All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 23, 2013
Guests: Matt Taibbi, Anya Kamenetz, Robert Kelchen, Ed Rensi, Ben Jealous, Peter Yarrow, Gary Younge
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
As the struggle for low-wage employees continues, fast food worker
strikes demanding higher wages spread across the country.
My guest tonight is the former CEO of McDonald`s, who says raising the
minimum wage will kill jobs. I disagree, and that`s coming up.
Also tonight, this weekend, we commemorate the 50th anniversary on the
civil rights march on Washington. Tonight, a look at a half century of
racial progress -- how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.
But we begin tonight with President Obama, who just a few hours ago
completed the last of four speeches in two days about something that is
increasing the source of high anxiety for middle class families: the cost
of higher education.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last three
decades, the cost of higher education has gone up 260 percent at a time
when family incomes have gone up about 16 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president may have been slightly understating just how bad
it is. While the cost of a private non-profit four-year school has risen
267 percent over the past 30 years, the cost of a public four-year school
has risen 375 percent, according to the College Board Advocacy and Policy
In just the past nine years, nine years, the average student loan has
gone up 91 percent, from more than $10,000 to more than $20,000. Overall,
outstanding student debt now stands at a whopping $1.2 trillion. Compare
that to the overall outstanding debt for homes or credit cards or auto
loans. It is higher than any of those other big-ticket items, and that is
a bit frightening.
With that skyrocketing debt, it is important to know, is the symptom.
The escalating cost of tuition is the cause. And the president went after
that today, head-on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We want to start rating colleges based on how well they`re
doing in providing good value and opportunity for the students. I mean,
right now, you`ve got a bunch of ranking systems, some of them commercial,
and when you look at what`s being rated, it`s typically how selective the
schools are, how few students they take in, and how expensive they are, and
what are their facilities like. And what we want to do is to start looking
at factors like, how much debt do students leave with? And do they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Part of the president`s plan is to create a new college rating
system by 2015 that would emphasize affordability and student performance.
And also, this is really key, tie federal aid to that ratings system. This
would be, if it came to fruition, an absolutely revolutionary change to the
entire broken higher education marketplace, which runs, we should note, on
a whole lot of federal dollars.
Joining me now is Matt Taibbi, contributing editor for "Rolling Stone"
Matt, you just had a great piece in "Rolling Stone" about the
inflation in college costs. I was at a family event with my uncle a few
weeks ago, celebrating the graduation from eighth grade of one of my
cousins. His older cousin is a freshman at Rutgers, paying in-state
tuition for New Jersey for a public college, all-in cost, $26,000 a year.
MATT TAIBBI, ROLLING STONE: Right, right. It`s incredible.
HAYES: Now, New Jersey has a median income which has one of the
highest in the country. It`s around $67,000 for a family of four. But
even with that, I -- literally, my jaw hit the floor. I was like, how are
you -- how you are doing this? How are you going to do number two?
And this is -- this is the problem facing everyone across the country.
TAIBBI: It`s -- I mean, I heard so many horror stories in preparation
for this piece. And I actually, I have my own relatives who have their own
problems with student debt. I mean, I talked to people whose parents paid
their entire undergraduate bills, paid tuition, paid all their expenses,
and just the loans that they paid for their graduate degrees are leaving
women them with $250,000 in debt, the finance charges alone are tens of
thousands of dollars.
And it`s crippling people. People end up not paying -- touching the
principle on this until they`re in their late 30s or early 40s and
sometimes they pay it until they die.
HAYES: So, one of the issues -- we had a fight over student loans
this year and it was a fight about the interest rates and how the interest
rates were going to be calculated. And the point that I think the
president has been making in these speeches, the point that a lot of people
I respect, someone I talk to in just a moment, have been repeatedly is the
loan problem is the symptom. The cause is the rise in tuition.
HAYES: Why is this thing going up so fast and why can`t we stop it
from going up?
TAIBBI: Well, I think one thing that a lot of people that I talked to
talked about was the sort of -- I mean, it`s similar to the housing crisis
in that both problems are created by kind of a serial over availability of
credit. There`s this bottomless well of government money that just keeps
flowing out into the economy.
And every time they raise lending limits, every time they send more
money out there, these private for-profit colleges jack up their costs,
literally almost exactly to the dollar, to match the amount of new money
that`s going out.
HAYES: So, here`s the deal. It`s like, well, it`s $10,000 a year to
go to this school, and I`m going to take out a loan of $10,000. And then
they jack up tuition, and then there`s pressure to -- so that the loan can
be $12,000, and that cycle keeps repeating itself.
TAIBBI: And the flip side of it, just quickly, is that kids more than
ever feel that they have to go to college to get even the most menial kind
of job. I mean, "The New York Times" did this study involving a law firm
in Atlanta, where even the clerks and the runners in the law firm had to
have college degrees, just to work there.
