Saving Capitalism (2017) Movie Script

In 1964, I got a job on a radio station.
They needed somebody from midnight to,
it must have been, 4:00 or 6:00 a.m.
The station policy was you can only play
the same Top 10 songs,
over and over and over again.
I just... I was so bored, that I... I...
I announced on the air,
"If anybody's listening to this program
and would like to engage
in a little bit of a banter,
just a little discussion -
not much, just 30 seconds -
it would be great.
And I'll give you 25 bucks,
the first person who calls in."
This was before talk radio, by the way.
And nobody called in.
I upped it to $50.
Nobody called in.
I got up to $100.
Not a soul called in.
And I had a feeling...
of what so many people have felt,
and continued to feel for years,
of desperately wanting to be heard...
and nobody is listening.
The whole world is watching!
Protect who you serve!
You work for us!
Work hard - we have!
There's a huge amount of anger
and frustration in the United States.
It's been growing for years.
People are worried about their jobs,
they're worried about their wages.
They feel like they don't have a voice
in deciding anything
that pertains to them,
politically or economically.
I pick this up everywhere I go.
Americans all over the country
are asking...
"How can we make our voices heard?"
Well, thank you.
The name of the book is Saving Capitalism.
I've got two kinds of reactions
just to the title.
"Saving Capitalism? Wait a minute.
That implies that
there's something wrong with capitalism."
How are you paying for this?
There are others who say...
"Why would you want to save capitalism?"
Robert Reich,
Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley
and former Secretary of Labor
under President Clinton.
You've captured this moment
in American culture
and politics very well in this book.
It's Saving Capitalism:
For the Many, Not the Few.
We've got 20 seconds. Can you...?
I thought we'd have
more time than that.
Can you define the aspirations
of the middle class today,
as opposed to 30 years ago?
I think the aspiration
of the middle class today
is almost exactly what it was
30 years ago.
That is: "Let's have a better life."
"If I'm working hard,
I want my children to have a better life."
Upward mobility is what people expect from
this system, but they aren't getting it.
Most Americans now
have severe doubts about the system.
They think the system is rigged.
The real issue is,
is the system working for most people,
or is it working for a very small group,
becoming smaller and smaller at the top?
Robert Reich, thank you very much
for being with us.
Former Labor Secretary
under President Clinton...
These days, a lot of people certainly know
the game is rigged.
They hear that, they feel it.
But they don't know
exactly how it's rigged.
I wanted to go to where people
didn't really know me, my books...
I wanted to go to places
where I could actually interact.
I didn't expect to sell many books,
but I did hope to learn something.
You found us.
- Hi, Yuja.
- Welcome.
- Nice to see you.
- So great to finally meet you.
Look who we found.
-Reverend Sandoval.
-Welcome to Kansas City.
-Thank you.
-Claudia Nelson.
Hi, Claudia.
-You're Chair of the Board?
-I'm the Chair.
I am a part of this work
because of my family and my community.
My youngest son, Paul,
is married and has four little children.
He's worked all of his life.
But unlike when I started to work
as a young person,
he seems to find jobs
that don't have a livable wage.
They're not full-time jobs.
He works 60 hours-plus a week
to take care of his wife and four kids,
and still struggles a lot,
even to the point that
he's had to move back in my house
with his family of six at one point,
because they continued to struggle.
His wife has $100,000 in debt
in student loans.
She has a Master's degree. She has no job.
It is not an uncommon story
in our community.
Unfortunately, Claudia,
I'm hearing it all the time.
And it's...
It's a story that affects
huge numbers of Americans.
A lot of these things
that we're talking about, to me,
is all a spin-off...
an economy that has been immoral
from its inception.
It was not designed to include everyone...
in a fair way,
in the sense of access.
How do you reform something
that's immoral...
at its core?
There's nothing inherent
in an economic system
that makes it either immoral or moral,
or good or bad.
It depends on how it's organized.
And if it's organized for people,
then it can be a good and moral system.
Our American economic system -
capitalism -
is a system based on private property
and a free exchange of goods and services.
One of America's greatest strengths
is our free market.
Let the free market system decide.
We all believe in the free market.
You know, that's...
That's what
our capitalist system is about.
The law of supply and demand
operating unimpeded by government.
Government is not the solution
to our problem,
government is the problem.
Few ideas have more profoundly poisoned
the minds of so many
as the notion of a free market
existing somewhere in the universe...
into which the government intrudes.
There's no such thing as a free market
without government
making the rules of the game.
What kind of rules?
Rules governing property.
And enforcement.
Let's take property.
Until the 1860s,
human beings were lawful property
in the United States.
It took years of activism and a civil war,
but Americans
finally made slavery illegal.
We'll take bankruptcy.
If you're a big business,
you can declare bankruptcy
over and over again
to protect your assets.
But if you're a student,
you can't reorganize your debt
in bankruptcy.
Or if you're a homeowner who's under water
because the market has collapsed,
you can't use bankruptcy.
It's illegal.
These rules don't come from nature.
They reflect the interests
of those with the most power.
