The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
David Rennie, The Economist;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, April 11, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of April 12-13, 2014

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: U.S. and India at Odds?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The relationship between the United States and India will, in fact, be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. That's why I've worked with the prime minister, a man of extraordinary intellect and great integrity, to deepen and broaden the cooperation between our countries.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This past Monday, voting began for the next prime minister of India. Eight hundred and 14 million people are eligible to vote. The election takes place in stages and won't wrap up until five weeks from now, May 16th.

The frontrunner is Narendra Modi, chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat. Modi represents the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. He is running against the scion of the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi, of the Congress Party.
Since 2001, 13 years ago, when then-President George W. Bush welcomed then-Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee to the White House, the U.S. has been trying to cultivate a strategic partnership with India. Before the Bush-Vajpayee summit, relations with India had been chilly because the U.S. had imposed trade sanctions on India because India had secretly developed and deployed nuclear weapons.

Then came 9/11, and that horror moved President Bush to lift most of the sanctions on India, ostensibly in exchange for India's stated cooperation on counterterrorism. But in reality, President Bush wanted India strengthened economically and militarily to serve as a regional counterbalance to the growing might of China.

Then Bush's term ends, and in comes the Obama administration. Ties with India cool again. Why? Because India opposed U.S. sanctions against Iran. Then another India payback against the U.S.; namely, India's abstention from a key U.S.-supported United Nations vote condemning Russia's annexation of Crimea. This Indian payback did not sit well with Mr. Obama.

Question: Will Narendra Modi be the next prime minister of India? And if so, what are the prospects for a reset of the U.S.- India relationship? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is highly probable that -- he's the head of the BJP -- he will win the election, John, even though it was discovered on Friday that he had been married for three years way back when he was a teenager, and that's a party that believes in chastity.

But I do think he will win for this reason. The Congress Party, like the African National Congress in South Africa, it's a party people are getting tired of. They've had the Gandhis in there repeatedly ever since Nehru. This is the fourth generation.

Secondly, this fellow runs a province which was very successful economically, and people like that idea. But John, there's going to be some real problems with the United States. This man was on a virtual watch list of international supporters (and such ?) of terrorism because of a massacre of Muslims in his province, about which he is said to have done nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A terrible horror.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A terrible horror.

MR. BUCHANAN: And this is about, you know, 10 or a dozen years ago. And he's a hard-line fellow. And as you mentioned, he's the -- India is moving basically with the Russians on this issue in Crimea. And they've got problems with Pakistan, which they think is going to basically take over Afghanistan when the Americans go.


ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, first of all, not all our allies supported this country with regard to condemning Russia on Crimea. Israel was one of the countries that abstained. So I don't think that's the critical breaking point with India at all.
I think much more damaging was the diplomatic incident in New York where a female diplomat from India was handcuffed and strip- searched and put in a holding cell over an issue of whether she wasn't paying her domestic help enough and was -- in effect the charge was she was enslaving her domestic help. That really didn't sit well in India.

But the current ambassador, Nancy Powell, a career Foreign Service officer, is stepping down. And I think with this election and the naming of a new ambassador, there will be a chance to reset.

I think Modi looks like he's going to win. He has some pretty damaging rhetoric when it comes to Muslims. And there are 130 million Muslims in India, so this is not some small marginal population. He's not going to win enough as an outright majority, and he's going to have to put together a coalition. And the poisonous relations that he has with the Muslim population in that country may make it very hard for him to put together a coalition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is India sensitive to Russia's interest in Crimea?

DAVID RENNIE: Well, India, going back to the Cold War, was always a hedge against the western world. It was always close to the Soviet Union for all those years.

But I think the problem with Narendra Modi, who we assume will be prime minister, is not just, as Pat says, that he has an ugly past. He was seen as abetting this massacre of a thousand people in his home state. But as he reaches this high office of prime minister of the whole country, there's been pressure on him to sort of say that he abjures his violent past, moderates his rhetoric, to stop sending these kind of dog-whistle sort of signals that his supporters can hear that sound like incitement to violence against Muslims.
He hasn't taken any of those chances to do the right thing. He's continued to say these little coded things that sound a lot like incitement to anti-Muslim hatred. And this is a very large country next to a very unstable Muslim country, Pakistan.

You know, the whole world, not just America, doesn't want this kind of dangerous provocateur in that kind of job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does India have the potential to be a counterweight to China's growing influence? Mort.

