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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 24, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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michigan from 1979 to 2015. now he is with wayne center university. good morning. guest: good morning. host: what have you been doing since congress? guest: at wayne state law school, i helped to teach a tax course. the tax professor there, a wonderful guy, alan shank, talked about what the tax code is supposed to provide. and i used my subcommittee hearings to show how a lot of people even eight and avoid paying taxes and were using gimmicks. taxes and were using gimmicks. and to teach students to show how broken our tax system is. and how it has taken advantage of some of the wealthiest individuals among us and some of the most profitable corporations among us. host: how do they do that? guest: there are a lot of loopholes. one of the corporation, apple, shifts its intellectual property to itself offshore and avoid
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paying taxes on almost all of it. , for corporations instance, hedge funds, use a gimmick in a loophole in the law called. interest, which allows the big ays at the hedge funds to pay lower tax rate than people who work for them. it is a loophole in the law. we showed literally tens of thousands of americans were hiding their income and their .ssets overseas illegally a lot of them in swiss banks. we went after a lot of swiss banks aiding and abetting american taxpayers to avoid paying taxes. after we showed that, the irs your back on in, pay taxes, we believe you amnesty, but we will argue interest. over 55,000 americans who had hidden bank accounts came in. we collected about $6 billion.
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there are a lot of gimmicks used to avoid paying taxes. but tax havens, the cayman islands for instance, have been soaking up huge amounts of our money that really is needed in america for the things we need to do, whether it is infrastructure, education, reducing our deficits, defense, you name it. host: you mention the cayman islands. why is that location make it easy for this kind of thing to go on? folks they have a lot of making money. a lot of attorneys, accountants, nominal trustees who form corporations and trust to help people hide their money. , likerporations also form apple or others, form corporations that they own in tax havens, not just in the cayman islands. there are 30, 40 famous ones. ,here is a building down there
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which i think has 10,000 mailboxes. host: when it comes to this process, is it illegal? guest: in some cases, it is illegal. there was a recent conviction of brothers that hid their assets. technically, these corporations are arguing that they are not illegal. they are avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, most americans realize what is going on here. by using loopholes, if they are technically legal, we are losing a huge amount of revenue. there are over $2 trillion of money sittingrate overseas and corporations. these are the most profitable corporations we have in this country. lower the tax rate, you bring it back. well they should be able to set their own tax rate, but that is what is happening. how do they reduce the tax rate down to 5%.
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then we will bring it back and pay taxes. meanwhile, taxes are not paid by that money in congress cannot act. we have to go after the tax havens. it is a huge issue. it is a bipartisan issue. the polls have been taking of democrats and republicans in independents showing all three groups want to close these tax havens, close the tax loopholes that should be closed. i called -- i call them on justify tax loops. -- i call them unjustified tax loopholes. it performs useful economic purpose. but there is no economic purpose served when apple transfers its intellectual property, the jewels of the apple crown, to itself. there is no economic purpose there. they are not producing in attacks even anything. they are not selling. he are not designing or creating
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anything in the tax havens and most of that was done in the united states. levinformer senator carl joining us to talk about tax havens. also his work in congress and what he is doing now. if you want to asking questions, 202-748-8000 for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans. and for independents, 202-748-8002. first caller is bruce for senator call 11. go ahead, bruce. caller: how long have you been in congress, serve? guest: 36 years in congress and the senate. caller: it always amazes me when people complain about tax loopholes in the way tax laws are written. who wrote the tax laws? were you part of voting or accepting them, and then all of a sudden coming to go on the attack. guest: not all of a sudden. i heard hearings over a decade.
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it showed the damage that was done by these tax loopholes. we have had impact on a number of bills that were able to get past. we have closed a few. i did not vote for all the tax laws. some and begin some. it is lopsided. there are too few people on the corporate side, but on the individual side. it is a lot of pressure on congress. some people cave into it. some people don't cave into it. it is a major issue and will be a part of the presidential campaign. it will be a debate among candidates and people running for office about closing down these tax havens. so the answer is, i sure went after them when i was in the congress. and i had a little success. but there is a long way to go. host: here is stephen in connecticut, independent line. go ahead. caller: thanks for taking my call.
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problem,e a permanent ,hese corporations, like ge these hedge funds, pfizer just running. it is just destroying the middle class. i don't see how hillary clinton or a donald trump can fix it if these lawyers are so powerful. we have an apple tax law with the have to pay? we have to do this not just for apple, but for other corporations using tax havens. elections have consequences. a presidential election, or an election in a senator in your state, people need to raise these issues. by the way, people are angry about these issues. all of the public opinion polls show the behaviors -- the taxes -- the tax issues are so complex
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and has provisions are so complex, it is almost impossible for the average person to deal with it. so, the average person has got to try to focus as much as they possibly can on what they do know. carried interest provision where hedge funds operators can have a lower tax rate -- a lot of people know about it. raise it with your candidates. a fix, is itas going after specific loopholes, or a total rewrite of the tax code needed in order to make the best of it? how does it work? guest: a lot of people say you have to rewrite the tax code. that is a dodge as far as i am concerned. sure, you have to reform the tax code. it will probably not happen. are our two very complex alternatives. complex are two very alternatives. curable contributions.
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i don't think there are many willing to give up taxes for charitable contributions. i don't support the oil and .rass -- gas deduction but it serves and economic purpose. i am a green guy. i would rather not look for more fossil fuel, but it serves and economic purpose. but the tax havens and transfers by corporations for themselves in tax havens of their own intellectual property, serve no economic purpose. the economic purpose was served when those patents, royalties, and designs are created in the united states. or when something is manufactured, wherever it is manufactured. or when something is sold. those are economic purposes. but to allow corporations to shift to their own corporation, shell corporation in these tax
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havens, and their intellectual property, is pure tax avoidance. host: let's hear from fred in maryland, republican line. you are next. caller: hello, senator. thank you for your service. i was thinking that the average corporate tax rate in england is 70%. -- in england 17%. in ireland, 12%. wouldn't it be great to reduce the tax rate to be more competitive and get rid of the loopholes? guest: that is one argument that is being made. effective tax rate is likely 12%. after take the deductions and credits and so forth, the so-called real tax rate or effective tax rate is more like the percent. isre is no way you can -- like 12%. , it is a profitable organization that pays no taxes.
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why? his mr. zuckerberg sold stock option several years ago, made a whole lot of money, which is fine, he deserves to make a whole lot of money. but the corporation got a tax cut equal to the taxes that mr. zuckerberg have to pay on a stock options. that is a loophole that should end. as a result of that, you have a corporation, facebook, that is going to pay no taxes for the next three or four years because that tax cut they got to that tax benefit from the sale of those options in the caching in of those options is carried forward. as a matter of fact, that company got a check from the treasury i believe of $50 million that year that he stopped -- that he cashed in his stock options.
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aboutwhat do you think the release of the information of the panama papers? guest: it dramatized what is going on in that tax haven. you have a law firm that wrote hundreds and thousands of deals creating corporations that serve no function. directors,oards of and used by people all around the world. this is a global problem. that is what the world bank is looking at. that is where i will be speaking at about the use of tax havens. it is not just a problem for american treasuries that loses a lot of money. it is a problem around the world. it is a result -- corporations in this country, that used to oftribute perhaps 20%, 30% our total and take of taxes now contribute about 10% of our
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total revenue that comes in to the u.s. treasury. you know, we have needs in this country. we have needs for infrastructure. huge job creating functions like infrastructure. we have needs of education and additional defense spending in this country. we have deficits that are not sustainable healthily at the current levels. we ought to be doing deficit reduction. you cannot have highly profitable organizations avoiding paying taxes and still have those kind of needs. it seems to me there are two solutions -- one is tax reform. i have a few disagreement on that because there are so many different ways and so many different ideas of who should pay more, and who should pay less. and these are these unjustified tax loopholes that ought to be closed whether you can get to test reform or not. host: the release of those
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papers prompted the obama administration announcing new changes to the department. i want to get your thoughts. number one, we are requiring banks and other financial institutions to know, verifying, and report who the real people are behind shell corporations that set up accounts at those institutions. one of the main ways that companies avoid taxes for wealthy individuals, is by setting up shell corporations and make it harder to trace where moneys are flowing and what taxes are owed. we are saying to those institutions, you have to get that information. second, we are plugging a gap in our tax rules that foreigners can't evade taxes. the treasury department and irs are issuing a proposal to make sure foreigners cannot hide the hind anonymous shell organizations. these actions are going to make a difference.
