tv Book Discussion on What Works CSPAN September 6, 2014 2:41am-3:20am EDT
250 years. this is not the right way to tax wealth in this country. if i could rewrite the u.s. tax code -- [laughter] [inaudible] >> take the same tax revenue. increase it. keep it exactly. transformed into a progressive tax that work. in effect would reduce the tax. very little net worth. a huge mortgage and huge debt. and, during to go to mexico. the real problem.
[inaudible] progressive taxes, local method. [inaudible] but it was the same one century ago. they could not do anything. and then sometimes. [inaudible] will we make happen. i think the tax system has to adapt. it may take time. try to make it happen one day. >> i'll is that? >> i'm in. i'm in. [laughter] [applause] >> you know, in on the notion that we have to rewrite our tax code and a state taxes. it's a fundamental question in this country. which do we think deserves more?
is it those who work hard and you are smart, get out there and make something happen or those who were born into right family and other protected by a tax code, generation after generation. they don't even have to work. they get out there and live off what happened a generation before, two generations before, three generations before. we have prided ourselves as a country. people moved it out there and work, people who get out there and make it happen. our tax system has to reflect that same value. it has to reflect the importance of work and people and achieve and people will accomplish over. and i think that's how the system works. [applause] >> we have time for one more
question. i wanted to read a portion of the book to you. see if you want to elaborate. i will read it we're running out of time. i am determined to my fears are determined to do everything i can tell us once again be the country that create a paternity. i believe in what we can do together and what we will do together. now, i imagine some people could probably think of something that you could do. [laughter] [applause] >> not eligible for this question. you weren't born in the united states. what you think? >> i do believe.
i believe in us on days like this. i am learning. people come together to talk about ideas, to talk about two books. "we are talking about in here, an economics, power, but we're also talking about. this is our moment in time for our country and our world of. in a moment in time when we decide who we are as a people and what kind of future rear going to build. as your book shows, it is tough. is an uphill climb. it will not happen naturally. the world will even back out. but what it also shows is that these are not natural forces that make it happen. it is a set of rules by which we
govern ourselves. and here in america wheat, the people, get to decide what to rules are and get our dennis says. this is about concentrated money and power on one side, but it's about our values, voices, and votes on our side. i believe we can fight back and win. i believe it. [applause] [applause] >> the key for doing this.
e-mail in my in box asking if i would like to interview cal thomas as part of printer's row with test. i immediately said yes. in my 20s i disagree with him very very much. of course i did but i kept reading and when you read cal thomas you find yourself months and even years down the road thinking about some things that he wrote. that is the imprint of a gifted thinker and writer. without further ado, cal thomas, your book, "what works," common sense for america focuses on years of tested programs, we don't need to reinvent the wheel, we don't need to reinvent economic stimulation and job growth. we know what works but instead we are stuck in groundhog day, the movie, where the same situation unfolds over and over. in all these years covering washington what would you say are a couple of issues or policies that are the most stuck in groundhog day?
>> let me congratulate you on your maturity. i am reminded by your comments of what mark twain said. i thought my father was an idiot and when i became 21 i was amazed how much he had learned in three years so congratulations for that. i think right off the top there are so many answers to that question but education probably would be at or near the top for me. we spend more on public education in the united states per-capita that at any other time in history and yet all the surveys show we still fall behind much of the rest of the world in important subjects like math and reading and science. i don't care if it is a liberal or conservative idea. if it works and produces the results that the program claims to want to produce than i would be for it and i would like to get away from the left/right republican/democrat business and start focusing on what actually has produced the results. there is a verse in ecclesiastes that says there is nothing new under the sun.
