tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current September 7, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
governor granholm, eliot spitzer, and john fugelsang. if the democrats are bad, you know me, i call them out on it. their convention was significantly better than the republican convention. we'll see how it goes. it was an amazing experience either way. we'll see you monday. [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> eliot: good evening i'm eliot spitzer and this is "viewpoint." after a show start thursday president obama closed the democratic convention with some soaring rhetoric in the promise of a rising middle class economy. >> obama: if you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers, if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone
plays by the same rules then i need you to vote this n ready known that the august's jobs report would flatten his bump coming out of the convention and weaken his chances for re-election this fall. while most economists expected 125,000 new jobs last month, the labor department reported just 96,000 new private sector hires and while the unemployment rate dropped 268,000 people dropped out of the workforce. and if that's not enough, workforce participation rate is at its lowest level since ronald reagan's first year in office, around 65%. president obama did his best to spin the jobs in the his way as he campaigned in supports mouth portsmouth,
new hampshire. >> a total of more than 4.6 million jobs, but that's not good enough. we know it's not good enough. >> eliot: but g.o.p. vice president candidate paul ryan was caustic as he diagnosed the problem on cnbc. >> this is not recovery. we need growth. we need to get it the right policies in place. >> romney: i think the president's plans is for more years of the for last years. i don't think the american people want four more years of the four last years. >> eliot: i'm joined by political reporter joe williams and dan gross and author of "better, stronger, faster." dan, let me start with you.
96,000 was not just shocking but dismal number, certainly not good news for the president. what can he be doing? >> the base of 131 million jobs out there, whether you're up 100,000, or 200,000. it's a minuscule statistical blip. on the other hand you always want it to be more rather than less. the long-term trend is that we're adding jobs. the 96,000 has to be a disappointment. it provides an entry point for romney to come back and talk about the economy instead of social issues. the white house they get this number the night before, and so there was clearly in his mind when he was giving that speech. >> eliot: you're exactly right. 131 million jobs, 100,000 is not a big number one way or another. but month after month we're in a net range of 150,000 jobs and we
need 200,000 to 250,000. the wages are stagnant and middle class earnings are stagnant to dropping, and that is the crux of the crisis. what can be done? >> well, you know, in that intro to the piece paul ryan said something true. this is not what a recovery looks like. typically we get much more robust job growth. obama's narrative seems to be we lost a ton of jobs. we started to get them back. and if we just let the economy grow and kind of avoid disasters like the fiscal cliff and unnecessary austerity we'll get the jobs back. we'll got some of them back, but without change in policy, more infrastructure spending, help the states so they don't keep firing people. >> eliot: we might talk more about the fed in a moment, but i want to go to joe there was enthusiasm and a sense of real passion in that convention hall.
then suddenly this morning reality strikes, and you have a president stuck with bad job numbers again. i also didn't hear--tell me if i missed it--the prescription of what is going to change. i hate to sound like mitt romney, trust me. but what is going to change based on what we heard from the president last night. >> that's a very good question. i don't think the white house knows. mostly you have a recalcitrant congress. you heard a lot of talk and for the first time openly by some senior democrats bill clinton among them about republican obstructionism. it reminds voters and democrats that republicans failed to pass the president agency jobs bill. they've been obstructing the stimulus that was kind of small and basically a lot of republicans are still against would you quantitative easing.
quantitative easing. they've been joking that it's like the fireman who steps on the hose and wonders why the water is not coming out yet. it will take a while for the numbers to come around but it effects only one person with a weak jobs number, and that's mitt romney. >> eliot: blocking the remedial steps that could be taken and the quantitative easing from the fed, with the fiscal policy off the table you're left only with the fed as an actor. there is pressure on ben bernanke to go to qe 3. >> bernanke has been saying for the last several months to anyone who will listen, stop asking me tad to do more. the interest rates are at zero.
