This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 9, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. I am Neil Cavuto.
And, today, we are departing from our usual heap of politicians screaming at each other to remember a man who never screamed at all, and now has left this world for good. Ross Perot is dead. He was 89 years old.
Now, some younger folks out there might not know him, remember him, but older Americans won't soon forget him. A man who led his charge do the talking, as much as his stunning quest for the presidency of the United States left all the experts fumbling.
It's not just that they underestimated him. They underestimated the power of what he was telling us, all of us, and how our government had failed us, a rage so palpable, some say it festered still in the populist wave that would later bring us Donald Trump.
Ross Perot, a man who made billions in life, worried about the billions more this government was wasting en route to what he warned would be its fiscal death, if we didn't wake up, if we didn't see the bipartisan madness of its ways, spending more than we were taking in year in and year out.
And he was on it. Armed with a little more than charts on a stand and a matching chip on his shoulder, Ross Perot figured, if he didn't say something, no one would do anything. So, back in 1992, Perot took on the established parties to say, both Democrats and Republicans had failed this country.
Who does that remind you of, by the way?
And he was going save it, run for president of the United States to get the attention of everyone in the United States. They said he was wasting his time, that no one would want to listen to lectures on budgets that really didn't seem to matter, too depressing, too boring, too much.
But the political experts underestimated American voters as much as they did Ross Perot himself, this third-party candidate who took on an incumbent Republican president who had triumphed in Kuwait, and a rising Democratic star named Bill Clinton, who had electrified crowds, managed to upend politics, for a while an entire presidential race.
In fact, before he abruptly quit that race himself, for a short time, Ross Perot was leading those established candidates. And when he reentered, he still managed what no third-party candidate had ever done before or since, garner a stunning 19 percent of the vote.
His message was as simple as it was certainly unconventional and, well, politically suicidal. His goal? Be frank, be jarring, be real. But he spelled it all out on paper, a spending bill and a binge that was unsustainable.
Leave it to Bill Clinton to heed his warnings and start hacking that spending years later. But the seeds were planted with Ross Perot that election year, and hopefully a reminder to politicians now you can level and should level with the American people this year, all years.
And years after that historic run, it was a message he repeated as a CEO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS PEROT SR., FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our people are doing a fantastic job for their customers and are going to be doing a fantastic job for their shareholders, because they are shareholders also.
CAVUTO: Now, do I read into this, Mr. Perot, that Ross Perot, the successful business titan, is back, and maybe hanging up his political cap, or no?
ROSS PEROT SR.: Well, the one thing I can tell you definitely is, building a company is a lot more fun than being around politics, because it's based on results and performance.
Politics is magic acts, illusions, spin, and manipulation. So it's a lot more fun to do this all day, every day. I'll tell you that.
CAVUTO: So is that your way of saying you're not entertaining another presidential run?
ROSS PEROT SR.: I'm very...
ROSS PEROT SR.: ... at making sure that I live up to all of our commitments to our customers, the people in our company, and the stockholders.
CAVUTO: A lot of those customers and indeed a lot of Americans in general would like to see Ross Perot run again. Do you at all entertain it?
ROSS PEROT SR.: Well, let -- I'm talking about business today. And I'm totally focused on making sure this company reaches its full potential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, so don't concentrate on what I was wearing.
What was I thinking?
CAVUTO: Concentrate on what he was saying. It was very powerful, a man who single-handedly changed the definition of politics by not acting like a politician at all, who proved you could level with the American people, as I said, if you show a way out for the American people.
Ross Perot did that. Today, we remember that. We lead with that, which is why we're all over that with his son, Ross Perot Jr., on his dad's quest to keep the nation's debt from blowing up, and his handpicked Svengali, you might say, the former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, who launched a national campaign to make the importance of spending only what you have sink in.
Then there's poster Tom Bevan on how Perot darn near sent the two-party system as we know it tumbling down.
We begin, though, with the man named Russ who made a household word out of Ross, Russ Verney, who single-handedly -- he will never say that -- helped make Ross Perot make history.
Russ, an honor to have you. Thank you for coming.
RUSSELL VERNEY, FORMER ROSS PEROT CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Neil, it's an honor to be on.
And on behalf of the entire political team for Ross, we'd like to express our condolences to Margot Perot, the Perot family, and all of his friends. We -- America lost a giant of a man today. But he's got a tremendous legacy for all of us to enjoy forever.
CAVUTO: Well, I share that and offer that to you as well, Russ.
And people forget what 1992 was like, what you guys managed to pull off then. It a historic third-party run, the likes of which we hadn't seen before and certainly since.
