This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: In yet another example of President Obama and his administration continuing to encourage Americans to be dependent on the government, it was just uncovered that last year the federal government mistakenly overpaid -- get this -- $14 billion in your dollars in the form of up unemployment benefits, leaving the Labor Department scrambling now to recover the lost funds and attempt to pinpoint the problem.
Now, while most unemployment benefits do go to Americans who are truly in need, the overpaid funds are ending up in the hands of those who are ineligible to receive them. In other words, people who are no longer looking for working or have left their jobs voluntarily.
So, it's not surprising that when my next guest was asked about the president's promotion of entitlements, he had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: He does not want you to have the self- esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He'd rather you be his slave and be economically dependent upon him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And joining me now with more, the man you just heard from, Florida Congressman, Colonel Allen West. Congressman, welcome back, sir.
WEST: Thanks so much for having me on, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. You know, when you say that, you know, Social Security disability is slavery, a lot of people pay into that, their entire lives. Agree or disagree with the program, a lot of people say wait a minute, that's my money. I paid into this. That was the assurances that were given me.
WEST: Well, there's something different between Social Security and Social Security disability. And I think that when you talk about how journalism has died and you don't have people properly reporting, when you look at the facts, since June of 2009, the Obama administration has created about 2.6 million jobs, but there have been 3.1 million Americans that have gone on Social Security disability. As a matter of fact, in June when you only had 80,000 private sector jobs created, you had 85,000 Americans going on Social Security disability.
So my question is just the same as you just brought up about unemployment benefits, is this program really going toward its intended purposes of helping individuals who are disabled, who cannot go out and work, or this a matter of the 99 or 79 weeks of unemployment benefits when they were running out. Now, you see people running to apply for Social Security disability funding which in our district down in South Florida, you can see billboards with lawyers advertising how they can get you on Social Security disability.
HANNITY: Yes. Well, all right. The percentage of taxpayers, we know this, has never been lower. Forty nine percent of Americans pay no federal income tax. So, they're not vested in the system. And I think this is what makes this an historic election or a tipping point election. And the question here is when Republicans in any way in the past, when they discuss Social Security and they even talk about preventing it from going bankrupt, it's a third rail. Then you get Paul Ryan throwing granny over the cliff. Is it politically speaking not smart to talk about a program that obviously the American people like?
WEST: Well, first of all, I can be a politician and continue to tell the American people what they want to hear, but the truth is this. The actuaries and trustees of Social Security and Medicare in their fiscal year 2012 report said that Medicare will be bankrupt in 2024 and Social Security nine years later in 2333. And we'll start seeing a degradation of benefits from 25 to 30 percent. So, one of the most important things we need to do is to strengthen Social Security.
And I believe in protecting and preserving it. That's why when I look at such political gimmicks such as this payroll tax cut, it is really defunding of Social Security and it's pushing it closer to the cliff. So, I think that we've got to get Americans back to work. When you look at our work force participation rate, it's at a 31-year lower at only 63.7 percent. So, we're driving people to be more dependent upon government. We're not driving people out there to open up those small business opportunities and promote our business development, production and manufacturing in this country.
HANNITY: Look. If we look at unemployment, it is at 58.1 percent. It's the lowest since 1983. Long term unemployment, the highest since the 1930s, so the numbers do speak for themselves.
But let me go to the Social Security issue. Because we now, we know in the next 120 days what this campaign is about. It's about dogs on top of cars, class warfare, it's about Bain capital, it's these red herrings about, you know, bank accounts in the Caymans, war on women.
So, the question is, do you believe the American people, do you believe that they are willing to accept austerity measures like in the case of Wisconsin, you know, to balance the budget, to not borrow money, to not run up record deficits. Do you think they are prepared for that?
WEST: Well, I think when the American people see a plan for our economic security, they will react as the voters did in Wisconsin, and I think that that's what we have to do.
We have to draw a complete contrast between who we are as fiscal conservatives, constitutional conservatives, believing in limited government and fiscal responsibility and individual sovereignty, which is so important.
We cannot continue to go down the path of a president that believes you can use the tax code for behavior modification, which is really the decision that came out of the Supreme Court reference ObamaCare.
And then we also see today where the president believes that he can use the tax code to pick the winners and losers based on his own ideological agenda.
So I think we need to have the discussions with the American people and give them the truth and not continue to knuckle down because liberal media wants to take their sound bite rhetoric to intimidate you.
HANNITY: African-American unemployment and youth unemployment now is at 50 percent. If you look at the black community, unemployment is at the highest level in 27 years.
WEST: It's 14.4 percent.
HANNITY: It's 14.4 percent, also double digits in the Hispanic community. Overwhelmingly, the African-American community voted for Barack Obama. Polls show that he will win the majority of the African-American vote again.
When you use the word slavery, that's the word that seems to have ignited this firestorm. What is your reaction to your critics for using this word?
WEST: I don't care about my critics. I understand that my country is at a very perilous situation, and I'm going to use the type of words that are necessary to get the attention of the American people.
Look, Sean. I commanded a battalion in combat. I didn't sit down before we launch into Iraq and told that the men and women we would have nice, cold water and warm chow every day and no one is going to shoot at us. I told them the truth, but I made sure that they were prepared to go into the combat zone.
I want to make sure that the United States of America that has been around for 236 years as a beacon of liberty, freedom, and democracy, continues for our subsequent generations, our children and grandchildren.
I really don't care about critics. I really don't care about the liberal media.
HANNITY: What would you do if you're Mitt Romney then and the attacks that they're using against him and trying to distract interest Obama's record. How would you defend against that?
WEST: Well, very simply I would go back to the quote from Alexander the Great. Fortune favors the bold. The American people are looking for a bold plan of action that centers around our economic security, our energy security, our national security.
I say don't chase the little shining toy that the liberal media and the liberal progressives like to put out there as you just talked about war on women or some other means by which they want to divide us and pit us against each other in their goal of collective subjugation.
We've got to talk to the American people. That's the bottom line. That's what I would advise Governor Romney to do.
HANNITY: Last question, we know that the governor is in fact vetting women according to his wife, Ann Romney. We know that Marco Rubio is under consideration. Governor Palin on this very program said that she thinks you would be a great vice presidential choice. Do you know if you might yourself be being vetted for that position of vice president?
WEST: Well, if someone is doing it, they have not let me know, and my biggest focus is to be a good congressional representative. If I have to kind of be that voice crying out in the wilderness right now, I'll continue to do that. Because this country that I love so dearly, I'm not going to sit around and watch anyone destroy it or take it down the road to perdition.
HANNITY: All right, Congressman, Colonel, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
WEST: It's a pleasure. Thank you.