tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 11, 2015 4:30am-6:31am EDT
ican investor turning off his telephone before things started. he said "i do not want to be distracted from this wonderful experience, which is what the real relationship between the u.s. and mexico is all about -- and that is wanting the best for our children.' another thing about mrs. bush is leadership is that she has always worked for the best of the world's children. saving america's treasures was another project the president committee spearheaded, collaborating with the ilmf. they became integrated into that program in selecting the award. when we recognize treasures like fort davis, the place where the buffalo soldiers
were, and the bus where rosa park defied and discrimination. we hosted a sister cultural parks conference, tying together world heritage sites in mexico with those in the u.s. we like to remember when there were borders, which of the scars of history. through our national parks and their counterparts in history, we initiated project 2020 with the american film institute and the department of state supporting international lawmakers with community discussions -- international film makers with community discussions. we led the highest level cultural delegation to ever visit the people's republic of china and created joint nina case that are continuing today and particularly with the
library of congress. when mrs. bush says that time is short, get going, she means what she says. she trusts others, and people respond. after leaving the white house, she means it still as she continues to lead. one area i have been involved in the women's initiative at bush institute, in which she the chair. beginning with two classes of egyptian women, the bush institute has brought them to smu in dallas the lord about writing mission statement setting goals, and based upon an smu professors research, how to build a network, the single most important measure of any woman success. they are paired with a mentor and sent across the u.s. to learn about business, social media, the law, and politics as well as our own countries struggle to achieve a democracy. they visit their mentors hometown and build networks learning how to cascade their
new knowledge to women back in egypt. my own mentee sandy wanted to learn how to export products made by traditional egyptian artisans to the united states, which she has now done. she wanted to get a business visa to travel to the u.s. bringing egyptian products which she has now done. just a few months ago, i heard from her in kansas city, where she was selling thousands of her design at a large christian conference. they are christians as well as muslims. she was at a large christian conference heading home to get egyptian artisans more work. on international women's day march 8, laura bush reported on the second class of tunisian women who now have tabulated among themselves a network of over 10,000 other women.
so yes, it is true that when laura bush leads, good things multiply. >> thank you to all of you. you have made my job easier, but also harder to add to the wonderful contributions that these scholars have. i appreciate having had the opportunity to interview with you and redo them ahead of time. -- and read them ahead of time. and also your firsthand experiences of working with mrs. bush. i want to thank hofstra for putting this on the agenda. i think from listening to everybody today, i am hoping it is whetting your appetite as consumer for information about
the people who lead our country. 's topic of the resident -- this topic of the first lady or spouse, because it may change someday to be husband. it is crucial to understanding presidency. at american university, or redo conferences -- where we do conferences across the country to tell this story of the president's spouse and the myriad of contributions that they have made throughout our history. to politics and policy and to global diplomacy. is a top job. -- it is a tough job. there is an expectation to be in two worlds. you are expected to be in a meaningful initiative, but you are also responsible for chicken care of your family and the home life, which is so
important to the health and welfare of the present. -- the president, the leader of the free world who has every goal problem come to his desk. -- every single problem. it is a complex role, as we have heard from everyone here today. it is especially sensitive to a ever-changing media climate. barbara bush, someone i have reflected on after she left the white house, she said "i never considered the domestic challenge, but rather an opportunity." that is such an optimistic way to look at it. lady johnson said "i i have a podium, and i intend to use it." in the 18th and 19th century first lady's roles were a bit different. they were consumed with a
nation at war. they were consumed with the safety of their husbands. the 20th century brought us such dramatic changes. their world was defined by the economic and social challenges of the country. the reform movements, their labor movements. they were expected to be a voice. this challenged the conventional view of the role of women. the more complicated the times become, the more important it is for first ladies to use their position wisely. what we understand and see through history, every person puts their own stamp on it. there is no position description or statutory authority. no salary. a lot of freedom to do what you want to do and be yourself. at the beginning of the first lady's conferences, i use a
fictional want ad. it describes the superhuman multitasking skills we expect out of these women. pat nixon cold it the hardest unpaid job in the world. ronald reagan said, the government gets only one employee for free and that is the first lady. rosalynn carter said, i have learned i have influence. i have a responsibility. no other confidant or advisor to the president is as uniquely invested or devoted to their spouse's success. we have learned about historical figures. abigail adams had trouble curtailing her opinions.
she wanted to express her views. we know thousands of letters the rich history of conversation and dialogue between her and john adams. she was so profoundly devoted to the formation of our new nation. she endured long separations from her husband. she knew the fragility of the win of john adams as president having won by three votes. dolly madison set the model for the role of first lady that would go unchallenged into the 20th century. most of us know her as the best social hostess in washington. what her husband valued was her political acumen. the ability to bring people together. using her strength and knowledge as a hostess.
we talked about sarah polk. caroline harrison is another first lady we know little about. when she served, the late 1800s, she teamed up with other progressive minded women of the time to lead an effort to raise funds for johns hopkins university medical school on the condition, one condition. it admitted women. these people have been leaders. they have stood up for other women and social causes. they never were subservient to their husbands, they were partners. some of them, like the bess trumans, she did not have a very public role. she was asked to do something as simple as break a champagne bottle.
it would not rate. after multiple tries. after that, she did very little in the public sphere. mimi eisenhower, she has a quote, ike does the policy, i turn the pork chops. she understood the social component of her job and was happy to do it. our modern first ladies, i will only mention a couple until we go into laura bush. it is important to understand the arc of history and the evolution. laura bush looked to lady bird johnson as one of her models. when asked who her favorite first lady, she was conflicted. she had her mother-in-law as an
example. she also looked to another texas first lady, lady bird johnson. who had such a profound impact. the courage to campaign for the civil right act. in the south. she understood the power of media and it's communicating effectively. she would critique the president's speeches. she was a millionaire and her own right because she owned radio stations across texas. she understood the power of communication. betty ford, we know she stood up for the e.r.a.. so did pat nixon. betty ford lifted the ban that divorced or unmarried people could not come to the white house without an escort or guest.
rosalyn carter, we know she was a political partner for sure. as people probably don't remember that we have heard to thank for the requirement that children in our country have childhood immunizations. several shots that children need to get before they are two years old. that was her strategy she worked on with the centers for disease control. i had the privilege of being with laura bush. working side-by-side with her, traveling to all 50 states. you heard some of the projects he took around the country. 77 countries. eight years. yet she is the third most traveled first lady. pat next was the first, 81 countries. hillary clinton, 80. laura bush, 77. i saw so many examples of her gentle power around the world.
she was unsung and unrecognized by many for her work on education reform and human rights. she said to me, what i am putting my paper when this is published will surprise many people. she forewarned me, not everyone will accept or believe this could be true. the fact that when we were in her presence, we responded. we did not want to fail her. she put no demands on us, but the fact that she put such a level of consistency and passion, really evoked for everyone around her to do their best. i'll will forget the level of anxiety we felt.
