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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  September 30, 2016 7:00am-9:01am EDT

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campaign issue in the presidential race. zirin on hown, -- partisan politics influence the u.s. supreme court. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit] >> members of congress have recessed until after election day which is 39 days away. before leaving, lawmakers were able to pass the stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded through early december and pass legislation allowing families of the victims of the september 11 terror attacks to sue saudi arabia, overriding president obama's veto of the measure. the lawmakers were unable to do anything else. some blame on a divided government with the democrat in the white house and a congress
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controlled by republicans. recent polls show that americans are growing tired of divided government which brings us to today's question for our viewers. do you believe divided government can work? those who prefer one party rule over both the executive and congressional branches can call 202-748-8001. those who prefer a divided government can call 202-748-8000 . and those who are undecided can call 202-748-8002. you can also reach us on social media on twitter and on acebook. host: americans are growing increasingly dissatisfied with "the diving board" -- divided government. it says one in five americans believe it's best for the president to be in one political
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party. the lowest level of public support in gallup's 15-year trend. - host: it says -- it's showing that one party control is falling out of favor. "this is likely because many americans have witnessed the government increasingly in gridlock believing that legislation will get passed only if there is one party in scroll that party pushes it through." paul ryan really recently gave his thoughts about a divided government. let's take a look at what he said. >> as you've listened this year, have you heard anything that you could work with hillary clinton on if she's elected president?
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yeah, we're done. we're done. >> yeah. look, we'll work with whoever wins with whatever office. with a unified republican government, we can get so much more done. i'm tired of divided government. we haven't done very well. we've gotten some good things done but the big things, poverty, the net crisis, the economy, health care, these things are stuck in divided government and that's why we think a unified government is the way to go. host: that was paul ryan speaking. asked if he would be able to work in the white house if hillary clinton were to win, saying that he is tired of dye diet. we're asking viewers of what you think. first, we have tom from pennsylvania. your favor of divided government, tom? caller: yes. i probably misunderstood the question initially and how our founding fathers establish our
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federalist republic that they understood if they have unified government, it's going to a lot of trouble. they design things as they did in order that government is in a constant state of revolution and making war on itself rather than on the american people. and that's what i'm fully in favor of. host: tom, do you think it matters which party is in control or which party controls the white house or the congress? caller: in terms of preferences, i would prefer the republican party right now, not because i'm specifically a republican but i would prefer their ideals of hat the constitution is to be. as far as the rest of it goes, like what paul ryan is complaining about, i mean, the message you see that emanate from particularly paul reed or
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harry reid, you know, look what we have, you know. it's absolutely static and nothing is getting done for the people, for the benefit of the people. a government is not designed to mess us up every time we look around. host: a recent opinion piece in "the washington post" says while you were busy watching the trump circus, congress stopped showing up to work. in this piece, she writes not long ago, house speaker paul ryan and mitch mcconnell promised that after years of destruction skin fighting, 2016 would represent a new beginning. we're turning a page, ryan said, when she accepted the speakership last fall. we're not going to have a house that looked like it looked the last few years. but the piece goes on to say instead, ryan and mcconnell and the rest of congress blew it. the new fiscal year starts
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october 1 and not a single one of the 12 regular appropriations bills has made to it the president's desk. -- host: and we are talking to our viewers about whether a divided government could work. we have kent from princeton, new jersey. good morning, kent. caller: good morning. we have had very successful divided government in the past and if something changes in recent times that have made it so it doesn't work. the first of which i would say is when dennis hastert was speaker of the house, they called this hastert rule which is if the majority party cannot pass the bill, they won't bring to it the floor. if 80% of the republicans wanted
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something and 20% could not, they couldn't pass it using entirely republican votes but lots of democrats were in agreement. and it can't win. host: let me ask you this. do you think that it makes a difference which party is in control of the white house and which party is in control of congress or can it work either way? caller: i think it can work either way. we can look at the reagan years where at times, the democrats have the senate in the house although at times, the republicans had the senate. we can look at other times. and i mean, the prospect of one party government in a party that i like doesn't scare me but then somebody who thinks otherwise, it would scare them and vice versa. we have one problem i already described. we have this craziness where it used to take 60 votes to bring something to the floor in the senate on an extremely irregular basis for bills that had a
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certain quality that made the senators agree that it should take 60 votes to come to the floor for a vote that would then take a 51 vote out of 100 to win. but now they want 60 votes on everything. and they go home every weekend and they work three-day weeks. they used to stay for two or three weeks at a time and they socialize across party lines together and were involved. some of them had a second home and their kids were in school in washington, most of them, actually. so their kids were in the same activities together and they met together across party lines and people knew each other and liked each score got along and divided government has werked many times when that is how the congress and the presidency worked. host: we have anna from clarksburg, maryland. anna, do you think that divided government works? caller: i don't think it currently works. i think that the democratic and
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republican parties are essentially a duopoloy. they have got a stengel homeland on the entire political process in this country. and we need to have other parties. we need to have libertarians, the green party, the independence now that hold the majority of registers really need to start putting forth independent candidates that are not tied to the parties because it's this party allegiance that's ashoring this country because the representatives are representing the party, not the people. if you watch the hearings on capitol hill, you will see that the democrats in spite of all the things that hillary clinton has done, i mean, the benghazi and the e-mail server and wiping the e-mail server clean and not turning over the e-mails, now as a federal employee if i did that, would be terminated in an instant. yet hillary clinton is not held
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to the same law that the rest of us are held to. host: in getting back to the discussion about the divided government, do you think that it matters whether a democrat or republican is in the white house versus whether democrats or republicans have control of congress? caller: no, i think what matter is that the attorney general should not be allowed to be appointed by the president like in other countries. the attorney general is appointed by the supreme court. when you have the president appointing his own attorney general, you are essentially letting the president police himself and that's what happened to the case of president obama. host: ok. up next, we have herbert. he is calling in from camilla, georgia. ou prefer one-party governors? -- governance? tell us why. caller: you get more done. now this thing is getting out of
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hand now. they can't get anything done at all. you see people now, they taken a oath to represent the people. now they putting the party before america. we got so used to being patriotic in america because they took an oath. when you taken a oath as a stakes man to do for me people, you shouldn't be put in party. we've got people who's fighting obama and we got the democrats and then look at the chaos that's happened. you know that's what's happening to america right now. we see -- who is not being patriotic to this country. until they start being patriotic, it will set an example of the future of this country to be unified. don't say party republican party of america or democratic party
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of america. host: ok. mitch mcconnell talked about how the divided government affected the work on the spending bill. let's take a look at what he said. >> it was obvious to me they did not want to have a normal appropriations process. it was pretty darn clear. this year, i devoted -- gosh, i think something like six weeks to try to move through the regular order of appropriation bills. you saw what happened. so there had a obvious desire to ball up the appropriations ocess and put us in to a c.r./only anymoreous situation. so if you look at the last two areas of the country, the on area that we've had anything i would define as dysfunction was created by the democrat minority and their desire to ball up the pending process.
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caller: part of the problem is the federal government and what they're doing is there's so much more than what it was originally designed to do. and here's the thing why i'm against a one-party government. initially, it may get more things pushed through and it seems to be more effective but when we make changes like that, we never get town do them. and what we don't get to see is what the influence of a one-party government will be 20, 30, 40 years down the road. i don't really want to have a federal government that is one-party making all the decisions everyone in agreement and nobody checks and balances ach other.
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host: when you go to vote, do you have one party in mind? caller: i vote for the candidate that i think is best for the job. i lean more towards republican. but as far as, i've always said i've disagree and agree with oth parties. this is what state level governments used to do generations ago and it's gotten so big it's going to be really hard for them to get a lot of this accomplished. and we wouldn't even have our own government trying to like balance each other out. i just don't want to see that personally. host: okay. let's take a look at what democratic conference vice chair chuck schumer said about working with republicans who he says has kept the senate from making rogress.
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>> in 50 years, they should be hanging their heads in shame with how little they've worked and then criticizes us can't get a budget done. no budget. the number one hallmark of a government working. can't do the appropriations bill. nd basically, they're stuck. their hard right tail, the freedom caucus paralyzing them and that's why mcconnell wants to get out of here pause the freedom caucus causes such trouble for him and for ryan that they just get tied in a knot when they're here so they want to get out of town because they know they've accomplished so little and when they meet, they just get in trouble tying themselves in a knot. when republicans were here, they didn't get anything real done for the middle class. they governed by crisis. they took obstruction to unprecedented height.
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host: and up next, we have carl. carl calling in from berkeley springs, west virginia. carl, you prefer divided government. tell us why. caller: yes, ma'am, i do. when harry reid leaves the senate, that will help the situation a lot because that man is a one-man wrecking ball in the united states senate. you take when the democrats control both houses, they push through that health care without letting the republicans have any input into it. it's going down the drain. and another thing, when i seen loretta lynch meet with bill clinton and then get immunity to every one of those people that were committing crimes, putting top secret information on a server, man, this is getting ridiculous, i'll tell you. it's all corruption.
