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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 8, 2016 11:45am-1:46pm EDT

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and they are even voting for people like lepin. i know to amend the u.s. constitution, you need several types of super majorities. that is the way it should be, in my view. governments should have no right to change the system of governance without consulting the voters. you need a super majority to change the constitution. that is not the way it is in the eu, and that is the way it should be. the master treaty which led to the euro was ratified in a countries,by many including france. we don't have amn eu
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constitution. it is not as formal i don't think it was done without the validation of voters. should notent is it be 50.1%, it should be a super majority for such fundamental changes occurring steadily and surely in the eu. position of the american presidents -- >> that is an incredibly good point. you use the word "delusional." i would not say that ronald reagan and george h.w. bush and bill clinton were delusional. that, inust say foreign policy, what happens is -- it madeo a habit
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a lot of sense at the beginning, right after world war ii, the u.s. was central to the launching of the european integration because we were tired of young men dying in european battlefields. unfortunately, when you've had a very busy foreign-policy establishment and very busy president, certain things become basic myths that everybody takes for granted, basic foundations. unfortunately, that is what happened with the whole europe whole and free idea. supported by the fact that the european nations that are members of the eu are still our best allies. the instinctive thing a president wants to do is support our allies and what he thinks they want to do. they were mistaken, but they were not delusional. new totalitarian temptation, i
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make the case that communism and theism were much worse than ideology of global governance in the european union. do-gooder's utopia, a mushy, feel-good utopia. in essence, it is similar in the sense that it seeks to improve the world and change human beings in a way that cannot be done via a political project. temptation,litarian i don't say new to tell terry and his him -- new totalitarianism. eva: i'm a polish diplomat.
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i just came here because tomorrow, i will be lecturing about diplomacy at the institute of world politics. it is very difficult to discuss -- iook -- i did not read would like to ask two questions. although i could be considered a leftist -- it is difficult for me to agree with mr. gardner in saying great betain without the eu would our strongest ally. what about the u.n.? .he u.n. is weak, too
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nobody seems concerned about the u.n. in my opinion, it is better to have something which is weak but trying to do something. otherwise, what would be next? there's a big discussion about being in the eu, not being in immigrants flow of -- we did not want to accept the immigrants because after our elections in poland, the piece, which is not a good opinion in the u.s., as the people who-- vote for it can do what they are now doing because they were empowered to do -- anyhow, this
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is one question about the eu and u.n. poland, which is a big ally of the u.s., we have problems with eu. , ither with eu or without eu think we would be a very good ally for the united states. tell you would like to that maybe i agree with you, this idea is maybe a little if don't you think the eu would be based on common christian values as pope john , which wasted do youd by the french --
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think maybe it would be the idea that this institution would be , economically and spiritual? thank you for your question. the point about the u.n., clearly the u.n. needs a great deal of reform and some would argue the u.n. is a basket case. important questions about the future of the united nations. there is no discussion in britain at the moment about leaving the u.n. i don't think that is on the card. the u.s. has left day-to-day control over what happens in the united kingdom. you don't have british laws being crafted in the halls of
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the united nations. it is a different kind of debate. to go back to your question, i think britain can thrive very well outside of european union. britain has always been a truly global power with global trading ties and aspirations. i think the outlook for the british people is quite different than that of many of the european countries. i can see why some nations give a higher percentage of those who strongly support the european project. youhe case of britain, if look at those who strongly support the european project itself, it is about a quarter of the british public. i think britain will thrive outside the european union. also, brexit could well open the floodgates across the eu.
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about eu is so confident the future of the european project, so confident that the european project is backed by the populations of european countries, they should support referendum of every single european union member state. i suspect that in some countries, that vote would be extremely close, even in a country like france, even in germany now, there is a debate over the european single currency. the nfd party won a quarter of the vote in recent elections. there is a great deal of overconfidence in the european project expressed by many european elite. put to the vote and put to the test, i think you will find a close contest in many european countries. you raise an important issue about united nations.
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, theis an ongoing debate need for fundamental reform within the u.n.. >> i think we will wrap up, probably. --uestion about the polish from the polish diplomat for you. , i'm not in a position to lecture the british people how they should vote in june. i'm certainly not disputing the idea that the u.k. can thrive outside of the eu. in many ways, the eu was designed to solve problems that are not plaguing the u.k. i'm very confident that british democracy will prosper. however, i think there is a great deal of value in having the u.k. as a part of the european union.
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the british have had influence on the eu starting in 1980. policing the single market, being a force for good economically. putin is not l osing any sleep, but he is doing a fine job finding european parties across europe, spreading misinformation to undermine european unity. the commitment of europe is not just to the eu, but to democracy. that is a threat that europe is faced with today. i don't see how brexit would make the threat go away.
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it is magnified by opening the floodgates. >> a quick comment? >> two points. on margaret thatcher, as you thatcher supported membership. in the late 1980's, she was very clear on her position of britain leaving european union. she 100% wanted britain to leave the eu, told the european project was a complete disaster. harris, her geopolitical advisor in the last decades makes this point.
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-- putin'ds , in france, there is a pro-russian party. there's a lot of conversations about their relationship with p utin. the strongest critics of the russian regime, the brexit side wantd by those who tougher action against putin. of thethose in favor anti-putin,trongly you have to make that distinction.
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it is a fundamentally different organization to those who are campaigning for brexit. >> todd, do you remember the question? >> the role of christianity in europe. let me answer it this way. i hope i'm answering your question, because there are many elements and it was a while ago. you know, poland being a friend of the united states, being a special partner of the united states, whether it is in the eu at the same time, i agree that it would be wiser and better for the united states if there were a europe of sovereign democratic
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nations. whether the eu can be rolled back to a organization that still does the good things, namely foster cooperation and amity between european nations but fully respect sovereignty of european nations is an open question. i do not know if they can, because the substance of the eu is dedicated to super nationality. poles would be good friends, whether in the eu are not. the fact that there is a strong debate about eu mentorship is a reflection of the reason: is a friend to the united states, namely that there is a vibrant democratic culture in poland and there is a vibrant debate between those who disagree with each other. those are the types of countries that will have more affinity for
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the united states and have better partners for us in the world. that is what we believe. vibrant debate and accountability of the government to voters. i would hope that would not be watered down in poland. through its eu membership with time. >> thank you, thanks to the panel, and thank you for coming. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> former vice president dick at pepperdine university law school in california about the rollout of the vice president and relationships between the
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executive and legislative ranches. mr. cheney: i was reputed by some to have an especially powerful position. think the president said that when you hear dick cheney's voice, you hear mine. that was then endorsement -- that was an endorsement. mr. cheney: thinking about the way it worked on my watch, there were a lot of reasons, but none of them relate to the constitution -- >> more of a personal dynamic? cheney: personal. my ability to work with congress. i had been a member of the house for 10 years. i was part of the leadership. i was visited by the speed get of the house after i became vice president.
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and the chairman of the ways and means committee. speaker of the house was a good friend. they came and said we know you will be the president of the senate, constitutionally. and you will have an office on the senate side of the capitol building, but we think of you as a man of the house and we want an office inave the house. the chairman of the ways and means committee had two nice offices. one you could look out the windows to the lincoln memorial in arlington. huge office. was aher one we had smaller office but right off the thecratic book room on house floor. they gave me my choice.
