tv MSNBC Live MSNBC October 6, 2011 8:00am-9:00am PDT
jobs bill is because people really need help right now. our economy really needs a jolt right now. it is not a game. this is not the time for the usual political gridlock. the problems europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it is already fragile. but this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in europe gets any worse. it will boost economic growth and lit put people back to work. and by the way, this is not just my belief. this is what independent economists have said, not politicians, and not just people in my administration. independent experts who do this for a living and have said this jobs bill will have a significant effect for our economy and for middle class families all across america. what these independent experts have also said is that if we don't act, the opposite will be
true. there will be fewer jobs and there will be weaker growth. as we look towards next week, any senator out there who is thinking about voting against this jobs bill, when it comes up for a vote, needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time for our families and for our businesses. congressional republicans say one of the most important things we can do is cut taxes. then they should love this plan. this jobs bill would cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in america. if you are a small business owner, then hires someone or raises wages, you would get another tax cut. if you hire a veteran, you get a tax cut. right now there is a small business in ohio that does high-tech manufacturing and have been expanding for the past two years and are considering hiring
more and this tax break would encourage them to do it. hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers have been laid off because of state budget costs. this bill has funldsing to put a lot of those men and women back to work. it has funding to prevent a lot more from losing their job. you had a chance to meet a young man named robert. he is an english teacher in boston who came to the white house a few weeks ago. he has two decades of teaching experience and he has a master's degree. he's got an outstanding track record of helping his students make huge gains in reading and writing. the last few years he received three pink slips because of budget cuts. why wouldn't we want to pass a bill that puts somebody like robert back in the classroom teaching our kids? some of you were with me when we
visited a bridge between ohio and kentucky that's been classified as functionally obsolete. that's a fancy way of saying it is -- old and breaking down. you heard about bridges in both states that are falling apart. and that's true all across the country. in maine, there's a bridge that's in such bad shape that pieces of it were literally falling off the other day. meanwhile, we have millions of laid-off construction workers who could right now be busy rebuilding roads. rebuilding bridges. rebuilding schools. this jobs bill gives them a chance to get back to work rebuilding america. why wouldn't we want that to happen? why would you vote against that? the proposals in this bill are not just random investments to creator make more jobs. they are steps we have to take if we want to build an me that lasts.
we want to be automobile to compete with other countries with jobs and restore a sense of security to middle class families. to do that, we have to have educated work sxerers and communication networks. we have to support innovative small businesses and support innova innovative manufacturers. we also have to reiain rein in deficits and live within our means. i ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. some see this as as class warfare and i see it as a simple choice. we can keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, loopholes that lead them to have lower tax rates, in some cases than plumbers and teachers, or we can put teachers and construction workers and veterans back on the job. we can fight to protect tax cuts for folks that don't need them and weren't asking for them or
cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in america. but we can't afford to do both. that's the choice that will be before the senate. there are too many people hurting in this country for us to do nothing. the economy is just too fragile for us to let politics get in the way of action. we have a responsibility. i hope every senator thinks long and hard what's at stake when they cast their vote next week. with that i will take your questions and i will start with ben of the associated press. >> thank you very much, mr. president. i would like to ask you about two matters. federal reserve chairman bernanke warned congress this week the economic recovery is close to faltering. do you agree? on your jobs bill the american people are sick of games and as you mentioned games in your
comments, they want results. wouldn't it be more productive to work with the republicans on a plan that you know could pass congress as opposed to going around the country and talking about your bill and singling out, calling the republicans by name? >> first of all, sbewith respeco the state of the economy, there is no doubt growth has slowed. people were much more optimistic at the beginning of the year. but the combination of a japanese tsunami and the arab spring which drove up gas prices and most prominently europe, i think it has gotten businesses and consumers very nervous. we did not help here in washington with the debt ceiling debacle that took place. a bit of game playing completely unnecessary. completely unprecedented in terms of how we dealt with our responsibilities here in washington. you combine all of that ask there's no doubt the economy is weaker now than it was in the beginning of the year.