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republicans maintain control of congress and we have a republican in the white house next term, do you think that things will get better? caller: no, i don't. no. i believe in divided government but i believe in people acting like civilized people. i mean, you look at this congress now, it's like a bunch of kids in a sandbox. it's like that -- they are for the pear, not for the people. and there's so much corruption down there. i swear -- listen to me, people, our government is corrupt. all you have to do is look at hillary clinton's e-mail situation. our government is corrupt. host: next, we have darren from colorado springs, colorado. you're undecided about government. what do you think about the issue, darren? caller: well first of all, thank you for taking my call.
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it's not so much a matter of one party, two party, four party. i really don't care. it's about principles. we have to have results. and we have the -- the number one thing that upsets me is that the presidential candidates have thatalked about the -- and was a substantial financial burden on every american. and we have to address that. and that situation could secure tomorrow. how it occurred was the double down 10 time wagers on credit default squads. the sophistication of the monitoring system is to such a degree that the general population does not understand. host: we've had issues with budget deficit and the federal
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deficit under both republicans and democrats. do you think that one party or another or a divided government versus the unified government would make a difference on that issue? caller: possibly. i've seen both parties make progress in that area. but the same with a deficit. and again, this is very complicated for most of the people to understand is that sometimes you can do investment spending, government spending that actually stimulates the economy. and can make it grow. in part, that's a concern that many other nations have with the u.s. is that because we generated such an enormous amount of debt, we've used that national debt to stimulate our economy and create jobs and do all the things that we have. it's like o.p.m., other people's
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money. so sometimes you can't have a deficit. the concern that i have with deficit spending is this. when you take dollars out of a local economy of any city in the united states, then every one of those people in those cities, they have to generate that income that they've lost from taxes. but when the federal government takes that, sometimes it's a very positive thing. because you -- we do together as a large number, we combine our taxes in order to do something that is greater for the common good of our nation and our people. such as let's say military spending, roads, bridges, things nature. but when they're spending in such a way that it's not -- to the economy, then we have a very negative effect on the economy.
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host: ok. and just a programming note, we'll be talking more about the federal debt and the deficit in our next segment. up next, we have gene. you favor one-party government. why is that? caller: well i didn't used to. i have seen what it has done to the people, how it's divided the people. democratic urrent party is. for 40 years, i was a member and i have seen the most egregious ungodly legislation. the worst was a bill and i have learn that many people out there don't know what that means. it means if a baby survives an abortion, they kill it. these people, you democrats stop that bill.
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what kind of example are we setting for our young people when human life doesn't matter? this party, the party that -- the democrat party they belong to for 40 or 50 years seems to have lost its moral compass. i don't blame people on both sides. i blame the party that's in charge. and if anybody thinks that they are not, they are wrong. host: the republicans are in control of congress now. you think that that makes a difference? caller: they're in control of the senate. they are definitely not in control of the senate. i worked there. i'm a student of the institution. -- constitution. i am saying to you right now that we have lost the dignity of our institutions because of -- if you watch the hearings -- you have great programming, but the people don't wap these hearings. r greatest have ou
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legislative and productive bodies like our department of justice, our f.b.i. -- my brother's in the f.b.i. you have a lot of people that are getting ready to resign. we have not seen this in the past eight years. host: ok. a little more about the gallup troll the fiscal times. talking about people's attitude towards divided government. the poll, it notes that all republicans need for one-party government is a donald trump victory. so it's not much of a surprise and to see support for single-party governance go up from 36% in 2012 to 4% now. conversely with democrats having no chance to win control of the house and seeing the odds slip on winning the senate. the nine-point drop, the 40% in the past four years is very understandable in both cases as one would imagine for part
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distance support for one-party control outstrip that for dieded government no matter what the circumstance. we have june. she's calling in from wisconsin. forgive me if i announce that wrong. caller: you got it right. host: ok. what do you think about divided government? caller: well, i think that when one party says immediately that they're going to do everything they can to make sure that the , you know, it's criminal if you ask me. but i will say this. when the president was first elected, the democrats had the white house. they had the congress. they had the senate. and they still really didn't accomplish anything because so many democrats were afraid of
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seeming like they're too close to obama, you know. and so now, the republicans who have been in control for the past eight years unfortunately, obama is not a dictator. he can't just snap his finger and make things happen, well, nothing has been accomplished because of the divided party system. host: well june let me ask you this, a lot of republicans point out not a lot of legislation passed in the first years of the obama administration either howard of the affordable care act that democrats didn't get a lot done then. what do you say to that? caller: i know. i absolutely agree. i think it's terrible. and that's one thing that i'm saying. when the democrats had control, everything they didn't accomplish much because it was so many democrats who didn't want to appear to be truly in
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tune with obama, you know. it was like obama, whatever he wanted was a pariah. and i will say this. because we had such a divided absolutely on now, nobody is accomplishing what could be accomplished because, you know, the republicans plan was to make sure obama didn't accomplish anything positive. the american jobs acts, you know, millions of jobs, the president put out there. he had it paid for, the whole bit. republicans in the house, congress wouldn't even bring it into the floor for discussion. host: ok. and in some of our other headlines today, "u.s.a. today"'s editorial board giving an endorsement for the first time disendorsed donald trump calling him unfit for the
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presidency on its opinion page, the editorial staff of "u.s.a. today" said this year the choice isn't between to major party nominee who is have ideological differences, -- host: back to our conversation about divided government. we have richard calming in from mount vernon, new york. you're undecided about this. what are your general thoughts? caller: my general thought is
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this. the democrats tend to have complete control of the government for the first two years and then do -- didn't do a thing. they didn't have to worry about somebody stopping because they couldn't be stopped. the tea party took over. and if you're not going to do anything and it is ridiculous. you have complete control. you don't get nothing done? and now we are on the brink of a disaster. hillary clinton, fine. what she did was worse than anything donald trump had done. she put this country's security at risk by using an insecured server and then not doing anything about it. that's ridiculous. as far as i'm concerned, both of them really aren't that wonderful. but when you have complete colorado the government and you don't get anything done, i don't know. it doesn't make any sense. host: do you think it makes any difference about who is in control?
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whether it's entirely republicans, entirely democrats or one or the other in the white house and in congress? caller: well me, i feel that the democratic party has taken black people for granted. and their concern is based on towards welfare and food stamps and when you start talking about money and you start talking about the sanctity of life and business and owning your business, being the best you can be but the republicans seem to me like that's what they're about, racists. i don't know. i just feel that we've been shortchanged and maybe i'm wrong. i don't know. that's exactly how i feel. host: ok. and went to take a little time to update our viewers about congressional races that are going on, taking a look at the congressional campaign. just a rerecap of where we stand
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in campaign 2016 for congress. in the senate, democrats would need to gain four seats if hillary clinton wins the white house in order to regain control of the senate. five seats if republican donald trump wins the presidency. on the house side, democrats need to net 30 seats to take a majority. something that most pollsters say is unlikely. but the senate race still remains in play. taking a look at what lawmakers are doing leading up to election day in 39 days. in roll call, there is an article that talks about even funding the government stall funding for congress soared, pointing out several members of congress have season. a great deal of time for the election and it says members of congress postured and blamed each other for a budget impasse that threatened to shut down the restaurant.
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wascharlie steak restaurant place -- host: we take a closer look at some of the specific races that are going on. in the springfield news leader, it talks about the congressional race going -- the that? -- senate race going on there. it says that some of the missouri state race -- senate race, sorry, between members -- between republicans roy blunt and democrat jason candor has gone from snoozer to sizzling in recent weeks. and it's about to crank up another notch. they will face off for the first
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and perhaps only debate in the campaign answering questions at a forum during missouri's press associations convention. that forum, by the way, will reair on c-span early next week. you can go to to check for schedule updates on that. another race that is coming out of wisconsin is also something that is on our radar. in that race -- one second. i'm pulling it up. president obama will be in illinois to campaign on behalf -- congresswomen
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tammy duckworth who is running in a tight race. she is facing off against -- it's going to be a fundraiser hosted by democratic megadonor senator to unseat mark kirk, a republican there. also in presidential news, actress melissa jones-hart has gned on to be the chair of libertarian candidate gary johnson presidential campaign in connecticut. she's going to be the connecticut chairperson for the libertarian candidate. she said that governors i love because they already ran their state like a little president, she says. so he gets the way things run, the politics of it all. and that is the actress helping
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governor johnson in the presidential race as we took a look at the other races that are taking place. back to our discussion about divided government. we have kathy calling in from sacramento, california. what do you think about divided government? caller: i don't think it should be divided. it should be diverse. we are america. there should be more than one. two parties. host: ok. so what do you mean? do you mean you like to see third parties? caller: no, third, fourth. host: ok. ok. up next, we have susan. she is calling in from revere, massachusetts. you prefer divided government. tell us why.
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caller: first of all, i want to commend that caller from new york. what he said resonated with me that if you depart from your third party ort do, you are called a racist and a traitor. but i believe jill stein and gary johnson should be on that debate stage. that would be a great first step. i also believe in trying to undo and not do these gerrymander districts where idealogues and people get these sorts of obstruction of types who just treat governing as sort of like an academic exercise and a joke instead of government for better or for worse is affects people's lives in every possible way. here in massachusetts, we have a one-party state. the democrats that have been in control for probably over a hundred years. host: you have a republican governor. you do have divided government. caller: yes, and he's a yes man.
