tv The Cycle MSNBC July 24, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
highlights for you. >> today, five years after the start of that great recession, america has fought its way back. we fought our way back. i'm here to tell you today that we're not there yet. america has to make the investments necessary to promote long-term growth and shared prosperity, rebuilding our manufacturing base, educating our work force, upgrading our transportation systems, upgrading our information networks. that's what we need to be talking about. that's what washington needs to be focused on. the only thing i care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working americans again. >> all right. but could those very same plans lead us straight into a government shutdown? some republicans are again threatening a budget showdown this fall, while some others are
threatening another debt ceiling fight. yeah, they're talking about the debt ceiling again. there are two major stipulations that are floating around. a plan must have deep spending cuts and not include a penny for obamacare. now, there are just 24 legislative days left on the calendar between now and when the fiscal year ends september 30th. we would hit the debt ceiling soon after that in october or early november. it's just one of the many reasons why our new nbc wall street journal poll shows dissatisfaction with washington is at an all-time high. 57% of americans would remove every member of congress. wow. the other 43% are apparently a little more nuanced in their distaste. as for the president, his approval is also down, now just at 45%. if you're keeping track, that is actually the same level george w. bush had at this point in his second term. as for the economy, less than a third of those polled think the nation is on the right track. that's a shift. that's a 19-month low. it's one reason, of course, the
president is back on jobs and the economy today. can he do anything to change this feeling? let's ask nbc news senior political political editor mark murray. i hope you heard the intro and the cash money conversation we're trying to have today. >> i did. >> good. let's start there. the president is laying this out. the critics think it doesn't do much. walk us through the political strategy mehere. >> the strategy is the poll you just cited. the nbc wall street journal poll shows so much dissatisfaction. he wanted to reset the conversation to talk about issue that matter to people. you look at our poll right now and a lot of americans are saying washington just isn't working for me. president obama tried to revisit some of the same themes that won him a four-point re-election in 2012 when the unemployment rate was about 8%. the other reason he gave the speech today is what you just
alluded to earlier. we're going to see in the fall a budget debate, another battle over the debt ceiling. so president obama was laying out his vision, his values. when you talk about cutting spending, when you talk about tax breaks, when you talk about all the things that come into a big budget fight or debt ceiling fight t largely hinges on values. >> all right, mark. stick with us. i want to bring in our politics editor at business insider. we heard the president selling part of the private sector recovery in michigan. meanwhile, the public sector there is in big trouble. talk to us about that contrast and anything you made of the speech. >> sure. well, immediately ahead of the speech, the white house put out a chart touting 7.2 million new private sector jobs created over the last 40 mountains. two interesting things about that. one, that's not actually not that much job growth to have over 40 months. the other is it excludes the public sector, which has been slowly losing jobs and is now basically flat. i think that is a major overhang
on the economy. it's one he didn't address at that much length in the speech. he did talk about the problem of leaving the sequester in place, but the speech seems to be one that mostly recognized that you're not going to get agreement with republicans on big fiscal policy issues. so instead, it had a laundry list component in the middle with a lot of smaller proposals that wouldn't actually individually do that much for the economy but some of them might be able to get more bipartisan support. >> josh, the president hasn't been able to get agreement with republicans on any sorts of issues. let me play you my favorite part of the speech from earlier today. >> the fact is, there are republicans in congress right now who privately agree with me on a lot of the ideas i'll be proposing. i know because they've said so. but they worry they'll face swift political retaliation for cooperating with me. now, there are others who will dismiss every idea i put
forward, either because they're playing to their most strident supporters or in some cases because sincerely they have a fundamentally different vision for america. >> josh, he's talking about obstruction, of course. we have promised a debt ceiling fight coming up, a budget showdown. republicans were predissing this speech before it even happened. this is part of the obstructionist strategy they have been pursuing since the beginning of the obama administration and even before that. what are they doing, man? >> well, i think that they see that as having been to some extent a political success for them over the last four years. only, they didn't defeat him for re-election. but republicans are likely to hold on to the house of representatives so long as the current maps stay in place through 2022. for individual members of the republican members of the house, things seem to be working sort of okay. i think that is what they're setting up to do and what the president is trying to set himself up for is to say, i'm the guy with the positive agenda. even though that agenda isn't going to get enacted t will put him in a better political
