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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 15, 2009 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT

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and he's one we have heard of, paul volcker. i guess paul will tell us how it works. this one is the one that got me wondering about this czarships. executive pay czar. . there's an awful lot of people asking, what does that mean? we know at a minimum what it means is that we're going to decide what some of the big firms that took bailout money, what they're going to pay their top executives. it's been all over the papers and all the tv shows about the various huge gigantic amounts of money that some c.e.o.'s and c.f.o.'s and others get paid in some of these large corporations. with bonuses and it's really beyond most of our ability to
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conceive how much money these folks get. so this guy's going to limit that. but then the question becomes, if he's going to be the czar, the absolute monarch, over executive pay and that executive pay is going to be from anybody that took government money, then does that mean anybody that got a tax break from the government could be kind of grandfathered into this deal? or anybody that got a grant from the government could be -- not the bailout money, not the tarp money or the other one, stimulus money, but just got a grant, but a big one? now, does that mean that he's going to get to tell them what their pay is going to be? in fact, maybe the company you work for has gotten some of this money. is he going to be able to tell your company what you're going to get paid?
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and where does it stop? so is this really a wage fixes czar? is that a better term for this than executive pay czar? i don't know. and finally, we haven't gotten the person's name yet, but the cyber security czar and then we've run out of space on the pages. and i guess the next thing we'll find out, instead of 22 czars we may have 42 czars. i'm trying to find out had what these folks get paid but i haven't been able to figure it out yet. stay tuned, i'll try to come back to you and talk to you about what all these czars are going to get paid. but, you know, if they're following in the russian pattern the going to be pretty good. because those czars lived in some pretty nice houses and they did pretty well. so, the romanovs in 300 years had 18 czars, the americans in
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146 days have it 2 -- 22 czars. i'm very pleased to see that i'm not by myself today. i have a good friend, my good friend and colleague, classmate, steve king from iowa is here, steeveb's always ready to have some fun -- steve's always ready to have some fun. what do you think about all this? i yield you such time as you may wish to consume. mr. king: i so much appreciate you bringing this issue to the floor of the house of representatives and i appreciate the chance to address madam speaker in this subject matter. i have not seen this list of czars, i was actually, i think i went home for the weekend with 19 czars and arrived back in washington with 22 czars. there might have been three materialized over the weekend and i look down through this list and the first thing that hits me is, well, let's see, border czar, i'm a ranking member of the immigration subcommittee, never heard of him. go right down the list. a few i've heard of but not very many.
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i don't think they have a very high profile but czar, czar, czar, 22 times. 18 czars in all the history of the romanovs, did i get that right? mr. carter: that's correct. mr. king: understand a it occurs to me that czar, if you -- and it occurs to me, if you think about the flow and continuation of history, all the czars were precursors to the marxist era of russia. so i don't know if this is any kind of thing we ought to be thinking about, but the implications that come with this are the people that are supposed to be managing these jobs that we already had people to do, causes me to think, is this a precursor for what's happening in a nation that's seen our major industries nationalized? large investment banks nationalized, the largest insurance company nationaled. i didn't see any czar here of denationalization for one thing. i'm looking for that and i'd like to point that czar of denationalization and i can find about anybody on the republican side of the aisle that would make a good denationalization
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czar because, you know, i present this list that's in my head, not very well refine and maybe we'll get it better -- refined and maybe we'll get it better but occurs to me that there are, oh, six, seven, eight, nine or 10 different things that president obama has engaged in without an exit strategy. and that would be the nationalization of a list of our major investment banks, how many that is, four or five perhaps, and the nationalization of the largest insurance company, a.i.g., nationalization of fannie mae and freddie mac, so i'm maybe up to about eight, we ought to research this list a little bit before we publish it as the final total because i can surely forget some but you can add that, now i'm at eight, nine and 10, let's put down chrysler motors and general motors while we're at it. and when you end up with 60% share in general motors that the taxpayers are holding, that's the american taxpayer, another 12.5% held by the canadian taxpayers.
