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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  April 16, 2012 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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>> , an hour as national taxpayer advocate talks about how their office helps taxpayers navigate their returns. timothy hamre.ssn "washington journal is next. good morning and welcome to washington journal. the senate will vote on the buffet world which will -- on the house, the -- the general
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services administration held. c-span 3 will broadcast the hearing live at 1:30 p.m. today. april 15 has come and gone, but taxes and not quite do yet. as americans evaluate their personal finances, we looked at have voters looked at their personal finances on how they will improve or decline in the coming year. you expect to make more money in 2012. here are the numbers to call. if you make tender $50,000, called 202-737-001. if you make over $100,000, called, 202-628-020 fax.
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or you can e-mail us at the pan.nal@cs
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>> host: you are calling in under the $50,000? >> caller: yeah, i've never made over $50,000 in my life. >> host: when you look at the economy, which one do you feel more optimistic about? >> caller: who's going to make the most money? >> host: do you think the country's economic situation
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will be better off than your personal economic situation? >> caller: no, not at all. >> host: let's go to nba. rob joins us. >> caller: i'm in an insulated area. the government is the big industry. the owners are people that pay the patriot from the taxpayers. i'm one of them. i'm certainly not hurting, my children have food on the table and cloths on their backs. but the bottom line in the country, i think everybody -- feels core because of the job security. they were told that the economy is under performing. the reality is, what is the industry in this country that creates the money that pays for all of the service jobs? it's just tough.
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this isn't the -- there isn't an output outside of the service economy which only is open to a small amount of people. it was very advanceed education to let somebody have a living wage outside of the performing services for people. it's a -- i understand why people feel poor and less optimistic about prospects for the future. >> host: edward, on the line for $50,000-$100,000. >> caller: $70,000. so is my neighbors. i went to buy a pint of ice cream for my wife, it was almost $5 for a pint. obama is not doing much for me. i'm never wanting to see him in office again. thank you. >> host: let's look at a couple of comments on facebook. i'm optimistic, that's not the
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problem. the federal reserve money itself is worthless. only a promise to pay money. anthony writing in and says not as long as the fed is running the show. we're looking at how optimistic or pessimistic americans feel and comparing that to how they feel about the overall economy. let's go to debra. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. you can't have a category for me. i'm on social security disability, ssi, i made $698 a month. that's it. i don't file income tax, i don't have any ability. i can't take advantage of any kind of tax laws, like when i bought a new refrigerator, i couldn't take the energy credit. i have a second mortgage on the house my mom left me, but i
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can't count any of the interest because i can't file income tax. i'm just barely making it. i get food stamps, i have two kids. by the end of the month, we're lucky if we have a piece of bread in the kitchen. i'm not going to blame obama. i was like this the last two years of bush. nothing changed, except i got a raise. actually, i guess, i'm doing better. thank you. >> host: bill weighs in on twitter and points out the gallop survey. 48% say the taxes are too high, 47% say they are about right. even split there. let's go to new york. frankie. >> caller: the whole system is not to fear. until the guys in wall street are being put in handcuffs, you know, we are just -- we don't have a chance.
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at least the change in the system. the ethics are horrible on every level. on wall street, politics, local level. we will have a chance. >> host: frankie, are you more hopeful or less hopeful? >> caller: no, not less. in the last ten years, i've lost all hope. nobody have been talking about the issues and the ethics of what's going on in the society, our culture. >> host: how do you think that translating into your paycheck? >> caller: nobody have any motivation to try. it's desperate out here. the cell phones and the big guys go around in limos. they don't sit here every day. >> host: let's hear from robert on staten island. >> caller: good morning. >> host: are you optimistic about your personal finances? >> caller: yes, i am actually. i've been cutting back, staying
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home, and investing in the stock market. >> host: is it paying off? >> caller: sometimes. sometimes up and sometimes down. you can't look at it day to day. >> host: sounds like you've been making personal sacrifices. you stay home. >> caller: yeah, i use groupon. you can have one person that makes $100,000 and spend $110,000, after ten years, they owe $100,000. another person gets $50,000 a year and spends $40,000, after ten years they are positive $100,000. plus whatever interest they manage. it's really about positive cash flow. i don't think the actual problem is the deficit, i believe it's
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balancing the budget. once we balance the budget, we will get out of the mess. >> host: sharon writes it's much more difficult for the young children. where is all of the trickle down jobs the wealthy are supposed to create? next up is dover, delaware, brandon making under $50,000. go ahead. >> caller: yes, how are you doing? first, i want to say good show. c-span takes my calls a lot. i want to say thank you for that. i called the other day, i was upset about something. you know, everything is good now. i'm under $50,000. i'm optimistic about my financials, my financial status in the years to come or much to come. personally, i think it's the people in congress. i don't necessarily oppose a tax increase for those making over $1 million, but i don't think it should be that much.
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i think the problem comes in with congress. i think a lot of money that goes through congress goes into the wrong hands and goes into the people's pockets. i think people in congress should take a pay cut to help the united states. i just think a lot more education should be given out to people on how to save money. and just unnecessarily things and -- i understand we're in the free market. a lot of things that the companies sales ain't no good. we don't need it. i know we can't control things like that. just more education for people on what to buy and what to spend on. the jobs out here, they are not paying enough to live. you know, you could have two or three people on a job that have to share a house, share an apartment. it shouldn't be like that. a person has kids and a house, they should have a job that's able to take care of that. they shouldn't have to have three and four roommates to be able to pay the rent.
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>> host: okay. david in columbus, ohio, making other $100,000. >> caller: i am optimistic about my financial future. i would have to agree with the last caller. i have children that will be entering the job market soon. i'm very -- i'm just optimistic about opportunities that they have. i look at depressed wages, and there are many folks across this country who are being asked to do more for less. there's tremendous stress being placed on the average employee. so i do agree with the last caller. and my particular situation, i am very optimistic. my wife just started a business. she should do well. i do realize that other fellow americans may not be in my situation. >> host: do you think your
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family will spend more if you feel more optimistic about the money you'll be earning? >> caller: i think we will spend more. we have been good stewards have the money that we have. i believe we will spend more this year. yes. >> host: okay. let's look at this hill survey that we're looking at. a poll of likely voters, it was conducted april 12th by a poll opinion research. they asked whether your personal financial situation in the next year will improve or decrease. and here's how it turned out. likely voters said they believe their personal financial situation in the next year will improve a lot. 15%. 37% believe it will improve a the, 27% thinks it will get worse, 17% says a lot worse, 4% says stay the same. it also break it is down by gender and age. among the gender categories they are fairly equally, women are more likely to think it will improve a lot, men improve a little. as we look at the different age
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brackets though, 18-year-old to 39-year-olds, 22% believe their income will improve a lot. among the 40-year-olds to 64-year-olds 11%. a different there. let's hear from randy in illinois, making over $100,000. >> caller: hi. yeah, i'm not very optimistic about the future. i mean me and my wife combined made $103,000 last year. and now, of course, you know, i pay my share of the taxes every week out of my check. then now i owe the irs $2500. and also i haven't worked in five months. you know, we're both in the construction industry. and normally during an election year, no matter how slow construction is during an election year politicians make sure we're all working. but this year nobody is working. >> the opinion in the hill --
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the opinion survey in the hill looked at this as well. have your taxes increased or decreased compared to last year? our last caller randy mentioned his taxes that he's paying right now. of likely voters 45% say the taxes have increased in the past year. 12% said they decreased, 35% said they stayed about the same. louisiana, joe in the $100 $100-150,000 range. >> caller: yes. by income is between $00,000, the medical expenses is real in this country. my premium is over $1900 a month for family plan. i pay on my personal debt. and i really don't see any
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future in this country. they are going to make it worse and worse and worse. >> host: doug writes on twitter and agrees things are not getting better. he says not at all. he's not at all optimistic his personal finances will improve. taxes are rising, fuel prices are out of control, food prices are already higher, the government is out of control. the hill story say this is, the poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted by poll opinion research with a three point error margin, republicans and conservatives were much more likely to feel more pessimistic about the state of the economy and their own checkbook. river side, california, frank joins us. good morning. >> caller: hi. >> host: you are in the under $50,000 category; correct? >> caller: this year, yes.
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>> host: do you feel more optimistic or less hopeful when you think about your finances? >> caller: way less optimistic. >> host: how come? >> caller: right now i'm disabled. i'm still employed by the state of california, but i can't put into a pocket where i do not receive any benefits, i do not receive any income, i am completely cut off. but i cannot receive any other benefits because of that. and i just have been basically given a death sentence. >> host: why do you say that? >> caller: how am i supposed to live? i cannot work. i am too sick to be work. i cannot be released back to work, but i am not allowed to collect. i even have 80 plus hours still on the books giving me vacation and sick pay, but they will not
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release it to me because of the so-called thing they put me into. >> host: frank, what are you going to do? >> caller: i have no idea. i'm still waiting it out. i've gone through bankruptcy court -- excuse me, bankruptcy court and i'm basically pulling my hair out right now. i do not know what i'm going to do. and even if i was able to go back to work, the way things are going it would take me forever to get caught back up. >> host: let's hear from maria in michigan. go ahead, maria. >> caller: hi. thank you for your time. i'd like to say that the vote on the mr. mcgoo rule, i mean the buffet rule is ridiculous. there are 20 million small businesses in the united states,
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300,000 are small restaurants. they are owned by a single person. now how is it fair that a person who's business must make a million dollars, but only she and her husband make $100,000 that they pay 42% in taxes? so out of $100,000, we pay $36,000 this year. and mr. mcgoo pays 15%. the buffet rule is bull crap. the small businesses around here should not pay taxes next year if mr. obama gets re-elected. >> host: the secret service is going to get a closer look. lawmakers expect a probe after an alleged prostitution scandal involving agents in columbus. it sparked what could be a
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wide-ranging series of probes with republican house lawmakers and the agency itself promising investigations. stories in the news says the scandal has over shadowed president obama's trip down to latin america. let's hear his response. >> if it turns out some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then, of course, i'll be angry. because my attitude with respect to the secret service personnel is no different than what i expect out of my delegation that's sitting here. we're representing the people of the united states. >> host: that was president obama speaking about his trip to columbia, talking to latin america countries over disagreements over things such as cuba, but also the secret service scandal. a meeting without a final
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statement of consensus on sunday, after the u.s. and some latin america nations remain divided over whether to continue to exclude cuba from such gathers. president obama and juan manuel of columbia each claim the summit a success. though the gathering yield the no major achievements. >> while daryl issa talked about the allegations of the secret service agents. let's listen to that. >> this kind of a breech is a breech in the federal work forces most elite protective unit. they don't just protect the president. of course, they protect the cabinet members, vice president, first families, candidate. when you look at this, you realize if you can have this kind of break down, one that
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could lead to blackmail, we have to ask where are the systems in place to prevent this in the future. the reason the investigation will not be about the 11-20 or more involved. it'll be about how did this happen and how often has it happened before? things don't happen once if they didn't happen before. >> host: that's chairman issa on "face the nation" yesterday. let's look at a couple other stories. gop and lawmakers facing financial times. >>
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>> host: looking at some other political stories in the caucus section of the "new york times." gingrich and paul are defying calls to rally around mitt romney. with rick santorum out of the field, clearing a path for romney, the fight to become the standard bear is over. >> "the times" talks about the obama camp, sensing a shift in arizona. they are trying to turn arizona blue. working hard to register younger
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and hispanic voters in an effort to win. a state that traditionally voted republican. in 2008, president obama lost by nine points. "washington post" tallies numbers and plays the numbers game when looking a at the contest. in monday, he looks at the states that president obama performed the best. he got the narrowest wins in 2008, four years ago the senator obama swept an eye popping 365 vote victory and 10 million popular vote edge. and in one of the places democrats hadn't won in decades like north carolina and virgini-
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>> host: timothy geithner fires a shot. he calls the job losses ridiculous. he was on the sunday talk yesterday pushing back the argument made by the presidential candidate, mitt romney, that women were the biggest losers of jobs during the obama administration. we're asking you this morning what you think about your personal finances. are you optimistic that they will improve this year? as you either sit down to work on your taxes which are due tomorrow night at midnight, or think about the return that you'll be getting or the money you'll be paying this year. what do you think about the year to come? the hill conducted a poll asking the voters what they think. it does turn out that voters expected their personal finances to improve this year. but a lot of them did not think the economy is also showing the
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same signs of rallying. let's go to michigan and hear from jesse that makes under $150,000. >> caller: thanks c-span. they provide a real good service for the people. the problem with the system is back with -- you know, i worked for 40 years. i worked 32 years full time. i worked eight years for part time. and watched my wife work 25 years. i've seen people that have never worked in their life, and they get more money than my wife gets, and me too. which is bizarre. you know, when you work all of those years, you would think you would be some help for you.
