The February monthly Economic Update. As usual, I want to thank the three entities that produce and host this event. Then I have one brief announcement. Mary, over here, will have another brief announcement and then we'll jump into the evening's events. So. First of the three supporting organizations is the Judson Memorial Church. You are sitting in the Judson Memorial Church right now. It’s been around a very long time, has an illustrious history, and we are proud to be a part of that history. We are here by the invitation of the senior minister of this church because, in her view, what we do here is part of what she understands to be the mission of her church. Which is something to think about. The second organization that supports this is the Left Forum. It’s an annual gathering of left academics and activists. It’s the largest of these these things in the United States. Been going for about 30 years. And it will occur, as usual, this year, in the spring, in particular, June 2nd-4th. And it will all take place at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice Unit of the City University of New York, which is on the far west of 59th Street in mid-town Manhattan And the third organization is Democracy at Work.
That is the organization I work with, and that literally produces each of these evenings, also produces the weekly radio program that I think many of you know about that airs here in New York on WBAI, but that also airs in about 75 other radio stations across the country. Some of you asked me to mention it, so I will tell you about some of the places where we are on the air every week: Tampa, FL – probably our biggest station. Something for you all to think about, too. Houston, TX, Denver… California, I am proud to tell you, is a state where – no matter where you are – you can not get away from an opportunity to hear me once a week. [Laughter] From San Diego, in the south, to Ukiah, in the north, and everything in between, we are everywhere in California, but also in a growing number of other places. Two television stations now run the program.
Here, in Manhattan, on W… on Channel 34 8 o’clock on Tuesday nights. MNN is the hosting institution. And, in California, in the Bay Area, KSCM – a local television station – broadcasts the program there. And, it is my hope in the next few weeks, to announce to you more television stations. Hopefully, lots more. So this is growing, and I thought you might enjoy knowing it as well as we do. So here’s the announcement I have to make before I introduce Mary: We have sponsors for these events. People who are kind enough to help us defray the costs of these things, which include the videography which is being done in the back. This program will be up on YouTube, available probably within 24 hours. We usually get it done that quickly. But I want to thank tonight’s anonymous sponsor. We are perfectly happy to announce the names, or organizations that sponsor us, unless they ask to remain anonymous.
So I want to thank tonight’s sponsor who is hopefully listening or watching. We were allowed to say where this person is and where he or she gets the program. It’s in North Redington, FL. Anyone here from North Redington, FL? Too bad, because you have a friend in North Redington, FL. Everyone at Democracy at Work is very grateful for the sponsors. If anyone watching or listening would be interested in sponsoring one of these monthly programs, just go to our website, democracyatwork – that’s all one word – democracyatwork.info/sponsor and all the information about how to do that is available at the website at that place. And, of course, we would welcome you, if you did that. Finally, I believe I mentioned this last month, but in case I didn’t, let me do it now. One of the recent videos – I believe it was last month’s, could have been the month before – video of this evening’s talk, this monthly talk, passed a milestone on YouTube. It was viewed by 100,000 people.
Which, if you think about it… [applause] …we were very excited; we had not achieved that before. But it led us to understand in some of our interactions with the YouTube management that it would be an enormous help to us if you could – those of you that are watching around the world – if you could not only watch the video of this, but also subscribe to the Democracy at Work Channel on YouTube. It would be an enormous help to us in many, many ways. And so we ask if you would please do that. It's a second request other than the fact that I always remind everyone: the folks sitting here tonight paid $10/person to help defray the costs of our organization. If you're one of the 100,000 people watching, think about hitting the "donate" button on the screen that you're watching so that you can do your part like the folks here sitting have done their part in helping to finance what it is we're doing. So thank you for your attention. Now, in relationship to the action groups we are forming around the country, I want to introduce Mary over here, who works with the one here in New York, who has a short announcement for you. [Mary] Hi, everybody.
So we are all here because we know the system is not quite working for everybody. And now is our time to explore which systems will work better. So we have Democracy at Work Action Groups that are meeting all over the country, but the ones that we are asking people to come to is Wednesday the 15th of this month at 7:00 PM at the Brooklyn Commons. And we have three groups that are going to be there. We have an education committee, we have the co-op committee and the politics committee. And a couple of things we're working on is, with the politics committee, we're actually lobbying legislators in New York State to pass worker-owned businesses into law, so that anyone who wants to sell their business when they retire can sell it for considerable tax abatements if they sell it to their workers. So this is something tangible we can all do. And we also have a co-op committee who's working on making short films to educate people about what cooperatives are and what it would look like to work at an organization like that.
So: Brooklyn Commons, Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 PM. If everybody could come out and support us and get to work, that would be awesome. And, anybody watching at home, please go to action.democracyatwork.info. We have a lot of groups around the country who are starting to form, and we want you to get involved there, as well. So, thanks. If you guys haven't signed up yet, please. Paul's going to pass one out on this side; I'll pass it out on this side. Give us your email address and we will send you a quick reminder before the event starts and we hope you will come out to join us. [Wolff] Thank you, Mary. [applause] All right, folks. Let's jump in. I promised to try not to make these talks – starting tonight – be about Mr. Trump and what he does.
Clearly, he enjoys getting the attention, works very hard at it. Lots of folks are cooperating with this. I don't want to be one of them, so I will – I have to from time to time – but I'm not going to focus as much on the latest thing he has or hasn't done, because I think there are more important things, basically, for us to be doing. Okay. So let's begin. I wanted to start today just with a couple of items that you may not have heard about, but that I think are really worth your being aware of. As you know, one of the things that we do is talk about the need to change the economic system. We do not shy away from being critical of capitalism as a system. We're doing that more and more. And the interesting thing is, the audience for it is growing a great deal. This last week, there was a sign of it in a peculiar way, so I wanted to begin with that. Last spring, an institution at Harvard University, called the Institute of Politics, which is located at the John F.
Kennedy School of Government – that's purely coincidental, that's not an intentional kind of activity – they did a poll of Americans, random poll of Americans 18-29 years of age last spring. And they found that a majority of Americans in that age group – 18-29 – don't like capitalism. Let me say this to you again. A majority – that's more than 50%, if you remember high school, more than 50% – they don't like capitalism. And that led a young man by the name of – I want to be sure I get this right – I believe it's Trevor Hill – to ask a question this last week in a public hearing of a very important politician who was sitting there and giving a talk. The politician's name was Nancy Pelosi, the head of the House of Representatives – the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives – and he quoted her the statistics from the Harvard poll. And he said that it was his hope, and he would like her comment, that the Democratic Party was taking cognizance of this fact, that as the older people, etc.