position going into that debt ceiling fight to position himself as the grown up and to make it too embarrassing for the republicans to actually follow through on their threats. that really worked in the last debt ceiling fight. we heard this from republicans at the beginning of the year, that they were going to demand more concessions in exchange for a debt ceiling increase. in fact, they gave the president a debt ceiling increase in exchange for a basically symbolic vote over a budget in the senate. that's my expectation of what we'll see in the fall. we'll see big threats about obstruction from republicans, but the president will probably get the continuing resolution and debt ceiling resolution that he wants. >> mark, getting back to you, and toure just touched on this, the inflexibility of the gop and taking us back to that nbc "wall street journal" poll, where 56% of americans polled said that the gop is being far too inflexible and not working with the president. if that is, indeed, the case and it's not likely to change, who are his gop allies in the house should he even be relying on them, and if not, should he be
focusing more on public/previous partnersh -- private partnerships at this point? >> if he has any allies in the republican party, it's probably a few senators, not in it the house. one sell of numbers to actually illustrate why you have the gridlock on capitol hill, why most respondents say the republicans have been inflexible, a plurality of republican respondents in our poll say that republicans are already giving in too much to president obama. so that disconnect there where republicans say, look, republicans are already giving way too much to president obama really handcuffs republicans even those who might want to be able to reach across the aisle or even move to the 25-yard line. >> mark, i'm reading john mccain is slowly becoming someone who the president can look to to work with him across the aisle. do you read it that way? >> on tons of measures, whether it's on immigration reform, now stand your ground where john mccain has praised president obama one way or the other.
however, the biggest impediment to president obama's agenda really isn't in the united states senate. time and time again you've been able to see them get a coalition of 60 or more votes to block -- to pass a filibuster block. being able to get republicans in the house side on board, that's the biggest challenge. that's the biggest impediment. >> josh, final question to you. i don't know if you're aware about the concept of bridges being eligible for medicare con coverage. that may be confusing to people who aren't total dorks like us. the president basically said, look, we have 100,000 bridges over 60 years old. we have infrastructure that needs to be fortified. in the old days, this was an area where you had the parties agree because you did local spending. is there any hope for the president to send one big local infrastructure plan to congress and say we're going to build bridges all over your districts, how dare you oppose that. >> maybe. i think probably not.
republicans are generally not enthusiastic about federal spending. this issue is much more underwhelming than people in washington tend to think. bridges are actually in better shape than they were 25 years ago in the u.s. we spend about the same on infrastructure as most of our peer countries do. i wish the president would have said about infrastructure what he said about higher ed. he made great comments today about higher education and it's great we're going to get a bipartisan deal to lower student interest rate. what we need to do is make college more efficient and cheaper so it can be more affordable. we have similar issues on flur where we're paying more than countries in kwloourp pay to build things. if we can build things cheaper, we could get more infrastructure for less money. >> that's an interesting point, especially on compared to other industrial democracies, although i didn't know you were for old bridges. something i learned about you today. josh, mark, thanks for spending time with us. we really appreciate it. we have another big economic story that has not gotten enough of a mention. definitely not in that speech.
detroit going bankrupt. news on that this afternoon. we're going to get to it next. please, hold the puns. >> it has been long feared, and this morning it is reality in detroit. the motor city filed for chapter 9 protection yesterday. >> the mo town city singing the blues. >> mo town, to use a phrase, is no town. >> america's motor city runs out of gas. >> whoa, whoa, whoa. does that tone seem appropriate to anyone? a major american city has declared bankruptcy with devastating human costs. maybe pump the brakes on the pun mobile a little bit. because if chicago went bankrupt, would you say, oh, the windy city just let out its final fart? no, no, you wouldn't. if houston had a devastating earthquake, would you start the story with, houston, we have a problem? of the problem is your buildings are collapsing and there are hundreds of people trapped under the rubble.
