tv After Words with Don Watkins CSPAN June 3, 2016 11:53pm-12:52am EDT
basically don't know because you have been locked up for his whole life. what is the impact that those letters have on your journey? >> guest: they were very impactful. it laid a foundation for me turning my life around and for me being able to see myself from a different perspective. a letter from my son really was just about, that was a the spark for me to find my pathway to find my authentic self and really move forward in a way that honored my existence on the earth but also honor my role as a father and somebody who young men in the immunity was looking up to. >> host: do also get credit for part of your journey and my
favorite character was your dad. you are also one of my favorite characters and then there is at the knee. what role did she play? >> guest: ebony and i met in 2006 toward the end of my sentence. i had two years before i was up for parole. we became really really good friends. a supersmart dutiful woman. at the time everybody thought she was crazy for exploring a relationship with me given that i was incarcerated and i was incarcerated for second-degree murder. here is this beautiful model looking recent -- recent doctor graduate and she falls in love or as we say grows in love with
me while i'm still struggling to get out of prison. we ended up establishing a wonderful friendship that endures to this day. we just celebrated connecting with each other 10 years ago. >> host: congratulations. >> guest: thank you. today she is the mother of my child and hands down one of my best friends. actually she is my best friend in the world but a super courageous woman, very smart, cares about real issues and works extremely hard to change the world and i'm proud to have her as the mother of my child and my best friend and somebody who i love dearly. >> host: i love that phrase. you said it wasn't so much falling in love but growing in love. >> guest: yeah. she taught me how to love in a different way. she was that missing piece of the puzzle and someone who could
help me unpack it some of the hardness of prison life. she was a safe place to land once she came into my life. >> host: so eventually 19 years later you are released. what was it like to leave risen after 19 years to walk out of that jail? what did that feel like? >> guest: i walked out of prison june 22, 2010 which is one day after my 30th birthday. that point i had served half of my life in prison in half out. it was beautiful but it was beautifully scary. i came up through very different world. it was like walking through an episode of the jetsons. people were skyping and cell phone knowledge he and the internet.
the internet didn't exist one or two prison. basically was a thing that was just getting started. i came up through a different reality than the ones i left. the reason i said it was beautifully scary is because while i absolutely love walking out of prison i realized that we were in a lot of trouble because the men and women coming home were not prepared for their reintroduction to the world. i had to learn a whole lot of stuff relatively quickly. fortunately i'm a relatively smart person but the scary part about it is that i know a lot of the men and women who are incarcerated have third rate reading and math skills. that's a scary thing when we
think that we are not prepared for life out of prison. that's one of the reasons. >> host: just to correct one thing you said pretty city were relatively smart person. you are a really and man and anyone reading the book not just intellectually but also spiritually, to evolve in a way that you have. one concern that some people reformists have as we spend a lot of time thinking about nonviolent drug crimes and a lot of people are on board with treating those folks differently. a lot of these ideas about ways of seeing things differently also apply to people who are at risk for violence and people who have committed violent crimes and even murder. >> guest: yeah. i mean here's the thing, politicianfor decades this
>> if you end up in prison chances are you may have to resort to violence in order to survive that experience. to me we have been doing this for so long that to me it is no longer relevant excuse. i think we need to be honest about what is happening. we are we are coming home, we are getting out, we can do something to ensure that no matter what you've convicted of if you get out of prison, when you get out, that you that you can get out successfully and transition into a the healthiest way possible.