, the younger people replace them and the younger people, clearly, are not fans of capitalism any more. And would she be okay with the Democratic Party accommodating that change in its base. She looked – I actually watched because I wanted to report this to the public – she looked visibly uncomfortable with the question. You could see in her face that she really wished he hadn't asked it. Very nice young man who was very personable and made a good impression. So, in her discomfort, she hemmed and hawed a little bit and then said as if it were the most normal, natural thing in the world, "But we're all capitalists." The Democratic Party is capitalist. She made it very clear. Then she went on to talk about other things. I want to stress to you all that the world is changing – and fast – about capitalism. It is not going to get much reporting in the press, because the press is owned and operated by people who are not happy about this development, to say the least. And, being unhappy about it, they're not going to spend a lot of time giving you detailed discussion of it.
They are distressed by the poll at Harvard. Not pleased. And one of the ways they can squelch this is by not reporting very much about it, which is why, in part, I'm telling you about it. And it also means that the leaders who read the same papers and watch the same TV the rest of us do are not prepared – like Mrs. Pelosi wasn't – for such a question. Didn't have a good answer; hardly had an answer at all. Well, then, what does all of this mean? Well, if you read the poll at Harvard a little further, it turns out that 75% of American young people don't like capitalism, but they don't like the label 'socialist' either. So their anti-capitalism really is about the system they know, which they don't like, but what to do and where to go, that's much murkier.
They're not so clear. And the word 'socialism' isn't an unmitigated, logical alternative. Not at all. They're keeping that at a distance, too – most of them. Well, then, where are we going to go is the question that's behind everyone's head, in the sense it's in their mind. If capitalism isn't so good, where do we go? And I wanted to take just a couple of minutes to respond to that. Of course you could go – and my guess is we will be seeing that – you could go again in the direction that socialists took in the 19th and 20th centuries when socialism, in its modern form, emerged. And, for those people, the alternative to capitalism was pretty clearly worked out after a while.
Where capitalism was private enterprises and markets, socialism was public enterprises and government planning. The businesses would be run by the government – not by private enterprises – and where private enterprises ran the businesses for their own profit, the government – the idea was – would run it for the benefit of all the people. And, where the market kind of pandered to people who had money, planning would distribute goods and services more on the basis of some notion of social need. Socialism was, therefore, replacing private property with public property and markets with planning. And you could see they believed that, because in the Soviet revolution of 1917, in the Chinese revolution 1949, in the Cuban, in the Vietnamese – that's what they did. They took large portions of private enterprise and made them governmental, and they instituted a big planning apparatus to organize who got what, which is why education, medical care and so on were distributed to everybody.
Wasn't a matter of markets any more. You didn't get the quality – I mean, I don't know if this will come as a surprise to you in America – but you didn't get medical according to how much money you had. You got medical care, because you were a human being. End of story. Okay, that socialism put an awful lot of power in the hands of the government. The government would become the owner/operator of the enterprises, and the government would plan the distribution of everything that was produced. Well, that is giving an awful lot of power to a government. And that didn't work out so well. I mean, it worked well in terms of economic development. And that was a major goal, because countries like Russia and China and Vietnam and Cuba were extremely poor. When they made their revolutions, these were countries among the poorest in the world. And, in a very short time, they became much less poor. I know for many in America it's always hard, given the Cold War, to wrap your head around it.
But let me just remind you of some numbers. In 1917, when the Russians made their revolution, over 90% of the people in Russia were illiterate – couldn't read or write, lived in rural areas without roads, without electricity. You have to get a sense – it's the most backward country in Europe at the time. In 1917, they then went through the following experiences, basically: they lost World War I. They had a revolution. The revolution was followed – that's in 1917 – in 1918 by a civil war. The country split and had a civil war. And, during the civil war, four countries in the world invaded the new, little Soviet Union with military troops. Four countries did that: Britain, France, Japan and the United States. Ten thousand American troops landed in Russia to crush the new regime. A little fact for you to think about. No Russian troops ever came here. But our troops went there.
Might make a bit more sense why they're afraid of us than we really are of them. That's the history. Okay? Then they had an agrarian transformation – the collectivization of agriculture – then they were the biggest loser of people and property in World War II. So this was a very poor country, afflicted by two world wars, a civil war, a foreign invasion… I mean, for them to be able to say in the 1970s that they had become the second Superpower after the United States is an achievement the world has very rarely seen. In fact, the only major country in the world to achieve an economic growth as spectacular as what the Soviet Union achieved is the People's Republic of China. Which, in the last 20 years, has basically done the same thing – but without revolutions and wars and all that. They made a strategic decision to become the producer of goods for the world, which is why most of your underpants come from China.
[laughter] Okay. And so does your toaster and more and more of the components of your car and the components of your iPad or whatever it is that you have that's an object. So, the Communist or socialism that they did – this government taking over everything – was very successful as an economic growth engine. Which is one of the reasons so many countries around the world are attracted to it. But it also puts so much power in the government, that if you got people in the government who had disagreements with the mass of people, they could – and they did – use that power in undemocratic, dictatorial ways, which the enemies of socialism made a big thing of for understandable reasons, leaving an awful lot of people not to want to go in that direction, even if they're displeased with capitalism, reproducing what happened there is not the attractive option. Well, then, the problem is – and you see that everywhere in the world – where are people, the growing number of people, dissatisfied, unhappy with capitalism – where are they going to go? What are they going to do? What is the next place to go? Or do we have to resign ourselves – like Mrs.
Pelosi – to saying "Capitalism." If you actually read her statement, she actually began distinguishing 'nice capitalism' from 'not-nice capitalism'. [laughter] No, no. She meant that. Capitalism that isn't as oppressive. She was willing to say that capitalism in the United States today has produced great inequality. Giver her that; she saw that. And she didn't like that. She wanted a better capitalism that didn't do that. So she wants to hold on to capitalism, but she's excited about better and worse capitalisms. A growing number of people – particularly young ones – they don't want to go there. They don't want this system; they want something else. All right. The point, then, is: what might that other thing be? And one way to get at it, is to ask or to recognize that what was done in the 19th and 20th centuries was, in a sense, the first, massive effort to go beyond capitalism. Hadn't been done before.
