tv Washington Journal CSPAN April 18, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT
later, john spratt, a member of the national commission on fiscal responsibility talks about the proposals for talked-k calls for capping discretionary spending through 2020 and cutting security and non security discussed -- discretionary spending equally. "washington journal" is next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: good morning, and welcome to "washington journal" this monday, april 18, 2011. it is tax day. we won the to tell us what do you want you to let us know if you think you are paying your fair share. the numbers to call -- you can also e-mail us your comments.
we already have a comment on twitter. the associated press has this recent survey looking at the numbers and how people feel about what they pay. in the poll the be conducted, it shows 44% -- or rather, 54% believe their tax bills are either somewhat fair were very fair compared to 46% to say they are unfair. democrats were more likely than republicans to think that tax bills were fair. liberals and moderates were more likely to fix of and conservatives. women more likely than men. most whites thought their tax bills were fair and most non- white didn't. adults under 30 and seniors 65 and above were much more likely to say their taxes were fair.
then those in their prime earning years. little difference in the perception of fairness across income levels. just because people say they pay a fair share amounts of not mean they think others do. looking at all americans and how they think others did not pay their fair share. the retired teacher in indiana state -- says rich people get off easily. john on our democrats' line in maryland. caller: i think personally i paid my fair share. i look after all my deductions, about 15% of my income goes to federal taxes. that is reasonable. i think it would be easier if everybody was simply -- had about that much to pay and not worry about fighting for deductions and it would make a lot more sense. we would spend a lot less money preparing for taxes and we would have a lot less headaches.
that is basically what i have to say. host: lancaster, pennsylvania. hank on our independent line. hi, mike. you are on the air. let's go on to bethesda, maryland. jason, republican caller. good morning 3 caller: how are you doing today? host: do you pay your fair share? caller: actually, i don't. if i make about $80,000 a year and they take out at least 30 -- if you look at your w-2, i believe. they take out that much and i did i get that much back. -- do not get that much back. about five or six. host: you are paying too much. are you still with us? let's go to robert on our democrats' line. calling us from milwaukee, wisconsin. robert, good morning. caller: good morning. i would just like to say that i
personally -- because i am va this ability and social security, i do not pay taxes. but according to what i heard today on scarborough they said the republicans, if they do not raised the debt ceiling, no one will have to pay taxes because no one will get paid. all of the recipients of social security will not get paid. va disability checks, you will not get paid. i really sympathize with all the republicans, democrats, independents and older people that are va and social security- bound. let's prepare ourselves for a devastating attack on the american people.
host: a comment on twitter says -- tax day is typically april 15 but today is the due date to get your irs forms and. here is why. "a los angeles times" explains it. which means offices were closed, folks have the day all that you have today to get your taxes filed. baltimore, maryland, on our independent line. welcome. hi, jamie. good morning, you are on the show. caller: how are you doing? host: good, thanks. caller: i think i pay my fare share of taxes and what not.
at the same time, i do not the thing -- do not the think i should know anything. we have a family of five. i guess i made about 84,000 so and it paid about 20-something in taxes and i think that is more than enough. i do not think i should know more than that. i am not living high on the hog or anything. i still have just enough to make it and live and all right life. mike on ourgo to republicans line. good morning. caller: good morning. i am action the retired in getting ssi now so i am not actually paying any taxes but in response to the president -- state of the president made, saying he made a mistake in not pushing forward to taxing the rich. he made a mistake and he would never do that again. to my way of thinking, if
somebody is making that much money, they cannot be heard as much as i would if i lost $200 a month or $300 a month. if the president made a mistake recognized, it seems he is obligated to correct the mistake and asked -- at least ask for a response from the rich people. how much will this hurt you? would this hurt you as much as say, a soldier in iraq and afghanistan getting his legs blown off in battle defending the country? would you stand on that? thank you very much. host: let's look at 8 piece from "the washington post." he'll be going from northern
virginia all the way out to silicon valley. the president will make a series of campaign-style stops in an effort to block the republican plan that would reduce the deficit by dramatically changing medicare and reducing spending on education and other social program. our question is what you think you are paying your fair share in taxes. are you planning to much? are you willing to pay a little more? maryland in monroe township, new jersey. caller: thank you for c-span. i think it is the best program on television for getting news. my husband and i are seniors. we take a standard deduction. we are perfectly happy with paying a greater percentage of our small income than warren buffett pays. i want to make this point. i think that as long as of the decision of citizens united stance and the wealthiest people can contribute big bucks to
congressmen, loopholes will always exist because we have the best congress that the money can buy. when ronald reagan tried to stop this and have fair taxes on corporations -- and that happened in 1986 -- now we have all these loopholes because corporations and wealthy people can buy their low taxes. why does a hedge fund manager that makes $8 billion in one- year pay a tax rates of 15%. it's because we have the best congressman can buy. host: have you pay your taxes yet? democrat yes, we have. host: early -- 9 caller: we paid it a few weeks ago. host: john and fort lauderdale, florida. on our independent line. good morning.
caller: good morning. host: do you pay your fair share in taxes? caller: i am on disability act of the president. and i do not pay taxes. but i do have a few points. i would like to know why is it partiality shown towards the american people when most people do not pay taxes. why aren't of the taxpayers -- that was big news for the purpose is designated. why are the taxpayers be misplaced, and used in a way where partiality is shown as far as money being distributed equally among the american people? why is there partiality?
that of the question. host: a comment on twitter -- making the connection. treasury secretary timothy geithner was on "need the press clause would talk about the debt ceiling and what is the, the weeks ahead -- to the guy was on "needs of the press." >> congress will raise the debt ceiling. >> are you sure? >> absolutely. they said we recognize we have to do this and we will not play around it with it because we know the rest will be catastrophic. it is not something you can take was to the edge. >> what they say in private is not quite what they say in public? >> they said in public, too, they recognize america must meet its obligations. it is about the trust and confidence in the united states -- we have to make commitments.
there is no alternative and they know about that. host: treasury secretary geithner speaking on "this week" and he was also on "meet the press. " gop leaders will support eight abt increase -- will support debts increase. let's go to st. paul, minnesota, where sam joins us -- i think we just lost sam. claudia on the democrats' line in michigan. good morning. do you pay your fair share?
caller: yes, i do. more than my fair share. over the years i kept track -- do you hear me? host: go right ahead. caller: i paid as high as 20% depending on my income. but i still feel it was a fair. i retired and i still pay my fare share. what bothers me is this man has brought this congress -- and they are not paying their fair and share of taxes. if they paid at least $2,000 more, their family would not go poor and would not have closed -- as someone poured -- and our congress is always wanting to tax the middle class. after a while you will not have a middle-class. all the middle-class will be poor. thank you. host: checking on the debt ceiling a little bit this morning. i want to take a look at the comments congressman paul ryan made on "face the nation"
yesterday. >> in addition to raising the debt limit we want and need to controls. we want cuts in spending accompanying the raising of the debt ceiling and that is what i believe they told of the president. >> the way the treasury secretary of telling it this morning, they just a short of the president they would not play around with the countries credit rating. >> nobody wants to play every a deeply around with a credit rating, no one wants to see defaults happening but we also think it is important to get a handle on the future borrowing as we deal with raising the debt limit. nobody is saying we want to see default. we just one cut and control its spending go forward and that is what we call the white house. >> committee chairman paul ryan speaking yesterday. making the rounds on the sunday talk shows were members of congress, administration officials, talking about things like the debt limit, what is to come with negotiations, the paul ryan plan versus president obama's plan in spending. let's go to beaumont, texas. our question for you, jay, is
whether you are paying your fair share. caller: i pay more than my fair share of taxes. i think everyone should pay the same rate regardless of what they make. host: what would that do? caller: it would make everything fair. host: if things were standard -- caller: across the board. host: are you able to take breaks and deductions? caller: this past year i was able to itemize but in years past i have not been able to itemize. caller: when you say you think you're paying too much -- has it been that way for a long time or a new development? caller: about 10 years. host: gary in st. louis, missouri. what do you think? too much in taxes or fair share? caller: i am sure i am paying my fair share. i am retired and on social security. this in a letter saying i no longer have to file because i do not make enough money -- they
send me a letter. i would like to say this gentleman, mr. geithner, i just would not trust anything he said. he is one of the individuals that i would not trust him. host: any concrete reasons? could you give us concrete reasons as to why? caller:no, i just got that feeling. host: this piece talking about taxes from "the washington times" today. 60-year low tax revenues contributed to deficit growth. i
taking a look more at how "the washington times" is delving into this issue -- they have a graph showing empty coffers. looking at the outlays and revenues. thelma in washington, d.c. are you paying your fair share? caller: yes, i think i pay my fare share in taxes because if you look at the overall figure pay taxes on everything. it take it on food and every time because it grows restore. i think i pay my fare share of taxes. host: this comes from "the washington times" talking about what thelma is talking about. most other developed countries
and even most u.s. states rely on broader revenues -- host: ford mill, south carolina. caller: i think the president is a hypocrite. when he had the senate and house, he could have closed all of the loopholes and he could have emanated both bush tax rates if he wanted to -- eliminated both the bush tax rates. it's for the what do
host: what would that have achieved? caller: he could have eliminated the top 2 percent, the bush tax rate. that is what he originally wanted. he waited until the republicans got into congress. he waited until they were elected in november. he could have done that when he first got in. i do not know why he did not. host: let's take a look back at this "washington times" story. federal, state, local tax revenues totaling 24% of economic output --
that is the organization for economic cooperation and development. our question for you is it if you think you pay your fair share in federal taxes. today is tax day. your forms are due. stephen mississippi. have you filed yet? caller: yes, i am here. no, i am just about to do it right now. host: are you crunching the numbers or are you about to mail the offer e-mail them? caller: i already crunched the numbers provided just going to fill out the paperwork. host: do you feel you are paying your fair share? caller: yefah, i do. but this is what happened to me this year. filling out my taxes -- i am one disability retirement with the u.s. government. in previous years i told the office of personnel management, please, take out $220 out of my
check to go to the irs. every month they took $220 for the years. this year, i did a statement that $50 was taken from withholding to go to stimulus. $50 out of my withholding -- i could not even see it. $50 out of withholding every month and nine oil -- now i have $600 extra bill this year i was not counted on. i think it is outright thievery that they did this and i do not know how. from what i understand, from what people told me, i am not the only person this has happened to. i was hoping maybe other people could call in if this has happened to them. host: susan on our democrats' line in pennsylvania. good morning. caller: i would like to make
three brief points. i will try to make them brief. number one, i was watching a program chaired by max baucus about a week ago. he was talking with david cohen , who would takes toward levy's place in the department treasury which is now running intelligence and anti-terrorism campaigns. our department of treasury cannot get our books balanced but they are running around trying to bankrupt iran, and that is the purpose -- to bankrupt iran for the sake of israel. this is the important thing he said. he said we have 19 offices under cohen'sevy's or david shop working of financial intelligence and anti-terrorism. i think that is outrageous. point number two -- looking at a
letter being circulated by rabbis in the united states. support for and loved of israel is the center of our rabbinate -- we need money from the congress. make sure the congress keeps israel on its foreign aid dole. host: we are focusing on taxes this morning. caller: no. 3 -- host: is it related to taxes? caller: what kind of question you're asking questions of you are conditioning us. we are not children, liddy -- that is not the question. it is our government being responsive to its people and not to israel? host: let's go on to michael on the independent line in connecticut. good morning, michael. our question is about taxes -- it is tax day and i am wondering what you feel about what you pay?
