Skip to main content

tv   Tactics for Promoting Democracy  CSPAN  November 25, 2014 1:26pm-2:44pm EST

1:26 pm
economic actors. again stepping back, what that tells me is that u.s. democracy promotion has mattered but also the specific activities through which it has been implemented has also mattered. because it has produced enduring domestic actors. it has empowered enduring domestic actors. the caveat here is that some of those actors are struggling to survive. they have the withdrawal of u.s. support have become somewhat dependant on eu funding. but they are active and they are an important part of the domestic debate in those countries, which again i think is a positive sign. at this point i want to pause a little bit and say that i trust these findings primarily because i did not ask the central and eastern europe yaps about the u.s. role in supporting democracy in central and eastern europe and i did not give them
1:27 pm
opportunity to give me a line rehearsed to please u.s. donors. it's evidence that i collected indirectly and that came up in conversations about central and eastern european democracy promotion. again, my conclusions are not to dispute problems with u.s. democracy promotion or its unintended negative consequences. but just to highlight that it can and has mattered and that it's an investment whose payoffs go up and down in the short and long term as we saw in the first panel. but it's an important investment. in conclusion, allow me to return to the merits and limitations of the central and eastern europeans as democracy promoters. again, to discover those i talked to their recipients in their neighborhood. those recipients highlighted three important merits. the first one is the firsthand experience with democratizatio
1:28 pm
fl that they have. a lot of the individuals were the organizing source of the domestic breakthroughs. they have this unique experience with this as well as moral authority in the eyes of the recipie recipients. they come with what i call recipes or sets of steps that could be taken to implement certain reforms that could be, again, sets of steps to be taken that could be tailored to the needs of recipients given the recipient's stage of democratization. the second is the local knowledge and ties to important local people which gives them access to important stakeholders and allow them to brooch sensitive issues as peers rather than from the pulpit of accomplishments and centuries of
1:29 pm
democratic experience. the last merit that was very important to recipients was the sustainability. as i said, a number of those countries have been active in the same set of recipients for more than two decades. so however small their efforts might have been, their impact has accumulated over time to produce some affects. >> very sorry. you are going to have to wrap it up. >> so the limitations. i think the most important limitation that those democracy promoters have had is their limited capacity. the second most important limitation is that they -- their democracy promotion efforts have had a certain geopolitical or political component which has sometimes undermined their consistency and impar sealty. with that said, i believe they have made -- helped made some democratic gains. to me, what they means is that
1:30 pm
they have helped open windows of democratization opportunity. it had a has not been enough to help countries toward sustainable long-term impact. i will conclude here. in the second round of comments i will return to talk about the opportunities i see for cooperation between the u.s. and some of the new democracies that have developed around the globe in the last two decades. >> great. thanks very much. michael. >> thank you very much. first of all, many thanks to the ambassador for organizing this and for kindly inviting me here. it's a great honor, of course. i was asked to say a few words about central europe and the united states when it comes to democracy and perhaps offer a kind of a central european view on issue. i'm afraid i will differ from what tsveta just said.
1:31 pm
not in the analysis, with which i fully agree, but my starting point is that central europe has been changing lately in a couple of past years. to say maybe the obvious, the united states were the first and most natural point of reference for anyone striving for freedom. americans were among the first to come to us with a transition after 1989. each though in terms quantity the u.s. funding was quickly and by far exceeded by the european union means for transformation assistance, the u.s. political leadership and commitment greatly contributed to driving processes. as a result, many felt that special kinship between the two sides over the years. after president obama took office, as we know, certain bitterness appeared. several prominent political
1:32 pm
figures from central and eastern europe responded in an alarming mode to the changes that the new administration introduced. to calm things down the u.s. articulated what we call a new approach to central european democracies. joe biden turned to us saying, you have delivered on the promise of your revolution. you are in a position to help others to do the same. exercise your leadership. as we have heard, i think that the central europeans mostly accepted the challenge and started working on that. however, what we could see that on the one hand we could see, the european union struggling with its own pour epower in the few years. we could see that there was -- despite what we heard, there was a lack of political commitment
1:33 pm
of the united states towards the region of eastern europe since 2009. as a result, the entire region became more susceptible to voices and forces that do not voice democracy well. we have heard about the disturbing political development in hungary. the government works on changing its support of transformation in a way that might undermine the very concept of helping democracy gain ground. for example, the redrafted concept of the czech transformation policy will likely include a provision that any future assistance will be based on a consent of the official government that is t will seek to support moderate protagonists of the status quo regime and from what i know all
1:34 pm
references to the term democracy are likely to be removed. there are nationalists in slovakia and advancing into local and regional government and poland, systematically has a political opposition which is never good for democracy. i could go on and on with this, but i won't. what i want to say is, we're facing a very treacherous mitch. it was confirmed by many speakers here today. the u.s. has disinvolved democracy in the eyes of the central europeans seem unwilling or unable to provide political co-leadership. the european union is fully preoccupied with its own governance problems. central european countries grapple with difficulties.
1:35 pm
alternative liberal or undemocratic ideologies have been gaining ground around the world. and in europe. at the sale same time, i find this bizarre, we never really left the comforting view that liberal democracy does not have any serious contender at the global market of ideologies. as a consequence, democracy promotions became progressively limited to technical and essential and non-sensitive, non-political projects. these projects bolster civil society, ngos and institutional capacities and so on. because they are not political by definition, they cannot advance the crucial issue, that is the lack of democratic mode of thinking. working democracy requires first of all a democratic mindset. we do not address this issue. therefore, any solution to the challenges must be a political one. the very first step towards
1:36 pm
democracy revitalization must include thinking hard of why is it losing its attractiveness in the west. by thinking it hard, i do not actually mean the expert thinking. i challenge the politicians to do the thinking. because we cannot -- we need to make this issue political. we have to start at home. even though i agree withat it t u.s. is a leader in democracy in third countries, i would like to challenge this view that we now have to see more engagement within the family of democratic countries, because that's where i think we are losing confidence. we have to find a joint way to multinational comprehensive and political dialogue and democracy. i'm afraid that this cannot take place without a firm commitment and co-leadership of the united states.
