tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 20, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
plan to hold down these deficits in the long run. but to keep fiscal policy loose in the short run because the run be economy is so weak. back right now because the economy is weak, don't raise taxes because the economy is together a forcible plan to do it over 30 or 40 years. what the white house and congress have formulated is the opposite. together spending restraints in the short run that have affect the discretionary spending, not just on the budgets of nasa but also the military, there has been a very big squeeze on military. they have done little to address these longer-term problems related to medicare and social security, which are the drivers of long-run deficit.
not happy with government fiscal policy. the fed thinks fiscal policy has made its own job harder in the short run and has not solved the long-run problems. caller: the real estate market is unsustainable. to the home i grew up in chicago , 30 minutes north of chicago, it was a three-bedroom house, full basement, now it is a single-family grudge. that home, i looked up the value of the other day -- $234,000 with taxes of $6,500. that is a snippet of a house -- 1100 square feet. i say to myself, the real estate market is unsustainable. my son graduated four years ago and just landed a full-time job.
he is making $35,000 a year. another son is making around $30,000. kids, don't even think about buying real estate. i can't even imagine that they will ever be earning enough money to purchase a home at $30,000. i don't understand how we as a country are going to be able to move forward. guest: can i ask a question? in chicago, have they gone up that neighborhood -- did prices fall and comeback were they going higher steadily? caller: i just looked at the pricing recently. i can't tell you -- there are other homes across the street and down a couple of doors that have been remodeling. that home in 2012 sold for the
low 200 thousands. now it's the low 400s. >> watch all of this online at c-span.org. we take you now over to the wilson center in washington, d c as the searing conflict enters its fourth year. we will hear from robert ford. there is jane harman from california. >> the jordanian ambassador, perhaps we have others, we have many supporters, senior staff from the wilson center, especially the fearless leader of the middle east project. our scholars track the ever shifting tectonic plates of the middle east on a daily basis. nearly half of our ground troops briefings featuring experts in hotspots around the world
commenting on breaking news have focused on egypt, iran, the peace process and syria. our middle east program has held 63 of vents in the last year alone, half of them this week. and it follows events on the ground in syria very closely. recent speakers include the israeli minister of highligence, the eu representative, jeh johnson, who made headlines at the wilson center when he said " syria has become a matter of homeland security." with more than 130,000 dead, world catastrophe. as the new york times reported, 42% of all syrians, more than the population of new york city, have fled their homes. in the u.s., this is equivalent
to 131 million americans on the move. as a former non-term -- nine term number of congress, i arsonally would like to see more forceful policy. i think we raised expectations in libya and when that happened it should have set some sort of precedent for syria. needs toink congress get in the game more than it has. the recent feud with the cia committeee cia and chairman feinstein is a distraction and i would hope that would be worked out soon. lastly to classified briefings that reschedule before the senate committee were canceled. there is also an 800 pound gorilla in the room, ukraine. we can't deal with issues in isolation. in the end, i think most of us
putin has ashat much interest in a stable syria as we do. there is $10 million owed from damascus to loss cap. there is a threat -- to moscow. there is a threat to the naval base. so who better to help us understand what lies ahead than the brave former u.s. ambassador to syria, robert ford, who just stepped down last month. that this is his first major policy address since leaving office. for almost officer 30 years, robert ford has seen it all. he served as ambassador to algeria and was the obama administration's point man on geneva ii. he will first give remarks, i think. he will not give remarks. [laughter]
he will engage in a conversation with the legendary aaron david miller, who served six secretaries of state and now serves the wilson center as our vice president for new initiatives. the show begins right now. you very much. i want to welcome everyone for coming. let me begin on a personal note, i have the honor of working 25 years with an enormous number of talented officers, but i have to underur work on syria, difficult conditions, really reflects a courage of conviction in commitment that really is the best tradition of the foreign service and it is an honor for us to have you here and it is an honor to know you. >> thank you. i was lucky to work with great -- at damascus and in
washington working on syria. it has been very frustrating. >> i think we would agree syria is a moral, humanitarian, strategic disaster, certainly for the syrian people and the region and for the united states. what to do about it is another matter. toward that end, in an effort to see if we can't use your wisdom and experience to elicit at least some on the ground the way the about political landscape looks, before we turn to the final issue of what to do, i would like to ask you four questions, each relating to a specific piece of the puzzle. the first concerns the opposition. you have spent more time than any other american working with the various opposition groups. can you tell us what drives the dysfunction? you identify the factors that prevent the effectiveof a
opposition and what can be done to alter the divisions and confusion that seems to prevail? couple of things i would say about the opposition, and i have spent a lot of time with people and people onia, the inside when they would come out to jordan, come out to turkey. when i think about the opposition, i divide it between an external opposition and internal opposition. they are divided. it is true. maybe as divided as you might think. they all agree on a few basic assad, they all agree must go. they have a vision of syria, leaving outside -- aside the al
qaeda elements, even the are note islamists trying to impose an islamist state, but they will advocate for one. there is a difference between advocating and imposing. they are divided and it is a constant problem. first there is a huge amount of personal ambition and competition between them. that has been true from the beginning. just something as simple as yesterday thest internal opposition centered around the northwestern province and rejected the external attempts to impose an electoral system to do new elections in the northwestern province. are arguingnk they about the forms of elections, they are arguing over who controls the process and this
gets back to what i said about personal competition and competition for leadership. it is aggravated by regional powers that have their own clients. the saudi's have certain people they like better than others. islam is done the saudi's, the turks, jordanians. syrian decision now. this reminds me a lot, and you know about lebanon, this reminds me about of what i saw in lebanon in the 1980's when i was a young diplomat. syrian decision and that is a real problem. need toans themselves reassemble around a syrian agenda, first and foremost. >> and that agenda, what would drive it?
said, there is something they all agree on. i do not think anyone who has any weight on the ground with the activists that are keeping the municipalities functioning in the so-called liberated parts the armed fighters, i don't think anyone would accept assad states. certainly not in the long term. some of them have started to say a be we could keep him a few months, but then he has to go. has no long-term future. i think they agree on that. people should be able to go home. food supplies should move. you can imagine a series of steps they would agree in terms of going forward to rebuild the country and in terms of moving ahead to set up a transition government. iny always get snagged
things circling around who will lead the process. notsyrian oppositionists do trust each other and that is the product of living under a brutal drivengence apparatus state for 30 years. by the way, that is not unique to syria. when i went to iraq and worked after our troops got rid of hedam hussein, iraq oppositions were similar. they had very little trust among each other. product of political culture. that is not something you fix overnight. >> let's turn to the regime. i'm not sure anyone in the room whatever believe three years al-assad wouldr not only be in power, but perhaps had turned a proverbial corner in terms of consolidating his gains. syria is not tunisia and egypt.
