tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 8, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EST
i just do not know where, there is this room. and it has in it the farm bill. it has immigration issues, a big bill. it has marketplace fairness. and we can add to that this. it has postal bill the right time is going to come when we find out where it is and bring out all of the stuff that the american people support overwhelmingly. speaker boehner, please do what is right for the american people. let's do this legislation. it is fair. this legislation is only about fairness. more than 80% of the american people already believe it is the law. so let's do it. >> i want to thank chairman harkin and jeff and tammy baldwin for the amazing achievement which we are seeing
on the senate floor today. this is a big week for those of us from illinois. because it was just a day or two ago, two days ago, that the illinois general assembly passed marriage equality, about to be signed into law. making it the 15th state in the nation that has reached this amazing, historic milestone. it is an important day for illinois in the united states senate. republican senator and the democratic senator both cosponsored and supported this important legislation. this was an historic victory and shows how quickly our country is moving forward. it was not that long ago when it was acceptable to refuse to hire people based on the color of their skin, their religion or their gender. but congress corrected that wrong with title vii. at one time, and lawyers could fire people simply because of their age. we put an end to age discrimination.
as tom harkin, who can proudly say he was the author along with bob dole, there was a time in this country when an employee could be passed over for a promotion simply because they were living with a disability. thanks to tom harkin and many others the americans with , disabilities act put an end to that type of discrimination. speaker boehner has said that the current law already prevents this type of discrimination. for that reason, they will not consider this bill. i asked him to go home and take a look around his state of ohio. his home state of ohio is one of the 29 states which allow employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. it is unconscionable that, when given an opportunity to right one of the last remaining civil rights issues of our time, speaker boehner and those who follow his lead in the house of representatives are turning their backs. we have an opportunity to outlaw one of the last vestiges of
discrimination in the workplace. let me close by saying this. anyone who is a student of history knows that our history books are littered with those public figures who said we cannot end discrimination based on age, race, disability, gender. think about their place in history today. i will not recount the names. speaker boehner, think about the party you belong to. the republican party of the united states of america came into being in the 1850s over the issue of slavery. the man who embodied the ideals of that republican party was none other than abraham lincoln, who literally gave his life for this country to end discrimination.
keep that proud republican tradition alive. do not stop this bill in the house of representatives. >> i would like to thank chairman martin, senator merkel and senator baldwin, who spearheaded this great passage today. of course, senator kennedy is looking down from heaven and smiling. we hope to give him more to smile about in the next few months. here is the problem here. the house of representatives speaker boehner has already said he will not give this a vote. everyone talks about gridlock in washington. it rests with one man, speaker boehner. that is a problem. the problem is the house of representatives has become a legislative black hole. it is the broken cog in our governmental wheel. nearly every time the senate passes a bill, it is like we are banishing the issue to a faraway jail. speaker boehner is a prison warden.
we hope and pray that enda will not suffer the same fate. if the house of representatives does insist on going down this road, he will be sending their party straight to oblivion. they sat on a farm bill, and immigration bill, issue after issue. the house seems to be the place where bipartisan senate legislation goes to die. we get republican votes here in the senate. nine courageous votes today. >> 10. >> 10 courageous votes today. the number keeps going up. our count keeps going up. and it will continue to go up . why can't the house do the same thing? they oppose bipartisan bills at their own peril and they alienate more voters every time they do it. they have alienated hispanics, young people, women, the lgbt community, the rural community. soon there will not be anybody left.
>> i want to thank senator murphy for his tremendous work on this, taking over for senator kennedy and getting it passed. you showed your true blue determination and it is great to have you take this on and pull it through and to senator baldwin, for her passion and understanding and helping people understand the meaning of this legislation. i especially want to thank senator harkin, the chairman of the committee and has seen history in his own term. -- in his own time. it has been his leadership, so many times over, reminding us what discrimination means and that our country is better than that. senator harkin, thank you to you. senator durbin invited the speaker to go to his home state to listen to what people are saying about what happens to them when they are discriminated against. i would welcome the speaker after he does that to come to the state of washington, where we have one of the strongest laws on the books to protect the
members of the lgbt community from being discriminated against. i would advise him that he could look at some great companies in my state who are thriving because they respect lgbt members and bring them to their companies and employ them. companies like starbucks and amazon and microsoft and nordstrom. they will tell you that this law is a good law and one that should be for the entire country. >> did we win yet? [laughter] >> all of you extol the virtues of this bill. the bill exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees. presumably, many of the states that do not already have protection already, it is those employers in particular who may be in smaller towns and have the types of employees that would benefit from this type of
protection. corporations, it is not in their interest to be seen as discriminatory. aside from a moral victory, would this really accomplish anything for gay and lesbian and transgender people? >> in the future, we are going to hold the questions down to five minutes. [laughter] >> absolutely. it accomplishes a huge amount. in 29 states, the lgbt community can be discriminated against. in 33 states, the transgender community can be discriminated against. this sets a national standard of nondiscrimination.
i think that that ethic, embodied throughout this ill and -- this bill and this vision, will certainly have substantial influences even on the very small businesses that you are considering. i think this bill does make a huge difference and i hope the house will move quickly to put it on the floor. >> if the house does not act, would you urge the president to act unilaterally? >> i do not know what authority and power he has, but i am sure he has exercised his administrative authority on previous occasions when we have had legislative lockdown. -- legislative logjam's. that is what republicans in the house better come to realize. there is more than one way. they have got to stop stopping everything that comes along. >> one of the bills locked in
the room in the house is immigration reform. >> we put plenty of pressure on him. not a day goes by that i do not say something about immigration. senator schumer has been working with people in the house who want to do a bill. there are ways of getting that done. we hope that his patience will work. the reason it is so troubling me, i mentioned on the floor again today, they are obsessed with cutting spending even though we cut 2.6 trillion dollars. comprehensive immigration reform is $1 trillion. i am flabbergasted at why they are stopping everything the american people want.
>> would you be in favor of doing that? >> of course. i hope that we get the defense bill out of here. i feel comfortable that we can. that is part of what they want to do in congress. -- in conference. more power to them. i could care less. >> your thoughts after the meeting and whether you are thinking the white house might be open to a delay of the affordable care act? >> no. it was a meeting of 16 democratic senators. we met the president in the roosevelt room and the vice president for 2 hours. went through the current situation with the website, what is being done to improve it and make it better and what we face in the future in terms of some of the dynamics, the implementation of the affordable care act. it was very clear to everyone at the table that we are going to
move forward, and get this website right, and give millions of americans a chance for affordable health insurance. there was no discussion about defunding, delaying, or destroying the affordable care act. we feel just the opposite. >> maybe to work out some bugs. >> we have got to be careful because we have health insurance policies being offered on the exchanges based on actuarial tables which suggest when they are going to go into effect and who is going to be part of the pool. delays could change that dramatically. we do not want to do that. i still think, with an abbreviated sign up period, starting november 30, god willing, there will be ample opportunity for people to sign up.
they can do that today and they are, but i think the opportunity will get dramatically larger. >> i did get my reports on that meeting. you have got to keep in mind that as every day goes by, the website gets better. they are up to around 70,000 per hour now. that is everyday. it will be 80,000 per hour. every day, it is getting better. the wait times are getting less. no more glitches. they take the site down from 1:00-5:00 every night to upgrade it. by the end of the month, it will be wide open. a lot of people are thinking now that it is closed. that is not right. 70,000 per hour can get on and complete their application. you can also have a 1-800 number you can call and have someone walk you through it. you can apply by paper if you want to.
this thing is moving. we do not have a hiatus. temporary glitch, temporary slowdown. it is coming right back up again and from now on it will more get even better every day. more access, speedier, less mistakes. >> are you concerned? >> the enrollment numbers were discussed in general terms. there will be a formal specific announcement coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
be rewritten. us thomas friedman will join cdc priorities. cdcr that they look at a report on population trends, birthrates and healthcare in the unit u.s.. joining us, stephanie ventura. washington journal is live each morning at 7 a.m. eastern on c- span. texas governor rick perry headlined a fundraising dinner in des moines iowa on thursday. it was hosted by the pope county republican party. this is a governor's first major appearance in the state since the end of the last presidential race. governor perry placed fifth in the 2012 iowa caucuses. i've got some really fond memories of campaigning here.
