tv Firing Line FOX News December 22, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
welcome to this fox news presentation of firing line. for 33 years and over 1500 episodes, firing line set the standard for public standard for public apairs. the program went off the air 14 years ago and william buckley jr. signed off it was the longest running program in history with a single host. for more than three decades buckley sparred with presidents
cultural icons from across the spectrum. as a result firing line was a true original that inspired commentators from both sides of the aisle and television programming from sunday mornings to weekday evenings. tonight we are pleased to bring you a seminole episode from july 6th. they are on the program by the recently corn in governor of california, ronald reagan. only six months into his first term there was already speculation that governor reagan might have his eye on a higher office. the topic of this program was is it possible to be a good governor? the questions asked during the show included an examination of
the relationship between an expanding federal government and the state will remain relevant today. taped in front of a studio audience in los angeles buckley was joined by his friend and sometimes program moderator williams. this program has been edited down from the original running time. but to see the complete episode you can visit the web site of the hoover institution and library and hoover.org. here now is governor ronald reagan on firing liern in -- firing line in 1967. >> i will act as chairman of this discussion between governor reagan and mr. buckley. the subject of the discussion is, is it possible to be a good governor? governor reagan would you answer mr. buckley's question?
not the federal government preefrp presidented the sources of faxatitaxation? >> this is one of the great problems endangering the federal system -- well the system of a federation of sovereign states. the federal government has preefrp presidentmpted so much source they find sources without upsetting the economic balance that can keep our economy moving around then in turn the state in its desperation for money reduces the local community where the real basic services the people must depend on every day are furnished. education, the police protection, the maintenance of the streets, sewer, garbage disposal and local communities are more desperate than the states.
the states end up taxing and a great amount of the money taxed goes back to the local communities. we go to washington, we are faced with this hat in hand prospect of asking for federal grants. i know i am accused of over simplifying. but it doesn't make sense to me for the federal government to take that money first and insist the only solution to our local problems is for them to take the money and then they dispense it back to you in grants in which they tell you how to spend it from washington, d.c. and of course like an agent with a hollywood actor there's a certain carrying charge that is detected in washington before you get it back again. i was -- well, i helped write a resolution for the republican governor's conference in colorado springs several months ago with a proposal as an experiment i thought it would
work and it would work might lead away from this federal grant thing. my proposal was that the federal government with the kind of experiment designate a percentage say it was only 2 percent of the federal income tax. as that money is collected in each state let the internal revenue collector for that state send 98 percent to washington and simply spend two percent of the total amount to the state government. >> in other words, use the facilities in tax gathers facilities of the federal government is what it comes down to. >> and give it back to the state with no strings attached. >> the so-called hilla plan. isn't it? what about the notion that it ought to be remittedto the states with reference to need, that is to say sending back a little more of it to those states that especially need the money a little bit less than the states that are less opulent.
would you be in favor of extending the principal over into that or not? >> well, now let's just experiment with an idea. this also came up at the governor's conference. there were governors who said there were states that had to be penned that were poverty states that didn't have the resources of the big industrial states. i challenge, i question this really. but at the same time their idea was that if we did this system, and this became effective and these states would not be getting an additional subsidy. now it makes it a little more respectable for those states to get with the federal grant than it does to admit what they are saying we want our fellow states around us to kick in and help support us. so i made another suggestion, i said this should be true and wouldn't the first step, maybe eventually you would have to discover there is a state that
requires subsidies, requires fellow men in the country to help it out. before you come to that why shouldn't you take those states in lesser income and if the percentage of income tax is 2 percent for the rest of us give them a bigger share of their own money then but then keep 4 percent, 5 percent, whatever is needed so it is their own money being left at home to take care of it before you have to branch out and see if someone else will take care of it. >> i gather this proposal is made on the assumption they would continue to benefit unequally from those funds attained by the federal government and then disbursed, correct? for instance the state of california gets only $75 per person from the federal government in the course of the typical year, where as the state of alaska gets $447 per person. now under the reagan plan the
state of alaska would still be getting much more than the state of california, but in addition it would have a greater return from its own revenue. okay, now, what in fact as governor of california can you do considering that your proposals are not going to be enacted into law by congress? what kind of scope do you have left considering on the one hand the limited resources of people even in california and on the other hand the federal dread that comes in on the 15th of aifrp ry year and scoops up everything in sight you have to maneuver within what's left? >> we are in that position right now here is a state that is one of the highest tax paying states in the union per capita. and we at the same time as a result of several years of careless management of our
funds, we are in the desperate financial plight. california in violation of its own constitution is spending more than it takes in. and we have come to the day of reckoning. now we suddenly have to turn to the people of california and ask them for upwards of a billion dollars in i can't call it new taxes. we are getting along without new taxes, we are just raising the old ones about a million dollar las. but at the same time knowing the competitive position of california with other states in attempting to keep industry here, keep our people employed, competing commercially in our exports with other states that are in the same business or businesses, we have to be very careful that we don't make it uneconomic for business to operate in california. we must present a tax bill with the sword hanging over us that washington which insists on controlling the economy through
taxation has its own ideas about the increased taxes to control inflation. so washington is sitting there threatening an income tax increase and yet the income tax is one of the sources we must turn to. now how far can we go with that sword hanging up there before when they let the sword fall we find that we have just out destroyed ourselves? >> up next a man who would go on to lead the country to base how much power the federal you can prevent gas with beano meltaways, or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas.