So, it turns out, they did some things well and other things not so well. They made some successes; they had some failures. There are lessons we need to learn, what to do, and there are lessons we need to learn, what not to do, from what happened. Well, one of the things they didn't do, was to transform the workplace. They were so busy moving from private to public, from market to plan, that the transformation of the workplace – where we, as adults, spend most of our lives, five days a week 9-to-5, we work. And that experience – how we interact with one another, how we feel about it, what it does to us – is central to a better society if there's going to be one. So, out of that comes – slowly and painfully – a recognition that transforming the workplace may well be the number one focus for a socialism of the 21st century. It was going to have to do what the earlier socialisms didn't do in the hope that, if the mass of people become the owners and operators of their workplaces – take control of the workplace – they will have the wealth, the resources to not give over any excess power to any government any more. That the very way that this government is beholden to capitalists – and even a casual look at Mr.
Trump's cabinet can give you a good glimpse into that – then we can imagine what a government would be like if it was beholden to enterprises that were, in fact, owned and operated democratically by the workers in our society. And our interest in worker cooperatives and the cooperative movement comes out of this notion that, in that movement lie the seeds of a way to get to a better system that learns from the first efforts that were successful and unsuccessful, charts a new direction and, thereby, gives the human race a place to try to go. As the difficulties of this system get worse and worse, which – I do have to tell you, much as I wish I didn't, as a professional economist – is what's going to happen.
It's already happening. Part of our work here every month is, unfortunately, to document. Okay, so in that framework, I look for – and like to report to you – when these things happen. So, I was very surprised to learn recently – and one of you sent this to me, so I appreciate those of you who send me material – that in Spremberg – S-P-R-E-M – Spremberg, in the state of Brandenburg – that's part of Germany – a local hospital has been taken over by its workers. And has been for some years, now, and is producing absolutely remarkable results and getting a lot of attention, which is how it came to the attention of one of you, who brought it to my attention. The majority of the shares – it's a share-holding hospital – are owned by the workers who are there, and therefore, make all the basic policies.
So it's a worker-run hospital. I mention that to you, because mostly when I talk about co-ops, I'm talking about companies that produce goods and services. Some of you have asked me "Well, could that apply also to institutions that don't work that way?" and the answer is "Not only it could, but it already does." And this is a very interesting example. Any of you interested in details can see this here. Another example I learned about is Japan. Japan has, arguably, more of a cooperative sector than any Western county. I used to mention Italy, which is quite well developed as a co-op. There are parts of Italy where half the local economy is cooperatives. Emilia Romagna – for some of you who know, one of the states in Italy, one of the provinces, is the state – roughly 40% of the economy in that area is co-ops. But, in Japan, the statistics are really extraordinary.
Give you an example. Japan's Consumer Cooperative Union, commonly referred to as "The Co-op" in Japan, provides an enormous range of goods and services. It has 28 million members. It accounts for thirty – it is, membership, it is 37% of Japanese households are members of these co-ops. They do many billions of dollars' worth of business every year. They are a mainstay. They have, associated with them, large numbers of cooperative banks – that are also owned and operated by the people who have accounts in them. The whole cooperative sector in Japan is decades ahead of what it was here. And the irony is that most of those co-ops were actually created in the 1950s under the occupation of Japan by the United States after World War II. Remember? General MacArthur – some of you have read the history – well he had American farming interests, who came out of America's co-ops – which were once very strong – and they wanted to implant that, because they believed that co-ops was a more secure way to ground – you'll love this – democracy in Japan than letting them become private capitalist enterprises.
So they took off in Japan and they died here. That's called the irony of history. [laughter] But the Japanese are very deeply committed. The only challenge to this co-op right now is another company that has captured their way of organizing vast deliveries of goods and services. Most of what this co-op does is deliver food and other items to the Japanese. They like delivery; they've liked it for decades. The company that threatens them now: Amazon. And they are now fighting to hold on to their dominant position and keep Amazon at bay. Okay. Now to the less up-lifting. I need to tell you about a drug. The drug-maker is called Kaleo – K-A-L-E-O – and they make a drug called Evzio® – E-V-Z-I-O. Evzio® is a way of injecting yourself with an item called naloxone. It is the antidote to a heroin or opioid overdose. As you know from my talks to you in the past, we are now living through a major epidemic of overdose – deaths by overdose – we had 33,000 last year. Let me do that again.
Thirty-three thousand Americans died – at least what we can keep track of – of drug overdoses, mostly these opioid drugs. And this naloxone comes in a little injector which has in it not only the needle that puts it in you, but has built into it – modern technology – a tiny, little recording. And you press the button and the recording tells you how to go about injecting yourself. So anybody who has a sudden overdose attack can really – even if he or she doesn't know anything about this – press the button and has something that will explain how to do this. Up until two years ago, this injecting device cost $690. Which is a lot. But last year, Kaleo – the producer of this thing – raised the price from $690 to $4500 per shot.
So let's now do the economics. Not that it's difficult. This is called The Market. The Market is a place where demands and supplies. This company controls the supply – they're the only one who makes this thing. They control the supply. The demand is created by the culture – the society – which is driving record numbers of people to blot out a reality they cannot bear by going off into what you get to if you use opioids. And they do it indiscriminately and they kill themselves. So the demand for this is enormous as this epidemic plays itself out. And, under the rules of The Market, if the demand is going crazy and you control the supply, you are supposed to charge what the market will bear. And that's $4500, leading all kinds of people to be unable to afford – or even to think about. I was struck by the example of the state of Vermont, which is interesting not only because it has Bernie Sanders, but because it has gone further in the direction of a health insurance program for its people than any other state in the United States, but it also has one of the worst opioid epidemics in the United States at the same time.
They can't use it; it's too expensive. They use an older form of the drug, which isn't as easy to administer, isn't as easy to pass around. So there are people who are doing without, because they cannot afford it. A market is a system in which anything that is scarce – whether it's scarce by nature, or scarce by the design of the producer – will then be sold to the highest bidder. That's what a market is. There's nothing to prevent Kaleo from doing this. So they did it. You remember Martin Shkreli – many of you saw him on television, who got caught doing that with another drug, and there were others – well, in case you thought television exposure meant that this wasn't being done any more, you are in error.
