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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  August 6, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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i'm not sure i would have been that enthusiastic starting on the 6th. and i know this isn't your typical school second day of school. so i want to give a special shoutout to the new seniors, class of 2014. you are aware that you're not finished yet. you know, senior year, that's sometimes tempting. i want you to all to stay focused. you know, over the past couple weeks, i have been. >> happy birthday, mr. president. >> thank you very much. thank you. it was my birthday two days ago. got some singers here. ♪ happy birthday to you
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♪ happy birthday mr. president ♪ happy birthday to you >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you. i'm now 52 and michelle says that i don't look a day over 51. so for the last few weeks, i've been visiting towns all across the country, talking about what we need to do to secure a better bargain for the middle class. a national strategy to make sure that everybody who works hard has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy. and i think people in arizona especially understand the challenges that are out there because you know, for the past 4 1/2 years, together, we fought our way back from a devastating recession that cost millions of
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jobs for americans, a lot of folks lost their homes, a lot of folks lost their savings. and what the recession showed was the long erosion of middle class security that had been taking place for decades. but we fought back. we took on a broken health care system. we took on a housing market that was in free fall. we invested in new technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. we changed a tax code that had become tilted a little bit too much in favor of the wealthiest americans at the expense of working families. we saved the auto industry. we've now got gm that plans to hire 1,000 new workers right next door in chandler to make sure we're building some of the best cars in the world right here in the united states of america. our businesses have created 7.3 million new jobs over the past 41 months.
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we now sell more products made in america to the rest of the world than ever before, our exports are way up. we produce more renewable energy than ever before, more natural gas than anybody else, health care costs have been growing at the slowest rate in 50 years and our deficits are coming down at the fastest rate in 60 years. so we're making progress. so thanks to the efforts of a lot of people like you, we've cleared away the rubble of the financial crisis. we're starting to lay the foundation for more stable, more durable economic growth. but as any middle class family will tell you, we're not yet where we need to be. because even before the crisis hit, we had lived through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by. and reversing this trend should
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be, must be washington's highest priority. it's my highest priority. i want to make sure that in america, it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, you should be able to make it when you try. you should be able to make it. now, unfortunately for the last year or so, we've had an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals that shift focus away from what do we need to do to shore up middle class families and create ladders of opportunity for folks to get into the middle class. and as washington heads towards another budget debate, the stakes could not be higher. and that's why i'm traveling around, laying out my ideas for how we have to build the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class.
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a good job with good wages. a home to call your own. a good education. affordable health care that's there for you when you get sick. a secure retirement even if you're not rich. the opportunity, the ladders of opportunity for people to earn their way into the middle class. to work their way out of poverty. those are the elements that i think all of us believe in, but right now, we're not delivering as much as we should on those promises. now, last tuesday, i went to tennessee to talk about the first cornerstone, which is how do we make sure that we're creating good middle class jobs here in the united states of america. today, i've come to phoenix to talk about the second component, which is the most tangible cornerstone that lies at the heart of the american dream, at
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the heart of middle class life. and that's the chance to own your own home. the chance to own your own home. you got a lot of young people here, you know, who are thinking about college. they're going to get a higher education. they're going to find a job, find somebody they love. they're going to want to own a home. the reason they will is because a home is the ultimate evidence that here in america, hard work pays off. that responsibility is rewarding. you know, i think about my grandparents' generation. when my grandfather served in world war ii, he fought in patten's army. when he got back, this country gave him a chance to go to college on the gi bill, but it also gave him the chance to buy his first home with a loan from the fha. to him and to generations of americans before and since, a home was more than just a house. it was a source of pride and a source of security.