So, if you want any kind of job, you`ve got to do this and you`ve got
to ride this debt dragon, and there`s no way out of it. And so, even kids
who are -- who have their eyes wide open are faced with this incredibly
difficult choice, very early in life.
HAYES: All right. I want to bring in the conversation: Anya
Kamenetz, reporter and author of the book "Generation Debt" and "DIY U";
and Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall
University, a contributor to "The Washington Monthly."
Robert helped devise "Washington Monthly`s" best bang for the buck
college ranking methodology in their annual report of college rankings,
which started as a rebuke to the "U.S. News & World Report" rankings.
We asked someone from "U.S. News & World Report" to join us to discuss
their rankings. They did not have an available representative tonight,
which is a shame because I kind of want to have a battle of the rankings.
What makes -- what methodology did you use for your ratings system,
and could it be implemented in a federal way to actually create some kind
of accountability here?
ROBERT KELCHEN, THE WASHINGTON MONTHLY: So the measures that have
been released so far are what we call a "Bang for the Buck" list. And
those are colleges which graduate at least half their students, do better
than expected, given the characteristics of their students, have at least
one in five students on Pell Grants, which doesn`t sound like much, but
that knocks out many elite schools.
KELCHEN: And also have student loan default rates of 10 percent or 7
percent or lower.
HAYES: So I want to show a comparison of these two ranking lists,
because this is fascinating to me. So, the U.S. news, your top five is
basically what you would imagine. Harvard University, Princeton
University, Yale University, Columbia University, and the University of
Chicago. The five colleges in your list, Bang for the Buck, is Amherst
College, CUNY Queens, CUNY Baruch, California State University-Fullerton
and the University of Florida.
And the difference here, right, is the difference between prestige on
one hand, and actually value added of, what are the inputs, what are
students coming in with and what are they getting, right? Is that more or
less the difference?
KELCHEN: That`s the goal, yes. And to highlight colleges which are
doing a good job with their students and at a reasonable price, the
students from low and middle income families.
"The U.S. News" measures do reward colleges for spending more money.
They do have -- those measures do have a great use. They`re great at
measuring prestige, but they`re not quite as useful for helping students to
get through and potentially through college.
HAYES: Anya, one of the things that Robert points to is that,
perversely, the cost of tuition ends up becoming a mechanism signaling
prestige. So, it`s -- it`s almost a perverse market, whereas, as opposed
to trying to get lower cost, if you cut costs, then you don`t look like
you`re really serious, important college, whereas if you jack up -- you do,
ANYA KAMENETZ, AUTHOR, "GENERATION DEBT": Well, we`re moving,
hopefully, away from a status quo, where colleges have all been on the same
status ladder. They`ve all been competing for the top to be Harvard. And
there hasn`t been room for a real discussion about exactly what you`re
talking about, value-added. Because the value of getting into Harvard is
that you got into Harvard, and only 5 percent of people get to do that.
HAYES: It`s not what you learn there, it`s the fact that you have
this imprimatur, you are an elite.
KAMENETZ: Once you get accepted, you`re like Mark Zuckerberg, you can
leave immediately and you`ll be fine.
HAYES: Or donate.
KAMENETZ: Or go on and on.
But the point is, we need to have a conversation about college for
everyone, because we created this system of mass higher education in the
United States. Everyone is supposed to get a degree. Now, how are they
supposed to afford that?
HAYES: Well, one of the things that happening here, and I`m curious
to hear all of you weighing in on this, is how much of this is about
tuition increases at public university? I mean, when -- there`s two
conversations, people tend to talk about like college and you get this very
elite conversation among people that are looking to send their kids to
Harvard University of Chicago. But a very, very, very small slice of
Americans are going to college there.
The bulk of Americans are either going to community colleges or if
they`re going to four-year schools, they`re going to public institutions.
And public institutions have seen their budgets cut and their tuitions go
up, isn`t that right?
TAIBBI: Yes, this is one of the huge problems we have with federally
backed student debt, is because the states have all their own economic
problems now. One of the things they`re almost all doing is slashing their
subsidies for higher education, which is causing the colleges to go
elsewhere, in search of funding.
And what they`re predominantly doing is asking kids to take up more
student loans from the federal government, which is creating all this
upward pressure on federal budget.
KAMENETZ: Public universities are now getting almost half of their
revenues from tuition. And this caused --
HAYES: And that`s the highest it`s ever been.
KAMENETZ: It`s going up from a quarter, you know, a couple of decades
HAYES: That`s important. A couple of decades ago, it was a quarter
of tuition, now it`s half. They are increasingly -- the 25 percent
difference is what the tax state dollars you`d to support.
KAMENETZ: And a lot of these flagships are getting so much money from
research grants as well as tuition, in important ways, they`re not public
anymore at all.
KAMENETZ: So, yes.
HAYES: So here`s my question. Is one of the core ideas here behind
the president`s plan is to not only just create this alternate ranking
system, but, actually, create financial accountability, right? So federal
dollars are only going to flow to those schools that are demonstrating that
they`re doing something in a value-added way. Is that workable? Will that
solve the problem?