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though i'm not doing too bad. you got to pay problem taxes through the roof. right here in the houses being boarded up and people are moving out because they can't pay taxes. the politicians don't look into that. i just think that politicians are out of touch. they got the thing where you get too much money. a couple of $2400 a month. that's what you are getting too much money they say. you know, the pharmacy where the drugs you have to buy are so expensive. we started taking one pill a day when we usually take two. >> host: jesse from michigan.
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let's go now to georgia and hear from james making unless under $50,000. what's your opinion, james? >> caller: yes, my opinion is that the economy is doing better. i make -- my and my wife, the distinction that i would like to make is according to the comment made by hillary rose which has nothing to do about president obama. also the secret service has nothing to do with president obama. he should have cleaned house with all of the workers. things would work out better. what i want to say about this, about the taxes. the taxes should be raised on the rich people, the buffet rule should be raised, because my kids and grand kids did not get the bill for the war with george. we've got the bill, we need to raise taxes to pay it. also what i would like to say is that ms. romney, she does not know how it is. like my wife. my wife works and also takes
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care of kids. we don't have money, she has to get out in the restaurant and work, we have to pay for child care and stuff like this. it takes directly out of our money. president obama is trying to turn the economy around from in the ditch. it was out a cliff. we were losing 9% gdp and romney, all he can do is talk about cutting taxes again. we need to raise those taxes and we need to pay for these bills we've got. all of the millionaires and billionaires with the labor, they need to give. you need blood and treasure. we have gave blood. my kids and things. now we need to tread on the rich folks. >> host: let's listen to what secretary geithner said on "meet the press" yesterday about the buffet rule. >> this is part of a incredible detailed, comprehensive set of spending savings and tax reforms.
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it's only in that context we laid this out for the country. now just because republicans have opposed this does not mean it's not the right thing to do and push for. look at what they opposed. they fought everything from the crisis, they fought giving millions of americans access to health care, they fought all of the things we did for the teachers, the payroll tax extension, just because they are against it doesn't mean it's not the right thing. we're going to keep pushing for the things that are important for the country. this is one of them. >> host: the treasury secretary, timothy geithner. he tooked about a range of issues, including the buffet rule. they will vote on that today, senate floor will be broadcasted on c-span2. over on the house side, congress is looking at legislation that will give businesses a 20% tax break. also today there's a hearing on the gsa, looking at
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accountability, what happened with the government or rather the general services administration sending scandal at 1:30 today on c-span3 compared by congressman issa. here's a story about that, competitive building the senior government at the center of the gsa spending scandal told investigators he believed it was all right not to get bids because they were preparing for quality. and then senators are also concerned with a quote from claire mccaskill. she's asking questions about spending and is also pursuing actions on the senate side. here's one more piece of house news from the hill. mr. town will not run for
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re-election. he told people and close friends he will not seek a 16th term. we'll be talking about congress coming up in 15 minutes from journalist from the "roll call" and "the hill." for now we're of asking you about your personal income. how optimistic are you? let's hear from susan who makes under $50,000. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. let's get to the opposite end, i make less than $14,000. i'm on social security, i'm 66, nobody will hire me. i have two degrees. you know, i've about given up hope. alone, a widow, last two husbands. and i just can't survive. i don't know -- my taxes are so bad here, my property taxes that i'm going to lose the house that i own because i couldn't pay
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last year. it's pretty hopeless. >> host: what do you think about the overall american economy? do you think that'll get better or worse? >> caller: no, worse. i think obama has wasted a lot of money with picking and choosing successes and failures. he wasted money on the stimulus. i don't think the stimulus did anything. there's just no jobs around where i live. i work around the house, i keep c-span on a lot. i watch a lot of the hearings, and i watch a lot that's going on. and, you know, they've wasted so much. and people seem to be brainwashed. they think -- i just am to the point where i do not like the president. i don't like him. i mean he's gotten -- he's not doing anything. >> host: the perspective on twitter says 1941, things are looking up for us. my son found a job after being out of work for over a year. it's a good job too. if obama wins, it will improve.
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it's a different perspective on the personal finances, how the economy, and what it means for the election in the fall. maryland, in the over $100,000 category. good morning. >> caller: good morning. how are you? it's jenice. i just wanted to comment. i wanted to take back what the lady was just saying. and blaming obama for the mess that we've been in is kind of funny to me. because this has actually been going on for 30 plus years. we didn't just get that way. if you don't have a job, it's because the multinational corporations, many of the jobs have been shipped overseas. but back to your question there, how do you feel about the personal finances? i make a little bit over $100,000, and i'm just trying to save as much money as possible. but i just looked at my
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retirement account actually a couple of days ago. it's kind of depressing. because i actually haven't made any money in six years. i mean it's just stagnant. it's not moving or anything. and i'm contributing, but i'm not getting anything. i'm losing money. so that's my goal is just to save as much money as possible. to make up, i guess, the stagger. as far as taxes are concerned, i pay 45% in taxes. federal, state, social security, medicare, this is not including sales tax and all of the other taxes. so i pay a lot in taxes. i definitely know that i paid more in taxes than any millionaire or billionaire. so i do believe that millionaire and billionaires should pay more in taxes. they should. because they make more. and we need to get rid of all of the loopholes. thank you very much. >> host: let's hear from gary who also makes over $100,000. he's calling from tennessee.
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the last caller said the wealthiest americans should be taxed more, what do you think? >> caller: i don't think they should be taxed more, i think everybody should pay the same amount. it is a percent. if you are making $10,000, 1% of $10,000, you'd make the same sacrifice as somebody that's making $1 million and paying their 1%. but the issues here, one of your issues of your callers this morning is inflation. of course, inflation needs to be addressed by what is actually happening. a lot of people call in, you know, for and against obama and all of that kind of stuff. but the big inflation, they are going to get a price increase and all of that that are coming from the bailout thing on the t.a.r.p. side, now on the automotive side. the t.a.r.p. was supposed to be have been and approved through congress for $865 billion.
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as it turns out, the federal reserve has printed $16 trillion in money on the t.a.r.p. side and distributed a whole lot to the people overseas. that's, you know, that's coming back into this country. that flood of money. that's what is causing a big part of inflation. but myself, i'm retired. you know, i've got a considerable income from investments. right now as long as the federal reserve is -- not fallacy, but as long as they are artificially holding the interest rate down people like myself, you know, people got less savings than i do trying to keep it in the banks. you can't live on 1% interest. in closing, i would like to say i hope you folks know what a good service that you all provide to the sanity of the political debate in this country. thank you very much. >> host: thank you. are you still with us though?
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>> caller: yeah. >> host: you talked about your investments. as you look at your portfolio, are you optimistic or pessimistic for 2012? >> caller: i'm very pessimistic. the stock market is seesawing. that's where my investments are. i've got considerable cash for some student reason, mostly -- in the banks. like i said, you know, earning 1.5 to 2.5% interest on that money, i'm not staying up with the inflation. >> host: okay. let's look at a comment on facebook. you can join the conversation on facebook. i make less than $50,000. i'm not optimistic at all. my husband's job is always in peril. we are holding on our own. we started farming to provide some food security.
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robert says i'm optimistic because of one keyword and that word is personal. link that term with accountability and responsibility and a light gets bright. maryland, john, making between $50-100,000. >> caller: good morning. first time caller. thank you for taking my call. i have a lot of strong feelings about, you know, the normal topic that we talk about. i think i just, you know, just recently started making more than $50,000 just as in the past year. the job before that really wasn't happy with. i think everybody and a lot of people might be in that situation right now. i would just say, you know, i found a way to do the job in some aspect the way i wanted to do it in the job that i already have. the job i'm doing now, you know, which is in reporting and stuff like that, i didn't really have
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the skill set and the background and the training. i just found other ways to, you know, to do the job now. because, you know, a lot of people who are hiring are looking for people -- they are looking for a sure thing or as close to a sure thing as they can get. if you can say you are already doing the job, it makes you that much more likely to get it. i was not optimistic until things finally came out. i was just say for all of the people on there trying to figure out how they can get into the new skill set, be persistent. don't let go. as far as taxes, i'm paying more in taxes. i feel like everybody feels they already pay more than their fair share. if it meant it'll get us out of the hole we're in, i'll pay more. thanks for taking my call. >> host: let's hear from fred, in the same category as the last
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caller. hi, fred. >> caller: hello. >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: yes, i'd like to point out exactly what mr. obama is saying in his speeches. i watched him at florida atlantic last week and gave a speech to the college students. and the first few minutes he said that the most important thing in his life that they have done so far is got an education to invest in their future. and in the next paragraph he said it was up to them as successful people to take care of those who are not successful or who are downtrodden or not achieving. so i would like to know how many of those high school students that didn't come to college, those college students at florida atlantic would like to take care of? >> host: what does that --
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>> caller: the president is saying let the successful, those that go to college and succeed take care of those drug heads and people that don't succeed. it's simple. >> host: all right. sarasota, florida. are you with us? looks like we lost her. a final couple of stories. afghan insurgents attack four cities, military bases hit in kabul.
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>> host: "washington post" looks at the number of afghanistan war deaths since 2001. 1,925. this is an update in today's paper. over 1500 of them were killed in hostile actions, over 400 in non-hostile actions. let's get one last call in talking about the question and whether or not you are optimistic about your personal finances. james in michigan, making under $50,000. hi james. >> caller: good morning. thank you for ache -- for taking my call. i'm pessimistic about the immediate future. i'm retired and disabled. but my -- what i see with my children is the inability of them to thrive.
