IPTV Presents Conversations with Presidential Candidates Hosted by DMACC | former Rep. Beto O’Rourke


>>>IPTV presents “conversations with presidential candidates”
hosted by DMACC, funded by Goldman Sachs, delivering its
10,000 small businesses program in Iowa to help entrepreneurs
across the state create jobs and economic opportunities.
Additional funding has been provide bit Arlene McKEEVer
endowment fund, a fund that the Iowa Public Television
foundation established by a gift from the estate of Arlene
McKEEVer, and by friends, the Iowa Public Television foundation.>>The future of the
American presidency and our nation’s economy are key factors
in the 2020 race. In Iowa, the nation’s first test for presidential aspirants, from
Des Moines area community college in Ankeny, Iowa, IPTV
presents “conversations with presidential candidates,” hosted
by DMACC.Here is Iowa Public Television’s David Yepsen.[ Cheers and
Applause ]>>Welcome to the latest editionof our IPTV
“conversations with presidential candidates,” an in-depth focus
on issues relevant to the future of our country for candidates
seeking the Democratic nomination for president, all
hosted here at the Des Moines area community college.We’ll
dive into a series of issues, many dealing with ways to
improve the economic lives of Americans.Our goal is to help
people make ahead.a crucial choice in the
months The questions will come from me and from Iowans seated
in our audience of students, business owners, and caucusgoers.We’re
joined now by former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. He represented Texas after
serving six years on the city council in his hometown of El
Paso.He ran a competitive challenge to Senator Ted Cruz.Mr.
O’Rourke, welcome back to Iowa and welcome to the Des Moines
community college.>>Good to be with you.>>A lot
of serious issues to go through, so let’s get started.
Gun violence. How would your plan to do
mandatory buyback of assault weapons work?>>First, we need
to make sure that we’re sharing with the American public what it
is we’reup against.These are weapons, the AR-15 or the AK-47, that were originally
designed, engineered, and sold to the militaries of the world
to kill people, expressly to kill people, as effectively, as
efficiently, and as great a number as possible.For those of
us in El Paso, those who live in Odessa, those in any communities
that has suffered a mass casualty shooting with one of these
weapons of war, we understand this is unlike what a handgun or
a shotgun or any other weapon does.When that high impact, high
velocity round hits your body, it destroys everything that’s
inside.It belongs on the battlefield.It does not belong
in our homes or streets.It should not be used against usand
our kids the way it is today.So in addition to universal
background checks, red flag laws, and ending the sale of
these weapons of war into our communities, we would buy back
each and every single one of the more than 10 million that are
out there.I would expect, because I believe in this
country, my fellow Americans, that people will follow the law.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me in an
airport or the grocery store after I’ve announced this policy
to tell me they have an AR-15 or an AK-47 and would willingly
give it it the government.They don’t need it to hunt.They don’t
need it for self protection.It’s a toy at best, something they
would be happy to give up if it makes this country safe.>>You
know, prohibition didn’t work with alcohol and it didn’t
work with drugs.What makes you think it’s going to work with
guns?>>Yeah, I don’t think the burden should be on those who propose a solution to this.I
think we should ask the NRA or the makers of these how they
would condone the fact that there are more than 300 mass
single year.shootings in this country in a The reason we’re at
this point with more than 10 million of these weapons in our
homes and streets right now is because we’re afraid to take
action, we’re afraid of the NRA, we’re afraid of what this does
to our prospects in the next election.I’m confident that with
fewer weapons of war out on the
street, we’ll see fewer mass casualty shootings, fewer
Americans killed.We lose 40,000 a year every single year in this
country.And we can look to those countries, to answer your
question, that have employed this policy, notably Australia,
who has prevented 16 massacres or mass shootings in the years
since they’ve implemented a mandatory buyback.So we know
this can work.We just have to have the courageof our
convictions and do something that we knew was possible before
but for the lives of our fellow Americans, is very necessary for
us to do now.>>As you know, you’ve been criticized by some
legislators and Democrats for radicalizing the national rifle
association.When you sigh we’re coming for your guns, that’s
exactly what they have been scaring their members about for
decades.So aren’t you just an organizingtool now for the NRA?