students at this university were children when this happened. we need to remind each and every generation the shock and anxiety we felt. one of her friends at the time said, i felt so sorry for you. you are giving up all of your privacy. after 9/11, that friend called her and said, i am jealous of her. you can do something. whereas the rest of us felt so helpless. she led so many initiatives that people do not know about. the hard truth campaign. if you drink at diet coke, i want you to look at the site of the can. there is a red symbol. laura bush is the investor for that campaign. when she found out more women die from heart disease than
breast cancer, she said i don't know that, i don't think most women do. you heard the referral to save america's treasure's. an initiative started by hillary clinton. she understood her role in the arc of history. not every program has to be the baby thrown out with the bathwater. it can be expanded on and continued. it can be made your own. she did that. she suffered from the typecast view of being a shy librarian and teacher, leading a conventional life. how could she possibly have a thought of her own? she was a wartime lady during two difficult and unpopular wars. that made it more difficult to get coverage for her work. but it was never for her. it was for the american people. the good people we have all
over the 50 states. what we do to impact peoples lives around the world. yes, it is easy to ignore the good work of first ladies who serve in controversial or difficult times. this consequence is about the controversial and difficult decision that george bush and his team had to make. those on the panel have the easiest time. i sat through a number of panels yesterday and will sit through more today. it is bringing home for many of us who were not there the level of profound impact that the president's decision had on the country and world. i would like to have a few comments on these wonderful
papers. one, patricia, i love yours. the historical perspective that you had. provoking us. unlocking the mystery of the position. i have had the ability to watch the position in three positions of close. president reagan, and then george w. bush. it is a little early still. only six years later, to be able to see the full impact of george bush and laura bush. but i appreciate the podium we had been given to shine a light on laura bush's work. it has been extraordinary. i want to also comment on dana's paper.
i love and appreciate the depth you were able to obtain. the only issue i take is the title. not really issue, but something i think is a conversation we can have about traditional conservative women or international activist first lady. why should those be exclusive? that is something that laura bush suffered from. because she was considered a traditional first lady, how could she possibly be an activist? part of it is following in international activist first lady, hillary clinton. i suggest we have to look, the fact that conservative women care about the world, too. we have as much interest in our
sisters' progress around the world is our liberal counterparts do. one person who commented on this was the first lady of afghanistan. i raise her because, again this point of consistency. laura bush said she will work on afghan women's issues for the rest of her life. recently, in dallas, the new first lady of afghanistan came for a meeting. the u.s. afghan's woman's council. a public-private partnership between the u.s. government and many institutions and individuals. we never left the women of afghanistan. laura bush has been our leader.
in the last few years, hillary clinton has joined as cochair. now we have the first lady of afghanistan as cochair. she said this, laura bush is someone who knows what the word commitment means. she described mrs. bush as relentless and resourceful. you don't appreciate her power until you are faced with her achievements. you have not forgotten us and we will not forget you. laura bush's comment, in her characteristic way, she does not like to bring attention to herself and would be embarrassed by the things we are saying but they are so true. her response was when it comes to key issues in your life, you never get to rub your hands and say, i am done with that.
you have to keep working. that is what the ongoing work of the bush institute has allowed both president and mrs. bush to do. anne mentioned a fun project the big read. communities around the country. mrs. bush inspired to get around a book and enjoy it. have libraries and community organizations get involved. one of the books is "to kill a mockingbird." bridgeport, connecticut is one of the cities where we brought the big read. they took on "to kill a mockingbird." restaurants and bars got involved, including a bar that named a drink tequila mockingbird. you mentioned katrina.
i think that is alluded to in your paper. what most people don't know is laura bush made 25 visits to the gulf coast after katrina. her library foundation continues to rebuild the libraries. the ripple effect of her work is astounding. i am proud to have served with her and in the white house as many times as i have had, to be a fly on the wall to the arc of history. to continue to tell the story of the remarkable women leaders who lead. the huge element of their leadership, in particular, for laura bush.
thank you. >> we have a microphone that will travel to you, if you raise your hand with a question. i will say that we will give priority for the first question, if they are students. if not, we will go to others. sir? >> thank you very much. thank you very much for a wonderful forum. i heard a lot of positive things about laura bush you do not hear in the media. i also appreciated the historical perspective of the other first ladies. i was a little surprise, i think it was patricia, the way you portrayed nancy reagan. not terribly involved with
white house affairs, at least that is what i heard. you talked about purchasing the tea set and other things she was criticized for. i remember the media attacking her for being responsible for example for getting rid of the secretary of the treasury, the chief of staff. i heard her say she was responsible for bringing together mikael gorbachev and president reagan. did i hear you correctly? i thought she was more involved. patricia: i do agree with you. i guess for purposes of brevity in my paper, i compare her to rosalyn carter. i do agree with you on a number of -- she had the whole
campaign, just say no to drugs. i think she really takes on a big role one president reagan is shot. we realize how much she is probably saying she is running the country. it was more comparing her to a rosalyn carter. as her term went on, i think maybe she is an example of a little bit of both. she does have a politically active role. different than hillary clinton but she definitely initially comes in and is going to purchase a tea set. $200,000. the day she is about to purchase it, it comes out in the media that school lunch programs are going to come of the money is being decreased. i don't disagree with you.
i think she kind of takes on more of a political role later on, especially when president reagan is shot. guest: can i add more to that? i appreciate the question. i worked with mrs. reagan as well. i think she is a misunderstood character. i will leave you with a humorous response she had. she was criticized for all the clothes she brought. a dramatic change from the carter administration. the hard truth campaign i mentioned, one of the presidential libraries we went to to talk about the heart truth campaign, there was an exhibit of nancy reagan red dresses as part of this advocacy and awareness. there were hundreds and hundreds of people there to see it, lined out the door. nancy reagan said to laura
bush, i was vilified in the white house for my close. now they are lining up to see it. she made fun of herself in an event where she showed up wearing secondhand clothes. one of the things patricia said, which is true, was the timing of releasing the china. which id way was privately funded, but it did not matter. the fact that it was a huge price tag and came at a time we were in a recession, the timing was terrible. she suffered from bad press that was very hard for her to ever recover. still referred to often times as queen is nancy. profoundly devoted to her
husband's success. >> sir, in the center? >> i also want to say, fantastic panel. really enjoyed it. i wonder if anybody would speak to the magnetic power of laura bush over her husband. i say that any positive way. i can think of a couple of examples. one thing, i was surprised by the choice of smu as the presidential library. i was thrilled about it. that is where laura bush went to school. i think maybe she had some play on the location of the library which could have been in waco. i understand president bush had the habit of not wanting to stay overnight anywhere without laura. what are some other things about how she positively influenced her husband, whether
