Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  November 26, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EST

7:00 am
sunday night. our guest includes "washington post" financial report ylan mui. and then george liebmann from the calvert institute of policy research on youth unemployment on ways create jobs for young people. later, author bradford fitch talk about the power of lobbyists have in washington and how to approach members of congress when you have an issue that needs to be addressed. plus, your e-mails and phone calls. this is "washington journal." [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] host: with two of the biggest air travel days behind us and a lot of voicing opinions on the security regulations we want to
7:01 am
talk about your air travel experience on this holiday, particularly the tsa part of traveling. did you go through the body scanner? did you get a pat down? was there any delay in the security line? and do you think the new procedures are worth it? again, we want to hear your travelxperience when it comes to the tsa portion of traveling. give us your take on your travel experience. and we set aside our fourth line this morning for tsa employees. we want to hear from you to see what it is -- has been like. we want to hear what you think about this. tsa employees --
7:02 am
628-0184. here is an article dealing with the situation in "the wall street journal" this morning.
7:03 am
7:04 am
that's "the wall street journal" this morning. we want to hear from you. what was your travel experience like, particularly when it came to the tsa security procedures? again, our fourth line is set aside for tsa employees. we would like to hear your opinion about the new security procedures -- 628-0184 is the number for you to call. here is an op-ed piece in "the wall street journal."
7:05 am
7:06 am
7:07 am
again, this is in "the wall street journal" this morning. the author is what the husband -- hudson institute here in washington. new hampshire's. jackie. what do you think about the tsa procedures? caller: i don't mind to be checked out. i travel a lot during the year and i don't mind. when i get into the plane, i want to make sure that i am say, ok? those people who complain, don't fly. a drive -- drive and see if you can save more money. i am going on a trip next month and i don't care if i go through security. i am 76 years old. i don't want to be blown up in the sky. ok?
7:08 am
host: san francisco on the democrats' nine. please, go ahead. caller: i flew from new orleans to san francisco. i had an uneventful experience. i wear a pacemaker, so i was patted down. but i have no problem with that. my background is as a nurse. my personal opinion is i have no problem with them using detectors or pat downs. because it is necessary for the security. but one thing i would like to add is, underlying travel -- luggage, etc., that should be more fairly checked. is there any way that they could get a tsa machine that would screen more intensely versus
7:09 am
anyone having to get a pat down? host: your concern is about the luggage as well, the cargo that goes on the plains. caller: exactly. that is kind of defeating the purpose, checking people in the plan but not the cargo. host: you er check luggage and you find a slip of paper from the tsa in your luggage? caller: no. host: thank you for calling in. caller: i travel a lot. thank you very much. host: we appreciate you sharing your experience. michael in monroe, michigan. what do you think about the tsa procedures? >> i have a icd in my chest because i -- so i always go through the pat down. the thing that gets me, because
7:10 am
that is not bad because they are pretty polite and stuff. but my point is they are worried about the bomb or underwear and stuff instead of spending millions and millions of dollars and all of this technology -- doesn't make sense to just wear boxers instead of breaks? that is just common sense. we waste all of this money when nobody uses their heads. if you are flying from overseas to the united states, that is different. but if you are going from detroit to atlanta or something like that, it is ridiculous. they just need to use common sense and quit wasting our money. host: thank you for calling in. here is a tweet from stephen harrison. you can see the lines/political affiliation.
7:11 am
-- divided the by political affiliation but we set aside the fourth line for tsa employees. back to the op-ed piece this morning in "the wall street journal."
7:12 am
7:13 am
our next call comes from sean from providence, rhode island. caller: how are you? host: good. go ahead with your comment. caller: it is completely ridiculous that our rights and are being just stumbled on. when i went through tsa, i had a moment of conflict with one of the tsa people, and it was personal. when i went through the line they purposely pulled me aside, patted me down and then put me through the screen. the way i was treated -- host: why do you think you were pulled aside? caller: i had a rolling stones t-shirt on and i think maybe that had something to do with it. i am a filmmer and i was maybe a little offbeat, not a regular
7:14 am
-- maybe they thought i was taking drugs across our something, i don't know. tsa, it felt like they were pushing their weight around a little more. once you were a little hesitant they came at me very heavily and said, okay, right this way. and i was like, whoa. i felt like i was being detained in mexico or something. host: thank you for calling in. aviation security is a technical issue -- let us know what you think about these and new security procedures. we will put the numbers on the screen -- one more time, this day after thanksgiving. we wanto hear what your experience is like and your
7:15 am
opinion of the new travel procedures is. this is in "usa today" this morning. u.s. troops get a thanks of thanks, rick -- taste of thanksgiving.
7:16 am
this is from "usa today." a little bit port on thanksgiving overseas. there is a report from the white house. keep your fork -- there is pride. president obama's thanksgiving meal was a lot like last year's.
7:17 am
that is in "the new york times" this morning. dave in cleveland, ohio. what do you think about the tsa security procedures, and did you have an experience this holiday? caller: i did not have an experience of this holiday, but what i think of this whole thing, it is totally up served in -- absurd that they are going to do this. what are they accomplishing? if they do find a bomb, what do they do? do they simply blow themselves up and kill people in the airport itself? that is my comments. host: to buses, metro, railroads, and they won't care if they miss your plant -- train. this is a tweet we have gotten. frank in cambridge, massachusetts. democrat. caller: peter.
7:18 am
i travel twice recently. the first time, i went through the scanner. i was conflicted because i don't like the whole idea about the x- ray. the second time i took the pat down. i agree with one of the other callers, they treat you like a criminal. when i went to the skin of the guy said step through and then he grabbed me by the chest and said stop, wait a minute. then he dropped his hands and said, ok, go ahead. what i heard recently is that all of the bombers have come from overseas. abdulmutallab, heat came without a passport. all of these things happening coming into this country from overseas. why are we putting people
7:19 am
through these scanners, and the whole idea about chertoff being involved with the company that makes these scanners -- i am concerned about cancer. i had an ray right after i went through the scanner, he left the room with x-ray went off. i said, what the leave the room? he said espy stayed here it doing every x-ray i took, i would be subjected to the x-ray, too. if you pass through the scanner a lot of times -- i believe it is really dangerous. host: loretta in brooklyn, new york. caller: it is flat was. i am a wheelchair passengers. i did not go through the scanner. i went through the pack down in
7:20 am
phoenix, flight from phoenix back to new york. i was not offered the scanner, so i maybe they did not have one. they were polite and explaining what they were doing. my comment is that when i was actively traveling -- i only travel for the holiday now, this holiday -- but when i was actively traveling for 24 years i went through this, when i was traveling overseas, to various countries, and it was just routine. baggage was examined it, carry on, and you automatically went into the booth and got a pat down. and maybe take off my hat. when between your legs and all the other places. the women went into one both and the men went into the other and you did not have all the consternation. we have been physically attacked on our own ground, and i guess no type of precaution should be left out of the picture.
7:21 am
host: you did not find it -- you do not find it interesting? caller: when i found it intrusive was the first time when my daughter came up from brazil in 1969 after the big hijacking that was taking place. it you could not do too much because i guess safety was the first precaution. host: using to have done a lot of traveling -- was a business? caller: i was in the airline business and the purpose of getting a job was to travel. i went through all the precautions because there had been a big hijacking. when i got off the plane in zurich, when you come out of the door there was an armed guard with a machine gun. these were all the things going on at that time. and they seem to have escalated since 9/11. you do what you can, i guess. host: what airline did you fly for? caller: i was a ticket agent and
7:22 am
customer service agent for pan am. host: thank you for calling in and sharing your experience. highpoint, north carolina, independent line. what do you think of the travel procedures? caller: i am from the sudan, some of the country itself is on the list of bad countries. host: ok. do you carry a sudanese passports? what has been your experience traveling in america question -- in america? caller: the extensive inspection. the other thing is the security procedures -- i stayed for four hours at the atlanta airport. i get upset for staying all this time. but when i come that gillette alone a bad guy does something to the plane. -- host: when you travel to the
7:23 am
states, be plan of getting search? do you always get pulled aside? caller: they do it. but it is necessary. what ever the inconvenience. after 9/11. the bad guys are continuously planning. host: how long have you been in the states? caller: about seven days. host: just here visiting. caller: just visiting. the inconvenience but what is the alternative? that is not a choice at all. after the terrorist acts in 2001. you can't just let people -- it is just ridiculous. americans are not used to the things that they consider as intrusions -- would you call it? civil rights, or whatever?
7:24 am
host: what is air travel like in the sudan? caller: i don't go to the sudan. host: ready live? caller: i live in saudi arabia. i live and work there. host: what is air travel light in saudi arabia? caller: the same search. everywhere. in london, i took the train -- plane in london and also they did the same search. host: thank you for calling in this morning. jill in pleasantville, new jersey. caller: good morning to you. i am 70 years old, survivor of laryngeal cancel and has digit -- cancer and has to travel four times a year and each and every time we have to go through the litany of routine search. the reason why, i have a titanium need.
7:25 am
it sets it off. we tell them, we have a titanium need. then we go over the entire routine. last time it was one of the situation where the young man doing his job reached between his legs, sure enough -- he was apologetic. however, the concern is, in our nation we are beating the drum of fear? of what? we did not put time, energy, and money to the number of deaths by drunken-driving and drug use. and one of the things nobody has talked about in television or radio is how big of a piece of weaponry do you need to sneak onto an airplane to bring it down? it has to be a fairly large thing.
7:26 am
wead the unfortunate flight from hawaii would lost something like 25% or 30% of the aircraft, just disintegrated, redoubt -- ripped out. it did land safely. world war ii, all of the airplanes coming back with all of the holes in them. sunday no one talked about. how big of a bomb can i guy put in issue, or in his underpants? it simply doesn't make sense. the physics don't seem to work out. host: you are probably old enough to remember in the 1970's when x-ray machines came into vogue after the hijackings. was there public protest? caller: i am old enough to remember when you stop your feet and the machine at buster brown to see if the shoes of it. why did they stop that?
7:27 am
because it was going to be dangerous to you, over exposure. backscatter x-ray, same kind of thing. there will be a cumulative effect. then't intend to go through backscatter routine. the reason for me is i don't have to because i have to get felt up and rubbed down because of the left knee. uchitel them and you show them, there is the start, how many times do we have to do this? like the guy you see sitting in a wheelchair. what is that supposed to be about? the next thing nobody is talking about is, what happens when a young woman comes on to the aircraft and she is a terrorist and is carrying a bomb very similar to the kinds of transport used with drugs from south america. i will leave you with that. this has gone from ridiculous
7:28 am
to sublime. host: thanks, joe, recalling in -- for calling in with your experience. we would like to hear from tsa employees if you want to call in. we have a separate line -- chris in the santa monica, california. caller: i never really liked line that much but i have to say i thing tsa is doing a fantastic job of protecting americans. i have no problems with them searching meet anywhere. if they are going to keep me safe in the air and i know i am going to land safely -- face it, one and a billion chance your airplane will go down
7:29 am
because of mechanical failure but of some knucklehead gets a bomb or anything else on that airplane or causes a huge disruption, then you are in big trouble. i am totally behind whenever they need to do to make sure they do everything. they can, make sure everything is safe. my nephew is flying with me and i felt completely safe the way they handle themselves. i think they do a professional job. i can't say enough about them. i thinthese people whining, when men wearing about the are going to see the private parts, it completely insane. i am a teamster so i know what is -- what it takes to be safe on the road. i have to go through dozens of courses with special equipment and be trained over and over again, so i keep everybody say. i know what it takes to keep the public's faith.
