tv After Words CSPAN September 25, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
>> david, it's great to be with you. >> thanks for making time to talk about your book "american underdog." [inaudible] [laughter] i'm eager to talk to you about this because i enjoyed it as you can tell i've got dogeared pages. as you know, i worked in the house of representatives as a staffer to the former free markets professor and dick armey had a big impact on the house and the underpinning that the congress did in the '90s and we talked about this and here you are coming to former free-market economics professor, still a professor but in the house of representatives.
>> i followed his work and all the guys like him. they had been role models for me. you can't put free economic values together into your politics. >> host: that his wife was so fascinated about because the book is as you talk about this emphasis of ethics and economics, public service and the fact is he has a lot of people came to know you in your surprise victory as a house majority leader you were the only person in the house to be the majority leader and in your book when a lot of people came to hear about this all of the media showed up but one of the things about the book it sells u who dave pratt is and i wonder if you can talk about this, since it is an overview we won't go into detail on some of the things about how there is this emphasis of the ethics and economics and politics.
>> that is primarily why i wrote the book. sometimes the ideas go back to ronalronald reagan as the found. the goal was to show that it's about a 4,000 year tradition and i wish everything was a synthesis piece days. but when you go to graduate school and ph, economics, whatever. they are highly specialized. whereas all the previous scholarships for the last 3,000 or whatever years it was all about synthesis and thinkers from socrates all the way through the enlightenment thinkers like jefferson and madison, they all took the classics. they took greek and hebrew and the rhetoric in english and that was a liberal arts education. i taught at a liberal arts college and applied at two of them because i believe in that synthesis. i've wanted to show folks i
don't know whether i did a great job or not but it's still possible. it should hang together and if the ethics don't match up with the economic logic, he couldn't line up economic incentives and it's doomed to failure whereas adam smith and the enlightenment over here with jefferson and madison they do line up and i did all of the book but both of them onto a large number of competitors in the free-market ideas. i wanted to point out 200 pages in the first tradition. >> one of the things i was struck with the complementary aspects as you put it in the economics and politics.
god works six days and rested on the seventh. that presumes the right to hold things that may be coveted. the basis in the judeo-christian religious tradition that permeates public policy from your perspective, i found to be fascinating and you said on page 28, our founding was an important chapter. can you tell more about why you see the founding at this time and important history? >> onone things the founders didn't see because they solve the incentives and constitutional structure that what you solve a couldn't see the day that the judeo-christian tradition wasn't taken as a given and we are there right now. it's debatable so there's all
this debate of separation between church and state. we want that. the first amendment is about the separation of church and state and the press etc. no establishment of religion by the free exercise thereof. but i take the left in terms of the american university it's one of the books i represent. we said let's make a deal. we said we are sharing the group so you take the schools and we will move the seminaries but you've got to take ethics. it's just kind of assumed it was going to be socrates and the protestant tradition and now, it's not only taken the schools that they can no longer teach ethics there is no natural law taught anymore if you bring up
religion in a brown bag talk you get laughed out of the room so this is for real. paul ryan looks up and sees from his chair that separation, no wall in a secular society i don't think so. it wasn't the most loving society. here comes this doctrine of love here you want a separation of compassion and love? so i know what they mean, they don't want religious establishment but if you do a total separation, we almost all assume the left agrees on the human rights claims and human rights emergency in western europe at about 1400 of the judeo tradition. so we argue and the founders
argue the persistence of government. do you want a separation of data, yes or no so i kind of wanted to push it a little bit with part of a tradition with the religious toleration so i wanted to put the ideas out there in public. >> you mentioned the catholic tradition struck by later on in the book you delve into the works and i find my faith informs pretty much everything i do. how does yours come it is clear in your book to talk about how the faith informs your public service and your approach to the surface and house of representatives. >> guest: it's kind of biographical.