1:37 pm
it's here where i see that the central european region can contribute despite the view that i offered moments ago, there are still fascinating elements of idealism in central europe. but this idealism which is -- which has a very realistic and immediate understanding of what is at stake right now. where is this coming from? every one of us know. but there were times where the west accepted division of europe for the same of stability. there was times where the central europeans had nothing but idealism left. people tirelessly argued that stability based on this principal only aides to the forceful kidnapping of central europe. now europe is undivided and no major war and no chaos, no instability occurred. they were probably right in their assessment.
1:38 pm
there are still plenty of people who are sensitive to trading democracy for gains. what may be one surprising element of central european society that might be worth engaging is a dialogue with small and medium enterprises owners. these are people whose fate is most linked with a thriving liberal democracy. these are people who are most in dangered by threatening the state and by making open society not so much open anymore. to conclude, we have heard many excellent suggestions regarding new approaches and instruments for democracy this morning. i'm happy i was able to be here. my contribution is instruments might work only if we are confident about our principal goals. i do not see this confidence lately. we detend to seat 1e the 1990s illusion. dreams of free and undivided
1:39 pm
europe were being labeled illusions and they became reality. my pragmatic -- therefore, i am more afraid about the lack of believes and confidence. thank you. >> thanks very much. melinda, over to you. >> i'm also very grateful for the opportunity to be here this morning and delighted that we're having a serious conversation about reforming u.s. democracy assistance in washington. i think it's high time. like many others, my commitment to this field was inspired by the legacy of individuals. when i became a program officer, i desperately tried to understand the logic behind my $3.5 million program. it was a civil society program. the program was meant to empower youth and women. these are two powerless
1:40 pm
constituencies there. the thinking was if we were to empower the youth and women, they might convince their friends to pick up trash and start computer centers. sounds good, but hardly the stuff of great change. we would have been far better off by putting those funds into investigative journalism, courageous journalists have shown that there's a serious problem with corruption and the president's 12-year-old son at the time owns nine waterfront mansions in dubai worth approximately $44 million. these are the kinds of stories that will break the fear factor and inspire people to change their own societies. i am very critical of the democracy bureaucracy, personally u.s. aid for implementing ineffective programs. let me be clear. democracy promotion is too important an instrument of u.s. foreign policy to do badly. there are many programs we could
1:41 pm
discontinue today and nothing would change. we can do better. so today i would like to offer three recommendations. i'm not claiming that these are perfect solutions. i want to start the conversation about how to reform. it's very crucial. there are two main models for delivering assistance. we have a field-based model and a independent grand-making model. the field-based model is primary headquartered -- it has a headquarters in washington and field offices around the world. the grand making model has headquarters office but works through grants and local partners. the u.s. government overwhelmingly distributes democracy assistance through the field-based model. a couple of the names are
1:42 pm
familiar to everyone here the international republican institution, counterpart international, dozens of others. they all operate roughly along the same kind of lines. a large office in washington that sets strategy. field offices are throughout the world in cairo, everywhere else. the programs are executed in the countries. field offices have two main disadvantages. i would like to think and talk about this today. number one, field-based organizations are vulnerable to strong-arm tactics by repress receive regimes. donor organizations without field offices are less vulnerable to pressure because they don't have local offices to shut down. the second obvious disadvantage i see is that the field-based model is really inefficient.
1:43 pm
overhead costs, includesing salaries, rent and expatriot perks in an organization with field offices -- 70 versus 16. when pressed on why they need an in-country presence in not free countries, organizations with field offices will argue that their presence will enable them to seize opportunities. but if political change comes to a place like uzbekistan where the ruler has ruled for over two decades, having a field office will make no difference. if anything, implementing programs with the permission of a clearly lly authoritarian official -- real reformers may refuse to work with an
1:44 pm
organization that it cooperated with the old regime. having had relationships with civil society activist not maintaining field offices puts organizations in best position to take advantage of newly opened space. i want to give you some examples. you know that -- let me point to a couple of examples. we spent $5.6 million to enhance the overall effectiveness of parliament. i'm probably one of two experts here. i'm going to cut to the chase and tell you the parliament has never been freely elected and every member of parliament is a member of the ruling party. yet u.s. taxpayers paid for an orientation program for these new parliament tearians, all of whom won elections that the u.s. embassy described as not meeting international standards. it gets worse. the u.s. government rejected the
1:45 pm
elections and trained the winners. u.s. aid paid for a new website to make this illegitimate parliament more efficient. this is all publically available in reports. a final assessment found that this parliamentary program, this $5.6 million program, did not change how the parliament functions or how ordinary people relate to and understand the parliament. since the independence, u.s. aid has spent $55 million to make the country for democratic. the country remains undemocratic and is in fact becoming more and more authoritarian. in spite of the obvious negative trajectory, the u.s. government presses on with multi-dollar programs. in 2012, u.s. aid issued a $1.5 million call for -- listen to this. it's beautiful. that would enable key civil
1:46 pm
society organizations to better respond to the president's vision and calls for more meaningful and state civil society partnerships fulfilling the government's commitments to various intergs naal and human rights instruments. the idea of u.s. taxpayer dollars going to implement the supposed democratic vision of the authoritarian president reinforces nation that foreign aid is a scam. will give you an example of kazakhstan. my examples are from this region. we worked with a contractor, a $1.75 million program to increase the capacity of kazakhstan's leading civil society organizations. there's a problem here. that presumes that kazakhstan -- we were going to pump up the capacity of civil society organizations so they could better represent the interests
1:47 pm
and reflect those of the government. the problem is that kazakhstan has a parliament that does not derive its legitimacy from constituents. they actively manipulate the elections. the program makes absolutely no sense. why does u.s. aid continue to fund these misguided perhaps in authoritarithor tauthoritarian ? the assumption that more is always better. we can end this west with an emphasis of triage, allocating more money where there's a greater chance of chance. it does things differently. it funds small grants drethly around the world. it selects most promising ideas from indigenous organizations. russians are trying to fix russian society. there's a lot of wisdom in this model. it acknowledges that outsiders have a limited role to play in
1:48 pm
political transitions. in my opinion, it's a unique model and should be commended and bolsters. practically speaking, the rule i have come up with when thinking about a division of labor is that only the ned should offer where freedom is not free. >> we will have to get to the conclusion. >> my two other points i'm going to summarize them are on strategy and on strategy we ought to deploy our shrinking resources in places where a democratic outcome is likely. that means no multi. >> marv: dollar programs not in transition. he would shouldn't fool ourselves thinking they are. my final point is on competition. competition needs to be encouraged and transparency is vital.