7:30 am
host: thank you for calling in did i will leave it there. former senator from minnesota norm coleman is the ceo of american action network that would $25 million into the 2010 midterm elections. he is our guest on newsmaker this coming sunday and here is what he said about potentially running for chair of the republican national committee. >> i have been very candid with the chairman. there have been some challenging ins -- but i did not think he has done a enough credit for what he has done bring in the tea party into the police -- collision. bottom line, i will not run against michael steele. whatever the decision it makes, this is decision. >> it is decides not to seek reelection, would you go for the position? >> the chairman has to decide what he wants to do. i will say with humility that if the opportunity were there to help my party, i would help the party.
7:31 am
part of it is to raise a significant amount of money. part of it is to interact with the senatorial committee, rga, house committee. part of it is understanding the role of third-party is without an accord nation but understand they are out there. i can do all of those things. that is hypothetical. the chairman has to decide what he wants to do. i have always been willing to serve my party. i am not out there actively campaigning for anything. host: you can see the entire interview on newsmakers sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern and online and c- and an applicant -- app for your iphone pared back to the phones. carol in falls church, virginia, here in the suburbs. caller: i flew from dulles
7:32 am
airport in the virginia area to france, paris, france, a week ago, and then flew back yesterday. and i, too, feel thattsa was wonderful. i also have two titanium knees and go through the machine and get beat and always have to get wanded and it checked out. i would not have minded going through the x-ray machine but it was not happening at the time at dulles airport. they were very professional. in front of people, i don't even care because i want to be safe and i want everybody to be safe. host: how would you compare your experience here in the states to come back from paris?
7:33 am
caller: they, too, were just equally as professional. they were very concerned about -- seem to more concerned about packages. we were questioned several times if anybody had given us anything, but and they put stickers on everything -- purse is, what ever, just to make sure. we were checked probably three times to get on the airplane. host: did you get stopped right at the gate in paris? i found that to be the case in international travel. caller: right at the gate? yes, pretty much. the bendigo right to litigate it. you do. the last security. that was different from dulles airport. but when we came back in dulles,
7:34 am
we walked a million miles. some of the bad habit of we would have blown up at the other end of the airport. host: happy thanksgiving holiday to you. mohammad in detroit. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for the opportunity. this is just so upsetting to me, because looking back at history, how did hitler -- they got a whole country. all the germans were not bad people. but how did they get them to go along with a social program like they did? by demonizing and humanizing the jews. when did people want to stand up and say this is wrong and we should not be doing it? they wait until they got all the trends? until they were marched to the gas chamber? it had to start somewhere. i found out they had a homeland
7:35 am
security in germany. host: compare it to the part tsa regulations. your personal experience when it comes to traveling. caller: of course, i don't want to go through the radiation. i have had some radiation done because i had an injury, i am a disabled vet, so i have to limit that. i had to go through the feeling up. host: does your first name draw attention to you when it comes to going through airport security? caller: well, i don't know. recently, may be pared -- maybe. before a date went to the high alert -- i had been pulled over a couple of times and in return flights i found i did not have
7:36 am
to go through it. it may be going out they did it and all the way back i was pretty much let go. host: especially since you are calling from detroit, the scene from last question. caller: i hear about that. we have a very active secret service and things like that. we have people that can actually act like they are supporting the thing and know the person, no doubt when they left, what plan the are going to be on, and they can do this just to put a scare on people. it seems to me the terrorists are moving around just fine. it seems like the american people have lost their rights. the president enacted those presidential rights, or whenever, homeland security, and that took rights away from americans.
7:37 am
when do we stop? it's called all right, thanks, mohammed. from "the new york times" this morning. that is from "the new york times." u.s. embassies are warning allies that wikileaks might be poised to release classified cables.
7:38 am
next call on the tsa security arrangements and possibly your travel experience comes from robert in the "the brought -- robert in the bronx. caller: i am a first-time caller. i think people want to much. as americans we whine about everything -- republicans, democrats. we need to cut all of this whining. whining about being searched. you don't wanna be searched, don't fly. as simple as that. if you don't wanna get stopped for being without a license, get
7:39 am
a license. it is simple. host: "the wall street journal." u.s. looks deeper into foreclosures. south dakota. sean -- let me find the right button. go ahead. that is what this agreement sets.
7:40 am
caller: my comments about travel is, myself, i am a native american, fifth generation. i am part shared -- cherokee, so who knows how far back. i think that this pat down, this extreme paranoia. i know profiling is a problem, but i would say we need to look at people coming in from other countries on our airlines. not so much that our american citizens. like patting down grandma who has been here forever. that is where we lost our grip. on what it means to be an american and what it means to be freed. host: thank you for coming in. hamilton, montana. you are on the air. go ahead, carmen.
7:41 am
caller: i traveled down to mexico and back last week. it is the same all the way down. i took a trolly from san diego to tijuana across the border, and no problem on the mexican side. they don't even look at you. it is kind of bothersome for me. i think it is intrusive to our rights and everything and i think -- i am a three-tour vietnam veteran and february of 1968 i was in hand-to-hand combat and i was taught to take care of myself. if a guy was on a plane and he was a terrorist i would snap his neck like a toothpick. i know other guys who could do it. all these guys out there, if it ever happens, jump then and take them down. that is our only defense. we are men. that is how i feel about all things, pete.
7:42 am
i will go ahead and do what i got to do. i don't like it. i fought for this country and fought for rights. i don't like the big bureaucracy being built around the fear and i wish it would stop someday because i am not afraid. host: where is hamilton, montana? caller: we are on the western edge on the edge of the wilderness. 50 miles south -- among the trees. right on the -- river. i have a fishing and guide service. host: all right, thank you for calling in. we appreciate hearing your view. this is the picture in a "the new york times" this morning. this street scene. this is a picture of a baghdad. it almost looks like a normal commercial shopping area. i thought the picture was a little remarkable given it is
7:43 am
bad that, knowing what we know about iraq in the last several years. but article attached to it -- iraqi prime minister is given 30 days to form a new government. iraq's president formally nominated nouri al-maliki to a second term as prime investor on ursday. that is in "the new york times" this morning. this is in "the washington post" this morning. facebook most closer to trade marking face.
7:44 am
it's in "the washington post."
7:45 am
sally in hilton head, south carolina. what do you think of the tsa procedures? caller: i think it is all for show. especially when you consider we have the open borders. no one has to show anything. they run over by the thousands daily. i and a grandmother. i have three frequent flyer cards for more than 30 years and yet it seems like i am being checked all the time. i didn't fly this holiday weekend because i did not want to go through it. host: woody would caster tweets in -- final articles before we move to the next segment. obama's 2012 campaign away outside the beltway?
7:46 am
7:47 am
that is in "the washington post." two elections stories. egyptian government cracks down on the critics at of elections. -- ahead of elections. it is in "the washington post." finally from "the financial times," an election happening in haiti.
7:48 am
this is in "the financial times" this morning. coming up next, today is a big shopping day as well as a big travel day and weekend. we will talk about that next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
7:49 am
>> take a look at the new members of congress with the c- span video library. find a complete list. every new member is listed, with their district map, campaign finances for the midterm election and any appearances on c-span. all free on your computer any time. it is washington your way. this weekend on book tv's "after words" -- james zogby questions muslims about stereotypes, 9/11, and the war on terror. part of our extended holiday weekend of nonfiction books and authors on c-span2. this week -- week marked the 47th anniversary of the assassination of president kennedy. we will talk to gerald lane and the clinton hill, ceo service
7:50 am
agents whose job was to protect the president of the events of that day, conspiracy theories, and mr. blaine's new book. sunday night on c-span's "q&a." "washington journal" continues. host: ylan mui of "the washington post" is a financial reporter and she is here to discuss black friday, consumer spending, and the christmas holiday season. how important is today to our economy? guest: today is hugely important. last year shopper spent $11 billion on black friday alone. this is a very big shopping day. the holiday season over all accounts for anywhere from 20% to 40% of total retail sales for the year. so, this is a very big season for stores and we want to make sure they don't get it wrong. host: why do we spend so much and as one day? tradition? guest: that is part of it.
7:51 am
black friday typically kicks off the shopping season. but also retailers play a big part. they are offering their door buster discounts. that gets us into the stores. host: a lot of stores seemed to be open yesterday. the first time? guest: for some stores. this trend began last year but we saw more stores joining in. kmart traditionally has been open banking day but this year we also saw toys r us, sears opens at 7:00 a.m., old navy opened about 850 stores on thanksgiving. what we are finding is some of the black friday excitement is moving farther into the month and even to a thanksgiving day itself. host: what are the predictions for spending this holiday season? guest: the national -- national retail federation expects sales to be up 2.3% for november and december compared to last year.
7:52 am
but forecasts are all over the place. they are in the middle. i have seen some as high as 4%. host: we are talking retail sales. consumer spending and potentially government policy to encourage such. ylan mui is our guest. she is with "the washington post." financial report. in spending doesn't increase as predicted, what is the downside? guest: consumer spending accounts -- accounts for two- thirds of total gdp. i know. two-thirds of our gdp is determined by how much we go to the mall. this is very important. what we saw in previous years when consumers pull back, say, 2008, is we saw a lot of job
7:53 am
loss. come january and february, retailers and shed thousands of jobs because there was not the demand to justify the position it in stores. host: there are a key consumer economic indicators i want to review. number one, consumer confidence up 71.6% -- or up to 71.6%. how is it measured? guest: regardless study every month by the university of michigan. basically what they do is they survey consumers and ask them how they feel about their personal financial well-being, what is their view of the economy, what is the long-term view so, they measure how consumers feel about the situation now and what the situation will be in the future. that gives us a rolling indicator to see are we starting to feel better or are we going
7:54 am
back to the gloomy days of the recession. the fact that consumers are feeling and little bit better speaks well to what they might spend during the holiday. host: consumer confidence rating of 71% -- or 71, what does it say? guest: that tells me consumers are feeling better. host: what is a bad number? guest: something in the 50's or below that. we saw some of that during the depth of the recession. that has been a rebound but we are now back to the level we would like to see. host: holiday spending forecast, up 2.3%. who makes the forecast? guest: the national retail federation. they are a trade group so you have to understand where debate is coming from. but they are one of the most widely cited statistics for what the holidays will see. and they are actually one of the more moderate predictions for this holiday. host: personal income is up 1/2%. disposable personal income up 0.3%. wages and salaries of about half
7:55 am
a percent and personal savings of 5.7%. it does our economy, with two- thirds going to the mall, as you said, does it encourage saving? guest: typically, it hasn't. during the boom years we found a saving rate in someone's was negative. america was spending more than we actually had in our wallet. that is not a good thing. that is not sustainable. now we are at a point where consumers are trying to rebalance and setting their financial house in order. the good news is people are saving more. the bad news for the economy means if they are saving more, they are spending less. host: are people looking to use cash or credit for this holiday season, and es it matter? guest: it does matter, actually. research shows when you buy things on credit, they tend to spend more money. that is an important indicator
7:56 am
for retailers. however, we are finding more people using cash because they don't want to spend more on their credit cards. using cash to balance the budget and making sure they stay on track. host: ylan mui is our guest from "the washington post." we are talking about consumer spending, retail sales, and you -- if you want to tell us what your plans are. carl from north carolina on the republican line. caller: good morning, how are you? man, i am not going to try to pronounce your name. guest: that's ok. caller: i have two questions. who is going to take the hit? is it going to be the manufacturing, consumer, it would distributor because our dollar is taking a hit? why do you think that consumers are upbeat now more than they were, say, two or three months ago? guest: i will take the first question first. i think what you are seeing in
7:57 am
terms of the lower value of the dollar, a thing right now it is hurting the manufacturer the most. that makes our products less attractive overseas. the consumer will benefit perhaps in terms of lower prices but you may see the manufacture being hit. why are consumers feeling a little bit better -- the stock market is better paired the stock market is much better than it was a few months ago. there was a recent rally so that helps people feel better about their finances. they may see their 401k, retirement plans, coming back. you are also seeing the economy and jobs. we know the unemployment rate has not changed but that is an accounting issue. we are seeing private sector jobs increase in recent months. so, we are seeing return to the job market, some movement, and that makes folks feel better as well.