It is being done. Here is another example, only this one is even more egregious, since it is an epidemic about which everyone is deeply concerned. There was a time in American history when the opioid epidemic was particularly harsh in African-American communities. Now, it's clearly cutting across all communities. In fact, the bulk of the people now dying from it are not African-Americans. And it's a testimony to this institution called The Market that it works like this. And it is always working like this. So let me take a moment to do more economics. What's the defense of this? How do you defend distributing things by a market when that's a system that gives things that are scarce – like this drug – to the people who can afford it and lets the others drop dead or get sick? What's the defense? Here's how it goes, and this is how it's taught to students across America and even across the world.
You should let the market go. Despite it looks bad, because think of the profits being made by this company when it can charge $4500 for this thing that you used to charge $690 for! That's going to make capitalists around the world and investors drool at the profits they can – And that's going to lead them to set up a lab to come up with another drug that could compete. So, you see? It isn't all bad, because it's going to stimulate. It creates an incentive for other people to come in and make medicines, too. That's what we were taught. I remember a young woman in class raising her hand and saying, "Okay, I get it. If it's scarce and it drives the price up because it's scarce, that would make people invest. But you know, if it's scarce, what do we need a market for?" We know there are people dying and the thing is scarce.
So a human being who isn't demented will come up with a brilliant idea: MAKE MORE OF IT! [laughter] Pay somebody to go and invent some more of it. What!?! We don't need a mar… To tell us that a market is this back-handed way of getting something done that a moron could figure out without a market suggests that a market looking desperately for a rationale for itself that we don't need it. When you think of what could happen – a little more economics – Kaleo Company isn't stupid. No capitalists are that stupid. What do they do when they have a deal like this, is they get what's called Patent Protection. They file a document in an office in Washington – an obscure document that doesn't let anybody reproduce this for 17 years. That's what a patent is good for, basically. Seventeen years, nobody can produce this unless they give them the permission, which they don't have to do and which they won't. Because, of course, if they gave other people the permission, then they couldn't charge $4500, because everybody would do it. So, it turns out, that the market protects itself.
That is, it protects the winners. And a patent is a way of doing that. Well, how do you defend a patent? Here we go: you're going to learn economics. See? A patent is great, because an inventor is excited to invent something, because he or she will get a patent and then they can rip everybody off with it. And, if they couldn't get a patent, they couldn't rip us off and they wouldn't bother inventing anything. This is a notion of a human being as a pig. As a person not motivated by anything other than "How much can I get, no matter what expense of the population?" If I can make a fortune off people overdosing on drugs, let's go for it. You know; ask yourself. Are all the good things you ever did in life things you did because it made you a buck? Or were there, maybe, some other motivations that played some role? I don't know – things your mother told you. Or things you got from your friends.
Or, if you're religious, things that come from your ethical upbringings. Come on. What kind of an insult of the human race is it to imagine that the only way we can organize invention of new goods is to do it by giving people the way and the incentive to rip their fellow citizens off indefinitely for 17 years. Companies have everywhere erected what we call, in economics, "barriers to entry". That's what it's called in the textbook. A barrier to entry is erected by a company that has something whose supply it can control – driving up its price – but doesn't want to let other people enter, other producers enter, so then there's too much of it. The supply isn't reduced.
What are barriers to entry? Well, one – the most important one – you've all heard of it, although you may not have thought of it this way, it's called advertising. Here's how it works: you make a dark-colored drink. You take water and you make it a dark color, you put some sugar into it. Any half-wit can do that. And do it just as well as you can. Now, what the half-wit cannot do is cover every billboard in America with smiling people at the beach enjoying Pepsi. So anybody else who can make dark water with sugar has a problem. They can't sell it, because theirs is called Nepsi. And nobody wants Nepsi. People would want Nepsi if only they could get $20 billion to make sure we always see Nepsi everywhere we turn, in which case Nepsi / Pepsi – we'd probably forget the difference.
What's a barrier to entry is the spending on advertising. If any of you have wondered – these ads – I mean, who in their right mind would go buy something because of a stupid ad. You're not getting it. It's not about – it's not about getting you to buy it. It's getting you to be uncomfortable about buying anything you don't see often. It's not that you're persuaded. It's that it becomes part of the scenery. It's part of what's familiar to you. It's part of what you know. And that blocks the others. Capitalism is full of that. That's why capitalism has developed the advertising industry, which no other economic system ever invented before. And that's not because they're stupid, but because they didn't work this way. That's not your conventional economics. I figured that one out myself. Okay. Next item that I wanted to talk to you about.
Oh, yeah: a moment for Mr. Trump, despite what I said. Well, sometimes, you know, he does things that are not only egregious – of the sort that I'm sure you've all seen – but this may have slipped below the radar. And, for a man who ran about helping the Middle Class and all the rest, this one was so delicious I just had to bring it to you. President Drump – Trump, sorry. President – what was the other name that he…? [Participants] Drumpf [Wolff] Drumpf. President Trump has directed the Labor Department to review – that's a euphemism for 'get rid of' – an Obama administration rule requiring financial advisors to observe what's called 'the fiduciary rule'. Now, I understand. If you saw this in the newspaper, your eyes would glaze over and you'd reach for another cookie, because it sounds as exciting as last year's oatmeal. So let me explain to you why it is exciting. Once upon a time, Americans had pensions. We outgrew that, so we don't have them very much.
But those of us who still have them, noticed that they changed over the last 20 years. There used to be what are called Defined Benefit Pensions. Basically, you put some money away, or your employer did every week, and that got you a certain benefit when you reached 65 or retirement age. You knew you would get X dollars a month to take care of you. This, the companies didn't like, because it would really squeeze them. Because if they put that money into an investment and the investment didn't go real well, they still had to pay you. So they wanted to have it changed. This was considered something that would give Americans…FREEDOM. When someone is going to give you 'freedom,' hold on to your wallet, because something is going to happen that's uncomfortable. Soon. So anyway, 'freedom' meant the employer shouldn't have your money while you wait for it to retire.
You should have the money. You should be 'free' – here we go – to have that money. So what they did is they changed the pensions so they're no longer defined benefit – you get a certain amount. Instead, it's called a Defined Contribution. In other words, every week your employer takes out a little bit of money and contributes that amount – defined contribution – into a fund for you. And you become 'free' to manage it. And, in that 'freedom,' you discover a hustle. If you're awake. Here's the hustle. You're not an investment specialist. You don't know how to do this. No one has ever told you how to do it. So you do what you normally do, like when your car doesn't work. You go to the mechanic and there's a part of you that understands that you've just turned over something very valuable to a person who is, inside, laughing their head off. Because they can do almost anything, and you're stuck. Well, an investment advisor is the mechanic of your finances. You're giving him the money – or her, but it's mostly men – giving them the money and they invest it. They tell you what you should be doing.
