All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
November 14, 2013
Guest: Bernie Sanders, Kavita Patel, Alexis Goldstein, Michael Saltsman,
David Sirota, Ralph Reed, Sam Seder, Sarah Posner
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
The president came before the country today for a remarkable hour, and
what he said signaled a new front in the battle for the Affordable Care
Act. It`s one that a lot of people have missed.
But first, the administrative fix to the Affordable Care Act announced
today. The president`s blunt effort to stand up and take responsibility
for the problems that have dogged the rollout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear you loud and
clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem, and
today, I`m offering an idea that will help do it. The state insurance
commissioner still has the power to decide what plans can and can`t be sold
if their states. But the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans
that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans that
have been canceled can choose to reenroll in the same kind of plan.
Those who got cancellation notices do deserve and have received an
apology from me. But they don`t want just words. What they want is
whether we can make sure that they are in a better place and that we meet
I`m the head of this team. Did fumble the ball on it and what I`m
going to do is make sure that we get it fixed. There have been times where
I thought we were kind of, you know, slapped around a little bit, unjustly.
This one`s deserved, right? It`s on us.
But we can`t lose sight of the fact that the status quo before the
Affordable Care Act was not working at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Crucial point that has gotten lost in the coverage over the
last month. That part of the speech, the fumble the ball part, that`s what
got the headlines.
But the most important thing that happened today was President Obama
marking a new chapter in the tempestuous-fraught frenemy-like relationship
between the health insurance industry and his administration. From the
very beginning, this has been one of the most complicated relationships in
all of politics.
Up to and including the creation of the Affordable Care Act, the
insurance companies said they were on board with reform. They were also
simultaneously funding the opposition. Largest health care lobbying group
in the country spent a total of $102.4 million in just 15 months to prevent
Obamacare from becoming law in the first place.
The Obama administration and the health insurance companies viewed
each other with deep skepticism, often outright hostility, and had deeply
But in the end, they needed each other and they probably still do.
But the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have used
the transition to the new regime in the individual market to test just how
much they can get away with by pinning it on Obamacare. Hence, the letters
you`ve all been seeing, letter that say, because of Obamacare, we can`t
offer you this plan. In some cases, offering a plan that costs 10 times as
much, with no mention of the fact that the exchanges or the same companies
themselves might offer a better plan at a similar cost or less.
So, today, what the president was doing was -- he was saying, "Fine,
insurance companies, that`s how you want to play the game? Now it is on
you. If the consumer wants to keep their old plan, it is not Obamacare
that`s preventing that anymore, it`s not the White House, it`s the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And so, what we want to do is to be able to say to these
folks, you know what, the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the reason
why insurers have to cancel your plan. We`re also requiring insurers to
extend current plans to inform their customers about two things. One, that
protections -- what protections these renewed plans don`t include. Number
two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax
credits that might help you bring down the costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One Democratic source put it this way, World War III just
broke out between the White House and insurance industry. And how that
plays out is anyone`s guest.
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
Senator, what is your reaction to the president`s statements today?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, my reaction is that the
president did the right thing politically in saying that, look, I made a
promise to you, I should have phrased it in a different way. But I made
that promise and I`m going to keep that promise. You can keep your health
What he should have said is that many people on the individual market
have totally disastrous and inadequate health care plans. And as a nation,
we should not be proud that people have health -- quote/unquote, "health
insurance", think they`re covered, and then when they end up in the
hospital, they find that they have at most, a few thousand dollars in
So, what he is saying now is, yes, I should have been more nuanced.
You can keep that. But I am demanding that the insurance companies now
tell you that in many instances, if you go to the exchange, you`re going to
be able to find a more comprehensive, better health care program, and
perhaps at lower costs. That`s a step forward.
But the main point, and you made this point earlier, Chris -- I get
very tired of the harping of our Republican friends, who have completely,
forever, ignored the health care crisis in this country, 48 million people
uninsured. We as a nation are the only country in the industrialized world
not to guarantee health care, 45,000 people die each year, because they
don`t get to a doctor on time. And at the end of all of that, we end up
spending almost twice as much as any country for health care, which is why,
by the way, I`m a strong advocate of Medicare for all single payer program.
But what the president did today, I think, was politically right. But
in the long run, we have got to get away from these junk, inadequate
insurance programs and provide real coverage to the American people.
HAYES: How do you think this will be received in your -- well, in the
caucus, in the Democratic Caucus? You`re, of course, an independent. You
caucus with the Democrats.
I saw a variety of different statements. Senator Jeff Merkley of
Oregon, who had been a surprising co-sponsor of Senator Landrieu`s bill
from Louisiana, to do something very similar, was receptive. Others say
more needs to be done.
Do you think this takes some of the pressure that was building out of
SANDERS: Look, again, I think, from a political point of view, our
Republican friends, who have nothing to say about the health care crisis,
are able to harp on one, single point.
SANDERS: They run the videotape, the president made a statement, he
hasn`t kept his word. Well, today, he is going to keep his word. You can
keep those totally inadequate health insurance programs if you want. But
we want to do better for this country.
