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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  February 9, 2011 8:36am-10:00am EST

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consumers in terms of thinking about how they spend their own money. i practice orthopedic surgery. the busiest week of our practice was the week between christmas and new year's, when people would comment and say, i met my deductible for the year. and so, my shoulder has been hurting for my knee. now i can get a free operation. there was one new year's eve when i did eight operations for people who have been putting it off. they did not want to wait until january 1. i think people are smart. they are smart 1/2 to take money out of their own wallet. for real comes out of their own wallet that they see.
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they spend government money or insurance money different than when they think about their own. host: if people have said if you offered catastrophic coverage, that only covers up to $2,000 or $3,000, and people have to pay out of their pocket. a surgery can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. guest: i see catastrophic different than that. you get some coverage with co- pays and things. if something catastrophic happens that would be very expensive, we're here about the kind of health care bills that can bankrupt somebody, those folks will be protected because they would be protected above that level. they would never lose their home. look to this debate on health care. i want people to get the care of that they need from the doctors
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that they want and it cost they can afford. when the president talks about things -- i was with him at first when i knew what his goals were. this health care law that was passed in the middle of the night with unseemly deals cut to get to that vote with the cornhuskers kick back and the louisiana purchase, where the president promised the people would be able to see it all written on c-span. i had my tv on c-span and never saw it. i saw a closed-door to harry reid's office. he said, take this and live by it. it has been almost a year since this has been signed into law. 59% of people said they would like this law repealed.
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it is very unpopular. a majority of americans support to allow states to opt out. host: a republican from cherry hill, new jersey. caller: a couple of comments. china. what they are spending on solar and wind is a drop in the buckets. it is nothing. there are no concerns about implementing taxes. they're buying up the oil fields all around the world. infrastructure. where are you going to put these plants, the solar fields -- where are you going to quput it? i have a coal plant across from me that sits on half an acre. where are you going to put it?
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the pope knows -- the polka knoconos? guest: the most optimistic projection for china -- 39 years from now, at most, the most optimistic projection, 15% of the energy in china will be from renewables. their use of coal goes up every year by 10%. i want to see us to invest in the technology that can be used worldwide to make technology as clean as we can as fast as we can. so china will continue to use our oil, gas, uranium. we're sending coal from wyoming and it goes by ship to china. china is building new plants --
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they want them now on the coast line, where folks are living. there finding it easier to move coal from wyoming and australia then their own coal. they are having trouble. power lines, transmission lines -- that is a big issue. there are places that need the electricity, which is not necessarily where it is being generated. we have had a pretty heated debate in the senate -- does it go across public land or private land? some say just use eminent domain and take care rancher's land. those are fighting words around the rocky mountain west. we need all the energy.
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we need renewable energy. we need to be much more efficient in how we use our energy. we need it all. host: less go to new york. bill, a democrat -- let's go to new york. caller: the republicans are just so obstinate and they are battling the power against the democrats and president obama. they will do anything to kill solar, wind, a battery power. your argument is that everything creates uncertainty. as far as the health care, -- are you going to give the industry to try not that i just mentioned? as far as health care, 80% of americans do not use it and are healthy, but we still play.
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20% of americans with health care ususe it. you're talking about approximately 160 million americans that put money in the system, that do not use it. i spent about 6000 dollars a year on health care and do not use it. i believe there should be a medicaid by in program -- buy-in program kurt if you have 160 million people like me, you do the math. it will more than pay for the 40 million people, 50 million people who are using the private health care system. guest: thank you. in terms of the solar, the wind, the battery power, we need it all. the most optimistic projections around the world globally, that
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is only going to be 10% or 15% of the energy that is being demanded over 40 years from now. it does not -- you're not going to keep the lights on if you're so focused on that because the technology is not there and sticky muck for expensive. those forms of energy. -- and it is much more expensive. i would rather see the investments made in coming up with clean coal technology. there was an interesting article in "the atlantic monthly," by a writer who has lived in china. he is heading back to china. it was about the need to come to grips and we will continue to rely on coal and solar and wind
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are not going to get us there. medicaid is a broken system. it is to most expensive way to provide care. it is what the health care law under president obama is such a failure. medicaid is one that over half the doctors in the country do not want to see patients on medicaid because the reimbursement is so low. give somebody a medicaid card is like giving them a bus ticket when the bus is not coming. the president uses the words coverage and care. just because you have coverage does not mean you have care. 33,000 canadians came to the united states for care because they could not get care even though they had coverage in canada. i think medicaid is the wrong way to go. i think it is going to make it
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much harder and more expensive for the states, which is what republican and democrat governors are saying, please stop. we need flexibility and some freedom and choice. we cannot deal with these mandates coming out of washington. host: we have an e-mail -- guest: i think that is exactly the concern. the concern of anybody who was following the debate. the president's went to the
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white house and cut deals with insurance industry and cut deals with drug industry about the donut hole and what drugs those people would have to live under. all these deals were cut behind closed doors at the white house instead of on c-span, as promised, or debated. as a doctor, i fought government regulators and i don't think anybody should stand between a patient and a doctor. that person that wrote that has a good understanding of what deals were cut in the white house. host: if you get rid of the mandate, insurance rates are going to call. do you agree? guest: i think the individual mandate is unconstitutional. the deal the president, -- will make everybody by insurance and therefore you will have more
