tv Charlie Rose PBS June 28, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
>>harlie: welcome to our program. tonight tom coburn, republican from oklahoma on the debt limitation talks and the threat of not doing something about the deficit. >> the fact is we have an insatiable appetite to spend dollars we don't have on things we don't absolutely need. the and we're doing it in the political process to help people get re-elected or to look good but at the same time we're destroying the very country we say we love. >> charlie: we conclude with christine quinn, a speaker with the new york city council talking about what the same sex marriage in new york means to her. >> any of a child anywhere in the country in their room watching tv they see this happen, they know they're gay, they can't say they're gay, they
can't tell their parents. anthey see new york ste, anywhere in the world, it's new york. just say that gay families are the same as straight families. that's something th child will hold on to when they're bullied, hold on to if their parents don't accept them. it will give them hope. >> charlie: senator tom coburn and christine quinn on same sex maiage when we continue. funding focharlie rose was provided by the following: but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oil is burned. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar.
they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, support small business. shop small. additional funding provided by these funders: captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studi in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: tom coburn joins me now from washington, he's a republican senator fro oklahoma. he is known for ing a physical and a social conservative. he was a member of the ga of six, a bipartisan group focusedded on reducing the deficit. he left the group in may.
today coburn and senator joe lieberman build a medicare proposal that will help cut the deficit. president obama will hold another round of talk with senate leaders on raising the debt ceiling. both parties remain divided over taxes and entitlement cuts. i'm very pleased to have dr. tom coburn on this program. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. good to be with you. >> tell me where y think it is, this negotiation now that the president has evolved directly and not just leaving it to vice president biden. >> well, i think it all depends on whether or not we approach the very real problems that our country's facing in terms of our debt and our fiscal situation, whether or not you're approach that in a meaningful way that doesn't just pass the test of congress, it passes the test that says the people that are interested in loaning money for sovereign debt think we'vedone enough to deserve their confidence. >> you have been unilaterally said that you are opposed to
some reducing some of the reductions in corporations and others get, in order and help on the revenue side, correct? >> well, yes. but my motivation isn't just revenue, in fact you he a lower flatter curve and a more predictable tax system which u'll get is bigger investmen with great growth and revenues of the federal government. when we have 20% of the people in 2008 paid 84% of the taxes in this country, we have a problem with our tax code. we have many to not paying much tax. 49% of the family households in this country pay no tax so what we need is a flatter fairer system that is predictable and offers some certainty for people that are sitting on the side line of our country to have it invested. if it gets invested and produces
actual economic activity, then the benefit for the federal government is tremendous. it's a great copy of what reagan did. i can remember as a doctor i my medical office in 86 or 87, i was really upset with reagan and the fact that my actual, the taxes i went up paid. but the stimulus to the country was tremendous. so tax revens that are hanced through changing the tax code and flattening it and making it more fair is fine with me. i don't have any problem. i think the exact opposite in terms of raising taxes what you don't want to do in a very of thecono and especiall when we have the distortion in terms of who is paying taxes in this country today. >> charlie: some people have problems with it. as you know some have problems with it, do ty not. >> i think se people do. i would tell you on tax credits specifically, first of all our policies stink because they misdirect capital in this country, especially in terms of ethanol but most of the other
tax credits do too. when we, because we have them on the income tax side of the ledger as a cash refund to people where we make a check every month and send it out and don't have it on the appropriations side where we cut a check and send it to people every month. we find some difference in that in terms of being spend. it's all spending, and you know, no question a fringe group out there that believe that if you cut the subsidies for ethanol which is bad and environmentally bad economically and bad efficiency, and bad for prices in terms of the commodities that go in our fd chain, that that somehow is a tax increase is absolutely ludicrous. >> charlie: and you have said that before and equally firmly. it will save and how much will it rede the deficit with ethanol. >> $6 billion a year. charlie: whatther subsidies are this that you would like for the people
negotiating on the budget and on the debt limitation take a look at. >> there's $1.1 trillion worth of tax credits that are in the code tha truly misdict capital. sohat that mean is the countras a whole when we have people investing cap that do not make a decision what is a best decision on the return on investment but what is the best return on their taxes, what that does is misdirect capital and decreases the benefit of having capital invest in the economy in the first place. so that ranges all the way across from significant mortgage deduction where 75% of the benefit from mortgage diction goes to the upper income in in this country. that ought to be changed from charitableontributions which i think that's one of the things we odd to leave that. we are the greatest contributor to charities than anybody in the world. we do tons privately and because that has a great social purpose in it. but you can just kind of go across the board.
