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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Interview With Congressman Dick Gephardt; Landmark Energy Legislation Close to Passage; 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Awarded Presidential Unit Citation
Aired November 14, 2003 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Friday, November 14. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
Tonight: American workers are fighting back to keep their jobs in this country. They're demanding action from Congress to stop abuses of the H1 and L1 visa programs, programs that have allowed one million foreigners to work in this country legally. Bill Tucker will report.
The man who would be president, Democratic Congressman Dick Gephardt, will join us tonight. He's inextricably linked to 25 years of Democratic success and failure. Congressman Dick Gephardt will be here to tell us whether he can win the Democratic presidential nomination.
And the war goes on in Iraq. Three U.S. soldiers and an American civilian have been killed in Iraq, as the military steps up its attacks on suspected enemy positions. Pentagon correspondent Chris Plante will have that report.
And in our segment "Heroes" tonight, the president honors the 45,000 men and women of the 1st Expeditionary Force for their extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance in the assault on Baghdad.
But first tonight, landmark energy legislation. The House and the Senate have reached agreement on a new energy bill after more than two years of argument. It is the first overhaul of our national energy policy in a decade. The legislation calls for about $20 billion of tax breaks and incentives for energy industries. The bill's supporters say the legislation will reduce the likelihood of future energy crises in this country, while creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drilling in the Alaska Arctic Wildlife Refuge is now just a pipe dream. Republican lawmakers conceded, the votes were not there. Also gone, new fuel- efficiency standards for automobiles. But the massive energy bill does include reforming the nation's electricity grid to avoid massive blackouts like the one that hit the Northeast last August. There are new rules on who will build and pay for transmission lines, an issue that has divided electricity companies across the country. The bill also provides tax incentive to build a new natural gas pipeline from Alaska to Chicago, a project that could create 400,000 new jobs.
And it offers tax credits for alternative fuels, including wind power and clean coal. Republicans said they tried to get as much as possible into the bill, but reached the end of road.
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: It's sort of like fishing. You can go fishing and you can fish, but you'll get to a great big set of waterfalls. Then you can't fish anymore, because you can't go up and you can't go down.
SYLVESTER: White House pressure finally got enough Republicans on board, with ethanol issues delaying progress for weeks. The final deal calls for the use of five billion gallons of ethanol blended with gasoline by 2012, a major boost to farmers.
But Democrats were not part of the horse trading, one staffer saying, "We weren't even allowed in the barn." What is not yet known about the bill could cause problems.
SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN (D), NEW MEXICO: We're obviously concerned about extraneous matters that may have come in as part of this Republican-only conference, limitations or changes in the Clean Air Act. I think that's -- that could cause many senators heartburn.
SYLVESTER: The other unknown is the final cost of the bill. Public interest groups are already lining up in opposition.
ATHAN MANUEL, U.S. PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP: It's full of billions of subsidies for the oil industry, the nuclear industry, the coal industry, companies that are making money and don't need any taxpayer subsidies.
SYLVESTER: The full text of the bill will be made available tomorrow.
In an Republican world, the House and Senate will vote on it next Tuesday and Wednesday, before breaking for Thanksgiving. But, Lou, perhaps by design, that does not give much time for Democrats to pore over the details -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester, from Washington.
Congressman Billy Tauzin, the chairman of the House Energy committee, chief negotiator for House Republicans, says this legislation will make a difference for every American family. And he joins us tonight from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, good to have you with us.
REP. BILLY TAUZIN (R), LOUISIANA: Mr. Dobbs, good to see you, sir.
DOBBS: This legislation, the first comprehensive energy bill in a decade, is it going to deliver really as much as you're suggesting, changing the lives for every American family?
TAUZIN: Oh, I have no doubt about it.
The worst thing that can happen to this country is for us to be short of essential fuels. We've seen it in price spikes. We've seen it in damage to the American family incomes. We've seen it in loss of jobs. We've seen what it can do in terms of winter increases to families that just want to stay warm. The bottom line is, the economy depends upon energy. And if the economy's going to recover and create jobs again, we've got to pass this bill.
DOBBS: In these incentives, about $20 billion, as we early in this story understand it, for incentives to produce domestic reserves, natural gas and oil, what will really add to our energy position?
TAUZIN: Well, Lou, you're listening to the critics too much.
Part of those incentives are for wind energy. Part of it is for hydrogen fuel. Part of it is for new renewable resources, such as the Freedom Car Initiative to try to keep our air clean, while we increase mileage of vehicles on the highway. Part of it's in clean coal technologies to diversify the electricity production.
Most of the energy plants in America are going to need natural gas, unless we find something else or we don't have natural gas for them. So a lot of it is to diversify the fuel source, to create new incentives for renewables, new incentives for conservation. When you look at the total cost of the bill 10 years, it's a great investment for this country, particularly if it does have the effect of restoring about one million jobs for our economy.