there is reasons why. manages to survive the initial phase of the arab spring, when the others did not. why,n the end, tell us what is the key to assad's longevity so far? why has he been able to sustain himself? >> three things, really. first and foremost, the opposition we were just talking unsuccessfuln very at explaining an agenda that thed not threaten communities that are the pillars of support for the regime. first and foremost, the other white community, i have met many of them over the past couple of years. they are genuinely convinced, substantial portions of the
community is not enthusiastic about assad. they have taken terrible casualties and they see no end in sight. observatory for human rights, probably as good as any source in terms of casualties, they are estimating over half of the casualties, 50,000 supporters have been killed. you may assume out of that 50,000, the majority arew. are alawite. that is a heavy loss. i live in baltimore, about 2.5 million. if baltimore suffered 25,000 casualties in two years, people in baltimore would be stunned, shocked. the alawite feels under attack. a look at the al qaeda elements that are so strong within the opposition and they say they are going to kill us all and they are not wrong about that.
therefore they keep fighting for. .- for assad notother segments would announce al qaeda, even the extreme al qaeda elements. they would not do it. they criticized the american decision of december 2012 to name the other al qaeda group theying inside iraq, criticized us for naming them a terrorist and to this day they will not call them that. sayalawite look at that and how can we trust that opposition, even the moderates? problem.ne the opposition has not distinguished itself from the most extreme elements. it really scares christians, a lot of the sunni businessman. it is the first reason. the systemseason is
fromoutside -- assistance outside states, iran and russia, and i would add there are growing numbers of iraqi shia fighters going in to syria. there was a good article yesterday in "the guardian" about the people we used to be fighting in southern iraq and baghdad now mobilizing and sending fighters to go fight for assad in syria. that helps not only manpower on the ground, which is vital has takene alawite casualties and they are not able to mobilize enough, so there is is,power from these iraq and arms coming from russia and iran. so that is the second factor.
regimerd factor is the unity andain coherence, which is lacking on the opposition side. efforts tot seen hisve assad from within inner circle. they have remained united. there are problems with the state, and i hope we talk about that. state is decaying in the war of attrition. so far, the regime has a certain unity lacking on the opposition front. >> many people felt this would become an addition and subtraction problem. the longer this went on, the it'se would be diminished, financial and economic resources le, that ist, -- mora the subtraction part.
would gainn is they momentum. there might be some external support and at some point these arcs would cross into a tipping point. in fact there would be some fundamental change in the situation which would start the decline.y of assad's that has not happened for the reasons you suggest. while it is not accurate to believe assad will ever rule is fatherthe way h had, or is it probable, is it conceivable to imagine a situation in which the regime or elements of it due, in facts, remain in place? and the situation is frozen? no comprehensive cease-fire or with -- youand up end up with a stalemate with the
level of violence diminishing and you are left with this grinding, dysfunctional and highly decentralized syria. as an analyst, is that a possible -- >> i think that is exactly where we are going. it is hard to imagine that assad is going in the short term, even in the medium term, going to lose control of the areas aleppo south to damascus and over to the coast, which is where most of the big cities are located. some of the cities have been heavily depopulated. the suburbs of damascus, for example. he will control that area geographically, maybe a fourth of the country. will ber three quarters under the control of different armed elements or contested
among different armed elements. placesady see that in out in the east, not far from the iraq border. aleppo whereven in different factions control different neighborhoods. the regime controls the western part of aleppo city and the bytern part is controlled different armed factions. sometimes they get along, sometimes they fight. concernsrd question assad's allies. he basically has four. if you do not count the unwillingness of the to tiptional community the balance through intervention, which is also helping him. iranians, iin, the well,uming ukraine,
ukraine is going to make it almost impossible for the with respecto much to cooperation with us. hezbollah is locked into a struggle of its own in lebanon and in syria. iran strikes me, is were the potential, you there at the second geneva. you have been around the iranian angle of this. is there potential cooperation between the united states and iran when it comes to syria? and would it be significant? we have not had a serious discussion with the iranians about syria, to my knowledge. i am not aware of a serious discussion with the iranians to
identify their core interests, the top priority set of interests, the second ring, the third ring. i do think we have had that conversation. iraniansimagine the are anxious to see al qaeda sink deeper roots in the eastern , the quarters of syria geographic eastern three quarters. i can't imagine that is in iranian interest. we have certainly seen al qaeda target, in a ruthless manner, shia communities. not only in syria, but also in lebanon. on ant enough to build outcome? that is less evident to me. i have seen i romney and statements this week in the media saying, well, if assad
reelection,un for the opposition should participate. if he runs and wins, that is democratic and fall into line. it conveniently ignores there is this ruthless security apparatus that has never allowed a free and fair election during the assad regime and it is unlikely to imagine they are going to allow it in 2014. i do not know if we are going to be able, ever, with the iranians to agree on a way forward. at ank we do share, minimum, a counterterrorism interest. will that suffice? i don't know. >> one final question, which is the trickiest and the most complex, that involves the american role. i have described u.s. policy as not immoral, but a moral. that is to say, the president
has made a decision that other moral, other than ethical, or humanitarian ones shape our syria policy. as a moralit disaster for the united states. it probably is all of that. the question is, and i will put it to you directly, it may not be an easy one. is ending the civil war in syria aand the reconstitution of vital, national interest for the united states? money, means we put our vital our resources, and
always conveys the sense we are prepared to put americans in harms way. national interest. is syria and the consequences of this seemingly unending civil war of vital interest for the united states? and if so, what should we do about it? >> we have really smart people, just in the group i work with, starting with the secretary of state john kerry, spending enormous amounts of time on syria. i don't think anyone in the administration questions we have huge interest in syria. involvingsts are also
-- you've all been. we did not have terrorism concerns in syria when the syrian uprising started in 2011. going into midway into 2012, we did not see syria posing a direct threat to their united states, aside from the american embassy and we did receive threats from al qaeda. one of the reasons we closed the embassy in february of 2012. to expand on this a little bit, we are spending huge amounts of resources. if you had told me when i went out as ambassador to syria in january 2011 that we would soon committedt $2 billion to serious, i would have been shocked. when you think about the time
and resources, absolutely. n, the interests are addressing the humanitarian crisis, growing -- dealing with a growing terrorism problem, and find aely, in order to sustainable solution to the humanitarian crisis and the terrorism problem, find a political solution to the contest for power and therefore channel resources from a syrian capital against the terrorism problem and help resolve the humanitarian issue. .hat we have been frustrated in we had hoped the geneva ii process would start on that. did not agree at all to discuss a transition government. with a lot of,
prodding, did put forward a transition plan. they did not share it with us before they tabled it. it was not draft, bad. it was the basis for a negotiation. the regime is not interested in negotiating, not willing to parch or.sad's if i can cut to the chase, should we be applying military force? >> that is right. that is what i am really asking. >> i can cut to the chase. that, we should remember that ultimately the solution is not going to be airstrikes against a assad airfield. it is not going to be drone convoysagainst regime going to aleppo. it is going to be a political settlement between elements of
the regime and the opposition. the military can't operate in a vacuum. it has to be part of a bigger effort to solve the problem. on that we are still stuck. i spent time talking about the concerns that support the community, particularly the alouite community. you must address that problem. that is not a u.s. military strength issue. that is a political issue among syrians. >> you have identified i think the core problem, the relationship between means and ends.
