tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 13, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
in africa alone where foreign interests, foreign investors, foreign corporations, foreign governments have come in and bought up massive amounts of land and water and they're using it to grow crops that they sell out of the community. and they're using all the same bore well technology that's ruining the ogalala aquifer here, they're using there and pumping this water up and destroying water there. we have to learn. people who have lived for millennia in communities in asia and africa and south america know how to live with the fluctuations of rain and then dry season and they know how to conserve and they know how to farm dry land. we come in with our technology and we're ruining it. energy sources that don't harm water have got to go and we're fighting the pipelines. you know, the keystone xl pipeline, which is still a very hot issue and is going to remain contentious through the next
election. but we're fighting huge other pipelines in canada because they want to move that terrible tar sand stuff from the tar sands in alberta to export markets. fracking is a really dangerous form of energy in terms of water, and so we have to say we can do better. if we ask the question for energy, what's the impact on water, we're going to come up with different solutions. i also call for in my book the notion of using water as a source of peace rather than a source of conflict. and think about it for a minute. if you stop and think in a world where the demand for water is going straight up and the supply is going straight down, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that maybe there's going to be conflict. maybe there already has been. the deep germ of many of the
conflicts in the world have at least partially to do with water. from syria to egypt to israel/palestine, many, many disputes in africa, disputes in asia are around water or water is a part of it. and water is being used now around the world as a weapon of war. the government in syria has cut the water sources off to the people at aleppo, which is where the original revolution took place, just cut the water. so if you want to make war on people, you just take away their water supply, and there's very little people can do in the absence of access to water. so the question would be, then, well, if it can be a source of conflict, could water equally be a source of peace? could we think about water as nature's gift to humanity, to teach us how to live with each other? and maybe, you know, my grandfather was taught to hate your grandfather and your father was taught to hate my father and vice versa and i'm supposed to
hate you, except we both live on this river and it's dying. so maybe instead of expending our energy hating each other, maybe we can come together and build something that saves this river. maybe our kids will live in peace because we'll come together and save this water source. so there's a whole discipline in universities now around water and nature as being forms of peace-making, forms of negotiating a peaceful settlement. coming around the concept of governance, watershed governance and watershed sharing, instead of saying this is my portion and i'll fight you for it, it's like, what does the health of the watershed demand? whatever that is, let's conform to it. let's make that happen. one of my favorite examples is a group called friends of the earth middle east who came together years ago and they got people from -- members from all the warring factions -- gaza,
israel, syria, lebanon, all of them -- and they came together to say, we're not going to talk history, because we won't agree and we're not going to talk religion or politics because we won't agree. we're going to talk about how to save the water systems in our community. and it's been so successful that there's actually some parts of the wall that have been taken down where people got to know each other and realized how much more in common they had with one another than they might have thought. we also have to promote human laws that mirror and reflect the laws of nature. there's a whole movement that i'm involve in, a number of really thoughtful and interesting people are creating called the rights of nature. that's the notion that nature has rights beyond its use to us. yes, it's a public trust, which means we all have common access, we all have equal rights to these common assets, but water has rights separately. even if water didn't serve us,
water serves other species. water serves itself. nature has its own rights, and we've got to stop thinking of ourselves at the top of this chain of command as if we're so important. and how that would be? well, we actually have examples here in north america and around the world where local ordinances are being declared that the local water or the local wetland or the local forest has kind of the status of the human being, right? it has fundamental rights. and people are coming around the concept of protecting those rights. somebody said to me, oh, you mean you can't go fishing because fish have rights? i said no, of course you can go fishing but you can't fish a species to extinction. that would be the way the law would work. yes, you can take water from that watershed but you can't take so much water from that watershed that you destroy the watershed. you have to leave the integrity of the species or the integrity of the ecosystem intact.
and that's a seachange for us, for we humans. and the more rich and powerful we get and the more industrialized and the more urbanized and the more consumeristic we get, the more we think that nature is there to serve us. and nature's got a really, really rude wake-up call for us. finally, and then i'm going to stop so we can chat with each other, finally, we have to make real this fight, this concept of water as a human right. nancy talked about the struggle at the united nations. i was invited in 2008-2009 to be an adviser to the president of the u.n. general assembly. that's not ban ki-moon's secretary-general. general assembly, which is all the countries together, every year elect a president. that year it was a man named father miguel, a liberation theologian from nicaragua, wonderful man.
he read my first book on water called "blue gold" and he called and said -- before he was even president, would you come to new york and meet with me because i want to make water a human right. i said, hmm, do i have time to go to new york and meet with the new -- okay, yes, maybe. like, now, can i get on a plane now? fabulous man. we worked with a lovely man named pablo solo who was the ambassador at that time from bolivia, a landlocked country locked into a water war. a water war where people were killed because the world bank had said you have to -- you have to take a private water company if you want help from us. so they brought in this private company and it tripled the price of water and they said, we own the rain and we're going to charge you for the water that you catch from the sky. and they sent inspectors around. i mean, these are the poorest people on earth. 85% indigenous, a very, very
traditional culture. this is their water from the sky they're being told they had to pay for it. there was a revolution. the army was brought out. people were killed. it was a real water war. when the new president, evo morales, wonderful man, came in, he assigned this pablo solo to the u.n. and father miguel and pablo solo and i worked together, built a small team there, and pablo solon put the resolution to the u.n. general assembly in june of 2010 and it was a very brave thing to do and it basically said that water and sanitation are fundamental human rights, equivalent to all other human rights. water was not included in the 1948 human rights declaration because nobody at the time ever could imagine water would be a problem, right? but for the last number of years, it's been pretty clear that not only is water a huge -- the lack of water a huge threat,
but it's the greatest threat, particularly to children. when pablo solon got up in the general assembly, he had formidable enemies. your country was opposed at the time. since changed your mind. but opposed at the time. my country was opposed. great britain was opposed. water companies opposed. we. didn't think we were going to win. he got up to present and said there's a new study that in the global south, every 3.5 seconds, a child dies of water borne disease. then he went like this. he held three fingers up like this and then half a finger. and then everybody realized a child just died. a child just died. you could hear people breathing. it was absolutely amazing. and then the voted started. at the u.n., when they vote, they sit in their seats and press an electronic button and it comes up on a great big board at the front. i was standing at the back up in the balcony holding hands with a couple of my staff saying, we're going to lose, but it's okay.
we never thought we would win so soon. we'll be back in five years. we'll win then. i was preparing them. i was sure we were going to lose. they're in tears. they vote. i was wrong. 122 countries voted in favor. not one country, including the u.s. and canada, voted against, even though they were opposed. they abstain. 41 countries abstained and the place erupted in cheers. it was an absolutely fabulous moment. and in my opinion, in that moment, the human family took an evolutionary step forward. we said it's not okay that your child has to die a horrible death of waterborne disease because you couldn't afford to buy expensive water. that's not okay. now, does that mean the day after this was adopted everything was fine? no. in fact, the crisis in detroit has happened since then. we outlawed torture back in 1948 and torture still exists in our
world, but it doesn't mean we think it's okay. and when we don't think something is okay, we collectively make that statement. and it was really important that as a human family, the united nations said, we will strive so that no one has to do without. the only way that no one will do without is if we take care of our water better and we share it more justly. this is our task now, and it's a huge and very, very powerful one that lies before us. we've had tremendous success with this law in a number of countries, mexico being the most recent, have adopted the human right to water in their constitutions or in separate laws. a number of countries have set out plans to move forward. we have had a wonderful success with a group of first nations indigenous people in botswana, which is a country just north of south africa.
botswana has a desert and they have bushmen, hunter/gatherers who live very much the way their ancestors did. 15 years ago, the government at the time starting trying to get them out of the desert because they found diamonds in the desert. they were also beginning to frack in the desert and they wanted the people gone. when the people wouldn't go and kept coming back, in fact, they smashed their water bore wells. they said no more water. they passed a law saying anyone bringing water to the bushmen would be put in jail. it was like a terrible violation of their human rights. they went to court with a group named survival international. they won the right to go back to the desert, but they didn't get their right to water. but after the u.n. adopted the human right to water and sanitation, we all went back to the supreme court in botswana and armed with this new right, the people, the indigenous
people there won the right to have their water reopened, and they were returned to the desert. and it's a really marvelous story of a kind of genocide and people fighting back and saying, we know who we are and we know what we stand for and we will take nothing less than the fundamental rights. we don't want the whole world. we don't want to be competitive. we don't want all your stuff. we want to live our lives the way our parents and grandparents and their parents lived and we want and need water for this. so when i think about my own life, i guess, i think of a few highlights. i can tell you that being part of that struggle was a very deeply moving one for me and for everyone involved. so this vision i have of a water ethic based on water conservation, watershed restoration, watershed governance, putting water at the center of absolutely every policy, what is the impact on water?