You should have this stock. You should have this mutual fund. You should have this government security. Whatever it is they tell you. And there's loads of them; it's a huge industry. Okay, now here comes the fiduciary rule. It turns out – and believe me, there are Americans who didn't know this before, so this is going to come as a shock to some of you – it turns out that the advisor to you about how to invest your money may not always give you the best advice for YOU. He may give you the best advice for HIM. Because, it turns out, on this security he gets 12¢ for every share you buy. On that security, he gets $4. This gives him an incentive – because that's how markets work – an incentive to tell you not to buy the one where he gets 12¢ but to buy the one where he gets $4. Even though what's better for you, in your situation, is to get the one for 12¢. The fiduciary rule slowly produced over the last six years under the Obama administration had the following, stunning idea: we would be able – you and I – to go into court and have a legal case against an advisor if we could show that the advisor put his interest as an advisor ahead of our interest as the client of the advisor.
That's the fiduciary rule: that when he invests our money, it should be best for us. Radical breakthrough. Mr. Trump is getting rid of that, okay? What that does, is it means that tens of millions of Americans who are waiting to retire, are having money withdrawn from their check every month or every week are going to be making investment decisions without an advisor who is required by law to do what's best for them. They're, instead, being put into whatever instrument is best for him. If I had more time – I don't – I would stop now and, as I often say, I would play the National Anthem for four or five minutes, just to make everyone feel…better. Next item. A success. House of Representatives bill number 621, introduced into the House of Representatives some weeks or months ago by Rep. Jason Chaffetz – C-H-A-F-F-E-T-Z – a representative in Congress from the great state of Utah. That was humor, what I just did.
[laughter] His bill would have the government sell 3 million acres of government-owned land. Because, of course, if the government owns something, it's bad. And, if it's sold to the private, it's good. This is a major debate in economics. And it's a little bit, in economics, sort of like the debate "God is good and the devil not so much". So government is bad and the private is good. And Mr. Chaffetz, who comes from a very religious place, is clear about the bad government should sell the land to the private owners. Led by the Wilderness Society, one of these organizations, they mounted an enormous and ferocious campaign, and Mr. Chaffetz withdrew his bill this last week. And so that sale will not go through. I mention that because it does work sometimes if people do something about these things. Next item does again go to Mr. Trump, and it'll be something I'm going to come back to at the last half hour of today.
The major argument made by Mr. Trump both during his election campaign and now since having won, about immigrants, is the claim, repeated. I'll read you one. This is a speech Trump gave at the Republican National Convention about immigrants. Quote: "They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources. We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration. To stop the gangs and the violence and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities." Over and over again, the association of immigrants with crime. All kinds of crime. So, it's interesting that a group of sociologists, whose name I'm actually going to give you, in case any of you want to pursue it: Robert Adelman, Professor of Sociology, University of Buffalo; Leslie Reid, Professor of Sociology, University of Alabama; Charis Kubrin, University of California, Irvine and Graham Ousey, College of William and Mary in Virginia. All of them have done detailed studies of hundreds of American communities, tracing what happened to drugs, murder, arson, robbery – all the major crimes – and showing what the connection was between the rising percentage of immigrants in these communities and the incidents of crime.
No relationship at all. Not even a little. In fact, in most cases, the incidence of crime went down as the percentage of immigrants in a community went up. And they even do some interesting speculations on why that may be. And the one I thought you might find interesting, because it's another irony of our economic system, that – immigrants, being poor – are pushed into the most troubled areas and neighborhoods, which is where crime was. But, when they get packed with immigrant people, the crime stops because everybody is always out on the street, everybody knows everybody. It transforms the community, which is probably why. That's their guess as to why the crime's down. But the notion that crime is, in some way, the product of or exacerbated by immigration abso – and they're very clear – absolutely no relationship whatsoever. Next item. University of Michigan. An alumnus, named Ross Eisenbrey, who works with an important institution in Washington called the Economic Policy Institute – some of you know that, epi.
org, a source of very good economics information. He's upset about his alma mater, the University of Michigan. What upset him was the amount of money – because it's a public university, it's public knowledge – amount of money paid to their football team leaders. So I thought I'd mention it to you, just to get you envious. Okay. Their head coach is a man – some of you have heard of him – Jim Harbaugh. Okay. His contract was for $7 million to leave the National Football League and to go to Michigan, he was paid $7 million. But that's not really got this alumnus upset. He was interested in Mr. Harbaugh's assistants. The Defensive Coordinator, the Offensive Coordinator – that's not a description of the coordinator; it's about what the coordinator does. That's more humor; I'm putting humor in there, okay? The Defensive Coordinator, Don Brown; the Offensive Coordinator, Tim Drevno. Their contracts are worth more than $10 million over the next five years. The Passing Coordinator – you know, he coordinates from time to time – the Passing Coordinator Pep..
. Pep! You can see why he's called Pep! Pep Hamilton, was lured from the Cleveland Browns with a four-year, $4.25 million year. Okay? This money is paid by the state of Michigan; this is a public university. So tax monies in Michigan are used to pay tens of millions of dollars to a handful of football coaches. This is the same state whose largest city, Detroit, is disintegrating – literally – whose suburb of Detroit, Flint, just saved money by pumping horrifically damaged water into its drinking system, damaging thousands of children in the city of Flint, and I could go on and on. So how do you justify spending tens of millions of dollars on a handful of people so that you can more effectively heave large men on top of one another over and over again until they get a concussion? Actually, you keep right on going after they've had a concussion, as we know. How do you do that? And the answer is: very important. Here we go. It's capitalism and the market.
Why? As they will explain to you, we have to do that. Why do you have to do it? Because, if we don't have the best team, then the attendance at our games will shrink. Then the TV contracts we get to broadcast those games will shrink. It's the logic of the system. The university depends on the profitability of its sports events. And, therefore, in order to secure the profitability of the sports events, it must use state money to ensure that profitability. It's the logic of profit. You know, they're absolutely right. What profit do you get by giving clean water to children in Flint? Nothing! Those are poor children; they're not going to amount to anything and they'll end up in jail. Or words to that effect. But this makes money. You hire a big, fat coach and he's going to bring people to the stadium. And that..
