Tom Steyer: Corporations Are Not People



MY NEXT GUEST IS A BILLIONAIRE WHO FOUNDED THE ADVOCACY GROUP,
“NEED TO IMPEACH.” NOW, HE’S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. PLEASE WELCOME, TOM STEYER! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
( BAND PLAYING )>>Stephen: NICE TO HAVE YOU
ON.>>FUN.>>Stephen: THANKS FOR BEING
HERE. WELL, I HOPE IT’S FUN FOR YOU
AND FOR ME. BECAUSE I’M TALKING TO A
POLITICIAN, NOW. YOU’VE NEVER BEEN A POLITICIAN
BEFORE, RIGHT?>>RIGHT.>>Stephen: BECAUSE YOU’RE A
POLITICIAN, I KEEP MY PEN AND I CHECK MY NOTES, OKAY, BECAUSE
I’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE I HOLD YOUR FEET TO WHATEVER FIRE
HAPPENS TO BE BURNING TONIGHT. NUMBER ONE, EVERYONE’S TALKING
ABOUT THE DEBATE MOMENT LAST WEEK BETWEEN SANDERS AND WARREN,
AND YOU’RE PART OF THIS, TOO. JIM? ( APPLAUSE )
>>I THINK YOU CALLED ME A LIAR ON NATIONAL TV?>>WHAT? I THINK YOU CALLED ME A LIAR
ON NATIONAL TV.>>LET’S NOT DO IT RIGHT NOW. YOU WANT TO HAVE THAT
DISCUSSION.>>ANYTIME. YOU TOLD ME — ALL RIGHT,
LET’S NOT DO IT NOW.>>I DON’T WANT TO GET IN THE
MIDDLE. I JUST WANT TO SAY HI, BERNIE.>>OKAY, GOOD. ( LAUGHTER )
( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )>>Stephen: DID YOU NOT — I
KNOW YOU’RE NO PART OF THAT ARGUMENT, BUT, OBVIOUSLY, I’VE
NEVER BEEN A WAITER BECAUSE — ( LAUGHTER )
— YOU’VE GOT TO READ THE ROOM. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO NEGOTIATE
MIDDLE EAST PEACE IF YOU CAN’T TELL WHEN TWO PEOPLE ARE
FIGHTING?>>OH, I KNEW THEY WERE
FIGHTING.>>Stephen: YOU WERE GOING
OVER THERE TO BREAK IT UP?>>NO, I WAS GOING OVER THERE TO
SAY HI. IT WAS THE END OF THE EVENING,
WE SPENT TWO HOURS ON THE DEBATE STAGE, AND I JUST WANTED TO SAY,
SO NICE TO SEE YOU BOTH, SEE YOU LATER, AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I
DID.>>Stephen: YOU ALMOST DIDN’T
MAKE THAT DEBATE BECAUSE THERE’S FUNDRAISING. WHAT’S THE STANDARD?>>225,000 INDIVIDUAL DONORS.>>Stephen: AND WHAT IS THE
STANDARD FOR FOLLOWING SNOLG.>>YOU NEEDED SOME COMBINATION,
EITHER FOUR POLLS OR TWO POLLS AT SOME LEVEL.>>Stephen: AND THE LAST TWO
POLLS THAT CAME IN, NEVADA AND SOUTH CAROLINA, IS WHAT GOT YOU
OVER THE TOP, RIGHT, FOR POLLING?>>YES.>>Stephen: YOU HAVE SPENT
MORE MONEY THERE THAN ANYONE ON ADS, $24 MILLION. TOM STEYER, IS MONEY SPEECH?>>WELL, LET ME SAY THIS — IN
THIS RACE, EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS GOING TO BE JUDGED ON THEIR
MESSAGE.>>Stephen: MM-HMM. AND THERE IS MONEY MATTERS. I’M NOT TRYING TO SAY IT DOESN’T
MATTER. BUT IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMETHING
TO SAY THAT RESONATES, THEN MONEY DOESN’T MATTER.>>Stephen: WHAT IF TWO PEOPLE
HAVE SIMILAR MESSAGES OR MESSAGES THAT RESONATE SIMILARLY
BUT ONE PERSON GETS IT OUT AT THE TUNE OF $24 MILLION BECAUSE
MONEY IS A PROBLEM WITH OUR POLITICS NOW. SHOULD YOU BE ALLOWED TO DO IT,
IN TOM STEYER’S OPINION?>>LOOK, I AM FOR PUBLIC
FINANCING OF ELECTIONS SO EVERYBODY GETS A CHANCE. I ACTUALLY HAVE A PLAN OF HOW
EVERYBODY CAN GET A CHANCE TO GET MONEY ENOUGH TO GET THEIR
MESSAGE OUT. BUT I’M RUNNING — STEPHEN, I’M
RUNNING FOR A VERY SPECIFIC REASON. AS YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T THINK I
WAS GOING TO RUN –>>Stephen: NO, LAST JANUARY,
YOU SAID NO.>>RIGHT.>>Stephen: THEN THIS SUMMER
YOU SAID YES. WHAT CHANGED YOUR MIND?>>I THINK, A, I BELIEVE I WAS
LISTENING TO THE DEBATES AND PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT
DIFFERENT PROGRESSIVE POLICIES, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICARE
FOR ALL AND A PUBLIC OPTION, DIFFERENT GREEN NEW DEALS, BUT
NO ONE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHAT I THINK THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT
THINGS ARE IN THE WAY I THOUGHT THEY SHOULD. ONE IS WE AREN’T GET ANYTHING OF
THOSE PROGRESSIVE POLICIES UNTIL WE BREAK THE CORPORATE
STRANGLEHOLD THAT THEY HAVE ON OUR GOVERNMENT. ( APPLAUSE )
BASICALLY, THIS GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR CORPORATIONS, IT’S BEEN
BOUGHT — LOOK, IF WE BREAK THE CORRUPTION OF OUR GOVERNMENT, IF
WE TAKE BACK THE GOVERNMENT FROM THE CORPORATIONS, WE’RE GOING TO
GET HEALTHCARE AS A RIGHT, AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE AS A
RIGHT, PUBLIC EDUCATION STARTING WITH PRE-SCHOOL, CLEAN AIR AND
WATER AS A RIGHT FOR EVERY AMERICAN. ( APPLAUSE )
BUT I’M RUNNING BECAUSE I THINK, AMERICANS NEED TO KNOW THE ISSUE
IS CAN WE BREAK THIS CORPORATE STRANGLEHOLD AND ARE WE GOING TO
SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE, THOSE TWO THINGS. DWOA THOSE TWO THINGS — WE DO
THOSE TWO THINGS, IF YOU STOP FOR A SECOND AND IMAGINE THAT
WERE TRUE, WE WOULD BE IN THE BEST POSITION OF ANYBODY IN THE
HISTORY OF THE PLANET.>>Stephen: LET’S TALK ABOUT
THE ECONOMY. YOU’VE SAID THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE
TO BEAT TRUMP ON THE ECONOMY. WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO THE
PRESIDENT AND SUPPORTERS WHO SAY, YOU KNOW, GOOD ECONOMY,
GOOD JOB NUMBERS, THE HOW HAS SO MANY DOW POINTS NOW. WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT?>>I WOULD SAY GOOD FOR WHOM? IF YOU LOOK AT THE G.D.P. NUMBERS, WHICH HE ALSO TALKS
ABOUT, IT ISN’T A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY OR COUNTRY IF THE
ECONOMY GROWS BUT ALL OF THE EXTRA INCOME ONLY GOES TO A
SMALL, SMALL PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY RICH,
ALREADY. THAT IS NOT A SUCCESS. ( APPLAUSE )
>>Stephen: OKAY. THE DOW, THE DOW — 10% OF
AMERICANS OWN 85% OF THE STOCK.>>Stephen: OKAY. MR. TRUMP PASSED A TAX BILL
THAT, IN MY MIND, IS THE WORST PIECE OF ECONOMIC LEGISLATION IN
AMERICAN HISTORY, AND IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT IT MEANT FOR
CORPORATIONS, THE BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER FOR PEOPLE IN BIG
CORPORATIONS. TOP 400 CORPORATIONS NOW HAVE AN
EFFECTIVE TAX RATE OF 11%. IF YOU DON’T PAY ANY TAXES, YOUR
COMPANY BECOMES A LOT MORE VALUABLE, AND IT REALLY IS STILL
ONLY HITTING THAT TOP FEW PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES. AND LET’S TALK ABOUT JOBS FOR A
SECOND, UNEMPLOYMENT.>>Stephen: HOW HAVE YOU DONE
UNDER TRUMP’S TAX CODE, JUST CURIOUS.>>JUST TO BE CLEAR, MR. TRUMP’S
TAX CODE ACTUALLY TARGETS PEOPLE IN BLUE STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA
BY NOT ALLOWING PEOPLE IN BLUE STATES TO DEDUCT THEIR STATE
INCOME TAXES. SO IN EFFECT, MY EFFECTIVE TAX
RATE WENT UP, JUST TO BE CLEAR.>>Stephen: THAT’S GOOD TO
KNOW.>>HE DID THAT, CLEARLY, TRUE IN
NEW YORK, ALSO.>>Stephen: BECAUSE HE KNOWS
HE’S NOT GOING TO WIN THOSE STATES.>>YES.>>Stephen: SO IN THE MOST
LEGISLATIVE WAY POSSIBLE, SCREW YOU.>>YES. AND HOW IS IT FOR HIM? YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT HOW IT DOES
FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS?>>Stephen: SO HE’S FEATHERING
HIS OWN NEST.>>I KNOW IT COMES AS A SHOCK TO
YOU.>>Stephen: I’M SHOCKED AT ALL
THE DIFFERENT WAYS IT HAPPENS.>>EGREGIOUSLY.>>Stephen: EGREGIOUSLY. LET ME TALK ABOUT
UNEMPLOYMENT, BECAUSE I THINKETH REAL IMPORTANT. WE HAVE A REALLY LOW
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, BUT PEOPLE CAN’T LIVES ON THE JOBS THEY
HAVE. ( APPLAUSE )
IS IT REALLY A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY —
>>Stephen: IF YOU NEED TWO JOBS.>>NO, IT ISN’T. HONESTLY, ONE OF THE THINGS I
SAY BECAUSE I LOOK IT UP MYSELF IS WE HAVE A $7.25 NATIONAL
MINIMUM WAGE. IF YOU TOOK THE MINIMUM WAGE IN
1980, WHEN RONALD REAGAN WAS ELECTED, AND JUST INFLATION
INVESTED IT SO THERE’S NO INCREASE IN BUYING POWER, IT’S
THE SAME, IT’S JUST IN $2,020, IT WOULD BE 11 BUCKS. BUT THAT ISN’T REALLY THE WAY
WAGES ARE SUPPOSED TO GO BECAUSE PEOPLE GET A LOT MORE PRODUCTIVE
OVER TIME. AMERICAN WORKERS GET A LOT MORE
DONE IN THEIR WORK HOURS. IT’S NORMALLY SPLIT BETWEEN
WORKING PEOPLE AND EMPLOYERS. IF YOU INCLUDE THE INCREASE IN
PRODUCTIVITY FOR THE WORKERS, THEIR SHARE, IT WOULD BE A
$22 MINIMUM WAGE TODAY, NOT $7.25.>>Stephen: WE HAVE TO TAKE A
BRIEF BREAK FOR COMMERCIALS. PLEASE DON’T GO AWAY, AND WE’LL
BE RIGHT BACK WITH MORE MR. TOM STEYER. HE’S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
( BAND PLAYING )

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