tv White House Chronicles PBS September 26, 2010 9:00am-9:30am EDT
>> hello. i'm llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle," which is coming right up. but first, a few thoughts of my own. everybody wants to cut the federal budget. it is duplicative and it cost us too much of our money, so often, too much borrowed money. but where to cut it and what are the irrelevant programs? that gets to be a lot more difficult. all i can think of is little things that we expect the federal government is doing something about, and then we are shocked when we find out that they are not doing something about it. we expected, for example, in the gulf of mexico, that the government had amazing undersea
capacity to shot that well down itself. it does not -- to shut the well down itself. does not. the snake and in the houston rivers and other asian imports, we expect the government to do something about it. likewise, we expect to do something about the cavendish banana that we have eaten all our allies. it is actually a clone. -- all our lives here it is actually a clone. it happened months ago with another banana which is long away. but we think we always have bananas -- the bees are stressed and dying, we hope that the government is studying it. bats are dying, and we hope the government is studying it. these are not trivial. any large disappearance of
species suggests some big trouble on earth. then we come to the huge issue of medicine and research. one school of thought says the pharmaceutical companies will do the best job, and i agree they will do a wonderful job if they can produce a pill. because if you have a pill, you can patent it. if you patent it, you can get royalties off it for a very long time, and that is how the pharmaceutical industry has worked, and it has worked amazingly well for us. but if you fall between the cracks, we expect the national institutes of health, the cdc, centers for disease control, to do something about it. research with chronic fatigue syndrome, which is very little government money. it may get some slightly in the near future, but it does not have a pill possibility, so very
little is happening, and sufferers are so debilitated, so laid out, so deprived of the ability to function, they do not represent a lot to go and beat on the doors of congress or even on the doors of research institutions to make sure the money is invested where it should they. and not diverted. one thing i have seen in every country i live is people ask more of government from this side wall from that side they say they want it smaller, less of it it. i am particularly affected because a friend of mine has lost 20 years of her life from chronic fatigue syndrome. that is just one disease. there are many other diseases in the great archipelago of not undiscovered diseases, but unsupported diseases.
hart, diabetes, aids, etcetera. so when you cut the government, the careful you will not cut something you may need in your own future for your own well- being. i am assembling a wonderful panel today of gifted people to setting of the recessi america, after tomorrow, what the great swing, the great seminal changes that are clearly taking place, which i put under the category of being reset. we will be right back. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. and now your program host, nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king, and co-host linda gasparello.
>> hello again, and thank you so much for coming along. i promised you a great people. some of them are so keen to be on the show, they are already talking. bob franken. i am joined as always by linda gasparello of the show. welcome to the broadcast by bob franken, and this show, and wherever he goes there is some kind of show going on. i am so glad to have for the first time on the show bill press of "the bill press show" on radio. they're nice to have you on the table. back by popular demand, he is helping us out, phil terzian of "the weekly standard," where he is a literary editor. it is a conservative magazine, but it has one of the best book pages in the business.
very well written, as you might expect. a book called (it architect of power: roosevelt and eisenhower in the at american century." not only are they worth reading about, but he has managed to write about them in an elegant way. with the use of elegant language. i talked about resetting the future. where do you see america years out? what sort of similar things today -- let me preface this by -- often seminal things are not seen at the time. the introduction of the internet was seminal, for example. do you see our color, structure, changing? >> i must say after your introduction, america without bananas, bees, or bats are
nis not worth living in. i am getting depressed. i am a proud american and this is a great country, and people take all day thinking about these issues. jeremy leicester, or bob franken. i'm not one of them. as much as an optimist i am, i am not very optimistic about the future of america. i think we are losing our edge, which i do not think bodes well for the future. look at transportation pretty fast as you can get from washington to new york is two hours, 45 minutes. you can make it in an hour if you live in france. not doturing, we do anything anymore. education, we used to have the best schools on the planet and we do not anymore. in many ways i think our golden era has passed, and i'm not sure we will ever get it back. >> let me take issue with some
of your points and come back to it. phil, what do you see? >> i am a lifelong reader of the edge braker pages. >> you have seen me in there? >> i will chuckle momentarily. the fact is that americans are living to be older and older and older, and we are able to, through the miracles of medical research that you described, keep the carcasses dying, not necessarily the brains. the aging of the baby boom generation, the fact that they will be living in fully finance 30,irement for, who knows, 3 40 years, will be an interesting problem. >> i think united states stands in danger of unraveling of the world power that has been a unique world power historically. one of the reasons is -- you
touched on it when you talk about the internet. technology has reduced the importance of nationalities and borders and all of that type of thing. it has not eliminated it, but it has caused the dissidents to rely on patriotism to maintain its belief in itself. your book talks about the american century, which of course is the 20th century. we are now in the 21st century, and there are indications of we are unraveling. we have been unresponsive political system, unless you want to talk about the response to demagoguery, that to a large degree being brought on by television. and sound bite-ism, made worse by the internet. we have begun to lose the concept of trust, which i believe is essential if you are going to have a democracy. we now expect that whenever anybody says to sell us is going
to be -- whatever anybody says they will sell us, -- skepticism to become cynicism. cynicism is when you give up, and i'm worried that the united states is headed in that direction. >> linda? >> the report about the census, about poverty -- i am so worried. prosperity, possibility -- this century says to me a widening gap between the rich and the poor. so many more are port, and a very -- so many more are poor, in a very, very rich top here that will pass those riches on to their heirs, and yet there is going to be much more, that the income gap between the rich and poor is going to become quite structural. i worry about that a lot. >> i do not quite agree with anybody.
