tv Washington Journal CSPAN March 7, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
>> "washington journal" is next. ♪ ♪ host: good morning and welcome to "washington journal" on this monday, march 7, 2011. instability in the middle east is causing gas prices to soar. that raises the question if it is time to open the nation's strategic petroleum reserve? should president obama open the strategic oil reserves? that is the question this morning.
you can also find us on e-mail and you can also send us your comments by twitter. we will read some of those on the air this morning. this is the story from "the baltimore sun." host: echoing comments made by a number of administration officials over the last week, the white house william davies told "meet the press" that the white house is looking at the
options. we will take a look of the, a few moments. should the u.s. open the oil reserves? should there be a marker of a gas price? should there be another way where that decision is made? let's go to michael on the line for independents. good morning. caller: yes, good morning. you have a great show. i have knowledge of the oil reserves. canada, 31% of u.s. oil. mexico, 28%. nigeria and venezuela, 16% each. arab world is only 4%. the oil reserves were bought during the bush administration
under the iraq war clause. when president clinton went out just 20% of the oil reserves bought by bush, sr., oil fell 2/3. if he lets out just the oil glut in the iraq war, oil should be down around $40 per barrel. thank you very much. have a great day. host: lou, a republican in topeka, kansas. good morning. caller: good morning. i think it would be a great big mistake to open the oil reserves. host: how come? caller: for one thing, there's not enough to make a long-term this in our problem. we are gluttons when it comes to consuming energy. that will just satisfy somebody
politically for a short time, but it will not do any long-term advantage to our energy supply. host: yesterday, the white house chief of staff, william daley, gave an indication of where the administration is falling on this. >> we are looking at the auctions. the issue of the reserves is and what we are considering. it is something that only has been done on rare occasions. there's a bunch of factors that have to be looked at. it's not just the price. the uncertainty in the middle east right now has caused an increase in the last couple of weeks. >> it is on the table. >> all matters have to be on the table when you see the difficulty coming out of this economic crisis we are in and the privacy of it. host: the white house chief of
staff, william daley, talking yesterday on "need the press -- "meet the press." this article from "the san francisco chronicle" says gas prices jumped 33 cents in two weeks. host: let's go to new york state, where ted joins us. what do you think? is it time to open the oil reserves? caller: i do not mind if they do that as a temporary fix. i just called in to say -- how
long are we going to put up with his yo-yo mentality -- with this yo-yo mentality? i drive a toyota corolla that gets 35 mpg. i think it's the responsibility of every american to have in the household at least one car that is going to get 35 or better miles per gallon. there are cars out there that do wonderfully well without having hybrid and without having to pay the high prices for the hybrid cars. yesterday, i was in a chevy volt at an auto show. there is a nissan leaf car that is electric. it's time for every american to get a smaller car than the ones they're driving and also to put pressure on our elected
officials to push forward with the development of the technology for electric cars so that we can plug them in, just like a cell phone. the leaf gets 100 miles per charge. if we develop that technology and everybody goes for it, we will be a lot better off. thank you. host: diesel is up 29 cents at $3.88 per gallon. san diego was among the highest surveyed. fresno had the lowest gas prices in california at $3.70 per gallon. joe writes on twitter that we should not open the oil reserves. taking a look at a story from reuters, giving us a perspective on wednesday oil reserves have been -- perspective on
wednesday -- on when the oil reserves have been tapped before. it was last tapped in 2005, following hurricane katrina. it will rely first on opec to fill the void left by the violence in libya. tallahassee, florida. nate joins us. caller: good morning. i had a couple of points to make. first of all, we should not open the oil reserves for one reason. the fundamentals are not there. there's not a supply and demand issue. it is only speculation issue by commodity brokers and derivative brokers in chicago and new york.
another reason is because our governor down here did not bother to push for the high- speed rail. what the other gentleman just said about electric cars -- if you mix the electric cars with high-speed rail, you could begin to move into a new century and a new era and develop new technologies that would eliminate the need for the yo-yo process of going up and down. if you remember back when mr. clinton had the same crisis, by opening the reserves, it did not have a significant impact on the price of fuel. those are two points that i really want to make. thank you. host: let's take a listen to what senator lamar alexander said yesterday on "state of the union." >> is it time to open the strategic oil reserves? >> not the strategic reserves. i'm buying an electric car yet
-- electric car tomorrow. what we need to do is to find more of our own to energy. that means exploring offshore and exploring on federal lands for oil and natural gas and it means exploring in alaska. host: republican senator lamar alexander on "state of the union" yesterday speaking against opening the oil reserves. senator rockefeller first president obama to allow a limited drawdown in the oil reserves to protect our national security by protecting or reversing the adverse impact of an oil shortage. steven chu ruled out releasing the oil reserves. the energy secretary said, "we're hoping market forces will take care of this." are market forces enough? dennis on the line for democrats in maryland.
good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you on c-span. i think he should do it. even if it is on a temporary basis. what people do not realize is that the oil does not just go to gasoline and diesel fuel. until the situation in the middle east and especially in libya is brought under control, for lack of a better word, we are going to have to release some oil. the economy is shaky now, but is recovering. if we have a problem, if consumers have a problem and we drive up to our local gasoline stations and get the sticker
shock of $4.20 per gallon, that will send a ripple effect throughout the economy. petroleum products are used in everything -- just about everything we do. airline prices -- we're just seeing that they are going up on their rates. that's going to stop travel for the spring and summer and that kind of thing. basically, yes, he should open up the reserves for a short- term and until the middle east is calmed down. we do not know what's going to happen in saudi arabia. they are sitting in a precarious situation. we do not know if they will have an uprising. that is my answer. thank you for taking me. host: looking at reuter's. saudi arabia has stepped up production significantly. oil prices remain high, partly
on fears of middle east destruction. despite longstanding -- there are reasons to believe the reserves could be used more liberally now, unlike in 2008, when oil prices shot to $150 per barrel in a demand-led rally. the current situation is due to supply, which could give president obama more latitude in to tapping into the reserves. richard in atlanta, georgia. good morning. caller: good morning. we import 1 million barrels of oil per day from saudi arabia. that is in danger. i have a different look at this. i think that there should be some strategic plan put on the table that taps the oil
reserves and averages the cost of gasoline at $2 per gallon for the next five years. during that five years, we need to build refineries. we need to drill in alaska and the federal lands. at the end of the five years, we should have energy independence and not depend on people like hugo chavez in venezuela for oil. that's my point. thank you very much. host: an e-mail -- host: bill in columbia, south
carolina. republican, good morning. caller: good morning. i do not think there's any reason at all to tap the strategic oil reserves. that would be kind of ludicrous. [inaudible] like the last guy said. the gas prices are jacked up by oil companies that we have helped get along through a lot of things. any opportunity that they have -- speculation or whatever you want to talk -- whatever you want to call it -- that's what they do. might be time to discuss that with some of those oil executives. i do not know what the real answer is. one thing that i would point out -- once upon a time we had a 55 m.p.h. speed limit when i was sitting in line waiting for gas in 1974 when jimmy carter was in
office. it saved a lot of gallons of gas. as soon as ronald reagan got in, that when south. that's all i have to say about eight -- about it host: c- span.org -- about it. host: dennis, do you buy gas? our prices -- how are prices? caller: $3.48. host: is it time to open the strategic oil reserves? guest: caller: -- caller: no, there is no oil shortage. there's no shortage of oil. that is clear by saudi arabia and all the countries. there's no oil shortage. it's all speculation. the day the oil companies -- all they are doing is using this as
an excuse to raise the price of gas and that is all it is. there is no oil shortage. if there was an oil shortage, yes, it would make sense to open the reserves. .here's enough gas there's enough oil available for the world market. these hedge fund guys and everybody, they are using this to create a market so that they can make more money. that is all. wait until the next quarter and you will see that the profit margin for these oil companies, when the report for this quarter -- it is all speculation. it's all a matter of using the scenario in africa and the middle east to profit.
their greed and the focus -- [inaudible] as a result of this, they're causing a ripple effect in the economy. it also affects all the people who use gasoline for production and for other reasons. i think it does not make sense to open the oil reserves at this stage because there's no oil shortage on the world market. it's all speculation. it's all about using the scenario in libya and other places to raise the price of gas. host: let's take a look at what is happening in the middle east and north africa in a moment. first, dennis writes on twitter -- the headline of "the washington post" today, "gaddafi forces
good morning. caller: i will tell you what. i was just turning to make my living back in carter days. i will tell you what. we were fortunate enough -- my parents bought a home and they were able to assume a 9% home. the interest rate was up to 21%. there were people fighting and shooting each other at gas stations. they are not federal lands. they are state lands. if some of the oil company -- there is speculation, but that is the situation everywhere. no energy policy, period. obama is keeping us from having one. i really resent somebody telling me to go buy an electric car. i'm saving every penny i can get
my hands on. it's going to be a bumpy ride. i really worried about egypt. if it does not end up in the hands of the muslim brotherhood or people associated with them and they close down the suez -- hang on. we've allowed one drilling site. that is it. $2 billion was sent from brazil to -- to brazil's government owns petro company. something's going on here. i listen to people saying how inept obama is. this man is doing everything he intends to do. when the -- he is talking to somebody.
