tv Steve Hilton Positive Populism CSPAN December 23, 2018 8:10am-9:21am EST
in killing the ss, bill to rile hi -- bill o'reilly and martin dugard. and wrapping up our list at some of the best selling nonfiction books according to publishers weekly is ta rah westover's them writer about her life growing up in the idaho mountains and her introduction to formal education at age 17 in educated. some of these authors have appeared on booktv, and you can watch them online at booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> hello, everyone. welcome to heritage foundation. i'm andrew parks, the assistant director of lectures and seminars. thank you for joining us in the lewis lehrman auditorium. i just wanted to remind everyone attend anything person to silence their cell phones and encourage anyone watching online
or on c-span to e-mail questions to email@example.com. hosting today's program is nile gardiner, director of the margaret thatcher center for freedom and the bernard and barbara locks lomis fellow at the heritage foundation. >> thanks very much, andrew. and good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation. it's my pleasure to introduce steve hilton, the host of the popular fox news show "the next revolution" broadcasts from the west coast every sunday night. >> supposed to say number one on sunday night. [laughter] >> absolutely. number one on sunday nights. and steve is the director of strategy for former prime minister david cameron and one of the most influential british conservative advisers over the last decade. since moving to the united states in 2012, he has taught at stanford university and found that a political technology
start-up with the mission of fighting big money in politics and putting power in people's hands. he is the author of more human: designing a world where people come first, a u.k. sunday times bestseller in 2015. steve studied policy, philosophy and economics at new college, oxford university with. he's been a prominent supporter of britain's exit from the european union. his latest book is positive populism. please join me in welcoming steve hilton. [applause] >> thank you very much, nile. ing thank you for watching wherever you are. it's a great pleasure, and now that you mentioned, i think the first time we met in person was the brexit discussion that we had. i think it was a few months before? >> yeah. just before the actual vote. >> that's right.
and it was just very exciting to be talking about that with the knowledge that it really might happen, and it was just a very exciting moment, and it's wonderful to see you again and thank you, as i said, for asking me along today. i'd hike to talk about populism, and i'm going to get into some details in a moment. but i just wanted to set out really why i've written this book, "positive populism." and the main thing i wanted to try and achieve with it is to try and define it. because we hear this world populism, it's been thrown around a lot, and it's been attached to all sorts of political phenomena actually starting with brexit. that really was the first moment in the recent incarnation of populism people started talking about it as a force and, of course, the election of trump and now throughout europe with various political contests
subverting, perhaps, the old order as it's often described. so this word pop him is out there -- populism is out there. some people think it's positive, and some people think it's negative, and what i really wanted to do was to give it a bit of coherence and focus really not just on what it's against. i think what is probably clear to a lot of people is what populism is against. it's against the elites, and it's against open borders immigration. and it's against the trade deal. this is a list of things that people often think populism is against. what i'm trying to do in this book, you say what is it for? what is the agenda, the coherent agenda for a positive populism? that's the purpose of the book. the reason i think it is needed and also the reason why with this movement, whether it's splintered in different directions -- some on the left,
some on the right, whatever finish the reason you're seeing this emerge as a really powerful political forbes i think, is the place i'd like to start. why are we even talking about populism? why is there this populist movement? and i think the simple answer to that and the argument i make in the book is that what we've seen for the last, more than the last few years, the last few decades actually is -- and i think the voters are very conscious of this, and it ties directly to the brexit vote and the donald trump success here. it seems to a lot of people that regardless of who's actually been elected, who's won elections, the same people and the same agenda seems to be in power. that's a very strong sense people have. doesn't matter who you vote for. the rich get richer, we get screwed. now, that may be a simplistic slogan. that's how a lot of people feet. i would argue there's a lot of truth to that, because if you look at the continuity in the
u.k., for example, from the thatcher government to the blair administration to the cam ran government, you have really -- of course there are policy differences, but there's a common agenda in four key respects, and i think that also applies here in the u.s. when you look at the continuity from reagan to clinton, bush and obama. and that's tied in with some of the data around this. and one of the most fascinating, i think -- in fact, i put it right at the beginning of the book -- when you look at one key element of this populist -- resentment fuels populism, let's call it that. it's income inequality. and if you look at wage stagnation, again a term we hear described a lot, that's not just a phenomenon of the last few years since the great recession. if you look at the 80% or so of nonsupervisory workers in america, nonmanagement,
nonsupervisory workers look at the labor statistics, basically up to 2016 wages had been flat or falling since 1972, 44 years of flat or falling wages for roughly 80% in real terms, roughly 80% of american workers. that's a staggering fact. and so it ties in with the period when you've seen a continuity of policy. and the four key elements of this shared agenda, as i would describe it, between republicans and democrats, between labour and conservative in the u.k., there are four key elements i talk about in the book. one is -- and it's really not so much a policy similarity, it's an enthusiasm for four things that have shaped the modern world. one is globalization, another is automation, third is centralization -- centralization of government, taking power from local and state government here in the u.s. and putting it in the hands of the federal government. same kind of pattern in the u.k. also centralization, by the way,
in the economy as you've seen corporations getting bigger and bigger, giant businesses emerging. squeezing out competition, oligopolistic markets in industry after industry. and the fourth element is immigration. a sense of uncontrolled immigration. those four things -- globalization, automation, centralization, immigration -- i think they're the key characteristics of a shared agenda, a shared ideology, i describe it as, which i call elitism. why do i call it elitism? because it's very clear that the people at the top, not the famous 1%, but roughly the 20% or so, have done incredibly well over the years that this agenda has been pursued. we have done incredibly well. incomes have gone up, property prices. look at the booming urban centers of the knowledge economy. it's been a real success for some people.
