THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: ELEANOR CLIFT, DINESH D'SOUZA,
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, AND MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2000
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 6-7, 2001
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: A bounty of billionaires.
The holiday season is upon us, and like others before it, it is a celebration of joy, gratitude, and fellowship. This year the season is also a celebration of abundance, material prosperity -- in a word, wealth.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) We have a record number of millionaires, we have a record number of billionaires, and that's good. We have the highest homeownership in history, the lowest female unemployment rate in 40 years, the lowest African American and Hispanic unemployment rate ever recorded. So we're all going along for the ride.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For the past 18 years, America has enjoyed the fruits of virtually uninterrupted economic growth. It began as a streak and became a marathon. This long wave of prosperity has given us record low unemployment rates, across-the-board increases in family income, and a bumper crop of billionaires.
In 1982, when the growth wave began gathering force, there were only 13 billionaires in the entire United States. Today there are almost 300 billionaires. More billionaires have been created in the past two decades than in the previous two centuries. The last time America experienced an explosion of personal wealth on this order of magnitude was in the 1890s, sometimes called "the Gay '90s," "the Roaring '90s," "the Golden '90s."
Today a golden cornucopia of riches is pouring into the pockets of American entrepreneurs.
Question: What's the difference between today's billionaires and the robber barons of the 19th century -- the Rockefellers, the Morgans, the Carnegies, the du Ponts? I ask you, Lawrence Kudlow.
MR. KUDLOW: Well, you know, one point I want to make, John, is that a lot of liberal historians have vilified those billionaires in the 1890s, and they shouldn't have. Historians being what they are, they don't favor free-market capitalism. So I want just put a plug in for that old-guard group.
The second point I'd make is in terms of today's story, they're coming out of different areas in economy. A lot of it's technology-driven. A lot of it's innovation-driven. And I think the wealth is much newer wealth. Of course, a hundred years ago, their wealth was new. This wealth today has great staying power. It is a function of our free-market system of capitalism, which, in the last 20 years, has been relatively unfettered, as we reduced excessive marginal tax rates, as we cut inflation, as we deregulated, and as we opened up our trading borders. So the incentive structure is one of the great pluses in this story today, and it may go on for several more decades if the government doesn't meddle.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ground rules are different, but I'm a little surprised you didn't get that in more detail. The nouveau riche of today could probably not have made it if those earlier ground rules had existed. Is that true?
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, I don't know what historians Larry is talking about who don't favor free market capitalism. Maybe you're reading books in the original Russian or Chinese.
Second of all, the robber barons of the 19th Century felt a need to launder their fortunes because they got their money in ways that were regarded as somewhat questionable by the editorial pages of newspapers; by the masses of people. And so they did good things with their money. I mean, we have a library system today, thank you the Carnegies.
And the prevalence of wealthy people today -- there are some of them who are doing great, good things, including Bill Gates, but a lot of them just spend their money on themselves. And I think that the acceleration of wealth is not entirely a positive trend if it's a selfish gain.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Welcome Dinesh D'Souza, author of "The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values in an age of Techno-Affluence." Congratulations on this book.
MR. D'SOUZA: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How are you impressed by the differences that exist between the robber barons of old and the techno-afflo -- affluent technocrats of today?
MR. D'SOUZA: Well, I think we have a funny group of billionaires today. Many of them say, "We're not in this for the money." I don't see Andrew Carnegie saying that. Many of them say, "We don't want to make dynasties. We're going to give all our money away." That's new. But I think the big story is the rise of the mass affluent class -- not the billionaires. There are more of them, to be sure, but I'm talking about the guys who have over $1 million in net worth. In 1980 there were fewer than a million American families that had that kind of money. Today, five million families -- and that means that 20 million Americans are living in a millionaire household.
So, America has created the first mass affluent class in world history. I call it the "over class." And it's extending to millions of people, the avenues of personal fulfillment and even debauchery, previously available only to the aristocratic few.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, you could speak to this with great authority. Congratulations for entering the "258 Club." Mort is now a billionaire -- 1.2 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.
What's the difference -- what about the difference between commodities and what the affluent technical people of today produce? They don't produce --
MR. ZUKERMAN: No --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not the smokestack industries.
MR. ZUKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about the knowledge industry, is it not?
MR. ZUKERMAN: Right, and it is intellectual capital that has produced a vastly greater proportion of this wealth rather than financial capital and assets.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a big difference.
MR. ZUKERMAN: Secondly, I think a lot of these people have made their money in a much shorter period of time at a much earlier period in their life. A lot of them are much, much younger.
