tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 4, 2013 8:00pm-1:00am EDT
take your calls on veterans health care and talk to ofrnalist, patricia kime the military times. you can also join the conversation on facebook and twitter. commissioner of the connecticut department of veteran affairs department discusses veteran affairs issues. she spoke at duke university and carolin. >> good afternoon. 50 presentation of the duke university school of nursing event. in 1968, it became officially known as the harriet cook carter lecture. i'm dean of the school of nursing. i'm pleased to welcome all of you here today on behalf of our duke university school of nursing community. as indicated in your program, this lecture is named in honor , aharriet cook carter compassionate and creative
woman who endears herself to the university and the local community through community activities. this year's topic holds a special place in the hearts and minds of our community. many of you are veterans of military service or are engaged in the care of our veterans. may i ask those who have served to stand up please. [applause] anil those of you who have cared for at the service or veterans -- and those of you who have cared for active service are veterans, also stand. [applause] we thank all of you. caring for military veterans represents one of the grand
challenges of our time. are returningrans from wars in iraq and afghanistan, facing overwhelming circumstances. not only do they have specialized medical needs, but military personnel who served in war zones are also at a greater risk for alcohol abuse, marital and family conflicts, domestic violence, drug abuse, chronic pain, and suicide. they experience high rates of incarceration and make up a disproportionate part of our homeless population in the united states. , almost3% of adults men, one served in the military. these complex challenges require the support of many across disciplines. our faculties have been in dialogue for well over six months to try to identify ways in which we can make a greater
difference. first lady michelle obama and dr. joe biden have enlisted the support of programs throughout the united states into a program entitled joining forces. schools that have agreed to participate, including do, have todged to educate people care for veterans and servicemembers facing ptsd, depressants, and other healthcare problems. implement the best practices of care and disseminate the most current information related to ptsd and two at the current body of knowledge of how to improve care. undelete, to leave the healthcare community in achieving the joining forces we are committed.
we have invited the honorable linda schwartz. commissioner of veterans affairs in the state of connecticut. whilet met dr. schwartz working at another institution of higher education. she approached me wanting my support for a project that would help her further explore the long-term impacts of -- she impressed me as a determined woman, someone who would get rings done. she is currently the of veterans affairs in the state of connecticut. the first woman to hold that position in the first nurse to hold that position. i was right in forecasting her determination. she has taken up this position as you might have expected that
a nurse would. connecting people to one another and enlisting resources and advocating. please join me in welcoming commissioner linda schwartz. [applause] >> thank you. when they heard in connecticut i was coming down to do, they got real worried. [laughter] it is an honor to be here. it has been an exciting experience. toould take a moment introduce some of my friends who have come today. i would like to introduce linda . dr. harold cutler from the va.
johny former boss, dr. olivie from the va. let me explain what a commissioner is. some people thought i was -- i for thousands of veterans in the state of connecticut. my main home is rocky hill. i have over 450 veterans. 125 in the chronic disease' hospital. i have a support program. in addition to that, i'm in charge of three cemeteries and five district offices. i help veterans get their benefits. as a veteranmind,
who served during the vietnam has served me well. i want to give you some idea of what we are talking about. -- therst first statistic first -- 22 fact that we have , there living veterans .re a number of women veterans .hat this bottom graph -- sorry it israph shows you that almost a bell curve. at number of veterans
different ages -- we are having an aging of my generation. contrast that with the number of women veterans. the younger veterans of today are more predominately women than in the past. when i was in the military in the air force, 2% of women by law. i could not be married or have a child. was born and i had to leave the military. but things have changed quite a bit. the tall one here is a vietnam population. you can see that number rise --
let me say something for the actuary table by the va. they've forecasted that the theyam population would -- were wrong. this should give you some idea that we see a decline of vietnam veterans a generation. vietnam was the largest mobilization after world war ii. ofn you talk about a system care and addressing the needs of people, you have to address all the wayare 22, to world war ii veterans. my message to you is simple today. in same waying war as we did in the past. on reserves,iance
they are in every town and in every city. there needs do not go away. of asking, have you ever served in the military? is a very simple question. if you look at military service as being an occupational the first, had he served in the military? the next, what did you do and where were you stationed? this is a card that the va introduces. it can pull it off of the website. i think it is too busy. it is something you can put in your pocket. if you means is that were asked the question, have you ever served in the military? thate point out to you
there are over 60 million people in uniform during world war ii. there are some unique health exposures that they probably did not even know. when you do an assessment of an ,ndividual, they do not know that it is something that needs to be considered when you look at a holistic approach of who they are, where they are, and what they have done. it is very interesting. was a real poster from the va. it talks about exposure to radiation. regarding radiation treatment, you might say to yourself, why do i need to know about that? do you know they use that as a
way? they used to shrink their sinuses while underwater. they could clear their sinuses. they do not know that. it is an important aspect. not having a test after this so i don't expect you to remember. but i want to be clear on what i hope you take out of this room. 15%rans are only 50% -- using va healthcare. 5% use the va. where are the rest of them getting their care? >> [indiscernible] [laughter]
>> yes, and maybe other places like yale. i do not think we need to replicate with the va provides. we need to help veterans identify how to get into the va system if they have one of these exposures or need help. the largest system of health and care in the united states rivals hhs. changes with every congressional season. and changes with every segment of the legislative process. it is almost like a fluid thing. the lord taketh and give it, so does congress. let me go back. i do a lot of speaking to veterans.
i had a gentleman come up to me i am a veteran, but i do not need the va. he said, because i'm healthy. i said, what did you do in the military? i have this rash all over my trunk that never goes away. go over to the va and get into the system. that is the kind of can-do, macho attitude of veterans. it is not just men, but the women's macho attitude as well. exposure to cold in korea.
you look at this and say to 5.7 million served, but it has been 60 years since the hostilities in korea. it is still considered the unknown silent war. we're all trying to do our very best to celebrate the anniversary of the hostilities against this is a generation -- we feel sorry for them because they have not gotten the recognition. youvietnam war, of course, can see the numbers of people who served. the most important thing in these numbers is the fact that theret telling you that
are over 9 million in uniform, are --y 2.5 million thathere is a percentage has been exposed to agent orange. this is the connecticut, welcome home, for veterans. he had it last year. my boss was a first governor to welcome troops home from vietnam. right now we are celebrating the anniversary of 10 years of war. on theon veterans living vietnam war -- i want to explain to you something. the point is that these are disabilities.
what does that mean? that means the individual can with the diagnosis of prostate cancer. by the congress and by the va that this is a disability. all they had to do was show that they have the diagnosis and that they served in the country. the icu of a local hospital and he was fighting for his life. his wife called to make sure that they knew he was a veteran, so they transferred him to the va hospital at west haven. he sat for eight hours in the emergency room. his wife took him home. nurses andave practitioners that work for me. never served in -- he knew he could get care in the va
system. he said, i knew i was sick, but i could not afford to go to the doctor. it had a good ending because we are able to stabilize him and get him to a home. the point is, here he was come eligible all those years for that care and no one that talk or asked, have you ever served in the military? yes. what did you do? i was in vietnam. you need to go to the va. they will help you with your care and there might be an opportunity to help you with some compensation. when you have a long list of those diseases, and of course, the hepatitis c virus in all the things that happened with that, the debilitating disease -- i .hink the most difficult
a study give us a hint. we saw that. now it is expected. did they serve in vietnam? did they have this diagnosis? and we will take care of you. women who served in vietnam for theng time, there was suspicion that there was not a lot of data, that some of them were at risk of birth affect. they compensate the children of women who served in vietnam. this is a good example of the exposure to a hazard, environmental hazard.
and the effect on the offspring. we had more difficulty with --viding improving the link and proving the link. things change and new evidence comes to light. thattions desert storm, was the first time that women .eally combat over 41,000 women served. i will share with you that i have the opportunity to meet with a group of women who had .eturned from iraq actually, it was not desert storm, but iraq. it illustrates the point. when the troops him back from iraq, it was ever a bigger than
this. i was with the governor and the general. theickly saw that i was only woman standing in the room. most people were wondering if i was standing. [laughter] talked about when you come back, these are the services and this is what you can expect from the state of connecticut. afterwards for women came up to me. they asked me if they provided counseling services. i said, we do not do the counseling ourselves. but we can hook you up with someone who does. that thery gingerly issue might be military sexual .rauma they said, we were writing and and thereg a humvee
was a bomb and there was an arm that landed on my lap. , i seego to bed at night that arm and i see my buddy. don't let me minimize the fact that sexual trauma is a factor. 23%va and the da deal with of the women in iraq and afghanistan have reported that they had been sexually assaulted i a coworker -- by a co-worker. we think would happen at duke in 23% of women had reported that they were assaulted by a coworker? wouldn't that the an outcry? cry?e an out and yet they still continued to serve and volunteer. the heavy reliance is a very important factor. that is why we have been talking
about this. when they come home from deployments, they not only have , i'm not talking about radiation. it is not necessarily that everyone is touching radioactive materials. , goes throughe's it sharpens itself. that is how they can penetrate armor. some people who are cast -- oh, -- i'm glad i really do not need those. their task is to clean out the tanks. some of them have inhaled the dust.
it has an effect on the kidneys. , thether thing is plummets. is anyone here have family member who has been deployed? how many times? one? two? three? four? five? multiple deployments for people coming and going back. they do not have time to decompress from the first experience before they do another experience. up at the bam now. my concern is that i have haveans who have, home -- come home. someone comes along and tells him that all they have to do is
sign this paper to stop the va benefits and they can do another tour to iraq and afghanistan. the idea that the troops are the needs because there are recruiting quotas, this is something that'll come home to roost. we have no idea idea what the far-reaching effects of multiple deployments are. and not just the military members himself, but that tammy. one million children in america have had one or both of the parents deployed since 9/11. .ne million they're not in dod schools.
they are in your school system. teachers have to become aware of some of the important part of what deployment means on a family. america is in a good position right now. everyone is thinking about this and is concerned about it. that is wonderful. after vietnam, this is great. this is a game changing moment for healthcare and veterans in america. people, you'ree going to be the first line of identifying who these people are. unfortunately the va does not take care of families yet. when you have a healthcare system designed by congress, being in the family does not seem to be politically prudent at this time.
so, welcome home. i want you to know that i used to work there. is comingsome of this from -- i do not think it has changed the five over the last two years. nothing prepares you for the realities of war. when you're deployed three times, you know the drill. this is what is different about this war and any of the others. 8 million people or 9 million people in uniform. here are people reported that a percentage of them have experienced small arms fire. this is a high percentage but have experienced hostile action.
during the readjustment study in which i was an interviewer, they went the extra mile to have three groups of people who served in vietnam, men and women, people in the military but did not serve in vietnam, men and women, and men and women from the civilian sector. when i was asking women who served in vietnam, have you ever served in combat and they all said, no, but the next question was, have you ever experienced hostile fire, it yes, everyone said yes. how often? every day.
now we're getting a picture of the perception. i love the one answer. how far weight would just make the fire was? how far away is a football field? at each other. i was not in combat. it is a mindset that i was not in combat. because of the readjustment study, we were able to illustrate that women who served as nurses in vietnam experienced more death and dying and taking care of people .han the combat veterans you had to have symptoms to be
eligible for posttraumatic stress. of this came from our understanding of what goes on for those in the military. is not for the faint of heart. 80% are someone who is injured and killed. they had been responsible for killing someone else. you would not find that ratio in other wars. this is an in-your-face war. commissioner, have many questions about this, and there were no answers on google. i checked with the department of
mental health and addiction services, and we found some do the connecticut veterans' needs assessment. had justpeople who returned to fill out a questionnaire, for and i think it is a sample. it is connecticut, but what i did with this information, i went to my legislature, and i said, i see these needs, and we need to do something about it. it is much easier. being in combat is life altering. the importance of camaraderie. let me tell you that is one of the most important characteristics of this generation. they care deeply about each other. they do not even have to be in the same unit. many of them feel isolated, even
in their own home town. they find they are more comfortable with fellow military or veterans than they are with anyone else. the experiences of women are not the same as men, so they need to be looked at in a different way. was our health concerns. it was not totally revealing , but this is what they identified as major problems. navigating a system. how do you know what is available. i have heard congress has a bill in which every v.a. and the state's will have -- in the state will have all of the services. did you do not have to say, for example, if any of our veterans
in connecticut what treatments for prostate cancer they have to go to boston. waitinglability, long times, and i heard the va is evening ande weekend hours. but as important. this is a generation that wants success. they are going to be doing their jobs. they do not want to spend an inordinate amount of time waiting to see the doctor at the va. many of them already had doctors, especially women off, when they were deployed. they're going back to the same doctor. and is our yellow ribbon, the most important is they did find terrible difficulties with
connecting to emotionally with the family when they returned. much.f it was too they had a big party for them when they came home, and they left the party because they could not take it. it was too much. the problems of the spouse or partner, in the absence of the military member, they have to do what is left. veterans have our own network -- someone said through a couple a calendar with pictures of women in iraq and afghanistan. we have some lounging around the pool, but the one that was very the said,ey hadn' won
major so and so is a kindergarten teacher. littlegoing to have a trouble, too, but it is adjusting to the rolls. served in the reserve myself, i love doing my reserve duty. it was a real acclamation to life when you came to reality. things wee of the found about the traumatic brain injury. in the beginning of the va was oing the test for traumatic brain injuries. somef the people had situation which would have caused them to believe the possibility of a concussion.
go for said, you need to some better testing. i would just share what we found as high risk for veterans. that is my statistician note. they had common characteristics. they were younger veterans. they were less educated. let me say many people in the reserve have used for tuition waivers in our state. 48% of the people in my sample already had bachelor's degrees. relationship,in a and here is the zinger. likely to have been on active duty, and they are coming home alone without
the support group. we talked about the stigma, and this is some of what they said. seen asnot want to be weak. they want people to have confidence in them. help who needed the most received the most stigma. they said, i do not want to ruin my career. the fear of currier. when you have the chief of the army get up and say, i have posttraumatic stress, and is ok. if you think as posttraumatic stress as a natural reaction to andbnormal situation, va
the secretary are trying to get end.f the d at the it should not prevent you from getting some help and getting help from your family to deal with the symptoms you are having. people do not know there are state governments. this is a wonderful opportunity to work with the va and our own community to craft continual care. as a race ormyself a contest with the va. i see my job as dovetailing with
what they have to be sure the veterans of my state receive all they need, and that takes a lot butiaison and networking, you go fourth whiffs the idea that you are in the business trying to do the same thing. you believe the people you are working with have the heart of the veteran at their hearts. i told you a little bit about what i'd do. my marching orders come from the governor and the connecticut have youre, and you director. governor,nted by the and i am honored to say i am serving my third governor. republicans and democrats, so i must be doing something right. we work with employment and
training, which is a big factor with high unemployment, and i want to tell you about something we call the military support program. we sold a state facility and blue hills, and the general assembly's of the side $1.4 million to cover the middle of costs of programs but were not covered and people but were not covered by the va, so when we had a unit, a thousand people, everyone was cheering the fact we have someone from every town and city in connecticut. it brought home the fact they are going, and when they come back, they are going to be in every town and city in connecticut. experience had an
after 9-11 where we had a great need, so the department of mental health and addiction services created a training program to help the community be able to take some of the load off their department. using this concept that you take people already in the business androviding medical help, we gave up a training program that was 16 hours of military 101, and it was trying to get clinicians to understand what technicians were. the best teachers are to give veterans and talk about their experience. it helps them understand they might be in the military mode, but they have not yet crossed over to the civilian world. i will tell the story.
this is a marine who was in uniform, and his wife called him up and ask him, can you stop and ?ive me some milk he stops by the grocery store. he goes in and says, what are --se people during famines what are these people doing? and i am here to get my bread, my eggs, and my milk. a manager came up to him and said, is there something we can help you with? he said, i got it. i am good. she said, you are schering these people to death. scaring these people to death. and he says, i had no idea, because i was in my military mindset.