i really agree with that gentleman. it's absurd. take your vacation locally. support your own communities and your own state and conserve. make sure when you take your car out, you are getting a whole lot of stuff done and you are strategically planning your drive and you are going 55 miles per hour. host: valerie, republican in merrill lynch republic -- and in maryland. good morning. caller: good morning. i think i agree with the guy who called about the speculator is. they play a big part in the market, but they speculate what they are going to foresee in the future. that is the part they played. there are three main parts to the oil game. i listened to palin the other
night. she is telling us -- in our arctic circle we have 500 billion barrels of oil to be drilled. the government has locked up their lands and they will not unlock them. where does the government think that they get the priority to tell us what to do with our lands? this belongs to us. this does not belong to them. let them drill. host: ok, let's take a look at some more of the news. "the new york times" has a piece from $4 billion -- "the new york times" has a piece from tripoli.
host: our question for you this morning -- should president obama open the strategic oil reserves? we're looking at some stories of what is happening in the middle east and north africa and what is happening here in terms of when it is time to open the oil reserves. we have a piece called "hands off our oil reserves." he says "democrats in congress
are clamoring for president obama to open the oil reserves." "if oil were taken out of the reserves, the withdrawn amount would have to be replaced, probably at higher prices. third, taking oil from the reserve would give credence to the notion that there's nothing wrong with being addicted to the oil." what do you think? a democrat in north carolina of -- in north carolina, do you think it is time to open the oil reserves? caller: i'm not sure on the timeline, but i think a portion of it should be. maybe it will help to adjust the oil prices back to a more
reasonable price. there is a combination of different things. that by itself will not take care of it for a long-term solution. many of the callers i've heard so far have had very good ideas. solution foration a possible long-term answer to our oil problems. i also had something else. i know it is off the subject, but i have a comment on the mandate for the health care. the only thing that i really would agree with on that aspect is that if the prices on
policies would be reasonable and the terms and conditions would be more susceptible -- more acceptable. not something around $10,000 per year. something more reasonable. host: texas. mike on the line for independents. mike, r u a driver -- mike, are you a driver? caller: unfortunately, yes. per gallon.3.49 should we open the supplies? no. they just announced we have the highest reserves of gasoline we've had in 18 years. other than these american public has been played a full to pay these kind of gas prices -- played a fool to pay
these kind of gas prices. i say, yes, let them drill, but not these monopolies that have been created in the last 20 years. we need new oil companies that are american that use an american oil to create american gasoline -- or we need to nationalize it. we got serious about it, the prices would drop in a hurry. we have been played a fool. need to put a stop to this so- called free market. having nice day. host: a couple other callers have talked about drilling at home. this is a story from npr a couple of days ago. "demand for oil is up, which
means gas prices are rising. that puts the subject of energy independence back into the political spotlight. american politicians in the oil industry are renewing their campaign to drill more here. the arctic national wildlife refuge is murkowski's solution." a lot of stories point out that is something that would not kick in right away. it would take years to tap that reserve and to tap other areas in alaska. what do you think about right now? let's hear from wally in florida field i think we lost him. john on the line for democrats. caller: i'm going to make a couple comments. please do not cut me off.
host: get to your point and we will see what we can do. caller: this is caused by multinational corporations with this so-called -- how you say it -- they are sitting here. it is speculation. these leaders are trying to deal with countries that do not have any laws. we are a nation of laws and we are taking our rights away so we can deal with others who are doing stuff to the poor in africa and saudi arabia and everything else. when people wake up that governments are trying to milk the life of the people so they can get control of the masses and then when these people take
control, we will really be in trouble. we've talked about republicans giving rights to women. the republicans are taking rights away from women. an african -- when you go to the chamber of commerce, one of the leaders in the chamber of commerce says that if a woman wants to be rich, marry a rich white man. c what is going on in other foreign countries where white people are making investments while these corporate communists are preying on the poor american people. host: ron in ohio. should the president opened the -- president open the strategic
oil reserves? it does not sound like we have him. let's go to naples. caller: good morning. i'm having trouble trying to figure this all out. this is all speculation. we do not have an oil shortage in the united states at all. all we have to do is open up a few refineries. we go to the arab countries. if we drilled in mexico, we would have oil for over 80 years. we are doing a lot of things just to make money. money is being made by the rich, who are controlling these industries. first of all, when you have the speculation that has been going on -- it's been going on for years. there's absolutely no shortage here. we saw this last time the oil prices went up and then they went all the way down to $1.89. we had an oil shortage at the
time, it would not have gone down at all. they tell us -- because china needs more oil. china needed just as much oil as that time. this is all speculation. it has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in libya. % ofe only getting maybe 2 oil from libya. we are worried about saudi arabia. we should really be worried about saudi arabia because we made ourselves so dependent on saudi arabia. if we open some of our oil refineries in the united states, we would not have these problems. i do not understand why we do not go over the border to drill in mexico. mexico has a tremendous amount of oil. why are we so reliant on the arabs? host: let's take a look at some of the weekly u.s. retail gas prices of regular grade. these latest numbers are from of the last day of february and
looking at a range of cities and states across the country. in boston, $3.30. chicago, $3.50. looking at some of the more expensive states, california at $3.72. the west coast in general, the average was $3.62. let's go to ohio. carl on the line for democrats. good morning. caller: please do not cut me off. all this stuff started in 1972 when nixon was elected. they started with all kinds of shortages. all the sudden, the gas shortage. people walked -- there's no shortage. there's never been a shortage. we could buy as much gas and oil as we wanted.
today, the people are so my eve. these people are brainwashed so bad. they have to believe in everything in the world. what we need in this country is a revolutionary war. thank you very much. host: taking a look at a reuters story. this columnist says, "the u.s. holds the most reserves, enough to meet the nation's needs for more than a month. the white house proposed selling crude oil last month to help cover the cost of managing the emergency stop oil -- the emergency stockpile. the white house said it would be a small amount of the holdings. the administration would need to
sell about 5 million barrels to raise five under million dollars." delores, independent line, new jersey. good morning. caller: i do not believe president obama should open the reserves because we do not have a shortage. there's no shortage. they are just going to drive the prices up. some callers say it is obama's fault. it is not president obama's fault. the oil companies do not want us to find other sources of energy. they would have no profit. it is ridiculous. i'm paying $3.27 per gallon. the viewers also have to realize, even if we drilled in the united states, that oil
would be sold overseas. it would not be used in the united states. please wake up and remember this. it will be sold in europe. thank you very much. host: let's look at the politics surrounding what is happening in libya right now. yesterday, we heard a little bit of william daley on "meet the press." he also talked about what is happening in libya. this comes to us from "the washington times." "many of those calling for a no- fly zone have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the burdens of such an undertaking. days after mr. obama said he was considering a full range of both military and nonmilitary options to thwart colonel gaddafi violent crackdown, william daley was back."
lots of people throw around the phrases of a no-fly zone. "when people comment on military action, most of them have no idea of what that means." "among those calling for a no- fly zone are the 2004 democratic presidential nominee, senator john kerry." host: in florida, david joins us on the line for republicans. hi, david. caller: i'm going to comment real quick on the oil reserve problem we have.
honestly, it's nothing more than big business freemasonry. i know it sounds propaganda -- it is big business. if we do not go to the pump, they do not get their money. yes, we are too dependent on foreign oil bill and we have enough in our own country to sustain ourselves. because of an illusion of this oil everywhere that we've had since the 1950's through the 1970's -- and we had a little .it of a crunch in the 1980's we stood up and said no. we can do this. host: janet on the line for democrats in georgia of.
do you think should president obama open strategic oil reserves? caller: the whole thing is basically a scam. one of the things in the cutbacks was farm subsidies. the profits -- they are raking in billions under this, including alaska. up glad the lady brought opening land. what they want to do is allow their land [inaudible] billions to allow the oil companies to run pipes on their land, which means they will be making money from the oil companies and the government. in florida alone, there are over 230 then people raking in over $9 billion under the guise of farm subsidies.
i just read an excellent article. looking up. host: what does this have to do with the oil reserves? what does this have to do with the oil reserves? caller: they want to get money from the oil companies and continue to get money from the government under these private lands. host: ok. let's take a look at some other stories. from "usa today" -- the danger of a muslim witchhunt.
host: he is talking about the fact that there will be in these hearings coming up. also in the news this week in politics, michelle bachmann appeared yesterday on "meet the press" talking about the influence of the tea party in the republican party. let's take a look at what she had to say. >> it may be hard to understand why someone would want to jump off a cliff to solve the debt crisis, unless you understand your being chased by a tiger, and that tiger is the tea party. >> i think the political left has been very afraid of the tea party movement because it is not necessarily political. it's not democrats or republicans. it's made up of a broadbased coalition of people who want the country to work again. they believe we are taxed enough
already and the government should not spend more money than it is taking in three each of the three branches of government should act within the jurisdictional limitations of the constitution. they just want our people to work again. i think that coalition is sticking together more strongly now than ever. host: congresswoman michelle bachmann in minnesota, talking about the influence of the tea party in the republican party. another story in the news today from "the wall street journal" -- "the day for -- "big payday for some hill staffers." host: "the wall street journal"
looking at a couple of representatives in congress, looking at the big bump in first quarter paid. our question this morning -- should president obama open strategic oil reserves? let's hear from michael on the line for independents. good morning. caller: i think he should. you have all these things -- these kings in other country. they are doing fine. all these other countries are rich. we do not need a president. what we need is a king. we need a king. our presidents have tried and
tried through our history and the only thing they do is sit up and get great headed -- grey- headed. host: john, good morning. caller: we need a king. [laughter] i do not think we should open our strategic oil reserves. all the president needs to do is that we need to announce that we will become more energy independence. i believe that we probably have more oil in our western states in -- are western states and alaska than saudi arabia and iraq combined. all it would take is for him to announce that and that would drop a lot of the volatility because of the middle eastern oil supplies and all the volatility.
