THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: CHRIS STIREWALT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JULY 10-11, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Tough Love.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) There are times where I've got some differences with the unions on some issues, but those are arguments among friends. I love teachers' unions. I've been supportive of them ever since I got into politics.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, love or not, Mr. Obama now critiques the unions. The president is quitting the long-standing Democratic tradition of close relations with teachers and their unions. That bucking was abundantly reinforced four months ago when the president congratulated a Rhode Island local parental school board for having fired all the school teachers from one school -- all 93 school teachers terminated, and all unionized. PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) If a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show any sign of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability. And that's what happened in Rhode Island.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president also supports pegging teacher salaries and teachers' jobs to how students perform on standardized tests. Teachers' unions say that such standardized tests are blatantly anti-teacher.
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL (President, National Education Association): (From videotape.) How do you look in the face of a PE teacher, a history teacher or a cafeteria worker and say, "The reason you don't have a job is because our fourth graders, compared to last year's fourth graders, didn't do well on a math and reading test"?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Besides the NEA president, there's the veteran and noted education policy scholar Diane Ravitch. She says, quote, "The Obama team has decided to use the teachers' unions as a foil. They're not only willing to take on teachers' unions but to hold teachers uniquely responsible for low test scores."
Over the past several years, American students have lagged behind their international counterparts in math, in science and in reading. Get this: Among the top 30 most industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks 15th in reading, 21st in science and 25th in math.
Question: America spends $543 billion annually on public schools. Given that level of expenditure, why don't we get better results? Chris Stirewalt. Welcome, Chris.
MR. STIREWALT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks for filling in for the vacationing Pat.
MR. STIREWALT: Absolutely. Absolutely.
The teachers are stuck. You have, on the one hand, labor unions that make their jobs about job security and not about performance. It keeps them from being professionals. And then, on the other hand, you have parents who demand that their children be treated like princes and princesses. You have a litigious environment where teachers aren't able to function. And right now the profession of teaching is really in a crack and they can't get out. So I think that's why it's not better.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I want to point out that, first of all, we are almost alone in the world where we attempt to educate all children. And our public schools have now more first-generation kids, more poor kids, more minority kids, and they historically don't do as well. We've typically blamed the kids that they came out of a poor environment; their parents didn't do well with them. But we're now learning that really effective teachers can make a difference. And there's a charter-school movement that is blooming in this country, and you have the KIPP schools. You have citizen schools, which brings in volunteers who work with kids in the afternoons. In China and India -- and they're the countries that are outscoring us in math and science -- their kids spend a lot longer time in school than our kids.
So we've got to modernize and get in the 21st century. And I think teachers are getting the brunt here. But the days when your workday ends at 3:00 and you have summers off, you know, those are coming to an end.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The $787 billion stimulus, a lot of that money goes to the teachers. Do you think Obama has bought up the teacher vote? No matter what he says by way of criticism, they're going to stay with him?
MS. CROWLEY: I will tell you something. I think that the Obama administration deserves a lot of credit for the educational reforms that they've put in place; namely, this Race to the Top initiative. What they did was introduce free-market principles into education. All the states could compete for over $3 billion that they set out there. They would have to compete in terms of showing student outcomes, better student outcomes.
And all of these states -- we've got over three dozen states that are challenging each other, challenging the students, challenging the teachers to increase student productivity and student outcomes. And what's amazing about this is that it's actually working.
In the state of New York, there were some Democrats aligned with the teachers' unions who wanted to block upping the number of charter schools, which have shown incredible progress. In fact, two weeks ago the Harlem Village Academy's charter schools in Harlem, New York had 100 percent of these minority kids passing math, science, social studies. And in the state of New York, the teachers' unions and some Democrats who were defending the unions actually backed down and allowed the state to up the number of charter schools from 200 to 460 to benefit mostly inner-city students that Eleanor was pointing, minority students.