competing in the iowa caucuses. the only thing i regret it is taking that really big bite out of that veggie corny dog at the state fair. i'm probably going to see that one again sometime. as a son of a farmer, i would feel very comfortable coming here. i think it is your midwestern values, your sense of community, your love of country, your decent abiding faith. it reminded me of the place i grew up in called paint creek. the only difference is that we rarely had any snow. we specialized in cattle instead of hogs and we grew cotton instead of corn. loveak tonight out of a for, but a deep concern for our
country. we have lost our way. our national debt is approximately the size of our national gdp. there is noan tell, serious plan for us to address that. the number of americans on food stamps is more than doubled over the last decade. calledry phil sack once the food stamp program an economic stimulus. food stamps are not the solution to our economic problems. they are a symptom of the problem. [applause] people can't find work. they can't find good work. they are to government dependency. today, we are watching this new national healthcare law literally unravel before our eyes. the president said no one would lose their health plan. except of course the millions of americans who will.
to quote rush limbaugh, next he will be seeing if you like your guns you will be able to keep them. [laughter] [applause] instead of solving problems, our leaders shut down government. it is amazing to me that the obama administration is capable of barricading a war memorial despite government being shut down, but they can't operate a website when it gets up and running. not just that the political parties disagree, they're just so disagreeable. snowing not only discord but distrust. our leaders have forgotten how to govern. believe me, i know a few things about forgetting. [laughter] [applause]
when millions of americans cannot trust the president about something so fundamental as their healthcare, health insurance, the damage is far greater than when a president and try to tell us what the definition of is is. if i may be so bold as to quote a t-shirt maker from minnesota in a crowd full of iowans, the nsa is the only part of government that is actually listening. [laughter] [applause] washington is so determined to enact their ideological agenda, they refuse to listen to the plight of working americans. they don't care if people lose their health insurance because in their estimation, the american people can't determine what level of coverage that they need.
they don't care that treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant will destroy jobs and industry because they are too busy pandering to environmental extremists. they don't care that every child born into america today will inherit more than $54,000 in national debt because their experiment in big government is too important to them. we are losing the country we love to a government that is too big, too arrogant, to -- too controlling of our everyday lives. it is incumbent upon us, the men and women in this room, to take our country back. i believe that the answer that ills our nation are not going to be found in washington dc. i think those answers are going
to be found in the states. the only hope for america is that the common sense found on main street emerges into a movement that sweeps across this country. we have got to turn away from washington to find answers. we need to look to red states that are outperforming blue states, states that are cutting taxes, controlling spending, balancing budgets and creating jobs. the change we are looking for is not a speech with a lofty rhetoric. what we're looking for can be found in the record of governors like susanna martinez, rick scott, terry branstad. [applause] conservative governors who are cutting taxes and controlling spending and investing in jobs. governor branstad signed the largest tax cut in iowa history. it is no wonder iowa has added
160,000 jobs and $7.3 billion in economic projects under his watch. [applause] i get up every day and go to work because i know if i don't, he will be there. [laughter] or he will send kim. he is a serious governor making a real difference. iowa's future is bright. he has assembled an incredible team. i will suggest to you his strongest asset is here with us tonight. the lieutenant governor is part of that branstad administration. [applause] she deserves our thanks.
she is dedicated to this state. there are states like iowa that are succeeding. then there are states that are sinking. there are states that are in trouble, states like california, illinois, california. [laughter] they are states that are on the rise. debt is exploding. capital and personal income are fleeing those states. if you live in california and you rent a u-haul to move your company, it costs twice as much to go from san francisco to austin, texas than the other way around because you cannot find a truck big enough that you can afford to flee california. that is a fact. [applause]
my home state is creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. we are rated as the best business climate nine years in a row. the reason for that is not rocket science. we cut taxes. we didn't spend all the money. we created fair and predictable regulations. we put legal reforms into place so that you would not be sued frivolously and then we got out of way. -- out of the way. because of that, we have an abundance of jobs and revenue. we are demonstrating that while you can't spend your way to prosperity, with the right policy, you can grow yourself there. there are two visions in our country that are playing out. there is this washington blue state vision and one that is being enacted in red states. the vision that wins out, whether the big government protectionist nanny state vision offered by democratic leaders or the limited
government, the free market, freedom-loving states that are offered by republican governors, they are going to determine the future of our nation. america cannot sustain its current fiscal course. we cannot continue to borrow trillions from bankers in beijing and brazil and tokyo. the downgrading of our credit for the first time two years ago shouldn't have surprised anyone. our leaders were fighting over a few billion in spending cuts while our debt soared by trillions in the last five years. long before our president presided over our downgrading of our credit, he was downgrading our standing in the world.
he alienated israel. he emboldened iran. he muddled through the arab spring aimlessly without any coherent foreign policy. in his latest gambit in syria was a demonstration of weakness in a world that needs a strong america. as dennis miller put it, we gotta be the only country in the world that sends a save the day attack card. [applause] it is not in our interest to give advance warning to an enemy. as an old air force pilot, i will tell you, we want the first sign of our coming to the -- to be craters in their soil. [applause]
we have to reestablish america's primacy in the world and it starts with a foreign policy that ronald reagan referred to as peace through strength. it is not too late. [applause] it is not too late for america to lead in the world. we can do it again but only, only if we get our house in order first. our national debt is a national security issue. the nationalization of our health care system will only further erode our economy. borders left unenforced leave us subject to future attacks. it is time for washington to focus on the few things that the constitution establishes as the federal government's role, securing the borders, defending our country, delivering a cogent foreign policy. get out of the health care business.
get out of the education business. [applause] stop hammering our industries. let the sleeping giant of american industry create prosperity again. that is the code that we have to put into place. it is the code we have to stand by. the people in this room, those of you with this renewed sense of purpose in this country can lead america back to greatness again. i stand ready to work with you to create that. god bless you and thank you all for letting me come tonight and be a part of this. [applause] >> thank you, governor perry. >> president obama will be at the port of new orleans friday to talk about the economy and jobs. the president will focus on the role of u.s. exports. that is live at 1:10 eastern
here on c-span. later in the afternoon, state department officials will resolution on keeping weapons of mass destruction from terrorist and other criminals. watch live coverage from the stimson center at three eastern also on c-span. >> i think regardless of where you are in the political spectrum, we all feel very fortunate and grateful that we live in the united states of america. it is a very unique place. if america was considered to be a product, and we do try to sell a product overseas, what is our brand? i think our brand is the constitution, the rule of law and our value system. under that brandon under that value system there is that notion of equal under the eyes of the law. under that brand value system is the ada and trying to elevate
the rights of americans at disabilities. >> this is a treaty heard a treaty is a law. emotional and political arguments -- no one can disagree with these. the question is, will be treaty actually have a legal effect that is being proffered by the opponents of the treaty? we don't hear consideration of the reports, and included observations. we don't hear the kind of legal analysis that would be appropriate for analyzing the legal impact of this treaty. >> this weekend on c-span, more than 130 countries have ratified the u.s. inspired united nations disabilities treaty, which failed to win senate approval in 2012. this week, the senate foreign relations committee took up the treaty again. watch saturday morning at 10 eastern on c-span two, book tv, malcolm gladwell explains how underdogs can use that status to their advantage. also, the upsides of being a big
fish in a small pond. saturday night at 11. on c-span threes american history tv, on a crowded sacramento street, to street -- two feet from a reservoir, squeaky fromm pulled the trigger. >> the head of the government's top consumer watchdog agency said template goes been white to talk about the priorities of the consumer financial protection bureau. the deer was created by the 2010 law is responsive to thousand eight financial crisis. this is 45 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome politicos chief economic correspondent been white. [applause]
>> good morning her buddy, thanks for coming out. white,.n . we are delighted this morning to have the director of the consumer financial protection bureau with us. he'll be coming out in a second. a couple of little housekeeping notes. if you have cell phones we are happy gently tweaked event, #morning money, just put them on vibrate or silence over don't get rings during the event. i hope i have actually done that myself. i would be embarrassing. i have a tablet appear, obviously to get rid of if you have those for me. so, with that said i would like to thank the peter g peterson foundation. we could not do this without them and we are very appreciative of the efforts to sponsor these events here to say a few words is michael peterson, the president and chief operating officer.