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i could have either one of those offices, even though i was president of the senate. but because of my background in the house and my relationships, i picked the office right programthe democratic room, partly because i know it aggravated my democratic colleagues. officethe time, i had an andonly on the senate side not only down in the west rim, but also on the house side. and was able to work from that to break some logjams on tax legislations and the legislative impact. that was all based on personal relationships from my personal background in the house and senate. >> you can see all of former vice president dick cheney's remarks on the vice presidency
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tonight at 8:00 eastern, here on c-span. this week on c-span, the supreme court cases that shaped our history come to life with the c-span series "landmark cases: historic supreme court decisions." look at some of the most significant decisions in american history. a case about presidential power and its limits during times of war. it puts before the court conditions under times of emergency that the president can do things that may not be expressly stated in the constitution. rehnquist saide that this case has come to be accepted by the culture. >> it was a sweet being decision. one toated the u.s. eyes
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allow abortion after fetal viability, yet it has not settled the issue at all. >> tonight, we look at the case rizona, which a said that suspects must be informed of their rights before incarceration. watch tonight at 10:00 on c-span and chairt, federal reserve janet yellen and the previous three chairs ben , bernanke, alan greenspan, and paul volcker. the international house of new york. it is about one hour and 15 minutes. [applause] welcome. fromcalvin sims, the dude
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the video and also president and ceo of international house. i want to thank you for joining us. we are very excited to have what we call the fabulous four fed chairs. this evening is going to be spectacular for a variety of reasons. first, i want to take a cue from leadmckay, the former writer of "saturday night live." he said there is nothing people love more than a federal reserve joke. [laughter] so i will tell you a joke. it is a joke by a federal reserve chair, who served from 1951 to 1970. you may have heard this before, but i think it is worth restating. he said the job of the federal reserve is to take away the punch bowl just before the party gets going. [laughter] so tonight, we're going to learn the process of taking away the
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punch bowl, or adding something to the punch in the bowl. you heard in the video a little about international house. its mission has been about values that promote empathy, respect, moral courage. among people and countries. there is no question you could get some global perspectives by taking an international course at university or college. but nothing compares to the daily exchange here in this wonderful community. they live together, work, study, and dying, and have a lot of fun. atse hermit bonds forged international house have been a hallmark of this institution for 90 years. it would not be possible for this to happen if there were not certain people i need to recognize. from 150 750 residents
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countries. they attend institutions across new york that represent about 60 fields of studies. proud of our residents here tonight. i would like all of our residents to clap and make yourself known. [applause] we would also like to thank our trustees, who do so much to keep this place relevant the last 90 years. could our trustees also stand and be recognized please. [applause] as well, we are enormous leak grateful to our underwriters. every dollar of their support will go to scholarships and fellowships here that enable our
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students to sustain this community. our underwriters are morgan stanley, j.p. morgan chase & co, bcg henderson, ubs, and bny mellon. thank you for your support. [applause] i will say quickly, throughout our history here, i-house has convened thought leaders on international affairs impacting our demographic, global millennials. tonight's event continues that legacy, not just because of the panels of speakers. it is the inaugural event of the paul volcker speaker program, which was named in honor of paul volcker and his service to i -house as a trustee and on the board. this is the first inaugural paul volker speaker program. i think we have done him justice with this turnout. thank you.
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[applause] i would like to turn quickly to what will happen on the stage momentarily. this historic conversation has less to do with interest rates, whether they rise and fall, and at what percentage, more to do with the fed chair perspective on leadership and the values in their decision-making. in other words, this is a focus on values, which is i-house's mission. we hope you will agree this conversation and many more like it to come in the future demonstrates that the i-house can be a beacon of international harmony and understanding proving humanity can surpass barriers of race, nationality, culture, and traditions that have divided the world. i would like to make an introduction to someone who i think embodies global leadership at international house. that is none other than james
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gorman, the chairman and ceo of morgan stanley. james is also a 1987 alumnus of international house. he will bring to you the bridge you have been waiting for to understand why we are hosting this event and why it corresponds to i-house. [applause] james: thank you, calvin. thank you. good afternoon. it is, indeed, a terrific honor to be invited to participate in what is an historic event. i was humbled to be asked to come to the stage as something of a warm-up act before you get the real deal. of course, the four great chairs of the federal reserve. i've been honored to work directly with three of the four chairs, and i have tremendous admiration for their public service, intellectual capacity
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, and there careful stewardship of monetary policy in the financial system. each has made an outsized contribution to economic growth and stability of this great country, and to each we 08 debts debt ofe owe a tremendous gratitude. calvin asked me to reflect on my experience as a student of international house. it was three decades ago. he asked me to reflect on how it helps develop the career i have been lucky to have here in the united states of america. i was accepted international house, lucky to be so, and arrived here on the seventh of september, 1985. it was a hot and humid day. i can still feel it. like so many other foreign students who lived here, i was tremendously relieved to have such a safe and welcoming community to move to in new york city.
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that week, i began a tradition of writing a letter to my family in australia, something i continue for many years after i arrived in the u.s. my father passed away several months ago. before he did, he gave me several shoeboxes filled with my letters. each numbered, each kept in their original envelopes. for those of you in the upper decks this is a letter with an , envelope. [laughter] [applause] i have a child in berlin who has not in three months written the equivalent of one of these. [laughter] i thought very briefly i would touch on five extracts from those letters. each, capture a
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hopefully some of the life i experienced at international house. the first was arrival. i wrote "dear all." that may not feel personal, but if you had nine siblings like i did, you are not about to spell out their names every week. "i arrived safely after 36 hours of flying. the former tenant of my room is still asleep in my bed. let's say the changeover was finely tuned. then again everything is a , little on the margin. my room is small. very small. but i discovered i can see the empire state building if i lean out my window far enough. i-house reflects new york. fantastic facilities, dirty, and very security conscious." [laughter] [applause]
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life experiences. sunday was a big event. suit, tie, and entertainment. the president spoke. he mentioned the us trillions had came from the farthest place . for what i thought was a minor-league -- was a minor accomplishment, we were roundly applauded. thereafter followed one hour of filing, pno, and jazz. ,- one hour of violin, piano and jazz. it was great fun. jesse jackson is coming this week as is prime minister ghandi, and gerald ford. where else in the world would you be so lucky as to have those people speak within one month? and then on friends, tonight, i studied with a spaniard, a filipino, and a frenchman. it sounds like the beginning of a joke. [laughter] the yanks are incredible. loud, happy, friendly, buzzing with energy.
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they ask questions in class continuously. many of them needlessly. [laughter] eyes participation is graded, i am forced to do the same, when in rome, put your hand up. fourthly, money. i purchased a hewlett-packard 12c calculator today for $100. [applause] with books of $200, my finances are writing a bit of a storm. by the way, not part of the letter, that was good practice for the financial crisis i would confront 25 years later. [laughter] i was always short of money. i borrowed a student loan. those of you concerned about your student debt, i borrowed at 24%. then along came volcker. [laughter] [applause]
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finally on career. international house was highly instrumental in pointing me toward a career in banking. as this final extract will evidence. "i have been lucky to be trustee as part of the student-trustee program with each trustee match to one student. mine is shelby davis, a legendary wall street banker. indeed, mr. davis -- this is me speaking -- was a tremendous support of i-house. his name adorns the room we are sitting in. he took me to lunch at a fancy club in new york. at the end of lunch, he pointed at me and said you should pursue a career in finance. so i did. [laughter] thank you, international house, on behalf of myself and so many others who have benefited from your welcome, your warmth, and your worldliness.