in speeches, we had a snippet of that. i can tell just from knowing the two of them, it is very positive. i would love to hear you talk about that.could you talk about that? guest: you know the family since the 80's. they are partners in everything. she is an anchor to them. he is hugely supportive of everything that she does. one comment here, about even go into afghanistan, 10 years this month. when laura bush interviewed me and said i wanted to go to afghanistan, my first question
was does the president know? and she said yes. if he knew, that was all the support of the world we needed. he center of the world as our advocate, as our representative. the closest personal envoy you can spend is your spouse. devoted to their family, but always this important work of the country, she was there in a vertical part of it. it was grounding for him. defining the privacy and family life which was so important. i remember being on the phone with mrs. bush said the -- over
the store. that was her time to be there for him, because the job is so hard and they dependent upon each other so much. >> i think anchor is a good word . just by her presence, you can count on her. i was very privileged because i stayed a lot with them in the governor's mansion when he was running, thinking about running for president. i have been in the white house. he touched based with her in a
matter where he was. he would say, i remember one time, i say the opposite of what i mean. she says, you know. she was this callming assurance. he said, i have heard him say more than once, he has been so fortunate to be from a loving family. you are not afraid of success. you are not afraid of failure. i was there one time, at the governor's mansion. she was on the phone. i was sitting there listening. when she got off, she said, that is time magazine. if george wins, he will be on the cover. if al gore wins, he will be on the cover. as far as she was concerned, she was going to be fine matter -- no matter what. having someone like that in your life, when you are in that kind of arena, is extraordinary. >> i think we can do one more
question. sir? >> thank you. i just want to know if the hollywood community or music community or broadway community gave mrs. bush a hand in her initiative with the arts. did they reach out to her and help out? >> one thing we didn't mention. at the end of the administration, first of all, i will say this. when you are in the white house, if you need a musical performance or a group, no one will say no. they are happy to come. we had many broadway performers and other performances. the kennedy center, every year hollywood is honored. at the very end of the bush administration, all of the cultural arts agencies got together to honor laura bush. i will let adair talk more about this. they did everything they could
to support the opening of performances, the opening of exhibits. she was always there. another underreported activities of laura bush. adair, do you want to respond? adair: the thing is, she enjoys all of that. it is her leadership, an extension of who she was. when she was first lady, i remember jim leach's wife, they
did an exhibit of grant wood over across the street from the white house at the renwick. when we would go stay there, she would have a group of friends. you all need to go over there and i want you to go over there. one time when i was there, we went to ford's theatre to see this performance over the president's shoulder, a one-person play about a white house valet. not only did she take us but she took the white house valets. she was always present. she was at the back of the room in ford theater, just out of enjoyment. everybody did appreciate her. that was a wonderful event at the smithsonian, the national portrait gallery. >> can i add one comment. this gave me a memory. you are talking about the traditional hollywood, the big stars. it is no secret republican administrations have a different relationship with hollywood then
democratic administrations. there were two occasions i remember where steven spielberg came through one time, tom hanks and other. they were going to a photo receiving line. mrs. bush told steven spielberg aside. the movie "schindler's list" had been out about a year. they started talking about their father's experiences serving in world war ii. his father had served in world war ii in the pacific theater. he was astounded, steven spielberg, by this very personal conversation he had with her. this is not what hollywood expected of george and laura bush. to connect on a human level. they are human beings like the rest of us.
after steven spielberg and his wife came through the line, i was standing there in the green room. he turned back and came back to me and said, i really like your first lady. i thought, well, of course. we all do. we love her. tom hanks and his wife, we had a christmas reception, she was interested in the human life at the white house. she said, where does she order her christmas gifts? does she do it online? does she use amazon? people are intrigued by the mystery. even people at that level, celebrities. it is that particular, in the president's house, they related as human beings. it was an interesting experience for me. for laura bush, it was natural. go ahead.
>> when i was at the education department, we went to an evening event. we were any photo line. that was the day that spot had died. one of my dogs had died, too. i said, i am so sorry about spot. rod paige wanted to kill me. i said, i love that he cries. but now he needs to wipe his eyes because that will wipe the rest of the photograph. >> one other story. i am from el paso. there's a movie about our basketball coach. the bushes showed that movie at the white house.
what they really had were two people who were part of that. we have a place in el paso cold h and h carwash. it was started by syrian immigrants. they are the biggest utech fans. the owner of h and h carwash was invited. he is such a fan. he said at the president's table. when you go in the carwash, we all signed to the menus. he has a picture with them. he said, i wish people could meet him.
i wish they could experience the love in that man. how much he cares. i love hearing him say that. those of us who know them know what a struggle it is and how much they care about people. >> i think that is an appropriate last word. i want to thank everyone for coming. thanks for your research, your commentary. it has been a terrific panel. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> some news on another former first lady very several sources were orting hillary clinton will be announcing her candidacy for president sunday in a video that will be posted online. making her the first democratic candidate to officially enter the 2016 race and this will be her second bid for the white house after losing the democratic nomination to barack obama in 2008. her video is expected around noon eastern time. we won't air it on c-span as soon as it is made available. -- we've will air it on c-span as soon as it is made available. >> first ladies as now a book, published by public affairs. looking inside the personal life of every first lady. based on interviews of 15 preeminent historians.
the book, first ladies presidential historians on the lives of 45 iconic american women provides lively stories of these fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house, sometimes at great personal cost while supporting their families and famous husbands, and even change history. it is an illuminating with entertaining, and inspiring read, and is now available as a hardcover or an e-book through your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. >> next, a look at the merits and impact of public employee unions. this is an hour.
[applause] ross reynolds: thank you so much for coming out. i have been looking forward to this, having read daniel's book. our format this evening is going to be fairly simple. it will be 10 minutes from daniel on the far side, and then michael on the near side. how many people are related to michael, by the way? he said he had relatives here. [laughter] five minutes then from each to respond to one another, and then i will take the moderator's prerogative to ask questions of my own, and you will have a chance to come to the microphone to ask your own questions. this is being recorded for c-span and by kuow, and i anticipate they will be airing the entire discussion on kuow and the shorter version on the show i host, "the record."
scott walker has recently been mentioned as a second-tier republican candidate for the presidency, and he is known for his animosity toward public employees. this is an issue that is not quite simmering at a high lane in the national level. i'm interested in whether this becomes more of a national debate. we might be talking about things you would hear a lot more about in the coming months and years. let's hear an opening statement from daniel. go right ahead, daniel. we have 10 minutes, and it is kind of dark up here. we have a timekeeper and that or may have to come down closer. we will start the 10-minute clock right now.
