going to be more. we promised to go to 50% of our reconstruction assistance is going to be direct assistant. -- direct assistance. it is very important for us to look at. -- we havebably appropriated over $100 billion for reconstruction. eight billion dollars or $10 million a year for the for seattle future. -- for the foreseeable future. to do that a number of years ago. we are starting to implement that. that is why we are concerned. wewe get closer to the 50%,
have to monitor the money carefully. are the ministries and what are they doing with the money? primaryhey are the ministries of the afghan government. ministry of education, health, roads, transportation, mines. aid found.t there was cronyism, and inability to confront corruption. there were no basic accounting principles. no ethics. found. what aid not us. normally, a id, their own rules would say do not give assistance. congress is concerned and that is why it required aid to do these assessments.
they weighed all of their internal controls. we thought that was risky business. ive yourd you wa internal controls? they said a decision was made to go to the highest area of direct assistance. there was nothing in there saying you should waive your internal controls. apply theired they own internal controls and come up with a plan to limit the internal controls. host: what are some of the internal controls? double accounting, requiring that you have a legal department, a building system that you can monitor and overlook. they are not difficult controls. these are simple, basic controls.
may applied it to one ministry, so why don't they apply them to the other ones before they put the money at risk. how to these come to like? did you put the report out? guest: we found out about them and we thought there was something that congress needed to know about. these were very good assessments. we think aid did a wonderful job by hiring these accounting firms do the assessments. what did they do with the results? uplooked at them and we came with an audit and said, what did they find? to do with the findings? host: what was the response from usaid? tost: aid did not want us reveal the results. they said it would in barest the
afghans. we do not think that is a -- they said it would embarrass the afghans. we do not think that is a basis to withhold it from congress. we paid for the audits, we are paying for the billions of dollars to be given to these agencies, we felt they had a right to know. we could design programs to protect the money. host: what was the response to the administration, to you showing this report and making a public? guest: some are happy and some are not. it does not comply with some people's view of how successful we are in afghanistan. that is not my job. i call the balls and strikes as i see them. this is the reality we are dealing with. this is an important year of reconstruction. host: why is that? guest: when there is a drawdown in u.s. troops, the election coming about, reconstruction
money is going to continue, even if the troops are withdrawn. that is the plan. we have to make certain that we have the protections in place before we go to direct assistance, before we continue any assistance to make sure the money is not lost. it will make it difficult to get around the country. will not be able to get out in the country to see how the money is being spent. it is very risky if they can't do that. that theo make sure an protections and safeguards are in place. host: is congress going to do something, have some
legislation? guest: congress has in the past. we briefed the hill on our findings. last go round of legislation, there were additional safeguards in place. i cannot speak to -- for congress. this audit just came out a couple of weeks ago. we will see what happens. host: was the next step? aid -- theype agreed with our recommendations, and we hope they implement them. we hope they will not waive the safeguards in the future. that would be the next step. the ball is in aid' out. host: a put out this summary. sigar auditd to report. they say that the audit did not
identify waste, fraud, or abuse in the direct assistance program. they call attention to the risks that could impact direct assistance programming in afghanistan, it failed to acknowledge the full range of risk mitigation measures usaid subsequently employed. a red i think that is herring. they claim the audit is not important because we did not find fraud. that was not the purpose of the audit. we came in to assess the risk assessment and to see what they did with it. it is just as important that you do not find fraud as you find risk prevention methods don't work. if you are planning your retirement money into a bank and that bank or financial institution had no bars on the doors, no bars on the windows,
had no place to keep the money ,as ramped with corruption cronyism, nepotism, had no ethical standards, no accounting , asdards wouldn't you want an investor, to know that before you put the money in? you do not have to wait until the money is stolen. that is what we're saying here. we know the problems. eight identify the problems. we are saying put in the protection before you put the money in. that is the way we view it. on the other hand, they also knew that we have a criminal investigation going on dealing with one of the ministries, the ministry of health, and dealing with the internal controls that aig has promoted to try to protect that ministry. they know this was not a criminal investigation, but we do have one going on the ministry of health. they knew we were looking at the ability to protect the money
before it was lost. that is why we did this. host: can you tell us about the investigation into the ministry of health? guest: i cannot discuss it anymore. we have announced there is a criminal investigation. it is looking at the opponents of it and is being handled by us and the department of justice. host: we are talking to john sopko about reconstruction money for afghanistan. john, herndon, virginia. caller: i think afghanistan did not start yesterday. it started 9/11. there is a lot of contractors who work with the pentagon that has a big contract and they have not spent a dime. what you are seeing is contractors are going out there, making money. one contractor who has done something good about afghanistan?
there are no schools, no roads, nothing. a dime whenot have he went to afghanistan. he is a multimillionaire. his brother was a multimillionaire before he got killed. the moneyothing -- goes to afghanistan. it does not go to the people in afghanistan. a goes to the cronies that work for pentagon and they spend that money. they gave them money too few afghanistan came back here and by million-dollar houses in this country. when people go to afghanistan, they have nothing. when they come back, they have plenty of money. host: are you from afghanistan? caller: i work for a lot of afghan people. what disappointing that this gentleman is saying after all of those years, now they investigate. what are you investigating?
guest: the caller raises a concern i have heard expressed numerous times by people in afghanistan. that is -- if we do not take in we did not take the corruption issue seriously, and impose those safeguards, what you're irony is doing -- the by putting money in, we have alienated the afghan people. what he is expressing is a common complaint i have heard numerous times. i apologize i just started the job two years ago. maybe we should have a more aggressive oversight 10 years ago. we have been doing this for 10 years.