What made it click, do you think?
VERNEY: I think what made it click was Ross' ability to communicate with the average person. He didn't use technical terms. He didn't use bureaucratic terms. He used everyday, plain-speaking talk, something that you learn in Texarkana, Texas.
And he used 30-minute infomercials. He didn't use 30-second attack ads to go after any of his opponents. He used 30-minute infomercials to educate the American public. And it worked people. Tuned in. People loved it. He gave them facts. And he gave them a little humor along with it.
CAVUTO: You know, I can remember talking to him a number of times, Russ. And I would talk about the fact, well, what's so bad about the debt?
When you think about it, the Chinese and others will always be buying it? He says, well, there's a difference between investing and owning. And we're getting to the point, he said, and that was years ago, where they own us.
VERNEY: Back then, we were at a $4 trillion debt. Now we're up to 21 trillion.
VERNEY: And we have to pay interest on that.
So if people want to provide financing for any government program, just look at the interest we're wasting on our national debt. It doesn't buy a minute of education, a mile of highway, or a soldier to defend this country.
CAVUTO: You know, he was also the first to call into question consensus views on not only debt, but the shrugging that you got out of both parties, but even when it came to NAFTA, the original Mexican-Canadian trade deal.
And he had serious doubts about that, doubts that this president shared today, so much so that he forged a new agreement that he thinks will be fairer to American workers. What do you think of that part of his legacy?
VERNEY: Well, I think there's lots of parts of his legacy. And that certainly is one of the important ones, that we should be looking to base - - base our trade policies on strength and not on favors.
NAFTA was all about building an extrajudicial system in Mexico to protect investors against government takeover of their properties down there. It wasn't about fair trade. It was very managed trade, with multiple volumes of books explaining it.
So Ross was able to take a lot of these complicated issues and explain them to people. He went on into health care, many other subjects over the life of his -- his political activity.
CAVUTO: You're very modest yourself, Russell. You had a lot to do with that.
But let me ask you a question that's always out there. Had he not quit the race briefly in '92, when he was leading Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr., do you think he would have gone all the way?
VERNEY: Well, I think there's a lot of speculation about that. I certainly think he would have.
But, in reality, Neil, the exit polling that was paid for by the news media on Election Day, when people reported to them that they voted for Clinton or Bush, they were asked a follow-up question. If you thought Ross Perot could -- could win, would you have voted for him?
This is after he get out and got back in. And the analysis of that question is, Ross Perot could have won if people thought he could win. So, yes, I think if he had stayed in, he could have won.
But he has had a great impact on all of American life through his philanthropy, through his dedication, devotion to his family and especially to his commitment to politics, because it's all about service, and not about self.
VERNEY: He was never looking to get anything. It was always about giving.
CAVUTO: You're exactly right. And you helped make that possible.
Russ, thank you for helping bring us Ross and bring him tantalizingly close to the White House. Very good seeing you, my friend.
VERNEY: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: A lot of people focus on Ross Perot's third-party run.
His son told me during the 2012 campaign more people should focus on his fight just against runaway spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS PEROT JR., SON OF ROSS PEROT: My father's very focused on the debt, as you said. And my father is a great visionary. He was early on this subject.
I wish we could have fixed it 20 years ago. Had a $4 trillion problem. It's now a $16 trillion problem. We have to fix it now.
Let's go to work and build this country, pay that debt off and have a great future for our children. That's what my father wants. And that's the game plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: To the man who was, well, a lot of people say, a Perot apostle, a former comptroller. I'm talking about David Walker, who worked very closely with Ross Perot on fiscal issues, also felt that passion, and to this day has been bemoaning what neither party seems to get still, that you can't keep spending more than you're taking in.
David, good to have you.
That is the gist of the Perot legacy, isn't it?
DAVID WALKER, COMEBACK AMERICA INITIATIVE: It is. Ross Perot was a unique individual. And the one word that comes to me when I think of Ross Perot is patriot. He's one of the best patriots his country's ever had. He was successful in business. He truly cared about stewardship.
He was a great family man. I remember seeing all the bronze of all of his grandkids as you entered into his office. But he made a big difference. He didn't win that race. But he made fiscal responsibility a top priority for Bill Clinton.
Even his Cabinet secretaries will admit that publicly. He also helped to contribute to the Contract for America. And the combination of those two things led us to surpluses for four years.
But now we're totally out of control. And we need a Perot constitutional amendment that will put a cap of debt to GDP that cannot be violated. That's what we need, because Washington's out of touch and out of control. Ross got it right. Let's honor him.
