Stossel: Tulsi Gabbard (Full Interview)
I recently sat down with presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. This is the full interview. If you have a short attention span like I do you can check out the six-minute version we posted on JohnStossel.com. But the entire interview is interesting, so here it is. We started on an area where we agree: endless wars. She often says she knows the cost of war. So I asked her, what do you mean? I am a soldier. I’ve been serving the Army National Guard now for over 16 years, and deployed twice to the Middle East. Served in Congress now for nearly seven years on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Homeland Security Committee. And so, from both perspectives, understand the importance of our national security. And as a soldier, I served in a field medical unit in Iraq in 2005, during the height of the war. Our camp was about 40 miles north of Baghdad. And I mean, it was something every day that we all experienced firsthand, the terribly high human cost of war. Of our fellow soldiers, friends of ours who were killed in combat and the cost and the toll that continues now, with veterans coming home with visible and invisible wounds, dealing with post traumatic stress- You’ve said the best way to honor our troops is to make combat the last option. We don’t? We have to honor our service men and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice. Now like so many Americans, after Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 I made the decision to join our military. To enlist to be able to go after and defeat those who attacked us on that day. To defeat that great evil that visited us. But unfortunately, since that time, our leaders failed us. Where instead of focusing, one, pointedly on defeating Al-Qaeda, they’ve instead use that attack on 9/11 to begin to wage a whole series of counterproductive regime change wars, over throwing authoritarian dictators in other countries, wars that have proven to be very costly to our service members. Like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi … Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and the ongoing regime change war that’s still happening in Syria today. So in Afghanistan you would’ve gotten out when? Go in, defeat Al-Qaeda get out. That’s what should have happened. Instead, what we’re seeing now is a very long, protracted, ambiguous mission where no really knows what quote unquote winning looks like. The ensuing nation building that’s followed in these different wars that’s taken so much of our resources, our taxpayer dollars out of where they should have been dedicated in nation building and serving the needs of our people right here at home. If we just pulled out, there would be more slaughter probably. If we stay focused on our mission and what our mission and objective should be, which is the safety and security of the American people, then we end up saving a whole lot of lives. We end up saving a whole lot of tax payer dollars. The conflict and the complexities and the challenges, for example, in Afghanistan that we’re seeing continuing over the years and through today are things that only the Afghan people can resolve. What we’ve got to stay focused on is how we ensure the safety and security of the American people. There seldom is a discussion that I’ve heard about what is our mission. Exactly. That’s exactly the problem is before sending our men and women into harm’s way we’re not hearing about, what is the problem that we’re trying to solve and what is the clear, achievable goal that we need to accomplish that we’re sending them to do? Without that, we end up with a result that we have where we have troops who are deployed in these other countries without a real understanding of what they’re there to accomplish and at what point they then accomplish that and then can come home. Let me get your response to this op-ed in the New York Times from some years back about Syria. Five reasons to intervene in Syria now, it would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world. Let’s look at what’s happened in Syria because of the regime change war that we’ve waged there. Because of the regime change war that we waged in Iraq. Iran has far more influence in both of those countries than they did prior to our going in. This is exactly one of the problems where we see how our regime change wars, and intervention has been counterproductive to our own interests. The argument was, “This could keep the conflict from spreading to Lebanon and Iraq.” Yeah. Once again, we look at the cost and the consequence that both the Syrian people have paid as a price and the impact that it’s had on the region as a whole. We can see how these decisions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have been counter to our national security interests and something that these articles often fail to recognize or announce, which is that Al-Qaeda has been strengthened. Terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and offshoots like ISIS have been strengthened as a result of these policies and these wars to the point where now, we just observed the 18th anniversary of the attack on 9/11 and Al-Qaeda is stronger today than they were in 2001 when they launched that attack. Stronger because when you kill their cousins and brothers, more people hate us? Stronger because our leaders failed us by not staying focused one pointedly on defeating Al-Qaeda and instead, went and spent American lives and resources in waging these regime change wars and seeing how terrorist groups like ISIS were born because of those wars. In Syria, right now, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that are offshoots and affiliates are in control of this entire city of Idlib in the northern part of Syria. And other countries are, Syria and Russia in particular, talking about attacking Al-Qaeda, getting rid of Al-Qaeda in that city. And it is President Trump and