[applause] >> good morning. welcome today. thank you, ben. the nonpartisan mission is to we're very glad to be sponsoring this event today. the nonpartisan mission is to increase awareness and accelerate action on america's long-term fiscal challenges. today is very important time on our issue because we just made , as you all know it through a , government shutdown. averted the default of our national debt. we just have a couple months before we have similar deadlines. we think it is important to move at our foundation beyond governing by crisis and institute a long-term fiscal plan. we need to get our long-term not only dowe need to get our long-term fiscal plan in order. governing by crisis hurts the but economy. governing by crisis reduced to wegoverning by crisis reduced to put out a study that showed that gdp. the employment rate by 0.6%, or 900,000 jobs.
on top of all of the other economic challenges, we are adding insult to injury and self-inflicted wounds. caused by governing by crisis. this is also affecting american families. three out of four voters say according to our surveysthree out of four voters say they are concerned that their personal financial situation will worsen as a result of crisis-driven fiscal policies. it is hurting families. it is very much a consumer issue. i can think of no one we would rather hear from than richard cordray, the first director of the consumer protection bureau. thank you all again for being here. thanks to been white of "political" for we look forward posting this and to good discussion today. [applause] >> thank you for your continued support. i would like to welcome everybody on live stream and folks watching on c-span. without further ado, i would like to introduce richard cordray. [applause] >> i always think we should have entrance music like at a
basketball game. are you a basketball player? >> forward. >> how about power forward? >> that would not be justified. >> i wanted to start a little more broadly with some comments from elizabeth warren giving a speech today in which she says the system is still rigged against families in favor of powerful interests. it seems like we are now four years on from the worst of the financial crisis, some of the worst abuses of the mortgage industry. surprising that she would say it is still rigged despite all of the work that has been done, the passage of dodd-frank.
do you think that is true, that the system is still rigged against working families in favor of powerful interests? >> i have not seen those remarks. i am always interested to hear what senator warren has to say. congress clearly made a judgment that a new agency needed to be created, that there is someone to stand on the side of the average consumer to make sure they are treated fairly in the marketplace. that is a big part of our role. we are concerned about every individual consumer to make sure they are treated fairly and that the market is working for average americans so they can understand pricing and risk and make judgments about their choices that they can live with
over the long term. that is the work we will continue to be doing over the next several years. >> do you think we are safer now than we were in 2009 in terms of the mortgage products we use, student loans? have we made a fair amount of progress in protecting consumers from where we were four years ago? >> there is no question that the mortgage market will be safer and function better with our new rules that take effect january 10. they were designed to root out some of the most irresponsible practices that blew up the mortgage market.
on a different front in the credit card industry the card , act that was enacted several years ago -- we were tasked with reporting on the affects of the effects of the card act, how that has affected the average consumer in the credit card marketplace. we found there have been a number of positive effects from the statute. every day that the consumer bureau is doing its work, we are making further progress to clean up. for example yesterday, we put , out the beginning piece of the process to revise debt collectors. it is a major influence on 30 million americans. that is our focus and the work we are doing. i do think it is positive and will continue to be positive for consumers. >> speaking of the qualified residential mortgage rule and the ability to pay -- two things that are controversial in the mortgage market, a number of
republican congressmen wrote you a letter saying the industry is not ready for this, the marketplace is not ready for this, it is going to inhibit the flow of mortgages, it will be too hard for smaller institutions to comply as of january 10. what do you say to those people? >> nine extra days. [laughter] >> that will fix everything. everybody can comply in nine extra days. what is your response to those who say we are not ready to implement these rules? explain what these two rules and is it true that we are not ready to implement them? >> the rule that the cfpb was required to write. the qrm rule is the ability to repay rule.
it is a simple principle. you might wonder why we need a rule to tell lenders that when you lend money to a borrower, you should pay careful attention to the borrower's ability to repay. it seems like banking or lending 101. in the mortgage market, it was not at all the norm, particularly with the securitization in the secondary market. people made loans that were not sustainable over the long term or even the fairly short term. they were able to sell them in the secondary market. they began to fail and pay close attention to whether those funds worked for the borrower. bar was made some bad decisions and got into some bad loans where they should have known better. the pricing on the loans was opaque. they might be advertised over a
teaser rate as if that would be for the life of the loan. there were a lot of problems. as to the letter and the observation, it is a curious observation. dodd frank act was signed into law in the way congress passed 2010. dodd-frank -- title 14 of the law would have taken effect of its own accord at the beginning of january 2013. 10 months ago now. so, it would've had a new framework. it is not as though our qm rule has altered the status quo and without it the status will would -- the status quo would have continued to operate as it was. change was coming. it was embedded in the statute. fact that we wrote that rule delayed the implementation of the changes in the market by one year. we have given industry an extra year beyond the two years to
begin to get ready for this. so the vast majority of institutions are ready. it is important that we continue to move ahead. much of industry has told us that certainty in the mortgage market is critical to the emerging and continuing housing recovery. i think it is a matter of fairness to that many institutions have taken this seriously and gotten themselves into position. the final thing i say is there are other things building onto the qm regime. the longer that is delayed, the longer it delays further steps, -- suchthe qr am rule, rule such as gse , reform, being able to build on a platform of knowing where we are. we just received that letter. we will look carefully at it as we do with all input. there is quite a bit of interest in this at the moment. >> but you are not inclined to
delay implementation. >> it is not clear what the dates should be. our hard work to get these rules in place was a considerable burden. it means that industry has actually had more time than they would have originally anticipated. we have worked closely with industry over the implementation of the rules. there have been a number of changes. all of them entirely in response to industry wants us to clarify points so they would not have to guess at them or to clarify operational points. we have done a lot of hard work around the project we call regulatory implementation. there is a statutory date. what i have said -- and i think this is important -- the rules take effect january 10. but in order to examine for compliance, we have to have time to assess compliance. in the early months after that deadline, what we are looking for is good faith efforts to come into substantial compliance
with the rules, not perfection. i talked to the fellow regulators about this. i think we all share the same attitude. some of the concerns have been significantly overblown. >> i want to drill down on 2 points of that. smaller institutions say they do not have the compliance staff to be ready for this by january 10. and mortgage lenders say they are not clear what they can do outside the qm rule. i guess there will be some leeway while they figure that out. how do you address the institutions who say they cannot comply because they do not have the staff and the larger institutions? >> in terms of community institutions that say they cannot comply, i am not sure who those are. we wrote in a further provision for the qualified mortgage rule in the rule. , we did not have to do this.
but we were convinced that there was reason to treat institutions differently. any smaller institutions with and so less than $2 billion in assets have special provisions. some of them may still be unaware of that. we continue to try to get the word out about that. if it is mortgage servicing they are concerned about, if they are servicing 5000 fewer mortgages -- 5000 or fewer mortgages per year, they are exempt from significant chunks of the servicing rule. we have tried to take account of that. what was your the peace? oh, the non-qm lending. i have tried to be clear about this. the ability to replay is not revolution in
lending. it codifies commonsense principles that responsible lenders have followed for decades. if you have underwriting standards that you have followed and those loans have performed well through the crisis, which is the worst economic event probably of our lifetime, certainly to date, then you should continue making those loans. if they happen to fall in the qm category, those are good performing loans. it would be bad business to leave the money on the table. i have tried to be forceful about that. the difference between a non-qm loan and a qm loan is small. we have attempted to quantify it and we encourage others to give us their data. we estimate it is typically 15 or fewer basis points. it is not a huge effect on the market.
