tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN April 21, 2011 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT
>> let me ask you a question about timing. the argument for the surge, i believe, was that it with the bus in a stronger position. another argument would be ambassador launderville on the task force argued that we were in a weaker position to years ago. when is the right time? >> and a german right here. -- a gentleman right here. >> thank you for putting this together. the president is going to go through a decision making process as soon on deciding what kind of troop drawdowns and what policies he will have in afghanistan in july. what would you like to hear the
president say about troop drawdowns and policy changes? >> i think what we will do is just ask the panelist to take all of this into consideration -- into consideration with some closing thoughts. i was in afghanistan in september and i think one of the things that we did see was, even though there was a lot of aid and projects been developed was that the key thing was the governance issues. the governance issues are moving very slow, not at pace with the military objectives. that is really going to be what will determine whether we "win or lose" in afghanistan do you want to start off with some closing thoughts? >> very briefly, killing with the lack of governance, i do not think we can substitute paradigms' like federalism. traditionally, afghanistan is centrally governed, but weakly.
it was covered in the provinces, but by no means standard. to some extent this is anglo- saxon standards and traditions about definitive law and constitution. someone asked the question about right time, but they did not say for what? right time to get out? as soon as possible. it's right time for negotiations? now. >> richard, what would you like to see in the policy review? >> we participated in a report were what we suggested that they could do with fewer -- 70,000 fewer troops. and we believe that is the case. i go back to the point of housing -- how to sell this to the american public. the public is not interested in this question. there is no selling that needs to be done. if you sold it to them, they would not know that you were doing [laughter] i do not want to over make that -- they would not know that you
were doing it. [laughter] i do not want to overdo this point or under do it. the american public is just not there. >> leaving afghanistan a better place than we found it, one could argue that we needed a whole lot better in the first couple of months when we house that the taliban. the fact that we stuck around for nine years could argue the other direction was advantageous from our point of view? -- the other direction. what is advantages from our point of view? i agree with the ambassador. i hope we have something other than a cosmetic fulfillment of this commitment to start a withdrawal in july. >> in the president's review, i hope he gives far less time and attention to coral in groups of military who are interested in
at ways to bomb iraq even more effectively than we have before. pay attention to overlapping interests with india and do not try to de-internalized in dealing with pakistan's the wishes. >> let's talk a little bit more about the governance issue, in terms of -- is this really -- are we not focusing on the right thing here? should we be spending our resources on strengthening this government, which nine years later has made some progress, but has a long way to go? >> we should be asking if it is the right government first. and if it is the right government, then you go about strengthening it. >> to play devil's advocate, we are going in to overthrow the taliban and to instill some kind of democracy.
we cannot choose the government. shouldn't we maybe broaden our outreach to various players? we do not want to be seen as imposing from within. is it up to us to choose the right government? >> it is not, and that is what i was getting at. one of the stipulations in the constitution in 2005, there were supposed to be district-level elections. and there were certain political and economic and social affairs within each district. that is not happening. and in the interim because that did not happen, we are trying to build these alternative structures. i will not even go to all of the acronyms, because i cannot remember them all. but in terms of governance, how do we do this? it is not hopeless. afghans are capable of running their own affairs. they have done it for a long time and do not need outside help to do it. the question is whether or not they are doing it in a way that we approve of. that is a separate question.
but they are capable of governing themselves in the future. when we look at whether that will leave them better off or worse off, and, things are much more important than just getting rid of the taliban. there is a telecommunications and an education system. things are happening in afghanistan. it is by far from perfect. but there has been progress. the current government can function, just not very well. when we think about what our grand plan is for this country, i think we have to keep in the front of our minds that they know how to run themselves. they are not stupid. they are illiterate, but not stupid. it is kind of an arrogant thing to say, are we putting in the right thing? do we need to get it to a strong enough position that we feel comfortable with? i think that is the wrong question. >> and i think we are ending on a somewhat positive note. i would like to thank our panelists.
with all of the discussion of our -- all of our discussion about afghanistan today really crystallized these issues. the next panel will delve into the recommendations of the report. there are copies outside. if you have not read it, it is really an excellent document. and i want to congratulate the task force for looking into these issues in afghanistan that have been ignored for too long. thanks very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up, we will be live this afternoon as defense secretary robert gates will be joined by the vice chair of the joint chiefs, general james, right. live coverage starts at 3:00 p.m. here on c-span. join us later today when "book tv" will host a live web cast with author shirin ebadi, who
won the nobel peace prize in 2003. that gets under way at 5:00 p.m. eastern on booktv.org. >> tonight on c-span, a look at the news industry. you will hear from a panel of journalists as the discuss the current state of the news and commentary on what happens if they converge. >> most smart people i know are not listening to nancy pelosi for their world view, nor to john maynard. and most -- john boehner. and most do not go home at night talking about continuing resolutions to fund the united states government. maybe it is different in the room. >> in my house we talk about that. [laughter] >> but the people you know, let's be honest. you are probably conservative about some things. you want your taxes to be low,
but if a couple of gay guys want to get married, what do you care? >> right. >> why is it in the media we still have to be red teamed or blue team? >> watch this tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. tonight on c-span2, a discussion on education reform with the rev. al sharpton, and the assistant education secretary for civil rights. they will talk about academic disparities between children of different races and districts in the country, as well as how they think student achievement can improve. >> we are used to hearing debate about affirmative action and people say, why do we need a program? because we had a program to exclude people. you have to have a program to counter the program that you had. [laughter] let's not act like it was just some osmosis that excluded people. it was intentional. and you must intentionally
correct what was wrong. >> watch this event from the aspen institute tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> two-thirds of the american people depended on the network news of those three networks as their primary source of news information about the president of the united states. all were hostile to richard nixon. >> coincide pivotal moment in american history online -- go inside pivotal moments in american history online. it is washington your way. defence undersecretariat ashton carter yesterday said the era of ever increasing defense budget is over. he also laid out areas where the pentagon can save money and become more efficient. he is in charge of acquisitions, technology and logistics, and it is in charge of cutting costs at the pentagon by president obama
and defense secretary gates. this is about an hour. >> good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation and the auditorium. please join us on our heritage website. we would ask that cell phones be turned off as i continue with preliminary announcements. our internet joerres are on course welcome to send their comments -- internet viewers are, of course, welcome to send their comments and we will post this forum on our website for future reference. hosting our discussion this morning is mackenzie eaglen, research fellow for national security studies. prior to joining heritage, she was the principal defense advisor for susan collins of maine. she has also served for two years of the pentagon as a presidential management fellow in the office of secretary of
defense. prior to our fellowship she was a national security analyst at the u.s. army institute of land warfare. she has been a guest lecturer at several locations, participated in defense analyst at several universities, and received her master's degree from georgetown university. please join me in a joint -- in welcoming my colleague, mackenzie eaglen. [applause] >> it is my pleasure today to welcome dr. ashton carter to the heritage foundation. dr. carter has been working to implement numerous initiatives to save money during a time of what we on no the following budgets -- what we all know is
following budget. prior to his current appointment under -- current appointment undersecretary carter worked in a number of positions. he served as assistant secretary of defense for international said -- security policy under president clinton and a member of the science and policy boards. he has also served fdot as the international kennedy -- at the international school at kennedy. dr. carter has talked about the massive portfolio that he hopes -- helps oversee, of which $400 billion is contract about in services. we have asked him to go into detail today about that $400 billion.
as he has said in the past, we cannot just look at programs. the per kurram programs are only $100 billion out of the -- procurement programs are only $100 billion out of the $700 billion budget. we need to look for better buying power. it is our pleasure to have him here today to discuss these deficiencies, outlined by secretary gates, and the challenges to defense acquisitions and all of his work today. please join me in welcoming dr. carter. [applause] >> thank you for that wonderful introduction and let me begin by saluting you for the work that you have done. your work is insightful and makes a big contribution. the problem with having a talented person introduce you is that they have kind of given the punch line away of what you are going to say before you did it,
and the candidates. but i will elaborate. i will also -- and she did it. but i will elaborate. i would also like to thank the heritage foundation, for helping to solve a wide variety of public policy problems, but especially how to maintain a strong budget, as the defense budget centers in new era. in particular, i thank dr. james carafano, dr. baker spring and others. thank you for allowing me to be here with you today. the main thing i want to do with you here today is to share some of the things that we are doing manager really to provide the nation the military capability it needs for the defense budget can afford. that is it in one sentence.
let me begin the story with fiscal year 2011 budget. and i will remind you of where we have been in recent weeks. we avoided a government shutdown, though just barely. and while that was a good thing, you may not have had the opportunity to appreciate how damaging was the impact, and always is the impact of a continuing resolution on the managers in the department. i have call did not just in efficiency, but anti-efficiency. each program manager in the department has had to upset carefully plotted plants or stop activities only to start them again later, a demographer at the commencement of new programs and so forth. the result is not only delay, but inefficiency and is an inefficient way to proceed --
and an economical way to proceed. i do not know how much this has cost us, billions, to operate in this way. it adds a dollop of cost overhead to everything we are doing. it is like a hidden tax. secretary gates called it a crisis on our doorstep and i think every manager in never determine this -- in every department has experienced this. we are glad it is over. the final budget for fiscal year 2011 came in $18 billion below the amount president obama requested for the department of defense. looking to the fiscal year 2012, i will remind you we have asked for an increase in the base budget in fiscal year 2012 relative to the request the president obama made for fiscal
year 2011, which as i said, we did not get all of. for the base budget, we have asked for an increase in 2012. the overall budget, as you know, will go down because the overseas contingency portion of the budget will go down in association with the drawdown in iraq. the overall defense budget, which is about $671 billion -- i'm sorry, $690 billion in 2011. we ask for $708 billion. and we are asking for $671 billion. that is not a decrease in the
base budget, but in the overall defense budget because of the reduction in oco spending. in looking toward 2013 and beyond, the budget is robust and strong and will stay so. we are in two major conflicts and several smaller ones, and the world is dangerous. president obama and the congress have already made it clear that the national security portion of the budget, which includes the defense budget, and contains about one-fifth of the total budget -- the national security part of the budget must be included in the overall debt recall -- deficit reduction equation over the next dozen years. we cannot, as secretary gates says, be exempt from bringing the federal budget under control. as we assess how to accomplish the tasks that the president has laid out, we will need to
undertake a comprehensive review of the impact of reductions in fiscal year 2013 and beyond on four square capability and, ultimately, on choice of missions act and america's role in the world. but two things are already clear for those of was charged with managing the defense enterprise. first, we will not have the ever-increasing budgets of the post 9/11 decade. whatever the budget levels are, this will feel very different to a group of government and industry managers and congressional overseers who have grown accustomed to a circumstance in which they could always reach for more money when they encountered a managerial or technical problems or difficult choice. those days are gone. the second thing that is absolute clear is that the president, secretary of defense,
and the taxpayer are going to expect us to make every dollar we do get counted. in short, they want better value for the defense dollar. getting the better buying power for the warrior and the taxpayer is the subject today. it was, in fact, may of last year, well before the current budget debates got a wet -- got under way, that secretary gates gave a speech that began to signal loudly that we are entering a new era in defense. he launched something that he called the efficiency initiative at that time to ensure the department is managing the budget in a manner that was, as he put it, respectful of the taxpayer at a time of economic and fiscal distress. as one of the parts of his efficiency initiative, he
attacks -- tasked me to provide for the $400 billion out of the approximately $700 billion of the defense budget. that is based + oco that is -- that is based plus oco that is contracted out. that is spent on people, uniformed and civilian, their pay, benefits, and so forth. the other $400 billion is spent on contract of goods and services. i will set aside the $300 billion spent on people, though that cannot be set aside in a larger discussion -- compensation, health care, force size and so forth. they will have to be part of the equation. but let me focus on the $400
billion part, which led to better buying power and was introduced by secretary gates and me on september 4 of last year. it takes a form of guidance to me, from the work force department to get more without more, as i put it. the me give you some logic and context for it. as you know, as mcginty mentioned, over it -- as mackenzie mentioned, over the last couple of years we have cancelled a couple of acquisition programs that reader not performing or whose time had passed, or where we had enough of the capability they represented. altogether, more than $300 billion worth. this was the 871 presidential helicopter, for example, the airborne laser, which we have turned into a test bid. the future combat systems,
truncating the dubai 81,000 ships, the f-22, and this year the expeditionary fighting vehicle, and there will undoubtedly be more cancellations of that kind. but we are getting to the point where most of the programs we now have under way -- or which are getting under way, our capabilities that we do need and do want, and we need to get them for the money to an country can afford to get us -- give us. moreover, acquisition programs are easy to identify and name. they are not where most of the money is. mackenzie made this point already. about $100 billion is procurement of weapons system.
but remember that 70% of the cost of a weapons system is not acquiring it. it is sustaining it. it is not binding, but having it -- that is where most of the money is. said differently, most of the money in the budget is spent on sustaining weapon systems that were procured in the past, rather than on acquisition programs exactly. we cannot leave that much money out of the better buying power equation. about $75 billion, about three- quarters of what is spent on acquisition, is spent on research and development. we need to look at that and ask ourselves whether we can get better value for that part of our spend. $200 billion is spent on logistics.
