tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 25, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
of forbes magazine joins us. then a conversation on the situation in libya with marc ginsberg, who was a mideast adviser in the carter administration. later, george washington university health policy professor on growing medicare costs. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: former vice president dick cheney is promoting his new soon-to-be released memoir and he is promising, according to "the hill" newspaper that heads will be exploding all over washington when people read it. he reveals internal battles within the bush administration and criticizes one-time colleague george tenet, colin powell, condoleezza rise and praising president george w. bush as an outstanding leader.
some of the details, if you are interested. "the new york times" lead headline, page 16. cheney says he urged bush to bombs. back in 2007 but, he writes, he opted for a diplomatic approach after other advisers, still stinging over the bad intelligence over iraq's stockpiles of wmd's expressed misgivings -- "the times" goes on to write --
we look forward to your calls on what you are hearing so far. here are the numbers again -- first call this morning from sarasota, florida. democrat. good morning. caller: how are you today? i am doing ok. i am glad to see this book out. i think if there is any honesty whatsoever in it, it will open up america's eyes about the
absolute evil dick cheney is. host: give us an example of what you are talking about. caller: secret meetings with the oil executives, push for democratization of foreign countries that we have no business being in. who else can get away with shooting people and not even get tested for alcohol, this last deal, shooting this guy in the face. this guy is bad. that's all. host: back to "the drudge report."
marcus, republican. michigan. what do you think? caller: i think that it is unfortunate that a great station like c-span would be wasting precious time with all of the mounting problems that the nation is facing on dick cheney 's memoirs of the bush administration. i think much more could be used in terms of time toward solving and creating a more positive dialogue. host: a lot of folks are reporting on this. this is not news, in your view? caller: i think this is news but given we are fighting two wars -- one in afghanistan and one in
iraq, a proxy war in libya, a failing economy, a major provision shall race -- presidential race, i think we could be focusing on more pertinent issues as opposed to looking in the past. host: got the point. for those looking for dialogue on libya, budget, medicare, it is all coming up on the program. mike, seattle, washington. caller: i concur with the caller that came right before me -- i think we have more pressing issues in terms of the high unemployment rates, the gang of six who will be operating behind closed doors when it comes to medicare, medicaid, social security, the budget, all the major issues that are happening around the country. host: how about what you have heard so far about the big chain
e-book? caller: i have not had an opportunity to know too much about that, but what i do know is that dick cheney, as being the vice president, to me, was really someone who was behind the scenes. and again, i know that as the topic we are talking about but i think americans really want to talk about issues at hand, which is jobs, jobs, jobs. host: let us get more detail about the book from "the new york times" piece.
while he does have a lot to apologize for -- these three he does not. there were weapons of mass destruction found in iraq according to the united nations and according to the bbc. they removed over 500 barrels of sarin gas, etcetera two, there were no secret meetings between mr. cheney and the oil companies. he invited the environmentalists and the people of the left but they threw a hissy fit because they were not given the invitation directly from mr. dick cheney, one of the sobor indicated to them, and they refused to come. that is documented in the united states congressional archives. last, but not least, mr. cheney had nothing to do with the valerie claim -- plame
situation. that was done by one of the subordinates. so, sit there and tried to blame mr. cheney for those three things -- and again, he does have a lot of stuff he needs to apologize for, but those three things are not in it and to continuously like -- continuously lot about this, you need to start smacking some heads when they call and try to pull this noise. host: simon and schuster is the publisher. georgia. larry is on the line for democrats. any thoughts, larry? caller: dick cheney and his partner karl rove should have been prosecuted because they committed all kinds of treasonous acts -- little stuff they committed during their time. he is responsible for some terrible goings on in this nation. host: the headline in "the hill" memoir --
huntington, west virginia. fred, thank you for waiting. you are on the republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i am so looking forward to this memoir. i enjoyed the bushes, and i enjoy the rumsfeld and i will enjoy this one. host: what are you looking forward to know -- learning about what you did not know? caller: inside stuff. memoir, his first chapter was revealing about what prepared him for the presidency and all the trouble that came within the presidency, the two terms.
rumsfeld was behind the scenes, meetings with saddam hussein years and years before he became -- got in a confrontation with him. and with cheney, rumsfeld and cheney were linked together for some many years. rumsfeld had behind-the-scenes stuff and i am sure cheney's will, too. host: comments about what they have heard so far -- indiana, gail, independent. what do you have to say? caller: in reference to dick cheney, i had the real problems with them all during iraq and afghanistan and even before, because this is somebody with five draft deferments.
the other caller who said that cheney and rumsfeld were tied together, he is exactly right. you go back to the mid-1970s when in the massacre that happened in 1968 and was covered up and all that, you go back and look up history, and just put in chaney and rumsfeld -- cheney and rumsfeld of the cover up from the 1970's and forward and you look at the two of them and what they have done. i think it would give a pretty good representation of what kind of people most of them are. like rumsfeld, they called the guys who tried to stop -- milai unpatriotic, the same
thing they did to the guy who blew the whistle on torture and the pictures and all of that stuff and rumsfeld ousted him -- outed him on tv. host: "chain e-book reveals internal -- cheney book reveals internal battles." the text says -- cheney writes that he saw to have power removed from the canned it -- powell removed from
the cabinet. his resignation was for the best. it that quote was put out in several other places. also talking about george tenant and valerie plame. if you want to read about this at politico.com. venice beach, california. eric, a democrat. good morning. caller: what i am hoping is what the public thinks of this book, that the former vice president going around publicizing it, would be getting tough questions about lots of the unanswered questions that remain about his tenure. host: like what? what do you want to know? caller: his statement immediately before the invasion of iraq, after the u.n. inspectors went in and found there was no evidence of iraqi nuclear program. he was asked about this with the
invasion pending and he's it -- said the inspector was wrong. he was wrong and he now had -- had no doubt about it. the league right -- then afterwards we went in and we found out the inspector was right. i hope somebody asks him about this. host: barak, california. gaithersburg, maryland. republican, steve. caller: looking forward to reading the book. i have to tell you as a moderate republican, i thought cheney was a good congressman. i thought he was a fantastic secretary of defense and the gulf war and i would argue one of the worst vice-president we have ever had. very disappointed. i voted first term for him, and the second, unfortunately
because of him. i will be interested to read his book to see what his take is. so far from what you have been reading from the reviews, this seems like a guy who was always good and blaming everybody else for failures of the bush administration. host: go ahead. finish up, steve. caller: when of the previous callers -- we are entitled to our own opinions and not entitled to our own facts. the iraq war when it comes to the facts, i have yet to see facts about weapons of mass destructions. i still think we should have gone in regardless. but a previous caller, a fellow republican, the valerie plame story, that there was no connection between him. you can stretch and say there was no direct connection but don't forget the vice president went out of his way trying to get president bush up to the final days to pardon scooter libby.
if that was not a direct connection it certainly was an improper use. i think he is a very, very good speaker. what frustrates me is somebody trying to bring the sides together -- most vice-president you think of historically go quietly away. this is one vice-president with just won't. and i wish to heaven he would. i am not sure why he wants to -- has to write a memoir host: coming up in about 25 minutes, steve forbes, president and ceo of "forbes" and former presidential candidate. we will talk about the economy and the new cbo numbers coming out. and also marc ginsberg later, former ambassador to morocco. and live a bit later, more of our coverage surrounding the dedication of the martin luther
king memorial. today at noon, we will have live coverage of a luncheon, a civil- rights pioneers. honoring those from the past, present, and perhaps the future, at the convention center. live coverage on c-span at noon. it should be a two-hour long events. and also covered friday. and of course, the big dedication ceremony sunday at 11:00 on the mall in washington. jack, independent caller. we have been reading some of the details about dick cheney's memoir. what have you heard that move you one way or the other? caller: i have not heard anything really, except that i would like to make a comment. i just wonder how much of dick cheney is going to receive personally from halliburton from the $400 a gallon gasoline that of the u.s. troops are paying for over in afghanistan.
thank you. host: some of the other front- page items here today. "washington post" lead story, focus turns to finding gaddafi. 1.7 million-dollar bounty. a shot of repair a, republican presidential candidate in "the washington times." according to a new poll, perry leapfrogs rivals in the polls. if you look at the front page of "the wall street journal" this morning, forecasts clouds debt- cut outlook. not looking great, according to many folks out there. we will talk to steve forbes about it. here is a little bit from the
cbo director doug allen north -- elmendorf about unemployment. >> cbo expects unemployment to slow only slowly. the unemployment rate, as shown in the picture behind me, is projected to fall from 9.1% in the second quarter of 2011 to 8.9% in the fourth quarter of this year and 8.5% fourth quarter of 2012. and then to remain above 8% until 2014. host: let's get more perspective from in the sullivan, white house correspondent for thompson-waiters. exactly what did the cbo said yesterday and what has been the reaction? guest: the first numbers were quite positive because they basically slashed the outlook in the coming decades for the
amount of debt the country will rack up. the latest projection, the total amount of budget deficits will be about $3.50 trillion, which is, i think, $3.30 trillion less than what they were estimating before. it seems like good news. but the director was quite downbeat when he was talking about the report. he pointed out that deficits are still very high from a historical standards and the way they estimate things and project in the future is that they assume that, for example, all the tax cuts that are set to expire will expire, which would bring in trillions of dollars more to the u.s. treasury. realistically that probably it is not going to happen. so if you take a look at that and the fact that that visits are really high, and as you pointed out, the actual economy is still pretty rough, it is not a very optimistic picture. host: from the white house perspective, though, what can
the president or the administration latch onto positive-looking as far as the future goes? guest: they pointed out that the reason budget deal that is part of the debt ceiling actually moved the needle quite a bit. that was something they were eagle -- eager to point out. and president obama is expected to unveil a job creation package at the beginning of next month. i would expect them to use the report as a justification, because the report says on and one and will remain high and growth will be sluggish for the next couple of years as we are trying to dig out from the deep recession. host: talk about the all important work of the special committee that is being put together in congress. we know they are starting to talk and organized and they have a tight deadline and a lot of work to do. plug this news in to that effort. guest: well, the report assumes they will get the job done and if they don't get the job done, obviously automatic cuts will
taken that will have roughly the same impact on the budget. these folks really have their work cut out for them. they are supposed to find savings from the areas that congress wasn't able to agree on for months and months leading to the debt ceiling deal. that is looking at the tax code and also entitlement programs like medicare and medicaid. and both sides -- the republicans are going to be very reluctant to sign off on anything they perceive as a tax increase, and democrats say, if you don't to that, we will not agree to cuts to programs like medicare. host: hard to have a conversation like this without talking about presidential politics. plug the notion of an election into all of this. guest: president obama is really eager to make progress on this front, both on improving the economy and on getting the budget under control so he can say to voters we are tackling our problems. all of the republican
presidential candidates. to be taking a pretty hard line stance. at a debate last month they were asked whether they would agree to a budget deal which had $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases and none of them, i believe, said they would agree to that. host: andy sullivan, white house correspondent for thompson- reuters. we will talk to you more as the weeks and months go on. we have maybe about 15 minutes left to the phones segment. we will get some other news out for you. talking about the release of dick cheney that a more. simon and schuster doing the publishing. coming out next week. some of the details are coming out in several publications, including "the new york times." again, the headline says "cheney says he urged bush to bombs syria." did not have any support in the room when the question came up. lots more detail. texas has been hanging on.