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to book this fabulous tel. michael, tell us why you used priceline express deal wellou can see if a hotel is pet-friendly before y book it and i got great deal without bidding. and where's yoururry friend? i don't ha a cat. save up to 5 during priceline's holidahotel sale. use promo code"holiday" for amazing savings on express deal hotels. now this sale won't last forever so dash on over to priceline.com. express deals. priceline savings without the bidding.
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reagan would of course to go ton to lead 50 states. so the question of how much power the federal government should have over the states would be more important than a casual viewer in 1967 might have imageled. let's rejoin william f. buckley. >> let me ask you this, since a lot of people routinely cynical about the whole notion of state's rights, it has been very widely contended for instance most recently by senator tidings of maryland that americans like to talk about states rights because there is still a certain glamor to the argument and a certain scientific exact tude of the whole notion of pluralism and federalism and so on. but in fact the states haven't historically acted in such a way as to provide the essential services of the people.
his argument and that of a great many others is if one were to remitt to the state all of the money going to the federal government the chances are the states simply dissipate and create more hot dog stands and more public squall lar in the face of this. isn't it true the state's revenues have risen since the second world war far in excess of the increase in the gnt, an increase in the economy, and that this itself suggests certain states stimulated into doing their duty by the activity of the federal government? how do you handle a question of this nature? >> well, i think the people -- this is always the argument, that well the only
the federal system of 00 states give the citizen a right to vote with his feet as long as the rules and regulations are not uniform there is a kind of built-in control on how bad a state government can get because if it passes a certain point the people just pack up and move to another state where things are better and this has been the historic pattern. we saw this a few years ago in michigan before governor romney went into office under governor williams, the industrial picture had grown so bad the automobile plants were doing all their expanding across state lines over into ohio and suddenly the people of michigan did something about it.
they realized the economy was going down the drain and took action. now, this is -- has historically happened and look at carefully throwing away this control. let's say that all of the rules become uniform that walter reuther has his way and unemployment insurance becomes nationwide and all the rules for disability insurance and welfare, all of these things become a pattern nation of wide and then if you object to the policies of government where do you go? you just stay where you are because it's not going to be any better across the state line. >> but that's always the problem of the minority in a case, isn't it? it is true that most of the crucial decisions in the united states are now federal decisions, respect they and under the circumstances if a minority wants to become an expatriate has to go along with
what the majority says. but let's at least let the states retain sufficient power to provide a certain variety of life within which people can express individual preferences. >> i believe this but i also believe the state is better able to judge than the needs of its people and even more than the state, the local community is and, therefore, to say that the same rate of unemployment pay or welfare should exist in some completely rural state where living costs are much lower level, than they would be for that person in the same circumstances living in new york ci city, you just can't make those rules, those uniform rules from washington and have them fit the country any more than here in sacramento can we make the rules that will fit alpine county and
los angeles county. it's just two different waist of life and i'm one for example in the administering of welfare believe the people on the local scene know about more about the needs than those who must be helped than in sacramento can know about them in trying to establish uniform rules that fit los angeles and san francisco and alpine county. >> up next what does ronald reagan think of the idea that the supreme court's ever expanding notion of constitutional rights is bad for america? we're going across america to let people try
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one of the problems we face is the constant enlargement of our constitutional rights. we live in a progressive universe as far as this is concerned. we'll have five times more rights than when we were born. in california i understand a federal court told the prison authorities here they couldn't proceed with some executions that were required under california law. was there a federal constitutional question involved there? >> well, i think there was a certain violation or something by way of the judicial process. i'm waiting for that same to pass an edict there can't be
any more crimes and violence. >> and i'm sure that you might be very tempted to blind you. but the question that i am raising is haven't we seen evolution, the notion of constitutional rights so that you see, for instance, a speak court saying as it recently did that a labor union has the right to fine those of its members who don't follow its orders in when they're told to observe a picket line. there's not a federal constitutional guarantee question and therefore can't we simply project that in the course of the next 10 or 15 or 20 or 40 years or almost every right that you and i now consider to be a right that is primarily protected by the state is going to burgeon out in a constitutional right so there will be an overlying protective
