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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  August 30, 2011 7:00am-9:59am EDT

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discussion -- extension of the trans-canada keystone pipeline. our series on the weather begins with a look at disaster relief unpreparedness with michael greenberger, head of the university of maryland's homeland security center. ♪ host: president barack obama top labor pick, alan krueger, rounding out his economic team ahead of next week's speech. good morning, everyone. alan krueger, former treasury department official and princeton economist. joining others on the obama economic team. your calls, e-mails, tweets on
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the obama economic team this morning. this morning in "the washington post," they say this -- host: if you look at his resume, here is what it says. host: yesterday in the rose garden, president obama introduced his pick. here is what he has to say. >> he is one of the nation's leading economists. for more than two decades he developed policies inside and outside of government. in the first two years of this administration as we dealt with a complex crisis that
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threatened a second depression, his counsel as chief economist at the treasury department proved invaluable. host: the white house yesterday put out this statement by the president yesterday saying -- host: back to "the washington post," about that rose garden address they say this --
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host: that is our question for all of you this morning. confidence in the obama economic team, what do you see? what do you want to see? harvey, go ahead. caller: my comment has to do with thaddeus carter, the program that was on just before this one. he spoke about redistribution of wealth. the thing is that the united states of america is distributing its wealth to the world and the republicans were behind it. i do not see why he should be so upset about redistributing the wealth of the rich republicans who do not want to go away with the bush tax savings that he put
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in. host: back on track here, confidence in the economic team bamut -- team? caller: if the republicans would allow the president to do his job in terms of putting money into the economy to create jobs, they are just trying to keep him to create -- from creating jobs. host: this comment this morning --
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host:, matthew iglesias wrote in his blog --
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host: that is a little bit about the background of alan krueger this morning from "the new york times." what do you think, ted? caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. we are three years into obama's term. one year away from the end of it. i would be very surprised to see obama come out with a magic economic plan that is going to get the people back to work right away. that is going to get real estate back to where it was a 10 years ago and basically stop the wave
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of inflation that will be rolling in. honestly, the plan is coming. it is a political stunt for reelection. i honestly do not think that he or the use by v leaders -- ivy leaguers have it in them. i know that this is a recession and he inherited this, but it has been three years. host: from the white house, according to the administration officials and others familiar with the matter, obama is considering a tax cut for new workers, new spending for environmental construction, and he is developing programs to target long-term unemployment, potentially including something similar to a georgia
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unemployment program that provides funding for training. at the same time, obama may announce new refinancing initiatives that could pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy. he is also likely to bring potentially expanded ongoing efforts into the payroll tax. what do you think, ted? caller: i agree with the tax cuts for businesses. that is exactly what it will take to move this economy. i do not agree in the spending for the bridges and construction. i do not think we have the money for that. i kind of disagree with having people hired. i think that that tax cuts to the businesses have taken care of that situation right there. host: republicans responded yesterday by saying that they will put forth bills on the floor that deal with regulation.
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the first 10 bills when they come back next week. does that do enough to quickly impact the jobs situation? i do not think that anything is going to be quickly -- i do not think that anything that we need to do right now will be done quickly. it will take a few years to rebuild the economy. i agree that pumping money, letting those small and medium- sized businesses, giving the money, those billions of dollars from overseas that these corporations have, getting those billions of dollars back into the u.s. at a lower tax rate. host: kind of breaking up a little bit there. hans nichols is with us, white house correspondent.
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let's begin with why. why alan krueger? caller: he has been through confirmation before. that is obviously one of the things. he is a labor economist, a macro economist. cea is kind of a two year revolving door where you come in and go back to your university. he was in the treasury department before as a chief economist and had to go back to princeton. this job opened up and it was a pretty good job. they went with him after a pretty long search process and some misfires. they seemed to be pretty pleased with him as their public face explaining the economy for the next 16 months. host: is that the role of the
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economic adviser post? caller: there is always tension on television talking about it. there's always tension between the national economic council, created by the clinton administration, and the council of economic advisers. any attempts to treat them like research assistance, to run numbers on a program and come back to us, some of them want to have more parity and proposed policies themselves. if you ever have a hard time speaking, go ahead and read their policy before going to bed. for example, the chair delivers the jobs numbers to the president by regulation. a lot of interaction with the president on those numbers. host: what would be the dynamic?
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do we know what it would be between alan krueger and the rest of the team? caller: kruger was under treasury with the others. it is hard to tell if there was an intense rivalry. whenever tension or rivalry will be moved to the white house, where the stakes are bigger. sperling is not an economist. alan krueger is. he might have a strike -- slight advantage there. a policy guy, more of a lawyer, he has seen this rodeo before. alan krueger was at the labor department when sterling was steady nec. the labor department does not have that much speed -- that much face time with the
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president. we know that they are part of the tennis mafia. if you want to hatch any conspiracy theories, talk about how they are all playing tennis together. host: how does alan krueger did her in his philosophy? caller: it is marginal, if anything, he is probably slightly more on the conservative side. by that i mean more interested in deficit reduction than some of the other members. but everyone is pretty much on the same page as to what is politically feasible. alan krueger is being done infrastructure spending. a lot of people are. it is not like he is way out from there.
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he is into giving a $5,000 credit to hiring new workers. there does not seem to be a whole lot of friction between him ideologically and between other members. the big question is, what do you set your presidential credibility on? q. you've obeid? small? incremental? these are big questions. the big debates seem to be mostly over. host: alan krueger. when does the white house expects he will get a confirmation hearing and be confirmed? caller: he needs to be formally nominated, which they cannot do until congress is back in session. remember peter diamond and his nomination? senator shelby made a big point about being for the -- the cea
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has three people on it -- at the time the president was able to nominate who he wanted. shelby is talking about how cea should be a rubber stamp. getting things through quickly. there are no signs from the senate that they will have problems with alan krueger. host: thank you for your time. caller: thank you. host: "the washington post" writes this about alan krueger --
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host: ronald, a democrat, cleveland, ohio. what do you think of the obama economic team? caller: hello? host: you are on the air. caller: his economic team will be able to stop well consolidation and its disposal. they are going to stop in wicked oppressors within our country. host: cons and nichols -- hans nichols mentioned the labor secretary. she will be speaking live at the press club today it that sees it -- on c-span. here is "the washington times,"
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with of the republican agenda on the house side. host: let's go next to north carolina. go ahead. caller: i remember a thing called nafta. i lived in tyler county, pa. pennsylvan the biggest thing there now is
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welfare. we imported 3 million people from mexico while 30 million people were on welfare. that is the big problem with america. the people end up in prison and then we have to go -- it is just insanity. when are we going to look at the real problems in this country? one-third of the work force in my town is from mexico. thousands of people out of work. it is just crazy. until we address that problem, we will never get anywhere in this country. host: if you want to comment on our question this morning, you can go to facebook. this is the comment from sharon.
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tom, let's hear from democratic caller in columbia, maryland. what do you think? what do you think? caller: my comment is that we needed a plan. has to be a big plan with options. getting things from congress is a problem. a real bottleneck. anything that obama proposes, they do not help him do this. republican, democrat, whoever you are representing [no audio] they will support these activities to get these jobs back. what we need is the man. the reason these companies do not hire [no audio] host: you are breaking up with them bit. consumers need to start sending? caller: exactly. but we need to start giving companies the incentive to hire. give them tax breaks or something like that to hire
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people. we stimulate the economy with some sort of infrastructure program to do this, we have got program to do this, we have got to get everybody to get congress to work together to help get this economy back. host: your comments are echoed this morning by eugene robinson in this morning's "the washington post." host: plantation, florida. tom, you are next. caller: i would like to enumerate some low hanging enumerate some low hanging fruit that the obama administration has been unable to capitalize on. i would like your viewers to listen to these. i would like them to form their own conclusion about whether they should have confidence in
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the obama administration. this might take me a few minutes. number one, we have $1 trillion in profits from companies that can be brought over to this nation that could stimulate this nation that could stimulate this economy and nobody has given anybody a clear reason why this cannot be done. in my opinion, it has to be ideology and politics. exhibit two, if the obama administration had a well thought out energy plan, it could be a pipeline from canada. we would have millions of jobs. this pipeline is no different than the pipelines that already exist in the united states. host: tom? caller: what could possibly be the explanation for this pipeline not being approved?
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host: that is our topic at 8:30, we will be talking about the status of the u.s.-canada pipeline. here is this comment -- copper host: another twitter message from a viewer -- new unpopp host: if you would like to send us a tweet, go to twitter.com/c- spanwj. heather, are you with us? caller: thank you. i would like to say that obama is doing what the economists that study the economy tell him to do. because they know how the economy works. the democrats and the republican party have differences in terms of how revenues gained in the
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economy, but there are different kinds of markets. we are in a recession right now. during a recession roosevelt was able to pull us out of it through the government having to step in. that is the reality of it. entitlement is not entitlement, it is damage control. the republican party does not want to hand out entitlements, that is what they call it. that is what they call it. tax breaks are a privilege. they get it and everyone else does not. that is an entitlement and they do not see it that way. i think that the government needs to stop criticizing each other and start encouraging others. saying that i agree with you on
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that aspect and here is what we could do better. bringing ideas to the table instead of pitting americans instead of pitting americans against each other host: -- each other. host: the front page this morning, khaddafi wife pat and relatives leave -- muammar gaddafi's wife and relatives leave libya. from "the financial times," open quote tripoli suffers water shortage." regarding the lockerbie bomber, "near-death," from "the washington post," this morning. we will be getting an update on nato at 8:00 a.m. eastern time this morning, we will have that
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live on c-span.org. this story about muammar gaddafi -- host: politico has a story about the united nations. a bill offered by the chairwoman
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of the house republican foreign affairs committee that would declare a voluntary budget model. host: minneapolis, richard, republican line, we are talking about confidence in the obama economic circle. what do you think? caller: i have zero confidence in his economic team, and i will give you four reasons why. they should outlaw public employee unions. here in minneapolis they are laying off firefighters? they are hiring safety inspectors at $80,000 per year. one other thing that i read with the other caller on, they should bring back drilling for oil, they could create thousands of
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jobs doing that. i just watched "roger and me" on another channel. they should bring becher tariffs on certain items and other things that we gave away to china. china will be building cars for us pretty soon, which is deplorable. if you had watched "roger and me," about to shut down flint michigan, a lot of people would agree that they are throwing our jobs away. host: is there any person that president obama could appoint that you would agree with? ucaller: peter reseat, i wish yu would have him on the program more often. he seems to be a pretty smart economic adviser. host: you would like to see a more conservative voice?