>>Yeah, I don’t know how much more radical the NRA could be or if any one man or woman could make them even more radical.They
have successfully purchasedthe silence and outright complicity
from members of Congress, who prevent the
Centers for Disease Control from studying gun violence in the
first place.It would be as if 50 years ago we prevented the
Surgeon General from studying lung cancer deaths in America and tobacco.We drove
down the number of smoking deaths and lung cancer deaths as
well.It’s time we defy the NRA and the very small minority of
our fellow Americans who believe more in their AR-15s and AK-47s
than they do in our children’s ability to go to school without fear, to go to Walmart in El
Paso without feeling like you have a target on your back, to
live in this country and pursue your potential, to fulfill your
promise and not have to be yet another death, another
statistic, another number in this country that has a rate of
gun violence seen nowhere else in the developed modern world.So
I really could care less about the NRA, I could care lessabout
those who stand in the wayof progress.I’m listening to moms
demand action.I’m listening to those students who marched for
our lives.I’m listening to our fellow Americans, Republicans,
Democrats, independents alike, who know this is the right time
to do the right thing.One interesting fact we learned this
week, a poll came out in Texas and it shows that 49% of my
fellow Texans believe in a mandatory buyback program.Only
35% opposed.That’s in Texas.This proud but responsible gun owning
state, people know this is the right thing to do.It’s time for
the politicians, those in elected office and those who
pursue these positionsurgency.of public trust to reflect that
That’s what we’re doing in this campaign.>>Is there anything
you would do on this issue that’s different than what other
presidents have done?I mean, calling for mandatory gun
buybacks is something but you’ve still got to over come the political clout of the
NRA.How do you bridge the urban/rural gap on this issue?>>
First of all, you don’t allowthe NRA to set the terms of the
debate.That’s what we’ve done not only for Republicans but,
disappointingly, for Democrats as well.Our proposal for
buybacks, mandatory licensing and gun registration, our
proposal to raise the age to buy a firearm
to 21 years old, to save the lives of those who take their
lives with firearms, we lose 22,000 of our fellow Americans
every single year.That’s an important first step.Second, we
go everywhere, listento everyone.The first place I
visited after announcing this proposal was a gun show in
Conway, Arkansas.And I was listening to those who own AR-15s, who are selling AR-15s and purchasing AR-15s at
this gun show.Somewhat to my surprise, many ofthem agreed
with me. They said, look, I shouldn’t be
able to sell weapons at this gun show.If you were 18 years old I
wouldsell you the firearm, which begsthe question why the guy is
selling them there in the first place.A gentleman came up to me
and said, I have an AR-15, I don’t
want to sell it back, but I have kids in school and they’re
worried every single day when they go to school.At least we
began the conversation there at that gun show.Someone else
identified him as atrump supporter and said, I need it.
would give my gun back, I don’t So I think what we saw in that
poll in Texas, what I heard at that gun show in Conway,
Arkansas, what people are coming up to tell me all over the
country, shows me that the time is now to move forward on it.
There is the political will and the popular sentiment to do the
right thing.So let us seize it at this fellow Americans.moment
and save the lives of our>>I want to switch gears,
Congressman.Jobs and the economy are always a big issue in the
campaign.One of the things we’re trying to do with these
conversations is focus a little bit on the problems that small
businesses have.What’s your big picture view on what you would do to create more
jobs and improve the American economy?>>I was a small
business owner when I moved back to Texas more than 20 years ago.
I started a technology business in El Paso, Texas.It’s the third
poorest urban county in the United States of America.It
might be the last place or the third least likely place that
you would expect to find a business like ours.But what we
found was that we were awash in talent.It just needs an
organization, achannel through which it could express itself.So
finding the capital, which I was able to borrow ultimately from
my dad because I couldn’t get a loan from a small bank, being
able to find the talent and ensure that that talent had the
skills and the education necessary to deliver the services to our clients, was
fundamental to the success that we enjoyed.Understanding that my
story, and frankly, as a white man, is
exceptional in this country, my father owned his home, could
take a loan against it, and then turn around and lend it back to
me, it’s not the same for black families in this country who
have been redlined out of the ability to have equity in their
home or have something to borrow against.Our proposal entails
doubling the size of community development finance
institutions, to get more capital out to small businesses
and potential small business owners.African-American women in
this country are creating and growingsmall businesses at 14
times therate of the national average.That’s job creation
where we want it and where we need it right now.Let’s get more
capital to those black women, wherever they are in America, to
grow and start those businesses right now.So that’s important. Investing in pre-K-12 education
so you have the educated workforce to hire into those
buildings.And making sure someone can afford to go to
community college here at DMACC or a
four-year university or can join a union and enter an
apprenticeship where they will learn a skill or trade they’ll
be able to command for the rest of their lives.Investing in
entrepreneurs, communities, in people, in education, that’s the
key to growing this economy and making sure it works for
everybody.>>I’ve got a question from the audience relating to
both health care and the economy, about
maternity leave.>>Hi.>>Great. So the United States is the only
industrialized nation, industrialized country, sorry,
that does not offer paid family or maternity leave at a national
level.What is your plan to create a paid maternity and family leave
program that does not take away from Social Security like some
have proposed and would be available to all Americans
regardless of the size and business type of their employer
or how long they’ve worked at their current job?>>Thanks for
the question.You know, when you put it like that, it’s hard to
believe, and even harder to explain to ourselves and to our
kids, the way that we treat one another inthis country.As
president, I will make sure that any one of us can take timeoff
of our job to take care of ourselves, to take care of a
parent, to take care of a child, without the threat of losing our
income or losing our job in the first place.Not only is that
good for the employee, it’s going to be greatfor the
employer.The morale within that company.And then by extension,
really good for this economy. When you couple that with wage
increases so that no one’s working a second or a third job,
$15 an hour as the floor, universal health care, so everyone is well enough to go to
work in the first place or to finish their education or to
start a small business if they are an entrepreneur, and ending
discrimination in the workplace, in a country that in 2019, and
this is also exceptional about the United States, women are
paid a fraction of what men are paid for the same work, the same value, the same number of hours. African-American women, paid 61 cents on the dollar.Latinas, 53
cents.If we do that, all of us will have a much better chance
of doing better and this economy asa whole truly will work for
everyone.>>Another economic issue, tradeand tariffs. A big deal here in the midwest.