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it was a place to raise kids, to put down roots, a place to -- where you could build up savings for college or to start a business. or to retire with some security. and buying a home required responsibility on everybody's part. you had to save up to buy a home. and then banks were supposed to give you a fair deal with terms you could understand and buyers were supposed to live within their means and headache sure that they could make their payments. so in that earlier generation, houses weren't for flipping around. it wasn't for speculation. houses were to live in. and to build a life with. and unfortunately, over time, responsibility too often gave way to recklessness. you had reckless lenders who sold loans to people they knew couldn't afford them. and let's face it, we also had some reckless buyers who knew they couldn't afford it and still took out loans. and all this created a housing
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bubble. and especially in some places like arizona. it was devastating when that bubble finally burst. triggered a recession. millions of american who are done everything right were hurt badly by the actions of other people. housing prices plummeted. by the time i took office, home values had fallen almost 20% from the year before. new housing starts had fallen nearly 80% from their peak. hundreds of thousands of construction workers had lost their jobs, a record number of people were behind on their mortgage payments. and you know, a lot of people here in phoenix, they saw that devastation. of this was part of ground zero for it the housing bubble bursting. so less than a month after i took office, i came here to arizona and i laid out steps to stabilize the housing market and
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help responsible homeowners get back on their feet. and the truth is, it's been a long slow process. the housing market is so big, that it was going to take some time to heal when it got hurt that badly. it's taken longer than any of us would like. but during that time, we helped millions of americans save an average of $3,000 each year by refinancing at lower rates. we helped millions of responsible homeowners stay in their homes. which was go good for their neighbors because you don't want a bunch of foreclosure signs in your neighborhood. where congress wouldn't act, we went ahead and acted so over the past few years, we have the department of justice stand up for buyers who had been discriminated against or couldn't by predatory lending and we won a settlement that gave more money to victims of discrimination in one year than in the previous 23 years combined. we worked with states to force
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big banks -- we worked with states to force big banks to repay more than $50 billion to more than 1.5 million families, largest lending settlement in history. [ applause ] we extended the time that folks who had lost their jobs would delay their payment on their mortgages while they kept looking for work. we cracked down on the bad practices that led the crisis -- led to the crisis in the first place. i mean, you had some loans back during the bubble that were called liar's loans. now, something's called a liar's loan is probably a bad idea. so because of all these actions we've been taking, our housing market is beginning to heal. home prices are rising at the fastest pace in seven years. sales are up nearly 50%. construction is up nearly 75%. new foreclosures are down by
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nearly two-thirds. millions of families have been able to come up for air. they're no longer underwater on their mortgages. and just like the crisis hit phoenix very hard, hanks to some great leadership here locally, phoenix is also led one of the biggest comebacks in the country. so you should be proud of what you've done here. home prices in phoenix have risen by nearly 20% over the last year. new home sales are up by more than 25%. this morning, right before i came here, i visited erickson construction. weigh got some erickson folks here. and they were explaining how right when the bubble hit, erickson shrank to less than 100 workers. today, they're employing 580 people and they're hiring even
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more people because the housing market's bouncing back. so that's one of the things about housing. it's not just important for the person who owns the house. our economy is so impacted by everything that happens in housing. consumers feel better when their home values are in a better place. so they're more willing to spend. a lot of people who want to start a business, their savings may be locked up in their house. construction workers, is contractors, suppliers, carpet makers, all these folks are impacted by the housing industry. so we've made progress and that's helped to move the economy forward. but we've got to build on this progress. we're not where we feed to be yet. we've got to give more hard working americans the cannes to buy their first home. we have to help -- we have to help more responsible homeowners
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refinance their mortgages because a lot of them still had a spread between the rates they're paying right now on their mortgage and what they could be getting if they were able to refinance. and we've got to turn the page on this kind of bubble and bust mentality that helped to create this mess in the first place. we've got build a housing system that is durable and fair and rewards responsibility for generations to come. that's what we've got to do. [ applause ] so i've already put forward a bunch of ideas that will help to accomplish that. and you know, look, the fact of the matter is congress hasn't acted on all of them so i'd like you to encourage congress to take some of these actions. but like the other actions that we've taken it, these will not help the neighbors down the street who bought a house that they couldn't afford. and then walked away from it and
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left a foreclosed home behind. we don't want to help speculator who's bought multiple homes just to make a quick buck. what we want to do is put forward ideas that will help millions of responsible middle class homeowners who still need relief and we want to help hard working american who's dream of owning their own home fair and square have a down payment, are willing to make those payments understand that owning a home requires responsibility. and there are some immediate actions we could take right now that would help on that front that would make a difference. so let me just list a couple of them. number one, congress should pass a good bipartisan idea to allow every homeowner the chance to save thousands a dollar a year by refinancing their mortgage at today's rates. we need to get that done. we've been talking about it for a year and a half, two years, three years. there's no reason not to do it.