i would make a distinction with you because i think it gets confused and people intentionally confuse it, if you give accelerated depreciation to certain businesses like oil and gas or the research credit, the credit that we give the pharmaceutical companies or what the congress passed at the end of last year whichallowed everybody to write off everything this year in a very short time fme. you don't change the actual tax revenue in the country, you just change when you actually receive them so there's not as much benefit to enhance revenues from federal government for those accelerated depreciation and write offs, because they're generally accepted accounting principles would say you get to write it off anyhow. we're just letting you do it faster. it would speed up revenues but wouldn't change the revenues at all to the federal government. we have a lot of people harping on that but it will make little difference in terms of the government revenue receipts. >> charlie: you were known to be a good friend of the president, correct. >> i consider him a good friend,
yes. >> charlie: what's the relationship? >> it's cordial. we don't talk policy stuff unless, as a subordinate to anymore, me as a senator and he as the president. i don't want my friendship to be challenged by our political differences, so we don't talk political issues unless he wants to. but i'm happy to d it when he does. but most of the time, it's either spiritual things or friendship tngs or family things. or his good basketball game or his lousy golf game. >> charlie: you know both becae you played both or you played o and not the other. >> i haven't played golf with him but i did encourage him a long time ago to invite the speaker and was glad to see he finally did that. >> charlie: you resigned from the gang of six because the was an impasse. what happened? >> well look, the whole purpose for bringing three on each side together was to actually come up with a plan that we could sell
to an equal number of senators on each side that uld actually fix the problem. and we got to a point where we cannot get to a point d which we can actually fix the problem. you know, your listeners, because they're fairly educated will understand that what is in front of us is both urge even, perilous and necessary and address it in a timely fashion otherwise we're at a point of no return our country in terms of financing our debt and growing our economy. if in fact o largest components of our problems are entitlements and you won't seriously address fixing those entitlements, not because you don't agree that they need to be fixed but because of the political consequences of it, i can't put my name on a possible solution tt isn't a solutn. and so it just got to a point -- i said i'm going to take a sabbatical but i didn't actually resign, i'm just on sabbatical because the problems are going to get worse d at some point
in time, this team's going to come back together and offer healthy solutions. but the recognition of those solutions are going to require some significant changes to what we all wld like not to have to change but wee going to have to. >> charlie: in e end are we talking about medicare? >> i'm talking about medicare, medicare and social security. a l of people wanted to discount social security but we're going to have to borrow borrow $2.6 trillion. that's what we've stolen and spent out things. even if you have all that money or have the capability of borrowing it which i doubt seriously we have the capability of borrowing right now, if you do that you still have to reform it. our life expectancy has gotten longer so the number of people supporting each person on social security has gotten much smaller. so it doesn't work. there's no way you can make it work. and even though eventually we're going to $168,000 in terms of
social security taxes in this country, you could raise it -- you still won't solve the problem. because for every dollar that you increase the taxes on social security, you're going to ultimate pay it out. so the way to solve it is to fix it to where it becomes a means tested available program that those that absolutely need it and actually need more than what we're goingto give it today, we're going to bump that a little bit. and then measure that out to where the wealthiest get less. and by means testing that and what senatorieberman and i did on medicare means testing that and slowly raising the age of medicare today. well actlly creates some significant savings. the bill we cosponsored today together was certainly over $600 billion. >> charlie: explain it to me. >> here's the number one point. if you're a senior on medicare
today and your position is you don't want anything change, you have to realize in five years it's going to change whether you want it to or not. it doesn't matter who is president. because we can't borrow the money to fund it. trustees 20 this on the hospital trust fund but more than likely it's going to be 2016 just because of our economy and we're adding 2.5 million people a year. we have an impossible situati. so we have two choice for seniors. we can do nothing for four years. but when we come to the point where we actually have to make the changes, it's much more severe, much harder on the poor this country and less effective in terms of the total lounge term versus if we start now and do that through a slow transition process and still worry about making sure people have access to care and quality care with good new methodology and treatments being added to the medicare portfolio. and what senator lieberman and i
