Exclusive - Tom Perez Extended Interview

December 8, 2015 - Tom Perez 12/08/2015 Views: 4,633

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez discusses the economic consequences of raising the minimum wage and compares the unemployment rate under Democratic and Republican legislatures. (9:40)

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PLEASE WELCOME SECRETARY TOMPEREZ.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> THANK YOU.

>> Trevor: PLEASE, PLEASE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

OH...

WELCOME TO THE SHOW, SIR.

>> GREAT TO BE HERE.

>> Trevor: THIS IS WONDERFULHAVING YOU.

YOU'RE THE FIRST MEMBER OF THECABINET HERE.

THIS IS A MOMENTOUS OCCASION FORYOU.

>> WELL, I'M HONORED TO BE HERE.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Trevor: THIS IS BIG.

I HAVE TO READ THINGS BEFOREINTERVIEWS.

SOMETIMES I HAVE TO WATCH AMOVIE, SOMETIMES READ A BOOK,

AND THEN YOU AGREE TO BE THEGUEST.

AND I REGRETTED THAT DECISION.

THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF TO READIN AND AROUND YOUR JOB.

BUT THEN I REALIZED, I BET THEREARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE

WHO DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU DO.

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL?

>> YOU KNOW WHAT WE DO?

WE HELP BUILD THE MIDDLE CLASSACROSS AMERICA, AND WE HELP

BUILD THE MIDDLE CLASS BYINVESTING -- YOU KNOW, WE INVEST

IN JOB TRAINING SO PEOPLE CANGET THE GOOD JOB THAT PAYS A

DECENT WAGE.

WE MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THEY'REWORKING, IF YOU WORK 60 HOURS,

YOU GET PAID OVERTIME.

IF YOU WORK THE MINIMUM-WAGE,YOU GET PAID MINIMUM-WAGE.

WE HELP PEOPLE, WHEN THEY GETREADY FOR RETIREMENT, THAT THE

ADVICE THEY GET IS IN THEIR BESTINTEREST.

I LOVE MY JOB.

EVERY SINGLE DAY, I'M EXPANDINGOPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE AND

HELPING BUILD THE MIDDLE CLASS.

>> Trevor: I'M DOING THE SAMETHING, EXCEPT JUST NOT HELPING

EVERYBODY AND EXPANDING THEMIDDLE CLASS.

(LAUGHTER)

I, TOO, ENJOY MY JOB.

YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE THERE'SNO STRESS INVOLVED IN IT.

YOU'RE SMILING, AND YOU LOOK HEALTHY.

>> LOOKS ARE DECEIVING.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Trevor: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOMEOF THE STRESS THAT GOES INTO

POSITION.

YOU ARE TASKED WITH PROTECTINGTHE WORKING PEOPLE OF AMERICA

AND GETTING MORE PEOPLE WORKING.

WHY IS THAT SO HARD?

>> THE STRESS I CONFRONT PALESIN COMPARISON TO THE THREAT

PEOPLE DAY TO DAY ARECONFRONTING.

WE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS IN OURRECOVERY.

WHEN THE PRESIDENT CAME INTOOFFICE, 2 MILLION JOBS LOST, NOW

WE'VE SEEN 69 CONSECUTIVE MONTHSOF JOB GROWTH TO THE TUNE OF

13.5 MILLION JOBS.

I TALK TO PEOPLE DAY IN AND DAYOUT.

I MET A WOMAN IN DETROIT WHO'SPART OF THE FIGHT FOR '15

MOVEMENT IN NEW YORK.

I WAS THERE IN SOLIDARITY WITHHER.

THE NIGHT BEFORE I MET HER, SHEAND HER THREE CHILDREN SLEPT IN

THEIR CAR BECAUSE THAT'S ALLTHEY COULD DO.

I MET A WOMEN IN CONNECTICUT,CORRINE.

SHE SAID SHE HAD JUST GIVENBIRTH TO HER CHILD.

BECAUSE WE'RE THE ONLYINDUSTRIALIZED NATION IN THE

WORLD WITHOUT PAID LEAVE, THEONLY WAY TO MAKE ENDS MEET WAS

TO BRING HER NEWBORN ON THESCHOOL BUS WHEN THE NEWBORN

WAS LITERALLY A FEW WEEKS OLD.

AND PEOPLE ARE PUTTING THEIRSICK KIDS ON THE BUS BECAUSE

THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO STAY HOME,THEY'RE PUTTING THEIR KID ON THE

BUS.

WE CAN DO BETER.

I'M MOTIVATED TO MAKE SURE FOLKSLIKE THAT GET A FAIR SHAKE.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Trevor: HOW DOES THEGOVERNMENT GO ABOUT DOING

BETTER?

>> SURE.

>> Trevor: IF I'M COMING ATTHIS AS A COMPLETE IDIOT, I'M,

LIKE, SURELY EVERYONE WANTSEVERYONE TO BE WORKING, SURELY

EVERYONE WANTS THERE TO BE PAIDLEAVE.

SURELY THESE SEEM LIKE VERYOBVIOUS OPINIONS TO HOLD.

WHAT'S THE HOLD UP?

>> WELL, THE HOLD UP IN PART ISTHE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, NOBODY THATWORKS A FULL-TIME JOB SHOULD

HAVE TO LIVE IN POVERTY.

BUT THIS REPUBLICAN CONGRESS HASREFUSED TO RAISE THE

MINIMUM-WAGE.

SO PEOPLE ARE WORKING 50 HOURSAND GETTING THEIR FOOD FROM THE

FOOD PANTRY.

WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT AS ANATION.

>> Trevor: FUNNY ENOUGH, INNEW YORK, THERE WAS A WHOLE

DISCUSSION AROUND RAISING THEMINIMUM-WAGE, AND BOTH SIDES

HAVE THEIR ARGUMENTS.

SO SOMEONE GOES AGAINST YOU ANDSAYS, WELL, SECRETARY PEREZ,

IT'S EASY TO SAY RAISE THEMINIMUM-WAGE BUT THEN WE LOSE

JOBS.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO TO THENMITIGATE THAT JOB LOSS.

>> THE POLITE WORD I WOULD USEIN RESPONSE TO THAT IS BUNK.

THE LESS POLITE WORD I WOULD USEI SHOULDN'T REPEAT BECAUSE I

WOULD GET IN TROUBLE.

>> Trevor: I'LL SAY IT FORYOU.

(BLEEP).

I CAN SAY THAT.

I HAVE THAT ABILITY.

(APPLAUSE)

>> THERE HAS BEEN STUDYAFTER STUDY AFTER STUDY THAT'S

SHOWN WHEN YOU RAISE THEMINIMUM-WAGE BY REASONABLE

AMOUNTS, AND THE PROPOSAL INCONGRESS TO RAISE IT TO $12 A

YEAR BY 2020, IS A VERYREASONABLE AMOUNT, IT DOES

NOT HAVE THAT EFFECTTHAT DOOMSDAYERS SAY IT HAS.

>> Trevor: THIS IS PART OF THEREADING I HAD TO ABSORB, IT IS

THE CBO THAT COMES IN AND SAIDIF YOU WERE TO RAISE THE

MINIMUM-WAGE TO 10.10, WHICH ISTHE PROPOSED NUMBER YOU ARE

WANTING 15?

>> WE WANT $12 AT A FEDERALLEVEL.

>> Trevor: DEEP DOWN 15.

$12 AT A FEDERAL LEVEL.

>> Trevor: IS IT A NEGOTIATINGTACTIC, YOU SAY 12, THEY SAY 15

>> I'LL SEE YOUR $12 AND I'LLRAISE YOU 3.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Trevor: THE CBO SAID THATEVEN AT 10.10, THERE IS A GOOD

CHANCE YOU WOULD LOSE 500,000JOBS.

I KNOW YOU RESPECT THE CBO ASTHE GOLD STANDARD OF THESE

MEASUREMENTS.

>> ACTUALLY, I DON'T MEAN TOCORRECT YOU THERE BUT WHAT THE

CBO SAID --

>> Trevor: NO, CORRECT ME.

>> -- THE RANGE OF JOB LOSSWOULD BE ZERO TO 500,000.

>> Trevor: AH, SO POSSIBLY --AND YOU WOULD LITERALLY HELP

TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BYRAISING THE MINIMUM-WAGE.

SO IF YOUR NEW RULE IS THAT IFONE PERSON GETS HARMED AND

35 MILLION GET HELPED, YOU'RENOT GOING TO DO SOMETHING, THEN

WE'LL NEVER DO ANYTHING.

STUDY AFTER STUDY HAS SHOWN WHENYOU RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE, IT

HELPS CREATE JOBS FOR THE SIMPLEREASON WHEN PEOPLE HAVE MONEY IN

THEIR POCKETS, GUESS WHATTHEY DO? THEY SPEND IT.

THIS IS HENRY FORD 100 YEARSAGO, HE DOUBLED THE WAGES OF

PEOPLE ON THE ASSEMBLY LINEBECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE HAVE MONEY

IN THEIR POCKETS THEY SPEND ITAND, BY THE WAY, WHEN YOU PAY

PEOPLE DECENT WAGE, THEY'RELOYAL TO YOU.

ALL OF YOUR WORKERS TOLD ME THEYLIKE YOU BECAUSE YOU PAY A

DECENT WAGE.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Trevor: THAT'S WHAT I DO.

THAT CLEARS IT UP.

AND YOU ALSO OPENED THE DOOR UPTO A CONVERSATION THAT A LOT OF

PEOPLE ARE EITHER UNWILLING TOHAVE OR ARE JUST IGNORING.

RAISING THAT MINIMUM-WAGE ALSOSERVES AS SOMEWHAT OF A

DETERRENT, I GUESS, AGAINSTCRIME BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO ARE

MORE LIKELY TO EARN MORE ARELESS LIKELY TO BE LOOKING FOR

OTHER MEANS TO GAIN FINANCIALAID.

SO WOULD YOU NOT LOOK AT THISASSUMPTION AS ALMOST LIKE A

PRISON REFORM THAT COULD HELP INA B BACTILE KIND OF WAY?

>> ACTUALLY, TRERVOR, I WAS INMILWAUKEE ABOUT A MONTH AGO.

I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH ANUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE FIGHT

FOR 15 MOVEMENT.

THERE WAS A YOUNG 18 YEAR OLD,RECENT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE

SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW WHAT?

I'M PLAYING BY THE RULES ANDI'VE GOT FRIENDS TELLING ME I

CAN MAKE MORE IN AN HOUR THANYOU CAN MAKE IN A WEEK, AND I

WANT TO PLAY BY THE RULES.

YOU KNOW, THE DIGNITY OF WORK ISABOUT PAYING SOMEONE A FAIR

WAGE.

THE DIGNITY OF WORK IS BEINGABLE TO BUY YOUR KID A BIRTHDAY

PRESENT.

AND I MET A GUY WHO'S A BAGGAGEHANDLER AT NEW YORK AIRPORT AND

HIS BIGGEST REGRET IS BECAUSE HEWAS MAKING MINIMUM WAGE, HIS KID

TURNS 13 AND HE CAN'T BUY HIM APRESENT.

THAT'S NOT WHO WE ARE AS ANATION.

WE CAN DO BETTER.

WE CAN LIFT WAGES FOR EVERYONEAND CREATE THAT VIRTUOUS CYCLE.

>> Trevor: SO YOU SAY LIFTWAGES FOR EVERYONE, WE CAN DO

BETTER.

YOU WILL SEE PEOPLE ON THE OTHEREND SAYING, YES, BUT IT HARMS

THE JOB CREATORS.

>> WELL, LET ME GIVE YOU ASTATISTIC.

YOU KNOW, IF YOU WANT TO CREATEJOBS IN THIS COUNTRY, ELECT A

DEMOCRAT.

OKAY?

BECAUSE LET ME GIVE YOU THEFACTS, OKAY --

>> Trevor: GIVE US THE FACTS.

LET'S HEAR THE FACTS.

(APPLAUSE)

>> SINCE RONALD REAGAN WASPRESIDENT, WHEN YOU'VE HAD A

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT FROMRONALD REAGAN THROUGH GEORGE W.

BUSH, THERE HAS BEEN A NET GAINOF 15.8 MILLION JOBS.

UNDER DEMOCRATS, WHO HAVE BEENIN OFFICE LESS TIME DURING THAT

PERIOD, 30 MILLION JOBS, ALMOSTTWICE AS MANY JOBS CREATED.

>> Trevor: WOW.

>> IF YOU WANT TO MOVE FORWARDELECT A DEMOCRAT.

THAT'S WHY I HAVE BEEN SO PROUDTO SUPPORT BARACK OBAMA AND WORK

UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP, THAT'S WHYI HAVE BEEN PROUD TO SUPPORT

SECRETARY CLINTON BECAUSE, YOUKNOW WHAT?

WE MADE HISTORY IN 2008, AND WECAN MAKE HISTORY AGAIN IN 2016,

AND THIS PROGRESS THAT WE HAVESEEN IN JOB CREATION, THIS

PROGRESS, 13.7 MILLION JOBS,THIS IS TWO YEARS IN A ROW, NOW,

THAT WE'VE SEEN JOB CREATION OFOVER 200,000 JOBS A MONTH.

THE LAST TIME THAT HAPPENED, YOUKNOW WHO WAS PRESIDENT?

FOLKS?

BILL CLINTON, OF COURSE!

(APPLAUSE)

>> Trevor: I WAS GOING TO SAY ITAND THEN YOU SAID IT AND THEN I

DIDN'T SAY IT BECAUSE I DIDN'TWANT TO BE WRONG AGAIN.

(LAUGHTER)

>> SO YOU KNOW WHAT?

THAT'S WHAT WE'VE SEEN.

THIS IS ABOUT JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.

AND THE PRESIDENT, EVERY SINGLEDAY, HIS NORTH STAR IS WHAT DO

WE DO TO HELP FAMILIES WHO ARESTRUGGLING?

WE'VE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS,BUT THERE ARE STILL TOO MANY

PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHALLENGES, ANDTHAT'S BECAUSE WE WERE DIGGING

OUT OF A REALLY DEEP WHOLE.

>> Trevor: I THINK THE WORKERSARE IN GOOD HANDS.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Trevor: THANK YOU VERYMUCH, SECRETARY PEREZ.

LABOR SECRETARY TOM PEREZ,EVERYONE!