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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 26, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EST

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>> here are a few of the comments that we have received from our viewers. >> i just have to tell you that to see these people in person and to hear them have the panel discussion or a congressional hearing, it is so important to understand the context and to listen to this statement in its entirety. >> hello, i have been watching the tv for a few years. and i really think it's the greatest program on tv. i realize that these authors take the time to present what they write but the moderator always does a great job of stimulating the conversation. and that's what i look forward to the weekends as much as i
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can. >> i watch c-span all the time when i'm home, it's the only station that i have on most of the time. i think it's absolutely excellent. i watch all of the debates around the country. and thank you for the book talks and the history. and i liked all of it and i'm thankful that i can use it in my classroom. i teach at a community college in connecticut. >> call us anytime at her phone number or e-mail us at comments at or you can send us a tweet at c-span/comments. like us on facebook or follow us on twitter. >> a discussion about corruption in government. this was part of the hungry
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minds series in colorado. and this is one hour 45 minutes. >> welcome. we are speaking on corruption and government power. steve is the director of legal studies in irvine, california. a former constitutional litigator for the institute for justice, he has litigated cases in the u.s. supreme court and lower courts throughout the nation. he was the lead lawyer in speech now versus fec, the case that created super pacs and he has litigated many other campaign-finance and constitutional cases over the years. and he has written and spoken on a wide variety of constitutional issues.
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and there are many print and online publications over the years. >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you all and thank you hungry minds for having me here. it's a pleasure to be back in colorado. and we heard a lot about cronyism in the last several years and there are political right and a lot of libertarians have been talking about this for years and it has become a big issue with the export and import
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bank him and another of other issues of development. we have also heard a lot about government corruption primarily from the political left and most people understand that these ideas go together and that is part of this because this is really the key issue. and there is a problem and it signifies that it gets to a real phenomenon and it's worth starting with a simple question. and we hear about that all the time and we hear about corruption all the time.
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and i will say off the top of the issue that there is a problem here. and order to get into this issue we should start to think about what people think about this issue and what we have talked about. and so i want to start by characterizing this issue and describing and giving an example. and it money and influence are
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corrupting our democracy. and that includes buy-in for the special interests. so big business colludes with big government and redistributes money at the expense of everyone else. and in short, it's not capitalism that we live under in this country but crony capitalism. and so i don't think that this is anything new to you guys, but if it is, you're not paying sufficient attention because this is an election year. what we are hearing constantly. but the question is what does this mean. what is it that people are getting out. there is a real issue here. and this is a view of our economic system that i don't think people can think about it the right way. so instead of just relying on what i think is the general statement of this, that is
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before we start analyzing as to what commentators and the political right has been a clear side of this issue. let me just give you a sense of what a lot of commentators are saying. because first, i really want to get a sense of what this is about. this is an author who is with the washington examiner who has done a great job talking about this issue of cronyism and special interest influence and he wrote a whole book called the big ripoff. here's one of the things that he has said about cronyism and the idea that this is a myth according to him, that big business as opposed to regulations. so he says that the truth is that big business lobbies for and profits from big government policies that rip off consumers and taxpayers and entrepreneurs.
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and here's another one from national review. this is how cronyism works. and politicians will get another private sector of a quid pro quo. and that is the expense of everyone else. last but not least, let's look at what politicians have to say about this. and this is my favorite of all of them. this is wendy davis who is a gubernatorial candidate in texas who is describing her opponent.
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and what is the interest of this class? it's not just a crony class of insiders but it's a special interest in what i think about that i get this image of a guy and this includes smoking a cigar with dick cheney. [laughter] and the point is to ridicule the idea of crony capitalism because it is a serious issue. and what are the essential point that people are putting forward in what is it that we ought to be good at sizing. because the main point is what comes across in this description
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in this includes big government ripping off the little guy and this includes not available to others and the idea seems to be that this is a problem of bad people corrupting a good system. and this one is from the economist magazine and we hopefully have on the cover a picture of a crocodile or a wolf or a hippopotamus. while dressed as businessmen
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with the obvious issue being animals impersonating businessmen too much. and so the idea here is obviously businessmen and insiders are evil. but this is a problem of outsiders or well-connected insiders influencing the political system to their benefit to the expense of everyone else. and so i'd take pretty much the opposite view of that and i think a far way to think about it is a bad system and the problem is not individuals but the system in which they operate. the problem is not that bad
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people are corrupting a good system but that our system is fundamentally flawed. and that is something that i would go as far as to say and that includes paying about the phenomenon. which is absolutely unavoidable. until we fix this about government and until we reform government, this problem has to persist.
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and it's purely an issue of influence in this system, there's nothing inherently wrong with the cronies and this term really just means favoring your friends. it's not inherently wrong. but the suggestion of this is that it is difficult. i will be using the term throughout the talk. i don't have a particularly better term to use. my focus is ultimately on the phenomenon. what is it that people are complaining about and what should they be complaining about. however, if i had to pick a term its pull peddling and the aristocracy. the idea that people are able to access government and use the
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power of government for themselves and that that happens under particular system. another one that i really like comes from 19th century french economist and i will explain why i think this is an issue and it captures it really well. and so here's what i want to do in the talk. i want to cover three basic points. first, i want to explain why i think this issue would be really important. it's an issue that can kind of travel under the radar and i think that the issue of cronyism and how we think about the government and our economic system is really important and i would classify the issue is a misuse of government power. but there is more to think about it considering why it is that we should care about this issue. because what i ultimately want to do is try to convince you to think differently and advocate to others and try to convince people what is the real issue
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here. so that's the first thing i want to do. the second thing i want to explain is what i think is wrong with the prevailing view that this is a problem of bad people and not a bad system. but it is in essence the packaging of two things that don't go together and we need to separate those things. finally, i want to examine something that i mentioned a minute ago, which is that if this is a problem with government, under the type of government that we have, this problem is unavoidable. there's no way to unalloyed this. and i would really like to expose that because the way we think about government is a large part of the problem. so long as we characterize it in the common way that we do and i will get to the issue and you can sum it up as far as democracy goes. and so so long as we actually have that, this problem is absolutely unavoidable. so let me start with the issue.
