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All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

July 24, 2013

Guests: Gene Sperling, Jose Diaz-Balart, David Sirota, Lew Prince, Shanita Simon Toussaint, Dorian Warren, Bernie Sanders

CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

We`ve got a strong lineup of news tonight on ALL IN.

President Obama looks like he`s ready for a fight. And that`s a good
thing, because he`s fighting to raise the minimum wage. If there was a
single economic fight we need to win, that`s the one. That`s coming up.

Also tonight, you`ve got to fight and then you`ve got flight. The
heat is on Republican Congressman Steve King after his hideous statements
about Mexican immigrants this week. Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart
chased him down today. And he will be my guest tonight. You`re going to
want to hear what King said to him.

Plus, a precious rare surprising moment on the floor of the United
States House of Representatives, wherein I watched a C-Span live feed and
thought, this is what government should look like.

I`ll bring that to you shortly.

But, tonight, we go to Galesburg, Illinois, where President Obama
kicked off his own summer tour of sorts. Today, the president gave not
one, but two speeches on the economy, beginning a series of events planned
across the country this summer, focusing on how to support an embattled
middle class -- making clear that five years into his presidency, he`s a
man with much less to lose.


campaign. I do not intend to wait until the next campaign or the next
president before tackling the issues that matter.

I care about one thing and one thing only. And that`s how to use
every minute --


The only thing I care about is how to use every minute of the
remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working
Americans again.



HAYES: The president did his best to convince the country that moving
forward, he would be focused squarely on the economy, as the effects of the
Republicans supported sequester continued to hurt everyone from Pentagon
employees to public defenders.

Congressional Republicans are steaming yet again to use the next debt
ceiling vote as a negotiating tactic to hold the country hostage in
exchange for more austerity. With that as a backdrop, the president laid
out his vision of a middle class economy. One that is quite honestly very,
very far from the economy we have now, and one that by sheer virtue of
existing puts the president in stark contrast with Republicans.


OBAMA: If they`ve got a better idea to bring down college costs that
we haven`t thought of, let`s hear them, I`m ready to go. If they`ve got a
better plan to make sure that every American knows the security of
affordable health care, then please share it with the class. Raise your

But what you can`t do is just manufacture another crisis because you
think it might be good politics, just as our economy is getting some
traction. What you can`t do is shut down our government just because I`m
for opening the government.


HAYES: Joining me now is Gene Sperling, director of the National
Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.

And, Gene, my first question to you is, why this speech now? What was
new today, why is the president giving the speech now?

clearly trying to refocus Washington on what we are here for. In other
words, what is the end, the goal of economic policy? What`s the North

For this president, it`s one thing. It`s growing the economy in a way
at strengthens the middle class and makes it more inclusive for people who
want to work their way up. And what he -- what you heard him just say
there is that right now, we`re more focused, Washington, particularly House
Republicans are often more focused on manufactured crisis, manufactured
budget battles than actually focusing on the building blocks on what a
secure middle class life would be like, such as college affordability,
house security, housing security.

HAYES: Why is it, Gene, that you have to consistently refocus
Washington`s attention on something as simple, straightforward and
politically popular and important as just basic jobs. The fact that there
are a lot of people out of work, what is it about Washington that it cannot
stay focused on that?

SPERLING: You know, that`s a great question. And it is a
disappointment, but we can`t just be disappointed with it, we have to take

And the fact is, the president has been able to do significant things
in bringing our country back from the brink of depression to the scene of
recovery, passing historic health care reform, to getting immigration
through the Senate. But the president doesn`t want to just bring the
economy back to where it was. He wants to bring it back better, and what
he was talking about tonight was a longer term trend that too much of the
growth we`ve seen has not strengthened the middle class.

We`ve even seen some hollowing out and weakening of the middle class,
while the gains were going to the top 1 percent and he wants --

HAYES: Actually, we have that sound. And, Gene, I want to -- let me
play that sound actually because that`s a really important part of the
speech. This is him talking about inequality in the wake of the great

Take a listen.


OBAMA: Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have
broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years
have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. The average CEO has gotten a
raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. The average American earns less
than he or she did in 1999.


HAYES: Given that we`re in the fifth year of the president`s term,
why is that not a condemnation of his own economic record?

SPERLING: Because -- as we know, this president entered office at a
time we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We were contracting by almost 8
percent in the six months in which he was coming into office the last
quarter of 2008, first quarter of 2009. So, this president had to move
with boldness, and swiftness and force to bring us back to growth, to now
having more jobs created in the first six months than any first half of the
year since 1999, more manufacturing jobs created in over 20 -- you know,
since the late 1990s.