his administration that are the ones saying don’t go after Al-Qaeda in that city, and if you do will retaliate against you for doing so. This is a total betrayal. It’s a betrayal of every single one of us as service members, every single family member of those who were lost on 9/11, to the first responders who ran into that rubble and that fire to save lives that day rather than running away. It’s a betrayal to us as the American people. But there is a human rights crisis there and our hearts go out to them and we want to help. We want to help. What we have been doing has been making the problem worse. This is what is so often the case when these with these regime change wars are waged in the guise of humanitarianism saying exactly that. That there are people suffering under a brutal dictator, authoritarian regime. We have to go in and help them by removing that dictator. But if you look at these examples throughout our country’s history, our going in toppling that brutal dictator has not made their lives any better. They have resulted in more death, more destruction, more pain and suffering, more refugees. This is why we’ve got to stop being the world’s police and recognize that if we want to be a force for good in the world, let’s actually make sure that what we are doing effects in a good outcome. You met with the dictator, with Assad. Yes. And the liberal media give you grief for that. I would think that they would say, “We should talk to everybody.” Better talk than wage war. I agree. You would think that’s what they would say. Chris Cuomo, “You need to acknowledge that Assad is a murderous despot.” Are you surprised? And then what? I think this is the problem is, you know, we look back to examples like Roosevelt meeting with Stalin, another murderous leader. You look at JFK meeting with Khrushchev, Nixon meeting with Mao. They’re examples throughout our country’s history of leader … Reagan meeting with Gorbachev. Leaders who recognize that, in the interest of peace and security, you have to be willing to meet with leaders of other countries whether they be adversaries, friends, dictators, or otherwise. Recognizing what you just said, that the only alternative to that is war. So what’s going on with your party? Democrats used to be the anti war party. Unfortunately this is something that crosses both parties. I call out leaders in my own party and leaders in the Republican party as well, who are heavily influenced by the military industrial complex that profits heavily off of us continuing to wage these counterproductive wars. They’re heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment in Washington, whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo. So much so to the point where, when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, “Gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?” As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them or putting crippling economic sanctions in place. Which is a really sad conclusion when you actually … that sad state of mind, rather than seeing, hey, we’re the United States of America, we have the opportunity to be a force for good. To reach out to other countries, to work with them, to show respect, to find those areas of common interest where we can work together for the wellbeing of our people and the planet and be able to work out those differences that we have rather than resorting to war. Seeing that war is only a last resort to keep our people safe. If you were president a few years back, what would the alternative have been with Syria? How would we have worked with them? Well, first of all, making sure that we don’t launch a regime change war. That war began … A lot of people don’t realize in 2011, all the way back in 2011 and it began with a covert mission working through the CIA, to both arm and equip and provide support to a terrorist groups in that country like Al-Qaeda, to overthrow the Syrian government. This is something that has now been published out in the open that this is what happened and it continued to further escalate both through covert and overt means using the department of defense. So if you were president you would come in and say, “This has poisoned our relationship. We’re going to stop this and here’s what we are going to do.” What we do is respect the rights of the Syrian people to determine their own governance and their future. This was one thing that I- But they didn’t elect their dictator. They hold elections in Syria. Some people question the validity of those elections. So one thing that I think the international community can do is come together to provide global oversight over those elections, to make sure the people’s voices are actually being heard. Now we have the conflict with Iran. Yes They just apparently were responsible for the attacks on Saudi Arabia. What would you do? If I were president today, I would end this cycle of retaliation, this tit for tat that we’re seeing. What happened in Saudi Arabia was an act of retaliation to the sanctions and the blockade against Iran and basically stopping them from being able to sell any of their oil on the market. Remove the sanctions. I would get Iran and the United States to reenter the Iran nuclear agreement, to make sure that Iran is not continuing to move forward and building a nuclear weapon. Get those inspectors back in there and I would remove those crippling sanctions. I’m going to quote Lindsey Graham, “A weak response invites more aggression.” This is the problem with people like Lindsey Graham is, they advocate for things like punish, “We’ve got to punish Iran for this.” Punishment is not a goal or objective. The question is how does that help us accomplish our objective? “Because,” says the Wall Street Journal, “they sense weakness. If we are strong, they’ll behave.” So if we are strong and we do what Lindsey Graham says, and we come in with a strong response and a counter attack to Iran, a retaliatory