Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  June 2, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT

7:00 am
working on. from the nation's capital, this is "washington journal." > . . his comments come one day after the bp stock about you plunged $21 billion in one day.
7:01 am
u.s. attorney general announced a criminal probe. he announced he has no plans to resign. good morning, everyone. president obama is being criticized for not showing enough emotion in response to the gulf's will oil leak. -- the gulf coast oil leak. what do you think this morning? should president obama show more emotion? the numbers are on your screen. you can start piling out. we will get your phone calls in a minute -- you can start dialing now. we will get your phone calls in a minute. "many are demanding more fury. the white house should leave impotent rage to television pundits. the same goes for empathy. it is difficult to believe that
7:02 am
of their weeping would do much for his standing or for louisiana's coastline. the idea that the government must take charge as though it is not already overseeing operations is simply childish. it is difficult to believe that anyone on the government's payroll has greater expertise in deep water oil drilling and the oil companies. plainly the u.s. and other governments must look again at the deepwater drilling. but even as the terrible damage amounts the administration must guard against an unindicted backlash. the accident at three mile island that shut down investment in new -- u.s. nuclear power for decades left the u.s. out of balance. we must stress intelligence under stress, especially at times like these."
7:03 am
that is the "financial times editorial." the first phone call comes from the back of the democratic line. good morning. caller: i think that president obama is a thinking man. he gets the facts, the figures, the information. i do not think that we can ask something out of a president that he is not. i just think that he wants the facts. it seems like -- could they have gotten on it faster? could he have gone down there more often? absolutely. host: going down there more often, what about those that say that when he goes down there it distracts all of the people down there from doing the job that they need to do because of security concerns and because of the media attention that he gets when he is on the ground in that situation? >> i get -- caller: i guess that
7:04 am
there is a point of that if that is a fact. but the media has clearly been obsessed with this. even c-span has had oil coming out of your ears. i know it is a critical issue, but like you have not even had anyone on from this flotilla. last week you did not cover when it took off. all we are seeing are israeli clips on when it took place. host: there are clips from the other side. caller: i counted how many times they showed that israeli click on msnbc last night. you need to show the other side of issues. even c-span is obsessed with just one or two issues. we need to be more well- informed. show the other side. host: thomas, independent line. go ahead. caller: i think that mr. obama
7:05 am
needs to use more common sense rather than the motion. it is my belief that if a submarine was put down their to plug the hole, it would stop pushing out. i know what a submarine can do. i really believe that if a submarine was used, things would be a lot better. have a beautiful day. host: more from the column from maureen downd. -- dowd. "this president has made it clear that he is not comfortable out side of the the main he is a flying half -- he has the find, but unless he wants his story to be marred by a pattern of passivity and attachments, he needs to change the story line." thomas, go ahead. caller: hello. how're you doing?
7:06 am
host: what do you think this morning? caller: about what? host: about president obama showing more emotion? caller: i do not think that he has the expertise of a senator over time, right? the profession of that, you know what i am saying? you have to have judgment and forgiveness of certain things. accidents do happen. he needs to be more get on their backs to help to get that clean up done. also, obama has possible funds that he could use to faster cleanup the oil spill. so, some of the expertise in
7:07 am
terms of knowledge is not there. it is a catch-22, sort of, you know what i am saying? he could use his presidency to get it done quicker, you know what i'm saying? aspects. host: all right. we are asking if the president should be showing more a motion in response to the gulf oil spill. "the president's spokesman was asked about this yesterday at the daily briefing." >> when the top killed procedure failed over the weekend, he said that the leak was as enraging as heartbreaking. have you seen the president and rage about this? -- enraged about this? >> throughout this process.
7:08 am
>> has that come through to the american people? >> the american people are frustrated. the white house is frustrated. the president is frustrated. i do not see how anyone who looks at the gulf cannot be anything other than frustrated and heartbroken. absolutely. host: new york, democratic line. what do you think? caller: i think that he is doing all that he can but he needs to talk more about it. but i want to talk again about how the media keeps putting an onus on him. they laid the groundwork for this with all of that deregulation, drill, baby, drill, letting businesses have their way. these agencies are dysfunctional. the president has not had time to fix those agencies. he was too busy fixing the
7:09 am
economy. he has all of these failed agencies that were allowed to mess up all of these years. the main point, let me mention this, please. when these people are all complaining, the president was down here in a suit and i do not want to see it. the senator there was complaining about the president. is not the president's job to go down there and play with the oil. it is his job. let him start digging and stop whining. host: headlines about the oil spill this morning. front page of "the washington post." "criminal probes began." the front page of "the financial times" this morning, "the one they fall yesterday was the worst in 18 years, cutting the
7:10 am
company's market value to two- thirds. the market measure of the risk that bp would default rose sharply. focused on the damage to the position in the u.s., accounting for about 40% of its business. the attorney general said yesterday that his department is looking at potential violations of the clean water act, the oil pollution act of 1990, the migratory bird treaty act, and the endangered species act, as well as other traditional criminal statutes." winston-salem, north carolina. proctor, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, how are you doing today? host: doing well, sir. caller: i was thinking about
7:11 am
this. if this was just one oil well doing this and we did not know exactly how many were out there, they are all potential hazards. thank you. host: "the financial times" reports that analysts are estimating the potential direct cost to bp and potential damages are in the range of about $20 billion. in a story from the daily mail in an interview from tony hayward, he said that he plans to talk to investors this week about the potential cost of this clean up. he said that so far we have spent about $1 billion in that if current efforts fail we have to wait for the relief well to be drilled with six months of cleanup we estimate the cost of about $3 billion."
7:12 am
next phone call, orange county, california. democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i think that he is showing the right amount of a motion. he has been there several times to take a look. the man has been handed the back of a snake. he has a lot to deal with and he is still a family man. why are these republicans not in there to offer some help? i think that the man is overloaded. now they want him to come rushing down? he has other people in other situations to take care of. they need to get over it. host: "the financial times" estimates that the cleanup, including potential damages, could be $20 billion. the piece this morning says that
7:13 am
the company is expected to make profits of $20 billion this year alone while the cost of this bill will be spread over several years. next phone call comes from california. laurie, independent line. good morning. go ahead. caller: he and a stand to lose. not only does he have a lot of important things to deal with. economy, health care, the war, everything else that is major, hello? host: we are listening. go ahead. caller: right now this major oil spill has come up and we do not want someone that is overly emotional. thank you. host: fredericksburg, virginia. vivian, democratic line.
7:14 am
good morning. caller: thank you for c-span. president obama cannot do nothing. either he is not showing emotion or using the teleprompter to much. and i didn't know what he could do to satisfy c-span and the other side of the media. i wish that c-span would have been done george bush when he was marching us into iraq. if they had questioned everything that he said maybe we would not have had 4000 some odd troops killed and 1 million iraqis. i think it is sad. he is doing the best he can. this country was in a shambles before he got elected. you all should give him a break. host: i respectfully disagree. i think that this network has covered every president and given both sides a balanced amount of time to be both critical and supportive of the past administrations and current
7:15 am
administrations. a little bit more about the bp gulf oil spill from "the new york times" this morning. "$36 million have already been paid under the oil pollution act passed in the wake of the exxon valdez disaster. more than 26,000 claims have been submitted. capping some varieties of damages at $75 million, there are democratic senators working to increase the cap in the senate. bp remains a formidable corporation with the ability to withstand penalties that would bankrupt most companies. after the rig sank they reported first quarter profits of $6.2 billion because of its considerable size without outside insurance for such
7:16 am
disasters." jessica, animosity, florida. go ahead. caller: a. i do not know what to think exactly, people are drawing conclusions between him and the w. bush on the katrina thing, but i do live on the coast. we might get this oil stuff over here. right now we do not have that but we have lost 75% of our revenue on memorial day because the people were so convinced that we had oil on the shores. i think, for one thing, showing more emotion? he could. i am very cerebrum myself, intelligent, but obama has not done a good job with him doing fund-raising for people in
7:17 am
california, i thought that was very bad. but what else can we do with this point? we need to come together. host: how much of your community depends on tourism? caller: a lot. i do not know how to put a frame on it as i am not in that business. host: you talked about a reduction? caller: according to the governor he said a 60% to 70% loss in tourism. people did not come for memorial day up and down the coast. host: you think that president obama could have done more on that front to help out? caller: if he had come earlier, this was the same kind of criticism that w. got for
7:18 am
katrina. do not go fundraising in california when this horrible thing is going on. it is going to hit mississippi. this oil is huge. we are very concerned. i am not trying to cut down obama. i did not vote for him. i am i third-party kind of person. but i think that he could have done a better job of management. i know he is a smart guy. we just need him to come up. i do not even know the fishermen that are losing all of their livelihood at this point. they cannot fish. they cannot do anything. restaurants are going out of business. everything. no one will stay here. host: we will have to leave it there. in the international section of "the new york times" there is
7:19 am
pressure to ease the blockade in israel. egypt has opened its entryways into the gaza strip for people to go from egypt into gaza and bring aid to their as well. "the new york times" editorial this morning, "mr. obama needs to state clearly that the israeli attack was unacceptable. the united states needs to join the security council in urging israel to permanently lift the blockade, lessening the suffering of the people and give the united states more credibility to negotiate a peace deal."
7:20 am
more in the conflict this morning from "the new york times," id points to different video on the web sites. differing accounts. "and videos carry on the fight to shape opinion, showing that israel has lack of clear context." san diego, republican line. should the president be showing more motion regarding the gulf oil spill? caller: in my opinion he has not shown much emotion. i think that if he had acted quicker this would not have been such a big story if he had gotten the military involved.
7:21 am
first of all, it is the coast right there. doing what he is doing with his call to action with the oil, energy, and all of that, they are getting money from member states. i remember the senator in louisiana tried to get money from money reserves that they are going to. anyways, he should invest more emotion, showing the american people that he has a lot invested in this. host: california, victor, democratic line. caller: i agree with the very first caller this morning. i am amazed that this is such a
7:22 am
big story. you have been on this one many times. host: did you watch yesterdays show? caller: i have watched you since your inception. you have trained dramatically. you are keeping the blackout on this subject the way that they want it. host: yesterday we spent 45 minutes in the first part of the show talking on this issue. caller: i heard nothing, not even yesterday, nothing. host: go to our website, go to yesterday show, we spent 45 minutes talking about the situation that happened with the turkish activists and flotilla that was headed into the gaza strip. kathleen, georgia, good morning. caller: my feelings are that president obama has not shown enough outrage. i want to give great praise to the governor of louisiana.