caller: i will be honest with you. no, i don't pay my fare share. because i have been given a benefit i never asked for. and the republican congress is prepared to give me a further benefit i never asked for. i have been successful. i american and i love my country and i want to pay my fare share. what i have done is with the benefit i received for 10 years, which of been extended for two more years, is i passed that benefit on to my 35 employees by increasing what i pay for their health care and what i contribute to help my employees through raises to help pay for the tuitions of their children because i am an american who has been successful and would not have experienced this success anyplace else in the world. so, i am willing to pay more and i did not want a further benefit from the government.
i want them to take the money so they can take -- pay for people whose lives were devastated this weekend in caroline and the south. -- caroline and the south. i have an independent my entire life. i refuse to participate in this war we have that is destroying our country between democrats and republicans and i don't want the benefit that paul ryan and the republicans want to give me that i do not need and i will take whatever pennies and dimes that they want to give me and passed them on to the people owe work for me and make it possible for me and my family to live in the style that we live in -- and i did not understand what is going on. host: have you filed yet this year? caller: i filed as soon as i put all of my documents together and passed it out to my employees. i pay my taxes. host: to all right.
caller: that is my position. it is up certification. host: let us take a look at "the washington times" that says how low can it go. looking at a variety of nations -- back in 2009, the tax burden in australia was 27% -- ms. c, republican in cleveland, tennessee. welcome to the program. caller: how are you today? i think they banter this word there are around quite a bit too much. -- this work fair.
as far as personally, i pay about $9,000 taxes on about $75,000 income this year and i did not know what that would be when you consider what is fair. i believe that history has shown that lower tax rates brings more money into the federal coffers so that they were able to do things that we need to do. i think the entitlement reform would be the best way to get the economic picture back into some sort of -- into something we could work with that would be better for the country. i noticed the other day in an interview with donald trump, they always ask the question -- if you run for president -- your income tax return. they always is the question in a way, how much percentage of income did you pay. they should ask, how much did you pay.
because i do not believe that taxing the rich is the way to spur economic growth. it would cause them to behave in other ways and take their business elsewhere, and so forth. fair share would be a straight percentage because fiarness is how much -- fairness how much of your money that you make that you have to pay. i am not a proponent -- it is not fair to have a progressive tax structure to begin with. host: let us go to a comment on twitter -- marylin from ohio writes us --
you can see a map of the activity going on. fighters retreating to benghazi yesterday. our questions you this morning is whether not you pay your fair share in taxes. maybe you think you pay too much and perhaps keeping up to a little. mike on the democrats' line in youngstown, ohio. hi, mike. you are on the air with us. go ahead. caller: good morning. good morning, c-span. i was just -- can't help thinking that the american people have been kept in the dark for years about the actual cost of wars. i am wondering if we would even be having those discussions, possible drastic cuts, if there was a war tax and lamented, sometime maybe before vietnam, perhaps -- war tax implemented.
people at least knowing how much it was going to cost. i am wondering if we would have gotten into these situations and perhaps we should implement a war tax so we will not have this problem in the future. that is all. thank you. have a great day. host: this story and "usa today" -- crack down on tax evaders. gary in new york. good morning, welcome to the program. caller:hi, c-span. see what happens -- i do not have to pay taxes. i get my social security and veterans' benefits and i get only about 1300 a month. can't don't get is why the rich people pay more taxes
and stuff like that? what i get is entitlement and i do not see why welfares did not get anything. a lot of times they sell their food stamps and get extra money. that is all -- i see people down the street, drinking beer and all of that stuff on welfare. host: lesley, republican in n ewark, delaware. caller: how are you? my question is basically this. if president obama comes out before the american people to picket, and he is going to raise taxes on the wealthy in the nation making $250,000 or more -- and, for example, a jeep on be made $14 billion in profit but did not pay federal income tax -- g.e. made $14 billion in
profit and the of the income tax. if they confine all the loopholes the only texas he is raising is on the middle-class. host: is that your opinion? that people with a lot of money will be able to find those loopholes? caller: if they are constantly raise in the fact that they are going to raise taxes on everyone and get the rich find ways to loophole that, if you will, that means anyone under $250,000 is ultimately going to be paying the taxes. that is all i have to say. thank you. host: and comment on twitter -- right here in washington, d.c., randall joins us. caller: hi, i think over all republicans are very unpatriotic because we ask these young people -- especially the ones who did not want to pay taxes -- people going to war, people risk their lives, and they make the
ultimate sacrifice. the least of the rich can do can get us into the treasure of the most, and that is money to help keep the nation's solvents and pay for a lot of things. -- keep the nation solvent. most -- i did not understand those middle class whites who both republicans and actually vote against the interest in the long run because -- small southern town -- people blackmailed by their bosses. they kind of act like this man -- mentality, where they realize corporations paid more 50 years ago or 30 years ago. this country stride under bill clinton and rich people paid more money. i do not have understood what is wrong with these people. they are not the rich. i did not know what their affinity to the rich is. host: let me ask a question -- have you paid your taxes yet? caller: yes, we pay our taxes. i am glad to pay taxes.
we are middle income people but the more you make -- it is an honor to pay more taxes because you do not have the opportunity anywhere else where income is distributed or should be but the rich has really treated the middle-class whites -- i do not know if it is racism, they are so worried about people getting a portion of their money -- or black people on the welfare rolls -- like black people make of the majority but actually it is white to make the majority of people on welfare if they really look at it. host: we are talking about taxes and whether you think you pay your fair share. an ap poll released last week said 54% of americans polled say they consider their tax bills to be fair. someone fair were very fair. while 46% said their tax bills
are unfair. another poll released wednesday night by fox news -- 52% of registered voters say they pay their fair share while 43% said they pay more than their fair share and 3% said they pay less than they should. among democrats, 61% said they are paying their fair share while 42% of republicans said the same. host: in rhode island on our independent line -- we have c ,t, joining us. caller: i would like to share a website where; if all of the listeners -- with all of the listeners regarding the income tax. www.thelawthatneverwas.com. host: i think we got it. what is the point. caller: it is a very documented
expos day of how we got the income tax in 1913. it was found from the documents located in the national archives. bill benson search the archives and found the documents related to the ratification or the so- called ratification of the income tax. he found that only four documents are actually legally and properly submitted. that means that the income tax was never ratified. host: let us go to florida in sarasota. good morning, ed. caller: i played zero% corporate tax all the way up to 35% tax. i think if we want to reform the
tax code, we have to give the great religions the zero tax and anyone on the minimum wage give them 5% minimum tax and then 15% moderates, middle-class tax, and then you can go up the ladder. but we have to start taxing the foreign multinational corporations that come in here from value added tax countries. they work their poor and tax than 20% on top of it to boost their economy. that is unfair. i think we should flatten the tax and just get it call reformed. host: coming from twitter --
is a question of lined up -- if you are paying not that much in taxes are you tempted to say they are fair? the polls as little difference across income levels. while there were differences in republicans versus democrats, men versus women, young and old. there was not a lot of difference found in various income levels. people kind of way in along the same lines regardless of that. this go to the next caller. catherine, good morning. caller: how are you? host: welcome from texas. do you think you pay your fair share? >> yes, i do. i only make about $30,000 a year -- $38,000 a year. i am with the federal government. i retired so, i did not have to pay taxes on the $1,200 a month they give me. if i do not have money taken out of retirement statement, it
would be like 900, like social security people living on. then i pay my fare -- i pay property tax, i pay sales tax. a property tax in texas is going up and up because rick perry did not want to pay the stimulus money but on the other hand i could not sell my house for what the taxes is being sold on. i think people with an unemployment, they have to pay taxes. how are they going to pay taxes when they have no money? i think a lot of the poor -- middle class, single -- we pay a lot more in taxes than the rich and that is my comment today. host: let us look at this "washington post" story on who is paying and not paying taxes. the vast majority that escape paying taxes have low and medium income.