7:58 am
host: annapolis, maryland. caller: thank you for c-span. my parents were products of the depression -- i remember as a child, almost all of my present, my parents made. i would recommend that instead of buying stuff from china where they are ripping us off anywhere -- anyhow, we start making our own stuff. there is nothing better than hitting your owns what. my father had molds to make his tin soldiers. that is a real alternative. guest: thank you for your thoughts. i think there are a lot of people who will be making on gives this holiday season. that was definitely a trend we saw -- people saving money -- diy, doing it yourself. host: here is "the new york times" business section article.
7:59 am
blackford expectations are high. what happens if expectations are not met? guest: one year we had an odd situation where the traffic to the malls and stores increased but the sales on black friday actually decrease. the reason it happened is because retailers were pulling out such aggressive discounting that even though people bought more, they spent less overall. i think retailers really look to black friday as an indicator of how the rest of the season will go. is it going to be something good? is this going to be a situation where it will be in the black or not? host: it said mall traffic was up by more than 12%. it also says -- 90% of american's plan to use cash for their holiday gifts this year. that is according to a survey by united services automobile association, which provides insurance to military members and their families. sweetwater, texas.
8:00 am
charlie, the democrat. you are on with ylan mui. caller: i have been watching you all for years. i would like to ask your a question or make a point -- whichever way you want to take it. you said at the shopping -- holiday was really good for the economy. who is the economy are you talking about? because you can go in the store and you can't hardly find anything made in america. how does it help of the american people? guest: it helps many people's economy. what we have seen over the year is the american consumer drives the global economy, not just american economy. but if you go into a retail store based in the u.s. -- obviously, walmart, they have been criticized in the past for the amount of foreign products but they are headquartered in arkansas. i wrote a story recently as well about an employee here in the virginia area who works in an
8:01 am
electronics store, and he works on commission. so, his fate is directly tied to the amount consumers spend when it comes to the store. .
8:02 am
so somebody buys a justin doll. who benefits? how does that break down? can you give us kind of an estimate? >> i can't give you an capract breakdown but many retails products are typically marked up about 50%. so if you buy something at full price, 50% of that doll, of
8:03 am
that amount is going toward the retailer. so that gives them a certain amount of margin to work with. you know, where the rest of that 50% of the products price goes, it varies. there's a lot of competition among retailers to pay the least amount for the raw goods or the materials that are coming over from overseas. host: next call comes from orlando, florida. go ahead. caller: good morning. i'm commenting about the retail sales. i'm a plumming supply salesman. i travel florida, georgia, alabama. the retail sales right now, they are sale priced. you have to use a coupon or a give away to get these people in the store. these sales this morning really do not count because the american people have been suffering. i go in to my customers every day. you can stand there for an hour, and they've they'll give me an hour but no customers
8:04 am
come in the door. now i understand that plumming isn't a popular sales item this season. but people are struggling and if they're going to count on this one black friday to carry them through to christmastime. they're in a fantasy land. there's no way to say one day is going to be great. they've put so many restrictions this democratic congress. one day is not going to make a difference out of ten days. guest: i think he's really speaking to one of the issues we're finding is that there's a bifurcation in terms of how consumers are feeling right now and how we're spending right now. we're finding that the pace of economic recovery is not the same across the economic classes. so there's a lot talking about the luxury retailer coming back. jewelry is up this year and luxury retailers doing well. but the flip side is that for
8:05 am
the middle and low income consumer they have been harder hit in terms of unemployment and they're not as boosted by the stock market as the affluent scommurem is. so there's still a lot of strain among the lower rungs of the economic ladder and you can hear it from the retailers who serve that population as well. host: so let's say sax has a good year and wal-mart doesn't. is that good, bad for the economy? guest: i think it what it is for the economy. typically, there have been cases where the affluent consumers is considereded sort of more significant in terms of economic contribution. the top 20% of income households produce about 40% of total consumer spending. so their spending is outside in comparison with the amount that they make above the population. does that mean we should forget about the lower class and middle class? obviously not. but if you look at it strictly
8:06 am
from an economic sense that is the imbalance tha you see. host: this tweet. guest: sthrs something that economists call the paradox. so even though saving is good for us personally, it is not something that's good for the economy overall. that's the dilemma that we're facing right now. i think that most people would say we shouldn't go back to the days of negative savings rate and spending of the mid 2000s is really unsustainable. but what is that level of sustainable growth? that's what we're trying to figure out now. host: next call, from die an. good morning. caller: good morning. i was just calling in. we are just pretty much boycotting any kind of shopping. there's nothing been made in the u.s.a. for probably over 10
8:07 am
years. all our jobs have been shipped overseas. so the triad area, we are just boycotting any kind of shopping at all. spending any type of christmas or anything. we're going to do that with our families. host: do they still make anything in winston salem? i know they used to make cigarettes there a long time ago. caller: no, sir, rfrpblt j. reynolds has moved out. north carolina has always been the furniture capital of the world. our furniture is made in china. our textiles are overseas. this has been going on for years. so what we have decided to do here is to boycott this. and the people of the triad are going to boycott this. we're not shopping. there's nothing made in the u.s.a., our jobs have been
8:08 am
taken away from us not under this presidency here. it's been taken away for years. host: all right. we got the point. thanks. guest: well, obviously this issue where you buy your products is a big one. last year my family and i made a very tough decision to decide to not exchange presents for holiday season. and i think that part of that was driven by the fact that it's a tough time economically for many folks and for us as well, all watching that dollar. but also because we felt like we have enough stuff. there's sort of an antiblack friday movement called buy nothing day, which you just stay home. with made a decision that we weren't going to exchange holiday gifts because we felt everything we need and the most important thing was just get together and spend time together as a family. host: what does that do for the national economy? guest: there's that paradox
8:09 am
shift. host: go ahead, mary. caller: good morning. i'm not going to talk my question is about the things we have to buy, the grocery, the extra fees that are coming from the government for license plates, the increases that we get letters from utilities. how does that figure in to your profit margin or what you expect? it doesn't equate at all to a better economy. guest: well, one thing that is positive is that we have seen food prices decline, and that's something important for many consumers particularly after the high levels of food price that is we saw around 2008. so food prices are down. that's good. but that is something that is very important to look at. what is the price of necessities such as food, gasoline, and heating? because those things eat and into the discretionary income
8:10 am
that we have to spend on new things like a new flat screen tv. host: what about sansal hiring for the holidays? guest: it's expected to be a little better than last year, about 500,000 to 600,000 workers expected to be added to the workforce for the holiday season, down from about 700 during the peak years in 2007. so that is something that is a gray spot for the job market. however, you have to remember they're seasonal. so come january, february, you might see that being shed. host: does shopping on line affect this whole thing? guest: certainly shopping on line is a huge part of the holiday season now. and so we're expecting holiday sales to rise about 11% on the over the internet sales to about 32 billion this holiday season. so a huge portion. something very important. and something very convenient for a lot of folks.
8:11 am
host: but does it help the economy or does it hurt taking it away from the bricks and mortar? guest: i think most retailers look at it as all one big happy famely. they look at bricks and mortar, online, maybe even thri your i pad one day. so they're looking at it as a unit as opposed to competing sectors. host: talking about retail sales and consumer spending. kansas, go ahead kyle good morning to you. caller: my comments just kind of is kind of probably how everyone is feeling. i'm really disappointed that our products aren't made in the states any more. i can't buy anything like, ok, four weeks ago i wanted to buy a guitar. when it came to my house, it's a nice guitar, 8 o 0 bucks but still it was made in korea. it wasn't made in the states.
8:12 am
it would have cost like 2,000 and said gibson on it. that's fine but i wish things would happen great for this country and we need to start bringing our products, we need to start making things here. host: what are your plans for this holiday season? caller: for shopping? i'm staying away from shopping. i don't plan on shopping. actually, i plan on doing my shopping between now and christmas but not like this weekend. host: but do you plan on spending more than you did last year? cash, credit? guest: i mean, as far as being american, i would say it's best to go cash because look at cha credit has got us in to. but, you know, if you want to break the bank on mom's favorite outfit you're going to do it because she's your mom. but i'm probably going to send 500 to 700 which isn't nothing compared to what other people spend. host: do you know what you spent last year? caller: i probably even say
8:13 am
right around 500, 600. host: thanks. guest: i think he brought up a good point which is there is a conflict or a debate between where you want your products to be made and the price that you are willing to pay for those products. so that's one of the challenges that we face is that typically products that are made overseas , there's lowor layor costs so you can charge less. so how much are you willing to pay for products that are made in america? host: twitterer named mary goes under save republic sends in this tweet.
8:14 am
long island, new york. dave, you are on the line. good morning. caller: good morning. i guess when you were speaking about the retail sales, i believe she said two thirds. i guess in that context, i know that we just printed like $600 billion and a big part of that is to inflate assets prices. and we need to speak about the equities market. a lot of that intentionally the government to intentionally reflate the stock market. but doesn't that kind of lead to like a misconception for people like a false sense of like we're doing well where as, you know, when they talk in terms of misallocation of capital, we think things are
8:15 am
good so we're going to spend more money, but really all we did was just print the money. host: i didn't mean to cut you off there. go ahead. guest: what i would say is first the quantitative easing is taking place throughout a period of six to eight months. so it's not like there was suddenly $600 billion that wasn't there before. the other thing to talk about was a lot of that was already priced into the stock market. so what we're finding now is that other countries are upset with us for going through quantitative easing and that has taken a hit on the stock market as well. so there are many complex factors there. but there is a question of how confident should we be in these economic policies. and i think that right now you're finding consumers are feeling a little better as some of these policies sort of work their way through the system, we'll see how consumers react to them. host: so speaking of the stock market, it was kind of a wacky
8:16 am
week so far that did spend up down, up down. have they figured in the people who buy and selling on the stock market? have they figured in black friday already? guest: my guess is yes. i would say that for individual retailers obviously it may be more volatile. but for thingshat ppen that are predetermined, such as we know black friday is coming. we knew the fed was going to make some sort of statement on quantitative easing. that would be priced ahead of time and you typically see a little bounce after the actual event. but the actual retail stock will vary depending on how they do. host: ray in new hampshire. you're on the washington journal. caller: thank you for taking my call. my wife and i own a specialty shop and we're seeing definite excitement this year, a little increase in early shopping.