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the leader of the free world was upstaged briefly today by the future king as the president was on stage in illinois, the duke and duchess of cambridge unveiled is the name of their newborn son. it is george alexander louis. the baby will be known as his royal highness, prince george of cambridge. six previous kings were named george, including the queen's father. queen elizabeth met her great grandson earlier today at
kenzikenz kensington palace. the new family is now at the middleton estate resting comfortably. back to president obama's speech. the struggling residents of detroit were probably hoping for a shoutout from the president today. all they got was a mention of the auto bailout executed in the early days of his first term. four years later, we know the extent of the motor city's problem extend far from the assembly line. mainly retirement and pension benefits promised to workers and the money is simply not there. just last hour, a federal judge cleared another hurdle on detroit's road to bankruptcy. the city's mayor has acknowledged his city is not the first and it won't be the last. >> we're not the only city that's going to struggle through what we're going through. there are over 100 major urban cities that are having the same problems that we're is a having. we may be one of the first. we are the largest, but we absolutely will not be the last. >> doom words. our next guest claims detroit's
bankruptcy is actually a blessing in disguise for other governments teetering on the brink. rick newman joins us at table. are there other cities that might go bankrupt like detroit? >> we've already seen a few municipalities go bankrupt. we have more cities like this. i don't think any cities as large as detroit are going to go under. chicago is in difficult shape. oakland, california, is in difficult shape. people who follow municipal bonds say there are some smaller cities in michigan, nevada, california. i think one thing that these cities now have going for them is now they can say, look at detroit. do you want that to happen here? it puts them in a better position to get concessions from the people they need to get concessions from. it could be bondholders. as we're seeing in detroit, it could be people whose pensions are on the line. >> they've seen the worst happen. >> they have a real, live example they can point to. a big part of the problem with crises like this is it always sounds like everyone is just scare mongering. >> it came to pass in detroit.
>> now you can see how bad it is. >> why did it come to pass? detroit? >> detroit ran out of money. it's that simple. the thing about detroit that makes it different is it shrank so fast and lost its tax base so fast. the issue now is who's going to pay for this money that was promised in the past? they didn't have the money in the past. they just promised that it was politicians no longer on the job. this has been a big problem throughout the country. that's why we're going to see these blisters popping up where this problem continues. now the question is, who's going to pay? are they going to have to raise taxes even more on a city that can't afford it, where people have fled because of taxes that are already too high? are they going to say the money has to come from pensioners who got promises for future pensions, future retirement costs, and they're going to say we just don't have the money so it's got to come out of you. what about the bondholders? how much money are they going to lose? the whole question is, who pays? >> to that point, you have folks who worked and saved their whole lives kind of counting on these pensions.
while the numbers have now flipped in 2011, 61% were drawing benefits versus the 39% who were working to kind of put into that pot. so now you have folks who are relying on that. that's kind of flipped. they're saying the michigan constitutional protections for this particular pension benefit may not hold up when you consider federal bankruptcy laws. so how is this not as criminal as a bernie madoff scandal? >> it probably is as criminal except it's not outright theft. it's a promise that cannot be kept. and to say it's unfair is -- you can say that about everybody who's affected by this. you can say that about city residents who can't get police calls answered, whose traffic lights don't work who can't get city services. i think when they purchased a house, they probably thought they'd have a right to expect basic city services, right. you know, people when they buy those bonds say, i have a right, it's in the contract for rt bond to get paid back in full. this is unfair to everybody.