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they will allow us to continue to do a better job of tracking financial flows and making sure that people are paying the taxes that they oh rather than using offshore accounts to avoid doing the things that hard-working americans are doing every day, and that is making sure they are paying their fair share. about thosethinking proposals -- what do you think about those proposals? guest: the president is right on target. one should be written a way that would be more effective. there have been bills introduced to do just that. but, it is a very important initiative the president is taking. he supported this legislation when he was in the senate. problems that we have in america is that we are totally inconsistent.
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we insist that corporations use thebanks, they disclosed real beneficial owners of those corporations. but we do not require corporations formed in america to disclose who the real owners are. of stateecretaries around the country say they oppose it. but the people who really favor the disclosure of the real owners, so you cannot have hidden money, whether it is used avoiders, you tax cannot allow in america, corporations to be formed without indicating who are the real beneficial owners. who really controls those corporations? host: and that is because of current law? ofst: and that is because current law. a set from the corporations. we have stayed said from thousands of corporations are year. host: one of the most common faith? nevada.elaware,
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it is no big deal to say, is the real owner? who controls it? who gets the benefits? you just can't use phony onstees and lawyers who are the board of directors. corporations were formed for an important purpose. to provideormed limited liability. liability of the the assets given. they had been very useful. but, it is not the purpose of a corporation to hide who the owners are. the are being used that way and america is totally inconsistent. we are hypocritical. there are bills i have introduced that are pending in the senate and house. law enforcement, up and down. useral law enforcement one
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require that when you form a corporation, you have a -- you have one line, who are the real beneficiary owners? host: our guest is senator carl levin, currently at wayne state university. senator from i can 79 to 2015. -- senator from 1979 to 2015. michael from georgia. you are on with our guest. caller: how are you, senator? good to see you. this is my question. i work for the irs. on, republican, for and hour. she stated all of these lies. we know that my livelihood would be in jeopardy if i take any types of action. and the democrats are talking about tax evasion when the republicans nominated a tax evade or.
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that is total hypocrisy. guest: the pressure is going to grow on him. the whole issue of tax avoidance is a big issue. .t will be in the campaign mr. trump will be under tremendous pressure to put his his disclosure, where his mouth is. before he said he would do it, he would not do it, then he would do it. the previous speaker who talked about it, i did not hear her. that i dorstand understand she is suing people who represent the irs, which are supposed to be social welfare organizations. this is true of both parties, by the way. there are organizations representing both parties that use a provision in the tax code, which is aimed at allowing people to contribute for social welfare corporations, but a lot
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of those entities and corporations, a lot of those have's misuse the right under the tax code. but the important thing here is that there are folks that say they only when after the concert organizations. a matter of fact, that is not true. they messed up. the irs messed up by not insisting that these entities used the contributions that they get for social welfare purposes. that was true both by conservative organizations and by liberal organizations. the irs did not adequately, as far as i'm concerned, enforce the law. it was even the inspector general that said they did not pick on conservative organizations. you never hear that. that is a direct quote. the inspector general of the irs, there was not the picking on just conservative organizations.
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they had the same problem with progressive, liberal, democrat organizations as they did with conservative organizations. but, there were many more entities of this kind that had this kind of funding. so it appeared as though they were going after conservative instead of democratic. that is not accurate. they treated them the same way. and in my judgment, improperly. host: from michigan. mike is next, republican line. is, are youuestion going to go after al sharpton? we talk about donald trump and his problems. i was wondering if we could discuss al sharpton in his problems with the irs. whoever is not obeying by the law and running for office and being open and honest about their own tax returns ought to be treated the same way. ,f al sharpton runs for office
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he ought to disclose his tax returns just like everyone who has run for president in recent years has disclose their tax returns. including hillary clinton, by the way, disclosed for the last 20 years. trump -- later, mr. the demand for mr. trump will be such that he will have to do what every other candidate does. i don't know what the al sharpton situation is, but if he runs for president, he must disclose his tax returns. tot: how difficult is it establish a shell corporation? guest: a couple of hundred dollars. host: is that it? guest: i don't know what the current cost is. but for tax, you can do it for a couple of hundred dollars. cost a little more if you are going to delaware or other a big businesse out of just forming corporations. i don't know how many millions
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corporations -- of corporations that were opened last year in the united states. not just in delaware, by the way. got to have revenue if you are going to have a community. you got to pay for your schools and education and roads. the bridges in this country are in terrible shape. we need infrastructure. you got to pay for it. you can't just borrow from the future. and there are folks out there you should be paying taxes that aren't. either legally or illegally. but should be paying taxes and are not paying taxes. then by god, you got a close the loopholes and collect. host: here is bill from new jersey, independent line. caller: good morning. when i listen to people like this gentleman talk and they listen to the politics. the problem that we have is a lack of common sense and a lack
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of honesty and washington d.c. everyone makes everything out to be a tremendous problem. not everything is that complex. they can be resolved very simply with common sense. example, wage at the minimum wage. the corporate tax in this country is way too high. if you lower the corporate tax and raise the minimum wage toerally, you would be able let the employers pay these people. payou let these companies minimum wage, -- there would be more money paid into the system by raising the minimum wage. i have to agree with you on the minimum wage. it is been a long time
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and is way overdue. in terms of reducing the taxes, you have to figure out where the lost revenue comes from. folks wholect from should be paying taxes but , you may be able to pay or some things caller: it is fishing for year in politics. here, i had a couple of comments. the audience mention the that's a big anomaly and it
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causes a lot of issues. you can't squeeze blood from the sun. you keep trying to hype up the need for revenues. you can stop some the spending. what was the interest? guest: it was to give people who run hedge funds a big tax break.
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the republican say they want to and carried interest. it was just put in there as a break for hedge fund guys. it can't be justified. it ought to be ended. i guess the big argument there is republican say they want to end it say they want to wait for tax reform. point is if he's loopholes and there are many of them that can't be justified, why wait? it's like waiting for good dough. godot. tobecomes an opportunity expose them. use the revenue for a good purpose. but he believed in reducing
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deficits or building infrastructure or repairing bridges or education. use it for a good purpose now. in stern's of the territorial approach, there is an argument for that approach. inre is such a difference views as to what you would substitute the current system with. one is for territorial systems. i think it would be a more regressive tax that it is now. i think we would lose revenue. importantly, if you can transfer your intellectual haven, ifo make tax apple transfers hundreds of billions of dollars, ireland has a 1% tax. are all those revenues which came from what apple did
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brilliantly in the united states in designing all these products and they are sold around the world and are shifted to ireland, that would be lost to this territory because it's been shifted. it's a tax haven where there is a 1% tax. that's one of the problems with the territorial system. it doesn't deal with the kind of shifting of intellectual property to a different territory to reduce the taxes. host: michigan it, hello. caller: it's a pleasure to see you still working. independent, but when the democrats ran our state, things were much better. my question to you is if you had loophole orwhat
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what miscarriage justice is being perpetrated by this, which would you go after? be to go afterld the carried interest. a lot of people don't know that a corporate ceo gets $2 million insalary, but $20 million stock rakes. all of that money is taxed at a much different rate. somehow we have to simplify the explanations to people so they can understand this. it was a pleasure talking to you sir. continued good health to you and your family. loophole i would close first be the carried interest loophole. there is broad support even among republicans to do it. for taxses to save it reform. there is no justification to keep something and the argument to wait is just a defense of the
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status quo. loophole, i kind of would say the most important thing we could do would be to end the tax breaks. inn kennedy came into office 1961 and one of his first speeches to congress said we need to end the use of tax havens. he described them. they suck up the money that belongs to our treasury and is shipped to tax havens. he succeeded in getting congress in 1962 to pass a law. to many people are going look that up. congress to pass a law in 1962. it worked for about 30 years.
