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tv   [untitled]    April 25, 2016 7:00pm-8:02pm EDT

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decade. so what happened? what happened is events like this. formations like this. a activism like this. so i think that he's right, if we stay in touch, if we day connected, if we're firm on what our ask is, if we, you know, come together to argue, to disagree, to plan, to strategize, that we can create change. so i just wanted to go out with a kind of anthem because the first song my mother made me learn was "we shall overcome." that was the anthem of an earlier civil rights movement. and this new civil rights movement, it has anthem as well. it's a lot more rambunctious than the stately "we shall overcome" but like "we shall
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overcome" it's faith based and it's optimistic. so let's listen to some kendrick. ♪ ♪ ♪ we gon be all right ♪ we gon be all right >> when she looks a s at this r she sees a beautiful crowd a diverse crowd. this is a crowd engaged in what
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martin luther king called a beautiful struggle. i see the same beauty in our diversity and i'm optimistic as well. i think if all of us work together, we're going to be all right. with that, you're all invited to reception outside. thank you so much for coming. [ applause ] tonight on "the communicators" the safety and security of the u.s. electric grid is a topic by former "night line" ted koppel. "lights out ""examines the u.s. electric grid, how vul nubble the u.s. electric grid is to attack and how companies are prepared to respond to an attack. >> the notion that you are going
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to give over control of the defense of your industry requires that you give up an awful lot of information that a lot of those companies do not want to give up. there was a bill passed last fall in the senate after years of wrangling that now has private industry willing to pass on information to the government but only after they have sanitized it. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. white house council of economic advisers chair furman on the decision to weigh in on the fcc's plan to create a competitive market for set top boxes. he also talks about recent job and economic gains at a christian science event last friday.
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>> okay. we're going to start and have some people join us in progress. thanks for coming. i'm dave cook from from "the monitor." our guest is mr. furman. we appreciate his coming back. his first association with the council was in 19 96 during the clinton administration we he was still a graduate student at harvard and hired as a staff economist at the council. since then he served as senior adviser to the world bank, special adviser to clinton, and senior fellow and economic studies and director of the hamilton project at brookings. ray lo
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along the way he earned three degrees. he's been a visiting scholar at nyu's wagner graduate. earlier in the obama administration, our guest was principal deputy director of the national economic council before being named to his current post in june of 2013. and with that, we'll leave behind biography and move to this morning's mechanics. as always, we're on the record here. please no live blogging or tweeting, in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way to give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. there's no embargo when the session ends, promptly at 10:00, or 9:59. to help you resist that relentless selfie urge, we'll e-mail several pictures to self-reporters here as soon as the breakfast ends and as regular attendees know, if you'd like to ask a question send me a not threatening signal and i'll
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happily call on one and all. i'll start with giving our guest the opportunity for an opening if we wishes. >> thanks for organizing it. thanks for everyone who's here and we just start out briefly by sag the we've now seen 73 straight months of private sector job growth which is the longest streak of job growth we ever had in this country, more than 12 million jobs added by american businesses. but we still need to do more to make sure that more americans are seeing the benefit of the economy, building on the wage gains we've already seen to see even larger wage gains. in the state of the union, the president began by talking about his economic strategy and talked about the three parts of his economic strategy. the first focused on expanding education and training. the second talked about improving public programs to
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help people find jobs, help people move from job to job with things like wage insurance and reformed unemployment insurance. and the third part of the strategy he outlined in the state of the union was to make sure that themy w meconomy was operating an a set of rules of the road that worked for consumers, worked for small businesses and worked for workers rather than being set up for the large companies. this last week we took an important step to flesh out that third part of the economic agenda as outlined in the state of the union. when the president issued an executive order instructing all the agencies to go and look at what they could do to inject more competition into the economy. together with that order, the president weighed in on a
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proceeding at the fcc and asked the fcc to open up set top boxes. something we all have sitting living room. 99% of us use the cable box that we rent from our cable company. people pay an average of $230 a year. after four years, you've paid $1,000 and still rented, don't own it. the price of cable boxes have gone up while the components have gotten cheaper. we asked the fcc to open up box so you can buy your own, have greater diversity and choice which we think would lead to innovation. that's just an example. we've done many things like this before whether it's cell phone unlocking, requiring airlines to free up slots at airports for competitors, or improving competition in defense procurement and agencies will have 60 days to report back with
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additional ideas along these lines and the reason we think this is important is because of a range of evidence that the council of economic advisers collected and issued a brief last week by a number of different measures there's less competition in the economy today than there was selveral decades ago. there's fewer new firms entering. the average firm size is larger. the average market share of firms is larger. the rate of return on capital relative to the safe rate of return is rising. for some firms, rates of return are persistently very high and all of those can both get in the way of efficiency and innovation, for example, set top boxes, the type of competition you'd like to see to make those boxes better and can also produce greater inequality by raising the prices for consumers or disadvantaging workers. so, happy to talk about, you know, this general set of
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policies and ideas around competition, what the status is, what we can do about it but obviously anything on the economy more broadly. >> let me start by giving you a chance to respond to critics of the cable decision -- the cable industry, the national cable and telecommunications association. but says the white house has injected, quote, politics and inflammatory rhetoric into a regulatory proceeding by what is supposed to be an ingedependent agency and executive producer of "walking dead" reading "variety" says if the fcc goes along with the white house, it will make piracy as easily -- as easy and as dangerous in the living room as it is on laptops and mobile devices.