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i like charlie baker. but come on. give me a break. the mass legislature only works six months a year. yet they get full-time salaries. then you have x government workers from all levels of state government that can garner double, triple pensions and lavish consult sis and these are political hacks. we have a subway system that goes back to the victorian era. we don't have a state-wide -- host: bringing the conversation back to the federal lawmakers here in washington. does that affect how you vote when you vote for your president and when you vote for your senate and congressional representatives in massachusetts? do you take that into account? caller: i do. and what i also do us i deliberately focus -- i go to every possible local election. i vote every time. and what i've seen here and nationwide is no one votes locally anymore.
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they only come out to vote in these major presidential elections. they don't know who's running their states and that's the farm team for both republicans and democrats who eventually go to washington. and i just think our hypocrisy is on cruise control. people need to get engaged at the very local level and really know who's doing what. but they don't. and the only thing i can surmise is that the attention span is gone due to the way media is today but also i don't think civics is being taught anymore. i also think parningts especially the middle class, the careerists, they don't take their children to vote with them. they don't go through that norman rockwell ritual like the civil rights leaders did. they also took kids to vote. host: ok. just a programming note, we will be showing the vice presidential debate which is taking place tuesday, live at 7:30 p. you'll be able to catch that on c-span as well as online.
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host: both live at 9:00 p.m. up next, we have gloria. she's calling in from clearfield, utah, on our discussion about divided government. you're undecided, galore yes. tell us why. caller: well, i'm undecided but i do have some ideas about the congress that we're experiencing. a lot of people are root in the their beliefs and they're out of touch, i believe, really out of
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touch with what the american people are up against. what we're facing, how we feel. think they're just they're doing things to please their donors their backers, their special interest is, the lobbyist and this isn't right. that's what they go there to represent us and they're not doing that. the two-party system, it needs to end. the republicans and the democrats, it's like two big businesses. and that's all you get to choose from. it's like a monopoly. the government should do something to stop that. host: ok. up next, we have anthony. anthony's calling in from bogalusa, louisiana. you prefer one-party rule, anthony. tell us why. caller: well there should be one party that's for the people.
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the government doesn't stand for the people. there's a lot that they could do that they don't do. they're wasting our time and they accuse us of being wanting a handout for entitlement with social security and other programs they want to take over. the government made a deal 40 years ago. they take so much out of your check and when you rer, we give it back to you. now they want to make me feel like i'm sitting here for a handout for money that i've been putting in the system that i'm supposed to get back. host: what party do you think it matters which party is in office? you saw you prefer one-party rule. caller: well both the parties are in this together. we do not live in a democracy. the republicans and the emocrats definitely a good cop and a bad cop for us. obama stands up when he's trying
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to make everything ok. here comes the bad cop. the republicans, they shoot everything down. so it's political entertainment what is we get. and we watch to it see what happens just like a soap opera or a sitcom. we want to catch the next episode or whatever. host: up next, we have amelia. you're undecided. what are you concerned about? caller: i'm concerned about ending citizens united. we need to end that. i think both democrats, republicans, all the parties are sold out, they're bought out. they just care about pleasing their donors, pleasing their lobbyist like the n.r.a., like the h.m.o.'s, like the pharmaceuticals, like the coal industry. all these republicans and democrats are worried about --
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that's why they're millionaires, you know. i was reading an article how a lot of the representatives are millionaires now. and i know it's not because they're doing their job and listening to us. their steve smiths. it's because they're doing -- states and it's because they're doing favor tides. host: why do you think it's happening now? caller: because of citizens united, i think. you're right. it's been going on for a very long time and i think that this ride is finally coming to an end. this dysfunction is no longer functioning anymore. they're not listening to us the voters. they're listening to their lobbyist. host: up next, we have logan from maryland.
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you prefer divided government, logan. tell us why. caller: ok. so i prefer divided government when it works. and a point of clarification for everyone saying that obama had the first two years of a democratic controlled congress. it was majority democrat but he did not have the 60 votes in the senate that would be require forward super majority. they only had that for four months during 2009. for the rest of the time, it was such that, you know, bills could be filibustered and worked by the republican members of congress. so unlike -- the republicans had a super majority for almost six years during the bush administration. i just wanted to make sure there was a point of clarification that did shoot from super majority for the first two years. they did have majority control but they didn't have the super
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majority that was pushed through whatever they wanted. host: next, we have crystal from philadelphia. you prefer one-party rule, crystal. tell us why. caller: oh my goodness. thank you so much for c-span. the lady from pennsylvania a few calls back, i like these republicans that call in and say that they changed their party from democrat to republican and they call in talking their crap. the man from wisconsin had a good point. we're not drinking the kool-aid. you can change the flavor of it with the republicans and donald trump. there is no way that they can change their stripes, their colors and act like they care about the americans, the middle class. i've worked real hard all my life. i'm from a family of 10 of black american family. none of us are in jail.
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none of us has served -- none of us has done anything. we tried to do stuff right. and i have -- and i'll tell you what. as much as they carry that shovel on their shoulders, the republicans, digging the same the bout e-mails and clinton foundation, she didn't buy a picture of bill clinton with the funds people might have given to donald trump. host: ok. ok. coming up, we're going to be talking to maya macguineas. she is from the committee for responsible government. she'll be joining with us a closer look at the candidates economic plan and their impact on the national debt. and later on, james zirin will be here to talk about his new book, "supremely partisan". how raw politics tips the scales in the u.s. supreme court. but first, wells fargo c.e.o.
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john stumps was back on capitol hill thursday testifying on the bank sales practices. here's an exchange he had with congressmen. >> you're going to tell me that there's not a culture of something wrong at wells fargo? when you are the head -- you get credit? you get credit as c.e.o. when you bring in all this money because that's how you get your bonuses is that not correct? you get a bonus from your board because x amount of dars come in but you're telling me you strike zone the responsibility of losing your position when you have a culture of being fined and causing the bank year after year, month after month. there's no responsibility? you can just stay to be the chairman and the c.e.o.? is that what you want us to believe? >> congressman, that is not the case. i serve at the pleasure of the
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board. i'm willing -- >> den the whole board needs to go and they're going to allow someone to be in charge when time after time, you just talked about you fired 5300 employees when you found out that they were doing something wrong. they were fired. >> right. >> well something is going wrong at this bank. and you are the head of it. so shouldn't the board -- from your own admission. if the buck stops with you as you came out here and said, i apologize the buck stops with me and you have to also admit that criminal activity was going on in your bank, then you should be fired because it stops with you. >> again, congressman, the board has that power. and my energy right now is to lead this company forward -- >> but you came here and you started by saying i apologize, etc. if somebody walked into wells fargo tomorrow and robbed your bank or defrauded your bank and
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then after they are caught, they will say well, i'm sorry. i'm going to take full responsibility for robbing this bank and i am sorry that i robbed this bank. so please don't prosecute me because i am sorry now that i robbed this bank. would you allow the person just to walk out after robbing your bank because he is now sorry that he robbed his bank as he took the money already? >> congressman, i see something very different between being honest and breaking our code of ethics and taking advantage -- >> you didn't break code of ethics? do you realize that not only do your bank have a black eye, that your bank, wells fargo has given the entire financial service industry a black you. your responsibility. you heard mr. sherman and i agree with him. he wants everybody to come in here. why? there's only one reason why. your bank.
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you. c.e.o. chairman. basically for me was on top of what basically has been a criminal enterprise. because when i look at consistency time after time after time and time again, you have to get fined. that must mean that you're making a lot of money because it's easier to pay the fine because you know nothing else is . ing to happen to you host: joining us now is maya macguineas is from committee for a responsible federal budget. she's here to discuss her recent report efforts to educate the public and lawmakers on the fiscal impact on the nation's growing debt as well as the plans of both candidates for president. my ya, thank you for joining us this morning. guest: thank you for having me. host: tell us about the committee for responsible budget whasm do you do? guest: the committee for a -- onsible federal budget
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we've been around for 35 years. it is bipartisan. i'm a political independent. our leadership is republican, democratic, independent and it's really important because we really try to focus on fiscal issues not through a partisan lens. and one of the thing that's interesting about the organization the members of the board of drirts all people that the who's who in budget world which may not be everybody's world. for us, it's an incredible group of leaders who have been involved in leading the budget committees, house and senate, republican and democrat, the treasury, the office of management and budget, the federal reserve system. so we have people who are not only budget experts and from all ends of the political spectrum but people who have been in government and know how challenging it is to enact fiscally responsible policies. so we have a realistic lens given the experience of our
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board. so it's the board that makes the organization really stand out in a lot of ways. host: and congress just passed the continuing resolution to keep the budget funded through december 9. that's another stopgap measure that we've seen after an inability to pass a budget in its entirety. what do these measures have on our fiscal condition? guest: the real situation is the end of the fiscal year and end of september. so obviously, the first point is it's great that they got the stopgap measure in place and that there's no government shutdown. actual shutdowns are so harming to the country and to our -- the functioning of our political system. there is no reason we should be flirting with that. that said, we've extended funding for the government for 10 weeks. this is not how you run a country. this is not how you run an economy. there's plenty of fault to go around because this has been
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happening for years and years. and the bottom line is our budget process is broken. we are the biggest economy in the world. and we are regularly operating without a budget in place. and when we do these funding bills which were supposed to happen, small bills serve one at a time where they get scrutiny, you look at the government programs, you figure out what's working, what's not, you make decisions you make choices which is what budgeting is. that process isn't happening anymore. we don't have the budget. we end up putting these huge spending bills altogether and 10 weeks at a time? that's not how you put stability into the economy. and a huge missing piece is that these funding bills, the appropriations, only look at a very small sliver of our budget. they don't look at our largest programs, our retirement programs, our health care programs, all of which we need have oversight to address the funding shortfalls that our
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trusties are predicting. so these blood, sweat and tears to not get a real budget in place is only a small sliver of budget the bottom line, our budget process us broken. we need a significant overhaul. and in many ways t reflective of the dysfunction we're seeing in washington where we can't get the basic ten nantz of governing underway. host: so currently we have $19 trillion debt. how do we get sneer what are the biggest drivers of such big debt number? guest: that's right. our debt and that's our total debt. our debt is a share of the economy. it's. 5% of g.d.p. that's the public debt that we borrow on public markets. that us the highest it has been since we came out of world war ii. so debt levels this high have really damaging fonths the overall economy. they slow the growth of the economy. that means they slow wages. they slow the standard of living. they leave the economy in much worse situation for the next generation.
