tv House Speaker Paul Ryan Discusses Economic Mobility CSPAN December 16, 2016 3:08am-4:02am EST
way to structure it. i just want to return to one point. ramesh: very often we think about things like how do we help working people advance, how do we make the welfare state work better for people as if it were a substitute for things like entitlement reform, getting the government on a better financial footing. it seems to me, it is very much a complementary thing, that an agenda that is purely about balancing the books and making the government solve in overtime is not going to be politically successful standing on its own. but if it's combined with things that actually help people and are seen to be helping people, it might have a chance. >> maybe you're also sending a signal that society is respecting certain kinds of behavior and certain kinds of action. people raising families, having children, things like that. child tax credit
for example, and they are just showing respect, a phrase that perhaps those of us who have been analyzing the election returns think may be relevant to some of the responses of some voters. over time, they did not feel treated with respect by one side of the political spectrum. que, do you have any thoughts whether or not government should send signals of respect for people, encouragement, honor for behaviors we like or is that just foolishness? a waste of money? veronique: the government sends a lot of signal of disrespect all the time when the government is in the business of telling you what occupation you can do with their permission or not. what kind of things you can buy, what kind of food is okay for you to consume. i think the government -- we're in a situation where more and more and more, we have to ask for permission to the government
to live our lives, and that, in my opinion, sends a very strong -- even in the welfare world where the government is the one dictating how much money again you'll get for housing. it is sending a very strong signal that the government knows better than you, that bureaucrats in washington but also in all the different states know better than people, and that is extremely disrespectful. so yeah. ,i mean reversing that trend , would go a long way. treating people as adult, as responsible adults, would go a long way to send a signal. michael: what you can spend food stamp money for? veronique: there is a debate obviously on this. i mean, i'm kind of like i'm , torn. the libertarian in me is like, no. if we're going to do this, let people do what they want. but some other people say it's taxpayers' money. so we should -- i think we need
to start treating people like adults. we can't on one hand say we'll , help you, but then we'll control your life. that, to me is extremely , disrespectful. you're always assigning, telling people we're going to control what you spend your money on. you're sending the signal the behavior of a few people who may actually be spending their money on whatever -- michael: a few people? we've got increasing morality rates in certain large segments of the population where people are spending, it would appear, money on substance abuse, oxycontin, and things like that life-shortening materials. ,and you know, do we want people spending food stamp money on that sort of thing? do we want to encourage that? do we want to discourage it? veronique: do we get that at the grocery stores? michael: you get it down the block. veronique: but also it's not --
it's not everyone. it's taking the same behavior of some people and just saying as such we are going to control and tell everyone what they should be doing. i think there are real problems with this. michael: go ahead. ramesh: i think that, for example, work requirements are a paternalistic policy. right? we're saying we will give you benefits, we will help you out, but we do expect if you're able-bodied to seek work or to have some kind of work-related activity. that seems to me an entirely reasonable condition to set on government aid. i agree conditions can be taken too far, but i see no reason in principle we shouldn't impose involvement. michael: alex, where do you weigh in on this? if we've got a low-income population that is more likely than it was in 1960 to be socially disconnected, and to be engaging and self-destructive -- in and self-destructive behaviors and not having guidance from family, from
church, from voluntary organizations, should we be trying to continue to use these policies or increase their use for shaping behaviors? wouldn't that help people who have got lousy incomes and lousy life expectancies? alex: what i would say on the food stamp front sort of clack -- classical response is that money is fungible. if you say you can buy this and can't buy that and they're going to find some other dollars to buy the things that are off the -- that are off the list for food stamps. i don't think that's a particularly effective policy in insuring that you're limiting consumption of a particular good. the notion that there can be requirements, strings attached, i think -- i'm with ramesh. i think that if you say you need to work, try to work, get an education, yeah. that's a different set of strings. i think the restrictions on food stamps are ineffective.