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steb number two, now that we've made it harder for reckless buyers to buy homes that they can't condition afford, let's make it a little bit easier for qualified buyers to buy the homes that they can afford. so shaun donovan has been working with the finance industry to make sure we're simplifying overlapping regulations, we're cutting red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage but keep getting rejected by the banks. we need to give well qualified american who's lost their jobs during the crisis a fair chance to get a loan if they've worked hard to repair their credit. and step three is something that you don't always hear about when it comes to the housing market. and that is fixing our broken immigration system. it will actually help our housing market an.
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it's pretty simple. when more people buy homes and play by the rules, are home values go up for everybody. and according to one recent study, the average homeowner has already seen the value of their home boosted by thousands of dollars just because of immigration and the good news is with the help of your senators, john mccain and jeff flake, the senate has already passed a bipartisan immigration bill. it's got the support of ceos and labor and law enforcement. this could help home ownership here. so i want you to encourage republicans in the house of representatives to stop dragging their feet. let's go ahead and get this done. step number four. we should address the uneven recovery by rebuilding the communities hit the hardest by the housing crisis including many right here in arizona. let's put construction workers back to work repairing rundown
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homes, tearing down vacate properties so that the value of homes in those surrounding areas start picking up. we can put people to work right now and improve the remaining housing stock that's out there. places that are facing a longer road back from the crisis should have the country's help to get back on their feet. step five. we should make sure families that will don't want to buy a home or can't yet afford to buy one still have a decent place to rent. you know, we -- it's important for us, it's important are for us to encourage home ownership but a lot of people rent and there's nothing wrong with renting. we've got make sure that we are creating affordable opportunities when it comes to rental properties. in the run-up to the crisis, banks and governments too often made everybody feel like they had to own a home even if they
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weren't ready and didn't have the payments. that's a mistake we should not repeat. instead, let's invest in affordable respectal housing. let's bring together cities and states to address local barriers that drive up rents for working families. so if we help more americans refinance their homes, if we help qualified families get a mortgage, we reform our immigration system, we rebuild the hardest hit communities, we make sure that folks have a decent place to rent if they're not yet able to buy, all these steps will give more middle class families the chance to either buy their own home now or eventually buy their own home. it's going to give more relief to responsible homeowners. it gives more options to families who aren't yet red can i to buy. all ta is going to improve the housing market and will improve
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the economy. about you, and the last key point i want to make, as home prices rise, we can't just reinflate another housing bubble. i mean, i hope everybody here in arizona learned some hard lessons from what happened. housing prices generally don't just keep on going up forever at the kind of pace it was going up. it was crazy. so what we want to do is something stable and steady. and that's why i want to lay a rock solid foundation and make sure the kind of crisis we went through the never happens again. we've got make sure it doesn't happen again. and one of the key things to make sure it doesn't happen again is to wind down these companies that are not really government but not really private sector. they're known as freddie mac and fannie mae. you know, for too long, these companies were allowed to make
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huge profits buying mortgages, knowing that if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. it was heads we win, tails you lose. and it was wrong. and along with what happened on wall street, it helped to inflate this bubble in a way that ultimately killed main street. so the good news is right now, there's a bipartisan group of senators working to end fan i and fred i as we know them and i support these kinds of reform efforts and they're following four core principles for what i believe this reform should look like. first, private capital should take a bigger role in the mortgage market. i know that sounds confusing to folks who call me a socialist. i think i saw some posters there on the way in. but i actually believe in the free market and just like the health care law that we put in place, obama care which -- which
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by the way, which by the way if you don't have health insurance or you're buying it at exorbitant rates on the individual market starting on october 1st, you can join a marketplace and be part of a pool that gives you much lower premiums, saves you a lot of money. but in the same way that what we did with health care was to set up clear rules with insurance companies to protect consumers,ings make it more affordable but still built on the private marketplace, i believe that our housing system should operate where there's a limited government role and private lending should be the backbone of the housing market. and that includes by the way, community-based lender who's view their borrors not just as a number but as a neighbor. that's one principle. a second principle is, we can't leave taxpayers on the hook for irresponsibility or bad decisions by some of these
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lenders orphan i may -- like fa mae or freddie mac. we've got to encourage the pursuit of profit but the era of expecting a bailout after you pursue your profit and you don't manage your risk well, well, that puts the whole country at risk. we're ending those days. we're not going to do that anymore. third principle is we should preserve access to safe and simple mortgage products like the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. that's something families should be able to rely on when they're making the most important purchase of their lives. number four, we've got to keep housing affordable for first time buyers like all these young people. when they're ready to buy a house, we've got make sure it's affordable. families working to climb their way in the middle class, we've got to do what we can to make
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housing affordable. that means we've got to strengthen the fha so it gives today's families the same kind of chance it gave my grandparents to buy a home and it preserves those rungs on the ladder of opportunity. and we've got to the support, as i said, affordable rental housing and by the way, we've got to keep up our fight against homelessness. the mayor of phoenix has been doing a great job here in phoenix on that front. we've got to continue to improve it. now, since i took office, we helped bring one in four homeless veterans off the streets. we should be proud of that. here in phoenix, thanks to the hard work of everyone from mayor stand to the local united way to us airways, you're on track to end chronic homelessness for veterans, period, by 2014.
