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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 23, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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--on the issue of [indiscernible] rep. king: how do you predict the supreme court these days? when i came to town, i could. >> a pretty good and alum protecting the decisions in the supreme court. it is almost impossible to predict. i pray that we do get back to the constitution as our guide aimee love have a president who will make more than one appointment to the supreme court. >> thank you all, appreciate it. >> [inaudible] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] we proudly give 72 about
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mckinley gave those the next president of the united states -- [cheering] [applause] president obama is on a trip to a united kingdom, including the meeting with prime minister david cameron. he will stay in britain on saturday before heading to germany on sunday. the president and prime minister cameron held a joint press conference with they talked upcoming referendum on
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britain's membership in the european union. president obama wrote an opinion piece in the telegraph arguing for britain to stay in the eu is present is one hour. prime minister cameron: good afternoon and welcome. it is great to welcome president obama on his fifth visit to the united kingdom. barack has been president for more than seven years. i have been prime minister for nearly six years. and our two countries have been working together through some of the most difficult and troubled global times. we faced the aftermath of the banking crisis, the need to revive growth and create jobs in our economies, new threats to our security from russia in the east to the rise of islamic terrorism in the south. and, of course, huge global challenges like ebola and
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climate change. through it all, the strong and essential partnership between our nations has never been more important. when 70 years ago last month winston churchill first described the special relationship, it was not merely an enduring expression of friendship. it was a way of working together. it was about two nations, kindred spirits who share the same values and so often the same approaches to the many issues we face. and just as for our predecessors, that has been true for barack and me. whether we are working to deliver economic security, national security, or new emerging challenges. today, we have been discussing all three. on economic security, we have succeeded in getting our economies growing and creating jobs for our people.
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the global economy still faces serious challenges. last year britain and the united states were the two fastest-growing major economies in the world. and we both know just how important trade deals are in driving global growth. so barack and i remain the most determined to achieve our vision of a u.s.-e.u. trade deal. we are working hard to push this forward because it would add billions to our economies and set the standards for the rest of the world to follow. on national security, together with our partners in the e.u., we have used our economic muscle to avoid the calamity of the an iranian nuclear weapon. we have delivered sanctions against russia in response to aggression against ukraine. with secures the first ever legally binding deal on climate change. being formally signed today by over 150 governments at the united nations. and we have transformed the way we use our aid, and our military together to make progress and some of the most difficult issues of our time. for example, in east africa, we have helped to turn around the prospects for somalia. for instance, thanks to an e.u. operation, led by britain, its
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waters are no longer safe haven for pirates. in west africa, british leadership in europe secured one billion euros to help the people to defeat the outbreak of ebola with britain taking the lead in sierra leone, the united states and liberia and guinea. just as we made progress in these areas, so there are many more that need a lot more work. there is no doubt that the situation in libya is challenging but we now finally have a government of national accord with whom we can work. while in syria and iraq we are continuing coalition efforts to defeat and a great daesh. more than 25,000 daesh fighters have been killed.
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with the total number of fighters now estimated to be at its lowest for about two years. the iraqi security forces are steadily pushing daesh out of its territory. in syria, our partners have liberated the large kurdish areas in the northeast and cut off the main road between raka and mosul. we also discussed the migration crisis which does not directly affect the united states. in the u.k., we have maintained our borders and we will continue to do so but we both know the challenge this poses to our friends and allies into the continent of europe. this is the sort of challenge that can only be tackled effectively through international cooperation. nato is helping to reduce the number of migrants in the eastern mediterranean and barack and i have discussed how nato make and should be treated e.u.'s efforts in the central mediterranean. we also need to do more to break the business model of the people smugglers. together with our partners and the libyan government, we will look at whether there is more we can do to strengthen the libyan coast guard. barack and i will discuss this further when we meet with the leaders and hanover on monday. and this will be another opportunity to show how working together collectively we can better protect ourselves from
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the threats that we face. we also covered a number of emerging challenges that it is more important than ever that we were together to identify problems and deal with the rapidly. just as we have done with ebola, we now need the same international cooperation on dealing with the zika virus. on the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, on cyber security, and on tackling corruption. britain is holding a big summit in london next month. barack and i have talked today about some of things we wanted to achieve. one of the biggest problems as if you are a country that wants to take action against corruption, you have to go all around the globe to lobby for help. so, we would like to see an international coordination center to help law enforcement agencies and investigators worked together right across different jurisdictions. if we get an international
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agreement this next month, both britain and america will contribute to set it up. all this work we have done together and at the same time i think we got to know each other very well. i'm honored to have barack as a friend. he has taught me the rules of basketball, beaten me a table tennis. i remember the barbecue we had at number 10 downing street. serving servicemen and women who serve our countries together here and in the united kingdom. i've always found barack someone who gives sage advice. he is a man with a very good heart. and been a very good friend and always will be a good friend i know to the united kingdom. let me finish by saying this -- in all the areas we have discussed today, our collective power and reach is amplified by britain's never ship of the european union for let me be clear -- when it comes to the special relationship between our two countries, there is no greater enthusiasm for me. i am very proud to have the
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opportunity to be prime minister and to stand outside the white house this thing to this man, my friend barack, say that the special relationship has never been stronger. i've never felt constrained in any way and strengthening this relationship by the fact that we are in the european union. quite the reverse. we deliver for a people for all the international groups we are part of. we enhance our security to the mentorship of nato, further a prosperity through the g-7 and g-20. like those organization, britain's membership of the e.u. gives us a powerful tool to deliver on the prosperity and security that our people need and to stand up for the values that our country share. now i think is the time to stay true to those values and to stick together with our friends and allies in europe and around the world. thank you very much. barack. president obama: as always, it is wonderful to be here in london. and to meet with my good friend david cameron. i confess i have also come back
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to wish her majesty, the queen, very happy 90th birthday. earlier today, michelle and i had the honor to join her majesty and his royal highness the, the duke of edinburgh as their guests, where we reconveyed the good wishes of the american people. i have to say i have never been driven by a duke of edinburgh before. and i can report that it was very smooth riding. as for her majesty, the queen's been a source of inspiration for me. she is truly one of my favorite people. should we be fortunate enough to reach 90, may we be as vibrant as she is. she is an astonishing person and
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a real jewel to the world, and not just to the united kingdom. the alliance between the united states and the united kingdom is one of the oldest and one of the strongest the world has ever known. when the u.s. and the u.k. stand together, we make our countries more secure, our people more prosperous, and we make the world safer and better. that is when of the reasons why my first overseas visit as president more than seven years ago was here to london. at a time of global crisis. and the one thing i knew as green as i was as a new president was that it was absolutely vital that the united states and the united kingdom working together in an international forum, tackle the
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challenges that lie ahead. our success depended on our ability to coordinate and be be able to leverage our relationship to have an impact on other countries. i met with david on that visit. he was not yet prime minister, but just as our nations share a special edition, david and i have shared an extraordinary partnership. he has proven to be a great friend and is one of my closest and most trusted partners. over the six years or so that our terms have overlapped, we have met or spoken more times than i can count. we have shared our country's beers with each other. he vouches for his. taken him to a basketball game in america. you should recall we were partners in a ping-pong game. we lost to some schoolchildren. i can't remember whether they were 8 or 10, but they were decidedly shorter than we were.
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and they whooped us. samantha and michelle have become good friends as well. and it is the depth and breadth of that special relationship that has helped us tackle some of the most daunting challenges of our time. around the world, our joint efforts have stopped the outbreak of ebola, helped iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. forged a climate agreement in paris that hopefully will help to protect our planet for future generations. and today, on earth day, our governments, along with 170 others, are in new york to sign that agreement. the u.s. is committed to formally joining it this year, which should help it take effect years earlier than anybody expected. we also discussed the full array of challenges to our shared security.
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we remain resolute in our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks against our people and to continue the progress we've made in rolling back and ultimately defeating isil. our forces are systematically degrading isil's finances as safe havens and removing its leaders from the battlefield to it we have to keep working to improve security and information sharing across europe and to stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of syria. we discussed our efforts to resolve critical conflicts in the middle east from yemen to syria to libya. in libya going forward, we have an opportunity to support a new government and help the libyans root out extremist elements.