. It's the logic of the system. We can rail all we want about the immorality of this… But this is the way the system works. And, if you want to stop it, you've got to deal with that system. Morally castigating these people, that will get us what it's gotten us so far, which is not a whole lot. Okay. Let me turn now to the topics that we had for this evening's major conversation. And that does, of course, have to have us deal with Mr. Trump, at least in some ways with what he's done. And what I want to talk about most is immigration. So I'm going to leave that to the end. When we have at the end of our time. So let's begin with the treaties. NAFTA, TPP, NATO. The United States, particularly at the end of World War II, entered into a whole host of treaties. NATO was one; SEATO, CENTO – there were a whole bunch of them.
The political-type treaties – like those I just mentioned – were part of the American commitment after World War II, to do what George F. Kennan, the major theorist of what we did at that time said, was to contain the Soviet Union. We had defeated Japan and Germany in the war. Those enemies were gone. We had done that together with the Soviet Union. For those of you that are young people and products of our school system, permit me a moment to remind you of something your teacher avoided. In World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies. We were on the same side. If you visited a post office in the United States in 1943 to get stamps, you would have seen over the counter where you bought your stamps a big photo of a gentleman dressed like Uncle Sam with the hat and all of that, arm-in-arm with a man identified as Uncle Joe. That stood for Joseph Stalin, because he was the honored ally of our President, arm-in-arm.
You are part of a generation that may very well see another photo quite like that in the next few weeks. [laughter] The faces will be different, but the idea will be the same. We were allies. But, at the end of the war, having defeated Germany and Japan, Italy – the fascist countries – we had a falling out with our ally. The ally became the enemy. And the enemy became the ally; it was confusing. A lot of Americans needed programs to be clear who's on what side. Took a few years. Okay? So these treaties were meant to contain the Soviet Union, our enemy. We surrounded them with about 2000 military bases – many of which are still there – to make it impossible for them (we thought) to get out. To be able to spread the Soviet idea around the world. Cost a fortune. It led to all kinds of problems. But, most importantly, it didn't work.
But Americans are determined and the fact that it didn't work didn't dissuade anybody about it. The best sign that it didn't work was – this started in 1946 with the death of Roosevelt, really got going in the late '40s, and about the time it really hit its stride, the largest country on earth joined the Soviet Union. It was a sign – not working real well – the People's Republic of China. Went the other way. Then Cuba, and Vietnam and so forth and so on. Didn't work. But these treaties were felt to be necessary parts of welding a global alliance against the Soviet Union. The second set of treaties, NAFTA, the TPP, things like that were different. They weren't about containing Communism; they were about liberalizing world trade. The United States was the big economic power and it wanted the freedom to trade everywhere, to invest everywhere, and so it had to break down all the little barriers that keep a company from doing something in Guatemala or in Malaysia or in Nigeria because of all the rules that are different, the currencies that are different, the laws that are different. The very idea of having one, easy place to trade is part of American history, because we had to solve that about all the states.
We had to unify the United States so a company in New York can do business in Arizona and vice versa without 47 barriers and borders. Same thing is now going on on a global scale, with countries. Exactly the same thing. And so these treaties were written in order to enable the United States – that was the goal of this country – to do all kinds of things it couldn't do before. All right? And NAFTA particularly important, because it pulls together Mexico and Canada with the United States, allowing movement of people and allowing movement of products without paying duties and so on. The problem with all treaties is, that the people who signed them, the countries who signed them, change. The treaty is all written down. Fixed. So now you have a fixed arrangement among parties that aren't what they were.
So, sooner or later – it always has happened – they want to re-write the treaty, to take account of their new situation. What are they going to do? Mr. Trump is simply, in his typically brusque and undiplomatic way, simply saying, "That's it; we're done. We don't want this any more. We don't want this anymore…" We either want no treaties, or we want to re-write them to make them more advantageous to us. And he's pretty straight out saying that. For a long time, we had multi-lateral treaties, because we wanted the whole world to be conveniently accessible. This didn't work out the way Mr. Trump wants. The American economy is in trouble. So he's to come up with a notion "No, we're going to have bi-lateral treaties." The United States is going to have one with Panama. One with Guatemala.
One with Chile. One with Ivory Coast. And so on. This is – to use a technical term – NUTS. Because, first of all, you have to spend an immense amount of time negotiating. There's 183 countries in the world; do the arithmetic. It's impossible. Number two, it generates hostility, because each country wonders whether the deal cut with their neighbor – which happened six months later – has got better things in it than they were… So the unraveling and the anger and the resentment – that's why comprehensive, multi-lateral was done, because the other is unworkable. But he has to so – Why is he do – What is all this about? In every treaty, there are businesses that win and businesses that lose. Every treaty's details are good for some companies and not for others. For example, the TPP: General Motors loved it. Ford hated it. Ford was an enemy; General Motors was an ally.
What's that about? Even the same industry couldn't get itself together on these things. So what ends up happening is governments get together to sign a treaty and 8 million lobbyists representing all the different companies and industries are in there, trying to get the language to be the one they want that helps them and not the one that helps the other one. And what you get, in the end, is… A mess. And that everybody, once it's written, begins to figure out "Oh, this isn't good for me," and then figures out ways to evade it. Which continues for 20 years, until it's all re-written again. Why am I telling you this? Because the last thing you want to do is get lost in the weeds of these kinds of struggles. They're not relevant to us. They're relevant to companies, whose fortunes will be helped or hurt; that's true. But for the working people, for the mass of people, you don't know and, fundamentally, you don't care.
It's not going to affect you directly. You are going to be squeezed by your employer whichever way this goes. Moreover, we can't tell in advance how this is going to play out. Why? Because there are too many variables. For example: whatever the United States now signs with – I'll pick one: France – the Germans are going to react to that. Some of the French companies hurt by it are going to react to that. They're going to buy a plant in Switzerland, because that way they can sell it out of Switzerland – which has a different deal with the United States – and it's five miles to cross the border from France to Switzerland. This is not complicated. And that part of Switzerland speaks French. It's even easy. Not a problem.