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it gradually got undermined by a number of things, including something inadvertently done the irs and consciously done by congress. restore it. that will help eliminate the use of tax havens. i agree with you in terms of domestic loopholes. i would go after carried interest first. it has broad bipartisan support to eliminated. host: this is detroit, michigan. caller: i have supported you over the years. i am from detroit. i know you are concerned about income inequality. tend to agreeists with ernie that this is a major problem. more whent resonating
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makes nine times as much as the bottom 90%. the top 1/10 of 1% make so much money. this is been going on for years and years with basic incomes. it's like 1979 for the bottom 90% during it hasn't improved. there is not more alarm about that? why are we not taking this more seriously? it seems a lot of it could be resolved with progressive tax rates. why doesn't this seem to resonate with the public? i think income inequality is a huge issue that is resonating in the middle class. it's having a real impact in the
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campaign and will continue. this is going to be a huge issue in the final campaign. the middle class is getting squeezed in this country. because ofreasons is the loopholes in the tax system that have allowed the wealthiest to do better and the most profitable corporations to do very well through the use of these loopholes. they get translated into income inequality. i agree with you with your view. i think the middle class has felt the pain and the anger. it is being expressed. it is. by berniethe campaign sanders and hillary clinton. greatve talked about a deal.
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this tax system of ours with these unjustified tax loopholes is part of the income inequality growth that we see in this country. mr. trump says he is going to do something in the middle class tax squeeze. we have yet to see what he will do. varied andnts are so go back and forth. he has said that he favors raising the tax rate on the wealthiest among us. he reversed himself the next day. i don't know where he is going to end on that key issue of whether the upper 1% should have a tax increase. that is what hillary clinton favors. ther. trump favors that at end of the day will depend on what our of the day it is he is talking. host: where you surprised your
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home state went for bernie sanders? guest: it was always going to be close. there is a lot of pain over the trade issues. there been some trade deals that were not effective in terms of jobs in america. that resonated particularly. he touched on and focused on things that tattered very much in my home state. where hillary clinton is. i think he performed a useful function and still is in highlighting some of the issues that i think most americans feel keenly about. closer toon is who is responding to those issues of income inequality? the other issue is who will be closer to that? there's no doubt in mind that
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hillary clinton is closer to where i have been on those issues and where most of the american people are. host: we have keith up next. caller: good morning. thank you for your service to your country. one of the most bizarre things i think that is going on is on the federal level. peopleians are saying are not paying their fair share. locally, democrats are willing to throw money to create jobs are still them from other states. , between the state, county, and city, they gave $300 million to incentives. years, theyf the 10 are going to move somewhere
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else. they promise to create jobs and only created 330. we are given the millions to come here. on the federal level you are saying they are not paying our fair share. local dollars are paying for them. we will let the senator respond. onst: my focus is not businesses but on those highly profitable businesses and i use apple as an example. they have avoided paying taxes by shifting their intellectual property. that is a small percentage of companies that have use these tax havens to avoid paying taxes. point andy difficult
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problem for local governments. you want to create jobs. you want to attract industry. the use of tax incentives to do it means you are using resources to do it. mostnk most states and localities in one way or another are using tax incentives. holiday of giving a some kind on personal property tax. i know how tempting it is to do that. i come from a city that has had a huge unemployment. you've got to try to find ways to bring jobs. giving tax breaks to do that is great. i can't fault officials to do that. they make bad deals and then the companies leave without having to repay those taxes. that's the kind of deal they should avoid if they can.
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i also understand your point. host: this is been. caller: it's a pleasure. about all the hearings. iwatch the hearings. was there any punishment on wall street? there has been some significant fines that have been paid by some of the banks. i don't think goldman has paid a fine. i may be wrong. i don't think they've paid a fine for any of the securities they sold that were bad securities. goldman knew it. what's the one thing you would advise congress to change? the store subpart
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we still have a law. it supposed to prevent the use of tax havens. it's been undermined. kennedy got it done in 1961. the irs interpreted something away. theas misused to undermine purpose of that subpart f. lawcongress passed the which undermined it further. we are restore that. we can end the use of tax havens. we've got to have beneficial owners of our corporations listed on the incorporation documents. there is no justification for hiding the names of the real orders of corporations. when we allowed that to happen,
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we need to and the hidden ownership. when it continues, we are playing into the hands of people who want to hide their assets in corporations from the irs or from law enforcement. can hide the real ownership corporations. it can be misused by people who are terrorists or drug kingpins. you name it. it can be used for the various purposes. disclose who is behind it that's the other main thing i would do. there are bills pending in congress. i think the administration supports both that would do both of those things. host:
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announcer: c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that affect you. coming up, congressman rick nolan of minnesota talks about the 2016 campaign, the future of andbernie sanders candidacy the future of political reform. aboutthe ongoing concerns tsa weight times at airports. actor oraward winning john lloyd the young discusses the government's role in promoting art education in public schools. c-span'so watch washington journal on tuesday morning. join the discussion. december, president obama signed the cyber security
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act. tomorrow, virginia senator tim kaine talks about u.s. cyber security policy at a forum sponsored by the center for international studies. later, the house judiciary committee looks at allegations .f misconduct by irs 10:00 easternt time also on c-span3. >> our campaign 2016 buzz continues to travel throughout the country to recognize winners from the student cam contest. in stocksto a school boro where all of the students in first through eighth grade attended a ceremony to honor
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seventh-grade winners. the bus also made a stop at a middle school to recognize honorable mention winners and a winning video called "veterans services." students were honored in front of family and local officials. special thanks to our cable partners comcast and charter communications. you can view all of the winning documentaries at student politicalwly released house speaker ryan saying he is still not betting on donald trump winning. joining us on the phone is glenn conducted the interview. what was your overall take away
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of his demeanor and of the speaker is approaching the general election. : a week ago he said he was developing a wait-and-see attitude. i have seen no shift in this even after the summit last week. it is funny. the word ryan keeps using is "party unity" and trump keeps using it, too. i think the key i kind of discovered in my discussion with the speaker we had a 45 minute , sit-down for the podcast. it was that his definition is different than donald trump's. his definition is for paul ryan to stand behind him and smile next to chris christie. paul ryan's is different. he wants donald trump to stop speaking as harshly about immigrants. and also approaches some significant trump policies, especially the temporary ban on
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muslims. how significant is this? glenn: ryan was, prior to trump, considered to be the new standard for the republican party and he was the guy drafted by his own people to take over for john boehner after tom candidacyccarthy's for speaker fell apart. so, he is the ultimate "young gun," but events have passed him. so there is a sense now that ryan's role and what he clearly articulated to me was that he was to be the "keeper of the conservative flame" while the trump storm either blows over or changes into a full-blown hurricane. >> where did the interview take place? glenn: it took place in the speaker's conference room at a highly polished oak table, in a
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grander room in the capital. you wouldly what imagine the capital looks like. as i was walking in, paul ryan says to me, see the carpet? brand-new. see the drapes? brand-new. we had to rip everything out after john boehner left to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of it. and i noticed on one wall, there were no oil paintings. just cardboard pictures of presidents. and i asked why they were there and he said, the librarian of congress refuse to allow john boehner to hang oil paintings because the nicotine from the smoke would get all over them. >> this is available online at >> do think he could really win? >> yes, of course. >> if you are betting would you bet he would win? >> i am not a betting man. i think if we get our party unified and we do the work we need to do to get ourselves at full strength and if we offer
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the country a clear and compelling agenda that is inspiring, that is inclusive, s and ises problem solutions based and based on the principles, then yes i think we can win. this is we, not just one person. this is a we effort. i am a jack kemp guy. i believe in a type of politics that may not be invoked today but nevertheless is the right kind of politics. by jack kemp, be optimistic, inclusive, principled, and evangelize your ideas and principles to everyone but especially to those are not familiar with them. that to me is important. i think we should spend our time talking to people who may have never listen to us in the past. to compete for their votes and to compete for their hearts and their minds. >> i know you do not look in the rearview mirror and i think that
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is admirable but we have seen a campaign where that has not happened and it has been the opposite. paul ryan: i do not know if that is just this campaign. not just thiss process. the republican primary process, the democrats are doing the same thing. bernie sanders and hillary clinton are at each other's throats competing over democratic voters. republicans did the same thing for republican primaries. the question going forward is, can we now move and appeal across the scale into cross -- and across broad spectrum's of voters and do so in a way that is inviting, interesting, principled, and has good solutions? i believe we have an opportunity because seven out of 10 americans do not like the path we are on. they think we are going in the wrong direction. therefore the other party, the whatnot of the white house, has an obligation and opportunity to offer a better way. >> a portion of a 45-minute podcast interview conducted by glenn thrush of politico with house speaker paul ryan.
