Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
Good afternoon and welcome. It's my pleasure to introduce Bill Simon who is the Hoover overseer and represents the William Simon Foundation which has been a wonderful supporter of the Hoover Institution for many years. I would like to ask Bill to come up to the podium and introduce our distinguished speaker. Bill. Thanks everybody, it's great to be here and congratulations everybody for braving the weather, right Jerry. Ladies and Gentlemen it is my distinct honor to introduce a man I have known for more than 20 years. In fact it was about 22 years ago to the day and he swore me in as an Assistant US Attorney when he was US Attorney in the southern district of New York. This man has been a friend, a mentor, a former boss and a fellow Ronald Reagan Republican and that's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Now the pundits have long described being Mayor of New York is the second toughest job in America. And in this case the pundits are right. As Mayor on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani cut taxes 23 times, he reduced the welfare rolls by over 50 percent. He cleaned up the streets and cut the murder rate by over 65 percent. He delivered eight straight balance budgets in a row. He reformed the nation's largest public school system ending life-long tenure for principals and by creating the first charter school fund in America. And before that as, I am sure you know, as federal prosecutor he successfully fought organized crime and put countless career criminals behind bars. And of course none of us will ever forget September the 11th. On that morning by pure coincidence I was in New York City sitting down for breakfast with Mayor Giuliani. Suddenly he was told that he would have to leave and a few minutes later, I knew why. And later the whole world witnessed what many of us had already known, Rudy Giuliani's extraordinary grace under pressure. He comforted us; he inspired us in one of the darkest days in American history. Extraordinary times cry out for extraordinary leaders. These are such times and Rudy Giuliani is just such a leader. He does not bend with the poles or blow with the winds of political expediency. He is a straight shooter who calls it like it is. So ladies and gentlemen, I would ask you to please join me, in a warm welcome for a great American, a great Republican and, if I might say so hopefully, the next President of the United States. Thank you. Thank you, very very much. It's so nice to be here in front of this audience on a snowy day. This when I was a kid, of course, like all of you snow is terrific, it was wonderful, you loved it, it was a day off from school, then I became the Mayor of New York and its $1 million an inch. That's what it costs in there it was $1 million an inch and I - when I ran and got elected Mayor of New York, even though it happened, I think, 20 years earlier or 25 years earlier, when I would go campaign in Queens, I was the first Republican candidate with a real chance of winning since John Lindsay. They would say, I am not going to vote for a Republican. But I had nothing to do with the usual prejudices and predispositions. I am not going to vote for Republican because they don't know how to pick up the snow. And when I right before I won, I was campaigning and I grabbed this guys hand, I was campaigning, you know, every last vote I could get, every last vote I could get, I grabbed this guys hand, he had a big smile on his face, he was a big guy with a big hand, he held mine very tight and he said to me, it would be until hell freezes over before there is a Republican Mayor of my city. And I said, thank you because that was all I could think of and I ran ahead and I campaigned. I just tried to reach every other hand I could get, I forgot about this man couple of days later I got elected, a month and a half, two months later I got sworn in as the Mayor. About a month went by and I had totally forgotten about this man and what he had said. I woke up after one month in office, I think it was February 1st of 1994, there was an announcement on radio on the old new station winds which said something like this, Mayor Giuliani has been in office for one month and he set a record. I said, Gee, I wonder what I did, so nice a record after one month in office. Said he said a record for snow fall. There has never been more snow in 35 years and there is going to be more snow this month in February. Now I started to not only I started thinking about this man, I started to have nightmares about him. Maybe he knew something, Republican Mayor, hell freezing over. Maybe there was something to it, but the point of my speech is the last two or three years that I was in office there was almost no snow, which shows that Republican policies and programs work. There, I mean, there is no question that you know the Republican party after the last election had just given the kind of feeling and attitude that you have going around the country, you know, Republican party has to, and the political parties have to do this all the time in our history. We have to redefine ourselves, we have to redefine ourselves and maybe it's a really good thing. It means the Republican Party had to kind of invent itself, way back in the 1850s. Had kind of invented out of the Whig Party and other parties, it had to invent itself in any number of times during our history we had to reinvent ourselves and any number of times during the history of the other party, Democratic Party, they have had to reinvent themselves. And I - this is a great opportunity and it's a good thing. That's the way we should look at it, that's what a democracy is all about. We essentially have 2 political parties and what both have been trying to do is to solve our country's problems and sometimes, their solutions work for a while, sometimes ours work better and I think over the long term we have the better idea and over the long term we produced more in terms of progress for this country. But we are not always right, we are not always on our game, we are not always we are not infallible by any means. So I think if we are going