attack, how does then Iran respond? These are the questions that these policy makers in the media too often don’t ask. Well, what does Iran then do? They would say, “Iran knows we mean business and they’ll behave better.” And when has that happened? If Iran is given no- World War II. So Iran has given no signs of surrender. They have stated very clearly their military is ready to go to war and that they will withstand any counter attacks that we have. This is, not a joke. I mean Iran is a much larger country than Iraq Three times as many people. Their military is much stronger. Many more people and they, they use both conventional and unconventional warfare tactics. So if we follow down the Lindsey Graham approach, what we end up with is a continuation and escalation of this tit for tat retaliation, attack, counter attack, counter attack. What it’ll result in is an all out inferno, not only in Iran, but across the entire region. It’s unimaginable to think about how many American lives, how many service men and women would lose their lives in such a war. How many people in the region would be killed, refugees forced to flee, and how many more trillions of our tax payer dollars would be taken out of our pockets, out of our communities to go and pay for a war that is completely unnecessary and that actually undermines our national security. Let’s move to a domestic area where you agree with us libertarians. America locks up an unusual number of people, two million at the moment. More than Russia, China. Our criminal justice system is so broken and it’s perpetuating the problems that have caused this kind of mass incarceration that we’ve seen. I have the only bipartisan bill in Congress, that would end the federal marijuana prohibition. This is one easy first step that we can take to begin to end this failed war on drugs that has unnecessarily filled our prisons and that has really been a drain on our resources, both from the law enforcement perspective as well as within our criminal justice system. People say it’s a gateway drug and the country has to send a message to children that it’s not okay here. Going to let it be legal everywhere? We should. This is a free country. I’ve never smoked marijuana, I never will. I’ve never drank alcohol, I’ve chosen not to in my life. This is about free choice, and if somebody wants to do that, our country should not be making a criminal out of them for doing so. I think this is the whole hypocrisy of this argument that we’ve heard throughout our lives since this war on drugs has begun which is, “We really care about you. We really care about your kids. So if you are caught using this drug or smoking marijuana, we care so much about you that we’re going to arrest you. We’re going to give you a criminal record because we care about you and we don’t want you to hurt yourself.” A record that will follow this person for the rest of their lives and impact their ability to get a job or maybe get a college scholarship, something like that. So once we’re an adult, we own our own bodies and we ought to be able to poison them if we want? Yes. But you haven’t proposed legalizing heroin or cocaine or meth. that’s the direction that we need to take is decriminalizing an individual’s choice to use whatever substances that are there, while still criminalizing those who are traffickers and dealers of these drugs. But I’m confused by that because if you say, and I agree that it’s my body, let people do what they want. But you call the sellers traffickers. It’s sold. They’re only traffickers because it’s illegal. Isn’t that hypocritical? You can use it, but nobody can sell it to you? No, it’s not at all. I think there’s a difference here where you have those who are profiting off of selling substances that are harmful to others, as opposed to those who are making those choices on their own to do what they wish with their bodies. There are some models of this in other countries who’ve taken this approach and what we’ve seen in-
Portugal. Yes, in Portugal. What we’ve seen in Portugal is how they are not treating a drug use as a criminal action, but instead as a healthcare one. That for those who are dealing with substance abuse and addiction that rather than throwing them in prison and giving them a criminal record, we’re actually providing them with help and the healthcare treatment that will get them and their lives back on track. And that’s been good in Portugal. It’s been well. There are even fewer people using the drugs
for some reason. That’s right. That’s exactly right. Talking about this at the debate, you changed Kamala Harris’s life. Want to talk about that moment? Look, I was raising I think very valid questions about a record that Kamala Harris herself has said she’s very proud of as California’s attorney general. And around an issue that I think is central and important to all of us for the reasons that we just talked about. It speaks to the broader issue of leadership, which I think is really what’s at question here for all the voters who we’re asking to earn their trust and their vote so that we can serve them as presidents. What kind of leader would you be and asking those questions of Senator Harris about the kind of leadership that she provided when she was in a position of power to actually help fix our criminal justice system. Instead, she used that position to further perpetuate a system that was causing disproportionate harm to people of California. Her job was prosecutor, so she’s supposed to prosecute. That’s true. But as a prosecutor and as a presidential candidate, she’s talking about fixing this broken system. She was in a position of power to do that, to make sure that those she was prosecuting were people who were deserving of that prosecution, deserving of that prison time. But instead of enacting those reforms, that would’ve actually helped people, she chose to do the opposite. And I think that just again, points to leadership and