if it's not okay, go back to the drawing boards. water is a public trust and a commons. nobody has the right for appropriate it for private property, gather it up and collect and sell it for personal profit when other people are dying because they don't have access to it. and water is a fundamental human right, not just for this generation, but for generations to come which is why i call it forever. nancy loves it. it's a little bit cheeky to write a book saying how to protect water for people and the planet. i put forever in. my husband said, it's pretty strong. what, 100 years? it's got to be forever. we better think about it forever. we better do what indigenous people do and think seven generations ahead. i'm going to end the formal part of this with my two favorite quotes and then we have time for discussion, i think. so i'm going to just -- so many
wonderful -- i'm going to give you three quotes just because i have enough time. one of them is from a writer, michael. who talks about watersheds. i just love this. he says watersheds come in families. nested levels of intimacy. on the grandest scale the hydrologic web is like humanity -- serbs, russians, indians, amish, the people's republic of china. it's broadly troubled but it's hard to know how to help. as you work upstream toward home you're more closely related. the big river is like your nation, a little out of hand. the lake is your cousin. the creek is your sister. the pond is your child. and for better or worse, in sickness and in health, you are married to your sink. then there's the late, great carl sagan. your wonderful scientist, environmentalist.
anyone who used to watch him on television will remember he used to talk about billions and billions of stars. he would make nature and science come alive. he was a wonderful man. he said this. he said anything else you are interested in is not going to happen if you cannot breathe the air and drink the water. don't sit this one out. do something. you are by accident of fate alive in an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. that would be my message to you guys, the younger people in the room. it's not like me saying, okay, we're handing over this problem to you. this is generation to generation. we do this together. but we are given a gift of a challenge here and that's how i see it. i don't see it as a problem. i see it as a gift that we can come up with the answer that is needed, and we can. and the last quote -- and i love the best -- this is from
tolkien, "lord of the rings." this is gandalf, who sees himself as a water steward, and i want to share this with you because i think you're all water stewards or you wouldn't be here. he's talking about what it means to be a steward of nature, a steward of the earth. this is the night he's standing there -- some of you will remember -- the terrible army is coming, the deep, the one in the second movie where they're going to -- all living things, all good things, all things of nature could be possibly destroyed. i don't know about you, but for me, the books are very much about nature, the assault on nature, and nature fighting back when the trees fight back. it's nature fighting back. here's what he says. i want to leave the formal part of this with this thought. gandalf says, the rule of no realm is mine, but all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. and for my part, i shall not wholly fail in my task if
anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in the days to come. for i, too, am a steward. did you not know? thank you very much. [ applause ] so now we have time to chat and we have two wonderful people who are going to bring the mic around. and don't be shy. questions, arguments? yes, right here. >> thank you for your presentation. you outline a very comprehensive and interesting approach to things that need to be done. my question relates to setting
priorities about where to start and when i'm thinking is some of the -- many of these issues are broad, very deep, comprehensive. how would you go about looking at priorities or criteria to determine where you can get the political consensus, what set of goals where you can get the political consensus and the financing to do it? i'll just give one example that everyone recognizes in this state and in most urban areas. and that has to do with storm water sewers and what's going on. yet in our state, the proposed budget for -- that our governor has come up with, is basically $10 billion short. there's not any funding for infrastructure. and in general, everyone wants to shrink government and no one
wants to pay taxes. so against that backdrop, any thoughts you have about how to identify the priorities where consensus is low-hanging fruit, where you can actually make some progress? i'd appreciate your thoughts on that. >> well, it's a really, really thoughtful and very tough question, as a matter of fact. i wish that there weren't the apathy that there were -- that exists now. i'll start with the smaller, local. i think that people can say -- well, first of all, learn as much as you can. read, read, read. get your heads around this. in the u.s. -- if you lived in canada, i would send you to our website. but go to foodandwaterwatch.org. good information on food and water protection, keeping water in public hands and leading the fight on fracking in the u.s., one of the groups.
start with getting as much knowledge as you can. for those who are still students, very involved in an institution, high school or university, you can start a discussion around bottled water on your campus. there are many, many campuses around the united states and canada that have actually stopped selling -- stopped providing bottled water. it's not that they've banned it. if you want to bring bottled water onto the campus, that's your business, but the campus is saying, we're no longer going to provide it because we have these great drinking -- you know what i'm talking about. the fresh waters. thank you. it's been a long day. my brain's gone. and so that's sometimes a way to start that then leads to much greater sensitivity. i was in one university where the students collected the small plastic bottles from just one week from the vending machines,
from the cafes, from the cafeteria, from all the sources that existed, and they put them end to end and i'm telling you they went all through the school outside all around the university. it was just like stunning as a visual image. this is what we're doing. and, by the way, last year, if we were to take all of the individual single plastic bottles just of water that people drank in the world and put them end to end, they would reach to the moon and back 65 times. try to imagine the plastic we're talking about. when it's not necessary, right? so sometimes it's what's very particular to you. it could be a local fracking fight. and those are really worth getting involved in, because we are winning a number of those. in my country, we've now got moratoriums in quebec, nova scotia, new brunswick. we think we're going to get one in ontario and maybe one of the prairie provinces. there's been an absolute backlash.
we've put up with the tar sands pollution. people are saying, we don't want another form of this. sometimes it could be that kind of a fight. it can be when you get to the larger question that you're raising, which is how do we get people to pay taxes, to be prepared to say, we have to have the kind of government that's going to put this front and center. do we have to wait until everybody is california with the signs saying, okay, folks, one year, you ready to talk rationing now? i notice they didn't say, are you ready for regulation? we need regulation. i quoted martin luther king. i'll quote again. we need the rule of law. legislation may not change the heart but it will restrain the heartless. we need law. we need to get to the place where we elect leaders who will do what's necessary to do. i don't know the easy way to do that. i do think, however, if you
start at a level that is instructive for you that feels within your grasp, that creates a movement. i spoke at one university in new england five years ago and a group of first year students were so moved and excited by the challenge that they decided to form a club to get rid of bottled water on their campus. and they invited me last year, they were now graduating. it was their last year and they had succeeded and they wanted to celebrate and have me there. every single one of them has gone on to other environmental challenges. some of them have gone into sciences. one of them is going into environmental law. all of them from that one experience became dedicated to a larger vision. it's a very, very exciting process. but it's hard and i don't have an easy answer for you. if i did, i'd be queen of the world. >> question back here. please stand up when you ask. >> i've got a bogus question for you.
but technology is one of the solutions. qatar has just opened a 550 million gallon a day reverse osmosis plant. israel has two 250 million gallon a day reverse osmosis plant. they're trading energy for fresh-water. can you comment on that? >> thank you for asking that. i think one of the myths besides the myth of abundance is that technology will fix whatever we're doing. it's okay to foul those waters because some technology will come along and clean it up. it's okay to use up the water because we'll just build desal plants and pull in the from the ocean. here's what you need to know about desalination. it's extremely expensive, number one. that's why you don't find it in poor countries that are thirsty, only rich countries that are thirsty. number two, it's intensely energy heavy dependent.
so it uses fossil fuels to run and that creates more greenhouse gas emissions which in turn hurt water. so it's defeating the very purpose for which it's supposedly being created. number three, what it puts back out into the ocean is a poisoned brine. what they do is take in the seawater with aquatic life, put it through a heavy reverse osmosis process using chemicals. what they put back is the dead aquatic life, this very intense brine, and the chemicals. and it just destroys the fisheries, the coral reefs and so on. one community in australia, their answer was just build a deepwater pipe and send it out into the ocean. see no evil, hear no evil. it's gone. desal, i know it's used very, very much but i believe it is the technology of last resort. and here's something interesting. you've heard of peak energy and peak water. here's a new one.