to redefine ourselves which, I think, we have to do in order to win the Presidency in 2008, in order to give ourselves a chance to win back either or both houses of the Congress we kind of have to go back to our core principles and build on. Now, and what are the core and what is the core principle of our party? I think its freedom, I think the core principle, the founding principle of our party is freedom. We are a party that, when we have made our contribution, when we have done things well, when we were on our game, how would you want to describe it we have we have contributed in each generation when we have been doing well, we have expanded people's freedom a little but more, sometimes a lot more. Sometimes a little bit more but the idea was go back to Lincoln and read Lincoln. The whole idea was if you give if you give people a little more discretion, you give him a little more power over their lives, if you let them make few more choices in the kind of society that we have we are going to grow up, we are going to expand and we are going to become greater than we were in the generation before. Starting with Lincoln you can see it through our greatest and most effective presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, who brought more freedom in modern times to the world Ronald Reagan. Eastern Europe, Soviet Union gone, Berlin Wall down, freedom in Poland, elections in Eastern Europe. May be not all of it as going as as much of a straight line as you would like, it never does in history but the general thrust there is more freedom, more freedom at home. So I think that that's the way we have to look at what we can do and how we could contribute. And may be we also have to look at kind of the two parts of how - even Ronald Reagan looked at freedom Freedom doesn't mean no government. Nobody has spent more on defense, I think, than Ronald Reagan, right? When you look at Gorbachev's writings now, when you talked to Gorbachev, you ask him, and you ask him what is Reagan's contribution, I think he once described it this way. He spent us into oblivion. He spent his contribution was he spent the Soviet Union into oblivion. He figured out that by constantly raising our defense expenditures that, if you, spent a much smaller percentage of our GDP but an increasing one on defense, the Soviets couldn't keep up with us, we would ultimately break them and we did. But that meant big government, a certain kind of big government, right, a big government with a big defense. We probably need to think that way now about homeland security. We need government to make us secure. We need to think about that in our War on Terror or what I'd rather describe it the war of the terrorists against us. I think we gotten ourselves into a little bit of an analytical warp here by thinking that is all war against them. I think we have gotten into a analytical warp because we don't see our options correctly when we see it that way, we get into a big domestic fight over it and boy we are doing damage to our reputation abroad. We have to redefine ourselves, not just our party, but our country and we got to say to the rest of the world America doesn't like war. America is not a military country. We have never been a militaristic country. We don't like war so much that sometimes that it even acts to our disadvantage and yours. Look how difficult it was for us to get into the Second World War. It really was probably if we have gotten into the Second World War earlier, or you've had realized the risk of Hitler earlier, who knows how many lives would have been saved, millions and millions and millions and millions. But this is part of being a good country, not a perfect country. America is hardly a perfect country. We have never been a perfect country, we are never going to be a perfect country, but we are a good country. So we don't like war. So, why we are at war? It's real simple, we are at war because they are planning to come here and kill us. That's why we are part of the war. Nobody is making that up. President Bush doesn't make that up. The intelligent services don't make that up, the media doesn't make that, you know that. You know because you have seen them doing, not just in not just on September 11, but way back in 1993 and they tried to do it at London and we can go on, on, on and on. So when I talk about the core principles of our party being freedom, I don't mean that it's so simplistic as to say, that needs no government. We need a strong and effective government where we need it and frankly we needed to operate a lot more competently, increasingly more competently. Because as government grows and it gets more and more bureaucratic it needs to be reformed, it needs competent measures, then that's what I had to do with Mayor of New York City and I think its possible to do it, I don't think its impossible to make government much more efficient and much more effective at the things that it has to do. But the big contribution that we have to make is to give people more freedom and that's what our party is about. Where you can do it? When you can do it? When it makes sense? And I am going to talk about it at in three areas, real quick, and then take your questions. One is the area of taxes, I don't think anything, I don't think anything separates us more right now between Republicans and Democrats and how we look at taxes. Let's look at the following proposition. There are people who say how can President Bush have gone to war, Afghanistan, Iraq and then the whole large war on terrorism that includes the homeland security aspect of it and all of the other things that it entails. How can you go to war and and either lower taxes or continue to have taxes lowered, it doesn't make sense. If you are going to war you should raise taxes, because you collect more revenues to fund the war. That shows to me a dividing line and a misunderstanding of how our economy works. Our economy is not a government dominated economy, our economy is a private dominated economy and it's only a government dominated economy if we make it that way. And I would say that if you lower taxes and you do it intelligently and you do it