tv Washington Journal CSPAN May 16, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
the discussion on how reaching the debts it could affect u.s. economic standing in the world. later, in the first of a five- part series on the part of homeland security, we examine the ways thatdhs attempts to do airline security. "washington journal" host: hello this morning from cape canaveral. the shuttle and launch crew are ready. the husband of congresswoman gabrielle giffords is here. the launch is just under two hours from now. you can watch live coverage over on c-span-2. in the meantime, the u.s. debt
ceiling has essentially reached its limit today. we will take more of a look at that this morning, because in 45 minutes, we will talk about the debt ceiling, what it is, what it means now that it has been reached. elsewhere in washington, the senate will take up a bill to repeal tax breaks for large oil companies. president obama will meet with families impacted by flooding today. he makes a major speech this week on thursday over at the state department. and rahm emanuel was sworn in today as the new mayor of chicago, illinois. lots of different stories in the papers today. we want to get your take on what issue is most important to you. we will be very broad in our
newspaper headlines today. what is on your mind? here is the front page of the "l.a. times" this monday morning. in custody, dominique strauss- kahn, the head of the international monetary fund is going to be arraigned today on a charge of sexual assault. he is expected to plead not guilty. the front page of the guardian talks about the debt crisis and the imf chief. after dominique strauss-kahn was arrested and charged with attempting to sexually assault a maid in a hotel, he was taken
off of a flight at jfk and police formally arrested him. the charges to create a leadership vacuum at the imf, the overseer of the global economy. this ends the hopes of the french socialist who was favored to beat nicolas sarkozy in next year's french election. we have lots more to go through today in just a minute or two. the debt story is a leader today as well. the treasury is urging action on the debt ceiling. senior officials have issued their starkest warnings yet that if congress does not act quickly to raise the debt limit to avoid a default, investors will punish the country and further damage its fiscal position, certainly in the context of the global
recovery, this is something we cannot afford to let happen or let people think will happen. that is the front page of "the financial times." john boehner said everything should be on the table. here is a little bit more of what he had to say on the sunday shows yesterday. >> i am not going to walk away from this moment. we have a window of opportunity to act. if we do not act, the market is going to act for us. our creditors are going to act for us.
host: that was john boehner yesterday. president obama has said that failure to raise the debt ceiling might disrupt the global financial system and plunge the nation into another recession. by the way, the "washington post" writes that the treasury is going to tap federal retiree programs to fund operations. urgency toing compromise over the debt. we will talk about that more in
about 35-45 minutes. in brentwood, california, we have a republican caller. what is most important to you today? caller: the debt ceiling, perhaps. if something is not done to fundamentally restructure our budget, then our federal social programs will simply cease to exist for the next generation if something is not done now. we have the trustees report this week that said that social security and medicare were going under a lot faster than we had thought before, and yet if you look at the party in power, they have not produced a budget in two years. you know, where is the leadership? host: new gingrich is blasting the house gop medicare plan. he is calling it right wing social engineering. what do you make of that headline? caller: who cares about new?
the washington post reported yesterday that hud had found hundreds of housing programs where money has been completely wasted. they are filled with weeds in them according to "the washington post." and the gao on march 31st reported that half a trillion dollars of money was completely just misplaced, just lost. most of that was in 2009-2010, and going forward. no more money for people like this. we do have a revenue problem in this country. our tax revenues are through the floor, property taxes, income. the solution is growth. we have to get some growth going on. host: we want to get some other voices in here. we go to florida and the democrat line. caller: 1, i just got a report
that the social security asked the united states government to pay back $2 trillion that they borrowed from social security. second, if you people would stop and think how much money was borrowed from social security and medicare for the iraq war and afghan war, this would tell you the truth about what is going on with social security and medicare. the gentleman the called in before me said it was mr. obama's fault. he has a big problem with social security, medicare, and three wars, i iraq, which is still going on, afghanistan, and now
libya. why doesn't anybody stop to think? to buffalo, new york and republican line. what issue is most important to you these days? caller: the issue that is always important is a strong military, a strong economy, and children. at this time, the economy is number one on my list. the guy who called the first time is right. we need some leadership. where is the budget? it is spend, spend, spend. nobody seems to care in this government about our economy and our spending problem. all over europe they are trying to control themselves. even increase, for crying aloud. -- even in greece, for crying
out loud. they're trying to control their stuff and they're spending and their economy. the guy who called, he is right. who does care about you? we need some leadership. -- who does care about newt gingrich? we need some leadership. host: we have a caller from chicago. you are getting a new mayor today. caller: yes, we are. we have all of these cuts to all of these sectors, but what about these political salaries? why cannot they be cut? host: all right. this headline talks about palestinian storming into israel. thousands of demonstrators
clashed with israeli demonstrators -- israeli forces on sunday. 15 people were killed. if you go to the baltimore sun this morning, you will see the spirit israelis -- you will see this. palestinians killed while crossing the border. the date marked the founding of israel. same photo here. israeli troops fire as marchers reached borders. they say the marchers confronted
israeli troops and more than a dozen people were reported killed and scores injured. pennsylvania, democrats. what issue is most important to you this morning? caller: the previous editorial that said the government is now going to tap the federal employees' program. it is so outlandish that it almost appears to be a joke? host: is this the headline you are referring to? caller: yes. host: tell us more. caller: i think the urgency is that the government should stop accepting money from lobbyists. they should just think of the taxpayers as the lobbyists. they should not tax taxpayers any more. they should not put us into any more debt. they should just take money from
the people who have it, the millionaires and billionaires, who are not paying their fair share. it is so outlandish that they would now go to the federal employees benefit program. i can think of is that our government is going crazy. that is it. that is really all i have to say. host: a little bit more on the story. treasury secretary geiger has warned for months that the government would soon -- treasury secretary timothy geithner has warned for months that the government would soon reach its debt ceiling. he has already suspended the program that helps state and local governments manage their finances. he will begin to retire -- he will begin to borrow from retirement funds from federal
workers. they are legally required to reimburse those funds. democratic line, a chase. caller: we have a spending problem, but the five big oil companies were talking to congress about $2 billion in tax relief. isn't that a spending problem? people are saying that obama- care is not bipartisan, but mitt romney past obama-care in massachusetts. host: speaking of oil, the senate bill that you might want to look up is a bill to repeal tax breaks for these large oil companies. there is no firm agreement to bring this up, but the majority leader says if he can not reach an agreement with senator mcconnell, he might call cloture to proceed with the bill at some point this week.
we do expect debate on the floor of the senate. in the meantime, republican line. what is on your mind? caller: ending the drug war. please do not cut me off. you have before. i am a libertarian republican. prohibition of alcohol, when that law went into effect, the murder rate went up 70%. they repealed it, it went down 70%. they passed the drug laws, the murder rates went up 100%. the repeal those laws, the murder rate would be cut in half in this country. it said on the history channel that every police force in the united states spends half their money or more on the drug war. 30% of the prisoners in prison,
and over $40 billion a year on the drug war. my stepfather was a state parole officer. he told me year after year, if a parolee told him you could buy drugs in prison from the inmates, but you got a much better deal from the guards. one of the prisons here in indiana checked the guards. 38 different cards came up with illegal drugs in their system. some sold it and did not use it, just for the profit. host: i do not think it is something that would ever happen. caller: the murder rate would be cut in half. marijuana is the number one illegal selling drug in the world. if that were legalized, it would cut the murder rate, because it is the no. 1 seller.
to florida.go independent line. what story is most important to you today? caller: what bothers me the most is the way our government is run. it is politicians in both parties. it was not 300 million people that brought this country to its knees. it was big business and wall street. they run the government. host: how has your perspective affected your voting most recently? caller: i voted democrat for obama when he talked about if you were in his administration you have to wait four years before you become a lobbyist. i think that is because of all of our problems. when lobbyists were allowed last year to bring $3.5 billion to congress to buy boats for their
constituents, how are we supposed to run this -- buy votes for their constituents, how are we supposed to run this country? i think if we were to tell of bringing any money to congress, i think that would be an immediate -- if we were to outlaw bringing any money to congress, i think that would be an immediate start to ending all of our problems. host: various viewpoints on the stories today, including this one on the economy. president obama tells john boehner no more cuts. u.s. senator john kerry was set to arrive in islamabad sunday with a firm message to uproot terrorism or face losing vital aid.
canada is on the line from arkansas, dump -- kenneth is on the line from arkansas, a democrat. caller: yes, i hope you will let me finish whatatatatatat have ty because this is very important for the american people. there is a case before the united states supreme court. there is a corrupt federal judiciary operating in this country right now.