it is causing this speculation and this bubble in price but i want to make a comment about the article you read about the muslim witchhunt. there was a full-page article here five years ago about an iman from saudi arabia giving a sermon at the largest mosque in georgia of three he gave it in -- in georgia. there was a full-page article and it was just astonishing. he was saying the most violent things about america. it was unbelievable. this is the "atlanta journal constitution here " there's a big problem with in many parts of islam.
host: you want to see these hearings go forward that rep king is calling for? caller: yes, i think it's a big problem that many of us are ignoring. host: how are gas prices in atlanta? caller: the highest i've seen is $3.89 per gallon. that's for premium. $3.40 for regular. it is high, but i know it's higher in a lot of other places. i know it will definitely affect the economy, if it keeps going up. we definitely need to become more energy independent. host: taking a look at a couple of stories in international news before we go on to our guest this morning. this is from the associated press. a top aide official says
213,000 foreign workers have fled libya's violence. host: also, from afghanistan, u.s. secretary robert gates said that both the u.s. and afghan governments agreed the american military should remain in afghanistan after the planned 2014 end of combat operations to help train and advise afghan forces. host: thank you for all your calls this morning. later on in the program, we will talk about the debate over gay marriage.
first, we will be joined by josh kraushaar, the executive editor of "the hot line" to talk about politics. we will be right back. ♪ ♪ >> over 1000 middle school and high-school students entered this year's student cam competition. c-span will announce the 75 winners of the competition wednesday morning during our "washington journal." 2012esident obama's fy
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it's also available as an iphone app or c-span podcast. >> "washington journal" continues. host: josh kraushaar, thank you for being here this morning. we were just talking about the strategic oil reserves. how are the politics playing out? guest: the administration's decision to potentially open up the strategic oil reserves -- host: they are putting it on the table. caller: that's right, but the politics of rising gas prices is very treacherous. john mccain led when we had a temporary spike in gas prices. the white house knows that when the economy shows some signs of improving, the one thing that could hold the recovery is if
voters look at the price at the pump and is is over -- and it is over $4. the administration has not been very energy friendly. at the time of high gas prices, they're looking to change their views. host: democrats are calling for the administration to open the reserves. lamar alexander was on one of the talk shows yesterday and said it is not time. he said he was going to buy an electric car instead. how are the politics flee now, not just at the white house, but that the capital behind us? caller: it's somewhat of a strategic issue. merry land drew has been one of the biggest critics of the administration for not opening up -- for not opening up strategic oil reserves after the bp oil spill.
in the cap and trade debate of 2009, we solve a lot of democratic members of congress that voted -- we saw a lot of democratic members of congress took it at the ballot. everybody's going to take it out on the white house. it's very treacherous for the administration. host: josh kraushaar, even writing a bit about republican scott walker of wisconsin. as republican governors battle the white house -- are fighting the white house on anything from the health insurance law to epa regulations and high-speed rail. is it happening piecemeal? guest: biggest opposition is not
coming from congress, but it is coming from the states. there's no secret meetings that are going on. the crop of freshmen governors are not meeting and having private conversations, but they ran on a similar platform. there are pension deficits in many states. they are trying to put their fiscal houses in order and they are offering -- walker and christie are offering the most stark contrast between what the president is planning when it comes to entitlements. they are aggressively contesting the need to do something. they say we need to do something now and get these pensions and benefits in line. host: what do you think the --
you think the main crisis is coming from the state's -- main cry coming from the states? caller: -- guest: republicans have a history. george bush came from texas. welfare reform was a cause of the conservatives. tommy thompson in wisconsin -- they were at the forefront of those issues. i think we're seeing that again. republicans control a majority of the statehouses in the country. they gained a record number of state legislative seats in the midterm election. they realize that they have a real opportunity to check president obama's influence. it's not so much coming from speaker boehner and the republican leadership. host: what are the implications for 2012 and the elections? guest: the biggest names so far
-- you have mitt romney and he made big news over the weekend. the one candidate running on that fiscal confidence platform is not a candidate yet, and that is governor mitch daniels. he has a record of restraining collective bargaining. he has a record of taking on labor in the state. he is trying to get a major education reform bill passed. if he ran, he would be most in tune with the message from a lot of the republicans. host: this story in "the washington post" -- how much does his voice matter in a time when republican governors who are in office are grabbing a lot of headlines right now? guest: it matters. he is the front runner.
he's the most prepared to run, based on his performance last year and he is well staff. he has the money and a team together. it is striking. he does not want to make any mistakes. he is very conservative. his speech over the weekend in new hampshire was striking because he actually took on the health-care issue, which he has not mentioned that much recently. the fact that he said he wanted to repeal obamacare was notable. it would not be knowledgeable -- it would not be a notable coming from any other candidate. host: josh kraushaar, executive editor at hotline. jesse on the line for democrats in chicago. good morning. caller: good morning.
i wanted to give my view of the opening of the strategic oil reserves. i think it's very important that the president acts quickly in doing so. our economy is so fragile right now that the consumers have less to spend. as long as this thing keeps on going, they are going to spend less and less. i own a business. it's really hurting me. i'm going to park my truck until something is done. however, i also want to see legislation -- whenever these speculators go crazy -- the american people have to recoup something. we are just taken to the dry cleaners. guest: there's an awfully strong correlation between the price of gas and the president's approval. a lot of people that will be
voting in 2012 will look at the price of gas and that will have a large correlation between how they view the economy, even if the economy is recovering. host: i think that reflects a lot of americans use -- guest: i think that reflects a lot of americans views. host: the numbers to call if you want to speak to josh kraushaar -- you had a recent piece from last week. "that vision thing." host: elaborate on that for us. guest: the problem republicans
will face in 2012 taking on president obama -- if you are just going to argue that we need to cut spending and make arbitrary cuts, that's not a winning message. republicans are one to find themselves in trouble if they do not have a reform message or a growth message. you cannot just say i'm going to cut stuff and take things away, especially when it him -- especially when it comes to entitlements. if you ask voters whether you favor taking away benefits on social security and then -- and medicare, they will look at that negatively. they need to couple it with a reform message. gov. walker in wisconsin has been doing that at the state level 3 he says -- that the state level. what he has not saidhost: how ic
perception of unions playing out? guest: it is a rally cry for republicans. it is taking on union rules. teacher unions have become a major villain. gov. christie had taken on the teachers' union. he has won. he convinced voters that want to view them favorably that they are a detriment to the education system. he is a good example. he offered a reformist message. it has appealed to a lot of voters. host: republican caller from illinois. a good morning. caller: as a former state worker who has retired, people do not understand to the state of illinois that most educators
retire making more of a pension and what their salary was. the cost is probably running about 20% of our debt and it is climbing every year, because of obligations to pay in the pension program. i applaud the states that are taking on the unions to cut these costs. people have no idea. it is a shame that state employees can have a nice pension plan, compared to their fellow workers, who are not involved in government employment. guest: there needs to be a discussion. one of the failures in wisconsin is he did not have a discussion with the voters. he did not have a town hall. he saw he could get his budget passed with the votes he had. he did not have a conversation with wisconsin voters. we saw that in washington with
the obama health care plan. i think the lesson for republicans and democrats alike is if you have something controversial and passing something significant, you have to educate its with voters. host: a caller in greenville, mississippi. caller: i am starting not to trust this character right here. obama has been doing this for a while now. he talks about change, but he does not get anything done. cut it out. we know the government set up the oil for more money. there are no schools here, no jobs created. it is all because of the usa. you need to do something about
it. host: how are independent scholars shaping the debate right now? there has been some discussion about the tea party movement pulling the gop to the right or influencing preferences. where are independence? independents? guest: there is a striking gap between the view of obama on policy issue on every national poll. you see his personal favorability ratings which are still very good. there is a huge gap. the question is when 2012 comes around, can he use his bank of personal liability to get some of the independent voters and swing voters, even if they do not agree with him on her --
policy. host: what is the touchy point on health care for medicaid for high-speed rail between these parties? guest: high speed rail -- too much: on the issue for republicans. -- polling on the issue for republicans. should we spend millions of dollars when we have more pressing issues to attended to? the republican parties can be identified as one that resists obama and is trying to make the contrast on spending. they want to balance the budget. democrats may not be as serious on the issue. host: next caller.
caller: all of these people are andicizing the teacherages, they do not know the facts. check the teaching salaries in germany, and it is much higher than the united states. some of the states, the teachers do not qualify for social security. private employees get a pension and so security. there are a lot of things wrong. i wanted -- and social security. there are a lot of things wrong. i want to talk about the gas situation. there is a record world profit never to have been seen before. they will break it again at the expense of all of the people. many will suffer. everything you buy will be affected. the prices are climbing in everything.