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possibly, hopefully not immediately, but perhaps when you have an economic downturn or a recession t important that you have a strong fiscal situation. so when you go into new kind of downturn, you're able to borrow. let me just put a point out. when we went into the big recession of 2008, our debt as a share of the economy was below 40% of g.d.p. today it's 75% of g.d.p. what does that mean? it's going to be very hard for us to respond when the next economic crisis comes along. so debt levels of that high, very, very dangerous in terms of our economic future and our economic presence. they're probably slowing the level of growth that we have that we've already board so fast you squhoud we got here. we've gotten here for so many reasons. many times we borrow because we need to i've been listening to "hamilton" over and over in my car in my soundtrack. you borrow for war. you borrow during economic down turns. it's really important to have
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the able to prop up the economy. but then what you need to do is have a plan where you bring that debt back down when the economy is strong. so say over the business cycle, you're balancing the budget. or your debt is not going faster than your economy which is what we have today. our debts are going faster than the economy. that is the definition of something being unsustainable. people love to point fingers about whose fault it is that our debt is so high. the debt grows in dollar amount much more under each president's term barack obama has borrowed as many trillions of dollars as we've seen him past presidents but a big reason of that and top of the fact that we went through one of the greatest economic cry says during his presidency is that the dollar amounts are growing due to inflation. so the real way to think about it is debt ayshired g.d.p. where we're ending is poor. and we need to take real policy measures to bring that debt back
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down to manageable levels as part of a plan to grow our economy. host: we are talking to maya macguineas, from committee for a responsible federal budget. viewers, if you want to join in, democrats can call 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. and independence, 202-748-8002. let's take a look at some of the main tot forward by the donald trump and hillary clinton in the committee's report. it shows that hillary clinton's plan would increase the debt by $200 billion over a decade above current law levels compared to a previous estimate that you have of $250 billion. and donald trump's plan would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion. as a result, debt would rise above 86% of the g.d.p. under linton and 105% under trump.
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guest: ok. those are pretty troubling numbers. the debt is already in dangerous will you hue place. and again, that's so much of the goals of what we need to be looking at are how to grow the economy and how to grow it in a way that is shared. having debt level this high stands in the way of all of those really important goals. another thing we know is dealing with the fiscal challenges in this country does require presidential leadership. it cannot happen without a president really focusing on the issue, educating the country about it, talking about it during the campaign. unfortunately, this is not a campaign that us focused on fiscal responsibility or even education so that people understand there will be choices that we have to deal with. whoever us the next president have to deal with tease issues. not only is the debt already stunningly and troublingly high, we have this aging challenge in the country where the baby
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boomers are all moving from their prime working years to retirement and they are doing so without us having address the challenges we have in the big structural programs that help them, social security, medicare, medicaid. so they're putting huge pressure on the budget. what would have been helpful, there's still time but i'm getting concerned, if they have a real discourse about how to deal with those challenges and what policies would be involved. instead, what we have is two candidate who is have not emphasized this. if you look at the hillary clinton plan, i describe her plan as the pay as you go plan. she has put out a lot of spending initiatives and some middle class tax cuts. to her credit, she paws for them basically all of them. we final that there's $200 billion less than what she would need to pay for it. we think she hasn't explained the details. she puts out new plans and finds ways to pay for them. the majority would be paid from taxes from high income earners.
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host: we're going to take a closer look at both hillary clinton's plan and donald trump's plan. let's take a couple of calls first. first, chuck is calling in from illinois on our democrat line. good morning, chuck. caller: good morning, good morning, c-span. ood morning, i'm going to be circumspect but i would like to know is how it is that as far as the stopgap currently that at the time the senate was ruled by democrats and senator reid was in the majority, he was a boogeyman. now that the senate is ruled by senator mcconnell in the majority, he is still the boogeyman. can you explain to me how that works? guest: i guess it depends who is calling him the bogey man. i'm going to take a step back and not talk about who is blaming who as much as the problem of the political
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discourse overall where you have republicans and democrats who as far as i can tell are at the height of partisanship. you also have kind of a lot between the senate and house that don't work together very well. you have things getting accomplished in each body where compromises may take place in one but aren't working in the other. i think more directly to your point, there is a real challenge with the political leadership of the two parties. whether it is senator reid or senator mcconnell or any of the political leaders, they are very focused on the party. that often means looking at the election and kind of how to get more members of the democratic or republican party re-elected. that is less focused on getting the policy solutions in place that many of us might like to see often on a bipartisan, in a bipartisan way. let's focus on those policy solutions and focus on some of the political challenges. i think a lot of people see the leaders as the bogey men when they are looking at issues from
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a more political perspective when so many voters want to see compromise and things getting done. host: next, calling from wisconsin on our independent line, good morning, dawn. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i'd like to ask maya a question on the fiscal responsibility and does she believe that the democrats and the republicans do have the citizens' best interests in mind because they have like an enrongate going on where 23 corporations embezzled workers' retirement assets and none of it was resolved. and citizens are denied due process. so how can there be fiscal responsibility when parties are in secrecy from the public while embezzling workers' retirement assets? host: let's give maya
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macguineas a chance to respond. guest: good morning. do i think they have fiscal responsibility and the citizens' best interests at heart? basically i do. i work with a lot of lawmakers both on the republican and democratic side and people do come here to do the right thing. they do come here, they have very different points of view, but they do come here to get things done. and i think the process in many ways makes it more challenging. i'll just point out two parts of that. one is again the partisanship. there is a political independence so i sort of see the world as there are good ideas from the republican side and good ideas from the democratic side and we should spend more time focusing on the overlap. i see the world as an independent. i think the focus on majority, trying to get your party the majority of the senate or the house is less in the interests, overall interests of the country and more energy is put on politics than policy. i think that's the problem. the second issue is one about short termism versus long termism. a lot of policy makers come here and there are a lot of things they want to work on,
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but they have to deal with the immediate pressing issues and often the political gains come from more short-term giveaways than the long-term fiscally responsible or environmentally responsible or investment, from an investment perspective responsible policy. so it is harder for policy makers to focus on long-term issues. i think the issues of pensions in general is one that really reflects that. one example of the kinds of giveaways that you see a lot, both at the state and the federal level, is it is easy for policy makers to make promises today about what they're going to give to citizens in the future. the cost isn't borne immediately. it is a big promise people are excited about. they hope and think they can depend on it but the promises aren't always backed up with the financing. that makes them good. as a result we have huge challenges in our state pension programs for promises of benefits that are higher than we've financed have been made and huge challenges in our social security program where we have benefit levels that are
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set on outdated demographic and economic estimates and we therefore don't have the revenue that's projected to come into the trust fund, pay for all those benefits. we know that is a huge problem down the road but, again, based on the short-term incentive it's harder for policy makers to step up and address that right now. we continue to kick the can. i see that in a lot of different areas of governing. host: okay. let's take a closer look at secretary clinton's plan, which as we noted you said would add $200 billion to the debt. some of the individual things that she would expand, access to free public college. that would cost $150 billion. increased federal health spending, another hundred billion. expand the child tax credit and offer tax relief for child care, another $150 billion. simplify small business taxes a the a cost of $100 billion. on the other end, she would expand the 3.8% net investment income tax, which would net
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$250 billion, further increase the estate tax another $250 billion, and other things that would add to the budget. talk about this in general. is this enough of an offset? guest: yes. i think overall secretary clinton has put out programs to cover the new spending program she is putting out there. just two days ago we had a really interesting event where we brought in two of the lead economic advisers for hillary clinton and donald trump. gene sperling and steven moore. they talked about their candidates' economic proposals. our feeling was this has not been a campaign where we've had a chance to really dig deep into the policy so we wanted to host something to have a discussion on the real economic issues. it was really interesting. i think the best description of the clinton proposal was that it's really focusing mainly on economic security, the middle class, working families. and i think those proposals kind of reflect that. there is a lot of focus on education, helping families, infrastructure, and, again, it
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is all for the most part paid for. we differ about $200 billion because we don't think the business tax reforms are spelled out. but it's paid for in very progressive taxes on high earners, on businesses, raising the estate tax, transaction tax. what that doesn't do is two things. on taxes, it doesn't really focus on tax reform. there is a real need in this country, i would argue, to simplify our tax code. we lose over a trillion dollars a year in tax rates, deductions, exclusions. we can broaden the base by getting rid of a lot of those. they overlap. they're regressive. we never looked at whether they do what they need to be doing. we can save a great deal of money, bring tax rates down, which helps with efficiency, and generate revenue. hillary clinton does not focus on tax reform, per se, but the other thing she really ignores, she never talks about the need to deal with our fiscal challenges. she never talks about actually putting forth a plan that would help bring the debt trajectory
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down. and as a result, under her, the debt wouldn't get much worse, but it wouldn't get any better. she's already raised taxes so much to pay for all these initiatives, i'm worried about, as she has taken other things off the table, where she would find the money to put together a comprehensive debt deal, which there is no question we're going to need to have. host: okay. we are talking to maya macguineas president of the committee for a responsible federal budget, also formerly worked at the brookings institution as well as on wall street. up next, kenny calling in from byron, georgia, on our independent line. good morning, kenny. caller: good morning. first off, i say i'm surprised you don't have gray hair or any hair left. if i were you i'd be pulling my hair out. here's my question. so the interest on debt is at what percent, right? it's what percent and what percentage do we go over the tipping point? that is my question. thank you. host: thanks. it is funny you say that because just yesterday i said i feel like there are going to be
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tufts of hair i'll be pulling out. it is really frustrating right now, because we please that the fiscal challenges facing the country are so significant. the numbers bear that out. if you read reports by the congressional budget office, which i think is the best -- one of my favorite government programs -- they put out really good reports that are very accessible to help people understand. there is no question that the debt challenges we face are real. and yet you have as we've been discussing and we'll talk more about those candidates, a political system that is really inclined to ignore this. they know it's a problem. but politically it is very difficult to address. so they don't -- and that, to me, is incredibly frustrating because what it is doing is harming the growth trajectory of this country. and it's harming the well being of the next generation. just some of the debt facts that i would throw out there, as i said, the debt is projected to grow faster than the economy every year. deficits were coming down after our big recession in 2008.