ityou people on the fiscal side. you got to do something. what he means is not only do more stimulus, but avoid these things the train wreck of the debt ceiling limit that we had. all eyes are looking at him and i don't think he's going to do anything. >> eliot: when ben bernanke talks, the stock market jumps. it has not had an enormous, and in his teach speech last week, 2 million jobs as a consequence of the qe 1 and 2, i don't know if qe 3 would get us to the same place. i think the president's speech at the moment it was delivered was good rhetoric but the next morning i felt the same way i feel after some meals i eat, i was hungry. why not give us more of a road
map with here is what we're going to do, and here are the specifics that i'm going to propose and demand that congress vote it up and down. put the wood to them. >> that's part of the issue. a lot of people in the hall were fired up about president obama's tougher rhetoric. if we had soars rhetoric about images, the shining city on the hill of obama's version of 2008 last night we had a nuts and bolts approach. around the center part of the arena very little standing ovations. the president was talking about problems, and it wasn't reaching that far. the prescription is very difficult, mainly because we don't know what congress is going to look like. if we agree that it will take all three branches of government to get this done, and you've got two branches of government, the legislative and executive and one branch that is fully committed to not doing anything it will be very hard to offer a prescription and then deliver on it when you've got someone standing in your way.
a full branch of the government standing in your way. i might add quickly governor, you talked about how the states need more money to spend. there needs to be more public sector hiring. none of that is going to happen with the tea party in congress opposed to any spending. and austerity plans a central plank of the republican platform platform. >> eliot: china yesterday announced $156 billion stimulus package. this is china whose economy is growing at about 7.6%. our is growing at 1.7%. we're standing here doing nothing. they're spending $156 billion to build subways roads the infrastructure that economists across the political spectrum are saying we need to invest in. another bad data point. small business. net zero job growth last month according to the national federation of small business. that strikes right at the heart because that's where job growth comes from. >> that speaks to the lack of demand. when people want more goods and
services they spend more. and then people hire. it's interesting. obama has been forthright in using his executive power in foreign policy. he didn't need congress to go after bin laden. he didn't need congress to end don't ask don't tell. he should be identifying things that don't need congress' approval to benefit the economy. fannie mae mortgages modification. that's something. >> there has been a lot of arm twisting of ed dimarco the conservator of of sally may and freddie mac. and they say they don't have any more power to twist his arm. >> eliot: they should be going after every conceivable way. the real problem joe i think dan is exactly right and i and
many people have been saying for years until you deal with the mortgage crisis you won't deal what is really at the root of the economy. the problem has been the treasury department. the treasury did not appreciate that simple premise. tim geithner was willing to let it work its way on its own. and grievous mistake. it debilitated our economy. the successes and jennifer granholm. >> she was awesome. >> she was awesome. it's the auto bailout. i'm struck that mitt romney has not responded adequately. what is the republican party going to say about its meaningful support to bail out the auto industry. >> they're going to say nothing. it's better than saying something. they're likely to get the message wrong. they already have the imagine of not being the party of the working man and this could give further ammunition for the democrats to pin on them.
one further thing on housing. they're easing back very slowly. but when you have the opportunity to do something serious, you have the rent on rant on the business channel in essence, the tea party-- >> eliot: centelli. >> exactly. they have not been able to pars out how to get beyond that argument how to get beyond that notion of moral hazard to moral good and have the economy recover a lot better without the notion of someone getting something that they didn't deserve. >> eliot: the moral hazard argument rolls out only when it concerns the little people. there is no moral hazard with the banking and they were bailed out and it only comes out when we talk about small homeowners. am i right about this? it's a grossly inequitable
dynamic. >> the things we did have control over, we did the best we could. the things we don't have control over, what do you want from us? that's true to the extent of car recovery. michigan seems to be off the map. ohio is a huge car production state. toledo is all about jeep and g.m. and you're going to hear a lot of talk about that going forward from the democrats and comparatively little from the republicans. >> eliot: the auto bailout will be the president's political saving grace. i give him credit on an economic level. i think tim geithner and you just said it, dan, thinks that he used the powers to the full extent that he had it did not begin to under the leverage that he had and that's the mistake that they didn't know how to use it. joe williams and dan gross thank you for your time it this evening.