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in syria, as challenging as it is, we still need to see more progress towards an enduring cease-fire and we continue to push for greater humanitarian access to the people who need it most. we have to continue to invest in nato so that we can meet our overseas commitments from afghanistan to the aegean. we have to resolve the conflict in ukraine. all nato allies should aim for the target of spending 2% of gdp on defense, something that david has made sure happens here in the u.k. to meet that standard. we discuss new actions we can take to address the refugee crisis, including with our nato allies. because a strong defense relies on more than just military spending, but on helping to
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unleash the potential of others to live freer and more prosperous lives, i want to thank the people of the united kingdom for their extraordinary generosity as one of the world for most donors of humanitarian aid -- we talked about promoting growth through increased trade -- so our young people can achieve greater opportunity. and yes, the prime minister and i discussed whether the u.k. should remain part of the european union. let me be clear. ultimately, this is something the british voters have to decide for themselves. but as part of our special relationship part of being friends is to be honest. and to let you know what i think. and speaking honestly, the outcome of that decision is a matter of deep interest to the united states because it affects our prospects as well. the united states wants a strong united kingdom is a partner. and the united kingdom is at his best when it is helping to lead a strong europe.
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it leverages u.k. power to be part of the european union. as i wrote, i don't believe the e.u. moderates british influence in the world. it magnifies it. the e.u. has helped to spread british values and practices across the continent. the single market brings extraordinary economic benefits to the united kingdom. and that ends up being good for america, because we are more prosperous when one of our best friends and closest allies has a strong stable and growing economy. americans want britain's influence to grow, including within europe. the fact is in today's world, no nation is immune to the challenges that david and i just discussed. and i today's world, solving them requiresn collective action. all of us cherish our sovereignty. my country is pretty vocal about that. but the u.s. also recognizes that we strengthen our security through our membership in nato. we strengthen our prosperity through organizations like the g-7 and the g-20. i believe the u.k. strengthens
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our prosperity through the e.u. in the 21st century, the nations that make their presence felt on the world stage are not the nations that go it alone. but the nations that team up to aggregate their power and multiply their influence. and precisely because britain's values and institutions are so strong and so sound, we want to make sure that that influence is heard. and it's felt. that it influences other countries to think about critical issues. we have confidence that when the u.k. is involved in a problem,
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that they are going to help solve it in the right way. that is why the united states cares about this. for centuries, europe was marked by war and by violence. the architecture that our two countries helped build with the e.u. has provided the foundation for decades of relative peace and prosperity on that continent. what a remarkable legacy, the legacy born in part out of what took place in this building. before he walked out, i happened to see enigma on display. and that was a reminder of the incredible innovation and collaboration of the allies in world war ii and the fact that neither of us could have won that alone. in the same way, after world war ii, we built out the international institutions that, yes, occasionally constrain us, but we willingly allowed those constraints because we understood that by doing so, we
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are able to institutionalize and internationalize the basic values of global law and freedom and democracy. that would benefit our citizens as well as people around the world. i -- i think there is a british poet who was said "no man's an island." even an island as beautiful as this. we are stronger together. if we continue to tackle our challenges together, in future generations we will look back on ours, just as we look back on the previous generation of english and american citizens who worked so hard to make this world safer and more secure and more prosperous and they'll say we did our part, too.
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that's important. that is important not just here. that is important in the united states as well. thanks. prime minister cameron: we have got some questions. we start with a question from the british press. from itv. >> thank you very much. mr. president, you yourself acknowledged the controversial timing of your comments on the e.u. referendum in the spirited debates we're having and i think you are right. in the week before your arrival leave campaigners have said you are acting hypocritically. america would not accept the loss of sovereignty we have to accept as part of the e.u. america would not accept the levels of immigration from mexico that we have to accept from the e.u. and therefore, in various degrees of politeness, they have said to you you should really keep your views to yourself.
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with that in mind, mr. president, do you still think it was the right decision to intervene in this debate? and what happens if the u.k. does decide in june to leave the european union? president obama: let me repeat. this is a decision for the people of the united kingdom to make. i'm not coming here to fix any votes. i am not casting a vote myself. i'm offering my opinion. and in democracies, everybody should want more information not less. you should not be afraid to hear an argument being made. that is not a threat. that should enhance the debate. particularly because my understanding of it is that some of the folks on the other side have been ascribing to the
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united states we will take if the u.k. does leave the e.u. they say, for example, we will cut our own trade deals with the united states. so they're voicing an opinion about what the united states is going to do. i figured you might want to hear from the president of the united states what i think the united states is going to do. and on that matter, for example, i think it is fair to say that maybe some point down the line, there might be a u.k.-u.s. trade agreement but it is not going to happen anytime soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the european union to get a trade agreement on. and the u.k. is going to be in the back of queue. not because we do not have a special relationship but because, given the heavy lift on any trade agreement, us having access to a big market with a
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lot of countries rather than trying to do piecemeal trade agreements, is hugely inefficient. now, to the subject at hand. obviously, the united states is in a different hemisphere, different circumstances, has different sets of relationships with its neighbors than the u.k. but i can tell you this. if right now i have got access to a massive market where i sell 44% of my exports and now i'm thinking about leaving the organization that gives me access to that market, and that is responsible for millions of jobs in my country, and responsible for an enormous amount of commerce and upon which a lot of businesses depend, that is not something i
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would probably do. and what i'm trying to describe is a broader principle, which is in our own way, we do not have a common market in the americas, but in all sorts of ways, the united states constrained itself in order to bind everyone under a common set of norms and rules that makes everybody more prosperous. that's what we have built after world war ii. the united states and the u.k.
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designed a set of institutions, whether it was the united nations or the, britain would structure, imf, world bank, nato, across-the-board. now, that to some degree constrained our freedom to operate. it meant that occasionally we had to deal with some bureaucracy. it meant that on occasion we have to persuade other countries and we don't get 100% of what we want in each case, but we knew that by doing so everybody was going to be better off, partly
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because the rules that were put in place were reflective of what we believe. if there were more free markets around the world, and orderly financial system, we knew we could operate. if we had collective defense treaties through nato, we understood that we could formalize an architecture that would deter aggression rather than -- us having piecemeal to put together alliances to defeat aggression after it already started. and that principle is what's at stake here. the last point i make on this until i get the next question, i suspect, is that as david said, this magnifies the power of the u.k. it does not diminish it. on just about every issue, what happened in europe is going to have an impact here. and what happens in europe is going to have an impact in the
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united states. we just discussed the migration crisis. i've told my team, which is sitting right here, they'll vouch for me, that we considered a major national security issue that you have uncontrolled migration into europe. not because folks are coming to the united states. but because it could destabilize europe, our largest trading bloc, trading partner, it's going to be bad for our economy. if you start seeing divisions in europe, that weakens nato. that'll have an impact on our collective security. now, if in fact, i want somebody who is smart and common sense, and tough is thinking as i do in
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the conversations about how migration is going to be handled, somebody who also has a sense of compassion and recognizes that immigration can enhance, when done properly, the assets of a country and not just diminish them, i want david cameron in the conversation. just as i want him in the conversation when we are having discussions about information sharing. and counterterrorism activity. because, precisely because i have a confidence in the u.k. and i knowhat if we're not working effectively with -- paris or brussels, those attacks are going to migrate to the united states and to london. i want one of my strongest
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partners in that conversation. so it enhances the special relationship. it is not diminish it. prime minister cameron: let me just make one point in response to that. this is our choice, nobody else's. the sovereign choice of the british people. but as we make that choice, it makes sense to listen to what our friends think, to listen to their opinion and their views. there's -- it is also worth remembering, as we make this choice, it is a british choice about the british membership of the european union. we're not being asked to make a choice about whether we support the german or italian style of membership. britain has a special status in the european union. we're in the single market, we are not part of the single currency. we're able to travel and live and work and work in other european countries but we have maintained our borders because we are not in the no border zone. on this vital issue of trade were barack has made such a clear statement, we should remember why we are currently negotiating this biggest trade deal in the whole world and in the whole world history between the european union and the
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united states is because britain played an absolutely leading part in pushing for those talks to get going. we -- at the g-20 when britain was in the chair of that organization. we set the agenda for what could be an absolutely game changing to radio for jobs and investment because we were part of this organization. those were the important points. think we have u.s. question now. >> following on that, do you think between brexit and the migration issue, european unity is that a crisis point? what you hope the leaders gathering in germany can do about it? do you expect those nations to militarily support, including ground troops, the new government in libya, to keep that situation from further straining europe? i'm also wondering if maybe you can talk about whether you plan to go to hiroshima when you visit japan. president obama: come on, man.