What is astounding to many of us who watch what goes on is that people in their 20s and 30s and early 40s have made these billions in a very short period of time, and a lot of it through the creation of value in the financial markets -- that is to say through the stock markets. Now, that's had a tremendous drop for a lot of them, but still, a lot of them have made vast fortunes by translating this incredible growth in these knowledge-based industries into stock market values.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you not see, however, that the nouveau riche of today were not encumbered by monopolies or cartels or redistributed taxes. Have I phrased that correctly? Perhaps I should be saying that the nouveau riche of today could not have made it in an earlier era. Or could they?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, first they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think they're hemmed in by redistributive taxes and so forth?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no. Quite -- I don't agree with that at all. Taxes were much lower, undoubtedly, in the 1890s than they were today, by a wide margin.
MR. KUDLOW: But we didn't --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Although -- although --
MR. KUDLOW: We didn't have an income tax.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, exactly. I mean, but overall taxes, and you had customs taxes, import taxes on all your --
MR. KUDLOW: Well, yes, but very small.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the tax rate today for the people who earn, you know, $300,000 and up is only about 27 percent, on the average. This is not exactly a prohibitive tax rate, so it is very easy to make it. But the other thing is that that nature of the products that these companies make have a global reach and therefore the value of the intellectual capital or the conceptual ideas that they bring to it --
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's hard to argue that -- it's hard to argue --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I want to get this straight now. Were the ground rules so stern in the earlier era --
MR. KUDLOW: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that the robber barons could not make it, or do we have sterner rules today?
MR. KUDLOW: No, actually, the rules today are relatively sterner, but the situations are relatively similar in this sense: During the post-Civil War period in the United States, we had a very open free-market economy. It was very close to laissez-faire. As we discussed, there were no income tax rates at that point. We had some tariff rates, but they were relatively minor. The states -- the states were in charge of finance, not the federal government.
And what strikes me as similar today is, in the '80s and '90s we rolled back a lot of the penalties for wealth creation, as I said. We reduced high marginal tax rates, we got rid of high inflation, we got rid of high interest rates, and we also lowered a lot of regulations. What stymied the robber barons and their heirs is that the U.S. government, in the 20th century, became increasingly hostile to new businesses and to wealth creation and applied tax and inventory to trade.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Look, it's hard to argue that the government is constraining the accumulation of wealth when, as Dinesh has just explained, we have produced a society which is an explosion of wealth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let me break in here. I want --
MS. CLIFT: First of all, being a millionaire isn't what it used to be. There are 6 million of them today.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Well, let me point out that this has spread to the political class as well. For example, our United States Congress. If you look at the screen, you will see the congressional fat cats as: John Kerry of Massachusetts, $620 million; Corzine, $400 million; Houghton, 350 (million); Kohl, 300 (million); Jay Rockefeller, 200 (million); Feinstein, 50 (million); Fitzgerald, 40 (million); Lautenberg, 40 (million); Hayes, 35 (million); Bennett, 30 (million); Kennedy, 30 (million); Sisisky, 30 (million); Edwards, 25 (million). There are approximately 100 millionaires in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives; that's out of 535, so it's pushing 20 percent.
In addition to that, in order to get into the top 50, you have to have $3 million, and that's to earn a spot in the top 50 mark. Do you have comments on this?
MR. D'SOUZA: I think there's good news and bad news. The good news is that these guys, since they're using their own money, are not beholden to other people to pay them, in effect, for political favors. So in that sense, they are somewhat more independent. But I think the bad news is that in a democratic society, we want money to buy a lot of things. It buys you a beautiful house, it might buy you a beautiful wife, but it should not buy you political power. In that sense, I think there's something slightly anti-democratic in having a plutocratic class, in a sense, dominate or have a disproportionate influence in the Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it is true to say that when you have a -- when you have high wealth, that does insulate you against corruption, does it not?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It does to a degree. But the fact is, campaigns are so expensive that even the people of high wealth have to raise a lot of money, with a rare exception or two. And I think that still creates the problem of the excessive amount of wealth that influences the political process.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Given the ranks of the millionaires and centi-millionaires in Congress, is an overhaul of the death tax -- more properly termed the estate tax -- now more or less likely?
MR. KUDLOW: I think it's more likely. I'm not sure that's just because these guys are millionaires, John. I think it's because non-millionaires who are in business and own assets, who wish to become millionaires, are putting a lot of upward pressure on the U.S. Congress to abolish what is a silly and counterproductive and anti-wealth tax.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: There will be estate tax relief for the people who really need it, which is some small farmers. But there aren't enough of those fat cats in Congress to overrule common sense. And eradicating the death tax would benefit the top 1 percent, people who already are too wealthy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, that a consensus of the American people, well over 66 percent, now favor a lifting of the estate tax completely.