1:49 pm
those need to be eased out. in conclusion, i think the democracy assistance community needs to have a tough conversation about the meaningfulness of its programs. i was appalled when i went through old files and saw that we had been implementing the same strategies for more than ten years. this needs to change. taxpayers deserve better as do aspiring democrats. thank you. >> thanks very much. let's have a round of applause for our panelists. [ applause ] they did hard work up here. now, i would like to ask you all to very quickly sum up your conclusions of what we said so far. you each have three minutes. which is not very much. let's keep it crisp. thank you. >> okay. i'm actually not really sure are to begin. there was a lot of interesting things that were just said.
1:50 pm
i guess i would just pick up on a few points that the other panelists made that really resonated with me. as i am not a specialist, i'm learning from i think one point that i'd like to hit on, i think some of the -- some of the structure problems that melinda identified with the field-based model, i think occasionally, some of the donors' interest concerns that i tried to emphasize and my presentation can be lurking in the background. i think that i have observed pretty similar legislative assistance programs -- large legislative assistance programs in countries like jordan, where, you know, there can be magnificent attempts to build the parliament's capacities. and while their parliament no longer exists because it's been dismissed by the monarchy.
1:51 pm
i think they originate from some of the same dynamics that melinda is talking about. some of the geo strategic are in place. so i would just emphasize the continuing role of donors's interests. even as we look at the structural and competitive aspects that were highlighted. and i think the comments the idea that some actors have -- there's a debt to be repaid. a really ardent commitment to promoting democracy. i think these are the donors that are willing to make the hard tradeoff against exceeding interests and financial pressure to promote democracy in ways that are most likely to make change. i'm sure that is under my time but let me give it to my fellow
1:52 pm
panelists to finish their remarks. >> so, i'd like to return to this idea of reforming u.s. democracy promotion by encouraging its cooperation with actors, democracy promoters from other democracies around the world. again, i will speak from my experience in central and eastern europe but i think there are important strategies. i think a democratic innovator, as well as its capacity are a good match for the first hand experience with democratization as well as local knowledge and ties with a lot of new democracy that are regional players. some such cooperation has already begun, but i think there is room for improvement so allow me to put forward four such ways in which i think this cooperation can be more fruitful
1:53 pm
which in part responds to some of the criticism that we're seeing about the democracy promotion efforts of new democracies. the first one is that a lot of u.s. engagement with those actors has been talked down. and it's mostly in the form my colleague talked about of u.s. diplomats putting pressure on those governments to do democracy work. i don't think that works. a hungary is a great example here. there was a lot of investment both from the u.s. and western europe in getting hungary to support democracy in its neighborhood and that did not work. now we see that was for the better good of the neighborhood.
1:54 pm
but i think what is more important here is that what the u.s. can do instead is invest in organic bottom-up civic border solidarity and cooperation. and political corresponding cooperation and local government solidarity and cooperation. that brings me to my second point which i think part of the reason we talk past each other is we have different visions of what democracy promotion should be like. for me democracy promotion is about solidarity, among actors who are interested in making their countries more democratic ones. oftentimes, that kind of solidarity is possible and especially important when both sides of the donor recipient are struggling with challenges to democracy at home. so the fact that central and eastern europe, at the moment,
1:55 pm
in a moment of delusionment is not the moment to discourage democracy promotion. in fact, we've seen the efforts be activists or politicians who are pro-democratic sitting together and what is it they can learn about each other. >> i'm terribly sorry -- >> okay. finishing up. what i've seen from central and eastern democracy promotion, oftentimes it is not just about what those countries have done at home but what they have done that didn't work and maybe their counter-parts should not repeat. >> great. thank you very much. what's your takeaway? what stands out for you? >> well, one thing is i definitely agree that there's a lot to be done with the central european ngos. their experienced, relative cheap to run. they are not corrupt too much. so there's definitely a lot. the problem is, there's a growing gap between those who would work for the ngos and the frustrated society at large.
1:56 pm
frustrated and apathetic. and there's a lot of losers but there are those who are attempting to use this frustration and to change it into a better grip of state over the society. one question maybe to melinda, and i don't think you really -- that was the way you were heading. but there was something about kind of pulling back money from the most close regimes. i completely agree with the logic. but how do make sure that, i mean, the societies are not monolithic, so how do you make sure that shows who are trying for democracy in those regimes, that these are alive? you know, or they have some money to distribute, whatever they have to distribute, how to make sure is it to make sure it's going to happen?