the question is, how do you spread the pain around? that's really -- this is going to be very complicated. at the essence, judges are going to be deciding how do you spend the pain around. >> you just mentioned the last municipal bankruptcy in alabama, which was under our about $4 billion. this one upwards of $18 billion. a scale we have never seen before goes to humanitarian questions you were raising. tell us about the process and how the bond market will ultimately look at this. sometimes at home people say the bond market, well, that sounds like some other thing going on, but it's not, right? it's exactly how a lot of cities is get their investments and face pressure. it's not only wall street, although they have, some people think, too much power. but there are also mom and pop who have holdings. >> this is where wall street and main street are intertwined. if you have a retirement fund, you probably own municipal bonds even if you don't know it.
these pay for parks, pay for sewers. they're not usually to pay for basic operations. they pay for stadiums and things that make cities nice. bondholders in this case are looking to see, are they going to be the ones who are basically told to pay? they bought those bonds on the assumption that they're at the top of the food chain, if you will, and everybody else has to come first when it comes to giving up your pound of flesh. now, it's a very complicated legal situation. no one is sure how this is going to shake out. if the outcome is that the bondholders have to accept 75%, 50%, those are the types of bonds that are at stake here are very common and are issued by many, many cities. hundreds, if not thousands of cities. if bondholders go under, in this case it raises a lot of questions about how safe other bonds are issued by other cities. remember, these are so-called safe investments. the default rate is very low. the interest rate is low, but when you buy these things, you
assume you're not going to lose your money. the interest rates might go up. that's going to change the whole equation for what's a huge asset class that affects a lot of ordinary people. >> stadiums do make cities nice, but if the team keeps losing, that depresses everybody in the city. rick newman, thank you very much. up next, one thing detroit does have going for it, anthony weaner is not running for mayor. what was that press conference yesterday, and what would you carlos danger name be? so much to spin on. [ male announcer ] at hebrew national, we're so choosy about the cuts of beef that meet our higher kosher standards that only a slow-motion bite can capture all that kosher delight. and when your hot dog's kosher, that's a hot dog you can trust. hebrew national. [ herbie ] there's no doubt about it brent, a real gate keeper. here's kevin, the new boyfriend. lamb to the slaughter. that's right brent. mom's baked cookies but he'll be lucky to make it inside. and here's the play. oh dad did not see this coming. [ crowd cheering ]
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paging olivia pope. we have another scandal. save the carlos danger jokes for now. that, of course, anthony weiner's pseudonym for his online activity and sexting. i have just two questions following the return of weiner gate. what was he thinking? perhaps more importantly, what was she thinking? actually, i do have one more.
what are we thinking? >> yeah. >> i'm not going to lie. i went on the nickname generator. it's jose danger. but is the real scandal allowing someone's personal life to change how we view their performance in office? let's spin. and today we have an honorary spin cyclist. the senior political writer at the daily beast and a professor of journalism and political science here in new york. peter, what are you thinking? that's really the final question. tell us about the premise of your piece and why we should leave weiner alone and let him run. >> forcing someone from a race is an anti-democratic act. you can say you don't want the person to win, you don't vote for them. taking that choice away from the voters is anti-democratic. "the new york times" has called for weiner to resign. last i knew they didn't ask for gingrich to resign when he called obama the food stamp president. they didn't call for any of the republican members of congress who stripped the food stamps
from the farm bill for the first time since 1973. it's an extreme act to take that voice away from the voters. the voters know that anthony weiner is not an altar boy in his personal life. they elected bill clinton knowing he had committed adultery. they re-elected him. they were happy with him by the end. they have the decision. >> if the media isn't actually taking away the voter's rights. they are telling the voters what they think about this candidate. they are advising the voters, as "the new york times" typically does in local races. if they were stripping his name from the ballot, i would agree with that argument. my point is he should obviously not be voted as mayor. he has an uncontrollable compulsion. if he can't run himself, he cannot run the city. separate from that, if he hasn't presented or can't present a