there is a fellow in little rock, arkansas. what he did, he took the case where his wife has a former employee as a defendant in the case and his wife's employer is the attorney in the case, the arkansas attorney general. he took the case and dismissed his wife of the case, and the defendant never made an appearance before the court. the united states supreme court denied a hearing on the matter. they know about this. the united states supreme court knowing about a corrupt federal judge in this country, and we're not doing anything about it. we have a serious problem here in the united states. i am going to file more papers with the united states supreme court, but we should have a federal grand jury looking into this. in georgia, there is the website about nine federal judges that a
man is suing right now. he is trying to have a grand jury looking into it. we need to have the justice department look into what is going on, and i am not going to wait. we're not going to give up because we need to clean up this corruption, because when you have the main arbitrator, the referee that will look the other way. when you have a federal judge doing this type of activity, we need to do something about it. host: thank you for your time. dana is calling from cincinnati on the independent line. what is on your mind this morning? caller: i have tried to collin before and never been able to get through. right when i dialed the phone, a guy from california called in and said exactly what i want to say. if we ended this war on drugs, it would solve all of our
problems. it would put the cartels out of the -- out of business, health care, etc. etc. host: make is on the line in cincinnati. caller: this thought or theory that the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes is laughable. look at who pays the most tax in this country, the top 1% of the 75% of all they is tax paid. it is just laughable. the only way to get a handle on the debt is to stop the spending. when you have your congress and senators and president of showing -- just throwing the money out there like it is not in their own pocket, it is never
going to change, no matter what you change the tax rates to. host: you are saying cut the spending. where exactly would you cut? what would be at the top of your list? caller: entitlement programs. the federal aid to, you know, indians. they pay out some ungodly figure. all of these entitlement programs are just, they are, some of the march as laughable. -- some of them are just laughable. it does not change the standard of living whatsoever. they just did a documentary on that on 60 minutes. they were going around and showing the living conditions that some of these, what they call reservations, and you look at the money that is spent or
lobbied for for that, and it is done absolutely nothing to change living conditions. host: much more in the papers this morning. continuing coverage of the raging mississippi. here is a national guard specialist packing dirt into a dam. many are evacuating the head of the flooding. people are told to get out. many in cajun country head to higher ground and prayed for mercy. as we know, it takes many hours, even days for the water to head downstream and hit that 20 feet in a few weeks. deputies warned people sunday to get out as the mississippi river water gushing from a floodgate crept ever closer to communities
in louisiana cajun country, filling a river basin like a giant bathtub. also, chicago tribune, rahm emanuel becomes mayor today. his first order is a freeze on spending. the mayor-elect team is exploring options to fill the budget hole. it is expected to grow larger than $587 million next year. on day one, he will put a freeze on everything except paychecks and bills cutting -- bills coming due. we will have some of his speech later today on tape. it happened around 11:00 eastern time. it is about a one-hour ceremony. we will have some coverage for you later. republican line, good morning. what is most important to you this morning? caller: i think our biggest
problem is the lack of honesty coming out of washington and even local government. host: give us an example. what particular issue with someone or something or they dishonest about? caller: people make up their own fax. they should not be allowed to make of their own facts. they can have their own opinion, the politicians stand up in a state some fact like, from a previous caller, that the rich do not pay their fair share, that they should pay more. well, we know that the top 1% pay almost 40% of the taxes in this country. they are obviously paying their fair share, plus, plus, plus. that is a fact, but nobody calls
these politicians on the fact that they are not honest about that. they just repeated as a mantra and then the people pick it up. your callers are a prime example. i listen to your show and i hear not facts, not facts, not facts. i have to say that before this date, the media, has not been doing its job -- the fourth estate, the media, has not been doing its job in years. they have become a wing of the democratic party. we listen to cbs or abc, and they are just reading press releases. they're not doing their jobs. host: more from the sunday morning programs. here is what dick durbin had to say on the debt ceiling. >> this is critical. it is about the reputation of the united states and its economy. if we play games with it, play
politics with it and default on our national debt, we could plunge this country back into recession with even deeper unemployment. nobody wants to see that happen. host: eric pianin will be here in about 50 minutes to talk about the debt ceiling. parties are at odds on the living matter of whether to raise the ceiling. a line of demarcation is being established between those who want to raise the ceiling and many tea party backers who do not. it is an uncomfortable schism and has the u.s. chamber of commerce working overtime. the party freshmen are disinclined to raise the debt limit absent strong curbs on
future spending. lexington, ky. good morning. independent line. caller: i just would like to say to the lady that was on before, i have to disagree with what she says about the government and the media. i would have to agree with the facts in the story. this is the way control has been made since the beginning. i think the american people need to realize that the world is changing. when the world changes, our leadership, our money, our policies, everything changes. i am in the industry, and now there are three more laws online that allow people to get three streams of income. i am watching the tax. there is no way to track it. i think people need to get ready for what bush called it 15 years ago, a new world order.
we are not moving toward the type of employment that is going to be required in 2020. in 2015. i went to two colleges, and everything i went there for almost nine years, i do not make a penny off of it. instead, i make almost two and did $50,000 a year doing stuff online. this -- $250000 a year doing stuff online. host: an ap story coming in in just a few minutes. the international criminal court has asked judges to issue an arrest warrant for libyan leader muammar gaddafi and two other leaders for crimes against humanity, accusing them of deliberately targeting civilians in their crackdown against rebels.
the prosecutors say gaddafi, his son and intelligence chief ordered, planned and participated in a legal attacks. he said that they attacked civilians in their homes, shot at demonstrators, showed funeral processions and deployed snipers to kill people leaving mosques. new have to see evidence before they decide whether to confirm the charges and issue arrest warrants. what story is most important to you this morning? caller: 1 is our debt ceiling, which is coming to the floor today, supposedly. the second is where we can start making some important cuts in how we spend the money. i know the last few months have been filled with people proposing cuts here, cuts there, but there is an article in this morning's raleigh news and observer by a former state
supreme court justice, robert orr, who says very specifically that we spend a lot of money on kids who have committed first- time offenses and they wind up in a prison system and penalty system that penalize their futures. it makes them felons in criminals before they even have a chance to go into the work force. we need to have an across the country reform. i know officers do not like all of the reforms. we need to get the law- enforcement community to recognize that we're better off having some of our kids become better citizens, more productive, by removing some of the blight, some of the pain that goes from being from a broken home or committing your first offense when you are 16 or 17 and thereby putting yourself as a ward of the state. this is not good. host: thank you.
tucson, arizona. what is on your mind? caller: there is a major budget deficit, or there was, for education. it is one of those things where we ended up having the taxes raised in the area. by the same token, it was one of those things where by raising the taxes, it was kind of just to fill the hole we had made initially for the budget deficit in education. it was in something like the millions. i'm just wondering, i don't know, what ends up coming of that? is it one of those things where, by paying the extra taxes does it actually go to education like it is supposed to or does it just fill that hole that was initially made by politicians? host: what do you think? caller: if i had to guess, i would say it fills the whole that was initially made.
i do not know. host: thank you for your time. here is a twitter message. washington post has this question, a solution, a golden solution to the debt problem? what about fort knox? there is about $147 million in gold parked at the legendary outlaw vault. gold is selling at $1,500 -- legendary fort knox of vault. gold is selling at $1,500 an ounce.
huntington, new york, a democrat, michael, good morning. caller: i like to counter the argument that taxes are too high on the rich. they're the lowest they have ever been. in 2008, there were 27 hedge fund owners who averaged a billion dollars apiece and paid an average of under 15% tax thanks to the fact that they only pay capital gains. the taxation system in the united states has worked out to be in truth welfare for the rich. it is the average person, the commoners, getting screwed. what happened to the united states of the past? we're now going to be without a
space vehicle while india and china are going into that. the united states of america is being stripped of its money by an international elite that is also taking over power. i never believed that i would watch as everything around us was being sold. roads are being sold. ballparks are being sold. everything is commercial and being sold to the international banking elite. the united states has to get back to where we were. today we would consider dwight eisenhower and alter-liberal. that is how much our media has been bought by corporations. host: we hear now from the independent line in new york. caller: thank you for taking my call. the aclu is supporting the vote against worldwide authority to
have a war. i will read you this. "war authority would be given to any president to use the power to force the military to fight in perpetuity." congress is set to vote on that in a few coming weeks. i do not think anybody should be asking for world wide authority to fight any war. we should be talking about peace. why is everybody -- i do not understand this war, war, were business. we would like some peace so we can get on with the business of being human beings and helping each other. we do not need any more war. we should stop the wars we've already engaged ourselves in. this makes no sense. we're human beings, not barbarians. host: the house is out this week, but we were reading that dennis kucinich will push the
relates towar as it d libya right now. we will have coverage on c-span, but not until next week. here is one of the lead items in usa today, back to the economy. americans are reducing mortgage payments at a record clip, directing cash into savings. low interest rates, defaults and refinancing have shaved more than $100 billion of the nation's mortgage bill. virginia, republican, go ahead.
caller: i have something that may be digs' too deep into your archives. on thursday evening about 10:00 on c-span-3, there was a hearing going on about the peace corps and there were three women. one was a psychologist. they were reporting rape in overseas stations. i have not seen anything since on that. can you update me? host: in terms of movement on the story? i think the committee was wanting to hear from folks about the recent allegations. i have not seen anything in the papers today that move it along. to our viewers that might want
to watch that hearing, go to our website and you can get that hearing in our nvidia library. here is another story -- in our library. here is another story about my custody. he is not going to -- aboutmike huckabee. queens, new york. michele on the line for democrats in our last couple of calls here.
what is most important to you this morning? caller: i am calling in regards to the article you read about muammar gaddafi having a warrant put out for him to be sent to the hague. my question and my the dass lament is -- and might as all -- my question and my bedazzlement is that this country is guilty of many things, including going to iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11. no american has ever faced trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, which this country has clearly engaged in. host: there is more about libya in the wall street journal today. they right here that opponents
of the government seek legitimacy from the west but they face a host of hurdles. new caller, good morning. caller: i never hear information that is clear from tv, newspaper or anything about social security. social security is independent. it collects its money from peril. -- from payroll. you have a social security deduction that is self sustaining. it does not add one dime to the deficit. medicare is another one that gets a payroll deduction. host: what does all of that mean to you as we talk about the debt, debt ceiling, spending, taxes? put it in perspective?
caller: why do most people bring of the fact that we have to do something about social security and medicare when medicare and social security are supported by payroll deductions. if you want to do something about the budget, all monies that go outside the states should be a target area. these wars we're in should be a target area. you never hear anything about defense. i think if you go back to -- i cannot think of his name now. when the last budget was balanced, your defense budget is something like $300 billion. we're into $800 billion now. why are we still talking about social security, medicare, when they pay for themselves?
and not talk about money going to 174 different countries on our planet? host: thank you for your thoughts. we ask people what their most important issues and stories are. here is a sweet -- tweet. one last call from the independent line. what is most important to you? caller: i want to change the world. we have to change three republican allies. small businesses do not create jobs. consumers create the jobs. number two -- i cannot hear you, so number two -- consumer confidence is the driving force behind our economy. number three, you cannot raise revenue by lowering taxes. it does not work that way.
i wish i could hear you. host: i am not talking. this is a chance for you to talk, and we heard do little -- we heard you loud and clear. coming up in a couple of minutes, we will get a look at the debt ceiling as the official limit is reached today. we will find out what all that means, what is being done about it, if anything in washington. we will do a round table and about 35 minutes. eric pianin from the financial times well join us for a talk about the debt ceiling. here is a live look at the shuttle. you can watch this live on c- span-2. the commander is mark kelly. his wife, gabrielle giffords, is there watching.
we will be right back. >> i am newt gingrich, and i am announcing my candidacy for president of the united states because i believe we can return america to a place of hope and opportunity. >> follow the candidates on their road to the white house and look back on their careers on line at the c-span library. surge, watch, click and share everything we have covered from 1987. you were watching c-span,
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guest. he will take your calls, e-mails ets.tweak >> "washington journal" continues. >> our guest is the washington editor of the fiscal times. he is here to give us the nuts and bolts of the debt ceiling. for the people at home, if you have not seen as, it is quite a model. it speaks to this $14.3 trillion number. it is fun to watch but the serious underlying issue. what is the debt ceiling, and how did it come about? guest: it is the statutory limit
on how much the treasury can borrow to help run the government. the fundamental reality on all of this is that in times of war, economic upheaval, difficult times, the government is essentially spending a lot more money than it is taking in. it has to borrow money to keep the government afloat, and this is done by the treasury is selling -- issuing bonds, notes, whatever to private individuals, sovran financial institutions, governments, who ever is interested in buying u.s. notes. u.s. notes are the gold standard internationally. that is how we operate the federal government. host: take this number, $14.3 trillion. give us some perspective. how did it get to be at that point and what does it mean in terms of the u.s. economy?