go ahead, daniel. professor disalvo: thank you very much for that introduction, and thank you for coming out tonight to listen to a debate about public sector unions, a subject that really until the scott walker's reform efforts in wisconsin have lied dormant. i want to thank michael for agreeing to come out, and it is an honor for me to be a peer with such a distinguished scholar. let me get right into my book. i will have to be more polemical tonight because this is more a debate format than in my book, but that will be more fun. i think public-sector unions have been really at the center of state and local governments and politics since the great recession. wisconsin brought the issue to national and international attention, but in many states from indiana to michigan to
rhode island to california to new york to illinois, this is where the action has been in state and local government. i think going forward we are going to see public employee unions as being getting a lot more attention in the press and the media and the subject of a lot more scrutiny than they have been prior to 2008. so i think that prior to 2008, journalists did not cover public employee unions closely. scholars did not either. when it comes to labor historians, political scientists, there just is not much written looking at public employee unions. my book is the first to try to take on this big subject and synthesize what we know, and make some arguments and conclusions from that. i think it is interesting
because the study of public employee unions is really fundamental to our political life because we are studying the state. we are really studying the political activity of government's own employees. what do i argue? i try to make a conceptual, very important distinction between unions in the public and the private sectors. a lot of us, myself included came into this project thinking about unions as being sort of more older style industrial or craft unions, guys in hard hats, steel-toed boots, who work difficult jobs, and that was the image, romantic image, many of us have, but that is not what the labor union movement looks like today. about half of the movement in 2009, for little why, a majority of members, were public employees, many of whom are
relatively affluent with master's degrees or college degrees. so this distinction, public and private, i argue it can be made in a number of different ways why they are different. first is history. public employee unions have a different historical trajectory. private unions are governed by a national law. public-sector unions are governed by state law and local ordinances passed in the 1960's and 1970's. as private-sector unions have declined, public unions have remained stable or constant. their histories are different. i argue the way they operate and the way they affect policy is different. public-sector unions get two bites of the apple. they can win things for their
members through collective bargaining, and also through politics, through participating in the political process electioneering, and lobbying, in a way that the private-sector counterparts cannot. public employee unions are different in a sense that they can exercise influence on both sides of the bargaining table in a way that private-sector unions cannot hope to do, which is through that second bite of the apple, lobbying and electioneering, public employee unions can gains him influence with those who are acting as management in a way that private-sector unions, whether that is machinists union's here
in seattle, which has no say over who boeing's ceo or cfo is. that is not the same in the public sector. fourth, the big difference between the two is that there is a lack of market incentives. markets really structure the dynamic between private-sector unions and management, and there is a lack of market forces in the private sector where are the government is the monopoly provider of many services. so after i make this decision i try to document what is the power of public-sector unions. i tried to give as much empirical data. this is on how much public employee unions spent on campaigns, how much they give to candidates, how much they spend on initiatives and referenda campaigns, what is their lobbying spending. i look at their overall
political advantages compared to both private-sector unions and other interest group players that are trying to get their way in american politics. those differences include they have easier access to politicians, they have much more easy to mobilize their membership for election campaigns and protests, rallies, because they are public workers themselves. they have a much more steady and stable revenue stream through dues and legal provisions. we can explain what those are later. fourth, as i said, up until the great recession, they were operating in a low visibility policy environment without a lot of media or public scrutiny. not only do they have a lot of political power, and just to give you a couple of examples, the california teachers association outspent the next
three largest interests in the state combined in the first decade of the 21st century in donations to candidates and parties. in new york state, the state democratic party is very honeycombed in with many of the public employee unions, and the state firefighters and teachers, it is shared the state federation of teachers in lower manhattan. that is what i mean when i get to the question of access. i look at some of the incentive structures in collective bargaining in the public sector and why i argue tends to favor the union position over time and this has to do with the political incentives or management incentives in the
public sector, where politicians are operating at different time horizons than union adversaries, and there is a lot of information asymmetries. unions know very much what they want, politicians are not so clear what exactly is in the public interest. so what is the effect of this power? i tried to marshal a lot of evidence to show that basically the effect of allowing public employees to unionize and bargain collectively has increased the cost of government through increased pay, increased benefits, for example, cities where firefighters are unionized pay on average about 9% more in salaries and about 25% more in benefits than cities where firefighters are not unionized for no measurably increase in service quality or fire protection. second, i try to find some empirical evidence, to show that
the union negotiations of work rules that often shield workers from management can stymie or squelch innovation in the public sector such that management that you are paying agency managers in different areas really does not have many management rights or management pulls, so you are paying management, but they are not equal to really manage in that sense. productivity is reduced. managers cannot credibly threaten workers with dismissal, cannot transfer them. in some cases they cannot assign them duties that would be appropriate to their skills. third, i argue that the effect of backloading -- and this is an interaction between collective bargaining and the pension benefit systems -- is what i call crowding out, the rising cost of the pension and health care for public employees, that is pushing some of its of the compensation back into retirement, has led to a squeezing a public budgets such that activists governments cannot do things that it might otherwise want to. i think i will basically wrap up here, but i would say that it has been raised as questions
whether agency shop provisions other provisions surrounding collective-bargaining in the public sector actually compromise workers' rights, and that has been the subject of supreme court litigations in two recent high-profile cases, and whether this is a violation of some workers' first amendment rights by organizing this way. i would finish with promoters of public sector unions have not, as far as i can tell, made a positive case for why organizing our public labor markets in this way and if it's the broader public. that it benefits the public workers themselves is clear. but what benefit rebounds to taxpayers, to consumers of public services? i have not seen a strong principled case that it does do that. i have seen some negative cases, that it does not have certain negative effects, but i have not seen a powerful first-principled case. i will leave it there.
professor mccann: thank you. i want to thank the organizers for inviting me here. i want to thank you, daniel, about talking about public-sector unions. we were chatting before we came out that the study unions in general has received little attention from a political scientist. this is a welcome opportunity. i am not a specialist in public-sector unions, and i am not a debater by trade. we were talking about that as well. we are going to try to play the role. i am here in the introduction, the primary reason why, is i am the director for the center for labor studies at the university of washington. we will start the debate. -.
because you may not want to sign it later, will you please sign my book? [laughter] let me start with one point of agreement. one point, 100% agreement, daniel begins by saying he is very much in favor of private-sector unions. he comes from a private-sector family background, and that he appreciates the role of private-sector unions have played in terms of representing workers, providing workers a voice, counterbalancing the power of concentrated capital, promoting conditions for safe and healthy work, for raising wages, providing social security, lobbying for social security, health benefits, and for really contributing to the rise of the middle class over the 20th century in america. where we disagree is not so much whether public unions are different, but whether they are different in a negative way, in a less beneficial way. where i disagree with him is that public-sector unions are more selfish in their goals, less democratic in the means by which they advance those goals in which they impose costs on government and more broadly on
the citizenry that squeezes out other kinds of agendas, and especially those that might and if it the most disadvantaged. so i should point out, because i am not sure it is clear, for my reading, a large part of the argument is about the shortfalls of pensions, that a squeezing of the funding, and while we talked about a variety of public sector unions, teachers plan important role. we get to talk about teachers and teacher unions. we will start with the argument about pension shortfalls that i see driving what this book is all about. daniel is right that there was a well-demonstrated shortfall in
funding for pensions that became apparent in the last seven or eight years. the degree eventually follows how much it is a crisis people disagree about. one thing that is important to emphasize is that the shortfalls are quite different in different states. back to what i have to say about causes. as a lot of information is in the book. it covers lots of information about union stability over time, how much union workers get paid,
but what i did not see was a clear causal argument, evidence that there is a lot assertion that unions impose these costs but i did not see evidence that made a clear causal connection between what unions are doing and the problems that we see in the costs they are imposing. i do see evidence of costs. certainly, the state had experience deficits, and in many states experienced shortfalls because of pensions. we see unions are very active in terms of bargaining at the table and also in electioneering, as you called it, in campaign contributions, lobbying and so forth, that i did not see the clear evidence that there was causal connection between those. to my reading, to action is good data about this, good data that helps us test this basic thesis about the causal impacts of unions. i will invoke a number of labor and columnists, in particular, the director for the center of retirement research at boston college, and another who is at berkeley, the dean of economics at harvard, and a number of other scholars, to give you a picture about what they say, because they have been looking at this issue to try to test whether this argument about what public-sector unions has done really stands. a lot of things they have told us, which is that the public sector has been stable over a time, the overall number of
workers has been stable, the amount of state budget, the percentage of workers love to the population, all that has been relatively stable. it was not from a rising trajectory that created some sort of crisis. we know from the data that public-sector workers make roughly an overall compensation with a private-sector counterparts do. they tend to make less wages and there has been a lot of study on that, showing that public-sector workers as a whole make 93% to 96% what private-sector workers do, when one controls for experience and skills and so forth. they tend to have more generous pensions, and that in some ways is relative for your argument. when you balance out lower wages, higher pensions, there is not much not different. the book begins with some examples of public sector
workers who are retiring on lots of money and made lots of money, but that is misleading about the overall picture. the other thing we know from these kinds of studies is that there is no correlation between union density, collective-bargaining laws, and union density in states them either with deficits that we saw in the states in the last 10 years or the shortfalls. there is a small linkage between the density of public-sector unions and the shortfalls, but that is corrected in once you add in the control for housing costs, that correlation no longer becomes significant. with some scholars, they say our public sectors are responsible for the shortfall. an answer is no, but one offers an answer by offering variables.