we have another caller on the line joining us from chicago. julia is with us. good morning. caller: how are you? i have a couple of things to say. for the past two years, i feel that i have unfairly been targeted on paying taxes. i lost my daughter in 2008 and the very same week i was a pharmaceutical sales representative with a master's degree, number one in sales for eight years, was laid off december 4 of 2008. since then, despite being on the internet for six hours a day, i cannot find a job. so, as a result, i have been
collecting unemployment and just recently utilized all of the unemployment that is available to me. therefore we are living on one income. we are not to getting by. so, my question and my answer to the question is that i and being taxed on the unemployment that i received -- i'm being taxed on the unfunded that i received when we have no money to pay it. not to mention, due to the cause that i lost my daughter in december of 2008, we were taxed -- we usually have received a rebate but we were actually taxed without dependents and taxed at a higher rate. i believe it is the duty and critical that of the economy
restructure their spending for the future. it is absolutely critical. however, i also believe that it is the duty of people who earn higher incomes to pay higher taxes. i have done in many research studies with loyola university on the happiness of citizens and so on and so forth -- public and social services provided in different countries. in denmark, with the highest tax rates, has the happiest population of citizens where they have of the most public services offered and they are taxed at the highest rate. host: julie, thank you for sharing your story. so how do you sorry to hear about your daughter and we wish
you luck with your job search. arkansas another comment on twitter -- john from twitter -- one of the callers said he was concerned the rich will be able to find the loopholes the matter of the rate it as long as of the loopholes exist. coming up, we will talk about how the budget debates and cuts are affecting the epa. we will also look at the bp still anniversary. first of all, we would talk about the debate over federal spending with but which holds a can, former director of the congressional budget office -- eakin. told deac holz- >> may 1, "in-depth, what your question for co-founder of the
"reason" magazine. he will take your calls, e- mails, and tweets. sunday, may 1, noon eastern on c-span2's "book tv." >> for new politics and public affairs. every morning it is "washington journal," our live call-in program about the news of the day, connecting you with public officials, policy-makers, and journalists. weekdays, u.s. house and weeknights, policy forms -- supreme court oral arguments. weekends, signature interview programs. saturday, "the communicators" a un sundays, "newsmakers," "q&a ," and "prime minister's questions." watch it on c-span.org and it is all searchable in the video library. washington your way.
the public service created by americans cable companies. >> the john bubp story on wireless is frankly it -- job story on wireless is friendly bigger than the economy at large rather than michael economic question rather a given set of carriers built out. >> the president's chief technology officer 1 wireless mergers, the demand for spectrum and expanding broadband in the u.s. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c- span2. host: douglas holz-eakini is president of the american action forum. a former director of the congressional budget office under president george w. bush. tell us about your role there. help us to lay the foundation of what kind of role do you work you did. guest: action appointed by the speaker of the house and present
a protest of the senate. a non-partisan position. your job is to organize the cbo the best economic and budgetary advice. evaluate what happened and did not make recommendations. the host: you are with the american actress -- american action form. the website says you have center to right leaning policies. you also an adviser to presidential candidate john mccain. where you are coming from politically. you recently came out in a piece in "national review" online talking about budget committee chairman paul ryan's plan and you called it commendable and highlight the fact it would half the national debt by 2015. why is that important? guest: right now we are borrowing 58,000 baht -- we are burning up a family's income every second and it is simply
not sustainable and opposes three great threats. the first threat is to the economy itself, where we run the risk of a greece or portugal- style financial crisis. the second threat is we will leave an enormous burden to our children that is simply unfair and for the first time not leave it to the next iteration standard of living better than one we inherited. and one of the reasons why i believe the paul ryan plan deserves credit, is our big social safety net program -- social security, medicare, medicaid, affordable care act, are all unsustainable and running deficits and will not last the next generation and we are putting at risk the future -- and poor and it seems terribly unfair. host: any concerns about the approach about medicare and medicaid? you talk about the critics of the left will quickly attack premium support for medicare and block grants for medicaid as a cheap attempt to shift costs to the seniors and poor who are not equipped to handle the burden.
guest: these are different approaches, no question. but the current approaches are not working. we have red ink as far as the eye can see and we also did not have great care. in medicaid, many beneficiaries cannot see a primary care physician -- the end up in emergency rooms four times the normal rate. some can't see specialists. that is simply a broken program veered we have to try another approach. medicare, many seniors still -- in many ways the way it is structured produces a lot of ways. fee-for-service, doctors get paid for doing things but not make sure they are well. the ryan approach arts have the alternative strategies that both make the dollars and up and gives us an opportunity to provide better care. it is something we have to consider seriously. host: what was your reaction to president obama's speech last week? guest: i was disappointed really for three reasons. the first is, it is not really
much of a plan. if you look inside, he says go for another commission out of members of congress. we have seen a lot of commissions. he said use the affordable care act more extent -- but extensively and even his own activists say it makes it more expensive and not less. when that does not work, we will just do across-the-board cuts but we would exempt social security, medicare, medicaid, affordable care act, which means you and sent all the spending and that would not add up, either. it was disappointing and was not much of a plan, it will not really work. and most and portly, i thought the tone, harsh partisan attacks, personal attacks on paul ryan was the wrong direction. we need both parties coming together and of being driven apart. host: alan greenspan wasm greenspaneet the press." -- alan greenspan was on "meet the press." >> i think this crisis is so imminent and difficult that i think we ought to allow the bush
tax cut all to expire. that is a very big number. but having put the rights back to where they were under the clinton administration, i would argue that everything else should be either cutting spending or taking out the subsidies which are in the tax expenditures. host: you would say let it expire for everybody -- the clinton error rate. >> i think what we have to come aware of is if we allow the tax is to fill in the holes, we are going to find that we are getting every -- ever closer to the types of economies that exist in europe, which are very heavily laden and not rapidly growing the way ours can. i must say, i am feeling far more optimistic about resolving this issue now than i was several months ago. and the fact that people are saying -- putting on the table that this issue requires a major
cut in entitlement spending in order to resolve this issue is of the issue that has got to be confronted. we are going to do it realistically, i hope sooner rather than later. host: alan greenspan on "meet the press." what is your response to mr. greenspan possibly that the bush era tax cuts of to be allowed to expire. guest: in one sense i agree, in another, i disagree. if you go back to the fiscal condition led by erskine bowles and allison said. they had real findings. in national would approve, they called it. the problem is largely spending -- all spending. and number four, the route -- road to higher revenues as tax reform. greenspan saying we need more revenue. many people would agree with that. i would disagree that you want to look backward with the tax code. the tax code is broken. you want to look forward and
reform in a more comprehensive way if you want to raise revenue. broaden the base, low with the rates. also one of the hardest things in the world to accomplish. we have had an income tax for over 100 years and major reforms you can count on less than one hand. host: the president of the american action forum, the website is americanactionforum.org. you can join the conversation -- talking about ryan plan, president obama's plan and we can also talk about what happened last week with the deal that was struck in the house and senate and also between president obama, for this fiscal spending year. did you feel like that was a reasonable compromise, looking at the plant that was brokered about a week and a half ago? guest: i think it was a reasonable compromise. i at least i disappointed we are
in this position. it is really terrible governments to put the government on stopgap funding bills have with through the fiscal year. there is no way to run an agency of that kind of budget. i read the congressional budget office under that situation -- it does terrible things to plan and execute effectively. glad it is done. we can move to next year and a bigger problems we face. the terms of nuts and bolts, it seemed reasonable. host: the story in "the washington post" says that before the vote, it turned out that republicans actually gave you a call -- republican leaders in the house -- to get input from you. why did they give you a call? guest: at the last minute a couple of stories for appeared that this was only cutting $300 million -- host: rather than 30 billion. guest: they were both correct and not news. like anything else, the government spends money and saves money very slowly.
if you appropriate dollar you have to go through another five or six before you see the check go out -- it takes a long time. if you cut the budget by $30 billion, not all of them happen instantaneously. 300 million up front and remainder will come in years in the future. i did not view this for a big deal. if you do budgets for a living it was not news. members were surprised so we had to do a to do101 for members before the vote -- i had to do a little but it101 for the members. host: clearance. caller: i have a question for your guest. his support of the republican tax proposal -- a kind of lies in the face of what the measure -- you know, the whole tax problem. you have two opposing ideologies
in our country. one is supported by people who believe that tax and spend -- which is a conservative idea, i think, you never go into debt. and the other that burroughs and spends and they are supposedly the conservatives -- borrows and spends, and they are supposedly the conservatives. the two do not match. can you explain how he figures that his support of one or the other -- i guess i lost my train of thought. thank you. guest: thank you. i think the key decision is how much you spend. once you spend the money of the federal level, you are going to pay for one way or the other -- bahr would come attacks later, were tax now. and washington spent during my time here, all the energy on taxes -- finally turning attention to the real issue, how much you are going to spend on
on what. once you make those decisions the rest is paying the bills. host: matthew, a republican from rochester, new york. caller: my question to you is how can the republican party be so irresponsible as to sit there and tell us that we are in this big huge deficit and they did not want to raise taxes. even it doesn't make sense to me how you can fund two wars by borrowing money from china. then saying it is obama's fault and we're near the ceiling with our borrowing. believe the irresponsibility starts back then. guest: i think the answer is simple. if you look forward at the present cost budget, he does raise taxes.
budget.he president's about $900 billion is the interest on borrowing. the taxes are not a solution. it is a political tax bill issue. republicans feel when large budget deals were struck, there were promises in exchange for tax increases. they feel they did not get the spending cuts. they are not going to agree to more revenue until they see spending cuts on the books. host: we have a question on twitter. guest: i should know the answer to this. top brackets you hear about is about $60 billion a year right now. the mill class will get over $100 billion -- the middle
class. we have a deficit of $1.6 trillion. we could collect $20 million and not dent the current problem -- we could collect $200 million. caller: i am listening to all of this. as far as the health care goes, even the working middle class will not be able to survive with the expense of what the republicans are talking about. as far as the people on social security, we would die off, all of us. and if obama has a plan, which it sounds sensible to me, i'm sorry about the rich people not wanting to give up any of their money.
they are the reason why we are in this situation, all of them in that house up there. they are filthy rich. they took it from us. let them see what is like to have no insurance and let their people die off. they would not die off. they have millions of dollars. they can make sure their mothers and fathers survive through this. guest: the hope is to strengthen the safety net. typically you get a medicaid benefit that is much richer at the bottom. there are basic changes in the way that medicare runs. more for those at the bottom. more testing that the current problems. adjustments for those who are less well.
the same is true with social security plans you'll see. including an increase in the minimum benefits. this is not an attempt to shift the burden on to the poor. host: clearwater, florida. welcome, louis. caller: a president was set when obama gave amnesty to the illegals -- a precedent was set. all these spanish people called their friends and family and said, come to america and you will have amnestied. now we have all of these people who are illegals from all over the world. host: what does this have to do with the budget? ♪ caller: -- caller: they are now working on these no-tax
jobs. they don't have a social security number. all the production lines went overseas. all the children graduating from high schools are not college-bound kids. all -- the country was thriving. now the rich want to get richer. they are sent overseas. money does not come back here to pay taxes. it goes to all the other countries -- switzerland and the other banks. these people are getting all this money. guest: a lot there. there has been no particular amnesty to illegals. most studies conclude that they pay taxes and cannot collect benefits. the broader issue of the u.s.