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it hit a trillion dollars. they were coming down as the economy recovered. that was the good news. but last year for instance we had a budget in place, one of the years we did have a budget that had talked about saving $5 trillion over a decade. honestly, those are big numbers. it's hard to make sense of them. i say it is probably more than we can generate in savings realistically over a decade. we don't even need to save that much but it focused on saving. then congress proceeded instead to actually borrow another trillion dollars. as a result, deficits are going up again. our deficit this year is going to be about $590 billion. that's a significant increase. we'll hit trillion dollar deficits again. interest payments, which my guess is are slightly under 10%, but i'd have to check those numbers, they're quite low as a share of the budget because interest rates are so low, which affords us a really great opportunity because it's not hitting us.
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interest payments have been much higher as a share of the budget in the past, upwards of 20%. they are much lower because of those rates. this affords us a chance to get out of this debt, under kind of being weighted down by the debt but instead what we're hearing is arguments that oh, rates are so low we should borrow more. that really concerns me fwause is the free lunch argument we used to hear. don't worry. you can just cut taxes. they'll pay for themselves. in reality check, they will not pay for themselves. we're now hearing that argument on public investments. don't worry. we can just borrow the money. it will pay for itself. that's not true. what we found, what the congressional budget office has found, public investment which we do need to make can be front loaded because interest rates are low but they need to be paid for. if we borrow the money that will actually harm the economy. again, to your point, i don't think many people would realize this, but the fastest growing part of the budget, which a lot of people would assume would be health care, retirement, is
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interest on the debt. and so that interest kind of dependency, the fact that if rates go up, our payments would go up significantly every year, that's a real vulnerability we have in the budget. hfpblgts up next, john calling in from sumter, south carolina on our democratic line. n, you're on with maya macguineas. caller: good morning. i'm listening to this lady just ramble. listen up for a minute. we are not in debt. you look at people like mr. trump who paid no taxes. you know? and when it comes down to the budget, what is the first thing the republicans holler about? we got to cut retirement. ou want to get retirements off the board? take that and let everybody else scramble for the rest. who do we owe all this money
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to? you got billionaires who don't even pay taxes. caller: okay. i'd like to talk about the point about printing money but since we're talking about donald trump let's take a quick look at his plan and how the 10-year estimate, based on the policies he has put forward according to the committee. he proposes to enact new comprehensive tax reforms that would be a boost of $5.3 trillion in the estimate. but, also, expand tax breaks, hich would take out 0.55 trillion. off partially paid maternity leave which would be 0.05 trillion, increase military spending another, just under half a trillion, but also reduce nondefensive spending, adding 3/4 of a trillion dollars and reducing other nondefense spending another quarter of a trillion dollars.
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guest: right. i'll talk about donald trump and then try to address the caller. i really understand the frustration. with donald trump we talked about hillary clinton. she pays for her new proposals but she doesn't do anything about the debt. donald trump actually talks about the debt, has policies that would make it much, much worse. trillions of dollars. we find $5.3 trillion in costs driven almost exclusively by his very large tax cut. he had a tax cut that was even larger than that months ago and i'm kind of relieved to see he put forth a new plan that would cost less. you can't talk about borrowing another five plus trillion dollars. one thing we haven't talked about is if we do nothing, if we make no changes to the budget, we are on track to borrow another $9 trillion over the next 10 years. that $5 trillion that he is talking about borrowing would be on top of that. so under his plan the debt would reach over a hundred percent of g.d.p., 105% of g.d.p.
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those levels are really unimagineable and unwarranted. it's not as though we're borrowing for a plan to deal with a huge crisis, a plan to make massive investment, because we've already paid for other consumption. we're just borrowing because we honestly don't seem to like paying for things very much. that is not, should not be an acceptable excuse to any of us, certainly not for our children who are kind of being handed that bill, with not very much to show for it. so the trump policy proposals i would argue are very focused on reducing taxes. they have a lot of claims that those tax increases would raise growth so much they would pay for a lot of themselves. and growing eekies should be a huge focus. it needs to be one of our major objectives from an economic perspective. the growth numbers they're assuming, unfortunately, just aren't close to realistic. one, when you borrow that much and you're adding to the debt, that hurts growth. it doesn't help it. number two, as i mentioned before, as the baby boomers are
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moving into retirement, we have real labor market challenges. it is going to be much harder to grow the economy at rates we did in the past when the baby boomers, a much larger population, was all working. now that we're going to be supporting them in retirement. so the sad reality is that our growth levels will probably be significantly lower than we had when we had the baby boomers working. on top of that we seem to be really struggling with productivity gains right now. the other component of growing our economy is not working the way one might hope. and rates right now are projected to be around 2% of g.d.p. so i think we can get those up. sorry. 2% growth. and do i think we can get those up? i do. i think we need -- and i think there is a pretty broad based understanding of what we need. real sensible policies that focus on tax reform. more spending on public investment, infrastructure is one area where there is a lot of agreement. fiscally sustainable policies so that we have the under pinning of the overall economy on a much stronger foundation. so i think we know the kinds of
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things we need to look at. more investments and longer-term education, life long worker retraining, things that will help us create jobs, jobs that pay well. but we don't have the political ability to compromise to put those growth plans in place. so under donald trump's proposal, i think it would be incredibly dangerous to have anything along the lines of a plan to borrow another $5 trillion. i think instead we should focus how to bring the $9 trillion we're projected to borrow back to more reasonable levels. and again, i understand the caller's frustration. there is a lot of sense that not all the taxes are owed, are being paid. that is certainly one of the places we should start. we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking cutting that tax gap is going to get riffed the fiscal problems we have but by all means it should be one of the areas of focus absolutely. host: next up larry calling in from richmond, texas, on our republican line. larry, you're on with maya macguineas. caller: hi, maya. when you first started you said
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we needed radical changes. well, i have some that i've been pushing since the 1980's. why don't we take a year off, collect our taxes like on october 15, see how much money we bring in, and then let them divide up that pie? that way we can see who is voting for what to pay for what and then they can actually be voted on. host: okay. what do you think about that idea? guest: it's radical. basically you're saying you would collect all the revenue you have and only pay out as much as you brought in. that is what i understood you to say. i think the problem with that is for instance take social security. there are many, many people who really, truly depend on that program pretty much for all of their income. so anything that would stop payments, not make sure those checks got to people who needed them, i think would be so disruptive it shouldn't be at all how we would go about looking at this. i'll take your idea, though,
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and make it kind of into a gimmicky exercise that i thought about that i think is interesting. what if you just took -- what if we all sort of played a game, okay. i like budget games. i realize that is not fun to a lot of people. but humor me. if we had kind of an exercise where you had basically a dollar and you separated those into pennies and thought about what do you want to spend your money on? what should the country spend the money on? i know i think we need to be spending a lot on life long education. i would put a lot of my money into education from birth, from prek all the way up into retirement. so people are continuing to be retrained. you put some in retirement. some in health care. certainly some in defense. basic research. if people looked at how they felt the budget should be divided up, and then they looked at how the money is spent, we would all have different ways we divided that dollar. but i also think very few people would have divided it in a way that the government actually divides it. and the reason for that is we make many promises about how we're going to spend our money. for years and decades into the