one found that the strongest explanation for what happened with the shortfall pensions was two related things. one was the overall fiscal crisis that first kicked in in 2005 and got much worse in 2007 through 2008, in the recession we are just coming out of. that created massive budget deficits. you put that together with the states that experienced the greatest shortfall, explanation is those states experienced very bad management by politicians and those that they appointed as managers accounts for where the shortfalls are. that data to my reading is quite consistent and quite compelling. the aggregate data suggest you put together the fiscal crisis but it exposes the fact of mismanagement. mismanagement is that workers
and employers, public sector pay into well-funded pension plans. what politicians were doing was not putting all the money that was due to workers into those plans. they were diverting that money to other types of causes. it happens in the fiscal crisis, the deficits of 2005 to 2011 the states are in crisis and it exposes the fact, and you can look at specific case studies identity, which is probably the worst. "kentucky fried pensions." an accountant became a whistleblower to the fcc about the mismanagement in kentucky, and what was shown was the
politicians only paid about 28% of the money that was committed over time, and then when the crisis hit, they had this massive shortfall of unfunded liability into the pension plan. other states, not quite as bad. illinois had 38%. other states not quite so bad. pennsylvania, new jersey, your home state, california, a number of states. some states did not experience a shortfall. one of the states that did not was washington state. the money was paid in, it was adjusted over time, various adjustments negotiated with the unions, and in 2000 there was 100% coverage of the pensions. when the crisis had come all but two very old pension plans were funded at 100% and they were barely under 100%. the argument as to these other causes to talk about was
political mismanagement, politicians who were siphoning off funds. that is the primary story. public-sector unions do not control that. the politicians have to make the decisions. ross reynolds: you are out of time. five minutes to respond. professor disalvo: i am glad michael responded, and i will take them in order. public employee unions, not that they are good, it is that they are not doing harm, which is to say they did not consider it to deficits during the recession, and i cite in the book a study arguing that, that they are not responsible for the pension funding. i cite another book. if i wanted to make michael's case stronger, that is, the no case, i would also add that they are not overpaid.
those would be the three points of the negative case. no harm, not overpaid, they did not contribute to pension underfunding, it did not contribute to deficits. that does not take into account the vast amount of evidence that i show the downsides of the costs. i do not want to get into the war of the studies. but scholars are not the only ones out there, and there are others out there, excellent scholars like one at stanford who has a good paper coming out in one of the top-tiered journals that shows that public employee unions, using the same empirical techniques, were responsible for writing up both the size of pensions and their
underfunding in some key states. i will leave aside whether public employee unions are as possible for the underfunding issue in some states. there is clearly some bad actors where there is a lot going on. new jersey is one of them. illinois is another, where the pensions are in fairly bad shape. leaving that aside, there is a good causal connection to show that the size of the pension even if they are well funded using the government's current accounting techniques, which are also a little bit questionable -- my home state of new york is 100% funded if you use the 8% government downgrade -- however, the size of pensions as public employee unions have grown, the size of pensions, that is, their overall liabilities, are
enormous. they went from being roughly 25% of the state's budget annually to being in the liabilities being three times or even in some cases four times the size of the state's -- these are much larger funds that are much, much riskier, and to make those returns stay 100% funded, the pension funds are now getting into much riskier investments, in hedge funds, in equities. that is part of the story. i did not hear -- and to take michael's second point -- that there is not a causal connection. i find that interesting. if one lays out as much as i do the evidence for how much power state and local governments are exercising, the amount of money they are contribute in spending, there is a clear causal connection between that and certain pay raises, certain work rules that are negotiated
and if one had reversed it and provided that same evidence and taken out wherever i put public-sector unions and put corporate business, everyone would have said, yes, there is a clear causal connection. i think partly that can be an ideological point, which is to say in social science a clear causal connection, i think we can make our test judgment, but the most sophisticated empirical techniques, it is still going to be are very delicate question whether you have an ironclad causal connection. but i think there you do see -- i think as far as political science goes, this is about as strong a causal connection that these costs are being driven and some of the effects i laid out are driven in part or in whole by public employee unions. i will leave it there. professor mccann: one is the politics of this and politics
every report. i will try to make a positive case. there is a politics to this, and it is important -- we get 2010 2011, massive deficits again around the country, these shortfalls in a number of states, and politicians who are trying to deal with this crisis. the crisis creates the challenge, but also an opportunity. one thing it does not provide is an opportunity for political leaders. what are they going to do? they have got to find someone to blame. they find the public-sector unions. they said the unions are the ones to -- that come and they go to the -- and that is why you see all this attention to public sector unions because they are the ones who caused the crisis although just that the data shows that there is not even a vague cause.
second thing is some of the scapegoating is political. after all, the public-sector unions give more to democrats than republicans. what you find in some states take wisconsin, where scott walker, who makes the brush of his challenge or attack on the unions, but what does he do? he exempts the police and firefighters because they tend support republicans. so you go after the teachers and that is what happens in a number of states where there is an effort to scapegoat the public-sector workers, and it is not entirely republicans against democrats supporting, but it is mostly, and there are exceptions. rhode island, you mentioned -- is divisive in the democratic party, but there is a politics to this.
the third thing is that important is not addressed in the book at all, is what is going on, that there is an opportunity for financial investors, in that in the 1970's and 1980's, private pensions were replaced with 401(k)s, and private investment schemes. the primary argument is you need to replace the pension funds in the public sector with those private investment schemes. that is largely the private investors who are pushing that the same ones who got us in the economic crisis to begin with, and they want to push governors and legislators to make the workers pay for the costs of the shortfall in terms of higher contributions, lower benefits, lower wages, and in washington state we have not had cost of living raises in the last six years, and then turned it plans
to the hedge fund brokers who are going to invest that and make tons of money in fees, and they're the ones were tried to break up the unions. that is quite a deal. even by american standards, that is a shocking story, i think. there is a larger story here and there is none of it in the book. not in the book about the politics of this, and the fact that some of the people who have a direct interest in pressing for this financial reform that it is going to go to the private investors are board members of the manhattan institute, where you are a fellow. i understand there's a connection there. the positive case for unions. if you take what i just said our public-sector unions teachers and police and firefighters, are they less democratic than hedge fund managers who want to take over this money in funding? one of your points is that public-sector unions is not the counterbalance the concentrated capital or two owners or employers that they are in the private sector. they are pushing agendas which are about raising wages, increasing work in the public sector, but they are working to private sector unions together.