it is a fine idea. i think we have a real problem with drug abuse heroin, off oxy, , a lot of prescription drug abuse in a lot of parts of this country. i don't think that the solution to that problem, i'm not sure what it is. i don't think that it has to do with a tweak to the food stamp program or the welfare program. michael: well, i think our time is up. i'm informed. and now that we've seen how the reformed conservatives have solved all the problems, we have left them unsolved, raised some issues if not settled them. thanks very much to the panel. >> thanks, michael. [applause] >> nice to see you. how are you? for beingou very much here. we are off to a good start.
when we first started planning this conference, we were anticipating or some of us might have been, not me, of course, were anticipating may be different result in the election, and we were thinking that it might be kind of a therapy session for conservatives. [laughter] this better because we are focusing on what we can actually accomplish in the next coming years. i want to thank the participants on this panel. we have some real heroes at least for me. before i came to ai, i was the commissioner of social services in new york city for michael bloomberg. what i did was try to implement or help implement successfully what governor engler helps happen with welfare reform in 1996 when he was governor of michigan. he is now one of our partners at this event. the manhattan institute and one of our cosponsors and anybody in new york city that has tried to change or participated in the enormous transformation of new
york city since 1970, howard, you and i both know what new york city was like back then. we know that the manhattan institute wait an important role. the former bush administration's beach writer, one of the easily most eloquent and beautiful writers about public policy in the united states. we are honored to have you here as well. so, governor engler, i'm going to start with you. you listen to what we heard from speaker ryan, in the newspapers, and the business community is going to get a significant tax cut, they are going to get relief on regulation, and things are going to be good, but the question i want to know, for people fighting poverty, our employers learn to take up the charge of being better trainers and helping people, the sidelines and into work? is the employer community willing to take on that charge to take in folks who have been struggling, from prison, are you guys up to that challenge? >> i think so.
we are playing a big role already. before i get there, i want to expand that promise, so there is a real simple formula he laid out this morning. = parity. that is, -- the worst recovery coming out of a deep recession. that is really limited opportunities, but the demographics are absolutely against us right now is a great opportunity to have tremendous success with the breaking new, as he called it the poverty trap and helping people get back to work. and we do have to emphasize work but work in the 21st century is different work. it requires skills, competencies, you've got to have training. you just can't show up.
we have very limited number of jobs in the economy today that are going to provide the kind of incomes that people it can -- people can really build a life on and feel like they're getting on the economic ladder without skills and training. and we have, though, a massive national commitment to do that. $2650 billion annually in something called the k-12 system. that has to be in this conversation because the children growing up the rising generations are coming through that $650 expenditure. we'd like help. i think america for example can teach its children to read. today only 36% of american children can read proficiently at the end of the third grade. if we only get one out of three reading and guess where all the dropouts come from, out of that 64% that aren't reading proficiently. that's primary the source of
people that don't stay in complete, don't complete. so we would love to have a little more help i would say. we spend about $58 billion on training of employees that are working in american business today, but in company after company after company, the age of the worker in that company is getting a lot older. they're getting ready to retire. they are all baby boomer types. and so, we've got to train, but i think the ryan vision is spot on, and if you get the training system right, it will not only work for the rising generation but will provide re-entry points for the 30-year-old, 40-year-old 50-year-old for john paul ryan's , friend in wisconsin who is at the sidelines. >> i get the sense that president-elect trump is counting on the employer community out of sort of national pride and national commitment to be a participant in helping people. john: they will. they absolutely will want to do that. we think that the training and
skills agenda is a great opportunity of our time. we'd certainly like to disabuse america of the notion that everybody needs to go to college. let us put that statistic on the table. about 60% of youth go to college today. of that, only half complete. 40% don't go and half or the other 30% who don't complete. so that's 70% that are going to need skills and training. that's what we have to do better. >> peter, it's often said when we talk about any poverty policy or mobility that conservatives get the values right, work, family, faith. but liberals, and i know this from being in the trenches, get the details right and now how -- and know how the programs work. president-elect trump the other day in michigan said we need to get people off the welfare roles and into work.