guest: i obviously, it is at historic levels. if you think about the history of the united states, we have always borrowed to operate the government or to wage war. this goes all the way back to revolutionary times when the continental congress had to borrow money to wage war with the british. it took probably 30 years before the federal government under a system set up by alexander hamilton was able to pay off $75 million in debt for the revolutionary war. if you look at the history of the united states, the debt rises and falls sort of coincidently with major wars and economic upheaval as i explained. if you look back at what happened in world war i, the civil war if you want, the great
depression. federal debt inched up words to as much as 30% of the gross domestic product of the entire u.s. economy. more recently, during world war ii, and just a few years ago in 2008 during our financial crisis, dead as a percentage of gdp went up to 100 percent -- debt as a percentage of gdp went up to 100%. there is sort of an interesting dynamic and graphic line in terms of spending money. really, in the last two administrations, we have seen enormous amounts of money added to the debt. paul ryan was on tv over the weekend. he was asked, who is responsible for this huge federal debt?
is it democrats or republicans? he said, both parties are responsible. if you look at the budget ministration, they added $5 trillion in debt at that time. obviously, that was because we were waging two wars. there were two major tax cuts. there was an increase in the medicare prescription drug program, none of which was being paid for, all of which was being put on the government credit card. president obama has not finished his first term in office yet, but he has added $3.6 trillion to the debt. but again, we just went through one of the worst recessions in modern history. we're still continuing to wage two wars, so unless the taxpayers are willing to foot the bill for this and pay more taxes, we're going to continue borrowing to operate. host: let me jump in and get the
phone numbers on the screen again for our guest, eric pianin of the financial times. if today is the big day to hit the debt ceiling, what does this mean? what happens next? guest: it is an important moment, and it should not be taken lightly. the fact is that the treasury is now bumping up against this $ 14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which includes mostly public debt, which is borrowing from outsiders, foreign countries, whatever, and probably one-third it is just the government borrowing from itself, dipping into other accounts like social security trust funds to come in a sense, borrow money to operate the government on a day-to-day basis with the promise of repaying those ious.
part of it is an accounting fiction. it is an age ago approach to governing. revenues come in. revenues go out. we borrow the rest to cover our obligations. yes, this is an important day, but this is not the first time we have had a crisis of this sort. in the past, the treasury has been able to find or use a number of bookkeeping gimmicks, ies for, in atrategy' sense, gaining a little more headroom. we're just about bumping up against the ceiling, but with some of these strategies you can buy some time, and that is what the treasury is doing. host: every year congress raises
the debt ceiling. what is different this year? guest: congress does not raise it every year. it does it frequently -- or i should say regularly. the last time it did it was shortly after obama came into office. what is different this time is that we are in gauged in a very difficult -- engage in a very difficult battle between republicans and democrats. republicans are trying bloodlines in the sand, demanding huge spending cuts as the price for raising the debt ceiling. unfortunately, some people, newcomers mostly to congress, are not taking it very seriously. they're wondering, who cares if we default on our debt? host: this is a great chance to learn all about the debt ceiling and what it means in washington.
again, the debt limit is hitting $14.3 trillion today. that should be a t, not a b on the screen. the debt ceiling was last raised in february, 2010. $14.3 trillion, with a t. republican caller, go ahead. caller: where is the omb on this? are they not the ones that are supposed to approve budgets and spending? obama, from what i can tell, since he took office he has run up the budget. three months into his
presidency, there is no help for him. people have a vision of helping their cells. -- there it themselves. guest: the office of management -- jack lew, by the way, but runs that. he has been around for a long time. he worked for the clinton and ministration. there are budget negotiations going on right now. vice-president biden is overseeing a group of six house and senate members from both parties trying to come to terms with some kind of spending cut agreement that would satisfy republicans and gain enough support to pass a new budget and
also for the coming year raise the debt ceiling. today, officially, the treasury is bumping up against the ceiling, but they're buying a little more time, probably as much as two months' time in order to negotiate this deal. omb is a player, but this is -- what we're talking about right now is the treasury, which bars all this money, what they're doing to put off -- barrault's all this money, what they're doing to put off -- borrows all this money, what they're doing to put off defaulting on all this debt. timothy geithner, ben bernanke both have warned that we're playing with dynamite if we allow the government to default
on its borrowing. host: what is the dynamite? what is the immediate impact of something like that were to happen? guest: you have to keep in mind, we're just coming out of one of the worst recessions in u.s. history, certainly the worst in modern times. the recovery is very fragile. unemployment is still a big problem. markets are doing better, but everyone is very skittish. the notion of the u.s. government, for the first time in history defaulting on its borrowing, could have enormous psychological impact on the markets. it could shake up the confidence of our creditors overseas, including the chinese and the japanese and the british and others. they own a major chunk of the public debt. if that happens, for example, they may lose confidence.
they may ask the federal government to pay them more in interest on their borrowing. host: much is made of china into we owe money to. this is a chart we can put up on the screen. china at 20%. then the uk. then brazil. we will look at the leading foreign holders of u.s. debt. and we will take a call from north carolina. how many bonds would it take for the taxpayers to buy to bring the debt down? guest: well, the problem is
less getting people to invest more in the country. and the challenge is to get the government to spend less. and address the fundamental reality that we're continuing to spend a lot more money than we're taking in. we have seen a steady rise in the federal deficit. the deficit is the annual difference between revenues taken in in money going out in terms of outlays. if you look at this year's budget for example, we are projected to spend 3.8 trillion dollars. we are projected to take into 0.1 trillion in tax receipts. the steps it is 1.6 trillion dollars. -- the deficit is 1.6 trillion dollars.
a lot of people are saying we have to come to terms with the drivers of the deficit. that includes conducting wars without paying for them. that includes maintaining costly tax cuts, costly to the treasury. that means addressing entitlement programs. we are an aging population. more and more of us will be collecting social security and medicare. baby boomers are retiring. these are all things that the parties are trying to impress in congress right now. host: indianapolis. republican. scott, good morning. caller: i have trouble with the word entitlement. i have taken social security since i was 10. it is not an entitlement. i have probably contributed
quite a bit of money since then. -- and i have been treated to social security since i was 10. -- contributed to social security since i was 10. they are calling it entitlements like we are drags on the economy. we are fleeibeing blamed for a completely inept government. we're blaming other countries for our problems, however, we are a problem. we of a completely inept government. that is what caused the uproars over the past couple of months. guest: it is a point well taken, and people should be more careful on how they entitlement
things. -- on how they entitled things. those people have paid into social security most of their adult lives. it is something they are entitled to draw down on in their entitlement years. there is also fiction about the social security trust fund. i think a lot of people mistakenly think they are paying into it through the payroll tax, the money is going into a vault and being kept there, and when they finally retire, they can draw down on the accounts and sustain themselves, but the reality is that those tax revenues flow through this also security trust fund and its flow right into the fund and are on a daily basis to keep the government going, to keep running government programs.
with the federal government a vaultbehind iou's in somewhere in west virginia i am told. with the understanding that when the time comes the government will cover bustles with security costs. but what people are worried about long-term is whether the government is corn to be able to cover all of those costs, especially as more and more people are retiring. host: as they discuss the debt ceiling today in washington, there is this headline. what are the accounting moves that can happen between today and the next couple of months to keep things going? guest: the important thing and buying more time is not to borrow more money. as to borrow more money, that adds to the total debt.
there are a number of strategies. for one thing, you can redeem the bonds and loans and assistance to private companies as federal bailouts. you can redeem those, and are redeeming those you bring down the amount of debt so the ceiling sides to come down. you can encourage states and federal government accounts from investing in federal treasuries for a while. then you can invest in treasuries, and we will make you whole if you have lost any interest or anything while you're waiting, we will make you whole on that. that is sort of what is going on right now.
there are five or six different state and federal retirement funds, money market accounts, monetary stabilization programs that hinge on investing in treasurys. they are singh put those on hold so we do not push up the debt any further. >> our guest touched on this. -- they are saying put those on hold so we do not push up the debt any further. host: our guest is with "the fiscal times." learning more about the debt ceiling. we're finding out more about what this means. caller: good morning. mr. eric, is it best that we've
united states worked out a repayment with our creditors rather than continue borrowing more money. this is what citizens are told to do when we overspend or run into the money shortage. host: that is an interesting question. guest: everyone agrees we have to get our fiscal financial house in order. the problem is right now we are forced to borrow between 1/3 and a half of all the money that we are spending in an annual year. we just do not have the revenues to cover the expenditures. either you have to drastically
curtail or cut back spending or you have to find ways to raise your revenues. americans do not want to pay for more taxes. they want a balanced budget, but they're not willing to give up the programs near and dear to them and their communities. is not all that easy. even if he decided to go on a diet, a fiscal diet tomorrow, the cannot go cold turkey. you can say i am not want to borrow any more, when you're generally barring half of the money your spending. you have to figure out a long- term plan for getting off that track. host: tennessee, republican. caller: we have had a congress
for years that has not done their jobs and oversight. no matter how much money goes into washington, they find ways to make waste, fraud, and abuse. there is no oversight. i would like to know where all the tarp money has gone that was paid back. where is all that money? it will never be enough. there were firemen and policemen in texas that opted out of social security. they have done with better than people on social security. it will never be enough, because there's no oversight of the money that comes into washington. host: trying to follow the money. guest: you cover the loss of ground. one thing about tarp,
republicans in particular for beating up the administration on it, but the fact is that the treasury has gotten repayment for a lot of the emergency money that it put out. in fact, in a number of cases it made a profit. there is still some major cases insurancelike abovaig involving billions of dollars, and it is not clear what did the united states will be made whole on all of that, but in terms of the bailout, it has not been a huge negative. oversight, you are right. it goes beyond the bailout. it goes to some of the biggest spending that we do, like
defense spending, homeland security spending. secretary gates was on cbs over the weekend and was acknowledge in there are huge areas of waste in the defense department. lots of weapon systems. jetfighters, aircraft carriers that are no longer necessary, depending on who does not want them. there are huge constituencies and a number of spaces were those projects generate a lot of jobs. it is hard to root out some of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. my suggestion is that as a good area to be looking out along with homeland security. >> prior with any breach that the government could occur, what is the practicality of the impact on the markets or to the people? >guest: i do not think there is
any immediate impact, other than nervousness. as you know, the markets are very skittish, and it does not take much to set them off. i would not be surprised to see some psychological effect on the market. as we get closer to august 2, which secretary died near said is the drop dead -- geithner sen deadline.delsaid is the i think john boehner and mitch mcconnell are serious when they say the last thing they want is the old on u.s. debt. i think there will be a big push to find some kind of
accommodation. we have seen this before. the debt ceiling is a great vehicle for pushing your agenda, and both parties have it shamelessly in the past. they are using it again now. host: if they were to default, does that mean a government shutdown happens? guest: it does not mean a government shutdown immediately, but it does mean they have to look to other steps, including selling off assets. i think you mentioned talk about maybe selling off some of the gold reserves. there're other things they can sell, including student loan holdings where they would be generating some money. then you have to start prioritizing your spending. you cannot borrow to continue spending in the third of your expenditures are borrow money. then where do you begin?
