Rep. Kucinich: We need to rebuild infrastructure

Ohio congressman on spending crisis, economy


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": President Obama today delivering that economic speech in the same exact spot, as the governor pointed out, where Bill Clinton delivered a campaign speech two years ago.

Now, at the time, the former president was saying this-- "We found a big hole we did not dig. We didn't get it filled in 21 months, but at least we quit digging. Give us two more years. If it doesn't work, vote us out."

Now the present president is asking for more time.

And Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he deserves it.

Congressman, good to have you.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, D-OHIO: Good to be here with you.

CAVUTO: You know, the oddity is, truth be told, he didn't stop digging. Right? He kept digging.

KUCINICH: Well, let's look at where we are at right now.

We have a level of unemployment that is unacceptable. We have got to get America back to work. And we can't rely on the banks to save us. Government is going to have to spend money to prime the pump of the economy.


CAVUTO: Why? If it hasn't worked, why?

KUCINICH: Well, wait a minute. We haven't really done it in sufficient numbers.


CAVUTO: We just had an $800 billion stimulus. If you include rescues and revamps for industries --


CAVUTO: So, if $1.3 trillion didn't do it, then are you saying you have just got to double down?

KUCINICH: Not all of it went to create infrastructure jobs.

We have got to double down to create infrastructure jobs. This is why I have proposed that the government take back the authority that it gave to the Fed 100 years ago and be able to invest in our economy and create millions of jobs putting America back to work.

Why should we have to borrow money from China to rebuild America? Why should we have to borrow money from banks, when banks basically are holding on to money that the Fed is giving them?


CAVUTO: Well, when you have more stimulus, Congressman, as you know, you are borrowing, because we don't have the money. You are just printing it, which effectively means we are getting it from China, to do this very thing you are saying, with very limited results.

KUCINICH: No, no, no, no, no.


KUCINICH: No, this is -- I am talking about a different monetary policy which creates the money debt-free. We have the power to do that. It's constitutionally based...


CAVUTO: You would take the money away from the Fed, and the money that they get, you would put itto your hands, Congress' hands, and that they would spend this money, driving us deeper into debt, financed in the end by the same China you are worried about now?

KUCINICH: Neil, no.

Look at the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8. This is time for a -- this is a teachable moment, because under the Constitution, Congress has the power to coin or create money. That is in the Constitution. That's what the founders wanted.

The Fed appropriated that 100 years ago. What I am saying is, if we want to rebuild America's economy, let's not wait for the banks to save us. Let's reclaim the essential power that government has. And then you can lower taxes. And the only reason you need taxation...


CAVUTO: You know what, Congressman, I'm going to go so far as to give you that. I don't care where you're getting the money. I just don't want to pour good money after bad. I don't want to get the same results just doubling down.

I think that the reality is that, with all the stimulus, with all our efforts, with all the good intentions, we have a squat to show for it. We're dealing with an 8.2 percent unemployment rate. You can talk about some of the jobs created over this time, but you and I both know that job momentum has slowed.

KUCINICH: You're right.

CAVUTO: We're seeing retail sales in reverse. We're seeing factory orders in reverse...

KUCINICH: You're right. You're right.

CAVUTO: ... and the very real threat of a recession now, and now you are telling me the only way out of it is to do what we did before, but put it on steroids. I don't think so.

KUCINICH: No, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not saying -- we have to do it in sufficient details. We need something on the scale of a new WPA. We need to rebuild America's infrastructure. That's an investment for business, as well, I might add.

There's millions of people could be put back to work.

CAVUTO: We are broke. Congressman, we are broke.

KUCINICH: Well, that's what I'm saying. You reclaim the power to be able to issue the money, instead of having to do it through the Fed, which isn't doing it, by the way. The money is going to the private sector.


CAVUTO: Let's leave the Fed out.


CAVUTO: I am not saying you might not be on to something there.

KUCINICH: You can't leave them out of it.

CAVUTO: Well, I am asking you to for the sake of this argument...


CAVUTO: ... because I'm saying, regardless of where we get the money, I don't care whether I get it personally from you or from any of the people in that building behind you. If you know that you have been on a trajectory where whatever money you are spending, you are wasting, you stop it, right? You stop it.

KUCINICH: Well, listen to this. The Club for Growth gave me a very high mark. I know it's like unbelievable. But I was one of the top Democrats in going against these amendments that would really waste money.


CAVUTO: Yes, you have been. And you are to be commended for that.

KUCINICH: I'm not for wasteful spending.

CAVUTO: And you are an honest guy. But you are also a lovely man, but a naive man. And I'll tell you why.


KUCINICH: Wars, trillions of dollars, I opposed them.

CAVUTO: No, no, no.

I'm just saying, if we -- if the government has failed spending taxpayers' money, why not go on a lark and say, all right, it is your money, taxpayers, you have at it, let's see what the hell you can do?

KUCINICH: They have not really tried it sufficiently. The private sector is not creating enough jobs. That's the problem.

CAVUTO: No, I say we have not tried it sufficiently giving it to Americans, right?

KUCINICH: Oh, wait a minute.

CAVUTO: Because don't you find it odd that every time when you are up against a wall here, even this president will say, well, maybe we could do a payroll tax thing; that might juice things up?


KUCINICH: Maybe we could repatriate $1 trillion in profits at 35 percent taxes.

CAVUTO: All right, well, whatever it takes, I'm just telling you, why don't you open yourself to the idea that Americans with that money might do a better job than you guys with the money...


KUCINICH: If you don't have a job, you don't have the money. That's the problem, Neil.

CAVUTO: Well, for all the people who do have the job, and you give them relief, maybe that will provide the opportunities that the government hasn't provided for those who don't.

KUCINICH: We may have over 10 million people out of work, and maybe the number is even larger than that. We have a level of structural unemployment that is -- it is unacceptable to a democracy.

CAVUTO: Right.

KUCINICH: So, the president needs to address that.

And if he addresses it in a way that puts millions of people back to work, I'm going to support him and the American people will as well.

CAVUTO: You sound like a desperate blackjack player. You're doubling down and thinking you will come up with a better hand. But you're a very nice man.

KUCINICH: Well, you know what? We will have a game of blackjack some time and see how we do.

CAVUTO: All right. If we can make it go fish and have food as an incentive, you are on.


CAVUTO: Thank you, Congressman. Always good seeing you.

KUCINICH: Thanks a lot.

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