Is the economy rigged?

Charles Krauthammer weighs in on fiscal policy and presidential politics 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 25, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Impact" segment tonight. There is no question that Senator Bernie Sanders has competed very well in this election cycle. His message that the economy is rigged is being widely accepted among Democrats. Yesterday, Senator Sanders was asked this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, 17 of the 25 states with the highest levels of income inequality have held primaries. Sixteen of those 17 states have been won by Hillary Clinton, not by you, why?

SANDERS: Well, because poor people don't vote. I mean, that is just a fact. That is a sad reality of American society and that is what we have to transform.


O'REILLY: In 2014, about 32 percent of Americans making less than $30,000 a year showed up to vote. Joining us now from Washington, Charles Krauthammer. So, let's deal with the economy first, do you think it's rigged?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No, because I think the word rigged implies some kind of conscious will of the part of those who control the economy to put down the poor. I do think, however that a large percentage of what determines if you're poor or not, is a matter of the lottery, the human lottery, who your parents are. Where you're born -- a simple level. If you're born in the United States, that is six out of a hundred humans, you won the lottery, you had a better chance than you were born in the Congo.

If you're born to people, to a single mother, out of wedlock, without a man in the family with poor educational system around you, that is the lottery, and you have lost it. It's very hard. So to some extent it's true that your life chances are not entirely in your hand. And I think they are largely out of your hands, nonetheless, there are things that you can do, politically by changing society -- changing the culture is extremely hard, nobody has a good answer to that.

O'REILLY: But here is my, I do -- I have a good answer for it.

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, you do let's hear it.

O'REILLY: OK. Here's the answer. I think you're right about the lottery of life and determining economic success in most cases, but not all. I'm an example, I mean, I was born to responsible parents. We didn't have any money. And, you know, there was a pathway that I was shown. That is the key. So my theory is that public schooling has to lay out a pathway to little children. I mean, five, six, seven years old. And say look, here is where you are in life. All right? This is what you have to overcome. And this is how you do it. And that has to be drummed inculcated, boom, boom, boom. That has got to be a course along with Math and spelling and English. That has got to be a course, you see what I'm talking about?

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I don't. I don't. And I'll tell you why.

O'REILLY: But I think it has to be a course.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not a course, it's not something you teach. It's something that you get by the lottery of life. I didn't say that the lottery means you have to be -- have rich folks if you want to do well in life. What I said is you have to have the human capital. Two parents, married, who inculcate the values you're talking about. That is the most important --

O'REILLY: But if you can overcome that --

KRAUTHAMMER: With of course -- come on, are you kidding me?

O'REILLY: I did it. I did it when I was teaching high school. I taught high school in a, you know, they were not poor, but they were working class. And I basically, would come in, and I would say okay, here is two houses. All right. Here is the nice house, here is the shack, where do you want to live? Okay? And of course they would all go, ha, ha, ha, I want to live in this. And so, here is what you have to do, to get it. And you have to do A and B and C and D, and this is what you have to do. All right? And this is not taught in school, it's not taught anywhere. They come in and the society is already making them victims. Oh, you can't succeed. Oh, look at your circumstance, oh, you have to be treated differently. What is it? The soft expectation of bigotry. That is what is in play. We can't change that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Why aren't you still teaching it?

O'REILLY: Because I have a greater mission to educate people like you, about how society can come back and help these people who don't, you know, who fall into the poverty precincts, you can help them but you have to be honest with them.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. Well, I have another theory, is because staying in a school system run by a monopoly of the Teachers Union, where there were not a lot of teachers like you.

O'REILLY: No, there weren't.

KRAUTHAMMER: Told you, look, the key is to get a multiplication of the teacher O'Reillys and the way that you get that there are a lot of Catholic schools that do that. There are a lot of private schools that do that. The problem is, only the rich end up there --

O'REILLY: Well, I taught in a Catholic school and it wasn't rich. It was in Opa-locka, Florida.

KRAUTHAMMER: But the point is that you have these kids in the inner city neighborhoods with no dad around, no example.

O'REILLY: That's where you have --

KRAUTHAMMER: Their one chance in life. And this is the only thing that you can do politically is to give them school choice.

O'REILLY: I agree.

KRAUTHAMMER: Give them the choices that the rich people have. And it is a crime that we don't do that.

O'REILLY: What the charter schools, some of them do so well, is that they have classes in reality. They have classes in success. It's one of the schools here that's called the success academy. And this is what we have to bring to the poor precincts or --

KRAUTHAMMER: But I -- I disagree.

O'REILLY: -- is never going to be broken.

KRAUTHAMMER: Because what you're implying that somehow if you're taught to want something you will do it. You know what schools have to do? Not to teach wanting. To teach reading, writing, math --

O'REILLY: Along with that.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not along with that.

O'REILLY: But they have to be motivated.

Right now they're leaving the school system illiterate in an information economy where they have no chance and that is scandalous and cruel.

O'REILLY: I know. That is because they think they are victims and you have to motivate. You motivate by saying, this is the pathway to success. Charles, we'll continue this. I got to run now, and we appreciate it.

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