did was we put a means testing programor the very wealthiest in this country all the way down to about $80,000 in retirement. you're gng to actually pay more. if you're very wealthy then you're going to pay for all of medicare part b a all of part d and you'll get the benefit. what most seniors don't recognize is the average senior puts in less than $130,000 through their entire working lifetime imin medicare. they take out over 350,000. it doesn't take a smart accountant to figure out it doesn't work. with all the people my major, we're living longer and we have this big rush coming in. the cash flow is impossible for the trust fund. so it's impossible for us to do it. plus,emember when medicare was founded, the part b, the doctor visit portion of that was supposed to maintain, t government paid half, you paid half. we're at 25% right now. and the government can'tfford,
it's impossible. if we don't want to see it collapse, if we want our children to have any semblce of the fute that's similar to hours, we he to start making adjustments. i contrast it to myself as a grandparent of five do i want to keep something i think is falsely promised to me that i already get a 3-1return on. what about a 2 return? could we have a 2-1 return for every dollar we put in and still keep our commitment to seniors and not bankrupt our children. >> arlie: they'd an agreent to take $400 million, to cut medare by $40 billion and you went back to oklahoma and came back and wanted 900 million more cut. is that a correct appraisal of where you were? >> i don't think that's a correct appraisal but i'm not going to argue the details. everybody i work with on the gang of six were fairly open and honest about what they wanted
but they all see the problem and know we need to come to a solution. the details of that are important. we had some agreements that wednesday they were vetted with staff people came back and said they can't agree to it. which was my problem with it. unless you get 550 or $60 million out of medicare it's not going to make a difference over ten years and it's not going to satisfy, it's not going to satisfy the very real test. the test is this charlie, will people loan us money in the future? that's the test. and unless th see us making the decision that the greeks refuse to do until they're at crises, we're going to go to crises. the goal should be to prevent a crises and at the same time try to maintainhe best programs we can living within our budget. we're like the person who lives off their credit cards and they can't get that next credit rd to open up a line of credit to pay the minimum charges and interest on each of their other credit cards. at's wheree are day. and if you lo at the debt, just look at the last seven
months of th year, of all the debt that we floated, only 7% was bought by americans, less th 3% were bought by sovereign nations and the rest was bought by the federal reserve. what you're talking about coming out of that is financial repression. so the worst tax in the world is to have everything you have be valued on your return on your investment. examine that's how governments steal the middle class and punish the lower income class. these what's going to happen to us. >> charlie: you think greeks, that greece will default on its sovereign debt. >> i think they v fran has said in the last this they'll extend the life of the maturity that the bonds the french banks own. that's a technical default. >> charlie: people argue if eece defaults and is not rescued by european unionor
france or germany or whver is requed to do it, that it is like another lehman brothers. do you believe that? >> well, i think the application to those at risk and the european common market especially the southern tier countries is real and there's a chance of contagious on that because of the bank holdings. they ought to at least insist when they do that that there are the realistic options on the table for greece have to be enacted. but look, that same story's coming to us. we're not four or five years, three or four years behind greece. you know. that sounds radical but it is true. when you have, standard & poor's says the outlook on our debt is negative. we had moody's waing that they're not worried about our debt. we shouldn't be triple a rated
right now given the fact we spent this entire year not doing anything about the problems in front of us. we're running up against the deadline rather than having really leadehip somebody talking to the american people and say look, we have lived t last 30 years off the next 30. for us to have a great future and return our country to prosperity, we'rgoing to have to really thten our belt down. we're going to have to do some things we really don't want to do but wille necessary for us to have a future. with that comes the political risks of doing it. the fact is what's more important, politicians, careers or the country's future. we've just not sane that leadership, not out of the president or many people in congress. >> charlie: on both sides. >> on both sides, yes. >> charlie: let me make the point. standard & poor's made that decision based on their assements that the u.s. political system was thought prepared -- not prepared to deal with the issue. >> i think they're dead on. i think pele are more interested in their party and more interested in their next election than they are the
future of the country. which tells you why 18% approval rating for congress and i think cbs had a poll out today that they don't trust us and th have good reasons not to. because we won't step up and leave and put our own personal careers behi us and say let's work together to solve what we need to solve for the country. it has to be a solution. it can't be the typical washington deal where we look like we're fixing things where we're winking and nodding and smoking mirrors and we're actually not doing. >> charlie: let's take a look, what is it you would like for the president to do. i mean clearly you have said cut spending and cut entitlements to a significant amount. and that's what you're asking of the president, correct? >> yes. and i have, with that i think we should be able to ask for more revenue for the country. the wa you go about that, you nt to have economic activity generate that rather than a tax hike increase tt decreases econic activity. >> charlie: i remind you that
