HE: Governor, you’re one of the candidates that maybe doesn’t get as much ink as he ought.
MH: well thank you, I’d agree with that.
HE: Well, I kinda had a hunch you might. Our their some things that, I know for example, in the debate, you weren’t given as much airtime as some of the others. I had the feeling that you were ready to jump in on a couple of issues that you really didn’t get a chance to say what you wanted to say. Give us a couple of those things that you wanted to say and didn’t get a chance.
MH: Well, I appreciate that because it amazed me that we had a two hour debate in New Hampshire of all places, and they never brought up taxes. How do you not touch the Republicans’ signature issue, in the state of New Hampshire during the Republican debate? That was..
HE: Well, when you have a liberal moderator they don’t want to bring up…
MH: Then we have three debates, and there was not one question on education the entire time. I mean how do you fail to touch an issue like that? We had one question on health care. Sure, there are a lot of things. But, let me start with the tax system.
I think we are long past where a couple twists of the screwdriver and a couple pieces of duct tape fixes our tax structure. I’m personally embracing the “Fair Tax” proposal. I think that it makes more sense, it is a total overhaul of the system. People say, “that’d be a real challenge to get done.” Of course it would, big things require extraordinary effort and extraordinary sales. But, when 80% of people say they are dissatisfied with the current tax system and only 2% of the people like it how it is, that’s a pretty good start.
But, what I like about the “Fair Tax” is that it brings, not only economic empowerment to people of all levels of the economic spectrum, but it is one of the few proposals that meets, what I call the four basic tests of a good tax structure: flatter, fair, finite and family friendly. And, here’s where I come from on that. If a tax system gives one group favor over another, then we end up having what we have now, which is a system where the game is played for winners and losers. 35,000 lobbyists in this city exist for the sole purpose to give somebody favor and somebody else disfavor. That’s why they’re here.
Most of the problems that happen in our whole structure is because we’re playing people against each other. Whether it’s the Democrats against the Republicans, the rich vs. the poor in the class warfare that we created, whether it’s the regulators against the regulated, I mean it all comes down…but essentially it’s about the tax code and who gets a break and who doesn’t.
What I like about the Fair Tax is, it puts the IRS out of business, there’s a 10 billion dollar savings right there. There’s an estimated $200 to $500 billion a year cost in the American economy in compliance alone. Think about how much lost productivity we have lost because we have people figuring out the tax codes, rather than getting their jobs done. So, the company isn’t just producing a widget, it’s making sure the company is complying with the tax code so the widgets its producing has made it through the incredible complex system of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s so complicated that even the IRS doesn’t understand it, because 50% of the time the IRS will give two different answers for the same question.
The third thing is, we have nearly $10 trillion parked off shore that has left this country because corporations have found they can’t be competitive in a global market place when their capital here is subject to the level of taxation that it is subject to — when they’re competing against the Europeans because of the VAT Europeans are able to get their taxes back, we don’t. So the “made in America” brand is disappearing, not just because the Chinese are so darn smart, it’s because we’re so darn dumb. And, we’re losing our capital, so the $10 trillion in capital that sits off shore.
What would happen if we became the world’s tax haven? If there was no corporate tax, no income tax, no dividends tax, no capital gains tax, if we eliminated every single one of the onerous taxes that I think is really economically unsound because what we have now is a tax structure that penalizes productivity, which is the antithesis of a good economic system. You want to encourage productivity, not penalize it. So, between the progressive nature of the system, and the fact that we tax every level of productivity, whether it’s earnings off savings or earnings off productivity and production, we just create, we beg, for jobs to disappear.
HE: How are you going to beat those 35,000 lobbyists, even from the Oval Office that’s a tough row to hoe.
MH: Well, I think the only way you do it, is you really have to make this a national movement. Get the ordinary people out there who are taking it in the teeth to rise up. Ultimately, the power, I still believe, is theirs.
HE: Governor, Representative Ron Paul, whom I agree with on some issues, not on foreign policy, he’s making the point that…
MH: I’m glad you clarified.
HE: that it’s spending that is the problem. In other words, you can talk about well we should do it this way or that way, you’re still going to have to collect all this money for these entitlement programs. So to me, the key is, whatever reform you want to make, I’m not certain this is the best one and I’m not certain what the tax would be on an individual item, what would it be 23-24%
HE: Yeah, I’m not sure I’d particularly appreciate that either.
MH: but, there’s 22% embedded tax in everything that you buy.
HE: and you would do a VAT also?