What do you do with our relations with China, and specifically how would president
O’Rourke keep the Chinese from stealing American intellectual
property?>>Day one of my administration,we end this trade
war.We end the tariffs which are crippling not just the Chinese
economy, but are thwarting our economic advances and in Iowa
are pounding the hell out of farmers.Markets they have worked
an entire lifetime or their parentsor grandparents worked an
entirelifetime to open up are closed to them.And closed not
only to them but to their children.Many of those farmers
tell me they’re worried that even when this trade war ends,
those Chinese buyers are going to find other sellers around the world.
Art Cullen in storm lake, Iowa has made the connection that
those fires in the Amazon that are literally burning the lungs
of planet earth right now were set in part because of the trade
war.Soybean farmers in Brazil tryingto make sure they can make
up for the gap made by the trade
war by soybeans can no longer reach their markets.How can we
hold China accountable for stealing our intellectual
property or dumpingsteel on our or other markets atbelow the
cost of production? Former Governor Tom Vilsack was
the first one to say this to me, we go in with our allies, our friends and trading partners.
Governor Vilsack said to me, when have we ever gone to a
trade war or a shooting war without friends and allies? That’s what President Trump has
done.We have no off-ramp and the American farmer and the American
worker is taking it on the chin. The average American household
is paying $1,000 more related to tariffs right now.So $1,000 tax
per household.We’ve lost 300,000 jobs in the U.S. economy and
we’re on track to lose a million by the end of the next year.So
if we showed up to the negotiating table with China,
with the European Union, with Canada, with Mexico, with Japan,
there would be strength in those numbers.And in concert, we would
be ableto get China to play by the rules of the road or face
consequences that extend beyond just the U.S. market.That is the
way to get China to do what we want them to do and to make sure
that we end this trade war, end these tariffs, and get these
farmers back to being able to make a profit on what they
produce for us and therest of the world.>>Another issue
facing rural Americans and farmers is ethanol
production.A sensitive issue in Texas too.What’s your position
on ethanol and on renewable fuel standards?
>>We’ve got to keep the RFS.We have to end the waivers that are
granted for refiners right now, which are not only bad for
Iowa corn farmers here, but they’re bad for our environment.
They’re bad for our goal of getting to net zero greenhouse
gas emissions no later than 2015, much sooner if we can.
Getting halfway there by 2030. Iowa showed this country the
way, both to free farmers from a dependence on a commodity market
over which they had no control, by adding value to what we grow
right here in this state, and taking about 10% of gasoline out of the market and the exhaust
out of the air.Let’s build on that lead that Iowa has produced
but complementit with wind energy, which you’re a leader in
as well, solar energy, which is what we produce in El Paso,
Texas, in myhometown, and the high wage, high skilled jobs
that come along with that.So as president we won’t grant those
waivers, won’t hand them out like Halloween candy the way
President Trump is doing right now.We’ll follow the lead of
farmershere and those who are pioneering in renewable energy
and we’ll add valuable to what we grow and how can he conserve and how we allow farmers in this
state and every state in the union to be able to add value to
what they do and be paid for the environmental services they
provide.>>How do you deal with the clout that the oil industry
has on public policy in this country?I mean, President Trump
has beenon both sides of this issue.He’s in a real bind.He’s
got electoral votes in the midwest and he’s got a big pile
of them in Texas too he needs to get.How do you deal with — how
do you balance that out, what do you say to your friends in the
oil industry?>>It’s much like your question
about firearms and, you know, have we really upset the NRA.
It’s the same with oil and gas and energy and our carbon emissions and the fate of this
planet.We shouldn’t care whether we upset the fossil fuel
industry.What we should care about is howwe’re going to
answer our kids. What we should fear is their
judgment in the year 2050.By then we’ll know whether we’ve
made them proud or whether we’ve lost their generation.So there
is no real conflict or perceived conflict, we don’t take money
from any PAC or corporation or special interest.
We’ve signed the fossil fuel pledge to make sure there is no
doubt that our focus is on making sure that we meet our
obligations to one another and to every generation that follows
out. And I’ll say this, forthe oil and gas industry in Texas, it is
being superceded by the Texas. renewable energy industry in We
generate rate more wind energy in Texas than any other state
other than Iowa. Those high skill jobs are
growing by the day in our state. This is not just the right thing
to do for the environment and the planet.It’s the right thing
to do as wegrow our economy and find high wage, stable jobs in
America.It’s a positive thing for us.>>You’re into the
subject of climate change, the climate crisis.What do we do?>>marshal every resource in this
country to confront the greatest threat we’ve ever faced, the threat
which might produce our greatest moment, allow us to fulfill our
potential and promise to one another.It’s one of the reasons
I reallylike the way the authors or the framers of the green new
deal talk about that proposal. They call to mind the greatest
generation, which in the midst of the Great Depression, fought
the greatest existential threat that the United States of
America and the western democracies had ever faced.And
in so doing, lifted tens of millions of our fellow Americans
out of poverty and created the world’s greatest middle class
known at that time.And it was every single one of us.
