. save money, zero hassle. i want to thank our wonderful panel. goodnight from new york. >> i am here at freedom fest the world's biggest gathering of people and tonight's topic is the american dream still achievable? the founder of whole foods the head of the restaurant chain carl's, jr.. and the man who helped to build modern lowe's vegas and made a couple billion dollars to read it. our topic, what happened to the american dream? that is our show. tonight.
[cheers and applause] john: the phrase american dream came with a book written in the midst of the depression america is that dream of a land where life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone and for many people the dream has come true but now ayatollah something is wrong. it is no longer accessible is it suffering or alive and well? 75 percent said suffering. is that true? how many of you think is as achievable as it was before? [cheers and applause] how many of you feel not so
much? [applause] pray pessimistic. what a man who people say has lived the dream to creative for medical dash many others is called the most powerful man and lost a is. steve when -- steve steve wynn. they like you. [laughter] you are self-made multi billionaire and how did you do that? i am told the town was seedy but you built hotels that were more appealing but i would think a lot of people had that idea. >> ideas are easy but doing it is difficult. john: what was difficult? i am not a billionaire. >> first of all, having the
benefit of the fis has coeducation that i got to go to college. when my father died we were broke. >> he was in debt $350,000. >> but i had everything i needed to make of life for myself or real life not by twitter or facebook. o real life. not to a virtual was. [laughter] [applause] by all they cared to get on with it. get on with it. to hustle suitor later you get a break. i was interested to get started. john: you were a manager of a hotel. >> before that i was at the university of pennsylvania running being go --.
[laughter] i had 60 employees and i was 16 years old. with my dad died that was the only thing that was left of the family business for cry was prepared to do it i didn't know anything other than making bingo a better experience next week and the week after. john: then you were chairman of the golden nugget hotel. >> by gatt -- i got a chance to run the place it had blackjack tables and a gift shop and a parking lot. all of a sudden the chief financial answer resaw have a was put together and how works and saw that las vegas was not in the gambling business. that looks like it to me.
[laughter] >> all slot machines are anywhere. i learned about the casino people move through which they keep going and the money stays behind. [laughter] so i came into ruth to conclusions to get people through it what brings them to the casino? people come to las vegas and is a with china toward new jersey or mississippi to live life bigger than they do at home. for the environment that is well done and though lighting that is very important for every year ago you are emotionally affected by the lighting and the sound of the soundtrack is very important to. environment is everything. john: could you build that today the way you did?
>> short answer yes. we can make an argument of overregulation americans don't get a good deal with their government with h.r. is not as good as it should be. but the person who has those genes it is happening right now there are thousands of americans they're finding their groove to make it. what gets you that is inside space they never want. you have to getting it there are people in america getting it now with things going on with silicon valley john: i agree i think that includes facebook beyond twitter that crotchety old man that you trash. [laughter] but i ask people to follow
me on twitter is the american dream still alive? they say no. it stifles on entreprenuers. it would be tougher today i assume. >> a lot of things have changed but beside facebook and twitter which is heavily publicized one thing about social media it is about every petty talking too much [laughter] john: people should talk to each other. >> but not at the extent -- extent of afterlife exchanging what you eat. i am friendly with rupert brooke -- rock -- murdoch. >> key is my boss. >> he came to see me in the office and said you have to have a twitter account i
said why? i have no interest to share what i do every day with a group of strangers. you don't understand you can have a platform. rupert murdoch does it. i said he does not. i get up from the chair i went to my desk and picked myself on with the speed dial and got him. i said there are two guys here from twitter they tell me you have a twitter account. he said i'd do steve. [laughter] you do? and i have $247,000 -- to order 47,000 followers. i was speechless. why did you do that? is set every once in awhile i will tweet something out to. it was a check may.
see you later. and it shows i don't know what i am talking about. [laughter] john: thank you steve wynn another man who worked his way to use the top to make his company extra successful responsible for though weird sexual advertisements. >> what is more american the and a cheeseburger? this one coated with a hot dog and potato chips in the hands of an all american model in a hot tub in a pickup truck driven by the american bull rider on the aircraft carrier under the liberty as she admires the most americans take burger new act carl's, jr. >> he took over the company
that was in debt just four years later making hundreds of millions of dollars. what did you do that your predecessor did not? >> the service was bad in the restaurants were dirty. i knew the problem right away. john: were they they see? >> my second memo was the next person and answers the question was something to the effect we have always done it that way will be fired. my first memo was no more people behind the counter of less they have all their teeth. [laughter] was of a situation that needed to be addressed. that we still had a problem all the elderly people felt comfortable with parties they did not feel it was a restaurant for them. we did that with an advertising campaign to appeal to the young people so we targeted the young and hungry men.
