Skip to main content

tv   House Speaker Paul Ryan Discusses Economic Mobility  CSPAN  December 15, 2016 8:00am-11:31am EST

8:00 am
8:01 am
8:02 am
8:03 am
8:04 am
8:05 am
8:06 am
8:07 am
8:08 am
8:09 am
8:10 am
8:11 am
8:12 am
8:13 am
8:14 am
8:15 am
8:16 am
8:17 am
8:18 am
8:19 am
8:20 am
8:21 am
8:22 am
8:23 am
8:24 am
8:25 am
8:26 am
8:27 am
8:28 am
8:29 am
8:30 am
8:31 am
8:32 am
8:33 am
8:34 am
8:35 am
8:36 am
8:37 am
8:38 am
8:39 am
8:40 am
8:41 am
8:42 am
8:43 am
8:44 am
. . . .
8:45 am
8:46 am
8:47 am
8:48 am
8:49 am
8:50 am
8:51 am
8:52 am
8:53 am
8:54 am
8:55 am
8:56 am
8:57 am
8:58 am
8:59 am
9:00 am
if you step back and try to figure out what has and hasn't worked, tnf replaced adc 20 years ago. why hasn't there been more progress? >> it did work. it lowered child poverty rates more than any other reform we had seen. 10-f is a $16.5 billion program. it's one program. there are 72 other programs that spend about $800 billion a year. so that reform which was more local control, work requirements, time limits, which the work requirement s atrophie. these guys can explain more an that. it was one program out of dozens and dozens of other programs that never got those reforms,
9:01 am
that never got those principles injected into them. i think what ended up happening, the system took over those ideas and those principles. it's time for a new round of welfare reform, 2.0. this is not a budget exercise. this should not be seen like that. this should be seen as a life-saving exercise. a civil society, poverty-fighting respecting exercise. that is where this all ought to go. >> you're saying the centrality of work in all of these programs is true with tnf. >> neutrality of work has been displaced by other programs. we call it the poverty trap. stacking all these benefits on one another. the highest tax rate is not warren buffett. it's the single mom getting $24 grand of benefits with two kids
9:02 am
who loses 80 cents on the dollar. it will pay not to work. why would we ever want to do that? how do you get at that without -- it's hard to do that from washington with some new formula. i think eftc, things like that cab help. you need to customize benefits. we don't have all the ideas. there are people out there in communities who do have good ideas. let's see them, learn from them, push them. test them. then again, let's get to this -- i love the evidence-based policy mindset is here. the evidence-based policy notion is a 21st century creation based on data, based on evidence that is here to stay and let's see it through. that to me is sort of the topper of all of this. test results and go with evidence and go with what works. right now, we're not able to do
9:03 am
that because of government. >> in the wake of this election we started out talking about, is there some tension between the working class poor and the sort of traditional nonworking poor? you said some of that in th-- y sensed that in the electorate. you're describing a situation where things ought to be pushing for both classes of people in the same direction. is there tension between them? >> there shouldn't be and no one should try to exploit it. i can't stand that any politics, no matter who plays it. it's just wrong. unfortunately, we have seen identity politics a lot in the handful of years. these are not -- this is not a zero sum gain. some person's gain does not come at another person's loss. that is not how a growing economy if a dynamic society
9:04 am
works. i certainly don't see it that way. people may see it that way. we have to labor to make sure they realize that is not what it is. a growing economy with opportunity and upper mobility and encouraging work and up ward mobility is good for everyone and good for all of society. the notion i think we have to attack which i'm excited about seeing a group like this is that i think unfortunately and indirectly, we as in society, have reenforced this idea the war on poverty is a government responsibility. pay your taxes and we got the rest. don't get involved. you don't have to do anything. you're busy in your life. it's two incomers in a household. they reenforce this idea. this isn't your problem. you pay your taxes, government will fix it. that's dead wrong.
9:05 am
we need everybody to get involved with this. we need everyone's ideas and talents and to reinvigorate and reintegrate the poor, all forms of poverty into our society again. we have done too much displacing on this. bob putnam writes a bunch of stuff how we are self-segregating ourselves into various classes, various groups. if our politics tries to exploit that, we're going in the wrong direction. our politics needs to break down those barriers and seek policies that stop this and get back to this beautiful idea of the meting pot. that's the challenge in front of us and the opportunity in front of us. >> you and the house republican caucus established your bona fides on this issue. what about the incoming trump
9:06 am
administration? >> i talk to him a lot. i brought this up with him a bunch of times. he, as well, unprompted. i think there is enthusiasm and desire. we spent a lot of our time working on this. we're probably farther down the path on this issue, but i sense nothing but enthusiasm and desire to get moving on this. i spoke with donald friday about this. i do believe that there is a big desire and a lot of enthusiasm for this. >> do you have the lead on it, is that fair to say? >> well, all bills start in the house and run through congress. there is this other thing called the senate. i forget about those guys sometimes. >> what about those guys? >> this is something -- i don't know if lead's the right word. this is a very high priority and we all plan on working on this. >> as you move down that path, i
9:07 am
wonder how you deal with the -- there is a kind of long-term notion of getting this right. there's also the very short term human element which is that relief is needed by people right now. how do you reconcile those two? transitions are hard? >> good question. transitions are hard. the sooner you can act, the better you're going to be. i think if we can get growth in the economy quickly, that's important. so growth to me is sort of the initial shot the system needs. i think the fastest transmission for growth policy is regulatory relief. look, people in congress know this because we represent our districts, but i hear probably more about the strangulation of regulations on businesses and their growth and development than anything else. even more than say tax policy. i think if we can provide
9:08 am
regulatory relief right away, that can breathe a sigh of relief into the economy. it can reignite animal spirits, and if we can get our tax policies right pretty soon, those two combinations will help alleviate -- getting good economic growth can fix a lot of problems. doesn't fix them all. >> i've got this congress review act newt gingrich provided you. >> we are going through that analysis right now. what can the new administration do on their own? what's an executive order. what does a new cabinet secretary do with regulations and what do we do with the congressional review act? that analysis is something we are going through right now. this administration is not done yet, the current one. we have to wait to see if they try to do something last minute that will get with the cra. that is the analysis we are going through right now. >> there is one other element of this package that tends to get overlooked but in the real world you can't overlook which is
9:09 am
health care. if you are in a world in which you're repealing and replacing obamacare over the next -- you pick the number of months, 18 months, and that involves considerable changes in the way medicaid has been changed because of the affordable care act, how do you make sure health care doesn't become the show stopper for the very people you're trying to help? >> i think the states have done a fantastic job in some instances with good waiver to get better reform. indiana is the perfect example. the new cms director was o originally mitch daniel's person the architect of healthy indiana, which has done a very good job getting health care to the poor they can actually get and access. the problem with medicaid a lot of people outside of states don't see is most doctors won't take it. it's a loss leader. the hospitals have to but they don't want it. doctors, a lot of doctors won't
9:10 am
take it. then you can talk about dentists and the rest. there is a huge access problem. i think by giving states the ability to craft reforms that are unique to their states like we have badger care in wisconsin, healthy indiana. those are two i'm familiar with. we can do a much better job actually getting people, not just affordable health care but actual access to health, not just insurance but health care. that is a problem with medicaid right now. it is a problem with dire fiscal problems. it's a problem the provider community is struggling with. >> we're running just about out of time. let me step back and ask you a final big picture question here which is this -- transitions are a time for confusion and optimism, i suppose. how optimistic are you you can get there? and what's the time table, how fast, how slow, how difficult to get from here to the kind of
9:11 am
changes you're talking about? >> these changes, the big ones we are talking about, whether it's welfare or health care take time. as far as the legislative process, we are working on an aggressive time table for 2017. we are sitting down with senator mcconnell, the trump administration, the transition team to flesh out what we think is a realistic time table. so we get the legislation prepped and ready to go. transmitting the policy once the legislation is done takes time. again, if we can get growth going, that's a huge accelerant. let's just take the poverty stuff we're talking about. tanf was one out of dozens of programs. i see john english over here. he and tommy thompson are the architects of this idea. i don't know how long it took from 1996 passing that bill to michigan putting it in place --
9:12 am
it just takes time. >> is the senate the grave yard? >> i can think of a few other words. no. they're a patient system. we can move pretty fast we play rugby, they play golf. that's the analogy i use. i do believe we have a good plan. a lot of this should be bipartisan. a lot of this stuff does not need to be us against them. this does not need to be packers versus the bears, which packers will beat the bears this sunday, i'm pretty sure of it. this doesn't have to be so partisan. i'm hoping that's not the case. tax reform or obamacare, i understand there are ideological
9:13 am
differences. that's fine. a lot of these things, i think we are getting hopefully to a consensus on common sense on what it takes to get these things done. >> i'm hoping we can make a difference. >> we can close out on common sense. you've got your hands full, mr. speaker. thanks for taking the time to talk to me. >> enjoy this warm weather. what a great kick-off. thank you so much speaker ryan, thank you jerry seib. thank you for being here. allow the speaker to get out. if you can sit in your seats and allow him to get out. we'll go on with the day. i'm just going to play emcee through the day. our next panel is going to address the question of reform
9:14 am
conservatism, now what? i hope we have michael barone here, our moderator? i haven't seen him. there he is. michael barone walking in. from aei needs no introduction. resident fellow at aei. his panel will come up. panelists please come to the stage. michael will take it away. thank you so much. >> okay.
9:15 am
well thank you very much. good morning. we just heard from speaker ryan. our subject for this panel is something called "reform conservatism. ", what now?" i suppose the title suggests there is something wrong with whatever the other type of conservatism is. we've seen that label afixed to a number of sets of ideas over the last eight to ten years. one way i suppose to characterize the debate between or the tension between reform conservatism and whatever the other side of it is, is the idea
9:16 am
reform, the other kind of conservatism looks to tax cuts and says, hey, a rising tide lifts all boats. this will stimulate economic growth, things are going on. reform conservatism as i understand are saying we should try to incentivize certain kinds of behavior and disincentivize other kinds of behavior. behavior is the intent to get people out of poverty or keep them in poverty or keep them being less productive than they could be. why don't i start off with we've got a panel here. what is reform conservatism, and does it have anything to teach us with year? >> well, i'm not exactly sure
9:17 am
who came up with the phrase reform conservatism and attached it to a group of us who are writing in this vain. neo conservatism originated as an insult from socialists. so hopefully we have a better origin story than that. those of us who have been described as reform conservatism disagree about a number of things. i think the core belief we hold in common is that the conservative program that was created in the late 1970s and early 1980s has become outdated in some respects. that you had a very powerful conservative program that was designed to meet the challenges of an earlier era and no longer speaks to our own era. that this was both an intellectual and political weakness for conservatism. it was one of the reasons why
9:18 am
voters were not responding to a conservative economic agenda of deregulation, entitlement reform, free trade and tax rate reduction. a lot of those are very good ideas, but they no longer spoke to people the way the conservatives hoped they would. and conservatives kept acting as though getting the top tax rate down from 39.6 was just as important and urgent a tax as getting it down from 07% which it was when ronald reagan took office. i think that the primaries on the republican side helped to demonstrate that that part of the analysis was right. that that economic message was not selling to voters, was not felt to be relevant to their
9:19 am
circumstances. i don't like all of the things that have been put into replace the old conservative economic program but the vacuum we were warning about has been shown to exist. >> let me ask you to reflect on that. on the proposals made passed into law for child tax credits, it's an attempt i suppose to incentivize birth, incentivize having children, some supply side as the "wall street journal" editorial page says that doesn't stimulate any economic growth at all. you don't get very much out of that. you just get something for people who are paying income tax. unless you've got a refundable tax credit, you may not get anything to the -- shall i introduce this number -- 47% who don't pay income tax?