these governors are in for a good beating next time around. teachers are willing to concede some of the raises and benefits. they do not want to hear it. they want to press the unions. they are making a big mistake. thanks. host: a new poll finds response taking the side of laborers. many supported governor walker of wisconsin. guest: one thing republicans thought would push to their side is state democrats leaving the state. what i heard the -- it does not matter. the images of the democrats leaving the state -- if you favor the side of the labor, you look at it favorably. unions is a very
interesting thing to look at. obama trying to talk about education reform -- will he get traction in the next year? there is a split within the democratic problem, which a party even among liberals. the waiting for superman crowd which painted educators in an unfavorable light. the labor crowd want collective bargaining and affect the rights .urned over that period hos host: next caller. caller: we are talking about trying to save money and make sure -- the austerity measures
that will be put in place and killing americans, there are two proposals to create 4 million jobs for americans. one would be the rails that you touched upon. if we can expand that out and do that across the country, it will put about 2 million americans back to work, such as engineers, truck drivers. there is another proposal called north american water and power alliance. it is proposing to bring water down from canada to california and a swing it out to where we need it and green the desert. that could put 4 million americans back to work in a month's time. if we can do that, the economy will pick up and we will have money to spend again. we can try to get ourselves out of this mild depression that we are in. i do not believe anything about the recession has ended or unemployment being under 9%.
many are buying the hype from washington. guest: a lot of the democratic political capital in terms of spending were used up on the stimulus. it has been hard politically for democrats to make the argument that we need to spend more, when the voters look at the unemployment rate. maybe it is a policy case. maybe not. politically, it is hard for democrats to say we want more money to get us out of the recession, when obama spent nearly $1 billion at the beginning of his term, and it did not have the results that they promised. host: josh kraushaar is the executive director of "hotline."
guest: the president had a politically conservative attractive. when polls show that it is a risky strategy -- you are a president with solid likability, and the mid 40's in your approval rating, you do not want to be put in a bad position for reelection. republicans have a big decision to make. they are saying, we are going to cut this budget and take on so security and medicare. it has a lot of risks. -- social security and medicare. it has a lot of risks. if republicans brand themselves as a fiscally responsible party,
they could reap the benefits if they get the narrative right and can bring themselves effectively. host: how is the idea for cutting entitlements and how are members of the gop responding? michelle bachman would not answer a lot of questions on "meet the press" on how hard of a line we should take when it comes to cutting the budget. guest: do you support raising the retirement age in cutting social security? three-quarters of the voters resisted that. the key for republicans and christie offered a model, we need to make cuts. he sold the message. it is remarkable in new jersey, the polling. it has turned to accepted
conventional wisdom for a lot of new jersey voters. there was a survey this past month that said even union members asked to give up more of their benefits, over 40% said that is what they would do. it is a tough message to get across, but they can do it effectively. host: our guest wrote in a recent column in this. mitch daniels has laid out his fiscal confidence. chris christie is making a case that making painful course is for the country is good politics. and walker has had a post test that has begun. -- protest that has begun.
you look at some of the efforts that president george w. bush made? guest: a political winner turned out to be a disaster. the risks are great. politicians do not like to take risks. at a time when voters are realizing that what we are spending and the budget deficit are sky-high, this is a time where there is opportunity as well and republicans would lend them a significant opportunity to take the lead. host: republican caller. caller: i wanted to make comments about the situation in
wisconsin. i think they have gone about it the wrong way. i am in a union along with my husband. they are not all correct in everything they do, but i do not think we want to live in a world without unions. they affect everyone's benefits. guest: republicans want some boats along conservative union members. democrats dominate among union members in key swing states. if republicans can get more of those from a union base, and have a message -- you could alienate some in 2012. host: what about obama organizing for america?
guest: the situation in wisconsin, it was fascinating to see the gop involvement. the wisconsin arm of the ofa was talking about support among the protesters. they said they acted without ever green light. this is not something the white house would have done by some zealous staffers. it is fun -- not beneficial for a president to weigh in on a state issue. there are political consequences for that. host: democrats in ohio. caller: the government needs to go back to basics. what it amounts to is they
should be under the same retirement system, saying the medical raises, everything should be the same. what happens is if they do not get affected by it, why do they care what it does to us? it does not affect them at all. guest: governments across the country are trying to strike that balance. it is a very volatile issue. people are still learning about the issues and the policies involved. when you look at mitch daniels, who saw his popularity decrease, it did not look like he was going to win a second term. now he ran in 2008 and won 52% of the votes, and is well ahead
of president obama. he is looking as a potential presidential contender. will the president take a hit now and reduce awards later were be more conservative on the issue? caller: when you look at colonies -- [unintelligible] it is only these powerful people that have a say -- they should not have say. people need to respect others. that is about all i have to say. guest: that is the other side, when it comes to the energy issue. even those on the democratic side, the pain of higher gas prices is very real.
unemployment is around 9%. it may be even higher. they do not want to see if there are other domestic sources of energy when the price at the pump is almost $4. host: a republican in blair, arkansas. good morning. caller: hello. what i wanted to say this morning is you get into a good plant, you do not have to have a union to get a good wages and insurance. i work for a certain place around this area. for 70 years, one of the conditions was no union -- 17 years, one condition was no
union could be brought into the plant. of fantastic wages -- different purpose such as free insurance. nothing was said about it. when a obama was making his speech before the legislative, when he was talking about the health care, he said he would not touch medicare and social security. he has already done that. arkansas is a state where our
constitution says we have to have a balanced budget at the end of the year. we have had that. we have always come out looking good. one year we had three point something in the good and they spent it on roads and things like that. you can talk to governor huckabee about that. host: i did not mean to cut you off. my accident fair. guest: we talk about how the white house uses budget crises. when the white house can put an issue of, they have to make tough twist is. that is the heart of conflict
between democratic and republican governors. they have to make extremely tough decisions. every governor in the country is having to make tough budget decisions. host: john, baltimore, md., independent line. caller: i had a comment regarding pensions and so security. i am a military retiree. my pension barely makes $90,000 a year before taxes. -- $19,000 a year before taxes. so security -- social security
and pension plans may around 30 thought -- $39,000 earmarked before taxes. will it affect people that paid into it all of their lives, like myself? host: what are you worried about? caller: i am only 58. i cannot work. i am getting social security disability along with my military retiree pension. it barely puts me above the poverty line. guest: my colleague wrote a terrific column about how voters will handle the retirement social andsocia sec
security. there is a bigger issue beyond the budget and pension. will this generation have to keep on working past the retirement age? that is a bigger issue that has not been addressed by members of congress or governors. host: the debate over the budget, we will see how it plays out this week. over 60 billion cuts -- they were able to reach a compromise. now we return to the big debate about how much spending to cut, where to draw the line. how is the white house weighing into that or not? guest: from a vice-president joe biden to key members of the budget negotiation team, trying to negotiate a deal with
republicans. both parties have issues with john boehner. many members of the congress have to take a harder line, cutting the minimum to give the democrats what they want so they will support it. many progressive members are resisting it vehemently. it may go down like it did last week when we got a temporary extension. president obama had already expressed support for the cuts made. host: republican, pennsylvania. caller: i have a comment about wisconsin and the senators hiding out. they were put in there to do a job, and they are not doing it. by my estimation, they are cowards.
you do not run away when things do not go your way. if they come back, there should that you cannot walk out when you do not agree. host: the wall street journal called the democrats in union standoff a political chicken. guest: it is an interesting article. the conventional wisdom was by leaving the state it would taint the argument. it has not worked out that way. the unions have been working the political argument.
if that reporting is on board, there could be long-term effect if the governor's plan go through. host: oklahoma, janet. caller: of wanted to talk about a couple of things. one is on the entitlement cuts. i am more than willing to take a cut, a hair cut. i insist that something is done about the tax code where there are individual things written for corporations where they can take tax cuts. the republicans ran on that in november that they were going to do those things. why should the president lead on
that when the people that just came in and the tea party are the ones who ran on that? guest: it is interesting to see several democratic governors are offering budget proposals with budget cuts and tax increases. there is a middle ground, a third alleged that democratic governor's take. only time will tell which way will work. they have to see which one works out best. host:here is what was written on twitter. how much is wall street and the financial crisis coming into play? guest: there is something to be said that the voters do not like big government, big labour.
you can put them together and you will find a consensus. washington could be a punching bag for democrats. they may be trying to find a bogyman to demonize. many do not like big institutions. small businesses are the republicans' favorite line. it is a sentiment that democrats will target. host: new mexico, independent line. caller: i have a factual question. how well, what percentage of the retirement and health-care benefits of public employees are funded in wisconsin? guest: i do not have the number of hand.
what you are seeing in wisconsin is the governor is asking for public workers to pay a larger share of their pensions and other health-care benefits as part of their paycheck. caller: they are funded by 99.7% or 90% in two estimations. if you look at that number, you will understand what is not going on in wisconsin. look at the health and retirement benefits of public employees in a study done by dean baker, he looked at the benefits before the economic downturn and after. the reason why the benefits are in arrears is because of the economic downturn. it is because of the blow up on wall street. i resent reporters such as yourself coming on the air and talking about retirement
benefits without having factual information. host: let me say for his sake, we invited him talking about politics. we are looking to him for insights into what the implications of it are. let's get a response on that. guest: the working class, public sector unions are a major part of it. it is a significant policy issue. public-sector unions make up a significant part of the democratic party fund raising in organizing as well, it makes this fight in wisconsin have been dramatic implications for the future. it is a very serious policy issues. how the governor walker fairs and have the governor in ohio affairs has a traumatic effect on how things play out in the future. host: he is the hot line
executive editor. he is the executive editor and has a weekly column, against the grain. thanks for being with us this morning. coming up next, a roundtable discussion on gay marriage and the gop response to the president in recent decision not to defend the defense of marriage act. let's go to a news update from c-span radio. >> it is 32 past the hour. robert gates said both the united states and afghanistan agreed that u.s. troops should remain in the country after the plant 2014 in the combat operation. the secretary arrived today on a surprise visit to afghanistan following a stop at an airfield, he meets with the afghan president. this is his 13th trip to the country and maybe one of his last as he has said that he will
retire this year. afghanistan will be on the agenda today when president obama welcomes the australian prime minister to the white house. they will hold bilateral meetings in the oval office, and then they will make public remarks. you can hear them live shortly after 11:00 a.m. here on c-span radio. the fighting continues in libya and oil prices are rising. when hundreds of dollars per barrel a day. u.s. gas prices have jumped 33 cents over the past couple of weeks. $3.51 a gallon is the price today. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> with a two week extension in place, republican and democratic leaders continue working on a spending bill the rest of the year. the timeline, and read transcripts of every session. find videos of archives c- span.org slash congress.