that worked very well. john: you don't worry that the anti-discrimination in task force will set you have to hire a certain number of people with no teeth? [laughter] >> it is funny to be a lawyer myself i knew enough not to ask the legal department first. but i send it anyway. >> you started scooping ice cream. >> minimum wage and never thought i could support a family of four, up and i learned a lot about customer service and inventory. it was the first deck of the latter. john: would pay taxes or cut bill wants but now there are new rules about the age and minimum-wage they say it is
fair you cannot pay them so little. >> i have a 68 year-old son and i love him but there is no way in the world that would pay him $12 an hour. we're this degeneration of people because we eliminated the jobs had paid them $50 an hour to scoop ice cream? how good could you be? you just can compensate somebody like that. >> how do lift everybody to $15 an hour to not have various economic problems? people and the jobs in the opportunity and the dignity they were sure that is what most of your experience but then reduce jobs.
>> the only way that you can reduce poverty an increased opportunity is economic growth the government cannot do when and there is enough economic growth to reduce poverty which is the free market capitalism. [cheers and applause] which is under attack by rebel well intended regulation and. >> shanghai's china's 63. real engaged restaurant on karl marx avenue is siberia in los angeles it takes 280.
[laughter] i can open-air restaurant easier in siberian dash california. [applause] john: what are the rules? what do they want to know? >> the permits with stoplights and plant trees two blocks away everybody on the planet once approval from the city and county and the state and federal regulatory requirements we now have the single spaced list for every restaurant reopening california that is 60 and single spaced pages is you cannot build the new wal-mart or grouchy store or office building if you cannot use the land with the regulatory process.
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[n][applause] john: we are back and freedom fest sansei the american dream is alive because i am white but my parents are immigrants who came dead broken did not speak english but they made it but they were white it is much easier for white people i am told and i hear this all the time from activists and politicians running the center for urban renewal and education you were on welfare? >> i bought the lie of the left my problem is somebody else's fault i had very
reckless with that drug activity and sexual activity and in and out of welfare. >> i was collecting a lot i was on a long waiting list for section 8 after a christian conversion change my way about the idea of freedom and opportunity. john: but not a libertarian conference. [laughter] >> but i have to tell you how libertarian guy was when i started a business. christianity change my world my perspective but when i went into business to find out how the heavy-handed government was i began to trend very right. [laughter] [n][applause] john: government makes it harder but is it tougher because you are black? >> it is interesting with
the narrative of the left. is it tougher for someone to achieve if they are not white? who says it is harder? how many say it is not harder? the majority here. >> fame understand american exceptionalism and the dream so one to grab ahold of that you can be what everyone did america and now they will die for america it is somebody else's fault so they keep the narrative alive so day have discouragement. john: i have that with our
facebook response. the american dream is alive and well if you happen to be born white and straight and mail with all the parents. >> we keep hearing this. it is untrue but with those dynamics. >> the american dream ended when the war on poverty began. >> it did for some. and in particular the disproportionately hits black people because she by the lie that the government will take care of you then you are trapped and they reward you for ill behavior than it is hard to get out i was there. it is very difficult you find all about the services available you are committing
social suicide to have economic discomfort because once you leave you have to try harder. john: you are discouraged from being buried 893181 -- 1940 the black marriage rate was higher than and right -- the whites but the idea is of progressivism but it affects them also. eight lew 3% at of wedlock to more than 30 percent today. john: thank-you. >> another enemy of the american dream those that prevent the entreprenuers
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john: the founder of one business achieved his american dream by creating a hugely successful supermarket chain focusing on healthier and natural foods that founder is john mackey to began a whole foods i have annoyed him for years claiming that most of the health claims by a these organic people is nonsense but he says natural and organic foods lead to a healthier a.m. along girl lives [n][applause] how many agree most of these
claims are a con job? [n][applause] john: i thank you one that. >> put it to the empirical test. >> we are both alive. >> i will be we will see how the audience does you say you are for artificial foods >> they are all chemicals. [laughter] but we will not debate the healthy food today but what government says how they achieve their american dream them monopoly. they are ruthless -- ruthlessly undercut they can charge river they want that is why we need anti-monopoly laws with the ftc in a suit you to be a monopoly.