spot on the republican line. caller: good morning, steve. i believe dick cheney was and is a no-nonsense unapologetic liberty loving patriot. and we as a nation were very fortunate to have this man post 9/11. i can't wait for the book. i believed the same thing about donald rumsfeld. the left hates these two people, and their passion, their hatred is just, it is unbelievable. again, they were two absolutely great americans and we were very fortunate to have them both. host: let us see what other viewpoints are out there. john, democrat from florida. caller: yes. a few things i just wanted to say. ohio and texas.
4000 dead, because the situation now -- helping everything that is wrong. halliburton, the cuts he got for them. remember the $4 billion, 1 billion at a time -- year misplaced -- misplaced and the bunker of money they found in iraq that they never returned. no weapons of mass destruction. this in-your-face situation he is trying to do, he is totally wrong and anybody who tells you different should go back and live a few years where we had dick cheney and donald rumsfeld telling about, that is why they were trying to get out of the way. about: paul -- colin powell 1
them there were no weapons of mass destruction -- let's wait. anybody tell you anything different, they are plainly lying. host: let's hear from westley on the democrats' line from sacramento. good early morning pretty caller: the last caller was flat on target. i am retired marines. received a purple heart while this guy mr. cheney, he had five deferments. he is a good liar. this should be on "book tv" as opposed to this show where more important things are going on. host: on twitter this morning -- here is an e-mail this morning --
steve, chantilly, virginia. independent caller. my daughter took a post-graduate course about biological weapons and he said of the class not only did the soviet union have enough biological weapons to kill every man, woman, and child in the united states, but they sold a bunch of them to saddam hussein. there is no possible question that they had weapons of mass destruction -- they are either buried there in iraq and have not been found or they are in syria. this mythology that there were no weapons of mass destruction is just something that is being drummed up by people that do not
have a collective intellect of dick cheney's little finger. host: randy. republican. wisconsin. caller: nice of c-span to put on something about a republican like this, a great leader. he served his country well. aboutt see anything on the president, about his past, or what it would have been like if we would have had john edwards and the other guy -- i even forgot his name -- what it -- what would it have been like if we were attacked and those guys were in office? that would have been something. the united states would not have been safe. thank you, dick cheney. host: here is another e-mail --
long island, new york. david, democrat. caller: could you pull of an article from may 7, 2004? it is from "the new york times." air-traffic controllers, 9/11. host: tell us more about the piece. caller: it connects dick cheney to the stand down made by the -- there was a normal protocol for an interception of any airliner that was hijacked and mr. cheney had his finger on the button this morning and for some strange reason -- i think i know -- he placed a standout order of any form of interception of the aircraft. but the tapes of the air traffic controllers that morning were
destroyed. this is a heinous crime committed against the united states on 9/11 and to destroy evidence leads one to question why those videotapes were destroyed. and it was of the air traffic controllers that morning. the connection is prior to dick cheney, to the vice-president see he had been under investigation for accounting fraud involved, i believe connected to the arthur andersen scandal and what was revealed was that halliburton was in the red and his stock shares -- it was accounting fraud to prop of halliburton. it just seemed to me to be a conflict of interest to have a man who does business, as you saw what the iraq war -- they had at a vested interest because of all the profiteering. so, if you could connect those two events -- because, you know,
he needed any event, he needed something to occur that would allow the expansion of his company's business activity with the government of the united states. basically it war profiteering. the collapse of the soviet union made it difficult for these defense contractors to make money with a decreasing military need. so, you know, there is a connection to that document. but if you look at the destroyed tapes, the supervisors at the center not only destroyed them but he shredded them and he put them in separate garbage cans, but you have to pull up the article and read it and understand what i am getting at. host: contribution from david. facebook.com/cspan.
and we are also taking your comments on facebook. a couple of comments from our viewers -- if you look at the front page of "the washington times" this morning you see this picture from the washington national cathedral. an angel of limestone lies damaged. the dean of the cathedral says there is no money for repairs. they will be raising funds for repairs. if you have not heard, there was another aftershock last night, 107 a m, and reports say it was
felt in parts of va -- 1:07 a.m. as far as we can tell things are ok and our neighborhood. akron, ohio. caller: thank you for c-span. first, does -- he is emblematic of the problem of the gop. since 2000, he was elected to be george bush's right hand man to look for vice-president and i guess he looked in the mirror and said, it is made. i blame a the lame stream media for not seeing it as a red flag. as a result dick cheney became the most awful vice-president which means george bush would go down in history as the most insignificant president. never the greatest, never the worst, just the absolute most insignificant president. i would have been happy with a george bush-and john mccain take it back in 2000 with john mccain
as the president instead of being dick cheney and we could see george bush as a vice president and see he is nothing more than an empty suit, as a vp. tea party, they have two main leaders. one, of course, it is a big army and the other is dick cheney. they should call it the dick army brigade or the dick cheney cheerleaders. host: good morning. caller: i just have to say i hope of the memoirs cover his time as chief of staff under ford, because i do think he was a very respectable and very well regarded public servant at least at that time period. i have to say i have been hearing a lot of the callers, and i do think this man has
created a lot of animosity. i would just like to let people know that just judging by how the past four presidents are regarded on the opposition, it is pretty hard to run this country, and it is pretty hard for everyone to be satisfied with the job that you do. i think he was more difficult than he could have been. i think he could have been a little more accommodating to people, particularly what was going on in 2000 with their recounts. i never understood why they did not just let all of the votes being recounted. it is neither here nor there. the fact is he is just an ailing man who wants to give his side of the story, and i honestly can understand why it would be very difficult to him to feel as though history is giving him a bad rap when all he has done it is dedicated his life to service
country -- whether he is right or wrong. host: thank you for calling. another viewpoint by e-mail -- a couple of more minutes of your calls and then steve forbes in new york about economic issues. in "the new york daily news" they have a story about eric holder, the attorney general, telling the families of 9/11 victims he is probing the murdoch hack.
the anniversary, of course, coming up. we will have extended coverage from new york, from here, and elsewhere in the country. another store wanted to point out, about the u.s. pipeline that drew protests and arrests outside of the white house. canada-to-u.s. pipeline plan set to clear a hurdle. they write that -- and if the camera can slide over to the right it would help the folks out. these are some of the
protesters, activists, opposed to the pipeline, arrested tuesday at a sit in in front of the white house. it to the left is the actress margot kidder. detroit, michigan. ken, democrat. caller: thank you for c-span. i have a short statement. isn't dick cheney still considered a war criminal and he can't leave the country, as long -- along with george bush? host: last call from texas. marie on the republican line. are you there? go ahead. caller: yes, i was saying the comments are always being made that this person is the leader of the tea party and that person is the leader. every tea party group i know in texas, we all have individual people leading those groups.
we don't, under an umbrella of any particular -- come under the umbrella of any particular name. we are simply conservatives who don't like the direction of the country is going in. if we want to bring it back to our constitution -- we want to bring it back to our constitution and just get people back to work, get the country back on an even keel so that we are back to the center and not far to the right and not far to the left. host: that was marie from texas. plenty more time in this program, within two hours, to call in. we will talk about libya coming in later at 8:30 a.m. eastern time. marc ginsberg will be at the table, former ambassador to morocco and former middle east adviser to president carter.