competitiveness and manufacturing jobs in the united states, but we know that we have a long term trend that shows less employment and manufacturing. queasy think it is a good thing -- more productive workers and they get -- we usually think that is a good thing -- more productive workers and they get paid more. which tried to make sure we are competitive international -- we try to make sure we are competitive international. it will be an enormous debate. it is about -- it is old news. you have spent more than you took in in the past. we have done that on an enormous scale. it is inevitable will have to raise the debt limit.
you will hear voices saying, we're not going to do it. it is not true. the treasury does not have the option of saying no. all you do is do for that spending. we will get to the debt limit increase. ebt inll we control the dat the future? be anon't think it should either/or situation. we send the message to the president through legislation that says, pay the interest on our debt. do not default. there is there reason to default
ever. anon't want to keep giving irresponsible government more money. it will be gone by november. someone needs to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes. i don't think we can sustain this borrowing. host: rand paul. guest: we are not going to raise the debt ceiling. we will not lose our international credit rating. there will not be enough money to fulfill everything. some spending will have to be cut off. that means you start cutting into the pentagon, troops, social security. once the money comes in, you're
obligated to put it back to those uses. change the future. you hear that sentiment quite clearly. we cannot continue to do what we're doing. don't use the debt limit as the vehicle. host: secretary geithner said that not raising the debt ceiling would be financially catastrophic. it would be really bad for the american perception abroad. do you see this as a political game of chicken? senator paul was saying -- guest: i concur that i think it would be unwise not to raise the debt ceiling. financial markets would view this as a repudiation of our
debt. that is extremely unwise. this has to be played carefully. conservatives need to raise the debt ceiling and attached future deficit reduction and do it quickly so international markets know and that the onus would be on the democrats. host: douglas holtz-eakin with the american action forum. gainesville, texas. good morning. hi, don. caller: i was calling about this rand tax proposal. that is about the best idea anyone has come up with yet. he is telling it like it is.
the president bashing him is on page roddick of him to do that. host: what do like about the -- what do you like about the ryan plan? caller: i have done business and they built -- those people are about the -- i will call their office -- we would be a contract and the whole family -- they watched their money. they did stuff. -- they bid stuff. i was impressed with that family. the brothers in that famine are
just like that. host: he had no specifics. -- the brothers and that family are just like that. guest: broaden the base and raise more revenue. that is exactly what the president's commission outlined. this got him a lot of heat from the right in his own party. he undertakes the reforms fairly slowly. it does not close the deficit as rapidly as many would like. don thinks he is not a good politician. he is a good politician. he managed to get the budget through. host: only four republicans in the house voted on the budget.
guest: it is not going to get through the senate. they lay down the marker for how the house will do business. it is the belief that people sent a clear message. they wanted a focus on jobs and to control the spending and take the financial crisis off the horizon. they have focused on federal spending and they will continue to govern that way. host: a question on twitter. guest: 2050 with the ryan plan. many people view that as far too aggressive. wouldt think anyone expected to happen before that. you want to make sure it doesn't keep exploding relative to the economy.
it is about 60% of the economy. it will be 90% in a few years. you want to go the other way. caller: i have seen the chart. i have seen the comparisons of the crime plan -- ryan plan. he is not being truthful about his plan. he will not admit that medicare would change. he doesn't want to admit that private vouchers would be involved. his plan is breaking the backs of the senior citizens and the poor. people are saying it is so great. republicans have raised the debt ceiling at least eight times. if they really cared about the
debt and spending, why did they not want to discuss the oil subsidies? why did they not want to discuss anything that affects the rich? i am a democrats. they did not get reelected or resigned. they are looking out for the rich. it is plain and simple. when you look at the legislation they have planned, and think it seemed -- they want to get rid of. host: i want to give more information about concerns about medicaid and medicare. this is from "the new york times." we can look at this now.
they go from 4% to 20% of gdp. we have to go in another direction. increase the efficiency of this program. is a tremendously inefficient program. you want to manage the beneficiaries. pay for rendered services. rhode island ask for a waiver that would allow them to take a block grants. care improved. there are a lot of models that suggests you could do better under this kind of a system and you could use the dollars more was a. douglas holtz-eakin is our guest.
he served in the john mccain campaign back in 2007 and 2008. he was director of the congressional budget office under the administration of george w. bush. caller: good morning. the organization and also the fact that the american action network and they are network coke -- they are a giant commercial and it is bad for them. they are not realizing -- the people are not realizing exactly what is going on because they're being sold this down the road. guest: we are a tax-exempt, not-
for-profit think tank. we have our ideas on our website. we welcome a diversity of views. i have my own views. i'm a fiscal conservative. i think that would be the best for our country. host: 8 republican caller -- a republican caller. caller: i have a couple of questions. i see that mr. holtz-eakin is also a former congressional office director. his expertise led him to a number of think tank positions after that. i am looking at is bio. it is kind of pointed me to the fact he was involved with a lot
of the economic policies that put us in this position. i am hearing some much from people like him and some of the conservative economists about repeal of the health care law and that strikes me as very expensive proposition. my position is that if there is no public option, forget repeal. if you want repeal, add public option. this whole argument is skewed to support. the insurance companies and medical product providers -- i am sorry that a lot of the ryan's ers of paul
budget and the president was critical of his analysis. i agree with the president. this is all about privileges. some republicans think trickle- down economics is going to work and it doesn't seem to me that it has worked. we will try something different. guest: i have never been a supporter of public option because we have two different issues in health care. one is the cost of the health care bill itself. the second is insurance, which is a financial product. sometimes you don't pay the full cost and someone else picks up that tab. the underlying health care bill and that we don't get high enough quality. the public option does not do anything to solve that.
that has been my reservation. the ryan plan deserves attention and not everyone is going to agree. for those who do not like entitlement reforms, they have an obligation to present their own forms. they are falling apart before our own eyes. you can say, sure, it's fine. and to take a cut. -- anad take nd take a cut. host: a comment on twitter. is that a fair statement? guest: it changes the incentives. it is not as large part is not as if there is a fixed pie.
you are trying to shrink the health care pie and it is too big. caller: good morning. i'm a social conservative. i am a strong christian and a fiscal conservative. i don't think you should spend money you do not have. i watched c-span last week. steve had a guest from pennsylvania. he was not himself that day. he was very political that date. i felt it was a contest between the republicans and the democrats and that was very unattractive. i think -- i hope the republicans when they come on the radio would stop talking about the children and grandchildren. wars are very expensive.
that is hypocritical and something our children and grandchildren. they come on television and say care. ccare, obama is that a code word for something? your guest is from may corporation that does not pay taxes. i live in maryland. i wish that when you go to the hospitals, they would ask you to prove your citizenship. that is part of the problem we have. i took a neighbor who was having a baby to a e.r., and there were so many illegals. that is the problem. host: you made a lot of points. let's go to our guest.
she brought many concerns. illegal immigrants are getting health care. guest: the supreme court has ruled that hospitals may not deny them care. host: she was concerned about some of the plants on the table. she does not like the use of the word "obamacare." guest: i think that is fair. political discourse has become heated. people of different names for it. i think it was the wrong reform. if we roll the clock back to 2009, there was wide agreement that we need health care reform. we recognized we have a health care bill that was too big and
that too few americans have access to affordable coverage. we need to reform to take bets on -- to take that on. this is a step in a much larger process. host: frank in pennsylvania, republican caller. caller: good morning. it is great to be a republican. i am a capitalist. i think health care is killing industry. we need industrial policy. why the republicans don't have industrial policy that denies company's costly health care. g.e. employed to under thousand people in this country and 200 that -- g.e. employed 200,000
people in this country and 200,000 people overseas. without those jobs, there are no small companies. we lost to companies in bradford -- we lost two companies in bradford. these companies should come back to the united states. don't think they don't worry about that. we need an environment that encourages companies to relocate here. guest: i agree. i did not grow up wanting to be health care economist. if you have 1/5 of your economy running in officially, you don't
have the luxury to afford that in the united states. it is a central issue. it is not the only one. we have deep issues in education. we need to worry about our tax and trade arrangement so that we have a level playing field. i would say it drives the headquarters of large corporations overseas. i don't think we can afford that. host: you were the director of the congressional budget office into thousands to 2010 -- in 2003 to 2005. we hear so much about one side that the plant will do this and we hear from the opposing -- that the plan will do this and we hear from the opposing side.
guest: i am an enormous fan of the cbo. its job is to provide non-portis and advice -- non-partisan advice. it looks at the budgetary implications of nearly every bill. weapons systems, the navy ship- building plans, or health care reform -- you name it, they studied it for the congress. it is an enormously important institution. host: the website is americanactionforum.org. thank you for being with us. we'll start a series on the fiscal commission recommendations. but first, natural resources
defense council -- frances beinecke will join us from natural resources defense council. we will be right back. of four topk to one winners in our studentcam competition. today we go to iowa and talk with a second-prize winner. hello, sarah. whitey to choose the cost of college tuition as a topic -- why did you choose? >> i worked with two other students. we are about as different from each other as you can get. daniel was involved in the military. and so we were struggling to find a topic that pertained to all of our lives.
