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


I think if I can summarize what my debating partner and I have been saying, it's that the issue is not so much how large government should be, but who government should be for. And these days, so many Americans are worried that the game is rigged, that the dice are loaded in favor of big corporations and Wall Street and the rich.

And indeed, what George, you have said over and over again, and Paul Ryan, you have said, is that yes, there is too much crony capitalism, there is too much of big corporation and the rich and Wall Street. But you seem to believe that if you got rid of government, then somehow individuals would not be imperiled by those same forces. They would be. Big government is a canard. Look, I spent half of my life in government. Do I look like big government to you? Let's get serious about what we're talking about. And let's make sure that we understand we're living in a society where people care about jobs, they care about wages. They can't get ahead because so much wealth and income are at the top and taxes are not being paid at the top to finance education and health care and infrastructure that everybody depends on to get ahead.

Upward mobility is being slowed because of that inequality, and that inability of us to actually have the effect we the people, not we the corporations, not we Wall Street, not we the rich want to have.

AMANPOUR: Robert Reich, thank you very much. And we will be right back.


AMANPOUR: And that's our program this week. Our thanks to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia for partnering with us on "The Great American Debates." And thanks of course to the Museum for hosting us. Send your comments on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! and at and thank you also to our distinguished panelists. Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Barney Frank, Robert Reich and George Will.

You can also find more information about this debate on our website as well. Be sure to watch "World News" with David Muir tonight for all of the latest headlines. For all of us here, thank you for watching and we'll see you next week.


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