Which means they change over time.
In the name of all those
who do the work,
pay the taxes,
raise the kids and play by the rules...
In the name of the hard-working Americans
who make up our forgotten middle class,
I proudly accept your nomination
for President of the United States.
Just about 50 years ago,
I met Bill Clinton.
I had already met Hillary Rodham.
She was an undergraduate at Wellesley.
I had been president of my class
at Dartmouth.
We were both involved
in student government.
So I knew her and I knew Bill. And I...
Even the first day of Yale Law School,
I was sitting in the cafeteria
talking to Bill Clinton,
and Hillary came up and she said,
"Bob, how are you?"
I said, "Great, Hillary.
I want to introduce to you
my friend from Oxford.
We were just at Oxford together.
Bill Clinton."
She said, "Hi, Bill."
And he said, "Hi, Hillary."
And then, 25 years ago,
Bill Clinton called me.
He wanted me to be his Secretary of Labor.
I was excited,
because maybe we could actually
make some real, real progress.
You had this pent-up demand
in the country
for something
that is very, very different,
that has a different vision.
We wanted to create the possibilities
for people who were not really yet
participating in the economy.
Because it was building
the future of the country.
It was building the capacity
of the country to not only grow,
but to bring everybody along
in that growth.
We were young.
We were the new generation.
We were the boomers.
I was gonna go down
and try to help him figure out
what to do about the economy.
In Focus this evening,
the shrinkage in America's middle class.
Even though the economy is now growing,
many of the jobs it is creating
pay poverty wages.
President Clinton
has been promising wages would rise.
But, at the Labor Department,
Secretary Robert Reich
sees the number of working poor growing.
More and more of the nation's
income and wealth were going to the top.
People in the middle - the middle class -
were under greater and greater stress.
The poor were not doing well at all.
I thought we could
actually reverse that direction.
I spent a lot of time all over America,
and what I got back from people
was a lot of the skepticism and cynicism
and the beginnings of the anger
that has really emerged full force
in 2016.
It was just beginning then.
A pleasure to introduce
Secretary Reich to the Show Me state,
and to mid-Missouri.
Thank you for being here.
As Tim said...
This started out as a book tour.
You know? I've done a lot of books.
I've written a lot of books.
I've tried to help people understand
what's really going on.
I don't want to just
go out to book stores.
I really want to talk to people
about their lives.
Yes, that's true!
That's great.
My name is Darvin Bentlage
and I'm a farmer.
There are other names
they use for me, but...
I just mainly go by "farmer"
and "cattle man."
The family farm has been around
for 80 years.
You're kind of raised into it, you know?
I jumped on my first tractor
when I was ten years old.
I could barely reach the pedals.
It's a lot of hard work.
Our margin of profits are way down,
you know?
Farm income this year
has been predicted to drop 50%.
Well, excuse me.
Nothing I buy has dropped 50%.
I don't think anything
in the grocery store has dropped 50%.
I have a son who would kind of like
to come back on the farm.
There's nothing that I would want more
than to sell my home and move down here.
The fiscal part of it is pretty rough.
What kind of profit margins
are you pulling in a year?
Oh, the profit margins, yeah.
It varies, but...
The total deal, you know...
I make around...
The year before was like $320,000.
-You spent...
- $300.
$300, so, in my mind,
your profit margin...
would have been $20,000.
There is a vicious cycle that has set in.
The American economy today
is almost twice as large
as it was in 1980.
But the median wage has gone nowhere.
If fact, if anything,
most Americans' wages,
adjusted for inflation, have declined.
So where did all the money go?
It went upward.
In 2014,
corporate profits before taxes
reached their highest share
of the total economy
in at least 85 years.
Meanwhile, the percentage of the economy
going to people's wages
has dropped dramatically.
Hidden inside the rules of the market,
money flows upwards -
out of the pockets of average Americans,
and into the profits of major industries,
and shareholders.
The vicious cycle is that,
as income and wealth go to the top,
so does political power.
And here is where it gets interesting,
because as political power
goes to the top,
the top has more and more ability
to influence the rules of the game.
I began my political education
when I went to Washington in 1967
as an intern for Robert F. Kennedy.
Being in Washington was thrilling.
People in the bottom 20%
were getting ahead.
In 1964,
when our large and growing
middle class was the envy of the world,
roughly 77% of Americans
said they trusted government
to do the right thing.
That's compared to 20% today.
Washington itself was kind of seedy
in those days.
There wasn't much money
flowing into Washington.
The business community
was just beginning to come to Washington
and set up shop.
It was just... just starting.
In the late 1970s,
I got a job as Director of Policy Planning
for the Federal Trade Commission.
While I was there,
we came out with a proposed rule
that would ban advertising
directed at children,
with regard to unhealthy, sugary products.
The Federal Trade Commission votes today
on recommendations by its staff
that would put tight new restrictions
on TV commercials aimed at children.
Advertisers are spending
hundreds of thousands of dollars
fighting the consumer groups
and the FTC staff proposals.