military power is an instrument. that is all it is. it is an instrument and a tool to realize realizable political goals. we have a president emerging from the two longest wars in history where the means and ends were not coordinated. no buddy -- nobody believes we were going to put boots on the ground. the president's concern is what is the relationship with between the application of military power in the end state that used think is so critically important. that is the key. i am not sure anybody has answered that problem. barrel , i look at the bombs dropping on aleppo, and today there are those bombs dropped on suburbs of damascus. the distraction and the wanton killing of civilians is just andletely abhorrent
reprehensible. that said, i think we should be about whatalytically you can expect from an american military action if in fact the president were to do that. the president has never taken that completely off the table. we should remember the example of iraq where we sent in at one point 170,000 soldiers. i was in iraq. michael was also. alultimately the solution was not 170,000 soldiers. the deal was between a substantial portion of the sunni arab community in iraq with most of the shia community in iraq and the kurds. they worked out a deal. the 170,000 forces helped in some aspect of that, but the core element that solved iraq to get us out was the political
deal among the iraqis. where we had western military intervention, we still do not among libyans that resolved the problem. the military action is a tool in a toolkit, but it is not the solution in and of itself. and i think that is really important. theking very frankly with group here, we do not do our syrian friends a favor if we encourage them to think that if we can just convince the administration to do a military strike, then the problem is solved, because it absolves them of doing the hard work of reaching out and undermining assad's support politically within his own regime. last week, out of frustration with what the regime has been armedto civilians, the opposition and particularly some hard-line factions kidnapped
95 alouite civilians. to one person in the opposition condemned that? that is the problem. how do we convince those alouites to stop fighting? from we needange the americans to do more to how do we work with the americans to undermine the regime? that is going to take some hard thinking inside the ranks of the syrian opposition. >> last question -- the future. it is a civil war of a particular sort. >> and a regional war. in onel wars and usually or two ways. external intervention tips the favor in one side of it then -- the other, or and exhaustion it is the frozen
conflict we just described. a year from now, if you were 2015, wherearch 20, do you think we will be? say -- as anould analyst, i wish i could say i i hope we have a solution by then, but i do not see anything quick on the horizon. there is an element of exhaustion setting in. you can see that in some of the local cease-fires that have been negotiated on the ground between and armedhting units opposition units, especially in the suburbs of damascus, but not exclusively in those suburbs. tactics,e's reprehensible as it is, as starving and surrounding them,
why do they do that? they do not have enough men to go in and take them, so they surround them instead in this -- i cansiege fashion imagine we will see more of that. we will see more local cease-fires. but i do not think in the end it will bring a conflict -- the conflict to a close. the country itself will become more and more patchwork. i think that is the direction it is going. i see no sign that the regional backers of the regime or the opposition are prepared to stand down. and so there will be plenty of oil put on the fire in the next year. >> robert, thank you so much. to your questions. >> robert, thank you for your service. you are noble and brave. two things quickly. i've mentioned the blowback from ukraine to serious in my
opening, and asking a question about influence, you said russia might be too busy at this point to play a bigger role in syria. my question is, whether or not they actually do it, everybody has seen the intimidation that russia was able to effect on crimea and then the election results, and the insertion of, by the way, really ugly of a covert force. at least they were masked. we know who they were. and that picture influence increase the resolve of assad? number two, if we were capable, if we are capable and i hope we are, of reaching an agreement with the iranians on their efforts within six months, is there a possibility change itsould behavior and on march 20, 2015,
you would have a better report? it is very noticeable to me, jane, that government in damascus praised putin for his efforts on crimea and welcomed the actions that the russians took. at thehink bashar looks russians as well as the iranians as his two big protectors internationally. i am sure he takes great satisfaction from the recent events in crimea. that is what i issued that statement. i do hope as we talk about the regime and the russians, the russians are plussing up weapons supplies going into damascus, and their political support at the you and remains u.n. remained strong,
-- but thes a vision resolution was a first small in the russian position, which heretofore had been three vetoes. shouldt think bashar assume the russians will remain constant throughout. i think the russian primary interest in syria is not the survival of bashar i'll assad, per se. rather, it is that they do not see an alternative to bashar in terms of controlling the straw most -- controlling the islamist extremist comments. they do not have anything to study. that is a problem of the syrian opposition. we have always encouraged the syrian opposition therefore to talk constantly to the russians, because they are going to have to convince them that they too would carry out successfully, and they could do it more
successfully than bashar could. with respect to the iranians, i t pretend to be an error on start at all, so i do what the impact of the deal would be, if we get a final deal on the question. i do not know how that would affect their thinking about syria, but unlike the russians, i think the iranians view the more personaln a way, someone with whom they worked closely to help hezbollah over the years, to help other rejectionist elements. iran is the way they did believer of the resistance front against israel, much against the lines of rhetoric out of damascus. i think they're running this will be a harder nut to crack. i will not say impossible, but i would say harder. >> please identify yourself. >> thanks you.
i am from the arab league. you mentioned three things that kept assad in power and sustained him for a long time. i thought you would enter the army as in tact, homogeneous. and loyalty. and of course, it has all the weapons available, sophisticated. this is one. the other one, regarding the appointment of the new envoy to syria, they said he is supposed to deal to get in touch with syrians. it did not say which syrians. , the moderate militants, the moderate syrians, the opposition, the militants -- what is it? thank you. >> with respect to the army being intact, my understanding is in the heavy fighting that
took face recently along the lebanese-syrian border emma hezbollah was in the vanguard of the fighters there, not the syrian forces. there were syrian forces involved, but has follow was in the vanguard. hezbollah is still fighting as far away as aleppo. they are using iraqi dishes as well. as well.as the syrian units are either in the barracks. they are not constant. they're largely sunni conscripts and their loyalty is questioned, they are militias, and they are taking heavy casualties, as i mentioned. the regime is over time the coming more and more dependent not on its army, but on foreign forces. that i cannot imagine is a source of comfort to assad because that means he is losing a certain degree of independence of decision making. especially for your military
the less freedom of action you will have over time. successor,t to my danny rubinstein, a trick fellow and a brilliant fellow, and served with distinction in places like damascus and in jordan, i think he just left the united states and is headed to turkey and to jordan and to paris, and i think will be meeting with syrians namely from the opposition in all those places. i do not know what his schedule is. i did not set it up. but i think you should expect that danny will be in close contact with both the formal opposition, but a lot of the independent syrians, and that he will be in close contact with other countries in the region that have big interests there, starting with turkey, the gulf states, jordan, and our european
friends. see, how about in the middle? heritage foundation. what do you make of the prospects for the southern offensive we hear about in the news, if that will make any difference? >> let's take one more. yes, over here on the end. my name is stephen. what outcome do the israelis wish happens in syria? >> on the southern offensive, first, i do not think -- i have seen these press stories about open the way toward a masochist. -- damascus.