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's because they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Those are the common sense people you're describing.
MS. CLIFT: No! That's because they think it affects them, and it doesn't. They will not get a penny out of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what you think. They are all potential millionaires.
MR. KUDLOW: Look, a rising tide lifts all boats, and you do not want to stop that tide from rising.
MR. D'SOUZA: That's not it. When we think of Michael Dell and --
MS. CLIFT: There's more yachts in this case! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you think of Michael Dell, what?
MR. D'SOUZA: When we think of these billionaires, we have to remember the tens of millions of people who have benefited, who have computers on their desks. These people got rich by creating value and satisfying the needs of consumers. They've paid taxes on that money; why should they pay twice?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I doubt if it's going to have much of an impact on estate tax. I think now the Congress is so split, I don't think any major tax legislation is going to get through.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Estate tax will get through, but it will not be abolished; it will be reformed and it will focus on small business, farms.
When we come back: Are we living today in inspired times or times motivated by base material urges?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: What about wannabes?
PATRICK BUCHANAN (Former presidential candidate): (From videotape.) And that the jobs of American workers, economic security of American families, and the economic independence of the American nation comes ahead of the stock options of the Fortune 500.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Remember the middle class squeeze? In the 1992 political campaign, politicians campaigned on promises to relieve middle class Americans from a dual burden -- the burden of heavy taxes on the one hand, and the high cost of raising families on the other.
If you haven't heard about the middle class squeeze, maybe these statistics will explain why no one seems to be worrying about the middle class.
Since 1993, barely a seven-year period, general consumption in America has grown by almost one-third. Consumer spending gets the credit for keeping the economic boom booming. Two hundred million Americans ring the cash registers each month. What form of spending is increasing fastest? Get this -- yacht sales, up 143 percent; luxury cars, up 74 percent; pearls, up 73 percent; gourmet chocolates, up 51 percent; travel adventures, up 46 percent since '93. The middle class squeeze is out; conspicuous consumption is in, from gas-guzzling SUVs to exotic adventure travel. The average American today may not be a billionaire or a millionaire, but he or she is living high off the hog and loving it.
Question: Is the obsession with money and with spending causing the middle class to live beyond its means? I ask you, Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, you know, there's an old cliche that it's better to be nouveau riche than never to have been riche at all. People actually like being wealthy, and one of the reasons why they like an increased income, an increased wealth, is to be able to buy a lot of material goods. It's been a part of America's life for the last century, and I don't think it's going to change.
I don't think they're necessarily living beyond their means. Their incomes are larger, their incomes are more stable, and their home values are up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, today there's an unprecedented volume of debt in the middle class. You know that.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes --
MR. KUDLOW: Yes, but --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- but that doesn't look at it -- there's also an unprecedented value -- amount of income in the middle class. They can afford to -- (off mike) --
MR. KUDLOW: Not only income; I mean, Mort is absolutely right --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and wealth.
MR. KUDLOW: -- but the wealth creation phenomenon --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Installment loans, home equity loans -- they're in abundance.
MR. KUDLOW: John, John, John, before you go down this pessimistic road, let me try to pull you back. In the last 20 years, the U.S. has created -- get this -- an increase of 33 trillion in household wealth -- 33 trillion. That is more or less five times the entire gross domestic product of Europe. So --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I'm impressed. But that's all possible --
MR. KUDLOW: People are borrowing against asset values that have been rising through their homes, their businesses, and their stock holdings.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's all postulated on a growing economy, as it has been for 18 years, and on zero -- practically zero unemployment.
MR. KUDLOW: Right.
MS. CLIFT: Right --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well --
MR. KUDLOW: And what policymakers have to do is make sure that they nourish, nurture, and incentivize that economy, so progress continues.
MS. CLIFT: There's a lot of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that we're heading -- we're in a downturn now, perhaps, and we could be heading towards a recession.
MR. KUDLOW: Well, it's time to lower taxes and regulations to keep the wealth going.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, when that happens, there's going to be a sudden burst of cold water on a lot of these indebted families. Is that not true?
MS. CLIFT: Well, a lot of people --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't --
MS. CLIFT: A lot of people are --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: A lot of people are terrifically overextended, and that's why you do have more of a looking towards government, with help with education, with help with health care. Even George W. Bush is advocating more money for these kinds of social programs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Does the average American's fascination with wealth and love of spending help explain why Al Gore's politics of class warfare did not play well in the recent presidential election? Yes or no.
MR. KUDLOW: The answer is absolutely yes.