so my challenges always to politicians to be honest with the american public. the likelihood of that happening is nonexistent but this again is what makes the book so important because you get an insider's look at what is happened in the system, how we can fix it, what really works, and how we can produce better outcomes. so the outcome of non-violent offenders is is a bunch of nonsense to me. >> you are an inspiration, oprah said that after she talk to you, after reading the book it was one of the most powerful conversations she ever had. high praise. thank you for writing this book, thank you for all of the important work that you are doing now in the effort and the
beautiful struggle for a better, evolved criminal justice system. again, reading this book, "writing my wrongs" and made my wrongs" made me a better person. thank you for writing it. >> guest: thank you so much. i appreciate that. your insights into the book are really amazing and hard feeling. i appreciate the the interview thank you for checking out the book. >> this weekend at the c-span cities tour hosted by our cox communication cable partners explores the history and literary culture of las vegas, nevada. a book tv, we will visit the writers block an independent bookstore and artificial bird sanctuary in downtown las vegas. co-owner true corn talks about the las vegas literary scene and why he chose to open only independent bookstore in the city. >> having a good independent bookstore there's a lot of really great big readers here. there's a population of ox
excellent writers. the city has a little bit more literary vibrancy the people are aware of. >> also former las vegas mayor, oscar goodman recounts his unique life in his book, being oscar,. >> a couple of weeks later a phone call comes into the pit at the hacienda. it is from the refuted mobster. his brother was arrested and he wanted to know what it was the best criminal lawyer in las vegas. nothing changes much over the years. the fellow lifted up the phone, cups it and says who's the best criminal lawyer in las vegas? the guy i did the bankruptcy for said carl. >> on american history to be we visit the center for gaming research at the university of nevada us vegas archives to see items in their collections related to the history of gambling in las vegas. we we learned about how the industry evolved. >> gaming in las vegas goes back to the beginning. las vegas was established by
what was now the union pacific railroad, then it was the salt lake, los angeles san pedro railroad and they bought a ranch from a woman and they decided they are going to lay a town out here. >> then we'll visit the national atomic testing museum to learn about the nevada test site. the u.s. department of reservation located 65 northwest of las vegas. the site was established in 1951 for the testing of nuclear devices. from the 50s until the early 90s that mushroom clouds from the test could be seen for 100 miles. >> the atomic commission started to advertise in advance so that local people and tourist planet their attorney eric could come to las vegas and plan on witnessing or observing a nuclear blast. >> watch the c-span cities tour saturday at noon eastern on c-span twos book to be. sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on american history to be on c-span
three. the c-span cities tour, working with with their cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> more from our series afterwards with don watkins, author of the book equal is unfair. then ellen malcolm talks about her nonfiction work, when women win. after that, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell shares his memoir, the long game. later, another chance to see shaka senghor talk about his book, "writing my wrongs". >> i have so enjoyed reading your terrific book. on equal is unfair. america's misguided fights against income equality. it is so thought-provoking to read first someone who says any quality is not a problem. could you start out by telling us why inequality is not a problem. >> let's talk about what
economic it's equated with the rich getting richer and the poor getting forward inequality just means a gap. we can have a gap because some people are getting richer and others are getting poor. we can also have a gap because people are getting richer at different rates. inequality can also rise or fall from different reasons. one reason might be that some people are being really productive. you have amazon who was employing thousands of people in creating value by pioneering a new invention. he is going to get much richer than me and my wife was a teacher. she is a great teacher but she is only providing economic value to a few dozen people at a time. but there are things that can increase equality that are bad, unjust and take advantage of people. so bernie made off, he is a guy who is going to embezzle and she people. so what were conservatives not
how much money you have but how did you get it. did you get there something who something was fair or something that was unfair when you try to equalize people who earned their money equally that's what were challenging's the one we hear often that the middle class is stagnating and that inequality is one of the causes. what you say about that? >> guest: i think you have to first be clear on why is it that the critics of inequality have made it an essential claim,. i think it's because americans have a sense that we do not live in a zero-sum world. when you achieve something through your work it does not, at my expense. when jeff built amazon it didn't make me worse off, it may be better off. so if you want to convey to people that we live in a zero-sum universe so to lift them up we have to bring others down which is really what the
inequality campaign is about, in order to do that you have to be able to show something to the effect that the guys at the top got there at your cost, by disadvantaging and taking advantage of you. that is really why this claim of stagnation has become central to. the ideas the middle classes stagnated, will use different start h dates for generally 1979. this is wildly impossible just a common sense. if you have someone would you rather be making 50000 today or 100,000 in 1979, given all the advances in medicine, given everything that is happened in the internet and computer technology around, given our eager houses, very few people would take that bet. the question is then, what is this claim based on. what it is based on his claims that look at statistical aggregate, so the ideas that were supposed to have in our minds is the idea of i started working in 1979 and i
