tv Charlie Rose PBS October 25, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program, tonight paul volcker former chairman of the federal reserve offers his assessment of regulatory reform. >> we didn't deal with the banking crisis wall street would be lot worst off, no doubt about that case, you suld not have a system that is so conducive to the failure of big institutions and so institutions that are so complicated and so interconnected they demand some kind of government bailout, to use the word, true in the united states, true in the uk, true in europe, true in japan. so we have got sething seriously the matter with the system that is not easy to
repair overnight. >> rose: we conclude this evening with amy goodman, host of democracy, and chris hedges author of the death of the liberal class and their assessment of the occupy wall street movement. >> this is why the democrats and the republicans are very concerned, you see the republicans changing too, at first they were not accepting this movement. you know, gandhi said it and i will paraphrase it, first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. and we are moving forward in that process. >> there is no way to vote against the interest of goldman sachs, and so when you shut at safety valve off, you crte movements that seek to tear down a monolithic and tone-deaf and callous power structure and that is what happened. >> paul volcker, chris hedges and amy goodman when we contue. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: volcker is here chairman of the federal reserve from 1979 to987, he remained influential in the range of economic issues, in 2009 president obama apinted him chairman of the economic recovery board, gulation bill is called the vehicler rule, wall street banks lobbied heavily against it. there is growing speculation the final product will include provisions to substantially dilute its intent. >> emerged with public comment, i am pleased to have paul volcker back at this tle. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: so just tell me what you think has happened to what we knew of as the vehicler rule that you intended. >> oh, i think it is okay.
there are a lot of commotion about the lengths of the rule and the commentator and all the rest. a lot of lawyers spent a lot of time trying to put holes in this thing and of course the regulators respond by trying to close the holes that they bic in it and you end up with presumably pretty cumbersome piece of paper, i read it myself, the regulation itself is only5 pages. >> rose: but it is like 300 -- >> 300, including commentator, rules for how you keep records, most of the banks will want to keep these records anyway, but the regulaon itself is 35 pages. >> rose: so if anybody argues that banks lobbied a had it diluted, in the words of the creator of the vehicler rule they simply got it wrong. >> they got it wrong and that is wh i am happy to say, it is too complicated we can't do it, but this rule, it reminds mef the old story about the guy that
murdered his mother and then pleads innocent because he is an orphan. >> rose: yes. >> lawyers are there working away, heading to the complications without any doubts and say oh it is too complicated. what struck me, when you go back to this deal, people say let's go back to -- the two operative provisions of seeingable were two sentences, one says .. you can not be principally engaged in underwriting on anything. the other provision said you can't trade, you can't deal in corporate instrument andt is a tough thing, it says you have customers that come to you with a trade, you can do it, but for his account, you can't put it in your account. two sentences. no regulation, no nothing. lasted for 50 years. >> rose: would you like to see those two sentences back? >> well, i think this would take six or seven -- you can put those sentences back but that
go much further, that says no trading account. >>ose: that goes much further than what we have now with dodd frank? because we have allow for trading accounts. >> rose: would you have preferred to go further like glass hl did? >> i would prefer to go ere we went, but if they are going to complain that that is too complicated and make it simpler, we can make it simpler, by prohibiting everything. >> rose: but by becoming more complex doesn't it become some how weighted down? >> think you accommodate these things after long. they will get used to it and it will be okay a lot of this is definition, and they have got a lot of rules, for instance, a lot of proposals for recordkeeping, now, that is outside of the rules, recordkeeping, that's the thing you want comment on, is there a better way of doing this? a simpler way of doing this. >> but the idea you have to keep records of the trading you are doing, it can't be negated. >> rose: will consumers and
the economy be safer because of dodd prank? the financial reform enacted since barack obama became president? >> yes, my answer is unambiguously yes, now there are more important provisions, i like the so-called volcker rule, but, you know, the principal effort in this whole thing is to limit this too big to fail problem. >> rose: right. >> and this is part of the effort not to have failures, but if you are going to fail, what happens with a failure? dodd frank has a prty clearly set out resolution process that says the government takes it over, the government will liquidate that organization ort will rge it or ll it, tha organization is gone, it will not-- the stkholders won't be bailed out, the manageme is go, the creditors will be at risk, if there aren't enough assets in the organization to cover the liability it is creditors will have to swallow it. and they keep this thing alive
long enough to implement the liquidation process thout disturbing the whole thing. now, everybody is skeptical and when push comes to shove they won't do it. >> rose: right. >> but one big element is can you get international agreement because these big firms are obviously very international. and you are going to liquidate them, you have got to liquidating all er the world in some sense, and the biggest place you have got to get some comity is europe, and britain is quite aware of this problem, because we are going on, consultation is going on betwn, to try to get some consistency here, and i think, you want something complicated that is much more complicated than the vehicler rule, but there is a lot of international discussion going on and i think -- >> rose: what do you think about bozzl e-3. >> that becomes a political issue and some banks say, oh you are tougher on us than the banks over there, the kind of siness
