GLENN BECK PROGRAM
GLENN: We have been trying to get Senator Fred Thompson on since, I don't know, forever, and today is the day he has agreed to come on and I am pleased to have Fred Thompson, a conservative, running for President of the United States. Welcome to the program, sir.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Hey, Glenn, thank you. Good to be with you.
GLENN: Good. We have a couple of ways to go. I'm afraid, because we've been trying for a long time, I'm afraid that we're going to eat up our 15 minutes here and then I'm not going to get a chance to talk to you again and --
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, that's not necessarily true. If I had known you were trying to get me that hard, I would have just overruled everybody. I would blame it on other people.
GOP Candidate Fred Thompson
GLENN: We've been trying to do it for a while. We could go rapid fire or take some things and pull them apart, but I've got a ton of questions for you.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, we'll do it again, too. Let's do it that way.
GLENN: Then let's start here. I have a -- as a voter, as an American, I have a quest and so far I haven't seen anybody that hits all of this. I have a quest of hiring a President or voting for a President that is not going to compromise with evil, and that is in the Middle East, that's, you know, here and abroad, but also not going to compromise with socialism and what I believe is a global movement to turn us away from our own Constitution. Convince me that you're the guy.
SENATOR THOMPSON: The two big issues facing us, the Democrats clearly want to take us down the road of a welfare state. I think that we're at a crossroads in that respect. I think that as some would have it, the Government would become more and more of a transferation between some Americans to others, between one generation to another and it would continue to grow and the attitude would be, don't worry, be happy, we'll take care of things and, you know, we're spending our grandkids' money but let them worry about that.
GLENN: Go ahead.
SENATOR THOMPSON: That's on the social front. That's my plan on the social front. On the other side there are those who think that if we will sit down across the table from the most evil people in the world and just talk common sense to them that they basically, just the way we are and they think the way that we do and we can work things out. In the meantime the world is becoming a more dangerous place almost day by day. It's not only the terrorist organizations and the weapons of mass destruction that they have at their disposal out there in the world that they are trying to get their hands on but it's the rogue nations that have the infrastructure and so forth to create these things on their own or to cooperate with the terrorist organizations, and we have to be stronger and more united and more committed in terms of unity and resources than we've ever been before.
GLENN: I've been saying for a while that there is a storm of biblical proportions headed our way. It's almost the perfect storm between the economy, what we've done to ourselves and our spending not only as a government but also personally we are stretched too thin. The rest of the world with its global warming bullcrap where we're talking about spending $26 trillion, we're losing our sovereignty, we're losing our borders. I mean, we are hit with a perfect storm.
When you get up in the morning, you look at the newspaper, you look at America, what are the top two things that you say we must fix now? What are they?
SENATOR THOMPSON: You've hit them. They are the nation's security and the nation's future prosperity. Those are the two things, and the things that go into security is primarily understanding the nature of the world that we live in. What you talk about just then is exemplified by what's going on in Iran. I mean, these folks are sitting around waiting for the twelfth Imam. I mean, that's their goal. The mullahs want that to happen. They talk in terms of millions of people perhaps getting killed at the time. It's perfectly okay with them. They look at things from the standpoint of religious fanatics, they consider us to be the great evil. Israel, of course, is the little evil and they've been killing us for a long, long time through Hezbollah and Hamas and others. They simply look at the world differently. They're undoubtedly intent upon nuclear weapons. I don't care what this latest NIE says. That's foolishness that represents our own inability to get a handle on it more than anything else. They've got a missile that will already travel 1200 miles. I mean, people are always saying that folks are Chicken Little, you know, for emphasizing these things, but we have such a short memory since September 11th. I mean, that was a low-tech attack compared to what's out there, and every intelligence community that we have access to tells us that they are trying to get their hands on the worst kinds of weapons possible, and we're going to have to do more. And we're talking about spending less in terms of our military and in terms of our intelligence capabilities. We've had to rebuild almost from scratch. I was on the intelligence committee. I've watched it.