but, actually, for working people, the 80% or so, it hasn't. jobs gob away, incomes gone -- jobs gone away, incomes gone down, communities ripped apart as the employers move outside to, family breakdown, the whole set of things. and if all of that together has given rise to this populist sentiment, and i've written this book to try and address that sentiment with positive, constructive policy reforms rather than just rage. so that's the background. the characteristics of positive populism as i set them out in my book, first of all, to me it's something very prague mat ific. it's about -- pragmatic. it's about solving problems. i think that was one of the great appeals, frankly, of donald trump in the 2016
campaign. he came across as a non-ideological politician. now, you can argue whether or not that's been done, but that approach, i think, really resonated with people. i think that's participant of the populist -- part of the populist approach which is we're not driven by ideology, we're driven by helping working people, working families improve their lives, and we're looking for practical solutions. and that's very much the spirit of this book. more specifically, when i think of positive populism i really think of, well, this non-ideological aproarchtion who is it trying to help? it's not trying to help everyone. it's actually trying to help the people who have been hurt the most by this elitist ideology. i see it as being pro-worker, pro-family and pro-community. and those, i think, are the key elements of the agenda. what i'd love to do now is,
having talked generally about it just to get the conversation going -- i won't go on for too long, i'd love your responses and questions and arguments and challenges, i hope -- just to give you a couple examples from the book. the book is really an ideas book. got some personal stories on how i came to these views, moving to california, my background in hungary, my parents are hungarian and so on. so there's a lot of personal background to it. but really, above all, it's an ideas book. there, in fact, 27 specific ideas in this book to address the problems i've outlined. they're not fully worked-out policy, that's why i call them ideas. they're really to start a conversation because i think turning around these long-term trends, income inequality and wage stagnation, community disempowerment, corruption in government which is a big part of it, it's going to take a long time because it's taken a long time to get to where we are.
so these are ideas to start a conversation. i just want to pick out four and quickly sketch them out to give you a flavor of what i'm talking about. and these four ideas are in four of the key policy areas that we all think about a lot in our different ways, in our different worlds tw. education, health, welfare and family. pretty central topics. i just want to starlet with schools -- start with schools. what's a positive populist have to say about schools? well, the first principle of this populist approach that i'm setting out is that the concentration of power that i talked about earlier, the going characteristics of -- the defining characteristics of the elitist age. power's been centralized in the hands of big businesses and bureaucracies and so on. people don't have control over the things that a matter to them, and that was a key factor,
i think, in the brexit vote. so putting power in people's hands is a key theme trout this book. that -- throughout this book. that's very relevant to the school idea that i'm going to talk to you about. the other factor is the way that social mobility has completely stalled in america. you look at the data, that story of people being able to rise up the income scale through education, that's really a story of the past. and so what we've got to do is rethink our approach to schools and education and training, all the things -- the ladder of opportunity. because it's just not working. and it will get worse and worse because of the nature of the change in the labor market and the kind of skills that people will need to succeed, the fact that jobs are going to be much more temporary and so on. and the kind of skills that people need to learn are just going to change dramatically. the current school system that we have is simply ill-equipped to do that. of course, there are many good
schools. every time we talk about radical school reform -- and this is a radical plan i have -- you've got to make clear 2011 within the public school system, there are fantastic schools. yes, that's true. what i describe is the factory school system that we have in operation which is a model that was imported here where you have these big schools and children taught the same thing in years according to their age and so on, and they're very kind of -- and in a very kind of industrialized way, it's just completely hopeless for preparing our kids for the future, the kind of skills they need. it's much less -- [inaudible] i think above all we need innovation into our school system, people setting up new schools that experiment with different ways of teaching children these skills. and so what i propose in this -- and at the moment we have that a
little bit. you have some innovation, for example, through charter schools and in the private sector. near where i live in silicon valley, there's a huge array ray of incredibly exciting new mod pells being developed -- models. but they're mostly for the rich. i want that kind of experience for everyone. and the way to get there, i think, is what i describe as total school choice. not just a few extra options for parents alongside the bulk of the public system, but completely removing government from the operation and the delivery of education. a total open market in schools. where you have, basically, a voucher system that enables any parent to go to any school. that in turn will inspire entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs and companies and groups of parents to set up schools that will deliver this innovative education that suits children much more precisely. so total school choice. that is the first idea.