the failure of it. And she was leading in the betting for democratic nominee. Immediately, she fell seven points 10 days later, another seven points from 26% to 12%. You killed her off. I’m for the people, man. I was speaking the truth and speaking for a lot of people, a lot of people who were asking these questions, who were calling for accountability and we’re seeing none, seeing none in the mainstream media, seeing none of the debate moderators asking these questions as they should of every candidate saying, “Hey, here’s your record. How do you account for that?” That hadn’t happened prior to that moment, which I think is a disservice to voters. So now the clear leader is Elizabeth Warren. Are you happy with that? Obviously you would rather it be you. Yeah, no, I’m focused on our campaign and how we can connect, continue to connect with voters in early States and all across the country and sharing with them the kind of leadership that I would bring, the experience that I bring to serving as president and fulfilling that most important responsibility the president has, is as commander-in-chief. And your campaign pitch has been, instead of all this military spending focus on rebuilding communities at home. That’s right. Meaning? Meaning there are so many needs that we have, that our families have, that the American people have. And for so long, and I’ve served at the city council in Hawaii, served as a state representative and obviously in Congress now for seven years. And for so long people are told, “Well, there’s just not enough money to make sure that your kids have the most up to date textbooks in your classrooms.” “There’s just not enough money to upgrade our water infrastructure to make sure that the water coming out of your tap is clean and is not poisoning or harming your kids or your families.” “There’s just not enough money to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe for people to use, that are not dangerous and posing a threat to your families.” Every single time the American taxpayers are told, “Sorry, there’s just not enough money.” But they’re told this by some of the very same people who don’t think twice, who don’t ask, “Well, how do you pay for this?” When they make the decision to go and launch again these wars of choice, they are unnecessary. They are counterproductive, and they are regime change wars that work against our interest. What to speak of the fact that now we are in a new cold war, we have escalating tensions between the United States, nuclear armed countries like Russia and China, a new arms race. Trump tore up that INF treaty that Reagan and Gorbachev negotiated sparking off billions more dollars to build these missiles that were banned under that treaty. All of this amounts to an incredible cost that whether they realize it or not, every single one of us as taxpayers are paying, where those dollars should either be used to decrease the deficit that we have or to serve the needs of our people. And what do you mean when you say focus on rebuilding our communities at home? That implies that they were doing okay and then now they need to be rebuilt, did something happened that made them worse? The city council district that I represented in Hawaii was one of the first communities that was developed when people started moving to Hawaii and the population started growing, which means the infrastructure in that district was the oldest on the whole island that constantly needed upgrading and for so long it’s just, we’ll put a bandaid on this, we’ll put a patch on that. But really that doesn’t solve the problem of the fact that we would have water mains that are underground constantly breaking, exploding, and basically creating a sinkhole in the main roads that people go to school and go to work in every single day. It’s these kinds of challenges that our folks in Hawaii are experiencing, but challenges that people are experiencing in many communities across the country. So how did that work, Hawaii, when Hawaii was significantly poorer, was able to build all this infrastructure, but now the government spends much more money, it’s going bad? This supports my argument that government usually makes things worse. The government is taking our taxpayer dollars and this is why I’ve made this a central point of my campaign because we all pay taxes. Where are those tax payer dollars going? The majority of those dollars are not going towards serving those very real needs that we have. Instead, they’re going to wage these wasteful wars that have nothing to do with the national security interests of our country, the interest of our troops, the interests of our people, which is a central issue. And I’m often asked by reporters in Washington, “Well, Gosh, okay, fine. You’re talking about foreign policy. What about all the other issues that the American people are really concerned about?” But unless we deal with this central issue of where our tax payer dollars are going and the cost of war, we can’t begin to address how we find the resources where we come up with the money to be able to pay for these other things. But you would still have a military, you wouldn’t totally cut it. Yes. How much would it be cut? How much would be left? I don’t think it’s an arbitrary number. I think once again, focus on what is our objective. Our objective must be to have a strong and ready capable military able to fulfill their mission of protecting and defending our country and the American people. We’ve got troops who are deployed in so many countries around the world but the questions that- Something like 80 countries. That aren’t really asked, even in the armed services committee where I serve or answered is well, “How many of those bases, how many of those countries actually require a prolonged US presence to serve our interests?” So what happens in the committee? You say, “Hey, how?” Ask that question. Here’s the issue is when we talk about this fearful word called BRAC base realignment and closing, people actually vote against that commission from doing their job, which is to look at these bases around the world and here at home and say, “Hey, do we still need them? Are they still performing a necessary function for our national security? And if not, let’s repurpose them or shut them down.” We should explain this to viewers who don’t know what BRAC is. It was created because the military wanted to close some bases, but the local congressperson’s, “Oh, not my base.” So they then said, “We’ll create this committee and we’ll-” Exactly. Create a commission who will be the neutral