bo simpson included some w taxes, did it not. >> no new taxes. >> charlie: no new taxes but itncluded a kind of tax reform you're talking about in terms of eliminating deduction. >> right. tax reform where you actually lower the rates so that it's been almost revenue neutral but you change behaviors so you get capital investme which then creates jobs, creates wealth and then creates revenues to the federal government. >> charlie: so you want to see the president commit to dramatically reducing by $600 billion medicare, correct? >> yes. and about 300 billion on dicaid. and refine social security so it's actually viable for the next 75 years. and cap programs, remember the size of the federal government, most americans don't know this. but bill clinton budget in 2001 was one trillion $0 billion
dollars. we're at three trillion right now, double than we were ten years ago. what else do you know other than google and some of the are tce the size in ten years? nobody. there's been no control on either the republicans or the democrats, it doesn't march who is president or who controls it, the fact is we have an insatiable appetite to spend dollars where we don't absolutely need. we're doing it in the political process to get people to get elected or look good and at the same time we're destroying the very country we say we love. >> charlie: let me now turn to the republican side. mitch mcconnell says no new taxes at all, and i think he means by that the kind of deductions th you are speaking about. >> i don't know that that's accurate. i don't know that that's accurate. i've heard senator kyl say he would not be opposed to lowering tax rates and -- >> charlie: i'm talking about
senator mcconnell. >> i don't know. but senator kyl has been in those meetings and you said that and he is the spokesperson for senator kyl in that regard. so i don't know that that's an absolute, but i can tell you i think it's the wrong position. just like i think it's the wrong position to create medicare part d so we can re-elect george bush in 2004. we added $12 trillion because somebody wanted to take drug pricing and soak associated with it off the table as a campaign issue in 2004. tell me how it helped the country. it helped seniors but nobody's ever contributed a penny to medicareart d and yet we have all this benefit. and that's what politicians do all the time they don't deliver it and kick the can down the road to the next generation. we're up against theall. you can't kick the can now without it bouncing right back and hitting you in the shin. >> charlie: why don't more people in congress agree with
you? >> i think if you took the ethanol vote, you'd see we had 33 republicans voted with me on that as well as a large number of democrats. you'll see some courage stand up. they all know what the problem is. the question is where is the leadership both out of the whitehouse and the republicans and democrats that say forget the paisan stuff, forget who wins the next election. right now we have an immediate fire and what we're doing is we've got a squirt bottle we're spraying out of a windex bottle instead of bringing a fire hose in and puing the fire out. and that's what's happening right now. today this evening on the senate floor you got senator ron johnson saying we're not going to do anything until we start talking about that. what he's wanting to do is raise the issues that the leaders in this country areot aressing the problems in front of the nation today because they're cowards. they don't want to take theard votes. well, ultimately somebody else is going to vote for us and it's
ing to be the international financial community. >> charlie it is not hard to understand that you speak to the reality of our economic circumstance. why isn't there more political courage to recognize that and deal with it? so that both sides say nothing, we've taken nothing off the table, wre going to sit in is room until we fure this out and we know that august 2nd is the deadline. that's when we have to have an enhancemen of the debt limitation ceiling. >> well, you know, i can't answer that. >> charlie: but that is the question, is it not? >> sure, without being highly critical of peers that i have in the senate. >> charlie: what's wrong -- if it's that serious, senator, if it's as serious as you say and america's future is at stake, why shouldn't you be critical of your colleagues, the whitehouse or anywhere else. >> i think we're double minded. we want two things. we want to fix the problem but
we want to be in you are important. powe ends up corrupting and cls judgment when they're interested in a ring being on the know and it's about them rather than the country. look, i would just readily admit to you i've had those same failings in my life as well. having been through two bouts of cancer i tend to see things clearly. i don't ce what party does what. what iare abouts are we going to stand up and solve these problems. we have very few people -- there are a large number of senators who will quietlyome to me and say go back to the gang of six, bring this out and we'll be with you. i wantto say to them, why aren't you standing up on the floor yelling about this? but they're not because they don't want, they don't want to take the arrows.