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customers. i think there are a lot of things we can do to improve the health care system. 75% of all we have in our wastry's health-care system good. about 75% of the things coming out of the health care law or are bad. host: if you're interested in our coverage of the health-care debate, you could go to our wwebsite, we did cover one meeting at the white house over the health care legislation. air., you're on the caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. we have a nonprofit
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supplementary to our medicare. they've raised mine and my wife's rate. we have a three adults deductible. we each have three and a dollar deductible now -- we have a $300 deductible. we do have a $300 deductible. they told him the new deal is going into effect jan. of next year. there will be -- the doctor will not be able to bill lost independently. they will look you over and tell you what they have to do. and they will send a bill into medicare and they will make a decision about whether they will pay the doctor or they won't give paid. he told me he was the only doctor at a 40-some doctors that
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agree to go along with medicare as this went into effect. how are people going to get doctors guest:? james is right about everything -- guest: james is correct about everything he said. things have changed. we have so many people in this country opposed to this health care law. seniors have been smart following this. they know the health care law cut $500 billion from medicare. it cuts the $500 billion not to save medicare, but to start a new government program for other people, which is the 60 million that are being jammed on to the medicaid program. seniors say if you're going to cut medicare, use the money to save medicare and to strengthen medicare. do not use it for somebody else and start a new government
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program. when you take $500 billion out of medicare, people like james in missouri will find out that they will have to make it up and that is what he is having to deal with with the supplemental policy. he raised an excellent question about how to see a doctor if his doctor is dealing what the continues to see medicare patients. even the congressional budget office and the actuaries who look of this and said, they -- there will be doctors who cannot afford to keep their offices open if they have to live under more and more patience in getting reimbursed under medicaid and medicare rates. the solution is that they may not take care of any more medicaid or medicare cases. the reimbursement is so low. it is a cost loser to take care of medicare or medicaid
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patients. i have great concerns about people's ability to get doctors. it puts money in to train hire 15,000 more irs agents to investigate you to make sure that you did fault the president and bought insurance under this mandate. but it doesn't have money in it to train the nurses and doctors to take care of the patients. there will be a shortage, 91,000 doctors is a general estimate and about half of those are family doctors. the other half are specialist because a number of people are retiring from medicine. we are living longer because of the breakthroughs in modern medicine. host: atlanta georgia. stephen on the republican line. caller: the only way to get a hold of their attention is to cut off funding to the epa to
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the top 10,000 current employees and it will not be repaid if they revoke the rule. the rule, theyoke when i get paid. that is killing wait to get back the power they have granted it to. guest: i agree with stephen. the epa is overfunded. look at budgets in washington. agencies and the rule makers. this administration, 40% more rules than brooklyn's -- more rules than bill clinton's administration. people are looking for jobs, and government jobs continue to grow and that is because of the administration and the rules. congress is still 100 members in the senate and 435 in the house.
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16% more federal regulators write out the door before president obama came to office. he is absolute right. host: go-ahead. caller: we just had a meeting in ohio with the tea party on this new drilling operation that is going on. this is located on high school property. the damage that is done to properties in pennsylvania and ruined the water system. people of water buffaloes sitting on their properties when they used to be able to go to the tap p and get water. that is one thing. i cannot believe the head -- host: can i ask you something
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about the meeting? or they opposed -- were they opposed? caller: they were totally for it. there was nobody there that gave them an opposing view on what would happen. the lead the was the head of the ohio oil and gas energy education program, she said the people that made the gas land -- she said they make me sick. it is awful. it is on a high school. host: what about the issue of extracting natural gas? guest: there have been incredible finds around the united states. you want -- security is better if we use the resources here. we spend so much -- we send some much money to the middle east. you were what is going to happen
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to the price at the pump. the more we can be reliable on energy in the united states, the better. for acting -- fracking has been done for a long time. there are lots of places with natural gas to be had. you think there would be a way around the senator from ohio is talking about a moratorium like the rockefeller plan on epa regulations. he is talking about a shorter timeframe, the year. you have people from both sides of the aisle and pretty far apart realizing the expense by the environmental protection agency, the impact on jobs and on cost is pretty dramatic. host: do you know where the votes are for a delay of the epa rules? guest: harry reid guest to
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decide what he brings up. i will focus on my bill, which has to deal with american energy and the affordability and availability and the jobs related to that. i think that is the best way to go so that none of these laws can be manipulated under the guise of global warming. across the board in washington on the hill, people realize how devastating these epa regulations are on jobs. the president believes -- i agree with a lot of what he says. i agree with little of what he actually does occur if we're going to focus on jobs at a time when china is focus on its economy -- we saw that when the president of china was here a couple of weeks ago. we need to not tie our hands behind our back and allow us to get to american energy. host: indiana, independent caller.
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caller: about insurance -- you cannot keep people to buy car insurance now. that is a man they. -- that is the mandate. it doesn't make sense to me. the work force -- they want us to go out and get reeducated on jobs. our -- i was a construction worker. now see all the construction worker jobs are taken up by people from other countries. there are a lot of factories in this country. those jobs are getting taken up by people from other countries that don't have a citizenship. guest: with regard to the health insurance mandates, how we implement it profit that is the fact -- i don't want them to be able to implement it.
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they are asking for $10 billion to hire irs agents. this will have huge impacts on people across the country. to hire about many of thousands of irs agents, to spend that much money, that is the way they plan to go after these folks. he is right. there was amended you had to have also insurance to own a vehicle and drive. a significant number of people still didn't have that insurance even though they had to. i think it will be difficult to forces. they are hiring a lot more irs agents to look into your life and your paperwork. host: utah, charles on the republican line. you're next.