it is hard to imagine they will be able to do a victory parade about the streets of damascus right now. what i understand it is one part of a multi-front board of attrition, so there will be a lot of casualties on all sides. frankly, as an analyst, one of the things i will look for is do we see signs of foreign fighters for the regime going down there? i have been told by people in the free syrian army there are already some hezbollah elements down there, but i cannot prove that. i do not know if that is true. but i do not think it will be decisive in and of itself. ands a pretty narrow front, the border with turkey, which is much longer, has stopped flowing in for a long time, and that has not proved decisive either. i would not put a lot of hope in the southern front, proving
decisive, and rather it says to me the regime may make advances along the lebanese border, but then if new problems pop up in the south or north or east, it just never ends. fight ons just sort of and on. with her check to the question about the israelis, they have two interests. number one, i think they remain very answered about the hezbollah presence in syria and the arms that hezbollah gets, whether those be advanced rocketry emma missiles, or god forbid weapons of distraction, particularly chemical weapons. second, they have a general and concern as well as islamic extremists and terrorist groups setting up in any way along their border, along
with -- or taking power in damascus itself. in either case, it is not clear to me that the israelis see their national interests as coinciding with the survival of assad. that is less clear to me. and i recall a letter from the "theli ambassador to new york times " where he said went blank israel's interests will be served by something far more moderate in damascus. assad himself, when i was getting my briefings before i went out to damascus as ambassador, at the start of 2011, i was flabbergasted by the toent of support from assad his follow-up in terms of the missiles that he was providing and the kind of co-operation
they were providing out of syria. i do not think the israelis have -- fondness what server whatsoever for assad. >> i think -- trudy. >> hi, trudy. >> hi, ambassador for. i hope you're getting indication at least. >> i get to sleep later in the morning. >> thank goodness for that. i wanted to ask you, given the failure of the peace talks in geneva and clear russian disinterest in facilitating them, has this led to or do you think it will lead to any change in u.s. strategy on syria, and to be more specific, is there any more willingness now or is there likely to be to give a green light to the opposition getting from whoever --iaircraft what weapons
antiaircraft weapons, if for no other reason than to thwart the obvious military strategy of the regime which is to let the neighbors deal with the consequences of the permanent refugee flows? >> should we take one more? yes. yes. >> thanks, aaron. hi, barbara. >> barbara slaven. ambassador for it, out of curiosity, has the united states -- had the united states done something more dramatic in 2012 when there was that bombing in damascus that killed the defense minister and the regime appeared to be on it's heels before al qaeda got entrenched, would that have dated difference? did you advocate for something stronger at the time, whether airstrikes or a no-fly zone,
and was that a moment that we just missed and we are never going to get that back? thanks. trudy'srespect to question about a change of strategy, and in particular on -- i think, trudy, there are two aspects. our exceptionally -- our exceptionally -- i do not want to see these kinds of weapons proliferate because of concerns about the threat to civil aviation. it is not clear to me that that concern among which is global, not specific to syria, that that is going to change. elementsect to other of our supports to the opposition, it is easy for me to imagine that in the policy deliberations going forward they
are going to refocus on how to change the balance on the ground. airstrikes are a big thing that end,egime uses, but in the i am not aware of any campaign that has been thwarted solely by airstrikes. also going tot is be important for the opposition to understand is they are going to have to adapt their contact x in the civil war -- their own tactics in the civil war. this is difficult because the free syrian army was established back in 2011 to protect civilians. that is where it came from. it started out as informal groups. it scattered around what were then peaceful demonstrations and fire at the police or the militias coming in to hold them up so that the demonstrators could disperse and get away before they were arrested. that is where it came from. ofy have always had a dash
protecting civilians. the regime aust tactics have changed. now if you try to hold ground among what the regime does is they bomb and kill a lot of civilians and there is nothing the free syrian army can do about it. or the regime surrounds and starves them and there is little the free syrian army to do about that. they are going to have to adjust their tactics and focus more on things like supply lines. barbara'sct to question, it goes back to what i , aboutfore,, barbara syrians coming to a political agreement. when the bombs took out a couple of syrian your -- senior leaders
and the defense minister, the syrian opposition at that time was the syrian national council which had no transition plan whatsoever, and frankly was not even thinking of a transition plan, was thinking there would be a victory parade down the main streets of damascus. i do not think even if we had done something then, it is not clear to me that even if the regime had toppled, which i'm not sure it would have because of the internal unity aspect that i was talking about before, but if it had, i could just have easily imagined a power vacuum. and the syrian national council at that time of the bombing was less organized than the libyan council was. you had a vacuum. that is why you had even in 2011 , we told you the top order of business for you must be to
set up a transition plan and to market it inside the country. it was just never a priority for them, frankly. room with an overflow an additional 50 people. here's one question. i want to make sure i do not overlook that. >> i would like to know how it is that she got her question forwarded but others did not. maybe i worked in the middle east too long. [laughter] >> this question comes from the overflow room, concerning chemical weapons. what can you tell us about the status of the chemical weapons effort, and what is your speculation on how the regime is playing this, particularly now in the wake of newton's move a -- putin's move it crime. and the deterioration of the u.s.-russian cooperation? i think the director of the
statement, a yesterday or today, saying that the regime has now removed approximately just under half of its chemical weapons stocks.' 1/5 or maybe about 1/4 of the really potent stuff has actually been removed out of syria. and that they are moving less of the priority one materials, the more potent things, and moving more of the less put things. there's a real need for vigilance. no surprise with a history of this regime. there is a second issue, which is the future of the various syrian regime production facilities, and our understanding of the agreement with the russians was those facilities would be destroyed -- destroyed.
-- i am nowing seeing that the syrians are proposing that they are just chat, which is not the same as destroying things. these are the things we will have to talk to the russians about. from our discussions with the autumn, it was clear that they saw their own seeing, best served by a, the elimination of that destruction, b, the of those materials. it will be an issue to discuss with the russians, both at the speed with which they are being removed, and especially with materials, and, second, the future of the production facilities. >> it is nice to see you. >> thank you.