>> we see a world of broadband and broadcasts. we do not want broadcast to go away. >> the future of broadcast television with gordon smith. the "communicators'" on c-span 2. >> there is a new way to get a concise review of the day's events on washington radio. we will take you to capitol hill, the white house, and in a rare news is happening. we will also talk with the experts, the politicians and the experts, as we put the day's events into perspective. the stories that matter to you the most every day on c-span radio from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. eastern time. you can watch it nationwide on satellite radio or go online at c-span.org. it is also available as an iphone application.
you can also download a pot cast. >>p -- podcast. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we are here to talk about the defense of marriage act. we have two guests ,maggie gallagher and brian moulton. how significant is the decision that the president will not to defend the marriage act? guest: we thought we would get someone in the courtroom trying to win these cases. president obama has declined to defend the law, in part because he is losing these lower court cases, because he is not bringing the best evidence into court. we have been strategizing behind the scenes on how to get someone
into court that can intervene. president obama made our job a lot easier. host: the national a court -- organization for marriage is against gay marriage. it was not a suspect -- a setback when the obama administration said it will not keep defending? guest: if they are unable to repeal the defense of marriage act by going to congress, it is unilaterally declared that these laws are not defensible. we were appalled by that. on the other hand, it was good news for us, because we recognize the obama administration is not seriously trying to win these cases. host: here is one comment.
brian moulton, how significant wasn't that the obama administration pulled back on this? -- was it that the obama administration pulled back on this? guest: they recognize that the laws discriminate on people based on sexual orientation should be reviewed by courts. we should not put a rubber-stamp on the constitutionality of laws. on those points, it is a
tremendous step forward for our community. host: a key section is said to be that it is unconstitutional. some of the language makes it harder to defend according to house speaker john boehner. can you talk about that? guest: when the marriage act was passed in 1986, it was an ugly thing. it suggests gays and lesbians -- and they are not a proper place for children to be raised in their relationships. it is not surprising, given the position on gays and lesbians in this country and the way they
contribute to our society that they will no longer be able to defend those kinds of justifications. host: maggie, you were shaking your head in response to what he was saying. guest: the rationale that is most important that he is misdescribing is that marriage is about responsible procreation. we have an interest in bringing mothers and fathers together to raise their children in the same family. this is the rational basis for our marriage laws. for the obama administration to refuse to acknowledge that that is the purpose of the law laid out is another example of irresponsibility on this issue.
the idea that marriage is not defensible as has been in wife is a concern. host: here is a comment. what is the statute in some cases? [inaudible] guest: the portion that defines marriage as a man and woman only for federal purposes -- we have to raise that and talk about the discussion. we have some states that have chosen to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples.
now the federal government is saying some of your marriages are valid and some are not. some couples are worthy of the federal benefits, rights, protections. there are over 1000 incidents in the code attached to marital status. these same-sex couples are not able to receive these benefits. that they didty wh passed.tdoma whet when doma was it is not about how the president feels on marriage. it is about what states are ready doing. host: massachusetts, connecticut, iowa, vermont are haveof the state's debt
approved same-sex marriage. caller: i do not think they need to waste their time in trying to defend it. i will make a couple of comments about this. if someone has a gay kid, they must not be good parents. a heterosexual couple having a good -- a kid, so they are not a good parent? you cannot judge a person because of their sexuality. you have so many good people that can raise kids. the important thing is you have to think about the child itself. if you have two man taking care of a kid, trust me, the kit will not know what is going on in the bedroom. i have a sister that is gay.
she can watch my kids any day of the week. she will not tolerate them knowing anything about her relationship. they think of her friend as they are not. a -- unt. -- aunt. we are trying to play god. we should not waste our time with this. guest: i think it is right that millions of children in this country are being raised by gay and lesbian couples. child where for air -- welfare organizations -- it is almost universally that same-sex couples make good parents. marriage helps protect families. same-sex couples raising children is happening around the
country and many are disadvantaged that their parents cannot be married and those marriages are not recognized fully. host: the idea to make a marriage to have a husband and wife, that their own mother and father loved each other -- it does not imply that a people are not good parents. there are many parents not married in this country and do well by the children. there is scientific evidence -- we do not have a study that looks at how children raised by the two fathers with no mother there at all. we have the summer research on lesbian mothers and they look quite encouraging.
-- some research on lesbian mothers and they looked quite encouraging. the main point is that -- it is not going to waste any of the time of congress. do not worry about that. government will not come to a halt about this. host: i want to take a look at this story in the "washington post" looking at a couple and their daughter. they relaxed at home in maryland. they have lobbied a state senator to vote for the gay marriage bill. they talk about how personal appeals are making a difference when it comes to helping members decide how they vote vote in maryland.
personal appeals from members of congregations that are against gay marriage. how do you see this personal touch affecting the debate right now? guest: it affects it tremendously. at first it was an abstract concept for many americans. now a picture like this of a couple in the paper or goes on television to talk to their neighbor or fellow parishioners, people are viewing same-sex couples raising children and making families together and understand it is not fair to treat them differently. they do not want to deprive them of the benefits, particularly in economical times.
host: you are more likely to get government benefits if you are not married, but let's put that aside. some states have resisted the republican ray in the last election cycle. richardway in the last -- way in the last election cycle. one person was originally for same-sex marriage changed her mind when she heard from her constituents. the government has no business redefining marriage according to some people. host:maggie gallagher is with an association that is against a marriage. brian moulton is with an organization that is for gay
marriage. let's hear from our republican line. caller: my name is tom. host: we are glad to have you wanted a. caller: i heard the lady say that marriage is a contract. in our county, and in the last census, we have less people here. that is what marriage was set up for, a contract. it used to be that the laws were for the benefit of the producent' so they can assets, which are kids. one thing i see that we have done is no fault divorce, which has 50% of the people getting a
divorce. so now we are going to go to gay marriage, which i understand 80% of gay couples split. that is going to be a boost for the lawyers. if gay couples want to take care of each other, they can sign a contract any time. but to change marriage is just not right. guest: i am not sure about the 80% figure. i am sure my partner would find that appalling. marriage is the way our society recognizes relationships. there are good reasons that same-sex couples should not have access to the same institution. but a same-sex couple cannot attend all of the rights and privileges under the law right now. you cannot contact and its
social security benefits for your partner. you cannot contact or have continuation coverage for your health coverage for your partner or for immigration purposes or file your taxes jolly to get economic -- jointly to get in the economic benefits that may come with that. we do not have the same legal protections. that simply just is not true. host: the idea that the way marriage protect children protect not only economic benefits is not true. the history and research is that the way marriage protect children is bringing the child's mother and father in a stable union. children's that -- of parents that we mary do not do better
than single mothers. re regionmarry d -- remarry do not do better than single mothers. we all have an interest in being together whether we marry or not. host: do you see the defense of marriage act as potentially just that, the government getting involved in people's lives? -- love lives? the federal government got involved in the 19th century when the issue was polygamy. this is nothing new. the fact that judges in one state can decide policy on their own, which is what happened in
massachusetts. it is not reasonable to say a single state can decide what the national policy is. host: president obama and eric holder said they would not defend the marriage act anymore. house speaker john boehner said that they will defend it. take a look at what this means. this is from npr. house minority leader nancy pelosi -- a differen a group of house leaders will get together and look at this. what do you think may come out of that? because john boehner says he is moving forward does not guarantee an outcome. guest: the voters will call
around the office. the speaker does not go to a group to make a decision about what he is going to do. be a 3-2ructured to be3 a- vote. we can guess what the outcome will be. guest: all three members of the republican side said they would call for intervention, making it clear that they have at least three votes on that panel. host: speaker john boehner says he will move forward. guest: perhaps the democrats will make angry statement, but i do not think it will be much of a process. guest: once this gets underway,
there are at least nine cases that we have been made aware of in the justice department -- a role in this. it could mean that the house spent a great deal of taxpayer dollars defending this issue. [unintelligible] they could spend money on the appellate level on cases going to district court where they deal with discovery and other litigation expenses involved. they're taking on quite a large scale challenge and a costly one. they have said many times dealing with some economic and job issues that are very important. host: they haguest: they have ls on staff, so i do not think it
will cost that much money. that is not a real issue. host: in the pan , st. charles, missouri. thanks for joining us -- independent line, st. charles, missouri. thanks for joining us. caller: you have hundreds, thousands of cases of married couples that have exported their children. before the civil rights act, blacks and whites were not allowed to get married. when he throws studies out there saying that a people are not as efficient as -- at raising children, they are usually brought by a right wing organization or something like that. i do not think that you can just say that it is not true that
they have more rights because they are not allowed to get married. if they have a house and the partner dies, they do not enjoy the same rights as everybody else. i just do not understand why we are wasting time on this subject. we talk about wanting a small government, but republicans want to jump in and divided the country by going after somebody who they candying is unworthy of the same rights as everybody else. host: what is your response, maggie? guest: our classic definition of marriage is could and should be defended. many disagree with us. in this case, if john boehner wanted to take this up, it is
because president obama decided to decline to defend the law. the house and the senate are given the opportunity to intervene in the john boehner has done that in a quick and efficient in clear way, for which we are grateful. all i can say is that millions of americans do think it matters. it is not about demonizing other people. that is not what we think we are doing so it may sound like back to you. among the great issues of the day, it is important to know what the public considers to be marriage. it makes it hard to understand why governments are in the marriage business at all. if it is not about protecting the children, then it is about
giving the government this house keeping seal on people's relationships. i do not understand why the government would be in that business? -- business. guest: i think the government has an interest in supporting families. we continue to deny the reality that same-sex couples merit the same support as opposite sex couples do. i do not think it is a radical idea. i would hope that people would be flattered that same-sex couples want to be a part of this institution that we think is very important and what to be a part of it as well. the president's action, i find it interesting that it is characterized as extra- constitutional.
