Baker Machado: The Senate passed its $4 trillion budget bill on Friday,
Baker Machado: which is pretty much paving the way for a vote for tax reform
Baker Machado: later this year that pretty much could decide the fate of the Republican Party.
Baker Machado: Now our next guest served in Congress for 32 years,
Baker Machado: representing Massachusetts's fourth district.
Baker Machado: And we caught up with Mr. Barney Frank who's at Duke University
Baker Machado: preparing for a big speech on the fight of a fair society.
Baker Machado: And this is what he had to say. Take a look.
J.D. Durkin: Congressman Frank, what are you hoping to accomplish with your upcoming speech, sir?
Barney Frank: Basically, to avoid a situation in which there is a fracture of,
Barney Frank: of our effort to go forward with genuine improvement by frankly a set of
Barney Frank: unrealistic litmus tests being imposed by
Barney Frank: some of the people very much on the left and the rest of the Democrats.
Barney Frank: By the way, on those substantive issues I
Barney Frank: almost always agree with those I'm talking about on the left.
Barney Frank: And I think it is very important for people on the left to say as Bernie Sanders did
Barney Frank: last year to push the agenda for the left.
Barney Frank: I'm a supporter of single payer.
Barney Frank: I, I Would like to cut the military [inaudible 00:01:09] get very many of my colleagues to agree with.
Barney Frank: I am all in favor of that kind of advocacy.
Barney Frank: The problem is when the advocacy turns into a litmus test.
Barney Frank: When it is not simply,
Barney Frank: we want you to go in this direction and we'll support you if you do.
Barney Frank: But a demand that you go in that direction and embrace the full agenda,
Barney Frank: even if you happen to be in a district where that can't necessarily win.
Barney Frank: There are a number of districts in America where the kind of
Barney Frank: full agenda of those of us who are on the left will win,
Barney Frank: but that's not enough for a majority.
Barney Frank: Particularly since, and this is something I think people have to understand.
Barney Frank: We're in a difficult situation now.
Barney Frank: There is in the country on the whole,
Barney Frank: including some on the left and many on the right,
Barney Frank: a view that government's no good,
Barney Frank: a disbelief in government.
Barney Frank: One of the things we have to do is to build back
Barney Frank: an understanding that government properly run can be very useful.
Barney Frank: But until you get that,
Barney Frank: demanding that people be fully supportive of a very active role for
Barney Frank: government right away without getting into a more gradually is a mistake.
Barney Frank: So I'm basically anti-litmus test.
Barney Frank: I am anti-impugning other people's motives,
Barney Frank: and that's why I say it's a betrayal.
Barney Frank: If I have people who are in
Barney Frank: a marginal district and are committed to doing most of what I want to do,
Barney Frank: but don't feel they can go all the way,
Barney Frank: I don't want them to be attacked as being immoral.
Barney Frank: And in particular, and this is one of the things that I
Barney Frank: take away from the years when we were in power,
Barney Frank: when Democrats are pushed,
Barney Frank: for example, in health care for as much as we could get.
Barney Frank: I wanted a public option.
Barney Frank: I wanted to expand Medicare.
Barney Frank: We didn't have the votes for it.
Barney Frank: So we agreed to do the best we could,
Barney Frank: which I think was good, an improvement.
Barney Frank: I don't agree with people who say,
Barney Frank: oh not bad, we're disappointed,
Barney Frank: even not that what we think you misjudged
Barney Frank: it but the rhetoric becomes you betrayed us, you sold us out.
Baker Machado: Uh, Barney, it's always great to have you on the show.
Baker Machado: You know, the economy has been doing exceedingly well since the election,
Baker Machado: we're now over 23,000 on the Dow.
Baker Machado: President Trump says he's going to nominate
Baker Machado: a new Federal Reserve chairman here very soon.
Baker Machado: So, do you think it's almost imperative based upon how well the economy is doing
Baker Machado: the President Trump needs to re-nominate Janet Yellen to the Federal Reserve chairman.