hadn't heard that as much on the campaign. it was interesting that he said it in this post election event. he said we're going to follow two principles. we're going to tell people buy american and hire american. so that's a kind of -- those are value statements. how would you advise president-elect trump to talk about the values that are involved here in poverty and mobility? >> yeah, i guess i'd say several things. the first thing is that obviously, during the campaign, he was able to harness a vocabulary to tap into certain kind of rhetoric that reached struggling americans at least struggling white americans, blue collar americans. and he won the election because he was able to do that in part. i do think once you become president-elect and when you become president, you have to move from giving voice to grievances, which is sometimes important but be careful not to obsess on them. when you're running as an outsider, you can complain about the problems, but once you win, you become responsible for some of the solutions. so i think it's fine to continue to give voice to some of the
grievances, which are legitimate in a democratic society. but i do think that he has to move away and i think that his tendency is frankly i think during the campaign was demagogic and that's got to , stop. second thing is i think he has to speak honestly about the nature of the problems and why people are struggling. i just think that's very important. peter: and i think the data tells us and experience tells us when you are thinking about struggling americans, low income blue collar americans, it's an extremely complicated issue. some of it is economic and because of trends that you can't blame for democrats or republicans, globalization, technology, automation, things like that. some of it is a kind of values issue, the breakdown of communities, the breakdown of family the attenuation of faith. , and i think that he has to be
careful not to scapegoat the wrong people or identify the wrong problems. so my own view, i mean i'm a traditional classical conservative, not a trump conservative, if those aren't oxymoronic. i don't think free trade is the main issue. i understand that some communities have been hurt by it but if i had to give a hierarchy , of concerns or reasons for it, i would say that technology and automation are much higher. he's not going to do anything to stop that, and he shouldn't. so that means that the solutions are more complicated. i think you you have to talk -- i think you have to talk also in terms of the immediate and the long terms. so the immediate, of course, has to do with things like economic growth and policy changes. if it's an expansion of tax subsidies or relocation subsidies, economic growth, and there are more intermediate and long-term issues like the reform of education. the reality is that we haven't
been producing students, and young people, who can compete in the 21st century economy. and that's in part because our education system is out of touch. and there are public policy proposals that you can promote their from k12 all the way through to higher education. but that's going to obviously take some amount of time. and then you have family , disintegration which if there's anything that government can do to alleviate family disintegration, i'm not sure what it is. we've tried different things. this is really in the realm of -- or this is beyond the reach. i do think that you the dictum "do no harm" is a good one. so you don't want to subsidize or create incentives for people not to marry. and so forth. i think in the whole realm of donald trump and values, let's just say there are some areas and values off limits to him
that he's not very well equipped to talk about. family reunification is probably not a strong point, for example. i do think that of the areas when you talk about that have to be focused on and strengthened which is work, communities, , family, and faith, his value added is probably work. he can actually speak about that pretty well. he has some experience in doing that, and it is, i think, a continuing divide between liberalism and conservatism which is the value of work, the dignity of work, and i think to some extent conservatives have gotten away from that language in the last number of years. and it's worth reclaiming because work is a virtue, and it's obviously good in terms of people's life experience and the economy, but there's a kind of formative effect of character that work speaks to, as well.
so when he's speaking about values, that's the area that i would say he would want to focus on. the last thing i would say is, that he needs to begin to talk up america, not down america and speak aspirationally. again, i think this is just a shift that happens when you go from a candidate who is simply raging against the status quo to become president, particularly when you become a president where your party has control of the house and the senate. then you have to produce. and he's in the easy phase right now. when you're president-elect, you get to name the nominees. everything is, you know, sunlight and broad uplands, but once january 20th rolls around, he's going to be held responsible and it's not going to be an easy task. >> it's definitely true as a welfare administrator in the city, there's the policies. and then there's the message.