>> there is going to be a quiz after this on the qm rule and you will have to give me the details. i would like to turn to someone from politico who has a question for you from someone on the hill. >> obviously, the bureau has taken a lot of heat from republican lawmakers. we are wondering who are the , republicans you reach out to that you are closest with to get a sense of what their primary concerns are? >> i have tried to be evenhanded and reach out to all of the republicans to talk about these issues. that includes the current and past chairman of the financial services committee and the ranking member -- the current ranking member and the former ranking member on the senate side. i have said this again and again.
from my experience in state government, and maybe i came to washington a little naive. congressional oversight is very advantageous to our bureau. i understand that some of it reflects concern or opposition to the concept of the bureau. but for people who are looking very carefully at everything we do and pointing out concerns and issues that we should be attentive to, that is good input for us. it is a little like you always hope your friends will tell you if you have food in your teeth. sometimes it is people who are less sensitive to you who are or inclined to point those things out. but you need to hear it. those are the things we need to know. and for us to be attentive to people's concerns -- it has been true on a number of different fronts -- helps us scrub our operation and help us be where we should be, which is managing these types of concerns. i will be testifying in front of the senate banking committee on tuesday.
i am required to do it at least every six months. typically, it has been a bit more frequent than that. but i always value that opportunity and look forward to it again next week. >> republicans on the house financial services committee like to see you and really enjoy your company. >> i try to help them enjoy my company. >> on those questions of oversight and pushback responses from industry, what are one or two examples of things that you have responded to or changed based on that oversight or feedback, particularly about the review process with banks? there were concerns that there were enforcements and they were more adversarial than they should have been. tell us how you changed on that front and if there are areas based on congressional oversight, you made changes?
>> we think about from time to time how we are allocating our resources. initial adjustments are not necessarily the right judgments over the long term. when we need to adjust, we adjust. a couple examples, the subcommittee chair patrick mchenry raised the question of how transparent was our regulatory agenda. he noted that the fcc tended to publish a forward-looking agenda of what they were going to be on rule writing in the future. and that we had not done so. i was not familiar with that practice at other agencies. we went back, looked at it. early on, it was not so easy for in fact us to do. , when you are building an agency from scratch, you do not have a lot of fully formed future plans.
but we now publish a regulatory as we have gone along agenda. it is fairly predictive of where we are going in the next six or 12 months. i told him i thought that was a helpful input for us. what we were doing was, we were submitting that information to omb. they published it on their website. there is a delay in that. to me why weious and le should do that. another example is that senator crapo has been clear about data collection. that has prompted a dialogue between our staff and his staff, myself and him, and senators and representatives who have indicated that concern. that has reminded us that data is sensitive. we need to be sensitive to data and privacy concerns. we have to comply carefully with
federal law. it is important to us to get the story out. we have to have data to do our jobs. when congress requires us to write a report about the credit card market, whether it needs to be changed or tweaked or updated, if we do not know anything about the credit card market, we cannot possibly do that job in a way that is useful to congress. when we write mortgage rules, having the data to understand what we are doing and be able to assess its impact over time, which may require revisions over the next two years, is critical to us doing our work in an informed and intelligent way. if we are shooting in the dark without information, that is not going to be good for anybody. >> you are compiling this massive database of information.
i do not know what they are afraid this data will be used for. do you think it is unwarranted that there is a massive database being formed of consumer complaints? >> it is a topic. some of the input we received underscores the closest attention from us. it is not enough to say we need information to do our work and we do not pay attention to concerns around that. nothing would undermine the work it is very important for us to do that. of the agency more than four then for people to get a sense that we are not paying attention to federal law in those respects. the information we collect is very important.
industry typically wants to know, for example, about richard cordray. what am my spending on my credit cards, where did i go, what did i do? to try and figure out what did i do. they're going to figure out how to market to me. that is an entirely different approach than what we are doing which is monitoring these institutions for how they treat consumers. it is an aggregate, a pattern type of thing. we don't care what richard cordray spent last night or where he spent it. we care about what kind of rates and fees, what kind of pricing mechanisms, it is that sort of thing. if were going to monitor the largest institutions, we have to be able to keep up with understanding what they're doing to consumers. >> you didn't agree with the characterization that reviews were done on an adversarial basis and therefore had to be changed somewhat. if that is true, you don't agree with that characterization, why did you make a change to stop
sending enforcement lawyers? >> there was a certain message people took from that practice that was not the message that was intended. we have been working hard to integrate our supervision and our enforcement elements of the bureau. we are a little different animal -- certainly a different animal from my past experience as an iowa attorney general. i had enforcement authority but i didn't have any examination authority or supervisory authority. that was something had to learn about what i came to the bureau. most of our enforcement attorneys are in the same boat. they need to understand how examination function works and how it is an alternative way of getting to a similar result. in attempting to integrate those, this was one of the early judgments we made two years further on. it seemed to me that the costs were outweighing the benefits and so we made an adjustment
there. >> you mentioned ohio, somebody said you still commute from ohio to washington and don't live here full-time. >> i think that is healthy. >> i'm a d.c. native. allow the city itself, but not wanting to be ensconced in its political culture is certainly understandable. i wonder how that informs your execution of your duties. do you think it is helpful for you to be closer to community financial institutions outside wonke regulatory policy world of washington? how does your decision on that inform how you operate at the bureau? >> it is hard on me and my family. effort certain amount of that you have to put in. frankly, it is no different from what the members of congress do. i'm told it gives me a better appreciation for the sacrifices they make to be engaged in
public service and that is regardless of whether you agree or disagree on substantive issues. i can understand better what they do and how they do it. washington i look at -- washington is a significant public in various respects. there's a beltway bubble, the government mentality. it is good to get away from that part of your life. there's a real prosperity bubble around the washington area. wealthiest at the counties in united states, a significant number of the 10 wealthiest counties are the suburban maryland counties and the suburban virginia counties. this is a place that is not necessarily seen and suffered the great recession in the same manner that i have seen it in ohio, in and around my hometown in the areas of that state. as it has unfolded. i think it is healthy for me that on the weekend i go to the grocery store, the barber or whatever and people who are paying attention to what i'm doing tell me pretty straight what they think they have always
done that and i was another public positions. i like having that input. >> your think you'd get that same input on whole foods on t street in d.c.? [laughter] >> would probably be a little different. >> on to talk about the idea that there is a ring train at the cfp be heard it is understandable given the trajectory the agency had a bit of a hard time doing started, given the opposition on the hill. a lot of folks spend a lot of time sending this thing up. there is the notion that you are losing a lot of very important folks, a lot of people with knowledge of everything the cfp be does, the creation of it are leaving. is that a problem for you? how're you doing with it and are you up with recruiting a lot of good talent now? >> from time to time, any agency loses folks. you look at the folks we have recruited to the agency, some number of them have spent their
lives going and doing something for a few years and then moving on to do something else heard i think it is natural. that would be true of the time they spent at the bureau. we have lost some, i would agree some important but we gained important folks to fill their places and the talent at the bureau continues to be of the highest caliber. it's by far the most talented group of people i've ever worked with. and that is just as true if not more true today than it was a year ago or two years ago. we continue to get tremendous numbers of applicants per ever position and at the highest levels we're recruiting among some really great people. the attraction for us, the key thing, the advantage we have is first of all, our mission which is extremely attracted to people. a lot of people who have done a lot of things in their life but they haven't found the kind of satisfaction that they're finding at the bureau working to improve the financial lives of 313 million americans knowing