devices that will render the states more -- >> will that really be an enlargement of our constitutional freedoms or will that not be indeed an invasion of our constitutional rights? did they not give the union in that case a right that superseded the constitutional freedom of the individual? >> well, that would be my own notion but i find the supreme court proceeds without reference to my own ideas. >> well, if the supreme court goes any further i'll ask them to wrap on a rock with a stick and solve our water problem. >> no, i think that they are violating, for example, these enlarged rights, increased rights, you say. we have freedom of speech you and i say but if we continue in the policy that and the interpretations of the court i can expect someday that the court will rule you and i have
the right to force them to listen. i don't think we have that right. >> yes, sometimes it they come very close to that implication, i agree and they're there again when you ran for governor you backed an anti-pornography law which is slight and brings out the question can somebody be a successful governor. are we walking into a situation where theoretically you might be elected unanimously and having been elected unanimously on ten reforms you might find all ten of them are forbidden, either practically or legally, legally because the supreme court has ruled that you can't pass anti-pornography legislation practically because you don't have the resources at your disposal to finance these reforms. do you think that 10, 20 years
from now the office of governor will be almost like the office of the lieutenant governor of the provinces in canada, pretty much a ritual office, hand shaking office? >> well, they could have a fight with some governors before that happens and i think with a lot of people. i don't think there's any question you and i are well aware in washington and higher circles while not too outspoken about it they nurse the idea that the state should become administrative districts of the government and i think they're going to find they are just as wrong about that as some of the bleeding hearts have been about the idea that we can do away with nationalism, that people will have no patriotic pride in their own country. but the -- you talk about the impossibility to be a governor in some of these things that can happen.
now, i'll tell you right now i won't ask for a unanimous vote, i'll just settle for four more people of my party in the assembly and one more in the senate. >> well, but it is a problem, isn't it and the question so far as i can understand it is have we reached the point where there is a sufficient popular frustration with the incapacity of the states to that as a result of all the obstacles thrown in their way by the federal government to have a national protest which will be reflected in harmonious legislation by congress and the certain feeling of self-inhibition exercised by the supreme court? maybe they should be electric cu -- electrocuted. >> i called it a creative society. i campaigned on a belief that the people are the best
custodian of their own affairs. and i think we're proving it here in california and i think some of the people who oppose this theory who still want government by mystery they don't want government by the people. they want to keep alive the illusion that government is so complicated that the people don't understand it and therefore just accept what government does. and as i say i oppose this and the only recourse i've had in the few months i've been in office every once in a while this it grows hot to go to the people and by way of television, reports to the people and it's been pretty amazing, i ran on an economy platform. i still think the government of california costs much too much and bound in by the preceding administration and trimmed it as much as i could but it looks a lot different than the budget we see after we've been here for another year when it reflect what is we're doing in savings
in government but i turn to the people. first of all, we didn't take the normal individual who's worked in a campaign and say now i want a job in government. we went out anticipate sought people. i took a committee of the leading citizens in the state north and south and formed them into a recruiting team. and they devoted many hours each day to this and i said, you go out and find people. they twisted arms of employers to spring bright young men from those companies and we have a level of administrative personnel in this government unmatched any place in the united states. almost every one had to take a cut in his income. they were making six figures a year who took jobs at our regular state salary and we have over 200 of the most successful businessmen and professional men in the state of california right now organized into task forces. they are out all over the state government organized into teams or task forces on the basis of
their specialties. they are devoting from four to six months full time away from their own businesses and careers away from their families living around in hotels and motels. but they are going into every department and agency of state government and coming back to us with their recommendations as to what they would do in the department as businessmen to make government more efficient. and the savings -- the other day, i was age to just simply cancel a $4 million ten-story building because they found the two agencies that would occupy that building already have more space they can possibly need beyond 1980. that was to have started next month and just won't be built and there are other buildings that will disappear that way and going over the entire tax structure that raised the money to hire professionals to help them in this and come back with a study that says, this should be the task force geared to our type of economy you won't to
keep coming back and hitting the people over the head every year for a rate. this should go with the economy and expand with the economy. we've turned to the people in all these ways and it works. >> still to come, the concept of smaller government gets put to the test and ronald reagan is challenged to live up to his campaign promises. promises. we will be right back. [ male announcer ] what if a small company became big business overnight?