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>> the president came to tell the u.k. they should stay with the e.u. as a friend, what would you advise americans to do about donald trump? president obama: that was so predictable. i would not describe european unity as in a crisis but i would say that it is under strain. and some of that just has to do with the aftermath of the financial crisis and the strains that we're all aware of with respect to the eurozone. it is important to emphasize, as david points out, that the u.k. is not part of the eurozone. so the blowback to the british
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economy has been different than it is on the continent. but we've seen some divisions and difficulties between the southern and the northern parts of europe. that has created some strains. i think the migration crisis amplifies a debate that is taking place not just in europe but in the united states as well. at a time of globalization, at a time when a lot of the challenges that we face are transnational as opposed to just focus on one country, there is a temptation to want to just pull up the draw bridge, either literally or figure to play. we see that played out in some of the debates that are taking place in the u.s. presidential race. and that debate, i think, is
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accelerated in europe. but i'm confident that the ties that bind europe together are alternately much stronger than the forces that are trying to pull them apart.
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europe has undergone an extraordinary stretch of prosperity. maybe unmatched in the history of the world. if you think about the 20th century when you think about the 21st century, the 21st century europe looks awful lot better. and i think the majority of europeans recognize that. they see that unity and peace have delivered sustained economic growth, reduced conflict, reduced violence, enhanced the quality of life of people. and i'm confident that can continue, but i do believe that it's important to watch out for some of these faultlines that are developing. in that sense, i do think the brexit vote, which, if i am a citizen of the u.k., i'm thinking about it solely in terms of how this is helping me, how is this helping the u.k. economy, how is it helping create jobs here in the u.k., that is the right way to think about it. i do also think this vote will send a signal that is relevant about whether the kind of prosperity we've built together is going to continue or whether the forces of division and -- end up being more prominent.
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and that is part of the reason why it is relevant to the united states and why i have had the temerity to weigh in on it. what were your four other questions? i got two. with respect to libya, both david and i discussed our commitment to try to assist this nascent government. and it's a challenge, but there are people in this government of national accord that are genuinely committed to building back up a state. that is something we desperately want, because both the united states and the united kingdom, but also a number of our allies,
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are more than prepared to invest in helping create border security in libya and helping to drive out terrorists inside of libya and trying to make sure that what could be a thriving society, relatively small population, a lot of resources, this is not an issue where we should have to subsidize libya. they're actually much better positioned than some other countries that we have been helping. if they can just get their act together and we want to help provide that technical assistance to get that done. there is no plans for ground troops in libya. i do not think that is necessary. i don't think it would be welcomed by this new government. it would send the wrong signal. this is a matter of can libyans come together. what we can do is provide them our expertise. what we can do is provide them training, what we can do is provide them a road map for how they can get basic services to their citizens and build up legitimacy. i think the one area where both
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david and i are committed is, as this progresses, we can't wait if isil is starting to get a foothold there. and so we are working, not just with the libyan government but a lot of our international partners, to make sure that we are getting the intelligence we need. and in some cases taking actions to prevent isil from having another stronghold from which to launch attacks against europe or the against the united states. i think you have to wait until i get to asia to start asking the asia questions. prime minister cameron: the question you asked me. this is not a general election. this is a referendum. as barack has explained, it is a referendum that affects the people of the united kingdom very deeply but it also does
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affect others in the european union, it affects partners like america or canada or australia and new zealand. as i look around the world, it is hard to find, so far i have not found one, a country that which is britain well that thinks we ought to leave the european union. i think that's, again, it is our choice. we will make the decision. we will listen to all of the arguments. people want the facts. a want to know the consequences. and i will try and lay those out
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as clearly as i can. listening to our friends, listening to the countries that wish us well as part of the process and is a good thing to do. as for the american elections, i have made some comments in recent weeks and months. i don't think now is a moment to add to them or subtract from them. just as a prime minister has been through two general elections, leading my party, you look on at the u.s. elections in awe of the scale of the process and the length of the process. i'm -- at anyone who is left standing at the end of it. president obama: fortunately, we are term limited. i, too, can look in awe at the process. prime minister cameron: we have another british question. >> thank you. mr. president, you have made your views plain on the fact that british voters should choose to stay in the e.u. but in the interest of good friends being honest, are you also saying that our decades-old special relationship that has been through so much would be fundamentally damaged and changed by our exit? if so, how? and are you also, do you have any sympathy with people who think this is none of your business? and prime minister, some of your colleagues believe it is utterly wrong that you have to write our closest ally into the e.u. referendum campaign.
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what do you say then? and is it the appropriate for the mayor of london to have brought up barack obama's kenyan ancestry in the context of this debate? >> first of all, no questions for me. i don't have some special power over the president of the united states. barack feels strongly about this. it is our decision of sovereign people, the choice we make about european people to listen to and consider the advice of your friends. just to amplify one of the points barack made, we have a shared interest of making sure
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your takes a robust approach to -- europe takes an robust approach. i think i can put my hand on my heart and say britain continues to play an important role in making sure the sanctions were put in place and kept in place. i am not sure if it would've happened if we weren't there. it is in our interest for europe to be strong against aggression. how can it be in our interest to be at the table and not see the sanctions not take place? it has been there working between britain and the united states over this issue. it has helped to make a big difference. i am passionate about this and feel it very very deeply, for all of the culture and the future of our country, and the truth is this -- a stronger britain and a stronger america, the stronger the relationship will be. i want britain to be as strong
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as possible. we draw our strength from all sorts of things we have in the country. fifth-largest economy in the world. you were discussing how well they work together. incredibly talented people. brilliant universities. the commonwealth. we project strength, power, and protect our people and maker country wealthier by being in the european union. i want to pretend to be a strong as possible, and the stronger britain is, the stronger the special relationship is and the more we can get done together to make sure we have a world that promotes democracy and human rights. to me, is a simple, a stronger britain, a stronger, special relationship. that is in the interest of the united states of america as well. mr. obama: let me start with winston churchill.
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[laughter] i don't know people are aware this, but in the residence on the second floor, my private office is called the treaty room. and right outside the door of the treaty room, so that i can see it every day, including on weekends when i am going into that office to watch a basketball game -- [laughter] the primary image i see is a bust of winston churchill. it's a there voluntarily because i can do anything on the second floor. [laughter] i love winston churchill. [laughter] i love the guy. [laughter]
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now, when i was elected of -- as president of united states and my predecessor had kept a winston churchill bust in the oval office, there is only so many places you can put it, or it starts to get cluttered. i thought it was appropriate and i suspect that most people here in the united kingdom might agree that as the first african-american president, it might be appropriate to have a bust of dr. martin luther king in my office. to remind me of all the hard work of a lot of people. -- a lot of people, who would somehow allow me to the privilege of holding this office. that is just on winston churchill. i think people should know that.