7:23 am
he was calling for booms and booms. where is the stockpile of blooms for the oil wells in the gulf of mexico? we cannot even control one. we get another one in the ocean will be gone. why would they tried to tap this well? whoever was in charge of making this decision? go home. do not put mud in there, keep drilling. they need to be undercharges right now. host: john, democratic line. caller: good morning, greta. i would like to give you accolades as to have -- how you handle the program. i have a problem with the question of the morning.
7:24 am
host: all right. caller: what is showing more emotion than of what is he supposed to do, emotionally? i keep hearing from the tee bagger point of view, less government, less government, less government. that is it. can the government show more emotion when it comes to soldiers being killed in iraq? should the american people show more emotion when a homeless person dies on the street? when a child cannot get health care? should they show more emotion when it comes to their fellow citizens? let's stop to evaluate the question. is he supposed to jump up and down, shout and scream? or is he supposed to make sure that the people in charge -- host: we will have to ask it to be civil this morning, it is the
7:25 am
tea party grew. please be civil. we have an update on those primary races that took place yesterday. the governor's race for rep davis, "bid to become the first black governor in alabama, primaries were being held in mississippi and mexico -- new mexico as well. the fifth congressional district rejected parker griffith in alabama. the other big alabama race for the first term congressman lost in the gop primary to brooks, who had the backing of the local republican establishment, still bitter over losing to griffith in 2008. he said that he became a
7:26 am
republican because he could not align himself with a party that drove us further into debt. in mississippi alan nominee defeated angela mcglowan and henry roth, backed by some tea party activists. in new mexico susan carquinez won the republican gubernatorial primary and will face off against dianne than this in a general election race to decide who will become the war -- the state's first female governor." rick, independent line, go ahead. caller: just a couple of comments. just looking at this whole thing, what i cannot understand is you look at the other oil companies.
7:27 am
you have 8, 6, 12 of violations. bp had over 1200? that is outrageous. we want these guys to really get this settled? stop all of bp's drilling in the united states. halt their drilling. i bet you that within 48 hours you will see them come up with some kind of a solution that will fix this problem. i am sick. just sick of what is going on. should obama show more emotion? what more can he do other than be realistic? i do not think that obama has much to say in this. that is just my view. host: marietta, georgia. democratic line. caller: i was listening to that caller that just came up and i
7:28 am
could not agree more. this is really a corporate problem. first of all, everyone seemed to think that it would get solved, but i did not think it would get solved and so gradual the the worst has happened. i cannot understand why the public is now wanting our president to express greater emotion. i think he has made it very clear they he is very disappointed, along with everyone else in the country. but i cannot see that he could do anything more than he is done. host: "roll call" reports this morning that "president obama may use the memorial day break to assign some recess appointments. after approving a few non- controversial nominations in the
7:29 am
larger package deals discussed by senate leaders. the on the lookout for recess appointments." in financial news, the editorial of "the wall street journal" takes a look at warren buffett and the ratings cartel. how i moody's investor can reduce the odds of another credit meltdown. the financial inquiry commission is going to be having a hearing in new york today to look at the role of credit ratings. mr. buffett is going to be testifying there. we will have live coverage starting at 8:30 eastern time this morning on c-span 2. mr. buffett, when he testifies later on this afternoon we will content -- continue the coverage on c-span 2 as well as c-span radio. next phone call, a plymouth,
7:30 am
massachusetts. go ahead. caller: it is truly said that americans have turned to this position of wanting their hands held. they need to put their hands together and get to work and do something. both parties are equally guilty of various, sundry things. we must do something. in defense of c-span, the people calling in to criticize c-span of being a balanced, please. c-span is a wonderful treasure. the problem with c-span is the people calling in. it has turned into a fight between federal hillbillies and innocent handy. host: mike, independent line. caller: this is such a ridiculous question. should the president show more emotion?
7:31 am
what would it do if he stood on the beach with treatment -- with tears streaming down his eyes? would it plug the hole? i do not think so. what we need to do in this investigation is go all of the way back to the oil meetings of the cheney. we need to look at the bush administration that tried to disassemble the entire government. we have failed to remember that bush tried to put republicans over every department in the government. the majority of them coming out of liberty university. i think that we need to pull together as a country and forget about this democrat republican crybabies stuff. host: this is "the wall street journal" this morning.
7:32 am
"under the rules of iran during questioning to avoid self- incrimination some need to remain silent. police may interrogate a suspect who has either invoked or waived his rights." jeff, democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. i do not think that the president should be showing more emotion. i think that he should remain, despite fierce urgency of any situation. he is supposed to reassure the country. however, i do not think he is being a good leader. the government needs to take over and direct bp rather than listen to them. i think that what america needs to do is realize that oil is really a bad choice for energy and we need to take this opportunity and seriously make the best ever we can to wean
7:33 am
ourselves off of oil as an energy source. it is useful as a lubricant and other manufacturing things about as far as a fuel source is terrible. let's make this the best opportunity we have to get off of all oil. halhost: steve, caught would, gd morning. caller: all of these people saying get off of oil? everything we have runs on oil and we will have to rely on it for 50 years. just like rohm emmanuel saying that a crisis should not go to waste, i have got a feeling that this oil situation is going to have obama shut down the american drilling. we are going to have to start
7:34 am
buying more oil from hugo chavez for dea. we are at their drilling in 5,000 feet of water. we are not drilling because that is where the oil is, but because that is where the environmentalists have got us. there is oil close to shore. there's lots of oil off of the coast of california. instead of sitting there and smoking pot they could start drilling oil. most of the governor of alaska rights and opinion piece this morning saying that npra was set aside by president harding in 1923 for the specific purpose of supplying the country with oil and gas. since 1976 it has been administered by the department
7:35 am
of the interior and since 1988 has been theoretically open for development. recent estimates indicate that it holds 12 billion barrels of oil and 73 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. it is very close to the trans alaska pipeline, meaning it would be little in terms of additional infrastructure for the domestic market. even this project has been stalled. the state has worked with locals and tribes on balance development plans but that is as far as they have formed these significant compromises, often at the behest of the corps of engineers to clear regulatory hurdles on the development site. reversing course to deny the issue is of critical permits, the governor goes on to say
7:36 am
that alaska has joined administrative appeal of this misguided federal decision. if we are not satisfied with that the outcome we will pursue other means to make sure that the federal government abides by its own regulations and does not make arbitrary or capricious decisions at the expense of state sovereignty and wise energy policy." bristol, virginia. brent, republican line. go ahead. caller: obama has not shown good leadership in the oil crisis. everyone is fighting amongst themselves about it and they need to start worrying about solving the problem. my suggestion is to blow it up with a new. thank you. host: lydia, lake charles. democratic line. good morning. are you there? i think we lost her.
7:37 am
first, politics and the nation. this is a piece from "the washington post." "most leadership has given away less than 40% of their expenditures this cycle, even though they say they are bundling donations for others. showing expenditures made by lawmakers tapping into their leadership packet, the john boehner spent about 70,000 at the ritz carlton over the past 16 months. harry reid spent $4,000 at the charlie palmer stakeouts -- steakhouse." we can show you this as we go the next phone call. charlie, good morning. what do you think? should president obama be
7:38 am
showing more a motion? caller: i do not defend the question. of we all know that his strong leadership point as a president is that he is calm. . to me that is what you need. this is just another media made up story to make the president look bad. i know that he has done a lot. i do not need his focus on anything negative. i keep up with this unfortunate news. two wars, the different things that korea is trying to do with israel, people trying to double. i think that he will prevail and be one of the best presidents we have ever had. why not ask a positive question about obama? it is always negative. no matter what you say.
7:39 am
it is surprising to me. c-span has simply ask a question and i am surprised that the dialogue. my taxes have gone towards funding c-span. host: no, they have not. cable companies provide c-span as a public service. about 5 cents of your cable bill goes towards funding c-span. we do not get any government money whatsoever. on your other point about asking-questions about president obama, that is not true. we asked a variety of different questions from different angles. we use the newspapers here every morning to help frame the question. we are putting the question out there, you can agree or disagree.
7:40 am
it is based on this morning's "financial times" editorial. a question that cannot yesterday in the daily press briefing from robert gibbs as well. we are asking a question today of the viewers. you can disagree or agree. miami, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to answer the other caller that blames this on the environmentalists. because we had the look for oil in deeper water. i was watching a story on nbc in the 1970's near mexico they have the same problem, oilwells started spewing oil in shallower water and they could not kept it until they build a relief well. as far as president obama showing more emotion, i think
7:41 am
the republicans do not do themselves and the favors criticizing president obama. it just reminds us that they are the party that says no regulation, led business regulate itself. at the same time i think that the president can show more emotion. when he was in the museum of picking up balls of car, i wanted to see him in the marshes where the oil is. i think that his speech was to kurt. it seemed to businesslike and scripted. i wanted him to speak from the heart. that is all i had to say. thank you. host: we will move on to richmond, republican line. caller: good morning. you are one classy lady. nothing has gotten better under
7:42 am
president obama because he does not want it to get better. he uses every crisis to an expanded government and government causes more problems. people depend on something that will always let them down. and he is a talker. a professional voyeur. if he had any emotion at all it was about having one of his vacations interrupted. here is what is wrong with america, self destructive and self-serving. god bless you for what you do. thank you. host: sheila, democratic line. go ahead. caller: the question today about the president having a motion -- having emotion, the question is out of line with what is going on. do you want someone running
7:43 am
around screaming fire, fire? i have watched you for the last hour, you have not moved it from the right or the left. should you have more a motion about what is going on? what is the question? of what kind of a motion do you want him to have? host: i am not asking the question period this morning it is the question from "the financial times." c-span is not endorsing the question. you can either agree or disagree. we will return to the environmental impact of the gulf oil spill coming up next with daniel weiss. we will be right back. ♪
7:44 am
>> book tv continues today with a look at politics and the role of government in our lives. the future of the conservative movement and black power to barack obama. all this week on c-span to. -- c-span t2. >> david cameron takes his first series of questions from "prime minister's questions" today at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
7:45 am
>> this weekend, the university of chicago law professor martin of tha nussbaum contributes to 3 hour discussion on "in that" live on sunday on c-span 2. >> we have three new seats mandatory on abraham lincoln, supreme court, and the grave sites of america's presidents. to order, go to c-span.org /books. each was a great gift idea for father's day. >> "washington journal" continues. host: daniel weiss is a climate strategy director for the center for american progress action and
7:46 am
is here to talk about the environmental impact of the oil leak. the announcement yesterday that the attorney general's office is going to do a criminal probe based on the clean air act as well the liability-, those different acts that the attorney general reference yesterday, telos more about them -- tell us more about them. guest: did bp, trans ocean, or halliburton go forward knowing that there were problems with parts of the big operation? trying to determine whether or not there has been any cover-up of the elements of the decisionmaking process going forward leading up to the tragic disaster. i guess that is what date will
7:47 am
be investigating. obviously investigating is a long ways from an indictment, which is a long ways from a trial. the attorney general's signaled yesterday that the government is taking this very seriously, looking to see if there was not only action that violated civil laws, but also criminal law. host: you have written about of the allegation after the exxon valdez spill. were more similar laws referenced in that litigation? how successful was that? " -- guest: in part the oil spill liability did not exist at the time of the accident, it was created in response to the exxon valdez of 1989. all of the fighting in court was exxon refusing to pay punitive damages to the people of prince
7:48 am
williams sound who were so harmed. they fought in court for 20 years. during that time 8000 claimants expecting to get compensated by exxon died while waiting to be made whole. host: going back yesterday's announcement, of what happens going forward? what is the time line? caller: department of justice -- guest: department of justice investigators going over documents and interviewing the people who were on the raid to see if any of the company's knowingly went forward in operation, even if there was a potential problem with the casing or other parts of the well. host: many newspapers this
7:49 am
morning reporting the bp and government officials flatly said they were done trying to plug the well and that they were going to try to to move on to siphoning the oil and gas to the surface. what is the environmental impact of that decision? guest: hopefully it will work. they will make the amount of the leak the larger to try to capture it. they will be severing a twisted part of a wider pie that is now currently having a flood of oil and gas coming out of it, making it easier to put in effect of the a very long straw like you would have a in a soda pop. bringing the oil and gas to the service, separating them and hopefully being able to use them. and obviously risky operation because it is 5,000 feet under the ocean of robotic submarines.