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caller: the majority of our coal, natural gas -- december 23, they decided they can erase eight years of the work we did on our travel plans the. look at the map and you will see exactly what they took away from us. it has already eliminated a lot of jobs. now they are coming after more of this stuff. this is what we rely on to live here. it is also hurting our economy it goes against the sovereignty of the state. now they have illegally taken that away from us. i wonder how we can survive when they are taking away the grounds, and what we can do
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about it to stop it. host: senator? guest: charles is right. the land is federal government land. the rocky mountain west has, i think, been great strides of the land of your history, and multiple -- great sioux words of the land through history, and multiples to words of the land has worked. energy exploration, tourism, that's all been a very significant part of our success, and it is still one of the most pitiful places in the world to go. people want to go to -- one of the most beautiful places in the world to go. people still want to go to utah. the department of interior did this kind of a sneak attack, trying to sneak this through. and the secretary of interior, ken salazar, came out with this wild lands initiative that essentially wants to tie up land
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that in the past has been used for all these different purposes. it is not really wilderness lands where you cannot do anything, but the new designation. it does appear to me to be at takings, which is going to cost jobs and livelihoods and make it harder for people to do the things they have been doing for 120 years of statehood for wyoming. i understand exactly what charles is talking about, as do people across the rocky mountain west to live in states where huge amounts of this land is not privately owned but government- owned. that has been the approach. host: 4 michigan is next. david on the democratic line. caller: good morning, greta. it seems like every day we have a new republican out there trying to scare the american people about the health-care law. i think it is a good law vote we have not given a chance to work yet to see what is good to happen. everybody is predicting what they think is going to happen.
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everybody should sit back and give the law a chance to work. host: why not that idea, senator? sit back and let it work? guest: well, because it will bankrupt the country in the process. the expenses are extraordinary. we are $14 trillion in debt. this is going to add to that debt and not helping in any way i can see making it easier. it will be harder for patients to see doctors, and i think ultimately the quality of care will go down. this is a law that -- i have read the whole thing, i know we will see thousands of thousands of pages of regulations still coming. the president's promises to the american people have been proven to be false. when he said it will get the costs down, it hasn't. costs have gone up. when he said that you can keep what you have if you like it, even the chief actuary of medicare says, well, not necessarily.
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as the regulations continue to come out, i will continue to comment on all of them. i think it's sitting back and waiting is the wrong situation, because as time goes on, it will make it worse for patients, worse for providers. and worse for the taxpayers. the thing that strikes me, greta, is you have seen all of these people have friends in high places, franz administration, many of whom lobbied for the bill, now are getting waivers saying all, "." just last week, the secretary of health and human services offered another 500 waivers. 2.2 million americans who now have waivers so the health-care law doesn't apply to them. a lot of them are union members. unionsof them are from hu that supported the law in the first place but don't want to live under these mandates. i want to know why small businesses -- the last caller
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was from michigan -- michigan or wyoming, they don't have the access. only the bigger companies and unions have access to kathleen sebelius and the white house. if you of our friends in high places, you have an opportunity to get a waiver to get out of the mandates of the health-care law. 40% of all of the waivers have gone to union workers, but union workers are only 7% of the work force in this country. thatst doesn't seem right people can do that. i want to have the waiver for every american, which is part of the health-care law, the state health care choice act. if the states as we want a waiver, out of the whole thing, they should have the same opportunity as friends of the administration have who are now saying, i have read the bill -- nancy pelosi said you have to read the bill to find out what is in it. i have read it, i don't like it, let me out. host: you are on with the
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senator, go ahead. caller: hi, greta. i would like to say that i'm with john barrasso. i like everything he is saying. this one guy who asked about how they are going to enforce the individual mandate -- i have a question just like that. when i was a young man, got out of the service, i could not find a job. i went on the migrant trial. i worked ranchers, i've been to wyoming, washington, all over the country doing farm and ranch work. i know there are thousands of families are missing stuff. i would like to know how they are going to enforce individual mandates. are they going to issue some kind of a card, or if you don't have proof -- host: we will leave it there.
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guest: i want to thank you for your service to the country. it sounds like you have had wonderful opportunities to see parts of the country. i have the same concerns, because i think the internal revenue service is going to come after people with the individual mandate, fine people, and the fines go up year after year. i offered amendments during the health-care debate about that. i think we ought to get rid of the individual mandate. today in one of the washington papers, to newly elected senator, a former governor, joe manchin of west virginia, is agreeing that we need to do something about the individual mandate because he does not like it either. host: last phone call for senator barrasso. caller: good morning, greta. host: good morning. caller: senator barrasso? host: he is listening, james. caller: i think the health-care
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law is a great thing. it probably does need to be revised. it is going to create jobs. it would get the for-profit doctors out of the business and keep the four-care doctors in the industry, and that is where we will get our innovation, also, to deal with the energy problem. i think it will help the infrastructure some sort of ways, i'm sure. you've got good hospitals and you get some good care, you probably want to do more for your city, i suppose. host: ok, james likes the bill, and asks the question of why not think of areas to improve it rather than overhaul it? guest: like james, i want to make sure people get the care they need from doctors and they want at a price and they can afford. i think that is a wonderful goal for all of a sp -- all of us. having read this whole law, i don't think it does those things. it puts government regulators between the patient and doctor
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and people will not be able to keep what they liked it if they have it. there are parts that absolutely need to be repealed. i'd like to repeal the whole thing. even the president's debt commission has looked at this law and talk about class acts -- one of the components of it. they say it is a ponzi scheme that even bernie madoff would be proud of. this is a bipartisan debt commission, republicans and democrats alike worked on. they say that if you take money from medicare, you should use it to strengthen medicare and i create whole new government program. i'm looking to what the president has to say about his own debt commission, because they had serious reservations about not the goals, but how the law was written and trying to implement it. host: senator russell, thank you for talking to our -- our. senator barrasso, thank you for talking to our viewers. guest: thanks, greta. appreciate it. host: up next, providing
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services for low-income people. first, a news update from cs band radio. >> the top u.s. and nato commander in afghanistan says that, but will likely escalate in the spring as taliban insurgents try to return to areas cleared by forces in the last several months. general david petraeus says that after last year's surge, it boosted the international force to 150,000 troops, nato is now in control of safe havens. military analysts warn that the taliban for now. the obama administration will issue a proposal later this week recommending the gradual elimination of government sponsored mortgage giants fannie mae and freddie mac. the highly anticipated white paper, which is expected to be released friday, will include a three different options according to a white house official. fannie and freddie were rescued by the federal government in 2008.