we do, you are being too tough on, you are being too easy with the other guy, and the other guy is saying the same thing about american banks and so -- >> rose: they saidt was anti-america >> yes, you know, the french think it is anti-french. so-so the gulators, e regulators, this doesn't take a change in law for the most part but the regulators are very heavy lobbied, and the tendency in the past is to ease up in these requirements overtime, so they there are going to be problems. >> rose: you made a speech which gretchen took note of called three years later, and you pointed out three things, you mentioned too big to fail, you believe that too big to fail is no longer an issue because of dodd frank. >> oh, it will be an issue, but
dodd frank attempts to deal with it. >> rose: attempts to deal with it. >> well, and i hope successfully, particularly for nonbanks, there is no reason why we have to support those nonbanks under any kind of reasonable resolution process. the big banks, boy we hope the don't get in trouble and that is the relevance of some of these others ruled, do you worry about shadow bank something. >> well, shadow banking -- >> rose: hedges fundand other financial powerhouses that are now engaging in some of the businesses that typically commercial banks did. >> because of to be frank, ty come underhe old rules, of something. >> rose: right. >> and if it provides authority for their capital requirements, to provide other authority to supervise those institutions which didn't exist before. so dodd frank provides the authority for alof this kind of stuff, which everybodalmost says is necessary. and it takes a lot of words to put it in law but it is there, yohave the resolution authority, you have the nonbank, the shadow banking thing and the capital requirements, and those are major elements in dodd frank. >> rose: that would have prevented the kind of collapse we experienced. >> i certainly hope so, but the other ingredient is you have to
have strong, alert regulators. >> rose: do we have strong, alert regulators? we did not last time. >> i hope we have stronger and more alert regulators than we did ten years ago. i really couldn't pursue that experience without -- there was this geelg that the market could take care of itself, that, you know, markets were fresh and people had perfect foresight, get together, you don't have to worry about this kind of thing the way we used to. >> rose: that was your successor alan greenspan >> the view of a lot of people, i'm frayed and, afraid, and it is a rude awakening, we can't assume these things will be so correct. >> rose: market markets usually rrect. >> usually they do but sometimes they don't. >> you pointed out money markets offer potential problem. >> yes. >> because they are not -- >> they were a big problem in the crisis. >> rose: right. >> major complications and the question is whether they should be left unregulated.
dodd frank, again, provides thority to get in this area, they come under different, for historic reasons they are particular the sec rather than the banking regulators but they make with a, act like a bank, they promise to pay you par, they promise to pay you instantaneously, although their asset central y change. that is the only mutual fund that has that privilege. so they attract money which i remind you what properly should be in the banks. they have no insurance, they have no capital requirement. they have no real official surveillance of their asset picture. and ironically, while they got in trouble in the midst of the crisis a took hundreds of billions of -- unusual assistance, to keep them not really upsetting the apple cart, this, we discovered many of the big ones, half of theiassets were in european banks, well, you know, what people think
about european banks. >> rose: they think they are in bad shapes, they are exposed to the european sovereign debt crisis. >> so they have been pulling back, so they complicate the sovereign debt crisis but suppose there had been a failure in greece last winter as there could have been or last spring. >> rose: a failure meaning a default. >> aefault for a default of a big european bank. >> rose: what would ve happened? >> it would have been a run on the money. because of all of their exposure to european banks. and that would have been very disturbing. >> rose: the other thing you talked about, and which is crucial in terms of economic recovery, everybody is housing. unless we can figure out a way to deal with the over supply of housing stock and that is unr water we will never fully have an economy recovery, do you agree with that? >> well i agree that the housing situation is a big drag, and you can't say forever, but it is a big drag while we work through all of these foreclosures, and
the administration as you know has announced. >> rose: right, today. >> new actions we will see how effective that will be, but the housing situation is a big drag on the economy. >> rose: and what should be done about it? >> well, if i knew the answer that queion, and very simple i would disclose it to charlie rose. first of all. >> rose: well, i appreciate that. and i would tell everybody who i, what i knew about it and we might solve the problem. >> unfortunately it is all complicated in disclosure rules and regulations and bankruptcy ruleand glaigs, and part of it is, if you see the guys that are in worse shape the guys that are inood shape say why am i not getting any help and you have a moral hazard problem plus a very difficult technical problem. >> what would you do about freddie mae and fanny ma mac. >> they should be phased out. >> they should be phased out and
the government role in mortgage should be ended. >> the role of these quasi governmental institutions should be ended, because they have a flaw which cannot be corrected. people think because they are governmental they will be bailed out, but they are profit-making institution whose are trying to make as much profit as they can in the meantime. it is not -- it is not a reasonable approach for public policy. and i am not saying you shouldn't -- government might decide they want to support parts of the mortgage market but they should do it by the government not hiding behind -- >> whado you think is going to happen in the european soverei debt crisis. >> i hope they get together in the next few days. >> rose: days is what it has come down to. >> well, days, at least in setting out agreement on the principles, i suspect the details are going to take more, but they have got to make an agreement of recapitalizing the banks that is essential d they haveo marshall enough money, there is a lotf money we are talking about, we are talking about a trillion or more.