why are we serving if we tonight want to solve the problem. >> charlie: so do you think a debt limitation issue will be solved before august 2nd that somehow at the last moment on the brink of disaster, they'll agree? >> no, i do not. >> charlie: and therefore? >> i think therefore nothing major happens. i mean you'll get some skittishness. we'll take $2.7 trillion this year. our debt obligated, medicare, social security, vet you runs, defense expfg else. we can continue to do that. pay interest rates and refinance our debt. have to make changes and that will force us to do it. i don't know how long that will last but i don't see how the house, unlessou hav an agreement that we will significantly moderate our ability overspend in the
future, i don't see how if we don't cap our spending if we don't cut significantly some of the spend, if we don't have major changes to entitlements, i don't see how you get that vote through the house. the senate can pass it because it's got a majority o democrats and they'll vote for it. but i don't see how it gets through the house. let me make one other point. i believe with good reason having studied and talked to a lot of economists worldwide, that this debt wall that we're going to see come in jul of next year will actually increase our interest rates by about two points a year from now. that's what we'll see short term rates up about two points. that's what will be demanded for us to borrow money. if you increase our debt, our interest rates by two points on a very short term portfolio, whh our secretary has us now because it costs us the least amount of money. i don't disagree with it but it's worrime. that's $0 billion a year. so let's say that what the biden
groups were talking about, 2.5 trillion over 10 and all of a sudden we have $300 billion a year more in interests cts. we're $500 biion behind why we were whenhat he started. that's why it has to be somewhere around $5 trillion over the next 10 years just to ensure what's going to happen with interest costs. there's no way bernanke can ke that down. there's no way he will in the face of the finance that's going on in terms of the sovereign demand that's going to be out there and who we're going to be seating with in terms of debt. there's no way the interest tes are goi to stay where they are today. no way. >> charlie: thought the figure y have cite before er the next ten years wehave to find $9.7 trillion in cuts. >> we do have to. >> charlie: 9.7 trillion. >> if we're at a point of no return over the next ten years we have to find 9.7.
is 9.7 doable now? no, but 5 trillion is and that buys us five years where we can find the next 4.7 over that. our first hurdle is this. how do we send a message to the international financial community that we in fact get it, that we're going to make major changes and we're going to do them now so you can have confidence that will loan us money. that does two things for us. number one it buys us five years of time but lowers the cost our exting debt. that $14 trillion. the historical rate on our debt is %. we're under 2% right now on it. if we went back to histocal rates right now, we would have $520 billion morin interest costs a year. we have to send that signal and bide the time so we can down size the scope and breadth of the federal government to what is really necessary. not whate'd like to do. there's t of things i'd like to do, we c't afford to do t
there are a lot of things we're doing we can't afford to do and we have to work that out through the political press. that's why i believe at a minimum if you h a deal to cut $5 trillion you can get this through the house. i don't think it will ever pass. >> charlie: there are a lot of smart people who say in order to increase for the sake of the competitiveness of the united states with the rest of the world, it's got to fix the deficit. but it also has to fix economic growth, and to do that, we need investment and infrastructure. we need investment in the digital revolution, we need broadband and all of that. need investment in a whole range of things. >> that's right too. when you say investment, you're implying government funded research, government funded programs. >> charlie: i am. >> we have two plus trillion dollars sitting on the sideles in country right now that isn't being invested because there's no certainty and competence in the future. now, you tell me where we can invest in broadband better than what the private sector can and
where we can do it more efficiently than private sector. what we need to do is to lower the inabitions to road blocks and investments. they're awe veer today. when i was in business in the 70's, there was a little environment in terms of how we inract with the federal government. that environment has changed where you're guilty until you have to end the money to peru yourself innocent. any number of agencies in a common small business in less than $25 million. what we have to do is give those that have the capital the ability to say i see with certainty that it's now worth me taking a risk to put this money at risk because i think the return on it and the tax rate on it is going to be worth me investing it. right now what's happening, they're not getting great return on their money but it's safe. so what we have isll this money and i'd much rather see private capital do these things
than us. first of all because we don't have the money to borrow more. that does not mean i don't think there's a legitimate role for us to play in incentivizing -- the struure was 1 -- >> crlie: what do you get for that. >> you should get 1.8 to $2. if you had done it in true infrastructure and if you had done it in -- we're going to reset the military, we have to defend ourselves. we run through all this equipment. had we done it we'd created much more high paying jobs, we'd have created more revenues for the state. what we actually did was a stimulus and this is opinion only. but it is very well learned opinion given the gray hair and the 12 years in the senate and the house, is we transferred the
worst habit of congress to the states. we said it doesn't matter, you don't have to live within your means, we're here to supply your needs. what happened is that took care of 2009. this yeawhat's happening to all the states. theye going through these gut wrenching changes to balance their budget and they would have been much better off doing that a year and-a-half awe gore or two years ago and then they would have had the tax base coming forward to meet that. if we $billions of dollars in the infrastructure you would see employment rate at% in our country. >> charlie: anybody ever made an argument to you in all the conversations you've had that with the least bit attractive about not eliminating deductions for more revenue but in fact increasing taxes. maybe a value added tax, maybe some other tax. >> the st tax we could have
would be to eliminate the indirect taxes that we're creating now through the tax code. we have 110,000 agents at the irs. we pay our taxes and nobody knows if what we paid is right or wrong,ven the irs doesn't know that. we should eliminate this tax code and go to pure sales tax. people are talking let's keep the income taxes and add a value added tax. value added tax on top of the income taxs more economy taken by the government. our problem is the government's too large a percentage of our gdp now. >> charlie: is it fair to say that in essence you have come to this point that the deficit, taming the deficit is a matter of national survival. and that in doing that, you do not have a bottom line.