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caller: i think so. these policies that they have now are driving us further into recession. host: all right. independent line. caller: good morning. many of the problems that we have right now in this country, a lot of it relates back to nafta and the facts that sam walton died. all of the goods that wal-mart uses sell, 85% of them used to be made in the united states. now, who knows what. host: what does that mean for confidence in the obama economic team? caller: not much. i think that everyone in there should probably be voted out. it is not just him, but i do not know, it seems that money has collect -- corrupted everything to me.
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host: in other news, the aftermath of "hurricane irene" has made the news in most newspapers. host: that is the front page of "the burlington free press." here is "a star-ledger." host: we will be talking about the insurance situation, covering losses at 7:45 a.m. eastern time. in our last hour we will kick off a series looking at weather. today's topic and tracking weather is about disaster preparedness in response. two topics this morning.
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oakland, california, good morning. caller: i do have confidence in our present -- president. i did watch "roger and me" last night. to see the devastation of our auto industry, corporations in general, i am listening to everyone who is saying that we need to give these corporations tax breaks and they will bring the jobs back, but that is a pipe dream that will never happen. america needs to wake up. i woke up yesterday and saw the show that you had on with the pharmaceutical industry that has gone to china. when is america going to wake up? that is the military -- not the word that i want to use -- but
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that is a national security issue. when you have china, they do not have to bomb us. they do not have to go to war with us. all that they have to do is continue making all of our pharmaceuticals and we will soon all be dead. host: this message from twitter -- host: here is "the wall street journal" with their take on alan krueger.
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host: i also write that -- -- they also write that -- host: form that is "the wall street journal," editorial this morn in. mike, what do you think? confidence in the obama economic team? caller: probably not bursting with confidence here. with confidence here. i see that , and the previous regime in washington, has created a class of person that is on the lowest level of
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employment possibilities. the millions of people included in that are the persons that have been convicted of drug violations. there are about 1 million incarcerated in prisons and jails. there are three very short sentences -- host: you are getting us off on a tangent. host: i will be right there. three short sentences. as congress makes the following findings and decorations, many of the drugs included within this chapter have at useful medical purposes that are necessary to maintaining the health and general welfare of the american people. one more. manufactured distribution and improper use of controlled substances has a substantial and detrimental effect on health and general welfare of the american people.
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host: michael, get to the point. caller: did you get the point? host: we will move on. one caller brought it up earlier, consumer spending. consumers ramping up spending, this is from "the wall street journal." here is the story from "the daily caller," from yesterday, "a conservative imprint of the penguin group." host: japan is getting a new leader. here is the world section of "the washington post." host: i and domestic news, here is the story of a federal judge and an immigration law in alabama.
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host: also, the dick cheney memoir, back in the paper again today. "without regret," the piece written this morning by robert caper. "the washington post," also has exurbs, if you are interested. marlene, independent in new jersey. go ahead. what is your confidence level in the obama economic team? caller: 0. i have not had any confidence in any 1 cents before ronald reagan.
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i am just speechless. i heard a young lady call in, talking about how franklin delano roosevelt got us out of the depression. that is false. the reason that the depression ended was that there was a war in europe and america could build planes, ships, and equipment faster than the nazis could destroy them. host: one viewer reaches back to the 1980's in her e-mail, with this -- host: asheville, n.c., eric, democratic line. caller: how are you doing this morning? first of all, i would like to say, and i hope, which, and pray
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for all of the people affected by hurricane irene. ok, to say this, i think that obama is doing as good a job as he can under these circumstances. he has, whether you want to call them the tea party, i believe that they directly are involved with the gop. they have been against him since he was elected, plain and simple. our problems started back in the reagan years with spending and stuff. everybody, and i mean everybody, excluding millionaires and stuff, have spent over what we are allowed to over-spend.
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if there is anybody that i believe can get this done, it will be his administration. host: all right, that was north carolina, democratic line. on the shrinking budget, state and local governments are shoring up aging systems. this is from "usa today." host: in other news, prosecution is on pace to find a medicare fraud prosecution rising 85%.
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this is from "usa today," u.s. muslims and moderates. host: again, "usa today" with that story. here is "the new york times." host: we have a few minutes left here on a question to all of you this morning. on the president's economic circle, we have haley, republican from california. caller: i am very excited. thank you very much.
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you look great. thank you. i think that when bush sent the stimulus checks to the americans, that really brought immediate results to the economy. people did spend that money. they did invest in their homes. i also think that china is really giving us a hard time with these imports. we are importing so much from china, let's get a tax. let's fight back. let's get a tax for all of these countries that are basically robbing us blind with all of these imported cars and products. let's get americans to buy american. thank you very much. host: jay, from fort worth, writing this --
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host: randy, democrat a caller, michigan. go ahead. caller: good morning. there are only about 14 of us out here any help. anyhow.anyho i am supposedly one of the president's liberal base, but i have more confidence in this economic team and i do in the president. we have got to get the jobs going, we have got to spend money to do it. one thing that seems to bother me, the republican party is so dead set against a debt, they have to be willing to eliminate the eta.
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you will not be leaving your grandchildren and the debt, but you will leave them dirty water and dirty air? that does not make any sense to me. have a nice day. host: bill, republican, cincinnati. you are our last caller. go ahead. caller: i have faith in the team. what i do not have faith in is that as a republican, i am finding arguments against everything this man does. not based on facts, but based on the ideological preset notion. when you take republicans, which i am one, and you refused to accept the ideas, this is an uphill battle. i am sorry, but a smaller government, the complete deficit thing, needs to be looked at on its merits as opposed to a broad
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stroke attack on the american way of life. we depend upon a lot of government services. you know, people are needing help. getting tax breaks, which i consider entitlement, verses social security, something that you pay into, that is not an entitlement, is ridiculous. when they start closing some loopholes, the tax break for the working families, that is what puts money back into the economy. right now apple computer has more money in the bank than the federal government. we need to focus on letting that capital build in a taxpayer- enhanced way to create more jobs. we need real jobs where people
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can sustain and move on. also, if they have something for the housing industry, the housing bubble occurred at the family table. that is where it blew up. host: president obama, when he made his speech last week, was likely to include some sort of initiative on refinancing, pumping money back into the housing market. caller: i am all for that. that generates economic activity. as long as you keep the wealth of money just going to these institutions, it is the family that goes and buys school clothes, computers, so on and so forth. host: we have to leave it there. coming up next, we will be turning our attention to national disasters and insurance with robert hartwig.
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joining us on the phone, the head of the kinetic analysis association, based in washington, d.c. area. you raised -- he ran the numbers of hurricane irene. what is it looking like now? caller: remember, these are estimates based on computer models. no one really knows. it will be weeks or months before we get a decent tally of what happened. the models range from $6 billion to $10 billion. our best estimate right now is about $7 billion. there may be an extra $1 billion in flood damage, particularly in the vermont area. certainly, not over $10 billion. insurance offices were thinking that there would be $3 billion,
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which is interesting, because historic we when you have a big event like this, half of the losses are covered by insurance. changes in the insurance industry, are quite a bit higher than they have been historically. for instance, you used to be able to get a fix of $500. now the deductible will be 02% of construction value. that is a $4,000 deductible before insurance starts to kick in. that will make a big difference for homeowners and businesses stuck with a larger share of the tab. normally we would expect that to be covered by insurance. this time, we are thinking about this time, we are thinking about 40%. host: and we are going to delve into that more. how do you do it? computer modeling? caller: it is a challenge. we are one of the few companies
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that does this in a forecast mode, one of the few crazy enough to try it. the difficulties in forecasting the track of a hurricane, plus the uncertainty of modeling the damage, starting with a hurricane track forecast in a hurricane center, we do our own in-house models to figure out how intense it will be. that lets us compute the winds, the waves, the storm surges, every square kilometer on the surface of the earth. we do this not just in the u.s., but worldwide for hurricanes, earthquakes, all kinds of natural disasters. we have the physical a fax from every square kilometer. then we take satellite data, economic data, how many buildings in that economic
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square. is it an urban, built up environment? suburban, detached houses? industrial infrastructure, is that there? we can calculate about how much damage would have occurred within that group. from that, you calculate your losses, with different insurance policies, we do not know each individual policy, but we do know what the industry is doing. from there we can calculate what share will be covered by homeowners and federal flood insurance. there are factors where we can figure out how those losses get allocated. host: who uses your estimates? caller: government's use it. we have worked with state
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governments to help us to set up the insurance industry. we get word from the state of florida on that. we actually do a lot of engineering design work to figure out how strong you need to build your buildings to hold up to a 100 your event. that kind of thing. finance it range from government to non-governmental organizations. some private institutions, which, like great projects from the caribbean government, only through private companies. host: people looking at the papers, they see a number of companies doing this kind of work. estimates vary. why is that? caller: the problem is, when you
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look at doing this kind of model, looking apple the hurricane wind fields, you can -- looking at the hurricane wind fields, you can have different experts with different determinations. equally smart people coming to different conclusions. what is amazing, looking at the state of florida, if you compute the insurance costs and what they should be four different counties, they have premiums that are different by a factor of three. what we try to do, we do not run just one model. we run every single track. i try to talk in terms of ranges. we are still arguing about how much of an impact there was from hurricane andrew, and that was 20 years ago. host: thank you, sir. caller: thank you.