arbiters- You won’t take the heat. The member of Congress won’t take the heat they’ll say, “well, Hey, this commission is the one that decided this, but still the member of Congress fights against what that commission has recommended.” Rather, once again, than looking at this from an objective perspective of being responsible caretakers for the taxpayer dollar and looking at what is actually necessary for our military to be able to do the job of protecting and defending our country. So I think there’s a huge opportunity to reduce defense spending in that area. There’s a huge opportunity to reduce defense spending in this arms race that I’m talking about, this arms race that is making our country in the world less safe and deescalating these tensions with nuclear armed countries so that we are moving closer to that future that both JFK and President Reagan were looking towards, where our people the people who live on this planet don’t have to live in fear of nuclear catastrophe coming at any moment. You would reduce the military spending, spend it domestically, but let’s fight about that. You want Medicare for all? I want to see Medicare choice. So right now we, as people, we’re spending far more on healthcare than any other developed country in the world. Because we invent the best new stuff. Well, I would argue that our big insurance companies and big pharmaceutical companies get far greater profits from us than they do in other countries. We pay far more Our people pay far more for insulin, for example, here in this country than they do across the border in Canada or even in Mexico. Same product, same safety qualifications, but we pay way more. I met a mother the other day whose daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and they can’t afford health insurance. They can’t afford it. It would be thousands of dollars every month for their family and they can’t afford the $300 per vial of insulin that her daughter needs here. So they go to Mexico and they buy a whole lot of insulin for 30 bucks a vial just across the border. That’s just one example of many how the crony capitalist culture that we have is making these profits for big insurance and big pharma rather than saying, “Hey, how can we as a country ensure that the American people are getting quality healthcare?” And by having this Medicare choice plan where you’ve got every single person, they’re able to get that quality health care Medicare choice, meaning you no longer would abolish the private insurance. I’ve never advocated for that. But you signed onto the bill and that’s what the bill said. The bill doesn’t expressly eliminate private insurance. I agree with the concept of Medicare for all, what I would call Medicare choice because it provides for that lower cost, quality healthcare for every American, regardless of how little you may have in your pocket. But also allowing for those who, if you want to keep your employer sponsored healthcare plan or if you’ve got a union that’s negotiated a great healthcare plan, or if you just as a private citizen, you would rather pay into a private complimentary plan or otherwise you should have the freedom to do so. And we can afford this? And Bernie Sanders who promotes it admits it will cost $3 trillion. We are already paying more. And I think that’s the point that’s often missed. We are already paying more. So if we are able to cut out that middle man’s profits of the big insurance companies and the profits they’re already taking, then we’re able to pay less. We as taxpayers are able to pay less. If we pass the law that I’ve been advocating for a long time now to allow Medicare, allow our government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for the American people, we bring down those costs. We don’t allow them to continue to price gouge people. We reform our patent laws that make it so these prescription drug companies can’t exploit the system as they are where they’ll get the patent for a certain number of years. They then tweak it and try to block the generic companies from being able to sell that drug at lower prices. We make these necessary reforms to bring down the cost overall for everyone while ensuring that they’re still able to get that quality healthcare. But one upside of those patent laws which do make the drugs cost more is that the cool new drugs that we all want are invented here. That insulin you talked about is probably invented here because the government makes you pay about a billion dollars to get through the FDA. You have to make huge profit to bring us better things. Here’s the thing with the insulin example, and I think this is emblematic of the problems that we’re seeing with what the prescription drug companies by and large are doing, is that the scientists who created insulin, they sold that patent for a dollar. For $1. And we look at how much insulin is costing families whose loved ones, whether it’s their children or their parents who depend on that insulin to stay alive and how they are struggling just to be able to afford it and the price gouging that’s taking place. This is what I’m talking about with the crony capitalism that I think needs to change. We’ve got to focus on how we can best serve and support the American people, how we can best empower small businesses, how we can strengthen our economy. We don’t do this by continuing to enable whether it’s subsidies or this kind of exploitation to occur. And by cutting unnecessary military spending, we can afford this? By bringing down our defense spending, by ending these wasteful wars, the new cold war and arms race, we’re bringing back a lot of resources that would otherwise continue to be spent there. With healthcare, we’re reducing the cost and this is the key component of this. We’re already paying for this one way or the
