Republican Jewish Coalition Candidate Forum: Newt Gingrich

Remarks by Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich today at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidate 2012 Forum in Washington, DC.

Well, let me say first of all it is good to be back with a lot of friends.  Callista and I are delighted to be here.  And also my daughter Kathy and her husband Paul Lubbers are here, and we have so many friends in this audience, it’s amazing.

I want to pick up on what Peter said, because I think I can explain my candidacy very simply.  You know, he said we needed fundamental change, not just change on the margin.  How many of you would agree that we’re far enough off the right track that we need fundamental change?  (Applause) And how many of you would agree that even if we win the election, that the forces that got us to the mess we’re in will fight every day to stop us from the changes over the course of the next four years?

Now, I happen to think both those are true.  I believe this election is the most important election since 1860.

That’s the primary reason I’m running.  I believe we are going to be at a definitive choice, and I believe that if President Obama is re- elected after this mess, that eight years of Obama will truly make the country dramatically more difficult and have dramatically greater problems.

More including Q&A after the jump
So I think it’s a very important deciding point.  Are we in favor of  American exceptionalism, or are we in favor of Saul Alinsky radicalism?  Are we in favor of earning a paycheck, or are we in favor of giving away food stamps?  Do we want to move back towards a balanced budget, or do we want to borrow trillions of more dollars? Do we believe in rewarding and encouraging those who create jobs, or do we believe in class warfare?

I mean, it’s that big a gap.  And it applies to foreign policy. This is an administration which, frankly, should be firing the ambassador to Belgium, who gave a stunningly anti-Semitic speech. This is an administration which, frankly, should be reprimanding the secretary of defense for an insulting performance the other day.  This is an administration which should stop next week’s meeting at the State Department with those who would censor the world on behalf of Islam.  So there are huge gaps.

Now, I think the changes are so big that I don’t ask anyone to be for me; because if you say you’re for me, you’ll vote, go home and say, I sure hope Newt fixes it.  And I — I don’t believe it’s possible to get the scale of change we need just by the president, alone.  Our constitutional system doesn’t work that way, and our country doesn’t work that way.  So I ask people to agree to be with me for the next eight years:  to stand shoulder to shoulder; to insist on fundamental change; to remind the Congress of what we need to do; to remind the governors, the state legislatures, the city council, the county commission.

But I also ask people to be with me because, frankly, if you undertake change on the scale we’re describing, we’re going to make mistakes.  And if we can build feedback mechanisms so that you can tell when we’re making mistakes, or you can tell when the situation has changed or when we discover a better idea, then we are going to be dramatically better off, and then we can actually execute it.

There’s a third reason I ask you to be with me.  If we — if we implement the 10th Amendment and we shrink the bureaucracy in Washington, we have to grow citizenship back home to fill the vacuum. So we’re talking about a fairly profound series of changes.

I think in order to get to foreign policy and national security, I want to start with three fundamental questions that are — that precede it.  One, we have to get the economy growing again.  If you go and look at newt.org, we have a — the beginnings of a 21st-century contract with America, which we will finalize next September 27th. When you look at that, you’ll see that we — we basically adopted the Reagan playbook.  Reagan cut taxes, cut regulations, developed American energy and praised those who create jobs.  It’s the opposite of Obama.  And you’ll see a pattern there that I think most of you will find very exciting and very powerful.

We abolish the capital gains tax, which will lead to hundreds of billions of dollars coming into the United States.  We eliminate the death tax, so that families can focus on job creation, not tax avoidance.  We have a 12-1/2 percent corporate tax rate, which is the Irish level, which will liberate at least $700 billion in profits to come back home and will mean for the first time in a long time that General Electric will actually pay taxes, because it’ll be cheaper to pay the taxes than to hire the lawyers to avoid the taxes.

We also have a hundred-percent expensing for all new equipment, so whether you’re a factory or a farmer or running an office, we want a — we want a conscious strategy of Americans being the best equipped most productive workers in the world, which is the key to our ability to compete with China and India.

We also proposed to change unemployment compensation so that you have to sign up for a training program run by a business in order to get unemployment compensation.  So we’re using the time to rebuild our human capital.  We’re not paying people for doing nothing.

On the tax front finally, we have a proposal to create an alternative 15-percent flat tax in the Hong Kong tradition, where you can either keep all the deductions or you could give up all the deductions and just pay a simple tax on — with a one- page form, which has worked very well for about a generation and a half, in Hong Kong.