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the subprime crisis roiled the housing market and crippled the banking system. in india, the world's second most populous country, millions of the census workers have begun fanning out across the country to carry out the mammoth task of counting every citizen there india's president was the first to be counted today. officials are hoping the census will help identify where it neglect and poverty are highest and where there are high illiteracy rates. in this country, while hiring of current college seniors has slowed slightly, the national association of colleges and employers, which tracks jobs for undergraduate students, says this is going almost as well as it has at any time in the past 16 months. the group says the slowing in january is probably related to the time of the year. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> mr. president, it is my great honor today to speak on the floor for the first time as
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united states senator. >> the new class of the freshmen senators have been giving their first speeches on the senate floor. followed their speeches on line with c-span at's congressional chronicle. look at time lines, read transcripts of every session, find a full video archive of every member. congressional chronicle, adds c- ""washington journal continues. host: don mathis is here to talk about possible cuts to community block grants. begin with what they are. guest: thanks, greta. the community service block grant is a series of the funds that have been around since 1981, and a date back to the war on poverty in 1964. what is is federal money that goes to states, the governor's office, and today, in turn, grant is out to community agencies in their area and to
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provide services for human needs. basically, to provide economic security for families and individuals who are low-income, and we mean below the poverty level. $22,000 for a family of four. we are talking about people and families that are really struggling economically to get by, all of which has been exacerbated by the recession. host: money goes from the federal government to wear it? guest: the state capital of the governor, and the governor and his designee grant it out to local agencies and the community. it would be the community action partnership -- des moines, pittsburgh -- and those for the most part are non-profit agencies. we service 96-plus percent of the counties. some of them are not-for-profit agencies bring a few of them are municipal agencies, cities like
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philadelphia, baltimore, san diego. they are run by the city government there. but the mission is the same period of federal money to the states -- but the mission is the same. of federal money to the states, it is setting out to spend to -- deciding how to spend it to disadvantaged individuals in the community. as you might expect, when federal dollars are involved, there is a pretty rigorous accounting and reporting system. the most recent figures we have are for fiscal year 2009. during that year, at 20.7 million americans were served by community action agencies. we fully expect -- that was before the recession and before the recovery act money came in, which boosted community action, as did those other federal departments that will serve more than 27 million -- more
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than 20.7 million, because the resources were greater -- the need was later and there were more resources to service those needs. it went up to a billion during the recovery act. there was more money there to provide this kind of service, like whetheriz -- weatherization, economic development, other things that help poor people. it is anticipated, the recovery act is over, it would return to $700 million. that is what we were thinking about until the president informed us differently in the state of the union address. host: we will talk about that more, but i want to get examples of block grants for education. what is an example? guest: our money from committee action comes for the department of health and human services. the kind of educational services we do would be headstart bid that is money that comes from hhs to serve a three- and five-
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year olds. there also funds for after- school programs for kids, tutoring programs for kids. and job training and retraining. dislocated workers, unemployed workers, people who needed jobs. one of the things the agencies do is provide training for jobs and careers. that is education they could use. host: nutrition and emergency services? guest: for example, santa anita in upcounty in california -- san bernadine out county in california -- they have over 900 feeding sites. that could be a place where a family sits down and as of yore, or it could be a food bank where people get groceries and supplies and take them home. there are feeding programs per se where people come in any, and there are problems with it, get food. -- and there are programs with a
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come and get food. americans are involved. the census numbers for 2000 and were released, and we are writing for the 2010 -- census numbers for 2009 were released, and we are waiting for the 2010 one. one in every seven americans now is on food stamps and supplemental assistance. that is good, because we want people, especially kids and seniors, to eat well so they can stay healthy. but it is indicative that congress a problem in america. if these were not widespread problems, maybe the government would not have to pay attention to the. we harbor, we have poverty, by -- a climate we have honker, we have poverty, we have on a plot -- we have hunger, we have poverty, we have unemployment being high. the foreclosure rates in florida, nevada, arizona, are
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astronomical. people are losing their homes. they lose their jobs, they lose their homes, they are out on the street, and these are what we call the new poor. these are not the stereotype poor, generation after generation of poverty. these are people who were making it for awhile, and the bottom has fallen out of the economy and out of their lives. what kind of country to we want to have? host: president obama, who was a community organizer in chicago, has agreed to community block grants. here is what jacob lew wrote. "these grants have been allocated using a formula that does not consider how good a job the recipients are doing pad the president is proposing to cut financing for this grant program in half, and reforming the many have into the grant program so that funds are spent to give