>> eliot: global climate change is refashions our landscape. and it's new topography is making it more vulnerable to the sun's rays. the worse it gets the worse it gets. that brings us to the number of the day. less than one percent. that's how much of the earth's surface was covered by arctic ice by the end of august. this is less than half of what it was in 30 years ago. now we all learned in grammar school that light colors such as white reflect heat. and dark colors such as black absorb it. so a generation ago we had three million square miles of white ice bouncing solar radiation off
the earth's surface. now more than 1.5 million square miles of that area is dark water. which is absorbing the solar energy. prospects are slim that our government will take meaningful action. although the president mentioned carbon pollution last night climate change is accelerating, and republicans still refuse to admit it's even a problem. but as the president said, global warming is not a hoax. and it is gaining on us. >> this court has proven to be the knowing, delighted accomplice in the billionaires' purchase of our nation. >> and you think it doesn't affect you? think again.
13 >> eliot: we all hate paying taxes but boy do we like all the stuff that government does for us every hour of every day. if this election is forcing us to think about the role big government plays in our lives maybe it's time to take a step back to catalog how much we actually rely on that big government. joining us now is "time" magazine senior national correspondent michael begun walled whose latest story "one nation subsidized appears on the cover of the latest issue of "time" magazine. and he is also the author of "the new new deal: the hidden story of change in the obama era." thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. >> eliot: you like every one of us eat from the public trough. tell us about it. >> i do. every morning i wake up in my subsidized housing. it's not that i live in a low
income housing development but i own my home. i get the mortgage interest as a deduction for me. i brush my teeth with my subsidized water. i go downstairs and eat cooler with subsidizeed grain. my wife goes off in her car to drive on public roads and living to public radio. i go playpen tennis on the public courts. really it's a very subsidized day. >> eliot: i read the article. it's fascinating. you just told us about the morning of the day. it continues throughout bedtime. all of us are living and consuming the public goods that our government provides through the tax codes and everyone one of us is eating out of that trough. >> there has been a republican
trope about the makers, every pay taxes payroll taxes, gas taxes, real estate taxes, sales taxes. we are are also all takers. we have the direct subsidies from the government that keeps us safe, picks up our trash builds our roads and bridges and provide our medicare and social security and our defense which takes up most of the budget, but also the tax expenditures as you mentioned, which we really don't notice because it's just money that we don't pay to the government but for our healthcare, for our--for my nanny, for my savings and 401k and home deductions, and particularly on the tax side the more money you make, the bigger the break you get from government. >> eliot: just to put some numbers on this. the federal budget is about $3.8 trillion and tax expenditures are about
$1.3 trillion. so both of these are enormous numbers. and as you pointed out most of the federal budget goes to medicaid medicare, social security and the defense. the non-discretional spending is 12% of the spending. that's where people say they want to cut but that's the 12%. how do you having thought about this begin to pars where government should and should not get involved. how do you make that choice? >> it's interesting. i got the idea for the story while i was working on--i did this book about the recovery act and the stimulus, which was $800 billion that went to all over the place. people were under this impression that it was just $800 billion of waste that had nothing to do with them when 95% of the country got a tax cut. it got me thinking about where the money goes. i went to washington, and i talked to the liberal center for policy priorities and the libertarian kato institute and
