The economy is hard to predict but is every economic indicator still heading straight north? If the wall is a must, will the deal be struck with DACA? Is a bridge to citizenship a bridge too far? Instead of earning one’s way into the US, is the first thing Democrats want to do is put immigrants on food stamps? Could the “Penny plan” reduce the US debt load by half? Wall Street Journal Columnist, Senior Economist for CNN, and former Donald Trump advisor, Steve Moore joins Dan and Amy to discuss.
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Proft: Dan and Amy. So the virtually unprecedented, hour long, televised negotiation on a deal on DACA and border security between the President and party leaders, both parties, where you had... Jacobson: He was sitting next to Dick Durbin! Proft: Dick Durbin, yeah, was to his right. He should have put him in a headlock and given him a noogie! Trump trying to be conciliatory... Trump (from tape): But it also has to be, I feel, having the Democrats in with us is absolutely vital. Because this should be a bipartisan bill, this should be a bill of love. Truly, a bill of love, and we can do that. Proft: And the Democrats being somewhat conciliatory as well. Steny Hoyer, House Major...excuse me, House Minority Whip. Hoyer (from tape): Democrats are FOR security at the borders. I want to state that emphatically, there's not a Democrat that is not for having secure borders. Proft: I don't know if I BELIEVE Steny Hoyer, but it's nice that he said it. And so the deal that seems to be coming into formation is, at minimum, the DACA designees stay and wall and border security funding happens...the wall where the wall needs to be...right, as the President said. He also added, though, did President Trump, he repeated he wants the deal to include an end to chain migration, and an end to the diversity visa lottery. We'll see if those are component parts of whatever deal is ultimately struck, assuming one is before March 5th, the deadline the President has set on the DACA designees. For more on this topic and the economic impacts of it, we're pleased to be joined by our friend Steve Moore, chief economist for the Heritage Foundation, senior economist for CNN, Wall Street Journal columnist. Steve, thanks for being with us, appreciate it. Do we have... Moore: ...25,000... Proft: Okay, there we go. I'm sorry Steve, go ahead...we missed that first part, go ahead. Moore: How do you like Dow 25,000? Proft: My 401K likes it. Jacobson: We had a party. We were swinging from chandeliers we were so excited, Steve. Moore: Hahaha...I told you! Proft: What about...yes, well, let's keep it going. There are some that are predicting that ultimately, you're only forestalling the natural business cycle, and we're going to see a recession in 2020, going into the President's re-elect...excuse me, 2019, going into the President's re-elect. Moore: Well look I mean, it's hard to predict where the economy is going to go from here, but every indicator right now is pointing straight north. I don't know if you saw the latest survey numbers on how Americans feel about the job market, but they feel more optimistic than any time in the last 25 years. The Small Business Index is pointing straight north, the highest, you know, optimism of small businesses in 30 years. I mean, no matter what statistic you...my favorite right now is that the black unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since we started recording these numbers in 1972. So something has to be going right with Trump, which is why I think these people that say he's a moron, an imbecile, too unfit for office...I mean, my God, he's only been in office one year and he's already rebuilt the economy faster in one year than Obama could do in eight years. On this immigration issue, I mean look you know, I'm pro-immigration, I think immigrants are very important for our economy, I think they're one of our great comparative advantages. But I do think...build the damn wall! Let's get the wall built so Americans feel like the border has been secured, that Washington is taking illegal immigration and border security seriously, and once that happens I think the kinds of things that would help the economy, like more technology-based immigrants, more agriculture workers, the things that our industries need, we can get the immigrants that we want and need, and want to become Americans. So I'm all in on this but I think the people like Durbin that say "We're not gonna build the wall!", they're...look, we had an election, right? If there was a mandate for anything, it was...I was at the rallies..."Build the wall!" Jacobson: Right, everyone wants the wall built. But Trump kept saying during the campaign, "We're gonna make Mexico pay for it!" But Mexico...they're not going to pay for something they don't want (Moore: *laughing* Probably not!), and clearly we're gonna have to pay for the wall. Moore: Probably not. But you know, that was a sound byte of Trump's, and I didn't think it was very likely. But the truth is there are ways to...you can put a little fee when people cross the border, to pay for the wall, things like that, which would make people who cross the border and use the border help pay for the wall. But what I find ironic, Dan and Amy, is