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my thinking there. with respect to the special relationship, i have a staff member who will not be named because it might embarrass her a little bit who on foreign trips, does not leave the hotel or the staff room because she is constantly doing work making this happen. she has had one request the entire time that i have been president, and that is, could she accompany me to windsor on the off chance that she might get a peek at her majesty, the queen. and, gracious as she is, her majesty actually had this person, along with a couple of others, lined up, so as we emerged from lunch, they could say hello. and this that person who is as
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tough as they, almost fainted [laughter] i'm glad she did and because it would've cost and incident. [laughter] that is the special relationship. we are so bound together that nothing is going to impact the emotional and cultural and intellectual affinities between our two countries. so i don't come here suggesting in any way that it is impacted by a decision that the people in the united kingdom may make it their members of the european union. that is there. that is solid. that will continue hopefully eternally. and the cooperation in all sorts of ways through nato, through the seven, g20, all those things
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will continue, but as david said, if one of our best friends is in an organization that enhances their influence and enhances their power and enhances their economy, then i want them to stay in it. or at least, i want to be able to tell them, you know, i think this makes you guys bigger players. i think this helps your economy and helps to create jobs. and ultimately it is your decision precisely because we are bound at the hip. i what you to know that. before you make your decision. margaret brennan. >> thank you very much, sir. mr. president, vladimir putin has not stopped assad as he said
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he would. the cease-fire in syria appears to be falling apart. will you continue to bet on what looks to be a losing strategy? mr. prime minister, the u.k. today warned its citizens traveling to north carolina and mississippi about lost their that affect transgender individuals. as a friend, what do you think of those laws? mr. president, would you let to weigh in on that? and, sir, would you indulge as -- in those all of us back in the u.s., sir? prince passed away. you were a fan. can you tell us what made you a fan? obama: i am trying to figure out what order to do this. [laughter] maybe i will start out with north carolina and mississippi. i want everybody in the united kingdom to know that people of
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north carolina and mississippi are wonderful people, hospitable people, beautiful states, and you are welcome, and you should come and enjoy yourselves. i think you will be treated with extraordinary hospitality. i also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong. and should be overturned there in response to politics, in part, and in part, some strong emotions that are generated by people, some of whom are good people, but i just disagree with it. when it comes to respecting the equal rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. whether they are transgender, gay, lesbian, and although i
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respect their different viewpoints, i think it is very important for us not to send singles -- signals that anyone is treated differently. i think it is fair to say that we are not unique among countries where under a federal system in which powers are dispersed, there is going to be some local officials that put for laws that aren't necessarily reflective of a national consensus. but, if you guys come to north carolina and mississippi, you will be treated well. second question with respect to syria. i am deeply concerned about the cessation of hostilities and whether it is sustainable. keep in mind that i have always been skeptical about mr. putin's actions and motives inside of syria. he is, along with iran, the preeminent backer of a murderous regime that i do not believe can
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regain legitimacy. because he has murdered a lot of people. having said that, when i also believe is that we cannot en the crisis in syriad -- we cannot end the crisis in syria without a plan. there will be some people on one side of the table, who i deeply disagree with and whose actions i deeply abhor. it takes -- it is taking an enormous toll on the syrian people. the cessation has held longer than i expected, and for seven
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weeks, we have seen a significant reduction in violence inside that country, and that gave some relief to people. i talked to putin on monday to reinforce to him the importance of us trying to maintain the cessation of hostilities, asking him to put more pressure on assad, indicating to him that we would continue to try to get the moderate opposition to stay at the negotiating table in geneva. but this has always been hard. it is going to keep being hard. what david and i discussed in our meeting is that we will continue to prosecute war against daesh and i sold. -- daesh and isil.
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we will continue to target them and continue to make progress. we are not going to solve the overall problem unless we can get this political track moving. i assure you that we have looked at all options, none of them are great. and so we are going to play this option out, if in fact, the cessation falls apart, we will try to put it back together again even as we continue to go after isil. it is my believe that ultimately, russia will recognize, just as this can be solved by a military victory on the part of those we support, russia may be able to keep a lid on alongside iran for a wild, but if you do not have a legitimate government, they will be bled as well. that is not -- that is not speculation on my part.
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the evidence all point to that direction. and finally with respect to prince, i've loved prince because he put out great music and he was a great performer. i did not know him well, he came to perform at the white house last year and was extraordinary. and creative, and original and full of energy. and so, it's a remarkable loss. i have think the u.s. ambassador's residence, who just so happens to have a turntable. this morning we played "purple rain" and "delirious" to get warmed up before we left the house for important bilateral meetings liked this. [laughter]
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>> and great music. the ambassador has brought a lot of brilliant talent. i've been to north carolina many years ago. i have not yet needed it to mississippi, but one day, i hope to. it is with laws and situations as they are addressed to give the advice dispassionately, and partially, but important that it does that. our view on any of these things is that we believe we should be trying to the use this more to end discrimination. we are comfortable saying to countries and friends anywhere in the world that obviously, the loss people pass is their own legislatures. we make our views on the importance of trying to end discrimination.
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with that, margaret, thank you very much. mr. obama: thank you very much, everybody. [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 ncicap.org] saturday night, we'll look at some of the speeches by president obama at the white house correspondents dinner. this will mark his final attendance. >> it turns out jeb bush identified himself as hispanic in 2009. i understand, it is a mistake. like when i identified myself as american back in 1961.
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[laughter] announcer: tune in for live coverage of the dinner on saturday, april 30 beginning at 6:00 eastern. >> this month we showcase our student cam winners. this is a documentary competition for middle and high school students. this year's theme is "road to the white house." and students were asked, what issues do you want presidential candidates to discuss? one of our second prize winners is from cherry hill, new jersey. madeline bowne wants discuss presidential term limits. her video is titled "when a house becomes a home." ♪
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>> the presidential campaign of 2016 -- as we approach the election, many americans say that the political outsiders like trump and carson over the career politicians. a year that americans are so fed up his politics as usual that many now favor unusual politicians. >> they keep reelecting incumbents over and over. it is really a bizarre moment. >> based on a study, independent of the people of the bottom 90% have no impact on the actual congress. the opinions of the economic elite however, are reflected in the action of congress. >> what looks like responsiveness to the public overall, is really responsiveness to the economic elite.
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you see the middle class and the poor have virtually no influence over government policy outcome. >> while the study suggests the government does not reflect the people, it can also suggest that congress is susceptible to corruption. but not necessarily corruption by the traditional definition. >> it is not the petty corruption of trying to earn a few bucks on the side. the corruption of congress is centered on whether feeling to represent the constituents. >> on january, 2010, a citizens united allow union special interests and corporations to spend unlimited sums of money on candidates. the court claims these do not give rise to corruption. they're not being spent in court nation with the campaign. while it is illegal for candidates to donate directly,
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you were able to donate unlimited sums of money to super pac's, which then use the money for political advertising. one possible solution and term limits is not a new concept, the back to the ancient greeks, some of the first supporters of limited terms. according to aristotle, it was a long-term that was the cause of establishment tyranny. fast-forward to the framers of the constitution, thomas jefferson urged the limitation of tenure to prevent a danger that might arise from american freedom. term limits were not implemented into the constitution, most representatives at that time limited their own terms. >> in the first century of government, under the constitution, the vast majority of members were serving one or two terms. >> let's go back to the present. >> it is one of the few issues
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were congress couldn't be more out of step. >> in the 1990's, initiating a movement to set to pass laws that would limit the terms. an overwhelming amount of states did, by 1995, the supreme court ruled against term limits. they determined that states do not have the right to impose limits on federal legislation. >> is term limits constitutional? how much weight do they put on that 10th amendment, and how do you see the interaction? there is no real answer. >> critics claimed it would effect the corruption, and of the represent experienced legislator from being in office. >> it is the experience of legislators that are given as $18 trillion national debt and two unending wars in the middle east, and the prospect of more, a government that is spying on every american. i would say that is not a very
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good argument for experience in office. it might be a better argument for rotation in office which was what the founders wanted. many of these congressmen never go back and live under the laws they have passed. >> an argument against term limits is the argument that term limits are undemocratic, the election process effectively limits them getting voters the power to put people into and take people out as they choose. >> they are already term limits, it is every two years there is an election held. if the people want change, they have the power of their vote. >> right now, it seems to me that with 98% reelection rates, that is not real consent of the governed. that is just an incumbent protection racket. >> the organization represent us is currently championing the anti-corruption act that proposes a three-part plan to
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stop bribery and secret money. >> this idea of getting money out of politics is kind of a misleading term. it always costs money to run for office. our contention is that it is better for the money to come from a diverse swath of the electorate rather than this tiny handful. >> with the recent supreme court decision, the so-called dark money is now in the election cycle. i think it is a dramatic change to the way congress has acted. our best hope to address some of these crucial issues like campaign-finance reform could bring new people into the process. people that aren't bought by the political machine. >> while many opponents of congressional corruption disagree over which route would effectively root out corruption, they all agree that the status quo is no longer an option. >> i think a president who said i want an up or down vote on
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term limits, and talked about it all over the country, and continued to use that to highlight the issues could have tremendous influence. >> i'm here at the democratic debate in manchester, new new hampshire. temperatures are low here, but tensions are running high. >> there are a lot of important issues. we respect that. but we respectfully believe that they will not be able to solve any of the other problems that they are talking about until they address the corruption of big money in politics. madeline: to have a true diverse citizen legislator they must get rid of the ruling class. whether that happens with term limits or campaign-finance reform. it is important we bring that conversation onto the presidential stage and into the national spotlight. >> to watch all of the prize-winning documentaries in
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the competition, visit studentcam.org. ♪ >> the chair of the white house council of economic advisors jason furman on friday set with an interview with david cook of the christian science monitor. he discusses proposed rules on cable set-top boxes and the treasury department's decision to put harriet tubman on the $20 bill. this is one hour. host: our guest today is jason furman. his last visit was in february 2015. we appreciate his coming back.