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i said that my view is cronyism and what people are rightfully complaining about is a misuse of government power and that should be a great concern to people. but it's not really what i want to focus on. i want to go back to this issue, obviously. but i want to focus for a minute on how this issue of cronyism and this includes the institutions of our country that are important. and if we want to correct a lot of the flawed inking about government and capitalism and about business and this includes
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capitalism and free markets and it impacts are view of government. >> most of the people in this room at lease don't have an antibusiness view. and in other words, i'm not talking about individual industries. i'm talking about principles. my guess is not just a generally favorable view of business. and maybe you are not as radical about it as i am, i think that business is awesome. to simplify the point, this is a good topic. but i would think about it like this. the industrial revolution and business, all of the wonderful things that it has produced has
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essentially made the difference between life and death for most people in the country and most people in the industrialized world. so perhaps to oversimplify it, if it weren't for those two things, industrialization, we would probably all be dead. or at the very least, it makes our lives infinitely better. so view this as a positive thing. think about your own view of business in the current context of america. is it true that yes, i does have a positive view of business and the pursuit of business. and i will give you a couple of examples in a minute. my guess is that there are a lot of businesses that seem to do the wrong things. there are a lot of businesses that seem to be using government to benefit themselves and cronyism really impacts that. in fact, that's kind of what i would say is one of the
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fundamental reasons that people who would otherwise be motivated to view business favorably. some people that work in business will have a kind of mixed view. and it's not really good, it's kind of dirty sometimes. and this issue actually talks about it. let me give you a couple of examples to get you thinking about how you think about business and why this issue affects our thinking. and the tesla cars are really cool. and that includes it's a pretty interesting company.
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and tesla is now going to build a company in nevada. and that is nevada, california, texas is involved is well. and the competition is for how many goodies can we give to tesla to entice them to come to this state. and they were things like [inaudible] probably they will get a better rate than taxpayers, and no taxes for something like 20 years. then again, we can talk about this and i will try to probe a deeper. i'm not making a point about whether it's good or bad to exempt people from taxes. it's good. but the overall point is that
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this looks like tesla has like an inside line to the nevada legislature. it's an example of them actually saying come to our state and we will manipulate the rules. when i moved to california no one said that we will jump you for taxes are all these other things. only tesla does it is. so okay. their other companies, really good companies. apple has done this, they have set up operations centers and it really looks like there is a kind of quid pro quo, there is a trade going on with this legislature, and you really look at these things closely. someone to respect the rule of law, much about law, the phenomenon is pretty sickening. it's like, let's make a deal. let's make a deal and we will negotiate and these laws are applied and we will jerez this
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part right here. and this includes pfizer the drug companies and then we call for deeper issues here. so let me offer this, i used to work for the institute of justice and you're probably heard about the situation. i'm hoping you've heard about this case in connecticut where a home was taken and then handed over. headed over to a developer so they could build and develop the company. part of which was going to be
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used by pfizer. so in my view, that puts them in this sense. and of course, if you think about the circumstances of this, it gets worse because they knocked hundreds of homes down and ultimately it's like nine years later. what do we have to show for it? not that we should expect to get things out of these kinds of arrangements, but what we have to show is something that isn't being used by anybody because it's stuck in all sorts of things except ironically a group of cats. it's a bunch of cats in a field and they are not even fat cats, they are just regular cats. and they are living in us. so where's the justice in that? and the plane ultimately here is this really changes our view of business and it's hard to sort out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. so even if you have a positive view, you are tempted to think that this is dirty. if you think about it from a
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layperson standpoint and i think that this is really weird to impact people. so kind of a corollary to that is it impacts our view of capitalism and the free market, which again probably we don't have to make this point too much but capitalism is a great thing. it's awesome that we have the system of capitalism that leads us to produce and the society that we have today is because of that freedom and because of the economic system of capitalism. but when you think about how people argue about capitalism all the time, even people that might be sympathetic. and i will give you a quote which will round out the point. and i think the you've probably heard this sort of thing before. [inaudible] okay, sorry. i will read the quote first and
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then you guys can think about this soundbite. this is a politician talk about the economy. delivering record corporate profits and an anemic jobless recovery that has promoted and exacerbated inequality. it has isolated the poor and squeezed the middle class. and he said this, that is what i thought about. and this is very good. my all to the point is that this is an attitude.