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>> the law makes it very clear that the administration can comment on fcc proceedings. there's a procedure for that which is filing a comment through ntia. that is the procedure that previous administrations have used on numerous occasions and this administration has used on numerous occasions. we had a very serious policy conversation about this issue. thought that it was an issue that mattered a lot to consumers and also to innovation and economic growth more broadly. and wanted to share those views and did it in a fully transparent way. we think this is important both because of this particular case. again, i -- it is a fact that the typical household over four years is going to spend about
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$1,000, not get the improvements in their cable set top box that we see in, you know, lots of other areas of our technological economy. and won't even own the box at the end of that process. and it's a fact that incumbent industries want to defend the tieing of that product to the tieing of the delivery of the cable service when in reality those are two very different products. we wanted to weigh in on that. also wanted to use it as an example of steps that we'd love to see other agencies coming up with that would similarly have tangible easy to understand benefits for consumers and the economy more broadly. >> do you have a list, sir, or an example or two that you could give us? as you say, you see it as an example in the blog post that you -- you called it the cable thing a mascot for other initiatives. are there examples that you can cite of where you expect to see
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other pro-competitive decisions taken before the end of the obama administration? >> i don't have forward-looking examples because the agencies are working actively on this right now and it's something we'd obviously talk to them about even before the president signed his executive order. in terms of some of the past ones, a good example is cell phone unlocking. whether than having your cell phone tied exclusively to a given carrier, letting you unlock it and use it with different carriers. there was a we the people petition where tens of thousands of americans asked us to something about it. we studied the issue. came out in favor of it. ultimately that required legislation which we championed as well as actions by the fcc and others and now it's easier for you to move your cell phone to a different carriers. that helps f you change, helps you get a better deal, even if you don't change, just the threat you might do it helps restrain prices.
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airline slots is another one. airlines sitting on slots in airports they weren't using it and using it to fore close on other airlines being able to compete effectively. d.o.t. required them to give up those slots, let other airlines use it and created -- those are twhop two of the types of examples that we'd like to see more of going forward. >> i'm going to do one more then we're going to go to howard snyder of reuters to start around the table. do you think tpp is dead, sir? the most likely democratic candidate says i don't believe it's going to meet the high bar i've set. the most likely republican candidate says it was a deal that was designed for china to come in as they always do through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. >> i do not believe that at all, in fact, i think tpp is very
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important to our economy. in fact, every year that we delay tpp costs us nearly $100 billion in present value at the foregone benefits that we would get from that agreement. the support for it is growing. trade associations, business groups representing businesses from large to small, have consistently come out for it. every week, new groups come out for it. the authority to negotiate that agreement was passed on a bipartisan basis in congress last year. and we hear from a number in congress that understand the importance of getting it done this year. so we're going to continue doing that. it continues to be economically important and continues to be something that we know a majority of members of congress, you know, are in principle open to doing. >> we're going to go to howard snyder from reuters and greg
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from "usa today." howard? >> two things, labor market oriented and one more real economy. the recent uptick in labor force participation sort of given some confidence that janet yellen's vision of the labor market is fundamentally accurate. i'm wondering in your opinion how much farther you think that might go given the demographic drag on participation generally that you've documented. and secondly, i'm interested in your thoughts about the slow sort of tepid growth of the recovery and whether or not that's -- there's a potential upside there to the extent it's being caused by a, you know, the stronger financial regulations that are being put in place and second, the sort of prudential saving that seems to be going on among corporations and households. mortgage rates. people are paying off their mortgages. companies are saving and it seems that that's got the potential to lessen the reliance on external finance in the next recession and perhaps make it
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shallower, a bit of a buffer. >> those are two great questions. in answer to your first one, it's been really encouraging to see the increase in labor force participation rate. in fact, it's increasing at the fastest rate that it has in over 30 years. but the underlying demographics as you noted in your question still mean that a larger and larger fraction of our population is going to be over the age of 65. when you do the arithmetic around it, that is about a .3 decline per year in the participation rate just from the aging of the population. above and beyond that, there had been a longstanding many decade downward trend in the participation rate even conditional on age which would take it down a little bit more. i think there's a little bit more space for cyclical recovery in the labor force participation