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, thank so much for your
Joining me now is Dr. Kavita Patel, managing director for clinical
transportation and delivery at the Engelberg Center for Healthcare Reform.
She worked on the Affordable Care Act as a senior adviser to Valerie
Jarrett in the Obama administration.
All right. Last night, I came on this program and we ran a clip, a
package that said, you`re not helping. And we talked about the Mary
Landrieu proposal, which looks in many ways similar to what the president
outlined administratively today. The problem is, it looks like it is going
to undo some of the risk pooling that you need to make these exchanges work
in the first year.
Is this good policy, as someone who is an architect of this bill?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yes, thanks, Chris. This
is a really problematic policy for several reasons. And I actually just
talked with one of the major insurers, who had canceled a good number of
the policies that we`re talking about. And they said, you know, the
president is putting the responsibility on us.
However, you know, you have to understand, even if we wanted to offer
back those policies, we`re encouraging the younger people, who might want
to take these older policies that might have been cheaper, and we`re taking
them out of the pool of people, as you mentioned, for the health insurance
marketplace. So it`s problematic for some of those reasons.
HAYES: Here`s a statement from AHIP, which, of course, is the kind of
health insurance trade group. It says, "Changing the rules after health
plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the
market, result in higher premiums for consumers." It goes on to say,
"Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate
the adverse effect on consumers." They`re talking about precisely these
issues you`ve highlighted.
Behind the scenes, is this war between the White House and the
insurers? Because it sure as heck feels like it.
PATEL: It`s definitely putting the White House -- first of all, the
White House, it`s clear that what they did is kind of retreat into a
defensible position. They saw that the House vote on the Upton bill was
likely to pass, and then, obviously, as you mentioned, you know, the Senate
Democrats were put kind of in between a rock and a hard place. And the
president would have been forced to veto something that took away very
valuable provisions from the Affordable Care Act that I think are
tremendously important and are being overlooked.
I mean, these plans that have been canceled did not -- they were not
adding value back to the health care system. And to be honest, we`ve had
plans getting canceled from year to year. We`re acting as if this is new.
So, this is definitely putting the White House in kind of the defense
posture, and certainly, people in the insurance industry are now feeling
like they were trying to do the right thing, and there have been insurance
companies who have done been doing this.
HAYES: Let me stop you there, because I feel like -- here`s what I
feel like happened. I think the insurance companies, some of them may have
been trying to do the right thing, but some of them brought it on
themselves because --
HAYES: -- as you started to scratch the surface on a lot of these
stories, the letters were Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, oh, here`s
another plan that`s 10 times the cost of your current one. It was
pioneering a message in the new era in the Affordable Care Act in which the
government and insurance companies are kind of in the same partnership, in
which they could blame everything on the act, and in some ways, this is
what has come about because of them trying to do that.
PATEL: Yes, I do think that not just the insurance companies, but
I`ll be honest. We`re still not halting some of our own elected officials
in the Congress, as well as some state officials, that have added to that.
So, you had the insurance companies sending out letters and then you had
state officials and congresspeople who have been saying, well, here are all
the reasons why Obama care is so bad, without pointing the obvious, which
is exactly what the president said.
We`re acting as the if the health insurance system we had to begin
with was perfect and was not flawed. So, we`re kind of -- you know, we`re
winning in terms of creating a narrative that`s confusing the American
HAYES: Right now, your honest answer, is this all going to work? Six
months from now, when you and I are talking, a year from now, is this going
PATEL: Yes. So I do believe, I honestly believe this, as both a
physician and a policy person, I really do believe that the insurance
reforms that were passed in the Affordable Care Act are going to work.
We`ve seen them start to work. And I do believe that as we get through
glitches, all the way to what happened today, we are going to be able to
What I am nervous about, Chris, is I don`t want know how long it`s
going to take for us to sit and say, you know what, looking back on that,
we`re really comfortable it worked. Remember, with part D and Medicare, it
took us a little while to say that.
So, I do think we will say that, though.
HAYES: Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you so much for your time.
PATEL: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here`s why they`re doing it. Jamie Dimon went
from being the greatest banker of all time, leading his company through the
financial crisis pretty well, doing the government a favor, to a critic of
the Obama administration. And you do not have to be a spear theorist to
put those two links together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Actually, you do sort of have to be a conspiracy theorist to
put those two links together. The real reason why JPMorgan is a giant
target is next.
HAYES: Today, JPMorgan Chase is in the news again. And if you`ve
been paying attention, you probably guessed, it`s not good news for the
bank. Remember, it wasn`t too long ago that JPMorgan was the darling of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has been called no less than the man who
saved capitalism in the financial crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jamie Dimon seems to be the one guy who you trust
and you believe in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jamie Dimon is probably the best manager out
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rupert Murdoch tweeting, the bank would be up a
creek without Dimon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you have is one of the only guys who`s
running a bank the way it`s supposed to be run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you searched, high, low for however much time
you wanted to and you landed on Jamie Dimon, you would do anything to have
him take care of your, let`s call it, banking enterprise.