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and we think about the average man on the street. when we think about this, capitalism is something that we have constantly. inequality rules capitalism. it's not a system that you can get ahead with if you work hard. it's not what you know, it's who you know. and fundamentally that is untrue. and it's really a slander on capitalism. and the cause of that is really the opposite of capitalism. this is at the doorstep of capitalism and i didn't point out the impact on our thinking about government. and again i'm guessing that we
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randomly oppose government, a lot of people think that but it's not true at all. it was absolutely essential. and i agree with that wholeheartedly. so a lot of people on the right and among libertarians will characterize government as a necessary evil, i wouldn't say that at all, it is absolutely essential for us to be able to live freely. and that only applies if government is limited to its proper purpose. but my point is that government is essential and very important to our lives. it keeps us free, it's an institution that protects us and yet the prevailing view of government largely because of this issue of cronyism and the issues wrapped up in it. it is fundamentally corrupt. we have a corrupt government.
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and leaving that characterization aside, it's not the best characterization. and it's not out to do what it's supposed to do, to protect us. and they have to in a sense rip it up. and that is a very negative thing. it's the kind of cynicism that makes it very difficult to argue for proper and limited government. if this view that government is inherently uncooperative. and that's not true. so to give you a sense of how this issue works, it includes our view and that is many times negative, so we need to get to the root of the problem, we need to really root out what the problem is and separate the good from the bad.
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so i'd like to talk about what i think is wrong with the prevailing view of cronyism with an eye toward what i think is right about it. and in other words, what should we be criticizing when we criticize cronyism. if you think there's a real fundamental issue here that we need to talk about, we need to think about how this issue works and what i would say it is a great injustice done in the idea of cronyism. and so if i had to oil this down to one essential point, it would be that cronyism is a kind of fuzzy term that packages together two things that don't belong together. and one of them is bad, one of them is good, and the impact is to dam the good and elevate the bag, it sort of sullies the good
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part. and this includes under the same roof, two very totally different things. including when we talk about things that should be evaluated as good or bad. this includes selling the bed and excusing the bad. and in a sense it's like winning the but i'm in a crime, claiming that the problem was that you were walking through that dark alley. and that people shouldn't walk through dangerous things. we shouldn't think about the legality. we have to separate the good from the bad and judged harshly
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the bad and judge positively be good. so i would say the following, that it is business and production and wealth that is produced by industrious people, it and it even goes as far as limited government and freedom. and that is the good that is packaged into this idea of cronyism. the bad is not to put too fine a point is to use government to steal from others. and that includes the government. all of these things are packaged together in cronyism. and we end up blaming the wrong people and so that is what i want to focus on. and so what i want to do this by
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exploring some related concepts and i'm guessing that you will either see this in public discourse in this includes disruptions of government. and this includes what we tried to imply. so here are the terms. everyone has heard the term rent seeking. so the idea here is that government erects barriers to entry were some kind of qualification and those are able to use their positions to extract what is known as a monopoly.
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and because of that this is the argument and i believe it's absolutely true. he could it's very difficult to compete with people, we can charge higher prices and that's definitely true on a state-by-state basis. and that means it would be great if we could do this on the side. and so the regulatory capture is a part of this and it is the idea that the agency gets captured by the businesses in other words, they are used by the businesses for their own nefarious purposes and this is supposedly a bad thing. and so the idea is that an
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individual is using the government a particular way. two other events, special interest influence. private influence, government influence the process. finally corrupting democracy. so we think about these terms that you see coming out in this debate. people are doing all of these things and it is supposedly bad. there are rent seeking, capturing regulatory agencies. and so what is the common denominator and what is the uncommon denominator and what are the implications for this.
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and so that means private interests influencing, corrupting democracy and what is the idea here and so the commonality in all of these things private interests and using that. i think that this should strike us and we should give you an example as to why this is true in a minute. so what are the people actually complaining about when they complain about all of these phenomenons? if the government has a particular power in their capturing it, think about that. why do they call it rent season? that's weird. and i think it's an awesome
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thing. we can get this here. and so why would we do this? special interests influence. does anyone know where this came from? it is a term that wasn't just ginned up in the last few decades. during the progressive era, this is an era when the government grew almost that's potentially who want to expand the size and scope of government. and they are doing the wonderful public interest on the side of god or however you want to characterize it. and these evil special interests, they are trying to influence what we do and this includes running them for a proper purpose. this is the idea typically part
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of this as well. and so this is at the root of all of these things, somebody is actually doing this. and so what is the real thing that people are focusing on. and so what are they doing when it creates a barrier to its essence? it is passing a law that essentially says you're not allowed to undertake this business. and so that means that they are using a force of law to prevent people from viewing with a what otherwise freely choose to do. and this is the application or force and that is why people are complaining about it.