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rate. i think it's been especially encouraging to see some of the broader healing in the economy in terms of long-term unemployed and labor force participation and discouraged workers, but i think ultimately, you know, we're almost there in terms of the isscyclical healing then we be left with the demographic trend in that regard. in answer to your second question, i don't think that financial reform has played a big role in recent growth rates. i think it has helped put our economy in a stronger and more sustainable position with $700 billion more in bank capital than we had in 2008. when people go through all the different concerns about the global economy, you know, i think it's encourages that the united states banking system is not on anyone's list and for good reason because we've undertaken reforms that put it
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in much better shape than it's been in for a long time. but the productivity growth slowdown is something you've seen across a range of economies. some of which did reform their financial systems and some of which didn't. so i think something else is going on than financial reform. i think the deleveraging you referred to of the high savings rates at the corporate level and the individual level was a particularly good and important thing in the first couple years of the recovery but we're now in a position where if you look at households, their interest payments as a shared disposable income is the lowest it's been on record. you look at corporations. they have extremely healthy balance sheets. i think that's all encouraging but it would also be encouraging to continue to see more consumer spending which we have seen over the last year or two but also more business investment which we haven't seen as much of over
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the last year or two. >> gone too far? >> what? >> it's gone too far? >> i think on the business side there's definitely room for expanded investment beyond and what we've seen. >> greg of "usa today." >> i have a question on two different topics. the first is actually on criminal justice. you're participating in an event i guess at the white house next week on this. an op-ped yesterday i think with douglas. you made the case there are economic consequences to criminal justice reform. you certainly laid out the fiscal sort of cost to the taxpayer of this but can you make the case for how criminal justice reform would actually affect the broader economy? >> yeah. so we've gotten involved in criminal justice, precisely because there's a very important economic angle on it. there's many others that are important, too, in terms of values and what type of society we'd want to be but we focus narrowly on the economics and the economics is something that i think there is broad
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bipartisan agreement on. so doug and i used to spend 2008 debating when he was doing economic policy for the mccain campaign and i was doing it for the obama campaign. i don't think there was a single line in the op-ped that we wrote together that the two of us had to argue about. and the event next week, it is at the white house and it's co-hosted by the american enterprise institute which is a right of center think tank and the brennan center at nyu which is a more progressive organization and the speakers will include, again, doug, but also people like arthur brooks and dan lobe from one side of the biit and you'll be hearing the business case. first of all, wrouyou know, firf all, making sentences
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increasingly longer has rapidly diminishing returns in terms of deterring aim careen in terms of keeping someone off the street from committing crimes because older people are much less likely to commit those crimes. at the same time, it can have substantial collateral damage. reducing the skills someone has and thus the ability to get a job when they come out which can actually lead to more recidivism and more crime. having a devastating impact on the family of the person, on their children and their economic mobility and economic future. and if you just do without even counting those collateral benefits, council of economic advisers is shortly going to be coming out with a report on this topic and the report finds that if you increase spend -- among other things if you increase spending, incar ration by $10 billion a year would result to
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net benefits to society that range from negative $8 billion to positive $1 billion. in contrast, increased spending on police, increased wages including through a higher minimum wage, increased education, all have positive net benefits in terms of just their impact on crime reduction. >> but can you give me a percent of gdp that criminal justice -- can you measure what the benefits of this would be? >> i can't give you -- i don't have a bottom line percent of gdp but can do very rigorously -- we do cost benefit all the time. we worked out very carefully if you spend an extra $10 billion in this area, you end up most likely worse off, not better off in terms of the cost of it. the other thing i'd note is you look at the percentage of men between the age of 25 and 54 in our country who aren't in the labor force. you know, they're not in a job and not looking for a job. in president 1950s, it was 3% of
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men 25 to 54 weren't in the labor force. now it's 12% of men. it's increased fourfold. it's increased much more in the united states than almost any other advanced economy. you ask what makes us different from the other advanced economies, it's mast incarceration in the united states of a top you don't see in any of the other oecd countries and appears to have played a role in the fact that a large fraction of the people who could be contributing productively to our economy are not doing so today. >> and then on competition, there's also proposal before the fcc by broadcasters to open up some spectrum for them to do 40 tv and interactives and those kinds of things. it sounds a little bit like what you're trying to accomplish with the set top box proposal. why not -- would the administration washington in on that? the broader question of that is,