You don't know what all the retaliations are going to be. You don't know what all the evasions. So, for you to say "I'm for TPP"; "I'm agai -" What? You can't. People who spend lifetimes studying this don't know exactly how this is going to play out. You haven't a clue. And that shouldn't worry you, because it doesn't matter to you very much. You don't know and it won't matter to you much. Your problem is the system you live in, and that system isn't being changed. It's just being shuffled around a little bit by the players. For you to get wrapped up in that is a strategic mistake. You're focusing where you don't need to and, therefore, you're not spending time and energy on the organizations and the targets that will or could change your life. Don't get suckered in, is the message here. Second point. The world is more integrated – the global economy – than at any time in human history. We happen to live at a time where this has really gone further.
You all know that. Right? Your outfit today comes from – literally – all corners of the world. Your appliances at home come from all corners. Your vehicles come from all corners. I mean, we are really integrated on a scale that is stunning. It was, therefore, never more true than at the present: that, when you make a change, the ramifications take years to play themselves out and cannot be known in advance, because there are too many variables. That's what an international economy – excuse me – means. The United States is also no longer the only dominant power. The Chinese are not what they were. They know it. Washington knows it. Russia knows it. Everybody knows it. Maybe not the average American person because of our media, but it's a new game and the Chinese have lots of weapons. And, if they begin to use them, we have no idea how that's going to play out. They don't know, which is part of why they hesitate to use their weapons. The Chinese now possess about $3 trillion worth of what's called 'foreign exchange' – mostly dollars.
If they dump those – ugh – nobody knows. By the way, they've dumped about $1 trillion in the last year and a half. They are dumping. And that's because they don't have confidence in the United States the way they did. They're not going to be stuck holding dollars. You and I are stuck holding dollars, because we live here. They don't have to. And they're doing something which, if you pay attention, ought to be of some concern to you. If you possess something that everybody else who has a lot of it is getting rid of, hello! Maybe it's time for you to wonder what that might be about. And the Chinese will tell you, no hesitance at all. We are interdependent. Same thing is true with Mexico. Once again, on Mexico, because it's close and this will be the one that blows up first.
Mexico and the American economy are now deeply intertwined. That was the purpose of NAFTA in many ways, and it was achieved. Millions of Mexicans lost any way to make a living in Mexico, which is why they left Mexico. Because – I'm going to exaggerate, but not by much – they were given a choice: you can stay in Mexico and die, or you can go north and live. Freedom to choose. [laughter] And they took their freedom and made their choice. If we were, in fact, to send them back, what are we sending them back TO? To do what? How? Who's going to buy what it is they could produce, if even they get a job? There are no jobs; this is why they came here. You want – do we want as a nation – a completely disintegrated state along our southern border? What? Today, in large parts of Mexico, we have – barely – society left.
If you pay any attention, you know that. This is going to make all of that much, much worse. What about that? To try to get a sense of the interdependence, there are estimates now – companies – that are drooling at the prospect of getting the contracts to build the wall between the United States and Mexico. And they came up with the following, stunning upset: half of all the construction workers currently in Texas are undocumented MEXICANS. [laughter] Who would have to be hired to build the wall that will prevent them from coming in to do the work they were hired to do. [laughter] We are not a crazy people, but when we do crazy things, it's a sign that something is wrong. [laughter] Something isn't working out real well. If 10 or 20 million Mexicans – and Central Americans – since we don't really understand who's what anyway, and there's a big incentive for the folks coming to keep that murky for all kinds of reasons.
I assume all of you know that this is a country of immigrants. And one of the great joys of our ancestors coming here – I certainly speak about my family – was that, when you arrived, in my case, my parents came from Europe, but when you arrived here, you could do something you couldn't do at home, which is tell COLOSSAL lies… [laughter] You could make up a history, which was much more attractive than your actual history. [laughter] You could have come from this family and that family. And had this education and this person was your wife. Turns out, maybe, it was your sister, etc. Complicated. Very complicated. It's one of the great joys of an immigrant culture. All immigrants take advantage of that; they always have. They always have. What are you going to do? Unravel all of this? You really want to do that? You want to send all these people back? Mexicans, in our culture, do an incredible amount of work.
Our construction industry's unthinkable without undocumented workers. Unthinkable. Who's going to do all the work in New York City? You all know. You can see Mexicans – or, at least, they look a little bit like Mexicans. They're doing an awful lot – who's going to do all that work? And at what rate of pay? And, if you have to pay Americans who aren't of Mexican origin the kind of wages those Americans think they ought to get, well then the price of everything is going to go nuts, isn't it? Starting with your coffee and your restaurant and your dry cleaning and all the other little, daily things that are going to cost you twice as much as they did before, in which case you'll be real sorry that the Mexicans aren't here any more. And the businesses that depend on those Mexicans and the housing stock that's going to sit there empty with the rents not coming in and the loans based on those rents that can't be repaid and the banks that go out…
Are you ready? None of this has been worked out. Mr. Trump had no clue about any of this. He never gives us a slightest hint that he has any idea, let alone a plan, to deal with any of it. Because this is not about – and this is the punchline, folks – this whole immigration thing is not about immigration. That's why it's not thought through. It's not that Mr. Trump is silly, or Mr. Bannon is crazy, or whatever. I mean they may be silly, they may be crazy, but that's not the point. This is not about immigration. Immigration becomes exciting not because it is the key to our economic situation, otherwise you'd have a hard time dealing with how immigration is so important, say, in a country like Greece today. A completely different economy from ours. Or Germany. Or France. Or England. Or… And there's lots of others.
Those are countries with radically different economic problems, but they're all finding it exciting to beat up on immigrants. What's going on here? The American economy is in trouble. Capitalism isn't working for the vast majority of American people. And that's true of the British people and the French people and the Greek people, etc. Greeks, particularly, if you follow that, it's really extraordinary what is being done to that entire society – what little bit is left of it. These societies are not working real well. And when societies begin to break down, when the level of their problems begins to get to the point we are at, you face a kind of existential crisis. There are going to be voices raised, saying "It's the system." That's what I do. That's why I'm here. To tell you: it's the system. And I'm not the only one. That's why those folks interviewed by Harvard that I began with answered the way they did.
These are not people I know or that I reach. So, if you have a moment when a system is in crisis, it's got to come up with an explanation for its problems that lead to actions that can be taken that leave the system out of the conversation. And that's what immigration is for. It's always been for that. In 1929, the world capitalist system crashed. It crashed in most countries, but it crashed particularly harshly in Germany. So let me tell you a story about Germany back then. The Germans had a capitalist system of which they were proud. But they had also suffered and that scared them. They suffered, because in World War I, they lost. And a tremendous fine called 'reparations' was put on them. So they not only lost the war, but they had to pay the countries that beat them for years afterwards. One result of this absurd situation – of being defeated and then having to pay a reparation – was that their economy blew up and, in 1923, they had the worst inflation that any country has ever had.