and if the message coming from the top, whether it's the president or the mayor or the governor, is the way to alleviate poverty is to increase transfer papers and assign people up, that's what the bureaucracy will do. if the message is the way to alleviate poverty is to get people into work, the bureaucracy will turn in that direction. i do think that i want to agree with you that that is his sweet spot and if he keeps talking about work, speaker ryan talks about work, governor engler, and the leaders of the community say this is what we want, how we relieve poverty is through employment, more people will go. >> i do want to say one thing. it's a good point. having worked in government three, the last three administrations, the reality is that when you're a conservative, the bureaucracy is against you. much more. and if you're a liberal, it tends to be with you. peter: so i think, if they don't know, they're going to find that it's one thing if you're a
secretary of education, say, or kinddent, and you use that of rhetoric, which i do think is important because it does accepted signals. it really in terms of the competence of government, it's more important for conservatives to be competent in government because the tasks they face is more difficult because of this what i guess i would call ideological inertia against them. robert: howard you focused on , civil society. you heard speaker ryan give his endorsement of civil society as a players that have been left out or aren't being fully utilized. do you think that he's, let's not say whether he's right or wrong. do you think civil society can do as much as he's asking them to do in the fight against poverty and help people move up? howard: thanks, robert. i'd like to say that a lot of people have intellectual grasp of issues and some other people are great administrators. since nobody's introducing you, i want to say you have both and it happened in new york city where the welfare roles were
kept down and encouragement to work was in the air and it made a difference. howard: as far as civil society and government, i think we have to be aware of the fact that there has been a long relationship between civil society and government and has not entirely been a positive experience. for instance, government, according to the urban institute, there are 56,000 non-profits in the united states that have 350,000 government contracts which are valued at $137 billion. >> wow. howard: right? that's a big relationship between government and civil society right now. [laughter] howard: and i don't think anybodyies that it's involving -- it is solving all of our social problems. in fact, what's been happening is that civil society, you know, like a fish coming up for oxygen in a polluted pond has struggled nonetheless to assert itself and
show its vitality. so i've been fortunate for the manhattan institute the last 15 years to run what we call our social entrepreneurship initiative. we go all around the country looking for these civil society groups and recognizing them. and what's very interesting about them, several will be represented on this program this afternoon. who runshris kotowski a program for returning prisoners in cleveland and afla who runs a program to prepare inner city residents for running their own small businesses which , what is really interesting about a lot of these programs is they are doing the things the government programs say they're doing. so wait a minute. we're developing this parallel structure of civil society which is recognizing wait a minute, we -- recognizing, well wait a , minute, we have a huge parole and probation system. every state has got a huge one. why isn't it doing a better job placing people in jobs once they are out, the way the welfare system was reformed,
right? we have head start systems, head start program all around the country and yet, we see a program like jump start come along and say, well, wait a minute this is not working. , and you can go in policy area after policy area and see these green chutes or problems that are struggling to assert themselves. i think one of the real interesting questions for speaker ryan would be, how do you have a relationshiping with civil society, between civil society and government that doesn't strangle civil society. you know, and the george w. bush administration tried this with the faith-based initiative and i think it got mixed reviews. people came out of the woodwork looking for support and maybe they weren't the most effective organizations. a couple of -- i'll make two or three policy points about government and civil society and how best to encourage it. one, there might be an ideal taxes them in which taxes were extremely low and people had a lot of disposable income.