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yet, you also said that he took 2012 too seriously, that was one of his mistakes four years ago. can you elaborate? glenn: yes. i thought that was very interesting. i asked him about joe biden he said joe biden had been a more difficult challenger then hillary clinton and they had an energetic debate in kentucky and -- in 2012. in which biden came out of the box almost shouting at ryan and i thought ryan's answer to that was really the most interesting in our conversation. he said, and i paraphrase, i won that debate because i did what i needed to do and that is i kept my cool when i was being attacked. he said, it is one thing to have an intemperate 68-year-old -- referring to biden's age at the time -- it is another thing to have an intemperate untested 43-year-old.
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speaking of himself. that is an incredibly emblematic statement. this is a guy -- and it puts him stylistically and spiritually in opposition to the approach of donald trump. a guy who believes in discipline and self-containment. >> so what do you think house fromer paul ryan wants donald trump and republicans in the house, senate, and gop leadership? >> well, let me take priebus out of this. i think what paul ryan once from donald trump is the same thing he once from his own tea party caucus. that is to shut up. [laughter]
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>> he wants them to tone it down. come to consensus on policies and present the republican party as a substantive alternative to the obama era and to what hillary clinton is presenting. i think it raises the question as to whether or not paul ryan will ever meet the threshold of unity he set for donald trump or will he, as so many others have done, he caved to the inevitable. >> do you think the house speaker will serve as the conservative chair in the house this july? >> he has authored -- offered to withdraw if trump suggests he does. it will be an interesting dynamic. really, anybody who disagrees with them, if trump wants to -- if ryan does not enter the convention having already endorsed trump, it would be situationficult
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optically for the republican. if the guy with the gavel does not support the guy with the megaphone. >> this is the headline. speaker ryan saying, trump could win, but i am not betting on it. at commentary by glenn thrush. thank you for being with us. rove nader published a book called "unsafe at any speed." tuesday, we will talk to congressman rick nolan about the 2016 campaign. iner, airport security lines tsa management. >> the libertarian party holds
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its national convention this weekend in florida. on sunday at 9:40 5 a.m. eastern time, the party chooses its presidential and vice president john nominees. presidential and vice presidential nominee will appear on ballots in all 50 states this year. madam secretary, we probably give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. ♪ [cheers and applause] ♪
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>> this sunday night on q&a joins us.betty koed mintedme as a newly historian. my colleague said, it will be nice and quiet. we have an election coming up. you will have time to read and get comfortable. within a few weeks, the house had decided to impeach bill clinton and we got as he quickly. we had to do a great deal of research, we had not had a presidential impeachment sense senate really wanted to follow historical precedent as much as they could. >> is sunday night on c-span's q&a.
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>> consumer advocate and former presidential candidate ralph nader was part of a forum on community organizing. author and political activist jim hightower helps to moderate hosted by the center for the study of responsible law. >> good afternoon. [applause] it is my pleasure to introduce jim hightower. many of you already know about him but there are something things you may not know about him and one is that he is such a force of nature that only eight --as -- that even the a's that even a texas cyclone could not blow him off the stage. is indefatigable.
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radio a national commentary program. -- shewritten many looks -- he hasn many books written many books with outlandish titles like "swim against the current, even a dead fish can go with the flow." but what most people don't know about him, outside of texas, is he was elected twice secretary of agriculture in texas where he went all over the state reorienting texas farmers who were beleaguered to giant suppliers and giant buyers of their products, very serious monopolistic hit on both sides to marketing their products directly, to moving towards more organic agriculture, to organizing themselves as a force to reviving the agrarian people
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and traditions at its best in texas. he was going for his third term where dirty tricks undermined his campaign and someone by the name of rick perry became secretary of agriculture. there's little doubt in the minds of observers that jim hightower would have been the next governor of texas and then who knows where. it's important to remember that he was in most of the great battles over the last 50 years in the arena of progressive politics as a citizen, a candidate, an elected official and now it's almost an exaggeration to say that he's our one remaining legacy from the days when serious talk was
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combined with wry humor. and so i don't know whether he's going to make you laugh yourself serious, but here's jim hightower. [applause] >> thank you so much, ralph and each and everyone of you through tuning in through c-span for this public interest power paloosa that ralph has brought together. ralph asked that i do a bit of an overview and historical perspective midway through today ace marathon of presentations. these innovators, organizers, motivators, range across a wide range of issues as we've learned this morning, more to come momentarily, but all are really engaged in the fundamentals of
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democracy building, rallying the public to confront and defeat the plutocrat particular, autocratic, clip tow krat particular elites who constantly rule over us. by the elites i'm talking about the downsizers, privatizers, talking about the walmart wage whackers, the big oil frackers, bosses, bankers, big shots, bastards and bs-ers are too afraid to run rough shod over us. this four day confab is our modern common sense. our 2016 declaration of independence from the multi-national trading companies run by corporate royals. just as jefferson warned, money corporations have seized control of our elections, of our congress critters, of our statehouses, the courts, the media. much of academia and even religion. they use their money, their lobbyists, their pr flakes, their front groups, et cetera,
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et cetera, et cetera to overwhelm people power, to take power from us. you know, they say that in sex, i don't know a lot about this, sid was trying to explain it to me backstage, they say in sex using a feather can be erotic but using the whole chicken, that's just nasty. and these corporate interests are using the whole chicken yet they're now on the run because we the people are standing up to them. i know some people say, well, you can't defeat corporate power, but remember that even the smallest dog can lift his leg on the tallest building. this breaking through power phrase here is actually what americans do on a regular basis.
