tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC April 21, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
martin, thank you so muc our show does deed begin right now. >> thank you. well, the big story today. johnson. we begin with an announcement that flew under the radar most of the day. former new mexico governor gary johnson will be running for president in the year 2012. good afternoon to you. i am dylan ratigan. johnson, the latest republican to make intentions known on the steps of the new hampshire capitol. watch. >> this is the first time i get to say this but i am running for president of the united states. >> well, the libertarian-leaning former governor known for efforts to legalize marijuana. in an e-mail to supporters, john john highlighted the record of
fighting for smaller government and fiscal conservatism and pledged to passionately seek the gop nod. now, even without a ton of name recognition in such a fractured republican field you truly never know what might happen. joining us now is gary johnson, the former new mexico governor and now a gop presidential candidate. he currently runs the our america initiative political group that aims to quote enlighten the population of free enterprise, limited government and traditional american values. and governor, what do you see that you have in common with the gop? >> well, i think the gop has always been about the checkbook. dylan, i happen to believe that only the republicans are capable of fixing the situation that we're in right now. an why the electorate would give republicans a chance at this given that just a few short years ago republicans controlled both houses of congress and the
presidency, past a prescription drug care benefit and ran up record deficits at that time, i'm not so sure but i'm under the belief that only the republican fixes this. i'm under the belief that we're on the verge of a financial collapse that would have a basis in the fact that we cannot pay -- repay $14 trillion in debt. if we're spending $1.65 trillion a year going forward. >> yeah, yeah. it's interesting. i want to bring something else into this conversation but stay here. obviously, you poll very well with what i would call the ron paul group. you came in third behind ron paul and mitt romney. interestingly, you also attract endorsements from the likes of glen greenwald who i would argue -- i hate to put him in a box but he's certainly not a fan of the gop. he says and this is glen writing
on you. one of his hopes for 2012 is that candidates will emerge to take on the red and blue teams. obviously gop and democrats. glen is keeping an eye on gary johnson, a two-term republican governor of new mexico who is pro-gay, anti-war and who could run with the democrat like former feingold. there's an issue mix here where you and i surely agree on too big to fail banks and rigged health care mo knobblies and probably on the war. i'm certainly pro-gay, whatever that means. i'm not anti-gay. i don't know how i'm entitled to have a position on gay. what's confusing is these issues, fiscal discipline, dealing with trade, along with these sort of social views that you have fit into either political box, democrat or republican. >> well, that's probably a good thing, and let me just point out the obvious. that this is a contest.
this is a contest. who do republicans check off as their spokesperson? well, if you don't give them a choice, if i'm not there, if i'm not one of those names then maybe they end up checking off a spokesperson that doesn't really represent what it is that they're thinking. and they to the rest of the world telegraph a republican as someone that really maybe is not representing the republican party. so i'm engaged in this. it's a contest. i think i speak on behalf of maybe most republicans and putting that to the test. >> if you were to look at the core issue that underlies what ails this country, it is clearly the dependence on campaign fund raising of both political parties and their dependency on really six major industries that fund the vast majority of all campaigns. do you believe that you could gird yourself and requires heavy girding to do it, to actually
come into the room and say, not only do i believe everything you have articulated but i recognize the root of eve is politics and i will root it out with a constitutional amendment of some kind? >> well, dylan, what i think is needed is transparency and part of campaigning is fund raising, so we're hoping to have successful, aggressive online fund raising campaign. you know, i have no complaints about the system. the system is as it is and i'm treated really fairly by the system. i have no complaints. i'm believing that we will raise enough money that my voice will actually get heard in this process and if it gets heard that's all i can ask for. >> wouldn't it make sense to step up and say, listen, we have a corrupt health care system or an outdated one, a corrupt banking system. we have all these wars. we have an industrial -- a