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host: back to new york, where robert hartwig is joining us from. here to talk to was about national disasters and insurance. from charles watson we heard that the costs from insurance losses could be $3 billion. what does that tell you? caller: that hurricane irene -- guest: of that hurricane the rain is much less expensive than we thought it could be. not only for people that sustained a bit of damage different from what they might have, but also from the insurance and global insurance industry, 2011 has already been a colossal year in terms of catastrophe losses in the united states. we are talking not just about the tornadoes that occurred, but such events as the japanese earthquake, or the major earthquakes in new zealand. host: the deductibles for
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insurance having gone up, changing how they work, can you explain that more? bill losses are less, can you explain -- the losses are less, can you explain how the policyholder is paying more? caller: in new york -- guest: in new york a hurricane deductible has been in place since 1993. they came into common use in the wake of hurricane andrew, after 1992. the point is, this is really the first time, in many cases, that a hurricane deductible might have been triggered in the southeast and in the gulf coast states. again, as mr. watson mentioned, if you have a home insured for $200,000, a hurricane deductible that is 2% of the insured value, you have a 4% deductible
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against a $1,000 deductible. for some states, those will be triggered for hurricane irene. in some other states, where the wind was lighter, where there was not a hurricane that made landfall, a standard deductible will apply. i think that that is a relatively minor factor. the principal factor here is that hurricane irene was simply not that strong. host: from "the washington times," this morning, they talked about certain areas not being covered. that there is generally no coverage for the home or personal belongings themselves when it comes to rising water, including water seeping up from saturated ground, and homes from
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beaches and flood surges. inland areas were amongst those hardest hit by the rains. guest: that is correct. this distinction between flooding and water intrusion, associated with wind driven rain, has always been a distinction in homeowners insurance policies. flooding has never been covered by homeowners' insurance policies. the national flood insurance program has been in existence since 1968, providing subsidized coverage to people across the united states. many, if not most people in coastal and low lying areas around rivers and lakes, have coverage. there are pockets where people do not. in vermont, for example, that is
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one of those where the flooding was uncharacteristic. unfortunately, the experience of katrina shows that people that wake-up and see the ocean often do not buy flood coverage. host: more on this story -- new lumpfis host: it refers to you here, mr. hart wwig.
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host: we can put that website up on the screen for our viewers. starting at $129 in low-risk areas, explain that. guest: again, most flood insurance in the united states, at least four homes, is sold through the national flood insurance program. a program that has been a round since the late 1960's. the cost of that coverage is very reasonable. use all the numbers. we are talking about areas that are vulnerable to flooding. these are properties that have already been designated as likely to flood. this would include homes sitting on the beach. so, there is a lot of criticism of this program.
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certainly, it does not carry its weight. the premiums that are charged are not actual larry it -- actuarial, they do not reflect the risk. the consequence is, of course, if you decide to allow people to live on rivers and beaches, and you subsidize people to do that, ultimately the program is going to run deficits. the national flood insurance program is running a deficit today that is carrying over from katrina. it is quite likely that the losses from last week will run into the red again. host: we are dividing the lines differently. we want to hear from coastal residents this morning. we want to hear from those that have homes along the coast. 202-624-1111.
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if you live in the mountain, pacific area, 202-624-1115. coastal residents, 202-624-0760. why will this be in the red? guest: the rates charged by the program are not adequate to cover the losses that the program sustains on average. in order to bridge that gap, in order to bridge that gap, premiums need to be higher. these are how private insurers operate. if private insurers operated like a flood insurance program, they would be bankrupt. the only reason that program continues to exist is congress says that if you are overage, tack it onto the deficit. we will get grandmothers on
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social security to subsidize it. that is ultimately what winds of happening. there are calls to reform the program. to charge rates that are more accurately reflecting the risks and eventually denying coverage to so-called repetitive loss companies. the federal government has paid to rebuild some houses two, three, four times, they are just sitting in harm's way. no one would build homes in these areas if it were up for the fact that of assam gave you a free one every couple of years. host: what is the average claim pay out of these programs? guest: usually it is going to be several thousand dollars. that is going to cover people that is going to cover people for water intrusion that does damage to the would the, the dry
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wall in the structure. just as it is for homeowners insurance, most claims do not involve the total destruction of a home. but when you have flooding, oftentimes floods' impact an oftentimes floods' impact an enormous number of of storm surge will hit most of the house is on the beach. a flood will get everyone that lives along the banks. you will get thousands of claims simultaneously. that is exactly what is happening with hurricane irene. host: we were touching on the national insurance program, saying that it has had a short- term extension since 2008
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because the two sides cannot agree on how to overhaul it. the program has accumulated $18 billion in debt. there are a couple of proposals to overhaul it. . let the make of the two proposals? guest: they are fairly similar. the forgiveness of the dead. again, that is one of these questions right now. where do you draw the line when it comes to the whole debate about this core responsibility -- fiscal responsibility?
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this program could probably generated profit for the federal government if run properly, instead of being a burden. host: how do you do that? guest: private insurers do it every day. you charge a premium that reflects their risks, covers the expenses, and turns a profit. many insurers have done this and have been in business for hundreds of years or more. it is not rocket science. ises actuarial science. it is simply not practiced in washington, whether flood zone grants, or other programs that require actual oral -- actuarial expertise, like social security. all of these run on an actuarial deficit. the private sector, doing exactly the same thing, cannot do that by law. do that by law. >> the senate banking committee will pick up their legislation as early as next week.
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tampa, florida, you are our first phone call. caller: the raids represented and are not representative of coastal property. if the government is having trouble subsidizing floods, and the first problem is that private insurers could not, go back to private insurers and have them covered basic amount of flood coverage, 20% of the property value, and in catastrophic losses, bring the national program on top of it. privatize don't we this market in whole or in part? that sounds like a great idea. blood is covered by private insurers in many european countries. here's the problem. in a place like florida, where the cost of homeowners insurance as very often become a political football, and where individuals
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running for the office of governor in that state run on a plank of we are not going to allow them to charge a rate that reflects their risk, this has caused a disaster in the standards don't -- standard homeowner's insurance there. the government is the primary insurer there with private insurers pulling back. this could happen for flood insurance. the state could say, we have the authority to regulate the rate. it will it cost $400 on average to ensure a home against flood in florida. you can only charge $250. you can imagine what will say. insurers will say thanks, but no thanks. unless they have permanent assurances that they will be allowed to charge a premium their flex the risk, there will be only limited interest in this market.
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host: ruth has a home in wisconsin. -- oregon. caller: i used to live in tulsa, okla. that had flooding in the early 1980's and went on a huge program to control the flooding. they had one other flat after that. they took more measures to control it. i had a tiny condo in the flood plain. the one-year that i did not have insurance, i got this really interesting letter from the government on heavy-duty, glossy magazine-paper, that ought to be insured. i wondered, what the hell are they doing sending out letters on such heavy stop? and how much money are they spending monitoring
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insignificant little people like me in a tiny little condos that don't cost anything? that would be my problem. host: i have no idea how much they spend on paper stocks. but they do have a marketing program and it seeks to encourage people to buy coverage who would benefit from it. the ads are on television, even here in new york city, i see them in the subways and the newspapers. from a public policy perspective, it makes sense for people to be protected against this type of risk. people do make decisions such as you did that one year to not buy the coverage. the problem is -- here we are. it is a conundrum. we're going to have to become used to long term austerity measures. but at the same time, was a
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disaster strikes, people demanded that the government devotes all kinds of resources, even if there were a means by which they could have mitigated the disaster. people who do not buy flood coverage, deliberately, they look at the river out there door every day, and it is a beautiful place and they would never want to live any well -- anywhere else, and then the water is over their kitchen sink, they will demand that government provide them some sort of aid. this is inevitable. we ever record number of federal disaster declarations. people looking for grants and loans, even people who argue that the government should be much smaller demand that the government come in and bail them out in fact they fail to purchase something like flood coverage. this is a problem we have in america. we want smaller government except when it comes to
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ourselves. we need to ask very serious questions here about who we are going to bail out if there are means by which people could protect themselves. getting back to the question, i am not opposed to the flood program promoting itself to increase awareness. it is going to do that, it should not promote itself to sell each incremental policy at a loss on average. it makes more sense to do that when you are at least covering your costs, and not potentially burdening taxpayers. host: here is the flood insurance program by the numbers. this is from the "wall street journal." robert hartwig, here is a tweet from a viewer. guest: again, the private
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insurance sector does this every day all across the country. not just with respect to hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, wildfires, and other parts of the world -- flooding in fat. can the federal government to this -- is not rocket science. is actuarial science. they could do this. howard -- our governments in general good at providing property insurance? no. the track record is abysmal. there is no example of a federal-run property insurance company that has ever run in the black or even on a break-even basis over extended period of time. alternately, their rates charged are not determined by actuaries and other people responsible for
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breaking even or turning a profit. they are determined by politicians. if politicians do not know the first thing about charging a risk-appropriate premium for a policy or any type of policy for that matter. the issue becomes political from time to time. the rate does not charge. could the federal government do it? yes. will it ever likely to it? probably not. host: from james parker. guest: internally the national flood insurance program employs actuaries, very good people who make these estimates. make these estimates. but at the end, the program is that part of fema, a part of dhs, which reports to congress. its hands are tied. there have been innumerable proposals supported by private insurers to reform the flood program for many years. you could have the best and
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brightest people in the world running the flood insurance program, but to the extent that the program is not allowed to reflect its actual interest costs in the rates it charges, it means the program is going to run a deficit in many years. host: an e-mail from kentucky. dennis joins us from san for cisco. you are on the air with robert hartwig. caller: this is not rocket science. and i am a -- i am in a home close to the day. if we have global warming, [unintelligible] i am paying $2,000 per month. not by choice, but meyer mortgage requires it. mortgage requires it. i hope there is a national
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lottery that [unintelligible] i am doing this to protect my house for the future. you make this whole program sound like a sham. it is not. it is not a sham to screw the american public. host: an e-mail from biloxi, mississippi. guest: well, unfortunately the
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writer is incorrect. it is certainly the case that could train at caused the largest deficit in the history of the national flood insurance program. but by no means was the only deficit myriad hurricane ike caused enormous flood damages in 2008. and the year is not over, we have all enormous losses from a rain -- irene, and we have at it flooding along the mississippi and other rivers. wait until the accrual of those particular events. it will wind up in the red for the third times in six years. that is half the time. if a property casualty private insurer were to do that, it would be seized by regulators. that simply cannot happen.