MORT ZUCKERMAN: They have that potential, but that potential is far from being realized. And I think, frankly, this election is going to be quite critical to India's future, in part because this Modi, who is almost certainly going to be the next leader of India, is not going to be very popular in the West.
So I think there's going to be a serious issue in terms of India's economy, and that's going to be the critical issue in terms of the ability of India to be a counterweight to China.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Any further background here that you have, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I do think that it's going to be -- this could be very, very difficult. I think this is a very hard-line individual, and he's coming to power in his, you know, mid to late 60s.

But John, I do believe that you make a mistake if you think India is going to be any beneficial counterweight to us with regard to China. China is going to pursue its own policies. India might have trouble with them in the Indian Ocean, et cetera, with the navy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MR. BUCHANAN: But the Chinese are moving directly against the Americans in the East and South China Seas.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of BRIC, B-R-I-C?

MR. BUCHANAN: The B-R-I-C-S countries?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the --

MR. BUCHANAN: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.


MR. BUCHANAN: The BRICS, all of them, as Eleanor said -- I believe all of the BRICS voted for -- or did not -- abstained on that vote on Crimea. They are moving, John, away from the United States, as is much of the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about the larger meaning of BRIC. What is BRIC?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's an economic term for emerging nations that are really in the middle stage of emerging, and they're powerful, and the nations of the future.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The nations of the future. You've got Brazil.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got Russia, you've got India, and you've got China.

MR. BUCHANAN: And South Africa.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a pretty good summary of where the action is going to be, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So India's very important.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, South Africa, I think, is going down the tubes. And I'm not so sure Russia's got all that brilliant a future.

MS. CLIFT: And Modi, he's very business-oriented. I mean, he heads the province -- or state, I guess it's called -- that's like the Silicon Valley. It's known for its entrepreneurs. And that's what he's selling himself on. And he is a savvy politician. So maybe a lot of this really reprehensible rhetoric that he's known for, he'll tone it down once he gets power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're going to get questions from some writers to the program saying what are you talking about India for? What does that have to do with the United States? Can you speak to that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, let me simply just start off with India has something like 850 million people. No matter what --

MR. RENNIE: No, it's got 1.2 billion people.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's 1.2 billion, yeah.

MR. RENNIE: Eight hundred million is --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, 850 million voters.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So why should that concern us? They're not even in our hemisphere.

MS. CLIFT: We're competing with them.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: With all due respect --

MS. CLIFT: Our children are competing with them.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not only that, but we can't afford to alienate a country like that that has long been perceived more or less as an ally of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know how successful Indian-Americans are, Indians from India?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know how successful they are?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of them are successful. And frankly, a lot of them aren't as well, OK? But it doesn't matter. The fact is that you have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're very successful, very successful.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I agree. They're a very --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Check out your Almanac.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, OK, I will do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You may be even publishing an Almanac and don't even know it.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't even keep track of your own empire. You wish you were an Indian itself.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, not yet. But I appreciate the offer.

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's hard to grasp the politics of this. They're going to be voting over five weeks. And you can run for a seat. You don't have to live in that area. And you can run for more than one seat. So maybe --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which country in the BRICS is the most powerful? Is that --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it Brazil?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it Russia?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it India?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is Russia buying its arms?

MR. BUCHANAN: Russia doesn't buy arms. They sell them.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They don't buy them. They sell them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're selling their arms to whom?

MR. BUCHANAN: They sell them to China and India.


Issue Two: There Is Nothing Like a Dame.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I don't know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men and then deny that that's not always happening out there. A woman's got to work about three more months in order to get what a man got because she's paid less. That's not fair. That's like adding an extra six miles to a marathon. It's not right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week took matters into his own hands on the issue of pay disparities between men and women. The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that, on average, women, who comprise half of the U.S. workforce, earn 77 cents to every one dollar men earn.
So the president on Tuesday signed two executive orders designed to reduce that 23-cent pay gap. One order relates to the practice of punishing U.S. government federal contractor employees for discussing their wages with their opposite number of contractor colleagues.

The fear of retaliation for such discussion means employees often stay silent instead of airing their grievances with their superiors about possible wage discrimination. So President Obama's executive order allows federally contracted employees to discuss their salaries with their in-house government peers without fear of reprisal.

The second presidential order requires federal contractors to report their employee compensation data, including gender, to the Labor Department. Democrats hope both of these actions will highlight the issue of women's disparate pay.