after some brainstorming, we realized it as high school juniors and seniors, the issue of rising tuition costs was one that affected all of us. despite that we're all headed down different paths. >> what challenges exist in addressing tuition cost issues? >> it seems sort of like a simple issue. as we found out, it is complex. i think the reason for that is because there isn't just one of agreed-upon cause for tuition increases. at public schools, at the state's schools, it is more simple. a lot of their tuition increases is because of a lack of state funding. tuition is generally determined by the amount of funding they get from the state. there is some political complications and even complications in terms of how
the school districts are spending their money. in recent years, there have been more schools are choosing to spend money on items that make them more desirable and competitive for students to get there. that is a definite publication. in terms of private schools, it gets even more complicated. these are school with scary $50,000 a year price tags. these schools are used as sort of a buffer. most students do not pay the sticker price. >> you spoke with both iowa senator's. what did you learn from those interviews? >> those were need experiences. i think the most important thing was that we did not think that we posed the question, we did
not receive the same answer. both senators have different approaches to answering our questions. we also saw that throughout our interviews. >> what will people come away with after watching your documentary? >> an understanding of the issues in terms of the complexity. i hope they can understand how important this is to students and our country. but then also understand the complexity of the issue and may be why there aren't so many simple, immediate solutions to addressing it. >> thank you so much for joining us today. here's a brief portion of sarah's documentary. >> i want to be a video game
programmer. >> i want to be president. >> a football player. >> i want to be an artist when i grow up. >> a good education is essential. it has never been more true than it is today. our children are competing with kids from china and india. the best job education you can have is a college degree or advanced training. it has never been more important to have higher education. the cost of that education has never been higher. >> you can see this entire video at studentcam.org and continued the conversation on our facebook and twitter pages. >> "washington journal"
continues. host: frances beinecke is president of natural resources defense council. thank you for being with us. we will get to the bp oil spill later. i wanted to ask you about the epa. the epa took a big khit. we have a piece from "the new york times." what is the impact? guest: there are significant cuts to epa. they insure we have clean air and clean water. those budget cuts will translate into cuts in local communities because they will cut critical
dollars that are used for sewage treatment plants and for clean water drinking systems. when people say we're cutting epa, yes, but this translates into impact into communities all across the country. host: what do you think the impact of that will be? the article talks about tribal assistance grants. how will that be -- guest: we are a country with an aging infrastructure. our safe drinking water systems are part of that infrastructure. clean water act began a whole long term process to clean up the waterways of america, to clean up our sewage treatment by providing sewage treatment. that was 40 years ago. you have to upgrade and invest.
by taking money out of the budget, it means that we will be seeing impairment from the aging sewage treatment systems. they were hoping to improve the qualities of these systems and they will not be able to do that. it is another example -- we have examples all over the country. the sewage treatment plants. i live in new york city. i have seen how the hudson river has been cleaned up. it is a great story. the fish are coming back. those kinds of uses of our waterways are put in jeopardy by a decision like this. host: what does this signal to you over future funding of the epa?
the cuts were not as deep as some thought they would be, except for agencies like the epa. host: -- guest: epa is very much in the site of the republican conservatives to look at that and to shrink government. interesting to me because call after call that we read really show -- poll after poll shows that i don't think there's not a person that does not think clean air and water is an inherited right that they have as an american. st. we will do with less regulation translates into impaired beer and water for the people all across america. this is a fight that is not yet over -- for impaired air and water. this fight will recall from the
budget for fiscal year 12 and will continue to focus attention on what the epa provides for the people of this country and whether americans -- and whether that is something americans are willing to give upp. weakis a fight that's across the community are going to be very involved in it in the months ahead. host: frances beinecke president of the natural resources defense council. this is a story from the ap out of tokyo. host: a recent story from "the financial times."
how are you -- how is the nrdc weighing in with what is happening in japan? guest: how do we take the lessons learned from japan and apply them to the nuclear power plants across america? the storage of spent fuel rods. it is the practice in japan and the united states to store those spent fuel rods on site. they have to be cooled on a regular basis. there is proposals to take them out of the cooling systems and put them in dry paths. this is a call to provide oversight and review. ensure the we have the highest level of safety and that we deal
with the problem of waste fuel, which will not come to grips with over the last several decades. we deal -- we feel a tremendous compassion for what is happening in japan, the result of the tsunami and the loss of lives, and now this nuclear disaster. nrdc, 're focused on at whether it is call plants or oil operations, how do we insure that we in the united states are operating with the highest level of oversight and that we can insure the american people the confidence that these are operated as safely as possible. host: this is the one-year anniversary of the bp blowout in the gulf.
this is from "usa today." frances beinecke, you served on the presidential commission to look into what happened and how to move forward. what is your biggest take away one year later? host: there are two things that are important. the oil industry is incredibly sophisticated, top-notch engineering. it is important that they have adequate safeguards, that they ensure the people that work on those rigs are protected to the maximum extent possible. that is the responsibility of the federal government. the oil is owned by the american people. the marine environment is also a public resource.
the commission found that there is a systemic problem of what oversight on part of the federal agency, the interior department, and that the industry did not operate at the highest level of safety. both of those things need to change. we made specific recommendations for each of them. they are not yet in place. there's more awareness and oversight. there's a lot more that needs to be done. that is on the operations side of it. the science is still being done. 5 million barrels of oil spilled into the gulf. the scientific community is hard at work to figure out the long term damage to marine life in the gulf. the second most productive fishery in the country after alaska.
this is an abundant and productive marine environment. everyone loves to go to the gulf to experience that culture and seafood. it is empowered to understand the impact over the long term and to restore that fantastic ecosystem and to make sure it is resilient for the future. host: don joins us from oklahoma on the republican line. caller: i do not see why we should send money to the federal government just so they could hand it back to the states. we're going to make sure you do it right. that is playing loose with money. guest: the clean water act has traditionally shared the cost with the state's. it is a federal mandate to clean up the water waves. -- waterways.
both the states and the government are experiencing budgetary problems and challenges. across sharing is something that is important. -- that cross sharing is something that is important. it is a share departed and the shared minute. host: frances beinecke is our guest. let's go to john in massachusetts on our independent line. caller: thank you for letting us know what is going on. this is something that has been planned by the bush administration. those towers did not come down by accidents. this is part of industry. having our hands in lobbying with the arabs and everything
else -- remember when the bin laden family came here and grounded all the planes. no planes could leave the country. but the bin laden family got to leave. we should deserve that obamacare. industry has been poisoning our waters. they can under fund the epa. you wonder what ever been americans and why the power plants and the wind up with cancer. our seafood has mercury in it. we deserve that. host: -- guest: one of the things you're pointing at is that we need a clean energy program for america that makes us less dependent on foreign oil. we can do that through greater
efficiencies in our buildings and our cars. that is an exciting new prospect for america. your point about health care provided -- that is a powerful one. the clean air act and clean water act, their mission is to protect public health. there is data on how that performance has protected and saved lives across america from heart attacks, respiratory diseases, asthmatic attacks. there is a long history of success of protecting our health, and that needs to continue to happen. epa reached a settlement with the tennessee valley authority to close 18 boilers in north carolina and that will save lives across that region. we are looking at that region
today appear it has been pummeled by the tornadoes. the epa -- the response believe they have is to protect the health of people across the country. host: we have a caller on twitter. guest: that is much too early to say. if you travel down there, you feel two things. the economic impact of the spill across four states was considerable. it was enormous. one well that went out of control and blew 5 million barrels of oil put the fishing and tourist industry out of business for months. people in the tourist industry and the seafood industry are still reeling from bathat.
tremendous uncertainty about whether the beaches will comeback. these things are recovering. this is an important region to support as they go through this difficult time. dolphins are washing up on shore with young babies. why is that? why is the death rate so high this year? they have to determine if that was spill-related. the reproduction of oysters is in the gulf -- the reproductive rates are weighed down -- are way down. this needs to be investigated. 5,000 feet into the water. we're used to spills the come off a ship and we can see it all
on the surface. this did not happen here. this was deep in the ocean. to see how that ocean was disbursed and into the reproductive tracts of organisms and how that translated up the food chain across the marine environment is something that the scientific community is working hard at. it has to be studied over several seasons. we saw from the exxon the of this spill in alaska, it impacted tent and 20 years after the spill -- the exxon valdez spill. that will be ongoing. one of the main areas of recommendation of the commission was the importance of long-term monitoring to understand the consequences. just because you're not seeing
oil coming out of the well head, to not assume it has vanished. host: frances beinecke served on the commission of the deepwater horizon of show -- independent scientists try to assess the environmental cost. this gets at what our guest was just talking about. some more numbers here. host: let's go to connecticut on the democrat line. caller: good morning. thank you for sp spam -- think you for c-span.
i would like to describe a product and i would like to tell you about a contract with bp and this product. have you heard of a product called hca-10? guest: no, i have not. caller: it is use for oil spill recovery and restoration. it is a plant-based solution that binds and corrects it, and then blinds to oil, where the -- and then blinds to oil. it can be used in deep water and it can be used in marshlands. i am little nervous.
this product was actually going to be used in the contract by bp with a company, and the contract suddenly disappeared. the president of the company that makes this product told me that they were all set with bp to use this product for save cleanup of the gulf, and then suddenly there was no word of it. the contract disappeared. i would like to hear your thoughts. if people want to know more about this amazing product go towintechusa.com. wintecusa.com. guest: thank you for telling us
about that. one thing i was impressed about where the amount of ideas and products that people had to assist in the spill. one thing we found was that we were using the same technique to clean up the spill that we had used 20 years ago for the exxon valdez, and that virtually no ongoing research had been done over that 20-share period to make us better prepared or have it more successful product that could clear up the spill. one, i'm not surprised that this product was not used. i think people were in such a hurry to move forward that the various products out there and perhaps available did not get incorporated into the cleanup process.
we recommended in the commission report is that research and development on cleanup technologies be invested in and required by the industry and the investment by the federal government, and that preparation is imperative to successful cleanup. after the exxon spill, years went by and bill level of complacency set in -- a lack of complacency set in. you should know what products are out there and you have them available to deploy immediately. one thing that happened in the gulf was the volume of the spill was so great that a lot of products when the volume was not available for the scale of spill that this was.
one thing that was clear was the work had not been done to fully understand the consequences of using the dispersant at a volume and at depth. it was used on the service of the exxon spill. much more research needs to be done to ensure the public and the federal regulators that the use is inappropriate, that it does -- if you're going to use a disbursing, you understand what the implications of its use our and the consequences of its use are. this is an example of the need. we need to be better prepared and we need to resolve the issues that were raised in the response and in the products used this time around to ensure that the product that are used
for a subsequent spill are as safe as possible and they are fully understood. and the once selected are available when a spill occurs. thank you for the question. -- and the ones selected are available when a spill occurs. host: one thing that did happen was the passage of the will act -- oil act. nothing has passed. guest: you are right. the oil and pollution act did pass one year after the exxon spill. there was a lot of activity in congress looking at what should be improved for oil spill
response. we made a lot suggestions. congress has not acted. i think that is unconscionable. there is tremendous pressure to advance offshore drilling. trying for more offshore development. the safeguard we recommended, the ability of the interior department to do its job, the creation of an independent agency for safety enforcement, the increasing of the liability cap, $75 million -- these things need to be changed. this bill will cost bp more than $40 billion. we have a statute that puts a cap on costs associated with that spill. that does not work for this country.