$100 billion on maintenance, i mentioned that earlier. maintenance of equipment. about $70 billion on supply, which ranges from fuel to spare parts. if $20 billion on transportation, sealift, airlift, and so forth. and finally very importantly -- and i will have more to say about this later. and again, something mackenzie manchin, $200 billion spent on services, everything from lawn mowing to dental services to repairing things to professional services. acquisition, $200 billion. my point is that we need to take a comprehensive look at our spending, including but not limited to, acquisition programs. that is exactly what better buying power does. better buying power is summarized in a chart that i
think we are prepared to project for you. you have probably seen it before. it has 23 points, which were devised from the logistics work force at the dot and also are partners in the industry. this is -- at the d o d and also our partners in the industry. this is what secretary gates and i introduced last september. these cover the way that government can better cover performance and incentivize in the industry. i will just take a few of them out to give you an example. the first category we are applying over there is targeting the affordability and cost growth. we are going to be starting some new programs that we need. if we are not going to start anything that we cannot finish -- we are not going to start anything that we cannot finish.
we're not going to start anything that we cannot prove to ourselves is affordable. let me give you an example. it is usually a good one. it is the ohio class replacement missile submarine. this is a nuclear missile submarine that will be built roughly between 2020 and 2030 and is now in the design phase. when that design was first made and brought to me, the projected a unit cost for that design was about $7 billion per submarine, which were read to pay that in the time between 2020 and 2030, would displace most navy shipbuilding. or said differently, that is not happening. we are not going to start something that is so obviously not going to happen. what do you do in that
circumstance? you look at the design and what is driving cost in design and you look at those aspects of the design, in this case, two number, two diameter flanks, degree of stealth and so forth. you can change -- you look for what you can change in the interest of getting the design that you can afford. we have done that and driven projected cost down and will do so further. to a goal of about 27% less than that initial design. we will be doing the same thing with the new bomber, with the air force, the new family of long-range strategic strike. you see that philosophy for reflected -- a philosophy reflected in the new tanker,
which we completed the competition a short while ago. that tanker is now on contact -- contract. it is a fixed-price contract, which means that we, the government, are insulated against cost growth in the tanker program, both in development and production. we are sure that we will have an affordable tanker. programs already under way, obviously, we cannot start them all over again, even though we wish we could. for those experiencing cost growth midlife, and i will mention the global hot and others, we have to manage the cost of some of those programs. we are doing that very vigorously in both of the cases that i mentioned, jsf and global
talks. it is not too early to begin thinking about sustainment for the joint strike fighter. most of the cost of our programs, as i mentioned, is in having them, not requiring them in the first place. with the joint strike fighter, we have wrestled with the development issues in the technical baseline review. we are trying to manage down some of the cost structures associated with production and is not too early to begin to look at sustainment because the projected bills there also have increased and we need to get a sustained bill for the joint strike fighter and everything else that we need to pay. affordability is a theme in everything that we do. the second one is incentivizing productivity.
productivity to the economist, and there are many of them here at the heritage foundation, is what you have when you go to best buy and you go in to get a computer and the computer on the shelf is better than last year's and cheaper, too. why is it that i have to go to the hill with a tank, a plane, or a ship that is the same as last years and cost more? where is productivity in what we do? and we need to reward cost reduction and innovation and we are doing that in several ways. one of those is true contract type, in which the contract provides incentive for the performer of the work to reduce overall costs by offering what is called a share line. , thee cost goes down kama producer of the word gets to share in the savings.
that is an inducement to control costs. we will be starting something that we call a superior supplier incentive program this year, which will reward and recognize superior service in the defense industry. making technology investments, including through independent research and development to report and incentivize innovation. this idea of incentive is very important and brings up another important point i should make, which is that when we are trying to reduce these ongoing activities -- what we are trying to reduce in these ongoing activities is cost. it is not about profit. that is not only wrong, but backwards. we use profit as an incentive to cut costs. the next item on their -- the next item on there is promoting
competition. secretary gates always contrasts real competition with what he calls washington competition, which he says is a competition in which everybody wins. real competition is the kind that we had in the tanker. it is the kind that we had in the combat ship. just to remind you of the history of the lcs, in lcs, we did not have real competition. we looked at two offers and suggested that they both -- and it was suggested that they both were entitled to make those ships for us. the bids were too high and we said, time out. go back. a new bid, and this time only one of you is going to make the combat ships. and when you come back, in addition to having a new bid for
10 ships, also, as part of your bid must be the technical data package that will allow someone else to make the same ship according to the same design because we're going to compete even if you win this round. we had two stages of competition. the new bids came in and they were substantially lower. so low that we bought from both this time. the deal was so good that we bought 10 from each side and got 20 ships, which is well on our way to the 55-ship lcs fleet that is our objective. we cannot always have head-to- head competition, but i do require program managers starting now to have a competitive strategy. that is, and explanation of how they are using competitive
energy to reduce costs in their program. you cannot always have had to have competition. we cannot afford to buy two of everything. if we have made that point with respect to a second engine, and an extra engine, as the secretary says, with the joint strike fighter. but even in situations where you cannot have head-to-head competition, you can have similar competition with self, competition with profit. there are lots of other ways to have competition. if you think of marathon runners, most are not racing against anything else but the clock for themselves. they are trying to do their personal best. that is what a share line induces, a race for cost savings that will be rewarded in profits. there are other ways to have competition decide head-to-head
competition. we need to use that because it is probably our strongest managerial lever in buying power. next on the chart is a big one, and mackenzie started here, and that is, improving our trade craft and service acquisition. i could go on all day about this. is an unignorable amount of money. we did not have senior managers charged with overseeing this part of our spend and, as part of our better buying power. we are taking care of those problems. there are many greetings that go into improving trade craft. they are frequency of repeat, market surveys, knowing how to
specify requirements properly and so forth. there is a, so to speak, a textbook of good trade craft and service acquisition. we just do not follow it. if you look at how we acquire services around the department, everybody does it differently. not everybody can be right. most of our service acquires, unlike weapons systems acquires, are amateurs. that is, it is not what they do for a living. they do something else and they buy the services to help them do that. acquisition of services is a collateral duty for them. it is not surprising they are not very good at it. i do not intend to make them experts added. i intend to help them get better at it. i believe, mostly because we have not done that yet, that we will be able to realize some great productivity in the
acquisition of services. the last item on there is reducing nonproductive processes of barack kristie. those who know me know that i am -- of baracbureaucracy. those who know me know that i'm very particular about that. the secretary of commerce has now put in how much a report to congress costs on the cover of the report when we send it over now. but the real losses are the people work we impose on industry, which has two costs. first is, we imposed paperwork costs on industry and then the bill us for it. if we end up paying for it. secondly, it is a barrier to entry for those who do not do defense work when we want them to do defense work. we are constantly trying to renew and refreshed the defense industry with new faces and new
talent and energy, and it is important that we have an open defense system that is attractive and is not so exotic to sell to the companies, particularly small companies, cannot do it. none of this means anything without good people. but we do not have enough good people in government doing this kind of work. that is why secretary gates has made the acquisition workforce an exception to the general tightening up of hiring that we are doing in that department. we oversteered in the 1990's. these are not bureaucrats that i'm talking about. these are people at execution who are contracting officers, pricers, service engineers, auditors, and so forth, that are a necessary part of getting the business done and we need those skills sets. that is better buying power. by applying that, our people
can apply real savings to the taxpayer and their war fighter. there are several reasons why i think we can succeed in doing this. the first, we have very clear guidance, very clear goals. i spend a lot of time communicating that to our people at industry. second, we have a staunch support of the president and secretary of defense. and third, with it is possible fact that after a decade of a productive growth, unproductive costs has crept into our programs and activities. -- a decade of unproductive growth, and productive costs have crept into our programs and activities. i think we should consider the alternatives. the alternative is, cancel programs, budget uncertainties, erosion of the taxpayers' confidence that their defense dollar is well spent, and of course, ultimately the most
damaging, for ron capability to the war fighter. gone capability to the war fighter. we can do this and we have to do it. that has been the message from the president and the congress and the country. i have given you some indication of how we intend to do it. i never closed public speaking without mentioning that everything i have mentioned so far as job #2. jabr one is to support current operations. -- job number one is to support current operations. that is most of the challenge. i will just touch on a few of the things. i will focus on afghanistan, although you could say the same thing about iraq, libya, the japanese effort and so forth. in afghanistan, this is going to be a very important spring and
summer for us. last summer was the summer of the uplift where we brought in a larger force and rotated the force that was there, and brought in a much richer set of enablers in what was a logistic merkel last summer so that we achieved what the president wanted us to achieve, which was the accomplished of lived by august. of that force has now been there for several months -- uplift by august. that force has now been there for several months and by far, the most capable force we have had in afghanistan in the years that we have been there. it is a daily challenge for those of us to make sure that the needs of those war fighters are met very rapidly. that means understanding what they need, figuring out what to
do about it, getting funding -- which is a struggle. i thank those in congress who are recently reprogramming some funds for us. we need that done, and quickly. and then, to field and sustain that equipment -- i will just give you some examples. most people think of me as a ship, plain, and tank bair. i have already made it clear i am a services bair as well. but now we are also buying a lot of dogs, too. that is a whole different art, for those who have gotten into that. we never have enough predators, never enough units for overhead persistence surveillance. that is why we began to, last
year, introduced photostat. from time to time if you go to afghanistan you will see our fobs and you can look down the road to see if the market is open, whether anybody is putting an ied in the road, look around the perimeter, and in short, half awareness -- have a awareness. initially, these with traffic- helicopter-like balls on them. now we are putting them in with rapid frame, many more than you can look at, but you can play the tape. raps that we started to
build, and are now starting to ship to afghanistan -- but which if you look at a globe, the inconceivable place for me logistician point of view, shipped 7000 vehicles for the afghan fight. and if you go to hospitals on the weekend, and i do, i talk to soldiers who are alive because of that vehicle. i mention that because that is a fast lane that is different from worrying about the fiscal year 2013 budget and all of the budget debates that we have here, which are about the about years. i have to live in that world, but job one for me is to live in the world of the next few weeks and months and years. and that requires a fast lane that we do not have, and that we
manage in an ad hoc fashion. that is something we need to fix. we need a fast lane on the hill, so we can get funding execution and be the kind of edge on military that is necessary to have in a time of war. i just want to close with that reminder, that is where rinehart and mind are everyday, even as we struggle with -- where my heart and mind are everyday, even as we struggle with these other challenges. with that, i will be happy to take your questions and thank you for your hospitality. [applause] >> i will bring you a microphone. let us know your name and affiliation. >> tony with bloomberg news. congress reprogrammed funding for afghanistan about a month
ago, $6.5 million. when will those systems go on contract? >> many of them are contract already. many of these were primed and ready to go. and this may be a longer answer to your question then you want, but it is very important. because we have to wait some weeks and months for read programs in congress, and you cannot steal that time from the war fighter, we have to start the cash flow even before we get the reprogramming. we are asking in advance this year so that we can get started on harming the war fighter before we go through the entire process -- arming the war fighter before we go to the entire process with congress. in all of these activities, every one of these contracts, i
am on them all day. it is wednesday, why has this taken until wednesday? what do you mean monday? you cannot allow that to happen anbecause it is april now and have -- april now and is in afghanistan. every day something sits in someone in box is a day stolen from the fight. that is outrageous and unreasonable. >> the second question on the $400 billion deficit review you are looking at, you mentioned america's role in the world. what is the modification program? i think you hinted at it. undoubtedly, there will be more acquisitions. is that what you said? >> that is only a piece of what i said. we will be scrutinizing all of programs.activities and
one of the major points i was making is that while that is an important part of the economy, it is only a piece of the defense budget. if what i was trying to do is draw attention to the other six 6-7ths of the-- defense budget. >> thank you. >> you spoke about the role in a taxpayer confidence. it recently, we have seen an erosion of confidence among those who have supported a robust defense budget because of lack of success in libya. could you comment on that? people are saying $700 billion defense budget and we cannot take down a dictator like
muammar gaddafi? are you getting any blood back on that? >> a couple of things to say about that -- are you getting any blow back on that? >> a couple of things to say about that. given the task that they have been assigned and the role that they play relative to the nato alliance, it has been entirely what we expected and we have not had any difficulties, logistical or otherwise, in accomplishing that part of our role. i think our forces have performed extremely well. >> john donnelly with "congressional quarterly." are you directing some kind of guidance to tell the defense agencies how they can begin to make successful -- suggestions along those lines, like you did in the last go-around where you suggested some cutbacks and to what extent -- but some cutbacks
and to what extent would you let them -- some cutbacks? and to what extent would you let them keep some areas? >> the president has indicated that we will undertake a comprehensive review that has not begun yet, but we will cover all of those dimensions. for that part that is associated with efficiencies, what the secretary indicated this year and which we were successful in doing was reallocating within each of the services, essentially, funding from lower value added activity to higher value added activity. the objective there was not just to reduce the budget, although we were able to give back $178
billion to the treasury, but the principal purpose was to reinvest $100 billion of identified savings back into capability. and the services that found that money within their own budget, were allowed to reallocate it within their own budgets and that rewarded them for finding it and it is also where we wanted the money to end up. we want to reinvest savings into military capability. that is what a more efficient defense budget is all about. >> when and how will you start this comprehensive review? surely, you have an idea of how it is going to unfold. >> the secretary is deciding that right now and i'm sure he will make it clear when he has figured that out. >> can you talk a little bit about the superior supplier
incentive program? i do not know if there is an acronym for it yet, but there has been talk about what you want to accomplish. i believe it is a pilot program, but where were you apply it? >> it does have an acronym, and this ssip, the superior supplier incentive program. two parts to the program, first, how you get recognized as a good performer? and second, what do you get? it is just like your frequent flyer card. how'd you get your frequent- flier card, and what you get with it? both of those are part of the design. the model we are using is one that the navy was about to begin to, and i have decided to make its department-wide. we do keep track of through a certain database the performance of our suppliers. that will be initially the
metric we used to identify superior performers. what they get will be post- award. this will not figure in at source selection. it will figure in with things like performance payments and other things that are incentives and real rewards. in addition to the simple nonmaterial recognition that goes with having done a good job, and by implication, those not on the list are not doing what we are asking too. -- asking them to. >> have you any indication -- i will start again. have you been given any indication of how much of the $400 billion that president obama wants to take out of national security related spending, would be taken from
the defense department on strictly speaking? >> the only thing the president made clear is that he was speaking of the national security part of the budget, which is predominantly but not exclusively the defense budget. obviously, all parts are included. >> so, you have not been given a target within that? >> no, if he does make clear that the entirety of the national security portion of the budget is on the table. >> and when you said there would undoubtedly be more cancellations of the type that you were referring to when you mentioned efg and mia, the cumene starting as soon as a fiscal year 2013? -- and did you mean starting as soon as fiscal year 2013? >> yes, starting with that budget. i will make the same statement i made with tony.