in a planned way and you do it with a little bit of prediction in mind where sometimes it can go a little bit wrong but usually its right. You actually collect more money than if you raise taxes. So I learnt that from Ronald Reagan, I learnt that from Ronald Reagan because he learnt that from, I think, John Kennedy, right. First big tax reduction, I can remember in my knowledge of politics and history with John Kennedy's tax reduction of the 1960's. It led to economic growth and more revenues for the government. Then Ronald Reagan did it in 1981, I think it was 1981. It led to a big growth in our economy and more revenues for the government. And now George W. Bush did it and exactly the, same go look at today's budget. Actually just go look at how much money or how much the revenue collections exceeded the revenue expectation for the last two years. In fact, the argument could be made, if you understand this, that if he had if he had raised taxes it is quite possible, we would be collecting less money today, because it would retard our economic growth and what we understand as Republicans is that, sure, the government is an important player in this, but we are essentially a private economy where Democrats really believe, honestly is that it's essentially a government economy and one of the reasons that we can do things like what Reagan did and what Bush did is because we understand that. Maybe way back then in the year of Kennedy they understood it too and they did. But they have kind of lost that, one of the reasons that I used to be a Democrat and now a Republican. It's a my other hero Churchill's statement, if you are not a liberal when you are 20 you have no heart, but if you are not a conservative by the time you are 40 you have no brain. So I think what we essentially that we essentially are displaying when we lower taxes intelligently you can't lower every tax, you can't lower every tax as much as everybody would like it lowered, obviously you need tax revenues in order to sustain the military, the war on terror, the necessary social programs, the agencies of government that are critical. But basically I think the way you could describe it honestly is if we have a choice, if there is some, what we might both regard as discretionary money around they would generally opt to put it into government and we would generally opt to give it back to people because we understand the people will make more intelligent, more creative, much better choices with that money which is why I think if the Republican Party is being much more now the party of the people and the Democratic Party being the party of government and taxes probably illustrates it better than anything else. Maybe school reform illustrates it also. School reform is something that I feel very, very strongly about, I feel very, very strongly about it because as the Mayor of New York City I was in charge of the city with the largest school system in the country, 1.1 million kids in school. I did not have the necessary control over and that one because I only had two votes on a board of seven. It has since changed and the Mayor has more control over it. But I began; I honestly began, exactly the way I described to you before. When I began as the Mayor of New York, I believe that we could reform the school system in the same way as I described to you before the government should be able to be more competent in the things the government must do. I was absolutely convinced that we could reform the school system. I might have even told you when I started and you we all learn from our experiences and growth. I might have told you when I started that it would be easier to reform the school system, I wouldn't have said then the police department. No because I knew the police department really well. I knew what I had to do and I had a kind of sense of the (indiscernible) of I probably would have told you we would have more success with schools and with welfare. And here the difference is we had much more success with welfare than with schools. We reduced welfare by 6-700000 after four or five years of struggling with it, making some changes, getting - changing the tenure for a school superintendent, changing ultimately even tenure for principals. The whole desire was to create accountability, to create standards of success. I was a I was very, very big on the Stat Programs, CompStat programs and HealthStat programs and JobStat programs. And once there was a headline in one of the two newspapers that posted the news, I had forgot which one with us. Tabloid headlines, it said Board of Education to Mayor: No stat. They didn't want any analysis, they didn't want any accountability. It seemed to me that the system did not exist for the benefit primarily overwhelmingly of the children and the students. It seemed to me that the system existed, first goal of the system was to protect the jobs and the priorities of the people in the system because you have to pay somebody who succeeded the same as somebody who failed, somebody who is in trouble, getting rid of them was like a long, long a long, long trial. So I became very, very interested in the idea of choice, school choice. And I examined it and I looked at it for some period of the time and then something happened, there was a program in which I think, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised, millions of dollars were raised and the idea was to offer scholarship to kids in public school. They offered 2000 scholarships to the kids in New York City Public schools who might want a better education, where their parents might want a better education for them. Do you know how many applications there were for the 2000 scholarships? This is the thing that, like an epiphany where you just change your mind in one second. I think this will change your mind in one second about school choice when I tell you the number if you haven't changed your mind already, 168000, 168000 applications for 2000 scholarships. That's a 168000 parents because most of these applications had to be filled up by the parents, not the children. And all the applications required that the parents be willing to do