when i use my privilege at the head of the table to tell you -- democracy is going to take place at the table now. the fast trains, we will not get that. we have lost that. the fastest get up to 125 miles per hour. our schools at the top are stunning i have had the good fortune to be asked to speak at both mit and harvard and come away thinking everything is possible. these kids are so extraordinarily smart. at the bottom end, of the universe is i have also spoken, these are warehouses for the uneducated. >> there are more of those then there are harvards.
>> but remember, in the great days of most empires, there was very little literacy outside the ruling class, whether it was french, spanish, or british. if you have a century of engineering the world, you have done an amazingly well in engineering. we don't really know what to make of rising other countries, china and india. my expectation is that the world will change radically when one of these countries -- not those countries, but one other somewhere -- accidentally detonated a nuclear weapon, which they have made without the input of the world. at the height of the cold war, russia and america collaborated on nuclear safety. so one of us did not have the weapon to start the world war by accident. this has changed. domestically, we are going to get used to being better at
something because we are not good at everything. which is a big step of adjustment. the british navies, -- the british made it, other countries have made it. we cannot, for example, have troops all over the world because we need bases and refueling stations. there are ways of downsizing, saving money, saving taxes, and producing a good result. the expectation that everybody should have an automobile, that everybody should have a private home, is partially driven by the automobile culture, partly by the factor that people are more secure in their own box, and they live in that box and they go off to another box, according to the box culture. but i think our future is rosy, but it will not be a replay of the best of the 20th century. it is going to be something new. and to miss use a quotation that
came from the energy business, small can be beautiful, less can be more. there was a time when the middle class was defined by the servants is had. we have seen the domestic servant -- trying to cling on. i saw this with the british empire. trying to cling on to that which is gone. it is a great mistake and it is often confused with genuine conservatism, which is not, in my opinion did it is a romantic concept of the past that can be very debilitating in the present if you will not let it go. >> quite a true englishmen. >> i have lived here for most of my adult life. be there is one who could abetted by two years -- what am? of methan you think i
>> i was thinking about your comment about fast trains. the reason france, germany, and britain have fast trains is because of the distance between major cities. >> it is a very large country. >> on the other hand -- >> it may be that they had infrastructure. >> and they had something else, a lot that cost new lands -- when it still had the best of feudalism. it has to be in development, and it is very difficult to put into development a new rail line. >> the point want to make is that the setting sun of journalism is that we overestimate the importance of current events, and when bill is
talking about education, and speaking back to the golden age of america, which i guess was at around just before we all graduate from high school. that time was characterized by ranting and raving about we are throwing behind the soviets in education -- we're falling behind the soviets in education. these arguments are not new. my view is that we have genius for reinventing ourselves and there are these variables. >> so do other countries. can i interrupt you for a moment, to remind our listeners, that today on sirius xm radio, you are listening to "white house chronicle" with myself, llewellyn king, and llinda gasparello, with bob franken of king features, bill press of
"the bill press show," and phil terzian from "the weekly standard." 300 stations across this country, plus globally on the english-language service of the voice of america. you were saying, sir? >> go ahead. >> when you say -- what you say, a lot of this is true. if you go back to history, people complained of politics of its day. the days of thomas jefferson and john adams was a lot uglier. linda touched on this, but when i grew up in the 1950's an 1960's, we had this certainty that our life is going to parents, andn our our kids' lives were going to be better than ours, and in fact it is. in the wealthiest country on our planet, the gap between those who have and do not have as much, is really widening.