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you don't hear about it on the nightly news or much in "the new york times but that's the truth. i've traveled all across this country, been everyplace that has a zip code and people are standing up to the everyday, work a day people. howard zen taught us that america was not created by and certainly has not been advanced by the great men but, rather, by the mutts and mavericks, rebels and rabble rousers, the abolitionists, suffrages, populists, unionists, preachers, singers, whistle blowers, these grassroots forces not the great men have been the ones to dem kra advertise america's founding documents and the core issue throughout our history and certainly is today comes down to this recurring reality, too few people control too much of the money and power in our society and they're using that control
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to get more for themselves at our expense. that's what we're up against. and that's the essence of what each of these public interest champions that we're hearing from today had been battling. it's not easy to take on this power, those of you who have been involved, nearly all of you have. sometimes you get to feeling like that guy that b.b. king sings about, nobody likes you but your mama and she might be jiving you too. did you ever get feeling like that? it's not a neat process either. you've got to be willing to get your hands dirty. henrik ibson said one should never wear their best trousers to go out and fight for liberty. if we're ever to achieve the possibilities of america's golden values, economic fairness, social justice, equal opportunity for all people. that's what we're fighting for right there, no matter what issue. by the way, it is also a very enlivening experience. in fact, a guy told me, battling the bastards is just about as
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much fun as you can have with your clothes on. that's the end of my clothes references today. then he attacks your patience. i come out of dennison, texas, little town on the oklahoma border. my folks were not directly political though they read, they kept up, they voted, they participated. and my father thought he was a conservative. if you had gone to -- been a pollster, gone and knocked on his door, a liberal, conservative, i'm a conservative. if you talk about what the bank holding companies were doing to a small business guy like him, if you talked about what walmart was doing to main street, if you talked about what big oil was doing down at the state capitol then he wasn't a conservative at all, he was william jennings brian, mad as hell. he didn't even know he had a political philosophy, but he expressed it to me frequently in
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these terms. he said, jim, everybody does better when everybody does better. that's what passes for philosophy in dennison, texas, and it's as good of one as i've ever heard because that's what we've abandoned. they're saying, we don't care about everybody, we care about us and we're doing better than america's doing better. we've seen the price we're paying for that. and i ended up here in washington to go to law school after i graduated from university of north texas. and i was in law school for a full week and a half here at george washington university and, anyway, spun out of that and hit here, there, but ended up seeing what ralph nader was doing. and so i got into the public interest world creating a project modeled directly on ralph's work called the agri-business accountability
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project. and we were looking at what corporate power was doing in the food industry, what it was doing to farmers, what it was doing to farm workers, what it was doing to consumers, the environment, to food itself. and we wrote a book, susan demarco and i did in that project in 1973 i think it was called "hard tomatoes hard times" and it was about the lingering college system which is a public school system set up to assist small farmers, consumers, rural communities, et cetera. it had turned into an agri-business playground pretty
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much. in fact, the title of the book "hard tomatoes hard time" comes from uc davis out there had responded to dell monte corporation wanted to get rid of farm workers. they wanted a tomato harvester mechanical so uc davis dutifully made one but then that machine crushed the tomatoes. uc davis teemed up with the university of florida and they combined a hard tomato that could withstand the machine. that's where those tomatoes that are forced upon us came from, they came from our tax dollars at work. and sure enough very quickly thousands of farm workers were out of business, 5,000 tomato growers in california were out of business, rural communities were hurt and food was turned into a mechanical substance. in fact, demarco went to the head of u.s. department of agriculture research operation. he was very proud of these tow mate toegs. my god, you can ship them clear across the country. they'll be in a bin for a month and you won't notice them. they're wonderful. well, i grew up in new jersey and we had those wonderful sweet tomatoes there and these don't seem to have quite the same taste. and he leaned over to her and he
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said, your children will never know the difference. that's the attitude of agri-business giants versus agriculture. and that's what we're battling there. and then a little later i took that public interest attitude into all things, politics and into texas. we united farmers and farm workers, environmentalists, labors, consumers, used that jesse jackson line we might not all have come over on the same boat but we're in the same boat now. that brings people together. much to the amusement of the people of texas, we won. having won, we thought, what the hell, why don't we try to do what we said we were going to do.
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we put the agency to work by putting its powers and resources into the hands of ordinary people. ralph mentioned farmers markets. there were no farmers markets in texas at that time. there had been, of course, years ago, but they had all gone out of business. so i campaigned on that. why can't we have farmers markets. i lived here on capitol hill and went to eastern market. dallas morning news ran an editorial saying this is just foolish on hightower's parts. if the people wanted farmers markets the free market would have created farmers markets. we brought some staff together, organizers, marketing people, put them at the disposal of local people throughout the state and said, would you like to create a farmers market? they said yes. then they would do it. so we provided resources, we provided information, we provided promotion. we didn't own anything. we didn't run it, but we became the catalyst for ordinary people putting tools in their hands and then they would create it. we had more than 100 farmers
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markets within two years of the time of the thing being set up. [applause] we took on the writing of organic standards. there were no organic standards in texas and no -- and we became the first state agency to certify organic production to do it as a state level. so we brought all those forces together. whole foods, then a little store, it was part of our operation. some of the local farmers, again farm workers, consumers, et cetera, environmentalists, they came together and we put out or organic standards so farmers could move into that, they wanted to move into it, they did. at a very short period of time. at that time at texas a&m university professors were not allowed to use the phrase organic in a classroom. you couldn't say the word organic. now our state is moving just as fast as any place in the country into organic production across the board, organic hubs as well as farms. we did pesticide regulations.
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turns out i was the pesticide regulator. we said, what the hay, we have the power, nobody had done that. so we did. this totally infuriated the chemical lobby, farm bureau, et cetera. so they produced two bills in the legislature, we had a republican governor at the time, they knew he was for them. one would make my office appointed by the governor rather than elected. two, it would remove the pesticide making authority out of the department of agriculture. so they held a hearing in a little bitty room, they were going to ram this thing through, but they had to move it out to the house chamber, the largest room in the capitol because my lead off witness was willie nelson. my second witness was barbara jordan and my third witness was the chair lady of the dallas republican women's organization because it turns out that republicans don't want their babies eating pesticides either so at the end of that hearing none of the members would even
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make the motion to pass these two bills. we won because we went outside and we brought the outsiders inside. if fought inside we would have lost. inside is where lobbyists win. it's where money wins, but when we bring the outside in, then we win. that's what the public interest movement's strategy really is all about. so my message to you, i'm sure you're wondering what it is by now as i've -- that a progressive populous movement only advances when the grassroots revolts. the key word in movement is move. somebody's got to move. the good news is that the american people are revolting in the very best sense of that term. and they are making -- they are making big and bold changes now. the occupy movement. people said, oh, they didn't achieve anything. well, they only changed the debate nationally. you could ask mitt romney whether they had any impact or not. the fight for 15 is being led by
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the least likely workers in our economy. low wage, ill educated fast food workers. they've been the pioneers calling for $15 an hour and now they're getting it in seattle first, washington state itself, los angeles, california's doing it, new york's about to do it. this is going to spread all across the country coming from the grassroots. congress won't even talk about $7.30 above $7.25 the minimum wage is set at now. the people are moving on their own. in elections elizabeth warner and people like that making such a difference inside the democratic caucus causing a few of them to actually have the back bone and stand up and be democrats which is improvement. [applause]
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and we've got more coming. eifer truefaut, russ fine gold will get back in the u.s. senate from wisconsin. even the presidential race, it's not been the establishment that's created anything, it's been donny trump and bernie sanders. their supporters are remaking politics as usual. sanders completely put the lie to the myth of the democratic establishment that we have to take the big corporate money because we have to be able to compete. bernie has raised more than $200 million coming in $27 donations, an average of $27. you can't buy a president for $27. [applause] but you might buy one who's not going to be bought, and that's a big change. that completely alters the political equation right there. well, the first job of the citizen, they tell us, is to keep our mouth open, and we're pretty good at that, but it helps if that mouth is attached to a brain and that's what these public interest groups provide. providing the facts, the
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context, the messaging, the connection, the strategies to put civic power over corporate power. now when i'm advocating and ralph is as well, is na we take this week's breaking through power concept as a catalyst to forge an ongoing network of cooperative -- cooperation and coordination among our public interest groups making the whole greater than the sum of its separate parts. we might just come together a little bit we can do more. again, the cynics and corporatists say, that's very nice, hightower, you can't beat the corporate order. they've got all the money, politicians, media, et cetera. but as a friend of mine who's been a pioneer in the organic movement put it said, hightower, those who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it, and that would be you. thank you for what you're doing to create democracy in america again. thanks very much.