>> rose: yes, a trillion. >> i never thought i would talk about trillions. >> but here we are in a illion, and get more than a trillion together so they can protect any teency to have a run on the big companies in the countries that need financing, spain and italy, in particular. and if you have the money you may not have to spend it. but. >> rose: do something to create a firewall that doesn't jump over to spain and italy where you have big problems with binge banks. >> and none of this is going to work for long until they accept the idea you have to have further integration in the euro zone policy-making. you have got to have some kind of a collective treasure in some sense that can discipline countries that are borrowing too much, and they can get after them in terms of competitiveness and other, in my vie and other
aspects of economic policy, when you look back, how did they let the greeks go so long or the portuguese or even the spanish? >> rose: spending at the levels they were spending without -- >> the levels they were ending until it came to the point of crisis and you can ask t question about the united states, and china. why did we let the situation arise and why did china let a situation arise when they own $3 trillion, speaking of trillion, american dollars? while we over spend, over consumed, you know, it is like these stories. >> rose: because it was a huge export market for them. >> it was a huge export market for them and a huge consumption boon for us and mortgage boon for us financed by chinese money which originally came from us. we have had lapses in necessary discipline, in many parts ofhe world. >> rose: what should we learn from the japanese perience?
>> well, what we learned, the japanese experience was difficult, it got very heavily criticized by everybody here about why they didn't do more. now we understand how difficul the problem was. >> rose: they did too little too late. >> well, japan had the biggest, in a sense, economic crisis than we did. they had a real estate problem, real estate prices went down by something like 75 percent there. here, they are 30 percent. jan, they we down 70, 75 percent. they h a stock market going down at the same time, don't rememb the exact figure but like 70 percent too, a tremendous shock to their banking system, it is a less complicated financial system, but basically their banks were busted. and the government supported the banks, we supported the banks, and they got, drove interest ranges down to zero and spent a lot of money and there wasn't as much response as people would like to have seen. but i thk, frankly, the
criticism of jan was over done, and we now understand you get into these problems when you borrow too much, and you have a collapse in values, as they did in japan, as we did in the united states, you know, it is no longer a matter of pushing the button on monetary policy or having a little stimulus program, it is tougher than that, it takes time, you have too much debt, we have to work our way out, they had to work their way out. >> one thing that came out of the political campaign is this intense criticism of the federal reserve, especially from the republicans. >> i think to some degree that was inevitable, the federal reserve has departed from their usual remote approach. they supply money into the market or take money out of the market and in a most unobtrusive way, they buy treary i didn' bills and the money supply goes up and down and affects interest
rates to some extent but truly they took extraordinary measures during the crisis, and the feedback, i say, well, what kind of precedent did you create, people that don't like the idea that bks were bailed out at all, what were you doing? you were using, you know, authorities that stretched your lel authorities, to say the least. alongside the government, and they only did it in cooperation with the administration, that is clear. there is no any reasonable complaint that federal reserve went off on a wild tangent. they were operating alongside the administration, but they were doing extraordinary things and it is going to be criticism to some extent, that tends to politicize. they got into areas that are, indeed, politically charged, inevitably. >> rose: because they had to or because they chose to? >> oh, i think they, you know, i think they thought they had to and there is a very strong case that they had to, things were
falling apart back there in october of 2008, or in the beginning of 2008 when they first extraordinary measure they took was with bear stearns. and in the early part of 2008. >> rose: and j.p. morgan -- guaranteed it. >> facilitating the j.p. morgan takeover, yes. >> rose: there is under way in this country, in ts city, and around the world this developing protest, what do you make of it? at do you -- >> what i make of it is that people are unhappy. the protest itself doesn't seem be totally coherent, but there is a feeli, which i am a little surprised has not been expressed more forcibly before, which has changed very radically the distributionf income, which has changed very radically in the last ten or fifteen years, and you have a situatn in the united states where there has been almost no growth in real income for the average family for ten or fifteen years,
but way at the upper end of the income distribution there has been an enormous increase, of the kind that didn't take place in my lifetime or even in your lifetime. >> rose: it is unbelievable. >> yes. it seems almost unbelievable, the only thing that came close to it 1928, 1929, because you look at what happened in 1930s. >> rose: yes. >> but -- >> rose: does that worry you in a sense if you look at income disparity in america today and in some cases around the world, in other cases around the world, and you look and you see parallels that led into the great depression? >> well, i think both of the -- both of those occasions were excesses in financial markets and a lot of that concentrated income came in financial market. >> rose: we said there has been an excess in financial markets. >> that's right, and 28, 29 there was an excess mostly in the stock market. there was a great boom in the
stock market, and, led to a lot of wealt temporarily. >> rose: here it has been much more complicated. and you have got a mixture, you ha people, you have steve jobs, he is a geus, u know take microft and all of these other companies that have innovated, enormously successful, a lot of innovators have gone down the chute but some made enormous amounts of money that made a tremendous impact on the economy. >> rose: as was said in the book, changed five or six industries. >> yes. >> from music to movies, to computers, to-- >> i think it is hard to say anything about the financial market. >> rose: you say what. >> it is hard to say the same thing about this great expansion in the financial markets, brought about, you know, a real gain in income and prosperity or whatever for the average american. >> what is to the tobin thing about, the tobin tax on financial transactions?