9:20 am
what's your take on this? >> i put myself in that camp. i don't think the child tax credit is an economic growth strategy. i also don't even think it's a birth strategy. the costs of raising a kid is $250,000 before they go to college and $1,000 more or less isn't going to change the incentives for a family to have more kids or have kids in the first place. i think it's also important to remember we have a tax code today that is already very family-friendly. we have a today if you earn $50,000 and have no kids you pay roughly $3,000 in income tax if you have two kids you pay about $200 in income tax. more than that, you pay negative taxes. that means you're getting money out of the system. the discussion we need a big child tax credit ignores the reality we have a big child tax
9:21 am
credit. if we think helping those in the middle class who have kids at the expense of those in the middle class who don't have kids is a good idea, i disagree with that. more over, i think in the long run, if we provide some relief or assistance to those workers and those families without the kind of structural reforms that speaker ryan was talking about, closing the skills gap and things like that, what are we going to do 10 years from now when those people aren't moving up through the system? so we can't forever increase the size of the child tax credit as a strategy to raise taxes. >> some people have said, look, the child, the dependent allowance that came into being during world war ii, together with deeply graduated income tax rates, produced $500 deductions,
9:22 am
$600 when your average income was well under $500,000 a year. also happened to coincide with a big baby boom. any cause or effect there? we will now have scheduled next month the inauguration of the third president born in 1946. we've never had three presidents born in the same year this is about nine months of a vj day. should we incentivize that again? >> i'm not sure it's the tax policy that drove that boom. i'm not saying we shouldn't have a policy that adjusts for family size. i'm not saying we shouldn't have a personal exemption that gives tax relief to families that are larger than smaller. >> what is your take? where do you stand on this spectrum? why do people who stand elsewhere get it wrong? >> i think what we're forgotting here, i agree that in the '80s the mistake probably the supply
9:23 am
side made is they decided to focus on taxes. the disservice they did to the free market movement and all of us is to treat talking about shrinking the size of government as a root canal of policy or debate. so it's not so much that -- they're right. you still get some growth from reducing the rates, not as much as if we were lowering it from 17%. the problem is we won't get good policy on the size of government. conservatives, i think, overall and republicans in office have actually given up that fight. they talked a good game, but the reality is when they're in power, the size of government continues growing. >> how do you do it? what's your recipe? >> i was going to say, the other problem, the other real problem is that we can implement
9:24 am
whatever anti-poverty program we want if we don't actually grow the economy, which is the -- it is the greatest lifter of poverty in the world, but it's been in america. when you look at the prospect of growth in the u.s., there's -- it looks really grim. if you look at cbo, assuming absolutely no recession, you don't have more in the next 30 years we can debate whether it's wise to make projections for 30 years of 2.2%. so these are actually two real problems. i think the recipe is rather than actually try to come up with more like tweaking and giving people money a certain way, do the hard work. address the real financial problem that this country faces. address reforming entitlement spending. there is no way around this. address the size of government control the size of government,
9:25 am
then reform these anti-poverty. alex is right. i agree with everything alex is saying about the child tax rate as a solution. the truth of the matter is we are talking as if the government isn't already spending a ton of money on anti-poverty programs. so the difficult thing to do is not to try to actually come up with yet another way to put money in a more work to incentivize people to put more money in their pocket, it's really do the hard work of reforming these anti-poverty program and not just pile on on top. >> does speaker ryan have the right approach? >> i think the framework is right. i continue to see way too much reliance on government. the i think the thing it ignores is everything he says about the
9:26 am
need for civil society is absolutely correct. i think maybe i would emphasize more the fact the government has killed a lot of civil society. and a lot of the action that they're doing. my focus has been and will continue to be on shrinking the size of government. and there are many ways to do it. reform entitlement. regulatory reform is absolutely key. i totally -- >> we've got a president-elect who sounds interested in regulatory reform and sounds not interested in all in entitlement reform so you get one out of two, it looks like, unless the republican congress wants to pass something over president trump's veto. >> it seems chairman ryan is ready to continue fighting the entitlement battle.
9:27 am
>> reform conservatives which you identified are trying to seek to affect behavior. without asking to you accept my baby boom, my theory of causation for the baby boom, isn't that a little hard? ethics and public policy center in his book "the fractured republic," says that we require changes of behavior and habit in the building to reduce social capital. this is a problem we have. charles murray in "coming apart" said in 1960 you had the bottom rungs of the america ladder had social capital, social connectness, involvement with churches, civil society. they don't have it today. you lower taxes in the 1960s, it benefits go to people that have civil society. today they don't.
9:28 am
but he says this cannot be done through uniform social policy that injects subtle financial incentives into people's lives to nudge them into making different choices. that might change people's decisions about whether to work or how to consume, but it's much less likely to change their judgments about whether to marry or whether to turn their lives around for the sake of their children. is he right or wrong? explain. >> my disposition is always to believe that he's right. that is the case here, too. this allows me to segue into defending the poor child tax credit which has been beaten up so much here. i actually don't think the purpose of the child credit or expanding the child credit is to incentivize people to have more kids. i think of it actually in much the same way i think about the
9:29 am
marriage penalty, the reduction of which has been a consensus position for a lot of conservatives. the point of reducing the marriage penalty in the tax code and benefit programs is not to make people get married -- that would be nice if marriage rates rose, but it's to remedy a kind of unfair overtaxation in the system. i believe notwithstanding the existing child credit and existing independent exemption, especially parents of large families are overtaxed, that the entitlement system creates an implicit tax on large families. there is an extensive literature on that how large entitlements tend to reduce family size. if expanding the child credit were to increase the number of children who are being born, it wouldn't be because people have been bribed into it. it would be because they had been on the margin enabled to do
9:30 am
something they already want to do. this is a society, most of the advanced western democracies are societies which ideal family size is larger than actual family size. so you might have some such effect. i really wouldn't see it as a social engineering project so much as a project of reducing overtaxation. >> marriage penalty never seems to get fixed. isn't that a little -- >> the problem on the benefit side is that it's actually really hard to do. as with work disincentives, you've got a trade-off where you're going to either have larger budget costs or a steep cliff. and if you have that steep cliff you are disincentivizing both marriage and work. that is something we do need to tackle. the reason it doesn't get fixed, it's much easier to say that than do it. >> can i just add something? i want to react to one thing you
9:31 am
said. we have these big overtaxation and disincentive to children due to the welfare state rather than carve the tax cut further, moving us away from an ideal tax system. why not again do the hard work trying to reform the welfare system? that is one of the things that bothers me always about this new thinking about poverty. thinking about everything. instead of actually going and doing the hard work -- i understand it is the hard work -- of trying to say we have to shrink the size of government, reform welfare programs, create disincentive to work, which create disincentive to have children and disincentive to save. a whole lot of problems in society. >> you're saying the efforts speaker ryan referred to, tant and so forth, i read the numbers saying that had considerable
9:32 am
policy success in reducing dependency, in getting better results for people that had been in the class of recipients or potential recipients having better results measurably in their lives. the argument is the obama administration skimmed back on this a little. >> do more of this and get rid of the rest. >> as soon as you abolished those security medicare i withdrawal my demand for child credit. >> let's do it. the thing if we don't even talk about these ideas, if all the conservative movement, free market movement is a piece meal short term solutions rather than actually having the willingness to fight the bigger picture, to fight the principle cause, we're going toned up where we stay in this cycle of never fixing
9:33 am
anything and just adding little things that make overall very little difference. >> when you're saying the big things. are you saying social security, old age benefits should go away? >> everything needs to be on the table for consideration for reform. >> that's a very good point here. the notion we are going to fix the regulatory structure with a tax change instead of the regulatory structure or the entitlement structure -- talk about the poverty programs and we continue to go to work and tell the working poor that there is a sustainable social security program for them when they reach retirement which is not true, i think that's a bigger disservice than the assistance by providing. >> is this at this point realistic? we can call for this. we've had a president going on eight years now who certainly
9:34 am
was not interested in cooperating with that in any way, shape or form. we seem to have one coming in of the other party with the same disposition. >> let's make the case for fighting the battle of ideas before we start fighting the things that are politically doable. think about milton freeman in 1955. when he started talking about school choice. everyone thought it was completely crazy. he continued fighting it until it actually becomes politically doable. same thing with auctioning the spectrum. the problem with now a lot of these talks about reforming entitlements is we just think it's not politically doable, which is likely, it's possible. and then we don't fight it. instead, we put all our focus on pie piecemeal reforms and i think it is a pleroblem. i'm going to continue making the case of being bold and fighting things that are not politically doable until they actually
9:35 am
become politically doable. >> what nonpolitically doable things are you for? >> the options, i just mentioned one. we have to continue talking about that. whether it's a medicare program which is difficult to solve or social security system which on paper is much easier to address. i think we should not give up those battles, even if they don't resonate at the moment. i also agree with the reform econ movement in the sense they have captured an energy that i think doesn't exist elsewhere in the movement. to argue very -- in a very tangible way about the lives of real voters i think it critically important, rather than talking about the capital stock which is like my tendency, which voters don't care about.
9:36 am
they care about their own livelihood. they care about their own well being and the well being of their family. i think the rest of the conservative movement needs to find policies and learn from the reform econ movement about speaking to voters. ramesh talked about the substance and politics of this issue. they are on the winning side of politic. they have messages that resonate directly with voters. sometimes the right policy answer is going to be an incorrect policy. economic growth is an incorrect thing. it's less tangible. the reality is we want to have a larger gdp in the future. people don't know what that means. they know if their own incomes are bigger. we need to talk to them that way. >> the title of this conference refers to economic mobility. there is another mobility i think has some relevance here.
