tv Washington Journal CSPAN November 27, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EST
purchase of energy-saving home appliances. this is "washington journal." a three-hour program today. in our last 45 minutes we will talk about the impact of the vice-president and talked-about economic issues. including taking a look at wal- mart. starting off on our economic team, we were drawn to a piece recently in "the new york times." this is by an economist, robert schuller, prof. of economy at yale university. what if a recovery is all in your head? he joins us now to talk a little bit more about that. professor shiller, what led you to write this? guest: i was thinking, why did we get this mysteriously strong recovery. when you look back to when obama was inaugurated, things looked pretty dismal and cents and then the stock market have gone up
60%, the housing market has shown a sharp turnaround, 2.8% gdp growth. what did it? christina roemer, head of the council of economic advisers, would claim credit but you kind of wonder. i think it might involve some other things that are more -- that would have happened anyway. host: of used the words a couple of times, self ability properties. does that factor into your conclusions as to why we changed our mind about the economy perhaps? guest: absolutely. what i was calling for was a turn to the common-sense view of the economy that a lot of people have had, even going back to the great depression, that it is driven by confidence and confidence in our mind. if we get more confident, at the same time it all comes back. unfortunately most economists don't seem to refer to that as a
central factor in the economy. a host cut in your mind, was the confidence coming from the present as saying things, members of congress, other people such as yourself, economists who comments on these issues? guest: i don't think what the president says really affect our thinking that much. what i was arguing in my "the new york times" piece is maybe the most important thing that affects our confidence is our general sense that this is a recession and we have had many recessions and we have always gotten over them. and it never lasts more than two years, not in our lifetime. this one is going on two years so it is overdue. it sounds a little funny, but i think that might be the most important factor in the correction. host: if i can get you to expand on this -- you wrote in an important way we are still using
that 1930's pattern of thinking. we are instinctively fearful of reckless talk about oppressions and we tried to support one another is confidence. we like the idea that modern scientific economics seem to show that all our -- recessions and in due course. can you expand on that? guest: when researching this article, i learned the word recession was coined during the depression as a euphemism. president roosevelt said, the only thing to fear is fear itself. that was in his 1933 inaugural address. he blamed the recession. people said we should not do any reckless talk, we shouldn't talk about depression because it will make people scared and they will not spend. so they invented a new word, a softer word, and they called it a recession. and ever since, we have been and not mind frame, ever since political leaders are afraid to
use the d word, depression. recession, it suggests something like a cold, you'll get over it in a certain timetable. host: is there a psychology you are talking about, especially as black friday when people are expected to go out and holiday shop. would the shy -- psychology play into what actual dollars are spent in stores? guest: exchange in day-to-day depending on the newspaper. we just learned that dubai, a far off country in the arabian peninsula, maybe defaulting on the debt. that is another shock. do we care? probably not yet, but we will see how what plays out. those are the types of things that shock our confidence. host: you finish off by saying, in which mental category does the current contradiction
belong? we still may be added tipping point. guest: there is still a lot of dark talk. i don't like to repeat it. reckless talk. we are all worried about a jobless confidence. we know people have to start spending again and people have to start hiring again. people in charge of hiring decisions, they have good will, but they say we are not out of it yet, just wait. we don't know if our company will be in trouble. those of the kinds of things that have to be reversed. we could still get in trouble, the so-called w-shaped recession. we still could be and a bad situation even today. host: what kind of reaction did you get when you put out this piece? guest: i didn't get a huge reaction. i got more reaction for columns
predicting what the housing market is going to do. people seemed to want that. this is sort of abstract economic theory. it is interesting, isn't it? people like keynes and other theorists', maybe the economy and has a mind of its own in a sense that it is driven not by the things that ought to drive it but our confidence, our imagination about what the economy is doing. self for billing prophecy is kind of a scary word, coined in 1948, but that kind of thing might be driving the economy. at this point, driving it up. let us hope it continues. host: we are going to ask our folks in the next 25 minutes to comment about have they changed their mind about the economy, playing on what people think about it. if you had to answer it, would be answered? guest: should they change their
mind? host: have they changed their mind? guest: the confidence index suggests they have. i have been doing my own surveys. it is difficult to judge. people don't come to a clear decision in their mind we are out of it. they definitely think it has improved. i don't know if we are ready for another boom in housing market. we have seen all prices go up, but is it real? i don't know. it is just too soon to tell. we really may be added tipping point. host: professor robert schller teaches finance and economics at yale university. for the next 20 minutes or so we want to get your thoughts, kind of timing off the professors thoughts about the mental mine sense about the economy. will to know if you have change your mind about the economy. if you want to call us, it is --
if you follow us on twitter, as about 4300 do, you can send us a aweet at c-spanwj and the email@example.com for e-mail. here it is the headline about dubai defaulting on loans. at the headlines from "the financial times." several stories in the morning in the papers along the lines. also a story about overtime when it comes to the job market. chris merritt -- mayer -- over
time creeds' back before jobs. they write that in october the manufacturing sector shed 61,000 people while those still employed were working more hours. he said overtime at manufacturers averaged as high as 4.6 hours a week during the most recent boom. your thoughts on whether you changed your mind on the economy. to resell on the republican line from memphis. what do you think? caller: i would have liked to have questioned the gentleman you were speaking to because he
didn't factor in world factors. when we had a great depression in 1929 and the depression of the 1960's, we did not have an end game like world climate and a different world issues pressing in. everything we do is not in the microcosm of america anymore. whether we rise or fall does not just depend on us. host: the professor mentioned about the dubai information. does it affect many people? he kind of suggested it didn't but he said it should be factored in terms of what people think about the economy. caller: yes, dislike for our oil and natural resources, every
little ticked i hear about it in china, what happens to us with our resources. i will hear about it affecting china. we did not used to think about that decades ago. host: your global perspective, have you changed your mind about the state of the economy? caller: i just feel a little bit like he did. going with the flow. but when we see where we can really put our muscle to making things better and making the resources last longer, we have to do with and try to bring the rest of the world in with to accomplish that. host: next up, steve on
independent line. jacksonville, florida. caller: actually if i change my mind i am a bit more pessimistic than i was. 10.2 percent unemployment and i believe the effective unemployment is 17% board that is pretty scary. it along with the debt we are accumulating, right now i don't think the future looks to bright. as much as i follow what is going on and i can't figure out how we are going to create more jobs here. host: does that boil down to what kind of spending you will do they today? caller: we kind of have tighten our belts. people that i talk to, specifically the retired people and the younger professionals, there still seems to be a lot of fear out there. those who are working are still kind of anxious as to whether they may be laid off. host: winchester, virginia.
a pall on the democrats' line. caller: i was calling because it has been my observation from the news and following the investments of money that the last 10 years as seems like we have done a lot to make money with money but have not done a lot and given incentives to make money investing in people and investing in our capacity to produce. i am wondering really what that has to do with what your guest has to say about that. host: before we leave you, what is your mindset? caller: it was actually said over the last 10 years. i have been in industrial sales for 35 years, companies to manufacture rear things but also health care, industry, university, you name it. 10 years ago i told my customer that it did not seem like
companies were putting money into their productive capacity and people like they had been pared about 10 years ago is when, for instance, the glass stiegel act was repealed and that is when you had to the internet bubble, the investment bubble, and it seemed like money just sort of left to doing the things i was working on helping people become more productive and instead going into -- i was wondering if it was just going into investment, making money with money instead of making money by making work for people. host: one of our followers on twitter -- murfreesboro, illinois. on the republican line we speak with charles.
caller: how are you? i believe it will get worse than what it is because i'm scared that the interest rates and everything will go back up like it did in the 1970's. when they all went up in the 1970's when i was younger, people were losing their houses and everything else like everything going on now. you can't keep giving things -- we need jobs. we need to talk more about jobs, jobs. host: if more jobs were being created you would change your mind? caller: it would change my mind. but what kind of jobs it would create? they are talking about -- not ordinary jobs when i was a young man. i started out at 87 cents an hour, but a hostess twinkie was 3 cents. you've got to make -- my daughter only makes $12 an hour and she can't even hardly live
on it. ordinary people can't live on that kind of money. they need to get the prices of everything down. my wife's car costs $33,000.30 years ago my house cost $25,000. we need everything to go down, the price for everything to go down. host: "the washington post" this morning. all story is an "the washington post" but if you would go to the paper version, it says --
middleton, new jersey. george on our independent line. caller: as far as changing my mind, and no, i don't have any more confidence right now. a one of the guys earlier said consumer confidence is the key. i think that is a factor but the biggest factor -- and i sure you have heard it enough -- employment and jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs. it if you look back from the 1940's to the 1970's, when we made like 70% of the world's
goods, this country thrived and prospered. a you had a guy on a couple weeks that -- you had a guy on a couple weeks back who didn't think making this up here would make any difference. but again, if you look back, when we made 70% of the goods, we prospered. it just seems like such common sense yet nobody wants to do it. we need the big companies to do it. the companies that took all the jobs away. host: wheaton, maryland. democrats line. caller: i wouldn't believe it for one minute. this economy is still on life- support, the i see you. i tell you something, if you step and a further out you go into a pool of quicksand. with dubai not making payments on $60 billion in debt to, a imagine what that is going to
do? it is already shaking up the asian markets. the expert seattle earlier -- i am not an expert but i've got common sense. imagine if you get a ripple effect all through the peninsula. a lot of those countries have spent and spent and spent trying to build these oases in the sand which is nothing more than a mirage. i guarantee you, they are going to have some serious problems in the next 18 to 26 months because of debts and the economy and all of the dollar. sure, go out and buy things for your children. they should have things. but be careful because you are in the line of a quicksands ball and i guarantee you, unless we restore glass-steagall, we will never get out of the dog on a mess. host: scott identifies himself on twitter.
next up is maryland on a republican line. kirby. caller: thank you for taking my call. i just got to say the economy has not gotten any better. the stock market is just a big farce. it has been manipulated by day one by j.p. morgan, the rockefellers, so on and so forth, look it up. i don't trust the government whatsoever. host: what do you have to see happen before you change your mind? caller: a lot more jobs. proof of jobs. i have a son who just recently did find a job but it took him over eight months to find a job. it is pretty bad out there. i need to say one other thing,
if you would, pedro. i urge everybody, get on you to the -- youtube and look up a new world order documentary. you are going to find out what is going on. host: hartford, conn. independent line. caller: i agree with most of the callers so far. i believe the economy is in the tank. i don't see it getting any better until we start making things here like we did. everybody refers to the 1930's, 1940's, the 1970's and all of the factors from our past. we made things here. we don't make much here anymore. most of the good jobs we outsourced or wheat -- or we insouced foreign labor. it is bleak when you see 800 applicants for one position dared -- one position.
until we get jobs, i think we are done. host: a different viewpoint from twitter. chicago, up next, evelyn on our democrats line. caller: good morning, and thank you for c-span and in the area where i live it is bad and has been bad sense of the steel mills went down back in the 1970's. it has never really recovered. just so many jobless people out here, people who are hungry. i work in the food pantries and it is just phenomenal. we out here in the particular -- this particular area to not use the word recession, but depression. it will go on forever.