a lot of its color and a lot of its flavor. currently they discovered over 200 chemical flavor is just in the oak and the char from the barrels. >> this weekend we highlight frankfort, kentucky, on the book tv and american history tv. throughout the weekend looked at the history and literary life of kentucky's state capital. on the book tv on c-span2 -- vice, violence, corruption, urban renewal, on the crawfish bottom. and the life of the ninth kentucky calvary soldier john porter. and on american history tv on c- 3, a visit to buffalo trace distillery, only four in operation during prohibition -- for additional -- medicinal purposes, of course. and stop by the old state capital. book tv and american history tv in kentucky this weekend on c-
span to -- c-span2 and c-span 3. >> of washington journal" continues. host: on the screen is steve forbes, president and ceo of " forbes." two-time candidate for president. the headline out washington -- deficit hole will remain gaping, according to the cbo. what do you make on the latest news on the economy? guest: well, it is obviously disappointing. i think the u.s. economy is doing better than expected in the second half. not quite as pessimistic as others. steel orders are up, rail traffic is up and durable goods orders are up -- that news came out yesterday. equivalent to an automobile, 10 miles an hour in the first half and now going about 30 or 35 miles in the second half when we should be on an open highway doing 70 or 75 miles an hour. we are moving but at a very
glacial pace given the severity of a recession. usually out of a sharp downturn we get a sharp upturn. we have not had that here. host: unemployment is going to be -- remain up according to doug elmendorf. how important are the unemployment statement and figures? guest: there will be job creation of unemployment and under-and plan it will remain severe because small businesses are not making the investments they normally would. there are a lot of headwinds in this economy that are just making people and an entrepreneur or is very cautious. you are not getting the kind of hiring. there will be job creation, but not nearly what we need to get back on our feet again economically. host: steve forbes will be with
us about 40 minutes. we are talking about the cbo numbers and the unemployment rate. it will be a busy fall in washington. here are the numbers to call for our guest in new york city. steve forbes, if you were, in fact, sitting in the white house heading into this fall and next year, what would your prescription be to improve conditions in the country? guest: well, the first thing would be the most boring subject in the world but a severe head winds, and that it is stop trashing the u.s. dollar. the federal reserve has been on a bender in terms of printing money, knocking the value of the dollar down. it hurts. it sends private capital outside of the u.s. and encourages investment in assets like gold and commodities, farmland,
instead of -- foreign lands, instead of creating jobs for the future. until we get it stabilized -- and this should not be a partisan thing -- bill clinton had a strong dollar, ronald reagan did, john kennedy did, george bush did not -- i thought it was one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency -- and this president also continuing weak dollar policy. one thing i have been pushing for a long time is radical simplification of the tax code. put in a low, flat tax. 25 countries have done it. allow people to focus their brains and attention on moving ahead instead of trying to cope with the 10-million word incomprehensible tax code. on the tax -- health side, i did we should appeal obamacare and get a more patient-friendly healthcare system. mass of regulations coming in under obamacare is going real damage to job creation. it is a real burden on the
businesses, especially smaller ones. so again, they hold back. host: mr. forbes, before we get to call the wanted to lay out the details of the house gop and some of the democrats' jobs proposals. the president will make a big speech and a lot of talks will be on jobs continuing in the fall. a compilation of the gop job creation proposals, they want 25% tops -- top tax rate for people and businesses, a congressional review of regulations, big issue. the what the trade deals with colombia, panama, and south korea. and they want to expand domestic will and gas drilling. everything they're good in your view? will it work? guest: i think all of it would be helpful, particularly, getting the tax rates down. i hope we get a mandate since 2012 to really do an overhaul of the tax code.
and i think it will happen. one of the encouraging things, paul, is last december the president's own deficit reduction commission, including democrats, bought on the idea of simplifying the tax code. they did not go as far as i would like but the fact is, there is a bipartisan support. i think we will get substantial progress on that front in 2013. host: hiring new workers, renewing tax credits for wind power, and they want fannie and freddie to be able to rent foreclosed properties, school construction and renovation. adjust some of the democratic job creation proposals. any thoughts for those ideas? >host: well, they simply will not do the job if they don't do real harm. -- guest: well, this simply will not do the job, if they don't do real harm.
with fannie and freddie, the proposals in the last few years and housing prevented the market from bottoming and moving up. housing, if the government would stand back, would come back fairly quickly. in a normal economy we need 1.5 million new houses each year because of wear and tear and growing population. so, if you allowed the market to clear, you would see not only housing move, people would get mortgages easy. even though rates are low, it is very hard to get a new mortgage. you could refinance an existing mortgage but not easy to get a new one. so letting the market clear and move, i think in two or to one half years you would see something we thought we would never see again -- a housing building boom. host: first call. beverly, republican. longview, texas. go ahead. caller: i would like to ask mr. forbes a question about job
creation. i hear a lot about why the republicans will not create more jobs, or and make it possible to employ more people. but it just doesn't unmake the sense, when we have had a republic for over 300 years, we have always had free markets. never seen such a stalemate between the republicans and democrats that they are willing to hold off -- no matter what he says, they are holding off job creation so the republicans can get in office. and i feel we should not be held hostage. of the republicans are hurting, the democrats are hurting, independents are hurting. this is america, a republic. why can't we put partisanship
aside, do the right thing and create jobs? when you get back in office, " if you get back in office, then you can show what you can do but have respect for the weather is in office because when you heard one aspect of a party you are hurting everyone. it is like we are all in this ship together. host: let's hear from steve forbes. guest: the reason you are having such intense debate in washington is precisely the words -- what is the right thing to do? there you have a very substantial differences. on health care, for example, a lot of people wanted eventually a single payer government- dominated system. others believe, as i do, we need more free enterprise and stronger safety nets. you see real differences on where we should go in and energy in terms of drilling, for acting -- fracking, and the like. on the tax code, the president wants to raise taxes on higher income people and a lot of
republicans think it hurts creation, small businesses. but when you have these differences no surprise it will be reflected on intense debate. i think the american political system is actually moving forward. you are suddenly seeing it on the state level. new york, where i am now, we have a democrat governor who actually passed through a democrat legislature -- partially democratic legislature -- a budget where spending is less than it is the year before. new york has not seen some like that in over 20 years. the governor also made possible a reduction in the top income tax rate in the state of new york. we see the same thing in my home state of new jersey. changes are beginning to happen in this country but you do have to get another electoral mandate and i think it will happen next year. so, starting in 2013, i think we will see substantial progress
removing the roadblocks that stand in the way of this economy getting at full strength again. host: michael is on the line for democrats from vermont. you are on with steve forbes. caller: good morning, steve forbes. do you hear me? host: we can hear you. we are good. caller: there is such a large emphasis on why people are hiring -- are not hiring deregulation and tax policy. i have been in business for 35 years. every single hiring decision i ever made was only made on demand for the products and the things that i sold. it had nothing really to do -- it had a very small thing to do with tax policy. if somebody wanted to buy more of what i was selling -- i would not turn down business because i it said, i don't know what healthcare or taxes would cost me. it is all demanded driven.
we will not increase in demand unless people have money. so we have to get people to work. we have so many projects in this world. i do not understand why we don't have full employment. there are so many things that need to be done. taking advantage of cheap interest rates. money is almost afraid. people are throwing money at the united states but they can't get returns anywhere. if you believe in the future of the united states take advantage. there are plenty of good jobs the world needs done. it would make the man and they would pay more taxes. host: let's hear from steve forbes. you laid a lot out there. guest: thank you, michael. in terms of regulations and tax rates and the like. a lot of the growth of the economy, the demand is created by entrepreneurs taking a risk and expanding a product line. not sure there would be demand for. people cannot predict the future
but if they want to take a risk they need to know as much as possible what it will cost to hire people, what would happen to the dollar -- if it would be cheapens, up with demand and higher rate of return. in terms of that investment is a bet on the future and of the future is uncertain you will not get as much risk money put at work as you would otherwise. that is why we have not had the kind of investment we should. in terms of private capital from business people and the like and investors, that has been for the first time in a long time the last couple of years, leaving the united states more than it is coming to the united states, bowing to other areas of the world. i think if we get our house in order in terms of reforming the tax code and getting the dollar as good as gold again, as kennedy would put it, you would see a reversal and you would see risk capital put vigorously to work. job creation would come. one thing on history, i am old enough to remember the 1970's
when we went through a terrible period of time. dollar bashing, huge trade deficits, 21% interest rates. but during that time, there were a lot of small companies incubating like apple, microsoft, oracle, fedex, and others. as soon as we got a benign environment, those companies flourished. i think this nightmare will be over fairly quickly. host: our guest is steve forbes. he isn't new york city this morning. he ran for the presidency in 1996 and in 2000. a new poll that says rick perry is on top. he has a double-digit lead.
how will he do? guest: i like what he did it in texas and some of the things he has done and not dawned on the tax side. i think he has gone some thrown at him. he is like any other candidate who goes out on the national stage. you have to get your sea leggs. it is a whole different platform or environment -- sea legs. i think he will gain strength. i'm not sure all the candidates who are running are in the race yet. we probably will not know until labor day. deadlines are coming and you don't have much time to organize in places like iowa.
it does not surprise me that rick perry is doing well. people like his two-fistedness. i am not surprised and i am looking at them closely myself. host: who else do you like and why? guest: several people i like have chosen not to run like mitch daniels of indiana. congressman paul ryan said he is not going to run. i think he has a real understanding of the fiscal situation and monetary situation we are in. jeb bush chose not to run. i said, why don't you change your name? he was emphatic that he was not going to do wiit.
we'll see if sarah palin throws her hat into the ring. chris christie. we will see how the field will shape up. host: ken is on new line. caller: yes. my name is ken. .'m kind of curious i am watching a lot of what is said on the "journal" and i have come to some of my own conclusions. i do believe it's a revenue problem with taxes more so than the deficit problem. when you outsource the kind of work that has been outsourced over the last 10 years and you couple that with pharmaceutical
companies that can develop their fields at the taxpayer expense and you have a fast profit, there is some significant problems. i kind of wonder if maybe the real problem isn't looking at the tax code and making it more of a situation where everybody has to pay their fair share. get rid of the loopholes and a lot of the things that corporates rely upon. sometimes it seems like maybe they need that to do business. i am aware of the fact that back in the early 197's when we had the oil shortage, there were the tax incentives that
were lost for shipping certain types of oil to certain types of refineries. canhaps you ca comment. guest: when we get a normal economy again, you get another $500 billion in revenue. normally washington collects 18%, 19% of gdp in federal revenues and now it is around 15%. that is an extra half a trillion dollars. in terms of oil in the 1970's come in one from $3 a barrel to $40 gets back to monetary policy. the cheapening of the u.s.
dollar. when the dollar is stable, it will prices and gold prices stay stable. we don't have destructive wildness in currencies and commodities. if we get it right on the dollar, which we should, get our tax codes simplified so that people can focus on real things, there is no reason why you shouldn't do your income tax code on a single sheet of paper, like it flat tax would do. more people like steve jobs doing their health care -- this country would turn around fairly quickly. we forget how quickly we turned around from the 1970's. i think we can do what again host.
host: richard, a republican. i am surprised you mentioned rick perry's name. guest: he shows growth over the years. caller: he has more blood on his hands by saying there was a law in texas and people were dying of a vaccine. you did not mention ron paul. he is the only one that can beat obama. i tried to make a comment on the "forbes" magazine. ron paul has my vote. host: what do you think of ron paul?
guest: he is a formidable candidate. i supported him back in 1996 when he was trying to get back into congress. he had a tough primary. i helped him now. -- i helped him out. i like him on monetary policy. on the federal reserve and monetary policy, i think he is spot on. retyping the dollar -- relinking the dollar to gold. i would very much upset ben bernanke and put ron paul in to run the fed. host: your former governor, george pataki, is said to be
possibly entering the race. guest: we will see what happens. so far he is not let any fires -- lit an fires. so far it hasn't happened. if people are looking for new candidates and looking for people like chris christie or congressman ron paul who has decided not to run, and everybody is wondering if sarah palin is going to run. she is going to replace she should and she has the staff and infrastructure that if she decides to do with, she would be a formidable overnight. in the next three or four weeks, we will get the final contestants and we will start to go down in terms of the number of candidates that will be weeded out. we just have the iowa straw
poll. the iowa caucuses are coming fairly surely next year. -- are coming fairly shortly. caller: i think any of the unemployment and the foreclosure crisis are two major concerns. the best way to jump-start the economy without spending taxpayer money and to put americans back to work is to let main street get involved. we can do this within three to six months. thedon't we give citizens option to withdraw some or all of their retirement savings tax- free if they pay all cash for a primary or secondary home? what you'll have is tax-free withdrawals for home purchases
would make up for some of the losses that everyone suffered in the stock market, put a bottom on home closures, increase consumer confidence and spending, and provide much- needed real-estate tax, provide other employment opportunities without costing the taxpayer a dime. host: what do you think? guest: the idea of withdrawing funds tax free -- we would have to put aside what that would do if from the market if hundreds of billions was drawn out and people would buy a house is. instead of focusing on specific parts of the economy, we have to do a deal with the whole patient and not just the symptoms that are hurting us right now. i get back to the importance of getting that stable dollar,
which previous presidents have understood. getting a simple flat tax code so that people can focus their brains on real things. last year we spent 7.5 billion hours filling out tax forms. this is a crazy, stupid code. we are a mobile nation. we do have a growing population. houses do suffer wear and tear, so we do need new ones. let's do the whole patient and the other segments of the economy will do very nicely. host: looking at the cbo report. there will be a new record this year in a lead editorial from
"the wall street journal." host: what do you make of the approach in france? guest: the money gets spent and they go and spend some more. when you raise tax rates, you reduce incentives. john kennedy understood reducing tax rates helps the economy. reagan understood it. bill clinton reduced the capital gains tax. he raised the income tax. it did good for the economy. rather than pick more money out of the pockets of the american people, i think we would do far better by creating conditions for economic growth were the
revenue comes from a more vibrant economy rather than taking people's pockets. a prime example. great britain has raise taxes on income and raise capital gains taxes and reduced their bit ande tax kila little their economy has stalled. other economies resisted the call for higher taxes. those countries are growing again. host: next call, pasadena, maryland, sandra. caller: i was for you back in 2000 with your flat tax. i watched you on the debates. guest: thank you. i wish there were is more of you. caller: you know how they
collect social security and there is a limited -- they quit collecting after a certain point, 6%, 7%. the united states, if they collected all of the incomes -- if you made $1 million -- there are less people working and more people going to be supported. i do not know if that would be fair or not. how do you feel when warren buffett says i would like to pay more taxes. i wish there was a report that would ask him, why don't you? ask the question, why don't you pay more taxes on your own to the treasury? that is my question. thank you. guest: thank you. in terms of mr. warren buffett,
there is a program with the treasury department that is the u.s.fts to if he wants to give several billion, he is free to do so. in terms of the social security. if you remove that limit, you're raising the top income tax rate from 35% to two about 50%. that would be a huge drain on the economy. very destructive of capital creation. there are so positive things that can be done in social security, particularly for younger people by allowing their payroll taxes or part of them to go to their own personal accounts. that way the money belongs to
them, not to washington politicians. if you don't put a penny in the stock markets, over time, you will get far more benefits than you can possibly get from the current social security system. and you control it. if you die prematurely, the money goes to your heirs or to a charity. it will be good for the economy because the money is being put to work. the so-called social security trust funds have on paper $2.6 trillion. there is not a penny in that trust fund. and so it is empty. you do that on the private
sector and would rightly go into the slammer. during these debt ceiling negotiations, they were talking about -- the president saying we have to cut social security payments. there should have been plenty of money to pay social security payments if we had a crisis for the next three or four years. reforms have had to be done on social security and that does not mean reducing benefits to those on the system today. it does not mean throwing granma off a cliff -- grandma off a cliff. host: we know so much of the talk has to do with regulations from the gop side. streamlining the federal bureaucracy to eliminate
requirements across two doesn't agencies. "new reforms will save americans billions." what do you think? guest: you take what you can when washington does something like that. regulations cost this economy about $1.7 trillion a year. there are mass of regulations already coming. on the dodd-frank bill, there are thousands of pages of regulations in the pipeline on that. same thing on the health care bill. they make a few reforms on
regulations. there are about 50 or 100 coming our way. nice to have it, but did not break out the champagne. host: you mentioned dodd-frank. what else might say about the dodd-frank legislation? guest: the only good part is the special government protection or help for rating agencies like s&p. the bill removes them but the regulators have not enacted that. so you still have this cartel- like legal system and you have special privileges for moody's or s&p. get rid of that. no government sanctions. in terms of the rest of the bill, much of it is regulations
that don't deal with the real crisis. they ignore fannie and freddie, which contributed to the housing disaster. they make some suggestions on more capital. that could have been done anyway. too big to failh by identifying institutions that pose "systemic risks." if you get in trouble, but one way or another, the government will help you well. they can borrow more cheaply than banks can. we have to get rid of the too big to fail doctrine. the best thing to do is tighten capital requirements. that is being done someone. we can do more. that plus a stable dollar will avoid a huge amount of problems
in the future. host: back to your calls. caller: first of all, if you look at the economy, you have 1% of the population controlling 85% of the wealth. the rich have a gambling problem. they get on wall street and want to roll the dice. the stimulus package revives some of these banks and big institutions. it is the one% that is holding all the wealth. they put one chip out. banks cannot do that if they didn't get money from that 1%. as far as obamacare, this nation needs to move toward a service- monitoring service.
a service nation. host: from georgia to ohio. a republican from cleveland. caller: i don't understand what happened to the gentleman from georgia. he had it right on. the republicans have a problem. i was listening this morning and you ignored the caller from vermont when he was mentioning about the revenue situation. if people are not working and there is no demand for product, how can you say there is not a revenue problem? host: steve forbes. guest: when you have a normal economy, that means more people are working and revenue goes up. have you creek environment where investments go up -- how you
create an environment where investments go up? we have 60 minutes in an hour. imagine if that changed. a stable dollar. this president does not understand it. simplify the tax code. in terms of health care, instead of creating massive bureaucracy, allow money to be controlled by patients and to have a safety net instead of the convoluted system we have today. those things -- stable dollar, simplify tax code with low rates, health care with entrepreneurship -- you would
seek massive job creation. we did in the 1970's and in the 1990's. that will create real revenues. host: 80 want some clarification on the housing market -- eight viewer wants some clarification on the housing market. what do you think that would do to the housing market? guest: if you did not have fannie and freddie the strong the markets, you would have had we had for years. we had a market where you made a down payment of 10you% to 20%, you had a 20-, or 30-year market. people were urged into making
they couldes that not afford. we had a disaster on our hands. every time the government intervenes in the market, it prevents people from getting out of houses they cannot afford. it prevents people from getting mortgages. rates are very low today. but try getting a new mortgage. applications for new mortgages are not going up. clear these barriers and people will start to buy houses again. they will be able to get mortgages. prices are low. we will need more house building because we still have a growing population. host: rochester, new york. hi, bud. caller: mr. forbes, i have been a fan of yours since i first saw you're running for president.
guest: thank you. caller: my issue is, what is your opinion about the tax not on income but on consumption with a floor and a cost of living? guest: the fair tax is a national sales tax. the sensible rate is 23%. it is actually 30%. it would replace the income tax with the payroll tax. eight salesave f tax instead. you have to be sure you amend the constitution and rid of the 16th amendment to the constitution, which allows washington to impose an income tax. if you don't do that, you'll end up with most states and
countries have and that is an income tax and a sales tax. that is why europe is so heavily the unitedsurvevis-a-vis states. you have the challenge of enforcement. it is one thing to put a 30% tax on a product, but another to put it on a service. a kid comes and cuts your lawn. are people going to pay a tax on that? i don't think so. there are a lot of challenges. i think is faster and easier to go to a flat tax because politically as soon as you say 30% sales tax, you can argue about embedded taxes, people just hear the "30%."
it takes a lot of work to get people to understand it. i think it's easier to go to a flat tax. host: there is an editorial about a speech in jackson hole bernanke tomorrow. what are you looking for in this speech tomorrow? guest: i am looking for a minimal damage. it did the economy more harm than good. there's plenty of liquidity in the financial system. we have to remove the barriers that stand in the way when this money is put to work.
i hope he does not hint at a qe3 or some other scheme that hurts the dollar. you would see the dow jones coopt 2000 points, but i'm afraid he will go in the opposite direction. that's why the column paul helicopter ben. i hope helicopter ben does not give us another helicopter run. host: one last call from maryland. caller: when you talked about putting ron paul in charge of the federal reserve, i have a question. why does the united states government continue to borrow money from the federal reserve instead of printing its own
money? abraham lincoln did that. why do we have to continue to pay interest to the federal reserve? host: mr. forbes. guest: the federal reserve was greeted by congress. the government has mints, the way money is created is the federal reserve calls a dealer like goldman sachs and says, we want to buy $1 million in bonds from you and goldman sends over the bonds and the federal reserve credits the checking account of goldman sachs for $1 million. that $1 million is created out of thin air. when the fed says money is there, the money is good. if they said they were crediting your account, you would have $1,000 that you could go out and spend.
that is how the system has evolved. this is a whole different than we did in the civil war, but the fact is the same. it is one thing to do money- printing when you're fighting a war. it leads to a lot of destructive things that we are coping with today including high unemployment. host: the website is forbes.com. they are reporting on the steve jobs story. our guest from new york has been steve forbes, president and ceo of "forbes." thank you for your time. later in the program will conclude our series on medicare this week. the topic today will be reducing medicare costs. a lot of different ideas will be
out there. brian biles from george washington university will give us lots of facts. we'll talk about libya after this break with marc ginsberg. >> an update on libya. nato is helping to track down muammar gaddafi using intelligence and reconnaissance. libyans are offering a bounty for the libyan leader, to million dollars, an amnesty for anyone who captures him. the u.s. development expert has been recovered who has been kidnapped two which ago. other stories found him during an early-morning operation today. investigators tracked him down after getting leads from the three arrested suspects and by tracking mobile phone calls.
the east coast is getting ready for hurricane irene. it to travel up the coast. the navy has ordered the second fleet in virginia to out to sea. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> what caused the demise of great american newspapers? takes you behind the scenes in "the deal from hell," one of the books will be highlighting this weekend. more is not always better. while budget talks with a georgetown professor on the moderation in the culture and the need to want more. other interviews from our trip
to frankfort, ky. join us for a conversation with ellis cose on racism. get the complete we can schedule at booktv.org. what's more video of the candidates. track the latest campaign contributions with c-span's website for campaign 2012. candidate bios and the latest polling data. all at c-span.org/campaign2012. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we will join a correspondent with "the
phone.ial times" from fal the residents are worried about supply of food and other essentials and the capacity of the rebels to govern and the ability of the kernel to strike back one last time. tell us more about what is happening in tripoli today. guest: this morning, it's a mixed picture in that some districts -- no sign of any trouble, but still reports of fighting in a zone southeast of downtown, where the colonel supporters still are and where there's a battle going on. the feeling of the last couple
days of security has been improving and that has continued. host: what is the recent speculation about where the former libyan leader gaddafi is right now? guest: it is incredible how credible reports there have been. you have the british government admitting they don't have any idea on the ground where -- the journalists -- he has gone underground somewhere. it is possible he has left the country and there have been strange reports that the rebels have captured his second son and he obviously was not captured at all. the main members of this family including his sons are all
still with the rebels. host: as we watch and hear how this is going to play out, what are you looking for today, tomorrow and in the immediate term? guest: the key thing for those who live in the city is to try and establish logistic security, which seems to be improving gradually, and also to try and get a sense of a social order returning, which is ranging from things like garbage collection to stocking stores. there is a lot of neighborhood organization, people setting up malicious and also setting up structures on the civil side, a police officer who volunteered
to take control of the police station, which will not reopen officially on saturday. the supply routes to the capital have been cut because of the fighting. some goods are short. it is not an emergency yet. i think people would like to see that turned around. shops are shuddering. it is the month of ramadan. people are anxious. we were just at a grocery store. the there were out of water. people were standing around at the time. people are eager to get the hands on what they can. host: a couple of quick questions. if muammar gaddafi is found, is the right perception in tripoli and elsewhere of what to do with him?
guest: the rebels have said officially that they respect human rights. anyone who is associated with the regime, the leader himself -- they put this bounty on his head and a lot of people have suffered greatly under his rule and understandably want if not revenge then a full accountability. i think the answer is not clear. the second question is moot. there is no sign that is about to happen. host: michael peel by phone from tripoli. thank you. curious at the table with more about libya it is marc ginsberg.
he was an adviser to president carter. mr. anything you heard there that stuck with you? guest: the most important issue is the safety and security of the capital. how long these people from the gadhafi's regime are going to keep fighting? like at the hotel were all the journalists were being held. they had not received the memo that gaddafi more lust had disappeared and there were massive surrenders of forces and the compound was under attack. there is misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. host: we will put the phone numbers on the bottom of the screen. separate lines for republicans, democrats, and independents. there is a cartoon, a shot from
the duties alone -- from a beauty salon. "he is bound to turn up somewhere." how important is the fact that they find him or he materializes very soon to where things will go from here? guest: i think it is crucial he be found, apprehended, and brought to justice. gaddafi represents a segment of libyan societies tribal leadership that more laws has been sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how this all plays out. there were hedging their bets between those rebel leaders and nghazi.uzy -- been gau gaddafi -- in some respects, as
long as he is at large and able to characterize the people who are opposing him as radical al qaeda members, extremist, there is going to be a certain element of libyan society that is not going to be supporting this national council. host: rumors running rampant. they talk about these wild rumors. he is in the tunnels. . host: the rebels have put a 1.3 million dollar offer on his
head. guest: when i was in libya, i had some days if years ago and it was quite clear that gaddafi was not someone who left a lot to chance. he knew this day could potentially come. the idea of this maze of tunnels under tripoli -- the rebel leadership is trying to find out a potential escape route. maybe a country would take command and allow one to carry on his flight. he has billions of dollars under his control to keep this fight up. host: first call for mark ginsberg. welcome to the program. caller: being consumed about finding this man may be
important. i would not get overly consumed with it unless he is causing a great deal of trouble. what about the water, electricity? what is the state of their systems? fighting him will be important. they will find him someday. i just wonder what your comments maybe. guest: the national council, this structure is still in benghazi. along the route between saif al- and triploi is where most of the fighting has been going on. so you are correct. infrastructure and the precious
oil resources and refiners have not been brought up online. there is no evidence yet that water supplies are in short supply. electricity has been cut in tripoli. any revolution is going to be an extraordinarily dangerous and messy affair, particularly this one. how the tnc is able to prove to the people that they can do the minimal amount of services -- food, water, medicine. an organization issued a plea for help because there are the wounded that are trying to make their way to hospitals as a result of the fighting, but think of the ordinary medical emergencies that occur in the cities where these people are unable to get to hospitals and are facing medical emergencies.
host: you mentioned the transitional council. this picture is in several papers today. it is a rebel fighter relaxing on a mermaid sofa in the likeness of gaddafi's daughter. who are these folks? who are these rebels? guest: it is one of the most important questions and has a murky answers. look at the structure of this council. at the top 60 former justice minister of libya, a respected jurist. he said he should be going on trial. he should be tried for having been a member of the gaddafi regime. beneath the council leadership
there is a 1 130 members -- about 130 members, some are longtime opponents of the regime that are more islamist in their orientation. some of them are certain tribal leaders who are willing to jointh the tnc. some joined the benghazi uprising. the key here is not so much who is part of this tnc, which has spent a great deal of time to get to this day, but have a maketake the tnc and it more inclusive. the western leaders are opposed to what happened in benghazi
because they did not get enough assistance. caller: my name is marie. this is the first time i've been a able to-- hello? host: go ahead. caller: i think this is out of line. i think that is so heartbreaking to see the united states constantly innovating other people's countries to get their resources and holding up their presidents. america and europe are actually the real monsters because libya has no way of defending itself against you. the united states, england, and france. itors.are nothing but trader
you are willing to pay them who knows how much money? host: she thinks this is a u.s. invasion. u.s. your perspective -- give us your perspective. guest: after gaddafi surrendered its nuclear stockpile, other countries made their way to tripoli and we are reestablished relations. gaddafi was on the rehabilitation list until the former lockerbie bomber was repatriated from scullin under the pretext that he had prostate cancer that was terminal. he showed up with gaddafi a few weeks ago in tripoli. that soured a great deal of the attitude. i think the key question is why
did we feel it was so important to get rid of him as compared to getting ourselves in a vault in places where we have far more strategic interest? libya was a strategic distraction for the united states. the president decided to permit -- not permit but encourage britain, france, and turkey to play the more overt role. france largely did most of the fighting with its airforce. most of the support and finance was provided by two arab states, not by the united states. it was qatar and the united arab emirates that provided training on the ground. i think the united states like to claim that its patience has paid off. the struggle in syria is far more important stretch easily --
strategically for the united states. host: massachusetts. go ahead, sir. caller: i have a comment and question. i was born in morocco and i remember the day where gaddafi created a lot of problems for the kingdom of morocco. he was making a lot of money for morocco. my question to the ambassador is come why do we hear about morocco providing help and assistance to the rebellion --to help him to establish the government. morocco is considered a resource.
i think it can help in this crucial time in what gaddafi did in the past for morocco. guest: ironically morocco and libya entered into a union in the late 1980's. there was a union. it completely antagonize the united states. i was a short-light yen between morocco and libya. morocco has seen a real renaissance in its own air spring. the king of morocco is shown enormous leadership as compared to his compatriots in the rest of the arab world. it is a much poorer country and libya is a rich country. it is the example that the king of morocco is establishing with his own people in producing a new constitutional reform mechanism that is going to
involve power more to the people, more so than any other arab leader. i am far more impressed with what marco can do to help the government sustained a mechanism and reform that would be far more of a benefit to the libyan people than just financial assistance. host: pat is on the line from philadelphia. caller: i would like for you to please explain the conditions of the libyan people. they did have a pretty good standard of living considering other standards of living. in africa, they had access to a car and a house. host: we have some figures we can put on the screen.
the figures we have here -- host: i want to get your perspective on the unemployment rate. guest: that last figure is the most important. libya per-capita it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. 6 million people sitting on oil revenues that technically provide libya about $42 billion a year in oil revenues. gaddafi absconded with about half of that to use for its own personal pursuits. think about whether that can be -- is a much more conservative religious site the most people realize. people were largely lower middle
class. they had enough food. there was poverty but it wasn't so overt sec in egypt. there was more education. gaddafi had begun spending much more money on infrastructure in the country. the question is, how do you make sure that the public benefits from all that oil wealth? if to give the libyan people an opportunity to use money for their own benefits instead of the the benefit of the gaddafi family, you'll see a huge rise in the living standard. host: what could happen? guest: qatar or kuwait is a good example of what could happen. there's different types of oil.
they have the cadillac crude. that libyan oil has more gasoline in it than almost any other arab oil that is produced. it is a well desired crude that most western countries want to buy. host: do libyans produce anything else besides oil? guest: no. caller: does he believe that there will be a domino effect in terms of leaders from different countries? human-rights violations is almost rampant in a lot of that region. how will we justify going into one and not the other? does this also mark a shift in our thinking that began under the bush administration that is
preemptive warp or preemptive conflict going into countries even though they are not attacked us -- pre-emptive war. we'll go when because of our interest. i'm not seeing this. host: thank you. guest: those are great questions. this preemptive involvement with the united states helped orchestrate begetting u.n. security council 1973 through the security council that authorized the use of military force to protect civilians. that has been used before in bosnia, where there was some sort of u.n. approval for this type of intervention. other than libya, nato -- not
all the other members of nato. this is a very interesting dilemma. in the arab world, many arabs are asking why did natal come to the rescue of the libyan -- why did nato come to the rescue and we in syria are being shut out by syrian forces and 2000 civilians had already been killed. one of the biggest accusations that occur in my travel is there is a level of hypocrisy about our roles in our respective roles in each of these uprisings. why were so late to the table when it came to doing more against syria? why did we support mubarak to the very end?
we had -- we knew where he was and had diplomatic relations with gaddafi? these are the questions on the ground that are being asked. it is quite disappointing to see how few of the arab states and the people who are revolting feel the united states get any credit for anything that has taken place. host: marc ginsberg is currently senior vice president of apco worldwide. guest: a global strategic communications and marketing company that provides what we call high-level adviser multinational corporations, providing assistance in helping them develop markets around the world and giving advice on social media and how to basically do cross-cultural market development all around the world. we have offices in about 30
countries, about 500 employees based here in washington. host: craig on the democrats' line from tampa, florida. caller: sir, i was a veteran in the late 1970's, early 1980's, sitting in the united states army special forces. we were put on the ready on several occasions about going in and getting this man because of this tragic actions and disregard for its human life. -- his tyrannci actions in this regard for him in life. i believe it was after i got out of the army in 1981 that we fired cruise missiles and killed some of his family members. united states of follow up and get this man before we got to this point? guest: good question. by the way, thank you for your service to this country. the history of gaddafi's terrorism, the book that has been written and needs to be written again -- all the
terrorist plots he engaged in, hiring, contracting -- remember carlos the jackal? does that ring a bell? he hired carlos the jackal to kill arab monarchs. there was an assassination plot orchestrated by gaddafi against the king of saudi arabia. there was the plot where he wound up being responsible for bombing an american disco in berlin that resulted in president reagan bombing at gaddafi's compound and killing his daughter, as you alluded to. plotzed running rampant across the world where terrorism was the order of the day by a man, largely deranged and determined to use his money to foment revolution, until he had an epiphany and decided that he wanted to become a, shall we say, were formed a statement. he turned over his nuclear weapons lushly because prime minister tony blair was deeply
involved in that initiative. also, see, i think, decided he wanted to open his country board to the west. western governments and western countries poured into libya. host: new jersey, pat, republican. caller: the relationship -- the nature of the relationship between arabs -- do you see a break happening similar to what happened in sudan? guest: the tribes significant population components in each of these countries. also in libya, there is a significant berber population bit in the west of libya, on the
border between two and asia and and libya, youa will find most of these berbers. the berbers, much like the kurds, have wanted to have a country of their own. much of the strife in algeria is because of the tension between the berbers and islamist rulers. you find that the underlying the crosscurrents of demographic and sociological differences in each of these countries is based on these tribal and linguistic differences. host: florida. paul on the line for democrats. caller: thank you, good morning.
salam alaikum. it seems to me that libya is part of all hold citistat area. -- hold middle east area. it does not seem to be much of a population that is a further in the 20th century. we try to have some diplomacy related to where we might be, and at the same time, there are so many factions, so many tribes still fighting for whatever dominance or regional security or strikes -- or strength guest what we reall want is to bring these people together. we want to have some uniformity. guest: the united states is enormously important strategic interest in the region.
-- as it enormously important strategic interests in the region. the vast majority of arabs in these countries is under the age of 25. many of these young people have access to technology information they never had before, everything from social media to realizing that globalization has passed to the arab world by. i have always said that arab states should be looking to compete with each other, but they want to become the next south korea or the next chile or malaysia. how were they robbed of their entrepreneurial spirits so they could take responsibility for their own lives? what the united states is trying to do is the right thing. until we basically have rid ourselves of our interests in the region, which i don't see happening, the united states has a good model to offer these people, a trade reform, economic development, entrepreneurial
spirit, that would give these people hope. they could have got to al qaeda and embraced extremism. what we are witnessing is something different, a secular uprising for economic opportunity. the united states the after bank roll this, but we can be inspirational in it. -- the united states does not have to bankroll this, but we can be inspirational in this. host: headline in "usa today." "the washington times" headline .ues as as our guest talked about social media and other electronic aspects, there are pieces about the methods of the rebels'. the "washington post" talks about a detailed plan for transition. "a small team carried smartphones under the weapons. under a well rehearsed plan,
they blasted it arabic text messages that appear on tens of thousands of cell phones throughout the city. 'don't destroy public buildings,' one read." in "the new york times," is small picture, a compact drone. "of libyan rebels reportedly used tiny canadian surveillance drones to do their work." any thoughts? guest: absolutely. nato, the united states, canada have provided a credible import it reconnaissance -- important reconnaissance and intelligence information to the rebels. they are a ragtag army, but without the support they receive from nato, they would not have received this -- they would not have achieved this goal.
he gave up his nuclear stockpile but he still has stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical weapons. i know from our intelligence sources that we have a drones over the sites to make sure they don't disappear. that is the number-one concern of the united states, whether or not gaddafi or someone working for gaddafi seizes these and tries to sell them to people such as al qaeda. al qaeda operates in north africa. host: 1 other headline reminds us of iraq a little bit. "challenge -- expelling the fear that gaddafi instill in them a." guest: i spent time talking to libyans over the years, from my perch in morocco, visit there, meeting olympians. most americans don't realize that it was a dictatorship of fear. there were doubts that for civil society, no -- were no outlets
civil society -- for society. they now gaddafi the dictator, but they have no idea the human- rights violations. thousands of libyans disappeared into his jail cells never to be returned. anyone who said one iota against the regime and not only were apprehended and jailed, but their families were punished. this is the m.o. of most arab autocrats. host: "baltimore sun" focuses on a big story that is out there today. a journalist, matthew van dyke. "he went missing more than five months ago, reappeared yesterday. he called his family. 32 years old.
working on a book about the region." derek, independent. thanks for waiting. caller: good morning. i'm calling in regards to a statement mr. ginsberg made earlier about going to the united nations to get resolutions passed to innovate and libya. it seems that every time this situation -- situations like this,, you go to the u.s., which is the right thing to do what got the same policies apply to israel? -- why don't the same policies apply to israel? guest: insofar as the united states and other countries receive authorization to go into libya moderate u.n. security council resolution at 1973, which authorized merely that the use of force to protect civilians -- mission creek transformed it from a resolution -- mission creep transformed
from a resolution at in trying to civilian production to one at a targeted by nato as supporting regime change. -- one interpreted in u.s.- supported regime change. i am not sure i see the correlation. the united nations and the security council, past many resolutions on the israeli and palestinian crisis. there will be a major diplomatic competition -- confrontation in the un in december. palestinians are seeking a resolution recognizing the palestinian state. these political battles played out on world stages in the arab- israeli conflict consistently. the united nations has been a forum for many of these resolutions. host: little rock, just a, republican -- justin, republican. caller: i have a statement that
a question. as i heard mr. ginsberg state earlier, the oil is one reason i and many americans feel we are in libya. risa, gaddafi wanted to change the way is oil would be purchased, from using the united states dollar and going to the gold standard. that we find ourselves in evading his place, because -- then we find ourselves in evading his place, because as everyone knows who can do math, if america would be forced to buy oil in libya in gold, we would naturally go broke. another statement -- in syria, they are out there having a genocide, basically, against the african people living there. gaza, the israeli people have always, for a number of years now, slain callous civilians and innocence -- countless civilians and innocents.
guest: first of all, on the oil question, there is a lot of conjecture out there but i will give you the facts. the united states is not directly import any oil from libya. the seven countries, germany, france, great britain. -- several countries, germany, france, great britain. we do not import directly. point 2, with respect to syria, look, i believe the syrian people surely deserve more international support. should the united states be directly involved militarily in syria? absolutely not. by the way, other than providing logistical support on the ground, civilian advisers, perhaps some of drone support to nato, to say the united states
invaded libya is a gross overstatement. i'll think anyone would agree that it constituted an invasion of libya -- i don't think anyone would agree it constituted an invasion of libya. it was a france, great britain, the two arab states, qatar and united arab emirates. finally, with respect to gaza, hamas is a terrorist organization brought in as lot rockets into israel, killing civilians. -- it has lobbed rockets into israel, killing civilians. this has inflicted and caught innocent civilians in the crossfire on both sides. honestly, all of us want to see the civilian casualties come to an end. host: marc ginsberg has been our guest. he is a former ambassador to morocco. thank you for your time and your
insight. guest: thank you, thank you for having me. host: we will take a short break and come back to conclude our series on medicare. to date, it will be ideas on how to reduce medicare costs. our guest will be brian biles of george washington university. first, more news from c-span radio. >> jobless numbers show the number of people applying for benefits rose last week by 5000 to a seasonally adjusted for hard goods 79,000, the highest level in five weeks. -- 417,000, the highest level in five weeks. on housing, realty track as foreclosures made up about 1/3 of all home sales this spring, less than the previous quarter but still six times the percentage of a foreclosure sales in a healthy housing market. nevada led all the states, accounting for 65% of all home sales. the census bureau finds that
people are waiting longer before marion for the first time -- before marrying for the first time. many states have higher divorce rates. more from the census bureau data today on c-span radio one at the bureau's director speaks at the national press club. those are the latest headlines on c-span radio. formerers are -- editoro to beribune" james o'shea takes a behind the scenes of newsrooms. on "after words," robert bishop talks to deborah tannen on the lack of moderation in american culture.
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to have it emailed to you. >> "washington journal" continues. host: today we finish our four- part series on medicare. monday we focused on an overview and history of the medicare program. we moved on to discuss medicare advantage. prescription drugs we talked about yesterday. today, the fiscal challenges of medicare. at the table to tell us all we need to know is brian biles, a medical doctor and health policy professor at george washington university here in the district. he is also a former democratic staffer on the house ways and means committee in the late 1980's and early 1990's. first question, what is the state of medicare's finances? how is the program doing right now? guest: well, the overall problem is health care costs in the nation as a whole.
like health insurance and the rest of the system, medicare costs continue to increase more rapidly than the the economy as all. on the other hand, compared to private health insurance, medicare costs are growing less rapidly than private health insurance. host: what makes the cost of medicare grow? give us examples. guest: what happens in health care is you have three elements -- price, quantity and intensity of care. intensity is new services from a biomedical research. the majority of the increase in medicare and health care costs generally are the increase not so much in price but volume and quality of care every year, particularly the continue introduction of new high-tech services. host: i want to get the phone numbers on the bottom of rescue for our guest -- bottom of our screen for our guest, brian biles of george washington
university. again, our guest is a former democratic staffer of ways and means, which gets us to congress, of course, talking about ways to reduce costs like everyone else. what are the most significant ideas out there to reduce the costs of medicare, and our they at practical ones? guest: 90-plus per cent of medicare costs are payments to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes. both at this time and historically, the focus has been really to reduce the rate of increase in payments to providers. that is the first area. there is a particular area that, with any benefit, you mentioned
talking about a restriction -- with the new benefit, you mentioned talking about prescription drugs, that was talked about in 2003 and implemented in 2006. there are studies that indicate that the u.s. pays more in medicare and generally for prescription drugs than other nations. a third area is to increase beneficiaries' cost sharing for monthly premiums, basically to shift the cost of the elderly and disabled. fourth area is to raise the medicare eligibility from 65 to perhaps 67, tracking changes in social security. area would be to transfer medicaid generally from a defined benefit into a defined contribution, medicare and manage or private land. host: before we get to calls, to the first point, payments to
hospitals and doctors. explain for us how that structure works right now. guest: again, medicare was first enacted in 1965 and implemented in 1966. at that point, it's simply attract the way to cross and blue shield pay, with the payments were set by hospitals and individuals, groups of physicians. medicare change to a prospective -- set payment to hospitals beginning in 1983, to physicians in 1989. those rates are set in advance with a fixed rate of increase with medicare. host: the doc fix we deal with the seemingly every year in washington. guest: 1 medicare payments -- when medicare payments were switched from retrospective, a local physician-determined, to a
national basis, the system included not only price but adjusted for increases in volume and intensity. what has happened since the late 1990's through the 2000's is charges to medicare, particularly for volume and new services, has increased more rapidly than the formula allows. the update in the price has been at negative. as much as 4-5% a year. that has not been acceptable. year after year, the price has generally been brought back to a freeze or very small increase. as a result of that, the deficit in that calculation is now something on the order of $300 billion over two years. host: as we go to calls for our guest, figures from the 2011 medicare trustees' report, they
at speak about hospital insurance. in their view, it is insolvent by the year 2024. they say that doctor visits and drug coverage are adequately funded. this is on the medicare trustees' report. medicare is a percentage of the total economy. how significant would that figure be? guest: well, those are big numbers. u at two factors there. the rest of the health-care system, again, whether it is blue cross or united employer, is increasing more rapidly than medicare. secondly, we have the aging of the baby boomers starting this year. the number of individuals in medicare will double over the next 20 years. host: maryland, first call for
dr. brian biles of and george washington university. josh, good morning. caller: my suggestion about cutting costs of health care is, as far as testing goes, today you don't have general practitioners any more. when you have a problem, you go get a bunch of tests and they cost a lot of money, and that tells you which specialist to go to. people always complain about the cost of the machines. why doesn't the government create a new thing, like the social security administration, one of those offices to your locality maybe they could create testing centers where people get free tests, kasten said ekg's at and stuff, and it is paid for by the government and you get one or two or three wines a year, with your credit score, unite -- a year,wo or 3 ones
with your credit score, you know what i mean? guest: he's right, we don't have any primary care physicians, so we have a lot of specialists --. we don't have many primary care physicians, so we have a lot of specialists. physicians are on the private sector side. at least at this point, with the exception of a list of a small number of public -- relatively small number of public, locally owned hospitals, is generally the private sector. host: rob, republican. caller: hello. good morning to dr. biles. i am 76 years old, i am a medicare recipient, so was my wife -- so is my wife. we look at these benefit statements we get all the time. many times i think they are
overcharging, these physicians are overcharging. what really i thought was a little bit strange, and this has happened several times, is my wife and i both get medicare checks for 10 cents. how much does that cost medicare to process these checks and mail them for 10 cents? don't they have some kind of system where they could transfer that into our medicare account? host: dr. biles, to the point of overcharging as he sees it. guest: what you see an explanation of benefits are bill charges and for 20 years medicare has not paid for bill charges brought they paid an all-inclusive for a dialysis group payment. while those statements, as you
say, are complicated and expensive, that is not how medicare pays the hospital. host: exactly how is medicare funded? guest: the hospital side is support from the payroll tax. this is essentially 1.5% on both the employee and employer side. that 3%. one of the points about medicare is that the social security part of the so-called fica taxes is limited to roughly $100,000. the medicare side of that is unlimited. if we think a professional athlete making $20 million in that year that individual would pay $1.5 million in medicare taxes between the individual and employers' side. host: more medicare spending by the numbers. these are figures from kaiser, 2010, regarding medicare
spending. hospitalization, $185 billion. doctor visits, $150 billion. medicare advantage, 116 billion. prescription drugs, a $58 billion. perhaps that cannot be sustained, but the ideas of cuts out there might come from congress. if the deficit reduction committee being put together cannot come up with an agreement, there will be across- the-board cuts, by law now. how will that affect medicare? guest: the cuts, the so-called sequester, the fallback, however you want to refer to it, is 2%. if there is no agreement, payments to providers beginning in 2013 and going forward would be reduced by two percentage points.
now, the point is that we have been through reductions in medicare costs and medicare payments it really all the way back to the early 1980's, and particularly the reductions in medicare payments in health care reform bill, the affordable care act, average something on the order between 9 and 10 percentage points. while the 2% is significant, it certainly is not as substantial as we have seen reductions in previous years, including just last year in the health care reform bill. host: joseph, an independent. caller: good morning. i do believe the gentleman who previously called -- supply is a huge cost. medical supplies. as far as the overall cost of providing care. my brother was oxygen for the
first few years of life and at the machine was never removed until the pulled enologist was big enough to sign off on that. -- brave enough to sign off on it. that machine wound up being $28,000 by the time it left the home. what would you folks tried to do to be different and change that? guest: again, it gets back to the congress has addressed these issues for many years and there were changes in the bill last year and previous bills. this so-called durable medical equipment. the issue you just mentioned -- as i understood, we have had many gio studies, and both on the payment side and beyond that, there is frank libbin is some element of a fraud and abuse -- there has frankly been some element of fraud and abuse being addressed.
again, that is a well recognized problem. the caller is correct. host: linda from tennessee on the line for democrats. caller: i am sorry to bring up fraud and abuse again, because i understand you are trying to get people to understand the tidal wave of demographic reality that is flooding the system. but you are talking to individuals on the phone who have individual problems, and we all want to help, and what we see are the individual things that happen to us. again, we have a problem with what we think is fraud from a physical therapist. the point i wish to make is how difficult it is for the individual to do anything about it, because the system is not set up to facilitate it. service providers are not required to send copies of bills to their patients, by default. instead -- i just got off the
medicare line and found this out -- you said eight or to request for an itemized bill and they have 30 days to reply -- you send an itemized request f -- he sent a written request for an atomize bill and they have 30 days to reply. there is no separate item in the medicare line for fraud. medicaid appears to be a completely separate track. you have to call a separate number to complain about things. an individual trying to catch these little ways in which the system is being bled to death by a thousand small pricks, nothing is set up to make it easier to do that for . guest: i think you are right about fraud and abuse, and one of the things that the obama administration did two years ago, they created a new position
in the administrative unit that manages medicare, the scecenters for medicare and medicaid services, and the deputy administrator position. he is a physician and a lawyer, and he is working brought the on the systems basis -- broadly on the system spaces. also with fbi teams in major metropolitan areas, to address this issue. i think the issue the caller raises is an important one, and it is being addressed. specific details are ones that, again, the people in cms are working and the question is how to do it most efficiently. host: is it too early to tell how the recent effort is working? other cost savings attached to that? -- are there cost savings attach
to that? guest: one of the things with computer systems is they are able to screen for claims before they are paid nationwide. if not been able to do that. they have been paid in phoenix and in new york and miami. now they are beginning to be in a national system so they can find a double billing and fraudulent claims. host: mike, republican for dr. brian biles. caller: hey, i'm not a republican. i'm just an independent conservative. that was just like i got in on. i am a recent graduate from college. the college, graduate from has a close relationship -- the college i graduated from has a close relationship with the fact book, the most correct, i guess you would call it, demographic research website. the population of the united states under 30 is the only about 20-25% of the population,
while 55 and older is 60%-plus. now, with those numbers, how are we going to pay for this? as the baby boomers retire and go to medicare, there is all it 25-20% of the population, working population, actually paying into it. on top of that, the population under 30 is the highest unemployed at this time right now, 20-25% as well. i am just wondering, how are we going to pay for all this stuff if the economy does not turn out? it is going to be the youth that will be paying taxes and for this new health-care program. thank you very much. host: to our guest. guest: the point is generally the new health-care reform program, broadly, and medicare. i think a question about medicare is the total level of cost and what we know is c- again, medicare costs have
not been increasing as rapidly as private health insurance costs. nevertheless, again, they are increasing more rapidly than the economy as a whole, and with the doubling of the population, there will be higher costs in the future. the two sides of the equation are to try to reduce payments without jeopardize in access to care. i think the point is new revenues, and of course, we can look at the payroll tax, if necessary. it has actually been increased for medicare since 1983 --. it has not actually been increase for medicare since 1983. host: we have about 20 minutes left with our guests. we're talking about medicare finances and potentially reducing costs. dr. brian biles is our guest. he is from gw university, a
professor over there. we talked a bit about the deficit reduction committee. what happens if they can agree? what are you expecting from them? guest: i would think there are a couple of points as background. one is, of course, again, that the elderly are basically low- income. 50% of the elderly are less than 200% of -- less than 2 percent of poverty, coupled with 29,000. the current health care costs for the elderly are quite high. out of pocket costs average for a couple a hundred thousand dollars a year, medigap as much as $5,000. if you compare that with income of $29,000, it is substantial. at the same time, we have been through 10, 20, 30 years of reduction in payments.