DOBBS: Congressman, as you suggest, I have listened to critics, as well as proponents. I tend to listen to everybody.
TAUZIN: You should.
DOBBS: What percentage of those incentives is directed toward natural gas and oil reserves and the production?
I don't know the percentage. But let me give you one example of the oil and gas incentive. It's called the deep drilling royalty income incentive. We passed that for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It's now yielded $4 billion of income to the federal Treasury, massive new finds of oil and gas for our country, primarily gas, which is sorely needed.
The new plan provides the same incentive for shallow water deep drilling, billion 20,000 feet. If it works as well as the plan Bennett Johnston and I passed years ago, we're going to not only reap additional revenues for the government, in terms of royalty, but we're going to have a great deal more natural gas. They tell us twice as much natural gas as now comes from the Gulf of Mexico could be found in this new program. That's pretty good payback.
DOBBS: And that's a very good payback. And the payback in jobs created, your best estimate?
Well, everybody has a different figure. We think it's close to a million new jobs. When you add the new jobs in the clean coal technologies, the new jobs in the pipeline that's going to come from Alaska, the rollover effect of those jobs alone is about 400,000 on that pipeline. When you look at the new jobs in wind energy, there's amazing new incentives for the windmills, the production of those windmills themselves, installation, generation from those windmills.
When you add all the features up together, we think one million jobs is a fair estimate.
DOBBS: Billy Tauzin, congressman from Louisiana, we thank you very much. We appreciate it.
TAUZIN: Thank you, Lou. Always a pleasure, sir.
DOBBS: The energy bill does not contain everything that President Bush desired, but it represents a significant political victory for the White House, after months and indeed years of argument.
I'm joined now from Washington by the secretary of the Department of Energy, Spencer Abraham.
Mr. Secretary, good to have you here.
SPENCER ABRAHAM, ENERGY SECRETARY: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: The incentives, we just heard Congressman Tauzin point out that, in his judgment, one million jobs will be created, that these incentives are directed across a broad spectrum of energy sources, not just natural gas and oil producers.
At this point, it's twice, however, the amount of money the White House had sought for incentives. Does that cause you any pain?
ABRAHAM: Well, we would like to have seen the tax package a little smaller, Lou, but we also recognize the tremendous benefits to our energy security this bill is going to produce, not just the jobs, but that's clearly important, but also the realization that we'll have sufficient energy to drive our economy forward in the 21st century.
And that means more certainty about our energy feature. And with that comes more investment and I think a stronger economy.
DOBBS: It is, to put a point on it, somewhat troubling to me to hear the chief negotiator for the House not be able to give me a suggestion as to what the percentage of that about $20 billion will go to natural gas and oil producers vs. alternate sources. So I'll ask the energy secretary. Your best judgment on that?
ABRAHAM: Well, I haven't seen the final text, Lou.
But I can tell you that, in our energy plan, most of which I think was incorporated in that tax package, about $8 billion was for renewable energy, alternative energy incentives, in fact, the ones that Congressman Tauzin was referring to. If the final package is $16 billion or $17 billion, then roughly half went to the renewable and alternative energy sources he mentioned.
DOBBS: In your -- 1,700 pages, I realize this is a great deal for even the negotiators to -- 1,700 pages in this legislation. It's massive, if not comprehensive. I know the effort is for it to be comprehensive.
We're going to start seeing the details tomorrow. The Democrats excluded, at least they say, from this process. Are we going to see an inclusionary process, in your judgment, over the next couple of weeks? Will we see this legislation move forward to become law quickly?
ABRAHAM: I think it will.
And I think everybody should realize, we've been working and Congress has been working on this energy bill for three years. And Democrats have had the opportunity, both in the minority this year and in the majority last year, to work on this legislation. In fact, we passed the Democrat bill that went through the Senate last year again this year. Last year, in the conference committee, they came very close to conclusion.
So most of these issues have been vetted and discussed at great length by Republicans and Democrats alike. So the notion of exclusion is a little bit different in this context. There's been a lot of participation on both sides of the aisle.
DOBBS: Two issues critically important to all of us who live in this country. One, will this bill, in and of itself, assure that there will be no repeat of the electrical blackouts that parts of the Midwest and Northeast experienced? And, secondly, will it contribute to a stability of oil and gas prices in this country in the short term at least over the next 12 to 18 months?
ABRAHAM: This bill's electricity provisions are going to, I think, set the stage for significant investment in the energy grid, in the transmission grid, which is going to help bring stability and also enforceable standards of behavior into the electricity sector. Those will definitely help us avert problems in the future.