KELCHEN: I`m not sure if it would solve the problem. I think what
we`re more likely to see is college -- or the government going after
colleges which do really poorly. It may not knock out the worst half of
schools, but it could, potentially, knock out, say, the worst 10 percent of
schools, where a few students graduate with lots of debt.
HAYES: So, there are -- there are -- yes, please?
TAIBBI: I think there`s another important caveat here, which is that
the president`s plan, there`s almost no specifics at all about it right
HAYES: And whether it`s going to come to fruition --
TAIBBI: Right, I mean, we won`t see anything until 2015, and the plan
says they`re going to implement it by 2018, which is two years after this
president leaves office. So, you know, for all this criticism of "U.S.
News & World Report," we know what their methodology is. We don`t know
what his is yet.
KAMENETZ: I think we can see that, you know, what he`s trying to do
is push ahead a conversation that started in the for-profit world, which
was gainful employment rules, which is you`re going to withhold student aid
from colleges that have so many other students defaulting, that it`s a
HAYES: Right. Because, I mean, basically, just so folks are aware, a
lot of for-profit schools started to look suspiciously like, essentially,
scams on the federal government. Which was enroll people, get their
federal student loans, pay for tuition, and then just run them through some
courses, kick them out, and they don`t have an education, they don`t have a
job, they can`t pay back the loans, but you got the money for the tuition.
KAMENETZ: They have 10 percent to 30 percent of the students and
almost 40 percent of the defaults.
HAYES: Say that again.
KAMENETZ: They have 10 percent to 13 percent of students and 40
percent to 50 percent of the students default --
HAYES: These are private, for-profit colleges.
KAMENETZ: Private, for-profit, these are the Apollos of the world,
the Kaplans of the world.
KAMENETZ: OK? No, I mean -- and to say, you know, that gainful
employment is a very, very simple measurement and a lot of the teeth were
taken out of it during many rounds of lobbying. And this is what Obama`s
talking about right now is the attempt to extend gainful employment rules
to all of --
HAYES: Across the entire space.
TAIBBI: Some of those for-profit colleges are actually barred from
accepting more than 90 percent of their tuition from federally backed
student loans, and for some of them, even that is not enough. They`re
actually seeking more.
So, they`re taking an enormous percentage of their tuition from
federally backed student loans, which is hugely problematic.
HAYES: Part of what I`m hearing also is that a big part of this would
be just -- actually be taxing and recommitting tax dollars at the state
level, to better-fund public universities, to bring down tuition, right? I
mean, that would be a big part of this. Like having the tough conversation
at the state level, running on a campaign, at the state level, that says,
yes, we`re going to raise tax revenue to fund this thing, which we think is
KAMENETZ: I don`t know if you caught the report that came out a
couple of weeks ago that said that the average grant that`s received by
students coming from families earning more than $100,000 a year is more
than what the poorest kids are getting. And even that is really simple.
The poor kids go to poorly resourced schools. They`re more likely to
start out at community colleges that have less money. So one thing that
states could do is they could equalize funding across the frontiers of
HAYES: Matt Taibbi with "Rolling Stone", author and journalist Anya
Kamenetz, and Robert Kelchen with "The Washington Monthly" -- thank you all
for your time.
TAIBBI: Thank you.
HAYES: OK, we have some interesting guests coming up tonight. One of
them co-wrote the song "Puff the Magic Dragon."
Another was the CEO of the multi-billion dollar fast food corporation
called McDonald`s. The one that believes raising the minimum wage is a
terrible idea will be here in a moment. Guess which one.
HAYES: Coming up, a guest on this program convinced me to change my
mind on a major issue. I`ll tell you who it was and why I stand corrected.
Plus, a half-century ago, tens of thousands of Americans marched on
Washington to take a stand against inequality, both social and economic.
We`ll talk about the lasting influence of the march and show you some
amazing footage that`s rarely been seen.
Stay with us.
HAYES: A fight for a livable wage continues for the nation`s low-wage
workers. Yesterday, Walmart workers were ticketed by police outside a
store in Washington, D.C., while protesting working conditions. One worker
told "The Huffington Post," "We stood our ground, we feel Walmart needs to
know how we feel about how they`re doing."
As we have been reporting on this program, workers in the fast food
industry have also been bonding together and fighting for a wage increase.
Now, a coalition of labor and religious groups are urging fast food workers
to join a nationwide strike next Thursday, one day after the 50th
anniversary of the march on Washington.
Just last month, I spoke with one fast food worker who spoke of her
struggles to make ends meet on $8 an hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With rent, with feeding kids, somebody got to go
hungry, and sometimes it`s the parents. You know, we`re two, you know,
married couples that work, that have three children, we live with my mom.