disposable income more than they have now. and they would be extremely fill -- philanthropic as a result. that tax system is not on the horizon in the next little while. therefore, i think it's important, every one of the organizations that speaker ryan talks about or that you know, he's going around to see with bob woodson depends on the charitable tax deduction. it's not our largest tax expenditure, but it's a very significant one. and i think those who have qualms about the charitable tax deduction would have to say if you're more worried about keeping revenues neutral, then you believe that the government can do a better job of spending those revenues than civil society can. i don't happen to believe that. i don't think there's much of a good record on that. so there's an interesting i don't know if it's a debate yet but it is a burgeonen split between the better way plan and
the incoming administration's tax reform plan. the better way plan preserves, even though as it lowers tax rates, it preserves the charitable tax deduction. the incoming administration trump plan caps all deductions. it doesn't carve out any particular ones. that's pretty good as far as the mortgage interest rate goes -- interest deduction goes which distorts housing markets one can make an argument. but if you company deductions at $200,000 as the trump plan proposes to do, there's a good chance that especially in high tax blue states where you have a lot of philanthropy right now, people will lose all incentive to give to charity. dice.s a big roll of the another possibility na we might -- that we might want to consider, between 1984 and 1987, the reagan administration tried to extend it the charitable tax reduction for non-itemizes,
right? so only 25% of americans it item -- itemize their taxes. there's a lot of philanthropy that happens at very low income levels, especially to religious organizations. they get no respect, if you will. and the urban institute, gene sisterly, who is a very veteran tax economist, has stipulated we could increase charitable giving by $10 billion if we tweaked the tax code in a way to encourage nonitemizers. that's complicated, but we ought to try to do it. the last out of the box point, i thought we were supposed to make out of the box points so i'll try to do it here. >> i didn't say anything about it? howard: ok. >> i'll take it. i'll take it. howard: one of the ways civil society bubbles up is people really care about their own places where they live, whether it's janesville, wisconsin or new york city it and liberals
-- city. and liberals have pushed for many years with a lot of the success for regional governments. larger and larger units of governments. all right? the catholic church talks about subsidy airity and how you undermine it as your lines of accountability get distended. that's happened. we have 12,000 school districts today. in 1950, we had 50,000 school districts. i actually believe when people are in smaller units of government, they tend to be more attentive to their civil societies and feel, i want to help my town. and as government becomes more distant, i think they lose that umbilical link. i think we ought to resist this regionalization trend which hud has pushed for and has been part of liberal dogma for some time. so tax policy and then that. robert: so governor engler one , of the things that we know president-elect trump talked a lot about was immigration. among conservatives, there are some who feel that tougher
immigration policies are also an antipoverty policy because they reduce the competition for entry level jobs for native americans and they allow for little , tighter labor market and wages can rise and people can be brought in. when president-elect trump's administration pushes for you know, everify, and much tougher rules on employers for hiring nondocumented immigrants, is the business community going to push back? john: the business community at least the business roundtable where i am is totally supportive of everify. thinks it makes perfect sense. i think it's happening to accelerate the implementation of that. there are parts of the workforce though where i would say their continued success, and we saw this just recently in parts of the country where we saw a little uptick in construction and almost immediately, we're
starting to run out of workers. nobody wants to do those jobs. agriculture community is a good example, where a lot of crops aren't going to get harvested. there's been all kinds of regulations over a longer period of time, a great pace of you know, to mechanize and to automate the harvesting of almost everything, incredible engineering going on there. but you still have some crops where they do need some commodities, you have to have workers. we got a little taste of this after 9/11 actually when the borders really got tightened up and actually closed. and i saw the hospitality industry where the grand hotel in michigan has had probably three generations of workers coming from jamaica and that is the staff that works at the hotel and so the grandpa work
ed there, and now the grandson , or the granddaughter is there. they tried to hire across michigan for people to come to the grand hotel and people would come and work maybe one pay period and they're out of there saying this is way too hard. this is not what i want to do. and so, we do have this problem. pete talked about this virtue of work, to getting back to that because we've got some work clearly, at least many americans , concluded this is work is one thing but not that kind of work. that's not what i want to do. and so i do think there's going , to have to be and should be a robust guest worker program. and i think that's going to be part of any solution. i think the ultimate compromise in congress, you're going to see the administration working with congress to secure the border. they're going to have a debate about, well, that's all wall or some combination of. but i think that has to be a precursor. they can work that stuff out.