it is easy for you all to could keep track of programs, and that is an important thing to do. and we do, too, and that is one of the places where we seek better buying power. i will save one more time, which is, that is a very important portion of the budget, but only a portion. if you are managing the defense budget, i think you expect us to look at every dollar in the defense budget and ask whether it is being well spent, not just the dollars being spent on acquisition programs. >> i wanted to touch on something you mentioned earlier about the acquisition work force going forward, and how secretary gates has exempted it from the general freeze on hiring and so forth. how much of that is making -- how much of making your
processes of getting better is restructuring even the culture of buying services? can you just higher your way -- hire your way to better numbers? >> no, it is principally about skill sets. and as i said, these are not overseer's. these are executors' of the work, and it requires excellence on their part to have excellent outcomes. they are the managers of our programs and we need good people. important skill sets just became very, very short. that is where quantity matters. overall, the focus have got to be on quantity and doing the right thing, which is what is projected on the screen. as far as quality is concerned, we are lucky in that we have in
the new hires we have made been fortunate and getting lots of good people. part of that is associated with the state of the economy, but it is a labor market that is a good one from our point of view. the other thing is that when you are recruiting people for these jobs, the mission is what gets people. they are being part of something that is bigger than themselves. it makes all the difference. >> i was director on joint staff in the second reagan administration. i run a community learning and information network, which deals lot with the national guard. i am wondering how you feel about all of the bracket going on today, because they are moving around pieces of these
organizations, moving monuments to aberdeen, and moving this over need. this is like a change in the wings on an airplane in mid flight. how is this affecting you? >> it is very difficult. the we are in pursuit of the it is tough on people. my defense contract management agency is moving from one place in virginia to another place in virginia. you are asking people who are part of the solution to either relocate or you're going to have to find somebody else to do that job. aberdeen is a beehive of new construction. a lot of stuff is moving down. 1/3 of the department of the
army is changing locations within a two year. period. >> you mentioned the continuing resolutions in anti-the efficiency. we are seeing more and more companies whose programs are being stopped and restarted. can you comment on that and the anti-efficiency. >> audit times r one thing that we need to address and are addressing.
they effect the rapid acquisition were time means so much. i hasten to say that the contract agency does not report to me. i have an interest in the improvement of their performance, as does the comptroller. he is aware of it. part of that is more auditors. that is not really be key. the key to improving audit performance is to not serially process every single audits and treat the big and the small and the urgent and the non-urgent as
the same thing. we want to be careful about making sure that audits are done properly. when you serially process everything as though it is equally important, you cannot keep up. that means something is falling off of the table without you having any control over how important it is. we need to improve that more than we do. >> i have a question. you mentioned that the services would get to keep the efficiencies they found in the first go-route. they are concerned that this new round of the efficiency will take that away. can you guarantee them they will keep the people that they got --
>> those who find efficiencies in the activities will have an opportunity to get more capability as a result. if it is pure e efficiency, it is going to be spent somewhere on capability. it will be in the immediate environment of where the savings are found. the secretary of defense always has the privilege of reapportioning money from one place to another as times and priorities change. the general aspect -- the general expectation would be bthat would happen. >> nasa is being forced to go more toward commercial.
the commercial industry provides a lot of your communications. they can possibly provide sensor packages. are you going to look at more use of commercial companies? >> absolutely. you spoke of hosted payloads in particular. that means there is a commercial satellites operative who is planning on putting up some satellites anyway and is offering real estate on their satellites for some of our payloads. that would eliminate the need for us to have our own space craft. more generally, we are paying too much. you will see us doing a lot with the management of space programs coming up. there is too much cost structure built into our space programs.
you will see that on aehs, where we're going to be looking aggressively at the cost structure in that program, including but not limited to -- maybe not even centrally -- the possibility of a block buy. likewise for the launch systems. are performing well, but costing too much. these are in the situation of the ssbnx that i started with. you can look into the future and it is apparent that would costs projected, these are not affordable. >> i want this to be cleared. i am still not clear on this.
i asked as simply as i can so i do not get a phone call, does dod get to keep any of its portion of the $400 billion? >> the savings over the that thears 10- president spoke of our intended to be deficit savings. that is what he was talking about. that is what the subject of the strategic review is. some of those can be identified three efficiencies. some of them will have to be identified another way. >> on that note, i want to thank you for being a most gracious guest and for taking all this
time for answering and volunteering to come over here and speak to the audience about pieces of the budget about which we care so much. thank you. [applause] thanks for joining us today. there are refreshments available in the lobby. h[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up on c-span, we will take you live to the pentagon for a briefing with defense secretary robert gates and general james cartwright. they will brief reporters about the u.s. role in the operation in libya. if you find yourself closer to your computer than your television, today at 5:00 p.m. eastern, join book tv online
about a live conversation about iran. a nobel peace prize winner and the done founder -- the founder of the center for civil rights will talk about her book, which tells the story of three brothers living in iran. that is a live stream. today at 5:00 p.m. eastern on booktv.org. >> tonight on c-span, a look at the news industry. a panel of journalists will discuss news. >> most of the spark persons i know are not listening to nancy pelosi or john boehner. maybe it is different in the room --
>> not at my house. [laughter] >> the people that you know -- you are probably conservative about some things. but if a couple of big guys want to get married, what do you care? why is it that in the media, we still have to be red team or blue team. >> what this event tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight on c-span 2, a discussion on education reform with the rev. al sharpton. the discussion will be about academic disparities among children of different races and how student achievement can improve. >> we used to hear debates about affirmative action and people said, why do we need a program?
because we have a program to exclude people. you have to have a program to counter the program you have. let's not act like it is osmosis that excluded people. it was intentional and you must intentionally correct what was wrong. >> watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. >> now a look at tax policy from our series on fiscal responsibility. ext segment we are continuing our week-long look at the fiscal commission recommendations to reduce the national debt. and on monday we looked up proposals to cut in cap discretionary spending. on tuesday we looked up proposals to restructure medicare and medicaid. yesterday we with the defense and security spending. on friday we will look as social
security. today our focus is on the commission's proposals to overhaul tax policy. our guest is former commission member, alice rivlind. one of the items the commission proposed was to create the single corporate tax rate of 23% to 29% and eliminate all special industry subsidies. how would that reduce the deficit? guest: the problem with the tax code, both the individual and corporate taxes, is that over the years congress for its own good reasons has put special provisions in the tax code. in the corporate tax code there are just dozens, probably hundreds of special provisions that are advantages for particular industries like oil
and gas or sometimes even for particular companies. they can write a very particular provision so that there is actually only -- so that it only applies to one company. these are earmarks' in the tax code. they are subsidies for particular things. the reason they are pernicious is that the more special deductions, exemptions you have come at the higher the rates have to be. we have gotten ourselves into a position as a nation where our corporate rate is quite high, although we do not raise an awful lot of money from the corporate tax. the idea behind the commission's proposal is care rid of these special whatever and tax all corporate income at the same rate.
and then you can lower the rate. depending on how much you get rid of, you can lower the rate quite far. from the point of view of our international competitiveness, that would help us, because we have our relatively high corporate rate, relative to other advanced countries. that is a disadvantage for american companies in the world. in if we had a lower rate, and we got rid of the special exemptions, we could raise more revenue. host: the commission proposed simplifying the tax code and cutting individual rates across the board, making the top tax rate 23% to 29%, and creating a payroll tax holiday for 2011. why is simplification so important, and how does that
raise revenue? the tax code is complicated. congress has put all lot of special provisions in. the ones that most people know about like the mortgage interest deduction for instance are legitimate banks. you might really want to encourage home ownership, but we do it in an upside down way. it is a deduction from income, and that means that higher- income people get to deduct a higher proportion of their mortgage interest. that does not seem fair. if you created a mortgage- interest credit, then it will go to everybody. everybody would get the same amount of their mortgage interest credit against their tax.
if you lower the rate, as the proposal encourages, then you could have a credit at the lowest rate, and that would go to everybody. it would get rid of ionization as a special thing. -- itemization. now the general question is how do we get rid of a lot of these special things, preserve the ones that people would really like to people like credit for low earners and earned income tax credit, the child credit, the mortgage deduction, charitable, but do it in a fair way so that it does not particularly advantaged people who have high income. that is not what it is supposed
to do. it allows us to raise more revenue was lower rates, because not so much income is deducted or exempted. >> when the commission voted in december of last year, the vote was 11-7. you voted yes, correct? guest: i voted yes. host: it was not enough to meet the threshold of 14 boats? gu-- votes. guest: that was sort of a myth. the press loved it. the 49 was left over from an earlier concept of the commission. the idea that you would have only members of congress on the commission, and they would actually write a law, and that
ball would be voted up or down -- that law would be voted up or down by the congress and would take 14 votes to have it voted up or down. as the commission evolves, it was not all members of congress. there were 12 members of congress, and six public members. we were not actually writing a lot. we're writing a report with guidelines. there was nothing to vote up or down. it got a majority of the vote. a got 11 out of 18, which is 60%. -- eight got 11 out of 18, which is 60%. host: we are going to go to phone calls soon. we're talking with alice rivlin. some of the other commission
proposals when it comes to tax overhaul proposals include replacing mortgage interest to charitable giving deductions with a 12% tax credit, which you discussed briefly. permanently repeal the alternative minimum tax, and tax capital gains as ordinary income, and add an additional 15 cents per gallon but for a gas tax by 2015. host: do you think with the gas prices today that the 15 cents per gallon gas tax could go through congress? guest: i think with gas prices today no one would notice an extra 15 cents. i personally would have voted for a higher gas tax or a more general carbon tax, but i do think we need to make fossil
fuels, including oil, more expensive, so we have an incentive to use the more efficiently. host: first call up is michelle on the republican line. we're talking about proposals to reduce the deficit in specifically looking at some of the tax overhaul proposals. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to comment on no wonder the snb has lowered expectations for america. -- the s&p has lowered expectations for america. i feel i live in the real world in flint, mich., and come from normal background.
my father and mother worked hard to make things good for our family. my mother packed our lunches every day. there was one of poor women on our block who had four boys and no father. there were certain people in the neighborhood that went in and take -- took care of her. my mother would take her laundry or what everything she could do to make some money. my mother would pay her and take her groceries and help her because she was a good loving woman. i am so sad to see what has happened to our government programs. criment, mich. we have climbe that is out of control. that is why when i watched louisiana with those poor people
cannot get in the car to drive out of louisiana to save themselves -- host: could i bring the focus back. if you could make changes to the tax code, what would you propose making? caller: everything has to be overhauled. it is a cent on the democrat soul to keep these people where these are. guest: i grew up in the middle west. i agree. we need to overhaul the tax code, and everybody needs to pay their share. i think the commission rubber that i served on -- i think the commission that i served on has the right idea about the tax code. we need to simplify it and also
reduce on the spending side. everything has to be on the table as they say. we need a combination of restraining spending and overhauling the tax code. host: one of the things the commission was looking to do was the tax code. did you start at 50/50? how did you begin that? guest: we started by looking at the spending side. that was true of both commissions i served on. everyone wanted to say how can we reduce the spending over the long run? the growth of spending. the growth of spending is primarily in the entitlement programs, because we have made promises to older people, and
now there will be a lot more older people and the cost of medicare is rising. both commissions look at how you restrain health-care spending, and then we booked at discretionary spending, both defense and domestic. after you have done all that, you realize the deficit will still be rising, and there is a lot of spending in the tax code. the special provisions we have been talking about might as well be spending programs, but they happen to have been put in the tax code. that means the rate talk to be higher, because we take tax expenditures out of the game. so we came to look at especially reducing the tax expenditures, reducing the spending through the tax code. the tax earmarks' if you like.