Republican, Democrat, independent, small town, big
city alike, before we were anything else, we were Americans
first.And that’s the kind of challengethat we’re up against
here today. So we mentioned what some of the
solutions are, embracing renewable energy, freeing
ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels, and especially
here in Iowa.I’ve been listening to farmers like Matt Russell,
who have been telling me that if paid to do
so, farmers are ready to provide the environmental services that
we need. They’re ready to keep more land and cultivate every square inch under their ownership and do far more to capture out of air and
soil.Precision till and no-till farming.Regenerative
agricultural and ranching is something that couldallow the
United States to pioneer a solution for the entire world.So
if every single one of us is doing all that we can, every
single part of this country, we will be able to not only meet
the challenge here in the United States, but we will be able to
establish the moral leadership for the world.Convene the other
powers of the planet to do their part as well.Return to our role,
harkening back to the end of World War II,
as the indispensable nation.We alone can do for ourselves and
the rest of the world what no other country can.If we flip the
switch right now and stopped all emissions in this country, we
will only have resolved 16% of the problem. So we need to take the lead here
but then establish that around the world to ensure that we don’t warm another degree and a
half Celsius, after which, this is over.So this greatest
challenge couldproduce our finest hour.I believe in this
country and I know we can do it.>>Is it too late?>>Some are
saying it’s too late?>>Is it too late?>>If it were, we
should all just give up and go home.I cannot accept that.I
understand and accept this is the toughest thing we’ve ever
been up against, so hard that I don’t think we know what we’re
in for yet.But if we were to give up, then we’re giving up on
our kids.Ulysses, Molly, Henry, they’re counting on me, and it
is their judgment I face and fear, and I’m going to do
everything I canwhile we still can at this moment.>>One of the reasons why the
greatest generation was able to succeed in not only fighting the
depression but a war, was the leadership of a president.What
would you do as president to try to lead and inspire the way
Franklin Roosevelt did?Because a lot of people would say, this
generation, Americans today, we don’t have the grit ofour
parents and grandparents, we’re not anywhere near the greatest
generation.How do you lead on that?>>I say baloney. You know, I have been so struck and inspired by young people who
understand this is the most important thing that we could
possibly do.And they’re not just raising their hands to remind me
of that.They’re getting up in my face tosay that if we’re not
going to do this, then we better get out of the way because they
are going to do this right now. Yesterday, all around the world,
young people walking out of their classrooms, into the
streets, to stand up for one another for this planet, for the
very best in us.And I’ve got to tell you, when we come up
against other intractable problems in this country, it
really has been the young people who have shown the way.So all
credit to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II, but
who was storming the beaches of Normandy? in the White House.It wasn’t 60
and 65-year-old menIt was 18 and 19 and 20-year-olds who for the
first time in their lives had a rifle in their hand, had just
trained and were going to sacrifice their lives for all of
us.1960, February 1, four African-American students from
North Carolina, AMT, sit down at a would like worth’s lunch
counter and have the audacity to order coffee and were denied
because of the color of their skin and stayed at the lunch
counter every single day until it was integrated, shocked the
conscience of this country and forced it to act. All credit to Lyndon Baines
Johnson for signing the voting rights act in ’65, but the young
people in this country forced him to do the right thing.So my
money is on the young people of this country right now.They’re
going to ensure that we do the right thing.I would be so lucky
and so grateful to do that work with them as president.>>How do you deal with the “not
in my backyard” syndrome? Americans know, people know what
needs to be done, but you start talking about closing coal mines
and miners go crazy.It’s not just in this country.In Germany,
the green movement had a setback, because when you start
making it clear to the German worker what happens, theydon’t
like it.You have Americans, you know, off Cape Cod, they don’t
want tolook at windmills, wealthy Americans.You have them
here in Iowa that don’t want to look at them from their
mansions, so they oppose wind energy.How do you lead on that,
what doyou say?>>I was in Roscoe, Texas last year.Small farming and ranching
community.Initially resistant to the idea of wind turbines in
their community.They may now have more wind turbines per
capita than any other place on planet earth.What I found when I
was at Roscoe high school, home of the plow boys and plow girls,
almostevery single student there now graduates with an
associate’s degree with high school at the age of 18 just as
you would herefrom DMACC at the age of 20 or 22.Many of them are
graduating withFAA remote pilots licenses to fly the drones that
perform the maintenance inspections on thosewind
turbines.They’re able to afford to do that because those wind
turbinesare creating the tax base that is generating the
revenue that allows them to invest in the next generation.So
the people in Roscoe, Texas, and this is in an oil and gas state,
can tell you how become. beneficial wind energy has I was
recently in southwest Virginia, coal mining country, Iwas in