more military action in south sudan. the country is on the verge of civil war. rebels are now in control of the country's largest oil field. four american service members were wounded on an evacuation mission. that effort had to be suspended. 48 troops were deployed saturday. there are dozens more protecting
the u.s. embassy. and monday is the last day you can sign up through federal and state health care exchanges to have it january 1st. you have to pay for the obamacare plan you choose by the end of the year. deadline was supposed to be december 15th. it was extended because of all of the problems with the website which is now supposed to be able to handle a last-minute rush. i'm laura ingle now back to "firing line." line." >> welcome back to the special presentation of "firing line." i am charles krauthammer. in 1966 ronald reagan defeated incumbent democratic governor pat brown in a land slidell election. reagan campaigned on a platform of smaller government and won by more than 16 points as we continue with william f. buckley's interview with reagan
he asked if the new governor would be able to deliver on a smaller government campaign promise. >> there is a lot of enthusiasm but won't it be difficult for this enthusiasm to be really validated until people see considerable change in the direction of government and you are here to predict they will be seeing that change in due course? >> yes. i have to restrain myself. we have to wait this coming year that began july 1st to where we can total up and add up and see what the economies through out the span of the year weren't just temporary we were able to hold. we have reduced the number of state employees by 8 percent by simply putting a freeze on the hiring of replacements. in april our more business like approach to the state of automobiles resulted in a surplus of cars in every motor pool in the state over and above
the demand. by april it was reflected in a 10 percent reduction inme the amount of gasoline they bought. i don't know the figures sips then. we have simply changed to modern business standards of building maintenance we have reduced the janitorial costs of those buildings by 309,000 dollars a year. >> what is it about california and the unique contribution of governor brown that caused this appetite for reform? why hasn't it swept other states of the union for instance? >> maybe i have to quote mark twain. 100-years ago mark twain was writing about california. he said californians are a different breeze, the easy and the sloth bone the lazy state home. he said californians have a way of dreaming up vast projects and
carrying them out with dash and daring. >> either they are negative. mark twain was a pretty shrewd observer. but do you think these generous and romantic impulses will one day reach us lazy and slofful at the other end? >> i think the pioneer quality is in it all of america. ifrng what real -- i think what really happened is we came to the turning point first. i think the fact that we were the highest tax paying state per capita that our property tax was almost double the per capita property tax of the country, i think it just simply, the timing was right that it started here and when it was rented to the people the idea of running their own affairs they grabbed at it and as i say they are proving that it will work, the people
are interested in government there isn't an apathy. for every problem there are 10 people waiting to volunteer if someone will give them a lead and show them where they can be useful. >> let me take the specific california issue. it touches on the general question of whether or not one can be a good governor. we have seen for several years almost 10 years that it is almost universally being said that in california you have the best public education in the united states sp united states particularly the best public higher education. someone said of you you are an enemy of education and a spoiler of the california way of life. now, i see here that the enrollment in higher education in california is up three times during the past ten years operating costs up four times
capital expenditures up four times, where as the population and therefore presumably the ability to pay is up only 40 at what point do you look at the people of california and say, the quality of education in california is as high as we can reasonably hope for it to be? we reach a point where it doesn't make any sense to provide to dream all of the professors who are currently teaching in michigan or in new york or are reaching higher and higher salaries. is there a limit to the extent to which there ought to be a pat kron edge of the university system in california? >> well, of course you aim at the stars there are always stars further away. you keep trying for quality.
