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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  October 18, 2017 6:30am-7:01am PDT

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angeles i'm tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with ben stein. he joins us to discuss the president's proposed tax plan and his latest book "the capitalist code." then drew carey joins us to discuss his ten-year anniversary as host of the price is right. ben stein and drew carey in just a moment.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. please welcome my friend, ben stein, back to the program. he says president trump's tax reform plan will only benefit corporations and the rich. his latest book is titled "the capitalist code". it can save your life and make you very rich. >> honored to be here. so i went back to just where you were on trump a couple of years ago. you said and i'm cleaning this
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up for public television that trump doesn't know blank about economics but then you voted for him. >> he was not running as abraham lincoln or richard nixon. he was running against a woman who i thought was terribly corrupt and lied a lot. i have known her for a long time. she and i were in law school together at yale and i never really liked her very much. if she had been running against somebody else i would have voted for that person. i never vote for democrats. the guy i liked was lindsey graham he was the best on national defense but he didn't get the nomination. >> when you say you never vote for democrats what is behind that? >> long ago -- you're too young to remember this.
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you were almost 20 years younger than i am. you are a very young man. there used to be a democratic senator named hubert humfry. he ran against nixon in '68. he was a great man. even though i was a republican i would have voted for him. there was a democratic senator named henry jackson. he was a great senator. i would have voted for him. i would vote for him now. i would give my left arm for him. he was wonderful. but i haven't sea breeze a democrat on the right stand on issues for a long time as far as i'm concerned. the fact that they are labelled democrat or republican doesn't mean a thing to me. my very dear friend has said to me many times i assume you vote for whoever is best for america not based on party label and that is absolutely true. >> what has happened to democrats since the era of
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hubert humfry that turns you off to them? >> they become much more idolized and violently pro abortion and right to life is my second biggest issue after national defense. i very much believe that every human life is sacred and i do not believe in killing children in the womb. and it makes me very unhappy to think that the democratic party stands for that. mr. obama was pretty good on that but not great. lately in recent years, a huge issue for me with israel as a jew. >> are you jewish? >> couldn't be anyone more jewish than i am. if any of your viewers know a place to get a good corn beef
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sandwich let me know. >> i'm sure -- >> i'm not kidding. i love them. >> it seems the democratic party has changed. i don't feel as much as i have left them as they have left me. they are not a party that believes in the things i believe in. >> i accept that. can you look into the camera and tell me and the audience that you have not been thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated by donald trump. not at all. i think he has made many mistakes but everyone makes mistakes. he had no experience in government of any kind. he is not a very good worker along with other workers. he likes to order people around. i have said this about him and i will say it again, one of the great blessings of my life has
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been to become friends with warren buffett, the genius. the oracle. he and i have become fairly close friends. he has only one book in his office that is not a book of statistics as far as i can tell and that is how to win friends and influence people. a great book. if mr. trump bothered to read that book and read it thoroughly and believe in it he would be a much better man and much better president. i have not been embarrassed and humiliated by him. he is where i am on right to life and where i am on saying the right thing through national defense. he is on the right track with me on saying the right things about israel but unfortunately what he says and does -- >> i think what you do with trump is what many people do with --
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>> cannot find the corn beef. >> what you are doing with trump is what many people did with obama and that is to green screen your beliefs, your values, your leanings on to him. when you say that trump is with you on the pro life question donald trump bounced around issues his whole life. >> now he is on the right side of the issue. i think it is family values coalition. first sitting president to do that and they are very big on pro life. i like that about him very, very much. i wish he could sign some kind of executive order and make it more difficult for there to be abortion. that being said i do not want there to be criminal penalties on women who have abortions but i think there should be a major effort made to sanktify life. i think that effort has to include abortion and killing and
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guns and so this has to be more of a belief. >> when you say that trump has made mistakes because we all make mistakes, these aren't mistakes, ben. they are not mistakes. he is wired this way. he is arrogant. he is pompous. he is all of that. you make mistakes. these aren't mistakes. this guy is the most calculated president we ever had. >> i don't think he is with all due respect. >> the twitter stuff are calculations. >> with the greatest possible respect one of the smartest people i know said trump is basically a spoiled 5-year-old child. we have doi don't think he is calculating these things. i don't think he is as clever as people make him out to be.