and it connects absolutely with what i was talking about in terms of putting power in people's hands. the second idea i wanted to mention actually applies that exact same model to health care just the same. you have incredible medical innovation around the corner. could save so much money. telemeld sinks all these new -- telemedicine, all these new developments. you have these giant hospitals, and worse than that in the delivery of health care here in america particularly, you're actually moving towards a u.k.-style national health service in the sense of the consolidation that's happening in the health care marketplace with insurance companies, a tiny number of insurance companies completely dominating and hospital chains buying up other hospitals. we talk about a market for health care in america, but there really is getting hess and less of a market -- less and less of a market. and so at the same time, working
people -- those that we should have in mind when we think about populism -- have massive financial insecurity as a result of the way that we approach health insurance. and i think there too much of an ideological approach has been taken where there's been this notion that you can't have anything resembling government-run health care and, therefore, we can't even think about insurance and so on and the single-payer direction that would give people that peace of mind that is so important because we don't want state-run health care. no, we don't want state-rub health care, but -- state-run health care, but i think the problem is we lump together two very distinct parts of the policy debate. we treat health insurance the same as health care. of course it's true that people want choice in health care, and it's going to lead to innovation if we can have choice in markets operating just as in any other sector. but no one really wants choice in the insurance part of the equation. they just want to be -- you want
to know if you get sick, you're going to be treated. is what i'm propose anything the book is universal -- proposing in the book is universal free market where, yes, it's basically like the school system. there's a total free market choice in terms of the actual delivery. combining, i think in an interestingly non-ideological way, some elements of the left populist argument, single-payer, and some elements of a free market approach. the third idea i wanted to talk about was relating to this topic of incomes and low wages and inequality. one of the things that i think should outrage conservatives more than it does is the way in which a key phrase that conservative politicians use over and over again about how they're for hard working people
who do the right thing and so on. the fact is that for many, many millions of those hard working americans who work full time, very tough jobs, they can't live on what they earn. as a result, we have a giant welfare bureaucracy to top up their pay. this is the working poor. i'm not talking about people who are out of the labor force, i'm talking about the millions who are actually working but also receive government welfare top-ups in one form or another, whether that's the earned income tax credit. i know people are a big fan of that, but it's still welfare. or food stamps, whatever it may be. taxpayer top-ups, because people can't live on what they earn. now, i think conservatives should be outraged about that. what that really is, is a taxpayer subsidy to the employers. they pay their workers at a level that the workers can't
live on, so the taxpayer tops it up. that's crazy. now, the left populist approach, we've actually seen that in the last week, where bernie sanders and -- [inaudible] i think, have introduced a bill focus on this point. and what they say -- amazon, for example, they pay their workers at a level they can't live on, they pay gets topped up by the taxpayer to the tune of $150 billion, let's say. i can't remember the figures. let's tax them the amount of the subsidy. that's the left populist approach. ..
we can look, paid a living wage. but in order to make that affordable for businesses so they don't have to do something counterproductive which is bring in the robots to do the more expensive work, in order to make it affordable for businesses that cuts their taxes by the equivalent amount, payroll taxes or you basically reduce the tax burden on businesses so they can pay. in the process you eliminate the whole need for that government welfare bureaucracy that is cycling money around all this and ends up costing bureaucracy pic with tapping is government is taking money from companies in the form of various taxes and had to get back to their workers in the form of these welfare top ups. that is ridiculous. let's just get rid of it so the relationship is between the worker and the employer,
business friendly living wage. and then finally i wanted to mention one other idea of the 27 in this book, which is about family. which i would consider to be single most important policy area of all. it's the area i worked on most what i was working at ten downing street. i argue in the book of foundational issue because if we can achieve something which is incredibly simple to say, actually very hard to achieve and practice which is that every child should be raised in a stable, loving home. if we can just achieve that, so many of the social and economic problems that give rise to government intervention and regulation at the expense fund services, which disappeared. now, lots of work has been done,
great work much of it coming from this place, about family breakdown and the incentives in various government systems that perhaps encourage parents to raise children without being together. i don't want to make the argument about marriage. i suspect that we all agree with it. the evidence is it as a say in relation to climate, the site is income is very clear that it is better for children's opportunities and outcomes if they race in a home with two parents. it's clear marriage is a very strong commitment device that makes it more likely that parent stay together. it's not about that. it's not about moralizing or preaching. this is about something very practical which is if you look at the data about when families break up, breakdown, you find something really interesting, which is the peak moment for families with children to break
up is within the first year of the first child being born. there's a very human practical pragmatic reason for that which is it's a very tough and stressful time, as anyone who is a good one though. you don't get any sleep, you're arguing. it's a nightmare for a lot of people, take with people without resources and family connections to help out. what we see again thinking about this and a practical nonideological non-preachy way is there are real interventions that can help parents to that difficult time and they get much more likely that they stay together, which is overwhelmingly in the interest of them, their children and society as a whole. one example of that is actually a program -- i mean, the whole of approach was in the uk, the health visitor services that was over 100 years old. one of the best economy social policy inventions ever in his work action is the nurse family
partnership program which is great in colorado i think in the late '70s. what all these intervention basic about is home visiting, is trained professionals usually know, going into the home of parents with a young child and just helping them with a practical and emotional questions that they have. there's so much evidence that this transformative lady different to all the other kinds of interventions may be. there are other services. they want to use. there's something about that trusted person coming and helping youth at this difficult time that makes a huge difference. where these services are currently deployed, they are typically done in an at risk way. they were part of obamacare actual in-home services, the really troubled families, the at
risk, the small proportion of the population and that's fine but actually i think would be transformative if this could be available to everyone. and that's why in the book i talk about a universal home visiting service. not necessarily delivered by the state, by government, local organizations, churches, all sorts of institutions. similarly, to the approach to health and education. services can be guaranteed by the state, but delivered by the market in the form of private sector organizations and nonprofits or a combination. just because something is universal and guaranteed by the state doesn't mean it has to be delivered by government at home visiting one of those things which i think could have huge, positive impact on working people, on families and on all of these issues, income inequality and so on, that have led to this populist uprising.