The bill's contribution to fuel diversity by making sure that we can develop some of the new technologies that will allow us to stretch our energy reserves and resources further will also, I think, help us to meet the long-term goal which we have of energy security, consistent with more stability in the energy marketplace. DOBBS: We have to run, Mr. Secretary. You're confident this is not a budget buster?
ABRAHAM: I am confident of that.
And I think, as Congressman Tauzin said, what it's going to do is be a real stimulus for the economy by making sure that we have long- term energy security and, in the meantime, the kinds of jobs that will go with new projects this bill will usher in.
DOBBS: Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, thanks for being here.
DOBBS: The state of Alabama is trying to solve its budget crisis in court. Alabama hired that state's leading plaintiff's attorneys to represent it in a dispute with ExxonMobil over $63 million in natural gas royalties. Good strategy, as it turns out. Today, an Alabama jury awarded the state of Alabama almost $12 billion in punitive damages. ExxonMobil says that's a little excessive, says it might appeal.
And it's interesting to note, Alabama hired those plaintiff's attorneys on a contingency basis, sharing the state's newfound wealth.
There was a historic development in Europe's energy industry today when Germany shut down the first of its 19 nuclear power plants. Officials closed Germany's second oldest reactor after more than three decades of service. The German government says it will close all its nuclear power plants by 2020. Other energy sources, such as gas wind and solar power, are scheduled to make up the shortfall.
That closure today is the topic of our poll. The question: Do you believe Germany has made the right decision to phase out its nuclear power plants and should the United States do the same, yes or no? Please vote on our Web site, CNN.com/Lou.
Coming up next, our special report, "Exporting America" -- Americans fighting back against visa programs that allow one million foreigners to work in this country, taking jobs from higher-paid American workers in many cases. Bill Tucker will report.
Then, Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt on his controversial plan to legalize illegal aliens, his health care plan, and an international minimum wage and much more. Congressman Gephardt is our guest next.
And "Heroes" -- tonight, an extraordinary group of Marines who have received this country's highest honor. Casey Wian reports from Camp Pendleton, California.
Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Now, "Exporting America."
DOBBS: Tonight, our special report.
Few immigration programs are more controversial than our foreign worker visa programs. There are an estimated one million foreigners working in this country who entered on H1 and L1 visas. Many of them have high-technology jobs once held by higher-paid Americans, who are now unemployed. And they are very angry. And they're not acting like victims. They're fighting back.
Bill Tucker reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): He's giving away my job to some H1B visa holder.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America's high-tech workers are not going quietly on to the unemployment lines. Among other things, they're actively lobbying Congress to stop what they see as an impending disaster.
SONA SHAH, SOFTWARE PROGRAMMER: It's now or never. I really don't think America can lose the tech industry. And I really think that's what's happening.
TUCKER: Sona is a computer programmer who lost her job to a lowered-paid H1B visa worker. These are historically the top five companies using H1B visa employees. They're all tech companies. But these visa programs are not just a threat to high-tech workers.
H1Bs are being issued for accounting, architects and design, managerial administrative positions, and, yes, even television positions. Sources within CNN admit that a little less than 2 percent of its work force are H1B visa workers. CNN will not officially confirm that number, nor is it legally required to.
MICHAEL GILDEA, DEPARTMENT OF PROF. EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO: As this issue stays out in front, I think there will be growing public resentment about how these programs function and more and more pressure to reform them.
TUCKER: And pressure is being applied. Representative Rosa DeLauro has introduced legislation to reform the L1 visa program, which allows companies to transfer employees within a company from overseas and to limit, for the first time, the number issued.
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: These are high-level jobs which people have a degree for. We cannot use the L1 visa program as a backdoor to displacing American workers, to paying people lower wages.
TUCKER: The sense of urgency couldn't be stronger in the eyes of those who have lost their jobs, particularly for Natasha Humphries, who was fired by her employer, Palm, after she trained the employees that replaced her. NATASHA HUMPHRIES, SOFTWARE ENGINEER: It's a race to the bottom. They're looking for the cheapest dollar, for the best price for the most talent that they can find. And so it's really important to me to demonstrate to other individuals that you do have recourse. If we organize, if we mobilize and gather our resources, and maybe we can effect some legislative change.
TUCKER: H1B visas were created back in 1990. They were meant to allow companies to bring in foreign labor to ease labor shortages. They last five years. They can be renewed. And, Lou, no one is certain how many workers in the United States of America are actually working on an H1B visa program.
DOBBS: It's remarkable, because we have talked here, I think as our audience knows, to the Department of Labor. We have talked with the Homeland Security Department.
We know, recently, the number issued, no one knows how many of those over that better than a decade have expired, how many of those people remain in this country. It's extraordinary.
Bill Tucker, thank you.
Coming up next here: Wall Street legend, former ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn. He says the present trends in our business and trade could ultimately destabilize this economy and, yes, our society. Felix Rohatyn is our guest next.
And Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt joins us tonight. We'll be talking about his plans for this economy, health care, immigration, international trade and a great deal more.
Please stay with us.
DOBBS: Felix Rohatyn is a Wall Street legend, a former ambassador to France. And he even once served on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. He is, in my judgment, in the truest sense, worldly and wise.
Felix, good to have you with us tonight.
FELIX ROHATYN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE: Thank you, Lou. Happy to be here.
DOBBS: Your concerns about the condition of this economy and its effect on our society right now are profound. The scandals, corporate corruption scandals that have swept the country for the past two years, the lack of integrity in the marketplace, how concerned are you and what do you think should be done?
ROHATYN: Well, I'm very concerned because of a number of things that seem to be going wrong all at the same time. We depend, unfortunately, on foreign capital for a lot of our financing, which means we have to have a -- we have to be like Caesar's wife with respect to our financial system. And I remember speaking in France any number of times about the virtues of American capitalism, about our regulation, about our ethics, about how safe and sound our system is, because we actually need $1.5 billion a day coming in here to finance our foreign deficits.
DOBBS: Could you make that same speech today?
ROHATYN: I could not make that speech today.
ROHATYN: Which doesn't mean to say that we don't still probably the best system, but it's not good enough.
DOBBS: It's obligatory to say that we have wonderfully honest people running businesses. It is also responsible to say we have many who are not.
ROHATYN: That's right.
DOBBS: The New York Stock Exchange, this ridiculous situation where they are self-regulating, do you believe that can continue? Can you imagine a reason why the SEC should not take over?
ROHATYN: No, of course they should be regulated.
There's -- every day, there's another conflict of interest. And I don't believe that you can have the people who should be regulated regulating themselves, because it ultimately doesn't work. And the SEC is perfectly capable of doing it. I was on the board of the exchange in the early '70s, when we hit a major crisis. And it wasn't until we brought in the SEC people that were we able to sort of resolve it.
DOBBS: As you have pointed out, we are having problems in industries that have only recently, in terms of recent history, been deregulated, whether it be finance, whether it be energy. This is -- to what degree do you think we may have to move back to a more strongly regulated environment?
ROHATYN: Well, I think that...
DOBBS: To protect investors and shareholders.
ROHATYN: In most industries, most industries that are vital to our economy and our society, there has to be a balance between government regulation and the market. And I think the market can only work really well if, on the other side, there is a sophisticated regulatory system to keep the market from going beyond the bounds.
DOBBS: We have about 200 years of history in that regard in this country.
ROHATYN: That's right. That's correct.
DOBBS: Does it amaze you as much as it does me that otherwise intelligence and highly capable, talented people will sit there and say, well, you simply can't regulate us; this is America? America's always been regulated, in its markets, in its economy, in its investments.
ROHATYN: And it's worked very well. And it has worked very well.
DOBBS: The dollar continues to decline. Our trade deficits are soaring. We have over just about a half-trillion dollars in current account deficit.
ROHATYN: That's right.
DOBBS: How concerned are you? What do you think we need to do to bring stability and reason?
ROHATYN: Well, I kind of hate to repeat myself, because that's the other part of the equation that I'm very worried about.
And, sometimes, I think I'm paranoid. But the other day, I picked up "Fortune" magazine and I saw on the cover that Warren Buffett had been selling dollars for a year and a half. Now, when Warren gets worried about something, I think that, if I worry about the same thing, I'm probably on the right track.
DOBBS: It's worked pretty well over time.
ROHATYN: It has worked pretty well.
But we can't be in the red by $500 billion a year overseas, $500 billion a year in this country, have running balance of trade deficits, and create free money for people.
DOBBS: Who's going to step up and take these issues on? They're not being discussed amongst the nine Democratic candidates for their party's nomination. It's not being discussed by this administration. In real terms, how in the world are the people who are most affected, that is, working men and women in this country, where do they find representation? Where do they find a way to resolution? Where do you and I find it?
ROHATYN: Well, I think -- look, we have -- we live in the greatest democracy in the world, but we have to look to our political leaders to make decisions.
I watched tonight, when you were doing Billy Tauzin and the energy bill. And, at the same time, I do remember that we still import more than half the oil that we need in this country and that we're selling SUVs hand over fist who use up gasoline at the rate of 12 gallons for every mile they go. And nobody does anything about that.
DOBBS: A little better than that. ROHATYN: Or 14, 14.
And any time we do that, more and more money gets sent out of this country and probably goes to Saudi Arabia to feed the mullahs and the radical mosques that they finance. This is a terrible system we're in.
DOBBS: And we continue to permit our corporations to drive down wages, which sends people to Wal-Mart, buying from the fifth largest importer of Chinese goods in the world more lower-priced goods.
Felix Rohatyn, I wish we could continue with...
ROHATYN: Well, we have lots to talk about.
