The Plan, Day Five: Surviving the Cuts; Selling the Plan

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Breaking down the budget, cutting about a quarter of the spending — I think we should do about half. Cato Institute, more — oh my gosh, more liberal than me.


BECK: We want to talk a little bit about where the — I mean, I said here, you know, 10 percent respond wrong, 80 percent wait for help, and 10 percent lead. And I use the analogy of 9/11.

Where are the stairs? Where are the stairs?

We think we're going in unchartered territory, but we're not. I mean, we did this in 1920. And it's being done all over the world. So, let's look at those things.

Ben Sherwood is here. He's the author of "The Survivors Club."

And Chris Edwards, director of the tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, and author of "Downsizing the Federal Government," and a great Web site — I didn't know was yours until earlier in week, Downsizing the Government is it dot-org or —


BECK: Dot-org. It's a great Web site.

OK. So, Chris, first, let's start with you. Show me the stairs. Where are the exits? Where are the things that people have already done to where we go — oh, OK, well, we just do that?

EDWARDS: Well, we got examples in our own country and many countries abroad of how the government has cut and people have responded positively. Look at welfare reform in 1996. Before Republicans and Bill Clinton put that into effect, Democrats and liberals were saying, oh, it's horrible. There's going to be millions of people sleeping on grates and some other things.

1996 welfare reform was a huge success. Welfare rolls went down. And I bet if you talk to those folks who moved from welfare to the workforce, they'd much, you know, they're much happier with their lives.

Look at another example. In New Zealand, they completely abolished their farm subsidies in the 1980s. Initially, farmers were against it. They marched in the streets. They protested the government.

But after it was put in place back in 1984 — now, farmers in New Zealand are the most free market in the world. They don't want subsidies anymore. They're really proud of what they do today.

BECK: Do you have any idea who's beating us now as the world's bread basket? Because I heard that stuff the other day that we're no longer the leader in food, and I thought, you got to be kidding me.


BECK: How did that even — how did that happen?

EDWARDS: No. I mean, farm subsidies distort our agriculture economy. I think they make farmers worse off.

And, you know, we saw in New Zealand, when you abolish farm subsidies, the farmers — they diversify their land use. They went into new crops, like kiwi fruit.

BECK: Sure.

EDWARDS: We see that in grocery stores now. Why? Because New Zealand farmers said, hey, we need to do something new and did kiwi fruit.

BECK: Also, the — I know Germany has got out of the post office business.

EDWARDS: Absolutely. Here, you talk about privatizing the post office. People think you're radical. And, you know, Germany privatized their post office in 2000. Netherlands privatized their post office. The European Union is pushing for postal competition across the entire continent by 2013.

So, you know, we're going to be more socialist than Europe on post offices.

BECK: I mean, we're looking at France in our rear-view mirror.

EDWARDS: That's right.

BECK: I thought we were talking last night about doing the — let's be more like France. OK. In some ways, they're now ahead of us.

EDWARDS: I don't know — yes, I don't know about the French. But certainly, the Germans and the Dutch and the British have done a lot of things we need to do.

BECK: So, Ben, first, let's start with the — what is it — the normalcy —


BECK: Explain the normally bias.

SHERWOOD: People facing a crisis have what psychologists call the normalcy bias: You want things to be normal.

So, for instance, when you're on airplane and, say, the engine catches fire. You look out the window and you have nothing in your memory to say that the engine is on fire and so you want everything to be OK.

So, when they've actually done studies of people with fire drills and all kinds of crisis, the normalcy bias makes us want to believe that everything is going to be just fine.


SHERWOOD: Everything is OK. Everything is normal.

BECK: So, that explains this. I mean, not with Newsweek because they're smarter than this — but people want to believe this, right? That America is back, that we're just going to pull ourselves — don't worry about it, the worst is behind us. You want to believe that because you can't even imagine what things are going to be like if it's not.

SHERWOOD: I think a lot of people realize how bad things are. I think that publications like that are saying there are some signs that things are getting better.

But most Americans know and when you go out there and you look at how people are struggling to survive right now — I've been to El Centro, California, which is the unemployment capital of the United States — people there realize the times are tough. And they are really struggling to survive and to figure out a way to make ends meet.

So, national media may tell certain kind of stories, but there's a real struggle going on and we know that.

BECK: Do people — how do — maybe you'll be able to answer this — how do you get people who are in the 80 percent "wait for help," how many people in crisis — and I'm getting the wrap sign, so answer this after the break.