it's peak salt. in the arabian states, the gulf states, -- because, as you say, they use all -- almost all of the water that's used is seawater, desalinated seawater -- they have used so much of it and put this heavy salt brine back into the arabian gulf that they're saying now they can't get much more water out of it, because each time it's saltier and saltier. and you say, surely it runs out to sea. no, it doesn't run out to sea because they dammed all their rivers. the rivers aren't reaching the ocean anymore so the natural helped them is gone. as humans, we're saying, what are all the things we could do, put together, that would make it impossible for us to live. and i quote in my book a scientist in dubai who says that if desalination for some reason were cut off, maybe the price of oil, maybe they would discover
some cold fusion or whatever and suddenly the money dries up in that part of the world in terms of energy and they don't have the money to desalinate, because it's really expensive. guess how much water dubai has? dubai has golf courses and 20-star hotels that are built on water themes and water theme parks and fountains. it's a really, really water-joyful city in the desert. they have one week's worth of fresh-water. if the desal water were to dry up. one week. we're that -- when you stop and think about it, when you understand it that way, you go to a place like dubai. i've been to qatar. i've been to some of these places that depend on this water. it's lush. oh, my god. the shopping. call them 20-star hotels because they are. 5-star will not describe what we're talking about.
it's based on tears. it's based on something that's not going to survive. we really need to ask these questions about protecting in the first place. which goes back to your question. if you're not prepared to protect in the first place, you're paying to have it cleaned up at some point or people don't have it. >> this is a little bit of a personal question. it just gets discouraging sometimes when you're fighting the good fight. when you get down, when you get discouraged, where are you looking for inspiration and how can all of us help you and help each other? how can we be a community? >> that's probably the most important question there is. people ask me sometimes how do you stay cheerful and hopeful in the face of all this stuff you know?
like some of you, you i'm on all these list servs. there isn't a moment that goes by i don't get horrible news about some crisis or another. then i come speak to you and i get upset and feel all better. which is actually true. my husband says, you mean, people deliberately and consciously come out and hear you and upset themselves? first of all, you have to take time for yourself, find support around you. i believe in joy in activism. i believe in having fun. what's the old saying, i'm not going to the revolution if i can't dance. i believe in making communities of activists who love each other and care for each other and build a support system for each other and build in fun times and build in that kind of support. because it's -- i do a lot of traveling in the global south, and i've seen things that will never leave -- you don't -- not -- i'm just forgetting the name
of the slum in kenya, which has -- yes, thank you -- which has almost 1 million people there. and they have what they call flying toilets. there's nowhere to go to the bathroom. there's outhouses that are controlled by local thugs. you have to pay to use it. it's terrible. so they defecate into plastic bags and they just throw it. everywhere you go, there's plastic bags of shit, everywhere. it's just so hard, and you come home and you say, i'm so lucky. i get -- i've got a private bathroom i can go in. i've got clean water coming out of the sink and i've got a shower and a bathtub. i'm so lucky and i find myself being really grateful for having this. and i think that sense of gratitude is extraordinarily important. we've got to stop having the sense of entitlement. this is gratitude. 2.5 billion people in the world
don't have a toilet. i was in a slum in india, in calcutta, the old bombay, mumbai. and they said this bathroom here, this toilet here services 5,000 people. try to even imagine what that means. kwoen i don't know what that means. i can't even imagine it. i guess part of it is being grateful, is being humbled. i think we need to be more humble. i think we need to love nature and put it in center of our lives and be grateful for it, consciously grateful. and we have to find joy in the work that we're doing and realize that it can be tough, but to my mind it's like you open a door, you see what's on the other side. some people choose to close it and not see. i call it the right not to know. i don't want to know. it's not my business. i find if you walk through and see it, it will hurt.
we talked about a quote from the wonderful writer margaret atwood. the world seen clearly is seen through tears. why ask me what is wrong with my eyes? if you're really seeing it, you're going to be sad a lot. but that's a good sad. that's a sad that gets you out of bed in the morning and off to doing something you need to make it better. i have enormous hope. i really do. i'm not just saying that. everything i have talked about here is absolutely recoverable. nothing here is not recoverable if we start to take action now. >> let me just say you're a true inspiration. i'm a junior at a local high school. we're very conscientious about our environmental stance. right now we're focusing on our
watershed. natural prairie. i'm wondering how in my personal life can reduce my footprint on water and how my school can reduce its footprint as well. >> first of all, thank you. you say i'm an inspiration. you're an inspiration for me. it's really, really important that we have this intergenerational friendship, solidarity. no particular generation is going to solve this alone i expect you know as much as i do what you can do at your school. my guess is you guys are already doing tremendous thing. you know in your home and school the appliances that are water-saving, the toilets and all that stuff. we all know that. cutting down on the length of the showers. the way we grow -- what we have in our gardens and our lawns. all of this really matters. this is a more water-rich area. it's not going to be as crucial here as in some dry places. but all of those things, what food we eat, cutting down the
amount of meat is one thing we can do. trying to support local food producers, local organic food is extremely important in terms of the water footprint. helping find energy sources that don't hurt water, all of those things are incredibly important. but it's that -- it's that sense of knowing that you have a role to play that's most important. i mean, you already are there. you guys are already there by being here. you already have made that kind of conscious decision and i really, really appreciate it. i think i spoke a little earlier to some of the high school students and i told them about a 95-year-old friend of mine who has been involved in every single fight, including the vote for woman. that's her age, right. she says when any of us get tired, she says, you just cut that out now. becoming an activist is a lifelong commitment. you do it every day. it's not a fashion you talk off now and then.
when she gets really exercised, she'll say fighting for justice is like taking a bath. you do it every day or you stink. having made the decision, you guys, to be part of this, you're already part of the answer and you're going to come up with answers that i haven't got, like each of us is going to give something back. new technologies. there's wonderful work being done on new technologies for porous pavements, parking lots. for recovering dead water. unbelievable technology. small technologies that are just marvelous. so finding a career where you can find a place to both make a living and make a difference and fabulous. just being conscious of the way you are is great. you inspire me back. >> i work with the local food
and water watch and with many other groups along the ohio river to keep the corps of engineers from approving shipping fracking waste down the hoifz river in -- ohio river in barges. and despite all our efforts, they approved it. so my question is, what if anything, can we, the people do, to make them change their mind? >> it's very difficult when governments refuse to listen. just stop and think about what we know about fracking, wastewater from fracking operations. i don't know if you guys know about a community in quebec, a small community. a train, a year and a half ago, carrying fracked oil and fracking wastewater left the track and plowed into this small town late at night close to midnight. into a local pub that was very popular.
killed -- incinerated 47 people. i mean, incinerated. it blew up. this is what we know about fracked oil and water -- wastewater. it is explosive. it's not just toxic in slow motion. it is explosive. and they are talking about moving it, storing it all around the great lakes because they've fracked so much now they don't know what to do with the fracking wastewater. now, as they say, the coast guard has given the okay to move it on barges on our water. ships have accidents. it's going to get into our water system. ships have accidents. it's a form of insanity to allow this to happen. how communities stop it? we have to make these decisions separately and how far we're willing to go. sometimes we have to put our bodies up in a peaceful way on the line. i was involved in the 350.org,
some of the protests in front of the white house a couple of years ago with bill mcgiven. bill would say, maude, come and get arrested. my husband, a lawyer, would say, you're not getting arrested. because it's not a joke anymore to get arrested. it goes on your record and you're suspected of all sorts of terrible things. try explaining to a customs officer it was a protest. they don't care. so i promised bill that i would get arrested in canada at the first chance. so a year or so ago we held a big protest on parliament hill against all of these pipelines. not just keystone. and it was understood ahead of time that -- like a morality play. you know exactly if you do this you'll get arrested. we worked with the royal canadian mounted police. the rcmp. wear the red hats. if any of you come to canada,
you'll see the rcmp musical ride in front of parliament hill. they police parliament. that's who we were dealing with. they put up barricades. they said if you cross the barricades, we'll arrest you. there was a whole bunch of officers getting ready to arrest everybody. we had drumming and music. i told my lawyer husband that nothing was going to happen because it was really boring. there was no point in him coming because it was going to be really boring. i had forgotten to tell him i was intending to get arrested. sure enough, he shows up. what's that green armband you've got? all the people planning to get arrested. what green armband are we talking about, right? it was an amazing day. we had drumming and speeches and so forth and then a group of us went to this stage, and i crossed the barricade. i was one of the first. and this very tall, big rcmp officer said -- looked way down
at me, and he said, ma'am, i would like you to step back over the barricade. i said, i really can't. he said, i would really like you to step back over the barricade. i said, i really can't, officer. i'm sorry. he leaned down and said, mrs. barlow, my wife is a huge fan of yours. if i come home and tell her i arrested you, i'm in huge trouble. i said, would you like a note? i said, you're going to have to arrest me. i'm really sorry. pick somebody else, i don't know what else to do here. he put the handcuffs on me. he said, are they too tight? i said it's okay, i think they're supposed to hurt a little bit. but it's a choice that we -- i'm not suggesting you go get arrested. i'm saying that there are times when we have to stand up and find ways to be there and to say, this old-growth forest or this aquifer or this lake or this whatever isn't mine. it just doesn't belong to me and it doesn't belong to you guys who are about to destroy it.