have not gotten a race for decades. that is really not the scenario were talking about. were talking were talking about a certain statistical category has seen his wages not increase very much overtime. statistical categories do not necessarily reflect what's happening to real-life individuals like you and me. a few brief examples. for instance, to say that middle-class incomes have stagnated over 40 years, the composition of foods being counted can change. we have different trends in immigration, we seen an influx and immigrants primarily from poor countries. they come to the united states and now they earn more than they did their home country so they are better off. we are presumably unchanged. we are making whatever we were making before, yet what's going to happen to the median income when you get this influx of people taken low-paying jobs? it's? it's went to go down, even
though everybody is in the scenario better off. or you you can take the fact that what statistic look like his household income. competition of households have changed over time. in the 70s we saw a rise in divorce rates. if a couple making $50000 per year who gets divorced, even if they get a race to say 35,000 dollars per year, statistically that makes us look worse off because now you have two households making 35 instead of making 35 instead of one housel making 50. there's a lot of factors that lead to the statistics that claim that we are, but if we just look around us and really take a careful look at the statistics, i don't don't think you can justify the claim. >> host: "equal is unfair", is there any role for taxation? should there be any taxation at all to help people at the bottom? >> guest: i think we need to ask what we need government poor. we we need a government, no question about that. i'm not in an archivist. the reason we need a government
is, go back before the founding fathers. the basic set up of the government was unequal. some people were born rulers and some people are for the rule. if you wanted to rise in life you had to get the favor of somebody who is one of the rulers. >> host: before the founding fathers life was nasty, brutal, and short. we don't want to go back to those days, do we? spee2 know. my point is this, that is the ultimate rigged system when you have these entrenched, on equal, these entrenched, on equal, politically unequal groups. the real inside of the enlightenment thinkers like the founders is that each of us is equal in the fact that we have equal rights. the government's job is not to rule us, is to, is to be her servant, the protector of our rights. but what happens when it protects the rights equally and when it happens when it protects your freedoms the same as mine? we will create different amounts
of wealth we have different abilities, we make different choices, some of us want to go and become a teacher. for us, that is is what a successful life is, whether we go up from where our parents were down from where our parents were. that is a successful eye. other people want to be hedge fund managers. other managers. other people want to start new companies. you will get inequality if we have equal freedom. >> host: but what if the people who want to start a hedge fund cannot do that because have a poor education? do you think government has any role in making their opportunities were equal by making sure they have a better education? >> guest: no. absolutely not. i realize i skipped an important essence of your previous question which is does the government have a role to help out here? let's start the idea of equality of opportunity. i think it has been a mistake to talk about equality of opportunity. it could mean one
of two things. one of very good, one very, very bad. one is a level playing field that is we all play by the same rules. that is what the political equality that i was talking about means. it means your freedom is protected equally to my freedom. the way that phrase has been used, especially in the last 70 years or so is to mean equality of initial chances of success, it means the fact that if you are born to parents who are richer, or if if they give you a good education, or is one plus reset if they did so monstrous as to reach you, you're going to have him. manages. it's true we have on equal opportunity. there's no way to change that. one important fact needs to be kept in mind, one person's' opportunity doesn't commend anybody's expense. the fact is, take the example of bill gates, malcolm gladwell wrote a popular book book a few years ago in which he pointed out that we give bill gates all this credit for succeeding, but
he went to school and had computers when nobody else had computers. spee1 it wasn't just that he went to school but he got up in the middle of the night, he, he snuck off to college, program computers. and then came back to bed. his mother was wondering why he was always so hard to wake up in the morning. >> guest: that's exactly right not highlights two things. first of all would we have been better off at nobody, if bill gates gates didn't have access to those computers? no, we would be worse off. opportunities would've been more equal, but everybody would have been a loser. the second point is precisely that. a lot of what matters in life is not the opportunities you have but what you do with the out once you have. a lot of our success in life is about turning things that don't look like opportunities into opportunities. one for example, we tell story in the book, susan peterson had been a guest on the show shark tank. a great show. she had a business making stylish baby moccasins for kids to wear. she started with this talent but