DOBBS: Come back soon.
ROHATYN: Thank you.
DOBBS: Felix Rohatyn, thanks for being here.
Coming up next: U.S. forces strike back at Iraqi targets, from Baghdad to Saddam Hussein's former hometown of Tikrit. Pentagon correspondent Chris Plante reports.
And Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt joins me. We'll be talking about his strategy to win this primary. And we'll be discussing the economy, international trade, immigration, and much more.
Please stay with us.
DOBBS: U.S. troops today intensified their attacks against suspected enemy positions in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. An Apache attack helicopter killed seven insurgents preparing to fire rockets at a U.S. base near Tikrit. The terrorists have killed four more Americans, three soldiers and a civilian contractor. Pentagon correspondent Chris Plante reports -- Chris.
CHRIS PLANTE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there are two simultaneous operations going on in the area in central Iraq known as the Baathist Triangle. The first we've been hearing a lot about in the last few days is called Iron Hammer, and the second is called Ivy Cyclone. Ivy Cyclone is taking place to the north of Baghdad, for the most part, in the area of Tikrit, which is Saddam Hussein's hometown. And Iron Hammer mostly to the west, in the area of Fallujah.
These are very aggressive new operations designed to crack down on those elements that are attacking U.S. and coalition forces there. They're using a lot of air power as we've noticed over the course of the last week, including fighter jets, F-16s, dropping aerial munitions on targets being called in by ground commanders, and the AC- 31 gunship has been called in for a couple of -- a couple of events, too, leveling buildings that were being used by anti-coalition forces. The Apache -- Army's Apache attack helicopter is also airborne every night, looking for heat signatures and other elements that are opposing the coalition and they're using a lot of heavy firepower -- Lou.
DOBBS: Chris, thank you. Chris Plante from the Pentagon.
Well, my guest is leading the pack of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa according to the latest "Des Moines Register" poll. He says he's the working people's candidate. He boasts the endorsement of 20 labor unions to prove it. In his second run for the White House, he wants to repeal all of President Bush's tax cuts and he recently proposed an international minimum wage. For many years, the Democratic leader of the House, Congressman Dick Gephardt of Missouri joins me.
Good to have you with us.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be here.
DOBBS: That's an impressive number, about a 7 percent spread in Iowa. At this point, are you confident you're going to be able to differentiate yourself in New Hampshire from these other candidates?
GEPHARDT: I do. I think I will win Iowa. I think I can get a top tier finish in New Hampshire. And then it moves West and Midwest to states that should really be good for me. I think I can have a good day on February 3 and the seven states that come then. And then Michigan is four days later, and I think I can win Michigan and be on my way to getting this nomination.
DOBBS: The fact that trade has long been a concern of yours, you voted against NAFTA, we are looking at a tremendous trade deficit and current account deficit. Do you have a plan to straighten that out, because it is becoming a critical issue?
GEPHARDT: Lou, while this president has been president, we've lost manufacturing jobs every month of his presidency. We are now seeing, I think, the fruition of what I worried about when we put through NAFTA, put through the China agreement, without basic safeguards to get these countries to get their standards to begin to move up. What we're seeing is a race to the bottom. We're now not just losing textile and steel jobs, we're losing high-tech jobs, software engineering jobs, service jobs at a rapid rate. And we have got to get a better trade policy that will help both those underdeveloped countries and our country as well.
DOBBS: As you point out this president, during the course of his term, has lost those manufacturing jobs, this economy has. But those agreements that you just referenced, particularly NAFTA, signed by President Bill Clinton. The policies pursued by President Bill Clinton and your party. What responsibility do the Democrats hold along with the Republicans on straightening this out?
GEPHARDT: Well, the truth is I've been arguing against both what has been the Democratic and Republican position on this issue. Now I will also argue to you that this president had other policies that have aggravated this problem. We have a big, huge budget deficit. The tax cuts weren't aimed at the right people. I would put them at the middle class and people trying to get in the middle class through my health care plan.
DOBBS: Yet, you would like to roll them all back?
GEPHARDT: Well, I give a different kind of tax cut. I want to get everybody covered with health insurance in this country through their employer, through the present system. I think it will grow the economy faster. I think it will help employers, help employees. We can unite the interests of business and labor and solve a major problem in this country, which is getting everybody covered with health insurance.
DOBBS: Health insurance absolutely a critical issue. But this, if you're going to criticize this president for those manufacturing jobs lost and for the recession of 2001, the fact is we saw extraordinary growth in the third quarter, 7.2 percent GDP growth, projected to grow more. Does this mean you're going to have to change strategy and the other Democratic candidates for your party's nomination?