Barney Frank: I would like him to do that and, you know,
Barney Frank: Trump has been, this is not in the area of news,
Barney Frank: he's been totally inconsistent.
Barney Frank: He was for a while attacking the Fed
Barney Frank: because he said they were keeping interest rates too low,
Barney Frank: to help the Obama administration.
Barney Frank: Now that he's president and wants to see economic progress continue,
Barney Frank: and by the way what we're seeing with the economy,
Barney Frank: there has been an upward tick in the stock market.
Barney Frank: But the trend in unemployment is essentially a continuation of the trend under Obama.
Barney Frank: Growth is a continuation of the trend.
Barney Frank: There's been no drastic uptick under,
Barney Frank: under Trump except because of the stock market,
Barney Frank: maybe because they think it's going to be more deregulation.
Barney Frank: Unfortunately, there's going to be in the financial area.
Barney Frank: So I would like him to keep Janet Yellen.
Barney Frank: There are other people who could be helpful.
Barney Frank: There are people who I think would cause a serious problem.
Barney Frank: I know John Kellogg,
Barney Frank: I worked with him when he was in the Treasury.
Barney Frank: I think his rigid formula would be a terrible idea.
Barney Frank: And in some ways I think it's almost saving Trump from himself
Barney Frank: because I think if he were to appoint Mr. Taylor there would be a problem.
J.D. Durkin: Congressman, I'm curious from your perspective,
J.D. Durkin: why do you think we've seen investors respond so positively to a Trump presidency,
J.D. Durkin: and do you think we'd see the same overall market cap gains
J.D. Durkin: had Secretary Clinton won the election last November.
Barney Frank: Very similar. I think there was a little bit of a [FOREIGN] over regulation.
Barney Frank: And the other one though is in taxes.
Barney Frank: There is a, to the extent that
Barney Frank: they think there's going to be a very substantial reduction in the corporate tax rate.
Barney Frank: That I think is why it's been [inaudible 00:05:16].
Barney Frank: But remember, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped in
Barney Frank: March 2009 as a result of the crisis that had happened under President Bush to 6500.
Barney Frank: By the time Obama went out of office it had already tripled.
Barney Frank: So the increase has been greater under Trump,
Barney Frank: but the trend was already there.
Barney Frank: So I think you were getting a little extra bump because of Trump,
Barney Frank: because of these expectations.
Barney Frank: But I don't think any qualitative and certainly
Barney Frank: the other economic statistics there has not been that much of a change.
Barney Frank: So I would think it's to some extent people in
Barney Frank: the market who are looking for a very substantial drop in the tax,
Barney Frank: the corporate tax rate and a diminution of regulation,
Barney Frank: that may be it.
Barney Frank: The one thing of course you don't understand is that
Barney Frank: the stock market is not the whole economy.
Barney Frank: And great increases and gains for the stock market,
Barney Frank: on the whole is very good for the richest people,
Barney Frank: does not do much for the great bulk of the people.
Baker Machado: Barney, I will switch gears to somebody you've had conversations with on cable news.
Baker Machado: Bill O'Reilly was reported over the weekend from the New York Times that he's
Baker Machado: settled a sexual harassment allegations suit with somebody for $32 million.
Baker Machado: That's a record it seems over at Fox News.
Baker Machado: He's claiming it's a smear campaign against him.
Baker Machado: What is your take on the latest O'Reilly settlement.
Baker Machado: At $32 million, Barney.
Baker Machado: That's a lot of money.
Barney Frank: Well, it shows that he's just full of crap.
Barney Frank: That he is a lying hypocrite.
Barney Frank: The notion that you would pay out
Barney Frank: $32 million just so your children wouldn't be embarrassed, which is what he said.
Barney Frank: The notion that you would give $32 million to people who are falsely accusing you is
Barney Frank: beyond the kind of inaccuracy that he usually pervade.