when the justice to permit follows the process is laid out in law, giving congress the opportunity to defend -- whether i agree or not as to whether they should be defending, this situation has arisen a number of times over our nation's history. that is even when republicans who controlled just as the promised decided not to defend the law. i do not think it is as quite a major issue. host: a recent story in the ""the wall street journal" looks at this. lets look at some of the history of the events of marriage back. it was enacted in 1996, into law
by bill clinton. that comes to us from the national conference of state legislatures. our guests are brian moulton, a kit for the human rights campaign and maggie gallagher and from the national organization of marriage, which is against it. let's go to albany, new york. democratic caller. caller: i just want to say i do support the gay marriage and hopefully things do turn around and they come to some current of conclusion -- some type of conclusion. hopefully we can put our brains together and work on this issue.
host: both of my guests are laughing and smiling. why is that, maggie gallagher? guest: "put our big brains together." it would be nice if washington would do that. host: next call, go ahead. caller: i do not particularly care if gay couples have the rights and privileges of a man and woman if they're married. what i do have a problem with is a system being called married. it seems that marriage end pride and groom and husband and wife are traditions for sense -- marriage and bride and groom and husband and wife are traditions for centuries.
host: brian moulton? guest: every union in this country is a civil union. we call them marriages, but they are a function of the state. but the way that some states have moved really positive in that it does grand the same rights to gay couples, but it is kind of a trap because it is different labeling. why do we need to be put in a box that is little different? -- labeled differently? the real significant issue for us is a societal and cultural perspective. but the government right now does not recognizable unions and
same-sex couples. states are deciding to do this before same-sex couples. -- to do this for same-sex couples. host: turning to maggie gallagher, chuck wrote in a question from west virginia and asked if you consider civil unions for gay couples to be an acceptable compromise. guest: i do not think it is a compromise. i think it is just a way station at this point. there are forms of civil unions that i could support and some that i would not. and what we found in connecticut and california is that when you process the same-sex union bill, a gain marriage lawyers say that now means you're laws are unconstitutional. i think it has to be carefully drawn.
and to offer civilians to opposite sex couples is a really bad idea and will affect our culture. when we talk about changing the law of marriage, we are not talking about changing just what gay couples doing their private life. we're talking about what our government is going to say in public and is going to say the meaning of the word marriage has now changed. these very words that we used will take on new meaning. and if the goal is social respect, i think you should go to the people and ask for it and not through the courts. host: with go to champaign, illinois. caller: i think this whole question is the semantics. i think you should be able to choose. if you are a couple -- a gay
couple and want to go to a church to marry you, you should be able to say you are husband and wife if you want to. but what about those that do not want to use those terms? the government only got involved in marriage to tax couples. if you have the same rights, you get those tax breaks for children. you protect the children of these couples. that is the most important thing, regardless of what you call it. i have a friend who is gay. hi, chad, in chicago. he is a wonderful person he is 24, so not married yet. he told me that he does one children one day. he wants to adopt a child that nobody else wants in the foster care system. he is a great person and he will
make a great father when he is ready. he does not care what the government or anyone else says about it. he wants protection for his job and his partner and they will call themselves has been and has been if they want to. host: maggie gallagher? guest: i'm sure they will and if they are in massachusetts, the law will agree with them caridad most of the benefits that are directed at children have been separated from marital status. if you are the legal parent of your children you can get tax breaks. i do not want to exaggerate. there are some cases where a gay couple will be better of financially if they are married. but there are lots of cases where you are worse off if you are married. you can get health insurance or you could lose your health insurance. i do not want to leave you with
a misimpression, whether you are gay or straight. do not think that the government will hand you a check when you get married. it is not true. host: the we are also talking about legal rights and to a child. guest: ministates offer the option of -- many states offer the option of adoption of forcing sex couples but not everywhere. marriage would change that in many instances. unfortunately, to boil it down to economic advantages and suggest that this what we're talking about a, it is a large
package of obligations and responsibilities under the law. and society looking at same-sex couples and treating them with the same respect as opposite sex couples, it is a combination of those things. host: here is a tweet. in recent and "washington post" story about that african- americans response to the pres.'s shift on doma. it talks to one woman who had conflicting views of it and she is among the 68% of churchgoing african-americans who oppose
same-sex marriage and among the 90% who support president obama. as the black community wrestles with this issue, how do you see the president's role as the commander in chief and his opinion the nation has been very influential? guest: i think it is extremely helpful to have the president of the united states arguing that a flawed as unconstitutional. he has been calling it discriminatory since he came into office and has been calling for its repeal. this is another step forward. and obviously, his voice carries weight with -- carries weight with all sorts of communities. the african-american community is not monolithic on this issue. a for instance, the effort to pass marriage equality here in the district of columbia has the support of many african-american churches. there was a clergy coalition that was led by the leaders of churches in the northeast.
and i think there are supporters all over the country. but there is a continuing dialogue in the community and all over our country. certainly, having the president weighed in will be helpful part of that conversation. host: the "washington post" says -- the president found a new formulation, he was evolving on the issue as he met more same- sex couples. guest: i do not think that electric doors or other people are going to be that affected by what the president says on this issue. this is an issue that people feel they understand. they are not looking to the president to tell them what to think. it is true that african- americans, like people of all ethnicities, disagree on this issue. but the city council worked hard to prevent the people of d.c.
from having the right to vote on marriage and because they do not trust the community here. i am highly confident that if the politicians in maryland pass a gay marriage build up the people will veto it in maryland to just as they did in maine and california. host: let's go to dade city, florida. caller: i think the constitution will prevail. it really is not up to public opinion. if you left it up to the south to decide civil-rights, i think we would see a very different situation. in that regard, the constitution is the one that makes the decision, not public opinion. we have that for a reason. it predicts everybody, the minority from the majority. basically, the sanctity of marriage -- you know, women were viewed as property until the 1920's. this idea that it has been eons
of the sanctity of marriage is a misnomer. host: let's go to brian moulton and as human rights campaign. guest: i think the constitution will prevail and, related to your comments and in response to something maggie just said, it is not to put people civil- rights to a popular referendum. we are sort of reducing this idea is to simply what should people think marriage should mean and they should be able to vote on that. i think we're also talking about, how does the state treat gays and lesbians entered would be able to put that to a popular vote, i think you made a very good point that there have been other civil rights issues of historically and if we put them to a vote, we would not be anywhere that we are on any of
them. guest: this is the oddest message point that i have ever heard that is okay for politicians to vote on marriage, but not the general people. it is one thing to say that it should not be voted on by legislatures at all, and another to say that it is wrong for people to vote on this issue. i would also said the majority of courts as well as the majority of people when given the opportunity have upheld the idea that there is not a civil rights to gay marriage. marriage is between a man and wife for a reason. it is not just in this country. the french high court and others of reject the idea of gay marriage. steven on the to phone. caller: i have a question for brian. polygamy through history has been a very efficient way of producing children and keeping
family life together. i grew up in kenya where polygamy was common and the fathers were very attentive to their children. i would assume that brian would sponsor the red for polygamy to take place in this country, based on what he has to say. i would like to hear what he has to say. guest: i think every restriction on marriage has to rise and fall on its own merits -- own merits. polygamy is not what i'd work on. the reason for keeping same-sex couples out of marriage are highly legitimate. if folks want to push for other changes, then they have to do like i do and get up in front of the american people and defended. host: christopher in manhattan, good morning.