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but we've got to keep going because nobody in america and certainly no veteran should be left to live on the streets. so here's the bottom line. put all these principles together. that's going to protect our entire economy. and it will improve the housing market not just here in phoenix but throughout the state and throughout the country. we're also going to need to make sure though that we're protecting individual home owns. we've got give them the tools that they can protect themselves. so we've got a consumer finance protection bureau that we created. and it's laying down new rules of the road that everybody can count on when they're shopping for a mortgage. they're designing a new simple
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mortgage form that will be in plain english so you can actually read it without a lawyer. although you may still want a lawyer, obviously. i'm not saying you don't -- i'm just saying you'll be able to read it. there won't be a lot of fine print. that way you know before you owe. and -- you know, the senate finally confirmed richard cordray as the head of this -- head watchdog for the cfpb. so he's out there aggressively protecting consumers and homeowners. now, when it comes to some of the other leaders we need to look out for the american people, the senate still has a job to do. months ago i nominated a man named mel watt to be our nation's top housing regulator. he is an outstanding member of congress and during that time he's on the housing committee, worked with banks, worked with borrowers to protect preserve
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consumers to help responsible lenders provide credit. he is the right person for the job. congress and the senate should give his nomination an up or down vote without any more obstruction or delay. we don't have time for those kinds of games. so i want to be honest with you, no program or policy is going to solve all the problems in a multitrillion dollar housing market. the housing bubble went up so high, that the heights it reaped before it burst were so unsustainable, that we knew it was going to take some time for us to fully recover. but if we take the steps that i talked about today, then i know we will restore not just our home values but also our common values. we'll make owning a home a
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symbol of responsibility. not speculation. a source of security for generations to come just like it was for my grandparents. i want it to be just like that for all the young people who are here today and their children and their grandchildren. and if we stay focused on middle class security and opportunities to go the into the middle class, if we take the strategy that i'm laying out for the entire economy for jobs and housing and education, health care, retirement, creating ladders of opportunity, then we will secure that better bargain for all americans. where hard work is once again rewarded with a shot at a middle class life, which means more americans will know the pride of that first paycheck. more americans will know the satisfaction of flipping the sign to open on their own business. more americans will know the joy
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of scratching the child's height on the door of their new home with pencil, of course. we can do all this if we work together. and it won't be easy, but you if we take just a few bold steps and if washington will just end the gridlock, set an slide the slash and burn partisanship, actually try to solve problems instead of scoring political points, our economy will grow stronger a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, and as long as i've got the privilege to serve as your president, that's what i'm going to be fighting for. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. >> we've been watching the president speaking at desert vis tas high school in phoenix, arizona. marking the. >> john: going recovery of the united states' housing market. but also arguing that much more could be done to stabilize the sector. he referred to the parade of
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distractions that have marked the year in washington and urged congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform not only for those undocumented immigrants, but also for the good of the economy. and we're joined to you by my msnbc chris matthews host, of course, of "hardball." chris, the president seems to be focusing not on the great society, but on the individual units in a great society. and they are people who need jobs and need a home. >> well, of course, you know, all we've been able to figure what caused the financial crisis was housing. housing, housing. the balloon he talked about, the fact that the prices went up so high that nobody wanted to buy the properties. people couldn't pay their mortgages. that will people ended up abandoning their homes because their mortgages were so much more higher in price than the value of the home. they ended up running away from them. it was the worst thing in the world. everybody said till that had