she couldn't turn it into business because she didn't have the money. did she complain about not having equal opportunities? no. what she did is ask her brother at a window business if she could follow him around for the summer, keep the summer, keep the discarded window frames. so she's following him around banging out the glass and at the end of the summer turned in the aluminum for $200 announced she started her business. in the abstract usa she did not have any money or opportunities but because she set a goal for herself and took the responsibility for achieving it she was able to see something that was an opportunity, potential opportunity and then act to turn it into success. i think that is what you want to see. stop presenting other peoples opportunities and look around at all the ones open to you. but then just to highlight, i think the reason you cannot have the government promote one person's opportunities is the only way can do it is that other people's expense. the number one thing i would like to see is the government
stopped taking away people's opportunity which i i think it does way too much up. hopefully we will get to take talk more about these. if you take the minimum wage like in california will go to $15 per hour. occupation licensing laws and education system that leaves too many americans, particularly poor americans without a good education. these are the things holding people back. it's not that they haven't gotten a big enough handouts. is that is that they've got handicap by government interventions. >> host: with the increases in the minimum wage than those skilled people cannot get any jobs at all. it is very troubling that this is spreading across the country. new york state might be the next, just in in the name of getting rid of inequality. >> guest: so there's a big debate in the literature about one side that says the minimum wage creates unemployment the other side says no if you look at the studies they don't. i think we can think of it in a
simple way. if i can't find somebody willing to offer me $15 per hour to work, the minimum wage says it's illegal for me to work. and i come at this book and this issue from the perspective of philosophy. in particular one of the things philosophy is very concerned with his justice. so i would say even if it were true that 99% of the people get a higher wage and only 1% of the people get stopped him from working buy from the minimum wage, that is unjust. you cannot pop up some people by obliterating the futures of other people who are unable to take that first step on the road to success. >> host: academic economists conclude that it is just the young and unskilled that are hurt by these increases in the minimum wage. it's really those who we are preventing from getting their foot on the first rung of the career ladder. it is very troubling that in california perhaps in new york
teenagers are not good to be up to get jobs because of this. >> guest: i think it's sad and tragic. it ignores the main thing that people need to succeed, this is really the story of american history, it's an open road to success. go back before we had a welfare state, but for the government was doing anything to try to lift people up. here was a time when human beings only had economic progress for relatively short amount of time. people were able to come here and build successful lies to themselves because here, as opposed to their home country nobody was going to stop you from doing what you judge the best for your life. the same thing is true here. the more we open the road to productive achievement and stop putting blockades and barriers in the way of it, that is what will allow anybody, regardless of where they start to have the maximum opportunity to achieve success and happiness. >> host: used in your book, quote that nobody can exploit
you with involuntary tray. there are those who prey on the uninformed. look at those of the diesel cut who thought thereby low omission vehicles. you think there's role for the government such as the federal trade commission to make sure that what people are saying is true? do you think there are role for laws that say children under some age such as 15 or 12 should not be allowed to work to avoid exploitation? >> guest: i think the essence of a moral society when it comes down to it is voluntary. we interacted voluntarily. we basically reach a mutual agreement or we are free to your separate ways. nobody can do something for us without our consent. so the question is, in cases where someone sells your product that's different than what you promised that's exactly what we need the government to step in and say that it's not that person consented to. when he he
agreed to pay $20000 for the car, was a car that was going to operate in a certain way. i don't think you need regulatory bodies, i think you need laws against fraud and so on. because what regulatory bodies do is basically, they don't prescribe criminal behavior, they prescribe and proscribe productive behavior. they dictate how people produce and they decide what kind of deal can we arrive at. it's not regulation to tell carmakers when you sell somebody something it better be what you told them it was. it is regulation when they say, your car gets this kind of gas mileage, it has to have this many seatbelts, it has to do x, y, z, rather than z, rather than leaving that up to the mutual choice of buyers and sellers. as far as children, the government has the responsibility to protect the rights of children. i don't pick it applies applies to child labor laws which i think are pretty damaging. on the one hand they are unnecessary when you're
really concerned about the well-being of children. parents, parents, where's original parents are not going to send their parents children into a call my. the first thing they do when they achieve economic successes send their kids to school. that's why you see child labor going away before there were ever laws against child labor. it was on on its way out because of economic progress. the laws actually make it harder for kids who are excited, instead of playing nintendo or whatever, they would love to have a job where they can earn money, gain responsibility, you know suffers most? the poor kids. what are my best friends were right about in the book, jeremiah, hughes basically thrown into the foster care system at a young age. the main thing he didn't have was his own money so he could actually be himself and gain a foothold and start building a resume and achieving success.