i actually am optimistic about immigration reform being done and i think it's the nation's interest to get that issue behind us. but i don't think the it is the central issue to what as us in -- to what ails us in terms of our own challenge of confronting poverty including intergenerational poverty in this country. i do think that that is an abandonment going back a few years of what was once called vocational training in favor of some idea that everybody needs to go to college. we need to get back to skills and competency. everybody has to have a skill and competency. i might argue that if you have got that your life opens up with first, a lot more options. this is america. anybody can do -- can seek to be their best but do it in the right order. >> i think that, i don't know whether, pete, you want to weigh in on this, but when a president makes an issue of such importance, there's a leadership credibility issue where something has to happen on that
issue in order to preserve the credibility. on the other hand, i think that there's a desire to make it not be so severe that it cripples our economy. what do you think, pete, about that? peter: yeah. first, i agree with what governor engler said. i think his take on immigration is right. positions, theis ability to be jettisoned to previous positions, he's quite accomplished at that. he's spent a lifetime doing it. so i don't imagine that will stop. he's already given up what i think are some of the more pernicious elements of his immigration proposals, if you want to use a euphemism. his mass deportation force which was a nonstarter, and he gave that up i think even during the campaign. then there was his talk about well, a wall is a virtual wall or a fence in a wall and some , version of that. and remember, donald trump eviscerated mitt romney for being too tough on immigration in 2012, but he deemed it in his political interests to pivot for
2016, which he did. i would say on this immigration issue a couple of things. one is i had a sense that illegal immigration was a proxy for other things that were going on which i think was probably a , sense for a lot of people of i think an extremely rapidly changing culture. and i think that the issue of immigration and illegal immigration got attached to it. there was simply, i thought, too many people who were untouched by immigration or illegal immigration who were angry about it, and i do think that there was a sense that the culture is changing and the country is changing, and this became an issue on it. other thing is, one thing that conservatives used to talk about a lot was assimilation. and we got away from that, and i think part of the problem was the assimilation of new
immigrants and the sense that wasn't happening or hasn't happened help contribute to some of the heatedness of this issue. it's also not like there aren't countries in the world that have immigration, you know, policies that don't work. i mean, canada and australia, i think, are probably two that have immigration policies that are consistent with their economic requirements. and i do think that emphasizing visas for high school workers is a smart way to go. and to view the immigration system as a kind of talent recruiting system, where you get the world's most gifted and driven people to come to our shores. i think, if i understand governor engler's position, i don't think that there is a massive difference on immigration. i think some of it's been rhetorical. i think an awful lot of people certainly in the republican , party and conservative party agree with the need for border security.
the reality is that the border is more secure now than it was in the past, and e-verify and , understand that illegal immigration is a problem, but i do think that there are areas of common ground, and maybe now that trump, ryan, and mcconnell are in positions of leadership, it may be that this issue that was so divisive may turn out in the first term to be an area of actually some policy success. robert: so you know, i've spent my career working with people on welfare or coming home from prison or looking for employment opportunities. my whole desire was to get people into the workplace. and there is an aspect of this in competition for jobs. and you know, along with wanting employers to be bigger and better trainers and nurturers of new workers, i think there is a desire out there that that added competition from nondocumented workers goes down so these
people, who are sometimes having a hard time getting in or accepting a wage at a certain level, can get in at maybe a slightly higher wage. there's potential there on this. i want to turn to, you want to , howard? howard: i wanted to jump in on assimilation and workforce preparation point. one of the great stories of civil society that i think has precedential value for us today, at the turn of the 20th century there was an institution in the united states called the settlement house. the settlement house was all about preparing new immigrants learn english, understand the american way, if you will. there were 400 settlements across account united states. they had no government money. zero. hull house gave benny good man man his first clarinet. that was good. right? and there are millions of stories like that. the precedent of that is you can start new organizations locally and speaker ryan made this , point, tell those stories,
have others do similar things in their local communities, and then start a conversation about, we don't really need the government to do that because we have this organization doing it. we have habitat for humanity that's doing small home construction. we have teach for america that's encouraging people to come forward and choose teaching as a career. so when institutions start and spread, eventually, the story can come out that, well, maybe government doesn't need to do that, and to the extent that government works with those kind of institutions, it ought to take the lead from them rather than, well, here's a contract we need to a job trainer. no, find that smart person who has started the really good organization and say okay, we'll give you some minority of your funds at most and then encourage you, and i think that a lot of the organizations i see to the governor's point about
database from all the credentials offered in the country because we are an wash -- awash in credentials being created. some are high value, some are not. take john, paul ryan's friend in back in wisconsin. he's at a store. he can get him to -- he ought to be in a welding program that ought to be high quality bench marked to the american welding society standards, get that credential. all of a sudden his income goes from $20,000 to $75,000. and yet, he could today maybe the very good advertisers by a college running a sub par welding program, he wouldn't know the difference. the gove61afow1 i would react to ryan's comments. etingey are compw globally. what are the skills those workers need to help that plant compete globally? let's inventory those skills. plant has 100 employees.