On the prosperity side, that has to do with fiscal policies and taxing and spending, and we spent all of our time talking about the pork barrel spending which is bad, you know. People ought to be defeated and in some cases prosecuted for some of it. It's bad enough, it's ridiculous, it's given congress an even blacker eye than they so richly deserve. But the real money is on the entitlement side, and nobody wants to talk about that.
Every economist in the country that takes a look at it, left and right, says that our path is unsustainable. We are bankrupting our social programs that we say that we love so much and we're leaving our kids and our grandkids with an insurmountable debt. We have a $9 trillion debt now. A lot of that's held by the Chinese and others. And we're a graying society, we're an older society because of medical advances, but we're turning that blessing into a curse for the next generation. Everybody wants to kick that can down the road and not talk about it. We could make some moderate changes now that I propose that will save Social Security, for example, let people contribute a little more during their working years for their own retirement with the help of the government and it would wind up being beneficial to the government, being beneficial to the individual and save about $4 trillion in our entitlement programs. That's where the real money is. It's a little more difficult to talk about, a little more complicated.
GLENN: But you're --
SENATOR THOMPSON: That's what I think about. That's why I decided to run, those two primary things. And the third one would be the fact that we're becoming less united on fundamental things that we traditionally have been united together with regard -- and that's going to require credibility from the President, somebody who will look the American people in the eye with credibility and tell them the truth and say, here's where we need to go, here's where we need to do, let's get together and get it done.
GLENN: You talk about Social Security, but you know and I know that it's Medicare or Medicaid that's really going to -- it's going to kill us. I mean, it will eviscerate us here by 2012. And everybody, damn near everybody, is talking about raising taxes and that pain has to be felt. You're talking about a flat tax. Thank God somebody is finally talking about a flat tax. All the communist countries have already gone there. I don't know why we can't. How do you propose to take the IRS and abolish it and put a flat tax in?
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, it's not a matter to me of abolishing the IRS as richly as it deserves to be. You've got to have some mechanism and it's just the mechanism is a symbol in which we can focus on, but it's not really the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is that we've got the most inefficient complicated tax system in the world and it's costing us billions in compliance costs and billions that go uncollected to make everybody else's taxes higher.
GLENN: So what is the flat tax? What is the proposal?
SENATOR THOMPSON: What I've suggested is this. First of all, keep the '01 and '03 tax cuts in place. I mean, that's growth. That's not just lost revenue to the government. That brings about economic growth which underlines everything else. We ought to get rid of the death tax, we ought to lower the corporate tax, which is the second highest tax in the industrialized world we have. We're very uncompetitive there. It's costing us jobs.
Then on the individual side you say this. A person has the option. You can fill all your taxes out the same old way you want to, using the same old rules, or you can go to a much flatter approach. If you have individual income of $50,000, family income of $100,000, you file on a 10% rate. If you are above that, you file on a 25% rate. You have one standard deduction and that's it. Your choice. I feel like people will gravitate to that, people will start using it, it will lay the groundwork for even more fundamental reform and greater simplification, which we greatly need for economic growth in this country.
GLENN: I don't know who wouldn't take you up on that. However, we're losing -- it seems to me there's a -- well, let me just ask you the question. What do you think about this Al Gore global warming? To me it seems like it's global socialism and a total loss of sovereignty and not really about global warming at all.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, what troubles me about it is not the analysis and the debate over the analysis. I think that that can be a good thing. It's jumping from there to all of these solutions that people have because they're being proposed on the basis of inadequate knowledge.
