tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN September 26, 2011 8:00pm-1:00am EDT
philadelphia. -- for an interview at the national constitution center in philadelphia. then former president jimmy .arter and his wife, rosalynn and later, sarah bluhm laskin from the federal reserve. >> get rid hither updates with the c-span on twitter. the get tweets once an hour. it is easy to sign up, just go to twitter.com/c-spannow. >> now i conversation with former defense secretary robert gates on the future of the u.s. military. mr. daetz stepped down as defense secretary last summer after serving both presidents bush and obama. he was in philadelphia last week and received the national
constitution center's 2011 liberty medal at this event. it is one hour. >> thank you, alison. welcome. it is such a pleasure and honor, secretary gates, to have you here at the 2011 ceremony. you are such a great recipient. we have a great group of folks here. a lot of the folks in this room are some of our strongest supporters. we have board members here as well. i know that we have some great young folks from the regional rotc programs. i will point that some of the questions that i have been getting. i was thinking to my loved to renew a around the constitution center. -- i was thinking, i loved touring around the constitution center. i can tell that you feel pretty at home in a place that is all
about trying to make the constitution more accessible to people. is that true? >> absolutely. at one of my concerns is, frankly, the relatively poor quality of history and -- the teaching of history and civics in public schools. if there is any area where our students are more efficient than in math and science, it is actually in history -- more the efficient than in napa and science, it is actually in history -- more deficient than in math and science, it is action in history. this is an incredibly worthwhile activity. >> thank you. we know that the military is an
important piece of the consultation -- constitution. and you have watched it changed for several decades. in what ways do you think we will see it continue to change in the next decade, in the next 30 years? >> partly, that will depend on the citizens that are made on the budget -- the decisions that are made on the budget. they may not have the budget to change anything. but if the cuts that have been proposed by the president are the level that over the next 10 years is ultimately agreed, then i think we can manage to modernize, although the force will inevitably be smaller. but i think the key thing about our military going forward iis n the greater range of challenges they will face in the years ahead.
our forces are basically -- when we went into iraq and afghanistan, our forces, fundamentally, were those that have been designed to deal with the soviet union. large land formations, large armored formations, very sophisticated fighters and bombers. and we found ourselves in a very different kind of conflict. the truth of the matter is, ever since the beginning of vietnam, we have found ourselves in a very different kind of conflict than the one our forces were designed for. what we learned about counterinsurgency, for example, in vietnam, was lost after vietnam was over because our services wanted to refer back to their comfort zone of these big formations and the idea of planning for large-scale, conventional conflict. but what we now know is, we will
face a range of conflicts against a range of different kinds of enemies, or adversaries, that have different kinds of capabilities. my mantra as secretary was to have the most flexible and versatile possible military. to address the broadest possible range of conflict, and particularly in a time of budget constraints, to be extraordinarily careful about niche capabilities, about buying weapons and weapons systems that can only be used in one scenario against one adversary. we need things that can be used across the board, and his versatility and flexibility needs to be, i think, the underpinning of our military as we look ahead another 20 years. because we will have a peer like china -- china is not going to
try to match us tank for tank and ship for ship like the soviet union. they are smart and they saw what that did to the soviet union, and they are not doing that. instead, they are picking and vulnerabilities -- capabilities that, at our vulnerability. so, cyber, highly sophisticated cruise missiles and ballistics, anti-satellite capability. here is a sophisticated and wealthy near here that will come at us in a different way. at the same time, hezbollah will come at us with as many rockets as it has. here is an outfit that does not even have a country or a state, but has some sophisticated capabilities. they, too, will have some cyber capabilities. we need to be ready for this range of conflict as we look
ahead. and i would just make one final point on this, our record since the vietnam of predicting where we would use military force six months or 12 months from now is perfect. we have never, ever gotten it right ones. -- once. [laughter] we live in a very unpredictable world, and therefore, to structure our forces against one particular adversary would be a great mistake. >> and how far are we in the evolution of get enough flexibility today? is this a full 100% change or an incremental change that we need to move forward with? >> the biggest change that needs to take place is in the minds of our military leaders, and i think that change is very far along. i am an old kremlin-ologist, so
i believe in placing people to do things. and a big institution can always defeat one leader, but never five or six. for example, we now have general dempsey as chief of staff of the army. we have general odierno as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff -- as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, rather appeared general loevner -- rather. general odierno in iraq. what i have tried to do is feed it to route army leadership people with iraqi and afghan experience people who know the wars we have been and who have been in combat. a lot of people will say, you just want to fight today's wars. you are not giving enough attention to future wars. my argument to that is, i have
every confidence that the defense industries, the congress, and the services themselves will protect the high-end capabilities because that is where the dollars are. the f-35 will be funded, the aircraft carriers will be funded, a new bomber will be funded. what i want to make sure is that we do not forget what we have learned in iraq and afghanistan, and in fact, while you are projecting those high-end capabilities, you do not neglect the other capabilities, which, in fact, were neglected after vietnam. >> you have mentioned several important changes inside the military during your service. one of the ones that a lot of us paid attention to was embedded journalists. what are some of the upside, downsides of the changes you have made today? >> i will not take credit or blame for that.
and actually, the first time they tried to deal with that was in the first gulf war. i would point out one good thing and one not so good thing resulting from and that it reporters. the good thing is, a wide array of journalists have had firsthand exposure to the incredible young men and women in our military. i have yet to find a reporter who has been embedded who does not come away absolutely awes truck by the quality of the people in our military, however subtle they are, how adaptable, you can have a young at work in theho is morning, leading in the
afternoon and during a host of projects. reporters half come away with a very positive attitude toward our military, those who have been indicted. the problem, though, with an embedded reporter is that it is like watching the war through a soda straw. they get a very limited perspective. when you read an article on the front page, it is the platoon -- if the platoon that they were with that day had a good day, the war is going well. and if the platoon had a terrible day, we are losing. is theblem with an embedde lack of perspective and the lack of a broader view of what is going on, on the battlefield. >> looking back five decades that your public service, is there anything you are
particularly proud of? what comes first to your mind? >> well, i was often asked what i was on my farewell tour what i wanted for my legacy, what i thought was most important. and i said, you know, the thing that matters most to me is that those young men and women on the battlefield knew that they had a secretary of defense who would do anything and spend anything to give them what they needed to be successful on the battlefield and to come home safe, and if not safe, to give them the best medical care in the world. and if those troops out there felt that way, that was all i wanted. >> that sounds like a terrific said way to letting some of our r.o.t.c. -- a terrific segue to letting some of our rotc members
ask some questions. >> mr. secretary, thank you. i was involved as a counterinsurgency officer in the infantry in 1968 in vietnam. in recent interviews you said we got it wrong in vietnam and wrong in be -- in iraq before we got it right in vietnam and in iraq. i would like your perspective, we got wrong and how we got it right in both countries. -- on how we got it wrong and how we got it right in both customecountries. >> i am less of an expert in vietnam, and partly from my memory is not that good. [laughter] but i will say, in afghanistan for example, -- in iraq, we tried to -- just leaving aside
how we got there and so on, but in iraq we tried to shift the responsibility for security to the iraqi forces before they were ready. before they were able to handle it, and when the level of domestic violence spun out of control, we still thought we could turn it over to them. this is what the surgeon reversed. in terms of having enough boots -- what the surge reversed. in terms of having enough food on the ground and that having an umbrella of security, then the political reconciliation could begin. they still a long way to go, but in the year that it took to form an iraqi government, the key, that i did not see much comment on was that they were talking to each other, not shooting at each other, in contrast to 2005 and 2006. in afghanistan, again, i think
we tried to much in the way of conventional forces, in terms of not having -- the other piece of the baghdad strategy that made a huge difference was getting our troops out of the in kamins and living among the people. that made a difference also in vietnam, and living among the people, and giving them the confidence that we were there, and providing support, that they had a 91 if they got in trouble. this is what baghdad had in the joint center's all through baghdad, and it is happening in afghanistan. the downside in afghanistan is that as we have increased foot patrols and with the troops out among the populace, it has made them more invulnerable to the ied's. we had vehicles that protected
them in 2007 while they are on the road and on the way to their patrol, but once you are on foot, you are much more vulnerable to these i.d.'s. but -- these five e d's. but the key in all three situations is that you had to provide security and that meant getting out among the populace. >> we have some questions from twitter. >> the first question comes from brian. he asks, obama urged palestinians to abandon a state would vote. should the u.s. take a role in multinationals like the u.n. and nato? >> the first, i think we have the leadership role in nato. and i think we have one of the leadership roles in the united nations. i would say on the palestinian vote, i am sorry of the ultimate realist, if you will. the question i asked is, does a
unilateral action with respect to statehood advance the cause of peace, or deterred? and my judgment would be that it deters it. we could spend the whole afternoon on the is million -- the israeli-palestinian conflict. i was the for secretary of defense to visit ramallah last year and meet with the palestinian prime minister. i have known that -- netanyahu's since he was deputy foreign minister in 1990. and i have known the minister of defense, ehud barak, since he was the chief of staff when i was the director of the cia. i have known these players and been in this game a while. i was with president carter when he was at the camp david talks and reached at peace. the one thing i have noted is that the big steps toward peace between israel and the arabs, in
both cases were there have been major steps forward, have been under very conservative israeli prime ministers, first under menachem begin, and under prime minister shamir. and i believe advances were made under prime minister sharon before. and i believe what we all have to think about, when we think about the palestinian state, are you talking about the west bank where the palestinian authority actually has some authority, where their security services have been trained by the united states and others and work closely with the israelis and where there is a pretty good relationship? or are you talking aboutthe gazan palestinians controlled by
hamas that want the destruction of israel? which palestinians does the resolution are present? i think that is the challenge. i think there has been a bandwagon effect in the u.n. of everyone wanting to sign up for this resolution without really thinking through the implications of it. that said, the reality is, we need to be very aggressive in this peace process between the palestinians and the israelis. every president that i have worked for has been angry at israel over the settlements. and has tried to get the israelis to stop the settlements, because with each new settlement, getting an agreement on borders and everything else becomes more difficult. this is a tough situation. israel is essentially alone in
the region. they look at egypt, which was a staunch partner in peace at least, not an ally, but a partner in peace. but since last spring, they have seen their embassy sacked in cairo and so on. but israel has done some things that were not too smart either. they alienated the turks, who were i strongly allied. they incredibly foolishly assassinated a hamas leader in the uae, and out was a friend in the region. they have made some tactical moves that were not in their own interest and they have isolated themselves. i think there needs to be a very frank conversation about this whole process and how we move it forward. there is no doubt in my mind, because i look back to camp david, and even back to the yom kippurs after the on kapoo
war and there has never been peace without the united states in the middle of it, and we have to figure out our role going forward. >> this is cadet third class david miller from west chester university. >> you took over in 2005 from mr. rumsfeld and in the middle of a decidedly unpopular war. what did you per -- where did you set out doing? what did they one and week one look like for you? >> happily, it was 2006. [laughter] there were several things that were at the top of my agenda that i felt i needed to deal with. as i said at the time, my agenda is iraq, iraq, and iraq. so, getting iraq in a better
place was my highest priority. the involved appointing general patraeus and recommending him to the president to be the new commander, and then implementing the search decision and giving the group -- surge decision and getting the troops into baghdad as quickly as possible. the second thing was improving the military relationship, which by all accounts -- and i was not in washington, happily, so i did not know first hand, but it had become quite afraid. -- quite frayed. i started again and based on my history with the kremlin, realized that symbols matter. when it came to meeting the commanders, i went to their headquarters. i did not have them come to the pentagon. i traveled to their headquarters, met their staffs,
got to need more of their people that way, but it was also a gesture of respect. i certainly been with the chiefs -- meeting with the chiefs on their turf rather than having them in my conference room. i made sure i listened. i did not always agree, and i sometimes overruled them, and i sometimes fired them. but i always treated them with respect. foot again, early on in my agenda, -- but again, early on, my agenda was repairing the alicia share. the third was the relationship with congress. frayed wast that was afrai an understatement. i set out to deal with the leadership in the congress, both parties. i would do things like go to the
republican caucus in the house, the democratic caucus in the senate, and i would do all of those. and whenever i was invited to do one of them and i would call the leadership of the other party and say, i am willing to come up and do you guys, too, if you want, just so they would know i was not playing favorites. and then there was trying to improve the relationship with the press. and i said in some of my early speeches, including the commencement at the naval academy in the spring of 2007, the congress and the press are the surest guarantee of american liberty. do not think of them as the enemy. to do so is self-defeating. what i started out doing in december of 2006 and forward was, i would tell officers when
you read criticism in the press -- first, that is still a why i ever find out what is going wrong in this building. [laughter] but when you read criticism, before you get in a defensive crouch, first asked, is the criticism correct? is it factually correct? find out the facts. if the facts are wrong, then go back to the press and say, no, you got the facts wrong. here are the facts. or alternatively say, you know, you got it right. and thank you, now i can deal with this problem. that is how i found out about the scandalous treatment of our wounded warriors at walter reed , a newspaper story on the front page of the "washington post." the way i found out about the contribution of mine resistant and protected mwrap vehicles
was through an attack were not a single marine had been killed. those were some of my early agenda items, iraq, iran, iraq, and then trying to repair some things inside the beltway. >> jabanero is that beltway? when you look at the -- how narrow is that beltway? when you look at all sorts of issues, politics, the economics, do you still see congress and the media as the best hope for liberty and freedom? >> what i said was that they were the best guarantor -- [laughter] of our liberty. it and what one of my favorites quotations is from a frenchman who was writing about washington at the time of the revolution,
toward the end, and he wrote -- seven years he has command of the army and obey the congress, nothing more need be said. >> i think we have some more from twitter. >> this is a student from iraq. >> thanks, mr. secretary. i was from the beginning a fan of the war, but i do not necessarily agree with the way it has been managed care and if you were the secretary at the time of the war and after, how would you have managed the situation differently? >> well, first of all, as an old guy, i would hope that i would have been a skeptic about
the intelligence on the weapons of mass destruction. i think that to prevent a war, the threshold for information house to be incredibly high -- has to be incredibly high. in has to be basically, a lead pipe cinch. i do not single out those in the bush administration at the time. the reality of what a lot of people forgot is that everybody in the world believe that saddam had weapons of mass destructions. that is the only way it got past, with even the chinese and russians voting for it. and part of reason that the people believed that he had weapons of mass destruction is because he wanted them to believe that he had them.
because he would rather risk a u.s. invasion then tell the iranians and he did not have weapons of mass destructions. in the national security every now, you do not get to overs. -- in the national security are na, you do not get do-overs. i think as banning the iraqi army was a mistake. -- and disbanding the iraqi army was a mistake. in world war ii, if you wanted to manage the local power plant you had to be a member of the nazi party, or in this case, the baath party, but that did not necessarily make you a torturer in saddam's prisons.