at the beginning of your talk you said your job was very frustrating. you're talking about your job or the policy, the american policy? can you assess that over the someoneee years, and said they would like to see a more forceful policy. eu agreed the u.s. should have a u.s.-- do you agree the should have a more forceful policy on syria? >> all of us, the administration, congress, the american public in general, look at the stories coming out of anger, hugeel both frustration that it continues , and in a sense we all want to do something. i do not think anybody questions that. but you want to do something that is actually going to help and that will fix the problem. feel huge frustration
that we have not been able to stop the killing, that we have not been able to find a way to return syria towards some kind of sustained stability with dignity and freedom for its people, who are incredibly brave. i cannot underline that enough, how brave so many of these syrians are, the doctors that are working in hospitals being bombed, the people who have stayed to keep basic for structure working, despite barr el bombing in districts like aleppo, or who brave out qaeda. we are working with a group to get schools up and running, and you know how out qaeda -- al qaeda feels about teaching young girls. of the seriesry
touches all of us. it certainly touched me. so what i can say to you is i do not think anyone is happy in the administration or in washington in general about the situation there. so i think you will see us constantly evaluating and reevaluating what is the best way for. >> we have time for one more question, maybe two if they are quick. yes. do you expect syria to emerge as one country after the civil war, or would it be a hot spot for terrorism and sectarianism in the middle east? thank you. >> and we will take a final question. yes. >> thank you. mr. ambassador, in your speech i never heard you mention turks,
that they control a large portion of syria. what is your take on turks? also last week there was a report [indiscernible] provided that pyd >> there are many communities in syria which i did not mention specifically. there are a lot of different communities in syria will stop with respect to the kurds, a couple of key things i want to say. number one, they are heavily threatened, seriously threatened by al qaeda elements who have upn fighting them in places -- and in some cases, they have inflicted real casualties on the
islamic state elements circulating up there. said, the main group, again it is a militia, which is controlling a lot of those kurdish communities up there, the pyd has a variety of sensitivities surrounding it. number one, it has an affiliation with the pkk. our turkish friends who are the terrorist regulations, the pkk. their position on terrorism? that's the first question. itself seizes opposition people and hold them without trial. they are not operating as a democratic force in the
northeastern quadrant of syria. pyd without reference to any other community in syria declared an autonomous zone. the americans have not taken a position for or against that. that is a syrian decision, not something for foreigners to make a decision about. awever, we do think it is constitutional question and thes to be addressed within context of broader discussions about the ruling system in syria because just as the kurds may want an autonomous region, maybe other places will want also. it has to be decided among syrians and it needs to be settled politically so that it does not become a new source of fighting even after the assad regime departs. in which the pyd did
that actually aggravates political tensions and plays in favor of the regime in damascus. there are a lot of questions about the way the pyd operates and the way attack. which gets then to the question can its territorial integrity and unity be maintained? it is certainly what we want. it is certainly what we want. i think it is very much what its neighbors, turkey, jordan, iraq, lebanon and other countries in the region, the saudi's and other states in the gulf, the egyptians and europeans and the territorials, that unity needs to be maintained, forcesre are a lot of pulling at it. not the only one.
the sooner this conflict is resolved lyrically, the easier it is going to be to maintain that territorial unity. in the end, we had to have a political deal and i'm not saying that's the way to solve the serious crisis, but the focus on politics as a way to resolve the issue. thanking join me in the ambassador for a terrific conversation. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> just a reminder you can see all of this in our video library, c-span.org. looking ahead to tonight on c-span, microsoft cofounder bill thes will be talking about work of the bill and melinda gates foundation in improving health care and education around the world. here's a look. >> you offer an incredibly bold production. you say there will be almost no poor countries remaining by the year 2035. what do you mean by that? measure which has all sorts of challenges is gdp per person.
we still don't have a substitute measure. if you take the world bank codifies countries with 1200 persons per year as moving up into the middle income bracket, moving from low income to middle income, we have today 45 countries still in that low income category. 2035, there should be less than 10. they will mostly be in places like north korea, where you have a political system that basically creates poverty or landlocked african countries diseasee geography, the burden, the disparate ethnicities mean they have not been able to bring together a government in terms of education or infrastructure, even the most
minimum things for them. on this rising tide that is not how prosperity is read around the world from 1960 where there were very few rich countries and they gigantic number of poor countries. most are middle income poor countries and they are much smaller. just saying they will all move up past that threshold is mean they will have poor people in the country or their governments will be fantastic, but it would be a lot better on average than it is today. that's entire conversation tonight on 8:00 eastern on c-span. chris van hollen said this week republicans are considering a budget plan that would change the terms of the ryan-murray budget compromise.
speaking at an event hosted by the atlantic, he talked about tax code reform, health care and infrastructure spending. this is about dirty minutes. >> they count on me for crassness. moving one, we are for another of our keynote conversations. friend,ng that is my the senior associate editor for the atlantic. a is going to have conversation on the state of the economy and budget politics with chris van hollen, a ranking member of the house of representatives budget committee. so and for both of them.
>> thinks for being here. there seems to be an idea that may be the budget wars are over. like fromat it looks where you are? what can we look forward to next few months? >> first of all, it's great to be here and we appreciate the opportunity. i think you have a temporary truce on the budget wars. the budget agreement reached in december carries us through fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2014. so you've got an agreement in place to increase spending relative to those deep across-the-board cuts for that time. , you are back to current law. current law is sequester very deep across-the-board cuts again. we have to resolve those issues.
there was a concern we might have another showdown over the that ceiling, but fortunately, we did not stop we were able to approve it without too much frenzy. there is some talk now, and it is only talk that house republicans and my colleague emma paul ryan may be considering putting forth a budget proposal that would change parts of the ryan-murray agreement. i hope that is not the case because that would create unnecessary disruption. there are some talk they might try to increase the defense spending number for fiscal year 2015 and reduce the non-defense spending for fiscal year 2015. i should be very clear that those numbers were carefully negotiated. thatere was a move in direction, it would create unnecessary uncertainty. but as of now, a temporary
truce, i think and hopefully that will last. >> you were pretty lukewarm on that deal. this kind oflike change happened, what would it look like politically and how with the process go? >> if you had a change in the agreement, that with throw a monkey wrench into the process. one of the benefits of the bipartisan agreement was that thepeople who actually make decision how to spend and allocate funds in those limits, they have been able to get to work. for years, they have not been able to get to work because there hasn't been an agreement between house and the senate as to what the overall numbers are. is you were to change the agreement, you would throw all of that up in the air again. the agreement was a positive development, but it was far from perfect. this attempts to address some of
those issues by saying within the limits, he allocates issues but suggests it would be better for the country if democrats and republicans could come together to increase our investment in nondefense spending, things like nih and also increase military readiness i providing $28 billion in additional funds for those categories. >> let's talk about the earned income tax credit increase which many people have said is the greatest possibility for bipartisan agreement. do you see your bipartisan colleagues going along with that? >> i hope so. this is an extension of the earned income tax credit which people agree has been an effective tool for combating poverty and making sure work pays. the idea is to extend that to childless workers.
toht now it applies individuals working without families and this would extended to childless workers at the most projections, it would help lift substantial numbers of people out of poverty. i hope we can move forward. the price tag over 10 years is about $78 billion. in budgeting, the question is how are you going to offset that? the president offset that by producing very tactic that -- very us tax rates and benefits other areas. i'm not sure our republican colleagues would agree to that approach or not. is agreed or could imagine that backsliding on to the extension itself? >> we'll have to see. come together and support that on a bipartisan basis. but i'm not sure.