But Republicans, for one, are not on board. They say the Democrats are politicizing women. Republicans and others also point to a recent study that finds that -- get this -- the White House does not pay women on its staff the same as men. Press Secretary Jay Carney was pressed on the matter. He defended the administration, saying that women who hold the same position as men get paid equitably.

JAY CARNEY (White House press secretary): (From videotape.) Women who do the same work as men have to be paid the same. There is no question that that is happening here at the White House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Carney was also questioned by a reporter from Reuters whether the 77-cent-to-one-dollar pay gap was accurate.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

JEFF MASON (Reuters): Jay, outside economists say that the data that the president is citing, 77 cents phrase, is wrong. Regardless of the merits of this push, do you --

MR. CARNEY: Well, that's --

MR. MASON: -- (inaudible)?

MR. CARNEY: -- absolutely not the case. There are some economists who have different views on what it means. But to say economists -- I mean, from Reuters, I would expect something a little more precise.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To which Mr. Carney was then subject to jeers from the press.

Question: Is the pay gap real, or is the statistic that women make 77 percent of what men make misleading, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: It's very real, and it's been with us for a long time. The 77 cents, as you noted, is based on the Census figures. The Washington Post had a handy little map where you could click on every state and find out what the gap was in that particular state. Wyoming was the worst for women with 64 cents; Louisiana second, 67 percent. In the Beltway around Washington, women did the best. It was, like, 90 to 95 cents.

This is fine statistics. And the reason there's a gap in the White House is that there are more women in administrative positions, which get paid lower. But, you know, it's complicated to figure out exactly what the gap is, where. But it's a very good political issue. And the Republicans say the Democrats are politicizing women. Women get politicized over this on their own. (Laughs.) It's a very good issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, do I have to point out to you the impact of women leaving and then reentering the workforce following childbirth and child-rearing? The child-rearing gap interrupts women's careers, creating a skills and experience gap. And that's reflected in their pay.

MS. CLIFT: That's one of the factors, yes. There's also --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I didn't hear you take that into consideration.

MS. CLIFT: I'm happy to conceded that. Of course that's true. And you also have -- you do have some overt discrimination, which is why we've had, you know -- the Lilly Ledbetter Act was all about that, where she's working in a factory and she discovers that men doing the same job are making more money.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. But that doesn't --

MS. CLIFT: There are those examples. But nonetheless, women -- there is a gap. Young women in their 20s, they make, like, 90- something percent of what men do.

MR. BUCHANAN: But John --

MS. CLIFT: But then, as you go later in life --

MR. BUCHANAN: Equal pay for equal work --

MS. CLIFT: -- the gap --

MR. BUCHANAN: Equal pay for equal work --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Equal pay for equal work is the law of the land. Lilly Ledbetter's been the law of the land for four years. John, you've touched on one of the points. Take professions. You mentioned Wyoming -- ranching and mining and military and sports. And all of these kinds of professions, men predominate in those, which are higher-paid professions, while women predominate in nursing, in teaching and service work, waitressing and things like that. And the point is, the men's profession, where they go into, they pay more. And this is quite practical and normal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, by nursing --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- that women don't like. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On nursing, I think nurses -- they have a union, but it's -- unfortunately it doesn't seem to be noted. But nurses really should have a union.

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: Nurses do most of the work.

MR. RENNIE: This argument about a number, 77, is obscuring the fact that there are problems still in the workforce because women don't get the credit because they don't necessarily -- you know, men are very good at showing off and shouting out --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute.

MR. RENNIE: -- all that stuff.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute.

MR. RENNIE: But the pay gap is a completely cheap shot --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean that women don't show off? Is that what you're saying?

MR. BUCHANAN: They're more reticent; there's no doubt. Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More reticent?

MR. BUCHANAN: -- in the White House, as Eleanor knows, half of my staff were women. They all worked. They were conscientious. But the guys on the staff in the speechwriting shop, they were really driven and stuff like that, much more so than the women were.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about this women question?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do women, by the way, dress for other women?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is not my field, John, so I don't want to give any opinions on that.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: But I do think that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute. (Inaudible.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, in a broader sense, it's not my field.
Look, I do think that there are, without question, unfair pay gaps. But there's also a different kind of work that is often being done by men, and therefore they get a different kind of compensation. So you can't lump everything together and just say 77 percent or what have you. I think that is a misleading number. And I think the danger is that you end up making that into a political issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Behind Bars.