GEPHARDT: I don't believe so. This is a recovery, if it is a recovery, and I hope it is sustained, but it's a recovery without job creation. And we've never seen this in a long, long time. And part of that, a large part of that, I think, is the bad trade policy that we've been following for a number of years. And incidentally, this president is trying to expand those trade agreements without safeguards for labor and environment, which I think is a further mistake that we shouldn't make. I went to Mexico twice during the negotiation of NAFTA, and I asked the president of Mexico to put into the core text of the treaty that he would enforce his labor and environmental laws, he would not do it. That's what we need to do. We also need an international minimum wage that I would go to the WTO and ask be imposed by every country, be different in China than it is here, but get started on those kinds of standards.
DOBBS: That minimum wage today, it has eroded. The last change in this country was six years ago, the minimum wage in this country has eroded to such a point that it's all but irrelevant in nominal terms. We're not doing much on minimum wage in this country. Of course, we've been losing a lot of jobs at the same time, it's not quite the right environment.
GEPHARDT: I would ask for an increase in the minimum wage here in America as well, to show as example to the rest of the world, but we have got to build consumers in this world, not just producers. We have got to have demand, just not supply. And we're on a way to a world where we're going to have billions of workers making a $1 a day or less. That's not good for anybody.
DOBBS: It's a question of determining our own destiny, isn't it?
GEPHARDT: Absolutely. DOBBS: The issue of immigration, none of the candidates want to talk about immigration, it seems to me, our national immigration policy, yet at our current rate of population growth, immigration, as well as normal, natural birth and illegal immigration, this country will have a billion people in it by the end of the century. What would you do about 10 million illegal aliens who are now in this country, and taking control of our borders?
GEPHARDT: I would enforce the immigration laws. That's first. If you've got a law on the books you have got to enforce it. I asked Immigration after 9/11 how many expired visas there were in the country. They couldn't answer the question. This is not a competently run service. It needs to be changed. But I have got another bill that I think makes sense also, I call it "earned legalization." I would say to people that have been here for five years, worked for two years, paid their taxes, not broken laws, you can get into legal status. We have got to get the people who have been here and done the right thing out of the shadows while we enforce our immigration laws.
DOBBS: But of course, being here, they've broken the first law.
GEPHARDT: I understand that, but they've done everything else they've been asked to do. We need to get the full productivity of these workers. They're in the shadows now, and it will also help us fight against terrorism.
DOBBS: Congressman Dick Gephardt, candidate for his party's nomination, thank you very much.
GEPHARDT: Thank you.
DOBBS: We wish you well.
GEPHARDT: Thank you.
DOBBS: Tonight's thought is on international trade, big government, big business, the role of big unions. "If you mean by capitalism the God-given right of a few big corporations to make all the decisions that will affect millions of workers and consumers and to exclude everyone else from discussing and examining those decisions, then the unions are threatening capitalism." That author and educator, Max Lerner.
Coming up next here -- "Heroes." Tonight, 45,000 extraordinary Marines who have secured a place in history with their bravery in Iraq. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight, a shocking report on the amount of money that Enron is spending on accounting and legal fees after it filed for bankruptcy, that almost two years ago. Christine Romans is here with that and the latest word on the widening mutual funds scandal, which has now spread to a popular discount broker -- Christine. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Another dubious distinction for Enron. It is now the most expensive bankruptcy on Earth. Enron's bankruptcy and accounting fees have already topped a half a billion dollar, and are expected to reach $1 billion by 2006. Its creditors are scrambling to hurry up this bankruptcy process just so they can stop the bleeding and put this disaster behind them.
DOBBS: $1 billion?
ROMANS: $1 billion. So many law firms and accounting firms...
DOBBS: And we talk about excessive CEO compensation, we talk about all of the other idiotic things going on, $1 billion?
ROMANS: KMart's bankruptcy was only $140 million. Now, granted that's a smaller bankruptcy...
DOBBS: Only $140 million.
ROMANS: Right. It's supposed to get smaller as the bankruptcy process goes forward.
DOBBS: What I love about this process is there are a lot of companies that couldn't afford to go bankrupt.
ROMANS: Exactly. And creditors are pretty unhappy.
OK, staying on scandal watch -- there are plenty of scandals to talk about. Charles Schwab announced it's found some market timing relationships in the Excelsior Funds, which it owns, as well as instances of late trading. Charles Schwab has positioned itself away from the tainted Wall Street earlier this year when the research scandal broke. Now finds itself in this mutual funds investigation. And as that investigation unfolded this week, sharp criticism for the Securities and Exchange Commission for its partial settlement with Putnam Investments. Putnam pledged reform and restitution but did not admit guilt. Attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts were outraged, Lou, and pledged that their investigations would continue.
DOBBS: It seems like they almost have to, unfortunately. Christine, thanks. Christine Romans.
Taking a look now, if we may, at some of your thoughts. From Atlanta, Georgia: "My husband and I think immigration and the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries are the most critical problems facing America. Thank you for consistently pressing the importance of these issues. Your news program is the best and the most unbiased coverage on TV, including Fox." Ann and Bill Weller.
