tv [untitled] June 16, 2010 9:00am-9:30am EDT
the democrats took over in 2007. now we are halfway through and 3.5 years for the democrats have controlled the house. the spending bills originate in the house. why do we spend so much? it all starts with the house. they have been in control before president obama came in. they could have kept it down. we could have had this administration come in and say we will rein in spending and start eliminating useless programs. host: can you do that when you have an economic downturn like we had? . .
in the state of georgia we have so many people unemployed. the current -- crime rate is so high. why are so many republicans against it? then we have the oil spill in so many people losing their jobs. guest: i think the republican perspective on this is that yes, we have unemployment insurance, and there should be extensions of them, but the question is how long should the extensions p. right now it is right around 99 weeks, which is quite a long amount of time for someone to be on unemployment. once you reach a certain point, there is a question that should there be other insurance. ultimately the solution is not longer and employment, it is getting a job back.
that is really what republicans are focused on. host: it sounds like in the senate, the majority leader is working with democrats who are opposed to the jobs package the way it is shaped right now. it says that harry reid took aim at jobless benefits that they may be too generous at a time of economic recovery. he said it would take $25 out of a weekly checks received by 15 million unemployed workers, repealing a payment this first approved in last year's economic stimulus package. go ahead. guest: the democrats are not negotiating with us. republicans are not blocking anything. we do not have any votes to block anything. host: we will leave it there.
coming next, we will turn our attention to when it reports on the agent orange in vietnam. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> it is 9:00 04 in washington, d.c. a new poll shows 52% of those asked disapprove of the president's handling of the oil spill situation. that disapproval rating is about the same of george w. bush after hurricane katrina. the overall approval rating stayed stable at 50%. the poll also indicates that the economy remains people's top concerns. 64% of respondents say their household budgets are sound. new figures out today on the economy. home construction plunged last
month by 10% from april since the lowest level since december as builder scaled back without a federal tax credit to work by years. building permits also fell. wholesale prices fell for a second straight month in may. the first time that has happened in the year, reflecting big declines in the cost of energy and food. north korea is warninn that tension over the sinking of the south korean war ship could trigger a nuclear war unless the u.s. security council act impartially. the threat came just hours after the un ambassador told reporters that if military -- that military will respond if they condemn north korea over its the sinking of the south korean ship. those are some of the headlines on c-span radio. >> this weekend on "book tv" kai
bird. and on after words, carl marlente4s. i.n.d. and type your weekend schedule at -- find the untie your weekend schedule at bookt v.org. >host: what did you find out on agent orange? guest: this is the irritants, the problem that is keeping us from having good relations with vietnam. if you go to vietnam, the people of vietnam leveed the united states -- led the united states.
-- love the united states. but there is one problem that has always stopped great relations, and that is the fact that the u.s. trade and left a lot of agent orange there. we're talking about a country that is a very important economic partner. a great trading partner, and a strategic ally in their region in which we're not quite sure what is happening with china and many other places. it is in our national security interest to have a good relationship with vietnam. we figure, let's figure out how you can clean up the agent orange we left there. we went there and got a group of. private citizens. i've brought the chairman of the aspen institute. christie todd whitman, the environmental protection
agency director awhile back. we all said this is really not that hard to solve. sometimes government cannot solve problems because it gets into politics and who is to blame and whether the u.s. government should take responsibility for every disability in vietnam. and a private group can come and say for 30 million a year we can actually probably clean up this mess. there is a humanitarian gesture to help with the disabilities. that money can come from private sources, some from the government, some from the vietnam government as well. we pretty much got everyone to agree on how to resolve the problem. >host: when you say a lot of agent orange was sprayed, how much? guest: 20 million gallons was
stored, handles, and sprayed over one-third of the country of vietnam. and 20 million gallons of -- we are watching the bp still intend to figure out what that means. we walked the famouu cases where a lot of that was stored during the war -- famous bases where a lot of this was stored during the war. we tried to get an on the ground sense of the problem. the problem is that, but it is not huge. the ford foundation has helped to clean up some of the spirit and hosis. host: there is a map put together. it shows between 1961 and 1971
the u.s. trade nearly 20 million gallons of u.s. oranagent orang. much of it contained dioxin. the lingering health impact has made this the cost with impact in terms of veteran compensation. what has this done in vietnam? guest: a whole lot of money has been spent, and rightly so. in vietnam you can see increased incidence from birth defects and certain types of cancers. we went and visited centers where children or people in their 30's and 40's 44 not with birth defects, crippled, or what ever, and we looked at the long- term humanitarian impact that it had on humans.