medicare is paying hospitals about 80% of commercial, a physician about 70%, and again, with further reductions over the next decade, you have a low income individuals and payments to providers that are already lower than private health insurance. again, the question is what we expect. i think there're a couple -- three areas. what is further reductions, and we mentioned the possibility of reductions on the pharmaceutical side. it was implemented in 2006, and we are clearly paying more than other nations. the current medicare payment advisory commission says that medicare pays too much for medical education at teaching hospitals and rural hospitals.
and clearly payments to some special areas are more than targeted, so there are -- host: more about the commission being put in place. six republican and democratic lawmakers that we now. the leaders say that they are already at work at in terms of organizing and dialoguing. agree in these next few months, automatic spending cuts are going to take place to medicare, as we pointed out. specifically, no cuts to beneficiaries themselves. only cuts to doctors and provider payments. here is a twitter question. guest: there is work in the
quality area going on. this is not particularly in medicare issue, it is an issue for the country as a whole. historically we have licensed physician and we've left it to the states and boards to assure quality. more is being done, but certainly not enough. host: louisiana, jane, a democrat. caller: good morning. i am really upset about that cuts in medicare. doctors in our area refused to take medicare because the reimbursement is so small. i have a supplemental with unitedhealthcare. i send that to medicare and that would make medicare solvent. with regard to the drug plan, i did not join, because the one medication i was on, the copay was more than what i
was paying for the drug. would you please comment on that? guest: i think the point about payments to physicians and physicians being reluctant to take medicare is the other side. again, we now the studies indicate that medicare pays physicians about 80% of commercial rates, but with this sustainable growth rate issue that you mentioned earlier, that is going to decline by about a percent or two per year. if you are 80, it goes to 75, and then to 70. of course, that physicians do have the choice of accepting new patients. the studies seem to indicate today that certainly nationwide, it is not a major problem. but that is the sort of other side of why can't medicare payments be reduced? if they are reduced to much, below, again, what united and blue cross and employer plans
are paying, providers may not be willing to see medicare patients who are elderly and need a lot of care. host: virginia, john on the line for republicans. question or comment, john? caller: dr. biles, you mentioned 1.5% of federal withholding goes towards medicare i think it was when i first dialed in, but really, double that is being paid, because 1.5% in addition is being paid by the employer, potentially in, that the employee is not getting. -- potentially income that the employee is not getting. that is a dishonest way of saying that. the federal government's approach to these intractable problems is what is wrong with the economy. people like me realize that the federal government is not dealing with these issues, just sidestepping it.
i have requested -- also, what you think of ron paul's approached it medica -- approach to medicare? by the way, ron paul can win, and he came in second in iowa and nobody is talking about it. what you think of ron paul's approach? guest: i am not familiar with what paul auster approached so i cannot -- i am not familiar with congressman paul's approach so i can speak to it. host: here is paul ryan. >> we want to harness the power of patient choice and competition on behalf of seniors in medicare read what we're proposing is no changes in medicare for anybody 55 and above. they get the medicare they organize their retirement are rounded but because medicare is the biggest driver of our debt and going insolvent anne andro -- going insolvent
bankrupt, we propose to converted to a system identical to what i have as a member of congress and all federal workers enjoy. choice, competition protection. host: what you make of paul ryan and's plan? -- what do you make of paul ryan and's plan? guest: this is what my research .s focused on trad the cost to provide the medicare package is 102% of the medicare fee-for-service system. they are not cheaper. that is the first point. secondly, we also know that, again, after 20 years, there's not much competition. we did analysis of 100 counties with the most and least at
medicare it advantage. we found by the department of justice and federal trade commission standards, only three of them would be considered fully competitive. i think my own sense is that plans can be good, and particularly kaiser permanente and the organized plans, but after, again, 20 years, and they are clearly not a magic bullet. host: maria, democratic line. caller: good morning. i have a comment and i am asking questions. other western industrial developed nations have universal health coverage plan. many years ago i lived in germany. granted, things are changing in there, but they had a fine universal health care situation for everybody, even foreigners, if you qualify. how did they manage parks plus, i want to say, please don't call back -- how did they manage? plus, i want to say, please don't fall back on the smaller
plan document. i know people who get medication from canada and india, but i don't question those sources, because 80% of the ingredients in our medicine comes from out of the way places, including china. there was a large article in aid in "the new york times." -- large article on it in "the new york times." guest: she makes the point of germany, which has about 200 health care plans, and the funds flow through the employer- based plants that look at a lot -- what they do is they work -- in germany, is basically at the province or state level, in which they worked cooperatively, collaborative lee with providers to agree on payments not only by
a public plan, but all the plants. in japan, they do this on a national basis. they agree to limit the increase not only, again, of the public program for the elderly, but for all insurers, to a certain percent of their national economy and gdp. that is an approach of actually -- in the united states, the state of maryland has such an approach on the hospital side. host: one writeup on this comes on "the new york times" editorial page recently. "cut medicare and help patients." "medicare is going to be caught, that is inevitable." they talk about smart cuts. "eliminate tests and procedures
that don't work, or the cost significantly more than other treatments while delivering no better health outcomes." they and to say in the peace, " washington is never going to do a good job of making smart cuts to medicare. they need to get elected." what does that tell you about where the future of medicare needs to head? guest: the problem is, again, and again, medicare is 20% of the total health-care spending in the country, and the largest program, but a is only 20%. generally, again, as everyone knows, we have a very private sector and individual, generally small physician practice health care system. and so is hard to go out and limit what hundreds of thousands
of physicians are doing with regard to millions of patients. and we have tried this 30 years ago. we had something called professional review organizations. they were basically ineffective. on one hand, the doctor is correct, may be correct on both points, that there are unnecessary tests, but it is very hard to deal with them in our very individualistic health care system. that, again, is not only a problem for medicare but for all the employer plans around the country. host: we have time for a few more calls before we wrap up this series. ben, republican line from wilmington, north carolina. caller: doctor, i know this is a big number, but has anybody ever considered if we limited the
liability and malpractice legal costs in the medical system, how much would that reduce the real costs of what we're doing? guest: there have been studies, and as you might guess, on both sides of the issue, some people suggesting it is substantial, others suggesting is not very major. it also varies greatly by the specialty. some of the surgical procedures and obstetrics tend to be high. primary care, routine visits, it tends to be low. i would think that the general view is that the total increase in costs is in the single digit percentage. this is one of the areas that would be hard to squeeze out. much of the reforms that people talk about have been adopted in california. we do know that costs in
california are not appreciably lower than elsewhere in the country. host: philadelphia, dennis, democrat. caller: good morning. i am 47 years old, fully disabled for close to a decade now. i could speak to you all day long and i wish i could. i have a couple comments. first of all, the way to save money -- a couple ways to save tremendous amounts of money in the system are this. number one, you have a part d system that is a private system, separated from parts a and b. i have one particular medication that in a pinch, the very last try -- it is a pain killer, and if that does not work, i must go to the emergency room. usually, nine out of 10 times,
more than nine out of 10 times, it works. but the insurance company, the private insurance company, will pay the $19 apiece -- won't pay the $19 apiece. medicare has to spend thousands in the emergency room instead of $19 for one lozenge. number 1. number 2, it's a pretty big one, paperwork. you have every company -- everybody and their brother has insurance company today. i got to at least two doctors a week, every week, at 85% of the staff are filling out forms for insurance companies. if they standardize the forms to one set of forms -- every time i go to a new doctor, after a lot 10 pages of forms -- i have to fill out 10 pages of forms.
if they have to do that one time and they could be sent to any insurance company and medicare, it cut hundreds of billions of dollars. host: several points there, dr. biles. guest: the final point about forms -- it is very clear that hundreds of thousands of independent physician that providers do spend --physicians and providers to spend a substantial now, the number is estimated 10% of total war costs, dealing with these independent insurance companies -- estimated 10% of total health-care costs, dealing with independent insurance companies. there has been a national initiative for health information technology, and one of the things that system would do would be unifi -- be to unify the dimon system across
insurers, including -- including. the payment system across insurers, including medicare. it is a leader nationwide with electronic billing and electronic screening of billing, moving to advance screening for unnecessary and outright fraudulent -- host: we are down to the last couple of minutes, but is there anything we have not talked about yet that you would want us to know about reducing medicare costs? guest: again, i think the overall point is that sometimes we get into these debates and people say, oh, here is medicare, they have not thought about this previously. the point is that every time there is a budget issue in the country, people focus pretty intensely on medicare. and so there was obviously,
again, $500 billion taken out of medicare, just under 10%, last year. that has resulted in projections of medicare growing 1.5-2 percentage points each year. less than commercial insurance. medicare, again, pays physicians 80%, hospitals and 70%, commercial insurance, so that these are not issues. a lot of issues that don't get resolved this year get studied and developed and debated and then get adopted next year. again, one of the things on this route is -- on this route is prescription drug prices were not addressed last year, but they may well be considered this year. payments for teaching costs at hospitals were not changed last year, but may be changed this year.
i think it is an ongoing -- not every year, but every two or three-year process. host: knoxville, tennessee, john, independent. you will be the last call. caller: good morning. a very, very important topic. thank you, dr. i want to emphasize how we could save trillions through prevention. our medical system wait until people are sick and spends billions on them. if we had -- most studies i have seen have proven that most diseases are preventable, or the incidents greatly reduced through better diet and exercise, etc. my proposal would be to have counselors available and even mandatory for every medicaid and medicare patient and help people change their lifestyle.
over a 10-year period, we would save lots of money. i want to dr.'s comments on that. guest: well, i think you are exactly true and accurate. a lot of this work has been done by the centers for disease control. but it is clear that the population of the united states is very much overweight -- much of the population is very much overweight, and that leads to diabetes and other diseases. the question is, this is not a classically acute medical care and what can we do, broadly in the nation, to deal with diets of course, that has to begin before age 65 and medicare. it has to get built on to the entire culture -- built into the entire culture. there is some funding in the health care reform legislation, but i think it is clear it that but i think it is clear it that much more needs to be