>> i know. it is unbelievable they said we were a monopoly of premium and natural organic foods supermarkets. [laughter] which we invented that. [laughter] [n][applause] our argument was safeway, all wal-mart or costco sprouts or trader joe's the also products similar there is no barriers to entry it is a very competitive market. john: you lost a and had to sell 32 stores. >> we will lend but we spent 30 million in legal expenses but the ftc has their own courts and they told us after we won in the federal courts they would take us to their courts i said what will they cost pacesetter
said all the way to prove your innocence will probably cost another 100 million so we did the math and we compromised. john: is there any a time we should stop the monopoly? >> take the public school system for example,. [cheers and applause] john: your point is you can only be a monopoly when there is government force. >> capitalism is so dynamic and competitive you can get temporary competitive of vintages but people come along to imitate that and say in a vague a leapfrog and you don't need the government to protect people from monopolies because the market does. john: not long ago general motors was.
>> a role is talking about breaking of general motors and the last time i checked today actually went bankrupt how does a monopoly go bankrupt? >> now they say it is google >> there is always of boogie man to have a temporary competitive vantage if you take microsoft able never know for sure unless bill gates writes his memoir but it was pretty soon after his antitrust case he decided i to be the richest man in the world and be hated or i can become a philanthropist and the rebate will love me and certainly negates foundation has done great stuff you can say they did more good making money. >> microsoft has made lives better in many ways and what has it done since bill gates retired? >> now you can be sued for being a monopoly if your
prices are too low that is predatory. or if they are too high that is monopolistic or the save as competitors than that is collusion. [laughter] fall all of the above. that is how they want it if all businesses are guilty of anti-competitive practices then you can persecute any time you want i think that is how they like it. john: a rare businessman who defends the free market but the biggest threat to the the biggest threat to the american dream is next. your daughter can have sleepovers. your son can hang out with friends. your kids can play... and drive you crazy.
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one thing that does get in the way of the dream it is government and a big government kills the american dream that is why the cato institute dave day talks at this conference earlier called him in progress and downsizing government [n][applause] it gets in the way of human progress. >> absolutely the federal government has 2,300 subsidy programs that cause damage and harm the economy to make people dependent and reduce our freedom. farmers are happy to get $20 billion per year from the government but there reduces their freedom
because it tells them what they can farm and how many acres so federal spending reduces freedom by in addition to all the damage. john: but spending is spending for job training, food stamps to help people to help them achieve the dream. >> know the difference every dollar the government spends a half to get it from some place either taxes or borrow it or they just print the money provides government gets big with more economic help but the growth rate falls there is a reason why france and italy grossed over them as also why hong kong and singapore erg grow faster. there is a relationship between economic growth anti-government. john: we grew fastest with a little government.
>> right. of all the way through a calvin coolidge but in the '30's that made the difference with the invention of keynesian economics or the entire opprobriums -- and tenement programs. we had a recession and we recovered very quickly but there was a recession in the 1920's but then the economy started growing very quickly john: without big government we destroy the planet? >> federal spending damages the environment and california has a terrible drought partly the responsibility of the government has been subsidizing water that causes over consumption farmers are forming what they shouldn't be that is at the roots of the problem. the subsidies cause distortion one of the biggest polluters is the
federal government agencies. [applause] >> some say we have to balance the budget but you say that is not politically realistic and we don't have to? they say okay but we will raise taxes but simply to have it grow slower than the private sector over time. there is a long last where you say would is a list of countries? they have greece and france and italy. >> this will continue to grow just more slowly? >> we want government to shrink dramatically but have they grow at 2 percent per year if you maintain that with an insignificant period of time then the burden of
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john: we are at freedom fest to talk about the american dream house government often kills us as it does it keeps growing and it depresses me bed grover norquist keeps smiling president for americans for tax reform has fought that tax simplification for 30 years and you have failed. is less simple than it ever
was taxes are higher why are you so cheerful? >> the majority of the members of that task -- of the house we have not had a tax increase as long as the republicans controlled the house we stopped the bleeding as long as they can hold up one part of the government. obama what did trillions of higher taxes and republicans said no tax increase period we have to run a half trillion of spending restraint with 23 percent of gdp that is the federal government to stop the bleeding and it takes new leadership. john: politician say we have to get rid of this. >> is the one big victory the american people have against illicit and obamacare. but look to the states to