The makers of sugared cereals, candy,
and toys are fighting back.
You would have thought
we had declared World War Three,
because the business community
was so upset.
I began to see businesses
and business associations
begin to get more and more power
in Washington,
more and more power over...
the legislative process.
They closed the Federal Trade Commission
because of that rule.
At the Consumer Complaints
Office, yesterday's mail was unopened.
Hearings with food companies
were suspended.
A laboratory machine that smokes
500 cigarettes a day
to monitor tar and nicotine content
of the different brands got a break.
It didn't have to smoke.
What I discovered
is that big corporations, Wall Street,
very, very wealthy individuals,
they could actually change laws
and regulations
to favor them,
and to hurt others...
that that process was almost invisible.
It happened inside
the administrative agencies,
inside legislatures.
But the net effect of all of it
was to, very subtly,
change the rules of the game.
What I had witnessed
had been quietly launched in 1971.
The Chamber of Commerce,
a powerful business lobbying group,
asked a corporate lawyer
named Lewis Powell
to write a position paper.
Known as The Powell Memo ,
his paper rapidly circulated
among national business leaders.
"The American economic system," he said,
"is under broad attack."
Business must learn "the lesson
that political power is necessary,
that such power must be
assiduously cultivated,
and that when necessary,
it must be used aggressively
and with determination,
without embarrassment,
and without reluctance."
His memo tuned into a manifesto
for new business-oriented think tanks,
lobbying groups,
trade associations,
and professional organizations
committed to shaping the government
to better meet their needs.
The vicious cycle was in full swing.
First, let me ask,
how do you like to be called?
How should we call you?
-Your Excellency.
No, call me Bob.
Can we go around the table?
-...introduce yourselves.
Yes, introduce yourselves.
My name is Woody Cozad.
I used to be a lawyer.
Now, I'm a lobbyist.
as one of my...
fellow right-wing friends said to me, I...
I'm like a doctor who specializes
in the diseases of the very rich.
And so...
I try to represent people
who can pay my bills.
So I'm one of those evil guys
manipulating the rules and changing them.
What are you? Don't be defensive.
I'm not defensive!
I'm very proud of my job.
You're doing a job
and a job has to be done.
I'm Crosby Kemper, the Director
of the Kansas City Public Library.
And I was a Republican candidate
for the state legislature in 1980.
And I referred to myself then as I refer
to myself now, as a Libertarian.
I have been a very moderate Republican
and, actually,
have helped a few Democrats.
I was happy that Crosby invited me.
Thank you.
You know what I would like to do?
If you don't mind...
I would like to put party labels aside
and not talk Democrats and Republicans,
just for a little while.
Because I really want to talk about
how you view...
politics, the economy, your values.
You try... You...
You want to dismiss the argument
about government versus the market.
I'm just talking about government.
And people who operate that government
will do so in their own self-interests.
And that's what the constitution
was designed to limit.
And so the government should be limited.
I was a regulator.
I was at the Federal Trade Commission.
We would come up with simple rules.
And then the lobbyists...
- Right.
-...would attack.
They would say,
"You have got to give this little...
Make this exception
and this exception and this exception."
And then...
Congress would start calling
and they'd say,
"Our business constituents
want this exception."
It's not either market or government.
It is power that is misused.
Let's talk about power.
Let's talk about my two clients
who started a company 20 years ago
and are now billionaires.
They employ 9,000 people,
they pay hundreds of millions
of dollars in taxes,
they pay high wages -
it's a high-tech company,
with value added, generous benefits.
And yet they're held up
to scorn, hatred, ridicule and contempt
because they've added
to income inequality,
added to the concentration of wealth,
added to disparity...
- I...
-Why are they scapegoats? They're doing...
They are enacting the American dream.
One of them is an immigrant.
Let's agree that
there should not be any scapegoats,
and there's nobody evil here.
Let's also agree that there's a problem.
I mean, I actually really like you.
And I didn't expect to.
But you have vilified everything
I've worked for all my life.
I've had four very successful
small businesses.
I grew up poor in Springfield, Missouri.
Student loans, worked my ass off,
I probably created 200 jobs.
OK, it's not a lot.
I'm not the Koch brothers.
But I worked my ass off.
But you made me feel badly
about what I've done for America.
My theory is work. Take care of yourself.
Accept responsibility for yourself,
regardless of what life throws at you.
Yes, we've made it.
There's no question we've made it.
My husband and I
pinch each other every day
that we get to live
in this lovely community.
We're able to put his kids
through college.
But I think the opportunity
for employment
has become very complicated.
Today, it's hard for people
to really make ends meet.
I don't feel like being 20 today
is gonna be as easy as it was
when I was 20.
It's just a different time.
It's a very, very different time.
I've been working
at McDonald's for four years.
I work at the drive-through window.
I get paid $12.50...
$12.55 per hour.
I make about $1,200 a month.
$900 goes straight to rent.
And I have to pay for gas
and then my phone bill.
I end up with nothing.
We barely, barely make it.
Those big corporations can pay us more.
They have the money.
