tv Inside Washington PBS January 20, 2013 6:00pm-6:30pm PST
>> if americans of every background stand up and say, enough, we have suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will come. >> this week on "inside washington,"the right to keep and bear arms, is being infringed? >> is it being abused? >> if you think he this cannot happen to you and you will never be touched by gun violence, you are fooling yourself. >> the debt ceiling debate continues. >> we are not a dead beat nation. >> we all know the issue is spending. >> what are the risks of huge spending cuts? >> operations, maintenance, and trading will be gutted. real ground aircraft, return chips to port, and sharply curtail training across the force.
>> a bill before the wyoming state legislature would make a federal agent who tried to enforce a ban on firearms guilty of a felony. there are similar measures under consideration in texas and the governor of mississippi says he wants to make it illegal in the state to enforce any new federal gun laws. how many times have we had this debate? this time after the murders of the children in newtown, conn., the president tells us this is different. the president has signed 23 executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence and is urging congress to reinstate a ban on so-called assault weapons, limit the size on magazines, and mandate here are some background checks for all gun sales. he is also asking the public to put heat on members of congress.
>> remembers of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. the response from the nra was immediate. >> is the president's kids more important than yours? why is he's skeptical about putting our security in his school's, when his daughters have arm together school? mr. obama demands of will to pay their fair share of taxes but he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to his fair share of security. protection for his kids and gun- free zones for hours. -- for ours. >> at the white house, and jay carney called the ad cover the. the nra says that the ad is not aimed at anyone's child in particular. anyone who says otherwise is changing the topic and missing the point. sales have gone through the roof. can the president moving
mountain this time around? >> no, and it is true public opinion has changed, there is more desire for gun control than ever but i do not think congress will budge on the big stuff. what the nra did was odious. i think the president is on the high ground, but he will not get real gun-control done. >> the 23 executive actions were fairly trivial, nothing major about it. i think it will not have any effect. it was the appearance of motion. the three big items on the table for the congress, assault weapons ban, limit on the size of the magazine clip, and universal background checks -- the last one has very strong public opinion behind it. that is likely to pass, the other two are not. >> charles is right. it is in the 80%-plus range
approval rating for the idea of universal backrub checks. but i am still not convinced it will pass. because of the influence of the gun lobby and whether we have restricted so that we have so many safe seats. you can tell something about the tenor of this debate by the fact that you saw the former attorney general, members of congress -- one member of congress wanted to put out an article of impeachment over the president over his executive orders, even before they were out. charles is right, they are not much. not that he has the power to do much -- he does not. he knows he does not have much. >> marc? >> first of all, the nra ad, invoking the president's daughters, was beyond tone deaf, it was mean-spirited, small minded, and below the belt. it is harmful to their position.
that is just a preliminary. let me give the these facts. in the 236 years of this country, from the revolutionary war all the way to both moral force -- world wars, six under 59,000 americans have died fighting for their country. since robert kennedy had a bullet put in his brain at the ambassador hotel in 1968, 1,260,781 americans have died from firearms. 80% of all of firearm deaths, of the 22 countries in the first world, is here in the united states. that is not american exceptional is and we can be proud of. if we cannot agree to do something about that -- we did it about cigarettes, thank god. if we cannot do it, then let's
just toss the old tall in now. >> can i pick up on that? >> with cigarettes, we had a de-glamorization campaign. we had tremendous success. smoking has been cut in half in about 50 years. it is the result of a culture. if we are talking about shootings and guns in this country, the equivalent would be the glamorization of guns in hollywood, videogames come in and on television. so you would want to start with that, but nobody in power will speak about that. the other elements are on the commitment of the mentally ill. there, the aclu and other lobbies are very strong. n those law were committement levels are straight, it is different. the only way you can ever achieve anything is the
australian did it. 1996, they had a massacre. they confiscated guns, and there were none. that cannot be done. you cannot do it in this country, with its history, culture, and its second amendment. >> the problem is, if you cannot do everything, you do nothing. i do not think that is when you're looking for. we are not going to confiscate all guns in the united states. i will point this out. when i was in the marine corps, a carton of lucky strikes was $10. now, it is $9 a pack. it was not just simply the culture and glamour, they put a cost on it. we ought to put a cost on ammunition. bullets ought to be prohibitively expensive.