this is one of the barriers. until you hit some arbitrary hd by the government you're allowed to go out there and waste your life or hang out in the street corner, or do any kind of unproductive thing you want. the one thing you can do is be productive. i think that's unfair to young people. >> host: don't think there should be a law saying children, saying children, if there under certain age have to be in school, i know it's not very common but what if there were parents who would say look, i'm going to semi-children out to wash cars all day because our family needs the money for something like that. shouldn't that be prohibited? spee2 i think you have to have the government defined what we consider abusive children. after that has to be up to the parents judgment. now the government gets to decide what qualifies as an education. i think that's one of the worst things you can do. were so worried about putting
the government in charge of our healthcare decisions, which i agree. that's scary thing. putting them in charge of the ideas and values that children are taught, we have taken that for granted for over 100 plus years. i think the biggest risk is not that a handful of parents won't send their kids to school the biggest risk is that schools are taken over by bureaucracy rather than opened up for choice, for parents being free to decide what ideas that their children should be taught and for innovators to come in and find exciting, effectively waste waste educate children. the problem with governments going today is that it does not educate many children particularly those that growing up in the poorest neighborhoods. >> host: one of the topics on most people's radar is the presidential election. it's been interesting to see how much support bernie sanders has with his talk of inequality. it has really driven his numbers much harder than they would have been otherwise. can can you talk about why that is?
>> guest: this really takes a look at what's going on in today's today's debate. is it that he has tons of christmann sex appeal, or is that that he that he has some ideas that have a lot of power. i think it is the power of the ideas and it comes from two things. number one, is he standing up for a moral ideal, this ideal of economic equality. the second is he has on his side, a moral narrative that tells us when you abide by my ideal you floors, when you abandon my ideally, you flounder. this you have heard america really reached its golden age in the postwar era when the government to supposedly fart income inequality and we all did better. then then what happened in the 70s which is the usually equated with blaming reagan. starting in the 70s what happened as we abandon that ideal.
