tv Washington Journal CSPAN February 1, 2011 7:00am-9:59am EST
to egypt, what they have done and what they have said so far. the phone numbers are on the screen for you. we have a fourth line for egyptians living in the united states. before we get to your phone calls and hear more from the white house, jim michaels joined us on the phone. jim michaels, "usa today" military writer and he is in egypt. mr. michaels, can you set the scene for us? what is it like? guest: it is a massive protest. what has been remarkable over the past couple of days is just the fact that both sides, despite the tension and the numbers of people and all the risks, both the army and the
people protesting have avoided, until now, any confrontation or violence. there are thousands of people pouring into tahrir square. the chanting is going on. it's almost like a festival atmosphere. some people have their faces painted with the egyptian national colors. people are bringing kids in some cases. there's a lot of chanting going on. there's a couple effigies of mubarak hanging from street lights. again, a lot of people pouring in and a lot of chanting and a lot of protests. there's a certain remarkable avoidance of any violence. host: we read that the army is vowing not to fire on these protesters. can you clarify the role of the military right now? protector of the people, protector of mr. mubarak and the
government -- can you explain for us? guest: it is a good question. the military is viewed as an honest broker. their moves are viewed as a solid institution that represents the government, the state, more than any individual regime. they have really been able to chart an independent course over time. they are continuing to do this now in a very delicate balance. they issued a statement yesterday. they said they were there to protect the people, but would maintain law and order when required. they are around key installations. they are around tahrir square now. they have tanks and armored personnel carriers. again, they are not getting into the protests in any provocative way. the people have been braced
them. host: will they be marching anywhere near the residents, the offices of the main government figures, including the president? guest: they are talking about a march toward a palace that was once the king's palace. as we understand it, they are not going toward the presidential palace. host: how about the u.s.? there's a headline in "the baltimore sun" that says anti- u.s. feelings appears to be growing. what are you hearing as it relates to this country? guest: there's an undercurrent -- i do not want to call it anti-americanism. it is not really in focus. people do blame the united states for backing mubarak and they blame the administration
currently for not been stronger in calling for his removal, but that is as far as it goes right now. you do not really see america as a focus of these protests. host: what else should we know about the rest of this day and the rest of this week, either with the protesters or in the political sense? guest: the political sense is a great question. i think anyone intelligence knows what's going on behind closed doors -- is making things up. the analyst told me that the statement from the new vice- president may signal that they are distancing themselves because of mubarak. it is still unclear who has their hands on the lever, the instruments of power in this country, is the million-dollar question. i'm not sure we know the answer. the people have vowed to continue to protest as long as
mubarak is in power. they have certainly kept their promises to date. what happens after this? will they have the energy, the drive, the motivation to continue this kind of protests? that remains to be seen. host: i know it is a very large group, but do you see the group finding a way to coalesce around one opposition figure? guest: not at all. not at all. there's a concern that there is the muslim brotherhood, which is a fairly extremist group. it does exist in egypt. it is a political force. they are organized. there are concerns that they may be able to step in at some point, but beyond that, there really is now organized
opposition. host: one more question. we are reading more stories about economic conditions within egypt because of all of this, whether it is fuel or people not getting aid or food, and some are suggesting possibly an imminent collapse of the entire economy. how long can this go on? guest: that is a good question. i think it can go on a little bit longer. i do not know if i would call the collapse imminent. the banking system is down. no one is going to work. the government is shut down. it probably cannot go on for too much longer. it is having an economic impact. there's no question about that. you basically shut down the economy here. it is a very tenuous situation economically. it probably cannot go on for too much longer without some very serious effects.
host: jim michaels, "usa today" military writer, thank you for the update. "the administration finds itself in the uncomfortable position of a spectator." host: before we get to your phone calls, here's a little bit of the white house spokesman, robert gibbs, from yesterday. >> it is not up to us to determine when the grievances of the egyptian people have been met by the egyptian government. we have said all along that
there are, as i mentioned, legitimate concerns and grievances have by the egyptian people for a long time. the need for freedom to associate, freedom to communicate over the internet, freedom to assemble, the freedom of speech, and those must be addressed in a substantive way by the egyptian government. we are not picking between those on the street and those in the government. as the secretary of state said yesterday, we have enumerated our concern for the people of egypt. host: 1 more quickly from "the post" story.
host: new york, mike on the line for democrats. what do you make of the administration's approach to egypt? caller: thank you for c-span. i think they're doing it right. we have to let this thing plays out. i think it's going to play out that mubarak is going to have to step down. i do not think that the goingans -- think they're to learn the lessons of iran. i do not think they will allow for a theocracy to take hold. there is a distinct possibility, but i think that perhaps we might be too worried about that.
i want to say one more thing. campaign finance reform -- what did eisenhower say? beware of the military industrial complex. i think we ought to be pulling our troops back from the middle east and all around the world. host: mike, thank you for your thoughts. bloomfield, connecticut on the line for independents. caller: the administration has got to learn from what happened in iran and how the situation played out. it is important that they instruct the stooge in cairo to step down. the longer this goes on, the secular people will move toward extreme islam.
host: what would the next step be if mubarak stepped down? who should take over? caller: the egyptian people that have a civilization. they are quite capable of picking up the ravitch and moving on. if you look at the situation with the king, that's the same argument. did they not pick themselves up and move on? the egyptian people are smart enough to create a government that put the egyptian people of the center of their own country. the united states needs to stop and send jesse jackson over there.
go over there and communicate with them. we're talking about african people. host: thank you for your thoughts this morning. here is a "the new york times" photo. this is from monday. this is from "the new york times." joe on the line for democrats. good morning. caller: i would commend the analyst on misleading the american people. please bring honest analysts. host: clyde, an independent. caller: my opinion on the matter is that i disagree with the last caller talking about jesse jackson getting involved. i am a black man.
also, i do agree with him in the sense that egypt is a black- african nation. originally, when arabs came and spread islam, they colonized and they took out the black africans, just like they lie and say they are the original fer pharos. in japan has always been the playground -- egypt has always been a playground for european and arabs. all of that north african plant -- it belongs to us. host: elizabethtown, ky. ingrid, democrat. good morning. what do you make of the administration's approach to egypt? caller: i disagree for
underlying reasons. [inaudible] the palestinians got nothing. $1.5 billion in this country, [inaudible] the palestinians never got 1 inch of their land. host: take us back to the issue of the administration and their current approach. caller: mubarak is a coward. he should step down. he has never been a nice person. host: here is "the wall street journal." they take us inside the white house. they remind us that the u.s. and its allies have started discussing how mr. mubarak might step aside.
the situation is -- look, we have $2 trillion invested in iraq and afghanistan. we spent two years with experts and what do we have? we have iraq at the point of civil war and we have afghanistan in a state of collapse. we have no credibility. talking about giving advice to the egyptian people -- we should leave it to them and let them do what they think is best. i would give an economic observation to president obama. i mean, oil has gone right now -- it's on its way to $4 per barrel. president bush bought 10 billion barrels of oil. put it on the open market. at $4 per barrel, you are going to stop the recovery. it will help the third world
countries like egypt. if oil is up 30%. it's a false market. do what president clinton did. take the bush, sr. reserves from the iraq war. put it on the open market and oil dropped from $2 per barrel $1 per barrel. it is $900 billion of the budget. put it on the open market, like clinton did and you will have gasoline and $1.50 per gallon, which will help the third world. host: michael from new york. c-spanwj is our twitter address, if you want to send us a message. here's one of them on the obama administration's approach. what do you think of the obama administration's approach to egypt? here's a little bit more from the white house spokesman,
robert gibbs, yesterday. >> what we have advocated from the very beginning is that the way egypt looks and operates must change. that is why we believe we should increase the amount of freedom that is had by the egyptian people on association, on assembly, on speech, on internet, on open communication, but that's not for us to determine what the parameters and limits of those are. undoubtably, transition in this case means changed. host: here's a photo in "the new york times" of a gentleman named frank, former ambassador to egypt. he notes president hosni mubarak is 72 years old. his father was a top official at the cia. "the new york times" headline says "u.s. official with egypt ties will meet with president mubarak."
story there. caller: i'm wondering what israel will do now and will we continue to give money to them or will we cut them off like we cut the egyptians of? what you think about that? host: what do you think? caller: i wish we would cut off all the money to the middle east, especially to israel. this was never a real peace plan, anyway. just one in there and bought off these people. host: let's hear from john from kansas. a republican caller, as we look at a shot of a demonstrator from "politico." go ahead. caller: i'm interested in looking at how this administration is dealing with the egyptian witsituation versus the iranian situation.
barack hussein obama has said we cannot interfere with the affairs of another government. now they are taking the position -- did you cut me off? host: no. caller: there's such a contrast between what i see and what is going on. anyway, he said we could not interfere in the affairs of the iranian government as they murdered their people, yet he has -- his chief of folks, almost immediately. this man is a dictator, but so are the ayatollahs and the people that run iran. this guy from the u.n. said the iranians had no intentions of getting nuclear technology when everyone with a brain could see clearly that they were.
host: brooklyn, new york now. in independent caller. good morning to you. what do you make of the administration thus far? caller: i would like to talk about that. [inaudible] host: you are on the air. caller: i would also like to talk and bea little bit about te history of mubarak. the administration cannot hide its head in the sand. when the revolution happened, the united states clearly said, we are with the people. if you do not want to say that, just eight out of it. the history of mubarak -- mubarak was the air force commander in 1973. he was a hero. the people loved him.
and then came some kind of unrest in upper egypt and then he started to police the country to control it. now we call him an ally. the money does not go to the people. i'm an egyptian american. i know egyptians are very proud people. when you constantly tell them people are giving you money -- it is a bribe, like the gentleman said. israel, we give them over $10 billion per year, plus anything they say. when mubarak started to please the united states -- here's where the dictatorship started to grow, little by little by little. then comes the first iraq war and then comes the second iraq war. he had to please the united states.