Barney Frank: It makes no sense whatsoever. And by the way, can I add here.
Barney Frank: There is this narrative now on the part of the right that all the left is being
Barney Frank: hypocritical because it's Harvey Weinstein versus Bill O'Reilly.
Barney Frank: Well, by the way, the same liberal journal newspaper took the lead on both of them.
Barney Frank: The New York Times did it to Bill O'Reilly
Barney Frank: and they did it to Harvey Weinstein or The New Yorker.
Barney Frank: So I do not understand where we get this notion that,
Barney Frank: oh the left wing was protecting Harvey Weinstein.
Barney Frank: In fact, both the New York Times and New Yorker too fairly identified as on
Barney Frank: the left publications did the job on
Barney Frank: Weinstein that no right wing journal ever did or right wing outlet when ever did it.
Barney Frank: And by the way as far as Fox News is concerned,
Barney Frank: after O'Reilly obviously admitted guilt to terrible abuse of people, $32 million worth.
Barney Frank: $32 million worth is a lot of groping.
Barney Frank: Obviously goes beyond that.
Barney Frank: Right after that Fox gave him a big fat contract.
Barney Frank: So again, this, this,
Barney Frank: uh, effort by the right wing to claim hypocrisy,
Barney Frank: no, uh, it was the left that exposed O'Reilly,
Barney Frank: the left media that exposed Harvey Weinstein.
J.D. Durkin: Uh, Congressman, while we have you here, uh,
J.D. Durkin: I want to switch gears real quick and talk about
J.D. Durkin: a former Democratic president Jimmy Carter said recently quote,
J.D. Durkin: "I think the media have been harder on President Trump than any other president."
J.D. Durkin: Do you think that, uh, Jimmy Carter there is right with his assertion, Congressman?
Barney Frank: Yes, he's right.
Barney Frank: But that's because that's the reality.
Barney Frank: Donald Trump has been more outrageous than any other president.
Barney Frank: That's like saying that
Barney Frank: the law enforcement system works harder on a man who committed
Barney Frank: a crime and sent to prison than the people
Barney Frank: who didn't commit a crime and weren't sent to prison.
Barney Frank: The question is not simply is the media being hard on Donald Trump,
Barney Frank: but is that an accurate description?
Barney Frank: Yes. If you look at what they've written about Donald Trump and said about Donald Trump,
Barney Frank: it's very tough, but it's an accurate reality of what he's been doing.
Barney Frank: By the way, the media was softer on him during the campaign.
Barney Frank: They gave him more attention,
Barney Frank: and they treated him almost like a harmless clown.
Barney Frank: So, yeah, the accurate reporting of Donald Trump's incoherence,
Barney Frank: inconsistencies, hypocrisies, outburst, incivilities.
Barney Frank: Yes, it must be very hard for Trump fans to read that.
Barney Frank: By the way, I have now become a reader of The Wall Street Journal, uh, editorials.
Barney Frank: They've always had a reasonably good, uh, news thing.
Barney Frank: The Wall Street Journal, it's become very critical of Donald Trump.
Barney Frank: Let me put it this way to Jimmy Carter.
Barney Frank: Go back and look at the presidencies and The Wall Street Journal
Barney Frank: has been as hard on Donald Trump in some ways as they were on previous Democrats.
Barney Frank: One day last week they had three editorials critical of him.
Barney Frank: So yes, the media is harder on Donald Trump
Barney Frank: than the previous presidents because Donald Trump is so much worse by
Barney Frank: any measure of what a president should be doing
Barney Frank: that accurate reporting of him comes out more unfavorable than of any other president.
Baker Machado: His speech tomorrow night at Duke University is,
Baker Machado: The Fight for a Fair Society: Is pragmatism a betrayal?
Baker Machado: Uh, former Congressman Barney Frank, always such a pleasure.
Baker Machado: Thank you so much for joining us.
Baker Machado: Okay, guys, that was our conversation with former Congressman.
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