other except right now, I get a certain chunk of money taken out of my paycheck every month that goes to Blue Cross Blue Shield for the insurance for my family. Instead of that amount of money going to Blue Cross Blue Shield, that amount of money would instead be going to a Medicare choice plan except it would be less. But much as I would like to cut the military, I don’t see how you can get the money because the military entire budget is 700 billion and that’s a long way from 3 trillion. It’s actually more. It’s actually more, I mean 700 billion is the direct amount of the annual, oh it’s around 700 billion every year that goes to the department of defense, but that does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars that go towards the slush fund, the OCO fund, the overseas contingency operations fund, which has no constraints on how the department of defense is spending those dollars. Those are not accounted for within that budget. All right, well let’s add $100 billion or $200 billion. It comes nowhere close to what you and your fellow Democrats want to spend. Free college. Medicare for all. We can’t afford this stuff. It’s just silly. The money that we are going to save by ending these wasteful wars, you’re right, it won’t cover every other thing that we need to accomplish. We’ve got to look at every goal that we have, every objective that we have, every need that the American people have to see here’s the resources that we have. How can we best use them to serve the interests of the American people. Yeah, sure. I think there will need to be some reforms to the tax code to make it so that it’s more fair, to make it so that companies like Amazon are not walking away Scott-free paying zero taxes, and also getting over a hundred million dollars in a tax credit while small business owners are struggling just to be able to pay their taxes and take care of their employees and earn a living in the process. This is a bigger issue that we have to look at across every sector of our economy and in every way that the American people need to see these services improved for them. Free college. Don’t you think colleges already waste a lot of money? They do. Absolutely and that’s why I think, I think those who are talking about free college and I think that we do need to make sure that our students, our young people are getting opportunity, whether it’s for vocational training, apprenticeships, college, community college, there’s a lot of opportunities there for people to get the skills that they need, but in order to do this, we have to address the overarching issue, which is why is it costing more and more and more every single year? Well, look how much more it’ll cost when it’s free. This is the problem is just throwing more money at it isn’t going to solve it, so we have to deal with the systemic problem here the root cause of the problem. One of which is, look, I spoke with a college professor recently about this issue and he said, you you want to see why it’s costing more and more. Once you look at how much administrators a lot of these colleges are being paid or overpaid, let’s actually see where these dollars are going. Let’s look at the fact that these universities, many of them don’t have any kind of accountability or transparency to say, Hey look, you know, our students graduate, you know, 90% of them are able to go and get a good paying job in the field of their choosing or the field of their training versus another that might have it be like 10% or 20%. You don’t have this kind of accountability in place. So how will you have it if you make it free? If the student had some skin in the game, his own money, he might care about how many administrators there are. What we’re working on it, and we’ll be releasing this in detail in the course of our campaign, is taking a comprehensive approach to this in how we’re looking at education beyond high school. Both looking at this overall costs, having accountability and transparency there by looking at how we leverage technology to bring down the cost of education and how we can best provide these opportunities to those who are seeking skills. I’ll use myself as an example. I started my bachelor’s degree later on in life. I was working full time and I actually continued it while I was deployed on both of my deployments. You know, we had a an education tent in our camp in Iraq and I went and I did classes in that tent online, you know, mortar attacks were coming in. I’d have to run out and go into the bunker, but I was able to fulfill those credits there while doing that. But also I was able to take tests. I tested out of probably somewhere between 40 and 60 credits because I took the test. I already had the knowledge, didn’t have to take the class. It’s cheaper. A lot cheaper. So there are a lot of things that are available to bring down the cost of education that really aren’t ever talked about or discussed. And I think that’s at the heart of how we tackle what is a difficult challenge of my generation, which is this heavy student debt burden. One last thing to fight about. The $15 minimum wage. How does that not destroy opportunity for a 17 year old in his first job who isn’t worth $15 an hour? We’ve got to look at how inflation has raised the cost of living. It’s raised it. It’s tough to live on minimum wage, no question. It is. And our federal minimum wage has not increased along with inflation. I think that’s what we’re trying to balance out here. How