salsa's security benefits? veterans' benefits? all of these things would be suddenly aly be on the table. host: this coming mostly from conservative economists. maryland is on the line from dallas, texas. caller: your guest made a good point earlier that we do not have enough money coming in to cover what we spend. all of the offshore tax accounts, all of the corporations that are not paying their bills, even in the past congress has had no problem raising the debt ceiling until now. i have never heard of this kind of argument. and i and think because this president obama that is in office, he is trying to clean up what he inherited from the
previous administration policies. is that not part of the problem? guest: i will agree with you on one thing you said it come in maybe disagree with another. you are right, there is so much tax evasion, so many offshore accounts, so many loopholes and the federal tax codes that the treasury is basically only collecting a fraction of the potential revenue. i think that administrations in the past have tried to maximize tax collections. i think we will be seeing more of the spirit of congress just passed a law that would make easier to crack down on this. -- i think we will be seeing more of this. congress just passed a law that would make it easier to crack down on this. you have to track this back to
the clinton administration when the government did shutdown, and the republicans, newt gingrich and others refuse to raise the debt ceiling until they could extract concessions from the administration on spending. robert rubin, who was the treasury secretary of the time, came up with the number of the gimmicks that we discussed earlier that enabled the government to operate for an additional 4.5 months before it bumped up against the debt ceiling. timothy geithner is using similar tactics now, but the debt is so huge it sort of overwhelmed any of these steps, so most of the two months of extra time before they crash into the debt ceiling they are being. host: dayton, ohio. steve. good morning. caller: i keep hearing about
corruption and medicare. i know there is corruption in social security as well. isave a neighbor of ththat diagnosed with bipolar, and has never suffered a manic episode. now we have the russian mafia coming in. why can't something be done about the corruption, then cutting everyone social security and medicare? guest: that is a good point. there is a lot of fraud, and it is done not only by the patients, but the doctors and hospitals. earlier calller was talking about the need for more oversight, and i could not agree with her more. host: washington editor of "the
fiscal times." we're going to take a deeper look at the debt ceiling today. hasay is the date the u.s. o officially reached its debt limit. this is another live look at the u.s. debt clock. an interesting website. it makes your head spin looking at the numbers. we will talk more about the underlying issues in a couple of moments. in in the meantime, updated news from c-span radio. >> senator john kerry, the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, is in pakistan for me beings -- for meetings on the future relationship between that country in the united states. there were specific demands about concerns that pakistan had
been harboring terrorists. a new threat in the united kingdom. british police say they have received a warning of a bomb in london from an irish republican group. the spokesman says the warning did not include a specific location or time. the french air accident investigation agency announced earlier that investigators were able to download the material from the black box voice and data recorders over the weekend and that all data and recordings from both black boxes was retrievable. foundrance jet recently fanne crashed almost two years ago. more on the french president of the international monetary fund. authorities in new york up conducted a forensic medical examination on dominique strauss kahn.
police say that hotel maid did pick him out of a police lineup. he faces arraignment on charges of attempted rape in criminal sexual contact following his arrest on saturday. he had been seen as a possible contender for the french presidency. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> i am new to gingrich, and i candidacy for my cousin an president of the united states. -- newt ginrich. >> follow the president's announcements in speeches on line with this piece band video library. search, watch, click in share with everything we uncovered since 1987. it is what you want, when you want. >> this june on "in depth" the
limits of international law. for questions for all other and university of chicago professor, eric posner. and, i will take your calls, emails, and tweets. host: more about the debt ceiling now. joining us at the table is a senior fellow at the peterson institute for international economics. we are also joined by a senior fellow at the george mason university. let's begin with the immediate debt ceiling. the immediate implications of today. tons of headlines reaching the debt limit. what does this mean to you? guest: i do not think it is a
big deal today, but it is emblematic of a big problem. treasury secretary governor has said there are quite a few things he could do to postpone any problems today. i think he has done quite a bit more than he said he could do. the problem has to be dealt with at some point pyridi. guest: the short-run issue is how treasury can economize on cash so they do not have to borrow. there are lots of assets like and move around to avoid the debt ceiling.
the bigger problem is the budget. how are we going to deal with our budget deficit going forward, and that is a much more difficult problem? host: 2 are second-guess, what do you suspect other countries around the world are seeing as they viewed the situation here in the u.s.? guest: i do not know that other countries have short-term memory loss or whether they follow or inform themselves about what has happened in the past, but we have been down that road before. there is an understanding that there is way more than secretary has claimed he can do to get is in a bad situation.
there is also the understanding that congress will also try to avoid as getting complacent. the more important question, and i will agree with your guest is the fact that the budget and what we're going to do for the long-run is what is really key. the debt ceiling is nothing but leverage. host: phone numbers on the bottom of the screen as we continue to look of the debt ceiling. they have reached the debt ceiling today. all the second was the date that was put out there as a drop dead date. what does that mean exactly? guest: i do not think it means anything, especially considering that the secretary has already changed the date four times. d we will default
for sure, and that it was may, july come august. the worst-case scenario is supposedly the fault. there is no way we would get there. host: help us understand what the fault meadefault means. guest: that would be of interest payments became do and the treasury was not able to pay the owners cash. that would be -- secretary said that is unthinkable, and i believe it is unthinkable. he raised this as a concern, but he actually is not saying he will default. i think what he actually -- i think what would happen in the worst-case scenario is a partial
government shutdown. guest: i totally agree. what needs to happen is we pay interest on the debt. we have enough tax revenue coming -- the government collects revenue on a daily, monthly, yearly basis, and we have a way more to pay the 200 million to actually never have to really the fault on our debt. that is a key message to send to the american people. one of the main headlines today. our guests are helping us to understand the debt ceiling more. our guests are joe ganon.
let's start off with marty on the republican line from pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning, and think you c-span. i have been holding for about 20 minutes now. -- thank you cspan. the point was just made that as and as the debt ceiling i the chatter about a false, i just do not get it at all. our receipts is about 2.2 trillion. 0.2 trillion or 200 billion has to go to service our debt. wire talking about a default? is it just a certain prioritization that is being picked to politicize? -- why are we talking about default? why is everyone talking about a
default on the debt when we are getting 200 billion from service over bringing in two trillion. and i just cannot understand why all the chatter about defaults? guest: it is a very good question. the short answer is probably politics, and also trying to get leverage on things going on the part of the secretary. the issue of the debt ceiling is a completely bipartisan one. each time a party is an office and is about to hit the debt ceiling, they work very fast to save the default threat. a reagan did it. everyone has done it. as long as we pay interest and the principle that is coming due, we will not default. to which the secretary says that
any default, any default on the obligation would be the default, i do not faul agree. we have lots of reserves that we can use. i suspect the american people understand there is a difference between you telling someone you're not willing to pay them and actually telling a bank and credit-card company or the person was lending you money for a loan that your not want to pay them. not going to pay them. would agree. the fault would be the worst thing we can do. -- default would be the worst
thing we can do. there are plenty of assets. $200 billion worth of gold. $200 billion worth of mortgage- backed securities. there are bunch of other things. host: new bedford, conn. abraham, think you for waiting. -- thank you for waiting. caller: i am independent. it looks like we're playing politics with our lives, a politics and everything. they should quit bickering and go ahead and look at what is happening. the citizens, everyone is suffering economically. my point is that they should
come to an agreement, work together, not be fighting on these things. guest: you make a very good point, and i am with you. this is what i want, but the nature of politics as winning the next election. whether you are a republican or democrat. that means looking good at all times, even if it is not necessarily good for the country and taxpayers and citizens. unfortunately all of the bickering is a product of this. all the bad laws and bad policies we're getting is politics. host: this is one of the stories out there today. "the washington post . "
" "sell the gold." what are the implications? guest: obviously a large sale in a hurry might push down the price. one solution to that would be if the government wanted to buy a little time the federal reserve might agree to buy the gold. the idea that they might sell it down when the problems stop pyridine there is only a current crisis, for under billion dollars worth of gold, which is only a quarter of the budget deficit. it does not get to three months. >> also, the u.s. is the biggest owner of gold. it is not even going to be 400 billion. more importantly, the real solution to the problem is to address this long-term.
we are on the way to not having a budget for two years. without a chance of it going down. this is what needs to happen. host: to california where george is calling on the republican line. we're talking about the u.s. debt ceiling. caller: one suggestion for c- span is maybe you should give the guest a pad and pencil. so many times they avoid the question by saying you put a lot on the table. host: they both have pads and pencils. caller: i think the political and social the bite is not getters.immes and
47% of the working people pay nothing. they get the full return. people are calling in and telling everyone that they are justified in taking others hard-earned dollars. i have never heard such a thing. where is humility? it seems to me it is a tough sell attempting to tell the successful to hand to their hard-learned dollars. my big question is could anyone please -- if 47% of the people were paying taxes, maybe we would have a chance at it. the more everyone pays, the more the democrats spend. and if you could justify where is it written -- the excess and entitlements is amazing. the cruise lines, the
franchisees are full. the casino is nuts. they have $500,000 that are not even growing a tomato. where is it written in about mcartor, the 10 commandments, the constitution that i should get my money, which should be slated for my next generation, to some other people? guest: first, i would like to say that i agree. i think everyone should be paying some taxes. the reason why 47% of people do not pay the income tax is because congress, and most of them are very poor people -- it is up mostly very poor people. it is because congress distribute social benefits through the tax codes. we can debate whether it is a
good thing or a bad thing. guest: i do not know anyone in this country who does not pay taxes. everyone buys things that the store. everyone who buys gasoline. everyone pays taxes. and i think it is only fair that those who make more should pay more, and i do not have a problem with that. those who do better, pay more. host: we will stay with our guest for 35 minutes or so. sean is next. caller: i have so much to say. host: are you still there? he had a lot to say, and he dropped off. in we will get to dawn on the republican line from pennsylvania. no donna. let's try topeka, kansas.