and every independent economist who has looked at this question carefully believes that for us to make sure that we are taking on an insurance policy against a possible double-dip recession it is important for us to make sure that we are boosting consumer confidence and putting money into their pockets and cutting taxes where we can for small businesses, and that it makes sense for us to put people back to work doing the work that needs to be done. that's exactly what this jobs bill does. now,ing with respect to working with congress, i think it is fair to say that i have gone out of my way in every instance, sometimes at my own political peril and to the frustration of democrats to work with republicans to find common ground and to move this country forward. in every instance, whether it was during the lame duck session, when we were able to get an agreement on making sure
that the payroll tax was cut in the first place and making sure that unemployment insurance was extended to my constant efforts during the debt ceiling, to try to get what's been called grand bargain in which we had a balanced approach to actually bringing down our deficit and debt in a way that wouldn't hurt our recovery. each time what we have seen is games played, a preference to trying to score political points rather than trying to get something done on the other side. that has been true not just over the last six months, that's been true over the last 2 1/2 years. now, the bottom line is this. our doors are open. and what i have done over the last several weeks is to take the case to the miles an hour people so that they understand what is at stake. it is now up to all of the senators and hopefully all of the members of the house to
explain to their constituencies why they would be opposed to common sense ideas that historically had been supported by democrats and republicans in the past. why would you be opposed to tax cuts for small businesses and tax cuts for american workers? my understanding is that for the last decade, they have been saying we need to lower taxes for folks. why wouldn't we want to do that through this jobs bill? we know that we have roads and bridges and schools that need to be rebuilt. and historically, republicans haven't been opposed to rebuilding roads and bridges. why would you be opposed now? we know that the biggest problem we had in terms of unemployment over the last several months has not been in the private sector. it has been layoffs of teachers and cops and firefighters. we created over 2 million jobs
in the private sector. million jobs this year alone in the private sector. but in the public sector we keep on seeing these layoffs having an adverse effect on economies in states all across the country. why wouldn't we want to make sure those teachers are in the classroom teaching our kids. so here is the bottom line. may expectation and hope is that everybody will vote for this jobs bill because it reflects those ideas that traditionally have been supported by both democrats and republicans. if it turns out that there are republicans who are opposed to this bill, they need to explain to me but more importantly to their constituencies in the american people why they are opposed and what would they do. we know that this jobs bill based on independent analysis could grow the economy almost additional 2%. that could mean an additional 1.9 million jobs.
do they have a plan that would have a similar impact? because if they do i'm happy to hear it. but i haven't heard them offer alternatives that would have that same kind of i am pangt and that's what we need right now. a lot of the problems that this economy is facing are problems that predate the financial crisis. middle class families seeing the wages and incomes flat. despite rising costs for everything from health care to a college education. so folks have been struggling not just for the last three years, they have been struggling for over a decade now. and at a time when so many people are having such a hard time, we have to have an approach, we have to take action, that is big enough to meet the moment.
and what i have heard from republicans as well, we are agreeing to do these trade bills. that's great. i'm in favor of those trade bills. i'm glad they are passing. but that's not going to do enough to deal with the huge problems we have right now with respect to unemployment. you know. we pass patent legislation. that was bipartisan work. i'm thrilled that i was -- we were able to get republicans and democrats to work together on that. but that is a long-term issue for our economic competitiveness. it is not putting americans to work right now. so the bottom line is this. if next week senators have additional ideas that will put people back to work right now and meet the challenges of the current economy, we are happy to consider them. but every idea we put forward are ones that traditionally have been supported by democrats and republicans alike.