I've been in Washington 30 years, I've virtually never seen the Democrats opposed to a spending program. The only spending program in 30 years I've seen Democrats oppose, besides the school vouchers for DC kids, is building the wall! The one thing America NEEDS, which is our national security, and our, you know, defending our borders, that's the only thing they DON'T want to spend money on! Proft: Yeah, it's interesting...though Steny Hoyer saying they're very serious about border security. But as you note, their record suggests otherwise. But also, by the way, in terms of this, you know, Trump is saying $40 billion, it should be more like a third of that, and should take a year, not seven years. I mean for goodness sake, it took three years to build the Golden Gate Bridge....you know, the last century. And so you know, with respect to immigration, and the spend side of it...the deal that Trump is proposing, that the wall is a must, he also wants this, but a wall for permanent status for DACA designees, that's a deal that you would strike? Moore: Yeah I don't...look, I don't know all the latest negotiations on this, but I do know this; I certainly think that you could make a deal for, you know, a legalization program, but I think for a lot of Americans including myself, legalization...I mean, citizenship, may be a bridge too far. I mean, I'm talking unless...not necessarily about the kids, but the parents who came in illegally. I'm not so sure people do agree with the idea that they should become citizens when they came in illegally. But I don't know, how do you guys feel about that one? Proft: Yeah... Jacobson: Well, I'm a big supporter of having "Dreamers", the 700K people who are taken here without their...I mean, they didn't know, they were kids! (Proft; Not the kids, the parents.) No I know, but I mean I'm in favor of the kids becoming, you know, their path to citizenship. Their parents...if they haven't broken any laws, if they are paying mortgages, or obviously if they have jobs and they're paying taxes, we should give them a chance. Moore: Can I have one other thing? Let me add one other thing to that, that I think is important. I think it's really important if we give, if we...if we bring legalization and maybe eventually citizenship to these folks, that they not have been using welfare benefits. That's where I get off the train. I am for, Dan and Amy...immigrants want to come into this country and contribute and create a better life for themselves, and share in our freedoms and liberties, but not coming in and going on welfare. If you come in on welfare...it used to be in the golden age, you know the golden ages, that people came in and lifted themselves by their bootstraps, and made a better life for themselves. But we used to turn back people if they were going to become a public charge. Now, when they come in, first thing liberals want to do when they come into the country is put them on Food Stamps! Proft: Yeah, because it makes them a Democrat voter. Here's the...and I mean, just in terms of financing this, you do have NAFTA renegotiation ongoing, so building that in. On the spend side though, since that hasn't been talked about in terms of the immediate agenda items on the Republicans' agenda, the new year; DACA, infrastructure, entitlement reform...that's a spend reform, obviously. What about this plan that has been advanced previously, I think including by you, certainly by Senator Mike Enzi...the Penny Plan. (Moore: Yeah!) To take one penny out of every dollar the Federal government spends, over a decade you'd reduce our debt load by almost half, and then you know, you start to have the Federal Government living within OUR means. Moore: *sarcastically* Dan, how in the WORLD could you be so cold-hearted? I mean, we can't...are you saying the Federal Government can save a PENNY ON THE DOLLAR? I mean, that is CRAZINESS! I mean, no, look...the Penny Plan is a brilliant plan. It basically says next year that every agency, including military, including every agency of government, will save one cent on the dollar. And then next year they'll save another cent. And you do that for five years, and then in ten years you've balanced the budget. Was that so hard? Now people literally, you know, go into cardiac arrest when you try to talk about that in Washington, but I want to urge your listeners to go to my friends at OpenTheBooks.com...have you looked at that website? Proft: Yeah, sure. Moore: I mean, if you want to see where it is that the Federal Government can save one cent on the dollar, go to OpenTheBooks.com and take a look at the way the Federal Government is wasting money. I'll give you one, just one big example, which is that $150B a year, according to the Federal Government's own auditors, is spent on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, on fraudulent payments, on people receiving a benefit that they are not eligible for. One hundred and fifty...I didn't say million...$150B! You don't think the Federal Government can save one cent on the dollar, cmon! Proft: Alright, he is Steve Moore, Wall Street Journal Columnist, economist for CNN and for the Heritage Foundation, Steve thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Moore: Have a great week, guys, take care!