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communities the most effective help." their argument that it does not consider how well the recipients are doing. guest: i have great respect for jack lew, a smart fellow who does great work, and probably has more brains in his hangnail that i will have in my life. but his formula is not sound. -- his argument is not sound. community action agencies forever, at least since 1981 -- results-oriented management system -- but we have a data collection system that shows what happens. if the committee action has ever undergone a the progress analysis of longitudinal study for years -- has never undergone rigorous analysis of longitudinal all study for years, we agree if we say, wait
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a minute, millions of head start kids have been fed, millions of headstart kids have gotten dental care, and it did a better and are starting school better, millions of elderly seniors have been kept in their homes through the program, millions of low- income people of that income tax is done at agencies to participate in the earned income tax program that has bipartisan support, we think we have a lot of results that show how effective the programs are. that. lew's point is someone who got a financial literacy program at an agency and found struggling, or entrepreneur that wants to start a business, they come to the agency to get seed money to start the business, they may get financial literacy training together own household budget in order -- if mr. lew's comment is that as a result of the training, they did not get a seat at goldman sachs or the stock exchange, guilty to the
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lives become better, did it become businesspeople, and do the people serve become taxpayers? i think they do. host: the white house is arguing that everybody needs to tighten their belt in this economy. why not then a the community block grant program as well? guest: that is what we were assuming to be the case. the administration sent a signal that it would be a five-year freeze on domestic spending. we are ready to play our part and be good citizens and voters and tighten our belts, even understanding that the need at our agencies -- the lines at food banks starting at 8:00 in the morning and are now starting at 5:00 in the morning. the needs are greater than ever, demand is up. is the goal is tackling the deficit, which we want to be a part of, agrees that in five years, we will figure out how to do that. big, big difference between freezing the level for five years and versus the cut starting this october.
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we were the of the program mentioned in the state of the union address. with the only mention -- we were the only one mentioned bite chief of staff at bill daley on "face the nation," and as i was watching c-span and drinking my coffee, we were one of the few programs mentioned. i speak for the community action world as much as i can, but the 20 million-plus people we serve and the employees and volunteers and board members across the country -- it was disappointing. it was almost to a degree hurtful. during the recovery act, community action agencies worked six, seven days a week, 12 hours a day, to make sure homes got weatherized. we think we can make a 600,000 by the time we ended 2012.
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people got hired for jobs with the recovery act money. there are people in california, arizona, washington state, installing a solar panels now that did not have jobs before. they got training with the direct money and community action agencies and that they are now being supported by the private sector to do that. we are willing to take our share, but we would invite the president and the obama administration to reconsider this decision. host: margaret in chicago, democratic line, you are up first. caller: good morning. i feel very sorry for you and all of us. i've been a registered nurse for over 30 years, and i've worked in different areas, and here in chicago, people are dying. people are hurting. i have breast cancer, and i'm just lucky that i have medicaid. imagine me, an old medicaid patient, after having been a nurse.
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and i am lucky. i live in fear every day. people are dying, but they are being swept away into nursing homes, disabled kids. people died. people die from that care and budget cuts. you see people tear up about "forrest gump." why is it that they can walk by someone shoeless in chicago? democrats, you are my last hope, and i am so sad that every politician -- where are the people, the safety net ripped, and there was another person who has nothing. ok, rahm emanuel in chicago, he is going to freeze everything. i was a city news for four years, were -- in mycity -- city nurse for four years, working
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really hard. i would like to see us out there like egypt, working for a health care, jobs, and for the country to care about its people. it cannot last. my heart is so broken -- host: i think we got your point. guest: margaret, we hear the pain in your voice, and that is part of the story. there is too much pain in america, and chicago -- i talked to a reporter from chicago yesterday, and when a reporter calls you, you never know what is going to be, whether they are trying to at nail you or say something disparaging to this reporter, who was really wonderful, was almost in tears saying that my office is just blocks from headstart. what is going to happen to these kids if the cuts come through? there is a lot of pain and suffering. if we ignore these problems, they're not going to go away.
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they are going to cost us in other ways. margaret, you are a nurse. you know what happens if they don't have an adequate -- if they don't have adequate health care. they are in emergency rooms. there is a whole litany of problems aarau jobs and economic stability and security that affect tens of millions of people. i agree with you that we need to come together as a nation and tackle this problem, because it affects all of us. host: michael is a republican in myrtle beach, south carolina. caller: yes, sir. i was listening to you here, and, you know, you talk about your program and, you know, it all sounds good, but how many programs in the united states to we have for poor people? i am a disabled vet. there is thousands of programs for poor people. you talk about education.