MH: No, no.
HE: Well, anyway, the point is, the entitlement programs are what is breaking us and what I don’t see out there, from all you guys who are campaigning out there, is that I don’t see anybody truly addressing this in a manner that at least convinces me that they’re really interested in controlling those entitlement programs which are breaking us. You can offer people tax cuts all you want, until you deal with that program I don’t think you’re going to be able to have a sound fiscal policy.
MH: Well, at the risk of sounding argumentative, which I hope I don’t.
HE: Well, I hope you do, that’s good.
MH: When someone says, “I don’t hear any of you talking about it,” maybe because you’re not sitting in my speeches, but I’m not the one who gets to control what you end up hearing from me. And, one of my frustrations is right now, all you hear about is through the filter of the national media, who has anointed 3 people to be the presidential candidates, and even Fox News, the fair and balanced one, will put the faces and names of: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain as if they’re the only three people running for president, and the only issues they want to talk about are Iraq and immigration. Am I talking about things like energy independence and education and health and all, you bet I am. I have a whole book dedicated to it.
My point is this, again at the risk of being argumentative, to say that we’re not saying it, it probably not fair to us. To say that you’re not hearing it, would be fair. We’re not always the medium.
But, I’m going to say to you, one of the things that would make a big difference, is a completely transparent spending system in this country. Where every single expenditure for the federal government, would be placed available on the internet, so you could access and find out what it costs to cut the lawn out at the General Accounting Office in Arlington, VA, and we’d know — here’s how much the check cost. What do the toilet seats cost at Little Rock Air Force Base when they were purchased on the purchase order? Make a completely transparent system of spending. Let there be nothing hidden, and that would be one of the first ways.
It wouldn’t control it, it wouldn’t completely fix it, but the lack of transparency is one of the reasons we’ve got a funding problem. The other is the entitlements, and you’re correct. That’s not going to be fixed until we have a system with some skin in the game and some creativity, in part because you have so many baby-boomers hitting the retirement age, accessing benefits we really can’t afford for them to have at the rate they’re going to have them — some creativity has got to come into it.
Maybe it’s that at 65 you get a instead of getting a social security check, you get a lump sum payment — we opt to give you a tax free lump sum payment, in lieu of rest of your life benefits. You can take it, you can give it to your kids, tax-free, you can do whatever you want, but there’s space. There’s a lot of people that get to 65 and they don’t need the social security benefit. It’s not going to make or break them, but if enough people take it, it may make or break the federal budget. We’ve got a huge problem that’s not being addressed adequately.
Tommy Thompson and I are the two people talking about the power of chronic disease that accounts for almost 80% of healthcare costs. As I’ve often said we don’t have a healthcare crisis in America we have a health crisis. We have people who right now, it is a system where in the last 18 months of a person’s life they expend 80% of their lifetime healthcare expenses. That’s staggering. Most of people’s healthcare expenses are spent at the finish line, not in the course of the race.
HE: So how do you fix it?
MH: It’s a cultural shift, and it doesn’t happen in an election cycle. I’ll be honest with you, the reason politicians don’t want to touch it is because you can’t fix it in an election cycle. You can only start the process. In my lifetime, I’ve seen 4 major cultural shifts of things that would be applicable: one is litter, one is smoking, one is the use of seatbelts, and another is drunk driving. In each of those things, if you rolled the clock back, 25-30-40 years, there has been a dramatic change in how we think and act in those areas than we did. Obviously. If this meeting had been held in 1970, if we had this visit. Ashtrays would have been on this table, and as soon as we had finished eating, in fact, before we had finished eating, if the numbers had held, at least half of the people in this room would have lit cigarettes and smoked while we sat here and talked. Imagine the reaction if somebody, right now, pulled a cigarette out of their pocket and lit up and started smoking in this room. My guess is people would go [gesture of disbelief]
and they would go shocked. In my state it would be illegal, and in most states.
HE: Here too.
MH: Because we have now, acts. That didn’t happen overnight. It took a generation to change. And, there were three steps in the process: first attitudinal changes, people began to see through education and awareness and advertising, there really needed to be a different approach and thought. That this was dangerous, and maybe we need to rethink the cultural norm of smoking. Then there was an atmospheric change—we stared taking ash trays out and putting no smoking signs in. It wasn’t a government action, it became a consumer action, a business action, and it just became increasingly a part of the atmosphere. And, there came a final stage and that was the action, which was when government codified what then became a new behavioral norm. What I’ve often said is that the problem is some people want to start with the government action, which results in an extraordinary fight, because then people are fighting not over the value of health, but they’re fighting over their rights.