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it is now my great pleasure to introduce fareed zakaria. our moderated this evening. most of you know fareed. suffice to say he has had an extraordinarily decorated career from running foreign affairs at the tender age of 28 two hosting "new york writing two times" bestsellers among his many accomplishments. he is universally recognized for the quality, depth, and insight of his commentary. , he trustee of i-house understands and appreciates the mission and he has a wonderful addition with his celebrated work we are about to hear from. thank you very much. [applause]
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fareed: thank you so much. that was a fantastic introduction. i love the letter. i hope it will be published one day. "the letters of james gorman." let me just say a few things before we have our distinguished us,ts joined us -- join which is this is being recorded for my show. [laughter] so can you please turn your phones off and refrain from applauding until the end. because in any case, we don't want to create that sense that the fed chairman has to pander to popular whims. but more importantly, it will interrupt the broadcast. i think that is all i have to say. thank you so much for joining us. this is such an extraordinary event. you know, henry kissinger once said "those who need no
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introduction crave it the most." [laughter] i think that is not true of the people i'm about to introduce. i'm not going to give them much of an introduction other than to point out we have with us the four living chairman of the federal reserve, past and present. they comprise together 37 years of federal reserve history, which is essentially one third of the history of the federal reserve. and that some point, perhaps somebody will make a musical out of all this in the style of "hamilton." i would like to ask the current chairman of the federal reserve, janet yellen to come in. then we have ben bernanke, her immediate predecessor. we have paul volcker, the legendary fed chair who happens to be deeply associated with international house.
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and from washington, where he just celebrated his 90th birthday, alan greenspan. welcome all. thank you. [applause] fareed: madam chairman. i have to begin with you. because i think everybody is going to be interested in the things you are going to say. let me ask you to start. if you look at the economy very carefully, are we in an economic bubble? is the economy as perilous as some people on the campaign trail are suggesting? ms. yellen: i was say the u.s. economy has made tremendous progress in recovering from the damage from the financial
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crisis. slowly but surely, the labor market is healing. for over a year, we have averaged about 225,000 jobs a month. the unemployment rate stands at 5%. we are coming close to our assigned congressional goal of maximum employment. inflation, which my colleagues here, paul and alan, spent much of their time as chair bringing inflation down from unacceptably high levels for a number of years now, inflation has been running under our 2% goal. we are focused on moving it up to 2%. it is partly transitory influences, namely
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declining oil prices and the strong dollar that are responsible for pulling inflation below the 2% level we think is most desirable. so we are making progress there as well. this is an economy on a solid course. not a bubble economy. we tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing. some of the hallmarks that -- clearly overvalued asset prices, high leverage, rising leverage, and rapid credit growth -- we certainly don't see those imbalances. rates areh interests low and that is something that can encourage and reach for notd behavior, i would describe this as a bubble economy.
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we have relatively weak global growth, but the u.s. economy has been doing well. domestic strength is propelling us forward, in spite of the fact we are suffering a drag from the global economy. fareed: let me ask you about one of those statistics you cited -- the unemployment rate. there are many people who say the actual unemployment rate it is not 5%, it is higher. there are people who say it is in the 20's. do you think the unemployment rate is accurately reflecting the reality out there? ms. yellen: there are different concepts of unemployment. the measure i cited, 5%, is the most commonly used metric to judge the labor market. there are broader definitions. for example, one definition that counts discouraged workers and those working part-time who want
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full-time jobs and cannot find it that is higher, closer to 9%. broader definitions that count more people who may be underemployed are always higher. i think any metric you look at shows broad improvement in the labor market. part-time involuntary unemployment, employment is higher than one would expect given where the standard unemployment rate is. there i see some additional slacker improvement that we could have that suggest that the 5% understates the state of the economy. whatevernk overall, measures the market you look at, many other different kinds of measures suggest a labor
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market that is vastly improved. fareed: i think that for most ordinary people, they must haser, the federal reserve all of this power over the economy. you have a mandate to provide -- to keep inflation in check but also to see people are employed. why not take extraordinary measures to help boost employment, help her habs even wage growth so that people's wages rise. you mentioned the federal reserve tries to set a target of 2% for inflation. but that is not a ceiling. that is a target. why not take aggressive measures and may be overshoot the target by a little bit. you have undershot the target for seven years now. people may wonder why not try to do something that would help
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ordinary working people? ms. yellen: maximum employment and price stability is the mandate congress gave to us. we take both parts of it seriously. we have had, i would say, very aggressive monetary policies over the last six or seven years , when you contemplate the fact december of 2008, that we took the short term overnight interest rate essentially down to zero. and then engaged in large-scale asset purchases, communications for guidance policies to provide more stimulus with really done great deal to foster more rapid recovery. most of my colleagues anticipate
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unemployment will actually dip somewhat below levels now with the policies we have in place that they would see as sustainable in the long run. so they do see some overshooting in that sense. but we are not shooting for a target that is in excess of 2%. with inflation running, even extracting from energy prices the dollar, below our 2% objective, a path like that serves both of our goals. namely strong employment. putting people back to work, progressing, moving up in job chains, getting greater -- getting better experience. but also inflation moving at a faster pace back to 2%. we do not seek to consciously overshoot our 2% objective. but it is also the case 2% is
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our goal and it is not our ceiling. fareed: in december, you raised rates. many people, including larry summers, distinguished economic commentators, felt it was a mistake. in retrospect, was it a mistake? ms. yellen: i don't regard it as a mistake. i said at the time and continue to feel the economy had made substantial progress -- [sneeze] toward our goal. [laughter] fareed: i think alan greenspan was registering agreement with that. [laughter] madam chairman, if you can just begin again. [laughter] ms. yellen: sure.