So, we have seen a lot of progress. And we have seen positive things
in the economy. But what the president is saying is that the improvement
and healing we`ve seen, it`s not good enough, it`s not good enough in terms
of growth and jobs. But he also is addressing the more structural issues.
Like, for example --

HAYES: One of the things --

SPERLING: Wait just one second. Key economic issue for people in the
middle class is health care.


SPERLING: And we heard always before, that was a distraction. But
not for middle class families, it is a key part of middle class --

HAYES: In fact, there was an amazing moment today where someone
responded in the crowd when the president talked about it and said, my
daughter has insurance now, when he was talking about health care.

When we`re talking about the structural issues, I want to get to that
in a second, but in terms of cyclical issues, where we are in the recovery
right now. Right now, we have the deficit falling at a record rate. And
my question is, I`ve been confused on whether the White House thinks that`s
a good thing or a bad thing. Is it good the deficit`s falling or is the
fact the deficit is falling largely because of austerity that`s been
imposed, one of the things that`s a drag on full employment and recovery?

SPERLING: I think, you know, when we came into office, we had
historic deficits, almost 10 percent of GDP over $10 trillion. So, yes, it
is good that we have brought the deficit down and are on the path to
manageable deficits. However, it matters how you do it, and what the
president`s been for is a pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-middle class fiscal

And that means three things. Yes, you have fiscal discipline, but you
have it more in the long term when you`re addressing our long term
challenges. In the immediate term, you invest more in infrastructure, in
fixing deferred maintenance, things that will help get job growth going.
And you, of course, make sure we have room to invest in things that matter.

What the House Republicans are doing is they turn all of that on its
head. They do nothing with the sequester to deal with the long term.

HAYES: Right.

SPERLING: They freeze the investments we need in education and
research that are critical to our future. And then at the same time, they
do contractionary policy that the independent CBO believes is costing our
economy 750,000 jobs. So --

HAYES: Gene, let me ask you this.

SPERLING: You want a balanced pro-growth, pro-middle class fiscal
policy. The Republicans want just the opposite of that.

HAYES: The most single consequential decision the president will make
probably for the duration of his second term is who he will appoint to
replace Ben Bernanke as the chair of the Federal Reserve Board. There`s
been rumors about Janet Yellen who`s currently on the board and Larry
Summers who obviously served with you in the White House.

My question to you is, what is the president looking for? What`s the
most important thing for that candidate to have to make sure that we do not
slip back into recession?

SPERLING: Those are excellent questions, and I don`t blame you for
asking them. But I hope you will understand that we don`t talk or
speculate on important personnel decisions that the president makes until
he makes them.

So I will let you talk with others about them. But I let the
president speak first on the important appointments and decisions he has to
make on the economy or otherwise.

HAYES: Fair enough. Gene Sperling, assistant to the president for
economic policy, really a great pleasure to have you here tonight. Thank
you very much.

SPERLING: Thanks for having us.

HAYES: When we return. Republicans say Congressman Steve King
doesn`t speak for them. But that`s not what millions of Latinos are
hearing. Jose Diaz-Balart will be with me in a moment.


HAYES: Up next, the most evocative phrase of the week. And it beat
anything written by Carlos Danger, is "calves the size of cantaloupes."
Congressman Steve King refuses to eat those words, but it`s absolutely
killing the GOP. I`ll explain next.



REPORTER: Do you regret saying those words?

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I`m on a deadline, but I will come back
and talk to you all of it later. I have to make a media hit on a precise

REPORTER: But do you regret saying those words, sir?

KING: I`ll talk to you about that later, OK?


HAYES: That was Congressman Steve King, Republican of Iowa, trying
his darnedest to get to that media hit, presumably not to discuss the
comments he made about children, who were brought into the U.S. illegally.

Viewers of this network will know that King has a bit of a track
record when it comes to these kinds of things. He`s compared Latino
immigrants to dogs and to livestock. He`s advocated on the floor of the
House, not only for the construction of a border fence, but a wall covered
in electrified barbed wire. He brought along props.

With that in mind, we must assume King meant what he said last week
when speaking about the Dreamers, that is children brought here by their
parents, with the right wing Web site, Newsmax.


KING: They aren`t all valedictorians. They weren`t all brought in by
their parents. For everyone who`s a valedictorian, there`s another 100 out
there that they weigh 130 pounds and they`ve got have calves the size of
cantaloupes because they`re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the


HAYES: Oh, calves the size of cantaloupes.