HAYES (voice-over): Jamie Dimon was called America`s least hated
banker, a diamond in the rough. The bank that saved Wall Street, emerged
from the crisis, stronger than ever. Or so the story went.
But for the last couple of years, JPMorgan has gone from hero of the
financial crisis to villain of the aftermath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JPMorgan in the process of making a huge $13
billion settlement with the federal government. But, criminal charges are
HAYES: In June 2010, JPMorgan paid a $48.6 million fine for
commingling bank and client funds.
In April 2011, the bank paid a $56 million settlement for overcharging
active-duty service members on mortgages. In June of that year, they paid
$153.6 million in penalties for misleading investors. In July, they ponied
up $228 million in a settlement on charges that they rigged municipal bonds
And last month, it was reported the bank was in negotiations with the
Justice Department over a $13 billion settlement for wrongdoing before and
during the housing crisis. It has been a rough couple of years for the
bank, to say the least. But not everyone has been piling on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stock`s touching a 10-year high. It`s a cash-
generating machine. Sure, they`ve had their regulatory issues, but he`s
looking to settle them expeditiously at this point, which is everything you
want out of a CEO.
HAYES: In fact, JPMorgan has become a flash point of debate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of their earnings and revenue we`ve
seen have come from really shady dealings I think --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, come on!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a fact, it`s in the news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the fact? What`s the fact?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that they hired the children of prominent
party officials and there`s a spreadsheet on which it`s connected to deals
they were trying to do in China.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hiring connected people is as old as --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- not actual fact on this program, because I do
have a problem with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody can Google China and JPMorgan and see
this. I mean, it`s not -- it was in "The New York Times." It`s not --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, "The New York Times," oh, OK!
HAYES: Well, JPMorgan is in "The New York Times" again today. The
paper reports, "To promote its standing in China, JPMorgan chase turned to
a seemingly obscure consulting firm, run by a 32-year-old executive named
But what was known to JPMorgan executives in Hong Kong was that Lily
Chang was not her real name. It was an alias for Wen Ruchun, the only
daughter of Wen Jiabao, who was at the time was China`s prime minister.
The bank is now being investigated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Justice Department and the SEC wants to know
if JPMorgan gave family members jobs so family members could steer business
to the bank.
HAYES: As it turns out, bribing officials isn`t legal, even for
What was once the most admired bank in the country is now, arguably,
its most hated. It cannot even step on to Twitter for a harmless Q&A.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hashtag badidea is just the beginning.
HAYES: Yesterday, the bank announced a Twitter chat for students to
ask the bank`s vice chairman for career advice. All you had to do was use
the #askjpm. And the tweets started pouring in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tim guy asks, "Do your settlement lawyers and
social media people sit at the same table for lunch or different tables?"
And Alex Fareene from "Salon" who`s been critical of JPMorgan here on
CNBC probably summed it up best tweeting, "Why did you think this would be
a good idea?"
If I came out, Jamie Dimon had a propensity of eating Irish children,
would you fire him? What if he`s still a good earner?
And my own favorite, "Did you have a specific number of people`s lives
you need to ruin before you considered your business model a success?"
But almost as fast as the social media experience came out, it was
The bank tweeted, "Tomorrow`s Q&A is cancelled, bad idea, back to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wonder, who failed at JPMorgan? I would like
to suggest, older, dumber people.
HAYES: For America`s most hated bank, it is back to the drawing board
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you think it`s a populist backlash against
the banks has eased, five years after the financial crisis, you would be
HAYES: Joining me now is one of the participants in that Twitter
chat, Alexis Goldstein, communications director for The Other 98 Percent, a
nonprofit grassroots network of activists.
Alexis, why are you picking on JPMorgan Chase?
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, THE OTHER 90 PERCENT: Well, I think a lot of people
like to say, oh, poor JPMorgan. They went on Twitter and they got trolled.
But the thing you have to remember is this basically like the comic
relief, in a long, Shakespearean tragedy, where we all take a minute and
have a little laugh. Otherwise, we would have to cry ourselves to sleep
for the next 15 weeks.
JPMorgan is basically a recidivist institution. And if they were, you
know, a young man, who had a series of petty drug crimes, they would be in
prison for the rest of their lives. But they`re not, they`re a
corporation. And we have not been able to do what you need to do to put a
corporation in jail, which is to say, you don`t get to do business anymore,
because you`ve committed too many crimes at this point.
HAYES: OK. So, why -- first of all, are they uniquely recidivist? I
mean, is it the fact that they are attracting the level of negative
attention they have attracted, the amount of bad press, because they are
subsequently doing things worse than other big megabanks, or are they just
kind of the ones we have all decided to attach our anger to?
GOLDSTEIN: I don`t think that they are unique. I always think of
your book, "The Twilight of the Elites", that it`s sort of like steroids
and baseball. All of the banks have to commit crimes, because if one bank
commits crimes and the others don`t, they won`t be profitable.