9:37 am
geographic mobility. we are a country that had huge geographic mobility in the 20 or 30 years after world war ii, i think in part because the war moved americans all around the country and the world. i think have a habit of moving. they saw the weather in california was actually milder than it is here in washington today. geographic mobility has gone down. we've got a lot of communities. ron bailey has a wonderful article in "reason" magazine on mcdowell county, west virginia, the coal country. the way life goes there. one of the arguments you can get from that, a lot of our government programs discourage geographic mobility. they discourage people from going where jobs are to be had or to be created. and so forth. what can or should be done in public policy in order to
9:38 am
encourage geographic mobility? ramesh? >> alex brought up unemployment insurance, one idea our colleague michael strain has written about is allowing people to take some of their unemployment benefits in a lump sum that helps them to relocate where the jobs are. i think is there a whole range of things that could be done. i think a lot of the welfare state is place-based in a way that tends to limit mobility. medicaid is an example of that. some of the things that conservatives have proposed in terms of taking a lot of that benefit and giving it to low income people so they can buy insurance in the private market themselves is one part of an answer to that. you've got not just the federal welfare state but a lot of local government that are getting in the way here. a lot of the fastest growing parts of the country have very restrictive rules on housing that make the cost of housing
9:39 am
very high and make it harder for young people or people just getting started to move to those places. that's the sort of thing that could also be reformed. i would not say what we shouldn't do that because we should be focusing on the bigger picture. grand reform of the welfare state. i think that that kind of change is significant enough to be worth pursuing in its own right while you defer these other things for later. >> i think the unemployment program is a great example. uai works when the economy is okay. it's a program that is generally run by the states. when we hit a recession and we start going to the world of extended benefits, we start in some instances providing more harm than help. to the geographic question, if you move, first of all, that program doesn't assist you in moving. and it puts those benefits at
9:40 am
risk because if you move out of the place where you get the benefits, they will then go away. speaker ryan spoke about what happened in jamesville when the gm plant closed. he talked about people relocating. that may be bad for jamesville, wisconsin, but good for the people able to move. we don't have enough of that flexibility today. >> i don't disagree it precludes them. the government and the way it provides help is paternalistic. it's a one size fit all. one size fit no one. and there is a way -- it's like the federal government but the state government tells you how much you can spend on housing and under which condition and how much you can spend on food and under which condition, what you can do with the unemployment benefit. we need to break away from the
9:41 am
paternalism of government policies. there are different ways to do it. some are use for cash transfer and getting rid of all those different programs. others have ideas like the one that michael strain put forward. there is a movement and it is true we are talking about a lot of new things right now, but i think we need to realize the government is not going to be able to address all of these questions no matter how interesting and original the ideas are if we don't again, i'm sorry, i'm a broken record, but we don't acresse the financial crisis that's coming our way. we are not going to get good policies basically if we don't grow the economy and don't control the size of government. i think this is a battle and focus we cannot lose.
9:42 am
>> disability insurance is an issue that is, i think, pressing. there's been a great increase in the number of recipients of disability insurance, social security disability insurance. it's expanded vastly. the increase has been largest among people who have, whose claims of disability tend to be nonverifiable, chronic back pain, depression, so forth. you've got 9% of the working population of west virginia on disability insurance. i guess we want to provide something for disability, people with genuine disabilities, even as we tried with the americans for disability act to actually get people with disabilities in situations where they can have the same opportunities as everybody else. and make the same kind of
9:43 am
contributions. one argument against it, you're promoting dependency. you're getting a lot of people 32 years old basically throwing in the towel. is there any way that is defensible as humane but productive of better social outcomes for individuals, enabling them to contribute to society to certain success in arthur brooks' terms? should we be thinking about that? >> i would just say that is a great example of the trap. the poverty trap. i certainly don't know how to tell if someone is appropriately, is a legitimate or illegitimate claim. there are a lot of illegitimate claims. the closer we are to that
9:44 am
person, the more likely we can determine what they need and if they need that program. that goes to the decentralization argument. i don't know. i suspect no one in washington can tell you if someone out in real america is appropriately qualified for disability insurance or not. >> you get very different rates of people being granted benefits -- >> you have a very different economy in west virginia than you do silicon valley. you should have different rates. i don't know what those optimal rates are. i know there's inappropriate claims in that system. i don't think this goes to the one-size-fits-all system. we are more likely to define those programs locally than federally. >> the dependency problems with disability are pretty severe because this is an income stream that depends on your not making any effort to try to get work. and whatever we do with this
9:45 am
system, that can't be the right way to structure it. i want to return to one point. very often we think about things like how do we help working people advance, how do we make the welfare state work better for people as if it were a substitute for things like entitlement reform, getting the government on a better financial footing. it seems very much a complementary thing, that an agenda that is purely about balancing the books and making the government solve in overtime is not going to be politically successful standing on its own. if it's combined with things that actually help people and are seen to be helping people, it might have a chance. >> maybe you're also sending a signal that society is respecting certain kinds of behavior and certain kinds of action. people raising families, having children, things like that.
9:46 am
the child tax credit. and just showing respect, a phrase that perhaps those of us who have been analyzing the election returns think may be relevant to some of the responses of some voters. over time they did not feel treated with respect by one side of the political spectrum. do you have any thoughts whether or not government should send signals of respect for people, encouragement, honor for behaviors we like or is that foolishness? >> the government sends a lot of signal of disrespect all the time when the government is in the business of telling you what occupation you can do with their permission or not. what kind of things you can buy, what kind of food is okay for you to consume. i think the government -- we're in a situation where more and more and more, we have to ask for permission to the government
9:47 am
to live our lives that, in my opinion sends a very strong -- even in the welfare world where the government is the one dictating how much money again you'll get for housing. it is sending a very strong signal that the government knows better than you, that bureaucrats in washington but also in all the different states know better than people, and that is extremely disrespectful. yeah. reversing that trend would go a long way treating people as adult, as responsible adults, would go a long way to send a signal. >> what you can spend food stamp money for? >> there is a debate obviously on this. i'm torn. the libertarian in me is like, no. if we're going to do this, let people do what they want. other people say it's taxpayers'
9:48 am
money. i think we need to start treating people like adults. we can't say we'll help you, but then we'll control your life. that is extremely disrespectful. you're always assigning, telling people we're going to control what you spend your money on. you're sending the signal the behavior of a few people who may actually be spending their money on whatever -- >> a few people? we've got increasing morality rates in certain large segments of the population where people are spending, it would appear, money on substance abuse, life-shortening materials. do we want people spending food stamp money on that sort of thing? do we want to encourage that? >> do we get that at the grocery stores? >> you get it down the block. >> but also it's not -- it's not
9:49 am
everyone. >> cvs. >> we are taking the behavior of some people and just saying as such we are going to control and tell everyone what they should be doing. i think there are real problems with this. >> go ahead. >> i think that, for example, work requirements are a paternalistic policy. right? we're saying we will give you benefits, we will help you out, but we do expect if you're able-bodied to seek work or to have some kind of work-related activity. that seems to me an entirely reasonable condition to set on government aid. i agree conditions can be taken too far but no reason in principle we shouldn't impose involvement. >> alex where do you weigh in on this? if we've got a low-income population that is more likely than it was in 1960 to be socially disconnected, and to be engaging and self-destructive behaviors and not having
9:50 am
guidance from family, from church, from voluntary organizations, should we be trying to continue to use these policies or increase their use for shaping behaviors? wouldn't that help people who have got lousy incomes and lousy life expectancies? >> what i would say on the food stamp front sort of clack cal response is money is fungible. if you say you can buy this and can't buy that and they're going to find some other dollars to buy the things that are off the list for food stamps. i don't think that's a particularly effective policy in insuring that you're limiting consumption of a particular good. the notion that there can be requirements, strings attached, i think -- i'm with ramesh. if you say you feed to work or try to work or get an education, that's a different set of restrictions.
9:51 am
the restrictions on food stamps are likely ineffective. the notion of having revictions is a fine idea. i would say we've got a real problem with drug abuse, heroin, off oxy, a lot of prescription drug abuse in a lot of parts of this country. i don't think that the solution to that problem, i'm not sure what it is. i don't think that it has to do with a tweak to the food stamp program or the welfare program. >> well, i think our time is up. i'm informed. and now that we've seen how the reformed conservatives have solved all the problems, we have left them unsolved, raised some issues if not settled them. thanks very much to the panel. >> thanks, michael. [ applause ] >> that's just what we wanted from that panel was some debate. point about this is, there's in
9:52 am
excitement on the center right thinking about poverty and economic mobility but we don't all agree with each other. that's part of what to me characterizes foremeant and makes this so exciting. please the next panel please join me on the stage. we have our own robert doar will moderate from aei. i never know how to pronounce this, the more grij fellow in poverty studies will moderate this panel and introduce his panelists. >> nice to see you. nice to see you. how are you? >> thank you very much tamar and thank you all for being here. i have to tell you when we first started planning this conference, we were anticipating or some of us might have been, not me, of course were, anticipating maybe a different result in the election. and we were thinking it might be kind of a therapy session for
9:53 am
conservatives after a -- i like this better as we're now focusing on what we can actually accomplish in the coming years. and i want to particularly thank the participants on this panel. we have real heroes from at least for me. before i came to aei, i was the commissioner of social services in new york city for michael bloomberg. and what i did was try to implement or help implement successfully what governor engler helped happen with welfare reform in '96 when he was governor of michigan. he is one of our partners of this event as president of the roundtable. how had hussock at the manhattan institute. anybody in new york city that's tried to change or participated in the enormous transformation of new york city since 1970, we both know what it was like back then, knows that the manhattan institute played a very significant and important role. finally pete wayner, former bush administration speechwriter and one of the easily most eloquent
9:54 am
and beautiful writers about public policy in the united states. we're honored to have you here, pete, as well. so governor ingler, i'm going to start with you. if you liston what we heard from speaker ryan and what's in the newspapers and your business community is going to get a significant tax cut, they're going to get relief on regulation. things are going to be good. but the question i want to foe for people fighting poverty is,ing are employers going to take up the charge of being better trainers and helping people come off the sidelines and into work, do the employer community will to take on that charge of bringing folks who have stayed out or struggling maybe coming home from prison, are you guys up to that challenge? >> i think so. we're certainly play a big role today already. i want to, before i get there, just expand on that premise so that the ryan remarks are electric. there's a real simple formula he laid out this morning. it's g plus s equals p.