Me, as a cashier at my job,
I know how much money goes in there, OK?
And that is only in a few hours.
They're open 24/7.
I sometimes have to go for the payday loan
and get a loan on my paycheck,
in order to make it on time
and not get any late fees,
and try to make ends meet.
Nobody should be working full-time
and not making it.
Nobody in our society, the richest...
country, the richest nation
in the history of the world...
should feel as...
frightened and anxious and as insecure
as so many people do today.
The reality is that our system
can reflect our values.
Capitalism is what we make of it.
Either the rules
are going to expand opportunity
and widen the circle of prosperity,
or they're going to narrow opportunity.
The Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.
The Secretary of the Treasury,
Robert Rubin.
And the President of the United States.
I don't know whether Bill Clinton
organized his economic team
so that people like me would
have a good chance to make our case,
but we'd lose a lot of our...
a lot of the fights.
What I do know is that
it was a tough slog. make economic policy...
I was fighting very hard for maintaining
the original goals of that campaign.
We wanted to do away
with some of the tax subsidies
the federal government
was giving corporations,
that left average people
picking up the tab.
The president had pledged
to end the tax break for CEO pay.
The average CEO
at a major American corporation,
according to a recent Senate hearing,
is paid about 100 times as much
as the average worker.
And our government today
rewards that excess
with a tax break for executive pay,
no matter how high it is.
That's wrong.
If companies want to overpay executives
and underinvest in their future,
that's their business.
But they shouldn't get special treatment
from Uncle Sam.
There were voices,
particularly in the Treasury,
who wanted a very different rule.
Bob Rubin had been the CEO
of a big Wall Street bank,
and then became
the Secretary of the Treasury.
He viewed the economy
and viewed America
through the eyes of Wall Street.
And I remember the meeting with Rubin.
He said, "Well, why don't we make it that
you can't deduct CEO pay
in excess of $1 million,
unless it's related
to corporate performance?"
I said, "Wait a minute. Wait. Wait.
This has nothing to do
with corporate performance.
It's to do with excessive CEO pay
relative to the pay of average people.
We're not talking corporate performance.
We're talking about widening inequality."
Well, I lost that one.
And because of this tax loophole,
CEO pay skyrocketed
in the form of stock bonuses.
And this subsidy for executive pay
was just one example
of thousands of subsidies and tax breaks
that go to corporations.
The top five oil companies
receive a combined $4 billion
in tax breaks each year.
Google receives $632 million
in government subsidies
to build data centers.
And the United States
Department of Agriculture
spends $20 billion every year
on subsidies that go mostly
to the largest producers.
These subsidies are costing taxpayers
tens of billions of dollars every year.
Some estimates put it at over 100 billion.
That's more than the cost to fund
the entire Department of Education.
We have a huge system now
of corporate welfare -
aid for dependent corporations,
subsidies and tax breaks that have
no economic justification at all,
that are there
because individual corporations
or specific industries
have lobbied to get them.
It's in the tax code.
It's in appropriation bills.
It's in our trade laws.
Wherever you look,
you find corporate welfare.
I began to feel, in myself, some anger...
towards people I knew
in the administration
with a lot of power.
Not anger at them, personally,
because they were nice people.
I enjoyed them.
But anger at not only
what they represented,
but the narrowness of their view.
It was as if Washington was an island
that was separate
from the rest of the country.
The voices of average citizens
had disappeared -
all but disappeared.
Another member of the
Clinton administration announced today
that he's dropping out
of the game entirely.
Labor Secretary Robert Reich,
who's been a central player
on the President's domestic policy team,
is returning to Massachusetts
to spend more time with his family.
My friends, we are on the way
to becoming a two-tiered society...
composed of a few winners...
and a larger group of Americans
left behind,
whose anger and whose disillusionment
is easily manipulated.
Once unbottled,
mass resentment
can poison the very fabric of society,
the moral integrity of a society,
replacing ambition with envy,
replacing tolerance with hate.
Today, the targets of that rage
are immigrants,
and welfare mothers,
and government officials,
and gays,
and an ill-defined counterculture.
But as the middle class
continues to erode,
who will be the targets tomorrow?
You can see the cumulative effect
of all of this over time.
Wealth creating political power,
creating changes in the rules
that enhance wealth.
It's not sustainable.
It's getting worse and worse and worse.
Big trouble for millions
of American homeowners,
as foreclosures across the country
are up a staggering 87%.
The number of Americans
either behind on their mortgage payments
or in foreclosure
rose to record levels
in the third quarter.
Those mortgages made to borrowers
with poor credit histories
are called sub-prime loans.
And the explosive growth in this kind of
lending in the past few years
is now having a devastating impact.
We are briefly interrupting
regular programming
with the latest on a wild day today
on Wall Street
in which the stock market
officially crashed.
Now, three of the top five
Wall Street institutions are gone,
leaving many to wonder
whether Americans can trust the system
to keep their money safe.
So, what happened in the 2000s?
Well, Wall Street went amok.
I mean, completely crazy.
They're gambling with people's deposits.