-- who were born with birth defects, crippled, or whatever, and we look at the long-term humanitarian impact that it had on humans. a lot of things could have been caused by beatie. you know there is a high year level of its where dioxin was present. -- you know there is a higher level of it where dioxin was present. once you get over to having a pen that scientific claim and said let's try to dd this for people who are disabled, i think that brings us back to the problem. host: the group recommends an estimated cost of 300 million over 10 years. the private sector could jump in. how much from the government
from our u.s. government? have much money should be given to vietnam for this problem. guest: there have been three or $4 million in various appropriation bills in the past years. i would think it would be nice to get $10 million, $20 million per year as we move on. we're talking about $30 million program per year. the ford foundation has put in money already. the government of vietnam has put in money already. we're not talking huge sums of money. i know everybody, including your previous guest, is talking about huge federal deficits. it is not only symbolic, it is real for the people on the ground there, and we're not doing it just out of the goodness of our hearts, all the that should be a reason.
we're doing it because we need an array -- ally. host: what did you hear from vietnamese officials about how big of an issue this is to them to move forward on economic issues, trading, it being a strategic partner for foreign affairs? guest: one of the most surprising things about vietnam when you go there is have friendly and good relationship with the united states are. you might not expect that. the prime minister of vietnam just came over a few months ago and had great meetings in washington. they have become increasingly good trading partners. if you go into some of the cities yoo will see hotels. you will have an important strategic allies there.
the main thing that surprises you is they always bring up the agent orange issue. it is not something that you and i think about that much, but whether it is a tiny village or whether it isn't saigo in saigoy say we still have that agent orange problems. this is very important to solve its. i hate to keep minimizing, only in washington could to minimize $30 million. he's the type of things that corporations are supplemented by the u.s. government. i think symbolically even though the u.s. military wants to help clean up, they do not want to except legal responsibility for it. that is what this report does. this is just a gesture that we will all chip in and get this cleaned up.
host: let's go to phone calls. salt lake city, utah. caller: i wanted to ask you a question. i more or less of the situation this way. and i was wondering with the knowledge you have if you felt this was accurate. i see this as being something like this. there is the u.s. military, and then there is the people, some of the people in vietnam i see the situation as the people are saying look at this, and the u.s. is saying yes. the people are saying basically -- they are trying to show them this. the u.s. military is saying yes, this is yours and rolling it back.
-- throwing it back. the people said because there is not enough for everyone. then they say only the supreme colden ninja warrior can grant as power. guest: i think that is probably overstating its. we had a very good dialogue group. we have the gates foundation that has helped a little bit. this is very scientific-based. i do not think we were getting into all sorts of unnecessary political battles. and i think we were just trying to say this is not the hardest problem to solve.
each chip in a bit of money to show the will, the desire to clean this up here again the vietnamese, american government, foundations, private corporations, i think that is the way. we are americans, we know how to clean up our mess. this is just a way to solve a problem. host: michael on the independent line. in new orleans. caller: i would like to ask your guest if he is aware of mr. schaumburg's -- he is a pulitzer prize award winning "new york times"contributor that said every president has hidden the fact that we have left prisoners
of war in vietnam because we would not pay the $3.5 billion in retribution that they were asking for. guest: that is interesting. the missing in action p.o.w. issue is not one be addressed. they are not asking for retribution money. they are not asking for restoration. i know this is very important, but our group was not an expert on that. we look at the notion of how to clean up the mess of the agent orange that has been left in the country. host: georgia as on the line. and caller: my problem is i want
to know why she wants to go to vietnam to pick up problem with the problem here is not solved yet. i am a veteran. i am a veteran of the army and marine corps. the v.a. has been tearing up my claim form since 1993 about something that they should have caught. we were playing in uranium shells and taking pictures. we are all sick from the radiation. and then you come back with fax later on stating it took this amount of time -- and then you come back later on with facts stating it took this amount of time to figure this out.