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so that includes what regulatory agencies do. they regulate and restrict business. and their purpose is to prevent businesses or private individuals from doing what they would otherwise do in a free market. they are imposing force and that is the essence of what people are complaining about when they complain about all of these issues until let's think of some hypotheticals just around this point out. and let's say that you pay a monster. would anyone describe that as a monster capture? and the mobsters just exist to be used on the problem is that
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you are using the mobster for these purposes. my view is that it was their view to begin life and we need to focus on that and think about it. they come to you and they say that you are in business and i hate to see anything happen to it. and it is a protection racket. so if you pay the guy, they are corrupting that and that's horrible. they shouldn't do that. and that leaves out two things and it was something that we talked about earlier. it is a form of plunder and he's acting as a criminal. and yet all of these terms and the entire issue of cronyism
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crosses over that and a point that the individual who is influencing this and that is the first thing it does. and the second thing it does is it allows the distinction between the guy that is defending himself by paying the mobster off because he has to and the guy that who is enlisting the support of the mobster to destroy somebody else. it goes over that distinction entirely. and my point is not as in all cases, nor is it that the businessman is always good. and in fact, this is an essential point that we need to bring out in one hypothetical, it is being extorted and they are behaving in what many people have talked about, what is your toys but to stay off my back and
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let me do business. so in the other case they are using extortion by means of paying somebody to go destroy this elsewhere. and the essential issue is in both cases that you can't have this and this can't exist if you don't have this with monsters. people need to ask about this issue of cronyism and governments role is do we want them to protect our rights and act like a proper government. there is a difference between those two things. and cronyism glosses over the whole thing. and that's not just government using its power and it just says anybody who accesses this power, we are not going to talk about what it is and it's best to
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influence it in another whole component. that sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. but we don't think about what is actually going on in the circumstance. and that's beyond the scope. especially that we go into a full-blown analysis or discussion or proper purpose of government. but i want to make two points, two related points that are really important to think about when we think about government and unpacking the issue of influence or special interest warfare or cronyism. in the first point is this. government is not a value neutral enterprise that should be open for everyone to use
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depending on whether they get voting or it's not value neutral. there is a right sort of government and a good sort of government and they've an official sort of government and there is a wrong sort of government and it is a destructive sort of government and that distinction really matters. and as i said, i think this distinction is in the context of cronyism but it's ultimately governments proper purpose. the idea is that government is a kind of value neutral enterprise and whoever wins the lottery and if i hold the reins of power, we pretty much get to use it however we want.
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and we need to subordinate this and we have to understand that the government has a limited proper role to the second point, which is the essential principle of individual rights and i don't want to go into a great amount of detail on this but the essential point is that government is acting properly only if it is protecting rights rather than destroying rights or individuals and that includes the freedom to thrive or pursue our lives order to pursue happiness and the purpose is to prevent the rights are from being violated and the way the government does that is by using force only against those that would initiate force and this
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includes trying to give people not just the freedom of happiness but actual happiness and the only thing you can do is plunder other people and that is the essential point in the essential thing that we need to understand about cronyism which i refer to as a form of legalizing plunder and that is an apt term. and so it has to be something that we focus on, does that abuse of the way that mobsters to with goals and that is the real essential point. but there is a broader question and in a free society, how do we think about those issues here and i will set those aside of people want to talk about this. and i would be happy to address it. and this is an issue not simply
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an effort to influence government but when we think about it like this and we talk about the issue of cronyism, it is something like businessmen that are trying to get favors and we ignore the fact that sometimes those figures are a guy trying to prevent himself from being destroyed at by the very government that is supposed to protect him. and they are trying to use this to destroy somebody else when they can have a role of distinction and it is entirely obscured. so what happened is i mentioned the idea earlier of blaming the
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victim. so let me talk about that just a little bit. because there are when they talk about government corruption and cronyism. who has to finger pointed at them. i quoted a number of people across the political spectrum and it seems clear to me that the great villain in this is business and especially big business. the idea is that it is dad and businesses always after using government power to their own advantage and there is never an understanding of the facts of private interests that have no other choice and we cannot ignore that, we have to pay attention to the facts that we are using this to steal and put
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flesh on their to redistribute income from one person to another. and let me just give you one quick example. when people complain that drug companies and the medical professionals captured this using their own benefit. so if i were a drug company and i had to spend billions of dollars trying to get drugs approved that people want to buy, we could run through the gauntlet and i would try to
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capture it as well. and i don't blame businesses were trying to do this. you can say this whole process, that i wish it didn't exist. and all sorts of other things as well. but it is a culprit is always held out as the evil guy. and i don't want to suggest that the phenomenon is a good rain. but it's hard. i really can't blame them for doing this. even blaming those like tesla who have the best for some government. not only does everybody do it, but they are operating a context in which there are just so many regulations and such a web of loss that often times are impossible to figure out how it
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started and who is the good guy and who is the bad guy and what is the business supposed to do. these days there's without dealing with government. you can't blame them for doing it. now, you can blame people and you ought to blame them whose goal is to use government to achieve unearned benefits or to destroy this. and we have to make that crucial cargo decision. if we don't make that distinction, let's think about what the consequences of this are. there is one quick consequence and then i will finish talking a bit about the conception of government and what leads to or allow his for the prevalence of this issue of cronyism and when
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we consider this for a moment, when you consider this, what is the logical result? so let me read you another quote. and i hope you will understand the sense of this. and this includes criticizing cronyism. and they say if conservatives want to improve this so that corporations find it harder to manipulate the critical system, there is a vast network of good government organizations working on that cause. so i chuckle a little bit about that and i litigate it with the finance laws with what this guy is talking about. with all of the organizations who want to clamp down on political situations.