economy -- crofton, maryland. caller: can you hear me all right? i think the economy. will get better just because of the new leadership. if we take a look at the history, in the year 2000 the economy was in the blacked the -- in the black, and when at the election, and the way the country work we are all behind the leader and everything and it was not much bipartisanship in the bush years, in fact, none at all. it and we saw what happened to the economy. we had the worst terrorist attack in 9/11. iraq was the worst military operation. and the new administration was left the worst economy since the great depression.
i can remember growing up, i was born in 1951 in youngstown, ohio, and the steel mills were starting to go down but the economy was just butchered through the bush administration. i wish you could -- if i had your capabilities i would figure out how many times they said that outsourcing of job, complaining about that and then all of a sudden that became a good thing for america, trying to find out how many times on the news, fox news live said outsourcing was good for america. it turned everything on its head. i want to congratulate nancy pelosi, barney frank and our president, the president got himself elected and he was the best man for the job out of all the candidates on the republican side and the democrat side.
and i voted for both. a whole field of horses, the thoroughbred one and then we had the ability to stop the $800 billion bailout that the democrats were trying to push on to the republicans but it was the republicans' fault. host: have to leave it there. a few more calls to take and this tweet. by the way, the caller had mentioned he was from youngstown, ohio. that mayor will be on our program monday at 9:00 to talk about the economy in his city, his state, and give a perspective on the nation's economic picture. carlsbad, california. cathy on our independent line. are you there? caller: good morning, everybody. good morning, pedro.
host: you are up early. caller: always up early. have to keep tabs on the country. host: not doing black friday? caller: i have done it before, but i found it ridiculous brought on by the media and corporate america. the only thing which what people want is poor people's money. just letting american know there is a book that was put out in 1980 called "a people's history of the united states" by howard zinn. this goes back to the 1700's and the names are still look the same. rockefeller's, rothschild, j.p. morgan chased out, bushes. it is amazing how this country -- we are a poor country and being a military family, sir, i have heard stuff that this country is about to experience that was set in place by direct vote -- our former regime.
but want to say right now, thank you to my brother, from the bottom of my heart for 40 years of your service to this country and four wars. you made it out alive, brother. i love you and thank you, thank you, thank you. and america, i love you -- we are going to get through this but as long as barack obama does not take back our countries -- companies that oversees, we will never have jobs. we are educated people in our family, college people. i am a teacher. i've got four degrees. my son is a certified chef. let me tell you, there is no money out there for educated people. there really isn't. the younger you are and the more education you have, i think though worse it is for you because you can't make the money. my son spent $100,000, to culinary school and now he needs
someone to pay his debts. this is a vicious circle that we are being attacked upon and again, our money being held -- j.p. morgan chase. . host: thank you for calling in. grosse pointe, michigan. james on independent line. caller: i have been giving this a lot of thought. this president, barack obama, he is a strong president, he seems to care about us and he seems to care about what is going on. and i think he put together a team and they seem to know exactly what is going on. i think they're doing the best job that they can do. you can hear john boehner who complains about fiscal responsibility. he is a republican and he can spend $83 million on two or three golf outings. is that responsible? and keep telling us how much of a recession we are in.
ask warren buffett about our recession. he just bought a $24 billion railroad. ask oprah winfrey, buying a whole television network. it does not make any sense. all of these rich folks like rush limbaugh makes $53 million last year and he is telling us how bad we are off. i just don't buy it because since this president has been in there, he has been in there 10 months -- not a year. he took over january 19. they keep saying he has been there a year and already i had a tax cut, stimulus jack, my unemployment benefits have been extended twice. food stamps. what more do they want the president to do? host: we will have to leave it there. i apologize but we are leaving it only because of our next segment which deals with the economy.
it this time specifically looking at the housing market. not only commercial -- residential area but commercial as well. dawn kopecki from bloomberg will talk about it next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> saturday to look back at the cuban missile -- cuban missile crisis with former kennedy advisers and have the threats
been over hyped on the cold -- post cold war threats? democracy and the internet, a panel on how the political process had been affected by the internet. and facebook founder on how social networking is changing the political process. this holiday weekend on c-span parrot -- c-span. >> three nights of original documentaries on the iconic holmes of the three branches of the american government. tonight at 8:00 p.m., the white house, inside america's most famous home. beyond the velvet ropes are visit shows the grand public places as well as those rarely seen spaces. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the capital, the history and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. american icons, tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. get your own copy, a three-disc dvd set, $24.95 plus shipping and handling.
order online. >> "washington journal" continues. host: as promised, dawn kopecki from bloomberg news. in the last half hour we were talking about mindsets when it comes to the economy. is there a mindset when it comes to the real-estate sector? guest: the psychology? there is, especially people who are currently in their homes that are under water. in past downturns when people have been foreclosed upon it has been because they lost a job or because they are getting divorced or an illness. now what economists are seeing is people still have their jobs, not suffering necessarily a big financial hardship, are simply walking away from their homes because they are so far under water. one out of for mortgages right now are under water in the united states. almost 25% of every home is now at the point where the borrower
owes more than what the house is worth. people in florida owho are like 50% under water are just walking away because they figured out that time the economy recovers they will not get their money back. there is a different psychology in this downturn when it comes to housing than in previous downturns. host: that was the cover a few days ago. foreclosure rates, 65% under water in nevada, 48% in arizona and 45% in florida -- guest: and california and of the biggest state. those are big economic states. i cannot recall the exact -- exact -- in california but alone it is bigger than a lot of countries in europe. it is the biggest economy within our economy. so it does create a drag.
economists like to say we have regional housing issues. so if you have a downturn in one. does not necessarily affect the others. but the downturn in florida, california, nevada, those states are so great that it is pulling the rest of the housing market with it. because you have a lot of banks that have a lot of exposure in those areas and they are tightening lending standards across the country, making it harder for other people to get homes. causing a drag on jobs. they are having to lay off people because they have had so many losses because of those states and it causes a drag on the overall economy as well. host: last week a report on new- home sales up a bit. guest: you have to be careful on those numbers because of a lot of that is driven by artificial demand being driven by the treasury department. the treasury department has a first-time home buyer tax credit
of $8,000, and they just expanded it to more buyers starting december 1. a lot of that demand has been driven by that. a lot is being driven by the fact that the federal reserve is keeping interest rates so low. a lot of economists are very worried about what is going to happen when the batteries serve and treasury departments start pulling back some of these programs -- when the federal reserve and treasury department start pulling back some of these programs. and the mortgage-backed securities buyback of fannie mae and freddie mac, that ends in march. people are worried about what it means for interest rates and demand and all of these programs are merely prolonging the downturn and not necessarily preventing it. host: an equation between what you describe and what some describe as cash for clunkers for automobiles? guest: what it does is puts demands forward. if i am on the fence and and thinking about buying a house and i got a tax credit that i
can use and applied toward maybe the down payment or maybe i know i will get the money back right away, that might spur me to buy now. when instead i might have bought six months from now or a year from now. i will not go by a house and another year or another six months. what it is doing is pulling a lot of people who are on the fence about when to buy and just affecting their buying patterns to buy earlier. ithe national association of realtors, so far 1.2 million people the estimated, the irs estimated claimed the credit. the national association of realtors estimates about 300,000 of those people would not have bought without the tax credit. but that estimate varies from group to group. the homebuilders say it is only 150,000. so, not a lot of brand new buyers. host: dawn kopecki talking about commercial real-estate which we will take on later, residential
right now the national numbers, it also depends on where you get the statistics from. some of them take into account only fannie mae and freddie mac loans which will distort pricing. some of them taken national numbers. host: the first call is brooklyn. bernie on the republican line. financial expert or reporter, we had a financial crisis that a number of months ago and everyone considered it to be a major, major crisis. and we had to do extraordinary things in order to avoid the crisis, which apparently at this particular point has been avoided all those things may pop up again. but nobody ever said what was the landscape, the financial landscape, the business landscape, what would it look like if we just let the house of
cards fall? have you seen what the scenario was -- 60% unemployment, 8% unemployment? could you give us an idea what it would have been like if we let citibank failed? guest: a lot of economists say it is really hard to predict what might have happened. so i think it is safe to say unemployment would have been significantly higher. i don't know what the statistics are. all prices would have dropped further and farther and faster than today. but at the same time, a lot of the programs that are put in place now, you know, the market is getting back to a point where it could maybe try to get back on its legs, but because of all of the government interventions, the private market and doesn't have an
opportunity to really get back in and correct prices in a natural way. host: mary on our independent line. chicago. caller: i have a variable-rate loan several years ago and i switched to a fixed rate. it the one thing i have not understood through all of this is with the prime rate going down, why didn't those of variable rate loans, the interest rates on them, also go down? guest: it depends on the terms of your mortgage contract. a lot of the variable rate loans will go down, but they are adjusted every couple of years. not adjusted quarterly, or even every six months or so. it depends on the terms of your loans. plus, they will often have some sort of stop level where they can only go down by so much, just like they can only go up by so much.
it just depends on your mortgage contracts, each mortgage contract is different. it pays to read the fine print. host: a story in "the washington post." about this day care provider finding out she cannot pay for it lose her home. what has changed in the process about the ability of finding out whether someone has the ability to pay for a home? guest: funny you ask that. regulators put together a role in a couple of months ago, maybe even a year ago now, that doesn't allow banks to make loans that people can't afford to pay. which sounds kind of logical and obvious. what it is, is if you are in one of these option arms, these adjustable rate mortgages where you can't take what ever payment you want and head of time and at some point, two or three years
into the loan, the loan adjust and all of a sudden you have to start paying back. all of these payments you are really just the three to begin with. those loans, if you could not afford the payments after the adjustment, they are not allowed to make those loans anymore. a lot of times, it is incumbent on the consumer to understand this stuff. i've got a little more experience than most people but this stuff is complicated even for me. when i took out my mortgage i was offered all sorts of crazy loans that just looked wrong. there is no reason i should be given as much money as they were offering a. -- offering me. i tried to read the fine print and decided these loans must be bad or wrong or illegal at some point. it turned out that they were. not necessarily illegal, but now people in hindsight are realizing those loans should never been made. host: how does that factor into the administration's desire to
see a new bureaucracy, an agency -- guest: consumer financial protection agency. the federal reserve actually has jurisdiction over these issues, these consumer issues. they did nothing over a long time. they could outlawed these long ago, but they didn't. and now the obama administration wants to create a new oversight agency that can go in and say these terms a to complicated, you have to simplify your loans. really what you are going to get back to is it has the power obama is talking about, where most first stop what traditional 15 or 30-year loans and adjustable rate mortgages would be very simple and -- in structure and design that people understand what they are getting into. host: dawn kopecki with us the next 15 minutes. moses on our democrat line.