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glad to be with you on this four-day hiatus here. [applause] we're just going to keep churning right along. my privilege to introduce a fella i've known. we served on the public citizen board together. he is the head of the health research group, has been for eons and continues to be of service there. he's always been a fighter against big farm, fda, all the other forces of ill health in other society. i think of sid a little bit years ago, '70s, late '70s and '80s there was a bar in austin called the raw deal, and in the bathroom -- in the men's room they had one of those hot air hand dryers and had the big button that you push but on the big button phil graham was the u.s. senator.
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on here it said push here for a message from phil graham. and that -- it has been sid wolf who has challenged and confronted and defied the advertising push and message and the lies of big pharma and their shameless profiteering that they are doing. he has managed to take some 300 dangerous drugs off the market in his tenure at the health research group. so i give you sid wolf, champion of the people. [applause] >> thank you, it's exciting to be here in front of these people. one comment at the end of our breaking through power. i think many of us would like the day to come when the -- what
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i call -- ralph calls the republicans and the democrats, the duopoly, i say there is a government/corporate duopoly and that it needs to be over thrown, but in the meantime, in the meantime breaking through power has been going on for more than 50 years. i think the anniversary of unsafe at any speed is an apt anniversary for celebrating an important breaking through power in auto safety. but it's been going on for a long time and will keep going on for a long time, and one of the reasons is that smaller by comparison to overthrowing the corporate government duopoly projects that are well researched, legal research, economic research, health research research, focus action breakthroughs have resulted, are resulting today and will continue resulting in change to improve people's lives. i came here essentially 45 -- more than 45 years ago.
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i came here in 1966. it's 50 years ago to avoid the vietnam war. i was in my medical training at the -- at a hospital in cleveland and i was opposed to the vietnam war and fortunately i had spent a lot of time in medical school doing research so instead of going to vietnam i was able to get into a non-uniform services called public health services and i went to nih and literally this march, now 45 years ago, i was sitting at nih where i took care of patients, did some clinical research and did some lab research and got a phone call from someone i knew from my residency days in cleveland and he said, do you realize that a company making almost half the intravenous fluids in the united states has a product out there that's contaminated with bacteria. i said, yeah, but i assumed it was about to be recalled. he said, no, that's why i'm calling you. it turned out that abbott had 45% of the iv fluid market and
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at the time this guy had called there were already ten deaths and several hundred cases of blood infection in people who got these fluids, hospitals recognized it because it was an unusual kind of bacteria and they stopped using it. no more infections. but he said -- i said, what's the problem? why isn't it coming off the market? he said, again, not to misuse or over use corporate government duopoly, abbott had convinced the food & drug administration and that it would be a much greater tragedy because of all the deaths that occur than the people that seem to be getting infections and dying. and i said, did they present any evidence for that? he said, no, the government just believed the company, abbott. so i said why are you calling me? he said, i know that you've worked nights, weekends monitoring medical students for
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ralph nader, maybe he can do this. i said, i have to look into this. the first thing i did was to call all the other major iv fluid manufacturers and say, how many bottles, thousands of bottles do you have on stock? it was clear that abbott had lied to the government and the government had believed them because there were more than enough iv fluids to go around so that there would be no way that there would be any kind of shortage of fluids. so mr. nader and i wrote a letter demanding a recall, and the initial reaction was, we're not going to recall them because there will be a big health hazard even though they ignored the fact that there were plenty of other supplies there. two days after our letter, which was delivered to the press, they recalled all the fluids in the united states. [applause]
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and ultimately the centers for disease control said this was the biggest outbreak of nosicomial, meaning hospital acquired whatever ever. the numbers when they counted them up was between 2,000, to 8 8,000. and i was still at nih. i started getting phone calls from people in the fda, you think this is a problem, look at this. i got a call from my dear now departed friend tony mazaki saying would you come and visit these workers who have mercury poisoning in philadelphia. i said this is more exciting than being in the official public health service. i had to take annual leave to take these forays. we decided to start the group. quickly after the first group of public citizen was started we
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were joined by the public litigation group headed by alan morrison who i think is in the audience. can you stand up, alan, if you are there? okay. [applause] and alan was with the litigation group for 32 years and headed it for 25. we were also -- he's been succeeded since then by david vladick, by brian wolfman and allison zeeve. he believed we had a tripartheid government. the public interest movement has to work through the three branches of the government. the executive branch, which is where the fda is, the courts and the legislative branch as well. so quickly after the health research group started there were these other groups to be followed by others such as global trade watch, you'll hear from lori wallach.
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well, the principals of that letter were ones that we had followed not only in the food, the drug, particularly in the drug area, medical device area, but also in the areas of occupational health we've worked on and looking at doctors who aren't practicing the kind of medicine. the principles are there's a clear, unequivocal problem. there are safer alternatives in the case of that non-contaminated abbott -- non-abbott iv fluids around the government has the authority to do something about it. and that has been the principle for most of our work on drugs. if a drug has no unique advantage, has a unique risk, it should never be approved in the first place and if it was by mistake, quote, quote, the company's mistake pushing the government, then it should be take jnn off the market after it's been on the market. over the years we have not
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casually but 39 times asked the fda to ban drugs. 2/3 of these drugs are off the market now and the rest of them are mainly in very limited use. and in addition to taking action through the regulatory means, petitioning the fda to ban drugs, we also have informed people. we had a book originally published in 1988 by ourselves and phil donnahue mentioned earlier in terms of helping public interest groups had me go on his program, presented six patients who had clearly drug-induced problems reversed when they stopped the drug and in one hour on the program the book sold 400,000 copies and then the program was repeated. so he was very helpful, but the broader point is that getting books out, a newsletter which doesn't have the 700,000 circulation that mike talked
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about in nutrition action, but ours has 150,000, but it's on the web at worst also gets information out to patients. in addition to getting the large number of drugs taken off the market, we've also let people know about an even larger number of drugs well before they're banned. one of the first drugs we asked the fda to take off the market in 1978 was darvon. a widely used, dangerous but not very effective painkiller. it was not taken off the market until 22 years after our petition, and we warned people back then, don't use this drug. one of the things that we have -- we have coined the phrase as the wrong phrase, it's do not use. if we see a drug that does have a unique risk, no unique benefits, we tell people not to use it and there are hundreds of such drugs including many that
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have been approved recently in the last year since the book was published. one of the things that people would find it hard to believe if i told you that this year $800 million in drug company money goes directly to the fda and funds most of their drug review, most people, a, don't know it and, b, would say that's some kind of rhetoric. it's not rhetoric and it's been going on since 1992 because of a law that the congress passed in order to balance the budget. let's let the drug companies fund the fda. that's a really good idea. well, turns out it's a good idea for the drug companies because the process of approving drugs has gotten faster, it's gotten sloppier. we published a paper a couple of years ago looking at all the drugs that had been approved before this law was passed in 1992 and all those that have been approved afterwards and
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guess what? the ones that are approved afterwards were much more likely to either be taken off the market when they were after approval found to be too dangerous or to have black box warnings needed because of new risks that we either uninspected or not revealed at the time of their approval. when we surveyed doctors at the fda they told us secretly and without attribution that they felt that the standards of safety and effectiveness had been lowered once this law was passed because the companies were getting their money's worth by paying their now $800 million to the fda to fund most of their staff. so in the area of drugs and medical devices, the same thing. the fda is funded by the industry and, yes, there are some breakthrough drugs, a minority of drugs that are for treating problems that don't have any other solution or don't have as good of a solution, but
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most of the drugs are me, too, drugs that get a patent and that get into a market with pretty low standards of approval and cause more harm than they don't. many of you may have read a few weeks ago that the third leading cause of death in the united states now is, quote, medical errors. these are unsuspected, unintentional errors by doctors, by hospitals and so forth and don't even include those errors that didn't show up in some way on a death certificate. the number is even higher. parallel and somewhat overlapping with that is the fact that there are about 100,000 deaths from adverse drug reactions every year and many of them are preventable because someone is getting a worse pill, a do not use pill in our view, as opposed to a better pill. so that is the kind of thing that we've done in the fda area. we've also petitioned the fda 19 times to set safer workplace standards.