one question will be if and when house republicans put forward their budget, are they going to include the earned income tax credit? wage? about the minimum is it fair to say that's a nonstarter in the house? >> we are trying to get a vote on the minimum wage in the house. they have filed a discharge petition, trying to collect signatures to pressure the speaker of the house to bring that up for a vote. we are confident if we have a vote that we would win and get a majority vote, just as we would if we got the comprehensive immigration bill in house will stop but so far, the speaker has not allowed us to have that vote. i think the votes are there, the question in the house is the opportunity to actually get a
vote and let the house work its will. surest -- her colleagues have sent over, unemployment insurance -- this is something democrats have said is important for the economy. again, totally but the prospects that it has all stop >> it is another sore point in the house. we have filed a discharge position -- discharge petition and we will file one on the other bill which is the comprehensive immigration bill. unemployment of compensation and immigration reform are things we think the house should vote on this year. measuresall important and people can vote yes or no, but we should at least have a vote. the unemployment compensation extension is not only important to the families who are
but it is also good for the general economy. youelmendorf indicated if extended unemployment insurance through the end of this year, you would save or create about 200,000 jobs by the end of this year. that's because when people are able to pay their rent and pay their mortgage and go to the grocery store and buy their goods, it is good for the local economy. if people can't make those payments, has a negative impact on surrounding economies. rex on the other side of the aisle, we see a lot of republicans focusing on poverty in a new way all stop paul ryan the house and mike lee in the senate are probably the most visible people doing that. are they taking it seriously? is this a cynical ploy? what is going on with that and
is there somewhere we can agree on the size of these things? ofwe have said that the test whether this is serious or not will be in the house republican budget. after all, budgets are expressions of our priorities, our values, what we care about. in the past, despite a lot of talk about confronting poverty, veryudgets have decimated successful anti-poverty fighting efforts. we know we can do a lot better in the war on poverty. of millionsve tens of americans below the poverty line and that's absolutely unacceptable. at the timeyou look from 1967 until today or 2012 and the latest data, it shows in aboutatives result
40 million fewer americans in poverty. it would be a big mistake to unwind some of the important measures in place. we can look at reforms of the goal is to strengthen and improve those programs, but last year' and budget slashed medicaid, which is already a health program that has the lowest cost per capita increase of any of the health programs, whether in the private market were compared to medicare. they would essentially cut that i $800 billion over 10 years. those byose to cut $140 billion in their last budget. this is a question of what does your budget to, not what do you say. paul ryan is a friend of mine, but we have very deep disagreements on these policy issues. i think they have fundamentally
misdiagnosed the problem. thisecent comment suggests is a lack of motivation. do not want the work, there's a culture of not wanting to work. i think the problem is a lack of opportunity. important we identify the key issues here and provide greater opportunities for people to lift themselves up and if you/important programs that provide some basis of economic security, you are going to make the problem a lot worse, not better. --there is an ideological it ideological disagreement about how this works. you see his report on the war on poverty that says these programs have not really worked. they are too diffuse and there are too many things going on. what about on a policy level? >> let's begin with the premise.
inventory ofn different policy initiatives over time. some people have disputed some of the facts, but it's a catalog of different programs. the opening statement begins with a false from us, which is we haven't made any progress. we have a long way to go, but the council of economic advisers in a very exhaustive report january, on the anniversary of the 50th year of president johnson's the coloration of war on poverty. what you have seen is a 40% reduction in poverty compared to where we would be without these measures that have been put in place. premise we haven't made any progress is false and if you start with that premise, you say let's get rid of these programs as opposed to look for ways of improving them. improve thek you program by cutting $140 billion out of it.
isentioned medicaid, which an important health care program for seniors and lower income families. that is already on a shoestring. -- there are already low impersonal rates for physicians. to take almost a trillion dollars out of that program would be a death knell. >> there are some things you came to like in this. you mentioned the gingrich edwards loopholes. republicans themselves seem less fond of this plan. is there any hope of this going forward? >> the interesting thing about the tax plan was people who put on their running shoes the fastest were running away from speaker boehner and our republican colleagues and i will tell you why.
they -- there is not -- there is lots not to like in the plan, but what he did is make the point many of us have been making over the last years, which is that it's harder than you think to bring down rates and eight deficit neutral manner. in other words, by eliminating certain tax benefits and expenditures. for years, the house republicans budget has said we are going to drop the top tax rate from where it is today down to 25%. out repeatedly in these budget discussions that you cannot do that without increasing the tax burden on middle income americans. the map shows that. if you look at his plan, you have a top marginal tax rate not
of any five percent, but 35%. of revisions and there to try to make it deficit neutral in the first 10 years. bankgot the bank fee and tax have a lot of other provisions will stop he has made the point a lot of it has made. out evenalso point with everything he did to try to make it deficit neutral, most people believe it will significantly increase deficits and the second 10 years because he moves forward drew various changes, for example, the retirement accounts which moves revenue into the next 10 year window. that would potentially put a drag on the economy.
lots of questions but i do them credit for putting something out there. >> when he gives up the gavel, will this give them a template for moving forward or will we just moved back to where we were before? the different pieces or components of that are things that will be him play. if we can move forward on comprehensive tax reform legislation, these are ideas that are out there. i'm sure when we have a discussion on the budget this committee,se budget we will have a healthy discussion of some of dave camp's proposals as well. area and the tax reform universe that there is the least overlapping principle. that has to do with corporate tax reform. president'sat the
for postals, while they are different, there are some important principles. both suggest we would work to reduce the top rates by expanding the base. there are several overlaps in the way they deal with international taxation. proposalsgly, both use some of the income captured as part of corporate tax reform to increase the transportation trust fund infrastructure investment. that, but mentioned it's got to be an important national priority. later this year, there are already signs this is happening, there's not enough revenue coming to our federal transportation trust fund to do the work that needs to be done around the country. in september, all funds for new projects will come to a halt in september.
>> for years, democrats have been talking about every budget president obama has put forward and there seems to not be a lot of movement on that. will it take for some sort of change? >> this is something that worries a lot of us because we need to come up with a long-term plan for our national infrastructure investment. right now, we are on a week to week, month to month short term horizon. the key issue comes down to funding for the transportation trust fund. there are only two ways to get the money. you either essentially borrow it from the general fund, and other words and sit of using the dollars coming into the transportation trust fund, advocated revenues from gas tax you tocated revenues, if
not replenish those somehow, then you are borrowing from the general fund. there's a number of proposals out there to deal with. the president's proposal calls if specific reductions and our republican colleagues don't like that idea, they should put forth another idea for how to pay for it. as a group. if they want to pursue it, it's fine, but so far, they seem to be running away from it. lex you mentioned doug elmendorf who is a peer before. he has not been particularly kind to democrats. suggesthad reports that there would be a negative impact on employment which seems to have in stock -- which seems to have stalled political momentum. trying toats
overpromise and say you can get these things for free? >> i want to salute dr. elmendorf because he has a tough job being the umpire who calls the balls and strikes. when onel be times party or another does not fully agree with his assessment, but you've got to have someone who has a job, otherwise it is total chaos. if members of congress could to make up their own projections, you can imagine. as crazy as the budget process is right now, it would get that much worse. for example, when dr. alan dorf pointed out the economic recovery bill help save millions of jobs in this country, republicans did not like it. are some of his analysis that democrats might not always love. but i want to point out the fundamental mischaracterization that surrounded one of their proposals with respect to the
affordable care act. currently, if you go to work for your employer, you get a tax break. your employer gets to provide you with a tax benefits. people who go to work with employers who provide health insurance are essentially getting a tax subsidized health insurance. before the afford the care act, that kind of tax benefit was not accessible for people who did not go to work for employer with a tax benefit system. youow have a system where can purchase your health care in an exchange and we have much more do -- much more work to do to get them up and running but you can access the tax benefit in the exchange depending on your income. choices.s up more i want to be very clear.