8:17 am
people who are actually window shopping but we hope to come back. so we're expecting a good christmas this year. but the point i'm hearing about buy american and foreign goods versus american goods, we carry probably 90% of the stuff that we sell is foreign-based or foreign-made. but because we see it's hard to find american-made products . host: do you look out for it? do you try to find american-made products? guest: caller: we do. it's tough to find american-made goods for thing that is we sell that people can afford. i mean, even products that are made in europe that we sell is much more expensive than products made over in asia. and we get a lot of push-back from customers wanting to know why these things are so expensive. and you make the point that it's made here in america or
8:18 am
made in europe. and with the euro and dollar and labor costs in europe being probably equivalent to the u.s., it's tough to find reasonably priced products. and products made in the u.s. and europe have much lower profit margin than what i can get the same product in europe. and i talk to other small business owners, specialty shops, and they say the same thing. they say that the foot wear or whatever that they get customers that say why is this a $180 when they can go to wal-mart and get the same boot for $50. you know, again, we try to find american-made goods that people can afford but it is very difficult. host: what kind of store do you have? caller: it's a small hobby shop. so a lot of the products that we sell, you know, be it remote control products or plastic models, those train sets, they're mostly made in china
8:19 am
now. there are some goods that we buy traditional erector sets made in france. but people, they don't want to spend $100 on a toy like that. host: and finally, ray, there's a big push for small businesses. kind of a promotion with american express and the u.s. government has taken a part in this. are you taking a part in this promotion? guest: we did sign up for that with american express. so we're waiting to see how that plays out tomorrow. because it is good for tomorrow to shop small business. host: thanks, ray. guest: i thought he had some really interesting points in terms of, again, that question of how much are you willing to pay for products made in america. can you find the american-made doll? can you find the american-made robotic tie?
8:20 am
so i think that's a really interesting perspective he had on it. because i think that part of what we found is that stores like wal-mart and being able to easily access cheap goods from overseas have lowered the bar on what we expect to pay for certain items. we find pricing is relative. we find how much a pair of socks cost. so when the bar is lowered that makes it harder to pay more. host: connecticut, ana good morning. caller: good morning. thanks for taking my long. so this is an hour-long conversation for me but just a couple of bullet points. one is certainly big one is the environmental impact about all our consumerism is having on the world. i don't know that people really think about what they buy versus the destruction or corruption of civilizations around the world. what are we buying from wal-mart and what is the true price of it? the true cost? sadly, too, another bullet point is there's no mom and pop
8:21 am
stores left, very few. i truly try to pass by the large chain stores and to buy local and to buy from somebody who lives in the area where the money is coming back into my community. you know, i just think that people really need to stop and consider that americans want cheap goods but do they really pay the true cost of those goods. host: what are your plans this holiday season when it comes to spending? caller: well, i'm a single mom. i'm going to buy a couple of main items for my daughter, probably a bicycle and we will go someplace fun and not spend money but enjoy nature and the environment around us. visit family and friends. host: are you planning on spending more this year or less? caller: no. no. i'm really truly, there's the bullet points i said i'm not going to go to major chain stores because really who do they look out for? not me, not you, they look out
8:22 am
for their bottom line. they want cheap goods, they want to make a big profit. i won't mention names but i was at a store and it was a $200 jacket that i was able to buy $15. deeply discounted. i mean, what did it cost to make that jacket? guest: host: all right. guest: i think she brought up a good point about the mom and pop stores and there's being fewer of them than maybe there were in olden days. you also bought up american express' small business saturday. which is the first time that there's been sort of an effort backed by a national card company to promote small businesses and to get folks shopping. and when i spoke to american express, i said why saturday? why not friday or a different day? and they said they understood that actually the small businesses would not be able to compete with the types of discounts and promotion that is the big box stores and the major chains are going to be offering today. they decided to do it the day
8:23 am
after because they felt that way they would get more attention and more folks would be likely to go to their local retailers. host: there was some legislation passed to assist small businesses in the last couple of months. guest: yes. so congress has passed legislation that provides tax incentives for small businesses, makes it easier for them to borrow money, to fund whatever needs they may have, whatever capital investments they may be doing. so that is something that congress passed to support small businesses because small businesses account for about two thirds of new jobs that are created. so they are immensely important to the labor market. however, whether or not we see these policies result in new hiring is up for debate. because what they're finding is we're not going to hire if we're don't see customers coming through the door. we need to see that demand in order to pick up the employment. host: when did the u.s. economy
8:24 am
become dependent on consumer spending? our family never purchased anything that was not a necessity. never went to the mall unless absolutely necessary. guest: you're seeing the lives of the consumer, i believe it has closely tracked credit. starting in the 670s when we were able to -- 70's when we were able to spend in a way we hadn't before, when credit became more accessible. i believe that's when consumers sort of rose in importance. however, in terms of the exact rate i can't tell you that. host: this is from ruth.
8:25 am
guest: if i was following the e-mail correctly, i think what they're saying is that you need money to be able to spend. right? so we have seen a slight uptick in wages. we are seeing some increase in consumers ability to spend. and it's clear that they have money. it's just in savings. so the question again goes back to that paradox 06 thrift. how much are we going to use versus how much are we going to be put ago side for a rainy day? host: bruce tweets in. guest: well, i can speak to this from a personal level. we did a chart recently, i believe it ran, but we put together a chart that showed the potential tax increase for the average household in different income brackets if the tax cuts are not extended. and they're high. i mean, the potential impact on households are high. how is that to an everyday
8:26 am
consumers? that is unclear but i think it may add to the uncertainty that people feel about the economic recovery and what is going to happen over the next six months. host: next call comes from jacksonville, florida. caller: thank you for taking my call. i really appreciate this young reporter coming on and listening to the feedback that she's getting from concerned americans. and i hope she takes it back to her editors. because the "washington post" is one of the newspapers that, if anyone says why can't the united states not use tariffs to protect our economy, they're immediately called protectionists. the "washington post" did not cover that when president obama went to india, what, two weeks ago, he was ing there trying to get them to open up their markets. india closes their market to us as does china. china does it with the devalued currency. yet, that is fine.
8:27 am
we have a situation where the european government have a 21% back tax. they use that as a tariff on any american product that comes into europe, they use it as a subsidy on anything that comes into the united states. if you go to target those things are subsidized because of that. the "washington post" knows that. they know that an economy grows well by industrial production. small businesses grow their wealth from industrial production. when people have the money to go to the groceries. host: all right. guest: well, i can't speak for the editorial pages and what they may take on certain issues. but certainly i would say that we always try to cover as many angles as possible whether it's about the president's trip to india or about our trip to the store. host: a few minutes left with our guest. another call from jacksonville, florida from jeff on our democrat's line. and it sounds like jeff has
8:28 am
gone. joseph in camden, south carolina. caller: i would just like to make a comment. your guest [inaudible] inflation is pretty low and how people wages are going up and so forts. but i'm on social security and for two years my income did not go up. but that was not what bothered me. what really bothered me is that your guest said this food prices have gone down. well, i would like to know where she does her shopping because here in the area as well as in the new jersey area where my daughter lives, our food prices have gone up big time. so i would just like to know where your guest does her shopping. thank you. guest: well, i shop at harris teeter and safeway and giant. and i can't speak to what prices they may be paying at their particular store. but if you look on thing a gat you're finding that --
8:29 am
aggregate you'll see that food prices have gone down. it looks at what comparison you're making. they may be higher than last month. these things change frequently as commodity prices change. host: gene tweets in h east lake ohio. jackie, democrats. you're on the washington journal. caller: why doesn't she -- the cheap items that come in from china. you wash a t shirt once and it falls apart. kids wear their jeans a couple of times and the zippers break. a mom goes out to buy a $30 jacket at wal-mart and of course the zipper doesn't work and the kid is walking around for the rest of the winter with his jacket open. you know, these things started
8:30 am
in the 80s when we decided that we didn't want to be workers any more, we wanted to be the powers that be wanted us to be consumers. they didn't want us to be worker bees any more, they wanted their cake and they wanted to eat it too so they've done so. average wages have gone down since the 80s. our employment is stagnant. we've had higher unemployment since the 80s. and you sit there so happily talking about this stuff and what happens is that we're becoming a third world nation. we don't make anything, we don't take pride in anything. host: all right. we're going to leave it there. is our personal income according -- when you look at the macro figures, these figures are going up. guest: again, so there's a
8:31 am
difference between what's happening on a macro and mike ro level. macro, you are seeing very slight increases in personal income and wages. however, as we talked about earlier, you are seeing a sort of bifurcation in the american consumer. where the affluent consumers has returned in a way that consumers in the lower and middle classes have not. and that's something that i think you can hear from the retailers when they talk about it in their earnings and they say we're still seeing people line up at midnight outside our doors so waiting for their unemployment benefits to start so they can buy baby formula. so there's powerful stories that shows it's still impacting a certain part of the population. host: about an hour and a half left in our program this morning. next, employment and youth.
8:32 am
8:33 am
host: george is the volunteer executive director of the cal vert institute for policy research, and he is also a lawyer in baltimore, maryland. recently, in the baltimore sun was this op ed written by mr. lieberman. the youth employment conundrum.
8:34 am
mr. lieberman, when you say conundrum, what do you mean? guest: we have a condition now in this country where you have youth unemployment rate of about 20%, which is roughly twice what it was eight years ago, roughly what it now is in germany for instance, and it is totally off the radar screen. no major politician is talking about it. you can read the president's state of the union message. there's not a word about it. you can read the speeches or speech, she makes the same one over and over again of the secretary of labor to the last year and she has said nothing about it. you can look at the web sithes of senator mcconnell, congressman boehner, speaker pelosi, senator reed, you will find not one word about this condition.
8:35 am
and yet, this is a potential dynamite not only political dynamite but economic dynamite. you are losing a considerable part of a generation which is not being integrated with the labor force. because you have a lot of individual and personal tragedies but not a lot of political action, at least not yet. no one pays attention to it. and nothing is distincttively being done about it. the hope is that the recession we've been in, depression if you want to call it that for the last two years, we will come out of it sooner or later and rising tide will lift all boats. but i don't think it's working that way. host: why is unemployment for
8:36 am
youth, and you identify youth as being 16 to 234, why is it at -- 24, why is it at 20%? guest: because large companies aren't recruiting, because there are seniority systems, because there are various regulations that impair youth employment. and because no one is focusing on the pblem. host: in your op ed, and we have the numbers up on the screen if you'd like to talk about the youth employment situation. you can go ahead and dial i divided by political affiliation our normal numbers. but we've also set aside our line for those 25 and under to hear about your job searching experience or whether or not you are searching.