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again, the principle is if a lower workplace exposure will work in terms of producing whatever they're producing and it's safer for workers, why is osha not lowering the standard making it more safe for workers? the answer is the industry doesn't like it. if the industry doesn't like it, again, the corporate government duopoly goes with the industry. in all but one instance we have had to sue osha in order to get them to act. the most recent one still pending now because they haven't finalized the rules for beryllium, a very dangerous chemical which in addition to causing lung cancer causes a serious irreversible lung disease. one of the more recent things which happened just in the last week or two is that the government, the nih in this case, and the corporation is the
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not for profit corporations called hospitals in this country by and large, the nih funded a study in 22 noted medical centers in the united states, including brown and stanford and so forth to do experiments on little three pound, 20-week premature babies. the experiment was half of the babies would get high oxygen, higher than the normal -- the high end of the normal range which could cause retinal damage and the other half would get low. the lower half got 85 to 89 and the high half -- percentage oxygen and the high half got 92 to 95. clear evidence before this experiment that there was a risk of death, neurologic damage to the low babies and to the high risk of retinal damage. the parents were not informed of this and the paper we published -- and the government went after at least one of the main
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institutions in this study for not giving informed consent to the parents, many of whom would not have participated. the paper we published just a few days ago found two things. one, it found that when we examined the informed consent sheets of the parents, 20 of 22 said to the parents, you're getting usual care. usual care is somewhere in the range of 85 to 95 but not just the low range or just the high range and 11 of them pretty much told the parents that you have minimal risk to your babies. it's not -- so they essentially misled people into an experiment. the other finding was that the usual care range in almost no hospitals coincided with the low range of 85 to 89. so the government had funded a study to clear ethical review boards and it had gotten done by 22 major medical centers and
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ultimately the experiment did cause more deaths in the low range babies. so is the whole issue of human experimentation is one which we've gotten more into as a result of someone that i'll mention at the end of my talk who has taken over the leadership happily of the health research group from me, but human experimentation, whether it is the overt kind in medical centers, so forth, or in the workplace where many workers are being experimented on because they are working at unsafe levels of chemicals and they certainly don't know that they are being exposed in that kind of way. so the three areas that, again, i mentioned at the beginning, fda, unsafe drugs, medical devices, ones that don't work very well, occupational health
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and human experimentation, i also mentioned that we do certain work overseeing the medical profession by monitoring state and medical boards, most of whom are doing a terrible job in disciplining those doctors who have gone really over the top and yet are still allowed to practice. i'm going to close with a little bit of a discussion back on the issue of breaking through power and transitioning. i think of the people speaking here today, this is not a boast but a fact, i am probably the oldest one and for a number of years i thought about what will happen after i leave. i need to get a really good successor, and i think looking back on my time here, and i'm still working, very satisfying to do hard work, to have
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excellent colleagues doing work both in our group and, as i mentioned, the litigation group and our lobbying groups to push some of these ideas onto the hill, and it's very satisfying to break through power, period. we don't have the goal yet and we have the goal but not the wherewithal to have a revolution that really knocks over the corporate government duopoly, but in the meantime we have enough successes to sort of keep going. i am fortunate to have been able to spend 45 years in this exciting, rewarding work, and hope to continue as long as i can. i would like mike carome to stand up, i believe he's here. yes. over there. [applause] mike -- mike is an internist, as i am, and he came to us five years ago. he is a' about to enter his
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fourth year of leading the group. he's doing an extremely good job. i mentioned before that he has before coming to us more than ten years of experience in the government overseeing unethical human experiments. i would add finally just to the title of the talk -- of the meeting, not my talk, breaking through power, i would add sincerely that it is not just breaking through power but winning often enough to keep going for another 50 years and then another 50 years. thank you. [applause] >> if you want to look through it. it's the greatest resource for people to distinguish the medicines that they take.
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they're all approved by the fda, some have bad side effects, some have less bad side effects. this is a great service sid wolf has provided. our next speaker is robert felmouth who is the founder of the children's advocacy institute at uversity of san diego law school. i think it's without much argument, he's the greatest advocate for children in the united states today. he does it by research, by investigation, by litigation, by lobbying. he is a full spectrum children's advocate. the level of his work is absolutely prodigious, that's why in our circle we call anybody who can pour out a lot of written pages philmethian because he has written reports, books, surveys. he put out a regular review of california state regulatory agencies.
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he reviewed the boxing commission and recommended. he's been a chief architect of revising lawyers' ethics in california. when he was a student at harvard law school, hewe asked him to receive all of the resumes from law students there and around the country of students who wanted to come and work with us in 1969. he handled hundreds of them. based on his principle floel writing the famous federal trade commission report which led to the nomenclature nader's raiders that was the headline in "the washington post" article when he and others testified before congress as law students to reform the federal trade commission, which was actually subsequently reformed under richard nixon, no less, he -- he
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sparked this whole tradition of students coming, disproving their elders and doing very serious work investigating corporations like dupont, investigating situations like savannah river pollution, investigating department of agriculture, food & drug administration, bureau of land reclamation, the forest service. you name it. and that i think was a tremendous encouragement to young people all over the country, especially law students, who saw that they were given serious responsibility to do work that was usually reserved for people 20 years their senior. he's worked as a deputy attorney and assistant u.s. attorney in san diego. he has litigated 22 anti-trust actions. founded the nation's first anti-trust unit in a district attorney's office.
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he serves on a board of directors of public citizen foundation, headed the national association of council for children on whose board he still -- he's still active. and the one thing about bob falmouth is he teaches leaninggions of law students, and i meet them all over the country. more likely than not they want too do public interest law. so he's a teacher as well as a writer, litigator, lobbyist, strategist. prodigious. i give you the falmethian robert falmouth. [applause] >> well, from that introduction it's going to be downhill from
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here. i'll tell you a little story about nader's raiders since ralph mentioned it. there were three of us writing the report to the federal trade commission. we were told we had to testify before the ftc. it's pretty intimidating to city testify against the group you're testifying in front of. bob, you write the testimony but john schultz, you deliver it. and john, of course, is older than we were, he was a yale law graduate, very handsome. so i hated him. and so -- but i was supposed to write the testimony, he was supposed to deliver. i started out with this agency has failed to and followed that with this agency has failed to, and this agency has failed to 27 times and then raffl looked at it. he's not going to let it go. he added the last sentence about geritol and tired blood. john is giving me dirty looks while delivering it. he's also, of course, very friendly with the secretary of the personnel director of the agency, very friendly, and we
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got all the documents that were flying through the ftc during this period and so that's the backdrop for our being coined nader's raiders. it was quite an amusing point of my life. during that period i was a law student. i was involved in the real world. when i became a law professor, i said to myself we really ought to be doing it to the students they have today. i did a report on the federal trade commission with two other authors and there's huge headlines. i go to the press area and there was the times picayune, nader's raiders attack ftc. i said, jesus, was that me? i hope my mother's not seeing that because she's going to critique my report. she's a linguistics professor. i didn't want that to happen. so i was very amazed, but here comes the ftc improvements act. we did the interstate commerce
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commission report. here comes the deregulation act. before i graduated from law school we were writing statutes and we were part of the consumer movement. i said, my students should be able to do that. one of my goals has been to get students to do what ralph got me to do, naked me to do. if you are a student, we have one student who just recently got a bill through on domestic violence. she got it through before she graduated. we have 40 students on our trail blazers wall and they're all over the country. when you're a teacher or a parent, you take credit for your students or your children for the rest of your lives. i grew up in that and they didn't listen. if they succeeded at all, it's of course because of you. i'm shameless about that and taking credit of my former students. in any event, i wanted to mention that cpil which is the
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center ever public interest and law. it's run by judy deangelo falmouth. and by my wife, i want to get some hugs tonight, extremely competent. she runs the center of public interest law. it focuses on state agencies as well as ralph briefly mentioned. you might think, well, that's esoteric and very important. they regulate much more perfect vase civilly and detailed well beyond any federal agency, well beyond. they regulate the lawyers, accountants, dentists, veterinarians, the contractors. you name it, it's a state regulatory agency doing it. and when i took ninth great civics i took very seriously this notion that government should be separate from private interests.