it belongs to future generations. it belongs the other species. it belongs to the ecosystem and we just simply have to find stronger ways to express this. and think of all the changes that have come. the women's movement. the civil rights movement. all of them. have come through struggle. not one of them has just been won by benign sitting down and saying, it would be nice to have equality. people fought hard for these changes and i think we're going to have to fight hard for our water. i do. >> you mentioned the buying by a corporation. bolivia of an urban water system, a public water system. i had been reading up until a year or two ago about more and more of an effort by multinational water corporations to do that in the united states in lexington and indianapolis and other places.
what's happened lately with the attempt to privatize public water systems? >> well, it's an ongoing struggle. let me just say, i have no problem with a corporation or an engineering company building pipes or laying infrastructure. we're talking here about private companies running the water service for a profit and i'm totally opposed to that, as is food and water watch. the idea is basically that the profit motivate should not be involved in the delivery of water services because it's an essential public service. and it's a public trust and it's a human right. so what we're saying to the private sector, help us with wonderful technologies that you can come up with -- there's many, many roles for the private sector, but i believe that's not a good one. we have two big, big companies, suez and one from france, and they've got their american counterparts.
but the parent companies are these two, the biggest in the world, are these two companies. and we've been fighting them for years. a number of municipalities in both of our countries have tried water privatization and have decided it was a mistake. atlanta, georgia, signed a 20 year contract and after 2.5 years cut the contract and said, get out. the water was coming out brown out of the taps. it smelled. and they were charging a fortune for it. every study that we have seen, every single study shows that privatized water is way more expensive than water run by a government agency because they have to build profit. they have to find 15 to 20% profit. either they're going to cut corners, cut service. cut the workers, the number of workers, and they're going to raise -- and/or they're going to raise the prices and that's just right across the board.
however, the fight is being won on this front. they call is remunicipalization where municipalities bring the water back under public control. there are something like 185 municipalities around the world that have remunicipalized their water, including in paris. two years ago they took the water out of the hands of two french water companies and are running it. within a year they were able to lower the water prices for the residential users. it's an ongoing struggle and one we continue to fight. let me tell you, i know we have to stop soon. i'm aware of our time. there's a trade agreement called ttip, the united states-european union agreement. based on a model agreement between canada and the european union, which we've been fighting, which gives
corporations from the other countries the right to sue your government if they don't like what you're doing. if ttip is signed between europe and the united states, any municipality in the united states that privateizes their water will have a very hard time changing their minds because these companies can sue for compensation. it's called investor state. so anyone who wants to learn more about that, please go to public citizen citizen trade campaign. it has tremendous information. so does food and water watch. on the implications of trade. and i have a whole bunch of stuff in my book on the implications of trade agreements on the right to go back to a public system once it's been privateized. it's another ongoing struggle and i don't have a crystal ball to see where it will come out, but common sense tells people that it's better to keep democratic control. i mean, water is life. water is needed for life.
we better keep democratic control of it at all times. >> we'll make this the last question. >> good evening. i'm wondering if you have any particular vision of how american policymakers, maybe how and when, you know, they can really begin to tackle the problem of meat consumption in the united states. >> meat consumption, is that what you asked? >> yeah. >> well, you know, meat is very water intensive. as well, the way we tend to produce meat in north america is more and more in these factory farms, these intensive live stock operations that then in turn hurt the animals because it's terrible treatment, in turn destroy massive amounts of water. again, i would send you to food and water watch. food and water watch has a wonderful project, a wonderful
campaign on farming -- on, i mean, people will choose or not choose to eat meat, and those are personal decisions. but on how these farms are run and the destruction they're doing both to animals and to local water. but, again, the more we can learn about what we're eating and the impact on nature, i think the more we can think through, beyond just, that looks good and that looks good. but where did it come from and the questions i was talking about, what is the impact on water? when we start asking that question, i think we're going to have some different answers in our personal lives. okay. please join me in thanking maude barlow again for -- [ applause ] a little while ago republican senator marrow rubio
officially announce head is running for president. he spoke to supporters at freedom tower in miami. >> after months of deliberation and prayer about the future of our country i have come here tonight to make an anonement on how i believe i can best serve her. i chose to make this announcement at the freedom tower because it is truly a symbol of our nation's identity as a land of opportunity and i am more confident than ever that despite our troubles we have it within our power to make our time another american century. in this very room five decades ago, tens of thousands of cuban exiles began their new lives in america. their story is part of the larger story of the american miracle. how united by a common faith in
their god-given right to go as far as their talent would take them a collection of immigrants and exiles and exiles, of former slaves and refugees, together built the freest and most prosperous nation ever. for almost all of human history, power and wealth belonged only to a select few. most people who have ever lived were trapped by the circumstances of their birth. destined to live the life their parents had. but america is different. because here we are the children and the grandchildren of people who refused to accept this. both of my parents were born to poor families in cuba. after his mother died, my father
had to go work when he was 9 years old. my mother was one of seven girls raised by a disabled father who struggled to provide for his family. when they were young, my parents had big dreams for themselves. but because they were not born into wealth or power, their future was destined to be defined by their past. so in 1956 they came here to america, to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams. here in america my father became a bartender. my mother a cashier, a maid, a kmart stock clerk. they never made it big, but they were successful. two immigrants with little money or education found stable jobs, owned a home, retired with security and gave all four of their children a life better than their own.
my parents achieved what came to be known as the american dream. the problem is now too many americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible. hard working families that are living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected expense away from disaster. young americans, unable to start a career or a business or a family because they owe thousands of dollars in student loans for degrees that did not even lead to jobs. and small business owners who are left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulation, and more government. why is this happening in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity? it's because while our people and our economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and ideas are stuck in the 20th century.
they are busy looking backwards, so they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on the ability to compete in a global economy. and so our leaders put us at a disadvantage by taxing and borrowing and regulating like it was 1999. they look for solutions in yesterday, so they do not see the good paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than the past, so they blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and too inaccessible to those who need it most. and they have forgotten, they have forgotten that when america
fails to lead, global chaos inevitably follows. and so they appease our enemies, they betray our allies and they weaken our military. the turn of the 19th century, a generation of americans harness the power of the industrial age and they transformed this country into the leading economy in the world and it became the american century. well now the time has come for our generation to lead the way towards a new american century. if we reform our tax code and
reduce regulations and control spending and modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace obamacare, if we do these things, if we do these things, if we do these things the american people will create millions of better paying modern jobs. if we create a 21st century system of higher education that provides working americans the chance to acquire the skills they need that no longer graduate students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs and that graduates more students from high school ready to work, then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in this new economy. if we remember that the family, not the government, is the most important institution in our society.
if we remember that all human life deserves protection of our laws, and if we remember that all parents deserve to choose the education that's right for their children, then we will have a strong people and a strong nation. and if america once again accepts the mantle of global leadership by abandoning this administration dangerous concessions to iran and its hostility to israel. by reversing the hollowing out of our military, by giving our
men and women in uniform the resources, the care and the gratitude that they deserve. by no longer being passive in the face of chinese and russian aggression and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world, especially cuba venz away la and nicaragua. then if we did these things, then our nation would be safer, our world more stable and our people more prosperous. these are the things that we must do. but this election is not just about what laws we're going to pass. this election is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.
now just yesterday a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. yesterday is over. and we're never going back. you see we americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future and before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of america, but we can't do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. we must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.