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so, we sit at two criteria to boost the fund rate. that led to the december decision. one was we wanted to see substantial progress in the labor market. we felt that has been satisfied. we also, recognizing that inflation was running below our 2% objective, wanted to feel reasonably confident inflation would move up over the medium-term back to 2%. we also think those conditions were satisfied in december and justified taking a step. monetary policy is not on any preset course. so although every three months, my colleagues and i set out our individual projections of what we anticipate for the economy
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and also, going along with that, what we think is a monetary policy path that would be appropriate. we set out projections like that. that gives a suggestion of where people think the economy is going, but we try to make very clear there is not a preset course of rate increases. we will watch very carefully what is happening in the economy and adjust policy as appropriate. we took one step. the u.s. economy has continued to progress in a satisfactory way. we have continued to see good job performance, some evidence of inflation moving up. that was our expectation when we raised rates in december. we indicated that we thought the path of rate increases would be gradual. that remains our best guess and expectation. that is the economy continues on
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the path it is on offer covering that further rate increases will be justified. but, for a variety of reasons, particularly a set of headwinds that are the legacy of the financial crisis that we suffered, and weak global growth and the strong dollar that has gone with that, that the level of rates that are sometimes called the neutral rates, that would neither be particularly stimulating the economy or holding it back, that level of neutral rates is quite low. so yes, there is accommodation in the monetary policy we have. but we think a gradual path of rate increases will be appropriate and adjust what we do depending on how our view of
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the economy is. so we remain on a reasonable path. i do not think december was a mistake. fareed: the dollar has been weakening. is that a positive trend or a negative? ms. yellen: we do not have a goal for the dollar. what we are looking at is the economy as a whole. paths forkely inflation and employment to achieve our goals. and financial conditions, broadly speaking, the state of financial conditions impacts our forecast for economic variables. the dollar is one of those. i would call it part of financial conditions, along with longer-term interest rates,
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equity prices, other asset prices, credit market spreads. so it is the case that the appreciation of the dollar that we've seen over the last year and a half, along with slower global growth, has created a drag on the global economy in the sense that our net exports have been holding back growth. but u.s. consumer spending has been strong enough to offset that. we look at the balance between those two things. taking that balance into account, the u.s. economy is moving forward, and i think financial conditions are forecast that are taking everything into account. the prospect for continued growth in the labor market and an appointment -- and unemployment look good. fareed: one of the recent fed chairs said the big banks need
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to be broken up. do they? ms. yellen: we have been very focused since the financial crisis and the dodd frank act has directed us to pay attention and try to put in place policies that will deal with too big to fail. i certainly share president kashkari's concern with too big to fail. i feel more positive on the progress that we've made. first of all, we put in place policies through supervision and regulation that have greatly enhanced the safety and soundness of the banking system. so we have more capital, higher-quality capital, more liquidity. we do rigorous stress tests. i think the odds of failure of large financial institutions is lower.
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but we're also dealing with the issue of, how would we resolve such an institution if one were to fail? i think we've also made considerable progress there as well. we are working internationally with other countries. we've identified strategy that could be successful in resolving a company. we've asked the firms to produce living wills that address a number of areas that could be problematic in a resolution. for example, under the bankruptcy code or under title ii, and i think the firms are working hard on the living wills, and simplifying their structure and identifying resolution strategies.
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we've recently passed a rule that will require them to hold , in addition to a substantial amount of capital, enough long-term debt that if a company were to encounter distress, there would be essentially resources that could be bailed in in a resolution to recapitalize that company. so i think we've made considerable progress, and i certainly haven't arrived at the conclusion that my colleague has. i'm pleased with where things are going. fareed: one more question before i open it up to a larger conversation. lawrence summers, who some thought was one of the contenders for the job you hold, says that there is no question that bernie sanders is right on one central point, which is the financial industry has too much influence over the structure and governance of the federal reserve.
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do you think that is true? ms. yellen: i don't think it is true. i think we are charged by congress with regulating financial institutions and we take that mission seriously, and are tough supervisors and regulators. we talk to bankers, of course, on a regular basis. we are actually required, and we have bodies like the federal advisory council that jamie gorman has served on, where we meet regularly to exchange views and understand the perspectives of bankers. but we are very focused on regulating and supervising the banking system in a way that will achieve congress' goals.
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fareed: chairman bernanke, can i ask you about something that i suspect if i ask janet yellen, she would be even more evasive than she has been in the last few minutes, which is of course entirely what you are supposed to do, and i respect and admire it. [laughter] fareed: about every seven or 8 years there is a recession. ,both in the u.s. and globally. that is roughly how long these recoveries last. we're about seven years since the last recovery. statistically, we are due for a recession. and nobody has ever been able to predict these. the fed has not. the cbo has not. if there is a recession, traditionally, the federal reserve cuts interest rates by about 3%.
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what is called 300 basis points. what is it going to do now, given that there aren't 300 points to cut? mr. bernanke: excellent question. let me just say first that, as janet has pointed out, there's no sense in which expansions die of old age. the risk of recession is more or less constant and every year. 10% or 15% as you suggested. though we can't forecast them, there's no reason to think that just because we've been in seven years of recovery, doesn't mean we are due for another recession at all. we are facing, and i agree with a lot of janet's early analysis, we are facing some risks like developments globally, which are creating headwinds in the united states. productivity growth is only modest, which is a problem. but domestic u.s. economy is moving toward. households are pretty strong. financially speakg. housing sectors continue to expand. i don't see any particular reason to think a recession is
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anymore likely in 2016 than it was in 2015 or 2014. that being said, it is true that if a recession were to begin, we would be starting from a lower level in short-term interest rates than is normally the case. the extent to which the fed could cut would be less. my reaction to that -- there are a couple of things. one, is that there are some other tools. one of the things we've learned over the last decade is that central banks do have a set of tools besides cutting short-term interest rates. for example there is , communication, forward guidance, which can be a very helpful easing policy. we did quantitative easing, and it was helpful. there are other tools as well. we are seeing experiments globally in japan and europe. there are other tools. the fed in particular is not out of ammunition. that being said, also, i think we have learned that it is a mistake to put all of the burden
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on central banks and monetary policy. that a more balanced policy with a greater fiscal component or a broader set of policies would no doubt work, even in a situation where central banks are pushed to the limit. we do have a range of policies we can use. i think it is unfortunate that, not just in the united states but around the world, central banks have carried so much of the burden. we've gotten the wrong impression that only central banks can respond to downturns. fareed: expand on that. are you saying that you think that there's been too much of an emphasis on austerity and that governments should spend more money to boost the economy? mr. bernanke: under appropriate circumstances, yes. in 2013, the united states, between sequestration and budget cuts and the like, the congressional budget office estimated that in that year, fiscal policy was taking 1.5% of growth off of what otherwise would have been the case, which
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was something out that point we could not afford. i'm not saying that the government should always be spending. obviously, we are looking at longer-term fiscal sustainability, which is important. but at certain times, particularly in a recession when the central bank is out of ammunition, the fiscal policy does have a role to play. fareed: alan greenspan, may i ask if you would agree with ben bernanke, that this is a moment at which governments around the world, particularly in the western world should we spending -- ms. yellen: i did not say -- mr. bernanke: i did not say that was the moment. you asked me a hypothetical. [laughter] fareed: if there is another recession, which presumably at some point there will be, in order to combat that recession, should governments spend more money? mr. greenspan: let me just say this. i thought i had run out of time with my sneeze.
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but i appreciate i did not. [laughter] no, i think the major problem that exists is essentially the issue that productivity growth, over pretty much across the spectrum of all economies, has been under 1% per year for the last five years. this is true in the oecd. it is true in the ec. it is true in the united states. i think our major problem as i see it, at this stage, is how do we create a gdp growth rate which enables us to get all the values that we get out of growth without getting productivity? because the gdp growth rate is essentially output per hour effectively times the expansion in the labor force.
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we have, as janet has correctly and accurately pointed out, our labor force, our slack in employment, is gradually dissipating. the unemployment rate is going to reach a level below which it cannot get, realistically. unless we come to grips with the issue of productivity, then we have no major advance in the future. i think the data that i see is that the productivity slowed down pretty much across the globe as a function of the fact that capital investment pretty much everywhere has slowed down to a significant extent and as a percent of gdp, has been dramatically lower than it has been historically.