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and more people around us the inability of americans to strive. and i find it odd that we sit and talk about energy and we talk about what we can do and we have all of these natural resources. when people are starving and the poverty rate is increasing, this isn't the time to talk about grain and everything. it's time for us to dig, dig it out, tax our resources until we can flip the switch to the new technology that's not there. we need to do what we need to do, tax our silver, oil, coal, and we need to get the economy and our people striving again. >> host: comments on facebook, i make enough money not to qualify for health care, or afford for my three girls and wife.
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we'd be better off if i quit my job. tracy saying i don't know if my finances will get better, but i plan to live within what i have. coming up next, we'll look at congress' return to washington and hear what's on their agenda. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ >> it's been nearly ten years since the release of the third
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volume of the years of lyndon johnson. in just a few weeks, the third volume will be published. here he is on q and a in 2008 with an update on how volume four was taking shape. >> this is really a book not just about lyndon johnson but about robert kennedy and jack kennedy, and the interplay of their personalities. particularly robert, it's a very complicated story. i don't think two people know are complicated people, robert kennedy and lyndon johnson. i had to really go into that and try to explain it. it's part of the story all the way through the end of johnson's presidency. that's done. i suppose chronologically at moment, johnson is passing the 1965 voting rights act. that's sort of in one way we are
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opportune now. >> watch of the rest of the interview online at the c-span video library and watch for the updating q and a interview with robert caro on sunday may 6th. >> frankly, we owe it to our first responders to give them a modern communications network. that's exactly what this legislation does. congress created first net, put it under ntia, and then indicated that $7 billion from auction revenues would be made available to first net to go ahead and design and construct this network. >> tonight national telecommunications and information administration head, lawrence, on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. >> host: bob cusack is
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managing editor for "the hill" and mrs. shiner. biggest thing on the agenda? >> i think what you are going to see dominate are the two dueling tax plans, one from the senate, one from the house. we are going to start in the senate voting on the buffet rule which is the 30% tax on americans making more than $1 million. it fits into the democratic narrative of tax reform. you saw the democrats pushing it with recess with the variety of press call. they are focused on the message close to tax day. and later this week you'll be seeing the house republicans bring the small business tax bill to the floor. the effort is championed by eric cantor, both parties will use it to stake out their place. particularly in an election year and when the parties are trying
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to coordinate with the presidential candidates. this is going to be an interesting week in terms of how congress is able to use that message and translate the message in an election year. everything congress does from here on out is really with an eye to the election and not policymaking. >> i agree, taxes will be the big issue the next 200 days before the election. a couple of other issues that could move or at least a lot of messaging on is the depending highway bill, the cybersecurity billing depending in congress. taxes is going to be both the main talking point now and in november. >> host: if you'd like to hear or talk about what's on congress' agenda, here are the numbers to call. bob cusack, have you entered the people that is about the runup
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of the november elections? we mark times and times by recesses when members come back to town and look at what's on their plate. are we in the zone that not a lot of stuff gets down? >> i don't think a ton of stuff gets done. earlier we had the stock act, we had a jobs measure, we had a couple rare signing ceremonies at the white house where both republicans and democrats where there. eric cantor, the majority leader of the house, showed up. he's had a strained leadership with president obama that has thawed more recently. there was then, this was now, i think from this tax period, tax day onward it's all about positioning methods to battle for the house, senate, and white house. >> host: let's look at the buffet rule and details. 30% tax rate for households earning $2 million, lower rate for incomes between $1-2 million.
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we are looking at a vote today. it would create an estimated $47 billion in tax revenues over a decade, and future votes would use revenue to offset job creation, student loan relief, or tax breaks for hiring. meredith shiner, you mention this in the senate and for president obama as well. are we looking an agenda from congress based on being able to go out on the campaign trail and say we put this forward. it didn't get anywhere. we tried. >> this is something that isn't new. making sure that it's labeled the buffet rule is something that's new. but the senates on the senate side have tried using the surtax for the millionaires throughout the fall and winter. this is something that they really believe is a winning issue opinion -- the interesting thing is chuck schumer made the distinction between the $1 million and above that and below
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that. the president had been focusing on the $750-800,000. putting the word millionaire, it resonates with people better. i think it's something that they are going to look to do. we've been using it for quite sometime. >> host: meredith shiner today. the democrat from wisconsin doesn't like to stray off of the message, she's found one in the buffett rule. while it remains to be scene how well the message plays in wisconsin, it demonstrates her savvy about washington politics. >> usually you see leaders assigning bills and legislation to people who are in cycle. they think it could be an issue that could work for them on the campaign trial. the interesting thing about tammy baldwin i asked leaders in the house and senate whether or not it was something that they asked her to do or she came up
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with it. they said she approached us about it. she worked with senator sheldon whitehouse. it demonstrates a savvy. this is something they are using in the senate and administration level for weekses now. whether it was a press call with senator schumer, who's number two, or dick durbin, she's putting her name out. it's national attention for the party. at a minimum, it could be good for her fundraising. >> host: let's hear from a caller. >> caller: good morning. how are you? >> host: good morning. go ahead. >> caller: yes, i have a question on the sex issue in congress. i've heard debates about once they want to tax to us, i want
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to impose higher taxes on the list. the question is how can you impose more taxes on the list if they are losing money in the stock market? >> host: bob cusack, he's bringing up the issue of taxes the rich. how we are looking at taxation moving forward. there's a lot of talk about taxes because it's almost time to turn in the personal income taxes. can you reflect on ralph's question and the balance of taxes the wealthy and making sure they need to perform well to have that kind of income? >> certainly, i think democrats are going to talk lot about this. they passed the wall street bill that some of them want to repeal. it's a matter of fairness. that's the word you hear from the white house repeatedly, republicans are going to counter on the buffett rule that only raises about $5 billion a year. it was noted it was just a drop
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in the bucket. the president has acknowledged it doesn't raise a lot of money, but it's a start. playing a small ball. republicans have not been able to crack the republican front on the grover-norquist rule of not raising taxes. if you have going to eliminate a tax, it has to be used in another area. democrats think and the polls show that a majority of the republicans do agree on taxes millionaires. >> host: let's go to quinton in alabama. >> caller: good morning. i'd like to just add a couple of things. first thing, the budget -- democrats haven't made a budget over 300 days. and budgets is what they could do is constrain spending. they both don't like a constrain on spending. they'd like to spend more. economics, for the economy to
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grow, price need to come down. and nothing have been able to say this, i need to correct the misinformation. the president and his administration want us to use less oil. by the way, exxon makes about 6% profit. they want us to use less oil to make a conversion to green energy while making the price high. when you make the price high, the economy slows down. when the economy slows down, people can't acin -- afford green vehicles. >> host: we'll talk about the taxation in a moment. let's go to meredith shiner on the first one, they haven't brought up a budget in a long time. >> this is something the republicans are going to struggle with. they are honed in and really used it against them. paul ryan, the house budget committee has put forth a plan
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which the democrats don't like. the republicans throw up their arms we passed a budget. where's your? the budget resolution isn't really a binding document. the budget control action is one of the most firm things we've done because it sets levels and makes huge cuts in spending, and so they don't really see a need to do a budget. they want to do their own budget. that's against the will. we are now saying we are cool with it. before they didn't want to have to deal with it. what happens is you have a lot of really politically challenged democrats right now who are struggling and in cycle and in really tough races. you are going to make them vulnerable. what happens with the budget
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resolution. it requires a fewer number of votes. and with 51, you could open the debate and have the number of amendments, which democrats are squared about. >> host: bob cusack, what kind of position does it put harry reid in? >> this has been set between the house and senate, who has the leverage? the democrat-led senate, or republican-led house? republicans have had trouble with the highway bill. it goes to the senate democrats. on the budget, house republicans passing the budget was not easy. they had ten defections. all democrats voted no. they were able to pass it. that's why the republicans are going to repeat it. we passed a budget. senate democrats haven't passed a budget in over a thousand days. >> host: our last caller brought up the issue of oil and gas. are we going to see that played out? >> sure.
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rising prices will be a huge issue. especially if it creeps up. some speculate it could hit $5 a gallon. especially if last a strike on israel and iran. democrats are going to go after big oil, oil speculators, and republicans are going to be talking about drilling, drilling, and more drilling. >> host: john, democrat. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. great show. i'm a lifelong democrat. i was one of the people working with obamacare in 2008, making calls, knocking on doors. i went to a speech in an office that opened in my neighborhood. i'm getting to my question. we have left all of the progressive planks in the policy. if you are classic liberty or processive and we're still in the war in afghanistan and still, you know, haven't repealed the bush tax cuts. there's about half of the campaign promises that were just hot air. you hear a lot of class division
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out of the party leaders. you just are not happy with either party. i'm telling you, i'm looking at gary johnson, i'm probably going to go vote for gary johnson, i'm going to go talk to him today and find out if i can support his campaign and maybe make calls for him. i'm seeing less and less difference between the two parties and more and more rhetoric that's hot air.
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the politician that mitt romney has a record of being is very moderate. it is an interesting question, particularly if the transition to the general, what are the difference is going to be between romney? and romney how will they differentiate themselves? we saw earlier this year in congress at there were trying to deal with social issues. use of the initiative on contraception and an argument that had to do with religious rights or women's rights. it has backfired a little. democrats were able to take advantage of it. we are talking about gas prices, as is something that always pops up into the mainstream consciousness as an election gets near. i think you will see a lot of
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diligent work from the president to try to win back the people he had in 2008 who were totally energized that saw him as a hope and maks change president. is message is i have been more pragmatic and i had to make certain hard choices, but it is better than the alternative. mitt romney will say that the alternative is better. host: does a story about gop lawmakers and romney facing a delicate tango. members of congress and the conservatives -- guest: this will be something interesting to watch. senator johnson was tasked to come up with a unified message and policy document from mitt romney and republicans in congress. certainly mitt romney won the endorsement battle among republicans on capitol hill.