military industrial complex to go with those wars. we have a massive inefficient energy? it is because of the special interest influence in washington. >> so my idea -- so transparency. so transparency. if let's say exxon is your big contributor, let's pass legislation that you got to wear an exxon sticker commensurate with the election? the jacket is filled with logos as opposed to someone who doesn't have any logos on at all. >> would you make that part of your platform in your presidential campaign? >> nah, i think that sounds a little cookie. >> i mean transparency. i don't mean stickers on the jackets. i mean transparency. >> absolutely. that's what's needed when it comes to campaign finance reform. right now, you can contribute money to the republican party or the democrat party and they can
then distribute it to candidates without that link being made and that link is oftentimes corporate interest if not more times than not. look. that link should be established -- >> speaking of links, we lost our link. oh no. there you are. you're back, governor. sorry. we lost you for a second. finish your thought. >> well just that. transparency. make the process transparent. make sure that when it comes to any candidate you know where their money is coming from, everybody bit of it, every dime. >> very quickly on marijuana. how do you reconcile your pro-legalization views and the trends are clearly with you and the republican party is two thirds against? >> you know, i can't think of a more conservative issue than marijuana. for me as governor of new mexico, everything was a cost-benefit analysis. what are we spending our money on and getting for the money
we're spending? that needs to take place in the federal government, also. what are we spending our money on? what are we getting for the money and borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we're spending but in that context, dylan, half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and the prisons is drug related. what are we getting for that? we're arresting 1.8 million people. we have now 2.3 million people behind bars in this country. we have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world and isn't the country of liberty and freedom? well, no, not when it comes to drugs. so, legalize it. control it. regulate it. tax it. let's make the corelations with prohibition and violence is a prohibition phenomenon. >> as anybody that watches my show, the views you articulate are similar to the rhetoric we use around here and it's interesting to watch your campaign. we thank you for keeping us up to date. >> hey, thank you for having me
on. i'll hopefully be able to do this a few more times. >> i imagine you will. developing news in the past hour here about our involvement in libya. also, ahead, you know the housing market is messed up when the president's telling you to rent. we'll talk about wit the mega panel today. plus, the $2 menu. mcdonald's profits are up once again. so why are they raising prices? here's a hint. it has to do with a magic money printer. and american car companies plugging back in to electric. but are we simply trading one problem for another? somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city
welcome back. time for today's "mega panel." joining us democratic strategist karen finney. republican strategist -- did you change your job? susan? to strategist. aren't you an adviser? >> no. don't change mine. >> i feel like i screwed it up. you are not a strategist, are you, karen? >> an analyst for msnbc only, dylan. >> thank you, yes. exclusively. susan is an analyst and jimmy in addition to audition dealing, a lobbyist and insider. i wish this was a happy subject here. unfortunately, we're a country at war. and the news this afternoon, james, armed u.s. predator drones flying back into libya. >> he has approved the use of
armed predators and i think that today may, in fact, have been their first mission. >> do we have a handle on libya and i want to get in to the death of a couple of these journalists that really bring it home. i think at least for the media. because they tend to know these people and have relationships with these people and of course i'm referring to the american and the brit. tim hetherington and chris hondros both of whom were killed yesterday. what would engagement mean, james? why do i call you jims? >> i don't know. . >> maybe i should start drinking again. >> here's the deal with this. the loss of their lives is unspeakable and tragic. but i can tell you this, first the president sending in the predator drones is a good idea. i wish he'd done it three weeks ago. but nato's leading this war, if
you will, or this mission. and us sending those in, it's no troops. by the way, predator drones are earmarks. they're earmarks in the federal budget. and so, congress controls how many of those are in the skies. i welcome them. if that's what it takes to keep your troops and journalists and civilians out of harm's way, i support it. i want it done and done quickly. >> karen, civilians there and again how about america's connection with war that has been so numbed and forfeigned in the past decade that we can do it on a weekend if we're into it with a predator drone and everybody goes back to the mall? >> i would hope what we would do with that is also have coverage of the impact of war when people come home. we have stories of this or that veteran when they're coping or take their own lives, god forbid. we don't have to deal with the consequences the same way the