kevin is calling from topeka. caller: good morning. i would like to know how come i have never heard about this during the bush administration? eight years of destruction and not one word about the debt ceiling, and i just cannot understand that. can you give me an answer on that? why all the sun with the obama administration is in office we have had problems with assailing being raised? -- with the deficit ceiling being raised? guest: it did come up actually. guest: each time there is an issue with raising the debt ceiling the party he was in the majority is in favor of raising it, and the party in the minority is against raising it.
in 2002 president obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. it has always been a very partisan issue. over and over again. in the debt ceiling has been raised at 10 times in the last 10 years. there has been a lot of talking about the debt ceiling. host: there is a story, one of the many in "the new york times" automatic cuts to curb deficits. --ey write tha wanted to get your take on this
idea of triggering action when some of the goals are not reached, but because the article points out of the folks back here cannot get it done, something automatic should be put in place. guest: i would agree with that. i think it should include both spending cuts and tax increases, because there is no way we will solve this problem entirely on spending cuts, given the tremendous increase in aging of the population that is raising spending requirements for retirement and health care. at some point we will have to have more tax revenue. guest: if you want to simplify the base and get rid of the tax reductions, i would like to see serious reduction in rates. basically a fundamental tax reform. this was a revenue on the table, but spending is really what put us in this situation. whether it is wars or education.
much of the spending on things that we like, but we have done in ways that has been very unreasonable. obviously auto pilot-type programs are a big problem. they have been increasing the eligibility. promises have been increased without ever really considering who would go to pay for this. it is time we have this actual honest debate. we want all people to get money, but we have to realize who and how is going to pay for it. it will be the young regeneration, and that has real consequences. host: more headlines.
any reaction? guest: i have spent all lot of time, i have researched the past two years looking at the literature of the implication of debt on the economy, the implication of the reaction of investors to spending and to big deficits, and i think there is a pretty big consensus that there is a level where it debt and deficits hurts the economy. more importantly, there is a very good paper that does come out called "a decade of debt." what they talk about is the impact on interest rates of having sustained level of debt. they say it is increased debts
that speaks out investors. guest: i would say totally agree with she said about thadebt. i do think there is a question as to whether our taxes too high or spending too high? it is not clear to me that the position that you cannot raise taxes at all does not make sense to me. i would rather do it by broadening the tax rates. after about the point i wanted to make. -- i forgot the point i wanted to make. caller: good morning. and i have a quick statement or story. my son moved to georgia when he
was 20. he made $7 an hour and shared an apartment. they started lower-paying jobs. now they are making a comfortable living they paid $7,000 in taxes last year. the first thing they did with the spending packages to give welfare recipients more per month for food stamps. why is it fair to people in that income tax range of have to pay for everyone else? number two, 64. since the time i have been working, so security and medicare i have put to wonder thousand dollars in between me and the company. give me my $200,000 tax-free. this whole thing is getting ridiculous.
they keep giving away money to the people who do not work and are not productive. guest: i am afraid i have to say i do not agree with the calller. the system is set up to benefit everyone. some people are able to do quite well. we have government that enforces laws, rules, contracts. it seems to me only fair that those who make more should pay more. i think that is of fundamental principle i should believe in. guest: it is the case that income taxes extremely progressive. people who make more pay more. i will also agree that there is some profound dysfunction in the system where very often you end up taking from people to give them back a share of the money. this is why in my ideal world
that would be a priority. host: stephen, independent from indianapolis. welcome to the program. basically, my comment is the relation of federal deficit spending is related to the the value of the u.s. dollar. in if the dollar crashes, we will live 25% of the standard of living. i do not believe we need to raise the debt ceiling because we will risk crashing the dollar. that is why gold has gone super high. instead of that money reinvested back into the economy, it has been reinvested into gold. australians own most of the world gold. they mined most of the world's gold. host: explain the impact of the dollar on that. guest: anything that poses a risk to the u.s. economy, some
people worry about that. if it did happen, it would be catastrophic. one thing i would say is -- and this is an area i have done most of my research in it -- up to a certain point, and surprisingly the decline of the dollar would be a good thing for the u.s. economy now is not taken too far. in a total crash would be another thing, but we have never seen that in a country that had sound policies. obviously the debt problem has to be resolved. guest: i totally agree with you, but i think there will be dramatic consequences on the dollar also if we do not reform spending. there is a moment where investors will understand and perceive us as a very high risk. that is a bad thing. we cannot continue on the path.
host: to the spending issue, the lead headline -- this has drawn a little bit of attention this morning. debt talks target federal pensions. is that a good way to go? guest: i read that article, and the thing that shocked me the most is they presented it as employees increasing contribution being a pay cut. it is not a pay cut when you are contributing to your benefits in the future. the pension problem, when you look at the financial statement of the united states, but retention a car for 5.3 trillion dollars of debt.
-- but the federal pension accounts for 5.3 trillion dollars of debt. we hashould have started 30 years ago. guest: i do not a strong view and what we should cut. i do not work for the government anymore. host: beverly. good morning. caller: you guys always have the greatest show. you are more educational than any other show out there. i have a little thing with a fellow there. you were talking to a couple of the other fellows who call been about how you should tax the people that make for money. there is a large percentage of the taxpayers in this country that do not pay taxes, okay?
i do not even consider myself middle-class even more. cut to 30,ours were and i am ill. you are talking about cutting something that i paid into all my life. give me a cash out and that will take the money and run. number two, you will never have this in the country, because one party has everybody believing that the other party is going to make everyone died because they're not going to get health care, they're not going to take care of the children or education. why don't we do this right and have a flat tax? nobody gets a return. i do not know what number do could use, but the money goes straight into the federal government's bank, and nobody gets a return. we could eliminate the irs. that would help the debt, too.
guest: i would support eliminating the income tax if they could collect everything through failed taxes and other taxes. let me say on your question about medicare, this is a bit out there, but i totally would be opposed to cutting medicare, and at least one of the proposals out there would eliminate medicare in proposed -- replace it with a voucher where people could shop with health-care. i think that would be tough for many people to pay up to 30% of their health-care insurance cost. i think a better option would be to find a savings. we waste by% of gdp -- 5% of gdp. my doctor spends a third of his
day arguing with insurance companies. that is just pure waste. guest: i am in favor of consumption-based tax in general. i think that it is an easy talking point to talk about eliminating waste in order to address the expanding spending. we have this gigantic increase in spending, and we will have to deal with it, and of course the politicians and people who do not want to feel any pain, but some people will have to feel the pain, and obviously it should not be the people who the program was intended to serve, which are people who need the money, poor people, and needy people. it is unrealistic to think the system can continue and it only
will address it by getting rid of waste. guest: i would disagree with the other guest. other countries with equal or better outcomes with health care in this state. we know within the u.s. some companies treat people better with less money than other companies. we need to figure out what the other good companies are doing and make the other companies follow. it is possible. host: next calller from alabama. hello. caller: i have been listening to you all morning. when you talk about cutting the va benefits. i am a disabled veteran from vietnam. they talk about cutting our pay, cutting medicare, and all these people that got wounded or messed up in vietnam, that is
all the have to live off of is there check they get from the government. they start talking about the benefits, medicare, i do not know what will happen in this world. we will not have enough money to live if they start cutting our pensions. guest: no one is talking about cutting benefits for people who really need it. no one is talking about cutting these benefits. more importantly, one of the cases i am trying to make is because we are overextended, and actually high-income people are getting a lot of subsidies from the government, whether it is in the form of free museums, and a lot of that is seen as corporate welfare. there is a lot of focus on helping the people who truly need it. host: next call is from anthony.
caller: i agree we can not default on our national debt. that would be ridiculous. exceptne has term limits an congress. why not have a 12-year term limit? that would solve some of it. i have never heard that on the tv yet, except for today. host: another idea, a term with its. that's go back to learning more about the death. how do other countries do with the debt? -- let's go back to learning more about the debt. guest: a study by the g.a.o. found only one country does it the way we do it, which is denmark. most countries when you pass the
budget includes authorization to borrow as much as needed to fund the budget, which makes a lot of sense to me. it seems the whole debt ceiling thing we're facing now should be rolled into the 2012 budget, and in both of those should be solved together. guest: is that of the argument on vader is making right now -- is that the argument john boehner is making right now? guest: i agree, but i have not heard him say that. i want to see the debt ceiling went to how much the government can spend. right now you tend to have these things totally disconnected. government makes a lot of promises but some good about things they will give to people across the board without ever
having an idea on how this will spend. we have reached a situation where the real problem is we are scheduled to spend 3.7 trillion dollars and only cut 2.2 trillion. you could blame it on the recession. it is a real problem. the american people and those it is not how it works of their household. when my income goes down, i cut things, even things i like. host: 15 minutes left with our guests. macomb, illinois. what would you like to say or learn about the debt ceiling? caller: i just have a comment about i agree with that guy. if he is making $80,000 per year, you should pay more taxes. that is all i have to say. thank you. host: helen on the republican line. good morning. caller: i would like for your guests to comment on two things. how much would we save in
interest as we lowered the debt ceiling? that is an easy way of paying 43g it we're cents out of every dollar, if we lowered it down we're getting something. host: can you help us with that? guest: interest on the debt is not 43 cents. guest: 43 cents on every dollar is far road. guest: it is not enough to solve the problem. in guestguest: right now with af gdp is interest on the debt. by the time my children retire it will be 40% of the wealth created by americans, it will go to pay the debt. the economy will implosion, but you are right, if we reduce
borrowing, interest on the debt will go down. host: did you have a second question? caller: have either of them ever heard the results of president obama's press conference that line by line they were going to go through and eliminate old programs that we waste money on? i have heard nothing ofand i bes ago, so there should be over 2000-plus pages of results from that. back to the butts -- budget process. guest: when you are actually in your job, the incentive is much less. think about it this way. since the budget laws were changed in 1974, right, it is the first time ever that congress has not passed a budget.