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so our function -- and i certainly agree that monetary policy should not have the whole load of getting us out of this phenomenon -- it is fundamentally a fiscal problem, and spending money only increases the debt. i think the data very importantly showed that what we're facing with demographics that we have in this country is a major expansion of debt under existing policy. i think until we address that issue, we're going to have problems that are not going to get resolved. i agree with janet and everyone else that if there's a bubble, it is not a major problem, and i doubt very much if a recession
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is what our problem is. i think it is fundamentally the issue of economic growth over the long run. fareed: paul, what do you think the economy looks like, in this conversation, fundamentally? mr. volcker: i agree with everybody. [laughter] mr. volcker: i would supply a little historic perspective. we used to have recessions before we had a federal reserve. [laughter] there are other factors that work in the economy that tend to produce ups and downs. i wouldn't worry too much about the present situation. fareed: you don't think we are in a bubble economy? mr. volcker: i certainly don't think we are in a bubble economy. i think there are aspects of the financial world that are overextended and tend to be conducting unduly risky activities. there's a lot of reliance on very short-term borrowing to make liquid investments.
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a large part of it in the financial system itself. without contributing to productivity or real investment increasing risks in the economy. , fareed: you said you thought the last financial sector innovation that added productivity to the economy was the atm. do you still feel that way? mr. volcker: there may be some others, but i can't think of any others. [laughter] i can think of some that have contributed to uncertainty and complexity and problems. fareed: ben bernanke, when you took over the federal reserve, it had about -- you had assets of about $900 billion. you ramped that up to about $4 trillion. over $4 trillion. there are a lot of people, as you know, on the right, who look at that with horror, and say, "how will that end?" how will you unwind that asset
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portfolio? mr. bernanke: fortunately, i don't have to do it. [laughter] he did cleave that bequethed that to me. mr. bernanke: let me just say, i think there was an enormous amount of understanding and the media advanced a lot of very uninformed views on this subject. for example, if you went back a few years and listened to media, congressmen, variety of media, they said that this would cause hyperinflation, dollar collapse, financial bubbles and collapses -- and none of that has happened. those policies -- maybe they were not by themselves efficient, but they were helpful. they helped our economy recover. our economy is, even if it is not perfect, it certainly has made a lot of progress. and monetary policy has helped there. and many, if not all, of the things of that some people were afraid of -- some people were. informed people were not afraid. they have not come to pass.
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that is simply a fact. in terms of the unwinding, it actually is a very straightforward process at this point. the fed has been very clear, and we discussed this when i was there as well, is that at some point, the fed will simply stop reinvesting securities as they mature, step back, and say, for now on, we are going to let things roloff and -- things roll off and mature. over a period of years, it will just go down. in the end, all we have to show for it is, over the last five years, from those securities, besides the fact that they helped our economy recover, the fed has sent profits to the treasury of $500 billion in profit, which has reduced the burden on the taxpayer by $500 billion approximately. it has been a pretty successful policy, and one where the roll-off has already been planned and laid out. i don't think it's going to be terribly problematic. by the way, it should be noted
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that even today, the fed -- the size of the balance sheet is roughly the same as other major central banks, like the european central bank and the bank of england. the main counterexample is the bank of japan, where relative to gdp, the assets held by the bank of japan are three times the size of the fed's. so, it's obvious that many of the concerns people had have simply not manifested. not to say that those policies are panaceas. central banks need help from other policymakers. but so far, many concerns have obviously not come to pass. fareed: it's worth pointing out that, japan, with three times the size of the balance sheet, has not experienced hyperinflation or the debasement of its currency. mr. bernanke: they would like a bit more inflation, i think, then they have now. fareed: since you have to run this operation, are you comfortable with what he said? [laughter] ms. yellen: certainly am. we have laid out, as has been indicated, a strategy for how we will wind down our balance
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sheet. we have made clear that smallerly, we want a balance sheet. and at the present time, we hold a large quantity of mortgage-backed securities, fannie and freddie, mortgage-backed securities. eventually, we would like to go back to an all-treasury portfolio, but we will do it in the manner that ben just explained. we have shown -- the move in december showed we have the tools and ability to successfully manage short-term interest rates. we moved them up not a lot, but 25 basis points. that occurred smoothly, in spite of the fact that we had this very large balance sheet. so, we have tools to tighten monetary policy as we think is appropriate for the economy. and we would like to, you know, get a little bit further underway in terms of moving
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short-term interest rates toward more normal levels before we let -- follow the strategy ben outlined of allowing assets to run off our balance sheets. if we do have another adverse shock, if there is a recession, we would most like to be able to you short-term interest rates, manage it, and waiting to start that process of having assets roll off our balance sheet until short-term rates are a little bit higher. the economy has gotten to a point where that is appropriate. that creates a little more scope for us to cut interest rates if we need to. but it has all gone quite smoothly. i completely agree with ben. there are a lot of fears around this. i think people didn't really understand the economics of this properly. nothing terrible -- none of these terrible things have happened. fareed: let me switch gears a
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little and just ask you all about what it's like to have this much concentrated power. alan greenspan, when you were running the federal reserve, people would sometimes describe your performance there as "god on a good day." [laughter] fareed: i think senator john mccain said that his strategy to succeed you was to have a dummy made up of alan greenspan and put him in the federal reserve chair like "weekend at bernie's." at wall street, they would celebrate your birthday with cakes and things like that. did that go to your head? [laughter] mr. greenspan: no, but it sure enough embarrassed me. i very much appreciated that. [laughter] mr. greenspan: i got past the
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embarrassment very easily. fareed: paul volcker, you had a slightly different situation. you were hung in effigy when you raised interest rates, because people thought that you had single-handedly plunged the american economy into a recession. how difficult was it to deal with that? mr. volcker: i thought they were cheering me. fareed: you thought they were cheering you? mr. volcker: to answer your basic question, what is it like to be chairman with all of this authority -- you have a board, you have a public, you have reserve bank presidents. you can't quite do exactly what you want without a lot of people being encouraged to agree with you, and some of them sometimes disagreed, so it's not quite so absolute as you suggest. but, look, i always get asked this question about the farmers circling the federal reserve and so forth. we would not have survived without a lot of public support. people thought there was a big problem, and they didn't know all the answers, but people were
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unhappy with malaise. the inflation rate going up a couple of percent every quarter. they were unhappy. i think they gave us some rope to hang ourselves. [laughter] mr. volcker: they felt we were doing something. they were going to be patient for a while. fareed: did you feel like -- because inflation was very high, you raised rates to break the back of inflation. did you worry that you would run out of time, that the public would lose patience? mr. volcker: we had a longer period than i would have anticipated. did i worry? i worried all the time. [laughter] the floor of the federal reserve office, it shows where i was walking all the time. is that still there? fareed: ben bernanke, when you
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adopted your extraordinary measures to save the american economy through this global recession and crisis, you faced a lot of people from what was, in a sense, your own party. you were appointed by a republican president. you had republican congressmen, republican senators. you have the republican governor of texas saying you are engaging in treason. how did that make you feel? [laughter] >> diddling happy. he described the job is powerful. we had huge responsibilities always. in different contexts and different events to try and use the power of the federal reserve, along with our colleagues and the staff, it's a wonderful institution. as a lot of people working together. we had tremendous responsibility is to try to address these these
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terrible risks. advocates a good thing that within reason, that the federal reserve does have some independence and some room to operate. left the critics the ability to say with a wanted to say and we could do what was needed, at least as long as we could maintain the broad support. that was our strategy. foridn't take the job congratulations, it wouldn't have worked. alternative tono doing what has to be done, and your best judgment count to try and address whatever problem you see. -- fareed: that is the issue of communication. yourself roomve to maneuver.