9:55 am
growth plus skills equals prosperity. it kind of works because he premised you've got to have the growth, we've been limping along underperforming the worst recovery coming out of derecession we've experienced as a nation. that's really limited opportunities but the demographics are absolutely against us right now. it is a great opportunity to have tremendous success with the breaking new, as he called it the poverty trap and helping people get back to work. an we do have to emphasize work but work in the 21st century is different work. it requires skills, competencies, you've got to have training. you just can't show up. we have very limited number of jobs in the economy today that are going to provide the kind of incomes that people it can really build a life on and feel like they're getting on the economic ladder without skills and training. and so we have, though, a makes
9:56 am
national commitment to do that. $2650 billion annually in something called the k 12 system. that has to be in this conversation because the children growing up the rising generations are coming through that $650 expenditure. we'd like help. i think america for example can teach its children to read. today only 36% of american children can read pro efficiently at the end of the third grade. if we only get one out of three reading and guess where all the dropouts come from, out of that 64% that aren't reading proficiently. that's primary the source of people that don't stay in complete, don't complete. so we would love to have a little more help i would say. we spend about $58 billion on training of employees that are working in american business
9:57 am
today. but in company after company after company, the age of the worker in that company is getting a lot older. they're getting ready to retire. all baby boomer types. we've got to train but i think the ryan vision is spot on. and if you get the training system right, it will not only work for the rising generation buttal provide re-entry points for the 30, 40, 50-year-old for john paul ryan's friend in wisconsin who is at the sidelines. >> i get the sense that president-elect trump is counting on the employer community out of sort of national pride and national commitment to be a participant in helping people. >> they will. they absolutely will want to do that. we think that the training and skills agenda is a great opportunity of our time. we'd certainly like to disabuse america of t of the notion that everybody
9:58 am
needs to go to college. 60% go to college today. of that, only half complete. 40% don't go and half or the other 30% who don't complete. that's 70% that are going to need skills and training. that's what we have to do better. >> peter, it's often said when we talk about any poverty policy or mobility that conservatives get the values right, work, family, faith. but liberals and i know this from being in the trenches can the details right and now how the programs work. president-elect trump the other day in michigan said we need to get people off the welfare roles and into work. hadn't heard that as much on the campaign. it was interesting that he said it in this post election event. he said we're going to follow two principles. we're going to tell people buy american and hire american. so that's a kind of -- those are value statements. how would you advise president-elect trump to talk about the values that are involved here in poverty and
9:59 am
mobility? >> yeah, i guess i'd say several things. the first thing is that obviously, during the campaign, he was able to harness a vocabulary to tap into certain kind of rhetoric that reached struggling americans at least struggling white americans, blue collar americans. and he won the election because he was able to do that in part. i do think once you become president-elect and when you become president you have to move from giving voice to grievances which is sometimes important but be careful not to obsess on them. when you're running as an outsider, you can complain about the problems but once you win, you become responsible for some of the solutions. so i think it's fine top continue to give voice to some of the grievances which are legitimate in a democratic society. but i do think that he has to move away and i think that his tendency is frankly i think
10:00 am
during the campaign was dem gojic and that's got to stop. second thing is i think he has to speak honestly about the nature of the problems and why people are struggling. i just think that's very important. and i think the data tells us and experience tells us whether he you're thinking about struggling americans, low income blue collar americans, it's an extremely complicated issue. some of it is economic and because of trends that you can't blame for democrats or republicans, globalization, technology, automation, things like that. some of it is a kind you have values issue, the breakdown of communities, the breakdown you have families. the attenuation of faith. and i think that he has to be careful not to scapegoat the wrong people or identify the wrong problems. so my own view, i mean i'm a traditional classical conservative, not a trump
10:01 am
conservative if those aren't oxymoronic, i don't think free trade is the main issue. i understand that some communities have been hurt by it but if i had to give a hierarchy of concerns or reasons for it, i would say that technology and automation are much higher. he's not going to do anything to stop that and he shouldn't. so that means that the solutions are more complicated. i think you you have to talk also in terms of the immediate and the long terms. so the immediate, of course, has to do with things like economic growth and policy changes. if it's an expansion of tax subsidies or relocation subsidies, economic growth and there are more intermediate and long-term issues like the reform of education. the reality is that we haven't been producing students, and young people who can compete in the 21st century economy. and that's in part because our education system is out of touch. and there are public policy
10:02 am
proposals that you can promote there from k 12 all the way through to higher education. but that's going to obviously take some amount of time. then you have family disintegration which if there's anything that government can do to alleviate family disintegration, i'm not sure what it is. we've tried different things. this is really in the realm of or this is beyond the reach. i do think that you the dictum do no harm is a good one. so you don't want to subsidize create incentives for people not to marry. and so forth. i think in the whole realm of donald trump and values, let's just say there are some areas and values off limits to him that he's not very well equipped to talk about. family reunification is probably not a strong point, for example. i do think that of the areas when you talk about that have to
10:03 am
be focused on and strengthened which is work, communities, family and faith, his value addeded is probably work. he can actually speak about that pretty well. he has some experience in doing that. and it is i think a continuing divide between liberalism and conservatism which is the value of work, the dignity of work and i think to some extent conservatives have gotten away from that language in the last number of years. it's worth reclaiming because work is a virtue, and it's obviously good in terms of people's life experience and the economy. but there's a kind of formative effect of character that work speaks to, as well. so when he's speaking about values that's the area that i would say he would want to focus on. the last thing i would say is, that he needs to begin to talk up america, not down america and
10:04 am
speak aspirationally. again, i think this is just a shift that happens when you go from a candidate who is simply raging against the status quo to become president, particularly when you become a president where your party has control of the house and the senate. then you have to produce. and he's in the easy phase right now. when you're president-elect, you get to name the nominees. everything is you know will, sun light and broad uplands but once january 20th rolls around, he's going to be held responsible and it's not going to be an easy task. >> it's definitely true as a welfare administrator in the city, there's the policies. and then there's the message. if the message coming from the top whether it's the president or the mayor or the governor is the way to alleviate poverty is to increase transfer papers and assign people up, that's what the bureaucracy will do. if the message is the way to
10:05 am
alleviate poverty is to get people into work, the bureaucracy will turn in that direction. i do think that i want to agree with you that that is his sweet spot and if he keeps talking about work, speaker ryan talks about work, leaders of the community say this is what we want, how we relieve poverty is through employment, more people will go. >> i do want to say one thing. it's a good point. having worked in government three the last three administrations, the reality is that when you're a conservative, the bureaucracy is against you. much more. and if you're a liberal, it tends to be with you. so i think if they don't know they're going to find that it's one thing if you're a secretary of education say or president and you use had kind of rhetoric which i do think is important because it does accepted signals. it really in terms of the competence of government, it's more important for conservatives to be competent in government
10:06 am
because the tackles they face is more difficult because of this what i guess id call ideological inner shah against them. >> howard you focused on civil society. you heard speaker ryan give his endorsement of civil society as a players that have been left out or aren't being fully utilized. do you think that he's, let's not say whether he's right or wrong. do you think civil society can do as much as he's asking them to do in the fight against poverty and help people move up? >> thanks, robert. i'd like to say that a lot of people have intellectual grasp of issues and some other people are great administrators. since nobody's introducing you, i want to say you have both and it happened in new york city where the welfare roles were kept down and encouragement to work was in the air and it made a difference. as far as civil society and government, i think we have to be aware of the fact that there
10:07 am
has been a long relationship between civil society and government and has not entirely been a positive experience. for instance, government, according to the urban institute, there are 56,000 non-profits in the united states that have 350,000 government contracts which are valued at $137 billion. wow. all right? that's a big relationship between government and civil society right now. and i don't think anybodies that it's involving you'll of our social problem. in fact, what's been happening is that civil society you know, like a fish coming up for oxygen in a polluted pond has struggled nonetheless to assert itself and show its vitality. so i've been fortunate for the manhattan institute the last 15 years to run what we call our social entrepreneurship initiative. we go all around the country looking for these civil society
10:08 am
groups and recognizing them. what's very interesting about them, several will be represented on this program this afternoon. bran done this runs a program for returning prisoners in cleveland and afla who runs a program to prepare inner city residents for running their own small businesses which interesting about a lot of these programs is they are doing the things the government programs say they're doing. so wait a minute. we're developing this parallel structure of civil society which is recognizing wait a minute, we have a huge parole and probation system. every state has got a huge one. why isn't it doing a better job placing people in jobs once they're out the wait the welfare system was reformed, right? we have head start systems, head start program all around the country and yet, we see a program like jump start come along and say want, this is not working. and you can go in policy area
10:09 am
after policy area and see these green chutes or problems that are struggling to assert themselves. i think one of the real interesting questions for speaker ryan would be, how do you have a relationshiping with civil society between ibl society and government that doesn't strangle civil society. and the george w. bush administration tried this with the faith-based initiative and i think it got mixed reviews. people cape out of the woodwork looking for support and maybe they weren't the most effective organizations. a couple of -- i'll make two or three policy points about government and civil society and how best to encourage it. one, there might abideaal tax system in which taxes were extremely low and people had a lot of disposable income. disposable income more than they have now. and they would be extremely fill lan floppic as a result. that 25678 system is not on the horizon in the next little
10:10 am
while. therefore, i think it's important, every one of the organizations that speaker ryan talks about or that you know, he's going around to see with bob woodson depends on the charitabletach deduction. and it's a -- it's not our largest tax expenditure but it's a very significant one. and i think those hosage qualms about the charitable tax deduction would have to say if you're more worried about keeping revenues neutral, then you believe that the government can do a better job of spending those than civil society can. i don't happen to believe that. i don't think there's much of a good record on that. so there's an interesting i don't know if it's a debate yet but 80s a burgeonen split between the better way plan and the incoming administration's tax reform plan, the better way plan preserves even though as it lowers tax rates, it preserves the charitable tax deduction. the incoming administration
10:11 am
trump plan caps all deductions. it doesn't carve out any particular ones. that's pretty good as far as the mortgage interest rate goes which distorts housing markets one can make an argument. if you company deductions at $200,000 as the trump plan proposes to do, there's a good chance that especially in high tax blue states where you have a lot offully lan throwpy right now, people will lose all incentive to give to charity. they a big role of the dice. another possibility na we might want to consider between 1984 and 1987, the reagan administration tried to extend it the charitable tax deduction for nonitemers. right? so only 25% of americans it item mize their taxes. there's a lot of philanthropy that happens at very low income levels especially to religious organizations. they get no respect, if you
10:12 am
will. and the urban institute, gene sisterly who is a very veteran tax economist, has stipulated we could increase charitable giving by $10 billion if we tweaked the tax code in a way to encourage nonitemizers. that's complicated but we should try to could it. the last out of the box point, i thought we were supposed to make out of the box points so i'll try to do it here. >> i didn't say anything about it? >> i'll take it. >> is one of the ways ta civil society bubbles up is people really care about their own places where they live. whether it's janesville, wisconsin or new york city it and liberals have pushed for.many years with a lot of the success for regional governments. larger and larger units of governments. all right? the catholic church talks about subsidy airity and how you undermine it as your lines of
10:13 am
accountability get distended. that's happened. we have 12,000 school districts today. in 1950, we had 50,000. i actually believe when people are in smaller units of government, they tend to be more attentive to their civil societies and feel i want to help my town. and as government becomes more distant, i think they lose that up but cal link. i think we ought to resist this regionalization trend which hud has pushed for and has been part of liberal dogma for some time. so tax policy and then that. >> so governor ingler, one of the things that we know president-elect trump talked a lot about was immigration. and among conservatives, there are some who feel that tougher immigration policies are also an anti-pofr policy because they reduce the competition for entry level jobs for native americans and they allow for little tighter labor market and wages
10:14 am
can rise and people can be brought in. when president-elect trump's administration pushes for you know, everify and much tougher rules on employers for hiring nondocumented immigrants, is the business community going to push back? >> business community at least the business roundtable where i am is totally supportive of everify. thinks it makes perfect sense. i think it's happening to accelerate the implementation of that. there are parts of the workforce though where i would say their copied success and we saw this just recently in parts of the country where we saw a little uptick in construction and almost immediately we're starting to run out of workers. nobody wants to do those jobs. agriculture community is a good example where a lot of crops aren't going to get harvested. there's been all kinds of regulations over a longer period
10:15 am
of time a great pace of you know, to mekize and to automate the harvesting of almost everything, incredible engineering going on there. but you still have some crops where they do need some commodities, you have to have workers. we got a little taste of this after 9/11 actually when the borders really got tightened up and actually closed. and i saw the hospitality industry where the grand hotel in michigan has had probably three generations of workers coming from jamaica and that's -- that is the staff that works at the hotel and so the grandpa work there had and now the grandson or the granddaughter is there. they tried to hire cross michigan for people to come to the grand hotel and people would come and work maybe one pay period and they're out of there saying this is way too hard. this is not what i want to do. and so we do have this problem.