co-pay. I've forgotten how much it was but it was couple of hundred dollars or more, which would have been a significant amount of money for many, many of these people who did not have lot of money. They were poor by and large. What they were saying is I want a better education for my child and the one that the authoritarian, monopolistic system is saying I must have for my child. And I don't have a choice about it like you do if you have more money. You have a choice about it, if you have more money. You can move to the suburbs, and get a great school. Maybe you have even more money you can pay for one - one of those really expensive private schools. But I can't, because I don't have enough money. But I care about my kid as much as you do, maybe more. I love my kid even more, or or as much and I want a good education just like you do So gosh you are spending all this money, you are spending $12 billion a year on New York City Education. Just give me a little fraction of them, let me go buy the school that I think is the right one for my child. I don't know how you say no to that. I don't know why that isn't one of the great civil rights issues of our day right now. And I know that it would change public education in this country. It would not destroy it, it would revive it, reform it and change it because what would because what would happen, what would happen is they would have to or or they would have to reform themselves. All the things that we are trying to impose from above do away with tenure. Incentive pay, reward for good performance, tighter and better and more and and more quickly resolved disciplinary issues where where teacher has done something terribly wrong, it takes two or three years to get it resolved. Reduction of administrative cost, so that the money goes into the classroom rather than all of those things would happen not by being imposed from above, but from happening in a healthy way from below that the I guess, the choice you have to make and this is where the two parties are so different, right? It's high taxes, isn't it? The choice is who do we trust the most with the education of a child, The Department of, Federal Department of Education bureaucrat, the New York City Board of Education bureaucrat. They know the best about the education of the child or does the parent know the best about the education. Who is going to care more about this one kid? The Board of Education, whether it's a local, state or federal educrat or bureaucrat or whatever you want to call. To whom this person, this child is a number or is the parent going to care. There is no question that our party comes out in favor of where you where there is where there is room here for debate about who gets the choice. The choice is better in the hands of the private individual, the private institution. Maybe it's a more complicated way to solve problems but it's a better way to solve. And that's what our party should stand for. That's what I mean by we are party of freedom rather than a party of Government. The third area is entitlement reform. But let me tell you how I view social progress. Probably you can see it in schools, a little bit in taxes. I think I analyzed social programs and I really had to do this very, very wide and very intensely as Mayor of New York City. I have 1.1 million people on welfare when I came in to office. In a city of 7.3 million at the time, I think it was 7.3 million and I had estimates that it was going to grow, from 1.1 to tie at 1.4 or 1.5 with absolutely nothing suggested to do about it. So, I looked at that and I look at homelessness and other issues this way. The way to analyze our social programs is to take it down to individual human beings. How would you treat? Somebody you loved, if they didn't have a job, or if there were homeless on the street. What would you do if it were your brother, your sister, your child or your best friend? And all of a sudden, they lost their job and were out of work, were all of a sudden they were living on the street, you pick the social program. But here here is what you would do for the person who you loved who is out of work. You would reach into your pocket and you'll give them some money to help. And you'd help them, you would help them get over the difficulty but you'd be constantly helping them try to find a job. You would constantly be helping them to get back into the appointment they were in maybe you'd call friends of yours who had work for them, maybe you'd call associates of yours who had work for them. You try to get them back into work. And not because you don't want to give them any money, not because you - you probably only too glad to help them because they've probably helped you if they are if you are close. But you do it because you cared about them. You do it you do it, because they were more than just a number. They were not the under class where the little number, they were human beings with a heart and a soul and what we were doing with the welfare is we were treating them as the under class and the little number just just like the people who say that the that educrats know better about the education of the kids than the parents because there is a elitism in that. The elitism is these poor kids really don't have the same kind of parents that the middle class and rich kids have. It's it's they they must all have no parents or just not true. Poor kids have parents that are just as good as middle class and upper class and rich and whatever, however that you want to describe people. That's how America grew because we had lots of poor parents who really, really love their kids as much if not more than any other parents. And that that there are kids in every group that have bad parents. But they are a lot and that that's what that 168,000 said to me immediately. That is a total And same thing is true with welfare reform. So, we said we are going to install a workfare requirement. If you want your welfare checked, you got to work for 20 hours a week. It was vilified, it was made fun of, it was attacked and I would go in front of groups all over the city and say and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I