But I think the reason they`ve exchanged so much scrutiny is Jamie
Dimon, who is their CEO, has been uniquely arrogant and full of hubris lout
this whole process. And even as they continue to rack up the fines you so
neatly summarized in the intro, he has continued to lobby.
And when he came before Congress about the "London whale" trades which
lost them billions of dollars and they were later fined $100 millions for
manipulating the credit market over, Congress basically said, oh, Jamie
Dimon, you`re amazing. And Senator Wicker said, why haven`t we involved
you in the conversation. And Jamie Dimon famously said, oh, I`ll get an
apartment in D.C.
And so unlike the other banks that have taken a slightly less arrogant
tone, JPMorgan has always trumpeted how wonderful they are in spite of all
these fines and these crimes.
HAYES: OK. So the big question about JPMorgan, they`re in the midst
of negotiating this big settlement, and the question is -- you and I have
talked about this before, what breaks the bad habit? What stops the
recidivism? How do we help them get well? How do we find -- like, what`s
the version of the program for the young man who`s been strayed into
wayward criminal activity for a big megabank?
GOLDSTEIN: I think you have to create reverse incentive against
crime. And I think the only way to do that is with criminal penalties and
seeing people go to jail. Or alternatively, if you want to punish the
corporation itself and put the fear of God into them, so to speak, you need
to do something like FERC did.
FERC is an energy regulator and they basically said in April of this
year, you don`t get to trade electricity anymore, JPMorgan, because you
committed too many crimes and you manipulated the markets. So they had a
But this is really the only regulator that has been willing to go that
far. And so, I think we either need to see individuals see jail time, so
that will change behaviors of individuals within the institution, or reform
the institution itself. Regulators need to do what FERC did, and they need
to say, you don`t get to play in this park anymore.
HAYES: There has been a lot of talk recently, if you follow the
financial press, that people inside Wall Street are starting to realize how
big a problem these too big to fail banks are, that Elizabeth Warren gave a
speech, they`ve gotten bigger. There`s talk about ratings agencies
Are we headed towards some kind of collision course in which these
banks just cannot sustain themselves at the size that they are at right
GOLDSTEIN: I think we are already there, and I think the reason that
we haven`t seen a crisis yet is because behind the scenes, to some extent,
a lot of the regulators have been giving them a pass. They haven`t been
bringing these charges against them. At least in the immediate wake of the
crisis, there was tons of liquidity programs that funneled money to the
banks. Bloomberg did a great FOIA where they asked about and there were
billions of dollars that were given in secret by the Fed to these
So I actually think we`re already at that point. But it`s been the
position of the Obama administration that it`s better to extend and pretend
and sort of support these institutions that are basically insolvent than to
actually address the problem. So I, unfortunately, think we`re already
there, and the clock is running out.
HAYES: Alexis Goldstein from The Other 98 Percent, thank you so much.
GOLDSTEIN: Thanks --
HAYES: Have you heard of the Employment Policies Institute, not the
Economic Policy Institute, the Employment Policies Institute, which bills
itself as, quote, nonprofit research organization and is cited as a think
tank off by the media? They are not who you think they are. I will
explain and talk to someone who works there, next.
HAYES: There is now real momentum behind efforts to lift the minimum
wage, both at the state and federal level. New Jersey last week joined 20
other states and Washington, D.C. in raising its minimum wage above the
level set by Congress, which hasn`t been changed since 2009.
And there are campaigns to do the same in at least five other states.
President Obama has thrown his support behind Senate Democrats` proposal to
raise the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 up to $10.10 per
A poll last week, meanwhile, found that more than three quarters of
Americans said they would vote to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour,
including 58 percent of the Republicans.
Now, anytime the minimum wage is in the news, there`s a good chance
you`re going to come across this guy, Michael Saltzman, a research director
for the very serious-sounding Employment Policies Institute, which is
fought against a minimum wage hike.
The EPI bills itself as a non-profit research organization, dedicated
to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. And that
description is all being taken at face value in the mainstream media where
you will find them quoted on this.
The thing you need to know about EPI, which effectively presents
itself as a think tank, is that it appears to be something else entirely.
The group adopted a name very similar to an actual think tank, the Economic
Policy Institute, which also as the acronym, EPI, and as the Center for
Media and Democracy has documented, the conservative EPI operates out of
the same suite as a public relations firm owned by lobbyist by this guy,
In fact, Berman is the principal officer of the Employment Policies
Institute, one of what Bloomberg reported are five tax-exempt groups that
operate out of Berman`s office and have paid his firm more than $15
million. Berman was once identified by the nickname Dr. Evil in a "60
Minutes" profile. He`s worked to block food safety legislation, sought to
prevent regulations on tobacco, lobbied for restaurant chains that do not
want to see the minimum wage increased.
And while the Employment Policies Institute and sister organizations
do not disclose their donors, it`s safe to assume they`re very likely
funded by those very same interests.