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i will take issue with the caller that the program does not need to operate at a profit. if it does not need to operate or even break even, i guess it is ok to run at the deficit. if we extrapolate that to everything else, then the government will operate at a large deficit. when it comes to providing this type of benefit to the public -- remember, one of the reasons why this program exists is that private insurers who might want to compete with it cannot. the rate is subsidized. as i mentioned, in other parts of the world, they do sell coverage for flood and managed to make a profit on it. is it more expensive? yes. but whether the earlier caller in san francisco bay, i do not know whether that particular caller buys earthquake coverage. if he does, that is a type of
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coverage that is not subsidized by the federal government. yes, it is costly. as is the cost of insuring home on a mountainside in arizona from the wild fire. the government has determined that is going to provide flood coverage as it has for the last 43 years. we're not arguing the program be abolished. simply that it should be put on an actual early sound basis. this need not cause any disruption in the market. rates could gradually move their over time. what this would actually do is send a signal about risk when it comes to future development. we have had an explosion in homes being built in places like the coast of florida. or places that were hit by hurricane ike in 2008, the peninsula down and taxes are parts of galveston island.
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but the parts of cape cod and the islands, much more development than usually exist there. if the cost of insurance truly reflected the risk of building a house there, would we see so many vulnerable structures? probably no. probably no. cosby's reflects -- cost needs to reflect risk. host: tell us about your organization. guest: this is a trade guest: this is a trade organization with most of the insurers in the united states funding the organization. we echo the sentiments of many insurers that have been frustrated through repeated efforts to try to reform the efforts to try to reform the program, to know -- and we're not advocating that the program disappear. many insurers would probably provide flood coverage unless
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there are a lot of regulatory obstacles that are removed in this marketplace. in general, the industry supports the smooth functioning insurance market and recognizes the need for markets that -- markets of last resort. it could be difficult to ensure older properties, around a century or t bowed -- two, and the federal government could provide a place for those places to be insured. host: in florida, the 10 most costly property insurance disasters. hurricane katrina topping that list at $41 billion when it actually occurred at that time. go ahead, canada. caller: i heard him say that they rebuilt some of these homes four times.
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in a flood plain, i read this in florida, that if you had accumulated damage over 50% of the appraised value, that they would no longer ensure you and the electric companies would not provide direct electric and everything else. i'll take my answer off the air. guest: the caller is correct. that does happen. it is not my understanding that it always happens. the repetitive lost property issue is a vexing one. it is true -- i do not remember all the details, but yes, over time if you have losses that are equal to or exceed 50% of the insured value of the home, in effect, you could -- you may not be able to get coverage in the future. taxpayers wind up being at risk. clearly the property is at risk.
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at the same time we have this repetitive lost property issue. it is probably what is accounting for the bulk of the losses. it is something that sticks out. it irritates people who understand that they are subsidizing this program. yes, it makes a lot of sense to in effect -- it winds up being a penalty, but it is effectively what a private insurer would do. if your house winds up having a fire every other year, there is no way that it could be privately insured. these are supposed to occur randomly, acts of god, rather than frequently over time. host: sebring, florida, go ahead. caller: i am in the middle of
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caller: i am in the middle of the state, although 60 miles and is pretty close compared to the hurricane passing 100 miles inland and hitting a lot of property. my question in my concern is, number one, when we have to triple hurricanes come through, there was a lot of investors who wanted flood insurance but they could not get it. they are not allowed to let people get flood insurance if they wanted it. that was one of my concerns. i did not discover that until the situation came up and realized that we are vulnerable. and there are a lot of people that cannot even get a flood insurance when we wanted. number two, i think the insurance companies are copping out. at that time when they are making record profits, you have one state that has a disaster and they have to pick up a lot
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of policies and to a lot of repairs, if the 40 other predict 49 other states in which were collecting insurance that have no problems. whenever there is something that occurs, like the flooding, and they do not want to deal with that because there is a lot of property that makes claims, it gets thrown out and then the government and we the people have to pick up the tab. the government is not in the business of making a profit. they're picking up these insurance policies that the interest -- the insurance industry throughout because they knew it would affect the profitability. guest: the federal government or any other government entity in no way, shape, or form pays any losses sustained. the idea that this comes up all time, hey, you are making profits and other states, so
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what if you lose money on average in a place like florida? i can tell you that the people in north dakota and minnesota won nothing to do with subsidizing people who live in miami beach in a condominium. at the same time, it is fair that people in florida do not subsidize people who decide to live on a mountainside prone to burning down in a while far in california or being shattered by an earthquake. and this is by law in all 50 states, the rate charged for homeowners insurance must reflect the expected losses in that state and in that stayed only. the state insurance commissioner including the one sitting in tallahassee would ever, ever, ever approve a rate in florida at that included, for instance, a component for a wild fire loss in colorado or an earthquake in california. or as severe weather storm in
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massachusetts. i think guarantee that the listener does not want to be subsidizing those things and i can guarantee the listeners in massachusetts do not want to subsidize people in florida. each neat -- each state needs to stand and is on. insurers and not shirking anything at all. they want to charge a risk- appropriate premium. that is yet. it works in the business insurance where there is no government involvement at all. in the state of florida, a restaurant or a mall that you go to, even if it is on a pier in key west, is insured by private insurance company. is it expensive? yes. does that mean you're margarita is more expensive? yes, it does. but the reality is that people are willing to pay for that because there is a benefit to sit on a pier in key west, the way that there are benefits to
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florida, no income-tax is, what have you, and their costs that exist in florida that do not exist elsewhere. host: 8 tweet from linda. guest: in general, no. building goes on in flood zones all the time everywhere. for instance, i went on vacation all along the connecticut coast, ironically. there are structures even in this downturn being built. these are within sight of the water. land use is controlled by local officials. there is a very strong incentive to allow development in these vulnerable areas.
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very often you have high value property being constructed, generating tax revenue for the community. they might create jobs when these homes are built. it attracts well. that is why -- but when a disaster happens, there is an effort to push as much of the cost as possible to people who do not live in those areas. there's an effort to try to earn every bit of benefit from encouraging this type of development, to push the cost elsewhere. host: john from new jersey. do you have a house there? caller: yes, and we got hit with an earthquake and a major hurricane within the same week. i wanted to ask robert if he has seen with these weird weather patterns, is that affecting the insurance industry, and another thing.
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ibm located -- it is not a flood zone. what happens when we do get a flood? i have to contact my insurance company, i've been in ground pool which was damaged. it up routed the liner in the pool. guest: there are a couple of questions in here. i was surprised to hear if they you're not in some kind of federally designated flood zone if you are on the jersey shore. surprising if you are not eligible to buy flood coverage here. certainly i would check with the agent. it typically buy flood coverage from the same agent that says you the home coverage. that makes it easy in that respect. in terms of damage to your poll, i presume that the insurer is
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aware that you have a poll and that this is something noted in your insurance policy. if there is damage to the po ol, that content -- that can be covered under most policies. without looking at your specific policy, and is hard to tell. what i advise everyone in the wake of the storm to do is call your insurance company and agent. it will send out an adjuster, and from everything i understand, the adjusting processes occurring very expeditiously in the wake of hurricane irene. they will be able to tell if you what amount you can be compensated for, after your deductible. host: on average, how long does it take to get your claim a filled? guest: you should hope to see an adjuster very soon, within a few days of making the call.
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in some cases, there can be a short delay because of hundred thousand or more claims might be filed almost simultaneously. insurers tended the directory on a process whereby they go to the most seriously impacted or devastated areas first. then they work their way outward from that. i suspect most people who file a claim within a few days or a week will have seen their adjuster and may even have a check cut for them in the process. q. have cash in hand almost immediately to pay for temporary living expenses if you cannot live in the home. usually funds are disbursed as rebuilding begins. if your roof was ripped off, for instance, then you get a couple of estimates, the contractor needs a down payment, the insurer pays the whole amount are some fraction of it at that point. this is to prevent some
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unscrupulous contractors from running off with all the money. it should proceed very smoothly. in tornadoes, in fact, i was supposed to be in joplin, missouri today touring their tornado area there and meeting with the mayor of joplin. because of the airline problems in new york, i could not get out of town. someone is going there in my stead. you want to seize devastation? you should visit some of these areas where homes were literally turned into matchsticks. i did a tour of alabama already, and similar tornadoes in massachusetts. you see hundreds of thousands of claims there, being adjusted very rapidly. and insurers are the economic first responders after these catastrophes. they poured billions of dollars into these communities to help businesses and people get back on their feet more quickly than any other entity.
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if you do not have any flood insurance or home insurance, and you are trying to get federal money, you get a limited my -- amount, the more than $30,000, and you may have to pay a bad because it will be alone. host: a question about the future road premiums in the wake of hurricane irene. guest: the wild weather generally. insurance rates are not usually impacted by a singular event. they are impacted by long-term trends, in terms of the number of defense and the cost of those events. in shores track this state by state for each type of peril that they ensure against. the wind or lightning or what have you. the in bed these trends into their rates. -- they embed these trends into
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their rates. they will not only look at irene, but many years of historical data, but as well as predictions about the future, say in terms of hurricane activity. will come as this a surprise to many people, but unmistakably that trend is upward. we experience more of these events and they are more costly. irene on a greater scale of things in terms of the dollar value much smaller than a katrina, maybe only 10% of that loss. but we've had record thunderstorm losses which include tornadoes. record all lightning losses. these are being reflected in the rates insurers are charging and they have been drifting upward. host: we have to leave it there. robert hartwig, thank you for your time. in 45 minutes we will turn to the weather in our series, of
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four-part series looking at the weather. today we will talk about disaster preparedness and response. first, a discussion of the u.s.- canada oil pipeline. in a news update from c-span radio. >> president obama addresses veterans issues including unemployment today when he speaks to the american legion national convention in minneapolis for the white house says the president will pay special tribute to the 9/11 generation of troops and their families. among those who joined after the september 11 attacks, the unemployment rate was over 13% as of june of this year. c-span radio will air the remarks live at noon eastern time. former vice president dick cheney from march earlier so that there is no contradiction in advocating harsh and terry get -- harsh interrogation tactics against u.s. enemies in
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opposing them used against american citizens. he thinks " we would object because of persistent." he had been a lightning rod during the bush administration, adding, q q in an darpa later -- "i am darth vader." "i am darth vader." a new tropical storm could become a hurricane, and those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. ♪
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♪ ♪ >> watch or videos of the candidates. track the latest contributions with our website for campaign 2012. ecus, it helps you navigate the political landscape with twitter feed and facebook updates from the campaigns, candidate
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biographies, and the latest polling data, plus links the media partners in the early states. auletta c-span.org/campaign2 12. >> we think good things come in twos. >> you can watch live immense online at c-span.org. >> or you can see them at the c- span video library. >> c-span2 as non-fiction books on book tv. >> on c-span3, explore american history tv. >> it is washington your way with c-span. >> created by cable and provided as a public service. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we are joined now by juliet eilperin of the "washington post."