8:37 am
you compare our current policies in the u.s. to en courage or foster youth employment to those of germany. why? what are the german policies that you favor, and why do you compare ours to them? guest: well, the germans were very badly burned by this problem during the rise of hitler in the late 30s. and along -- they have a tremendous fear in germany of inflation, and that is equalled only by their fear of youth unemployment. because the political fuel in the 1930s for both the communists and the nazis came from young people who were essentially totally excluded from the workforce by the rigidity of the german seniority systems. and the famous hitler maidance in 1933 the british ambassador
8:38 am
and the german chancellor who preceded in 1931 commizz rated with each other and said there's no political solution here except disenfranchising people under the age of 25. that's how they saw the politics of the situation. we don't have that here. but what has been happening here is a lot of individual and personal tragedies that are tauf radar screen. you don't get much reaction to op ed piece, but i've gotten some to this one and i was struck by one letter i got from a woman who writes, my 27-year-old son has been without work for over a year and this has taken a toll on all aspects of his life. good work habits are easily lost but the toll unemployment takes on the unemployed on a
8:39 am
personal basis is devastating. i can see his enthusiasm, his need to find work dwindling each day. we are dire need of part time opportunities to help people get through. there's a lot of that out there but it's off the radar screen. host: what would you like to see the u.s. government do? guest: i would like to see it at least start to do what the germans do and what was done during the roosevelt administration in the 1930s when this problem was taken very seriously. you had government job programs, the civilian conservation corps. and i don't know that that sort of thing is the answer now. i think the german answer is probably the answer now. and that is first releaving people under the age of 25 of payroll taxation. second, providing a government
8:40 am
subsidies for half-time employment. and third, of fostering adult education and distance learning so that people who are receiving these subsidized jobs or apprentice ships also are developing work skills. and that training takes the form of computer training, training in foreign languages, training in bookkeeping and accounting where there are all kinds of variance of it. but if you go into the german unemployment system, that's where is required of you. you were expected to take courses host: you also before we go to calls, you also talk about even a training wage. and you are critical of the davis bacon act. guest: well, this is not a major part of the problem. there are 4 million, roughly 4 to 4.5 million people under the age of 25 unemployed.
8:41 am
the davis bacon act, which affectfederal government contracts prohibits the employment of helpers on government work products and while the subject is rather technical and arcane, the effect is to discourage the employment of unskilled and semi-skilled workers on government projects. this is the something that the union set by. it's absolutely indefensible. it was attacked in the courts and uphe would by the vietnam court tover dissent of only justice thurgood marshall who saw quite about ratly what it was aimed at. and i don't think removing it would create a great many jobs for the young, program f perhaps 50,000 but it's just indefensible. host: what is the cal vert institute for policy research? guest: we are a state level think tank that puts out papers on state level public policy
8:42 am
problem. host: first call comes from chicago. go heed. caller: hello, how are you doing? i think it's a good idea that we want to get rid of some of these taboos, who is employed and who is not in america. now, what we know is that among african american youth, you have about 35, 40% of african american youth who are unemployed. and this is continuous. not just during this recession-depression period. but this is continued over the last decade. even among african american mend, i believe that we are among the most unemployed of all the demographics. with the exception of black youth. more black females employed than more black men employed in america. host: black youth. guest: well, that's true. and the policy response to that
8:43 am
problem in this recession has been simply extending unemployment insurance and extending welfare. we now have a situation where people can get unemployment compensation for up to two years rather than the six months that was traditional. and what's interesting about that is that the british, who have, where until recently you could get unemployment compensation virtually for life are moving away from that because what has developed is an under class. in this country we have a black underclass that you have referred to that arises in some measure from racial discrimination but it also arises from the ready availability in the past of welfare. in the early 1960s, pat moynihan wrote a memorandum to his then bozz, the secretary of
8:44 am
labor, willard worst, in which he said and thing -- werts, in which he said, the greatest single dangers facing the negros of america is that the whites are going to put them on welfare. nothing would be more terrible. we will have created an entire subculture of dependency, alienation, and despair. we have already done as much to whole sections of appalachia as i understand it as also to the indian reservations. it is in truth the way we cope with this kind of problem as against giving the man proper jobs and a respectable place in their community and family. and moynihan at that time was an advocate of jobs programs and an opponent of welfare and the dole. and we are now, because it's the line of least resistance, relying on the dole and on welfare to the exclusion of all
8:45 am
else. the president has gone into the trenches for continuing extensions of unemployment insurance. an almost per pep tull dole of the british type. and there's not been one word about how do you get these people into the workforce? and when you have the secretary of labor who doesn't even address this question it ought to be a cause for alarm. host: andrew, boulder, colorado. caller: hi. thanks. i've been working for the past six months but before that i was going to school, didn't do so well and i had to end up finding a jobs. and i was looking for about three or four months consistently pretty much every day. and it was hard. it's not easy to find one out there. it seems that every time i went and asked for an application,
8:46 am
whoever was there would basically be like no sorry we're not hiring. we've already had four applications today. host: what kind of work are you doing now? caller: i'm working at a gas station. and i have a lot of work experience in fast food. it was an easy job to get. and once i was out of college and needing a job i applied at basically every fast food place or most service jobs that i could think of but they weren't hiring either. and it was -- it was a small, i don't know, i was pretty lucky to be able to find a job. host: are you planning on going back to school? caller: i am. but i'm definitely at least going to keep the job part time. just in case something doesn't work out with school i've got to be able to have that as a backup plan. host: are you at the university of colorado? caller: yes, looking to get
8:47 am
back in next semester host: good luck to you. a stubte who needed a job -- student who needed a job. guest: well, that's what you are seeing. and we have not been providing answers for such people. and the private market isn't going to provide jobs in this kind of economy unless there are some kind of assistance and subsidy. and when people spend six months doing nothing except knocking on doors looking for jobs, that's not the most productive use of their time, either. so that a government subsidized job program would be cheap at the price. they don't have to be terribly high paying they don't have to be full time. but when you consider what the government has been spending money on in its stimulus packages, and the amounts of money involved, it is
8:48 am
horrifying that nothing has been done about this. consider for instance the $20 billion that the administration got for the teachers unions essentially. they had a special session of congress to put this wonderful thing through. what does that do? it provides graduates of education schools who typically are earning $70,000 a year in the teaching force, provides jobs for perhaps 200,000 of them. at a cost of $20 billion. what would $20 billion do if it were applied to the problem of youth employment? at a cost of perhaps $5,000 a head, you can do the arithmetic but that translates into an enormous number of jobs, and yet we are not doing that. we are instead spending 16
8:49 am
times as much money per job protecting the administration's political clients and the eachers unions and the construction unions and the public employee uneyuns. that's just not a prudent way of allocating resources. host: montezuma, georgia. please go ahead. caller: yes. i'm calling in to talk about the unemployment situation. we have one little dirty secret in america in that we are giving all of the jobs that are here to hb 1 visa people. the government brings them over, gets them set the up in jobs, and takes away the jobs that are here. host: any comment for her? guest: well, i think the h 1 visa program is for peopl with certain skills that are in
8:50 am
short supply. and o of the problems that we've got is that we are doing a miserable job of science and math education in our high schools. so that in order to get enough skilled people, we have to import them. and that's another criticism i have of the politicians in washington. we have these elaborate new education programs beginning with no child left behind and the race to the top. no one has thought about relaxing the requirement that every science teach every have a year of education courses, because the unions don't want it relaxed. so we are fencing out science teachers and to the extent we've been getting them we've had to import them. it's rather remarkable. we've also been fencing out potential special education teachers in baltimore most of our special education teach rers imported from the fill
8:51 am
pins. so we have these teachers certification rules that make no sense. that's another subject for another day. but i would not blame what's been happening on the immigration of skilled workers. that's not the problem. we're talking here about entry-level people who are unskilled and how we can get them skills. host: plaino, texas. dan, good morning to you. caller: good morning, everyone. i can only speak or offer observation as it goes to what's happening here in this part of north texas. but the kind of entry level jobs that i certainly did when i was a young boy and i think most of our high schoolers would be happy to do working at mcdonald's or burger king or one of those kinds of places, well, what we find is all of those sorts of jobs, entry level part time jobs have been turned into life-long careers by hispanics amongst them the
8:52 am
illegal aliens and how we fix that i don't exactly know but they are pandrd to by the franchise owners of those kinds of establishments because they're willing to work long hours at low wages. and you can't anticipate competing with these people when they live 12 or 14 to a single family residents and pool their salaries in order to get by. guest: well, that undoubtedly is true as to the very low-level, entry-level occupations you're talking about. what bothers me is that there's no effort on the part of our corporate bureaucracies or even our government bureaucracies to take people in at the bottom and train them. if every government office that had ten people in it took in one intern on a half-time basis, showed him the rudements of the job, insisted that he
8:53 am
get computer training or language training or whatever else is useful for that agency, you could make in-roads into this program and you would not be training people for bottom level jobs but for jobs that involve progress in a bureaucracy. and what has been happening is that our corporate bureaucracies have just stopped recruiting at the bottom and the same is to a considerable degree true of government bureaucracies. you are just skipping a generation. and i don't think we can afford to do that. it's not just a question of being humane. it's a question of making sure that we have qualified and trained workers for the next generation. host: and in your op ed you quote franklin dell nor roosevelt, continual disintegration, dependence, to
8:54 am
dole out relief is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the national spirit. arthur is 22 years old and living in cincinnati. hi, arthur. caller: good morning. i just want to make the point that maybe our politicians would pay more attention to this problem if my demographic got out to vote a little more. host: you'll get a response to that. what's your situation? are you working, are you in college? caller: i'm a student with a part-time job. host: what kind of work? caller: deliveries. host: do you make money wage or tips? caller: minimum wage. host: would you be willing to earn a trade as he has spoken about? caller: i'm not sure. i haven't thought about it. host: i'm sure you won't have
8:55 am
any argument about this but what about being exempt from the payroll tax? caller: well, yeah, that would be fine by me. host: what are you studying in ohio? caller: audio production. host: thanks for calling in. guest: future c-span worker. host: so going back to his original point that he made. guest: well, i think that we need to do more obviously and the -- the private market shorts people but it doesn't necessarily train them. and that's not -- that's been a real lack of concern about the transition from school to the workforce. host: he talked about voter turnout. and his age guest: that's quite a valid point. host: do you think that if we were having the protests such
8:56 am
as they are in england over some of the student cuts that they're having, do you think that our politicians would be paying attention? can you foresee that happening here? guest: i can foresee it happening here. i think what one must say is be careful what you wish for because it's been a very destabilizing factor in the politics of other countries. and sf we don't step up to the plate and deal with it it's going to be a politically destabilizing factor here. host: eddie, gains, virginia. independent line. we're talking about youth employment and unemployment this morning. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. there's two things that i think are counter vailing one against the other. that is that there's no emphasis put to learning. the education system is about the teachers simply standing in the classroom and regurgitating
8:57 am
material. we've lost that emphasis of indbs. i'm an individual, i have to learn, i have to take care of myself. then i hear a lot of people talking about the politicians doing and all these theories out there and i hate to say that i don't see anybody putting their money up, i don't see the unions taking the billions in their retirement fund and creating all these jobs and factories that they say others have to do. so when you combine a lack of learning and a lack of the desire to be self-sufficient and put it into hard work on your own like it used to be when i was growing up, and then the lack of people really putting up their own money but wanting somebody to do it, you ent up with a situation like we have. guest: i would agree with that. there is a great opportunity here that is being lost, too, and that is that the prospert of the last 10 or 20 years did rest on a real foundation of
8:58 am
computer technology and the internet. the area to which those improvements have not penetrated is education. there have been very few productivity improvements in the education system. it's been very little use of distance learning and the internet. and i think filing the gap for young workers is a way of really introducing the education system to distance learning. it should be an effort on the part of the government to foster distance learning for the unemployed and ultimately foster it in the schools and colleges also. and that just hasn't been done yet and it hasn't been done in no small measure because people in the unions are satisfied with the status quo and don't want anything that disrupts it. host: we have this tweet here from sherry.