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future. and then they don't reflect the current challenges or opportunities we have. and just to kind of get specific, i feel like the economy has changed so dramatically in reese nt years we've talked about this in the election though not so much about how to deal with it. but huge changes have come from globalization, from technologicalal advances. one thing that is really important is those changes, the pace of them is much, much quicker than they've ever been before. but what we're not having is a discussion about how the government can partner with the private sector to help make all of us able to adapt to those changes. part of the reason we're not really having that discussions our resources are basically precommitted in the budget. we don't have space to think about different kinds of policies that might help with the transition of the industries, changes, and different opportunities come along, if retraining is necessary. it's a very dynamic economy. and we have a budget that's not equipped to deal with it. and so much of that is because we put that budget out decades ago and there is very little
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flexibility. so in my mind the radical changes are we should think about how to really go look at how our resources are divided in this country, whether they reflect the economic goals of growth and shared prosperity, and think about how to redo our budget based on what our objectives are and what's working and what is not. host: up next on our democratic line we have mike calling in from springfield, virginia. good morning, mike. caller:: good morning, maya. i have an idea how to balance out the country and it doesn't cost anything. it's a banking method. the way it works is it's against the industry. there is one thing that everybody does. it's they pay a mortgage and they pay rent. my idea actually fixes your home, fixes your car, fixes your health, fixes your retirement, fixes your kids' retirement, lowers county tax, pays back student loans, and the whole thing costs nothing. the way it works is that if you own a mortgage on a house you own it for three years. on the fourth year you're eligible to take a break on
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your note for one year. o the first month of that year , on the 12th month you process the idea. on the 12th month you sit down with a broker and inspector and present the receipts for three essentials you have no control over -- your home, your car, and your health. you cannot control those prices. so basically on that 12th month you make a decision if you want to take all 12 payments and put it back to your mortgage because you hit the lottery or take the essential credit break as i call it because the loan was based on credit to begin with. so this is to save your credit. you do take the essential credit break, the way it works is your first mortgage payment goes to the federal reserve to hold it in place forever. if there is a natural disaster in this country we have money to bail out home owners that are stuck in a natural disaster. plus it would be based on an audit every two years. the year's second mortgage payment one-half goes to health
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care the other half goes to social security. that would build up the system about to collapse. the third payment one half goes to the broker and the other half to an inspector. that creates new jobs in the market that pay very well. the fourth mortgage payment goes to county tax. the fifth payment goes to property management if it is an investment property. that leaves you seven or eight mortgage payments you can use for the three essentials. host: okay. let's give maya a chance to respond to that. guest: it sounds very creative. it sounds very complicated and i'm not going to pretend to have any reaction to the details until i spend more time looking at it. but it sounds like it would be awfully complicated and sort of very prescriptive about where all the revenue goes. so i have some concerns from having the one explanation but i'm happy to take a look at it and think it would be really interesting to see it. host: can we ask a question about another proposal we got on twitter? it says, would a flat tax for all, including corporations, stabilize our debt and economy?
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government revenue and spending come under stable control? guest: yeah. there are a lot of questions about the flat tax. there is a lot of appeal because a flat tax feels like it would be so much more simple. let me say what makes the tax complicated is not necessarily the rates. i don't think having three or five rates makes the tax more progressive. so that higher share of income is paid from higher income individuals. one, it works. it doesn't always -- and it is not always enacted that way. but a progressive tax due to rates isn't that much more complicated. what is complicated is that 1 trillion plus we lose every year in tax breaks. so in my mind simplifying the tax code, getting rid of so many of those expenditures and deductions and credits, and i shouldn't act like they're easy to get rid of, because people love them. there are things like the home mortgage interest deduction, which everybody loves. but it drives up the cost of housing. health care exclusions. seems great because you don't have to pay so much for your health care.
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it's a huge contributing factor to our growing health care costs. it wouldn't be easy to get rid of a lot of these tax breaks. if you turned around ahn allowed us to lower the rates and used some of the revenue to help close the deficit, i think it could be a -- could simplify the tax code, help grow the economy, be fiscally responsible. there are a lot of benefits to that. the flat tax has more to do with what you should be taxing consumption for income. there are a lot of differences on that, arguments for both, and whether rates should be flat or progressive. my personal belief is that rate should be progressive and certainly so given growing income equality right now, but that is certainly a discussion worth having. what i would point out is there is a lot of confusion about the flat rate you would need to actually get the government back into balance. i've heard numbers sort of in the low 20's. that wouldn't come close to it, because, for instance, you can't tax government spending. so there are a loft parts in the tax base when people assume these very low rates that aren't really practical and so you'd have to have much higher rates and i think people would
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have more sticker shock when we ran the numbers and found those rates to be significantly higher. host: good question for discussion. guest: we need tax reform. that is for sure. host: okay. up next on our republican line, joshua calling in from deer park, washington. good morning, joshua. caller: good morning. maya, the whole tax code is analog in a digital world. it is organized for the wrong reasons. it's organized as a slush fund for the politicians who continue to change it for campaign contributions as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of pages, and it's organized as a bully hammer against enemies of the government. that is the way it works now. what i will tell you as a resident of washington state, that the sales tax absolutely works and you won't have conversations about income inequality and you won't have conversations about donald rump not paying his taxes.
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the only income tax would be for income earners like corporations and property owners, not individual citizens. if you went to a sales tax which included labor, you didn't stipend for low income people on food and medicine and staples, you did a rebate or a stipend, we have a tax code organized merely as a slush fund. you get your politicians to change it, you give them campaign contributions. host: let's give her a chance to respond to that. guest: a ton of great points right there. you make really good points that a lot of the changes, the details, the targeted pieces of our current tax code reflect lobbying that isn't in the public's interest in many cases. there are so many kind of small, targeted giveaways, subsidies, credits. i would love to certainly start with the exercise of let's get rid of them all and then let's go through and see if you can justify putting some of them back. your point about a sales tax is a good one. that is something that is used
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throughout europe. there is a big disagreement here when you start to talk about that. should it replace income tax or be on top of the income tax? my view of the fiscal situation looking at it all kind of from the big picture is that in order to deal with these big debt challenges we have, we're going to have to look at every part of the budget. there is no question that revenues will have to be part of the solution as will structural spending changes and bringing spending down throughout the budget. so i think we'll need more revenue. i worry about that on top of an income tax actually exploding revenue before we've looked at where we're going to control some of the spending. you kind of want to do all of that at once. i think your point about a tax that is easier to implement is a very, very good one. and i think taxing consumption is something that will get a lot of discussion in the coming years. host: up next on our democratic line we have brent calling in from georgia. brent, you are on with maya macguineas.