that's just a flavor of the book, as many more ideas. i went through forces, there are 23 others in the book and if there any topics that you want to raise that are not covered by those four i just touched on, happy to do that and happy to debate the specific ideas and most of all would love to work with heritage on this whole agenda because it's important and it's the way to really make some of the ideas and values we all hold relevant and applicable in this new world of real political disruption at a rapid change. so thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, steve, for a terrific summary of your book. i think it will spark a lot of the debate here in washington and we are delighted to be part of that.
and before i open the floor to questions from the audience, there's an opening question for you, steve, on brexit and also based upon your many years of experience working in downing street in the british government. the prime minister's checkers proposal has been very controversial, split the conservative party, talk to other potential leadership challenge to theresa may from the brexiteer side of the conservative party. president trump, when he went to london in july was critical of the proposal saying that it could potentially threaten the free trade agreement. he later backtracked on this, but it was very significant intervention by the u.s. president. could you give us your thoughts on the chequers proposal and
what this means for brexit, but also what it means for the prime minister as well? >> delighted to do that. short summary in terms of the verdict from the the presidente was right and she was wrong. he should've stuck with his first answer. let me go back a little bit to the campaign and the immediate aftermath and then catch up where we are. in the brexit campaign, which we've been, by the way, i've lived in california for six and have your so very much feel as if this is our home, but i did go back to uk to campaign for brexit, and in that campaign there was a real coherent and consistent to put forward by the leaders, if you like, on the conservative party side. specifically, myself, michael,
boris johnson. we all made the argument for an open outward looking pro enterprise powerhouse approach where we are free of the shackles of the eu, the uk is open to the world, and true to its nearing enterprising route. that was the theme and the feel of the brexit we all argued for. then you have theresa may through various reasons taking over, who was opposed to brexit. she campaigned against it, and that set the tone for the whole processes then. it seems to me as if what's been going on in the uk is that the political leadership and definitely that bureaucratic operators see brexit not as an opportunity to be seized and exploited, but as a problem to be mitigated and handled
somehow. this disaster have to somehow be handled and we have to make the best of the bad. that's the attitude. i remember early on when that te attitude seemed to be taking hold, making argument i wrote a piece in the sunday times work a discussion at the time was about hard brexit or soft brexit. hard brexit was a clean break, let's just get outcome don't worry about any transition arrangements and deals with the eu. let's just leave. but the soft brexit was make it less of a sudden break. that's not the point. i made the argument then of course it needs to be a hard brexit because anything other than hard brexit is not actually leaving. if you're still there kind of participating in the single market, kind of having a transition and sort of being a member but not really an being in some things at of others, you are kind in it. you don't have the freedom to take avenge of the opportunities of being outside.
of course it has to be hard brexit. the real question is is it going to open or close brexit. open meaning let's engage with the world, roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs around the world who want to start their businesses in uk. let's cut corporation tax the 10% or zero and a fight every business in the world to set up in the -- let's make the uk the number one destination for business investment at entrepreneurship and so on. that's the argument i made then. of course none of that happened and so we are where we are, and the chequers deal i think is worse than anyone could possibly have imagined in terms of ending up with i don't know what the adjective would be but certainly soft and worse. in terms of not really leaving. and also worse than that is during this time none of actions have been taken that could have
really made a long-term success and sent a signal to the world that this new uk is a fantastically to do business and so on. there's been no cut in corporation tax, no effort to really go out into the world and so uk. it's just been this constant negativity. and the entire focus in terms of the british establishment has been on negotiating with the eu. when most of the things that could have made a successive brexit could've been done regardless of the eu. of course it's clear the eu wants to make brexit as painful as possible for the uk in order to deter other countries leaving. their entire incentive is to punish the uk for leaving. so the notion you can negotiate a deal that is advantageous to uk i thought was always ridiculous. some argument is just leave.
just leave and figure it out. and all these arguments that you hear made about how well that would be chaos and so chaos and so on turn out to be rubbish. a series person, i don't know if it was tony blair, it might've been i don't know, series political leader talked about planes falling out of the sky. that was a phrase that was used. because if you leave the eu than air traffic control, the next day when you watch the head of the international -- wholly ridiculous, that will never happen. we will figure it out as an industry. one after another these scare stories about the consequences of just leaving are told, and because of the whole nature of the debate i think it uk, this negativity, people believed them and they want to believe it because they are in this mindset this whole thing is a disaster.