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his first association with the council was in 1996 during the clinton administration when he was still a graduate student at harvard. retired as a staff economist. since then, he served as senior advisor to the chief economist of the world bank, a specialist the president clinton for economic policy at the national economic council and senior fellow at an economic studies and director of the hamilton project at brookings. along the way, including a doctorate from harvard and one from the london school of economics. he is been a visiting scholar at nyu's school of public service and a visiting lecturer at yale and columbia. in 2008, he was economic policy director for obama for america. earlier in the obama administration, he was the principal deputy director of the national economic council before being named to his current post in june 2014. with that, we will move to this morning's mechanic.
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we are on the record. please no live blogging or tweeting. no filing of any kind while the breakfast is underway to give us time to listen to the guest. there is no embargo when the session ends. to help you resist the urge, we will e-mail several pictures of the session to all reporters here when the session ends. if you would like to ask questions, please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal and i will call on one and all. i will start by offering our guest to make some opening comments and moved to questions from around the table. with that, thank you again for doing this. mr. furman: thank you for organizing. thank you to everyone here.
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more than 12 million jobs added by american businesses but we need to do more to make sure that -- americans are seen the benefits of the economy, building on the wage gains we have seen. in the state of the union, the president began my talking about his economic strategy and he talked about the three parts of his economic strategy. the first focused on expanding education and training. the second talk about improving public programs to help people find jobs, to help people move from job to job with things like wage insurance and reformed unemployment insurance. the third part of the strategy sure thewas to make economy was operating on a set of rules of their own. they work for consumers, worked for small businesses and work for workers. rather than being set up for the
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large companies. this last week, we took an important step to flesh out that third part of the economic agenda as outlined in the state of the union. when the president issued an executive order instructing all of the agencies to go and look at what they could do to inject more competition into the economy. order, theth that president weighed in on the proceedings of the fcc and asked ,hem to open up set-top boxes something we all have sitting in our living rooms. use the cable box that we rent from our cable company. people pay an average of $230 a year after four years you pay the $1000 and you still just rent it and don't own it. the price has gone up in while
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the components have gotten cheaper. that is why we have asked the fcc to open up set-top boxes so you can buy your own, have greater diversity and choice which we think would lead to innovation. that is an example. we have done many things like this before whether it is cell phone unlocking, requiring airlines to free up slots at airports for competitors or improving competition in defense procurement and agencies will have 60 days to report back with additional ideas along these lines. the reason we think this is important is because of a range of evidence that the council of economic advisers collected that by a number of different measures, there is less competition in the economy today than there was several decades ago. there are fewer new forms -- firms entering. the average market share firms is larger.
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the rate of return on capital is rising. for some firms, rate of return is consistently high. all of those could both get in the way of efficiency and innovation. theexample, set-top boxes, kind of competition you would like to see. and can also produce greater inequality by raising the prices for consumers or disadvantaging workers. so, happy to talk about this general set of policies and ideas around competition, what the status is and what we can do about it, but obviously on the economy more broadly. host: let me give you a chance by responding to critics of the cable decision. the cable industry, the national cable and telecommunications association. house has injected "
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politics and inflammatory rhetoric into a regulatory proceeding in what should be an independent agency." the executive producer of says if the fcc goes along with the white house, it will make piracy as easy and as dangerous in the living room as it is on laptops and mobile devices. mr. furman: the law makes it clear that the administration can comment on fcc proceedings. there is a procedure for that which is filing a comment. that is the procedure that previous administrations have used on numerous occasions and this administration has used on numerous occasions. we had a very serious policy issue.ation about this
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we thought it was an issue that mattered a lot to consumers and also to innovation and economic growth more broadly and wanted to share those views and did it in a fully transparent way. we think this is important both because of this but it their case. -- both in the particular case. the typical household over four years will spend about $1000, not get the improvements in their cable set-top box that we see in lots of other areas of our technological economy. won't even own the box at the end of the process. it is a fact that income industries want to -- incumbent industries want to defend that product to the tying of the delivery of the cable services when those are two very different products. we wanted to weigh in on that.
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we wanted to use it as an example that we would love to see other agencies come up with similar benefits for consumers and the economy. host: do you have a list for example you could give us. as you say, you would like to see it as an example. you called the cable thing a mascot. other examples you could cite where you expect to see other procompetitive decisions taken before the end of the obama administration? mr. furman: i don't have forward-looking examples of agencies working actively on this. it is something we talk to them about even before the president signed his executive order. in terms of some of the past ones, a good one is cell phone unlocking. rather the mean having your cell phone tied exclusively to a
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carrier, you can unlock it to use it with a different carriers. tens of thousands of americans asked us to do something about it. we studied the issue, came out in favor of it. ultimately, that required legislation which we championed as well as action by the fcc and other. now it is easier for you to move yourself into a different carrier. it is a change. it helps to get a better deal. even if you don't change, the threat that you might do it helps prices. airline slots was another one. there were airline sitting on slots at airports that they were not using a just using it to foreclose on other airlines being able to compete effectively. up required them to give those slots, and let other airlines use it and that has created more conversation and lower prices. those are two of the types of examples that would like to see
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more of going forward. host: i will do one more and we will go to howard from reuters. do you think tpp is dead? the most likely democratic candidate says i don't believe it will meet the high bar i have set. most likely republican candidate says it is for china to come in as they always do through the back door and take advantage of everyone. mr. furman: i do not believe that all. i think tpp is very important to our economy. in fact, every year that we , it costs us nearly $100 billion in present value of foregone benefits we would get from that agreement. the support for it is growing. trade associations, business groups representing businesses from large to small have consistently come out for it every week.