host: are their roads and schools? guest: there are. we are paying the salaries of a military andghan their police and all that. the question is, hasn't there been some success? we have spent so much money there, you should expect some success. the question is, shouldn't there be more success? we have spent over $100 billion in afghanistan. that is more than we have spent on any single country in the history of our republic. germany ore spend on japan or any individual country. we are spending more now in afghanistan than the next four countries combined. twice as much.
spending that much money, you would figure there would be roads that work. the question is why aren't there more roads that are working, why aren't the hospitals and doctors better? why are the nurses paid, why are up?n's issues being taking host: how much longer will be -- afghanistaniving money after the bulk of our troops leave? the promises that we will be doing it for years to come, at least another four or five years a billionbe about dollars to $10 billion a year. host: you said 50% of that will go to direct assistance. it means government to government assistance.
assistance, the normal assistance that we would do, aig goes into the -- aided goes into the country and gets road to the afghans. we are trying to develop the capability of them to do it themselves. assistanceng direct to encourage them to set up their own contracting process, their own oversight process and their own ministries. host: there seems to be a mandate in america must reconstruct. i do not get it. guest: that's a good question. it is above my pay grade. went in with many goals. we wanted to make sure that many afghans did not have a place terroristscan harbor
that can attack us. poor shape after the fighting. host: how long will you continue to do your job? guest: we are a temporary agency. we go out of existence when the amount of reconstruction funds falls below $250 million. we were set up because there was so much money being spent. when that happens, we go out of existence six months later. close to $20t billion appropriated and authorized in the pipeline. 250 million dollars, we go out of existence. there's $20 billion in the pipeline, we will probably be here for years to come. congress has been generous to us. they agree with our budget requests over the last -- since i have been there.
we get about $50 million a year. not for me, for my 200 people. host: democratic caller. for being there today. it seems you have a valid concern about what is going on in afghanistan. making a contingency to letting me afghans manage their own affairs. you think the do americans would have to be willing to throw at afghans over the years? federal investigations have not done their jobs at knology -- acknowledging the basic physics and being obvious about the tower seven being brought down using nano thermite. steven is one of the
viewers that question the investigation of september 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. they call into other shows to make that point. yemeni, nevada? -- do you have any comment about it? that is beyond my range. we went from trade agreement to tarp discussion to afghanistan. the only person that has really getting suffering is the american taxpayer. i am tired of it. i think we will see another revolution in this country as a result of what we are discussing. between the trade agreements, we are bleeding out money and we keep loaning. we will be crossing $20 trillion soon. god knows if we will ever pay it back.
do you think you would have a better job of controlling the cash flow and do you think there would be more accountability, more information out to the public under a democratic control of the presidency and the senate and the house or a republican? iq. -- thank you. guest: you're putting me on the spot. i was appointed by president obama. i have worked on the hill for democrats my whole life. job is the nonpartisan job. i cannot pick sides. think, and i will put a plug
in to c-span. good oversight is not republican or democratic. good oversight has been done by many democrats on the hill. with senator roth of delaware. they were fantastic. it is not partisan. what is important, and what is happening with c-span, they have a program where they are independentree and afghan media. that is so important. we have an independent press. we have c-span, cnn, all of the press outlets. that is important. it is sharing information and getting across. succeeds, and we
have not done an audit on it, i think that is important thing about rebuilding a country and helping a country. make sure you have a free and independent press. you can make a decision whether you are republican or democrat or independent, you at least know the facts and assess the facts. that is the way i would answer that question. host: vectorial want you to talk --ut mineral and rare earth victoria wants you to talk about mineral and rare earth wealth in afghanistan. is an important issue. it is a critical issue of the next year that we are looking at. about 90% ofets their income coming from foreign assistance. they cannot continue. gethis country is going to
off of the receiving money, they have to build an economy themselves. part of that is the natural resources they have. the problem is, one of the ministries that eight highlighted as having problems with -- that aid highlighted as having problems with cronyism and corruption is the ministry of mines. they say they're going to pass , which will statue inow outsiders to invest those minerals. they need to get highways built. they have not done that. they have a great ability to but the best, productions are 30 or 50 years out for that to be developed. we are looking at that and we are concerned about that.
the other issue which ties into minerals is the financial sector. the financial sector is in bad shape. it has lose control. if the financial sector is in bad shape, you're not going to see foreign investors put money into the country. they need to develop a better, stronger financial sector so inple trust earning money investments. they need a rule of law. host: 30 to 50 years? guest: that is what the world bank predicts. host: why? guest: you have to build the infrastructure. it is a difficult terrain. this is a difficult part of the world. you have to get the minerals out. you have to build roads. you have to build railways and electrical system.
it is not being done. host: is the united states going to build that or will it be income and upon private companies? guest: the best way would be to have private companies do that. we have not seen much private investment because of the problems with the laws that have not been passed, and you do not have the infrastructure and you don't have the protection and security were the minerals are. host: michael, independent caller. caller: you kind of answered my question in your last comment, but i will rephrase it. the afghanistan government has the capability to sustain itself after the four or five years of usaid? i they going to have to receive formationsm the
outside of the country? guest: i think they will need greater assistance for beyond four to five years. host: 30 to 50? guest: i hope not, but it could be. aid officialsior stated that they are thinking of foreign assistance for 70 years. reconstruction takes a long time. i don't do policy. if the policy makers say be bere for 70 years, sigar may around for 70 years. i hope not. reconstruction is not easy and not easy in afghanistan. wars,phically, you have neighbors that are not friendly. it is not the best place in the world to try to reconstruct. it is difficult.
i want to make certain people realize that. we are critical, but we do not touch -- question the loyalty or gor of ouror vi people. they're doing a difficult job in a difficult place the world. host: reconstruction. sigar is the acronym. information, also on twitter, you can follow them. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] ap