and so that is why tonight, grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, i announce my candidacy for president of the united states. [ applause ] >> you can see the announcement any time online along with the rallies and videos of other candidates. senators ted cruz and rand paul and former secretary of state hillary clinton at c-span.org. here's what's ahead tonight on c-span 3. the ceo of discover financial
talks about technology and security. that's followed by a look at how people are saving for retirement. then bill clinton moderates a clinton foundation summit on health care. next changes to the financial industry due to technology, regulation and fraud and how that affects consumers. david nems addressed the executive club of chicago and sat down for a conversation with austin goolsby. this is just over 45. minutes. >> thank you, i'm really delighted to be here with you guys. we're going to discuss or we're
going to hear from david about the dij tieization of finance changing economic trends, how these are going to impact financial services as well as partners, customers et cetera. i'm honored to introduce david, all of you know him already, but let me just give you the background you already know. as you know, he is the chairman and ceo of discover financial services, which means he's responsible for the company's credit card, student loans, personal loans home equity loans, mortgages, cds, and checking account services. in addition, he oversees the discover network, the comprehensive payment network, pulse, one of the nation's leading pin debit networks, diner's club international a global payment network and serves as chairman of discover bank, the issuing bank for the discover card brands. before. his appointment at discover in 1998 david served as vice chairman of america bank and
previous ly previously he held management positions at progressive insurance, g.e. and bain & company consulting. he has a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the university of florida and mba from harvard business school. in addition to all of those responsibilities at discover, he is a board member of cdw, a director and pass chairman of the executives club of chicago and the federal reserve bank of chicago's representative on the federal advisory council to the board of governors of the federal reserve system in washington. mr. nelms is also chairman of o the board at junior achievement of chicago, a board member of the financial services roundtable, and a member of the civic committee of the commercial club of chicago. from 2008 to 2014 he was a member of the international board of the juvenile diabetes research foundation. if you can't -- he can be
chairman of all of those things and he's still a very decent guy, and so please join me and give a warm welcome to david nelms. >> with that introduction, we're out of time. it is an honor to be here. i've been active as was mentioned, in the executive's club for many years so i do know very well the vital role this organization plays in the civic light of our city. how fortunate we all are to call chicago our home even on a very cold day in february. from fortune 500 companies to vibrant startup companies from world class universities and research labs to our position as a key transportation hub, chicago really has it all. discover is proud to be a hometown company. we were created out of sears in 1986 when we were launched with a super bowl ad and that was the year that the chicago bears won the game so it was auspicious
beginning. we have always been based here in the chicago area. we became a stand alone public company spinning out of morp began stanley in 2007 and are proud to be one of the 32 fortune 500 companies that are head quartered in the chicago area. today i'd like to share a few thoughts about this age of digital transformation that we all find ourselves in. whatever your entry industry, you're likely facing a time of extraordinary change and disruption. the health care business is transforming, so is the energy business, the consumer product sector is transforming and so is tell come. and yes, financial services, is transforming inging inging in big and meaningful ways. i have been in. financial services for many years, and i can tell you there's never been a time where the pace more quicker or the opportunities greater. this transformation is the
result of technology, but more specifically, the way technology is change inging our culture. how it's transforming the habits and expectations of consumers. to begin, it's not high per bole to say financial services has reinvented money, or at least the way money is exchanged. i doubt anyone here will be surprised to learn that electronic transactions mostly card transactions, have overtaken cash as the primary means of payment in the united states. u.s. card transactions are expected to be double the combine combined total of all cash and check transactions. globally the majority of transaction transactions are still done via cash but it's expected to be overtaken by 2017. the second trend we see is that direct banking is here and it is the future. the trend in retail banking is a direct channel such as online
and mail. according to the bankers association, direct channels are preferred by 54% of customers compared with 21% who prefer branches and 14% who prefer atms. and many people use multiple channels, and as was mentioned, branches aren't going away any time soon, but there has been a huge transformation in that percentage of people who say what they prefer digital and that's what they use more and more on a daily basis. and the trend is only going to accelerate thanks to demographics. that is younger consumers are much. less hung up on having a brick and mortar location down the street. many already do their banking through online mobile and phone. the most significant trend, of course, is the related topic which is mobile. everything is moving to the phone. the phone is becoming the realtime access device, not just for financial services, but for virtually every other part of life as well.
the number of mobile app users of discover has doubled in the last two years and over half of those users are mobile only users. the smart phone is the hub for shopping, social media, travel, entertainment, finance e e-mail and texting. it's hard to imagine, but some people even use them for phone calls. to give you an idea of how things are changing, consider the open table app. with open table you can find a restaurant, make a reservation, monitor your tab throughout your meal and then pay your bill. all without taking your wallet out of your pocket. you can still use your discover card because your card is the underlying funding source, but there's no need to get out the wallet and hand the card to someone. that's just one example of the type of seam lessless transaction that we can expect more and more of in the years ahead. in fact, i'm constantly amazed at the innovative new apps that are being developed. the alarm app that automatically sends money to charity every
time you hit the snooze button. that will either make you very prompt or generous either way you're a winner. but it is financial services apps that are the fastest growing apps. double the growth rate of social media apps. it's built around the smart phone. these realtime devices open up a world of opportunities in how we engage in commerce and payments. look looking ahead phones will become the access device at point of sale versus cards and physical wallets. we are fast approaching a world where commerce and payments will seamlessly blend as channel shopping takes hold. merchants and payment providers are working on solutions that will provide the customer with a consistent experience across all channels, in store, online and mobile, including ways to easily integrate rewards and loyalty
programs. one way that discover -- one example is the way discover and amazon partnered into the amazon checkout experience. it's unbelievably simple. when a discover card member shops at amazon.com, they are automatically offered the option to pay with their cashback bonus during the checkout process. it's like getting something for free and it couldn't be easier. i recently purchased a full-size refrigerator from amazon, paid for it with my discover cashback bonus and had had it delivered to my home without leaving my home. and there's this explosion in the amount of data available. the consumers digital footprint barely existed a year ago, but today it's huge and moving into the cloud. information is more valuable and more enabling than anyone could have imagined just a decade ago. industry players are working to learn more about consumer
behaviors and desires and develop more value-added services. when it comes to big data, the goal for a business like discover is simple. how do we use the data to get the right information to the right customer in the right place and at the right time? all this transformation and disruption can feel a bit like a head wind or a tail wind and sometimes it can feel like both in the same day. disruption, though, is something that those of us at discover relish. we were born out of the banking industry, but like most of our competitors, but from the merchant side. the only successful one to be built in the last 40 years. we further disrupted the industry by inventing a card with cash rewards and no annual fee and by being the first to offer 24/7 customer service. provide ing providing that type of value and innovative service was unique in the industry and led to many competitors following suit. so going forward, it's my job to
make sure that the innovative spirit that has served discover so well throughout its history continues to drive us into the future. the range of initiatives is too long to detail, but let me share our world view. we don't think of ourselves as a transaction company. we're a customer experience company. for many companies the transaction is just a transaction, but for the consumer, it's often a broader experience that can span months or years. a customer might buy a product only to return it two or three months later. or they might not make the final payment for several years. so the broader customer experience encompasses many potential touch points and many opportunities to add value, including the research and discovery process. relevant offers on mobile devices that are pinpoint accurate to your location and your preferences. easy and flexible financing. a wide variety of payment
options at the physical point of sale or online. dealing with returns and disputes, rewards and redemption offers realtime spending and account information and financial tools to manage your money. behind every significant purchase consumers consciously or subconsciously ask themselves some fundamental questions. can i afford this? am i paying too much for it? will the financial exchange be secure? what if i have a problem after i buy it? helping customers with questions like these is a big part of our value proposition at discover, and i'm proud to say we're quite good at it. our leadership in this area was affirmed last year when discover tied for the highest ranking in the 2014 j.d. power credit satisfaction study. so how do we approach the task of creating a richer customer experience? i believe it can be summarized along three lines tech, touch and trust. tech is about stay inging ahead of
the technology curve. it's challenging, but it's essential. the key is to focus on the simplicity of interaction, ease of use, ease of communication intuitive designs, and we focus on all those things that we develop our award winning website and apps at discover. last year we became. the first card issuer to support the first with fingerprint log-in, and the first with pre-log in account information. features like these are important because in addition to added value customers want convenience and simplicity. they also want connection with us and with the future, which is why touch is important. touch is about providing help when customers need it. it's about maintaining the option for a customer to speak to a live person any time they want. you might have seen this as the focus of much of our advertising in recent years. these one-on-one exchanges are
important, which is why we don't outsource or offshore or credit card customer service. when a card member calls discover, they get a well-trained and highly committed discover employee at one of our u.s. customer care centers centers. we take great care to make sure all of our support platforms, website call centers, automated phone systems, e-mail and mobile support work together. touch is also about adding value in ways that the customer isn't expecting. in 2014 we led the industry by providing free credit scores to all discover card members on their statements. you may have seen our recent super bowl ad which featured free fica scores as we continued to show how discover treats you like you'd treat you. also in 2014 we enhanced when many regard as the best cash rewards program by making it possible to redeem rewards in any amount and by guaranteeing that those rewards never expire.