these are people, 84 million people. what are we afraid of? what are we afraid of? host: sorry to cut you off. we want to get some other people on. more photos in the papers today on all this. they point out that shortages of gas and food staples have caused panic. the government is offering subsidized bread to keep residents calm. that is in "the washington post." in "the new york times" -- a picture of a market. the headlines. "oil surges on egypt fears."
they do point out that the suez canal is still open and very key for oil in that part of the world. "usa today" money section, " tourism take say it in egypt -- takes a hit in egypt." "the washington post" speaks more broadly about the economy and the crisis of spurring economic fears. north carolina, jerome, a democrat. good morning. hello. are you there? louis.ry st. caller: can you hear me? host: go ahead. caller: i wanted to say that president obama -- right now,
it's time for him and tell mubarak it is time to step down. host: and then what happens? what happens after that? caller: look, we have been keeping him in order. i was in the military in 1980 when we first went to the middle east. they put mubarak in power then and he has been there 30 years. the kids over there do not know anybody but him. the only reason we have not said anything yet is because we do not want anything to happen to israel. we know that once we pull him out of power, obama is my president and i voted for him. he said he wanted freedom for everybody around a world and america will stand behind
anybody who wants freedom. i'm behind him 100%, but today, when the egyptian people said they wanted mubarak out and they wanted their own country, it's time for the president of this country, who the whole world looks at now -- no, it is not his problem, but it is a world problem and he is world leader. host: benjamin netanyahu is concern that militants could step in in egypt. a couple of opinion pieces. "the washington post" -- "mubarak needs a push." in "the washington times" today --
st. louis, vera on the line for independents. good morning. caller: i am all for mubarak. i would not step down, had i been elected to take over a country and i cannot possibly see where mr. obama has a needlany right to talk about anything. i do not believe he is the real president. in am a birther. he is a muslim himself. naturally, he's going to side with the islamic groups. i think it's completely a takeover of egypt. yes, i certainly do. host: you might be interested in this piece in "the washington post."
he mentioned one plan law that he would create municipal elections and another that would liberalize the draconian restrictions on civil society groups, though he spoke mostly in generalities. atlanta, georgia. independent caller. good morning. what do you think about the administration's approach to egypt thus far? caller: it is almost very commercial. we are making comments that nothing is like to make a difference. it's not americans or anyone else's position. it's pretty obvious that the people want change.
i think governments are there for the people. the government should be afraid of the people, not the people of the government. after what was seen in tunisia, it was really great to africa. there's a movement in africa now. i think it's doing much better than the rest of the world politically people are marching in the street showing that it works. host: dallas, texas. dina on the line for democrats. caller: president obama, not mr. obama, and the situation in egypt. he should support the egyptian people. i do not think he has the right to tell people to step down. in regards to the lady who called about the birther and all
that -- she is to get her fa cts straight. why is it because he is an african-american he is not an american? host: one more caller before our first guest. republican line, cleveland. good morning to you. caller: good morning. in egyptian american and a muslim american. my family, who are very moderate in egypt -- they are rich and our college graduates. there is no muslim agenda. it is an addiction agenda. we need freedom. i've been in the united states for 30 years and enjoy freedom. i love the united states and so does my family in egypt. it is the american value of freedom that you have to promulgate. we should not be afraid of
having people that do not know that to run in egypt. if you have egyptians running egypt -- peace with israel and it would still love the united states. we're going to empower our government and people in the middle east. if we're not going to take a positive, proactive attitude toward these demonstrators, egypt will fall from our hands forever. we are going to have a nastier regime then what you have in iran in egypt because people are talking about us as hippocras. host: thank you. we will take more of your calls on egypt. our guest now is martin indyk, asst. secretary of state for near east affairs in the clinton administration. what do you make of the white administration's
approach >> guest: they are playing catch-up. that's not surprising. the events have taken everybody by surprise, not only president obama and the white house, but the intelligence community and president mubarak himself. and i think, probably the rest of the world. everybody knew that at some point, all of this resentment would build up over 30 years of autocratic rule. i certainly did not expect this in my lifetime. in the last week, i think president obama has moved from saying that there needed to be meaningful reform to the secretary of state on sunday saying that there needs to be a transition. as you pointed out earlier, frank wisner, former u.s. ambassador to egypt, is over
there and positioned to talk to president mubarak. i think, quietly, the message is being sent to him that it is time for him to go. the administration has not come out publicly and said that, although they've come close to it, basically because of a sense of certain humility. up to us. to appe they administration wants to be on the side of history. i don't think we want to be ahead of history. the events should be dictated by what is happening in egypt. host: if mr. mubarak leaves, what should come next in terms of the former government and a particular leader? guest: transition is critically important. you heard the secretary of state referred to a peaceful and orderly transition. what we see in the opposition is an effort to try to put together
a leadership -- mohamed elbaradei being the chief spokesman for the time being and trying to put together a list of demands. they're calling for national unity government. some form of interim government, minus mubarak, probably under the leadership of now vice president omar suleiman. not because he is a mubarak loyalists, but because he is head of military and the military will be very important for a peaceful transition. most egyptians would prefer -- the transition has to be short and it has to be to a free and fair election for a new president.
under the egyptian constitution, there's a requirement for elections in september, presidential elections in september. you can see a kind of orderly progression to that outcome where a legitimate government that represents the majority of the people takes over. host: before we get to phone calls, mr. indyk, remind us of how important this is for the u.s. and its allies in that part of the world. guest: this is a huge deal and nobody should underestimate the importance of what is happening here. egypt is the largest, most powerful, most influential country in the arab world. egypt is, in many ways, the key to peace and war in the middle east. the suez canal provides for
about 3% of oil shipped from the middle east to europe. more importantly, it also provides the key logistical root for the u.s. military, as well as air bases in egypt, which provide a logistical to report a four american wars in iraq, afghanistan, and so on. egypt is the first middle east country to make peace with israel 30 years ago. when they did it, it was impossible for other arab states to contemplate war with israel. although it has taken a long time, the whole arab world has now come to terms with the idea of ending a conflict with israel. in every way, what happens in egypt will have profound impact on what happens to the future
of the middle east and a profound impact for american strategic interests in what is a volatile but vital region. host: the first call for our martin indyk guest martin, -- the first call for our guest, martin indyk. caller: thank you, mr. indyk. thank you for your service to president clinton. comment. want to give a kind o [inaudible] the police officers left a person in the person was so distraught he set himself on fire. news.tching this the egyptian people are looking
at america. they want to be more like us. i think the president should support the people. i think the egyptian president might want to step aside. it might be time for something new. i think the egyptian people are thinking that way. i would like to hear your comments. thank you. guest: i agree with that. i think the united states and president obama in particular needs to be on the side of changing needs to be in support of the free expression, the will of the egyptian people and knees to support a peaceful transition -- and needs to support a peaceful transition to democracy in egypt. if it can be achieved, it will be hugely important, just as we
saw democracy spread across eastern europe and latin america. in the middle east, it's always been the exception. egypt can succeed in a peaceful transition to democracy -- that will have a profound impact on the rest of the middle east. big stake in seeing this happen. we also have a stake in seeing it happen in as orderly a way as possible because the potential strategic ramifications of instability spreading throughout the region and affecting our interests. the question is, what influence do we have on the situation? i think it is important that the united states not try to take over this process. we can have an important role in trying to ensure that violence does not take cold.
you may recall that last friday that a senior unnamed american officials said the united states was reviewing military aid to egypt. we provide about $1.3 billion in military assistance to the egyptian military. we've been providing that kind of support for 30 years. we have trained, equipped, paid for, exercised with the egyptian army. we do have considerable influence over them and they are the archer's now of what will happen. sending a signal to them that we will not accept them firing on the egyptian people, that our relationship with them will be jeopardized by that, has been very useful and influential in terms of their own decision. we heard a military statement last night out of cairo saying that they would not fire on the
demonstrators and that they heard the demonstrators and the demonstrators had legitimate needs, which is a very interesting turn, which suggest s that demand that mubarak go is now recognized by the egyptian military as legitimate. that's a huge deal and it reflects the kind of role we can play quietly with a certain humility, but with a real interest in the outcome. host: our guest is born in london and raised in australia. martin indyk has also lived in israel. he was an ambassador to israel. he is a vice president at the brookings institution and an adviser to george mitchell. another call from albuquerque. brandon, independent. go ahead. caller: thank you. mr. indyk, given that we are in
albuquerque, new mexico, it's sometimes hard to feel what washington thinks about these things. early on, it got a lot of press, but how was washington reacting to the fact that there's still a virtual internet shut down in egypt? does that reflect on how we are looking at the president and the reactions that he has? guest: this is a fascinating question. from the beginning of this revolution the internet and particularly twitter and facebook has played a critical role. mubarak suppressed the moderate voices in egypt and prevented any kind of political organization from rising in the center. he allowed the muslim brotherhood to organize but kept them under control. as a result, while the muslim
brotherhood had developed quite an effective organization through a social network of underground, providing education and health to poor people around the country, the moderate forces, the forces representing secularism and the youth of the country were not given a voice. the internet comes along and suddenly they have a means for organizing, through facebook and twitter. the mubarak regime was not able to control that. now that it is much too late, they're coming in and shutting down the internet and trying to prevent this kind. of. -- trying to prevent this kind of communication. the interesting effect of this, if people cannot sit on their computers and communicate, they're going to go out on the street.
that is precisely what happened. even though shutting down the internet is making it a little more difficult to communicate, there are ways around that. i notice the report today that google is making arrangements to enable them to get around this internet shutdown. nevertheless, what happens in egypt is now determined in the streets. where the internet was critically important in getting the revolution going, it no longer depends on the internet for its success. host: we have been watching al- jazeera on and off. here's a live look at their feet. more than a million protesters in and around the square now. they first said tens of thousands and that over 100,000. they say is at or close to 1 million. policy aside for a second, step back and look at the prospect of 1 million people marching somewhere in the arab world.