see freedom flourish. home school was illegal and allstate's 30 years ago ted million are now being home school that is breaking into the monopoly. [applause] thirty years ago nowhere did a government have to give you a permit if you were 21 and on this but today 41 states all allow them least mae issued 12 million americans have concealed carry permit. to me that there is outrage is the complexity of how long it takes to understand your taxes. >> nine states have no income tax hike kansas and north carolina which are on a path to get rid of there's. the states competing with
each other california and in your big move to texas and florida that should give us a hint as to where they want to go but that empowers the low tax limited government states. how else are we changing? 401k about half the country now has defined contribution plans and owning shares of stock. but that makes it more complex one out of three small businesses spend more than 80 hours per year just on federal taxes? >> i am not arguing they are good. it is very bad we pay water 2% of income in taxes. but now we are at about 30%
but i would argue what we have done at the stable is billed for school choice we now have the education and savings accounts that is the dynamic form of vouchers. john: the biggest the voucher program in the country. [applause] to make the government monopoly is fading as a monopoly because arizona indian a louisiana nevada florida wisconsin, a number of states have school choice efforts and the other team argument is if you don't run everything able to organ harvesting all sorts of horror stories and people got scared. now there are enough people with enough experienced people realize that is nonsense to move to liberty
at the state level. truly stupid things can only be done out of washington d.c.. you can i do obamacare in vermont alone. bad ideas, a truly bad ideas only come from obamacare at the national level where there is no competition and if everybody is suffering then the law knows what it was. john: technology? >> commission and then take on the taxis and require $100,000 to drive a taxi or the self-employed people to be the taxicab commissions. people decide i will be a small business personal but myself with airbnb. as the post office shrinks as people use e-mail and on-line sales have broken
down with competition and. john: thank you. we're all better off with americans for tax reform. maybe we should be optimistic because throughout history people have repeatedly been proven wrong. congratulations. you're down with crestor. >>yes! when diet and exercise aren't enough, adding crestor lowers bad cholesterol up to 55%.
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john: is the american dream still alive? it is hard to be optimistic walking around this conference because so many people here are promoting buying gold and savings like sleep that night knowing your assets are safe. they have a point because politicians keep promising people free stuff and so much more than taxpayers could never find that these paper dollars your someday may be worth pennies the fed was created the dollar lost 96% of its value proposal i've bought gold and silver. i know they will hold their value more than pieces of paper.
except so far i have lost money on my investments. how many of you have invested in gold? [applause] unless you bought it way back you have not done so well so when will inflation explode? it is still low. who knows these predictions are risky and has to explode some time because there's not enough money. but the pessimism about america's future is a bad bet even two-day people steady signal sent text books but he taught although the american economy approaches so the growth the plan the economy has outpaced major market economies. what? it is wrong but that is
still the text that students are forced to buy. it is good to be skeptical as experts predict their future and when a pessimist like me says it is the regulation that kills the american dream but be skeptical. my wife is an immigrant only here for years and she makes more money than a lot of americans but people don't realize you must take risks. to take risk is a good point a country that evolves differently from europe and america became a place where if you try something and fail is okay. people will lend you money in europe and asia people say if you feel you had your chance.
but america is more tolerant of trial and error we know about thomas edison but the people know that he failed hundreds of times he was fired by the telegraph office and lost money in the iron business is in the company and henry ford failed completely the first time dr. seuss was rejected by 27 publishers an old pro was fired from her first job they called her an unfit for television. [laughter] they all failed and tried again. where you can write the script of your own life in america. [applause] so when a pessimist like me says bearden some government regulation i hope you will ignore me to prove me wrong.
that is the show for tonight from loss biggest and freedom fest. go live the american dream. [cheers and applause] tonight on "war stories." it was the coldest battle in the forgotten war. >> got down to 116 and more below zero. >> frostbite. people's fingers, hands, arms, feets just rotting off. >> the frozen chosen. the bloodiest battle of the korean war. >> we all knew we were going to die. >> how did the soldiers and marines make it out? that's next on "war stories."