8:59 am
are we holding teenagers today accountable? guest: well, i think the answer to that is that one way they are held accountable is when they try to enter the workforce and they are usually told what's expected of them by employers. and if employers aren't even looking for them, that form of discipline is lacking. one of the responses i got to my article was from a man who is a director of learning technologies at a community college, and he makes the point that basic literacy is the ground floor that's very often missing, which is certainly true. but, once again, there are methods of fostering basic literacy. through distance learning and training programs, and again we're dropping the ball on that. what is horrifying to me is
9:00 am
that wetch spent hundreds, literally hundreds of billions of dollars on the stimulus package which essentially went mostly to unionized construction workers and unionized school teachers. those are the two largest components of where the money went. and you're protecting people who are already part of the workforce, who are already earning 60, 70, $80,000 a year and nothing is beg spent on getting people into the workforce. and the problem, the reason it's a disguised problem and has not become a political issue is people cope in other ways. they stay home in their pashts' homes, and parents homes are larger than they were in the 1930s, so there's more scope to do that. they work off the books in the underground economy, they sit in front of television sets,
9:01 am
they drink too much, they take drugs, they become involved in the underworld, but all these responses are individual responses, they're not politically visible responses. and, therefore, you have these politicians who don't feel there's anything here they have to address themselves to because people are coping in their own ways. the fact that the coping mechanisms are both personally and socially counter productive is just off the screen. . .
9:02 am
the apprenticeship programs are difficult to get into, so it helps to be a relative of a present union employees. and they leave out the unskilled. essentially illegal to employ unskilled workers on federal construction contracts. host: here is what mr. -- he writes.
9:03 am
next call for george liebmann comes from chicago. go ahead. caller: i think part of the issue is work ethics. the younger people just really poor work ethics. they go to a job and they think they are entitled to a real nice way to that people had to work years to get to. and somebody said something about hispanics. lots of hispanics work. they work and work and work. the earned their money. they are underpaid, but they earned their money. they work hard. i think the big problem with the youth is they don't believe in working hard anymore. guest: a period of austerity may change that but the problem we've got is that for many of
9:04 am
them, there will be a diversion, permanent diversion into drugs, alcohol, crime, and so on. and that is the danger. just sending these people are no good and that we should not do anything i am afraid is not too helpful. host: bought in rhode island. 22 years old. what is your story? caller: i just wanted to say that i have been looking at different jobs and i find that the federal government is turning around and theyay they don't know where the jobs are going. they have all of these free trade programs that send thousands of jobs overseas annually. and then in the same breath, the mexican border is wide open. these people are coming in and taking the jobs and the federal government is saying, we don't know why there are no jobs. i can tell them, look in the
9:05 am
mirror. the jobs that i have been going for, that i got my education for, was going to be a chemical engineer, and i look at all of the people who graduated already that i know of and i find that they are all still out of work because we are building contacts -- networking with a different people and i am finding that all of these people who are graduating are out of work and yet the state is bullying -- putting millions of dollars for a new chemical engineering thing because they supposedly say they're all these jobs that need to be done, local jobs in the state. it is like, i'm finding that for the people already graduated, there are no local jobs this. there are no jobs for this field nationwide. they keep spreading of false rumors and the people graduate, and all we get out of it is another bill. host: where did you go to school? have you graduated?
9:06 am
caller: i am still standing. host: so, are you working part time while going to school? caller: yes, i am more than part-time. at a factory, believe it or not. happy enough to have a factory job. not a dirty factory job. believe it or not, my place is in danger of moving overseas and i am making about $40 an hour which is a lot better than what most people are making the $14 an hour, which is a lot better. because i am making is a much money, and as a target and are companies that want to take over the plant and move it overseas to make less money. host: we will leave it there. george liebmann? guest: we are in a much more competitive world than we used to be. there are a lot of people will look back nostalgically to the 1950's and with good reason, but remember in the 1950's, all of
9:07 am
our competitors bond each other into smithereens and we were only -- the only industrial economy left standing. that is no longer the case. i was reminded -- there was a conversation between president kennedy and prime minister macmillan and the early 1960's. kennedy was complaining about textile imports from hong kong. "d macmillan's response was, well, we exported a lot of our textile economy from lancashire to india, we no longer make textiles, but we stayed competitive by upgrading the skills of our workforce." and that essentially is what we have to do in this country and what we are not doing. maybe we are not training people
9:08 am
in the right skills. maybe we are not providing the language qualifications that allows them to work overseas, if they have to. whenever we are doing, i don't think there is much help in trying to preserve a prosperous economy by fencing people out -- by developing what we've got here and not allowing the morale and skills of our workforce to decay. host: winter haven, florida. democrat. caller: i find this discussion a little strange because we have a lot of work that needs to be done. there is climate change coming. we have so much work in insulating our homes, if congress would pass the home saver plan. a grant to the local community college to train workers on how
9:09 am
to make in efficient buildings. i would want to ask the guests, with the civilian conservation corps, they not only built parks and so forth but they helped the farmers on their land in showing them good land conservation practices. and we are still eating off of the work done by them so many years ago. we need it again because with climate change is -- change, we will have drought in areas we have not seen drought before. guest: there is scope for that kind of thing but -- but when you're looking at 4 million unemployed, a government program of that kind, which takes time to gear up and would employ several hundred thousand perhaps is not the sole answer or even the principal answer the we have to have a mechanism that encourages companies to the
9:10 am
young. the gentleman who was in the chemical engineering program, one of the reasons for his predicament was that there is a tendency -- when there is a recession and companies have to downsize, they just stop hiring. they keep the present chemical engineers and don't need to hire new ones. there is no incentive for them to either retire people or replace them or hire new people and train them. what the germans have tried to do, quite successfully, is provide incentives to prior dehired young, sometimes in preference of those already in the workforce. i think that is what we have to think about if we want to make a substantial dent in the problem. it creates -- it involves creating a preference for the young. host: lower the retirement age? guest: i do not think the problem is the retirement age, but the cost of putting these
9:11 am
people initially on the payroll. there are costs involved in doing that. if you have programs to relieve businesses of these costs, businesses are more likely to hire younger people. host: round lake, illinois. philip. mccaw mr. liebmann, sir. -- caller: mr. liebmann, sir. good morning. with your h1-2b visas, on lou dobbs about a year ago it showed why it -- how there was so much low-level education used with those visas and how the indians who were coming over here -- welcome indians, pakistanis, chinese, they were paid 20% less than the average american.
9:12 am
there are lots of engineers who are qualified to work who are not working just because the companies want those h1-2b visas to pay a cheaper wage. you can deny that but i think you are wrong. when i was going to college -- i now totally disabled. i it was a nursing school. got a bad infection. i was listening to the women talking about how their kids could not get jobs at fast-food places to help subsidize their living expenses as a teenager and go to school. enforcey don't need to -- we need to and force our immigration laws, or at least change them. host: but look, we got your point. thank you. mr. liebmann? anything you want to add to what you have not said before?
9:13 am
guest: the immigration and national -- and naturalization service has traditionally been fairly incompetent and what you say probably illustrates that. but the basic fact is the h1 program is due to the inadequacies of science education and our high schools. i think any employer with a major corporation will tell you that and will probably be telling you the truth. i have heard this not only from people in science positions in march companies, but even people like bankers who say we just can't get people. the schools are not graduating them. the banking industry does not typically import people from abroad. but there is a real problem here. and achilles heel of the american economy is the quality of science and math education in our high schools. a lot of our employment problems with the young flow from that. i am not saying there aren't
9:14 am
anomalies like the ones you are talking about, but the reason not only for a lot of outsourcing abroad but for importing foreign workers is found in the deficiencies, the educational deficiencies, of the american work force. host: you write about the incoming republican house majority. the republican pledged proposes that the principle stimulating measure a tax reduction -- virginia. t.j., hi. caller: great to get you have. but it is interesting when you "
9:15 am
but moynihan, it was great. it seems like the democrat party wants to keep blacks and other minorities on the dole so they have a power or base. before anybody jump up and haulers racism, excuse me, people, it is prejudiced. hitler was a racist. the common everyday big it is prejudiced. host: wrap up your comment. we are almost out of time. caller: i saw on c-span about six months ago that a black family with a living mother and father that were married has a better chance of being together under slavery and during the civil war than today. host: mr. liebmann, does the democratic party have an incentive to keep people on the ball? guest: no, it is the line of least resistance. there is no question that blacks are the core of the democratic
9:16 am
base. and it is going to dawn on many of them that they are being very badly served by the policy that moynihan be cried, the policy of relying on a on a -- unemployment, food stamps and welfare rather than work relief. it is the difference between the policy of the modern democratic party -- clinton and obama -- and a policy roosevelt pursued. i think they would be much -- there would be much more sympathy of efforts to help the unemployed and the poorf roosevelts palaces were pursued now, and the and this is was work relief. it is very hard to say no to the proposition that people should not be idle and should not be in a position where they are not developing their skills. the message, the core message that i am trying to bring to this is that although creating
9:17 am
the german-type programs are not the line of least resistance to the way we should go. host: bradley, a lantern, georgia. 24 years old. caller: i am glad you guys are talking about this. something i have been worried about for some time. i recently returned to school from leaving the work force. i focused my studies on studying abroad, international affairs, rather than domestic because i do not feel like there is a security here in the future. the problems of my generation comes from decades of problems with politicians and our economic policies and things. i think that training-based subsidies would go along way toward ensuring our future i would even go so far to say, universal education. poor people are around my age
9:18 am
who will be the future leaders of our country, i think that would go a long way toward ensuring that america continues to rise and not decline. host: give us your story. where are you studying -- it working? caller: i am studying at georgia state. i had been unemployed for a year. i recently got a seasonal job for the holidays, $8 an hour in retail. the whole time i was on unemployment, i was asking and seeking for some kind of training that would help me get a better job that would help me get by while i was in school. host: you are going to georgia state now? caller: yes, sir. host: thank you for calling in did any final comments? guest: once again, we are not
9:19 am
training people to whom we give unemployment and welfare. we are not making serious as it -- efforts either through government programs or subsidy of private programs to do that. the programs we do have are not tied to the needs of an employee years. the beauty of the german system is that the employers have a considerable voice in what the training is. you are training for real jobs, not hypothetical ones. but even if you don't do that, there is a lot of skill or programs that train people in computer skills, which train people in foreign laing bridge -- languages, critical foreign languages. mit has a program where people in underdeveloped countries can access their website and take programs in the sciences. you don't see that sort of
9:20 am
things -- thing being popularized in the united states. we are completely out of lunch -- all to lunch as far as distance learning. i think a lot of the frustration would be relieved if he could stay at home and train themselves and that fashion. host: george liebmann has been our guest. here it is his op-ed piece in "the baltimore sun." he is the volunteer executive director of the calvert institute for policy research. thank you. about 40 minutes left in our program. we will turn our attention to this -- citizens' handbook. influencing york elected official. we will be right back. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
9:21 am
>> take a look at the new members of congress with the c- span video library. find a complete list. every new member is listed, what their district map, campaign finances for the midterm elections and any appearances on c-span. all free on your computer any time. it is washington, your way. >> this weekend on book tv's " afterwards." with polling data from eight arab countries james zogby questions muslims and discusses his findings with a reporter who discusses the middle east -- covers the middle east. on c-span2. this week marked the 47th anniversary of the assassination of president client -- kennedy. we will talk with gerald blain
9:22 am
and the clinton hill, c or service agents whose job was to protect the president. events of that day, conspiracy theories and mr. blaine's new book. sunday night on q&a. >> "washington journal" continues. host: "the citizens handbook for influencing elected officials." the author is brad fitch, he is our guest this morning. how much influence does an average constituent have with members of congress? guest: they have a lot more influence than they realize. one of the myths is that special interest really control washington. in reality, most of the decisions members of congress make about most of the issues were actually made as a result of the influence of citizens. they could be citizens coming in as part as fly0ins or lobby
9:23 am
days, people will go to town hall meetings or one citizen or individual who writes a thoughtful letter that captors demand -- attention of a member of congress. host: you read about the real influence of lobbyists. you said the popular trail of lobbyists' influence is largely inaccurate. you go on to say that lobbyists, often a former congressional staffers and members of congress, the trade on their previous relationships to gain access to those in power but once they get that access they are armed mostly with the facts surrounding a topic and how it might affect a group of people. citizens have the same tools. access to the members of congress and knowledge of how an issue might impact their lives. audience may be cynical about that. guest: i can appreciate that.