democrats did not even have an excuse. the republicans are no better, but because the white house -- they had the white house and congress and they did not pass a budget. we are on to the same thing this year. host: joe gagnon? guest: i can disagree with veronique. both parties promised more than they can deliver, and it is unfortunate. host: what is the expect on -- what is the effect on the stock market now? guest: was markets to not worry so much about what they consider political theater. obviously if it goes further, we mentioned there are things that geithner can do, but some of the things might scare the stock market. selling gold might do that. if it strings out too far, it
might start to scare the market. host: let's go to fort bragg, north carolina. felix, good morning. caller: how are you all on this beautiful morning? host: great. how are you? caller: we seem to be having an argue -- an argument and a debate over the region between the tax-and-spend democrats versus the borrow and spend republicans. it is my understanding the debt was about $1.4 trillion in 2009. the thing about this tax-and- spend type thing. it is my understanding that from 2001 to 2008, tax codes cost about one. trillion, about $1.7 billion given out in taxes, $1.7
billion in debt. we seem to be wanting to cut all these things here for poor people. what are we going to have, a green type situation where all the poor people just line up and die? i thought the republicans were against all these death panels. have a great day. guest: the caller is right, i think there may be a confusion about debt and deficit. basically, about one-third of -- since the year 2000, 2001, the first year of the bush presidency, you can roughly say that a third of the problem, the rising debt, is to tax cuts, about one-third is due to more spending, things like the wars in afghanistan and iraq, and medicare, and a third is due to the recession we just had, which
has walloped it. it is about a third, a third, a third between tax cuts, increases, and a recession. guest: you can say that, but the money is fungible. if you cut taxes, whether it be on anyone, and then you increase spending, our social programs, on education, foreign subsidies under the bush years, or roads, everything 60% in real terms, 60% increased. of course you're going to have a deficit. you cannot reduce your revenue and dramatically increase spending. host: go ahead and finish up. guest: we have to remember the country is getting older, and people are aging.
that means more government spending on social security and medicare baked into the cake year after year. we have to deal with that problem, of course, but there is the pressure to spend more. host: charlie as online. good morning. caller: good morning. we talk about the debt ceiling and everything and the cost of everything. number what, why don't we take all city, state, and federal employees, like mr. gagnon over there, drawing a check from the government. guest: former. caller: it does not matter, i am sure he gets a check. let them draw their benefits at the same age as people on social security, including senators and congressmen. i am sure they would all agree with it. this is the real thing, the benefits and these retirements -- the retirement that these people are getting are outrageous.
guest: you're right. i actually think, public employees, whether local, state, or federal government, should get different treatment. but understand the reason why this is happening is, again, politicians like to make promises without having to pay for them. this is one of the ones we are faced with. there is a gigantic pension crisis, and it is going to hurt. host: phenix city -- we just did phoenix city. jane is online now. caller: my name is jane, i am here from cincinnati. i have been listening about social security, medicare, medicaid -- i do not know exactly where you're coming from on that. but medicare, we paid for our medicare, as seniors do. and we cannot pay any more than we are paying. if we did, they would have our
house, ok? we worked all our life -- my husband did, i never worked. i am a stay-at-home mother, wife, and i am proud of it. i got to see every tooth come up heads.babies' i did not have to trust strangers to watch my baby. me and my husband decided for me not to work. and for me, i think a lot of people should do that. they would know where their kids are. host: jayne from cincinnati. howard from marietta, california? caller: good morning. this young lady is my hero she hit it right on the head, and the gentlemen there, the democrat -- in fact, we just had a conversation where we all agree that we need to take care of the needy.
the problem is, the gentleman does not agree as to who is needy and to how much is needy. and let me address the latest from ohio who said she paid into social security all her life and the medicare people have paid in all their life -- i agree. i did the same thing. i worked 40 years, have been retired a number of years. here is the problem with social security. people, listen to me. social security was set up as a supplement, not an entire retirement. and the problem is that we have now two people paying in where we were paying, and it was 14 people. and you cannot continue with a
ponzi scheme. the problem is, what is the answer? and i wish i had an answer, but i do know -- and there is a long conversation about the debt ceiling, whether it should be raised or not. host: the color reference to you first. go ahead. guest: think you put your finger exactly on the problem, is that america is getting to be an older country, or people retiring relative to the numbers to support them. this is a big problem. it is bigger for health care than for social security. there is no one right answer, and i am not here to make a different proposal, but i think clearly we need to get that on a better path going forward somehow. i do not know what the right answer is. guest: something that most
people do not understand is that medicare and medicaid and social security, these are not entitlements. congress can change a lot any time, and this is something people do not understand if we do not change the system, which is becoming -- the system will be running a cash flow deficit for social security. in theory, to cassie i know you -- to cash in the iou's -- by that time, if we do not reform the system, all benefits across the board will be cut by roughly 22%. we will not be taking care. all the people that to the depend on it, low-income people, will see their benefits cut. it needs to be reformed. not everyone in america, just by the only fact of being 65 and america, should be getting something from the federal
government. we should focus our resources on the people who can do without. host: we're down to our last couple of minutes. lowry from california is on the line for democrats. hi there. caller: good morning. i am 50 years old on social security and s.s.i., and i'm terrified because if they do not raise the debt it is a matter of life and death. i cannot be homeless and they have already cut $100 out of my s.s.i. and i am at $800 now. if they cut all my money, i am dead because i cannot live with what i am living on. host: there is a lot of fear in that person's voice. guest: she really should not worry about this. one of the reasons is treasury
geithner has the power to decide. even if they are not to raise the debt ceiling and be done with selling assets and everything, it has the power to prioritize first pay the interest on the debt and the principle that has come due. second, pay for social security, medicare, medicaid, and these checks will be going out. they should not be -- i actually think this country will come through for the people who really need it first. host: joe gagnon, to the people part of this -- savings -- the worry and that person pa's voice. what do you say to the average person? guest: i agree with veronique, that this person should not be worried personally. host: marietta, florida. joe, good morning.
republican line. caller: the public, the constituency always has comments and questions, but we never really hear from the people who influence the senate and the congress, the lobbyists. i know the shows on tv and radio are trying to get somewhere, but it does not seem that the public has ever heard. host: richmond, texas, richard on the independent line. caller: good morning. a question about the 47% that do not pay income taxes. i am not of that group. i pay my taxes -- or i did. and all the other taxes that he talked about. the people, we all receive benefits from the government, everybody. fbi, homeland security, the infrastructure. everybody receives those benefits.
why should 47 percent of the people not contribute to pay for those benefits they receive? host: let's hear from our guests. guest: 47% to not pay any income tax. if you take out the payroll tax, it goes down to 14%. the reason why we have the system the way it is it is because congress has decided that it can address and pay out social benefits through the tax code. that is the reason why. we could do it a different way and have everyone pegged and send out checks. we have everyone pay and send out checks for this is not the way it is done. host: richmond, virginia, deborah, republican line. good morning. caller: you are all pulling out everything that is reasonable and everything that is so screwed up is because of the
people. but you all have to look at accounting. it is either an accounting or greed. to give you an example, you all keep saying that we do not pay enough, people on social security. $96 is taken -- some people take more than that -- for medicare every month. every month. ok? and a cut off time, you cannot even go to your doctor's lawyer lobby before -- or your lobby when you -- before you reach the limit. the doctors get paid when they are supposed to get paid. so where is the money? you need to look how much you all are paying for prescription drugs. host: final thoughts on the debt ceiling? guest: we have a real problem we need to address, with the explosion of spending on social security and medicare, medicaid
going forward, otherwise we will have this problem repeated. i want to empower americans and let them keep their money and know that not everything has to go through the government. guest: it is a real problem and congress needs to deal with it. i would like to see this folded into the budget pprocess. we do not need to raise our debt selling this year or next year, but we do need to repeat our debt ceiling this year or next year, but we do need to do some things that raise the debt ceiling over the long term. host: veronique de rugy, senior fellow at george mason university, and joe gagnon, thank you to both of you this morning. we will take a short time out and begin a week-long series on homeland security. today it is airport security. we will specify the find out what the government is doing right now, how much it is
costing, the whole part of the homestead -- homeland security pie, where it is headed. in the meantime, c-span3 deal with some news. >> it is 9:16. the space shuttle endeavour has blasted off on its next to last shuttle flight. under the command of mark kelly, the husband of the real giffords. she watched the launch from the kennedy space center in private. president obama will meet with families affected by the mississippi river flooding. many towns in louisiana cajun country are nearly empty. that area is being deliberately flooded to protect batna rouge and new orleans. as an update on senator john pakistan,isit to c there have been a series of steps to improve the nation's
fraying ties. they will come in his words, the "implemented immediately," in order to get this relationship back on track." the chairman of the farley relations committee said that secretary of state hillary clinton will be announcing her plans to visit pakistan as well. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> i'm newt gingrich, and i am announcing my candidacy for president of united states because i believe we can return america to hope and opportunity. >> with the field of presidential republican hopefuls beginning to take shape, all the theidates' -- follow candidates'' speeches from the spam library. it is what you want, -- from the c-span library. it is what you want, when you want. you are watching c-span.
washington journal can see with elected officials, policy- makers, and journalists. weekdays, what's live coverage of the u.s. house. also, supreme court oral arguments. on the weekend, you can see our signature interview programs. on saturdays, "the communicators." on sundays, (newsmakers," "q&a," and the "prime minister's questions." it is all searchable on our c- span video library. c-span -- is washington your way. >> this june on "in depth," the balance between security and liberty. the limits of international law. your questions eric posner. and we'll take your calls coming
emails, and tweets. >> "washington journal" continues. host: every day at this time during the week we will look at select programs and operations within the department of homeland security. tomorrow we will focus on our areas of civil rights and civil liberties within the department, critical infrastructure programs -- electricity, water -- those will be considered wednesday. thursday we will tackle border security technology. friday, bioterrorism. today our focus will be airport security. our guest, mickey mccarter, is the washington correspondent for the homeland security today. most people think of airport security as screeners and those kinds of machines. can you give viewers at home other aspects of homeland security that may not be well known outside the department? guest: absolutely, pedro.