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would, in adopting these pro-competitive policies do you risk picking winners and losers in picking one industry or technology over another? >> so that's not something we've weighed in on although we have played a role in spectrum policy including championing the legislation that created two-sided spectrum auctions that is going to happen this year which is going to buy up spectrum from broadcasters who willingly relinquish it and sell it to people who place a higher value on it mostly in mobile broadband. we did weigh in on the rules for the spectrum options to make sure they were consistent with promoting competition. and competition policy is previpr precisely the opposite of picking winners and losers. it's about creating a set of rules such that there's competition and then the winners in set top boxes will be picked
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by consumers. they'll be what the set top boxes that consumers want to use that have made themselveses cheaper or better in some way. as opposed to the current system where the rules essentially ordain who those winners are. >> we're going to go next to sheryl from "bloomberg." >> the competition executive order, when that first came out, i had trouble with some of the business groups getting a read on that, whether that was going to be good for them or not. the order seemed to indicate that some regulations might be eliminated but then it also sounded like a lot of agencies were going to be doing some rule makings. so in terms of the regulatory outlook for businesses, what should they -- how should they read this executive order? in this executive order will be good for the economy and a lot of things that are good for the economy are, you know, good for
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existing businesses. in some cases, you're trying to do something that might take away from market power of an incumbent business and create opportunities for new competitors and for small businesses. that will be good for the small businesses, it will be good for the new competitor. i think ultimately that competition leads to more innovation by, you know, all businesses as well. >> so do you anticipate a lot of new raeglations this year? or -- >> you know, in some cases we anticipate -- yeah, we anticipate a number of actions to come out of this and as i said, we had -- the nec led a process that involved talking to a number of the agencies before this executive order was issued. so we have some ideas as to what might be coming. some of that work had already begun and it's certainly intensified since the order.
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i wouldn't describe it asing welationwe regulations. cell phone unlocking was in a way getting rid of -- i put these under the heading of whatever steps you can take to create more competition. one we have encouraged states to look a hard look at but not something we have a federal nexus at, occupational licenses. 5% of occupations you used to need a license, a doctor or lawyer. now it's up to 25%. that would be an example of where we think you should be getting rid of those regulations to create more competition. sometimes incumbents can use their power to create a barrier to entry. at example would be local land use restrictions is a regulation that we'd like to see less of.
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we think if you had less of it, you'd have more mobility or competition. this isn't more regulation or list. this is more competition. >> we're going to go next to alexa from "real clear politics." >> jason, as you know, the speaker and his conference are going to put forward an issues agenda which they hope to do before the fall. and part of it is going to be tax reform. there's a pent up interest on both sides of the aisle. i wanted to ask you, do you think that the effort that the speaker is making is going to be helpful to the debate about tax reform which will be engaged next year and beyond? or do you see it as mostly political, you know, trying to provide some specifics to the candidates. how do you look at theest that they've made? >> i think it's always good we people put out policy ideas and are specific about those policy ideas. in some cases, those policy
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ideas help advance, you know, an issue. in some cases, they clarify a choice and help sharpen a debate, so, you know, so that you can have that debate in the legislative process and decide. i'm obviously not privy to the details he's going to release but i think anything that continues a conversation on a substantive policy level is important. on business tax reform, chairman camp had put out his proposal i guess about a year and a half ago and i thought that was very helpful and constructive for the debate. it had a number of good elements. it had a number of problematic elementses. and, you know, just even at a technical level, it helped address a number of issues. on tax reform in general, i think the big question is, are we addressing a genuine economic problem we have in this country which is a tax rate for businesses that's too high, combined with businesses able to take advantage of too many
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loopholes. or are we trying to cut taxes for high income individuals and raise their after-tax incomes and potentially do that at the expense of the deficit? if it's the former which is about our competitivens and creating a level playing field businesses can succeed on, i think that's something promising for the future. if it's a way to cut taxes for high income individuals and raise the deficit, i don't think that's going anywhere this year or beyond. >> just to follow up on, just because i'm curious, you know everyone in the clinton campaign on the economic side, policy people. how often do you talk to them? how often do they consult you or seek the information that the cea has put together? >> you know, in my problem, i have nothing to do with the campaign, but, you know, essentially enjoyed going to a wedding this past weekend of my
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former chief of staff -- >> schumer. >> -- i don't remember at that wedding talking about a whole lot of economic policy issues. >> so you don't talk to them. they're not consulting you? >> i have friends. i have ongoing conversations with friends. >> and you try to be helpful. >> i don't -- i really have spent a lot of time on campaigns in the past and i'm completely thrilled not to be on one now. >> we're going to go to angela keen from "bloomberg" next. angela? >> go back to the biggest economic picture. there's been obviously a lot of good news in the labor market. you talked about some of the downsize wages and employment, but overall a lot of good numbers. but at the same time we see some very concerning trends in manufacturing and housing. what would you say, if you were to write the story, turn the tables, you're the one writing the lead, how do you see things right now? i mean --