you perper se. >> i do not have a bottom line. when theclaimers of the joint chiefs of staff when he's asked what is the greatest threat to our national security he says theebt and the deficit, we ought to pay attention to him. when it is said this is e most predictable crises in history and congress has done nothing on it this year and we' setting still not doing anything and we know this debt limit's coming upon us. we know for us to did not over the next year, year and-a-half, hour debt that have to make major changes in how we spend the taxpayer's money. and our grandchildren's money that we're borrowing. $.40 out of every dollare spend right now of the federal government we're borrowing against our grandchildren. those are obvious things. it is the greatest thet to our nation but it's also the greatest threat to our future. and what we love. no matter what your political persuasion is, if you go on a trip with somebody who is your polar opposite what you find is 90% of the this you actually agree on when you start talking about america. we discount that and we only
talk about the 10% that we dis agree on. that 90% that we agree on is at risk in this nation. the thing, the very mechanisms and intertwining of people and ideas and possibilities that built this great country is at risk. so the number one thing in front of us is we hav solve this and it means, you know, i'm not going to get everything tom coburn wants but the president isn't going to get everything he wants. so somewhere in the middle there is a way that number one, solves the competence level with the international financial community because that's number one. and number two, create sometime with which we can actually down size t federal government. it's going to have to hpen. people will say we can't grow our way out of this charlie. the only time we had real tax reform in the last 40 years was in the 80's where we saw 4.9% real g growth four years in a row. and that was after the
elimination of tax shelters and credits an deductions and we lowered the rates. even though my income taxes went up at that time, it was very beneficial for the country in terms of growth. and what we need right now with 17 to 18 million people actually looking for a job but can' find one is we need growth. >> charlie: thank you. i wanted to say thank you very much. i limited this conversation because as you pointed out, how important and significant it is as they are negotiating in washington, there are many other things i could talk to you about in terms of my curiosity and interest, as well as public issues. so i hope you will be able to do that at another time but i thank you for this time this evening. >> oh, it's been my pleasure to be with you and i would be happy to do it begin. thank you, charles. >> charlie: thank you. christine quinn is here. she is the speaker of the new york city council. she's the first woman and the first openly gay official elecd to that position. it has been a big weak for her.
the city council voted on the budget and comes after much negotiation betweethe mayor's how s and e city council. i'm very pleased to have christine quinn back at this table. weome. >> thank you. >> charlie: before we lk about open politics here, just tell me about this for you and your partner of 12 years. >> 10. >> charlie: 10 years. >> right. >> charlie: what does this mean. tell me the feeling what you too had when you realized you could get married in this state. >> we didn't really realize it until friday night and i was in my office in city hall working on the budget. we were on the phone and when we heard the senator, i was watching it on tv, at that moment, we realized it. and kim was we don't know, it can change. but we knew it. and it's a hard feeling to describe although a lot won't
change. we lived together for nine years. a whole lot will change and you felt that. this was this amazing feeling of being a fuller part of your state. and really that stigma that being leftutf this enormous important institution was gone. and it was just amazing. you felt really kind of lifted up in a way and freed in a way. >> charlie: a step forwards. >> yes. yo know, look theaw, before what happenefriday, when you take the fact that there was no marriage and the defensive marriage act in washington nationally, those two together meant the law actually pointed a finger at people like me and kim said you're less than, your family isn't as good. you can say that doesn't bother you but of course it does. and to have that gone and to say your family in the eyes of the state you call home is the same
as every other one. it's unbelievably powerful and unbelievably thrilling. and you know, so many peopl i talk to has said to me, and people only in their 30's and 40's i never thought in my lifeme, never thought in my lifetime. and now for them to see this in their lifetime, it sends a message that anything is actually possible. >> charlie: as you noted something that you had said, it sends a message to children. >> think of a child, somewhere in new york state or anywhere in the country who is in their room watching tv, they see this happen, they know they're gay, they think they're gay. they can't tell their parents. they're terrified they may not know another gay person. and they see new york state. new york year in the world, it's neyork. just say that gay families are the same as straight familie that's something that child will hold on to when they're bullied,
hold on to when their parents don't accept them. it will give them hope a that's what those senators realized. they realized they had the power to giveeople hope that will cay them through difficult times in their lives. >> charlie: you we on the negotiating line talking to state senators. what d you tell them? >> you know, i didn't tell them much from my perspective as the speaker. i told them a lot about my perspective as a lesbian new yorker, somebody who has been with their partner for ten years and wanted that relation shine celebrated and afirmed. i told them about kim and i both lost our moms when we were both burlz. my mom died of cancer and kim's died of cancer. mine died in 84 and kim's in 85. and i told them in 2009 when we lost, i want those two men to be able to go and dance and be at
their daught's wedding. they're 84 and5 and god willing they will be with me for a long time. >> charlie: so when are you getting married. >> spring of 2012. >> charlie: why then. >> we need aittle timto plan a party, i got to get and dress and these thingsake time. >> charlie: what else do you have to work out. >> it sounds like i have a day job. >> charlie: do most of the friends you know who have an established relationship over time, are they thinking about rushing to get th done. >> it's mixed. some folks wt to get it don right away and some folks want to play the party. >> charlie: some folks what. >> want to do a big wedding and the that takes a little time >> charlie: tell me about the politics of it. why is it different tn 2009. >> it's different than 2009 for a couple reasons. one, the community, our community did a smart thing after 2009. we didn't sugar coat the law. it was a law. we messed up.