how unique, is significant, or game changing is guest: this i think you put your finger on this. we've seen hundreds of thousands of people on the streets in iran. tehran is not the arab world. in the arab world, we have never seen anything like this. we are witnessing history in the making. 1 million people -- let's put this in perspective. there are 80 million people in egypt, but there are only 300,000 troops. there are 1.7 million police. they seem to have collapsed in the face of hundreds of thousands of people. there's no possibility the military can suppress this. in fact, they facilitated this because they said they would not fire on the people. that just encourage more of them to come out.
in essence, what we are witnessing is a revolution. revolution is in the air in egypt, in the most important country in europe world. host: we have also read about syria and libya and other arab countries in that part of the world. where else to do you see this happening, if anywhere? guest: it's important to understand the distinctions. first of all, there are leaders that have certain legitimacy as or monarch's because their legitimacy comes from tribal roots. the king of saudi arabia or jordan or morocco have a certain legitimacy amongst their people. with that comes a certain religious legitimacy.
the king of saudi arabia is the custodian of the holy mosques of mecca and medina. well they may have been advantage out of the republican presidents, like the syrian leader, the algerian leader, and the libyan leader, and the yemen they're all republican authoritarian. most of them are military men that came to power, just like mubarak. the their legitimacy is much more tenuous as a result. it depends on their ability to either meet the needs of their people or to. suppress. -- to meet the needs of their people or to suppress them. just about all of them have failed to meet the needs of the people. they have relied increasingly on authoritarian means to suppress
the people. they're the most vulnerable, especially in the economic aftereffects of the great recession, there is economic hardship in many of these countries. you see they have been writing in algeria and yemen. there's protest in jordan against the government, not against the king. the kings of jordan have a timeworn tradition of firing the government when people are unhappy. even there, there's this kind of ripple effect -- it is not a ripple effect. it is potentially a tsunami effect. can have a big impact. host: let's hear from robert on the line for republicans. good morning. caller: good morning. mr. indyk, thank you for taking my call. i find this interesting.
what we have spent in trying to do in iraq is occurring naturally, apparently, in egypt. it reminded me -- in the last 30 years -- i'm not a huge historian, but it reminds me little bit of the old soviet union. very top heavy and very brutal. we did several assassination attempts -- several assassination attempts were done against mubarak. i do not know what happened to the people that tried to kill him, but the people who tried to kill saddam hussein, who we want fact, they killed him and we hung him -- or something along those lines. this is interesting and i believe saddam hussein learned his trade from his uncle, who was an egyptian. well last thing. the way i see it, and i would like to hear your comments, this is not a terrorist thing at all.
this is simply a domestic matter. i think it is very good and very exciting. i find it ironic that this is occurring naturally. in iraq, we try to muddle through it. this is going almost better. i will like to hear your comments. thank you. guest: the first thing that comes to mind when you mention iraq is the news story yesterday that the iraqi government was dividing aircraft to take iraqi citizens out of egypt and back to baghdad, which gives you a sense of how bad things could get in egypt if the iraqis would be better off in baghdad. seriously, yes, of course, you are right that a dictator and authoritarian leader is likely to be removed from power in egypt.
the will of the people, rather than the american guns. it is important to understand the distinction. saddam hussein was not only hated by his people. he was a brutal suppressor, much more brutal than mubarak. the difference with saddam hussein -- he was hostile to the united states and friends in the region. remember, he invaded kuwait. mubarak has been a staunch ally of the united states and a supporter of the things we care about in the region and the key partner in ending the arab- israeli conflict and making peace between the arab world and israel. if you like, he is our dictator, not the enemy dictator. that is something that we need to bear in mind.
i feel very strongly that he now needs to go, but in saying that, i think is important to recall that he did many things in the service of not just the united states, but in the service of the people in the middle east. after all, ending the israeli- arab conflict would do much to help the aspirations of the people of the region, arab and israeli alike, for muslims, jews, christians, for a more peaceful life and more normal life for their children. host: our guest will be with us for another five minutes or 10 minutes. new jersey, sandra, independent. caller: hello. i very much want to air on the side of -- may 24, 1961,
obama's mother flew from honolulu to kenya, where he was born. now obama wants to use our airplanes, are fuel -- what does this man? do for our? host: new york city, republican. good morning. caller: i would like to make a few comments. the hijackers were from saudi arabia and came in and destroy our country? how is it that the [inaudible] is it going to fracture a split or do believe that the army can hold?
this army might be infiltrated by muslim brotherhood. i want to comment on that. host: thank you. martin indyk. guest: i was not saying that i thought they were legitimate, but they have legitimacy with their people. the king of saudi arabia has actually put in place eight reform program -- place a reform program that does not look like a very reformist agenda to the united states, but in the context of a deeply conservative society, he does not face the same kind of demonstrations that we've seen in tunisia and now in egypt. that was the only point i was trying to make. i think you are absolutely right that we need to be very potentialiabout the
for infiltration of the military, which is a key player now in terms of maintaining order as this transition to democratic government takes place. we should remember that the previous egyptian pharaoh was taken out by soldiers who were representing the extremist arm of the muslim brotherhood. the number two in al-qaeda, i'm sure today, he is sitting in some ways in pakistan rubbing his hands with glee and saying, "this is our chance to get back to the motherland, to get back to the heart of the middle east." is said of the periphery, where he has been forced by our actions -- instead of the periphery, where he has been forced by our actions. is a big danger sign that we
should be aware of. we need to not be naive about this situation. that said, there's no way back. this is a revolution. we must get on the side of history and try to help shape it in a positive way so that the forces of modernism and tolerance and freedom emerge in egypt in a way that provides a light unto the arab world rather than the kind of darkness. host: a little bit of new information, mr. indyk. one story says the king of jordan has dismissed his government and named a new prime minister amid protests. there you go. making a change in government. as i was coming into the studio
this morning, -- guest: as i was coming into the studio this morning, the algerian government is buying as much as wheat as they can. they will be spreading bread on troubled water to buy out any protests. arab leaders, autocrats, every one of them, are thinking about how they can prevent the egyptian model from replicating. host: what does this host: connect those dots. guest: the first thing, it to reverse the attention of the decision makers in the white house, state department, pentagon. when you have the biggest crisis that has confronted president obama in his presidency.
he has had a few crises. they don't have the bandwidth to deal with everything else going on in the world. it can have a negative effect if we take our eye off the ball elsewhere. we have to think about the demonstration effect for pakistan. pakistan is a muslim country, like egypt. it is often affected. it is far from perfect, pakistan is a democracy. there is some free expression there. the government lacks any real popularity, it does not suffer from the same problems that the government in egypt is confronting now. we have not seen demonstrations in pakistan against the government as a result.
i think some of the administration has to find a way to deal with this in terms of connecting the dots. at the moment, we do not see the kind of role on effect. the question will be, and nobody has focused on this yet, is that egypt is the largest sunni country in the arab world. it is 10% crop. this is a sunni muslim uprising. i think it will have an effect on other city populations. for instance, in syria, or you have the president of side -- president assad, there could be role on effect then.
host: sullivan, indiana. pam, could morning. caller: what would be the best thing that president obama or secretary of state clinton could do worse say to mubarak to move this country forward? thank you. guest: thank you. it is a good question. we should not assume that just because there are a million egyptians in the streets demanding that mubarak go that's he will simply decide to go quietly into the night. he doesn't have a lot of options at this point because it looks like the military is not willing to crack down. therefore, he will try to meet the needs of the people. i think it is much late for
that. they will never trust him. it must be penetrating his mind that maybe he has to go. i saw a report yesterday -- i do not know if it is true -- that mrs. mubarak has turned up in london. there have been earlier reports that president mubarak had hoped to put in place in his place, the succession. so if those reports are true, and i do not know if they are true, then maybe he basically understands the writing is on the wall. i think president obama -- the himage will come to
gently but firmly that it is time for him to go. that is the message that needs to come in private to hosni mubarak. i wouldn't be surprised if that is what is happening today. host: our guest has been martin indyk, a former assistant secretary of state. we'll take a short time out and turn to economic issues. we'll hear from the senior economist of the center for american progress. after this break, david malpass will be our guest. he is a former deputy assistant treasury secretary perry will be right back. back.e will be right
pushing ahead on the road to growth. >> find the state of the state addresses as well as in all girls online from the c-span video library -- as was in all giraugurrals. >> experience american history to vague starting saturday at 8:00 a.m. eastern. 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. here historic speeches and i witness accounts that shape our nation. top history professors and leading historians delve into america's past. american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, and c- span3. >> "washington journal" continues. host: economic issues at the table. david malpass, deputy assistant
secretary of state for the first president bush. you're testifying today. what are you going to say? guest: i will say the deficit is big and the national debt is going up rapidly. we need to have a limit on the gdp ratio. this way you can compare countries. i will talk about the maturity of our national debt. the amount of debt matters. it also matters if you have to roll it over in emergencies. it makes it dangerous. i know it sounds complicated. people can understand it in terms of their mortgage. do you want to have a three-year mortgage or a five-year mortgage that might mature when you do not have the job to fix the u.s. has so much debt and so much short term.
host: our guest will testify this morning at 10:00 a.m., an event we will have here on c- span. other witnesses include the managing director at morgan stanley. we'll hear from someone at the sloan school of management in addition to our guest, david malpass. guest: i do economic research for mutual funds, hedge funds, corporations. it comes out of my work at bear stearns were a was chief economist. i'm chairman of an organization called gropak, to set up to try to pelt -- to have smaller government. i wrote a letter to ben bernanke in november. we got 30 people to sign on. it asked him to stop buying up the national debt. i am concerned the fed buys the
national debt and they have a conflict of interest as they try to set interest rates. they are such a gigantic owner of the dead. it is hard for them to set the interest rate. -- there's such a gigantic owner of the stdept. host: speak up. we have lines for republicans, democrats, and independence. there was this piece in ""the washington times" today. tell us more. guest: right now we spend $3.8 trillion. these are all unimaginably large numbers. the debt keeps, pounding.