military families are. that being said, i was surprised that the news of the rebels not selling more oil until there is a completion of some damages that were done and that sort of -- what that did to the oil markets, that that didn't get people more interested in, okay, i don't want my gas prices going up so maybe we should send predator drones. >> let's move on to housing, suzanne. you may remember the election in new york with the advent of the rent is too damn high and apparently so the is the mortgage. >> our children can't afford to live anywhere. why? you said it. the rent, it's too damn high. >> may be my favorite political candidate of all time, by the way. here's the president yesterday. >> a lot of people who bought a first home when credit was easy now are finding that credit is
tough. and we've got to strike a balance, frankly, there's some folks who are probably better off renting. >> susan, george bush in 2002 said we want everybody in america to own an own home. an ownership society is a compassionate society. what's going on? >> well, i mean, barack obama's comments today are just mind boggling. it is like telling the american public because food prices are going up, go on a diet and eat less. it doesn't work that way. the fact is he offered up a fairly good plan on reforming freddie and frannie and not a lot of difference between the democrats and republicans on this issue and he should be bringing real reform to an issue like this. >> jimmy? >> bill clinton, george bush both sat for 16 years and said to the american people that their number one thing should be to own a home. finally there's a president and that's happens to be barack
obama that is actually telling us the truth which is not everyone should own their own home. and at -- i'm sorry. i don't think everybody should. you know, barney frank has been arguing for years to have an affordable housing fund that the government sets up for people that can't afford to buy their own homes. there's nothing wrong with that. not everybody can be middle and upper income classes. >> i agree but the point is maybe not everyone -- maybe not everyone can. that doesn't mean you wouldn't love for everyone to be able to. >> that's the american dream. >> my american dream is more to own a home. i know a lot of people in new york city that like renting. they don't like to deal with the fact of condo and co-op fees twice as much as mare mortgages. >> i'm sorry. i think the point of the president is there's an era of responsibility here. maybe cheap credit is not a good thing for our economy as we have learned and not everybody can own their own home and the mcmansions but i think we still
would love for the goal to be that everybody would be to be in a position to own their own home. >> isn't it more of a selective responsibility? in other words, if you have a bribe into a politician out of a health care, let's say a drug company or a giant bank or maybe a military contractors, you have no responsibility but if you have limited political power then you better get responsible. let's talk about television for a second, shall we? apparently it's dead. we should be enjoying this while it lasts because we're in a studebaker apparently. survey of young people shows more of them would rather give up their televisions than have to forfeit their cell phones. 28% said they would miss their cell phones more and only 23% said they would struggle at all without their television. at the end of the day, how big do you think the chasm is, karen, between young and old
when it comes not just to entertainment and all this but coming to actually distributing, gathering and discussing information? >> you know, pretty huge. i got to tell you. i was in a store the other day and checked something on the ipad and the guy in the store said that his 3-year-old grandson already knew how to use an ipad so and i got to tell you when i was 3 years old i would not have known how to use the technology. the chasm is big and growing and i would think in the study probably what the kids is thinking they have smartphones and watch tv on their phones. what do they need a tv for? >> it is how they communicate. people use the cell phones to talk. something as kids we never had the ability to do. also, for texting so i don't necessarily think it puts tv on the outs. oprah winfrey is still one of the top 100 most influential people out there. >> she is riding on the gravy train. are you kidding me? she's just enjoying the half life at this point. james, you get the final word. >> you know, i was having a lunch discussion today and
someone said that the united states of america, that we used to every single night or monday through friday everyone used to sit down and watch johnny carson and it was a unifying moment for the country. >> i love that. >> today's not the case. you have kids and people walking up and down the streets, driving their cars. i'm guilty of it. who are completely 1,000% in their own words. that's a sad statement but technology is technology. my friend dave matthews says progress takes away from what forever took to find. i'm not sure if we're going backwards or forwards but we're on the boat ride forward. >> we don't know forward or back ward and then i'm in a boat going forward. >> listen. i know which way the current's going. i don't know about you but i'm going forward. >> jimmy has a bunch of technology with him in the lap and pocket. don't buy it. >> none of it's on right now.