We shouldn`t have to do that. We`re both employed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by former McDonald`s president and CEO, Ed
Rensi. He`s currently the former and owner of Tom and Eddy`s Gourmet
Burger and Shakes.
Ed, why can`t an enterprise as profitable and successful as McDonald`s
is afford to pay its workers a living wage?
ED RENSI, FORMER CEO, MCDONALD`S: Well, I don`t agree with the
question in the way you stated it. You might be surprised to know that I
actually think the minimum wage needs to be adjusted and needs to be
indexed in some fashion that makes sense. It should be adjusted over time
for inflation. It should be state-by-state. The federal number needs to
go up periodically.
But one thing we have to keep in mind, we are going to go to an
extreme, from $7.50, $8 an hour, to $15 to $16 to $25 an hour. It`s going
to be inflationary. There`s going to be people that are going to lose
their jobs, because all large corporations, I don`t care who they are, have
resources to overcome that.
What scares me is all the small business people in the United States,
restaurants, for example, the average restaurant only operates on 4.6
percent profit, with 30 percent wages.
HAYES: Right, so why don`t we --
RENSI: Now, I don`t begrudge anybody having an opportunity for
success, but minimum wage jobs have always been entry-level positions.
They`re jobs, not careers.
HAYES: But they`re jobs, not careers. Wait a second, wait a second.
I`ve heard in line before.
Most of the people who are working minimum wage jobs as, quote,
"careers," aren`t doing it because they don`t want some other job that pays
more money. They`re doing it because, in case you haven`t noticed, the
majority -- almost the majority of jobs created in this recovery are at the
low end of the wage scale. In fact, we`re seeing a labor market that is
creating down-market low-wage jobs, and getting rid of jobs up at the top
of the wage scale.
What do you want these people to do? They`ve got the jobs that they
RENSI: You know, I didn`t create this and neither did McDonald`s.
Our politicians have failed, I think, miserably, in creating jobs of
HAYES: But McDonald`s is --
RENSI: I listened to your previous discussion on college tuition.
We`re graduating kids that don`t have education, don`t have marketable
skills. I was talking to a young lady --
HAYES: Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second. Ed, Ed --
RENSI: -- who was a lawyer working at a restaurant serving tables
making $100,000 a year. She wants to be a lawyer, but there`s no jobs.
RENSI: That`s not McDonald`s fault or any other fast food restaurant,
it`s not their fault.
HAYES: It`s not their fault, but they`ve made $5.5 billion --
RENSI: McDonald`s corporation only owns about 10 percent of the
HAYES: Oh, come on.
RENSI: Ninety percent are owned by franchisees.
HAYES: You know that is hogwash.
RENSI: That`s the facts. You can like it or not.
HAYES: No, no, no. Of course they`re owned by franchise --
RENSI: I do believe that there needs to be a sensible increase in the
HAYES: That`s great. I`m with you.
RENSI: I think we need to have policies that encourage job creation.
HAYES: I like that too. Let`s agree on that.
HAYES: Let`s have a sensible increase on the minimum wage. What
should that look like?
RENSI: You know, I really don`t know. I think -- I`m not a student
of this matter, but I had Secretary of Labor Reich --
HAYES: You ran McDonald`s!
RENSI: Wait a second, I had the Secretary of Labor Reich and Bill
Clinton asked me when he was president if I would oppose the minimum wage.
My answer is absolutely not. I think there need to be increases in the
minimum wage periodically, but not from $7 to $15. It will put 20 percent
of small restaurants out of business. And that means 30 people in each of
those restaurants is going to lose a job.
HAYES: Let`s have a negotiation here, live on national television,
let`s imagine that Ed and Chris are the two people controlling the fate of
the wage of workers across this country, $15`s too high. The highest
purchasing power we ever saw, really, for the minimum wage was in the
1960s, about $10 an hour. How does $10 an hour sound to you?
RENSI: Well, in today`s economy, I think it`s awful, if that person
has a career making $10 an hour. But there`s another matter that`s coming
HAYES: But can we get to $10 an hour?
RENSI: Let me tell you one of the reasons these jobs are increasing
like crazy right now. The new Affordable Health Care Act is causing
HAYES: Absolutely not true.
RENSI: -- and small businesses to limit the number of hours their
employees are working. I saw a memo today from a company that`s got about
a thousand restaurants that just told all their people to not schedule
anybody over 25 hours a week. It`s a self-fulfilling prophesy.
HAYES: Ed, I understand there`s anecdotal evidence about that, but
there`s been quite a bit of a robust literature on this that are showing
the increase in part-time jobs precedes the ACA, and actually, there`s been
more full-time jobs created under Barack Obama than the part-time. It`s
RENSI: But what you`re failing to look at --
HAYES: The shift in the labor market has nothing to do with the
Affordable Care Act.