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new groups come out for it. the authority to negotiate that agreement was passed on a bipartisan basis in congress last year. inhear from a number congress who understand the importance of getting it done this year so we will continue to do that. it continues to be economically important and something that we know a majority of members of congress are in principle of open of doing. host: we would go to howard scheider. howard: one is labor oriented and one is real economy. the recent uptick in labor force participation. janet yellen's vision of the late market is fundamentally accurate. i'm wondering your opinion of how much farther that might go given the demographic that you have documented. secondly, i'm interested in your
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thoughts about the slow growth of the recovery and whether or not there is a potential upside that is being caused by the stronger financial regulations in place. that seems savings to be going on among households and people paying off their mortgages. companies are saving and there is the potential to lessen their reliance on making it shallower. mr. furman: those are great questions. -- answer to your first one it has been encouraging to see the increase in labor participation. we are increasing at the fastest rate that it has in over 30 years. demographic,rlying as you noted, still mean a larger and larger fraction of
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our population is going to be over the age of the five. 65. decline in the3 participation rate just from the aging of the population. above and beyond that, there has been a long-standing many decade downward trend in the participation rate even conditional on age. i think there is a little more space for cyclical recovery. i think it has been especially encouraging to see some of the broader healing in the economy in terms of long-term unemployed and labor force participation of this courage workers, but i think ultimately we are almost there in terms of the cyclical healing and then we will be left with the demographic. in answer to your second
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question, i don't think that financial reform has played a big role in reaching growth rates. it has helped put our economy in a stronger position with $700 billion more in bank capital and we had in 2008. when people go through all the different concerns about the global economy, i think it is encouraging the united states banking system is not on anyone's list and for good reason because we have undertaken reforms that put it in much better shape than it has been for a long time. productivity- growth slowdown is something you have seen across a range of economies. i think something else is going on that financial reform. the deleveraging you referred to above the high savings rate at the corporate
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level and individual level was particularly a good important thing in the first couple of years of the recovery but we are now in a position where if you look at household, there missiles little income is the lowest it has been on record. you operations with an extremely healthy balance sheet. is encouraging but it would also be encouraging to see more consumer spending which we have seen over the last year or two but also more business investment which we have not seen as much of over the last year or two >> gone too far? mr. furman: there is that only room. >> i have a question on criminal justice. i will be participating in event. case of economic consequences to criminal justice
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fiscalyou laid out the cost of the taxpayers. could you make the case for how criminal justice reform will impact the broader economy? we have gotten involved in criminal justice because it is a very important economic issue. others are very important as well but we focus narrowly on the economics which is something i think there is broad bipartisan agreement on we used to spend 2008 debating when he was doing economic policy for the mccain campaign and i was doing it for the obama campaign. i don't think there was a single line that we work together that this two of us had to argue about. , it is atnt next week the white house and it is
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cohosted by the american enterprise institute which is a think tank and the center at nyu which is a more progressive organization, speakers will include doug but also people like arthur brooks. you will be hearing the business the issue thatse a range of researchers found is that first of all, making has rapidlynger diminishing returns in terms of deterring crime and keeping someone off the street from committing crimes because they are less likely to commit those crimes. at the same time, it could have lead to morecould recidivism and more crime.
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having a devastating impact on the person and the children and their economic mobility and .conomic future if you just do without counting those benefits, they will be coming out with a report on the topic and the report finds if you increase spending on incarceration by $10 billion a year, that would result in net benefits to society that range from negative $8 billion to positive $1 billion. in contrast, increased spending on police, increased wages through a higher minimum wage, increased education all have positive net benefits in terms of their impact on crime reduction. >> can you give me a percent of gdp ?
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mr. furman: i don't have a bottom line percentage gdp, but you can do very rigorously, and we do cost benefit all the time and regulatory and other budget we worked out quickly if you spend an extra $10 billion in this area, you end up most likely worse off, not better off, in terms of the cost of it. the other thing i'd note is you look at the percentage of men between the age of 25-54 in our country who aren't in the labor force. they're not in the job and they're not looking for a job. in the 1950s, it was 3% of men. 25-54 weren't in the labor force. now it's 12%. it's increased four-fold. it's increased much more in the united states than almost any other advanced economy. you ask what makes us different from the other advanced economies, it's mass incarceration in the united states, of the type you don't see in any of the other countries, that appears to have played a role in the fact that a large fraction of people who could be contributing productive to our economy are not doing so today.
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greg: and then on competition, there's also a proposal for the fcc by broadcasters to open up some for them to do 40 tb, interactives and those kinds of things. a little bit like what you're trying to accomplish with the set top box proposal, why not -- would the administration weigh in on that, and i guess the broader question of that is in adopting these procompetitive policies, do you risk picking winners and losers in picking one industry or technology over another? mr. furman: so that's not something we've weighed in on. although, we have played a role in spectrum policy, including
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schachlion championing the legislation that created two-side spectrum auctions which will happen this year, that will buy up spectrum from broadcasters who buy it and sell it and place a higher value on it, mostly in mobile broadband. we weigheded in on the rules for the spectrum option to make sure they were consistent with promoting competition, and competition policy is precisely the opposite of picking winners and losers. it's about creating a set of rules such that there's competition and the winners in set tox boxes will be picked by consumers. they'll be the set top boxes that consumers want to use that have made themselves cheaper or better in some way, as opposed to the current system where the rules essentially ordain who those winners are. host: we'll go to cheryl from bloomberg. >> the competition executive
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order, when that first came out, i had trouble with some of the business groups getting a read on that, whether that was going to be good for them or not. the order seemed to indicate that some regulations might be eliminated, but then it also sounded like a lot of agencies were going to be doing some rule makings. so in terms of the regulatory outlook for businesses, what should they -- how should they read this executive order? mr. furman: this executive order will be good for the economy, and a lot of things that are good for the economy are, you know, good for existing businesses. in some cases, you're trying to do something that might take away from some of the market power of an incumbent business and create opportunities for new competitors and for small businesses, so that will be good for the small businesses. it will be good for the new competitor and i think ultimately, you know, that
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competition leads to more innovation by all businesses as well. > do you anticipate a lot of new regulations this year? mr. furman: in some cases -- we anticipate -- yes, we anticipate a number of actions to come out of this and as i said, we have, you know, the process that involved talking to a number of agencies before this executive order was shalledissued, so we have some idea as to what might be coming. some of that work had already begun and it's certainly intensified since the order but i wouldn't describe it as regulations. in some cases, cell phone unlocking, that was in a way getting rid of a barrier you face to moving your phone, the airline slots. i wouldn't put these under the heading of more regulation. i'd put them in the heading of whatever steps you take to create more competition. in fact, sometimes, if you look at -- this is a state issued one, that we have encouraged states to take a hard look at, but not something we have a federal legislative nexus to is
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occupational licensing, where it used to be about 5 percent of occupations, you needed a license, a doctor, a lawyer. now it's up to 25%. that makes it harder to move across states, harder to move between jobs, can disadvantage consumers. that would be an example of what we think you should be getting rid of some of those regulations to create more competition. so sometimes, incumbents can use their power to create a barrier to entry. another example would be local land use restrictions, is a regulation that we'd like to see less of. we think if you had less of it, you'd have more mobility and competition. this isn't more regulation or less. this is more competition. >> real clear politics, next. >> jason, as you know, the speaker and his conference are going to put forward an issues agenda, which they have to do before the fall and part of it is going to be tax reform, and
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there's a ton of interest on both sides of the aisle, so i wanted to ask you, do you think that the effort that the speaker is making is going to be helpful to the debate about tax reform, which will be engaged next year and beyond? or do you see it as mostly political political, you know, trying to provide some specifics to the candidates? how do you look at the effort that they've made? mr. furman: i think it's always good when people put out policy ideas and are specific about those policy ideas. in some cases, those policy ideas help advance an issue. in some cases, they help clarify a choice and help sharpen a debate. so you know, so that you could have that debate in the legislative process and decide. i'm obviously not privy to any of the details of what he's going to release, but i think anything that, you know, continues a conversation on a substantive policy level is important.
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on business tax reform, chairman kemp had put out his proposal, i guess, about a year and-a-half ago, and i thought that was very helpful and constructive for the debate. it had a number of good elements. it had a number of problematic elements, and you know, just even at a technical level, it helps address a number of issues. on tax reform in general, i think the big question is, are we addressing a genuine economic problem we have in this country, which is a tax rate for businesses, it's too high, combined with businesses able to take advantage of too many loop holes or are we trying to cut taxes for high income individuals and raise their after-tax incomes and potentially do that at the expense of the deficit. and if it's the former, which is about our competitiveness and creating a level playing field that businesses can succeed on, you know, i think that's something that's promising for the future. if it's yet another way to cut taxes for high-income individuals and raise the deficit, you know, i don't think that's going anywhere this year or beyond.