paris a marketable debt -- there is a marketable debt and there is the statutory debt. people get confused on those two numbers. there are both so large you cannot comprehend them. on a marketable debt basis, we are at $9.09 trillion. $14 trillion is the statutory debt. there will both skyrocket in the next few years. it slows growth in the u.s. once you're struggling, it makes it hard for businesses to want to invest in that informant. host: our guest right to run for senate last year. had to been elected, would be your chief argument specifically
on what should be cut out of the budget? guest: what you should do is like with a diet, start today. cut the cake out. in our budget, we have this giant said of spending so for ethanol that is a huge burden. everybody knows why it is there. i what is the first presidential primary part think about the money that flows through the foreign aid programs. we're seeing some examples of that in africa now. they are not effectively spent. i think billions could be cut there. think about the broad spending programs. i was disappointed -- in december, they gave another year for the unemployment benefits, which is a huge expense,
transferring money from people who are working to people who are not working. that undercuts the job creation in farming in the u.s. host: what to make of the concept of cut and grow? we know stephen pearlstine called it economic nonsense. guest: the private sector looks a government spending as being -- as coming from their pockets. each time the private sector sees washington spend another billion dollars, if things, that is money i cannot spend. we have gone to such a high level of debt -- marketable debt is 60% and it is heading to 100%. that is the gdp ratio and we know it is unsustainable. milton friedman wrote a lot
about that. people have been criticizing that because they want the government to spend more. we have a clear example. president bush in may of 2008 gave ever want a check. there was a rebate check. it was supposed to cause people to spend more money. there was no economic juice out of that and the second quarter of 2008. the public looked at it and said, great, the government gave me a portion of my money back and they will probably take a percentage in washington. the actual spending did not go up. host: our guest is the chief economist at bear stearns. our first call is from rick from california. caller: working-class republicans are the classchmp bt
chumps on earth. forgive me for calling you a socialist, randi rhodes. guest: there was a huge amount of growth. in my testimony, i include a graph of the median incomes during that period of time. it came from a big surge in private sector jobs. extended in the reagan administration and into the clinton administration. unemployment was down to 3.8%, the best thing that can happen to people at the low end of the income scale. host: scottsdale, arizona. caller: a couple of quick questions. do you feel that the american public really understands the severity of the problem our country is in?
my personal recommendation for the size of our government is to remove the politics out of it and cut the size of our federal government. pick a number. 10% straight across the board. take all the politics out of that and say all the programs are in place. we agree they are all proper and fine but they all need to be reduced by this figure. guest: 10% across the board, everything. host: correct. guest: i think -- caller: correct. guest: where to go. you're saying it is a politics. i agree. i think omb has hundreds of people working on the budget. it is possible for them to make
reasoned reductions. reductions in the commerce department, for example. ronald reagan recommended and try to get big cuts in the federal department of education on the idea that education should be a local matter of the county, city, and states, and not have the federal government involved. those are cuts we have not been able to make. my challenge to the members, do your jobs. the problem we have now is that there is no budget. it is an unlimited credit card they have been running up. i agree with the sense of the caller that people don't guess how deep the trouble we're in. my testimony is posted on my website, gropac,com. host: cold snap, new jersey --
colts neck, new jersey. caller: i am disgusted at this point if that democrats and republicans when they are asked a question which specific cuts you make, none of them are willing to listen. nothing tangible in the cuts. should i take them one at a time? host: go ahead with this one. guest: i agree. i do think the executive branch should be responsible for having a smaller budget. president obama will get a crack at this in february when he introduces his budget. congress operates by having been presented an idea and they modify the idea on the edges.
the best thing we could have addresses the spending across the board. caller: the one the bothers me the most is senator john mccain is taking $70,000 between social security and his navy pension when his wife makes $6 million a year. how can these people expect us to want to sacrifice when they are not willing to sacrifice themselves proved that 5% cut on the operating budget is not enough to show that they are serious about cutting. guest: it would be good for congress to focus on washington. we have a problem in the country that washington is building all over. i'm here in washington today.
it is the hottest spot in the country in this area. some of the cuts -- the first round of cuts need to be consciously an effort to stop government from growing in washington. they could do that. they just need to go deeper. it is against their nature. host: "obama proposes tax relief for small businesses." like the capital gains tax. it is good to have that proposal. the president is taking republican rhetoric and twisting it some. the original idea of growth is the private sector keeps its money. it does not funnel it throughout washington. my concern -- it is not only the
small business administration. now it is the department of energy and multiple departments within the federal government that have the authority to lend money. that is a very bad direction. i would like to see them leaving the money with the businesses in the first place. if i am a small business and somebody from washington is handing out money, i am worried because that means he got the money from me in the first place. host: we have a quick look at the president. >> our infrastructure used to be the best. south korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. countries in europe and russia invest more in roads and railways than we do. china is building faster trains and newark airports. our own engineers gave us a d. we have to do better.
america is in nation that built the transcontinental railroad. run electricity to rural communities. constructing the interstate highway system. the jobs created by this project to natchez come from laying down tracks or pavement. they came from businesses that opened in a town's new train station. over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project is meant thousands of good jobs. tonight, i am proposing that we redouble those efforts. [applause] we will put more americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. we'll make sure it is fully paid for, attract investment, and pick which projects are best for the economy, not politicians.
our goal is to get 80% of americans access to high-speed rail. host: what to do here about infrastructure? guest: patriotic message is compelling creek we live in this wonderful country and we want better infrastructure. i cannot imagine the american people want washington to be entrusted with the hundreds of billions of dollars that he laid out right now. we're already spending $3.8 trillion. we already did this in the massive stimulus bill in the spring of 2009. the president said that was going to be shoveled-ready jobs that were going to help the country. then he saw it disappeared in the morass of washington. i think the president should be shifting his rhetoric to saying
he can propose a cut that makes sense to him. put the country on a diet. that will help businesses that want to invest and create jobs. host: we have a gene on the line -- we have jane on the line. caller: i was listening to the radio. there was a discussion about georgia being one of the better fiscally responsible states. they have their own state bank. that has cleared the way for the state to have their own bank. i have been reading. it sounds good to me. i wonder if you have any thoughts. guest: i think states probably cannot be good at their own bags. i think the federal government should not be in that business
-- cannot be good at their banks. founding fathers say they can try things and other states will look at that and see if it works. i don't think a bank run by a state will help because it will come from taxpayer money. across the country, there is a huge amount of waste in state and local governments. i think each state should experiment with ways to make that more streamlined and make it work better. new york state has a fiscal deficit of $10 billion. part of that is the overlap of all these different government entities. there can be streamlining. one of the things i think should be done is washington purchased adopt enabling wasteful spending at the state local level. washington does not urge accurate accounting by the states.
the underfunded pension funds are growing rapidly without washington giving an honest assessment of the unfunded liabilities. washington gives an implicit guarantee to pension funds that are going on around the country. that really could be reduced out of washington as a way to get the state and local governments to be more fiscally responsible. host: north carolina, independent. caller: i have notice republicans and democrats, you guys always complained. democrats bashed republicans. dimensions -- -- you mentioned -- if i cut my spending, if i don't invest in my education and my kids' education, how my
supposed to grow? you talked about that there were refusing to spend because they did not know what washington was doing. get back down to the part about during the reagan era. i was in high school. unemployment was out through the roof. reagan came in with his big reaganomics. 35 years later, we have not yet seen they abolished reaganomics. i have one more last point. you made a point about unemployment being extended. host: he left a lot out there for you. guest: to point he is making is a good one. families are responsible for
their own budgets. he was suggesting, why can the federal government invest as well? that is what the founding fathers thought about in the constitution. they decided the federal government should not be doing that. it should be done at the community level, the family level, maybe at the state level. i don't think you can draw that analogy. just because people invest in themselves, the federal government should invest. as far as reagan, remember the hard times. in 1981, the inflation rate was through the roof. we have a gasoline lines. it is not fair to say reagan had high unemployment rate of his causing. he changed the economic system. but the time he left, unemployment was much lower and
it laid the groundwork for private sector growth all the way into the 1990's. bill clinton with other reforms and capital gains and tax cuts in 1995, we saw the unemployment rate continued to spend down. that really underscores the value of having a limited role for federal government. host: what about lifting the debt ceiling? what should happen? guest: i am a fiscal conservative. they have to lift that debt ceiling. it goes up automatically with the inflation rate, with the growth of the country, and also with the trust funds for social security. i don't think we should have a limit on statutory debt. i like to see a limit on marketable debt relative to the
size of the economy. imagine back when they wrote the constitution. they had no idea that the government could borrow 20% of gdp much less 60% and heading towards 100%. they would have put a limit on that. we need a debt to gdp limit at a 50% marketable limit and have escalating penalties starting with washington if you are above that. if you are in an environment where you're at 60% debt to gdp, that means no raises for senators, congressmen, and staff, and even the senior executive service. get the people to balance the budget to get up and do it. that would help a lot. host: raleigh, n.c..
caller: when you have a guest on like this, you need to have someone on their whoo can rebut him. i am an attorney who has studied the constitution. there is nothing that supports what your guest said about the federal government not spending money. that is ridiculous. the comment of, we have a big role in the constitutional times about having a bank. the jefferson was against it. hamilton was for it. that would speak to the debt. when reagan came into office, where the largest creditor nation on the planet. when reagan left office, we were the largest debtor nation on the planet, meaning we owed people money. how does that speak to fiscal conservatism? look at bear stearns. where is the track record profit
wears bear stearns now? host: another viewpoint is coming up in just a couple minutes. stay tuned. we'll take more calls. guest: the constitution was clear. it was enumerated powers for the federal government. what happened over these 222 years is the federal government's fuel of its role in the economy keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. the constitution did not envision that the federal government would be doing mortgages. the constitution did not envision the enumerated powers of for the federal government would make billions and billions of dollars of loans to small business, which gives powers to bureaucrats and creates lots of jobs in washington but cost the country dearly. my reading of limited powers, a
core principle of the constitution, is that we have gone beyond that. we need to find a way back. host: sarasota, last call. gary. caller: i have one question for you. two parties controlling everything. republicans will reach -- the symbol is the elephant and they are big-headed. democrats are donkeys and they are dumb. everybody is getting model -- money from the middle class. they don't care about the middle class. what is happening in egypt, i hope it does not happen to the middle class.