and i think it is important for us to have a vote on those ideas because i believe that it is very hard to argue against them. and if mr. mcconnell chooses to vote against it or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, i promise you, we are bogey to ke-- going the kee going and put forward piece by piece each component and each time they are going to have to explain it. why does the -- opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom or giving tax cuts to middle class folks and giving tax cuts to small business es. i think if we don't take action, then we could end up having more significant problems than we have right now. and some of it is simple math. payroll tax cut that we passed is set to expire. the jobs plan includes an extension of the payroll tax
cut. now, if -- that is not extended, then that is over a thousand dollars out of the pockets of the average american family and at a time when they are already feeling a severe pinch. that means they are going to be spending less and that means businesses are going to have less customers. and that's going to have an adverse effect on an economy that is already weaker than it should be. okay. chuck todd. >> thank you, mr. president. before i get to my question, do we assume by how you are talking about the bill in the senate that you are okay with the change and how to pay for it, the surtax, the 5.6% surtax on millionaires? >> we always said that we would be open to a variety of ways to pay for it. we put forward what we thought was a solid approach to paying for the jobs bill itself. keep in mind, though, that what i have always said is that not only do we have to pay for the
jobs bill but we also still have to do more in order to reduce the debt and deficit. so the approach that the senate is taking i'm comfortable with in order to deal with the jobs bill, we are still going to need to reform the tax code to make sure that we are closing loopholes, closing special interest tax breaks, and making sure that the very simple principle p, the buffett rule, millionaires and billionaires are not paying lower taxes than ordinary families. there will be more work to doing with respect to making our tax system fair and just and promoting growth but in terms of the immediate action of getting this jobs bill passed i'm fine with the approach they are taking. >> your powers of purchase situation, during the debt ceiling debate, you asked for the american public to call members of congress and switch boards got jammed. you have done a similar thing while going around the country doing this, talking to members
of congress and there's not the same reaction. you are not seeing, hearing about phones being jammed, talking to one member of congress who told me there is a disillusion that he is concerned about with the public that maybe they just don't believe anything can get done anyway. are you worried about your own powers of purchase situation and maybe that the american public is not listening to you anymore? >> no. what we have seen is the american people respond very enthusiastically to the specific provisions of the jobs bill. they are very skeptical about congress' ability to act now. and that's understandable. the american people are very frustrated. they have been frustrated for a long time. they don't get a sense that folks in this town are looking out for their interests. they get a sense that folks in this town are thinking about their own jobs, that your own careers, their own advancement, their party interests.
and so -- if the question is, chuck are people feeling cynical and frustrated about the prospects of positive action in this city, absolutely. and, you know, i can go out there and make speeches but until they actually see action, some of that cynicism is going to be there. as you said, during the debt ceiling debate, you know, a -- very solid majority, i think -- maybe even higher than 70% agreed with the approach i talked about. balanced approach deficit reduction. and what the american people saw is that congress didn't care. not just what i thought. they didn't care what the american people thought. they had their own agenda. and so if -- if they see that over and over again, that cynicism is not going to be reduced until congress actually proves their cynicism wrong.
by doing something that would actually help the american people. this is a great opportunity to do it. this is a great opportunity to do it. keep in mind, if the american jobs bill passes, we are still going have challenges. we are still going to have to make sure we have the best education system in the world. because that is going to be critical for our long-term competitiveness and creating good solid middle class jobs. we are still going to have to keep investing in basic research and science. we are still going to have to make sure that we do even more on infrastructure. i mean, what's contained in the american jobs bill doesn't cover all of the roads and bridges and infrastructure that needs to be improved around the country. so there -- it is not as if that's going to solve all of our problems but -- it is an important start we know would end up growing the economy and putting hundreds of thousands,
millions of people back to work. at a time they need it the most. it is paid for. i mean the one persuasive argument the republicans previously made against a bill like this is, you know, the deficit is growing and we can't afford it. we can afford it if we are willing to ask people like me to do a little bit more in taxes. we can afford it without affecting our deficit. our proposal is paid for. so that can't be the excuse. so, yes, until they see congress actually putting country ahead of party politics, and partisanship, they are going to be skeptical and doesn't matter how many times i preach to them, this is not a reflection of their lack of faith in the american jobs bill. they haven't seen congress able to come together and act. this is a good opportunity. what we have seen is that they
agree with what we have put forward. now, i -- here is what i will also say is that based on the debt ceiling vote, what they have seen is that the republicans in congress even when the american people agree with me oftentimes will vote against something i'm proposing. so there may be some skepticism that i personally can persuade for republicans to take actions in the interest of the american people. but that's exactly why i need the american people to try to put pressure on them. because, you know, i think justifiably what they have seen is that oftentimes even ideas that you used to be supported by republicans, if i'm proposing them, suddenly republicans forget it and they decide they are against it. jackie.