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the education system in this country is deplorable. you think more and more and more -- money si -- sink more and more and more money into it, and don't go to the students. there is less people graduating than ever before because the unions are in control. this is a ponzi scheme. host: michael, let's take your point about overlapping programs. is that the situation? guest: well, i appreciate -- first of all, michael, thank you for your service to the country, and on the side, community action agencies, especially those close to it military bases and veterans' hospitals -- we serve hundreds of the veterans every year, including those returning from the middle east. there are not thousands of programs. there may have been at one time, although i think "thousands" is an exaggeration but it sounds
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like the issue you're talking about rest more with the federal department of education and your state board of education. but your point is well taken that more kids are dropping out of school than ever. in the early 1950's, there were 15 young people to pay to the social security fund for every worker, and the fund was solvent. now there are three young people paying into the social saturday fund, and one of those is on public assistance. the price we're paying for the school dropouts that you so accurately identified, michael, affects all of us. the question becomes what we need to do then? for a lot of these young people, the kids who drop out of high school, whether it is their fault or the school's fault or what have you, they need an alternative system where they can get a job, be productive, get training, go into the military, or do something. that is what action agencies and other agencies around the country do. we tried to get those people who are left out, or through actions
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of their own need a second or third chance, get them involved in the economy and make them contributors instead of liabilities. we need to look at education, but as we are looking at the problems, we need to come up with solutions. host: president obama in his state of the union address talked about streamlining the government that is part of an article in "usa today," that there are 47 different job training programs run by nine different agencies. they also note the president obama in the state of the union and said that there are 12 to an agency that you with five different that deal with housing policy. cathy, go ahead. caller: i work for a community action agency that serves counties in missouri. we are seeing poor that we have never seen before. the community services block grant funds are a quarter of 1%
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of the federal budget. i want to know, is washington so disconnected that they don't know how vulnerable people are and that they can take away the money that lets us help people, children and elderly? host: cathy, let me ask you a question about the proposed cuts. mr. lew in "the new york times" proposes cutting the grass in half. what would that mean for you? caller: first of all, as i said, we serve a very rural counties. if our block grant funding is cut in half, that would have to mean that we would close offices in these counties. these are places where the only road is alittle winding two- lane. people don't have public transportation. if what they close the offices, there is no place else for them to go to.
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they will be left alone with no help. eta -- thank a you, cathy -- let me respond to her call. there is a misperception that $7 million goes to the block grants -- the accusation comes that that is all over head and going to pay people's salaries instead of helping people. of that $700 million, 17% goes to administration. 83% goes to direct services. that is as good as any united way, any other reputable charity or social welfare group. the second thing is where cathy is and community agencies are, they are governed by a local board of directors, and 1/3 recipients of the service, poor people themselves, 1/3 local elected
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officials, 1/3 representative of community leaders. the program is administered and determined by the community. by law, the local board does any assessment every year -- does 8 need assessment every year, what are the problems for the county, how do we evaluate those? those are all driven at the local level. is the kind of program that people care about. big government to go down to the states and at be administered by the people there -- that is what community action has been doing for years. that is what sargent shriver wanted us to do. host: if there is an agreement to cut it back and come up with a competitive grant formula, how does that work? guest: it sounds nice on paper. we all believe in competition. but let me suggest this -- over time they have developed relationships with local businesses, foundations, red brick clubs -- rotary clubs.
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i was the chairman of the eight county program in maryland. every community action dollar we got we matched with a dollars of private money. the way it works is people fund you because they know you. they fund agencies because they trust agencies. they say that this is good, they have been doing it for a while, put my money there. if our thing was thrown open, and the governors make the decision where it goes -- some of the articles suggest that they get the money this year and what have you. it has always been a rigorous process. but if it goes to this competitive thing and goes to the -- goes to people that don't have this trust relationship, those $7 or $8 is likely to go away. lots of community action agencies work in conjunction with churches and synagogues and
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temples. 8 get money and they do joint food banks. that network of providing services to people will not be maintained if we throw it open. host: democratic caller in north carolina. go ahead. lee, you are on the air. caller: yes. my problem is with the republicans. i don't know why they are so concerned about the welfare of the people now when they had eight years to do something about it. when it comes to the health reform they don't have at plan, and they tried to put fear into everybody's hearts. i think the republican party is the worst part of the face -- host: we will go to a republican in pennsylvania. barbara, go ahead.
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caller: yes, i am a republican brought i'm sorry that man feels that way. i am also a registered nurse for 50 years. i've worked with a care grant program for years that is run by the greater eerie committee action. guest: know them well. caller: most of the people there are black and poor. these children are poor. before that, i worked at the martin luther king center, which was run by the blacks. a sister asked me to work there. i worked for $5 an hour, even though i am a registered nurse and could have been making $20 an hour. guest: thank you, barbara. caller: i worked at a shelter to 30 miles fromeerie. it was a shelter for abused women and children.
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host: ok, barbara, what you think about the proposed cuts? caller: it is terrible, because all the things you have been mentioning are funded like this. as he was saying, there are so many church organizations that help people but i tried a jewish organization from 1953 to 90 ft. -- i trained at a jewish organization from 1953 to 1956. anybody who needed treatment got treatment. they had words for people who are poor. i've never seen a doctor or nurse turned away some of the that is sick and needed care, whether they could pay or not. guest: thank you, and i know -- erieerie program program well. i went to their awards at a
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ceremony and i sat next to tom ridge, a republican. the program is wonderful it is all the people who come in and they get a modest -- older people come in and they get a modest stipend to spend time with at-risk kids. the start in the head start program and they are there with a senior citizen who reads to them, who cares about them, who nurtures them and is there day after day, week after week, up to two years working with the kids. that is what is building the fabric of the society. that is what these programs are. thanks, barbara. host: edward, a democrat in houston, texas. caller: i agree with everything you are saying. my issue is, even though i may be a democrat, i feel that both parties need to be concerned at who was making the statements.