so bring us right up to date i think that it would be in britain's interest to not have the chequers dob the terms in which uk leaves. and if the chequers deal if you limit of achieving that is to have a change of prime minister at a think that is what should happen. i don't know whether it will happen because i'm not connected to the current inns and outs of the british conservative party, but i think an open brexit, clean break above all take those policy actions that will make the uk and attractive number one place in the world for business, cut corporate tax investment in structure, although singh, that's more important than the ins and outs. a change of leadership, , you might get that. very well said point we have made here at heritage on many
occasions. on the brexit front. and, of course, likely important issue for use interest as well and very closely watched here in washington. i'd like to invite into the audience to ask questions, and please do identify yourself, any institutional affiliation that you may have. looking for opening question. yes. >> thank you. apologies if this is already been addressed. i was a little late, but how to explain the popularity of jeremy corbyn and is jeremy corbyn apologist? apologies for another uk-based question. >> i think that is absolutely a part of, part of the populism story. i think there's two things.
there's a substance and policy-based appeal, and then there's come if you can believe it, a personality-based appeal. on the substance and policy i think this is another, conservatives need to take this seriously. the economic hardship that working people, i use that term to describe the 80% or so of the population i described earlier, the non-beneficiaries of the elitist generalization globalization and uncontrolled immigration, people who are not working in the knowledge economy in the open sentencing. it's really important we understand the deep, deep pain that's been caused over the years, and the resentment at the evident inequality the way riches has gone to the
beneficiaries. i think one of the most important concepts is the economic insecurity, the frightening sense that at any moment it could all come crashing down. one unexpected bill could just derail my whole life and it's much more true and use. i would literally be living in a car. was it the federal reserve, a study a couple years ago, i don't know, a huge proportion of americans couldn't meet a $400 bill. an unexpected expense. that economic insecurity of course excessively but all those changes, by the optimization of globalization, the way that temporary worker is taken over. whole sections in the book, noncompete clauses which means incomes have been kept down because nearly 20% of american workers are subject to noncompete. this was designed for the sort of top employee with unique
scientific knowledge or whatever and now they're applied apply e who work at mcdonald's. so there's a real unfairness about the experience most people have on the economy and i think the uk, jeremy corbyn and the labour party really spoke to that. the zero hours contract, a huge issue where people just, they are treated like in a really inhuman way by employers. and yet good for them or the people is like i don't know if i'm going to work. it's this insecurity and unfairness that i think plagues so many people. he really spoke to that. and yes, you can say its left wing, socialism, whatever. but that's what people haven't had. we may like to think about the thatcher revolution, the reagan revolution, conservative ideas lifting what people are just some of it happen but it is
certainly not true today. i think there's real substantive reason for the appeal of very left wing messages, not just to call whatever it is, 30% voters may vote labor provide across-the-board. and then the personal aspect i think it's just the same, it's a weird comparison to make. donald trump in the sense of here's someone who is just like the usual politicians. we like the fact he looks a mess and stumbles and does these weird things and rolls his eyes and interviews and just seems authentic. he's saying what he thinks and we're sick of all this people. we sound the same can look the same and say the same strategies. i really understand that appeal. the other side, conservatives need to get that. otherwise, and don't get me wrong, many of those left populist policies would be deeply damaging and actually end up hurting working people. we've got to understand the
appeal of them and this is what i'm trying to do with the book and develop our own response that is, i wouldn't call it conservative because that's a little, feels a little ideological but pro-market i think that's a really big characteristic of my ideas. they are pro-market. we need to kind of maybe that's, a pro-market populism. i'm now drifting off but another really big scene in the book, in my book is, , is antitrust and competition. so many industries to or noncompetitive. they are stitched up by a couple of giant companies. we need a pro-market argument for create a competition. sorry, i'll stop there. >> thank you, steve. thank you for the work you did on the brexit vote as well as one of the eighth in the lives for brexit, so is fun being on
the same side of you on that campaign. i just want to push back perhaps on the living wage idea. something i argued a lot with some of your former bosses about in the uk. so ask a simple, principal question of props outlined a different approach. why is it the responsibility of companies to compensate employees for the rinse and fuel bills as opposed to pay them for the value of the work they undertake for the business? and wouldn't it be better as aa first step, a first do no harm principle applied to actually look at and doing some of the genuine negative effects of vested interest in terms of housing and zoning laws that drive up the cost of housing, child care regulations which drive up the cost of childcare, food protectionism that tries of grocery bills. wouldn't it be better as an approach for government to undo all of these damaging policies that drive up costs rather than
lamenting that companies don't pay people enough to meet those cost? >> that's a great question and i agree with nearly all of what you said. in fact, in another part of the book, another one i guess is about housing. a green brown zoning. green brown zoning which is basically to say every piece of land should either be marked for development or nature. that's the only, build what you want. you get rid of all controls and just leave it to individual communities to decide. there's a really interesting model we did, intimate and uk which was neighborhood planning, neighborhood zoning actually turns out if you give neighborhoods control over what gets built in the early they
don't behave like nimbys. they have no real control over. i do want to degrade and housing but but i totally agree with you about housing and those other cost points. i would say in relation to the costs of living, yes, we should do that but those often start reforms will get a long time to bear fruit. in the meantime you've got this, this is like i keep coming back to the pragmatic approach. in the meantime while we were waiting for that to happen if it ever does your people who are really hurting. you've got these welfare bureaucracies that we should hate. the other principal i would articulate back to you is, if you work full time you should get to live on what you earn. you could say i don't agree with the principal but i do. it's just a disagreement or i don't think we're going to settle it just by intellectual inquiry. i just think it's clearly an
assertion one that rings true for most people. it's a kind of what's worse, is it that employers should make sure that workers deliver what they earn, buried in my yes, we do want to reduce the cost of living in all the ways you mentioned, or have the government do it through this te bureaucracy which makes people dependent? that's the other bit of business i don't like which is the relationship between employee and employer feels like it can be a fair and reasonable relationship. when you are dependent on the government for your cup not to be able, i think that's worse. that's really what i got to the position, i think it's worse to have -- my proposal is an ideal either but it's better than the alternative where you have millions of people dependent on the states, even though they're working full-time.