you see alliances between public and private sector unions. one of the arguments is they are playing two and of democracy at the bargaining table. people do that all the time. i contribute to partisan politics. i argue in public forums like this. unions, because they're pushing democratic thoughts, are increasing democracy and doing it with the alliance is a private sector for the great many other insecure workers. ross reynolds: this is getting good. daniel, i would like to hear you respond to some of what we just heard from michael, particularly to the last point. you say that public unions have two bites of the apple, and michael is saying, that is taking place in a lot of areas. professor mccann: i would not start there because it is not taking in the same way -- if you take the two bites of the apple part, public employee unions are the only one that gets to negotiate with government or
with their employer directly for salary, benefits, and working conditions, but can also lobby that same employer to the political process of that now. many of us participate in civic life. all of you are here, i assume many of you are civically engaged. you may contribute to the sierra club, the nra, but those groups have to get people who are interested in guns, in the environment, they have to organize to make their case. they do not get to collectively bargain with government, too. private sector unions, for example, they get to collectively bargain with their employers for pay, benefits, and working conditions, and they do certainly participate in politics, but private sector union participation in politics
is more in a sense a broader sense, a broader agenda, not in areas that will immediately affect the likelihood of their members. they may improve society can improve things for their members, but is a much more long-term project and say lobbying the government for a pension sweeteners that will change the formula that is going to allow people to benefit. i would come back to michael on a couple of points. i think he is being unfair to say that i am not citing the most sophisticated empirical studies. i think they're in there. there are other studies than the ones he wants to look like. i tried to parse them as carefully as i could on a chapter on pay. if you look at paid premiums, a term that economists use when operable workers in public and private sector, when there is a premium, if you look at the states with the premiums that
are the largest, they are correlated strongly with the highest union percentage states. so i think there is an empirical causal connection there. i do also in the book, and there's a chapter on lobbying, look at some of the ways in which the employee unions have gotten into that with some of the big financial interest that michael decries in the sense that they are very much involved, and big hedge funds are interested in managing the money of these pension funds and have sometimes lobbied for pension sweeteners along with the public employee unions because that will be more money for them to manage. on the political side, i did not get to it in my initial remarks, but i would say i come back and say that one of the big problems that comes out of this on the political side is the rise of public employee unions and the ways that they after been up
costs and created this problem contributed to the larger problem of crowding out, has created a huge political conundrum for democrats and divided the democratic party over this. you can see this, whether you look at rahm emanuel, and then mayor of my home city, bill de blasio, or other politicians the illinois state legislature on the other side. this is a real divide within the state populace and centrists wings of the democratic party about how to handle the problem, because if you are democrat and believe -- a liberal and believe the government can do a lot of good for people and for society, you are between a rock and hard place now with the rising pension and health liabilities which are very large, as i mentioned, because they are squeezing out what you can spend to do on other things. they're cutting into library hours. the person who decided to run for office in rhode island, she saw library hours had been cut in order to pay these back
pension liabilities. ross reynolds: one quick question for you, daniel, and a response from michael, and then the microphones are open, and i hope you will bring your own questions. let's say you are right, that public unions have an unfair advantage that it is such an unfair advantage that outweighs the benefits they provide to the public. if that is so, what is to be done? professor disalvo: that is a hard question. one i usually try to duck. [laughter] i have tried to analyze this phenomenon, and it has not been that studied. as michael mentioned, and he is right, there's an enormous amount of variation. this book is about state and local governments, states and cities, and there's lots of variation across the country. some places have big pension problems. think of illinois, new jersey. other states have big pay premiums. my home state of new york, for
public employees, that is the case, and that is on equitable vis a vis the private sector. there are different problems and those are going to report different solutions in different places. i think in states where public employee unions are very strong, there could be different things that could be done, and i think it will depend on the culture of those particular places. ross reynolds: michael, what are your concerns about what should be done, that this idea that public unions take unfair advantage of the public takes hold and moves forward? professor mccann: i do not agree. let me address a couple points. the two bites of the apple. one thing is that the two forms, electioneering and collective bargaining, tend to deal with
other issues. this is been well documented. the pensions are set through legislation. those are different venues. they need to fight in different forums. right there, i do not understand what you are arguing. the second thing about that is when public-sector unions participate in electioneering to influence legislators, they are only one small piece of the overall picture. they have a limited number of voters. have a lot of money in some states for certain kinds of policies. there's a lot of other people and big business and financial interests are giving more money when there is something at stake for them to do that. that does not begin to get at the imbalance that he is because large corporations do not have to give a lot of money because of the dependence of states and
cities on those large corporations to provide employment and sometimes provide taxes. in the state of washington, we know about boeing. they will say we will leave if we do not billions of dollars in subsidies. when public-sector unions get money, that is all they had. the only thing public-sector unions that have marginally like that, is to strike. but strikes are outlined in the public sector in most states and in states where they are allowed where public-sector unions are being stigmatized as having caused the crisis they're not likely to go on strike, because that is a very bad situation to do that. while this countervailing stuff, i do not think it is significantly addressing the issue of power. it's come back to the positive issue. that the thing about not present issues that are democratic and contribute to equity and contribute to proving working conditions for workers and for middle class is just wrong. public-sector unions are lined with private-sector unions in engaging with issues.
a tax in seattle was pushed by public-sector unions working with community groups, faith groups, other unions. there was a public-private union project, but pushing that, and that has become one of the primary causes around the country, minimum wages for everybody. and present on a whole for right of social benefits that will benefit working people that have been taken away or whittled away. to make this case that they are undemocratic in either means or ends, the primary standard for your book is about markets and about the way markets work. in many ways, what does about is interesting to neoliberal projects of privatizing government, privatizing pension plans, privatizing prisons, and much of the contracting out of government, which is i would say not something i would necessarily equate with democracy. that is not a project contributes to equity, to the increasing inequality between concentrated wealth and corporate capital. ross reynolds: i would like to open it up to those of you who have questions. step up close to the microphone
so they can pick you up well on c-span. say your name into the microphone and give us your question. >> my name is stephen miller and i am a teacher. [laughter] i will get to the question, but i want to participate in the debate. i appreciate the fact that the leading was able to hold the state of washington hostage for the largest tax cut in history. that was quite a big bite, $9 billion. it is equivalent to saying the titanic sunk because of the waiters and maids that were working on the titanic that day. so let's work with a simple concept, using economic principles. you want to know what unions due to create a positive impact.
so would you agree -- and both of michael of daniel, this is a question for you -- higher wages for the average worker divides higher wages and benefits for most workers? ross reynolds: ok. >> washington state is a great example. unions have played a very key role in raising wages in washington state. so let's work on that civil economic principle. ross reynolds: let's start with michael. professor mccann: it is mostly for him, because i agree with him. professor disalvo: i would start by saying correcting the record. i do not argue in the book that public employee unions are the cause of the great recession or are the single bullet cause of the pension crisis across the country or that they caused higher deficits to go up. i do not argue those things. i do argue that states -- and
again i draw on richard freeman for the empirical data on this states with stronger public unions didn't have higher levels of public debt, but that is different than the deficit different than the recession. i do not argue that in the book, and if anyone got that message here, take that away. it to the gentleman's question there is a threat it effect in economics, so if one company firm is unionized him raises wages can us running firms will need to match in hopes of staving off a union drive. those effects with a private-sector unions could not only help the workers in one plant, but in surrounding workers, no economist has felt threatened effect in the public sector.