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that would be 72.5% of general motors owned by government. 17.5% owned by the unions and i think around 12.5% owned by the bond holders, the part they were able to hold together of their secured interest. yes, we need a czar to figure out how to -- an exit strategy for all these things that president obama has engaged in without an strit strategy and it occurs to me that he was -- exit strategy and it occurs to me he was elected in part because of his relentless criticism of president bush for going into iraq without an exit strategy. now i've just named 10 things he's entered into without an exit strategy and all of them he said, i don't want the government to own them and i don't want to have to manage them and the not my business to do so, turn around the next week and nationalize something else, do a photo op with hugo chavez and that great nationalizer in venezuela, appears to me to be a pikecompared to the one we have in the white house. but these 22 czars that we have, the once that stand out and get
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my attention, for example, executive pay czar, the payroll czar, the guy who sits there and figures out, joe's making too much money and shannon's not making enough and we need to have some more people out here that are sacrificing for the good of the whole and i look at that, when -- and then as i understood this, too, it went beyond those that had taken federal money, but they were going to at least look at executive pay in all of the large corporations and the c.e.o.'s and make sure that wasn't out of proportion. remember that number, about $500,000, plenty enough for anybody to make in a year or so. they would put a cap on all of that. and it's harder to do so if there isn't federal money involved. but not impossible to do so, if you look at some of the impossible things that have already been accomplished by this administration. mr. carter: if i could reclaim my time for just a moment. but if the issue would be a federal nexus, it would be hard to find an industry really that
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wouldn't have some connection with the federal government. if they've gotten a grant, if they've gotten a fellowship, if they've gotten -- if they've gotten a guaranteed loan, if they've gotten a tax break designated for their industry, that other industries didn't get, all of these categories could be quickly expanded to add to that stimulus czar, if you will. so i yield back. mr. king: and i thank the judge from texas for pointing that out because there is a federal nexus into almost all business in america and they can find a way to control it, an excuse, my father always told me there's a difference between reasons and excuses and he knew the difference. i didn't always know the difference. today i think i do. this is excuses. but think of this, executive pay czar, the payroll czar, looking in at c.e.o.'s, firing the c.e.o. of general motors, hires his guy, appoints all but two members of the general motors
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board of directors, said, i don't want to run this company but you're going to have to build a car that looks and runs like this and stop building these cars and we're going to make this all environmentally friendly in this fashion and we're going to decide who gets paid how much, who gets paid, because he fired the c.e.o., and how much. and by the way, we had a c.e.o. of a.i.g. that was working for a dollar, that came to this congress, that i think was treated disrespectfully by the members on the panel, and he should have and did thrown the thing up. he was trying to do the right thing for america. for $1 a year, and that wasn't enough to sat satisfy him. and so i'm thinking -- enough to satisfy him. so i'm thinking, what company would be exempt from the scrutiny of the executive payroll czar? i can't think of one. because they view these corporations as being evil capitalist corporations but they still haven't looked over into hollywood, for example, and decided that some of the actors and directors and producers are probably making too much money by their own standards here,
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they wrote out checks to these people in the white house today, so you haven't seen ethat scrutiny that would come. but -- seen that scrutiny that would come. then i suppose we get into the professional sports athletes that do make a lot of money and maybe, you know, you're playing so that must be fun, probably doesn't demand more than $500,000 a year, no matter how good you are and soon we're a regulated government entity that decides who gets paid and how much. the payroll czar, outrageous. it is really outrageous. and the climate czar. i remember we did a dedication to a park we built in my hometown, we did it in the last friday of october which was a very risky thing to do in iowa and i gave the opening speech before we cut the ribbon and then pastor johnson stepped up and my opening speech, it was a beautiful day, 75 degrees, last friday in october, you just
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don't see that in iowa and i said, well, i take credit for the weather, i planned this. and after i took credit for the weather, pastor johnson stepped up to give the opening prayer and he said, now i'm going to give credit for the where it's due. i deserved it, he did it with the right tone. i appreciate that exact correction. the climate czar, i'd like to talk to the climate czar about the science involved in this. i'm not finding people that understand and can explain and denend the science in this alleged global warming and by the way this isn't even the climate change czar. he could have been the global warming za -- global warming czar a year and a half ago but six months ago he should have been the climate change czar but now sinls the climate's changing in the wrong direction -- but now since the climate's changing in the wrong direction he's just the climate czar. as this earth seems to be flapting out or cooling -- flattening out or cooling, they have to change their argument and pass this cap and tax