>> a well regulated militia necessary to keep the freedom of the people shall not be infringed. that is from the constitution. does that speak to the right of the termination through a regulated defense establishment, or is this a green light for someone to out of his garage like an armory? >> the supreme court differs on this. they have upheld the second amendment. it does give protection to gun owners and makes it a moot issue. i think this is mostly for show right now, and is a diversion -- i am all for gun control but i do not think it will happen -- a diversion from the bigger issues like climate change and the debt. it is a side show. >> i do not think it is a sideshow when we have massacres like we have had, not just new town. and justice scalia's opinion
said that the government is free to regulate the kinds of weapons that people carry. >> if your therapist things that you are a threat to someone, should he or she be able to turn you in? in new york state, yes. >> not that you needed a quick computer system to figure out the solution, it was common sense. mentally ill people should not have access to guns. criminals should not have access to guns. >> common sense that we will see how easy it is to enforce. andrew cuomo signed the toughest law in the nation dealing with guns. shooters at virginia tech and aurora, colorado had receive mental health counseling. under new law, they would have to report that information to a
mental health director. that person would have to go to the state criminal justice establishment, which could then go after the fire arms. critics say this nullifies the doctor-patient relationship. we have a board certified psychiatrist here. what do you think about this law? >> nothing new here. in just but every state of the union, if a patient tells you that they want to kill someone or themselves, not only do you have the right to go and more the person or tell authorities, or commit the person, as i have done, in some states, like massachusetts, where i have practiced, you have an affirmative obligation. this is another executive order that is quite nice but does not change anything. that is the way that it has always been. those on the right who are talking about a new norm about the doctor-patient relationship, it is not. that is the way it has always been. >> this skirts under the difficult question in many ways. anyone that deals with public health, police, trauma surgeons,
like my husband, these people, usually under amles, who clearly have psychotic breaks over and over again, and their families are despair about what to do about it, and there is no ability to commit them for any sustained period of time. once they are not an immediate threat to them or others, you cannot hold them. >> we had a lawsuit, dixon v. weinberg. those institutions opened up and many cases, the people in them did not have a place to go except the street. >> we are not going back to that. those institutions were barbaric. because people have constitutional and legal rights, we are not going back to that. >> but there is no where to put people right now. you could wait weeks for someone who needs help.
>> you have n.y. and andrew cuomo. you can walk into the public gallery with a fire arm and witness what is going on. >> only 26 states ban guns were up a whole is served. >> and yet, the massacre happened in connecticut, not wyoming. >> states obviously have different cultures, different values, different political imperatives. that is the reality of new york. they had some of the most progressive, some might say, control of firearms in the country. but as i look at this, right now, are we not about to go into the debate between privacy and public safety?
it just strikes me -- charles could answer this better than i. the treatment now of people who are mentally disturbed is pharmacological. it is not institutional. just another prescription. >> that is true, and the tragedy is, in the kennedy era, when he started mental health services, the idea was you close the snake pit, you put them in the community, you give them medication, and you get continuing care. the problem is, they closed the state but, they have the drugs, but they never built these local community facilities. so you are released, discharged on medication, you stop, then you never restart your medication again. >> states do not have any money. they do not have money for their
state universities. they are busy paying for pensions and prisons. >> more on the debt ceiling debate. >> america cannot afford another debate with this congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they have already racked up. the financial well-being of the american people is not leveraged to be used. the full faith and credit of the united states of america is not a bargaining chip. >> america has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. americans deserve better, and therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase america's debt limit. senator barack obama, march 16, 2006. >> it is not good for obama. he was also -- he also knew that his vote would not make a difference. >> come on. he said what he said pier do not cover for him. >> people do different things at different times. >> there is a deeply depressing
column by david brooks in "the new york times" that says the era of the grand bargain, as he calls it, is over. there was a feeling over the past couple of years that both sides would cut taxes and raise entitlements and get a grand bargain. that seemed to be a lost opportunity. obama seems to be moving away from it, congress may have squabbled over the debt ceiling, but they are not going to deal with the essential problem in a meaningful way. >> i am reading a book on lbj. jack kennedy was having the same problem with congress. everything was being sidetracked, they were not going anywhere. >> that is true. i would say this, as far as what senator obama said in 2006, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. if there was a different
attitude. we have raised the debt ceiling 70-plus times. there has always been that sense of we're not going to vote to raise the other guy's debt ceiling, but there was always the understanding that we would provide the votes in the final analysis. the president's party did that. right now, what you have is a situation where the republican party is reduced to its lowest standing in the history of "the wall street journal" poll. the only thing that is worse is john boehner. 18% favorable. this is not a formidable partner. >> over the weekend, "politico" spoke to many advisers and said house republicans and party leaders appear willing to shut down government.