>> yeah. all right. we'll keep you three obviously. take a moment. the panel sticks around. unfair trade, ahead. is america finally ready to have a political conversation about the trade relationship with china? an economist joins us. [ male announcer ] want a better way to track what you spend? pnc virtual wallet now comes with spending zone. it organizes all your spending, including your pnc debit card, credit card, and your bills. so you can view them by category... or by month. you can set a budget... and it'll even alert you when you're getting close to the amount you've set -- and when you've gone over. spending zone is built to help you keep better track of your spending. experience everything virtual wallet has to offer at pncvirtualwallet.com. pnc bank. for the achiever in you. and here's what we did today in homes all across america:
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when you see what china is doing to us, losing this year $300 billion to china and taking our jobs and through manipulation of their currency -- >> in the political pro-wrestling arena donald trump grabs all sorts of headlines for all sorts of absurdities of questioning the president's citizenship to, well, marriage. but as you also saw he's also making news. for tackling one of the few and
very destructive problems, trillion-dollar problems, in this country. certainly something owe know about if you're a regular viewer of this show so what are the chances china will be paramount, a central issue in the 2012 presidential election? today's specialist, economics professor peter morici with the mega panel. karen, suzie and jimmy replain with us, as well. before we convene i want to play the price. jimmy williams, is not right. notice the not. you got that, jimmy? >> i got it, dylan. >> price is not right. you ready? let us say that james and i go into an antiques business. jimmy runs an american antiques dealer and i run a chinese antiques dealer. jimmy sells things for, yes, let's say, a dollar. hold on a minute. you can see the dollar there. and then running that business at a dollar i then peg my
currency so that every time jimmy sells a dollar worth of chairs, i sell that exact same chair for 50 cents. what does that do to jimmy's business? not very good. sounds to me like the price might not be right. it gets better. every time that jimmy sells a chair to me in america, i tax jimmy at, i don't know, 2.5% which is what we tax chinese imports. however, if i try to sell my chair to china, they tax that exact same chair at 25%. again, the price would appear not right. and then finally, the fundamental issue away from the pricing is a lack of reciprocity in the treatment of my antiques business and jimmy's antiques business because of the currency rigging tax policy and market access. professor, is donald trump correct to hammer this issue? >> absolutely. you know, barack obama hammered this issue and then has done
nothing about it since becoming president. how ridiculous is it? let's take the production of steel. china has to import ore. they have to import coal. they have the same input costs that we do. they have to buy the machinery in the same place. there's only a few companies that make steel mills yet they send steel here. some people say it's the labor advantage. wait a minute. the labor cost to producing a ton of steel is less than half of the cost of transportation across the pacific. their workers would have to pay the chinese mills $75 to $100 a ton for the privilege to show up in the morning. that's how absurd the math is. >> professor, why the price is not right, we ask why do they keep these prices rigged the way they do, it all comes back to american corporations funding our politicians that are invested in china. it's, again, american companies
masquerading as patrick yots and selling us out. >> absolutely. caterpillar produces tractors in china. makes no economic sense to do that but they do. whenever a president starts to think of something about china, some of the most effective lobbyists in town are companies like caterpillar or goldman sachs who want to basically set up banks over there and not affected be i the unfair competition. i said the chinese would be better off shutting down the embassy here and turning it over to caterpillar. >> hi, peter. before donald trump started on all this birther nonsense he was talking about china and how he would immediately tax chinese imports by 25% and people said you can't do that. it's against the rules and there was something about him being forceful with this issue that -- and leading on this issue that attracted a lot of people to him. and i'm just wondering, what do you think about president obama's leadership on this? he seemed to one point be willing to take a step forward
but he isn't seemed at least from what i tell to have done much since. >> president obama is confused. he thinks free trade works no matter what governments do. it's a great contraption of prosperity and wealth if everybody plays by the same rules but china doesn't and he has it in his mind china can protect the industries but if we practice self defense we are protectionists. china is the protectionist in this conversation and he has to get f this thing of saying we'll never resort to protectionism. that's like saying i'll play football with you and you play hell mets and i have to go out with a baseball cap and bare hands. >> karen? >> so, here's a question, though, because we hear rhetoric about this. let's say tomorrow, you know, we went and talked tough to the chinese and all of that. realistically speaking, that's not necessarily going to mean an immediate correlation to more jobs being created in the united states. it's like a bigger --
>> oh, really? >> another piece of the picture. well, okay. where would walmart get the goods from? i'm asking. >> yeah. that's fine. that's a fair question. first of all, not everything's going to come back here with a 25% tariff. the currency a 35% advantage and plus the tariff they have on and on and it goes but it would cause to do is there are factories here to make some of the things made in china and the production would move here and other factories would open up. if you change the relative prices then where things are made change, as well. >> real quickly, peter. this is not without precedent. ronald reagan in 1985 watching the japanese manipulate their currency and with a similar variable and they had a meeting in which they forced the revaluation of the japanese yen which created a massive flow of japanese cash or capital into america which in theory is what would happen with chinese capital if there was a currency revaluation in china.