it was amazing how much they agreed on the things we could get rid of. farm subsidyies that is shuffling money to farmers who don't need it. the home mortgage deduction. i like free cash, but the bigger the house you have and the more money you make, the better it suits you. the more you get from the home deduction. there is $700 billion in annual subsidies for government programs that actually make the environment worse things like army corps of engine near, water projects that drain wetlands and sprawl roads. there is all kinds of waste that the left and right can agree on. but of course, we like talking about how we don't like government, but when it comes to the cutting government people like it just fine. >> eliot: you're exactly right. first of all you referred in this book you wrote, it's a brilliant book, you were on the show two weeks ago with the "the new new deal." >> thanks. >> eliot: to come back to what you just articulateed, the right
spend less, and the left is mushy on that. it's not a left-right division. farmers will never let go of their farm subsidies and given the way the housing market is i can't imagine that obama or romney would get rid of it. you have special interest politics that has a grip on the congress and white house and that seems to be the problem. >> i guess maybe the good news is that the big-ticket items things like healthcare, the pentagon, you know, you can get rid of a lot of it without people noticing it that much. president obama is getting a lot of flack oh, you cut $716 billion in medicare. actually that does not effect people's benefits. there is a false debate going on about it, but it shows there are big opportunities in federal
spending. one thing that i really found that there is a lot that the right and left can learn from this ping. the right says the government does too much, it's too big. and it is you biggous in our lives. and i don't know if it will make the lions and the lambs lie down and do business but it is something that both sides can learn. >> eliot: whether it will succeed in moving the debate forward, i don't know, but what you've done by this article is to begin to jade the public the degree to each one of us is really participating in government. your healthcare is subsidized. your benefits are deductible. you don't pay tax on them. your home mortgage deduction. many are complaining and are direct beneficiaries. people have to come to grips with that intellectually before
we can go to where we can cut. >> we're all welfare queens. >> david: we don't want to see ourselves that way, but once we come to that reality then we can begin to come to the conversation what things are lower. that's why your statement the left and the the left and the right we should be cutting. >> we're conscious takers but we're blind to our taking. i think if there were more appreciation in fact, everyone who works is contributing and paying into the treasury. at the same time we're all beneficiaries of this big government, i think it could lead to a more productive debate debate. >> eliot: time magazine michael grunwald. thank you for joining us
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>> eliot: coming up, the increasing critical situation in syria. but first karl rove rides a segue with jimmy fallon speaks at a convention and chuck norris makes clinton eastwood look reasonable. when it doesn't fit anywhere else we put it in the viewfinder viewfinder. >> karl rove are going to segue into charlotte. >> spoiler alert. the democrats will nominate barack obama. >> it's with much love and pride that i present to you my best friend, my twin brother san antonio mayor julian castro. >> i stand before you tonight as a proud democrat. a proud latino. and a proud citizen of these united states. >> my favorite job was having a
boss who gave the order to take out bin laden and whose cool is all of us getting gay married. so thank you invisible man in the chair for that. >> what do you say to people if you just--you know, i know people-- >> do you think that president obama doesn't love this country? >> i think he's more about a global being global, um, what's the word-- >> you're absolutely crazy. >> i just don't believe that he loves america the way that we do. i mean-- >> we who? >> he's more about one world. >> what does that mean? >> i just explained it to you. >> we can no longer sit quietly or stand on the sidelines and watch our country go the way of socialism or something much worse. [ ♪ music ♪ ]
>> today the thrill of president obama is gone. >> americans feel no hope, and have seen the change for the worse. democrats are dispirited enthusiasm is clearly on the republican side. [applause] >> all across america manufacturing is rebounding! why! let's reelect our great president barack obama! >> are you going to vote on election day? >> probably. i haven't missed very many. >> no include who you're going to vote for? >> no include. i'll just keep plugging along. >> eliot: there are too many crazies and cranks, and too many of them in politics. the carnage has gotten worse in syria. that's next.