10:16 am
pete talked about this virtue of work to getting back to that because we've got some work clearly at least many americans concluded this is work is one thing but not that kind of work. that's not what i want to do. so i do think there's going to have to be and should be a robust guest worker program. and i think that's going to be part of any solution. i think the ultimate compromise in congress, you're going to see the administration working with congress to secure the border. they're going to have a debate about, well, that's all wall or some combination of. but i think that has to be a precursor. i actually am optimistic about immigration reform being done and i think it's the nation's interest to get that issue behind us. but i don't think the it is the central issue to what as us in terms of our own challenge of confronting poverty including
10:17 am
intergenerational poverty in this country. i do think that that is a an abandonment going back a few years of what was once called vocational training in favor of some idea that of feeds to go to college. we need to get back to skills and competency. everybody has to have a skill and competency. if you got that first, your life opens up with a lot more options. this is america. anybody can seek to be their best but do it in the right order. >> i think that, i don't know whether pete, want to weigh in on this, but when a president makes an issue of such importance, there's a leadership credibility thereby something has to happen on that issue in order to preserve the credit be the. on the other hand, i think that there's a desire to make it not be so severe that it cripples our economy. what do you think, pete, about that in. >> yeah. first, i agree with what governor ingler said. i think his take on immigration
10:18 am
is right. as it reets to mr. trump and the able to jettisoned previous positions, he's quite accomplished at that. he's spent a lifetime doing it. so i don't imagine that will stop. he's already given up what i think are some of the more pernicious elements of his immigration proposals if you want to use a euphemism. his mass deportation force which was a nonstarter and he gave that up i think even during the campaign. then there was his talk about well, a wall is a virtual wall or a fence in a wall and some version of that. and remember, donald trump eviscerated mitt romney for being too tough on immigration in 2012, but he deemed it in his political interests to pivot for 2016, which he did. i would say on this immigration issue a couple of things. one is i had a sense that
10:19 am
illegal immigration was a proxy for other things that were going on. which i think was probably a sense for a lot of people of i think an extremely rapidly changing culture. i think that the issue of immigration and illegal immigration got attached to it. there was simply i thought too many people who were untouched by immigration or illegal immigration who were angry about it. and i do think that there was a sense that the culture is changing and the country is changing and this became an issue on it. other thing is, one thing that conservatives used to talk about a lot was assimilation. and we got away from that and i think part of the problem was the assimilation of new immigrants. and the sense that wasn't happening or hasn't happened helped contributor to some of the heatedness of this issue. it's also not like there aren't
10:20 am
countries in the world that have immigration you know, policies that don't work. i mean canada and australia i think are probably two that have immigration policies that are consistent with their economic requirements. and i do think that emphasizing visas or high school workers is a smart way to go. and to view the immigration system as a kind of talent recruiting system where you get the world's most gifted and driven people to come to our shores. i think if i understand governor ingler's position, i don't think that there is a massive difference on immigration. i think some of it's been rhetorical. i think an awful lot of people certainly in the republican party and conservative party agree with the need for border security. the reality is that the border is more secure now than it was in the past and e var tie and understand that illegal immigration is a problem but i
10:21 am
do think that there are areas of common ground and maybe now that trump, ryan and mcconnell are in positions of leadership, we it may be that this issue that was so did i visive may turn out in the first term to be an area of actually some policy success. >> so you know, i've spent my career working with people on welfare or coming home from prison or looking for employment opportunities. my whole desire was to get people into the workplace. and there is an aspect of this in competition for jobs. and you know, along with wanting employers to be bigger and better trainers and nurturers of new workers i think there is a desire out there that that added competition from nondocumented workers goes down so these people who are sometimes having a hard type get ing inor accepting a wage at a certain level can get in at maybe a slightly higher wage. there's potential there on this. i want to turn to, you want to
10:22 am
howard. >> i wanted to jump in on assimilation and workforce preparation point. one of the great stories of civil society that i think has presidential val to you for us today, the turn of the 20th century there was an institution in the united states called the settlement house. it was all about preparing new immigrants learn english, understand the american way, if you will, there were 400 settlements across account united states. they had no government money. zero. hull house gave benny good man his first clarinet. that was good. right? and there are millions of stories like that. the precedent of that is you can start new organizations locally and speaker ryan made this point, tell those stories, have others do similar things in their local communities and then start a conversation about, we don't really need the government to do that because we have this organization doing it. we have habitat for humanity
10:23 am
that's doing small home construction. we have teach for america that's encouraging people to come forward and choose teaching as a career. so when institutions start and spread, eventually the story can come out that we'll, maybe government doesn't need to do that and to the extent that government works with those kind of institutions, it ought to take the lead from them rather than well, here's a contract we need to a job trainer. no, find that smart person who has started the really good organization and say okay, we'll give you some minority of your funds at most and then encourage you and i think that a lot of the organizations i see to the governor's point about corporations stepping up are helping people even before that step of learning skills, learning how to learn skills. >> right? >> having the confidence to go into the workforce and say, yes, i can do that, i want to learn a skill.
10:24 am
because a lot of people are even that much remove unfortunately. >> go ahead. >> let me put a quick commercial in for something that i think is right on point. we've been working with the alumna foundation. we're trying to create an online database from ought credentials offered in the country because we are an wash in cree deckses being created, that economist. some are high value, some are not. take john, paul ryan's friend in back in wisconsin. he's at a store. he can get -- he ought to be in a welding program that ought to be high quality bench marked to the american welding society standards, get that credential. all of a sudden his income goes from $20,000 to $75,000. and yet, he could today maybe the very good advertisers by a college running a sub par welding program, he wouldn't know the difference. the government programs go into these credentials and some they
10:25 am
buy that are not valued and some are highly valued. the whole idea is to be able to say what is it, is it benchmarked against the best national standards? do companies can endorse it. it's the wage record data. this is an open source structure. anybody that wants to get involved, we're ready to have you. but we're well beyond the testing stage. some way to show america, i mean, if you're going to be a crane operator on high-rises in new york city, that's a $200,000 job. the guys doing that work today, a lot of them are old ready to retire. they need new people coming in. across america, there are these fabulous jobs nobody knows about. and probably some of these same people are pushing their son or daughter, go to college and get a general studies degree and they're part of that 20% back in the community college now trying to acquire a skill so they can get a job to begin to pay their student loans off. they had a good party for five years, didn't get their degree.
10:26 am
>> the evolution of the poverty system in the united states over the last 20 years has gone to a system of work supports and when liberals want to show that they think like we do, etalk about work sports. that is various benefit programs that subcy skies low wages or make work pay the way clinton used to say. some of the talk in the previous session and some of the talk that's out there, we're talking about people that are trying to get out of poverty in that first start and then we're talking about people in the lower middle class or the middle class who have not seen megain in wages in a long time. my question is, is policymakers begin to think how to help the second group, if they offer them work supports, transfer payments to supplement their wages, is that really what they want? and is that going to work? is that going to be successful or are they going to say as i sometimes found when i would go around the country, they would say don't talk to me about a tax
10:27 am
credit that goes further up the income standard. i want a better job. how do you react to that? >> i would start with the idea that using ryan's comments as a nice basis. he's talking about the small manufacturers, they've got 75 employees. they're competing globally with and i think they would all acknowledge that today. so what are the skills that those 75 workers need in that plant to help that plant compete globally? let's make sure that they're being -- it's inventory those skills. it's the same problem, let's say there's a plant next door with 100 employees going out of business. government program looks at that, they say there's 100 employees going out of business. it's 100 individuals and they all have differing skill levels. it may be ten of them only need two or three more sort of skills to really be' where would class worker. it may be 20 need nine
10:28 am
different skills. the training isn't graduated in any way to do that but as to what are the gaps in my background that we should help them that we'd have gotten there earlier maybe they could have competed but so it works both ways. but that's where we ought to be involved. i think there is support in the tax code twaefl companies to do this. it hasn't been changed in a long time. i think there's some ways where we can amp that up a bit. the other thing i would say in the country that we shouldn't overlook, and this is an opportunity for the incoming administration it seems to me. there's about 531 workforce boards in america. every inch of the country has a workforce board. they ought to be doing the kind of counseling in these schools and they ought to be available in the community really understanding what are the jobs, what are the opportunities, where is the training. > can i take that you're not for extending work supports further? you would rather get better skills, better training and
10:29 am
higher wages? >> it's skills leads toe that opportunity. i mean. >> how about you? either of you. a bigger tax credit. >> i wanted to jump in. i had the good fortune to visit marietta, ohio, a small appalachian town, j.d. advance is going to talk about that kind this afternoon. and the natural gas fracking boom was in full bloom there. in ohio, people may not know that but it's really big. firms that i talked to said they were turning away lots of job applicants because they couldn't pass drug tests. so let's talk about they're thinking they need that little extra money. that would be nice. they're not even getting in the door. it may be that if employers are going to play a role, they may have to help people get off opioids if we're putting pressure on employers to play a social role because we're having problems that are just that basic. >> yeah, i'd say conceptually
10:30 am
it's not an either or. you're right. i don't think you go around the country and you talk to people and they say what i'm looking for is an increase in my eitc. they would have a better job. what happens if the better job isn't there. i wouldn't make the ideal the enemy of the good. so the question becomes, are there some things that you can do to help alleviate the suffering and improve the conditions of people who are in a difficult place right now and do it in a responsible way that an if i weres right behavior, the right kind you have values. and mitigates against the worst. i'm fine with expanding earning subsidies like eitc including the childless workers as a way to increase the reward 0 work and the workforce participation rate and reduce poverty. i think eitc has a good history actually on that. and to expand the child tax credits. the relocation subsidies is an interesting idea. i don't frankly know what you could do that at large.
10:31 am
but it is true that long-term unemployed, there's just parts of the country where to move would be helpful and then the payroll tax which is regressive to cut those. i think those things would help. i wanted to mention too, this is how sometimes live presents you opportunities as well as problems that you never imagined. this kind of energy revolution i think walter russell mead talked about. this is really completely transformed not just the energy sector but this could be a kind of jobs revolution. >> it is. >>, as well. there's an extraordinary potential we know that america has on the energy side that ten years ago that we didn't know about. and that's something worth exploiting in a responsible way. i do think that a republican house, senate and president could take advantage of that. >> he's right on that. you think about that. there's new plants that can be built. but then we ought to take the permitting processes that had to
10:32 am
be five years and get that down to one. fob's going to build a plant and put the environment at risk. we can make the same decisions in half a year we're making in five years today. you can do things, i want to speak up for infrastructure investment. it gets confused when somebody says a rillon dollar infrastructure. actually, that new you know fracking plant that's going to use that natural gas would be part of infrastructure. so would redoing the electric grid. the current transmission lines are infirnt enough that we lose enough electricity in transmission to simply pay for the upgrading of the grid at the same time. >> and we could harden it for security purposes at the same time. that's all over the country. so what do we need to there? we need to precipitations and you need to figure out among the states like the interstate connections how you do cost allocation. but there's no capital shortage. that's all private capital, not government money to do that. we've got had a long-time plan
10:33 am
to do the air track control system upgrade which would modernize that system. no public you know, there are dedicated funds today that could be leveraged but the federal budget doesn't allow for capital budgeting even on a capital project like that which could be done faa's been at it for two decades. you would probably have it done in less than three years and bonded for it and you're going to use it for next half century. we look all over the government and there are these opportunities. so it's not the idea of somehow going into the treasury and putting more ious in there. there's a lot of things that just doing what we claim we're trying to do today in a more effective business like manner. probably the one strength that trump brings that's unusual to anybody that's been president is how to leverage up and do a big deal. i expect some of that stuff to get done. >> robert, ietc.