that they can make some significant difference on that particularly in the early going here. and it's also oddly attractive for people to be a part of a new agency. you know, when you're in it and doing it, you actually find that's challenging and burdensome because we're thinking through pretty much every issue through scratch. sometimes you wish it was already settled in an attempt to go through that exercise. that's attractive to people and it continues to be very much so. if you look at our leadership, and it's been a pretty staple team, they're outstanding -- stable team, they're outstanding. i now have a trajectory going forward that i didn't have a year ago and that's pro-brought stability to the agency as well. >> do you have a wigs of how -- vision of how long you'd like to stay there at cfpb and give me one or two things that you would like to accomplish before move ok? what are the most critical things you would like to see the
cfpb do? >> it's been the first time i've known for sure that i've been at this agency -- heading the agency for a significant period of time. and that's a great thing. it gives you a little more patience. on the other hand i don't want to lose the sense of urgency i've had that knowing from lots of experience in my life what an amazing opportunity this is for me and everyone who work tats bureau to really make a mark in a way that really will benefit people throughout this country. i mean, it's a very homespun thing that you're affecting the markets that people use to access credit to get access to opportunity to manage the financial sight of their lives which can undergird you know, either success or failure in other aspects of their lives as well. and i've seen -- i've seen the real effect of that. when i was in county and state government with people -- when i
was back as a county treasurer and we were in fault in collecting property taxes about delinquent property taxes an seeing the differents these people had always made more difficult because they were having trouble managing the financial market, having trouble understanding some of the markets and is purposely hidden from them so they can't easily figure it out. those are all reasons that motivate me in this job. as i look forward, you know, what -- what do i hope to accomplish? i think there's lots of room for progress in these markets. i think it will be notable within a matter of a couple of years how much -- how much better -- how much better is the piping and the mortgage market in terms of how it serves consumers and how it serves responsible lenders as well. we will have rooted a lot of things that if they had been rooted out so years ago, i don't think we would have had a
financial crisis, anything of what we experience. but also one of the things that i emphasize a lot and increasingly am trying to become a loud and clear voice on this is that we have to do a better job in this country of educationing people about how to handle their finances and it stars with the schools and it starts with young people. but it's true of all of us. we have not paid attention -- we've neglected that point and it makes everything harder for people. it makes everything worse in terms of making choices that they can live with and not end up regretting. and it's -- it is really a scandal and a shame that this country has not paid more attention to that and done a better job. and if we haven't made real discernible progress in that the next several years thenly be disappointed in myself and in the bureau? >> very short answer to this one, is there a political future for richard cordray? which would consider running for an elective office in ohio? >> it's not a political job. i understand it's a job done in
a political con teblings but it's a federal -- context, but it's a federal job and that's how i see it. >> you can send more questions #morningmoney if you have something in mind get it ready in the next few minutes. one good question that came in how does this cfb -- cfpb choose the market and which authority? how do you pick in the nonbank area what you focus on and which tools you use? >> i think your question there just illustrated there are a lot of choices to be made in terms of how to prioritize our resources and our work. how do you pick in the nonbank area what you focus on and which tools you use?
>> i think your question there just illustrated there are a lot of choices to be made in terms of how to prioritize our resources and our work. and it's a -- already a somewhat complex thing to determine what we choose to take on when and why. i think we've had a thoughtful process around that but it falls into two baskets. some of it we don't have much choice about. congress dictated certain portions of our agenda. if they hadn't done so we probably wouldn't have made the same choices anyway. that was the cause of the crisis. so that's understandable. it also is the largest single consumer financial market, vom -- some are between 10 and 13, some depending on what the evaluation of helping is at a given time. so that made a great deal of sense. now, as we have a little more room in our agenda to figure out what we think we should be doing without being subject to specific mandates and we're still under some, the mortgage rules were peculiar because we were not only mandated to d certain things but we were given a dramatic and urgent time frame for doing it. there were some things that we
were required to do they don't necessarily have a time frame. we have more room on our agenda, the debt collection, rule-making that we began on yesterday that may well the lead big changes in the debt collection market. that's a discretionary priority that we think is appropriate and we're putting fair amount of resources into that. what we try to do is what i think any of you would try to do if you were trying to make similar choices. we try to think about what is the risk to consumers. what is the scope of the market? what is the extent of consumeder harm? all of those things help guide us in terms of directing resources and that's true not only bureau-wide but also within each division. we risk our examinations. we try to prioritize our role- making and then as you say on a bureau wide basis we have to make choices among those as well. >> auto lending initiative would
fit into this as well. tell me a little bit of what you doing there in terms of trying to prevent discrimination in auto lending and particularly on the interest rates that people pay on their auto loans. give us an insight into your approach on this issue. >> so that's exactly what we want to do. we want to make sure that auto lending programs whether they're direct loan programs or indirect lending programs do not result in a discrimination against individual consumers. you know, next to a house and frakly for many people are not homeowners even more so than their housing -- their car becomes a critical element of their life. it's how to get back and forth to work depending on where you live unless you're in d.c. with great public transportation.
you may very well be entirely dependent on having a car in order to be able to function and we want to be sure that a consumer who goes into that marketplace is not ending up paying more to borrow, to buy a car based on the color of their skin or their ethnic background. that's pretty much a fundamental american principle that we all can agree on how to implement that, what the risks are and what actions need to be taken to minimize those risk appropriately is a much harder set of questions and that's what we're trying to work through in the moment. >> did you find that this was a significant problem that people are being discriminated against and getting higher interest rates that they shounlt otherwise get? what information did you see that caused you to believe there would be a need for some enforcement or investigation into this area? >> so i want to be a little
careful because it's enormous not to speak into too much detail any kind of investigation or examination of this kind. but we have seen indications that convinced there are concerns in this area. and they're not just similar where the concerns that people saw in the mortgage market with the premium and other practices that have resulted in a number of discrimination actions that suggest department and the other banking agencies have pursued in the mortgage market. >> i want to open to audience questions. folks have question first richard. i think we've got microphones somewhere in the room. we'll start up over here. are there microphones? >> i could probably hear them. >> can you talk a little bit about how you evaluate credit availability vs. regulations? and could you do an actual renewal assessment as to whether or not any action taken is constrained credit? >> that is in fact, one of the lessons we've learned very
forcefully in working on the mortgage rules. because the mortgage market interestly when dodd-frank was written. and it was responding to a crisis, you know, in the economy that was caught by an overheated mortgage market that became pathological in various respects and a lot of very almost crazily irresponsible practices that have become, you know, very widespread. by the time we came to write the rules to implement dodd-frank we're now looking at a mortgage market that could hardly be more different. it's a market with credit that is real cri tying. this is what happened when you have a boom and a bust and a crash. mortgage lending was pulled back significantly and what we learned from getting an exceptionally broad range of input is that access to credit is a very significant problem that we're going to have to pay
attention to here. it isn't just adding new consumer protections if credit is going to shrink even more. that is currently one of the big problems in the mortgage in helping markets. so that was notable to us. and i think it will inform our approach to all rules. as i said we can write the best most gold-plated consumer protections for people that we can devise and in and of itself everything else being equal. that's a good thing. but if it means that it's going to dry up credit so that consumers can't actually borrow and have the opportunity that borrowing for a number of consumers mean. you know, many individuals have to borrow to get a higher education. almost everyone needs to borrow to buy a house. that creates opportunity in people's lives. if the lending isn't there to
serve consumers then they can't consume. that's a balance that i think we need to strike with all the rules. as we go forward, we are actually required with every rule we write in our statute to have a look back at least every five years, ago we certainly won't wait that long on major rules like the mortgage rules to be assessing the impact of those. if we find that the affect of the rules is turning up differently than what we expected or there's some sort of new concern that it gives rise to or that we got something wrong, i think we've shown we will not be hesitant to revisit. we're not going to stand on the fact -- well, we decided it and we're stuck with it. what we want to know is that these markets are working well. and we did that with the remy tans rules where we fixed three significant problems that the industry pointed out to us. it delayed the rule a bit but it made it a better rule that took effect a week ago. i think it will be dramatic improvements in that market and how consumers are treated.