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he says these impulsive things, many of which i agree with and then somebody on fox news cleans it up and makes it seem as though it is part of a calculated plan. i don't think it is part of a calculated plan. i think he is just an impulsive -- >> by that standard you are telling me i have to accept the fact that i have a president who is calculating or impulsive. >> they are all going to be calculating. if you watch there has been i'm sure you get netflix running forever, a long biography. he is the most calculated guy in the world. incredibly calculated and every president is calculating as he can be -- but he is i think least calculated and blurts things out which are not necessarily good with which cabinet members are not in agreement. he blurts them out and then as i
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say some very smart person, some very smart person at fox news -- >> you might not be embarrassed by it but rex tillerson is. >> rex tillerson is another odd choice to be secretary of state. he had no government experience to speak of. >> agreed. >> he is a terribly smart guy. do we want tohave a gigantic oil company in charge of foreign policy? i'm not sure. here is the problem which is who is in charge of anything? it doesn't seem as if there is anybody in charge of anything. seems it is all running off in different directions and that is a problem, too. we need somebody very calculated. we need a nixon who calculated every single thing and who was tripped up badly by water gate. >> he wasn't just tripped up. >> nixon was the greatest peace
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maker of all time, saved israel during -- >> went to china. >> opening relationships with china made audibpossible the en the cold war making it clear they could not win. trump isn't even remotely in that league. he is not even remotely. i don't think he is that great a businessman. nobody ever asked. you can be the first. i know trump. i was for many years a columnist and i wrote about trump and what i saw was a guy who was not necessarily the most honest businessman in the world by quite a long way. in fact, i wrote about that and he called me up yelling and screaming very mad at me about it. we stuck by our story and he said i'm going to sue you. >> we would like to get custody of your documents which we will do if you sue.
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but he is not particularly calculating. he is not particularly smart. he is not particularly -- he is very, very impulsive. >> he is your guy. >> you know what we say, my wife always says he is a son of a -- but our son of a -- >> i have two minutes left. maybe get two things in. first thing, what about trump's tax plan? >> i don't this can it is going to go through. i would like to see him cut the corporate tax rate then everyone will benefit and that includes universities, endowments, pension plans, people saving for their retirement, people saving for their children's college education. everyone will benefit. there should never have been a corporate tax rate. all corporate income should be taxed directly to the stock holders who own the corporations. if he gets that through that would be a very big achievement.
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>> what is the capitalist code? >> if you buy stock in a company it is the same as owning a business. you and i -- you are your successful business. owning your own business or inheriting it is a great thing to do. we can buy stock just buy the index funds. just buy the whole market and call your broker. we want the s&p 500 index fund and say i want that and buy a few thousand every month until it adds up and is essentially the same as you owning a business, owning a dry cleaning business which happens to be a fairly good business. >> and i think that is why. i think it is why. it is incredibly high profit business. just add to your savings of stock in an index fund. don't try picking the market or
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outguessing the market. buy the market and it will tie itself in and it will pull you along and make you save for your retirement and save for your children and save for everybody who depends on you. i know about people depending on me. >> i have nine brothers and sisters. >> you do not have a son who spends as much each month. for what my son spends. >> out spends my nine brothers and sisters? >> what he spends every month i could buy a new bentley every five months. >> you got me beat. >> i won't be able to continue much longer. i keep saying i'm running out of money and he never believes me. >> i got like 18 comments i want tomake about that but i'm out of time. the book from ben stein called "the capitalist code it can save your life".
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honored to have you back. >> let's do it more often. comedian and host drew carey. stay with us. please welcome drew carey back to this program. the popular and talented comedian and actor celebrating ten years now as host of the long running game show "the price is right." let's take a look at a sample of the day at the office for drew carey. >> each of you just won $10,000. congratulations. now you get an extra spin. if you land on the 5 or 15 you get another $10,000. if you land on the dollar i will give you $25,000. would love to see a dollllar. look at this. look at this. look at this.