it is time for both countries to come to the center. people in the middle are suffering so much. host: thank you. final thought. guest: one of the themes from your callers is that people are tired of the fighting. how do we grapple with this out- of-control federal government problem we have been having to feed it has not been done very well by the previous administrations. we really need an upheaval, a fresh new culture in washington. i will testify and say let's start today, making it $1 billion in cuts. couldn't they all agree tomorrow on $1 billion to knock out some part of the budget put it there is a vacuum in the constitution -- about meeting tha
limiting debt. host: our guest has been david malpass and will be testifying at 10:00 a.m. this morning. he is a former deputy assistant treasury secretary. we will take another short timeout and we will hear from the chief economist at the predict the senior economist for the center for american progress. we talked about the king of jordan firing his government this morning. we have a story from ramallah. the western-backed palestinian government says it will hold local council elections "as soon as possible." the story goes on, not just in egypt and elsewhere in that region. we will be right back after some news from c-span radio. >> internet service is still
shut down in egypt. google and twitter have launched a service that circumvents the band. it allows people in egypt to post messages without an internet connection. the service allows people to dial an international telephone number to leave a voicemail message. the message is then sent out as a tweet. as we heard, protests continued in egypt. word from jordan that king abdallah has fired his government. he has asked an ex army general to form a new cabinet. people took to the streets in tunisia. they call for the resignation of the prime minister. turning to domestic issues, reaction to a judge's finding on the new health care law.
net romney earlier set -- mitt romney said president obama should press the pause button on the federal health care law lot in the wake of a judge's decision yesterday, declared it unconstitutional. he goes on to say, we don't need the government imposing a one size fits all system on the state. ms. romney -- mitt romney has not decided to seek office in 2012. those are some of the headlines from c-span radio. >> all available to you on television, radio, online, and on social immediate networking sites. find r contact any time at the c-span video library kurt we take c-span on the road. during our resources to your community. it is washington your way.
created by cable. provided as a public service. "washington journal" continues. host: heather boushey from the center for american progress, a senior economist. what do you see out there? guest: there is research that shows the united states has a crumbling infrastructure kirk a recent report card from the nation's civil engineer's association that said we need trillions of dollars to repair the crumbling infrastructure that we have. let me give you an example from my own neighborhood. i live in the district of columbia. across the street from it is a small business owner. a young guy with a wife and a baby. he opened a restaurant. three times, the water main has
broken, leaving him to not be able to continue to work at his restaurant. that is the picture of the decaying infrastructure in america today. you have small business owners, consumers, big business is being afforded -- thwarted. it has not kept pace. host: what other projects? what else is out there that is in dire need of repair? guest: the president has focused on a clean energy, alternative energy, and transportation. we know that will transport can be faster than trombley across work -- we know that rail transport can be faster than traveling across roads. everyone talks about clean energy. we need to upgrade our energy grid.
we need to invest in solar and wind. we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. host: i am sure we will get lots of opinions from our viewers for heather boushey and probably a lot of comments on how to pay for this. let's remind folks of the phone numbers on our screen. we have separate numbers for republicans, democrats, and independence. we have more from the president said. >> our infrastructure used to be the best. south korean homes and of greater internet access the we have. countries in europe and russia invest more in railways than we do. china is building faster trains and newark airports. when our own engineers or did our own infrastructure, they gave their stay -- they gave us
a d. we have to do better. we brought electricity to rural communities. constructed the interstate highway system. the jobs created by these projects did not just come from laying down tracks or pavement. they came from businesses that opened near the town's new train station or the new offer ramp. so we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century. tonight i am proposing that we were double those efforts. [applause] we will put more americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. we'll make sure it is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects
based on what is best for the economy, not politicians. within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of americans access to high-speed rail. host: he said it is fully paid for. guest: we have not seen his budget. right now the united states continues to have an alpert gaps -- an output gap. people -- all those unemployed people sitting on their counters warring about how they will find a new job. that output gap has shrunk since we passed the recovery act 3 is still remains about 6%. this can help fill that gap and get us back to full employment.
there are important questions about the priorities that this budget will wipe out that we have yet to see. remember that we have important parties about getting people back to work. host: first call for more gas is randy on our republican line. caller: i have to disagree with your guests. i don't think -- i for one thought it was kind of deja vu when the president was talking about infrastructure spending during his recent state of the union speech. that was pretty much the stimulus and the state's small that up. in california, they are likely your neighbor. you might as well give money to them. you're just throwing it down a whole. people keep praying and hoping that the economy turns around so
they don't have to cut government. but the day of reckoning is coming. it is unsustainable. it talks about high-speed rail. that is a giant bones give to environmental lawyers. when is the last time you saw anything major built in this country? host: day of reckoning is coming, he says. guest: i would like to focus on the last thing he said. what is america going today, and where are we now? over the past few decades, we have seen america not make this investment, not to the kinds of things we need to do to have our economy be able to compete with all the nations. thinking about when you go to the airport and what you see at the level of infrastructure in other growing cities, you do not see the same sort of thing.
america is supposed to be a bright shining star, but we have not made those investments. it comes down to whether or not we can afford it and whether the time is now. i do not think we can afford not to do it. water is a perfectly apt one. it is kind of basic. if we have a failing type structure in america because those pipes were built back when mccammon was president, we need to upgrade those. and that is expensive. how are you going to pay for it/ ? host: charles from mississippi on the independent line. caller: to support what the chairman from california said, my support is the issue of the government being capable of
dealing with the infrastructure and developing the rail or the water, correcting the water pipes. the capitalist system has to deal of doubt. the government has not shown that they are efficient in spending our money. taking it from us and taxes from businesses and then circulating it through washington and then back out for the states and saying that is sufficient, i don't think that is and never has been. making the government smaller and getting things in the hands of the people of the local communities, they will handle the infrastructure. b of a structure will be corrected to support the capitalist system -- i guess it is my point as an independent from big government to small government. the federal government needs to shrink and shrink in a big way. host: is the federal government
capable of that? guest: in many ways, the federal government is the only entity that can do these things. much of this infrastructure is not at the local level. the planning, the connections for all that, we are a nation of 50 states. we're competing with other countries. you cannot have -- many of our cities are located in places that transcend states. we have to states and the district of columbia in this region. there are other places where you have to cross lines. energy. power grids -- these are things that transcend regions. this is an important role for the federal government to make those investments. these are not things best left to the private sector. it is not in my interest or
anyone's interest to spend significant investments to upgrade that infrastructure. the costt want to bear -- individual airlines do not one to bear the cost of upgrading and airport. that is what the tax system is designed for. the private-sector is a partner. they are the ones who will use it. they need to be engaged. relying on them to take the lead or do the planning, how to adjudicate between all these interest and make sure we ramp up is not something that historic private sectors do. host: the president said it is fully paid for. you said it will find out the details in the budget. what are those details? are we talking about fees? guest: we will probably see a
few things. we'll see a shifting of priorities in this budget. we'll see the president putting his money where its mouth is in terms of the priorities he laid out in the state of the union. he has talked about things such as a five-year freeze in the budget. the two-year freeze in federal pay. that will give them some wiggle room to move things around. it was also about how we set our priorities in taxation. we may be decision in december to continue to extend tax cuts for the very wealthiest 2% among us. we have not talked about investment in private sector investment today. we have seen a decline in the united states in private sector investment, even alongside tax cuts for the wealthiest. we need to rethink that
strategy. i think those are the questions we are likely to saee in some of those decisions. is heather guest boushey and we're focusing on unemployment, job issues, economic and issues. you're on the air. caller: 1 the interstates were expanded, for every gallon of gasoline sold, one nickel of the cost went to the infrastructure to maintain the roads. today, i believe the major portion of our problem is the fact that gasoline tax dollars that go into the federal budget do not stay as a designated spending. as a result, they go into the
general fund. i am wondering if our caller could speak to that issue. do they know the percentage of the gasoline tax? do they go into how much goes into the general fund versus the actual funding for the infrastructure, for which there were intended? guest: that is a great question. i don't know the answer on the top of my head. welcome back at some other time to talk about that. those types of financing scheme. those are one of the ways we do financial structures along with bonds and taking funds out of general revenue. there is something like a gas tax that is designated towards roads and transportation. this is something they should be on the table. host: silver spring.
caller: my question would be, why would the focus be on so much in cutting the federal government's and not revising the tax codes which have caused such problems in the past 30, 35 years to fix it seems like everybody talks about sitting down at the table. the first thing you do is you see how everything in your home is being legislated, and from there, afterwards, you figure out what you can do by cutting back the federal government. all the opportunities, all the biggest things that have ever happened in this country have come from the research that the federal government has funded, not the private enterprise. the private enterprise has
always profited from it by utilizing their technology and putting it out on the market after the federal government has invested an enormous amount of money host:. let's hear from our guest. guest: the internet was an investment made by the federal government and the science and technology set that up. you have your ipad and we'll have our phones and our computers and that is one of those -- we have all been a federal budget we have all benefited from that investment. the connection between the deficit and taxes. i would like to touch on that. we have seen, especially over the past decade, folks put a lot of talk about cutting the deficit. they did not actually address --
the deficit is two decided. you have spending and revenue. you have to deal with both sides of the equation. cutting off your nose to spite your face, not investing in things that will grow our economy and create a strong middle class in the future at the expense of not talking about making sure the tax system is provided us with the resources that we need and that those kinds of taxes we have make sense and promote investment. that needs to be part of the conversation. host: kan., charles. you're on a line for heather boushey. we're talking infrastructure. caller: i hope you don't cut me off. i'm ticked off at you guys. host: right off the bat? we're not doing that today. caller: start trying to figure
out that two and two equals four. the solar and wind and all that crap -- they should not force me to pay for it and it should not be connected to the grid. we're going to have to rebuild and that will cost more money. raise the cost of my energy. i am a rancher. i have is your degree temperatures and the wind is growing. i have to feed my cows no matter of the temperature or conditions. we have technology to secure this energy problem. we get the energy we need and will have to building power plants. we have to build 25 plants a year.