Joining me now is Michael Saltzman from behind the curtain, the
Employment Policies Institute, a former research for Berman and Company;
and David Sirota, syndicated newspaper columnist and contributor to
All right. Michael, look, it`s all in the game, as Omar and the Wire
would say. You guys got a lobbying operation in Washington, D.C., you got
HAYES: In fact, Berman is the principal officer of the Employment
Policies Institute, one of what Bloomberg reported are five tactics in
groups that operated out of Berman`s office and have paid his firm more
than $50 million.
Berman was once identified by the nickname Dr. Evil in a 60-minute
profile. He is worked to block full safety legislations, stop to prevent
regulations on tobacco, lobbying for restaurant chain that do not want to
see them in a wage increased. And, while the Employment Policies Institute
and the sister organizations do not disclose their donors, it is safe to
assume, they are very likely funded by those very same interests.
And, joining me now is Michael Saltsman from behind the curtain, the
Employment Policies Institute, the former research for Berman and Company,
and David Sirota, syndicated newspaper columnist and contributor to
salon.com. All right, Michael. Look, it is all in the game, as Omar and
the wire would say.
You guys got a lobbying operation in Washington, D.C. You got
clients. They do not want the minimum wage to be raised, because they do
not want to pay the workers more money. This is just the way Washington
works. Why pretend there is some independent institute that is like
churning out position papers. Why not just be clear about what you guys
are up to?
MICHAEL SALTSMAN, RESEARCH FELLOW AT EMPLOYMENT POLICIES INSTITUTE:
We are not pretending anything. I mean the Employment Policies Institute
has been around for 20 years. We are a 5013c nonprofit. We have a an
advice reborn that has a former CBO director, economist from --
HAYES: Anyone can do that --
SALTSMAN: -- economists from the University of Chicago. And, here is
the thing. The only reason this is a story --
HAYES: How many economists do you have on staff?
SALTSMAN: The only reason this is a story --
HAYES: How many economists do you have on staff?
SALTSMAN: The only reason this is a story is because --
HAYES: How many economists do you have on staff?
SALTSMAN: -- people like Salon Magazine --
HAYES: How many economists do you have on staff?
SALTSMAN: -- do not like our viewpoint. They do not like our
HAYES: How many economists do you have on staff?
SALTSMAN: I am the research director at the Employment Policies
HAYES: Where did you get your PhD in economics?
SALTSMAN: I was an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and I
studied economics at the University of Michigan --
HAYES: As an undergraduate, but where did you get your PhD?
SALTSMAN: I do not call myself an economist, because I do not have a
PhD in economics, and I am not the one who does the studies. If you look
on our website, it is economists from places like Cornell, from places like
American University, from places like UC Irvine --
HAYES: But, how many economists do you have on staff? That is all my
-- just answer my question.
SALTSMAN: In that regard, the Employment Policies Institute is
actually far more independent than something like the Economic Policy
HAYES: Who you have tried to roll?
SALTSMAN: -- which is very well-funded by labor unions and have in-
house economists who are doing the work --
HAYES: All right --
SALTSMAN: So you have labor unions funding their economists to get
the results they want as opposed to us that goes to outside, independent
HAYES: Of course, except --
SALTSMAN: -- the economist -- the power of independent to give the
HAYES: -- here is the rub. Here is the rub. Here is the rub.
Michael, here is the rub.
HAYES: The rub on this is you know, and I know the Economic Policy
Institute does get donation from labor. That is often disclosed. Who
SALTSMAN: It is not often disclosed.
HAYES: Who funds you guys?
SALTSMAN: We are very up-front about the fact that we receive support
from the business community including restaurants, from foundations and
HAYES: There we go. Ding, ding, ding.
SALTSMAN: Let`s make a contrast real quick --
HAYES: But, Michael --
SALTSMAN: -- Because in Salon article yesterday that this segment
happened because of talking about the Economic Policy Institute in a recent
U.C. Berkeley study and did not disclose anything about the labor funding
for those organizations and for those studies.
SALTSMAN: EPI is targeted. We are targeted because you do not like
our point of view. You do not like our facts.
HAYES: No. No. No. First of all, the facts --
SALTSMAN: You know, that is the only reason we are being targeted
HAYES: Well, yes. Yes. Let`s be honest.
SALTSMAN: That is right. You don not like -- I mean to the economic
consensus and the minimum wage is very clear --
HAYES: I do not -- here is what I do not like --
SALTSMAN: -- and you do not like that.
HAYES: -- I do not like disingenuousness, David --
SALTSMAN: So, your problem would be with Salon Magazine, not us.
HAYES: I want to bring David into this.
DAVID SIROTA, SALON.COM CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.
HAYES: You worked on the hill and you know the way that this kind of
HAYES: There is a rhetorical battle that happens over an issue like
the minimum wage, in which it is useful to cloak what are essentially just
business interests in some kind of independent aura.
SIROTA: That is right, because in the news media, the business
interests do not want to say, the restaurant industry, which does not want
to pay workers a minimum wage, released a study or promoted a study that
says, "Shocker! We do not like the minimum wage."
They want to make it look academic. This is the way politics works.