one of the gaps in my background, that if we had gotten their earlier, maybe they could have competed -- it works both ways. but that is where we ought to be involved. there is support in the tax code . it hasn't been changed in a long time. i think there's ways where we can amp that up a bit. the other thing i would say in the country that we shouldn't overlook, and this is an opportunity for the incoming administration, about 531 workforce boards. they ought to be doing the kind in these schools,
and they ought to be available in the community. extending not for work supports? you would rather get better skills, better training, and higher wages? >> skills leads to that opportunity. >> i want to jump in. fortune division marion, ohio. the natural gas fracking boom was in full bloom there. in ohio, it is really big. firms that i talked to said they were turning away lots of job applicants because they couldn't pass drug tests. so let's talk about they're thinking they need that little extra money. that would be nice. they're not even getting in the door. it may be that if employers are going to play a role, they may
have to help people get off opioids if we're putting pressure on employers to play a social role because we're having problems that are just that basic. >> yeah, i'd say conceptually it's not an either or. you're right. i don't think you go around the country and you talk to people and they say what i'm looking for is an increase in my eitc. they would have a better job. what happens if the better job isn't there? i wouldn't make the ideal the enemy of the good. so the question becomes, are there some things that you can do to help alleviate the suffering and improve the conditions of people who are in a difficult place right now and do it in a responsible way that affirms the right behavior, the right kind of values, and mitigates against the worst. i'm fine with expanding earning subsidies like eitc including the childless workers as a way to increase the reward to work and the work force participation rate and reduce poverty.
i think eitc has a good history actually on that. and to expand the child tax credits. the relocation subsidies is an interesting idea. i don't frankly know what you could do that at large. but it is true that long-term unemployed, there's just parts of the country where to move would be helpful and then the payroll tax which is regressive to cut those. i think those things would help. i wanted to mention too, this is how sometimes live presents you opportunities as well as problems that you never imagined. this kind of energy revolution i think walter russell mead talked about. this is really completely transformed not just the energy sector but this could be a kind of jobs revolution. >> it is. an extraordinary potential we know that america
has on the energy side that ten years ago that we didn't know about. and that's something worth exploiting in a responsible way. i do think that a republican house, senate and president could take advantage of that. >> he's right on that. you think about that. there's new plants that can be built. but then we ought to take the permitting processes that had to be five years and get that down to one. fob's going to build a plant and put the environment at risk. we can make the same decisions in half a year we're making in five years today. you can do things, i want to speak up for infrastructure investment. it gets confused when somebody says, $1 trillion infrastructure -- actually, that new you know fracking plant that's going to use that natural gas would be part of infrastructure. so would redoing the electric grid. the current transmission lines are infirnt enough that we lose enough electricity in transmission to simply pay for the upgrading of the grid at the same time. >> and more vulnerable to cyber attacks. >> and we could harden it for security purposes at the same time.
that's all over the country. so what do we need to there? we need permits and you need to figure out among the states like the interstate connections how you do cost allocation. but there's no capital shortage. that's all private capital, not government money to do that. we've had a long time plan to do the air track control system upgrade which would modernize that system. there are dedicated funds today that could be leveraged but the federal budget doesn't allow for capital budgeting even on a capital project like that which could be done. faa's been at it for two decades. you would probably have it done in less than three years and bonded for it and you're going to use it for next half century. we look all over the government and there are these opportunities. so it's not the idea of somehow going into the treasury and putting more iou's in there. there's a lot of things that just doing what we claim we're trying to do today in a more effective business like manner.