How many people — let's use the World Trade Center — sat at their desk and somebody said, "Bill, get up from your desk" — how many people say, "No, no, no, it's all going to be fine"? And what do you do to get them up out of their desk? Can you answer that?

SHERWOOD: You bet.

BECK: OK. We'll do that next.


BECK: We're back now with Ben Sherwood and Chris Edwards. And we're wrapping up our week on trying to train Americans to think out of the box. These might not be the answers that we need in the end. But we need to start thinking about, what happens if that crazy guy at 5 o'clock is actually right? What will we do? And that is the secret. I learned it from you, Ben, when I read "Survivor's Club."

It's the most important thing you can do is to think about what if that crazy idea over there is right, right?

SHERWOOD: You've got to imagine the impossible.


SHERWOOD: In fact, that's what scenarios are all about. The best thing a military can do in training a fighter pilot is put them in simulators in which the scenarios are so tough that when they come back from a real mission over Iraq, when they come back from a real war-fighting mission, they say, "Oh, that was nothing compared to the simulator."

BECK: Right.

SHERWOOD: That's the key.

BECK: Our grandparents used to say prepare for the worst, hope for the best. And if it falls anywhere near the worst, you're prepared. OK.

So 10 percent — the 80-10-10 or the 10-80-10 — 10 percent when faced with a crisis respond to wrong way. What do you mean by that?

SHERWOOD: So the 10-80-10 rule has been studied across all kinds of disasters, going back 100 years — earthquakes, war, terrorism, natural disasters. Ten percent of us in a crisis, a disaster, do the wrong thing. We behave in negative, self-destructive, counterproductive ways.

BECK: Intentionally — some intentionally or not?

SHERWOOD: Well, this is what is often known as panic. Not a technical term, but people panic and they behave hysterically and they actually do negative self-destructive things.

BECK: They were the people like in "The Poseidon Adventure" when we were growing up and there were kids in there who would be like, "Get a hold of yourself, man." That's 10 percent? I got it. I got it. All right.

SHERWOOD: Eighty percent — and that's most of us — 80 percent become bewildered. We fall into a stupor. We — I think you did a very good imitation in the first block. We freeze.

BECK: Right.

SHERWOOD: Stupor — this is known — the technical term is behavioral inaction. You do nothing. You wait for someone in a position of authority — that's the magic speaker that you described.

BECK: Right.

SHERWOOD: Someone to tell you evacuate the building.

BECK: OK. Now, that is critical. They go back to "Poseidon Adventure" because this all works. Those who were — remember when the boat turned upside down and Gene Hackman was all like, "You're all going to die down there! Get on the Christmas tree and come up!"

And most of the people were saying, "No, no. He's a crazy man. Don't do that. What do you even know?" It's not just someone to lead. It's someone of a traditional authority. Someone who — that is why people don't listen to me about the economy. What the hell do I know? I don't have a degree on anything. What do I know?

SHERWOOD: The interesting thing in a disaster, for instance, a plane crash, is that people — and they have studied this — wait for a flight attendant to come to their rescue and tell them what to do and where to go.

But in fact, in fact in about 30 percent of the time, flight attendants are incapacitated in these situations. And so you are actually on your own. So the key, and this is exactly what we're talking about, — is how do you flip the switch from being in that big 80 percent? I definitely, having looked at survivors all over the world think I'm in the big 80 percent category.

How do you flip the switch to get into the top 10 percent? And that last 10 percent — those are the leaders. They're not necessarily the people with the uniform. They're not necessarily the guy with the authority.

That 10 percent — often quiet, often reserved, unexpected leaders — they are the ones, when a crisis happens, who respond decisively, purposefully. They know what to do. They've got a plan and they take action. And they often save a lot of those people in the 80 percent who are mulling around trying to figure out what to do.

BECK: Do any of the first 10 percent — I mean, how do the first 10 percent convince in the 80 percent to go the other way, just sit here? No, don't go out on the Christmas tree. Don't go to him. Because absolutely, that would be, right?

It's "The Poseidon Adventure," the upside down Christmas tree. Gene Hackman is over the top. He's in the last 10 percent. The other guys — they all died, you know. And everybody else — suckers. Those guys — they pulled a lot of those people who said, "Don't go." Which one — the ones that go wrong are probably saying, "No, no, no. Don't! Wait! Stop! Wait for somebody for authority."

That is probably a bigger pull, isn't it?

SHERWOOD: You know, every situation is different across all of these different disasters. This is a standard distribution of how people behave. The most important thing for any person facing any survival crisis, any trial, is to have the mindset, the outlook, which is: Something could go wrong and what am I going to do?