bland county, which no candidate for the presidency hasever voted
before, and I was link to those in the coal
industry.Here is what they told me.They too have grandson and
granddaughters and are just as concerned as anyone here about
the fate of our planet and our contribution to the problem, our
emissions.They just want to have a seat atthe table.They want to
be heard, they wantto be respected. They told me in bland county, we
don’t have broadband Internet. Try looking for job, starting a
business, finishing your education, or finding a date on
tinder if you cannot get online. Partner with our community,
invest with us, we’ll have a shot at the future.I know it
won’t be easy for everyone.But by showing respect, having the
common courtesy of listeningto those most impacted, I’ve
confident there’s a solution to this country going forward.>>
Congressman, I have way too much questions and not enough time,
so I want to switch gears and go to health care.Where do you come
down in this debate between Medicare for all and public
option?You’ve got a plan.Why is yours — what is yours doing and
why is it best?>>We ensure that we’re able to
deliver guaranteed, high quality, universal health care
for America by rejecting the false choice contained within
your question.There are some who say it is an all or nothing
proposition, single pair, Medicare for all, or bust.That
means that nearly 150 million of our fellow Americans would have
to leave.Some would want to but many would have to leave private
insurance that works for them, works for their families, in
many cases members of unions who fought for those health care
plans.There are others who propose kind of improving things
at the margins, adding a public option to the Affordable Care
Act or Obamacare.And while that’s an improvement over the
status quo, it still leaves millions uninsured.Here we are
in a state that is 51st in America to see a mental health
care provider.largest mental health care My home state of
Texas, the provider is the county jail system.People with
schizophrenia, far too often getting arrested on purpose to
go to the one place they’re guaranteed to get the care they
need, to make life okay temporarily.So that’s not an
option for me either.Our proposal is Medicare for
America. It says if you’re uninsured, we
enroll you in Medicare today. If you’re underinsured, meaning
you’re unable to afford your co-pay or premium, we’ll enroll
you in Medicare if that’s your choice.But if you have a plan
that you like, that works for you and your family, you can
keep it.>>How do you pay for it?>>We make sure that everyone
inthis country is paying their fair share. We roll back the worst of the $2
trillion trump tax cuts.So a corporate rate that went from
35% to 21, we’ll take it back up to at least 28%.It generates
hundreds of billions of dollars. We will tax returns on capital
at the same rate that we tax ordinary and wage income,
hundreds of billions of dollars. We’ll end the wars in
Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen, in Somalia, in Libya,
and so many other countries around the world and invest that
dividend in those who bore the battle in the first place, make
sure they have access to care for their PTSD, and also make
sure those savings are applied to those who should be well enough to live to their full
potential here in this country. We’re going to ask the
wealthiest to make sure that they pay their fair share with
an additional tax on transitions into the next generation, to make sure that not only do we
not build up intergenerational wealth but that there is some
wealth equality in this country. The nearly 10 million immigrants
who are here undocumented, that’s hundreds of billions of
dollars to the positive of the U.S. economy.That allows us to
make investments in ourselves.>>Another issue you’ve been
talking about is the legalization of marijuana.How
does your plan work?>>We would end the prohibition on marijuana
Federally. Right now it is a state by state
pursuit which means that in some places you can legally go into a dispensary, buy weed, and get
perfectly legal.high, no questions asked, In other states
you can be buying marijuana for recreation, for your fibromyalgia, for your
PTSD, because you don’t want to buy an opioid to which you may
become addicted, and become a criminal, be arrested, locked
up.Although Americans of all races,backgrounds, ethnicities
use marijuana at the same rate, African-Americans are far more
likely to be stopped and frisked and arrested and jailed.And
after prison, forced to check a box on every employment
application form saying they have a conviction.No longer
eligible for student loans to come here because of their
arrest.Not only do we end the prohibition, we expunge the
arrest records for anyone caught with possession of something in
the country.that is legal in half the states>>We have an
audience question related to this subject, Congressman, about
felon rehabilitation.>>Great.>>Hi, I’m Madison, a student atthe
university of Iowa.I’ve debated going into law so I have a question about felon
disenfranchisement.Do you support giving convicted felons
their voting rights back and if so, how do you plan to do>>
Thanks for the question.that?The answer is yes.Everyone who has
served time will not only be able to be eligible to register
to vote, and participate in our elections, and ensure that their
voice is heard and their vote is counted, they will automatically
be registered.Right now in those states that have opted to reenfranchise
convicted felons, the onus is on the person who is formerly
incarcerated, to learn about this program and sign up. We would make it automatic.We
would add to that voter registration throughout the
country automatically.That nets us, we believe, 55 million
additional Americans who are not registered today, who by 2024 will be registered to vote.