the public sector can raise wages and benefits, but it tends not to have any effect on the surrounding labor market. this goes back to the point that michael is a little confused about, there is a deep connection between -- of negotiating through collective bargaining and pensions. the connection, and there is often at least anecdotally, you discover this, that public managers will often say we cannot do anything for you unions on payroll right now, because that is factored in the current budgets, but we can do something on the pensions longer term, and that will be pushed off later and you can get that compensation in return down the line. so the pay question is very much
connected to the pension question because any pay raises is going to be factored into how the pensions are calculated and what people's final average salary is. ross reynolds: we can go to another question. professor mccann: that is precisely what you just explained, in that politicians say we cannot give you a wage raise now, but we can feed the pension down the road or vice versa. that is what is meant by mismanagement. politicians will get that to you down the road, but they siphon it out. they're not there because the ones that are losing benefits and security down the road and making concessions to pay for the politicians' responsibility. it is likely what is argued as the problem. secondly, quickly, about the impact of raising wages in the
public sector. that is completely wrong, what you said. if you raise wages in the public sector -- i wrote a book about the 1980's. this is where unions worked with local civic groups to organize women who were not unionized in the public sector to file lawsuits on their behalf and take those lawsuits to collective bargaining to raise wages, because women workers are systematically underpaid. white women, especially women of color. this is what martin luther king was fighting for when he was assassinated. unions led that battle. public-sector unions. what happened, and there are studies in the bay area, because there is a major pay equity to become when you raise the wages of secretaries and clerical and nurses in the public sector, that raises the wages of everybody else in the private sector as well. that is what we call markets. it has those ripple kinds of effects. it is not truly consequential
that the wages of women in the 1960's on average were only 59 cents to every dollar that men made. there were a variety of zones, but that that had a significant part, but that gap closes from 59 cents to 77 cents per dollar. sometimes these effects are local, and if you do it in lots of places, you get lots of ripples. for fighting the cause of minimum wage, it is something that is aimed at raising the wages at everybody. ross reynolds: a couple more questions. >> my name is john stafford. my question is for michael. my question might imply that i am unsympathetic to public unions, but in fact i am in support of them.
my question deals with process. it is my understanding in washington that when unions negotiate wage and benefit packages, the general structure or model is that union representatives meet with the governor, reach an agreement and go to the legislature who can vote for it or against it, but cannot modify it. that has received attention to the respect of if it is the appropriate process and has the appropriate level of transparency. my question is twofold. is the washington state model replicated reasonably uniform across the country, or are we sort of the standout in that respect? second, do you support the basic process by which union contracts are negotiated at the state level? thank you. professor mccann: i am not an expert. i know that pension issues are
legislative issue, that does not mean unions to not have a role in that. they meet with the governor and present the case, and the governor presents that to the legislature which decides how to do with that. that means there are ongoing negotiations after the injury that budget, which means the governor rarely gets the budget that the governor wants. at least in washington state. i am sure there is a lot of room if there is a fully transparent process, but that is for than undercutting the protector unions the same as the problem. the politicians on the one who determine what the nature of the processes. i would turn it back to that is a political question, not something that is the fault of the viability of the public sector unions. ross reynolds: let's bring it back over the side. >> my name is karen strickland. i am a former community college
teacher. there's a little context for you. [laughter] i'm a longtime activist in my union. my experience is different than what you were stating, daniel, in terms of the role of the unions and looking out for their own interests as opposed to the collective good or the public good. and while i make no apologies for unions looking out for the interests of their members as working people, it is also the case that my union -- and i think this is true of many public-sector unions -- have actually really led the charge to protect the people that we serve. in my case, community college students -- ross reynolds: what is your question? >> i'm getting to it -- k-12 workers, teachers. if you could elaborate on your thinking around the last of a benefit for the public good in terms of union roles. professor disalvo: i'm glad you raise that question, a good one.
it brings back a few things that michael has argued in tried to put forward the positive case, which is if you think about the activity of public employee unions, you think about it as a set in terms of issues and the things they are going to invest time, money, and energy on. they are a set of concentric circles. there is nothing wrong starting with their own interests in the union leadership's interest in way that best deal for their membership. it would be surprising if that was not agenda item number one. it was not, leadership is often elected democratically. someone would run against him and say we could win a better pay, better benefits, or better working conditions. that will be agenda item number one. from there, public employee unions -- and this goes to connected to private sector use and in some ways supporting private sector unions, so michael is right about that alliance.
there's a lot of fissures in that alignment. public-sector unions went with her opponents. there are fissures between public and private. beyond that, public employee unions, as i mentioned, are deeply embedded or braided into the larger democratic party. at least rhetorically lots of the main issues positions of the larger liberal coalition spirit that i other groups on the left the political spectrum, such as the teachers unions has built at a couple of points the naacp financially. in that sense, it becomes not a principled case for why this is better for everyone, and it becomes a partisan case which is i support liberal politics public employee unions are the financial, the money and manpower today behind the liberal coalition, so therefore i support them, and that is in a sense the broader principled argument such as it goes.
ross reynolds: i will take one more question, but i'm sure daniel and michael will be around afterward if you would like to buttonhole them for other questions. your name and your question? >> dan kaplan. has there been any analysis of the outcome of scott walker's union legislation on the fiscal state of wisconsin or the county levels and the education outcomes at the county level as well in terms of class size, impact of other services, at the state or local level? professor disalvo: there has been some analysis. the big effect of act x has been to reduce membership. wisconsin's job growth was not as good as walker promised. how much he deserves credit or blame of that is the subject of debate. some counties were able during the recession, counties and
cities, most notably no walking, used act x to balance the budget in ways they could not before. in terms of larger outcomes, i do not know of journalistic reports, but no reliable studies. i think it is early for some of those empirical questions to be answered. ross reynolds: daniel will be doing a signing afterwards, but i want to thank both views for this enlightening conversation. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
we will look where your comments on twitter starting at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. tonight on c-span, advocate maude barlow on the water crisis. >> the great lakes are in very serious trouble. we have invasive species massive pollution overpumping and overexploitation of the water system itself. one other study on groundwater taking says that if the great lakes is the pump as mercilessly
as groundwater around the world with the great lakes could be dead dry in 80 years. if you have ever stood on the banks of the exterior, you could not imagine that, but it is also full. we are also dealing with future vocation -- that blue-green algae that they expect to come back this summer. it is from farming where we do not have proper regulation and these nutrients are running off into our system. it is poisoning the great lakes basin. the patch we thought we got rid of is back, and it is very serious issue. >> tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.
