UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
February 16, 2013
Guests: Jennifer Sevilla Korn, Luke Burbank, Dedrick Muhammad, Heidi Moore, Arindrajit Dube, Lew Prince, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Diane Schanzenbach, Derrell Bradford, Johnny Isakson
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes here with
- hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes with Jennifer Sevilla Korn of the
Hispanic Leadership Network, Luke Burbank of the podcast "Too Beautiful to
Live," Dedrick Muhammad of the NAACP, and Heidi Moore of "The Guardian."
This week, we got to see the "State of the Union" from President Barack
Obama touching on a whole range of domestic issues as well as turning to
some of the foreign policy that -- items that are on his agenda.
And I thought the way that that he dealt with the difference between his
domestic policy call for gun violence and his -- his call on immigration
was really, really notable, particularly, because those are the two things
that are the biggest domestic policy priorities in the administration right
So, I want to play this clip because this was the kind of rallying moment
of the "State of the Union" was this very dramatic crescendo around gun
violence when he talked about the victims of some of the mass shootings.
Take a look.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senators of both parties are
working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for
resale to criminals. Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15
years old. She loved fig Newtons and lip gloss.
She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends they all thought they
were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here in Washington
with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a
week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school just a
mile away from my house.
Hadiya`s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight along with
more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun
violence. They deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
OBAMA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
OBAMA: The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
OBAMA: The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg and the
countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a
HAYES: I thought that was a pretty powerful moment in the speech.
Jennifer, I`m curious your reaction to it, because it seems to me that
there`s two things going on there. One is, the details of Newtown were so
horrific that I think it is helped to educate Americans a bit just how many
people died from gun violence a year.
And there`s actually a great article in "New York Times" pointing out that
60 percent of those roughly are from suicide. So, a lot of people die from
guns in all sorts of different ways. But the other thing about it was just
the idea that I`m just asking for a vote. He has this whole riff about you
can vote against it if you want. And do you think that`s a compelling
JENNIFER SEVILLA KORN, HISPANIC LEADERSHIP NETWORK: Well, I think -- I
mean, obviously, it was horrific what happened in Newtown. It`s horrific
when anybody dies. And I think that he`s a very good communicator. So, he
uses that to strike emotion in people, and so, he`s using that to then go
ahead and move an agenda that he`d like. I think that it would be better
if we would talk about the things that actually will help prevent things
like what happened in Newtown.
And, unfortunately, you know, even see Vice President Joe Biden saying that
oh, well, the things that they`ve been talking about really aren`t going to
prevent things like that from happening. So, it`s an emotional issue.
He`s a good communicator. He can talk about it, but we really should talk
about the things that are going to --
HAYES: What do you think those are?
KORN: Well, you know, some of the ideas that floating around. What are we
going to do about our system for mental illness? What do we do about the
people that actually use the guns because he talked about the fact that,
oh, these guns are killing people. Well, it`s the people with guns that
are killing people.
KORN: And we really should explore with about some kind of security for
our children at schools. We secure our money when, you know, money is
transferred from banks --
HAYES: Do you really believe that?
KORN: Absolutely. I mean, we should look at it. I`m not sure if that`s
the actual --
LUKE BURBANK, HOST, "TOO BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE": You know, there was an armed
guard at Columbine.
BURBANK: If you want to look at -- I thought something -- here`s the
problem I have with that particular argument is I feel like people who are
very sort of vigorous in their defense of the Second Amendment and it is
may or may not be you, but they typically want to say it`s everything
except the guns --
BURBANK: -- when we`re talking about the problem. And I would say it`s
everything including the guns.
BURBANK: I feel like the left is giving on armed guards. I`m fine with
armed guards in schools.
HAYES: I am not.
BURBANK: OK. Well --
HAYES: Continue. Continue.
BURBANK: I feel like I`m giving ground -- OK, fine. You want to put an
armed guard in the school. I`m OK with that. You want to talk about
mental illness, absolutely.
BURBANK: But I just think it`s obviously a complex issue, but I feel like
Wayne Lapierre and a lot of other people who are on the sort of gun side of
this worked so hard to try to exclude guns from just being that piece of
BURBANK: I just want to tell we can`t involve that in a conversation for
HAYES: I think that`s well said.
DEDRICK MUHAMMAD, NAACP: Which is why I think it was such an important for
piece of the address and such an emotional piece because there`s such a
kind of radical reactionary response with any type of gun control violence.
Also, I think what to me -- struck me was there was an important for pivot
(ph) from just a Newtown sense of school massacre of gun violence to a more
broadening of what gun violence is.
MUHAMMAD: -- everyday shootings that occur, and that wasn`t a major focus
and I think President Obama helped bring that more to the forefront with
his recent visit to Chicago and with the "State of the Union" address.
HEIDI MOORE, GUARDIANNEWS.COM: But also his -- I think he really does have
that power of emotion like you said. And the only way that you`re going to
go up against, you know, gun advocates or, you know, people who really
firmly believe in the Second Amendment is to appeal to their sense of
humanity, right, because the law is on their side.
They do have the right to bear arms. And so, he -- to make the case that,
you know, we need to scale back anything in that law or moderate it in any
way, he really does have to talk about real people.
HAYES: I think the refrain -- there`s two things going on here in public
opinion. One is that I thought this is so interesting. So, he took a real
lead on this, right? This is I think the most kind of like provocative
part of the speech. I mean, not provocative in any way other than just he
was -- where he stood was so unequivocal. It was rousing emotionally.
And here`s what`s very interesting. If you ask people, do you favor
opposed banning the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons? Republicans 30
percent favor it and 64 percent oppose, which is about what you would
think. Now, you add the president into it, right? You say you attached
the president to the policy.
You say, President Obama has proposed banning the sale of semi-automatic
assault weapons. Do you favor or oppose? And it basically is completely
unchanged, OK? So, it doesn`t matter whether the president is associated.
Those views are pretty baked in. Now, turn to immigration. This is really
fascinating. If you compare what he said in the speech about guns to
immigration, he was very quiet about immigration.
There was only about 200 words. It was a short passage. Take a look right
now to hear how he talked about immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Right now, leaders from the business labor law enforcement, faith
communities, they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: Now, is the time to do it. Real reform means stronger border
security, and we can build on the progress my administration`s already
made, putting more boots on the southern border than any time in our
history and reducing illegal crossings to the lowest levels in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earn citizenship.
A path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a
meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line
behind the folks trying to come here legally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s the president talking about immigration. Obviously,
incredibly different tone, very different emotional register, almost kind
of bureaucratic in its -- in its approach. And here`s what I think is so
interesting because I think they must know this polling inside the White
House. So, you say to people -- to Republicans, all right, do you favor or
oppose creating a way for illegal immigrants already here to become
citizens if they meet certain requirements?
And 60 percent of Republicans favor that and 35 percent oppose. You think,
OK, well, that`s looking pretty good. Then you say President Obama has
proposed creating a way for illegal immigrants already here to become
citizens that they meet certain requirements, do you favor or oppose? And
it almost inverts. Right?
As soon as the president is associated with this particular policy, it goes
away. And I -- and I`m curious what your understanding is of that dynamic,
Jennifer, particularly as a Republican, the difference between the gun
position of Republicans and immigration where his attachment tends to be so
KORN: Right. Well, this is an issue that I feel really strongly about. I
mean, I worked on this issue in 2006 and 2007 when we tried to pass
immigration reform. And, you know, as really disappointed to your point,
though, it was about two minutes in over an hour speech that he touched
immigration reform, even though he campaigned heavily in 2008 on this
issue, and again, in 2012 on this issue. So, to us, it was very
HAYES: Wait, wait. But isn`t he doing the right thing, because if that`s
the polling, the more he talks about it, the more he imperils it, right? I
men, that -- I really -- I genuinely believe that`s the case.
BURBANK: If you love something, set it free.
KORN: But I think he can talk about it smartly and I think -- you know,
and this comes from four years of demonizing Republicans. When you
actually -- when he`s putting out proposals, they`re sort of weary of sort
of where he`s going to go. And he needs to talk about border security
along with earned legal status and Americans by enlarge (ph) because we do
KORN: Don`t believe that the government is capable of securing our
borders. So, there -- his credibility on this is low. But I don`t think
that that`s why he shouldn`t have talked about in the "State of the Union."
HAYES: I`m asking you a genuine question about this, right? If you want
to see this passed, and obviously, you do. You worked hard on this. And I
think there`s -- and I`ve covered this issue, too. There`s a relative
amount of consensus about the main (ph) pillars of comprehensive
If you want to see it passed and the president getting out front of it is
going to imperil passing it, why do you want him to talk more about it? I
want you to answer that question right after we take a break.
HAYES: All right. So, this -- the reason I asked you this question,
because this is a complaint that you hear across the political spectrum
about the president, sometimes, on a given issue, right? And even it`ll be
something they`ll say in Congress, the president left this to Nancy Pelosi
to do the recovery act. The president wasn`t -- didn`t lead on X, Y, and
And I think, sometimes, that`s accurate, but sometimes, it seems to be a
tactical choice that`s quite wise given both what the political science
literature says about the president polarizing an issue when he inserts
himself into it and just the basic polling that we showed on immigration,
right? Shouldn`t he stay away from this and let them work the deal out in
the Senate if he wants this passed?
KORN: Well, I think, there are two tracks. I mean, Congress has to be
working on this which they are. You know, Senate is working on their
framework. Congress is working on the different pieces of legislation that
they`d like to see, but the president has to be a part of this. I mean, as
I was just telling you, President Bush was a huge part of it trying to make
this pass and it still didn`t pass.