>> thank you, steve. i do agree that a worker who was working full-time should be able to provide for his or her family. i would also like to maybe bring up a couple concerns about the living wage idea. one, how in your mind would that be different from a taxpayer subsidy in the form of like a welfare program? and second, would this be opt in? could you envision it for being an option for businesses, and if you are you concerned this may increase the role of government in a different way? >> it's different from the government subsidy because the government isn't involved other than requiring it. it's not getting any money from the government. there's no transaction, whether that is popping up through footsteps or income tax. the government is not part of
it. in terms of -- i'm sorry, your talk about the operation of it? >> in theory. >> again, these are ideas for discussion. i actually float some ways the maybe think about implementation, for example, you may want to exclude younger workers, under 25, just like with minimum wage. you may want to use it to incentivize other goals. for example, we talk about how marriage is penalized and welfare system. maybe this is an opportunity to reward marriage in the living wage system if you like, that you look at it that way because your costs are higher if you have a family and so on so you get this if you are married. maybe that's too bureaucratic. these are just ideas to discuss. in order to be real it would need to be a mandate just like
the minimum wage is. that's the law. you have to pay the minimum wage. this needs to be a a decentrald approach because cost of living varies greatly. and so this would be applied and even city by city basis, not just state-by-state but it would be the law. that's my concept of this. >> sorry to not diversify the accents. i apologize. jamie johnson, conservatives abroad here in d.c. you must get this question over dinner at at events like this all the time you got a call call from john kelly you are asked to perform a similar role for what you performed at downing street, what would be your three-point strategy for the president in
the coming years to execute his first line but also to lineup for the second? >> execute is a different strategy but in thing of your ideas. >> that's a a great question. i think that, i'm not sure i would get to go here but but id more time about but it do think that, one of the most important things that he seemed to convey was i'm not going to be like the other politicians, i'm going to shake things up and do things differently. one of the things that would really, that would really demonstrate, it was true, you can delay delivery of promises. i think actually there are two things that are perhaps less structurally important but really significant in terms of saying you see, i was different, i did what i said.
if you think back to the campaign, the most famous promises, the most simple and famous phrases and promises that resonated, drain the swamp and build the wall were two of them. and i think, there's something more important out get to. i'm sort of getting the out of the way and i'll focus on what i think is most important. just delivering those two things. one is easy and other, build the wall is very straightforward innocence. whatever we may think of it it just needs to be done and have always been a supporter of that. a very practical and sensible thing to do. in terms of controlling immigration. so get it done. i cannot understand why it's so difficult to get it done. i truly don't. the argument about congress funding it, i don't understand. the federal government spent so much money on other things, i just don't understand why that cannot be done. immediately. drain the swamp, i think was
resident because edwin knows, i would understand how deep the corruption is. it's true that, i've talked about this commercial, when the actual had a list of drain the swamp pledges about obvious and so on and about four or five things on there and three of the five i think have technically been done. but i think anyone in washington, you talk to anyone in washington as the culture changed? not really. in my book i have a number of ideas how you really start to attack the corruption. for example, banning conflict donors, in other words, in making it impossible, requiring legislators to recuse themselves from any legislative activity that relates to the interest of any of their donors. the minute you even say that, you know the response as well, why would i give the money if i didn't get, if it wasn't relevant? why would i be on that committee if i couldn't raise money from the relevant businesses.
that's how it works but it's total corruption. the financial services can the regular 12 straight and members are almost entirely funded by wall street. total corruption. doing something about that, really getting to the heart of the corruption, would be powerful. the real one, the big one is if you think about why he was elected and why he might be reelected, the overwhelming thing was get the economy moving, jobs, manufacturing,, that whole story of an economic revival. i think you are certainly serve of it happen. that's great. more of that, more deregulation. i was disappointed, remember trump in the campaign the tax plan, one of the first month i thought this guy is really serious. we should take this seriously. the second thing, the second policy document he published was a tax plan with 50% corporate tax. go for that.