CAVUTO: He had said, as you often said, I would rather lose saying the right things than just saying anything.
And that was his message, wasn't it?
WALKER: My personal view is, is, I'm not sure if Ross wanted to win or not.
But what he did want to do is, he wanted to tell the American people the truth, he wanted to wake up America. And he wanted to try to help set the agenda for the president and the Congress. And guess what? He did.
CAVUTO: He did.
WALKER: And he will always be remembered for that.
CAVUTO: You know, when you think about it too, David, he broke all the rules, right?
That was an odd campaign delivered by this oddest of billionaires, who said, look, if you don't see what's happening, we're all going to be paying dearly for this. And it resonated.
WALKER: And what he knew is that the American people can handle the truth.
WALKER: They're willing to accept tough choices, if they're part of a comprehensive, principle-based plan that people think are fair.
And that's what the president has to do. The president has to lead that effort, because, the longer we wait, the more difficult the choices, the higher the risk, and the less burden we're putting on our children and grandchildren.
CAVUTO: Well put. Well put, David.
CAVUTO: Very well put.
And I think David just touched on it here, and a good intro for my next guest here, that the American people should be treated like adults. You should be treated like an adult. No one needs to talk down to you or feel afraid of offending you, if they just level with you, if they say that what's going on cannot be sustained, that something's got to be done.
That is the real legacy of Ross Perot here, that this reality in Washington that just keeps pouring more money in and in and in and getting less and less out couldn't sustain itself, even now.
RealClearPolitics' Tom Bevan on that part of the legacy.
Tom, what do you think?
TOM BEVAN, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS.COM: Yes, I think you're right, Neil.
I mean, the one thing about Ross Perot, he was a unique character in American politics, and he was authentic. I mean, this is -- you mentioned that there was this populist strain which sort of was the precursor to where we ended up with Donald Trump.
You remember, 1982 was the year Pat Buchanan challenged George H.W. Bush. So, there was populism out there.
CAVUTO: That's right.
CAVUTO: The pitchfork campaign, I remember it well.
BEVAN: That -- pitchfork Pat, exactly.
And Ross Perot really harnessed that. He harnessed a lot of disaffected voters around the country. And he did it in a way that really surprised a lot of folks. I mean, he was able to get on the ballot in all 50 states. That is not an easy task.
I mean, he did spend some $60 million of his own money, and he had the money to spend. But the thing that we learned about Ross Perot is that he was authentic, and he was able to explain these subjects to voters and communicate with them in a way not dissimilar to Donald Trump, in a way that experts didn't see coming.
And he really was a leader for that time. And, again, had he not gotten out of the race, we don't know what would have happened, but certainly the results, 19 million votes that year in 1992. And for a while, he was leading. He had the establishment on both sides up in arms.
CAVUTO: He was.
All right, Tom Bevan, thank you very much of RealClearPolitics here.
I want you to think of that legacy and getting 19 percent of the vote, a little more than a few days after we lost Lee Iacocca, two legends, if you think about it, who defined greatness and bravery under enormous pressure.
Whatever your politics, you cannot deny the wisdom of what both men offered, in Ross Perot' case, a stark reminder that the two parties had failed when it came to doing their essential job, handling the books.
He did it with charts, against every piece of logic and campaign experts, who said, too boring, too vapid, too silly, and the guy delivering it too weird.
They were wrong.
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: All right, we're just seeing former Vice President Joe Biden's tax returns from the last couple of years.
Keep it in mind, this covers the period he is a private citizen, leaving the White House and the vice president's mansion. And he's done OK for himself.
He and his wife, Jill, have made more than $15 million since he left office. He made a lot of money, so much money, it dwarfs any of the opponents including who up until now was the number one moneymaker among the presidential candidates, Kamala Harris of California, who, with her husband, made a little bit more than $2 million.
The fact of the matter is, though, however you view this, that if you count the years he was vice president and released tax returns every year and all the years before that he was senator, they have more than two decades of returns that Joe Biden has released for all the world to see.
And I have been -- been going year by year, and they're all there. It's a reminder, no doubt, the Biden campaign is sending to the United States that he has not done the same.
How big a deal is that?
Let's ask the Judge Andrew Napolitano, whose own tax return resembles the yellow pages of the Manhattan phone book.
CAVUTO: Good to see you, my friend.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: God love you, Neil.
CAVUTO: So, here we go. Here we go.
And no mystery that, as a private citizen, he made a lot of money.
CAVUTO: I'm sure the Obamas have done quite well. Most former presidents and vice presidents go back in the shtick and do well.
But that's a lot of years of returns.
NAPOLITANO: It is.