everything you think has been thought before, everything you do has been done before. that is wi-fi use the groundhog day motif. when you get up every day and repeat the same day over and over again with nothing changing that is what washington does. we are paying more and getting less from our government and it is a cycle we need to break. >> you talk on the issue of education and school choice quite a bit in your book in your column. we are sitting in a chicago public school, it is lovely. they just built a nice addition, this is a selective enrollment school. only a fraction of the kids who want to go here can actually go here. we have been talking in illinois and chicago about school choice 3 years. it doesn't seem to get done. we have a charter program but vouchers are so far off of the radar that it is almost impossible. how do you get in a democratically controlled city and state a school choice
program? >> first of all, i take the evidence of school choice, working is available for all who want to observe it. the problem is in this area and especially results don't matter because the teachers unions send money to politicians to keep the status quo. the politicians of course have choice. most of them are well off or well-connected enough they can send their kids to a private school, second or religious school where they believe they will get the best education, that is what president obama does. at least jimmy carter when he was president sent his daughter to a public school and i congratulated him for his consistency. president obama sends his daughters and rightly so because but d.c. public school system is not very good to said well friends, two of the most prestigious private schools in washington. all i am saying is my liberal and democratic friends who sell often talk about fairness and equality ought to offer the same
opportunity especially for poor and minority students who are trapped in a lot of failing schools whose parents want them out, who know that a good education is the key to a successful life. i use the analogy when alabama governor george wallace, stood in the schoolhouse door to keep african-americans out, now a lot of politicians are standing in the schoolhouse door of failed schools trying to keep them in. it is and immortality and something that needs to be broken. people need to rise up. the catholic archdiocese took a survey of parents whose children, mostly minority parents whose children were in public schools and ask them if you had a choice, would you put your child in a catholic school over the public school and the overwhelming percentage chose the path which school. i would say like moses let my people go. >> you, repeated that line when we were on a radio show yesterday and i was hoping -- i am happy to have groundhog day with you.
in your book, you reference a previous book you wrote, blinded by might. it is a point that gets lost a lot in the static of washington. i will read it back to you. in blinded by might i am not calling for retreat from the public square. i ask only for a more realistic view of what the matted things government can achieve and the unlimited power of god's king them. colet and listing in a better army with superior weapons and by the way, isn't it inconsistent for conservatives in one breath to criticize big government and then in another to employ it to enact their agenda? what are some -- that is a very important point. what are some specific policy areas or issues you see in washington where conservatives decry big government but then seek it out? >> take the last administration, president george w. bush inaugurated one of the biggest government programs ever in the
prescription drug benefit. no child left behind. more money for public education. i call this turn to washington as a first resource instead of a last resort, kind of perversion of the 20 third psalm. the government is my keeper, i shall not want, i walk to the valley of the shadow of party, the health and human services department will become certainly with food stamps and payments. john stossel, who is far more libertarian than i am has a wonderful show on fox news channel on the weekends and has written this book, putting somebody else's book, why would you turn to government all the time when government can't even win wars anymore? government does so few things well at some times in cooperation in the private sector but mostly the power of the private sector, the power of the individual lot to be supreme and once were. our constitution in the preamble begins we the people, not you the government is we have a $17 trillion debt, out of control government spending and
regulation, taxes on success and subsidizing failure, we wonder why we are getting less success and more failure. we use to praise the people who succeeded and became wealthy. now we envied them and field entitled to their income. the most amazing turnaround. i feel like had parachuted into another planet from the one i was brought up in. we know the values that work. inspiration followed by motivation followed by perspiration will improve any life. you might not turn out to be a billionaire but you won't be dependent on government. >> you have written many columns on the subject, government spending etc.. what would you consider the most outrageous expense taxpayers fund? >> oh my, golly, that is pretty tough. that should be a multiple choice question with the last line all of the above. it is really hard to say. here is what i am calling for. you are probably not old enough
to remember this the in the 80s ronald reagan appointed the grace commission, j. peter grace was a businessman who wanted to conduct an audit of the federal government. most businesses go through audits, as a weed out waste and fraud and abuse, and the federal government. the only proof of eternal life in washington is a government program and it is true once you create it is impossible to kill, easier to kill dracula's and a government program and the analogy is it good one because both are bloodsucking entities. the whole idea that washington is capable of doing things better than the individual would be an offense to our founders. it was we the people, liberty, personal responsibility and accountability and we are spending all of this money on things to fix things that can't be fixed by government and yet