BURBANK: -- because you had the president, at that time, Bush, trying to
convince his party --
HAYES: His own party. Right. Exactly.
BURBANK: -- to enroll this thing whereas I don`t think the president, the
current president needs to do a lot of convincing of most Democrats.
HAYES: Right. That`s the problem.
KORN: No, but he has to be work in a bipartisan way, and the fact that
Senator Rubio hasn`t been invited to the White House yet o talk about
immigration reform and he only brings Democrats to (ph) talk about it is a
problem. He needs to start working --
KORN: We`re in February. He needs to start doing it now.
MOORE: -- isn`t bipartisanship the dream of the 1990s at this point,
because we have not seen very much of that in this Congress at all. No
matter what the president says, they`re going to oppose him.
KORN: Yes, but you have a Senate right now who bipartisan framework, it`s
-- it`s already out there. If the president could start getting behind it
and helping seating people from the White House to work on this on
legislation and to actually start doing internal things. We used to have
weekly meetings with coalition groups, bipartisanship, to bring everyone
together. That`s not happening right now.
HAYES: I know, but you`re just -- you are just -- you keep saying this is
the thing that we did the last time that we had a colossal failure in
trying to get the bill passed.
HAYES: -- persuade me that`s the thing to do again?
KORN: He, at least, has to do that if we`re going to, you know, get to the
other side. He has to be part of that. And so --
MUHAMMAD: I mean, I think it`s false to act like immigration reform really
hinge on the -- I mean, it`s really Congress and Senate and it`s really the
Republican Party. I mean --
HAYES: And the Republican House. We should be clear here. I mean, the
biggest obstacle immigration reform has is the Republican House. And
there`s no more -- figure more toxic to the Republican House caucus than
President Obama, Right? I mean, that`s not -- they don`t want -- do they
want to be in a primary with an ad of then shaking hands with President
Or, so-and-so signed on to President Obama`s immigration reform plan?
That`s absolutely kryptonite.
KORN: No. They have to put their stuff forward (INAUDIBLE). The
president still has to lead on this. He still has be part of it.
MUHAMMAD: But I think he is leading. I mean, like he is -- he is putting
forth -- pretty bipartisan frame in some people of the left critiquing that
its -- that this immigration reform is putting too many restrictions on how
people can come into this country, but President Obama is trying to be, I
think, as middle of the road as possible.
HAYES: I think the issue here, right, is that the great story of the --
particularly the post 2011, you know, presidency of Barack Obama is how to
deal with the Republican opposition, right? That`s the big story, even
actually sort of after Scott Brown`s special election in 2010, right? And,
the beginning of this term looks like it was going to be different, right?
There was the -- there was the debt ceiling deal in which John Boehner
brought a vote to the floor even though he didn`t (ph) have the majority of
Republicans violating the so-called Hastert rule, right? Then, he brought
another vote to the floor on the Sandy supplemental, again, didn`t have a
majority of Republicans and brought it to the floor anyway, right?
Then you get the bipartisan announcement of the Senate contours for a
comprehensive immigration, and I think you start to think, oh, maybe this
is really going to be different, right? This is going to be a different
approach from Republicans, and then, we got this week in which you had, it
seemed, back to the same old approach, culminating with the Hagel
filibuster on -- was it Friday, Thursday or Friday, in which you had this
fairly unprecedented filibuster of the DOD nominee.
They could get 58 votes, but of course, under the perverse rules of the
United States Senate, 58 votes is not good enough. And it seemed to me,
Heidi, like we`re just -- like, all my hope is dashed.
MOORE: Well, indeed.
HAYES: Well, thank you. We`ll see you tomorrow.
MOORE: To take one example, let`s take the fiscal curve, right? I mean,
that was not solved by the president. That was solved when the president
backed away very much to your point and Joe Biden started making calls and
went to the Senate and said, I`m Joe Biden and I`m your buddy, right?
So, Biden seems to be a really good proxy for the president on these touchy
issues and there`s no reason that he can`t take this while the president is
out front on other issues, right? I mean, the president can`t be out front
on the five or six issues that are presented in the "State of the Union."
MUHAMMAD: Also, we`re talking about the difference the way the president
approached immigration and gun control, but I think, in some ways, it`s
similar. And that, you know, let`s vote. Like, I can`t make you do
HAYES: Right. That`s right.
MUHAMMAD: But like, look, let`s get you on record and I think it`s already
clear immigration. We`ll come up for a vote. We`ll see where it goes.
Now, he`s pushing. Let`s make sure we get gun control for a vote and you
all vote how you want, but the American -- he believes American public is
with his side. It will be to the Republican Party`s detriment if they go
against these popular issues.
MOORE: But that`s also so sad, like, he`s asking for nothing.
BURBANK: Is this really like with Lindsey Graham who, by the way, it looks
like they let a 14-year-old kid into the Senate. I mean, he`s a man child.
BURBANK: He`s a youthful guy. Is this really still about Benghazi,
BURBANK: I mean, that`s what`s so amazing to me about trying to hold up
the Hagel thing is like I was on a plane flying into Florida and I was
sitting next to someone who was, let`s just say, a detractor of the
president`s and he said to me, this Benghazi thing is going to be bigger
than watergate. And I really -- and then, this was before the election.
HAYES: Is it at the beginning of the flight or the end of the flight?
BURBANK: It was sadly in the middle, and I realized I had two more hours
of this. I guess, I was like -- I feel like there are certain segment of
the Republican population that are obsessed by this Benghazi thing and
that`s what I feel like Lindsey Graham and his (INAUDIBLE) trying to do
holding up the Hagel thing.
They want to, somehow, leverage this into keeping the conversation about
Benghazi going which mystifies --
HAYES: But it also seems like -- it seems to me like the Hagel obstruction
is really kind of pretty raw bad faith, right? In the sense that a lot of
what they want or holding up has nothing to do with anything that Chuck
Hagel has done in his record, right? It`s not about Chuck Hagel even
though they have issues with Chuck Hagel.
And as I said before in the program and I`ve said all this week, I don`t
even know how good the head of the DOD, Chuck Hagel, would be because no
one seem to want to litigate that.
KORN: I can tell you, my husband in the marine corps, and he watched the
hearings. And, it was abysmal. Sorry. I mean, you can say, oh, it`s the
KORN: He was horrible, so you expect senators to just jump onboard because
the president nominated somebody. He was awful.
HAYES: But then why -- if he was awful, then why not just give him a vote?
See, this is a thing. If he was awful, give him a vote. If Americans
support the Second Amendment and they don`t like gun control, then put it
up for a vote. I mean, that`s basic logic which is like, if you`re right,
put it up for a vote. If you`re right about where the American people are
on guns, let`s put it up for a vote.
KORN: And I have to touch the Benghazi thing, though. You know, this
whole thing about, oh, gosh, it`s been overplayed. No, it hasn`t been
overplayed. We still don`t have a solution. We still don`t -- haven`t
gotten to the bottom of it. We still don`t know why we didn`t have
security in place. We still don`t know where --
BURBANK: Well, because the world is a terrible and unpredictable place.
KORN: And the president should be held accountable for that.
BURBANK: -- because bad things happen to -- one American, two Americans --
KORN: We`re saying he needs to be held accountable --
HAYES: What does that mean? What does that mean to you?
KORN: We need to find out what happened. Why do we know what happened
yet? This is ridiculous. And only the people --
BURBANK: I feel like I know what happen.
HAYES: And mostly know what happened.
KORN: No. We still don`t know who did this. We still haven`t fought
people to justice. We still don`t know why four Americans are dead because
of this. And so --
KORN: You know what? A lot of the American people don`t feel that way.
You might feel that way, but we don`t feel that way.
BURBANK: Oh, you`re right about that. You`re right that there are people
who think that it`s -- I would argue a bigger deal -- not a bigger deal but
KORN: Wow! Four Americans died. And you`re saying a bigger deal. It`s a
BURBANK: Well, I mean, 9/11 happened on George W. Bush`s watch and --
HAYES: Right. But also four Americans died in a horrific, horrific,
horrific what happen. You know, we lost 5,000 people in Iraq, right?
KORN: No. That`s also awful. But what I`m saying is, you can`t diminish
that people are concerned about Benghazi is, all of a sudden, just a
BURBANK: I just don`t think that there was a massive cover-up. I don`t
want to -- Im not trying to like bog everything --
HAYES: -- what we`re litigating here is the degree to which what is being
undertaken by the Republican opposition is a good faith or bad faith --
you`re saying it`s good faith, you say there`s an out (ph) questions. I
think a lot of people, Luke, you read it as bad faith. I think in the
context of Hagel, it`s hard to see it anything other than bad faith. We`ll
be back after this break.
HAYES: All right. The other sort of big moment in the week of politics in
terms of responding to -- in terms of revealing the relationship that will
unfold in the 113th Congress between the president who has a very ambitious
domestic policy agenda, particularly, in a Congress that`s going to have to
vote on it, was the response from Senator Marco Rubio. This is just a
And I think what`s -- what`s notable here is it basically sounds like the
campaign. It doesn`t sound any different than a Republican in, you know,
mid 2012 or 2011. It`s essentially the same kind of note he`s striking.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: There are valid reasons to be concerned
about the president`s plan to grow our government. But any time anyone
opposes the president`s agenda, he and his allies usually respond by
falsely attacking their motives. When we point out that no matter how many
job killing laws we passed, our government can`t control the weather. He
accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more
flexibility to manage them, he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly
and the disabled to fend for themselves. And tonight, he even criticized
us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts, cuts that were his
idea in the first place.