And those comments were (INAUDIBLE) a few slaps on the wrist from the
party leadership. John Boehner called them wrong, adding, "There can be
honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language." While
Eric Cantor found King`s remarks inexcusable.

King, for his part, isn`t backtracking. In fact, he appears
undeterred by the criticism and told an Iowa radio station today, the vivid
physical description he used to describe the children of undocumented
workers came essentially from the border patrol.


KING: It`s not something that I`m making up. This is real. We have
people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across
the border, and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they`ve
been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on
their back.

And if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to
characterize this about valedictorians, I give them a different image that
we need to be thinking about because we just simply can`t be passing
legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of


HAYES: Do you want to bring a bunch of people with flabby calves into
the country as well?

The GOP can try to spin this, they can condemn these remarks and claim
Steve King doesn`t speak for the party. But, really, here`s the thing,
until proven otherwise by actions, he does speak for the party. He is the
GOP immigration id without the super ego, and the id continues to run the
party on this issue.

If you need further proof as MSNBC`s Benji Sarlem (ph) points out,
King basically got the entire GOP caucus to vote for his "deport the
Dreamers" amendment last month. That included Eric Cantor.

The biggest problem for the GOP is that even if Steve King thinks he`s
dog whistling to conservatives, his bigoted nonsense is also picked up and
amplified by Spanish language media who have been covering the parry and
thrust and day in/day out of immigration for months.

Case in point, Telemundo`s Jose Diaz-Balart met up with the
congressman earlier today to ask him about his remarks.


JOSE DIAZ-BALART, TELEMUNDO: Any comments on the reaction to your
comments? Speaker Boehner said they were hateful, not very helpful? What
do you say about that?

KING: I`d say they were serious about that, they were not. And,
furthermore, I can`t find anybody to make a logical argument that disagrees
with me. So, I think (INAUDIBLE) -

DIAZ-BALART: I`d like to talk to you about that, do you have a


HAYES: Joining me now is Jose Diaz-Balart, anchor for Telemundo, an
American Spanish language broadcast network, along with MSNBC, is part of
NBC Universal.

So, what you`re going to get from Republicans in the wake of this,
Jose, is this distancing rhetorically. My question to you is, how has this
incident, how large does Steve King loom in Spanish language media that has
been covering immigration much more thoroughly with much more attention
than Anglo media aspects?

DIAZ-BALART: Huge, because it`s one insult after another. And, you
know, Chris, you can go around saying somebody else told you that these
young people with calves the size of cantaloupes are coming through the
country with drugs. And then somehow equate that with Dreamers, and
somehow equate the DREAM Act or any attempt at including the Dreamers with
these drug mules, somehow in some weird world, there is some relationship
between that.

You know, I have been thinking about this, Chris. If these numbers
are correct, that for every good Dreamer, there are 100 drug mules coming,
in and 36,000 -- 360,000 young Dreamers have already been accepted by the
deferred action, that would mean that there`d be 36 million drug dealers
running wild in our streets. There`s 50 million Hispanics. So, 75 percent
of them are drug dealers, but with great calves.


HAYES: Slim, 130 pounds, fantastic calves, incredibly fit and alive.

So, here`s the question, though. OK. This is my understanding of the
political problem the Republican Party finds itself in with respect to
immigration. I don`t remember, I covered that 2006/2007 fight really
closely. And I listened to Spanish language media and read Spanish
language media.

And everybody knew Sensenbrenner`s name, everyone. When you would go
to a rally, there would be hundreds of thousands of people, these are
people that didn`t speak English, worked in kitchens, worked their butts
of, were out in a rally, and they knew the key players in the Republican
Party who wanted to criminalize them.

And my question to you is, is the same happening to the GOP right now
when Steve King says something like this?

DIAZ-BALART: Absolutely. Absolutely. Everybody, you know, today on
Telemundo Nightly News, we led with this story.

HAYES: Exactly.

And we had a gentleman in California who was a caricaturist and he
grew with a caricature of Steven King. Now, he doesn`t probably know where
Steve King`s district, probably the guy didn`t know he`s from Iowa, but he
does know that there`s somebody on Capitol Hill who calls some Latinos dogs
and who says that a good percentage of these young kids that were brought
here as children and whose parents every single day work here and
contribute to this economy and to this culture, and to this country are
being demonized.

And you know what? Unless something pretty big is done in response to
this, you know, it`s all talk. But it`s very hurtful and hateful.

HAYES: You know, this is a Ricky Martin tweet that I saw today. Just
randomly, Ricky Martin tweeting about this, particularly the Steve King
comment. "Dear sons, don`t worry, not every American is/thinks like Steve

DIAZ-BALART: Yes, he`s got great calves.