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>> the u.s. has been the biggest success story of any of the economies in the world in rebounding from the financial crisis. and our growth continues to be considered by people around the world as one of the bright spots in the global economy. the unemployment rate has consistently come in below expectations. it's been accompanied by a broader healing in labor markets. wages are up at the fastest they've been since the financial crisis. i think the biggest concern that i face is the impact the rest of the world will have on the u.s. economy. trade is subtracting. you know, the slowdown in our exports to the rest of the world which is a function of slower growth in the rest of the world is taking about three-quarters of a point off of our growth rate right now. so this isn't enough to have a
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massive change on the u.s. economy, but it is a, you know, persistent drag on the economy. you know, a sector like housing i actually think is one of the bright spots in the economy. an area where you have a lot of potential. you're certainly right in the last month you saw housing starts and permits fall but over the last year starts and permits are both up so it's a volatile series. i wouldn't look from month to month. i'd look over a period of like a year. we're still building less than the number of houses i would expect us, that we need as a country demographically. so housing i think is actually a bright spot in the economy. manufacturing is facing a challenge. that is very much a function of it's an industry that disproportionately relies on exports and when the rest of the world is weaker, you have a harder time exporting. manufactu manufacturing, again, big picture has rebounded to a sizable extent in the economy. seconders like autos have been
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particularly successful in part because of the action we've taken but until we see stronger growth around the world, it's going to be hard for american manufacturers. >> one other topic. social security. you mentioned you see it as having a relatively strong future. there was a no-labels lunch yesterday that some people around this table were at, huntsman and lieberman spoke and one of their many targets for the next administration is social security. they have a plan to address this same crisis. they're looking at the numbers you're looking at and see it very digfferently. how do you address that? >> i didn't see what they did yesterday so i can't comment on that but social security has sufficient resources to pay full benefits for decades to come and thereafter to pay about three-quarters of benefits. it has certainly been this administration's view that it's better to act sooner rather than later to deal with it. we put out a set of bipartisan
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principles for dealing with social security years ago and it's something the president would have been happy to have done. it's not the most urgent issue facing the country. there's getting the economy to recover, getting productivity growth up, getting the labor force participation rate up. getting inequality down. all of these are, you know, much more urgent and pressing issues. also we'd say when you're dealing with social security, i don't think you want to frame it, you know, solely in terms of solvency and green eye shades. i think you want to look at what we're trying to accomplish which is we've been enormously successful at reducing poverty among the elderly but you still have higher poverty rates for the old old, people over the age of about 65, for single women. you have a lot of aspects of the program that were based around,
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you know, patterns of work and family that have long since passed. i think when you think about social security, you really want to make sure you're thinking about how it can better serve fundamental goals like poverty, security and fit into the modern framework of work and family, not just, you know, maniacally focus on solvency. >> mr. lane from the hill? >> i know in the city address the president said he'd like to work on some sort solve anti-poverty measure, that would be an area of bipartisan agreement or work between him and speaker ryan and actively sought out and pointed him out and said this is something we can work on together. i just want to know has there been any work between them on this? have they been engaged at all? if there's any sort of groundwork being laid to move on something? >> the president certainly highlighted that he and the
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speaker have the same proposal to expand the earned income tax credit for workers without qualifying children either because they don't have children or because they're noncustodial parents. this would help address a perversity in our system that right now you can be in poverty and we actually tax you deeper into poverty. instead, the tax code for people without qualifying children should do what it does for people with children which is if you're in poverty, help lift you out of poverty rather than push you deeper into it. it is a common sense sense case. i -- we certainly have conversations with the speaker's office about a very wide range of policy issues. we're always looking for ways to cooperate. but i think, you know, at some
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point, you know, they're going to need to decide -- legislation on tax issues gets an initiated in the house of representatives and so they're going to need to decide is this something they want to initiate, is this something they want to initiate in a manner that's not paid for by doing damage elsewhere to people working to get themselves out of poverty? >> sam from the "financial times." >> thanks very much. you were talking earlier about the u.s. as a bright spot, among at vanced economies. the story of the presidential campaign has not been that american voters feel this has been a bright spot recovery. is there a risk the administration is feeling out of touch with public mood about the u.s. economy at the moment or are we overestimating just how negative people feel about the economy? >> first of all, i don't know, you know -- i look at evidence from the measures that economists look at about how people feel about the economy are the consumer sentiment index