They're gambling with the entire economy.
These are not aberrations.
This is not an accident.
Since the Reagan administration,
there's been a systematic changing
of the rules of our financial system -
always billed as deregulation
that would get government
out of our free market.
Government, with its high taxes,
excessive spending,
and over-regulation,
has thrown a wrench in the works
of our free markets.
Then in 1998,
Wall Street devised
new complex financial instruments
to maximize their profits,
known as "derivatives".
Despite warnings, these went unregulated.
What are you trying to protect?
We're trying to protect
the money of the American public,
which is at risk in these markets.
And then, in 1999,
Clinton did away
with the Glass-Steagall Act.
We're here today to repeal Glass-Steagall
because we've learned
that government is not the answer.
We have learned that freedom
and competition are the answers.
The Glass-Steagall Act
was a 1930s law
designed to protect people's savings
from being used by
Wall Street speculators.
But now, with no laws in place
to keep risky investment banks
from merging with commercial banks,
or controlled derivatives,
we ushered in too-big-to-fail mega banks,
that led to the stock market crash.
There's this fiction that
somehow you have
regulation or deregulation.
You don't have regulation
or deregulation.
The question is,
what regulation do you have?
You allowed commercial and investment
banks to get together
and then what happened
is you have a new kind of regulation.
It's called "bailouts".
Good evening and even congratulations.
You are now the proud owner
of a massive insurance company.
American taxpayers woke up this morning
to learn their money makes up
most of a bailout package
the Federal Reserve slammed together
to save a huge insurance conglomerate
called "AIG".
The rescue of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae,
Freddie Mac and AIG
puts an extra $314 billion
of taxpayer money at risk.
The administration and
Congress are hammering out the details
for what would be the largest
financial bailout in US history.
This is a big package,
because it was a big problem.
We're not getting rid of government.
That's the point.
Government will still be involved.
The question is,
how is government going to be involved?
Is government going to be involved
in terms of keeping banks
relatively small and tame,
or is government going to be involved
in dealing with the consequences,
from homeowners and everybody else
sweeping up the mess?
In other words,
it's not government versus no government.
what are the government rules going to be?
I received my diagnosis
in January of this year.
After receiving an infection abroad,
I came home and was treated for that.
And while in the hospital,
they discovered that I had cancer.
I have a couple of different medications
for nausea.
There are two specific ones that I take
on days two and three after chemo.
I get a steroid when I'm in the hospital
to get me through the treatment,
an antibiotic,
and another that helps me sleep,
because I get kind of a weird vertigo
during a certain point
of my treatment cycle.
Even with the insurance provider
that I have,
I was informed that they no longer cover
chemo drugs fully.
And so we were told
by a medical social worker
that we could potentially
receive a bill for thousands of dollars.
With the four drugs
that I take for chemotherapy,
the total comes out
to about $3,000 a month,
per treatment.
So, for me,
that's about three months of income...
just for...
Just for one round of treatment.
What is the alternative to receiving
your chemotherapy drugs?
There isn't one.
So whatever the cost is,
you have to pay it.
You and I
and everybody else in this country,
pays more for pharmaceuticals...
than any citizens
of any advanced nation.
Why is it that we pay so much?
It has to do with the way in which
pharmaceutical companies
have got laws and rules
that protect them.
And that gives them huge market power.
And it also gives them
huge political power.
And that political power
is being exercised in all kinds of ways
to tilt the market in their direction.
In June of 2003,
the Medicare Modernization Act
came up for vote in the House.
This will be
a 15-minute vote.
It was a bill that was ostensibly intended
to help seniors pay
for prescription drugs.
But it would also bar the government
from interfering with negotiations
between manufacturers and pharmacies
and prescription drug plan sponsors.
In other words,
it would prevent the government,
with its huge purchasing power,
from negotiating cheaper prices for drugs.
So, as new drugs hit the market,
patients would have no choice
but to pay the costs
set by the drug companies.
The bill was over a thousand pages.
And it was rushed to a vote in the House
at 3:00 a.m. the next morning.
We had leaders going around
and gathering around individuals
and trying to twist their arms
to get them to change their vote.
I think a lot of the shenanigans
that were going on,
they didn't want on national TV
in prime time.
On this vote, the ayes are 220,
and the nays are 215.
-The conference report is agreed to.
Without objection, the motion
to reconsider is laid upon the table.
This is a piece of legislation
that's hailed as a move toward
a free market.
But it's actually a government regulation
that benefits only a few at the top.
Similar manipulations of the rules
of our economy
are happening across our major industries.
Americans pay more for Internet service
than citizens of any other
industrialized nation,
and have some of the slowest speeds.
Because cable companies
have enough political power
to stifle competition.
We're paying more for airline tickets,
because airlines have merged
into just four major carriers
that barely have to compete
with each other.
We pay more for health insurance
as health insurers consolidate.
So, in every way, you see,
they're using their political power,
and that means you and I
and every other American
are paying more.
How do these industries
manage to get rules that benefit them?
It's no mystery.