guest: i have a comment. listening to people who are very close to me. from the home loan modification programs. my question is, what can one do to escape an escrow payment? mortgage used to be $1,200 a month. it recently it has been going up steadily. if i call my mortgage company, they say because i have to increase escrow payments, mortgage almost $1,600 every month. anything i can do to stop this? guest: is it going up because of your property taxes and hazard insurance? caller: city property tax
recently went up without doing nothing about the. guest: you cannot escape death and taxes. there is not really eat -- anything you can do to stop property-tax is. -- taxes. you would have to refinance and get a loan without escort. the only way you can get a loan without escrow account is if you have more than 20% equity in your home generally. it depends on your individual loan. the reason why they did the escrow account is people will go all year, they will get $500 tax bill and they would not have the money to pay it in one lump sum. and the county or city would foreclose on the property there really isn't a way to escape it. if it is hazard insurance, you
can shop around for a lower policy. but it takes months for that to be adjusted in your escrow policy. you can protect what your house is being levied at, property-tax wise, but really nothing else you can do to get out of that. host: republican line. mali from california. caller: this obama administration. i work in ensuring property and i have been putting together properties four loans with freddie mac and fannie mae, nothing down, they even advertise bad credit. they have not changed doing a thing that brought the whole economy down. they are working day and not making bad -- day and night making bad loans. modifications, we have clients on their fourth modifications and still four months behind. this is going to be our money. this will tip the scale like you have never seen it before. and obama is behind this whole thing.
guest: i should probably get your contact information. i am hearing stories like that all the time. it is anecdotal right now. there is no data generally. in some sectors, depending on where, i hear a lot of stories that fannie and freddie are still underwriting very bad loans. they are tightening their underwriting standards, made it a lot more expensive to get the money but right now the federal reserve has rates so low that they can add on all these extra fees and it does not seem like it is that much more expensive for consumers. i would love to follow up and talk to you later if you could track down on bloomberg. host: she made a broader statement that nothing has changed, have not changed anything that is brought the economy down. guest: it is not entirely accurate. they added different fees, all sorts of fees.
they needed more expensive. they are still lending, still buying loans a quarter the reasons why they are buying loans is because the regulator has directed them to do so. they are under government orders to do this. fannie and freddie, one of the reasons that were taken over last year is the start of pulling back the mortgage market and they stopped buying a lot of loans. the regulators said, no, you can't do that because it is exacerbating housing prices and made them continue doing that to keep the mortgage markets liquid. that is why the markets did not have a chance to correct themselves because of all of these government programs. host: there was a cover on "business week" not long ago about the commercial real estate crisis. can you give us a snapshot of where it is currently? guest: right now there is $1.40 trillion worth of commercial real-estate loans. unlike your loan and my loan in
most cases, you don't have to refinance every couple of years. you get in your loan and you stay at or along to pay it off. with the commercial real-estate sector, the loans are usually good about five years or so and then you renegotiate your loan. what is happening is $1.40 trillion, which is maybe 20% of the market, needs to renegotiate their loans within the next year or year and a half or so and they are not able to because nobody is buying the loans on the secondary market. so there are no investors to invest in the loans. they don't want to touch them because they are fairly toxic with the market at a downturn. you have a lot of hotels going under, and i was an las vegas touring of foreclosed on with a realtor and his real estate office was in foreclosure.
they are having trouble securing tenants, they have trouble making rent. the mortgage bankers association has a beautiful building in downtown d.c. and barely anyone is in it and it is in financial trouble so, the whole sector, the whole sector was giddy with all of this money that the fed was pumping into the economy and just made a lot of really stupid bad decisions. host: is that decision making the same internationally what we are hearing about with dubai? guest: i missed that story. but there are a lot of international governments also having trouble. i know dubai built up their real-estate market for a couple of years. it was on fire. you have some of the most extraordinary buildings in dubai so i would not be surprised if that was also running into trouble now. host: charlotte, north carolina. michael on the independent line.
guestcaller: i was foreclosed od evicted four weeks ago yesterday. guest:. to hear that. caller: thank you. it was wells fargo, i owed 84,000 of the note. they sold it to a holding company picked -- for $65,000. they did that without even offering me. all i wanted to do was renegotiate the loan. and stay in the property. i was only in it for two and a half years. but they decided it was not good enough. i sent them hardship letters, financial statements, and they went ahead. and then they bought it back again. i don't know the price.
i it is -- it is on the market, it is going to be on the market. i don't know if it is legal or not. it's should be illegal. it but it is damn sure in morrow, excuse my language. -- immoral. why did they sell the house $19,000 lower? i call it loan laundering, they got rid of one note and i bought it back again and now they have a good note. that is my opinion and i am in the construction business. i have to say one thing. it was not well fargo's fault i got behind but it was not my fault the housing market and everything else. it guest: i hear stories like that all the time. a lot of people are falling through the cracks. i can't speak for wells fargo,
but a lot of the banks that have loans and foreclosure, they are in a pipeline, a process, and they move from one department in the bank to the next and they go through the process. it is very difficult for an individual to stop that process or get them to do something else. i know people in california that spent about a year and a half trying to negotiate to get a principal reduction because their home has dropped in value by 50%. they tried to get a principal reduction on their $700,000 that the old and the house is only worth 350, and they could not get it and the bank foreclosed and it went through short sell and sold for about 350,000 from a significantly less what the current owners willing to pay. it is a very human story. it is very tragic that seoul might be bought are losing their homes and not able to do anything -- very tragic that so many people are losing their homes.
it is stressful and are racking for people like michael. but a lot of people are just falling through the cracks because the banks don't have the capacity to process all of the modifications, all of the note restructuring. host: someone from twitter asking -- guest: i don't have a statistic. you don't have a lot of investors moving into the market yet. you have a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines waiting for the market to hit the bottom but a lot of people don't think the market has hit the bottom. until the market has actually hit bottom you will not see much investment money coming into it. economists predict it will happen somewhere around the third or fourth quarter of next year. we have another year, at least another nine months, before things even begin to turn around. so it is going to take a long, long time before you see investors scooping up homes.
i would love to buy a foreclosed home but i am not going to be able to get another loan on top of the mortgage i already have. it three years ago i could have gotten a ton of money. it is a different environment. host: a couple of calls. desoto, texas. caller: i bought a home in april and i have a home. i know there is an incentive, if you are a first-time homebuyers -- this is not my first home. i have a home that i bought and paid for. is there any type of brake or incentive or will i be able to get anything back? guest: did you rent in between? caller: no, i did not. guest: 1 home and step to another home? you will not qualify for the tax break. the reason is, it was designed to encourage people who didn't
own homes to buy homes because those people have the biggest economic benefit to the markets. new homebuyers buy more stuff. they buy more pink, they buy more furniture. -- they buy more paint. the new tax credit that goes into effect december 1, does. it is a complicated formula but you may qualify under that one. they just decided to expand it. unfortunately you just bought at the exact wrong time to benefit. host: robert on the republican line. tampa, florida. caller: i believe the government is going in the wrong direction in trying to support a buying howells is. they should support building -- buying houses. they should support new industry and giving jobs to americans and not giving us all
of this free money to buy foreign goods with. the jobs will only go to aliens and cheap labor. why are we concentrating on houses? guest: a lot of economists feel the same way. it is the housing market that got us into trouble. the housing market does benefit more than just a cheap labor. you get a lot of financing that goes into it, a lot of wall street money goes into it. it does have the net effect of benefiting a number of different sectors. and the ripple benefit is even further than that. a lot of economists agreed that the focus should be on creating other types of jobs and not so much emphasis on housing.
host: when should we get a clearer picture? what is a good time frame to look at the numbers of home sales and seeing where we really are without the intervention involved? guest: actually it as the federal reserve stopped buying mortgages and mortgage bonds next march, which there is a question they may extend it, and a tax credit expires next june, you will probably see our real economy sometime in the fourth quarter of next year. it of those programs and extended, then it is going to be even a longer time period until we see where the real money is, what the real health of the economy is. .
>> c-span's's contest is here. >> regulateing the internet. one of the topics monday with meredith at welle baker, the newest commissioner at the fcc, on c-span 2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: the numbers. for democrats, republicans and independents. open phones for about 15 minutes. we'll talk about wal-mart for
an hour and then in our last 45 minutes we're going to take a look at vice presidents. on the front page of "usa today" a story about health care ads targeting senators still undecided about health care legislation. writing evan tracy with the campaign media analysis group has counted more than 70 ordinary cares from the u.s. chamber of commerce to individual physicians -- and the senator complained about the ads. since the beginning of the year, quote there have been more than $3.3 million worth of media ads by groups from outside the state. a democrat said who was up for re-election. in arkansas 1570 pots spots at a cost of $600,000. and another saw 1,900 spots at
a cost of $1 million. in louisiana 100 spots at a cost of $00,000 targeted democratic senator mary landrieu. and others. birmingham, alabama is up first in this short set of open phones. go ahead. scott on our independent line. caller: yeah. i am so tired of people like that lady that was on a while ago saying it was the housing market that caused this problem. it was jobs getting sent overseas. clear ags the nose on my face and i want to say happy late theaving my ua brother in syracuse who demalled yesterday. host: on our republican line, happy thanksgiving. i would like to say god bless
sarah palin, and i believe the reason that democrats are so afraid of her is because she's so honest and non-politician-like because she actually says what she means and not what people just want to hear. host: white house saw lobbyists often during the health care debate. from the associated press writeing the list included george hall very son is t chairman and c.e.o. of kiezer health plans and from the blue cross and blue shield association and other clients, byy tauzin, the head of the pharma and other numerous lobbyists. in florida on our democrats line, barry. caller: hi. happy thanksgiving. host: thank you. caller: just thought i'd let you know that the mortgage
modification program is an absolute disaster. as someone who looked at "20/20" and "60 minutes" at individuals who were trying to get their mortgage modified. my wife's income went down by 307 and mine by 507 and even though our secret excellent and never missed a payment we submitted a question and after six months we were told that they didn't even begin looking at it because they weren't staffed enough and under the law were allowed to ask us to resubmit paperwork and it would take them another six to eight months to get to it. it must be changed or stop the program. host: mendoza, illinois. don on our independent line.