the other element that is missing that we haven't seen and it's important because it connects to the issue of incomes and wages and the experience of working americans those who put them into office ticket, the blue-collar workers, is infrastructure and the connection with infrastructure and wages is really important because the recent we've had this in parallel with wage stagnation you had productivity slowdown or stagnation. economists are scratching heads about what's going on with productivity. when the factors is investment and infrastructure. so the infrastructure promise was not just good in terms of building things right now that create jobs. actually really good infrastructure creates, leads to productivity which could lead to wage rises. you are seeing that right now from the private sector.
real big increases in business investment since the tax, tax cuts, since the corporate tax cuts which i think is starting to contribute to the wage increases but the long-term effects we are not sure because the business investment needs to -- that would be something that the infrastructure story funded in, i'm not talked about taking on more debt to do it. i think there are interesting way she can do it through private financing, but getting it done i think would be, probably put that as number one. >> thank you. over there first. >> i really important point on the infrastructure. i was really upset they didn't do that first because one of the things, i think the whole president morsi could've gone a very different direction because that was interestingly one of the areas where he had political
agreement, democrats and republicans. probably disagreement about how you finance it, sure. the democrat, yeah, more taxes, fine, but you can, to some kind of agreement. i remember talking to john delaney, first one for president, one of the first to declare, on the democratic side and he had a smart idea about how to finance the intersection to corporate tax cuts and so on and offshore money, et cetera. you could get creative agreed between democrats and republicans on this infrastructure, and, of course, that hasn't turned out like that. we got this incredibly divisive politics right now. the infrastructure thing could be a way of bringing people together and getting that sense of national purpose in unity back. >> please, go ahead. >> thanks, steve, your presentation today and the four pillows. the one that on particularly interested in is the family.
i'm a recent transplant here to the dmv area from jacksonville, florida, and as i came aboard the area i just noticed there is a vast difference as you already mentioned of income disparities between communities. i live in the arlington christo centric unity. as i drive their areas such as the d.c. area, i'm not talk about the good part of d.c., i really see some of the issues that our country facing pick someone has said they coined this phrase before, so goes the family, we can say so goes the nation. and so goes the nation, we can almost say that some of the issues that we see in our country today, whether it be from poverty, income, crime is directly correlated to issues that we have with the family. my question then becomes, or to you, as some looking, you mentioned one point that every child should have a stable home
and wouldn't that be a beautiful thing if every child had a stable home? my question is, if you look in our community across the nation there is a vast amount of kids in the foster care system. i am 100% for reunification of children with their families, but i have a fundamental issue with when we reunify and we have parents who are not equipped but the government mandates that at some point or sometime. we have to give these kids back to those families can whether there broken or not. i'm not talking the kids, but the parents. some of your thoughts and ideas on fixing that issue. >> great. i could talk all day about it. it was in a more issue. i completely agree with everything you said. i spent a lot of time working on it and, in fact, i'm just at the beginning of launching a new business in this exact area, in
the exact area you're talking about. i talk about bit in the book. again it's something when you first hear about it, consumers might think i don't like this, this is name he states. this is not what we should all be about. it's a term even as about to say, i know it's offputting, i understand that but just bear with me, which is parenting education. i spent a lot of time working on these issues in the government as i mentioned. i set up a number programs, one for troubled families program which was all about really, really, very hands-on intervention with a small number, about 150,000 families in the uk who just totally going off the rails, total dysfunction that you wouldn't believe. i spent time visiting, so shocking. when we did an audit of these families, most single-parent families and i remember one of
the things that took me aback with when you get, the average number of children in these families was four. just so chaotic and just unbelievable. i don't want to go into deals. it's actually very upsetting. we actually started do something about it. all these families on the receiving end of multiple interventions by government, that's the problem, they are totally disconnected, the work of 16 different bits of government poking at the man come in and a social worker and a health worker in this and that, and no one takes responsibility. no one really is focused on actually helping the family turned their lives around. our approach is to take that all the way and have one dedicated family worker per family. would literally go there every day, get them out of bed, get up and morning and do all that. this is a really dysfunction. that was a very aggressive government program.