resume that says here's what i've done for new york already, which he cannot say some significant things he's done for new york, then why should we overlook this character thing? that's all we have to go on. >> i don't think there's any relationship between someone's private character and how they act in office. bill clinton was reckless privately. he was cautious publicly. george w. bush, cautious privately, reckless publicly. look, bill clinton -- what bill clinton did with paula jones is absolutely worse than anything that anthony weiner had done. that was sexual harassment. we knew it when we re-elected him. that story had come out by 1996. he did it in the white house. he fulfilled everyone's worst expectations. life was pretty good in america in the late 1990s, partly because of his policies. >> i appreciate your point there. bill clinton comes up a lot. i was discussing this last night with our colleague lawrence o'donnell and remembering the philip roth treatment of the impeachment. he talks about how america went on an enormous piety p tty bing
the gop congress and many of the press dutifully enacted the rituals of purification to excise the erection from the executive branch. sometimes novelists get it better than those of us who are lower-level writers and pundits. what roth was getting at is the fact that beyond all the criteria you just mentioned, also it goes to this deeper subterranean sexual mccarthy-ism we have in this country. the idea that this sin is what drives people out. "the new york times" is not just saying don't vote for anthony, which is a fine editorial. they have now weighed in on two local races. you know from writing about this stuff here in new york, they have influence. they're saying elliott spitzer should drop out so there can be an unopposed race for comptroller. they would rather have no race there than have someone in there who had an affair.
>> the irony is we're always told how america is a puritanical country. americans americans elect these guys based on whether or not they do a good job. it's the media that's more puritanical and moralistic and loves the idea they can club someone to death because they have committed sins in their private life that you could probably find plenty of journalists if you dug deep enough have done things just as bad. >> but we're not running for office. >> but the voters -- right. let the voters make their decision. >> the challenge that i think we kind of have, though, is there should be some type of morality, not just in politics, but in life generally. i get the dichotomy you raise. it's a good point. i appreciate it now in person. the challenge that i have is also like the most factor. you talked about, you know, most politicians do this, and i don't really think that's fair, number one. number two, i feel like they need to say more than mistakes were made, kind of own it and really figure out how to move on so it's not a distraction, so
we're not so focused on that. >> look, fdr had an affair. eisenhower had an affair. kennedy, who knows how many affairs he had. linda johnson used to take off his pants in cabinet meetings. if he had a cell phone -- >> that's not sexting. >> believe me, if lyndon johnson had the technology, the mind boggles. that guy did so many crazy things as a senator and then a politician. what anthony weiner was doing was able to spread it all over the world because of the technology. most of our presidents have committed these sexual infidelities either in office or often before office. i think we have to recognize that a lot of people are really flawed and they're some of the best guys we've had. >> we're going to send our scandalous politicians to see you, peter. thank you so much for being with us today. speaking of pitiful politics, as we mentioned earlier, 57% of voters would replace every single member of congress if they could. we want to know if you're
surprised that number isn't higher. thomas steve hendricks says surprise is not the right word. sad. i have to assume that the rest are the ones that vote for the obstructionists plaguing the congress. whether or not you like our lawmakers, like "the cycle" on facebook, where you'll find a link to the entire nbc poll on our page. straight ahead, the president's top economic guru joins us here at the table to talk about his speech and where the country goes from here. it starts with little things. tiny changes in the brain. little things anyone can do. it steals your memories. your independence. ensures support, a breakthrough. and sooner than you'd like. sooner than you'd think. you die from alzheimer's disease. we cure alzheimer's disease.