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now he has more than 100. but there have been a fair amount of republicans who opted not to endorse romney. some of them are from very conservative states. this will be a tough time for mitt romney. he has to unify the party. at the same time he should not appear to extremeo. you'll hear from senator chuck schumer in regard to that, portraying republicans as extreme. a very difficult thing for romney to do and one that could decide the election. >> there was this article that you filed recently that senator johnson is looking to purge his staff. guest: yes, they were quite pleased with that story. this is a bit unusual. always see turnover in congressional offices, but something interesting about this is that if you look at his disclosures and at his public
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record of congressional staffers, the only retain five staffers from his campaign of 43. all those people are based in wisconsin. this is something that talks about a larger issue about tea party republicans in the house w and in the san atho came to washington with a lot -- without a lot of political experience and thinking they could totally change the system and it's very frustrating. there are leaders who have been here for ever. it is a struggle and there's frustration that they really not been able to do exactly what they wanted to do, because you have a divided government. so, you have a group of people who came to washington not wanting to be part of washington but then quickly realizing it's better to be effective you have to be. so is this weird crisis for these people. once you get to washington, you are a part of washington. so how you deal with that? i really think that the undercurrent of what that story was trying to say, which is it is a struggle for people to
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adjust no matter what party you are in and no matter what you come to washington to do. the veterans have been there 30 years and they know how to work the system to their advantage or surround themselves with people who do. guest: ron johnson has ambition and ran for leadership spot. blunt won. blunt knows how to get the votes. he was the whip in the house. it is tough. one of the things to watch over the next couple months is some of the primaries. not a lot of freshmen in the house are facing primaries, but a few of them are. once you are in washington, you are a washington person,. on the presidential level, president obama is attempting to run on an anti-washington plant and is blaming congress for and blaming the supreme court, especially if it overturns is health care law. that will be difficult to do,
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but they decided that will be their strategy. guest: we looked at this last week about presidential surrogates, the people who will be speaking for barack obama on television in the campaign. people who did that last cycle or senators elected in 2006 for. there were still new and were not totally of washington. claire mccaskill was his national co-chair nationally and she had more tv appearances than anyone except john mccain. the reality is the auto correct that's happening now and it's fascinating. host: a story in the washington post about the departing support -- about tea party support -- steve is in independent caller in arizona. good morning. caller: good morning if.
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the lady was talking about the tea we are going to bring more tea party people into the senate, i hope, in 2012. that is what we are therefore. we are going to change this, get rid of all the old-style politics is what we need. mr. cusack was talking about the republicans don't want to go on the transportation bill. we get that bullet train, which is a train to nowhere, we get rid of that, that might change. the main thing i am calling on is the buffett rule. i believe it was stored barney was saying on fox business news, if we do that with the buffett rule, it is going to fund the government for exactly 11 hours. that is not even a half a day.
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it is just a big joke, just like obama. guest: it is going to be interesting to see as far as the tea party republicans running for the senate in virginia. jeff flake running as well. tea party hit its peak in 2010, republicans had a big year. the tea party has taken a bit of a hit according to polls. but politics is about peaking and who will peak in november is the question. host: this is a washington post- abc news poll -- let's hear from eileen, a republican in michigan. good morning.
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caller: good morning. i have a couple comments. first, about the buffett rule. i think that it's pretty interesting that warren buffett is worried about everybody's taxes, but he, instead of claiming as his taxes the income from his company, he takes it in capital gains. so he says that he has income of $100,000 a year, which puts him in a lower tax brackets. most of its income comes from capital gains. i think that if he is a word about his secretary, he ought to pay her in stock instead of an income. i also think that it's interesting that the president, we just saw his tax return. he paid 20%. he took every legal deduction that he was allowed to take, which is perfectly fine, but he did not get his income and then
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decided was only fair that he should pay 35% of whatever he thinks is the thing to do. guest: i think this is part of the point the democrats are trying to make, particularly by making warren buffett the namesake of this particular effort is that one of it came out and says i'm not paying this in taxes but i am ok with that. i would like the government to come in and tax me more. the thing that has been interested in defining the struggle and david axelrod was asked about this, they're talking about the idea that people making more want to be taxed more, so it opens them up to if you want to pay the government, why don't you just pay money straight to the treasury? but the point is they really want to reform the system. the point we have not touched on is there's the buffett rule the bay it and the rest of the beginning of a larger debate you
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will have to say. the bush-era tax cuts were extended by the democrats and the current president right after his last election peridots are set to expire. if you are talking about numbers -- numbers that will cut the deficit, that's the big debate we will have. the buffett rule brings back a little more if you change the baseline, assuming the bush-era tax cuts would expire. if they don't, it brings a little more money. larger debate you will have, depending on how well mitt romney is doing in the polls this summer, i think you will see the democrats tried to consider when they should bring the debate to the floor particularly in the senate. host: meredith synar covers the senate and the legislation and everything in between for "roll call." bob cusack is managing editor
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for "the hill." he was the chief editor of "inside washington publishers." let's turn to thwhat is facing the house, gop tax cuts. guest: this is something that majority leader eric cantor has been championing. it would cut taxes for small businesses 20%. the debate will start on wednesday on that in the house with a final vote on thursday expected to pass, but probably does not have the votes in the senate. one of the things to watch on the buffett rule is where the moderates in the senate to go. scott brown is up for reelection. will be some interesting votes. it's not going to get 50 today, but there could be interesting roll-call votes today. host: let's go to south carolina, don on the democrats' line. caller: i want to ask your guests, i believe that the
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supreme court has been unduly influenced by money and politics at this time. and with the media, also, been corrupted by citizens united decision and many other decisions recently that the courts have made, i am looking for a procedural change in advise and consent in the senate. what i would suggest to get better judges is to go to a lifetime appointment system. once the senate starts the procedure, they should not do anything else until they complete that decision and also it should be done ina secret ballot -- in a secret ballot to read a don't even tell each other who they're going to vote for when they finally do make the vote. i'm sure there would be a lot of procedures and different rules they can have, but they're
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suppose to be a deliberate body. i don't think you can take money and politics out of the decision without having a secret ballot. that way the senators can vote their heart and not be concerned with the constituency or the money or anything else. it is the only way we can start to turn this someone chrysostom around. i was wondering how your guests felt about the chance of something like a procedural change by the senate could actually happen. host: let's find out. guest: i have not heard anything like that of changing the proxy system. the supreme court is on everybody's mind right now with the health care court case still pending. that is expected to come in june right in the middle of the election-year. i just think it's going to be fascinating to see if any of the conservative justices or liberal justices break or if we will see
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a decision like we saw in bush versus gore where it was 5-4. should obama, there will be a lot of second-guessing that the the administration should of hit the brakes on this case the way until after the election. we heard from a lot about democratic senators saying that we need certainty. but this is going to be a massive effect on the election. it is debatable which way it goes. it could fire up the left if the law is struck down and it could go the other way. it will have to be a wait-and- see kind of situation. host: let's go to virginia beach,, independent caller, good morning. caller: good morning. just an observation. and then the comments the observation on what's happening today and this week in washington kind of defines the two parties. you have one of them holding hearings today on the gsa and how they're wasting taxpayer dollars. you have another one later this week on how we are going to cut taxes.
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then you have the democratic- controlled senate saying how can we get more money into the coffers to spend on waste fraud and abuse? that is my observation. my comment is whether we talk about fair share or shared sacrifice or collective responsibility, the buffett rule, go back to one of the founders wh of the founderso said it much more succinctly that all of this stuff about fair share "from each according to a disability, to each according to his need, and the government will determine your ability and the government will determine your need." then we can look back in history and see how successful all those societies, countries, governments fare under that ideology and we can look forward to the same success. that's my comment. host: he mentioned the hearing today addressing the general services administration. the spending scandal recently. chairman isaac tackles that
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today at 1:30 and c-span will be broadcasting that on c-span 3. meredith, there's more to come. this is not the only gsa hearing. this hearing guest: the thing that will be interesting is to see who actually speaks at these hearings. we had news this weekend that jack neely, a person basically in charge of this las vegas convention that is no dispute, the gsa is basically a federal agency that is in charge of securing rooms and spaces for other government organizations, and so they had a big convention in las vegas and they spent a lot of money. and so, you see people on both sides of the aisle trying to jumped in and point this out as this is where our government is really failing command we really need to hold people accountable. so you are seeing that starting today with darrell issa. but the person -- main person is supposed to be after his army said he will plead the fifth
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because there are potential pending criminal charges, i believe, so he cannot actually speak to congress. so you might have all these hearings but what you might see as a bunch of lawmakers basically expressing their indignation without actually getting more informations about what happened and how to change it. host: martha johnson, a former gsa administrator has also been invited to testify. >> guest: yes, and this is going into a romney's narrative. you have the secret service campbell and gs-8 and solyndra. you have the obama administration playing defense on a lot of these issues and it's attracting headlines, which it will for the next several weeks. it plays into romney's narrative that the government is not the answer if and it has obama on the defensive and certainly these hearings, and sold them in the house and senate, is an interesting thing jurisdictional. chairman michael of the
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transportation committee and darrell issa, they both owned in on this. they are both trying to find out little bits of information and grabs the headlines. host: here's a headline from , bob --ulatipublication we will see that tomorrow morning. on the tails of the oversight committee pose a hearing today. what about democrats, how are they handling this issue? some democrats in the senate are raising the alarm. can they change the messaging by jumping on and saying they are also upset by this? guest: yes, and they have. dick durbin has said this is outrageous and so has the white house. but this is'on a the white s watch and it is very administration. it's a tough spot for congressional democrats, but they have to express outrage if and be willing to look into this. if they tried to stonewall anything at least for now it is
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going to look bad. if this drags on and on, democrats could say we have looked into it and have come up with a report and etc. guest: senator durban, the chairman of the appropriations committee that oversees agencies like the gsa, that will be interesting. they have their annual fiscal year review of of what kind of funds that agency should get. that might be the most difficult hearing of all. the people who have the power to authorize what they can spend are going to be asking tough questions about what happened last year. host: let's go to indiana, amy is on the republican line. caller: good morning. i have two questions. one is -- and i listen to white house press briefings with jay carney and i listened to a lot of news and i read a lot of news. i've never heard anybody explain truly what the buffett rule is.