and simplifying the tax code and lowering the rates, which will enable the government to raise more money. host: next call comes from utah. go ahead, colleen, on the independent line. in caller: i appreciate the opportunity and information with the clarification that the guest had attempted to help paul ryan with the proposal that came out much differently than she wanted it to. my proposals for tax reform are a little different. i believe we did not have a great recession, that we actually have agreed inception where there really wealthy conspired and started early with the secret oil deals that led to the iraq war and the industrial
machine, including the money, and i think the oil subsidies have got to be if not totally done away with, only given it a certain percentage of the oil is guaranteed back to the owners of the oil, which are american citizens. guest: i agree with the spirit of your comment, and in fact, in reforming the tax code one of the things that would be eliminated in the strictest version of this thing would be the provision that's our favorable -- that are favorable to oil and gas. i do not see why we should favor one type of investment in the tax code over another. we should let the market decide where buttons should flow based
on net -- were funds should slow based on profitability. . i think that is a good point. in addition, i think we should be taxing the consumer of oil and gas more so that we have the incentive overtime to use less of it. host: have your political views or conclusions altered over time? guest: my perception is that i have not altered, but the world has. i have always been down the middle of the road. i wrote the book in the early 1990's in which i describe myself as a card-carrying middle of the roader. i believe in bipartisanship, but especially right now. we have a problem of the looming deficit, which we have to get under control.
neither party can do it alone. if the republicans come out with the plan of which is all spending cuts come and no revenue increases in quite favorable to upper income groups come it than the democrats will jump on it. if the democrats come out with a plan that is an opposite direction, the republicans will come out against it. and we have debt like -- deadlock. we cannot afford to have deadlocked. on the commission we have both democrats and republicans. we have very different people. senator durbin of illinois who is a liberal. tom coburn it was certainly a conservative. they all voted for the proposal.
they have been joined by two other members of congress, a republican and democrat. warner of virginia and a representative of georgia in what is now known as the gang of six. i think of them as not so much a gang, but six courageous people who are willing to put their political lives on the line and say we have got to solve this problem together, both parties. i think that plan, which is likely to be coming forward next week, it can give the republicans and democrats some bipartisan cover to move ahead together. host: when you were vice chair of the fed come in did you pay a lot of attention to standard and poor?
guest: not especially to standard and poor. the job of the fed is to pay attention to all kinds of indicators, and we paid attention to the stock-market and to other kinds of agencies. back when i was vice chair of the fed, this was in the 1990's, i do not think it ever occur to anybody that the sovereign debt of the united states of america could be downgraded by anyone, and there was no need to even think about it. as gerry connolly pointed out earlier in the program, we had a surplus. we were worried about paying off all of the dead. so the notion that a rating agency would downgrade u.s. that
was really far from anyone's thinking. right now we're all worried about the future of u.s. debt, because it is rising too rapidly. we cannot go on borrowing increasing amounts every year in the world market. we just cannot do it. our creditors will begin to say wait a minute, we do not want to lend you all that money. that is what standard and poor's is reflecting. they do not know any more than you and i. they see the same numbers. they see if we do not do something, we will be in really serious trouble and our debt will not be financed of will. nobody will lend us that much money. it is a warning shot, but i think it is not as important of a warning shot as the commissions that i have served
on we both said this is unsustainable. have to stop. host: next call comes from syracuse, new york. caller: you were singing my tune to a large degree. .ne thing it's really irking me the republicans are very out front about what their problem is with the efforts to come back to the taxpayer to fix problems that were caused by overspending, and the democrats seem unwilling to engage in that particular discussion, and i do not see how things can move forward without an acknowledgement that we have a fundamental disagreement. one side of the country thinks it is ok to go and take money from the taxpayer, because we
have come up with the reason to spend it or have already spent it. the other side says the constitution is clear, regardless of the fact it overstepped the boundaries over and over, the constitution is very clear that the government has the right to raise revenue when they have things that they must spend on, and those things are pretty much enumerated and have been expanded on way past any place they should have recently been. the democrats will not address that. guest: i would argue with your premise of it. i do think the democrats are addressing it. if you listen off to the president's speech last week, he has a different way of solving the problem. he has freezes on discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. that is the difference between the parties at the moment. the democrats are more willing to cut defense spending in the
report -- and the republicans are not here yet they do cut spending in the president's budget. and the president takes on the entitlement programs. he would put controls in place, more on the regulatory side and less on the market side. i actually am more market oriented, but it is not fair to say the president does not rain in future spending on entitlements. he does. he just does it in a different way. it does seem to me that when you have done all that, and i would be quite drastic and reining in spending, as both of these reports do. when you have done all that, i think it is not realistic to think we can seem -- stick with the same broken tax code. we need to raise more revenue,
but we can do it in a more fair way with lower rates. that is what the commission is proposing. host: from abc news this morning -- guest: i could not agree more. i think kent conrad hasn a courageous leader. the president's commission was his idea the consequences of not addressing this problem could be very dire, and we to think it was way up there in the future. it is not any more. we have seen the consequences of countries that did not pay attention to their debt,
portugal, greece, and ireland are in trouble it is evident now that we could be in trouble quite soon if we do not put in place a plan to reduce the rate of growth of debt. we do not have to do with all at once. it does not have to mean a drastic cut in things that do not have -- you do not have to throw programming under the bus. you do have to have a plan in place that will show the world and creditors that we're serious about getting that debt under control. host: what do you think about the president's call for a new bipartisan commission to be led by vice president biden to look at the deficit? guest: i welcome any group looking at this problem. i was a little mystified about whether the president thought he needed a new group. the gang of six is doing very
well. they are all senators. somebody needs to create a group that brings in the house and the white house. maybe this is his attempt to do that puritan i hope the take the report, the gang of six, and say this is not so hard, a lot of people have worked on it. it requires a bipartisan solution, so let's get with it. host: this week came in for you. which would be more fair, raise the retirement age or remove the cap on fica withholdings? guest: i think you have to do some of each. there is no one way to do it. i would raise the cap gradually on fica, the amount to which the
petrol tax applies. the reason that it is as low as it is in the sense it does not cover as much earnings as it to. high income people have been earning a lot more. income has risen at the high end of the skill, so the amount covered by the cap is not as large as it to be in proportion to total earnings. raising the retirement age reflects the fact that we're all living longer. here i am at age 80 talking to you about all of these things. a lot of people are retiring early and then earlier than they to. then growing benefits for a very long time. that is much more expensive than they to be when people did not
live so long. so one way is to raise the retirement age. that is in the report, but it phases in very slowly and far in the future so that people have a chance to prepare for it. another way is what we did in the other commission, which is we will index the benefits to increase in longevity. that is up fancy way of saying if you retire early, you will get less because you are going to live longer. that would be based in very far in the future. -- phased in very far in the future. host: a tweet for you -- how long would it take to base the tax cut in? guest: people run their lives
around what they think the taxes will be, at least some people. things and faphase very slowly. what one piece of tax reform that we have not mentioned is the exclusion of employer-paid health benefits from income. your or employer can ge makes contributions to your health care. that does not count towards your income. having that exclusion is a big incentive to take your wages in health benefits rather than in money. but you cannot do all that at once. in you have to phase it out over time. both of these reports do that. they base it out very slowly.
i think that is a good idea. in both the health reform and tax reform, because it would discourage people from having exceptionally high benefit plans, which in turn encourages them to use too much health care. host: another tweet. the federal government already has an 18 cent tax on gas and still cannot balance the budget. guest: i think you could argue an additional tax would only hurt consumers, but you can also argue that consumers will realize, as they are already realizing because gas prices have gone up, that they need to buy more fuel-efficient cars and use it more efficiently. so i think the 18 cents per
gallon is a triviatrivial compao most other countries. if you buy gasoline in europe, you are paying $4 or $5 per gallon. it is astonishing. i would not go there, but i do think we can raise it. host: st. louis. carroll, a democrat. good morning. caller: i feel like i was in a parallel universe with this woman. she wants to raise taxes on gas. she thinks we should pay more taxes on health care, and that if we use too much health care that will limit us from using too much. i cannot believe it. this is a parallel universe. i do not know where she comes from. guest: that is interesting. in my universe it seems to me we
do have a very expensive health care system. health-care costs go up every year. if we had more incentive built into the system to use less of it and to pick providers that were more efficient and more effective, give us more health care for the money, i think we bit be better off. it is hard to design that, and certainly one does not say everyone is using too much health care, but the incentives are wrong. once you have health insurance, you do not have much incentive to figure out am i going to health-care providers that really gives me good value for the money or not? caller: next call. nashville, tennessee. go ahead, heather.
caller: i would like to encourage readers and viewers to google the point of truth. if you will read the report, you will see that they start diminishing the benefits starting at $9,000 annual income. i think using will be is rather stretch. she mentioned raising the age but what she did not mention is that for every year the age did raise, all beneficiaries will lose approximately 6.5% 7% is usually exception of the benefit for each year that the age is raised. regarding the gang of six plan, i think that is actually the
plan they will put in legislative form. it is not necessarily a new plan. if you do not like this plan, you will not be too thrilled by theirs. regarding the tax reform. the tax reform -- the gang of six will raise the bottom tax bracket by 2% in but were the very top of the bracket from 35 to 28. host: all lots on the table. -- a lot of the table. guest: i would encourage everyone to read the plan, which is called "moment of truth." and also read the plan i and a whole bunch of other bipartisan
folks put on the table, because the more information, the better. the calller is right that the gain of six is building on simpson bowls, because they accept the notion that a solution to the debt problem has to be bipartisan, and it is a good place to start. in a bipartisan plan everybody gives up something. burn put itenator cockbur very well when he signed the report. he said there is a lot in here i do not like, but i have figured out something. if we are going to solve this problem, tom coburn will not get everything he wants. alice rivlin will not get
everything she once. we have to solve the problem. we have to come together across party lines and forge a compromise that maybe nobody likes, but the alternative is worse. if we do not trained in the debt, we might find ourselves in a deep recession, deeper than we are crawling out of now that we could not get out of. that is very serious. host: florida. dan, republican line. caller: i am looking for one democrat to be honest with the american people about the so- called surpluses in the clinton years and how bush threw away the record surpluses. the economy during the clinton years was built on the .com boom, which greatly fueled the
economy. money was flowing, the stock market soared. tax revenue soared. that bubble burst in the last year of the clinton presidency. the economy went into a recession. bush's first few years of office, instead of getting the revenues, he was getting tax write-offs. when you lose money in the stock market, you write it off over a period of years. host: let's get an explanation. almost out of time. guest: you are right that the economy was very good in the 1990's. part of it was the bubble in the stock market and .com. we did have a surplus in the budget in 2001, and then the economy went into a fairly mild recession. after that we engaged in a
quite deep across-the-board tax cuts and increases and benefits under medicare, and the combination, along with two wars, has built up the debt, and we have to do something about it. we have to do something about the fact that we are headed into a democratic tsunami with the baby boomers retire ring and very rapid increases in medicare, and that will keep the debt rising. we have to solve the problem. it is not a question of blame. now we have to do something to solve the problem. host: fort myers, a merrill lynch. quincy on the democrat line. -- fort myers, maryland. caller: they say 40% of the other part of the country that does not pay taxes, don't they realize that 40% of the people
that do not have enough money to pay taxes is the reason why 2% have the money that controls 40% of the cut economy -- of the economy and in and of itself? that is why they should pay more taxes, because they are actually living off the poor. guest: i agree with some of that, and i thought the president was right when he said we should not extend the bush tax cuts to upper income people. our rates, even at the high end, are not very high. i am old enough to remember when the top rate was 90%, and then it was 70%. reagan brought it down to 50. now the top rate to which one would return if we did not extend the benefits is 39%. that is much lower than it to
be. the other thing that people say is there are a lot of people that do not pay taxes coming and they mean income taxes. they do not recognize that everybody who works pays payroll tax. most american families pay more payroll tax then they pay in income tax and that everybody pays state and local taxes whenever they buy anything. or if they own property. there is not as if there is a large portion of the country that does not pay any tax. there is a large portion that does not pay federal income tax, because we have designed the tax to fall on the upper half of the income distribution. host: this tweet --
guest: well, the gas tax has a disproportionate tax basically on their rural poor, and not so much on city people because they do not tend to drive as much or even own cars. i actually think that phasing in a small gas tax will not hurt anybody very much. taxing stocks, one of the provisions of the proposal in simpson bowels is to tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income. that is very important, and upper income people will not like it, because they are the ones that get the most dividend and capital gains. that is another way of saying tax stocks.
host: you have been around this town for a very long time. cbo, a founding director, omb director, served on the fed among other positions. is there a political will up there on capitol hill to do some of the things that your commission has proposed? guest: up until now there has not been, but we are in a very different situation. we are facing an economic disaster, and i believe republicans and democrats are beginning to realize this, and to realize they have to work together to solve it. there is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. we are really facing a apiary serious problem if we do not get the debt under control. -- we are really facing a serious problem if we do not get the debt under control. people around the world will not
keep lending us money at low interest rates, so we'll be in trouble if we do not fix this. host: alex rivlin was our guest. -- alice rivlin was our guest. on monday we looked at discretionary spending. tuesday we looked at medicare and medicaid spending. guest today defense and security spending. today we l look at the tax >> in just a couple of minutes, we will go live to a briefing by defense secretary gates to talk about the situation in libya. until then, your phone calls from today's "washington
opposed, 65%. cutting spending on medicaid -- 30% oppose that, total oppose, 69%, strongly opposed 52%. cuing military spending -- 42% support that while 56% oppose it. raising taxes on all by a small percentage and making small reductions to medicare and social security -- 45% support, 53% oppose. raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 -- 72% support, 27% oppose. cutting entitlements to cut the deficit -- what do you think? we have divided it by age. we will start here. buck, how old are you? caller: 80 years old.