you're talking about a work force of screeners of about 50,000 people. it is one that people interact with. there are also other tsa employees screening cargo, looking out for it, screening baggage, observing behavior, of suspicious people throughout the airport. there are different people of tsa folks that have different specialties trying to protect planes, with it the passengers, checked baggage, cargo being checked in from the airports. host: have we always seen this when it comes to being checked in at the airport? guest: a piece of legislation that went through congress in 2007 implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission act put an emphasis on airport cargo screening for stuff that is going on to commercial airplanes. tsa has been implementing that. that has gained a new sense of
urgency since last year's cargo plot that came out of yemen with the toner cartridges. some of them had i think a lot of the groundwork that has always been there, but some them have built up and are still building up in recent years. host: is that perception also of members of congress or do members of congress get a sense of the whole aspect of airport security when it comes to what they do for tsa? guest: members of congress are like the rest of us in the sense that sometimes we are thought to be too reactive with what might happen. the cargo security thing is a great example. nobody was really looking out for that kind of attack against the united states, yet it happened. we had the elements in place for the response, but we did not -- host: one of the things that tsa asked for it for their 2010
budget is something for the explosion detection system -- for the 2012 budget, is something for explosion detection. guest: in small airports like reagan national, we see them sitting outside. tsa wants to upgrade the devices to make them more uniform, sensitive, to bring in new technology so they're better at detecting any explosions that might -- explosives that might be in checked baggage. the passenger carry-ons, they gets candid the passenger checkpoint, but when you put in willluggage, tsa anhandlers put that through, and it gets scant. everything gets scant. host: so the next generations of machines, what the capabilities do they have from what we saw in the first generation initially? guest: it is the goal to be more
expert -- more sensitive to detecting explosives items that might be in baggage. but a big part of the initiative is to make the devices more uniform because with a lot of the proprietary technology that was bought in an awful hurry after 9/11 -- tsa was created right afterwards, stood up, had to get a lot of explosive detection systems in airports quickly -- they were concentrating on feeling that ability rather than making them as useful and easy to use as possible. now they have been taking the time and have been working on this for a number of years to make those devices more standardized. so i as a screener might be able to use the same ones at any airport with a minimum amount of training. host: before that, they used to swap baggage, didn't they? guest: and they still do that. if there is suspicious activity on the horizon, they still use the swap technique. host: airport security.
if you want to ask mickey mccarter a question specifically about this aspect of hamas entered, here's how you can do so this morning. 2 for democrats, 202- 737-0001 for republicans. 202-628-0205 for independents. tell me what the term "behavior detection officers" mean because the 2012 requests that tsa had set aside $236 million for this program. guest: is a program the tsa has through all 450 some u.s. airports where they have specially trained personnel to observe people going to the airport. it is not necessarily at the passenger checkpoint. it is supposed to be anywhere at the airport. those people are looking for anyone looking suspicious. if they look shifty or nervous or doing anything that is suspicious activity, the
behavior detection officers are supposed to flag them, question them, and take heightened measures if needed. host: as far as a program, what has been its success rate? guest: when i talked to tsa last year, they get on a point to one case with an incident in orlando where one of the behavior detection officers was responsible for stopping it would-be terrorist or somebody they suspected might be involved in some sort of terrorist activity. a lot of folks say it's not based in science, that tsa has no grounds for being able to say, hey, we can spot suspicious people because they look nervous. then somebody would say that someone who is about to blow up an airplane would take a calm approach rather than display nervousness or whatever other behaviors tsa might be looking for. host: is it a possible invasion
of some rights or civil liberties by having this program in existence? guest: have not heard that complaint leveled very loudly. a lot of stuff tends to be i take your electronic device and search it or something. the mere act of searching folks is valid as someone of the security theater aspect of tsa's jobs. but i have not heard any complaints. host: what was their assessment? guest: the assessment was that tsa would do well to document the science in which this is routed. then there have been some other folks, too, who say tsa should be more aggressive and model these guys more after an israeli model, which is really forces actively interrogate passengers and get that sort of interaction to see if there is anything suspicious about them.
host: has this been in existence since tsa's creation? guest: it has. there are about 2000 behavior detection officers right now. the program got off the ground a couple years after tsa was set up, but the bases has already been there. host: airport security with mickey mccarter prefers call, maryland, democrats line. caller: yes. i think, and security and the tsa are doing the best job they can do, and i give them a thumbs up. keep it up, and we should do much more on training. host: what do you think are doing well and what things should be looked at? caller: i think they do well because we have not had an aunt -- a catastrophe like 9/11 and the avoidance of that is i think a good job. guest: lot of folks would agree that there has not been another
attack on the airplane, but the christmas day bombing attempt in 2009 was a wake-up call to people that maybe we were not being proactive enough, that we were not using watch lists enough, flagging people aggressively enough to keep them off planes coming into the united states. so there is a lot of agreement that thing got another plane has not been blown up. there is still some work to be done and the perception of a lot of public officials. host: turner's vail, north carolina. kenneth, you're on the line. caller: it is a halfway measure, as usual with our government. my suggestion, your taking old streetwise cops, not someone behind the desk of someone who has been out on the street for several years, can spot a phony and 50 yards, put him at the head of the line where people approach, let him make eye contact with ever went to ask
questions, give him the authority to throw people out of the line and so forth. he will do more than all of the technical equipment you have there. you could dump about half of it and replace it with about -- with some old streetwise cops. guest: tsa agrees because the marshall program -- when you talk about where is law enforcement agency within tsa, the federal air marshal service they put on wood planes -- on board plans, they use that as a last line of defense that air marshal has to spot the person and ferret them out if they mean to do harm. host: has that been active since 9/11? guest: it is more active now. there has been talk of putting more air marshals on more high- risk flights. we have a list of some high-risk
-- 20, high-risk countries around the world that people would put a active threat against the united states. ior detectionave to detenti officers -- do they come from law-enforcement backgrounds? guest: it is my knowledge they do not really come from law- enforcement backgrounds. it is possible for a law applied tot person to b become part of the program. they receive periodic training to make sure they are up to what the program expects of them. host: rochester, new york. go ahead. caller: i am just wondering, the kind of training, just like the previous caller mentioned. i was traveling from taiwan to the united states with my
family. in detroit, my 5-year-old was pulled off the line. my five-year old, and taken into a room. that was a total breach. i mean, i did not know where to go, who to talk to. i mean, people should be able -- the agents should be able to detect what or who to target, not a child. my sun was carrying a toy in his hand, and that was it. they should have observed that. but it was not. what measures have you taken to correct this traumatic happenings to children in this situation? guest: there have been several high publicity cases where you
have had young children patted down or searched for illicit items. you know, i think the rationale from the screener's perspective is that if you are a bad person, you might use a child and smuggle something on a child to get it into the plane. still saying this child is off- limits totally to being searched is kind of a non-starter with some of these folks. but there is a perception now in tsa that perhaps they have gone too far. the tsa administrator has been before congress and said they will modify their approach to be a little bit more family- friendly, if you will. in fact, there is a big push at tsa that one size does not fit all, that maybe not everybody should be going through the same exact procedures. and how that manifests itself exactly remains to be seen. host: travelers to the airports, especially in the washington, d.c., metro area. as far as times spent in line,
how much delays are there because of the security that we have, and how does that affect the public perception? guest: i think anecdotally the details of security delays varies from airport to airport. whenever tsa looked at putting something else in a passenger checkpoint, they are always wanting to be able to move people through in 10 to 32nd so that they are not stuck and long lines are not being generated -- in 10 to 30 seconds so that they're not stuck at in long lines that are being generated. how much of an inconvenience will this be for the traveling public? host: fairfax, virginia, on our democrats line. caller: i wanted to tell you about what i think is a huge waste of personnel. i was going through tsa with my
18-month old and my six-week old to pick up my 10-year-old from coming back and visiting his father i had a great pass, not a ticket. they stopped me and stuck me in a little booth because they said they had spotted my stroller, and they took my stroller away and i had two small children i was trying to hold. they would not give me my stroller and they absolutely refused to let me go through. i was sitting there with two screaming children, and i was just so mortified. at one point they almost would not let me have a cell phone so i could call his father and my husband to tell them what was going on. finally, they let a manager. this is at baltimore airport. they finally let one of the tsa managers to go to the gate to get my older sun.
it to my older son. host: what is the lesson for tsa, in your opinion? guest: there was nothing on the stroller -- caller: there was nothing on the stroller at all. i had unloaded everything. there was maybe a diaper bag, and i was not even going on the plane. guest: this is the sort of thing that the unions have made the case for, that tsa screeners need to be more customer friendly, to be more accommodating and have standardized training across the airport so that when you deal with these situations, they can deal with it in a friendly, professional, and efficient manner. the unionization process is coming to a head next month when tsa will elect a union. the unions are promising to address concerns like this from the public, when they try to
make tsa more friendly to travelers. host: what is the argument for tsa? guest: that there is a high turnover, it ranks low in job satisfaction ratings. it is pretty much at the bottom of the list for how happy the employees are. the unions have said, if you let us come in and represent tsa, we will be able to negotiate with managing, make employees happier, and as a result, travelers will be happier as well. host: jackson, mississippi. thanks for holding on. daryl, independent line. are you there? one more time. let's go to decatur, illinois. republican line, john, go ahead. caller: when an airline crashes, does tsa have possession of the flight boxes? could your guest comment on why
the black boxes were not found on the 9/11 flights? guest: i think it would be the faa or the national transportation safety board that would be the first to get those black boxes. faa has traditionally had security responsibilities such as that. that is kind of sort of hanging on to, but still in the process of transitioning on tsa. as for the black boxes on the 9/11 flights, my understanding is that anything that was not recovered was just completely vaporized. you basically had missiles that were hitting stationary objects. things were pretty much totally vaporized. host: herald as all are democrats line from florida. caller: when this first started i was taking a class in college, and i was saying how can anybody be against the safety of the
airlines. my professor said it is a violation of the fourth and fifth amendment rights concerning searches and seizures. and i said, who could possibly argue that? it is for the safety of the people. he said, that is correct, but it would be very interesting to see what a judge would say if these laws were ever catch challenged it would it be possible for you to comment on that, sir? guest: there have been challenges, actually. some of them have come from customs and border protection, which sometimes have similar responsibilities at different ports of entry to search various things and passengers. tsa, and some several high- profile cases, have taken cellphone. every time there is a challenge to this -- host: there is a story based out of texas last friday, the texas house of representatives there, passed legislation that would
"and interests of touching or searching of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation." the question is, the state efforts, texas being one of them, do they have any legs as far as what it does in the end? guest: i would say not. there's another case in alaska where they are debating the same thing, where there was a state legislature there that a disabled woman went through an incredibly interested search and it was decided she was going to take the ferry from the man lanes -- from the mainland of the united states. as sympathetic as some might be to these individual efforts, they probably will not get a lot of attraction. host: houghton, new york. rick, independent line.