But his favorite attack of all is that those of us who don`t agree with
him, that we only care about rich people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. The government can`t control our weather line drove me
bananas, but I`ll just bracket it out for a second and just say, I thought
-- I mean, look -- I don`t -- I don`t believe in like all this split
bipartisanship stuff. Like, people should believe in what they believe in.
If they believe in -- like, I`m not like offended that Marco Rubio is like
going pretty hard at the president.
Like, he`s a republican. He`s giving me opposition. I just think that
what`s interesting to me from the internal conversation within the
Republican Party that`s been playing out in conservative magazines and in
different venues about what do we do now in the wake of the election, that
it seems to me like what came out of the Marco Rubio responses much is
like, we`re just going to hammer on the same stuff, right?
Like, government is too big and regulation kills jobs, taxes are too high,
et cetera, which is -- was basically the Romney campaign platform.
BURBANK: Yes, which I have to say like maybe I believed the "Time"
magazine hype and I liked the -- because Marco Rubio was, I believe, on the
cover leading up to this and maybe also because I was really excited to
hear that Marco Rubio has been pushing this, you know, immigration reform.
I thought maybe we`re going to get like a younger, more dynamic, more open
to talking about things that are officially off-limits for republicans guy
who`s trying to be president and I would agree that I was a little
disappointed because it just felt kind of like right down the middle from
the Republicans --
MUHAMMAD: I mean, because I think the more interesting Republican "State
of the Union" was the Rand Paul, you know? And it was more interesting in
terms of substance and also even politically because it`s kind of like --
and here`s a rebuttal to the rebuttal.
MUHAMMAD: You know? And Rand Paul is really holding accountable to this
kind of Mitt Romney and Rubio follow the same type of line kind of trying
to be a little bit more conservative than Obama but not try to scare off
the political base and Rand Paul is just like, no, we want sequester.
MUHAMMAD: We want more than sequester.
HAYES: Right, right.
MUHAMMAD: You know, we want a balance budget amendment, and it just kind
of really showed the fight that`s happening in the Republican Party. Most
of the part (ph) as we`re talking about is, you know, what`s going to
happen within the Republican Party. Are they willing to work to try to
help govern or they sort of hold on to some really strong ideological
stances like Rand Paul and wait to 2016.
HAYES: Do you think that that core message on government is too big,
regulations killing jobs, taxes need to be lowered. Do you think that is
politically effective for the Republican Party right now?
KORN: Well, it`s politically effective, but it`s also true. I mean, we go
out and --
KORN: -- the community and it is. Small businesses are being strangled
right now by the regulation and being -- and you roll your eyes but that`s
MUHAMMAD: I mean, you said it was effective.
KORN: No, no. What I`m saying is -- the messenger, also, is very
important. And, Rubio is an amazing messenger. He`s a great communicator
and that`s why he`s getting attack right now because if it was a mediocre
sort of response, people wouldn`t care.
MUHAMMAD: They looked very mediocre. He looks very mediocre.
KORN: Well, that`s your opinion. So, my opinion was --
KORN: -- 50 percent of the population thought Rubio was awesome. And so,
he talks about things in a way that really bring it to real life. He comes
HAYES: You think it`s the messenger. You think fundamentally like
basically the Romney message -- which this was in a different vessel can
KORN: Well, you -- you can characterize it all you want. I mean, Obama
said the exact same thing in the "State of the Union." Same old, same old.
HAYES: Basically, yes. He just won an election.
KORN: But I mean, you know, he comes from immigrants. He talks about
being in the middle class. His father was a bar the ender. His mother was
secretary. He rose. He has the American dream story, and he can
KORN: But he does it in a way that really attracts people.
HAYES: The point is -- but there is a difference there, right? And I
think there`s a degree to which --
MUHAMMAD: He did.
HAYES: Everyone does.
BURBANK: If I agree with you, by the way, about the Mark Rubio stuff which
I think he has a great story, and I think he`s a really interesting guy.
And that`s why I was little disappointed because I feel like he could
really be somebody interesting and I felt like he went with --
HAYES: Luke Burbank, host of "Too Beautiful to Live." I`m sorry. Heidi
Moore of "the Guardian." Sorry. My control room is telling me I`m way
over. Thank you both for coming here, because the conversation was so
One of the biggest surprises in the president`s "State of the Union"
address after this.
HAYES: One of the biggest surprises in President Obama`s "State of the
Union" address this week was his call for an increase in the federal
minimum wage up to $9 an hour from its current level of $7.25. President
also called for indexing the minimum wage to inflation to ensure it rises
in line with the cost of living.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Tonight, let`s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no
one who works full time should have to live in poverty and raise the
federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
OBAMA: This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working
families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank,
rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses
across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans and business groups immediately began lining up against
increasing the minimum wage. Here`s House speaker, John Boehner, the next
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: When you raise the price of
employment, guess what happens. You get less of it. Listen, I`ve got 11
brothers and sisters on every rung of the economic ladder. I know about
the -- this issue of as much as anybody in this town.
And what happens when you take away the first couple of rungs on the
economic ladder, you make it harder for people to get on the ladder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: John Boehner was channeling what conventional wisdom and economics
101 textbooks have told us for decades that increasing the cost of
employment causes reductions in employment. But as it turns out, that`s
not always the case. There`s a growing body of strong empirical evidence
suggesting that increasing in minimum wage within a certain range have no
negative effect on unemployment.
In fact, minimum wage increases may actually boost worker efficiency and
add new demand to the economy by putting more money in the pockets of low-
wage workers. The common GOP trop (ph) about those low-wage workers, many
of them are just teenage workers, part time with summer jobs.
But in fact, according to Economic Policy Institute, 84 percent of the
workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage are over 20
years old, nearly half of those would benefit from the federal minimum wage
increase are full-time workers and over 54 percent have a combined family
income of less than $40,000 a year.
Joining me now are Arindrajit Dube, assistant professor of economics to
University of Massachusetts-Amherst who`s done seminal research on the
employment effects and minimum wage increases.
Lew Prince, owner of Vintage Vinyl, a small business in St. Louis. He met
with President Obama at the White House in November. He`s part of group of
small business owners. And Tsedeye Gebreselassie, staff attorney at the
National Employment Law Project, which advocates on behalf of low-wage
Great to have you all here. And I`m psyched about getting into the minimum
wage literature because it`s super -- it`s really super interesting, right?
And the reason that it`s interesting and I think important is the story
about how a minimum wage works is one of the basic, you know, you just draw
a supply and demand curve and you think about the cost of labor and if you
apply it in other places, right, if the government mandated that you had to
sell a loaf of bread for over $5, right, what we would see is a shortage in
There`d be less bread being sold because you couldn`t -- because it would
be more expensive. Households would consume less of it, right? That story
was just applied for many years for minimum wage, right? This is a simple
story that we tell about where the prices. When the government comes in
and mandates a price, it creates shortages.
And then, there started being empirical work done and maybe, Arin, you can
walk us through what this empirical work says about what the effects of
minimum wage increases have been on unemployment.
ARINDRAHIT DUBE, UMASS AMHERST: Sure. Yes. I think, the background here
is that until early 1990s or so, you actually had most the -- the federal
minimum wage and not state level minimum wages. Starting in early 1990s,
we actually started seeing a lot of variation across the states, in part
because the federal minimum wage was stagnant for so long during the 1980s
and 1990s, and again, in 2000s.
What happens is states start acting and actually increase the minimum wage.
Not necessarily the best way to set minimum wage policy to -- a decade
before increasing it and then having all of this variation driven really by
politics and not by what makes economic sense, but it`s good for us, geeks,
because we actually get to use variation across the different areas to
really study the effect of the minimum wages.
So, what happened, it`s starting in the early 1990s, you have a set of
studies that actually try to use this variation across states to try to see
what happens when the minimum wage rises. The famous one, of course, is,
you know, by David Card and Alan Krueger, Alan Krueger, of course, the CEA
HAYES: The Council of Economic Advisers.
DUBE: The Council of Economic Advisers. So, they -- they -- you know, is
a really simple study. It`s like New Jersey. You have a state increasing
the minimum wage. Pennsylvania right next door, what happens to New Jersey
and Pennsylvania when Pennsylvania does not increase its minimum wage and
New Jersey does?
You would think, well, maybe if the sort of econ 101 model is correct, then
you should see employment loss in New Jersey as opposed to Pennsylvania,
but you don`t really see that.
HAYES: And in fact, they looked at counties that are on -- right on the
border, right? So, you have these counties that are adjacent to each other
and they looked specifically at restaurants, right, restaurant employment?
HAYES: And so, you got a pretty good close match, right? I mean, the
boarder between -- is fairly porous, right? People can move back and forth
across labor markets. You can get a job, you know, if you`re 15 minutes
from the county line and the state line, you can get a job over there,
right? If the wage is less, you would imagine that that would be the
location where the most employment effects would happen.
DUBE: That`s right. And -- what -- you know, what they found was that
there was no evidence of job loss for the restaurants on the New Jersey
side of the border. So, that was -- of course, that sort of a lot of
DUBE: So, the good news about this kind of case study is that, as you just
said, you`re looking really close by to each other, the treatment group and
the control group, using that terminology, likely to be similar. But, it
is a single case and that criticism was made. At the same time, there`s
other literature that says OK, let`s use all the variation in minimum
wages, but then, you end up doing things like comparing New Jersey with
DUBE: And that`s not necessarily a good idea. What we did, in our work,
is to sort of take the advantages of both of these methods by A, pooling
all the data together over a long period of time between 1990 and 2006 and
look across all the border segments in the United States.
