tv Government and Free Speech CSPAN June 23, 2013 3:10pm-4:11pm EDT
audience. from the american enterprise institute, this is 50 minutes. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i am arthur brooks and i am delighted to welcome you to this address by the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. in 1960, the president of this institution created a new model for this institution. it was very simple, but very subversive. he had a view that washington d.c. or anyplace are you are working with ideas, you are one of two types of people. either you want to win the cup titian of ideas or you want to shut down the competition of ideas.
you are one or the other. if you want to win the you and to build up the pillars of society. perhaps in a premonition that something that was about to happen and indeed the following year, it did. billollowing year, learned that the internal revenue service was on the side of shutting down the competition of ideas in this country. in 1961, john f. kennedy gave the speech talking about the discontent voices of extremism. that was a direct result of john f. kennedy talking about the corrosive impact of ideological organizations in the war of
ideas and they targeted this very institution. today, once again, we see that, the federal government through the internal revenue service, it stands on the side of shutting down the competition of ideas. we are joined by one of our best friends here at aei to talk about this problem. mitch mcconnell is no stranger to anyone here. he is going to comment on the use of government are to stifle speech. it is always an honored to have him here, to share his thoughts and none more so than here today during senator mitch mcconnell.
>> good morning. i appreciate you all being here. i particularly want to thank you, arthur. where did you go?
there you are. this is one of the most indispensable institutions in washington during arthur is a player manager in the think tank world. he not only steers the ship, he is generating some of the best research. he also has a lot of fans on the hill and it is safe to say he is a model and an inspiration to college dropouts. french hornsioned french on players everywhere. [laughter] last june i said here and warned of a grave and growing threat to the first amendment. that threat has not let up at all. our ability to freely engage in civic life in defense of our beliefs is still under coordinated assault from groups on the left who do not like anyone criticizing them.
from the white house that appears determined to shut up anybody who disagrees with it. on the outside, there is a well documented effort by a number of left-wing groups like media matters who -- who harass and intimidate conservatives with the goal of scaring them off the political playing field and off of the airwaves as well. an internal media matters memo showed the extent to which these tactics have been turned into a science. we learned of the groups plan to conduct oppositional research into the lives of on-air news personalities and other key decision-makers over at fox news. and to coordinate with partner groups to pressure the advertisers and shareholders to
by the threat of boycotts, rallies, shame, embarrassment, and other tactics on a variety of issues important to the progressive agenda. they had to make up a new name after the reagan era because the term liberal is pejorative to most americans these days. it's databases can also use to remove chronically problematic media figures. or to preempt programming altogether. then of course there is the widespread effort to stifle speech from within the government itself. something the obama administration has engaged in from its earliest days.
to trace this back even further to the 2008 campaign, when i was here with you last june, and my central point today is the attack on speech that we've seen over the past several years were never, never limited to a few left-wing pressure groups or even to the disclose up which is been promoted in congress. extend throughout the federal government to places like the fdc, the fcc, the hhs, and as all americans know, even to the irs. these assaults have often been aided and abetted by allies in congress.
as for the irs, i have got a phone call from a constituent laster who said he'd been subjected to extensive questioning and unreasonable deadlines from the irs. when similar complaints followed, i sent a letter to commissioner shulman asking for assurances that there was not --y little targeting going on. any political targeting going on. public office in the irs depended on it. six weeks later i got a response from stephen miller in which he said to move along, nothing to see here. well, we know that was not the case. we now know the irs was actually engaged in the targeted applications of conservatives and others who were criticizing how the government was being run.
you get audited for criticizing the government is being run? overwhelm him with questions and paperwork and in some case initiate audits. in one case in irs agent demanded that the board members of the iowa pro-life group signed a declaration that they would not pick it planned parenthood. and irs agent allegedly demanded that the board members of an iowa pro-life group signed a declaration that they would not picket planned parenthood. several pro-israel groups said they were single out by the irs after clashing with the administer shoot over its policy on settlements. then there is the story of catherine ingle brett. she said after applying for tax exempt status for a voter integrity group, she and her husband were visited by the fbi, the atf, osha, and an affiliate of the epa.