1% took over, started bringing the game, we moved in a radical, free-market traction and the result is that they got the games and we all stagnated. the lesson is supposed to be fight inequality, things things are great, abandon inequality and things are bad. >> host: his message it does have traction. it has been getting a lot of traction. he goes out there and says texas should go up to 80, 90%, people cheer, college students over him, they feel the burn. >> guest: when you have morality on your side, at least when you appear to have a moral ideal on your side that is very inspiring, particularly to young people. >> host: they think he's telling the truth and it's coming from his heart, it seems authentic, how do we find that message? on we address it? >> guest: there's two aspects going on. when he has this moral ideal. take free college, he's gonna help out can help out
people by giving them college. but it also appeals to others because the message they take away is hey, maybe i will will get out of these college loans. when you combine brief for the hard-earned morality deal people will crusade for something. the only way to oppose it is to challenge the ideal. so long so long as you grant that free college that makes you a good person, then they can come out and take that strong stance for. if all they're doing is coming out saying i want to bailout or a handout, you are not good to see that you're sitting spirit. the thing that is happened and this is what's tragic about this discussion is the critics of inequality, the people who don't want to see the government expanding how much will the takes for people, expanding how how much control it has for people choices, said people support free enterprise of free markets. they have not not had much to say the situation. we started writing her book to
you how many books of the left had put out on this issue? probably four or five per year. how many of the opponents of inequality critics put out? at that time, zero. one of the biggest issues already two years ago, since then there's been two books, one by a canadian professor not too many people have heard of unfortunately, even though his book was quite good. another by thomas soul which had good elements but it only addressed the small subcomponent of the debate. what we do see the debate address it focuses either on challenging the statistics and thin inequality is not as bad as you think are challenging the solution saying, we agree, we should minimize inequality. if you remember rand paul during the presidential debate, republicans will reduce inequality better than democrats. both of those conceited economic
eat inequality is ideal of the problem is if economic equality is an ideal, were in, were in trouble because economic freedom is immoral. a free market leads to nothing resembling economic inequality. it leads to to progress for everybody, but very different progress. so we have a lot of work to do. you have to challenge their ideal, their their narrative, we have to present a counter idea and that's really what we do in the book. >> host: i certainly very much enjoyed reading it. it is very much worth everybody picking up and adding it to the bait. what seems to concern many americans is that inequality per se but mobility, so we talk about people who start off low of may just want to get better off, that seems to be more important then economic inequality. what you say about that?
>> guest: i think a lot of are concerned when it comes to fairness is not that gap, it is that our people are able to rise by merit, are they able to rise by their own efforts even if they start out without a lot of wealth, without without a lot of the things that people on the affluent side of skill have. i think there's a few things to keep important about mobility. first of all, mobility is not declined. mobility is not really declined over the last 40 years. even as economic inequality has probably been rising. we do have a mobility problem. the danger is thinking about mobility and p really financial terms. a lot of times you'll see these charts, how many people move up from the bottom quintile until the top quintile. or to the middle. i think it's the wrong way to think about it because the goal
in life is not to move up to a quintile, it is to find a career you're happier, you can be self-supporting at, and bill for yourself a fulfilling life, so i mention my friend jeremiah, here's a guy that started at the bottom and is now a teacher, i don't know exactly how much money he makes but i imagine most teachers don't make enough to get into the top 10% are top 20% of earners. but isn't that success. no one know no one. [inaudible] [inaudible]
such as the ethanol scandal. where the most people affected by that? the people that don't have that big of a budget to afford the higher energy costs be met so a lot of them cost 5% of income on energy and gasoline and oil. according to that place. >> host: think of a fourth of the tight budget it's really big deal. rising is becoming harder, the first obligation is to stop making it harder for them. >> host: what you say to people who say we have no renewable energy, solar and wind, even, even that drives up the cost of energy because that helps? don't want help the planet? >> guest: this is a big question but i would help human lives, let them decide if it's oil,
natural gas. >> host: but then other people are gonna come and say that this is polluting, this is increasing greenhouse gases, this is causing global warming or climate change, what you say to them? >> guest: how do we some that up? if we actually look at the big picture pluses and minuses it is without question hugely beneficial to human beings. if you you want to understand how human beings understand for it's been precisely because we have had cheap, affordable abundant energy. i don't think the arguments we hear about fossil fuels actually hold up, i don't think the idea that we are running out of them, that we need the government
[inaudible] >> i knew a little bit about it and actually one of the surprising things i found is that actually if you look at the history, what you find is that it supports the conclusion so a lot of the comparisons between sweden and today i think those comparisons are for many reasons. it's different than just our political policy. and it's easy to carry the political policies that you want to take care of. were often told that sweden is a socialist of america, in fact,
we are pretty much government involvement in the economy. it's just different. they have a little higher taxes. actually much less damaging ventilatory sphere than in america. so they they are about comparable in that sense. this is what is really fascinating, the history of sweden, so sweden actually started off as one of those poor countries in europe if you go back a few hundred years ago. one of the poorest countries in europe, and then quickly became one of the richest countries in europe and it was because it was one of the most free-market countries. you can probably make an argument that it was more free-market than for many years in the united states. it it became very rich, very unequal, i think roughly the 1960s is when you start to get sweden talked about today.