7:50 am
as a kid if i had known that there was a robot submarine, i certainly would have asked for one. host: what is the worst-case scenario? syphoning to the service until they can drill relief wells that will not happen until august, what is the worst-case scenario? guest: efforts to siphon oil and gas from the bottom of the gulf will fail and it will continue to pour out at a higher rate. that will last until august until one of the relief wells is thrilled all the way down and basically they stick a straw into the existing well, shutting it down putting as -- putting cement and other materials in. hopefully the effort to siphon oil will concede in a large portion of the oil will be captured.
7:51 am
it is important to note that this is already the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the united states and of these efforts are almost literally band-aids on a hemorrhaged. host: so, what would you like to see happen in the meantime as far as other places where there is drilling happening in the united states? guest: the president took a big step yesterday when he ordered the other 33 deep water wells that were in the exploratory phase to have a six month time out until the bipartisan commission investigated this bill and reported back. the commission was disappointed about one week ago and were launched yesterday. second, as soon as possible we need to have the recommendations for advanced blowout protectors
7:52 am
and better procedures. more inspections on existing rigs. the secretary of the interior just made these last week and will not be implemented right away. third, we need to mobilize all available assets to try again to prevent as much oil as possible from reaching the shore. this is going to be huge in terms of environmental and economic disasters. even 20 years after the exxon mobil oil spill, oil is still washing up on shore. this is one the last for quite some time. lastly and most importantly we need to take long-term steps to dramatically reduce oil use. that is the ultimate solution to this problem, including making significantly cleaner cars, alternative fuel, and investing in transportation. host: senator mary landrieu was
7:53 am
on our program last week defending oil drilling in general. she talked about the issue and whether or not we should continue drilling oil. if it should be in the shallow or water or the deeper water. we want to show you a little bit of that and then come back to talk about it. >> i hope to the american people understand the difference between deep water drilling and shallow water drilling. when you have drilling in 1,000 feet or less of water, the blowout preventer is on the surface. the structure that causes so much trouble is not beneath the surface, it is on top of the surface and it can be manually controlled. we are trying to control this one with robots. there is a great diiference. i hope that the president will help the american people
7:54 am
understand the differences in drilling because we should not and cannot shut down drilling operations in shallow water of the gulf " -- gulf coast. it will put thousands of people out of work and it will start having a serious impact on the overall economy that depends on the oil and gas in many ways. host: your reaction? guest: the senator is right in that there is a big difference between shallow water and deep water drilling. according to information from the department of interior, 30% about of our offshore oil rigs are in 5,000 feet of water or more. those need to be thoroughly inspected if they have not been already. additionally the company owners of those wells need to look at the safety measures that they can adopt in terms of
7:55 am
recommendations that should be implemented. host: one viewer earlier said that the reason that these rigs are outside of 5,000 feet of water is because of environmentalists and regulations that have put them out there. that there is more oil closer to shore. should they be moved in? guest: the reality is that we use far more oil than we have. we use about one-quarter of the world's oil and we have to% of the resources. we to drill in every conceivable place that there is oil and we would never be able to provide all the well that we need. we need to dramatically reduce the use of oil for cars and trucks, which is where the primary usage is by making cleaner vehicles, cleaner fuels, and investing in public transportation. host: the first phone call comes from fredericksburg, west virginia. loess, go ahead. caller: i agree that we need to
7:56 am
have alternative energies. but what we are having as windmills destroying mountain view's. they are horribly ugly. they produce very little of electricity. we do not use coal. we could do clean coal technology. we need the oil drilling. personally, i think that president obama overreacted in the beginning and he did not act quickly enough in getting people out to stop the oil from flowing into the shore. instead he was a very -- the oil companies will pay, etc., and i do not want to pay $10 per gallon of gas and that is what will happen when we have the environmentalists insisting that we get clean technology. they always insist that it is in the cars but in fact plastics use more oil than cars. we need to stop using plastic
7:57 am
this and plastic that. we need to get real. burial little oil goes into gasoline -- very little oil goes in the gasoline. we need to act in a responsible way and we need to act quickly, not just merely getting on our soapbox to talk about we will punish people. guest: first of all, about 70% of the oil used in this country goes for transportation. of that about another 70% or two-thirds goes to cars and trucks. motor vehicles have the number one use of oil in this country. interestingly enough, this oil spill has not had any impact on oil prices. in fact they are about $10 per barrel less now than when the spill occurred. the reason for that is because
7:58 am
no individual well produces that much oil and in fact the u.s. imports close to two-thirds of its oil. shutting down all of our offshore oil rigs, which i am not proposing, would have only a small impact. the bottom line is that we get most of our oil from foreign countries. particularly canada, mexico, and saudi arabia. it is important for national security to dramatically reduce the amount of oil that we use. reducing the amount that we get from those countries and from the deep waters off the coast. host: brooklyn, new york. caller: you briefly touched upon criminal charges being brought up against the peak. did they commit these felonies
7:59 am
in furtherance of getting these wells up and running, resulting in the deaths of? if so, they should be charged with felony murder on top of that. guest: well, i do think that there should be a full investigation from a national bipartisan commission that the president has appointed. yesterday the president said that they would follow the evidence regardless of who was involved. and if that meant that bp and trans ocean, or halliburton, if they violated the law and is -- and are responsible for this that, they need to be held, but -- responsible for the deaths, they need to be held accountable. host: what will make this one different? guest: to my knowledge there has never been an investigation like this of such an event.
8:00 am
the commission that president obama has appointed was modeled after the one that president reagan appointed after the challenger space shuttle disaster. by transparent we mean that they will release all documents. release all depositions of witnesses. have public hearings. the commission that the president appointed should have at least one hearing in the vienna to talk about the impact of this oil disaster on the people that live there. that is based on the elements of transparency to make sure that the public understands that we will get to the bottom of what really happened and that no one is being protected, regardless of how powerful. .
8:01 am
>> can you say thousands and thousands? i think we need to put many more controls on. i think we need a lot more investigation. i believe in canada, when they drill, and maybe the gentleman on today knows this. when they drill a well in canada, they should automatically install a release well. this would be one way. i know that we probably do need oil and all forms of energy that we have. somewhere in all this, also, the mine explosion in west virginia, which is only, like, 100 miles from where i live, seems to be forgotten in all
8:02 am
this. this is another case of regulations not being put on and regulations that are on not being followed. i really am concerned. we have to do a lot more research. and we have to do investigation in how we can control a possible disaster like this. this is my opinion. i think right now, probably, everybody is doing the best fall off a roof or something like that, but these cleaner energy technologies don't carry the threat of these horrific accidents that either offshore oil drilling carry. the caller makes an excellent point. a lot of ways this is dick cheney's hurricane katrina.
8:03 am
because while he was overseeing our energy policy, they weakened a lot of rules that governed the installs and drilling of offshore oil riggs and let them vol untire tearly police themselves rather than have a cop on the beat. and scientists raised the concerns about the potential impact of oil spills from wells and they were routinely ignored. host: but there are democrats that support offshore drilling as well and not having as much regulation on this industry as well. it's not just republicans. guest: dick cheney was in charge of the energy department from 2001-2008. during that time the big five oil companies made 2/3 of a trillion dollars in profits. about $650 billion in profits.
8:04 am
at the same time they made voluntary which should have been made mandatory and created a whole culture in the agency that oversaw this where it was literally sex, drugs and oil where they staff people for the management service with trading favors, sexual favors, giving away royalties, giving away gifts, all kinds of things that the inspector general and department of interior has reported on. it was literally an agent out of control so even democrats who favor offshore drilling don't want it to be policed by those people who are doing the drilling. it's like having a bunch of thieves running your bank. host: when the senator was on, she said she hoped president o'bama doesn't jump and overreact and put too much regulation on this industry, like, the country did after the
8:05 am
three-mile island accident with nuclear energy, because that set back the united states with nuclear energy by decades. guest: the reason why no new nuclear power plants had been ordered since before the three-mime island accident is because they were too expensive and too risky. the electricity they produced was simply too expensive. it wasn't regulation that is killed it. it was wall street. they didn't want to invest in them. now, you cannot get wall street investors to put up the capital to build a new nuclear power plant without a lot of sub cities from the government. this is old technology. host: round rock texas, go ahead on the rep can line. caller: thank you. you just stole a little bit of
8:06 am
my thunder. i resent hearing this is supposed to be o'bama's hurricane katrina. people forget the bush administration had weeks of notice that the hurricane was coming and failed to act then superherded people like cattle daint have security or police there. it's nothing compared to what's going on. thousands of people died and are still missing and i'm glad what you said about cheney because i feel the same way. it's the lack of regulation of this government of big business. big business is just taking over our country and thinking they can do whatever they want because we're going to bail them out around thank you again for that cheney remark, because that's what i was going to make a comment about. host: thank you. we move on to the independent line. caller: i am just a little appalled with everything that's happening as far as the oil spill. the thing i'm concerned about
8:07 am
is the government allows this offshore drilling to go on and there was no regulation for that. and as well as in the case if something should happen, there was not a plan to prevent this. and now we're going to have to take months and months to get this resolved, and this is not only going to impact the united states, but it's going to impact other nations as well, because we all share this ocean, and i just don't think it's right for,you know, for these companies to be drilling, and there just isn't a plan in place to prevent something of this magnitude and when cheney over the past energy task force and with him deregulating everything, i don't think that's right. i think some fun should have been set aside for, you know, something of this nature in case it happened. and obviously there was fog, and then they are going back and forth as far as who is
8:08 am
going to get the money to get this resolved? host: let's talk about the fund to pay for this. is there a fund to currently pay for disasters when this sort of thing happens? guest: yes. there is a fund on the oil spill liability act. it is small and in fact, the house of representatives just increased the amount of charges to the oil companies to pay into the fund. ultimately, though, b.p. is responsible for this, and b.p. ought to pay for everything. they ought to pay for the cleanup, the economic and ecological damages and health care damages. and that's really ultimately what we need to do. right now there's a liability cap of $75 million on damages under the oil spill liability act. that ought to be lifted. the cap ought to be deleast $10 billion if not no limits. and this is important, b.p.