It’s always a losing proposition, if the beginning is a government action. The government action is the final stage, what has to be the first stage is the consumers themselves, and the citizens, have to change their attitudes and atmosphere then government simply codifies at some point what now is the new behavioral norm.
As it relates to health, we have a system…gosh I could spend all day, and I know you have a lot of questions, so let me cut to the chase on this one. Our system is upside down because it is based on the premise that we wait until people are extraordinarily sick and then we intervene with exceptionally expensive interventions and modalities. What we need to be doing is we need to say, we’ll put the preventions on the incentives side and the wellness side. If you will take better care of yourself, if you will engage in healthier choices, that are your choices, you can make your own choices so we’re not going to impose our will on you, but if you make choices that are less expensive then your health care is less expensive. You get more days off because you’re not going to be accessing sick days.
I’ll give you a couple of blatant examples of what we addressed in Arkansas. It became apparent, you know we have sick leave. Well, what do you get sick leave for: for being sick, not being on the job. So you get rewarded for being sick. What do you get if you’re never sick: you get to work for all your sick colleagues who are not there. So, we decided we would have what we called “well-leave,” which means that if you aren’t sick and you are healthy, you don’t cost us a whole lot of money. Rather than calling in and faking and saying you are going to take a day off because you’re sick, we reward you with the time because it’s in our best interest to keep you healthy because not only are you more productive, but you’re giving us more time as a well person then a sick person does.
Think about it, most employers will give their employees smoking breaks, but if they want to walk or exercise, we tell them: do it on your lunch hour. So, we started saying to our employees, work it out with your supervisor, but if you want to take up to 30 minutes a day from your work station to exercise, do it. Cause, it’s going to be a whole lot healthier, and frankly, a person who at 2:00 goes for a walk comes back to his desk far more refreshed and alert for the task at hand, than the person who’s sitting there at 3:00 pouring coffee down, just trying to stay alert at the desk. I could give you several other examples, but what we started doing was $500 off their medical insurance a year if they do a health risk assessment and they promise not to smoke. And, if they are smokers and they want to quit, we’ll give them all the cessation tools. We ended the co-pays and the deductibles for mammography, prostate cancer exams and colonoscopy, because we found it was cheaper to cover those shared costs and get people screened, than it was to wait until they had an advanced case and then bay the extraordinary costs of surgical intervention.
HE: I’m sorry Chris, just one thing. #1 I want to get Eric into the conversation.
MH: Eric’s asleep I think
RS: Oh no.
HE: Oh no, he’s taking notes real fast, he’s probably typing as fast as we’re talking. Well, let me just wrap that up for one second. We have a lot of history with Hillary-Care, we’re still trying to figure out what happened under Romney-Care, do you oppose/ support/ have some other idea about health insurance for the nation?
MH: Yes, I do. First of all it needs to be tied to the individual. It needs to be portable, because people don’t go to work at age 21 and stay with the same employer. So part of the problem is people start out with insurance, but if they change jobs and have any pre-existing condition they don’t get to take their insurance with them or if they change jobs and become self-employed their uninsured.
So the first step is to move to a system, where when people say do you believe in a single payer system, sure as long as every individual is the single-payer. Second thing, is stop the third party insurance payment as well as the third party ownership. I need to be empowered to make my choices on doctors, my decisions regarding healthcare, this is my life, my body, my future, and I shouldn’t have somebody answering the phone in some community I don’t know, an 800 number, telling me if I can go to the doctor, telling if I whether it’s ok to take this prescription drug. But, give me some skin in the game, not only the responsibility but give me some incentives for not taking every MRI I could take, so that I have tax free money coming back to me.
For example, health savings accounts, I think are a wonderful thing. The problem with implementing them are the people that need them the most and are going to be benefited by them the greatest, don’t have the initial capital to put in as the set aside to cover the extraordinary costs. The concept is good, the application has some flaws, based on that most people again, don’t have the start up funds. But, that concept and that approach, electronic medical records — a critical thing. It is insane that we still have doctors writing out in long hand, making huge mistakes. Billions of dollars of cost are associated with both medical errors and inefficiencies in the system. When instead, my entire medical records could be carried with me, imprinted on a card, so that wherever I am and however, I could access not just medical assistance, but all my records could be available to the medical personnel who treat me.
