Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Amanpour: Today we debate the defining
issue of our time: Should Government get its
damn hands off our Medicare?
Audience: how fascinating
Amanpour: Has government gotten too
government big - and who was really right?
Alexander Hamilton or Thomas Jefferson?
Audience: the white guy or the other white guy
Karl: just because of the darn Depression we
got the New Deal and all those meat inspectors
Audience: I like bacteria-free meat but I hate taxes
Amanpour: Today we have the most brilliant
minds in Washington DC by which I mean
four middle-aged white guys
Ryan: Government is like sugar, fat or
reality television - more of it is always bad
Amanpour: good point Paul
Ryan: the left says we are Hobbesian and
cruel and mean - but Obama’s crony capitalism
proved government doesn’t work!
Frank: we need government to fight wars and
build bridges and clean the environment but
we needs less government telling people not
to have sex the way conservatives want them to
Amanpour: Isn’t government just always bad?
Reich: thank for your loaded question and
this debate which is obviously designed to
Amanpour: Thank you Bob
Reich: People don’t trust a government that
harasses brown people or big Wall Street
that steals from people
Amanpour: Didn’t the New Deal put people to work?
Will: Government didn’t create any jobs until
a tiny government launched World War Two
Amanpour: how amazing
Will: Obama’s stimulus created jobs but not enough
Frank: Obama rescued the American automobile
industry oh and by the way Republicans
thanks for the recent depression
Amanpour: Paul you voted for the Wall Street
and auto bailouts
Ryan: yes but in my defense I was wrong
Amanpour: did the stimulus fail or did it prevent
a worse depression?
Ryan: that involves facts and so it impossible to say
Reich: we should have put strings on
the Bush bailout
Frank: oh thanks Republicans for the
Audience: can we prevent another bailout?
Frank: we passed a law saying no
government bailouts again
Will: We should break up the banks!
Frank: yes but which ones George?
Will: the big ones!
Ryan: liberals wants bureaucrats to run America
Frank: we want the government to pick and
choose who to bail out
Ryan: we should not bail anyone out until its
an emergency when we can’t think about it!
Amanpour: Why do the top 1% have as much
as the bottom 40%?
Ryan: because liberals punish rich people and
poor people say why should I bother becoming
rich the government will just take it away
Will: Government always responds to
bad rich people
Amanpour: very bold of you to say George
Will: also the elderly are too rich and powerful
Reich: yes rich people and corporations have
to much influence over government - but the
answer is not to shrink government but to get
money out of politics
Reich: the top tax rate under Eisenhower
was under 90%
Will: I don’t hate the elderly but they are
Greedy, selfish and destructive
Frank: ok George if you’re so concerned about
bad rich people let’s raise taxes on the wealthy
and spend it on poor people
Amanpour: most people don’t pay taxes
Frank: Christiane that’s right-wing bullshit
Audience: how do you stop special interests
from buying government influence?
Ryan: by reducing government obviously
Reich: that’s fine but government won’t be
reduced until we get money out of politics
Ryan: well we enacted McCain-Feingold so
everything should be fine
Reich: god you really are an insufferable little twit
Will: just leave everything to the free market
Reich: that’s great until we all get killed in
the name of profit
Will: some of us think all problems in the
world are caused by government
Audience: don’t we need red-light cameras?
Amanpour: of course we do
Will: Personal liberty!
Frank: so remove criminal penalties on marijuana
and internet gambling, gay marriage and all the
other right-wing expansions of government
Reich: we can unite the left and right to
defend freedom until we demagogue
each other on terror
Ryan: the left is the true Big Brother
Amanpour: what about social issues?
Ryan: that’s a totally different debate where
big government is awesome
Frank: the military is part of the problem
Ryan: our soldiers are rebuilding Afghanistan
to defend our freedom which we are giving away
Audience: I am an evangelical minister and 48%
of people in America are poor and yet most
people don’t know that
Ryan: Inequality is actually a good thing because
it means more people are getting rich
Frank: meanwhile real people are suffering
from mindless budget-cutting
Reich: government enacted laws requiring
racial equality and that was a good thing
Frank: what about pot?
Will: we need to do more research on marijuana
but until then it should be illegal
Frank: yes that makes sense
Amanpour: should government spend money
on poor people?
Ryan: calling people “poor” makes it seems like
they are “stuck in a class” - I prefer to call
poor people the “potentially rich” and I offer them
“future tax cuts” which they will be deeply grateful
for in a “hypothetical future.”
Amanpour: that’s highly imaginative
Ryan: We should get rid of crony capitalism
by which I mean we should means testing Medicare
Will: Government harms freedom and equality
by allowing rich people to influence government
and the answer is for government to not exist
except for roads and bridges and defense and
the mail and drugs and gays
Reich: yes - big businesses do influence government
- how do we solve that problem because we
can’t get rid of all government
Amanpour: thanks for coming everyone