HAYES: Right. These massive database, 15 years or 16 years of data, you
look at all of the these boarder county comparisons and their differentials
and wages, and sometime, they go up, sometimes, they go down. And you
correlate that controlling for other factors with employment and you find -
DUBE: No evidence of job loss for the type of minimum wages we have seen
in the last 20 years. And this is true for looking at restaurants and
retail as well as looking at high impact groups like teens. And, this is -
- this is something that stands out whereas there`s no production in jobs.
We find actually strong reduction in turnover.
HAYES: Lew, does that jive with your experience as small business owner?
LEW PRINCE, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: Absolutely. One of the reasons that I
never paid minimum wage is it`s very expensive to find and train good
people. And I have really good people. They`re running my business so I
can be here today.
HAYES: That`s working on --
PRINCE: Saturday and Sunday, big days -- and, by paying more, I can retain
them. By paying more, I can actually demand more of them and it turns out
they demand more of themselves. I think --
HAYES: This is known in economics. The interesting term called the
efficiency wage, right?
HAYES: And there`s this idea in economics that actually if you pay a wage
above the market clearing rate, you actually can induce more productivity.
You can actually induce better work in the worker.
PRINCE: And also, the environment that I work in is filled with a creative
people. A lot of my employees are musicians, ex-musicians, deejays, and
artists of various kinds. And by freeing them from worrying about the wage
-- the wage, they`re free to actually be creative in my store.
HAYES: You met with the president and you told him, basically -- you
talked a little bit about minimum wage. I want to hear that story. And I
want to hear about how Republicans are sort of dealing with the minimum
wage, their thoughts on what to do with the bottom of the economic run and
the politics of it right after we come back.
HAYES: So, Lew, you are the most important kind of person in America.
You`re a small business owner. You stand -- you sort of --
PRINCE: A job creating genius.
HAYES: Exactly. You`re a colossus that --
HAYES: -- our political conversation. And so, you actually met with the
president along with some small business owners. And my understanding is
that this came up specifically the minimum wage.
PRINCE: Yes. This is why i was shocked when it showed up in the "State of
the Union," because I -- I have to admit, I take a very cynical attitude
toward these kind of events, and I just assume they`re photo-ops.
HAYES: Photo-ops. Yes.
PRINCE: -- show trials for TV. And, the president sat down in the room
with a dozen small business people and literally said what can I do for
you? And the first thing that one of us said, it`s the guy who owns
uncommon goods in Brooklyn, said raise the minimum wage to ten bucks. And
in unison, the other dozen of us went yes. And I got to tell you --
HAYES: I should note, this was not a randomized focus group of small
business owners. These are people that supported the president. So,
there`s some -- I just want to make that very clear, right?
PRINCE: And they seemed surprised. We gave them the reasons. Yes. And
it`s exactly what he said in the "State of the Union," which is putting 300
bucks a month in the hands of our customers is the best economic stimulus
the country can have and that money tends to get spent in the businesses
more than any other.
HAYES: You guys have done a lot of work on raising the minimum wage
locally. Where does the political resistance tend to come from, because it
polls extremely well?
TSEDEYE GEBRESELASSIE, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT: Extremely well.
So, you know, there was a poll last year that found that 74 percent of
likely voters supported raising the minimum wage, including a majority of
Republicans so that opposition and the resistance is not among the American
I mean, we are working with 15 state campaigns to raise the minimum wage.
Some of them pushing, you know, $10, $11 an hour minimum wages. So, it`s
not with the public. I mean, it is -- you know, the public see what
$14,500 a year for a full-time worker means. They see that the cost of
living is increasing and the minimum wage isn`t following suit.
They see that, you know, over the last 40 years of the minimum wage had
kept pace with inflation, it would be $10.55 an hour today. And they see
the fact that our economy has dramatically shifted so that we are, you
know, the core of our labor market is low wage work, service sector work.
Jobs that pay, you know, barely $10 an hour, retail, child care, home
health care, food prep. These are the jobs that are growing in our
economy, you know? The good paying jobs of yesterday have gone and a lot
of them are not coming back. So, the public sees all of this. And so,
they -- that`s why they support raising the minimum wage by so much. Where
is the opposition? You know, it`s with lawmakers.
HAYES: Well, and also, interest groups. I mean --
KORN: Well, I was just going to say that, you know, I was doing a lot of
reading on minimum wage and sort of where people fall on this. And I could
probably, you know, yesterday, I saw -- I was talking to an economist who
was telling me -- he`s not really Republican or Democrat. He was just
telling me that when you raise the minimum wage, then inflation goes up,
then you raise minimum wage and inflation goes up then you raise the
I said well, how does that, you know, how does affect -- well, let`s say
some are working at McDonald`s, minimum wage, then they pass the, you know,
the price on to the consumer. And so -- again, I can -- we could probably
get, you know, 50 economists on either side telling us why it`s good or why
it`s bad. And then, also, businesses like you say --
PRINCE: You won`t get a business owner who says that, and I`ll tell you
why. The portion of wages that is, in my cost, is actually relatively
small and even -- even in manufacturing and a whole lot of areas, it`s
relatively small. My overhead is complicated and large.
PRINCE: And the minimum wage -- the wage is actually small part of it.
And prices in America, this is -- you know, great secret. Prices in
America are not set by the cost of making something or doing something.
Prices are set by what market research tells most companies you`re willing
PRINCE: And you know, the reason up here (ph) is ten bucks at Yankee
Stadium isn`t because --
PRINCE: -- get it there into the bar across the street where it`s two
HAYES: Right. Well, and one of the interesting things here about this in
terms of -- and I want to talk about this inflation argument, because I
think there are two arguments that Republicans tend to make against it. I
want to play Marco Rubio making one of them, but one of the really
interesting -- Arin, one of the aspects -- interest aspects of the research
I found was the surprising result that you have found and others have
And I should say there is research that -- a new mark line of research
which is against this, right? Which says it does have a disemployment
effect. But in the -- the research has found there isn`t a negative
employment effect, one of the things they found is the factors of the --
the cost factors in a business are so multi-variable and some spike all the
time that businesses are actually pretty used to encompassing large price
spikes whether it`s in commodity sources or things like that.
This is actually -- there were channels to deal with it inside the firm
that end up meaning but you don`t have this disemployment effect. I want
to hear about that. I want to hear about the inflation -- no, I want to
hear about his inflation argument and I also want to hear about political
opposition all after we take this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: I don`t think the minimum wage law works. We all support -- I
certainly do, having more taxpayers, meaning more people that are employed
and I want people to make a lot more than $9. $9 is not enough. The
problem is that if you can`t do that by mandating it in the minimum wage
laws. Minimum wage laws never worked in terms of helping the middle class
attain more prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Marco Rubio making the argument against the minimum wage.
And Republicans are making it right out of the Hirschman "Rhetoric of
Reaction book: Perversity, Futility, and Jeopardy." That the futility
argument, there`s also been the perversity argument, right, which is that
it`s going to raise unemployment and one of the perversity arguments,
sometimes you hear about inflation which you brought up, Jennifer.
And I want you just respond to that idea that if you have a minimum wage,
particularly, if you pay the minimum wage from inflation, you`re going to
cost of living and create this horrible wage price spiral.
DUBE: The problem with the argument is that there`s just so few workers
who are making minimum wage that the idea that at 24 percent increase in
minimum wage would actually effect overall inflation rate. I don`t --
there`s no economist who would actually argue that. It may affect in the
cost -- it may affect the prices of a burger.
DUBE: So, for instance, maybe it will increase a price of a burger by up
to one percent if you increase 25 percent increase of the minimum wage.
DUBE: OK? So, part of that is the -- you know, how the consumers actually
react to that. Do they react really poorly and they stop buying burgers
for one more cent or exactly absorb that cost? I mean, I think the reality
is that a lot of it gets absorbed pretty easily. So, the idea that it`s
going to create a wage spike -- you know, wage price spiral, while you`re
increasing the wage for, you know, seven percent of the work force is just
really doesn`t makes any sense.
GEBRESELASSIE: Can we just go back to the purpose of the minimum wage,
because Marco Rubio says that minimum wage (ph) don`t work. Well, what`s
the purpose of the minimum wage? When congress enacted the federal minimum
wage in 1938, it said it was doing so, one, to eliminate substandard labor
Two, to make sure workers (ph) can even survive, and three, to make sure
that businesses that actually paid their workers weren`t being undercut by
unscrupulous employers that were getting -- paying their workers virtually
nothing. And you have to look at what Congress was responding to, right,
the labor market of the 18th century and early 19th century, the factory
sweat shops, right?
Sweatshops that still exist today, by the way, but with employers that are
breaking the minimum wage law by not paying minimum wage, by not paying
overtime, right? So, the purpose of a minimum wage law is to guard against
these horrific labor conditions and it has succeeded. I mean, if Senator
Rubio is saying that, you know, the minimum wage law isn`t working because
people are still living in poverty, well, yes, that`s the whole point of
raising the minimum wage.
HAYES: And also --
DUBE: To say one more thing about the inflation is just -- has do with the
other part of the proposal of indexation, and this is really important,
because whatever we think the level of the minimum wage should be, it`s a
terrible idea to adjust it by going for five to ten years and having a big
fight about it.