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been solved, the economy was not going to come back. you've been hearing it has been solved. i think he wants to be part of making it go faster. housing was the source of the collapse. i think he's trying to make it the happy warrior of bringing back the economy. >> absolutely. now, the president pressed congress saying that for most of this year, there's been, and i'm quoting him, an endless parade of distractions, political posturing, and phony scandals. but there's also been obstruction to any kind of economic proposal that he's made. so do the positive signs for the economy, chris, support his plea for greater action or do republicans simply sit back and say, well, things are getting better regardless of government policy? >> i would ask a sharper question. i can tell from the tone of your voice you don't like the way they've been behaving. you're assuming they want things to get better. i'm not sure they're not helping to have a win-win this fall where they slow down the economy
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by having government shutdown causing uncertainty and then make -- then default on federal payments come november, december in terms of the debt ceiling causing a complete economic collapse in terms of economic security in this country. and they helped bring about a failure of the recovery, a failure of government and run next year saying they will pick up the pieces. i don't put it past them. that scenario is not hard to imagine. >> chris, you really believe that they would rather ordinary americans suffer the economy sputter out in order to win elections? >> was that a rhetorical question? >> yes. >> okay. yes. and i think what they're trying to do is make this presidency a failure. they want it to fail. they use words like disaster. they want to say it was a disaster. they've been wanting to say that for all these five years almost now. and that's what they want to do. i'm not saying that this is the handiwork for the speaker of the house. i think he's lifeless.
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i don't think he has any control over the levers of power in the capitol anymore. the president needs a partner. he doesn't have one. who does he have as a partner? eric cantor he's young cassius lean and hungry look waiting to get the speakership. larry mccarthy probably the same way. nobody wants to lead. the biggest leader of the republican party right now is the loudest voice perhaps self-medicated voice at the next tea party. that voice that yells at the guy and says you cut a deal with obama, that's who they're afraid of. that's the real speaker of the house. the loud voice. you get all kinds of tape showing this. that person who says tree on is what they're afraid of. not afraid of general elections anymore. the gerry mandering takes care of that. even in kentucky they're afraid of. that's who is running the party, the loudest voice in the tea party. >> disgraceful. we were all watching today fur a tarmac moment after governor jan
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brewer obviously rudely and notoriously wagged her fink at the president last year. it seems she has learned manners in 1 months. that's rather encouraging, isn't it? >> i suppose. what i thought was interesting in reading the applause meter, we're waiting to see where the crowd reacts. i'm sure they will have whips getting people to applaud certain things. so a technical policy things. but the real plauz buildup at the end and they said we're tired of this endless gridlock this constant cheap scoring of points and i think that's -- i know this is odd to say this, a truly bipartisan sentiment. i think moderate republicans watching now, even centrist consecutivatives would like to see something working together. the only popular picture from the last presidential election was governor christie and the president walking together on the beach. that was the only good news in that entire campaign.
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people want to see their parents stop arguing upstairs. they want to stop hearing the arguments and start hearing them get along. they want to hear mommy which is ling or singing. they want to hear a political home in this country that's happy again. they're tired of it. i know there's a conflict in their thinking. real conservatives want it their way. real liberals want it their way. they'd like to see true more positive politics. i think poor jane bahner is incapable of it. i don't know whether the president bears a share of the problem. a small share, but maybe some. maybe he's just too stand offish. there are things i can say he hasn't done. if he had done a little more, i don't think it would have made much difference. >> chris matthews, we're going to let you get back to preparing for "hardball." we'll watch at 5:00 and 7:00 on msnbc. coming up, the president weaved the national immigration debate neatly into his speech today.