it moved in the direction of dramatically increasing taxes and increasing welfare distribution. it was never a socialist country. it went very far in the direction of social democratic redistribution state. the result was that the economy basically flatlined. things got bad you didn't see the economic growth, it into the entrepreneurial that was in sweden at that point. you weren't getting a ton of companies coming in all the time. what happened in economic inequality. it got got as low as it ever got. eventually the swede said this is not working and a more recent years have started to liberating their economy and have seen really good economic outcomes. what does happen is that economic inequality will start to grow again. if you look look at from the perspective of their own history, you see at least a
testament to the case were making. if you're concerned about economic progress what you want is not economic redistribution but economic liberation. >> host: we do want some redistribution, right we do need some things for example we need armies, we need streetlights, we need, we need certain things that only the government can pay for. i think you have to differentiate between two things. >> guest: we need to pay for the things that they do, the military, the police, there's no question about that. you can debate about what is the breast way to raise that revenue. redistribution is it when the government, instead of raising funds in order to protect everybody's freedom and property , they basically take some people's property so they can give it to other people. there, i think there is never a justification.
>> host: so there should not be any government social safetynet, no earned income tax credit, no food stamps, no unemployment, no unemployment insurance, no housing vouchers, no medicare? >> guest: forcing one person to work without pay is that one person can get paid without working, they get paid but a portion it goes to the social net. so they have the social safety net to fall back on what it really amounts to i don't get to decide what to do with that money, that goes to some other cause that i might not agree with. i may not wanted in that amount. bad things can happen in life and you have to be prepared for them. that thinks can happen to the people you care about have to do something about it. but that can be taken care of voluntarily. my previous book roosevelt care focused on america before and
after the welfare state. one of the things that was happening in america before the creation of the welfare state starting in 1935 and then he had a figure out happens if you lose the job. what is happening is people were starting to find private, voluntary solutions. first of all they would just save a much significant amount of money but there is also rising insurance in terms of -- but private unemployment insurance there was mutual aid societies which were in effect little insurance agencies, i could join one of these elks lodges are moose lodges, pay an amount that i agree to and then have a contractual right to
healthcare benefits and a place to say if i sell delinquent support myself and then there was a private charity. different people have different values. my dad and i. >> host: what about the food lines in the great depression? these things that probably work for some people some of the time but we've all seen ptographs of people standing in line for soup at the soup kitchen during the great depression. are you saying life was better than and not having food stamps is an advantage? >> guest: wouldn't you be shocked if i said yes, that was the ideal. >> host: it's just an interesting answer. >> guest: the fact is that the depression debates the details but there is no question this was fundamentally made possible by government control over the economy and particularly the actions of the federal reserve.
so when people are left free they do not get widespread depression. >> host: that is definitely agreed on but one can send the one hand that there should be less regulation and the government should have, the the federal reserve should have a consistent monetary policy without at the same time saying that they should not be any social safety net. they do not both have to go together. >> guest: know. but my only point is this. if you recognize that wealth redistribution is immoral and destructive, the question is don't we need it? i'm saying history actually is showing that we don't need it. the great depression far from being an example of look what happened, what would've happened if we didn't have one? really it? really it doesn't count as an example because the great depression is a despite the fact that we have these great interventions in the economy. if you keep the government out of thing so doesn't create widespread depression than private, voluntary charity is always been more than abundant.
of course we're so much richer now, this is way less of a concern. the fact that there's way more money that you can use to buy insurance to help people that you care about and help causes you care about. i don't see that as a problem. what i do see is a problem is problem is the society that treats people that as individuals that we all respect to their freedom and property two, but who divide society into resources into burdens. where burdens where we need handouts where your resources to be excited by society when we have achieved something. i don't think that's the way the society treats people i think the way people just need to be treated as independent beings who have a right to be left alone to pursue their own happiness. >> host: if they fall down in the street of a heart attack we don't have any obligation to help them get on their feet? we don't have any obligation to give them medical care. we don't have any obligation to give them food.