1:57 pm
and one last remark, maybe coming back to the first panel, we did not address the fact that -- i mean, we use poland in central europe as a reference point for a good transition. but we didn't say that this happened when pro-democratic promotion was the highest priority of both the european and united states. there are structural elements in the society in the region and so that might help it. but we should realize that this is not the case anymore. i mean, the democracy promotion is not that close to our hearts as it it was in the 1990s. so we should not blame everything on the societies. but we somehow kind of scale back our own ambitions. >> melinda, maybe you can
1:58 pm
respond to that a little bit. >> absolutely. i'm going to do my take-away. then i'll respond, if that's all right. on sarah's points, i think she's right, conditionality is important. this is made in the literature owe and over again. the democracy promotion much more difficult because we have a lot less conditionality. maybe we need to think more creatively to create more conditionality. i hear you on delivery. there's a tendency to focus on programs that are results heavy. so there's a tension. you want to give implementers enough room to be able -- this is difficult work. it often takes years and years, i think there is a tension in delivery. i agree with you on that. and tsveta, you didn't give the example today but observed a program, a us aid program, local governance program. usa was trying to take a local governance program to ukraine and it didn't fit at all in the context.
1:59 pm
she said, it would have been much better served if we had taken the polish model much more similar and applied it in a ukrainian context. i think there's a lot of wisdom in that. and michael made good points. programs continue to be more technical and not political. and carl said this morning, political part of this is extremely important. we should n't shy away from that. i also liked michael's take on looking at small and medium-sized business owners. to answer your question, i see a division of labor. i don't think we should cut off all assistance to very hopeless countries. we should continue to use the national endowment for democrat cease to keep the flame alive. they know how to work in authoritarian regimes than anybody else.
2:00 pm
ambassadors also have small funds that they can give to that. >> i wish we had a bit more time but let's open it up for questions. this woman here, yes. >> national endowment for democracy. melinda, that you so much for bringing up azerbaijan. i think is an interesting case study for a lost the themes that have come up here. first of all for the pole of europe, the argument about central europeans being such a great model. the idea that europe is not only a model, but the idea that membership can promote better democracy in the applicant countries. azerbaijan has carried out the worst crackdown ever. it has arrested dozens of activists. the best human rights people.
2:01 pm
the best journalists are in jail and this has happened while azerbaijan was the chairman of the council of ministers, council of europe. so it only works, europe, as a magnet, as a prize, can only work if europe is true to its values. if it enforces -- >> question? >> yes, so what do you think of that? is that a counterexample? and for you melinda, also on azerbaijan, with these people in jail, some of them have received funding from usaid from european donors. donors are already announcing new grant competitions. with top people in jail ,there's an opportunity for government to bring up a whole bunch right now. what should usaid and europeans donors and others do in a situation like this? all your best people are in jail. you have millions of dollars to spend. european commissioner announced new $3 million competition. how should people handle it? >> melinda, i think that one's for you. >> i think the second part's for me. >> why don't you tackle it? >> i'll jump right in. i really share your concern, miriam.
2:02 pm
i can't believe that many of the people i've worked with in azerbaijan are behind bars. and i think tom was really clear on this point, that we need to use our political and moral leadership to stand up for them. carl made this point, too. democracy isn't just a program. it's also using our moral leadership to say you that can't get away with this. and holding a state to the commitments that they'd made. so i've seen azerbaijan and donors have more money. and i've seen a horrific program -- i think mostly aid-funded programs in uzbekistan and azerbaijan gongos. on and i don't think we should be funding gongos. we need to be doing a better job figuring out who is and who is not. you can't quote and take seriously some as a democratic reformer.
2:03 pm
>> for those of you who don't speak the language. a gongo is a fake ngo. >> and there's plenty of them in the regime." we need to do due diligence. when there's no one to fund, put the money in countries where there is more openness. mainly in this region, ukraine, moldova and georgia. >> does that cover it? i'm sorry, i think we'll have to move along. yes, this gentleman in the middle here. >> thanks. i.r.a. straws. i'm head of something called democracy international which is a legacy organization from the cold war era democracy promotion. i have a question with the connection of this with the first panel. they've been wonderful on the specifics of the democracy promotion efforts but there's been a question about multiple standards, double standards, multiple considerations in life. that said, it's a weakness of
2:04 pm
central european democracy promotion has strategic purposes, i would say that's a strength. the first wave of democracy promotion had a clear strategic conception in the '80s and the legacy after when communism collapsed. >> so the question? >> and the question is have we gone from doing more good than harm, we were controversial, have we gone from doing more harm than good because we forgot the constraints that could make us sometimes do more harm or good? >> who would like to tackle it. >> well, i run out of time. otherwise, i would have elaborated on that point. the way i see the strategic take here is a double-edged sword. on the one hand if there's a clear rationale that backs democracy promotion it makes a country provide resolute, sustained and in that way have a
2:05 pm
positive impact. on the other side, such a strategic rational serve to make those efforts inconsistent because those countries are tempted to back their guy rather than necessarily watch out for improving the democratic process. to me, there's a tradeoff there, just as discussed in the first panel, it's something that the country has to educate the public about, have a conversation and decide where along the continuum it's willing to sit. >> i actually have a question i'm going to ask very quickly. it's a question for michael. or whoever wishes to answer. so we talked about hungary, but we sort of danced around it. the prime minister gave a speech where he said, we want a liberal democracy. we're tired of this liberal democracy stuff. so it would seem that western democracy efforts in hungary have failed, let's just say that.
