Share

The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, February 7, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of February 8-9, 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Federal News Service, LLC, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 990, Washington, DC 20005-3801 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, LLC. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Transcripts Database or any other FNS product, please email info@fednews.com or call 1-202-347-1400.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Philip Seymour Hoffman, RIP.

Hollywood and the world lost a truly talented actor genius this past Sunday -- Philip Seymour Hoffman, age 46. He died of an apparent drug overdose. Police found Mr. Hoffman on the floor of his Greenwich Village apartment in New York City with a needle in his arm. Syringes and various prescription drugs were also found in the home, as well as an estimated 50 glassine bags. Some of those bags have tested positive for heroin.

Hoffman was an admitted drug addict. He told CBS's "60 Minutes" eight years ago that he had been hooked on drugs by the age of 22.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: Anything I could get my hands on. (Laughs.) Yeah, yeah. I liked it all. Yeah.

STEVE KROFT: And why did you decide to stop?

MR. HOFFMAN: You get panicked. You get panicked. It was -- I was 22 and I got panicked for my life.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hoffman did stop for more than two decades, although last year he checked himself into rehab, to no avail, unfortunately. At the time of his death, Hoffman had appeared in more than 50 films, was a four-time Academy Award nominee, and won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of author Truman Capote.

Mr. Hoffman was also nominated for three Tony awards, live theater acting. And on Wednesday night, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor.

Question: Just six years ago, the Australian actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Is this a particular risk of the creative class? Can you speak to that, Pat Buchanan?

PAT BUCHANAN: Well, John, first, Mr. Philip Hoffman -- Philip Seymour Hoffman was a memorable actor. He did a tremendous job in "Capote." But what he did when he took this heroin, and he knew it, is fundamentally he was committing suicide. He was taking an incredible risk with his life, which he knew all about, and yet he went ahead and did it.

But to your point, it is a particular temptation of musicians and creative folks, and drugs have always been, and of folks who have a lot of discretionary capital and also folks who have greater access to drugs. And that's been very true in this community, you know. And I think it's partly due to the fact that even though they've had great success, they obviously have unfulfilled lives, for some reason or other, to pour these drugs into their system and risk their lives for a high.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember Heath Ledger.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, the Joker in "Batman," I believe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Australian actor.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the same way. Listen, I've had friends, one of them in journalism, who died of -- after doing drugs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is it about the creative personality, Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT: I think we hear about these overdoses from people who are famous. But there are countless people every day who are dying from heroin overdoses in this country. And leading up on this issue, just Google heroin epidemic and stories will come up from Duluth, Minnesota, in Warwick, Rhode Island. And certainly the governor of Vermont devoted his whole state of the state address to heroin usage in Vermont. Who would have thought this idyllic state would be succumbing to this? It's these opiate drugs.

And it turns out that the gateway is not marijuana. The gateway is prescription drugs. The growth of prescription drugs, painkillers, Oxycontin, apparently sort of paved the way for the desire to have a greater high. And heroin apparently is quite accessible. In some ways it's more accessible than marijuana. We're on the right path with marijuana, decriminalizing it, making it legal, regulating it. We've got to treat heroin addiction as an illness, a relapsing illness, not a moral failing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here are a couple of notes on it. In the 18th century, Samuel Taylor Coleridge frequently used laudanum, a narcotic derived from opium, and is said to have come up with many lines of poetry in his laudanum-induced state. What do you think of that?

SUSAN FERRECHIO: Drugs aren't new. There was also cocaine in Coca-Cola. And tobacco's a drug, very addictive drug, that people were worried about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about hashish?

MS. FERRECHIO: -- hundreds of years ago. Hashish is --

MR. BUCHANAN: Opium during the Civil War.

MS. FERRECHIO: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's lasted for years and years and years.

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, what Eleanor's saying about the prescription-drug connection is really interesting. There's been a lot of reporting on that. You know, there's so many people who are getting prescription drugs, and people are getting hooked on them, especially the painkillers. And then they're looking for an easier way to continue with the high, especially if they can't continue getting these prescriptions from the doctors.

And then you have heroin as the outlet. And it's available more than it was, you know, 10 years ago. I read one study that said that the usage of heroin has doubled in, you know, something like eight years. That's an incredible number.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Amy Winehouse died in 2011 from alcohol poisoning. They tried to make me go to rehab.