those two things made this much more difficult. >> my lai asks, what is the role for education in foreign policy and should education funding be at the level of defense funding? >> if you take education across the nation, it is for will be at or above the level of funding on defense. first, i once gave a speech to the national political science association, and one of these professors got up, and this is kind of in my capacity as the director of the cia, and he said, how do you make use of our
research? and i decided on an honest answer and i said, have not read the stuff in my in box. of what makes you think i read your research? i can barely keep up with what happens in my day. you expect me to keep up with your academic journals? then i said, you know how we benefit from your research? we hire your students, so pay attention to your student as well as your research. because that is how we will benefit from your research. what you teach them is what they will bring to the workplace. the place of higher education for foreign policy, there is no foreign policy without a higher education. the state of language studies in america is lamentable. it is getting somewhat better,
but it is still pretty sorry. but i think, actually, that higher education is doing an incredible job in preparing people for public service because i look at the people coming into the military. when i was the director of the c.i.a. i would look at a selection of resumes of the kids we were hiring and the only thought that would go to my mind is that i was glad i did not have to compete with them. >> we spoke about this earlier, mr. secretary, about how you had hoped to see broader public service by more students. do you want to share some of those thoughts? >> i am an advocate of national service. every citizent t should have to devote a year or a year-and-a-half or two years depending on what you do giving
back to the nation. how between the ages of 18-30, or 18-26, and you pick. you can go into the military. you can be in a hospital. you can teach or mentor in the inner-city schools, or a rural school. and you can participate in activities like the ccc and the national parks. there are 100 different ways that you can give back -- peace corps and so on. i just think there is way too much emphasis on the rights of a citizen, and too little on the obligations and responsibilities of a citizen. i think the draft took care of this for rise until 1973 -- four
guys -- for guys until 1973, but the idea that this is not get handed to you on a silver platter is incredibly important. that sense of self determination, that is something i am worried we are beginning to lose. >> this is a student from drexel university. >> my questions along the lines of the israeli-palestinian conflict in the same way that in physical warfare we are used to define players and entities and weapons in terms of boundaries, but as far as cyberspace, it is a lot more difficult to understand who has what and who was responsible for what. how do we define boundaries and who is a threat to our national security? what is your advice for the military community as a whole, especially for a future army officer, about how we go
forward with defining who is connected to what and what constitutes an act of war? >> bartoli, i asked those questions for 4.5 years and never got -- >> actually, i asked those questions for 4.5 years and never got a good answer. [laughter] i ask that when i first got to the pentagon, what magnitude of cyber intrusion would qualify as an act of war? stealing money out of a bank? does disrupting activities for a limited time from qualified? -- qualified? the banking system? i would say yes, that qualifies. taking down electric infrastructure, or
communications infrastructure? and i was asking these questions because we are in uncharted territory, and there are no rules of the road. we have the geneva convention and all kinds of stuff in terms of warfare, and even in the spy world, there were unwritten rules of the world between ourselves and the kgb. everybody knew we were the left and right -- where the left and ere.t borders worker and the other side of that is distribution. using my came from russia or china. it might be a teenager in the the philippines who, in fact, did about $10 billion worth of damage in the last decade. this is an area where i think, actually -- and this makes everybody in the national security community nervous when
i say this, but i actually think there would be value in at least getting together a dozen of the key players in this arena are around the world to say, maybe we should have some rules here so we do not inadvertently do something, were purposely do something, that moves from the cyber world into the physical world. and is only are renownearena going to get worse. >> thank you. >> this is a student at phelps. >> i've been working with the department of defense for the past six years, and when i walk around the apartment, i notice i am significantly out rated by my male counterparts. my question to you is, do you think the department can better address the gender gap? and also, what can the
department do to get more women in senior dod positions? >> first, i'm pleased to say that the number three person in the department of defense on my watch was a woman, michelle flornoy, and my guess is that she is likely to be the first female secretary of defense somewhere down the line. she is, obviously, as the senior-most woman in that apartment, an advocate for the women in the department -- and this is one of those things where i was pleased on my watch to pin this fourth -- to pin the four-star on an officer that
was a woman. there are a number of women coming along in the two-star and a three-star level that will move into the four-star slot in increasing numbers. and partly, it will happen because the pool from which the senior people are drawn is getting bigger in terms of the number of women. and the reality is, in the military, has hired barkoff as it is, you do have to go through -- as hierarchical as it is, you have to go through each grade, and for men and women there is a certain amount of time in each grade. but a number of things that happen on my watch, one was the agreement for women to serve on submarines. it is incremental, but is moving, and i would say that as more and more women get into senior positions, they will, along with male counterparts, be advocates for making that
happen faster. >> anything else from twitchell? >> we have a question from rachel. as a student in public administration, i'm interested in how you dealt with the challenges of leading a large bureaucracy. [laughter] >> this is the subject of my second book. [laughter] because i have lived three of them now. the cia and the intelligence community, the sixth largest university in the country, and the largest and most complex organization on the planet with 3 million employees. and i got to tell you, it really ticked me off that my daughter supervises three people and made more money than i did. [laughter] which, good for her. [laughter] that is a complicated question.
let me just pick one aspect of it. first, all of these institutions have one thing, they never think of, for one thing, they all have alumni. and they all believe they ought to have a voice in the way the place gets run. fenn by the way, -- and by the way, they have bellyached through their career or their time in school, but when they leave, it is perfect and do not ever change anything again. [laughter] they also all have tenure, if you look at those institutions. managing were leading a big public institution is very different -- for leading a big public institutions very different from running a business. the one lesson about leading change, and i've tried to be a
"change agent" in each of the three, but the lesson i have learned and applied in all of these places is to always remember that the barack receive was there before you got there and it will be -- bureaucracy was there before you got there and it will be there after you leave. as a leader who wants to make change, you have to set the goal, you have to have the vision. but then you have to figure out a way to integrate the professionals into figuring out how you get to the goal. how do you make them part of the solution so that when you are gone, they defend it because it is their solution? this works as well as new persinger -- on new personal as well as tenured faculty because they listened and they bought
in. we made a lot of changes. but you cannot do it without respecting and listening to the professionals in each of these kinds of organizations and incorporate their ideas. they cannot run the show. and they have to of knowledge they cannot run the show, even the faculty, but they do expect to be listened to. and if you do that, it is amazing how much progress you can make. >> this is neil shaw, a member of the corporate counsel in philadelphia. >> thank you for your time and remarks, secretary gates. as the only secretary of defense that has served two different political parties in the presidency, as well as being in the game for a long time and having intelligence and a realistic kind of outlook, do you feel that in our public sphere and in domestic politics
we can and will be able to elevate the dialogue? or are we in an environment because of the role of media or redistricting that this polarization is real? do you have some words of hope and encouragement for us? >> actually, the answer to your question is in my brief remarks tonight. [laughter] literally. [laughter] and i'm not optimistic. >> it is a challenge for all of us. a lot of what we try to do here at the center is to focus on civility in this course. and we are just watching it get coarser and coarser, and it is very difficult. but the trouble is that people in public life -- >> the trouble is that people in public life need to do what i did. before congressional testimony
or before a press conference, i would have these murder boards where people would fire questions at me. and i would answer the questions in the murder boards the way i really wanted to answer them, so that i could answer them with discipline when i had to do it in public, so i would not say, you know, that is the stupidest question i have ever heard in my life. [laughter] >> this question comes from fran. the question is, was the repeal of don't ask, don't tell a positive evolution of our military, or detrimental? >> i think my judgment and the judgment of the chiefs is that the way we have done it will make a positive. it was a big cultural change. and part of the reason i asked for the time for the review and the opportunity to survey the
force was partly to identify trouble spots and issues that we would have to deal with, so we could mitigate them. but the main purpose was to buy some time for the military to have a conversation with itself about the subject. it had always before been discussed by two guys having a beer in a bar, or in the barracks or something like that. i wanted an open discussion with the whole force to talk about this, and where people could feel like they were heard and being listened to. and the interesting thing is, you know, you've got to give the marines credit. their leaders were probably the most adamant about not moving forward. but once the decision was made to move forward, they are determined to do it better than
everybody else. [laughter] and faster. the whole marine corps was trained weeks before the deadline. of course, they are the smallest of the services, but i think that the training and exposure and a big part of the training was the use of vignettes, of hypothetical situations that were likely to occur and how do you respond -- and how you respond. the key to this will be discipline and leadership. it will be the end co's and the company grade officers who will be the -- it will be the nco's and the company officers who will be the key to this integration. and i'm confident that we will move forward and it will work. but let's not kid ourselves. women were admitted to the force several decades ago and we still have a serious problem in the military with sexual assault. this will not be implemented
completely free of any incidences. but the key will be and how they are handled and the disciplinary measures that are taken, and to make it clear that it will not be tolerated any more than sexual assault with men and women should not be acceptable or tolerated. we are working on the sexual assault issue. we are still working on that. and we will, i am sure, still have some incidents as a result of the disappearance of don't ask, don't tell. but i would say that 99% of our military, this is going to be a matter of mutual respect and dignity and just moving forward. one of my favorite lines is is the one line from barry goldwater who once said that it does not matter whether the guy next to you is straight.
is whether he can shoot straight. [laughter] >> this is a change from philadelphia. >> mr. secretary, i am a vietnam vet. i was in the air force and served in the strategic air command. i have been wondering for years that right after 9/11, why didn't they drop a nuclear bomb were bin laden was? did they consider it? >> first of all, he was not there, but i doubt they considered it. partly, just because the use of a nuclear weapon would have a huge negative impact are around the world. it would inevitably kill a lot of innocent people as well. from st. joseph's university. >> i've had the unique opportunity to serve under president of the different political parties -- you've had
the unique opportunity to serve under presidents of different political parties. i was wondering if he would share -- you would share the presidency's general philosophy of war. >> one of the reasons the transition was fairly easy for me was that i do not think there were significant differences. you have got to remember, i joined the bush administration two years from its end. a lot had changed between 2001 and the end of 2006. the irony -- of the number of decisions like the new tanker decision and so one that toward the end of the bush administration, i pointed to my successor -- punted to my
successor only to wind up being a receiver. [laughter] may be only because it was me being there that there was continuity, but i think on the big issues, the way the counter- terrorism fight was being fought -- if anything, president obama has been more aggressive than president bush, particularly in the use of drums and so on. clearly, on the legal side -- the use of drones and so on. clearly, on the legal side, there have been issues in terms of detainees and so on. but in terms of the military and military strategy, i think there has been quite a bit of continuity. >> this is ashleigh from the university of pennsylvania and rotc. >> first, it is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your leadership. i'm instructor at the university of pennsylvania for midshipmen.
kind ofurious what kit advice you have for future manchin and marines and sailors and airmen and soldiers in the next couple of years? >> i guess, one of the things i have talked about at the academy that i attach importance to is, particularly picking up on ethics, is in higher education -- well, in school and particularly in higher education and professional education, and particularly, professional military education -- there is a lot of emphasis on team building, team spirit, working a problem as a group of people, a group dynamics and so on. i like to warn young people, and
some not so young people, that is all well and good and is actually important. but there will come a time in your career when you have to stand alone. when you have to be the one to say, this is wrong. or even harder for a military officer, i do not have the resources to do this. i cannot do this. there has to be a point, there will come a time in your career when you have the responsibility -- and everybody else will want to do something different, and you will say, no, this is my responsibility and this is what we will do. and you have to be ready for that. that kind of independent thought and character is not developed overnight when you get your
first star. it begins with the day to day decisions that you make while you are still in school, still in the academy. but that time will come. and the question is whether you will be ready for it. >> steffan? >> the question from rachel is, what do you think is a reasonable time line for drawing down the troops in iraq and afghanistan? >> the timeline is already established in iraq under the agreement that currently exists. all of our forces in iraq will be our by the end of this year. there is discussion of leaving a residual force of a few thousand for training and military assistance. but until there is an agreement with the iraqis, they are 0 byning on getting down to i
the end of december. similarly, we have a book and in afghanistan kamal, forces -- in afghanistan, all combat forces will be out by 2014. the question to me seems one of pacing between now and the end of 2014. the variable is how fast you bring our forces out. the other variable is, how fast and well can you train of the other afghans to take our place? this is a conversation that i had with patraeus and a lot of our leaders in iraq and afghanistan over the years. and i would tell them, the hardest thing you are going to have to decide is that inflection point where these guys doing it adequately is
better than us doing it excellently. and turning over responsibility. there is no scientific formula in terms of how that happens. i think that bringing the rest of the search out by the end of next summer, the afghan surge, for the most part, will have lasted longer than the iraq surge. we will still have 70,000 troops in afghanistan in december of 2012. we are making, i think, good progress with the afghan army. the question then is, between the end of summer 2012 and the end of 2014, so for that 27, 28
months, what is the pacing on some 8000 americans and however many allies that are there. my own view is, since we have the bookend, we ought to give a lot deference to the commander in the field in terms of that pacing. >> this will be the last question. >> this comes from jennifer help from phelps. >> thank you, dr. gates. i felt there was a big disconnect between those in the military who went over to serve our country and the people at home. i did not feel that people on the home front were brought in to that effort and were really disconnected from it. i am wondering what you think could be done in the future, or even now, to connect those at the home from with those who are serving overseas. >> i think this is a big
problem, frankly, with an all volunteer military. i think that the disconnect is mitigated by the world and national guard has played in these conflicts -- the role the national guard has played in these conflicts, because they have not gone back to their bases and posts. they have gone back to their hometowns after they have served. we now have many in the national guard who have served two and three and more rotations. i think that is a connection. i think that -- i actually am not pessimistic on the score as much as a lot of people. i think the outpouring of
respect and gratitude of the american people when they get a chance, when they encounter somebody in uniform is really quite extraordinary, especially when you compare it with what happened with my generation>> if examples. dallas-fort worth airport. inry single plane athat comes bringing troops from iraq or afghanistan, there are several hundred people from the dallas- fort worth area that meets that plane and just cheer. these are not necessarily people that have relatives in the service, they are just volunteers. the various volunteer groups, the effort that the first lady and jill biden have undertaken
in getting people engaged in helping the families that are serving, it might do well for a lot of volunteer activities. i think most americans, regardless of their position on the conflict, have huge admiration for the folks in uniform. and are looking for ways to express the gratitude other than just saying thanks for your service. the challenge that the pentagon has and the services have are figuring out a better way to channel that enthusiasm and let it manifest itself. how do you do that in a structured way? there is a lot of pent up desire, and i think it goes both
ways, from the citizens and from the government. >> a big piece of that is to serve as, i know that you have challenged organizations and parts of the country that don't typically send many folks into military service to do more that way. >> i gave a speech at duke last fall that says you are one of the elite universities in the nation. you have an active rotc program, what about some of the rest of you signing up? if you want real responsibility, how about putting on a uniform? he won't be working the xerox machine. again, we are making headway. there is a call from the
president of yale just saying that a sign the papers that day to bring air force rotc back to jail -- yale. columbia is opening up to r.o.t.c. again for the first time since vietnam. we are getting there. but i think there is no question on the part of the american people how much we owe these young people. >> please join me in thanking the secretary. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> up next, a conversation with
former president jimmy carter at the carter center in atlanta. then remarks from federal reserve board member sarah bloom raskin. and president obama talks about his jobs package at an event in silicon valley. "washingtons journal, we'll get an update on said action that would fund the government through november 18. then steve bell from the bipartisan policy center on the work of the joint congressional deficit reduction committee and what is ahead. and later, elected redistricting congressional maps and what that means. from the national conference of state legislatures, each morning at 7:00 eastern. and later, an all-day conference hosted by the washington post and the u.s. institute of peace
on china's role in the global economy. we will hear from former diplomats and journalists. live coverage gets underway at 8:30 a.m. eastern. >> he founded several labor unions and represented the socialist party of america as a candidate for president running five times, the last time from prison. eugene debs lost, but changed political history. live from the home in indiana. get a preview had watched some of our other videos ever our special website for the series, c-span.org/thecontenders. >> former president jimmy carter and his wife talked about domestic and global issues. topics include a middle east
politics, cuba, china, and some of the projects that the carter center is involved in. this is an hour and 25 minutes. >> they founded the not-for- profit center 29 years ago and since then, the program has helped improve the lives of millions of people and in more than 70 countries. the carters are the hardest working volunteers, traveling around the world, working with staff to monitor elections, resolve conflicts, promote human rights, and eradicate diseases. a working side-by-side with the poorest and often forgotten people. their vision for a world of peace and guides all of our work at the carter center. and serves as an inspiration for millions of people are around the world seeking a better way
month, i have my other knee replaced. i have been through a time of intense physical therapy and recuperation. i am doing well. i have a couple more weeks that i use a cane for safety purposes. i have been grateful sometimes that i did it. there have been times when i was doubtful in retrospect. it is not an intense pain, but it is a constant discomfort, particularly when you are trying to sleep, but soon it will be over. the doctors did a superb job on me. this brings me to the subject of tonight, a much more pleasant one. we outline very briefly what we have been doing since the last meeting, and so i will do that to begin with. the carter center has to raise cash money, almost $100 million in almost every three days.