people like a cult despite the evidence continued to turn to government despite the results that it can't do what we want it to do. that is a general answer but there are a lot of things government ought not to be doing. why is government in housing? why is government in education? i got a good education before the department of education. why do we need the federal government to educate people? can't even educate itself. >> along those lines we saw a proposal from john mccain and some other republicans to grow the the a system. part of that plan includes a voucher program. what do you see as the best solution for the long term care of our veterans? >> we proposed this line glad mccain was listening. about your program is the best way to go. if your va hospital is go, why shouldn't you be able to have a little plastic card and take it to your nearby public or private
hospital and get the care you need. choice works. choice in education, medicine. the obama administration trying to take over the health care of the united states. all you have to do is look at the nhl is in the u. k and see how dysfunctional that is or the va, government run health care. i hope we are not evacuate in. i guess he didn't get the memo to turn off the broadcast devices but anyway, maybe that was the voice of god. >> maybe it was your apps. >> i follow instructions. the individual in the minds of the founders was supreme. nancy pelosi once that you put the democrats back in power and we will drain the swamp. they got the power back and they didn't drain the swamp. the build hot tub. >> what would you have done about the bergdahl the
situation? >> i would not have released five terrorists. for number of reasons. the obvious one that they will return to the battlefield. they already said they are the taliban said this is great encouragement to us and they have encouraged their people to kidnap more americans so we get the rest of them out. there is a lot left to be known, interviews with five of his colleagues, bergdahl's colleagues including his platoon leader, all of them said he deserted, all of them said he was making statements against the war in the united states and willingly walked off. people are making a comparison with the israelis, the number of times they released palestinian prisoners to get one or two is really soldiers back. the big difference is israeli soldiers were doing their duty and in gaza and the west bank israel can keep a better eye on these guys than the united states extending them to cutter
and back to afghanistan. war has consequences. i wouldn't have made the trade but the president used this as cover to fulfil his longstanding promise to close gitmo. i don't think it had anything to do with anything else other than that. >> she was the only soldier left from the afghan and iraq war. do we leave him there? >> we got a guy in mexico right now who supposedly made a wrong turn and has some guns in his car and been languishing in jail, we have a christian pastor in iraq who reportedly has been tortured and imprisoned, this christian woman who they claim was an infidel but she was never a muslim in the first place, just had a baby, they're going to let the baby live to be 6 months old before they hang her. there are two now americans held by the north koreans. are we lining up to trade with them? we can't fix everything. first of all if you go to north
korea, that is evidence that you are an idiot and probably belong in a hospital. who would want to go to north korea for heaven's sake. but we can't fix everything and this has been one of our problems in this sound like a very non conservative position but i remember john kennedy's great inaugural line the united states is willing to pay any price, bear any burden in the cause of defense of liberty. that is great during the cold war but we now have multiple enemies transitioning various countries, and an entirely different approach to warfare. we can't afford to pay any price and the bear any burden. sometimes bad things happen even to good people and we can't fix it. we should have left him. >> in chapter 9 of what works. we point at states that doing a great job solving their own
problems. i notice illinois is not on that list. why isn't it? is there any hope? >> there is 0 wing at juliet prison just for illinois politicians. no political party has a monopoly on morality or ideas. this is why you need to shake things up and i would say the same if the republicans had been in power too long. you get stayed in your ways, you get a sense of entitlement and the temptation of corruption succumbs to everybody in high office at one level or another is there. i have become a political environmentalist, i believe in recycling trash and politicians for the same reason, each left in one place too long begins to admit a foul smell. we are doing them a favor. my favorite line on this side may have mentioned in the book, my late friend george mcgovern, liberal democrat senator from south dakota and he was my
friend, when he got defeated in the reagan landslide in 1980 he hadn't done anything but public service since coming back from world war ii so decided to do some the difference, went to connecticut and boss and in, tried to run it and it went bankrupt, wall street journal called him up and wanted to know what happened and the only line you need to know that explains what happens when people say too long in office george mcgovern said if i knew how difficult it was to run a business on my have voted differently in the senate. there you are. you get out of touch, get free haircuts, free parking, free pension stuff after one or two terms. what is not to like about that. the founders never wanted that to happen. what we have in illinois is will we have a lot better state especially the federal government if you are going to elect the same party, the same people, the same party over and over again you can expect corruption. it is going to happen and it happens here, it happened in new jersey, still does, in new york and parts of california and other states when you have a
1-party control of your state or federal government are going to open yourself up to far more temptation and corruption. >> a book is not just 150 pages of blasting this issue with that issue. you have solutions and solutions for regular people. bring the hammer down on something and people are left after they read it. what can i do about it as a citizen, as a voter and you recommending your books and people to find someone who is trying to make a better life for themselves and to volunteer and offered to help them. talk a little bit about that and what regular people can do. >> reminds me of a song. we were going to get to that. make someone happy. jimmy durant saying it in sleepless in seattle. make one someone happy, make someone the heart you cleaned to. this other line famous you when it comes and goes in a minute. where's the real stuff in life to cling to?