GEBRESELASSIE: And also just having the real value go down.
HAYES: The dirty old secret here is that many ways Democrats in the past
have liked it not to be indexed because the politics of the issue are so
good for them, and so, it gives them more chances to vote on it. And I
want to talk about the politics of that right after we take this quick
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Here with Jennifer Sevilla
Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network: Arindrajit Dube of the University
of Massachusetts-Amherst; Lew Prince, owner of Vintage Vinyl, a small
business in St. Louis; and Tsedeye Gebreselassie of National Employment Law
Great to have you all here.
We`re -- we are in the thick of a minimum wage discussion, and talking
about sort of the different contested claims about the minimum wage, the
president`s proposal to raise the national minimum wage to $9 an hour from
$7.25, which is where it is right now. There is a variety of states that
have higher minimum wages.
And, Lew, a lot of the -- a lot of the resistance to raising the minimum
wage, we talked about how popular the polling is, it comes from two
different areas. I wanted to show this really interesting bit of data our
crack segment producer Sal Genteel (ph) found.
This is a study about something called last-place aversion. I think it is
really interesting and explains a lot about American politics. Basically,
the idea is people don`t want to be in what is perceived to be last place.
And so if you ask people about raising the minimum wage, right, people
making the minimum wage, think it`s a good idea. If you are making a
little more or a lot more than minimum wage, think it`s basically good
idea. But people making just above the minimum wage, the support drops.
And the reason the support drops is because people -- if the minimum wage
raises to where they are, then they now find themselves in last place.
And there is a really fascinating redistributive politics happening at the
bottom end of the wage scale. And I thought that this chart gives you a
sense of that. You graph it along what people are making. You see the big
drop-off there just above what the minimum wage is.
What do you -- what`s your experience among fellow business owners on this?
PRINCE: This is classic example of people not understanding their own
economic best interest. Because it`s -- essentially when you raise the
minimum wage, you force a lot of businesses to raise the next guy -- the
person at the next level and person above that. And there really is a --
HAYES: A rippling-up effect.
PRINCE: To use Mr. Boehner`s words, it pushes them several rungs up the
PRINCE: It is a really effective tool to sort of start addressing the
disparity between the wage earners at the bottom and the wage earners at
the top. And push people literally push them towards the middle class.
HAYES: The politics of this has been very successful.
HAYES: There`s been a lot of local state that campaigned on this. And, in
fact, Republicans voted -- there are three races, right, 2007 and 2008 and
GEBRESELASSIE: Well, it was -- it was a phased increase. There`s one
GEBRESELASSIE: I mean, Congress has only voted three times in the last 30
HAYES: Right. And they voted to phase-in. And that 2007 vote, right, was
fairly bipartisan. Am I right?
GEBRESELASSIE: Yes. And it was signed by President George W. Bush. And,
you know --
HAYES: What has the resistance -- what`s been your -- as NELP works in
these different states trying to get this done, where is the resistance?
And how have you sort of overcome it?
GEBRESELASSIE: Right. The resistance is with special interests and
political lawmakers that, you know, don`t -- just for some reason
ideologically opposed to the minimum wage, even though it has proven to be
insanely popular, it is, you know, what we need for an economic recovery
What the president said in the State of the Union how the minimum wage is
key to economic recovery is so true because these are the jobs that more
and more Americans are spending there, right? I mean, if we want to build
the -- if we want to grow the middle class, grow the middle class, if we
want to just make sure the workers can survive, we need to figure out a way
to raise job standards in these industry.
KORN: But to your point, though, before we left on the break, you said,
you know, Democrats don`t want to do indexing because it is a great
political issue for them. Everybody was caught by surprise when the
president actually brought it up in the State of the Union.
HAYES: Mitt Romney endorsed that in the campaign. Right.
KORN: The fact is that -- it was -- tactically probably a good thing for
him because look at what we are talking about. We are only talking about
the minimum wage. We are not talking being tax reform. We are not talking
about the deficit. We are not talking about the debt.
We are not --
GEBRESELASSIE: We are talking about minimum wage. That is the topic.
KORN: And it`s sort of like this shiny object to say this is what I`m
going to do because all the rest of the other stuff --
GEBRESELASSIE: It is not a shiny object. It is something that will raise
pay for millions of workers across this country. There are 19 states that
have higher --
GEBRESELASSIE: OK. Sure. Sure. Fine.
But let`s start with the minimum wage. OK. But, let`s start with it and
HAYES: But here`s my question. Here`s my question for you as a Republican
and I think this is an interesting -- you know, it`s rough to be at the
bottom of the labor scale, right?
KORN: You`re making $14,500.
HAYES: Let me -- you know, we tried get a worker, that made minimum wage
here and we went through different acrobatic.
GEBRESELASSIE: A lot of them have to work.
HAYES: Right, exactly. A lot of them have to work.
And the other thing, to be honest, I don`t think -- I don`t think you need
to convince people that it is better to make $9 an hour than $7.25. That`s
a pretty clear case.
KORN: Who doesn`t want to make more money? Everybody wants to make more
HAYES: Presumably in the past --
GEBRESELASSIE: Bringing in --
HAYES: What is really interesting is in the past, the argument against
minimum wage has been this kind of argument, right, that you actually
create more unemployment. OK.
And -- economists always say that -- right. The empirical data suggests
that that`s not the story, although some people still contend it is. But
let`s say it works. Let`s even say it works, right?
HAYES: Economists say the efficient thing do, the Milton Friedman model,
right, is a negative income tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and
that that`s an efficient way -- rather than the government coming in
mandating wages, right, just having an efficient transfer. That`s been the
neoliberal economic 101 preferred policy at the bottom. And what I think
is so interesting if you look at hose two, you get -- it zeros in on what
we mean by big government and what our opposition to big government is.
Because at a certain level mandating a wage, right, is a heavy handed use
of the state`s power but it doesn`t cost the government a dime. Whereas
the earned income tax credit is an efficient transfer from perspective
economics 101, but it actually costs money out of the Treasury.
And my question to you as a Republican is, which of two policies do you
prefer in the scenario or is the answer none of the above for people at the
bottom of the wage scale?
KORN: Well, I prefer other options. I mean the fact that we have a $16
trillion deficit, the fact that --
HAYES: Why does that matter to low-wage workers?
KORN: What I`m saying is when you are talking about president`s economic
package, he -- is talking about this because it is one thing that he can
probably propose and maybe be successful whereas all the other things --
HAYES: I know, but I`m asking you a question. The Republican Party got
destroyed among low-wage workers.
KORN: Which I`m not representing.
HAYES: Republican Party -- I know.
KORN: Don`t put them all on me.
HAYES: Right. I`m just saying the Republican Party got destroyed among
low wage worker, A. And, B, there`s a perception that`s essentially a
party of, you know, economic royalism, right? It does not -- and this
borne out on polling data. I`m not saying this is like -- and my question
is, what does a Republican have to say to a low-wage worker? You`re making
$7.25 an hour, what do you say to that worker -- specifically to that
worker about improving their lot?
KORN: Well I think there`s many things. Small businesses right now, they
need to grow. They need to be able to higher more people when you do force
it and I know that there -- you say that it is going to help you, but there
are small businesses that do come out -- again, just like the economists
who say this is going to hurt me.
DUBE: Just going back to the minimum wage versus the ITC. That`s a false
GEBRESELASSIE: It`s not a zero sum choice.
DUBE: The ITC does some good things. A lot of good things. But one of
the things it does is by increasing labor supply, which is a good thing.
It also ends up pushing down wages. Some of the wage increases, wage
decreases, mean that the ITC is public spending getting captured by low
wage employers. Minimum wage stops that, right?
So, there is a lot of evidence --
HAYES: In tandem.
DUBE: -- including by David Neumark and William Wascher, meeting critics
of the minimum wage, actually find in the most recent work the minimum wage
actually complements the ITC.
If you look at their work, not advertise. Not advertise. But -- in fact,
it shows that.
GEBRESELASSIE: If you are just focus order the ITC a lot of the people
saying we just need to do -- expand the ITC, our corporate interests. Why
are they so into it? It is because they want to be able to subsidize the
low wages that they`re paying their workers with taxpayers basically taking
the full responsibility of making sure that low wage earners aren`t living
GEBRESELASSIE: They don`t say that.
PRINCE: Keeping the minimum wage low forces small businesses to support
their competition to underwrite their competition. I will give you an
example. In Missouri, we have -- Missouri Medicaid, there`s a thing called
Missouri Health Net.
PRINCE: The last year on their Web site they have any number force is
2009. First quarter of 2009, Walmart workers, used $4.25 million of
Missouri Health Net Funds. The -- next biggest one, I think, was Tyson who
used like $1.4 million of Missouri Health Net Funds.
Small businesses who -- don`t cash don`t have the fancy accounting and
don`t have offshore accounts, end up paying -- normal taxpayers and end up
paying into these funds. So, I`m essentially underwriting Walmart`s
ability on sell CDs and less than I paid for them.
HAYES: Exactly, because you`re subsidizing the wages through the social
GEBRESELASSIE: And actually, in a lot of cases, it is the large retailers
that are ones paying rock bottom wage, not the small business.
HAYES: Yes. What is -- what do we know about the sort of universe appeal
of paying minimum wage? Is it local small business owners like Lew, or is
it large employers?