that has to be changed. one of the most important recommendations of the commission was that 80% of the fines for the spill should be directed towards restoring the gulf. it has been used and abused for many years, from the oil industry to the shipping industry. under tremendous pressure. it needs to be more resilient. there has been a lot of work on what restoration would entail. it is an expensive undertaking. this will result in billions of dollars of fines. most of the money should be directed toward restoration in the gulf. i think the people in the gulf deserve that. host: a recent politico story says congress is awol.
are covering it. the people who lived in the gulf of mexico have not forgotten about this for one minute. i think it is important for all of the people across the country to think about the cuts occurrences of this spill. in essence -- think about the consequences of this bill. in essence, this is because of our addiction to oil. we have 2% of the world oil reserves. we are going after everything. all of this is an indication that this is a way to remind and to bring into focus for people all across the country that we need a new energy plan. we did focus on much more efficient at harvard cars, public transportation -- effie
cient hybrid cars. as the price of oil goes up, the imperative is greater. host: our guest is the president of the nrdc, frances beinecke. you can find out more about our coverage of that this morning on a c-span.org. at 9:00, an introduction and welcome by the deputy secretary of the interior. one of the issues they will be looking at in one hour are the findings and recommendations on the national recommendation on the bp deepwater horizon oil spill. our guest served on that commission. richmond, va., on the republican line. caller: how are you doing? good morning. congress is a wall on just about everything that they do -- awol
on everything they do unless someone has something to gripe about. i like the epa and the unions. they go hand in hand. big business depends on doing things right. some people say they do not want to do things right and they just want to dump this stuff. you have these so-called the do- gooder's out there in congress and people in the businesses who say they are going to save the company money. usually the tops of these companies want things done right. they take short cuts and they tried and say that the epa is
against you and the epa is, too. businesses, the epa, the unions, if they would all work together -- i am talking about the top level people. that it all would be done right. host: we will leave it there to get a response. guest: first of all, you have identified that we need epa playing a very important role. in the area of environmental protection, you want all companies operating at the same standard. there are leaders who do want to do things right and clean of the environment, but it is important that every company be held to the same standard. uniform standards across the country, so the costs are shared. that is the cost of innovation in the business for cleanup
technologies. we saw this in the oil spill. the zero accompanies, and there are a lot of them -- the oil companies, there are a lot of them and they do not operate at the same standard and that is indeed that the commission recommended. whether we are in a nuclear, coal, or in oil, you want environmental protection and safety standards set at the same level. usually what always happens when the epa comes out with a standard is the result of extensive dialogue with all interacted parties. the businesses, the unions, the environmental community, the local communities, and all interested parties have a public process where these proposals come out. they are actively debated. we all promote our point of view from the direction that it should go in and usually somewhere in the middle of the
interests are taken into consideration. 40 years of experience with the environment protection agency and with the fundamental and are not the protection laws have shown tremendous successes not only by protecting public health, and there is a lot of data to show that, but the technology that has been put in place has been done at less cost than the industry's have suggested and we have many, many examples of that. also, and this is something that people do not think about but is really important, those technologies are great developments in the united states. they have greeted companies, jobs, and entire export industry because the u.s. environmental protection system is among the best in the world and we export that technology other around the world to countries that are
grappling with their pollution woes now, too. there are a lot of positive stories and data coming out of the area of environmental regulation. the political football that it has become an elite most recently this congress -- has become in most recently this congress. host: chattanooga, tennessee. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for having this on c- span today. i would like to make a couple of comments and then i have a question for you. the first, but like to make is i live it very close to where coal is in tennessee. i would like to say how disappointed i was in the way epa handled that situation.
it was so devastating to the area. i do not think anybody could really imagine how bad that really was. the last i heard a, the spill there was put in train cars and they paid a town in alabama to take the coal ash. i really do not call that cleanup of. the water rates went up 28% so i have been disappointed in that. second of all, the federal government is now wanting to cut the funding for npr which really lets a lot of the public know what is going on an environmentally. i am very disappointed about that.
i feel like it is just another way for the republicans to countdown people and keep them less informed. furthermore, i have never had any congressperson ask me how i felt about the situation with the cuts on the environment protection agency. guest: that may just respond to that. you put a number of issues out there. first of all, the coal ashe was just another example like the branch disaster and the deepwater horizon that there are huge risks with the energy appetite whether it is in the power sector or the transportation sector, coal or oil. those industries have a huge impact on the daily lives of people all across this country.
you are telling your story and i think it is a powerful one. it was not adequately regulated and the industry had rejected and opposed the regulations for years. once the coal ash occurred, it gave the epa more weight to to push deregulation. it is a running battle. the benefits to people who live adjacent to these facilities, whether you live in the gulf coast or the southeast where there is a tremendous amount of coal activity or downwind from the "plant, people across -- from the coal plant, people are affected. the majority of people in the united states expect their air to be clean, expect their health
to be protected. it is the government's responsibility to do that. taking the stories from local communities and explaining how these regulations, which washington loves to bandy about but not relate them to people's lives and experiences, connecting the dots and having a voice across america, such as your own, telling your story is a very important part of the national debate that is occurring on this issue right now. thank you for that. host: frances beinecke is our guess. president obama has talked about natural gas. there is a recent story in "the new york times" that talks about fracking. they injected diesel fuel without a permit and breaks the law.
there are questions about what can be used in the fracking process. what is your view on what that does to drinking water supplies? guest: hydraulic fracturing is a huge lead important issue in the haleheast where tehe sale is. "the new york times" story was an important one. this is not regulated. there is regulation by the states but no federal regulation. 10 years or more ago the natural gas specifically got a variants for hydraulic fracturing from the safer air water act, the clean water act, why did they do that? could they have known that there was a problem with this therefore they were trying to avoid regulation? what is happening now is the
story is being told the. the epa is now doing very extensive research on the consequences of the chemicals used in fracking. they have asked the companies to provide information on the chemical that they use. interestingly, the only company that refused to provide a list of chemicals was caliber and which was one of the three companies engaged in the deepwater horizon spell. bp, transocean, and halliburton. that tells you something. the natural gas controversy right now is very similar to the controversy over mountaintop removal, coal mining, oil and gas drilling. there are consequences to all of our sources of a fossil fuel energy. it is the job of the federal government, specifically the epa, to understand what the consequences of are those activities and to ensure that
the environment and people suspected in the process. that is the central part of their mission and it is a mission that the public supports. there are communities across the country who are enraged at what is happening in their communities because of that kind of oversight and safeguards are not assured. the most powerful voices we have right now about what the consequences of our energy appetites are. host: joe from west virginia on our democratic line. caller: i would like to ask the host is c-span could possibly do a show on a laptop removal. mountaintop removal is a devastating issue for the appellation -- appalachian mountain states. i am a retired union coal miner.
mountaintop removal is devastating of west virginia. there have been over 900,000 acres in west virginia alone. not only do they deforest, decimate, and remove the living species, the animals, the trees, but they create these ballets by shearing off the tops of these mountains and -- these valleys y by shearing off the tops of leechmountaints and mountains. 1400 rivers and creeeks were tested and they all exceeded the level of mercury. you are now recommended to eat fish that comes out of the
rivers in west virginia. manzanillas, myron, -- manganese, iron, zinc. it has been contaminated since 2008 now. i would love to see c-span do a story on this. i wanted the epa to start enforcing their laws because here in west virginia we have a state certified program that has been given responsibility to enforce these problems and especially under gov. manchin, these laws have been completely ignored. if the laws were being enforced in west virginia, at least 50%- 80% of the problems would go away. host: your response? guest: this is another part -- a powerful example. mountaintop removal is the story
a huge part of west virginia. it is not only an abstract acreage with communities that people have lived in that have vanished. it has wiped out entire towns and required people to move. it is not only the tremendous environmental impact that the caller itemized says specifically that the destruction of people's lives but to a state that has tremendous beauty and bounty to the country as a whole. is this really what we want america to stand for? why not get into a clean energy future where we can improve our efficiency, the way we use energy, reduce our reliance on coal that is stripped off of the top of mountains, natural gas that is coming out of this hydrofracking, oil taken from deepwater environments and destruction of these environments? we needed to get serious.
during my career, a different presidents have called for a clean energy future -- eight different presidents have called for a clean energy future. we still do not have it. each industry is getting a piece of national policy that allows them to move forward but we do not have a comprehensive program for the public at large that reduces the consequences to communities and people all across america. it makes us an innovator in new industries, new technologies, creates businesses and jobs to put america in the forefront. we really need to both control to the maximum extent possible the environmental abuses coming out of our energy appetite, but equally important is to move into the clean energy future so that future generations do not have the experience is that these callers are talking about today. host: frances beinecke,
president of the national resources defense council. she also served on the committee that the president appointed, the national commission to look on to the bp deepwater horizon is bill and make recommendations for offshore drilling. wednesday is the anniversary of the bp blowout. we will mark that on c-span by talking about that event and
we will have two members of congress joining us that day. a republican of louisiana and democratic florida congresswoman kathy castor. we will start our week-long series of looking at it this go commission and ideas to reduce the national debt. first-come a news update from c- span radio. >> 19 minutes past 9:00 eastern time. an update on airline safety from transportation secretary ray lahood in the remarks on cbs's "the early show." he says the government will not
take air traffic controllers to take naps on duty, but federal officials are open to other options. he went on to say that federal officials could take very seriously their obligation to solve the problem of the sleeping controllers. he added that they have to make sure they come to work arrested. more
on libya from the u.n. secretary general ban ki moon. they have reached an agreement to that the u.n. set up a humanitarian presence in the capital of tripoli. a government spokesperson says this include setting up aid in the city of misrata. turning to politics, political reporting that retargeted general regard as sanchez, the former commander of u.s. forces in -- ricardo sanchez will be running for the seat being vacated by kay bailey hutchison.
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broadband in the u.s. joining "the washington post" reporters tonight on "the communicators" on c-span2. host: we are here this week on "the washington journal" taking a look at the recommendations by the president's fiscal commission on reducing the national debt. we are starting a weeklong series today. today we will tackle spending cuts. tomorrow, restructuring medicare and medicaid. on wednesday, defense spending cuts. reforming the tax policy on thursday. then we will wrap up by the king of social security changes. -- social security changes. we turn now to a former congressman john spratt, from south carolina. all said the former budget committee chairman. what is discretionary spending? let's start there. guest: discretionary spending is
appropriation every year. unlike entitlement spending more mandatory spending which is permanent until repealed or modified by law, discretionary spending is renewed and reconsidered every year. that is why it is called discretionary because it is within the discretion of the congress whether to increase, decrease, or real lemonade. -- or eliminate. they identify the word "entitlement" with social security, medicare, and medicaid. discretionary spending is not permanent and expires from year to year. if it is not renewed, we can have these showdown's on whether or not we will pass a continuing resolution or a full budget. host: former congressman john spratt is on the national commission of fiscal responsibility and reform. what is the purpose of the commission? guest: senator conrad and
senator gregg were frustrated with the and pass of dealing with these very serious problems. they want to look at this and deal with it. they proposed something like an outside, a neutral commission that will go to the budget and come up with recommendations that in the near term would put in balance and long term would provide solvency for entitlement like social security and medicare. that is a pretty big leap to have an outside commission make decisions of that maginitude. when the vote came on the senate floor, that particular bill was not passed. the president promised he would do something as an alternative which was to set up a commission which decomposed of members of the congress and members outside the congress come 18 in all, and it would be
our task, are charged to look at the budget in the near term and make recommendations of how to bring the budget in the balance in the near term and long term make recommendations to make social security and medicare solvent for as far as the eye can see. host: long-term goals include stabilizing the debt by 2014 and reducing the debt to 60% of gdp by 2023. why those goals? guest: we have a serious problem on our hands. we have a deficit that is $1.30 trillion this year. next year it will be about $1.20 trillion. over the next five years, if we stay as projected we can cut the deficit in half. when we get to cutting that in half to $700 billion as opposed
to $1.40 trillion, when they get to that point, unfortunately unless we do something today and in the near future, the deficit will go back up again and it will be in the dangerous territory by 2020. we could take the path as projected for the next five years simply because there would probably be some crisis with the the debt accumulation we were are experiencing. host: democratic caller from baltimore joining us. we will go to her in just a moment. "we get her ready to join us with congressman john spratt who served on the fiscal commission, let's talk about the report it came up with. it came out in december. the national commission of the fiscal responsibility and reform, the moment of truth. guest: 18 members and 11 voted
to make the recommendation to the house and the senate, but by a stipulation when the bill was drawn it was agreed that it would take 14 to mandate action on the house and senate floor. we did get everyone's attention. we helped generate the momentum we are seeing right now. now everyone has some kind of budget proposal to be made. the former cbo director had a plan. the gang of six in the senate have a plan. and there is the ryan plan, the house democratic plan. part of the difficulty here is understanding from plant to plant just how they differ. host: the final commission vote was 11-7 back in december? there was a question at the time of whether he would get a majority said that was quite newsworthy. you voted yes. why did you vote yes? guest: it was the momentum that
matters. i do not agree with everything in that program. some of it was a reach that we probably could not contain. it was critically important that if we said we could not do it that the entire effort would have lost steam and could have been critically delayed for some period of time. even if i did not agree with their particular, it was an important to keep the pressure on it to move towards a consensus. the president gave us the job of looking at the near-term to see what may recommend for but to recommendations for bringing the budget to balance. with the commission was really charged with also was to see if we could find a center of gravity, a consensus in both houses and something that could be adopted. we came up with some recommendations. we are not a legislative body and do not have the authority to make law. that 30 belong to the house, the senate, and the president --
that authority belongs to the government. these will be seriously considered which is what the administration is doing now. host: we go to kentucky on the independent line. good morning. caller: i would like to address something that senator simpson said that caught my attention the other day. he said one of the big problems we have is people, the public at large, and they do not have any concept of what $1 trillion really means. i have been teaching graduate now for a number of years and i find graduate students do not even understand what $1 trillion really means. i will put this in plain language some people calling in can get some concept of what $1 trillion really means. it is a simple formula to figure and i will give it to you. light travels at space at 186,000 miles per second. and the distance that it travels in one year is less than six trillion miles. we go $15 trillion.
if we wanted to pay down the national debt at the expense of $186,000 per second, we would have to make $82 million to pay that off. that is that even to take into consideration all of the unfunded mandates. i am not a politician. i am a mathematician. i want to know how you handle that kind of debt. the answer is you do not. you have to raise taxes, cut expenditures come and you better do it quick because we are heading toward a cliff. guest: those of us to agree with the outcome on the commission, we say you have to bring everything to the table which includes defense, tax revenues, everyone at the table. absent that kind of effort to build a consensus on hard decisions that we have to make, this is probably doomed to fail since it is critically important that everything is on the table
including defense spending and revenues. the problem that some of us as democrats have with paul ryan's proposal was that it excluded, for the most part, defense spending and revenue increases. they called for additional revenue cuts, which we thought was counter to the purpose is at hand. host: we start a series today looking at the fiscal commission recommendations focusing on discretionary spending. here is a pie chart from the associated press and dow jones newswire. this is a discretionary spending and this is mandatory. let's talk about the tesco commission recommended for discretionary spending cuts -- what the sysco commission recommended. what about capping? guest: we learned from the 1990's in particular that multi- year caps on discretionary spending, keeping that within
boundaries is the first thing that we need to do. what we proposed on the commission was to keep the 2012 budgeted spending no greater than 2011. 2013, we go back to 2008 and we address that number which is pre-crisis for inflation and that is the number for 2014. thereafter, and of the allocation for discretionary spending does not grow more than 0.5% of deflation rate between then and 2020. that is the simplified explanation, which is complicated enough. one of the first things we did was to say that we understand how this works and we need to reinstate the multi-year caps that work force in the 1990's and it balance the budget. host: former congressman john spratt is our guest. good morning.
caller: good morning. the first bush tax cuts did not create jobs. and allowed the corporations to pocket their tax cuts and make one worker do the job of two. corporations and republicans have succeeded in having union and non-union workers fighting among themselves. men and women are divided over who makes a better salary. this is a great divide and conquer strategy and it is a diversion away from the real culprit, the corporate power structure and the republicans who have kept the minimum wage low ever since reagan allowed our jobs to be outsourced overseas. wake up, people. we are being led like sheep to fight among each other while publicans and corporation leaders are laughing their heads off. guest: the overriding point, the one we are discussing this morning, is where is our economic future if we do not rain in some of this debt
accumulation that we are experiencing and have been for the last few years. it is absolutely critical for the future of the dollar and the strength of our economy that we begin to cut back the accumulation of debt in the federal government. host: this week, the goal is to look at what they actually recommended, not so much focusing on the politics but having guests like former congressman john spratt break down what some of the recommendations made. another item of the discretionary spending cut offers immediate cuts and providing $200 billion in savings from 2015. guest: the commission said it is not enough but it is it to show concern and an indication that we can do it. the recommendations are just that. we have no legislative authority. we wanted to say that we were
just not spewing numbers and we were shown to you that this particular proposal could be enacted into law and would save so much money. this particular legislation could be put into law. it would be incumbent upon us that we made this to move the budget to balance and would show policy-wise how it could be done. we did not have the authority to make policy, only recommended. host: stanley in oklahoma on the independent line. caller: good morning. all right. discretionary spending. i am sick and tired of seeing social security is that on the discretionary spending side of the equation. it is funded by people paying in to social security. it is not part of the united states budget. it is, by law, banned from being
part of the budget. it does not the fact that one way or another. guest: i agree that we should not use social security to balance the budget or anything other than for the benefits for which was created. but one of the things we can do, and we must do, as the at the long-term solvency. it is not an immediate problem, but in the foreseeable future, this program will not be able to meet the benefit payments. the deficit at that time and payments may be as much as 22 cents on the $1. a set of getting $1 with the benefits would get 78 cents. that need to deal with -- dealt with now. it should be down for social
security's sake. host: we will be looking at social security more in depth on friday. as far as discretionary spending from entitlement spending, let's look at the definition of entitlement spending which refers to programs like medicaid, medicaid -- medicare, and social security. guest: and payments on the national debt. host: and it is not to the discretion of congress. from georgia, republican line. good morning. caller: good morning, mr. spratt. i have long followed you and you have always been, what i consider, a fiscal conservative. i guess you could call me and john spratt fan up to a point. however, i cannot square your vote for tarp and the vote for the stimulus with the imperative you are preaching this morning. which john spratt am i looking at this morning? the fiscal conservative for the
democrat? guest: if we're going to deal with the the debt of this magnitude, the financial institutions and the mortgages, we need to deal with that and it is very difficult to balance the budget period. it is almost impossible to do when you have an economy that is running on three cylinders. in order to get the economy up and running, the simple best way to get the deficit down is to get the economy up and running and we had to make these decisions. as for tarp, remember that it was a recommendation to president bush and widely supported by ben bernanke. when you get people like that saying that we have to do this or we are facing these major financial institutions in worse situations, and the failure of the financial institutions is the worst object task and that
is why i voted for them. in addition, i wanted to put people back to work as quickly as possible could. host: from twitter, like it or not, big cuts must be made across the board. how does the fiscal commission square with what susan has to say there? guest: instead of saying cut this and that, we say here is the growth allocation appropriated. bring forth to the 12 traditional preparation bills and keep these aggregated within a certain level, $1.20 trillion come and there would be a cap for the next three-five years that would set the aggregate amount allocated to discretionary spending. the appropriators would be charged with the responsibility of how to sub-allocate those
funds within those jurisdictions and the defense, international affairs, transportation, education, things of that nature which are separate appropriation bills for each of those areas. the appropriators would make the distinctions as to where the money would go and we would set the aggregate so we could control the bottom line looking out over a five-year period of time. host: looking in discretionary spending and how that breaks down. defense is 20% and non-defense is 15% of the overall budget. guest: to call defense discretionary particularly when you have troops in the field engage in two or three wars is questionable. it is hard to cut defense. you send them to the field, you want to give them this support. and large portion and a large region for that sizable amount, which is at historically high to
a percentage of gdp, is that we are spending about $160 billion on afghanistan and iraq. the iraq expenditure level is coming down due to the withdrawal of troops. we are still looking at an expenditure level of $100 to $120 billion for contingency operations. a big piece of discretionary spending as defense and that is backing up the troops as they undertake some really difficult tasks in the theaters they are assigned to. host: the fiscal commission did it recommend cuts in defense and security spending. michael in florida on the democratic line. good morning, michael. caller: good morning. host: do you have a question for us? caller: a comment and question.