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i am against it. i don't believe in taxing anybody anymore. tax enough already -- tea. i have never really heard, is it a 30% minimum on capital gains taxes? which would be double what it is now. that would hit a lot of retirees when they are living on investment income. host: we have an image on our screen by now, amy, of what the buffett rule is. caller: i have one other question. why don't any reporters, when barack obama is feigning discussed at not paying enough reportery doesn't any -- asked him shewhy
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do you claim ever deduction possible? they are optional. why don't the reporters ever ask him or jay carney that question? host: let's go to bob cusack first period first, the buffett rule,% for households earning $2 million a year. it has a lower rate for incomes between $1,000,000.1999999 dollars. the senate will vote on that today. it's expected to bring in $47 billion in tax revenue over a decade the. should the president have or shocould have chosen not to take all the exemptions? guest: it is his right to do so. mitt romney says that he is not owed a penny more than what is asked from him by the government. jay carney tries to get public figures to give to the treasury to reduce the deficit. a couple members of congress do this. the president has decided not yet to do that, but maybe down the road we could see mitt romney or barack obama offering
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to pay down the deficit at some point. but he has not done so yet. but certainly i thing most people will say, listen, you should not pay more taxes than you owe. if you are allowed these exemptions, you should take them. host: there's a question coming in on twitter asking if you could book describes the economy in 2008 versus 2012 and talk about what the political implications are in the house and senate and overall. guest: that's quite a question. it is interesting, because when you look at presidential election years, they are very much based on the economy. if you look at right around election time in 2008, that's when you really had your big stock market crashes and you had all these large financial institutions failing. and so, you had bipartisan effort like the troubled assets relief program and you have the stimulus package. so there are arguments over what this administration and this congress has done and a little bit about what was done at the tail end of the last
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administration and how that has affected the economy. so there's an argument that both parties will have to make. one of the figures that the romney campaign has pointed out as of late is looking back starting in january of 2009 on -- when the president started until now. they have been telling this figure of about job loss in women because of gender has become the frame through which we are looking closely at this election. it is through a variety of factors, but pointed out the people of lost more jobs in the obama administration are women. and so, when you look behind that statistic, what it actually says is the vast majority of people lost their jobs before or large percentage of them and even at a higher rate or man, because of the kind of jobs for that are lost faster and then gained faster if. looking at in the structure jobs and construction jobs and manufacturing if, those are the first jobs to be lost and the first job to being gained back. women are working a lot of government jobs and if they are teachers, dealing with state budget crunch is across the
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country, so that is what you're seeing the disparity in numbers. interesting thing that the rnc and romney are trying to do and use of aggressive push back on this weekend from a lot of the administration officials. guest: jill biden recently said that gm is alive end osama bin laden is dead. you will hear a lot of that on the campaign trail and it will be interesting to see if the romney campaign plays in michigan after the success of the automobile bailout has certainly hampered mitt romney in the primary. he was able to win his home state of michigan barely, but it will be about the economy. we will hear a fair amount about osama bin laden, but it's going to be about the economy. it's going to be about gas prices. that is going to decide this. compared with 2008, you had the financial implosion and just this year at that time. the fear is different now. the unemployment rate has gone down, but there's a lot of pessimism about the future. that is a problem for barack obama. host: lisa is a democratic
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caller in st. louis, missouri. good morning. caller: hello. i was wondering why, since the contraception bill became like an albatross around the neck of the republicans, when they talk about the blunt amendment, originally it was the blunt- rubio amendment and now everybody has dropped rubio's name. i was wondering why the news does not pick up on that they dropped that name. guest: i think it's because roy blunt was the. chief the marco rubio was a top sponsor on the bill when they had the press conference and first unveiled it, marco rubio was that and this was an initiative that a lot of republicans were getting behind. i think it is sort of we refer to it as blunt being the chief co-sponsor.
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but the caller is right to point out that marco rubio was someone very much behind this. one of the interesting moments was they did this press conference for it in ohio right off the senate floor in the corridor and marco rubio, it was his turn to talk and he's talking in english and seized the spanish language camera in the back of the room and says, would you like it in spanish, and then he delivers it even more impassioned in spanish. so you look at that and say that's why harry reid is very afraid of this course and. if he has a way of connecting and pointing out different political strengths, even in places where you would not even expect it. guest: absolutely. you'll hear a lot about that amendment, should marco rubio be chosen as romney's running mate. but there's no doubt about it, i think rubio is by far the no. 1 candidate for romney to choose. there will be a lot of chatter and speculation. but i think that tourmobile will have to slip for him not to be
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picked because republicans have to do a lot better among hispanics if they have a shot at winning the election. host: from arlington, this e- mail -- guest: both parties are kind of intrinsic. it is somewhat frustrating, as someone who watches them everyday. it's a good question because if you saw the debate shift very sharply over long-term savings and potential tax code reform and entitlement reform. this is something that basically consumed all the oxygen in washington. but it is a little separate from the economic and jobs debate. they are separate. fiscal responsibility and can foster economic growth, but there is not much of the attachment between the two in terms of short-term growth and unemployment numbers. it will be interesting to see
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how that debate ships as we get closer to the election. whether or not a budget debate -- the person was right in that it is this fundamental impasse, because the republicans don't really want to cut taxes. maybe until the senate wins by the majority. the republicans really have a fundamental difference in how they feel taxes should be done and how that spurs economic growth. the president's realize these entitlement programs for are the bread and butter with their base. you have larger political debates. what is also fascinating to watch is how people process that on a real level. tea party republicans don't want more government spending, they want smaller government, but they do like their social security checks and kind of like their medicare and medicaid. so it is a little bit of an inconsistent argument. it will be interesting to see how both parties try to
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translate that in real terms for the electorate. host: representative the dolphins towns is not planning to seek reelection, in new york. guest: he had a tough primary, so that was a main consideration for him. before this congress, he was removed as the top democrat on the government reform committee. he was very upset. nancy pelosi helped push him out because democrats wanted a stronger spokesman to go toe to toe with darrell issa as he was taking over as chairman, so they removed towns. that combination of tough primary plus no longer at that committee purge probably played a big role. guest: i think that whenever a veteran lawmaker leaves, it has some impact, but one of the interesting things about new redistricting
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effort in new york and how lawmakers were lobbying even before the district lines were drawn to try to influence the debate. it was made a little easier because there were going lose at least one seat. certainly losing anthony weiner. i think lawmakers get a little older and it kind of tired and it's really growing. one of the worst jobs in the world is being a member of the house of representatives, because you're always running for reelection and traveling back and forth. it is a lot to juggle always. not to say it's not a great public service, because it is, and our lawmakers are very important. but it can be exhausting. when you look at these numbers, there have been several primaries within certain parties. it's very difficult. people have to choose sides. people have to try to gird up their finances. i think the more interesting debate you'll see this week is what happens with eric cantor. he's one of the big stories over the recess was that he gave $25,000 to an anti- -- tax in
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illinois. i think there was a lot of banks within the republican ranks, like how could you choose like that, how could you give money to an anti-incumbent pac when you are one of the top two people in this party? obviously, the towns news was significant, but that is one of the bigger stores in terms of elections and primaries and a debate you'll see on. -- on capitoln late h hill this week. guest: we spoke with some republican members and they're upset with eric cantor about this. they think it could come up and be the elephant in the room in conference this week. so i think he is going to have
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to probably address this. he has talked to some members about this. he will not be giving any more money to this group. even if it was earmarked, it has given this group, the campaign for primary accountability, or credibility. therefore, probably getting more media attention and probably more donors. that is something that has annoyed some members of the house republican congress. host: bob cusack, of "the hill" and meredith shiner, of "roll call," thanks to both of you. next will talk with a taxpayer advocate of tomorrow's tax deadline. first a news update from c- >> if it caught 33 eastern. an update on the situation in syria. international envoy kofi annan's spokesman says the advance team of six u.n. observers has arrived in damascus to monitor the country posing four-day-old cease-fire. it says the mission will start with "setting up operating headquarters and reaching out to the syrian government and the opposition forces."
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this action comes as the cease- fire seems to be eroding. with president bashar al-assad's troops firing tank shells and mortar rounds into the city of homs. u.n. secretary-general ban ki- moon speaking earlier today in brussels is calling on syrian authorities to exercise maximum restraint and he says opposition forces should also fully cooperate in the current cease- fire which he says is essential for political dialogue to continue. turning to domestic issues, reaction this morning to reports about secret service agents' actions in colombia from california republican darrell issa. in remarks on cbs, he says that lawmakers will "look over the shoulder of the agency and as it investigates the 11 agents involved." the chairman of the house oversight committee is concerned about the allegations that secret service agents or with prostitutes in columbia, saying that such a activities would severely compromise presidential security.
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we will hear more from the congressman later today when he gavels in a hearing on management issues and excessive spending at the general services administration. that's live at 1:30 on c-span radio or watch on c-span 3. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> it's been nearly 10 years since the release of robert caro's third volume of the years of lyndon johnson. in a few weeks before volume will be published this. it follows 1982's the path to power. master of the senate. here he is with an update on how volume 4 was taking shape. >> this is really a book not just about lyndon johnson but about robert kennedy and jack kennedy and the interplay of their personalities, particularly robert and his. it is a very complicated story that i don't think people know. two very complicated people.
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and robert kennedy and lyndon johnson. i had to really go into that and try to explain it, because income brings the store all the way through the end of johnson's presidency. chronologically, johnson is passing the 1965 voting rights act at the moment. that is where i am up to now. >> watched the rest of this interview and other appearances by him online at the c-span video library. and watch for our upcoming "q&a" interview with him on sunday, may 6. >> washington journal continues. host: nina olson is the irs national taxpayer advocate. thanks for being here. guest: thank you. it host: taxes are due tomorrow night at midnight. what is the biggest problem with the american tax code? guest: its complexity. i think that is what presents
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the most difficulty for taxpayers is really trying to figure out whether they have the right answer or not on their income tax return. the complexity causes that. host: you are basically in the irs and have a lot of independence. the christian science monitor has a profile of you today. what do you do as a code talker? guest: my job was created by congress. it requires me to be the voice of the taxpayer inside the irs. there are four prongs to my office to help taxpayers all their problems with the irs, then identify the administrative and legislative causes for those problems, and then make recommendations to mitigate the problems. host: what is the biggest misstep that people make on their tax returns? is there anything special standing out this year? guest: i don't think there's anything in particular this year. last year we had a lot of problems with the first-time homebuyer credit. this year i think the problem taxpayers have experience are some of the delays in refunds
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that have to do with some of the processing glitches we had. host: if you have questions or comments for nina olson, here are the members to call -- -- phone numbers to call -- we will also put on our screen the phone number for the irs advocate hotline. how do people come about getting a hold of you and your services? guest: attacked their qualifies for our services when they experience a significant hardship. a significant hardship is where something the irs is doing or not doing or about to do a good cause you economic problems. serious economic problems like levying on your bank account, garnishing your wages and you cannot pay your bills. or where you try to solve the problem with the irs and you've not been able to get it done. or it just drags on and on. either one of those ways is a
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way to get into my organization. you call that number and then what happens is we assign you advocate. it is one of the few phone the places in the irs where one person is working your case from start to finish. host: we're looking at a graphic from the christian science monitor -- 1913, about 400 pages now. 73,000 in 2012. guest: there really were only a few thousand taxpayers back in 1913. it is about 353,000. it expanded in 1944 when we got withholding in the ramp up to the war effort to war 43 million. today we have 141 million. i guess the pages of the code have increased to the extent that the taxpayers have
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recalculated that there are over 500 changes to the tax laws in 2010, which is more than one per day, which is just crazy, and goes back to what i said earlier -- taxpayers don't know what is in the law and whether they are getting the right answer or not. host: let's go to the phones and hear from mark in norfolk, virginia, independent line. caller: good morning to you and your guest. i recently had some interaction with your office and am waiting for a response. my first experience with your office was awesome with your office out of denver, colorado. i'm not one of these ones that be drawn to say government should be small, but in the case of the irs, that is an organism that is so bureaucratic and huge to the point where the toes are
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not connected to the foot and the foot is not connected to the ankle and it can be so frustrated in trying to make the call, even if you give up your social security number for an individual or your identification number if you are a business. the irs, has it really looked at the possibility of streamlining the process? if you get rid of all the pages and pages and pages, you could shrink the size of the government. second, make the paperwork simple. i would think there would have to be some savings on the table and i will take your comment offline. host: are you still with us > caller: i am. host: why did you reach out to her agency? caller: i had an issue in 2006 where they asked me to be audited. i even tried to e-mail ms. olson. my issue is i was not able to make my audit date and i'm
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begging for an audit. i am saying please come to audit me so i can put this issue behind me. i'm trying to contact her d.c. office. give: i don't want you to your information over the phone, but perhaps you could share with the person handling the phones confirmation so i can get back to you or my staff can get back to you personally. i'm sorry that you've had a difficult time. i will respond to your answer offline. your question, when you are offline pillich with respect to how my office works, we don't have the power to do the audits ourselves. what we have to do is get the irs to do what the taxpayer needs. and sometimes we are pushing up against that very same bureaucracy that you yourself described. for your particular case, i will
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make sure things are taken care of. the larger question that you had about the size of the irs and the complexity of the law is one of the things i have been saying is the irs is 100,000 person organization, slightly less because it has been shrinking in the last few years. as i said earlier, we grow from 353,000 taxpayers to 141 million taxpayers, which is a huge percentage of taxpayers for all irs employee. actually, we have fewer employees per taxpayer than most major tax systems in the world. i think that we could do a lot more in working efficiently and effectively. actually, what i think would streamline things much more is if the irs would actually pick up the phone and talk to taxpayers before they do a lot of these actions that and then later they have to undo, like assessing tax, or putting levies
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on taxpayer's bank account before they have actually talked to a taxpayer to find out whether they could make a payment arrangement or whether it would cause economic harm. once they do the levee, then we have to unwind it. so we are spending an awful lot of time taking actions that we have to unwind when we could have been using that energy and that time to call taxpayers proactively or in your case scheduling an audit when it works for the taxpayer as well as for the irs. that is one of the things that we have been really pushing it. also, one more thing, which is that a lot of people who promote like a national sales tax or getting rid of the tax code as we know it, they say we will get rid of the irs then. i think that is very naive. with sales tax, you still need someone to collect the tax. so we're never going to get rid
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of the irs. but we do need it to work better and we needed to communicate better with taxpayers and the much more open and receptive to what taxpayers have to say. host: now on the republican line from wisconsin, ben. caller: hello, my question is would it not greatly simplify the tax code if the corporate income tax was completely eliminated? and all interest, dividends, capital gains be taxed as income? and the fairness issue would go away and we would have a better economy because corporations are not under the pressures of congress and the tax code? guest: i think that is a very -- that is a proposal that many people have suggested, it agreed in the corporate and individual income tax. in fact, there is a type of corporation in a lot today. the subchapter s income where
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all the income and losses are passed through to the shareholders and yet it still has the corporate-limited liability. we still have to calculate the corporation' income -- net income. even having no taxation on a corporation and taxing income dividends, profits, losses to the individual shareholder a, you would still have to figure out what is that corp. posted net income. if so that certainly gives us lots of opportunities to create lots of laws and lots of preferences and things like that. there would still be some rules about corporate income. so i don't think we would get away from that problem. but it is one of the proposals that a lot of thinkers about tax policy and economists have put on the table for the last 20 years, really, even longer. host: eddie has written on
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twitter -- guest: some of the provisions are maybe technical corrections, but others are very tiny little specific provisions that address's some need-- some group's need and there are a lot of groups. host: marjorie is calling from pittsburg. caller: hello. i don't think i am paying nearly enough taxes, although that may sound strange. i receive a lot of my income for dividends, maybe 40%. if you work the qualified dividend's worksheet, you come out with a much lower tax rate. i don't think that is fair. it is a huge loophole. i have tried to reach different people about this, like finance committee is in the.