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caller: good morning, maya. guest: good morning. caller: earlier you were talking about spending and you mentioned barack obama. i just wanted to make sure that it was clear denot come into office and just do a lot of spending. but that he was left a $1.2 trillion deficit by george bush, and he did cut it in half. the rest of the deficit that's about half a trillion dollars left is over the next two years with obama care but obama care hasn't been fully implemented. we still have 17 to 19 states that haven't implemented it and don't take the money. so the republicans have done everything they can to hinder barack obama from bringing us to a balanced budget or bringing us close to it. host: okay. let's let maya macguineas respond to that. guest: i think the first part of what you are saying reflects what i was saying. the president came into office with one of the worst economic crises we have ever faced in this country certainly in modern times and the fact that
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the deficit went up was a reflection of that hauge downturn and the costs of needing to fight against it for stimulus. people will agree or disagree whether the stimulus was well spent but it was certainly necessary to have the dollars put into the economy at a time we could have gone into depression. the economy has -- the deficit has come down by two-thirds, in fact. i don't think that's the right thing to focus on actually. i don't think the short-term deficit when it was huge or as it's been cut or now as it's growing again are the main focus of the fiscal challenges we face. today we need to get the economy growing and we need to keep our spending kind of thoughtful and put it in the right direction. but looking forward, our real goal needs to be to make sure that debt is not growing faster than the economy as it currently is projected to do. so i'm less worried about today's deficits and incredibly worried about the future of the debt and how that relates to the economy. the need to get it growing and have it grow in a way that is shared throughout the economy. and the irresponsibility of continuing to make promises and
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an unwillingness of both candidates and our current politicians to put in place what are admittedly hard choices on the revenue and spending side of the budget, help bring the deficit down. that's what i worry is a real challenge for all of us and for the future. host: okay. maya macguineas, president of the committee for a responsible federal budget. a member of the steering committee of fixed debt campaign. thank you for joining us this morning. guest: thank you. host: thanks. p next we will be talking with james zirin. he'll be here to talk about his new book "supremely partisan" and how raw politics tips the scales in the u.s. supreme court. but first, this week c-span's newsmakers interviewed the president of the nation's second largest labor group, mary kay henry, of the service employees international union. she talks about the campaign activity this year. you can see the entire interview with mary kay henry
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sunday at 10:30 a.m. and at 6:00 p.m. on c-span. you can also hear it on c-span radio and newsmakers is vailable online at >> we made a decision to go into the battlegrounds earlier than we've ever done with community partners in latino and african-american and asian communities and now we are moving our blue states into the battlegrounds through a weekend warrior program. just last weekend there were 800 people from new york in philadelphia and i was door knocking with them. this next weekend i'm going to new hampshire and our california members are moving into reno and las vegas. host: is there any issue you're particularly focused on? in kentucky and missouri it seems an outcome in november regarding the house and the governorship in missouri are really going to affect whether those states eventually go right to work. >> the presidential debate tends to focus us only on that
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one office but i would say that our members are as motivated by school board races, city council, and state legislative races, because in illinois, we're trying to make sure that we have a veto proof majority in the house in illinois so we can push back on what governor rauner has been doing to home care, child care, and public employee work in that state. and so those elections matter and we can connect the dots for people and then lift them up to why voting for the president also matters to their future. so in oregon we have taxing corporations on the ballot, which we want them to pay their fair share. in california, our entire agenda in criminal justice reform is on the ballot, which is highly motivational to our members. and so those are just three examples but in every state i could give you examples of how both ballot initiatives and down ballot races are
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motivating our members to act. >> to the idea of the condition of the senate and the possible turnover are there specific rates as you're paying attention to it? >> yes. in the senate, illinois, we're all in. e worked hard with katy mcgini in pennsylvania. we're really concerned about the nevada race and have done a lot with the latino and filipino vote in las vegas with community partners. so we are deeply concerned and all in to make sure that we do retake the senate. >> the next president making appointments to the supreme court of the united states will be president donald trump. >> with hillary clinton in the white house, the rest of the world will never forget why they've always looked up to the united states of america. >> c-span's campaign 2016 continues on the road to the white house with the vice presidental debate between republican governor mike pence and democratic senator tim kaine tuesday night, live from longwood university in
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farmville, virginia beginning at 7:30 p.m. eastern with a preview of the debate. then at 8:30 the predebate briefing for the audience. at 9:00 p.m. live coverage of the debate followed by viewer reaction. the 2016 vice presidental debate. watch live on c-span. watch live and any time on demand at listen live on the free c-span radio app. announcer: "washington joirnl" continues. host: we are joined by james zirin the author of "supremely partisan, how raw politics tips the scales in the u.s. supreme court." he is here to discuss his book which argues that the supreme court has become increasingly partisan in the cases he says were politicized and threatened to undermine public confidence in the court. thanks for joining us this morning. guest: i'm delighted to be here. host: so what inspired you to write this book? guest: i was a practicing
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lawyer. i of course followed the supreme court for many years. and i became alarmed in recent years reading the cases at the 5-4 decisions and the 6-3 decisions, which seemed to be decided along partisan lines. so that you had the liberal wing of the court, all justices appointed by democratic presidents, and the conservative wing all appointed by republican presidents. and they were taking political positions, which could easily be identified with the ideas of the respective parties that appointed them. and doesn't apply across the board, of course, but it does apply to many issues and many social issues we care about, voting rights, affirmative action, reproductive rights, on and on. host: okay. let's take a look at one of the excerpts from your book. in your book you say, "the court's dramatic polarization in recent years is a recipe for
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uncertainty. governmental dysfunction and declining confidence in what, in my view, is the greatest of our institutions. and this has not been fully appreciated by most otherwise well-informed americans." what did you mean by that? guest: i meant by that, polls show that when the court is seen as partisan, when the justices are seen as voting along political lines, rather than applying the law, that there's less confidence in their decisions. and that the public at large doesn't accept their decisions. and, after all, the supreme court as alexander hamilton pointed out, doesn't have an army. it doesn't have any money. so its power comes from public acceptance of its decisions. and not that we have to agree with them, but we have to agree that, and accept that there is a rule of law and they are the final word on the constitution. host: we are talking with james
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zirin, the author of "supremely partisan, how raw politics tips the scales in the u.s. supreme court." he is also a former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, where he served in a criminal division under robert morganthal. so the supreme court, hasn't it always been partisan? is this something new? guest: it has never been so partisan in my view as it has been lately. it, of course, has always been partisan because as the late justice scalia pointed out, justices can be partisan. what was interesting is, i mean, you go back to some of the great justices, oliver wendall holmes and holmes was appointed by theodore roosevelt , a republican. brand ayes was appointed by woodrow wilson, a democrat. yet they often joined together at first in dissent and later their views became the law and
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it was not polarized along partisan lines, along party lines, but, rather, based on heir shared view of the law. host: our viewers can join this conversation. democrats can call 202-748-8000. republicans 202-748-8001. ndependents, 202-748-8002. the gallup poll recently took a look at what americans think, how americans think the supreme court is doing, whether they approve or disapprove. currently 52% of americans disapprove of the job the supreme court is doing. compared to only 42% that approve. the approval rating has been down since about 2010. since then we know the court has issued some big, controversial rulings. how have those rulings affected
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the public's confidence in the court? guest: well, i think it all depends on whose ox is being gored. you take the gay marriage case, with which i happen to agree, and many such as the four dissenters believe the court was not applying the constitution, since neither marriage no gay marriage is mentioned in the constitution and probably would have been unthinkable in 1791 or 1868 to any of the people that drafted the constitution. as chief justice roberts said it was a great victory for gay rights if you support gay rights but hardly a victory for the constitution. host: okay. we have oscar calling in on our democratic line from vienna, virginia. oscar, you are on with james zirin. caller: hi. good morning, everyone. guest: good morning, oscar. how are you? caller: fine. i called because i wanted your thoughts on the mandatory minimums president clinton -- i
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am a clinton fanatic and i follow clinton and even voted for hillary in the primaries when obama was running. i finally voted for president obama in the general election. i wanted to know, clinton's mandatory minimums, what are your thoughts being an attorney? just a comment on ms. macguineas earlier, i find it intriguing the deficit is 600 billion and yet the defense budget congress wants to push it up to 600 billion. host: okay. oscar, let's keep this discussion on the supreme court. and the law. guest: well, as a general matter i don't approve of mandatory minimums. i think it should be left to the discretion of the judges. and because of mandatory minimums, sentences, i think, our prisons are over crowded and we've become as many argued an incarcerated society. doesn't necessarily have to do with the supreme court because they haven't really passed on whether mandatory minimums are
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cruel and unusual punishments, but the -- it is something for congress to consider. and i would support an effort to leave sentencing to the discretion of our trial judges. host: okay. on the front of today's "usa today" there is a piece by richard wolf titled "court at brink of transformation" talking about how the next president could shape the u.s. supreme court. it says a victory by hillary clinton not only would break the glass ceiling at the white house but shake the foundations of court's marble palace, leading to its first liberal majority since the vietnam era. donald trump's election would continue to perhaps, or perhaps even advance the conservative control for decades to come. though the change in personnel could happen fast, beyond the late justice scalia's seat, three other justices are 78 to 83 years old. the ideological shift may take years to play out, particularly in areas of law that have been
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relatively stable for decades. supreme court experts predict repercussions from the 2016 election will grow in significance over time. do you agree this is a monumental election for the supreme court? guest: oh, absolutely. i think the supreme court is ideologically at the crossroads. we know we have one vacancy. it's been filled with a moderate. extraordinary capability and experience. he's been blocked in the senate really on partisan political grounds, which further contributes in my view to the politicization of the judiciary. and i agree with mike pence. whoever is elected president is going to influence the direction of the court for at least three decades to come. host: okay. up next we have darren calling in from washington, d.c. in our independent line. darren, you're on with james zirin. caller: good morning, everybody.