2:06 pm
how did they fail? what did we do wrong? i realize the answer may be a long one but let's try to boil it down. >> well, first of all, we should also be clear about when the prime minister was announced liberal democracy, what he was actually doing was denouncing democracy. he kind of attacked parts of liberalism here and there, but what he was attacking was democracy. i think that it was basically the stuff of my presentation, but i will say one more thing -- >> sum it up for us. one sentence. >> well -- >> he's an academic. >> there's too much -- >> two sentences.
2:07 pm
>> i will say one more thing about the presentation. a famous historian said history is like a pendulum, essentially. we are too much pro western. we look up to the west. we are kind of hurt by never getting to those standards so we try to denounce the west. this is a dynamic that's been going on for ages, and i'm afraid hungary is getting the pendulum back now. >> so it's really not our fault? >> well, it is our fault. because we thought that the pendulum was never going to go back. so we set everything on autopilot. that is why i was criticizing technical aspects of transitions. >> all right.
2:08 pm
had to ask that. how about the gentleman in the second row from the end there. yes, thank you. >> hello. i'm probably one of the only africans in here. i come from zimbabwe, where all -- where the state is captured all institutions as you know. i see the international community, including the united states, supporting tame progress. i think you spoke out tame process. being castigated. for being too political. and we know that institutions will never reform but my question is on the role of the neighboring countries, impeding democracy. particularly south africa, in the case of zimbabwe. on the one hand, south africa is supporting the political retribution by taking them in but it is aiding the regime. what do you think should be the role of the neighboring countries, particularly in the southern african context in promoting democracy in a country
2:09 pm
like zimbabwe? thank you. >> sarah, do you want to tackle that? no? >> i can say a word. maybe others will have something to say, too. one of the things i take from sveta's comments, neighboring states have a lot to offer but don't always seize the opportunities. knowing about this specific case, it's the same for neighboring states to not take opportunity to play a constructive role with better insight, perhaps, into local and political dynamics. and one way to assume a lot of economic and other forms of leverage. so i would -- >> i think, again, i'm not the
2:10 pm
original expert, but what i've seen is that original actors have a very important role to play. and sometimes, it takes encouragement to realize that potential. sometimes, that encouragement is by the people in the recipient country that are struggling for democracy, reaching out and asking both fellow civic activists as well as politicians particularly asking them to articulate the rationale why democracy should be in the country. other times it takes international actors. oftentimes through international actors or the u.s. to encourage democrat cease promotion. the fact that it's turned from south africa and zimbabwe, i would not take as discouragement but take as a challenge that that could be resolved. >> very interesting. yes. right here. >> following on the last question, does government funding lead to tame programs because government has other
2:11 pm
interests? and if so, do private sector groups and foundations are they more likely to be aggressive and can they pick up the bulk of democracy funding if government chooses not to do it? and if the u.s. government is not actually promoting, it's a private u.s. foundation, what's of the impact on recipient countries, does it help or hurt the cause of democracy promotion? >> so who would like to take that? >> i'll say a word. yeah, that's what i think. i think that. i think government programs face a lot of interests that make it difficult. in these certain countries to fund and design programs that would be most effective at supporting democratic change. i think private actors have a much greater scope to pursue those kinds of programs. that's certainly my perspective. i would also add, however, that it's not just the government on our end of things that plays sometimes a difficult role and competing interests but the government roles taking place. i think that's where the comment
2:12 pm
about field-based versus grant making model is also relevant because no matter how the program is being funded, if the program is funded through a field-based office, certain pressures that will tame the programs. so i think that the delivery makes a huge difference, but it's not the only factor i would highlight. >> i would say having a field office is a real thing. country directors wonder about authoritarian and semiauthoritarian countries, they worry about their field staff and security all the time. you get threatening phone calls. people are followed. this is a real things in these types of countries. i have a slightly different answer than sarah. this a $3 billion a year industry. i don't see how you raise $3 billion a year in private interest. i would worry if money is coming from, i presume, companies, i look at corporate responsibility programs.
2:13 pm
companies have interests as well. we would be naive if we didn't recognize that with corporate social responsibilities, a lot are oil countries or interests that will produce the same kind of lame programs we've identified. >> the the gentleman way back there in the white shirt, please. >> i would like to play a little devil's advocate. we know congress has a low rating in this country, 15% of 14%, which is a same. it depends on congress not dictatorial president we have here. finally, we try to spread democracy throughout the world through violence. somebody mentioned some dictators use savage violence. we use super savage violence
2:14 pm
invading afghanistan, iraq, yemen. that does not bode very well for a country that claims it is spreading democracy. our own democracy is spreading, too, just as many other countries. >> i'm terribly sorry but we have to get to the question. >> given that, what is the credibility and most of all, also 99% are -- you use the term
2:15 pm
gongo. i'm glad you said that. i was not aware of that term >> who would like to tackle that maybe? >> maybe just a few words. i would take this criticism very seriously and that's exactly what i do when i say we politically and what is wrong with democracy and why these are being presented at forums like these. this is something we take very seriously. the question of violence. i think it was very clear, whoever said in the first panel, that democracy through violence is not a way. and i think we discovered that. and we have to use that as a reference for not what to do. but i wouldn't use that as a reference for not making democracy help to flourish in different countries but once again, i think we really have to start at home. that was actually the whole point of my presentation. and to think hard about our own democracy and how -- what -- what are we ready to sacrifice for that and so on and so forth. i actually thank you for your critical remarks. >> i think we probably have time just for one more question. so this gentleman right in the middle. >> thank you.