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regulation. i'll say this into the record, these folks that are pushing, waxman, markey, are wrong on the science. they can't defend the science, they can't argue it against people that are of equal scientific training, they can't even argue it against me. and i'm happy to do that, by the way. i'm happy to have that debate with al gore and the rest of them that come along. even if they're right on the science, and they're not, they're really, really wrong on the economics. this is almost -- this has almost become a religion. it's got political inertia. and we saw and heard from a ph.d. from spain who has been in the middle of -- spain embraced the green country, they want to be the leader in green energy for the world, the industrialized world. so they set about doing that and they built a bunch of wind chargers and they raised the cost of their electricity. they became the leaders in renewable energy and the industrialized world. they also became the leaders in unemployment at 17.5%, the leaders in the increase in utility bills, 20% to residents,
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but 100% increase for industry, for electrical bills, and even then, this is over a three-year period of timex even then they couldn't keep up with the -- period of time, even they they couldn't keep up with the cost of electricity so they had to bond them out on the financial market, didn't have the money to pay the bills, so they pledged the full faith in credit to later on pay off these bonds to the federal government which means the cost of green energy in spain was being passed down to the grandchildren. they couldn't even pay their electrical bills in this time. so they lead the world in unemployment, 17.5%, they created a lot of green jobs at the cost of $770,000 a job and at the cost of 2.2 private sector jobs that they lost. i'm hopeful that the climate czar, mr. todd stern, will take a look at spain and i would refresh the memory of the speaker and yourself, judge, that -- take a look at spain
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because president obama said, we should learn from spain, we should emulate spain, they have led into this green revolution and i'm convinced that the climate czar had to have taken the oath to be supportive of such an idea or he wouldn't be the climate czar. and as he i -- and as i listen to the secretary of agriculture testify last thursday, of all of the logical questions we asked from both sides of the aisle, it looked to me like he had to take the oath to support the president's agenda on this marky cap and tax legislation, no matter how bad it is for our economy. i wonder if all these people believe you can grow the economy by increasing the expenses of business in america because that's what cap and tax does. so put the climate czar together with the economic czar together with the executive pay czar. i wouldn't worry about cyber security. i'd like to penetrate that, know what they all have to say and how they're thinking about this approach but the payroll czar is the one that gets me the most. the one who can decide what
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everybody ought to be paid and i'm wondering, i'm wondering before i yield back, are they going to control the pay of a neurosurgeon, what would a neurosurgeon be worth if he was capped at $500,000, too? or could we just get a cheap lobotomy for those who thought up this? and i yield back to the gentleman from texas. . mr. carter: the poor weatherman is going to get a break, because everybody says when the weather man on sunday says it's going to be beautiful all day long, and it rains, who do they blame? the poor weather man. now they can blame the climate czar. these folks up here on the majority side, they would like all the center of the universe to be washington, d.c., and there you go. everybody in the country will be
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blaming the climate czar for bad weather. at least we've got centralized blame. you know, i'm sure there are some people sitting at home saying and in this body saying, why are you talking about this? i think there's something really critical that we all need to interject in this and i said it briefly, but it takes us out of the realm -- into the realm of seriousness. the founding fathers of this country assigned the government with checks and balances. and this sir couple vents that system. this puts absolute authority in these peoples' hands at this category and they have not gone through any senate confirmation, which the executive branch -- those people are supposed to be -- secretaries and undersecretaries have to be
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confirmed by the senate. we've got a good friend in this body that has been nominated for secretary of army. and i certainly hope he gets confirmed by the senate, and i'm sure he will. but he has to go through that. these people don't go through that. there's nobody overseeing this but the executive department, but the president of the united states. so there's no congressional oversight. there's no judicial oversight, both of which were created by our founding fathers. no. the only real person they answer to is the president of the united states. and they work for the president of the united states. he hired them, he chose them and put them in this position. he is paying them good money. and -- but they don't do what our founding fathers envisioned our country to be doing. so what does it create? it creates an executive