I think it probably, if he's the nominee, would put some pressure on President Trump. The president's in an odd situation here, because the legislature of the state of New York enacted legislation which Governor Cuomo signed just the other day which targets Donald Trump, the taxpayer.
It doesn't name him by name, but it targets him. And the federal courts look very, very, very skeptically at legislation that was written just to target one taxpayer. So even though this legislation basically says to the Congress, do you want Donald Trump the private citizen's state tax returns, from which you can extrapolate what he reported to the feds? Come and get them.
I think that legislation is unconstitutional. I think the president wins on that. But, politically, Joe Biden has revealed so much today, it's mind-boggling.
CAVUTO: It is mind-boggling.
NAPOLITANO: The amount of taxes that he paid is so impressive. The amount of charity is so generous.
This, I think, will put a lot of heat under the president's feet if Biden is the Democratic nominee.
CAVUTO: And it kind of puts Republicans in a corner here. You can't start picking apart his tax return, if the guy who is heading your ticket is not releasing his. And that's not a political statement, one or the other, but it would kind of neuter that argument.
But I am wondering. This is another reminder all the candidates have promised to do this going back to, I guess, when they first started working.
CAVUTO: But how important is it, do you think? Is there a requirement that it be done? It's procedure.
NAPOLITANO: You know, I think that -- and I say this respectfully -- President Trump has made it important, because the selling point for him in 2016 was, he was a brilliant, successful businessman who accomplished so much, and he would use those same skills in the White House.
NAPOLITANO: But he wasn't able to back that up with the tax return. So it might be a little less important. He's going to run as a different person in 2020 than he did in 2016.
But it's because of his personality, his persona and his background that his tax returns, so many people in both parties feel they should be able to see them.
NAPOLITANO: Can the Congress get their hands on them? He's also confronted with that.
I honestly didn't know that statute existed. But the statute says the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, not the president, not the speaker of the House, but the chair of that committee, can get anybody's tax returns.
Steve Mnuchin won't surrender them. And he has the president's tax returns in his desk drawer.
I wonder if he does? Like, wow, he did OK there.
CAVUTO: All right, Judge, thank you very, very much.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.
CAVUTO: Andrew Napolitano, who, by the way, has Justin Amash on FBN later tonight, right?
NAPOLITANO: I'm filling in for -- I'm attempting to fill in for our colleague Kennedy.
CAVUTO: That is a big deal.
NAPOLITANO: And Justin Amash, who says the president...
CAVUTO: Looking forward to that tonight.
We will have more after this.
NAPOLITANO: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: This is about keeping -- you know, make America -- you know, his hat? Make America white again. They want to make sure that people, certain people, are counted.
It's really disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Is it me, or does everything comes down to racism?
Anyway, the House speaker summing up the Trump administration's approach to the citizenship question on the census, that it's racist, that it's motivated by wanting to advance the white population in this country, and the hell with everyone else.
GOP strategist Joseph Pinion with us, The Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn, political science Iona politics Professor Jeanne Zaino.
Jeanne Zaino, the racist argument aside, which I think just - - I don't know where you go with that. But this issue of the question and forcing it back on, and then Bill Barr, the attorney general, saying there is a way to get it back in there, the failure on the part of administration was to adequately make the case for having it put back in there, right?
Where do you think it goes?
JEANNE ZAINO, IONA COLLEGE: Yes, the failure was their explanation as to why they needed it in the first place.
And Chief Justice Roberts was right. You can't have administrative agencies acting without making a case as to why they're doing it. So that was the flaw.
I believe the minute they're able to answer that -- and we're hearing how they're going to answer that -- the minute they answer that, this will be on there, because Chief Justice Roberts, if it even got back to the court, which I doubt, the Supreme Court would flip to the five.
So this is a question that was there in the past. Going up to 1950, it was there. But I think a big question is, do you get a better count with it or...
CAVUTO: No made a big investigation when the question was taken away.
ZAINO: No. No.
CAVUTO: But if I understand correctly, Joe, it is a question included in virtually every major Western power's census, although they don't call it such, but they all have variations of this.
And they all ask the question in Germany and Britain and Ireland and Italy and in a lot of South American countries. It's just standard fare.
JOSEPH PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes.
I think we're looking at, there's the commonsense answer that appeals to most Americans, which is, why wouldn't we want to know how many people are here, period, and then also how many people are American citizens and how many are not, just to have an accurate reflection?
I think that resonates with a broad swathe of Americans. I think, to Jeanne's point, that the broader issue is, again, the implementation. How do you -- how do you end up time after time trying to basically jump the shark on the political angle, where you have these political advisers making arguments that are maybe right on paper, or at least right in principle, for the American people, but also not right in the application from the legal aspect as far as, how do you make it get implemented?