>> i don't know how much capital would come here but the factories would cam here and the exchange rates pronounced than the 40% revaluation of the chinese currency that folks like myself and others are calling for. and by the way, you know, a lot of universality of economists. ben bernanke got on the wagon. i was by myself ten years ago but most believe a revaluation of the currency would be healthy and tap down inflation. >> i'm over the clock. i need jimmy williams, the question would be to you. be very quick if you can in the answer, peter. the politics of a 25% tariff in this country with the price impact on the walmart shopper intolerable. true or false? >> i think that's false and find that we could make those products here much more effectively than anticipated. what price effect we would have would be short term. >> that's the answer i think to
your question, james. we'll have a further debate in this studebaker known as television. jimmy williams, susan -- >> that was my question but that's fine. >> susan, karen finney and of course peter morici and thanks to all of you. up next here, a fast food chain known for its value could soon be taking more of an mcbite out of your budget. don't blame ronald. blame ben bernanke. ♪
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mcdonald's making some changes to the menu and a good chance that regulars will not be loving it. the company says even though profits are up prices are headed in the same direction. the company citing the soaring costs of commodities, beef, pork, eggs. that, of course, directly tied to the federal reserve's decision to print trillions of dollars forcing people, investors, to race into the
commodity market to avoid the worthlessness of our currency. in fact, the number crunchers of mcdonald's predict food prices will climb another 4.5%. soon the dollar menu may have to be renamed the $2 menu. thanks to the money printer. enough to make you lose your appetite. coming up next, powering a movement. a state by state campaign for independence, jobs and efficiency. sounds pretty good the me. you couldn't ask for a better leader, former michigan governor jennifer granholm. our live guest after the break.
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supply of the revolutionary double-helix cutting lghtweigf other features make the worx gt the best trimmer you can own. once you try instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy sources let's invest in tomorrow's. >> president obama earlier today from his town hall in nevada talking about energy. the singular issue that i believe almost all political coalitions in this country with the exception of big oil companies can align around and solve problems and create jobs. our steel on wheels culminating in the town hall meeting and came away from that with the energy manifest to highlighting our core values. one, honesty in the actual price of the energy we are using, for instance, a gallon of gas, about
$14 with defense resources and environmental damage. focus on efficiency. we waste two thirds of all the energy we burn in power plants, in trucking, in cars, in houses. it is absurd. other countries at 90%, for instance, in japan on things like power generation. i say domesticity, focus on what's available to us here and then safety. i put two on that. one can we do things like frac for natural gas safely? drill for oil safely? and of course secure ourselves globally by getting control of our energy resources. former michigan governor jennifer granholm with her agenda in little rock, arkansas, today to launch pew energy project, a national campaign to go to two states a month highlighting why america needs a national energy policy. very simply, there's a lot of arguing that goes on in this universe, governor, about how
can we help you, what are you trying to do. this is a problem we know we can solve if we decide to do it. >> we are aligned, dylan. i can't tell you how much that's been reinforced. i'm here in arkansas where i'm speaking to you from right now. just came from lm wind power. business owner there saying we would love to expand. we need a national renewable energy standard in order for our businesses to make the decision to be able to invest in america. they have already got 300 people here in arkansas working hard but how much more they could do if our nation made a commitment to renewable energy. this is all about jobs, energy security. it's about creating things in america. i know you are all about manufacturing here. i am, too. this is exactly how america can get back on track so pew is launching this national campaign for pragmatic policies, one being a clean energy standard to get a certain percentage of the
energy from renewable services and have industrial efficiency, making sure we have more electric vehicles and fuel economy to be petroleum independent to make sure that we are independent of foreign oil and then more investment in research and development. that's what we are all about. >> specifically, it's one thing for somebody like myself to sit in an air conditioned studio in my suit and shoot my mouth off, it is another thing for somebody like yourself and so many others to go out state to state as we obviously did with steel on wheels and actually attempt to inspire action. >> right. >> why are you going to two states and what are you trying to do as you go there? why are you in arkansas today? >> we are in arkansas to highlight what arkansas is doing. this state of arkansas attracted four wind turbine manufacturers. those four manufacturers and other policies adopted mean they have almost 5,000 people who are working in clean energy in arkansas. but the point is that the business community here is