guest: the focus on energy is one of the big things we're talking about. the issue is, how can we promote investments in the united states with the kind of energy that will reduce our dependence on --reign oil proj host: oil prices are surging. guest: there are questions about who we are buying our oil from. we need to make sure that we are creating a path on energy that will address these issues around climate change. you are a rancher. this issue is affecting a. we need to make sure our energy policy recognizes that and pushes the ball forward. the administration has put all ideas on the table. we need to reduce our reliance on the kind of energy that
exacerbates climate change. they put nuclear on the table. the goals they set out in the state of the union of increasing the amount of energy we're getting from alternative energy, that is the kind of goal will need to be thinking of. host: who delight out there, if anyone on this issue? -- who do you liked? guest: we need to make sure we get everyone on board. i don't have a clear sense that we're reaching across the aisle. i think those efforts are in play and we need to make sure that everyone understands not just the urgency in terms of today's oil prices that are long term energy -- our long term energy is critical.
host: good morning. caller: sometimes it is silly. i was going to talk about two things that happened here in texas. they were going to build a super collider thing. spent god knows how many money wound up with a big hole in the ground. because of government regulation, and because of the little green peas people and the little -- we need to save the planet people, cost overruns -- the little green peace people -- we have all the refineries on the coast and they won't let them build new ones. and the refiners are getting old and they are maintaining them at a lower and lower degree. if you want to spend money,
build new refineries, build power plants without all the regulations were -- nobody can afford it. quit spending money and stupid things. i mean, you all need to get in the real world. host: beth from texas. guest: "stop spending money on stupid things." motto.ould be aiour we need to make sure we're building things that are safe, things that will not cause massive environmental damage. these must be priorities. we saw how devastating this can be from the bp oil spill went there are not sufficient rules in place and when they are not in force. i would take issue with that part of your comment. i do think we to make sure the kind of investments we are
making our sport and that they are following -- they are consistent with the overall goals and agenda. that is what the president is trying to lay out here. let's lay out a set of goals and what kind of investments you make will flow from that so you're not making investments that are not part of a coherent plan. host: we have one headlines from ""the wall street journal." . .
a big piece of the crisis in terms of the budget at the state level is because high unemployment and falling tax revenues, that it led to this crisis. i think that does create opportunities for both sides to work together because it is in everyone's interest to make sure we create jobs because one of the things we've seen in the political process is when people do not have jobs and do not see their wages go up, they get angry with people in power. one of the things about the kinds of investments we're talking about here today, i do not think it is the best interest to compare the federal budget to a household budget because there are different rules that apply. one thing that is similar is
part of what is going on today is like a parent looking at their 18 year-old kid who was graduated from high school and sang because we have a mortgage and things did not go well, we will not let you take out a loan to go to college. we need to make sure we're making investments in the future, just like families are making investments in their kids because they know the investments will pay off, i think there has to be ways to work across i'll on these issues. -- acrosss the aisle on ths these issues. host: the treat on the line here yen -- detroit on the line. caller: what are the infrastructure spending will come from the government and the private sector?
if you look in the urban areas where unemployment is 15%, maybe 20% and even some cases 30%, because you have people that go out to try to look for jobs, but if you look at history, you'll see in building the great highways and all of that, you will find -- when the roads were good, spin-off jobs came and it really brought this country to where we are today. host: republican from ohio on the line. caller: excuse me, i have a cold. i was wondering if your guest is actually serious. investments? bull. you can smile all you want, lady. i live in northwest ohio, the epa just came down here in
nailed us. we know how to go through and spend over $130 million on a new water system. there are only 17,000 people in this city, which means you will have people that are on fixed incomes paying water bills of $300 per month. host: a couple of widely- different comments there. guest: that comment explains exactly why these are not issues that are easily dealt with at the community level. we are thinking about what the nation needs to do to update our infrastructure. i am going to guess the reason that the epa came down and said you need to spend money to improve your water is because there's something wrong with it, and are mentally or something that is harmful to humans. -- and are mentalenvironmentallg
that is harmful to humans. we have not made that a priority. we have not made the investments because we of said we cannot afford it. we also cannot afford to have water that makes people sick. the question is how we will pay for it. the answer is we need to do something, and it cannot just fall on those who can afford it. host: what was your take on the stimulus bill, the so-called shovel ready projects that were tied to infrastructure? where are those jobs? what happened? what is your take on stimulus? guest: the majority of the money did not go for infrastructure. let's be clear on that. i think it would of been great if more would have done that. there was a significant chunk of change that was spent on infrastructure, and we have seen that money be spent out faster than people thought it would be. we have created jobs. as i was traveling around the
country over the holidays in the past few months, everywhere i go you see people saying we're doing this because of the money. i see it all the time. those dollars have been spent. you see them making investments in roads and transportation and all the things that communities wanted. the american society of civil engineers are getting -- had a long laundry list of all of the quick and easy repairs that we needed to make. a lot of the communities because they have had the money over the past few decades to make those investments had a list. we have seen those projects be the first to go. a lot of the money was incredibly well spent. host: wilmington, ohio. good morning to you. caller: i just would like to talk about the state of ohio.
we were doing really good, but this governor has taken away 400,000 jobs for the fast rail system and given it away. he a stake in the state taxes for the rich -- he has taken awa y state taxes for the rich. he also does not want any accountability or transparency. he is countistarted a jobs progn ohio, which we would love to trust this issue, but it is clear in recent history that makes us skeptical. we trusted bob taft and his cronies and it left ohio imprisoned. there is a lot of fraud back then, and we need transparency. he wants to put the schools and
merge them together. he does not want to hire any minorities. probably taxes will go up. he will get rid of medicaid he says. host: lot of comments from ohio. let's hear from joe from virginia. caller: good morning. i would say i think the center for american progress is probably part of the problem, not the solution. i worked in the energy industry for 42 years, and i have seen government subsidized and government spending on energy of just about every form you can imagine. i would say that well into the 90% of those government programs have been a failure. what we need to do is take the energy infrastructure, get the
government out of the business of subsidizing energy programs, regulating energy programs. host: heather boushey? guest: i will take both the comments, but let me take rhonda's first. we have to make a decision in this country about what we want our future to look like and how we're going to pay for it. what we have seen is decades of rising inequality in the united states. we have more inequality in this country than in the country's rising price it's going on in the middle east today. we have seen alongside that rising inequality and the hollowing out of america's middle class, a tax structure that is giving back so much money to the very wealthiest among us. in december the conservatives, republicans push to extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest among
us, those making $250,000 per year or more. those tax cuts are part of the reason we cannot afford to make the basic investments in things that benefit the common good. we need to own that decision and understand that is the choice and this is not some -- it was not spurned on us, it was a decision we made. it sounds like joe has a lot more experience in energy than i do. i am an economist. but i would note that there is a lot of talk in this town about regulation as though it were some sort of blanket thing. the government should not step in and tell people what to do because we cannot have regulation and the private sector should be able to do exactly what they want. we have seen what that does to people and to our economy when you do not dig into that black box of regulation. just a few examples, the bp oil
spill. that has had severe economic consequences and environmental consequences. there is a clear role for the government to be making sure that there are sensible rules that will keep people safe and keep our environment safe. if we're going to have a conversation about that, let's have a conversation about all of those things. host: democrat from pennsylvania. caller: i am afraid this is going to sound negative like a lot of the other people, but obama is really trying to do things, but every president from reagan on have run the deficit up so high that all of the things like we have like school in wateand water and railroads,e
government itself has gotten so hard that a lot of republicans are intelligent and willing to work, but a lot of them are just completely negative. host: final thoughts from your guest. guest: i liked the fact that he pointed out this is a decade- long problem in the making. the problem is not new, and it is because we have not made the investments. i am glad we are finally having this national conversation. host: heather boushey senior economist for the center for american progress. we will take a look at this reauthorization bill the senate is taking up this week. they are in later this morning for a look at that. in the meantime, news from c- span radio. >> the state department has just come across the wire and ordered the evacuation of all non-
emergency was personnel from egypt. this as dozens of evacuation plans have arrived in cairo. therefore there is overwhelmed with over 4500 stranded passengers. they say they're forced out is scarce, food supplies are dwindling and flight information non existent. some police were demanding bribes before allowing foreigners to board the planes. turning to domestic news, nbc new york said security officials are warning the leaders of major wall street thinks that al qaeda terrorists in yemen may be planning attacks against them or leading executives. in recent weeks, the joint terrorism task force in the new york police department officials have been briefing bank executives and their security departments on the nature of the threat. security officials say any banking executives may have been discussed by al qaeda overseas has been notified. government employees may not be safe in iraq after the u.s.
military leaves at the end of the year as planned. that report said to be released just hours before ambassador to iraq, james jeffrey, testified before the committee. that hearing starts at 10:00 eastern time. you can watch it live on c-span 3 television. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> every weekend on c-span 3, experience american history tv starting saturday at 8:00 eastern. 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. hear eyewitness accounts of events that shaped our nation. visit museums, historical sites, and college campuses as pop history professors and leading historians fell into america's past. american history tv all week and every weekend on c-span 3. >> "washington journal"
continues. host: we are with dan friedman right now. the sun has decided to bring up a reauthorization bill, which they are actually calling a jobs bill. how so? guest: they have been calling every bill a jobs bill. harry reid cited an estimate from an industry group that the bill would create 280,000 jobs. it is about $8.1 billion in the bill. they're going to continue to say every bill but the bring up that has even the slightest economic component as a jobs bill. host: this bill came up last year and passed, so why are they taking it up again?