when all is said and done, osha told them that they had $25,000 in fines. the epa demanded they spent $42,000 on new sheds and three years after applying for tax exempt status, they are still awaiting approval. the list of stories like this goes on and on. now we have an administration that is desperately trying to prove that nobody at the top, nobody at the top was involved in any of the stuff. even as they hope that the media loses interest in the scandal and moves on. but we will not move on. as serious as the irs scandal is, what we are dealing with is larger than the actions of one agency, or group of them please, -- or group of employees. this admin station has institutionalized the practice of picking bureaucrats against
the people they should be serving and it should stop. the good news is that more people are beginning to catch on. when i warned about this last year, i got slammed by the usual suspects on the left, as you can imagine. they said i was full of it. even some of the now realize that just because mcconnell is the one pulling the long, it is not mean there is not a fire. the irs scandal has reminded people of the temptations to abuse big government and its little patrons. people are waking up to a pattern, they are connecting the dots, and they are rightly troubled. looking back, the irs scandal helped explain a lot of the things the minister nation has done. you all are member the president wagging his finger at the supreme court. the president wagging his finger
at the supreme court sitting right there in the house of representatives during the 2010 state of the union. i assure you that this piece of presidential theater was not done for the ratings. he spent so much time and energy denouncing the case, but it's not the reason they gave. i realize this might be shocking to some of the interns in the crowd. the fact is the court decision was actually fairly unremarkable. all it really said was that under the first amendment every corporation in america should be free to participate in the political process, not just the ones that own television and newspapers.
why should a corporation that owns television stations get a card? free speech and everybody else does not. in other words, there should not be that when it comes to clinical speech who own media companies. it was a good and fair decision aimed at leveling the playing field. the real reason, the real reason the left was so concerned about citizens united is that they thought it meant more conservatives would form well -- would formions. a more welfare organizations. groups like planned parenthood and the sierra club, for example are groups like this. what is notable is that they do not have to disclose their donors, they do not have to disclose their donors. that was the main concern of the president and his allies, they were not interested in the integrity of the process. if they were, they would've been just as upset at left-wing
groups for remaining private for their donors. they really wanted was a hoax to -- what they really wanted was a tohook stir outrage about conservative groups so that they could get their hands on the names of the folks who supported them. that is what this is about, they wanted to get their hooks on the names of the folks who supported groups that disagreed with the administration. and then they wanted to go after them. citizens united simply provided that hook. as a longtime political observer and first women hop, i knew exactly what the democrats were up to with their complaints about this decision. i have seen what the proponents of disclosure have intended and that past and it is not good government. that is why the donor list has been protected of the socialist worker party since 1979. that is also why the supreme court told the state of alabama that it cannot force of the naacp to disclose its donor list
back in 1958. the president could claim as he did six months after wagging his finger at the supreme court that the only people who do not want to disclose the truth of people with something to hide. he can claim that, but the fact is there is very good and legitimate reason that the court has detected folks from force-- edat courts have protect di folks from forced disclosure. they know that failing to do so subject them to the kind of harassment that we have been seeing here the last three years. the political response to citizens united with the so- called disclose act was not about cleaning up politics, it was about finding a blunt political weapon to be used against anyone group and one group only. conservatives. those who doubt this have not and paying attention to the tactics of the left. they must not have noticed the
stories about top administration officials holding weekly phone calls with groups like media matters. they clearly do not know their history, and they must not have noticed the enemies list of conservative donors on the obama campaign website. or the strategic name dropping of conservative targets by the president's campaign team. these folks were talking about the coke brother so much, you would think they were running for president. but six months after the president rated the supreme court, he called out americans for prosperity by name. it was like sending a memo to the irs that said audit these guys. all of these things together point to a coordinated effort to stifle speech, and that is why one of the most enduring lessons in the irs scandal comes from the timeline. we now know a team of irs
specialist was tasked with isolate and conservatives for scrutiny as early as march of 2010. what matters is not where they were doing it, what really matters is that it coincided with a very public campaign by the president and a small army of left-wing allies in and out of government to vilify anyone who had recently formed the group around conservative policies. what happened before this party began is just as important as-- what happened before the targeting began is just as important as what happened after the targeting began. what matters is the atmosphere, what matters is the culture of intimidation, the culture of intimidation this resident and his allies created around any person or group that spoke up for conservatism or against the
direction the president wanted to take us. the so-called special interest, he said special interest would flood the political process with money that would be coming from foreign entities. the problem he said his nobody knows who is behind these groups. they were shadowy, they might even be foreign controlled. these were the kind of unsubstantiated claims the president and his allied claim from early 2010 right up and threw the election. they were just as reckless and preposterous as harry sang mitt romney has not paid taxes in 10 years. they might have been wrapped and appealing rhetoric of disclosure, but make no mistake, the goal was to win at any cost. that meant shutting off their opponents in any way they could.
