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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  April 5, 2012 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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the general services administration for excess of spending at a 2010 convention in las vegas. our guest is tom shoop. host: health care is back in the news after president obama's remarks about the supreme court to and that issue. this morning on "washington journal," we want to get your reaction to this discussion. here are some of the news articles from this morning on this issue. here is the "washington post" -- president obama at steff gainer this week when he took the unusual step of commenting on the supreme court's deliberations, saying it would be an unprecedented step for the
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justices to overturn the health care law. host: here is the president on monday. [video clip] >> i am confident that the supreme court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a
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democratically elected congress. i just remind conservative commentators that for years, we have for the biggest problem on the bench is a lack of judicial restraint. that a non-elected group of people would overturn a constituted and passed law. well, that is a good example. i am confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step. host: back to the "washington post" -- the debate over obama's liberation's --
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host: a white house - host: the president spoke about this on tuesday. here is what he had to say. [video clip] >> the point i was making is that the supreme court is the
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final say on our constitution and our laws. all of us have to respect it. it is precisely because of the extraordinary power that the court has traditionally exercised significant restraint to our legislature, our congress. and so, the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this. host: 202 is the area code for our numbers. we want to get your reaction to the president and his health care remarks. the numbers are on the screen. please allow 30 days between your calls. reminder that you can also contact us electronically. e-mail durnell@ -- journal@c-
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span.org or follow us on twitter or facebook. "the new york times" takes a different tactic on this issue. courts potential to go voter swings to democrats.
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host: now, to your comments. we begin with brenda in texas. brenda, what you think about all of this? caller: it is fantastic. our president is saying what he should be saying. yes, if they do issue down his health care deal, it will galvanize the democrats. not only that, our money and everything else. when i think of the supreme
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court, they are a bunch of clowns to me. they are a joke. they would only do we expect them to do. thank you, peter. have a good day. host: 0 yen in new orleans. good morning. caller: good morning. i am a republican in a peculiar position of saying that activism hasn't affected both parties. we went through the obamacare, which i happen personally not to agree with, but we went through over a year of the legislative process. debate comic-con debate, our demands. everybody has had an opportunity to buy debt the apple. then the president -- to bite at the apple. let us run to court and overturn it. we say, we are for judicial restraint. how can we be for judicial restraint when we are doing the same tactics that we accused the
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democrats of? as far as this judge, this guy from the fifth circuit, court of appeal, which is a new orleans, i find it preposterous. if i were the justice department or the president, i would simply say, sorry, that is your order. unforced it. you go right to a 3 page minimum, single spaced -- how arrogant. talk about the effect that the judges have become our world's leaders. let the dam it -- led the democratic process take place. host: thank you. it william mentioned his issue with the fifth circuit judge. jetta upset by obama's comments. this is from abc news. president obama warned that if the supreme court overturned his signature health-care overhaul, it would amount to overreach by an unelected courts.
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the supreme court is set to issue a ruling later this year and whether the strike down -- to strike down some of the health care law. during oral arguments in houston in a separate challenge to another aspect of the federal health care law, u.s. fifth circuit court of appeals judge said obama's comments troubling number of people who have read them as a challenge to the authority of federal courts. "i am referring to statements by the president in the past few days to the effect -- i am sure you have heard about the -- that it is inappropriate for unelected judges to strike as of tongress that have enjoyed i what he termed a broad consensus and majorities in both houses of congress." he goes on to say i want to be sure that you are telling us that the attorney general and the department of justice to recognize the authority of the federal courts to unelected
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judges to strike acts of congress or portions thereof inappropriate cases. he went on to say that he wanted to select your. the letter -- to say he wanted a letter. that needs to be 3 pages, single spaced and it needs to be specific. it needs to make reference to the president's statement. that is what judge smith had to say. this is in "the washington times" this morning. eric holder said wednesday that the justice department will respond appropriately to a federal appellate judge in texas who demanded a letter recognizing the authority of the federal courts to strike down laws passed by congress. host: next call comes from
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maine. john, independent. what do you think about all this? caller: the supreme court judges are interpreting the law. that is all they are doing. thank god for checks and balances. the only president that had the gumption to go up against them was and protection. -- interjects and. it was the cherokee indians -- andrew jackson. it was the cherokee indians that went to somewhere else. when the cherokees' challenged it in the court overruled jackson and he said to the people -- he decided they could it force it. he was the only person i knew that went up against the courts. thank god for checks and balances. all the supreme court is doing is interpreting the law. nothing else.
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that judge was asking -- host: we leave it there. mike is a republican in san diego. hello. caller: good morning. this administration is mistaken if they believe that this country's economy -- host: back to the "washington post" article. obama's comments on court- stirred debates. host: candidates regularly denounce the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit and he said he thought obama was being similarly cute --
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host: next call comes from boston. a democrat. you are on the air. good morning. caller: yes, good morning, c- span. thank you for taking my call. i have two comments. i think that antonin scalia, the comments he made about obamacare, it is called the affordable health care act. am i right? am i right? host: what is your comment. make your comment. caller: republicans are nothing but hypocrites. the first time romney gets in office, get ready for your jobs to be outsourced. thank you. host: aura. republican. hello. caller: at one time i was
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supportive of the green party because the democrats interrupted my work as a screenplay writer. i moved upstate and we were so happy. -- when obama got in. this type of activity is still going on, and directing sleep and closing rate of -- causing great difficulty. i have been reviewed. i am a writer. host: i know you have something to say, but will you tie it in to help cure or not? caller: -- host: we have to leave it there. here are some of the facebook, and we have gotten. -- here are some of the facebook comments we have gotten the.
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host: those are some of the facebook comments we have gotten so far this morning. back to your comments on president obama, the supreme court, and his health care remarks. alabama. and it on our democrats' line. you are on the air. -- emmett on our democrats' line. you are on the air. go ahead. caller: the supreme court, which made the decision to allow unlimited funds into our presidential race, this became a code -- a political action
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committee. that is my comment. host: thank you. from "the new york times" --
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host: tom and our republican line. you are on "washington journal." what you think about president obama, the supreme court, and health care remarks? caller: number one, i think the problem with president obama and the democratic party and the supreme court is that they try to pull the wool over the eyes of the supreme court. when they tried it, the supreme court kick -- picked the guy apart. they tried to call something commerce that is that commerce and direct him. -- and they ripped him. i want the viewers to think about where we might be today if there had been a real negotiation on this bill. what if they would have allowed the court reform? what if they would have allowed the interstate marketing of
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health plans and given that to the republicans and put it in the bill? where would we be today? we would not be arguing with each other. we would have a solid bill. we would have a true, none- partisan bill that could go forward. it is a shame. thank you. host: from "politico" -- nancy pelosi believes the supreme court will uphold the health care a lot and by a healthy margin. it is a question -- lesson in civics. i respect the court in judicial review. from "the huffington post" this morning. here it is --
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host: this refers to a 1905 supreme court case. that struck down a state law capping weekly hours for bakers. this era stretched from the 1890's to the 1930's when a conservative supreme court
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struck down liberal economic regulations at the state and federal levels. invoking the specter of aggressive judicial activism has long been the legalese the equivalent of brandishing a cross before a vampire. president obama knows full world that no justice wants to be grouped with discredited predecessors creed of laissez- faire social darwinism policy preferences to thwart the will of the people on issues ranging from minimum wage to child labor. that is "the huffington post." kansas city, missouri. barbara on our democrats' line. what do you think? caller: i was calling in to say that the republicans are doing what they do best. they are saying outrage over anything that obama does. they have cried about the courts
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for years, whenever it is not going their way. this deal will galvanize the democrats if it did start down. because, actually, it is a republican bill, and you -- any way. obama did everything he could to do the bill they wanted it. everything in there are things they hollered about and he turned around and did what they want. it is a republican bill. maybe we will get the -- get what america deserves. the taxes we would take forever but to have medicare for all would not even a fraction of what people pay for their premiums now. the republicans are just always screaming and jumping up and down and you are not patriotic and he is a muslim and i justin and understand them.
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anybody that is a republican, i think needs to have their head examined. thank you. host: from "the washington times." kamahl romney felda -- donald rahm spelled is coming to the rescue. a hearing officer determined his main accuser was disgruntled and an autopsy showed the dead men were shot in the front, not in the back, as the accuser said. he resigned his commission and settle in north carolina. he is running as a republican against representative mike mcintyre, currently serving his eighth term.
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he was coming to washington to appear with mr. rahm spelled -- rumsfeld. that is in "the washington times" this morning. senator pat toomey endorses dave schweikert. he was locked in a heated gop primary battle against fellow representative been quayle and picked up an endorsement this morning from pat toomey. they are facing off in the suburban phoenix 6 the district. toomey's support helps schweikert makes his case as the most conservative candidate. that is in "roll-call." one more article about a member
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of congress. alan i. representative tim johnson to retire. -- illinois representative tim johnson to retire despite winning the gop primary just a few weeks ago. host: that was a factor in johnson's decision. he will announce his decision today, according to the report, which also stated johnson felt comfortable with his decision, given that perennial candidate -- it goes on to give a little bit about congressman johnson. he is a sixth term lawmaker. he is known as a bit of a loner in the house and he also got national attention for his phone
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call where he tries to call every one of his 300,000 constituents. the new congressional lines to many of those families out of his district, leaving him to tell the "washington post." -- that is agony. what is this all about? back to your calls on president obama, the supreme court, and health care. tennessee. justin, you are on the "washington journal." caller: hello. good, good. there is a president the president is setting. i am an independent. i have not seen too much on c- span. all this boils down to the constitution. the health care law seems to be
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the one that is getting the most press when i find myself asking why a citizen can be arrested without charge? and without trial. i find myself also wondering why my fellow veterans have gone through all all they have gone through. what we're really fighting for it, if we can have somebody in office who can do all of those things and actually threaten the supreme court with what president obama has threatened everybody with. host: we leave it there and move on to barry in north carolina. what do you think about all of this talk about the supreme court? caller: well, it is a lot worse than what it could be. everybody is scared and stuff like that. i would rather have everybody prepared for something crazy to have been -- to happen. even those these are blown out of proportion, -- i would rather
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have this going on than that stuff. personally, you know, he wanted universal health care or something like that. then he ended with this. i do not even know if he is really into it. i do not see why he is making a big fight about it because maybe the republicans are right on this one. maybe they are going about it in the wrong way. they're still right. maybe the republicans -- maybe they are not such bad people. maybe their bark is bad, but their plight is even worse. host: all right. this is tony on twitter. if the court disagrees with the point of view, it is legitimate.