the department of mental health maintains the credentials. to be part of this you have to go through basic training. have to maintain all the things required by our state, but also is a veteran calls you, you must give your word you will talk to them within 48 hours of the call, and so this is all across the state of connecticut. 24-7 hot line where in. call end my brother is having a terrible time. he has just come from iraq. they said, these conditions will see you, your military member,
the spouse, significant other, and we will give you 15 sessions in a calendar year, and if you have no insurance, we have a grant to pay for your care. i want you to know because of the increase and the concern about suicides in the veteran population at large, the department of mental health and addiction services commissioner so this, and we talked, is now for all veterans and their families in the state of connecticut. it is not to take away from the va, because what happens in the middle of the night if you want to talk to somebody, you have got a plan. when the commission sees this is over their head and they think
they need someone else, we have the referral system all the way , so this is like a local tree oz. many military members will go to treatment with their family. why? myause i am doing this for family. i do not have a problem. i am helping my family. suspect they receive but we hadn this, this going for five years. we have over 3500 calls. people in0 treatment, and the beginning came from sale of property. and the legislature felt so strongly they refunded it even in these hard economic times, because they feel it is a current new investment, but also
because it is a small price to pay when you think about what the outcome might be. this is from a military 101. i will leave this for you. i do not expect you to remember, but it is important to know veterans expect you to be professional. they are used to the fact. they want the real deal, and .hey do not want to fool around they expect honest answers. saying you do not know is better than giving notice answers. -- bogus answers. the problem with the va is their policies are hard to track. they dot is lost when not find it, just like the
marine corps, and confidentiality, that is where the military support program working wason private clinicians' works very well. also, somebody is there to take their calls. .ometimes you cannot find that tothere are limits confidentiality, they have to be stated up front. something theye find out later. they believe professionals fix all problems. but as the military. i would say, lis politics of the door. at the door.tics
available to them. this is not only for friends of people i've church. these people existed in of hostile atmosphere. they have qualities you want to build on to help them face issues now. it is called resiliency, but i like to believe they want to help themselves, and if you can help them get out of this space, they will be there with you. not to judge. you might have military sexual trauma. at least i was smart enough to ask, what are we talking about here? you do not judge. you have to start -- most are not where they think they should be. reliance,nce and self- and do not let your anchor influence your interactions. your anger influence your
interactions. jordan wrote an e-mail from iraq when he was first wounded. he was pretty sure he was going to be sent home, and he wanted to know what benefits he would have when he went back to connecticut. i said, i have been to your web site. he said, what about me? i said, what are you looking for. he said, i want a house. i want this and that. i said, when you come home, i want you to come see me. were dedicating our new facility at rocky hill, and one of the legislators us, can we do a moment of silence for the young marine killed in connecticut. . i said, i would like to know his
of various things? >> it all depends on your medical center director. toad veterans' going university of connecticut hospitals for their care, and i was paying big bucks. and when the contract came to be negotiated, i ask, do you take a military history? they said, we do not think military experience has anything to do with this. i called dr. johnson, and i said, i have 500 veterans. how can we do this better? and a part-time
psychiatrist because so many of my veterans had been in care at evaluated each one for care. i have my own clinic. isryone of my veterans enrolled in a v.a. health care. i do not want them to stay with me forever. i want them to have that when they leave. that is how it started out. they had a huge backlog. they had 20 people waiting for a replacement. you called and said, do have empty beds? i said, i will take them until you can find a place. i think the individual doing the talking -- it is the care givers. it is the hands-on people that
makes things happen. also, i thinkess va has toe dthing come to the realization that states bring something to the table. you cannot do it alone, and you should not do it alone. i have a veteran they could not place. she served two tours in iraq and one in afghanistan. she has four children. they could not find a place for her. who would not want to help? we've bent the rules, but in the end she had a place to get her act together so she could have a life and her children could have a life. qualified ass i am
, torse to embark on that know what the answer man, but it was a partnership that will have to of of more than it has before because of the nature of where they are. they are in every town and city in your state. , not onlyou very much for the information and but for the story. i think in reaction to the decision to allow women in combat, but i am wondering if you have stocks and -- thoughts on what might be anticipated. are there going to be unique needs for women coming back from combat as opposed to men coming back from a combat?
>> i want to show you a picture. no. ?an we start this over again tell me, are those men and women? they are all women. they have been carrying guns. they have been shooting guns. they have been in combat roles. the difference is america is now able to give them the credit they deserve. women have commanded vessels at sea. women are fighter pilots. women are commanders of the wings. what i see is if women want to take on the challenge of being on the ground, they need to be able to make the same grade as any man. we cannot let standards slip.
i believe with so many young women being into physical fitness, that will happen. if they want to take on the challenge, the one thing that has happened is when you join the military they promised equality in pay and opportunity. now america has made good on that promise. the sky is limit. it is up to the individual. we are seeing it now. give we are already seeing it. friend tammye my ductwork on the nightly news when they said, what do you in thebout women military? that is her. they are flying helicopters. openly it will be accepted. if we ever see the time when the commandant of the marine corps
is a woman, i am fairly sure i , but there ishat commo a certain challenge now, so it could be the goal of some young woman to be that. crew,a member of a flight i can tell you when things are going on, he did not care if it is a man or woman next to you. you want to know the person you are with is competent and capable common and i think that is also the mark of one women will have to do. n?s, john bowma >> i was just thinking about another event that happened in your state.
did it was dr. freud who said trauma recapitulates tramontanauma. i wonder if you realize what is happening is having an impact on veterans in your state. >> i actually was with the governor when he heard the news. ofas with the commissioner mental health very good -- of mental health. i was part of the mobilization of what would be done. buthat time we had no idea, i think if you saw my friend, the spokesperson, i could tell immediately, he is a veteran. commonctor of advocacy and an iraq veteran, his nephews and youthat school,
could just see his face. the parts that was more was theting to donthem mental picture of what it must have looked like in the schoolroom, because they know do to human soos flesh. they can only imagine what it would do to a 6-year-old. i come from the state of ohio. i was raised around guns. so ing is a big thing, appreciate that, and when someone says, i love shooting at that caliber over the ocean. i say, have you ever seen what that does to a body salmon and and now know. no one thing that is a big thing
is the troopers, -- have you ever seen what that does to a body? no. the one thing that is a big thing is the trooper start a special groups, and i think people were there on site as well as some of the people from forensics. we have our own forensics mental health and the state of connecticut. her work was with children. it did call to mind so much that we could not watch any more. they know what war is like and what it can do. the dean says one more question. i see a gentle man in the back.
>> there is also thing for people who have served. require things to be and in, buto war, they do not see it that way. non-combat service veterans, how might that affect the ?onversation belmon >> if you have a veteran and they say, have you ever served in the military, and they say, what did you do, and they say, i was a mortuary officer. what was that like? that?ng did you do i can truthfully say you need to
hear from your patience what is going on. the first/back i ever had, i was sitting at a desk working for a university, and they came by in a flatbed truck with all of these things that reminded me of when i was in japan that they were getting ready to transport bodies to the united states. i did not know what was happening to me, but it was a flashback. you cannot program these things. at the time nobody told me this. i kept saying, what is at belmont -- what is that? my boss kept saying, those are your new desks. for me it was shadows of the past. i would say once you get your foot in the door and know what that person is doing, i'll leave that to euan to explore what
that has to do and what kind of impact it may have. there are some unknown secrets. people in the navy might understand if you have women in combat that cause -- but had hairline fractures to the pelvis, you would not know that, but you would say two out of the day -- to ask the va. misdiagnosed and left with horrifying memories. people would say, you were not in combat, and you do not count. i think that is part of we have come so far. we want to learn from the lessons. my hope is things like the military support program will
flourish. people in all towns and cities will be much more aware, and you will incorporate this into your practice. [applause] behalflinda schwarz, aon of all of us, i want to thank you for being with us, and thank you for all the work you are doing. education to a sudden your direct benefit to people in connecticut and beyond. and we did to us and your connection -- your direct benefit to people in connecticut and beyond. >> thank you. those of you expecting
continuing education and credit, i want to remind you to stop at the desk. i want to say, thank you for being with us today. [applause] fax the former air force flight nurse linda schwarz speaking .ast month in north carolina she oversees veterans' health care programs. we are going to broaden from just connecticut to look at the issue of care for returning veterans, for service members common on and we are going to our phone lines to do that. the phone lines to call in with your thoughts on veterans' .ealth care
for those of you in the eastern and central time zones -- for military families and active service members as well, 202- 585-3837. we have a question on facebook asking for input for returning veterans, in particular looking for veterans. good and what are your experiences? we will read some of those posts as well. enter its richer you can sees parent -- on twitter, you can enter cspan, and we will help you as well.
patricia, thanks for joining us. what do you think is the most pressing issue in terms of health care? >> the issue has been one of transition. there has been a report of 44% of iraq and afghanistan veterans are having readjustment issues, and they really need assistance in transition and preparation to move from a very regimented military ton the the va, which is a large bureaucracy, which is sometimes difficult to navigate, so that is one of the largest problems. when you have health issues, it , so you do challenge commo not know where to turn, and you
may not have the ability to understand care. sees them the words of the question about mental health. christo said this. asks this. has america and the va been addressing mental-health issues? do we need more monetary helped to get a better framework? >> it says a lot of there is a national crisis in mental health care. the secretary and former secretary of defense leon panetta have said there is a crisis of health care providers. they are moving to hire more.
hired 1000 in the last eight months or so with the intention of hiring 600 more to serve the population. issue.n a recent study that came out this week was mentioning many qualified health-care professionals do not take health , but so this keeps people on military health care plan from getting quality health care, and it keeps the va from personnel.ified >> try care is the plan for active members? serv active members as well as military retirees, who has been in the service for ofyears or more, and a group
medically retired personnel, so there is a group of people and or viewon active duty became ill on active duty, and they may have received of medical retirement, so they also are retired. >> as we begin our conversation, we will take snapshot looks at the veterans' population. some statistics from the veterans affairs department. this is on veterans' health care. the estimated total population is 23,328,000. enrollees in the v.a. health care system are almost 9 million. the va breaks it out by the various roles. 1.4 million vets are still in the system. 2.3 million from korea. only, 5.6 million. the gulf war from there on the it -- from the early 1990's, 6.2
million. , 7.5 million.a commo let's go to the phones. barbara, welcome to the conversation. calling to give a comment for the veterans administration. i am a spouse of a vietnam veteran, and my husband was diagnosed last october with a got theease, and he best care. we live in the suburbs of new york, fan we are a around the top hospitals. got the best of care. is important we hear what we have to cut services and
-- but services to deal with the father's illnesses. he had the best of doctors. i think the va deserves to hear that. i think there are a lot of services people do not use. >> barbara is giving them an a grade. is that common? >> i think they are going to be excited to hear that review. i have heard a generally once people arsine va are, they are very happy with it. va care, ople are in they are very happy with it. they say, once they're in, they love the doctors. they are all highly skilled and professional group, and they are very happy. the issue has been getting that care. is a vasted, it
population seeking care. they have 1400 facilities but a huge number of people receiving health care. >> those facilities break down like this. 821 veterans' facilities, and outpatient clinics, 300 be a vet centers. there are 152 va hospitals .cross the country good karl is next. go ahead, carl. vietnam veteran. always get ani appointment for three, four, or five months. haveme progresses since i been going there, i am sure more veterans are getting into the system. is anything being done to try to improve the system so you do not have to wait to see a doctor.
>> there are a number of initiatives under way. the committees have been pressing the the a very hard to increase access -- pressing the va very hard to increase access. a directive was put down the some facilities will start offering and evening hours and weekend hours, so widening the eliminating the backlog of people, and they're waiting lines will hopefully speed up the process. >> i guess before congress and went on their easter recess, they write about senators telling shut hegel the d.e.a. backlog is simply unacceptable. a group of bipartisan senators populationn veterans
said to help address the backlog of claims. alexandria, good evening. caller: i am concerned about how we can ensure veterans who are incarcerated received the appropriate health care they need. these are complex situations and theplex injuries, person who is put in jail as a veteranwho loses his administration status. >> can you give an idea of perhaps how large the population to ours would bee veterans and incarcerated? and know we have 5000 iraq afghanistan veterans in jail right now, and there is a lag time in terms of how people are , so i cannot give you
a number. they do not offend either greater rate than the population, but veterans who do offend and end up being incarcerated are 4% to 5% more likely to have committed a violent crime and spent two and a half times more in jail and the rest of the population. >> patricia, what do you know of that? >> that is not a population i have considered. i have covered issues where veterans have ended up in federal prisons, and they are covered by a public health system that serves as federal prisons, and maybe something i need to look into as a reporter. >> our conversation is your thoughts on veterans' health care and care for returning
service members are from iraq and afghanistan. a statistic looks at how veterans plan to use their coverage.erage -- va low get those who served after 9-11, and a fairly stark difference between those who chose to use the va to supplement health care. 52% use it as their primary source. almost 30% of post-9-11 use it as a source of health care. that puts additional strain on the system. a rule that when operation entering vfreedom
veterans come home they have five years of service for conditions or injuries, and that is one reason the figures are so high. >> let's go to texas. daniel on the veterans line. you are on the air. daniel blake, and i watched the program tonight, and there is one thing they never mentioned. what they used to call cold war veterans. until 63 in the , and i was exposed to ionizing radiation. month will beis 10 years. i have travelled to hearings. ihave regional hearings, and have got a transcript of both
to join commo, and i tried every veterans' association, and they accept me, and they will kick me out because ionized radiation is something nobody wants to talk about. my united states senator, my state rep, michael burgess common and another state senator, i have called all their offices. i have got tons of mail back and the texas barnally compan association advertises to help events. the retired naval officer is an expert on military stuff, and she contacted the va, and she -- hired security clearance
higher security clearance and they do, and she told me my records are still classified. >> i am going to let you go. his case goes back quite a ways. is that common in veterans in the va? >> i would have liked to know whether his appeal, whether he had benefits to this point or whether he has never received benefits and was three engaging with an illness related to ionizing radiation. that is environmental exposure , and i amaware of commo surprised he is having those kinds of issues. he says he approached some
but ins' organizations conno, would suggest veterans who have problems with their claims go to one of the organization that helps with claims, and a few of those are disabled american veterans, the american legion, veterans for foreign wars -- paralyzed veterans of america up. they have people on standby that help assist people on claims. >> one of our recent guest was ron jones, who talked about his treatment. he had prosthetic legs and talk about life after the war and his operation. here is what he had to say. >> what is your overall feeling of the treatment you have gotten? >> the treatment has been a top notch. of surgeons were taking care me. , andurses were great commo
physical therapy has been unbelievable. i cannot say and of good things about it. >> have you hadn' other prosthetics decides what you have today? >> i have legs to ride a bike. i have legs to walk around in my room. they are short. for rowing. i have running legs. other set ofle needs that i have tried before. >> have you gotten used to this? >> probably as much as you karen. >> are their computers in your legs and? >> these particular legs have microprocessors. >> what is the service's
attitude about the future? will you be supplied legs for the rest of your life democrats i am not positive about how that works, but i am pretty sure -- will you be supplied legs for the rest of your life? >> i am not positive about how that works. i have not looked into everything i have to do, but i am pretty sure bet is how it works. >> the marine a veteran on q&a, all the program available on our website. patricia with military times, the technology has changed the future for many vets, hasn't it? >> it is pretty amazing. the va has the largest prosthetics program in the country, and it is largely responsible for advances in thethetics we have seen in past 20 years. it is on the cutting edge of
the move like blue sky walker's arm in empire strikes back. skywalker's arm in empire strikes back. they have contractor to create his arm that moves like a normal arm does. they have been testing it, and eventually it will get approval and be in the general public. lake prosthetics are incredible. -- leg prosthetics are incredible. and we have seen that in the ability to regain complete function of their limbs. >> we have several veterans ready to share their stories. we go to steve in washington. >> my name is steve.