saying we need national policy. our -- the heads of our businesses and they have got some international companies who are making wind turbines here, they're saying we'll invest in china. they already are. the question is for us for america, all of this investment's happening globally. where will it go? if we have national policy to make a good market as you have stressed that means the jobs will come here. >> what do you see at the barrier? >> the barrier is congress. congress has got to act. that's the problem. you know, as well as i do, that all of this discussion around the deficit and the debt is distracting congress from doing job creation. i hope they get rid of this stuff very quickly because truly what we really need right now is a sense of urgency in congress for creating jobs and for making us energy independent. if we can do that, if we get that sense of urgency and get something on the books that sends the right signal to the business community that america's serious, we'll get
those jobs in america and not see them go to china, india, mexico, you name it. >> and, what if anything can we do to pressure congress if that's the barrier? >> you are doing a great job. you are a great mouthpiece for this and i think for them to hear from people like you and the guests that you have on, from businesses who are making decisions right now. if we're serious about creating jobs in america, then we should be listening to the job provider who is are making decisions so if they need a market here, create that market and that's exactly what we are going around the country to amplify their voices and i appreciate you letting me on here today because it really does amplify the agenda that you outlined, as well. hey, dylan, can i just say? you had the great little bit there about what energy efficiency can produce. here's a stat for your viewers. because of all these industrial facilities across the country, the power plants and also the factories, they use power to be
able to make their factory work. there's so much waste heat in those factories that if we could capture that waste heat and use it to power the factory, then it would save a huge amount of money. there's so much waste heat in america coming off of industrial facilities that that waste heat could power the entire nation of japan for a year. can you imagine if we captured it and used it ourselves? >> it is stunning, i think, as we all look at this. if you look at the coalition of the willing, if you will, of libertarians, progressives. the boone pickens, whatever he is, people who don't like t. boone pickens and want solar or wind power, basically i can't -- hard to find an opponent to the efficiency agenda, to the energy independence agenda outside of some of the status quo interests. >> her's the kicker, dylan. pew has done bipartisan
research. i'm leading the campaign with senator john warner of virginia, former senator there, he's a republican. this is not a partisan issue. in fact, they did polling across america. 84% of americans want to see national energy policy that provides for energy efficiency and more renewable energy. 85%. 75% of republicans, 63% of tea party members for pete's sake want to see a national energy policy that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy. >> if we simply stick to not wasting so much energy we can get out of the fractured debate and energy sources and addressed and after efficiency right now. am i crazy to think that? >> no. you are right on the money and energy efficiency is considered the fifth fuel and power us all. huge -- can take a huge part of the way. >> absolutely. listen. >> appreciate it. >> what's your next stop? >> ohio next week. come along! >> maybe i'll see you in ohio next week, governor.
thank you so much. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> governor granholm, former governor of michigan with us from arkansas working on the issue i think we can get after right now. coming up here, a little bit of" hardball at" 5:00. but first, revenge of the electric car. the critically acclaimed documentary premiering at this weekend's film festival about the return of an old energy idea. the man behind the movie, next. how can expedia save me even more on my hotel?
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♪ the electric car is here. >> that from '96 when gm releases the ev-1. not that long ago. only later to repossess and destroy owl of them? gm's move inspired the movie "who killed the electric car?" and now 15 years later the minds behind that movie are back with the sequel if you will, "revenge of the electric car." ♪ >> you need to predict the future, prepare for it. if it happens, we'll be ready. >> i want to show the world that it's really possible. >> this is the future and it's attainable.