8:09 am
ought to be required to put $5 bhl in escrow to -- $5 billion in escrow to help with the cleanup and help the people harmed. with the exxon valdez, exxon thought to avoid 8,000 claimants died while waiting for compensation. meanwhile common made profits year after year. b.p. wouldn't wait to pay claims in $5 million was in escrow. host: one estimates direct costs to the company will be about $3 billion. the financial times puts it more at $20 billion. what do you make about the discrepancy in those two figures? guest: well, mr. hayward has been unfortunately overly opt
8:10 am
mick from his company's point of view almost every step of the way. the exxon valdez cost about $8 billion, today worth more because of inflation. i think $3 billion is probably low, particularly given how much oil is going to be spilling into the gulf from april 22nd to august when the releaf wells are filled. remember the oil just washed ashore for the first time yesterday in alabama and mistress of ceremonies and now is headed to florida. -- in alabama and mississippi. and now it's headed to florida. that's going to be a four-state calamity. host: d know how they tried to make the difference? $8 billion for the cost of exxon valdez but ended up
8:11 am
through court cases only paying $500 million for economic damages? guest: and there's three costs b.p. will face. cleanup costs, trying to soak up the oil. in the common o exxon valdes less than one out of every 10 barrels of oil was paid. then paying for the loss of people's income. in the exxon valdez, destruction of fisheries. lastly, punitive damages. it was there where the supreme court reduced them from $5 billion to $500 million. about 10%. the $8 billion figure includes all three of those for exxon. host: moving on to east point, democratic line, caller go ahead. east point, michigan. caller: i agree with everything your guest is saying.
8:12 am
b.p. can take their oil and go back to their country. i have never gone to a b.p. gas station and never will. i would rather be proud of clean energy and see windmills on a mountain top. scientists proved you can -- we have an entire desert just sitting there filling up with solar panels. who cares? no one's out there to look at it anyway. host: on the rep can line? caller: yes, i think it's a little absurd to blame cheney for this environmental disaster. i do believe president o'bama just hired the woman fired as middle management head, and i do believe they were going to give b.p. an award for some job of excellence.
8:13 am
also in terms of alternative energies. there's a lot of things that most people don't know, for example, uh, resources that are needed to create solar panels. the chinese have actually cornered the market on those resources. in addition to -- they have a corner market on the terms of resources needed to create batteries. all these things are not just cut and dry, you know, you can do these things, there's, you know, other things involved in that. but i just, you know, to blame the other administration, you know, sometimes o'bama is the president and has to, you know, the buck stops here. you know, if he -- if o'bama -- for example, if bush -- if he waited this long to get involved in this thing, the media would have destroyed him. i think o'bama's getttng a
8:14 am
pretty squeeze job so far. host: yes? guest: well, first the president has taken full responsibility for this oil disaster. but it's important to look at the fact that he tran agency for 14 months. bush and cheney ran it for the eight years before. in 2005 there was a proposal to make some safety measures mandatory toimplet instead they made it voluntary and if you want to check this out, you can go to "the washington post" which reported on this. in addition we're going to be having report issues today on cheney's katrina. it will be on the website after 12:00 noon. talking about clean energy technologies, 15 years ago the united states made more solar panels than any country in the world. we made about half of them. now china does. the reason? china has been investing eehly
8:15 am
in clean energy. conservative senator lindsay graham said every day we spend arguing about whether or not we're going to put a price on global warming pollution is another day that the chinese, germans and span yards among others are going to get ahead of us in making clean energy our future. that's why it's important to put a declining limit on carbon pollution cl which will then drive investment towards geothermal and advanced bios other countries are making and that are pulling ahead of us in the ries to make the clean energy technologies that we need this century. host: what provision do you see being included in energy legislation because of what's happening in the gulf coast? >> well, we like to see a number of things. first, we believe that there ought to be a goal in there
8:16 am
that says we will reduce our oil use by 27 barrels a day by 20 30. second, let's invest in natural gas-powered medium and heavy trucks and buses that's been promote bid t boone pickens. third, let's make plugin hybrid or all electric cars, we need places where people can recharge them. let's also invest in the factories to build those cars. in addition, we need to be able to raise revenue that would pay for these incentives, because obviously we have a huge budget deficit right now. one other thing we think ought to happen is many years ago president ford levy -- levy ad small fee that was $2 a barrel now the equivalent lens as i would be $8 a barrel. we ought to levy a $2 per
8:17 am
barrel fee on imported oil and invest that money in technology to get us off oil. those are the measures we'd like to see to make sure the operation of riggs are much safer. host: phyllis on the independent line? caller: about two years sense i spoke to you. i'm the lady with the lady's club that said don't vote for bush or we're going to go to war in iraq. this is cheney runing the engineering and safety of b.p. amico's well there. i believe this is a conspiracy because they don't want us drilling in there. what do you think about that, mr. weis? i would like an answer, your opinion on that. guest: well, i'm not quite sure what the caller is talking about. but cheney did run halliburton before he became vice president and halliburton certainly
8:18 am
benefitted from the lax laws, and basically the cops were taken off the beat. instead they were in the station sleeping. so what we need to do is put those cops back on the beat. host: an op ed in the "wall street journal" the gulf spill in alaska and points to npra a 20-million acre slope set aside by warren harding for the specific purpose of supplying our country and military with oil and gas and says the army corps of engineers has put up another bureaucratic hurdle to postpone drilling there and says an appeal for this. if we are not satisfied we will pursue other means including sueing the federal government so it does not make arbitrary
8:19 am
decisions at the expense of state sovereignty and wise energy policy. what is npra and should there be drilling this? >> it's the petroleum reserve in some of the most fragile territory that exists in this country. guest: and a big oil spill there would devastate an vifmente that would probably never recover. there's particular areas there, lakes that are particularly vulnerable. it's important to note that in prudhoe bayh where there's been development for years there's the equivalent of a toxic spill every single day. oil is a dirty business. in fact, b.p. was responsible for the greatest onshore oil spill in alaska in 2005 that was near prudhoe bay. so going into the npra is very, very risky. and instead of trying to increase the amount of oil we
8:20 am
produce, which we'll never be able to do to satisfy our needs, we use about a quarter that we really need to put the focus on dramatically reducing our oil use. that is what will help our legislation that the senate will take up in june and july. it's for oil production safety and oil production. that will be essential to adjusting both ends of this problem. host: go ahead. you're on the democratic line. caller: i would like this gentleman -- yes, if he were to be the leader and get vice president, former president, go down there and straighten this mess out. president o'bama needs to keep his eye on the war and keep these kids from getting killed. guest: thank you, sir. well, the o'bama administration mobilized from day one in response to this spill.
8:21 am
they have sent thousands of people now down in the gulf to focus on working with b.p. to cut off the flood of oil and working on a response to prevent as much oil as possible from hitting the shore, because once it gets in the marsh lands of the coastal areas, it's going to be very tough to remove. first we need to send public health officials down land the get a baseline measure of people's health to find out later what, if any health intacts the oil disaster had and second we need to take a very good economic snapshot of the businesses down there and people's income so we can measure the impacts of the spill and that will help people seek the appropriate measure of compensation from b.p. host: good morning. how are you? caller: 50eu6 got a couple points, as far as batteries and windmills and solar panels.
8:22 am
if we put solar pams and windmills and battery all over the united states we've only absorb ed 4% of our energy needs. i've been in the gas station business for years and have a solar station put up 15 years ago. those panels never worked from day one. there's nobody in the last five years they've been able to get out there to even fix these things. they don't work. they spent 30,000 and put them on mikan is as a facade to say we're beyond petroleum when they went from petroleum to from b.p. to amico. and now seven weeks ago if they had gotten these super takers people have been talking about for the last 10 days pumping a million barrels of oil and separateing the water from the oil, we would have been keeping up with this and it wouldn't be
8:23 am
in the mar mbs and stuff like that. that's what the administration needs to do. being on the job from day one doesn't mean a thing if nobody does anything to get things done. you can talk about how much oil is coming out, that doesn't remove the oil. host: ok, chuck, we'll get a response. guest: thank you. first, b.p. did spend time trying to market themselves as beyond petroleum but now we know that was baloney. host: but what about his claims that the solar panels didn't work? >> well, guest: there was a huge disinvestment in clean energy under bush and cheney and will once again be covered in our report. the technology's advanced quite a lot. there are other countries providing a large amount of their energy through solar like spain, germany and china. we need to continue making those advances. when it comes to taking the oil
8:24 am
off the bottom of the ocean, the efforts to many you go the leak, they are a mile deep where the united states military doesn't even have sub marines that can go that deep. b.p. does. so b.p. is using those robot sub marines to try to maneuver around and try to put a cap on one of these pipes but the efforts first were trying to decide to block this altogether. the effort there has been led by b.p. with the government working closely with them. host: galveston, texas. bob? on the independent line. caller: good morning. i have two points, every other country b.p. drills in, going back to this cheney thing, requires an acustic cap, i believe it's called, like a $50,000 piece which would have prevented this. shouldn't we go after the government or the corporations that took that, you know, off
8:25 am
of our -- let b.p. drill without that acustic cap? host: are you familiar with this? guest: yes. it's another backup system designed to shut down the oil should something go wrong. they are required for offsthore oil riggs in norway and brazil and they cost about a half a million dollars. it would be a bargain at twice the price. they are not required in this country and again, under the bush-cheney herea, those rules were voluntary not mandatory, so that's why i say this is cheney's katrina. host: how much of a presence to they have in the united states versus around the world? guest: that's a good question. i don't know the exact figures. but in terms of the big five oil companies, in materials of profits, they were about four out of five in making profits
8:26 am
in the u.s. i believe b.p. is the fourlt largest publicly- -- fourth largest publicly-owned company that did so. caller: greta, i'm a little confused this morning. i agree with mr. weis, i believe this is dick cheney's thing, when he made the statement that dick cheney and his company will profit from these oil restrictions and you said you can't blame republicans for it, that's not what he was saying. he was saying dick cheney's company and his company. it was nothing to do with saying republicans and democrats. also there was a man that called regarding o'bama being emotional. and your statement was well, you need to be more civil if
8:27 am
you call. i don't see anything that was not civil i've heard much worse things said about the president how incapable he is and he wasn't cut off. i don't understand where you were coming from. can you please explain that to me? >> sure. host: the caller refered to the tea national security a derogatory way. i realize this is an open forum and they say things that are not civil. we don't screen our phone calls and there's not a time delay. i just ask that if you're going to call in, keep the conversation civil civil and i realize it happens on both sides. we try our best to have that not happen or move on when it does. but it's not a perfect system and as far as what i said earlier, i was making the point that some democrats also support some regulation on the gas and oil industry. that is true, is it not?