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there's been an expansion of a pipeline, but caller earlier pointed out that they are all across the united states. what is it about this pipeline causing environmental problems that we have had 500 protesters arrested outside the white house? guest: it is the oil that they would transport coming from an area in canada and no alternative as the oil sands or tar sands. it is much more energy and water intensive way of extracting the oil. it has become a lightning rod and a referendum in many ways on climate change and the administration's climate policy. host: you said that this was a proxy change -- proxy fight for the environmental battles. is one side winning when it comes to the pipeline? comes to the pipeline? guest: there is
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not another major climate issue on the national agenda at this point, because climate legislation failed last congress and there is no prospect of a similar bill coming -- having any by ability in this congress. this is a signature issue at this point in. it is over the decision that the obama administration makes by itself without a complication of congress. activist to supported obama in his first bid for election are really trying to put pressure on the white house and say this is one of the biggest things you can do one climate policy. there are other policies the administration has undertaken with greater impact, but this is a turning point that has mobilize people to come across the country to the front of the white house and risk arrest. we have something like 521 people arrested at this point. host: juliet eilperin of the "washington post."
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if you have questions, the numbers are on the screen. juliet eilperin talk about what are sandy is. explain how this is different from what we see coming off of oil rigs out in the ocean. guest: the initials extraction phase is more akin to strip mining them what people think putting itsaig, mechanism into the ground. you have this this this material called that an end -- viscous material called bittenen. there is a mechanism that brings
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it out of the ground. they have to clear land in order to do this, it including forests. they can do more horizontal drilling now that it is up and running, then you have to process it and a more intensive way than if you are extracting crude the way that you're in texas. host: and that leads to -- this is from the alberta geological survey. the area we're talking about, mostly around the portrait murray area, but there is a large area the size of florida? guest: roughly that area. host: 50 meters to 100 meters deep. the art two ways to get it out of the gramm appeared which is more common, the strip mining or the injection?
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guest: strip mining -- steam extraction is what they used more often. but it depends on the mix of the material and what the land is like. this is relatively expensive but with oil prices high, they have a real incentive to expand this perception -- production. one of the things that canada predicts is that they are going to double the amount of oil sands production that they will have by 2020. this is the mcnatt -- this is not a major way the oil is produced but it is expanding because it is a prime opportunity. host: how much oil sands are we talking about here? i've heard estimates as much as saudi arabia in terms of reserves. guest: i do not know the exact
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amount but they throw out those figures. they are talking metaphorically. if the -- canada is the saudi arabia of oil sands. they have enormous reserves. part of the issue is that it is very dependent on the pipe oil varied if oil is not expensive, then it is not worth it. this is not the way that you extract oil. when you're closer to $100 a barrel, then it becomes viable. host: the other side of the debate is the economic impact of building the pipeline through the u.s. through six states. we have some numbers from trans- canada, which wants to build the pipeline. it estimates it will impact $585 million in state and local taxes during construction, $100 billion in economic activity
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overall -- overall -- there would be worked on the pipeline, the mechanics to do that. this is what the white house is facing in terms of the other side of the argument, and a time when there is 9% unemployment and we're talking about a double-dip recession. guest: that is one of the more difficult political aspects of this decision for the white house. we are talking about jobs. the estimates are from trans- canada and they are going to give the optimistic ones. i was talking to the president of united association, which represents pipefitters and plumbers. the numbers change but he certainly thought that there would be something like 7000
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jobs for his members. they have a membership in canada and the united states. those are significant numbers when you're facing an economic crunch. host: if you want to talk about this, call in. let's go on the democratic line to memphis, tennessee. rose, are you there? caller: thank you for taking my call. i have supported president obama. i love my president. i qualify for the weather resolution program and i know it the people were. -- what the resolution -- weatherization program and i know it works. i am so opposed to this pipeline. mr. obama, stand up to reduce said during your nomination speech that the oceans would cease to rise. we are counting on you. do not do this. host: is there enough
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alternative energy out there that the u.s. does not need to import this bitumen oil sand? guest: the analysis of the state department, in the short to medium term, they do not need the pipeline to transport the bitumen oil. but they noted a lack of mechanism to bring it down to the refineries on the cocoas. certainly in the near term, we are heavily dependent on oil imports. one of the arguments that canadians and trans-canada made is that you're not going to get the oil from us, then you will get it from venezuela, mexico, and elsewhere. would you rather take that heavy crude from somewhere else? host: a friendly country like canada or other places. guest: or libya. one of the key questions. certainly interesting what your
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caller is saying. what you're hearing from environmentalists is that obama made a pledge that he would be different on the climate. are we seeing that? host: let's go to bob from montreal, canada. caller: i have been watching this story for the last two years. in all the montreal papers. in all the montreal papers. the colleges will san or by two the colleges will san or by two minutes sands -- bituminous sands. it is more like coal. it is more accurate and it is not so politically charged. host: are you opposed to building this? opposed to using
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high carbon fuel. this pipeline is logically separate from that. it highlights the problem of oal as opposed to hydro. quebec and new brunswick are trying to export more electricity down south. quebec already has a large market in america. one of the political campaigns on may 2 that the conservative party won on, they want to help new brunswick increased their high-capacity to sell down south. you have to build more transmission capability further to the midwest, so that some of that hydro power can be used to displace coal. this is a question of high carbon verses low carbon.
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the pipeline is drawing attention to it. it could transport lower carbon oil. host: this is the argument that a lot of people outside the white house are making. talk about the protest. who is leading this? is it a few fringe groups? is it the hard hitters of the environmental movement? guest: these to the most committed climate active as. when you see the group like 350.org, the folks who say that we already have too high carbon concentration in the atmosphere and we need to get below where we are now. doubt that 350 parts per million. what you have is, people like james hansen that talks climate change for nasa, and has become a very active player in this climate debate, and just
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arrested yesterday outside the white house. some of the mainstream group's active in the debate over the pipeline are not actually protesting -- the national resources defense council, one of the heavy hitters, very committed to fighting the pipeline but do not engage in civil disobedience. you mention how it is traveling to six days. one of the ground zero of the debates is a local and regional nebraska group. it flies people out from nebraska to be arrested here at the white house. it is not necessarily the big environmental groups. but some that are focused on climate or would be affected by what is going on. host: let's get more information about the pipeline. they're going to be 300 miles in canada at and we said six
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states, $7 billion to build. one of the questions we have on twitter. tell us about that aspect of it. guest: i do not deal with the business aspects but i think it would be trans-canada owning the pipeline, and in other words, you have for example the oil refiners, bolero, shell, the folks that would be buying that crude -- or in some cases, already committed to long-term contracts, in order have that crude coming going to primarily places like port arthur, texas, where it would be refined. one of the debates that may come up, whether it would actually supply in the united states or be exported onto other places. host: this pipeline is an extension of a pipeline already in place. that is sometimes lost in this debate.
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there are 2,100 miles of pipeline already in place for the keystone project. that has cost $5.2 billion. why were there people protesting in front of the white house when that park was built? why was it only as part of the pipeline? guest: a very good question and i am not why -- sure why this has become more intense. it is the obama administration's decision, so people have different expectations of the democratic president. that is part of it. the entire climate debate has become more intense over the recent years. that is connected to it as well. this part of the pipeline is impacting more environmentally sensitive areas, including an offer in nebraska. i am worried that i will mispronounce it. i know i am saying is wrong. host: i did not know how to
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pronounce it either. let's go to mike on the republican line from florida. caller: thank you for taking my call. i want to lay down a couple of markers first. number one, you really have to be a believer in global warming and be on site of that fence to believe a lot of the other stuff coming out of your guest's mouth as far as the impact of the environment. the second thing, the other marker is that the world as a marketplace is going to migrate to the most efficient energy production. it is not win, it is not solar, it is not the foofoo things that cannot produce the btu's that drive our country. i have a couple of questions because they are always talking about the offer in the use of water. for some reason, they have no problem with using four gallons
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of water to produce a single gallon of the inefficient ethanol. out of bed by process, you create 3 gallons of toxic waste. and i would like to answer question on that. guest: on that, ethanol has become controversial. there are a lot of people who argued that it is roughly the same in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. it has these byproducts. but if you are not convinced that greenhouse gas emissions have any type of environmental impact, then there is not a reason why this would be controversy all. although there are other impacts that we see from oil sands in tar sands. if that is not something you are worried about, it becomes less controversy. host: we're talking with juliet host: we're talking with juliet eilperin , 13 years at the 2 q washington post," covering environmental issues.
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the scope to the independent line. -- let's go to the independent line. caller: these a the same people protesting in being arrested, also protested and are arrested, maybe not arrested, but they regularly protests -- we live in their rural area where there are solar project proposed, and also when the forms. the same groups oppose them. as a matter fact, they are as a matter fact, they are talking about building solar operations and eating up a lot of our farm land with them. to the topic hand, i like the focus this on fact. first, is it not correct that the safest, most environmentally desirable way to transport oil
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is by a pipeline rather than by shipboard by marine means? guest: an excellent point. it is something that trans- canada makes. it is a legitimate argument. i think your caller made a good point made. a lot of the energy sources have down sides. in terms of transportation, when you look at the record of pipelines versus putting in trucks or transporting a through other ways, there are indications that the safety record of pipelines is a good argument. host: a few facts about this pipeline on the screen. henry waxman was talking about the existing keystone pipeline. talking about some of the oil spills that have happened from existing pipelines out there.
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let's listen to him. >> in may, two spills happen on the keystone pipeline which brings oil to refineries in illinois and oklahoma. this is a brand new pipeline. it was predicted to spill more than once every seven years, but in just one year of operation, it has reported 12 separate oil spills. host: are there ongoing concerns that even though this is obviously a lot of effort to showcase the different ways they are constructing the pipeline, is there still concern? guest: there is some, and it came up in the assessment by the state department. they are up to 14 spills in the initial year. many of those bills were quite minor, not the huge oil spills that people think about. but no question that in the startup phase, they have had spills. spills. host: the democratic -- the
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ranking democrat talking about it. as go to the ceo of a pipeline company talking about pipeline safety. >> pipelines to the safest way to move petroleum products such as gasoline, jet fuel, home heating all, and propane. reminder of the strong safety may seem discordant and the aftermath of the pipeline accident but it must be kept in perspective. they are reliable and economically favorable. pipeline operators have incentive to invest in safety. host: you talk about the state department impact analysis. i heard that there were special agreements -- special conditions agreed to in the 2.5 your study. these relate to pipeline safety. what are those?