Minority parents want their kids to have the best education possible. When you have the growth of charter schools like this, they have a real opportunity. And I want to give the Obama team a lot of credit for this, because I think they are doing the right thing by introducing these kinds of market principles into education.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know when Obama mentioned charter schools in his speech, he was booed by the NEA? MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. And I think he has shown some great political courage in standing up to the NEA, the National Education Association, and the AFT, the American Federation of Teachers, the two big teachers' unions. He has stood up to them. He's made some concessions.
But by and large, if he can hold the line, education, I think, will be one of his great legacies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- do you think the unions' biggest concern is the diversion of dollars to teachers' schools that are not going to them?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, one of the reasons why charter schools have been so productive in getting these great student outcomes is because they're not tied down by union rules or bureaucratic mandates.
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's not entirely true.
MS. CROWLEY: And the teachers' unions don't want to --
MS. CLIFT: That's not entirely true. (Inaudible) -- of the charter schools are under the public schools and they are unionized.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, can you speak to this and also --
MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)
MR. PAGE: John, I can not only speak to this, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talk about --
MR. PAGE: I hate to interrupt Monica with all the good feelings --
MS. CLIFT: Right. Exactly.
MR. PAGE: -- she's pouring forth toward the Obama administration -- (laughter) -- and their reforms here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: And I also agree with her about charter schools. They show tremendous promise. Indeed, there is a diversity of charter schools, a diversity of cities and circumstances, et cetera. I just had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Gates this week. There was a charter-school convention in Chicago. He's given millions. I'll tell you, you know what the problem with charter schools is? It's easier to open a new one than to close a bad one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where --
MR. PAGE: You know, in order to have real competition and market and all, you know, a school is a school. People hate to see their school close even if it's a bad school.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where did Gates go to school?
MR. PAGE: He went to school in Seattle. It's where he grew up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Public schools?
MR. PAGE: And he dropped out of Harvard because Harvard was too slow for him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he go to public school? Public school?
MR. PAGE: I'm not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whatever works. Whatever schools works, right?
MR. PAGE: I think he -- well, this is the point, though, John. You know, when you make broad statements about schools, remember, we've got a double-tiered school system in this country. Some schools are in good neighborhoods. When you buy your house, you buy your school. As far as I know, the Gateses had good schools in their neighborhood. But what we're really talking about are the failing schools, and those are in the low-income areas, where kids need it the most.
MS. CLIFT: And we should mention Arne Duncan, who's the secretary of Education.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is he from?
MS. CLIFT: He's from Chicago.
MR. PAGE: Hyde Park, Chicago.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he do there? What did he do there?
MS. CLIFT: He was the education superintendent there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Is he feeding these ideas to Obama?
MS. CLIFT: These are his ideas, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Namely, that teachers are deficient.
MS. CLIFT: No, he is pushing against the teachers -- MR. PAGE: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- but he's also championing the teachers. He's not blaming all the teachers.
MR. STIREWALT: These are not --
MS. CLIFT: He's trying to put in systems where you can weed out teachers who are not effective.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama leveled a big knock at teachers and he said --
MR. PAGE: John -- John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if the students are not doing well, it's the teachers' fault.
MR. PAGE: John, I know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it the teachers' fault?
MR. PAGE: I know --
MS. CLIFT: It's more complicated than that, John.
MR. PAGE: I know, as a former teacher, where your sympathies are, and I understand that. I've got a lot of teachers in my family. But, you know, Obama's not out knocking teachers. Obama's standing up for parents, standing up for communities. The teachers' union, their job is to stand up for teachers, and they do that job very well. But --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stirewalt, I want to ask you a question.
MR. PAGE: -- we've got to have kids who come to school ready to learn as well.
MR. STIREWALT: Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The per-pupil average for public elementary and secondary education is $10,844 per pupil.
MR. STIREWALT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that?