9:24 am
the next paragraph goes into that further, "how -- how lobbyists to influence members of congress. with the facts. i will go into how citizens a more effective than lobbyist. i want to -- run a group of wooded a survey of congressional staff a few years ago and asked a question if your member of congress has not already arrived at a firm decision how influential might this following strategy be on his or her decision making? a lot, some, no influence at all. 99% said that constituent visits, meeting with an individual one on one, would have some are a lot of influence. in comparison to lobbyists, over 60% said citizens would have a lot of influence and only 50% said lobbyists would have a lot of influence. there is actually dated to support the idea that citizens make a difference and lobbyists are in many respects abrogating
9:25 am
the data to try to explain to members of congress -- aggregating the data to try to explain to members of congress what impact it may have. host: how important is it that one is a constituent of a member of congress or senator? guest: all-important. i get questions about how to influence legislators who don't represent me. the easily complaint, but their complaint is mr. madison and hamilton. we live in a republic. the system is set up some members of congress are responsive to constituents. one of the most important things you can say -- the first words out of your mouth are, i am a constituent and i care about this issue. of its goal -- host: another issue of one to get out of the way before we go to calls. first of all, does joe six
9:26 am
pack, joe average, get access to a member of congress? and won a number from the constituency say i would like an appointment -- can one caller from a constituent is a of an appointment? guest: it is that it ego as a group. also that if you meet in a district office. many people think of washington were all the legislation happens but many members of congress need with constituents in their district offices. people literally just have to pick up the phone and call or they can go to a town hall meeting. which of the phenomenon last august where we had not the people at town hall meetings. one of the best educations was working for a suburban maryland member of congress. went to over 100 town hall meetings. we were lucky if we got 30 or 40 people. if you want to influence members go to town hall meetings. tell me the stafford that you want to ask a question and what you want to ask and you will
9:27 am
have an opportunity. host: if you have a genuine question for your member of congress, a letter, e-mail, phone call? guest: the research i referenced and is batting we did showed it was not the vehicle that made the difference. e-mail or letters have the same amount of influence. it is whether or not it was individualized. if the constituent took the time to tell a personal story and said this is how this legislation is going to influence me. if there is a quick turnaround time, a vote on the floor to mark, the phone call as a little faster. piper mail takes one week or two weeks because it has to be irradiated these days as a result of the anthrax attacks in 2001. a female is process quickly. but on calls it through the fastest. host: before we go to calls on how to influence, campaign
9:28 am
contributors are less influential than you think. guest: i know that is another one of the myths. it is a dirty secret that even politicians don't want to get out is campaign contributions aren't really as an influential as you might think. i asked the chief of staff and the book and asked who has more influence, a person gives you $1,000 or a constituent who comes in on a fly-in, and he said it depends on who makes the best argument. does it give you access? sure. but a vote that way because they contribute? it just doesn't happen. they look at issue to try to determine what is the right way for me to vote that is consistent with constituent of use and will will help me in the polls of the next time i stand for reelection. host: who do you hope lies in this book? guest: everybody, of course. -- host: luby think buys this book?
9:29 am
guest: everybody, of course. people who think their voice does not matter. people who want to have impact on the legislative process and think it's perhaps they can't. this will hopefully give them tools and inspiration. host: you worked for both republicans and democrats? whom? caller: started my career as an intern for a conservative republic -- republicaand ended with a progressive democrat and now i am a practicing independent and the commonwealth of virginia. host: south carolina. caller: this topic is a very interesting. when it comes to lindsey graha m, you would not influence him. the number one question we ask him is who is he working for
9:30 am
because it is certainly not his constituents. guest: i can certainly understand why you feel that way. i had the good fortune for the last 25 years to work with members of congress and staff. a popular view that members of congress are not listening is not true. they actually are trying to listen to their constituents and be responsive in any way they can. i will give you a good example. i was interviewing a senior chief of staff for a senator right after the anthrax attacks into doubt in 115 individuals lost their lives. as a result, the canceled all the delivery of mail to capitol hill. the chief of staff was telling me, my boss feels completely disconnected because he doesn't have the opportunity to hear what his constituents are saying. it really does make a difference when you get involved. members of congress to listen. but they also follow their head. they think about an issue and look at -- when sometimes they
9:31 am
might not be listening they are listening but they are making up their own minds, too. host: democrat. sarasota, florida. guest: i would love to believe this man hopeful -- i hate to say, nonsense, because lobbyists are often, where conservatives are concerned, are writing legislation. the new members of congress, new members of the state legislatures and all of that, they rely on lobbyists and the, the bureaucrats in place. this whole thing is built around money. i've been to town hall forums and i had to prop up my arm -- mr. buchanan, i knew his manager, they went around me in any way to avoid serious questions that i knew i would ask.
9:32 am
this propaganda it is unfortunate. i would love to believe this man. i think he is out of touch -- host: alright, we got the point. mr. fitch? guest: and i out of touch? i hope not. although my family would say so. i could understand why people believe this. i was watching a cable television program last year, and they were doing the typical pundits are roundtable and they were decrying that congress had given itself $93,000 in petty cash increase. $93,000 in petty cash increase. there is no petty cash. no such thing. complete fabrication. much of what we are seeing unfortunately is not their real congress. one of the things you have to recognize is most of the things legislators make aren't around balancing the budget, aren't around health care or the war in iraq. those are big issues and they do make decisions on those issues.
9:33 am
most of the decisions they make are influencing a smaller group of constituents. they are determining whether optometrists or ophthalmologist will be about to perform procedures on veterans, when the horses can be transported on single becker or double decker trucks or whether ethanol can be 15% or 10% in said gasoline. that is what most of congress does. that is not front-page news. i can understand that people believe congress does not listen where they are unresponsive. but when they mix it up and get involved in the legislative process, they will get a very responsive reaction from their legislature. its coat that caller brought up the fact that a think lobbyists are denied host: he thinks -- the caller things lobbyists are writing legislation. guest: i kind of like the idea that people for the american farm bureau and representatives are contributing ideas to bills
9:34 am
affecting farmers board or the osteopaths are cringing to legislation to combat effects osteopathy. it does not mean a finalize legislation and open the decision lies with the elected officials. host: something you address in your book is the issue of committee staff. what is the importance of committee staff for a constituent? guest: the committees are rebels are made. at audubon bismarck, if you like laws or sausages, don't watch how i there is made an committees are the sausage factory where they are done. they are the experts. often the smartest people in washington. if you can call the bureau cat -- bureaucrats, but i am glad there are people working on these issues. they are hard to influence, to be honest. they don't open their doors to constituents and they don't meet regularly but they are influenced by the legislators
9:35 am
and policy makers. they are influenced by the issues themselves. the wonks of washington. host: flint, michigan. caller: i completely agree with the previous caller. he has probably been swirling with my his whole life and meet the not understand the purpose of democracy. i am unemployed and i did not have a lot of money to purchase democracy. i don't think mr. franklin or jefferson could imagine big money politics and a person who has all the money has all of the power. you are totally out of touch. the guy previous was completely correct. money can purchase things. host: we got a point. i want to add this tweet the guest: of course, i do. host: there is cynicism. guest: i can see that. part of it is i think the congress gets a bad rap.
9:36 am
i think people do not understand institution and the people who come here are better than they ever tried on television -- except on c-span, the average rate accurately. i will give you quote for the late, great journalist, tim russert. he was asked what is the one story we should cover in washington and we don't. without risk -- missing a beat, he said most of the people who come here are decent, good americans, who just happen to disagree with other decent, good americans. i have worked with these members of staff for 30 years and they are hardworking people. they were the equivalent of two jobs. the pew research center did a survey of members of congress about 10 years ago and asked how many hours do you work and members of congress, 75% say they worked 70 hours a week or more. this is a hard job and most of them are dedicated to trying to do right. i know it is not portrayed that way.
9:37 am
hollywood does not give it a wreck -- good rap. but the real congress, would you do not often see, are just a bunch of hard-working americans. host: kansas. ken of the republican libra have you ever call or visited a member of congress? caller: i have called but never did get i net dennis moore once. it's good your news senator? caller: yes. host: when you wrote or called your member of congress, did you get a response and were you pleased? caller: i got a response to every letter, however, they seemed to be form letters and not really addressing exactly what my concern was. that was part of my frustration. guest: we see that in my organization, and we try to help members of congress do a better job replying to mail. we did a survey of the american public in 2007 and amazingly 44% of adult americans have
9:38 am
indicated they contacted the member of congress within the last five years. that is extraordinarily -- extraordinary. but only 47% of them were satisfied. and last five to 10 years we have seen an explosion of interest in communications and capitol hill. but the number of people that are actually staffing the members of congress, permanent staff, has been set by law and not increased since 1974. 300% to 400% in interest and not an increase in staffing. the price of gasoline was 55 cents in 1974. it shows you the type of problems they are facing. technologically, they are also challenged. anytime a member of congress increases spending, they are accused of spending and on themselves. that means the computers, hiring more staff, they are getting
9:39 am
beat up for that. it is not a fair rap, but what happens. host: you called in for a different reason. go ahead and ask your question to brad fitch. caller: could you repeat where we could get a copy of this book? the guest: the publisher is and it is available on host: the author is brad fitch. if they go to your congressional management foundation -- guest: we have not putting up there yet but i think we have to now. host: oklahoma. bob, democrat. hi. caller: i think i am just joining a chorus of people that theory here ith's is nonsense prattle that we teach children. you are completely leaving out
9:40 am
the role of party discipline. if what you say is true, then why would the republicans vote as a unit and democrats vote as a unit? guest: that is a great question. you are absolutely right. certainly in the house of representatives when a bill gets to the floor there is strong discipline. the issues have been worked out. but at the committee level, when you do work through these bills, you see a lot across party lines. certainly in the senate you will see more. a lot more discipline in a few years but i worked for a senator for five years, and i can tell you how many hours we spent in his office going over one vote and one issue. it does a ranch with members of congress on some of these boats. but i could certainly see on the floor of the house, yes, party discipline is strong.