cbo said in the out years, as people have more choices, they may select not to work as many hours or select to work in a particular job they were working because that's their only way to access health care. it wasn't that they were going to be thrown out of their jobs, is that they have the ability to access this tax credit elsewhere. the minimumabout wage issue as well. they projected in the year 2017 that you would have 500,000 fewer jobs. year, we would have additional jobs and if you adopt immigration reform, you would see job growth that would morph the kinds of cuts they projected in the out years. finally, the minimum wage is
going to benefit over 20 million americans directly and millions more by being able to have a little more purchasing power. that ourt wrong country, you can work full-time and still be below the federal poverty line. time, 40 hoursl a week, you should not fall below the federal poverty line. >> i would like to go to the audience for a straight political question. >> steve is doing a terrific job. cycles. in two one was a great cycle for democrats, one was a terrible cycle for democrats. we go into the november election cycle, what ever kratz would like is for us
to punch through on some of the specific proposals with respect to the economy. some of the closing international tax breaks to invest in our infrastructure here at home. early education, minimum wage. issues, everyy survey i have seen suggests there is strong support. it's hard to punch through on that message in a political environment where there is so much polarization and focus on dysfunction, but we are just going to work hard to get the message out and turn out in midterm elections is another huge issue. >> do we have a question? daniel plummer with daniel plummer incorporated. we are a business and internet strategy company. my question is is congress doing anything to address the student loan debt? specifically a legitimate
program that wipes away the debt for any kind of public service. is congress working to reform a lot of the credit laws passed over the last 12 years? studente take the issues first. this is a huge issue for the country. we are up to about a trillion dollars in student loan debt. we are also an economy where we want to make sure that in order for people to compete and yet ahead, that they can go to college. affordability should not be a major obstacle. there are three areas where the federal government has moved. number one has to do with pell grants. we have increased the size of hell grant payments. the house republican government
-- house republican budget would significantly cut the pell grants. the subsidized federal student loans, they were going to doubled to 6.8% and we are able to keep those lower. directly piece addresses the question you raise which is the ability to repay. of abilitiesnumber now for people either through public service or other kinds of service that they can see a reduction on their loan payments. nets are also now safety or fire breakers that if your income is below a certain point, you can pay off your student loan over a longer time. only a certain percent of the income has to go to pay that every year. one of the challenges has been even as federal support for
student loans has gone up, so has tuition. it's been very difficult to develop a system that ties federal student loan or grant ofistance to the question tuition being charged by universities. is hard. some universities may be justasing their tuition because they want to expand their operation. but during the economic turn down, at least with state universities and colleges, because there are less resources coming into state coffers, they cut back on their contributions to their universities will stop universities in some cases had to struggle to increase their in order just to maintain current service. so there are lots of moving parts here. we would invite anybody to tie tricky area.
in terms of the other credit programs, i'm not sure which ones you may be referring to, looking to aeen number of reforms at least in housing assistance and other areas, but i can follow up if you like. >> we have time for one more question. just to follow off the prior question, the generational note, i'm not suggesting this is a father-son chat, though the theal -- what do you see in new pew poll numbers about changing attitudes in the upcoming generation and what effect might that have on the composition of the house of representatives over the next six to eight years? >> i'm sorry?
>> also as they bleed into political convictions. >> that's a very good and very tough question. to predict how this will impact our politics going forward. i think you see a mix of attitudes among young people. one is on a lot of the social issues. they tend to be what we would generalize is being more socially liberal. i think you will see a continuing trend, if you look at that issue, we see incredible changes in the country in an incredibly short time. i'm not sure yet how all of their attitudes will shape economic policy going forward.
there's lots of questions about where younger generations will gravitate to politically. clearly the coalition of young voters was very important to president obama's election in 2008. much energy, not as ad enthusiasm, but significant voting block. whether thoseis voting trends among young people will continue into the future. there is a fair amount of evidence that people tend to stick with their choices of political parties. a lot of people are spending a
lot of time and effort trying to get an answer to that question. a big part of campaigning these days is trying to harness the information available now through social media and all the other data out there to get a better idea of how voters are thinking, not just young voters, but across the board. >> thank you very much. we are out of time. >> thank you both, terrific job. to one question we wanted ask but didn't get to -- do you ever get so frustrated and ask what would lbj do today? >> let me take a second to answer that question. congress, ithe think the president has been dealt a very tough hand with this congress. we went through a whole litany of issues where we are trying to get a vote in congress. if we get a vote, i think we
thingsove forward on the they have pressed for. >> thank you very much. >> also at the atlantic event, grover norquist said republicans have a 50/50 chance of winning a senate majority in the upcoming midterm elections. forlso said 2016 field of -- of republican candidate is much stronger than past cycles, naming chris christie, scott walker and bobby jindal is top contenders. this is 35 minutes. about me say a few words rover norquist. minuteseen dubbed by 60 as the most powerful man in washington. the most powerful man in washington -- how many of you stephen colbert are? if you don't watch it, turn it on every once in a while. had grover on on many
occasions and he had him on on one occasion where he said imagine we've taken all of our grandmothers -- rumor this show? taken all of our grandmothers and we're going to put them in a container underground and we're going to smother it with honey unless you agree to raise taxes, we're going to let the fire ants out. he said would you give in? grover said we've got memories and a lot of photos that will rest well. office andin my stopped in on one occasion. he had this big black case and out of the top of the case, i just happened to see the oath. by stephen cole there. he got stephen colder to sign the oath. can you imagine -- i never looked in the case, but to have
the black attaché case with all of your secrets and is sitting in my office for a day and a thought istop i just would auction it on ebay and see what i would get. without further ado, please welcome eric thompson for round two with grover norquist. [applause] >> thank you, everybody. lastf the themes of the session was short-term and long-term thinking. it was sort of scattered, so we will go from short-term to the long-term for the republican party starting most immediately with dave camp's lan for tax reform. he has been working on this for a very long time and does lower rates. it is revenue neutral and my understanding is a lot of members of the republican party say they cannot support something that raises taxes by this much. when you look at the plan, what do you see as the positive to
negative in the space to look forward question were >> the positives are that he lowers rates and begins to get us down the corporate income taxes plus a five percent average at the state level. compared to europe, their averages about 25%. local,u count state and we are still above zero. it is revenue neutral at on a desk rise -- not a disguised tax. harry reid says they want a trillion dollars and want tax reform to drive a tax increase. he does not do that. -- we should be leaning in and said going to full expenses. rid of about a thousand pages if you deducted all of the depreciation schedules and dispensed
something when you spend it. if you buy a machine, you would appreciate it over a year. to senate was never going agree and the senate was never going to sign it will stop we should not be unhappy it is not more than a discussion draft. ways you go are talking about fighting it is the minimum wage. not a tax issue, just a mandate that says you pay a certain amount. maybe we would be willing to play with the earned income tax credit a little bit. reason you might eliminate the -- how and we are seeing you see the benefits of raising the earned income tax credit? >> when you're writing checks to people, thought tax credit, it's
a spending bill. obama has kind of spent everything, so i don't know there's more room in there. that we areument all focused on income inequality is something they want to fix. if he wanted to do the minimum wage, he could have done it in year one or year two when he had super majorities in the house or senate. he didn't want to. subvertingat this is the concern he has is not true. after 50 years of the war on poverty, that the government could make people not poor, that has not worked out very well. they don't want to talk about thelast five years and government creating shovel ready jobs. they don't want to talk about that. metric which a new is really good because you will make everybody in the country poorer and still have less income inequality.