would say to them, I am doing this because I love you more and I care about you more. I am treating you like you were a friend of mine, were somebody important to me as a human being because if you were somebody that I knew, and you can't know everybody when you are the Mayor of New York City or the President of United States or the Governor of the State. But if I if I did know you, I would try to help you find a job and therefore I am trying to build a social policy around how people should really be compassionate and how people should really care about each other and how people should really help each other. So long story made short and summarized. We installed the workfare program. At one time we had as many as 36,000 people working for New York City in exchange for their welfare check. We then started a JobStat program in which we said to the welfare work is fine, work for people. They did. We changed the welfare office into the New York City Job Center and seven or eight years later, 600000 700000 fewer people on welfare. Last two years we did it. We were finding a 100000 - 120000 jobs in each one of those combinations of welfare office. And we were rewarding welfare workers for finding jobs even more than just putting people on welfare. And all of it was done because we care about people more and that that's how we are going have to look at out entitlement reform. We are going to you know, we have to reform health care. Everybody knows we have to reform health care. It's too expensive by a lot. Not enough people have access. Too many doctors are being sued and driven out of medical profession. I could go on and with all kinds of problems with our health care systems. But then, to analyze properly what we must do about it to reform it, you got to take one big step back and you have to look at it and you have to say to yourself, isn't it the best healthcare system in the world? Who leaves here and goes other places for heart operations or brain surgery. I just had two good friends who had to have very, very serious brain surgery. And one of them we helped get into a hospital in New York because there was a particular surgeon that she wanted to do it. And another one, went to MD (Anderson) in Houston and then I spent a lot of time talking to people about prostate cancer because of my own history with prostate cancer. A lot of people helped me, so I want to help them. I I have gotten, I don't know how many requests for advice about prostate cancer. Should it be an operation, should it be seeds, should it be radiation, so should be should it be incantation. I have never yet gotten the following request. Can you find me a hospital and I don't want to insult any country because I know I am going have protests if I do. But can you find me a hospital outside the United States, in Europe or Asia or Africa or or South America, or Canada even. I I've gotten many of these requests. I don't know 50 or 100 whatever. Nobody has ever requested going out. I've gotten several requests from outside the United States to come to one of our hospitals. And I don't think you know of the request going the other way, either right. They all want to come here, because we have the best healthcare system in the world. Fractured, in trouble, we are going to have to fix it, but if that's the case and you agree with that then we got to keep the core of it correct. If we destroy the core of it, we are going to do a welfare we are going to do the healthcare reform in healthcare, what we did to welfare. And it took a long time to recreate it. The core of it is, the reason why we have the best healthcare system in the world is because our healthcare system is primarily private, market, driven and profit motivated. Those are all good things if properly regulated. Those those those things I just mentioned they actually be the genius of our success. The systems that people don't want to go to, the reason that people don't call me and ask me for doctors or help or to get into those other systems is because they are government dominated, single payer, single dominated group. You do not want to take your healthcare system and make it like your public school educational system do you. What we wanted is take our pubic educational system and make it as much as you can, a competitive free market system that is accountable. So, yes, we have to find ways to include everybody in health insurance. We have to find ways to reduce the cost. We have to find ways to reduce the number of needless and overwhelming lawsuits that are driving doctors out of the medical profession. But we have to do that within the core of our system. The solutions have to be free market solutions, they have to be competitive solutions, they have to be lots of options. That may be a little bit more complicated. It isn't as easy to just say that and wave a magic wand over a major problem. But ultimately, it would get us a system that gives to everyone the kind of quality healthcare that we now have in America, doesn't remove it for everyone. And believe me that the suggestions that I see on the other side, very much threatened to move right, almost directly to socialize medicine. And that would be a terrible, terrible mistake and it will be a repeat of the same mistakes we've made in education and the same mistakes we made in welfare. And we need Republicans who understand how to deal with these problems. So I've tried to deal with very, very broad philosophical ideas. As we move along and even getting intuitive. It's like that it's like its 2008 already. But, as we move along, and we get further along, we'll be a lot more specific about it. But the kind of solutions that I will suggest will always be driven by the idea that we work best as a party, I think, in making our contributions from our ideological perspective. And I think it helps our country the most when we look to things where we empower people more. When we are doing that, I think we are growing. When we take the steps in the other direction, I think that's when the country goes into decline. So I am going to stop now and take your questions and then conclude with one little one little story.