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house and the. i don't know if this will ever come up to the floor, but it is a big revenue loss, in my opinion. even though it may be against my better interest, i don't think it's fair for me to be paying these lower taxes. i talked with a cpa and she said if the irs does not come after you if you don't take this worksheet, maybe you could use this money for charity or support different candidates and that kind of thing. i don't know what you are thinking about this. well, my office does not do tax policy. we work on tax administration, how the irs treats taxpayers and how the law makes it difficult for the irs to treat taxpayers well, because it is so complicated. the issue that you raised is really about should you pay a higher or lower rate on different kinds of income, like dividends or capital gains versus wages. that is very much a hot
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issue if you read the news today. i think the opportunities coming forward as you are in an election year and things like that where people will be talking about that very issue. i would say it those preferential rates cause additional complexity in the code. you just described having to go through worksheet. each one of those things increases the likelihood that someone, would make the mistakes either for the taxpayer or against the taxpayer. host: neil olsen is the irs national taxpayer advocate. the tax payer advocates serves as an independent organization within the irs than helps americans. taxes
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today is a holiday in the district of columbia. d.c. mayor vincent gray and delivered a speech yesterday. the 150th anniversary of d.c.'s emancipation day. taxes are due tomorrow instead. people have procrastinated because they have two extra days? guest: i don't think so. we tend to have two spikes in the filing season. one spike is about the end of january, the beginning of february. people are getting their w-2 is and they rushed out to get their refunds. then we have a spiked for the end of the filing season if and that is usually the people who owe taxes. they tend to wait until the last minute. and then what we now have is a lot of people who are having to file extensions partly because more people than ever are invested in mutual funds, in stock accounts and things like that. and often they don't get the information from -- the correct information from those brokerage houses or financial institutions until very close to the filing deadline. to be safe, they file an
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extension and and the have until october 15. host: the christian science monitor profile our guest neil olsen this week. here are some details it some here are some details that it points out -- guest: that was the government accountability office. they did a really interesting shopping visit where they went to 19 preparers. some of the scenarios really involved people having some cash in come and they asked the apparel whether they needed to report that incumbents. in many of the cases, the paris said you don't have to. in one instance the taxpayer/gao employees said will don't you think i should? and the preparer basically said the irs will never know you have
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it this, so you don't after report it. that led to some of the recommendations we made starting in 2002 and led to something that recently happened, the regulation of this whole group of paris who were not attorney'' -- preparers who were not attorneys' or cpa's. so now all of them have to register and starting this year they have to take a test to prepare returns. and they will have to have continuing education. it is amazing to me that it took that long. for about 10 years to get people to recognize how important it was to have some kind of licensure in the order to prepare returns, because taxpayers were being very hard, as the article shows. host: on twitter -- guest: it's very interesting.
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i think that is sort of a trend that has occurred over the years, that people have not remarked on much. if which is that we -- part of our high compliance rate, we have a compliance rate of 83.6%. that is the best estimate that we've got. what is really driving it is the fact that businesses around the united states are withholding on their employees' paychecks and paying that money into us. that is really what gets us a high compliance rate. i have often thought, as we talk about we can impose more withholding or we can do this or that, that we are really putting it on the businesses. some of the proposals have been you might want to think about giving some kind of rebate to the businesses if they pay within -- the earlier they pay, rather than waiting until the 15th, if you pay on the first. a lot of states do that with sales tax. they let you deduct 1% of the sales-tax due if you pay before the 15th of the month. we've been digging about things
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like that, to recognize the additional burden that businesses are bearing in order for us to get this high rate of compliance that we have. host: what kind of freedom and you have to think about issues like that? the christian science monitor story looks at your independence and the fact sometimes you raise things that people at the irs and in the white house and in congress don't really want to talk about. guest: i've been in this job 11 years and probably have made everybody angry at one point or another. i think that i came into this job thinking that i had a great deal of experience with taxpayers and what i really needed to do was continue to listen to them. and that i took very seriously my job as being their voice. now i happen to have opinions too and i have looked at the things that i think are important after having listened to taxpayers. and i have an independent viewpoint and i really do take
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that independence seriously, which has meant that i disagreed with my direct boss, the commissioner, and nynex direct boss, the secretary of the treasury, and the big boss, the president, and the people who oversee my office and created my office, congress. so that comes with the job. host: she joined the irs as a u.s. taxpayer advocate in march of 2001 and serve as advocates for taxpayers at the iris and leads the and nationwide organization of about 200 taxpayer advocates who help americans resolve their tax problems and also works with the irs to critics of systemic and procedural problems within the code. she founded and served as executive director of the community tax law group prior to this. and she had a tax preparation service in chapel hill, north carolina. she had lots of experience for taking on her latest job. now republican is on the line,
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good morning. caller: >> good morning. i just heard about it is already aware the irs was taking an individual to court and was trying to seize his property. he took them to federal court and won a judgment six years ago. it said that for anyone, including the government or even the irs to seize someone's property, they actually have to go to federal court. they cannot be compelled into a tax court. my second question involves something i have always wondered about. and i heard many moons ago that the statement that you see on tax forms that says if you don't pay your taxes, the irs has the authority to garnishee wages. i saw on the internet someplace that it's paragraph a. paragraph b says the federal government can only do that if you are federal employees.
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thank you. guest: the first question, congress made it clear that in order for the irs to actually do a seizure of tangible property, real property, other than a levee, but they did after goethe federal district court. there is an administrative foreclosure and seizure process, the foreclosure process and there is an administrative seizure processes. however the u.s. tax court has jurisdiction over cases called collection due process cases. this was a provision that came in in 1998 which said before the irs can levy upon property, whether it is your bank account or your wages, the first time it's time to do it with respect to any tax, the taxpayer had to be given a hearing, the opportunity to ask for hearing before an appeals officer. if you did not like the results of that hearing, you got to present alternatives to that
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particular collection action. you could go to the united states tax court. so the united states tax court has jurisdiction over appeals of collection process proceedings. as far as levying, the irs has broad collection powers, and like any private creditor who throughout the united states must go to a court and get a judgment before it garnishes your wages or levies on your bank account or seizes stock or any of those things, the irs can go ahead under its statutory administrative levee authority without a judgment and take action as long as you have been noticed, notified that the tax has been assessed and that the demand has been made for payment. that is. the. again, after you have gotten that notice in demand, the first time the irs tries to lead your
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account, you get the right to have a collection due process hearing in which you can raise alternatives to that collection. if you don't like the results administrative hearing, you can go to the u.s. tax court. host: jim is asking on twitter -- guest: it's about 200 some odd million dollars, close to $300 million. i have 2000 employees throughout the united states. i have 75 offices. congress required us to have one office in each state. since some of the states are larger states like texas, california, new york, if we have more than one office in those states so that we can be around the people. host: here's a question about the irs, stephen is asking --
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guest: i think that is just a complete misconception of who makes the laws. i've had people to say it say"the irs code." i say, do you honestly think the irs would write a code like this? it is very difficult to administer. the president proposes laws, but the irs is way down there on the totem pole in terms of having an impact. it's sort of makes it clear. .