caller: this is don calling, and i wanted to tell the c-span viewers about a book that was written in 1972 by gary alan caud "none too -- " and it explains why and how we're in the situation we are in today and it's a kind of house of right child back in the middle 1800's and how the financial wars to deep governments in debt and the people in debt and we're in debt right now, and get book. it's on the internet. google under conspiracy and you can find it. host: "the new york times" talks about some of the lobbying efforts when it cops to the health care bill. the title is clothes in health care. it talks about the group health care for america now a
coalition of labor and lib ral activists planning to drop leaf lets and hopes to educate shoppers about popular brands like wrangler, the north face and naught kay. what's the connection between these goods and health care? they are marketed by the vf corporation and the chief executive officer also sits on the board of cigna and according to the leaf lease health care companies are spending millions on scare tactics to block really through lobbying andtying. they say shopers deserve to know that mr. weissman who mr. kirsch said makes $6.2 many at v.f. and $43000,000 from cigna is getting rich from the health
insurance industry as it works to keep hiking premiums and denying care. the leaf lets urge shoppers to think twice about buying from those brands. good morning. caller: good morning. host: this is doris on our republican line? caller: yes. the sample you covered this morning that i'd really like to make comments on. let me start first, though, with one, if you haven't covered yet and give up everything that the got to the has done so far. which now they've 3406d on to -- on this health care thing before they have even addressed or tried fix one. now then back to the health care to the health for the elderly. i'm 74 years old last year we got the biggest stimulus not stimulus but the biggest
increase in the types -- security for seniors and disabled and people in a certain low income, and everybody has got more money to help them because we fail within we fell within a gap between medicaid and medicare. which gave most people somewhere around $20 or $18 like i got for a month to increase our monthly billt i mean to increase our monthly income. now this year, when i go back, as i have to do every year to reply and get reevaluated -- not necessarily reevaluated but the if i still apply, i find that due to this increase, i'm now $1 a month over so now my
check is going to be cut $130-plus and now have to pay what they were paying from me, because i qualified. now suddenly i don't qualify, and i'm going to have to pay it back. host: ok. we'll leave it there. memphis, tennessee is next. caller: i want to talk about the last eight bills of obama. he inherited a giant mess. what'd you say? host: i didn't say anything. caller: i want to talk about the last eight years the last eight years was the bush administration was a huge crime. we had administration those two elections. had giant tax cuts for the rich. we had 9/11 which was an inside job and then we were lied into two wars in iraq and affingaffling and then we had a huge medicare bill with the
pharmaceutical companies and rewarded them with billions and then we had this huge financial mortgage crisis, and all these things was done on purpose. all -- this stuff is criminal. the financial crisis, the mortgage, they lied about the war. all this was done on purpose and obama has inherited this huge mess and we had this oil crisis. these gallons of them. all the bush friends, they stole everything they could under the stars. host: ok from stephen lee myers out of baghdad the iraqis seek election deal to avoid more delays. even with the agreement, this is now the national elections. it's now likely to not to occur by the decline. nouri kamal al maliki warned on thursday that any further delay
in holding the vote would put the country at great risk. the country looks to celebrate the festival of sacrifice which lasts until tuesday. one of iraq's vice presidents released several statements saying he was open to comp mize but he raised the specter of political and constitutional crisis. gulf shore, alabama. robert on our republican line. caller: good morning. as an american citizen, i think it's the right and obligation of every american to support the president in a democratic society, regardless of who he is. now my question se i am a small business owner and i've been in business for 20 years. i have capital and i have as credits. and i'm in the business to and i have as sets. and i repair homes.
and with the large supply there's a large demand for my services to provide. to provide upgrade to buyers and sellers. my problem is is that takeover last year and a half, i've pretty much depleted my savings, and i'm unable to -- i've applied for grants everybody wants thousands of dollars to possibly give you a grant, maybe, maybe not. and i've employed 17 employees for 22 years, and i have the ability to put more people to work, but i don't have the capital to do it. and nobody will help. host: our last call is chicago, illinois. chandra, democrats line. caller: hi. my name is chandra. this is so criminal.
the got to the through congress and the senate and the corporations are killing ust why are they doing this? and i just wanted to say i significantly lost our confidence when they came into the floor of the senate and said that they needed that money. they caused this crisis. they are doing this to us is. doing this to us. they are making it worse and worse and worse, and we know it. and i don't know, fellow americans, let's keep our money out of washington. let's find thcht our own way of getting iran. it can't go anywhere but down host: and that's the last call we'll take in this session of open phones. for the next hour we want to talk about the influence of wal-mart in the nation's economy. if you want to go to the
wal-mart website to find out information about its stores, it will tell you in the u.s. there are about 4300 stores. internationally about 39 about 8200 stores worldwide. charles fishman joins us the author of "the wal-mart effect." thank you mr. fishman for joining us. 40u did wal-mart gain to be where such a consumer giant? >> well, wal-mart is 64 -- indeed when sam walton died, about 17 years ago, wal-mart was just 1/10 the size it is now. when sam walton died in the early 90's, wal-mart was smaller than target is now. so it was a completely
different company and i would say that. to me, one of the most remarkable things about wal-mart is they stepped into a business that already existed when wal-mart was founded in 1962, no one couldn't buy a toothbrush or loaf of bread because there wasn't a store nearby. so una like a store like apple or cisco, they stepped into a world of, they are the largest store in the world after 47 years, the largest company of any kind in any where in the world in human history. and the way they have done that just a little bit at a time is really through extraordinary discipline. there's a wonderful comparison with sears. when wal-mart was founded, sears was the dominant retailer in the country in many ways, the year wal-mart first had a billion in sales for the whole
year, sears had $30 billion, so sears was huge come fired wal-mart and now wal-mart does a billion in sales every day, more than that on this particular day, the day after thanksgiving and sears is still at $30 billion. so it's really a story of discipline and focus and wal-mart really only wanted to do one thing, deliver what you need today and a price just a little bit lower than everybody else is silling. and could you speculate at least what wal-mart's role is in a consumer economy? >> oh, i spent three years studying wal-mart. i don't need to speculate. wal-mart does all kinds of things. wal-mart's scale now means wal-mart shapes the nature of the products we buy, what their quality is, how much they cost, where they are made, what the
working conditions of the people who made them are like? what countries they are made in. thousand products are packages. thousand products are packaged. and it doesn't matter whether you shop at wal-mart or not. at this point there are so many wal-marts in the united states. that even if you, as a shopper refuse to shop at wal-mart. if some reason you find it an unappealing place to sthop shop, it doesn't matter, wherever you're shopping, wal-mart is competing with it 9 wal-mart, especially in the last 10 years has taken over the retail ecosystem in the country and kind of set the rhythm in many ways. so no matter who you are. if you're in the bike or video or other business, your biggest
competitor is wal-mart, your biggest outlet is wall marlt, so wal-mart is really setting the rhythm. so you either have to try to get in under the radar of wal-mart or carve yourself off -- >> how does wal-mart look at me if i'm a competitor, then, and what do they do to mike sure they stay on top? >> well, one of sam walton's most impress i have habits was go visit your competitors. every single week. see what kmart and target are doing. it's interesting that in 1962, the first math watt -- the first wal-mart and target and kmart started to do sbns. they all started at the same time. sam was looking to see what merchandise do they think is going to sell well? and to some degree that culture
still exists. two big chains went out of business this year in part because of the recession. circuit city, the number two electronics retailer and linens and things. the -- and those are both arena they watch everybody's behavior, and they know where they came from. so they don't assume that anybody is too small to overtake them. they are -- they live in a world of pair air noa, frankly, and that's part of their discipline. host: the lines open. twitter us at c-spanwj. to give you some perspective from our guest book "the wal-mart effect." wal-mart sells more movies than a nation's movie theater, more
toys than toys are us and jeans than lee vi strauss and cigarettes than a company. if i were a retailer on black friday i'd be looking at what wal-mart is doing. >> i was in a wal-mart at the edge of philadelphia between the city and the suburbs, and i will tell you i was astonished. i've been in wal-mart each of the last four or five black fridays. yow couldn't move in this wal-mart. it had been open since midnight. i got there about 6:15. and i would say that every other shopping cart had a big screen tv in it. the lines went -- any of the viewers knows scale of a store the lines wound from the cash registers almost all the way to
the back to have the store and others who had gotten to the store at 4:30 or 5:00 and just leaving at 6:30 or 7:00 and said didn't take long to find what they wanted to buy but took a while to hand takeover money. >> do you shop at wal-mart? >> i do strategically but i don't feel it's fair or ethical to talk about wal-mart if i'm not in a store so i try to be in one every two or three weeks. we buy consumeibles. things like paper towels and system that poohs most still made in the united states. but i feel if i'm going to continue to keep up with wal-mart i have to be in the stores and take part in the shopping experience. i had three or four things i wanted to buy but there was no chance of getting out of that wal-mart in less than 40 minutes or an hour. host: we have a question from
twitter. doug who makes more of a statement who says isn't wal-mart merely a conduit and -- >> at one level that's right. the apple store is an outlet for apple, itself. any retail store ising in, nothing quote-unquote nothing but a conduit. but there's a reason wal-mart has become the largest company in the history of human civilization. that's because although the stores look ordinary, the way the company is run is absolutely brilliant in many ways. the impact of that is not always appealing, but the kind of conduit you're running, how many bends are there in the it's really important.
and they operate much differently than others and have taught the snow -- how to get the stuff on the shelves and into people's hands much more quickly, and the speed at which you can do that in terms tells price. if you charge 20 cents less and people come to rely on that. it builds your business and negotiating power. and now a lot of wal-mart's umph comes from the fact that they sell more things than anybody so when they negotiate, they have a bigger stick than anybody in the country. that means they aren't just a conduit. they shape the nature and quality of the products based in part on what wal-mart thinks is going to happen. not what the people who purchase the projects
necessarily >> with all due respect to the twitterer, you can't blame this bad economy on wal-mart. you can blame wal-mart for all kinds of things. this bad economy started with people doing fancy slight of hand stuff with and you'll notice wal-mart was not standing in line at any point for a bailout. so there's all kinds of ways you can criticize wal-mart and i'm first in line to hold wal-mart accountable for damage it does. and it does do some damage but this economy has nothing to do with wal-mart. host: mike, you're on with charles fishman. go ahead. caller: morning mr. fishman. >> good morning. caller: this is not a pleasant
phone call. in the town i live in all the small businesses that have been here over 90 years are all banged up because nobody can compete with wal-mart. they all closed up. and everybody lost their jobs and we're forced to shop there now because there's no where else to go. how do you explain that? >> you're exactly right. that is one of the places where wal-mart's arrival does a lot of damage. it's very hard faur longtime specialty retailer if you sell just children's clothes. my favorite example is bicycles. you can walk into a wal-mart store if you're a shift worker literally at 2:00 a.m. and buy a bike bicycle for your third grader because that's when tough time to shop. there's no mom and pop bicycle shop in america that's open at 2:00 a.m. on a sunday.
so their negotiating power, scale, hours really put them at an advantage. i think there are lots of successful small, town retailers who doe be enener jetics and maybe not even then. you have to offer something different. you cannot compete on price and convenience. but to stick with the bike example, camera it is same thing, electronics the same thing. if you want help buying a bike, you won't find it at wal-mart. there's nobody to tell you how the bike will fit the third grader. you're just getting a good cheap bike. or maybe not even that good of a bike. the most important thing is to offer something wal-mart doesn't which is help, understanding. it's also true, sad but that's
the way the american economy works. wal-mart, it looks like wal-mart put the stores in your community out of business and all due respect, in fact the people in your community put their own stores out of business. they are ones who decided they are going to shop at wal-mart and had sentiment but took their wallets elsewhere. wal-mart is a very powerful force in pulling people in. but but in a exeave economy, people who are outcompete go out of business and we hope that the scommi growing enough and creating different kinds of jobs to soak up the people whop end up unemployed. we don't have any typewriter factories or blue jeans factories all of that stuff is made overseas but we still have jobs. so the problem is how you help
individual people in the interim. how you bridge hope to whatever their new world is. that's the consen traited destruction. at an individual level it's not very appealing. but -- it's a balancing act. >> by your own -- by what you said there as far as the mom and pops stores are concerned that means wal-mart has dominance as well as location, because i think it was your book that said almost 100% of all of the people in america live within five miles of a wal-mart. >> so if you want to shop at wal-mart, you can. and that means getting back to the point we maid earlier. that's why even if you refuse to shop at wal-mart, wherever you shop, if it's another national or regional chain or mom and pop, those people are also within five or 10 miles of
aal with a mart so they are living in the wal-mart rainforest. they are living in that ecostp. everybody is competing on wal-mart terrains. personally, we've had the experience of buying bikes and cameras. i'd rather buy them from a local store where someone is going to lean over the counterand talk to you about what you're purchasing. not everyone can afford that. so if price is the most urgent matter, wal-mart ends up being the default choice. host: mary, good morning. caller: yes. good morning. i'm glad to hear the more balanced view given of wal-mart. it certainly has changed from the waybill walton ran it.