RENSI: But the look-back period started nine months. All these
numbers that are being calculated for the insurance programs started last
HAYES: Wait a second! But that has nothing to do --
RENSI: People have been reducing schedules down to 20 hours for nine
HAYES: No, no. The shift --
RENSI: You say no, but I`m telling you I live with this every day of
HAYES: You just told me you`re not an expert, even though you ran
McDonald`s and don`t know what the minimum wage should be.
RENSI: I`m not an expert on what the national position should be on
minimum wage. I can only tell you about my world and my life.
HAYES: Before you go, what do you think is fair wage to tell entry-
level folks? People that are struggling to get by?
RENSI: You tell me what state do they live? And if they live in
Hollywood, California, probably ought to be 12 bucks. If they live in
Canton, Ohio, it ought to be $9.
HAYES: Perfect. I like that. Ed Rensi, I`ll quote you on that.
RENSI: I don`t know what the answer is state by state and city by
city. You tell me what the inflation rate is, the cost of living is, and I
can figure it out. But two smart guys like you and I can figure it out.
The problem is the rhetoric will never figure it out.
HAYES: Ed Rensi, former McDonald`s CEO, a real pleasure. Thank you
RENSI: Thanks for having me!
HAYES: We`ll be right back with #click3.
HAYES: It`s been 50 years since the march on Washington, for jobs and
freedom. Coming up, we`ll talk about the legacy of the march and just how
history has forgotten some of its most important messages.
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the Internet
We begin with a return to Canada. Yes, back to Toronto, Ontario,
where Rob Ford somehow still remains in office, months after crack-smoking
allegations threatened to end his career. Not only is Ford still the
mayor, he continues to provide ridiculous evidence of his athletic prowess.
Canada`s fan expo like the comic-con of the great white north. And
today, Rob Ford helped open an event with a friendly arm wrestling match.
His opponent: Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan. Apparently,
Hogan wasn`t just interested in beating Ford, he also wanted his job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HULK HOGAN: Oh, oh, oh! Oh, big man! Oh, that`s all you got, huh!
Oh, brother, you know, something, not only am I going to rip this arm off,
I`m going to take your job while I`m at it, brother. They`re going to call
me Mayor Hogan.
ROB FORD: I own this town, man!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Rob Ford managed to pull it out, although I`m sure if they
tested for banned substances, this whole event would get shut down.
The second awesomest thing I saw today on the site called Matea blog
by anedia.com (ph) takes a fascinating look at language, particularly words
from other languages that are untranslatable into English, words like
(INAUDIBLE) the German word for the "the feeling of being alone in the
woods." Or Swedish mangata, "the road-like reflection of the moon on the
water." Or iktsuarpok is Inuit for the feeling of anticipation leading you
to go outside and see if anyone is coming."
Illustrations of feelings, and concepts, ideas that are hard to put in
words, hard to translate across cultures, I found it wonderful. I think
you should check it out, although, I have to say, I am pretty sure this one
from Indonesia translates just fine, jayus, "a joke told so poorly and
unfunny that one cannot help but laugh."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock, knock, who`s there? George Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman who? All right, good, you`re on the jury. Nothing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And the third awesomest thing on the Internet today, the bat flick
Batman backlash begins. Didn`t take long for the backlash begin after
Warner Brothers announced Ben Affleck would be the next "Dark Knight," the
upcoming "Man Of Steel" sequel. The hastag, "#betterbatmanthanbenaffleck
treated us to a host of possible upgrade. It`s tough to argue against Ace
Patton Oswalt joked on Twitter, "Wow! @BenAffleck is gonna play
Batman. I hope he fights with the Joke-ah!" #wickedpissah. From Wil
Wheaton, "Really looking forward to seeing Affleck bring the depth and
gravitas to Batman that he brought to Daredevil and Gigli."
But it wasn`t all negative, from Lizz Winstead, "It`s not like they
cast Woody Allen as Batman." Vermont sender, Patrick Leahy, "He likes the
casting. Ben is great for Batman. I guess that means I am out of rock."
Gawker reminds us to the negative reaction to Heath Ledger`s casting
before his turn as the Joker. As for #Click#3, we have no official
position in the matter to some of the fan boys on our staff have uncovered,
what they believe is archival footage of the Warner Brother executive, who
picked Ben Affleck playing "Wheel Of Fortune."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): We`d like to solve the puzzle?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (1): Superman and Spider Woman!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (2): No, that is not --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Wonder Woman.
HAYES: Big news out of Russia today, as Russian president Vladimir
Putin issued an executive decree banning all gatherings, rallies,
demonstrations, marches, and pickets in Sochi around the Winter Olympics .
Putin of course has very good reason to be worried about marches,
demonstrations, and pickets, because of the mounting international outrage
over his country`s anti gay laws and an escalating over his country`s anti-
gay laws and an escalating atmosphere of vigilante violence directed at
Russia`s LGBD community.