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my broader point is he is saying what we need to do and let join hands and passed more restrictions on people's ability to do this, which a couple of examples, which you may have heard about, had issued the film that criticizes her reprinted. that is what they are talking about when they are talking about political speech. to the extent that i can talk more about this that very recently congress continued and considered a constitutional amendment that would change the first amendment to allow them to impose reasonable regulations on political speech. and so if you dig down a bit
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deeper, this is the logic of this statement. and as i said before, i think that this is entirely logical. but it's indefensible from a constitutional point of view and we have to check the premises and say if we're talking about restricting free speech and our ability to influence government, something has gone wrong. but if you accept the idea so what do you do when these people are cooking something? you pass laws that prevent them from doing so. so the logical consequence that if we don't challenge the root of thinking about cronyism, there are part of this that has the pressure to restrict free speech and restrict our ability to influence the government. it is a foundation principle of the free country. and so with that, let me move on
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and i hope that i've motivated you a bit as we care about it and try to think the right way about it. but i want to say one final thing. i want to talk about when we get into this way of thinking about government or in one in particular is the micro level that we don't understand the nature of government power and they don't understand that the government should be raised on what the declaration of independence says, which is that they are instituted to protect this and that is one component. one at issue here and let me characterize it as follows. you have heard the term that power grabs, absolute power grabs. and so i put a spin on that and say that democracy corrupts absolutely. and the point is that we think of the government at the
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democracy, i will explain why, this is sort of an interest group warfare that is absolutely unavoidable. so to do that, think of this again as a common view and i could read you a quote and i could characterize it as this says instead, this is a common view that involves money and politics trying to influence the political system. a whole reason that anyone wants to influence this is essentially they want to give to get in order to get benefits in return. which i do not necessarily dispute. and so the view is this. if i give contributions to people and i'm looking to get something in return, that is an
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obvious form of corruption. so the person i was going to quote is adjudged by the name of richard poser. and the way that he puts a he is looking for something in return and they want to give financial support and are looking for benefits and the term of votes for legislation and he asks, isn't this obviously a form of corruption. and i think a lot of people would look at it and say yes, that seems corrupt. but why do we think that that is corrupt? when we think that that is corrupt? think about what it implies. what does it mean? it means the file menu and obstruction of something, how you have a of you if you don't for some of you of propriety in
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terms of a diseased body and then you wouldn't know when something is corrupt and you can't say i have any idea what the code looks like when there is a cropped version of that. so how can we view the government that we actually have today as corrupt just because individuals are giving this -- how can we view the process for corporations or private interest trying to access government officials through campaign donations or lobbying as corrupt. and the reason i ask it that way is that i want to think about not the government as it is conceived of in the constitution or the declaration of independence of the government that we actually have when we think about it like this.
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and so every election season do we not hear some of the following. vote for me, and i will tax the middle class to pay for benefits for the elderly provoker me and i will tax the elderly and the middle class to pay for benefits for students. and so vote for me and i will save labor over business and i will pass laws that restrict the ability to affiliate associate. our hope vote for me and i will favor business over labor. both were me, i will favor american companies over foreign companies and i will favor the farmers over wall street by handing them over. and so you can play this out on what you ultimately get to is this idea that the purpose of government is to hand out favors
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or to hand out essentially taxes, regulation, redistributing them to other people. and so how can you consider any of this to be corrupt without thinking that the entire system is corrupt. how can we point to any individual player in this process or this game and think it okay. it makes no sense to think only one example of this is correct but the rest of it is perfectly part of this. what is the idea at the root of this view of government? but it is appropriate for politicians to appeal to people to vote for me so that i can include one person's business in favor of another. and in short, it is democracy
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and not in a popular conception, although the popular conception is a very fuzzy idea and some people think of it as freedom. others think of it more like okay, but it is this idea that the purpose of government is to serve the will of the people. and then we vote on who controls the reins of power and then they go out and they serve all of the various different groups and how does this have to work. what is this ultimately mean in practice? well, to cut to the chase if you are a businessman or union or any of the other interests that we talk about, what is the natural approach to this going to be. it's like, okay, we will be destroyed in this election goes the wrong way, that's just the way it went. my business will be destroyed,
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my hard-earned income will be handed to other people in the insurance business will be completely part of the government. i'm not just going to sit there. i'm going to go out and i'm going to try to influence this process and that makes perfectly good sense. when do we not view the purpose of government to engage in precisely the sort of corruption that the judge is talking about and what the implications are of that. earlier i said that our form of government makes cronyism -- i could use this to say it is inevitable.
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and this includes serving the view of the majority and this includes how i referred to this public interest before that suggests that we have one gigantic mass and somehow the government is going to serve all of our interest or regardless of what may be. and this includes a kind of mad -- where prices are reduced by 90%. but you try to access government and it is a kind of regulated view and mentality. and everybody suddenly becomes a threat to live and thrive and produce and be happy. so of course people are going to engage in this process. so how can we say one instance
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is corrupt, but not all instances are corrupt. my point is that democracy is the system of corruption. when we conceptualize government, we think about it is the purpose to serve the will of the majority or some nebulous view right into our view of government and the kind of corruption and cronyism that everybody is complaining about. the real tragedy or injustice is that almost always it is precisely the people that are complaining loudly about that sort of corruption that are promoting this view of government. they are the ones that support the idea that this is a democracy and not a limited constitutional republic. and under a limited government, government is limited to one potential thing, which is protecting a right to live and thrive and be happy by
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preventing anyone from acting like the monster that i talked about by abolishing the use of force in human affairs, except to protect people. and so that includes protecting us from crime and not to engage in legalized plunder. what it does engage in legalized plunder, we cannot be surprised that people view that as the purpose of government that they start to see government very much like the monster in my example. and that is just the way it works. and that leaves it for the type of cronyism and pressure group warfare that people are complaining about. so if we want to solve this problem, we have to think differently about government. and this includes if you take
