Transcript: The Great American Debates: 'There's Too Much Government In My Life'


And so what we're doing by having big government concentrated in a few, in politicians and bureaucrats up here, that is where the powerful are going to go to influence it, by reducing the size and scope of government. By having government live within its limits, you're reducing that power center and decentralizing it and sending it back to the people where it belongs.


FRANK: Can I stress again, I am struck by -- can I just say one again? When people talk about limits, you guys just keep exempting the military. There was an enormous amount of military -- we spend more on the military than on Medicare.

We are building roads and we are building schools and we are building bridges in all kinds of countries in the rest of the world. And somehow it's money that's spent on the military disappears from your worldview.


AMANPOUR: Secretary Reich, since people really do, really do worry about this, and as the governor said, it's both parties, how does one get all of that money out of government, out of elections?

REICH: Well, first of all, we have much stricter campaign finance laws. I think we may need an amendment to reverse the Supreme Court's ridiculous rulings that say that money is speech and corporations are people. I mean, how absurd.

You know, the average First Amendment rights of most people are being trampled on these days because so much money is flooding Washington.

Paul Ryan, going back to your point, my concern is not so much with the size of government, it's what government is for. And if you and I can just simply agree to get money out of politics, and to reduce government to the size that it works for average working people, not for corporate welfare, not for defense contractors, not for Wall Street, not for agribusiness, not for all of the big industries that now claim so much of the public weal, then you and I, maybe we can make some progress.

RYAN: But, Bob, we passed McCain-Feingold, so everything should be all fine.


FRANK: The Supreme Court threw it out, Paul. You know that. That's disingenuous.

WILL: It is axiomatic that if you want to reduce the role of money in politics, reduce the role of politics in allocating money and opportunity in this society, leave it to the market, private voluntary transactions between individual.

REICH: George, you say leave it to the markets, well, we've tried leaving things to the market. Look what happened on Wall Street, we left that the market and Wall Street exploded. Look what happened with Massey Energy. We left that to the market and we had mine cave-ins.

What about the...

WILL: Some of us...

REICH: ... poor in this country? What about education? What about job training? What about roads and bridges and everything else we depend on? You're going to leave that to market?

WILL: Some of us think that the big problem began in this country in the financial crisis because a lot of wizards in Washington decided they knew -- they just knew how many Americans ought to own houses. And they were going to do whatever they needed to do to support banks, to subsidize banks, and to set interest rates that would encourage this.

AMANPOUR: All right. We've got to go to a break. We'll continue this.

And up next, when does Uncle Sam become Big Brother? When political decisions challenge individual liberties as "The Great American Debate" continues.


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