i talked about tech and touch. that brings us to trust. unfortunately, there have been dozens of data breaches in the united states in recent years, and hundreds more that often get less attention. so many people have been affected. a global survey showed that 27% of card holders have experienced fraud in the last five years. so one of our most important tasks right now in the financial services industry is to address the challenges of data security and fraud prevention so our customers can continue to use electronic payments with confidence. to be sure, credit card transactions have many advantages over other forms of payment. credit card customers can review charge charges on their statements before paying and are not liable for fraud. . but we need to do more as an industry to protect customers and we are. this year the u.s. marketplace is transitioning to chip cards. it's a big change. banks like discover will be
issuing 575 million new cards. merchants will be purchasing and installing 12 million new point of sale terminals. . not all merchants will transition this year but many will including the larger merchants, which means a big change not just for banks and merchants but also for the millions of customer who is will receive new cards and shop at those merchants. the good news is that chip cards will provide a number of security benefits. it will be very difficult for fraudsters to produce counterfeit chip cards. and if we eventually transfer to pin transactions instead of signature, it will be very difficult for crooks to use stolen credit cards at the point of sale. that said i should note that there's no silver bullet. when you fix one thing, the fraud tends to shift to another place. and in this case fraud will likely shift to online and card
not present transactions so the industry is working on standards for tokenization and enhanced authentication to make transactions more secure as well. overall i would say our industry is mobilized and takes security very seriously. it's difficult to mobilize an entire. ecosystem given all the players involved, but we're definitely making progress. now let me spend just a moment talking about a financial services and societal issue that we're concerned with here at discover. it's the issue of student debt in this country. student loan debt now exceeds a trillion dollars which is significantly larger than the entire credit card or the entire auto loan industries. more than $100 billion in new student loans are originated every year. about 94% of student loans are federal, only 6% are private student loans. that's an important distinction, so let me explain. discover is one of a handful of
u.s. banks that provide private student loans. we work with student parents and non-profit schools to help fill the gap in funding a college education after the student and family have assessed personal finances, grants and scholarships. we use the same underwriting process we do for other types of lending, so we do not see the kind of accesses or dlin kwin sis that we are observing in the federal student loan system. think about the problems we had a a few years ago when lax underwriting in mortgage lending led to a crash in the housing market. federal student lending doesn't just have lax underwriting, it has no underwriting. i don't believe anybody is well served by government loans that saddle students with too much debt for a chosen school or degree or even worse with debt and no degree for students who don't finish college. the end result is often default, which represents a huge
potential burden to taxpayers and to society and impacts financial services industry as well. but even more concerning is the impact of the massive student loan debt on individual consumers. defaults in excess of student loan debt are reducing scores for young people. recent data shows 30-year-old college graduates with student debt are less likely to own a home than non-college graduates. the most important solution needed is underwriting for federal student loans and maybe consideration of income. requirements for taxpayer-backed loans. federal disclosures should also be strengthened to be consistent with private loan requirements. colleges also have some responsibility. financial aid officers should be responsible for better advising and educating students. colleges need to better contain tuition prices and seek more. non-loan funded options for certain students and perhaps should have some skin in the
game for loans made to students who don't achieve a degree. recent income based repayment plans are helping some borrowers, but they treat the symptoms, not the original problem of overborrowing at taxpayer expense. discover is doing a lot to help students and parents navigate the world of financing a college education. if you go to studentloans.com, you'll find much more information. the other thing i'd like to say about young people is the key to a brighter financial future is knowledge. so wed a discover have made financial education and financial literacy a part of our mission. we are delighted to participate in junior achievement, especially as chicago is celebrating their 75th anniversary by teaching over 500,000 students in chicago financial literacy this year. additionally, we at discover are well into.
our pathway to financial success program, a $10 million commitment to bring financial education to our nation's high schools schools. so far we have made $8 million in grants to 900 schools and districts covering all 50 states including a $1 million grant right here in chicago to chicago public schools. now let me leave you with a few comments about one final thing. the best way to achieve a great end to end experience for customers and the way to lead with technology and capabilityies is often by partnering with other companies. discover is one of the most vertically integrated and focused companies in financial services. we are a bank and a network with direct relationships ranging from consumers to merchants. yet, we choose to partner with others rather than go it alone. we partner with other banks and networks around the world and we partner with universities to ensure student loans are used for educational expenses and to avoid overborrowing.
by partnering with others, discover has grown dramatically over the past five years by almost any measure you choose, transactions on our global network and net income. perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of the power of partnering is the way we have grown. acceptance with cards. six years ago discover was primarily a domestic card company. you could use our cards at 6 million merchant locations. today you can use our cards at more than 30 million merchant locations in 185 countries and territories around the world. a big part of how we got there was by partnering with other industry players. clearly, partnering as worked very well for discover and for our customers, business partners and shareholders as well and certainly anything we do in the technology area involves partnering with other companies as well. so today more than ever it pays
to discover. so in summary financial services, like most other industries, is being transformed by technology. especially smart phones and it's going direct. the explosion of data and capabilities can be both a threat and an opportunity. i think being nimble with technology and having a customer experience focus is critical to success. security is a growing threat, not just in financial services, but to all of us in this interconnected world. federal student loan debt is an issue we need to deal with. it's having economic consequences consequences. and finally, partnering well is critical to most of us to serving customers well. with that i think we're going to move to q&a. i look forward to your questions, thank you. [ applause ]
>> i have got sitting in front of me a computer that you can text your questions to and the instructions should be on your tables. first, you spoke about security and you spoke about partners. we have a couple questions that maybe i'll combine into one which is we have heard a number of security breaches not at the individual -- not so much a person got your number and called it, but at the retailers that they go through target, go through home depot whatever. how do we make the full system -- how do you get partners to improve their security? how do we make consumers comfortable that they are not going to lose their financial
information or worse, have their money taken? >> well first, as i mentioned consumers are protected from the financial consequences, but it still can be incredibly inconvenient and disturbing to have your personal information compromised. one of the things that makes it so difficult is there are so many different points of entry. i mentioned 30 million global merchant locations. every one of them are a potential place to come in. we connect to lots of other financial institutions. generally speaking, banks have been ahead of other industries because money tends to be what people are most after, so the thieves go first at the banks. but they tended to migrate more to e retailers in recent years because they were easier targets. those merchants have beefed up
their defenses as well. but i think that the key thing is to recognize that progress is being made but we're going to continue to have breaches, they are going to be different types of breaches, move to different entities, it's not going to go away for the foreseeable future. i think the final thing i would say is from a personal perspective, you should feel confident using electronic transactions. you have more protections than cash when you lose your wallet. so it's the best way to pay, but you ought to pay attention. you ought to pay attention to your bill. you ought to pay attention particularly to fishing attacks because one of the most common methods that you don't read about as much but you click on the wrong button and suddenly your computer is infected and
it's suck inging the information out. so i think there's roles for the banks, there's roles for retailers and there's a role for individual consumers. we all have to be on guard for what are really pervasive attacks today. >> you may have seen -- we have all gotten the nigerian businessman sends you the thing, but they have actually gotten more sophisticated and the new one is you pay and so it comes and it says my name is marvin king, i was the chairman of the bank of england and it talks about how big the balance sheet is of the bank of nk england that he wants to share some of that with you. so don't click on it. >> and the obvious ones are pretty easy. the problem is they are getting more and more sophisticated. we get attacked by our people getting notes from so and so at
the federal reserve. i better open this. and so we have gotten to the point where we actually do education of our people. we actually send fake fake e-mails and see how many people click on them. when 30% of them click on them, then they get reeducated. >> totally different, we have two or three questions about let's call it digital wallet, apple pay, papal, the evolution of alternative payment systems. what does this mean for the credit card industry? what does it mean for consumers? where you see this trend heading? >> i think when i mentioned partners partners, these are some of the new partners that are really exciting. because for the consumer, there's going to be just an explosion of ways to pay and
capabilities and an integration of payment with commerce. and i think they will be both integration and simplicity. you think about apple one click you click on it and it just happens. you don't even think about the payment because it's in the wallet. and generally speaking, these new entities are wallets and hold payment information and then they have other capabilities loaded on top. and so from my perspective, none of these entities want to make loans or become a regulated bank holding company but they all need payment rails and fundamentally every transaction you make goes back to either a bank account or to a credit card
account. they have to ride the rails to get back to the accounts. >> those are in the spirit of, let's call it, integration consolidating. then you have a question here about the desegregatingeing to bitcoin or whatever them taking apart little pieces of the banks where they do get into lending or the deep plumbing of the financial system. do you think that will be enabled by the fact that maybe they have less regulation or will be de-emphasized going forward because it's a little more of a wild west environment? >> i purposely stayed away from talking about regulation, but
that's because i spend 99% of the rest of my time on regulation, but there's no doubt that the much more extensive regulation is pushing some people out of the traditional financial system into less regulated entities. and as an example on credit cards, people who had spotty credit used to be able to get. a credit card with a low line. they can't do that anymore. they are at a payday lender, they are somewhere else paying much higher rates and at a place with less regulation. so i think that the consumer protection bureau theoretically has jurisdiction over nonbanks but it's a whole lot easier to regulate a big bank than it is 30,000 payday lenders that can open and shut on a whim.