guest: the house and the senate passed different versions. there was a separate provision that they differed on, particularly one dealing with the organization of fedex workers. there had been a lot of pressure from ups and labor unions to change the rules under which unions work could organize. that is not in this bill. that was a push by james oberstar, former chairman of the house transportation committee. he lost control of the house, so the bill faces better prospects now than it did last year. host: what else is big about the bill? guest: there is a passenger bill of rights. it is a big deal for many of us who fly on planes. the provision talked abou oneut
most is the amount of time that an airline can force you to wait on the runway. and host: phone numbers on the bottom of the screen for our guest, dan friedman. we have lines for republicans and democrats and independents. our guest covers the senate leadership for the national journal. we expect the senate to spend a few days on this bill. guest: i think it will be more than a few. reed said they want to open mmi process on this bill. last week they reach this unofficial agreement read. that read would allow the open read. that means there could be hundreds of amendments, so it could take quite a while. the democrats have a retreat next week, and i think it is unlikely it will close before that. host: you can watch it all on c-
span2. tell us about the next gen satellite system. guest: they have a ground-based free thsatellite system. the one to replace it witha a gps system. proponents of ofnest gen argued that almost all major industrial countries have the systems and that despite having developed the technology in the united states, the united states is one of the last to switch to it. host: of big safety benefit? guest: safety and economic benefit. you can move people more quickly so you can have more flights. host: what is the overall price tag? guest: it authorizes 35 million
in spending, however, most of that is raising its own money. the proponents of the bill argue there is a funding airport fees that pay for a lot of the airport infrastructure. host: who is leading the way in congress on this? give us the big movers on this. guest: jay rockefeller from west virginia will lead the way. he said yesterday in a conference call that senator patty murray -- maria cantwell would help manage the bill on the floor. then in the house you have the new house transportation committee, john mica it will have the mark of of the bill in the next few weeks. he will be an interesting player because he is an advocate mostly for transportation funding. so that potentially puts him at odds wiwith a lot of new or
members of the house. generally he will be an advocate for this. it will be interesting to see what extent he can get what he wants in the bill and what extent members, new republican members will push back on that. host: lots to talk about. john is on the line for john. on the line for democrats. caller: good morning. i keep hearing about we want more oilwells, drilling in alaska, but when it all comes down to it, we do not have any refineries. the keep shutting down refineries, and deceiseems likee gas prices are rising more of right now to pay for the bp oil prices. host: to have anything specifically to talk about with infrastructure?
-- we wanted to talk specifically about the faa. guest: there is infrastructure in general. the spending has called for more infrastructure spending. the democrats in the senate and probably the house are describing this bill as a first up toward the broader vision that president obama laid out on infrastructure spending. this bill already passed the senate 93-0 so they can call this the bride away. it is the same one that passed the senate last year. it -- this bill already passed the senate 93-0, so they can call this up right away. host: how does the process work? how often our airports built around this country? who pays for them? who decides when new ones are being built? guest: they are built and frequently.
i do not want to get into construction that i do not quite understand, but the faa is obviously the oversight in the building of airports. airlines are often responsible for funding through fees and that they may be paid directly to the passengers. at o'hare airport there is infrastructure improvements they want to make. host: let's hear from bloomington, indiana. nancy an independent calller. thank you for watching. is this nancy? caller: no, it is not. i am calling from binghamton, new york. callerone of the things that cos me is they say there is a shortage of air traffic controllers and the computer systems are old and need to be
updated, too. is there any 4-looking ideas to target both of these areas? guest: i am not sure about hiring of air-traffic controllers. there is labor language dealing with the rights of air traffic controllers, which as been another area of dispute in the past it is a complicated piece of legislation that touches on all kinds of policies that the faa is involved in. host: jack, republican. good morning. are you there? what is your question or comment? caller: the comment is the other callers were concentrating too much on building bigger ports and everything. our education in the u.s. is going down, and we are cutting spending for teachers, and even for our police department and fire fighters. no one is thinking of them.
host: he has different priorities on spending. guest: again, the advantage of this legislation for members of congress is it is available and appears to be possible. there are not many bills that democrats in the senate and republicans can agree on. and education is something there will probably be legislation on and that is a particular piece of legislation that is concentrated on in the white house. this is available right now, so the way they approach these things is what can we do in the near term. host: our guest has attended the university of pennsylvania. has a master's in international relations. studied political science. he reported on oversight issues and has worked for "the federal times" newspaper.
he is a senate leadership reporter now. john online for democrats. good morning. caller: i think there are a lot of things going on in reference to security issues. you have issues regarding other types of transportation also as far as high-speed rail and other types of transportation. is this all cover? does the faa reauthorization put it all under transportation as a heading? i own a medical company that deals with high-levels of shielding. is the passenger security issues going through this? is it going through security? you covered those areas also
with the reauthorization bill, meaning there are companies out there right now providing shielding for people going through with undergarments and things like that. is that covered in all of that? how does this whole thing come together? host: dan friedman. guest: it is generally limited to plains and airports. i do not believe it deals with shielding. i am not positive, but i do not think it deals specifically with security at airports in great detail, although the passenger's bill of rights at the airport, but in general it does not deal with those issues. host: how did the passenger bill of rights come about? guest: it has been around for a long time. it is a popular issue that members can get behind. it came about because passengers are getting angry about the way
they're treated in airports. that goes in there. this is a bill that has to do with continuous satellite-based radar system, passing the bill of rights is a bit of a thoroug onerowrow on, but makese to other people. host: is there any other issues we should know about regarding the passenger bill of rights? guest: that is the one that has been touted the most for us. if you look at the bill. host: republican, good morning. caller: i guess my question deals with what your talking about with the transportation situation. first of all, the mica guy from
florida is a rhino republican. he is getting a high-speed transportation rail. amtrak is where all the money comes from. $13 billion in losses. it is my take on everything as whole, maybe we should all get a job at the epa because they are one of the biggest parasite organizations in this country, whether it be against agricultural, road infrastructure repair in nebraska, but before anything could be done on road repair if we had to have an epa study. most of this stuff the government is in charge, and
then probably making a stretch but in 20 years if things keep going like they are, remember what is happening in egypt. host: any thoughts there? guest: german like that, i am not sure you would call them are right now but he is interested in transportation issues. -- chairman mica, i am not sure you could call him oa rhino, but he is interested in transportation issues. authorization for programs that help small airports and low population centers are very popular with lawmakers from western states. it is something that will always do well in the senate, but that is the republican study commissioned. the house has targeted that and said they have suggested cuts to that program. it will be interesting to see the other house republicans make
an effort or the committee itself to cut the funding. i do not think the red be much appetite in either party for those kind of cuts. host: where my the biggest differences between what the senate is working on this week and were the house might be headed? what has to be reconciled? guest: the house has not drafted a new bill yet, but we can expect there will be some upper and house to trim some here did overall funding in the bill. there is an issue that has to do with lights out of reach the national airport. many flights cannot cover more than 1,250 miles. that is a big issue that will be amended in the senate. lawmakers from western states are eager to have more fights going to phoenix, l.a., san francisco directly from reagan
national airport. that will very likely be the difference between the house and senate. there are other issues that could be different as it is amended. we could see the labor issue come back. there could be some of the myth that addressed the fedex issue. the way the infrastructure, airport spending is funded, you can have a fee on airline. that is a big area of dispute. right now the senate bill is what they would call leaving the issues out of it so they can pass it likely. if there will be amendments that address that in the senate and maybe the house transportation committee so there will be differences that arise as the bill's advance. host: we have a calller from denver. good morning. caller: good morning.
i would like to ask dan friedman -- or he talked about how airports are funded. he did not seem to be well aware of that, but in denver we built a magnificent airport by issuing bonds. also, there was another calller who called about the highway system in nebraska, and i am a native of nebraska, and back in the late 1970's the interstate was completed through nebraska, but there was fraud by the construction companies that conspired together. some of themnt t jail. within 10 years that highway all went to pot because they have screwed with all of the regulations, and if you're going to run the highway through and building and interstate takes up a lot of water space and everything else and separated
our ranch from one side to the other. it needs regulation, and i will say that if back in the reagan/bush era when many of the companies were all the regulated -- deregulated it is a much more costly in and to everyone, because it is not the energy companies that are wanting to build refineries. but yet they get these huge subsidies like exxon's, and it actually got a refund last year. this is not fair. i would like to hear what he has to say about that, about how he thinks the regulation of these companies like the airport companies and so forth. host: anything you want to add? guest: you pointed out that i
need to brush up on how airports are funded and initially created, but the regulatory structure is hard to redress that directly. host: let's go to missoula, montana. gregory on the independent line. good morning. are you there? let's try hitting the button. gregory? i did not have my button hit. you are on the air. go ahead, sir. caller: i have a comment to make in regards to as far as the shovel-ready projects, as with any entity you see the surveyors out there taking measurements and getting contracts ready for bids, and president obama spoke
of getting a lot of the shovel- ready projects out and it appears like the need is there but nothing happened. -- nothing happens. i know the airports are crowded and the faa would like to have more airports, but if the money is there, why don't we see entities like the faa began to spend these things? the government built the interest they -- the interstate back and eisenhower's days. we see it falling apart. why is it falling apart? where does that money go? with obama stimulus money to get people back to work, you would
think that people would be jumping on all of these projects that have to happen that a sitting on the back burner waiting for funding and now the funding is there, but nothing is happening. guest: as the prior guest pointed out, a lot of the projects are going forward and the stimulus money is being quicker than some people expected, always slower than it could be. the faa spends plenty of money, and these things are often hard to see. air traffic increases, so just to keep up with that, not just the faa but airports are dealing with the traffic are spending increasing amount of money without you noticing any difference. host: interesting piece in "the new york times" today --
it is by greg lindsey. makes the point that obama is " winning the future and then debt and ignores a vital industry." he makes the point that o'hare is a primary reason the chicago have a higher gdp than south africa talks about the spending on the project. there is a lot there. and make some connections to what we're talking about.
arizona your up next. mickey, a republican. good morning. caller: i am interested in talking about education. it seems like we spend an enormous amount of money going towards education, and i would like to see how it is being spent. why can't you make a study and show plainly how the money is going? every dime of it. where is it going and what is the cheating? i think if it is achieving good things and being spent in a good way, you would have a huge support for spending more money. and also i have ideas that i think you could do for free. i think you could have habitat for schools. i think most people are giving and want to have good schools. i think that could be an issue that might work.