host: we will leave it there. and guest: i want to thank you for your service to the country. i know when you serve your country, it stands that we owe to our veterans of our nation. i do not know about your claims, and we have tried to focus on one containable issue i would say, which is how we could all work together to clean up the dioxin. that is somethiig that american veterans have taken care of, which is their dioxin claims are still important to look at as well. our focus was cleaning up the mess that was left there. there is a pretty simple principle, whether it is bp, if you make up, help clean it up. -- if you make a mess, help clean it up. host: walton -- walter isaacson
is with the aspen institute. guest: the ford foundation came and said something this is something they have seen it in vietnam. a wonderful guy helped the ford foundation and vietnam. it is hard for government to solve thii. in this town, many think the government should solve everything. we said why don't we put together a small group of distinguished scientists in the united states. and why don't we go there and see if we can find a solution. sometimes it helps to have
diplomacy where it is not the government involves. there is a lot being done in that regard. we have a u.s. palestinian partnership. we work with israeli investors, american investors, and palestinian and investors to start businesses in the west bay. we're working with the state the partnershidepartment. there are types of things that we feel the american citizens can get involved with, and it is nice to have a government partnership. and to have some of this money appropriated by congress. we have that 3 million or 4 million per year. it would be nice if that wind up. a lot of senators feel we could get that up a bit.
that becomes a public/private partnership. benjamin franklin invented this concept of let's have private citizens do something that isn't a private good and work with government to do so. it provides a check on government and a bit of leveraging of what the private sector can do. host: next phone call. caller: you mentioned cleaning up the agent orange, but what about china? if it was not for china, we would not have to use chemical weapons to find the enemy. guest: it is complicated. go back to the history of the vietnam war, the role of the soviet union. soviet union was the greatest allies of the vietnamese. after our involvement in the
vietnam war ended, vietnam went to war against china. we have complicated historical strands rolling through that. your point is a good one. why doesn't the international community stand up as well? they have. we have got contributions from foundations around the world, as well as some governments, because i think everyone wants to put in a little bit of effort to say this is an art interest for our security to have good relations with vietnam, and this is a way we are as a people. we believe in alues in cleaning up our mess. that has always been the strands of american foreign policy, which is we act based on strategic interests and moral values. this happens to coincide with both. host: the next and call comes from tennessee. caller: i am dave.
i am a vietnam veteran. i served two tours. 1967 and 1968. and when i came home and got out of the military in 1969, 1970 i started having muscle spasms in my back. and finally, when they put out that agent orange and numbers for us i applied, got my number. i will try to make this brief. i have had muscle spasms ever since. it has been over 40 years. they made me retire 10 years ago. the doctors did. and since i have read the american legion and read on the website that there are six different things that have affected the veterans from this.
so far i have three. i have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. i had a heart attack in 2000 and had to have surgery on that in 1981 my daughter was born, and i was scared to death that she was going to be born defective. thank god, she was not. guest: once again, thank you for your service. if the vietnam veterans -- the vietnam veterans are the ones most able to understand this. they may be having muscle spasms and may not been part of the war but in the area where we left that agent orange. they are affected by the disabilities. they had children and a lot of them have a birth defects. i think there is a human sympathy we can all feel as
people like yourself that we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to serving our nation. it is people who have served in vietnam, including people like bill maher, saying we get it. we understand. host: you mentioned that a lot of the vietnamese officials brought the agent orange issue. one of the debates being brought up this trade. can you explain to the viewers how this impacts trade agreements. farmers trying to export them to vietnam. guest: i wish i had the numbers in front of me, but i think the united states is number two or three biggest trading partner vietnam has. when you go to vietnam, it is filled with american goods.
as well as we trade a lot of commodities with vietnam. we need good trading partners in asia. we also need good strategic partners. partners that will be with us as the complex world unfolds this century with china and the rest of asia. leaving aside the moral impulses, we have to say, who would be a good partner for us? when you go there and see the business relationships from nike shoes to motorola phones and you see what a good trading partner they are with the united states, i think the summit is happening later this year -- it is a 1000 anniversary of the city this year. that is hard to fathom.
secretary clinton is going there this year, maybe president obama. we have a great chance to have good relations with vietnam and get their economic interests. >host: callerpicture on the independent line. -- victor on the independent line. caller: i am a veteran. i have seen eight years. i cannot believe that type of spray with literally killed vegetation over night. i have never had no problems. and when i went to war in vietnam, i agreed with it. now the domino effect i think now the domino effect i think was a