>> thank you, mr. president. as you travel the country you also take credit for tightening regulation on wall street through the dodd/frank law and your efforts to combat income inequality. there's this movement occupy wall street which is spread from wall street to other cities. they clearly don't think you or republicans have done enough, that you are a part of the problem. are you following this movement? what would you say to the people that are attracted to it? >> obviously i have heard of it. i have seen it on television. i think that it expresses the frustrations of the american people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. huge collateral damage all throughout the country. all across main street. and yet, you are still seeing some of the same folks who acted
irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got news this problem in the first place. yes, i think people are frustrated and, you know, the -- protesters are giving voice to a more broad based frustration about how our financial system works. now keep in mind, i have said before and i will continue to repeat, we have to have a strong effective financial sector in order for us to grow. and i used up a lot of political capital and i've got the dings and bruises to prove it in order to make sure that we prevented a financial meltdown. and that banks stayed afloat. and that was the right thing to do. because had we seen a financial collapse then the damage to the american economy would have been
even worse. but what i have also said is that for us to have a healthy financial system, that requires that banks and other financial institutions compete on the basis of the best service and the best products and the best price and it can't be competing on the basis of hidden fees, deceptive practices, or derivative cocktails nobody understands and that expose the entire economy to enormous risks. that's what dodd/frank was designed to do. it was designed to make sure that we didn't have the necessity of taxpayer bailouts, that we said you know what, we are going to be able to control these situations so that if these guys get into trouble, we can isolate them, quarantine them. and let them fail. it says that we are going to have a consumer watchdog on the
job all the time who will make sure that they are fair -- dealing with customers in a fairway and we are eliminating hidden fees on credit cards and mortgage brokers are going to have to -- actually have to be straight with people about what they are purchasing. and what we have seen over the last year is not only did the financial sector with the republican party and congress fight us every inch of the way, but now you have got these same folks suggesting that we should roll back all of those reforms and go back to the way it was before the crisis. today my understand sing we are going to have a hearing on richard who is my nominee to head up the consumer financial protection bureau. he would be the america's chief consumer watchdog when it comes to financial products.
this is a guy who is well regarded in his home state of ohio. has been the treasurer of ohio, attorney general of ohio. republicans and democrats in ohio all say that he's a serious person who looks out for consumers. he has a good reputation. and republicans have threatened not to confirm him not because of anything he has done but because they want to roll back the whole notion of having a consumer watchdog. you've got republican presidential candidates whose main economic policy proposals is we will get rid of the financial reforms that are designed to prevent the abuses that got us into this mess in the first place. that does not make sense to the american people. they are frustrated by it. and they will continue to be frustrated by it until they get a sense that everybody's playing by the same set of rules. and that you are rewarded for
responsibility and doing the right thing as opposed to gaming the system. so i'm going to be fighting every inch of the way here in washington to make sure that we have a consumer watchdog that's preventing abusive practices by the financial sector. i will be hugely supportive of, you know, banks and financial institutions that are doing the right thing by their customers. we need them to be lending. we need them to be lending more to small businesses. we need them to help do what traditionally banks and financial services are supposed to be doing which is providing businesses and families resources to make productive investments that will actually build the economy. but until the american people see that happening, yes, they are going to continue to express frustrations about what they see as two sets of rules. >> do you think occupy wall street has potential -- tea party movement in 2012? >> you know, what i think is
that the american people understand that not everybody has been following the rules. that wall street is an example of that. that folks who are working hard every single day, getting up and going to the job, loyal to their companies, that that used to be the essence of the american dream. that's how you got ahead. the old fashioned way. and these days a lot of folks who are doing the right thing aren't rewarded and a lot of folks that aren't doing the right thing are rewarded. and that's going to express itself politically in 2012 and beyond until people feel like once again we are getting back to some old fashioned american values in which, you know if you are a banker, then you are making your money by making prudent loans to businesses and
individuals to build plants and equipment and hire workers that are creating goods and products that are building the economy and benefiting everybody. jake tapper. >> thank you, mr. president. just to follow up on jackie's question. one of the reasons why so many of the people at the occupy wall street protests are so angry is because as you say, so many people on wall street did not follow the rules. but your administration hasn't really been very aggressive in prosecuting. i don't think any wall street executives have gone to jail despite the corruption and malfeasance that did take place. i was wondering if you count order that. just as a separate question, as you are watching the controversies play out, i'm wondering if it gives you any pause about the decisionmaking
going on in your administration, some of the e-mails that went out talking about the people of administration of office and budget talking about the budget, e. malt going on with the attorney general saying he didn't know about the details of fast and furious. are you worried at all how your administration is running? >> well, first on the issues of prosecutions on wall street. one of the biggest problems about the collapse of lehman and subsequent financial crisis and subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn't necessarily illegal. it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless. that's exactly why we needed to pass dodd/frank, to prohibit some of the practices.