On the regulatory front, we hope to repeal “Obamacare” on day one.  We want to repeal Dodd-Frank, and we want to repeal Sarbanes-Oxley.

And my goal is to run a campaign which is designed to be a team victory on a grand scale, so that we have a big enough Senate majority and a big enough House majority and so the American people have actually voted on an agenda in a way that enables us to actually execute these kind of ideas, and doing so very rapidly.

I am for a very dramatic American energy program.  Our goal should be not just to get to energy independence, but to become the world’s reserve supplier of energy.  So if the Straights of Harmuz are closed or if the Persian Gulf disintegrates, you don’t have an industrial depression in the rest of the world.

And I think it’s very important for us to understand, an American energy strategy is both a national security strategy and an economic strategy, and it should be a very important part of what we’re doing. And it’s fundamentally the opposite of Obama.

If we do the right things with the economy, if we rebuild the arsenal of democracy, if we use science and technology, if we dramatically improve our education system, then, frankly, we don’t have to worry about China.

China cannot compete with us if we’re doing the right things.  And frankly, it’s unrealistic to think we can be stupid and ask the Chinese to be dumber.  So I think, you know, in order to compete successfully with China, we have to be smart. And this is a program to have a very high tempo, very innovative, very science and technology-based future.

I also want to apply Lean Six Sigma to the federal government, both because the people who are experts believe it saves about $500 billion a year, and also because you need a government which is much more agile, much faster, and which belongs to the world that works, not the world that fails, if in fact we’re going to remain the leading country on the planet.

That’s a background.

We need a dramatically, dramatically rethought strategy for the Middle East.  And I want to say a few things that are a little bit politically incorrect for a minute.  This is sort of the basis of what I want to do.  When Callista and I did a movie on Pope John Paul II going to Poland in 1979, called “Nine Days that Changed the World,” and we did it because we we were told by both Vaclav Havel in Prague and Lech Walesa in Gdansk that the decisive moment in defeating the Soviet Empire was the nine days that the pope came back in 1979 and the way in which he aroused the fervor of the Polish people and the religious belief, and from that point on, they fought the Soviets.

And one of the things they did, because they were fighting a dictatorship — which could imprison you, beat you up, kill you — is they put up signs that said, for Poland to remain Poland, two plus two must always equal four.  And I got intrigued with this.  And what they were saying is very profound:  that if two plus two equals four as a fact, you know have a factual basis, and that Poland was a fact.

And I went from there and I got involved.  Camus writes in his novel “The Plague” there are times that a man can be killed for saying two plus two equals four, because the authorities can’t stand the truth.

We actually have, by the way, a Solidarity sign that we got, that somebody found for us from that era that we have posted in our offices.

Orwell, in “1984,” which is written about London — remember, Orwell’s fear of totalitarianism is not Moscow; it is that the British Labour government’s centralized planning will lead to a dictatorship. And so Orwell in “1984” has the state terrorist — the state torturer say to the innocent citizen, if the state tells you two plus two equals three, it equals three; if the state tells you two plus two equals five, it equals five.  And the citizen is thinking, well, what if it really equals four, but he’s tired of being tortured, so he decides to go along?

Lincoln said, if a man can’t agree that two plus two equals four, you’ll never win the argument because facts have no base.  Now, I’m giving you this litany because I want to say a few things that are factually correct.

I gave a speech early in 2002 in which I took apart the State Department as an incompetent implementation system that cripples the capacity of the United States to effectively do things in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  I stand by that speech today.  

I wrote a paper in August of 2002 called “Operation Switch” for the Defense Department in which I said it’s fine to go in and take out Saddam.  You should be able to do it in about three weeks; turned out to take 23 days.  I said, you then want to hire the Iraqi regular army and get out of the cities as fast as you can because you don’t want to try to redesign Iraq.  That is a long, expensive proposition, and we will fail.  I will stand by that.

And in 2003, in December, I went on “Meet the Press” and I gave an interview to Newsweek, and I said that thanks to Ambassador Bremer, we had gone off the cliff, that we had fundamentally changed our mission without changing our resources and that we were trying to undertake something that we couldn’t possibly achieve.

I am very, very worried about our entire relationship with radical Islam because it’s based on a pack of lies.  It’s based on a pack of self-deception.  It’s based on a State Department which has consistently engaged in appeasement.

It is an act of dishonesty to the American people.  The fact that the Justice Department has said all of its training programs on terrorism have to take out the word “Islam” is an outrageous denial of truth.

So, let me give you a little bit of two plus two equals four.  The Secretary of Defense in his speech the other day said how proud he was that we were helping with the Iron Dome project.

Now, I want you to think about this.  Why, in a peace process, would Israel need to have a missile defense from Gaza?  I mean, can you imagine if our next door neighbor were firing missiles at us that we’d say, oh, could we come to the table? This is why his speech was so utterly outrageous the other day.  I mean, Panetta is a fine domestic politician, but his speech was outrageous.

How about saying to Hamas, give up violence and come to the table?  How about saying to the PLA, recognize Israel and come to the table?  This one-sided continuing pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault, no matter how bad the other side is, has to stop.

We are today, in what will turn out to be the long struggle with radical Islamists, about where we were in 1946, when we were trying to understand the Soviet Union.  We have not yet had George Kennan’s long telegram explaining the sources of Soviet power.

We have not yet had the three speeches of 1947 by Truman, Acheson and Marshall which began to create the system, we haven’t yet had the Berlin Airlift, and we haven’t had Nitze developing the National Security Council Document 68, which was the basic strategy which has sustained the United States.  We contained the Soviet empire for 45 years, until it broke.  It was a very hard, very difficult national dialogue to get to that point.

We need this conversation in this country.  We have mortal enemies who are determined to kill us.  We allow them to set up a morally indefensible, one-sided conversation.  The fact that Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, would talk about discrimination against women in Israel and then meet with Saudis?  The fact that the State Department’s going to hold a meeting with a Saudi-funded group on behalf of censoring any anti-Islamic conversation and is not going to say to the Saudis, this is terrific, and as soon as you open the church and synagogue in Mecca, we’re excited about the meeting?

The one-sided moral disarmament of the Judeo-Christian civilization in the face of people who arrogantly — you know, Tehran holds a conference on terrorism.  The secretary-general sends a special envoy and a message of gratitude.  Our two so-called allies, the prime minister of Iraq and the president of Afghanistan, go to the conference.  And we are morally disarmed by a State Department incapable of articulating the cause of freedom.

So in a Gingrich administration, the opening day, there will be an executive order about two hours after the inaugural address; we will send the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as of that day.

If you will accept it, I will ask John Bolton to be Secretary of State.  

But I will only appoint him if he will agree that his first job is the complete and thorough transformation of the State Department and the replacement of the current Foreign Service culture with a new entrepreneurial and aggressive culture dedicated to the proposition that defending freedom and defending America is the first business of the State Department, not appeasing our opponents.

And I will ask the Congress to liberate the intelligence community, so we can once again go back to effective covert operations and to effective intelligence gathering, and not be forced to rely on pseudo-allies such as the Pakistanis who, clearly, had to be conspiring to hide bin Laden for eight years, since he was hiding in the national military city.

And let me be very clear.  I understand the Constitution.  I’ve been speaker of the House.  Presidents can only get so much done, unless they have working majorities in the House and Senate.

I need your help to get the nomination.  But beyond that, I need your help to make sure that we have a big majority in the Senate.  Bill Nelson has to go, Ben Nelson has to go. Let’s go down the list.

We want to pick up enough Senate seats and a few more House seats so we have an effective governing majority on that first day, and I will ask the new Congress to stay in session on January 3rd and to pass the repeal of “Obamacare,” Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley before I am sworn in, to hold it at the desk, and you know, bring it out during the inaugural so that we can finish signing it.

Let me say one last thing, and I say this with some trepidation because, after all, all of you were told in June and July that I had disappeared, and it must be a great shock to have me showing back up again.  

People talk about electability.  If I do become your nominee, in Tampa, I will, in the acceptance speech, challenge the president to seven three-hour debates with a timekeeper, but no moderator, in the Lincoln-Douglas tradition.  I will concede in advance that he can use a teleprompter.  After all, if you had to defend “Obamacare,” wouldn’t you want to use a teleprompter?  

I’m just telling you up front as a pretty good strategist.  There are three reasons he’s going to accept.

The first is he announced for president in February of 2007, in Springfield, quoting Lincoln.  The second is he’s a graduate of Columbia, a graduate of Harvard Law, editor of the Harvard Law Review, the greatest orator in the Democratic Party.  How does he look in the mirror and say he’s afraid to debate some guy who taught at West Georgia College?  

The third reason is practical.  As many of you know, I’m a student of history.  Unlike the President, I’ve studied American history.  When Abraham Lincoln announces in 1858, he’s been out of office for 10 years.  He only served two years in the House; he was a state legislator before that.  He was announcing against the most famous senator in the United States, and the presumed next president.  And he said to Douglas:  We’ve got 105 days left; why don’t we debate every day?  And Douglas said:  I don’t think so.

So Lincoln took up a pattern:  Wherever Douglas went, Lincoln would show up one day later.  And presently, Douglas began to figure out, the news coverage was always Lincoln’s rebuttal.  And so after about two or three weeks, he wrote Lincoln and he said:  All right, I’ll debate you.  There were nine congressional districts.  He said: We’re not going back to the two you’ve already been in, but I’ll debate you in the other seven.  That’s how this started.

It was widely covered by by AP back then, and printed in virtually every newspaper in the country.  Lincoln had the debates reprinted as a book the next year, which was a major step towards his winning the presidency.  I would argue that it is, since the Federalist Papers, the finest collection of discussion about the nature of freedom that you’ll see in American politics in 200 years.

So let’s remember how Lincoln got Douglas to decide.  If the president has not accepted by the time we get to Tampa, in my acceptance speech, I will announce that the White House as of that moment is my scheduler.  Wherever the president goes, I will show up four hours later and in the age of talk radio, blogs and instant television news, I doubt if they can take the pressure for more than two or three weeks.

But if they would rather have me chase him all the way to Election Day and have a country watch a man afraid to defend his own record, I think that will work equally well.  So either way.

I think we have a couple microphones.  Let me take questions for a minute or two if I could.  We’ll go back and forth.

Q:  Hello.  My name is Hyman Silverglad, and I’m the Republican district leader of the oldest Republican Club in America, founded in the 1880s.  It’s called the Progress Republican Club.  And it is sited in the East Village in Manhattan.  And we have two events of great interest to this audience.  We were the neighborhood that reclaimed Israel to life in 1848, the Bergstan Group, and Abraham Lincoln became president by his speech at Cooper Union; a nation divided cannot stand.

And my question is, we have lost our manufacturing base in this country.  Thousands of companies have moved overseas, particularly in our state, New York state, which was once called the Empire State, but some of us call it the empty state now.  And under the leadership of Ed Cox, our Republican state chairman, we’re trying to bring back business to our state.

How would you, as president, bring back the many, many businesses that have gone overseas from the seed beds for them in our country? How would you do that?

A: Well, I think what I began to describe earlier is a key step.  You have a hundred percent expensing so manufacturing firms literally can write off all their investment in one year.  You go to a 12.5% corporate tax rate.  You have zero capital gains tax, so money pours into the country because it becomes the most profitable place in the world to invest.  In addition, you have a retrained workforce because of new model of unemployment compensation combined with training.

I would replace the Environmental Protection Agency with an environmental solutions agency that has to apply economic rationale to its decisions.

You create a 21st century Food and Drug Administration whose job is to go from the laboratory to the patient as rapidly as possible, not as slowly as possible.  And you design a new model of occupational safety and health which starts with performance and basically says, if you don’t have any problems, nobody’s going to visit you, which means that you automatically eliminate most of the bureaucratic baloney.

I had a steel entrepreneur in Philadelphia who has 35 workers, a small steel mill, who said his major problem wasn’t China, it was the U.S. government.  And so I think we want a government that helps you, not hurts you.  

Q: My name is Dr. Trevor Green.  I am a dentist from Columbia, Maryland.

Many of the people here live in the bluest parts of the bluest states.  It can be extremely frustrating to know that in every race, from school board on up to Congress, your vote will not make an ounce of difference, as there is not enough Republican support to encourage good candidates to run.  If you’re chosen as the candidate, what will you do to help elect Republicans in local races in the blue parts of our nation?

A: Well, let me say first of all, it’s a very, very good question.  I’m glad you asked it.  And it’s a topic I care about a lot.

Let me say first of all, remember that my background, having been born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was that we arrived at Fort Benning, Georgia, when I was a junior in high school.  My first campaign was the Nixon-Lodge campaign between my junior and senior years, and there were no Republicans in Georgia.

So today, when we totally dominate the state, I think I’ve been through a process where we took a state that was supposedly blue and then it ceased to be blue.  And I have some knowledge of how you do this.

But for this particular campaign, I have two major breakthroughs for all of you to think about.

The first is, I want to be preaching inclusion, not outreach.  Now, all of you understand this.  Outreach is when five white guys hold a meeting and call you; inclusion is when you’re in the meeting.  And so whether you’re Korean-American, African-American, Latino-American, Native-American — whatever your background — we want to design a new model system where everybody’s in the same room.

You want to know why California’s hard to carry? Because Californian Republicans can’t figure out that there are 600,000 Koreans in Los Angeles.  Callista and I went recently and met with them.  We had six TV cameras that were in Korean.  And they were thrilled that a Republican candidate for president was actually willing to talk with them.  And you just have to do this over and over and over.  So inclusion’s half of this.

The second half is simple.  The underlying core symbol of the campaign next year — it’s very easy — modelled actually on McKinley in 1896:  On the one side, you have the best food stamp president in American history.  More people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama’s policies than by any president in history. On the other side, you have a candidate who wants to create jobs, who did create jobs with Reagan in the ’80s and who created jobs in the ’90s.  We brought unemployment down to 4.2% and created 11 million jobs in the four years I was speaker.

There’s not a precinct in America where, if you walk up to every door and say, do you want your children to have food stamps or a paycheck, that you don’t get 80% or 90% favoring a paycheck.  I mean, it’s a myth to believe that people like to be dependent.  And so I intend to go into every neighborhood.  I’m hoping the NAACP invites me to come and address their convention.  I hope LULAC and La Raza invite me.

Callista and I were in New York this week in part to make one case.  This will be a 50-state campaign, and we will seek votes in every state in the United States.  

Q:  Hello, Sarah Stern from the Endowment for Middle East Truth and the leadership of the RJC.  As you know, many people in this room had our worst fears confirmed last month when the IAEA came out with their report about how close Iran is to a nuclear bomb.  What would you do about that?

And also, we have over 4,000 Syrian dissidents who have been killed over the last eight months.  What would you do to support the dissidents that want to overthrow the brutal regime of Bashar Assad?

A:  They’re both very good questions.  I believe, on Iran, the only rational long-term policy is regime replacement, and that’s part of why you need to go back to having a covert capability. I would focus very intensely on their gasoline supply; 40 percent of the gasoline they use has to be imported.  They only have one very, very large refinery.  I’d be focused on how to covertly sabotage it every day.

Now, I would follow the Reagan play book and the Margaret Thatcher and the Pope John Paul II play book.  I would fund every dissident group in the country.  I would fund the maximize amount of communications capability for every dissident group in the country.  I would do everything I could to unnerve the regime and keep it off balance.  And you would presently break it, and replace it.

And there’s all these studies — you know, it’s amazing to me how little people study history.  You know, the IAEA says we’re about this close and we’re not this close; we have this — (inaudible).  We were totally wrong about the Pakistani and Indian nuclear weapons.  We were totally wrong in the late 1940s about the Soviet nuclear weapon.  They got it years before we thought they would.  Why would you think that we can relax?  We know they have a program.

We know they’re sincere.  Therefore, you have to assume that sooner or later they’re going to make the breakthrough.  It’s better to stop them early than to stop them late.

On Syria, the policy of the United States should be to replace the Assad regime, and we should do everything we can indirectly and covertly, but without American forces, to help the dissidents rebel and to help them defeat the Assad government.  The Assad government’s a dictatorship of a very small minority of Alawites in a country which is largely Sunni.  And I think that it would be a significant blow to Iran to lose Syria and to lose Assad.  And it’s worth the risk — I mean, we don’t have any idea what the post-Assad regime will be like, but it’s worth the risk, I think, to break up the Iranian relationship.

Q:  Hello.  My name is Ross Liebowitz; I’m a student in Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey.  And I would just like to ask about people who have concerns about your electability tend to focus not so much on your congressional record, but more on the accusations of past ethics violations.  How would you answer that in the scheme of electability?

A:  Well, I think Nancy Pelosi in the last few days has done a lot to answer it.

The Democrats filed 84 charges against me; 83 were dismissed. The only one which survived was the fact that my lawyers had written a letter inaccurately and I signed it.  The Democrats refused to compromise on that.  She was one of the three Democrats who were in the process of refusing to compromise — or it may have been five; I can’t remember the exact makeup of the committee.

But I’ll just let you decide:  If she was in the middle of it, how nonpartisan and just do you think the process was?  On every charge, the people have said recently — for example, did we as a Ph.D. in history, did I inappropriately teach a course using tax- deductible money?  Well, the IRS backed off, apologized and said they were wrong.

Did we violate the FEC rules?  They backed off and apologized and said they were wrong.

Now, those got either no coverage, or were on page 63.  But what the Democrats decided in the fall of 1995 was, they could not defeat our program, but they could defeat me.  They ran 121,000 negative ads attacking me, and they filed 84 ethics charges.  Well, if we’d been clever in retrospect, I would have immediately filed a countercharge against them for violating and abusing the ethics process, but we kept thinking:  This will be fair; this will be reasonable; we’ll knock them down.

The attrition effect on your members of that many ads and that many charges just gradually wore down people, and I gradually lost the ability to lead because, you know, I was ultimately so battered by the process.

So what I will tell people is, you go look at the record.  It’s all public record.  You go look at the total record.  You can go to newt.org, my campaign site, and you’ll see all this.  And then you make a decision. I have found so far, at least in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, it’s not much of an issue.  And I think people generally are prepared to concede that my record of achievement is vastly greater than whatever scarring the Democrats managed to do.

Q:  My turn.  Mr. Speaker, my name’s Jonathan J. Paul, I’m an entrepreneur from Houston, Texas.  Yesterday, President Obama gave one of those “two plus two equals 563” speeches.  He argued about fundamental fairness in the United States, without talking about the obstacle to fundamental fairness, which is the teachers’ union.  What would you do to narrow the education gap between wealthy and poor kids who are trapped in a system that’s failing them?

A:  No —

Q:  And failing us as a country.

A:  No, you’ve raised a good point.  Sometime in the near future, I’m going to give a speech on inequality, from a couple of angles.

One is, I believe in leveling up by giving everybody a chance to be more successful; he believes in leveling down.  I believe in wealth creation; he believes in wealth redistribution.  I believe the primary problem with the very poor is that they’re trapped in government institutions that destroy their future; he believes the problem is we haven’t sent them big enough checks while keeping them trapped.

I mean the really fundamental — this is why I want to have the debates next year.  I think the difference will be so vivid and so clear to most Americans that it’s really important.  And I want to — because I’m about to get the hook here — I want to take one minute, though, to talk about a recent example of this.

I believe that it’s really important for children to learn to work.  How many of you earned some money before you were 15?  OK.  I was with a fairly wealthy young lady two days ago, who could clearly be living on her trust, and her grandfather paid her to run errands.  And I said, how old were you when this started?  She said, 5.  

Now, why am I saying this?  The other day I said, you know — and this goes all the way back to an article that was written some 20 years ago my Joe Klein.  I think it was in New York Magazine.  If you look at the price of New York City school janitors, who are paid more than the teachers — they’re paid — the entry-level janitor is paid twice as much as an entry-level teacher, because of the unions.

My model would be to have a janitor and an assistant janitor who are full-grown adults and know what they’re doing, and then to take the rest of the money and hire lots of kids part-time.  And you could hire them part-time to be a clerk in the front office, you could hire them part-time to work in the library — (audio break) — you could hire them part-time to help in the kitchen.  There are lots of things you can do.

But what I want to do in the very poorest neighborhoods, where kids are in public housing, surrounded by people who have no experience of working.  The reaction on the left has been hysterical.

I mean, it’s exactly what happened to Moynihan — which was I was grateful for the reference — when Moynihan used common sense 30 years ago and the left went crazy — because you go at the very heart of their belief system.  If the problem is that we need to have people learn the culture of work and learn the culture of saving and learn the idea of value over time, you just made this country dramatically more conservative.  And so the left goes nuts at the idea that you’re actually going to let young kids learn.

The last example.  Jack Kemp and I used to argue for equity in public housing.  We said, people in public housing who don’t suffer from a severe mental or physical problem should have a responsibility to help take care of their apartment.  And if they take care of it well enough over time, they could gradually build up a sweat equity.  And you could even imagine over five or 10 or 15 years, they could actually acquire ownership.

I mean, there’s one great debate and Barney Frank got up and he said, do you realize if you allow poor people in New York City to actually own their apartments, that these apartments could be sold for several million dollars and they wouldn’t be poor anymore?

I’m for an America where there are no more poor because they all had a chance to rise.

Thank you all very much.  

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