i don't believe they picked up the phone and told someone at the irs to slow up these applications or audit anybody, but the truth is he did not have to. he did not have to do that. the message was clear enough. but if the message was clear the medium was also suited to the cause. and the public-sector unions have made a pact between those who tend to benefit from the growth of government. let us face it, when elected leaders and union bosses tell us that they should view half the american people as being a threat to democracy, it should not surprise any of us that they would look at it that way. why would we even expect a public and fully whose union-- a
public employee whose union more or less exist to grow the government to treat someone who opposes that goal to a fair hearing. when the tea party was public vilified, is it any wonder that members of the union would get caught targeting them? this is something liberals used to worry about. fdr himself was horrified at the idea of look workers conspiring with lawmakers on how to divide up the tax payer pie. the him it was completely incompatible with public service to the public to be cut out of a negotiation in which the two sides were bartering over their money. even the first president of the
flcio once said it was impossible to bargain collective league with the government. if that is is actually had today. over the past several decades, the same public employees have conspired with congress to expand those powers even more. and you endlessly increase the budgets that finance them. this is not done in the interest of serving taxpayers, it is done in the interest of policing -- it's done in the them.st of fleecing because that is what happens when politicians start competing with the support of public sector unions, they stop serving the interests of people who elected them and start serving the interest of the government that they are supposed to be keeping in check. there is no better illustration than the news this week that the congressional hearings unionized employees at the irs about it $70 million in bonuses. $70 million in bonuses. the irs union is thumbing its nose at the american people, it
is telling them in the clearest possible terms that it does not care about the scandal or how well the government works or how well it is even serving the public. all it cares about is helping union workers get theirs. it is pure arrogance, and it reflects a sense of entitlement better suited to an aristocracy then a nation of constitutional self-government. it is increasingly appropriate to ask whose interest these public sector unions have in mind? the taxpayers? or their own? on this question, i will say that public sector unions are 50 or mistake.-- public-sector unions are a 50-year mistake. years ago i saw the dangerous potential for collusion between lawmakers and public security and when i served as executive of my own county. i fought hard against the formation of public-sector unions and at the time there was a bipartisan agreement on this issue. most people realized it was not in the public interest.
unfortunately, the appeal of union support proved too great for some and shortly after i was elected to the senate, they vacated my office and the dam of resistance broke. and it has been gutting the finances of every state in local government in the country. the existence of public employee unions is without question a big part of the reason people of so little trust in government these days. they are the reason so many state and local minas appellees are flat broke. they are behind public pensions. today i'm calling for a serious national debate about them. on the federal level, the first thing we should do is stop the automatic transfer of union dues from employee salaries at the taxpayers expense. [applause]
if the unions want their dues, it should be incumbent on them and not us to pay for it. the assault on free speech continues, and it is fairly an uphill battle. but if we are alert to the tactics of the left, and take these assaults one by one, i am confident that we can beat them back. let me give you a few final examples of what i'm talking about. right now there is an effort over at the federal communications commission to get groups that buy campaign ads to disclose their supporters. this is utterly, utterly irrelevant to the mission of the fcc. and we need to say so. the sec is being pushed to
display their public supporters. this proposal does not protect shareholders and it does not protect governors. for the left, this is not about good government or corporate governance, is about winning at all costs. even if that means shredding the first amendment and that is why we need to be vigilant about every one of these assaults. they might seem small and isolated in the particular, but together they reflect a culture of intimidation that extends throughout the government. a culture abetted by a bureaucracy that stands to benefit from it. the moment a gang of u.s. senators started writing letters last year demanding the irs enforce more disclosure upon conservative groups, we should have all cried foul. the moment white house proposed a draft order replying applicants for government contracts to disclose their political affiliations, we all should call them out.