Campaign contributions
buy access to government officials.
Well-funded public relations firms,
think tanks and research institutes
produce reports to promote those views
and sometimes even draft the laws
they want passed.
The tunes of lawyers
argue on their behalf
in courts and regulatory proceedings
in Washington.
Finally, there's the revolving door.
In the 1970s,
about 3% of outgoing members of Congress
became lobbyists.
In recent years,
42% of retiring representatives
and half of all retiring senators
have turned to lobbying.
Lobbying has been going on
since America's founding.
What has changed is the magnitude
of corporate lobbying
versus any other interests.
It's gone from a cottage industry
to an influence industrial complex.
corporate interests
spend $34
for every $1 dollar
spent by unions
and all public interest
groups combined.
In 2016,
they spent a total of
$3.15 billion on lobbying.
That's the equivalent
of $5.9 million
per member of Congress.
I'm kind of independent.
At times, I see both parties...
doing some stuff that I don't think...
that's what they were elected to do.
They don't care about
the promises they made to the people.
They care about the promises they made
to their backers.
They give them the money.
Most of us out here...
I don't contribute much
to the political deals, you know?
I'll vote for you.
If I vote for you,
that's all I should have to do.
I don't have to buy your loyalty to me.
Their money is their voice.
Why, excuse me, but where did I miss that?
Money is used to purchase something,
not as a voice.
You know?
So what are they purchasing?
They are purchasing
the influence of politicians.
Do you feel that
you are truly represented in Washington?
Do you feel that this country
is headed in the right direction?
No one does.
That's why I'm running for Congress.
My name is Dave Brat
and I'm a lifelong Republican
and conservative.
I'm ready to take economics and ethics
to Washington.
-Hey, Bob. Nice to see you.
Good to see you.
Thanks for coming in.
Well, I appreciate you taking the time.
I know you're in the middle of a campaign
and this is an imposition.
-No, it's not. Pleasure to meet you.
-It's great to meet you, too.
-I have a lot to talk to you about.
The Conservative Review...
has given you an award...
for being one of
the two most conservative Republicans
out of 247 Republicans in Congress.
-You use the term "crony capitalism"...
-Yeah. Yep.
What do you mean by "crony capitalism"?
The big folks get together,
no matter what industry,
protect their turf,
at the expense of the small guy.
The government's job
is to make sure that doesn't happen.
Instead, the government's job
has turned into,
they make that happen.
I mean...
I'm not against business.
But I'm against this crony business
that takes advantage of the taxpayer.
I do think it's coming. People-
The intuition right now is clear.
Something is wrong.
All over the country.
Right, left, everybody.
Something is way off.
The old assumption has been that
division is Democrat versus Republican.
That's fading.
But what we are beginning to see is that
it's actually anti-establishment
versus establishment.
It's people who don't want the big money
and the crony capitalism
versus the crony capitalists.
Democrats, Republicans,
conservatives, liberals...
There's gonna be disagreement
on a lot of stuff.
But if you could come together
on these fundamentals...
It's fine with me.
You're at a deeper level.
You've been teaching economics
and all that for 30 years.
I used to use your book.
- You used to use my book?
-I used to-
-Can we just make-
-I have a book out, too.
-Can we get that again?
what do you think of the title?
Yeah, it surprised me a bit
coming from you,
but in a pleasant way.
I think you and I are united.
We could do this in the right way.
Ethics and capitalism together,
and we'll save the country.
-Congressman, thank you.
-Thank you very much.
Everything fundamentally
comes down to American democracy.
Is it working for most people?
Or is it working for a very small number?
Researchers at Princeton
and Northwestern University
wanted to find out
how much political power
ordinary citizens have.
They examined a 20-year period,
from 1982 to 2002.
They first discovered that if large
corporations and wealthy individuals,
regardless of political party,
want a law passed,
there's nearly a 60% chance
it will be passed.
And if they don't want a certain law,
it doesn't pass.
Then they looked at everyday voters.
Issues that almost no one supports
having 30% chance of becoming law.
Issues that almost everyone supports
also have a 30% chance of becoming law.
They concluded, in their own words...
"The preferences of the average American
appear to have only a miniscule -
near zero -
statistically non-significant impact
upon public policy."
I'm always struck by
how close you can come,
as just an average American,
to the White House.
your voice can't really reach
the decision-makers in the White House.
Over the last 50 years,
Washington has become an Emerald City.
It's capital money.
Money that is there for only one purpose,
and that is to influence outcomes.
It's apparent to me
that certain judges are alleging
that somehow corporations
have the same rights as citizens.
I don't accept that premise.
The US Supreme Court today
overturned laws on the books
for nearly a century,
and ruled that corporations
can spend freely now
on political campaigns.
What's the point in individual people
trying to influence politics
with their donations
if Exxon or some other company
can quite literally match,
and therefore, cancel out,
the combined donations of every single
individual donor in the nation?
The cacophony now...
of special interests...
megaphones larger
than you've ever seen in your life,
will drown out...
the voice of the people.
The bottom line is this.