So that when someone shouting at you, "Don't go that way, go this way. Don't go that way, go this way," you've actually already thought about it. You've rehearsed in your mind what you want to do so that you can take that action.

BECK: That's what we're trying to do with the show, because if these things happen economically, you have to have some basis on it.

Now, how do you get — how does this last 10 percent affect the 80 percent? How do they — what can they — I mean, that's what these Tea Parties are doing. People say all the time, I've talked to all my friends. I've talked to my neighbors. I've talked to everybody. What do I do?

SHERWOOD: I have a slightly different view about this, because I think that it's not actually the 10 percent in the top who lead the 80 percent to safety. That is good for movies.

But I think in life —

BECK: I saw "The Poseidon Adventure" and the remake. It ended the same way both times.

SHERWOOD: In real life —

BECK: Yes.

SHERWOOD: The key is to tell the 80 percent in the middle. And that is what "The Survivor's Club" is all about. It's how does everybody learn the basics of anticipating the worst?

BECK: How do you do that? Most people don't want to. They're like, "Oh, that's crazy." And our system is set up that people are screaming on both sides saying, "Don't listen to the other side." So they don't. They just shut up. They just stay in the middle.

SHERWOOD: Survival is a mindset. It's a way of seeing the world. And the people who watch television news shows, who watch Glenn Beck or who watch across —


SHERWOOD: Are information seekers. And information-seeking, learning, is probably the most important thing to moving from the 80 percent into the 10 percent who respond decisively.

What that means is if you are actually seeking information, you're figuring out what your plan is going to be. You have a much better chance of getting over the normalcy bias and doing something.

BECK: OK. But here's what — I have to take a break. But I want to bring in both of you and we also have somebody who is an ad man here. Maybe he can help answer this question.

But I want to — when we come back, I want to ask again — it's the 80 percent that I'm worried about, OK? I'm worried about the 80 percent. How do we go to them and say, if I'm somebody who believes this stuff and says, it could happen. It might not, but it could. How do I approach the 80 percent at this point when there is no smoke, there's no planes flying into buildings?

Ben, do you have the answer?

SHERWOOD: Sure do.

BECK: OK. We're going to come back for that, next.


BECK: Ben Sherwood, Chris Edwards are back with us now. And we were talking before the break. People — 10 percent are trying to lead. They're trying to wake up their friends and neighbors, the 80 percent, and say, wait, we have trouble. We've got to get out of here.

How do you wake up that 80 percent?

SHERWOOD: There are two ways. In California, for 30 years, they have been telling us big earthquakes are coming. So what happens? There are two ways that people actually prepare for earthquakes.

One, the ground shakes and they realize a big one is coming and they go and prepare. They get supplies. They develop a plan. And the other is the constant reinforcement of messages in school, public awareness campaigns that something could happen and do you have a plan?

BECK: We have the exact opposite happening.

EDWARDS: We've known for years that there is a fiscal earthquake coming, a fiscal catastrophe. Members of Congress, all 535 of them — they know a disaster is coming and they're denying it. They won't do anything to avert it.

BECK: Our media is doing the same thing.


BECK: Everything is going the other direction.

EDWARDS: I mean, the curious thing in the 1970s, Britain was in a fiscal disaster as well. They had decisive leadership when Margaret Thatcher came to power and radically changed the nation. You know, where is our Margaret Thatcher? That's what I'd like to know.


When we come back, maybe we can bring in the ad guy here and he can kind of help us through some of the ads to counteract this, just in case. Right back.



TEXT: What's your beef with Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My big beef with Washington, you're taking enough money from us. We're struggling. We're suffering. Give us a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make a decision and just get it done. The inability to get things done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're born free and we're being taxed to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How large it is and how it does not reflect our capacity to pay for anything anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just kind of seem out of touch with what the real workers are doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just so corrupt. There is so much corruption. In everything that gets passed. They're doing favors for this senator or for this state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American people — it's just that you can never get a straight answer.

TEXT: Would you support drastic budget cuts?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we afford a 10 percent cut across the board? Sure, you could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would probably cut by looking at the biggest areas of spending.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at all the people in government who get the best of health care and whatnot and they're getting all these benefits. How about slashing their pay and their benefits first?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would look at it — OK, whatever you're putting in, I'm getting something out. If you're not, take it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we really just have to keep in mind our priorities, what we really need. The less government, the better.

NARRATOR: Back the Cato budget.


BECK: We have been telling you all week about the big changes we think — I think — that need to happen to keep America from going broke and falling into, you know, a "pit of despair."

But how do we get the rest of America on board without the emergency? That is the key.