the mortgage rules we have made a number of tweaks even after we finalized the rule particularly the tweak for small lenders that is very significant for community banks and credit unions. and as we go, we encourage people to bring us data on what's actually happening so we're not missing thing. the october here is not to write every rule and to write every provision. it's to get the market right and that's paying attention to the data and how it works. >> we have a question right behind here. and there's a microphone for you. >> director, i think you have a very tough job and you're doing it very well. so i wanted to thank you for your public service. everyone that provides -- that's good and provides consumer financial products or services wants good outcomes for consumers just like you do. the focus has been enforcing against bad behavior that we've seen come out of the bureau. what is the bureau thinking about or what will it be doing to encourage good behavior?
are you thinking about best practices or good incentives to get the right outcomes for consumers? >> it's a great question. it's one that we grappled with from the beginning. first of all, i appreciate your comments about the difficult of my job. it's nice that people comment on that. they were commenting on the way in that i had a big binder for today. i said some days i'm getting two of these and it feels like a student when you have unreasonable teachers giving you too much homework. in any event, the question you asked is something we have asked ourselves because do we really want the entirety of the bureau about being the bare minimum people limping over the threshold of complying with the law? or what about best practices, what about the some of the things that we see that should be more widespread in the market? that's a hard question because we don't necessarily have legal
authority to insist on best practices. although there's much we can do to encourage and the dialogue we have with industry which has been a very good one and a very broad one does give us some ability to influence that. but i would say this -- the way in which we've had some discernible impact on improving practices beyond just compliance with the law has interesting enough been our consumer come plants and our consumer complaint data base. -- consumer complaints and our consumer complaint database. you're starting to see a number of stories about how industry is getting the message. they're understanding what they're doing. we've been really clear about this. we paid attention to consumer come plants. -- consumer complaints. it wasn't easy to do. some of it i thought was valid because when you have a few hundred complaints poured in there it doesn't necessarily give you a good picture. once you go get the point where
you are now we've received and handled 230,000 complaints. it's as though you're adding pixels to the picture and it becomes more fine and more precise an more accurate in terms of indicating the patterns of what's happening to consumers. it's just common sense. if you hear about a problem from two consumers it's very different than if you're hearing from 200 or 200,000. it helped us prioritize our enforcement work and our rule- making work. institutions seem to be getting that message that therefore they should get out in front of this and pay attention as well. that's how it becomes a great business and over time if it loses that focus it often doesn't continue to succeed. but businesss that are now paying close attention to the consumer complaints that they have public access in their own websites and being more responsive to their customers as a result, that builds excellent customer service, helping them to expand and minimize legal risks.
we are strongly encouraging and applauding that wherever we see it. that's the way in which we are pushing up the quality of what's going on in the marketplace quite apart from any particular rule or any particular enforcement action of the kind. >> we're about to run short of time. but i like to give folks an opportunity at the end of these things to sort of give an assessment of what they hope their legacy will be in the job that they have. so elizabeth warren created the cfpd, she'll be remembered as the person who had the idea and created it.
when people write about the first era under richard cordray, what do you hope they'll sigh? -- they'll say? >> i hope they will say we created an agency from scratch and built it into a solid agency that takes care of the basics and delivers the kind of confidence and ability that the public has a reason to expect. but second, i hope that they will be able to say that we stayed close to our compass which is how to look out for consumers in the marketplace but that over time we understood that mission in a very balance and comprehensive way which as i indicated before it includes protection first consumers with access to consumers. i hope they will be able to say that we were good listeners and what we heard and we took broad input informed our work and made it better. but i do hope and expect they'll be able to say that we improved the market and we rooted out a number of bad practices.
that got the message that they needed to be more careful and thoughtn't about how they were treating the customers and that they stepped and improved the operations and on mandating the tools. and finally that we've done some of the hard work to create a more informed consumer public in the country that can stand on its own two feet and look out for itself doesn't depend on washington to make everything i right for them but people are in position to know what they need to know, know what they need to figure out, make good choices and good decisions and therefore don't need as much protections. >> good choices, sounds like what i say to my kids every day. sounds like good advice for everybody. you've got a binder to get back to. so we'll get let you get back to that. i want to thank the peterson foundation and everybody on the live stream and thank you to
director cordray for joining us. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] span, formern c- republican senator gregg at the national press club. when dealing with the hurricane sandy recovery efforts -- and pentagon budget cuts. next "washington journal" talking about a recent article and a how-to guide on blowing up the constitution. he says u.s. constitution should be be visited. thomas frieden, the director of the troll. and population trends and worth
care rates -- birth rates. is aliveon journal" each morning at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. live each morning at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. playe new orleans saints and the hurricane was, etc. damagede katrina badly it. when they had booklet gives again, that was a national feel- good story. the public paid for all of the repairs. about $1c has invested billion in the construction of the mercedes-benz superdome. the man who owns the new orleans saints keeps a most all of the revenue generated their. why don't people rebel? one reason is chris people do
not understand what is taking place. the second reason is that they feel there's nothing they can do about it and it is all based on insider deals. the best time to do is to vote. there was an vote on whether they should use public money. the city -- the citizens voted strongly against doing that. sunday night at avm on c- span's "q&a." now senator gregg. governmentn on the shutdown and the tea party. the national press club, this is an hour. [gavel] >> good afternoon. and welcome to the national press club. my name is angela cryling king,
i'm a reporter for bloomberg news and the 106th president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future by hosting events such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, please visit our website at www.press.org. to donate to programs offered to the public through the national press club journalism institute please visit press.org/institute. on behalf of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker and those in our audience today. our head table includes guests of speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. if you hear applause from our
audience i'd note that members of the general public are also attending. i also would like to welcome c- span and our public radio audiences. you can join us on twitter using the #npclunch. i'll have a question and answer period. i will ask as many questions as time permits. now it's time to introduce our head table guests. from your right, mike desend, senior editor of kiplinary.com. james mctague, "barons" magazine, washington editor. mark chef staff writer at "crane's investment news." michael lindenburger, washington correspondent for the "dallas morning news." paul marion, washington bureau chief for crane chicago business. chet hulk, sifma chair, c.e.o. for raymond james financial. allison fitzgerald, finance and investigative reporter at the center for public integrity and the chairwoman of the national press club speakers committee. skipping over our speaker, kasha klimisinska a u.s. economy and treasury reporter for bloomberg news.
kennedy benson jr. president of sifma. molly, freelance journalist and the president of the freelance committee. and cheyenne hopkins a reporter if bloomberg news covering banking legislation. [applause] >> our guest today is a long time term of the republican accomplishment in washington. a former leader on capitol hill and a respected voice to reign in federal spending and reduce the national debt. early this fall former u.s. senator judd gregg began a commentary. most americans these days are simply ignoring republicans and they should. gregg was lamenting the strategy of some in their own party to default on the u.s. debt and the government shutdown in an effort to kill president
obama's health care reform law. he called it a tactical fiasco. judd gregg came to washington for the first time in 1981 representing new hampshire in the u.s. house for nine years. he then went back to the granite state. as governor he was champion of environmental conservation and helped preserve more than 337,000 acres of sensitive land. after four years in the state house, he returned to washington to become the first -- to begin the first of three terms in the u.s. senate. his political career was marked by contradictions. he was known toe be a stanch fiscal conservative yet, he didn't hesitate to work with
democrats in the white house to push policies he believed in. in 2008, he was the top republican negotiator for the trouble assets relief program which set aside $700 million to bail out wall street and commercial banks. just four months later, however, he withdrew his name from becoming the first commerce secretary saying he was opposed to the president's stimulus plan because he was a budget hawk. he joined with michael bloomberg to become a leader of a bipartisan group called fix the debt. the group is urging officials to cut the deficit. gregg hasn't been shy of criticizing republicans and democrats alike. his comments on the hill have touched everything from tax policy, to immigration to health
care. today senator gregg is here as the c.e.o. of a trade group that represents the interest of its investment industry. it includes the security arms of j.p. morgan, citigroup and fidelity. he spent more than 10 million lobbying congress in the last two years. he's here today to discuss an initiative to insure investor interests are protected. please give us a press club welcome to judd gregg. [applause] >> thank you very much, angela. and members of the press club. thank you for the opportunity to have this forum. very much appreciated by myself and folks at sifna. it's a pleasure to be joined here by so many of the team and family and our chairman chet hulk and by our president and by abby and by my wife kathy and have a chance to talk to you a little bit today. kathy said i should begin by telling you one of our new
hampshire stories. now i hesitate to do this in washington because the punchlines are very subtle. but i noticed that we have these flags here that are new hampshire flags. i hope no one's bitten into the flag because that would be against the protocol speaking as a foreman governor. chet is from texas. he was an excellent member of congress and has a very distinguished career and his family is equally distinguished. whenever i talk to him i'm reminded of a story in new hampshire. we live in a town of 600 people. it was a beautiful town up in the foothills. and in the fall a lot of people used to drive through the town. down the road from us was a fellow named oscar payne. oscar was in his late 70's. he was still farming.