you say that's the nanny state. yes, for this particular group that's exactly what they need is an nanny. so i i would totally defend th. more broadly, parents right across the scale, i put myself in the category because i went along to see as part of the policy research. i spent a lot of time in parenting classes, typically parenting classes are required of parents when the children go off the rail. the court may impose, this teenager cut in trouble, do have some juvenile punishment and you the pair are going to go to a parenting class because you done a bad job. actually go to that which i spent many, many hours in all over the place, a really consistent thing emerges, which is that the parents, almost the same words they use, which is i was dragged, maybe this an
english expression, i was dragged kicking and screaming here. didn't want to come. almost from the first moment, if i had the seven years ago life life would have been completely different. it's a real value to it actually. that value is not so much in the instruction. it's typically the ones that work are in group settings. there is a coach who gives tips about how to get the baby to sleep, how do you get your teenager get or just when, how bedtime. all the things that are part of a stable, loving household. so there's practical instructions, but the real power is in the conversation, is in the parents actually talking and listening to other parents, and realizing the struggles they have are not just their own. everyone finds this stuff
difficult. it lists a burden at the talk to other. it's interesting, it's kind of therapeutic and very powerful process. there's evidence that from social science that parenting style is a bigger, like the way you literally do the job of being a parent is the single biggest determinant of children's life chances, more than the economic status of the family. it's the way the parents parent that makes the difference. we are want to think that is in eight, that it cannot be taught, that it can't be improved. it can and i have seen it. another idea in the book is to again, not the government delivering this, faith groups, community groups, nonprofits, private sector, i am literally about to start a private-sector business that will do this. this is not about the government
doing it, but our goal as policymakers, this is what i tried to live in the uk, was to make parenting education, turn it around from being what it is today which is a minority thing which is seen as negative or punishment for bad parents, but to make it something as a positive thing for all parents, and aspirational thing. we started a a parenting vouchr program in the uk. it's a pilot and we moved it to the states before it took off, but that i think is the genuine answer again. i put in the book about populism. this is about helping working people and working families and is very pragmatic. it's just how do we help? what's an answer that works? parenting education really works, and it's something i would like to see spread much more widely than is at the moment and turn a negative to a positive. i don't know if that helps.
>> we have time, just one more question. i had to call on the ambassador who heads our center for international trade and economics here at heritage. >> thank you very much for your presentation, and i really want to applaud your focus on the family and on education because i think that, in fact, it is pathologies in those two areas that underpin almost all of the problems we face as a society. but i but i want to push back oe idea about a living wage, or this economic idea, because i don't really think that holds up contact with reality in the world. because you yourself talked about how wages increase with productivity, but your proposal in fact, with disconnect productivity and wage rates at the lower end of the scale because you would wind up paying everyone up to a certain level
the same wage rate essentially. the problem we have in our society is, going back to family and education, that you have a large number of potential workers who are coming out of the school system. they can't do basic mathematics. they are in some cases practically illiterate, certainly in standard english, and yet you would say that any business that hires those people is required to pay the whatever the living wage is, and by the assessment icing is significantly higher than today's minimum wages or even higher than the proposed $15 minimum wage that's so popular in the united states right now. so you are compressing the wage rates at the bottom of the scale. you are forcing businesses to hire people that don't have the basic skills to be productive in any way whatsoever.
it sounds very appealing to say that anybody who works full-time should earn a living wage, but i would say working out what? i would love to be a poet and spend 40 hours a week writing poetry. if somebody only a living wage if i choose to do that? or do we take away the choice from people to work at whatever endeavor they choose? >> i'm so excited about your question. let me respond to it, the poet, let's start with that. no, it wouldn't apply because you wouldn't be employed as an artist. by the way, i'll tell you what's coming your way if we don't have a really constructive alternative answer is much worse. i can see you all suspicious of this idea, but the alternative is coming tantra, a universal base income which totally, nevermind detaching wages from productivity.
that detaches wages from work. at least the right someone connected to work. this is happening, a universal basic income. it is implemented as we speak in california and other parts of the country. i totally disagree with it precisely for the recent that it detaches work from pay. my idea is not, it's not a universal income. it is a flaw. it is, so the productivity is well taken, but it's a flaw. it's not going to be for everyone. you will still be able to have those paid differentials. i think they're very good point you made about skills and contribution to the workforce of the young people moving in who can't, don't have the skills you describe, i think that's right and, therefore, i would be as a beacon mentioned earlier open to say this is just for over 25 or 30 or people or married or have
children. all sorts of ways of making it less, not have those disincentive effects. but one thing i would say is, can anyone get, there is a major employer in this country right now. you're right, it's much higher, the living wage. we talk about $15 minimum wage and a living wage, you talk about $20 an hour, that kind of level or more. there is a really big employer in america who pays as a matter of policy, as a matter of business practice that they believe for social reasons, that pays a living wage to all its workers. do people know who that is? may be. there's what i know and -- no. private-sector employer and it may surprise you. no. definitely not mcdonald's. it's cosco, right? their whole business is a cheap and margins matter to you and its retail and so on.
they pay a living wage. way higher than any other -- they have stable workforce, loyal and voice and all the rest of. it's not impossible to make it work. i definitely agree that it's not ideal, and i absolutely take seriously all the objections that we heard. not, this idea is not in isolation. our alternatives. it's what's happening right now which is there's welfare dependency which i hate of the bureaucracy associated with that. and there's what could be coming from other sandwiches universal basic income which i also hate. i'm just trying to be practical. >> a tremendous discussion ranging from poetry to draining the swamp. i'd like to thank steve hilton for a wonderful discussion today and i'm sure we will continue to
discuss your ideas for months and years to come. hopefully you come back to heritage again in the very near future, and i would also like to thank everybody for joining us today and thank you as well to all our viewers on c-span today. we look forward to hosting you all again at heritage in the very near future. thank you very much. [applause] >> before i i forget, steve wil be signing copies of his new book outside, so if anyone would like to have their copy signed by steve. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv. did you know you can also listen on the go? download the c-span radio app from your devices