i also think that when i was young i do not think my mind was ever captured by the opportunities that were out there, and i am old so there were not quite as many opportunities for women, but i know that you have senior citizens out there that would absolutely love to go to the schools and explain what their careers were and what it took to get their, what parts of their careers they really enjoy it. host: thank you for your commentary this morning. makes the basic point that money might be fine, but people want to know where it is being spent. guest: the interesting thing is the amount of money that is spent on education is small. most of what they're doing is conditioning the use of reserves for policy goals. what they are engaged in, are
tracking spending. they're trying to do that, but they are overseeing it. tin aviation or infrastructure spending there have been all kinds of efforts to track spending more clearly. we saw the stimulus bill public websites to try to allow people to see which projects are stubble-ready and at what stage they are at. -- are shovel-ready and it was staged their act. host: debate kicks in on the faa reauthorization bill. you can watch that on c-span2. when might amendment start getting debated and what are you want to be looking for in the opening rounds? guest: i think the amendments will be introduced tomorrow.
i think boats could start later this week on amendments. -- votes could start later this week on amendments. one thing i would watch for is whether a health care repeal will be offered as an amendment by senate republicans. i would guess there is a good chance it will. they have said they want to force a vote on that. these amendments can be unrelated to the bill. that is another issue. they will have almost no chance to pass it, but that could set off a series of related amendments from democrats and other ones from republicans like to take the debate in a very different area than infrastructure or aviation. host: how was the industry responding to the bill? how do they look at what is on the plate right now? guest: they are cheerleading.
they want this bill to be passed. in general they have their differences over specific of the bill between pilots and air lines, but broadly they want this bill passed. it is good for the air transport business, so this is something they are behind. host: does the obama administration have something -- have different priorities from what is of the bill? guest: not that i am aware. in general this is not high on the list. i am sure there will be differences over what is and the bill, but in general they probably want to see this bill passed. federal agencies and the executive government branch like to see authorization bills passed. there has been 17 straight
short-term reauthorization of the faa. they want a long-term authorization bill, so probably that is where their priority is. host: you set a lot of the democratic bills are being called jobs bill, but in the broad sense of the bill, how many new jobs are they talking about? guest: if they have said this is an industry executive citing a number from a steady, they claimed 90,000 actual jobs based on a formula that they came up with, in addition to secondary jobs, which would bump the number up to 180,000, but they are arguing that is just from infrastructure spending. they argue there are other parts of the bill, for example, if you are air delays. there will be an argument that that will create jobs and help businesses. it obviously gets quite nebulous. the product does have some
economic effect. host: one last call from our guest. roger from nebraska. the morning. caller: this is your date from nebraska i guess. i am retired from conception, and i was an electrical estimator for many years, and my biggest problem is when we do these infrastructure jobs, whether it is airports, it is tied into the unions. even the infrastructure passed in the stimulus, you have to be a union member to bid the job for you have to pay union dues any way. that is killing the construction business. they have to rebid jobs, which load up the process because it was already given to non-union jobs. and open bidding needs to be repealed to get things killing. that is my comment.
host: final thoughts from our guest. guest: again, these issues creep into this. we talked before about the labor disputes. this is just one of the few labor disputes that got killed -- pulled into this bill so the issues are there. they have to deal with both sides of the issue and find a resolution. host: dan friedman, giving us a preview of the reauthorization bill. look forward to the senate this week on c-span to. thank you for your time and thoughts on the legislation. we have about 15 minutes left in this edition of "washington journal." at 10:00 we will go live to an economist at morgan stanley and simon johnson of the sloan school of management at mit.
we will hear from a guess that was on the program earlier today. the senate budget 10:00 right of this network. we will do open phones for this time. you can talk about any topic you would like for these 15 minutes or so. if you have not seen the pictures yet, somewhere between a quarter of a million and 1 million people are gathering at the square in cairo. live picture. 2 million now is what they are saying. it depends on what you are reading. perhaps 2 million in and around this particular spot in cairo. largest demonstration so far against the egyptian president. they are reporting that the protests have been peaceful with people standing shoulder to shoulder. the army has said they are not going to do anything violent
toward the protesters. a couple of other pieces while this goes on. the state department said it has ordered all -- emergency government personnel and their families to leave egypt at this point. the department said today they will continue to assist american citizens seeking to leave the country that have been plagued by unrest. the cairo airport is orpepen. lots going on to talk about. john kerry writes a piece in "the new york times" today. petand first call for open phon
asheville, north carolina. pete, an independent. caller: this is pete from nashville. -- asheville. i am of polish descent. my father was in the navy, and he served on the west saratoga. he is deceased now. i love him dearly. my brother was in the navy. i was not in the service, but my father said the teaching was very important so i did that for a while. i did it in public school in south carolina, and gave it up because it could not handle the kids. something to do with teaching kids come i cannot put that together. the idea that we live in a good
country, and if we just look for the good in our neighbors we will do good. i am a little concerned about the people in egypt. i've made a trip there seven years ago, as i am not sure what to do about that other dead include those people in my purse. -- other than include those people in my prayers. if i had a choice, i would say that i do not know who should open up orders, but george bush is talking about how our country is based on immigrants like i am in the american dream is very important to people that come here, and basically that is my comment that we live in a good country -- i did not mention my son works, has a job, and i am proud of that fact and also works for the government, so i am very proud of that. i cannot tell you what he does, but he might be working on some
of those difficult problems. he is a very smart and intelligent guy. host: i have to let you go. thank you for your point. it is a rare chance for folks to talk about any topic instead of a particular question. we will do this for 10 minutes beginning with bob from the bronx and new york. caller: i really appreciate c- span. something that is bugging me and i would like to see get it to congress to talk about that, i am frustrated with the idea of people talking about the deficits of the debt. you say to yourself if they could come up with the percentage of tax and the idea being that what ever it is, 4%, 5%, but there would be no loopholes, no exclusions, no deductions, it would be everyone including businesses would pay the same rate. so if it was 5% side, that would
be the percentage. i have to believe that everyone was paying their taxes, we could certainly save money. host: we will see if the books on the hill have that as part of their tax and budget plan for the year ahead. georgia on the meantime -- in the meantime. what is on where mind? caller: thank you for taking my call. i watch c-span a lot and hear a lot of rhetoric about this and that. my thought is because of the social security system is going broke, you have all of these young people that are from previous drug users from the 1960's not in school and the teachers are having problems out of them, so they are being kicked out to the streets.
there is no money being paid into the social security system here yen my oth point. my other point is local contractors that come into the office, they want to get their cut off the top before anything happens. they want to know what is in it for me? a lot of time the businesses go someplace else instead of going to that particular area because of the cronies wanted to shave off the top. host: that was-still, georgia. a gentleman named joe. knoxville, are you there? caller: thank you for c-span. i want to talk about the deficit for a moment. it is definitely something we need to start working on now, and we can do it. i do not like hearing all the nay saying that we cannot do it. the states do it, the cities
have to do it. we need across-the-board 5% cut or 7% cuts to get started. these events and wars and medicare and social security and everything should be on the table. and this thing where people are making 40,000 and under are exempt. maybe the fbi could extend not hiring more agents. if we do an across-the-board cut, we can get this step is under control. it is our biggest national security issue right now is this that we are running. host: thank you, john. robert on the republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. faa reauthorization bill, is
that to decide whether or not the faa exist at all or is it just to fund ongoing processes that they already have in place? host: i think it is the leader in twlatter, and to put other programs in place. why do you ask? caller: the building that is over your shoulder, since the 1960's have they ever come up with this in your program that they instituted and made and that program accomplished what it was supposed to have accomplished and went away or has it just become part of the bureaucracy were they asked for increased budgets year after year after year? my final thought is please let
cover program one time that says what is a conservative in what is their supposed to be conserving? what is a liberal and what are they supposed to be liberating? and these folks are progressive, what is it that they call progress and what any of us like it if they have their way? host: ok, robert, good questions for us to ponder in the future. baltimore on the democratic line. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i agree with the gentleman born in north carolina. this is the land that i love. i cannot agree more regarding the budget. when we look at the policy of the most current situation in
egypt, if you take a look at our foreign policy after the second world war, really have not want one engagement that we have went into. if anything, we're supporting regimes that are not good towards their people as we found the outi in iran and finding out in egypt in finding out in other parts of the world. most of that is because we need the precious energy because the people we elect in office, they refuse to use the natural resources in this country. no one likes to have polluted air, but to say we are automatically going from oil to wind and solar is insane. 308 million people in this country and we're want to make that switch? we're going to agonize over that? that should be a supplement. host: we of a couple of minutes left before a live program begins.
norma on the republican line. caller: no one ever mentions it. [inaudible] is there ever cord to be -- ever going to be any job open for anyone except the union or government? their debts adoes not seem to by of any kind. my son has been without work for three years. i was out for five but before i had to go out on retirement. what is going on? why does the government have to get everything? host: we are getting a lot of feedback. a reminder to all of the callers to keep the phonvolume down. let's hear from a lead on their republican line. -- len on the republican line.
caller: there are just so many things, the economy, what is going on in egypt. senator paul said last week something that was very interesting, and i wish that c- span -- this is a very sensitive subject, and how to put this in a way that comes off properly, the huge amount of money that is given to egypt, $2 billion per year, israel more money. the problems there are huge and substantial. i think if we had some really, really smart people that could come in on c-span on an open for of and discuss a wide-range of problems of the amount of money that is going to israel since 1948, the huge amount of
problems with the palestinians, what is going on there, i do not want to say anything that would make my comments anything but the facts on the table. the huge amount of trouble and in light of the economic struggles that we're going through, can we continuously afford to drop this kind of money into foreign countries? one thing that comes to mind when george washington says we should not paraphrase, go to bed with foreign countries. the other thing that eisenhower said with the industrial military complex, the monies that is going into egypt is for our garment. the same thing with israel, and we are fueling the fires. it seems that that is what