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>> just because i'm curious, you know everyone in the clinton campaign on the economic side, policy people. how often do you talk to them? how often do they consult you or seek the information that the cea has put together? mr. furman: in my job, i have nothing to do with the campaign but, you know, i've certainly enjoyed going to a wedding this past weekend, with my former chief of staff, who's married to someone that does economic policies in the campaign, but i don't remember at that wedding talking about a whole lot of economic policy issues. >> so you don't really -- really -- mr. furman: i have friends. i have ongoing conversations with friends. >> and you try to be helpful? mr. furman: i don't -- i've really have spent a lot of time
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on campaigns in the past and i'm completely thrilled not to be on one now. [laughter] host: we're going to go to angela clean from bloomberg next, angela. >> thanks. going back to the bigger economic picture, there's been obviously a lot of good news in the labor market. you talked about some of the downsized wages and underemployment, but overall, a lot of good numbers. but at the same time, we see some very concerning trends in manufacturing and housing. what would you say, if you were to write the story, you know, turn the tables, you're the one writing the lead, how do you see things right now? mr. furman: the u.s. has been the biggest success story of any of the economies in the world in rebounding from the financial crisis. and our growth continues to be considered by people around the world as one of the bright spots in the global economy. the unemployment rate has consistently come in below expectations. it's been accompanied by a broader healing and labor markets. wages are up at the fastest they've been since the financial crisis.
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i think the biggest concern that i face for our economy is the impact that the rest of the world will have on the u.s. economy. trade is subtracting -- slow down in our exports to the rest of the world, which is a function of slower growth in the rest of the world. it's taking about 3/4 of a point off of our growth rate right now. so this isn't enough to have a massive change on the u.s. economy but it is persistent drag on the economy. you know, a sector like housing, i actually think is one of the bright spots in the economy with an area of a lot of potential. certainly in the last month, you saw housing permits fall but over the last year, they're up. it's a volatile series. i wouldn't look month to month. i'd like at a period of over a year, and we're still building
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less than the number of houses i would expect us, that we need as a country demographically. so housing i think is actually a bright spot in the economy. manufacturing is facing a challenge, and that is very much a function of it's an industry that disproportionately relies on exports and when the rest of the world is weaker, you have a harder time exporting, manufacturing, again, big picture has rebounded to a sizable extent in the economy, sectors like autos have been particularly successful, in part, because of the actions we've taken. but until we see stronger growth around the world, it's going to be hard for american manufacturers. >> one other topic, social security. you mentioned that you see it as having a relatively strong there was a -- some people around this table that huntsman and lieberman spoke, one of the issues for the next time is social security. they're looking at the numbers and seeing a crisis and see it very differently. how do you address that?
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mr. furman: i didn't see what they did yesterday, so i can't comment on that. but social security has sufficient resources to pay full benefits for decades to come, and thereafter to pay about 3/4 of benefits. it has certainly been this administration's view that it would have been better to act sooner rather than later to deal with it. we put out a set of bipartisan principles for dealing with social security years ago, and it's something the president would have been happy to have done. it's not the most urgent issue facing the country. they're getting the economy to recover, getting productivity growth up, getting the labor force participation rate up.
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getting inequality down. all of these are much more urgent and pressing issues. also would say when you're dealing with social security, i don't think you want to frame it, you know, solely in terms of solvency and green eye shades. i think you want to look at what we're trying to accomplish, which is we've been enormously successful in reducing poverty among the elderly but you still have higher poverty rates for the old-old, people over the age of 65, for single women, you have a lot of aspects of the program that were, you know, based around patterns of work and family that have long since passed. so when you think about social security, you really want to make sure you're also thinking about how it can better serve its fundamental goals in dealing with issues like poverty, retirement, security, and fit into the modern framework of work and family, not just, you know, maniacally focus on solvency. host: mr. lane from the hill.
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>> so i know in the -- the president addressed that he would like to work on an antipoverty measure, that could be an area of antipoverty agreement and between him and speaker ryan, that actively sought out and pointed out this is something we need to work out together. i want to know has there been any work between them on this. have they been engaged at all or any sort of ground work being laid to move on something? mr. furman: the president certainly highlighted that he and the speaker have the same proposal to expand the earned income tax credit for workers without qualifying children, either because they don't have children or because they're noncustodial parents. this would help address a perversity in our system that right now, you can be in poverty, and we actually tax you deeper into poverty. instead, the tax code for people without qualifying children should do what it does for people with children, which is if you're in poverty, help lift
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you out of poverty rather than push you deeper into it. so i think the common sense sensible idea that the president proposed a number of years ago, the speaker adopted that proposal on something, you know, we could work together on. we certainly have conversations at the speaker's office about a very wide range of policy issues, where he's looking for ways to cooperate, but i think at some point, you know, they're going to need to decide -- legislation on tax issues gets initiated and has representatives and they'll need to decide is this something they want to initiate, is this something they want to initiate in a manner that's not paid for by doing elsewhere to people working to get themselves out of poverty. host: financial times. >> thanks very much. you were talking earlier about the u.s. is a bright spot, this success story amongst advanced
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economies. clearly this story of this presidential election campaign is that american voters feel it's not a bright spot of recovery. is there a risk that the administration is a little out of touch with the public mood about the u.s. economy at the moment or are we overestimating just how negative people feel about the economy? mr. furman: i don't know, you know -- i look at evidence from the measures that a congress looks at about how people feel about the economy, the consumer index from the boards and the university of michigan. when you look at measures like that, you see that confidence has been consistently rising since the recession and last year reached levels we hadn't seen in over a decade. i see a number of ways in which people are positive, both in their situation today and the outlook. we also certainly hear and
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understand the frustrations people have in terms of areas like wage growth, and so the president's message that you saw in the state of the union, you see consistently, told a really optimistic story about the american economy, how it's done, its successes, and also talked about the big challenges and problems that we face and what it is he wants to do about them. he's not walking around saying, mission accomplished, there's nothing else to be done, everything is perfect. that is not remotely the message. in fact, the message, if anything, is the opposite. here's all the things that we still need to do. >> one measure of that confidence would be consumer spending. it has picked up a little but this has still been a very sluggish consumer recovery.
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what's your analysis as to why consumers are still saving so significantly? why the big fall, and the oil price hasn't been given its boost it's been waiting for. the caution in terms of spending is quite palpable still. mr. furman: i mean, consumer spending did grow three percent in 2014 and 2015 and was one of the bright spots that was helping to raise overall gdp growth. so i think you have seen, as consumers, deleveraged, that savings rates have risen a little bit in the last year but they've stabilized more than they had before. when we look at the oil shock, we see it as having raised consumer spending, cut business investment, and the net of the two of those is i'm still a small positive for the economy. i think when you look at consumers, part of it is having
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been through a very traumatic economic experience that is only eight years past us, and you look at the great depression and the impact that that had on the way people thought about saving or the way people thought about inflation in other places, hyperinflations, those effects can last for decades and can affect the way you think. i think there can be some of that. wage growth has only recently picked up and consumers want the confidence that that wage growth will continue and oil prices will stay low as opposed to being transitory, that you don't want to fully adjust your consumption to. wage growth rising becomes clear that this is more durable, then i think you would continue to see strong consumption growth but again, it is 3 percent, which is not, you know, which is pretty good for consumer spending.