The Supreme Court
has just predetermined the winners
of next November's elections.
It won't be Republicans.
It won't be Democrats.
It will be corporate America.
Whose streets? Our streets!
Whose streets? Our streets!
Whose streets? Our streets!
Whose streets? Our streets!
There was a giant show of support
for the "Occupy Wall Street" movement
on Wednesday.
Approximately 10,000 people
marched through lower Manhattan.
We got sold out!
The truth is,
many of the reasons
they're hitting the streets
are similar to the reasons
the Tea Partiers began their protest:
crony capitalism,
bailouts to big business.
Washington should listen
to their message because it is similar
to the Tea Party's message.
That is crony capitalism needs to stop.
We have a voice!
We have a voice!
They're spending our children's money,
our grandchildren's money.
They're just going to continue
to push the country into debt.
They're gonna destroy
the economy of America.
This country is upside down.
It's not working for 99%
of our society anymore.
The 1% keep getting richer
and everyone else
is getting poorer and poorer.
It seems to me that the blame
has to be placed on both parties.
And it's time
we sent a clear message to them.
You either stop railroading our people
and our country,
or we're gonna throw all you bums out.
It is 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast.
And the moment of truth has arrived.
Welcome to the first debate night
of the 2016 presidential campaign
live from Quicken Loans Arena.
Mr. Trump, you have also
donated to several Democratic candidates.
You explained away those donations,
saying you did that
to get business-related favors.
You said recently, quote,
"When you give, they do
whatever the hell you want them to do."
You'd better believe it.
-It's true.
- What did they do?
I will tell you that our system is broken.
I gave to many people.
Before this, two months ago,
I was a businessman.
I give to everybody.
When they call, I give.
And you know what?
When I need something from them
two, three years later, I call them.
They are there for me.
-What did you get?
-That's a broken system.
I've never heard a candidate, never,
who's received huge amounts of money
from oil,
from coal, from Wall Street,
from the military industrial complex...
Not one candidate.
"All these campaign contributions
will not influence me.
I'm gonna be independent."
But why do they make millions of dollars
of campaign contributions?
They expect something.
Everybody knows that.
You've received millions of dollars
in contributions and speaking fees
from Wall Street companies.
How do you convince voters
that you're gonna level the playing field
when you're indebted
to its biggest players?
Well, I think it's pretty clear
that they know that I will.
You've got two billionaire
hedge fund managers...
They want to hear
your thoughts on Donald.
Oh, yeah.
Brutally honest?
Go for it. Yeah!
I think he's a great businessman.
I think this country needs
a businessman's standpoint.
-Do you know, he's against the union?
-A lot of people...
Yeah, I do. I do.
A lot of people don't like...
like to hear it, but I think
that's what this country needs.
A businessman.
-Not a politician.
-There you go.
I'm totally thinking that
we're being led too much by politics.
...instead of running this country
like a business.
But Donald Trump... Just...
It's a joke. He makes it into a joke.
-I agree but-
-We're a joke in other countries.
-He addresses a lot of the issues...
- The anger.
-...that are on...
- The anger.
Anger or issues.
It's anger. It's anger. He's...
He's using the people's anger
over the way government is operated.
And why do you think he's getting
the reaction that he's getting?
It's because he's saying stuff
that people are thinking.
- Oh, yeah.
-He's getting the reaction of the people.
That's the same thing with Bernie.
-Bernie's saying...
- Exactly.
That's why I like Bernie.
-And I like Trump. I'm torn.
- I know.
Bernie is a smart, intelligent man.
Bernie is my man.
So it's not Republican - Democrat.
- No!
- No, it's both.
-It is. So...
- Both of them.
If it was up to me, I would say,
"Hey, let's get a fresh stack of...
people that we can put in office."
I don't like any of them now.
- Re-elect nobody.
- Re-elect nobody.
- There you go!
Elect Willie Nelson.
Populism is a reaction
against those in power
in favor of the broad public.
But populism, let me hasten to say,
has two very different faces...
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
But to be more general about it,
when people are angry
and frustrated and afraid,
and they feel economically insecure,
they tend to either move toward
authoritarian populism
which is, "Give me the strong man
who's going to fix everything
on behalf of the people."
But it's anti-Democratic
and often uses scapegoating
as a way to generate
greater and greater support.
Or, alternatively,
populism can take the form of reform.
That is "We're gonna rebuild the system.
We're going to create
a very, very different system
that is much more reflective
of the people's needs."
So populism is not necessarily good.
It depends...
on what form it takes.
Faith in our major institutions
has plummeted over the last 30 years.
And this is dangerous.
Because if people don't trust
that our society
is working for most people...
then they are very vulnerable.
We're at a critical turning point
in this country.
And we're either going to go
toward authoritarian populism...
over the long-term,
or we're going to go
in the direction of a democratic...
a fundamental democratic change.
A democracy is a very fragile thing.
The other day,
I was going through the airport.
Somebody came up to me -
a complete stranger.
She said to me,
"So, what are we gonna do?"