Last night on this program, I interviewed Masha Gessen, an out gay
journalist from Russia, who said the international attention on Putin over
the laws and the Olympics is crucial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASHA GESSEN, OUT GAY RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: The reason that Russia has
done as much, as fast, as hatefully, as violently, is because it felt like
nobody was watching. The first trial balloons of these -- of this
legislation on the regional level were floated a long time ago. For the
last year, this hate campaign on television has been ongoing. It`s been
there on almost a daily basis, and the world did not pay attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ve got to say, that interview really affected me. Gessen
told me she`s fleeing her own country now because she fears for her family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GESSEN: The committee plans to introduce legislation that will create
a mechanism for removing children from same-sex families. So, I don`t
think it`s a good idea for me to stick around and until that mechanism is
created, because my family will be the first target.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`ve been covering the mounting pressure on the IOC
and Russia over the country`s anti- gay laws. And, I have to say it first,
I was a bit skeptical of U.S.-based efforts to exert pressure by boycotting
Russian Vodka or advocating for boycotts of the games.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It reminds me a little bit of the U.S., the U.S. embargo of
Cuba, right? Because it made Fidel Castro`s story about how everything that
was keeping Cuba down was, in fact, the U.S.`s hatred, plausible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In fact, my skepticism precipitated a full-out berating from
actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, who didn`t care for our coverage at
HARVEY FIRESTEIN, ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT: You cannot -- you cannot --
HAYES: Please, no.
FIRESTEIN: But you cannot just ignore evil. When evil shows its
face, you have to answer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: My concern has always been that a boycott led by Americans
could very well backfire and create a kind of nationalist backlash, and
intensified persecution inside Russia, that would only end up hurting the
people it intended to help.
There are more than a few examples of well-intentioned American
liberals launching kinds of campaigns with just these kinds of effects in
the past, which is why it was so important for me to hear from a Russian
LBGT activist last night and why I asked Masha if she supported the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GESSEN: As long as the pressure is on, it`s not going to make them
reconsider those laws; but, it will possibly make them dial back the
campaign of hate, and it can prevent the passage of further laws, including
the law on removing children from same-sex families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I have to say, I`m now convinced. It really does appear the
international pressure over Russia`s persecution of its gay, lesbian, and
transcitizens is having the desired effect. The Kremlin is, as Masha says,
and other reports confirms squirming, and appears to be caught flatfooted
by the mounting opposition.
International Olympic Committee and Putin, and not to mention my own
network, desperately want the games to go off without a hitch, which means
there`s a lot of built-in leverage for activists. So, keep it up. Dump
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, AMERICAN CLERGYMAN ACTIVIST: When we allow
freedom rings, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet from
every state and every city. We will be able to speed up that day, when all
of God`s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants
and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old
Negro spiritual. Free at last. Free a last. Thank God almighty. We are
free at last!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That still gives you chills to hear that, no matter how many
times you`ve heard it. And, we all know that speech. But, I bet very few
of you know that Martin Luther King Jr. was the last of ten speakers that
day. And, I bet fewer realize that day was even more radical than people
tend to acknowledge.
That is because we tend to just remember King`s Speech. And, we
remember the speech by the sound bites that have filtered through the years
and not just the parts that have been bizarrely appropriated by Glenn Beck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUTHER KING: I have a dream. My four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!
HAYES: Because this was about much more than just dreams. So when
President Obama and tens of thousands of Americans descend upon
the Washington Mall tomorrow to commemorate the march and the speech, They
will also be going to remember the incredibly awe dishes agenda that drove
Because let`s remember, almost a quarter of a million people came
together in Washington on August 28, 1963, for something called the March
on Washington for jobs and freedom. This gathering wasn`t just about
putting an end to Jim Crow laws and a segregated South. This was about
economic disparity, poverty, and unemployment and inequality.
In other words, this was a world view of a more-equal future. A world
view that in many ways still hasn`t come to fruition, according to economic
policy institute in 1963, the unemployment rate was 5 percent for white
people and almost 11 percent for black people. Today, it is 6.6 percent for
white folks and more than 12.5 percent for black folks.
Joining me now is Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. And,
Ben, how do you think about the trajectory of progress in these two spheres
from 50 years ago; the social and legal sphere and the fear of economic
BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF NAACP: Well, I think what it comes
down to in many ways is that we got what we fought for and we lost what we
had. You know, we got the right to go to any school that we wanted to. We
lost the right to trust that our children would be loved in whatever school
they went to. We got the right to be a cop. We lost the right to live in
And, when it comes to employment, I mean -- you know, if you stretch
out and go further into the `80s, you actually see -- or further into the
`60s, you actually see those numbers begin to go down. And, if you go into
the `90s, you see home ownership going up, see home ownership down further.
And, then here we are, we`ve lost so much wealth, until we`ve got the
ability to own houses and now we have lost so much of our family wealth --
HAYES: Well --
JEALOUS: -- And, the hardest part, Chris, is that that was a time
when we had black downtowns across this country. You know, segregation
allowed for there to be just huge industry in our community. People
selling and trading and we`ve lost a lot of that too. And, so the really
hard part is that we`ve been set back, and in many ways. We find ourselves
feeling weaker on the ground in places like Detroit and Baltimore.