It will fundamentally and for the better change our democracy. If we couple that with a new
voting rights act that ensures there are no barriers to the
ballot box, Texas up until recently was 50th in the country
in voter turnout not because we like our democracy less than you
do here in Iowa but because we drew people out based on race.We
gerrymandered African-Americans and Mexican-Americans to
diminish the power of their vote.Stacey Abrams would be the
Governor of the state of Georgia right now if we had not purged
hundreds of thousands of voters from the voting roll.That’s how
we get our democracy back.I’m grateful that you asked the
question, thank you.>> Congressman, we’re on the campus
of the Des Moines area community college. I want to ask you about issues
of student debt and paying for higher education.What are your
thoughts?>>Cost should be no object, no
barrier to anyone who wants to improve themselves.When they do
this, they improve the rest of us.Their earning potential is
greater.What they give back is greater.What they’re able to do
over thecourse of their life is greater.But right now we have
$1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, making it
hard for those who have an education to move forward in
their lives.And telling those who are in high school right now
that maybethis isn’t the best path for them to take,
especially when we see a 10% default rate on that
student loan debt, so how do we meet this challenge?For those
who hold student loan debt which you can never shake until you’re in the grave, we’ll
refinance at the lowest finance rates.And for those who do any
kind ofpublic service, if you teach in a classroom anywhere in
America,we’ll waive your outstanding student loan debt
completely, clean it, clear it. You’re focused on those kids in
front of you.If you work in any level of local, county, state,
or Federalgovernment, we’re going to cleanyour student loan
debt.If you are going into school right now, we’re going to
guarantee that the first two years of your education are
completely free, not just for tuition but room and board and
books, the full cost of being able to be educated.And in
four-year programs, debt-free for low income and moderate
income Americans, debt-free for every aspect of college life.And
lastly, and I think this is really important, for those
Americans who do not want to go to college, we’re also going to
elevate the role that unions play, create 5 million
additional apprenticeships to ensure that at no cost and no
accrual of debt, young Americans can learn a skill or trade that
they’ll command for the rest of their lives, which will allow
them to command a living wage for the rest of our lives. So that’s a comprehensive
education plan that addresses cost and outstanding debt and
ensures we’re rise to go our full potential.>>Another issue
younger Americans care about is regulation of the Internet.A lot
of older Americans do too.We have a question from the
audience about that.>>Great.>>Hi, Beto, I’m a senior
systems engineer at a large cloud services committee.Our
rights online are becoming extremely important to everyday
Americans.Would you support a digital rights platform that
includes net neutrality, online privacy, and holding platforms accountable for their content?>>
Yes.And before I continue with my answer, let me just commend you on your style and fashion, with
that Beto shirt.The answer is yes. Net neutrality, meaning that all
data and content flows at the same speed, and no one for their
wealth or their power or their privilege is able to get their
information or entertainment or news or opinion or candidacy
across faster than anyone else. That’s essential to our
democracy.It’s essential to entrepreneurship.And a chance
for the mom and popshop to compete against the giant
corporations.And it’s essential for our ability to create
entertainment and arts and those aspects of our quality of life that define
us as Americans. You also mentioned these digital
platforms and social media companies being responsible for
the content that they share. Right now in this country, we
effectively treat them as utilities or common carriers, when really they’re publishers.
Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, they curate the
content that I see based on my likes or dislikes, my biases, my
preferences, and my friends.So they have some control over what
I see.Therefore they should be accountable, just like “the Des Moines register” is accountable
for what they public in their paper.Removing the blanket
immunity which they enjoy today, holding them accountable and
responsiblefor our privacy and our data, our photos at a time
that you and I have become the products on their platforms, is
essentialif we’re going to protect one another and also if
we’re going to give those small businesses achance to compete as
well.Thanks for asking the question, appreciate it.>>
Congressman, Iowa is one of the oldest states in the country, an
issue relevant to many is Social Security.What are you going to
do to keepit sound?>>I’m going to make sure that we fulfill our
commitment to every single American who has paid into
Social Security every working day of their lives.And we know
that within the next15 years along this current trajectory,
we will no longer beable to pay 100 cents on the dollar of
earned benefits.So we’ve got to make sure that we have the
resources for everyone who is counting on Social Security
going forward.And we also have to raise the earned benefit that
is paid out so people can afford to live in their older age on
the earned benefit that they’ve paid into.How do we do this?We
raise the arbitrary cap on income that is taxed for Social
Security purposes right now.It’s at 131 –>>132,000.>>What’s a
thousand dollars between friends, right?$132,000.And what
that means right now isthat every dollar, every million
dollars, every billion dollars more that you earn over that, is free and clear from being paid
into the Social Security fund.>>You just raised the cap a little
bit, or do you take it off completely?>>We would take the
cap off completely.That ensures that we have the resources to
pay well into the next century, to pay a higher
earned benefit for those who paid in to Social Security, and
to make sure that we’re addressing things like long term
care, the ability to age in place, and also, when I’m
talking about long term care, those caregivers right now who
may have left a job or have not gone to work to take care of a
wife or a husband, a father or a mother, we’re going to make sure
under our administration that every quarter that you do that
for family member counts as a quarter paid into your Social
Security earnings down the line. Right now, women who are
primarily the caregivers in our homes are disproportionately
penalized for choosing to be there for their fellow family
members.That’s something we can afford to do by lifting that
cap.>>Another thing you could afford to do is simply eliminate
the Social Security tax on some of the lowest income workers
which would make the tax more progressive.Would you entertain
an idea likethat?>>You know what, I hadn’t thought of that
before you askedthe question, but it makes a tremendous amount
of sense to me.You have the greatest divide right now
between the haves and have-nots, whether measured on wealth or
measured on income.And not only is that inimical toa democracy
where everyone ceasean economic future for themselves and their
kids, it isinimical to a political democracy in this
country.People are just going to start giving up in participating
in the Democratic process if this country no longer works for
them.So I like your idea a lot. Anything that ensures that our
tax code is more progressive, that people can have a chance to
earn enough to work just one job instead of two or three, and
then spend time with their kids, read to their daughter before the first day of kindergarten,
do those things that so many of us, myself included, take for
granted because so many millions of our fellow Americans are
unable to do that, then let’s focus on those opportunities.