you used is to have to drive miles and miles to get anything. i would like to point out the fact if a that wal-mart single handedly has lowered the price of generic medicine. i can remember going to a drugstore and buying the generic brand and they charged me exactly half of what the name brand would be. and now they have at that same drugstore, they are now selling at the same price that wal-mart has, so i don't like to hear all these corporations demonized. because people's four, four, is heavily invest -- 401-k is heavily invested in this so if they don't use them anymore,
where are they going to insflest >> well $4 for a month's supply for generics and most people's co-pay if you have good insurance is $10 so you're better off walking into wal-mart and not using your insurance than using your insurance there or nirnl. but one of the reasons wal-mart did that was because of several years of very loud, very insistn't, very dramatic health insurance practices an offerings for their own employees. so it's the criticism that
crescendoed in 2002, 2003, 2004, about their health care practices, the way they run their stores and thousand they are site indeed communes, wal-mart has taken that to heart. it's hard to listen to people screaming at you. but one of the outcomes of all of the criticism sincere the health insurance offering for their own employees are improved and as part of that they offer these generic drugs for $4 a prescription they say in part to help their own employees but also in terms of -- so wal-mart's performance is occasionally in response to the criticism, and so i actually though -- think it's fortunate hold them and these big companies accountable. it deserves lots of oversight
and criticism and watching when it's due. host: we did extend an invitation to wal-mart for this segment. he is charles fishman, the author of "the wal-mart effect." >> someone twittered to speak to the -- >> the whole country right now is a non-unionized health force. >> unions were for -- how they operated in the 1930's and 1940's, most private employees are non-union. starget non-union, kmart, target, they are not -- they are non-union. i don't have a position on whether with a mart should be a
union operation or not. i don't work thrrment i think that's the kind of decision that's best left to employees. i have worked in both newspaper and newsrooms that were unionized and ones that weren't. i can tell you this. the way wal-mart operates now would not be possible in a union environment. if stores started to vote to unionize one store at a time, those stores would have to be run dramatically differently. because the kinds of things unions are interested in and the kinds of things wal-mart are interested in is simply a conflict. so wal-mart would be completely transformed if you could waive a magic wand and unionize it. as part of an effort to improve its own i willagened treat its employees a little better.
it now pays on average, it says $11.25 an hour 40 above minimum wage. so there are places to work that aren't as good as wal-mart but when you look at the blue jeans on sale for $9. if you're buying a full pair of adult jeans it includes both legs. right and left for $9 you can't possibly imagine the people putting them on the shelves are making a lot of money. so we bear some responsibility for that as well. host: so being non-unionized, what other benefits does wal-mart offer employees? and talk about the other health benefits thace may or may not get. >> as with err health insurance plan, it's really comp -- that
cost $20 a month whatever that comes to for individual employees who are full timers. it has plans that are reasonnably affordable for people with families the waiting period has been shortened dramatically. that said the average take home wage if the average -- the average paycheck. if you work full-time at wal-mart, 40 hours and lots of people work 32 hours a week at wal-mart, you still only are making $24,000 a year so they cannot afford to offer great health insurance, because the wages alone are not that large. about 52% of wal-mart's employees take the company's health insurance in some form, another something like 42-43% of employees are covered somewhere else bay spouse, a family member or the
government. so somewhere above 90% of wal-mart's employees have some kind of health insurance. there's a profit-sharing plan, a 401-k plan. to be honest it's not like working at ibm or cisco in the old days. wal-mart's a retailer, and i'm -- it's not my job to account for their h.r. benefits. they used to lock people in the stors overnight to prevent theft. they would literally lock the doors. the "new york times" out that had practice and they do a lot less of that kind of what i would consider almost bullying h.r. practice. but their mission is very focused. that is low prices and the way you deliver low prices is by squeezing everybody, including your employees. host: one asks is the reason all other companies are non-unionized because of the
standard set the by wal-mart. >> no. the question on unions is really complicated. i'm not an expert on unions. it's been gradually declining over the course of the last 30-40 years, i think there are all kinds of reasonser for that. in have to do with the fact that unions learn to be effective in blue collar factory settings and have proven less able to persuade people that they are a . the truth is that there have been many efforts to unionize wal-mart stores in the united states and every one of those has failed. can you get a majority to unionize? it says people actually trust
their employer, wal-mart more than they trust union. again, i don't have an opinion about that. but that's the truth. wal-mart mountains incredibly vigorous absolutely score whiched earth anti-union campaigns so people may be scared of the union but in the end people get to vote in secret whether that he want union or not and voting not to ask for the help of the union. that tells you something about the public attitude. about the vigor with which those campaigns are conducted. host: good morning. >> i have beautiful kurtens and throw rugs that when he was alive he knew how to buy quality. instead of quantity. and i still get compliments on what i have in my home and they
want to know where i got it. i notice in the last years wal-mart has gone down to quantity and it's junk. it falls apart and their crafts department. it's gone for all intents and purposes. and sfavers the food, i get better deals at my grocery stores with buy one and get one free and couponning, and they delete, things you buy all the time are deleted, and it just got so aggravated. and i also had to return four toasters all through the summer, and i'm tired of buying junk. so i've been going to smaller stores and another thing sam walton bought stuff made in the u.s.a. you got quality. >> i admire the woman from gaphny, south carolina, that's the way i think americans should shop. one of the most corrosive
things wal-mart has done is to try teach you or teach you that surprise all this matters. when levi strouse started selling for wal-mart, i bought a pair of those jeans. they were specially made for wal-mart. the belt loops on either side pulled loose after 14 months. i sit at a desk most days. those blue jeans are junk and not worth the name levi strouse. i have blue jeans made by levi strouse and they are so old and never have anything wrong with them. so the woman makes ooh good point.
with a mart is the selling a whole store full of disposable merchandise. it is inexpensive but also often cheap and it's true that the better deal is to buy the $35 pair of jeans that last forever rather than the $23 pair of jeans that last 1 na years. so that woman is shopping smartly and learning what you pay is different than the value you get. so i think we need to return to that. i think it would help us. host: on the democrats line, good morning. caller: good morning. host: you're on, sir. go ahead. caller: yes. i worked for wal-mart when sam was still runing the operation, and then he passed away shortly there after. and it was a night and day change. um, sam walton understood the
importance of selling american goods. and i think he made an effort to promote selling american goods over profit and price concerns. and the reason i say that is when i'm going to the back rooms, i worked that shift where they lock us in. i was a floor man. clean the floors with the machines and we were locked in and you go into the back room and when sam walton was still living back in the early 1990's, you didn't see made the china boxes. it was michigan, california, new jersey. when sam walton passed away, less than six months after he passed away you couldn't see nothing but made the china boxes. it's all china.
they are selling nothing but china. they should be calling themselves wal-mart china. host: mr. fishman? >> well, it's interesting, sam walton, the last three or four years of his life concluded that american manufacturing was suffering, and he wanted to highlight made in the u.s.a. products. that was in sort of the late 19 0's right up to 1992 and a made in the u.s.a. section in most wal-mart stores. remember wal-mart was relatively small compared to now, 1/10 the number of stores. most people i talk to at wal-mart will tell you sort of rolling their eyes even 17 years later that it was done just to make sam happy. they weren't really buying more stuff from the u.s. they were just highlighting the things in the stores that they
were already purchasing that were made in the u.s. even 199 2, the caller sounds like he's old enough to remember the things bought in taiwan. even then most things weren't made in the u.s., but there were still all kinds of things that was. wal-mart has been an incredible force for driving factories out of the u.s., me to to the orient in the bangladesh, because wal-mart has always been focused on price. so there's a whole chapter about the l.r. nelson sprinkler factfully illinois who desperately tried to keep wal-mart happy and found all sorts of interesting ways to deep price low, the yellow sprinklers many have in our
backyards and said see, we can make a sprinkler that looks just like yours in china for $3 you must month your factory now from peoria to china or we're just going to move to getting our stuff from chynna. so they end up dictating your terms. i think they have been the driving factor. many people reference this made in the u.s.a. era for wal-mart really has stuck in the minds of lots of people, and it's interesting that it was so powerful, because even the people from wal-mart will tell you it was more marketing than reality. and they have certainly helped
accelerate. host: what does wal-mart do as far as making sure workers are treated fairly. >> what does with a mart do for the company that move their factorys to china, it simply agrees to -- with labor and virnltal standards in overseas countries. they have a huge, complicated inspections programs and inspect the factories that supply them and insist that they really want people to be treated fairly and in a civilized fashion and insist they don't want those factories to pollute and damage the environment. they've gotten much more vigorous they claim in the last year. they had a huge summit in china with their supplyers and said
we're not going to wait for the government. we know what the rules are. we know rules aren't inforced. you wink, i wink, everybody's happy except the future people who have to live with the said to these suppliers we're going toy start enforcing the rules. we'll see if they can do that or if they ever will to do it. shrimp farming seems like an obscure corner of the world but wal-mart sells more shrimp than anyone in the world and shrimping is a large vietnam, lots of shrimp over this. you, if you raise shrimp, have to get certification from a
third party. an environmental group saying i run my shrimp farm within the guidelines. so in that erule with a mart imposed a set of rules and provide tow -- and then tried to improve the product by buying only from them. that's one product out of -- when they decide they are going to change their behavior and everybody else's behavior they are going to step up and do it. it's complicated. one of the reasons the blender is -- it would not be operating legally. the way it foits -- and so that's -- you've outsourced
some of those costs, and that's why it's so cheap. it's not an appealing cost at all. host: go ahead. caller: good morning. i have been shopping at wal-mart almost 20 years, started in the goesry business about 20 years ago. and used to -- i sold or i was selling to kroger. and every year products prices would go up. but when wal-mart entered the grocery market fetishes prices flat lined. they quit going up for me. and 50eu6 got a question and a challenge for you. why is the federal government not enforcing our anti-trust laws to prevent a monopoly,
which wal-mart has become? it is a monopoly, and why are they not enforcing our anti- trurs laws. answer that and i will ask you the challenge. >> tell me, sir, what business are you in? can you tell me what product you supply to wall senator >> watermelon, can in a lopes and -- >> well, it's a little complicated. the simple answer as i understand it is this -- anti-trust laws are aimed at suppliers for good or ill they are named at people like you who create things. the anti-trust laws were written in response to companies like u.s. steel and
standard oil that dominateed the production and the supply of important can a modties. so standard oil at one point controlled 70% of the oil supply in the country they could charge whatever they wanted within reason and node -- wal-mart is on the opposite side. the people wal-mart squeezes are the supplyers. wal-mart is on the side of consumers. so while wal-mart may put enormous pressure on people like you, on people who create things, i gather the wal-mart company is aimed at supplyers. wal-mart is actually keeping snow -- so it's hard to go into court and argue wal-mart is damaging scurems.