>> charlie: you messed it up how. >> i can't tell you we ran a good campaign in 2009, we didn't. >> charlie: y know what a good campaign is. >> we just saw one with this. so this time we learned from our mistakes. we analyzed accurately. we put together a united organization, a united message and we had the unbelievable extra added benefit of a super popular smart governor andrew cuomo who made this a top priority. >> charlie: so beyond that, when he made it a priority first, at the same time he was being very tough on the budget. >> yes. >> charlie: so he was casting his net over here but conservative principles of smart budgeting. >> right. >> charlie: at the same time he's liberal on social issues, progressive. >> right. >> charl: how did he do. what did he do that made a difference? >> he assigned -- >> charlie: at's now befiting. >>e put his top people on
this. his secretary which is the highest ranking position. in the end when the question was about what the language would be on religious exemption, he was in the rm when he needed to be with the senators, writing reviewing language and having conversations. he's enormously popular in the state right now and for those senators who are worried saying don't worry, we're all in this together. it makes a difference. he had a message. if new york was going to be the empire state begin, we had to go back to where we onceere. we were the place where the women's rights movement was born, where the gay's rights movement were born. weere leaders on the underground railroad. that a powerful message and he delivered it well. >> charlie: the mayor now says come get married here a we'll get you all the vantages and come a snd time in our
hotels and restaurants and everything else. >> charlie: last week i spoke to group of general managers and consurgeries in the hotels -- concierges in the hotels. >> charlie: in the parade you could see the connection he now has. >> you know, i don't think it would have been more exciting for the crowd if they saw lady gaga back down the of avenue. people were like nothing i ever seen. >> charlie: this is what parade. >> gay pride parade on sunday down fifth avenue. >> charlie: right. >> people were crying when they saw the governor. they were screaming, thank you. there's cuomo. people -- i never felt such unawe -- unadulterated.
>> charlie: how many people in their heart wanted to vote yes but couldn't because they feared the politics. >> you know, i don't know exactly. >> charlie: some. >> yes. i think there were at least four or five other republicans who wanted to vote yes. >> charlie: they looked for a way to say i won't lose if i do. >> right. that's the amazing thing that those senators who do, right. and when they get re-elected which i believe they will, mcdonald and the rest, it will change politics in new york city. >> charlie: what happens if the democratic awe -- opponents say come exaint for me, do you face a hard choice. >> yes but i don't thinkou'll see democratic challenges against those four state senators, i really don't think you're going to. there are a lot of other republicans. no reason to target those four who stood up and did the right thing. i just don't tnk you're going to see it. we need to send a message that
the only way things get done is through bipartisan partnership. that's how u really make chan in government. and the kind of -- >> charlie: for washington as they get through the debt limitation talks. >> for everybody. >> charlie: so where is the budget for energy -- new york . >> we'll vote for it later today. we have on time, balanced, no new taxes and we were able through concessions from t teacher's unit to prevent the lay off of teachers which is very significant. >> charlie: it's a budget of 65, $66 million. >> correct. >> charlie: or the year. and you have to be balanced. >> it's a result of the fiscal crises the city was back in th70's. we're under kiter rules than most city but it's much better. >> charlie: it's coming from education but you told the city, the teacr's ion do wha for
me a i'll make sure what. >> basically we needed over $200 million. >> charlie: coming out of education. >> to prevent the teacher layoffs. and they identified almost 70 million in give backs to the city that helped us prevent that $200 million worth of layoffs. basically we said to them and said it to the other unions too, they didn't stand up. the sometimes are tough to find the revenue from the taxpayers. work with us. >> charlie: meaning no new taxes. >> correct. we still have less renews than we need because of the ongoing impact of the receson. the teacher's union the only union that did it came to the table to make concessions. >> charlie: ho is going to feel the brunt of these cuts. >> some of the cuts in the budget will certainly be felt in different places. we will have layoffs in some other city agencies, not in teacher's yeuntz, thank odness. >> charlie: not in police and fire. >> not in police and fires.