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i trade like me. i'm with scottrade. (announcer) scottrade... ranked "highest in customer loyalty for brokerage and investment companies." we're back with the other big stories leading the news cycle this wednesday. breaking news in the case against former patriots tying end aaron hernandez. a judge has delayed a possible cause hearing in the murder case against him because the grand jury is still poring through evidence found at both his home
and the murder scene. hernandez has been held since his arrest four weeks ago on charges he kaled a semi-pro football player. huge changes could be coming to the u.s. postal service. the house today is considering a proposal to completely phase out door-to-door delivery. it would be replaced with curb-side delivery. the proposal is aimed at cutting costs by up to $4.5 billion a year. keep in mind, the agency lost $16 billion last year alone. and of course, the president's big speech this afternoon in illinois. he devoted a consider amount of time to the affordable care act and its impact on our economy. >> as we speak, we're well on our way to fully implementing the affordable care act. if you're one of the 585% of americans who already have health care, you don't have to do anything. you do have new benefits and better protections than you did before. did you don't have health
insurance, then starting on october 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business. just last week, new york announced that premiums for consumers who buy their insurance in these online marketplaces will be at least 50% lower than what they're paying today. >> and now here in the guest spot to talk about the policy from the president's speech today, the chair of the president's council of economic advisers, alan kruger. welcome. >> thank you. >> so what do you see as someone who sits with the president, who looks at his policy agenda as the main takeaway from today's address? >> the president laid out his vision for growing the economy from the middle out. for too long, the middle class has been under stress. the president took stock at where we are in the recovery. he laid out his vision for putting in place the corner stones for a sound middle class life. quality jobs, affordable
education, affordable secure housing, the ability to save for retirement, and as you just heard, health care. >> so let me ask you this. what we didn't hear in this speech and what a lot of people are concerned about is detroit is burning. people are suffering. it's not a problem that can be solved from the inside out locally because of the nature of the historically large $18 billion in debt. where is the federal government? where is the president on trying to address this problem and help the people there? >> the problems in detroit were a long time in the making. the issues now concern detroit, michigan, and the creditors of detroit. the president's vision for strengthening communities throughout the country will help communities nationwide. it will help prevent future problems like we've seen in detroit. the obama administration is in contact with the authorities in michigan. we are monitoring the situation, but fundamentally, this is an issue between detroit and its creditors. >> so we talked earlier in the
show and even just now watching some of the clips today from the president's speech about this overall economic tour. last congress the president was unable to see any real action on the american jobs act, which of course is something that's important and probably a key part of this new economic agenda. how do you expect that this particular tour will help gin up support from the ground up creating kind of a ground swell to encourage action this congress on the american jobs act? >> well, we did see some components of the american jobs act pass in the last congress. >> but not the whole bill. >> certainly not the whole bill. i think the economy would be in a stronger position today if it all had passed. but the continuation of the payroll tax in 2012 helped to strengthen the economy. what the president laid out today is a vision not only for the next six month, not only for the next three years, but for the next ten years. the problems that the middle class faces, the growing opportunities gap that we're seeing in america, that's been building up for decades.
we need a comprehensive strategy to attack that problem. the president gave his first major economic speech at knox where he pointed out then that we could shape the forces that have been affecting us rather than being affected by them. i think he articulated that vision today and overthe coming weeks he's going to lay out actions he could take on his own since we haven't got than much cooperation from congress, ways he can convene employer groups or labor unions, college presidents to keep college affordable. also, executive actions such as connect ed, to connect all of america's schools to high-speed internet. >> that might be an understatement about the lack of republican cooperation. >> absolutely. no matter how good the president's ideas are, no matter how much the country needs them, republicans continue to obstruct because they want him to fail. so is this a frustration to your team, that the country needs help and the republicans are saying we would rather do