Fraser Seitel — he is the author of "The Practice of Public Relations." Still with us also, Ben Sherwood from "The Survivors Club," a great book and Chris Edwards. Chris has written "Downsizing the Federal Government."

OK. So how do we sell this to the American people? We need something that counteracts all the people that are denying it in Washington.

FRASER SEITEL, AUTHOR, "THE PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS": You know what it is, Glenn? It's an easy sell. And you just sold those people. It's what you guys are talking about. It's what you said at the top of the show.

It's common sense. The government doesn't make any money. The people make the money. The more money that I have in my pocket, the more I'll spend. The more jobs will be created. The economy will flourish.

So how do we do it? We start getting at the federal — we start doing what you have been talking about with Chris' Cato budget all week long. We ratchet down the federal spending. That's what we do. That's the philosophy.

BECK: OK. So then, how do we get people that are not paying taxes? I mean, I saw this — did you see this poll this week? It was like 48 percent say that they pay the right amount of taxes. And 49 percent don't pay any taxes.

So I mean, you know, how do we get those people to understand — no, no, we've got to shut this system down and change it radically?

SEITEL: You know, part of it is having a rallying cry, having a slogan, having something that people can grab on to. For example, "saving our country starts with saving your money." People can understand that.

"Give back the country to the people who made it." Who are the people who made it? Entrepreneurs, working people. The people in that tape are the people who made this country. Give it back to them.

It used to be — you know, Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid." No, not anymore. "It's my money, stupid."

"Obama's budget cuts don't cut it." In other words, what Chris Edwards says, the president says $17 billion has to be cut out of federal spending. It is a $3.7 trillion budget, one-half of one percent. No. What is needed is what you are talking about: $200 billion, $300 billion, $400 billion — his cuts don't cut it.

BECK: You — I saw something that you have been working on. It was a slide. Do we have the slide where the kid is bellying up to the school? Do we have that?


BECK: Explain this.

SEITEL: Here is what we did. Based on your whole discussion this week, we did some prototype print ads and we did one commercial.

Here is a print ad, "Fighting Hunger in America: Your School Lunch Program at Work." And there you see rather large children. And the copy says, "Obesity is the problem, not malnutrition. No federal subsidiaries for food stamps and school lunches."

That seems rather harsh, but as you talked about this week, it's $100 billion of federal spending on food stamps, which is a notoriously fraud-laden program.

BECK: Right.

SEITEL: School lunches, which the government itself says 27 percent of the kids who participate shouldn't be participating. So there has got to be something in that $100 billion that we can ratchet down. That's what you are talking about.

BECK: OK. Now, there is another one on — I think it's defense. Do you have that?

SEITEL: We did another prototype ad on defense and this is what you were talking about yesterday. The headline says, "Preserving Democracy for Our Overseas Allies." And there, we see our good bud, bud, buddy Hamid Karzai in embrazo with the adorable Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And the copy says, "It's their turn to save their country. Cut defense spending. Bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan."

This is what you were talking about yesterday, $160 billion a year — billion with a B. $700 billion defense budget. As Chris says, there's got to be a lot of things in there we can ratchet down.

BECK: Give me "The Bridge to Nowhere" ad.

SEITEL: This is a spot — TV spot. It is to give you a taste for what you could do with a program like the one you've been talking about this week.


SEN. : And we need bridges because we need to get from one private area to another private area.

NARRATOR: The government spends $70 billion of your money each year on infrastructure aid for state projects often resulting in waste, fraud, bureaucracy and bridges to nowhere. Wake up, America.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You remember the bridge to nowhere? We're going the have to, I think, do a much better job planning how we spend our money.

NARRATOR: It's your money. Back the Cato budget.


BECK: OK. Here is the thing: You know, the problem is these kinds of ads would be paid for by a Republican or a Democratic Party or something like that. They need to be the American people.

The American people just need to come together and, you know, some of these entrepreneurs need to come together and protect the system that made them wealthy. All right. We'll be back in just a second. Final thoughts.


BECK: I'm more convinced than ever that if our country runs into trouble, these things will save us: faith, hope and charity. Remember hope — the reason I put George Washington there is because he was known to tell the truth. We have to tell the truth.

This week, we just cut $300 billion from the budget. It's not that hard if you are willing to tell the truth. Unfortunately, the truth gets lost and we start yelling at each other about politics. Leave politics aside. Let's think about our children, and what could possibly happen in our country.

Gandhi said you should use truth as your anvil and non-violence as your hammer and anything that doesn't stand the test when brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with non-violence, reject it.

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