you know, financial sector is very creative. and there are always -- they are always looking for ways to make money. that's their job. and if there are loopholes and rules that can be bent and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it. so, you know, without commenting on particular prosecution, obviously that's not my job, that's the attorney general's job. you know, i think part of people's frustrations, part of my frustration, was a lot of practices that should not have been allowed weren't necessarily against the loan but had a huge destructive impact. and that's why it was important for us to put in place financial rules that protect the american people from reckless decision making and irresponsible behavior. now, with respect to solyndra and fast and furious, you know, i think -- you know, i have been very clear.
that i have complete confidence in the attorney general holder in how he handles his office. he has been very aggressive in going after gunrunning and cash transactions that are going to these transaction drug cartels in mexico. there has been a lot of cooperation between the united states and mexico on this front. he has indicated he was not aware of what was happening in fast and furious. virtually i was not. i think both he and i would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the united states of america. he's assigned inspector general to look into how exactly this happened. and i have complete confidence in hum and i have a complete confidence in the process to figure out who, in fact, was responsible for that decision and how it got made.
solyndra, a loan guarantee program, that predates me that historically has had support from democrats and republicans as well. and the idea is pretty straightforward. if we are going to be able to compete in the 21st century, then we have got to dominate cutting-edge technologies and dominate cutting edge manufacturing. clean energy is part of that package of technologies of the future that have to be based here in the united states if we are going to be able to succeed. now, the loan guarantee program is designed to meet a particular need in the marketplace which is a lot of these small start-ups can get angel investors and get several million $to get a company going. but it is very hard for them to
then scale up, particularly if these are new cutting-edge technologies. it is hard for them to find private investors and part of what is happening is china and europe, other countries, are putting enormous subsidies into these companies and giving them incentives to move offshoreen if the technology was developed here in the united states, they end up going to china because the chinese government saying we are going to help you get started, we will help you scale up, we will give you low interest loans or no-interest loans. we will give you whatever it takes to get started here. and that's part of the reason why a lot of technologies that developed here, we have now -- solar energy, wind energy, and so what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was close that gap and see let's see if we can help some of those folks locate here and create jobs here in the united states. now, we knew from the start that the loan guarantee program was going to entail risk by
definition. if it was a risk-free proposition, then we wouldn't have to worry about it. but the overall portfolio has been successful. it has allowed us to help companies, for example, start advanced battery manufacturing here in the united states. it helped to create jobs. there were going to be some companies that did not work out, solyndra was one of them. but the process by which the decision was made was on the merits. it was straightforward. and of course will would be debates internally and -- you know, when you are dealing with something as complicated as this. but i have confidence that the decisions were made based on what would be good for the american economy and the american people and putting people back to work. by the way, let me make one last point about this. you know, i -- heard there was a republican member of congress who is engaging in oversight on
this. and despite the fact that all of them in the past have been supportive of this loan guarantee program, he concluded you know what, we can't compete against china when it comes to solar energy. you know what, i don't buy that. i'm not going to surrender to other countries, technological leads, that could end up determining whether or not we are building a strong middle class in this country. and so, you know, we are going to have to keep on pushing hard to make sure that the manufacturing is located here and new businesses are located here and new technologies are developed here. there are going to be times where it doesn't work out. but i'm not going to cave to the competition when they are heavily subsidizing all these industries. >> are you satisfy satisfied with how your administration has
proceeded? >> well, let me say this. the -- the president can't go around saying prosecute somebody. but as a general principle, if somebody is engaged in fraudulent actions, they need to be prosecuted. if they violated laws on the books, they need to be prosecuted. and that's the attorney general's job. and i know that attorney general holder, u.s. attorneys across the country, they take that job very seriously. okay. >> thank you. thank you, mr. president. you just spoke of the need for banks to start lending. you talked earlier about how creative they can be in chasing profit. yet, earlier in the week you said that banks, quote, don't have some inherent right to just, you know, get a certain amount of profit. you also said in the interview you can stop them. how do you plan on stopping them from charging this $5 fee or