HE: Do you believe it’s the job of the federal government to be getting involved in telling people they have to wear seatbelts or telling them they have to have certain well days, rather than sick days, telling companies this. You’ve mentioned several different programs, stopping smoking, having these laws to implement these smoke free environments, is that really the government’s job?
MH: Not the federal. I think, in fact one of the reasons I’m running for president is that I think this President forgot there was a Tenth Amendment. It’s almost like we’ve resurrected the debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and Hamilton’s come out of the grave and choked Thomas Jefferson.
I think something’s terribly wrong. I think whether it’s the real ID which is an outrageous insult to states, and a terrible idea or the President’s idea to usurp the governor’s power of the National Guard in declaration of emergencies. I think these are clear violations of the Tenth Amendment, and really a violation of the basic heart of Republican principles.
Because I have been a governor for 10 ½ years, I think I am very sensitive to this almost shift in direction. It was a great idea when our Founders thought we’d have a very weak central government that would impose things, we’d have very strong states to which would make decisions and would become the laboratories of government. Where if one of them had a good idea, the rest of them would do it. If one of them tried something and it was a failure, we didn’t mess it up in all 50 states. That’s a great idea. That’s why I think whether we’re going to fix health care or anything else, the ideal is to let it be fixed in the states, like we did in Arkansas. We made decisions there, took action, that have now been copied by other states.
If I were president, would I impose that nationally, no, no , no, quite the opposite. I’d want to turn the states loose and give them every reason in the world to come up with the innovations that really could help, and the truth is, is states, if it’s a really good idea, they’re going to borrow it, they’re going to steal it, they’re going to put their own signature on it, and call it their own. That’s how it works.
HE: Would you support block granting Medicare-Medicaid funding and that sort of thing…to the states to help cover costs
MH: I would like the idea of block grants because that s how you create the innovations. That’s how you say to a governor, “Here, you know we’re spending this much money in your state to do these things. If you think you’ve got a better idea, here’s the money that we’re granting you.” You know we’ll check to make sure that the people’s needs are being met because we have that responsibility. But if you think you can do a better job of it — knock yourself out and show us how you did it.
HE: Have you ever talked with the Bush administration about block granting Medicaid?
MH: Oh my gosh, when I was chairman of the National Governors Aassociation, I spent so much time…
HE: Why won’t they push it?
MH: You know, I can’t answer why they won’t.
RedState: Alrighty, I’ve actually got 3 specific questions for you, governor. On Aug. 26 of last year, The Hotline quoted you as talking about oil prices and said that market forces — your quote — market forces are one thing but oil companies are stealing from the poorest people. Talking about Wal Mart having to raise its prices because of oil prices. Now– that was granted at a time when Exxon posted an $82 billion gross profit. But now back on June 7 of ‘91, Exxon Oil’s price was only 14.56 on the New York Stock Exchange. It was posting record losses. I was wondering how you view Exxon making excessively gross profits and stealing from poor people when back in ‘91 they were having record multi-million dollar losses invested in their oil…
MH: That’s a fair question but when they pay their chairman a $400 million bonus..I mean how do you justify that when people are barely bein’ able to fill their tanks with gas? Now, let me just say this, I’m not sure that I’m ready for the government to come in and say what you can or can’t pay a CEO. But I think calling attention to it and embarrassing and shaming some of these companies into the ridiculous type of disparities between what the CEO gets and what the average worker gets.
It’s now become 500 times…The average CEO salary is 500 times that of the average worker. A generation ago it was 32 times that of the average worker. Now there’s no way in the world you can justify that a CEO today is so much more valuable today than he was 30 years ago that he’s worth 500 times the amount that his average worker gets.
The airlines — another great example. You had several of the major airlines who’ve asked for big concessions off the baggage handlers, the ticket agents, the pilots and the flight attendants — up to 40% pay cuts. The executive ends up, the board gives him $100 million bonus to take the company into bankruptcy The workers lose their pensions, they lose almost half their paychecks and the CEO walks away with a huge thing and the government bails them out through a bankruptcy. You know I’m sorry if I’m wrong about that, help me. But I got a real problem when I go and get on airlines everyday and the industry’s melting down. I mean it’s a mess
RedState: Take for example, Steve Jobs at Apple who last year was the highest paid CEO in the country. I forget exactly what it was but I do remember from CBS’s Marketwatch that he added shareholder value exactly double the amount of his salary um, should someone like that be price gapped when he’s also adding value to the economy?