8:28 am
guest: it is, but it's important to note from 2001 to the beginning of 2009, the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling was run by dick cheney, and they took numerous stept to either warn scientists of the potential -- and make drilling -- we're going to have a reeort on it today at american progress.org so people can go see everything for themselves. host: billiton rep can line, go ahead. caller: yes. i would just like to know who funds this gentleman's organization and who writes his paycheck and then i have a follow-up? guest: that's an excellent question. the center for american progress is funded by individual atlanta pists and ordinary cares. host: yes? still there?
8:29 am
caller: yes. the reason -- i've done some investigation on this. the reason you can't get invest ment on that is because it takes 20 years to get through the environmental process to each begin to get the permit. who is going to put their money down and invest large sums of money, wait for 20 years to see if they are going to get out of the way and let it happen? it's a totally rid clubhouse situation. guest: well, it's fortunate note that with any technology, any advanced, complicated technology, it needs to be built carefully and to the highest possible safety standards, because one bad oil disaster can ruin an entire decade or more of the economy in the affected area. and so that's why there's all these safety measures for nuclear power plants and safety
8:30 am
riggs. because one accident, a low probability but serious accident could be devastating. host: thank you so much for being here. guest: thank you for having me. host: up next we're going to turn our attention to this opinion piece written, washington's one trillion dollar opportunity, where to cut the deficit within the federal bureaucracy joining us from new york coming up next, but first a news update. >> and it's 8:30 in washington, d.c. in the headlines. their first visit in the west virginia cole mine where 20 men decide in april. toxic and explosive gases have kept state investigators out of the massey energy's upper big branch mine for two months and no one has entered the mine sense rescuers removed final victims in april. israel has started to return thal activist detaped during
8:31 am
the raid on the from tilla bound for the -- those in -- they branded the raid quote a massacre. in afghanistan taliban swroid attackers struck at the national peace conference as it opened in kabul. three attackers were killed but no delegates were hurt. it began after president karzai opened his address when some 16 -- he is asking for taliban fighters to stop fighting for the sake of the country. >> and defense secretary robert gates hoped to make improved military ties with beijing. but secretary gates leaves today for an around-the-world trip to countries that will
8:32 am
take him to asia and europe. bay jink did not elaborate but -- beijing did not elaborate but are upset with the u.s.'s decision to provide other nations with things. >> book tv prime time, john hilton role of government in our lives. american spectator founder on the conservative moment and tufts university professor from black power to barack obama, book tv prime time. all this week on c-span2. >> new british prime minister and conservative party leader david camron fields questions from members of parliament in his first prime minister's questions as the head of a coalition government. live from the british house of champions today at 10:00
8:33 am
eastern on c-span. >> washington square park continues. host: paul "washington journal" continues. host: looking at ways to overhaul the federal government and the way the government is spent on the bureaucracy. i also wanted to let our viewers know we had a special line set aside for federal employees this morning. we'll talk to republicans, democrats, independents and then federal employees, we have a line for you, 202-628-0184. i want to first begin with the overall question of why should there be reform of the federal bureaucracy in of all the other things in the budget you could
8:34 am
cut, why this? >> well, first, i warrant to say i'm a good government guy. i want a strong government and strong regulatory agencies. i want to see federal employees able to do their jobs. not only would we make government more efficient and productive by doing some of these streamlining activities. we would also save a great deal of money. and i think it's a win-win proposition. we need to free talented federal employees to do their jobs and to be quite honest, we need to streamline the bloat and get rid of some of the dead wood. and i think most federal employees agree with that. but you never know. host: historically, professor, what -- has this been done before? and how? >> well, the last time we did it with any real muscle was back in the late 1940's and early 1950's, and we had former
8:35 am
president herbert hoover at the helm of a national blue ribbon commission, and both presidents trueman and eisenhower followed through on the recommendations and really streamlined it. we came out of the great depression with a really large and unwheeleding federal bureaucracy. a dense organization chart, and it's been 60 years since we last did this. and it's time to do it again. every 60 years is a little bit of a long interval, and we need to take a look at this from time to time. >> why hasn't this issued -- guest: part of it is we've eliminated many tools the president has used in the past called the authority that made it easy or easier for them to
8:36 am
restructure the federal bawk cri. and part of -- bureaucracy, and part of it is sheer complacency. this is not a high sex appeal issue if you will. it's not the type of thing the president or congress likes to work on yet it keeps coming back to bite us. you know, we've had a cascade of meltdowns over the last 10-is a years, the christmas day bombing plot. then toyota, british petroleum. counterfeit heparin. one meltdown after another, and those are wake-up calls for us for acting on bureaucratic reform. >> you talk about saving $1 billion by cutting the number of presidential employees. guest: oh, enough already. you know what i mean? when you look at the response to the oil spill, your previous guest was right half of them
8:37 am
were on deck but half didn't know star board from port. we had undersecretaries, chief of staff undersecretaries. i coiled go on and on before i reach the real front lines that are going to be able to talk about about the spill. thank goodness we had the admiral at the helm and deep thinking about what we might do in the future. but i tell you something, our political employees didn't do well in this crisis, and we've got too many of them. the information flows too slowly, and it's a waste of money, and presidents get confuse that had some how it's quite the opposite. fewer leaders, better leadership. host: you say there's about 3,000 political employees. if you cut that number in half
8:38 am
you would make a bigger contribution of clarity and demand. >> but who are these? >> well, we've never had slower process than we have today. the senate has been childish in handling appointments. o'bama is going to set a record in terms of being the latest in history so about 2500 that serve at the president's pleasure, and they just clog up the bureaucracy. we've got 25% vacancy rates in this job. high takeover. it's no way to run a highly-productive, federal operation. it would be a disaster for any private -- host: first phone call for
8:39 am
professor light. on the democratic line, go ahead. caller: good morning, greta. host: good morning. caller: you know, these recent meltdowns we have are no surprise to me. the banking sector, and now this environmental catastrophe. i'd like to make a couple points. i think the first point is essentially that the congress really doesn't want regulation. really doesn't want enforcement. they say they do, but behind closed doors they cut the budgets of all the agencies that are doing pointing fingers at ebb else in the agency. bottom line is they are getting -- host: i'm going to leavitt there because we've moved on and we're talking about the federal bureaucracy and where cuts can be made with professor
8:40 am
light, so who wrote a piece in the "wall street journal" last week saying it could save about $1 trillion. but on the point of regulation how much do they add to the bottom line of the federal budget and how you implement them. that an yare congress is a big part of the problem. the minute -- minimal management service is not the only agency that is in a cozy relationship with industry. we have created a lot of agencies that are conflicted as to what their real job is. is it to regulate the or promote the rationalizing their structure. breaking them up so the regulatory activity is separate
8:41 am
from the emotional activity. it's not just the minerals management that is of well, we've had some dismantle meant. in the bush administration. we have had these conflicts of interest in these major regulatory agencies for decades and decades and decades. and presidents don't want to deal with it, and certainly congeds -- there's a lot of money rolling through the system and it's going going -- it's only going to get worries. -- get worse. host: does that get to your second point in your piece, saving millions by --
8:42 am
guest: well, i tell you, when you talk to the federal employees who are really on the front lines, what they tell us in the annual surveys is that they can't get their voices heard on the way to the top. there are so many bottle necks. and that really undermines the ability to hold anyone accountible for what goes right or wrong the department is accountible. can't hold the managers accountible. if we can get rid of the -- the federal employees say they lack in terms of getting the job done. not enough employees on the front line to enforce the lines. for example,. not you have this is a very woe fle, then that's the job.
8:43 am
they are not there to change the laws. they are there to faithfully execute the laws and they are blocked all over the place from doing their job well. host: rick, you're on the independent line. caller: good morning, professor, greta. first of all, you're absolutely right about these politicians. but until we change the way we do business, which is financing, if we don't have financing for politics and everything else is considered and my next question i guess is how long does the senator or congressman, well, really any other employee that works at those levels, have to get a
8:44 am
pinch. they reacting to partial pinching. a presidential appointee didn't get pensions for life. they get very little after they leave. that is not why most presidential employees serve. most are motivated by the chance to make a difference, i believe. but we don't let them do so, because we've created these monster bureaucracies. and they really create a counterin the agency. i think government plays a role in this. and congress micro manages to the point of distraction. but i think what's happening here is that there's a substantial portion of the public that simultaneously wants more of what government
8:45 am
delivers, but doesn't want to pay for it. for example, we've got $300 billion in uncollected taxes in this country right now. but how do you think the public feels about adding the internal rev knew but we need more front line employees to do those kinds of jobs. and we're not able to muster the political will to do so. host: professor, we could save $200 million by saving many of the federal jobs that are about to be regulated takeover year. my generation, largely because we've aged into it. there are many, many federal employees. the average age of the federal employee is now almost 50.