a living wage, which is different. You know here in New York City and in a state like Hawaii and San Francisco or Los Angeles, cost of living is much higher and no one can live… But the Democrats want one minimum wage for the country. I think it’s a starting point. And I think that in other places a $15 is higher than what a living wage in that place would be required. So I think we’re looking at this as an investment in people, the labor, the people who are really the fuel in the engine that make our economy grow. Why is it the government’s business? You have an employer and a worker and they make their own deal. It’s pretty good now for the workers because they have a lot of choice. Unemployment’s low. And every situation is different. Why have any minimum wage? Because we’ve seen unfortunately through different examples in our country’s past how workers have been exploited. And even though unemployment numbers are low now, if you just look at those surface numbers, what those numbers don’t reflect is that very often you have people who are working two full time jobs just to be able to keep a roof over their heads because one full time, just one full time job doesn’t cut it. I think this is what we’re seeking… But the poor are richer now than they were. So if they’re working two full time jobs, it’s because they wanted more stuff. The cost of living. Adjusted for the cost of living. I disagree. Even the poor. If you look at the numbers of how many people in this country are living paycheck to paycheck, who are struggling… People have always lived paycheck to paycheck. Who are struggling, and with that one emergency, whether it’s a child’s visit to the emergency room or an unexpected expense that they have to cover, they don’t know if they’re going to be able to make the next month’s rent. It’s terrible. But to say you can’t have any job because McDonald’s is going to automate rather than pay 15 to… That’s whole new challenge I think businesses are looking… Do you want to stop them? No, I think businesses are looking at automation, not because we’re trying to pass a $15 minimum wage, but because they’re trying to look at how they can make their businesses run more efficiently. Right? Are they incentivized by your higher wage to… No. I think the automation revolution was coming regardless of that. And that’s a different, bigger challenge that we need to recognize both with the challenges it presents, but also the opportunities that, you know, if you’re going into Taco Bell and you’re going and punching in your order on a computer rather than standing at the cash register, then perhaps you’re freeing up that labor to do other jobs that only a person can do. So I think there’s challenge and opportunity here. I think there is a potential, but I’m looking more into a universal basic income option to be able to help deal both with this automation revolution. And the challenges that people are facing. That would be giving every person regardless a certain amount of money. There are different models. And this is, I’m looking at different models of how this could work, where it has worked and, and importantly, how do you pay for it? You’ve never run a business. You’ve never had to deal with hiring workers and having to pay minimum wage. You’ve always been in politics. So many of you politicians have never run a business. Your father was a politician. Let me stop you right there. Because I grew up in, my parents are teachers by trade and training. That’s not running a business. And we grew up in our family’s small business. My parents started a restaurant. I apologize. All five of us kids, you know, took turns sweeping floors, wiping tables and serving food and experienced the challenges and the hardships and also the rewards of a family run business. I appreciate that our small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are the number one employer of people in this country. And I think that’s one of the things that we need to correct within our federal policies is how currently, whether you’re looking at tax code, trade policy, our overall economic policy, they overarchingly benefit the biggest corporations who can afford to pay for those lobbyists to come and say, Hey, you know, you’ve got to change the language in this bill or that bill to benefit this massive corporation whereas small business owners, they can’t afford lobbyists. They don’t have time to think about, well, who’s advocating for us in Washington? As a result, they don’t have a voice. And they can’t afford the compliance officers to understand all these lawyer laws. Exactly. Another major issue and this is something that I will correct as President. Given the background that my family comes from, the experience that we’ve had going through that together and recognizing how important it is that we are empowering these amazing people who are working hard every day to create these jobs for our economy. Well I apologize for not knowing you had the family restaurant. That’s all right. I’m glad we can have a civil argument about some of these areas where we disagree. Few politicians want to do that anymore and I must say… It’s unfortunate, isn’t it? Of all the people polling over a percent, you’re the only one who so far has come and sat down to talk. This is a problem that we’re seeing in our political culture today is where people are increasingly unwilling. Our leaders are increasingly unwilling to sit down with those who may be quote unquote on the other team. Even for those who are asking to lead our country, and I think this is how we move forward together. This is the kind of campaign that we’re building, the kind of leadership that I bring. We’re already, we’re seeing Democrats, Republicans, independents, libertarians showing support coming out to our tent house, joining our campaign saying, look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together. That would be good. Thank you very much. Thank you.