>> well, it is just kind of a reaction, let's slow things down, all of these complicated rapidly traded markets are not doing as much good, let's slow us down a little bit, they are leading to a lot of excesses in one direction or another, so guess tobin put political sand in the wheels. the original tobin suggestion was only on foreign exchange transactions. and none of this worked very well, even if it sounds good in theory, unless, particularly -- transactions one country can't do it you ha to have all of the countries do it, there is kind of a fat chance to get all of the countries to get together and,n such an approach. so they e serious about it in europe and it appears that europe may go ahead and legislate something, even if if they legislate it, i guess, in the euro zone, even if the british hate it. >> rose: do you believe the bank lobbying on dodd frank has had a serious impact? >> it has had a serious impact in complicating. >> what has it complicated?
more complicated in the sense diluting? >> i think more complicated than diluting, yes. >> rose: so the core of it is there? >> the core of it is there. now, really, much more than all of this fuss about complicated laws is whether the overtime, the regulators are going to stand there and effectively. >> rose: enforce. >> enforce it. that's the real key. and i like the parts that they have in this bill that put a lot of, emphasis on the stock, you have got to go to the chief executive, you have to go to the board of dectors and say do you understand what a propriary trade, is, is, don't you? yes. >> well you have rules in your bank and i want to see those rules that make it clear that the bankers who are out there trading, that they know what a proprietary trade is and it is against the law. and you have to follow up on that. and you see a lot of activity around -- pressing beyond any reasonable age you go back to
the chief executive or you go back to the directors and say, you know, part of management is how well you are administering what is the law of t land and i think you have got a little deficiency here and i think we have a problem with management of this bank. now, are the regulators going to do that? that's what they should do. i hope it is not necessary. >> rose: well, the banks also argue, as you know, that it will reduce, it will restrict their economic growth. >> well, they have economic growth on a lot of traiding, they made a lot of money and lost it all in a couple of years, so i think that is a two-way street. i don't believe that. >> rose: capital requirements -- >> i don't think it is supportive of economic growth, it is supportive of steady economic group. i am talking about the vicler rule. you can say the same thing about capital requirements. i don't think capital requirements -- there is always a limit of capital requirements, there should be capital requirements, but i think the
kind of thing they are talking about is in that vein. >> rose: some say we will be deleveraging. >> we are. >> rose: and how long will it take? because the leveraging period took a series of years, how long will it take to go through this deleveraging. >> well, i was looking at a chart thother day that shows a nice downturn in -- a little more progress than i thought, but still compared to the leverage that went on in the last 15 years, before the crisis, we were down, i don't know, maybe a quarter or less, and we don't have to go all the way backo where we were, but unfortunately, this is the problem, and particularly it is the case in the mortgage market, where we are de-leveraging by the process of foreclosure, it is a very painful process. and we are not through it yet. >> rose: but you finally support the things that the obama administration have done? >> oh, yes. >> and they have, i mean, there was some debate as to whether
they were using you, whether your voice was heard. >> well, i don't know whether my voice was heard or not, but some of the things that they di the stimulus program was, might be that came in as president would have done th. president bush had done a little stimulus program even before the recession, just as the recession was started, a little temporary stimulus program which most economists think isn't very effective, i mean, it s not insignificant, but he did it, would he have done something about the automobile industry? i spect he did. he, the bush administration that bailed out the banks, to use that expression. >> rose: by tarp. >> and by tarp and other actions. >> rose: and there is a fairness people have and you have a sense of the amican public, there is a sense of the bailout the banks, because they had to, whatever, but then the banks, they didn'tail out people, they didn't bail out main street.