8:46 am
and there are many of the baby boomers who are packed in at high-level jobs that may not be essential to the operation of government. basically, what i'm recommending here, is instead of filling every job that's vacated as the baby boomers leave, instead of seeing this as a dire crisis. let's take a look at those 300 to 600,000 federal jobs that are there. i think it will turn out that we don't need many of those jobs. perhaps as many as half. and that as baby boomers leave, we ought to just eliminate the job. that's a tough decision, but it's something we really need to do if we want to swim the pro stock cri. host: one asks does he know if
8:47 am
anyone is listening to him? guest: well, i get plenty of email and comments on what i write. sometimes it feels likes you're shouting into a vast cave. i think the o'bama administration is somewhat interested in some of these. we will be trying to recap some of the money we lose every year. but in terms of the big reforms i'm talking about, i think washington is scared of doing it. and i'm not sure how to get congress and the executive to pay attention to the real savings around opportunities that are in reform packages, and i'm not getting a lot of
8:48 am
investigation -- invitations to lay this one out. that's why i'm on c-span, because i realize you reach a certain amount of policy makers. will will by cutting the contracting work for us, we will talk about that after columbian kentucky karl on the rep can line. go ahead. caller: hello. i m am a veteran have fete i'm also a retired registered nurse by the way. i have also noticed, just as a patient, the amount of management within the v.a. system as opposed to actual health care workers, and i agree with you on the amount of management that it's simply unnecessary and confuses
8:49 am
everyone within the administration. and actually hinders health care. in addition, i also, on a different note, but also pertaining to bureaucratic spending, i think -- i saw on c-span the other day, eric holder making the comment, to paraphrase, that every red cent that was used by the government involving this cleanup of the oil spill, would be paid back in interest? guest: well, i haven't heard anything about interest. and there's still quite a bit of controversy about whether b.p. and its actions fall under
8:50 am
the $75 million cap in terms of the statute about total cleanup and liability. there's talk about the burden of this spill but b.p. has been saying a lot recently about its conference and prespill just flatout untrue. at worse. so this one is yet to be involved. in fact, we won't know what the true cost of the cleanup is going to be if the spill continues through august. we won't know for years, maybe decades, in terms of what the actual cost is. so i would think pretty much everything, you know, if we
8:51 am
don't get proper level of staffing and support like in the mineral mining agency, you're just not going to get any nasms will prevent future things like we've seen over the past few years. host: on the democratic line. caller: thank you for taking my call and thank you to c-span for doing real quality journal i meanism. i am very often on the oil spill disaster in the gulf of mexico. some people blame the president because they say it looks like he is not in carjack of the situation. i would like to ask the gentleman what he believes about the possibility of the president -- but to take absolute control.
8:52 am
host: federal light is on to talk about the federal brock have i and not an expert on the situation in the gulf. we'll move on to napalitano. to indianapolis. caller: i'd like to ask you a couple questions. first, what is the incentive for federal government employees to be more efficient? which i think would potentially lead to a smaller government? and allegation, it seems to me that the tax code is extremely complicated and creates the comment on how that could be fixed and the idea of having a flat sales tax, something of that nature? just curious. guest: what would motivate federal employees to be more productive? my belief and i think the
8:53 am
founders belief was that they should be motivated first and foremost by a chance to make a difference. that's what should bring them into work and keep them going. over the last sarks 30, 20, years. most are overcome by the pay, benefits and that it's a circus. but i worry that too many federal employees are putting too many -- too much energy and some can't make a difference because of the stifling bureaucracy that surrounds them, but the incentive here should be first, a deep commitment to making a difference, and then we've got revisit the basic issue of pay for performance. it's very controversial.
8:54 am
federal employees, the federal employee unions have rightly argue tore pay -- we need -- the democratic party is so heavily reliant on union support, but sooner or later you're going to have to regulate how you deal with federal employees and how you put their energies on performance-based measures rather than just advancing through time on the job. host: you said it could save about $100 billion and write that you could save billions by getting rid of programs.
8:55 am
are there really that many programs? guest: you start looking through and say why do we 7 -- need 70 or so work programs? couldn't we consolidate the programs and back office operations? you've got the social security administration which has a low cost percentage. couldn't we figure out some ways to get the the administrate if6 costs down. but the federal government is a vast inventory. has a vast inventory of duplicative programs, and if we could just get some merger activity going on there, we save money on back office costs. let's say every one of those programs costs 10% in administrative overhead.
8:56 am
let's merge the back office so that overhead is concentrated and we're not spending so much on 60 different administrate evidence operations. yes, i think we can save a lot of money through that. >> compare or bureaucracy 06 -- bureaucracy political cap. you notice the british government changed overnight. the british prime minister moved into downing street. his government was transitioned overnight. they have very few political appointees. reasonnably flat bureaucracy. but this is a problem that you have all over the world in terms of the really, intensely, confusing organizational charts. and it tends to go with the basic structure of government, and the lack of competition.
8:57 am
and between government, and the private seconder for delivering services. we've seen an increase in competition both under the clinton and bush administration, but i think, you know, our government is less corrupt than many foreign governments. but many foreign governments like the united states have fairly thick, cumbersome bureaucracies, and that may go with the territorys because that's the brit itch -- we are going to have coverage on the first prime minister question time for conservative leader david camron. it will be his first time taking questions from the partment and we'll have live
8:58 am
coverage here on c-span at 10:00 eastern time. next call is from eddy on the rep can line. caller: consolidation is my time. herbert hoover we had only 5% employees were government. now it's well over 12%. but using ethanol, we're using oil for diesel and could use hot crider, but you could consolidate energy and that around you could combine education with interior, parks department, so consolidation is the essence. host: professor? guest: well, you know, we keep going back to the issue of the disconnection between how government and congress operates and the mission we face. when we look back at the oil
8:59 am
spill and take a look at all the people involved in the early days, it was really quite confusing. i mean, who spoke for the administration in those early hours? was it homeland security? was it the -- again, thank goodness we had admiral thad allen with the coast guard which had primary authority but we're confused in terms of consolidating missions with really the ancient structure of the federal bureaucracy, and that ancient structure is echoed on capitol hill. i mean, we're not going to get anywhere with consolidation until we deal with how congress operates. the hundreds of subcommittees that are responsible for the scrare use programs that we're talking about as duplicative, the need for consolidation. i mean, we've got to do
9:00 am
something with how congress operates. and it's been about a good 40 years since we looked at how congress operates. host: how much does the staff for researching this contribute to the budget? guest: i think it's a very small piece of it. i think it's what the staff do in terms of creating laws that are sometimes unenforceable. taking advantage of public pressure to pursue sort of oversight and micro management that gets in the way that they really are not interested, not well-trained in how organizations operate to enforce the laws. . .
9:01 am
i just do not know. but we've all come within the next three months to six months of that one of the oil spill off the front pages. host: another tweet from a viewer, saying going up contract is the most important. guest: according to my estimates, we have about 7.5 million americans who work for the federal government under contract for everything from the
9:02 am
janitorial services up to management, consulting, and computer programming. those are just estimates. we do not have the hard numbers because nobody really wants to count. if you can tell me that we cannot fund 10% savings there, that we cannot cut 750,000 contractors, i won't believe you. i think there is a substantial gain to be harvested from addressing contractor waste. the obama administration come into their credit, has started the process, but they have to be more aggressive in recovering the wastefulness and our contracting process. host: barry on the democratic line. caller: i have a way to cut out all of their greed. the way to do that is to pass
9:03 am
these bills. you know how people can get together and pass legislation in the small communities. what they could do is get together and pass legislation that makes politicians obsolete. the people can control the country by voting 1 to a month or something. if you do it that way, you have no possibility of people getting corrupt. the people that are awarding these contracts, you have to worry about who is profiting and all of that. if the people are doing this, you do not need politicians. guest: i often go back to what the founders intended here. i think that they would be worried about putting all this authority in the national referendum on one kind of program or another. there is a lot of things in the
9:04 am
country that are being driven by polarize cable television. i will not tell you whose side i am on, but i will tell you that volume or read about the influence of someone like glenn beck, rachel maddow, rush limbaugh, having a say in government more than they already do. i believe in a representative government, but unfortunately, at this point, they do not seem to have much courage in tackling problems before us. but i do not think that we want to go to a national referendum on a monthly basis. that would be really disastrous for government. host: gainesville, florida. independent line. caller: good morning.
9:05 am
i would like to ask a question, i agree that the government should be cut off. and i would like you to please state what advantage we will have. if we remove those positions and the extra funds come into play, being a capitalist nation, what are we going to do with that? army going to socialize the government? -- are we going to socialize the government? guest: we are looking at a $13 trillion debt in the next 15 years. i am not one of those hysterical that opponents of this, but if the sovereign debt crisis in greece, italy, spain,
9:06 am
and portugal have a lesson i, tn we should be able to learn something from that. i am talking about saving money that could be used to reduce the national debt, thereby reducing our interest payments. i am not talking about socializing anything. i am talking about a more productive government that is able to faithfully execute all of the delaware laws. i think that is a win-win benefits. if we can save a nickel in making government more efficient in these times, it cannot be anything but positive, especially if we clarify what government is supposed to do and give it the resources to get it done. host: phil on the republican
9:07 am
line. caller: i like hat you are saying, but i do not know how you begin to dismantle something like this i live in a small town in kansas. we have that in issue with the school district here. there was a real budget shortfall. i dug into the numbers and found out they had a strategic planner. i thought that there was one, but there was a strategic planner for each school in the district. at the national level, i am sure that your savings have just hit the tip of the iceberg. first of all, the cost of the bureaucracy itself, and then the inhibiting cost that people on the front lines cannot do anything about. i found out in the school district, they want to get rid of people at the front of the
9:08 am
line. that might be a janitor or someone else, but the top end of the bureaucracy stays in place. at the federal level, i am sure that that is what is going to happen. they will go to someone in government and say my job is absolutely imperative for the well-being of every person in the country. so how do you begin to unravel everything once in his own twisted? the people will say, you cannot take my program away from me. how do you begin to dismantle this thing? host: before you enter, you wrote that we could save $200 billion by eliminating programs that did not show results for work too trivial to pay for. guest: with all due respect, we can save a lot of money biden
9:09 am
and with agricultural price subsidies. what are we still in that business? let us leave that aside and focus on people. they are cutting teachers, people at the bottom of the hierarchy come on the front lines. what i'm trying to suggest here is, at the middle and upper levels of government, we stuff filling those jobs and being vacated by baby boomers. when the choice is made about who to let go and the person making the choice is at the higher levels of the organization, guess who knows? the front line. that is how we have done downsizing over the past few years. they basically stopped hiring, which is exactly the wrong thing you want to do. do we need more inspectors at
9:10 am
mms, do we need more inspectors at the faa? absolutely. we have to find a way to deal with a collar's concerns. we have to put pressure on the middle and upper levels by forcing agencies to defend those jobs as they are being exited. we tend to view the retirement of baby boomers as a great crisis. it is actually a great opportunity. if people like me leave our job, we have an opportunity to say, do we still need that john, do they still want that job? it is an opportunity for us to do some hard thinking about the dynamics that the caller is addressing. host: natural. iraq on the democratic line --
9:11 am
national, tennessee. wreck on the democratic line democraticnashville, tennessee. rick on the democratic line. caller: there was an author who noted that significant events like the revolutionary war, world war ii, occur about every 80 years, and caused a major shift in society because of it. that book was written in 1986. unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see what happened in 2008. and i believe it validates his theory that about every 80 years we lose our collective knowledge and experience and decide to go off in another tangent.