CAVUTO: All right.
So when you're looking at all of this, Bill, where does it go? I mean, do you think, in the end, this question will be included on the census, or is it almost too late?
BILL MCGURN, CONTRIBUTOR: I think they're looking for ways.
Look, I go back. I think this is really an outrage by John Roberts, because he basically said, they gave a reason, but he didn't accept the reason, even though what they did was lawful. That opens the door to a lot of second-guessing and a lot lawsuits on things.
I think, to Joe's point, I believe I saw a Harvard poll today on the census. And it's something like two-thirds of Americans are in favor of the question. And that includes a majority of Hispanics and a majority of Democrats, slight majorities, but still a majority.
I'm not sure this is the issue people want to die on, because I think a lot of people take the commonsense point of view.
MCGURN: And, look, the race argument, that's what you say when you don't have an argument.
CAVUTO: Now, they argue that there was sort of a sinister motive to it, right?
PINION: Look, I think this notion, make America white again, I mean, that's probably the stupidest thing Nancy Pelosi has ever said, which is saying a lot for Nancy Pelosi.
PINION: So I think, realistically, you have talk to most Americans, yes, maybe there might be some hesitation amongst people in communities that are minorities to answer these questions, as there always has been.
But if you take a deeper look, I mean, we're really talking about politics. You are talking about the fact that where are these people that mostly are undocumented live? You're talking about California, you're talking about New York, but you're also talking about Texas, you're also talking about Florida.
So this notion that it's going to adversely impact minorities and, by extension, Democrats, to me is a bunch of bunk, because, realistically, you could actually make the argument that President Trump is shooting himself in the foot and shooting the party in the foot, because if the influence of Texas is diminished, if the influence of Florida is diminished, you're going to see a lot of GOP power in D.C. diminish as a result of that.
CAVUTO: That's a great point. That's a very good point.
PINION: So I think that that, to me, is the argument that should be being made, is that this is not about politics in the way that they want to make it about politics.
This is simply about being able to say, do we have 10 million people who are undocumented or do we have 20 many people who are undocumented? Because that is not only just an imperative for us know how do we serve our community?
CAVUTO: Fair enough.
PINION: It's also a matter of saying, from a national security standpoint, as we start going into a 21st century world, how do we take care of the number one obligation we have to our people, which is to make sure our people are safe?
CAVUTO: And that's what this is all about. That's what this is all about.
If you guys don't mind -- and, Jeanne, I will go to you on this -- tax returns are out for Joe Biden. He's done very well since leaving the White House. He and his wife have made $15 million. Touche for them. Capitalist society, all that.
But now, between what he's released post leaving government and all the returns he's made public while he was in government, that's decades of returns. Now, does that move the needle on the president sharing his?
ZAINO: You know, I think if the president's needle wasn't moved in 2016, and it hasn't been moved since, I don't think Joe Biden's release -- and Joe Biden, he's been in public office for so long.
We have seen him. He's been vetted so many times. I don't think -- he's been out of office, certainly, for a few years, but I don't think we're going to see an awful huge impact from this, unless there's something that I don't know in those tax returns.
And, obviously, we haven't had a chance to look at them yet.
CAVUTO: Yes, we haven't.
But I'm wondering if it puts pressure on the president, or all these efforts to force him, you know?
MCGURN: Yes, I agree.
I think the voters made that choice when they voted for the president and he didn't put it out. I do think it puts pressure on maybe some of the other Democrats that are running against him, ironically.
But I don't think the president's going to feel the pressure, especially because I am not sure the Biden campaign is on the ascendancy at the moment.
CAVUTO: And being a rich candidate, the richest candidate, might...
PINION: Yes, I think he's -- the president has everything to lose and nothing to gain.
The reality is that, again, people who voted for him before voted for him in spite of not knowing. And I think, again, if he's going to get reelected, that's not going to be the issue.
CAVUTO: All right, we got all your tax returns.
CAVUTO: ... right after this. They're staggering, really. These guys are all doing quite well.
All right, she very -- she came really close to taking a Republican House seat in Kentucky last go-round. Now she is setting her sights on Mitch McConnell. And people are paying attention and giving a lot of money.
The woman who wants to make sure Mitch McConnell becomes the former senator from Kentucky -- after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAVUTO: She is taking on the most powerful person in the United States Senate, retired fighter pilot and Democrat Amy McGrath, who says Mitch McConnell should be made history, and she is just the one to do it.
She's here in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY: It'll be a spirited race, particularly since I have become leader of my party in the Senate. I have noticed I get more attention than I used to.
And I look forward to the contest and laying out our differences to the people of Kentucky.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: She's a great candidate. She's a great American. She realizes Mitch McConnell will throw everything but the kitchen sink at her. But her sense of duty and honor to Kentucky and America prevailed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, they're talking about retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, already making waves after jumping into the Kentucky Senate race.
She is hoping to unseat the Kentucky Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, taking aim at some of his signature legislation earlier, when she was with me on FOX Business Network.
CAVUTO: On the tax cuts that Mitch McConnell championed, would you work to remove them?
AMY MCGRATH, D-KY, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's important to note that the only major piece of legislation that Senator McConnell was able to do when he had all the power was this tax windfall for corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent.
And the problem that I had with the tax cuts was not that I'm for tax cuts -- or against tax cuts for the middle class. I'm not.
I didn't marry a millionaire. I married a Navy man. So, everybody wants low taxes.
The problem that I had was his priority was always corporations. If you -- your priority should have been the people of Kentucky, and he should have made the middle-class tax cuts permanent. And he didn't do that.
CAVUTO: All right. But, again, to be fair -- and, again, you can argue the size and scope of the tax cuts, but about 80 percent of Americans did get them.
And I don't know how that percentage breaks down in Kentucky. But would you tell residents of Kentucky, I'm going to scrap all of those and start fresh?
MCGRATH: No, I wouldn't tell them I would I would scrap them all. I would fix it.
CAVUTO: How so?
MCGRATH: I would give tax cuts to the middle class. I would give -- I would give tax cuts to the middle class and working class in particular.
I think that's really important. And that's where I would start.
CAVUTO: And take away the ones for the rich and the corporate tax cut that was cut to 21 percent? You would shelve that?
MCGRATH: I think that's something we should look at.
I mean, look, those tax cuts that Mitch McConnell championed, you have to remember they almost doubled our deficit. They increased our debt by $2 trillion. I don't think that's very responsible.
CAVUTO: Well, you're new to this. You're new to politics. And I commend you for saying that.
But Democrats had a hand in increasing the debt before this president, and the Republican president before that president, and the Democratic president before that president. The debt has exponentially gone way out of control.
Would you make it a central part of your duty, if you become a United States senator, to address the debt?
MCGRATH: I think we absolutely have to address the debt. It's something that's very important to me.
I am also very concerned about it. Guys like Mitch McConnell and -- Senator McConnell have said that they are concerned about the debt. And then, when they get in power, what do they do? They increase it.
I think it's a problem.
CAVUTO: Well, they all do that, right? Democrats, Republicans alike, they all do that. So how would you stop it?
MCGRATH: Well, I think you stop it by getting people elected who are honest with the American people about our debt.
And we have to pay for that the goods and services we want government to provide. I think that's very important.
CAVUTO: All right. But Barack Obama was sincere, I take it at face value, in trying to deal with the debt. He couldn't deal with it, George Bush before him equally sincere, and no one seems to get a handle on it.
Is it so important to you that you might scale back some spending to deal with it?
MCGRATH: Well, I will tell you this, that we were on a path to decrease our deficit in the last few years of the last administration, and we were on that path.
And then Senator Mitch McConnell came in with these -- this tax windfall, and we now almost doubled it. So that's not the right thing to do.
CAVUTO: Well, I don't know if we were on a path. We were certainly in the years of Bill Clinton. You're quite right about that. I don't know if we were on a path there.
But you would go ahead and address entitlements as well to deal with that, as you're cutting tax cuts that were in trail now?
MCGRATH: I think what we need to do is get people in office who want to look at a range of things and come together as Republicans and Democrats and look at our debt and how we address it.
I think that we started to try to do that with things like the Bowles- Simpson plan and the Rivlin-Domenici plan.
MCGRATH: And that was thrown away. Why was it thrown away? Because we had people that just didn't -- didn't want to go to that.
We had the Tea Party, for example, that went -- that held up our national debt and said that they were going to basically hold it hostage.
CAVUTO: I mean, it wasn't just the Tea Party. I mean, everyone had a hand in this.
I guess what I'm asking you -- and, also, as someone who has served in the military in this country very honorably, would you be open to paring defense spending?
MCGRATH: You know, I'm -- here's what I would say about defense.
As somebody who's served in three combat tours, as a Marine, I don't think we can pare defense spending until we stop the wars that we're in.
CAVUTO: All right.
MCGRATH: It's very important to me to make sure that we have body armor for our Marines going forward.
And so I don't think we can think about that right now until we scale back. And that's why I'm for things like an authorization to use military force. That's why that's such a big, important thing for me.
CAVUTO: By the way, we want to let you know we did put out a call to Mitch McConnell's office, fair and balanced, to get him on. They are working on it. All right.
In the meantime, the Democrats' fight for a $15 minimum wage. A government study has said that 17 million Americans would get a raise, but a little bit more than a million would lose their jobs.
CAVUTO: The Congressional Budget Office has a report out that says a $15 minimum wage would boost pay for about 17 million folks in this country. That's the good thing.
Now the bad thing. It would eliminate more than 1.3 million jobs in the process. So is it worth that tradeoff?
The host of FOX Business Network's "The Evening Edit," great show, great host, Elizabeth -- wicked smart -- MacDonald.
So, Faustian choice here.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD, CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is the choice.
And the 1.7 million job losses, that was the average. They were saying upwards, I think, of 3.7 million losses. That could be the upper band. This is CBO saying it.
CAVUTO: This is the CBO saying it.
CAVUTO: The idea that you boost it, someone's going to have to go.
MACDONALD: Low-skilled workers would have to go, the very people who would benefit from the higher wages.
Listen, we want to get higher pay for workers, absolutely, across the country. But it's -- but how do you do it? Should the government top down do it? That's the debate right, Neil?
Because we know that Bernie Sanders loves the Nordic countries, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Norway. They do not have a minimum wage. They leave it up to the private sector to work it out in collective bargaining with unions.
CAVUTO: But don't a lot of states now, a good many, more than half, have higher minimum wages, some as or getting in the direction of $15 anyway?
But the markets ultimately would decide this, right? You and I know of towns where jobs go begging at $15, and the Wendy's and all these legendary stories, where they can't get those jobs filled.
MACDONALD: Yes, that's the point.
And also your point is well taken about the states doing it, because the cost of living is different in each state, certainly lower in the Midwest vs. New York or California.
So is that the one size fits all federal minimum wage? Or should you just leave it to the states? We know that, for example, China has a mandated minimum wage, and they pay, what, $1 an hour?
So it's about whether the government should mandate it or the private sector. And we talked recently about Amazon lifting its minimum wage to $15 an hour. People say, ooh, that was the moral thing to do. Amazon was morally right to do that.
What did Amazon do? They cut stock compensation. They cut bonuses. They cut worker jobs and had 100,000 robots instead.
CAVUTO: So, you give it in one area, take it away in another.
But the Armageddon that a lot of folks feared with this coming was, it didn't materialize, right? For a lot of people -- we're looking to deal with record unemployment lows here in some of these states and all where wages did go up. But that's a booming economy, right?
MACDONALD: Yes, that's -- so that's the issue. Can a booming economy just lift more boats than having the government step in and saying, yes, lift the wages?
Again and again, we say, yes, what is the best way to get wages on the rise? We know they're up under the Trump administration. Like, I don't know if the top-down approach works. I mean, I'm just looking at all the data here. And we see that with the minimum wage, more than half leave that low-wage job within a year, and they go up the income ladder.
So it's not that they're locked on that minimum wage job. There's a lot a mobility up and out. It's usually college age students who have the minimum wage job.
It's a terrible that we're in this country where people are trying to raise a family on the minimum wage. That's not how this economy is supposed to be working.
CAVUTO: Yes. If the economy itself is sound, invariably, the minimum wage goes up anyway.
MACDONALD: Yes, that's right.
CAVUTO: Right? We will see.
All right, looking forward to see you tonight, young lady, Lizzie wicked MacDonald and "The Evening Edit," the final stamp on all these things.
CAVUTO: Meanwhile, the Green New Deal really didn't get very, very far. Now Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is teaming up with Senator Bernie Sanders to declare a climate emergency.
They're saying their own party leadership isn't paying attention, so they will, which means you better pay attention, or, well, you won't believe what happens.
CAVUTO: Keen to be green.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders teaming up to introduce a resolution declaring climate change is an emergency after the Green New Deal failed to take off.
Peter Doocy in Washington with more on that.
PETER DOOCY, CORRESPONDENT: Neil, because Congress never agreed to a Green New Deal, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the lawmakers now pitching a climate emergency with a brand-new nonbinding resolution that says in part this:
"The climate crisis severely and urgently impacts the economic and social well-being, health and safety and national security of the United States. The time is now for Congress to declare a climate emergency and swiftly mobilize federal resources in response to protect the interests of our nation and its people."