thinking about the questions to >>Congressman, as I was ask
today, a theme kept coming back. Crime and immigration.That’s
race relations, racism in America.How do you feel about
reparations as a way to help heal the racial divides in this
country?>>I think it’s essential.And I don’t know that
you’re able to address this issue. And really address the future of
America, without moving forward on reparations.There’s a very
compelling case that I am persuaded by, that the foundation of this country is
not the Fourth of July, 1776, but August 20th, 1619, the first
time that someone kidnapped from west Africa was brought in
bondage to this country and as a slave, forced to perform work
that would ultimately build the greatness and the wealth and the
success of America.And that person’s descendants, even today
in 2019, not fully able to participate in the success that
their ancestor madepossible in the first place.There’s ten
times the wealth in white America than there is in black
America today.I think in Iowa, African-Americans represent 3%
of the population.More than 25% of the incarcerated population
in this state.When you look at health care, a maternal
mortality crisis in America, three times as deadly for women
of color.And in Texas, in a kindergarten classroom, a child
is five timesas likely to be suspended or disciplined or
expelled if he is a child of color, for the same infraction, in front of the same teacher, as a white child.We
have to figure out how we got here.And the reparations bill,
as introduced by Sheila Jackson Leeof Houston, Texas, in the
House of Representatives, would force a telling of the national
story and ensure that everyone’s storyis brought to bear, so that
we understand how we got here. Brian Stevenson, who wrote “just
mercy” and is an absolute leader on this issue for this country,
has talked about how in Germany, after the Holocaust, everyday
Germans were forced to go to those concentration camps and
gas chambers so not a one of them could deny what their
country had done.In South Africa you had a truth and
reconciliation commission. In Rwanda, HUTUs and TUTSIs
alike were forced to have this conversation.A reparations
commission is the right way to start to do that.>>Another
issue looming in thiscountry is the national debt, it’s
exploding. What programs will you cut, what
taxes will you raise to do something about the national
debt?>>You have to ask yourself the question, how did we get to
$22 trillion in debt.Why are we deficit spending to the tune of $1 trillion
annually, adding to that every single year?You look back to the
George W. Bush administration, the first administration
following the surpluses produced by the Clinton administration,
and you see two unpaid-for tax cuts that
ultimately added trillions.You see wars that were started in 2001, added to in 2003, that we are still fighting today in
2019, added trillions of dollars to the debt.You find the
greatest bailout following the greatest recessionsince the
Great Depression, at the very beginning of the BarackObama
administration.And you understand how we got here.So
how do we get ourselves out?We already talked about rolling
back the worst of the trump tax cuts which begins to help us.We
talked about ending the wars that we’ve been fighting without
end, without a definition of victory, without a clear strategy, bringing those service
members home, and focusing on policy concerns instead of
diplomacy to solve our foreign putting them on the back of 18,
19, 20-year-old men and women fearlessly serving this country
right now, tonight, overseas. We legalize Americans, meaning
those 10 million undocumented immigrants, able to contribute
even more to our national success and grow this economy
and add to the tax base.And then we have to make decisions about
what we’re goingto invest in and what is important.In my
administration, it’s always going to be people and
communities, education, health care.Our ability to rise to our
full potential and to fulfill our promise.We know that when we
invest in achild at pre-K, there is a cost up front but it’s paid
back six times over the course of their lives.We know when
someone can afford to go to this college or other institution of
higher learning or enters an apprenticeship, their earning
potential and what they give back to this country
is far greater over the course of their lifetime.We know when
health care isn’t delivered in the emergency room or cell, our economy grows at an
even greater right.Making those investments while rolling back
the worst of those tax cuts and ending these wars, that gives us
the resources overthe long teller to grow our way out of
this debt and to ensure that we no longer deficit spend in this
country.>>In the few minutes left, are we headed toward
another recession.>> Unfortunately, many of the
indicators point in that direction.>>What would you do?
Because in 2009, they cut interest rates and they
increased Federal spending. Interest rates can’t be cut
anymore.And how much money do we have inthe bank?The till is
empty.Print more money? I’m curious how our leaders will
confront this next recession because the same tools aren’t in
the toolbox as there have been in the past.>>On your question
about monetary policy, it’s one of thedangers of what President
Trump is doing, haranguing and bullying the Federal Reserve,
trying to push them to negative interest rates.Once you go below
zero, there isliterally no more room to go.When you’re really in
trouble, when you hit a recession or God forbid a
depression, your flexibility, your room to maneuver, has been
constrained.Your options have been reduced literally to zero.