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away nothing other than these two points, it would take them away with these two points, which is the idea of cronyism mixing together good and bad including blaming victims and ignoring those that want to use this to destroy a massive injustice and it perpetuates this exactly the problem. but the real problem here is you trying to influence. so you get the blame for that. and so that is the first issue. the second issue is the issue that people are complaining about has been right into the concept of government. so as long as we view governments role as essentially dividing this, corruption will
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be the rule or the use of force against one person against another and the warning interest groups and legal plunder can be the only option. perhaps a better word for the term that people refer to is cronyism, i would say that instead of crony capitalism is capitalism that is a crony statism, which is a system in which the individual is subordinated for the group for the state and actually that is redundant in my view because the real essential evil here is that form of government. so you really want to pinpoint but the problem is, when people talk about this, it is the view that the state is supreme and individuals are subordinated and we want to access problem. the only solution ultimately is
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that i would sum it up by leave us the heck alone. let us pursue our lives, let us produce, let us trade and let us be free. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> questions? >> there we go. >> we are going to move across the room which makes it a lot easier. >> we are talking about what counts as self-defense versus companies going on the offense. and i'm thinking about it as a were company sent across the
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line and individuals as well, i'm interested in your view is when they are saying that we are just trying to level the playing field. so this is something that we tried to tell you before your talk. so this has been subject to campaign finance laws and the left is using them as a weapon against groups on the right. so somebody on the ride is now deciding, even though he is the victim, he is going to show the lab what is really right and i think that this is crossing a moral line that you are no longer my ally, you're going to be part of this, you're going up there and violating right now and i don't want to be part of it great what you think of that as a freeway to immorality remapped. >> that is a great way to put
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it. and so the phenomenon is that is, it's kind of like you pull a knife so if you are going to do it and i'm going to do it either the same way or worse, it is erasing the fundamental evil here. and it is a phenomenon that i think that this is not depending upon. i think that it is two points. as a general matter, other things being equal, if a person does that it inappropriate. there's no question about it. and that's not to defend it but to say that we think about it from the standpoint of asking for a subsidy so that my competitor got a subsidy, why shouldn't i get one. and that makes them a competitive advantage.
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>> it gets really bad when they are talking about this, it is part of the regulations that i'm going to control with him, it's going to harm all the other competitors as well. >> it really is the best metaphor for this of all against all, it is like a chain reaction video where you have a million mousetraps and you throw them in their and the whole thing just blows up and it shows you what chemical reactions we have. so it's just like a single example and today the view is that everybody does it and so
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one of two things, either i have to do it, or it's a kind of self-defense and i have to play this game to get by. and so it is a level playing field that we will level down to the least common denominator which is everybody destroying everybody. and i would say judge the people who use these laws offensively to plunder other people harshly. but you have to be a little sensitive to the concept. >> did you use the arguments you have made tonight in her speech as a litigator? >> that i use the arguments as i used in my state. not really. but i was a litigator for about
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a decade and i argue constantly. and so this is an example of freedom of speech and we have a right to influence the government. so in the field of law there is a very specific view of corruption in this context is not corrupt unless you give us a campaign contribution in response and you get from that an actual quid pro quo. so our argument was always that there is no evidence that the support for the candidate is yielding a return.
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so this includes a contribution and you pay me back by voting on a given law. that would be seen as corrupt. and that's never how it actually works. and this doesn't meet the definition of corruption. so i think it's very much not this but it's correct. we would have to draw a nation between legally correct and morally correct and it is something that i found, it's not hard to understand. people are like, yeah, right, sure. you go to a politician and you give them money and you expect them to vote on this. how is that not corrupt. when the commonsense view, it is not how politics is supposed to
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work. so part of the reason i'm interested in this issue, focusing on the view of corruption and what kind of the starting point is, there is no way as i said earlier that the result of this kind of thinking leads directly to restricting our free speech and our ability to influence government. when you look at it and you miss the big picture, it is, you know, people trying to influence government officials and we shouldn't be able to pay off the cops or let you off of a traffic ticket. what finance the campaign of the candidate. but there is a certain sort of common sense to it. and i think that we can take this big picture approach that i'm taking and this is an issue of government power in the wrong view of government.
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and it's monstrous and insane to restrict people's ability to influence the government. and that includes the direction in which we are going. and i'd much rather have this. ..
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>> >> what about the yellow company billow? do you think that is corrupt? seven yes. think about it in two ways. corrupt from the big picture standpoint this is not what government should do. it is probably an example of the influence of the car companies over government although i am not positive of that. but i did not get into this but if we talk about government corruption, we have to have a view of what
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it should do before what it should not do. so the purer view is it exists to protect our rights into nothing more the auto bailout is not protecting our rights for the government to say we favor you and tell what you to go out of business we will take money for taxpayers and give that to you that is corrupt of the model this government where does it get off telling us we have to support chrysler? not by buying their products because they are crappy but you're forced to support these other businesses which your tax dollars that is a
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corrupt view of government that turns government from a projector into a destroyer. it is the lobster rather than the protector of our rights. if the question is is this an example to have the car company's ongoing policy but not having looked at it, you assume that is what is going on because that is the way things work. is specially at gm how it operates with the government constantly, it is hard. i cannot say i am absolutely sure. just 75 percent share. you could figure this out. there are stories quite
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easily by reading "the new york times" or "the wall street journal" they report of this in a particular way by read between the lines it is not that hard to figure out. the cozy relationships, the meetings at the white house house, business executives are called to testify to congress constantly. why? because business does not go the way politicians want them to. what is that all about? life al they say i don't have time? i have a business to run i will not come to washington. why? because they have to because government has so much power that they have to be in bed with them. there are loads of examples. but we will move onto the next one.