2:16 pm
i'm a fellow at national endowment for democracy. i'm from afghanistan. initially, i was not interested to pose the question because the context was quite different but looking at that person's question, i'm interested to ask melinda about her comments that she actually advocates for closing the cases of democracy assistance in countries like afghanistan. i was just wondering, if you're going to support democracies in the countries where the grounds are paved like a piece of cake, you're ready to go there, then why you're not interested in supporting countries who are literally supporting and advocating for democracy looking even to afghanistan actually primarily a military approach. recently it changed to a civil approach. closing the case of democracy in
2:17 pm
afghanistan means you're wasting millions of dollars you've supported in afghanistan. and it means that it it literally is calling it, a narrow-minded pakistani narrative of afghanistan. afghans do not deserve to be democratized. let them do it through the taliban approach which is totally not correct. >> what's the question? >> my question is how are you going to -- how are you going to close the cases? while there are many interested and many functioning organizations and democracy activists in the field? of course, looking to ease the examples like ukraine which has open society, and georgia, your own example is quite a different history but why not support the countries who need the support?
2:18 pm
thank you. >> thanks very much. >> thank you for that question. so i want to get back to the question of division of labor. that's what my remarks were primarily about. i'm not saying that the u.s. should not give any assistance to afghanistan and to courageous democrats there. to the contrary, i definitely think we should be but i think that's a role for the national endowment for democracy and not for a multimillion-dollar program which been highly ineffective. there's lots of examples i can point to. usaid programs. i view these as sunk costs. and as larry diamond will probably say during lunch, you have to have a state in order to do these programs. you have to have a functioning state. and that's a key part of this. and we haven't talked very much about that, i think most of us in this room would probably draw a large distinction between nation building and encouraging democratic transitions. and nation-building is something entirely different. that's -- i'm not an expert on nation-building, and i think it's extremely hard -- it's extremely difficult.
2:19 pm
and you have to be fully committed to it. i think my comments are mostly directed at encouraging democratic transitions. >> and the biggest question comes up at the end. you wanted to say something very quickly and then we'll go to the next -- >> okay. let's talk about that among ourselves then. so thank you very much. i'm going to call him back up here and he can take my place and tell us what we're going to do next. >> i want to begin by thanking this panel so much. you were asked -- [ applause ] we were asked several questions at the beginning of this conference what is the future and what is the alternative in terms of democracy promotion. and i think we just learned a huge amount in terms of how to approach this issue. again, thanks to the panel. now we're actually going to move to lunch and hear what larry has to say about these issues. what i'd ask you to do, go across the hallway, grab your lunch, and then we'll keep going
2:20 pm
into the cafeteria, and hopefully we'll be able to begin lunch by 12:40. thanks to all the panelists and participants in the first panel as well. and we move on to lunch. here's what's coming up next. the national academy of social insurance talks about the future of social security. then a discussion on on assets stolen from arab spring countries. later the world affairs council host it is discussion on the future of the u.s. army. here's our primetime programming across the c-span networks. here on c-span3 starting at 8:00 eastern it's a look at how one community in america is handling
2:21 pm
the recent in flux of young, undocumented immigrants. you will hear from judith kennedy of massachusetts who describes efforts to provide undocumented children with education and health services. the center for immigration studies hosts the event. on c-span 2 at 8:00 a discussion on cronyism in government. steve simpson from the california-based ayn rand institute shares thought prs the hungry minds speaker series, englewood, colorado. here is a preview. >> as long as we view government's role as essentially dividing us, which is the practical effect. dividing us into warring factions or warring interest groups, corruption will be the rule. or the use of force against one person, one person against another and war withing interest groups and legal plunder is the only option. perhaps a better word for the
2:22 pm
term that people refer to or the term they use, cronyism, i would say instead of crony capitalism which is a horrible term that suggests capitalism, the system of freedom is leading to this. the better term is crony statism, the system in which the individual is subordinated to the group or the state. that's redundant in my view. it's statism. if you want to pinpoint what the problem is, when people talk. if we want to fix this problem, the only solution ultimately is i would sum it up as leave us the hell alone. >> join us tonight on c-span for interviews with retiring members of congress.
2:23 pm
we'll feature tom harkin and howard kobel as part of our week-long series. ment >> this thanksgiving week c-span is featuring interviews from retiring members of congress. watch the interviews tonight through thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern >> i have often said the republicans do have a legitimate argument here, by the way. they are not being allowed to offer amendments. well, they are not being allowed to offer amendments because they filibuster bills because thaer not allowed to offer amendments. it's a chicken and egg thing. best way to get rid of it is to get rid of the filibuster but guarantee to the minority in new rules in the senate that the minority will be allowed to offer germane amendments to any bill on the floor. with reasonable time limits for debate. >> probably -- i won't even
2:24 pm
qualify by saying probably. the most eloquent orator in the congress. henry told me, i'm not wild about this impeach lt. but he said there are 23 americans serving active prison sentences for having committed perjury. he said, how do you justify that and then turn a blind eye to the president? he said, i can't do it. i will always remember him saying that. >> also on thursday, thanksgiving day, we'll take an american history tour of various native american tribes. that's at 10:00 a.m. eastern following washington journal. at 1:30, attend the ground breaking ceremony of the new diplomacy center in washington with former secretarieses of state. and supreme court justices samuel thomas, and sonia sotomayor. that's this thanksgiving week on c-span. for the schedule go to
2:25 pm
>> the head of the white house council of economic advisers spoke about potential changes to social security to make sure the program remains solvent for decades to come. he spoke to the national academy of social insurance. first we'll hear from a policy analyst with the group. well, i'd like to welcome all of you to this national academy of social insurance event. my name is william arnone.