whatever the fee is and do you think your government has a right to dictate how much profits american companies make? >> i absolutely do not think that. i was trying to make a broader point. which is that people have been using financial regulation as an excuse to charge consumers more. right? i mean the argument they have made is well, you know what, this hidden fee was prohibitive. so we will find another fee to make up for it. now, they have h that right but it is not a good practice. it is -- it is not -- necessarily fair to consumers. and my main goal is to make sure that we have a consumer watchdog in place who is letting consumers know what fair practices are and making sure that transactions are
transparent. making sure that banks have to compete for customer based on the quality of their service and good prices. now of the -- frustrating thing we have right now is that you've got folks over in congress, republicans, who said that they see their role as eliminating any prohibitions on any practices for financial companies and i think that's part of the frustration of the american people feel. because they have just gone through a period in which they were seeing a bunch of hidden fees, rate hikes that they didn't know about, fine print that they could not understand. that's true for credit cards and true for mortgages. it contributed to overall weakness in the economy. and, yes, i think it is entirely appropriate for the government to have some oversight role to make sure the consumers are
proceed tep protected. banks and any business in america can price their products any way they want. that's how the free market works. as long as there is transparency and accountability. and consumers understand what they are getting and they are going to be -- there are going to be instances policy judgment is made and that, you know what, there are certain practices that just aren't fair. and, you know, that's -- that's how the markets always operated. >> sit staurnding that the protection bureau can't prevent the debit card fees going in place? >> i think that what the consumer finance protection bureau could do is to make sure that consumers understood exactly what they were getting and exactly what was happening, and i think that congress could make determinations with respect to whether or not a certain practice was fair or not.
okay. >> thank you, mr. president. following up on the question about solyndra. the guarantee loan program you talked about was giving out $38 billion in guaranteed loans and promised to save or create 65,000 jobs, green jobs, clean energy. and there have been reports -- that actually only 3500 new jobs have been created in that industry. why is that industry -- has that industry been so slow to on to responding? what do you see forward as it goes forward to respond? >> i think that what has been true historically is that businesses that rely on new technologies, a lot of times it is going to take a while before they get takeoff.
and there are a lot of up front investments that have to be made and research and capital and so forth. lot of barriers for companies that are trying to break in. keep in mind clean energy companies are competing against traditional energy companies. and, you know, traditional energy is still cheaper in a lot of ways. the problem is that it is running out. it is polluting. and we know that demand is going to keep on increasing so that if we don't prepare now, if we don't invest now if we don't get on top of technologies now, we are going to be facing 20 years from now china that -- and india having a billion new drivers on the road, the trend lines in terms of oil prices, coal, et cetera, going up, the impact on the -- around the planet increasing. and we are not just going to be able to start when all heck is
breaking loose and say boy, we better find new energy sources. in the meantime we have to make the investments but -- that makes it more difficult for a lot of the companies to succeed. what's also a problem is, as i said, that other countries are subsidizing these industries much more aggressively than we are. hundreds of billions of dollars, chinese government is pouring into out of the clean energy sector. partly because they are projecting what's going to happen 10, 20 years from now. so look, i have confidence in american businesses and american technology and american scientists and entrepreneurs being able to win that competition. we are not going to be duplicating the kind of system they have in china where they are basically state-run banks giving money to state-run companies. and ignoring losses and
ignoring, you know, bad management. but there is a role to play for us to make sure that these companies can at least have a fighting shot and it does mean there are going to be some that aren't successful and it is going to be an uphill climb for some. and obviously it is very difficult for all companies right now to succeed when the economy is as soft and weak as it is. >> solyndra in particular warned your administration government-backed loan, $500 million, from that company may not be a wise use of taxpayer money. in retrospect do you think your administration -- for solyndra to proceed. >> i will tell you that even for those projects under the loan guarantee program that ended up being successful, there are those in the marketplace who have been doubtful. i mean, there's always going to be a debate about whether this particular approach to this particular technology is going
to be successful or not. and all i can say is that the department of energy made these decisions based on their best judgment about what would make sense. and -- you know, the nature of these programs are going to be ones in which, you know, for every success there may be one that does not work out as well. but that's exactly what the loan guarantee program was designed by congress to do. it was to take bets on these areas where we need to make sure we are maintaining our lead. okay. >> thank you, mr. president. anybody on capitol hill will say that there is no chance that the american jobs act in its current state passes either house. you have been out on the campaign trail banging you a way at them saying pass this bill.