these poverty numbers from the census bureau were based on 22,000 of a family of four. i'm sorry, there are families today that have both couples working, making $100,000, and they still do not have money to pay their bills. >> first of all, maybe we have too much of an expectation about what the good life is as opposed to perhaps first pursuing the attic life, number one. do we need, as an example, a $50,000 car, just because it is there? that is the value oadjustment. an extremely important point, when you talk about upward mobility -- upward mobility had been something of an expectation from generation to generation. >> and it has been, throughout the developed world since the second world war. it is not just an american phenomenon. >> but it has also been a reason to exist, something that has
been fuelled on the belief that this is something to strive for. the polls are now showing that more and more people are not believing that they are going to be better off than your parents. i believe that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and becomes negative. one last point that has something to do with what you said, llewellyn, with the superior education at the top. the problem is that this country, particularly its education system, was formerly with the egalitarian idea, unlike the european model, that everybody would have access to an excellent education that would to some degree be a level playing field. what we are finding is that you can get an excellent education, you just have to be able to afford $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year starting in elementary school. >> my idea of the poverty scale, obviously there could be challenged kids that are at the
lower areas, they will not be given that effort. >> tell us about the situation in france. sarkozy is trying to reduce expectations, reduce the public sector. >> it is giving rise in france right now to the old socialists. if elections were held in france tomorrow, sarkozy would be out and old-time socialist would be back in. people want that way of life again. they do not like what he has proposed with retiring at 62. these are, i think, small changes. >> each contract money that is -- >> they are very big things. they really do want the life that they had, which was much more comfortable than thewhat they look for.
unfortunately, changes will be met in france with a lot of strikes as they will met in britain when britain started making the cuts. a lot of strikes will be very debilitating before they -- >> phil, you thought the year setting is basically that we have too much in -- we miss the seminal developments. we do not understand -- i remember reading a tiny thing in "the new york times" about a new kind of cocaine, which was crack. i did not understand it, at a national lab before it was supposedly known. as journalists do not understand very well anything outside the political world, and the political world has decades and it is sometimes irrelevant to what is happening in technology,
science, even public attitude to expectations. these are huge seminal changes. going back to my point, i do not know what should be in the project, but i remember once a colleague of mine was saying -- have you done the private -- jim schlessinger listed 25 major discoveries that simply would not be with us, including era decorative turbine, nuclear power, and of course the internet, without the government. anybody have any idea where the government gets out and the private sector comes in? is there any natural balance? >> competition was supposed to revolutionize education. which it did not. it revolutionized politics. the government funding, you
mention medical research. the problem with that is that there is not only a correlation between funding and results. one of the problems we have in the political world is it is very easy for both parties to make fun of spending $100,000 to do research on cufflinks in mice and so on. well, that could very well -- like rotten she's leaving the penicillin, you do not know the basic research -- like rotten cheese leaving the penicillin, you do not know the basic research. we have been fighting the war on cancer for 30 years now, which not it -- with not as much -- >> we have come a long way. >> we have come a short way. with all the money that has been spent, quite frankly we should have conquered cancer. i'm sorry th, but i believe tha. when you get into the research community, as an example that
really i think is a horrific problem, you get so caught up in the process that progress is opposed to process. the doctors get shoved aside, their egos -- the insurers need to have their egos taking care of. if someone can't compete with a way to get rid of all the extraneous stuff, and perhaps we could have been much more efficient way of doing it. i am scared of the word "efficient." >> two quick things, i spend an of time and the national labs, and i agree. that is not in medicine, but in other things. the other thing, if you paid for something you get more of it. if we paid for a lot of science, eventually we'll get more science. if we do not pay for it, we will
not get more of it. we may get the discovery of penicillin or the kid win the garage -- the kid in the garage who comes up with that marvelous invention. if you're putting a lot of money into the chance of something moving much better -- >> bill, you first. the question about where government comes in, there's certainly an important role for government and for the private sector. part of the presence reason program was to provide no tax on research and development for private industry. that is one way f. submitting no taxes. >> again, i agree, and i want to come back to a phrase they threw out there, which i think is maybe worth shooting down a little bit. for four years, i was jerry brown's policy director in his first run for governor of california. i have a cartoon on the wall of
my office and home that says, and drink california. -- entering california, lower expectations. the other side said, "leaving california, raised expectations." >> it has to be better in california that what you have. schwarzenegger. >> i want to go back to something that bill said from the very beginning, the lack of leadership in some areas. definitely in technology. i was struck by the fact that last year for the first time there were more foreign patents in the united states then u.s. patents. i thought, you know, does that mean we are not making things
anymore? because americans are very e people.ing it takes two years to pay for patents, and that is not really good. you have countries like south korea, which are meeting in patents. they will have a lot of longevity, and they are going to be the leaders of the world. >> linda, our time is not bent but we know when it is over. we thank everybody so much for listening. you can see this program at whitehousechronicle.com. until next time, have a lovely time. do something fun. cheers.
>> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. from washington, d.c., this has been "what house chronicle," a weekly analysis of the news with a sense of humor, featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program may be seen on cable access channels. to view the
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