so i think that as a society, we need to be careful about the overregulation, we need to have smart regulation, we need to get the pendulum on the middle. but not be so extreme we squeeze people completely out of the system. i think if people are adopting some of these new wallets and so on, those are incremental opportunities. those things have lots of upside. but if they are going to other places because it's their last resort, they no longer can access the traditional system that the sources of traditional funding for checking accounts that used to fund everyone now means high minimums and no more free checking that effectively pushes people out. those unintended consequences of regulation i think we should be concerned. >> a bunch of people want to press you.
what do you think of the consumer financial protection bureau? it sounds like you have addressed this issue of unintended consequences that we want to think through. are there other areas of federal policy with the rise of technology they have become either more or less effective, that the federal government can't do its job or is better able to do his job because these things have changed? >> well, i'm not sure i'm going to answer that exact question but one thing to think about is how much more involved the federal government. is in our consumer financial system in this country than in almost any country in the world. and if you think about the fact that we own freddie and fannie, we basically have nationalized
most of mortgages, which is the biggest for consumers. second biggest is now student loans, i mentioned 94% of that is government balance sheet. i mean, i haven't quite figured out whether china with the government-owned banks is more or less controlled by the government. but we currently unless we do something with freddie, fannie and student loans we are heavily government banks as opposed to traditional private banks. it's not free enterprise. so i think it's not a particularly healthy place to be but it's tough to find the will to say, okay, what are we actually going to do with freddie and fannie, as an example. >> if you look at the economic trends, one of the one on everyone's mind is rising income inequality stagnation of middle
class incomes, a lot of angst of what the sources are what the future is. how does that divergence between different parts of the country, how does that effect the strategy of financial services businesses? is it the case that high end cards are doing better and low end aimed cards are doing worse or how do you see that playing out? >> i do think this is one area where direct banking can help because it is traditionally very expensive to serve low balance customers, low usage customers and so the prospect that we can serve some of these customers with new products virtually without branches without people that's more self-service, i think that is one of the best
hopes for helping to keep people not just provide great service for high end customers, but to provide a cost effective and low cost method. so i think that is a promising aspect. >> then this asks about different age groups. so as millennials gain wealth do you plan to modify your approach to gaining market share? >> we are going to put a particular emphasis on students and young people because there are switching costs and there are -- there is a certain momentum once someone has a bank account, they will tend to stay, especially checking. but the young people, a, they are most used to direct banking and direct everything in the first place, so if you can kind
of get in the door with their first account i think that is going to be what probably all of us in financial services are going to be particularly focused on. then working on retaining the people that we already have. >> a couple of business side questions. how do you budget for innovation when the possibility and size of the payoffs and the presence of disruption is so uncertain. and how do you measure roi on digital transformation initiatives in this environment? >> that sometimes can be easy. there sometimes can be payoffs of how many people are going to be not calling your call center because they are self-serving on your website so you can run an roi on some projects but others
don't lend themselves to that. pre pre we had to put in the technology, but it's like you can tell what it's going to cost you system wise to buy the scores. you can tell what it's going to cost you on the phone calls because it's going to generation calls. but there's a certain number of things that i do think you have to take on faith. we do have a history of being first. years ago, as an example, we were the first to start sending e-mail alerts when you were about to go late or go over limit. and in the industry, this is going to hurt my late fee income, why would i do this? but we felt like we would get enough in the retention to offset the immediate cost. and so i look at the big picture outcome.
our average customer has been with us 12 years. the average in the card industry is 8 years. that's part of why our credit is better because long time customers provide better than shorter term customers. sometimes it's a little bit like advertising. it's hard to measure the roi of an individual campaign, but you have to look at the overall brand measures and use some judgment. it's a very important thing to try to prioritize and it's a very important thing not just to do things that have an easy roi. >> okay organizationally, as an executive, one person asks, how have you organized your own leadership and your team around the client experience? another asks as a ceo, what can people do to keep a culture of innovation alive in r your organization? >> we're organized pretty
traditionally. marketing, chief information officer, business leaders. we have tried to have centers of excellence, so our digital area, for instance, is under marketing, but they serve not only the credit card but the network and student loans, other businesses. i think the way we have try edied to work it is that we're all one company, and let's not get hung up on silos and who is exactly where. i.t. is the same way. central i.t., but they view their clients as controlling what they do and help setting priorities. i think the key thing is a lot of communication and i think a lot of senior level involvement.
i don't mean senior people making all the decisions, but typically, especially if it's those take a bet kind of things you need someone senior to make the call that we're going to prioritize this project over that project. so a lot of collaboration. one of our core values is collaboration. it's hard to say how you get a culture, but it takes a great culture, innovative culture which causes collaboration and that can create that innovation. >> are you concerned about discover's ability to stay in illinois given the state's tax structure and deficit? people are amping it up because they are anonymous. >> i thought you were going to say weather as well.
i think that chicago is our home, we're not going anywhere. i think that from a sentence inging perspective, i am concerned about the current fiscal state of our state and i'm concerned about our ability to attract new businesses and contain other businesses. many of our employees have spouses, so if a spouse's company moves out of illinois, i may lose an employee. so we're all affected by what's going on. i would like the statistics in our state have not been good on us recovering, on us debt ratings, and we've got to fix it.
we have been strong in the past. we need to get back to not being worse than california. >> how would you advise governor rauner on funding financing and policy toward our state higher education, universities, community colleges, et cetera. >> i certainly think that in general there's been a big withdrawal of funding from higher education. not just in illinois but across the country. that's part of what's led to the huge increase in student loans i mentioned before. so i think prioritizing education, i can't speak specifically about funding but i'd say generally education has got to be one of the best investments that we can make as a society, as a government as
well as individuals. secondly, we have to spend that smart, so i'm not close enough to know what's going where, but i'd say just in general my observation is schools have been tending to put too much money into infrastructure overhead kind of things. sometimes it's because people will donate for a building but not for tuition, but we need to make sure the money is actually going into educators and into the basics. but generally speaking i think that investments in our education system will pay off in terms of attracting employers, in terms of having a capable workforce and in terms of growing our economy. >> i think that's great. that's a great place to close. i'm particularly appreciate that as one of the professors. i agree with you 100%. so david it's been a really
great discussion. would you like to make any closing thoughts or points to the audience here? >> well, i think it's a very exciting time to be in any business with what is happening in technology, with the changes in consumers, with the ability to reach customers more cost effectively and in different ways. it can be overwhelming. we use edd to talk about -- i've always been a direct company, but it used to be mail or telephone, it was pretty simple. now you just struggle to stay on top of the e-mails and the chats and mobile and so it requires a lot more of all of us. we all have to keep educated and keep getting better. but it also opens up a world with new opportunities that simply didn't exist.