>> right. >> and it begins, sir, to look like you are campaigning and like you are following the harry truman model against the do nothing congress instead of negati negotiating. are you negotiating? will you? >> i'm always open to negotiations. what is also true they need to do something. look, look, the -- bill, i think it is very clear that if members of congress come in and say all right, we want to build infrastructure, here's the way we think we can do it, we want to put construction workers back to work, we've got ideas. i am ready, eager to work with them. they say -- we have this great idea for putting teachers back in the classroom. it is a little different than what you proposed in the jobs bill. i'm ready, eager to work with them. but that's not what we are hearing right now.
what we are hearing is that their big ideas, ones that make sense are ones we are already doing. they have given me a list of -- well, here is the republican job creation ideas. let's pass free trade agreements. it is great we are passing these free trade agreements. we put them forward. i pecks expect bipartisan support. i mean, it is going to be good for the american economy. but it is not going to meet the challenge of 9% unemployment or an economy that's currently weakening. it is not enough. patent reform, very important for a long-term competitiveness. there's nobody out there who actually thinks that that's going to immediately fill the needs of people who are out of work. or strengthen the economy right now. so what i try to do is say here
are the best ideas i have heard. not just from partisans. but from independent economists. these are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. that's what the american people are looking for. and the response from republicans has been no. then haven't given good reason why they are opposed to putting construction workers back on the job or teachers back in the classroom. if you ask them okay, if you are not for that, what are you for? trades already been done. patent reform has been done. what else? the answer we are getting right now is we are going to roll back all these obama regulations. so their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial
protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs? or alternatively, they said we will roll back regulations that make sure we have clean air and clean water. eliminate epa. does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of global economy that are -- that is weakening? with all these forces coming into play? here is a good question. here is a little homework assignment for folks. go ask the republicans what their jobs plan is if they are opposed to the american jobs act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that assessed our jobs plan. these independent xhirss say we
cou -- economists say we can grow the economy as much as 2% and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. i think it would be interesting to have them do a similar ass s assessme assessment. same people. some of the folks, by the way, traditionally worked for republicans, not just democrats. have the economists evaluate what over the next two years the republican jobs plan would do. i will be interested in answering. i think that everybody -- i see some smeshg smirks in the audi because you know it is not going to be real robust. so -- the question that is -- will congress do something? if congress does something, then i can't run against a do-nothing congress. if congress does nothing, then it is notsomething, i can't run against a do nothing congress. if congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them.
i think the american people will run them out of town. because they are frustrated. and they know we need to do something big. and something bold. now, the american people are also concerned about making sure that we have a government that lives within its means, which is why i put forward a plan that would also reduce our deficit and our debt. in a more aggressive way than what the special committees been charged with. folks want to talk about corporate tax reform, i've already said, i'm happy to engage with them on corporate tax reform. i'm happy to engage with them working to see what we can do to streamline and simplify our tax code, eliminate all of the loopholes and eliminate the special interest carveouts and potentially lower rates in the process while raising more revenue. i'm happy to negotiate with them on a whole host of issues, but
right now we've got an emergency. the american people are living that emergency out every single day. they have been for a long time. you know, they are working really hard and if they are not on the job then they are working hard to find a job. and they are losing their homes and their kids are having to drop out of school because they can't afford student loans. and they are putting off visiting a doctor because when they lost their job, they lost their health insurance. they are struggling. and as a consequence, by the way, all of us are struggling, even those who are well off. the irony is that the same folks that the republicans claim to be protecting, the well off, the millionaires and billionaires would be doing better if they would be making more money if ordinary americans had money in their pockets and we're out there feeling more confident about the economy.