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>> we keep blaming the victim. at what point does the reaction lead it to no ability at all to petition the government and dictatorship? is that not the natural all to the result? >> i am sorry to say we're getting closer all the time. the supreme court has done a very good job in recent years to protect the right to influence and be in politics in this area. the right to petition in government is another way to talk about it. to put my concerns before my representatives.
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but think about the right of the influence by voting or supporting candidates to convince officials although there is a way that it is bad bet that is not the talk but we talk about the principle to influence government birkenau was standing the supreme court has done a great job to protect these rights and citizens united is a good example with some of the lower court cases the courts are doing some good work in this area. but today's young people do not understand or respect
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but consider hall free speech is viewed on america's campuses. there the next generation. we have to teach kids what it is all about. it is wrapped up in the a dna that i don't like with the commencement addresses that it was canceled, this is an attitude i have no interest is the affront to me. that i think translates into the political realm. this set the negative reaction to citizens united the last time you saw the
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reaction like that was roe v. wade said citizens united is just held out as the double. by as that case came down ended his life from the dread scott case. so mainstream commentators would talk about there. its shows a deep hatred of this idea that we should be entitled to influence what the government does. the latest manifestation but in congress one month ago
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with the senate judiciary committee to amend the first amendment on campaign financing for reasonable restrictions and whether you get to talk. it was defeated handily because there was no way that they had the supermajority but this issue had come up many times at least in two decades. i look down the road if i am depressed sometimes i think we have one generation left because this generation does
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not get it and they oppose it. but it's i would be concerned if that amendment would pass. >> what would happen to a business executive that told them to go to hell? >> that is a great question. so what would happen? son david is related jpmorgan was bonnie and in the billions of dollars for taking over countrywide bank
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and not telling the government that you just ask us to do takeover has trouble that was insane. they said to take over during the financial debacle. and did not tell them the problems with countrywide. that does not make sense. so there is a lot of speculation that was a direct shot at jaime diamond that was the ceo led jpmorgan. if you read though "wall street journal" they make a case it was payback for him not playing ball with the current administration.
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is the problem with the current and frustration that the lawsuit began standard importer to downgrade the government's credit what the hell is that about? we did what we were supposed to do now use to us? the final example if you read john alison spoke now he is the head of the cater institute he opposed it then one day he basically said that is a great bank i would hate to see us change a the capital requirements that would render you insolvent so you might want to think
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about that. so that is what did happen if you talk back against the government. there is so many ways it can destroy your business it is understandable about politicians. of with the to see more businesses stand up if they can get away with it and to say to hell with you is a separate question. by wed like to see them do more. but they're making life difficult for themselves if they do. >> this made me think of a question of government, fcc and the redskins.
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why it is your comments regarding pat? because he has power with radio stations to force them to change their name? >> certainly the sec should have no power over broadcasters have all. but i have to take more about that. is it an example of government using its improper authority to censors speech it does not like gore is that an attack on a person? ion not sure that should matter but is that issue against a person? is more with vehement
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disagreement of what the intellectuals think of the term redskins that have toed the line on that issue. is an example of that of public pressure coming to bear on a regulatory agency because they don't like the message or what they stand for. but it is bad. government should not have this problem in a matter where you think of the redskins as a mascot or trademark the broadcasters or the sec, there should the the the fcc. if you have an fcc whose power is to grant the right
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to enter into a multibillion-dollar business if you believe the federal communications act it says that. the federal government shall have the authority to grant licenses or broadcasters if it serves a public-interest. i am paraphrasing. it is a mascot or a trade name i don't know. there is no standard at all. of course, the end that exercising in in an arbitrary manner. this is the issue that should be settled by anybody
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else. but that is a private matter purpleheart end -- and any others? >> but i have taken certain you have opened up a pandora's box for equal opportunity for influence. one comes with the knife to the next comes with the gun.
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do you have a positive outlook with the agreement said the influence? >> unfortunately my in answer is is that we view government the way you redo. in our government is a constitutional republic. that is what the law says but the fact we are a democracy, this is the country ruled by a majority majority, the president has a mandate to do anything he wants. i remember when obamacare was debated.
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is a legitimate purpose of debate over. so long as that is the view i don't know how this changes. that various pressure groups talking from legitimate interest there is so many ways that these groups have become so entrenched in lot making process that other white date that is enormously difficult. but there are some positives the tech industries like uber for lift in the effort
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to sell cars locally to kid around the state franchise was they run into this problem, they run into local transportation i don't credit that as people who understand the purpose of government. but if this is where a regulation means then something bad is happening. but that is a glimmer of hope.
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is a good development. so what you what to do a your life to the second step is widely have these regulations? they are idiotic. and then to see what the future holds. but on the other hand, by and large it does not cover everything but so that reserve rose to these guys are we donned the regulatory big government model. as regulators try to protect people. so we will just get together and negotiate the business
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to a section of. to find out the regulatory process. is a promising development. and nt pushing back is good news within the kind of opposition at all. but the fact they talked-about the issue is a problem. but the fact that they're even focusing were talking about it as a phenomenon but this issue has put the left performance of big government back on its heels
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a little bit. it is hard to defend this. whether it goes to the right direction is hard tuesday. >> highlight the contradiction well at this same time to shut down the economy. >> the irony is that. that. >> do you see the results for those that are popular they were talking about? >> it is like the previous
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answer and the with the data as a positive environment. >> but at least he seems to understand but that is up promising development. but there are problems of the national scene.