GEBRESELASSIE: Well, 2/3 of people that make minimum wage work at
companies with over 100 employees. So, these are the large corporations
whose profits, by the way, have not only recovered since the recession but
in some cases are even higher than they were before the recession. So,
these are corporations that can totally pay -- afford to pay a minimum wage
that`s closer to historic value.
HAYES: I think -- again, in line with the president`s line about the gun
violence, I think they should just give it a vote and see where it goes.
I want to thank Jennifer Sevilla Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network,
UMass-Amherst economic professor, Arindrajit Dube, Lew Prince, owner of
Vintage Vinyl, which you should check out the next time you go to St.
Louis, Missouri, and Tsedeye, Gebreselassie of the National Employment Law
Project, that was very spirited and very enjoyable. Thank you very much.
PRINCE: We need an hour.
HAYES: It`s getting wonkier. Universal pre-K would represent one of the
most significant expansions in public education if the president can get it
done. That`s next.
HAYES: President Obama made a strong push this week in his proposal to
create a pre-K program across the country. Right now, kids here in the
U.S. are short in education when they enter kindergarten. But only three
in 10 4-year-olds in the U.S. are currently enrolled in high quality pre-K.
Researchers, economists and policymakers have been making the case for
years, this is a massive wasted opportunity.
The president made this point in Tuesday`s State of the Union address.
And, again, on Thursday in Georgia, the first state in the country to
provide universal pre-school for all 4-year-olds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Study after study shows that
the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the
road. But here`s the thing: we are not doing enough to give all of our
kids that chance. In states like Georgia, that made it a priority to
educate our youngest children, states like Oklahoma, students don`t just
show up in kindergarten, first grade more prepared to learn, they are also
more likely to grow up reading and doing math at grade level, graduating
from high school, holding a job, and even forming more stable families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Studies have shown that well-run pre-K provides kids from poor
households and poor neighborhoods of the learning skills the more affluent
parents have to give to their kids. Data from the National Institute for
Early Education Research show that higher income kids are more likely to
spend time in pre-school, possibly, probably, because their parents can
The benefits directly related to early childhood education have not been
lost on other countries. The average pre-school enrollment of OECB
countries is 77 percent, while the average pre-school enrollment for the
U.S. hovers just above 56 percent, just around 55.7 percent.
Voluntary universal pre-k had broad support, and with traditional states
like Georgia and Oklahoma already providing free pre-school for any 4-year-
old whose parents want it, and with Alabama`s Republican governor calling
for a 16 percent increase in the state`s preschool budget, it seems like
rare example -- very, very rare example -- of good policy that could
conceivably maybe find something like bipartisan support.
Back to the table Dedrick Muhammad, senior economic director of the NAACP,
and joining contributor Goldie Taylor, Derrell Bradford, executive director
of the education think tank Better Education for Kids, and Diane
Shanzenbach, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and an associate
professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern
Great to have you all here.
DERRELL BRADFORD, BETTER EDUCATION FOR KIDS: Thanks for having us.
HAYES: All right. So, universal pre-K -- maybe, Diane, walk us through
the research here. This has been -- I made a joke the other day it is like
-- it`s almost like the joke about worthwhile initiative. It`s like a
liberal cliche that like, obviously, this is a good idea and -- research
just seems to grow and grow and grow suggesting.
What are the -- what are the -- what are the below the headlines of the
research that people -- folks may not know?
DIANE SCHANZENBACH, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Well, I want to start by
saying they are not -- not many areas where you see this level of agreement
among -- people ranging from Jim Heckman to Al Krueger, to Ben Bernanke,
all agree on this policy issue which is that this is a really good
investment for children.
So, Heckman, you know, calculates that every collar spent on high quality
early childhood education pay as 10 percent return in the long run.
Something that`s -- maybe not well known is that studies have shown that
this is the most efficient time in the life cycle to invest in people.
So, if we invest either in job training, when kids are older, things like
that, we get much less of a bang for the buck than we do if we start when
kids are quite young. There`s scientific studies on the green that back
this up about the plasticity of the brain and I`ve got a 4-year-old myself.
I know that they are sponges at this point in time. You know, so -- let`s
see -- you know --
HAYES: Let me ask you this. The big counter example and I think the place
where this gets contested is what that term high quality is doing a lot of
work, right? Because it almost seems kind of topological (ph), like if I
said like -- you know, if you get high quality education, that`s a great
return. Well, sure, yes. Absolutely.
It`s like -- you know what, if you get a high quality job you are really
going to like your job. The high quality is doing all the work there. The
question of -- high quality in my understand sing that word in some ways is
being used to mean not Head Start, because a lot of the panel data we have
on Head Start, which is, of course, the signature program in the federal
government to do early childhood education, the biggest longitudinal study
of that seemed to show results that were kind of eh.
SCHANZENBACH: I think that this week -- Head Start studies have been
maligned sort of unfairly.
SCHANZENBACH: I think our best research on Head Start seems to show that
there are long-term positive outcomes. We see from the Head Start results,
you know, increase and likelihood that you graduate from high school and
increased college going. There`s one study from the 1960s, from Head Start
that happened in 1960s, that finds kids are less likely to die of
consequences -- you know, causes that mate have something to do with
HAYES: You think the line head start actually is not what it is sold as or
actually doesn`t help kids. It is just wrong. Data does not bear this
SCHANZENBACH: That`s correct. We`ve got tons and tons of research on
this. I think we can do better than Head Start. I think head start has
been falsely maligned this week.
HAYES: Derrell, what`s your feeling about this? I mean, I guess the
question is -- A, do you think this is the right direction to go policy-
wise? B, do you have skepticism about the implementation?
BRADFORD: So, it`s kind of tough to be against pre-K.
HAYES: That`s the idea. I mean, minimum wage and pre-K -- it`s let`s do
BRADFORD: And I think you just raised a good point which is, you know, on
education, sort of generally like it is one of the rare areas where there
seems to be some consensus between Republicans and Democrats and that kind
of thing. New Jersey is sort of -- very far down the road in terms of
implementing a high-quality pre-K experience for 3 and 4-year-olds and what
we use to call the districts which are 31 towns with extraordinarily low
(INAUDIBLE) extraordinarily epic k-12 public school spending, so like
Newark spends $22,000 a kid, Camden, $25,000, that kind of thing.
BRADFORD: So, to your point the definition of high quality there at least
it is worth kind of looking at. So, there are lots of requirements on it
that I think are unnecessary. Like -- toilets have to be this high. And
kids this much square footage.
But there`s some other ones that are pretty good like class sizes, almost
people cite as being really important in pre-K, if not so much in K-12
where I think the research is kind of over. So, it`s like 15-1.
And it is extremely expensive. So it`s like $13,000 a student, 20 percent
higher than the K-12 national average. So, this is a big deal in terms of
the expense of going universal.
But the -- thing I would argue is the most for piece about it is it is one
of the country`s biggest school choice programs. So, it`s a state pay,
parent chosen, mixed delivery system with sort of private community based
providers. And -- districts competing against one another.
And anything in sort -- expansion, even if it`s like for a focus on low-
income kids, where I think it should be, if you are not delivering this in
a way that`s competitive where parents kind of controlling where the pre-K
education happens, I think you are sort of looking more uphill than you
already are now.
HAYES: Derrell is making me nervous of the school choice to talk.
MUHAMMAD: Let me say --
HAYES: NAACP has been a big proponent of some form of universal pre-K.
MUHAMMAD: That`s right. We did a report. (INAUDIBLE) head of the
education for NAACP, "Finding Our Way" to first was part -- was name of the
report. First part was this idea of universal pre-K.
And even the NAACP report, it`s pretty broad, and just as President Obama`s
call for universal pre-K, it was broader. It wasn`t like it has to be
this, this, this. I think it is pretty focused on getting federal money to
states, while states to implement what this -- universal pre-K is.
So, it could it have an evolved school choice. I mean, I don`t believe
that universal pre-K is going to solve everything. I think that we need to
be clear in -- you know, we can talk about this much earlier on. But State
of the Union address, there was a broad address, and a host of economic
issues. Quality pre-K education but you don`t get quality K or middle
school or high school. And you don`t have quality jobs in your community.
Then I don`t believe that -- still going on have these issues.
So, I mean, I don`t believe that school choice either is a -- will solve
HAYES: I mean, it says something about the way that our current system is
set up, that if you`re going to expand education, I think it`s almost
outside of our political realm of the imagination that you would actually
just mandate a new level of school, right? Like the way we deal with
policy problems now, is we are going to -- it`s coupon state, right? We
are going to send money and you`re going to go into the private market and
market is going to provide it, right? No one is saying back in 1917,
Walter Mondale had a proposal that had a lot more basically creating a new
grade of school before kindergarten nationally. That`s very different than
what is being proposed now.
And I want to talk a little about the details with the Republican senator -
- I`m very excited to have -- who supports universal pre-K but skeptical of
the president`s program. He`s from your home state of Georgia, Goldie
Taylor, and we are going to talk to Senator Isakson, just after this.
HAYES: Before I bring the senator from Georgia, I just want to set the
table with the kind of iconic study of the long-term effects which is the
Perry pre-school study. This is the one that gets cited the most. It`s
the data that James Heckman, who want to know the price, and it`s done the
kind of leading work on early childhood development and the returns on
investment to pre-K and early education spending.
You know, when you look at the -- it was a randomized study which is why we
like it. It wasn`t a huge sample size, but when you look at the percentage
that involved in preschool, have five arrest, 7 percent, not in preschool,
35 percent. Arrests for drug dealing, 7 percent who are enrolled in the
program, 25 percent not in the program.