we know what works. i was brought up with the notion you got married before you had children and a partner was somebody in a law firm. std was something similar to what you putting your gas tank to make the car run better. someone asked me once in an interview you are child of the '60s, that would be the 1960s, did you ever buy into the sexual revolution? free love and all that? no. turned out not to be so free after all. what about drugs? no. only legal at the pharmacy. would you feel you missed out on? no, i feel i missed out on things all the time. i didn't get a girl pregnant, didn't dishonor her parents to make some saturday angry at me or at her, didn't get a venereal disease. i'm not bragging, just saying. we know what works, we know what is best in life but especially the culture in the media, trumpet all this other stuff
that contributes to broken lives and a broken society because we are afraid to tell anybody know any more. don't do that. it is not good for you. you might offend some group. you should see the hate mail i got, it is a lot of fun. my favorite one was the one who calls me a moron and misspelled the word. one of my all-time favorites. we have a history. we know what has worked in the past. we don't live in the past but let's learn from the past, update as necessary and move forward and stop this constant bickering with one another which solves nothing. i don't know if i answered your question but i had a good time. >> i don't know if you answered. the jacket of your book has a quote about your book that says you know the old curmudgeonly uncle everyone ignores at holiday time and someone asks him a question a realize he knows what he's talking about? that is cal thomas. that was a quote from jay leno.
would people who know you best describe u.s. curmudgeonly? >> no. i try -- leave it alone. could you let these without the old? no, no. it depends. i am called all kinds of things by tolerant open-minded pro academic freedom liberals but it doesn't matter. i don't care what they call me. name-calling is a way to distract from the argument. i have no political power. i am not running for office. i have no power over anybody's life. i can't even get my own kids to pay attention to me so i am just throwing ideas out and they have a track record of working and they will find they have a better life. it is funny because i remember songs from high school when i thought people, my parents' generation especially, my grandparents were curmudgeonly but going back to your opening line, life is a great teacher. if you don't learn it early you learned eventually and you may
have regrets for not turning in early. one of my messages when i'm doing next week, so i don't -- curmudgeon means stale and angry and taciturn and all these others things. >> i found a better description of view. i went to a source i am sure you rely on often, the zodiac sign. you are a sagittarius. did you know that? >> i knew that. >> this describes you more aptly. the great francs of the sagittarius born is their philosophical, while the and curious nature. these folks seek knowledge and truth and are eager to share their explorations with others. they are optimistic and generous spirit makes them a pleasure to have around. >> i never knew i was that good. that is pretty nice. i prefer another sign. i was born under the sign of
across. >> i figured you didn't follow your zodiac. >> i talked to an editor once. can't remember the guy, the l a syndicate, omar or something like that, sometimes when they don't get them in time i will throw in an old one. i wouldn't put a lot of trust in those things. they are like fortune cookies. will be a tall dark stranger or your income sunday will increase, crazy stuff. >> a few chicago related questions. rahm emanuel is in his first term as mayor. >> hopefully his last. >> you watch him inaction over the years in d.c.. what would you say are his strengths and weaknesses? >> he is a political pugilist. he gets things done. i think that was his great asset to president clinton. i think you get things done better by not being a foul
mouthed individual. people who constantly resort to what we used to call inappropriate language before everything became appropriate, display a kind of moral weakness. persuasion is better than beating up on somebody rhetorically. i think you grow the lesser in what my grandparents used to call lack of breeding when you can't use the king's english to make your point and to try to persuade so i find that kind of intimidation bad in a business or a boss intimidate his or her employees by screaming at them using bad language and i really don't think you need it so that is a great weakness of his but i also think from what i read in washington heat hasn't done a whole lot of anything to curtail the incredible numbers of murders here in chicago.
i read the day 7 people shot in a laundromat of all places and this seems to be a regular occurrence so much that it hardly makes the news anymore or a small item in the newspaper inside so i think that is a real serious problem. people of chicago elected him most of them did so they got to live with him. >> a little more light-hearted some quiz questions. i didn't throw in many broadway musicals but maybe you can sing something as we wrap up. we have the best hot houses in america. we put a lot in our hot dogs but there's one topping that is forbidden in chicago. what is it? >> that is not fair. i may have had maybe two chicago dogs, probably cheese -- >> catch up. >> okay. i am sure the hines people will be upset about that. >> this is really important question because it will determine the future of our relationship. >> did know we had one but i am
looking forward to it. >> cubs or white sox? >> nationals. >> all right, all right. the correct answer was white sox. you are forgiven. >> i love losers. cubs are great. who doesn't love the ball park? wonderful. a the way ballparks are supposed to look, fenway park, wrigley field, great stuff. >> as we close i want to go back to your book and give you a chance to talk about what you hope people take away from it and we have time for audience questions if anybody has something to jump in. >> i hope you take away the book and pay for it because the government needs the tax money. mostly i think we weren't just born today, we are not the first generation to exist on the planet, we didn't just crawled out of a cave, we don't have to inve