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that is one comment. here is joseph saying -- appellate court judge out of bounds. doj may respond to diffuse issue. dumb new -- dumb move by the judge. another comment by gary. it is humorous how each part because the court activist when it does things with which it disagrees, cannot have it both ways. the currentico" an-- race across the country as the president at 40% in mitt romney and 39%. that is from "politico." here is "the huffington post." rick santorum trills mitt romney in pennsylvania.
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host: mitt romney will be in pennsylvania today, talking about energy. that will be live on c-span at 2:45 p.m. eastern time. that comes after our 2:00 p.m. life from the white house, where the president signs the jobs act. one more political article. santorum taking a four day break from the campaign trail. this is from fox d.c.. rick santorum is that to continue the fight against mitt romney, but a note from his team announced he will do so after taking a four-day break from the gop presidential campaign trail. the campaign will be taking a break from the campaign trail so that the team has an opportunity to return to their homes and spent time with family and friends.
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next call on president obama, the supreme court, and health care comes from brian in vancouver, washington. hello. caller: hello. thank you for taking my call. i am a first-time caller. i think what has me concerned, probably more than anything, is that we have reached this point where we have to bring this bill to the supreme court. i think both parties have actually led us down. i am an independent. i think it is tragic that both parties have let us down. i think another concern that a lot of people like myself who do not have health insurance due to being out of work have is that the first year or two of mr. obama's term, he was focused on working on obamacare as opposed to the real concerns in the country, which were employment.
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now, it looks as if it is going to bite him. it will go to the supreme court. i just kind of hope for the best. either way. i just think that president obama, overall, has been a disgrace to the country. i wish and i pray that he does not win the next election. host: my donna's comment on facebook. this is quite troubling-- madonna's comment on facebook. this is quite troubling. the supreme court should be free from being politicized.
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host: democrat in new orleans. you are on "washington journal." hello. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. it is pretty amazing to see all -- here all of the inflammatory remarks -- hear all the inflammatory remarks. that talking about a bill was put together by mitt romney, who is currently leading the gop. basically, this is a republican bill that the republicans have pulled. i do not know if the gop is
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fighting the bill or anything that the democrats put out. that is not bipartisan. people seem to want to tear each other down and the country is not going anywhere. thank you. host: thank you. it is almost over for santorum, this is in "the wall street journal."
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host: more and more republicans
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think such a bloodletting would severely set back the cause of death seeking barack obama. again, in "the wall street journal." the lead story in "of the l.a. times."
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host: that is the lead story this morning. back to your calls on the president, the supreme court, and healthcare. next up is a republican in mississippi. good morning. caller: good morning. i was just wanting to say that -- where is the clergy and all of this? the bible teaches us to take care of the poor. you do not hear anything about that. this health care bill is not what they set out to get. they said that to get health care for everybody. -- set out to get health care for everybody. insurance companies do not benefit. i do not think the president wants to see this bill passed in the first place. i think he kind of took what he got on it. that is my comment. host: of vermont -- i think obama was well in his right to comment about the health-care
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debate in the supreme court. we have three independent branches of government, right? the supreme court injected politics to the debate by respecting right-wing talking points. radio talk-show host mark weighed in on fox knows the -- fox news yesterday. . is. [video clip] >> none of the points he made yesterday or the day before were even legal. they were not even constitutional. they were absurd. mostly aimed at riling people, getting people upset. host: richard in florida. you are on "washington journal." what are your thoughts? caller: good morning, peter. the president of the united states, president obama comedy -- president obama, he took an oath to obey and protect. every chance he gets, he tries to discredit.
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he has made comments referring to the constitution as fundamentally flawed. it is apparent that he does not believe in the three equal branches of government. his comments are directed to intimidate and threaten the supreme court. if he gets away with this type of, you know, rhetoric, what can we expect on the road from the president? he is almost like a radical. totalitarian. pushing his will on the people. his health care bill -- something is fundamentally flawed. it is his health care bill. host: are right. here is from "the new york post." president obama had a visitor in the oval office. you can see michele nichols, who
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was in "star trek." spock salute there. this is a fund's total. the next call is from chicago. a democrat. caller: hello. this story is something that i am finding very difficult to believe. a couple facts are missing. on monday, i saw the president's comment on the news and it seemed as though these were comments about the supreme court. yesterday, on the news report on pbs, i saw the full content of his monday comments. the context -- he was paraphrasing what the gop has been saying about the courts. that was not his position.
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he was paraphrasing what they were saying. the news media make it up your -- appear that it was his statement. the news media is making good press of the story. i do not know if you people on c-span review the full ton -- context of his statement. this is just a fabricated story. he is paraphrasing what the -- host: thank you. we carried it live. you can go to c-span.org and watch it. front page of "the houston chronicle." this shows the largest of the fastest-growing counties in america.
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harris county had the largest american increase in the last year. you can see if grew by 88,000 followed by los angeles county. maricopa, phoenix. dallas, orange county, san diego and tarrant county. this article in "usa today." george mcgovern hospitalized in florida. he has been hospitalized in florida. his daughter said. host: that is in "usa today."
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in "financial times" u.s. jobs figures to signal resilience in recovery. the u.s. is expected to show a another solid month of jobs growth. host: that is a report in "financial times." susan on our democrats' line. good morning. what are your thoughts? caller: i have plenty of them. the republicans always talk about individual freedoms, but then everything they come up with, they want to take over every aspect of our lives and
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direct a we think and do. the supreme court, by their own actions the last few years, have set themselves up as part of the republican party. the equal pay for women and men , the strip searches, the citizens united case where corporations are people. it is set up in corporate papers about the issue of people so that stockholders and owners could not be sued. the corporation can be sued. they have turned it around that there actual people. i am a stockholder, but i do not have the right as a stockholder to determine what the ceo -- which way he wants to blow. they set themselves up exactly
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for what they are getting. it is a shame what the supreme court has turned into. host: that is susan in texas. two articles from "the washington times." tester terry jones of florida sparked deadly riots in afghanistan.
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host: host: those are both from "the washington times." i am sure you saw this from all, the financial times." can achieve to cut 2000 jobs. i want to assure you that. -- -- i want to show you that. anti-american egyptian candidate may be tripped up by his mother's u.s. ties. host: he was tripped up by his
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own american connections. the mother of the candidate became an american citizen before she died, according to california public records. that would disqualify him from running for president. his exit would scramble the race to become e's first president since the ouster of mubarak -- egypt's first president since mubarak. last call on president obama and the health care comes from louisiana. hello. caller: good morning. i wanted to ask you if you have read where antonin scalia gave a speech that the constitution was never given the right to add to the supreme court to overrule a lot. he just made it up. there are scholars out there
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that argue whether or not the constitution and can be overridden by the supreme court. you are not having any of the scholars at this point. newt gingrich said if he was president and the supreme court did not do what he wanted, he would subpoena them. they ask him, how will you get them there? he said he would send a marshalls and have them arrested. thank you. host: that is louisiana. from the "financial times." the man accused of orchestrating the attack sub 9/11 -- the attack of 9/11 could face the death penalty if convicted. this is in the "financial times." free lancer make this comment about the supreme court president obama -- the supreme court, president obama, and health care.
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all right. we have three segments coming up here on "washington journal." we will be talking about a new book by chuck collins on income inequality. here's the cover. up next is frank donatelli, chairman of gopac. we will be right back. >> this weekend marks the anniversary of the bloodiest battle to be fought during the civil war. up to that point, the battle of shiloh. we tour the battlefield and saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern and sunday night at 7:00, the
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angel of the battlefield and founder of the red cross operated the missing soldiers office in a washington, d.c. boarding house until 1868. join us as we rediscover the third floor office as it is prepared for renovations. this weekend on "american history tv" on c-span3. this saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's "itv" tonight -- join our program with chris kyle as he talks about his life. at 10:00 p.m. on afterwards, -- if you think of yourself as a family and as a teen -- when i get a raise at work, he is so proud of me. it is like we got a raise. i felt as though she had redefined providing to include what her husband does. she had a lot of respect for what her husband was doing. >> lisa mundy on the changing
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role of women as the breadwinners and how that impacts their lives. director of pediatric nurse wrote -- pediatric neurosurgeon the -- shares his thoughts on what should be done to avoid a similar fate. sunday at 3:30 p.m.. "book td" every weekend on c- span2. "washington journal"continues. host: we are joined by frank donatelli, chairman gopac of. gopac recently just got a study on unregistered voters. if you could remind us, what is gopac? guest: thank you for having me on the show. i appreciate it. gopac has been around since 1978. it was founded by pete dupont. the idea was to create an
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infrastructure of republican office holders at the state and local level that could exercise power at the state and local level and then eventually move up and become members of congress. senators. maybe even a president. probably our most famous chairman was newt gingrich. he was chairman of gopac when he became speaker of the house. if we have had other famous chairman. mike steele, j.c. watts. i have been chairman since 2009. host: what is your background guest: and the republican: i was active -- what is your background in the republican party? guest: i have been political director in the white house. i have been involved in republican campaigns. i was deputy campaign chairman and rnc chairman for john mccain in 2008. i wanted to do something to help the cause, but not full time anymore.
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that is why i became chairman of gopac. it host: what is the new study out by gopac? guest: there has been a lot of discussion over the years about non-voters. most of the studies have focused on voters who are registered, but are only occasional voters. there has not been a lot of work done on what you might call her record on registered voters. and so, we conducted two focus groups in colorado and nevada that attempted to produce some of the reasons why these individuals were unregistered and have never registered. and so, the studies focused on some of the police and motivations of these individuals. basically, what we found was, when we had a chance to talk to these people in detail, is said as he would not be surprised to dilka -- to know that they are not that focused on national political affairs.
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they are very alienated. they think the system in washington is corrupt. they feel totally disconnected from national politics. for them, when it comes to national politics, they do not see much reason to get involved. another common theme was they do not believe their vote counts. however, when we started talking to them about local and state issues, that is when they became a little bit more interested. they thought that when they were told that so many races, a elections, turned on just a few votes, they became more interested. the conclusion of the focus groups was that even though they are not that interested in national issues, they could become interested in state issues if you can make the connection between how that issue can impact their real life. how it can make a difference for them. given the fact we are focused at
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gopac on state and local elections, and i believe, peter, we have a tremendous story to tell about what is going on in a positive fashion at the state level from republican governors and republican state legislatures. if we can make the connection between the very good things they are doing at the state level and the need for them to register, it is possible we might be able to have an impact with those voters. host: what percentage of americans eligible are not registered? guest: 35%. in june be -- in 2010, eligible registered voters of the eligible voter pool was 65%. of that, 45% voted. as i say, most of the literature has focused on that 20%. between those that are registered, but do not fault. we tried to take a look at the eligible voting age population
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and those who are not registered. host: are their nearest registration? guest: fewer and fewer. -- are there appears to registration? guest: fewer and fewer. the more that we can make registration easier for these individuals, the chances are, we might be able to get some of them registered. i think it is important to know that we are not talking about tens of millions of new voters. i mean, these are people that did not register, let alone vote in, and 2008. probably the most is the logical election. -- probably the most ideological election. you are not going to register tens of millions of them. but, there are still opportunities there. host: historically, can you put into context the current registered-unregistered
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percentages? guest: it is higher now. there was substantial voter registration efforts and 2008 by both parties. 65% is pretty good. you know, if you could get to 70%, that would be terrific. what we do see is a higher percentage of registered voters participating. 63% in 2010 -- 2008, which is the largest% we have had -- the largest percentage we have had. host: what you think of austraiia's mandatory voting law? guest: i do not like it. i think voting is a privilege. it is something that our forefathers fought for us to have. it is something that we take very, very seriously. we do everything we can to
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encourage everyone that is eligible to participate. in terms of forcing people at gunpoint? [laughter] i think the better answer is to try to tell people how important it is to participate in to make it as easy as possible. host: we will put the numbers on the screen. we set aside our fourth line today for unregistered voters. we would like to cure what you are unregistered. the numbers are on the screen. what is it about the state and local issues that you say drives these people more than the national issue? guest: what they told us was that they felt that they could impact state and local issues more. if there is a ballot initiative in their county or if there is an issue at the state level, they can get their arms around that more. and, they can more easily make
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the connection between the outcome of that issue and how that can positively affect their lives. when you are talking about tax policy in washington, let alone foreign policy, to the unregistered, to those that do not pay that much attention to national affairs, that does not seem to have any impact on their regular life. if you think about it, intuitively, that makes sense. that is what the framers had in mind when they created a federal system where a lot of the power was to remain at the state and local level. only things that could not be done at the state and local level would be done by the federal government. unfortunately, we have gotten away from that, especially with this administration. it is almost an intuitive conservatism. they can understand more what is happening in their community. host: with the gop primary this year, have you seen an uptick in voter registration? as it turned people off?
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guest: i do not think so. there has been harsh rhetoric and maybe some hard feelings and so forth and so on. peter, i believe that the way we get a strong nominee is to have a conversation with all of america that includes as many individuals as possible. i mean, i think the more primaries we have and the more people to participate, the better for our party in the country and our nominee in the fall. i would just send you one example. in iowa, recently, there was an article that came out with the new registration figures and republicans in iowa have gone back ahead of the democrats in terms of registration. i am at a huge -- not a huge gap, but we are ahead again. that is up by the fact we had a very tough caucus -- despite the fact we had a very tough caucus in iowa. this made us stronger. and generally speaking, we have
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plenty of time to get behind a nominee. it is only april. we do not nominate until september and we do not vote until november. we have lots of time to get back together. host: have a lot of time. host: if people are interested in reading the steady, is it online? guest: it is. gopac.org. in addition to the steady, we have other things about our organization. our initiatives that we are suggesting that the state level, talking about six goals to create jobs and opportunity. it is not being done in washington. in the state capitol and at the state level, there are a lot of things that legislators can do. host: the first phone call comes from the republican in miami. caller: good morning. how're you doing? my question is as a black
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epublican, why hasn't the gop -- what we're doing is registering black voters and others in miami for the g.o.p.. the gop seems to write us off as if we do not support our conservatives or believe in smaller government. we do. we believe in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. assistedt the g.o.p. black gop all over this country? host: we got the point. let's get an answer. guest: i appreciate the call and i wish i had a good answer for you. the figures speak for
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themselves. we routinely get about 10% of the black vote on a national level. suffice it to say, there is great room for improvement. i would say two things. number one, we have to continue to speak more strongly about issues that i believe can resonate not just with white americans but also with black americans. economic opportunity, good schools, freedom from crime are things that i think black voters in addition to white and other americans agree upon. secondly, i think there is a renewed understanding on the part of our party that if we are going to retain our majority status, we have to appeal to all segments. it is not enough to get a bear
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majority of a select oroville it. if we want to change this country, i think we have to appeal to groups including black americans. i am pleased for the first time we have two black republican congressman. congressman scott from south carolina and congresscongressmat and florida. host: the next call comes from an unregistered voter in oregon. why are you unregistered? caller: good morning. basically, i have looked at the gop for the last 40 years. i am 65 years old. i stopped voting simply after the george bush administration. the reason for that is very
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simply abramhoff, dick cheney, bush, lack of oversight. this criminal, and i say "criminal," wanting to delve into our lives. host: why don't you register and vote democratic then? caller: the reason i am staying on the republican side is because you have g.o.p. -- the democrats do the same thing. they do exactly the same thing. neither one of the parties are worth having me to win or a lot of people like me. guest: i think what you heard from larry are some of the themes that we heard in our conversations and our two focus
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groups. obviously very alienated. i understand that. i guess i would say to the gentlemen we are all in this together. -- gentleman we are all in this together. either we participate in the future direction of the country or we retire to the backwoods somewhere. i would implore to the gentleman that i hope he reconsider and rejoined the fight because there are important issues still to be resolved. if you are not registered, you cannot participate. host: do politicians pay attention to districts or precincts that register heavily? guest: politicians pay attention to getting reelected. you cannot do anything if you do not get reelected.
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i do not need tmean that in a be sense. they need to get reelected. -- in a bad sense. they will look at districts that will give them have your support. that is what targeting is all about. i would say to the gentlemen and to everybody that everybody's vote matters. that, it doesou do have an impact. host: the next call comes from a democrat in pittsburgh. caller: everybody's vote does not count. when it tim murphy and the republican party gerrymandered districts, which he has been elected in over and over again
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-- gerrymandered the district, which he has been collected in bang bangver again big ba when our election machines are being manufactured in the state of israel which is manipulating our country on virtually every level. i think it is understandable that the skepticism of the american people is as high as it is. i have never in my life witnessed a greater distrust in this country of government and our leaders as it is now. ronald reagan would turn over in his grave. i was a republican for 20 years. guest: good to talk to someone from pittsburgh. go steelers this fall. again, i think what we are seeing an alienation and a
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cynicism about the way that politics work. at the risk of repeating myself, what is the alternative? the alternative is to sit back and complain but not participate in the way. we are suggesting get involved. if not with a political party, there are plenty of groups out there that are fighting for open and honest government or for a particular issue or for state and local issues. there are multiple ways to get involved in politics. host: one of our twitter followers has made a good point that we have to knowledge unfortunately. jim writes -- an eligible
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unregistered voter. host: this tweet from jodie -- guest: we did not hear that. i honestly do not know how they select the jury pool. sometimes, it is not just voters. don't they go with drivers' licenses? people who have a driver's license in a state could be called to jury duty. i am not sure you can escape. duty if you are unregistered. host: tony tweets in -- guest: because we have a very open society and frankly there is a real problem with voter fraud. i saw that first hand in 2008
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with all the controversy surrounding acorn and groups like that. we have a very open system that is run almost entirely by volunteers. there are volunteers running all aspects of it. just good citizens and so forth. that is subject to manipulation. most of the laws that were passed by the republicans basically say this. you have to have a photo it to vote. when i came into this building and park, to park my car and come to this fine studio, i had to show a photo i.d. when i go to the bank to get cash, i have to show a photo i.d. every time i use my credit card at a restaurant, sometimes they have to see photo i.d.
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to suggest that it is discriminatory or unreasonable strikes me as silly. it maintains the integrity of the american voting system. post code the next call comes from key largo, fla., on our independence line. caller: i am calling in regard to your program. by apologize i am calling in on the wrong line. i do not vote. i am a jehovah's witness and we do not participate in the voting system. in regards to your serving on jury pools, i have been called to do that at least four times and i do that by drivers
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registration. if you have any statistics in regards to how many jehovah's witnesses are in the united states in your pool and why we do not vote or participate in voting. we do pay our taxes and abide by the laws of this country and of all countries throughout the world where witnesses are. prayeru say the lord's or the "our father," whatever you want to title it, for god's name to be sanctified and to be made known. host: i think we got your point about the voting and we appreciate your perspective. guest: i certainly respect religious freedom. the gentleman chooses not to
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participate for religious reasons. it is kind of an interesting development. not just with jehovah's witnesses but with much larger religious groups, too. for many years, fundamental christian groups felt the same way and they did not participate. they saw a series of public policy decisions that went against their religious beliefs and their views on a host of moral issues. that is why they became involved in the 1980's and fundamentally changed the landscape so we have much more respect for moral values today. it is certainly an individual decision. host: when you hear someone say if you do not vote, you do not have the right to complain, what is your reaction? guest: i do not agree with that big bang everyone has the right
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to complain. -- i do not agree with that. everyone has the right to complain. maybe you might complain less if you participated more. in other words, some people feel like maybe their only route to being heard is to complain. what we are trying to say is if you should continue to speak out but may be in addition to speaking out, more participation in the alleged oral system might make things more satisfactory -- in the electoral system might make things more satisfactory. host: we are talking to frank donatelli of gopac, long active in republican politics. we are talking about unregistered voters. cynthia is an unregistered from
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connecticut. why are you not registered? caller: if you have fled a domestic violence situation and you have registered to vote, there is no way to keep your whereabouts secret big bang that is basically my comment. host: thank you, cindy. guest: again, i respect that you point. -- view point. there can be a number of reasons. i certainly respect that. and if there are such situations, it is completely understandable. host: does it become public knowledge once you register? guest: yes. you can look up in virtually all states. information is available. i am unsure whether you can put
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a post office box or something like that. a specific reason like the lady said it is understandable. i think this situation like this and the religious objection -- i would be willing to say is a small part of an unregistered pool of voters. host: of that 60 million, if everyone were registered, does the gop see the damage? guest: there is no way to know that. our study was not a poll. we cannot give you demographics. our study was a focus group so it tempted to probe as to the reasons in a little more detail why people were not registered to vote. i am not sure there is an answer for that. whether the unregistered
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generally mirror the registered voters. i am not sure there is any data conclusively to demonstrate one way or the other. host: this tweet -- guest: again, that would be a slightly different pool. this would be the people who are registered who do not vote that often. at some point, they do fall off. it is sort of daa line. on the one side, you have the most involved and probably the ones who pay the most attention to politics. then you move to a category of sometimes voters who pay some attention. then you move to the
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unregistered who do not pay attention at all. host: hi, peter. you are on the "washington journal." caller: peter, good point. very few people know about the mandatory voting in australia. i was born in an area that you are familiar with in pennsylvania. gopac formed in 1978. i am going to explain an interesting situation that i am embroiled in as a voter here in florida. my right to vote was rescinded by the supervisor for elections in sarasota county. i have appealed this because of the fact that under charlie crist who was governor prior to rick scott, all felons were permitted to vote. i was not a felon, but in a
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minor domestic case which was a misdemeanor involving my mother, i was told with an attorney here in florida to have the case dismissed, i was told that we had to retain because i was not allowed to represent myself in sarasota county. i went through the procedure. filed on january 20. i sent in all of my paperwork. it was sent back to me on march 9 when i was out of town. host: we are going to have to draw this to a close. caller: i am appealing my right to vote in the state of florida. what i want to end with very quickly is the fact that people should be aware of the fact that there are trivialities in these
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laws. jury duty is to driver's license. in the state of florida, this particular incident is so trivial that i think this needs to be changed in florida. host: any comments for him? yout: only that i'm glad are trying to get your voting right back. we are an organization that once as much participation as possible. host: monty tweets in -- guest: false. we are all about ideas. basically, what we do is to try to teach the right conservative principles to republican candidates running for office at
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the state and local level. we talk about taxes, reforming state governments so it can be relevant in the 21st century. we talk about energy development in the state's. we talk about delivering public policy services more efficiently and cheaply such as education and health care. those are the things that we talk about. we believe that if our candidates can articulate those values, that is how we beat the democrats. host: another tweet -- guest: these laws are designed to make sure that eligible citizens to vote and people do not vote more than once. to say that we do not have fraud problems in america -- have you ever been to chicago?
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it is probably the best example. have you ever heard of acorn? this was a group that went all over the country to try to register and vote multiple times. we do have a voter fraud problem. what i do not understand is why both republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives, do not understand or think that the best way we can protect the integrity of everyone's palate is just to make sure that only eligible citizens vote. hopefully that is something we can all agree on. host: we take this next call from cleveland. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a question for you. 50% of the native americans are not registered with the u.s.
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government so they are not registered to vote. when the iraqis went into kuwait, why did they have to register with saddam hussein and then expect to have to register to vote? don't you think the comparison between that situation and here with the natives is the same? guest: he has made on that one. i know a lot of things but i do not know if i can shed light on that question. 50% of native americans are not registered? if that is true, 85 percent and registration is pretty good. it is better than the national number that our study showed. sorry i cannot be more helpful on that question. host: good morning. caller: good morning. i heard you say that voting is a
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privilege. under the constitution, voting is an actual right. that is a fact number one. because itnecessary is not stated in the constitution that the republicans are so fond speaking of. as far as a voter fraud in chicago, over the last 25 years, voter fraud has been at .0002% for the last 25 years. all of this fraud that you are seeing -- i just feel like you are making it up. the only voter fraud i have seen has been in just about every primary and caucus in the republican party this year. a man of your stature should have his facts straight.
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have a good day. guest: i appreciate the call. again, i would say i do not know why it is considered burdensome that you should have to show a picture i.d. before you vote. i do not understand why people feel that way. not all the qualifications for voting are in the constitution. the states are given fairly wide latitude in determining a franchise within obvious boundaries. no discrimination based on race and that sort of thing. the time, manner, and place of voting and what documents you need are within the purview of the state's. the constitution sets out the basic parameters but then the states have the right to supplement those criteria. host: this tweet --
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oklahoma city, michael is on our unregistered line. why are you unregistered? caller: i find it hard to find information about my candidates on issues i find important. if you look at the concern's recently -- concerns recently about spending, you will find that there is a lot of misinformation. why don't we have any web sites to inform the public? then we could get better information. when i look at ads, i find the same things with congress people. they are speaking the same
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information all the time. i do not get much out of it. it is not in forming. i have tried to do things about health care and education to try to get the public more informed about options. why don't we talk about how to reduce cost for health care? instead of going out and getting procedures done, we should ask about prices first. host: michael, our local issues more of a concern to you? caller: i find a lot of people have difficulty talking about general issues. my concerns come up my kids, my experiences -- my concerns come up my kids, my experiences. -- my concerns, my kids, my
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experiences. two lines the gentleman made reference to. hold the government accountable. that seemed to resonate with a lot of our participants. the other one was and the gentleman made reference to this, too, participate in get involved for the next generation for your kids so your children inherit a better world. when you talk to voters like that, that resonated.ut host: you are on the air. caller: you have sit there and
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spat out things you are not backing up with statistics. look at acorn. how many cases of fraud were prosecuted by the courts? zero. what percentage of legal action taken against voter fraud -- you said there was massive voter fraud in 2008. how many in 2008? what percentage of those were prosecuted as voter fraud? host: we got your point. thank you. guest: my short answer is that i was aware of active investigations, either judicial or the department of justice investigations, in at least 12 to 15 states in 2008 that involved acorn.
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when the election came, a lot of those cases became moot. if i suggested there was a massive voter fraud, i misspoke. i did not mean to say that. i meant to say there is always the potential for voter fraud. republicans and democrats hopefully can agree to eliminate the possibility of fraud, showing some identification when you vote is not unreasonable. host: gopac.org is the web site. unregistered voters. frank donatelli has been our guest. up next, we are going to be talking with chuck collins. here is a new book out called "99 to 1: how wealth inequality is wrecking the world and what we can do about it."
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that is up next after this news update. >> usa today is requiring most of its staff to take an unpaid week off to save money. the furloughs are the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures by usa today since 2008. stock futures are down today on new concerns about the eurozone financial health. investors are waiting for the report on jobless claims. dow futures are down about 55 points. gop presidential candidate mitt romney is bringing on a committee chairman as a senior adviser to help in the planning of strategies. he will serve as a volunteer capacity and be based here in washington. a new survey released today
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shows mr. mitt romney has a 42% to 37% lead among republican voters in pennsylvania. the pennsylvania primary is april 24. those are some of the latest headlines. >> this saturday at noon on c- span2, join our program with distinguished former navy seal chris kyle as he talks about his life. at 10:00 p.m. -- >> if you think of yourself as a family and a team -- she said when i got a raise at work, he felt proud of me. it is like our family got a raise. feel like she had a lot of respect for what her husband was doing. >> the changing role of women as
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the breadwinners of the family. also this weekend, "america the beautiful." ben carson compares the decline of employers passed with america and shares his thoughts. >> "washington journal" continues. host: now on your screen is chuck collins, the author of this book. "99 to 1: how wealth inequality is wrecking the world and what we can do about it." he is also the director of the program on inequality for the institute of policy studies. thank you for being on the "washington journal." where did you come up with the title? guest: i think it came out of the fall and the emergence of the "we are the 99% movement."
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i have been working on these issues for a while. there is something about many people coming forward to tell their story. host: help us to understand in your view what the 1% is, what they own or control. >> guest: there has been a growth in extreme wealth and income inequality. more of the income and wealth have gone to that top 1%. the wealthiest 1% earned about 8% of the national income. i would say that the rules of the economy have been tilted a bit to funnel the wealth to the top at the expense of the 99%.
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host: so it has heard the 99%? guest: it has. wages have pretty much stayed flat or falling for the last 35 years. that is somewhat masked by the fact that people are working more jobs and taking on more debt. the reality is, and we saw this in the 2008 economic meltdown, for the vast majority of people, they're real spending power has not kept up with inflation. the rules of the economy are rigged so more of the income shared going to the top undercuts the quality of life for everybody. host: in your book, you have seven messages. we want to go through those quickly. inequality matters to you. the second message is life in an
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in a quality deat hspiral affects social, ecological and economic conditions. number four is some people are responsible for excess of an equality. six -- and seven, these inequalities are reversible. i want to ask about the inequality death spiral. guest: this happened a century ago during o. went so much wealth concentrates in so few hands, wealth is power. it is the power to shape conversation and influence legislation. we get in a bad situation when the 1% uses its power to rig the rules of the economy, tax
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policy, trade policy, all the rules to govern our policies. thereby undermining the quality of life for the 99%. so, 100 years ago, there was a very robust debate about how much inequality a democratic society can sustain. host: what do you mean that corporations and businesses are not monolithic? guest: i think there are a couple thousand global companies that have a business model that i characterize as built to loot. there is this tiny segment that are trying to get you and me to pay our taxes, a outsource
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jobs, shift everything off their balance sheets. they are job destroyers. we should make an important distinction when we look out over the business landscape. the small slice of corporations are the bad actors. host: do you name them in your book? guest: yes. by name some of them. corporations -- i name some of them. companies like federal express, pfizer, apple. apple is a big shifter of intellectual property and revenue. they reduce their taxes in the united states. boeing paid almost no federal taxes and have not for years. these are companies whose business models are to get you in the pay for the
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infrastructure that they enjoy. host: do say insure minimum wage is a living wage. enforce labor standards and protections, invest in education, reduced influence in politics, attacks the 1%, rein in pay, and stop corporate tax dodging. are ceo's making more than they have in the past? guest: over the last 30 years, the gap between the ceo pay an average worker pay has gone from about 40-1 to 300-1. that reinforces a very short- term outlook at the top of management. if they get into this how can we boost the profits immediately, it take the money, and run, as opposed to those built-to-last
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companies. they are in it for the long term and they understand if there is too big of a gap, it poisons the workplace. i would like to get back to the quality. -- to equality. they distort and undermine domestic businesses. ups has to compete with fedex. fed ex.'s business model is to outsource and move their profits -- fedex's business model is to outsource and move their profits overseas. host: here is the cover of the book. "99 to 1." chuck collins is the author. the first call comes from eric in atlanta.
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caller: thank you for taking my call. i had a comment and a question. i wanted to point out that he stated earlier that they use their wealth to control the congress, to control the government. as far as legalizing bribery, lobbying, donating more than the taxpayer pays the congressman in salary. what are congressman working for? the wealthy guys are paying them millions. of course the congressman are working for the wealthy guys. host: let's leave it there. guest: i think you have stated one of the problems which is the power and influence of voters is diminished in this current, extreme inequality era.
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the research shows the policy orientation is to pass laws and regulations that benefit the 1% or a handful of companies at the expense of a real healthy business environment and the lives of most of us. that big money influence has tipped our national priorities over on capitol hill. host: citrus heights, calif., randy is a republican. caller: good morning. i am sure there are some issues regarding the financial sector, overpayments, people making too much money and they're really not producing much in that sector. as far as all of this wealth and inequality talk, there is no way i can get my panties in a bunch
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over what someone else has. i cannot wait one second of my time worrying about what somebody else has. it has absolutely no bearing on what i have. guest: randy, this is a really important point that you are making. this is about how when 1% of the population as 42% of all of the financial wealth, stocks and bonds, it affects your life. it affects the functioning of the economy. when the bottom 60% of the economy, their real wages have fallen, people are borrowing to consume not seeing their wages going up to consume. the 1% is destabilizing the country. it actually of fax republic health. it undermines public health for
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everybody -- it actually a fax public health.ts it even affects sports. think about the influence of big money on our love of sports and how big money -- look back a generation. i would challenge you to look at all of the things you care about and then look at the growing body of research showing that inequality really affect you. host: rightwing tweets in to you -- guest: well, what the government has been doing has been redistributing wealth upward. the government is not a neutral player. the government can be used like after world war ii. government policy was we tax the
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wealthy and we invest in things like the g.i. bill and the veterans home and administration's home loan program. government can be involved in helping to broaden prosperity. it can invest in infrastructure or give tax breaks to global corporations. we have had policies for the last 35 years, the government putting its finger on the scale and shifting the wealth to the top. we should reverse pro-1% on policies that have worsened in the quality and that will lead to some redistribution of wealth and opportunity. host: the next call comes from philadelphia. richard is on our independent line.
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caller: good morning. as i hear about the inequality, isn't the inequality in america or the economic system always going to -- thinking about robert morris and the military or that part. inequality is systemic to america's social and economic order. has information technology mad equalitydvancement of because information technology and the globalization that has made inequality even more unbalanced? guest: thank you, richard. as i said before, we are an
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unequal society. some of that is a reflection of the inequalities of effort and in put in production. what i would argue is we are in a period of extreme inequality. this has nothing to do with individual merit or initiative. is passed to deal with the way that machinery is -- it has to deal with the way that machinery is rigged. i think there are ways to rig the machinery so there is more shared prosperity like some of the european countries that now have more mobility than the united states. it is true that new technologies have fuelled inequality because now global companies can use technology to get u.s. workers
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to compete against workers in mexico or china. technology has contributed to the downfall of u.s. wages. host: this tweet from michelle -- guest: a lot of economists point to the late 1970's. once the global economy started to change, as a result, global corporations started to renegotiate the social contract with their work force. as a culture, we became more individualistic. after world war ii, we had a shared national experience. there was a war on poverty. something shifted in the culture in the late 1970's and early 1980's. some of that was ok.
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we have gone too far the other way. we have to remember we are in the same boat. the inequalities are bad for the 1%. we do not want to become like brazil. want to have a 1% that has to live behind closed walls. the vast majority of people lose hope. we do not want to move in that direction. host: joe tweets in -- guest: well, it depends what indicators you want to use. it is true that people have more access to consumer goods. but poverty is not just material. it is about social isolation and exclusion. when you have a gap like what we
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have today, it actually breaks apart social cohesion and trust and happiness. you are better off living in a county in the united states with a lower income but less overall inequality. you will be healthier and happier. there is a whole body of research showing this. you would be better off. the quality of our lives is woven into these inequalities or how the " we are. host: the next call comes from new york city. gregory is a democrat. caller: good morning. i am loving the subject matter. i am going to connect or dots in a very short use of time. it goes back to america during the slavery time when slavery was over. people had to find a way to continue to make the money that
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they were making. they made the black person the evildoer in the country. today, you have corporations -- all the people who like to protect people with money, just look at yourself phone bill and look at the word "surcharges." all of those are charges applied to the corporations that they pass on to you. be one nation under god so we all can benefit from the hard work that has gone down to make america what america is supposed to be. listen to the man who is sitting right here giving you the facts. lastly, peter, you let the last guest sit there and lie, and
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lie, and lie, and you did not cal lhim out on it. stop advocating for republican fliers. they are not about keeping us together. -- republican liars. thank you. wake up, america. check your cell phone bills. why are you paying sprint surcharges that they are supposed to be paying the government? host: we have been listening to gregory from new york city. guest: thank you. one of the things that strikes me when i go on to read the stories is there are a lot of people like you who are waking up, angry, who are seeing they are getting nickeled and dimed. the fees are -- we, the middle class, is getting nickeled and
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dimed everywhere we turn. this is a function of the power unbalance. there is no real oversight. i think your wake-up call is being echoed across the land. it is the undercurrent, if you will, of our times. host: you are on with chuck collins, author of this book, "99 to 1: how wealth inequality is wrecking the world and what we can do about it." please go ahead. gail? you have to turn down the volume on your tv. the next call comes from rocky mountain, virginia. hi, wayne. caller: my comment deals with the fact of infrastructure. i worked for one employer for
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over 40 years. that employer has since shutdown. i was offered the plant at a price that was basically giving the company 08. i cannot get a single bank to talk to me about getting the money to purchase it. that plant made $90,000 a year and i worked for that man for 40 years. i do not know what your comments are going to be. by an unemployed now because the plant shutdown -- i am unemployed now because the plant shutdown. i am now at a loss because it .ould have thi guest: if it is a profitable working business is access to
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credit to operate that business, it shows me what has happened with our banking system is -- thatbig six mgeega banks have grown have stopped being interested in meeting the credit needs of our local communities and investing in job creators and they have moved their money into the casino economy. that is what took our economy off a cliff. it is a tragedy to me that you could not get access to credit. i hope that you will -- what we need to do is move our money out of the big banks that destroyed our economy and invest in the local institutions and banks that should be meeting the credit needs of our community. we should be trying to build a real economy. not a phantom economy of hedge
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funds and derivatives and making money, making money. host: tommy tweets in to you -- guest: that social safety net -- i hope you do not have to live on it, sir. there are a lot of cracks in that web. i have watched the program cuts come down. i had a brother who had mental health issues. i have seen the cuts. we do not have a platform of dignity in this society. we have people who are hungry and homeless of no fault of their own. we have veterans living on the streets of our nation. we can do better. that is all i would have to say
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about that. host: milwaukee, you are on. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. the system certainly needs some improvement. i think it is the best so far that has been developed in the modern world. i would like to make this comment to the author. under this system that seems to have so many negative things in your viewpoint, we have developed the healthiest and the wealthiest and the largest middle-class of people in the history of the world. how is that system so bad? guest: i think after world war ii, we were on track to do exactly what you said. we were making investments in infrastructure and in opportunities that led to the expansion of the middle-class. i would encourage you to take a
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look at some global indicators. first of all, our middle-class standard of living is imploding. take a look at some actual data in terms of what is happening to the middle-class. who is losing health insurance. 46 million americans live in poverty. are you excluding them from the middle class? if you look at global indicators for industrialized countries, the united states in terms of public health is at the bottom. we used to pride ourselves as a country where it did not matter where you were born, you would have an opportunity to rise. we have become less mobile. the countries we thought of as the old caste societies of europe are more mobile, more healthy, more happy, and have
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more dynamic capitalism. these inequalities are undermining the health of our market system. if that is a priority for you, you should take a look at how these inequalities are undermining economic growth as well. host: shorty tweets in to you -- guest: i do. when we talk about the 1%, sometimes that is a little bit sloppy because the reality is the 1% is a very diverse group. i grew up in the 1%. i went to high school with mitt romney. he and i grew up in the 1%. there are a lot of good people in the 1% who are involved in philanthropy are working for an economy that works for everybody. there is a segment of the 1%
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that use their wealth and power to rig the rules of the game so they get more wealth and power. they are active in politics, trying to influence the system and they are responsible. the bottom line i want to make is the rules of the economy have been changed in the last 35 years. at the expense of everyone else. and we can reverse that. we should have an economy that works for the 100%. it is really simple, in many ways. host: alabama. bobby on the democrats' line. you are on with chuck collins, he is the author of "99 to 1." guest: good morning. i received a newsletter from the retirement system of alabama and it has an article in here that pretty much whoa goes along with
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your book. the 10 worst corporate tax avoiders and the source is " washington times" and senator bernie sanders. exxonmobil in 2009 made 19 now -- $19 billion in profits but got $156 million tax refund. chevron made $19 million and got a tax refund of $10 billion. carnival cruise lines over the past five years made more than $11 million in profits but federal income tax rate for those years was only 1.1%. guest: thank you, bobbie, for that. what you are pointing out is now -- a lot of people are waking up to this, which is there is sort
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of a two-tiered tax system. one tax system for these couple thousand global companies that have used their subsidiaries off shore to hide profits, and they do these kind of the county gymnastics to lower their tax bills. then there is another tax system for the rest of the businesses and for individual taxpayers. it creates an unlevel playing field. they enjoyed infrastructure, though. when exxon have an international dispute they run to the united states government to help defend them globally. when they have pirate's takeover their tankers in the middle east, the call of the u.s. military. we as taxpayers subsidize the infrastructure and services these companies enjoy. all we should be basically asking is members of our congress and force the tax laws, passed the stop tax haven of use
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act that has stunted in the house and stunted by senator carl levin. we could wave a wand and closed up some of the new loopholes so these companies pay their taxes, their fair share like everyone else. >> mark tweets in -- brian tweets in -- >> first of all -- guest: i would not let democrats off the hook. the last 35 years we have had republican and democratic administrations. these inequalities have steadily grown over the 35 years. they slowed down a little bit of the president clinton but he supported policies that were pro-wall street and grow 1%. i think med romney's economic program, and to the extent he also -- mitt romney's economic program, and to the extent he embraced paul ryan's but it will
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worsen the inequalities. it is a pro 1% budget policy. more tax cuts for the wealthy. cuts in public education. down the line. in the last 10 years we borrowed $1 trillion to give the wealthiest 1% tax cuts under the bush tax cuts of 2001-2003. and on top of that, former governor of romney and paul ryan want to add more tax breaks. i actually think it is the wrong direction. we should do something like pass the buffet rule, making sure wealthy millionaires pay the same rate secretaries in the office pay -- the buffett rule. host: why did you grow with mitt romney? what did your full to the? guest: my family was involved in meat packing so for many generations we build up a successful family business. i grew up in the 1%. i went to a prep school with mitt romney where the motto was
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aim high. he has aimed high and i am trying to aim high to reduce the inequalities of wealth. host: what preschool? guest: a school outside of detroit. host: republican line. you are on "washington journal." guest: thank you, chuck. i enjoyed listening to your explanation and i am going to read your book. two comments. what about getting the banking system overhauled and rewriting the laws? having our congressmen and senators, instead of going on vacation, take on new projects and do it without looking for attention from the media? that is comment number one. number two -- my husband is in a family business that has been around for 90 years and they of the 1% are the honest. they pay as much in taxes as it
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is allowed. and my feeling is that, if you follow the rules and you use your money for good and you are philanthropic, why do you get the allies? i know you said that everyone should be pointed out, but i can't help but think that the baby and the bath water are one in the same and it is time to make a distinction. guest: on the last point, i think you will like my book because basically i argue is there are families like yours will have had family businesses that are rooted in communities, responsible actors, and should be lifted up uncelebrated. in fact, there is a network called wealth for the common good and a group of patriotic millionaires, people in the 1% who have been very vocal in speaking out for their tax policies. but part of it is rooted in the fact that they are these
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irresponsible actors. so we should celebrate those. -- these are responsible actors. so we should celebrate those but we should all the banking system. it is too bad wall street is not only blocking the reforms but even roll back the even minimal reforms of dodd-frank. everybody should have a vacation -- even members of congress. i wish more people in the united states, i but -- was the one- third who never get a vacation should have a vacation. host: this news item of the associated press. the number of people seeking u.s. unemployment benefits fell to a four-year low last week as layoffs slowed and the job market strengthens. weekly applications dropped 6000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the labor department said thursday, the fewest since april of 2008. louisville, ky. becky on our democrats' line. go-ahead with your question or comment for chuck collins from
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the institute for policy studies. guest: -- caller: good morning, mr. collins and good morning, c- span. i have a question for you, ok? i don't know if it would be in your book. but i would love to buy your book, ok? some of your big corporations and things, i don't think people really understand -- ok, for example, like mitt romney, he ended up paying something like 13% in taxes, ok? but a lot of people don't understand that some of these people own these corporations and things like that, when they do, they will hire at least 900 people to do their taxes, you know. so, when they go to the internal revenue, not to be very difficult for somebody to do all of this work and go through all of these pages -- but it is a fact, a known fact, that that is what they do.
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and i think you might agree with me. at least i hope you do. host: we got the point, becky. we will leave it there. guest: becky, important point. we do have two tax systems in this country. we have a tax system that most of us participate in, the 99%, were actually begin withholding taken on of your wages. you cannot hide the income and your paycheck. whereas, when you are in the super wealthy, they're all kinds of games you can play, particularly around investment and ownership of assets and businesses. unfortunately, that is where the huge shenanigans are taking place. you are right, people hire whole teams of accountants and some of these global companies like general electric hire people right out of the irs who know the inside loopholes and a great sort of a loophole division within their company. i think you are right to point that out. mr. romney has up to $23 million
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of his own wealth invested in subsidiaries in the grand cayman islands. individually wealthy people can move their money around the planet to avoid their obligations to pay taxes in the united states. i would advocate for rule changes, congressional action, so we have one tax code and one set of rules for the 1% that they have to play by the same rules as the rest of us. host: chuck, is co-founder of a group called united for a fare economy and he served as an executive director of that organization for several years and he has also written other books, "economic apartheid." his most recent book -- "99 to 1." it is published by the institute for policy studies. stella tweets in --
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guest: i would say, stella, we have to have a conversation about inequality. this is not about class warfare. i grew up in a 1%. my family, people that love. i don't hate them. i believe that actually these inequalities are bad for the 1%. they undermine excellence, they undermine social cohesion. this is not about class warfare. warren buffett says there is class warfare, the second wealthiest man in america says there is class warfare in america but it is warren buffett's class is winning, as he would say. so, we have rigged the rules to the top. if we cannot have a civil conversation about how to reverse that, if i am being called class war -- that is an attempt to shut down the conversation and i would want to have that conversation.
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if we could talk, meet in wyoming and have a drink, i would like to talk about why it should matter to you. host: sandy, independent line. caller: my question is -- in your social inclusion book, does it include in your study independent voters -- like, we are not allowed to vote in most of the primaries. does that 1% affect your equality in -- or are we knocked out of that whole range because of the fact we are not allowed to vote in a primary for democrat or republican because things would be a lot different, i think, if we could all vote --
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host: i think we got the point. guest: important point. i did not really talk about that in the book. i thought the conversation before was really on the issue of how we open up access and insure people are and franchise. it is often a state issue, in your state, working to make sure independents -- i live in a state or independents can vote in either primary. i think that is important because they are the majority. host: harry, republican from pittsburgh. caller: this 1%, it is all comparative. cellphone -- i cannot afford one -- whatever you make on your book, you only have because i don't have that. compared to somebody making 50,000 compared to somebody making $1 million from $50,000 is pretty good about $1 million is better -- so who is the 1%? as part is warren buffett, heat is still fighting in income tax
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he owes a couple of billion on on one of his companies, a hypocrite. this is class warfare. you can spin in any way you want. anybody who worked all their life knows there are certain steps you can make in life to improve yourself. you learn committee that recommended smarter, get more money, and that is america, but a. host: we got the point. we will leave it there. and let me add on this tweet from jonathan -- we have about one minute left. guest: i think that there are a bunch of rule changes that i think the reverse the inequalities. we can do things like increasing the minimum wage and establishing a safety net. we can level the playing field and make sure that a business in the unites states that is rooted here operates by the same rules that a global company -- in the end, i am an advocate like boulder policies like a robust inheritance tax -- at the end of
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life people should pay a portion back to the society that enables us to make investments so the next generation can have the same opportunity. host: here is the cover of the book "99 to 1: how well inequality is wrecking the world and what we can do about it." coming up next, a segment on the general services administration and some of the spending they are being in the press for right now. we will be right back. >> for this year's studentcam competition we asked students to make a video about what part of the constitution is important to them and why. we go to racine, wisconsin, to meet with a third place winner, and eighth grader. hi, jeffrey. >> hello. >> your video was on the patriot act and its relationship to the bill of rights. why did you choose this topic? >> my partners and i chose to
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focus on the patriot act and its relation to the bill of rights because of our country we are trying to balance the efforts of fighting terrorism but also keep privacy. the debate really is how much of your personal privacy are you willing to give up to protect our country. >> you began your video by showing captain america playing the card game of war. why did you choose to introduce the issue in this matter? >> jonathan dressed up as captain america, representing the citizens. >> i just up as a black suit and dark sunglasses to represent the government. >the card game of war -- representation of how the battle is going on. sometimes the citizens would win and sometimes the government would win. >> you interviewed two attorneys about the patriot act and issues surrounding it. how did they help you understand this? >> the attorneys really helped us understand that the patriot
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act made changes about how the government can tap into different parts of our lives and figure out what we are doing. but they also said in our court systems, there are checks and balances that ensure civil liberties are not in french. >> you also interviewed citizens of racine, including the mayor. >> the interviews with the local citizens gain was mainly two different side . of the first side said the patriot act did not make any sense because the majority of citizens are not terrorists. while the other side said it is very important because it protects american citizens' lives. >> what would you like the people who watch your video to learn? >> i would like others to learn mainly more about the patriot act and also to reflect upon how it relates to the bill of rights. further, they should try to decide whether they are on the side of protecting civil
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liberties or protecting american citizens. >> jeffrey, thank you for talking with us today. >> you're welcome. >> here is a portion of jefferies video. >> i have a report from latimes.com that says fbi intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of american citizens more frequently and to a greater extent than previously assumed. >> ok, all right. >> the patriot act is a destructive undermining of the constitution. we started the congress off with a discussion about reading the constitution. many of us carry constitutions in our pockets. how about today we take a stand
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for the constitution to say all americans should be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. >> the purpose of the patriot act is to keep suspected terrorists under surveillance in an attempt to prevent another attack legs of timber and an income to thousand one. i believe it has been successful and i support extension. >> you can see his entire video and all winning documentary that studentcam.org, and considering -- continue the conversation on our facebook and twitter pages. >> "washington journal" continues. host: joining us is tom shoop. he was editor in chief of "government executive" magazine and it is here to talk about the general services administration, spending issues of late, and government spending and waste in general. a first of all, mr. shoop, what is the general services administration? guest: it handles a range of
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purchasing-related and purchasing management tasks for the government. anything from managing thousands of public buildings -- building buildings and purchasing real estate on behalf of federal agencies and leasing it to them, and a host of other things. it does a lot of contract negotiations on behalf of all agencies that agencies can use, and it has various supply schedules for everything from huge information technologies and bombs to pencils. >> does it serve as a purchasing agent for the federal government? guest: yes. and it manages the real estate for the federal government as well. most of the federal government. host: pawlenty employees? how much money flows through that administration? guest: they have about 12,000 employees in the budget is all around $30 billion. but very little about it is actually appropriated by
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congress, only about $2 billion. the rest comes from fees paid by agencies for the services it provides or rent on federal facilities. host: so commerce department gets a chunk of money from congress and they use part of it as rent. why is the gsa currently in the news? guest: because there public buildings service, western region, decided to hold a conference in october of 2010 that was later the subject of and ig investigation, shall the spent upwards of $820,000 on this conference and had of this sort of lavished an unusually expensive -- and called attention to it. host: why was this conference held and what were some of the usual expenses and what was the result? guest: the conference is held every two years by the western
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region and it is sort of training exercise and recognition for employees. it seems this was considerably more lavish than previous efforts, but it is regularly held. it was held -- host: it was held just south of las vegas. costing $843,000 according to the ig report. food and beverage, $146,000, then a team building exercise building a bicycle, costing $75,000. why did it cost $75,000? guest: i am not entirely sure. i think it is probably not outlandish for that kind of exercise. i think in the corporate sector it goes on -- and the company that provided it quoted a higher price and then went down to $75,000, in a negotiation according to the ig that was not
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entirely above board. host: commemorative coins, semi- private room parties, mind reader entertainer, $3,200. are these abnormal government conference expenses? guest: no. i think it is highly unusual for this to have taken place in a government conference. i think the vast majority of government conferences are much simpler affairs landis, and that is what sort of stood out about this one. host: weren't there some trips to set up this conference and some planners from outside? guest:8, i believe, planning trips, including scouting trips and a dry warren. ig called attention to that. some of it would be necessary because it is a conference that about 300 people and there is certain planning that goes into it, but it appears there was excessive spending. host: who is martha johnson?
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guest: now the former administrator of gsa will resign after this scandal became public. after taking several steps, including removing two other officials at the gsa and overhauling their internal procedures and processes to try to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. host: was she aware of it ahead of time? guest: still don't know at this point. it would not be surprising to me if she was not aware of it. and certainly if she was not aware of it in its particulars, i do not believe she was at the event. host: does gsa hold these events on a regular basis? guest: they do hold events like this on a fairly regular basis. this was a regional conference was held every two years going back some period of time. they will not be holding these things in the future, though, because they put a stop basically to anything like these employee-only events.
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host: when you look at this event and the spending, in the scheme of things in the federal government, where does it right? guest: as these types of scandals go, it is up there. unusual large amount of money an unusually lavish kind of spending. also, what is unusual about it in some regard is there really has been no effort on the part of gsa or the administration to challenge anything in this report. they say they are appalled by it and money was squandered an action had to be taken, so they are essentially it knowledge in it occurred and it was accepted and it is relatively unusual. host: besides mark johnson, who also no longer employed question of guest: robert peck former bolden service commission, and stephen leads, a top deputy to martha johnson. host: what about any of the western regional folks? guest: there have been people placed on administrative leave and further actions like will
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emerge the they have not taken place yet. host: 202 is the area code if you would like to talk to tom shoop -- you can also send an e-mail or a tweet -- our facebook page is not on this issue. out of going to give you that one, too. tom shoop, what is the "government executive" magazine? guest: magazine for senior federal managers and executives in the federal government and is certainly up to 75,000 people in prince and millions more on line on our website. host: this headline was also in "the washington post" recently from congressman micah.
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guest: what he is doing there is tying it into an issue he is also concerned about, and that is the sale of excess federal property around the country. there is a movement on capitol hill to get rid of unneeded federal office space. and he has been very active in that issue. which is a highly complicated issue because much of that -- and we will have an upcoming story about this in the magazine naturally -- there is an issue that a lot of the fedor office space deemed un needed is not sold because it is a rundown in areas people are not interested in buying real estate, especially in this economy. it has been a big challenge for gsa. host: does the government own a lot of unused property? guest: yes, it owns a lot of property in general and agency needs are constantly turning over so over time it has accumulated property -- responsible for properties that are not needed anymore. host: mark johnson was like the
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fifth gsa head in two or three years. why? guest: a lot of and has to do just what the changeover in the administration and getting somebody confirmed by congress. but there was also an issue towards the end of the bush administration, their last administrator also left under something of a cloud because she had been under investigation both for alleged violations of the hatch act, preventing political activity by federal employees, and for allegedly steering a contract to a friend of hers. host: a viewer tweets in -- guest: a pretty good question. i think they would make a case that there is still value in face-to-face interaction and team building and that sort of thing. so, i think that is why these conferences exist. there is a certain exchange of
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information that goes along with them. in some cases, they traditionally have been reviewed -- viewed as a reward for federal employees for doing a good job. host: how many attending? guest: 300. host: this hotel, was a more lavish than a usual government hotel? the m hotel. guest: fairly unusual for events to take place in these kinds of facilities, especially if they are government only and this came after 2009 where other agencies were going to avoid las vegas entirely because of the appearance issue. so it is unusual in that context. host: the first call for tom shoop. jeff, republican from tampa. guest: good morning, guys. the reason i am calling is i am a republican but i am not approaching this from a left- right perspective.
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to me it boils down to money, the bottom line. i appreciate the comments of the guest. he seems very well spoken and he seems to know what he is talking about. my main issue is i don't think that the average person in this country even really understands that we have no checks and balance system in this country as far as money. our government just basically does what it once. there is no system to account. there are no checks and balances, no way to know what is going in and out. i really don't think people realize that. i don't think the average american voter even knows that. i think they think there are people in the government who are trying to balance the checkbook when in reality it is just an open book. host: we will leave it there. tom shoop? guest: there may be some issues about how effectively the spending is overseen but there
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is quite a lot of oversight both in congress, on capitol hill, and with an agencies themselves. inspectors in general that conducted this report and various other auditors and oversight people. there are times definitely when things happen that slip through the cracks. but art objects and balances and a fair amount oversight but it is just a question of how effective it is an every incident. host: how big it discovered in its case? guest: according to gsa, the deputy administrator of the agency wanted to the attention of the inspector general and then they launched their investigation. i think it is likely it originated with employees at the agency raising concerns about spending, which i think it's something people should not forget, that there were actually employees to step up and said i think this spending is excessive. the ig report indicated at the time those concerns were ignored. host: there was some e-mail
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exchange that i saw all in one of the articles that they got a room rate for a lot cheaper than not -- then the no more room rate because they wanted to keep it under the government limit. and there was. nod-wink arrangement? guest: couple of things -- according to the report, the traded catering food expenses for a lower room rate when in fact they should -- you are supposed to get a lower government rate independently. you are not supposed to trade anything off to get the rate. . wink thing was on one of the scouting trips, going in a day ahead of official travel and wanted to stay at the hotel and get a favorable rate. host: this tweet is from victor -- guest: the head is appointed by
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the president and confirmed by the senate and martha johnson was in her job i believe since the middle of 2009, appointed at the beginning of the obama administration. host: joe is a democrat from michigan. caller: good morning. i have been so las vegas. you can get pretty good deals there. i am just wondering if this compares to a tempest in a teapot with the 800,000 or nine of the thousand dollars -- big deal, we are talking billions of dollars here and there and everywhere -- with $800,000 or $900,000. guest: compared to certainly the entire federal budget or the budget of gsa, it is not a tremendous amount of money. however, $800,000 on one conference like this is a fairly high amount of money. necessarilyk it characterizes as a tempest in a teapot because they did spend a lot of money and there were several questionable expenditures.
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host: is their political hay to be made out of this? guest: it comes at a very bad time for the obama administration, both in the middle of a campaign where they are trying to say they are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and after last fall in the wake of another scandal about conference spending where they said we will step up our oversight of spending on these kinds of things. so, it comes at an inopportune time for them. host: michigan, steve on the independent line. good morning. caller: i just want to say -- is of the gsa the same people -- and this district. they try to make it look like government business. but how about when president obama wife took two or 300 of her -- 200 r 300 other closest friends on jets to some foreign country last year and through
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them all over there. are these people behind that, too? is that how we spend our money? guest: i am not familiar with the particular -- that particular instance but i would be almost certainly giacomo certain as gsa would not have anything to do with that trip. host: new jersey. mark, you are on with tom shoop, editor in chief of "government executive." caller: i do not think it is a democrat or republican issue. i think it is an issue where somebody in the government spent $840,000 for 300 people, to thousand $800 a person could -- $2,800 a person. putting it into perspective of how much productivity will we get back as taxpayers for that? guest: i think it would be difficult to make the case it was a sound investment of taxpayer dollars in terms of
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return and gains in productivity. i think that is why the agency reacted not by trying to defend the spending but by immediately dismissing the people they view as irresponsible and promising to crack down further. host: to all agencies hold these types of conferences? -- do all agencies? you go to a greater or lesser degree, yes. it is less usual -- they do go on, but i do not think nearly to the same extent through the rest of this year because the scrutiny of these kinds of expenses, principally for events just for government only and not for the people they interact with. i think those are going to get much higher scrutiny. host: i don't know if this is an but you can address are not, but jack tweets in.