9:12 am
listening to you, it sounds like you have done the best job that i have heard in articulating the agenda and purpose of the tea party. the tea party seems to be, representing the two things that i see in society, greed and apathy. our rate of boating is extremely low compared to other nations. i am afraid that we now have agreed and endure beginning to emerge -- greed and anger beginning to emerge without an agenda. everything that you speak of is obvious and clear to me. i worked in washington for four years. i have been dealing with the tennessee government for 10. i see so much waste, diddling
9:13 am
around, taking papers here and there, excuses for jobs and it we have a tremendous waste of tax dollars. i disagree with the notion that things should be contacted out, particularly to non-profit corporations. in the areas of social services and health care, which i monitor and watch and work and lobby for, i see a tremendous amount of waste. the appropriations congress makes this summer in the mid 60's in terms of the actual findings that is used to carry out the mission as expressed by congress. host: we are going to leave it there.
9:14 am
guest: at this point, i do not see again as an agenda for the tea party. i do not see it as a partisan agenda. to be frank, the tea party, at this point, has a very blunt and not sophisticated agenda about administrative reform in washington. at the same time, the imam at administration and congressional democrats -- obama administration and congressional democrats do not have much of an agenda in improving government. they have responded to latest events, but they will not step up to this. i do not know who is attended is, but it has to be somebody's. i happen to believe the blue ribbon fiscal commission led by since then and bowles should take this one on. it is a win-win for them here is something where you do not have
9:15 am
to inflict pain and you would get $1 trillion. frankly, there is nobody stepping up. i appreciate your call. there is nobody stepping up saying coming here is an agenda, let us adopt it. i have seen a lot of blank stares, a lot of, that is too difficult, we cannot do it. i am willing to move forward with anyone who wants to do something about this, but it is difficult because of the entrenched interests in the system. host: bill in iowa. you are a federal employee, what do you do? caller: i am an atmospheric scientist. i used to work climate change for many years. i am now with noaa > cal.
9:16 am
you are understating the problem. i had the opportunity to be involved in a couple of special areas. the government is a huge powerful, self perpetuating special interests. it all comes down to that. there is not really checks and balances and standards to hold the whole system that day. -- at bay. you are rewarded for growing, not results. i have been and involvinvolved s for the past few decades. they are not asking the right questions. all i can kill you this, -- i was told many times, the taxpayers have spent millions on
9:17 am
my training. the seriousness of the problem is overwhelming. we are bankrupt. if you take exponential growth, the magnitude of the problem, we cannot tax our way out of the problem. we have to make some huge spending. and they will overwhelm us and we are all at fault. this is not a partisan issue. guest: first of all, thank you for your work at noaa. it is a great agency, a very well-run, largely run by career civil servants. what has happened in the federal government over the last 50 years is it has changed into a towering monument of itself. i talked about the average age
9:18 am
of the federal employee, which is now moving about 250 years of age. the baby boomers came into government in the 1960's, 1970's, and they stayed put. there are lots of things that we need to do differently. we need to bring everybody to the table. if we do not get forward action on a more comprehensive approach to reform, we are going to get a blunt attacks to the federal government which will undermine the ability to faithfully execute the laws. i think that is something the administration and congress does not get. at this point, congressional democrats and the obama administration do not have an aggressive agenda for dealing with problems that our friend from noaa just talked about.
9:19 am
host: professor paul white, thank you. up next, we will turn our attention to u.s. tax policy. the house passed a package of tax expenditures as well as provisions to close some loopholes. we'll talk about that next with martin vaughn. >> as submersible robots made another attempt to control the oil spill, crude oil on the surface is spreading. meanwhile, bp's stock plummeted in london, taking much of the world markets with it. president obama meet with the leader of forces i. he will be speaking at carnegie- mellon university later today. on thursday, he will meet with the arizona gov. jim brewer. she has told cnn she intends to
9:20 am
push the issue of border security. the state's controversial new immigration law is also expected to come up. alabama republican congressman parker griffith who left the republican party is the fourth incumbent this year to be defeated in the primary, losing yesterday to a county commissioner. in the gubernatorial primary, artur davis lost to ron sparks. and that of japanese prime minister -- the embattled japanese prime minister resigned after his popularity plunged over his broken campaign promise to use a remove a u.s. marine base from okinawa.
9:21 am
finally, after months of confusion over who was in charge of the southern christian leadership conference, dueling function of the civil rights organization are headed down to court today in hopes that the judge can put to rest their infighting. bernice king has delayed taking office into the organization founded by her father, martin luther king come in 1977. >> this weekend, noted feminist martha nussbaum. joined our three-hour discussion on "in depth." >> we have three new books for you.
9:22 am
"abraham lincoln, " "the supreme court, " "and "who is buried in grant's tomb." to order, go to c- span.org/books. host: there are some tax breaks in here for businesses and individuals. what are some of the big ones for businesses? guest: the biggest one is the research tax credit. it helps pharmaceutical companies and technology firms perform research. there are also tax breaks for
9:23 am
banks on their overseas income that they earned. tax breaks for restaurant in retail less than less than that get quicker depreciation under the bill. host: there are also provisions to extend lending from the small business administration. how does that work? guest: there is quite a bit in the bill. it has grown beyond the traditional tax breaks, tax extenders' package. various small business lending stuff in there, the bonds for local and state government infrastructure, spending that was originally approved as part of the stimulus bill. is it is renewing or expanding that bonding authority. there's a summer jobs program for years, federal funding for jewish summer jobs -- useyouth,
9:24 am
federal funding for youth summer jobs. companies rely on this type of funding to fund their research. it is a tax break for u.s.-based research. congress has been on a year-to- year basis. everyone kind of assumes that congress is going to renew in, but it has to be reupped every couple of years. it has expired from january 1. host: is in a job creator in the short term? -- a job creator in the short term? guest: i think it is. to see the bill pass would give a lot of firms come for that they can hire.
9:25 am
if there are cut scheduled, that they may not have to make those cuts. host: what about individuals, what is in it as far as tax breaks for individuals? guest: a couple of things. there is protection for people who live in states who do not have a state income tax, such as tennessee, florida, washington. you can deduct your sales taxes paid in the year or an estimate equivalent of that. also, qualified tuition reduction for parents of college students. deductions for teachers, and of pocket classroom expenses. host: special-interest tax breaks in this, there are a couple that have been reported, some four racetracks, a biodiesel one as well.
9:26 am
who will get that type of tax credit? guest: these are biodiesel producers mostly in the midwest. the purpose of the tax credit is to encourage alternative sources of energy. there is an industry that has sprung up around that, another program that the government has to diversify our sources of energy. host: is that for farmers to produce ethanol? guest: it is related. there is a separate industry from having diesel -- biodiesel. host: do we know how much that might say? is there a bottom-line figure? guest: iiwould hate to hazard a guess? -- a guess. host: what else is in here?
9:27 am
guest: you mentioned racetracks. every fe years, get a tax break. there are about 40, 50 tax breaks that go to individual industries. those are just a few of the targeted tax breaks. host: how does one get into a bill like this? guest: this one has been around and i have been covering washington. it has been around for many years previous to that. on the house ways and means committee or senate finance committee, there are constituents who come to make a case that they deserve certain tax treatment. over the years, this bill has picked up tax provisions, that once are in the code, becomes
9:28 am
expected that they will be renewed. host: so every year come to deplete these tax breaks and it renewed? guest: one of the more reason things with the stimulus bill, congress created new programs for favored tax subsidy bonds to help state and local governments. that is an example of a newly created program that got picked up in this recent state and local budget crunch and is being renewed here. host: states are now getting a tax break on the bonds that they issued, in order to fund infrastructure in their communities? guest: yes, these are the build america bonds that the president has pushed. they get cash up front from the government to help boost the return on these bonds.
9:29 am
host: there are also several tax loopholes that have been enclosed in the legislation. the cost of closing these loopholes to corporations is about $50 billion. what have they done here? guest: there is a lot of pressure to pay for tax cuts that congress passes. they have a package of targeted increases on business that democrats say are needed to close loopholes. one area is a carried interest area. this has to do with profits that private equity and hedge fund managers, real-estate investment fund managers earn on their profits. they will see a big tax hike here. they pay about 15% on much of these carried interest products. under this bill, that would rise to 39.6%. they would tax ordinary income,
9:30 am
whereas now they get capital gains favored treatment. host: let us go to our first caller. guescaller: good morning. my question this morning is to fold. the minimum required distributions on the retirement ira funds. was that reinstated? i know that we got it last year. guest: id is not a part of this particular package. i do not know enough about it to address your question. sorry about that. host: brooklyn, new york. joe on the independent line. caller: in this country, we are known to work harder than most other countries. we pay more taxes.
9:31 am
it seems hard for me to believe -- earlier, a herd you say that -- i heard you say that it does not make sense for companies to lay off people. these people running these large corporations, the way i see it, there are making bigger profits every year and laying off more people. americans are producing 60% more than they have per worker than they ever did. it is hard for the average american to hear about tax cuts for corporations and i think that that is a good idea. host: are democrats pushing this bill as a job creator? guest: that is the message they're trying to send out. these are policies that have been in place for a long time that are simply continuing. mostly, it is continuing tax
9:32 am
cuts that have long been in place and people expect them to continue to be in place. not new tax cuts for corporations, per say. having said that, there is some desire to renew these tax breaks and find out which ones are really creating jobs, which ones are serving the economy, and which ones companies could do just as well without. host: illinois. tom on the republican line. caller: you were talking about soy diesel. i am a farmer in the midwest. there is a blending tax credit of two a gallon. sometimes it depends on the price of soybeans, it can be cheaper than diesel. conagra's can extend that. they have not done so since
9:33 am
december. -- congress can extend that. people say with ethanol we are taking away from our fuel supply. cattle and hog eat soy beans and oil was always a by product. burning them in diesel engines makes them more efficient, cleaner, and they just run better. it is better than ethanol, but ethanol is still good. it takes more water but does not work quite as well with the engines, but engine are being adapted now to work that way. you do not seem more catastrophes with these products. they burn cleaner. host: are you in favor of this
9:34 am
biodiesel tax credit? caller: they needed, otherwise, these soybean industry's will shut down. i am on the county board. we are going to build one nearby in a small town. i use it. i use 20% soybean diesel in my tractors. there is hardly any black smoke. next year, they are coming out with deal motors which will have catalytic converters with so many parts in will be extremely hard to keep running. host: you serve on the board -- the county board. they are trying to get this type of plant? guest: no, i am just informed about whether or not we need to
9:35 am
make regulations about it. not only that come in the process, they also used animal fat, fat off of chicken skin. they squeeze the oil out of it, which can be blended. some people say that it is not as good, but i have been running on it for five years, and i have older equipment. it runs great. host: next phone call. caller: something that went on 14 years ago, the average c.e.o. in the country made 24 times with the lowest number of the corporation made. now they make 500 times. we have been taken over by greed.