thanks for taking this call. this is a great program. vet.a nam unit inling from an ic washington. you have any statistics on the number of vets who have been ,njured from nam, the iraq war and afghanistan? given there was agent orange exposure, they have been excellent through the years. one of your earlier callers said waiting times have gotten , soe an exceptionally long if you are using the medicare or have your own insurance you
will have a couple of months. nam vets a lot of beginning to enter the later stages of their life, and medical issues are getting higher and higher. .> two questions the number of injured and also the waiting times. >> my apologies for not knowing the number of vietnam veterans using the day care, but there have been at least 35,000 iraq and afghanistan vets who have been injured. there are some numbers but say a quarter of a million have suffered from head injuries, although 70% of those were mild head injuries, concussions, and another estimate that an additional 300,000 may have
.ymptoms of ptsd >> we have a chart from the veterans affairs. they look at veterans deaths, and they have three lines. they have the vietnam era. the world war ii era, the korean conflict, and korean and world war ii deaths are leveling off, but if you look at the art of deaths for vietnam era deaths, that begins to trail off after 2030, but we are on the upward swing of fat, and certainly injuries and the use of veterans facilities must track with that as well. go ahead. >> i retired in 2009 after 30
years of service, and in 2010 i was diagnosed with prostate cancer. va, it was an the outstanding issue. however, my question is who makes of the panel that looks at that? i joined the service of the age of 17. said, we need to come up with a service connection. if after one year i come home with prostate cancer, how is there an issue with connections, who sits on the panel determines whether an injury is service connected or not? >> that is an interesting question, and i cannot enter
that. there is a large claims and a disability system that is usually staffed bynes va -- by va staff. >> phone lines are open. we are also checking facebook and twitter. earlier we have the chance of speaking with the representatives who sits on the veterans affairs health committee in the house. to your veterans he founded the caucus. what is the goal? >> the goal is to bring awareness. i want to thank my friend who is also serving as a co-chair of this group, and it was basically to bring awareness to an issue a lot of people have not paid
attention to. i am a vietnam-era veteran. i served in and when i got out of the military, the country did not pay attention to our eterans, and it and when i present these statistics and i speak to veterans groups and other groups around the country i say, look, we understand that in 2012 we lost more soldiers to suicide than actual combat. they always think of the deaths in combat and in our neighborhoods and you hear outen the radio and you hear it when you lose a neighbor. but you don't hear about it when you lose them at their own hand. we've held several hearings, unofficial hearings to see what we can do about this. there's a bill, that will affect
two groups of people. the active duty soldiers that have never been deployed. two, they are the ones we absolutely know there's a direct correlation between the number of times you've been deemployed and the suicide rate. i have visited afghanistan on two occasions. i hope to make a third trip there as we wind down over there. the military is very aware of this. they have made some steps to look into this, a buddy program, bringing people off life, destigma sizing for people to ask for help. i think that is the problem with guys, is they we internalize, we're tough. we are out there doing a tough job so you don't ask for help when you feel like you're in trouble. that's why we did this and i
hope we're helping. >> when you look back at the involvement in iraq and afghanistan, how well do you this that the u.s. has lived up o its obligation to it returning service members? >> we'll never be where we need to be. i can't thank these people enough. men 't do enough for young and women who have dedicated their life to service their country. i came back in one piece, i had family came back too and i had no injuries to deal with. i was very lucky. many of these veterans cannot go n with their lives, and some soldiers have suffered injuries and they are amazing people. when i left, you just walked and
that was the end of it, basically. we can do more. one of the problems we've got, know there have been articles written about it and the secretary is extremely concerned, i've talked to him is the backlog of claims. he feels and i feel it is unacceptable to have 00,000 to one million claims of service was backlogged and not able to get to them this with today's technologies. that is one of the challenges we have to decrease this backlog. >> we've asked our vurers to post comments on facebook. george posted it's been six months since i've -- 16 months since i sent in my claim.
another twitter message, not enough appointments is her complaint. >> in georgia, agree with you on the sound bites. this is my third term in congress. you do get tired. the v.a. has 300,000 employees and a $400 billion budget. when i first got to the congress, it was $100 billion. the v.a.'s budget is harmed very little if any. i left the v.a. hospital just 20 minutes ago before this interview. i think if these were timely veterans -- there is no reason, i annot with a straight face can't give you a good reason. so we have to look into it. it is not acceptable right now, i agree with george. >> one more question. you're a physician. what do you think that the
veterans administration, the health service can learn from the private sector and vicer is suss? >> i think it has a very good functional electric system. we put one in my private practice. one of the differences is that the efficiency of the private sector is probably better. someone called in and needs to get seen, we get those patients in and there's a motivation for us to say we need to get you in. the v.a. tends to be slower. the cause of the bureaucracy of the system, it's so big and it a massive system, 150-something medical centers. they are slow to react to some things. once you get into the system, our v.a. here in tennessee just won a very prestigious award.
but it comes down to get people like george or nadine the benefits they have earned in a timely fashion. on now, they are lagging that front. >> thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me on. >> patricia with "military times" talk about electric record keeping. why is it so tough to marry up the system between the veterans department and the administration? >> well, they have two separate systems. the v.a. system has been around for at least 25 years. it's actually was a pioneering system for electric health records. the defense department's system is newer. the vision a few years ago was to build an entirely brand-new
system that would work and cover both departments. but that has not come to pass. and last year -- excuse me earlier this year, both the secretaries of the departments said that they have found in order to move things along quicker they are going to try to come up with technology to help the two systems work together so we can maybe speed up the claims process, which might help. >> before secretary hagel took the as defense last summer, secretary spoke on this issue. here's what he had to say. >> these departments have their own electric health record, which happened to be very good, maybe the two best health records in the country and
trying to bring that culture together to say we're going to have one. it's entirely possibly. i agree with you, it is not technology, it's leadership here. between secretary panetta and i we have in the last year, met five times -- four times. we're going to meet again in september. we're here today testifying together, i think this is a great signal to both of our departments. prior to that, i recall meeting with secretary gates four or five times. in 17 months, the two secretaries of these two largest departments have sat side by side in communication with issues like this with the intergrated health record being the primary discussion. >> let's get back to calls on veterans' health issues.
welcome to the conversation. >> thank you for giving me a time to speak. i'm a korean war veteran. i'm 81 years old. my concern is i don't think the v.a. has enough former -- enough veterans working with veterans. you've got to have somebody who understands what is going on in that person that you're trying to serve. i've lived in connecticut for a number of years and i taught personal development classes out of the rocky hill facility that linda talked about. my success was phenomenal. any class they taught filled up. but it wasn't the course contents. it was the fact that the veterans could sit and express themselves and they had a
sympathetic ear that understood. years to for seven work for the v.a. as a counselor. i told them they needed to put some round pegs in square holes. >> thanks for weighing in this evening. your comments about needing vets in the administration. >> he makes great points. that is something that the administration is starting to figure out. there are 300 vet centers, which provide counseling and family counseling and transition assistance to help veterans. many of them are now staffed with veterans. a number of hot lines are being set up and going nationwide. there's one called vets for warriors, which was set up for
reserve and guard members. it has staff veterans and serves veterans. also, the v.a. crisis line, which is the -- used to be their suicide hot line, it also is staffed with a number of veterans and they are trying to make efforts to do that. >> you mention about suicide -- that is the number one issue that the congressman mentioned when we asked him the question, the most pressing. health concern. has the veterans administration made any progress on that front? well, a report came out earlier this year that said roughly 22 veterans a day are committing suicide. in 1999, the number one 20 a day. and it seems to video stayed fairly stable but the issue with the report and the v.a. admits
that it lacks some data from states that have large v.a. populations, like texas and california. another issue is that often on the death certificate the was of death suicide doesn't appear. it is a challenge to get a handle on the problem of suicide among vet rans. but v.a. is working very hard and will probably have another report out in the next six month that may give us a better idea of the scope of the issue, which they feel that, you know, will help them develop programs to continue fighting suicides among veterans. >> checking our facebook posts. here's one from shelby who writes about his v.a. care. he says i'm a retired member and i feel i'm receiving the best of care that this nation has to
offer. employees are always caring and do whatever they can to help. to st. louis next, allen is a former p.o.w. good evening. >> hello? >> hi, you're on the air. allen make sure you mute your television and goal ahead with your comment. -- go ahead with your comment. >> i don't consider myself a veteran for several reasons. i'm -- [unintelligible] a been is anyone who has given a uniform. a exprisoner of war is someone who came back alive. in my group there was almost 10,000 in my camp and i doubt there are 50 people left today. i got to tell you something else, as a side note, we jewish boys lost our religion when we
went into service and you never heard a peep. you never heard anything about it because we did what we had to do, we got in, we got out and now all we -- i got to tell you something. i think the government and the v.a. is doing as much as they can to help veterans without questions. there's room for improvement, there's improvement for everything. veterans -- i we it to tell you something, took more than any war. anyone who puts on this -- >> you were a prisoner in world war ii? >> yes, sir i was shot down over germany, sir. and i'm jewish person.
and the guy that was integrating me, i kept my dog tags, which has an h on there we were told to throw away. i kept my prayer book that has hebrew and establish and i told the man that was interviewing me i'm jewish. >> allen, thank you for sharing your story this evening. the veteran's administration not only covers returning veterans but also prisoners of war and 50% or more of disabilities are covered. howard is a veteran. good evening. howard, you're feeding back to us. make sure you mute your television. i'm going to put you on hold. we'll come to you in a moment. wichita, kansas. don is action active service member.
>> i'm in the united states army. i just wanted to say the gentleman who called in, i do not disagree with him about having more military members and personnel involved with the v.a. i agree in a sense. but at the same time i avoid going to the v.a. because you're become a number. sometimes when people have more rank than you are intimidated and you don't speak your mind. i just celebrated 28 years of marriage and it could be different for all of us. my success before i deployed has been family. wasn't ame home, family important anywhere. i realized i was about to lose a marriage and the love and care of my kids. >> where did you serve, don? >> i served in iraq, two tours.
the sad thing is i volunteered for the second deployment because i felt like i lost something over there. i felt like i lost myself and i thought i could go back to retain that and that was a mistake. >> so you went back to address that issue? >> i did. the first deployment was because i wanted to serve my country but the second time, i think i was doing it for myself. >> the concern and i want to bring patricia into this. is there concerns that repeated deployments have -- are to cause more ptsd problems? >> i do. i think it also becomes addict i have. i have friends of mine who have volunteered and have been gone three or four years at a time because that's how long the army deploys. i want to emphasize that i pray and thankful for the v.a. to
take care of us. >> thank you for joining in the conversation this evening. what did you hear from don? >> he made interesting points about the need for civilian care. there's a definite effort to teach civilians a little bit -- a lot about the military culture so when they work for the v.a. they come out of it with some kind of understanding. that seems to be two different camps of veterans. some that don't want to talk to somebody who hasn't been there and done that or veterans that don't want to leave and see a civilian doctor and be happy with a civilian doctor. he made an interesting point about becoming addicted to going back to combat. the adrenaline and the very high pace of operations is often blamed for behavior, risky behavior when veterans return home. because they are still trying to
capture that same energy and so that is why you see the earlier call who mentioned, some veterans may be in jail because they engage in risky behavior or they may speed or have anger management issues. those are some of the signs that they are having post-traumatic stress not fully blown post-traumatic stress disorder but trying to capture the feeling that they had that they had in combat. >> one of the veterans from iraq and afghanistan. the veterans' mission has a map looking at veterans under the age of 25, so those who could have likely served in afghanistan or iraq. the percentage of the u.s. population is .9%. in five states that is up near 2%. 1.9%, including hawaii and
alaska. we go back to howard who is a veteran. good evening. >> yes? >> go ahead. howard, you're on the air. >> i like this program so far. applied for nd i benefits that i was denied. >> why were you denied? >> i don't know why. they didn't say. >> are you considering filing an appeal? >> yes, i filed an appeal yesterday. since 19 -- i can't think right now. >> howward, where did you serve? >> i served in vietnam. medic. combat >> patricia, do you have lounge the appeals take -- how long the appeals take? how long does it take to get the
appeals considered? >> considering the backlog is quite large, the v.a.'s goal is get the claims done within 25 days but 70% of the backlog is past the 25 days. it could be quite a long time. it is not uncommon that vietnam veterans are part of this appeals and claims -- new claims process because there has been a lot of news after iraq and afghanistan of ptsd. we see the older veterans realizing that they do, you know, have some issues that they would like to have resolved. a few months ago i had a world war ii veteran call me and ask for some guidance or where he could turn from help because he had a flash back an it was his first ever. he didn't understand if he could
have ptsd. so it was interesting to talk to an 80-year-old man who promised he would talk to the vet centers and get help. >> you can read her reporting at "militarytimes.com" one of the recent articles you filed looks at a survey. the headline is new survey reveals troops drinking and drug use. a new worldwide survey shows that they are engaging in harmful behaves less than they incidents of th drug use and alcohol abuse on the decline. but troops show high rates of overall stress. reporting the highest levels of stress with the latest vices including drinking and drug use. what does the defense department do with this data?
>> this report is a survey done every three years and it really does give a snapshot of what is oing on at the troop level troops tend to be honest with it and they use it to decide where their programs are falling short or what they can do to enhance other programs. for instance, one of the recommendation in that report regarded sexual trauma within the military. the suggestion was because it looks like there's an increase of reporting by both women and men having been assaulted since being in the service. the report rec muhammeded that they focus on programs geared owards military trauma and
prosecuting those cases. one of the interesting things in that report was the issue -- regarding the issue of stigma. troops about 13% of said that they were worried if they sought professional help for mental health counseling. they were worried if that would damage their career but that figure has gone up to 1/3 of troops thinking it will damage their careers, which goes against the grain when the military has been trying to in the last three dwreers really destigmatize the process to get mental health help. >> the chairman in the senate bernie sanders spoke about that recently.
here's what he had to say. >> one of the cultural issues we're struggling with, the military is struggling with, the v.a., is the culture of the tigma. i lost an arm and a leg, guy get treatment. how do we deal with the culture that says from a military perspective and something that is not quite manley about you if you have ptsd, how do we deal with that? do you want to respond to that? >> it is challenging and it's not a problem we're going to solve overnight. as a marine sniper i was part of one of elite units in the military and it is one that cares that stigma heavily. we don't seek counseling.
like clay did after being wounded in iraq before being redeployed in afghanistan. you're often seen as a weaker link. that is a stigma we have to fight. i myself have gone to seek mental health coupsling since getting out of the military and i've worked with the v.a. and .nettish etheconnection tive. meeting es a regular where veterans can getting together. we need to get them together in their hometowns. we need goat march reens in her with sailors oakland, california where they can talk together and sharing their experiences after the military. >> that was the senate affairs committee. let's see if we can get a few more calls here.
to michigan we go. robert is a veteran waiting there. thanks for your pares. >> i tuned in late. i want to do quick comments. first of all, i've been associated with the v.a. for about 12 years. it never ceases to amaze me the ability of the people they worked with and end up taking care of me. the ability and the caring attitude. another positive thing has been the pharmacy. i'm still impressed how quickly they respond to my needs. on the negative side, and this probably can't be helped but their telephone protocol, i've waited as long as 45 minutes without them braking in and saying -- breaking in and saying someone will be with you shortly. i've been on hold and they haven't gotten the job done but overall i'm very, very pleased. >> robert in michigan.
thanks for that. >> i'm a vietnam veteran and i've been with the administration system for a year and a half. i agree with the previous caller the quality of care i received, the primary care physician, the staff is outstanding. it is on par if not better than any p.p.o. insurance that i had when i was working. the computerization of records, ordering your medications online, secured messaging to your primary physician, the mailing of medication from the pharmacy, it works so well. you just have to take the time and patience to understand it. my experience with the administration has been positive and very good. i certainly want to thank the v.a. and the staff for doing an outstanding job. >> patricia, the administration,
do they find that the centers ound larger population veterans perform better? is there any evidence to show is that that? >> other than that fact that they are extremely busy but they have the tools and the ability to serve veterans best. one of the major problems the v.a. faces it getting the health care to veterans who live in rural populations. they are exploring ways to get men tell health counseling to them and they have pilot programs where they would not be providing the care but they will contract with private providers to get the care. sometimes veterans have to travel up to 400 miles to get care for their service connected disability. the goal is to perhaps get them care closer to home. >> we've heard mostly from men this evening in terms of
veterans. certainly in iraq and afghanistan, more than ever women were in combat or near combat roles. here's a look at the increasing population of female veterans. this chart sees the population soaring. is there particular issues that faceface returning females? >> there are definitely a number of issues facing -- from the a point of view, providing health care into a population, they traditionally have not serve and standing up gynecology, being able to provide physicals. and also just changing the entire culture to not automatically assume that when you call somebody a soldier, it is not a man. the a has made a concerted
effort to educate its personnel to address lemon issues. on the flip side, a lot of women are reluctant to go to the be a because they do not feel like they would connect and get the care, but, again, and there are some barriers. child care, a lot of women have young children and do not have a place to release their child when they get an appointment. toin, there is initiative provide some help to those service members and providing child care and special clinics, and places where they feel more comfortable getting care. >> it looks like we have three veterans coming on line. let's get through these calls quickly. let's go to missouri.
>> hello. isant to say the va hospital one of the finest you can run into. i would also like to ask the cancer and had congestive heart failure. for the last five years, i have been trying to get the benefits all straightened out. what i have run into is the cancer back the second time when the radiation came back the third time, we do not know what we would do. i just wondered if they are waiting for veterans to die, to help not have the problem? a common thing i hear said quite a bit, but is there any truth in it? i could not answer that
question. the leaders in the be a duke appeared to care very deeply about veterans. a lot of top leaders are veterans. a large bureaucracy, that in order to change, to be able to reach all the veterans, they have to change their bureaucracy and that is what they face. >> we talk about female veterans. let's hear from when calling from alabama. hello. a slow. >> hello. i want to make a statement about veterans, before they get out. you do benefits before discharge. you do that prior to medical discharge from the military.
i received a traumatic brain injury. i was discharged because i was caesar -- seizure-free for six months. out, i got outot in april, 11 -- about 11, and i did not receive any benefits -- 2011, and i did not receive any benefits until 11 months later. the only way i was able to get in there for doctor -- a doctors appointment was because i e- mailed president obama online. they sent the information back saying i could not get care. that was me not being able to get care. that is just not acceptable. i am a single mother. >> where did you serve? >> i did two tours in iraq.
i did 12 months and the second time i did 15 months. >> one more call. al is in victor, new york. >> i am a korean veteran. after i got out of the surface, it was a couple years before i needed information on my military service. i road to st. louis and they therned my call and said plant burned down with all my records. i had no records but an honorable discharge. and something in my wallet that was worn out after 50 years. what recourse do i have? true there is a major fire that destroyed many service records of service members. i would strongly suggest calling the disabled american
veterans, american legion's, vfw, and find out, talk to their toerts on this issue and how apply for benefits. >> joining us here at c-span, patricia kime. you can follow her reporting. thank you for being with us this evening. >> thank you. >> thank you for all your calls this evening. a reminder, too, that you can continue the conversation on mine. poster comments and thoughts to facebook.com. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] ,> coming up today on c-span footage from today talking about the federal budget and the national debt. then, remarks from
remarksyellen -- from janet yellen. veterans affairs. on the next "washington journal convention,baptist ethics, and religious liberty convention discusses the role of religion in public politics. a look at how progressive values are featured in political ballot -- battles, from immigration to gun control. and cynthia from the cdc national center for health statistics. look at the american diet and the obesity and diabetes rate. washington journal is live at 78 -- "washed control" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-
span. >> my husband believes this and my husband at the kids that. advocates that. she herself was doing the pitch. opponents husband's said she hopes of james or ever elected president, she would be like a normal woman. she said, if james and i are ever elected, i will not make butter. >> monday night, one of the most political -- politically active and influential first lady's -- first ladies. at 9:00day night eastern. >> an assessment of the federal
deficit, national debt, and the long-term stability of the u.s. economy. they spoke at a conference held at george washington university. this is one hour and 10 minutes. >> welcome. thank you for being here today. when we name this panel month because -- months ago, we called the new austerity, thinking the nation would be in the midst of major discussions about austerity and probably a lot further along than we now see that we are. we knew we had a debt problem. the nation knows we have a debt problem. the question is, what do we do with that and who feels the pain? we seem to be caught there in who feels the pain. the public is adamantly have to do something with that debt.
i don't know about you, but i write about the economy and the market that i get the mails from people constantly screaming we have to do something about the debt. are of these people hoarding gold because they figure a disaster is coming. but then you get to the questions that you have seen in some of the polling -- people believe we have to do something about the debt, but then you get to the specifics like medicare, social security and people say no way. i talked to someone at a town hall about the debt and about what government should do about it. one very angry man who is retired stood up and said you keep the government out of my medicare. [laughter] that's where we are. mix into this the fact that we are in fragile times. one in four people in their 20s and 30s lost jobs and their pay cuts that 11% if they got rehired.
or one in six people lost jobs and took pay cuts of 23% to get new jobs. people are worried, they're worried about their investments, they're worried about their retirement. half of the people that saved for their retirement. we are fragile and we are touchy about what to do that during the debt, yet we know we have to do it. to help us understand what we need to do and how we need to do it and what the implications might be, we have a fabulous panel. people who know the nation's budget inside and out and the politics. first, i would like to introduce david stockman. those of you who were around during the reagan administration know his name
well. he was the person who talked about supply-side economics or trickle down. with time, he became the little disenchanted with what happened with that and he will probably speak about that today. but he has been a politician, a businessman, after leaving government, he was at solomon brothers and blackstone group. at one time, he served as a u.s. representative in michigan. for his insights into the budget, he was the director of the office of management and budget from 1981 to 1985. he has written three books and the latest book which i am reading and is a fascinating read is at the great deformation, the corruption of capitalism in america. also with us today is david walker, again, a person he knows washington inside and out and the budget process inside and out. now he is the founder and ceo of come back america initiatives. he is talking about the debt problem and what needs to be done with it.
prior to this position, he was doing much the same thing as the head of the peter peterson foundation. david was the comptroller general of the u.s. as head of the u.s. government accountability office for 10 years, 1998 to 2008. he served under three different presidents for a total of 15 years. is latest of three books "comeback america -- turning the country around and restoring fiscal responsibility. please join me in welcoming our wonderful panel. [applause] david stockman.
>> a moment ago, she set a lot of people are looking for an explanation, particularly journalists, of of what has happened since we had the crisis in 2008 and a massive stimulus programs. wallig deficits and as street been fixed for not? i want to tell you that i have the answer to all of that. it is a 7 page book -- a 700 page book called "the great deformation." it started in the 1930's, '40's, '50's and so forth.
i also have to confess i'm not a real offer -- and not a real offer. according to some, i do rants and gold buggery, but i'm not real author. i plead guilty to being politically incorrect and i'm going to have a debate with my friend here. how do you know you are politically incorrect? the answer is professor paul krugman told me so. he recently suggested the summary of my book that appeared in the week in low -- the week in review in "new york times" entitled "sundown in america" about how the state is going to damage our economy is the work of a cranky old man.
there must be allowed of cranky old men in america because after the release on monday about all that ails us, this went to no. 5 on the amazon list. what was in front of it was three books on a diet and one book, which is a novel called "the walking dead." i was proud to say i was ahead of the book behind me, which is a cookbook. i feel like i'm in the right the zip code in this whole thing because i believe we're going to have a massive national diet if we are ever going to get out of the mess we are and. that we have been cooking the books for a long time fiscally and in the monetary system. this is all bubbles, it's not real, it is going to go down like the last two. if we don't wake up to the fact that all of this is artificial as a result of bad fiscal policy of a central bank that is out of control, a rhode a central bank that is one of many around the world, we're going to have some horrible things to deal with the morning after when it happens. the book deals with many topics, but i want it to their relevant to our discussion today. one of them i call the fiscal
doomsday machine. that's what i think about the budget. the second, i call the serial bubble machine, which is what i think about the fed. the two are highly interactive. the point i would make, and there's a lot of history that goes back into this in the book is that when you get to the point where the central bank is so managed and manipulated, the whole financial market, the entire financial system, minimarkets, that markets, and all risk asset markets, none of the prices in the financial markets mean anything. they are not price discovery in the old free-market cents, cash flows, what is your contract say -- none of that is extant anymore. it has all been crushed, destroyed, and killed by a central bank that is printing money so rapidly that puts so many puts it under the market, that greenspan put, the bernanke put, all of the rest,
let the markets are doing today is simply -- it is the work of a huge casino of players who are essentially front running the fed, pricing every word, every nuance, every smoke signal that comes out of their statements every month and in between, pricing throughout arbitrage exchange that they're pumping to the system at about $85 billion a day. none of this is sustainable. all of it would have been considered looney staff as recently as 1988. but we are so caught up in trying to desperately keep the bubble alive that we have allowed a group of people who run the fed, 12 people basically running the u.s. economy, every inch and aspect of the financial markets, that has spread to the whole world. it is a race to the bottom to see you can destroy their financial system faster. last night, japan weighed in with truly insane stuff. they are going to double their monetary base in two years.
why do i mention this? greatly does it imply hazard for the economy going forward, not only does it suggest the market is level at this moment, that's exactly 1% different from where it was 4750 days ago, march 2000. we have been here three times. the bubble has been inflated three times. the dot com bubble burst. greenspan panic and gently and pushed the interest rate almost instantly down to 1% and began to inflate the next bubble. millions of innocent americans got sucked in deeper than they could afford to be on mortgages. we ended up with the subprime disaster which was funded by wall street, which was funded by the cheap money the fed had made available to the so-called investment bank's. that bubble got inflated so that the s&p 500 was back to today's point in october, 2007. then the gate -- and that great crash came and then we have ben bernanke back with the greatest
bubble machine in history immediately telling the people to get back into the market, it's ok, ride my bubble again, you can trust me. i find it crazy. in the six weeks after lehman brothers went down. and it should have gone down, it was a house of speculation. after a went down, the fed printed more money and expand its balance sheet. more than it had done in the first 94 years. in other words, the balance sheet on the eve of lehman brothers bolling was $91 billion. -- 900 billion. 13 weeks later, it was $2.3 trillion. now it is 3.2 and it's going up 85 a month and there's nothing in history that says this makes any sense whatsoever.
none of this massive printing in bond buying has gone in. it has basically circulated internally within the candles -- the canyons of wall street. it has ended up as excess reserves at the federal reserve and what it does is keep the carry trade alive and well. by that, i mean you buy a billion dollars worth of government 10-year bonds at 1.8%. a paltry yields that makes no sense.
no investor in his right mind will buy that and he might have to pay taxes and there might be some risk even if they call it a treasury. but why are they buying it hand over fist? frontswer is they are running the fed. we are going to keep the price of this bond up. you can count on it. we are putting a floor under it. on the other hand, the million -- the minute they buy that
bonn, they go across the street and put it up as collateral, cafaro $980 billion to fund the billion they just bought that's going to yield 180 basis points, capture the spread, laugh all the way to the bank, we sleep like a baby at night because uncle ben that i'm going to keep the funding at 10 basis for the next two or three years so you don't have to worry about that and i'm not going to let the bond fall.
this is the closest thing to legal theory that has been created in a long time. it leads to a totally artificial market in which the treasury yield is simply being created by a fed that is way beyond the end of its scheme that has painted itself into a corner and there's not stop buying bonds because it does, then the yield might start going up and the price of the bond will fall even a little bit. carryst money and the trade will unwind immediately because the spread is what they're living on if the price of the bond fault of leverage of 98%, the arbitrage is
destroyed, they will lose money, and they will unwind the trade and sell the bond faster than they can even be recorded by the computers. therefore, we are all hostage. we are in a massive bond bubble and we have brilliant can the and professors is telling us don't worry about the debt -- brilliant keynesian professors telling us don't worry about the debt. notbond analysts are complaining. they love the red ink. data are registering total satisfaction because the bond yield on the 10-year is only 1.8%. that is complete disingenuous nonsense.
the reason the bond yield is 1.8% is the fed is setting it there. the reason the bond vigilante's are laughing all the way to the bank is because the spread trade that i talked about. if the fed ever stopped, the whole thing would blow and in the fiscal problem will be a nightmare none of you in this room could leave because we will be in $20 trillion in debt and when interest rates normalize -- 2% cite is the normal monetary cost today, if it goes to 5% or 6%, that is $600 billion more that has to be financed of red ink and the politicians in washington can't even come up with $100 billion. when you look at in that perspective, the great in a blur of what is going on on the
fiscal failure is the federal reserve, the rogue central bank, the bureau of 12 monetary planners who are off the deep and in monetary policy that has never been tested in human history and cannot possibly survive. therefore, i say let's look at a realistic look at where the debt is, where the deficit is, and it is not $7 trillion, it is not in a glide path down, that's just a rosy scenario taped to a forecast and i know something about rosy scenarios because i did the first one. if you do an honest view of the bumpy future we have in store for even just a cut and paste job on the last 10 years -- take the last 10 years and use it as your forecast going forward, you will get $15 trillion to $20 trillion and a total national debt of $30 trillion. you'll get 150% debt to gdp ratio and an utterly paralyzed congress. because when you are facing numbers that big, anything they're talking about today like that change cpi. it is 2% of the real problem. they will have no ability to form a political consensus, i don't care what kind of miracles you expect from states and in the two political parties. it's over. this is a fiscal doomsday machine and it will hit the wall in the next few years and don't expect anything to stop it. that's my point of view. thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> first, i agree we have an unsustainable fiscal policy. i agree we have an unstable monetary policy.
but i don't believe it's too late. brieflyf i can talk about where we have been, where we are, where we are headed, and how we compare to others and where we need to go. the truth is, the united states has strayed from the principles and values that made it great, under which it was founded, and we face a range of key sustainability to challenges that threaten our future position in the world, our future standard of living at home, and the future of domestic tranquillity in our streets. 100 years ago, the federal government was 2% of the federal economy and this year is 20%, headed to 40% absent a changing course. the federal government controlled 97% of spending, now it controls 34% of spending and declining. 1913 things happened in that fundamentally changed the
united states. it cost the federal government to grow and expand and undercut states' rights. number one, the federal income tax, number two, the federal reserve, and no. 3, the direct election of senators as opposed to being appointed by the states. those along with the tendency of the supreme court to legislate rather than just interpret laws has really expanded the federal government. if you look at the numbers, it is tough to follow trilliums, but let me give you an idea. take off those heroes. -- it is tough to follow trillions. if last year with a household that earned $24,000, it spent $35,000, it charged the $11,000
short cart -- short coming into the credit-card. if you at unfunded obligations for social security and medicare, civilian and military pensions and a few other things, it's real obligations are $720,000. that is on a $23,000 per year salary. those numbers do not work. if you use honest and comparable accounting, which i believe in, since i'm a member of the accounting hall of fame and a cpa, you have to have federal, state, local government debt to compare it to other industrialized nations, for example, europe. there is only one country that has higher debt to gdp than we do, and that is greece. and we do not want to follow their example. we have more time, but not a limited time. we have more time because we are the largest economy on earth, we are the temporary sole superpower. and we are the best looking worse in the glue factory, but we are still in the glue factory. we have to recognize the reality that you cannot spend a trillion dollars or more that taking in, charge it to credit card, a self deal in your own debt, and that's
exactly what is going on. we do not know what real interest rates are right now. they are manipulating the interest rates. the carry trade is absolutely part of the bubble that is going on. when you can borrow 10 points and buy something that's going to yield 1.8, that is a big spread it with no risk at a fair degree of certainty. that's one reason there is not a lot of lending going on. you don't need to make it any risk and you can make 170 basis points by doing absolutely nothing. when the government and the up bailing out the financial institutions, it did not add appropriate conditions and safeguards. it has not made the kinds of reforms it needs to do. once the institutions pay the government back, at very low interest rates, i might add, the government has no more levered job anymore. so what do we need to do? first, we have to recognize we're going to solve this fiscal problem. goingly question is are to solve it prudently, preemptively, before we have a debt crisis, which would be a dramatic increase in interest rates -- for every one%, 100 basis points, to $165 billion per year in interest, in which you get nothing.
we are about 400 basis points below historical average. that is a lot of nothing. are we going to solve this prettily, preemptively, a phased in over time, or are we going to wait until we have a crisis at the doorstep? we will have a global crisis. no one has talked to more americans are on the country than i have. students, business and community leaders, etc. -- people are ahead of the politicians. they are concerned about the deficit and debt. when you see the polls, don't touch my medicare, don't touch my taxes -- those polls are grossly misleading. when you have a problem of the magnitude that we have, you need to build the burning platform. you need to help people understand how serious the problem is and if we do not solve the problem, it threatens our future position in the world, our future standard at
home, in the future domestic tranquillity in the streets. we are mortgaging the kids -- the future of our kids at record rates while reducing their future when they are going to face tougher competition and aid interconnected global marketplace. it is irresponsible, unethical, and immoral. at -- you must paint the burning platform. after you do that, people will be willing to do things they were not willing to do previously. what the expect people to say it do you want to pay higher taxes? what if we give you less of a subsidy for medicare? what do you expect people to say? everybody would like to have their cake and eat it, too. we can solve the problem. i did a 10,000-mile fiscal bus
tour. i had two special events where we included a demographically representative group of voters in ohio and virginia. we built the burning platform. they got it. we exposed them to a range of reforms and budget controls, social security, health care, defense, taxes, political reforms. here is what we got back. 97% said putting our finances in order should be a top priority. 8% had confidence that progress would be made this year. i hope they are wrong. 85% said it would take a combination of spending reductions. 92% agreed on a set of six principles and values to guide a grand bargain, which came up with. then we had a minimum of 77% of the 90% support for specific reforms.
what is the problem? the problem is the biggest deficit this country has -- a leadership deficit. we do not have leadership. our political system as a republic is not responsible because of gerrymandering, because of the impact on the wingnuts on the right and left on primaries, because of campaign finance reform, and a lack of term limits. we will have to defuse this ticking time bomb. but congress and the president had failed to deal with this issue and because the president and congress decades ago changed the fed's mission to require it to be concerned with short-term unemployment, which politicized the fed.
when we get a grand bargain and we implement this in phases, then the fed needs to change course and we need to get rid of the fed having to be concerned with short-term unemployment. that is not its job. thank you very much. >> a lot of agreement there, especially when you say that one of our biggest deficits is a leadership deficit. total agreement. i want you to ask your
questions, but before we move on, i am dying to ask david stockman question related to looking back. we will move on to the debt. in his book, he mentions that never thought we were in any danger of the great depression when we had a major bailout, but supposedly from going into a great depression during the financial crisis, and before we move on, david, i have to get what you are thinking. >> this is important, because the craziness that went on in september of 2008 was based on the theory of great depression
2.0, which i call the economic equivalent of wmd. most economists never would have expected that, but the one great scholar of the great depression and who has his wrong becausely he xeroxed it from milton friedman, who was totally wrong 1930 what the fed did in theened to be chairman of fed. he panicked and he happened to go around in the circles of government muttering great
depression 2.0, we cannot make the same mistake that the fed made in 1931, which was not a mistake, and they did not have to avoid it. soon you have hank paulson running around, who has a five- minute attention span, a highly unstable, emotional -- who fans the flames of -- and this is true -- read his own memoirs -- pretty soon the two of them had created a panic in the beltway that led to the stupid thing called tarp in march and sent to the congress up the hill instantly for $700 billion without reading the legislation. what kind of nonsense is that? there are both people like david and me, pete domenici, who in a flash had everything they had done in their whole life wiped out by the panic reaction of paulson. you think i am on paulson's case for good reason? yes, i am. there was not a great depression in store. it happened in 1930 because we just got through the great war. the 1920's the u.s. had lent a
lot of money to buy our exports. we were the china of the 1920's. when the stock market crash, thebond market, which were equivalent of junk bonds today, went from 100 cents on the dollar to 10 cents. our export machine shut down instantly. we were a bigger exporter and predator than china was today, and as a result the export machine faltered, capital spending dropped by 82% in less than a year and a half, inventories were liquidated massively because the market was dry, capital spending stopped, and that had nothing to do with the fed. it was not a lack of money supply. that is i think a totally erroneous heretical historical argument.
today we are not anything like that. the hoover bills were in the interior of china when the great crash occurred in 2008. we did not have much of an industrial economy left. there was not going to be a big liquidation of industrial inventory, activity, and jobs. we had a one-time shift due to the housing collapse in terms of employment and economic activity that lasted about nine months. it was a deep recession, but it was not depression 2.0. all of this crazy stimulus, this wall street bailout and pumping was against a phantom problem. it was a cover story so that the goldman-ites running at the treasury could bail out goldman sachs, because this was going want to spread to the rest of the economy. the main street banks were solvent. they did not have all the stocks it took on their balance sheet. the run on the bank was entirely in the wholesale money market, in the canyons of wall street,
on the so-called investment banks, which were hedge funds. it would have burned out there. they should have let it happen. the world would have no worse off with our without goldman because it would have been reorganized. they would not be faulted the same speculative activity that they are today as they were in 2008. their stock is back to $124, $250, whatever it is today. it should have been zero. the discipline was imposed, as a result, we have 12 people running the u.s. economy crushing savers, telling people -- we had the president of the fed yesterday in boston saying we are trying to drive savers into high-risk investments. to put it in plain english, they're telling granny she has to get out of her savings
account, which is making 40 basis points, she cannot live on that anyway, and get into a junk bond fund or buy the russell 2000 because the wise men who sit on the monetary politburo think the saver should be in the junk-bond market needing to levitate. what we have got is a coup d'etat in this country. it is undemocratically run by a group of mandarins and elitists at the fed who are getting us into big trouble. this is not a debate about whether they are easy or not easy enough. this is about a rogue institution that will take everything down. >> david walker, when i talk to david, i think we should end this right now because this is disaster going nowhere. do you have a vision of what the timing and the sequencing could be that could be productive, that could take us out of this without a great depression or some major economic disaster? >> david is talking about monetary policy and the federal reserve, and i share concerns he has there. let me talk about fiscal,
because as i said before, tax and spending, right now the fed is the only game in town. they're trying to prop up the economy, the housing market, a lot of people, including u.s. government. realistically, they will continue to do what they are doing rightly or wrongly until there is a grand bargain. what will it take? if you look at what has been done so far, they have been treating the symptoms, not the disease. for example, if you look at what happened at the end of the year, we raised taxes on people making over $400,000 a year, couples over $450,000, raised capital gains and dividends for people, did not transform the tax at all. we have an abomination of a tax system. the fact is we need to streamline our tax code in a lot of ways, which i am happy to get into. what did they do with the sequester? yes, we need to cut defense spending and other non-defense discretionary spending, but not any steep across-the-board approach. what are they not doing? they are not addressing medicare, medicaid, social security, $1.1 trillion in tax
preferences that represent back-door spending that are not in the financial statements, that are not reviewed and reauthorized. they are not dealing with the drivers of our structural problem, which are mandatory spending and our outdated tax system. health care is the fastest growing program cost, but the biggest risk the budget is interest costs. in interest, you get nothing for whatever you are paying for
interest. i believe what has to happen is we need to reach a grand bargain and focus not on balancing the budget -- which will not balance the budget. the way that government calculates it is a bad joke anyway. what we need to focus on is more difficult to manipulate, debt to gdp. over world war ii, we had 100% of debt to gdp. we took it to about 30%. we did not pay off the dime of that until 1980. we had fiscal discipline.
we grew the economy. we lost our way. since 2003, and that is the year that thing spun out of control, we have to focus of not paying off the debt, not balance the budget, getting back to gdp down. we need to recapture control of the budget. you cannot have 2/3 of the budget on autopilot and growing. shouldy two things that not have an annual limit, one that you cannot have an annual limit on, which is interest. the other is i think we can reform social security to make
it solvent. we know the numbers, and you do not have to have a budget. everything else, you have to have a budget, including health care. we are the only nation that does not have a budget for health care. nobody else is stupid enough to do that. we need to recapture control of the budget. onneed to spend more investment and young people and less on seniors and consumption. we need to phase in a lot of the changes dealing with social security and medicare over time, but that is ok, we can get the miracle of compounding to work for us. we need to talk about who is eligible, you need to reform your tax system and generate more revenues, and i am happy to get into details, and they are not doing that.
what they are doing is they are claiming they are doing a lot when in reality they are doing nothing. what is today, april 5? the president was supposed to submit a budget the first monday in february. he still has not submitted a budget. leading from behind again. it is unbelievable. >> let's hear from you. what are your questions? identify yourself and fire away. >> i am a political independent and have been since 1997. >> i'm a defrocked republican. >> david stockman goes after virtually every politician in every party in his book. >> i am from cnn money, and i'd want to say that sunday was probably the nicest day of the year. i wake up, first thing i read was david stockman's piece and it ruined my day, so thank you very much. understand is, i your point that we were not at risk of a great depression. but given the experience we are seeing in europe, which has pursued a different approach to the crisis than the united states did, my question is, how much short-term pain is acceptable? if you accept it all, the
adjustment process, if we were not at a great risk for depression, if there was a short-term adjustment that would have inflicted how higher unemployment? >> that goes to the issue of austerity. you can listen to the keynesian professors. i am saying austerity is not an elective course. it is something that happens to you when you are broke. the reason they have got to austerity in spain and italy and greece and the rest of the periphery is the bond market finally said we will not buy any more of your paper at a rate than one that goes higher and higher with each new issue. their end to austerity is spreading to the rest of the continent. france is a disaster. retail activity is collapsing. unemployment is above 12%, and their economy is next in line. soon, germany will be the only sovereign nation standing, and that is because they have been exporting to all the other countries buying their goods. that system will not work. when you ask a question -- and i say that by way of preface --
but would have happened here? we would have had an austerity, but it was something that we would have to go through any way, and i think that sooner we go through that, the better off we are going to be. i think that i have two points that will be important. everything the fed did had nothing to do with the unemployment rate being 11.1% or anything else. none of the money the fed created ever went into the main street for the next nine to 20 months after the crisis occurred. it simply stayed in the canyons of wall street, circulated back to the excess reserves on the balance sheet of the fed, kept the money market rate at 0%, and rekindled the fast money belief that the fed has got to put back in, and that is the only thing that happened. a recovery on wall street, none of this money went into main
street. main street is so loaded with debt from the last 30 or 40 years that households did not need to borrow, should not have, and most of them did want to borrow, and the banks did not want to lend because there were very few solvent borrowers left. business, the same way. business has $12 trillion in debt. this is compared to $3.5 trillion in 1994. the easy money would elicit credit growth -- the idea did not work because the economy was overloaded with debt to begin with. it was totally a pointless exercise. the fiscal stimulus helped some people, but most of it was a waste. only $30 billion of the $800 billion went to programs where it should have gone, food stamps, card income tax credit, and other programs to help people. my point is when the crisis comes, you bolster the safety net. you put money into helping the desperately poor or people who are thrown into the street or who lose their job or who have
no other way of making it, but you do not put the money into green energy boondoggles so some elon musk character can try to create an electric vehicle that he sells for $100,000 with $500 million of taxpayer money when there are so many damn car companies in the world, we do not need elon musk telling us he is going to start another car company and sell us selected vehicles that do not make sense for $100,000, rich people's toys. we could have done half of what they did in the stimulus, the money in the safety net,
the only thing the government should do as we work to austerity, and begin to get our fiscally, let the private economy heal. shut down these madmen at the fed. let washington focus on the dollars and cents of its revenue and spending accounts, the safety net, put the money we have to spend there and get out of all the rest of it, get out of the bailout business, and it means test social security so we can cut the cost dramatically and use it to help people that are actually in need.
>> question back here. >> you are not a fan of the and you do not believe they are helping the job market. under your ideal scenario, what would the job market look like in this country? what would be the normal unemployment rate? should public policy either fiscal or monetary wise have any role? >> i will answer that quick. it should have no role. the unemployment rate should be what falls out of the free enterprise system if it is not manipulated or deform or distorted by government intervention. if the unemployed rate is 6% or 4%, that is the result. you say, isn't that terrible? what about people who need jobs? the answer is if we allow the marketplace to set the price of labor and we got rid of things like the minimum wage, then there would be a job for anybody that wants it, there will be a job even in the united states.
what we need to do if we want to help people and be the humanitarian is supplement what they can earn $7 an hour -- and that is what the job is -- with income tax credits or other transfer payments from the solvent and middle-class taxpayers who have an obligation to help citizens who try to help themselves and still pass a means test and are not earning enough. if we got rid of the minimum wage, if we bolster the earned income tax credit, if we told the government it is none of your damn business where the unemployment rate is, you cannot even measure it, stop mucking around, if we told the fed forget it, this mandate is ridiculous, humphrey hawkins, and let private enterprise work, the country would be a lot better off. i do not know where the official rate of unemployment really is, but we would get real growth, real jobs, real prosperity, and there is not a chance that that will ever happen. >> let me jump in, because i cannot think the fed should be in the business of being concerned with unemployment. that is not its job. it is to try to make sure we
have reasonable long-term interest rates, fight inflation, try to protect the value of the dollar. i think the country ought to be concerned with the unemployment rate, but i think this is another example of where we are treating the symptoms and not the disease. first, the way the government keeps score, unemployment is a lot higher than what they are telling you. secondly, when you spend 2 1/2 times per person what other countries spend on k-12 education and health care and get below-average results, you got a problem. the reason we have in many cases high unemployment is because we cannot compete on wages. we have to compete on innovation, productivity, etc., and get our education, immigration policy, how we are investing with regard to research and development is not conducive toward what our comparative damage is. we have not moved to the new paradigm to recognize we're not over 50% of global economy, we are 22%, losing market share, and we need to recognize the new reality.
we have not moved to the new paradigm to recognize we're not over 50% of global economy, we are 22%, losing market share, and we need to recognize the new reality. >> can i just add, the reason i am so militant about the unemployment rate not being in policy is because it is now standard, it is the excuse for every loophole in the tax code, for almost a spending program you can think of. every one of those items becomes a jobs program, and, therefore,
that is why we have the disgrace that they've talked about before, the irs rate that is why you cannot get rid of almost anything in this huge federal bureaucracy we have today. all that is going to lead to short-term loss of jobs. that is why we are buying tanks in a world where we have no energy, and why are we doing that put because it is a jobs program. if the federal government was out of the unemployment-managing business and out of the jobs business, and the congressmen could get back to looking at fiscal accounts and seeing what makes best for the long run, where we get the revenue, where we cut the spending, how we bring it closer to balance, and as long as we have unemployment as the excuse, the crony capitalists of america, the lobbyists of k street, will be like barnacles on this fiscal doomsday machine that i have talked about, and you will not get revenue raised, spending
cuts, but because all that is happening in the name of keeping the unemployment rate slightly lower than a mismeasured one that is reported every month by d.o.l. >> of the things i learned as a student was perceptions govern. i have a perception question. let's do the way-back machine. it is october 2008, and i am a citizen of the united states and i see that all of the wall street firms have failed. they are unwinding their commercial paper, laying off their staff in thousands and tens of thousands, and a few global banks have failed. the fdic is trying to sort out the deposit insurance from the rest of the mess, but they are failing, but my guess is the dow is in vertical free-fall, and
there is zero political support for a safety net of any kind. i remember back then. what do you think the public's reaction to that perception would have been, and more important, how would that have reaction have affected what happened in the economy? >> you were directing the question to me, so i will answer. >> i would like you both to address it. >> my answer is there were three down and two to go. the investment banks were not investment banks, they were reckless hedge funds that were way over the -- >> that is not my question. >> i am going to insert. after bear stearns went down, i did not see anything went down. merrill lynch was already finished. goldman could have gone down. i know people in new york think
wall street is the greatest thing since sliced bread. goldman could have gone down, morgan stanley. the banks of europe would not go down. they have socialist governments. the banks in germany would have bailed out of deutsche bank. there was not going to be a conflagration. the main street banks in america were in good shape. wells fargo was not going to go down. the fdic could have handled it better. we have people who think they're sophisticated, who have watched this, saying this cannot happen, everybody would freak out. i do not believe it. this is the mythology that has led to the capture of policy -- >> you do not believe the -- [indiscernible] >> no.
>> [indiscernible] >> it would have burned out within weeks. the public would not have panicked, and we would have gone out to the reconstitution of whenever parts came out of the people who were chastised, learned a generational lesson, and stopped gambling on the future. if we had to have a couple weeks of national panic, so be it, because you cannot keep enabling this kind of activity. >> perceptions matter, ok, and perceptions are set by people who are in power and influence, and frankly, perceptions -- they are influenced by it. and influence by all of you, the media. there is no doubt about that. therefore, what i would say is there clearly was a perception we had a major problem. in my view, something was going to be done.
the question is, what should have been done and what lessons have we learned and what adjustments have we made to try to minimize the chance that it will happen again? the maximum leverage the government had was when it was providing financial assistance to these institutions. it did not impose a precondition on that financial assistance as it related to lending the money. it did not impose restrictions with regard to executive,. it did not end up making a number of changes with regard to fannie mae, freddie mac, things of that nature. and so in addition, you have to ask yourself, how did we get to a situation where everything happened just all the sudden? part of that is because we do not have very good foresight and insight.
this town -- u.s. government has been in existence since 1789. we do not have three things that management 101 says you need to have. we have no plan. we have no budget. and we have no performance metrics. since 1789. therefore, if we do not know what is going to happen, we just do more. we do more. we wait until things happen to us rather than trying to anticipate and look at the structural problems. i think something had to be done. i do not think there were preconditions placed on it and that we have learned enough. >> [indiscernible] that is my question -- >> it would have affected the economy, but i agree with dave, we are going to have some
austerity at some point. the question is, do we have a little bit of austerity phased in, or do we wait until the crisis the door and we have draconian austerity? i think we ought to be spending more on some investments now. i think we ought to be doing more with regard to critical infrastructure. i also think we ought to be doing less in a lot of areas that our consumption oriented and things that did not work, whether direct spending programs or tax incentives and tax preferences. >> i'm owner of the pacific coast "business times." thank you, we talked earlier this fall when i did work for "the denver post." i want to pose another hypothetical.
it is april 4, 2013. i am a small business owner. on april 15, i have my next payroll, studying very carefully your book, david stockman, it would suggest i lay off 20% of my staff or least cut my pay, everybody's pay 20%, hunker down, and prepare for the storm that is about to hit. but it is the real world. what is your advice to me? >> i think that is fair enough, and i do not suggest you lay off 20% of your staff, but i suggest that prepared can be cautious, do not take any significant risk, it yourself the leveraged. if you can generate internal cash flow for projects you believe in, where you have a customer base that you can serve, fine, but i am saying when this thing does it, the economy is going to be harmed. i do not think we're ever going to have a great depression.
what we are going to have is a long twilight of low or no or slightly negative growth, the same thing they have had in japan for the last 20 years. today we have japan trying to one-up the fed by saying they are right to print money so fast, the equivalent to $3 trillion a year in the u.s. scale of the economy. it is $900 billion in their economy. therefore, i am basically saying that the adults have no idea what they're doing, the adults of the fed, in the beltway, you are out there working hard, you have got a good business. hunker down, the careful, keep going forward, but get yourself liquid, get yourself out of that, and be prepared for a bumpy ride for a long time to come. >> do you feel the same way, david? >> i believe we can solve this
problem, and i have said that. i think the american people are willing to do what it takes to solve this problem. the biggest frustration that i have is that this town we are in is badly broken. and i think we are right to have a lot more presidential leadership, and in fairness, i think bush 43 was a total disaster on fiscal issues, and obama is a disappointment. he still does not have his budget out yet. but i take hope in the fact that the people are ahead of the politicians, and if we get leadership from president and he starts acting in a governing style instead of a campaign style and is truthful about how serious the problem is addressed to use his values approach to bring people together, and if the media recognizes that
reality and if the people start demanding for their officials that they want results, we can get some results, and we can avoid a serious problem. we have more flexibility in our labor market than in europe. a lot of time people in europe will not hire because they cannot lay off people. that is not the case in america. on the other hand, what they can do is lay off very quickly, passively in this country. we do not want to do that, so if you have a growing problem, it is prudent to recognize it and address it so we can avoid that. >> thanks. >> your last point, mr. walker, you talk about solutions. both of you have identified serious problems with the fed, particularly political decision making. given the structure of the fed, how do we reform the fed, or do you believe that we should eliminate the fed?
>> i will answer first. there is an answer that is laid out in great detail in my book. go back to the vision of the founders. carter glass is the greatest financial statesman to serve in the last century. he was the author of the federal reserve. his version was a bankers' bank. they did not have an open-market committee. -- y were not followed by allowed to buy government debt. they could not manage or micromanage the interest rate paid at a heavy discount window. if real banks who were member needed cash, they could bring good collateral, cut inventory loans, receivable loans to the window, have them examined, and if it was good quality, they could get a loan, with a penalty
interest rate above the market rate, and a market rate was set by the free market of savers in the various banking markets of the country. that is all we needed. that keeps the banking system liquid. that allows the free enterprise economy to drive how much money we need him how much liquidity we need. we did not have any central planners, we do not have any politburo appearing out at the great expense and deciding they know what is best. we go back to carter glass' bankers' bank. shut down and bench the open market committee. it is impossible for the government -- for the fed to buy back and allow only chartered, narrow banks to make loans or take deposits and make business
loans eligible for discount loans at a penalty rate, with good collateral, even is the interest rate goes to 20% in the market. that solves the fed problem. that keeps the banking system going. paid that is the original vision. the great argument of the 20th century is between friedman and carter glass, freeman was wrong when he said the fed needed to manage the economy, to make sure the money supply grows at 3%. they cannot be that. that has been proved over and over again, and it allows ambitious people to forget about the good professor told them, to be stingy with money, to buy at 3%, and begin to become the committee for the saving of the world, which is what greenspan
turned the fed into, and that is a recipe for that mess we're in today. >> reform it, don't eliminate it. >> we have time for one more question, but i hate to see people take a trip to the mike and be turned away. two last questions with quick answers. >> david stockman said there was almost a coup d'etat in this country, and he is trying to sell books, but i think he believes that. what do you think? >> david is focusing on that because he is focused on the federal reserve. it should not be in the bailout business. it needs to be reformed rather than eliminated. i believe some of the reasons it is doing what it is doing is because of the failure of the
president and congress, not just this president, but the prior president, to make progress in fiscal policy because the lack of proper planning and execution and risk management. i think we have a republic that is not representative or responsive to the public. i think we need to reform redistricting to make the purpose, to make it an independent process, to make the purpose to maximize competition consistent rather than minimize it. we need to eliminate democratic and republican primaries and the top two vote-getters are run off in the general election, finance reform, and term limits. >> hank paulson on the third
floor of the treasury building, with all the goldman-ites running around, and read his memoirs and you will say he was in constant contact with wall street. you have one call in there where blankfein calls him up and says, i am worried, they are going after morgan stanley. if they go down, i am next, you have to do something. and guess what -- the next few days these massive bailout lines were put out. morgan stanley was saved. they had $100 billion of federal money injected, and you can see it is in the report of a national crisis inquiry commission. i do not say it was a coup d'etat, a military junta.
but they were running the country. bush was clueless. he was hunkered down in the white house, and the only thing he knew was this sucker is going down. that is what he said. that was the extent of his knowledge. they had the congress buffaloed. read what some of the congressmen said. payrolls are not being met. it was all lies. it was not true. it is time the public wakes up to the fact that this is how the country is being run today. >> quick. >> i am wondering, you talked about what needs to be done. who do you think will do it, your favorites in either party? >> my view is you do not make tough transformational reforms unless the chief executive officer is leading, whoever that is.
the truth is there is only one person that is elected by all the people, and that is the president, and joe biden may tell you that he is, but let's get real. nobody else is elected by all the people. the president is the chief executive officer, has got the bully pulpit, has the ability to command media attention. he has is the only person who can get that message out there from one set of lips. he needs to end up bringing people together on principles and values, and i believe he needs to take a page out of bill clinton, what he did in 1998 to hold three representative town halls with voters finding out what the people think. they will find out that they are way ahead of these people. that will give cover for democrats to reform the social insurance, they will give cover to republicans to raise taxes. that will put us on the path. the question is, will he do it? >> no.
>> that was a quick answer. thank you very much, david stockman and david walker, for being with us today. [applause] [captioning performed bynational captioning institute] [captions copyright nationalcable satellite corp. 2013] >> more from the conference. in a moment, janet yellin talks about the 2810 -- 2008 financial crisis and challenges facing the fed trying to stabilize the economy. >> good afternoon. my name is randy smith. i am the chair in business journalism at the university of missouri and also the past the organization
in 1992 and 1993. over the last 40 years of my career i cannot imagine a worse time as far as covering what happens in the economy than two dozen seven and 2008. i was in the industry at the time. i do not think we saw things go any further south as fast as we did at that time. to put some of that in perspective and also to look ahead a little bit, we are very lucky today to have two great guests with us. janet yellen, the vice chair of the board of governors of the federal reserve and all land sloan who is a senior editorer at "fortune" magazine. he is also a seven time winner of the award. janet has a long and distinguished career and this is in your program. she was the c.e.o. of the chair under president clinton.
i'm going turn it over to alan. our time is short to make a few remark then we'll hear from janet. thank you very much. >> thank you, randy. when you said two distinguished, i looked around because i figured someone else had to be up here. there is one aspect of janet's bio that is not in there and i'm furious. it turns out she and i are both from brooklyn, new york. [applause] it turns out -- yes. it turns out we both had speech therapy for accents. [laughter] it turns out these therapists are 0-2. since she and i are here it is brooklyn's revenge on the world. i'm hoping you will be nice to
her because when she gets up here, she's our guest. -- anyone yells or quayry carries on, i will cut you off at the knees. i will not be polite. this is proof that you can take the woman out of brooklyn but not the woman out of -- brooklyn out of the woman. >> thank you. i lived in california and it has not made a difference. thank you for inviting me here and i think it is a perfect opportunity to speak on to topic to promote a stronger economy. the vital rule in growing use of communication in monetary policy. some of you covered the federal
reserve and are familiar with how it sits monetary policy to the federal open market committee. you know that the influence c.p. pays close attention in what it says in the statements it issues after each meeting. this is supplemented by chairman bernanke's press conferences and providing detailed minutes of the meetings. getting this message out to the public depends on the work that you do in reporting and analyzing the statements and actions and explaining its roles and objectives. i want to thank you for those contributions. let me also say while i'm particularly pleased to speak to you. all of you are consumers and producers of communication. at first glance, the fomc's
communication may not seem different from what you've heard other government agencies about what they say about their policies or what businesses say about their products. i hope to show how communication plays a distinct and special role in monetary policy. i would like to offer a comparison that may highlight that difference. suppose instead of monetary policy we were talking about an example of transportation policy. widening roads to ease traffic congestion. whether this road project is announced to the televiced press conference or in a low-key press release, or if there is no announcement. the project is more or less the same. the benefit to drivers will come after the road is widened and it
won't be affected whether drivers knew about the project years in advance. at the heart of everything, i will be explaining today that the fact that mon tear policy is different. -- monetary policy is different. it depends on the critically on the public getting the message about what policy will do months or years in the future. to develop this idea, i will take you on a tour of past fomc communication, the present, and what i perceive to the future. until recently, most banks avoid communicating about monetary policy. the governor of the bank in england in the early 20th century repeatedly lived by the motto never explain, never excuse.
that approach was still firmly in place at the federal reserve when i went to work there as a stifle economists in 1977. i will explain how the importance of transparency shaped communication in the years before the financial crisis. next i will relate how the financial crisis brought unprecedented challenges for monetary policy that required the use holve unconventional policy tools, including the ones that were barely contemplated before the crisis. communication was the center piece of these efforts. finally, i will look ahead. i'm encouraged by signs that the economy is improving and healing from the trauma of the crisis. i expected at some point the fomc will return to a normal approach to monetary policy.
i will discuss the communications challenges that the -- they will face when it comes time to make the transition. fomc has long been a topic of great interest to me. it is one that i've worked on more directly since 2010 when chairman bernanke asked me to lead a sub committee on communications. repeatly, i used the word revolution to describe the change from never explain to the current embrace of transparency in the fomc's communication. that may sound surprising to an audience what it feels like to be in the middle of a communication revolution. the speed and frequency of most communication, it seems never
stops growing. i will admit, the fomc's changes to the pace and form of communication seem pretty modest in comparison. i mentioned the quarterly press conferences, which were initiated two years ago. these events are televised and streamed live, the mode for most of the fomc's communication is decidedly old school. it is the printed word. the committee's most watched piece of communication is the written statement issued after each of its meetings, which are held roughly every six weeks. it may seem quaint that my colleagues and i continue to spend many hours laboring over the few hundred words in the statement, which are then analyzed minutes after the release. the revolution in the fomc's
communication though isn't about technology or speed. it is a revolution in our understanding on how communication can influence the effectiveness of policy. think it will help if i start with basics. the fomc consists of the seven members of the federal reserve bored in washington and five of the 12 presidents of the federal reserve banks. all 12 presidents participate in the fomc but only five get a vote. the fomc's job, which is assigned by congress, is to use monetary policy to promote maximum employment and stable prices. these objectives together are known as the federal reserve's dual mandate. in normal times the committee
pursues the goal business influencing the level of a short-term interest rate. that's what banks charge each other for overnight loans. when the fomc pushing the funds rate up or down other short-term interest rates move in tandem. medium and longer term interest rates, including auto loan rates and mortgage ratings adjust also to a mechanism i will return to in a minute. by pushing the federal fundings rate up or down, the fomc seeks to influence a wide range of interest rates that matter to households and businesses. typically, the fomc works to lower the federal funds rate with the intention of reducing the rates when the economy is weakening. the fom exrrvings raises the
rate when inflation threatens to rise above its objective or when economic activity is likely to rise above sustainable levels. raising and lowering that federal funds rate was long the primary means that the fomc pursued its economic objectives. it is hard to imagine now but the federal reserve and other banks provided the public will w little information about so much monetary policy moves. the spirit of never explain was very much alive. there were different justification of that approach. one view was less disclosure would reduce the risk and lower suspiciouses -- suspicions. some believe that markets would
overreact to details about monetary policy decisions. there was a widespread belief that communicating about how the fomc might act in the future could limit the committee's discresh to change policy in -- discretionary to change the policy. the transparency was limited benefit for monetary policy. in some cases it could cause problems and make the policy -- less eon effective. ffective. while the communication increased elsewhere in society, change came slosely to the fomc. it wasn't until february 1994, that the committee issued a statement that there was a change in monetary policy.
even then it only alerted that the public that the committee changed its policy even it offered an explanation. something big was changing though. it would soon be the force driving major enhancements in the fomc's communication. by the early 1990's, a growing body of research challenged widespread assumptions about how central banks, such as the federal reserve affected the economy. that reevaluation starts with a question that puzzled many of my students when i was a professor. how is it that the federal reserve manages to move a vast economy just by raising or lowering the interest rate on overnight loans by .25%.
the question arises because significant spending decembers. -- decisions -- the exexpanding of business, buying a house, or deciding on how much to spend on consumer goods over a year. those depend on employment and other conditions over a longer term as well as longer term interest rates. the crucial insight of that research was that what happens to the federal funds rate today or over the six weeks until the next fomc meeting is relatively unimportant. what is important is the public's expectations of how the fomc will use the funds rate to influence economic conditions over the next few years. for this reason, the federal reserve's ability to influence
economic conditions today depends on its ability to shape expectations of the future. specifically, by helping the public understand how it intended to conduct policy overtime and what the likely implications of those actions will be for economic conditions. to return to the example i used earlier, contrast this effect on expectations with that of a road project. today's commute will not be improved or changed at all by the news that a road will be widened one day. but the effects of today's monetary policy actions are largely due to the effects it has on expectations about how policy will be set over the medium term. let me further illustrate with this with some history.
starting in the mid-1960's the federal reserve didn't act forcefully in the face of rigse inflation. the public grew less certain of the federal reserve's ability to fight inflation. this uncertainty led futures of inflation to become unanchored and more likely to react to economic developments. in 1973, an oil price shock led to a large increase in overall inflation. expectations of high erin inflation in the future -- higher inflation affected areas. businesses acted in anticipation of higher costs. all that fueled actual inflation. the fomc's efforts to reduce inflation in the 1970's were ineffective partly due to
expectations that it would not do enough. by contrast, you probably know about the federal reserve's successful inflation fighting in the early 1980's. the fomc raised the federal funds rate very high, causing a deep recession. but also convincing the public that it was committed to low and stable inflation. anchoring inflation expectations at low levels helped to ensure that the jumps in commodity prices or other supply shocks would not generate persistent inflation problems. this was illustrated by the effect of another acceleration of oil prices that started in 2005. unlike the 1970's, these price shocks did not result in an increase in overall inflation.
that is because the public believed that the federal reserve would keep inflation in check. the fomc wasn't forced to raise interest rates. that softened the blow on huer households and -- householders and businesses. it wasn't necessary because of the credibility that the federal reserve built in the 1980's. you might wonder how monetary policy had any effect prior to the revolution. as it turns out, with a notable exception of the late 1960's and 1970's, the fomc usually responded in a systemic way to economy conditions. in 1993, the economist, john taylor, documented that the fomc
policy changes since the mid 1980's reliably followed based on inflation and output. changes in the federal funds rate was usually made in small steps over a number of months. in practice, the federal reserve's approach was never explained but behaved predictably. a close analysis of the fomc's past behavior was a good guide to future policy. it had two shortcomings as a substitute for transparent. it gave an advantage to sophisticated players who studied the ffomc's behavior, which is inappropriate for a government institution.
second, as the policy rule explained the federal funds rate much of the time, there were cases when it didn't. even when the experts failed to correctly anticipate the fomc's actions. the trend toward greater tans parentcy accelerated in early 2000's. they issued statements after every meeting about the economic outlook and it provide an assessment to the balance and risks to the economy and whether it was leaning to increasing or decreasing the federal fund's rate in the future. such information about intentions and expectations of the future, which is known as forward guidance became crucial in 2003 when the committee was faced with a weak recovery from
the 2001 recession. it cut the federal funds to the very low level of 1% but unemployment remained elevated. the fomc sought some further way to stimulate the economy. in this situation, it told the public that it intended to keep the federal funds rate low for longer than might have been expected. by adding to its statement the words "in these circumstances the committee believes that policy accommodation can many b cons maintained for a iderable period." let's pause and note what this moment represented. for the first time the committee
was using communication, mere words as its primary monetary policy tool. until then it was probably common to think of communication about future policy as something that supplemented the federal funds rate. but in this case, communication was an independent and i believe effective tool for influencing the economy. the fomc had journeyed from never explain to a point where sometimes the explanation is the policy. by the eve of the recent financial crisis, it was established that the fomc could not rely on its record of systemic behavior as a substitute for communication. special under unusual circumstances for which history had little to teach. i think we're all fortunate that policymakers learned this lesson
because the fomc was about to encounter unprecedented economic conditions and policy challenges. the financial crisis and its aftermath demands advances in fomc's communication as great as what had come before. the situation in 2008 and 2009 was like nothing the federal reserve had faced since the 1930's. in late 2008, the fomc cut the federal funds rate nearly to zero. ascertainly as low as it could go and where it has remained. with its traditional tool of expangary monetary policy luring the funds rate off the table, the fomc turned to newly invented policy options to try both to help stabilize the
financial system and to lower the risk in economic activity. the public grew accustomed to the federal funds rate. with occasional, at this point limited guidance to a particular policy stance would probably last for a while. beyond the task of describing the new policies, extensive new communication was needed to justify these unconventional policy actions. and to connect them to the federal reserve inflation objectives. the best known of these unconventional policies is large-scale asset purchases, which is commonly known as quantitative easing. in late 2008 and continuing through today, the federal reserve has purchased longer term government debt securities,
agency guarantee mortgage backed security and longer term treasury securities that totaled to $2.5 trillion to our assets. these purchases were intended to, i believe have succeeded in lowering interest rates and raising asset prices to help further the federal reserve's economic objectives. this is an easing of monetary policy also known as accommodation beyond what ask provided by maintaining the federal funds rate close to zero. but it is important to emphasize that the effects of asset purchases also depend on expectations. if the fomc bought $10 billion in longer terms security today but is expected to sell them
tomorrow or very shortly, there will be little effect on the economy. current research suggests that the effects of the asset purchases depend on expectations of total value of securities that the fomc intends to buy and the expectations that the fomc intends to hold those securities. to make these asset purchases effective as possible and adding accommodation, the fomc therefore needs to communicate the intended path of the federal reserve security holdings years into the future. i'm going return in a moment to current and possible future ways in which the fomc does and might communicate such information. the other unconventional policy
designed to contribute monetary easing was almost purely communication. it is enhanced forward guidance about how long the committee expects to maintain the federal funds rate near zero. the situation in early 2009 was similar to 2003 but, yet, more challenging. in that earlier episode the fomc at least retained some option of a further reduction in the federal funds rate target. in 2009, communication about the future path of the federal funds rate was the only option. well, initially the forward guidance was simple and familiar. the fomc's statement noted that "economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate
"or an extended period. the committee then enhanced its forward guidance in august of 2011 when it substituted at least through mid-2013 for the "ords "extended period.? this date was moved into the future several times, most reerntly last september when it was shifted to mid-2015. this calendar guidance was an advance over the indefinite extended period but it suffered from an important limitation. the date failed to provide the public with a clear understanding of what conditions the fomc was trying to achieve. what are the economic conditions that would warrant the policy? the consequences was hard for the public to tell whether a change in the calendar date reflected a shift in policy or just a change in the committee's
economic forecast. to help provide greater clarity about the committee's objectives, in january 2012, the fomc adopted and released a statement of its longer run goals and monetary policy strategy. the statement laid out for the first time the rates of inflation of unfloiment that the fomc considers -- unemployment that the fomc considers mandated. the goal most consistent with the mandate is 2%. the central tendency of fomc's participants estimates of the longer run of unemployment ranges from 5.2%-6%.
this statement also made clear economic developments may cause inflation in unemployment to temporarily move away from those objectives and the committee will use a balanced approach to return both of them over time to the longer run goals. on the one hand, for example, the current rate of unemployment at 7.7% is far above the 5.2%-6% range in the statement. it is expected to decline gradually. inflation, on the other hand, has been running at or below 2% and is expected to remain at similar levels for several years. in this circumstance, both legs of the dual mandate call for a highly accommodative monetary policy. with unemployment so far from
its normal level, i believe progress on reducing unemployment should take center stage. even if reducing unemployment might result in inflation slightly temporarily exceeding 2%. the committee reaffirmed this statement in january 2013, and i expect it to remain a valuable road map for many years to come, indicating how monetary policy will respond to changes in economic conditions. meanwhile, the fomc has continued to enhance its communication about how it would use the federal funds rate to return to inflation and unemployment to its longer run objectives. last december, the committee replaced its calendar guidance for the federal funds rate with quantitative measures of economic conditions that would warrant continuing that rate at
its current very low level. specifically, the committee said that it anticipates that exceptionally low levels to the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than 0.5% above the committee's 2% longer-term goal and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well-anchored. i considered these thresholds for possible action a major improvement in forward guidance. they provide much more information than before about the conditions that are likely to prevail when the fomc decides to raise the federal funds rate.
as for the date at which tightening of monetary policy is likely to occur, market participants, armed with this new information about the committee's reaction function, can form their own judgement and alter their expectations on timing as new information a-- accrues. these thresholds will, as a consequence, allow private sector expectations over the federal funds rate to fulfill an important automatic stabilizer function to the economy. if the recovery turns out to be stronger than expected, the public should anticipate that one or both of these threshold values will be crossed sooner, and hence that the federal funds rate could be raised earlier. conversely, if the outlook for the economy unexpectedly worsens, the public should expect a later lived off in rates -- a later lift off in rates. the threshold guidance for the
federal funds rate looks ahead to a time when the economy is healed from the worst effects of the financial crisis. getting back to more normal economic conditions will allow for a more normal approach to monetary policy, and i look forward to the day where we can put away our unconventional tools and return to what now seems like the relatively straightforward challenge of setting the federal funds rate. at some point, it will be appropriate to cease adding to accommodation and, later, to begin the process of withdrawing the significant accommodation required by the extraordinary conditions caused by the financial crisis.
i believe that once again, communication will play a central role in managing this transition. let me start with our current program of asset purchases, which was launched in september 2012 and revised in december. notably, the fomc has described this program in terms of a monthly pace of purchases rather than as a total amount of expected purchases. the committee has indicated that it will continue purchases until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in the context of price stability. in its most recent statement, the fomc also indicated that the pace and composition of the purchases may be adjusted based on the likely efficacy and cost of these purchases as well as the extent of progress toward the federal reserve's economic
objectives. in my view, adjusting the pace of asset purchases in response to the evolution of the outlook for the labor market would provide the public with information regarding the committee's intentions and should reduce the risk of misunderstanding and market disruption as the conclusion of the program draws closer. the federal reserve's ongoing asset purchases continually add to the accommodation that the federal reserve is providing to help strengthen the economy. into those purchases means that the fomc has ceased augmenting that support, not that it is withdrawing accommodation. when and how to begin actually removing the significant accommodation provided by our
large holdings of longer-term securities is a separate matter. in its march statement, the fomc reaffirmed its expectations that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the current asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery has strengthened. that means that there will likely be a substantial period after asset purchases conclude but before the fomc start removing accommodation by reducing asset holdings or raising the federal funds rate. to guide expectations concerning the process of normalizing the size and competence -- size and composition of our balance sheet, at our june 2011 meeting, the fomc laid out what it called
exit principles. in these principles, the fomc indicated that asset sales would likely follow lift off of the federal funds rate. it also noted that in order to minimize the risk of market disruption, the pace of asset billed during this process could be adjusted up or down in response to changes either in the economic outlook for financial conditions. for example, changes in the pace or timing of asset sales could be warranted by concerns over market functioning or excessive volatility in bond markets. while normalization of the federal reserve's portfolio is still in the future, the fomc is committed to clear communication about the likely path of the balance sheet. there will come a time when the
fomc begins the process of returning the federal funds rate to a more normal level. in their individual projections submitted for the march fomc meeting, 13 of the 19 fomc participants saw the first increase in the target for the federal funds rate as most likely to occur in 2015, and another expected that to occur in 2016. but of course, the course of the economy is uncertain, and the committee added the thresholds for unemployment and inflation in part to help guide the public if economic conditions or developments warrant lift off sooner or later than expected. as the time of the first increase in the federal funds rate moves closer, in my view, it will be increasingly
important for the committee to clearly communicate about how the federal funds rate target will be adjusted. i hope i have been able today to convey the vital role that communications plays in the more significant after the onset of the financial crisis when the fomc turned to unconventional policy tools that rely heavily on communication. better times and a transition away from unconventional policies may make monetary policy less reliant on communication, but i hope and i trust that the days of "never explain, never excuse" are gone for good and that the federal reserve continues to reap the benefits of clearly explaining its actions to the public. i believe further improvements in the fomc's communication are possible, and i expect they will continue, so let me stop there and thank you. it has been my privilege to share these thoughts with you, and i very much appreciate the invitation to join you today.
[applause] >> i would like to thank janet for two things -- first for showing up here and speaking in a language approaching english -- the closest i have ever heard from a fed open market committee person. and second, for saying you think prince has a future. if you can demonstrate that in the business model, we will carry out on our shoulders, and you will not have to worry about any government salary anymore. >> it is a concern we all share.
>> it is good that it is a common concern. if you look at the papers today, if you could offer, if you choose to, some sort of concise explanation for what in name is going on with the fed and this foreclosure and this whole thing with consultants -- do you want to address that at all? >> yes, let me try to do so briefly. reportthe gao issued a that criticized the fed for a flawed review of foreclosure documents. inalked about procedures monitoring firms. let me say this -- the fed undertook an independent for closure review in order to help borrowers who had been financially injured by server
certification errors -- servicer errors. they took the lead in this effort because they supervised most of the servicers that were involved. our prime objective was to get help to bar worse as quickly as we possibly could. it turned out that over 4 million borrowers were likely affected, and identifying and getting remediation to them turned out to be an immensely complex flow and costly process. initially, we believed that the review was something that would help, but once we were in the midst of it, it became clear that the review was serving actually to delay getting meaningful help to borrowers.
this is obviously a development that we were not happy with, but when we realized that, we decided that we needed to go in a different direction, and we tried to take what we thought was the best available option at that point. so we are in the process of getting money quickly to borrowers, and that should be happening within the next weeks and months. we think that that is the best option. the gao has provided some useful recommendations for how we should continue working with the few servicers that were not part of the recent settlement, and we will take those recommendations. >> if i could translate that into journalese -- always a risk -- does that mean that if you knew then what you know now you
would have done it differently? >> absolutely. totally agree. >> very simply, what would you have done differently? i promised i would be polite. i do not mean to trap you. >> perhaps, we would have taken an approach of a simpler categorization of harm, as we have done now, and sending payments more rapidly, not getting involved in detailed reviews -- >> more money, less process? >> right. the money was being eaten up by very costly reviews and money for consultants, and these reviews turned out to be commonly -- a file might be 2000 pages or more, and a review could take 10, 20, 30, 50
hours of a single file, and that turned out not to be a workable approach. >> ok, so, we can let it go. if there are any questions, good luck, and try to get a better answer from her. your definition of inflation -- that of the fed -- is not the same as we write about in the newspapers. we write about the consumer price index. you use something called -- if i can remember this -- the personal consumption expenditure index. >> pce inflator, you got it. >> thank you. if you would advise us when we
are writing our pci story to include pce, do you think that would be helpful? i keep hearing complaints from people saying, "how can the fed said there is no inflation?" the wild swings are not in the pce index. >> the first thing i want to say is that when the fed thinks about inflation and underlying inflationary pressures in the economy, we do not just monitor one single index and blind ourselves to what is going on with the others. we routinely look at the consumer price index, the pce price index, and a variety of other indices of inflation that
try and give a good sense of what the underlying inflationary pressures are of the economy. while we have defined our longer run objectives to be concrete in terms of the pce price index, we, by no means, focus solely on one number. oflook at a whole variety indices. the second thing is that over most periods, all of these indices tell the same story and give roughly the same signals about what inflationary pressures are in the economy. the cpi you focus on most of the time and the pce index really move together very closely. the cpi is produced by the labor department. it is the best-known index. the pce deflator is produced by the commerce department, and i would be happy to point you to where you can find it. >> just do not charge me too much.
>> it is free. >> thank god. >> and why did we choose the pce rather than the cpi? in point of fact, it is a more comprehensive index with what you call advantages. it covers a broader array of goods and services that the typical consumer buys than the cpi does. in particular medical health care expenditures are extremely important to consumers, and the cpi coverage is really, frankly, very limited. i think it is widely agreed that the pci does a better job of covering medicare costs that are important to typical consumers. it just so happens that over the last year, the pce index has increased about 1.3% over the last 12 months, whereas the cpi has increased about 2%. right now, at this point, there is a difference, and it partly reflects the fact that rents have been increasing, and the
cpi gives a larger rate, but this is an aberration, and by and large, these indices do not tell different stories about the economy. >> thank you. now i have learned something. i am almost at the end of my questions. it will be somebody else's turn soon. ie of the things that recognize because i am old and i saved is that the programs you had of holding down long-term interest rates could displease my profit from the bond market to the stock market, and the trope i have used to write about this 1 billion times is in order to bail out the people who were imprudent, the fed ended up having to penalize prudent people who were trying to live off their savings. we talk about this, and it is a
known problem. do you want to discuss the trade offs in that or any aspect of that? if it bothers you, which i'm sure it does. >> yes, i appreciate you raising this question. thisvery well aware that is an important and a legitimate concern for a lot of people, particularly retirees who want a safe way, who want to have bank deposits or hold cd's and the amount you can get on that is close to zero. we hear all the time, and it is natural and it is difficult, so there is no question about that. why do we do this? the reason we do it and we think it is in the best interests of the economy overall
is because we think it is a way stimulate a faster economic recovery. we think that will be good for virtually everyone in the economy, even including those who are suffering from low returns on their cd's. when you think about people, they are not just one- dimensional. there's more to their lives. most people have some investments in the stock market's or are expos in some way to the stock market's, and the policies we have been pursuing probably have been good for stock market returns -- most people have some investments in the stock market or are exposed in some way to the stock market. even retirees barrault, if it to refinance mortgage that them or to buy a new
they have children, and they have grandchildren. when they think about their children's and their families futures, what are they thinking about? i had a kid who is graduating from college and entering the job market. can my child or grandchild find a job? what about me if i want to supplement my income and work part-time? can i find a job? when people think about all the different concerns they had with the economy and all the different hats that they wear and think about what the broad set of consequences is -- yes, the low rates of return on state deposits -- that is a cost, but there are a lot of other benefits. how are we going to get interest rates back up to normal levels? when we have a normal economy. when will we had a normal economy?
aen we are able to stimulate strong enough economy to get things back to normal. >> i will not step on that exit line. that was very good. i will not even ask the rest of my questions because that is a good answer and it is getting late. it is now time for the house to ask -- just identify yourself, your organization. try not to be as long winded as i am. >> steve from fidelity investments. thanks for joining us. a couple of interesting questions were raised on the panel this morning, and i wondered if i could get your reaction.
one was that the fed's policy of cultural low rates was not effective enough stimulating the broader real economy and that it was being used to advantage mostly by institutions like banks and other players in that space -- the fed oppose a policy of -- the fed's policy of ultra low rates. i wondered if he could tell us your thoughts on that. it is either incorrect or ineffectual that the fed is mandated with two things -- stable prices and full employment -- and that the fed might be better off without the full employment mandate. can you talk about that as well? >> a great questions.
i am happy to address them. ofh respect to the impact our policies, do they have an effect on the economy -- look at what is happening in the economy? -- look at what is happening in the economy. housing is beginning to recover in a way that i think is very impressive. house prices are going up, and they are going up more than i would have expected six months ago or even nine months ago, and i think it is making a whole lot of people feel a lot better about their financial situation. of course, housing prices are down 36%, and housing activity is low, but it is beginning to rebound.
look at consumer durables, purchases of cars. they have been holding up really well, even though at the beginning of the year, we had tax increases that you would have expected to negatively impact spending. people have to borrow to buy cars. i do not have any doubt that our policies are contributing to the lowest interest rates, weather it is borrowing for a car or mortgage -- whether it is faring for a car or mortgage, we are looking at historic low interest rates. i believe that is not only caused by our policy, but our policy is contributing. that is what is going to get the economy moving. when we get more construction activity and more spending on cars and consumer durables, that creates jobs, and jobs create income, and when people have income, they feel better about their economic condition, and they spend, and that is the virtuous cycle we need to get this economy going. that is the purpose of our purchases, to get interest rates down, and i think it has been successful. ande are a lot of studies, i think the general conclusion -- while there is uncertainty about how large the effects are, they virtually all come to the conclusion that on these purchases, and he has been helpful. bankers frankly come in and complain about low interest
rates and say it is hurting them, not helping them. we could debate that, but i do not think that would be the general view you would find in the banking community. on the dual mandate, let me say this -- why should we be interested in unemployment and inflation? this is the mandate congress has given us. i am strongly supportive of it. if you ask the typical american what they care about -- do they care about inflation? absolutely. do they care about the job market and if they can find a job? absolutely. these are two things the american public i think cares deeply about. most of the time, there is not the trade-off. think of now -- we are very focused on employment. we are very far from full employment, but is there a trade off in terms of inflation?
no, inflation is running at or slightly below our target. i would say that at this point, there are many, many central banks around the world that have adopted what is called formal inflation targeting regimes, where their prime objective they have given him -- they have been given is to achieve a numerical inflation target over the medium run, but they do andat what look at their mandate, you will see that for almost every one of those central banks, they are also encouraged to use monetary policy to support economic growth and job creation to the extent that there are not serious, long lasting trade offs. if you look at the behavior of other central banks, the bank of england over the last several years would be a case in point. they are just as focused on both objectives, i would say, as we are.
practically speaking, there really is not that much difference, if any, between what the fed is doing and what the major central banks are doing. >> i think we are going to have an auction process for the last question. i think we are out of time and kevin is going to shoot us. can we go along? go along, just like football. >> among fed watchers right now, you are considered the favorite to follow ben bernanke, should he step down when his second term ends in january. if that were to happen, you would be the first woman to head the reserve in its 100-year history.
i will not ask about that because i know you will not comment, but the central banks in the world still remain an old boys' club. so does the broader economics profession, which is made up of only about 1/3 women. do we need more women to lean in to economics and into the leadership positions at central banks, and what could that mean? >> thanks for that question. yes, at the highest levels of central banking, there are very few women, but i am pleased that the representation of women is increasing a lot at other levels, at lower levels of central banking and in the financial markets and institutions more broadly. i taught in an mba program for a good share of my career, and over the 20 or 30 years that i did that, the representation of women in those programs in general and in finance increased dramatically, and we seeing women get
interested in your opinion on is why is there such a plodding pace of implementation in dodd- frank, and what are some of the institutional challenges for an organization like yours as that law is implemented? >> well, it has been an enormous challenge to implement all that is in dodd-frank. as soon as the legislation was passed, we sat down and made a list of all that we had to do to carry out what the fed's part of this was. we identified 252 separate projects. >> that is all? >> there were items like a voelker rule -- >> which nobody still understands. >> it was things like that followed by residential mortgages and other things that are really major efforts. first of all, there has been a huge agenda of work. first of all, it is complex, and we do not want to put rules into effect that have not been thoroughly thought through. we need to get input from the public, public reaction. we put out notices of proposed rulemaking for comment. we are working jointly with many other agencies here in the united states to develop these complex rules, and it often takes time to try to reach agreement. we want domestically a level playing field in terms of we all agree for different parts of the financial industry what the
rules should be, but even more challenging and very important -- the financial industry is global, and we do not want to put in effect rules in the united states that will affect our institutions and to find that there are completely different rules in other parts of the world. ideally, we would like a level playing field globally, and we do not want a set of regulations where as soon as we implement them, firms will say, "leave the united states and go off to another country because our rules are tougher -- that firms will, say, leave the united states and go off to another country because our rules are tougher. we are working constructively and actively with regulators all over the globe to see if we can move together jointly. understanday -- i when you say the process has been slow. it has been a couple of years now, but if you saw how much is going on and how much constructive dialogue is taking place and how we have got an agreement on so many important things -- enhanced capital requirements for globally active banks, reforms to derivatives, liquidity standards -- i think we are really making a lot of progress. when you ask why that could not
have been done in six months, we want to do this right and move forward jointly, and this is a great deal of what we are spending our time on. >> it will be surely done by 2015. am i wondered if you could comment on the bank of japan's aggressive monetary stimulus. do you think it will work? how does it change your view about the global economy? >> i prefer not to comment on the details of what the bank of japan announced, but i would certainly say that here is a country that suffered deflation for well over a decade and had very weak economic growth.
end deflation is something i understand. when you look at central banks in advanced countries -- the united states -- europe has a slightly different set of problems but very high unemployment -- the united kingdom with high unemployment and slow growth, japan -- we really all face a common situation where we have had disappointed economic performance, and we are all taking steps -- all of us, different packages of monetary policy steps -- to try to address that, so i think that is something completely appropriate. about a month ago, the group of seven issued a statement because these policies can have some impact on exchange rates -- issued a statement saying, "we think it is entirely appropriate for countries to use domestic policy tools to promote key domestic policy objectives like trying to achieve full employment and price stability. in that sense, i think what japan is doing is something that is in their own best interests. it is something that if
>> your speech said the 2005 growth rate did not lead to an overall increase in inflation because the public believed that the fed would keep inflation in check. what is the evidence of that, and do you think the public still has that faith in the fed? >> the evidence that people believed the fed would keep inflation in check -- we look at many different measures of inflation expectations, both survey-based evidence and evidence that we try to weed out a financial market prices -- evidence we try to read out of financial market prices. we can see that inflation expectations remained extremely stable and well-anchored. the other thing we can see is that in contrast to the 1970's, although they were in sequence, they were sort of unexpected. 2005, world prices rose. people thought it happened once
and it would be the last year. it turned out the next year and a year after, in each case, oil prices rose through a sequence of increases in oil prices. in each year, they were unexpected. forecasters were surprised. but one issue is, of course, we saw that show up in energy prices, but did we see any pastor -- passed through to other prices more broadly, so- called core inflation? and during all those years, there was little or no pastor of -- little or no passthrough into core inflation -- >> we are not going to have a debate here. >> i guess -- i cannot prove this to you, but i would contrast this with the 1970's, when we saw shocks of that sort that induce workers to really try to protect themselves from what they thought was going to be chronic inflation by trying to demand wage increases, which
their employers gave, and pass through went to inflation, and he saw inflation expectations spike. we went into this set of oil shock increases in 2005 was now a decade and a half of a really strong record in terms of having kept inflation of around 2%, and i think that was the difference, but i cannot disprove that there is some other theory that could explain the same thing. >> dr. yellen, thank you. i hope you do not bill by the hour. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
kieran reiser of long beach california. they are third-prize winners in c-span's studentcam contest. ♪ >> i'm carl olson. >> i'm destin bigsby. >> and i'm keiran reiser. >> we are here -- >> to support renewable energy -- >> across america. >> mr. president, we live in an age where renewable energy has become our only solution to impending climate change and a struggling economy. >> everybody's life is affected by this issue of energy. they don't think about it, but they get up in the morning and they take a shower. that is energy coming from a hot water heater. they turn off an alarm clock first. that is energy coming from electricity. they have a slice of toast. that is energy with a toaster. every waking moment, almost, is blessed with abundant energy resources in this country. >> since we live in one of the top renewable energy states, we thought we would take a trip to palm springs, california, and see renewable energy up close.
we were curious how wind energy has advanced over the years, where it stands today, and the possibilities for an even more efficient tomorrow. >> this is a lattice-type wind turbine. it was invented in the 1980's, and it is the first kind of turbine to have been placed on this field. it is ineffective, because if the wind blows too hard, they will be forced to shut down. one wind turbine nowadays will replace 16 of these. >> behind us we have a two- megawatt wind turbine being constructed. it powers 500 homes and pays for itself in five years. >> these are natural gas turbines. they are used to compensate for days when wind is not strong enough, because if we do not have enough electricity, power goes out. luckily, these are cleaner than coal or other fossil fuels.
useearly 2/3 of the oil we in america we have to get from somewhere else. thate 1/4 of all the oil is sucked up out of this planet every single day. therill holes very deep in surface of this planet and we find oil, and we suck oil out of the planet, and 1/4 of it must come to this spot on the globe called the united states. that is a prodigious appetite we have for energy. >> one of the questions we are asking is, why is shell interested in making wind energy? >> companies such as shell understand renewable energy is the future. for the last 60 years, energy consumption has
been climbing steadily and is predicted to take an even more dramatic climate. >> the more we rely on american-made energy, the more jobs we create here at home. >> the united states right now, 1.26% of its electricity is coming from wind. that employs roughly 800,000 people. by the year 2030, we want to be at 20%. that means 75% of all new electricity coming onto the grid is going to be wind energy. with that, 20% growth of 800,000 jobs. we're tapping into the renewable resources quite well. we're utilizing wind, which we get 220 days of wind-producing electricity, and we tap also into 325 days of sun, so we are using solar.
>> u.s. renewable energy consumption for 2011 states petroleum, natural gas, coal, and nuclear take up about 91% of the total energy consumption in the united states, leaving only 9% of the whole to renewables. mr. president, we need to expand the 9% to a greater proportion. solardecided to look into technology, which is still in its infancy. we met up with numerous solar experts in los angeles, california, at the grid alternatives solar-thon. >> it is an exciting project, and we look forward to flipping the switch and the solar tv panels will be providing this family with solar from the sun. >> these solar panels on this one house, it represents a beginning for what can happen in the future.
we need more support from the president in terms of a vision for driving economy forward, making it possible for middle- class and working-class people to bring clean energy into their personal lives on their homes, to have it used for power electric vehicles and to have a cleaner, safer environment. there is a big deal made out of sandy, but what i am hoping is the election will influence the future so if there are fewer sandys. >> we are just doing 10 houses today, but if you came back here in five years or 10 years, what you would see is a multiplication effect. if california can do it, i don't see why the other states do it, either. we are the leader. we are at 20% of our state's power coming from renewable sources. in 2020 we hope to achieve 33%. if we can do it, everybody in
the united states can do it. >> next we went to amonix solar in seal beach, california, to see the most efficient solar panel in the world. we talked with adam plesniak, director of advanced technology and member of american solar energy society. >> the important thing is efficiencies in all of solar energy continue to climb, which is good for the future of solar energy, because as we get more efficient, we will be more energy from the sun to electricity. dear mr. president, solar is the next big thing. it's going to be just as big as computers, and everything like that. it will take a while to get there, but it will be big. >> this country is on the path toward more energy independence, and that is good for people's pocketbooks, good for the environment, good for our national security.
we do not want our economy dependent on something that happens on the other side of the world. >> there are people out there that think renewable energy is not the answer. they believe that we should continue to focus on cheaper alternatives like coal and fossil fuels. but the truth is we are going through extreme climate change and 2/3 of the oil in this country comes from foreign soil. renewable energy is the future. yet the approximately 9% of our country's energy comes from renewable sources. onwe put more focus renewables, we can have more jobs and a safer environment for this generation and hundreds of generations to come. mr. president, we need your continued support to move forward and spread renewable energy across america.
find this video at studentcam.org. > >> coming out -- >> coming up, veterans' health care. in just over an hour, we will talk to patricia kime. we will talk about the federal budget and deficit. the debate over immigration policy continues to run the country. morning, the national history center will look at policies of the years. live coverage at 8:30 eastern on c-span two. later in the day, a discussion on the war in afghanistan. that is live at noon eastern.
the commissioner of connecticut's veterans affairs department discusses better written health care issues. when the spoke to do university in north carolina. spoke at duke university in north carolina. >> good afternoon. welcome to the 50th presentation of the duke university school of nursing event. in 1968, it became officially known as the harriet cook carter lecture. of dean of the school nursing. i'm pleased to welcome all of you here today on behalf of our duke university school of nursing community. as indicated in your program, this lecture is named in honor
of harriet cook carter , a compassionate and creative woman who endears herself to the university and the local community through community activities. this year's topic holds a special place in the hearts and minds of our community. many of you are veterans of military service or are engaged in the care of our veterans. may i ask those who have served to stand up please. [applause] anil those of you who have cared for at the service or veterans -- and those of you who have cared for active service are veterans, also stand. [applause] we thank all of you. caring for military veterans represents one of the grand
challenges of our time. today our veterans are returning from wars in iraq and afghanistan, facing overwhelming circumstances. not only do they have specialized medical needs, but military personnel who served in war zones are also at a greater risk for alcohol abuse, marital and family conflicts, domestic violence, drug abuse, chronic pain, and suicide. ofy experience high rates incarceration and make up a disproportionate part of our homeless population in the united states. nearly 33% of adults, almost men, one served in the military. these complex challenges require the support of many across disciplines. our faculties have been in dialogue for well over six months to try to identify ways in which we can make a greater difference. andt lady michelle obama dr. joe biden have enlisted the
support of programs throughout the united states into a program entitled joining forces. schools that have agreed to participate, including do, have pledged to educate people to care for veterans and servicemembers facing ptsd, depressants, and other healthcare problems. implement the best practices of care and disseminate the most current information related to ptsd and two at the current body of knowledge of how to improve care. undelete, to leave the
healthcare community in achieving the joining forces health goal, we are committed. we have invited the honorable linda schwartz. commissioner of veterans affairs in the state of connecticut. i first met dr. schwartz while working at another institution of higher education. my approached me wanting support for a project that would help her further explore the long-term impacts of -- she impressed me as a determined woman, someone who would get rings done. theis currently commissioner of veterans affairs in the state of connecticut. the first woman to hold that position in the first nurse to hold that position. hers right in forecasting
determination. she has taken up this position as you might have expected that a nurse would. connecting people to one another and enlisting resources and advocating. welcomingn me in commissioner linda schwartz. [applause] >> thank you. when they heard in connecticut i was coming down to do, they real worried. [laughter] it is an honor to be here. it has been an exciting experience. i would take a moment to introduce some of my friends who have come today. i would like to introduce linda. dr. harold cutler from the va. and my former boss, dr. john from the va. let me explain what a commissioner is.
some people thought i was -- i am responsible for thousands of veterans in the state of connecticut. my main home is rocky hill. i have over 450 veterans. 125 in the chronic disease hospital. i have a support program. inaddition to that, i'm charge of three cemeteries and five district offices. i help veterans get their benefits. veterant in mind, as a who served during the vietnam war, my focus has served me
well. i want to give you some idea of what we are talking about. the first first statistic -- the first -- the fact that we have 22 million living veterans, there are a number of women veterans. what this bottom graph -- sorry. this graph shows you that it is almost a bell curve. the number of veterans at different ages -- we are having
an aging of my generation. contrast that with the number women veterans. the younger veterans of today are more predominately women than in the past. when i was in the military in the air force, 2% of women by law. i could not be married or have a child. my daughter was born and i had to leave the military. but things have changed quite a bit. the tall one here is a vietnam population. -- can see that number rise let me say something for the actuary table by the va. they've forecasted that the vietnam population would --
they were wrong. this should give you some idea that we see a decline of vietnam veterans a generation. vietnam was the largest mobilization after world war ii. when you talk about a system of care and addressing the needs of people, you have to address people that are 22, all the way to world war ii veterans. my message to you is simple today. we're not doing war in same way as we did in the past. the heavy reliance on reserves, they are in every town and in
every city. there needs do not go away. the concept of asking, have you ever served in the military? is a very simple question. serviceook at military as being an occupational exposure, the first, had he served in the military? the next, what did you do and where were you stationed? this is a card that the va introduces. it can pull it off of the website. i think it is too busy. it is something you can put in your pocket. when it means is that if you were asked the question, have you ever served in the military? let me point out to you that
there are over 60 million people in uniform during world war ii. there are some unique health exposures that they probably did not even know. when you do an assessment of an individual, they do not know, that it is something that needs to be considered when you look at a holistic approach of who they are, where they are, and what they have done. it is very interesting. this was a real poster from the va. it talks about exposure to radiation. down here regarding radiation treatment, you might say to yourself, why do i need to know about that?
do you know they use that as a way? they used to shrink their sinuses while underwater. they could clear their sinuses. they do not know that. it is an important aspect. we're not having a test after this so i don't expect you to remember. but i want to be clear on what i hope you take out of this room. veterans are only 50% -- 15% using va healthcare. again, 15% use the va. where are the rest of them getting their care? >> [indiscernible]
[laughter] >> yes, and maybe other places like yale. i do not think we need to replicate with the va provides. we need to help veterans identify how to get into the va system if they have one of these exposures or need help. the largest system of health and care in the united states rivals hhs. changes with every congressional season. and changes with every segment of the legislative process. it is almost like a fluid thing. the lord taketh and give it, so does congress.
let me go back. i do a lot of speaking to veterans. i had a gentleman come up to me and say, i am a veteran, but i do not need the va. he said, because i'm healthy. i said, what did you do in the military? he said, i have this rash all over my trunk that never goes away. go over to the va and get into the system. that is the kind of can-do, macho attitude of veterans. it is not just men, but the women's macho attitude as well. we're finding exposure to cold injuries in korea. to look at this and say yourself, 5.7 million served, but it has been 60 years since
the hostilities in korea. thes still considered unknown silent war. we're all trying to do our very best to celebrate the anniversary of the hostilities against this is a generation -- we feel sorry for them because they have not gotten the recognition. the vietnam war, of course, you can see the numbers of people who served. the most important thing in these numbers is the fact that i'm not telling you that there are over 9 million in uniform, but only 2.5 million are --
but there is a percentage that has been exposed to agent orange. this is the connecticut, welcome home, for veterans. he had it last year. my boss was a first governor to welcome troops home from vietnam. right now we are celebrating the anniversary of 10 years of war. 7 million veterans living on the vietnam war -- i want to explain to you something.
the point is that these are disabilities. what does that mean? that means the individual can with the diagnosis of prostate cancer. it was agreed by the congress and by the va that this is a disability. all they had to do was show that they have the diagnosis and that they served in the country. the icu of a local hospital and he was fighting for his life. his wife called to make sure that they knew he was a veteran, so they transferred him to the va hospital at west haven. theat for eight hours in emergency room. his wife took him home. because i have nurses and practitioners that work for me. he has served in -- he never knew he could get care in the va system. he said, i knew i was sick, but i could not afford to go to the doctor. it had a good ending because we are able to stabilize him and get him to a home. the point is, here he was come eligible all those years for that care and no one that talk to him or asked, have you ever served in the military?