wal-mart fits into a slightly different category in that it's a monopsony, a retailer with a huge force behind supplyers but you have to get supplyers to go into court and complain and most are too concerned about their relationship that is a very difficult case to undertake. a and the presumption is that if you don't want to supply wal-mart you simply say i'm not going to sell them to wal-mart. i'm selling them to someone else. on a person-by-person basis that may be hard to pull off. but wal-mart is only to 09%. that means 91% of retailing is done somewhere else. on a market-by-market basis that's much different. they sell 307 of the groceries
in dallas to they don't really come under the anti-trust laws. wal-mart has gotten so large that -- i argue in my book that i think it's time to take a look at those laws. is wal-mart a corporate beast we need to manage differently? do 2007 rules we need to manage a company of this scale and doing the kind of business this company does. host: how did you first become interested in wal-mart? [laughter] >> i work for a business magazine called "nas company." and a new -- one asked me to write a story about wall marpt. and he wad never, although the magazine was 10 years old at that point. we had never written about wal-mart which is the most
dominant country in the -- the most dominant store in the country, that was 2003-2004. 2004. and a lot of ink was spilled on wal-mart. but wal-mart really had what i called the wall of silence around with the companies that supply it forebid you to talk to the press about your business with wal-mart without wal-mart's permission. as a result, lots of stories written about wal-mart. none of which said anything that was useful. 10eu tried to understand wal-mart's relationship toits supplyers. one of the most unusual characteristics of wal-mart is that it unofficially requires companies to station companies in betenville to -- so down the
road in arkansas there's no other procter & gamble business than wal-mart. levi strouse and another company has someone there all the time to just take care of business with the company. so toful supplyers and employees into this little down in arkansas and make them focused on wal-mart fult is interestal. i went looking to find people who had worked on behalf of wal-mart for some big consumer products company but didn't anymore or so you used the work for levi strouse or swhin or sony or whatever serving wal-mart, and i ended up
tracking down maybe a dozen, two dozen people who could talk about their experiences working on behalf of wal-mart and the result was a story that pulled back the kurten a little bit on the wizard of oz. what was it like toy try to meet wal-mart's demands and what impact did it have on you as a consumer products making company in this industry? host: clay on the independence ago to -- caller: my prescription was $115 and 1/3 of my weekly unemployment check. in went down the street costco who treats their employees much better. it was $24 and the next anti-trust enforcement declined during nixon administration and apex during surprise-surprise
the reagan bush. i'm glad shopper was -- costco is cited as a company that treats its employees well, but costco is in a different business. it looks like the same business but it's not. the citizenshipical costco sells 4,000-6,000 different products. they sell diapers but one kind that they got a good deal on. wal-mart sells 140,000 different products. so they are definitely different business models. the stores look and feel the same, but the actual mechanics of running the business is much different. .
guest: of never had the opportunity to interview the ceo of wal-mart -- if i could ask him any questions, that is where i would start, why you let 6000 people a year quit, and wouldn't it help your business to have people who knew the stores better? the typical employee may not know the store as well as you as a shopper knows it. host: to the typically offer the 40-hour workweek?
guest: i don't know the answer the question, but i would speculate that the answer is no. wal-mart labels 32 hours a week as full time. if you are making $11 an hour and work 32 hours a week, wal- mart makes sure you are in default on a plea for the purposes of things like benefits, but you were taking -- making sure you are full- time employee for purposes of things like benefits, but you are taking home a paycheck that is hard to live hundred on. caller: i have a few points to make. please let me finish. first of all, wal-mart does more than half campaigns against the unions. -- have campaigned against the unions. the close the stores. they did that in canada. they actually close to the stores. two, most of them are part-time people. the third point is that there is
no such thing as loyalty among american companies any more. most large companies are multinational and their only loyalty is to themselves. they don't have a loyalty to the u.s. anymore. it is a worldwide and all they are interested in is the bottom line. thank you. guest: she makes an interesting point about the unions. a store in quebec is unionized and had about 200 of the employees -- 270 employees, and the first argument proposal to what was that the number of employees be increased from 270 to 300, an increase of slightly more than 10%. wal-mart's number one cost, if you put aside actual merchandise, is employees did
wal-mart did exactly what the woman said. they said, "the store is no wonder manageable," and the clothes did. -- and they closed it. it really does not want to try to operate in a union environment, and sylvia is exactly right, that is what they did. when wal-mart butchers voted to unionize, they did the same thing. they not only opposed it, they stop to butchering their own meat. they change operations completely in order to stop dealing with unions. they started buying pre- butchered meat. they really do not find a union environment appealing. host: alabama, republican line. caller: i work for wal-mart in
1990, and it is true, and no secret, they are a poor wage giver. i tried to organize the people to go to the management to get better wage. they gave us a nickel increase or something like that. you know, there was something mentioned about 40 hours. it was impossible to get 40 hours. they probably give you a would say probably 30 or 29 hours. he was not going to get no 40 hours at wal-mart. guest: when you were working there, the people ever tried to organize the union? caller: no, we did not have the mine said to do that. we were really just trying to get a better wage at that time.
host: mr. fishman? guest: you know, that is not a story that is surprising to me at all. that is the wal-mart style. i think that people who work at wal-mart struggle to get the kind of hours they want and they need to support their families. the prices on the shelf tell an important story, and we americans kind of shop with blinders on. we want the best deal and we also ourselves want to be treated well at work. those two things often don't go well together. i have been astonished to be in town in the south -- i live in north carolina for a long time -- factories go out of business, and the textile factories in north carolina -- many of them have migrated to india and bangladesh. the factory will go out of this is where people work and earn $15 or $18 an hour, and those
people have no to this but to go to work at wal-mart. they end up going to work at place for half the way to use to make, and the place they're working helped to put their old employer out of business. it is a very damaging dynamic. host: someone else on twitter -- california, go ahead. caller: good morning, mr. fishman. historically, in america, the largest industries have always been unionized, whether it be u.s. steel or general motors or what have you. it is astonishing to me that unions and the country have not organized the largest employer in the country. in writing your book, did you uncover any possibility of wal- mart buying off the unions? and also, has anyone ever done a
study on what the true cost of a product from all board is -- from wal-mart is? it turns out the public subsidizes their workers with food stamps, insurance, etc. will with the true cost of their product to be? thank you -- what would the true cost of the product be? thank you. guest: i've never heard a whisper that wal-mart has made any effort to buy all kenyans. the unions have taken a number of due -- to buy off all unions. the unions have taken a number of a vigorous runs at walnut creek two unions and the country set up anti-wal-mart groups. a lot of the criticism in the last three or four years has been pointed and driven by data, the criticism not coming from a good journalism coming from those two groups. the unions develop a slightly
different strategy to attack wal-mart's practices publicly rather than continue to try to organize them. i don't think the unions are being bought off. as i said, i am not an expert at all on unions in america. the largest industries in the country are no longer unionized. the cost of a particular product -- there have been all kinds of studies about wal- mart's tax subsidies, always looking for a realistic tax break. they want the community to build roads -- for a real estate tax break. they want the committee to build roads. when i was trying to understand wal mart, i did not pay a huge amount of attention to that, because it is very common across the economy to if you are wooing a new auto plant to alabama or south carolina, or a fedex hub
to arkansas or tennessee or ohio, the government will offer incentives. i don't think wal-mart does anything different there than other kinds of companies do. the health insurance question is much different, and many of wal- mart's employees historically have gotten health insurance from the government, the state government trying to force wal- mart to pay a fee in lieu of supplying adequate health- insurance to employees. all the journalistic reporting work, criticism from the professional wal-mart critics, it has not really had an impact on changing the health insurance practices. i think there are still many employees who earn so little that they qualify for government help insurance. wal-mart did step up over the summer and endorsed barack obama's employer mandate. they said they wanted every employer in the country to require health insurance, as
they themselves say they do, or to pay a fee in lieu of supplying health insurance so that the government does not shoulder the burden. they've come out in favor of everybody offering health insurance, and they have done that because their own insurance has gotten better, which is to say more expensive, and that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. why doesn't anybody ever ask about the health insurance of target or mcdonalds? those companies struggle to offer decent health insurance as well. host: indiana, butch. caller: i did business with wal- mart for many years. they were a grand, wonderful company to deal with. with each year, they got worse and worse. what i notice to doing business with wal-mart and the people who competed with them is the main
reason that people went out of business was they were afraid of wal-mart. in almost every case, i found that they could compete with wal-mart. if you look at that aspect of it -- let me ask you a little bit about it if you have. guest: i agree with you to a degree. i think if you focus and go to school on what wal-mart does and what their priorities are, you can compete with wal-mart. wal-mart in the last two or three years has built a culture of fear in relationships with suppliers where you a -- you're only loyalty is supposed to be with wal-mart. you do not complain about the practices or talk about the practices, certainly not to your colleagues, and you certainly did not talk to reporters. they kept people in line in that way.
host: caller, when you said they were afraid, what do you mean by that? caller: well, a good example, a hardware store i did business with one wall more -- i did business with. when wal-mart came down, they said they would put it out of business. in most cases, they meet wal- mart's prices, yet they are scared to death. wal-mart i think works very diligently at creating the atmosphere of fear and nobody seems to report on just exactly what the competitive situation is. people are buying their own -- buying wal-mart's myth. guest: i think to some degree you are right. they are buying a couple other things, too. if i need an extension cord, a
bracket for a new shelf, if i need a can of paint, but i also need laundry detergent and dog food, i can do all those things at wal-mart. wal-mart really benefits from the time pressure that americans feel themselves are under, and at one stop you can get all kinds of things. addition of the groceries just magnifies that effect. if i am going to go by the can of paint or the wall bracket at the hardware store, i have to make another trip to buy the other stuff. i may go to wal-mart anyway to get that stuff. wal-mart really scoops up a business because of the range of offering that would not otherwise be able to get rid with that said, a hardware store is a perfect example of a -- a well run, local community would restore should have no trouble -- hardware store should have no trouble competing with wal-mart.