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and the consumer confidence index from the conference board and the university of michigan. when you look at measures like that, you see that confidence has been consistently rising since the recession. and last year reached levels we hadn't seen in over a decade. so i see a number of ways in which people are positive both about their situation today and the outlook. we also certainly hear and understand the frustrations people have in terms of areas like wage growth and so the president's message that you saw, you know, in the state of the union, you've seen consistently was told a really optimistic story about the american economy, how it's done, its successes, and also talked about the big challenges and problems that we face and what it is he wants to do about them. you know, he's not walking around saying mission
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accomplished, there's nothing else to be done, everything's perfect. that is not remotely the message. in fact, the message, if anything, is the opposite. here's all the things that we still need to do. >> sure. >> i mean, one measure of that confidence would be consumer spending. it has picked up a little bit this has still been a very, very sluggish consumer recovery. that's your analysis as to why consumers are significantly, the big fall in the oil price hasn't given the boost everyone has been waiting for? the cost in terms of spending is quite palpable, still. >> i mean, consumer spending did add 3%. did grow 3% in 2014 and 2015. and was one of the bright spots that was helping to raise overall gdp growth. so i think you have seen as
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consumers deleveraged that savings rates have risen a little bit in the last year but they've stabilized more than they had before. and, you know, when we look at the oil shock, we see it as having raised consumer spending, cut business investment, and the net of the two of those is still a small positive for the economy. i think when you look at consumers, part of it is having been through a very traumatic economic experience that is only eight years past us. and you look at the great depression and the impact that that had on the way people thought about saving or the way people thought about inflation. you know, in other places. that hyperinflations at that time -- can last for decades and can affect the way you think so i think there may be some of that. wage growth has only recently picked up and consumers want the confidence that that wage growth will continue and that oil
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prices will stay low as opposed to just being transitory, you don't want to fully adjust your consumption to. i think if you continue to see nominal wage growth rising, becomes clearer that this is more durable then i think you would continue to see strong consumption growth. again, it is 3% which is not, you know, which is pretty good for consumer spending. >> ms. evans from "time." >> my question is, i wanted to circle back to the competition issues and you mentioned set top boxes which is interesting because i think -- i forget exactly what the statistic is but i think it's about 40% of people don't have a choice of what cable company is their provider, so if the idea is to address competition, how do you sort of address the front end, not only address, you know, can i buy comcast's box "a" or
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comcast's box "b" and on that same level, there's been a lot of criticism about, from the left about antitrust, a failure to pursue antitrust cases then criticism on the right from the business industry that the obama administration has not been friendly in that way. so how do you kind of thread that needle and pursue antitrust, especially at a time when we're seeing these massive mergers with, you know, walgreens and rite aid and kraft and heinz and aetna and cigna, whatever. there's another one. humana, something else. so we're seeing these massive mergers. how do you deal with that? >> so on your first -- you're precisely right that there's an intersection between these two issues. if you had a choice of 100 different companies, one of the companies would compete for your
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business letting you have any set top box you want or having a better one. when you don't have competition in terms of the cable wire going into your house, that makes it that much more important to make sure you can't leverage the market power you have in the wire to the house into what is an unrelated product which is the set top box. there's an intersection between those. we've tried to take up steps to free up spectrum for mobile broadband which would create more competition in that area. make sure the rules of those auctions are consistent with you can't just have the biggest player buy all the spectrum to fore close on the opportunity of others to enter the market. we've weighed in on municipal brought ba broadband as another way to create competition but there's only so many tools that we have. in terms of your second question, you know, we have nothing whatsoever to do with enforcement in the white house. that's a matter of the
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enforcement agency, doj, in this case enforcing the law. we don't get involved in particular cases and don't get involved in the broader policy issues. i would note that antitrust enforcement under this administration is up. the number of criminal prosecutions is up. criminal penalties. prison time. and in noncriminal cases there have been a number of quite important enforcement actions they've taken to prefserve competition in digfferent areas. it's not illegal to have a monopoly. it's illegal to take your property and build on it by merging or extend it into another area and set top boxes is similar to the -- that's not illegal but it's similar economic principle of you have market power in one area, make sure you can't extend that into