>> guest: you were saying we who is the society. there's only individuals. so the question is you have to ask which individuals have which responsibilities. if it's my friends or someone around the neighborhood and i see the house burned down, yes. i think there's an obligation. the people i care about when the chips are down, there's gonna be in a system perhaps a republican who doesn't have any friends at all, if there is no friend to bail them out, you say there is no government entity? that has a moral obligation to build them up? >> guest: that's way should be a jerk. i think you have to repay the favor. when we think about we often
think about ourselves as the one doing the helping. i want to help people, i want to hate seeing people starving in front of my eyes. but that's not the issue. you can help anybody in the free society and historically people do. the question is this, put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs help. let's say you're sick and in operation can't you can't afford. how would you think about the issue. did you say i'm entitled and someone owes me and i don't care if they're struggling to send their kid to school, i don't care if they're trying to build their business. i need something. so i'm going to march over to my neighbors house and i'm going to demand that he pay for my operation. i've asked thousands of people that question i've yet to meet someone that says yes that's how attack. the way we act is that we ask him to understand that if they said no, okay i will go ask somewhere else. i think that same kind of civilized, moral attitude should be reflected in government policy. this is this is not about helping people, it's about these are your sheer need entitlement regardless of why
you got to that position and i never heard an argument of why it is an entitlement. >> host: what if you asked so you need something like two take this ache of argument heart surgery. you go to your friend and you say i need a heart surgery would you give me the money for heart surgery. your friend might want to give you the money but not be able to afford the magnitude of that operation. that surgery. but if we pooled the risk of so to speak by taking a few pennies from everybody depending on their income so that when you needed your heart surgery there would be pennies from many, many people. they would help you with the heart surgery and there'd be a fund so that you would not have to depend on one friend. and you would have to have a rich friend who would be able to help you with that heart surgery. so those are questions where there
is the best economies of scale. and where. and where you might say that the government has a role to play in enabling these things to happen as a safety. >> guest: this is one of the reasons insurance is a great innovation. we can get economies to scale but would get them voluntarily. this is why it's so important. we can decide if it's worth it to us. today healthcare is a complex situation because it is so controlled by government that we take for granted that things would be as expensive as they are, as insurance would be as expensive as it is. we have a section in the book that we talked about some of the ways which government intervention has made healthcare and america a combination of really good, that is we see a lot of innovation and progress and really bad. one of the laces made a pad a bad is driven up cost enormously for cicely because it has not left the market free. >> host: that is true. we have had very severe problems in the delivery of our healthcare system. just because the lack of competition and the lack of the
ability to get the bad bones health insurance but it doesn't mean it always works for everybody. i would contend that we need to have some kind of safety net. we do not want to society where someone doesn't have any friends and is starving or dynamic early death, it's very troubling to me. >> guest: i think the kind of scenario you are talking about is not a realistic scenario. in a rich land where people feel benevolent toward one another that there is someone out there who's not have any friends, family, no charity no charity willing to help them out, the idea that that's a scenario were talking about doesn't make a lot of sense. but i want to separate a few things. it be great if we are debating should the government have a role in the safety night. i think that's a good debate to have. i think that's different from
debating economic inequality. that focuses not on what happens to that one in a million person or less who just can't help themselves or doesn't have anyone to voluntarily help them. what it says is we need to equalize. the core of that is the idea that we need to bring down people at the top. and so is not about solving problems of poor people. let me give you an example. in the book a capital of the 21st century, the chief proposal providing inequality are marginal tax rates of upwards of 80%, a global wealth tax of up to 10%. an inheritance tax of tidy%. he says this is not about raising money to help the poor. he argues, these high these high taxes never raise that much in revenue. this is about ending the big fortunes. now i submit that that is very different, it's