if you know exactly what you want, you can go in there and get a little cheaper than elsewhere. if you need the slightest bit of assistance, that is what the local hardware store can offer. there is a with competing that does not have to do with price. host: charles fishman, author of "the wal-mart affect," thanks to your time. guest: my pleasure. host: we will look at the evolution of the vice presidency. our guest will be sidney hart, and he studies the vice- presidents. first, to give you a little sense of what we want to talk about, we will go to a conversation that he participated in with for vice- presidents walter mondale and dick cheney as they talked about their roles in office. >> then when we got elected, we
had a fundamental agreement about how we would proceed, and jimmy carter signed off on it. that document, although it is not a law, is probably the best single document that describes the executivization of the vice-president see. -- vice presidency. the vice-president sees the same information as the president, has unrestricted access to the president', is a general adviser to the president. >> i did not agree with the carter administration on much of anything, but i think the way that he and vice president mondale worked out that relationship was a success. >> frankly, i was surprised when ronald reagan chose me to be his running mate. i was kind of the last man standing. i did not know him well.
but i was impressed with him. i like to the man, so i was very flattered -- i liked the man, so i was very flattered and pleased that he chose me to be on the ticket with him. i was the resume candidate, and ridiculed for it, but i think it in the final analysis it help them with a variety of experiences. -- it helped him with a variety of experiences. the rest is history. we got along fine. a lot of people around him were suspicious of me. he was fully supportive. it was very easy for me to give him unequivocal support and not to have him say that i was out there telling my own for rowe, with my own agenda, which is the worst thing that was presidents can do.
host: mr. hart, we had this meeting with vice president's talking about their role. -- lead-in with vice president's talking about their role. guest: the vice presidency is second to that of president. generally, it has been ridiculed and ignored, and at the national portrait gallery a few years ago, mighy co-curator and myself for thinking about maybe it was a good idea to do an exhibit on vice presidents. americans don't know them well. how about vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency? we agreed that would be ok and we started counting them up. surprisingly, we came up with 14, almost 1/3 of those who
served as president coming from the office of the vice presidency. we thought that this would be an interesting theme for an exhibit. the vice presidency originates because the framers of the constitution had to deal with a very difficult problem that you would not have do with, say, in a monarchy, and that is the succession of the president if something happens. they came up with the office of the vice-president secret there was some history in terms of colonial governors -- vice presidency. there was some history and intent of colonial governors. -- in terms of colonial governors. but most governors were appointed by great britain. so
that's something new here and they had to provide a successor to the presidency, and they came up with this office. they assumed that the vice president would be a significant national figure. i say this because the method of elections in the electoral
college assumed that and to the original rules, each elector in the electoral college had two votes, and they were not going to the president and vice president, but they were both president. the rules that were each elector had two votes, and one of them had to be for a candidate at said their state. but as i said, they both worked for the president. the second-highest number of votes would be the vice president. it was clear that the vice president would be a well-known national figure. moreover, the framers of the constitution
sassumed that most presidents would not be picked by the electoral college, but by the house of representatives. that makes it even more so that the two, president and vice president, would wind up to be national figures.
for that reason also be thought the exhibit and the vice- president would be interesting. host: you talked about it being a national figure, but you also talked about john adams. what did he say? guest: john adams said was the most insignificant office ever invented by man. but you have to take into account that this was in a letter to his wife abigail, and he complained very often. you know from his letters that he really enjoyed being vice- president. he assumed it was a great honor, because it was, because he was second only to washington, who was elected unanimously john adams also assumed that he would be the next president, when washington retired. so he was not unhappy. he was happy in philadelphia because of the bill was with him -- because abigail was with him there. he went or spec writing every morning.
-- he went horseback riding of the morning. when the capitol move, she was not with them, and that put him in worse mood. he assumed that he would have more control of the senate -- over the senate. he ran into trouble this way -- he would show up every day at the senate with his powdered wig and sword, and there was a sense that he was thinking too much of themselves. they put him in his -- he was thinking too much of himself. they put him in his place and he was not able to exercise much control. he was also somewhat unhappy because several of washington post to cabinet officers -- alexander hamilton, thomas jefferson -- had more influence with washington. but generally, if you read adams's letters, he is not unhappy during these years as vice president.
also, the system worked with adams in the sense of him being one of the most popular men in the united states in 1789, the reason he did get the second- highest number of votes to washington. host: our guest this with us for the remainder of our show until 10:00. in thomas jefferson's case, because of its other offices, how did he approach the office of the vice presidency? guest: jefferson, i guess learning from john adams, was more moderate in his approach, and took the view that there really was not too much to do as a vice president in a formal sense. and he decided that he would write amenable -- write a manual
how the senate operates, which was successful and is actually still in print the interesting thing about jefferson, and this would lead to the first major constitutional crisis in the united states, was by the time jefferson becomes vice president, his point of view in almost all areas of government is distinctly at odds with john adams's antifederalists -- and the federalists. you have the situation with the vice-president and the president being at odds, and promised everson, the vice president, leading the opposition to -- and thomas jefferson, the vice president, leading the opposition to john adams. the two ran again in 1800, and because there was a split, it was assumed that deficit was going to get the presidency. he does cut -- that jefferson
was going to get the presidency. he does, but there is a complication there. highest number of votes as president, second-highest is a vice president jefferson's all the words come up with a plan in terms of the electors -- jefferson's follows come up with a plan and in terms of the electors, that there supposed to cast a vote for jefferson and burr, his vice president, except that there were a few who were not to vote for burr. party discipline was not as great as it is today, although some would argue it is not great today, and word did not get around, and it winds up with a time. initially, jefferson assumes that there will not be a problem, that aaron burr is simply going to acknowledge jefferson as president and asked his followers in new york to change his vote and the
situation would be solved. but he did not, and the vote goes to the house of representatives, and initially there was a sense that it would be settled quickly. the house of representatives is dominated by federalists, and they are not about to make it easy for jefferson as president, with the intensity of politics in the 17 nineties perhaps stronger that it as a been with the exception of one decade, the 1850's. they make it very difficult. it goes through more than 30 ballots in the house of representatives. at some point, jefferson is really believing that the elections are going to be stolen from, and somehow a federalist will be made president -- perhaps john adams again -- and there is even talk at this point of some of the southern states, some of those who voted for jefferson, seceding from the union. we assume that because we have lasted over 200 years that from
the cocge0-go, the united states -- get-go, the united states was a going concern. but this was not true in 1800. it was still in a very fragile position. it was finally settled and jefferson assumes the presidency, but it was a constitutional crisis of the first magnitude, and it resulted in the first change of the vice presidency. you have the 12th amendment, ratified in 18 04, and this changed the electoral college to the way it is today. each elector gets two votes, one for president and one for vice- president. host: tom hon. -- tom on the republican line. caller: this is a fascinating discussion for me, because i've wondered for some years now --
what are your thoughts -- what would it be like if we had the old regime -- say we had obama for president, john mccain as vice president? or let's say we would have richard nixon as president and george mcgovern as vice- president. wouldn't that be interesting? it might not be very good for us nowadays. i will get off there and listen to your answer. please talk at length about my idea. guest: thank you for your question. it is an interesting -- intriguing counterfactual proposition. the reason it was changed and the reason you at the constitutional crisis in the first place, with the president being one particular point of view and the vice-president another, the framers of the constitution did not envision political parties. their frame of reference was the
american revolution, in which you do indeed have parties, whigs and loyalists. all of us who are loyal list either change the point of view quietly or went to canada and great britain. in essence, the framers of the constitution of working from the point of view of "now we are a public th -- now we are eight republ -- now we are a republic." it's a prized people like george washington that opposition -- it surprised people like george washington that opposition coalesce so quickly. men like george washington did not even work are the opposition as legitimate. they assumed, again, that they
were all in agreement. looking at the development of political parties, it became clear to those in congress, the nation at large, but with the president and vice president, we were supposed to work together and this was an unworkable situation. it also set up a situation making it very difficult in terms of the voting, that you could vote for a president knowing that the person would be vice-president and they might be diametrically opposed to those ideas and policies that the president would hold. this actually happens with harrison and john tyler. john tyler is the fourth man -- vice-president who succeeds to the presidency, when harrison dies quickly. tyler is taken on to the whig ticket with harrison because they think he can get some votes in the south.
tyler is from virginia. he gets a virginia and maybe some of those other voters in the south. but tyler is essentially a democrat, not a whig like harrison, and he switches parties so that he can run with harrison. harrison dies and a tyler becomes president. the whig party in congress, headed by henry clay, is extremely upset. they tried to prevent thomas -- they try to prevent tyler from becoming president and almost established a parliamentary system in congress. tyler would not allow that, making it clear that he is president and congress will accept that. you also had the difficulty with lincoln and andrew johnson. lincoln -- again, an assumption made here because of our thoughts about lincoln and now
-- it is assumed that he was exceedingly popular in the north. but this is not true in 1864. it was seen as a very close election, lincol takes a democrat unionist, andrew johnson of tennessee, to help him get the presidency. when johnson becomes president, you have a dreadful conflict between the johnson and the congress, because his policies are not republican. the republicans are dominating congress at this point. you have the first impeachment. i am not sure it would be a good idea to have the president and vice-president from different parties. i think the 12th amendment and it changed in the electoral college was probably a good thing. host: montana, democrats
line. caller: this is an interesting and intriguing subject. i saw a program about jfk when he was in dallas and all the fallout after the surrounding lyndon johnson. i wonder if you could discuss lyndon johnson and his relationship with john kennedy. also, i'm just interested, simply historically, in the relationship between george w. bush and richard cheney. i would be more than happy to listen to this discussion while i'm listening to you off air and not on the telephone. thanks to your time. guest: thank you. two intriguing questions. let me tackle lyndon johnson and john kennedy. the relationship asymmetrical in 1960 when kennedy gets the nod nation -- gets the nomination.
lyndon johnson is the majority leader, probably the most powerful senate majority leader we had up to that point. johnson thinks that he can leverage that position in the senate to the nomination for the presidency. johnson has a sense of urgency about trying to get to the presidency, which had been his goal billy since he entered congress in the 1930's. his urgency stems from the fact that all of the men in his family died very young. he had a serious heart attack in the 1950's. he sees 1960 as his last shot at the presidency. john kennedy in the senate was not a powerful senator alt all.
he commented on how ironic that he was president and lyndon johnson was vice president, whereas when he was in the senate, when he wanted consideration of the bill, he had to go begging lyndon johnson to get it considered. that is not lost on kennedy. johnson, as you know, did not get the nomination. kennedy, quite surprisingly, offers the best presidency to johnson -- the vice presidency to johnson. he does so because he thinks it will be a tight election in 1960, and it is one of the closest elections in american history. one could convincingly argue that if lyndon johnson had not been on the ticket, john kennedy would not have been elected president. the other surprising aspect of that is lyndon johnson accepted the vice presidency. the assumption had been that johnson would not take because
of his powerful position as majority leader. he takes it for two reasons. one, he thinks he has to. he will not live that long and this will be his only shot. secondly, you know, he assumes that seeking the presidency -- that he can get the presidency after kennedy serves to terms. -- two terms. it is a fascinating situation. lyndon hated the job. his statement was, after all the ceremonies and the traveling, it came to nothing. on assuming the presidency, however, he was very morbid about it, and he reflected back to harry truman the least he died and did not get shot.