HAYES: So, what I -- you know, I have this rule on this show, saying
we don`t cover people saying something bad. That actions matter more than
words. The reason I think there`s an exception here is precisely because
King got all of the Republicans in the House to vote to deport these same
people that he`s calling drug mules just a month ago.

So my question to you is, what can the Republican leadership do to
actually, definitively, rebuke Steve King? To actually have a headline
tomorrow night on Telemundo, that is going to be good for them, that is
going to convince people that they are not a party of Steve Kings?

DIAZ-BALART: Here`s the headline. The Republican Party supports
comprehensive immigration reform, have the courage, have the calves to say
that. Come out and say, the gang of 7 that`s been working for four years,
try to get a bipartisan agreement on immigration reform, has our full
support and we want to bring this through. We want this -- a vote on this,
and we need everybody to be able to vote up or down on comprehensive
immigration reform.

Let`s not forget, Chris, that as you and I speak today, 1,000
deportations occurred. Tomorrow, 1,000 others will occur.

HAYES: That`s right.

DIAZ-BALART: And every single day, there are thousands of
deportations. That has nothing to do with this event on Capitol Hill.
Unless something is done, all of this hateful talk will continue to weigh
more maybe than the voices that are asking for immigration reform, that are
working for immigration reform within the Republican Party and are doing so
behind my back as we speak.

HAYES: Jose Diaz-Balart from Telemundo, pleasure to have you here.
Thank you so much.

DIAZ-BALART: Good to see you.

HAYES: Up next, something happened on the floor of the U.S. House
tonight that is honestly and truly the way Congress is supposed to work.
I`ll show what you it was, next.


HAYES: Something really rare and dramatic just happened on the House
floor tonight. In just the last two hours, something that goes against the
established norms and traditions and rules and precedents about the way
things are done in the House of Representatives. Here`s how things
normally work in that body, being in charge matters a lot. It basically is

The leadership doesn`t just influence how a vote goes down. The
leadership decides whether a vote even happens in the first place. If you
were just a lowly House member, you don`t just get to present a bill or
even an amendment to a bill and get a vote on it.

Your thing doesn`t get a vote unless the leadership says it can

So, if the leadership doesn`t like your thing, your thing doesn`t see
the light of today, doesn`t even get a vote. That`s just the way the House

Except apparently tonight, tonight, things were different. Tonight,
every member of the house was forced to take a position on a measure that
leaders from both parties hoped would never see the light of day.
Remarkably, a full House took a vote on the amendment to the defense
spending bill, sponsored by Republican Justin Amash and Democrat John
Conyers, both from Michigan. An amendment that would essentially bar the
NSA from the practice of bulk collecting phone records and other metadata
from people not suspected of crimes. Basically, it defunds the kind of
stuff we first learns from the very first Edward Snowden revelations
published last month by "The Guardian." When the learned that the call
logs of every single Verizon customer were being turned over to the

And discontinuing that practice, that is an idea that a veritable
who`s who of elite Washington`s power structure lined up to oppose. The
top three Republicans in the House oppose the measure. The Republican
chair of the House Intelligence Committee called it inflammatory and
misleading. The top Republican and Democrat of the Senate Intelligence
Committee released a joint statement calling it unwise.

More than half a dozen of House committee and subcommittee chairman
sent out a letter urging their colleagues to vote against it.

NSA chief Keith Alexander was dispatched to the Hill yesterday to host
emergency private briefings to lobby against it. James Clapper, the
director of national intelligence, today said the measure risked
dismantling an important intelligence tool. And, of course, last night,
the White House itself released a statement urging the House to reject it.

That is what this amendment was up against, pretty much no one in the
top Washington power bracket from either side of the political aisle wanted
to be debating this thing. But its support was also bipartisan. And that
bipartisan coalition got their debate and their vote.


REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R), MICHIGAN: Opponents of this amendment will use
the same tactic that every government in history has used to justify its
violation of rights. Fear.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: Passing this amendment takes us back
to September 10th.

REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Metadata sounds scary. It`s nothing
more than an excel spreadsheet with five columns.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: No administration should be
permitted to operate above or beyond the law as they have done in this

REP. MORGAN GRIFFITH (R), VIRGINIA: General warrants, writs of
assistance, that`s what we`re looking at.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: Ben Franklin said they who give up
essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither
liberty nor safety.

ROGERS: Are we so small that we can only look at our Facebook likes
today in this chamber? Or are we going to stand up and find out how many
lives we can save?