10:34 am
we're combining how do we jump start growth and prepare people to take advantage of that growth as individuals. we have to do both, obviously. but on ietc, i wanted to call on orrin cas's idea which speaker ryan called out this morning which is to make the eitc a weekly wage slemt rather than a lump sum at the end of the year. i had a son who spent time in the mississippi delta. it would be typical for people to go to payday lenders, borrow against their upcoming eitc and come out behind because they were paying interest charges are. if were a kind of reverse payroll tax where you were reinforced for work every week, that's a better work incentive and that's what eitc is about shoo we tried to do that in michigan. could not do it. >> there's an operational issue with it. the other thing about the eitc, it has a very big error rate and conservatives rightly are very concerned about that and they
10:35 am
are not going to go along with an expansion or extension to new populations like childless adult until that gets tackled. i noticed that in the way the better way proposal came through. speaker ryan had spoken about a childless eitc. when he went to his conference, it wasn't there. i think it's because of this error rate which heritage released a paper on. it's pretty serious given the debt problem, a $20 billion error rate is not something you can walk away from. >> if it's tied to employers every week, you can reduce that. >> that would be a big change. you could da. the speaker did speak about that. that would be a fundamental change the way it works. >> we suggested lagging it a year. in other words, use the prior year data. that may be gets you 80% of the way there. that alone would be a huge help. then you're looking in the rearview mirror and your data should be accurate. >> another population group and we'll have a criminal justice panel later in the day, but etch offenders who come back to their
10:36 am
community face powerful work disincentives. that's a huge population. that's 600,000 by definition poor people coming out of prisons and jails every year. it's a huge number. and so we know about laws that restrict what etch offenders what kind of jobs they can take. but.of these men and it's mainly men owe and you know all about this robert, huge child support payments. . now, we don't want to reward deadbeat dads obviously but we don't want to drive them into the underground economy because their waynes get garnish are nished to a point where it doesn't make it sensible for them to work. so we could use just as we used a time limit on welfare as a way to draw women into the workforce, we could use some forgiveness in exchange for work tied to work. keeping this principle of work on the table. to say, well, okay, if you get a job, we'll reduce your child support payment by x payment or
10:37 am
we'll defer it or something because these guys are going back to dealing drugs because it doesn't make sense for them to take a job. >> the issue of men in all kinds of ways of being out of the workforce, the issues with criminal justice and returning to society is maybe the group in the poverty population that is the most in need of additional or different kinds of attention because they're not -- they're left out of the work and work support system of tannif and welfare reform. i have one last question about cities. the president-elect periodically says i'm going to do something about those cities. and we're going to do something about cities. i may be wrong about this, howard, and you may know the history better. but in a previous time, people went right by mayors to community groups. isn't that right, howard? >> daniel patrick moynihan a book called maximum feasible misunderstanding. >> governor ingler, you're a former state legislature. and you know the landscape of
10:38 am
politics and communities. do we want to do that again? do we want to go by mayors and go right to community groups from the federal government or how to integrate government and civil society if we were going to do something for the cities. >> let's start with something that the speaker talked about in his opening comments. he talked about the importance of metrics and how we measure things. and i think this is a great opportunity for whole conservative world to figure out what it is we want to to measure, how we're going to measure it, how we make those very transparent and then that clears can up a lot of this where you know, because the sort of the shell game with where the money is. i think you've got to again think about, i don't think you can bypass cities but i do think you can make it i for instance works give the mayors control of all the schools. i this i getting rid of school boards and detroit is a perfect example. mayor of detroit ought to be in charge of the detroit schools, not symptom anonymous school board over here because you
10:39 am
can't have a city that gets fixed without schools at work. but at the same time, i wouldn't let him have a monopoly and make sure there's a lot of competition and school choice and charter schools and everything flourish like betsy devos will take that view as secretary. on the kinds of programs that can come back, i mean, i think we've got to think about, those cities have terrific high unemployment problems for those youth. so i think we're going to have to have many more apprentice programs. much more focused on a year round you know, and probably the group we need to get to buy in are the coaches in the cities. we seem to run everything for the coaches. if we get the football, basketball coaches to agree with us, maybe we can actually have academics come to the fore. but -- >> bob putnam writes about sports teams being a place to. >> if that were leading to higher incomes more than a traction of a percentage, you
10:40 am
would think. i love all that but the reality is that is we've been kidding ourselves about our performance. you have schools in detroit today, detroit's passage, i said the nation was 36%. detroit reading it percentage is 5%. so one in 20. >> let's sum this up a little bit on evidence based policy making. the current president did a lot on that. and your advice would be to the new administration just because it was an obama initiative, don't jettison it. >> what was the initiative. >> evidence based policy making. > yeah, but i'd put the evidence in. i. >> yeah, i wouldn't go overboard on this. i understand and i know the speaker embraced that this morning. but you know, one of the things that civil society groups do is they speak symbolically. question there is a group that says don't use drugs, nancy reagan, you know, they're
10:41 am
symbolic speech that maers, too. there are norms established in communities that may not get necessarily captured in short term metrics. you know, when the word goes out in cleveland that there's a restaurant that hires only exoffendersen and has a five star restaurant, maybe some guy who isn't in that program hears a message, i could do that, too. so i think that we should find measure if we're spending public money but let's not get hung up on everything has to be measured. >> peter, last word. >> go ahead. >> governor. >> i don't know because i -- i do know that thinking back among some of the mayors, they would agree with that. why should i measure it. in fact, that would make it easy for my 10% to arrive at apply place. we just saw a number of principals go to jail in detroit because they didn't think they needed to be measured on the money they were handling in
10:42 am
charge. so i do think there has to be accountability. i also think it's important for another reason. we do and i think education is the worst but i think there are other sectors where we have such a hard time replicating success in this country. and i mean, education if it's working across the street, their first instinct is hire a consultants to say we can do it a different way and see if we can have better success rather than simply move everybody up. if we could get everybody doing the best we know how to do today we get a quantum leap in performance and whether that's in a public or a private or a combination program, i don't care. but let's really put a premium on doubling down on what is already working and see if we want make that better before we invest in new strategies that are unproven. >> i want to close. that was a point i was going to make. there's a line you can problem the possible by the actual. the reality is for all the problems that people think exist
10:43 am
in america, the problems that do exist in america, there is a program and a group that is addressing them in some way. it's not as if we don't know how to do these. we're having a problem on scale. and we do have to focus on what works because in a lot of the cases we know it works. the thing is, governor ingler was one of the leaders of this but it's one of the things governors have taught us. i do think there is these days what i would say is a more sophisticated discussion of government from the simple or the big government, small government mode to this idea of what works. and the reality is even on a national scale, you've had enormous success in the last couple of decades in crime. in welfare, teen pregnancy. drug use during the years late '80s early '90s. this charter school movement, this is one of the great educational success stories. so these things can be done.
10:44 am
you know, you may be a theoretical pessimist but you ought to be an operational optimist. i think there's enough tangible reasons for optimism that really is linked to reality. >> we do have to be careful about scale. an ex-president of the ford foundation once told may a story. he had a little program in new haven and went to see lyndon johnson and said i'd like to do there in other cities. he told him add three zeros to that boy, this is the federal government. right? and that's the danger is that you're going to scale it up so much it becomes utterly attenuated and we want to be careful about that. >> with that, we'll stop now. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> it was great. really great.
10:45 am
10:46 am
>> hello, everyone. whoops. now works. what a rich thoughtful conversation, really, really surpassing expectations even. and expectations were high. so thank you so much to the last panel. so we're at the last plenary before we break for lunch. i appreciate all of you sticking with us so patiently and an tentatively. and a apologize we haven't had any questions. we'll have a few questions in this session. so please stay with us. if you're going to have private conversations, please go outside into the hall. so everybody knows who i am by now. i'm tamara joe ja kobe president
10:47 am
of opportunity america. i'm thrilled to be here with charles murray. so i'll frame our conversation very briefly but then it's going to be q and a with charles. so you know, one of the most striking things about any conversation about poverty and upward mobility in 2016 is how the topic has changed from just six months ago really. and the conversation, what's happened is the conversation has expanded beyond the people that we traditionally think of as the poor, right? or poor people in cities. multigenerational poverty. we're now also talking about the working class. some of us were including charles have been thinking about the working class for 20 years. some of us have been thinking about it for a few years. thanks to donald trump for waking us up to the problem about the working class. why they're in the conversation now, it's true for two reasons. one is obviously because they made themselves heard in this election. but they're also on our minds
10:48 am
because the way things of the way things are changing in their communities. and they're not changing for the better. i call it working class decline. other people have other names for it. but the defining symptom is that the problems and patterns and behaviors that we used to associate with the poorest of the poor with multigenerational poverty in inner cities are now showing up in working class communities, as well. and devastating working class communities. not just poverty but family breakdown, men who don't work, drug abuse, family violence, the collapse of community institutions. inevitably because families are involved, spiraling generations of problems. and it's a deeply troubling story. and a relatively new deeply troubling story, right? how upsetting is that. so we're really lucky to have charles murray here to talk to
10:49 am
us about it. charles really emphatically does not need any introduction. he's the brady, w.h. brady scholar at the american enterprise institute. he's author of more important books than most of us can keep track of. losing ground, the bell curve, coming apart, mice stones in anybody's intellectual development over the past 20 years or more. and more than a dozen other books you don't know the names of. in many ways in my mind, charles is the dean of center right thinking about poverty and opportunity. so i'm pleased to be here with you. and you studied both the poorest of the poor, and working class. and you right you've been writing about working class decline since the 1990s. you were 20 years ahead of of else. you saw it much earlier. i'm hoping you can help us understand what's going on in working class communities today.
10:50 am
help us understand what we're going to talk about a little bit is the similarities and the differences between working class poverty and poverty poverty, urban poverty. and also of course, help us think how we should approach ur we should approach policy for the working class. should we remedy this decline. i want to start this off the way you often start your books, the status quo ante. let's look briefly at the working class before the decline set in. you can pick your year 1996, 1972, some other year, but what i'm trying to get at is the working class before the deindustrialization that's come with globalization and before the onset of the cultural changes plaguing so many working class communities. what was life like in working class communities before the decline and how were they different from urban enclaves putting aside the question of race, of course.
10:51 am
>> that's question number one? they're taking the mike away, they have the other one working. let's go back to 1960. if i make it november 21st, 1962, which i did in part 1963 that's being more partisan than i want to be this morning. let's say 1960. for those of you who don't remember 1960, this is going to sound incredibly nostalgic and i want to assure you it's not because there weren't a lot of bad things in 1960. it just is that some of the things that were true in 1960 are hard to believe. number one if you were male working age not physically disabled you were in the labor force, working or looking for work. if you were a woman in your 20s, you were probably already married and had children but in any case the proportion of
10:52 am
children that were born to married parents was over 90% and even among blacks, who were already considered at that time to have a problem with family more than 80% of black kids in 1960 were born to married parents and i think i guess i'd like to emphasize is in many ways that's an unnatural state of affairs that after puberty you have guys who really would like to sleep with their girl friends and you have young women who hit puberty who find babies aforable. your late teens is not the time you want to get up every day and go to work at the same time if you don't feel like it. if you're a guy it's not the time when you naturally say i think i want to get married and yet you had a situation which these were not only norms they were almost universal. how did that happen? it happened the same way most societies have done it.
10:53 am
first, there were economic exigency. if you were not in the labor market, were not working in those -- this is a bad thing in terms of trying to survive at a time in which the nation was not nearly as rich as it is now and to have a baby without having a man to join you in taking care of it was extremely punishing economically, and in addition to that, of course, and partly because of that, you had enormous sticks and carrots socially associated. if you were not in the labor force, if you were a male, you were a bum. your parents told you you were a bum, your girlfriend told you you were a bum, your friends did, and this was also true, by the way, if you were a rich kid with a trust fund. you were kind of looked down on by society as being a feat and a slacker but it was certainly true in the working class in spades. and if you had a baby out of wedlock, social stigma there was
10:54 am
incredible. nobody had any problem at all using the word illegitimate in those days. in fact only recently supplanted the word bastard and you were just sort of cast into outer darkness if you had a baby out of wedlock at that time. you wills had carrots, and that is if you were a guy who was holding down a job and taking care of a wife and children, you had status in that community, real status. you were a real man, to be married and taking care of your family was a rite of passage to become a true man and the same was true of women becoming wives and mothers. we're glad feminism occurred and a lot of other varieties occurred but what did occur throughout working class and society at large was that those status rewards were taken away, the stigma eroded as the behaviors became more common t became a self-reinforcing cycle. it hit first in the most
10:55 am
vulnerable communities, that's why you saw these problems arise with the african-american community first, but even by the late 1960s, early 1970s, one of my, one of the guys i met in fish town to tell me the story of the real fish town was talking about some of the friends had what they call the sunshine club and the sunshine club was guys who would work just long enough to get, qualify for unemployment benefits and then they spend the summer on the jersey shore and then they come back and work enough. that's the late '60s, early '70s. there was some erosion even then. >> you're seeing it as one disease that got, you know, one set of problems that the poorest of the poor caught first and gradually moved up the ladder, but there was a time when the two groups looked distinct, right, and even now there's still significant distinctions, right? people in the second income tier, still twice as likely to
10:56 am
marry and three times more likely to have somebody working full time, so pull it apart a little bit, no pun intended. >> they are starting to look more and more the same, i think. i had -- any time you write a piece that turns out to have been pretty much true, you can be sure the author will remind you of that later. i had a piece in 1993 in the "wall street journal" called the economy white underclass, i looked at marriage the out of wedlock birth ratio in the white community and i said we're going down exactly the same road that african-americans went down because there's no reason to think that the effects of family, the breakdown of the family are going to be any better for whites than they were for blacks and so in a way, we are looking at, when you say they're still not the same, i think what we're saying is this
10:57 am
is sort of what the poorest of the poor looked like in the mid 1960s, and upper middle class or middle class neighborhood, black neighborhood in washington where the signs of erosion had already set in. so i live in rural working class america myself out in maryland, and i can tell you, i can give you a status report. yes, it still doesn't look like the inner city. well, only 150 people in the town, so no it doesn't look like the inner city, but friends of ours who are the most conservative, socially conservative kinds of people, have a daughter, couple of children, hasn't gotten married yet, other families where the son is still living in his home in his late 20s, can't seem to hold onto a job and further down the ladder you have people who are on drugs, and they are getting arrested, and they're in and out of jail, so i guess i'm
10:58 am
saying it's a -- there is no stopping point at which the current working class problem is going to no longer be, not become the classic inner doctrine -- >> you see the water rising. >> the water is rising, yes. some people still have their heads above water. >> so let's dig into the causes. what's driving it? why did this happen? >> well i wrote a book called "losing ground" and i'll reka participate late in 30 seconds that argument and then i want to add other things. the reforms of the 19 0s changed the rules of the game for poor people, and they especially changed the rules of the game for young poor people and most especially for black poor young people, and by rules of the game i mean this. by 1970, that's only ten years
10:59 am
after my baseline, all right, it was much easier if you're a guy to commit crimes, get caught for them and not go to jail, huge change in incarceration rate in the 1960s. it was much easier to slide through school even if you were a troublemaker end up with a diploma not learned anything and not having faced the pressures to learn something. if you were a young woman at the end of the 1960s, if you had a baby you were not the only girl in your classroom in high school. had one, probably half a dozen others, stigma had gone. you had a bunch of other benefits, could live with a b boyfrie boyfriend, all of those rules were changed and i could go through similar kinds of changes and rules in just about every other aspect of life, and the
11:00 am
common theme of all of these was here is something that you get as a short term reward and we're going to mask the long-term costs, and guess what? adolescents are not the most far-sighted of individuals and it really helps if they have much stronger social forces on them. now i want to add the other ways in which this is a perfect storm. and the big thing was the sexual revolution. the pill was first put on sale in 1960, for the first time in human history women had a convenient, safe way to have sexual intercourse with guys even if the guys did not do anything themselves to take care of protecting against pregnancy and naturally there was a subsequent revolution in that. well that has a huge effect on family formation and it has it, in one syllable, in the 1950s,
11:01 am
it was really hard if you were a single male to get easy, free sexual access to a woman, and by 1970, it was no problem whatsoever, and those of you who think that i am relying on statistics or making it up let me tell you something. i turned 13 in 1956, okay? i was in high school during the late '50s and early '60s, i was in college in the first half of the '60s. it got way easier, okay? way, way easier over the course of those, the time that i, by 1970 i was in my late 20s. that's a big deal and it's especially a big deal in the working class where early marriage had been so common and so much for a way of doing things it turns out as marriage gets delayed it's one thing if the reason getting delayed is because you're getting established in your career and then the reason that the average
11:02 am
age of marriage for upper middle class kids now is around 30, it's another thing if the reason it's getting delayed is because you're having a great time and you are also not getting into the labor force and staying there and establishing yourself. by the late 20s your life is kind of a mess, i'm talking about guys now so i think the sexual revolution has to be factorred into that, plus, well i don't want -- we got other questions. >> let me play devil's advocate. maybe this is where you're going. >> please do. >> it's clearly not an either/or but a lot of people on the left and right who say economics has as much to do with culture, and to put some of the numbers on the tribble the u.s. has lost 5.6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010, and that's 30% of manufacturing employment and for the typical worker you were making $25 an hour in a fabricating plant and now you have to work at wendy's
11:03 am
for minimum wage. obviously this in turn drives cultural decline, if you can't find jobs that pay what you're used to, maybe you drop out of the labor force and then women don't want to marry you, the women are raising kids only their own, et cetera, et cetera, but in this theory, the economics and the culture intertwine and drive each other, and i guess my question for you is, don't economics play some role in addition to the cultural stuff you're talking about and how do you think they go together? >> my only, first place i'm not denying that these things have occurred. i'm not denying they interacted as you rightly put it. i wish people would take a closer look and say the jobs went away. it was the disappearance of the jobs in the city that precipitated the problems in the black community. the problem is, the timing of when the jobs went away and when
11:04 am
labor force participation started to decline, went out of wedlock births started to rise, when crime rose, all of those things were happening inspect last half of the '60s, when the jobs hadn't yet left and when the economy was red hot. the same thing is even more true for the white decline, that it does not -- it does not get started when the economic problems set in, nor i think this is really important, nor does it get better when the economy gets better. when people say that a job, what we need is more jobs, i say well, okay, we had a natural experiment, not back in the 1960s, we had a natural experiment in the last three or four years of the 1990s. there were help wanted signs everywhere, and these were not just for minimum wage jobs. they were for jobs paying well over the minimum wage, and you could work as many hours a week as you wanted to work, even if
11:05 am
you had low skills, and low education. in addition, even at that time there were a lot of these highly skilled jobs where employers were begging for the welders and the electricians and the cabinetmakers and the stone masons and things for which they were willing to pay not minimum wage but willing to pay the $25, 30 bucks an hour. during that period of time the good news such as it was is that white male labor force participation stopped declining for a couple years. didn't go back up. you did not have people flocking back into the labor force. you did not have a turnaround. there is no jobs program we can conceive of that would have nearly the kind of job availability we had during the 1990s. >> some of it goes back to the skills problem people have been talking about all day and maybe also partly where the jobs were, but i think it's partly about the intertwining, right? once you're out of the labor force and a drug addict you're
11:06 am
not interested in training. >> even if you're not a drug addict, one of the most depressing statistics has to do with chronic unemployment, even among people who aren't on drugs. if you're out of the labor force for a while, getting back in is really hard. when you talk to employers they'll say the same thing. they will hire people unemployed just because the track record is so bad. >> let me try another devil's advocate question. that didn't work that well. only kidding. >> pushback is what we need. >> culture is the overwhelming driver why is it having such an outsize effect in working class communities? why is this erosion of cultural norms hit the working class so hard but it hasn't really done much damage to upper middle
11:07 am
class elites? coming apart paints this vivid picture of these two communities working class fish town and upper middle class belmont, why is one devastated and the other largely immune or is the water rising and going to get to the rest of us soon? >> now we get into some of the slightly inflammatory issues. let's start with a couple of forces that happened not in the '60s but started in the '50s. two things went on actually. one was that colleges became much better at identifying academic talent, pulling it in especially the elite colleges. i document that in some detail but i just assure you that schools like harvard, princeton and yale were transformed over the 1950s from places where a lot of rich kids went, some of whom are smart to places where really smart kids some of whom were rich but also kids from
11:08 am
kansas and idaho and south carolina. it was the beginning of this process whereby academic talent was brought together, formed critical masses. those eventually became entire enclaves so you take a place like cambridge, massachusetts, where harvard is, 1961 harvard stuck in the middle of a middle class/working class boston neighborhood. you go up to harvard today, well, within walking distance of harvard square there is not one but two whole food stores and the rest of the town is like that and it formed, this was part of forming a culture. the other part of forming a culture was that brains became much more valuable in the marketplace. the ways could you make money just by being smart, whether it's working for apple or whether it is making lots more as an attorney, if you were
11:09 am
cognitively able to negotiate complex regulations and laws, it just became a lot more smart so you had this class which i call the new upper class, which coalesced in the decades after the 1950s, and of course they did well. now, they don't get married, so if we're talking about the sexual revolution they participated in that fully for their 20s. >> eventually they do, though, when it gets around to raising kids. >> but then it's time to settle down and have a family, and they -- look, one of the aspects of having academic talent is there are a whole bunch of correlated things that go with that. one of those is, and by the way, i will go into a rant about how stupid smart people can be at the drop of a hat, but i'm speaking statistically, things like thinking ahead, calculating the long-term consequences of doing a or doing b, all sorts of
11:10 am
things are kind of prophylactics against doing stupid thing. someone in the upper middle class does something really stupid in their early 20s, they not only have time to recover from it, they also probably have parents who will help them recover from it either financially or with support and if you are from the working class, you are much less likely to be able to bounce back from dumb decisions you make. so for a variety of reasons, the upper middle class has behaved themselves pretty well in terms of marriage, in terms of working long hours, and being engaged in their communities. the only thing is, what they won't do is say this would be a good idea for other people as well. we're very nonjudgmental. >> this brings us to policy. what we can do about this.
11:11 am
i mean one of the things that troubles me so much and one of the reasons i kind of cling to the economic causality at least as much of the cultural causality, culture is so hard to change. economic trends are hard to change, too, but i mean culture is so intractable. >> well see this is why i wondered whether i should be invited today. my usual line is i'm a libertarian and libertarians don't do solutions. [ laughter ] the other thing is, my dear friend pete waner was on the previous panel and pete i heard at the end say well we know what things work, we just have to do them. well, maybe for some things we do. i think we could have much better k-12 schools than we have. i propose to you we do not have, we do not know how. i can give you a limitless budget, and then i can give you
11:12 am
100 guys who have dropped out of the lane force and been unemployed for two to three years, or i can give you 100 16-year-old, 17-year-old kids, poor kids, low income kids, i don't care whether they're white, black, latino or whatever who have grown up without fathers and you could spend all the money you want, and i also get to give test to these kids at the beginning of the program about some of their own personal characteristics they already have, and what i say is that you will have turned around very few of those kids, whether you use mentoring programs, whether you put them into apprenticeships, whether you take all of these different strategies. we do not know how. >> and is this what, is this what the history of the last 20, 30 years shows we tried these things and they don't work? >> yes and occasionally you get a small pilot program run by a
11:13 am
charismatic person that works pretty well but the previous panel was talking about scaling up. yeah. you can't scale up charisma. you can't scale up the specific circumstances to make a program work. we have 30 years of "cbs evening news" announcing the exit results on some jobs program or some educational program in which by golly we've made this huge progress, and what you never hear on the "cbs evening news," sorry cbs if you're in the room, everybody else does it, too, you never hear a year later, all of those kids that went off drugs, they're on drugs again. all those kids that got jobs, they're unemployed now. they never go back and look at the -- i know this sounds extremely cynical and pessimistic. i am saying it as a social scientist who can back this up, fade out in programs to intervene in the lives of
11:14 am
disadvantaged kids is universal. even for those programs that get exit results that look pretty good. >> boy, that's a pessimistic vision. you do have one thing that you have been advancing in recent years, well more than recent years, long time, universal basic income. >> yes. you asked a minute ago how do you change a culture? and let me say that one of the components of that i think has to go into it is that the new upper class has to stop being awol in the culture wars. right now the new upper class is doing quite well but as i said they're very nonjudgmental and as i've also said they don't preach what they practice. it's time that it's in the air, it's commonly voiced by dauntless senators and
11:15 am
representatives but people who write sitcom plots, by people who make movies, people who are engaged and infecting the culture if they say gts areally a good thing for kids people are married, it's really important the guys get in the labor force to stay there. you have to have what when a wrote "coming apart" they should preach what they practice. i did not mean they should get bull horns and get on boxes in working class communities and yell. i said things in the 1960s or 1950s about these norms i'm talking about, it wasn't because people were on bull horns, it was in the air. these were values that were promulgated by the people on top of society just as a matter of course. >> people did stop smoking in america, one of the interesting example. >> who stopped smoking?
11:16 am
>> yes, fair enough, fair enough. there was a norm that became a new norm. >> that's right. >> and i think people, the people i know on the upper west side would be uncomfortable telling working class people or urban poor or anyone else you must get married but they weren't uncomfortable tell them you must stop smoking. >> they weren't uncomfortable passing laws forcing them to stop smoking. >> pafrt of me was about to say it's so unrealistic to think the leads will start asserting norms but i remembered this one example. >> but essentially i'm not going to argue with you. so let's go back to the universal basic income, which i had proposed first in the book in 2006, then i redid it new edition that just came out last year in which i proposed that everybody over the age of 21 get a monthly check deposited electronically to a known bank account and i'm not going to go into the details here but i want to tell you why i want to do it,
11:17 am
partly because, a, it's affordable, we can to that whereas we're running out of control now and b, it really would get rid of involuntary poverty. everybody would be able to put together a decent life for themselves with a minimal effort, but the real reason i want to do it is it's the only way i can think of to resuscitate civil society, and i'll give you some examples of how that's the case. by the way, my version of the universal basic income gets rid of the entire current system. >> i think that's the hard part. just guessing. >> even when i come up with solutions they aren't practical solutions. they're things i will say this would work, okay, and i want to you think seriously about and i'll tell you what i think would work about civil society. would you have people who would drink up their monthly allowance ten days before the end of the month?
11:18 am
yeah, you would. they would not be able to go to governmental social service agency. they would have to go to friends, relatives, the salvation army, someone, but the entire dynamic would have been changed so that before -- it's very easy right now if you're at the bottom of society, to present yourself as a helpless victim, and also to be treated as a helpless victim. we don't expect anything from this person. if you know that that person has let's say 1,000 bucks coming into his account in ten days, all at once those friends, or girlfriend or relatives can say okay, joe, we are not going to let you starch on the streets. it's time you got your act together and don't give us this nonsense that you're helpless. you aren't. you have resources. imagine that conversation repeated millions of times every day in all sorts of human needs and human problems of which the human needs are being dealt with
11:19 am
by the people who know the people best and best able to adapt the response because some people need a kick in the pants and some people need a pat on the back, and in addition to that kind of revitalization of civil society, think of all the ways in which social capital, that thing which makes communities work, the thing that bob putnam talked about in "bowling alone" as the thing that has been going like this, well, universal basic income would also make it much easier for example, women who want to stay home with their children, want to stay home with their children rather than be in the workplace it makes it a lot easier for them to do that and that's a good thing form a community, that you are pumping social capital into communities that right now don't have enough. that's a very short statement of a more complex problem. >> so i'm not sure how, i mean i
11:20 am
don't think it's that plausible in the short term we'll get a ubi with your conditions but i am going to accuse you there of a little optimism. you almost think that cultural norms can be changed by something that the government would do that would allow the energy of society to regenerate itself. >> okay i'm going to pick that up and run with it. you're going to get all the optimism out of me in the next two minutes. >> and then one question from the audience. >> that is that we have had a history in this country of revivals, of reaquakenings they were called. they were religious. we had three or four of them over the course of history and each one of them had huge effects on all of the culture. the civil rights movement was a kind of great awakening and that happened basically in the blink of an eye in about ten years with the core of the movement
11:21 am
from '54 to '64. there is then also i think a lot less resistance in 2016 to these things we've been talking about with family and work than there was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, much less resistance to those. >> people at least willing to stay? >> i have not gotten hissed once in this audience and i couldn't have said a lot of these things 25 years ago without getting hissed and i think that there is the potential for this kind of cultural revival. what are the odds? they're greater than zero and given how little we know how to do programmatically with government interventions we better go with the ohm game in town and that is culture. >> let's take one, and if we have room for more than one but
11:22 am
a lady in the back, you guys have been so patient all day no questions. >> hi i'm kaitlin with the nurse family partnership and you had mentioned that programs, maybe when trying to do a program when a child is 17 or 18 or a young adult has been employed typically don't work, have you seen anything with early intervention programs such as home visiting programs when you're going in even before the child is born and when the mother is in a vulnerable stage, her first time pregnancy? >> the debate over the record on really early interventions is intense. you have a very famous advocate in the form of nobel laureate james eckman who was taking it upon himself to argue the data justified a lot of these kinds of interventions. i'm prepared to argue it out on the merits and i think the
11:23 am
evidence in favor of those interventions is weak and that fadeout is most pronounced in those and early studies from the 1960s constantly cited as evidence of great success and we've had much larger, more rigorous studies since then. now i've switched my pessimistic mode again. >> i should never have opened the question. >> but let me say something else picking up on a previous panel. there are some things that are goods in themselves even if you can't measure the results. so if you have pre-k to use that as an intervention suppose you have pre-k for a child in a very punishing home environment and for three hours a day that child is in a nurturing warm environment. in a way you don't have to prove to me that child has a lower trance of incarceration 15 years
11:24 am
later? what is happening to the child who needs our help is a good thing. you do have to go ahead and prove that the child is getting a nurturing warm environment but once you've done that i'm willing to say a lot of these early interventions are goods in themselves. >> i want to hold onto this glimmer of optimism with this last question. whatever we can or can't do about the cultural forces and the economy, can we reduce the cultural difference on the lack of respect and the polarization and separation between the working class and the elite middle class and how good a thing would that be? could that lead to -- >> thank you so much for giving me an opening on this. because remember what i said about out where i live, there are problems that we are seeing. there are also really good people living out there, and who are handling their lives just fine, thank you very much, and
11:25 am
the disdain that is openly expressed by the new upper class, in the case of a neighbor of mine who bought a weekend place in west virginia, and his georgetown neighbors, he literally lives in georgetown, would sort of make jokes about deliverance and the kinds of people they must be. they are great neighbors, they are great friends, they are great people, and the new upper class has been very open in its disdain and that's why you got donald trump, if you want me to oversimplify. one of the main reasons is this terrific anger at watching the elites behave the way they have so to my fellow minutembers of new upper class in this audience, that means just about all of you in this audience, we've got to start behaving ourselves a little better and be better neighbors to our fellow citizens. >> okay, well i think we're out of time, but we are now -- thank you so much, charles. [ applause ] what a grim but in some ways the
11:26 am
optimism was hard won. we're going to break for lunch and i'm going to be, please listen while i describe breaking for lunch. look at your program, decide which breakout you want to go to in the next hour, and go there for lunch, so if you're going to stay in this room and go to the breakout here, get your lunch outside, if you want to go to the breakout downstairs it's just one floor down on the elevator, on the 21st century workforce, go there now and get your lunch there. half the lunches are down there. we have half an hour break for lunch, the sessions are going to resume at 11:55 on time, working sessions. thank you. thank you so much. thank you very much.
11:27 am
11:28 am
president-elect donald trump holds more victory rallies this week visiting states he won back in november. today the president-elect heads to hershey, pennsylvania, and you'll be able to watch that speech live on our companion network c-span starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow the victory tour will continue with a visit to the central florida fairgrounds in orlando, and then saturday
11:29 am
president-elect trump holds a rally in mobile, alabama. all three rallies live on c-span. and then monday, presidential electors will be meeting in their state capitols. c-span will have live coverage from four states as the electors cast their ballots for president and vice president beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern, live coverage from springfield, illinois, harrisburg, pennsylvania, lansing, michigan and richmond, virginia. follow the transition of government on c-span as president-elect donald trump selects his cabinet and the republicans and democrats prepare for the next congress, we'll take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span, watch on demand at or listen on our free c-span radio app. during the iraq war the california national guard improperly paid enlistment bonuses to thousands of
11:30 am
soldiers. the california national guard later ordered those soldiers to pay back the bonuses but in october the secretary of defense ordered the pentagon to suspend efforts to get that money back. the director of the national guard and the head of the california national guard testified on capitol hill recently about that issue. republican congressman joe heck chaired the hearing. >> go ahead and call the military personnel subcommittee of the house of armed services committee to order. i want to welcome everyone to the subcommittee's hearing on the california national guard bonus repayments issue. we're here today to hear from the california national guard, the national guard bureau and the office of the secretary of defense on an issue that we must get right. in fairness to not only the california guardsmen that this affected but f


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on