And I just want to add that more Americans these days are going to church and spiritual groups as well, in the midst of this plenty.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's an interesting point.
MS. CLIFT: A race as close as this presidential race doesn't mean that his pitch backfired. But people at lower incomes have essentially dropped out of the voting class, and the voting electorate is more affluent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She stated that very well. Did Al Gore's pitch -- class warfare -- is there any class envy today left for Gore to have awakened?
MR. D'SOUZA: The great irony is reverse class envy, in this sense: Al Gore's appeal did not just play to plumbers and bus drivers; it played to doctors and tech people and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it worked?
MR. D'SOUZA: The iron law of politics that as people become wealthy, they vote Republican, was somewhat reversed in this election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the impact of the class warfare argument?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Big business --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- big oil, big pharmaceutical companies --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it had some -- in political terms, some pluses and minuses. They were going to -- they were appealing to different constituencies, and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But which outweighed which?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think the pluses for his constituency outweighed the minuses, and that's one of the reasons why I think he did better.
MR. KUDLOW: He --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the billionaire on my right is wrong. (Soft laughter.) The minuses outweighed the pluses.
Issue three: It's hip to be square.
(Music: Huey Lewis's "Hip to Be Square.")
A new zeitgeist is sweeping the country, and it's the antithesis of baby-boomer flower power. The '60s and the '70s spawned a radical counterculture. That counterculture scoffed at material success and the long ladder climb of corporate careerism. It was the Age of Aquarius, communes, dropping out, lapel buttons that read, "Reality is a crutch."
The '80s weren't any better for materialists. It was the Me Decade, the Greed Decade, with self-centered yuppies, junk bond financiers, and corporate merger and acquisition specialists without conscience. They were all condemned in scathing terms.
Well, that was the old economy, in the old millennium. This is the new economy in the new millennium, and we are having a love affair with money, especially the Generation X-ers, once decried as "slackers," who make up Fortune magazine's list of "40 under 40." The dot-com generation is quite possibly America's most highly motivated capitalist cadre ever. Instead of dropping out, they've plugged into the new wired world and its entrepreneurial potential.
There are so many nouveau riche entrepreneurs that Fortune magazine, a chronicler of America's capitalist aristocracy, publishes yearly its list of the richest 40 people in America under the age of 40, called "40 under 40." This year the average net worth of the 40 came in as -- get this -- $2.3 billion. Never before in the history of human events has so much wealth been concentrated among so few so young.
Question: What accounts for this colossal shift in the spirit of the times? And by that, I mean that wealth, which used to be regarded with suspicion or even condemnation -- "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven" -- that kind of condemnation -- by the way, that has to be further described in the light of what was really meant -- (soft laughter) -- but that type of condemnation, the negative condemnation, today has been replaced by "Wealth is hip. Wealth is cool." How do you explain that?
MR. D'SOUZA: I think part of the reason is that the new guys are creating technology and it's obvious that it's benefitting people in a tangible way.
But I think that while capitalism has won the economic debate, it hasn't quite won the moral debate. And both from the left and on the right, there is a lot of criticism of this new wealth. From the left it's in the name of inequality. From the right it's in the name of morality. And we're going to see a new pressure from both sides on the so-called techno-affluent to make this wealth serve a larger purpose.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is philanthropy -- the immense philanthropy of people like Gates and the founder of the Internet, or part of AOL -- isn't that taking the edge off any moral condemnation that's alive and well and flourishing?
MR. ZUKERMAN: Yeah, well I think the enormous economic achievements of this country over the last half-dozen to ten years, which is associated with this kind of intellectual capital and creation of wealth, has taken the edge off. And I think as these people move into a later stage in their life, a lot of them will be much more active in philanthropy. So I don't think there's going to be the kind of moral condemnation of this group -- quite the opposite. They have become the heroes of our culture.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So wealth is hip and wealth is cool. Do you agree with that? Quickly, one word.
MR. KUDLOW: Well, I think that -- yes, but there's a libertarian independence streak. These people are not "corpocrats," the new wave. They are owner-operators and investors. The investor class -- a hundred million people in the market is such a huge part of this.
MS. CLIFT: There's resentment, there's resentment. Everybody is enjoying the Internet crowd taking a fall. And they're buying up all the best property in San Francisco and in downtown in the Village in New York, and there is resentment that they're turning all the best parts of our cities into their personal paradises.
MR. KUDLOW: But, Eleanor, I don't see that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions: How long will the "wealth is good zeitgeist" last? I ask you.
MR. KUDLOW: With limited government, John, the American model goes another century.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Century?