MH: As I said I’m not sure I want the government price gapping him. Even the head of Exxon. But I sure would like the public to realize what that board of directors has decided to pay. And what’s really problematic and there’s — I wish I could remember the exact case – where the member of a board — it was essentially the appearance of collusion where you had a CEO who had a board member who helped him by his participation on the board who helped him get one of these $100 million dollar bonuses.
RS: Hewlett Packard
MH: I was thinkin’ it was Home Depot but anyway…but then that CEO served on the board for the other gentleman and helped him get a multimillion dollar bonus package. Maybe I’m overly cynical but it just seemed a little bit ridiculous when the workers of that company were taking some huge pay cuts.
RS: You’re the only governor in the south right now who has raised the minimum –signed a bill raising the minimum wage above the federal government minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour you did last year. Along these things for employees and salaries…Are you in favor of raising the federal minimum wage? Why raise the minimum wage instead of letting the market set the price?
MH: In a pure economy, a minimum wage is unnecessary and I recognize that and we’ve decided we’re gonna have one and we’re gonna have one it oughta reflect something realistic. When it hadn’t been raised since 1997, we were in a situation in our state where we had a measure that was going on the ballot and it would have constitutionally set a minimum wage that would have been indexed and then would have gone up automatically with every CPI adjustment and I can obviously tell you that would have been disastrous for us.
The compromise was — and that’s kinda sometimes the art of the necessary — was that if we agreed to a legislative, statutory minimum wage that did not have an index that they would pull the constitutional amendment ballot campaign and so the chamber of commerce and the entire business community I think even the NFID joined together with Democrats and Republicans to end up with a compromised bill and the sponsors of the constitutional bill — by the way it had like 79% support — it would have, I’m convinced it would have passed because it’s a pretty easy message to sell and a pretty hard message to fight.
RS: And devastating to your economy
MH: You bet. So that’s the nature of it. If you asked me in the purest philosophical sense…Let’s face it — a min. wage is not a great economic tool because it does artificially create wages but that arguments already been had but if we’re gonna have one let’s at least make it realistic.
RS: One last question for you and going back to immigration — you’ve taken a position in Arkansas that is on providing some services to children of illegal aliens or children who are themselves illegal aliens such as scholarships. I was wondering what rules would you follow as far as being President when it comes to immigration and dealing with illegal aliens and what state services and state functions should the state be willing and be able to provide for them?
MH: What I did support and I still do is that, and here’s the principle, you don’t punish a child for the crime of a parent. And if a parent has come here illegally but you’ve got a child who didn’t get a choice about where he’s living or a choice of who his parents are and the child spends 12 years in the Arkansas public school system and he makes A’s and he works his hiney off.
And frankly the future for him is either with a straight “A” student and a brilliant IQ, he could end up going to college and being a very significant taxpayer. Or he could make $8/hour and be a tax taker. Frankly, I want him to be a taxpayer and a darn good one. So what we did, we proposed, that he could compete for scholarships. And he didn’t’ get an automatic – that’s where the big lie got told — no automatic anything you earned it. But if you had met the criteria, which was to be a student in an Arkansas high school and spend your entire high school, you made a 30 or above on the ACT, you met all the course requirements — which in our school you have to meet a higher than national average course requirement to be eligible.
And, here was the other part. You were in the process of applying for citizenship. That was another provision. You had to apply for citizenship after you were 18. Then you could be eligible for the same scholarships that any other Arkansas high school graduate could be eligible for. I still believe that was the right position to take.
The other position I took and its because I’m pro-life, was that if there was a pregnant mother, obviously pregnant she’s a mother or potentially, we would cover a pre natal care because our experience statistically it is much less expensive to do pre natal care than it is to not have any and then to deal with the issues of complications of birth. So to me from both a humanitarian but also pro-life perspective and frankly — economically, I thought it was a much better position to take. That if you know, we were gonna be consistent, and in our state we have a constitutional amendment that says a human life is alive from conception until natural death and that was one of my first forays into politics back in the 1980’s was to get that passed as a citizens initiative on the ballot and so I worked very hard for that particular constitutional amendment, a human life amendment and um, I thought it was consistent with that.
HE: Do you find that being a minister is a problem for you?
MH: Not at all, I think it’s a wonderful plus and here’s why: Here’s why it’s a plus. Um, if that was the only thing I’d ever done in my life to be president. Sure, I think people’d say well, I ‘m not confident that’s the pathway. But for heaven sakes, I was a governor for 10 1/2 years, longer than most people are ever a governor. I was a Lt. Gov. for three years. I’ve earned my stripes in government.