Incarceration. Of the entire world's prison population, the United States incarcerates 25 percent. That's one fourth of the entire world's prisoners behind bars in America. And to put this in sharper perspective, note that America has only 5 percent of the world's population. As of 2012, one in every 108 adults was in prison or jail, while the total incarcerated population today is 2.4 million, a total that, over the last 30 years, is up 500 percent.
The majority of those in federal prisons and state prisons and jails are drug offenders, a number higher than those jailed for robbery or homicide. And prison is expensive.

Richard Viguerie is a conservative funding pioneer and head of Conservative HQ, an online news source for tea partiers, the limited- government exponent. The U.S. prison system costs more than $50 billion a year, a sum that the 50 states shoulder. It's the second- fastest-expanding component of state budgets, behind only Medicaid.

To quote Viguerie, "It's not just the excessive and unwise spending that offends conservative values. Prisons are harmful to prisoners and their families. The current system often turns out prisoners who are more harmful to society than when they went in. So prison and reentry reform are issues of public safety as well," unquote.

Three principles, says Viguerie, lie at the core of conservative philosophy: Compassion, control government spending, and public safety. Quote: "Politically speaking, conservatives will have more credibility than liberals in addressing prison reform," unquote.

As for ex-convicts, Mr. Viguerie's recommendations include community supervision programs with new technology, drug testing and counseling. He sees these measures as reducing recidivism. What should not be the focus, says Mr. Viguerie, are the more costly and less productive policies of mandatory minimum sentencing, with the subsequent building of more prisons.

Question: Richard Viguerie wants convicts sentenced without jail time. Jeb Bush says those who break the immigration laws are doing so as an act of love. What explains this outbreak of compassionate conservatism? I ask you, David Rennie.

MR. RENNIE: Well, it's high time that conservatives realize what a strange position -- this kind of lock-them-all-up policy was putting amazing faith in government to run things well. Why should government run prisons well when conservatives are very skeptical of government's ability to run things well?
These appalling laws, telling judges they have no discretion, that they have to send people away for mandatory sentences, sometimes ludicrously long and cruel sentences for relatively small crimes, that's the kind of top-down bossiness that conservatives don't like.

And finally, let's not forget, a lot of these laws, these sort of three-strikes-and-you're-out laws in California, they were pushed by trade unions, by the prison guards' trade unions. It was make-work for unions, because they wanted big prisons for lots of jobs for union guys. So this is a long time coming for conservatives to wake up --

MS. CLIFT: Well, I admire what --

MR. RENNIE: -- to the inequities of the system.

MS. CLIFT: I admire what Mr. Viguerie is doing. He's doing the right thing. But he's motivated primarily because it costs so much money to incarcerate; the financial motive here.

MR. RENNIE: Well, good, if that's what it takes.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I think it's fine. I'm not being critical of it. If that's how the left and the right can come together on this, all the more power (to ?) everyone.

MR. BUCHANAN: But finances are not the most important thing. The most important thing is the security of the American people. I do agree about 19 of 20 of these guys are going to leave prison. You shouldn't have somebody walk out of prison who you're almost certain is going to go out and commit another felony.

MS. CLIFT: That's not --

MR. BUCHANAN: So you ought to deal with it --

MS. CLIFT: That's not what he's talking about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, I've got a question.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. I've got a question for Mort.

If a prospective employee comes to you and he wants -- he's a job applicant with a criminal record, the same as -- would you treat him as a job applicant the same as you would a non-prison -- previous non- prisoner job applicant?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. The answer is no, I would not. But I would look into what it was. What's happening here and what we're talking about here is the ridiculous level of sentencing of people to prison for some of the most ridiculous kinds of charges. And as a result of it, we've dramatically increased the number of people who are imprisoned in this country, way beyond --

MR. BUCHANAN: And you've reduced crime all over America since the 1990s.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm not saying we haven't reduced crime. That doesn't mean --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. You're over-talking. I want to hear Rennie.

MR. RENNIE: Crime has fallen in other countries that don't lock up nearly as many people. You look up the staggering numbers of people in this country, and it isn't safer than other countries that have -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated.

Issue Four: Apocalypse Now.

RAJENDRA PACHAURI (chairman, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change): (From videotape.) Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will climate change be the great leveler? A new U.N. report from the U.N.'s IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is sweeping and stark. The 2,610-page report warns that, quote, "In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on all continents and across the oceans," unquote.