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help protect your eye health. and now there's ocuvite eye + multi. an eye vitamin and multivitamin in one. >> the something you don't always hear about when it comes to the housing market. and that is fixing our broken immigration system. it would actually help our housing market. when more people buy homes and play by the rules, home values go up for everybody. >> that was the president just moments ago linking his housing proposals to immigration reform. a top legislative priority for his second term. i want to bring in now our panel in washington is msnbc contributor and the president of voter latin tino maria teresa kumar in, philadelphia is professor james peterson of he lie university and in washington is contributor jared ber steen, senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities and a former advisor to vice president joe biden. i'm going to, jared, if i can
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start with you. we'll get to immigration in a moment. but you heard the president say that he wants to begin with winding down the companies known as fannie mae and freddie mac. he said for too long, these companies were allowed to make big profits buying mortgages knowing if their bets went bad, taxpayers would be left holding the bag. did that surprise you, jared? >> no, i know that that's where the president and his housing team have been at for a while. by the way, just full disclosure, i used to be a member of that housing team a few years ago. it was very important for the government sponsored enterprises, that's fannie and freddie to grow to the size they did when private capital was absent the market. but private capital's been slowly flowing back in. there needs to be a balance where we take down fannie and freddie's role in the market and bring up the private capital role. but to me the critical thing he said in that part of the speech was that he still sees a role, a measured role, a role behind the private sector for a government
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back stop to support a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. that's a key distinction because there are those who would say no, we should just get the government completely out of the housing business. i think that would be pretty destructive. i thought he set forth a good balance there. >> jared, it's also critical for those with lower incomes because in the private market, it can be more difficult to get and raise mortgages whereas i thought that fannie mae and freddie mac were actually crucial to get people on the first step of property ownership. >> absolutely true. another reason why you want to make sure that the government role in the housing marketing is much like the one the president described today. and by the way, when you're talking about lower income people, i think more there about the federal housing administration, did the fha. historically krk the fha has done a very important job in precisely the space you just mentioned, giving low income people an access to the housing market and that, too, needs to be part of the mix going
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forward. >> maria teresa, the president made the case this afternoon that immigration reform and an expansion of legal immigration would stimulate the housing market. what did you make of his argument? >> first of all, the fact at that time crowd went wild. let's be honest and let's be straight. the fact that he's in arizona where you have 400,000 unregistered latino voters, there's a reason why he made that stop. the fact he talked about immigration weaving it into the idea of property home ownership is a big deal because the average immigrant is roughly 25, 26 years old about to start a family. they want to invest in their local community and going to be part of that american dream. but what i found really curious about this conversation he emphasized the idea of reasonable rental rates. when you're talking about a middle class whose credit score was wiped out in the last ten years because they were former homeowners, threw need to be able to access affordable rentals now. they may not be able to jump back in the market just yet.
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i applaud him that he talked about that so clearly. >> professor peterson, presumably the president was emphasizing the rental sector because of his concerns about this widening inequality in our society and somehow people who have done very well in the economy can buy whatever they like but if we allow the rental sector simply to pay no attention whatsoever to the rental sector, all we have is that disparity of wealth increasing >> that's exactly right. there's a lot of i think interesting things and interesting intersections in the speech. it kols at the right time because the housing price index we know has been up some 12% across 20 cities. the mortgage delinquency rate has dropped. we saw reporting on that recently has gotten some of its lowest rates. that's good for low income folk. the president has taken this opportunity to get us to think about homelessness, about immigration and to remember that renting is a big piece of this picture, not only because it's a transitory step between home
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ownership and lower income economic families but also because when we reenvision the new housing market not built on speculation, this is tough talk to the folk in arizona. arizona, nevada and florida are the states that drove speculation in the housing market faster than other states. so he's speaking to the state and those folk who were part of the problem. he's saying we have to change our conceptualization of this housing market. it's got to be about security and less about speculation and rental properties and having access to rent is an important part of that. there is still a problem with homelessness. i felt there were a lot of important pieces that intersected in this speech. >> professor, teresa, and jared thank you so much. we'll have much more ahead. [ male announcer ] what?! investors could lose
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u.s. officials confirm to nbc news a libyan man has been charged for his role in last year's attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. that attack left four americans dead, including ambassador christopher stevens. officials describe him as the founder of a libyan extremist group and that he played a significant personal role in the attack. he's also the first person known to be charged in connected with that horrific attack in benghazi. coming up, a member of congress helps us mark a historic anniversary. [ dad ] so i walked into that dealer's office and you know what i walked out with? [ slurps ] [ dad ] a new passat. [ dad ] 0% apr. 60 months. done and done. [ dad ] in that driveway, is a german-engineered piece of awesome. that i got for 0% apr. good one, dad.