host: what do you think? caller: i do not think you should cut the entitlements on medicare because you are a people who bought into the medicare system, social security, and the only have to pay a certain amount. i was in the military course some years. i worked in civilian life until i turned 78 years old. i have paid into this all my life, ever since have been doing. you have people buying into this. it is not right. i do not think cutting entitlements on medicare -- host: buck, you happy with the way medicare is administered? caller: i hear that it will be cut back. i do not think that is right. i am already paying into the system. i do not go to the doctor that often.
i go to him twice a year for my physical checkups and that is it. host: thank you or call in this morning. how would you cut the deficit? caller: there is one way to cut the deficit -- there are a lot of bases overseas. they should be cut in germany and some other places where we are spending a lot of money and paying a lot of money to keep these places opened. why don't we bring them back home, opened up some of the places we of closed in the united states, and then create -- we have closed in the united states, and then create more jobs in the united states? host: thank you for calling in. mary from albuquerque, mississippi. caller: i think we should have a flat tax across the board. it is only ir that everybody pay a portion of their income, no matter how small, no matter
how large. that we cut out the loopholes for the rich. it would have the poor pay something. also, earned income needs to be completely cut out. if you have been around people who get earned income, they waste it on stupid things like vacations, new tattoos,ew tv's. it is ridiculous. host: so you are not willing to cut medicare at this point? caller: medicare should be left exactly as it is. i work in the medical industry. if you see the fraud in the medicaid, it is unbelievable. the people that are on medicaid -- they take medicaid and they use their money to buy big cadillacs, diamonds, designer clothes. it is ridiculous. the american people who are around these people getting all of these entitlements are sick and tired of seeing how it is
wasted. we're sick and tired of the fraud. host: we got the point. dust and is 28 years old, calling from columbus, indiana -- dustin >> you can see this phone segment in its entirety as c- span.org. we're going live to a defense briefing with robert gates and james cartwright. >> i thought we would take this opportunity. >> mr. secretary, the situation in libya -- obviously we are hearing reports that the british and the italians are going to send in trainers. has there been discussion about the u.s. providing additional military and air support as things move ahead, considering things appear to be a stalemate, and whether or not you think it is a stalemate?
secondarily, the decision yesterday to provide aid to the opposition, does this suggest that indeed you now know who the opposition forces are? there has been a great deal of concern that it was not known who these people were and, for the general -- [laughter] we have not seen you in so long. >> first of all, i would say that the president's strategy from the very beginning, and it was worked out in advance with allies, was that we would have a significant role at the beginning of the establishment of a no-fly zone, use our capabilities to suppress the air defenses, and create the circumstances in which we could then receive region receded into
a support role, and our allies and -- recede into a support role, and our allies and friends sustain the effort over time, including the effort to prevent a humanitarian disaster. that is essentially what we have done. i think there was some present -- precision in identifying the military objectives of lot no- fly zone and preventing a humanitarian catastrophe, particularly in benghazi. regime change was always a political gold, and i think there was an understanding that regime change is complicated, and that it works best when it is done from the inside, and that it could take time. that is why the sanctions, the
embargoes, and everything are associated with that. now, the president has said where we have some unique capabilities, he is willing to use those, and, in fact, he has approved the use of armed creditors, and i think that today may have in fact been their first mission. i think that will give us some precision capability, and general cartwright might want to say more about that. i think in terms of the assistance, it is uniforms, canteens, things like that -- is all non-lethal. we're not worried about our canteen technology falling into the wrong hands. but, i think there is still a lot we do not know about the opposition. the only ones with him -- with
whom any of us have had contact with are those in benghazi, but there are others providing trainers and so on. >> on the munitions, we are hearing the same thing you are hearing. we do not have any verification. we will keep running on that one. on the current creditors, one -- part of the -- on the armed predators, the first flight launched today, but the weather was not good enough. what they will bring that is unique to the conflict is their ability to get down lower to get get -- to get better visibility on targets that have begun to dig themselves in. they are uniquely-suited for urban areas where you can get
low collateral damage, and we're trying to man is that damage. that is the best platform. there is extended precision. they are working the targets for a full day. you have those capabilities in addition to being able to get in and targets where collateral damage is a worry -- you want to hit the vehicle, but not the depot. it brings some capabilities to the nato commander that they did not have before. >> secretary, how would you answer the obvious question that since you are starting to reintroduce weaponry like armed creditors into the fight, -- preditors that the u.s. withdrew to early, or it is proved that nato cannot do the job?
>> in the case of a humanitarian condition, we are seeing what we can do with different capabilities. we drew down. essentially, we actually continued our role for several days longer than had originally been planned -- hour strike role. so, i think -- nato has shown an ability to sustain this mission. we have been in touch with counterparts, and they seem confident, and seem to be fully comfortable with the notion of having to continue what they are doing for some period of time. i think that obviously it is then evolving situation. but, we saw an opportunity here, and we recommended to the president. he took it. >> why specifically are these armed preditors and being
reintroduced? >> because of the humanitarian situation we are seeing, and i will let general cartwright speak to it, but for all the reasons he just cited, they give you a capability that we could not provide. >> the character of the fight has changed also. the introduction of air and a capability that nato has brought -- things out in the open know they will perish if a nato bird sees them. you are seeing a much more dispersed fight. people that are digging in our nestling up against crowded areas where there is collateral damage. now, you have the intermixing of the alliance. it is difficult to pick a friend from a fall. a vehicle that can get lower and get identification better helps us. >> are we just going to keep
doing one slice of salami at a time as the u.s. this further re-involved in this operation? >> no. if i did not think so. i think the president has been firm, for example, on the boots on the ground. there is no wiggle room in that i have been able to detect. this is a limited capability. he said from the outset from -- at where we had unique assets that could contribute, we would do that. a think this is a very limited additional role on our part, but it does provide additional capabilities. i did not think there is mission creep at all. >> why not tomorrow ac 130 contel? -- 130's? >> the president has been clear. i do not think any of us see it
as mission creep. >> you just called a modest contribution. can you give us an idea of the scope? are you talking less than half of a dozen, one, two, 3 -- what you're really talking about? >> we have two caps. two birds would be a country at any given time to weaken maintain two a day. -- given time. we can maintain two a day. >> nato said that air strikes, air power alone will not solve the problem of fighting and that the shelling remains indiscriminate, and there is no sign that gaddafi is going to go.
with the killing of civilians, indiscriminate and not stop, why not get more involved? if humanitarian is the goal, why not get more involved to save people? >> for one thing, let's remember -- let's go back to the first principles in terms of what the president structured our role the way he has. we have, of all of our friends and allies, we are the most stretched and militarily. we have close to 100,000 troops in afghanistan. we have close to 50,000 troops in iraq. we have had 18 ships and 19,000 women helping on -- men and women helping us in japan released. the united states has significant commitments in places other than the middle east. the president agreed to
participate and at the beginning take a lead role because of the worry that gaddafi could destabilize the fledgling revolutions in tunisia and egypt, with egypt been central to the future of the region, and second to prevent a humanitarian disaster, and a third reason, that while it was not a vital interest to us, our allies considered a vital interest, and just as they have helped us in afghanistan, the president thought it was important to help them in libya. there was never any lack of clarity about the limits on the u.s. role here, and i will say two other things. in terms of nato, they are very concerned about not going beyond the mandate of the u.n. security council resolution, and most of the opposition has said they do not want foreign troops on the ground. regime change imposed from the
outside, as we have seen in iraq and the balkans is incredibly difficult, and it works best, as we have seen in tunisia and egypt, when it is done from within. we are trying to provide enough space in order to protect the opposition from gaddafi's military, to the extent that we can. we are reducing his military capabilities to the point where hopefully those that rose up in many of these other towns, as well as the places that are under siege now, will have a better chance of being successful in bringing about a change there. >> you mentioned that we are the most stressed military and the world. against that backdrop, i want to get reaction to the news when you were told he would be forced to cut as much as $400 billion over the next 10 years. in august, you said cutting the defense budget for deficit
reduction was your greatest fear. what was your reaction? >> well, i think the key is the way that it is structured with the president saying that no specific budget decision will be made until we have completed this review. now, the way i am thinking about this review is that the worst of all possible worlds in my view is to give the entire department of defense a hair cut -- basically that everybody is going to talk a certain percentage. that is the way we got a hollow military of the 1970's and 1990's. i want to frame this so that options and consequences and risks are taken into account as the budget decisions are made, first by the president, and then by the congress. what i hope to do is framed as in a way that says if you want
to cut this number of dollars, here are the consequences for structure. here are your choices in terms of capabilities that would be reduced, or investments that are not made, and here are the consequences of the. -- this. this is a process that is driven by analysis. where it is about risk- management, with respect to future national security threats and challenges, as well as missions that aour elected officials to decide we should not have to perform or cannot perform because we do not have the resources -- i want to frame those choices because the easy thing for everybody is to just do a broad percentage cut, because then there are no evident consequences. what i want to do is frame this
in no way so that the consequences and risks are identified so people can make a well, thought-out decision. >> you criticized the strategy. could the criticism comes to the number of 400 billion that seems to of come out of thin air? >> i do not have the same criticism because of what the president said -- no specific budget decisions will be made until we have reviewed these things and options are put before them. >> i am hoping to get an update on afghanistan. last month, we heard the next few weeks would be the most important of the war as the taliban renewed fighting. has the fighting been renewed, are they coming back across the pakistan border? what are you hearing from afghanistan? >> i'll make a few comments,
then invite general cartwright to comment. there has been some uptick inactivity, but we are still kind of in the middle of the poppy harvest, so i think they're really expecting what ever return to the battlefield and there is by the taliban will be probably some time mooring in may and june -- more in may and june. my own view is that this year is a critical year. we have driven the taliban out of areas they have controlled for years. that includes their heartland. they clearly intend to try to take that back. if we can prevent them this year from retaking the areas that we have taken away from them, and we can continue to expand the security level, i
think it is possible that by the city to of this year we will have turned a corner -- i think that by the end of this year it is possible that we will have turned a corner, but that is more months into the future than it is weeks. i think we are all expecting an increase in the level of violence and activity beginning in a few weeks. >> i would just say that the seasonal issue is the poppy harvest starts about now, is in full swing, and goes until about mid-may. if the character of the fighting is more along the lines of the individual, spectacular attack, rather than groups of people. we are trying to position ourselves against the supply routes, cut them off from the southeast so they cannot rebuild
stocks. >> if i could return to libya, before the decision to intervene was made, you were forthright warning about risks, challenges, and difficulties about the mission. now that all of your predictions about the risks, challenges, and difficulties have come true, i want to give you a chance to say i told you so, but my real question is what have you seen that gives you confidence nato can sustain and succeed? the city needs to be in the fight for a period of time. how long does that have to be? >> i think the honest answer is nobody knows care if we have succeeded in preventing the kind of mass casualty -- nobody knows i think we have succeeded in preventing the kind of mass casualty. i would say the ruthlessness and
the sweeps he is making in tripoli, at least in my personal opinion, make the fears people have about a potential catastrophe in benghazi more real. so, i think we did accomplish that. this is a guy that the entire international community has essentially come together and said he has to go. the circumstances here are a unique in my whole experience. i cannot recall the arab league voting one of their own members out, essentially. the resolution of the gulf cooperation council, and the u.n. security council resolution -- so, there is a desire on the part of the international community to see this guy gone, and i think there is an
understanding that the real work of that will have to be done by the libyans themselves, but we can provide them with some cover from the air, and i think the kind of training that some of the allies are going to do and the assistance that provided will help, but it is likely to take a while. >> you talk about the efficiency drive, and not pushing toward these exquisite solutions, and that there is a bit of over- matched, and perhaps given the constraints, you need to except maybe less than 100% given a new push to make further cuts, are you looking at something like 60% solutions? you talked about the low hanging fruit being gone, but as carter told us yesterday, more major programs might be on the line.
do you have to start looking at joint strike fighter? >> these are the decisions that i think need to be teed for the president, as an example. there are those that are geared that if you funded the department at roughly inflation for the next 12 years that you could find this money. that may well be true, but some of our big ticket items are items that do not fall within that category -- health care, fuel costs, and there are others like that. we have some investments that we have to make. we have to buy the new tanker. we have to replace some of the surface ships that will age out. they were built in the reagan years and well aged out. -- will age out. the question of how many is one that has to be answered.
all elements of the triad need to be modernized. you need to make some choices there. i want to frame this so it is not a math exercise, but so people understand the strategic and national security consequences of the decisions, and it is up to us to do that, i think, in stark terms. >> what is it that you want to be able to do, and how much do you want to do, which gets to quantities and capabilities -- starting with the strategy and -- strategy, and understanding that come up where do we want to be, and what are the implications of any challenge -- changes? those aren't portent questions to ask upfront. >> -- those are important questions to ask upfront. >> your comments were the ideal
change would come from the inside. do you see any sign that gaddafi's hold on power is weakening, and short on continuing to escalate the western intervention? -- [inaudible] [no audio] >> there were uprisings in a number of libyan cities, it was not just the 3 or four that we were talking about, and in each case, the doctor was able to use military forces to suppress those uprisings. the question is, if you weaken
his military enough and you write -- and they rise up again, are they in a position to expel the libyan government from their town or their area? the other area is simply, and then again it is not a short- term thing, but the embargo, the fact that oil is not been sold, the embargoes and sanctions that have been levied over time have to have consequences in terms of his capabilities. i mean, and one of the themes that we have been seeing in the reporting is that he has been hiring mercenaries from africa to come and slight. so, if he begins to run short of cash, that begins to have an impact. again, that is not a short-term thing any more than the military briefing in is, but it is taking place day after day.
we will just have to see. this is an uncertainty. >> of the $400 billion of the president has talked about in security savings, how much would be attributed to the department of defense, and i also was wondering if you could talk more about the review process, how would that compared to the qer process? >> and sarir, was the first part -- first part? >> how much for dod? >> we do not know at this point, and my cabinet colleagues are looking and me suspiciously at this point. [laughter] >> that has not been worked out. the second part? >> how would you describe the process?