in detroit and grew up in michigan might have moved us to minnesota, i just dropped my girl off this morning. that was tough but it's good to grow. went to michigan in the protestant reform, and arthur andersen busines business in det chicago thing princeton seminary. i went on t down to the wesley d seminary in dc x. to the american university come into the great liberal friend of mine who wrote economics and ethics in the same book so that was kind of the fire. i knew i wanted to teach philosophy and theology in college and then once i saw that go to the combination of economics and ethics in the book that wa was it this way went to work for the army a little bit and world bank and philippines on education and met my wife and was lucky enough we both moved down to randolph and toss economics and ethics so that's
how i live it out. it is my calling putting those two things together and keeping the conversation going. a lot of the book is old lecture notes. >> this is obviously a book like economics ethics philosophy. but you did touch on what you just mentioned here because it isn't a memoir there isn't much detail around it. i'm sure the viewers would like to know the story. we consider you both friends. tell us how you came to meet her. >> we were sitting around in a mutual friend sat up a blind date. its first of those things and we started talking and then we just had values in common and kids and family set up.
so we all had kind of the same judeo-christian outlook. she's catholic, i'm protestant. >> host: you've been married how long? >> guest: 20 years. jonathan went off to college so we are a sad household. >> host: any tears shed? >> guest: she's been home more and i'm here three weeks out of the month so that's not good but it hit me when you see the empty room walking by every night. >> host: so mom and dad jonathan not so much. he's smart in math one.
>> host: i want to come back to something else you talk about in the book which i think is really telling because you touch on obviously our founding which is something those of us from virginia, such so many of them and you talk about not just the horizontal separation of powers but also across the branches of the federal government but the vertical as well to be a check on the federal executive branch authority and it doesn't seem to be working out in that regard. can you talk about what you are seeing in the horizontal and vertical checks and balances and the problem that create? >> guest: i will go back real quick. he went to princeton seminary in
after he was done he studied hebrew. so the hebrew tradition i always add how long does it take human nature to fall we are all angels a little bit fallen. three chapters. if that is the tradition that informs your thinking and you are the author of the constitution, you separate power every way yo you can't can comep vertically and horizontally. so the federal, state and local, they are the enumerated powers for the federaof the federal god the news that and since then, we've violated that comprehension where the house did about 5 inches of bills and the executive branch did 11. so if you get the sense tha thie are upside down, we are and we all know about the executive overreach over the last several years every day that we have to push things back and the easiest
way to see the bottom line in the data the federal programs are the ones in medicare and social security by their own reports within about 14 years. so in ten years all federal revenues will go to trust those entitlement programs. we won't hav don't have a dollar the transportation etc. and that isn't for me. it's the main graph of the budget committee. that's kind of evidence where has virginia is a well-run state. we are not antigovernment. if you want flowers at the local level, vote on it. you want a well-run state with good transportation and education and by the way it is in the constitution of the state. excellent education. it's in the constitution. we have to do that and we should
do that. but the federal, i got pants on fire in the education committee and we did. i don't know how they bothered to see it fall so go check aga again. but it's at the federal level and the founders were smarter than us. the vertical component is federalism and in the state and local level where it was intended to be even if the implications are one's conservatives may not like and i thoughthought that was an interg point and that is the case. >> guest: the key is we are supposed to be a democratic republic. that doesn't mean you get to win every debate you just have a process if the folks go to for more you lose these kind of things and there is still
freedom you can move into you want a large number of options. >> the federal government is the creation of the states and it's remarkable to me how few people realize that and i thought your point about the federalist checks and balances is overlooked a lot of times because we look at the trampling of the separation of powers between the legislative and traditional branches but it's evident when we talk about the prerogatives of the state and we see so many pieces in this regard. we know how important it is in the epa and its devastating in southwest virginia. >> guest: 23 states said no,
we have to stop we are not among them. but i sure hope the legislative branch of the federal level at l upholds the state's prerogatives when it comes to the executive branch overreach a stop to that. >> guest: some people think it is just the executive during a power grab but in some it is our own fault, too. there are some hot button issues out there and politicians don't want to vote. you take two or three votes and you might get kicked out. so now we are doing the same thing with the executive getting all sorts of power. we vote and tell the executive branch you mak make the law can implement it and you've just given the federal government tremendous power and now like you say the farmers and ranchers and everybody is learning what that looks like and having a hard time staying afloat. so we need to maintain article
one. congress shall make all laws. >> host: you talk about testing those votes. is that one of the reasons you were a strong proponent of term limits and argue term limiting your self? >> guest: yes, 12 years. i just picked a couple of offers that had the numbers so i looked at the leadership if you have your own eye on becoming the chair is nothing wrong with that. there's a lot in seniority goes along with that but he is days the money is so dominant. at the presidential level on the republican side and democratic side. there is an amazing power of winning elections and on top of the money part people are aligning themselves up to be the chairman of the committee.
>> host: i would serve no more than two terms as well and together i think it's important that that be the mindset and the mentality. >> host: speaking of the founders do you have a favorite founder and who is it and why? >> guest: washington is interesting to me because it just stands out. if you are in jefferson and we are left with just the history that washingtobut washington foi read about it, he's the one guy that everybody likes. he walked into the room and he is the man.
everybody revered him and just deferred automatically. you don't quite get to see them why you want to see what is the look on their face, who is this guy all these men who have goes turned to them. >> host: i was on a business trip talking with a historian and they mentioned to him we were talking about the founding and many of us believe there is a divine inspiration and providence in the foundation of america and we look at the spam is and i told them about living in mount vernon and he said you know, it's possible that they could have defeated george washington but george
washington, jefferson, benjamin franklin, john adams, the whole lot of them, no way. it's remarkable. you talk in here about this underpinning of the case for the free enterprise which i think is missing often from conservative commentary and the republican side. i believe like you do that economic growth and opportunity on the mobility is the republican party virginia creed says the enterprise system is the greatest supplier and economic justice. you make that point in the book on page 198 freedom and earnings. i don't do with the camera can pick it up but it shows the income of the people on the bottom, 10% into different groups and countries from the least market oriented the poor,
better capitalism always. history and data showed so go out and buy the book american underdog proves that it matters but this chart is definitive proof of that and one of the things we talk about, we understand that it's not just economic value and labor though that is the case that there is human dignity in work and a market economy that has a dynamic growth allows for people to know the dignity of work that this data why didn't more people understand it and where is this kind of enamored socialism? >> guest: i grow up with liberals and the root word is
liberty. the lions have gotten confused. it's not just in comes surrounded by dissertation with thousands of regressions on all of the indicators all things liberals want. guess where you have the cleanest environment and women in the workforce, capitalist country, guess where you have the highest degrees per eighth grade when in comic and the most catholic rights and you talk about the dignity of work and one of my favorite scholars has a six volume set and she is chicago trained and has a phd in economics in chicago and literature, just wow red and incredibly smart person. her book says the cause of modern economic growth that started about 1700 of until 1700 every person on the planet made a thousand dollars a year per capita income.
massive economic growth. so she takes out the nobel laureates, human capital, industrial revolution, technology, geography, trade etc.. she says the primal cause as of 1700 is the first time the moral language changed and if you think that through my tradition hasn't been perfect, abraham, moses, gondhi, anybody. any tradition, aristotle, augustine, mohammed, et cetera. nowhere do you find capitalism or economics is good. it's something you put up with what we change thif we change ta problematic thing is the reversal so now you ask what are we teaching our kids in school,
k-12, are we teaching kids that business and capitalism is good? business wall street is nasty and unfortunately there are a few bad apples but the predominance of people in america it's just basically good. every small business person wants to give their employees health care. that's one thing i learned. a teaching economics i didn't get out enough. people are basically good and want to help their employees. we have to reverse that language and to teach the kids that work isn't just a skill that is a calling and you better be happy and passionate about what you do every average your life or you will have a miserable life so we have to show them this is good for you and by the way it's good politics because you are telling the kids the truth and pumping them up on business and the left is a little critical but i think
we have a winning theme. >> host: you enjoyed being not jusenjoy being notjust a profese teacher. would you encourage today your students to get involved in politics? >> guest: yes but my idols play-doh and in the public augustine and they both basicallthey both basicallygaveh until you are 3 30 and then the philosophy until you are 5 50 independent politics when you are near death immortality age seven you've instilled this demand or self. make sure you are done with that deal. so come do some internships in
capitol hill and get involved. bugo into a vocation first into teaching is the same thing i say major in your passion. make sure you do what you love but minor in accounting. minor in science or accounting or web design or something where you can make a dollar. followed your passion. people would come back later and say i'm glad i did that. i needed a backup plan. >> host: that's great advice. i knew a lot of successful people who are not happy. i don't know any of the people who are not successful. do what makes you happy and you will be successful at it.
but you may not find yourself happy with what you're doing. >> guest: and all that glitter is these days in the video generation it's too much focus on the glitter that these kids are doing better. >> host: one thing they came up with a lot of them, we talk about the economy and a lost generation in terms of what they dealt with in the economy and you make an interesting point on the economic dead-end the first of those keeping track in the uptake of the numbers tell themselves everything is back to normal and justifying among the citizens there is an uneasiness that hints at the problems and then a few pages later the chapter called "-begin-double-quote recovery. recovery.
for the outcome of decades of increasing regulation, with increasing regulation and great recession is actually dangerously optimistic misdiagnosis the situation as a cyclical downturn in playing that all we need to do to get out of it is weight. that's bad news. we have been told that this kind of flash recovery is the new normal and we just have to accept the rates at one to 2%, never see 4% or 5% again. your point is this is because some of the fundamentals are broken.
show some of the fundamentals we need to get right again. >> guest: people feel beat down so getting the education back into the entrepreneurial spirit, the protestant work ethic, the vocation, you have to get that back and then second, the regulatory overhang i think it is t 2 trillion of 18 trillin you talk to any small business person right now if you can disagree on the healthcare kind of thing now that the results are in need of premiums are going up just being fair 15 to 20%, to docto back doubles or to 5,000 for the poor and all the economic studies show the average family has a $400 on hand. you put that together and it's devastating. then the fundamentals i of the
economy at 1% and that's what the deficit of the 550 billion so that is stimulative. as for chilthere is for chileans balance sheet and it can become money if the loans ever go out. so if you are at 1% with huge stimulus, i get into debates with the federal guys and a safety razor to present what 2%o this economy? it would crash. >> host: it's what you call the sugar high. >> guest: than the classic model of the nobel prize. the number one thing is always to capital accumulation. so not financial capital that machinery. who is willing to put millions and millions into a physical capital base right now with the
best that you will make him a ten year window? >> guest: you don't know what the next regulation is going to be. it hinders any ability to big events. >> guest: if everyone is just looking to see where can i get two or 3%, that is not the entrepreneurial spirit that we need. >> host: let me talk about something in terms of the economics. you make a point on page 49, and you make it throughout the book washington shouldn't be in the business of picking the winners and losers on the private sector. the best way to ensure is to allow innovators to thrive taste on the merit and consumer demand for their products and services, not on the powerful friends they have in washington. and this gets to -- i talked
about how this president said this really moved our economy away from the economy where it's based on the premise that what you know is more important than who's you know and the fact is we are seeing the decisions of 100 million every day in the private marketplace on our health care choices as you talked about. intranet, you name it, it's being supplanted by the decisions of 100 political appointees in this city and that has a dampening effect and i call it the influence economy but you are right about this distortion of the incentives and people being rewarded more for getting the better targeted tax credit than the better mouse
trap. >> guest: the american people have figured it out. for good or bad it's brought about in the language and be educational upside is huge. people are figuring out what's going on right now so you have 80% going for outside candidates and bernie is getting 50% of the vote unheard of because people have seen them getting left behind in the dust and if you don't have a lawyer and lobbyist etc., the big ones do. they can get through the regulatory tape. they don't like it did back in the 50s, general motors, the commonsense general motors goes so the nation does. we have to get back to that.
we have the ceo i don't know him but he gets 11 out of 50 x. changes and still has to seek complementary things about the exchange so that shows you somebody is scared of the federal government when you are losing 200 million a quarter if you still say the x. changes are okay, but pressure you can imagine that a small farme smalr rancher back in my district for $200,000 through the high price university so it is hitting them hard. >> guest: and of the free-market peace is hard to teach. you have to trust the price
system but we allow them to dictate and go into wal-mart hell do they know to put the car tires and batteries on the table because the price system every time they scanned on scan one tt is purchased and so that information goes for shooting off and they say make ten more loaves of bread and diapers and whatever. that's amazing. no central planner knows that. the day you start picking winners and losers isn't a little error, it is catastrophic for the country going forward and that is the main reason i wanted to run a i use to convey that logic. subject to corruption people commit crimes over time and yet there is this notion this person and that person and a government entity making these decisions i'm somehow immune from any of
this and it's the view of the left i always felt the profit motive and it's inherently good. you talk about that in this book and expose the fallacy of that which is healthy. >> guest: the last thing you want is a concentration of power anywhere. when you have a 4 trillion-dollar budget ou outf 18 trillion-dollar economy, but as a concentration of power and the executive branch has disproportionate control over the 4 trillion-dollar budget so right now i wish we were in regular order because i'm on the budget committee and that would mean the budget would go from the committee to the floor for the vote by the people's representatives and now the budget process is such a mess they have to determine the budget with the united states in the next month so i told people
to educate yourself on all the numbers because it is a big deal. >> host: huge deal. another thing that was interesting in the book, you talk more about the debt and the deficit and a few pages in this book and the people here on the nightly news in the cours and ou talk about not only the economic aspect the moral aspect as well. i remember in the future of the country the debate when i worked on the hill because of the balanced budget for the first time and it seems to have just fallen off the radar somehow.
yet it doesn't get much attention. why is? >> guest: you have a lot of economic good. you want more education, more of this, more everything. but as i said before, the debt is 19 trillion. the unfunded liability for medicaid and medicare is 100 trillion so in 10-years-old will be used for the mandatory spending, not for the military in this kind of thing. they will get a cliff in 14 years, period.
the kids will get way more than a 20% clip. i go to the press and i get tortured because of it but it's my calling. i do that and say here comes brad again. we know what he's going to say that it is a calling to say what is going to happen in the wall tlaw tochange those mandatory sg you have to run a bill through the house and the senate and overcome a veto. we can't do it on the budget committee and most people don't even know the basic facts. people say what are you going to do about it and i get constituents that say you haven't done anything. i am out there doing everything i can trying to influence folks
and it's a heavy lift. one of the biggest between the right and left personally we all get along out of here. i debate my good friends in the morning and we debate religion, economics, everything. the democrats are frantically good people. they didn't get to the level by putting people down. we all get along great. they make thi this left-wing right-wing divide the power is right in the middle. >> host: i always felt the media tends to extol the virtues of those in the middle but they
tend to diminish the importance of those like you and those on the left making the argument for either side. they get the glory and a certain extent and those that are defining the differences play a very important role in the political process that are marginalized or in some cases demonized. >> guest: there's there is a aw keywords to govern and compromise and unify. i talked to the fifth-grade classes all the time and if you've got 550 billion deficit should be increased that number or decrease so when the fifth graders get it we are talking about compromise. i'm willing to compromise with anybody but it's got to be in the same direction. if you have 1% economic growth i am willing to compromise as long
as it goes up. >> host: that would do more than anything to bring down the debt and reduce the deficits of the economic growth and there's this kind of false emphasis because the relatively low unemployment rate there is a lot underneath that and we saw that we had a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall of 3.7%.
they are counted as employees towards the unemployment rate and we have been trading out high-paying jobs for low paying jobs. there's human dignity in work and we should value that that's one obutthat's one of the reasot revenue is down. that is the wrong approach. we don't need more working virginians paying higher taxes we need more working and it seems to me that is the unemployment rate is down and touting that.
right now the racial tensions are at an all-time high. you don't see people getting on each other's case so the slow growth economy is causing that and we haven't educated people when we talk about the labor force participation rate that is right on the money and/or kids are competing against each other and what good students. i have indian frontier with a phenomenal work ethic.
couple other things in the book writing process. this is a very helpful book and i enjoyed reading it. i've written the book and my college roommates -- i found the process to be therapeutic in some ways. i would try to carve out some time like a weekend or somethi something. how did you find the time.
>> guest: a lot of it was already written. i had a couple of books going. if you are really sleepy at night, go for that. that was socrates and plato what is knowledge and how do you know what you know. we had a search for that. they broke it wide open for some of these world-class philosophers but nothing replaced it and so the left doesn't have a coherent philosophy they can name right now and i get in all sorts of hot water for stating that.
in that period there's been little systematic thinking so i wrote a book on out and then i had economic notes from my lectures over the years and alastair mcintyre people that have read about to see a lot of that in this book and neil ferguson the oxford historian bay will find a lot of that in there and so i had a good friend that helps me write. i'm not jefferson. there's these things you look back and think i forgot to put that in. you have a ton of knowledge and
you want to put it in 200 pages. that's the way i did it, big chunks. i am not a 5 a.m. get up and write a few pages we can just start cranking things and carve it together. >> host: i want to go back to one more thing in terms of your teaching. you didn't mention i don't think my name i think it was in your graduate school three teachers who were mentors that have an impact on you. can you share with us who those were? >> guest: hope college i had a world religions and philosophy professor and then my preacher
and a dutch reformed church was a scottish reformed presbyterian kind of preacher that he had karl barth and calvin in his head coming and going committees great systematic thinkers and he had me over when i was a college kikid ended in college you don't have your act altogether so all three of these folks cared for me as an individual and i followesawwhat a christian concs like and i said not only am i thankful for this college has done for me but i always aim to be a professor based on these three. then the minister to bill clinton. and then working on economic
development in the third world i worked a couple years with a woman from the philippines and singapore so i had great people all along the line and it helps you grow so i want to pass it on and that's why i wanted to teach then you say i'm done teaching anin the 20 years of talking its time to put some of this in action so i gave it a run. >> host: what is a typical day like? you are starting again tonight on the day that we are having this conversation and then what's it like i know a lot of c-span viewers probably know this but you get up tomorrow and do what? >> guest: it's weird because of the presidential years we had a month at home but the normal is three weeks up in dc get up early, go to the gym, work out with everybody can th, democrat, republicans we all have a good
time and watch the news and then use ar start going to budget committee meetings and vote throughougothroughout the day mh constituents, getting your head up on what's coming at us in terms of major bills and working with your staff then you go home for one week and do the pilot kickstand run for office and meet with constituents in your counties and i've promised to be in every county once a month. not clearly thinking that i made that promise but it's been great i've been going around like crazy. >> host: we had winds change in virginia and yours changed somewhat. how has that been having a district you were used to and then losing constituents and voters and gaming constituency of voters that must be a little bit of a -- >> guest: i still don't even know how it happened.
i lost and over where i taught my students for 18 years and they are dispersed through the region but you almost wonder if someone designed it intentional. i picked up some and i was there this past weekend twice running through those counties so great people and it's fun but it's hard work getting to meet new people and introduce yourself and when you are new people are skeptical of politicians. you almost need proof and here's the proof of what i'm saying. >> host: it is clear in the book but it's interesting because i've seen you on this book and you say the same thing
back home and my sense i think people are very receptive to that conversation. >> guest: it goes back to newt gingrich and iran o i ran on the republican creed in virginia and it's not really republican. equal treatment for every citizen under the law you say that for anyone. the problem is not how people hold themselves to that promise when they are up here but free markets and they vote for everything that's not free market so i tried to do that and i get in all sorts of trouble but you can predict my votes with adam smith and madison and every one of my goats and go check it out.
>> host: here's something on november 12 -- >> guest: >> host: what is the prediction? >> guest: i got to flip the claim at the last game. we have a love-hate relationship. they came up and said argue congressman david brat, we all like each other. we are a free market -- they are all good folks. >> host: that's great. thanks for spending time. i enjoyed the book and encourage others. thanks for taking the time to. >> guest: you took notes and went beyond. it's been fun working with you the past couple of years.
i want to ask who is responsible for the deterioration of democracy and the rights to shape the future and that of prostate ready. the perpetrators are cleared the big corporations, the big media and big government and money greases the wheel but who are the enablers? the enablers are asked because first of all, we don't show up. half of the democracy is showing up for town meetings and rallies and marches the showing up to vote. we have a low estimate of our own significance. a. you can talk to high school
students and ask them who are you indivisible say their names in the children and parents. that is their role that they don't get caught up in school they don't learn the civic skills. they learn computer literacy. they don't connect the schools with the community to raise people that know how to shape the future of their neighborhood, state, country and the world so this is why i finally wrote a short book it's called breaking through power it's easier than we think. i am very willing to be challenged. it's easier than we think. 1% or less. we hear about the other 1%, the occupied wall street. 1% or less is what it takes if
it asks the following question what are all the things we want to change in the country? some of them we can change ourselves, diet, exercise, and others by organizing food and things like that but the other major changes that deal with the empirempire and the military-industrial complex and the planning by big corporations with every aspect of our life and planning our genetic inheritance and/or education, strategically planning our food, healthcare contacts assist him, public budgeting allocations. all of this comes down to congress. congress is the most powerful branch of government although it doesn't use it. he gives u it up to the executie branch and lobbyists. congress is made up of 35