9:41 am
but, again, most of the issues that people are trying to influence members of congress about are not those major issues on the floor. if you look at a member's schedule coming this spring, you are not going to see them meeting with people on the big health care debate or the war in afghanistan. you are going to see them meeting with nurses and teachers and doctors and florists and all of the different groups that come to washington. host: do you find when there are postcard campaigns or groups in a constituency that all belong to, say, liberal or conservative philosophical group, do you find postcard campaigns be affected or not? guest: we often get a question about what influence of those campaigns have but it depends on the issue itself. because members do what what influence that group has. i used the example of ophthalmologists and optometrists. a great case is that it.
9:42 am
if you years ago the veterans administration changed regulations on who can perform minor medical procedures on veterans. they expanded to allow optometrists to do this. ophthalmologists were up in arms. they believed they should be the only ones. so they launched a campaign. it really only took about 10 or 15 guys in white coats to come up to capitol hill and talk to members of congress and say, look, you don't want of thomas -- and i love optometrist, by the way -- doing this procedure. it did not take a big campaign. other times you do want to see that large volume can really sway members of congress and get their attention. host: phoenix, arizona. james, republican line. guest: -- e. hammer -- caller: i want to prove mr. fitch is right on the money. i and christian and have the merit a lot of years. look, 4% of the united states
9:43 am
population has alternate lifestyle, gay and lesbian, and look at their voice. if they get involved, look at what they get. it proves that the statistics that this man is telling, you need to believe him. it is just that everybody is upset with the current state of affairs. you know, i understand we want to yell at somebody. but, you know, the is going a good job and i believe what you are saying. you, with the statistics. if i don't believe you, i could check your facts. host: mr. fitch, would it be helpful to call the speaker's office, call the majority leader's office, if you are not a constituent of that state or district? guest: the leadership offices are not designed for that. if you want to influence the speaker, influence your member of congress to talk to the speaker or the minority leader. they do have the ability to
9:44 am
interact with members of congress. you wanted able to talk to the committee chairman or speaker, a minority leader, the path of influencing is through your individual senators and members of congress. host: if you call and say i saw the representative at the ball on saturday and he or she said to call. does it help? guest: sure, because you might be telling the truth. if your staff for does not respond, they are in a lot of trouble. a member of congress was describing how he was an influence on middle east policy, when he was first base coach of little league and one of the moms was chewing his ear off. he had to stay there. could not leave. she made a lot of good points. seeing members of congress and just bumping into them and talking to them at hawk -- ad
9:45 am
hoc, they like it. one thing we forget about politicians is they want to be loved, they want to say yes. one person said every member congress is like a middle child try to please his father. it is just the staff that is not want to say yes because it creates more work. but they do want the interaction. they are that type of folk and they do want to feed off of it. host: democrat. maryland. go ahead. caller: i agree with some of your callers that this man is not in touch. i talked to my congressmen and senators and worked hard with a group of people to get health care passed, and we talked to republicans, and they only agree with you is -- if it is their ideology. democrats will work and listened to you. i find it all the time. i asked republicans to write me
9:46 am
back letters and tell me why they vote the way they do. they don't care what their constituents want. they just want to back their ideology and won't listen to you. my congressmen and senators, i find they are more open and they will listen and talk to you. and i just don't think the gentleman here knows what he is talking about. host: all right. guest: connie, let me give you one story. i was interviewing a member of congress about what influenced him on a decision and he told me he changed his position on whether or not to back federal funding of stem cell research from being a no to yes. i said, now, you are a pro-life republican. what motivated you to change your position? he said, he was approached by a
9:47 am
young man who came on a lobby day to capitol hill and he was 17 and he said i've got juvenile diabetes and it is my hope that someday this research might result in a cure for me and others like me. the congressman said, i felt i owed it to him to research my position and to be sure of myself and after researching i decided i should back this type of research. members of congress are not as they are portrayed on television. sometimes, frankly, peter, members do this to themselves. they beat themselves up or they run against congress. just a let me, i am the only one that is honest. i never understood that. like the coca-cola salesman saying, don't drink pepsi, it rots your teeth. they sometimes do a disservice to themselves when they do not recognize the good that they and their -- and their colleagues and agent. -- engage in.
9:48 am
an e-mail -- guest: that is one of the myths i tried to debunk, that members of congress did not know what is in the bills. these are political animals whose entire careers depend upon how their votes are interpreted. every member of congress know exactly what they are voting on. they don't read the actual bills, they have lawyers do that. but they get the brief summaries, overuse -- sometimes detailed summaries, section by section, that tells them what are in the bills and they are examined and there aides are
9:49 am
coming over them. do occasionally provisions it's not in by people, especially the big bills? we had a recent example of the healthcare bill -- that does happen occasionally. but most of the time, almost always, members of congress are keenly aware of what they are voting on and they do know what is in the pieces of legislation. host: about 10 minutes left with our guest of bread fitch. tennessee. roger, independent line. are you with us? caller: i am with you. i just want to say that i had contacted mr. lamar alexander, one of our senators, and he has really helped me out. unfortunately at the age of 40 i
9:50 am
became disabled, and he really responded to me almost daily on a personal basis. host: you had success when you contact your senator? caller: -- guest: roger brings up a really valuable point. there are two types of people who interact with members of congress -- people with an opinion and people with an interest. if a woman gets up at a town hall meeting and says we have to get out of afghanistan, the member files in one part of the brain, but the woman says we need to get out of afghanistan because my son is stationed there, it has a completely different impact. they have a moral and ethical irresponsibility that they did not if it was just somebody offering an opinion. roger had an interest. he had skin in the game. members of congress are very responsive. most people don't know that more than half of the staff in the
9:51 am
personal offices for members of congress are really constituent- driven and are doing nothing but a constituent work. casework, where somebody has a problem with a federal agency and they need help and they need a liaison and staff members usually in district offices, and then the legislative correspondents and assistance to respond to the thousands of communications that come to capitol hill. host: mr. happy ones to know via tweet -- guest: yes, absolutely. it is really vital that you do build a relationship with staff. if you go into a town hall, there is always going to be a staff member and that is a good opportunity to say hello and to meet the district or state director. if you come to washington, grab that business card of the legislative assistant with the issue interest that is important to you. host: houston. michael, republican line.
9:52 am
caller: mr. finch, first, thank you for reading your book. honestly i think it will serve many people would take the time to read it very well. often things are a mystery. how things work -- and they can't educate themselves readily and easily if they took the time. i venture to say that a lot of people are calling -- when they say you are out of touch, i could not disagree more and everything. what i think is they are the ones who are generally out of touch and just taking the popular press of you were sound bite you and taking apology and treating it as fact and expounded on that to their fellow citizens and things like that. people need to take the time to get involved with the government process if they want to influence it. my wife does this. she writes frequently to members of congress and the senate.
9:53 am
from our district and from our state. and she does get responses. sometimes they are not always agreeable but that is part of the process. we are built on compromise, and people who think they are going to get there with all the time are deluding themselves. anyway, i wanted thank you again. i think you are in touch and thank you for writing your book. i will be picking it up very soon. guest: thank you, michael. michael touched on the practicals of what people should do and how they can prepare. one of the things we talk about is do a little research on your issue, to know what you are talking about. there is a part in the back where we have the advocate pledge that i encourage people to take. the first article is, yes, my member of congress have a constitution of response ability to listen to me, but i must know what i am talking about. i do encourage people to know the issues. and if they are going to a town hall meeting, bring talking
9:54 am
points to handout. i was interviewing a senator for a book and i said, what do you get from town hall meetings? i met in the aggregate. he says, i get things like this. he held up a piece of paper. i said, whether you going to do with the piece of paper? i will hand it to one of my legislative assistant and ask him to respond. there were 50 people at the town hall meeting. one person bought a piece of paper. where do you think that's task is put on the to do list because that member handed a piece of paper, and that made the difference of elevating that person's influence simply because they brought a piece of paper to a town hall meeting. host: buffalo, you are on "washington journal." caller: mr. fitch, i do not know if your book was reviewed in any of the major newspapers or stock in bookstores around the nation,
9:55 am
i am pretty sure it will be carried in the fiction department. guest: [laughter] host: why do you say that? caller: i have to agree with most of the callers. i consider myself a sophisticated follow were of politics. but i have to agree that mr. fitch's material is nonsense. he will probably make a few dollars. that is what america is all about. but let me ask this, if i could. since you feel that the constituents is really what the congressmen want to satisfy as opposed to the corporate person who shows up with $25,000 or $50,000 for the campaign, what is the position, if any, in your book -- for example, do you favor public financing and the elimination of all money? have you taken a position in
9:56 am
your book about the money that flows? and we are talking billions and billions of dollars, for example, in the last midterm election. what is your position on money question guest: i take your position. i am a practicing independent. we don't touch on any issues in the book, nor in my role at the congressional management foundation. let's talk about money, for a second. i give you one example -- if money interest really dominant washington, we would have immigration reform. back in 2006 we had a piece of legislation supported by mccain and kennedy, you had a republican president, you had every major interest group in washington that had given millions of dollars that were in favor of immigration reform, from american farm bureau, a chamber of commerce, society of american florists. they all supported it. we did not have immigration reform. you may debate whether or not the debate was fair and the word
9:57 am
and is the wisdom around, you might say maybe people were misled. but if money interest really controlled it, why didn't that money influence immigration reform? it is because the american people got upset and they wrote a lot of letters and send e- mail and made phone calls and they did not want that bill passed. it's come mark from minnesota delights host: mark from minnesota e-mails -- guest: you cannot hand out checks on the floor of representatives. a lot of people are thinking of the converts, frankly, of the way it was 20 years ago. i started on capitol hill back in the 1980's, and there was a lot more stuff that was going on back then that would probably curl your hair. they passed a lot of ethics legislation to restrict that. there is this one story that i
9:58 am
tell that is really important, that i think shows the influence of one person's voice. if you years ago george w. bush was signing a bill in the rose garden that dealt with hunger and one of the people there was dr. david beckman, he runs bread for the world. it is a non-partisan -- it just wants to feed hungry people. he took the opportunity to lobby the president and said, mr. president, thank you for this legislation, but i want to bring to your attention another important provision in your budget of the millennium challenge account. it got $1 billion last year and we are hoping to increase funding 10% next year. the president said i am not an expert but i know someone who is. he beckoned over senator richard lugar from indiana and the ask him about the millennium challenge account and the senator said i know a bit more today than yesterday because a constituent of mine, connie week from indianapolis, would be a letter about this and said this is very important, -- important
9:59 am
she was 87 years old, lives in a retirement indiana -- retirement community in indiana. it does not have an army of lobbsts. to my knowledge, has never gone golfing with a member of congress. one woman with one voice who thought we to feed the hungry. the next the of the bush administration increase the proposed funding for $1 billion up to $2.5 billion. did that one letter do it? i don't know. but you have to ask yourself, when you are communicating with members of congress, maybe one letter will make a difference and begin neighbors and friends to do it at what -- as well, i know it will make a difference. host: congressman may spend 70 hours a week working but -- guest: maybe not 95% of the time. but, yes, they have to spend a lot of time raising


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on