And, I think that it is a service to people when they evaluate these
issues, to actually know who is actually speaking, who is promoting this
stuff. And, Rick Berman has been a guy who has been at the center of
trying to cloak this kind of material in the patina of academia.
Now, I would say this about Rick Berman. Rick Berman is particularly
kind of cheesy. He is a particularly kind of -- he just looks the villain
of this. It is so obvious what he is doing. I would actually say that the
Employment Policies Institute is one version of like, when you hear like
the Manhattan Institute, and they are funded by hedge funders, and they are
considered -- well, they are more academic. This is a larger problem in
Washington, where what interest groups, corporate interest groups are
pushing is camouflaged as something academic.
HAYES: Wait, here is the thing --
SALTSMAN: There is nothing -- if this is a camouflage, this is the
only camouflage -- this is the biggest journalistic scoop that you could
get, just by reading the identification line at the end of an op-ed, or by
going to a website, right? There is no secret that EPI is funded by
businesses. We are completely up-front about that --
HAYES: No, but here is the thing --
SALTSMAN: The thing about this issue is that you do not like our
point of view. And, labor unions do not like our point of view. And, so
instead of engaging our facts, they just want to try to discredit us,
because they say, "Well, you are going to be funded by businesses --
HAYES: Well, we can get their facts. We can review the facts.
SALTSMAN: Well, let`s have that discussion. I am up for it.
HAYES: Since "The Card and Krueger" paper, we have seen a
preponderance of evidence in the literature, which is going to become quite
real robust on the dis-employment effects on the minimum wage --
SALTSMAN: -- debunked in the exact same journal that the American
Economic Bureau --
HAYES: -- no, it was not. It was not debunked.
SALTSMAN: It was.
HAYES: The preponderance of the facts, in the peer review literature,
which does not emanate out of some office suite run by Rick Berman shows
that the disemployment effects that were anticipated by classical
economists that you tend to cite have not materialized in discontinuity
study after discontinuity study after discontinuity that remains today --
SALTSMAN: 85% -- actually, there is two studies.
SALTSMAN: 85% of the studies over the last two decades --
HAYES: So, that is the fact --
SALTSMAN: -- shows jobless. 85% --
HAYES: -- The problem is the stuff is going out by underneath the
bottom of the economic argument against raising the minimum wage. It is
SALTSMAN: In your mind. In your point of view, yes.
HAYES: No, in the literature, in the literature --
SALTSMAN: No. That is not true.
HAYES: -- And, the bottom has fallen out.
SIROTA: Right, and it would be better in this debate if somebody like
Michael would say, "Listen, I speak for the restaurant industry, a sector
of the economy that does not want to raise the minimum wage" --
SALTSMAN: I speak for entry-level employees --
SIROTA: -- I do not speak for small businesses --
SALTSMAN: -- who are going to take it away --
HAYES: You do not speak for entry-level employees.
SALTSMAN: -- if you increase the minimum wage --
HAYES: -- Michael, you may speak for a lot --
SALTSMAN: I, absolutely.
HAYES: Michael, you may speak for a lot of people, but you do not
speak for entry-level employees. Michael Saltsman from the Economic Policy
SALTSMAN: From the Employment Policies Institute.
HAYES: From the Employment Policies Institute -- See, that is why.
That is why it was clever you named it what you did. And, David Sirota
from Salon.Com. Thank you Michael.
HAYES: We will be right back.
HAYES: Have you ever heard of Jews for Jesus? It sounds like the
punchline of a joke, but it is not. It is an actual group. Look, here is
the website. Jews for Jesus is part of a movement called Messianic Judaism
is essentially Evangelical Christians who adhere to the biblical
injunctions of the Jewish faith, keeping kosher and the like.
And, they call themselves Jews, which as you might imagine, is
incredibly controversial, because if your theology is not too rusty, you
know that Jews do not believe Jesus as the Messiah. As their matter of
definition, in fact, the Jews for Jesus, in the eyes of its critic,
including much of mainstream America Judaic is unseemly attempt to convert
Jewish to Christianity using a weird theological bait and switch.
And, what makes it even more unseemly is the fact that the theology
driving a lot of this is the belief that converting Jews is necessary to
speed along the final day of judgment, in which Armageddon comes and the
saved are absorbed up into heaven. This is a pretty polarizing topic,
which is why the internet practically exploded when reporter, Sarahh Posner
got her hands on this scoop from Mother Jones.
Former President George W. Bush speaking tonight at a fundraiser for
the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute. The anti-definition found it trouble
that Mr. Bush would address a, quote, "Evangelical Proselytizing Group"
whose stated goals is to convert Jews to Christianity. We would play you
tape of what the former president had to say tonight but media was not
In fact, shortly after Posner`s piece went live, references to Bush`s
speech was scrubbed from the institute`s website. One of the lasting
legacy of the George W. Bush presidency was the alliance of interests of
Evangelical Christians and politically conservative Jews. And, in some
ways, his speech tonight to a somewhat fringy evangelical group is a
reminder that the evangelical movement, millions and millions of Americans,
was front and center during the Bush presidency.