when the hhs secretary told insurance companies, back during the obamacare debate, told insurance companies that they could not tell their customers how obamacare would impact them, we all should have pulled the alarm. as soon as we learned that left- wing groups were manufacturing public outcry for corporate disclosure at the sec, we should have exposed that for what it was. there might be some folks other waiting for hand signed memo from president obama to lois learned to turn up. do not hold your breath. what i'm saying that a court made a campaign to use the levers levers of government to target conservatives and stifle speech has been in full swing and in open view for all of us to see for years.
it has been carried out by the same people who say there is nothing more to the disclose act then transparency and no more two other disclosure regulations than good government. but the irs scandal puts the lie to all of the posturing. because now we know what happens when government gets its hands on this kind of information. when it is able to isolate its opponents and whether you are a pro-israel group, or a tea party group in louisville, they can make your life miserable. they can force you off the political playing field which is precisely what we cannot allow. there are a lot of important questions that remain to be answered about the irs scandal, but let's not lose sight of the larger scandal that has been right in front of us for five years.
a sitting president who simply refuses to accept the fact that the public will not applaud everything that he does. this president expects the public to applaud everything that he does. my plea to you today is that you call out his attacks on the first amendment whenever you see them, regardless of the target. because the right to free speech does not exist to protect what is popular, it exists to protect what is unpopular. the moment we forget that, we are all at risk from right to left. if liberals cannot compete on a level playing field, they should make up better arguments. what is wrong with the competition of ideas? if your argument is so weak that you have to try to intimidate and shut up your opponents in order to win the game? look, the only way to beat a bully is to fight back and that
is all of us need to do. be wise to the way of the left and never give an inch when it comes to free speech. thank you very much. [applause] >> we have time for some,, yes, yes man. >> hi, my name is barbara from new york. is there any suspicion that intimidation goes beyond the irs and the things you mentioned. it is frightening considering that our government has things like stunt guns and star wars.
>> i will not speculate where else they exist, where they already exist is pretty stunning. we have seen that at hhs. they sent out a directive to health recoveries that they cannot tell their policy holders with the impact of obamacare would do to them. this is the same secretary that is shaking them down for money in order to run television advertising supporting obamacare. then of course over the fcc obama proposed an initiative that require you a condition to pursue what ever cause you may have to disclosure donors you are making advertisement. and then we have seen what is happening at the irs. the president himself has been demonizing these people and so the point i'm making here today is that it is not surprising that the bureaucracy would pick up on that.
and think they would pick up on that and say that is what we are supposed to do. the ceo has laid out the game plan, so i don't know what my else be going on, but the things we do know are going on our right in front of us and they are beyond disturbing. leave me, if this were a republican administration and these were liberal groups that were being subjected to this kind of treatment, this would be big news on the front page of "the new york times," on a daily basis. >> i am elizabeth regular citizen. tank you for coming and educating us. they after day, we hear a litany of corruption and abuses which should not surprise us because we know that president obama has in his mind and is determined to
fundamentally change and transform america. despite what karl rove advised, is there not any of these abuses which legally rises to an impeachable offense? i'm sorry to put you on the spot, but you will not answer my e-mails. >> i think we need a thorough and complete investigation and let the facts take us where we will go. i am confident the house of representatives will have a thorough investigation, at least two committees i am aware of. they are pursuing this and a methodical way and i don't want to jump to any conclusions, i just love the fax to take us where they take us. i am prepared to say that the
president and his political allies encouraged this kind of bureaucratic overreach by their public comments, but that is what different from saying they ordered it. i think we need to find out who is responsible and the investigation will go on for quite some time. >> hello, a couple of your colleagues have proposed a constitutional amendment that would specify that no rights in the constitution would apply to corporations. i'm just wondering if you could react to that and maybe discuss some of the junta point is of that would be. >> give them some points for not hiding it. the constitution has been
amended very rarely in our well over 200 year history. for good reason, it has served us well. they were not uncomfortable with corporate free speech when corporations that owned newspapers or television stations were engaging in it, they only become uncomfortable ones of report said why should there be a carveout for corporations that own the media out and for no one else? it is an absurd proposal. won't go anywhere. >> what you think about the efforts of michael bloomberg to encourage democratic donors a particular amount of votes in the senate. >> he can express himself, and i support the right for him to say whatever he wants to. i obviously, from a partisan point of view, i hope they
[laughter]him. >> i am part of the mccain institute and i'm currently a student at the university of texas and i am wondering about this issue, it seems like they are starting to notice obama's immortality is disappearing and that he is flawed. what will it take for them to go maybe it is time to see the light and understand that he is not all he's cracked up to be? >> i think it is keeping your eyes open and watching what is happening. simple observations. it is not surprising -- the biggest difference between the two parties today in america, they are the party of government
and we are the party of the private sector. that is not that we should think there is no government at all, but they really trust the government. that is why they are in such a tight alliance with a look employee unions who are the principal benefactor of larger government and to have little or no interest in bigger and bigger debt. to the extent that they have become skeptical, that maybe this degree of government is not such a good idea, that is an encouraging sign. one of the great things about being young is that if your health holds up, you get older. it is amazing how your views change as you advance in age and i hope they will simply observe what is going on.