eastern, on c-span. the polk county iowa democratic party hosted it spring awards dinner in the morning -- des moines. they hosted former governor martin o'malley and former senator james webb. they each spoke for about 20 minutes. [applause] >> thank you very much. it is a pleasure to be able to spend a few minutes with you tonight. i would like to think the polk county democrats to be here with you. i would also like to express my appreciation to the uaw for hosting this event. it can safely be said that i am the only person ever elected to
statewide office in virginia where the unions have purple hearts and three touches -- with two purple hearts and three tatoos. i'm very proud of this support. [applause] i would also like to say, that these videos were so extraordinarily well done. the one that really got to me was the first one about the veterans. i do not think that anyone who has had to watch friends be shipped away like that will never forget it. i come from a family with a long military tradition. my dad was a world war ii bomber pilot. he was a pioneer in the missile program. i was a marine, my brother was the\
a marine, my son was a marine. i would like to take this opportunity to ask those who are veterans to stand up and be recognized tonight. [applause] we are happy to be here in iowa. i got here yesterday, my bags got here today. [laughter] i have to admit, last night i am strongly in my faith and i'm for that, but i did suffer for committing the sin of envy. i was sitting in a hotel room coming from american airlines from chicago, sitting on the tarmac for six hours in the delay, and i got to omaha and my back was not in omaha. i had to figure out who to get my bag to omaha and then to des
moines. i called my wife, and i said i'd get here, i do not know where my bag is, and i look there and donald trump's aircraft is sitting on the runway. what is i do with my life? she said to get over it. you were so in a hurry to get out of here you did not kiss me goodbye, so this is god's way of kicking you in the seat. [laughter] i thought -- one of the greatest heroes of my life is hurley copeland. he was my coach my senior year in high school. more than that. he was a national golden globes
champion that year. the had a knockout in the finals, made the olympic cheating the next year -- deliberate team the next year, and was an incredible mentor to me. i needed some stability in my life, and i had to work all through my high school. that is why i started boxing. i got an active to make scholarship, went to the university of southern california before it went to the naval academy. i went out track, and i ran the 880. the first me i was in i came in second, and i was very proud of myself. i would buy to see harley, and he asked what i was doing. i got the scholarship from iran in this race and i came in second. he asked if i was bragging?
i said yes because i have never done this before, and i came in second. he said do not ever come bragging if you come in second. i never forgot that. we are happy to be here in iowa. we are going to come back to iowa. we're going to go overall the whole state, and we're going to come back as many times as we can. you'll be seeing more of us. i would like to take a few minutes tonight to talk to you about three things that i care deeply about. what are the challenges that are facing us as a nation?
where do i see the need for us to really focus in the next several years? the first is restoring fairness economic fairness. social justice in our system. i talked about this when i ran for the senate. it was the principal issue i was talking about when i ran for the senate. we have had an economic recovery since the great recession that has only helped a partial element in our society. we have to be honest about that. particularly as democrats we have to be honest about that. if you go to april 2009, and look at the recovery. if you own stocks and capital assets, you're probably doing pretty well. the stock market bottomed out as lois 6000, and has been up to 18,000 almost tripling since april of 2009.
working people's wages have gone down since 2009. assets of the working people have actually decreased. we have to fix this problem. we have to put our leadership efforts into fixing this challenge. we have to reshape our national security. i am proud that is able to serve as a marine during a very tough time in our country's history. i was also able to spent five years in the pentagon. i sat on the armed services mini-cooper the foreign relations committee when i was in the senate. i'm privileged to be a journalist in the time that i am not been in public service. i was in beirut when the marines were in beirut in 1983, covering it for pbs. i was in afghanistan in 2004 as an embedded journalist. i can tell you, from these years of observations and involvement that we need to have a new doctrine that articulates for us the national security policy of the united states. and from that doctrine, we can
reshape the united ace military. cannot reshape the military without a strategy, clearly understood. the third area we really need to focus on is basic governess. we need to be working toward a governing style that will allow the congress and the presidency to work together, and also people of different parties to work together. what should you be looking for in terms of leadership? first of all when i go around the country and i talk to people, i hear over and over again that we need leaders that we can trust. we need leaders that will tell us what the problems are, with the police are not the problems, and how they want to fix it. there is a consistency in that. this kind of leadership course thate willingness to take a risk, to take the hits. to stand up for what you believe
, not from a poll that helps you to ship an issue politically but what you need to do is put out these issues in a way that is not simply smart or safe, but from your heart. and i have to say the one comment that i have been the part of staff in the leadership positions i've had is when people tell me i do not agree with you all the time, but i know what you say is what you mean. that is not always easy to do. when i look at the issue of the iraq war, it was not easy to say early that this was going to be a strategic error. i wrote the first piece in the national newsmakers that this is going to be a strategic
problem. there are ways to address our national security without being an occupying force in that part of the world. you do not take a hornets nest out by sitting on it. [laughter] it was not an easy thing to do to take on criminal justice reform. when i started talking about our broken criminal justice system, i had advisers tell me you are committing suicide rate. but it is clear that it is broken from the point of apprehension to the reentry process. i held to have years of hearings on it, and we'd introduce legislation for a national commission. we brought this issues out of the shadows into the national debate.
the great irony is this is in issue that the democratic party should own. know who is making the most mileage out of it right now? rand paul. rand paul. when you look at the american conservative political action conference, it was the number three issue to be focusing on. we need to get the issue back. the comprehensive issue of criminal justice reform, not little sizzle of it. -- pieces of it. one i introduced the g.i. bill my first day in office, i had written it with counsel. and the comment i was making even before i ran for the senate, is give them the same educational opportunities of the greatest generation.
and people saying that you're a freshman, you've only been here two weeks, there are bills from others first. but we developed a partisan consensus. and in 16 months, we were able to pass the most comprehensive piece of veterans legislation since world war ii. one of the great prize of my life is more than million -- a million post-9/11 veterans have been able to take it vantage of our g.i. bill. [applause] how can we make america a better place? let's look into the future. i want to say something that troubles me a lot and i think there are a lot of people in this room who would agree. money is ruining our political process. [applause]
particularly since the citizens united case of 2012 i hear jeb bush say he made hundred nine dollars in three months. he is meeting with the super pac's, he is not alone. this cannot continue. the only way we're going to do anything about it is to make sure that our people, by the numbers, can outnumber the kind of money that is coming in here and we get the policies we believe into place. we had 14,000 volunteers that came up and helped us win we ran against an incumbent senator who just gotten highest number of votes for president. we need to remember, the american dream is a unique thing in this world.
when people say you should not talk about american exceptionalism. excuse me. i think the american dream is unique in that is why people are trying to come here from all over the world. i was in to get scholarships to go to school, as able to serve my country. i've had a great experience in my life. but my wife has really lived the american dream. she was born in vietnam. her family escaped be a noun one the communists took over. your something to remember. april 30, it is good to be the 40's anniversary of the fall of saigon. those of you who can remember what that was like, what the chaos was like in that country. hundreds of thousands of vietnamese were jumping into the sea, rather than face what was happening when the communists took over. her extended family got on a fishing boat, and they went out to see.
they did not know they're going to live or die. after three days, the united date's navy scooped them out of the sea. brought them to a refugee camp and long, from there she went to a refugee camp in arkansas, and her family eventually and settled in new orleans. her parents never spoke english. she started working when she was 11. she got a scholarship to the university of michigan grade she and going to cornell law school. that is the american dream. [applause] we are going to preserve this, it is going to come from the democratic party. we have to remember that. we are never going to find an answer in the republican party on issues like economic fairness and giving people who have no voice in the corridors of power the voice of the democratic party.
and we should say, we should agree, that we are not going to be marginalized by special interests. we're not be silenced in the face of overwhelming pressures that this kind of money can buy. we will not just to a future that marginalizes this whole beauty of the american dream. we will not allow them to ignore us after the election is over. everyone in this room, i think shares these type of feelings, or you would not be committing yourself to the type of service that you are giving right now. if enough of you believe that we can restore and preserve the american dream for everyone then we will not become what some people are calling the moderate wing of the republican party. we will return to the party of
roosevelt and of truman, the party that truly looks after everyone who lacks a voice. [applause] harley cooper will be prodded me, because we're not going to come and come second -- come in second. we are the guarantor of stability in the world, and that is going to continue. thank you very much. [applause] governor o'malley: