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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  November 14, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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people got coverage, that's bad. we don't want anyone to get covered. that is still for them on what was a bad week for the president, it is still a very weak message from them, i think. >> ari melber gets tonight's last word. thanks for keeping it clean after that mayor of toronto. we crossed a line there. >> you got good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president came before the country today for a remarkable hour, and what he said signalled a new front in the battle for the affordable care act. it's one that a lot of people have missed. but first, the administrative fix to the affordable care act announced today. the president's blunt effort to stand up and take responsibility for the problems that have dogged the rollout. >> i hear you loud and clear. i said that i would do
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everything we can to fix this problem and today, i'm offering an idea that will help do it. the state insurance commissioner still has the power to decide what plans can and can't be sold if their states, but the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and americans whose plans that have been canceled would choose to reenroll in the same kind of plan. those who got cancellation notices do deserve and have received an apology from me. but they don't want just words. what they want is whether we can make sure that they are in a better place and that we meet that commitment. i'm the head of this team. we did fumble the ball on it and what i'm going to do is make sure we get it fixed. there have been times where i thought we were kind of, you know, slapped around a little bit, unjustly. this one's deserved. right? it's on us.
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but we can't lose sight of the fact that the status quo before the affordable care act was not working at all. >> crucial point that has gotten lost in the coverage over the last month. that part of the speech, the fumble the ball part, that's what got the headlines. but the most important thing that happened today was president obama marking a new chapter in the tempestuous frenemy-like relationship between the health insurance industry and his administration. from the very beginning, this has been one of the most complicated relationships in all of politics. up to and including the creation of the affordable care act, the insurance companies said they were on board with reform. they were also simultaneously funding the opposition. largest health care lobbying group in the country spent a total of $102.4 million in just 15 months to prevent obama care from becoming law in the first place. the obama administration and the health insurance companies viewed each other with deep skepticism, often outright
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hostility, and had deeply different priorities. but in the end, they needed each other and they probably still do. but the rollout of the affordable care act, insurance companies have used the transition to the new regime in the individual market to test just how much they can get away with. by pinning it on obama care. hence, the letters you've all been seeing, letter that say, because of obama care, we can't offer you this plan. in some cases, offering a plan that costs ten times as much, with no mention of the fact that the exchanges or the same companies themselves might offer a better plan at a similar cost or less. so today what the president was doing, he was saying, fine, insurance companies, that's how you want to play the game? now it is on you. if the consumer wants to keep their old plan, it is not obama care that's preventing that anymore, it's not the white house, it's the insurance companies.
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>> so what we want to do is to be able to say to these folks, you know what, the affordable care act is not going to be the reason why insurers have to cancel your plan. we're also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things. one, that protections -- what protections these renewed plans don't include. number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the costs. >> one democratic source put it this way, world war iii just broke out between the white house and insurance industry. how that plays out is anybody's guest. joining me now, senator bernie sanders. what is your reaction to the president's statements today? >> my reaction is that the president did the right thing politically in saying that, look, i made a promise to you, i should have phrased it in a different way. but i made that promise and i'm going to keep that promise. you can keep your health care plan. what he should have said is that many people on the individual market have totally disastrous and inadequate health care plans. and as a nation, we should not be proud that people have
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quote/unquote health insurance, think they're covered, and then when they end up in the hospital, they find that they have at most, a few thousand dollars in coverage. so what he is saying is, yeah, i should have been more nuanced. you can keep that. but i am demanding that the insurance companies now tell you that in many instances, if you go to the exchange, you're going to be able to find a more comprehensive, better health care program, and perhaps at lower costs. that's a step forward. but the main point, and you made this point earlier, chris. i get very tired of the harping of our republican friends, who have completely, forever, ignored the health care crisis in this country. 48 million people uninsured. we as a nation are the only country in the industrialized world not to guarantee health care. 45,000 people die each year, because they don't get to a doctor on time. and at the end of all of that, we end up spending almost twice as much as any country for health care, which is why, by the way, i'm a strong advocate of medicare for all single payer program. but what the president did
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today, i think, was politically right. but in the long run, we have got to get away from these junk, inadequate insurance programs and provide real coverage to the american people. >> how do you think this will be received in your -- well, in the caucus, in the democratic caucus. you're, of course, an independent. you caucus with the democrats. i saw a variety of different statements. senator jeff merkley of oregon, who had been a surprising co-sponsor of senator landrieu's bill from louisiana, to do something very similar, was receptive. others say more needs to be done. do you think this takes some of the pressure that was building out of the building? >> look, again, i think, from a political point of view, our republican friends, who have nothing to say about the health care crisis, are able to harp on one, single point. they run the videotape, the president made a statement, he hasn't kept his word. well, today, he is going to keep his word. you can keep those totally inadequate health insurance programs if you want.
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but we want to do better for this country. >> senator bernie sanders of vermont, thank you so much for your time. joining me now is dr. kavita patel, managing director for clinical transportation and delivery at the engelford center for health care reform. she worked as a senior adviser to valerie jarrett in the obama administration. all right, last night, i came on this program and we ran a clip, a package that said, you're not helping. and we talked about the mary landrieu proposal, which looks in many ways similar to what the president outlined administratively today. the problem is, it looks like it is going to undo some of the risk pooling that you need to make these exchanges work in the first year. is this good policy, as someone who is an architect of this bill? >> yeah, thanks, chris. this is a really problematic policy for several reasons. and i actually just talked with one of the mayor insurers, who had canceled a good number of the policies that we're talking about.
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and they said, you know, the president is putting the responsibility on us. however, you know, you have to understand, even if we wanted to offer back those policies, we're encouraging the younger people, who might want to take these older policies that might have been cheaper, and we're taking them out of the pool of people, as you mentioned, for the health insurance marketplace. so it's problematic for some of those reasons. >> here's a statement from ahip, which is the kind of health insurance trade group. it says, changing the rules are after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market, result in higher premiums for consumers. it goes on to say that additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse effect on consumers. they're talking about precisely these issues you've highlighted. behind the scenes, is this war between the white house and the insurers? because it sure as heck feels like it. >> it's definitely putting the white house -- first of all, the
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white house, it's clear that what they did is kind of retreat into a defensible position. they saw that the house vote on the upton bill was likely to pass, and then, obviously, as you mentioned, you know, the senate democrats were put kind of in between a rock and a hard place, and the president would have been forced to veto something that took away very valuable provisions from the affordable care act that i think are tremendously important and are being overlooked. i mean, these plans that have been canceled did not -- they were not adding value back to the health care system, and to be honest, we've had plans getting canceled from year to year. we're acting as if this is new. so this is definitely putting the white house in kind of the defense posture, and certainly, people in the insurance industry are now feeling like they were trying to do the right thing, and there have been insurance companies who have done been doing this. >> here's what i feel like happened. i think the insurance companies, some of them may have been trying to do the right thing,
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but some of them brought it on themselves. as you started to scratch the surface on a lot of these stories, the letters were obama care, obama care, obama care, oh, here's another plan that's ten times the cost of your current one. it was pioneering a new era in the affordable care act where the government and insurance companies are kind of in the same partnership, in which they could blame everything on the act, and in some ways, this is what has come about because of them trying to do that. >> yeah, i do think that not just the insurance companies, but i'll be honest. we're still not halting some of our own elected officials in the congress, as well as some state officials, that have added to that. so you had the insurance companies sending out letters and then you had state officials and congresspeople who have been saying, well, here are all the reasons why obama care is so bad, without pointing the
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obvious, which is exactly what the president said. we're acting as the if the health insurance system we had to begin with was perfect and was not flawed. so we're kind of -- you know, we're winning in terms of creating a narrative that's confusing the american public. >> right now, your honest answer, is this all going to work? six months from now, when you and i are talking, a year from now, is this going to work? >> yes. so i do believe, i honestly believe this, as both a physician and a policy person, i really do believe that the insurance reforms that were passed in the affordable care act are going to work. we've seen them start to work. and i do believe that as we get through glitches, all the way to what happened today, we are going to be able to fast forward. what i am nervous about, chris, is i don't want know how long it's going to take for us to sit and say, you know what, looking back on that, we're really comfortable it worked. remember, with part "d" and medicare, it took us a little while to say that. so i do think we will say that, though. >> dr. kavita patel, thanks so much for your time. >> thanks, chris. coming up -- >> here's why they're doing it.
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jamie dimon went from being the greatest banker of all time, leading his company through the financial crisis pretty well, doing the government a favor, to a critic of the obama administration. and you do not have to be a spear theorist to put those two links together. >> actually, you do sort of have to be a conspiracy theorist to put those two reasons together. the real reason jpmorgan is a giant target, next. but they didn't fit. customer's not happy, i'm not happy. sales go down, i'm not happy. merch comes back, i'm not happy. use ups. they make returns easy. unhappy customer becomes happy customer. then, repeat customer. easy returns, i'm happy. repeat customers, i'm happy. sales go up, i'm happy. i ordered another pair. i'm happy. (both) i'm happy. i'm happy. happy. happy. happy. happy. happy happy. i love logistics. i always wanted to design a bike that honored those who serve our country. and geico gave me that opportunity. now naturally, we wanted it to be powerful, innovative
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wow. wow. that feels wow! [ male announcer ] oral-b deep sweep, featuring three cleaning zones with dynamic power bristles that reach deep between teeth to remove up to 100% more plaque than a regular manual brush. it seems like it gets more to areas of your mouth that you can't reach with a regular toothbrush. [ male announcer ] guaranteed "wow" with deep sweep from oral-b. #1 dentist-recommended toothbrush brand worldwide. today, jpmorgan chase is in the news again. and if you've been paying attention, you probably guessed, it's not good news for the bank. remember, it wasn't too long ago that jpmorgan was the darling of
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wall street. >> he has been called no less than the man who saved capitalism in the financial crisis. >> jamie dimon seems to be the one guy who you can trust and believe in. >> jamie dimon is probably the best manager out there prp. >> rupert murdoch tweeting, the bank would be up a creek without dimon. >> what you have is one of the only guys who's running a bank the way it's supposed to be run. >> if you searched, high, low for however much time you wanted to and you landed on jamie dimon, you would do anything to have him take care of your, let's call it, banking enterprise. >> jamie dimon was called america's least hated banker, a diamond in the rough. the bank that saved wall street, emerged from the crisis, stronger than ever. or so the story went. but for the last couple of years, jpmorgan has gone from hero of the financial crisis to villain of the aftermath. >> jpmorgan in the process of making a huge $13 billion settlement with the federal government. but, criminal charges are still possible.
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>> in june 2010, jpmorgan paid a $48.6 million fine for combing bank and client funds. in april 2011, the bank paid a $56 million settlement for overcharging active-duty service members on mortgages. in june of that year, they paid $153.6 million in penalties for misleading investors. in july, they ponied up $228 million in a settlement on charges that they rigged municipal bonds transactions. and last month, it was reported the bank was in negotiations with the justice department over a $13 billion settlement for wrongdoing before and during the housing crisis. it has been a rough couple of years for the bank, to say the least. but not everyone has been piling on. >> the stock's touching a ten-year high. it's a cash-generating machine. sure, they've had their regulatory issues, was he's
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looking to settle them expeditiously at this point, which is everything you want out of a ceo. >> reporter: in fact, jpmorgan has become a flash point of debate. >> i think a lot of their earnings and revenue we've seen have come from really shady dealings. >> come on! >> it's a fact, it's in the news. >> what's the fact? >> the fact that they hired the children of prominent party officials and there's a spread sheet on which it's connected to deals they were trying to do in china. >> hiring connected people is as old as -- >> -- not actual fact on this program, because i do have a problem with that. >> anybody can google jpmorgan and see this. it was in "the new york times." it's not -- >> oh, "the new york times," oh, okay! >> well, jpmorgan is in "the new york times" again today.
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the paper reports, to promote its standing in china, jpmorgan chase turned to a seemingly obscure consulting firm, run by a 32-year-old executive named lily chang. but what was known to jpmorgan executives in hong kong was that lily chang was not her real name. it was an alias for wen ruchun, the only daughter of went jiabao, who was at the time china's prime minister. >> the s.e.c. wants to know if jpmorgan gave family members jobs so they could drive business to the bank. >> as it turns out, bribing officials isn't illegal, even for jpmorgan. it cannot even step on to twitter for a harmless q&a. >> #badidea is just the beginning. >> yesterday, they announced a twitter chat. all you had to do was use the #askjpm. and the tweets started pouring in. >> "do your settlement lawyers and social media people sit at the same table for lunch or different tables?" and alex fareene from salon who's been critical probably summed it up best saying, "why did you think this would be a good idea?"
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my own favorite, "did you have a specific number of people's lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?" but almost as fast as the social media experience came out, it was canceled. >> you wonder, who failed at jpmorgan? i would like to suggest, older, dumber people. >> for america's most hated bank, it is back to the drawing board indeed. >> if you think it's a populist backlash against the banks has eased, five years after the financial crisis, you would be sorely wrong. >> joining me now is one of the participants in that twitter chat, alexis goldstein, communications director for the other 98%, a nonprofit grassroots network of activists. alexis, why are you picking on jpmorgan chase? >> well, i think a lot of people like to say, oh, poor jpmorgan. they went on twitter and day got trolled. but the thing you have to
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remember, this is basically like the comic relief, in a long, shakespearean tragedy, where we all take a minute and have a little laugh. otherwise, we would have to cry ourselves to sleep for the next 15 weeks. jpmorgan is basically a recidivist institution. if they were a young man who had a series of petty drug crimes, they would be in prison for the rest of their lives, but they're not, they're a corporation. and we have not been able to do what you need to do to put a corporation in jail, which is to say, you don't get to do business anymore, because you've committed too many crimes at this point. >> so are they uniquely recidivist? is the the fact they are attracting the level of bad attention they have attracted because they are subsequently doing things worse than other big megabanks, or are they the ones we have all decided to attach our anger to? >> i don't think that they are unique. i always think of your book, the twilight of the elites that it's sort of like steroids and baseball.
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all of the banks have to commit crimes, because if one bank commits crimes and the others don't, they won't be profitable. but the reason they've exchanged so much scrutiny, jamie dimon, their ceo, has been uniquely arrogant and full of hubris lout this whole process. and even as they continue to rack up the fines you so neatly summarized in the intro, he has continued to lobby. and when he came before congress for the london whale trades which lost them billions of dollars and they were later fined millions of dollars for manipulating the credit market, congress basically said, oh, jamie dimon, you're amazing. and senator wicker said, why haven't we involved you in the conversation. and jamie dimon famously said, oh, i'll get an apartment in d.c. so unlike the other banks that have taken a slightly less arrogant tone, jpmorgan has always trumpeted how wonderful they are in spite of all these fines and crimes. >> so the big question about jpmorgan, they're in the midst of negotiating this big settlement and you and i have talked about this before, what breaks the bad habit? what stops the recidivism? how do we help them get well?
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how do we find -- like, what's the version of the program for the young man who's been strayed into wayward criminal activity for a big megabank? >> i think you have to create reverse incentive against crime. and i think the only way to do that is with criminal penalties and seeing people go to jail, or alternatively, if you want to punish the corporation itself and put the fear of god into them, so to speak, you need to do something like ferc did. ferc is an energy regulator and they basically said in april of this year, you don't get to trade electricity anymore, jpmorgan, because you committed too many crimes and you manipulated the markets. so they had a six-month ban. but this is really the only regulator that has been willing to go that far. and so i think we either need to see individuals see jail time, or reform the institution itself. regulators need to do what ferc did, and they need to say, you don't get to play in this park anymore. >> there has been a lot of talk recently, if you follow the financial press, that people inside wall street are starting
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to realize how big a problem these too big to fail banks are, that elizabeth warren gave a speech, they've gotten bigger. there's talk about ratings agencies downgrades. are we headed towards some kind of collision course in which these banks just cannot sustain themselves at the size that they are at right now? >> i think we are already there, and i think the reason that we haven't seen a crisis yet is because behind the scenes, to some extent, a lot of the regulators have been giving them a pass. they haven't been bringing these charges against them. at least in the immediate wake of the crisis, there was tons of liquidity programs that funneled money to the banks. bloomberg did a great one where they asked about and there were billions of dollars that were given in secret by the fed to these institutions. so i actually think we're already at that point. but it's been the position of the obama administration that it's better to extend and pretend and sort of support these institutions that are basically insolvent than to actually address the problem. so i, unfortunately, think we're already there, and the clock is running out.
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>> alexis goldstein from the other 98%, thank you so much. >> thanks. have you heard of the employment policies institute, not the economic policy institute, the employment policies institute, which bills itself as, quote, nonprofit research organization and is cited as a thinktank off by the media? they are not who you think they are. i will explain and talk to someone who works there, next. at red lobster, we pull our seafood from the best waters on earth... like the cold alaskan seas. it's the cleanest, clearest water. a haven for crab. [ male announcer ] and the unspoiled coast of maine. maine lobster is the tastiest, the sweetest. [ male announcer ] we serve it the only way seafood should be... prepared to order by experts. if i wouldn't eat it, i'm not gonna serve it. [ male announcer ] and delivered hot from our kitchen, right to your table. ♪ that's how we sea food differently. now get ten dollars off any two seafood bakes, crab or lobster entrees. now get ten dollars off maestro of project management. baron of the build-out. you need a permit...
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there is now real momentum
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behind efforts to lift the minimum wage, both at the state and federal level. new jersey last week joined 28 other states and washington, d.c. in raising its minimum wage above the level set by congress, which hasn't been changed since 2009, and there are campaigns to do the same in at least five other states. president obama has thrown his support behind senate democrats' proposal to raise the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 up to $10.10 per hour. a poll last week, meanwhile, found that more than three quarters of americans said they would vote to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour, including 58% of the republicans. now, anytime the minimum wage is in the news, there's a good chance you're going to come across this guy, michael saltzman, a research director for the very serious-sounding employment policies institute, which is fought against a minimum wage hike. epa bills itself as a non-profit research organization, ded indicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. the thing you need to know about epi, which effectively presents itself as a think tank, is that it appears to be something else entirely. the group adopted a name very
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similar to an actual think tank, the economic policy institute, which also as the acronym, epi, and as the center for median democracy has documented, the conservative epi operates out of the same suite as a firm owned by lobbyist richard berman. in fact, berman is the principal officer of the employment policies institute, one of which bloomberg reported are five tax-exempt groups that operate out of berman's office and have paid his firm more than $15 million. berman was once identified by the nickname dr. evil in a "60 minutes" profile. he's sought to prevent regulations on tobacco and lobbied for restaurant chains that do not want to see the minimum wage changed. and it's safe to assume they're very likely funded by those very same interests. joining me now is michael saltzman from behind the curtain, a former research for berman and company, and david serotta, contributor to michael, it's all in the game,
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as omar and the wire would say. you guys got a lobbying operation in washington, d.c., you got clients. they don't want the minimum wage to be raised, because they don't want to pay the workers more money. this is the way washington works. why pretend there's some independent institute that's churning out position papers. why not be clear about what you guys are up to? >> we're not pretending anything. the employment policies institute has been around for 20 years. we are a 5013c nonprofit. >> anyone can do that. >> economists from the university of chicago. here's the thing. the only reason this is a story -- >> how many economists do you have on staff? >> the only reason this is a story -- >> how many economists do you have on staff? >> the only reason this is a story -- >> how many economists do you have on staff? >> -- they don't like our viewpoint. >> how many economists do you have on staff? >> i'm the research director at the employment policies institute --
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>> where did you get your ph.d in economics? >> i was an economist for the bureau of labor statistics and i studied economics at the university of michigan -- >> as an undergraduate. but where did you get your ph.d? >> i don't call myself an economist, because i don't have a ph.d. it's economists from places like cornell, from places like -- >> but how many economists do you have on staff? that's all -- just answer my question. >> the employment policies institute is actually far more independent than something like the economic policy institute -- >> who you have tried to troll. >> -- well-funded by labor unions and have in-house economists who are doing the work. so you have labor unions funding their economists to get the results you want as opposed to us that goes to outside, independent universities -- >> of course, independent, except here's the rub, here's the rub, michael, here's the rub. >> yeah? >> the rub on this is you know, and i know the economic policy institute does get donations from labor. that's often disclosed. >> it's not often disclosed. >> who funds you guys? >> we are very up-front about
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the fact that we receive support from the business community, including restaurants, from foundations and from individuals. >> there we go. >> let's make a contrast real quick. because the salon article yesterday that this segment happened because of talking about the economic policy institute in a recent uc berkeley study and didn't disclose anything about the labor funding for those organizations and for those studies. epi is targeted. we are targeted because you don't like our point of view. you don't like our facts. >> no, no, no. first of all, the facts -- >> that's the reason we're being targeted here. >> that's right, let's be honest. >> so the economic consensus -- >> here's what i do not like. >> -- and you don't like that. >> i don't like disingenuous, david. i want to bring david into this. you worked on the hill and you know the way this kind of operates, right? there is a rhetorical battle that happens over an issue like the minimum wage, in which it is useful to cloak what are essentially just business interests in some kind of independent aura.
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>> that's right. because in the news media, the business interests don't want to say, the restaurant industry, which doesn't want to pay workers and minimum wage, released a study or promoted a study that says, shocker, we don't like the minimum wage. they want to make it look academic. this is the way politics works. and i think that it is a service to people when they evaluate these issues, to actually know who's actually speaking, who's promoting this stuff. and rick berman has been a guy who's been at the center of trying to cloak this kind of material in the patina of academia. i will say this about rick berman. rick berman is particularly kind of cheesy. he's a particularly kind of -- he just looks the villain of this. it's so obvious what he's doing. i would actually say that the employment policies institute is one version of like, when you hear like the manhattan institute, and they're funded by hedge funders, and they're considered, well, they're more academic. this is a larger problem in washington, where what interest
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groups, corporate interest groups are pushing is camouflaged as something academic. >> there's nothing -- there's no -- if this is a camouflage, this is the only camouflage -- this is the biggest journalistic scoop that you could get, just by reading the identification line at the end of an op-ed, or by going to a website, right? there's no secret that epi is funded by businesses. we're completely up-front about that. but you don't like our point of view. and labor unions don't like our point of view. so instead of engaging our facts, they just want to try to discredit us and say, well, you're funded by wiz businesses. >> let's have a discussion. >> since the paper, we have seen a preponderance of evidence in the literature, which is going to become quite robust. >> debunked in the exact same journal -- >> no, it was not. it was not debunked. >> it was. >> the preponderance of the facts, in the peer review
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literature, which does not emanate out of some office suite run by rick berman shows that the things have not materialized in discontinuity study after discontinuity study that remains today. >> 85% of the studies over the last two decades -- >> -- underneath the bottom of the economic argument against raising the minimum wage. it is not -- >> in your point. in your point of view. >> no, in the literature. in the literature, the bottom has fallen out. >> and it would be better in this debate if somebody like michael would say, listen, i speak for the restaurant industry, a sector of the economy that doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. >> you do not speak for entry-level employees. >> increase the minimum wage -- >> you may speak for a lot -- >> absolutely. >> michael, you may speak for a lot of people, but you don't speak for minimum wage employees. >> michael saltsman from the economic policy institute -- >> from the employment policies institute. >> that's why it's clever you named it what you did. thank you michael. we'll be right back.
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what political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why? >> christ, because he changed my heart. >> i think the viewer would like to know more on how he's changed your heart. >> well, if they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain. >> that's as good an example as any why george w. bush was called america's first evangelical president. we don't hear nearly as much about the evangelical christian movements since bush left office, but today george w. bush was back with a stark reminder the movement has not gone away. and one of the key members of that movement joins me next. you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here.
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zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends december 2nd. for details, visit today have you ever heard of jews for jesus? it sounds like the punch line of a joke, but it's not, it's an actual group. look, here's the website. jews for jesus is part of a movement called messianic christianity, keeping kosher and the like, and they call themes jews, which as you might imagine, is incredibly controversial. because if your theology isn't too rusty, you know that jews don't believe sus was the messiah. as their matter of definition, in fact, jews for jesus, in the eyes of its critic, including much of mainstream america judahica is a bait and switch.
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and the theology driving this is converting jews is necessary to speed along the final day of judgment, in which armageddon comes and the saved are absorbed up into heaven. this is a pretty polarizing topic, which is why the internet practically exploded when reporter sara posener got her hands on this scoop from mother jones. former president george w. bush speaking tonight for the jewish group. they found it trouble that they would address an evangelical christian group whose stated goals is convert jews to christianity. media was not allowed. in fact, shortly after posener's piece went live, references to bush's speech was scrubbed from the website. one of the lasting legacy of the bush presidency was the alliance between christians and politically conservative jews. and in some ways, his speech tonight to a somewhat fringy evangelical group is a reminder that the evangelical movement, millions and millions of americans, was front and center during the bush presidency. and while the press doesn't
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cover evangelicals much anymore, they have not gone anywhere. they are a driving force in the base of the republican party. joining me now, ralph reed. he was a senior adviser to the bush/cheney campaigns in 2000 and 2004. perhaps there's no one in america people associate more with the political muscle of evangelical christianity than you, mr. reed. and my question, first, i want to talk about where things stand right now, for evangelical christians as a political force in this country. but the first question is just about this speech. do you understand why people are a bit roiled by the former president giving a speech to this group? well, setting aside for a minute tonight's speech, i certainly understand why jews are sensitive about the issue of targeted prost liz. >> but for jews, particularly those who came from europe and from countries and parts of the world with a long and a brutal history of persecution of jews, which was associated in many cases, remember, with christianity, there is a
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history, and the only thing that really compares to it in the cosmology of the past is what african-americans have identified with. and what christians have to do as a result, is they have to show the appropriate sensitivity to that very sad and tragic past, in which, unfortunately, our forebearers, or at least those claiming to be our forebearers, played a role. and i think in exchange, our friends in the jewish community, of which we have many, and by the way, not all who share our politics. >> right. >> we have many friends in the jewish community, and engage in
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regular dialogue with them. i think they need to understand that in order to be authentic to our faith, we have to share the gospel with everyone. >> with everyone. >> and if there's -- that's right. and we can't -- you can't ask a christian going door to door in their neighborhood, not the best metaphor, but for purposes of this discussion, to bypass a certain home or certain homes because of who lives there. >> but that's a little different than what's happening here, right? just as a sort of institutional question, i understand that. i understand the importance, the theological importance of that from the christian perspective. but you have groups like this that are targeted specifically to jews. >> yeah, that's right. and that's where the dialogue gets more complicated. i've never, frankly, been
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somebody who would tell a jew who was a convert that they couldn't share their faith. i would never do that. but as i said, as a general rule, it is my view that targeted prosthelization can raise these kind of sensitivities in a way that becomes counterproductive to sharing the gospel. but, again, i think people have got to understand that jesus was a jew. the early christians were jews. so we believe that we came out of that tradition. and i think we need to show sense at this time to their fears is and concerns and i think they need to accept the fact that to be authentic to our faith, we have to share our faith. >> i want to ask you about this poll. because i remember in the years of the bush administration, the talk of evangelical christians and their political might was everywhere.
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it was on the cover of "time" magazine. it was one of the dominant narratives of politics for that decade. and i saw this poll that comes from a majority of evangelical leaders believe influence is declining. 82% say they're losing influence. 17% say they're gaining influence. what do you think about the political force of evangelicals in this country at a time when we're seeing marriage equality on the march, when we're seeing ken cuccinelli lose in virginia. do you think influence of evangelicals is declining? >> no, i don't. i think that in many ways, today, compared to, say, 20 or 30 years ago, in particular, it's more kind of baked into the cake. and that's really true of all social reform movements. i mean, i think the civil rights movement and civil rights leaders have as much influence today as they did in the '50s or
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'60s. but you don't have the same drama of a march on washington or the montgomery bus boycott. i think you have feminists like dianne feinstein and others who are serving in the u.s. senate and congress. nancy pelosi, who i think would identify herself as a feminist, but it doesn't seem to be as grating to the ear or the eye as, say, when the feminist movement broke on the scene in the 60s. >> so you're saying the power of evangelicals has been institutionalized in a way, which sort of accounts for us not seeing as so distinct. ralph reed, thank you so much. it was great to have you on. we'll be right back. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh what a relief it is! [ passenger ] airport, please.
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we are back. joining me now, sam seder, host of the online podcast, majority report, and investigative journalist, sara posener. she ran a story about former president's involvement with the messianic jewish group for the november issue. sara, what are you surprised when you found out he was
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speaking there? >> i was very surprised. bush, as you mentioned in the opening segment, is an evangelical. he was very open about that as president. and he very openly coalesced with evangelical groups when he was running for president and while he was in the white house. but this group is fundamentally different from your average evangelical organization. and to sort of elaborate a little bit on what ralph reed was talking about earlier, it's not nearly that they're proselytizing jews or engaging in what he called targeted proselytization of jews. this is a group that still says they're jewish, despite accepting jesus as messiah. >> ralph reed basically distanced himself from it. "i'm not crazy about this approach," is essentially what he said.
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which is saying something that george w. bush is going to speak to these people. >> yes, i agree. and i thought that was really interesting that ralph phrased it that way. he clearly was not endorsing or giving bush a pass on this. i think that reed realized that this is extremely controversial to the jewish community, far more controversial than an evangelical christian witnessing to a jewish person or to any non-christian person. i think, you know, he was talking about how jewish people should be accepting and understanding, that this is part of the evangelical faith. and i think that by and large, the jewish community is accepting of that, as long as it doesn't cross constitutional lines. >> it's identifying as jewish. i want to play just a little bit of the mission statement from the ministers of the messianic jewish bible institute. take a listen. >> as the blindness comes off of
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the jewish people in the days we're living in, our job will get bigger and bigger and bigger until all of israel shall be saved. >> we're talking about not just training a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand, we're talking about impacting millions. >> you ready to get saved there, buddy? >> you know, apparently when we all convert, there's one third of us gets to sit on the right-hand side of god, the others are in eternal hellfire. for me, personally, i have eczema, so i certainly don't want the hellfire. but, look, you have to wonder what george bush is thinking, when he is following up the last speaker to address these people in this fashion was glenn beck. this is not exactly -- >> this is a fringy situation. >> it's a fringy situation. but with that said, let me also say, i think there's a tremendous amount of hypocrisy here by a lot of republican jews, a lot of right-wing conservative jews. the fact of the matter is, they're talking about the notion of the mass conversion.
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evangelicals and christian zionists have a very similar notion, granted they don't self-identify as jews, but their affinity for the jewish people, their affinity for israel, et cetera, et cetera, is very much bound up in this notion of the messiah returning. once all the jews gather in israel and mass convert. i think there's a tremendous amount of hypocrisy by certain institutional jewish organizations. >> in allowing themselves to ally with people who fundamentally have a vision of what the future is, that is -- >> yes, yes, that's the thing. you have forfeited your right to complain about this situation. >> that's what's interesting. the commentary, which is associated with the long tradition of you know, new york jewish intellectuals and was a liberal magazine and became sort of new york conservative, et cetera. they kind of tut tutted bush for doing this, but rushed to his defense. and it gets at the awkward relationship, as sam is saying, between the evangelical movement in this country and politically
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conservative jews. >> well, i think for politically conservative jews, particularly ones who are hawkish on israel, they see the support of evangelical groups like christians united for israel, which is probably the leading christian zionist group in the country, the one that was founded by pastor john hady. so they're willing to look past all the armageddon stuff, because they think that other organizations like it, but particularly kufi, because it has a lot of political muscle, can be helpful to them. and with the push of a send button, they can mobilize folks. >> and sam, you're saying, you bought the ticket -- >> in for a penny, in for a pound. >> this comes with the territory. >> this comes with the territory. so i think there's a lot of hypocrisy for any of these organizations, that would otherwise embrace the support of these people, to say that george bush can go fund-raiser for them -- >> well, i would say that it's actually even a little worse in the sense that the messianic jewish organizations don't


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