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market power in another area. >> jackie from "the new york times." >> jason, as you get to the end of the administration, you've been in from the beginning, could you address what many see as was a missed opportunity not for lack of some trying but maybe not trying hard enough in getting infrastructure -- more infrastructure spending. you had all these years when it was next to zero interest rates. one of the seco sectors was construction. you had the 2011 american jobs act that didn't no anywhere, the transportation bill that was linked to construction, again, didn't go anywhere. what more could you have done and is there any -- do you see any opening between now and january 20th to cut a deal to get more done? >> right. now, we've certainly got things done on infrastructure. the recovery act we got a
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substantial upfront investment in infrastructure and then just this last december we got a five-year highway bill that's a roughly 5% inflation adjusted increase in infrastructure spending as well as more certainty associated with it. but it certainly has been disappointing we haven't done even more than that and notof e president's part. he proposed year after year really substantial ambitious plans for infrastructure. he had one way to pay for it related to international tax win was something that you actually saw chairman camp adopt in his plan. and then this past year we've proposed another way in terms of an oil fee which is an idea you hear from economists and other experts from both political parties. you know, i think in some sense your question is one better
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addressed to congress than to us because we certainly agree that economically both to help demand today, to help expand our productive capacity in the future, given the low rates of interest, the economic argument is completely clear and would like to see, you know, congress doing more. >> why didn't the republicans meet you -- >> i don't have any great, you know, insight into that, but -- >> on the negotiations or was -- >> i don't know. a number of republicans would privately tell you how much they wanted to do it and then when it came down to it at the end of the day they did come through and did do a five-year bill, did do an increase and that was good but it took way too long, seven years to get to that point, and it wasn't big enough. it created a base to build on. when you have an idea like an infrastructure bank that the chamber of commerce and the afl-cio are both behind, i think
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it stands to reason that's probably quite a good idea and is disappointing you haven't seen congress take it up and do it. >> do you see it happening before have you seen anything f january 20th since -- >> i haven't seen congress moving further on this one. >> before i weigh in with another, anybody who hasn't had one that wants one? let me ask you briefly then about the wall street pay regulation that were much in the news yesterday. i wanted to see, a., if you support them, and how you respond to critics, some who say that it will drive people out of the industry or sort of another perverse effect might be that banks and other affected institutions will have to pay people more because of their fear that money will be clawed back. what is your take on the wall street pay regs? >> right. the goal of dod frank was to
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strengthen the financial system and deal with a range of different problems that led to the last crisis. one of those problems was the perverse incentive that can be created by pay packages that give you an in sentive to undertake a risky action knowing that, heads, you get your bonus and tails, you walk away, so on average you come out ahead. that type of option is a valuable option and i think people on wall street, if they understand anything, it is option value. so the legislation rightly asked the regulators to do something about that. we have been encouraging the independent regulators to come out with regulations and did that most recently in the meeting that the presidentad with the regulators in march. so we were very pleased to see that they've come out and would encourage them to move as quickly as possible to complete the rule-making process so this
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could be put into effect. i haven't studied the details of what they've come out with. they're independent regulators that will design the details independently and serve input in terms of the rules and i'm sure there is all sorts of ways that one can handle any of the different issues that have been raised but ultimately, the goal that is trying to be accomplished here is an important one, which is to reduce overly risky behavior that comes at the expense of taxpayers and the economy more broadly. >> we haven't asked you about the single biggest economic story of the week which will affect the pocket books of every american and that is harriet tubman on the $20 bill. if you want to weigh in on that. and i'm curious if you have any thoughts on i guess micro economic monetary policy, if that is a real thing. the way we change -- we're
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changing the way we spend money moving from paper currency to electronic. what are the consequences of that and moving forward in the economy and as a policy matter what should we be thinking about in terms of those kind of issues. i know these are more treasury issues but if you could broaden our scope on this. >> on the first question, i was completely thrilled to see what secretary lew decided. he didn't consult me or my children. if he had, one of them strongly supported harriet tubman and the other was in favor of rosa parks an they had a big debate between them yesterday about. it but i cast the tie-breaking vote in support of the secretary's decision so i think that was really exciting to see. on your second, the shift from cash to credit cards has had some impact on the conduct of monetary policy. it is one reason why the