We don't have all the answers by a long shot. We know the Earth is warming. We don't know whether or not it's a part of a cycle. We've had cooling stages before. We don't know to what extent it's due to manmade causes. We don't know what effect we can have on that. We don't know what the significance of it is going to be. You have everything, you know, coastline estimation from inches of water rising to feet and everything in the middle. All the answers are not there. I resent trying to close off debate about all this, but a lot of people are trying to do that. Then they're jumping from that to solutions that are probably -- it's not a matter that it's a global thing as much as it is -- I think if it was a global deal that we could all come together and agree on, that would probably be a good thing. But what's really going to happen is that the United States is going to be pushed into making unilateral decisions that will hurt us and not help the overall problem. We could do a lot of things here in the United States with the Chinese and Indians did not participate, it would more than swamp whatever benefits that we could come up with. So it's a big problem. A lot of people are going to have to work together on it, but we need to do it on the basis of complete information and all the best that science and research can teach us. And we've still got a long way to go there.
GLENN: There is a -- I've been in broadcast for 30 years, senator. I've never felt this ever before from America. There is a real sense of distrust with our politicians now.
SENATOR THOMPSON: No question.
GLENN: And there is real disenfranchisement and let me just cover two things with you and get your answers on it. First of all, Compean and Ramos, would you pardon them; and will you tell me if you believe that there is a movement by some to make us into some sort of, you know, continental trading partner and is that what you believe is stopping people from enforcing our own laws? What is it? Why are we allowing Mexico to dictate so much to us?
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, Mexico's an interesting situation. When you look into it a little bit, you discover that they have tougher immigration laws than we do. They deport more people every year than we do. It's really kind of surprising. It makes you want to say to our Mexican friends, look, you are our friends, our partners and we're doing some good things in terms of drug enforcement and I think trade, generally speaking, is a good thing, but what does it say about an economy that depends so much on the exporting of their own people to have the money sent back? It's bigger than tourism now for them and, you know, they need to get their own house in order and get their own economy in order for their own people. But I think that you have -- the first part of your question had to do with --
GLENN: Compean and Ramos.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Oh, yes, with regard to them, you know, I'm a lawyer and I have prosecuted cases and I've defended them. I always know the details of the facts rule as far as I'm concerned. But I'll tell you my impression from a distance from what I read. I think that they are probably a proper subject for consideration for commutation. It seems that they did do some things wrong, they did try to cover up what they had done. You've got to apply the law to everybody equally. But they were much, much too harshly sentenced. They never should have been charged with what they were charged with because it carried a mandatory sentence. The jury didn't know that when they convicted them and you can't get around the fact the jury convicted them what they were charged of. So it's one of those cases where an all-out wipe the slate totally clean is probably not in order but a commutation to say, okay, these guys did wrong but they've paid for what they've done; they should not spend any more time in prison and they should be commuted. It looks to me like that's probably a just outcome in a case like that.
GLENN: Senator Thompson, good to have you on, sir. I wish you the best of luck. I hope we can speak to you again.
SENATOR THOMPSON: I do, too, and I will make sure that we try to arrange that. We do get -- you know, we're out and about everywhere. It's stretched out --
GLENN: No, no, no, I understand. Yeah, I do. But we would love to have you on again. We just -- there's been a -- I get a lot of mail: How come Fred Thompson's never been on the program.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, I'm sorry about that.
GLENN: No, no, no.
SENATOR THOMPSON: We will do better. When I'm on the road, I catch your TV show and I'm proud of you and what you've accomplished and I'm a fan of yours and we should stay closer in touch and I sure want to do it. It doesn't hurt me any, either, to be on your show. I know that.
SENATOR THOMPSON: No, it's great. And I have to tell you, a huge fan of the Michael Moore video that you put out. I just, that film's so good.
SENATOR THOMPSON: I just have to tell you, you know, you plan all these things and all that. That was done about -- you know, I got up one morning, took a look at it and says, heck, let's do this. By the time we got the guy over there with the camera, I decided what I wanted to say. It took a couple of hours from beginning to end and probably the best commercial I've made, if you want to call it that.
GLENN: It was great, it was great.
SENATOR THOMPSON: A top-of-the-head deal works out better sometimes.
GLENN: Senator, thank you very much. We'll talk to you again soon.
SENATOR THOMPSON: Okay, Glenn, thank you.
GLENN: You bet, bye-bye..