this is what you get when you elect a government that believes government is the answer. and for two years they owned the place. they had a great election in 2008. they can do whatever they wanted to, and they did. $300 stimulus, take over american healthcare, the student loan program, first four years of $20 deficits, they could do whatever they wanted to. the encouraging thing is that in 2010, they look to that initiative national restraining order. my guess is they were younger voters who began to have second thoughts. the president was reelected, but
he did not have the kind of election he did in 2008. he did not flip the house am a change the senate much, it was status quo at the federal level. at the state level 30 out of 50 governors are now republicans. it was not a wiped out election. now we have divided government and divided government can do one of two things, they can do great things as reagan and tip o'neill did when they raised the age of social security and they did the last conference of tax reform, or even bill clinton when he joined a republican congress and did welfare reform. what has been missing during this time of divided government from 2010 until now is a president willing to tackle the single biggest issues in country.
it can only be done on a bipartisan basis, and the transcendent issue of our time is the size of our debt. what i have been waiting for with this president, i have plenty of differences with the president, he will be here for 3.5 years and what will he do? if you want to pivot and help us solve the biggest issues confronting your generation in the future, we need to try and do that, but i've not seen any evidence of it. i've not seen any evidence that he is willing to leave this ideological place or he is put himself in for virtually all of his presidency and move in a different direction.
i have wondered the field from your comment, but i think younger voters are getting more skeptical because they are watching what is happening. >> mpr had a story this week where they quoted if you left- wing organizations that said they have undergone undue scrutiny as well, that they have been asked unwanted questions. don't we want the irs to make sure that those groups are not being given tax exempt status? >> i think it will be easy to get tax-exempt status whether you are on the left or right. i'll think the government should deny a status that should be rather easy to achieve. --am not a fan of harassing so, no, i am not in a for of harassing
either right or left. >> i just want to follow up on that. this claim is being made that these groups are abusing their tax status, i'm not seeing any proof of those claims. if they were not 501(c) organizations, presumably to be 527 organizations and from the standpoint of revenue collection does this make any difference for the federal government and the irs? they wouldn'toever. owe any taxes either way. good point. >> senator, you mentioned about the fact that 501(c) organizations do not have to disclose their donors, and that is true that they do not have to disclose them publicly. i represent the national organization for marriage. donors were released by the irs legally.
the goal opponents and it is still posted on their website. would you support a legislation that they would no longer have to disclose their donors to the irs? >> i have not taught about it, i -- i really hadn't thought about it. i assume you've given that case examples to the house republicans. >> yes, we asked foran investigation a year ago, but the irs will not give us a report because they are hiding behind taxpayer confidentiality and they are saying it is confidential. they will not tell us the identity of the individuals within the irs who were responsible for that disclosure. >> my bias is in favor of as much political speech as possible with minimal amount of government interference and harassment on the left or right or anyone else. i think the last thing the american people suffer from is
too little political discourse. that would be my general philosophical approach to all of these issues. there is a rational basis for groups like as not having to disclose, that is what the supreme court decision was all about. it is one thing to require disclosure when you give to a candidate or to a party, i do not oppose that. i think my voters and all of you should know who supports my campaign and my party. but these are not contributions to candidates or parties, these are contributions to groups and sometimes that does intersect with what is going on politically because it is important to remember that only those who get elected make policy.
so, a lot of issues that people want to discuss certainly do intersect with the political discussion that is going on because they might have views that are better represented by one point of view versus the other. to me, this is not a subject we should be alarmed about. that we should think is something that needs to be dealt with, i think it is something that needs to be encouraged. >> senator, -- >> i have enjoyed you over the years, norm. you have been wrong about almost everything. [laughter] i've always wondered who has eaten lunch with you over the >> i have more friends here than you think, senator.