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all the rhetoric, this talk, ponzi scheme, is everything to make it seem like he does not know what he is doing. if everybody got an answer to all the problems, how come they are not telling the american public and congress how we can get this thing done? host: ok, is there an area of compromise? how much could be cut from the community block grants? guest: edward raises a great point. thanks, and where did i have the utmost respect for president -- edward. bathanks, i have the utmost respect for president obama. our point is this -- we cannot solve these problems on the back of poor people. the cuts or freezes should be done in an equitable fashion. the president, i'm sure, is doing the best pecan, more than
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the best he can, -- the best he can, more than a the best he can, but i think he's gotten some weak advice on this. i know he was a community organizer, but this is not to wait to go. we need to get back into the labor market so that they can become taxpayers. we'll do that by investing in them. that should be a bipartisan issue. again, when the five-year freeze came out, that was a reasonable position. our people have worked hard for 40-some years and they are ready to work some more. it would be irresponsible for us to not respond to what we take to be a draconian cut that would hurt, as ever, many callers, hundreds of thousands of people. host: "poverty breeds poverty."
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florida, republican. what do you think? caller: he started out by saying that this is a federal grant. truth is, the only funds the government has is from taxpayers. every time the government raises taxes for giveaway programs, taxpayers have less for their own needs. it is time to be truthful to refer to these grants as taxpayer grants. be honest about it. guest: thanks. i did not feel i was being particularly dishonest but everybody ordinarily when they hear the word "federal expenditure" understands that it comes from taxpayer dollars. i don't support the misuse of taxpayer dollars more than anyone else. money from the chest in iraq for blackwater disappeared also. nobody is advocating for waste.
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but if i say all spending is bad -- i have as seen enough in my 30 years -- there is a difference between throwing money at a problem and investing it? - "i got to community college, and i've been working for private doctors since then." it was paid for with taxpayer money, and enabled this woman in 1979 to work up to 2011 as a private sector employee. we would accept the challenge that if you are going to invest in people, you have bad outcomes. headstart kids should be good, senior citizens should be fed, economic development should result in businesses and raising
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income levels of our communities. there are people who think differently, that money should not be invested in people to alleviate suffering. we think it should, and if i could cite my favorite bible ", not that i met the evangelist -- not that i am an evangelist, leviticus -- "do not stand idly by the suffering of others." without the taxpayer money to be the juice, we would not be able to leverage other funds. host: "the inspector general has looked into these programs back in 2006 and found that they are plagued by fraud and misuse of funds and lack of oversight." what is the response from your group and others to that 2006 report?
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guest: that is a different department. a lot of our community action programs do housing, and it may not be hud. we do not condone from or abuse. we aren't actually the first to blow whistles on programs -- we are actually the first to blow whistles on programs that do that. there are other programs, not just community action programs, but other social service programs that have come under scrutiny, what have you. nobody who takes the work we do seriously condones that behavior. there are over 1000 community action programs in the country. how many of them are at risk? i don't mean crooked or embezzling. 24 at-risk programs out of 1100. these can be fixed and trade and you hire new staff.
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we not talking out crooks, we are talking about people -- we are not talking about books, we are talking about people doing their jobs better. e-mail -- what would be your response to possible cuts? guest: obviously, we will do the best we can, but the adage that has been going on it since the reagan presidency is to do more with less. will happen with these cuts, which will be severe, is that we will be doing less with less. these programs will be shut down and people will not be served and what have you. clearly, we will go to more private funds, but if the economy is constricting, those private funds will be tough, also. host: carroll, democratic line. caller: we operate with a child care center, and we are funded by the community service block
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grant. this program allows families to go to work and obtain and retain employment while the children are in good care. what it the program -- one of the programs we offer is an obesity program, where we monitor children and we make sure they get healthy nutrition at have a fitness program today at 10 every day. the community service block grants being cut will directly affect these children. the one not get the care and nutrition and they need. parents will not be able to obtain employment if their children are not taking care of. sorry, i'm a little nervous. guest: you are doing great, carole. host: is that it, carol? caller: yes. guest: at again respond to our caller betty from the four -- obesity is a problem. when they grow up obis, they have health problems and they don't finish school as well.
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those costs become other cost for the system. we need a healthy kids. if the seed money from the block grant can prevent kids from becoming obese and can educate parents about wise food prices and making them help the physically, they will do better in school and become more productive members of society. this is not like a giveaway program. this is investment in the kit, the family, community, that will pay off for all of us. host: garry, independent in new york. caller: i heard, like, a couple of weeks ago that they spend billions of dollars and egypt, tax dollars. what they should do is spend money in these other countries, put it back into our health care and all that that is where 90% of our money is going. that is why we are withdrawing
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dollars. as far as obese kids, when i was a young child, i would run and play football. i never sat around with a computer in my hand and stuff like that. no wonder they are fat today. host: 20, ro -- tony, republican in california. caller: you listen to some of the people calling in and complaining about this. it does not surprise me that some of these programs will be swept up in budget cuts. these are the same people that in 2008 don't pay attention to who they are voting for. all over this country, let's go have a fun and puts somebody i of is that don't know what they're doing -- somebody in office and don't know what they're doing grid how to debate something that you have not read? you talk about what these kids? that is not of the government lost a problem -- you talk about
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obese kids? that is not the government's problem, not the first lady's problem. guest: all of us, local elected officials, celebrities, c-span at times, athletes, rock musicians, can all be role models. the fact that the first lady has -- shet's move" program is not sending a swat team into somebody's kitchen. if somebody wants to give their kids twinkies, we live in every country and you can do that. if you are concerned about how to grow up nutritionally, any advice you can get from a doctor or celebrity or what have you is information but i cannot comment on reading the health care bill or what have you, but i think certain people can send
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messages. i think that when inner-city young kids of color look up and see a first lady and president of color, for the first time in their life they can say, "here is somebody who looks like me." if they say you should eat right and go to school, that is not band-aid. host: "new york times" -- "end of earmarks affects local programs large and small scores of farmers are waking up to the fact when congress stepped out earmarked last week, it is talking about their projects,. tensions are critically acute in districts where conservative lawmakers, many of whom criticized throughout their campaigns the practice of inserting earmarks into spending bills, are coming face-to-face
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government's interest groups who were counting on federal dollars to shore up collapsing budgets." next call. caller: i wanted to bring up a few points, if i could. one of the reasons a lot of these community programs are going to be cut, and i don't agree with it -- i feel bad for poor people. i only make $40,000 a year myself -- 14 at thousand dollars a year myself. a lot of the money goes to committee action programs, and that is basically for a political agenda to elect somebody. guest: well, that has not been my experience. by statute, the community has to be revisited once lacerate local elected officials, what --/3 house to be represented 1/3 local elected officials.