From Conway, Arkansas, on our reporting that Wal-Mart is the fifth largest export market for China. "It is a joke that Wal-Mart displays the American flag. They need to fly the Chinese flag. In fact, they need to move their headquarters there." That from Ken Sparrow.
Perhaps overstated, Ken.
And from Haddonfield, New Jersey: "I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when I watched your superb and honest reporting about the problems with our economy. Yes, there is a squeeze of America's middle class, personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high, and we are exporting American jobs to other countries. I am so grateful that you didn't try to spin these stories into some lighthearted piece about how sending jobs to China is really good for America in the long run. I do not always agree with your perspective, but after tonight my respect for you is through the roof. Thank you for being a journalist and not a cheerleader." That from Robert Turrin.
From Pacific Grove, California: "I can't miss a single show. You are the most 'fair and balanced' presenter of issues that confront and confound thinking, intelligent Americans." Barbara Bullas.
And from Richmond, Virginia: "Stop the H1B visa program. I am running out of money, unemployment compensation, hope and respect for my country. For the love of God stop it and put me back to work." Mark Williamson.
Mark, never lose hope, or respect. It will happen.
From Corvallis, Montana: "Lou, someone last night called you conservative. Could have fooled me. I always had you figured for just plain honest. Keep up the common sense that seems to be missing in much of the media." That from Bill Byrd.
Well, Bill, we promise you before being liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat on this broadcast, we work definitely to be honest, and that's with a capital H.
We love hearing from you. Please e-mail us your thoughts at email@example.com.
Coming up next, our "Newsmakers," the editors of the nation's leading business magazines, on "Exporting America," the 2004 presidential election and a great deal more. And a group of Marines rewarded for what can only be called heroic service. Casey Wian will report next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The United States exporting tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of American jobs have been shipped to India and other countries over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have applied for work visas in this country. All of these trends are a necessary part of globalization or a real threat to the U.S. economy? Joining us now, this week's "Newsmakers," Jim Ellis, the chief of correspondents at "BusinessWeek" and Paul Maidment, executive editor of "Forbes." Good to have you with us.
Jim, this -- you heard Congressman Dick Gephardt talking about trade. This looks like it's going to become a significant issue with the presidential race. JIM ELLIS, BUSINESSWEEK: There's no way this can't. I mean, and what's happening now with the economy still rather fragile and the fact that despite the markets being really excited about this -- about the recovery, we still are not producing nearly enough jobs. And so therefore anything that's a threat to jobs, which exporting jobs to, you know, China or to India is, I mean, that's going to continue to be an issue all the way through the election.
DOBBS: Do you agree, Paul?
PAUL MAIDMENT, FORBES: Well, the American economy -- I don't agree that the American company isn't creating enough jobs in the sense that employment in this country is actually near its highest levels ever. And you know, net for net, there has been a small loss of jobs, but overall the country's still generating lots and lots of jobs. If you look at the demographic trends going forward, there is actually going to be a shortage of workers in about five to seven years' time. At least that's what the demographers say. But certainly there is absolutely no doubt this is going to be a major electoral issue.
DOBBS: Paul, I find this statement about job level interesting, because the suggestion that you're in creative destruction in this country is an interesting theoretical thing, but when you're talking about the place where we all live and work, it becomes somewhat less abstract. We need to be generating 150,000 jobs a month to stay even. We're not doing that. We need to be creating high value jobs. I can't imagine anyone being sanguine about the condition of our labor market.
MAIDMENT: Well, no, I mean, anyone who is without a job is obviously an individual tragedy, and there's no doubt about that at all. But -- you know, and one of the things that's distorted the whole lens of this is the disproportionate destruction has been wrecked on the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing has lost 14 percent of its jobs since 2001.
MAIDMENT: The economy as a whole only lost 1. percent of its jobs. Manufacturing is taking it on the chin. And a lot of the political focus of this debate is on that job loss. And yet, manufacturing now only accounts for 1 in 11 jobs, 1 in 9 jobs, 11 percent of jobs in America.
DOBBS: Do you feel bet bar a 6 percent unemployment rate than almost 10 million people being out of work?
ELLIS: Well, it goes back to the old debate that to an economist, maybe you can have a healthy economy where you have a certain percentage of workers out of the workforce. But to a worker that's their job, that's their livelihood. I actually think what we try to do is to maximize opportunity for people in this country. And one way to do that is to try to give everyone who can work a job.
DOBBS: It's one of the problems in our craft. We talk about them as consumers, taxpayers, it turns out, they're our neighbors, our fellow citizens and we have a responsibility that extents beyond the categorization of the economic function.
MAIDMENT: In our own industry, we have seen tremendous job less.