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today is the anniversary. >> 48 years since the voting rights act was signed into law
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by president johnson on august 6th, 1965. one present to witness ot signing was rosa parks, a 52 yield sem tres who ten years earlier had refused to give up her seat on a bus in alabama. miss parks is a singular example of how many obstacles had to be overcome for african-americans to win their right to vote. she was forced to take a qualifying test, not once but three times because of the intent of discrimination. and then when she passed, the next obstacle was a poll tax of $1.50. it didn't seem like much, but black voters were required to pay it retrospectively. so rosa parks had to pay $16.50. something that she said was a considerable amount of money. it's hardly surprising that this nation's first african-american president should pay homage to rosa parks last year when he went and sat inside the very bus
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in which that remarkable woman had refused to give up her seat. even as the right to protect the right to vote continues. almost 50 years after the voting rights act was signed into law. and i'm delighted to say that joining us now is elijah cummings of maryland. good afternoon, sir. >> good afternoon, martin. >> is the legacy over or will congress eventually honor the fight of miss parks and so many others? >> i believe that congress will. i was more pessimistic a few weeks ago, but i've seen the movement of people like john lewis, congressman louis, congressman sensenbrenner from the republican side, my good friend the whip, mr. clyburn and others who are coming together and others on the senate side coming together to do what the supreme court said must be done. and that is to come up with a
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new formula and backing for it for that seconds 4 that they found unconstitutional. let me say this. you talked about rosa parks, martin. she took along with martin luther king and many others, took a moment and turned it into a movement. i'm so afraid right now with that shelby case in the supreme court, i think they pushed us back a good distance because we saw last year during the presidential election, we saw one of the greatest efforts to stop people from voting, people of color, students. >> congressman, you don't need to go back to last year, sir. look at north carolina ood. look at texas today. >> that's exactly right. i mean, we need a voting rights act more today than ever because we see -- it's quite intentional. as soon as this decision was made, these folks came out and said look, we're going to try to
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do now things that might have been prevented had the supreme court not done what it just recently did. and applaud the attorney general. i just don't think, martin, that people are going to allow our democracy to go backwards. i mean, a lot of people thought with the last election that people would stay home or they'd be very, you know, upset and they would you know give up. but what happened is they took a negative and turned it into a positive and that's why president obama is president today. >> yes. now, the president has just been in arizona speaking. and arizona's trent franks whom heritage action scores as the house's most conservative member, told politico last month it's wise, it's wise for the gop to stay silent on the voting rights act. >> i think that's very unfortunate. >> isn't it that sort of thinking hurting that party's future prospects? >> i certainly do. we are supposed to as
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congressmen to uphold the constitution. and let me tell you, the develop fiber of our constitution is that right to vote. not some privilege for a few. but for all of us. and so i'm very disappointed in that statement. but again, this is a moment that we've got to do what rosa parks did and turn it into a movement to reverse what the supreme court has done. >> indeed. now, the president spoke about stagnant wages in this country earlier this hour. you are back home on august recess. you're hearing from your constituents. don't today's wages speak to the need for an increase in the minimum wage, expanding the earned income tax credit, securing more affordable health care and upgrading the national infrastructure so that this vast disparity of wealth that we've just seen take off may be reduced and we may come together as it were? >> i could not agree with you more. my constituents many of them
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have lost their jobs. and many of them who are working are working two or three jobs because they're not making the minimum wage. and some kind of way, woo we have got to help people stay in the middle class and some of them get back into the middle class and stay there. and the only way we're going to be able to do it is do things like increasing the minimum wage and addressing the tax issues that you just mentioned. i was pleased with the president's speech. he spoke of us solving problems as opposed to scoring political points. martin, we in the congress a lot of time spent by republican colleagues making political points. when we're not doing for our constituents. >> congressman elijah cummings, thank you for not mingsing the name of darrell issa and for contributing this afternoon. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. throu. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin® because it starts working faster
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actually, he's on his way to los angeles for an appearance on the "tonight show." thank you so much tore watching this afternoon. a reminder you can find our segments including today's edition of top lines at our website. for now, chris matthews and "hardball" is next. >> reince priebus declares can war again. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. reince priebus is on the warpath again. the rnc chairman who has made bones trying to suppress african-americans now is planning to suppress free media. having waged war on the 15th amendment, he's now batting down the match of hatchs on a free press. his plan is to take con


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