HAYES: There is a statistic from the urban institute that I found
pretty stunning. Over the past 30 years, the average white family has gone
from having five times as much wealth as the average black family to 6 1/2
times, which is to say the wealth disparity between black households and
white households is accelerating. What do you -- how do you make sense of
that? How do you make sense of that in the context of the racial progress
that we`ve made in so many areas and the fact that we have the first black
JEALOUS: Well, look, certainly, we have come a long way, and there`s
a long way to go. And, the reality is that the banking industry in many
instances, in too many instances, targeted the black community for
really strip mining wealth from our communities, through the shenanigans
that happened in the mortgage business, during the bubble. And, Obama
started right at the beginning of that. And, I think if there`s
frustration in the community is that we haven`t seen really folks go to
JEALOUS: You know, there is real frustration that, you know, there
was real harm done and folks have not been really held accountable in the
way that they should be. But, with that said -- you know, I think, the
reality is, that we have to in this country force congress to get out of
I have no doubt that this president would have ushered in a second new
deal if he could have. But, this congress has made it its business to
really stop business in congress and that has left our country really
floundering and our community floundering in a time when, quite frankly the
country could be doing much more.
HAYES: I want to play this -- or read this quote to you from Martin
Luther King about the struggle between -- about inequality. "In our
society, it is murder of psychologically to deprive a man of a job or an
income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to
exist. Now, millions of people are being strangled in that way. The
problem is international in scope and it`s getting worse as the gap between
the poor and the affluent society increases."
What`s fascinating to me is that if you look -- if you go back to
the 1960s and look at the economic agenda that was being promulgated by Dr.
King by folk around him, and in the movement, it was way, way, way far to
the left of any economic agenda that is on the table right now in the
Do we need to reclaim some of the radicalism that was the fuel of the
movement in 1963? And, economic radicalism that was fuelling movement, if
we`re going to push out the parameters of the possible right now in 2013?
JEALOUS: Well, you know, at the very least, we need leaders in our
country, politicians in our country, who are serious about solving
problems. You know, the truth is, if you just go back and look at
what Richard Nixon was pushing, right?
HAYES: Guaranteed minimum income!
JEALOUS: Right, exactly. It was much more radical than what the left
is calling for and certainly, far more radical than what the right will
consider. And yet, it was also much more practical in many ways. And, we
need to begin having a practical conversation about how we make sure that
people in the wealthiest democracy on the planet really have the
opportunity to work, the opportunity to build small businesses, the
opportunity to support their family. We have, it seems in the past 40
years, become far too callus about tolerating massive poverty in our
HAYES: And, not just -- let me just say this. Not just massive
poverty. We have become, in the last three or four years, the political
culture in Washington, among the leads have become completely blithe about
the fact that there are millions of people off work that we have nowhere
near full employment.
And, we warehouse about 2 million people in our prisons, who of course
aren`t even in the labor market . And, when you put all that together,
there are millions and millions and millions of people who could
contribute, whose contributions, our society says to them, we don`t want.
JEALOUS: You know, one thing that I know, if Dr. King was with us
right now, just as he was with those Memphis sanitation workers the day he
was killed. He would be with those fast food workers and those retail
workers and those people who are standing up and saying across the country,
we cannot survive on $7.25.
JEALOUS: And, demanding a higher wage. I just came back from a
demand 15 conference talking to these young people, and was so inspired to
see these workers who are totally on the margin, standing up and leading
and saying, you know, there`s really nothing worse that you can do to me.
HAYES: Nothing left to lose.
HAYES: And, that is -- that is often the key for the best kind of
organizing in movements. Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP. He
will be in Washington tomorrow for the big march. Thank you so much.
JEALOUS: Thank you.
HAYES: We will have more on the anniversary of the march, including
some amazing footage of Martin Luther King on "Meet The Press." This is
pretty stunning, in light of the current conversations about race. Stay
HAYES: We`ve been talking about the 50th anniversary of the march on
Washington, the economic message of Martin Luther King and how that`s been
lost, because the official title of that march that will be commemorating
this weekend, which has largely disappeared from history, was the march on
Washington for jobs and freedom; which tells you the kind of vision King
and other march organizers had 50 years ago was a vision of a more equal
America, equally, socially, and racially.
Joining in the table is journalist Gary Younge, columnist regarding
"The Nation" and author of the new book, "The Speech: The Story behind the
Martin Luther King`s Dream" and Peter Yarrow, one-third of the legendary
folk group Peter, Paul and Mary who performed that day in 1963 at the march
Peter, I have been looking at footage of Ed and you I have seen a
footage of you and Bob Dillen performing. And, here`s my question to you,
if you could time travel back to that Peter Yarrow , who was looking out on
the steps looking out across that crowd, thinking about what this moment
and then what would happen in the next 50 years? What would you say to
him? What would be most surprising to him about what actually happened,
both in a good way, and in a bad way?