>> i'm afraid not. you don't do that, you do the point of immediate pressure where obviously it would have hurt main street, you didn't deal with the banking crisis main street was going to be a lot worse off, there is no doubt about that being the case. we should not have a system that is so conducive to the failure of big institutions and so institutions that are so complicate and so interconnected they demand some kind of government bailout, to use the word, true in the united states, true in uk, true in europe, true in japan, so we have got something seriouslyhe matter with thsystem that is not easy to repair overnight, and i understand. i intensely dislike the fact that these banks get bailed out and in some cases nothing much happened to the managent, in some case it is management walked off with enormous.
>> rose: buyouts. >> buyouts or whatever,. >> rose: severance or whatever it is like hundreds of millions of dollars. yes. >> rose: i mean, you can understand the anger about this. thats what we are trying to deal with. i think we have to go back to what we said earlier, markets are not going to take care of themselves in all circumstances. let's rely on the market as much as we can and in normal circumstances, they do a wonderful job, and we want free markets, and we want new-- a country that is innovation and venture a capital, there is nothing wrong with hedge funds out there or equity funds out there. >> rose: or derivatives. >> deliveritvies was to a limited extent but when you have $60 trillion of credit default jams out of six to 10 trillion
at risk you wonder what is going on, the risk is protected six times over? we found out it wasn't protected, it wasn't protected at all, it was part of the crisis. so if we can cut down on that kind of stuff, obviously we are better off. all of this frenetic trading activity. >> rose: thanks for coming. always good to see you. >> okay. rose: we continue tonight our coverage of the occupy wall street protests in septemb, a small group of activists started mping out in theark,hey claim to draw the inspiration from the arab spring, since then protests have changed to other major dismiss the united stes and around the world, so far protesters have declined to be specific about their demands, some say corporate greed, or change the democratic process itself, questions remain whether the movement can maintain momentum and what comes next. amy goodman are, host of democracy now, news news hours, contributory negligence hedges, columnist at truth dig, i am
pleased to have both of them at this table. welcome. welcome. >> great to be back. >> rose: thank you. tell me what you think this is about and where you think it is going. >> i just came from there before thibroadcast, charlie, from zukoti park, occupy, near wall street, and one of the leading egyptian activists, founder of one of the people in the april 6 movement who put up the video in youtube before january 25, before the egyptian uprising, the major protests in tahrir called on people to go down, there she was her head covered risking everything, young woman, she is 26 years old, saying come down to, this is when mubarek had a stronghold on his country. and here she is today, she is running for parliament in egypt, but she came to occupy wall street to address the people there. it is catchi on like wildfire. now a thousand sites all over the world, i was just in
kentucky and louisville, occupy louisville is across from the jail, people have set up tents, the eloquence of the young people and old who are there, whare saying this is a defining moment, i think of one young man, an african-american soldier just back from iraq, he said he served in iraq from 2008 to 2010, and now he is serving his country by camping out at occupy louisville. we are seeing something like we haven't seen before except what? decades ago, with the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and it is something that is in formation, i don't think it can be predicted where it will go. but it is hot right now. >> rose: could it be in your judgment a new american revolution? >> oh, i think it is happening as we speak it is not just what will it achieve, these general assemblies that are being held every day in these occupy
everywheres, whether we are talking about austin or boston or san francisco or whether we are talking about louisville or new york, where people work by consensus, they consider issues, they decide what to do next, it is alrdy changed so many people, given so many people hope when they don't have jobs, when they see the educational system going down, and when they see their leaders leading us in the wrong direction. >> rose: chris, add to that. >> i think i agree with amy, that these people are very clear about what they want and what they want is to reverse the corporate coop d'etat that is carried out, this is a reaction, i think .. to the collapse of globalization, which is ricocheting arnd the globe. rising commodity prices, the reconfiguration of the global economy into a form of neofeudalism where they are masters within managerial class, and serfs, when you look at the conditions of workers, whether
it is in china and chin kwan lee did a fine studyf this in berkeley, you can't consider them as integrated into the wage system because at the end of the month they don't get salaries, they will climb to theop of the buildings and jump off, horrific conditions, this is replicated throughout the world, whether it is in the philippines, whether in vietnam. anit is this kind of race to the bottom, which is american workers are being told that they somhow have to be competitive on a global marketplace, well what it means is they have to be competitive with prin labor in china and that reconfiguration into an oligarchy state is already far advanced. so i think these people are very, ve clear, that we cannot sustain ourselves both, not only as a society, but even as a species if we don't confront the corporate ste. i think it is a kind of return to sanity, i think it is a confrontion with dead ideas.