>> some of the worst things that have been said about me have been said by you. you have been entirely wrong on virtually every occasion i'm glad to see what is on your mind. [laughter] >> one thing we agree on is that some of the worst things that are said about me have been said by you. >> i didn't make anything up, i was quoting you directly. >> my first question is that in 2000 on "meet the press," you gave an eloquent defense on disclosure and why a little disclosure is better than a lot of disclosure. in the citizens united decision, we had eight justices including robert scalia and alito all caps and equally full throated defense of disclosure of all sorts including shareholders knowing what their companies doing in the political front. why --
>> of course that is not accurate. they didn't say was a matter of constitutional interpretation, i am sure that if we passed it they would not strike you down. but that was left to us. with regard to disclosure, you have to go back to the 1980's to find a time when i suggested -- which i did and i was wrong about it -- to find a time that i suggested that disclosure of 501(4) was a good idea. i made a mistake, the supreme court left that up to congress to decide and the democrats tried to pass the disclose act selectica the names of our critics and we want to make it difficult for them. >> let me ask one more question about 501c.
the law says that they are supposed to be exclusively welfare organizations, to believe that organizing for america and america's crossroad gps are exclusively welfare organizations? >> the interpretation that the irs has had going back 40 or 50 years, i agree with. let me tell you what norm is really for. what he's really for is the government telling candidates for congress how much they can spend government mandated spending limits, and using tax money to pay for it. if norm had his way, he would push the private sector all the way out of the process of getting elected. you would file, the government would tell you how much you could speak and spend, the government would give you the money to pay for your speech. a total government takeover of the whole process from the time you file, to the time you're
sworn in. what congress is that likely to produce? the kind that was to go the-- the kind that wants to grow the government because the government would be in charge of how they got there. make no mistake, norm is a good old-fashioned far left guy. i like him, he has been wrong for as long as i can remember and it is great to see you i want to spar with you for years. [applause] >> paul from cnn, the issue of immigration tuesday, one area that the two parties are comprimising. how do you think this will sort out? >> i am not doing an immigration press conference here. we will be on that matter for another week or so. how about that young lady right there? >> senator, thank you so much for coming. i was wondering, just looking at
mexico and how they have had political turmoil and yet they are still pushing forward a number of substantial legislation and policy they want to get accomplished, they are still able to do that even though they have had a ethical -- evenal environment. though they have had a difficult lyrical environment. you said the president has been unwilling to negotiate and deal with the government that he is faced with. is there anyway we can work through that and the comp but some of the things he mentioned like tax reform, dealing with irs? >> i hope so. it is up to the president. the president and our system is unique. there is only one person in america that can sign something into law and only one person who can deliver to the members of his party.
the speaker and i have tried to engage the president for 4.5 years to tackle the transcendent issue of our time, unfunded liabilities and our current debt which is stunning. i think, as part of his responsibility, what i hope what he will decided to engage in a serious discussion about how to get an outcome to the biggest problem facing our country. we've not seen that yet, but i can't give up hope because he will be there 3.5 more years. we have do deal with the government we have, not the one that we hope for. >> do you have any thoughts about reauthorizing the anthony statute so we can get some of-- reauthorizing the independent counsel statute so we can get some of
these investigations out from under the thumb of his partnership? >> i have let that happily expire in the late 90's. i don't think it's her of the country well at all and i would not be in favor of bringing it back. it was one of the post watergate reforms -- most of those have not worked out very well. i don't think going back to that would be a step in the right direction. >> hello, i am in internet freedom works and i was curious about what you are thoughts were on the nsa's overreach as far as wiretapping? how would you think it should be addressed? do you think it needs to be eformed? >> i will confine the discussion today to things that are largely related to the subject of my speech and the independent counsel is in a way because it
was part of the post-watergate reforms. any other questions on the topic that we have been talking about this morning? ow about right here? >> hello, i just wanted to -- in relation to public employee unions and your decision to have them scaled back, i just wondered if you want to comment on scott walker and how that can be translated nationally in other states? >> i think it has been a emarkable success story. i might not have this totally accurate, but roughly accurate that once the employees in wisconsin were given the option of not paying their dues, apparently the support plummeted.