that government is probably capable of doing. you could actually make everybody poorer and more equal. >> what do you think about the tax credit? do you think it's inequality? >> i would not use the tax code in that sense. if you're going to spend money, make it clear what you are doing and have a vote on it. problem thata there is a certain amount of fraud. come in andant to be serious about comparing who is really there and who is you could begin to have a conversation. but until they are willing to do that -- >> a lot of people talk about how frustrating they -- how frustrated they are that nothing can be done in washington. in 37 states, you either have an entirely. craddick majority or an entirely republican majority.
it allows us in a limited but possibly useful way to compare the trajectories of these states going against each other. fromu draw any lessons that from the states? >> absolutely. in washington, you have the house and senate that want to go in different directions. people talk about the good old days of bipartisan compromise by telling you how old they are. because it is true that 30 or 40 years ago, the liberal republicans would get together with liberal democrats and talk about today's topics against the conservative republicans and conservative democrats. all flights were bipartisan. , buthower went to nixon during reagan's lifetime, the two parties sorted themselves out. wants more expansive role. one wants a more expensive role. they're heading in different directions. somebody wants to go east and some he wants to go west, what does a compromise look like? in the old days, nixon wanted
their government, teddy kennedy wanted bigger government. we compromised between bigger and somewhat bigger. we are always compromising toward bigger government, which was not the direction we want to go. now we have one party that wants to go with less our men and one wants to go to bigger government and they are not going to agree. each one can say no to the other. you can quantify this. effects is a fund that invests when congress is out of session and goes to cash when they are in session. the reason they do this is for 30 years, when congress is in session, the stock market goes on an annualized basis. when they are out of session -- it 17 times better when congress is not sitting.
you can wake up any morning and something bad happened. has thed no longer advantage because since at least 2011 when republicans actually held against the push for a tax increase and the markets were convinced nothing bad was going to happen legislatively, there between thatnce and how the stock market moves. the gives you some sense of advantage of gridlock. the markets are paralyzed whenever congress goes on leave. the opposite of gridlock. 24 states have republican governors and a republican house and senate thanks to the marvels of redistricting. republicans will hold those legislatures for a decade. the democrats were asked would you like one landslide or two -- they got 2006 and 2008.
republican said we want one, we wanted in 10 where you redistrict for 10 years. so the democrats got to landslides that lasted for years and republicans got one landslide that lasted 10 years. that's not just in washington where we focus on congressional districting but state legislatures, it's probably even more true. the democrats redistricted to make illinois and california bulletproof for democrats. republicans have 24 states where they have both houses and the governor. republicans have half the population living in their states. quarter ofts have a the population living in their states and a quarter and places like kentucky and iowa where the legislature is divided. but in their states, you see 13 states, democrat-controlled states, going to become california or greece as quickly as they want. are 24 states moving to
becoming texas or hong kong. they're moving in very different directions, some more rapidly than others. statesingle democrat raised taxes every republican state cut taxes. you see big differences in how they treat public-sector unionism. americans forect tax reform by 2050 to get all 50 states to abolish the state income taxes. there are nine that have no income tax now. north carolina and kansas, republican governors, both houses, have announced we're going to zero and they got about a quarter of the way there so far. oklahoma,ona, watch we will see more moving quickly. then we can judge. if you think more government spending or higher minimum wages make people wealthy or happy or successful or the economy will be better, than vermont can do that all by its lonesome.
they don't have to wait for these characters in washington. a $50,000 minimum wage and i'll be rich. >> you mentioned there are some benefits to gridlock, but there are certain things republicans want to do that require filibuster proof majority. they want to reform the tax code and corporate tax code, they want to fix obamacare. these things will be troubled by the exact same gridlock that troubled the democrat administration. do the trends bubbling up now concern you in terms of the trades you want made in the way national government treats the national economy? >> we have senate and house races in november. it looks very good for the republicans with the number of senate seats. it's more likely than not that republicans get a majority will stop they not only have to have a majority in 2014, they have to have it by two or three seats there are a016, number of seats you worry about,
illinois perhaps which was one in 10 but is not necessarily solid republican territory. very doable. the house will strengthen rather than we can going forward. republicans and gotten better , better than in 10 and 12 when we were a little sloppy about deciding whether warlocks should be allowed to run for senate. not being disrespectful to faith, i personal would prefer to go with a disk italians or something. -- with episcopalians or something. giveat percent would you that the senate turns republican and what are some of the factors you think are behind the republican wave coming in november? >> part of it is just the number of democrats who are sitting in
republican states. west virginia is technically a blue state, democratic governor, state senate. the republicans will take the house this year and in 14, maybe the senate. the senate is 50/50. we will take that senate seat for sure. montana, republican congressman running, that will be a republican pickup. will go republican. so will louisiana and north carolina. is not really contested. of thejust left one seven out. alaska, republicans have to make sure they pick one and i have a word party dosh -- not have a third party. now republicans are pulling ahead in michigan for the senate race.
a serious candidate in new hampshire and colorado owes him play. -- both in play. add those together and you worry about georgia, the republicans nominate a warlock. i don't mean to be picking on the warlocks. can you define warlock for the audience? >> one of our candidates running a few times had decided she was a witch. which was good enough to beat a sitting incumbent republican who had not been back to the state for a while or if he had been back in the state had not talked to any republicans. but wasn't good enough to get across the finish line in the general election in delaware. she's actually a lovely woman and probably not a witch. she was probably making that up. -- asing to 2016 optimistic as republicans are, it changes little bit because on
the left him a there are a lot of states in the clinton machine that she does announce to be extremely from edible. take us there who you consider to be the top candidates for the republican party for 2016 and what their strengths are. >> this field is so much a and 12. to eight in eight and 12, you had one or two people running for president. to be ars were running radio talkshow host or do marriage counseling. or to sell books. they were not actually running for president. they were buying a lottery ticket because maybe they would when a straw poll or a primary and in the press would come in they would get attention and then they would raise money and then get a campaign together and get a campaign manager and all of the things that should have happened two years earlier for a grown-up campaign. this time around, we have six people who are either standing
on stage are ready or could up on the stage or laugh them off saying what are you doing here? start with chris christie. he has challenges. maybe he doesn't make it. if he rights himself, maybe he will make it. he has capacity and name to raise money and narrative of successes in terms of reforming a deep blue state. scott walker, witness ws turned blue state red. republican house, senate. governor. they reformed the pension rules there. they reformed public sector unization rules. every year they have to have an election if the union wants to have going. you're not stuck with a union voted for 50 ayears ago and nobody alive and in the union voted to join it. you are want to keep union? yes, no? can't take your money out of your pay chk. have to ask you for it.