You remember that? I said no, no, no.

MS. FERRECHIO: She was also an IV drug user.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Philip Seymour Hoffman was an alcoholic before he became a drug addict.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: So he clearly had an addictive sensibility -- susceptibility.

MS. FERRECHIO: And he had trouble with prescription drugs as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's talk about this -- the heroin scourge.

Heroin is an illegal and highly addictive opiate that is derived from morphine, a substance derived from certain poppy plants. Heroin is usually sold as a powder that users can snort or convert into an injectable fluid. Often heroin is mixed with other substances, making an already potent drug more potent. Asian countries, particularly Burma and Afghanistan, and Latin American countries, particularly Mexico and Colombia, are major suppliers to the U.S.
Heroin is not as ubiquitous as other drugs, like marijuana, with its millions of users. But heroin use is on the rise. Two years ago, the number of Americans who admitted to using heroin was 669,000, nearly double the admitted users from five years earlier. Deaths from heroin overdose are also up from 1,879 deaths in 2004 to 3,038 deaths in 2010.
Demographically, there is no typical heroin user. The drug kills rich and poor alike, whites and blacks, in the suburbs as well as in the cities. Case in point: The state of Vermont, the Green Mountain state, where officials say there has been a rise in opiate-based drug abuse over the past 14 years, 800 percent.

Vermont's governor, Pete Shumlin, devoted his entire state of the state address to this bane.

VERMONT GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN (D): (From videotape.) It doesn't affect just one class of people. It affects rich and poor. It knows no party lines. It knows no economic lines.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What accounts for the surge in heroin use in the U.S., Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think, as we've mentioned, it's -- the widespread use of prescription drugs kind of introduces people to this high, if you will. And then they want easier access to it. I read through Governor Shumlin's speech. He's asking for more money for treatment centers. There are waiting lists for treatment centers. And then evidently there's something called Narcan, which is available over the counter in the drugstores, but only some states allow it. Walgreens sells it. It counters --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. It counters the addictive urges. And, lastly, in Rhode Island, which is having a huge problem with heroin addiction, there's something called a Good Samaritan law. If you call for help when you or someone else is having a drug problem, they don't prosecute you for a felony. Treating it like an illness is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MR. BUCHANAN: It's more than an illness. Look, there's a social and cultural and moral acceptance to the use of drugs that did not exist when you and I were growing up, when there was enormous recoil to them. Robert Mitchum was caught using marijuana and he was almost driven out of Hollywood. Now it is much more acceptable. More people use it. As you yourself said, this isn't a moral issue at all. But to an awful lot of people, it is. And one of the problems is it has been, quote, demoralized.

MS. FERRECHIO: Especially if we're going to start legalizing marijuana usage in states.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's insanity.

MS. FERRECHIO: And I think that's a good point Pat's making. But if it is an illness, the sad thing is it's pretty much an incurable illness. Once you're addicted, you may find a way to stop using for a while, but you're always considered an addict.

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: With alcohol, you're -- (inaudible) -- your entire life. You have to deal with it. There is a potential to relapse. But to pass judgment on people isn't going to cure the addiction. You have to treat it.

MR. BUCHANAN: He left three little kids. He left three little kids who don't have a father now. And he left his partner's wife just to indulge himself. So there is a moral component here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now that --

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't say just indulged himself. He was struggling with it. And I doubt, if he were here today, he would be patting himself on the back for what he did.

MR. BUCHANAN: What he did was wrong.

MS. CLIFT: What he did was wrong, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The lucrative --

MS. CLIFT: We have to deal with it -- he has to deal with it -- had to deal with it -- (inaudible).

MR. BUCHANAN: He can't deal with it anymore now.

MS. CLIFT: He went for treatment. You know, you can't just --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm not --

MS. CLIFT: -- condemn people --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- and then punish. The punishment doesn't work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You seem to be an authority on this subject, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there anything else you want to tell us here?

MS. CLIFT: It's called -- it's called Googling, John. (Laughs.)

MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible) -- an incentive to not start in the first place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, there is a correlation between the troops coming home from Afghanistan and drug consumption. What is it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, drugs were so readily and widely available in Afghanistan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, they grow them there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Poppy?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Poppy. Every kind of drug was part of that culture for a long time.