i think it is a demand for justice, and i think it has an important difference between both the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement in that it attracts labor and it attracts. >> rose: labor as in organized labor. >> yes. and, you know, labor, if you go back to the sixties, this was very antonistic to the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement, you had kirkland, you know, supporting the -- >> rose: support the leaders. is it essential to reform capitalism or in a sense to find an alternative to capitalism? >> i think there are different forms of capitalism, there is the penny capitalism in the farm town where i grew up in upstate new york, where farmers brought in their products and sold it, there is a regional capitalism, where you have a local business owner, remember small businesses are lacked by corporations and big banks, they wot give them credit now and corporate capitalism which is something else. coorate capitalism is supernatural, it has no loyalty
to the nation state, and is, of course, hollowing us out from the inside and i think karl polany failed it in the great transformation in 1944 where he talked about unregulated unfettered capitism essentially plunging any nation into a mafia economy and a mafia political system and i think that is with a what has happened. >> some people ask about leadership. is it necessary to have define leaders? or is everybody a leader? >> the strength is that people feel empowered, that they are the their own leaders but the creativity down in occupy wall street here in new yor i mean, just look at the signs, you get the pizza boxes coming in from all over, so they take the boxes, they are very conservationist when it comes to being green down there, they take the boxes and they make signs, they say things like it is not a recession, it is a robbery. or as you are talking about corporations, they say, we will believe corporations are people when texas executes one. >> rose: a corporation? >> we believe corporations -- yes, are people when texas executes one, and it is uniting many different movementsand
although that has been talked about as its weakness i think the opposite, i think that is its strength. because so many people are finding a place there you know, corporate america has a problem when so many people have been disempowered and left out of the system, the joblessness, the unemployment, when peoe don't have healthcare, then they have less invested in the system, so what is happening right now is you have people sang we must change this. they see all of these issues as linked, whether we are talking about the money that is going to the wars in iraq and afghanistan, whether we are lking about the lack of healthcare or the issue of global warming and the corporations that are responsible for it, and whether we are talking about issues of racism, for exame, when it comes to the death penalty, and that is its power, there is a place for everyone. >> rose: are these the same stories you would hear overseas, is it about dignity, it is about
a system that is about an income disparity, about the issues of globalization, the same stories around the world. >> very much so. you know, when you have -- >> rose: those are the things that dignity, is the story or dignity was the question you constantly heard. >> i think that is right. and, you know, we live in a system that is no longer democratic for the majority of citizens and especially the underclass, it is probably best described as an inverted totalitarianism as williams calls it where it is not classical totalitarianism it doesn't fine its demonstration through a leader but through the anonymy of the capital state, you have a system whereby corporate forces purport to pay
fealty to electoral politics, the constitution, the iconography of american patriotism but corrupted the levers opower as to render the citizen impotent, we see that just in one piece of legislation after another. whether it is the pfizer reform act, whether it is the obama healthcare bill, which ends up being 2000 pages, written by the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, in essence the equivalent of the bank bailout bill for these corporations, i mean, look, just in moral terms, i mean, as a former seminary we live in a nation where it is legally permissible for corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents bankrupt themselves trying to save their sons or daughters, that is the sickness we have descended to. >> holding the children hoste because-- >> because if you can't pay yohave to sell your house and you go into personal bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills, 45 million people because they can't get medical care in this country. >> rose: do you believe, both
of you, that it has been portrayed accurately. >> oh, no. >> rose: so what is wrong with the portrayal that you see and read? >> i think the mainstream media has been revealed through all of is, over these last fi weeks, as nothing mainstream anymore. >> rose: yes. >> because if you look at the polls now, most americans actually support these occupy wall street movements all over the country, most americans and yet the ridicule. >> rose: they thought there was something unfair about -- >> because there is a since of injustice, it is not about, oh, just go gethe rich, it is about the sense of inequality and a number of wealthy people agree with this, that they should pay their fair share, that they should have to pay proportionately as much as their secretary is paying in taxes. it really -- i think cuts across the political spectrum. and when you have a lot of the pundits you see on television, on the networks, you know, these people who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us, and getting it so wrong,
ridiculing the people in these encampments and saying, for example, seriously? really? and yet the people who are down there, who are very serious grievances, i mean, evenheg uncp to me, he was in high school at mount vernon high school, and it was about 11:00 o'clock and i said are you sleeping here at the encampment, no, no, i am going to take a bus back i have to go to school every day but after school i take a bus and i comeack. >>nd i said why? he said, well, because there is inequality, and i am going to stand up against it. >> rose: should there be some responsibility in rms of to communicate, should there be, therefore, a list of demands or is that not, does that not serve the cause? >> i don't thi so. i think >> rose: they should or should not be. >> i think they have done it right, first of all, i just want