probably the one strength that trump brings that's unusual to anybody that's been president is how to leverage up and do a big deal. i expect some of that stuff to get done. >> robert, ietc. we're combining how do we jump start growth and prepare people to take advantage of that growth as individuals. we have to do both, obviously. but on eitc, i wanted to call on orrin cas's idea which speaker ryan called out this morning which is to make the eitc a weekly wage supplement rather than a lump sum at the end of the year. i had a son who spent time in the mississippi delta. it would be typical for people to go to payday lenders, borrow against their upcoming eitc and come out behind because they were paying interest charges so if were a kind of reverse payroll tax where you were reinforced for work every week, that's a better work incentive and that's what eitc is about
-- >> we tried to do that in michigan. >> there's an operational issue with it. the other thing about the eitc, it has a very big error rate and conservatives rightly are very concerned about that and they are not going to go along with an expansion or extension to new populations like childless adult until that gets tackled. i noticed that in the way the better way proposal came through. speaker ryan had spoken about a childless eitc. when he went to his conference, it wasn't there. i think it's because of this error rate which heritage released a paper on. it's pretty serious given the debt problem, a $20 billion error rate is not something you can walk away from. >> if it's tied to employers every week, you can reduce that. >> that would be a big change. you could do that. the speaker did speak about that. that would be a fundamental change. >> we suggested lagging it a year. in other words, use the prior year data. that maybe gets you 80% of the
way there. that alone would be a huge help. then you're looking in the rearview mirror and your data should be accurate. >> another population group and we'll have a criminal justice panel later in the day, but etch offenders who come back to their community face powerful work disincentives. that's a huge population. that's 600,000 by definition poor people coming out of prisons and jails every year. it's a huge number. and so we know about laws that restrict what ex-offenders what kind of jobs they can take. but many of these men, and it's mainly men owe and you know all about this robert, huge child support payments. now, we don't want to reward deadbeat dads obviously but we don't want to drive them into the underground economy because their wages get garnished to a point where it doesn't make it sensible for them to work. so we could use, just as we used a time limit on welfare as a way to draw women into the
workforce, we could use some forgiveness in exchange for work tied to work. keeping this principle of work on the table. to say, well, okay, if you get a job, we'll reduce your child support payment by x payment or we'll defer it or something because these guys are going back to dealing drugs because it doesn't make sense for them to take a job. >> the issue of men in all kinds of ways of being out of the workforce, the issues with criminal justice and returning to society is maybe the group in the poverty population that is the most in need of additional or different kinds of attention because they're not -- they're left out of the work and work support system of tannif and welfare reform. i have one last question about cities. the president-elect periodically says i'm going to do something about those cities. and we're going to do something about cities. i may be wrong about this, howard, and you may know the history better. but in a previous time, people went right by mayors to community groups.
isn't that right, howard? howard: daniel patrick moynihan a book called maximum feasible misunderstanding. >> governor ingler, you're a former state legislature. and you know the landscape of politics and communities. do we want to do that again? do we want to do that again? do we want to go by mayors and go right to community groups from the federal government or how do we integrate government and civil society if we were going to do something for the cities? john: let's start with something that the speaker talked about in his opening comments. he talked about the importance of metrics and how we measure things. and i think this is a great opportunity for whole conservative world to figure out what it is we want to to measure, how we're going to measure it, how we make those very transparent and then that clears can up a lot of this where you know, because the sort of the shell game with where the money is.
i think you've got to again think about, i don't think you can bypass cities but i do think you can make it i for instance works give the mayors control of all the schools. i this i getting rid of school boards and detroit is a perfect example. the mayor of detroit ought to be in charge of the detroit schools, not symptom anonymous school board over here because you can't have a city that gets fixed without schools at work. but at the same time, i wouldn't let him have a monopoly and make sure there's a lot of competition and school choice and charter schools and everything flourish like betsy devos will take that view as secretary. on the kinds of programs that can come back, i mean, i think we've got to think about, those cities have terrific high unemployment problems for those youth. so i think we're going to have to have many more apprentice programs. you know, and probably the group we need to get to buy in are the coaches in the cities. we seem to run everything for the coaches. if we get the football, ba