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host: times. >> my question was, i want to circle back to the competition issue, and you mentioned set top boxes, which is interesting, because i forgot exactly what the statistic is, but i think it's about 40% of people don't even have a choice of what cable company is their provider. so if the idea is to address competition, how do you sort of address the front end, not only address, you know, can i buy comcast box a or comcast box b? and on that same level, there's been a lot of criticism from the last -- about antitrust, a failure to pursue antitrust cases and a criticism on the rights in the business industry, the obama administration is not that way. how do you kind of thread that needle and pursue antitrust, especially at a time when we're seeing these massive mergers, you know, walgreens, rite aid, kraft, heinz, aetna, cigna,
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whatever. humana and something else. so we're seeing these massive mergers, and how do you deal with that? so on your first, you're precisely right, that there's an intersection between these two issues. if you had a choice of 100 different cable companies, probably we wouldn't need a rule about set top boxes because one of those cable companies would compete for your business by letting you have any set top box you want or a better one. when you don't have competition in terms of the cable wire going into your house, that makes it that much more important to make sure that you can't leverage the market power you have in the wire to the house into what is an unrelated product, which is the set top box. so there's an intersection between those. we've tried to
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take up steps to free up spectrum for mobile broad band, which would create more competition in that area, make sure the rules of those actions are consistent with, you can't just have the biggest player buy all the spectrums and foreclose on the opportunity of others to enter the market. we've weighed in on municipal broadband as another way to create competition, but there's only so many tools that we have. you know, in terms of your second question, you know, we have nothing whatsoever to do with enforcement in the white house. that's a matter of the enforcement agencies, dha, antitrust and ftc, in this case, enforcing the law. we don't get involved in particular cases and don't get involved in the broader policy issues. i would note that antitrust enforcement under this administration is up. the number of criminal prosecutions is up. criminal
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penalties, prison time, and in non-criminal cases, there's been a number of quite important enforcement actions they've taken to preserve competition in different areas. it is the case that it's not illegal to have a monopoly. it's illegal to take your monopoly and build on it by merging or extend it into another area. and set top boxes is similar to the -- that's not illegal. that's a similar economic principle of you have lots of power in one area, make sure you can extend that into market power in another area. host: new york times. >> as you get to the end of the administration, from the beginning, can you address what many see as a missed opportunity, not for lack of some trying, but maybe not trying hard enough, in getting more infrastructure spending. you had all these years when it was next to zero interest rates when the hardest hit labor sectors, with construction, what could you have done, the 2011
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american jobs act, which didn't go anywhere, the transportation bill that was linked to construction, again, didn't go anywhere. what more could you have done and is there any opening between now and january 20 to cut a deal to get more done? mr. furman: now, we've certainly got things done under the recovery act, we got a substantial up-front investment in infrastructure, and then just this last december, we got a five-year highway bill that's a roughly 5 percent inflation adjusted increase in infrastructure spending, as well as more certainty associated with it. but it certainly has been disappointing that we haven't done even more than that. and it's not for a lack of effort on the president's part. he's proposed year after year, really substantial ambitious plans for infrastructure. he had one way to pay for it
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related to international tax, which was something that you actually saw chairman kemp adopt in his plan and this past year, we proposed another way in terms of an oralcy, which is an idea you hear from economists and other experts from both political parties. i think in some sense, your question is one better addressed to congress than to us, because we certainly agree that economically, both to help demand today, to help expand our productive capacity in the future, given the low rates of interest, the economic argument is completely clear, and would like to see, you know, congress doing more. >> what is the republican view?
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mr. furman: i don't have any great inside into that. >> any negotiations? mr. furman: a number of republicans will privately tell you how much they wanted to do it, and then when it came down to it at the end of the day, they did come through and they did a five-year bill and did an increase, and that was good, but it took way too long, seven years to get to that point, and it wasn't big enough. it created a base to build on. when you have an idea like the infrastructure bank that the chamber of commerce that the afo and cio are both behind, i think it stands to reason it's probably quite a good idea, and you know, it's disappointing having congress take it out the door. >> was it before january 20? mr. furman: i haven't seen congress moving further on this one. host: before i weigh in, anybody who hasn't had one that wants one? let me ask you briefly then about the wall street pay
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regulations that were much in the news yesterday. i wanted to see, a, if you support them, how you respond to critics, some who say that it will drive people out of the industry, or sort of another perverse effect might be that the banks and other affected institutions are going to have to pay people more because of their fear that money will be clawed back. what's your take on the wall street regs? mr. furman: the goal of dodd frank was to strengthen the financial system and to deal with a range of the different problems that led to the last crisis. one of those problems was the perverse incentives created by pay incentives that led you to riskier action, that heads, you get your bonus and tails, you walk away, so that on average, you come out ahead. that type of option is an extremely valuable option and i think people on wall street, if i understand anything, it's option value.
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so the legislation right lyly asked regulators to do something about that. we have been encouraging the independent regulators to come out with those regulations, and did that most recently in the meeting that the president had with the regulators in march. so we were very pleased to see that they've come out and would encourage them to move as quickly as possible to complete the rule making process so this could be put into effect. i haven't studied the details of what they've come out with. there are independent regulators who are going to design those details independently. they're going to accept input in terms of improving those rules and i'm sure there's all sorts of, you know, ways that one can handle any of the different issues that have been raised, but ultimately, you know, the goal that is trying to be
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accomplished here is a really important one, which is to reduce overly risky behavior that comes at the expense of taxpayers and the economy more broadly. >> we haven't asked about the single biggest story of the week which will affect the politics of america, and that is harriet tubman on the $20 bill. i'm also sort of curious about if you have any thoughts on, i guess, micro economic monetary policy, if that's a real thing, the way we change the way we spend money when moving from paper currency to electronic. what are the consequences of that in the economy and what is the policy in terms of what we should be thinking about. what should sort of broaden our scope on this. mr. furman: sure. on the first question i was completely thrilled to see what secretary lew decided.
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he didn't consult me. he didn't consult my children. if he had, one of them strongly supported harriet tubman and the other was in favor of rosa parks and they had a big debate yesterday about them but i guess the tie breaking vote and support is our treasure's decision. i think that was important and exciting to see. on your second, the shift from cash to credit cards, has, you know, had some impact on the conduct of monetary policy. it's one reason why the philosophy of money has become less stable, which is one reason why the monetary authorities don't target the money supply, they instead target interest rates. and that shift has happened over the course of many decades, and once you do that, it doesn't complicate your monetary policy at all and doesn't have major changes in the way the economy functions. it just, you know, the feds sets
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interest rates, the money supply and velocity sort themselves out and the interest rates have an impact on the economy. i think there's some other questions of, you know, to the degree you have easier access to borrowing, that there's some evidence that that has led to some smoothing of shocks, that you get a shock and you can borrow your way through it and it doesn't propagate as large in the economy and there's evidence most noticeably from the financial crisis that it amplifies shocks because it can lead to overborrowing and a larger correction and how to get some of the benefits of consumption smoothing without getting the benefits of credit-fueled cycles and what the world of public policy in that i think is important. i'm probably not fully answering your question. >> going back to the competition policy, should we be thinking about more ways to pay for things, for example, should we be encouraging that,
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discouraging that? neutral? mr. furman: i think we'll leave that up to our agencies who have 60 days to report back to us. >> teddy davis from cnn. >> if secretary clinton is nominated and then you're asked to outline what you thought were the three most effective economic policies of obama and the three most disappointing economic policies, what would you tell them? mr. furman: the recovery act, but hopefully, she's not going to need to do something like that. the affordable care act, and there's a lot left to do to implement that, both encouraging states to take up medicaid, using extraordinary numbers of tools that the secretary uses, and the high premium excise tax, and third would be cutting taxes for low income households, which was done over a number of pieces
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of legislation, made permanent in december, and reducing poverty for 16 million people a year. in terms of the other three, it's just disappointment we didn't get more done on infrastructure, that disappointment that comprehensive immigration reform didn't happen, which would be the single largest thing that you can do for the economy. and probably, disappointment that we didn't do business tax reform, which is one of the more obvious steps that we could take as a country given every other country in the world has done it. >> you're going to have two minutes. >> from abroad, had frustrated the economy, what are you looking at now that warrant the most between now and the end of
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the administration? mr. furman: growth in europe has picked up a little bit, but it is still way too slow. the unemployment rate in the euro zone is above 10%. china has seen its growth slow. japan has seen its growth slow. growth in a number of emerging markets like brazil and russia is negative. so you know, we're not in the year 2009. this is not a global financial crisis, but most anywhere you look in the world outside the united states, growth is coming in a decent amount below what people were expecting and by just about any measure is disappointing. it's pretty much just the low income economies that have seen their growth rates pick up in recent years. just about everyone else has not.

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