caller: it seems to me that this particular issue, just from observing it, is that the line between the religious feelings of people and the civil rights of people seem to get blurred. we keep talking about traditional marriage. the truth is that marriage has lot of traditions. solomon had several wives. it seems like they want to set the clock in the '50s. i think there are lots of families that need civil protection. host: maggie gallagher? guest: there are lots of families and they all need the support protections. they are not all marriages. and there is no reason to treat non marital relationships as if they were. it is no accident that in less than 10 years after the canadian high court established the rights to gay marriage we are now having polygamous in court
asking for their right to marry. the same argument can be used. many of these people are responsible, taxpaying citizens. they love their children. why not? when you cut marriage off from its roots and the natural family and the sense that we have a common good, whether gay or straight or married or single or childless or not, we all have an interest. it is necessary to bring together a commercial union for the next generation. once you decide that is not what marriage is about the, that it is a demonstration for all kinds of relationships, then it changes a lot. guest: marriage is not about a husband and his property, which is what we thought of marriages for many years. marriage is not about only people of the same race. it is not about people only of
the same religion. the nature of the rules within marriage have changed. if we have divorce, which was not a reality for a very long time. to suggest that opening up marriage to same-sex couples, giving them the freedom to participate in that common good, which i agree is a common good that we should all respect and promote, it is really disingenuous to suggest that marriage will fall apart. marriage will descend into all sorts of horrible because we allow same-sex couples to have access to it as well. host: brian moulton, thank you for being here this morning. and maggie gallagher, thank you as well. coming up next, a recent report in government and overlap in programs. but first, an update from c-span radio. >> thousands of marchers have
marked the protest route in alabama where residents were insulted by state troopers in 1965. today has been -- become known as bloody sunday. today, march 7, has been corroborated in one form or other -- commemorating one form or another each year since then. congresswoman heather wilson is expected to announce today whether she will run for the senate seat democrat jeff bingaman is leaving open. meanwhile, the democratic campaign committee is releasing a video today welcoming representative help -- but rep heather wilson to the race. their message says in part "she is a d.c. insider, and a republican, and a loser."
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c-span, washington your way. in public service created by americans -- america's cable cos. host: that daulton is the chief -- pat dalton is the chief operating officer at the government accountability office. this is a recent story. government overlap cost taxpayers billions, gao says. federal auditors jurors have
identified hundred -- hundreds of overlapping programs that if merged back or eliminated could save taxpayers billions of dollars. walk us through what the gao found the big picture. guest: basically, the and will report, this is the first time we have done it. it is part of a mandate congress requires of us to produce this report every year. over the past year we have been looking at areas for duplication, overlap, fragmentation across government. this report just brings it all together. we identified 34 areas of potential duplication, overlap, and fragmentation among government programs. and as part of gao's other work we identified 47 other areas where there are potential cost savings and revenue enhancements. and given the financial
situation of the government right now, and the opportunity to save money or to collect revenue that is owed to us, i think we need to take advantage of the opportunity. host: this report is over 300 pages long. it is quite in depth. you had to go and -- go through department after department. how did you do that? guest: we are constantly doing work in all of the federal agencies. but to do this in the year was, in fact, a monumental effort where we relied on a lot of our prior work and then to a, a second look at it to hone in -- took a second look at it to hone in on certain programs. there was a monumental effort to pull those together. at what is unique about this report is that we may have
issued an individual report on a particular area, but in this case we are bringing together in one place multiple areas. the congress and the administration can look for opportunities to save money and have programs perform better and potentially collect more money. host: the "wall street journal" covered it this way . our guest, pat dalton, is the chief operating officer of the government accountability office. to join the conversation, our numbers are on the screen.
the gao was able to find all this information, but what happens after this? guest: first, this report has gotten an incredible amount of attention, both on capitol hill and with the administration. hopefully, the executive branch and committees will take a look at this report and find opportunities to make government work better, try to untangle some of the webs of programs. however, we did not get into this situation overnight and it will take probably quite a bit of time to start untangling this maze that we have. host: let's go to houston, texas. caller: how are you? host: we are good, thanks. you are on with pat bolten.
-- pat dalton. caller: i was just going to make the comment that this is a good reflection of how inept the congress is and how the administration over the years, between them and the congress, have managed to get us in this situation where we have all of these individual programs that are in effect for one particular area of the government. if you look at the makeup of the house of representatives, how many subcommittees are there in existence that hold meetings and investigate and offer bills that wind up with us in the kind of screwed up situation that we are in?
guest: i think you make a very good point, first of all, in pointing out that it is both the congress and the administration and many administrations that have created the situation. how did we get into this? the some of these programs date back decades. people see a need for government to play a role in some particular area as opposed to looking at existing programs and, can we modify the program? often, the attitude that is taken is, can we create a new program? as a result, we of 88 of development programs, 40 or more employment and training programs, and the list goes on. i think it will take us some time to untangle this web, but
one of the things that may make a difference is that we have some difficult fiscal times and that may focus attention. some of the areas in this report will have some pretty easy fixes. others will take some time. host: what are some of the easy fixes? guest: easy fixes i would say are more in best practices. for example, we use interagency contract in where a contract is available to multiple agencies. well, we have numerous contracts. each one of those costs money to a minister. we can save money there. a cost savings area, real property. we have 45,000 buildings, excluding the post office, that are either unneeded or underutilized. if we can find other uses for that property, either selling them or finding another use, we can save a considerable amount
of money. we spend over 1.6 dot billion dollars every year maintaining those properties. host: could morning to the next caller. caller: i want to say that you have your work cut out for you. i was really trying to get on for the last session, but you have encouraged -- i don't know. you have encouraged me that the country is going to be going back into the right direction. thank you. host: talk about the history of this. the senator coburn was an advocate for getting this together. has anything like this been done before? guest: i am not aware of anything like this being done. there have always been efforts
to try to pull this kind of information together, but i think this is the first time that everything has been -- i should not say everything. we clearly have not covered the entire government. but to bring together 80 or more areas where there is potential savings, potential ways for the government to have revenue enhancement, bringing that together and even though it is 300 or more pages, each issue we identify is very cink and pointed in our discussion of it -- very succinctly and pointed in our discussion of it. hopefully that will provide a reference for anyone interested in these types of issues who wants to start dealing with them. you can go to one place. like i said, it is produced by gao.
host: this is a press release from senator tom coburn's office. guest: dr. coburn makes some very good points there. one in particular, that we do not know what effect the programs are having. an example would be, we talk about 18 domestic food assistance programs in the report. for 11 of them we do not have any idea how effective they are.
that is something that we really need to know. if we look at these program areas, whether it is employment and training, food assistance, transportation, we need to start asking ourselves, what are -- what do we want to achieve, who we want to serve and what is the best way to do it. host: some of the discoveries in this report showed that there are 18 different programs focused on domestic food assistance. that comes to us from a recent gao report. but go to our next call. caller: two questions, please. if senator coburn had not
requested, or demanded that the gao put out this report, would the gao have submitted it on their own? and secondly, what took you so long to realize we had over 100 government agencies attempting to solve the same problem? i will take my answer on the line. thank you. guest: first, if we did not have this requirement, we probably would not have brought all of this information together in a single report. but a lot of the information in this report is, in fact, drawing upon past gao work. for example, the 80 programs in an area, we have, in many cases, other reports discussing that issue. when you bring it together, that is where i think you get -- it has been a powerful message.
host: sarah, it democratic caller in illinois. caller: when you say that we have all of these overlapping programs, are they look located in the same offices, buildings, or even the same states? if guest: oftentimes, they are not. they are scattered across multiple agencies of the government. in a few cases they are in a single agency. but most times they are scattered across the government. in the education and training area -- i should say the employment and training area, you will find the -- find that in the department of education and department of labour. food assistance, you will see that in health and human services, agriculture department and a few other agencies. given the size of the government is hard to coordinate, but not impossible. and we do need to work on that.
host: was there an agency that you found had the most overlap or duplication? guest: i would not point of one single agency. one thing we realized in putting this report together, we touched on every single agency in the federal government. which is, you know, a powerful statement, i think. just the scope of the problem. host: let's go to kevin on the independent line. caller: i cannot believe what i am hearing, except the same thing, just from different people. i cannot vote believe we put you people in charge to do a job -- i cannot believe we put you people in charge to do a job and your coming back saying, we have a problem. you should have been on top of it from the beginning. i think the president was right.
if we need to clean house. -- we need to clean house. i think we need to clean out a whole government of all the slackers and the people that do not know what is going on. i feel like we have no fighting on the side of the people. guest: kevin, you make some good points. what this report does, it brings a lot of information together. it did not happen overnight. it is not going to be untangled overnight. but certainly, having information in a very succinct manner, hopefully will be powerful enough to get some action. host: when you look at the fence and homeland security, the overlap of responsibilities there, specifically in the homeland security area, you found there were duplicated efforts in securing the northern
border. there were five departments, agencies and more than two dozen presidential appointees focused on by zero terrorism. -- by a terrorism. did at gao identified that as being a danger of a potentially? guest: it is a danger in that by not having clear roles you have the potential of having gaps. probably not a serious from a threat standpoints -- you have people doing the same thing and that is not the best use of our resources. the danger comes when there are gaps between these two different -- in terms of the northern border -- there are two
different coordinating mechanisms. do we really need two? that would be the question i have. host: albany, new york. caller: my first comment about the defense, i am a republican and i'm actually not very satisfied with how the republicans are handling defense. i think we are overstretched and is causing a lot of issues with our deficit. furthermore, i'm curious how well you think the government is going to handle the layoffs from the gao report with all of the redundancies, and with the private sector in rough economic times, it takes a lot for companies to lay off individuals. unafraid that when it comes to cutting these programs, congress is going to give us all this information about how horrible it is going to be and how many jobs are going to be lost.