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it is not, to my knowledge, any political favoritism. a community action agency i was familiar with a couple of years ago -- one of the state senators wanted to be on the board, because with all due respect to the tenement, "i want to make sure there is no mismanagement of these funds and investigate this." a year and a half later, he is the program's biggest fan. there was not any shenanigans going on. i can understand the perception that if there are people on the board who have certain characteristics of the community then make an energetic or vociferous advocates, that is the way they are, but to my knowledge, it is not done in a political way that is trying to wire money inappropriately. people who do these kinds of community action work and social service work believe what we believe, because there is not a lot of people standing up for kids and the elderly and more recently, veterans coming back
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from the middle east. host: taxes, independent. good morning. caller: i just wanted to know, people keep calling in and talk about how they want to save their own land and stock. who is going to pave the roads, going to get lines for electricity and stuff? the good work themselves and have to hire people like me -- they go to work themselves and have to hire people like me. what are they just take everybody under $30,000 a year and just put us up against the wall and shoot us between the eyeballs? they can be drillings or lines, because they don't do it themselves -- drilling sewer lines, because they don't do it themselves and everybody knows it. host: next call.
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caller: mike, it is with these block grants. -- my comment is with these block grants. i have had experience with them from a management point. there are people out there, first of all, children and elderly, and they are depending on us from one generation to the next. some people to abuse the system. -- do abuse the system. it comes down to monitoring closely what is being done with the money. guest: that is the case, and it should be monitored. in fact, programs are monitored by the federal office. the money comes from the department of health and human services to the governor's. the state has their own stuff that goes out in their state, within communities in the state, and they monitor programs financially, that estimates that have to be found -- bank
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statements that have to be filed. the accountability is there, and it has got to be there. the point is, that seems to be falling by the wayside, some of the criticism of the program -- jack lew at the administration -- these are just programs where we are giving money away. the unemployed people who got laid off in the upper peninsula of michigan, the unemployed construction worker in california, the person who lost their jobs in the south when a plan to move overseas -- plant move overseas -- they are, to agencies to get retrained and reinvested. it is getting them on the track where they can become economically self-sufficient and can get back to work. and we want to protect the integrity of all the people as well brou.
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host: charles, republican line. caller: i have never met or known anyone who did not want to help people who were really in need of help. if you run the figures from the irs and welfare, a man making $60,000 with three children has less spending money than a person on welfare with three children. run the figures. that's true. also, you mentioned the banks and tarp. we would have never had tarp if the federal government told the banks that they had to loan money to people who cannot afford it. you have 10% of the people in this country paying 90% of the federal income tax. what are you going to do with the 10% goes away? i was raised with eight children during -- in the 1930's.
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we never went for -- we never had good clothes -- there were always clean. my father said that if you wanted a job, you could always find a job. i believe what he said i watched and listened. i am telling you right now -- you've got 40 million people on food stamps. by the time you take the figures -- by the time you take that, the figures don't work. 60% of the people are taking more money out that they are putting in, and that includes me, because i've been on social security for 11 years. i've got everything i got i put in social security for eight years. i've been on the dole. somebody has been taking care of me for three years. they cannot work -- it cannot work. if you let the neighborhoods, they know who needs help, they will take care of themselves.
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they cann -- you cannot teach children that they always have a place to go for if they knodon't have worked. guest: charles, thanks for your call. you raised a lot of points. let me respond to a couple of them. your last point is that the neighborhoods can take care of those people who are in need and there is no need for federal or public money. i think that is not the case. i appreciate that you have done some research and numbers with the irs and percentages. i am not sure if they match the numbers i found, but i accept that they are real for you. not only in cities with a dilapidated neighborhoods, but rural areas across the country, the census is showing us that poverty is greater in suburban areas, and there are not the resources there to take care of the needs to be met. it takes a quilt of faith-based
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committees, agencies like community action, businesses, a philanthropic groups, everybody coming together to provide the resources to take care of people in need or at least give them a hand up. the notion that the neighborhood can do it and there is no need -- that might have been true at one time did my mother is still alive. she grew up during the depression, and i heard a similar accounts that you described before. let me assure you, charles, and i know you like numbers, there are not enough jobs for people to work. 4.5 workers for every available job in the united states. there are not enough jobs, and that is where your argument, i think, can be looked at again. host: "usa today" editorial this morning. "surprise, the hated bank
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bailout is about to turn a profit." notwon't know whether or tarp was a success until the next financial crisis occurs." gainesville, ohio, good morning. if you could make this quick, we are running out of time. caller: thanks for the c-span. 14 years air force, i am retired. i make about $12,000 a year. community act


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