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$25,000! $25,000! $25,000! >> slow down. slow down. slow down. >> two very happy. >> the first guy was a disabled vet. i was so happy when he won like that's good for him. and then the third guy spun and they all got the first dollar so each got $10,000 and then an extra 25 and then that third guy when he spun it it just dipped. if he would put a little extra something in it. >> it occurred to me watching this that for pretty much the
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balance of your career you have had i'm going to use this phrase you may not agree. for me what appears to be unmitigated joy of being able to as a standup make people happy, as the host of this show make people happy. how cool is it to live a life where all you do is make people happy or make them laugh? >> it's the greatest. showed up and say you are going to do this and this and i would laugh and they would perform literally right in front of me. people go i love your show or your show is so funny and i'm like thank you. this show it's not my money. i don't care. i will give away everything. that money didn't bother me like that is my salary. it's like the greatest gig in the world. >> i can't imagine, though, i want to believe what we do here every night is empowering people
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and inspiring people. literally every day as an actor and comedian you just live a life of making people happy. >> i'm pretty lucky. >> that's my point. >> you have to live some kind of life of service. this is your way of serving. my way of serving is to get people paid a lot of money and give away cars. [ laughter ] >> does it ever get old? are you as happy as they are every day? >> i can't wait to get on stage. sometimes i'm like i get up and maybe not having the best day or have personal problem or something like i can't wait to get the stage. as soon as the door opens i'm like another person. people are wearing shirts with my name on it and cheering. if you are not in a good mood something is wrong with you. >> how have you been able to incorporate or to use your
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comedy chops? >> i talked to the crowd in between the commercial breaks almost the whole show. but it's where are you from, what do you do? i get the greatest answers because people come to see the price is right. they are like regular working people. i notice a lot of teachers and health care workers, students, retired people. it's like a big segment of the audience. but i get to talk to like regular every day people like people married a long time, people who had just gotten married. it's such a cross section of like working america. it's real pleasing when you talk to people to see how solid everybody is. does that make sense? like they are just regular people trying to get ahead like people from my neighborhood. it just reafirms every day i talk to the crowd and it reafirms my belief that humanity, what you wouldn't get
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if you just read the news or comments on the internet and think everybody is crazy or mean or stupid. but these price is right people are just regular people that happen to like the show and bring grandmother and friends and are just like regular people to have a good time. >> it's like your existence is unreal. could you go back on the road again and do standup? if you did when would you fit that in? >> i did for a couple of years. when you get away from the game for so long i ended up having like ten minutes of material that would still work. [ laughter [ laughter ] so i went back on the road with friends of mine that did sketch comedy and i would do 15 minutes up front. that would be 20, 25. i was writing all the time. i got up to like an hour and it would come on and do a half hour. we had a nice thing going.
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i would go on my own after that. and then i quit for a couple of years and now i'm starting back again to do it. i ended up doing like standup, the price is right and dancing with the stars at the same time. when that was over i was so burned out. it's exhausting. i had to meet my partner at 7:00 in the morning. i had to be here at 7:00. have my lunch, my only time during the day. lunch time interviews or something like that and then right after work i had about a half hour and then i had to rehearse with her and i was done at like 9:30. >> if i say this i'm going to -- standup on the weekends. >> if i say he went out the second and third week.
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if i had the time to like rehearse six or seven hours a day like the other folk who didn't have jobs i could have done a little better. >> that's my attitude. >> all these retired athletes what are you doing now? i was up against two other -- >> tavis and drew making excuses why he got blown out on "dancing with the stars." >> i knew i wasn't going to win it. i felt like i was cleveland browns of dancers. [ laughter ] >> you were talking about average ordinary people that you see in the audience every day. have you noticed anything about the way they are navigating the difficult and crazy times? >> no. yes and no. yes because when people come to
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the price is right -- if you can imagine a room full of people one of the only places in the country where you can see this. at a sporting event you want the other guy to get hurt or hope this guy sprained something. when somebody gets hurt you applaud and it is kind of mean. you want somebody else to fail and lose and be hurt. price is right they are all rooting for a total stranger to win. guy will come up to spin the wheel and there will be people in line chanting names and clapping. they are yelling out advice so they can win. everybody is on the contestant side. they are like a big family. everybody drops word problems and nobody brings anything there a couple of times i like to mention college sports and a couple of people will be good
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natured and that's about they are smiling while they do it. that is about as much as it gets. i also found out people don't care about football. i start talking and i lose the whole audience as i bring up sports. >> how much longer do you see yourself doing it? >> 46th year for the show. this is the start of my 11th year. >> you will make it to 50 for sure. >> i just signed a new contract that will take me to the 50th year. people have worked on the show for like 30 years. i was talking to an old producer that retired last weekend she worked there for 35 years. >> i'm still here. >> right now i love going to work and it's not -- i work like 20 hours a week.
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[ laughter ] >> now you are going to rub it in. i said five times he lives in an unreal world and now he is rubbing it in. works 20 hours a week. >> i love you anyway. >> thanks, man. >> drew carey ten years now on the price is right and going strong. that's our show tonight. thanks for watching and as always keep the faith. s for more information on today's show visit tavis smily at >> i'm tavis smiley join me next time for conversation with journalist jerry vandyke next time we'll see you then.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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