But it goes back to the question you asked about trade earlier.I
mean, this is not an act of God or a force of nature.This is a
consequence of political decisions that we’ve made as a
country.And most economists agree that the helter-skelter trade policy
of Donald Trump, these trade wars, not just with China, but
what he’s doing to our relationship with the European
Union or Canada and Mexico, that’s having a real consequence
and effect here in this country. I mentioned the thousand dollars
per household tax that that has resulted in, the 300,000 jobs
already lost in America. Wages last year grew by .5% in
America. So this $2 trillion tax cut that
was supposed to increase wages paid by corporations really just
funded stock buybacks for investors who were already
wealthy.Where we’re headed is a consequence of the direction,
president has set.the course that the current I think setting
a completely different course, ending these trade wars, paying
the American worker enough so they don’t haveto work a second
or third job, that’s the best way to avoid it or to bring us
out should we go into a recession.>>Congressman, I want
to talk alittle bit politics here.One issue I hear from
Democrats,and you do too, the most important issue to them is
electability, they’re looking for somebody who can beat Donald
Trump.We have an audience question about that
electability.>>Great.>>Hi, Beto, Joe Cohen, Newton,
Iowa, down the road on I-80.I have Republican friends who are
looking for moderate Democrat to consider supporting.What
specific policies and positions do you have that could appeal to these voters who don’t
wasn’t to vote for Donald Trump but also won’t vote for a far
left Democrat?>>Yeah. To be honest with you, I don’t
know what moderate or what the political labels or how the
political spectrum works anymore. I was in Katy, Texas, a pretty
conservative part of my state last week.A gentleman approached
me and said, I’m as Republican as they come, never voted for
Democrat in my life, I’m an AR-15 owner, but what you said
on that debatestage about taking those AR-15s and AK-47s back is exactly how I
feel, and absolutely what this country must do.So I don’t know
where that fallson the political spectrum.But it’s definitely
struck a chord and it’s resonated with
this country.Universal health care, making sure everyone is
well enough to go to school or to work a job orrun their
business or start of apunk rock band or do whatever they were
put on this planet to do in the first place, that’s something
that people, regardless of party affiliation,just seem to be able
to agree upon.I’ll give you one example of working across the
aisle when I was in Congress.We learned that more than 20
veterans a day, every single day, take their lives in this
country.And the vast majority of them have been unable or for
whateverreason unwilling to go into a VAand see that provider
who could literally save their lives.Veterans who have what’s
known as an other than honorable
discharge are twice as likely to take their own lives.We wrote a
bill to extend mentalhealth access to those veterans.That
bill is going absolutely nowhere in a chamber controlled by the
Republican party unless Ican find a Republican with whom I
can work.Found a guy in California, different party, saw
this issue differently.We compromised, found a consensus
piece of legislation, introduced it to the house,
implored our colleagues to vote for it, although it will cost a
little bit more, though it changes how we treat veterans
today, let’s bear the burden and pay the price for the people who
put their lives on the line for this country.It passed both
houses and was signed into law by someone with whom I agree
with almost nothing, Donald Trump.That may be part of the
reason we were successful in that bill,but in Texas, in that
Senate campaign, going to each one of those 254 counties, we
won independents for the first time in decades and won nearly
half amillion Republican votes in thatstate, including my
mother who voted for me in that election.So I know — and it’s
personal for me, I know we can do this, we just have to be open
to bringing everyone in, taking no one for granted.That’s the
way I’m running for president. That’s the way I’ll serve as
president.>>In the few minutes left, I want to talk about the
U.S. rolein the world.What is your view of the U.S. role in
the world?Are we the world’s cop?I’ve heard the saying, when
somebody in the world dials 911, uncle Sam picks up the phone.Is
this a vision I would want to continue?What’s your vision of
the U.S. role in the world?>>I see the United States as
the indispensable country.We can do for ourselves, we can do for
the rest of the world what no other country is capableof.Pick
the largest challenge, the greatest threat that we face,
climate change.We are right now the only country that has
exempted itselffrom the Paris climate agreement.We have an
administration that will not even utter the words “climate
change” nor believe thescience behind it though we onlyhave ten
years left within whichto act or lose this place forever.As
president I’ll make sure that climate is at the forefront of
all foreign policy conversations and policies.So if it’s a trade
agreement, the trade agreement is going to be underpinned by
our goals on climate.If it’s meeting with the G-7 as
President Trump did a few weeks ago and walked out of the only
conversation they had on climate, we’re going to lead
that conversation on climate. It’s going to extend to our
other priorities.Nuclear nonproliferation.Dealing with
historic flows of asylum seekers and refugees.Going to the places
where people are hurting like Guatemala and
El Salvador and Honduras and reducing violence there.And
addressing droughts caused not by the people there but in large
part by first world countries like ours. What if we brought farmers and agronomists from Iowa to
Guatemala so no one has to flee 2,000 miles and show up at our
border, they can stay in their own.I want us to lead by
example, tolead through inspiration, to endthe wars that
we’re fighting, and see partners and common cause throughout the
world.That’s how we establish, after the end of the Second World War,
a world that has seen far less conflict than the decades and
centuries that preceded it, that has been the century for this
country, where we have excelled and dominated the other
countries of the world.We can return to that rightful place
but we’re going to have leadership that reflects the
confidence and the courage and the aspirations of our fellow
Americans.And I want to do that as president.>>Congressman, always way too
many questions and never enough time.Thank you very much for
taking time to be with us today.>>Thank you very much.>>
Appreciate it.>>Grateful.>>I want to thank the former
Congressman for joining us for our conversations with
presidential candidates here on Iowa Public Television.For our
audience of Iowans and our entire Iowa Public Television
crew here at the Des Moines area community college, I’m David
Yepsen, and thanks forjoining us today. [ Cheers and Applause ]>>>IPTV presents “conversations
with presidential candidates,” hosted by DMACC, funded by
Goldman Sachs which is delivering its 10,000 small
businesses program in Iowa to help entrepreneurs across the
state create jobs and economic opportunities.Additional funding
has been provided by the Arlene McKEEVer
endowment fund, the fund of the Iowa Public Television
foundation, established by a gift from the estate of Arlene
McKEEVer, and by friends, the Iowa Public Television
foundation.

Danny Hutson

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