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guest: 57 special conditions, including things which are going above and beyond what the federal code would call for, including burying the pipeline deeper, including more frequent maintenance schedules, adding more valves to shut down the pike more quickly. there is no question that they agree to an things they would not have to agree to normally. some environmentalists say that they are laying the groundwork to actually transport more oil at higher pressure. it is unclear whether that what happened. happened. under some pressure, they did include additional provisions, all of which are there. host: was cut to the democratic line in florida. caller: i have not picked up on this discussion from the beginning. i do not know if juliet brought
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up an amendment by representative murphy of connecticut. i will quote parts of it. they have publicly stated that oilout keystone, canada's will be landlocked and be unable to be transported overseas. to be transported overseas. it would allow tar sands crude to the exported to china where none now exists. we're talking about a pipeline that is going to go under one of the world's largest fresh water aquifers, that provides 30% of the groundwater used for irrigation in the united states, and drinking water for millions of americans, even a small, undetected leaks from underground rupture in nebraska sand hills could pollute 5
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billion gallons of ground water. host: let's let juliet comment on that. guest: this is a really contentious point in the debate. if the united states has the pipeline, with production continuing to side? with the oil go elsewhere? host: and the greenhouse gas emissions, when they happen anyway? guest: exactly. the state department that it would happen. the oil would go to china, and the analysis that the department of energy did which was then part of basis of what the state department concluded, they are going to ship it by sea and it will get to china anyway. people might take issue with that analysis. but that certainly was a significant source of study and attention in this report. and it is a crucial question when you are deciding the matter of building the pipeline are
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not. host: bottle on the republican line. -- bob on the republican line. caller: by now we have a country debt -- that does not want nuclear energy, they do not want to drill on the shelf, the one electric cars. as i sit back and watch, we are like lunatics talking about something. i see how we are comparing this to racism. this is equal to civil rights. this is mind boggling how ridiculous this is getting. windmills do not store energy. you put one of these solar panels in a cold climate, it does not work. we should be doing everything we can to make life easier. someone will develop something along the way. this is mind-boggling.
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it is ridiculous with these people now. host: one of the arguments out there is that this is a shovel- ready project ready to create jobs, inject money into the economy. could you talk about the political the call that this puts the white house in, with the department of state saying that there would be no significant impact to the project, but the epa has more project, but the epa has more concerned about this. guest: the epa did say that they did have some concerns, and that whoa the greenhouse gas emissions would not be accounted for. now have entered a stage where the department of state has released its an environmental impact statement. now we are moving into the national interest deliberations, which are supposed to take 90 days. your caller is expressing the
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disinterest that many are expressing. why are we not taking this energy when we can? certainly, no one can argue that it will not create jobs. it will create a significant short-term to the economy, and long term. obviously, other energy ventures could also create jobs, but now that the administration is looking at the national interest, they need to see whether this is going to make our energy supply more secure, and they have to take into account the economic impact of building a pipeline. host: the economic impact of building a pipeline, does this fit into epa concerns about regulations on the pipeline? guest: in the rhetoric, republicans will talk about that. the president has talked about jobs. how could he possibly think about rejecting this option?
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this is part of an interagency consultation process involving eight agencies. epa will not be the one that has the final call. in that sense, it will not be an obvious target for lawmakers. host: where will the final decision comes from, even though it is technically in the president's hands? guest: technically, there is a debate about whether hillary clinton would make the announcement, or her number two. but there is no question there should be a decision by the end of the year. the president will have to weigh-in himself and with his advisers. host: let us go to jim. fort lauderdale. democrat's line -- independent line. caller: as an independent
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thinker, i'm kind of torn about this issue. we have these things going on, bigger and bigger storms, the earthquake on the east coast the last week. there are a lot of things happening with the planet that nobody can predict. one thing that is frustrating and disappointing for me, she had mentioned 500 people were prepared to be arrested protesting this pipeline from going through, but my frustration is, there are so many smart and educated environmentalists. why are they not coming up with a plan? we have this avenue to create energy. the other thing everyone needs to remember is the oil pipeline does not just the way to fill in your car with gas. we rely on petroleum products to manufacture and do a whole bunch
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of things. if we did not have oil, we would not be able to get by in life. guest: i think there are two points that the caller is making. environmentalists do hold up signs in front of the white house saying windmills, not oil spill. as you pointed out, renewable have certain impact as well and take up space. there is a cost analysis that has to be done on all of these things. your caller also makes a very good point. i did not realize the extent to which the drilling was used for the chemical industry, or other manufacturing industries. that is why you have a member of the industry's lobbying in favor of this pipeline, because it affects their bottom line. host: from the canadian government has produced a report which determined the pipeline would raise gas prices in the
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u.s., especially those areas that the pipeline would go through. could you comment on that? guest: i am not familiar with that specific report. there has been a lot of debate on how this will affect our domestic gas prices, -- for example, this heavy crude, is it refined and shipped overseas and not even used in the united states? is it used because of the way that the way pipelines are now, canadians cannot make as much money right now in the midwest? there are a lot of intensive economic debates on it, and those may not be the final designers on what we do. host: a question on the twitter from cspanjunkie. have there been any thought about changing the route at this
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pipe goes through? guest: air has been a lot of talk about that. this is a critical are prefer that provides a huge amount of drinking water in the region. the state department, in its assessment, said that the third alternative would be the route as opposed with minor modifications and that you would not see a significant shift in of route, which is something that even republican senator johanns had been calling for. host: next phone call. dan in oklahoma. caller: i had relatives who work in the refineries in oklahoma. i recall, growing up, it was like a super fund site with all of the oil development. one of the arguments -- actually, i was protesting in front of the white house, too.
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i was there on day 3. one of the point that people make is we need oil, oil is getting expensive, we seem to be willing to do anything to keep oil at low rates, such as going to war with other countries. it seems that we are trying to come from the other end. where is that the line we are going to draw? do you think that is part of the argument, trying to get america to draw the line by which they will go no further? guest: that is exactly the argument that some of the environmentalists are making. what are you not willing to do to produce oil domestically? this has come up in the context of offshore drilling, in light of the bp oil spill. ultimately, that is a question that the administration will need to decide.
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interestingly, was not the central question in this environmental impact statement. host: and the president has a goal to cut imports from foreign countries by a third 2025? guest: this will not necessarily affect us. this will not boost our domestic supply. it is just a question of where it comes from. host: vary from franklin, tenn.. independent line. caller: so many people have called in with great suggestions. i own fidelity canada mutual- fund, and another mutual-fund. there are enough people out there who own these funds. sell them. the only thing that these oil companies, and our government, are interested in is money. are interested in is money. if we sell those of mutual-fund
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-- those mutual funds, it takes some money out of their pockets. host: john in nebraska. caller: i am a democrat unionist. there are hundreds of thousands of men who are out of work who need these jobs. how are you going to get this economy going if you do not have jobs? have jobs? why can you see this? this economy is going nowhere unless people get to work. guest: i think that is interesting, coming from nebraska, where all of this is going on. i have talked to men and women like kim who have said -- and these are high-paying jobs. these are not low paying jobs. there is no question, there is a
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push from a significant constituency, whether you're talking about where the pipeline is, or nationwide. you have a pretty intense battle on both sides. host: republican line. dan from ohio. dan from ohio. caller: this is pretty typical from the democratic party. when it impacts the poor, you have to pay high prices at the pump. we have to get priorities together in this country to get as much of the energy as possible together. you cannot live off a windmill turning because it does not produce enough energy. the thing about renewable, it is not renewable to create ethanol.
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it takes massive amount of coal to coke that corn in order to get some energy out of it. it is a scam. host: next phone call. arizona. caller: thank you for taking my call. i had heard this tar sands oil takes 3 barrels a lot of water for every barrel of oil produced, and have a barrel of energy. i think that the only people that will profit our oil companies. and they probably will ship it down to texas and send it off to china. we are not going to benefit from this. host: john on the independent line. louisiana. caller: what astounds me, i am surprised the market has not forced the issue here.
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considering the marcellus shale, there is a large fine of oil in ohio, and deep drilling. it is cheaper than doing the oil sands recovery. guest: you make an interesting point. while oil and gas to compete with each other, there are certain things that you would use heavy crude for which you would not use natural gas for. what is interesting, when everyone is debating the economic impact of this, we are talking about global markets that compete with each other. as natural gas is cheaper, that does somewhat reduce the demand for other energies, but there is a also -- there is also a debate from natural gas about hydraulic fracking. there is a separate contentious debate over that issue. debate over that issue. host: over the keystone xl
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pipeline, give us the end game here. there is supposed to be a decision by the end of the year. there is a big protest planned on saturday in front of the white house. where are the places that they can stop this, where is transcanada looking to make sure that they can move ahead on this? guest: certainly, the conclusion that the secretary of state banks. at the end of the day, -- shmay say it will need to be before the end of the year. they are going to have listening sessions. maybe more than half a dozen. more than half a dozen cities, including places along the pipeline route. they will also have one session in d.c.
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then they will make the decision. there are some other things that have to be decided. there are water permits the need to be granted in texas. nebraska has talked about imposing certain restrictions on transcanada that could have an impact. but no question, it is really whether or not to grant the pipeline on the federal level. host: there is a lot more to talk about this, but i want to thank juliet eilperin for being our guest today. up next, we kick off a series looking at the government's role in weather-related disaster response. first, an update from c-span radio. >> more on the situation in libya this morning and from nato spokesperson colonel lavois. he says nato possible in the
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bill will continue as long as citizens are under threat, although the area around the capital are, in his words, is essentially free. he added libya's warring sides are now involved in discussions. meanwhile, rebels are demanding the return of muammar gaddafi's family. the rebels say that his wife, daughter, and two sons should stand trial. stand trial. the rebels have called the syrian decision to host the family an interesting decision. here in washington, congress is preparing to return to work next week, but one bill is being introduced today and by the chair of the foreign house affairs committee. the legislation would force major changes at the imaginations. when when the adoption of a voluntary budget model where countries selectively fund certain agencies, as opposed to
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a set formula. the u.s. pays 22% of the united nations begin our operating budget and is assessed 70% of the peacekeeping budget. those totaled nearly $3.5 billion in 2010.