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and how positive the bay development is that? is the best i can say but it is hard to judge. >> to change the dominant ideas and ultimately politicians but you cannot start with politics and hope to fix what is wrong from the top down. >> with a reduced interest interest, are you aware of academic developments of public choice theory?
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there is quite a lot of this area. >> from the economic standpoint they have done some good work in this area. but academics have been talking about this phenomenon for a long time. you can see that the idea that i refer to, people think about those ideas in the wrong way but it is a phenomenon. i just want them to take a different perspective but they have spent talking about this for a long time. there is a lot in this area
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that is good but the problem this is the intellectuals that people don't pay attention or care about it it, the reason is we have not explained why the free market economics is in the legitimate self-interest. in sova 25 years is a lot of good economic objectives. so it is the moral underpinning.
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>> doesn't it seem that there is the incentive for the congressman to be elected. to capture more ready to run the campaign? public data agencies of government their purpose is to grow so they have more control over more things and this was it an "atlas shrugged" but have you looked at any of that? >> that is absolutely right there is the perverse of settling dash incentive. if you have good principles to begin with a view have
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bad principles if you ever heard to inflate the currency will feel betrayed is inflated currency bad money drives out the good. the only reason is the incentive structure. and thereby is morally appropriate lead deeper philosophical reasons but once you start the process it continues to build on itself. and then to hearken back one
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per cent gets away with their private and then you just get mayhem. but ultimately ease says solution is the first principle. so as the past to avoid to what it should not do. i will close with that. thank you. [applause]
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>> has much as we have accomplished in 36 years but to look forward the next couple months. in the next couple months
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what i would like to do is get my defense authorization bill passed it is a major effort of large amounts of staff for also the permanent subcommittee investigations looking academics better use to avoid taxes. >> i have been a member of congress 34 years. to finally get to beat if i was a manager for a baseball team i am all love favor gore it does not bother me. i had 80 not chairman of the candidates in my district that were supporting me. and i did
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> good lord gave. i am from the brookings institution in would welcome you to the panel discussion on the iranian nuclear program where the recent developments over the last few days in vienna. said yesterday in vienna with the p5 plus 1 countries to reach an agreement to extend the nuclear negotiations they agreed to a political agreement with for months and to finalize the details within seven months or by the late june.
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jury this period the interim arrangements left that november 2013 are in place with said joint plan of action. so the nuclear program will remain frozen. in the modest sanctions relief will continue with the repatriation of restrictive oil revenues that have been held up mostly in asia. but during this period the most impact fall of the sessions is baking and oil.
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secretary of state john kerry had a precedent in the secretary made the case for the extension of a negotiation the real and substantial progress had been made over the past several days, new ideas were put on the table. he was indicating for the first time in a while there was some momentum in the negotiations. that we now see the path to resolving some issues that have been intractable. he went on to elaborate had taken strayed to the nuclear program and the world was
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safer today it indicated based on reports that everyone had complied with the obligations and pointed out the most powerful sections remain dim place it to come to terms with said agreement into made the case a continuation of the interim deal was in the interest of the united states and considering how far we had come of that given the potential over the next several months would have been a terrible mistake
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to walk away by november 24th deadline. others have expressed similar views either president of the rating indicated yesterday he was more or less pleased that a comprehensive deal could be concluded sooner or later other partners expressed similar views even the israelis but they seemed content for the interim deal for the time being. but at the same time well indicate progress had been
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achieved secretary carrier was frank to a decade desiccate gap in the negotiation and not on secondary issues but some of the fundamental issues and he made it clear he considered success to be a far from inevitable. and the spokesman noted they had demonstrated greater flexibility than they had previously that everyone had yet to demonstrate the of realism required to close the deal. anticipating critics of capitol hill, secretary kerry called on the obama
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administration with the benefit of the doubt the white house spokesman reiterated that additional sanctions would not be necessary or hot -- helpful and could be disruptive from the process. and has been mixed so far some have said they are prepared to give the benefit of the doubt. others have said no deal has been achieved over one year if we have been a help it is important we have additional leverage and can only do that by enacting sanctions and legislation with the
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noone congress republicans controlled the senate floor if the imposition of additional sanctions. with is the outlook for the likelihood in the coming months that it will be achieved? or the gaps that need to be closed? to what type of deal or its partners in the middle east? tel their react to the extension and how does the administration respond to the hill for additional sanctions? and what is the outcome between the executive branch
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though we have an excellent panel to day to provide answers to these questions. we have the executive director for research coming until a while ago was the most senior adviser for the weapons of mass destruction at the white house and was involved with the every and negotiations then to my left is the founder and head of the institute for cie hands with international security and isis. the other one. [laughter] the good one. as you know, it is the go to place to understand the
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technical side of the issue. we're happy to have david with us. in to end is a former senior staff member at the senate foreign relations committee and he knows how the hill approaches these better than anybody else. i am delighted he is turning yesterday's so i will ask each panel to make opening remarks. finigan i will have a few comments then we will open it up to you. so why don't you start coming gary? limit banks' for coming today. i want to compliment secretary kerry to manage a
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very difficult negotiation that has included to maintain unity and consoling the nervous middle east allies and of the failures to reach the agreement is important to understand with the p5 plus 1 to put forward their released a poll or a generous offer to allow them to have little bit of the enrichment capacity to build up to larger capacity. and then to come to terms with the past with his asian activities that is from the
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graduated sanctions relief but there will take unrealistic positions. they refuse to do give up the popular centrifuge with the rapid build up to a much larger and restrict capacity and will get the sanctions relief. . .


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