I said, "I don't know."
And then other people in other airports
and other places,
they come up and say,
"Can you believe it?"
The way we get our economy back...
really is about the way
we get our democracy back.
And that is getting together
and creating institutions
that countervail the power
of the biggest corporations,
and the biggest banks
and the wealthiest people.
Citizenship is more than just voting
and jury duty and paying taxes.
Citizenship really is participating
and engaging
and making a ruckus
when a ruckus is necessary.
It's all of our responsibilities
to make sure for ourselves,
but also for our children
and grandchildren...
that we make this thing work.
Thank you.
Thank you for coming tonight. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you.
I stay positive,
first, because I know American history.
I know that every time
capitalism gets off the rails,
our instinct in this country
is to put it back on the rails.
We are seeing the same kind of
concentrated income and wealth,
the same kind of political corruption.
We saw the same thing
in the 1880s and 1890s.
And the rules added to the wealth.
You saw a similar kind of vicious cycle
to the vicious cycle we have now.
People became so angry.
And that anger was channeled
in a positive direction.
People organized themselves
and changed the organization
of the political economic system.
The first major
antitrust legislation was passed,
which broke up huge monopolies.
And then President Teddy Roosevelt
signed a law that prohibited
corporate donations
to political campaigns.
We don't succumb,
as other countries have,
to fascism or communism.
We are much more pragmatic than that.
And I think we'll do it again.
I'm also optimistic because I teach.
I surround myself every day
with young people.
And I see in young people today
a huge yearning,
a huge dedication
to making the system work.
It's a time of great, great opportunity
and great, great danger.
Some of you,
and I don't know who it is,
and I don't know how many of you...
will be part of the solution.
Some of you will be leaders.
Does everyone have a seat? I can't...
This is the most extraordinary...
historic period I've lived through.
And I'm old enough
to have lived through a number.
This summer marks the 50th year for me
that I've been involved
in and out of government.
And so it's a little bit humbling
to think that it's been 50 years,
and we're in deeper shit...
...than we were then.
If you've got young people
who don't have the experience
of a system that is actually working,
then where do they get
their idealism from?
Where is the next generation
going to draw its...
strength from?
I wouldn't say that American history
has had a golden age and we've passed it.
But I do think that at least there was
a sense that we were better together.
A sense of shared identity.
I don't think that exists so much anymore.
Certainly, there are moments of despair
and hopelessness
and the sense that, like,
all of this is for nothing.
So, like, that... That comes, too.
But you have to believe things
will get better.
Or you'll just always
be living in hopelessness.
But it's also an opportunity
because people are also getting more aware
and more understanding of the challenges,
and that's mobilizing people, also,
into making people act
and reflect on and...
participate in politics.
So, it's... It's hope.
I wish, with hindsight,
that when I had had the opportunity...
in government...
I wished I had pushed harder.
But at the time, I thought
I was pushing as hard as I could.
As hard as I dared.
It's now up to the next generation.
All social change occurs
when people become aware of a tension
between the ideal
that they carry around in their heads
about how the system really ought to work,
and the reality they see around them.
And when that tension becomes too great,
that dissonance becomes too intense,
they are willing to take action.
Affordable care!
-We want it now!
-We want it now!
It's getting a bit better
because we are doing something
to make a change.
I've been fighting for $15 in the union
for about three-and-a-half years.
What do we want?
$15 in the union!
When do we want it?
My friends, this is about power.
It's about reclaiming our democracy
and reclaiming our economy.
This is a huge victory. I feel very proud.
Because now the rest of the nation
is looking at us.
And they're seeing that $15 per hour...
It's achievable.
We can do it.
We're getting hardened on how to organize.
When they start trying to discredit you,
and belittle you,
you know you're making an impact.
My question is,
how can I be sure that you will
advocate for me as your constituent,
and can you guarantee for me
quality affordable healthcare, at age 26,
with a pre-existing condition,
as I live below the poverty level?
It's Office Hours Live .
A lot of people who, until now, have said,
"Well, politics is out there,
politics is for other people",
are now understanding
that they can't sit back.
The people in control
have reason and means
to keep us in separate groups
and keep us angry at each other.
The strength you have is in numbers.
- Right.
-It's not just in guts.
That's right.
I ask you all
to take five minutes out of your day
and make at least one phone call
to your congressperson,
one phone call to your senator,
and I guarantee you,
that if we continue doing so,
we will succeed.
Do your job! Do your job!
Do your job! Do your job!
The only way forward to a system
that works for the majority of us,
is to get organized
and politically active.
The moneyed interests
are doing what they do best -
making money.
The rest of us need to do
what we can do best...
Use our voices.
Our vigor.
And our votes.
It's up to us to change the rules.
If you're gonna be a citizen activist,
three things...
Number one,
you've got to be tenacious and patient.
Social change does not happen quickly.
Number two,
talk to people who disagree with you.
Get out of your bubble.
Maybe they will convince you
that you are wrong,
or you'll convince them
that they are wrong.
But you've got to talk to them!
Number three,
have some fun.