he was working on his fences and this great big s.u.v. pulls up with a texas plate. this fellow gets out and he's got this huge hat. i mean, this big hat, big cowboy he walks up to oscar who wasn't that big. and he says, sir. yep. is this your farm? yep, oscar says. says, well, if you lived here all your life? oscar says, not yet. [laughter] he says to him, well, how big is your farm? oscar says, well, that's a good question. if you go down the road here, you'll see a birch tree. when you see that birch tree, go up that little ridge there and you'll find a stone wall. you go across that stone wall to a bunch of oak trees, come down there and you get to the road again. you come up here, that's my farm. so he says, well, i'm from texas. and i need it my car and i can
drive all day, all day and only be halfway across my farm. oscar says, yep, used to have a car like that myself. [laughter] [applause] is applause from the press allowed? i'm amazed. well, since kathy told me to tell that story, i'll tell another. that way i used all your questioning time. so mildred perkins and mable austin lived in town all their lives. but they have fallen out of sorts after about 35 years after a church social and mable made a pie that mildred thought it was her recipe. so they didn't speak to each other for 40 years. and mildred dies. she goes to the town store and oscar says to her,
ethel, did you hear that mildred died? yep, heard that. well, are you going to go to mildred's funeral? nope. she's not coming to mine. i'm not going to hers. [laughter] i can go all day like this. [laughter] i'm making more progress than i am addressing some of the issues before us. but i did want to talk today about the role of financial markets and specifically our role in helping americans succeed in main street prosper. we take this very seriously as an industry. and i think to understand where we are you need to actually go back to the last century. a lot was decided in the last century and was carried into the second decade of this century, of course, because life is a continuum. but two things were clearly decided in the last century, the 20th century.
the first is this, if democracy wins out over total tism, and by the end of the last century, most of the western world was democratic. and people moved to democracy as a way to govern. the second thing that was decided was that free markets create a great deal more prosperity for the people than collectivist markets. and as a result, again, free markets become the way especially of the western world. and america is uniquely positioned as the representative of democracy being the world's oldest democracy and being the most prosperous nation in the world. and the financial markets play a critical role in the success of those financial markets. this point i think was made
uniquely by joseph shuler who is an economist at yale whole just recently won the noble prize for economics when he said this in his book, finance and the good society. the essential challenge for leaders to contemplate in coming to terms for the future of finance is to understand that it can be used to help broaden the prosperity across an increasingly wide range of social classes. imagine the development of a new laboratory. the funding of a new medical research center, the building of a new university, or the construction of a new subway system. finance provides the structure to these and other enterprises and institutions throughout society. if finance succeeds for all of us, it will help build a good society. but we're not sure it will succeed, a market economy. there are issues which make it a challenge.
and interestingly enough, it was adam smith over two years ago developed the concept of a free market society which is who caught this issue and he said, and i'm paraphrasing here. he said essentially great nations are not impoverished by their people. great nations are impoverished by their government's acting badly. he used the term prodigiatlity. but i replaced it with badly. which means governments acting inappropriately, wastefully, mismanaged. milt said it another way. he said if you put the federal government in charge of the sahara desert, there would be a shortage of sand in five years. [laughter]
the simple fact is that there are forces which negatively impact a free market economy and democracies' path. i would like to mention three of them that i think are of concern today. the first, of course, is our federal debt and deficit. you simply cannot run a country if you run up a deficit and a debt which you can't sustain. we have doubled our demet the last five years. we will triple it by 2020. we are on a pathway which basically puts us in a debt situation which our debt to our gross national product will equal or exceed other nation who is have had extraordinary problems such as greece, italy, ireland, iceland, france. we have the advantage, of
course, of being the world's strongest economy and the world's currency and therefore we have more running room. but if we continue on this path, at some point there is going to be a challenge to our currency. and it's viability. and when that challenge occurs, it will lead to either significant inflation or some other financial event which will inevitability lead to a di munition of the standard of living of people and it will impact our democracy and our markets. and we need to address it. and hopefully we'll see our congress come together. they've got the folks together in a room now, i guess, to try to do some part of this over the next few months. the second issue that we have which a concern in my opinion, is the piling on of federal regulation. we in the financial markets business totally support appropriate regulatory activity, embrace it, want to work the regulatory agencies to construct a regulatory activity. but we're getting a few more regulations than i think anybody
expected. every 2.8 days a few regulation comes in. we've received 15 million words under dodd-frank. that represents about two million. and we're only 39% of dodd- frank. so we've got another 20 million words to come. this type of excess is driven an large part that says to folks, listen, we the regulators know better how to deal with your life than you do. we want to take risk out of your life. you shouldn't have risk of your life. we are going to be charge of regulations. it's a bureaucratic excess in
many ways. there is no question than an appropriate regulation is needed in a market economy. but that at some point if you go too far you end up straining that economy because the energy instead of going to creating economic activity goes to responding to basically the issues raised by the regulators. the third area is what i call sort of a galloping populism which will we've seen. again, at its core are folks who don't believe in free market economies. it's a belief again that doesn't trust the ability of individuals to make decisions on their own for their own betterment but reater says that a collective group of folks should do it in the name of a better society.
it has become reflected in statements like those made by michael moore who i'm sure would not turn down the -- the title of spokesman for the progressive left. i think he would be attracted to that title. where he says i do not own a single stock. he's made the statement during some sort of event that he's sponsoring. and i have never owned a single share of stock. i don't support this and he was pointing to the new york stock exchange. this rigged casino, i don't know why anybody would put their hard-earned money into this, the new york stock exchange. well, i would refer those folks to twitter. today, the twitter company issued -- i think it was 70 million shares of stock.
in the interest of purchasing stocks from people -- of people from all walks of life was extraordinary that the value of that stock went up dramatically from its particular issue. what does that reflect? it reflects the core element of a free market society, that people want to have the right to go out and participate with other people who are trying to create economic activity in businesses which they deem and feel would be successful. that is the way this economy works. and to reject that is a mistake. i think to reject that also reflects a certain discomfort that you see amongst populism with the concept of free markets, obviously.
