|Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis|
GLENN: Let me go to Newt Gingrich. Newt, I haven’t — I’m sorry to say I’ve been busy doing my own homework today on the ins and outs of all of this stuff. I don’t even know where you stand on this bailout bill. Please, dear God, tell me you’re against it.
GINGRICH: I’m not sure if I were in the congress I could vote against it. I think — I mean, if I was the deciding vote, I think a lot of people will vote against it, but I have been talking to people who I respect in the business community who genuinely believe we’re on the edge of a meltdown of just historic proportions comparable to the 1920s.
GLENN: Okay. I agree with you on that. And Newt, I’ve been saying for a long time, this is coming. I believe even with this bailout, it is coming. Can you — have you heard any of these experts guarantee or give you a good sense that this bailout will stop that from happening?
GINGRICH: No. Let me be clear. I’m about as unhappy as anybody you know. I think that Secretary Paulson ought to be fired. I think this bill has been improved significantly by McCain and by the House Republicans but it is still a bad bill. But I also believe if you have a Democratic congress that the odds are pretty good that none of the things you really need to get done are going to get done. What we ought to be doing is repealing Sarbanes-Oxley which has become a huge mess, we ought to be going to zero capital gains tax. We ought to be reducing the American corporate tax to match Irelands 12%. There are a lot of things we could be doing. We should be controlling spending. We should have an energy bill that is decisive in bringing home most of the $700 billion a year we’re sending to foreign countries, many of them dictators opposed to us. I’ve written a recent book, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. We have a movie which illustrates the maddening reality that we have more than enough energy in the U.S. and that it is our political system and our government which is blocking us from developing our own energy. So I mean, if you are asking me how big do I think the changes need to be, beyond the capacity of any of these folks who are currently engaged. I think we the American people are going to have to rebel to such a degree that you may well have a third party by 2012 because I just think the sickness of watching the system and the degree to which the Bush administration has failed is historic.
GLENN: Here is the problem with the bill as I see it. It includes a provision that is bailing out the union pension funds, it’s bailing out cities, it’s bailing out states. It allows the treasury secretary to expand this in any direction he feels is necessary. It also goes — I mean, it goes right to the heart of capitalism. And Newt, I have to tell ya I last week came out and said we are going to slam into the side of a mountain economically and we have to have a bill because it will at least take the plane down and land it in the trees. We’re not talking about landing on the runway. We’re talking about landing in the trees. But Newt —
GINGRICH: I think that’s exactly right.
GLENN: But this bill, I can’t support this bill.
GLENN: It is cutting the heart out of capitalism.
GINGRICH: Look, I don’t think you should support this bill and I’m not advocating anybody support this bill. What I am saying is that under our constitutional system you occasionally get to moments when you get to choose between two really bad futures and you wish you had had better leaders and you wish they had gotten you to a choice of a good future, and the fact is this morning we’re in a place where we don’t have a choice of a good future. We can do nothing, which is what would happen if the bill goes down. And I think as long as Paulson is the treasury, his arrogance, his background as the chairman of Goldman Sachs makes it impossible to get to a good bill and I can’t imagine a circumstance where Bush is going to fire him. So we as a country are trapped by a secretary of the treasury who is adamant about aggrandizing his personal talent. On the other hand you have liberal Democrats who frankly wanted a much worse bill. They wanted to give billions of dollars to left wing activists.
GLENN: ACORN. I know.
GINGRICH: So finally you get to the least bad bill. Notice I have not once used the word "Good." I have not used the word "Mediocre." This is the least bad bill. And the question is if you are prepared to take a gamble that all of the people who are knowledgeable who say that on a worldwide basis we’re on the edge of a credit catastrophe which could well lead to a fundamental meltdown of the system. I had two friends over the weekend who are both extraordinarily wealthy, neither of whom cares about the market. They don’t make their money in the market. Both of them said to me — and both of them have — one has 53 years in business and the other has over 40 years in business and they both said to me, "That is genuine crisis. This is not politics. This is not let’s play games with the margin. If we don’t send some signal to the world market, we’re going to have a credit crunch of 1929 to 1932 proportions."
GLENN: Newt, I have to say to you, you’re exactly right. I happened to be with a billionaire this weekend. I was doing a charity thing. This guy is a multibillionaire. Doesn’t care about the stock market, either. I mean, he’s 73 years old. Doesn’t — I mean, he’s the same kind of guy you talked about. And I can’t believe that your guy didn’t tell you the same thing I did. Because that conversation happened with me, too. This is a genuine crisis. This is quite possibly the biggest crisis the country has ever faced. However, if you don’t have the tools of capitalism, if you take this country and you fundamentally change what the treasury and the government is doing and can do, you may never pull yourself out because the market — the signal that the market wants to see is that business is stable in America, and this congress and this treasury being hands-on, fingers in the pie, you never know when it could expand does not send them the message to the market that we’re stable. Does it?
GINGRICH: No. But the notion of the American system which has been deeply driven by partisanship locks up, may send a signal of instability on a scale that you and I can’t comprehend. And all I’m saying is —
GLENN: I don’t think anybody can.
GINGRICH: Right. All I’m saying as a historian is having been speaker of the House, having been through these gut checks on 10 or 15 occasions, if I were a back venture, I would almost certainly vote no because this is disgusting. But if I were in leadership and having been in leadership and I looked at the down side risk, I would say I’m going to do everything I can to get rid of Paulson, I’m going to do everything I can to get an economic growth package, I’m going to do everything I can to get an energy independence package, but I am not this morning going to walk off and not have this pass because I’m not prepared to live for my two grandchildren with the consequences if, in fact, the system collapses. And while this may be an inadequate Band-Aid, it is a Band-Aid and it is a step. And we may have to come back and take four more steps before the election. I mean, nobody knows what the next two weeks are going to be like and the congress should not go home. The congress needs to understand that this is a real historic moment and we can’t afford to hang around and pretend it’s politics as usual.
GLENN: Do you fear for your country?
GINGRICH: Yes. Absolutely. I think anybody who believes in a free country and anybody who believes in the system that gradually emerged with the United States as the primary defender of the world market, of freedom around the world and of safety around the world, you have to look at where we are today, and we just did an entire workshop on Saturday called American Solutions. It’s our second annual Solutions Day workshop and people can see it at Americansolutions.com. And I founded American Solutions because I don’t think either party is up to what we have to do.
GINGRICH: I’m very, very worried about where we are.
GLENN: Is this bill going to pass?
GINGRICH: Probably — yeah, I think it passes in the end for the reason the conversation you and I are having which is the last marginal member who could vote no is going to stand there and say to themselves am I prepared to take responsibility, even if it was a disgusting bandage. And I think they say I hate doing this, I’m going to help pass it and then I’m going to fight like crazy to clean up the corrupt arrogant system that has put us in this position.
GLENN: All right. Newt Gingrich, thank you very much, sir.
GINGRICH: Good talking to you, sir.
GLENN: You bet. Bye-bye. I feel exactly the same way he does but I cannot put diseased bandage back on. I can’t look at the doctor who had — who gave me the disease in the first place, to say put this disease bandage back on your leg. It’s insanity. It’s insanity. But that’s why I said to you at the beginning of the program, please, you must make this decision. You must make this decision, and you must make this decision — do not pick up the phone and say don’t, don’t pass this bill without understanding the ramifications of this. I believe we now are talking about it one way or another. We are talking about 1929. We are talking about the Great Depression and we are talking about the possibility of it being worse than that, a 1989 style Soviet collapse. This is the moment that Americans need to become the greatest generation of Americans. You must stand to the plate, for the future generations of Americans to exist. You must be involved.