that's been the lesson of our history. when folks in the middle and at the bottom are doing well, the folks at the top do even better. >> only leverage we have sir? >> look, we have a democracy. and right now john boehner is the speaker of the house and mitch mcconnell is the republican leader, all i can do is make the best arguments and mobilize the american people so they are responsive. so far they haven't been responsive to not just me but public opinion. we saw that during the debt ceiling vote. but we're just going to keep on making the case. i guess what i'm saying here, bill is, and i've said this when i made my speech at the joint session, the election is 13, 14 months away.
i would love nothing more than to not have to be out there campaigning because we were seeing constructive action here in congress. that's my goal. that's what i'm looking for. but i'm also dealing with republican majority leader who said his number one goal was to beat me. not put americans back to work not grow the economy, not help small businesses expand, but to defeat me. and he's been saying that now for a couple of years. so yeah, i've got to go out and listen to the american people to see if maybe he'll listen to them if he's not listening to me. matt, where's front?
do you agree with admiral mul inz has they have used it as a virtual arm and what if any consequences, including a cut off of aid would you be willing to consider? >> obviously we've been seeing a remarkable transformation of china over the last two decades. and it's helped to lift millions of people out of poverty in china. we have stabilized our relationship with china in a healthy way. but what is also true is that china has been very aggressive in gaming the trading system to its advantage and to the disadvantage of other countries,
particularly the united states. and i have said that publicly but i've also said it privately to chinese leaders. and currency manipulation is one example of it. or at least intervening in the currency markets in ways that have led their currency to be valued lower than the market would normally dictate. that makes their exports cheaper. that makes our exports to them more expensive. so we've seen some improvement, some slight appreciation over the last year, but it's not enough. it's not just currency so. we've also seen, for example, you know, intellectual property, technologies that were created by u.s. companies with a lot of investment, a lot of up front capital, taken, not protected
properly by chinese firms. and we've pushed china on that issue as well. ultimately i think that you kf a win-win trading relationship with china. i'm very pleased we're going to be able to potentially get a trade deal with south korea. but i believe what i think most americans believe, which is, trade is great as long as everybody is playing by the same rules. now, the legislation that is being presented in congress is a -- is an effort to get at that. my main concern and i've expressed this to senator schumer, is whatever tools we put in place, let's make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they are consistent with our international treaties and obligations. i don't want a situation where we're just passing laws that are
symbolic, knowing that they are probably not going to be upheld by the world trade organization, for example, then suddenly u.s. companies are subject to a whole bunch of sanctions. we've got -- i think we've got a strong case to make. but we've got to make sure that we do it in a way that goesing to effective. last point is, my administration has been more aggressive than any in recent years in going after some of these practices. we've brought very aggressive enforcement actions against china for violations, entire case for example where it's been upheld by the world trade organization, they were engaging in unfair trading practices, and that's given companies here in the united states a lot of relief. so my overall goal is i believe u.s. companies, u.s. workers, we can compete with anybody in the world. i think we can make the best products and a huge part of us
winning the future, a huge part of rebuilding this economy on its firm basis that's not just reliant on maxed out credit cards and a housing bubble and financial speculation, but is dependent on us making things and selling things, i am absolutely confident that we can win that competition. but, in order to do it, we have to make sure that we're aggressive in looking out for the interest of american workers and american businesses and that everybody is playing by the same rules and we're not getting getting cheated in the process. that is a term of art so the treasury secretary, i've got to be careful here, it's his job to make those decisions. but it's indisputable that they intervene heavily in the
currency markets and that the r&b, their currency, is lower than it probably would be if they weren't making all of those purchases in the currency markets to keep it lower. with respect to pakistan, i have said that my number one goal is to make sure that al qaeda cannot attack the u.s. homeland and cannot affect u.s. interests around the world. and we have done an outstanding job, i think, in going after directly al qaeda in this border region between pakistan and afghanistan. we could not have been as successful as we have been without the cooperation of the pakist