MR. KUDLOW: Or longer.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's going to endure in terms of creating wealth, but reality has set in; the bloom has faded.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say -- in decades, how many, one, two?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, it's already started to fade. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think.
MR. D'SOUZA: We have seen a massive shift from the 20th Century notion that the bureaucrat of the intellectual is the cultural icon, to the entrepreneur and the scientist. So I think the 21st Century belongs to the techno-entrepreneur.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The whole century?
MR. D'SOUZA: Much of it. I think the wealth that we're going to see and wealth creation based on science and technology is going to swap everything we've ever thought. And we are heading into the most extraordinary period of prosperity, by far, that is going to exceed everybody's imagination.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The new economy today is thought of not as the exploitation of the masses, but as a democratization of wealth. That fuel will last for 20 years. And at the end of those 20 years, a new cycle will set in and people will begin to search for meaning. Bye Bye.
®FC¯END OF REGULAR SEGMENT®FL¯
®FC¯PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Alms for the poor.
They've got it and they're giving it away. AOL co-founder Steve Case has already given some $200 million to charity and vows to spend most of the next decade on his charitable crusades.
Bill Gates Foundation is America's wealthiest charity.
The social activism of the new economy elite is not confined, moreover, to alms giving. Bill Gates, for example, has taken sides on a controversial lawsuit between the Center for Individual Rights and the University of Michigan. At issue is the use of race by the university in making admissions decisions. Bill Gates filed a legal brief backing the university, arguing that the university can deny admissions to otherwise qualified white students because race-based admissions are necessary if America is to compete in a multicultural, global Internet economy.
Not all Internet entrepreneurs are world class philanthropists, of course, but generally speaking, the Internet nouveau riche are ready to rival the famed philanthropists of the "smokestack economy" -- the Carnegies, the Mellons, the DuPonts and the Rockefellers -- titans of the Industrial Revolution who lavished their wealth on universities, museums, hospitals, operas, anything that stood still long enough to attach a name plaque to.
The new entrepreneurial class, as distinct from the old school philanthropists, favor putting their charity behind environmental causes, education, illiteracy, anti-poverty programs.
Question: Can the high-tech moguls transfer success in their industry into success in fighting deep-seated social ills?
MR. KUDLOW: Well, yes, I think they can. And I think charitable giving is exploding. That's part of this massive outpouring of wealth creation in the past two decades.
But I will -- I want to add a point here; that the millionaire next door, which is a much different breed than the high-tech billionaire you're describing, the millionaire next door is giving a lot of money into local charities, local churches, local religious organizations. That's what the data show. And amidst this explosion of wealth and material bounty, which I completely support, amidst all that, John, is a religious and spiritual revival that is an important aspect of America's culture in this great period.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: High-tech philanthropists are focused on social causes primarily because they distrust government. True or false?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, I don't think that's necessarily true. They want to put their own imprint on solving society's problems. I don't think it's in a religious nature, frankly. I think --
MR. KUDLOW: Yes, it is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They realize that --
MS. CLIFT: I think it's just more dedicated towards society's ills.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They realize that bureaucratic anti-poverty programs have largely failed and, therefore, they want to do it their way -- get rid of the government.
MR. D'SOUZA: They -- they do realize that, but --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I think I -- yes --
MR. D'SOUZA: -- they do realize that, but what they lack is the kind of mission that has driven philanthropy in the past. I think of the Victorians who wanted to teach people piety and cure poverty, or the New England philanthropists who built schools for blacks in the South in the early part of the century.
I think what they're looking for is the kind of thing where, in a sense, you could say to American parents, "If you can get your kids into a good school or a good college, we'll give you the means to go."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, don't you think there is mileage that can be gotten philanthropically out of a secular idealism? Must you go to a religious-based idealism?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, absolutely.
MR. D'SOUZA: No, I agree. In fact, I think that the old motives, which were religious obligation and noblesse oblige, the sense of social duty --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That supports philanthropy.
MR. D'SOUZA: Yeah, but they are less strong than they were before. The new --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that absolutely needed, though, in all instances?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. D'SOUZA: I don't think it is. I think there is a lot of idealism on the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There are different missions -- different missions -- different missions. I mean --
MR. D'SOUZA: Different mission today.
MS. CLIFT: Sure.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I mean, it may have a different motivation. It doesn't have to be religious.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what motivation do you have, coming where you come from, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I -- listen, this country has been wonderful to me. Why shouldn't I give something back? I think a lot of these people feel exactly that, that they want to find some way in which they can return something to this country or to the community which has been so bountiful to them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, does your religion bolster this philanthropic thrust?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.