Public assistance, adult, this gets to this investment thing, right? If
you are paying early on, keeping people off the public assistance rolls
later on, you`re actually recouping that money, 15 percent who are in the
preschool, 35 percent not in preschool.
The earnings of $2,000 per month, 29 percent in preschool, 7 percent in
preschool. Higher rates of ownership, much higher rates of 12th grade
education. That`s the case in a nutshell, right? I mean, that study is
the case in the nutshell.
I want to bring in Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, a member
of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor Pensions, former member of the
House Education Committee.
And, Senator, you have a program in your state that you have been a big
supporter of that the president himself touted and I wonder -- what was
going through your mind when the president gave a shout-out to Georgia`s
program in the State of the Union.
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: Well, I had a flashback to 1990 when
Governor Miller and I were actually proponents for governor of Georgia, and
he came up with the idea of a 4-year-old voluntary prekindergarten program.
And he also came up with a way to fund that program which was statewide
lottery which required a constitutional amendment and a ratification by the
people of Georgia.
So, we created a dedicated source of funds to fund the 4-year-old pre-
kindergarten program. The thought that ran through my mind when the
president was speaking is, this is a great idea that it`s a 6 percent
increase in the number of teachers you have to hire, the number of
classrooms you have to build, and the amount of money you got to spend. We
got to find money to do it.
HAYES: Do you think the money can be found? One of the things that`s
interesting is-- in the sense of cost of the overall federal budget, just
to give a sense of the money here, Center of American Progress had
estimated the cost of a program like this, again, details matter, roughly
in the ballpark, of about $100 billion over 10 years. That`s about $10
billion a year.
And just to give a sense of what that is, in the tax extenders package that
just got through, the active financing credit, which is a tax loophole for
Wall Street, itself alone was $9 billion for this year. So, it does seem
to me that if this is something we want to prioritize, we think it is an
for investment, Republican or Democrat, we can probably find $10 billion a
year for it, right?
ISAKSON: Well, you have to remember this. We are $16.5 trillion in debt.
Our deficit is running $1.2 trillion a year. We can`t afford to add a cost
on to government.
You have to find the funds to do it. In education, the last big mandate on
public/private partnership was IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Act,
which mandate a 40 percent additional investment by the states and the
education of kids with disabilities. The federal government promised the
money to fund the mandate, but to this date only 25 percent of that money
So, the states are going to say where`s the -- where`s the money.
HAYES: Goldie, this program has been very politically popular in Georgia.
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good it has been.
Senator Isakson -- one, I`ve got to stop and say thank you for a couple of
things. One I want to thank you for your involvement in creating the
Georgia Peach program that helped moms and fathers who were on welfare.
You know, to receive subsidies, so that they could go back to work, so that
those children can get early childhood education, and then the follow-on of
volunteer pre-K. My kids benefited from both. In fact, my -- oldest
daughter, Katherine (ph), was one of the first children to come through the
Georgia pre-K program. She is now at Brown.
Can you --
HAYES: Good school.
TAYLOR: Can you not say -- great school. Can you not say, Senator
Isakson, that the money that would be invested on the front end, certainly
-- something I have seen you support and -- you know, glad that you did
that. Can you not say that the outcomes that finishing high school, that,
you know --
HAYES: Staying out of prison.
TAYLOR: Staying out of prison, decreases in early pregnancy, illicit drug
use -- all of the other things that become a tax or weight on our tax base
on our society, doesn`t that --
HAYES: Yes, do you buy this very many case that the -- literature suggests
the president made explicit reply in the State of the Union?
ISAKSON: No. I don`t think there is my question but there`s a payback
both in terms of Peach Care, as well as the voluntary 4-year-old pre-K
kindergarten program. And I appreciate Goldie`s compliments very much.
But we do have to find the money to fund it. You can`t just hope to pay
back comes in dollars. The payback comes in a better life for those
children, better quality of their health, better quality of their
education. But we need a payback to pay the tax dollars that`s going to
take to fund the program.
HAYES: Senator, I want to -- I want to ask you about where you think the
politics of this will go, if there`s going to be some enthusiasm for trying
to find the money for it, right? If we think it is a good idea, something
we should prioritize and find the money for it -- where the politics of
this are going to go in Washington, right after we take this quick break.
HAYES: So, Senator, I want to play you something that Stuart Varney said
on "Fox and Friends" that seems to me like -- you know, the kind of
rhetoric you might expect in reaction to this from conservatives. There is
famous case in 1971 of Walter Mondale proposing something that looked like
universal pre-K. It was much more federalized that this version the
president has proposed and it met with a real backlash, actually very
conservative religious backlash against sort of incursions into what`s the
And this was Stuart Varney. I want you to just take a look at this and get
your thoughts whether this is the kind of thing you expect to hear from the
Republican Party about this proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART VARNEY, FOX NEWS: Look what the president is doing here. It is a
repeat performance of campaign, which is you raise taxes on the rich and
you offer all kinds of free stuff to people who will vote for you in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
VARNEY: This is one of those occasions. Free pre-school education for 4-
year-olds. It`s free. Hear it is. Hand out the goodies.
What the president is really doing here -- he is not saying how he`s going
to pay for this, he`s buying votes with future taxpayer money. He`s
increasing the scope of the unions because -- teachers union which will
staff the pre-schools.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
VARNEY: And he`s introducing big government, more big government, to the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, the reason I want to play that for you is the question is, is
this proposal to your mind for Republicans like yourself, is this dead on
arrival which is what would seem to be suggested by Stuart Varney`s
rhetoric there, or do you think that this is something you want to see
Republicans work on the details of to get -- identify a funding stream
reliable and make sure the details are right. Which of those paths forward
do you anticipate fellow Republican legislators pursuing?
ISAKSON: In the absence of an overall plan to reduce our deficit and our
debt and begin to balance our budget, I don`t think any new federal program
is going to be very well-received on the Republican side, or quite frankly,
on the Democratic side.
And remember this -- in Georgia, we found a source of funding before we
started the 4-year-old pre-kindergarten program. We used a voucher program
to increase our use of faith-based education to provide it, as well as
private schools to provide it. We used public schools where the -- public
schools had the classrooms available.
We put together a very flexible program that was paid for. And if we are
going to have a federal program, we need to inspire the local systems to
come up with the money to fund that program and motivate them to do so.
HAYES: I will say that -- again, the White House didn`t put out a ton of
paper on this. But what they put out are broadly along those lines, it
looks like. I mean, there`s some things they said about making sure that -
- certain minimum standards for the teachers, teamers had -- early
childhood development, that they have levels of education that are -- equal
to -- K through 12 teachers, but that broadly the way they are --
envisioning instruction program is this matching fund approach in which you
have the federal government match programs that get expanded by the states.
TAYLOR: And that`s what`s happening in Georgia. You know, we have a
little over -- maybe $270 million that comes in from the total assistance
to parents who need daycare, pre-K assistance, about $54 million in state
matching funds, 70 percent of that number goes directly into this classroom
situation that -- we have something else in Georgia that we haven`t really
Last year, we passed legislation that allowed for financial incentives for
people who met and not just the standard, but an increased standard. So,
you had 700 school facilities sign up and enroll in --
HAYES: Sort of Race to the Top in the state.
TAYLOR: A Race to the Top among this in order to find sorted of the best
innovative ideas, you know, to push higher standards across the entire
system. I think that only benefits the kids.
MUHAMMAD: I just want to add. I think the senator brought up a key point
which is why I`m not so optimistic about pre-K actually being enacted,
because if the idea is that you have to have some type of budget agreement
first before we can move forward on any positive program no matter how many
people supporting it, then I think it is going to be gobbled up by the
partisanship we have seen around the budget issue, which is to me
BRADFORD: Yes. I mean, we only have pre-K sort of -- universal pre-K in
the districts in New Jersey because it was court ordered. It was not
legislative -- legislated. And the discussion of expanding it is sort of
dead on arrival.
HAYES: Well, I want to talk about -- let`s imagine a better future in
which it was not dead on arrival. I want to talk about what the details --
little built of the devil in the details. And also talk about what wiggle
room there might be on the Republican side.
Senator Isakson from Georgia, I really appreciate your joining us this
morning. It`s great to have you here. You are welcome back any time.
Next time in New York, I`d love to have you at the table.
ISAKSON: Thank you very much. It`s a honor to be with you.
HAYES: Thank you. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: So, we are talking about the president`s pre-K. We just had
Senator Isakson from Georgia, who -- frustratingly, I think the -- his
diagnosis of the politics of this is that sure, it is a great idea in the
abstract. But the deficit and debt crowded out.
And I guess I want to hear your thoughts on that coming at pretty the
research. You are make thing strong investment case. And an investment
case can be made even when you don`t -- even when you are in debt, right?
I mean, particularly U.S. government which is a totally different thing
But the investment case is strong, the investment case is strong whether we
have a $16 trillion debt or $1 trillion debt, right?
SCHANZENBACH: That`s exactly right. That`s why it`s going to take some
political leadership from the president to really make this happened. I
think now is the -- as good a time as any. This is a good investment, you
know. But it`s not one that we are going to see payoffs for, for another
HAYES: One of the arguments from skeptics of it is the effects fade out,
right? That -- you -- you -- particularly the argument made about Head
Start, sure, do better in first grade and by third grade, you know, the
testing is essentially on par with the control group that didn`t get
through Head Start, et cetera.