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>> eliot: the misery continues to mount in syria where an increasingly violent up rising rages into its 18th month. the death toll is estimated to be over 21,000 and more than 230,000 refugees have fled to mostly neighboring states of turkey and jordan. forces loyal to the ruthless regem of president bash shar al-assad continue their near-ceaseless assault. meanwhile senators john mccain lindsey graham and joseph lieberman wrapped up their visit to iraq where they urged top officials to support the effort to overthrow assad. newly elected egyptian president moment morsi surprised some this week appearing to stand strong against assad warning that his time won't be long. joining me now to discuss the
late nest syria is marc ginsberg, former u.s. u.s. ambassador to morocco who also served as deputy senior adviser for middle east policies to president carter. welcome. >> thank you. >> with the report of chemical weapons, this sounds treacherous. >> it does. you indicated there are hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming across syria's northern border with turkey and southern board with jordan creating an humanitarian crisis for relief, but think of the untold thousand who is are injured and wounded inside the cities who no longer have relief coming to them. >> eliot: this is a humanitarian crisis. i do not see the international community organizing itself to
handle the refugee crisis in turkey jordan, or beginning to act in a way that is appropriate for what is going on in syria. am i not seeing it, or is there not an efficient response. >> it's not only inadequate, but it's embarrassing inadequate. the greater the humanitarian crisis in syria the more impact it has in destabilizing our allies in turkey and elsewhere let alone those who will be die dieing. >> eliot: president morsi of egypt seems to be saying the right things. when he went to iran for the meeting of the non-aligned nations there was concern he was dipping his toe into a lake we didn't want him to be participating in under any
circumstances. but then when he got there he delivered harsh rebuke to assad. i think that surprised and pleased people. how do you view his role, and how do you think it will play out? >> i was on your show about a week or so ago before the conventions, and i indicated at the time i was concerned about him going to tehran and trying to punch above his weight. he clearly struck a blow toage to ahmadinejad and not only did he state he was against iran's nuclear program, but that he was ready to basically run run basharalbashar al-assad under the bus. >> eliot: nobody knows how will that play out, but the fact that he would stand up to iran and syria i think is making people
rethink what his role in in the international community might be. >> there is a vacuum of leadership in the sunni arab middle east. a man like morsi who has had zero foreign policy experience and coming out of nowhere he's demonstrating political strength and formidable willingness to step out on the foreign policy stage. the key is whether or not in the end this is all part of a master plan that may be inconsistent with israel and america's interest in the long run or if he's demonstrating really good footsteps into areas that are very complex. >> eliot: what should we be doing? clearly china and russia are roadblocks in terms of getting u.n. security council resolutions through. should we be by passing the u.n.? should we be doing more? should we be deeply concerned
about the reports, i don't know if they're accurate or not, but about chemical weapons being dispersed throughout syria. >> there are two important positions. our role where iran is supplying more weapons to syria. billions of dollars of aid from the united states, number one. number two where is the united states in the international community providing support to the international relief fund organization such as the red cross to provide the relief necessary. i said in my last article in the "huffington post," i'm not in favor of boots on the ground, but we could certainly provide angels in the air. we could provide for humanitarian support. this is where i'm most unhappy about the obama administration's failure on syria. it's bad enough that it does not have a policy to deal with the strategic issues, but why can't
we do more on the humanitarian side? >> eliot: the failure to act, do you think we'll lose them as it were, and will they turn elsewhere for support and say you know what, united states, you talked a good game but you didn't show up when we needed you and we'll find our finds elsewherefriendselsewhere. >> it's not speculation. it's a fact. the syrian army came out and publicly criticized the administration for promising to deliver non-lethal assistance, which hardly has reached the recipients that we claimed it was going to reach. even i met with our colleagues at the state department who claimed they were unable to deliver the equipment they claimed they were going to provide the free syrian army. it seems we're going to bolster intelligence forces on either side of syria. maybe that will help. but we have certainly over promised and under delivered and that's causing real problems among allies that we should have on that side of the fence.
♪ ♪ ♪ i find myself at the wrong place ♪ [ male announcer ] the ram 1500 express. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ in a deep, hemi-rumble sort of way. guts. glory. ram. >> eliot: we heard bold words from democrats last night but were their actual plans all that bold? that's coming up. tonight on "the war room" jennifer will bring us behind the scenes for what was an incredibly inspirational speech. she also has former ohio governor ted strickland karl frisch and lawyer tyson. "the war room" will be moving to its new time slot at 10:00 p.m.