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department that is garnering power in every area. i'm joined by my good friend from texas, representative gohmert. i'll give you as much time as you wish to consume. mr. gohmert: i thank my friend for yielding. and your last comments are exactly what i would like to discuss as well, and that is these people are unelected. we were promised before the november elections that we would have unparalleled transparency, that you would know everything about the government, everything that was going on, we were going to be transparent, we were told, if only you would elect the obama administration -- elect him president, and that would happen. and we've heard people say in
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this body that there was a mandate. we got a mandate. no, you didn't. you barely got a majority that elected you to have transparency. we were promised there would be change bass this administration would stop the insane deficit spending. and some of us, including those of us here were not happy with our own president bush and his administration spending too much money. and they got enough of our colleagues to help them spend too much money, on our side of the aisle, some from the other side of the aisle, but it was too much money. and the people voted him in to stop the insanity. and so this is what we're getting. and a czar, i would submit, is probably the proper term, because they're not accountable. the senate tried to get ratner to come over and testify. we don't know how much they're
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making. they have these closed-door meetings and they're making these incredible decisions about the future of the automobiles. now, some people don't understand, but if you study enough history, you know that when you can no longer produce the essential things you need to conduct warfare to conduct yourselves when you're attacked then you are going to stop being a country, when you can no longer stomach to do what it takes to protect your country from nutcases from around the world, then you lose the country. here, we have these people who are ignoring the law. and you look at this czar, what he did with cars and said, we didn't tell them which dealerships to close. but this closed-door secret society appointed by president
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obama meets behind closed doors, exerts pressure. and we have seen the kind of pressure this administration brings to bear. you do this or else we're going to blacken your name among the media and we've seen that happen. we've seen the beating that secured creditors took when they said, you really ought to follow the law here. well, they were being un-american. those people were not being un-american. they were trying to follow chapter 11 law. the law is clear. it has been for years. there's going to be a chapter 11 -- there's going to be a plan. there has to be disclosures about the plan. there have to be hearings. you have objections, relief from motions, stays. you can have all these hearings. they just bypassed that law and
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said we're going to turn the law upside down because we are secret-meeting zars who aren't going to let people have their rights, but obliterate the law, which they did. and they failed a bankruptcy judge, who they believe would probably sign off on this plan, because let's face it, if you are a bankruptcy judge, of course they come up for re-appointment every 14 years. i don't know when this judge comes up again, but apparently he wants to be a judge a while longer. anyway, they found a judge who was interested in not having all the hearings the law requires to give the dealerships a fair hearing, to give the secured creditors a fair hearing, to give the unsecured creditors a fair hearing, the crack tall relationships that were being addressed by the secret czar
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meetings behind closed doors, there should have been transparency. that's what the voters voted for. and they didn't get any of that. just turned the law upside down. i hope my friends will be pleased to hear that since we're taking up the commerce, justice bill this week, i have an amendment in there, it's very simple. it says no money appropriated can be spent to pay the auto task force, including the car czar. if they're not going to tell us what they're doing behind closed doors to turn the laws upside down and to ignore the constitutional takings which is occurring and to ignore all the contract law, the bankruptcy law, as they ignore all those things, are they going to ignore the law, then we are going to ignore paying them. i feel like we will have bipartisan support on that, because i know people on both
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sides of the aisle want to know what's going on. we were promised transparency and by golly, we ought to have it. i appreciate the gentleman yielding, especially on this topic of czars, but we know what happened to the czars. people got sick of it, and they threw them out. now i would never advocate what happened to the last czar and his family. totally inappropriate, but here in america, we have another way of throwing out czars. we have elections. people are going to have a choice. they were promised transparency and this kind of baloney is not it. and i hope the american people respond appropriately. mr. carter: reclaiming my time and i appreciate my friend expressing his passion. i was talking about exactly the same thing. we like to tout the rule of law. we like to say -- and in fact, it's true. that what really makes america work is having the rule of law.