and that is our budget. it is $1 million every three days, $100 million a year. that is just our cash budget. in addition to that, we get enormous contributions from pharmaceutical companies and others that help us with health programs. out of the total budget, roughly $100 million in cash. 80% of it is the health programs. this is something we did not anticipate that the beginning. i didn't know and rose the didn't know what we would do. we thought we might be devoting most of our time to mediating disputes around the world. as we have explored the greatest
needs on earth, we are not being met by others had found this to be the number-one issue. health care. as the film showed, the elimination of the suffering of people from diseases that ought not to exist at all. because even sometimes wealthy countries have done away with all of these diseases. the only one that we still remember would be malaria. and we haven't had it in a long time. it still exists. hundreds of millions of people suffer from these diseases that should be eradicated or eliminated. as we mentioned in the film, the most highly publicized effort is worm.dicate gdaguinea
it comes from dirty water and is excruciating painful because there is a loss of muscle tissue. people have it can't go to school and farmers can't go to the field. it is a devastating economic and social blow as well as suffering intensely. we started out with 3.5 million cases in asia and africa. and in 26,000 villages, live now been in all the villages and we have 3.6 million down. we expect to not have more than 1000 cases in the whole world. [applause] last year, ghana became free after 23 years. they started out with thousands of cases but now have none.
ethiopia will have one or two cases, or very few. it is hopeful that they will not have any after this year. but it still exists in the southern part of saddam were for many years, a horrific civil war -- has now become an independent nation. they still have some areas of intense conflict. that makes it almost impossible for workers to get confiscated. that is a major remaining problem. we're hopeful to continue to work on and and we hope we will see the end of it altogether. another very important disease, we have treated -- we have given
a dose of medicine to 150 million people who. last year, more than 13 million people were treated personally by carter center representatives. we gave them one dracula's tablet and they won't go blind. the disease still exists. it is the number one cause of preventable blindness. last year, there were a number of surgeries to eliminate that terrible disease had to the carter center was responsible for the performance of 30% of surgeries in the world. the also treated the disease with a medicine that was given to us. we are working on ghana as well, it has become takoma-free.
there is another disease that we're working on. as well as malaria that i have already mentioned. what we have done recently in the last few years is a combined our efforts against those diseases. in the same village or region, you have several of those diseases. we have worked out a way to reduce the cost of treatment by combining efforts. you can send the same people and and the same people are suffering from different diseases. we of cut down the cost of debt by about 40%. we are making good progress in the field of health care. we put up millions of bed nets
to prevent mosquitos out. they carry hull area. they will die from landing on the nets. the other part of its, i would say democracy and freedom. one of the innovations that the carter center has made in latin america, helping troubled countries have an honest, fair, and to save election. we did not realize how pervasive the problem was. countries want to have an election for the first time, they don't know where the turn. they don't know how register voters because they have never done this before. in some cases, we have countries that have had democracy for a number of years and one party
becomes so powerful the day have any opposition forces to rise in democracy is threatened in those democratic countries. we have helped over 80 elections. we will go through that area. in to be going through tunisia. they'll be having an election next month. we're looking at the central african -- that the the democratic republica of the condo. -- we are looking at the democratic replubic of the congo. and also egypt, we are still trying to contact egypt to see
if they will let any international observers come in to monitor the elections. we tried to negotiate for peace. you saw some of the more controversial people with whom i have met. in north korea, and i have been to north korea twice in the last year. also, cuba. we have a very counterproductive policy of ku but depriving american citizens of the right to go to cuba. it is the only nation in the world where the citizens can't go. it is a deprivation of our human rights that the government doesn't let us to go to cuba unless you have a special reason. we're trying to work out areas of peace. we're also dealing quite affectively, i think, a strong program in china. we will be going back to china in december.
the most interesting is the middle east. we remain at present in jerusalem, monitoring the west bank and gaza. we're the only organization daughter that deals with all of the major protagonists, the major players in the mideast conflict. we deal with israel, we deal with palestinians, we deal with hamas. they are located in syria. and i think we're the only ones that will have the trial in a comprehensive way. those are the things which the carter center is working. i will carry it over to the real boss of the carter center who is waiting patiently to speak, my
wife. >> as john said, we have a program that most of you know about, fellowships in journalism. we range of this show it can be there for the program. i am glad that they come. we work on trying to overcome stigma all the time. the media has such an influence on how people feel about mental health, people living with mental illnesses, so the idea was to build a cadre of journalists that knew the issues and could report accurately and balanced on the issues. we have had 120 go through our
program. and we have gone internationally with our program, too. we had to from new zealand for five years. real to them with financing the program, the foreign countries. and at the end of five years, they are on their own. new zealand established a really good program. south africa, we have to from south africa and to from romania. this is the fifth year, so they're having to say goodbye to our south african friends. we are sorry about that. romania has another year. and some in the program figure out that our journalists have got over 1400 pieces on mental health.
we have five or six books, all kinds of documentary's, tv and radio programs, magazines, and now they are using blogs to get the message out. people are right in, she is working with military families and military families need to sell much help. it has been good. i would like them to stand up. how can you stand up? hadley advisory board, can you stand up? [applause] i might even have something for the task force. john mentioned this to you, but he did not mention that i have the best people in the country as a divisors and on the mental health taskforce.
i am proud of the fellowship program. we started and for the first time in a foreign country, the mental health program. the carter center has been working in liberia for a long time. after the war was over, we were teaching them to set up a judicial system, and we have access to information to open up the government. and now we have a mental health programs. in partnership with the government, all of this is in partnership with the government. we just graduated our first class of psychiatric nurses. 21 nurses and physician's assistants. we were in the countryside, the
rule lough. so when they graduate, they go back where they came to study. they have one psychiatrist. there is great need. we chose liberia because we of been there so much, and we want to try to see if we could do anything in a country that is coming out of war. everybody is traumatized, so we are excited about that program. next month is the annual mental health symposium. it will be on the mental health looking children, we're forward to that program, having a really good speakers and people participating. jimmy told you about his knees,
so we have been home. this is his first time out. but i like to see the show -- michelle obama. there is this program for families of veterans. so many veterans coming home with ptsd, traumatic brain injury and depression, we bring the communities together and assess what is in the community for those people with mental illnesses. they worked with me on projects in the white house and she has been working with me ever since.
and we had a really good meeting with her. i saw her at betty ford's funeral, she told me that she had gotten a letter, so i am hoping we can work with her on that. next week, i am going to the united nations to talk to african first ladies about immunization. i've worked on immunization as long as mental health except for a skip from the left of the white house and when an epidemic started in 1989. but i have worked with the wife -- in fact, i worked with her in georgia. she had a great program. when wives get together, they
were all lives back then. i talked to them about mental- health and she was working on immunization. she had a really good immunization program in georgia. in the white house, we had been there about two weeks when betty called and said, and you want to work on measles again? i said, sure. she told me later that she just wanted to see the inside of the white house. she is a lot of fun to be with. this is hard to believe. when jimmy was president, i am not talking to long. 15 or 17 states required immunization by school age.
i asked of the figure one day and he said it was 15 or 17. we were able to get it in all of the states, it was one of my really good accomplishments. then there was an epidemic that started in the chicago area with 100 people dying and it was the little children. the school age children and elderly people were safe because they were immunized. the head of the center for disease control was here with us and we still call him. we started a program trying to get babies immunized. we are still working on that. and then i go to tunisia. it is good to be back in circulation.
and we have had -- and has something to do with our house. i got this e-mail sunday that said it was spread over the front page of the observer, the guardian newspaper in britain. the sunday edition. it was a really good article, but this woman -- i want to read you what she wrote about our house. where does jimmy carter live? imagine the kind of house and ex-president of the united states might live in. the sort of residence befitting the former leader of the less powerful nation on earth. the oscar of the clean from your mind. -- scrub that clean from your mind. [applause]
imagine where a moderately successful junior accountant and his family might live. it is barely a town. a streak might be a more accurate description. a single road going nowhere much. it was a really good article. >> thank you very much, president and mrs. carter. we will take as many questions as we have time for tonight. we were able to choose some of those as well as the questions you have submitted. as an arab-american, i understand that the internal
divisions in syria are such that a peaceful transition to democracy is difficult. would you consider me eating in this conflict? >> right now it would be very difficult to ascertain who could speak for the so-called revolutionaries or dissidents or demonstrators in syria. my understanding is, we keep track of it pretty well, it is basically localized among the different communities that don't have much communication with each other. if the president who might survive and to the dissidents or the demonstrators after the carter center to mediate, i will be very glad to do so. yes. >> for mrs. carter, can you give us an update on the status of insurance parity for mental
health coverage? >> i am so upset about what has happened. it was passed in 2008 and there are still no regulations. the issue the temporary regulations i think in february of 2010, and they have not enforced of those and insurance companies are doing anything they want to do. florida, blue cross and blue shield has discontinued all of that behavior of health care insurance. they said they are going to start another company and provide behavioral health care. is,ink what they're doing the parity bill calls for employers who provide mental- health care -- it says they have
to have a on par with physical health care. i think what they're trying to do is start other companies and that they won't have to provide insurance with what they provide for health insurance. i spoke to phyllis who was in cathy green leaves office. she told me that she needed my help because she is the one that goes to the white house. every time she goes, she is there. they put it on the priority list, and when the priority list comes out, it is not there. i don't know whether this is right or not, but i think people
believe that they are trying to wait and get some way to the health care bill. it will be awful. i am really distressed about it. >> this is one of the greatest achievements of the mental health organization in the country, to get mental health insurance on a parity with physical health. since then, the white house has not done anything to employment the bill. i think the education, labor, all of the others involved would be very receptive to strong leadership from the white house, it just hasn't materialized. backwards, trying to avoid the impact of the bill. >> the whole mental health community for, it was one of my
-- in one of the things that we recommended. insurance for mental-health issues. it is really distressing to me. >> the carter center was instrumental in bringing a fair democratic process to nepal. since the inclusion of the former rebels in parliament, how do you view the state of democracy in the call at this point? >> we did a monitor the election. it was fair, honest, open, and safe. they had the chance to form the first government, but the outside forces including the united states of america and india as well as domestic
forces did not like the idea. they put the whole progress of writing a constitution to replace the monarchy. just in the last few days, they have finally decided on a new prime minister, he is not the original leader. we have another chance to do that. almost all of the other monitors have withdrawn, including the united nations and to the carter center is about the only outside force that monitors what is going on in nepal. two years ago, there were three times that in one year to try to put together this effort. my hope is that we will see some progress made. but they have a new start with a new prime minister, and we don't yet know if you will be successful in continuing the
formation of a new constitution and a permanent government. it is a worthy effort, one that we are going to stick with as long as we can get funding for it. there is some hope for the future that wasn't there a couple of months ago. >> this is something that is not good about our country. when we go into a country, we work with the national democratic institute, an organization that goes into trained local observers. they go in for months at a train people in all of the communities across the country. when they were getting ready for this election that we did, and had the meetings in the countryside, if they walked into one of those meetings, our
people have to grab all the refreshments, the drinks, cookies, because they might keep one or taste one. that is awful to me. it was one of the worst thing is that i heard, the terrorists can partake of the refreshments. >> the fact is, once they are characterized as terrorists, the united states can't deal with them. until last the year, nelson mandela was a terrorist and he could not come through customs without a special permit. whenever we don't like anybody, the countries as they are terrorists and outside the purview of normal democratic associations and social events. it has happened in those countries and others as well. >> the state is scheduled to
execute troy davis a week from tomorrow. what got you involved in this case, and why are you advocating for his life? >> ever since the center was founded, we have been opposed to the death penalty as a major commitment. and not individual cases, we have written to the governors involved or the parole board or what ever is involved. we believe that there is enough evidence to the contrary to prevent this execution taking place. i have written a letter to the parole board, but the governor in georgia doesn't have any authority over this. we hope that they will reverse themselves or some way of legal action up to the supreme court to avoid it this execution. in georgia has very few executions. there were no executions in the
united states of america when i was president as you will remember. the supreme court ruled against the death penalty. but while i was president, they ruled that it was permissible in this country and has been implemented since i left office. we're the only industrialized country that permits the death penalty. the united states has more people in prison than any other nation on earth. we have seven times as many people in prison per thousand as the european countries do. we have been deeply committed as a nation and as a people. as a matter of fact, georgia has a life sentence now after two convictions.
we have got overboard in putting people in prison and keeping them there. that is the policy of the carter center. we don't yet know what the final decision will be. >> be used to enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting? what is your favorite big fish story? mrs. carter? [laughter] >> i have a big fish story. i was in canada, i don't remember the river. but i love to fly fish. the canadian government presented us with rods and reels. it looked like cork, if you caught a big fish, you could put it on your chest.
the american experience, the television program had tv cameras with us. i caught a salmon, and we have the french television there because they could not speak english. i was bringing it in, and the real fell off in the vote. i could tell the salmon was running, and then he stopped. we got this man with the television camera come over and he got some of that break a. -- great tape. duct tape. backwards, and the sam and just sat there. so i got it all fixed and i caught my salmon.
it weighed 25 pounds. [applause] >> president carter is going to pass on that one. does the success of the revolution in egypt affect the long-term stability of the camp david accords? >> i will give you a little history lesson. the first one is a camp david a cult and the third one is a tree. most people refer to the camp david accord as both of them. we are begging the leaders of
the two countries to agree that israel will withdraw the military and political forces from palestine, from the occupied territories and will grant palestinians full autonomy. and that the united nations resolutions would apply. that was the camp david accord dealing primarily with palestinian rights. six months later, we negotiated the treaty between israel and egypt. the camp david accords have never been honored by israel. i left office soon after that, and the israelis have never honor their covenants to the palestinians. if continued to build settlements, occupying the west bank and east jerusalem and the palestinians have no basic rights. the peachtree the was honored
and he was killed shortly after i left office, and president mubarak honored the treaty. it has been honored and never violated. when mubarak was overthrown and a new government was initiated, they honored the egyptian people to put into effect the camp david accords. that is what they are insisting on now. i think that the fact that the demonstrations of other people against the israeli embassy, as you know, it was overrun last
week. the israeli ambassador had to go back to jerusalem. it was a very great tragedy. the military group leading egypt did not defend the embassy adequately. my guess is that the military leadership in egypt still won't treat the peachtree -- the peace treaty to be honored. i don't believe that the peace treaty between israel and egypt is in danger. i don't think they are going to war. egypt reoccupied their own region and israel withdrew from
sinai. they have both abided by tahat rule. the only exception is that after the error of spring and after some -- israel reported the weapons that egypt could bring into their own region. the bottom line is, it is a complicated affair. the spring as called for democracy and freedom for many people in the region including those in syria and libya. and in egypt and indonesia. i hope that eventually this will bring about a change in the prospect of our peace agreement to be negotiated between israel and its neighbors. it would require that israel withdraw from occupied territories. and so far, that is something
that the israeli government under netanyahu has been unwilling to do. >> free enterprise as a means to deal with the present economic reality. >> we have been to cuba several times, and i met with fidel castro's brother for several hours. he runs the country now, fidel is retired and writes op-eds to the discomfort of his brother. but he talked for six and a half hours and he listens to me for about half an hour. this was a few days before he had his major assembly of leaders throughout cuba, and he announced the implementation of a new economic freedom in cuba.