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Get a specific warrant bases on probable
cause or stay out of our lives. And that`s the way it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman`s time has expired.


HAYES: Ted Poe, give it to them straight.

The amendment to block the NSA`s bulk collection of phone records
failed. It failed by just 12 votes tonight. The simple fact that it got a
vote is amazing.

Countless reasons to believe it would die and be buried without any
kind of official debate, much less an official vote. Now, if you`re
sitting at home trying to figure out where you stand on this amendment,
allow me to give you this taste of where Michele Bachmann stands.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The only people who have
benefited from the revelation of classified information, by someone who
worked for this government who intentionally and unauthorized declassified
some of the most sensitive national security information that we have, the
only result is that those who are engaged in Islamic jihad will have been


HAYES: Spoiler alert, that`s the same side of the president of the
United States.

Joining me now is David Sirota, nationally syndicated newspaper
columnist, contributor, also a former House staffer.

My first question to you, David, is -- as a House staffer for quite
some time, how did this thing happen? It was unlike anything we`ve seen
come out of this House. You had a floor debate. People standing up, and I
couldn`t predict when they stood up which side they were going to be on.
And then the thing got a vote, and it almost passed.

How did this happen?

DAVID SIROTA, SALON.COM: There`s two reasons it happened. The first
reason is, traditionally on appropriations bill, that is the annual
spending bills. There are narrow amendments that are allowed to be amended
to those bills, which say, which either block funding from something or
transfer funding from one thing in a bill -- in the bill to something else
in the same bill.

Very, very narrow rules. And, so, it is very hard to create a vote on
a message on an issue on a big national question like this in such a narrow
way. But, the people who put this bill together clearly were skilled in
the art of crafting such an amendment, and they created a crystal clear
vote on whether the congress, whether the house wants to fund, wants the
NSA to be surveilling Americans who are not under investigation. That`s
one way.

The other way, because can still get blocked. I mean you can still
have the speaker use the rules committee to take a radical measure, as
radical step and say none of these amendments are allowed. That is a very
radical move in the house.

But, what I think is so encouraging about this, is not only the
artistry in crafting such an amendment, but, also, that there was a
bipartisan kind of insurrection among rank and file members of congress
against their own leadership, saying that the America, the American public
deserves an open debate on this. And, that the American public deserves to
know where their members of congress stand on this.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN" SHOW: Do you think -- what do you
think it indicates about the politics of it, because to me, at one level it
is encouraging, and I thought actually -- I actually thought the debate on
the house that Michelle Bachmann jihad mongering aside, was relatively
fairly high level. I mean it was actually a substance of engaging on both
sides on the possible drawbacks for virtues of this program. What does it
say to you about where the politics of this issue are that this happened

SIROTA: Well, I think it says that the politics have broken
completely apart. That party labels don`t really matter on an issue of
civil liberties on an issue of the fourth amendment. And, I think that
probably makes official Washington quite scared.

I think a lot of people in the building behind me right now are very,
very nervous about the idea that we are going to see more votes like this,
and this was a vote that was so close, with such lobbying force against it,
that you could imagine in the senate or again in the house a vote like this
passing. And, I think that will create a situation where more of these
questions get asked.

HAYES: I thought it was very interesting the partisan breakdown, in
so far as the majority of democrats voted for this amendment. They voted
for this amendment, which is against what the White House wanted and the
majority of republicans voted against it.

And, I think it`s interesting because we talk about how topsy-turvy
the politics of this get with civil liberties. But, it suggested to me
that the progressive base of the Democratic Party in the house is basically
where you would think they would be, where I personally would want them to

SIROTA: Yes. I think that`s right. And, I think that that is
encouraging in the sense that those democrats voted against their own
president, voted against their own party`s president.

And, I think that`s really encouraging that we are seeing some, I
think distance between the house members and the White House on an issue of
civil liberties where you are seeing the house members and the democratic
caucus stabbed on principle saying, "You know what? We are not going to
carry about party. We are going to vote on principle for liberties."

Now, of course, you had the house democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi vote
against this amendment, but I think again, you are seeing a trans partisan
uprising in the house, and I think you are going to see some of it in the
senate, and I think that makes the White House very nervous as it should,
because the White House has a lot of questions to answer on this.

HAYES: Columnist, David Sirota, thank you so much.

SIROTA: Thank you.

HAYES: We will be right back with #Click3.


HAYES: A KFC worker who burns her hands on the job, returns to work,
puts in 60 hours overtime and still can`t pay her bills. When she asked
management for a poultry raise, she was told, "We all have bills." That is
why this worker and a small business owner and Sen. Bernie Sanders say, "We
must raise the minimum wage." And, they all join me coming up.