it seems as though their representatives in congress nowadays are out of touch. most people in my a jerk, and i am 24, and in between 24 and 30, -- most people in my age group are ntot talked about. who's idea was it to make education and health care part of discretionary spending? that is my question. i think the representative for answering. guest: it was a decision taken in the 1970's with the budget act. until then, we did not have a budget act in the congress. when we did, we created certain appropriation bills and certain functions in the budget. one of which was education, job finding as well as academic
education. nevertheless, the purpose was a problematic to budget. we are spending this much on education, defense, and we have a misallocation of resources here. we have somewhere in the federal budget process, massive as it is, and a couple of key documents that indicate to us where the money is coming from and where is it going. host: michael asked about education as a discretionary part of the budget picture. let's look at how this breaks down. discretionary non-defense spending. and some -- income security, education, health come international affairs, veteran benefits, justice issues, transportation, among other topics. guest: v.a. disability benefits, for example, would be mandatory. they would be an entitlement. the v.a. budget is 50%/50% and
they have earned the right for being wounded in combat or something service-related and that is an obligation of the government regardless. that is a mandatory obligation and something we would not take away from the soldier. host: former congressman john spratt, a democrat from south carolina, served in congress from 1983 until this past january. during his time on the hill, he was the chairman of the budget committee. he served on the national commission on fiscal responsibility. we are talking about the commission's recommendations this week. chuck in massachusetts on the independent line. caller: good morning. sir, the most recent comments by the hostess that you were in the congress during those years, with all due respect, i do not foresee this coming? this?d you not foresee
there is no way this can work with the living longer and the medical advancements. it was foreseeable and no one had the guts to say anything about it because you were more concerned about being reelected. guest: i disagree. the truth of the matter is the fed did not see it coming. the administration did not see it coming. the congress did not see it coming. i that i mean the failure of the financial institutions and the subprime debt problems and the associated problems that brought on this recession, which is the deepest and august recession we have experienced since the end of world war ii. we did not see it coming and it has had an enormous impact on the federal budget. it has to be dealt with. in addition to that, the tradition of the government is to use its purchasing power and its power to borrow and distribute money.
that is in order to give the economy a quick start to try and get this economy which has been badly marred in a ditch for the last three years to get it back on track again. as i said earlier, the single best thing you can do to cut the budget back in the black is to get the economy back on its feet and running. host: your commission made recommendations and took a vote in december on whether or not to advance those to congress. it did not get the 14 votes leader -- needed but it did get a majority. what happens now? guest: the action we took added to the momentum of doing something and not just talking about the problem. secondly, it gave recommendations that said it to those who would cynically say that anyone could put this down on paper and assign numbers.
we would like to see policies that corresponded to these numbers and whether or not congress could actually pass these balances. as i said, the commission does not have lasted about 40, but -- did not have a legislative authority, but we started and scrubbed the federal budget and said here is somewhere that you could save money, some ways to generate revenue. if he did this systematically during a five or 10-year plan, you could put us back on the plan to balance the budget. host: falls church, va., jonathan on the republican line. caller: think you for taking my call. the last two times and had big budget deals with reagan in 1982 and bush senior in 1991, the deals a promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new tax hikes and $2 in cuts for every $1 in tax hikes during the bush bill. both times, the tax cuts
happened but the spending cuts never materialized. spending always ended up higher than projected before the deals were cut. this makes me nervous about congress proposing a tax increases because the tax hikes only have to be passed wants while the spending cuts happen later and can be scaled back. obama companies triggers that would automatically cut spending, but those are six years into his presidency, so when congress last tried these in the 1980's, congress ended up losing its backbone and did not follow through. how can we have any confidence that if you raise taxes that you will actually end up cutting spending? that is why i oppose any tax hikes in these deals. guest: to deal with the deficits of the reagan years, due to the fact they were in the early years of his administration, substantial tax cuts accompanied by a huge buildup in the national defence, due to the
effort to eradicate those deficits in the 1980's to four different bills. there was the bill in 1985- 1986, the clinton budget in 1993, the balanced budget agreement of 1997, which i had a hand in negotiating. it took four different budgets. it was not just that we did not follow through with the tax cuts or increases that we talked about, but in 1990, for example, bush went out on a limb and said "no new taxes" and came up with a budget resolution that included new taxes. he was out on a limb. it will the discredited the efforts at the time in 1990 and the deficit did not get any better. the reason it did not is because the economy went into a short run recession. once again, the economy eclipsed
the budget because the budget is so sensitive to the economy. as a consequence, that frustration was experienced quite often. nonetheless, what was done in 1990 with caps, pay-go, and process rules which later paid off in the mid 1990's and let us to a balanced budget in 1998 for the first time in 30 years. but some of that included revenues that we would not have gotten in 1997. it simply took a longer time than people wanted. host: on twitter, "we need to cut from the big pieces of the pie, not the smaller more important programs for low- income people." how does the commission look at this idea of revenue generation vs. spending? guest: we should all bear this
burden. it is a problem that we all must bear and we should not shifted off on to the lowest income people who have the least ability to bear the burden in trying to turn this budget around. secondly, with respect to revenues, the commission said for every $2 -- for everyone dollars in -- for every $1, we will cut $2. previous cases, for example, in the 1990's, the clinton budget was 50%/50% which is minuscule compared to what we are dealing with today. there was a 50%/50% split. the rhine proposal -- the ryan proposal will come to rest on the shoulders of those least able to bear the burden which is one concern democrats have. he proposes by 2015 to bring the
federal budget down to 15% of gdp. if you do that, want to pay for defense, medicare and medicaid and a few other essentials and pay the debt service, there will not be any allocation or anything left for the neediest among us. host: standard and poor's rating service has lowered the long- term outlook for u.s. sovereign debt to negative from stable. the agency also reaffirms the investment-grade credit ratings on the country's long-term and short-term debt. guest: that is the warning shot. there will be more and more things like that. i think we can say right now
that we have a strong economy, particularly if we can get it back running on its feet, which is not at the present point. that economy supports a budget that can meet all of the obligations of the federal budget for as long as the eye can see. there is a place and time coming when we will not be able to meet our debts and the sovereign to hold our dollar will start dusting themselves of our holdings since the because -- divesting themselves of our holdings and not be dependent upon occurrence in this country that would keep the treasury's from being paid out on time and in the fall. it is a problem. this is an early warning that this could be a problem. if we can pass the package, it will not be accomplished overnight and that simply cannot
be done, but it will show aggressively by doing what we did in this agreement which is coming up with the policy changes that would lead to these results and we could put that package out and pass it to show that we are moving incrementally toward the reserves, you will see the world credit markets may be stand up and cher. -- cheer. host: from kentucky in the democratic line. caller: morning to both of you. i am 59. i, disability and social security. -- i am on disability and have been capped for three years. does the fiscal commission have a say in this? who taxes us? guest: i did not get that last part. host: what are you asking?
caller: does the fiscal commission had any say in capping social security? we have been capped for three years. host: who has say in capping social security? guest: it has been capped by a standing what in effect. it only applies to the level of inflation. for the last few years, the budget and the economy have not risen above that threshold and consequently social security has not kick in. the inflation rate has not warranted it under the existing law. host: we're looking at the national commission on fiscal responsibility and its recommendations. our guest is former congressman john spratt, a member of the commission. our next call is steve from houston, texas. hello. good morning.
caller: one thing about the congressman, he knows social security. since they raise the minimum wage from $5 to $7, they have not raised social security. if anyone ever gets technical, that means that the minimum wage should be around $1,291, but no one on social security is up that high right now. they are below that status. we are screaming for help and no one is listening because we cannot do the basic math. guest: the issue is whether or not the cpi has written -- has risen to a level to trigger an increase in social security. because of the longstanding law, it has not been applied for the last few years. it does not have anything to do and i do not quite catch the connection with the minimum wage.
host: the commission proposes a six-part plan to go back on a path to fiscal health, promote health, and protect the most vulnerable among us according to the commission. it will achieve nearly $4 trillion in the deficit reductions through 2020, more than any effort in the nation's history. because by reducing the deficit to 2.3% of gdp by 2015. it wants to abolish the amt and can back on spending. as we jump down, we can see the figure here. the annual deficit under the commission proposal as a percentage of the g.d.p. the light blue is the possible juror line and the chairman's proposal is in the dark blood and how that adds up. -- proposal in dark blood. guest: the policies are implemented by tax breaks and a
lower rate of tax credit, something that exonerates the taxpayer from having to pay the total amount. a good example of these tax credits would be the interest on your first home which is deductible. that represents a policy about the country wanting to have a country of homeowners. it also has a number of other tax-related things. if your employer pays your health insurance, they can deduct that as a business expense but it is not treated as income to you. that is a particular proposal and a provision in the tax code. if you are retired -- excuse me. if you work for a firm that has a retirement plan, that deferred income is not taxed now but will
be taxed later. there is a whole host, $1.10 trillion of tax concessions and tax expenditures in the tax cut and the commission said we should do something that had not been done for a long time. let's put them all on the table, broaden the tax base as much as we possibly can, and do away with the consequence and say to those at the table that if you want to lower the rates, you will have to trade off against these. if you want to keep, for example, the a exclusion of employer provided health insurance, you have to make an incremental adjustment in the rate. we will go to the package of significant tax expenditures for the proposal in the commission. that is one way of saying that if we keep it, understand that it raises rates by a certain level and you have to do one in order to have the other. order to have the other.