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guest: i think there may be some truth to that. i think that is part of the reason why the organizers of this conference may have thought this was not as big a deal because they see some more things happening in the corporate sector when a fairly regular basis. host: pittsburg, missouri. victor on our democrats' line. we are talking about gsa and government spending issues. caller: good morning. i find it really inspiring actually -- and lightning is a better word. i would like to ask this question, and maybe you can answer it. one, as far as the number of presentation inside the government itself -- i know a good percentage of intelligence agencies, before obama became
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president, was privatized. if that is true, then pretty much the entire government is privatized. if that is true, we are spending a hell of a lot more money than what the average -- would be. guest: i am not sure the 70% figure is quite right in terms of intelligence spending but no question in the past couple of decades there has been a movement across republican and democratic administrations to outsource more government functions and use contractors to do more stuff. top it does raise questions about the mix what is done by government employees and contractors. host: do you see some kind of rule change coming? guest: i think there may well be action in congress to curb these particular kinds of conferences, particularly at gsa. and the think there will be
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greater scrutiny of certainly its spending going forward. host:, subprime de, arizona. -- casa grande, arizona. caller: what can be done to stop the gsa, they have given money close to the border at a point of entry to build 76 government houses for government employees. they have about 700 employees working in the area of, board of control -- border patrol, that benefit, and more than 100 vacant houses, foreclosed, that would more than accommodate an are accommodating many of the government workers right now. but they are building $600,000 house is here in a community in which the realtors all say nothing has sold for over $100,000 in the past three
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years. they are bringing in little two- bed room manufactured homes about 1200 square feet at the cost of $600,000 a piece and the already got 20 of them in and they will do 21 more by october and another 35 by january. what should be done and who should we call? >> i think if you have a specific complaint about this, the inspector general, that is what they are therefore. they have hot lines for these kinds of reports and it will look into it to see if there is anything out of ordinary -- out of the ordinary. dsc -- gsa does these projects all over the country and they are subject to a great deal of oversight. this would have had to have gone through a fairly vigorous vetting process but this is something the inspector general does investigate. host: wisconsin. dave on the republican line. guest: i think he mentioned that
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waste, fraud, abuse was a small part of the budget and a while back i heard a democrat on to be talking about waste, fraud, in the future -- and a commentator said, why don't you do it now? a few politicians, when he asked them to cut fred -- spending always, fraud, and abuse, you keep getting the same answer that -- well, it is a small part of the budget. well, what is a few billion here, a few billion there. you've got to start some place, even if it is a small part. that is a bad excuse as far as i am concerned. guest: yes, it is definitely true. and the administration and at least on paper has made an effort in his campaign to cut government waste to address the issue. the terms you outlined -- which is to say, this may not be enough to solve the budget deficit problem but surely it is the first thing that the government to do, is to clean up its own house and ensure it is not wasting money before it
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starts looking at big savings elsewhere. host: chris tweets in -- guest: gao, government accountability office, is an arm of congress operated out of legislative branch and it is an oversight agency that oversees all kinds of agency operations in spending. it has a pure oversight role where is gsa is -- is pure operational role. it still is your magazine independent of the government? guest: privately owned. host: who owns it? yuko atlantic media, which publishes "atlantic monthly." host: james want to know who buys ads in your magazine questioned guest: a lot of different people. a lot of our advertising comes from federal contractors to do business with the government. guest: given the gsa is kind of a buying agent for the federal government, have there been other scandals in its history?
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guest: from time to time throughout the agency's history, scandals relating to purchase of public buildings and other contracts that it arranges. i would not say there has been a systemic problem. it has attracted a fair amount of controversy over the last decade or so and i mentioned earlier, a previous administrator has left under a cloud. and also its chief of staff during the bush administration, he got caught up in the jack abram of lobbying scandal. so, there have been several instances the past few years. host: tom shoop is editor in chief of "government executive" magazine and got his degree from carleton college in northfield, arizona, just south of the twin cities. portland, oregon. chris on the democrats' line. caller: good morning, you guys.
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i heard some negative comments about conferences. i just wanted to point out that conferences are important. they allow people to momentarily focus on the issue at hand -- team building, whatever. i just wanted to make the point that conferences are important and we cannot turn our back on them. we do need conferences. thank you. guest: i think a lot of people would acknowledge that is the case, and i think much of the criticism is not directed at the fact that there was a conference held -- although i think some people think that government agencies just should not be doing it at all. pittand the ig is calling it did -- and the ig is calling attention to the fact of the amounts spent on it is more the issue than there was a conference at all.
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caller: this is almost a clarion call for smaller government. basically smaller government, smaller problems, bigger government, bigger problems. i am a federal retiree myself, worked for the postal service for 34 years. a renault we always said budget said, but what of the -- always exceed the budget. in other words, obamacare was going to cause $900 billion and now we are hearing $1.70 trillion. i of wondering, in this instance, did the budget for this and what was the budget and how much did they exceeded? guest: i don't think it was determined yet what exactly the budget for it was and whether it was exceeded by its own budget standards. one of the interesting things is on an e-mail message the ig highlighted, the person responsible for coordinating the conference specifically said he wanted it to be "over the top" compared to previous efforts. i think that is the crux of the
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issue, that whatever the budget might have been for it, they really are doing something when a bigger scale than they had done before. host: general services administration in 2011, $30 billion budget, federal building fun about $17 billion, 12,000 employees, 11 regional offices and washington, d.c. it manages about half a trillion dollars in federal assets and 9600 buildings and is in charge of preserving 478 historic properties. 90% of the budget is paid for through pay -- fees paid to gsa and 2% of the budget paid for by congressional appropriations. host: when did it come into being? guest: in it -- as a way to consolidate previous efforts. it should be noted that and fairness, the whole of gsa -- it
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saved the federal government a lot of money on a regular basis by negotiating deals, leveraging entire purchasing power to get better deals on everything from i.t. systems to mops and cleaners and does things also like negotiate air fares that all agencies can use, which are highly favorable and much better than what any of us can get just walking up to a counter. there are many ways in which gsa takes on a roll. it's good buys essentially -- host: it buys all the light bulbs and vehicles in stuff like that? guest: yes. host: ann on the republican line. guest: it is so ironic and wrinkles me and i did not know why it does not rankle americans that the gentleman you had on before this was telling us that we need to raise taxes, that we need to take more from the wealthy and this gentleman comes
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on and shows us where all of the waste is, and why should i, who would make a nice income, want to pay more taxes for this kind of thing? don't people see the connection, that the more you tax and the more you take away from the people, the more it goes to the government for wasteful things, for conferences and for people who want to have parties, for the president's wife and children who want to travel and spend our money? don't they make that connection that that is the trouble with big government? guest: there is certainly the case the government misspends money, but it is true in the big scheme of things not -- it is a relatively small part of the entire federal spending. so, attacking this issue isn't just -- you can't just focus in
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on the waste and abuse as being a huge problem or representing a huge portion of federal spending. it does remain a relatively small part of the budget. host: to reset tweets in -- -- theresa tweets in -- and bill tweets in -- guest: i am not familiar with that particular one but certainly over the past year- and-a-half or so, agency spending on conference and has been under much tighter scrutiny than it was in the past. host: next call, oklahoma city, oklahoma. barbara. caller: i have held a gsa government car briefly, and the abuse really is not from the card holder. they are told what to order.
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an example is, everybody knows what a day timer appointment book is, and i was instructed to order a day timer appointment book. my job is to go to the gsa website and to get the cheapest that is out there that will serve the purpose for the government employees. in this case -- i was not allowed to do that. it was about $75 difference in price because i had to get the exact item that my supervisor, my seconded level supervisor, had requested for him. it was not an option for me to do what was right. another incident was that we needed signature stamps for our division. and this really happened to me. and i was in charge -- my name was on the credit card and it is my job and i could be held responsible for anything on it.
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the second level supervisor gave instructions for another employee to take that credit card and use it and charge because it was an urgent airforce buy, for a signature stamp. so, there is misunderstanding of ground level what happens. it happens at the ground level. and no ig team, no supervisor -- one is not going to speak up against each other because they all protect each other. the employee does makes a stand -- it was my government credit card, i posted it behind the locked cabinet, i posted it on the outside of the cabinet and i have been -- not necessarily employee of the month ever again because of that. host: barbara, thank you for that. guest: we hear these kind of complete fairly frequently from
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federal employees that they are directed to do things that are not comfortable doing. again, i don't know there is evidence it is widespread or systemic or involves lots of federal government -- dollars but it is certainly the kind of thing that goes on. and this particular instance regarding the conference, the ig report certainly made it clear that people were being directed to do things that involve excessive spending and things like sharing information in a dance with contractors about other contractor's bid, which are et least very questionable. host: just a few minutes left on the program -- kentucky, charles is a democrat. guest: good morning, c-span. the morning, mr. shoop. i think one of the issues is the ig was so far behind. they cannot even complete cases from years past as far as fraud goes. how do they keep up with all government agencies and fraud that goes on. there is a lot of misspending
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from the government and all of the agencies. but i don't see how the i g -- they are so far behind, you know what i mean? there is no way you are ever going to correct it. i don't see it being corrected. host: i think it is difficult for some of these offices -- guest: i think it is difficult for some of these id offices to people with complaints and some of the complaints have no merit, so the other thing, when they get complaints, they have to very thoroughly investigate them and you see in this record they are very specific about the conclusions and obviously took a lot of time to make sure that they investigated this beverly. so, it is difficult for them to do that. it is a very big federal government and spending is i think more heavily scrutinized and people tend to realize, and it is difficult for some of these. ig's are under some of the same kind of constraints in terms of their budget because it it -- so
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it is difficult for them to keep up, too. host: when was the conference? guest: october, 2010. host: pretty quick turnaround for the ig. guest: because it was not entirely report when the reports back to them but i think it reached a fairly high level fairly quickly. host: i want to read a little bit from the the washington post" article, the description. the group flew to new orleans --
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guest: i think that sort of sums up the kind of over-the-top nature of this. and these might be -- previous events might been held in places
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like las vegas and orleans, because there are a lot of facilities that can handle them. is -- it is just that in this particular instance it looked like there was spending that was kind of out of control. host: venice, florida. ellen. caller: i just wanted to say based on the figures that they just showed, initially you are thinking, $820,000, but when you add it up, it is over $1 million if you look at the numbers. so, over a million dollars for this particular conference. coupled with the fact the lady called in from arizona, where they are building manufactured homes 2400 square feet, and the expending $300,000 apiece -- she said they completed 20 already, already $6 million. when you look at things like that, and you begin this is just
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one department. if you multiply it by all the different departments, and then the government turns around and says to congress when they are trying to cut budget expenses, saying we don't have anything, we are down to the bare minimum, and then they start talking about we are going to take money away from social security and medicare and medicaid but they don't talk about all this kind of thing. as an accountant, i know people say -- people called in saying it is just a drop in the bucket compared to government spending. but as an accountant at and tell you when you add up all the different departments and people overspending by a million dollars here, and you add it all up, then you start getting into the billions and you start getting into the trillions. even though people initially say one item is not important, all of them added together is an extreme amount of money. host: we got the point. venice florida, ellen.
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guest: it is certainly true these are more than isolated incidents. i did not think in terms of waste and abuse it adds up to more than a trillion dollars, i think that is the high end. i think it is and ports and to keep it somewhat in perspective and according to the report, $820,000 was the total spending so i don't think it went higher. i think the other figures are underneath the $820,000. host: tom shoop, "government executive" magazine, can people read it online? is there a firewall? guest: it is free and open, www.govexec.com. twitter -- @govexec. host: thank you all for being with us. several live events on c-span today. you can go to c-span.org and find out what they are and what time. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> coming up this afternoon, remarks from irs commissioner on his agency's effort to modernize while improving customer service and enforcement. those improvements likely will include a taxpayer data base and tax code reform. he will be speaking of the national press club and he conceded live starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. after that, president obama

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