i think milton freeman got this right again. he said a major source of the objection to a free economy is precisely that. it gives people what they want, instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want, underlying most arguments under the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. and who's harmed by that? by this -- by this -- who's not going to be harmed bay government not fiscally responsible, by people going way too far in the area of dampening economic activity through an attempt to address risk through regulation or by the galloping populism that basically rejects free market as a concept? well, i have to tell you it's not going to be the folks on wall street. it's going to be the folks on
main street. it's main street where the jobs are created or whether the opportunity doesn't exist if you don't have a vibrant economic engine. if you have these retarding events. that's why it's our intention in the financial markets industry through sigma to make the case for a free market economy that is properly regulated, that has as its most basic element individual initiatives, supported by readily available capital and reasonably priced credit. to promote the importance of the role of a vibrant capital -- a vibrant capital markets and a financial system in the every day lives of americans and their ability to pass on to their children a more prosperous life. we intend to essentially reconnect with the american people by reinforcing the fact
that the financial markets basic purpose is to help americans succeed. and to allow main street to prosper. we intend to do this by basically concentrating on four major areas. the effort will be primarily an attempt to make it clear to folks in a very person way how important it is to their day-to- day life that the financial markets participate in our economy in an aggressive and positive way. the job they go to probably sa function of something having invested capital in a business. when a person sends their kids to school, it's probably being supported by market activities which allow a loan to be made.
when a person goes to an emergency room that emergency room was probably built with bonds that came from the financial market. somebody in the financial market taking a risk on building that hospital by supporting it with bonds. when you drive down a good road or even a bad road for that matter it was probably built by bonds where somebody took a risk in order to create that. last year, and the last five years, business has accessed over $6.3 trillion in capital through the financial markets. bonds have been issued which have built eight million miles of road, one and a half million bridges and 500,000 miles of water pipes, all to the benefit of making a stronger and more prosperous. so over 3.3 billion people have received maul business loans
representing $178 billion of investment. and these are real folks. there are folks like carmine who started in their garage a food distribution business but working with their financial advisor were able to expand that into a major business in southern california. or jill brown when her husband died was helped by our advisor to get back on her feet. and she began a small business of home furnishings which she's now built into the brown home good stores in houston, texas. stories that created jobs, stories about real people whose lives were improved by investments made. as a very practical matter we've done a lot of great things. we even brought back the
twinkie. i guess the twinkie never went anywhere because it's not bio degradable. had it gone somewhere, we brought it back. the second thing we're going to concentrate on is the lessons we've learned. we know that too big to fail should not exist. and as an industry we're committed to ending it. we've done this through basically having living wills, by having stress tests by having resolution authority. further more the capital of the investment industry has increased dramatically in the last five years from $400 billion to $800 billion and that gives it much more safety and soundness and even the taxpayers have benefited a great amount from the financial industries to stress.
and all the money that was paid out to the financial side of the ledger has been paid back and there's a $20 billion profit for taxpayers that can be used for other things. going forward, we intend to work for strong and effective regulations that will create transparency and will make for a safer and sounder system. the third thing we're going to focus on is education because we believe firmly that a well educated population about the importance of finance in their daily life is going to be a population that can more effectively succeed and prosper. we're going to talk about the importance of market, entrepreneurships and yes, even profits and the market and how it creates prosperity. we're going to talk about profitism and yes, even and how it creates prosperity. we're going to talk about financial literacy and how people should invest and prepare
for their future, how they deal with their retirement savings or their investments that are coming through their pension funds, in a way that communicates and touches folks in their day-to-day life. we're not going to do this from washington or from new york. we're going to do it in the local rotary clubs, at the local boys & girls clubs, hopefully, in the local school systems where we basically one-on-one talk about the importance of the financial industry and the day- to-day lives of people and how we work with them to try to help them succeed and that's the fourth and most important initiative which is our commitment to put our customers first. our commitment to protect our customer's right to choice, our commitment to customers to get the information they need and to protect their savings whether they're being used for investment or whether they're
being used for planning for their retirement. and in that role and part of that effort, a lot of energy has been put into this. we have created a document called our partnership with you. and essentially this is a statement of rights that our customers have and should have and that we are committed to as an industry. this was not written up by one or two folks sitting down one afternoon. john and his group, worked with hundreds actually thousands members of the industry to try to make this work and come together with this partnership so that people were committed to it and bought into it in a way that made it clear that we put our customers first. let me just read a few points of this. i had to put on my glasses to read this which i may not have brought them. ok. i'm all set.
i buy these at -- at reagan airport, by the way. it's the best place to buy your glasses. 12 for five bucks. [laughter] let me just read from this. as an investor you have some important rights. we are committed to provide you with educational resource, forms, tools to better understand the products and services you are investing in and how they work to help you achieve your objectives. it's about the consumer. our industry continues to embrace the implementation of high standards for interacting with our individual clients including putting the client's best interest first when we provide, personalize investment advice about securities. our customer has the right to work with a professional who will help them clarify their investment goals in risk, tolerance and help them achieve their stated objectives.
further, they have the right to receive investment advice, to be informed of material conflicts of interests to receive financial assistance and to be present. -- presented with reasonable alternatives. they have the right to receive clear and accurate descriptions of all their transactions and about the fees associated with their accounts, to be clearly informed about the risks associated with individual investments, to receive after it in a timely and periodic statements and to receive clear descriptions of their financial services firm's policy and practices as it would rewrite
the individual. they have the right to be treated in an ethical way at all times and to receive competent advice at reasonable prices and to choose products that are suitable for their investment goals in line with their stated risk and to be able to move their accounts if they wish to do so. and to receive prompt responses from their assistant and the investment community and to have clearly defined process for resolving any issues that might arise. this is a commitment that we're making to our customers because we put our customers first. joseph shuler, again, makes the point that the better align to society's financial institutions are with its goals and ideals the stronger and more successful that society will be. if its mechanisms fail, finance has the power to subvert such goals.
as it did in the sub prime mortgage market of the past decade. but if it is functioning properly it has the ability to create great levels of prosperity. we are going to align our efforts with the purposes of the people who we serve and of a good society. we know that main street is the engine of the american economy. but as the financial markets and the resources they bring that is the fuel of that engine. this is the american advantage. the people who are willing to go out and take a risk and put their sweat equity into pursuing their dreams are able to find other people who are willing to
support them with capital and credit at a reasonable price. we have this advantage as a nation and we as an industry are totally committed to it. the financial industry is going to work to be an extraordinarily strong and positive force for helping our customers pursue their dreams. we are going to work to make sure that we can help americans succeed and main street prosper. thank you very much. [applause] >> your say. -- thank you.
why should individual consumers trust that industry for advice on their protection? they should go meet them. they should get to know them. rapport.hey develop a the visor is there to be the assistant as much as when you go to a doctor or a dentist. the financial advisor is there to help you work you may not have the expertise. and so, that is the opportunity that exists. go to someone who is a true professional and is committed to standard to be on the side of the customer as a customer has questions and how they're going to invest in money and save for their retirement. are there any consumer advocates that helped design the program? >> yes. we had a lot of consumers on
this. rely on our customers to tell us what they wanted as he tried to develop this proposal. >> as part of the effort, any plans to make it more of a consumer organization if there is no consumer affairs office or hotline or anything like that? any consumer facing work as an association? actually, it really should be with our members. we are obviously sensitive to any issues that are raised. if anyone wants to call me out, they can comment on. withconsumer has an issue how investments are being held rapidly, the first opportunity is to talk to their financial advisor. talk about there being what you consider too much
regulation of the financial services industry, but we sought 2008. at that time, there was a concern there was too much regulation. what is the right answer if we andthe failures of banks many mortgages then without level of regulation. why should there be less now? >> we are not talking about less. [laughter] any million words coming. we are talking about rational. accomplishes -- we totally embrace the idea of a strong regulatory environment. it is important for transparency and integrity and having confidence in the system. a variety of regulations that have come down that are a little more than confusing. it is counterproductive to the basic goals of what the regulation will pursue.
i think we are in an atmosphere now were so much energy is being put into responding to the regulatory regime that resources that should be going out to try to help the person who is got the idea of a dream that they're trying to succeed and are not being used. they are being used in response to the regulatory regime. we will get through this, obviously, as a government. as we move towards resolving all the issues raised, we just have to be sensitive that we don't swing so far that we undermine the basic strength of the american economy which is that it is a free market where people do take risks in order for it to succeed and where you basically want the financial sector to be properly regulated. without overwhelming the ability of the financial sector to be an aggressive player in promoting opportunities for prosperity.