MR. STIREWALT: Well, it gets higher. The worse your school district is, the more expensive it is. You will see in places like the District of Columbia that the numbers get up to $16,000 and $17,000. The places with the worst, most failing schools are the most expensive. Now, I'm not saying that there is a causal relationship between spending money and having kids do poorly in school, but what I will say is that things like the $23 billion -- 23 billion American dollars -- that President Obama is demanding be put into --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about --
MR. STIREWALT: -- paying for school salaries isn't going to make education any better.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Since you're so smart, can you speak about the fact -- (laughter) -- that American students score so poorly in relation to international students?
MR. STIREWALT: Well, I think Eleanor had it right on the money. They prioritize and do different things. Two generations ago in the United States, JFK said we have to do things differently because we're going to go to the moon, and then we did all the math and science and we took this quantum leap forward where we were going to beat the Soviets and do all of this stuff.
But we don't have a mandate for kids now. What we do have are incremental mandates that every six months parents say, "Teach character" or "Teach how to balance a checkbook" or "Teach how to do something else." And guess what happens. The decent liberal-arts education has gone kaput.
MS. CLIFT: They don't have -- they have homogeneous populations in many of these countries. And as I said, they don't attempt to educate everybody. We're taping --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also --
MS. CLIFT: We're taping this show in the District of Columbia --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ones that are tested are all college-bound, whereas our students are not all college-bound, and there's a terrific dropout rate with Latinos and blacks.
MS. CLIFT: But the District of Columbia, which has had bad schools for quite a long time, has an activist mayor and an activist school superintendent in Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee. And I think eventually that our system is going to be one of the best in the nation.
MS. CROWLEY: In New York City --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When, in our lifetime? (Laughter.) MS. CLIFT: Well, maybe not your lifetime. (Laughter.)
MS. CROWLEY: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't underestimate me.
MR. PAGE: It's getting better already, but it doesn't happen overnight.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: Hope springs eternal. You mentioned Washington, D.C. When Michael Bloomberg became mayor eight years ago in New York City, he got mayoral control over the schools. He's exerted enormous influence with Joel Klein, the schools chancellor. They've done great things like Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?
MS. CROWLEY: Last week a court stepped in. The mayor wanted to close 19 failing schools in New York City. A court stepped in, backed by the unions, and said, "No, you cannot do that." So I think what Obama's looking for and what Bloomberg and some of the mayors are looking for is a greater, freer hand in stopping --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MS. CLIFT: You can work it out --
MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- close failing schools.
MS. CLIFT: -- (inaudible) -- the Rhode Island school district. All those teachers were rehired with new contracts where they have to work longer hours. So, you know, schools can be made better, short of shutting them down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they're now -- the teachers are now in remedial education.
Question: Assign a letter grade, A to F, to America's public- school system. Chris.
MR. STIREWALT: C.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: C?
MR. STIREWALT: C.
MS. CLIFT: They're A+, excellent, in suburban wealthy districts, and they're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, just give me an overall grade. MS. CLIFT: -- and they're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the overall grade?
MS. CLIFT: -- and they're C in many urban districts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that to be averaged out?
MS. CLIFT: You do the math. (Laughter.) I went to public schools. I can't do the math. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A C and a what, a B+?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I would give it about a C+, because there are some extraordinary public schools out there, great public -- I'm a product of a public education. I received a great public education.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where'd you go to school?
MS. CROWLEY: In New Jersey. So there are some extraordinary teachers out there as well. It's just about local control and being able to root out failing teachers so that the kids can thrive.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the broad consideration here is not a bum rap, is it, against teachers? This is a fair rap.
MS. CROWLEY: No, it's a -- no, it's a fair rap.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is it a fair rap?
MS. CROWLEY: It's a fair rap against teachers' unions that are stopping some real progress here.
MR. PAGE: It's not fair to overgeneralize. This is the problem, because we have a very diverse country and diverse schools. But as long as we -- you know, as long as we've got a system where you buy your house when you buy your school, and vice versa, it's going to flunk, as far as I'm personally concerned.