James Heckman has a response to that and response you also wanted to talk
SCHANZENBACH: That`s right. A puzzle that we found in early childhood
literature, from Perry pre-school to the Head Start program, to our work on
kindergarten classrooms that I`ve done with (INAUDIBLE) and others, is that
we find strong impacts at the beginning, and the first few years that fade
out somewhat over time especially when they are measured by cognitive test
scores. So, test scores fade out but then see when kids -- reach
adulthood, age, you know, 22, 24, the strong gains reappear in terms of
things college attendance, wages, criminal behavior, teen pregnancy and so
So, Heckman has a good explanation in that -- early childhood you can
effect cognitive skills and non-cognitive skills, like top scores, plus the
one cognitive skills like ability to finish things, Paul (INAUDIBLE) wrote
about this in his most recent book also and how important it is that we
teach kids these non-cognitive skills for persistence and --
MUHAMMAD: Do you think, if you bring this to scale like a universal
program, that these type of results would still continue by 21, 22, 24, or
sit because it is more because these are specialized programs?
HAYES: It`s a great questions.
SCHAZENBACH: I think that`s why the Head Start results on are so important
here. It`s not just the Perry preschool that find really strong long term
impact. It`s also -- Head Start which is -- you know, less intense and
less expensive. I think we should go for high quality pre-scale for all.
But even if it gets watered down, we see these similar results.
HAYES: Derrell, you are coming from a -- you know, portion of the ed world
that`s of the -- self-appointed reform camp which I hate the way that term
is used because it -- you know, suggests everyone is just a sclerotic
dinosaur, fighting for outmoded status quo.
BRADFORD: No, I was just an outstanding outlier, everyone else step back.
HAYES: No. I mean -- I guess my point is that the -- you know, the -- ed
wars can be a little like Israel/Palestine. I mean, they are incredibly
polarized, they are incredibly intense. They fought largely internally in
the Democratic coalition but also across both parties.
I guess my question is: is this a place of agreement in -- between those
two different wings of that very polarized world of ed policy whether you
can -- it seems to me like there`s more agreement, folks like yourself who
work for Chris Christie, who are in the certain camp, folks who are in the
-- much more of the Randi Weingarten, Diane Ravitch camp. I think there
seems to me like universal pre-K is something that`s fairly consensus
BRADFORD: So, I don`t know if universal is a consensus position. I feel
BRADFORD: Yes. I feel like high quality is a consensus position. And --
sort of high quality focus that -- the kids who ostensibly benefit the most
which is to say the poorest kids is kind of like a uniformed position. But
at the same time, I just want to expand on this a little bit.
So, whether or not you are -- you are there, I think everybody has to
remember that even -- if it is small and localized or universal. Preschool
is a -- part of a chain that -- articulating to K-12 and articulates to
college at some point. I would argue it`s like the other side of this.
I`m going to agree with what you said, is that the fade-out, tail-off
effects you see in K-12, they are not about pre-K. And we have a serious
K-12 problem in America, particularly in our urban districts, that we are
just now getting around to fixing.
MUHAMMAD: I want to add, I think we have a -- serious pre-K problem. I
think we have a serious disenfranchisement problem. We have a serious
problem of racial inequality and who we deal with the working class and
poor people and economic inequality.
Just to put that on the education system, that I think it is putting too
much on the education system. People are disenfranchising and -- it`s not
mind-blowing that people who are over-jailed - who are receive less
services are those who also have a harder time going through the education
system. I mean, it`s a problem in the education system. I just want to
put it in a larger picture.
BRADFORD: But I do think that all of the conditions you cite argue for
targeting pre-K more, not less.
BRADFORD: And they argue for -- sort of ratcheting up our focus on
reforming K-12 when these are the populations --
HAYES: Let me say this. I think -- interesting point here, right, when
you talk about inequality, right, you end up in a meta conversation about
what the focus should be, right?
HAYES: But you are saying basically what happened is when folks like
yourself say the folks that have to be in education K-through-12, folks
like Dedrick and myself say, well, it should also be the school in the
prison pipeline, poverty and jobs.
HAYES: So, the question is like dash what would a full spectrum agenda for
quality look like and I think one of the things that was encouraging by the
State of the Union in matching a higher minimum wage and pre-K, those are
very different approaches at getting at something that looks more equal
than the current State of the Union.
So, what do we know we didn`t know last week? My answers after this.
HAYES: So what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We know how Republican Marco Rubio defines working class. During a
response to the president`s State of the Union, Rubio said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Mr. President, I still live in the same
working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors are not
millionaires. They are retirees who depend on Social Security and
Medicare. They are workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and
go to work to pay the bills. They are immigrants who came here because
they were stuck in poverty and the countries where the government dominated
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Working class is a term with an amorphous meaning. Sure. But we
know that Senator Rubio`s home, with an in-ground pool in that working
class neighborhood in west Miami is currently on the market for $650,000.
We also know that the median sale price of homes at the neighborhood is
$396,000, compared to the Miami metro region which is $264,000.
We know it`s very easy for people at the top of the income distribution of
America to lose sight of just how many folks there are below them.
We know that President Obama`s State of the Union speech once again
included strong language, calling for gender equality. We know the
specific way he called for it has ironically an uncomfortable undertone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We know that the economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers,
our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the
workplace and the free from the fear of domestic violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We know this is standard rhetoric from the president, but the
authors of the new petition posted at the White House`s "We the People"
site don`t like it.
The petition says the phrase, wives, mothers and daughters is, quote,
"counterproductive to the women`s equality the president ostensibly
supporting, explaining that, quote, defining women by their relationships
to other people is reductive, misogynist and alienating to women who do not
define ourselves exclusively by our relationships to others. Further, by
referring to our views at all, the president appears to be talking to the
men of America about their women rather than talking to men and women."
We know a speech writing staff as manifestly prolific and talented as the
presidents should be able to recognize how totally dissident this
particular phrase is and just stop using it.
We know that not every country is content to simply look forward and not
backwards for crimes and abuses of the war on terror under George W. Bush.
We now know the Nicolo Pollari, the former military head of intelligence in
Italy, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while his deputy was sentenced
to nine years for the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of
Milan in 2003. We know the cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasser (ph)
ultimately had all charges against him dropped and is now free. We know
the operation was coordinated with the CIA. We know that taking someone
off of the street to without a trial, sending them to a country to be
tortured is a severe and ghastly human rights violation, something our
government facilitated routinely.
I know, so far, no one here at home has had to answer for that.
I want to find out what my guests now know they didn`t know when the week
I`ll begin with you, Derrell.
BRADFORD: I know about the noble work of charter schools in Chicago. I
was out there this week doing something with sister organization, Democrats
for Education Reform and I was lucky enough to take a tour of a few of the
schools with similar population demographics and 18 percent of the kids
special needs there knocking it out of the park. I am sure they are doing
great things in district schools in Chicago. But I`m happy that the
network exists and they are looking to expand.
HAYES: I feel like the deal with charter schools is the same thing, which
is like, yes, high quality charter schools are great, right? You know,
what I mean?
HAYES: -- when they are high quality.
HAYES: And what do you now know?
SCHANZENBACH: What I learned this week was from my hometown, St. Louis,
Missouri. There are several super fund sites where there is Cold War era
waste being stored. The EPA has decided in the past to leave it where it
is. Right now, it`s in the West Lake landfill. It`s stored with nothing
separating, it`s contaminating ground water. It should be national news.
It`s, of course, absurd to store radioactive waste materials in a flood
plane in a major urban area.
This should make national news.
HAYES: Where is this?
SCHANZENBACH: St. Louis, Missouri.
All right. Dedrick Muhammad?
MUHAMMAD: Last week, I was in Birmingham, Alabama, for a micro enterprise
conference of the NAACP and went to the civil rights museum which I
recommend to everyone, and I was looking at a display, talking about the
great disparities of the income and educational attainment and even
imprisonment, and it made me realize that, you know, we still have the same
type of inequalities of those civil rights struggle of the past and also
still something today.
HAYES: Yes, absolutely.
TAYLOR: What we now know is that for me being from St. Louis, I know about
the air, water and ground poison there. In order to break the cycle of
poverty, it means we have to dam the whole river and that means dealing
with pre-K and early childhood education, but it also deals with what the
president alluded to earlier this week. It deals with absentee parents.
And this is not just children are divorced. These are parents who are not
engaged in their children`s lives.
If you are college educated, you only have a 7 percent chance to be
involved in your child`s life. The number one driver for poverty among
children and welfare dependency in this country is having an absentee
present. We also know that present parents, too, male/female, women/woman,
men/men, you know, they decrease the child`s chance of going to prison,
decrease the violence, health outcomes, decreases the chance of illicit
drug use, and all the others. And so, if you are going to dam the river,
dam the entire river.
HAYES: My thanks to Derrell Bradford of Better Education for Kids, Diane
Schanzenbach of the Institute for Policy Research in Northwestern
University, Dedrick Muhammad of NAACP and MSNBC Goldie Taylor, thank you
for getting UP.
Thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow Sunday morning at
8:00. We`ll have an amazing really, really amazing eye-opening story of
Saadiq Long, a U.S. Air Force veteran who converted to Islam, now separated
from his family after the U.S. put him, without explanation, on the no-fly
list. The human cost of unaccountable national security regime on
tomorrow`s UP WITH CHRIS HAYES.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP," Melissa`s one-
on-one interview with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Melissa
and Valerie go below the line, talk with the president`s new focus on
poverty crisis in America. One of the president`s most trusted advisers,
Valerie Jarrett, next on "MHP".
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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