MAIDMENT: We all know people who are out of work.
DOBBS: No one ever cares about whether anyone in our industry loses our job, we are sort of reviled. A few people about politicians, one is going to lose a job, nine Democratic candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Dick Gephardt, doing very well in Iowa, starting to show up stronger in other polls, Dean with remarkable money behind him. What is your thoughts on that?
ELLIS: I think that the fact that Gephardt is doing strongly in the Iowa polls was to be expected. I mean it's a neighboring state to his own and also he did well there last time. I think the real test is going to come later. It's going to be how well he does in New Hampshire and then beyond.
DOBBS: A threat to Dean, Paul?
MAIDMENT: Certainly a threat. I think it's down now. Essentially, those are the two from whom the nominee will come.
DOBBS: Gentlemen, Paul, Jim, thank you very much. I can't believe I asked what is your thoughts. I want to put an "are" in there, just for the record. Jim, Paul, thanks.
Tonight's quote from South Korea, where a former U.S. president has offered his optimistic solution for the Bush White House to consider in dealing with the nuclear standoff between the was North Korea.
We quote, "I don't think that we'd lose that much by giving them an agreement that requires good conduct on their behalf as well as ours." Them being, North Korea. That, former President Bill Clinton.
We extend our condolences tonight to the family and the friends of Narayan Keshavan who died last night. The executive director of the Indian-American Forum for Politic Education was our guest on this evening. Keshavan was a respected longtime advocate of Indian interests in this country. He was 53 years old.
We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here again, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight. The question, "Do you believe Germany made the right decision to phase out its nuclear power. And should the United States do the same?" 64 percent of you say yes, 36 percent say no. In Florida today, the army held a ceremony to honor one of its own. A special forces soldier whose leadership and courage helped put down an uprising by 500 al Qaeda prisoners in Afghanistan two years ago. That uprising in Muzar-i-Sharif threatened to overwhelm a small force of Afghan soldiers who guarded the prison and it could have delayed the entire U.S.-led advance in northern Afghanistan. Major Mark Mitchell and his 15-man special forces team led the counterattack that eventually overwhelmed the al Qaeda.
Today, Major Mitchell was awarded the Distinguish Service Cross, only the Medal of Honor ranks above that award for valor.
Each week in heroes we bring you the remarkable story of a war veteran dealing with new challenges after returning from combat. Tonight, we salute 45,000 Marine Corps heroes who just received the highest honor possible for bravely for an entire unit. Casey Wian reports from Camp Pendleton, California.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This spring, these Marines fought battles are now taking their place alongside Iwo Jima, Okinawa and other historic Marine Corps battles. The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force has received the military's highest group award for heroism. Presidential Unit Citation hasn't been bestowed on a Marine unit since 1968.
GORDON ENGLAND, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: This is literally a juggernaut. This is probably the greatest demonstration of firepower and heroism that we've seen certainly forever.
WIAN: In 33 days, the unit known as 1-MEF pushed through nearly 500 miles of Iraqi desert under constant fire. It destroyed nine Iraqi divisions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your heroic actions freed millions from tyranny and furthered the cause of liberty. Our nation is grateful for your service. One performance further reinforces to the world that there is no better friend, no worse enemy, than a United States Marine.
WIAN: 62 members of the 45,000 Marine unit were killed in action. They'll be remembered by a force flying new colors, recognized for heroism, bravery and performance by their commander in chief.
CPL. JOSH UNSWORTH, U.S. MARINES: The 1st Marine Expeditionary Division did an awesome job over there. And definitely deserved to be awarded for it.
WIAN (on camera): Did you get the sense when you were over there that you were doing something that was really historic?
LANCE CPL. DAVID ELSON, U.S. MARINES: At the time, no. But when you look back on it you feel like you really did accomplish something.
CPL. HIRAM LACHAPELLE, U.S. MARINES: We're just doing our jobs and did it to the best of our abilities.
WIAN: For these Marine, the job is far from over. They have been put on notice they'll be heading back to Iraq early next spring.
PVT. SHANNON OTHERMEDICINE, U.S. MARINES: As for my family, I don't want to leave them again, but if I have to go, I gotta go. We're Marines and that's what we gotta go.
WIAN: Casey Wian, CNN, California.
DOBBS: The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force isn't the only unit to be recognized for its role in the successful attack against Baghdad. President Bush also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to the 3rd Infantry Division in September.
That's our show for tonight. Thanks for being with us. Monday we begin a series of special sports on this countries broken borders. Why are borders are still wide open to illegal aliens and potentially terrorists. And we'll be joined by Marcus Courtney, President of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers as we talk about his fight to keep American technology jobs here at home.
Have a very pleasant week end. For all of us here, good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" coming up next.
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Legislation Close to Passage; 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Awarded Presidential Unit Citation>