MS. CLIFT: Well, teachers have historically been --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This sounds like a big whitewash.
MS. CLIFT: Teachers have historically been paid low.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I will give them a B+.
Issue Two: BP Onflowing.
THAD ALLEN (national incident commander): (From videotape.) There are two relief wells in progress right now. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two relief wells. They may be the last, best hope of stopping the BP oil gusher that has pumped into the Gulf of Mexico well over 130 million gallons of oil. Meanwhile, BP is paying out claims to Gulf residents who have lost wages and property.
DARRYL WILLIS (BP claims manager): (From videotape.) They're fishermen. They're shrimpers. They're laborers. They're deck hands.
They're people who work in restaurants. These are the people of the Gulf Coast who need our help. BP has got to make things right. And that's why we're here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: About $150 million have been paid out by BP for damages and lost wages. These wage payments, by the way, are subject to standard income tax, just as though they were standard wages. The IRS so announced last month. Analysts say that the federal government has no right to tax these income payments because the U.S. government's Minerals Management Service, MMS, authorized the construction of the pipeline to a record-breaking one mile below sea level.
Question: Can you make the case that the MMS approval of the BP well moves responsibility for the spill in part to the federal government, and therefore the BP adjustment payouts to affected parties should not be taxed? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: No, John, because even if you follow your line of thinking, the plans that BP presented to MMS, which showed how they could protect walruses in the Gulf, did not have a credible plan for cleanup. So they got the contract under false assurances. And when fraud is committed, a contract is invalid. So if you want to take your line of thinking, you can also invalidate it that way. And there's no way that BP is going to be absolved of responsibility because the government okayed the drilling.
MS. CROWLEY: Nobody is making that argument. The argument is and the investigation is ongoing. But the MMS, which now has been renamed something else, some garbled --
MR. STIREWALT: Ocean Energy. Bureau of Ocean Energy.
MS. CROWLEY: -- garbled thing -- we do know that a couple of months before the oil well blew up, the MMS had given BP waivers --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CROWLEY: -- environmental and safety waivers on that particular well. So we'll see what the investigation holds. But, look, we've got a government in Washington -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what's the answer to the question? What's your view?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, we've got a government in Washington that taxes everything that moves, so that people should not be shocked that the IRS wants their money for lost wages.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there --
MS. CROWLEY: That's what we're talking about, because they would have been earning this income in any event.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, is there abundant policy precedent for not taxing the BP payout to the ones who are receiving it?
MS. CROWLEY: No, because it's not a settlement.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If there is a trade policy, and there is, and there is precedent for this, a trade policy that affects individuals through their corporations or howsoever, the Internal Revenue Service does not tax that individual --
MR. STIREWALT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because there is the component of it being federal policy. Now, clearly the federal policy of MMS provides that kind of cover.
MR. STIREWALT: We're so far through the looking glass on this, there is no precedent, because you have people who have been put out of work by a drilling moratorium that was entered by the Obama administration as a response to something that British Petroleum did in the Gulf of Mexico with the say-so of MMS. But you can't -- I mean, that's not a liability question. The question, though, is these people are getting money that would have been a wage. These people are getting replacement wages --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. STIREWALT: -- that must be taxed.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, they're entitled to --
MR. STIREWALT: But we're making up the rules, so it doesn't matter.
MS. CLIFT: -- have their lost wages reimbursed, but they're not entitled to a tax-free windfall. So, I mean, if we're going to talk about not taxing people, I would look at the people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They pay taxes on their military wages.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This show -- MR. PAGE: Congress wrote the laws --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The show has taken a cruel turn. I expect you to redeem it.
MR. PAGE: Well, no, the fact is these are democratically decided. You know, Congress has written a law. They can change the law if they want to. But I don't think they want to go down that road, because you're right. I mean, there are so many ancillary victims in this circumstance. How about the local burger franchise whose business went down as a result of this whole disaster? Should they be tax-exempt too? I mean, it just goes on and on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are the losses incurred during a hurricane compensated for by non-taxation of costs involved in repairing and rehabilitating the domicile?