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the senator said i think i heard you say clearly, and you interrupted him and said if i said it clearly, senator, i must have misspoken. [laughter] were you trying to be deliberately incomprehensible at times? [laughter] alan greenspan: i thought i had succeeded marvelously. that's where fed speak comes from. : is that part of the goal, you don't want to say some into definitive because it constrains you? greenspan: i think the real problem is the monetary policy is largely economic forecasting. our ability to forecast is significantly limited, and we have to keep the context of what we say in the context of what we
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know, and this is a very serious problem that has always existed. i think janet mentioned she is confronting this all the time. i've had to live the role of that. how do you convey what you know in what is clear without going into the area of forecasting beyond our knowledge? [laughter] fareed: you have a reputation for being very prepared. airportys get to the that you are so early you are the first person on the plane. how does that translate into the way you approach this job? ms. yellen: i think that's a lifelong habit that is probably accurate about me. i am prepared, like ben, in
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managing, for example, the fomc -- we have a very thorough process in the run-up to meetings, of trying to prepare materials that will generate useful, productive discussions, that will reach closure over time on complicated matters. i confer regularly with my colleagues to try to understand their points of view. fareed: if alan greenspan is right, there is a lot of uncertainty. no matter how much you prepare, do you think that there is some level of just intuition? ms. yellen: i think that is absolutely true. i don't disagree in any way with what alan said. but i think ben and i encountered a very unusual situation when, at the end of 2008, short-term interest rates came down to 0%, and we still felt the need to add accommodation.
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and we had to think about what could we do that would provide more accommodation. we focused on longer-term interest rates. they were still several hundred basis points -- there did seem to be scope to move those down. since one of the factors that influences long-term interest rates is the public's expectation about how to appropriately think to communicate to the public our expectation that would be keeping short-term interest rates at rock-bottom interest rates for a very long time. so communication became a tool of policy.
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probably the most potent tool that we have, along with asset purchases, that we could use in a situation where we really have no scope to move short-term rates. so we experimented over time. at one point, we said -- i think it was in 2011 -- that we did not expect to raise short-term rates at least until may 2013. we put that data out. and we became more inventive in trying to provide some conditions with which we said that we could not see raising rates untold the unemployment -- until the unemployment rate got about 6%. we tried to communicate as clearly as we could to shape expectations that that was a policy tool in and of itself. fareed: one more question to paul volcker. then i will open it up to all of
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you. the one question raising here, william martin, the great fed chairman from the 1950's, once defined the role of the federal reserve chairman. he said i am the guy meant to take the punch bowl away as soon as the party began. i have to raise rates. you have tended to adopt that approach when you were fed chairman. you feel that some of your successors put the vodka in the punch bowl? [laughter] paul: i look at my successes with great awe. fareed: that is a very diplomatic answer. i think we have questions from the floor. the lights are not great. i think -- yes, they are ok. if you introduce yourself and ask your question, and i hope it is brief.
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[laughter] >> my name is ross. i go to columbia journalism school. my question is about the international economy. when the fed makes the decision they can have drastic effects in other countries, especially through the foreign exchange rates. what is the fed response of the with regard to minimizing international economic blunders or turmoil in other countries? fareed: let me ask alan greenspan to take this. there is this dual function. you faced it in your term, the central banker of the united states? or the central maker of the world? in 1998 there was the russians. it might've been the right for the world economy, but the u.s. was growing at 6%. how did you resolve that tension?
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alan: well, at the time and indeed i think even now, you cannot dissociate what is happening in the rest of the world. in that particular instance in the late 1990's, we have a situation in which if we did not endeavor to stem some of the problems that were going on elsewhere, it would be just a matter of time before impacted on the united states. so even though statutorily and legally we are responsible only for the monetary policy of united states, it is fully to think we can act isolated from the world. there is no way that can happen. and especially in recent years, where the integration globally has been so extraordinary. i think i make that distinction.
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fareed: madam chairman, you faced the opposite situation. where the bank of india as public we criticize the bank of the u.s., saying that you're not taking into account the effect of the policies are having on us. janet: we do look very carefully and try to minimize adverse spillovers of our policy. one thing we can do that tends to minimize volatility around policy changes is to communicate as clearly as we can how we are framing policy, to attempt to avoid surprises. we have raised these with other central bankers to make sure that we are explaining how we are thinking about policy. we do have a domestic mandate. we recognize how important the influences are from the global economy.
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the u.s. economy, we recognize that if we impact foreign countries that will in turn impact us. that is a key part of our analysis. but you know, when the u.s. is doing well and growing, and when our job market is good and we are growing in a healthy way, it tends to be a plus for the global economy. and i think we have experienced in that way. fareed: thanks. >> i studied economics at columbia business school. my question would be, the political effect of the economic increase of the past years. and the association of governors and the clinton campaign recently, my question would be, so i just find that decision-making process will do more political and less technical, as we have seen in the u.s. supreme court.
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fareed: ben, do you want to take that? it is interesting. i think you have 30 senators vote against your confirmation, the highest ever. and janet yellen and roughly 30 people vote against you. has the fed become more politicized? ben: well i sit here next to paul volcker, the fed has always had little pressures at various times. the fed is trying to do the right thing. and sometimes the right thing is not what everybody agrees on. so yeah, i know that i understand that there is political pressure out there. people aren't happy with the economy. obviously, they were very unhappy with the economy a few years ago. i think all the fed can do is try to do the right thing for the economy and help them better economy will make people, you know, more open.
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and also to be as transparent as possible. one of the important goals -- we talked about communication, many purposes to the clarity of the market and the like. but one of the purposes is to explain why you are doing what you're doing. and hope that people who are paying careful attention will understand and appreciate the decisions you take and why you are taking them. fareed: paul? paul: a comment about congressional reactions. i had votes against me. when i was reappointed, i had the perfect situation. 12 right wing republicans were against me. and 12 left wing democrats were against me. [laughter] so i figured i was in pretty good terrain. [laughter] fareed: sir. >> i'm a third-year phd student in economics. they are usually conditional statements. should the fed be more discreet
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in the announcements in order to avoid ambiguity that might have cause for high volatility, how is this reconciling with the potential of raising of credibility? fareed: i will have to ask the man who created the paper tantrum. it is you. ben: so the basic principle of trying to be clear and transparent is a very important one. it is for you have to keep things relatively simple. if there are too many conditional parts of your statement, and sometimes it can be less well understood. in the case of the following, if you go back and see what we said, it was very straightforward. we said what we thought we were going to do. we ended up doing that. also, the effects of the u.s. economy were pretty much nil. the economy continued to recover.