>> we have just garden -- we have just guarded. i have had one -- we have just started. i have had one meeting. one approach that we talked about, and i have not settled on which approach we are going to take, but one approach would be to take the scenarios in the qdr and translate those into forces. exactly what forces would be required to perform that range of missions. then, if you began cutting off missions, saying what'd you were not able to do this, where you did not need to fight two regional conflicts, what the implications of that for the force? so, it will start probably with the qdr in terms of the scenarios, and then try to
translate that into what about program -- programmatic implications as you begin to reduce the mission set. >> are you worried you could leave office and libya will essentially still be a still made? what more could nato due to change, or should nato consider doing more than what a has done so far? >> well, the worry will be my successors. i think -- i actually think that some of the things that are being done in terms of trainers, in terms of providing nonlethal assistance are important contributions. i talked about this dna hearing two or three weeks ago -- ian a hearing two or three weeks ago. i think one of the biggest opposition is the lack of
training, structured, command and control, communications, the lack of experience military people, and so i think that if you could remedy those, there are a lot -- there is a lot of weaponry in libya. the opposition has and able to access some of those armories, particularly in the east. i think the biggest need of the part of the opposition right now, particularly in the east, is what the alliance members are doing. >> in connection with the trainers on the ground, you say you see the need for that, but in a sense is that not a mission creep? they are boots on the ground, at least in one sense? >> they are not our votes on the ground.
we never made that commitment for anyone else. the argument of the british, the french, and the others is that giving these people a better capability to defend themselves as a directly tied to the humanitarian mission. last question. >> thank you. so, is the up -- if the opposition needs training, has never requested that the u.s. send trainers there? >> no. no. no. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> tonight on c-span, a look at the news industry. you will hear from my panel of journalists as they discussed the current state of news and commentary and what happens when they converge. >> most smart people i know are not listening to nancy pelosi for their world view, nor to john boehner, and most do not go home at night and talk about continuing resolutions to fund the united states government. maybe it is different in the room -- >> not at my house, we never talk about politics. [laughter] >> we forget that. let's be honest. the people you know, you are conservative about some things. you want your taxes to be low, but if a couple of gay guys want to get married, what do you care? is that not where most people are today? why is it in the media we have to be red teamed or blue team? >> watch this event from the new
orleans literary festival at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. tonight on c-span2, a discussion on education reform with the rev. al sharpton. they will talk about economic disparities as well as how they think student achievement can improve. >> we used to hear the debates about affirmative action, and people say why do we need a program? because we had a program to exclude people. you have to have a program to counter the program that you had. [laughter] let's not act like it was osmosis that excluded people. it was intentional, and you must intentionally, wrecked what was wrong. >> watch to see them from the aspen institute tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> may 1, "in the upcoming your
questions for tobir machan, whose books include "the man without a hobby." live, sunday, may 1, and noon eastern on booktv. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs. every morning is "washington journal" connecting you with elected officials, policy makers, and journalist. weekdays watch live coverage of the u.s. house, and weeknights policy forms and hearings. on the weekend, you can see signature interview programs. on sunday, "newsmakers" "q&a," and "prime minister's
questions." c-span, washington your way -- a public service created by america's cable companies. >> labor unions are an issue in many state legislatures across the country. michigan is one of the most recent states to see unions pitted against state governments. michigan is also the site of a conference on labor issues sponsored by wayne state university. coming up, we'll bring you a panel discussion on the future of unions in america with a group of national union leaders. this panel was about one hour and a half. >> to start the program, what i am going to do if asked each of the panel we have got to take a minute, maybe two minutes max, and identify one dimension which is impacting it the movement today. we want to understand where the movement is today before talking
about the future. talk about one item that is impacting the labor movement. it could be something impacting it positively, - 3, and would you like to start? >> yes. sure. thank you for having me here. one thing that is affecting the labor union -- labor movement right now, it is both positive and negative. to give scott walker, the mobilize their of the year award, this year. it is more than just an attack on collective bargaining. it is actually an attack on democracy itself, because going after collective bargaining, they are going after the right to work, but they're also going after voters' rights, state
rights. it was said that students in new hampshire is should now be able to vote because they are a row. that is a direct quote. they want to rewrite history. they want to take down a mural that talks about the history of maine because it was said to be to a worker oriented. taking away the strength of private-sector, trying to tie up our rources, but there is a positive side, and we are trying to do this. in wisconsin, we he organized five new universities since this battle. 1 -- [laughter]
we're bringing in more so the backside and permanent increase in the number people, and the other thi it had done the most effectively, i think, is to bring all progressive groups together. progressive groups are working together and solidarity more than ever. >> thank you. >> working in the automotive world, what is your dimension? >> well, it is for all labor movement, and it is much broader, as he was saying. there is a new social justice movement coming together, and i think that when unions are focused on everybody in society, the great united labor table, bringing together the energy in the membership, and i hope that south is going to talk about his union it -- seth is going to
talk about his union. >> ok, thank you. >> michigan, ohio, illinois, indiana, and wisconsin. i want to take a minute and reflect on what is going on in those states. it is very exciting. i think that this is an incredible moment in america. i think this is a moment when the political ground is shifting. also, in terms of the organization of people. in ohio, there were 3000 people at the statehouse. i reminded them that six months
ago, 3000 people was huge. 500 people is small. this is a challenge for us. it is a majority, not just unions, and you will see this happening across the midwest. tolet's move closer to home, the state level, and the state of michigan. >> so the first step to building that movement and across the rders is to build it with our own members. we live in a time when we have lost a lot of members and have lost a lot of opportunity. when this country gives away the manufacturing jobs, that is 1 million families who do not top union at their dinner table or talk union to their neighbors,
so we have to take are millions of members and mobilize them to build the majority we have been talking about. >> you know, there is a multiple of external challenges that we have, but as mark and others have said, i think it will be the internal things we do within our union. unions have to come together. two unions over here and two over here will never make for. -- four. it has to be a bad unions coming together, and if you believe there is strength in numbers and that we need strength to fight those each ral programs, then we have got to bring the unions together, but we also have to truly, truly focus on localizing our members. we have to use that worker to
worker process, where there are people at work sites who are actually talking. they are not just putting things on the board are getting something in the mail that they are not going to read. it had got to be communication, and that cmunication have got to be at the level where everybody is. i mean facebook and twitter and email and text,nd wherever folks are, thais where we need to be, though it had got to be using the rank and file a lot more than we have in the past and trying to get them to feel some ownership. i have been around for over 40 years, where people have said to me, "you need to do something." i am thankful, as well, for what is happening, because it helps us to mobilize and helps us -- it highlights the issues of who we are. >> let's move to the government
sector. >> personally, i would like to thank everybody else for the opportunity to be here and participate in this panel, and from the federal side of things, i think we have both a challenge and opportunity with what is going on in the country right now, and the challenge and opportunity we really have, at the heart of that is how do we re-engaged and reenergize the federal work force which does become disenfranchised and demoralized. you avulsing the impact in the media. whave seen the attacks from congress with the federal employees. we know that govnment is on the verge of shutting down at midnight tomorrow. we see an attack on benefits. we see employees characterized as overpaid, underworked, as lazy.
and what this does is allow of the men and women to be disconnected, from knowing and believing that what they do matter of and that they make a contribution to the greatness of this country into our society, so what we really need to be about doing is changing the freight -- frame of reference. this is from the debate that has gone on in this country essentially from the elections of november of last year, and i think it is going to be a continuing debate, and organized labor needs to seize the opportunity to get enged in this debate and to help frame the debate and make folks understand that all working men and women offer something of
value to this country that need to have a voice in the workplace. >> ok, we have bounced around a uple of times in our comments. wisconsin. for the people in this room, for the people watching and on c- span, what happened in wisconsin and why it is so important? >> sure. legislation was offered up by the governor and the legislature to essentially weaken or restrict collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. in response to that, the sleeping giant of organized labor rows up, and thousands of active is -- rose up, and thousands of activists essentially took over the area.
i think where we are right now, i think ultimately, whether that legislation is enacted or not will be determined by the boards. >> you made a great line. giving the best recruiter award to the governor of wisconsin. what can be done to take it managed of that situation so it does turn into recruiting could >> to actually paid a bit more of the picture of what hapned in wisconsin, because we jump in right at the point of the battle. first, ts governor gets elected, and he has a surplus in his budget. he takes that surplus, and he gives major cuts to which america. he created what is a miniscule
deficit, and he says, "now i have a deficit, and we are in crisis, so you have to give me mething." phillie ask for 5% contribution from the public employees and a 10% contribution from the pension plan. pension plans that were down because of the recession. here is what we found out when we started sifting through it. it was said that workers were paying too much. we found out is that they were paid less than their private- sector employees, not more. it was 25% less. so we found out that there was a deficit.
he did not have a problem with the pension. but the workers and wisconsin said they were willing to pay their pay -- their fair share. we will give you the 5% cut and the 10% from pensions, even though they are totally unjustified and that the rich people, corporations, did not have to share and it, -- in it. but he could not say y. he said he wanted more. "i want to take away your right to bargain. i want to prevent new. i do not want you to be able to talk about patient care. you, mr. fireman, a police
officer, i will be able to dictate." and the public in wisconsin and everywhere else said, "enough. enough is enough. we hired you to create jobs, not destroy them." so they came out and tripled the grass roots movement. they could not get this thing passed because of all of the people. the democrats decided to leave the states and they could not have a quorum. so they literally in the middle of the night, near 3:00 a.m., they passed this thing in the middle of the night. again, it backfires on them. they said "mathison of."
if there is somehought about him or another governor are overreaching, he continues to drop like a rock in a shallow pool. workers have banded together. they have had an election on tuesday. all three democratic senators on because those on the republican side said that report -- support this governor. 55 to 25 just three months ago, and she came back and beat him, and that is the sea change. [applause] i apologize for taking so long to get to your question.
but i thought was necessary to have the background. so how you build on this issue continue to stoke it. there are petitions. we have enough votes for two more senators. take them to recall and flip that over, getting friendly candidates into the senate, and when they see the power that they have, it becomes infectious. you talk about corruption, in ohio, they did not have enough votes to pass some things.
they did not have enough votes, so they started the vote, and in the middle of the vote, they were moved two republican senators. to get it out of committee, and the vote is 17-16. if it had been the other way, they would have lost in committee, and it would have been all over. now we have a citizen veto. we are all together in this. a citizen veto. and when people see this to stop overreaching governors, i think it becomes infectious. [applause]
>> so i think what is happening not just in wisconsin but throughout the country, the story you have heard in ohio, there are 22 republicans. the democrats could not even stop any day. the republicans had a super majority. but there was a grass roots lobbying of citizens. not union members, citizens across the state. they created so much pressure that they uld not get the bill out of the committee. then they could not get it through the senate morals committee to get a vote on the senate rules committee. collective bargaining in ohio. this is important.
it was citizen driven. th whole effort is a citizen driven effort. it is a bipartisan effort. it is a grass-roots effort. this is a very, very interesting phenomenon. it is to my knowledge, in the history of america, that the people have done this on the issue of collective bargaining. living wage, other things. but this has not happened to my knowledge anywhere else. this is a very conservative state in a lot of ways. a combination of ss action, mass movement. coming together, not just for a bigger movement but the faith
community being involved in doing stuff. quite dramatic. and it has an impact on the climate. the public and private sector, right? it had not been doing so hot for a variety of reasons. >> yes, i just want to chime in on the recall he is. -- recall peace. -- piece. if they do not listen to voices or anything, they will listen to recall. for years to com when we
showed them the power that we have with the recall, we will never have problems. if we do a recall, i know the definitely will listen. >> bob, in the automotive industry, for the last couple of years, there have been a lot of changes in compensation and benefit packages. it was tough negotiations, tou to accept, but it did not seem to be as galvanizing as what was happening in wisconsin. >> i think that is because there were totally given situations. the problem with all of these governors, and it is important to understand that this is a coordinated national attack on working people.