MS. FERRECHIO: Particularly in the opium crops.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. And they were, shall we say, importers, exporters, producers; you name it. And when we were there, a lot of people just, in that kind of environment, began to have recourse to it. But I don't think that's the -- I mean, I think what Eleanor is saying is actually right on the mark. Somehow or other, this has become much more widely accepted, much more widely resorted to and used in American popular culture, particularly among high school students. That's where it's really dangerous.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the White House is behind the eight ball on this subject?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't really think --

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, I think there's very little that our --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The heroin scourge.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- our public authorities can do about it.
We've got to find some way to change --

MR. BUCHANAN: America is behind the eight ball, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: America is behind the eight ball.

MS. CLIFT: The war against -- the war against drugs, which depended a lot on morality and will power, has failed. Now we have to approach it from a different direction.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Now we give them all the drugs they want.

MS. FERRECHIO: You've got to stop it at a younger age. And I disagree. I don't think we should drop the war on drugs in terms of trying to discourage young people from --

MR. BUCHANAN: Outlawing heroin will at least save some people from taking heroin. It ain't going to save them all; I agree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you wouldn't --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've probably not noticed, but the U.N. has been sounding the alarm about increased opium production in Afghanistan, but the White House did not connect the dots.

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, forget the U.N., for heaven's sakes. Everybody knows that. Frankly, you know who finished off the drug business in Afghanistan? The Taliban outlawed it and burned up all those fields and everything. Now they're back.

MS. CLIFT: And -- (inaudible) -- the population. Now they embrace the poppy fields.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't forget the McLaughlin Group has its own website, and you can watch this program or earlier programs on the Web at any time, from anywhere in the world, at McLaughlin.com.

Issue Two: Delegitimizing Israel?

Secretary of State John Kerry is concerned that Israel may be boycotted if Israel fails to settle its differences with the Palestinians. Here's what the secretary said in Munich one week ago that has created a firestorm of sorts. Quote: "Everywhere I go in the world, wherever I go, I promise you -- no exaggeration -- the Far East, Africa, Latin America -- one of the first questions out of the mouths of a foreign minister or a prime minister or a president is can't you guys do something to help bring an end to this conflict between Palestinians and Israelis? And you see for Israel there's an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talks of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that going on?" unquote.

Secretary Kerry was clear that any potential boycott of Israel would not be by the U.S. but by other countries worldwide. His mention of possible boycotts did not sit well with Israeli officials, and then some. Quote: "Offensive, unfair and insufferable," unquote. That's how Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz responded, adding, quote, "You can't expect the state of Israel to conduct negotiations with a gun pointed to its head," unquote.

The minister of economics, Naftali Bennett, responded this way to Kerry and the boycott possibility. Quote: "We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier," unquote.

Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said that Kerry, as the unbiased intermediary, should remind the Palestinians about the cost of their obstinacy in denying the existence of a Jewish state. Quote: "It would be expected from someone who's supposed to be a fair and objective intermediary to also tell the Palestinian side about the price they will have to pay over their stubborn refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own nation-state," unquote.

As for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he refrained from addressing Mr. Kerry directly, but he did call any attempts to boycott Israel, quote-unquote, "immoral and unjust."

As for Kerry's response to the criticism, here's his State Department's diplomatic response. Quote: "Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel's security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts. He does expect that the parties, and whether they're for or against his efforts or any efforts at all, will not distort his facts or his record," unquote.

Question: Was this line of reasoning original to Secretary Kerry, or did he pick up the idea of a possible Israeli boycott from somebody else? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, you know, these efforts to boycott Israel have been around for a long time. And it came up in a way that the Israelis responded to it, they thought he was giving it sort of more authority and more currency in that part of the world at this time. And they are very sensitive to this, obviously, because they don't feel it's fair.

Both when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and when John Kerry is secretary of state, the Israelis privately have made a real effort to try and accommodate to the needs of the Palestinians. And they have been unsuccessful in getting the Palestinians to deal with the Israelis in terms which I think even the United States would support. So this came about, frankly, out of leftfield as far as the Israelis were concerned, and they reacted --

MR. BUCHANAN: There is a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on.

MR. BUCHANAN: There is a worldwide --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Did it come out of leftfield? Because two weeks ago, at the annual gathering of the world's business and policy elites at Davos, Switzerland, an Israeli executive named Oded Gera -- G-E-R-A -- floated this same warning.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Listen, don't get me wrong. I don't think that this kind of a dialogue going back and forth between the Israelis and the Americans, or, frankly, between the American secretary of state and the Palestinians, is constructive. I just don't think it is.

The Israelis are perfectly aware of what the dangers are of the boycott. What this does, it gives the people who are engaging in the boycott a certain kind of energy, because they think, boy, if we have the secretary of state calling a warning on this thing, it must be working on some level.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Mort's got a point, John. I mean, I don't think Kerry was malicious in any way --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no. (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- but he raised the thing. But there is a BDS movement, the boycott-disinvestment-sanctions movement against Israel. It's picking up steam in the United States, in elements of the academic community. You have this Scarlett Johansson, who was with Oxfam, who resigned from Oxfam to maintain her position on SodaStream, which is a facility on the West Bank which Israelis and Arabs and Palestinians all work at.

But this movement is building. And they overreacted, I think the Israelis did, and they hammered Kerry when he was not being malicious. He was saying, look, you guys, we've got to get this solved or this whole movement is going to pick up speed. He's telling the truth.

MS. CLIFT: There is some momentum here. And you have the European Union now not doing business with businesses that originate in the West Bank from settler communities. I think Kerry was just trying to introduce a measure of reality here. The U.S. does not support --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: -- this boycott, but it's out there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's what I --

MS. CLIFT: And Europe supports -- Europe apparently supports it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's what I have here about Oded Gera at Davos. She's the vice chairman of Rothschild Israel. Along with other Israeli businessmen, Mort, Gera went to Davos with the express purpose of drawing attention to the proposition that Israel should cut a deal now or risk facing international boycott.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I happen to agree --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know the woman?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't know her. But I happen to agree that Israeli should try and cut a deal now. And I can tell you that they have been trying to cut a deal. There's no question about that.

And I'm quite familiar with some of the negotiations. It is a very difficult, very difficult environment in which the Israelis can cut this deal with the Palestinians. The Palestinians have very weak leadership under these circumstances. There's no major leader who can really speak for them and take a tough decision. The Israelis have made unbelievably difficult -- taken unbelievably difficult steps to try and reach a deal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, another State Department PR crisis. Two players, U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to the nation of Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt; a phone call surfaced between the two. What is the gist of this unfolding pinstripe-suit embarrassment? Susan Ferrechio.

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, it's eavesdropping, I believe, by President Putin. And it's a recording of a conversation between two U.S. officials that Putin is hoping will upend a potential settlement deal in the very unstable situation in the Ukraine that Putin doesn't like. So he recorded the two talking.

And what they said that could upend the deal, in his mind, was that -- was something very disparaging about the European Union, because they don't like the stance the European Union has taken with Ukraine -- with Ukraine. They think it's too soft of a stance. They want the U.N. to come in and help put a deal together that would weaken the current president, who works closely with Putin. So he's hoping to just throw cold water on this deal by revealing what the U.S. officials were saying about the European Union.

Now, Nuland has apologized. And now Putin is holding back on the money he's promised Ukraine till he finds out whether this deal is going to go through or not.

MR. BUCHANAN: Putin's objection is he sees the United States, A, interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Secondly, Nuland and the ambassador were reportedly talking about the new government that's going to come in. So I can't blame the Russians for being upset about it, or for leaking it. And third, John, they've cut off, apparently, or suspended, $3 billion. But this is a very serious, sensitive matter which I think the United States should stay out of, as it's between the EU and the Russian -- (inaudible).

MS. CLIFT: Well, the administration's cards are on the table now. We know what they want. And it is a serious situation in Ukraine. But it's also part of the tit for tat leading up to Sochi here, with Putin under a lot of pressure and showing the U.S. that he's got some, you know, aces in his hand as well.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got an NSA too. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, that's right. And all of the warnings to people going to Sochi -- you know, don't bring any valuable information; buy a cell phone and then throw it away -- I mean, evidently they have some pretty good spying techniques. Nuland was great the way she handled it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great the way she handled it.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, she --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And she was very succinct --

MS. CLIFT: Well, she --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in speaking about the EU.

MS. CLIFT: Well, wait a second. She commended the statecraft.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She used the f-bomb word and then said the EU.

Issue Three: Health Care's New Day.