And Ocasio-Cortez continued pitching the climate emergency on a conference call just now.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-N.Y.: This right here is the first step in declaring a climate emergency, is frankly (AUDIO GAP) the actual scientific facts.
And it's part of the basic step of what we must do in order to start pursuing the plan that we need.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DOOCY: There's a lot of text about how bad global warming has gotten and the need to address it.
But there is not a lot of new text about specifically how these Democratic lawmakers would do that. And believe it or not, these Democrats claim they are trying to take a page from the Trump playbook.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer says, when President Trump declared a national emergency at the border, they decided they could declare a national emergency for the planet. And expect to hear a lot more of this on the campaign trail, because Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, who is involved with this as well, called climate change an existential threat today -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Peter, thank you very, very much.
Well, what would you call a social media summit without Facebook? Kind of like a media journalism powwow without inviting Howard Kurtz. Well, we have got Howard Kurtz.
Now, what the heck is going on with Facebook?
CAVUTO: All right, well the White House is planning this social media summit later this week.
One platform that has faced its share of challenges, Facebook, well, they're apparently saying, we were not invited. That's weird.
"Media Buzz" host Howard Kurtz not weird, but a good read of things that are little unusual.
What do you make of that, if that's true?
HOWARD KURTZ, CONTRIBUTOR: It's a Facebook bashing summit.
It's no accident. The president's been on a tear against all these social media companies, Facebook, Google, and especially lately Twitter, who he is accusing of making it harder for people to follow him. He's got 60 million followers.
Sometimes, they reduce everybody's count because they're trying knock out the bots and the fake accounts and so forth.
KURTZ: But I think that a number of prominent conservatives and conservative groups have been invited to this summit. We're going to see a lot of complaints against these big tech companies.
CAVUTO: All right, now, he's been arguing they're all in a cabal against him, they don't treat it fairly, and the news they push, if it's especially is critical, is fake.
But Facebook not even being there would rob him of a chance to tell them to their face.
KURTZ: It's be much better television showdown, Zuck vs. Trump, but that's not going to happen.
CAVUTO: The CEOs are coming? It's the CEOs coming to this, not just their underlings?
KURTZ: I'm not positive about that.
And, of course, that will determine how much attention it gets. But, look, there is no question, Neil, that Facebook, Twitter and Google, whose executives are anti-Trump, are all left-leaning organizations. Mark Zuckerberg has talked about this. He's invited conservatives. And they have a problem.
Whether it's anecdotal or systemic remains to be seen. They also have a problem because, basically, the climate's turned against them. There's talk of government regulation. They're even resigned, I think, to government regulation. Why?
CAVUTO: From both parties, right?
KURTZ: Yes, because they have done such a terrible job of combating hate speech and bullying and Russian propaganda and all of that. They have almost invited it, because they have -- they're always apologizing for it. They're always fighting the last war.
They don't seem able to get a handle on this. But the antitrust question, look, they're successful businesses who play by the rules. I don't see the problem there. That should be separated from the complaints by Trump and Republicans of bias.
CAVUTO: Do you think social media in general, regardless of what role the Russians might or might not play -- and now they're worried about China and all these other entities -- that candidates are still going to leverage it all they can?
I mean, it's just a given, isn't it?
But you know who is really bad at it, is the Democratic front-runner, Joe Biden.
KURTZ: He puts up -- they just put up all these things about sign our petition and click on this. He doesn't say anything personal.
Trump, of course, says lots of personal things. Some people think he goes too far on Twitter. But that's -- but he makes so much news with that. And I think any candidate who doesn't learn to compete in this age of insta...
CAVUTO: They will regret it.
KURTZ: ... is not going to be able to...
CAVUTO: Do you think a future president, though, regardless, well after Donald Trump, whether he's reelected or not, they have got to use this, and that he has set the stage to make sure they do?
KURTZ: It's like JFK using TV.
KURTZ: We all live on our phones now.
And I think they may not use it in quite the same toxic way, or aggressive, the president would say, but, yes, I think the game has changed forever.
CAVUTO: Right. Wouldn't that have been great, JFK on Twitter?
CAVUTO: Had ham and eggs this morning.
CAVUTO: I just can't picture it. You know? What would they do? We will see.
Howard Kurtz, the host of FNC's "Media Buzz," he is the definitive voice on all things here.
So this is going to be an interesting powwow. We will check back with you on how that's all going.
CAVUTO: All right, just a reminder, we were down a lot more today. We finished down about 22.75 points.
As I was saying on FOX Business, everyone on tenterhooks ahead of the Federal Reserve, and, of course, China, if any trade happens there, and the latest tweet from the president.
Here comes "The Five."
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