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♪ watch more video of the candidates. track campaign contributions with c-span's campaign 2012. it helps you navigate the political landscape with twittered feeds and facebook updates, a candidate bios, and the latest plans to media partners in the early caucus states. c-span.org/campaign2012. every weekend, it is american history tv. watch personal interviews about historic events on oral history.
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revisit key figures, battles, and events during the 150th anniversary of the civil war. visit college conference room across the country during lectures. so across the country with american artifacts. get our complete schedule at c- span.org/history. host: today is day one of the four-day series looking and when the government's role -- looking at the garden's role. on thursday, the role of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. the administrator will be with
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us on thursday. on friday, role of the national weather service and director of the nws. today, the topic is disaster preparedness. michael greenberger is the director for the health and homeland security at the university of maryland. thank you for being part of our series. there are three phases to repair ms. and response. there is the recovery, response, and prepared ness. who is on the front lines of recovery? >> for all of those phases, it is important to emphasize, it is the knowledge throughout all federal and state levels, all problems that arise from whether catastrophes, any other human catastrophe, like an influenza, or terror attack, the first line response is the local level. then you go to the state, and if
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needed, the federal government comes in. in extreme emergencies, they may need to take are the eminent -- over the management. in any of these subjects. so what you're seeing now is a lot of secondary impact from the hurricane. people thought that the biggest problems would be the wind and the ocean search. what we are seeing now is inland flooding from north carolina, virginia, maryland, up to vermont. vermont has had the worst flooding in 83 years. they have to respond to the secondary impacts' and deal with getting people out of harm's way, and secondly, when people get back in their houses, helping them get situated. electricity is a real big problem. there are hundreds of thousands of outages on the east coast.
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medical care. there needs to be a purpose and medical care for those injured. host: who frames the situation for these emergency responders? guest: there is money that is found along the way the federal gorman has had huge resources in terms of training. my center, made up of professionals, not the government, but we enter into contracts with parts of the government, including fema, to train state and local officials in all of these phases. preparation, response, and recovery. so in the past, there has been a lot of federal money. a lot of that money is being used by the preparedness, response, and recovery from the past few days. right now, there is a terrific
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worry that there is no money suitable to back this up. for example, in recovery, one of the biggest role as the government place, if the president declares an emergency in the state, the government is supposed to come in under the stafford act to provide financial resources to help in the recovery and to put businesses and people back to where they were before the disaster. that fund is now down to $1 billion. billion. this incident, the early estimates are $12 billion of damage. the government plays a big role there. like everything else, shortage of funding is a problem. host: here is the "new york daily news." $17 billion in total estimated damages. $5 billion in the wind damage along.
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this is a federal bill when it comes to recovery? guest: not a complete federal bill. the template is 75% federal, 25% state and local. the federal coverage is there. there will end of being a big fight. everyone agrees there should be funding. but house republicans have laid down a marker. we will give people funding for damage and recovery, but it has to come out of something else. the candidate is usually medicare, social security, and that provokes a fight. hurricane katrina, the landmark event in 2005, was over $100 billion in damages, and the federal government was able to come through and try the best they could to put things together.
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now we are down to $1 billion. host: here is "the baltimore sun." as you said, there is a battle in congress over how to fund this as well. this is "the washington times." the house approved a bill with $2.65 billion for disaster relief funds. but senate democrats have not passed the measure. let us now talk about response. who are the responders? first responders, police, federal workers --
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guest: let us make that clear. there is an overall national response framework promulgated by the government that outlined the organizational structure for how these catastrophic events will be responded to. the major template, that all catastrophes will be handled at the most local level that they will be the most competent they dealt with, so the first line is localities, cities, townships, using their fire, police, emergency medical technicians, medical workers. they are the first line of defense. host: who pays their salaries? guest: local jurisdictions. host: and for training? guest: yes, although, some of that training, fema has
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conducted a lot of that training. but now we are seeing money cut. most people, while there are complaints about individual strategies, most people have been very pleased with the response. the first line of response are anlice, fire, emt's, emergency operation in each jurisdiction. the county and the mayor, they all take charge of that. they are backed up by the state emergency management agency. they come and help orchestrate. when you have a hurricane situation, you have many things going on all over the state. someone needs to have a centralized organization. in virginia, you have a
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virginia-wide operations center. in maryland, md.-wide. they are helping to coordinate and provide resources to the localities. but we have seen is fema making but we have seen is fema making available supply, linens, whatever is needed for cleanup. so you have these three levels, but the front line defenders are the localities, backed up by the state. they are using their own money. if the president declares a federal emergency, federal money comes in. right now, federal money is quite low. joplin, missouri was hit by a tornado. they are going to stand back and not give them the resources that they need to the state of missouri to help with hurricane irene. this is the hidden underbelly of the problem.
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there is no money to help people get back on their feet. the president needs to declare an emergency disaster. those are the two buzzwords. that entitles states and localities to different types of resources from the government. we have had, in the last few years, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes. we just had an earthquake just before irene. every time that happens, the governor of the state makes a plea to the federal government, this is an emergency that goes beyond our resources and we need help. historically, the federal government has stepped up to back up these local jurisdictions. right now, because of the recession, localities and states did not have enough revenues, and now we find out that the federal government does not have enough revenues.
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host: michael greenberger, the director at the university of maryland health and homeland security center. we are looking over the preparedness, recovery, and response to disasters. guest: after 9/11, the principal focus in crisis management was terror attacks. those are called man-made catastrophic instances. after katrina, there was an academic decision made that we cannot just focus on terror attacks. attacks. we also have to focus on katrina situations, hurricanes, wild fires, earthquakes. the government decided that many of the same per territory resources and response resources that are needed to prepare for a
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terrorist attack could also be used to prepare for a hurricane. mayor bloomberg made the point that if there was a terror attack in the city, he would have to evacuate certain people. in the hurricane, he may have to evacuate people. they may have to shut down the metro in a terror attack. they did that in the hurricane. it is all about preparation. a lot of the thing that you prepare for a hurricane are a lot of the things that you would prepare for a terror attack. host: we are dividing up the phones of interest -- the phone lines a bit differently. the phone lines are on the screen. kay from peking, south carolina. caller: i have a question for your guest. he just made a statement that there was so much money spent in
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louisiana after katrina, but louisiana looks the same. the only thing that was fixed up was the tourist sections, the french market. i do not understand why we, the poor people, have to keep on struggling to make ends meet every day, when they could take some of this money that these rich people have stolen from us and use that. guest: that is a good point and raises a good question. each of these bases are intricately involved. the problem in new orleans and louisiana was that the preparation and response were disastrously understaffed, under resource. you ended up with such a bad
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situation, so little preparation, so little response, that when you get to the recovery phase, there is little that you can do. if he did not set up the predicates for this sort of stuff, there will not be many things to recover at a recent -- reasonable expense. you also make a good point. our findings in the field in many jurisdictions is that there is not enough attention paid to of vulnerable populations. the poor, non-english speaking, the elderly, children. the squeaky wheel gets the grease. usually, it may be the will appear parts of the jurisdiction that get too much of the money in return. that may have happened in louisiana. i do know that this is a very
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strong focus of attention and i think it will be less likely to find this kind of inequality in the recovery experience. but basically, what we have to worry most about now is not how we divide the pie, but weather is a pie to bring about the kind of recovery that there -- that will be needed from the many people impacted by the hurricane, prior earthquake, and from the beginning of hurricane season. no telling how many events we will have to deal with. there will be bickering over whether the money should be appropriated over this, whether tax revenues should be increased to deal with this problem, whether other program like medicare and social security should be cut to pay for this. this is something that the viewers should be watching for. host: a comment from maverick on our twitter page.
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going on to chris in charleston, south carolina. caller: i am curious. i would think they would have a way to allocate funds to the victims. hurricane katrina, more than 1000 people. in this recent hurricane, 20 people. it would seem that there is a scale of the more victims, the more money allocated. i had also heard, when katrina was here, this woman from new york said that the reason we are so devastated by hurricanes is because we are too simple to move away from the coast lines. i wonder if this last hurricane made people living in new york city move away from the coastline?
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guest: and the irony now is, in the after effects, n.y., off pretty lightly, but upstate new york, inland, unexpectedly, has serious flooding, series power outages. vermont, for example, prior to the hurricane, the president made declarations of emergencies as a predicate to funding. so far as i can see, not vermont. it was not expected that they would have this damage. he has now declared eight emergency -- an emergency in vermont. the state that seem to be most affected by this, north carolina, virginia, and surprisingly, vermont has gotten hit heavily. you never know in these situations, even with the best science, the exact impact of
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this. we are now finding that flooding in land was worse than expected -- than what was expected on the coast. funding is supposed to go to people who experienced damage. it is not only loss of life. you are right, there were 1300 casualties in katrina. so far, this number is 40. i am sure it will be higher. but the sweep of this hurricane was much broader, cover more territory. people lost their homes, possessions. there are businesses that are down. traditionally, going back to 1974, it has been the federal government who has stepped in as the insurer of last resort to get people up and running. that has been a non-partisan program that presidents of both parties have supported. now there is no money in the coffers, as far as i can see, to
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deal with the extensive damage, and we are already in recession. if these businesses cannot get back up and running, more people are going to lose jobs and there will be more dislocation. so i am hoping on a non-partisan basis there will be no departure from the standard operation. the government's role has been to back up state and locals and put people back in the condition they were in before the disaster happened. host: "the washington post" notes of the 130 billion approves and 1990, 110 billion came as supplemental emergency spending. david in maryland. good morning. caller: you have mentioned the lack of revenue. it is interesting, the hypocrisy of the anti-tax people. of the anti-tax people. it just seems like there is a
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lack of tax revenue that is being pushed by the anti-tax people. host: let us talk about preparedness. how does the government decide what is critical, what they need to protect? guest: first of all, that question raises a highly technical point. the government is worried about what is called critical infrastructure. they have a focus on protecting critical infrastructure. what is critical infrastructure? bridges, tunnels, subway systems, road systems, the electrical grid, and now we are even worried about our cybersecurity.