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i didn't like and still don't like socialism where the state owns and operates the means of production. i'm sorry, bernie, i don't like that. there's a worst system, industrial system. to me the ideal system is you have two independent entities, the state and commercial enterprise and they're independent from each other. one does not capture the other. one is not over balanced of the other. there's a check and balance there. we've seen that being corrupted with campaign contribution limits, 1500 in california, almost all representing horizontal associations. what is a horizontal association? american medical association. horizontal association. any grouping that gets together who are normally competitors but
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who are now cooperating, that's a danger. the hair on the back of my neck stands up. coming from prosecuting them. they do bad things and they are allowed because of the north pennington doctrine to collude government and they protect them in terms of antitrust violations and they give them immunity. it's not just the trade associations indoctrinating, they put their public decision makers on these boards. they directly control them all over the country. happened the last 40 years. these are entities that are supposed to represent us the people, not the profession or trade. and that form of corruption is the most extreme form of corruption and it's endemic. you may not know this, but 15 months ago -- [applause]
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-- 15 months ago the u.s. supreme court, believe it or not this u.s. supreme court held a north carolina dental board versus ftc that any state body controlled by active participants has no sovereign status. it's not the state. that's very important. a 6-3 decision. the most important decision i think during my lifetime in terms of anti-trust law because all of these boards and commissions control supply. they license. and there is a need obviously to control supply and to license, but they do so in a self-interested fashion in place after place after place. they're in the castle. the draw bridge goes up. and often not related to actually ensuring competence. so we have this problem of the master price fixing. if you control supply, that's a form of per se price fixing. it's per se unlawful period, end
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of discussion. your only defense is if it's the state doing it. guess what, they're not the state. they don't have active supervision from an outside force. this has been going on for a year. so cpil, center public interest law joined with consumers union to write the attorneys general of all 50 states with a public records act of all of them. what are you doing to change the membership of your regulatory agency which is the body poll particular and not the industry being regulated. we'll see what happens. we're getting lawsuits together and we'll be challenging these practices all over the country to reform the basic structure. yes, your expertise is valuable. yes, we want to hear from you. we have lobbyists all over the place. we know you should be there. that's fine. you should not be the decision
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makers. that's fine. that's going to happen. that's going to change. now turning to children. and the reason i'm up here, well, there's an old saying the hopis have that is our load star. i did not inherit this earth from my parents, >> and that's a load star for all of us. to look at how we are going to be looked at 240 years from now, we look back and see our founding fathers. they gave up everything for us. they had comfortable lives and risked it all for us. how will we be looked at? terms of using non-renewable resources up. i don't care if you believe in global warming or not. we are using non-renewable resources. if you are, that's a problem. if you are using up non-renewable resources, put a fee on it. have it increase year after year so people can stop exploiting and discovering.
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it won't be that much harm to them because they stop new ventures. they don't have to stop what they discovered. you let them know it's going to double andriple and quadruple. that's how you internalize an external cost. he's right. children have a problem. they don't get media attention unless you have a microdrama, a chelsea's law and amber alert, most of the problems are gradual. the media does not pay attention to gradual no matter how momentous. you have serious problems with regard to where they are going with charge. you have the cost of tuition going up. four or five times the cost of inflation and houses going up in cost enormously. serious cultural problems here.
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they don't vote and can't get the campaigns. in terms of lobbying, they did a study of lobbying in d.c. the retired person spends 20 to $25 a year. somewhere here, here's the director of lobbying and all of them combined, less than 1 million. compared to what wall street spends. it's out of balance and out of whack. we have to do something about campaigns and lobbying and about that whole area. i will go through this quickly because i don't have a lot of time. we have an academic program. this is purposes, white children
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and the future interest. obstacles. you can imagine. results and the academic program we have. that is the text. i am took my fourth edition right now. it can cure your insomnia if you have a problem. it's a program and we have clinics and dependency court. our students do policy work and get involved in legislation and litigation and rule making. we are in all of those. if you are not in one, you are going to lose. we got a bill enacted to make sure you are going to in fact report child abuse deaths. the state ignored it and went to court and won there.
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it's important to be in all of those places. before the legislature in the courts. we do a lot of advocacy. we go into the treatment act and the feds have floors and let the states violate all over the country. we did a report on that. you have legislative highlights and statutes enacted with el met and swimming tool safety and 10 or 12 other areas. and try to use them as models in other areas. here's a kid's place. californians love their license plates.
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we got the heart and plus sign as symbols and the money goes to children, millions of dollars are flowing. they have to have a special group to review them because californians are so creative like old f and a heart. millions of dollars are flowing in. litigation we had big wins in one case where we got the money increased to foster care providers because they were not paying what the feds require. they went to court and had morrison and forester with us.
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they were doing a pro bono case with us and got the compensation to 570 to $780. the group homes call 7,000. we want them with families and not group homes. that's where the adoptions come from. the families with the foster kids and everything started sending us these drawings and pictures of them. school.s would do in the partner and they will kay i got the messages from the kids and their parents and it made me cry. i said your parents make me cry all the time. she did laugh fortunately. we contributed to the cases in the supreme court and we had one case going on against facebook. they settled a case with the private class action attorney who they agreed to pay them $10 million and attorneys' fees
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after litigation. $4.5 million with in terms and settlements. facebook has it that it has the right to do whatever they want. anyrange and send it in the total option without any prior consent from parent or child or notice to the parent or child that it's going to happen. that was stuck in a condition where we are challenging it now and petitioning what we lost in the supreme court.
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wish us luck. we are right on that one. absolutely right. wish us luck. [applause] those are the highlights and there are 10 or 12 cases. i won't bore you with that. you can get the power point and the details at our website. here is a special project we have all the projects going on and wubtations where we have the kids grade the legislators. we have publications and special reports. here's on the home rates and child deaths. we have a report at the capitol. i guess i am make making the words correct. a special report. special report. financing of foster care in california.
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special report, special report. we don't just put out it a report, we put out a special edition every couple years so they know we are not leaving. they know we will be back. arebig one is where we trying to document the failings of branches with foster children. this is where you would get really discouraged. don't do it unless you are contemplating suicide. it is a very discouraging publication. the university does pay for the work funded through the soft money contributions and i am
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proud to say a majority of the faculty gives out of their own pockets. we have trouble raising money. the cost of the two offices and to attorneys full-time is $500,000 a year. they work because they love it and not for high pay. that's it. thank you very much. [applause] >> good job, bob. now an executive director for peace.


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