they are trying to take more and more money away from seniors, from kids in school, k through 12, and give it all tohe wealthiest. the fiscal problem is not too much benefit. the problem is we have given too much money to the wealthy, and if that money was back in our communities and back here, we would not be having this. when we went through the automotive industry because of some bad decisions that were made and everything, there was a crisis. part of the crisis was created by the same people. but we hado react. in my view, the crisis at the state and federal of it is a revenue crisis -- or federal level is a revenue crisis. the first thing he did was to
get away another $1.70 billion to $1.90 billion to corporations in michigan without asking for a single thing to help the community. that is the biggest welfare did when you can ever think of. there are no requirements. it is not that a single corporation has to bring in a single job for those dollars. and then, how does he want to finance it? he wants to finance it with taxes on the pensions of retirees. know what it takes to get corporations to invest in the community, and one of the most important things that look that is what is the educational system in that community and what is the skills of the workers. this is trying to take $480 per student away from k through 12 education. we should have 50,000 people in
lansing. this is outrageous. these are hard-working people who because we have a lack of a labor movement, collective bargaining rights in this country, are working 40 hours per week and making poverty- level wages. many years ago, we should have why isn't up. now,e wants to take that away from them while he supports giving the wealtthe millionaires and billionaires an extension on their taxes. so with the outrage here and basic fairness and basic justice is what i believe it is this notion social justice movement in the united states, and i am excited about it. i think you will see a change in the united states. [applause] >> it seems to me what we're hearing is there is this whole
sea change. traditionally, when i stard a career, people would pay their dues. they would do their job and take their turns in the local union, doing eir work to keep it going, and expect better pay, better working conditions, pay, and now, i pay my dues, i do my job, and i may lose some day and lose some benefits. how is that changing the mindset? >> the way you describe it in the past is right. now, these threats to them are from the outside. who changed the lot i can no longer collectively bargain? they have always been part of a movement, but not everybody
understood it. this is the opportunity to talk to them about being part of a movement and making that as important to them as the next contract and you are beginning to hear a lot of communication that the reasoning of difficult negotiations is not centered right here in the company alone. the reason health care is on the table is not centered in the health of this alone. this is a national crisis. so we are using this opportunity, and we must, if our mbers are very receptive to this, we are using this opportunity to broaden their outlook, and i think it is only going to pay dividends, and, frankly, one concern that i have is with the excitement and interest by members and people in the community, the election is a very important thing, too. >> and definitely, it has to
last. the motion will make it last. i think we're doing a better job with the opportunity for education, and it is about educating not only the community but also educating our members, which is why when they understand what is going on, why they did not get a pay raise or whatever, so i think it is about education, and it is just a real opportunity to, again, bill the labor movement. >>we have been talking about -- this is today's world. what do employees what from their labour unions? are they looking just for traditional services and a normal type of dues, or in is sea change, are they looking for something else?
rich? >> first of all, i want to go back and attack the basic premise of what you said. but this is just something we have to except. we are still the richest nation on the face of the earth korea over the last 30 years, listen to this, all of the income gains that the country has seen has gone to the top 10%, and 58% of all of the income gains we have seen in the united states had gone to the top 1%, and 30% of all of the gains have gone to one-tenth of 1%, and that means that one american out of every 1000 gets 30% of all of the income gains. it is not giving people a fair chance to get ahead, and you are seeing ian, and the quality level in this country suffer, and we hear the republicans.
we heard ryan yesterday. "we cannot afford good jobs. we cannot do in here," says he. "we cannot afford health care for everybody." they do it in the rest of the world, but we cannot do it here, says he. retirement security, they do it in the rest of the world, but they cannot do it here, says h and education, we have to cut back away. a good public education is now a frail or a commodity of the rich. -- now a frill. a governor like chris christie, the governor of new jersey, says, "look. you do not have a pension, and these oveaid public employees do. let's take it away from them."
in america, did we not always say, "somebody -- everybody needs to have a pension." they want us to scale back on the american dream, and we refuse to give up on the american dream. [applause] so this is a time for us to come together and actually reeducate america. there are some of my friends who are in education. a couple of others have come to me to tell me we are missing it. this is a timehen you can be educating your members on a different type of economic policy. and i think they're absolutely right. that is what we need to do, because america does not have to
give away everything that made us great. we can still achieve it. i believe that. [applause] >> i think at is absolutely right, and this is why we are trying to do these things in different ways, to help organize citizens, and that is what this is about. people like chris christie and one from indiana have called this a privilege. it is a privilege to lead this country. the top 25 hedge fund managers on walltreet made $25 billion in 2010. that is enough to pay for, you know, three-quarte of a
million teachers. to add more value to our economy? by the way, those hedge fund managers are paid taxes at a lower rate than the teachers in michigan. for st of america's history, for most of michigan's history, for most of wisconsin's history, good jobs and strong communities. these are connted. we need an educated population. we did it. we all pulled it together for a public education for everybody. the are policies that help build the middle class in this country. for the past 30 years, we have had a different view of the
world free trade without any labor standards, giving huge tax breaks to rich people in corporations and hedge fund managers. without any kind of regulation at all. we did that for the next 30 years. how is that working for america? this is an opportunity that we have f that kind of change. i think our members expect differently as a whole different level of communication. some of this is generational, right? it used to be that some did not want to worry about the details.
one of the challenges we face is to not just education on this but with email and text and social media to be a part of feeling very connected to this fight, very connected to the broad movement. >> we will change gears, but in the same general direction, in the communications business, we used to have wires. it used to be the every assembly test was done by a person, and now this robotics. the government is going into a whole new sets of programs. how does that impact the unions? how do you deal with that could >> well, let me jump in.
making a better nation. it means making a larger middle class, to me. understanding the framing of the issues today. people, just when they walk out of her -- i lived in ann arbor, and there are bridges that they have cut off because they do not have the money to rebuild the bridge. it may collapse. we're becoming a third world country because we are letting the right extremists in this country define everything about cutting, cutting, cutting and giving it all to the wealthiest. the things that which talked about. income created by workers be more productive. we were told of we were more
productive, we would share in the gains from productivity, whether it be in manufacturing or new technology, instead of that, the compacts broken, and it is going to the wealthiest. what i see and is what i am concerned about is that peop are waking up. we talked about the frustration of people voting. that has changed. the extremists have point -- pushed it so far that governor walker or scott, they have pushed it. they are reazing if they want a decent future for themselves and their kids and their grandkids, they have to stand up and fight. president obama, and this is the final part. president obama in my opinion is the best present we have elected. he is more worker friendly, but
here is a mistake i believe we made. we fell into this trap like we did about thinking it was about the contract. we thought if you let the right person, they will get the job done. we collected were obama, and we went back to our couches. -- we elective obama. where were we? not being activist enough. what you're seeing is as coming alive and realizing it is not about a socially election. -- a single election. the sit-down strike. what is the great lesson of that? if they had waited for legislative change, the what would have never bn changed.
now, it was important that just before the sit-down, we learned that frank murphy, a democrat to be, it with he who refused to build -- bring in the federal troops to bust that strike. if we forget it is about a movement, every elected person, president obama, needs a fire under them pushing for justice. a broad segment of america to get people back to understanding. you always have to have direct action. you cannot leave that up to the people you elected. it is not fair to them. it is never successful. franklin delano roosevelt would not have done the new deal without the bottom-up pressure that was on him. >> your question sams where i
started, that ther were fewer union members. 12 million and to get members cannot be wrong. when you cut education, you'll not only put teachers' salaries and school bus drivers and their benefits at risk, but the children and the rest of america. the 13 million, we can work with, and we can speak for. all of the nonunion parents of those kids who are impacted, and we are getting that, and we are getting better at that. this is a can this operation, but it does not go to union households. it goes to nonunion households, and we find nonunion workers in michigan who think like us, and we signed them up, and they become part. is is growing, and i do not
think it is stopping. >> to get to the technology piece, the innovation and technology in the last 20 or 30 years that i have been a union member, it is absolutely incredible. i think what the technology has allowed organized labor to do is we have the ability now to reach out to our cstituency, not only within our own membership but within the communities where we live and work, and social networking, like facebook, like twitter -- i am not an expert on any of that stuff, but my communications dector is here. he is 25 years old, and he understands the differee that we have to make knowledge in
terms of the tools we use to communicate with. all the facets of the work force that we represent. all of younger people, they do not read newspapers. they do not read print. they get their news off of the intern, so we have to capitalize on that and realize that the internet and all of the social networking tools not only give us the benefit to reach further, but there is an immediacy to it. you saw that with what went on in wisconsin in madison. the streaming video of this happening simultaneously was incredible, and that is powerful. it really gives organized labor the opportunity to really get the message out, on point, you know, immediately and enables us, like rich was talking, to
give this grassroots mobilization happening, where 20 yes ago, it would have taken us days to do that with telephone calls and writing letters and you name it, but today, its a matter of minutes or hours. it just really has become a tool for us, and we really need to take and manage of that, and we clearly and snd what communication works for different segments of the work force. >> it has really made it easier for us. we no longer have to ask members to write letters to congress. it is definitely a tool, and it is definitely something we need to take advantage of. >> with all of the socially and
the things talked about, the percentage of the work force that is in organized labor has been going down for a long time. as leaders othe union, how do you take that? do you try to focus on growing the numbers could >> yes. the absolutely focus on growing the numbers. in cwa, there has been a change in technology, and work has gone away. organized in 10 years 40,000 wireless workers who did not have a union, right? they did not exist before. we're continuing to do that. one story about organizing in the moment, t-mobile.
there is the very conservive home town of the governor of maine. it was that they had no right to organize. it was not a certainty but the possibility that t-mobile would be acquire by at&t, which is committed to a majority signup and neutrality. today, there are t-mobile workers. for the very first time, -- that change and their ability to organize -- and obviously has to do with some changes in the
industry. i think we will hear more about that in the months to come. >> first of all, i cannot let the opportunity pass to say that the decline in the labor movement did not happen by accident. it was a conscientious plan, just as ere was a conscientious plan by the governor. neil liberals, ronald reagan, margaret thatcher -- neo liberals. you have regulations, and they affect the union, get rid of them. they understood something. they understood that we were the ground troops. there was a great teacher who said that every time you point the finger at somebody, there are three more pointing back at you.
we let young people go off. we have not tried to address their needs. we have tried to shoehorn them into a model. and now, we are trying to change that. "tell us what you need us to be so that we can represent you, so we can bring you to the labor movement." ging people a permanent seat at our counsel, and we're bringing the men in an advisory capacity. i asked them continuously what we can do. there are millions who are excluded from collective bargaining. if you are an independent contractor, if you are a health- care worker, if you are a taxi cab driver in new york, and we are going after them. we're going after them and saying, "we are going to represent you."
new types of organizing drives. the most exciting international organizing drive that i have heard of in a long time. an international drive. so we are really trying to change what we do and how we do it to make ourselves more relevant to workers, and it is catching on, because more and more workers are coming our way. we started an organization four years ago. it has 3.5 million members right now that say, "i want you to represent us in the political and legislative aspect," and now, they are also starting to say, "and i also want u to represent me on the job." we have a lot of ground to cover. we sat back and let globalization come into being,
and we kept denying it existed. now, we are seeing that it is here. it is not going away. >> it mentioned the need for the unions to more actively debt members. at the top of the disssion. why do the rest of you not china in on that discussion? >> -- chime in? >> to engage our membership and have them have an ownership. there is a powerpoint, and one of the things we said, members, in the 1950's coming here is what it meant. -- in the 1950's, here is what it meant. you have to be an active part of rebuilding this in america. and i think it is really important to point out one of
the reasons w unionization has fallen so far. the national labor relations act, we had a campaign in north carolina, where the workers of reorganized down the road, one block away from where they were. they saw the significant difference we made in workers' lives. the companies continue to be very successful, and the company did not agree to any fair practice, so we used another fair practice. 221 to 223. massive violations filed by the national labor relations board with that corporation. you know that today, seven years later, every single member of
the uaw at organizing person has been fired or driven out. we are taking direct action. we will not let them violate the first amendment rights, freedom of speech, the right to be a union and to have collective bargaining. our allies and friends, internationally, to join us in branding them human rights violators, and you will see this in the labor movement. t-mobile, all kinds of unions are saying we're finding other ways to protect labor rights because of the national labor relations board. >> if we put a cross section of the country out here, you know, bill hall represented group,
what is the public perception of organized labor today in america? >> i think it is radically different. >> we have been doing polis for about four years. >> you have an interest in this. >> yes, as a matter-of-fact. about 10 years ago or 12 years ago, but people started saying "the unions are not so bad, but they really cannot help me." thenbout five years ago, something helped make -- something happened. "unions are not so bad, but they can help me." we set out to get that chance because of what bob talked about. the level of interest in unions, collective bargaining, understanding the process of what collective bargaining can do for you, whether you are a
pressional, whether you are a blue collar worker or a white collar worker or another worker. this has something to offerou. we have seen small business groups come up to was and talk about collective bargaining. to tha us for some of the things we are doing. if it is up to us to make sure that that fresh look is a good luck. about the things thate do positively, about the things that we help with. the minimum wage, health and safety on the job protection, social security, an education for every kid out there, not where daddy and mommy's pocketbook will take them, and we are trying our darndest. >> this is to really reach out
to citizens, to be equal partners in building a movement. there is a tendency to say -- surprisingly, people did not line up at the door to do that. i think it is really important. a really good example is from ohio. a lot is involved. there are a lot of community organizations involved. to train 150 citizen activists. they see what is going on in ohio, and they wanted to become a part of that.