we might need to do that four- member management purposes so that they can have an end game and show their constituents they are fighting. get it out of the system? this is not a gastrointestinal problem, this is the government. >> i would suggest therapy and do not shed down the government. i would give it to them for free. the republicans have had a pretty unhappy experience with brinksmanship. years theye gingrich shut down the government and they got shellacked. they tried to force the issue using the debt ceiling in 2011, using the fiscal cliff in january. i am as gung-ho as any of them to force obama into cutting spending. but it failed, and the reason is, you cannot govern from one house of the congress. that is the truth. i wrote a column this morning
saying essentially, you have to recognize, you cannot use these things come up as in the end, you will have to cave. you will be humiliated and our ratings will be low, as you indicated, and you will not get the spending cuts anyway. certainly, i do not think the republican house will want to go over the cliff. >> the president of the united states has gone from dealing with the big problem that faces the whole country to try to destroy the republican party. this is exactly what the public does not want. we are turning into small, petty brinksmanship. let's see if we can crush the republican party. he has given up on the larger and more n >> i am not going to say who was right or wrong in the negotiations but the reason that this grand bargain has twice fallen through is that john
boehner knew that he could not sell it to his membership. when you do not have somebody to negotiate with, you play hardball. >> i have to conclude, evan is wrong. when they form a fire squad, they are in a circle. that is what they're doing. they are destroying themselves. >> if congress enacts $500 billion in mandatory spending cuts, what happens then? is an armed services committee says it has a scheduled to confirm truck table. if so, he will have his hands full, especially with these defense cuts. there is talk about pulling a terror out of the gulf, we would only have one there. i would think about what is happening in algeria, you would want to add two or more. >> you could probably cut the defense budget by a lot. the question is how.
congress and the politicians will want to preserve the big- ticket items, the platforms that are expensive, and they will want to cut the stuff that we really need, ready this, made this for our troops. that is the struggle. congress will be on the wrong side of it. >> you are right. that is why the only way to cut out obsolete bases was to appoint a commission so that it would not be political. then congress could say, yes or no. it ought to appoint a commission that looks at where you cut spending, and do the same procedure, yes or no, nothing else. book, there is a moment where the secretary of cent -- defense says we cannot cut anymore, and eisenhower says, just go to every base and tell them that they will get another star if they are cut. i guarantee you that they will have a stampede. >> charles wants a commission
that has these cuts. we had one of those, it was called some symbols. the republicans voted against it. -- simpson-bowles. defense spending can be cut, but personnel has skyrocketed because of an all-a volunteer force. >> there was a column in "the washington post" this week talking about the defense department's reserve policy board. we can no longer for the all- volunteer military if we plan to continue paying retirement for the troops. >> we have very generous health benefits for the military. the military deserves society's protections, but if you look at those numbers -- and it is not just soldiers, it is their family, extended family.
it is a sacred cattle, but that is the sort of thing you have to do. >> every defense secretary has wanted to cut it for a couple of decades now and congress says no. >> look at the changing threat level, look at what has happened in algeria. look and what is going on in syria. >> the story of the last 60 years, the europeans disarmed and spend the money on the entitlement state. they have a society. the reason they were able to do that, they were under the american umbrella. if we decide to spend all our money on medicare, medicaid, social security, entitlements, all she made ideas, we will not have a defensive establishment and there is no country that is behind us that will protect us and the west. that is the american dilemma. it has always been the free rider problem, you're on our backs. but if we go the way of europe,
there is nobody to protect us or the rest of the world. >> but you can overspend yourself in the military into oblivion, as eisenhower said. >> 3% under gdp. it% under eisenhower? >> defense spending as a percentage of the federal budget has declined, true. >> and in absolute terms, the defense budget has doubled in the past 10 years. it has doubled in cost. you're telling me that there isn't that in there to be cut? i would point out, at the risk of being a johnny one note, before the all-volunteer service a private first class in the military was paid a principal
sum of $960 a year. in contracts, $22,000. you have immediately incurred costs. now you have a very military. when you had 18, 19-year-old draftee to be served -- now we have half of the truth being married and three-quarters of the officers. you talk about health care costs, a family costs, all of which we want to do, class in te military was but that just invites the cost of the military as well. >> as a private i made $66 a month and i spent all on breakfast. >> you did not, you spent it on beer and cigarettes, just like everyone else. >> we are not going to bring back a drafted we should pay sodas held theory. or to the point, you have got to cut these big expensive items that we do not need, these joint strike fighters, more carriers, landing craft. marines had not invaded anybody -- >> as china is expanding its military force, don't we need to
be able to meet any potential threat? >> i am not say cut the heck out of the navy, but you have to choose wisely. we do not choose wisely. we fund them all. >> what about charles' commission idea? >> the cost of the military as well. the constitution says that the commission should be the congress of the united states, but there are dysfunctional. >> the military has cleverly spread out all the work for it platforms in all states and districts. you may have to go to a commission. >> that is the last word. thanks. we will see you next week.