nothing? >> obviously we'd prefer to have more cooperation. first and foremost, congress should avoid further self-inflicted wounds. the sequester is slowing growth. it's cutting key investments. the drama we had over the debt ceiling in august 2011 hurt a fragile recovery. congress's first role should be to further avoid self-inflicted wounds. >> let me ask you a personal front on this issue. who's your first phone call on republican side? >> individually, i've found many of them helpful to discuss issues with. my role is to be the president's chief economist. i try to stay in my lane, which is to provide the president, the entire administration with economic advice. there are others who have legislative expertise who form the strategy for working with the congress. that's not my comparative advantage. >> so your sounding board is
whatever you're hearing internally, your test of what republicans might allow. >> well, what i think is particularly important and something i think the president achieved today was to grab washington by the lapels and say, consider all of these issues through the prism of the middle class. the stress the middle class has been under, how do we provide mo more ladders of opportunity? he said today it's not only a moral issue. it's an economic issue. it's in our interest to have a rising, thriving middle class. >> i think we're hearing rumblings of larry summers at the fed. is that something we should look forward to? >> we have an administration policy of not commenting on the fed. when the president has an announcement to make, you'll hear it as soon as i do. >> fair enough. >> i know everyone in economic always looks forward to anything larry summers is doing. he's a fun guy to talk to. alan, thank you for spending time with us today. sometimes no comment is the safest thing. up next, the music that defined the city of detroit and changed
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freedom by any means necessary. meanwhile marvin gay was singing a song he co-wrote but didn't feel right for him. the recording of "dancing in the street" will live on forever. ♪ calling out around the world ♪ are you ready for a brand new beat ♪ ♪ summer's here and the time is right ♪ ♪ for dancing in the street >> at a time when so many were protesting in the street, martha offered a vision of something different. now almost 50 years after the song was recorded, the author of more than 20 books has written a book about the song and its impact. it's called "ready for a brand new beat." welcome, mark. i love the story about how martha sang it twice. the first time they didn't press record, so she had to sing it again. ultimately, it's a one-take
thing. that's music nerd stuff. i want you to talk to me about how this song changed america. >> well, the song came out -- it was released july 31st, 1964. an incredible moment in american history. this is two days before the official beginning of the vietnam war. it is just a few weeks after the first of many summer inner city rebellions in black communities across the country. it's when the civil rights movement had this break between the old non-violent martin luther king movement and a new black power movement. this song came out at just this moment. it seemed to mean a lot of things in the summer of '64 to
talk about how summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street. it became an anthem for the black power movement. i remember we used to sing it in the anti-war movement. i mean a lot of people -- dancing in the street, itself, the phrase, took on a new meaning. you look at the lyrics to the song, i mean, it doesn't matter what you wear, just as long as you are there. all the movements used to say that. >> i want you to dig into some of the mo town roots of this. i see two sort of competing mo town aesthetics in this. barry gordon was all about don't rock the boat, let's cross over. marvin gay had an edgier, astute perspective. both of those things are going on in this song at the same time. >> right. this was an argument that marvin gay and barry gordon, who were
brothers-in-law, had all the time. marvin gay would say we can't just be about love and heart ache when all these things are going on. we have to address them. was this song an attempt to address them? maybe yes, maybe not, but it did. it took on that meaning. mickey stevenson, one of the song writers, told me he saw it as a song about integration. he definitely saw it as political. martha reeves, who sang it, didn't feel she was singing anything political. she thought she was singing a song about dancing. but, you know, first of all, musically it's a great song. it's one of the really great r&b tracks, great jazz musicians. it just moves people. it gets them on their feet. it excites them. then it has these wonderfully
ambiguous words that meant a lot to people and continue to mean things to people. >> well, and that meaning is such an important question. you mention that some folks didn't feel that it was overtly political. political. others did. some law enforcement definitely did. tell us about alabamaen freed and sort of the legal and law enforcement pushback on the distribution of this music and its relation to integration. >> yeah, well, you know, it used to be, back in the early '50s, black music and white music were completely separate. they were sung by different people, different record companies, different bought in different stores. played on different rao stations. and billboard magazine that did the charts that determined hits had a black chart and a white chart. and the top 40 black and top 40 white weren't at all alike. and then this idea of sbeg integration, there were a lot of