9:36 am
we have about 1000 taxing entities, fresh water, salt water fish, and the government, they do not own the bones. there is even a look through tax on telephones. -- ahost: is there anything in s tactics in their package that addresses that issue? guest: not in this package. there are efforts to tax bank executive bonuses which have been tied closer to financial bills, financial regulation. that is taking a breather right now. there is a chance congress may
9:37 am
revisit bank taxes, taxes on financial transactions in the future, but there is nothing in the bill that deals with the executive cuts. host: another issue that is percolating on capitol hill is the estate tax. where does the issue stand now? guest: the estate tax is repealed in 2010. for those wealthy people who passed away this year, there is no estate tax. that is the good news for the wealthy. the bad news is come in 2011, the estate tax will come back at rates that were in place, at approximately the same rates as before president bush came into
9:38 am
office. democrats in congress did not intend to let the tax being repealed. they were hoping to extend it. that did not happen. they got caught up on some other priorities, so now they are trying to decide what they want the policy to be starting next year. host: there are reports that the senate may restore the estate tax with an option for people to prepay their tracks before there -- before they die how would that work? guest: this idea of prepayment has been kicked around. the idea if you can pay into a trust while you are still alive, you can take advantage of a lower rate, 35%, opposed to the 45% that some believe will be in effect. the advantage is, they get that money sooner by prepaying into a trust.
9:39 am
the government is getting paid, so it makes it easier to pass in a state tax bill because it is generating money in the short term. host: when with the time frame be to bring up something for the estate tax? guest: it has been tied with the extension of middle-class tax cuts. it is unclear whether or not that will happen before the election. some believe it may happen in a lame duck session, after november. most believe that congress will deal with in some fashion this year. if they do not do something with middle-class tax cut, it would expire, and that would mean a tax increase for millions. host: johnson city, tennessee. sherry. caller: i have looked everywhere
9:40 am
for a job. i have children and a large family. my job went to mexico. are they going to do anything to help us? host: i know this is not your expertise, but do you want to address this? guest: this is an important part, what is driving this whole thing, the extension of unemployment benefits. congress wants to extend unemployment benefits that have expired, i believe today. they did not manage to do that before they left town. i expect the senate to come back in and pass a bill to renew them, retroactively. host: according to some reports coming in the house bill that passed last week, --
9:41 am
it is expected that four men and women benefit for those that expire this week, when the senate takes up his final bill, they will try to retroactively adjust those benefits which they lost the this week. guest: that is right. house democrats also decided to drop in the cobra health benefits. she mentioned she lost her job in a foreign trade tras-related thing. the house decided they did not have the stomach to pass a renewal of those in mind of the deficits that the country is facing. host: what about the senate? is there no support to renew a covert health-care subsidies? guest: i expect the senate to
9:42 am
push back pretty strongly. they would like to see those cobra, expanded benefits, extended. host: next phone call. caller: good morning. john paulson's and fund made $33 billion on the decline of housing and he is estimated to have made $3.7 billion as a result of that. given that he is just one company, what is the total body of the caribbean that would accumulate to the federal government? what would happen with all of the other hedge funds, real- estate companies, and so on, that the government could receive if that was counted as real income? guest: that is a good question, but i cannot answer it.
9:43 am
what i can tell you it is the joint committee on taxation believes the carey, 10 years forward, will generate about $17 billion for the government. it will not apply -- the higher tax rates will not apply to john paul said because it is a prospective provision. it does not reach back to get the carried in previous years. that is a pretty good chunk of change and give you a good idea of the kind of profits we are talking about here. host: michael on the republican line. caller: i wanted to address that person talking about ethanol and all of that. that product does not work.
9:44 am
it burns through lawn mower engines if you do not and to get completely. we are wasting money putting this into our gas tanks. i went on vacation in vermont and i got better mileage up there because they do not have the ethanol in their gasoline. and that is where some of the waste is. could you elaborate on that? guest: i would just say there is a whole area of tax credits for ethanol, biodiesel, renewable fuels. that is part of the argument for a comprehensive energy bill. there needs to be a review of the subsidies, credits, find out what is working, what is not
9:45 am
working as well. just because it dis not working as well does not mean that congress will end the subsidies. host: austin, texas. barbara on the democratic line. caller: the estate tax should be reinstated. i think theodore roosevelt would have started at the idea that we have wealthy dynasties. every generation should earn its own money. and i am disgusted with both parties in congress. one has no courage, the other has no heart. they are both too cowardly to tax billionaires. under eisenhower, it was 90%. we were all doing well. kennedy reduced it to 70%.
9:46 am
i think what would be fair is, anything over $1 million, 70%. we need the money, they do not. i am disgusted with congress. host: on the estate tax, cbo says under the law passed in 2001, an acceptable amount for the top marginal rate is 45%. winston-salem, north carolina. good morning, phillip. caller: i was calling in about unemployment benefits.
9:47 am
is there a way -- [unintelligible] is there a way that it would seize totally? guest: congress and is eager to show that they are helping families that have been hurt by this economic crisis. obviously, we cannot speak to individual situations come individual eligibility, but there is resolved in congress to extend the benefits that have been created. host: pennsylvania. kneel on the republican line. caller: good morning. i want to know from your desk, is there a -- guest, is there
9:48 am
provision in the new tax law that will give a benefit to those who bring on natural gas reserves, to be used in automobiles, for energy? we have a huge deposit, not just under us, but throughout the country. it is clean, probably cleaner than oil to drill for. it would be of great benefit to the country if we could do that and stop sending drilling jobs to other countries. guest: there is nothing in this bill that addresses natural gas fuels, vehicles, automobiles. there are a range of credit available to individuals for purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles.
9:49 am
sometimes it takes congress all while to catch up with the technology in terms of passing tax credits, but that has also been an area of some focus for them. host: next phone call in vermont. ron on the republican line. caller: i am hearing grumblings of 401k's, retirement funds in the future might be taxed, will lose their tax-exempt status. i wonder if you could give me some information on that. guest: that is another area where there is a willingness in the government to come instead of incentivize savings -- you know, in the past decade or so, we have seen more options, more
9:50 am
ways that individuals can save tax incentives. i do not see anything on the immediate horizon that would take away the tax-the late treatment of retirement savings. host: leland in california. are you there? we are going to move on to alexandria. nate on the democratic line. caller: it is my understanding that a minimum value of an estate tax is $2 million. has that changed for 2010? guest: yes, it has. right now, there is no threshold in which an estate is taxed. because of a temporary repeal,
9:51 am
all the states, no matter how large, are not subject to tax this year. host: on the estate tax. how much does the government get from that on average, are there ways for people to avoid paying the estate tax? guest: there is a whole industry of will to estate planning which advises wealthy people how to minimize their as state tax, illegally. it can range from just that people made in their lifetime. there is a certain amount that you can give away, about 13 dozen dollars a year per recipient, without having any tax consequence. getting closer to the line of what is legal and what is not, some have set up family limited
9:52 am
partnerships. in these partnerships, their heir will have a share, but there will be certain restrictions there so that the market value is actually less. that is one way where people plan or minimize their the state tax liability. that particular one is something that president obama has proposed clamping down on. host: californialeland. caller: good morning. -- california, leland. i have been a long time viewer, since the 1980's. the couple of phone calls earlier, you had a lady talking about the tax rates with kennedy, eisenhower, so on and so forth. anyone over $1 million, they do
9:53 am
not need the money anyway. well, my father passed away last year. i am going through the the state tax right now. we will be paying 4.5% over the $3.1 million. going back 15 years ago, when my great aunt died, we paid over $5 million that year. and i know for a lot of people, that is a lot of money. now here in california, a very modest home is half a million dollars. $1 million, you do not need it anyway.
9:54 am
i want to ask her and the rest of the viewers, what gives the right of the state -- the state the right to confiscate this money? i could have hired people and produced more jobs and all that stuff. we have already paid taxes on this, twice. host: a business columnist for the "washington post" wrote that we should get away from the estate tax altogether. when families should be required to do this, when a family member dies, pay the capital gains taxes on all of their assets, before they are distributed to the family. what do you think about that idea? caller: it is an interesting concept, i understand where that idea is coming from, but i come
9:55 am
from a different perspective. what gives theestate the right to confiscate money from the family? i am not a family farmer, but if i was, these people made the land rich, but they do not have a lot of cash. it destroys their business and so forth. what we really have is wealth envy. ok, but we are the people who hire people and create jobs. if you take money away from me, i will not be able to create jobs. the estate tax is an evil concept. the state has no right to confiscate money from people who
9:56 am
have worked very hard to earn it. we would generate more income for the country because we could employ people. host: on the argument of family farmers getting caught up in the estate tax. , what percentage of families have to pay the estate tax? guest: cbo did a study a few years ago that caught a lot attention. i do not know the exact percentage, but the focus of the study was, of the estate tax at that time, there were only 200 or so family farms that were caught by this. what the caller is raising with exemptions of $3.5 million, the purpose of that is to exempt family farms and small
9:57 am
businesses. if exemption amounts to zero down to $1 million, in other words, if congress decides current law should stay in place, i would expect a lot more small businesses and family farms that would be affected, looking at selling capital assets, property, in order to pay their federal estate tax liability. host: next phone call. democratic line. caller: fine-tuned in about half way through, so maybe this has been asked. is there anything being done at all with offshore accounts for individuals, corporations? much of this wealth is being shipped offshore to evade taxes. thank you for your service.
9:58 am
guest: that is also an area that is part of this bill that i did not mention. there are about $15 billion they estimate they will raise by closing loopholes, cracking down on corporate tax avoidance of overseas. again, this is not illegal, but there are techniques that mobile, multinational corporations use to lower their tax liability on their foreign profits. congress is taking aim at some of those. host: petersburg, virginia. paul on the independent line. caller: hello, i was just wondering if there was anything in the bill being done to give more money to schools for research, in different ways to create biofuels, such as solar
9:59 am
technology. guest: as far as i know, nothing in the bill that is directly earmarked for school research funding. part of what this bill was originally designed to do was to give more money back to the states through an adjustment in the federal medicaid formula. that was dropped before the house passed the bill. basically, state aid was dropped because democrats were nervous about taxing something that was too big. host: of long island. curtis on the republican line. caller: i have been a long time listener of the show. i wanted to make a comment on your previous guest about downsizing the government. downsizing the government.

136 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on