The Ed Show for Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE ED SHOW
August 6, 2014
Guest: Larry Cohen, Jennifer Epps-Addison, Mitch Ceasar, Bruce Bartlett,
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to THE ED SHOW.
Live from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. I`m ready to go. Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, REAL NEWS REPORTER: The highest court in the land, the
conservative justices of the court threw a punch at organized labor.
SCHULTZ: Republican politicians, I believe fuel the fire here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a cost elective (ph) bargain.
FRM. GOV. MITT ROMNEY, (R) POLITICIAN AND BUSINESSMAN: I will end the
government`s favoritism towards unions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a rigged game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They get sweetheart deals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just had concerns about the UAW.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a legalized stealing. If you are allowed, to
force people into unions--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- forced in the pay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re a target because we`re a threat to unions
GOV. CHRIST CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: They are a political buggery (ph)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it`s about union busting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think things are going to work out just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for watching. We
start with breaking news at this hour.
We are waiting for the President of the United States to begin his news
conference following the conclusion of the United States-Africa Summit.
The President is expected to cover a wide range of topics including U.S.
Companies investing billions of dollars into Africa. When the President
steps to the podium, in the briefing room we will bring his remarks to you
live here on the Ed Show.
But first, we start with the Republican attack on labor. It just won`t
quit. Republicans are not giving up on their crusade to rollback labor
rights for working Americans.
One senate Republican is now promising a full out assault on the National
Labor Relations Board. This is just the latest page in their radical play
book, its one thing after another with the Republicans refusing to raise
the minimum wage and cutting assistance to low-income families. Earlier in
the summer we saw a conservative Supreme Court, partial rule, partial
government employees can`t be required to join unions.
On the local level, we see Republican Governors like Scott Walker passing
radical anti-union laws. Twenty-four states have now passed right-to-work
legislation. Earlier this year the right-to-work State of Tennessee, we
saw a prime example of the Republican attacks on unions. Tennessee Senator
Bob Corker intimidated workers at a local Volkswagen plant into not joining
the United Auto Workers Union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: The officers a month ago, talking about
fighting and combat and all those kind of things. If that`s the
environment you want, UAW certainly is the people for you -- are the people
to choose. Well, they can`t help with the wages. You`ve got a facility
that is the most advance and environmentally sound facility in the world
right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So what`s this about? It`s about
one thing. It`s about money and it`s about power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, that lie after another lie worked. And the plant narrowly
voted against joining the United Auto Workers. Meanwhile Corker`s fellow
Senator from Tennessee is picking up where that senator left off. Just
this week Senator Lamar Alexander made clear he`s planning an attack on the
National Labor Relations Board.
The top Republican on the Senate Labor Committee said "The Tennesseans I
talked with are tired of Washington bureaucrats telling them how to live
their lives and run their business. The NLRB is pursuing some of the most
intrusive and misguided policies under this administration."
So, I guess we have to follow the way Tennessee thinks, right? Alexander
made clear if Republicans take the senate they will rollback the NLRB. For
example Republicans can`t stand the NLRB so-called what they`d say is
ambush election rule, which is in the process of being finalized right now
by the board. The measure would speed up union elections in the workplace
to occur as soon as 10 days after the petition is filed.
Democrats on the NLRB hope the rule would prevent intimidation of any
workers in the workplace. It would hopefully, in massive intimidation
campaigns like the one we saw play out at the Volkswagen plant earlier this
year in Tennessee. It`s no surprise the other senator from Tennessee is
now leading the charge. Corker has been enough heat this year for attacking
So business leaders complain. This ambush rule would give employee ERS --
would not give them enough time to discuss unionization with their
employees, this Alexander`s idea of intrusive and misguided? Give me a
break. Ten days is plenty of time to discuss whether you want a voice to
the workplace or not. Now Republicans are complaining that this measure
would change the outcome of union votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: It shortens the election time to
as little as 10 days. So if you`re in the company in question you have a
10 day period before the election. But the current min average is 38 days.
So I would argue that this being done not to make things more efficient but
to change outcomes.
And really, quite frankly the outcome being desired here is to make the
union position stronger. I expect the board not to take the agency and
turn it into a political organization and try to create by rule making
which you can`t create by legislating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ED SCHULTZ: No, senator, you got it wrong. It`s not about creating a
political organization. It`s about giving workers in your State of South
Carolina which is a low-wage state an opportunity at a better life and let
them share in the wealth that they have helped owners create.
The National Labor Relations Board basically is doing their job. They are
protecting the interest of workers. That`s why they were formed years ago.
The Republican pitched to their base right now before the midterm, it`s
really pretty simple. They`re going to side with big businesses as they
Republicans are going to tell business owners and leaders that employees --
well, they`re just getting too much power and it will be a political
organization. And of course we don`t have to them run your business.
Republicans are on an all out assault to get rid of labor unions in this
country. That is the headline to this story. The National Labor Relations
Board simply is standing in their way.
Republicans think it`s a good strategy to attack workers and wage earners
looking for a fair shake in the workplace. We`ll find out this November
if the American people are on the same page. Does every worker in America
deserve a voice in the workplace? And should every worker in America have
a chance at a vote?
What this is going to do, this what they call ambush election rule is going
to stop the delays. It`s going to stop the legal wrangling. It`s going to
give an opportunity for the employees in workplace to speak and speak with
strength and get to the table and negotiate a fair wage. But of course the
way it sounds right now is the Republicans think that fairness is in the
eyes of the owner, period.
Get your cellphones out I want to know what you think tonight. Tonight`s
question, "Does this prove Republicans are out to destroy unions in
America?" Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622. You can always go to
our blog at ed.msnbc.com, and we`ll bring you the results later on in the
Let me bring in Larry Cohen, President of the Communication Workers of
America. Mr. Cohen good to have you with us tonight, here we go. This is
-- the assault continues. How do you interpret when a United States
Senator says that`s this is going to be their mission if they get the
Senate. And he says that the NLRB`s policies are intrusive and misguided.
What`s your reaction?
LARRY COHEN, CWA: Well once again, this Tennessee Senator like his
colleague Senator Corker, they don`t read the law. The National Labor
Relations Act clearly says collective bargaining is a public good. The
purpose of the law is to promote bargaining rights. That is the
fundamental purpose of it for 80 years. If Lamar Alexander and his
colleagues have their way, we would have no collective bargaining rights
whatsoever in this country.
Recently a global labor organization ranked us 74th in the world and
dropping. We have one out of eight workers in this country have bargaining
rights. In Tennessee it`s much lower than that. But they`re never
satisfied. They want to make sure there`s no one standing who has rights
on the job.
SCHULTZ: If we can go back one administration, there were openings that
were never filled on the National Labor relations Board. They tried to
kill it previously by not putting people on the board. Is that correct?
COHEN: Yeah, they tried to use the rule of 60 in the Senate where they
can`t even adjourn without 60 votes, to make sure that no one on the board
could be confirmed. Then they attack the President`s right to do recess
appointments, all designed to make sure that on a five-member board there
would never be three Democrats because there`s always going to be two from
the other party. So it`s not like it`s a one-sided board to begin with.
And as it stands it takes years to adjudicate cases. The worst thing about
this, Ed is that they forget that for 80 million workers who have no
collective bargaining, no unions, this is the only agency that exists for
them. So in many cases where one worker talks to another about their pay,
and they can be fired because that employer says, "We don`t want you to
discuss pay". The only place they can go is the NLRB.
SCHULTZ: So of course, Lamar Alexander hangs this on this administration
which I think is terribly unfair because the NLRB has been around as you
said some 80 years. And there was a reason why it was put in place. And
all of sudden when the conservatives got power in the House they started
talking about getting rid of it.
So this is a generational fight. No doubt about it. Do you think
Republicans across the board are now signaling, let`s just get rid of the
NLRB completely and let`s put all power with ownership and big business and
have at it and shoot to the bottom for the low-wage?
COHEN: Yeah, that`s basically what their platform said in 2012, eliminate
collective bargaining, ignore that it`s a public good, that it helps raise
wages for everybody, not just union members, that it provides protection
for everybody. They want to go back to 19th century capitalism, the Kock
brothers and the others who fund them, which is what they care about, their
funding base, not their voting base. They believe that lays a fair
capitalism, hands-off, free market is all we need. And the rest of us know
that that means no safety net, no floor, nothing for our children except,
you know, the wealth that they achieve.
SCHULTZ: Well, I hope workers and wage earners around this country
understand that when the Republican says something, when they say they are
going to do something they do it. When they say they`re going to obstruct
and filibuster, that`s exactly what they do. When they say they`re going
to go after workers, that`s exactly what they do. When they say they`re
not going to raise minimum wage, they`re not going to raise minimum wage.
When they want to vote out Obamacare, that`s what they`re going to do.
And if you got a senator coming our saying that if they get the majority in
the senate, that they will take action against the NLRB. And, I mean how
much more evidence do we need? In that manner Mr. Cohen, will this
motivate the union base of America to do the foot soldiering that`s going
to be needed to win the house?
COHEN: Yeah, absolutely and to defend the majority in the senate, right?
We have 55, the Koch brothers, and Grover Norquist, they`re all in the
attack. This is a major part of their agenda, to wipeout any oppositional
voice that has any ability to fund something different than what they
believe in. And so I`m hoping that--
COHEN: -- working Americans, whether we have a union or not, understand
that what we do, when we`re under attack, stand up, fight back, and work
for a voice in the workplace and in our communities.
SCHULTZ: All right, Mr. Cohen, good to have you with us tonight, President
of the Communication Workers of America.
Let me bring in Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs
Now. Jennifer, good to have you with us tonight. We have seen the attack
on labor in the state of Wisconsin and there have been some court rulings
that have been favorable to support. The public employee is losing their
voice in the workplace and their power. Is the GOP attack on the NLRB
JENNIFER EPPS-ADDISON, WISCONSIN JOBS NOW! EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well look,
absolutely and nobody knows that more than the state of Wisconsin where
Governor Walker has become literally the poster child for the movement to
dismantle Unions and to take away the rights of working people in this
country. But I think the real story here is that this is happening because
workers are winning. Because after five strikes over the course of the
last year, fast food workers have had a major victory when the NLRB`s
general council gave the determination that McDonalds Corporation is a
joint employer with its franchise owners.
This is going to have huge repercussions for the movement, for fair wages
and fair working conditions and they`re scared and that`s why they are
attacking workers with a renewed vigilance.
SCHULTZ: So these ground swell effort, this grassroots effort, as workers
have gotten out and talked about organization and been out protesting, you
think that this is really had an effect and this is what is pushing the
Republicans to go after the NLRB?
EPPS-ADDISON: Absolutely, I mean we see workers winning across the
country, they`re winning minimum wage fights, they`re winning living wage
fights and they`re winning the opportunity to have their voice heard on the
job through this national movement. In here you have the GOP digging in
their hills, once again recognizing how completely out of touch they are
with the American public.
People in this country want the opportunity to work hard, they want to
opportunity to earn a fair wage and they want to the opportunity to have a
voice on a job. And that is why, you know, the NLRB is so incredibly
important, to give workers that opportunity. And the GOP wants to attack
it because they`re scared of the power workers are building.
SCHULTZ: So what would a working environment in America look like when
those 80 million workers that Mr. Cohen was talking about, they don`t even
have the NLRB? What if the Republicans were successful in wiping out the
NLRB? What would the workplace look like in America?
EPPS-ADDISON: Well, I think it`s clear, Ed. It`s what people are facing
everyday. We have to remember that, you know, what`s so powerful about
what`s happening at the NLRB right now and the discussion that`s happening
across the country, as workers are being informed of their rights, many of
them don`t even know what their rights are and that`s why this is so
important. But I think that we`re not going to have to figure that out
because as you said, they have to get through an election in November in
order to make this reality.
And the real challenge for all of us is what are we going to do between now
and November, to take back our country and to make sure that this is the
land of opportunity, the land where anybody who works hard --
EPPS-ADDISON: -- has a fair shot at the American dream. It`s up to each
and every one of us. And at Wisconsin Jobs Now, we know that more than
anybody, we`ve been out on the doors everyday since May, talking to
workers, talking to members of our community, empowering people with all of
the tools they need, even in the midst that Governor Walker`s vote a
suppression, empowering them with the tools they need to go out and
participate in this election.
It`s up to us as individual to take back out country and to ensure that
working people have a fair shot. Nobody can do it, not the NLRB, not
Congress, they can`t do it without us, without us fighting to elect the
right people who are going to stand up for working people.
SCHULTZ: And quickly, how close is that race for the governor`s chair in
Wisconsin going to be Mary Burke against the sitting Governor Scott Walker?
EPPS-ADDISON: It`s incredibly close. Right now they`re within a point of
each other, the margining of error within the margin of error. Every vote
is going to count, that`s why you see the Wisconsin GOP trying to suppress
votes, trying to pass laws that make it really difficult for folks in our
community to register.
EPPS-ADDISON: But like I said, our organization is on the ground, we`ve
been on the ground for months now. We`re going door to door, we`re making
sure people have the tools that they need and we`re placing minimum wage as
an issue on the ballots so that people can go out in Wisconsin in November
and vote to support raising the minimum wage.
We know that if we get our there, if we work out communities hard enough,
if every single person participates and gets their friends and family to
participate then we can take back out state and we can once again --
EPPS-ADDISON: -- be proud of the community that we live in.
SCHULTZ: All right, Jennifer Epps-Addison, good to have you with us
tonight here on the Ed Show. Appreciate your time.
Remember to answer tonight`s there at the bottom of the screen. Share your
thoughts with us. Leave us a comment. Follow us on Twitter@edshow and
@wegoted. And like us on Facebook. We always want to know what you think.
We are just moments away from President Obama speaking from the United
States Africa Summit. We`ll bring you his remarks live.
This is THE ED SHOW on MSNBC, we`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: What is happened? Time now for the Trenders. Keep in touch with
us on Twitter@edshow and @wegoted and like us on Facebook. You can get my
radio podcast at wegoted.com, rawstory.com, ringoffireradio.com, and
iTunes. It`s free. You can access it 24/7. It`s fresh everyday.
The Ed Show Social Media Nation has decided and we are reporting here. Our
today`s top trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a game known for shattering backboard. WNBA Star
Becky Hammon is shattering the NBA`s glass ceiling. San Antonio`s New
Assistant Coach Spurs conversation, Spurs had Coach Gregg Popovich praised
her basketball I.Q.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She understands the game of basketball whether it`s
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SCHULTZ: Climate change should be a top priority when 75 percent of your
constituents live near the coast.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: To improve our environment, we`re going to
have to have long-term solutions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Scott`s environmental plan ignores climate
change. He would recommend $500 million per water projects over the next
to 10 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When most (inaudible) make this a national resource.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida is going to be plagued with flooding, coastal
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They key index of an increase between 8 and 15 percent
in the next 100 years.
SCOTT: I`m not a scientist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We care about our climate here. We care about
keeping our fluid a beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Mitch Ceasar, Chairman of the Broward County
Democratic Party and the DNC Executive Board Member. Mitch, you know, when
I saw the story come out about Governor Rick Scott I thought this is just a
big curve ball to the voters.
He`s never shown any interest at all in climate change or anything
environmentally whatsoever. This is, I don`t know. I think this is a
desperation pitch. How do you view it?
MITCH CEASAR, BROWARD COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, I think you`re
exactly right. In 2010, when he run for the first time, he was a climate
denier. Now he still is, but he`s kind of hiding out and trying to avoid
it by saying, you know, "I`m not a scientist", and as I talked about it
before, but he is the governor. And I think a couple of things that
dictated why he kind of in hiding.
The first is that, he realizes, you know, Florida is a peninsula surrounded
by a three states, excuse me three bodies of water and with the third
largest state. He also realizes something else. The insurers that they
have to insure homes and commercial buildings on the coast in Florida are
raising their rates dramatically or they`re pulling out the market
This isn`t a political decision, this is an actuarial decision. This is a
common sense decision. There`s one other reason that he is hiding out and
that`s what I called monetary geography, political dollars. And what that
means specifically is most of the homes on the coast whether coming from
Miami Beach heading north through Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and all the
way up the coast are very, very expensive housing
As you know anywhere, if you live on the water. It`s more money. We`ll
CEASAR: -- on these multimillion dollar states? People with a lot of
money. Rich folks generally, and they are mostly Republican.
Well, he is walking (ph) because they`re saying my property is endangered.
My taxes, my values, are going through the sky or I can`t get it insure and
you`re doing nothing but hiding.
He is afraid of losing them while still curtailing (ph) to the Tea Party
and being a denier.
SCHULTZ: So this whole thing is really being spearheaded by what`s
unfolding in the insurance industry. I mean the insurance industry as you
say from an actuarial standpoint is taking a look at what their losses are
going to be.
If somebody doesn`t do something about the environment so here comes Rick
Scott concerned about big business, concerned about, you know, exactly what
he is basing his fund raising is going to be. So he better come up with an
environmental plan is that how is he coming down?
CEASAR: Yes, exactly. And the joke of that is, this is environmental plan
is to say, I`m going to protect the Florida Keys and I`m going to protect
other areas but those are the very places that are susceptible to climate
change and raising seas.
So he`s saying it on one hand, in fact, that report that came out that he
issued and never said a word, never use the phrase global warming because
he has to keep the Tea Party folks happy while still kind of hiding on the
denial side. So he`s comes up with the political answer, non answer.
SCHULTZ: So this is environmental light is what it is. He can`t say
climate change. He can`t say global warming because he is going to
infuriate one party that will believe in him. On the other hand, he is
going to take care of an industry that is really done the numbers. And I
mean, it seems to me that the insurance industry is a believer in climate
change, at least they certainly don`t want to take the risk on the coastal
state of Florida.
So, how does Charlie Chris play into this? What is he return with what is
his position on this Mitch?
CEASAR: Well, he himself has said that, you know, he is a believer in
climate change and indeed when he was a governor of Florida previously, he
had made some very well-received, progressive comments and even in the
acquisition of land and environmentally sensitive areas to buy the land
because in this case US Sugar was dumping a lot of overflow in effect and
jeopardizing the everglades.
So, he`s at a pre imparts (ph) --
CEASAR: -- of record even he was a governor previously.
SCHULTZ: Well, about the sugar industry, Rick Scott, understands cut, some
flak as of late for a recent hunting trip that he took with U.S. Sugar`s
King Lodge and of course as you just said, U.S. Sugar has been a big donor
to Scott -- has been a big donor to Scott but when you consider the
phosphorus pollution the Sugar industry has cost in the everglades
allegedly. What does this say about his political and environmental
CEASAR: Well, he took this political junket and his defense was, "Oh
didn`t spend tax payer`s money because I took my own private jet". But
what`s interesting is when he return from his junket, he did appointed one
of the vice president of this particular ranch in Texas, this particularly
lobby group in effect, to one of the most sensitive boards for the
environment in Florida, South Florida would imagine (inaudible), which is
one of the most critical environmental boards not only in the state but
probably in the country because it is affect on the everglades.
And so, he did that and then he also did something else. And what he did
was he decided to tell U.S. Sugar, "Hey, you have a gigantic economic
responsibility to restore the everglade and some of the places that have
been polluted by your admission (ph)". You know, to restore them to its
natural habitat but I`m going to save you millions and millions of dollars
so you don`t have to do that. And of course this was based on a
constitutional amendment in the Florida that said, they are responsible for
So, I guess the trouble is well worth it for U.S. Sugar.
SCHULTZ: The guy is amazing in covering his tracks. There`s no question
about it. Mitch Ceasar, good to have with us tonight. We`ll follow the
story in Florida. It is interesting.
Coming up, Michele Bachmann has come up with another brilliant way to fix
the crisis to the border, pretenders is next. Plus, big businesses are
finally starting to realize that underpaying their employees, well, that
has an affect on the economy too.
Up next, I`m taking your questions Ask Ed live just ahead here on the Ed
Show on MSNBC. We are right back and we`re waiting to hear from president.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for all the questions. We appreciate it. This is on our
Ask Ed segment. Tonight, our first question comes from Michael. "Do you
thing Rand Paul`s stunt with the immigration activist will hurt him in the
First of all, I don`t think it was a stunt. I think it was just an honest
reaction. And I think the Republicans have lost all credibility when it
comes to immigration reform. They don`t know what they want. And they
don`t want anything basically is what it comes down to. So, they can`t
speak with a truthful tongue when it comes to immigration because they
really don`t want any kind of reform. They want cheap labor and they don`t
want to walk future workers right into the Democratic camp. This is about
So, I think that Rand Paul has some serious problems with activist across
the border when it comes to immigration. Next question, it comes from
Cordell, he wants to know. "Do you think Democrats will turnout in huge
numbers in the fall and surprise the pundits?" Well, the Republicans think
so, because look at how much money they`re spending on trying to suppress
the vote. Look how much money on obstruction and so you have obstructions,
I think activism is going to win out and I think yes. There will be a good
turn out this fall. We`ll go against the tide of history.
Stick around, Rapid Response panel is next. We`re right back.
MARY THOMSPSON, CNBC HOST: I`m Mary Thompson with your CNBC Market Wrap.
Stocks finish with slight gains today. The Dow has 13 points, S&P, well it
finished flat, NASDAQ does gain in 2.
The trade deficit narrowed in June due to a declined in petroleum import.
Economists had expected it dwindling (ph). And shares of Sprint were
hammered today, down nearly 19 percent after the company ended its pursuit
of T-mobile. T-mobile shares also fell. Lastly, sources tell CNBC, Bank
of American and the Justice Department are nearing a deal to settle a probe
into mortgage securities for multibillion dollars, multibillions of
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show, income inequality is holding back
the United States economy. That`s the analysis, a new report by Standard
and Poor`s rating service, says extreme income inequality, extreme income
inequality is a drag on the long run economic growth of this country. What
have we been talking about on the Ed Show for years?
S&P reduced its 10-year U.S. Growth forecast to 2.5 percentage rate. It
had forecasted 2.8 percent over five years ago.
Now President Obama inheriting the best from George W Bush and a bad
economy, and the criminals on Wall Street. No doubt. And when the economy
was at its worst in March of 2009, we were slashed in what, over 800,000
jobs in a single month. We were losing more than 26,000 jobs a day, that`s
called being in the toilet. There was a panic on Wall Street as a Dow
Jones bottom down at what, 6,600? Did you jump in then?
Despite what Republicans think, President Obama has brought our economy
back from the brink of collapse. Stimulus package, automobile recovery,
you name it but big business has yet to get on board. This chart here on
the Ed Show we it famous. It`s the vulture chart. It illustrates how the
top earners are moving ahead and the majority of workers in this country,
all good of the top two percent.
The rising concentration of income among the top one percent earners
contributed to why S&P is cutting its growth estimates for the economy.
It`s about disposable income that Americans don`t have like they used to
Along with the gap widening and income inequality over the last 10-years,
look at the cost of gas, food and healthcare, it`s all gone up. Wages have
remained stagnant. One of the recommendations the S&P makes is in its
report. It says this, balancing along with the spending in the areas of
education, healthcare and infrastructure. S&P also is suggesting effective
investments in health and education promote durable growth and equality.
How about strengthening the labor force`s capacity to cope with the new
technologies that are out there?
And of course fewer American households are at or below the poverty line
would help bolster the government balance sheets, and likely improve credit
conditions in this country. So big business, as it is called out
indirectly by the S&P as I read it, needs to get onboard and work to close
the gap. How do we do it? Should we do it?
Joining me now in our Rapid Response Panelist, Bruce Bartlett, Former
Reagan and George H. W. Bush Policy Adviser, also Dr. Arthur Laffer, Former
Reagan Economic Adviser.
I want to hear, just clean slate what both of you gentlemen think about
this S&P report. Is it something to pay attention to? Is it credible?
Mr. Laffer, you first, what do you think --
ARTHUR LAFFER, FORMER REAGAN ECONOMIC ADVISER: Sure. I think it`s very
incredible. I think what they show is the income distribution has become
more unequal. But they also said in that article though, which I thought
was also of note, this is the worst recovery from truff (ph) in over 50
And you know I would reverse the process there Ed. I think it`s really --
the income distribution is caused by the slow recovery rather than the
slower recovery was caused by the income distribution. And if we had
faster growth the poor, the minority, the disenfranchised all those people
who have left the labor force and earn (ph) their income aren`t spending
it. I mean they are the ones who have been hurt the most and they`re the
ones who aren`t spending and getting this thing back on track.
SCHULTZ: So Doctor, you have a fundamental disagreement with the way we
have rebuilt the economy and brought these jobs back into it.
LAFFER: Yes. I have.
SCHULTZ: You don`t think we`ve done --
LAFFER: I guess I did --
SCHULTZ: -- it the right way. OK, OK. Bruce, what do you think of
that, Mr. Bartlett?
BRUCE BARTLETT, GEORGE H. W. BUSH POLICY ADVISER: Well, first of all, the
S&P report is about a long-term trend issue. The problem of increasing
inequality has been going on for a decades. It`s been caused partly by the
outsize gains of the ultra wealthy, but also by the stagnant incomes of
SCHULTZ: Exactly, exactly.
BARTLETT: -- wealthy do (ph). Wages have been -- real wages have been
stagnant for decades. And people simply don`t have the money to spend and
what the Standard and Poor`s report is saying is that this is a recipe for
what is called secular stagnation. They`re saying that, "Look, the wealthy
are already spent about as much as they possibly can. They are not
constrained in that way". And so when they get additional income, they
just putted into saving.
BARTLETT: Where as the modestly wealthy do (ph) cannot increase their
spending because they don`t have the income to spend, and so we have a lack
of consumption that is holding back economic growth.
SCHULTZ: What about that Mr. Laffer. I mean, you`re a supply-side guy.
I`m not -- I believe --
LAFFER: That`s all right.
SCHULTZ: -- I believe in putting money in worker`s pockets and I mean,
you know, the basis of conservatives in this country right now in supply-
side economics. You know, I`m an investment guy. I mean, I believe you
invest in workers. We have the best workers. We get the best products and
the free market will grow from there as opposed to have a bunch of supply
on the market made cheaply. But I want to -- Mr. Laffer, how can you make
the case? How a conservative make the case that stagnant wages are going
to make our economy better?
LAFFER: See, I don`t think -- I think I agree with you. I mean, and I
couldn`t agree with much more with you than I can`t do. I mean, we need
more education. We need higher wages. We need all of that. The question
is how do you get it?
And, you know, to me, you can`t love jobs and hate job creators. What we
really need to do is make it a pro-growth environment the way Bill Clinton
did, the way Jack Kennedy did, the way Ronald Reagan did. I mean, and then
you`ll get the distribution of income coming back and you`ll find the wages
Now, when you have a company that has one job opening and there 15
applicants, it`s hard to get higher wages but if you have the --
SCHULTZ: Yes, well --
LAFFER: -- company of 15 applicants in one -- 15 jobs and one applicant,
you got to pay the guy more.
SCHULTZ: But Mr. Laffer, the wages have been stagnant under the Bush year,
under the Obama years, under Bush year --
LAFFER: I agree.
SCHULTZ: -- back, and also under Clinton, under Bush 41, I mean, we`ve
had to run of stagnant wages as opposed to expenses for average families in
this country. And so how can our economy get better if we don`t have the
investment coming on the other side?
LAFFER: But let me say you have the stagnant wages, that`s true --
LAFFER: But what you have here is W. was as bad a president, is Obama in
my view. But what you have is -- all these people who have left the labor
force, Ed. And they aren`t even looking for work anymore. They`re wages
are zero. We need to bring them back into the process and get this growth
going. And you don`t do it with higher minimum wages. You don`t do --
LAFFER: -- with restrictions and requirements, and higher taxes, honest.
SCHULTZ: Minimum wage has never hurt the American economy before.
LAFFER: That`s probably--
SCHULTZ: I can`t hear, someone -- OK.
LAFFER: Oh, that`s probably true Ed. I mean, can you hear me?
SCHULTZ: Yes, ho ahead sir.
LAFFER: Yes. You`re probably correct. I mean they have raised the
minimum wage to a boom period when it really wasn`t very effective and
that`s fine. But now when you have bad times right now, I mean, look at
some of these inner city areas where you have the employment to population
ratios of teenagers, just disasters they`ve been unemployed now not working
for 7-8 years, what`s going to happen to those people as we go forward?
That`s the real tragedy going on here. And they aren`t buying goods
SCHULTZ: OK, Bruce Bartlett, Arthur Laffer, great to have both of you with
us tonight. I appreciate your time.
LAFFER: Thank you Ed.
SCHULTZ: We`ll talk more of this in coming days. On the road to a $10.10
a call for bosses to cut pay for their employees. Talk about a real story
at Kentucky coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight, 100 percent nonsense, Michele Bachman,
in an anti-immigrant tirade. Bachman rattled of her idea for border
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMAN, REPRESENTATIVE FROM MINNESOTA: We build a real fence
along the entire border. It needs to be well lit. It needs to have
surveillance. It needs to have border guards on either side. It needs --
we need to have then boats where there are waterways, that need to be
patrolled 24/7. If anyone can somehow get into the United States, they
have to be adjudicated on the spot and deported on the spot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, she wants to take our border guards and put them on the other
side. Her list is just shy of moten (ph) alligator. Next, the queen of
obscene laid out her new plan for immigration reform, a 100 percent tax
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BACHMANN: What I believe we should do is have a 100 percent tax on
remittances, the money that illegal aliens send back to these countries.
This truly is a war against the American people. And if we don`t act like
it and take this border seriously, we`re going have even more criminal
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All work and no pay, make a Bachmann`s new ploy, withholding 100
percent of a laborer`s wages could be interpreted as slavery. I didn`t say
it. I let the viewers decide.
If Michelle Bachmann thinks taxation to the point of exploitation is what
our country stands for, she can keep on pretending.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. This is the story for the folks who
take a shower after work. You`ve heard the story behind the vulture chart
many times here on the Ed Show. Executive paying goes through the roof,
working families deal with stagnant wages year after year. The income gap,
well it`s widening.
Republicans in Congress refuse to take action to do what? Raise the
minimum wage, they don`t want to do that. We`ve highlighted companies like
IKEA, Gap and Costco who have taken matters into their own hands and raise
their wages without the need of the federal mandate. The latest example of
leadership comes from the world of higher education where one man from
Kentucky is confronting income inequality in his own backyard with a single
Dr. Raymond Burse was hired as the Interim President at Kentucky State
University. Burse, this gentleman was said to be paid almost $350,000 a
year while the school searches for a permanent replacement. Then Burse
asked for $90,000 pay cut.
Now, you might be wondering why an executive asked for a 25 percent pay
cut. Well, Mr. Burse is using that money to improve the hourly pay of
university employees currently making minimum wage. As a result of Burse`s
pay cut $24,000 or should I -- excuse me, 24, a total of 24 Kentucky State
University employees will go from making $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour,
Burse has also pledge to take further salary cuts anytime new minimum wage
employees are hired on his watch. He said, I thought if I`m going to ask
them to really be committed and give this institution their all, I should
be doing something in return. I thought it was important. We think it`s
Joining me now is James Peterson, MSNBC contributor and Lehigh University
Professor. There`s a lot of different ways to fight income inequality.
This, Dr. Peterson, I think is truly an example of leadership that if we
were to do this as a governmental body, they economy would change. We know
the economy is going to change for 24 of those employees at Kentucky State
University. What do you make of this?
JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s a great, feel good story Ed for
all the reasons you articulated at the opening of the segment, the growing
income inequality, the challenges that we face, the need for models like
this, but and let`s it make it also clear that even when he is Interim
President right now, and when he steps out of the position, this will
become permanent so that the minimum wages are affectively at this
university will be $10.25 an hour.
I think it`s fantastic, but remember it`s just the model and charity is
never a substitute for social justice right? We ultimately need structural
changes to balance out the income inequality that the gaps that have been
expanding over the last 30 years. This is a great model but there`s a lot
of structural work that needs to be done, to take -- the federal minimum
wage to be at that that same level that Kentucky State University now has.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think we have to follow Kentucky State University to see
what this does to their bottom line. I mean, is this going to hurt the
university? Is the university not going to -- going to deliver its
function because we`ve heard the Republican and the Conservative argument
all along, well, we can pay people because it`s bad for business. Well,
(inaudible) and see if it`s going to be bad for Kentucky State University.
PETERSON: Ed, no that this is poppycock (ph). What`s you`re going to see
is that -- and you need to look at the community around KSU because these
employees will have more disposable income, obviously it`s not to scale but
it`s going to improve the macroeconomist of those who are directly impacted
by. And listen, the quality of life of the workers of that university will
be improved. And so the quality of life, of the people who work at that
university and go to school there will be improved.
There is no doubt or whatsoever and suggest that getting to a minimum wage,
a living wage even, will disrupt the economy. All the data suggest that
when you put more disposable income in the pockets of the people who
actually spend their money, and that`s working class, lower class, middle
class folks, they spend that money and goes into the economy.
PETERSON: It seems completely against logic to me that we haven`t made the
federal minimum wage $10 across the board.
SCHULTZ: Well, since it`s Kentucky State University, I would imagine that
the state legislature in Kentucky or the state board of higher education,
the structure of authority that they have over a higher education probably
is going to take a close look at what`s unfolding here and who knows, this
could end up going on to other campuses as well.
We should point out there are nine public university presidents and 42
private school presidents make over a million dollars a year. What about
the low-wage workers at those schools, what`s going to happen? What can be
done to help the low-wage workers if Congress doesn`t act? What do you
PETERSON: We need more -- Ed, we need more models that are just like this,
and we need to understand that there`s been privatization within these
university systems so, and sort of outsourcer, you know, food services and
the outsourcing of different sort of book stores and things of that nature,
or what creates the space for university presidents to make that kind of
University presidents are very, very talented people, but that does not
obscure the sense of the income inequality even in those Microsystems is
very finesse and most be addressed in this way.
SCHULTZ: Well, what we have seen is a person in authority, has made a
decision and address income inequality. James Peterson--
PETERSON: Great model.
SCHULTZ: -- good to have you with us.
That`s the -- you bet.
PETERSON: Thank you Ed.
SCHULTZ: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz.
POLITICS NATION with Reverend Al Sharpton, starts right now. Good evening
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