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velocity of money has become less stable which is one reason why the monetary authorities don't target the money supply, but instead target interest rates. and that shift has happened over the course of many decades. and once you do that, i think it doesn't complicate your monetary policy at all and doesn't actually have major changes in the way the economy functions. it just -- the fed sets interest rates, the money supply and velocity sort themselves out and it is the interest rates that have an impact on the economy. i think that there are some other questions of to the degree you have easier access to borrowing. there is some evidence that has led to some smoothing of shocks, that you get a shock and you could borrow your way through it so it doesn't propagate as largely through the economy and there is evidence, most notably the financial crisis that it
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could amplify shocks because it could lead to overborrowing and a larger correction. and how to get some of the benefits of consumption smoothing without getting the benefits of credit-fueled cycles and what the role of public policy in that is, i think it is important and not fully answered question. >> going back to the -- is there a link between this and the competition policy. should we be thinking of more ways to think of paying for things, for example, bit-coin, should we encourage that, or discourage that or neutral. >> i think we'll leave that to our agencies that have 60 days to report back to us. >> teddy davis from cnn. >> thank you. if secretary clinton is nominated and then elected and asked you to out line what you thought were the three most effective economic policies of obama and the three most disappointing economic policies, what would you tell them? >> the recovery act, but
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hopefully she's not going to need to do something like that. the affordable care act, and there is a lot left to do to implement that, both encouraging states to take up medicaid using the extraordinary number of tool it gives the secretary for delivery system reforms and the high premium excise tax. and third would be cutting taxes for low-income households which was done over the course of a number of pieces of legislation and made permanent in december and reducing poverty for 16 million people a year out of poverty. in terms of the other three, it is disappointing we didn't get more done on the infrastructure. that disappointment -- the biggest thing that you could do for the economy and probably
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disappointment that we didn't do business tax reform which is one of the more obvious steps that we could take as a country given that every other country in the world has done it. >> you have two minutes. jackie and then alex, if we could get to it. >> since head winds from abroad have regularly frustrated the recovery in your time what head winds are you worried about now between now and the end of the administration? >> growth in europe has picked up a little bit. but it is still way too slow. the unemployment rate in the euro zone is above 10%. china has seen its growth slow. japan has seen its growth slow. growth in a number of major emerging markets like brazil and russia is negative. so we're not in the year 2009.
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this is not a global financial crisis, but most anywhere you look in the world outside of the united states growth is coming in in a decent amount below what people were expecting and by just about any measure is disappointing. it is pretty much just the low-income economies that have seen their growth rates pick up in recent years, just about everyone else has not. >> last question, real quickly, alexis. >> just in transition planning, can you describe what the economic team is doing collectively, how far along you are on thinking about transition planning, coordination, information-gathering? >> i could just tell you for the council of economic advisers that we've had a long-standing tradition that we hire our staff for one year at a time and they work from summer to summer. so i am right now hiring the
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staff that will work for me for six months and work for the next president, whoever he or she is, for the first six months of their term. certainly in my experience, in this administration, president bush, as a whole, had an extremely effective transition and one that we would like to emulate. and i know at the council of economic advisers it has always worked well and won't be an exception this time. >> is there one person for the economic team who is -- coordinated as the designated -- >> i don't have anything for you on that process. >> you can't say? >> i could tell you what we're doing at cea, which is we're hiring people to work in our administration and the next administration. >> thanks so much for doing this, sir. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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[ hearing concluded ] independent media is the oxygen of a democracy. it is essential. holding those in power accountable. we're not there to serve some kind of corporate agenda. when we cover war and peace, we're not brought to you by the weapons manufacturers. >> sunday night on q&a, journalist amy goodman, host of democracy now talks about the book she's authored, democracy now, 20 years covering the movements and changing america which looks back at the stories and the people the show has covered. >> the idea of democracy now starting 20 years ago, it really
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hasn't changed. bringing out the voices of people at the grassroots and in the united states and around the world and they very much represent, i think, the majority of people. i mean, i think people who are concerned deeply about war and peace, about the growing inequality in this country, about climate change, the fate of the planet, are not a fringe minority, not even a silent majority but the silenced majority silenced by the corporate media which is why we have to take it back. >> sunday into the at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span q&a. tonight on c-span 3, a look at america's role and influence in world affairs. then a discussion on how campaigns go through the process of selecting a vice presidential candidate. and later, former congressman mike rogers talks about the ll


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