my hope and my expectation is that the economic situation in cuba will continue to improve. they are heavily dependent on financial support from venezuela. chavez in venezuela has announced that he has a very aggressive cancer. that major economic aid that has been going to cuba from venezuela is in danger. if that can be resolved by the countries, i believe a new economic freedom announced by castro may help the cuban economic system. cuba has a superb health program. their life expectancy is higher than that in the united states. their infant mortality rate is
lower than ours. they have something they have done well. but what they are still lacking is something that i speak about publicly, the right of the cuban people to elect their own leaders. political freedom is still absent, an incremental improvement in economic freedoms like to get the country. >> given that china has responded -- achieved spectacular results in growing their economy, do you believe they will have similar results in broadening democracy? >> that as an arena that the carter center has been involved for more than a dozen years. as you may know, in the beginning of 1979, the vice premier and i announced relations between our two countries. that is exactly the same time we
announced it, the fifteenth of december. on the eighteenth, he announced openness and reform in china, a new system of economic and social life. it is out of that that china has made such a great progress. before that took place, there was no religious freedom. there is no freedom of movement for the people. it was illegal to burn any sort of money for your own self in any kind of industry or business. with seen the great economic development in china and other things as well. i would guess at this point that they are on the verge of changing their leadership. there will be new leaders coming to power in 2012. we have met with a new prospect
of president in china twice. he seems fairly outgoing, but similar to what has happened in the united states, the political system has gotten extremely conservative. where there was a good bit of freedom which the carter center has monitored now, and there is a general tightening of political freedoms, one of the problems is that we have a major website in china both in chinese and english. analyzing what is going on. with us take a stance, we just report what is going on. the chinese government has been putting restraints on us recently. to summarize, the tightening up, it is almost inevitable that
china would have to see some increased political freedom to follow up in successful economic freedoms. >> during your presidency, you were a supporter of nuclear power, even after the events of the three mile island. given that the u.s. has once again broken ground on new reactors, have your views on this changed? >> i believe that nuclear power is one of the prospects of the future if it can be done safely, and i believe it can. the three mile island incident took place while i was in the white house. there were very dire predictions in the washington post, hundreds of thousands of people being affected, many thousands were dying. i knew this was not the case because i was a nuclear engineer, i was familiar with the situation and had been in contact with experts. we went to the reactor and went
inside the reactor control room had demonstrated that it was no danger. obviously, if there is a lax in safety precautions as there was in japan, not anticipating a surge of water, it is dangerous. in general, and so approve the use of nuclear power. we have to nuclear power plant being built in georgia to supplement those already operating. some of the states in our country get about half of their total electricity from nuclear power. unless we develop some more acceptable approach to global warming that we have now, i think nuclear power will be one of the things that we used, increased use of natural gas and other things. i think i know what i am talking about. it has to be safe, nuclear power
has a place in the future. >> of being a contributor to the carter center for 10 years now, i feel like family. in light of the arab spring, will the carter center devote more of its resources to the challenges of that region, particularly egypt and libya? >> the carter center doesn't have any role to play in libya. i was never willing to have diplomatic relations in libya while he was in office. he was in power for 34 years, i believe it was. get involved in libya unless the libyan people decided, in the hope that will, to have a democratic election to choose a new government. and then we would be at the forefront of helping to monitor the elections. i hope and expectation is that as long as i am alive, to have
hohhot, the prior that we can find peace for israel and its neighbors. it will always be my top international priority. i hope and expectation is that the carter center will play a major role, and will have to be flexible, of course, to accommodate the changes that we can't anticipate in the arab world. as i entered earlier, if there is an opportunity to help, we will do so without interfering otherwise, the freedom of democracy. we will be indonesia next month. have a close relationship with our own government which will not deal with the palestinian issue.
but even if our own government does not do so, the carter center will make a major effort to bring peace to the middle east. yes. >> knowing all the things that the two of you have done in your life, is there anything left for you to accomplish? >> holly complained about an airplane once, and they told us that they have given us a free flight anywhere we want to go in the world, and we have never been to the fiji islands. i don't know if we will take them up on that or not.
>> her seat would not go back and forth and my overhead light would not come off and on. when i got back, i wrote a handwritten note and sent it to the president and told him about it. i am not complaining, but i know you want to make your future customers as happy as we have been on delta. he said, and you did not complete for yourself, but you have a free trip anywhere in the world. i have to get permission to take off. he let me off a couple months to get 90s in shape -- my knees in shape. one of the things we continue to do is to raise up the rapidly expanding family. we have six great grandchildren and we have a long way to go. that reproductive effort we are making for the world. [laughter]
>> we have to look at the schedule. president carter, tell us about the time you first realize you were in love with mrs. carter. [awws] >> ell. -- well. i was a midshipman at the naval academy, and i was home on christmas leave and was getting to be a senior. i had known her since she was one-year-old. i lived in the next door house and i was 4 years old. i would look through the cradle, and she was lying there. and when i was 4 years old, we moved out to the country and i knew her as a friend of my younger sister. i never did agreement dating her, because i was much older than she was.
but my next-to-last night on my vacation from the naval academy, dating this georgia girl, the prettiest one, by naval academy really pay off. the family reunion, she could not go out with me. i was with my sister and her boyfriend looking for a date, and i asked her for a blind date and she said okay. she went with me, and so i won't describe the evening, but the next morning, i went into the kitchen, my mother was cooking breakfast and said, what did you do last night? i wish to the movies. -- went to the movies. what did you think of her?
she is the one i am going to marry. >> he did not tell me that. >> the next february, she came to the naval academy and i asked her to marry me and she said no. so from february to may, she did every available boy in the county. -- dated every available boy in the county. then finally she said yes. 65 years ago and we have grown to love and know each other more every day. [applause] >> i was very young.
[laughter] this was during the war. i was going to college. the only two young men in college did not qualify to go to war. i was going with everybody, all of these men. >> i was a better choice than to other people. [laughter] >> mrs. carter, are you pleased or discouraged by the degree to which americans and our understanding depression and other mental health disorders? >> if it were true i would be pleased. i am not sure it is true that
people know what depression is and understand it. hmm? so many countries do not have any kind of health system. there was one psychiatrist in liberia. the nurses we train have to be syneresis to start with. we put them through six months of intensive study. i longed for the day when people understand that mental illnesses, we have learned from studies that depression is going down a little bit. the polls show that the stigma
against sticks of -- schizophrenia and a fear of mental illness is getting worse in this country. not much, but it is getting a the tone that worse. -- a little bit worse. this was a study done by a university. it is getting worse in some places. they think it is because people are learning and they are learning what we are telling them that if this like any other illness. there are afraid of a brain disorder. we are trying to decide how to educate people, journalists writing reports is good for
that. i long for the day and when everybody except when = -- accepts mental illness as a disease. when somebody with mental illness goes to the doctor, almost always they leave without any hope for a better life. i believe that is changing a little bit. i think they have been told you have to live with this. maybe you can control it with medication. i think that is beginning to change. now we know that recovery is possible. mental health treatment is beginning to be, instead of just controlling to moving toward a strength and that people have. giving people a hope they can have a better future. toward moreg now
community centers and integrated care where everybody goes for any kind of illness. i think that will do as much to overcome stigma. if people in the community see everybody raising families and going to work and going to the doctor when they need help, they will get to know the people and will not have that fear factor so much which is what holds back the stigma. i think that is the greatest barrier. >> in western european countries are probably ahead of us. the canadians come next. the japanese have not made much progress on mental health. the chinese are beginning to get interested in it more.
third world countries, they have no concept of successful treatment. i would say the world is a backward on mental-health. >> childhood obesity is a major health challenge. what have you seen it to be the situation in the rest of the world? >> not as bad. if you go to north korea, i was there not many months ago. he would not see a fat person in north korea. except maybe the leader. he is a little bit pomp. -- plump.
you could not see or the stomach was. nowadays in georgia and everywhere else, obesity is becoming a crisis. there is a program about the rapid increase of diabetes in the world. it is one of the most prevalent killers of people on earth primarily because of obesity. this is in places where people eat the wrong kinds of food. this is something that is going to be addressed based on a concentration of health education as we experienced back in the late 1970's concerning the smoking of cigarettes. >> this question is to roselynn, was a true that president carter wanted -- wanted the thermostat
at 68 degrees during the energy crisis in the 1970's? i was in the sixth grade living in a new york city and was concerned you are not warm enough in that date old house. -- big old house. [laughter] >> you are right. i think you was 65. when we first got to the white house i would go out the back door. my office was in the east wing on the other side of the white house. go in the door, go upstairs. when we left, it was 9 degrees. it was called. i did that and then was on the elevator and the usher said, why don't you go downstairs to the other building? i said, show me how.
they're all kind of things down there. a bomb shelter. he took me down and it had these big steam pipes. it was so warm. [laughter] there was a maid at the white house says felt sorry for me. she brought me some underwear i could wear. like a long johns except they were not long. [laughter] >> president carter, tell us about your role with the elders and how your work with the center has influenced them. >> nelson mandela and his wife
and some others formed what was called the elders. they decided you might take political has-beens of people who had played a prominent role in the world and bring them together in order to cooperate on different issues. now the former president of brazil is one of them. the prime minister of norway is one. the former secretary general of the united nation is one and so forth. there are 10 of us now. nelson mandela is no longer active to. we meet a couple of times a year and we address issues that we believe incumbent politicians are not willing to address. i would say that on the middle
east situation, -- the same concern about palestinian rights. it is a very loose knit organization. we never have to raise money. we will have sponsors to provide all the money. we address issues of that kind. the last time i went to north korea they went with me. this is something that a lot of incumbent politicians would not to, go to north korea. we are still exploring different ways. i have been gratified in how
they have worked with me in compatibility with the carter center. >> what advice do have for president obama on how to deal with the congressional issues related to the economy? >> and they were affected in a way i was not. i had a wonderful working relationship with democrats and republicans. lyndon johnson did better than i did. i worked closely with the moderate and conservative democrats. her works closely with republicans as well. the only people i had trouble with were liberal democrats who were supporting senator ted kennedy who wanted to run for president against me. i had a good working
relationship with them. he is faced with a difficult problem with which all of you are familiar. there is one difference between him and me as far as the governing is concerned. when i had a major task to face a as a president, energy or education or things of that kind, the environment, i drafted of the legislation in the white house with a staff headed by a lawyer from atlanta. we would bring in the top leaders in the congress of that committee to work with us on writing for legislation. by the time we presented the legislation to congress, the key leaders in the committees were
already familiar with it. obviously they changed the things we propose to. if they changed it to much i would threaten to veto it. the other thing is i would -- i was involved in the actual drafting of the legislation. i could take what i proposed and try to get the public to back me and overcome the opposition. this is not something that president obama has ever done until last week when he got into the health program he said let the congress to draft it and we will work on a. five committees. the lowest common denominator is still unpopular. finally he came up with a program to put people back to work.
now he is going to different places every day to sell the program. that is the right way to proceed presidency, to use the white house but also to take your proposal directly to the people and try to convince them it is the right thing and let andy -- convince the recalcitrant members. i think he has done that. be involved in the drafting, take it to the public, and try to override a pop. -- opposition. >> after 65 years of marriage, what the advice to you care of young couples to sustain a commitment? mrs. carter, how have you carve out your own path over the years while still maintaining this marriage?
>> i think the best way to keep a marriage together is give your partner space and for him to give me space. we learned that late in our marriage. [laughter] it was the first time we had been home together all day every day and. it was difficult at first. we learned and it works. i do my things and he does his things. we do are things together. another thing we do is we have been isolated at times like when he was governor and president. you do not have friends. you have some and get a good time but a lot of times we were together looking for something to do.
jimmy tommy to play tennis. he was a plan s -- tennis player. he never beat his father. we in fly fish and bird watching and like to ride bikes. those are things we do together. we just have a good relationship together. >> giving each other space, we tried to resolve our differences before we go to sleep at night. that does not always work. for a long time in our marriage, we would carry over an argument for several days. even longer sometimes. we give each other plenty of space to develop and share which
you have in common. those are simple but important rules. >> as a returned volunteers, i am concerned about the future of the peace corps. what you think of its future? >> i think it has a good future. i have been working closely with key members of coffers in the last few months writing letters to try to sustain budgeting funds for the peace corps. i believe there is such a great need for the peace corps, i believe that it has a good future. this is one of the areas of life that has been developed in our country that i believe is so good that it has a life of its own almost and has bipartisan support. my out lock -- outlook is
positive. >> how did you mark the anniversary of 9/11? >> we stayed at home. we went to church. our church is a small congregation. we prayed for the families of those who suffered and prayed our country would respond to 9/11 in as peace fall as possible a way and to preserve human rights. and not over " -- and not overreact. we observed it quietly with sadness of the loss. i hope we will build to become once again the most admired and revered country because of a commitment to the basic things that have made a strong, priests, and justice, freedom,
democracy and the alleviation of suffering. those are the things that made our country great. those who -- that is our prayer after 9/11. >> you mentioned the elections in nicaragua. could you speak your history with daniel ortega at? >> one of the first elections we monitored was one they were in a war orchestrated by president reagan. the eye -- iran contra scandal. the conflict was whether the military portion was being financed by the u.s. government. the carter center was invited to monitor the outcome and make sure it was fair. it was. those who look upon them as
favorites lost the election. they were so over confident they were not willing to accept the outcome of the election. i met with nine leaders of them in the middle of the night. i introduced daniel ortega and induced him to accept the results. they agreed to accept the results of the election. in the future -- he lost both times in the election. the last election we monitored, he finally won. basically the collection was a fair and honest. they're facing another one soon. i was hoping we could go down but we have had difficulty in getting the government to give
us unlimited access -- access to all of the aspects of the collection process. at the last moment they have come forward with some good promises. it may be too late to get involved. we will be there in some form. still dealing with unique and difficult character named daniel ortega. i have known him. >> what is your opinion about the possible outcome of the recent efforts and request of the palestinians for statehood? >> we support this move for a very strongly. my hope is that united nations will recognize the state could of palestine. it is the same avenue the
israelis took when israel was accepted as a political entity and that should be recognized. the inevitability is that united states will veto this effort. the palestinians now plan to take their effort to to the security council and to the general assembly. all members of the united nations will have a chance to vote. my guess is that the senate -- the palestinians will get 140 nations who will vote for their becoming a state. this will not change the occupation of palestine by the israelis. it will make the -- if they do a veto, they will not become a fully recognized a member of the united nations but it will
become an observer if the general assembly votes. this will get them access to membership and it is a step forward. i would not be in favor of this if united states had put forward any comprehensive peace proposal as president obama has announced. one, a freeze on all is really settlements and also based on the 1967 borders. if they would put forward that proposal as a basis point of negotiation, both the palestinians and the carter center would be in favor of peace talks based on those issues. the israelis are not willing to accept those proposals and president obama is not willing to make that effort. as an alternative to the
stalemate, we reluctantly would support the palestinian move for recognition in the general assembly. >> one final question, what can you in the carter center do to help educate the members of congress on working in developing countries with respect for the individuals rather than going in with a heavy hand? >> nothing. [laughter] i do not think congress is receptive to any and vice from the carter center. i still maintain a close relationship to key members of the congress. i was talking yesterday to a house member who has been trying to negotiate the release of a corporal that is being held by hamas.
we have been working with him in that effort. i was also talking to john kerry. i maintain a contact with him members of the house and senate. they contact me on occasion to find that we would -- what we are doing in different countries. we maintain a close effort to inform the members of the congress when we do something we believe is important as it relates to foreign assistance or the work of the state department or sometimes the defense department. when i returned from north korea, i brought back an offer from a general who was in charge of the military in north korea. he invited the united states to come over to search for the remains of u.s. military people
who died and were buried in north korea. when we have something like that, we have that kind of contact either with the administration nor the white house. those are minor -- of minor importance. of course, i write editorials in the newspaper which i am sure some of them read. i had an editorial today in the national herald tribune dealing the question -- dealing with the question about our support of the palestine -- palestinian movement. and calling on the international community and united nations and the european union to put forward a proposal based on the
'67 border. that is an editorial i wrote a that was published today in an international newspaper. we do a weekend. i think the impact in congress is minimal. >> jennifer gross of the congress -- congress and priest people. our people are working with the various committees. a lot of them ask for the people to come because we know a lot about different areas. we do a lot of that. >> and with the state department. >> if you would please remain in your seat saba carter's leave for another announcement but, please join me in thanking them for a wonderful evening. [applause]
>> thank you for being here tonight and your support. it is so important to us. we need your help. we have a lot of volunteers. we need volunteers. we particularly need your support for our programs. we could not do what we do without you. we consider you all partners. we're grateful for you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> of federal reserve board
the jobarah raskin said market is recovering but at a slower rate than expected. then president obama talks about his jobs package at a town hall meeting hosted by clinton. then the remarks by robert gates. senior strategist for president obama david axelrod will be at the new hampshire institute of politics. he will discuss the field of republican candidates. more on his remarks tonight at 8:00 eastern. new jersey governor chris christy will be at the ronald reagan library. he will talk about a u.s. leadership at home and abroad. nancy reagan will be on hand for
the remarks. coverage gets started at 9:00 p.m. eastern. >> we should always start with the assumption that when a politician or ceo is saying something, they are not telling you the truth. the burden should be on them to prove it. >> he is an eagle scout, directed and produced three of the top 10 grossing documentaries, and also a best- selling offer. his latest is a memoir in. sunday, a dorchester call, e- mail -- your chance to call or email michael moore. >> now remarks from sarah raskin. she spoke at the university of maryland center of policy for 55 minutes. she has served since october.
>> thank you for attending. >> i'm the director for the center of financial policy for the school of business at the university of maryland. the center actually came into existence as a result of recent events in the global economy. the main goal being to promote research and inform policy. today's talk is part of an ongoing distinguished speakers series hosted by the center. we do a variety of things. toward the end of the speech, we will make a major announcement about an upcoming conference on systemic risk. today, we are privileged to have our guests speak to us on
a timely topic -- monetary policy and job creation. the subject of job creation is content fan in the news almost every minute now. i will say it is a most pressing policy issue. i've always labour how to link monetary policy and job creation. there'll be ample time for questions but you have to write them on an index card and it has to be legible. if it is knowledgeable, it will not be read. let me formally introduce our distinguished speaker. she took office at the federal reserve last year. prior to her appointment to the
board, she was a commissioner of financial regulation for the state of maryland. she was responsible for regulating all types of financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and servicers, and trust companies among others. under her leadership, the commissioner's office played an early role in the state's response to the financial crisis, including reforming the foreclosure process, combating foreclosure rescue and elevating licensing and lending standards. prior to serving as commissioner -- she has a wealth of experience. she was the managing director for the monetary financial group and served as a banking consul for the u.s. senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs.
in addition, she worked at the bank of new york and joint committee of the congress. we are pleased and privilege your joining us today and i'm very happy you are from the state of maryland and you are at this school which is part of fed university. [applause] >> thank you for that lovely introduction. good morning to everybody. it's a great pleasure to be with you and i want to thank the center for financial policy at the robert h. smith school of business for inviting me to participate in this forum. i'm delighted to see the center for financial policy is already thriving. in 2008, when i was a commissioner for the state of maryland, two of the founders of the center came to my office in baltimore and talked to me
about starting up the center and asked for my ideas about what such a center might accomplish. i'm glad to see that despite the formidable challenges facing all such new projects at the center is fully engaged in addressing financial policy issues that are critically important to our country. today, i want to talk about how monetary policy can promote the objective of maximum employment in a context of price stability. i'm going to set the stage by reviewing current labor market conditions and then i will talk about the tools the federal reserve has been deployed into foster job creation and promote a stronger economic recovery. i will do my best to make these points in plain english rather than in economic jargon. but feel free to correct me if i lapse into it. my children have no hesitation
in doing that. it goes without saying these remarks are intended to express my views only and not necessarily the opinions of my colleagues on the federal reserve board or the federal open market committee. the global economy began slowing in late 2007 and early 2008. it turned downward sharply in the autumn of 2008 when the financial crisis intensified. resulting in the worst recession in many decades. by the end of 2009, the unemployment rate had reached a horrifying 10% cut corresponding to 15 million americans being out of work with all the attendant social consequences, including lost income and wealth, mortgage foreclosures, family strain, health problems and so on. officially, the recovery from
the recession began in the third quarter of 2009. but the pace of recovery has been modest. we have learned from recent comprehensive revisions of government economic data that the recession was deeper and the recovery weaker than had previously been thought. he indeed, the most recent reading on real gross domestic product in the united states, the one from the second quarter of this year, still has not returned to the level had attained before the crisis. the increases in economic activity over the past two years have been their rate in sufficient to achieve any sustained reduction in the unemployment rate. the latest employment report issued by the bureau of labor statistics was bleak. private sector employers added only 17,000 non-farm jobs in august, far fewer than the already weak average monthly gain of about 110,000 recorded
over the previous three months. the headline unemployment rate was 9.1%, representing about 14 million americans out of work in august. nonetheless, as many families know, the headline on employment numbers don't fully capture the weakness in labor market conditions. beyond the headline number, an additional 8.8 million workers were classified as what is called part-time for economic reasons in august because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job. in addition, about 2.5 million americans were classified as what is called marginally attached to the labor force. even though they wanted to get a job, they had not searched for one in the past four weeks. almost half of that group, nearly 1 million individuals, have given up searching for employment altogether because they don't believe any jobs are available for them.
so it's not just those currently classified as unemployed who are excluded from mark. -- work. the underemployed, the marginally attached, and be discouraged, all of whom artists -- are concerned about the security of their livelihood, housing, and the rising cost of living can speak powerfully to the weaknesses of the recovery. the economic data in this regard corresponds to what i've seen firsthand of the past several years. i have travelled to once robust manufacturing cities in the midwest and have observed vacant lots, burned down factories, metal scrap heaps and foreclosed homes. i have visited unemployment insurance offices and job- training centers and i have met lots of people have been out of work for more than a year or two. out of work so long that some of them are embarrassed to show their resumes to potential employers. these circumstances have called
for perk -- for forceful policy measures. i'm going to talk about the conventional and unconventional at chin's the federal reserve for its part has taken to foster economic recovery and job creation. first, the conventional tools. the conventional tools of monetary policy works to modify the near-term passive interest rates. a reduction in current short- term interest rates and a corresponding downward shift in private sector expectations about the future path of such rates will tend to reduce borrowing rates for households and businesses, including car loan rates, mortgage rates, and other long-term interest rates. this policy accommodation tends to raise household wealth by boosting the stock market and prices of other financial assets. with greater household wealth
and cheaper borrowing rates, consumers tend to increase their purchases of houses, cars and various other goods and services. in response, businesses ramp up production to meet the increased level of sales. moreover, with lower costs of financing new equipment and structures, businesses may be inclined to increase their own spending on investment projects they might previously have seen as only marginally -- marginally profitable. in the near term, firms can increase demand by resorting to temporary and part-time workers. but over time, there are strong incentives to increase the number of regular, full-time employees. consequently, conventional monetary accommodation is expected to lead to greater job creation, though some time with substantial time lags. the federal reserve has used this policy tool aggressively
since the onset of the financial crisis. in particular, the federal funds rate target which stood at 5.25%, which was subsequently deuced 20 by the end of 2008. that target range has been maintained since then. the fomc has been applying it smacks -- a policy tool to the maximum possible since 2008. there is a vast economic literature regarding the effect of conventional monetary policy and i'm not going to review it, but simply pose a counterfactual question, which is what would have happened to u.s. employment this monetary policy had failed to respond forcefully to the financial crisis and economic downturn? economic models, and there are the fed models as well as
others, suggest that if the federal funds rate target had been held at a fixed level of 5% from the fourth quarter of 2007, and -- rather than having been reduced to its actual target range of zero to .25%, the unemployment rate would be several percentage points higher than today. in other words, by following our actual policy of keeping the target funds rate at its effective lower bound, since late 2008, the federal reserve save millions of jobs that wouldn't otherwise been lost. of course, substantial uncertainties around various specific testaments, but there should be no doubt the federal open market committee's forceful actions helped mitigate the consequences of the crisis and thereby sparing american families and businesses from even greater pain. given the magnitude of the
global financial crisis and its aftermath, the federal reserve clearly needed to provide additional monetary accommodation beyond simply keeping short-term interest rates close to zero. consequently, like a number of other major central banks around the world, the federal open market committee has been applying conventional policy tools to promote the economic recovery. there are two types of unconventional policy tools that have been used. first, we have provided conditional forward guidance about a likely future path of the federal fund rate. that is one area of an unconventional tool. we have engaged in balance sheet operations that involve changes in the size of our security holdings. a broadly speaking, these types
of policy tools affected the economy through channels that are similar to those of conventional monetary policy. how can each of these forms of on conventional policy be helpful in promoting a stronger economic recovery? let me say something about conditional forward guidance. an essential element of a good monetary policy is effective communication. central banks have the responsibility to clearly and fully explain the policy decision. good communication as oslo is essential for strengthening the effectiveness. expectations about the future play a key role in the decisionmaking of households and firms, how much to spend, save, invest, or higher.
when the financial market participants understand how the central bank is likely to react, asset prices can adjust in ways that reinforces the expected policy action and their spy support the central bank's objectives. clear communication can help anchor the long-term inflation expectations and improve the the extent to which the central bank can take forceful action. with the federal fund rate constrained, and effective communications with the public have become more important than ever. since 2009, the federal reserve has published the committee's participants projections of the rate four times a year in conjunction with the minutes of
the fomc meetings. committee participants judge in that an inflation rate of 2% as measured by the price index for personal consumption is most consistent with our statutory mandate of price stability. the committee currently strives for as low and unemployment rate as possible. in our most recent projections, committee participants expiries -- said the rate is around 5% which is well below the current unemployment rate of 9.1%. since december 2008, it has been providing conditional forward guidance about the likely path of the target federal funds rate. from march 2009 through june
2011, and the forward guidance indicated that low levels of the fund were likely to be warranted for an extended time period for august we decided to be more specific about the timing and our most recent meetings have indicated that economic conditions, including low rates of utilization are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal fund rate through the middle of 2013. forward guidance can provide monetary accommodation by leading investors to expects a longer time of low interest rates. as i noted, a downward shift in expected path of the rate is associated with reduced longer- term interest rates.
simulations of the model that the fed reserve uses suggests that a forward chitin's can be a potent tool of monetary policy. about vesicant unconventional tool. since 2008, the fomc has engaged in lsap's. the first of all purchases of 1.4 trillion dollars in agency mortgage-backed securities and debt securities and $300 billion in long-term treasury securities. those were executed during 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. the second round, referred to as qe2, included an initial
purchase of long-term treasury securities. that was completed at the end of june of this year. by purchasing long-term securities in the open market, the federal reserve can exert pressure on long-term yields, thereby reducing private borrowing rates and raising household wealth. consequently, just as the conventional monetary policy, lsap and boosted consumer spending and net exports. the resulting increase in demand helped generate a stronger pace of job creation. at last week's's meeting, the committee announced we intend to extend the averages security holdings by selling four hundred million dollars of short-term securities and purchasing an equivalent amount of long-term securities. this maturity extension program,
which is referred by some as operation twist, should exert downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make a broader financial conditions more accommodative. recent work by an economist at the federal reserve bank of san francisco suggests that a similar policy put tim place had an effect on long-term interest rates that were comparable to those of the qe2. another action taken last week is that the principal payments from our holdings of agency securities will now be reinvested in mortgage-backed securities rather than in treasurys. our announcement appears to have been successful in narrowing the spread between rates and treasury securities of
comparable maturity. that spread had widened since earlier this year and the continuation of such a trend could have pushed up mortgage rates and continued to affect the housing sector. in my judgment, the deployment of our policy tool has been appropriate in promoting maximum employment and price stability. ideally such decisions would be informed by precise quantitative information about the affects of the stool. in reality, the estimated effects of the policy actions are subject to uncertainty. it is intrinsic to real-world--- monetary policy. it is particularly relevant under circumstances where the scope is constrained by the federal funds rate. that leaves on conventional
tools as the only means for providing further monetary accommodation. although these policy tools have been successful in pushing down interest rates across the maturity spectrum, the magnitude of the transmission to economic growth has been somewhat more muted than expected. it seems plausible that the effectiveness of our policy tools is being attenuated by a number of unusual factors. these include an excess supply of housing and impaired access to credit for many households and small businesses. under normal circumstances, in a typical recovery, residential construction and is an interest sensitive sector of the economy that has played an important role in contributing to previous
recoveries, especially the brisk recovery that followed the downturn in 1981 and 1982. in the wake of the bursting of the housing bauble, the housing sector has remained weak. there is an excess supply that seems likely to decline despite the record low level of mortgage rates. in this crucial sector, one can argue that lower interest rates have not shown on through to hire a activity in the same way that would be expected under more usual recovers. consumer spending is also being restrained by the excess supply of housing which has put downward pressure on home equity values. a substantial portion of homeowners have-home-equity and are unable to refinance at historically low who interest
rates. many more have seen a drastic decline in the value of their homes which would serve as collateral for lines of credit or second mortgages. and the slow progress in repairing and restructuring household balance sheets may also be a lowering of the normal responsiveness of consumer spending to a decline in market interest rates. lenders continue to maintain tight terms and standards on credit cards and other consumer loans. many households may be unable to take advantage of the lower sparring rates that are available to those who have a high net worth and pristine credit record. many small businesses also appeared to be facing unusual obstacles in obtaining credit. if this recovery were like others we would expect a smooth transition in which lower
interest rates would fuel credit expansion used to finance payrolls, investment, inventories and other operating expenses. the latest federal reserve senior loan officer survey on base lending practices, taken in july, indicated that although domestic banks continue to ease standards on their loans, and the net infraction reporting easing on such loans to smaller firms remained low and was well below that of loans to large and middle sized firms. in the august survey, the federation of independent businesses noted an increase in the proportion of small businesses reporting that a credit has been the -- become more difficult to maintain. like other businesses, it has turned sharply more pessimistic
about the broader economic outlook. finally, it is worth observing that the financial crisis has undermined the wealth of many americans. low and moderate income families entered the recession with little financial offers against the adverse effects of wage cuts, a job loss, and drops in home values. according to the 2007 survey of consumer finances, home-equity accounted for about half of the total net worth for low and moderate income families which made them and vulnerable to the collapse. families at the lower end of the income distribution saw a substantial drop in their net worth between 2007 and 2009. families in the middle of the income distribution did even worse. combined with widespread
unemployment, housing and stock price declines and increasing rates of mortgage default, foreclosures, and bankruptcies, the assets of many families have been eroded. the effect of these developments may be to attenuate the revival of normal consumption patterns that would other based dictate interest a -- increases in growth. even if the usual effectiveness of monetary policy is being attenuated by the factors i mentioned, that conclusion should not be taken as implying that additional monetary accommodation would be unhelpful. the opposite conclusion might be the case, additional policy accommodation is warranted under present circumstances. my colleagues and i have been faced with complex decisions about the use of on conventional
policy tools under financial conditions. while we may not all agree with every decision, i believe the public can have a high degree of confidence in the fundamental integrity of our decision making process. some commentators assign a level of hawk or debit to various fomc participants in an attempt to characterize the goals of maximum employment and price stability. in my view, such labels are misleading, since everyone is committed to promoting these goals. incidentally, since my kids now love describing everyone as a hawk or a dove, i have taken to reminding them of this prediction. when my colleagues and i are doing our job correctly, we are
neither hawks nor does this -- doves, but owls. we try to be wise in employing all the tools we have to fulfil our mandate. in summary, the economic recovery has fallen short of restoring labor market conditions to historical levels. given the elevated rate of unemployment and a large number of individuals who are experiencing long spells of unemployment, fiscal and policy makers should consider a wide array of approaches to job creation. in my view, the deployment of monetary policy tools needs to be carefully gauged, appropriately time, and clearly communicated to the public. to the extent that some factors may attenuate the usual effectiveness of monetary policy, there is a compelling
case to identify and implement policy measures to mitigate those factors, and thereby strengthen the effect of the monetary accommodations we have already put in place. finally, in light of the economic hardships facing our nation, i want to underscore the federal reserve is committed to doing everything we can to promote maximum employment in the context of price stability. thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today. i look forward to hearing your questions and comments. >> a moment for questions and comments. i think this is legible. i am going to read. what are your views on the pros and cons of expanding the tarp
refinance program? >> the question for everybody has to do with the park program, which is one of the programs the administration put in place to help deal with the issue of people who are under water and need to refinance to lower rates. it is interesting. it is a good question, because as i talk about my remarks -- it is one thing for the federal reserve to put in place lower interest rates, and another to see those lower rates translated into real activity in the economy. if you are somebody like me, who thinks that one significant obstacle to having lower interest rates translated to
real activity is housing, you will pay attention to programs that are developed like the harp program. i have watched carefully the evolution of the program. my personal sense is that it is a program that is well conceived. it tended to help people take advantage of lower interest rates that are currently in place. but there are obstacles to it. there have been a number of issues that have kept it from being used in a greater extent than having more of an effect. one such obstacle has to do with the fact that it is very hard for people who are under water in their mortgages, meaning they all more than their homes are worth, to qualify. the features of the program, i think, have to be looked at carefully, with an eye to seeing
whether those impediments can be addressed and improved in the program so that there can be a greater uptick and greater use of the lower interest rates that have been put in place. >> foreclosure losses are an area of exclusive state- controlled action. should we know how foreclosure laws [unintelligible] >> foreclosure laws are in the province of state legislatures. typically, foreclosure has been a question of local control and local determination. you are asking a question of a former local commissioner of financial regulation for a state. i am of the view that
foreclosure laws need to stay in local control. they are clearly -- there are big delays going through foreclosure right now. my sense is these delays have little if anything to do with the fact that state laws are somehow contributing to the backlog. i think we have a number of factors that have made the foreclosure process exceedingly difficult now. many of these factors have to do with some of the practices that have gone on in mortgage servicing. in my view, and my opinion is shaped by having worked locally on foreclosure laws, i think foreclosure laws and foreclosure reform at the state level is very important.
i would not maintain that we need one set of foreclosure laws that would apply to all 50 states. >> what effect, if any, does political pressure from the administration or congress have on policies of the fedex -- of the fed? >> this is about political pressure on the federal reserve. as we all know, the federal reserve is a creature of congress, created -- the federal reserve act created the federal reserve. that is something congress chose to create. the federal reserve is accountable to congress. in the actions that we take, it is critical that we always remember that. i think we do.
one aspect that we want to keep in mind in that regard is that when congress created the federal reserve, it created an independent central bank. it wanted a central bank that would insulate it from short- term political pressure. from that perspective, i think congress was smart, because what we see in other countries where there are central banks is that if you have a central bank that is not insulated from political pressure you do find high degrees of correlation with inflation. so for people who believe in price stability and want to maintain price stability, i think you also tend to be of a view that you want your -- you want your independent bank to be insulated from short-term political pressure. that is my view. >> please comment about potential consequences of
operation twist for compensation, fund accounting, and corporate accounting, and price stability. >> this is a question about operation twist, which i described in my remarks. it is the balance sheet operation the federal open market committee recently took at its september meeting. essentially, in that operation, that balance sheet operation, the federal reserve will be selling $400 billion worth of short-term treasury securities by june 2012, and will be buying back -- term treasury securities -- buying back long- term treasury securities. hence the twist.
this balance sheet set of steps is essentially to keep the balance sheet size roughly constant. this is not growing the balance sheet in any way. for many people, that is something that could have implications for inflation expectations. operation twist keeps the balance sheet at roughly the same size. from that perspective, it is considered a good thing. the market has responded quite positively to it thus far. as i mentioned in my reports -- my remarks, the real effect will be whether long-term interest rates get translated into greater real economic activity. the question raises the activity -- raises the question of interest rates and raises questions regarding pension funds and other investor groups.
obviously, that is something we would need to monitor carefully. again, the overall effect is intended to stimulate economic activity. >> your speech has inspired a lot of questions. i will try more. can we be facing a new normal so that unemployment will remain higher than the goal of 5.6% for a long time? regardless of monetary policy and other initiatives? >> this is a question about the new normal, whether the rates we are seeing will be the rates we are going to be living with forever. this is something that you will get different views based on who you ask. i tend to think not. i think we are in a recovery, that it is moving forward.
it is moving forward slowly, but i see an upward flow, an upward trajectory. i do not see this as a permanent state that is going to go for decades and decades. >> low interest rates generally stimulate economic activity. do some parts of the economy or some seasons respond more readily than others? basically, the variation in the impact of low interest rates on sectors of the economy. >> if i understand the question correctly, it has to do with the effective interest rate, short-term interest rates, on different sectors of the economy. it is an interesting question, because there are parts of the
economy that are more sensitive to interest rates than others. historically, housing has been sensitive. you would see a higher rate of home creation, home sales, those kinds of activities. other sectors are clearly less interest-rate sensitive. i have to confess to not being an expert in every industry and knowing what the sensitivity is, but i would point out to the questionnaire -- to the questioner that it is important we see a correlation between low interest rates and higher rates of growth. that piece of the transmission is what is important in having resumed economic activity. >> what is the right solution for qrm regulation? what should down payment
requirements be? >> this is a question regarding qrm, qualified residential mortgage standard, which is set out in the dog frank -- dodd- frank legislation. it requires the federal reserve and other banking regulators to come out with regulation that does what congress intended in the dodd-frank act. it is currently out for public comment. there is a chance for the questioner as well as others to throw in their views regarding an initial attempt to implement qrm. there have been a lot of comments. that was last time i checked on this proposal.
it is a question that generates a lot of interest. in particular, i am guessing the questioner is concerned about the 20% down payment notion in the qrm standard. that has generated quite a bit of comment, primarily for the reason that the 20% notion is not specifically described in the statute. the statute leave this the regulators -- believes the regulators with the discretion to determine the gold standard of a qualified residential mortgage. the question is whether regulators, including the federal reserve, have done that correctly, whether there has been the right articulation of what qrm should mean. obviously, this does have
significance for what bank regulation in the area of housing is going to look like. so it is an important thing to keep an eye on. >> there will be two more questions, but they are related. one is the impact of negative real interest rates on monetary policy. the second, i am going to read. what qualifications does the fed see it too negative real interest rates that might emerge from the current monetary policy? can these ramifications attenuate the [unintelligible] of your policy? >> this notion of negative interest rates, at negative real rates, comes from the idea that there is an inflation component
that could essentially be altered in creating a lower interest rate that decision makers would base their decisions off and generate growth. i think the question here is asking whether the federal reserve would be comfortable moving into an arena where real interest rates would get flattened by virtue of raising inflation, raising inflationary expectations. i have to speak for myself. that is something we would be quite clear read -- quite leery of, but i am speaking for myself. one of the explicit mandate by congress is price stability. we keep inflationary expectations anchored. it is extremely important as we resume growth for this recovery.
>> would you please address to what extent the effect of monetary policy is attenuated by uncertain expectations about fiscal policy? >> this is an important question, and it is not easily quantifiable. there is a sense that enhanced uncertainty and reduced confidence are what is driving a lot of the slower rebound that we are seeing. if you look at different surveys of confidence -- the one i tend to follow the most frequently is the michigan survey. the michigan survey has gone down in terms of showing consumer confidence, and keeps going down. it correlates a little bit with some of the actions in congress.
i think there was a sense maybe that one of the dips in consumer confidence had to do with the impact of the debate over the debt ceiling and some of the wrangling in congress. however, you would maybe think that effect would be diminished now in people's minds, but we have not seen a big resurgence of confidence. confidence is important. from a monetary policy perspective, policy worked through the development and setting of expectations. if you have a sense that things are going to be bad and stay bad, and never return to the way of life you have come to expect, you will engage in different kinds of behavior. you may not spend, if you have a sense you're going to lose your job, or your income is not going to go up.
it may very well affect how you make your spending decisions. you can see in that scenario that confidence could be at such a low that it could overwhelm people sense of consumption -- people's sense of consumption, which could feed into the sense that businesses do not want to expand, because they do not see demand. they do not want to hire. you move into a vicious downward cycle. the notion of consumer confidence is important, and it has not been highly quantify it. it is one that clearly we are thinking about and figuring out its impact. i think the questione -- thanks the questioner. >> i know you are here as a central banker, but somebody has a question to capitalize on
your experience elsewhere. what is your view on appropriate cooperation in financial institutions and the role of capital? >> an excellent regulatory question and one of my favorite areas. as the questioner knows, i had been a regulator at the state level and engaged in bank examination, bank regulation, relief from the height of the crisis until i came into this current role. the question has to do with capital ratios. capital ratios i think are very important. they are a significant buffer to institutions that are facing the loss. what examiners will tell you, and i am completely of this view -- capital is but one aspect of a bank's safety and soundness.
in addition to capital, we looked at a host of other factors, including bank management, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to interest rate, its portfolio, its book of business. those are all critical factors in assessing the health of a bank. capital, as you know, is one that is most easily quantifiable. i want to underscore the importance of capital. -- clearly _ that it is clearly it is necessary in assessing a bank's health. there are other components, and i do my best to remind examiners at the fed reserve that we're looking at the entire health of an institution that is
judged by more than just capital. we really try to maintain a holistic approach regarding the health of a bank. >> what about the role of contingent capital? >> this is a proposal -- the question has to do with contingent capital. it is a proposal that has come out a lot in the basel hearings and negotiations, regarding a kind of capital that would in essence be triggered. it would be triggered on certain occurrences regarding the bank if health. health.s it is interesting. it has intellectual and analytical appeal. but it also has operational issues that need to be
addressed. there is a discussion regarding contingent capital. it will be interesting to watch how it develops. >> thank you very much. i am going to turn this over, but before i do that, i want to recognize the assistant director of the full range of logistics that made this possible. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. on behalf of the center for financial policy from the school of business and all my colleagues at the university of maryland, it is my honor and pleasure to thank governor raskin for being here today. these are the most pressing issues the world faces.
it is wonderful to have a conversation with someone with such insight and candor. we do appreciate that you came here. [applause] if i can find it, we have a very small token, within government guidelines, of our appreciation. thank you. [applause] i also want to thank [unintelligible] i want to spend 30 seconds to renew a commercial for our next center of financial policy event. it will be here at the ronald reagan campus of the school of business. it will be on systemic risk and tete-a-tete issues. this is one you do not want to miss. it includes keynotes from senator jack reed as well as nobel laureate robert engel.
it has a tremendous panel of regulators from just about everybody in washington, and some of the leading academics on systemic risk issues. this is a session sponsored by our center for policy here at smith, in conjunction with the stern school at nyu, uc- berkeley, and carnegie-mellon. it is a tremendous joint effort, and i hope you can join us october 5 and 6. thank you for being here today. a final round of applause for governor raskin. closing comments? thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> on tomorrows "washington journal," senate action monday
on a short-term spending bill that would fund the government for the route -- would fund the government. then a member of the bipartisan policy center on the work of the deficit reduction committee and what is ahead. later, a look at redistricting of congressional maps and what that means. time storey is our guest. each morning at 7:00 eastern. later, an all-day conference presented by "the washington post" on china's role in the global economy. we will hear from business leaders, former diplomats, and journalists. coverage gets under way at 8:30 a.m. eastern. >> he founded several labor unions, and represented the socialist party as candidate for president, running five times, the last time from prison.
eugene debs lost, but he changed political history. he is featured in the weekly series "the contenders." friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. get a preview and what some of our other videos at our special website for the series. >> president obama talks about his $447 million jobs proposal and the u.s. economy. he also took questions at the forum organized by the business networking website linkedin. jeff weiner moderates this event in mountain view, california. >> good morning, everyone. >> yes. >> oh, very nice. [laughter] thank you so much for joining us here today for a very special town hall discussion on a subject we all know to be truly important, and that's putting
america back to work. in just a moment, i'm going to be introducing a very special guest, but before i do, just a few brief introductory remarks. i think today's venue, the computer history museum, here in silicon valley, is a very fitting one for our discussion. there's a number of folks who've come to silicon valley not just for a job, or even a career path, but because they're interested in changing the world. and that's possible here because of the amazing technologies and companies that have been born in this area. you think back to the semiconductor revolution, the age of computing, and of course, the internet -- and most recently, with regard to the internet, the rise of social networks connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world in milliseconds. perhaps more importantly are the behavioral changes taking place as a result. the way in which we go online, represent our identities -- stay connected to friends, family and colleagues -- and of course, share information, knowledge, ideas and opinions is fundamentally transforming
the world -- the way we live, the way we play, and the way we work. and it's that last dynamic, changing the way we work, which is where linkedin is focused. we connect hundreds of millions of people ultimately around the world by connecting talent with opportunity -- today, 120 million members on a global basis, and that's growing north of two members per second, the fastest rate of growth in our history. when we talk about connecting talent with opportunity we're not just referring to enabling people to find a job or their dream jobs. we're also talking about enabling people to be great at the jobs that they're already in. this is what we do, day in and day out. but our dream is even bigger than that. there are 153 million people in the american workforce. there are 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. ultimately, our vision is to
create economic opportunity for every one of them. what's somewhat unusual about this vision is it won't simply be manifested by the employees of our company but by our members as well, because every individual that joins the linkedin network is in a position to, in turn, create economic opportunity for others. we're very fortunate today to be joined by several of our members and we're going to be hearing from them shortly. lastly, on the subject of economic opportunity, there seems to be one number on everybody's minds these days -- 9.1%, the unemployment rate in this country. over 14 million americans are unemployed, and that number grows to north of 25 million when you factor in those that are underemployed and marginally attached to the workforce. bere's one number you may less familiar with, and that's 3.2 million, the number of available jobs in this country
-- 3.2 million. we have everything we need to begin to put this country back to work -- the raw materials, the basic building blocks and, perhaps most importantly, the will of a nation. what we need is the way. with the american jobs act, our president is leading the way. ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and privilege to introduce the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. everybody, please have a seat. thank you.
[applause] thank you very much. it's a nice crowd. [laughter] and i have to say, jeff, you warmed them up very well. >> thank you, mr. president. >> thank you so much for your hospitality. and let me begin by just saying how excited i am to be here. every time i come to silicon valley, every time that i come to this region, i am excited about america's future. and no part of the country better represents, i think, the essence of america than here, because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward-orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you got a good idea and you're willing to put in the sweat and blood and tears to make it happen, that not only can you succeed for yourself but you can grow the economy for everybody. spirits that driving that has made america an economic superpower.
but obviously we're in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling, and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. and so part of what i hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about, how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century? how can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug in to this new economy? how do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunities that linkedin presents for interconnectedness and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and create value, but at the same time, understanding that there are some perils as well? if our kids aren't properly educated, if we don't have an infrastructure that is world- class, if we are not investing in basic research in science --
if we're not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we're going to fall behind. and we've got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. and so, as you mentioned, i put forward a proposal, the american jobs act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who have been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets -- that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure -- taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who have been laid off when the housing bubbles went bust and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools, and laying broadband lines -- all the things that help us make a success -- and also make sure that we're providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed. and i have said to congress, i understand that there's an election 14 months away and
it's tempting to say that we're not going to do anything until november of 2012, but the american people cannot afford to wait. the american people need help right now. and all the proposals we've put forward in the american jobs act will not only help us now, but will also help us in the future -- will lay the foundation for our long-term success. last point i'll make -- and then i want to get to questions -- it's all paid for. and it's paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don't need -- that we've already made a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. we've proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven't been reformed in too long. but what i've also said is in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we're going to have to reform our tax code in a way
that's fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. i've said this before, i'll say it again -- warren buffett's secretary shouldn't be paying a lower tax rate than warren buffett. somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or jeff, who've been incredibly blessed -- i don't know what you make jeff, but i'm just guessing -- [laughter] who've been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country. and i say that because whenever america has moved forward, it's because we've moved forward together. and we're going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure that we're investing in our future. so, with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. i look forward to a bunch of great questions, both live and through whatever other linkages
that we've got here. [laughter] >> you've got it. so we're going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience members and some previously generated questions from the linkedin group. so we're going to start. our first question is from linkedin member chuck painter. and, chuck we're going to get you a mic -- >> good morning, mr. president. >> good morning. >> i'm from austin, texas. i've been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. i lost my job in 2009 and fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. my question is what can we do as american citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy? >> well, first of all, are you a native of austin? because that's one of my favorite cities in the country. >> actually, i'm a native of charlotte, north carolina, but just relocated to austin, and i love it there. >> austin is great. charlotte is not bad. [laughter] >> thank you, thank you, thank you. >> that's the reason why i'm
having my convention in charlotte, because i love north carolina as well. but how long did it take you to find a new job after you had gotten laid off? >> it took nine months. >> it took nine months? >> yes, sir. >> and that's one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. you've got skilled people with experience in an industry. that industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move. some folks, because of the decline in the housing industry, are having trouble with mobility in finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity. >> yes, sir. >> the most important thing that we can do right now is to help jumpstart the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. and so, not surprisingly, i think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill. think about it. independent economists have estimated that, if we pass the
entire package, the american jobs act, we would increase gdp by close to 2% -- we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons. and that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that can have ripple effects and help a recovery take off. there's been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit. but the fact is, the vast majority of economists who looked at it have said that the recovery act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn't have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses -- and by the way, we've cut taxes about 16 times since i've been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire -- all
those things made a big difference. the american jobs act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. it's not going to solve all our problems. we've still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. and one of the things that we've proposed as part of the american jobs act is, is that we're going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. that will put more money into people's pockets. it will provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. that means they've got more money in their pockets, and that means that they're going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for business to hire folks like you. so it's the right step to take right now. long term, we're going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best in the world, continuing to invest in science and technology.
we've got to stabilize our finances, and we've got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. and we've got to continue to promote trade, but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we're doing business in other countries, like china. so there are a lot of long-term agendas that we've got to pursue. right now, though, the most important thing i can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs, because those are ultimately the customers for your products. >> yes, sir. yes, thank you mr. president. >> all right. thank you, chuck. we'd now like to take a question from the audience. so anyone interested? >> this young lady right here. >> okay. could we get a mic over there, please? thank you. >> hi. i have a question actually from my mother, who is going to be 65 next march. and she lives in ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. she has a ged, and she's always worked in food service.
she's currently unemployed, just got approved for section 8 housing, gets social security and food stamps. and she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what's going to happen to social security and medicare? >> well, first of all, where does you mom live in ohio? >> mentor. >> mentor -- what part of ohio is that? >> it's east side of cleveland. >> okay. well, tell mom hi. [laughter] you get points for being such a good daughter and using your question to tell me what's on her mind. >> oh, you have no idea. [laughter] >> my mother-in-law lives at home, and so i -- in the white house -- so i've got some idea. [laughter] first of all, let me talk about social security and medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances.
you can tell your mom that medicare and social security will be there for her -- guaranteed. there are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get social security and medicare, and she'll be qualifying -- she already is starting to qualify for medicare, and she'll be qualifying for social security fairly soon. social security and medicare, together, have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty. our most important social safety net, and they have to be preserved. now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we've got to deal with, but they're different challenges. social security is actually the easier one -- it's just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population is getting older, so more
people are going on social security -- you've got fewer workers supporting more retirees. and so if we don't do anything, social security won't go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in. and over time, people who are on social security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they'd be getting. and so the social security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don't want -- if we want to make sure that social security is there for future generations then we've got to make some modest adjustments. and when i say modest, i mean, for example, right now social security contributions are capped at a little over $100,000 of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay social security taxes on everything they earn. but if you're earning a million dollars, only one-tenth of your income is taxed for social security.
we could make that modification -- that would solve a big chunk of the problem. medicare is a bigger issue because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. and that's why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was let's start changing how our health care system works to make it more efficient. for example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn't have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have medicare pay for two tests. that first test should be emailed to the doctor who's the specialist. but right now that's not happening. so what we've said is let's incentivize providers to do a more efficient job and, over time, we can start reducing those costs. i've made some suggestions about how we can reform medicare, but what i'm not going to do is what, frankly, the house republicans proposed,
which was to voucherize the medicare system, which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her medicare. >> which she doesn't have. >> i'm assuming she doesn't have it. >> no. >> so we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. and that raises the point i made earlier. if people like myself aren't paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom, who end up paying a lot more in medicare and they can't afford it, whereas i can afford to pay a little more in taxes. so that's on medicare and social security. in terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the american jobs act, get people back to work. because, think about it, if she's been in the food service industry, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, whether it's at a restaurant, or a cafeteria,
or buying more groceries. and if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the american jobs act, they're going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more, and your mom is going to be more likely to be hired. all right? >> yes. and one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there's a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money. they've got less experience. >> that is a challenge. it is tough being unemployed if you're in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. that's the toughest period of time to lose your job. obviously, it's never fun to lose your job, and it's always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it's scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether
they've got enough saved up to ever retire. so that's part of the reason why one of the things that we're also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we've got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring, or businesses that are actually hiring right now. we've done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls -- like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for. all right? thanks so much. >> great. >> tell her i said hi. >> thank you. okay. >> we're going to go to the
group, the linkedin group. we had thousands of questions submitted, and here's one of them from linkedin member marla hughes. marla is from gainesville, florida. she is the owner of meticulously clean, home and apartment cleaning service, and her question is -- as a small business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. what are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses? >> well, it's hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to, because obviously it differs in different businesses. but as i said, we've actually cut taxes for small business 16 times since i've been in office. so taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when i came into office. small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring -- they're able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments -- they are able to
get tax breaks for hiring veterans. they're able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal we put forward that says there should be no capital gains tax on a start-up, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and create a business. in terms of regulations, most of the regulations that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example. in terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues, we have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector, because we can't have a repeat of what happened in 2007. and the fact of the matter is, is that if what happened on wall street ends up having a
spillover effect to all of main street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector, but we don't have a mortgage brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system. so you're going to hear from, i think, republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls, or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that, in and of itself, would be a spur to growth. i disagree with that. what i do agree with is that there's some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. and so what i've done is i've said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take cost as well as benefits into account when you're proposing new regulations.
number two, don't just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations, look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out. and we initiated the most aggressive -- what we call look-back provisions -- when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency, go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies and see if some of them are still necessary. and it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. well, let's get rid of them if they've outlived their usefulness. i think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation sector, for example, that didn't take into account that everybody operates on gps now. well, you've got to adjust and adapt to how the economy is changing and how technology has changed. and we've already identified
about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that's only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we're going to be able to eliminate. but i will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat -- that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated -- making sure that if you take out a credit card there's some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you're not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn't anticipate. that's always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services, those businesses are going to succeed. we don't want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers. and i think that's how most
americans feel about regulations as well. they don't want more than is necessary, but they know that there's some things that we've got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children. >> thank you for your question, marla. now we're going to take a question from linkedin member esther abeyja. esther is an i.t. analyst from chicago, illinois -- >> there you go. chicago is all right, too. [laughter] >> esther, what is your question for the president? >> good morning, mr. president. >> good morning. >> as jeff said, i'm from chicago, recently unemployed, and my fear is that the longer i'm unemployed the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. it seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they're in touch with their skill set. what programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable and eventually get hired? >> well, first of all, you
obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. and the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it's through classes or online training, or what have you, that you're keeping your skill sets sharp. we, as part of the american jobs act, are actually supporting legislation in congress that says employers can't discriminate against somebody just because they're currently unemployed -- because that doesn't seem fair. that doesn't make any sense. but the most important thing probably we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the labor market gets a little tighter so that employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while.
so passing the american jobs act is going to be important. there's legislation in there that says you can't be discriminated against just because you don't have a job. the one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you're looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there's some skill sets that you need -- making it economical for you to do it. one of the things that we did during the last two and a half years -- it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks. and even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren't taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. we ended that. we cut out the middleman and we said let's use that money to expand the availability of pell grants, to increase the amount that pell grants -- each pell grant a student could get.
and through that process, you've got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that they had in the past -- although, obviously, the cost of a college education is still really high. but if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you're not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. all right? just looking at you i can tell you're going to do great. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks, esther. our next question is from linkedin member wayne kulich. wayne is from phoenix, arizona. he spent 25 years flying aircraft for the u.s. navy and is now program director for american express. wayne.
>> good morning, mr. president. >> good morning, sir. >> i'm from phoenix, arizona, where i'm a program director, as jeff had said. i retired in 2007. when i retired, networking was essentially how i got all my jobs after retirement. how do you envision the government's role in integrating networking tools that aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs? >> it's a great question. and first of all, let me thank you for your service to this country. >> my honor. >> we are very grateful to you for that. [applause] thank you. but you were extraordinarily skilled, and even then it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. we have not done as good of a
job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have. i'll give you an example. i actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the ira>> and afghan wars up in minnesota. and a young man i was talking to had just gone back to school. he was getting his nursing degree. he had worked in emergency medicine in iraq, multiple deployments -- had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances -- had received years of training to do this. but when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never been involved in medicine at all.
and so he had to take all the same classes and take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if i had just walked in and could barely put a band- aid on myself. but he had to go through the same processes. well, that's an example of a failure on the part of both dod and the va -- the department of defense and veterans administration -- to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition? so what we've started to say is let's have a sort of a reverse boot camp. as folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let's work with them while they're still in the military to say is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and
employers, so that if they've got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let's give them a certification, let's give them a credential that helps them do that right away. we've also then started to put together a network of business, and i actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we've got a commitment that 100,000 veterans will be hired over the next several years. and that creates a network -- and maybe they'll end up using linkedin, i don't know. but what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it's the certification process, whether it's the job search process, whether it's resume preparation, whether it's using electronic networking, that we're using the huge capacity of the veterans administration and the department of defense, and all the federal agencies, to link up together more
effectively. because not only is the federal government obviously a big employer itself -- and we've significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors -- but the federal government is also a big customer of a lot of businesses. and there's nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what, we're not going to tell you who to hire, but here's a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. now, you think of these -- you've got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are handling multimillion-dollar pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs. the last thing i'll say is, obviously, the american jobs act
also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you, wayne. and thank you again for your service. let's turn to the audience now. a lot of hands going up. mr. president, want to pick someone? >> well -- [laughter] you kind of put me on the spot here. that guy -- the guy in the glasses right back in the -- right in the back there. why not? >> thank you, mr. president. i don't have a job, but that's because i've been lucky enough to live in silicon valley for a
while and work for a small startup down the street here that did quite well. so i'm unemployed by choice. my question is would you please raise my taxes? [laughter and applause] i would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where i am. and it kills me to see congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long. i think that needs to change, and i hope that you will stay strong in doing that. >> well, i appreciate it. what was the startup, by the way? you want to give me a little hint? >> it's a search engine. [laughter] >> worked out pretty well, huh? >> yes. [laughter] >> well, look, let me just talk about taxes for a second.
but made this point before, i want to reiterate this. so often the tax debate gets framed as "class warfare." and, look, as i said at the outset, america's success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. and that's great. that's part of what makes america so successful. but as you just pointed out, we're successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. i went to school on scholarship. michelle -- her dad was what's
called a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district -- never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills -- had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job -- never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to princeton and on to harvard law school. we benefited from somebody, somewhere making an investment in us. and i don't care who you are, that's true of all of us. look at this room. i mean, look at the diversity of the people here. a lot of us are -- parents came from someplace else, or grandparents came from someplace else. they benefited from a public school system, or an incredible university network, or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe, or the scientific research that -- silicon valley is built on research that no individual
company would have made on their own because you couldn't necessarily capture the value of the nascent internet. so the question becomes -- if we're going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? now, the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. so this young lady's mom, who's been working in food services, she doesn't have a lot of room to spare. those of us who have been
fortunate, we do. and we're not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to be successful. we're talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the '90s, when, as i recall, silicon valley was doing pretty good, and well-to- do people were going pretty well. and it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer. the middle class expanded. people rose out of poverty, because everybody was doing well. so this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who have done well. that's the last thing we want to do. it's a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel american forward. if we don't improve our
education system, for example, we will all fall behind. we will all fall behind. that's just -- that's a fact. and the truth is, is that on every indicator -- from college graduation rates to math and science scores -- we are slipping behind other developed countries. and that's going to have an impact in terms of, if you're a startup, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? it's going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? it's going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. and so we all have an investment in improving our education system. now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. that's why we've initiated reforms like race to the top that says we're going to have higher standards for everybody. we're going to not just have
kids taught to the test, but we're going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we're also going to hold them accountable, and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. so we're willing to make a whole bunch of reforms, but, at some point, money makes a difference. if we don't have enough science teachers in the classroom, we're going to have problems. somebody has got to pay for it. and, right now, we've got the lowest tax rates we've had since the 1950s. and some of the republican proposals would take it back -- as a percentage of gdp -- back to where we were back in the 1920s. you can't have a modern industrial economy like that. so i appreciate your sentiment. i appreciate the fact that you recognize we're in this thing together. we're not on our own. and those of us who've been successful, we've always got to remember that.
>> i know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said that they would support an increase in their taxes -- so, please. [applause] >> well, we're going to get to work. thank you. >> thank you. thank you for your question. next question was submitted to the linkedin group -- it actually comes from a linkedin employee named theresa sullivan. it's a two-part question. first, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? and second, what, if any, overhaul in education is necessary to get americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago? >> there is no doubt that there is a connection, long term, between our economic success, our productivity, and our education system. that's indisputable. when we were at our peak in terms of growth, back in the '60s and the '70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world. now the rest of the world has caught up -- or is catching up. they're hungry. and as i said before, we are
slipping behind a lot of developed countries. so our proportion of college graduates has not gone up, while everybody else's has gone up. our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up, while everybody else's has gone up. and if you've got a billion chinese and indians and eastern europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting on the status quo, we're going to have problems. now, what can we do? this is a decade-long project -- it's not a one-year project. and we've been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence, to base reforms on what actually works. the single-most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we've got great teachers in front of the -- in front of every classroom. and so what we've said is let's
make sure that we've hired enough teachers -- let's train them effectively -- lets pay them a good wage -- let's make sure that we're putting a special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers s.t.e.m. education is an area where we've fallen significantly behind. let's make sure they're accountable, but lets also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don't have to do a cookie-cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. but at the end of the year, let's make sure that they're doing a good job. and if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let's work to retrain them. and if they're not able to be retrained, then we should probably find them a different line of work. flightgot to have top- principals and leadership inside the schools. that makes a big difference. we've also got to focus on --
there are some schools that are just dropout factories where less than half of the kids end up graduating -- a lot of them, the students are black and brown, but that's also the demographic that's growing the fastest in this country. so if we don't fix those schools we're going to have problems. so we've said to every state, you know what, focus on the lowest-performing schools and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools' performance. and it may be that we've got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. ibm is engaged in a really interesting experience in new york where they're essentially setting up schools -- similar to the concept i was talking about with community colleges -- where they're saying to kids pretty early on -- i think as early as 8th grade -- we're going to design a program -- ibm
worked with the new york public schools to design a program -- and this is not for the kids who are in the top 1%, this is for ordinary public school kids. you follow this program, you work hard, ibm will hire you at the end of this process. and it suddenly gives kids an incentive. they say, oh, the reason i'm studying math and science is there's a practical outcome here. i will have a job. and there are practical applications to what i'm doing in the classroom. and that's true at high-end jobs, but it's also true -- we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don't have a four-year degree. it may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a rigorous vocational approach is
incorporated in the high schools so the kids can actually see a direct connection to what they're learning and a potential career, they're less likely to drop out and we're going to see more success. so one last point i'll make about this is george bush actually was sincere i think in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called no child left behind, that said we're going to impose standards, there's going to be accountability -- if schools don't meet those standards we're going to label them as failures and they're going to have to make significant changes. the intent was good. it wasn't designed as well as it could have been. in some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren't labeled as failures. there wasn't enough assistance
given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set. so what we've said is, look, we'll provide states some waivers to get out from under no child left behind if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready. and we'll give you more flexibility but we're still going to hold you accountable and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed. so, last point i'll make on this -- there is also a cultural component to this, though. we, as a country, have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game and we, as parents, have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. we've got to turn off the tv set. i know it's dangerous to say in silicon valley, but put away the video games sometimes, and all the electronics, unless it's school-related. and we've just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the
importance of learning. and if we don't do that, we're going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we're taking are successful. >> thank you, theresa. our next question comes from linkedin member robert holly, who is joining us from charlotte, north carolina. after a promising career in financial services, robert was, unfortunately, recently laid off. robert, what is your question? >> good morning, mr. president. >> good morning. >> as jeff mentioned, i have a 22-year, very successful career in i.t. management, but i find myself displaced. and not only that, i look at the statistics of unemployment -- 16.7% for african americans. my question would be -- and not just for the african americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering -- what would you be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today?
>> what i would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you're going to be successful. you've got a leg up on a lot of folks. you've got skills, you've got experience, you've got a track record of success. right now your challenge is not you, it's the economy as a whole. and by the way, this is not just an american challenge -- this is happening worldwide. i hope everybody understands our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated, and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5%, and that has not happened, in part has to do with what
happened in the middle east and the arab spring, which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high -- what's happening in europe, which they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges their banking system faced. it's now being compounded by what's happening in greece. so they're going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. and they're trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be. so the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. and since the world is really interconnected, that affects us as well. the encouraging thing for you is
that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. the challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then. that's why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. and part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. but not a end all, be all, it helps folks meet their basic challenges. and by the way, it also means that they're spending that money and they're re-circulating that into the economy so it's good for businesses generally. some of the emergency measures that we've been taking and we've proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. and historically, after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions. so i guess the main message i have for you is the problem is not you -- the problem is the economy as a whole. you are going to be well equipped to succeed and compete
in this global economy once it's growing again. my job is to work with everybody i can -- from the business community to congress, to not- for-profits, you name it -- to see if we can speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery. and in the meantime, we will make sure that things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. and if there are -- since you're in i.t., if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, we are going to make sure that the resource is available for you to be able to go back to school and do that. thank you. >> thank you. that was our last question. we're going to begin to wrap it up, and before i turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, i just wanted to say
thank you, and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you're doing. i know i speak for a lot of people when i say i can't think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustain-ably improving the quality of an individual's life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for. and in hard-hit american cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn't know it was possible. so on behalf of myself, on behalf of our visionary founder, reid hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible, on behalf of our employees, of course our members, on behalf of our country, thank you, mr. president. >> well, thank you so much. [applause] thank you. well, let me just say these have been terrific questions and i so appreciate all of you taking
the time to do this. i appreciate linkedin helping to host this. and for those of you who are viewing, not in this circle but around the country, maybe around the world, i appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you. look, we're going through a very tough time. but the one thing i want to remind everybody is that we've gone through tougher times before. and the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that's more open, one that's more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. if we don't prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we're going to have problems.
wewe don't make sure that continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we're going to have problems. if we're not continuing to invest in basic research, we're going to have challenges. if we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family but also the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems. and so i am extraordinarily confident about america's long- term future. but we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. and what's striking to me is,
when we're out of washington and i'm just talking to ordinary folks, i don't care whether they're republicans or democrats, people are just looking for common sense. the majority of people agree with the prescriptions i just offered. the majority of people by a wide margin think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. the majority of folks by a wide margin think that we should be investing in education. the majority of people by a wide margin think we should be investing in science and technology.
and the majority of people think by a wide margin that we should be maintaining programs like social security and medicare to provide a basic safety net. the majority of people by a significant margin think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don't need, but also making sure that we've got a tax code that's fair and everybody is paying their fair share. so the problem is not outside of washington. the problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody is so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we're not able to solve our problems. and that's got to change. and that's why your voices are going to be so important. the reason i do these kinds of events is i want you to hear from me directly. i want to hear from you directly, but i also want your voices heard in the halls of congress. i need everybody here to be speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about, and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you've elected -- say to them, we expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interest. act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term. if that spirit, which all of you represent, starts asserting itself all across the country, then i'm absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the american century just like the 20th century way. so thank you very much
>> watched more video of the candidates, see what video recorders are saying, and track the latest campaign contributions and which c-span .org. candidates bios was the latest polling data plus links to voting in the early caucus state superior -- caucus states. >> coming up, former defense for to carry -- defense secretary robert gates sits down in philadelphia. then a discussion with former president carter in at lento, in later remarks from cerro gloom
ruskin -- sarah bloom raskin. david axelrod is attending an event at the new hampshire is institute of politics. he will discuss the president's reelection campaigns and the field of republican candidates. we will have his remarks, and then new jersey gov. chris christie will be of the ronald reagan library in simi valley, california. he will talk about u.s. leadership. nancy reagan will be on hand for his remarks. live coverage get started at 9:00 p.m. eastern. now conversation with a former defense secretary robert gates on the future of the u.s. military. mr. daetz stepped down as defense secretary last summer after serving both presidents bush and obama.
he was in philadelphia last week and received the national constitution center's 2011 liberty medal at this event. it is one hour. >> thank you, alison. welcome. it is such a pleasure and honor, secretary gates, to have you here at the 2011 ceremony. you are such a great recipient. we have a great group of folks here. a lot of the folks in this room are some of our strongest supporters. we have board members here as well. i know that we have some great young folks from the regional rotc programs. i will point that some of the questions that i have been getting. i was thinking to my loved to renew a around the constitution center. -- i was thinking, i loved touring around the constitution center.
i can tell that you feel pretty at home in a place that is all about trying to make the constitution more accessible to people. is that true? >> absolutely. at one of my concerns is, frankly, the relatively poor quality of history and -- the teaching of history and civics in public schools. if there is any area where our students are more efficient than in math and science, it is actually in history -- more the efficient than in napa and science, it is actually in history -- more deficient than in math and science, it is action in history. this is an incredibly worthwhile activity. >> thank you. we know that the military is an important piece of the
consultation -- constitution. and you have watched it changed for several decades. in what ways do you think we will see it continue to change in the next decade, in the next 30 years? >> partly, that will depend on the citizens that are made on the budget -- the decisions that are made on the budget. they may not have the budget to change anything. but if the cuts that have been proposed by the president are the level that over the next 10 years is ultimately agreed, then i think we can manage to modernize, although the force will inevitably be smaller. but i think the key thing about our military going forward is in the greater range of challenges they will face in the years ahead. our forces are basically -- when we went into iraq and afghanistan, our forces, fundamentally, were those that have been designed to deal with the soviet union.
large land formations, large armored formations, very sophisticated fighters and bombers. and we found ourselves in a very different kind of conflict. the truth of the matter is, ever since the beginning of vietnam, we have found ourselves in a very different kind of conflict than the one our forces were designed for. what we learned about counterinsurgency, for example, in vietnam, was lost after vietnam was over because our services wanted to refer back to their comfort zone of these big
formations and the idea of planning for large-scale, conventional conflict. but what we now know is, we will face a range of conflicts against a range of different kinds of enemies, or adversaries, that have different kinds of capabilities. my mantra as secretary was to have the most flexible and versatile possible military. to address the broadest possible range of conflict, and particularly in a time of budget constraints, to be extraordinarily careful about niche capabilities, about buying weapons and weapons systems that can only be used in one scenario against one adversary. we need things that can be used across the board, and his versatility and flexibility needs to be, i think, the underpinning of our military as we look ahead another 20 years. because we will have a peer like china -- china is not going to
try to match us tank for tank and ship for ship like the soviet union. they are smart and they saw what that did to the soviet union, and they are not doing that. instead, they are picking and vulnerabilities -- capabilities that, at our vulnerability. so, cyber, highly sophisticated cruise missiles and ballistics, anti-satellite capability. here is a sophisticated and wealthy near here that will come at us in a different way. at the same time, hezbollah will come at us with as many rockets as it has. here is an outfit that does not even have a country or a state, but has some sophisticated capabilities. they, too, will have some cyber capabilities. we need to be ready for this range of conflict as we look ahead. and i would just make one final point on this, our record since the vietnam of predicting where
we would use military force six months or 12 months from now is perfect. we have never, ever gotten it right ones. -- once. [laughter] we live in a very unpredictable world, and therefore, to structure our forces against one particular adversary would be a great mistake. >> and how far are we in the evolution of get enough flexibility today? is this a full 100% change or an incremental change that we need to move forward with? >> the biggest change that needs to take place is in the minds of our military leaders, and i think that change is very far along.
i am an old kremlin-ologist, so i believe in placing people to do things. and a big institution can always defeat one leader, but never five or six. for example, we now have general dempsey as chief of staff of the army. we have general odierno as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff -- as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, rather appeared general loevner -- rather. general odierno in iraq. what i have tried to do is feed it to route army leadership people with iraqi and afghan experience people who know the wars we have been and who have been in combat. a lot of people will say, you just want to fight today's wars. you are not giving enough attention to future wars. my argument to that is, i have
every confidence that the defense industries, the congress, and the services themselves will protect the high-end capabilities because that is where the dollars are. the f-35 will be funded, the aircraft carriers will be funded, a new bomber will be funded. what i want to make sure is that we do not forget what we have learned in iraq and afghanistan, and in fact, while you are projecting those high- end capabilities, you do not neglect the other capabilities, which, in fact, were neglected after vietnam. >> you have mentioned several important changes inside the military during your service. one of the ones that a lot of us paid attention to was embedded journalists. what are some of the upside, downsides of the changes you have made today? >> i will not take credit or
blame for that. and actually, the first time they tried to deal with that was in the first gulf war. i would point out one good thing and one not so good thing resulting from and that it reporters. the good thing is, a wide array of journalists have had firsthand exposure to the incredible young men and women in our military. i have yet to find a reporter who has been embedded who does not come away absolutely awestruck by the quality of the people in our military, however subtle they are, how adaptable, how you can have a young captain who is at work in the morning, leading in the afternoon and during a host of projects. reporters half come away with a very positive attitude toward
our military, those who have been indicted. the problem, though, with an embedded reporter is that it is like watching the war through a soda straw. they get a very limited perspective. when you read an article on the front page, it is the platoon -- if the platoon that they were with that day had a good day, the war is going well. and if the platoon had a terrible day, we are losing. the problem with an embed is the lack of perspective and the lack of a broader view of what is going on, on the battlefield. >> looking back five decades that your public service, is there anything you are particularly proud of?
what comes first to your mind? >> well, i was often asked what i was on my farewell tour what i wanted for my legacy, what i thought was most important. and i said, you know, the thing that matters most to me is that those young men and women on the battlefield knew that they had a secretary of defense who would do anything and spend anything to give them what they needed to be successful on the battlefield and to come home safe, and if not safe, to give them the best medical care in the world. and if those troops out there felt that way, that was all i wanted.
>> that sounds like a terrific said way to letting some of our r.o.t.c. -- a terrific segue to letting some of our rotc members ask some questions. >> mr. secretary, thank you. i was involved as a counterinsurgency officer in the infantry in 1968 in vietnam. in recent interviews you said we got it wrong in vietnam and wrong in be -- in iraq before we got it right in vietnam and in iraq. i would like your perspective, we got wrong and how we got it right in both countries. -- on how we got it wrong and how we got it right in both countries. >> i am less of an expert in vietnam, and partly from my memory is not that good. [laughter] but i will say, in afghanistan for example, -- in iraq, we tried to -- just leaving aside how we got there and so on, but
in iraq we tried to shift the responsibility for security to the iraqi forces before they were ready. before they were able to handle it, and when the level of domestic violence spun out of control, we still thought we could turn it over to them. this is what the surgeon reversed. in terms of having enough boots -- what the surge reversed. in terms of having enough food on the ground and that having an umbrella of security, then the political reconciliation could begin. they still a long way to go, but in the year that it took to form an iraqi government, the key, that i did not see much comment on was that they were talking to each other, not shooting at each other, in contrast to 2005 and 2006. in afghanistan, again, i think we tried to much in the way of
conventional forces, in terms of not having -- the other piece of the baghdad strategy that made a huge difference was getting our troops out of the in kamins and living among the people. that made a difference also in vietnam, and living among the people, and giving them the confidence that we were there, and providing support, that they had a 91 if they got in trouble. this is what baghdad had in the joint center's all through baghdad, and it is happening in afghanistan. the downside in afghanistan is that as we have increased foot patrols and with the troops out among the populace, it has made them more invulnerable to the ied's. we had vehicles that protected them in 2007 while they are on the road and on the way to their patrol, but once you are on foot, you are much more vulnerable to these i.d.'s. but -- these five e d's.
but the key in all three situations is that you had to provide security and that meant getting out among the populace. >> we have some questions from twitter. >> the first question comes from brian. he asks, obama urged palestinians to abandon a state would vote. should the u.s. take a role in multinationals like the u.n. and nato? >> the first, i think we have the leadership role in nato. and i think we have one of the leadership roles in the united nations. i would say on the palestinian vote, i am sorry of the ultimate realist, if you will.
the question i asked is, does a unilateral action with respect to statehood advance the cause of peace, or deterred? and my judgment would be that it deters it. we could spend the whole afternoon on the is million -- the israeli-palestinian conflict. i was the for secretary of defense to visit ramallah last year and meet with the palestinian prime minister. i have known that -- netanyahu's since he was deputy foreign minister in 1990. and i have known the minister of defense, ehud barak, since he was the chief of staff when i was the director of the cia. i have known these players and been in this game a while. i was with president carter when he was at the camp david talks and reached at peace.
the one thing i have noted is that the big steps toward peace between israel and the arabs, in both cases were there have been major steps forward, have been under very conservative israeli prime ministers, first under menachem begin, and under prime minister shamir. and i believe advances were made under prime minister sharon before. and i believe what we all have to think about, when we think about the palestinian state, are you talking about the west bank where the palestinian authority actually has some authority, where their security services have been trained by the united states and others and work closely with the israelis and where there is a pretty good relationship? or are you talking aboutthe
gazan palestinians controlled by hamas that want the destruction of israel? which palestinians does the resolution are present? i think that is the challenge. i think there has been a bandwagon effect in the u.n. of everyone wanting to sign up for this resolution without really thinking through the implications of it. that said, the reality is, we need to be very aggressive in this peace process between the palestinians and the israelis. every president that i have worked for has been angry at israel over the settlements. and has tried to get the israelis to stop the settlements, because with each new settlement, getting an agreement on borders and everything else becomes more
difficult. this is a tough situation. israel is essentially alone in the region. they look at egypt, which was a staunch partner in peace at least, not an ally, but a partner in peace. but since last spring, they have seen their embassy sacked in cairo and so on. but israel has done some things that were not too smart either. they alienated the turks, who were i strongly allied. they incredibly foolishly assassinated a hamas leader in the uae, and out was a friend in the region. they have made some tactical moves that were not in their own interest and they have isolated themselves. i think there needs to be a very frank conversation about this whole process and how we move it forward. there is no doubt in my mind, because i look back to camp david, and even back to the
peace talks after the yom kippur war and there has never been peace without the united states in the middle of it, and we have to figure out our role going forward. >> this is cadet third class david miller from west chester university. >> you took over in 2005 from mr. rumsfeld and in the middle of a decidedly unpopular war. what did you per -- where did you set out doing? what did they one and week one look like for you? >> happily, it was 2006. [laughter] there were several things that were at the top of my agenda that i felt i needed to deal with. as i said at the time, my agenda is iraq, iraq, and iraq.
so, getting iraq in a better place was my highest priority. the involved appointing general patraeus and recommending him to the president to be the new commander, and then implementing the search decision and giving the group -- surge decision and getting the troops into baghdad as quickly as possible. the second thing was improving the military relationship, which by all accounts -- and i was not in washington, happily, so i did not know first hand, but it had become quite afraid. -- quite frayed. i started again and based on my history with the kremlin, realized that symbols matter. when it came to meeting the commanders, i went to their headquarters. i did not have them come to the pentagon. i traveled to their headquarters, met their staffs, got to need more of their people that way, but it was also a gesture of respect.
i certainly been with the chiefs -- meeting with the chiefs on their turf rather than having them in my conference room. i made sure i listened. i did not always agree, and i sometimes overruled them, and i sometimes fired them. but i always treated them with respect. foot again, early on in my agenda, -- but again, early on, my agenda was repairing the alicia share. the third was the relationship with congress. to say that that was frayed was an understatement. i set out to deal with the leadership in the congress, both parties. i would do things like go to the republican caucus in the house, the democratic caucus in the senate, and i would do all of those.
and whenever i was invited to do one of them and i would call the leadership of the other party and say, i am willing to come up and do you guys, too, if you want, just so they would know i was not playing favorites. and then there was trying to improve the relationship with the press. and i said in some of my early speeches, including the commencement at the naval academy in the spring of 2007, the congress and the press are the surest guarantee of american liberty. do not think of them as the enemy. to do so is self-defeating. what i started out doing in december of 2006 and forward was, i would tell officers when
you read criticism in the press -- first, that is still a why i ever find out what is going wrong in this building. [laughter] but when you read criticism, before you get in a defensive crouch, first asked, is the criticism correct? is it factually correct? find out the facts. if the facts are wrong, then go back to the press and say, no, you got the facts wrong. here are the facts. or alternatively say, you know, you got it right. and thank you, now i can deal with this problem. that is how i found out about the scandalous treatment of our wounded warriors at walter reed, a newspaper story on the front page of the "washington post." the way i found out about the contribution of mine resistant and protected mwrap vehicles was through an attack were not a
single marine had been killed. those were some of my early agenda items, iraq, iran, iraq, and then trying to repair some things inside the beltway. >> jabanero is that beltway? when you look at the -- how narrow is that beltway? when you look at all sorts of issues, politics, the economics, do you still see congress and the media as the best hope for liberty and freedom? >> what i said was that they were the best guarantor -- [laughter] of our liberty. it and what one of my favorites