i wondered what you think. will congress be able to make these layoffs? guest: a couple of things have to happen first. the first, congress or the administration will have to decide what programs they want, are there other programs that can be consolidated, and deciding exactly what we want to achieve. in terms of the potential job losses, of which are probably down the road, i think we can handle, as most organizations can handle changes in mission, if there is enough time to plan for it so you can effectively implement any change. host: james on twitter asks, why don't we just start over from scratch?
guest: in some cases it may be necessary to. as i described it, is a tangled web at times. we may need to take a look at an area and ask those basic questions -- what we want to achieve? who we want to serve? and then we find the best way to do it. host: gave in massachusetts, good morning. caller: i think this is a wonderful business exercise. any business needs to check to see how it is spending money. i applaud this effort. a couple of things that come to mind, though. one, our political environment is very much an us against them environment. i would hope that going forward
the recommendations about what makes the most business sense, what is going to provide the best services for the people in the country and where we can learn our lessons rather than saying, this is what this party is doing or what the other party is doing. i think we need to make sure we are very clear about positive benefits we can get out of this. something i have a question about a, one, are you going to put together a set of guidelines to assist legislators going forward to avoid creating new duplications? and two, our people aware -- our people where that -- are people aware that in doing these
consolidations, they're going to need to be layoffs? is this something anyone has begun talking about? guest: let me answer your second question is first -- second question first. in terms of layoffs, we are not there yet. we need to decide what we need to do. in terms of positive outcomes, in this report we talk about things of our relatively easy to accomplish. other things are going to take some time. some of the business practices that we can do something with sustained attention by congress and the administration, we will have positive results. other programs where we have 40 or 80 programs, it will take several years to make some progress. the import -- the important
thing is to start down this road. host: that dalton has been with the gao -- pat tot dalton has been with the gao for a decade now and she was named ceo this year. -- coo this year. the recent "washington post" story that is called "government overlap cost taxpayers billions ," it points out that other studies have touched on this before. in 2006 democrats a unified medical command was recommended.
but nothing came of it. guest: the medical command report, we took some stuff to try to unify the medical command. host: so, it is not fair to say nothing come -- came of it. guest: yes, something came of it. here in the washington area we are unified in our hospitals with walter reed and because the naval hospital, combining. there are similar efforts in san antonio. but there is certainly more toward -- more that can be done. hopefully, with further attention, looking at it, revisiting it, there may be additional steps. there is no one right answer in any of these areas. the question that the defense department in this case and the administration and congress have to decide is, how far do we want to go? host: and his recent gao report looked at federal programs in
defense and did find there was no central command for the military guest: definitely, and these are areas that i think really need some attention now. we have so many entities and there was an effort to combine it in a single organization, but the services continue to work on .heir own to deal with ied's it would of the big issues this that sometimes the right hand does not know what -- one of the big issues is that sometimes the reihan does not know what the left hand is doing. we can be doing the same thing,
but doing it twice, and we only really need to do it once. host: let's go to jane, independent collar. caller: this dalton, are with like to ask you, what do you think would happen if the gao were given auditing powers like the irs, especially with government subcontractors? guest: we are an audit organization for the congress. we do not usually do this subcontracting audit. we are usually looking at the contract in system and try to make recommendations there. there are a lot of other auditors in the federal government that do, in fact, look at the contractors and subcontractors and, hopefully, and sure that we are getting good value of four the money that we are spending. host: the obama administration
did put into place a chief officer appointed to the opposition and his goal is to lead the president's effort to overhaul federal trade issues and reducing the government's real estate portfolio. there are others in the obama administration that are also trying to do this streamlining. did you also touched on their role? guest: we actually did. one of the areas that they are focusing on his real property. i mentioned earlier that we have so many underutilized or unneeded buildings. the obama administration has a goal for eliminating, disposing of those buildings or finding alternative uses for many of them. i think that is an important step. first, deciding what we are going to try to achieve, developing the plan, and continuing to monitor to be sure that we do achieve our goals.
we are dealing with the real property issue. we also talk about some of the in -- the investment issues for i.t. and contract in, and the fact that there are those issues in the executive branch is a very positive step. what would be important is that the administration develops an implementation plan and that there is monitoring and oversight to ensure that we actually execute those plans as designed. and the oversight needs to come, i believe, from both the executive branch and the congress. host: the "washington post" says a white house spokeswoman is saying -- bill writes to us on twitter, that gao does good work.
talk to us more about what congress does next. guest: we have already have one congressional hearing on this report. there are more scheduled. hopefully, each one of the areas that we have identified, we have identified over 80 areas of duplication or potential cost savings. if there are, in fact, hearings on many, if not all, of these areas of, the agencies involved in those areas will also be at those hearings so we can begin a discussion and try to make sense out of what is sometimes a tangled web. host: in the "new york times" section review yesterday it has comedic moments ended quotes jalon know as saying --
guest: [laughter] host: how you, this idea that it's combats the action? guest: he has touched on a good point. there will be another study. this report that we produced -- we are required now to produce this report every year. come next february or march, there will be your two of this report. -- a year two of this report. we will continue reporting on this. we expect we will expand the areas that we are looking at. as i said this year, we talked about 80 or more. we have other areas of the
government. we certainly have not covered it all. we will be reporting on what has happened with these that we have reported on this year, and also reporting on new ones. host: in pennsylvania, steven is on our republican line. caller: you have politicians lately spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get elected to a post that pays maybe $100,000 per year. could you investigate to find out how much of that is family and friends pain -- and friends patronage? secondly, are you going to kick the can down the road because the unemployment figures are so high that if you clean house is going to make you look worse for the president? guest: at gao we do not look at the political campaign.
and we look at the government, so i don't want to comment on the political campaigns. and in terms of kicking this down the road, the big thing that has happened now is that we are in a very fiscally constrained situation at the federal government. the deficit keeps growing and that trip focus attention -- that should focus attention on looking for opportunities where we can be more efficient and also leader maintain or increase our effectiveness. if we look back at how we have been doing business and institutes of better business practices, we have an opportunity -- institute some better business practices, we have an opportunity to be more efficient and effective. host: let's go to maryland. good morning. caller: i have worked in the
government a long time ago. i am elderly now. i know some of these overlaps -- could it be because some of the different agencies deal with different parts? like, we would get food from all over the world. and certain commerce --may deal with china and someone else may deal with somewhere else and some may deal with inspectors. it is not just all waste. it there could be a reason -- there could be a reason for the overlaps because the agencies handle different things and whatever comes under their agency, the deal with that part of it. guest: you are very right. there are agencies that do work may be serving different people. they are performing different functions.
but i think the important thing is that they know of the other programs and -- or the other functions that an agency is doing and, hopefully, can leverage the work that they are doing. there may be very good reasons to have multiple programs, but you want to know that -- what those reasons are as you are designing the matrix of programs that you are delivering. host: president obama, during his state of the union speech, reference this idea of overlap in different agencies. you talk about salmon. people may remember that. npr did a store looking into what the president had said. the interior department is in charge of the salmon when they are fresh water, but the commerce department is in charge when they are in salt water.
it may get even more complicated when they are smoking. but the truth may be getting in the way of a good joke. both departments put out a statement clarifying their roles. departmentltural cultur regulates salmon, i guess you could say. is there a department that regulates fishing as a duplication? guest: there definitely is. the justice department is regulating it.
host: do you find areas where there are duplications or fragmentations here? guest: i would not say there was any less than feared. you bring up eight. that duplication may, in fact, be important in certain cases where you do want to have the redundancy. that is why it is not easy to deal with these issues. you could say there are 40 employment and training programs. we may need and multiple programs. host: jim rappaport, who ran the agriculture department under the clinton administration said that coordination is better than duplication.
guest: it can be. is there a clear definition of roles? do all the people involved in an area know what their role is versus another agency? that helps in trying to orchestrate how we are going to duplicate a service. host: let's go to sharon. caller: i am very frustrated with the federal gao. i advocate for people who have been made yield from water damage buildings -- to have been made ill from water damaged buildings. the u.s. chamber of commerce and the medical trade association the right policy for several states, the american college of occupational and environmental medicine, last market it to the courts and u.s. health policy
the water damaged buildings do not harm healthy people. there was misinformation to stave off liability for stakeholders. in 2006, i was able to get the late senator edward kennedy to do a deerow audit for may -- a gao audit for me. this came out in 2008 and the federal interagency on indoor air quality is trying to oversee and is working very hard to get different government agencies to join together to try to send this messaging. but the problem is that nobody ever funded this gao audit that desperately needs to be implemented. we have a lot of wonderful people in our government in these various agencies that are
practically volunteering their time because they know how important this is. another problem is, while the gao audit itself has helped, specifically deleted from the audit was looking into have the conflicts of interest that mass marketed the infirm -- the misinformation in the first place. this is still causing an extreme problem in the private sector because the u.s. chamber is still greatly influencing this issue. we are wasting billions of dollars and the information from the federal government is not getting to the private sector positions. what does the federal gao do to look at audits that they have done in the past and then follow up and see if they are being implemented to the best use of our tax dollars? host: let's get an answer. guest: with all of the reports that we issue and the
recommendations in them, we regularly follow up on those recommendations with the agency's to see what the status is. if we do a follow-up audit at the request of congress, then we will also include in that report the status of the prior recommendation. what our role is at gao is to provide information to the congress and the administration with specific recommendations as appropriate to their action. we do not have the power to implement them. we deliver the information. for this particular report we would be following up with the environmental protection agency to see what the recommendation status was and then reporting it to the