2:26 pm
i've got the honor of chairing the board of directors with the national academy here in washington. and today we're releasing what i think is a very significant second study in which the american people were asked in a very systematic way, as you'll hear, what would they prefer as the solution to social security's long-term financial challenge. i don't know how often we get the chance to do surveys that force the american people to make tough choices. and that's what this survey did. and it really -- i view it really as the voice of the people on the this very important program. in my view, social security is the crown jewel of our social insurance structure in the united states. and when the american people are presented with facts about it, it's surprising how they come up with very sensible and in some ways sacrificing answers, as you'll hear. i get to washington periodically from new york.
2:27 pm
i can't imagine another issue where in this city there's across the board agreements whether it's in politics, the arts, sports, maybe agreement the washington capitals will never win the stanley cup. but other than that, there's really not a lot where people agree across the board. and yet on social security, as you'll hear, there is broad agreement. by broad i mean across generational lines, geographical lines, income levels and even
2:28 pm
political affiliation. so it's a unifying issue if the american people are listened to. and that's really the challenge and that's the reason that the academy and our mission is to educate the american people about why we have programs like social security, medicare, unemployment insurance. so, we're going to be discussing this. before we do that, i do want to thank two of our sponsors who made this report possible, the ford foundation and the tufts health plan foundation. i have a particular warmth in my heart for tufts. my daughter is a junior there and she loves it. that has nothing to do with their supporting this survey. she might like to think she gets some credit. we really appreciate, though, what they did. there is a blue evaluation form in the materials that you were given. and we really hope you'll take the time at the end of this to provide us with candid feedback on the value of this event or things you might have hoped for that we didn't provide. so please promise to fill it it out before you leave today. in terms of the order, my colleague elisa walker is going to describe the study eight
2:29 pm
finding. and how it did inform and sometimes difficult choices. then we're thrilled jason furman, who chairs the counsel of economic advisers and also a member of the national academy of social insurance is going to join us to comment on the study and address some of the issues the study raises. then we'll have an outstanding panel on hand this morning to provide their perspective and also answer any questions you might have in the course of the presentation. so, let me introduce elisa walker to you. elisa is an income policy analyst with the academy. and she's part of a generation -- i was talking to her earlier, generation "y" doesn't seem to be the label you like millennial generation. my daughter clearly does not want to be called generation "y," prefers not to be compared to other generations like "x." the boomers, forget it. there's no need to be compared to us. and she's really the voice's generation. as you'll hear, the survey found some disturbing opinions on the part of that generation when
2:30 pm
they were asked, will social security be there for you? however, the more facts people are given, the more they understand that social security's future is much better than they were led to believe. and elisa, of course, does not share the gloomy view because she has been steeping herself in the facts, as you'll hear. she really has had a commitment to developing objective facts and findings on social security. so, to some extent the survey is a very natural continuation of her career. and elisa will be followed by matt greenwald. who directs the research firm that bears his name. as you'll hear the methodology they use, novel tradeoff methodology really makes this survey unique, its findings, and i think it makes it much more meaningful than other types of survey methodology that don't force these tough decisions. after the panel discussion we'll have time for q&a. if during the time of the question, feel free to ask it. otherwise we'll ask you to hold
2:31 pm
the questions until the panel -- elisa, let me start with you. she'll take you through what the survey found. >> thank you, bill. and good morning. it's a pleasure to be here today to present findings from the academy public opinion study. americans make hard which choices on social security. the study consisted of three related parts. we conducted focus groups in baltimore. we then conducted an online survey of 2,000 americans age 21 and older about their attitudes towards social security and the importance of benefits and their views on policy changes. as part of the online survey, we used an interactive trade-off
2:32 pm
analysis method to learn which social security changes americans prefer and are willing to. we partnered with greenwald and associates and matt will discuss the tradeoff analysis in more detail. i want to start with just a couple of key facts about social security to lead into explaining why we did this study. first, social security is the foundation of retirement security for most americans. benefits are modest. they're just under $1300 a month on average. yet the main source of income for two out of three seniors. benefits keep more than 22 million americans out of poverty and without social security, more than half seniors would live in poverty as defined by the supplemental poverty
2:33 pm
measure. second, social security finances need attention. social security faces a long-term financing gap. it can pay full benefits until 2033 but after that would only be able to pay about three-quarters of benefits. in order to pay full benefits, social security needs adjustment. that's where the study comes in. as lawmakers deliberate various options for adjusting social security, the national academy of social insurance undertook this study to find out what the american public thinks those changes should be. the survey first asked respondents their attitudes on social security benefits and have on paying for the program. nearly 7 in 10 said without social security they would have to make significant sacrifices or wouldn't be able to afford the basics in retirement. thins like food, clothing or housing. large majorities of americans say they don't mind paying for social security for a variety of reasons. 73% agree with that statement that they don't mind paying for social security because they know they'll be receiving
2:34 pm
benefits when they retire. 73% again agree because they know without it they would have to help support their parents or other relatives. and most all, people value the security and stability that social security provides millions of americans. 81% of respondents say they don't mind paying for social security because of that. the following chart shows responses to that last statement by political party. 72% of republicans, 87% of democrats and 81% of independents say they don't mind paying social security taxes because it provides security and stability to millions of americans. large majorities agree across generation and income lines as well. americans not only don't mind paying for social security, they also indicate they would consider increasing benefits. 85% agree social security benefits now are more important than ever to ensure retirees have a dependable income.