And, while the press does not cover evangelicals much anymore, they
have not gone anywhere. They are still a driving force in the base of the
Republican Party. And, joining me now is Ralph Reed. He was a chairman of
the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He was the senior adviser to the
Bush/Cheney campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Perhaps there is no one in America
people associate more with the political muscle of Evangelical Christianity
than you, Mr. Reed.
And, my question, first, I want to talk about where things stand right
now, for Evangelical Christians as a political force in this country. But,
the first question is just about this speech. Do you understand why people
are a bit roiled by the former president giving a speech to this group?
RALPH REED, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION CHAIRMAN: Well, setting aside
for a minute tonight`s speech, I certainly understand why Jews are
sensitive about the issue of targeted proselytization. You have to
remember, Chris. I grew up in Miami.
So, I grew up going to more Bar Mitzvahs than baptisms. And, I grew
up with the children of holocaust survivors. And, for Jews, particularly
those who came from Europe and from countries and parts of the world with a
long and a brutal history of persecution of Jews, which was associated in
many cases, remember, with Christianity.
REED: There is a history, and the only thing that really compares to
it in the cosmology of the view of a past would be the racism that African-
Americans have dealt with. So, I certainly understand why for Jews this is
an extremely sensitive topic. And, I think what Christians have to do as a
result, is they have to show the appropriate sensitivity to that very sad
and tragic past, in which, unfortunately, our fore bearers, or at least
those claiming to be our fore bearers, played a role. And, I think in
exchange, our friends in the Jewish community, of which we have many, and
by the way, not all who share our politics.
REED: We have many friends in the Jewish community, and we engage in
regular dialogue with them. I think they need to understand that in order
to be authentic to our faith, we have to share the gospel with everyone.
HAYES: With everyone.
REED: And if there`s -- that is right. And we can`t -- you can`t ask
a Christian going door to door in their neighborhood, not the best
metaphor, but for purposes of this discussion, to bypass a certain home or
certain homes because of who lives there.
HAYES: But, that is a little different than what is happening here,
right? I mean just as a sort of institutional question, I understand that.
I understand the importance, the theological importance of proselytization
from the Evangelical Christian perspective.
HAYES: But you have this sort of institutional setups groups like
this that are specific, that are targeted to specifically to Jews.
REED: Yes. That is right. And, that is where, you know, the
dialogue gets more complicated. I have never, frankly, been somebody who
would tell a Jew who was a convert that they could not share their faith.
I would never do that. But as I said, as a general rule, it is my view
that targeted proselytization can raise these kinds of sensitivities in a
way that it becomes counterproductive to sharing the gospel --
REED: -- But, again, I think people got to understand that Jesus was
a Jew. The early Christians were Jews.
REED: So, we believe that we came out of that tradition. And, I
think we need to show sensitivity to their fears and concerns and I think
they need to accept the fact that to be authentic tour faith --
REED: -- we have to share our faith.
HAYES: I want to ask you about this poll, because I remember in the
years of the Bush Administration, the talk of Evangelical Christians and
their political might was everywhere. It was on the cover of "Time"
magazine. It was one of the dominant narratives of politics for that
And, I saw this poll that comes from a majority of evangelical leaders
believe influence is declining. 82% say they are losing influence. 17%
say they are gaining influence. What do you think about the political
force of evangelicals in this country at a time when we are seeing marriage
equality on the march, when we are seeing Ken Cuccinelli lose in Virginia.
Do you think influence of evangelicals is declining?
REED: No, I don`t. I think that in many ways, today, compared to,
say, 20 or 30 years ago, in particular, it is more kind of baked into the
cake. And, that is really true of all social reform movements. I mean, I
think the civil rights movement and civil rights leaders have the same
drama of a march on Washington or the Montgomery bus boycott. I think you
have feminist like Dianne Feinstein and others who are serving in the U.S.
and senate in congress.
Nancy Pelosi, who I think would identify herself as a feminist. But,
it does not seem to be as great to the ear or the eye as say when the
feminist movement broke on the scene in the 60s.
HAYES: So, you are saying the power of evangelicals has been
institutionalized in a way, which sort of accounts for us not seeing as so
distinct. Ralph Reed from the Faith and Freedom Coalition, thank you so
much. It was great to have you on. We will be right back.
HAYES: We are back. Joining me now is Sam Seder, host of the online
daily political talk show and podcast majority report and investigative
journalist, Sarah Posner, a contributor to Religion Dispatches and the
Mother Jones, which she first reported Bush`s speaking engagement. She ran
a story about the former president`s involvement with the Messianic Jewish
Bible Institute for the November issue. Sarah, were you surprised when you
found out he was speaking there?
SARAH POSNER, REGION DISPATCHES CONTRIBUTOR: I was very surprised.
Bush, as you mentioned in the opening segment, is an evangelical. He was
very open about that as president. And, he very openly coalesced with
evangelical groups when he was running for president and while he was in
the White House. But, this group is fundamentally different from your
average evangelical organization.