But, first, I want to share the three awesomest things in the internet
today. We begin at the bell center in Montreal, where an admiring crowd
watched Beyonce. That is until she was accosted by one crazy ass fan, the
ventilating con.

Yes, this is world famous Beyonce, getting her hair caught in a wind
fan while performing the song "Halo." And, if you need further proof why
people love this woman. Here it is. Her hair is being held in the death
grip of a machine, and yet she keeps on singing.


HAYES: She followed that up with this Instagram photo of rewritten
lyrics including the line "I felt my hair was yank in from the fan of
hatin". That`s right, just brush it off, Sasha Fierce.

The second awesomest thing on the internet today takes us to the
hallowed halls of comic con of international. The day`s long fiesta of
storm trooper costumes, where super fans of the human variety attend panels
on T.V. shows and movies and compare notes.

This guy clearly has a diehard of T.V.s "Breaking Bad" donning a
Heisenberg mask to pay homage the murderer`s alter ego of the show`s main
character. However, things got a little real when this alleged admirer
came to the show`s panel discussion and sat on stage with the panel and in
a super meta twist, revealed he was no ordinary "Breaking Bad" groupie, but
rather actor rather actor Ryan Cranston, wearing a mask of the guy he plays
on T.V.

Just an absolutely surreal moment for the fans of the show, giving
celebrities all over the world a lesson on how to hide in plain site from
admirers. Start taking notes, royal baby, which brings me to the third
awesomest thing on the internet today. There was quite a lot of discussion
today about names.

Judging by cable news coverage. One would think the president was
discussing the new name of the littlest royal. He was not. For those all
royal baby out, there`s another name out there to consider, Carlos Danger.
The alleged alias New York City Mayor Anthony Weiner used to send out
pictures of his junk.

Weiner had neither confirmed nor denied using the Carlos Danger
monitor. But, that in mind is the latest offer in this public service, the
Carlos Danger name generator. One can type in their first and last name
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works full time in America should have to live in poverty, I`m going to
keep making the case that we need to raise the minimum wage, because it`s
lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office. It`s time for
the minimum wage to go up.


HAYES: The single simplest way to get money into the pockets of the
working class, is to raise the minimum wage. The president said as much in
his speech earlier today. And, hours before that speech, polling was
released that showed 80 percent of Americans approved a joint proposal by
Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, and Democratic Congressman George
Miller of California to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Now, raising the minimum wage is a theme Barack Obama has been
sounding since 2007. Most recently in the state of the union address in
February, when we proposed boosting the minimum wage $7.25 an hour to $9 an
hour by 2015, restoring it in real terms to its 1979 level.

Which still isn`t enough. Using today`s money adjusted for inflation
instead of a $7.25 an hour minimum wage, it would be $10.55 an hour. Over
the years, the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, the increase
in the cost of goods and services over the time, which means today`s
workers aren`t getting as much bang for their buck.

And, if it hasn`t kept up with inflation, the minimum wage really
hasn`t kept up with productivity; that is, how much value each worker
produces for his or her boss per hour.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: If we started in 1960 and
we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing
more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And, if that were
the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So, my
question Mr.Dubai with a minimum of $7.25 an hour, is what happened to the
other $14.75. It sure didn`t go to the worker.


HAYES: And it should go to the worker. Not just for the benefit of
that worker, but in order to produce stable vibrant middle class economy
and democracy. It is that simple, you want to start attacking inequality
and plutocracy and post recession wage stag nation, then raise the wage.
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont. He is
the member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Senator, why can`t we get a reasonable minimum wage. What is stopping us
from getting a $10 minimum wage? Lay it out for me.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VERMONT): Let me tell you something. I don`t
want to break the bad news to you. A majority of the republicans are not
only opposed to raising the minimum wage, a majority of the republicans
right now, believe we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage,.

And, if in a city like Detroit or other high unemployment areas, you
can get people to work 3, 4, 5 bucks an hour, that would be acceptable to
them. So, what you got is a raid against us a lot of big money interests,
a lot of republicans who do not believe in quote, unquote, "Government
Regulation," which means a minimum wage. And, that`s the problem that we

HAYES: When you are talking about big money, when you are trying and
you have been trying, you have been working on this issue; I know you
support this legislation. You have been working on raising the minimum
wage. Who is on the other side of the fight?

Because -- you know, this is an intensely lobbying bill in congress,
when it does happen. Who is sitting across the table from the Bernie
Sanders of the world saying, do not raise this, when that fight happens?

SANDERS: Well, companies like Wal-Mart, the Wal-Mart family -- Here`s
an amazing story. The Wal-Mart family is the wealthiest family in this
country, worth about $100 billion, owning more wealth than the bottom 40
percent of the American people.

And, yet here`s the incredible fact. Because their wages and benefits
are so low. They are the major welfare recipients in America, because
many, many of their workers depend on Medicaid, depend on food stamps,
depend on government subsidies for housing.

So, if the minimum wage went up for Wal-Mart, it would be a real cut
in their profits. But, it would be a real savings by the way for
taxpayers, who would not have to subsidize Wal-Mart employees because of
their low wages.

HAYES: What do you say to people that will look at this and they will
say, "This is cynical posturing. This is populism and if you do this, it
is just basic economics. You raise the wage. You constrain labor and you
end up putting people out of work."

SANDERS: Well, I would say come to the great state of Vermont. We
have the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the country. I think it is
about 4.4%. We have the third highest minimum wage rate, not as high as it
should be, but it`s $8.60 an hour. I have not heard too many employers in
the state of Vermont that are telling me that the minimum wage is too high
and should go lower.

HAYES: Bernie Sanders, independent senator for Vermont, thank you so

SANDERS: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, we`ll hear from a mother of three who has to live on
$8 an hour. And, if businessman who says raising the minimum wage will not
only help her, but it will help his business.



employees really hurts small business. I mean, look at our nation`s
forefathers. Many arrived with nothing but the blouse on their back. But,
thanks to no minimum wage, they started a booming cotton industry.


HAYES: We always hear from politicians and corporate spokespeople
about the minimum wage. When people who really should hear from are the
ones it affects the most. Small business owners and low wage workers.

Joining me now is Lew Prince, co-owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis.
He met with Pres. Obama along with other small business owners last year.
Shanita Simon Toussaint, a shift supervisor at a KFC in Brooklyn, New York
and Dorian Warren, an assistant professor at Columbia University and
specialist in labor law. Great to have you all here.

Lew, the argument we hear coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
whenever minimum wage is on the table is, you`re going to destroy small
business and you run a small business. And what do you make of that

LEW PRINCE, CO-OWNER OF VINTAGE VINYL: Well, the fact is, that small
businesses in general pay higher wages anyway because we know about the
relationship. Our relationship with our employees is closer, and our
employees relationship with the customers is closer, and that`s how you
grow a business. At that meeting with President Obama --

HAYES: Stop that for one second. That`s an interesting idea. Why
would you pay a higher wage than say a mass employer like KFC?

PRINCE: I`m an employer who`s committed to the business, but also,
feels like he has a stake that the paycheck he takes home at the end of the
week is worth working for. It supports his family. Now, you were citing
the statistics, if we were at the same minimum wage adjusted for inflation,
where we had in 1968 would be at 10.74.

HAYES: Right.

PRINCE: And, the fact is 23 percent of Americans are under that 1968
adjusted wage. So, we are making less than we were back then. Those
workers are --

HAYES: Shanita. There is a -- You work just above minimum wage,

SHANITA SIMON TOUSSAINT: I recently got a promotion to $8, because I
spoke out, you know, with the union backing me. I guess they want to shut
me up, so they gave me $8.

HAYES: It does not look like it is working.

TOUSSAINT: It is not working. I cannot do anything with $8. I have
three kids and a husband, who is -- he is doing his best to try to support
our family, but it`s just not helping.

HAYES: McDonald`s put up this graphic recently, it was a monthly
budget. And, the idea was, look, you know -- we understand you`re not
making a ton of money, but if you just are disciplined and real serious
about doing this, and you just plot it out and you know, you pay this
amount, you can actually make ends meet and you can save. Is that a fair -
- as someone who lives this? Is that fair?

TOUSSAINT: That is not fair, especially not in New York City. That`s
not realistic at all. And, if the budget was true, then they should follow
their own budget. You know, they wouldn`t be spending so much money. Bu,
I think if everyone has a budget, of course, it would be, you know, some
kind of reality to following a budget and you know you have some kind of
mind-set. But, with rent, with feeding kids, you know somebody got to go
hungry, and sometimes it`s the parents.

HAYES: Does that happen?

TOUSSAINT: It does happen. It does happen. You know, sometimes I
eat at work, so my husband and my kids can eat or my husband will eat at
work. So, you know, me and the kids can eat. But, you know, we shouldn`t
have to do that. You know, married couples that work, have three children,
we live with my mom, we shouldn`t have to do that. We`re both employed.