white people who thought this was a pretty great idea, especially young people, and there became this interest in black music. and both black music sung by black people and black music sung by white people like elvis presley. and this was very disturbing and threatening to a lot of people, especially white supremacists. you know they would say rock 'n' roll is going to lead to a mingling of the races. well, martin luther king said the same thing. he credited it with helping integration. allan freed invented the term rock 'n' roll to just give a white name for r & b, for rhythm and blues because rhythm and blues had always meant black music. >> martin, you just brought up martin luther king. it's worth mentioning, i just saw motown the musical. the play does a great job
demonstrating how much motown impacted social movements and the civil rights movement. so i want you to talk to us a little bit about how these artists from the '60s and early '70s can set an example for folks that are now artists now that are working on stand your ground against florida, boycotting florida because of what just happened with trayvon martin. what are a couple of the best practices they can utilize as they continue to go forward? >> well, you know, music has to start by being great music. and great music reaches a lot of people. and the people who are doing the reaching, the musicians associated with these songs, have an opportunity to stand up for things. i've been thinking a lot about,
you know, how in 1964 when the song cale out, the whole argument of black power was that you know, you can have integration but it doesn't mean that blacks and whites are equal, it doesn't mean they'll be treated equal or that they'll have equal rights. and you know, this country has become quite integrated but black and white people still don't have equal opportunities and equal rights. >> that's absolutely right. mark, thanks for your book and thank you for that. now from detroit's music to its art collection, should master works be sold off to save the city? ari's angle on that question and a little more. it's next. i'm the next american success story. working for a company
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you know, there have been so many overhyped big stories lately, it's hard to appreciate when a truly big story comes along. but detroit's decision 0 file for brupgs protection is i think one of the most important stories in america right now. detroit's debt is $18 billion. that's more than four times the next largest bankruptcy. if you just parcel out that debt out to the entire population of detroit, it would be $100,000 of debt for every family of four. and while it suffered for years under mismanagement and corruption under many democratic officials, today detroit is fast becoming the most libertarian city in the united states. in many areas, there are basically nothing public services besides decaying roads and bombed out infrastructure. 40% of the street lights don't work at night. and that leaves a troubled city stuck in the dark.
even enpolice and emergency services have literally become optional. think about it like this. across the country, a call to the police brings about a response in about 11 minutes. in detroit, the average now is 58 minutes and many times it takes much longer if the police come at all. if you know all that, is you know that cutting current public services what's left of them won't cover detroit's debts. no taxes won't do it either. the bankruptcy law will enable detroit to renegotiate with creditors like like a corporation or citizen can under municipal 11. so what can detroit do for workers and the city's debt to these pension holders? think it's time to look to washington. yes, just like republicans did in the '80s for chrysler and continental or like democrats did in the '90s for the long-term capital management or like republicans and democrats did in the 2008 financial crisis for bear stearns and wells fargoen an bank of america and
jpmorgan chase and citigroup and marginen stanley and goldman sachs and bank of new york mellon and yeah, over 700 other banks. as wall street offense year steven rattner wrote the residents in motor city are no more responsible for detroit's problems than were the victims of hurricane sandy for theirs. congress right now should convene a special sessioning to address detroit's emergency. and can send emergency aid right now as the city prepares to operate without a solvent government. it can target jobs programs in the city. jobs are supposedly we're told a priority of both parties and it can explore less expensive solutions like envesting in local property which could be sold later or starting a detroit branch of the smithsonian. that's a pretty logical way to avert a cultural disaster. there's talk that bankruptcy could force the city to auction off a billion dollars worth of art collected over 128 years.
at the detroit institute of art. the federal government could partner with the institute, buy that the heritage and keep it accessible for people in detroit andaround the country. there's a lot of ideas. my point is, our fellow citizens are hurting. there are a lot of things congress can do, but if the largest local bankruptcy in our history isn't the right time for spending on emergency aid and jobs, when is the right time? that does it for us here on "the cycle." martin, it's all yours. >> it's wednesday, july 24th. and amidst sexting smears and slurs, the president talks sense. >> carlos is in greater danger than he thought. >> problematic to say the least. >> how could anybody say they want him to be the representative of new york city. >> some of these things happened before my resignation, some of them happened after. >> hmm, i can't remem