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there was essentially no discernible effects of the bond market volatility on the economy. i do not view it as being a really bad episode. but i do think it illustrates that communication is very difficult. it is much harder than the textbooks would suggest, if i may say so. but it is so important to be clear and to communicate. and as janet understand as well, and as al was saying, because we can only make conditional statements essentially, because we have to respond to what is happening in the economy, there is really no way to avoid that conditionality -- data dependence as you talk about policy. >> i studied journalism and peers isaac lumia. i want to follow-up -- at columbia. i want to follow-up, the same effects that the banks are too
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big to fail, how do you support these comments and what you think about them. fareed: both questions there, how can this guy who is a regional fed governor make a speech that seems to contradict what you are saying? janet: still, when congress decided on the structure of the federal reserve, i think they purposely chose a decentralized structure, with reserve banks and presidents of reserve banks who would be able to take views now on regulation and supervision. the responsibility is invested in the board of governors. where the president's do participate in our monetary policy decisions.
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but they all engage in research, on topics that are of interest to them that they think are important. and we have encourage that in the federal reserve system. that people have different interests and different points of view. and that diversity of opinion is a positive attribute. we do not want to fall into groupthink. and i think it is within his purview to look at these issues. >> thank you. my name is elaine. my question is related to china. it is becoming increasingly important, the currency in the economy. for example, a new establishment of the chair of infrastructure investment bank. and the imf and the reserve
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currency, with the special crawling rate, so my question is would you comment on the challenges of the currency, versus the u.s. dollar. and to respond how do you like the changes in the coming monetary policy to maintain this dominant position of the u.s. dollar? fareed: each of you very quickly,. but the question is -- is china's currency likely to be in the next 15 years the single greatest challenge to the reserve currency status the dollar currently holds. allen comedy want to start us off? -- alan, do you want to start us off? alan: indeed, it is fairly evident that the yuan is getting close to a floating currency.
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but it has not been cut to a point where it is accepted internationally. and the total amount of holdings of the yuan and international reserves privately is really very small. so they have a long way to go. and i don't think that the yuan is a significant threat to the tower, as of yet. but it obviously could be. if in doubt it changes its overall structure, which it is doing very slowly. fareed: paul, the you have any -- paul: what are they threatening? the threat of the dollar? [laughter] the dollar will be an international currency as long as we have stability at at home.
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i do not follow all the advice of increasing the inflation rate and so on. [laughter] china is very big. how big are you looking? 20 years ahead? it will be a lot bigger than the united states, economically and as well as population. if you look that far ahead. if the currency becomes an international currency, it probably will affect an opening of the chinese economy, which will be good for the world. i don't see why it will hurt us. fareed: but then they say that the united states enjoys great privileges with the dollar as a reserve currency. ben: i don't think that is all true. there are modest benefits. but in any case, the chinese have taken this as a very big symbolic issue. for example, i think the actual economic implications are not
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very large in the basket, but is a very symbolic step. to the extent that the symbolic steps motivate china to reform financial markets to increase liquidity and improve regulation and the like, these are positive things. not things we should be worried about. fareed: is there anything you could say? janet: i think my colleagues have covered it. thanks. [laughter] fareed: inscrutable, as is appropriate. this is a fascinating conversation. and a great great honor, for everyone here at international house and for everyone watching. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> even watch that conversation with the former fed chairs in new york again tonight at 8:00 eastern. we will have that over at c-span2. in our primetime lineup on c-span, former vice president dick cheney visited pepperdine university law school in malibu, california and talked about the role of the vice president and how presidential candidates choose their running mates. here's a preview. >> i was reputed by some to have an especially powerful position. >> i think the president said when you hear dick cheney's voice, your mind. -- you hear mine. about the waynk worked on my watch. dynamics.a lot of
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>> more of a personal dynamic? >> is my ability to work with the congress. i've been a member of the house for 10 years, shortly after i was elected, i was visited by the speaker of the house, and the general on the ways and means committee. this bigger of the house is a good friend, when he first came into the congress, he was the chairman of the ways and means committee. knowcame to me and said we you're going to be the president of the senate. you're going to have an office on the senate side of the building. a we think of you as a man of the house. we wait also have an office on the house side. in the ways and means chairman of that point had two very nice offices, one facing the west front, you look out the windows
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all the way to the lincoln memorial in arlington. a huge office, with a table in a cabinet. the other when he had was a off theoffice, right house floor. they gave me my choice. i can have either one of those theces, either as part is -- as president of the senate. the office right off the democratic caucuses, i knew it angered by democratic colleagues. for six years that we control office that had an only on the senate side, on the west wing, but also of the house side heard.
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i was able to work from that logjams of working from and had a significant legislative impact. i was really all based on personal relationships and my background with the house and the senate. >> remarks by the former vice president in their entirety, tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. here's more of what to expect tonight right here on c-span. c-span, the on supreme court cases that shaped our history come to life with the c-span series landmark cases. the historic supreme court decisions. the 12 part series explores real-life stories and constitutional promise behind some of the most -- dramas behind the most significant cases in history. >> this is a story about president of powers and limits during times of war. it was before the court central themes about the condition that
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presidents during times of emergency may be able to do things that are not expressed a stated in times of emergency. qwest saidstice when the case has come to be accepted by the culture. how many cases can we say about that? >> it was a sweeping decision that isolated the u.s. is one of only four nations of 195 across the globe that allow abortion for any reason after fetal viability. and yet it has not settled the issue at all. >> tonight we look at the case of miranda v arizona, which ruled that suspects must be informed of their rights before they are questioned. the right against self-incrimination and the right to an attorney. watch landmark cases decided in the eastern on c-span and >> the head of the consumer financial bureau delivered his twice a year report to congress yesterday. the hill right to defend of the agencies record to critical
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republican senators. you can read more at the we hearing ran two hours and 15 minutes. >> the committee will come to order.
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we have a quorum here. before i move, senator brown, do you have a statement? you want me to go ahead, ok. mr. j lerner, i move to vote in the following nominations. mr. lerner to be inspector general of the fdic -- to be an assistant secretary of the treasury. miss lisa fairfax to be a member of the securities and exchange commission, ms. hester purse to to be a member of the securities and exchange commission. >> i have a few remarks.
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a couple of people on my side have remarks. i think the chairman for convening the session to consider these nominations for the committee. these people have been asked to take on important jobs. it is incumbent to act promptly today and on the floor. mr. lerner's was pending for 500 days. another was pending for 400. i hope we do better with nominees. i am hopeful chairman shelby and all of us who support -- will go to leadership and ask them to move on this. he is qualified. he started with president bush. i would also ask that we move quickly on the nomination, the confirmation of the import export bank nominee. that agency can carry out its entire mission. thank you.
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>> thank you for the courtesy. i am going to take a minute. why i will vote no on the block of nominees. not because of three of them, but because of the two fcc nominees. i have not received answers sufficient from either nominee. it is on the question of the disclosure of corporate political spending. this should be a priority for the fcc. the citizens united open the floodgates for a deluge of dark money into t political system. undisclosed, anonymous, unaccountable. the proposed rule would compel corporations to disclose if and when they are making political donations. it would introduce a small,
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important degree of accountability into a system that is broken. when i asked about the position, they demure. i asked them to think about it and the answer was gobbledygook. i think that is false equivalency. shareholders have a right to know how corporations spend their money. it is simple. it may factor into the decision to invest. 1.2 million commenters urged the fcc to move forward with the rule. i would rather get rid of citizens united. until they can indicate to me that they believe the fcc has to play a role in making corporate political spending transparent, i cannot support their nominations. thank you. >> thank you. i believe transparency and disclosure of the shareholders is of the utmost importance.