And, to sort of elaborate a little bit on what Ralph Reed was talking
about earlier, it is not nearly that they are proselytizing Jews or
engaging in what he called targeted proselytization of Jews. This is a
group that self-identifies as still be in Jewish --
POSNER: -- despite accepting Jesus as the messiah.
HAYES: And, that is the source of contrary. And, I thought it was
interesting. I mean Ralph Reed basically distanced himself from it. I
mean, in between the lines --
HAYES: I am not crazy about this approach, is essentially what he
HAYES: Which is saying something that George W. Bush is going to
speak to these people.
POSNER: Yes, I agree. And, I thought that was really interesting
that Ralph phrased it that way. He clearly was not endorsing or giving
Bush a pass on this. I think that Reed realized that this is extremely
controversial to the Jewish community, far more controversial than an
Evangelical Christian witnessing to a Jewish person or to any non-Christian
POSNER: I think, you know, he was talking about how Jewish people
should be accepting and understanding, that this is part of the evangelical
faith. And, I think that by and large, the Jewish community is accepting
of that, as long as it does not cross constitutional lines.
HAYES: Yes. It is the identifying as Jewish. I want to play just a
little bit of the mission statement from the ministers of the Messianic
Jewish Bible Institute. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: As the blindness comes off of the eyes of
the Jewish people in the days we are living in, our job will get bigger and
bigger and bigger until all of Israel shall be saved.
DR. WAYNE WILKS, MJBI INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR: We are talking about
not just training a hundred or a thousand or eve ten thousand. We are
talking about impacting millions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You ready to get saved there, buddy?
SAM SEDER, HOST OF MAJORITY REPORT: You know, apparently when we all
convert, there is one third of us gets to sit on the right-hand side of
God, the others are in eternal hellfire. For me, personally, I have
eczema, so I certainly do not want the hellfire.
But, look, you have to wonder what George Bush is thinking, when he is
following up the last speaker to address these people in this fashion was
Glenn Beck. This is not exactly --
HAYES: This is a fringy situation.
SEDER: It is a fringy situation. But, you know, with that said, let
me also say that I think there is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy here by
a lot of republican Jews, a lot of right-wing conservative Jews. The fact
of the matter is and they are talking about the notion of the mass
Evangelicals and Christian Zionists have a very similar notion,
granted they do not self-identify as Jews, but their affinity for the
Jewish people, their affinity for Israel, et cetera, et cetera, is very
much bound up in this notion of the messiah returning. Once all the Jews
gather in Israel and mass convert. So, I think there is a tremendous
amount of hypocrisy by certain institutional Jewish organizations.
HAYES: In allowing themselves to ally with people who fundamentally
have a vision of what the future is, that is --
SEDER: Yes. Yes, that is the thing. You have forfeited your right
to complain about this situation.
HAYES: That is what is interesting. Sarah, what is interesting is
the commentary, which is -- you know, obviously associated with the long
tradition of you know, New York Jewish intellectuals and was a liberal
magazine and became sort of New York conservative, et cetera. They kind of
totted Bush for doing this, but rushed to his defense. And, it gets at the
awkward relationship, as Sam is saying, between the evangelical movement in
this country and politically conservative Jews.
POSNER: Well, I think for politically conservative Jews, particularly
ones who are hawkish on Israel, they see the support of evangelical groups
like Christians united for Israel, which is probably the leading Christian
Zionist group in the country, the one that was founded by pastor John
Hagee. They see the support of those groups as essential for supporting
their goals for Israel.
POSNER: So, they are willing to look past all the Armageddon stuff,
because they think that Kufi and other organizations like it, but
particularly Kufi, because it has a lot of political muscle, can be helpful
to them. And, with the push of a send button, they can mobilize folks.
HAYES: And, Sam, you are saying, you bought the ticket --
SEDER: In for a penny, in for a pound.
HAYES: Yes. Right.
SEDER: This is what -- this is --
HAYES: This comes with the territory.
SEDER: This comes with the territory. And, so, you know, I think
there is a lot of hypocrisy for any of these organizations, that would
otherwise embrace the support of these people, to say that George Bush can
go fund-raiser for them --
POSNER: Well, I would say that it is actually even a little worse in
the sense that the Messianic Jewish organizations do not generally get into
the same kind of political advocacy that Kufi does --
HAYES: Right. So, they are not even -- it is not even that this is
useful from the policy agenda that they have made this kind of pact.
POSNER: No. And, you know, they are not necessarily involved in
politics over settlements and the occupation and so on.
HAYES: Right. Sarahh Posner from Mother Jones and Sam Seder from
Majority Report, thank you both. That is "All In" for this evening. The
"Rachel Maddow" show starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am so psyched that you got Ralph Reed on
to talk about Sarahh`s story there. It is just --
HAYES: It is sort of amazing.
MADDOW: It was amazing to hear him be like, "Yeah, not exactly my cup
of tea, but I understand why they do that." That is incredible. We have
actually got coming up some Texas perspective on why George W. Bush might
not be backing out of this. And, that is coming up this hour. Thanks
Chris. Thanks my friend.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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