To remind you if you're not aware of it. In a period of eight months, the German currency was called the Deutsch Mark. M-A-R-K The Deutsch Mark went from four Deutsch Marks to a dollar to 20 billion Deutsch Marks to a dollar. You got currency – my folks, my mother was German. My mother lived through that. She told me the stories; her father would come home from the store where he worked in the middle of the day for the lunch time. He couldn't wait 'til the evening. He got paid in a bag of money at lunch for the first half of the day. Ran home, like a relay runner, handed it off my grandmother, who ran to the store to spend it, because if you waited 'til later in the afternoon, it wouldn't be worth anything. Prices were doubling every 20 minutes, okay? That's an inflation. We haven't had that…YET. That comes later. So the Germans were traumatized by losing the war and then by that great inflation.
They thought they got back on their feet from the end of the inflation, around 1923-24 until the Depression hits in 1929. But that was too much. Suddenly to be thrown out of work; it became too much. Too much suffering in too short a time. Too much of a damaging blow to their notion of the German people and all the rest of it. So they went crazy – as a people – it was too much. It was too much. And so they put their faith in a weird person. A person who was short and dark and who believed that the people who were the greatest were tall and light. [laughter] But who cared? Because he had a story to tell. What laid Germany low wasn't capitalism, wasn't business, wasn't the organization of enterprises, wasn't the bank. It was foreigners who had gotten into Germany and we would be okay in Germany if we got rid of them. Literally. So they began to push 'em out. When that didn't work real well, the second solution was cook 'em.
Kill 'em. And that made sense, because they were the ones – they destroyed it all. That's why we have to be told immigrants make crime. They don't. Well, who cares? It's a story. It pinpoints the enemy, the problem, the cause of our difficulties – and, therefore, the solution. Get. Rid. Of. Them. Ban them. Mexicans, Muslims – who cares? Make it up! And the populations in Germany were complicit with this. They hopefully thought, "okay – maybe that's the problem, so let's get rid of those people. We don't know them, care about them all that much." They probably didn't imagine that they would be killed, but at least get them out. Get the Mexicans out. The fact that you send them back to Mexico, given what Mexico is today, it's a death sentence for large numbers of them, anyway. You don't pay attention to that.
You focus on immigration as if it were the problem. That's it's point. It's to deflect criticism of the system onto something utterly unsystemic. Gives you somebody to hate, gives you somebody to point the finger at. Gives you somebody to be angry about, gives you a politician who says "Vote for me. I'll take care of it. I'm going to put a wall. I'm going to keep them out. I'm going to…" And nobody else is helping you. Mr. Trump to Mrs. Clinton. What's she doing for you? She is more of the same. She's Obama lite – pardon the joke. All right? She's Obama lite, and so it's more of the same. I'm going to actually do something. And, given the choice between something and nothing, a lot of people choose something. But it would be a catastrophic error of us to get into long debates about the TPP vs.
some other arrangement. Or immigration – It's easy to show that immigrants do as much good as they do any kind of problem. Do they lower wages for local people? Probably. Do they create jobs for local people by buying a lot of stuff? Yeah. Do they re-build the depressed parts of communities? Yeah. Do they keep the universities alive in this country? Yeah. They do good things; they do bad. Like anybody else. They're a mixed bag. But are they the problem that's going to solve our situation? Not even close. If they stay, if they don't stay, our problems will remain. If we don't deal with the economic system we have, that produces all of this, that produces the collapse in 2008. You know, Mr. Trump has been trying to run for president – I don't know – all his life. He was a standing joke until the system crashed in 2008, whereupon he becomes a serious candidate. He's a product of a system breaking down.
And every idea he stumbles on with Mr. Bannon to push this, or to push that, is his way of trying to be relevant in a time of disintegration. For us to get caught up in this junk that spews out from him every afternoon's Twitter time is nuts. [laughter] It's nuts. It works for him, because he's all over the place. He's doing, he's saying, un-nah…dah… Good! He's a showman; he's doing something. The rest of the political system is doing nothing. When Mrs. Pelosi said "We're all capitalists," shrugs her shoulders, that's more of nothing. She's not going to do anything. That's really what she's saying. She would prefer a nicer capitalism. You've got to stop; it takes your breath away. Thank you very much. It's what we need: a politician who prefers nicer capitalism to harsher ones. [applauds] Fantastic. It's no wonder they can't get going.
For those of you who haven't paid attention, the control of the White House is the least of it. The Republicans now have a majority of the state governments in this country, they have a majority of the positions at the county level. I mean, they are everywhere assembling a notion of what's going on that it the antidote to a systemic critique. The Democrats don't dare have a systemic critique. The Republicans are busy deflecting us away from a systemic critique, which means that WE have to do that. Or else, there's no opposition here. And then it'll continue. And it'll continue. Because the economic problems of this society are not going away. The rest of the world is not playing dead to finish, to allow the United States to do what it does. We're not going to re-write treaties all over the world to make them better for us and worse for everybody else. To believe that, is to be crazy. Not to pay any attention. So it's a very important time to avoid being sucked in to debates and controversies that are not our business. What this country needs is real opposition.
So, my final point: the Cold War ended any chance that the United States had, because we had experimented with a politics in which one of the basic issues politicians would debate is capitalism versus other systems. For the last 50 years, we've had two parties that are both enthusiastic supporters of the same system. That doesn't make for very interesting politics, which is why half of the American people have lost interest. And I'm being kind by saying only a half. I find it hard to keep up my interest. And I'm interested. So maybe now – maybe with Occupy, maybe with Bernie Sanders at least opening the space, we can finally mature as a society and have two parties – Republican and Democrat – that are cheerleaders for capitalism – and a new political force, a new political party that has the courage to say "Thank you, Capitalism; you did nice job. You're done.
Go sit on the bench – or anyplace. Go away; we can do better. And we're a political force that is working on that project." And let the American people actually choose. If that poll at Harvard that I began with tonight gives us any clue, we shouldn't be afraid of going in that direction, because with each passing year, the majority is getting closer to that than it is to any other position. Thank you very much for coming, and I hope you come in March..