I’ve run something. I’ve made tough decisions. I’ve balanced budgets. I’ve done those things which I think give me unique qualification to say I’ve served as an executive in a governmental operation successfully. Not just elected but re elected. Twice. Twice re elected in a very Democrat state as a Republican governor. The only fourth Republican elected statewide office in 150 years.
Where it’s a benefit is this: Most people talk about the social pathologies that plague our country. There’s not one of them I couldn’t put a name a face on. I’ve spend 12 years as a pastor dealing with everything from the 16 year old girl who was pregnant and hadn’t told her parents yet to the young couple who had more debt than they had money and were seeing their marriage break up because of it to the middle age couple who were having to become parents to their own parents and make decisions for them that were really tough and emotionally challenging to the elderly people who are having to decide what to do about a spouse who had Alzheimers and decide if it was time to put them in a long term care facility.
And everything in between, victims of rape, victims of pedophilia. There’s nothing out there that I couldn’t suddenly bring up the image and the name of a specific person.
There’s no problem out there in this country that’s an abstract to me. It’s real. And I think frankly one of the greatest things a President needs is an understanding of the real struggle people are having. I don’t care if he’s Democrat or Republican.
One of my problems with the Republicans, we tend to put forth people who have never struggled, who’ve never understood how hard it is to make the rent payment when you just don’t know where its going to come from. I grew up that way. I’m the first male in my entire family linage that even graduated from high school. I know what the American dream is, I’ve lived it. And I understand the value of an education. I know what it means to break out of poverty.
I like to tell the story and it’s really true, you know my dad was a fireman. He didn’t make enough to live off on that so he worked as a mechanic on his days off and because of that he was one of those typical guys with grit and grub under his fingers. He wanted me to do better than he did, that was his dream. “You get an education, I don’t want you to have to work like I’ve had to work.”
I tell people you know, the only soap I knew growing up was Lava Soap and I was in college before I found out that soap wasn’t supposed to hurt when you took a shower. So you know I grew up with a lot more in common with the people workin’ in the kitchen than the one’s sittin’ at the head table. I think that’s a great benefit to me. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. I didn’t have a bad life. I had a great life. And it’s great because I have the perspective of knowing that there are a lot of Americans out there they really don’t want the government to hand them anything.
What they do want — they want a shot to reach the next rung on the ladder. They’re willing to work two jobs. This idea out there that single women getting a welfare check are lazy. That proves to me they don’t know those women. I do. I mean I’ve talked to them and dealt with them. The reality is they want pride, they want dignity. But if the policies of our government put a heel on top of their head every time they try to lift their head. Pretty soon, you know, they do say well heck with, just give me the check.
But the deep hearted desire in most people –there are exceptions, there are lazy people out there — I don’t think Paris Hilton is hardly industrious. So let’s not just say its some welfare queen out there who is the lazy one. I ain’t seein’ Paris — excuse me for the ain’t – lets face it, she’s not out there, she may be movin’ her backside but she ain’t bustin’ it because she’s havin’ to work real hard. So laziness isn’t a socioeconomic position.
But the truth is though, there are a lot of people — they just want a chance to work hard and not have government take every last thing away from them. One of the reasons I support the fair tax and I think if you really look at it closely, it does more for the people at the bottom than any other proposal I know. Gives them a greater opportunity to reach the next rung. If it didn’t do that I would be for it. If it were just a great benefit for the rich. The truth is it probably is more progressive than anything that I know of. But its fairly progressive or progressively fair.
I want to hit upon — you mentioned gun control. The reason I want to at least touch on it. It really concerns me when we’ve got Republicans that are being considered for the presidency and touted as frontrunners that don’t even understand that the second amendment is not about hunting. And when they’re asked, they say, oh I’m a hunter. Well, I’m a hunter. I have a concealed carry permit. That’s not what the Second Amendment is about.
The Second Amendment is about protecting my family, my property and frankly God forbid it comes down to it, protecting myself form the people in those big buildings over there (gesturing toward the Capitol) — and I know that sounds radical in 2007. But that was the genesis of the Second Amendment. That there would never be a point at which we would be overrun by tyranny because we had no option.
I think that our Founding Fathers had good sense in what they were doing. And they knew that we were just one generation away from losing the freedoms. If we didn’t have a way and I’m not saying we’re going to fight our own army — but, well we could go off into that for quite some time. But it does bother me when a party who’s supposed to have a clear vision and understanding of that is out there touting people at the top of the heap and I don’t think they got a clue what this is about.