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host: lisa, independent caller bank, good morning. i think a lot of the banks that people have -- angst that people have -- you have a history, and having it jumble list and a jumble that, i wasn't nervous about it, because the
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tax preparer knows my history and i trust what she put there. she was amazing. everybody i dealt with in the office goes through every single line, why you needed this, why you needed that, and it was not a horrible, rotten experience. irsirs is not your mother's where they are trying to attack you and army and take your money. host: "christian science monitor" points out that 110
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million is the number of calls the irs gets from taxpayers each year. guest: there are very few office exams where you go to the irs office or the irs comes out to you. -- 78% ofividual on it individual audits each year a done by correspondence. you are sitting down at a table and somebody is looking at your documents in your able to have a give-and-take and go back and forth. there is no human being assigned to your case. you get a different person each time you call in. the first letter we did a survey, and these were surveys of income taxes, and many
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taxpayers to not know they were under audit. "we are looking at your return." it was so cryptic to them that they did not know what they needed to provide. the irs rarely acknowledges they have your mail. often, you have to go to tax court if you want to protest. what is interesting is that we have something right now -- to the color bang's point, to get a point, to caller's get a virtual audit, they can schedule an appointment with an auditor anywhere in the country, but there's this give-and-take and they are not taken from one
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person to another person to another person. in the correspondence exams there is no one employee assigned to that case and no one employee responsible for the results. host: glenda, democratic caller. caller: i've seen mrs. olson a number of times, but my representative -- i was assigned to a person in jacksonville who deserves accolades, because i
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had called the tax office, and i but thatt any help, could as for my representative -- thank goodness for my representative. guest: the phone line we have as the member for my employees -- is the phone number for my employees. they are supposed to help solve the problems before they come to us, if they can. i am glad you got help. a lot of our cases come from congressional offices. i can only say that we deal with about 100,000 cases a year, and we have about a 75% released
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right, meaning that three out of every four taxpayers get the relief. host: for those listening on radio, 1-877-275-8271 is the number for the irs that its case line. bill, good morning. caller: i really don't have any beef. what's the point? i'm just one of these fellows, and there are a lot of west around the country, resigned to our fate. as far as the tax code itself, how are we going to untangle it? 17 out of 17 tax paris made
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significant errors -- tax preparers made significant errors. it is so tangled that the only solution is to make it more complicated. people who would do tax stuff will descend on washington, d.c. to defend their own interests. all the taxes embedded will come do and it would be simple or complicated. host: "the christian science monitor" starts off with an anecdote of you help in a family member with a tax return. it is even hard for you. guest: i do do my own taxes and
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i do returns for family members. the issue of tax reform -- we can take a lot of lessons from 1986. it took about six years of hard work and intensive work. putting out plans and getting the plans shot down, it was about two years of hard legislative work. somebody said to me at one point, bill gale from brookings, that the tax reform that would really work is something that everybody views today as a possible. up until the very -- as impossible gu up.
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up until the very moment at the 1986 reform passed, people said it was impossible to pass. we have to get comprehensive tax reform. what is required is enormous political will, will on the part of congress, and more importantly, for just the concept of tax reform, will on the part of taxpayers themselves. on our website we have a place taxpayers can but in the tax reform suggestions did ask them to identify what spend it they would be willing to give up -- what tax benefit they would be
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willing to give up. i also ask them what is the most unfair thing about the code. the vast majority of the benefits are not in special interest provisions to oil and gas. they are in special interest provisions that each benefit from. the exclusion for health care, capital gains, and if you look at all those things, that is where the money is and that is where we need to play with in order to have greater simplification. taxpayers have to say they are willing to do that or congress will not have the political will and neither will the administration. host: "the new york times" looks at what is coming down the pipe in the next year. it points out along the lines
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of what you did -- the three judges are health insurance, mortgage interest rates, -- three largest are health insurance, mortgage interest rates, and 401ks. secretary timothy geithner talked about this yesterday on "this week." [video clip] >> we signed an extension to protect against risk -- >> not going to happen during the election year, is it? >> of course you can do that in an election year. they just need to be willing to do that. there needs to be a strong senate coming in during the lame-duck session and put in
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fiscal reforms over the long run that will prevent damage to the economy. host: secretary of the treasury tim geithner on "this week" talking about taxmageddon. we don't know how it is going to turn out yet. guest: these expiring provisions occur every single year. what has eventually happen is that on december 27, congress passed the extender bill. the irs is not able to program its computer for -- we are designing our forms and ideas back in september or something -- it is back in september or something. we will have the computer reprogrammed. we have seen that in every
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single filing season the past few years. the cost to the complexity delay and failure to get a consensus. host: david, independent line. caller: thank you for c-span. great show. add010, corremy wife and i did direct transfer to ira money. it was a 1099-r form we sent in. i took direct distributions and they want me to pay taxes for it. it makes you wonder, how can they make a mistake like this? two questions -- how could a
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simple statement to this -- all on one second -- host: david, we got to go. guest: look at the 1099 and see if all the boxes were correctly checked. the irs and depends on the computer matching system. the burden falls on the taxpayer to send in all the documentation and then they don't hear anything for a while. you can call and say that you talked to me on c-span and we can get this in front of someone who can make the right judgment. get thef people cou paperwork but it is not
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processed by their administered properly. we need to talk about reasonable costs so that people don't get hit with these penalties and they can cure the defect. we have been a moderately successful, but there is a lot of room for improvement there. guest: they do, and if we delay that for a certain period of time, you get interest. we try to a certain interest rate, and it is want percentage point less than the interest rate we charge you. host: nina olson, thank you so much for joining us. she is the taxpayer advocate for the united states.
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coming up, we will be looking at the weekly "your money" segment. >> the studentcam competition asked students to create a video on what part of the constitution is most important to them and why. hael is a junior in high school. hi, michael. >> this protect the right to copyright. >> why did you choose this as your topic? >> i am interested in music and films. >> what is the copyright protection? >> it allows an artist to keep their work from being stolen by someone else and somebody else
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claiming it as their own work. >> as these technologies have come out, they have had an impact on copyright. what is the biggest negative consequence? >> file sharing, allowing someone to take an individual file and give it to other individuals. it is basically like stealing, in the digital world. >> how does this affect artists? >> it takes money away from artists. the individuals lose because of the individuals are sharing the info all over the internet. >> what are the benefits that the movie industry and music industry are seeing from this? >> greater access to viewers.
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anybody in the world can see it if they have access to the internet. >> what is being done to enforce copyright protection? >> a case with a file-sharing website called megaupload, which was taken down by the federal government. >> what have a teno -- entertainers done to adapt to this media landscape? >> in reality, at the landscape is adapting to their. now anybody can get their worked out there and. there is a lot more competition and you have to make better quality material in order to survive in the industry. >> what do teenagers think about
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copyright law? >> most despise it, because a lot of people think you should not make art for financial purposes. you should make it to express yourself. >> what you think is the future of copyright? >> i think copyright will for ever exist. i don't think it is ever going to die out. a lot of people -- there is a lot of competition, not just with quality, but also competition financially. an artist could be like, hey, i created this, and you are listening to it for free.
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it will reach a point where artists will not be making money off of their music, or at least digital files. they will be making it off gigs and things of that nature. >> thank you, and congratulations on your win. here is a clip from michael's documentary. >> when the vcr came out, studios worried that people would not go to movies anymore. >> i record my copy of "star wars" and i can have 2 copies and sell it on the street. if you purchase it, you have a right to make a copy of your own purchase.
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the supreme court says -- it was analog in the form of vhs tapes -- the right to make a copy. >> you can watch this entire documentary as well as all of the winning videos at, and continue the conversation on c-span's facebook and twitter pages. >> "washington journal" continues. host: every monday at 9:15, eastern time, our segment "your money." we look at job creating programs for older americans. our guest is timothy hamre from the national council on aging. guest: thank you, good morning.
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host: we have set out phone lines for ages 55 and older. timothy hamre, what is an older american? guest: 55 and older. host: the phone line is good. -- arehey retirees they retirees who need to get by, and older americans who are out of work, who lost a job and it is too early for them to retire? guest: it focuses on low-income americans. unemployment rates of 20%. if they lose their job, it is
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twice as long as everybody else. to answer your question, sometimes it is somebody who retires and doesn't want to stay retired, but more often it is somebody who needs the money. they worry about paying their mortgage. they are working out the necessity. host: let's look at unemployment rates of older workers. guest: you can look at those
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numbers and say, well, at they are doing better than the general population, but you have to take several things into account. a lot of people get older and lose their jobs. they just give up and no longer actively looking for work. a lot of -- if i lost my job tomorrow, i could afford to retire. i wouldn't want to, but that is reality. we are focused on those who cannot afford to retire. they have to keep working. they have to get back into the workforce. nowadays, they don't have the skills they need to apply for a job. if you apply for a job these days, you are online, you are usually at a computer. a lot of these people did not have to have the computer when
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they got their top 20, 30, 40 years ago. host: here are the numbers to call if you want to join the conversation. we also have a special line set up for americans 55 and older. let's go over the numbers of how americans who are older and what work are helped. the senior community service employment program. here are the numbers from 2011. guest: it is when people come out to our program and what we do is determine if they are eligible, obviously. they have to be low income to come on to the program.
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we ss and them. what are they interested in? what kind of jobs are they looking for? then we find we called a community service assignment. we send them out to a government agency or a nonprofit organization, and we pay the minimum wage for generally $20 a week. right now it is less than $20 a week because of funding cuts. that is when we enroll them on the program. we are actually paying them from day one. we figure out what it is we need to be prepared to get the job. what kind of training did we need. we work with each individual on the individual basis to get them into the job. host: this year, the community
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service employment program and a budget of four under $50 million, a big decrease from fiscal year 2010. guest: that is correct. it resulted in a lot of the people on the program getting $7.25 an hour in most places. that is not a lot of money. in a lot of people had to cut 12 hours a week, even 10 hours a week. phoneset's go to the with suzie from jacksonville, florida, over 55 years old. caller: i had a business -- basically, i was a landlord. i had to let go of all the property because of just different things financially. i'm very interested in getting into the farming the field. i understand that farming -- a lot of people are retiring from
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farming and i would like to grow food. are there any possibilities of training in farming? guest: that as possible. we work with each individual to figure out what it is, what they are passionate about. off the top of my head, i cannot tell you who operates the program in jacksonville, florida. this program is contracted out to 18 different national organizations. the national council on aging is one of those that has been doing this since 1968. we don't operate in florida right now. but if you go to our website,, you can find out more about the programs, send us an e-mail, and we will connect you with who was operating in jacksonville, florida. host: tom, independent line. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, you are on with
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timothy hamre. caller: i am upset with the job, and's statements but i find somewhat arrogant -- host: what statement? caller: person over 55 does not know how to work a computer -- guest: no, no, no, no. caller: i am 61 years old, i am a retired instructor from the b- 2 bomber program, and because i am 61, you are telling me i don't know how to use a consider -- computer -- host: tom, that is not what timothy hamre is saying. how was your employment situation? caller: i am raising myself and 18 grandkids and i enjoy every
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minute of it. guest: i am 57 myself and i have been using computers since 1985. older people are one of the biggest growing segments of computer users. i'm just saying that the people we work with, 1/4 of them don't even have a high-school diploma. they don't have the opportunities. they have trouble getting a lot of the services we take for granted. host: and risch, louisiana. catherine, democratic caller. caller: thank you, good morning. i was in wal-mart this weekend, and wal-mart has moved greeters from the door. greeters are typically older senior citizens. i see this as another symptom of the times and in terms of getting rid of older people, because eventually they are going to move them out of the
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store. them being useless standing around the counterbid they i typically lost in what to do great if they are at the door, initially they greet you and say hi. they are typically 70 and even 80 years old. how far we go in terms of the senior citizens? what is the age cut off, or is there one? guest: there is no age cut off. i had a woman who came on to my program and who bought into the idea that she was too old to work, 80 years old, but she would have been a great greeter at wal-mart. she was a people person. the gap opened a store in her
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neighbor and we got her job selling jeans to teenagers. host: [laughter] guest: the store loved her. i know enjoy what i walk into a wal-mart being greeted. i cannot speak for them, but i like that greeter. host: timothy hamre is the national council on aging program operations director. he worked in the san bern adino county. that woman you are talking about, that -- yes guest:, that was sent bernadine out towny. host: kevin, republican in not so, tennessee.