i think that's exciting no matter financial services or any other kind of industries. so i thank you for your time. >> please join me in a round after applause. join us on tuesday when we'll be live with a hearing on immigration issues with the head of immigration and customs enforcement. she'll testify before the house judiciary committee. . you can watch that at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. also senate foreign relations committee chair bob corker. he'd like congress to review any iranian nuclear deal and he's introduced a bill to make that a reality. that's tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. eastern. and more foreign policy on wednesday when the u.s. ambassador to the united nations will testify on the 2016 state and foreign operations budget. that will get underway wednesday at 2:00 eastern. we'll also have that here on c-span 3.
were you a fan of c-span's first lady series? it's now a book looking inside the personal life of every first lady in american history. based on original interviews with more than 50 historians and biographers, learn details of all 45 first ladies that made these women who they were, their lives, ambitions and unique partnerships with their presidential spouses. the book "first ladies" provides lively stories of these fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house, sometimes at great personal cost while supporting their families and famous husbands and even changed history. c-span's first ladies is an illuminating entertaining and inspiring read and is now available as a hard cover or e-book through your favorite bookstore or online book seller. next a discussion about the ageing u.s. society, working and
living longer, lacking retirement savings, and the impact of people's retirement years. panelists i include authors analysts professors and the chief retirement strategist at the world's biggest money manager. from new york city, this event is from last december. it ran just over an hour. >> this is a big topic. there's so many aspects to it so we're in a bit of a new age here. 10,000 baby boomers reach inging the age of 65 every day, i believe. and it's been called the end of retirement, a phrase that teresa has used so i'm going to ask her to start us talking about this topic by talking about what you think about that why is it the end of retirement? >> so in talking about e
retirement that's voluntary, that promises of secure income for the rest of your life, that's pretty much gone for most people. let's take off the top 10%, that's fine. they are a little bit worried about living too long, but they are okay. the real problem is the bottom 9 90%. there isn't a problem of long-term care insurance or of find ing finding work if you have lost your job. liza said that a lot of people are retired earlier than they thought they would be. but you're not alone. most people who are retired say i've left work earlier than i wanted to so most of the so-called retirement is just withdrawal from the labor market with no fault of their own, with no choice either because of health spouse's health or because they are laid off. then they reenter the labor market at very different jobs
than they had before. so we don't -- we have an issue now where policymakers are on the commission for retirement security are talking about raising the retirement age. there's not an economist who doesn't think that's not a good good idea for social security. however, the narrative is that people can just continue working for a year or two or more. two things wrong with that is that most people don't have the choice to just work in their career job. they have a choice to go to work and enter the labor market teenagers are in retail food service, other low wage jobs if we enter the work world after the age of 65. and the other problem with that, carol, is that we are finding in our center a growing differential in mortality by race and income level and by sex in some cases. we are finding working women i think every working woman i talk
to understands this, actually have the same amount of mortality as working men. so the idea that women live a lot longer because of genetics is probably not true. there's something about the work life that brings down the longevity, so we have seeing that if we end pensions and make people work longer some people are going to be able to have some kind of retirement for the rest of their life, the long livers those with wealth, and others work until they drop dead and that's what i'm concerned about. >> that is the dark side. i want to ask chip and marcy, and ngina, if you want to join in, there's another side to this, too, people say boomers are a very resilient group, have changed every age, and what you're seeing and thinking on that. >> i think that's true. i think boomers have been an exceptional generation.
as somebody who has followed them throughout my life, i am hoping they solve this problem so that when my generation gets there, it will all be good. but every stage in life through which they've passed, they've completely remade the idea of what it meant to go through that life. i agree with a lot of what teresa said. i don't think it just applies to people on the age of retirement i think it applies to millenials as well that are finding the job market more difficult than we thought it was. so i think if we look at what's happening in society now, i think there are two really important trends that are so pervasive. almost title in nateure. first is a skewed demographic. we have people living longer, we have an older segment of our population, then birth rates are falling as well.
that's one trend. the other is rapidly increasing ability of technology. and technology itself is competing for jobs on a more frequent basis. those two things together i think are putting incredible pressures on all our institutions the way that we think, the way we behave as individuals, the commercial institutions that we have i work for an asset manager we're thinking about how can we serve our clients and this changing environment but also the institutions that we have that teresa alluded to what should retirement look like. is it an outdated notion and whoever got to enjoy it was great, but let's face the reality of today's situation. those are the things that i think will be where if there's a crisis, it will be -- i hesitate to use the word crisis, i think it brings a little too much
drama to it but all of those institutions are going to need to change. coming back to the point of your question, where should we try to look for optimism, the boomers are great at remaking institutions. that's kind of what they've done historically. and so i am hopeful in pulling for them that we are playing a part in making sure we -- >> i work for encore.org and we partner, and we are telling a new story that's also happening. i also don't deny anything that teresa portrayed, but there's another narrative going on. nicholas kristof said this best, you asked if boomers might be able to solve this. he said boomers might have the potential to be remembered for what they did in their 60s, not just what they did in the 60s, and he was referring to a
program we started calls the purpose prize that gives $100,000 prizes to social innovators over the age of 60 and we are approaching the tenth year of that program. we have honored hundreds of individuals who have been using the later part of their working lives to solve big social problems. some of them, the financial kinds of problems we are talking about right here. >> do you have examples? >> i do have many examples several from new york city since we are sitting here in new york. sometimes they're everyday people sometimes they're people that had careers. this year we have a former tech executive, david campbell who was motivated by the tsunami in southeast asia to go over and create a disaster relief organization that allows people to be engaged in disaster relief as temporary transient volunteers, you put all his life experience into that project he calls himself a member of the
good for nothing club. he says we do good for nothing. last year we honored a woman from new york, barbara young a domestic worker immigrant in new york city who worked as a nanny and caregiver and in her encore career she became an advocate, works at domestic workers alliance, got her first paying job with benefits in her 60s and works as an advocate. that prize honors people some with paid jobs, some as founders of organizations. there's a big spectrum of what that looks like. >> there's a push/pull between the need to work and the desire to work and i wonder ngina if you want to comment on that what you're seeing. >> on the need to work and desire to work? i guess so -- you ask me a question -- i want to comment --
like for me the issue is -- one of the issues is i feel like for some people they're going to be able to have this sort of option of maybe doing something meaningful that this has been started or that they've been drawn into, social entrepreneur started this organization, but i feel like there are other people for whom it is going to be hard, it would be hard to do that. maybe i'll give a personal story that may help i feel like i am babbling. maybe a personal story will help. i think about my mother. my mother had to take care of my grandmother, my grandmother got sick, my mother had to take care of her to the end of her life right at the time of the great depression. then when she wanted to go to work she was in her early 60s, nobody was hiring. she had to take early retirement, claim social security benefits early. i feel like for her then she found meaningful activities in
which she can be engaged through her church but then the reality is so that's fine, social security is fine, as long as everything goes well. and the reality of it is when the car breaks down, then the kids have to pay. she doesn't have enough to buy a new car, to make major repairs. any time there's something that requires a huge chunk of savings, she is not so well off. she's okay because she has kids that are employed that help her out. but i feel like it is not the picture most retireds had. when i have retirement, thinking i am on the beach, not a beach person but doing things and financially independent and not having to call us when there's an emergency. i worry about the people that are set up in that kind of space where they might have enough to get by, but don't have a good chunk of savings where there's a crisis they can handle it on their own. those are the kind of people i
worry about. >> the boomers were the first generation suddenly told midstream it is up to you to put this together. and savings rate is not that great for that group and at the same time people are living longer. perhaps some of you want to talk about that. >> chip and i probably have the numbers on hand. so i'll start. we look at what people have now at different age groups. this is my team at the news school, then project out what their income will look like. about six other groups at universities and centers do it, too, so our numbers conform with most of theirs. so when we look at what people have, people at 50 and over on average have a little over $100,000, but there's a huge variation, and most people have nothing in their retirement
accounts an ira or 401(k). near retirees look at what they have, and most middle class people, this is stunning are downwardly mobile and be poor or near poor. that's about $17 per day. the only way i can get my students and journalists and myself to understand what that means. so this is the first time that a generation since social security was started, they're going to do worse than their parents and grandparents in terms of income security. at the same time, many of them not all, that's the whole idea but many of them live longer, 15% have a chance to make it past 90. so bad things happen when you get old. you're just at risk of bad things happening when you get old. so we are looking at what that might mean for state and local budgets because they're the first entities online to provide food and ho