i think there are reviews necessary that there is a temptation in california to say the university of california is the greatest university system in the world and therefore we sit back smugly. i think we have to be pretty realistic. i don't think it's the greatest with regard to teaching under graduates. the university of california built the reputation on research and on attracting great scholars under the guise these are professors that teach our young and we bury them under research projects and the students never see them and the students are caught by teaching assistance. every once in a while we have to shake ourselves and take a look and say wait a minute -- we put up a great marquis and the display case and are we beigoin over board in filling that display case at the expense of something that is not so good behind? the trouble with government is
we make our claims on quantity. it isn't like private business you show a profit you are either successful on the basis of a profit or you are a failure. will the me turn from education to another in one sentence. we boast for example california now led the nation in rehabilitation of people on welfare. we did lead the nation in the amount of per capita we were spending. you dig a little deeper you find we ranked 50th -- >> in successful rehabilitation. the fact that we -- >> you take the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and lightening bug. >> yes. >> coming up, is it possible to be a good governor and presidential candidate at the same time? we will find out what ronald reagan thought. stick around. michael, tell us why you used priceline express deal
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>> now more of william f. buckley jr. and ronald reagan with a classic episode of "firing line." >> our topic is, is it possible to be a good governor? do you think it is possible to be a good governor at the same time you are a candidate for president? >> not being a president for candidate. >> an abstract question. >> has to be a hypothetical one. >> well, yes, because i would think in the showcase that you were in as a governor the people can judge your performance and decide whether they want to entrust you with a higher executive position. so i would think one of the first requirements for a governor who is highered to the
higher office would be to be a good governor. people seeing you in action is like trying out for the ball club. you have to stand up to the plate you have to run and hit the field. >> you don't see any inconsistency to sum it up so to speak. >> only be an inconsistency if one were to abandon one ace obligations to one's state because it got in the way of the other objective? is>> of course this is where i believe the wisdom of the people would see that. they would say if you can't do both you better do the job we are paying you for. >> mr. buckley, what do you think of polls as a method of judging a governor's performance? >> well, i think that polls tend to be convenient ways of measuring the instant af abil y
ability. the polls in new york state last year showed that less than 25 percent of the people were satisfied with the stewart ship of governor rockefeller and governor rockefeller two months later won a pretty significant victory so that i don't think they are very good strategic indexes of how one is doing, but i think polls are useful for avoiding revolutionary difficulties with a voting public slovengs the people are generally satisfied. the revolutionary restrictions sometimes have' risen in the prepole days for instance in grans a france and germany when they were unaware of the extent of the unrest among the voting
population or unvoting population. >> winston churchill had a comment on that he said they are useful in a certain extent the government that keeps its ear to the ground by way of a quote is rather dignifying position for a government. >> when we return a taste of classic ronald reagan humor years before most of the country was exposed to keeping up with these two is more than a full time job and i don't have time for unreliable companies. angie's list definitely saves me time and money. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today. at any mfraud could mean blower credit scores. and higher interest rates when you apply for a credit card. it's a problem waiting to happen. check your credit score, check your credit report at experian.com.
"firing line." >> i said on a real dark day someone came in and i was depressed and they said cheer up, things could be worse. i cheered up and they got worse. of course, we're a classic example. we inherit a structure of government that had been built along a certain philosophy contrary to mine. we inherited the financial problems on that and now we have to reorganize if we are going to succeed in making good on our promises to the people and the philosophy we expressed and they evidently approved, we have to start literally with the very structure they created. >> would you say that was mr. eisenhower's difficulty when he became president? >> oh, yes. i think the very fact th that -- this is overlook a great deal. the very fact that one of his notable achievements he vetoed 165 spending measures in his
term in office. >> it also enormously increased the debt for the government. >> would you say that was the new deal and not changing that trend or simply he had insufficient energy or conviction to change that trend or to prefer the third alternative that he only towards the end of his eight years in office began to see the necessity of that move? >> no. i'd add something else in there. only one term of his entire eight years did he have a congress of his own philosophy and own party. he was a president isolated by a democratic congress that was carrying on literally the philosophy that had been in existence since 1932. and as i say, the greatest thing he could do was in those numerous vetoes when he had the
power to keep them from getting the two-thirds majority necessary to overrule >> you shouldn't blame a president if he has a recalcitrant congress and should you not blame the governor if he has a recalcitrant senate? >> you blame him if he just gives in and rides with it which i have no intention of doing. my great strength, as far as this government's concerned, lies in the veto power. as long as i can keep the republican members of the legislature loyal enough and in sympathy with our programs enough to refuse to join the opposition overriding a veto, i can exercise the veto power as i did over the budget 43 $1/2 million worth. >> you have item by item detail on the budget. >> i wish i had it on a few other things. >> that is all the time we have left this evening. we would like to thank the hoover institution library and archives for making this broadcast possible. for more on "firing line"
including the complete unedited version of this program, please visit their website, hoover.org. thank you for being with us. good night. go >> these rules are 0 "war on the little guy." each and every of this is incomprehensible to me. >> i have no idea what its in this books and i'm a constitutional lawyer. >> the government adds thousands of payments of new rules. >> tough reforms to protect consumers. >> they say we need more. >> there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom. >> we have to depend on the federal government to protect our children. >> but they keep passing more laws. now we're drowning in red tape. >> i can't eat the way i want, drink water the way i want,