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not only natural disasters, the technology aspects of running our day to day life coming into jeopardy from loss of power, but cybersecurity is a concern in terms of terrorists attacking our cyber networks. these are the kinds of things that we are focused on. dams is also a big consideration. assessments are made at all levels of government about what is critical infrastructure and how it will be protected during an emergency. another preparation that is done at the behest of state, local, federal government, is so-called continuity of operations. our center had been involved in advising state and local governments on continuity of operations. what does that mean? for example, in new orleans, the police headquarters got flooded out they called us up and said,
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do you have a plan that we can use? well, you cannot do it after the event. the preferred way to deal with things is for governmental institutions -- schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure -- to spend time in advance deciding if your infrastructure is debilitated, whether for a terror attack, hurricane, tornado, that you have a plan in place to move out of your facility and get up and running in 12 hours to carry out your functions. we saw in this hurricane a lot of emergency operations centers disabled. emergency operation centers are like war rooms that local government uses to manage the crisis. many local emergency operation centers were flooded out. some of them had plans, some did not. for those who did not, fema led
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the locals and others use of federal buildings to do their emergency operations management from. the same is true for hospitals. what if a hospital is blown up or a buyer takes place? for certification purposes, a hospital needs a plan of how they will move patients, get up and running within 12 hours. in the business sector, it is called business continuity planning. that is an important aspect of preparing for disaster. host: a question for you -- guest: no, i am sorry, i do not have information. host: mari, in miami. caller: in 2005, when katrina happened, the mayor and the
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governor of louisiana were both democrats. there was so much confusion. do not cut me off. this man, all he does is talk too much. he is making excuses for the democrats and doing nothing. guest: well, one thing i'm proud about, normally, the merc and to prepare this response is a bipartisan issue. -- emergency preparedness response is a bipartisan issue. here we have the republican governor in virginia, democratic governor of maryland, democratic governor of the city. my view is you could not tell a different by virtue of their party. all three were at the helm working hard and doing things correctly. the same is true for new jersey. you have the republican gov.
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christie who got hall -- who got high remarks. in new york, you have mayor bloomberg and governor cuomo. these are not partisan issues. the question is, did the emergency response plan work or did not work? in the katrina situation, you had democratic locals and a republican administration. federal administration. everyone agrees, not for lack of training, but for other reasons, things did not get done. the irene situation demonstrates that lesson have been learned from prior catastrophes and we are operating, not on perfection, but as well as human beings can operate to respond to these emergencies. host: ed is in fort lauderdale.
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caller: if you are looking to find money, look for a republican and congressmen to say the words "off for tax shelter" or "corporate welfare." once you can find somebody to address those, you will find the money. host: next phone call. you are on the air with michael greenberger. caller: thank you for taking my comment. ron paul was talking about fema the other day, you know, the great things that they have done in new orleans, how they are in a bit of financial trouble. could you elaborate on this? he was talking about how each individual should take responsibility.
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caller: that is eight -- guest: that is a very good question. congressman paul called into question the response with these emergencies. governor perry, who is now the front-runner for the gop nomination stated a template role that i have no big but -- no objection to. in fact, is the mantra of emergency response. states and local need to take the first initiative, but you need the government to back these people up. besides the funding that the government provides, fema was all over the place. 18 incident response teams all over the east coast helping locals deal with this hurricane. they found food, water, other medical supplies that were short in the state and locals and backed them up with it. many state and local emergency
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operation centers were flooded out. fema found alternate locations for them. on a non-partisan basis, everybody agrees there must be a federal presence, but in the first instance, is state and locals that respond. the problem is, when you get an horrific situation like hurricane katrina or hurricane irene, a state local resources, even in the best of times, do not have the money to deal with these problems. up until recently, this worked effectively. through our taxes, we would pitch in. as a emergencies arose, the u.s., as a collective people, would support the people who experienced these emergencies. loss of house, business, loss of life, medical injury. it is not so much a gesture of charity. the problem we are seeing since
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1985, aside from terror attacks, there are catastrophic episodes all over the country. wild fires in california. tornadoes in the midwest. missouri was ravaged completely, is a prime example. earthquake in virginia. the earthquake -- the east coast is hit by hurricane irene. if the american people do not back up state and local governments, people who are flooded out will just be left to their own devices. our economy is not in great shape right now. if we cannot bring these businesses back to life and keep their employees working and put people back in their homes, we will all suffer from the economic downturn. host: michael greenberger is the director of the university of maryland health and homeland security center. discussing disaster emergency preparedness and response.
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we are dividing up the telephone lines a little bit differently. we will go to darwin, college park, maryland. caller: thank you for taking my call. where is the involvement of the private sector? we buy homeowner's insurance, life insurance, auto insurance. i understand when you have catastrophic events, local, state, federal government get involved. but where is the involvement of the private sector? we are all paying for insurance. how does that come into play when these things happen? what is the obligation of the local and state government, when it comes to providing a fund for these catastrophic events? we do not have money nowadays, but is there a requirement where there needs to be a certain amount in that pot to prepare
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were these events? host: we spoke to the president of the insurance information institute, about natural disasters. if you missed that, go to our website, c-span.org. guest: i would also add, a leading insurance assigned, my center has been involved in developing a memorandum of understanding between state and local institutions and the private sector, especially retailers. we just finished a project where we had 22 national retailers to agree to provide services during a catastrophic emergency. wal-mart, target, sears, petco, you name it. for purposes of the mid-atlantic region, under a permit -- direction of fema, in an emergency, they will provide supplies. i would expect those memoranda
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developed by our center in the mid-atlantic states will be found to have been helpful in the circumstances. i toured target's emergency center in maryland. it is a sophisticated center. certainly, they are worried about keeping their businesses up and running, but they are also worried about providing supplies to the public in these emergencies. so i think the private sector certainly has the potential. certainly, in the mid-atlantic states we found it to be helpful. the second question with local governments and setting aside funding. yes, they set aside funding. however, all of the country, state governments are in distress. revenues are down. there is a hesitancy to tax people more. let us leave emergencies to the side. in many jurisdictions, police cannot work overtime, fire
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stations are being closed. there is not adequate hiring. , and emerged to technicians are not adequately staffed. when you come to an emergency, we are asking these people to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, are not properly compensated, and they are under- staffed and under-resources. you see all this of women that is being used for water rescue to get to people who are isolated, to fix bridges, roads. the federal government has generally helped states and local to do that. if that money stopped coming five years from now, you will see there will not be all of these water rescues, the ability to get to these people who are isolated, because there will simply not be the staff or equipment. host: fema has 60,000 employees
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nationwide. headquartered in washington, d.c., with 10 regional offices. -- just over 7000 employees. robert in springfield, virginia. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. you just recently talked about agreements, an moa, that your center helped to put together to support the local economy. is that something that should be funds and be based on preparedness established at all local level, whether or not it has been done or not? guest: those are two interesting
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questions. this concept of developing public-private partnerships is a novel concept. it was decided, by the state of maryland, taking the lead, pennsylvania, virginia, d.c., the mid-atlantic region, that they would start a formal program which costs little money to create a memorandum of understanding where the private sector would help the public sector in times of dire distress. we were told if we could get two or three of these agreements with private retailers in one year, we would be doing great. we got over 20. for many different reasons, possibly selfish, but also good spirited, the private sector is willing to chip in and help the public in dire emergencies. secondly, i talked about critical infrastructure. 85% of the critical infrastructure is owned by
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private. chemical plants, biological plants, nuclear reactors. they are called upon to do their own planning to be sure that those incidents are secure. i think we have done a good job doing that. i do not think we have done nearly enough yet to make sure nearly enough yet to make sure that chemical plants are properly prepared to not be an addition to a problem during a catastrophic event. i forgot the second question. host: i am drawing a blank as well. here is a free lancer with his tweet -- where does nuclear fit into your work? guest: i think this raises the issue that i had forgotten. as a condition of getting federal money, states and localities have to demonstrate they are in compliance with these requirements. that they have continuity of
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operation plans. then they know how to manage a crisis, incident command system. also, as parting -- part of getting money, states and localities have to show that their private constituents are making an effort to shore up these nuclear, chemical facilities, what have you. we have seen, for example, in the earthquake, a power plant on the eastern shore was shut down during the earthquake. the japanese situation demonstrates, the people thought that the japanese were leading in protecting their facilities, but of course, their major facility had a very serious meltdown. so there is a lot of thought being given to this, but this is an area that we need to focus on more and push through more. there are so many things that need to be worried about. evacuating the elderly and sick from hospitals and retirement homes that may be flooded.
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corn of transportation systems, tunnels. there is a lot of work to be done here and there is very little money. my own view is, across the country, on a non-partisan basis, different states and localities are doing the best they can under dire circumstances. i think that showed up in the response to hurricane irene. host: that brings up the urban areas security initiative. how does that being funded? guest: the uasi initiative came about in the wake of 9/11 attacks. the government decided it would supply urban areas with supply urban areas with resources to increase staffing, training, increase adequate equipment to deal, first, with terrorist attacks, now, with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. it has been somewhat criticized,
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but basically, people have felt -- on a non-partisan basis -- that this has worked effectively to the shore up jurisdiction within the united states metropolitan areas. there were 61 uasis but now there are 31. the expectation is that will be reduced to 10 in future budget cuts. cities like baltimore, new orleans, richmond, will be cut off from this funding. i think it is penny wise and pound foolish. i hope when people see how important the government response is at all levels in these emergencies, and they will tell their representatives, at all levels, we must find a corporate funding to get our cities and surrounding jurisdictions in shape to do the
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kinds of things that we saw over the weekend. what we saw over the weekend was the 61 jurisdictions at work. it will be cut to 30, and then to attack -- 10. host: what is the role of the public in this issue? guest: people need to insist with their elected representatives that at all levels, emergency response is a priority. when you have an earthquake, there is no such thing as a gated community. everybody should pitch in and make sure that police, fire, emergency medical technicians, the emergency response operatives are properly funded and the government has a reserve for to help people who are adversely impacted. the second point

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