to reiterate this point that nonhirarchal structure is part of its brilliance, it avoids the kind of cults of personalities that plagued all of the movements in the sixties, and it gives everybody, it is cumbersome, the general assemblies can drag on and on and on but it gives everybody a sense of empowerment and makes it very difficult for the authorities to decapitate it. there are undercover cops down there, and aside from the fact that it is like a bad doonesbury cartoon, they all look like cops,the other the tip they are working around so who do you think the core leadership is? where are the leaders? well, first of all, it is completely transparent, you don't need to be an undercover cop you can wear your uniform and go to the general assembly as many uniformed cops around the park do and hear every word that is uttered and every decision that is made and i think that that the transparency and that nonhiring hierarchal structure is brilliant and gives it a kind of resiliency and they rotate, people will soon, assume
positions to facilitate and they will chae so that nobody accumulates too much power, you know, i think that it is more that this group cognizes that the formal structures of power are tone-deaf. and i spent a lot of time talking about this in death of the liberal class, but the ability to carryut piecemeal and incremental reform which is what liberal institutions do. when conrad black wrote his biography of roosevelt, he said that roosevelt's greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism, and i think that is right. that when there is a breakdown, liberal institutions provide a kind of safety valve, well the corporate state and its myopia and idiocy thought it would dispense with the liberal class and therefore there is no way to appeal to the system, it doesn't matter what the citizens want, there was no popular support for the pfizer reform act which retroactively made legal what under our constitution is illegal, this wiretapping, monitoring and
eavesdropping of tens of millions of american, there was no popular support for the bailout, constituent calls were 100 to one across the political spectrum, but of course goldman sachs wanted it and that is the bottom line, there is no way to vote against the interests of goldman sach so when you shut that safety valve off, you create movements. that seek to tear down a monolithic and tone-deaf and callous power structure and that is precisely what ppened. now, within that movement, i think it is apprriate for teachers and firefighters and students to make demands. but i think that the ability of the movement to -- and of course, it has great symbolic value being where it is at the gates of wall street, has realized tt if we don't take dour the structure of the corporate state it doesnt. n't really matter what we do.
>> does it have anything in common with the tea party? >> well, it is interesting you ask that, when the people gathered on september 16th and 17th, 2000 people, hardly any coverage they got, if it was 2000 tea party activist whose gathered on wall street i would dare there would be 2000 reporters there if not more. i think probably number of people in the tea party are listening and watching, because there are a lot of the same concerns. >> rose: about the power of corporate america? >> yes. rose: and the power -- >> feeling disempowered. i think this is -- >> re: the power of washington too? >> absolutely. and also there is a connecting with people all over the globe, this is a reaction to corporate globalization, not globalization overall, bause there is a kind of grass roots grobazliation that is happening that we have never seen before, therotests are in the pillpeens, the protests are in egypt, thiser in england,hey are in ireland, they are in iceland,t is truly remarkable, admission to latin america and right here ithe united states. and i mean, the young people
that, what they are learning right now as they talk to each other and talk to people who come down to occupy wall street. the other night i was there, and john carlos came. he was -- let's go back. >> rose: mexico city. >> mexico city and puts up his handn the blacpower salute, he and tony smith they won the bronze and the gold medal, in the 200-meter dash, they put up their hands in fists. he also wore beaded necklace to protest lynching, and they didn't wear their shoes, and they rolled up their pants because they wanted to protest poverty in this country, he came to wall street, to the occupy encampment and saluted the people who were there, that there is a movement that continues. at the same time this is all going on, you the dedication of the monument of dr. martin luther king, in washington, d.c. whe would he be right now? would he have been standing with president obama as dr. king was being honored or would dr. king
have actually been with rnell west in front of the supreme court protesting the contamination of politics by money? would he be in the middle of the wall street encampment with eveone se protting war and protesting poverty? >> re: he died in memphis where he was protesting poverty. >> that's right. standing up for unionized sanitation workers. >> rose: and you think clearly the answer to that he would be here. >> oh i think there is no question. >> rose: and president obama y that linas well. and there is some -- i mean, politicagroups are going to try to sort ride, do you think, this understanding that it has pow, and, therefore, want to associate with it? >> well, whatever peop want to do, at this moment, i don't think these encampments can be used, because there is such a freshness, this there is such a decentralization of power, people can learn from them, and i think that the people who are gathered in wall street at the encampment as well as other places are reaching out to learn from those who have organized before, but they are also moving