it is a kind of mixed said of the motions when johnson assumes the presidency. -- mixed set of emotions when johnson assumes the presidency. you also asked about dick cheney and george w. bush. it is difficult talking about that relationship part of what we did for this show was interview all of the living by presidents, which we succeeded -- living vice presidents, which we succeeded in doing with the exception of al gore. i had an opportunity to interview dick cheney in the old executive office building. he was very committed to staying out of public office, he told me. he had been in public office from the 1960's and was not about to really go back into that situation. he was convinced to do so.
in terms of the relationship between bush and cheney, this is a difficult thing to comment on. it is so soon. i offer you an example in terms of presidents and vice presidents -- the most famous when it comes to mind is dwight eisenhower. eisenhower, after he left office -- the consensus from the public and historians was that he was not a very effective or strong president. we now know, within 50 years later, that that evaluation is totally -- more than 50 years later, that evaluation is totally wrong. we know from people who served with eisenhower and from the eisenhower papers that he was indeed a very strong president, and delegated very little to a few trusted aides, and controlled things very tightly. we know that all of the u2 spy
flights were approved individually by eisenhower. you understand presidency and the changed relationship with them -- understand the bush presidency and the changed relationship with him maybe 30 or 40 years from now. we do not have a handle on it now. it is too soon. host: a comment from twitter, following up on this theme -- guest: mondale was the only a vice-president at actually had a written agreement with president carter. exactly how that went and what is meant, i am not sure. you know, when i interviewed the vice-president, there was one thread that kept coming over and over again -- what i asked about
what their role was and what it depended on. they all said -- and this was cheney, mondale, quayle, bush 41 -- that all said it depended on the relationship the vice president had with the president. when bush 41 became a vice president under reagan, the two of them were not good friends. you could say they did not like each other. even their wives did not like each other. they were from different social strata, had different interests. bush was not regin's first first to be vice-president. it was supposed to be ford -- bush was not ronald reagan's first choice to be vice president. it was supposed to gerald ford. bush was very surprised that he had been selected, because the two of them, aside from not being similar ideologically, had
run strong campaigns against each other for the republican nomination in 1980. ronald reagan did not regard george bush as a really strong conservative. when he asked bush to be vice president, bush readily accepted and he decided -- this is what he told me in the interview -- that from that point on, he would make himself absolutely loyal to president reagan, and the way he put it -- "a president should not have to look over his shoulder to see where is vice-president was." i think was manifested most clearly during the assassination attempt of reagan. bush was on air force to somewhere in texas -- air force two somewhere in texas and communications were not what they are today.
they heard reagan had been shot and they did not know how serious it was. they went to andrews air force base to get bush to the white house as quickly as possible. bush landed at andrews air force base and immediately went over to the helicopter, the helicopter that takes him over to the white house lawn. he looked at the helicopter and said, "no, i will take a motorcade to my residency and then to the white house." he said, "only the president plans on the south lawn of the white house -- lands on the south lawn of the white house," meaning that ronald reagan was president and he was not. this got back to ronald reagan and he considered it and at most mark of loyalty -- an utmost mark of loyalty. when he was looking over who would be in charge of certain offices, including the emergency preparedness committee, he did
not pick alexander haig. he picked george bush. bush was loyal to him. he was able to get more responsibilities and duties as vice president because of that loyalty. host: pledge, michigan, independent line. -- flint, michigan, independent line. caller: the question i have is a long the bush-kan . it seems that george bush was delectable but dick cheney was the brains -- was electable but dick cheney was the brains. george bush did not seem intelligent, did not have a good grasp of english language. dick cheney seem to be deep shadow president. -- the shadow president with any vice-president who had as much power as dick cheney? thank you. guest: i would say the first
vice-president was given a law power, and this may surprise you, was richard nixon. -- given a lot of power, and this may surprise you, was richard nixon propose eis -- was richard nixon. eisenhower rantings very tightly. -- ran things very tightly. as a matter of liaison with congress, there were two episodes where eisenhower used richard nixon as his point man. one was the civil rights bill, where he had richard nixon working very closely with lyndon johnson. his job was to get republican votes for the civil-rights bill, and lyndon johnson would try to move the southern caucasus. -- >> southern caucus. they succeeded and they had the first civil rights bill since reconstruction past.
-- passed. and another one was dealing with joe mccarthy, senator mccarthy. the public perception, and even the private perception of many people during the mccarthy years, was that eisenhower backed off dealing with joe mccarthy, because he was so politically powerful and dangerous. asp ike colorfully put it, "you do not get into a pissing match with a skunk." ike was determined to put an end to joe mccarthy's political career. he used nixon to deal with the senate, to arrange to get the
mccarthy hearings televised, because it was ike's the point that if republicans see some of the ways that mccarthy tried to bully, the public would turn against mccarthy. ike was usually write about political matters. he had an almost instinctual grasp about american politics. that did, for all purposes, end mccarthy's. but -- end mccarthy's power. but he used nixon as his ambassador. nixon was a very important in that way. i would say that the first water, powerful vice president was richard nixon. -- the first modern powerful vice president was richard nixon.
i'm going to have to repeat myself in terms of the cheney and george bush -- ask the question 50 years from now. host: part of the exhibit features theodore roosevelt. for those with a military background, how did they adapt to the vice presidency? guest: good question. i am trying to think of an example prepa. roosevelt resigned his post in 1898. he was among many americans urging war with spain. he was particularly interested in taking the spanish out of the western hemisphere. the cuban situation was deteriorating.
he made some maneuvers with the secretary of the navy, ordering the pacific squadron to be stationed off the philippines prematurely, without the president' or the navy being aware. when war was declared, roosevelt resigned and his volunteer rough rider unit was made up of people near the dakotas, near his ranch, and people that he knew in new york and harvard classmates. it was a unit of people eager to go fight. he said, "if i don't get them fighting the spaniards, there will be fighting among themselves." he gets them there and truly is a hero. that is one of the reasons he gets the best presidency nomination. -- the vice presidency
nomination i am trying to think of more vice-president with military experience. truman, of course, in world war i. but i don't think that hinges on his being elected to the vice presidency serves very briefly as a vice president. -- being elected to the vice presidency and how he serves a very briefly as vice president. it is more relevant to the president. from the war of 1812, almost all of them have service. that is true in the latter half of the 19th century with the civil war. military service, with few exceptions like eisenhower, is not nearly as important as it was in the 19th century. host: mississippi, democrats
line. caller: good morning. thinking about the 2008 campaign, what is the first time america sought a political -- sought a political liability as a vice-president when they ran as a team? guest: assuming that sarah palin was a liability -- ok, let's say she was. it is hard to think of a case like that, because usually the vice presidents were carefully picked to kind of bill adapt -- to kind of fill a gap >> -- ensure geographical diversity or something like that. and they usually did.
i mentioned tyler helping with the south and especially virginia. andrew johnson with lincoln, in terms of jobs and helping with the border states -- johnson helping with the border states, those who remained in the union. truman, with roosevelt -- some people assumed that truman was somehow a nonentity, a kind of everyday guy who somehow got thrust into the presidency. but this is not true. truman was a very powerful senator by the time he was nominated in 1944, and he had been on the short list of the powerful figures for the democratic party in 1944. i don't really know of an example where a vice president was a liability. in some cases, may be a non- factor. but again, we talked about lyndon johnson and kennedy.
it would be hard to come up with an negative for a vice- president. it is a good question, one i had not thought about before. host: if not negative, is there a vice president who made no impact at all? guest: truman's vice president in 1948 probably was in non- factor. trying to think -- there are probably others in that 20th- century that were non-factors. but again, if you look at it closely, maybe some of the vice- president would mean estate or two. i do not know of many examples that were actually negative. host: republican line, amarillo, texas. caller: i think the vice presidency as an evaluation of
the president -- if they will step up, they should have the qualification and the knowledge. joe biden -- al gore and dan quayle, also. i think if sarah palin were vice president, she would not match the knowledge that mccain had. bush and cheney were good supporting each other's ideas and could use the knowledge. that is something that sarah palin couldn't prove when she had the opportunity. i think that is something that joe biden has that to do. we need to put the vice president of the test to prove more that they have the qualifications to be great. guest: first of all, i think you
have every presidential nominee saying that their price president is fully qualified to be president. -- there vice president is fully qualified to be president. that is almost boilerplate. i do not the key will end the practice -- i do not think you will end the prpractice of the presidential nominee selecting the running mate to balance the ticket. if you look at the current election, enough obama picking joe biden, obama being relatively -- you have, picking joe biden, obama being relatively new to washington and joe biden being an old hand of the senate for such a long time. mccain being and it is set for all those years, picking a young outsider -- mccain being in the senate for all those years, picking a young outsider who is more for the conservative wing.
i do not think he will have that change. -- i do not think you will have that change through the first order of business is "who -- i do not think he will have that change. the first order of business is "who will help me win the election?" even when roosevelt ran in his fourth term in 1944 and was not well, and all of the democratic chief in 1944 knew that roosevelt was not well, roosevelt did not spend that much time picking his vice presidential nominee. the nominee and his first term had been henry wallace. the democratic leadership did not want wallace. they thought he was too liberal. they were forcing residents to pick someone else could result kind of in -- surround the working roosevelt -- they were
forcing residents to pick someone else. roosevelt kind of dance around, not making a commitment. he finally said that truman was the one -- they finally said that truman was the one they wanted. he said ok. he was not particularly concerned about trimming of being vice president -- about truman at being vice president. "who will help me win the election?" pretty much sums it up. host: indiana up next for sidney hart. caller: whenever a vice president takes over for an elected president, as in the case of johnson and kennedy, is that dubai's president going into the presidency -- new vice president going into the presidency -- does he choose a
vice president for himself? guest: good question. that is a major change in the evolution of the vice presidency. the original constitutional provisions did not stipulate that there would be another vice-president if the vice- president assumes the presidency. it was left to congress to determine the order of succession. that has been changed several times. but would not be to the vice president it would be to the speaker of the house, president pro tem, cabinet officers. in the 1950's, and i think a lot of this came as a result of eisenhower's el health -- ill health, the west is concerned about exactly what was the procedure for the price -- there was a lot of concern about exactly what was the procedure for the vice presidency.
could there be a set of procedures that determine how it happened? also, given the fragility of the health of some of these people, might not be a better idea for the vice-president on assuming the presidency to pick a new vice president? you have the 25th and then it passed in 1967, -- 25th amendment passed in 1967, and stipulates exactly that. where does it come into play? with president nixon and watergate crisis. if you remember, a little bit before the watergate crisis, at its worst point, there was an investigation of dixon's vice president, spiro agnew, and he was forced to resign. nixon gets to choose a vice president, and he selects gerald ford, and that only happens because the 25th amendment.
host: one more call. louisiana, harvey on the democratic life. -- on the democrats' line. caller: my question -- like comment regarding the 25th amendment and the relation to the president and vice- president -- he was just talking earlier about how we have a procedure in place if the presidency is vacated and the vice-president becomes the president. if the vice president is vacated, the present and appoint a new vice-president -- the president can appoint a new vice-president with the approval of the house and senate. guest: correct. caller: the president can declare himself unable to perform his duties and the vice president and become acting