HAYES: How do you respond to the argument that a firm like KFC will
make -- this is sure you can find someone like Shanita and put her on
television, but this is not representative of who makes minimum wage.

The minimum wage is teenagers in summer jobs and if you take away that
ladder then you got put all these people out of work. All these people who
are just about to enter the labor market, and that`s going to really be

DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: That is for the fact an evidence
comes in. Half of the minimum wage workers are over the age of 25.
Minimum wage workers today are more educated than ever.

In 1979, one out of five low wage workers had some college. Today
it`s one out of three. So, we have educated more people. That`s the
mantra, right? Just go get more education, and you will get a raise
magically somehow.

That is no longer true in this economy. The economy we`re in right
now, is fundamentally a low wage economy. There are millions of Shanita`s
around the country. And, we know how to raise wages and keep business
profitable at the same time. It`s not something that we haven`t figured
out. We have the tools to do this and the social science scholarship for
the last 20 years has shown that there are no negligible employment --

HAYES: Yes. This sort of amazing, right? There has been this
revolution that`s happened in economics, where the old model just said,
yes, you raise the minimum wage and you`re going to put people out of work.
That is just supply and demand. You try to put an artificial price on
something. You create shortages, in this case, a shortage of labor.

WARREN: That was the theory. It wasn`t empirically true, and we know
that now. So, we have you know dozens of studies that show when you raise
the minimum wage, it does not affect employment negatively. And, in fact
we have real world examples.

The city of San Francisco, the minimum wage in the city is $10.55.
The sky didn`t fall in San Francisco the last time I checked. And, in
fact, San Francisco had more job growth than the surrounding counties that
did not increase wages.

HAYES: OK. So, convince me, Lew. So, you`re saying, hey, look, I
don`t pay my workers minimum wage. I pay them above. So, convince me that
you are not making this argument, just to screw your competitors. Because
you`re looking across the street, best buy moved in, they`re paying minimum
wage. I want them to get them to pay more, because I am already paying
above minimum wage.

PRINCE: Actually, I`m in an industry where all of my competitors that
are not small independent record stores. There are very few who are
competing with Best Buy, with Wal-Mart, with people who are selling things
for way cheaper than I can, and paying way less.

What you get with an above minimum wage worker is a worker who`s
actually working for your business and for themselves. What Wal-Mart has
are interchangeable pieces that they can throw away. What bothers me more
about this, though, is people like us are supporting those.

You know, in Missouri, our local state Medicaid program laid out $4
million in the first quarter from Wal-Mart workers. And many, many
millions more for Target workers, for Tyson Chicken workers, for McDonald`s
workers. Small businesses are actually underwriting this ridiculously low

HAYES: Because of the tax implications. Shanita, do you feel like
there`s a path forward for you right now? Like, you are working very hard.
Your husband is working hard. Is there a ladder up that you see?

TOUSSAINT: There is a ladder up, due to the union we`re called fast
food forward. We are under New York community for change. If it wasn`t
for them, we wouldn`t have a voice.

You know, it makes a difference when someone is behind me backing me
and saying, "We`re here to support you. Speak up." You know, this is
wrong. This is illegal. Things like cutting your check. I work 65 hours
one week and I got paid $33 for one week and then they split the hours
various in four next weeks.

HAYES: They will reassign, so you wouldn`t get overtime.

TOUSSAINT: Exactly! So, I wouldn`t get the overtime rate. And, you
know, I used to have to choose between going to school and working. You
know, at the end of the day, it`s either I get my education or I feed my

You know, things like I have to decide to buy lunch or do I pay rent.
You know, we, as workers, we`re working hard we work. All we ask to do is
get paid. That`s it.

HAYES: Is it possible for someone like KFC, your employer, if you
could talk to them and talk to the people in Washington who are going to be
looking over this vote, what would you say to them.

TOUSSAINT: I would say to them, if you were in my position, what
would you do? Would you work for $8 an hour, doing all I do is scrub the
floors, make sure customers are happy. Making sure, you know - I work 10
hours a day, 5 hours a week. But, they`re still trying to figure out the
way to wiggle their way out of paying me $50 hours a week. You know, would
you do that?

HAYES: My sense is no one in congress ever hears that. Lew Prince,
co-owner of Vintage Vinyl. KFC employee, Shanita Simon Toussaint, and
Dorian Warren from Columbia University. Thank you all very much. We
really do appreciate it.

WARREN: Thank you.

HAYES: That is all in for this evening, "The Rachel Maddow Show"
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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