PETER YARROW, ONE-THIRD OF THE LEGENDARY GROUP PETER, PAUL AND MARY:
We have a black president today. It was unthinkable. There are no more
lynchings without recourse, legal recourse, anymore. We have a black
America that is fully integrated with a white America.
And, on the negative side, we have the cradle-to-jail pipeline for
young black men with -- you know, millions in an industry that is supported
with huge, huge dollars. And, we have gun violence, we have stand your the
ground. We have huge new problems. So, we must celebrate -- I`m talking
to myself, OK? Hello, Peter.
We must -- in the future, you will celebrate, but your heart will be
breaking also, because the promise of that march, although partially kept,
is still waiting for our work together. And, it is economic justice as
well as human rights.
HAYES: The promise of that march. What was the promise of the march?
What was the agenda? Just take me back in time, in 1963. I`m covering the
march as a reporter. And, I`ve got to write up a story about the marchers
won`t -- what is -- what`s my paragraph there?
GARY YOUNGE, COLUMNIST, "THE NATION": Well, it`s jobs and freedom.
They want equality. They want equality and that equality isn`t not merely
focused. It is not just racial equality. It`s also economic equality. At
the beginning of the march, A. Phillip Randolph, who organized the march
says, "It`s all very well, as having the right to go into a restaurant, but
then we have to be able to afford what`s on the menu." And that`s, in the
figures that you`ve just shown, that`s precisely the problem,
HAYES: There`s this Martin Luther King quote, that`s quoted in your
book, where he says, "I worked to get these people the right to eat
hamburgers, and now I`ve got to do something to help them get money to buy
YOUNGE: Exactly. And, when you look at the economic disparities that
still exist, there is -- and you look at the polls, which talk about kind
of optimism, the African-Americans are among the most optimistic in this
country, you get a sense that people are feeling better --
YOUNGE: -- in some ways, even if they`re not faring better.
HAYES: One of the things that`s fascinating about the march and the
march footage is that it was a multi-racial coalition. It was --
that black and white people came together. And, it was the seeds of the
coalition that I saw in field offices from Roanoke, Virginia, to Las Vegas,
Nevada, you know, to Madison, Wisconsin, when I was covering the campaign
It was -- that was -- that coalition, there on the mall in 1963,
that`s the coalition that worked and voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and got
re-elected in 2012. How did that -- how did you think about that coalition
as a young white man on those steps in 1963?
YARROW: The spirit that united us was no illogical one. It was
embodied. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind that says more
than any words I`m going to say to you, Chris -- If I had an hour that`s
what we had. We had love.
It was so thick. You could pick it up and put it in your mouth for
lunch. What we had was the determination of the heart, and if you want to
know what we need now and we need to create now, and I say this to myself,
as many years ago, and to you, we need to coalesce our spirit. We need to
love each other in that sense. In the sense that --
HAYES: But, here`s the thing. You know, when you talk about the kind
of sublime feeling, the poetic feeling, the feeling that comes from being
engaged in actions of pride and justice and solidarity in the face of
injustice, and I think if people have ever felt that, it`s addictive,
But, one of the things we`ve learned in this era is that that gets you
somewhere, and then there`s a lot of hard work. There`s knocking on doors
and spreadsheets. And, that part of the march -- that part of the march
story doesn`t get told.
That Buyer Ruston had to go and get buses for people. And, someone
had to figure out how to get those buses to the mall, where there`s lots of
traffic. You had to get the perpetrate, right? There was a huge amount of
infrastructure invisible to us now that made that happen.
YOUNGE: Without the internet, without Jumbotrons, without any of
that. What was often misunderstood about the march, is that time, the
march in Washington, this was unprecedented. There`s never been one of
this size ever before.
HAYES: That`s interesting. We think of it now like it`s "You`re
like, oh, organize the march on Washington." This was "The" march on
YOUNGE: It was a completely audacious act. It was a completely
HAYES: And, in fact, at the time, everyone was freaked out there was
going to be tons of violence. This was the white press talking. They`re
invading, essentially. I want to play this quickly from "Meet The Press"
and get a sense of the hostility to martin Luther King. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN LYNDEN, NBC INTERVIEW OF "MEET THE PRESS" SHOW: It is correct to
say that you don`t oppose racial intermarriage?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Dr. King, I have been told that there
are places, which refuse to serve white customers. Do you know if that`s
LYNDEN: How many people are white members of your church in Atlanta?
DR. KING: I don`t have any white members, Mr. Van Lynden. I think it
is one of the tragedies of our nation. One of the shameful tragedies
that 11:00 on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not
the most segregated hours, in Christian America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Martin Luther King facing a lot of hostility in
the 1960s. Gary Younge , author of "The Speech," and folk singer Peter
Yarrow. That is "All In" for this evening. "The Rachel Maddow"
show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2013 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>