Over the next 10 years, some 2.5 million Americans will either drop out of the workforce or reduce the hours they work, thanks to "Obamacare." So says the nation's nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO's director testified before the House Budget Committee this week.

DOUGLAS ELMENDORF (Congressional Budget Office director): (From videotape.) What the Affordable Care Act does is to provide subsidies focused on lower- and lower-middle-income people to buy health insurance. And in order to encourage a sufficient number of people to buy an expensive product like health insurance, the subsidies are fairly large in dollar terms.

Those subsidies are then withdrawn over time -- withdrawn for people as their income rises. And by providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the act creates a disincentive for people to work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Many of these soon-to-be idled workers are currently working to keep their health coverage paid for by their employers. For others, the "Obamacare" subsidies mean that workers don't need full-time jobs to get insurance. And for many, too much work will boost their income and, ironically, make them ineligible for these newly expanded Medicaid benefits and "Obamacare" subsidies, the price of enrolling on an exchange.

Republicans seized on the CBO projections as fresh evidence that the well-intentioned Affordable Care Act will become a drag on the economy.

The White House press secretary, the now-beardless Jay Carney, put a dreamy spin on the finding. Quote: "At the beginning of this year, we noted that as part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families and would have the opportunity to pursue their dream. This CBO report bears that out. And the Republican plan to repeal the ACA would strip those hard-working Americans of that opportunity," unquote.

Question: Is President Obama transforming the concept of America, namely the land of opportunity, a place where hard work pays off, to one where opportunity means you can have the benefit with no work? Susan Ferrechio.

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, the CBO spelled it out in plain English. He said that the law disincentivizes work. It will transform the economy so that 2.5 million people will move from full-time status to part-time status. And he connected that with a slower-growing economy. So it's laid out there in plain English.

Now, the Democrats, as you pointed out, are arguing, you know, that this is a good thing because people should have the choice. I mean, the majority whip in the Senate told me, Dick Durbin, that this is a great thing because you really can't put a price on freedom. And so their argument is that that justifies the subsidies and justifies the sort of upending of the economy. But, of course, we all have to pay for that.

And it certainly disincentivizes people. When you're working part-time, you're bringing less income into your house. That means you're going to need more from the government in order to just survive. Even if they've given you your health care, how are you going to pay your rent and buy your groceries on part-time work?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does -- Mort, what does the loss of some 2.5 million people from the workplace mean for our GDP, our -- does that mean our economy is going to be --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this affected?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They are a part of a huge number of people who are now working part-time, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 28 million people today, which is a record number. This is a very dangerous trend in the American workforce and in the American economy. These people cannot afford to maintain a standard of living. Our national incomes are going down. Our national expenditures are going down. Part-time jobs are not the way that Americans can support their families.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: So this is a very dangerous trend in the American economy, which has (emerged ?) in the last four or five years to a degree we have never had it before.

MS. CLIFT: The CBO report says they did not find any uptick in part-time jobs. But the headlines that came out of the report were this loss of two and a half million jobs. And these headlines are a gift to the Republican Party, who will use them in attack ads.

But on reflection, a number of newspapers retracted those headlines. This is people choosing to work fewer hours, not staying locked into jobs simply because they have to get health care insurance. And as the White House economic adviser, Jacob (sic/means Jason) Furman, put it, if you want more people in the workforce, do away with Medicare. You'll have people at 95 years old working. This is ending job lock.

MR. BUCHANAN: The fundamental --

MS. CLIFT: And other people --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: -- will fill those jobs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The fundamental philosophical position of the Republican Party is that if you over-enrich the welfare state, it'll become a disincentive for work and people will drop out and live on the welfare state. And that is the precise argument that the CBO has reinforced.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Syrian peace talks are dead and the Israeli peace talks are imperiled.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Deep-red libertarian Alaska is on track to being the third state to legalize recreational marijuana.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: Immigration reform will lie in a dormant state for several months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The trend towards part-time employment instead of full-time employment is accelerating and extending. And it's one of the most dangerous things facing the United States economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that a new poll of first ladies soon to be released ranking the top 10 first ladies in our nation's 238- year history -- that's right, isn't it, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's roughly correct.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: 2-3-8. Yeah, you're hedging that, aren't you? That top 10 will include Michelle Obama.

Bye-bye.

(C) 2014 Federal News Service

END