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good morning, mr. zirin. guest: good morning, darren. caller: i always say, i am a regular caller. i call probably every 45 days or so. because i love c-span. i love the forum. i love being able to express my views and hear regular views from people around the country, unfiltered. i just really appreciate the program. but with that said, i think that the view nah the supreme court is becoming more partisan, i think it's a reflection on politicians. democrat and republican. especially in the last, you know -- really since 2000. that contested election with bush ii and gore. since then partisanship has racked up with the house of representatives and the senate. think, you know, i think the
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justices have been relatively the same as they've been forever. because of the partisanship, because of the arguing, unconstructive dialogue between the two parties, over the last 15, 20 years, it's, you know, it shows with the supreme court. host: okay. let's let jim zirin respond. do you think the politics have affected the court? guest: without question. i think it was will rogers or some other wag who said the supreme court follows the election returns. but the fact of the matter is we are seeing now a deeply polarized nation. our people are polarized on a number of issues. our media is polarized. our think tanks are polarized. congress is certainly polarized. it should not come as a great surprise that the supreme court is polarized. and it's not that ruth bader
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ginsburg every time she votes thinks how would bill clinton like me to vote on this issue. t's just that she has shared a certain ideology with bill clinton and she was appointed as someone who shared that ideology, and she expresses it through her opinions. and you could say the same thing of scalia, who was appointed in 1986, confirmed by unanimous senate, and yet was perhaps the most partisan of the justices and the leered of the conservative wing. his death was a dagger to the heart of the conservative wing and that is why his successor is so controversial. host: let's look at another excerpt from your book. you say modern presidents have flavored their appointments as part of the political president's perceived need to accomplish, "balance." the result is that the court has become more rather than less polarized, more rather than less deeply divided, and
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more, rather than less, conservative. how does -- explain how the desire to seek balance has made the court more partisan in your view. guest: well, i think the appointments in recent years have been flavored with what i call, what others call identity politics. and what is so interesting is we've had 112 justices of the supreme court in our history, 89 have been white anglo saxon protestant males. prior to scalia's death we had six catholics on the court, ree jews, three women, one african-american, and the the ntments really reflect torra difingts ethnically flavored -- the tradition of ethnically flavored and gender flavored identity politics. for a time in the court's catholic seat.
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for a time we certainly know this we had a jewish seat. and we find that as of the time scalia died there is not a single white anglo saxon protestant, not a single evangelical on the court, even though white anglo saxon protestant males gave us brown vs. board of education, gave us row v. wade with the exception of brennan who was a catholic and still voted with the majority. host: up next, george calling from pittsburgh on our republican line. good morning, george. caller: hey. i want to get right to it. i, for the past several elections have been voting democrat. my heart is republican. because the bipartisanship in the supreme court, you know, is based on transformation.
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everything changes based on the contracts between the individual races or individual stuff where true partisanship is based on transforming america into what it is supposed to be. you know. and somehow we have lost that. we don't see it in our supreme court. there are private deals between everybody. i think if we want to be to be an or our courts bipartisan, as america we have back in america doing what it does and transforming itself and transform the things we need or the people need to be able to survive, like health care. host: okay. let's let jim zirin respond.
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guest: i don't know quite what the question was but i do agree that we have to make an effort in all our institutions and among our people to be more bipartisan, to be more moderate, and to reach some consensus as the way forward. i think otherwise it's hurting us around the world. you know, we talked about iran, for example. how difficult it is to deal with iran because they're -- there are two irans, the moderates and the hard liners. iran must look at us and say how difficult is it to deal with america because we have the moderates with whom we concluded a nuclear treaty and we have the hard liners in congress and some of the presidential candidates want to tear up the treaty. host: in today's "new york times" there is a piece that talks about how hillary clinton and donald trump's nominees could shape the court. it says a new study estimates where president obama's pick merritt garland and the
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candidates' potential nominees, all federal appellate court judges, would fit in the ideological spectrum compared with the current justices. it shows the current justices ideologically from clarence thomas, the most conservative, all the way down to ruth bader ginsburg ansonia sotomayor, the most liberal. most of the nominees put forth by donald trump appear toward the more conservative to more sent rift areas of the court. by contrast hillary clinton's potential picks are all steam to be at or more on the liberal and than elena kagan stephen breyer. do you think that does or should make a difference to voters where it seems donald trump's picks have a broader, ideological split whereas those considered by clinton seem to be largely probably liberal? guest: frankly, i was very much surprised that in the debates
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neither lester holt nor any of the candidates brought up the supreme court. i assume it'll be discussed in the second debate and the third debate to come if they take place. trump's list of 21 candidates, all conservatives. interestingly enough, ignored judge kavanagh, judge brad kavanagh from the d.c. circuit, because, and there is only one explanation for that, because he is a highly qualified and competent conservative judge, and i think the reason he wasn't mentioned is that the district of columbia is undoubtedly going to go democratic from every poll that has come out. while the judges that he did pick, as possible nominees to the supreme court, come from the swing states that he thinks he needs to get elected. further contributing to the politicization of the judiciary. so we have judges from ohio, judges from utah, we have judges from florida all on his
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select list from which he says he might appoint the next justice. hillary clinton has been a little bit cagey, because she hasn't said she would support merritt garland in the event she is elected and in the event he is not confirmed in the lake dumb session, and so whether she would go to someone more liberal than garland, whether if there are three more vacancies, occasioned by the long service of ruth bader insburg and stephen briar -- breyer and anthony kennedy, whether she would fill with people of a liberal stripe or look for people of competence and experience irrespective of what she thinks her political ideology would be. host: you were talking about geography a little bit. five of the current eight justices hail from either new york state or new jersey as did
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the late justice scalia. do you think geographic diversity is important and might that help the partisanship by bringing in different views? guest: well, i think it's desirable, because all of them come from either the east coast or the west coast of the united states, with the exception of chief justice roberts, who was born in indiana but spent his professional life really in washington. host: born in buffalo, new york but grew up in indiana. guest: grew up in indiana. but the -- when scalia was around, four of the five buroughs of manhattan were represented in, of new york city, four of five buroughs of new york city were represented on the court. so, yes. i think geographical diversity is desirable. i think all kinds of diversity is desirable. host: okay. guest: and i think we have to consider that and not try to have -- continue the kind of identity politics we've seen in the past. host: up next on our independent line we have john calling in from lakeland,
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florida. you're on with james zirin. caller: yes, good morning. guest: good morning, john. caller: this is what i think should be done. there should be constitutional scholars that come up with a test about the constitution. you take a judge from every state. put them in a room. they take the test. they pass it. you got eight supreme court judges for eight years. you do it again after eight years. instead of being political. because a good example of political is affordable health care act, which is unconstitutional, if that's legal, then why isn't the supreme court saying or the government saying everybody has to have a driver's license even though you don't drive? you know, i think it would be better and should be based on the constitution not on passing laws because of favoritism. host: okay, john.
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guest: the problem is it is based on the constitution because the constitution says that the president apoipts -- appoints the justices. it does not say what criteria the president should use. it does not even require that a justice of the supreme court be lawyer, let alone a judge of an inferior court. some of our greatest appointees like louis powell have been appointed directly from the bar. they weren't judges. so the president can use any criteria he or she wants to use. and you and i might agree on what the criteria should be but that's not what the constitution says. host: up next we have charles calling in from richmond, virginia on our republican line. good morning, charles. caller: good morning. i'm so glad to get a chance to talk to mr. zirin, because this is a subject that has interested me for the last few years. i have a question at the end i
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will ask after i make my statement. the forefathers came here and they came from england. and these guys of course came in with bibles and the koran. the system was i don't even want to talk about hillary clinton and donald trump because if our country lasts it's going to change and change and change. but when they came here, they set up this constitution. they put the bill of rights in front of it. people get the bill of rights mixed up with the constitution. host: charles, what is your question? caller: my question is, if you look at the amendments to the constitution, and you think about they left religious oppression, when they brought the koran and the bible, was their intention to set up a
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religious society based on shaharya law? thank you. guest: i don't think they considered whether society would be based on shaharya law. i think society was to be based on the constitution and the bill of rights as part of the constitution. the amendments to the constitution become part of the constitution. you start with the first amendment which guarantees the free exercise of religion so that muslims are entitled to exercise their religion the ame way anybody else is. also the state, the government cannot prefer one religion to the other. that is the establishment clause which has been properly interpreted to prohibit the, or to establish a division between church and state so we're not
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like england where there is a church of england. host: a lot has been said about judicial activism on the supreme court lately. here is another excerpt from your book. it says "it has become fashionable tongue of liberals on the court as judicial activists, conservatives as practitioners of judicial restraint. the justices on both sides of the debate, however, are often inconsistent in approach and result." can you explain what you mean by that? guest: well, you take the controversy over the right to bear arms. the second amendment. gun rights. the scalia approach and the conservative approach to the constitution is to look at the tax and give effect to every word of the text. and the second amendment has a preamble, which is an introduction to the guarantee of the right to bear arms, which says, give the right to bear arms within the context of the state militia. the conservatives completely ignore that clause and gave it
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no effect at all and said there is a personal right to bear arms so you can have a gun in your home. that's an example of a strict cruxist being activist. -- a strict constructionist being activist. there are many examples of the liberal wing being strict constructionists as they were in the citizens united case where they saw no first amendment free speech barrier to the congress regulating campaign contributions by corporations and both an amount and with other --. host: up next we have mary calling in from west haven, connecticut on our democratic line. you're on with james zirin. caller: thank you for taking my call. guest: hi, mary. caller: hi. my concern, and i hope you will speak to both of these decisions, has to do with our free elections in this country. i think the citizens united has
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opened up a vast amount of money that we don't know where the money is coming from and yet it is impacting, influencing people's vote in our country. and the other decision was a shelby decision which sort of dismantled the election laws of 1965. i wondered if you would speak to those. guest: i think they are both examples of conservatives being activists and liberals being strict construcksists, if you take the shelby county case, in which they dismantled the voting rights act, they completely road roughshod over findings painstakingly made by congress that there were bad actor states which were denying mainly african-americans the suffrage in certain states and that the justice department


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