meaning that the employees, when given the choice, decided that representation was not that important to them. regardless of whether you have them or not, the larger question i wanted to raisee today is the appropriateness. that's why i went back to fdr, the appropriateness of unions in the public sector because in every negotiation there is a missing person, and the missing person is the taxpayer. the negotiation is between today's public official in today's union leader reaching an agreement to obligate the taxpayer and their future and here is no taxpayer there. believe that is why fdr, at least initially, felt that unions are entirely appropriate
in the private sector. i support private-sector nionism. there is an election, a secret ballot election, winners when, and losers accept it. but it seems to be as fundamental a incompatible. if you look at the results of that, with the pension problems all across the country, virtually every state in the country is awash with pension problems. he of people that work in the government actively discouraging and bring the power of the government down on the people who think the federal government s too big. it strikes me that this is a 50 year mistake and it is time to have a discussion again of the appropriateness of unionism in the public sector.
in the private sector, find. i don't have a problem with that. but because we are suffering the consequence is that. i will take one more uestion. >> first, an observation about norms comment earlier where he talked about social welfare. when congress set up that statue in the 50's, there is no evidence that they intended to exclude political activity. i wondered your thoughts about this. do people trying to improve their government, couldn't that improve the social welfare in our nation? >> obviously, that is my view. i think we should be encouraging this sort of thing and not discouraging it. the whole disclosure game has nothing to do with anything other than going after your donors.
it would never offended by this until the last few years when conservatives started doing more of that. all the sudden, this is a fairly recent outrage here. this is about nothing other than getting the names of your donors o you can go after them. we should be discouraging that in every way we possibly can and encouraging this kind of participation. this kind of involvement is the kind we ought to have and goodness gracious to have the government itself picking winners and losers in the game of political speech is a true outrage. thank you for being here so much. [applause]
>> we concluded a two-day meeting earlier today. based on its review, the committee sees the economy continuing to grow at a moderate pace, not with standing the strong head winds created by current federal policies. the labor market has continued to improve with payroll averaging about 260,000 jobs per month. gains in the housing market have increased confidence. however, at 7.6% the unemployment rate remains elevated as does long-term unemployment. the committee believes that the down side risks have diminished since the fall. we will continue to valley economic risks as they evolve. inflation has been running below
the objective of 2% for some time and has been a bit softer recently. the committee believes that the softness reflects factors and the committee expects inflation to move back towards 2% over time. we will, however, be closely monitoring these developments as well. in conjunction with this meeting the 19 participates in the discussion, the seven board bank presidents submitted individual bank projections. s a always, each projection is conditioned on his ore her own view. generally, projections of individual participates show they expect moderate growth, picking up over time and gradual progress toward unemployment and inflation to foster maximum employment and price stability. participates projections for economic growth have a tendency
of 2.3% in 2007. the central tendency of their projections for inflation is 0.8% to 1.2% for this year, and 1.6% to 2.0% for 2015. before turning to today's policy decision, let me say a few words about the federal reserve strategy normalizing policy in the long run. in the minutes of the gene 2011 reading, the committee set forth principles it intended to follow when the time came to normalize policy and the size and structure of the federal reserve balance sheet. as part of prudent planning, we
have been reviewing these principles in recent meetings. we expect those discussions to continue, and expect to provide appropriate information further t an appropriate time. the goals set out in the june 2011 remain applicable. one difference is worth mentioning. participants continue to think that in the long run the federal reserve's portfolio should be predominantly treasury securities, a strong majority suspects the committee will not sell securities in the process of normalizing monetary policy. although in the longer run sales could reduce or the maiden holdings. given the outlook of the committee policy guidance, these factors are unlikely to be relevant to actual all see for quite a while. let me turn to current policy issues. with unemployment still elevated and inflation below the