2:35 pm
nearly nine in ten say current benefits don't provide enough income to retirees. more than 7 in 10 say we should consider increasing social security benefits. however, as we all know, there's no free lunch. increasing benefits comes with a cost, so we also explored americans' willingness to pay somewhat more for social security if needed. nearly 8 in 10 respondents agree with the statement, it is critical we preserve social security benefits for future generations, even if it means increasing the social security taxes paid by working americans. that includes about a third who strongly agree. and more than eight in ten agree if it means increasing social security taxes paid by top earners. so, large majorities of americans believe all workers could contribute somewhat more to social security if necessary and that better off americans could pay more because they have higher earnings. this holds true across generations, income groups and political parties. the following chart shows agreement on those two statements by political party. those agree working americans could pay more include seven in ten republicans and eight in ten
2:36 pm
democrats. those earning the top earnings could pay more include a striking seven in ten republicans and nine in ten democrats. these issues -- these responses leave no doubt that on social security, americans are far less polarized than they are on many other issues. in another part of the study, we used tradeoff analysis to examine which social security changes americans prefer and are willing to pay for. respondents examined 12 social security policy changes consisting of four leave knew increases, four benefit reductions and four benefit increases. each option was presented with a short description and an estimate of that option's impact on social security's financing gap. i won't read through the entire list of options but it's available in both the report and the shorter highlights brief that you picked up on your way in. matt will be going into more detail on the tradeoff methodology. i'll skip straight to the
2:37 pm
findings. the tradeoff analysis found that americans preferred package of changes to social security would do four things. first gradually eliminate the tax cut over ten years. this means 6% of workers who earn more than the cap would pay into social security all year long as other workers do. in return, they would get slightly higher benefits. second, it would very gradually raise the social security tax rate from 6.2% to 7.2% over 20 years for workers and employers each. the increase would be so gradual that a worker earning $50,000 a year would pay about 50 cents a week more each year matched by their employer. third it would increase social security's cost of living adjustment or c.o.l.a. to reflect the inflation experience by seniors. and, fourth, it would raise social security's basic minimum benefit so someone who paid into social security for 30 years can retire at 62 or later and not be poor.
2:38 pm
these changes together would nor than eliminate social security's long-term gap. specifically the package eliminates 113% of the shortfall under assumptions of the 2013 trustees' report which was the most recent available when the survey fielded in june and 107% under the newer 2014 trustees report. this preferred package is also the same as what americans preferred in 2012 when the academy's prior study was conducted. seven in ten americans would prefer this package of changes over the status quo. and the support is remarkably steady across generations, income groups and political parties. in each instance, about seven in ten respondents prefer this package. tradeoff analysis also allows us
2:39 pm
to learn how respondents weigh the appeal or lack of appeal of individual policy options. for example, some options have a strong positive impact. meaning that respondents are much more likely to choose a package when that option is included in this. four options with strong positive appeal were gradually eliminating the tax cap, gradually raising the tax rate to 7.2%, keeping the retirement age at 67 rather than raising it, and increasing the c.o.l.a. four other options have strong neglective appeal. they are not lifting the tax cap, not raising the tax rate, raising the retirement age to 70 and lowering the c.o.l.a. now, that was from the trade-off analysis. in the survey we also asked respondents their views on policy options one at a time. using a very direct question, do you favor or oppose this option? that's clearly a different methodology which looked at each option as part of a package. but the results are consistent. here's one way of depicting these survey answers on individual policy options that makes the choices clear. i realize it's small to read on
2:40 pm
the screen, but it's also available in your folders. so, in this graph the green bars above the access indicate respondents who say they somewhat or strongly favor each option. and the red bars below the access indicate respondent who somewhat or strongly oppose the option. as you'll notice the four options in the package also received high levels of support on these survey questions. for example, looking at the first bar, more than eight in ten respondents say they favor gradually increasing the social security tax rate to 7.2%, including nearly four in ten who strongly favor that option. options to reduce benefits generally received low support. for example, in the second to last bar, three-quarters of respondents opposed raising the retirement age to 70, including
2:41 pm
more than four in ten who strongly oppose it. the report has very interesting findings about americans' confidence in social security. despite their support for the program and their willingness to pay for it, six in ten respondents say they are not confident in the future of social security. we also asked americans who are not currently receiving benefits whether they expected to get all their earned benefits when they retire and nearly seven in ten said no. in addition, one in four americans knew social security would still be able to pay about three-quarters of benefits after 2033. most of the rest thought social security's finances would be in far worse shape. nearly 30% thought the program would be unable to pay any benefits at all. so, next we tried a little
2:42 pm
experiment. we asked people what they think of social security's funding in the future. is it a crisis, a significant problem, a manageable problem or not a problem? 70% said they thought it was a crisis or significant problem. and 30% thought it was a manageable problem or not a problem. that's not too surprising given the low levels of confidence in social security that i just mentioned. but what's noteworthy when you give more people information, these proportions flip. the share of people who thought social security funding is a crisis or significant problem dropped from 70% to 33%. while the share saying it's a manageable problem or not a problem rose from 30% to 67%. that was after learning that raising social security taxes from 6.2% to 7.7% for both workers and employers would ensure the program could pay full benefits for the next 75 years. so, accurate information helps people better assess the scope of the challenges that social security faces. i'm going to add a couple concluding thoughts before wrapping up. first, findings were consistent across the three parts of the study.
2:43 pm
in the focus groups, participants were concerned about benefits being too low, whether they were considering their own future benefits or more often the benefits they see their parents or grandparents receiving. in the survey, large majorities of republicans, democrats and independents say they don't mind paying for social security. they want to consider increasing benefits. and they would be willing to pay more for social security if needed. and in the trade-off analysis, the preferred package consists of two benefit increases and two revenue increases. second, better information could improve public knowledge about social security and confidence in social security. and finally, americans may be polarized on many issues, but on social security, they are remarkably in agreement. americans across political,
2:44 pm
generational and income lines, not only support social security, but also agree on specific changes for the future. and with that i'll turn it over to matt greenwald who will tell us more about the trade-off analysis part of the study. thank you. [ applause ] >> thanks elisa and good morning. my job is the statistical technique.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on