forward, in this new era. >> rose: is there a sense that that finally there is attention th theainstream media is finally paying attention? >> well, there is also grass roots media, and that is very importan the is a media cent, they are getting out their own images, all over the world, they are -- i mean, democracy now has been there from the beginning, even the organizing meetings before, where people understand they have to define their own narrative, and it is also very important to see how the police are dealing with this. i think there are a lot of lessons to be learned. >> rose: how are they dealing with it? >> well at the beginning iwas attrocious when you have police office pepper spraying young women, blind sidg them, no waing, no provocation. >> rose: and many said that gave momentum to the movement. >> absolutely, and more than 700 people were arrested on the brooklyn bridge, that was one of the largest mass arrests in u.s. history, as a journalist myself,
o was arrested covering protests at the republican convention in 2008 and brought suit against the cities of the police in minneapolis and st. paul and the secret service for ripping off our press credentials we just won a landmark settlement and we held our news conference announcing this in supporof it as training of the st. paul police officers, and how they deal with the media. we held our news conference. >> rose: they had to train their officers to do better. >> yes and that is happening right now. we held a news conference in occupy wall street because we see what is happening, when police tell people to turn off their video cameras that's when they have to turn their video cameras on, accompanying this movement, we need media in this country that allows people to speak for themselves, ultimately, i think the media can be the greatest force for peace on earth. >> rose: all right. this also, mentioned the book death of the liberal class which you mentioned earlier, i want to mention this also forward by billoyer breaking the sound barrier by amy. so there is terms in one of the
programs we did here a sense that people ask this question, we have been waiting for this to happen, do you have a feeling that is an accurate assessment? people were looking for somebody to start in the same way at there was, what staed in the arab spring in tunisia. >> yes, i think, in fact, it has been something that has been happening for some time, but it has been off the radar screen. it didn't just begin in zukoti park, it is ongoing .. and it has been on going but now it finally erupted and what is fascinating about the media is i think there is a parallel with the 1960s where they just were asleep at the switch, they weren't doing their job. the new york times, which is, i mean it is a subway ride away, would send a reporter down there and take one look arnd and the walk back and these snarky
condescending articles which they never do to the tea party because the political cost is too high, but because there is no left essence, organized left, oncan ridicu movements like this. >> rose: replacement of the organized left in a sense by -- >> i think. >>ose:s it a different? >> it is a populist movement, clearly and i think it is very different from the t party. i think the tea parthas very disturbing elements that i would call fascists, it first of all, targets government, and corporations and of course bank rolled by the most retrograde capitalists in the cntry, the pope brothers and others and targs governments because corporations want government to be more anemic and speaks in the language of violence and gun culture and rage, legitimate rage, this strs a right to be raged but toward the vulnerable and muslims and undocumented workers, towards homosexuals, towards intellelectchuls, all of this sort of classic rubric on
finds in a kind of fascist movement, so while i think that the groundswell of anger that one sees in the tea party is genuine, i think the way it is directed is radically diff from this movement, and the challenging of that kind of anger, especially toward escape ats is something that frightens me. >> rose: there is no question now that it has enough momentum, enough support to be sustainable, and the protests continue throu the winter? >> i mean,t is going to be hard, but people are very dedicated, and i think that the organized parties, the democratic and republican party are running scared. i mean, you have president obama who is elected by a mass movements in this country, the anti-war movement, made a major different between obama and clinton is he was opposed to the iraq war, now he is responsible for the surge in afghanistan and the ntinuation of that war immigrants, immigrants right movements hagreat hope for
president obama. he now presided in his tenure as president over the largest mass deportations in history, more than a milon people have been deported in his presidency, he promised to close guantanamo, guantanamo remains open. and he has surrounded himsf by those who represent wall street, from lry summers to tim geithner and people all see this and that's how it is president obama who himself who has united, like president obama --bush did, people in many movements against him, and this is why the democrats and the republicans are very concerned, you see the republicans changing too, at first they were not accepting this movement. you know, gandhi said it and i will paraphrase it, first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. and we are moving forward in that process. >> rose: and what do you expect of president obama? >> what do i expect? how do i respond to this? for me,
looking at this as a journalist, i am much more interested in movements, and how movements respond. i don't think any of this is about one person. you know, i think the world heaved a sigh of relief when he was elected, so many years people felt they were hitting their head against a brick wall and would the door be old or slammed shut, but that kicking open is the responsibility of movements, not one person, you know, if you are sitting in the oval office an those who are used to having the ear of the most powerful person on earth are whispering in hiear if he can't point out the office window of the oval office and say, if i do that, they will storm the bastille, if there is no one out there he is in big trouble and sometimes he may not want anyone out there but it sure loo like the crowds are gathering. ther informed, they are concerned, and they are determined.
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