Recent extreme weather events, like intense heat waves, heavier rains, rising sea levels, have had destructive impacts on populations, human and otherwise, showing that humans are not adapting fast enough to these dangers.

Unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control, these events will worsen. The report details areas where people are already at risk. These include, one, food. Agriculture has changed, leading to better crops in some high-latitude places, but offset by lesser yields elsewhere. The harm outweighs the good. And access to food and the stability of its pricing are affected.

Two, water. Shortages of it will particularly affect areas where conditions are already dry.

Three, security. Crop failures, floods, higher sea levels -- they can menace and shock populations and lead to homelessness, changing migration patterns, and violence, even civil wars. So says the U.N.

Question: What explains the apocalyptic tone of this report? David Rennie.

MR. RENNIE: I think the tragedy of climate change is that this is a culture war pretending to be a scientific argument. The truth is, most people don't -- we're not climate scientists. We don't know. And everyone is very confident on both sides; that, you know, on the green side, that Americans are greedy people who drive big cars and they're selfish. On the conservative side, people say the science is junk; our opponents are basically Malthusian miserablists who want us all to be wearing hair shirts.

I think people are basically falling back on kind of cultural and ideological instincts, because we don't really know the science.

MS. CLIFT: Well, we do --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute.

MR. RENNIE: But the tragedy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. RENNIE: Hold on. The tragedy is that we, the ordinary public, don't have the science. I put my faith in the majority of the scientists --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what's this Malthusian that you're talking about?

MR. RENNIE: Well, you know, if you're a conservative, you say my opponents, they look a lot like the same people who wanted to hate capitalism and growth for another reason. Now the latest thing they've jumped on is the climate-change bandwagon. My magazine --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's a Malthusian?

MR. BUCHANAN: Thomas Malthus? Who, me?


MR. BUCHANAN: No, John. But I'll tell you what it is. I mean, Richard Tol, the scientist, said, look, even if you concede the worst rise in two degrees Centigrade, the idea that this is going to destroy the planet is laughable when you consider all the things we have overcome.

John, when I was in Iowa campaigning for president, they said that's where the Ice Age stopped. The icecap came all the way down to central Iowa. And we're worried about some glacier --

MR. RENNIE: Iowa wasn't much fun during the Ice Age.

MS. CLIFT: The impact --

MR. RENNIE: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: The impact of these greenhouse gases in the recent past is changing the nature of the ozone layer and the climate. And actually, this report, it was apocalyptic in the sense of what it said if we don't address it. But it also said climate change is already here.

And they talked about all the things that people are beginning to do to adapt. The rebuilding in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, they're doing it on the assumption that that storm is not an aberration, that they're going to have more storms like that. So people are --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that doesn't mean climate change necessarily.

MS. CLIFT: -- adapting. Adaptation is not enough. But people recognize what's on the horizon here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know anything about these Malthusians?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, look, let me just say about those reports, they are apocalyptic in the language that they use that, frankly, undermines their credibility. I'd be much more worried about what's happening in the oceans --


MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and the fish, which is a huge source of food for large parts of the world. There, that supply is being affected. We don't -- that's something we can do something about. This is a much more difficult thing to do something about.


MR. BUCHANAN: But Mort --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And we don't know what the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the simile or the metaphor of the apocalypse? What's the apocalypse all about? Do you know?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the end of the world, John. The reason we're apocalyptic about it is because they can no longer get our attention unless they go to these heights.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean that --

MR. RENNIE: (Inaudible.) You should treat it like an insurance problem. It's going to cost a huge amount of money to get fixed if this happens and we do nothing about it. It's cheaper --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh. So there's money to be made.

MR. RENNIE: It's cheaper to deal with it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's money to be made.

MR. RENNIE: Treat it like an insurance problem. It's cheaper to deal with it now, as Eleanor suggests --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get more shingles; get bigger shutters; get --

MR. RENNIE: It's cheaper to mitigate now than to do the whole cost of it if we get hit by the worst --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's money to be made.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You're talking about $150 billion a year to make these changes without any certainty that it's going to work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, isn't that capitalism at work?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it's not capitalism at work. It's big- government policy at work, and it doesn't work.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that China's currency, the yuan, won't replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Ain't going to happen, John.


MR. RENNIE: Stick with the greenback.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No way. No way will --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick with the greenback.


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