and people on the facebook page, and there are now over 130,000 people. health car america now, a wonderful organization. they have 18,000 people on their cebook page. a great campaign, spending millions of dollars, and face a page of 20,000, an elected official. it is hard to keep track of and hard to know. the democrats, the republicans, independents. they are union members and not. having a strong community. having good jobs. they want to be a part of it. they want to be connected. to recognize that we have to do
it now. we are trying to do that. to stand up for ohio and facebook is something you can check out. >> speaking for federal sector labor unions, our union was one of three unions that recently commissioned some polling, as well, to sort of figure out how we responded to this-media and congressional action that is happening with federal employees, and the results are pretty interesting, because the bottom line is when it is all said and done, the public in our country things ptty highly of federal employees. and yet, when you ask the question "what do you think
about the unions that represent these employees?" their approval ratings when announcing the delay, and i think part of it is due to basically this notion that somehow unions are disconnected from the employees that they represent, and that is nonsense. they are one in the same. the very word "union" implies that it is individual employees that come together to form an organization to represent and rgain, so we have got this disconnect, where we think this union is this nebulous thing out there, and people do not understand that that union is, at least in my case, made up of federal employees. so what we nd to do, and i think the message we need to tell folks, and what we are doing is we are taking the tack
of havin our members tell their stories. what is in, for example, we represent veterans in administration doctors and nurses who are held and the highest esteem of any federal employees in the eyes of the public. those folks went right at the top in terms of a positive impression that the public has of them, so we're asking our members who are nurses and doctors to tell their story, you know, what it is they can do, the health care they provide veterans, how does that contribute to the nation and to the economy, how does that contribute to making the community's stronger, and talk about, and, again, during the reference from how much money that are paid. it is about the work that they do, the accomplishments that
they have, and focus on making sure that those folks have the resources and the tools they need to continue to provide quality care for veterans, so it is about remessaging and getting out of t debate of whether the debate -- the deficit is $1.60 billion. the public really does not give a damn about numbers. they can care less about where you got your data, and we can have a debate about whether your data came from the heritage foundation or the departmentf statistics, and the average person out there does not giva damn, so it is not about data. it is about the work that people do and how that contributes to the greatest in this country and to the economy to get us out of the financial mess that we're in and putting the 30 million unemployed and underemployed americans who need to get back to work back to work in this
country, andhat will go a long ys to taking care of this problem that we have in united states today. every company promotes they're satisfied customers, accept us. our folks need to talk about -- folks need to know that we hale more than grievances. we are handling grievances for the same 1% of the membership. leaders need to step back and led to our members tell their stories. when we do a press conference, it does not need to be us out there all the time. it is to be folks telling their own story. in detroit, we have hard times getting the medi out and the media told me, that is because we do not want to listen to you
all the time. we want to listen to your members. what other kids about facebook. i need facebook to tell the union story. i've gte -- they have said, i read that on facebook. i did not know that was happening. everybody needs to use that. >> ok. one more question. practice for questions. last question for the panel, let's look forward 25 years. what is one big chae would like to see the labor union accomplished? >> a couple of things. i would like to see a larger percentage of younger workers in my union and i have today. i think that is an untapped
resource in terms of membership and in terms of future leaders. one of the things that -- we have an obligation to our organization to do some successful planning and make sure we have folks in the pipeline that have the tools and skills, the training, the innovation, the willgness to step into those shoes when the current leadership retires or moves on. i have to be honest, i do not think we have done a good job there. i think that is something that -- it is becse we have not put a lot of energy into recruiting and organizing younger workers. that is something that we started -- we changed our emphasis last year in our new organizing plan, our strategy. we're putting a lot of energy
into reaching out to younger employees to figure out what it is that they need and what it is that we can offer them. to see some young faces in leadership, that would be one of the things i would like to say it -- see 20 years down the road. >> we have to be speaking for and representing workers, even -- even workers that are not in the formal relationship. we should bthe voice for the unempled, for example courage we should be the voice for the untrained, for example. we could become the entity that people think of when they think, i need to change careers, or do i look for help to do that. i need -- i need better health care insurance and we need to have those offerings for these
allies that we are -- so we can sustain that relationship. this was about the future of the labor union. the fact tt you ask that question i need to say, definitelywe will be around in 25 years, no matter what they do. we will be around. it may make it more difficult for us, but we will be here. in 25 years, i would like to see as using every single tool that we have. i would like to see us using our contingency groups better. i would like to see unions reaching out to each other to help one another. even now, we have those who have relationships with elected officials that can help other unions, and i would like to see them come together and try to use that. i would like to see them using
the central labor council and set up a triage kind of thing are everything is centered in there and unions come together under that banner to help each other. i guess that is self-serving, but i truly believe that they are the organizations that are there to pull everyone together. unions areo concerned about their unions, as they should be, but we are concerned about pulling them all together to be concerned about everybody. that is what i wld like to see. >> let me jump off from that. we need to get better at doing is working together. e labor -- in this moment, the
head of -- we need to sustain that and in 25 years, at that will get taken for granted. that will not be something people even ask about. we need to restore the right of workers across the country t organize. in mississippi, south carolina. we need to put private sector workers everywre. some of that has to do with figuring out how to do it and not waiting for someone to change a lot. the law will follow. that is really the top priority of the labor movement, to figure out -- i hope we would have figured it out in 25 years. >> i believe in dreaming beg.
what i would like to see in 25 years is a global middle-class. i would like for us to of rebuild the middle class in america. working within and across the world. and it is possible. it has happened in brazil. 20 million people taken at a poverty and move into middle- class because they are -- there are extremely strong union at movement. it is happening in china, and in mexico. i think it is possible. international solidarity, there is more work being done by unions together around the world to give workers the right to collective bargaining. >> the first thing -- i hope i am still around in 25 years. [laughter] i would like to have us have
been a part of creating a manufacturing base that is the world's envy. so that everyone who wants to work at the time has a chance to work at a union job. that we have fully integrated are minorities, women, immigrants, anyoung people, that they are fully engaged in a labor union. they are fully engaged in society so they can reach their potential. that we have created an educational system and a skills- based educational system that produces the best workers and the world. -- in the world. >> your turn. questions? arwe going to use this microphone? ok. identify yourself, please. >> my name is frank.
i am probably the only person in here who has been both a union at stewart before a federal union and management lawyer. i'm currently teaching labor law here. i asked us to my class to be here. the hundred-pound elephant in the room is what happens -- employee pre choice act. you spend $44 million to get a lot -- obama elected trade he had supermajorities in both houses. my studies indicate that if it had gotten past, you would probably be at a 14% penetration instead of 7%. how did it happen that your
investment w also pushed off into health care as opposed to getting what you -- it will totally turnaround a labor union? >> i have been engaged in this fight for a long time. there is no question that if the employee pre choice act had been passed, workers would have organized. they would have been able to do soithout harassment, without intimidation, and without being fired. 25,000 or 30,000 workers get fired every year over exercising their rights to join a union. it creates fear. i go back to one thing -- there was -- there was united and fierce opposition from the republican party. the republican party filibustered over 400 built in the senate that the house of representatives passed.
he needed 60 votes -- you needed 60 votes. we never had 60 votes in the senate because ted kennedy was sick. we never had 60 on the floor. had we had the 60, that would have been done immediately. that is not to excuse the lack of action and a lack of pushing for it because more should be done and we will continue to push that bill. do you know why? the vast majority of americans agree with that. a minority in the senate to can only support the majority will of the people for so long. you a seeing the support for collective bargaining right now growing. 70% right now the american public says people should have the right to collectively bargain. that is their right and they should have it. we will continue to push that and look for vehicles that will give us around a determined
minority in the senate and the house -- a majority in the house to prevent that from happening bread what is happening in wisconsin and elsewhere is what happened at the federal level. you had which benefactors demanding pay back for their investment in the election. i received this as a warning. -- iac this out as a warning. because of the citizens united bill, millions of dollars were spent by corporations in the last election. that will be chump change in the next election. they will buy the best politicians they can get. they will use those politicians to try to take away rights for us. less taxes for them, less benefits for you. that is the fight that we have, and we will not quit. hopefully, we will get the employee. choice act done.
workers deserve fairness and the current lab relations act is unfair to workers and is absolutely broken. [applause] >> in brad new immigrant he. i was nationalized last year. i may be having a heavy accent, let me know. somebody was talking about bringing manufacturing base again in this country. i was wondering, what has happened -- what has happened in japan is very unfortunate. i feel very bad about it. because of what has happened in japan, there are plants closing
down because they do not have parts coming from japan. instead of waiting for japan to get back on its feet? is there some possibility of doing that here? >> there is a lot of that happening out of necessity in a number of meetings with chrysler, a general motors, ford credit they will not produce products unless they find ways that have alternative sources. there are suppliers in the u.s. or scrambling now. everyone is tied into this together and everybody is making a huge effort. the assembly companies go down, the buyer base goes down at. there is this great energy about
suppliers and their customers to find alternatives are modes of production. at the same time, we are all very concerned about the people of japan and the devastation of the people in japan. we have to build a global middle-class. i do not want to read pitted against workers in japan or brazilr korea. i want our workers to make a decent standard of living so they can bite -- so they can buy electric or hydrogen vehicles, washing machines, build homes. the only way we will do that -- i want to build a better world. that is what we are all about here today. i wanted to add this opportunity -- i am proud of the labor union. -- the labor movement.
we do not want immigrant workers pitted against u.s. citizens workers. we want everybody to have human rights and dignity and to build a better society great america is a country of immigrants. it is so outrageouto me that the thames by the wealthiest is to pit us against each other rather than building a better world. especially this week as the anniversary of the assassination of martin luther king. he always talked about blding a world that was better for everybody. there is a small group that wants a better world only for themselves. the rest of the what america is coming together and saying, this is not right. we will build a better world so that everybody shares in the wealth of this country. >> ok.
>> good morning. speaking on behalf of the six or so mediator's setter in the room, this is going to be a mediator question. we heard a lot this morning about all the alliances and the mobilization. in the midst of the need to do this, how does the labor movement in vision striking a balance so that another sector that they maintain those foreigners -- partnerships with are those employers who value you and what your partnership in good faith and want to keep employee in your members? >> i will try that. i speak for my union. we have relationships with employers. it really helps if you are not participating in a political
cobol and trying to wipe us off the map. it is hard to have a good relationship with people were trying to eliminate your existence. that story is the list, unfortunately. employers that we can have relationships with. i think tt there is, you know, in my experience, unions are much more willing to be pragmatic about employer relationships than employers. the example goes back to the health-care debate in the clinton years. we tried to get one ceo of the seven, each of whom would of thought and a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars for the bottom line. it was and their self interest and the corporation. he tried to get one sec to stand with him. in support of something that was
directly benefited their shareholders. they were committed to end be the logical based attack. that has got worse in lot of ways in terms of the illogical attack on -- ideological attack on working people and on medicare and don health care for all and pensions. we are delighted to partner with employers when we count in support of -- making sure that education is properly funded so they have decent people in their workforce. if they do, as many companies are doing here in michigan, we should take the tax breaks to corporations and still cut education, it is hard to find ways to do that. we're looking for ways to do
that. the apartment with employers -- we have partnered with employers around other issues as well. >> but that just add something to that? >> on site. >> this is an important point. workers do not get to bargain over a lot of things that affect our lives. we do not get to bargain over capital investment. we do not to bargain over product design, even though the effect. steelworkers in the 1950's and 1960's and 1970's and 1980's were competing with mills made in the 1890's against companies with mills that had been made in the 1960's and 70's and eddie's. they would have loved to have the ability to negotiate with u.s. steel about whether they need to modernize their mills. we do not get that.
bob, back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, about the product design gridhey made what was put in front of them knowing that the product was in -- now they do a quality. they do all of that. one of the reason labor law needs to be modernized is so that workers and employers actually can come together and those type of is used to start working in a global economy to face the competition from a global economy. that is another reason why we need to change labor laws so that workers can have some input into their future. you cannot expect us to say, we want you to be invested in this company, but you do not have any say in it. we simply do not. it is time for us to change those laws and perhaps limit -- give us a 21st century change.
>> i am so proud of the auto industry. the best quality products today by j.d. power's are the cars that we are making in the big three, especially ford, a general motors, and chrysler. the most productivelants, more productive than the nine and a representative plans, are the uaw plants. 20 years ago, our job was to -- the market was captured -- our job was to fight for our fair share of protability. today, uaw members drive quality and the big three bread with a full-time representatives
working with the company every day about quality. it is our representatives and our members that demand will focus on quality. it is exciting today. i am excited about organizing opportunities. the want to have the greatest voice? -- do you want to have the greatest voice? that is what we're doing today. >> we have three questions, six minutes. everybody is hungry. >> this is a comment. i feel like i should speak to this point because there's so much misunderstanding. when you have a mature relationship, you find the places that you have connections. i sat down two weeks ago with its burk, with a - pittsburgh,
we see that we have common interests. you have environmentalist and iron workers and we figured out where we can meet. we did the same thing with u.s. steel. we have workers walked out at a u.s. steel facility in canada, we understand that we have to rebuild manufacturing. we work with our employers to save jobs. that is what leo gerard does every day. where we share common interests, we will work together. when they try to screw us, we will multiplied. right? [laughter] >> i am a retiree from the uaw. i have been to madison, columbus for rallies.
i went to beat john stuart rally for sanity. there was no political statement. it was a huge majority of progressives. is there any nationa rally plans in washington, d.c., in the near future? if not, why not? >> we have a national table right now put together that talks about this and we are doing a follow-up on what happened april 4. maybe i should give you -- what happened on april 4 because we had people come together from all different walks of life. teachers, firefighters,
autoworkers, everybody came together. over 1500 events across the country to talk about the need for collective bargaining. we went as far east as pas, france, and and as far west as afghanistan, where they had events. everybody came together for a common message. you have gone too far, let's get back to creating jobs. we are now talking about the very things that you say. where do we go with this? bringing peoe into washington, d.c., is sometimes very exciting. bring people into columbus, is sometimes very, very exciting. we're working on the various states and having everybody come together. we are one. for the first time, in recent history, the labor union surely is one with the law of our allies. nothing is