caller: i was curious as to how detailed the new scanners are. how much of their body can they really see? guest: are talking about the advanced imaging technology or the body emitters that have become very popular after the christmas day bombing attempt in 2009. there is some debate over exactly how accurate they are. the argument is that if you have something that was non-metallic , in an area that generally would not be checked committee's full body images are still able to look at those areas. then there are folks that say they are not as accurate as they could be, etc., etc. what is interesting now is the republican-controlled house of representatives introduced a funding bill for fiscal 2012 that would deny tsa funding to bring more of those machines on line right away. it does not do anything about the ones out there, but it would
limit tsa possibility to bring in more right away. there are a number of things out there. there is software that tsa is checking to see if it might be less intrusive. you get this very kind of chalky x-ray, as opposed to the one that people say is very increases. you can get a cartoon, or an outline so that aggressive screeners can rule somebody out and do more of an angry -- of an investigation host: is that based on the perception that was going on? guest: i think absolutely. there was an attempt to pass an authorization bill in the last congress that would have totally out what the machines, that would have said you cannot buy the spirit that has not gone to that level, but i do think there is a lot more -- tsa has to do more justification to some members of congress on this.
host: walk with me on the house appropriations committee's decision for full-time airport screeners. guest: yes, we have written a little bit about the bill that just came through our markup last week. that 26,000 figure has been pretty steady. congress has been looking at that, the house in particular, looking at the cap for full-time employees in the screening work force only. it does not prohibit them to hire more part-time screeners. host: and the $10 million -- is this for the machines or for other assets as well? guest: this is a fallout from the yemen plot from last october where toner cartridges were supposed to go to blow up aircraft blowing coming into the united states. we need more of those cargo
security measures for those dedicated for cargo, necessarily for passengers. host: can you expand on what was requested by the white house a little? guest: a lot of what was requested by the white house was the whole-body imaging, the machines that would have been procured in 2012 under the white house proposal. and another 500 tsa employees. right now congress is saying, no, no, we have to hold off on that. that is the majority of the difference there. host: for those were not familiar, what is homeland security today? guest: a private media company, totally independent, and we look at every day what is happening here in washington were homeland security is concerned as well as around the country.
host: our guest is a correspondent for the publication. merle beach, south carolina, jack on the republican line. caller: number one, a few months ago i flew in from new york, jfk, and i was a disabled veteran. i had an option that was my own and they said i could not use mine and i had to use theirs. why should i pay $75 more to use my air then their own? i feel it is an invasion of privacy, the body searches. after a while, it is really -- guest: the things with the oxygen tanks and other things,
that is really unfortunate i think, and something that the tsa needs to move to address a little faster than it has. there are folks with disabilities -- walkers, wheel chairs, oxygen tanks, different sorts of things that they are carrying around with them. tsa really has not gone mature enough to handle those in a reasonable way. insofar as adapting to these -- and again, there is an effort at the agency to say one size is enough -- one-size-fits-all, where it comes to the pat downs, there will be more modifications in the future. host: i have heard of a good flyer list for folks to fly a lot, and are not a problem to tsa. can you comment? guest: you would be giving tsa
all this information about yourself, probably fingerprints, photographs, biographical information. you would then become a trusted traveler and would be able to avoid things like pat-downs and whole-body imaging devices, and maybe just go through regular checkups, depending upon the configuration of the new airport's that you're flying from. host: is tsa comfortable with that, passengers as well? guest: tsa has been embracing that more than they have been. host: because? guest: i think because of the public outcry. if you're flying every week, and you're saying i fly on -- every week because of business, through the same airports, doing the same thing and i am a trusted traveler, so why shouldn't i go through the region why should i have to go through these tough everybody else goes through? the forms have a relationship with travelers at least in the abstract, that you have volunteered all this information to us, we're going to trust you.
host: as anyone discuss security concerns with this type of program? guest: of course. a terrorist could buy off a trusted traveler to smuggle something on. there is more of a push to use smart security techniques when this comes down to it. there is a big common-sense argument to be made for that. if you're flying from washington, d.c., the new york every other day for business, you're going to qualify for a program like this. that you probably should not get as much scrutiny as somebody else just flying for the first time, for example. host: go-ahead, for our guest, mickey mccarter. caller: i have a question. has anybody done tests on the efficiency of the dogs, dogs sniffing the bombs and explosives versus the machines? it seems to me there are plenty
of homeless dogs around that could use a home, and it would be a lot less expensive than all the money being spent now. i was just wondering about that. guest: dhs really likes the dogs. they consider them a real asset, and there has been more money going into them, canine teams. there hasn't really been a steady, and congress is always criticizing tsa and other agencies for this. can my explosives detectors find something better than a dog? but the dogs are considered extremely reliable, and they're putting more money into them. host: do we know how many dogs approximately? guest: i think there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 dogs now at dhs. that is just a blind guess. host: 4 lauderdale, florida. republican line. caller: i am a frequent-flier.
i travel for business, and one of the things i have noticed is that a lot of articles speak about the ineffectiveness of the tsa as it relates to private security firms. an article that i read mentions that private security firms and the tsa are not very effective at finding the exact things they are there to detect. it seems awfully odd that if you have all this money going into an agency whose purpose is to find and detect these sorts of items and protect the passengers are not doing their job, and in fact, private security in some cases is doing a better job than them. do you have any comments on that? guest: recently, a tsa administrator said i'm not going to let any more private firms to men and take over airport screening operations unless the airport can really justify a big national security reason for doing this. he set a really high bar, and
there has been a backlash in the house right now were a lot of republican congressmen have said, hey, these private firms often do better than your federalized tsa does, and at airports should have the right to do that. there is legislation be introduced saying that tsa has to allow certain airports to opt out if they would like to. the tsa itself -- they have redone a lot of covert tests to see if they can smuggle things on airplanes as we read sometimes. tsa tasteless and very seriously, response to them and tries to augment its security work. host: houston, texas, on our independent line. matt? caller: children and old people -- if not, children should be treated like everybody else,
too. guest: again, there are some tsa folks and members of congress that would agree, that somebody could put something on a child and try to get them through a security checkpoint. that is why security folks would say -- that is why you have these high-profile cases where children have been searched. host: two more numbers. of 0.4 million for maintaining the enhance watch list. -- 12.4000004 maintain the enhance watch list. guest: tsa turns to the national counter-terrorism center. they basically maintain a big terrorist database where the terrorists were suspected terrorists are people with terrorist links are classified in there. it is down for tsa in two ways. no-fat -- restric strict
one, the strict no-fly list. they look at the no-fly list and they say you cannot possibly fly. they might not be overtly involved in terrorist activity, but there might be a piece of intelligence that leads you on to the secondary screening list. those are the two big lists from, the no-fly list and the screening test. host: so the tsa handles the bulk of that? guest: this trooper the national terrorism center supplies that? guest: they have found it a good working relationship recently because at administered a pistol -- administration -- host: yardley, pennsylvania.
republican line. caller: we all know that a fraction of the people that pass through the x-rays and scanners will get captured. can you tell me about what is the fraction? is it one in a million, one in 10 million? how many people annually pass through? guest: there's a lot of travelers. i'm not really sure how many people go through every year. everybody that i have talked to has said that there is no cancer risk from the body imaging devices. there was a recent study that said there could be a cancer risk, but basically they're saying you get exposed to a lot more radiation been up in the air in flight than you would in a lifetime of passing through the machines. they have modified that a little bit for pilots and other airline workers who have to pass through the multiple times. pilots in particular are now excused from going through the whole body images and there are dedicated check-in lines and
what have you because the rationale is if you are a pilot, if you want to harm a plane, you have a lot of other ways to do it rather than smuggling something in. host: 50 flight crew have to be scanned as well, or do they just walk in. guest: flight crew are getting credentials, and tsa has been checking out these credentials. if you have the appropriate credentials, you would not go through the imaging devices. you would go through a separate security line where they would check for certain things. .ost: ohio, democrats line caller: good morning. i have a problem with everything being privatized. i know when corporations privatize, they start cutting corners in order to, you know, beef up their profits. also, didn't chertoff -- doesn't
he own the machines for the scanning? thank you. guest: she is referring to former homeland security secretary michael chertoff. i am not sure what their stock portfolios look like, but i have heard they invest heavily in various technologies that they have confidence in. they do not own those devices. under no way do they do that. there are established companies that have been supplying them since 9/11, since before 9/11. a lot of -- they started supplying stuff for civilian airports. they do not outright manage or own any of these companies. host: since the creation of tsa to now, what has changed with the way it has operated have there been significant changes?
if so, where? there have been ways in which the whole body imaging, the enhanced pat downs, tsa is responding to what they say as will come threats per where they say al qaeda or other terrorists have -- they're beefing up, if you will. i think there is a lot of hope that tsa, the technology will solve a lot of these problems. that you will be able to scan people more effectively and thus be able to defeat the work around. by calling for enhanced uptown's or what have you. host: is there a concern that one might be working over the other? guest: people going to need to know how to operate the machines and what to do with them. in some cases, folks watching have seen whole body imaging at airports and the scanners are not in use because tsa has not
gotten a staff has upgraded them yet. sometimes they're just not operable. you will still see the devices but a threat old-fashioned metal detector. host: carol from toms river, new jersey. you are the last call. caller: have two concerns. this is the first time i have never called in to make a comment on anything. i have a daughter with special needs, and she has some medical devices implanted. i am afraid to fly with her because of some of the comments that have been made from other callers. like the lady's stroller was taken away and she was left with the two kids and stuff like that. somebody else's child with a toy was, you know, taken to the side. it would be a very traumatic experience for my daughter, so i have not even tried to go anywhere with her to fly because
i am afraid of situations like that. it is not just from your show. it is from many things. my second comment is what kind of training do these people get that are doing these searches? do they have to go through an extensive training program before they are allowed to do these things to people? guest: if the caller wanted to feel more comfortable, there is a tsa call center you can go to, at tsa.gov, where you can bring up your concerns and say i hear there have been these cases where disabled people or children have been searched in such a way. you can try to understand your local airport a little bit better, laid the groundwork for feeling more comfortable about that. as far as -- i forget the second part of becoming -- the training. tsa screeners receive regular tsa screeners receive regular