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that means when you make a contract, we honor that contract. when we have laws on the books, we follow those. and we can depend as an investor or a purchaser or an employee, we can depend upon those laws which have been written in the bankruptcy arena, for instance. and i agree wholeheartedly with my colleague that the way this has been handled, we have thrown the rule of law and bankruptcy law right out the window. i yield back. mr. gohmert: one further comment about that. by getting a bankruptcy judge to sign off on it, now this unelected, unaccountable, nontransparent body has gotten under the guise of one lazy bankrupt judge's signature. they now have cover or color of the law. now, i thought when justice ginsburg stayed the sale to
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fiat, we might get some rule of law. but it looks like so far the bankruptccourt up to the supreme court said, you know what? we're scared of these people. let's just let the czar people run things. and judiciary, we aren't going to hold them accountable. if this body, this congress, does not hold them accountable, then we have become a country run by czars, because the congress has not made them accountable, judiciary has not made them accountable, so they're just running things and everybody has allowed them to usurp what the founders fought and pledged and died and their fortunes and sacred honor. we can't let that happen. i yield back. mr. carter: i think mr. king would like some time. i yield five minutes to mr. king. mr. king: i thank the judge from
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texas for yielding. as i look at this list, a couple of things do come to mind and come back and refresh. the tarp czar herb allison and earl devaney, those two places there, add that up, we are at about, let's see $1.5 trillion in that neighborhood, very close to that. and it might be good to ask them, where's the money and where did it go? now we have a centralized place to at least ask the question on the level of accountability. these people are not accountable to the senate for confirmation or to the public for elections. and they are accountable only to the president as far as we know, but the least we can do is put some pressure on them and ask for a full accounting, where's the tarp money? and are we going to let the people who want to pay it back, pay it back. is the money going to the treasury or roll it over to some
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venture capital government kind of endeavor. and mr. earl devaney, i would be interested, if we could get an answer from the stimulus accountability czar on where is all that money, how much of it has been spent and where, how much of it went into infrastructure, how much converted into jobs, how much of that infrastructure is going to be usable and useful and stimulate the economy. i would like to see the list. i understand the number of those dollars that have gone into infrastructure is 3% to 4% of the $787 billion that were appropriated in the stimulus plan, which was same as the tarp funding, hurry up and put the money out now because we are in an economic tailspin. we had a chicken little drill going on here in this capitol and it yielded about $1.5 trillion from the taxpayers that my grandkids are going to have
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on to pay and we don't know where the money went and we don't know how it is that all this money that is appropriated didn't get implemented. now we have this long-term debt for america, that once you take on that kind of debt, even whatever your economic crisis is that your's in, taking on debt, delays it, delays the recovery. that is the equation that takes place. and i think we should be able to have real-time accounting and should be a website. here's your $700 billion in tarp money and here where it went. we will give you a changing scene, real-time. i think there ought to be a website for the stimulus accountability czar so he could have that website up. we wouldn't have to be pressing for answers. america could go to the web site and contact us and let us know how they think the money is being spent or not being spent. one thing we know is, it's not one thing we know is, it's not been and doesn't look like it's


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