♪ >> joining us, chris payne director of both films. what happened to the original electric car? there's an anecdote of the city of sacramento that kind of tells the story very well. >> what happened to that first car is the lobbyists came in to sacramento kill the program. >> how did that work? sacramento set a standard of some kind they didn't like? >> exactly. they told automakers if you want to sell your suvs, big cars, you have to sell non-gasoline cars? >> sacramento said that? >> yeah. took ten years for them to beat up on california. they finally said, okay, we give up and canceled the program and killed the car. >> the government standards for efficiency eliminated and back on the suv land. how did we end up where we are now with more interesting is i guess carlos gone that runs nissan and betting the farm on electric car. >> and general motors.
consumer pressure. people said why is there only a gasoline car? why's the only option? we know why. the second thing is gasoline hit $4 in 2008 and the car companies said, okay, we have to get back in the game. >> if you were to look at -- where are we in the evolution of that car? >> they're here. i mean, they are actually making these cars, you can buy them. it's still a little bit early, 2011. you can buy them in california and around the country so this is a huge reversal. >> do you do car reviews in additional to documentary films? >> no. sure. i can do this. >> i'll call "consumer reports" for that. the next question goes to what i was just talking with governor granholm about, the wasteful nature by way america manufactures electricity. 35% is the efficiency ratio on the typical power plant in america, meaning two thirds of whatever we burn is wasted as radiant heat.
>> yeah. >> japan, 90%. germany, 85%. if we were to switch to all electric cars, would we not still be burning lots of dirty energy just doing it in a different location? >> well, that's an excellent question. i think the governor's point awesome, too, recapture some of the heat of the power plants but the basic plus on the electric cars, so efficient by themselves, 95% efficient, you can make the power yourself and not buying oil so if you look at study after study saying electric cars are efficient and don't burn gasoline and threatens status quo players. >> were we to end up with an electric car environment, that would actually probably raise the volume and leverage on our power grid and on our power generation facilities to catch up with the time. >> that's true. >> they're stuck with eisenhower. >> that's a good point. in fact, i think the utilities
say right now you can charge 180 million cars at night with the existing electricity and the biggest user of that electricity are the oil industry because they need electricity to refine gasoline and switch this over and driving more electric cars, it makes a huge difference. >> one last question. i don't mean to be a pain in your neck. there's concern that electric cars are dependent on precious earth, rare earth, rare materials for the manufacture of the batteries and the innovation and advancement of those batteries. there is also concern that china has gone out of their way around the earth to purchase commodity possession of those precious earths. >> yeah, yeah. >> do you have any insight of how real the risks are? >> it's a great question. the fact is that china wants to try to corner the electric car market like they do everything else. this is where we're going. >> china wants to?
>> of course. does the united states want to be part of that? yes, we should. i think you will find that the electric car uses less precious resources than the average manufacture of a car. this is an amazing opportunity -- >> what i'm saying is china specific. you're right, china realizes unlike our own government that above the surface energy reproduction, tidal energy, solar energy, i don't care, heaven energy opposed to hell energy, right? >> right, right. >> is the future. >> yeah. >> they also recognize that possession of particular assets to do that is the future. do you get any sense, i asked governor granholm this, how we collectively can play catch up with this people? >> convince congress and the president to get serious about it. on the consumer side, if people don't buy electric cars, car companies say it didn't work and go back to suv. this is the window with obama in the white house to pressure the
programs and get america on track with renewable energy. >> one of the other things that's very interesting as -- we talk about a lot on the show, as well, the unholy alliance of business and state and how business, if we got rid of church and state and created business and state we have been dealing with that for quite some time and the sufficient is a classic example. it was exempted i believe by george bush from emissions standards and profitable to make suvs than it was for them to make cars. do you see any policy, have you seen any legislation that exists now that would create incentives for these car companies to make profits on electric cars? >> fleet-wide averages of mpgs. because they know they're forced to make them, okay, we'll have some electric cars so you have to be tough and carrot and stick the car companies, you have to say if you don't do it you're in trouble and by the way, we'll give incentive to consumers and make it easy. >> our friend at nissan