>> charlie: sanitation. >> there were some sanitation layoffs, some in the health labs. there will be reduction in staffing in some of the public libraries throughout the cit there won't be any layoffs in child protective workers but there may be other layoffs in some of our social service agencies in the city as well. all tolled about a thousand to 1500,000offs in the city. they will be scaled back a little bit and people will feel the impact, it jus won't be as devastating as if we had to lay those teachers off. >> charlie: you get along well with the mayor. >> yes. >> charlie: how do you categorize the relationship and yes itroductive. >> i would characterize it as productive. >> charlie: right. >> because it should be. it's productive because that's what the city needs. you know, people ask me sometimes how come you work so well with the mayor. i made a decision six years ago when i got elected speaker that the mayor and i would work well
together and be productive and effective. >> charlie: in other words, do you agree on most things? >> we agree on some things. we disagree on others and we always disagree agreeably. we try to agree and if we can't weweg sent it. >> charlie: how do you describe him. >> he's a good mayor. >> charlie: because. >> he's straightforward, he says what he means, he means what he says and you can work with him. and it's not really ideological in a sense of being unyielding. look, there are some issues like marriage equality, he's a huge supporter. there are some issues that people just care about that are ideological issues. but on most issues, it's about finding the past to make the city better and easier for people's lives. >> charl: so what do you think his accomplishments are specifically? >> i think his greatest accomplishment will have been gettin mayoral control of the public schools. that reform is the most more thing. >> charlie: only if you do something with it. >> and i i think he has.
i think putting principles in a position where they are the leaders of their school, they can make the decisions. they a held accountable for that, i think is a seismic shifted in how our schools work and very very important. >> charlie: you want to be mayor. >> who wouldn't want to be mayor. >> charlie: you expect to have the mayor's support. >> you know, mayor a and i realy haven't had any kind of long term political conversations. what we've been talking about most recently is marriage, not the two of us, that is, but marriage and the budget. who knows what the future will bring. >> charlie: you'd like to have his support. >> you know, i think when you're running for office, whatever office anybody's runng for, whatever office i'm running for you want everybody's support. i'm not there right now. >> charlie: andrew weiner is out the running. >> he'll have to answer that question himself. >> charlie: it looks good for you then. >> you know, um, it was an
amazing week last week. we were able to get marriage achity done, prevent the lalas and the fire houses from closing. there are still sum things in the budget are stuff. there are not as many youth programs libraries may have to layeople off and cutbacks in other programsms everything is gd but nothing's perfect. we sll h havtoo high unemployment in the cit and to be people who don't have a ged and need it. the still work to do. >> charlie: fair enough. if you run, whwhat going to be the narrative for a candidacy by you. >> you know, i don't really know the answer to that question. what i do know is i've been lucky enough to twice been given the job as speaker of the city council. and the great thing about this job is you can get things done the and what i want to do is a t the end of 2013 to be lookack and say the tank is pty.
i ran it ou i did everything i possibly could do inhe areas i care about. if i had done that, d have done a good job. if you do a good job in the job you're in, i believe t sky is always the limit in the next jojob. >> charlie: there is no resistance to a gay city council speaker? >> you know, i have add my fiscal orientation has been a non-issue in my term as >> charlie: and in your political life. >> a non-issue. i think that makekes a differen. it's been a non-issue. it's funny, you ow i was at a senior center once in queen and i heard one lady say to the r that's the speaker. she's gay. she tells people. and the one woman goes really? and then they both went a a and i think that'seally whwh it is is for people, who cares. if far youthoing a od job. >> charlie: if u clean the street. >> if u do a good jobb they don't care. if you keep the schools wking, if you keep people s se, nobody
reallyares. and nor should they. >> charlie: happy mayor is a good mayor. >> thereyou go. [laughter] there you go. >> charlie: thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> charlie: great to see you. and congratulations. >> thank you. captioning sponsored by rose communicaons captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org