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as a matter of governance and investor protection. clinical spending is material to how shareholders decide where to invest their money and how to vote and corporate elections. within the past month, during and after the committee's nomination hearing, i asked both nominees for assurances that they understand the value of this disclosure the shareholders. after hearing and reading responses, i am concerned that if they are confirmed, they will obfuscate on this policy matter. i have been fighting to pass my shareholder protection act. i have led a charge to protect against harmful writers. it is not just me and my colleagues.
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sen. menendez more than 1.2 mils have implored the fcc to act. this issue has received more attention than any rulemaking petition and the history. i will vote against these nominees. before they are considered on the floor, we need commitments that they will stand with us and the 1.2 million americans who have weighed in on this issue. i thank the chair for the opportunity. >> thank you. six years ago, the supreme court drew a steamroller over the "we the people" principle of our democracy. citizens united unleashed a wave of -- that has changed our democracy from "we the people" to "we the powerful." corporate political spending has gone unchecked.
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democracy has been flooded by dark money from undisclosed sources. it is time to change that. people should decide our elections, not pocketbooks. we urged them to work on a rule to require publicly held companies to disclose spending to shareholders. it was on their agenda. the current chair of the fcc took it off. that is a move in the wrong direction. this type of disclosure is a critical step in fairness and transparency in political spending. it is time for the fcc to make this a priority and restore transparency to our democracy. additionally, if you invest your money in a company you have the right to know how and when that company is spending your money to influence the outcome of elections.
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anything other than full disclosure is stolen speech and incompatible with the freedom of speech and our constitution. it is time to stop this wave of dark money drowning out the voice of the people. i will join in voting no for the same reasons my colleagues have put forward today because the nominees for the sec has not clarified that they understand and will advocate for the transparency that our constitution requires. >> i share the concerns of my colleagues on the political spending issue. what has happened to the campaign finance system in this country is a disgrace. the sec has the authority to help. what it does not have is the will. this is wrong. it is wrong for investors and all of america. we need an sec that will make spending more transparent. i have concerns about ms. purse's nomination based on her views about dodd frank.
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it is dangerous to put anyone in a commissioner position, someone who will have to implement and enforce the law, who seems to be adamantly opposed to the financial reforms that congress put in place in the 2008 financial crisis. we saw what happened the last time we deregulated the industry. the price tag was enormous. we cannot go back there. not now, not ever. >> let's vote. those in favor, say aye. the nomination is agreed to. >> i want to be recorded as no. >> senator of new york, no. >> same.
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>> i am from massachusetts. [laughter] we feel strongly about this. >> she is probably a red sox fan. >> eat your heart out. >> you cannot do that. >> you are either no on all of them or yes on all of them. >> no on all of them. >> we might need a recorded vote. if that is what people want. do you want to do it on the fcc? -- do you want to do it on the sec?
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we will postpone the vote and go to the regular order. mr. cordray, welcome to the committee. you have seen this before. we welcome you. i will proceed with an opening statement. on tuesday, the committee heard testimony from private sector experts on consumer finance regulations. we heard a number of concerns regarding the bureau's actions in areas such as indirect auto lending, arbitration, the consumer complaint database and broader critiques of the bureau's approach to regulating, including use of enforcement actions to set markets and its rather than the rulemaking process. there is concern expressed
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regarding the current structure and lack of accountability in it. i have said regulatory independence should not mean independence from accountability or oversight. the drafters of dodd frank immunized the bureau from any meaningful congressional influence, leaving it free to engage in questionable practices and unreasonable expansions of its jurisdiction. this week, a federal court of appeals has directed the cfpb to defend the constitutionality of its basic structure. this case follows what is now becoming a string of court decisions criticizing or striking down this administration's implementation of dodd frank provisions, including systematically imported designation of metlife, the cost-benefit analysis for the fcc, and the fcc conflict of analysis for the sec, and
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the sec conflict of mineral rule. i believe it will lead to the invalidation of many parts of dodd frank. that is where happens when a 2300 page bill is forced through congress without sufficient process and before the lessons of the financial crisis were understood. congress did not wait for the financial crisis inquiry commission's work to be completed or its report to be released before it passed. frank and created cfpb. while the committee held hearings in the lead up to the passes of dodd frank, i can assure you the thousands of pages of text were being drafted -- were drafted before we had a single hearing. we often hear about the importance of data and data driven decision making at our hearings. i would like to highlight my can earns about the striking lack of data and data driven decision making that produced the law we know as dodd frank.
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it strikes me that this committee approve this legislation without deposing a single participant. the committee did not subpoena a single document from a single person or financial institution. now, we are starting to see the results of this effort. there is growing concern that despite the bureau's mission, the rules and regulations restrict access to credit, increase cost, and deny financial products to the consumers who need them. last year, the survey by the federal reserve found 47% of u.s. households are unable to come up with $400 in emergency funds without selling something, going into credit card debt, or using a short-term loan.
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targeting some of these in its rulemaking, the bureau may be blocking access to financial services americans may need in a crisis very consumer protection should not mean limiting a consumer's options by substitution, substituting the bureau's judgment for the consumer's. we will hear from richard cordray so we can have what we hope will be a productive discussion on these topics and concerns. sen. brown: thank you for holding this hearing. it is an example of how the cfpb is accountable to congress. the issue of accountability bewilders me that anybody would say you are anything but that. cfpb is subject to three separate annual audits. banking agencies have authority to veto cfpb rules that threaten the safety or soundness or stability of the system.
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the existence still continues to be attacked. false arguments that it lacks accountability. the industry continues to fight cfpb's existence. those in congress who are advocating for the industry join them, fight their existence, their actions. most recently by trying, unsuccessfully, to attach writers to the end of your funding legislation. this committee has gone 15 months and we have not seen one person coming out of this committee who has been confirmed on the senate floor, yet some of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle want a commission of senate confirmed the in a dysfunctional senate
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banking committee and dysfunctional senate. it is strange to think that is good government. maybe that is how the opponents wanted to be, that they cannot simply act because they would not have enough senate confirmed members. the purpose of the writers is to turn the cfpb into roadkill. today's hearing, excuse me, tuesday's hearing. one witness represented everyday americans. the business witnesses claimed cfpb is hurting people it is supposed to help. polling shows that three in four voters support the agency. the committee received petitions from hundreds of thousands of
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americans supporting the consumer bureau. many of you are in the room. thank you for showing your support for the cfpb. it has been a strong watchdog for consumers since it started. nearly one million people, including 25,000 in ohio submitted complaints to the agency about their problems is with mortgages, student loans, bank accounts. at least one or two of those three corporate representatives on the panel complained about these one million people that were sending in complaints, amazingly enough. they were not industry lobbyists, i guess, that sent in the complaints. they focused on the financial industry's soundness and ignore


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