MS. CLIFT: If you have insurance. That's what insurance is for, I think. (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: Thank you for grabbing that, Eleanor. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Sarah's Grizzlies.
SARAH PALIN (former Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential candidate): (From videotape.) It doesn't matter how is right. It matters what is right. And what is right is these mama grizzlies' message.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mama grizzlies, says Sarah. Mama grizzlies. That's Palinspeak for what she sees as a new breed of female politician -- very conservative and also pro-life. Governor Palin sees the mama grizzlies as a trend in American politics this election season.
Two mama grizzlies won their governorship primaries and two mama grizzlies won their Senate primaries -- four grizzlies. They are gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley of South Carolina and gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez of New Mexico plus Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina of California. These four women will officially stand for the Republican Party in the U.S. midterm elections, November 3rd, Tuesday. All four women are ardently conservative, ardently pro-lifers, and they are all ardent feminists.
This phenomenon demonstrates the fundamental shift in American feminism; namely, women can be feminist and be either pro-choice or pro-life. Quote: "Early feminists were almost universally pro-choice and have dominated political debate until now. Access to abortion was viewed as the only way women could have full equality with men. We now see women who have managed to gain equality with men while raising children." So says syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker. Is it feminism to be able to decouple reproductive rights from economic rights?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think times have changed. And I'm pleased that pro-life conservatives are adopting the term feminism.
They used to demonize it. And today there are so many ways to avoid pregnancy, and abortion is safe, legal and rare, which is what it should be. I wonder if these women are going to stop short of wanting to criminalize the procedure, wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade. I think that is going to be the dividing line.
But I must say, these mama grizzlies are a lot of fun. Sharron Angle says that she doesn't believe that the Constitution says church and state should be separated. She says Thomas Jefferson was misquoted, just like --
MS. CROWLEY: The ostensible objective of first-wave feminism was to liberate women so that they could choose which path they wanted to take in life --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CROWLEY: -- whether they wanted a professional career, whether they wanted to stay home and raise a family, and that they wanted American society to be non-judgmental about those choices. And I think those four women you put up there, from Sarah Palin to Nikki Haley, they epitomize feminism's achievement, because these women have taken, in fact, all paths and made a huge success out of all of them.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the choice is really not profession or stay at home.
MS. CROWLEY: It can be both.
MS. CLIFT: There are lots of variations --
MS. CROWLEY: And that is my point.
MS. CLIFT: -- variations within that.
MS. CROWLEY: That was my point about Sarah Palin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll leave this up to the future.
Issue Four: Summertime Blues.
TEENAGE GIRL: (From videotape.) I'm hoping and I'm praying. I really need a job this summer. TEENAGE BOY: (From videotape.) They say, "I'll contact you later if I need you," and I just never got a call.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Summertime blues. That's what a lot of teens are feeling, the blues; no work. Teenagers are experiencing one of the worst summer employment situations in 80 years, since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate for teens this summer is 27 percent. That's about three times worse than the overall U.S. unemployment rate. One-point-six million teens this summer are looking for work and can't find it.
Factors behind the high teen unemployment include, one, state and local budget cuts. Forty-six states face budget deficits totaling $112 billion, and new jobs for teens are the first to go.
Two, stimulus funding gone. The $787 billion stimulus package will soon be exhausted, meaning employers have no economic cushion to pay for summer hires.
Three, competition. A recession-plagued economy with few jobs forces new college grads to grab what's there. That shuts out teens.
Four, minimum wage increased from $5.15 an hour in '07 to $7.25 in '09. This increased burden on employers squeezes their ability to hire, so teens are pushed to the back of the line.
Five, immigrants. In the 10 occupations employing the most U.S. teens, about one in five workers is an immigrant.
Question: Are teenagers bearing the brunt of this recession? I ask you, Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, there are a number of groups that are disproportionately bearing the brunt of the unemployment crisis in this country -- African-Americans, men, and also teenagers. And teenagers are really at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to jobs because we have this 10 percent formal unemployment rate, 20 percent total unemployment when you factor in everybody who's stopped looking for a job or people who are only working part-time who want full-time work.
So teenagers are the last layer that people would go to to actually hire somebody and put them in a job. And teenagers are really suffering. They need money for school. They need money for bare necessities. And they are not being hired.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should Congress roll back the minimum wage? Clarence.
MR. PAGE: I don't think that'll do it alone, John, because the real minimum wage in recent years has often been higher than the legal minimum wage. The thing is, though, it is true that there's been a kind of reverse trickle-down effect, if you will. The other day I pulled into a drive-in sandwich shop whose initials are McDonalds' -- (laughter) -- and the guy recognized me from television because he's a Capitol Hill aide working part-time at McDonald's. This is what you're seeing. So that pushes teenagers farther out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He didn't confuse McDonald's with McLaughlin, did he?
MR. PAGE: No, not at all. Not at all, John. And he respects you greatly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was this where the president had a hamburger or whatever --
MR. PAGE: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- with Medvedev?
MR. PAGE: This was a cheaper hamburger place than that.
MR. STIREWALT: The people's hamburger.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The people's hamburger. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, work is undergoing a transformation, and a lot of the jobs that used to exist for adults and for young people are not there anymore.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So not to worry?
MS. CLIFT: No, I'm not not worrying. I think it's -- but I think the message that young people have to take is that education is really important. If you look at the unemployment figures for people who have a college degree, they're much lower than people with only a high-school degree. So I think the message has got to be to young people that they've got to chart a course that includes education and they've got to get creative about what they do in the summertime.
MR. STIREWALT: If the economy stays like this, though, the problem for these kids isn't just going to be that they can't get a summer job. It's going to be that they're going to lose a decade of their earning potential. We've seen these millennial kids who have come out feeling like they own the world, very entitled during the boom years of the past decade when things were good. They get what they want and they do what they want.
These kids that are going to come out of college -- that are going into college and going to come out of college now, they're going to be way behind.
And the jobs that they're going to have to take are going to be much less than the kids who were being able to click and .com their way into --
MS. CROWLEY: And also --
MR. STIREWALT: Right, turn out and vote.
MS. CROWLEY: And also I think they'll be far less equipped for a sophisticated economy --
MR. STIREWALT: Just so.
MS. CROWLEY: -- that we have here in the United States, because they're going to lose those apprenticeships, you know, the low-paying jobs that you have in high school and in college and you realize how the real world works and what a paycheck is really worth and you see that the government takes half of it. All those are lessons that these kids are losing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you work as a teenager?
MR. PAGE: I certainly did, John, sun-up to sundown, as my millennial child has heard many times. (Laughter.) It's very important that they do that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah.
MS. CLIFT: There are a lot --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, there are consequences of not getting a job.
MS. CLIFT: There are lots of interns in Washington.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's that again?
MS. CLIFT: There are lots of interns in Washington, and they either live on subsistence wages -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: -- or they don't get paid at all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So our consciences can be clear. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: No, I'm just not going to be as gloomy as everybody else on this set. I think young people are going to do fine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Chris.
MR. STIREWALT: Bill Clinton will accidentally say something critical about Barack Obama's economic policies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Evidence of the D.C. school system on the rise: Applications to be teachers in the system have gone up 10-fold, 100 applications a day.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a fact. That's not a prediction.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's good enough -- (laughter) --
MS. CROWLEY: Boo! (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- for getting in what I didn't say earlier.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Depreciation of standards also.
MS. CROWLEY: I know, I know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: President Obama will not close Guantanamo Bay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ever?
MS. CROWLEY: Not in his first term.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. PAGE: We're not going to begin the pullout from Iraq on time either.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Arizona's law on immigration will be mimicked by seven other states before Christmas.
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