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-- knoxville, tennessee. caller: good morning, c-span british very good to have your show. mr hamre -- basically, if i may, i will give a short summary of what is going on with me. i'm 48 years old. i've had rods installed at from back surgery. i don't want to give up. --ically, what i'm asking is i know it is 55 and older as far as the program goes. is there any way that a person who is disabled as i am can get into the program? i mean, i feel useless sitting around the house while my wife works.
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i'm willing to do anything. i've worked since i was 13 years old. i worked in steel factories when i was 13 years old in east tennessee. i've done a lot ever since. last year, hospital i work with, a charity hospital, taken over by corporate hospital, and basically i was dropped like a hot rock. host: how old are you? caller: i will be 49 -- host: ok, started to lose them a little bit. guest: we cannot have anybody in this program was under the age of 55. there are other programs. i would encourage you to visit the one-stop career center in
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tennessee. they can get you to programs for the disabled. i actually got into the aging field from the people who are disabled. a friend of mine in college had scruple policy -- had cerebral palsy. he had a master's degree and he had to keep at it. it is not going to be easy. tennessee as the department reof rehabilitation -- i don't know the exact title -- they should be able to look at you and find something. host: they might have the skills but they still need help getting a job. guest: in the past few years, we've seen the increase of
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people who come to us with skills, but the last time they applied for a job was 20 or 30 years ago. the way you apply for a job now is not the same as the last century. if you don't have basic computer skills, you cannot even apply for a job anymore. a lot of what we do is work with people to give them the skills just to find a job. host: comment from twitter. guest: [laughter] host: stephen, over 55 in seattle, washington. go ahead. caller: well, yeah, i am a little alarmed that you are just working with the other privileged and those in poverty.
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55 and older, the age restriction is really not a really good measure of how effective your program is. apparently you have had a lot of experience in the field, and you seem to be able to work with, like you said, cerebral palsy. it is harder to employees and. -- to employ them. like you said, they will not be making that kind of money that a normal person would be making. unless you can step up a notch, and i am thinking not to just help the poor people,, too, and they might imply a couple of people along the way. that is romney's idea, that the
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more rich people we have, the more chance companies have to employ all kinds of people. good luck to your program, and i will be 56 in may, and i'm a federal worker and a former military person, so you are helping a lot of the military guys and tell them to put their pride down when they entered the door and just try to get the best job they can. guest: actually, one out of eight people in the program now our veterans. they are a priority for us. host: when you say "program," would you talking about? guest: the senior program. the law is written by congress that says 55, 125% of the
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poverty level or less. we cannot change that. we are looking at ideas as to how we can expand if we all. we have a mission to help millions of older americans. host: explain to us the relation between the program and, as you mentioned, your organization, the national council on aging. guest: it is going on in this year. congress appropriates the money and it goes to the department of labor. the department of labor gives out contracts. 18 organizations that this money. the largest is an organization -- it was with the original people in the program.
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this year we're going to a competition. we are working on it now, saying that we want to serve these areas and this is why we want to serve them now. they will review and score bids and decide who serves which areas. that is how i knew we were not in jacksonville. we are basically a contractor with the u.s. department of labor. host: senior community service employment program spends money on helping low-income older americans get a job. our guest timothy hamre helps them get a foot in the door and hopefully that will turn into something else.
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funding was cut in fiscal year 2011. $450 million. a pretty significant cut there. guest: we did have extra funds for a while. everybody talks about the stimulus program and how long it took to get things going. the way our program works is someone gets the paycheck and we are able to get money into people's pockets quickly with this program. host: here is a question on twitter. he wants to know specifically about men, but can you break it down men and versus women? guest: 2/3 of who we serve are women. that is just the population we are dealing with. if you are older and poorer, you are more likely to be a woman and then a man.
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women tend to go towards office occupations and women's service occupations. training forly available jobs. we also trained retail sales clerks, people working in fast- food restaurants, cooks. for men, it is the stereotypical job for an older man, a security guard. but a lot of them are going into office occupations now. most of the people, wo i call the foot soldiers in the program -- talking about computer skills, and we have had people in the program teaches computer classes.
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we had someone who wrote a manual called "a mouse is more than what you catch with a tra p." we have with the online program that assesses them and gives them on my glasses and tests. -- with online classes and tests. host: dave is in harlem. good morning. caller: yes, good morning. within the tristate area, new york city, can you find me how to get help with this agency? guest: there are multiple programs in new york city but we work with the new york city department for the aging.
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i believe that new york city -- 311, is it? -- 211 to access government services? i don't remember thof the top of my head. host: your agency has contracts to run this program in different parts of the country. other organizations do as well. are we talking good will, are we -- guest: they run at their own way straight goodwill operates through the local affiliates. they operate in eight areas around the country. senior service america does nothing but a subcontract to local organizations. 5 areas around the country.
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the bulk of our projects are granted to local organizations. people with ties to the community have networks in those communities. host: let's hear from an older american, over 55 years old. greg, go ahead. caller: hello, mr. hamre. glad to hear this segment today. i want to talk about degreed individuals. as i was developing a disability, i did what you are talking about, which was develop high-technology skills at a small teamultimedia development co. and my company. as my disability became greater, i was no longer able to go out and sell services. i am limited as to the amount of work i can do. i have a decree, which is not in
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the computer field, which is no longer applicable. when i go to seek training to validate skills, i am told that because i have a degree i can i get into these training programs. i am a low income right now. i am looking for just a part- time job. i am an artist, a developer, working with computers since they have basically been open to the public. can you help me understand what i can do. because i have a degree, they cannot offer a education. in a validation of my skills. guest: in this program, it does not matter what your education level is. most of our folks are high
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school education or less. i know someone with a ph.d. who is on the program right now. so that is not a living at factor. eerie, pennsylvania? host: yes. guest: if you go to ssai .org, they can connect you with the program in eerie, pennsylvania. they will work with what you have to offer, what your limitations may be, to find the right job match for you. host: comment on twitter. guest: [laughter] host: the folks you work with, do you hear they want to be working or they have to? guest: they have to be working.
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low income. host: of course, you mentioned they are low income. but to they want to be working? do you hear from participants -- they want to get a job, or two they oakfield it is too hard? our twitter follow were says -- workwer says hdid and will until they die? guest: the things you want to work are the ones i really enjoy, even if they had a lot of barriers. they are making the effort. we do get somewhat more like looking for something just to do. this is a program for people who want to be working. we get a lot of people who, like you said, really have to work.
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working until the day they die. host: alabama, good morning. caller: good morning. my question -- i have several, but you don't have enough time on your show for them. i am 50, and that is a story in itself. my mother -- you have a lot, a majority, i think, of elders who are women, and a lot of them need something to do. there is your counsel -- does your council provided job training, all those who can have an advocate, or mentor who can come in with several different situations?
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guest: the program i work with this job training and placement, but there are other programs as well. contact your job-training agency. they can connect you with programs that help people in other situations as well. host: how much can mentorship help with experience, having an advocate who can check on your progress? guest: quite a bit. before i came into this program, i worked with seniors and disabled in homes. to have some to come by once a week made a difference in people's lives. host: a tweet -- guest: we train people to go into plymouth for themselves or
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to find work-at-home -- go into employment for themselves or find work-at-home jobs. there is a company that treats people to be liked a phone call center at home. 20 years ago, if you worked in a call center, you had to commute somewhere and said in a typical bit now they said it up in -- and sit in a cubicle. now they said it up in your home. host: we're talking about a program called the senior community service employment program that provides funding for t older low-income americans to get back into work or find a job if they lost a job. kathleen, democratic caller in michigan. caller: good morning. i have two things i would like to mention. the 125% poverty rate is
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practically no money. guest: yes. caller: under $13,000 for one? guest: $12,9-something -- yes, just under $13,000. caller: i tried to get into the program, and my gross income was too much. but when you figure net income, taking out medical and taxes, i am at the poverty level. that is something to consider. i would like to see it raised, with many other programs, to 185% of that is the more reasonable number to work with. i literally needed the money. my job was privatized, and i've had it a tough time finding
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employment. the second thing i would like asked -- your funds are extremely limited, but is it possible to have access and get training, a certificate, something along those lines, where you are not finding a job, but at least i am getting some age-centered, appropriate training? i was in an instance where i was getting training money, but they threw me in front of our computer and it was not age appropriate. i was a lost soul. host: kathleen, how has it turned out for you? have you been able to find a new job? caller: no. and i have been looking for part-time -- yeah, i have been
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looking for part-time employment, by it has been difficult. i hope it's the economy picks up some part-time work will be available. right now i am competing with people who are younger than me for just part-time jobs, because things are so tough. guest: to answer your first question, you have a lot of expenses and what have you -- the income figure is not just a flat figure where if your income is too high -- i would encourage you to apply -- and pages and pages of regulations on how to calculate income. disability pensions are not counted. unemployment insurance is not counted. see if they can make you eligible. i would enter rich people to do that. -- would encourage people to do that. with online resources, in large
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grant from the federal government -- benefits checkup. questions you, allowing you to identify yourself about income. a lot of programs may be able to help you. billions of dollars of benefits for seniors since we started this 10 years ago. in terms of online job training, aarp has, where people can go without going through a program and go through online training that we provide as well, run by the same company. host: here is a story from the associated press. "more older americans are in poverty, according to revised
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formula." "it is twice as high as the traditional 10% level. the national academy of science's formula, which is gaining credibility with public vigils, including some in the white house, would put the poverty rate for americans 65 and older at 18.6%, or 6.8 million people." the president of aarp call it "a hidden problem." guest: when i look at local projects, i see it all the time. just a few weeks ago, i was in punxsutawney, pennsylvania, which i'm sure everybody has heard of. it is tough there. people are having a tough time finding jobs.
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in places where the economy is doing all right, the washington, d.c. area, the cost of living is so much higher. i am amazed when i find people who are eligible for the program -- the program in northern virginia, arlington, alexandria -- those are high cost of living areas but we find people living in dire situations. host: "retirement is not an option for many." james tweets in -- in your final thoughts, how much interest is there with all the workers coming in. you mentioned as someone twho ws working at the gap and was appreciated there. guest: we work with employers.
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seeing the span of time i have been involved in the program, as baby boomers are getting to that age, at 60, 70 does not seem so old anymore. we long ago gave up not trust anybody over 30. there are a lot of attitudes about there. convincing younger bosses to hire all people is sometimes a challenge, but we work with them, and we often get one good person in there who really sparks and the attitudes change. host: timothy hamre, director for the national council on aging. but talking about the senior service employment program. thank you so much. that is all for "washington journal


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