TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

A rise in homicides and rapes in the city have police working overtime to determine why. Two Freedom Riders remember the early days of the civil rights movement and how they risked their lives to ensure equality for all. A grim assessment from the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass. The possible causes and potential solutions.

Aired on March 11, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' A DISTURBING SURGE INMURDERS AND RAPES HAS THE NYPD WORKING OVERTIME TO DETERMINE WHAT TO DO COMBAT IT.

A DISCUSSION JUST AHEAD.

> IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, FREEDOM RIDERS RISKED THEIR LIVES TRAVELING THROUGH THE SEGREGATED SOUTH TO END GENERATIONS OF BIGOTRY AND INEQUALITY.

IN A MOMENT, TWO OF THOSE CIVIL RIGHTS WARRIORS TAKE US BACK ON THE BUS.

> AND THE AMERICAN WORKER IN CRISIS.

ACCORDING TO THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE'S OREN CASS, THE COUNTRY'S RULING ELITES OF BOTH PARTIES HAVE LONG IGNORED THE PLIGHT OF AMERICA'S WORKING FAMILIES, AND THE RELATIVE HUMIDITIES HAVE BEEN DEVASTATING, STAGNATING WAGES, FALLING LIFE EXPECTANCY.

CASS IS WITH US.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING BY METRO FOCUS WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING THE COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENINGED ON WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

NEW YORK VERY WELL MAY BE THE COUNTRY'S SAFEST BIG CITY AS THE MAYOR LIKES TO SAY, BUT THERE IS A TROUBLING SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIME THAT HAS SOME CITY LEADERS WORRIED.

IN RESPONSE, THE PD HAS DEPLOYED MORE OFFICERS TO PRECINCTS SPREAD ACROSS THE BRONX, BROOKLYN, MANHATTAN AND THE QUEENS FOLLOWING A NEARLY 40% SURGE IN MURDERS THIS YEAR, FROM 38 KILLINGS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY OF LAST YEAR TO 52 SO FAR THIS YEAR.

RAPE IS ALSO UP ALMOST 20%, THE INCREASE IN CRIMES COMES AS OTHER BURGLARIES AND ROBBERIES PLUMMETED TO RECORD LOWS.

WE'RE TALKING VERY LOW.

THESE ARE THE LOWEST HOMICIDE NUMBERS WE'VE HAD SINCE THE 1950s.

SO THERE ARE GOING TO BE PERIODIC FLUCTUATIONS.

WHAT THE TREND SHOWS US IS WHAT IS SO STRIKING.

THE OVERALL CRIME NUMBERS IS DOWN 11%. WE HAVE TO SEE THAT IN PERSPECTIVE.

I THINK IF WE SAW SOMETHING WHERE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES WERE ALL GOING IN THE SAME NEGATIVE DIRECTION, WE WOULD BE VERY, VERY DEEPLY CONCERNED.

FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AND THE CITY'S RESPONSE, WE'RE JOINED NOW BY NEWS DAY NEW YORK CITY CRIME REPORTER ANTHONY STEPHANO.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

THE PRESS CONFERENCE YOU ATTENDED, THE MAYOR AND NYPD WERE EMPHASIZING DECREASE IN CRIMES.

BUT YOU HEARD THE NUMBERS I GAVE.

YOU KNOW THE NUMBERS, THE SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIMES, THE ONE THAT MATTERS MOST TO NEW YORKERS, LET'S FACE IT.

WHAT ARE CITY OFFICIALS SAYING IS CAUSING THESE SPIKES?

WELL, THEY'RE -- THEY TEND TO THINK THAT CERTAINLY IN TERMS OF THE HOMICIDES, THAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN IN THE AREA OF GANG VIOLENCE AND DOMESTIC HOMICIDES.

THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT PROBABLY ACCOUNT FOR HALF OF WHAT WE'VE SEEN SO FAR THIS YEAR.

IT PRESENTS PROBLEMS.

ONE IS A LOT OF THE DOMESTIC HOMICIDES ARE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

COPS AREN'T GOING TO BE ON THE STREET SEEING SITUATIONS THAT DEVELOP SO THEY CAN'T INTERCEDE NECESSARILY.

SO IT'S TWO THINGS.

IT'S THE GANG VIOLENCE AND THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SITUATIONS THAT ARE FUELING THE SPIKE IN HOMICIDES.

WHAT ABOUT THE SPIKE IN RAPES?

THE RAPES, THE RAPES ARE INCREASED, HAVE BEEN INCREASING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, BUT THIS IS DRIVEN IN PART BY THE OUTLIER OFFENSES, THE OFFENSES THAT HAPPEN IN PREVIOUS YEARS WHICH PEOPLE, VICTIMS NOW BECOME MORE EMBOLDENED TO REPORT THIS YEAR.

SO THAT'S DRIVING THAT INCREASE.

THAT'S BEEN TRUE FOR THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS.

I SEE.

I KNOW YOU TALK TO COPS ON THE STREETS.

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

IS THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN WHAT THEY'RE SAYING AND THE TOP BRASS IS SAYING?

IT'S A SENSE OF FRUSTRATION FROM SOME OF THE PEOPLE ON THE STREET, THE OFFICERS THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING DRIVE IS SUCKING A LOT OF RESOURCES.

THERE IS NEIGHBORHOOD COORDINATION OFFICERS.

THERE ARE SUPPOSEDLY SECTOR COPS.

SO THESE ARE DEDICATED COPS FOR THIS PARTICULAR FUNCTION.

BUT THESE ARE COPS THAT HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY DOING OTHER KINDS OF WORK.

SO THERE IS A FEELING WE'RE BEING PULLED IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.

YOU MEAN THERE IS A FEELING THEY HAVE BEEN PULLED AWAY FROM REAL CRIMES.

EXACTLY TURKEY, THE INDUSTRIES.

KEEPING IN MIND OF COURSE THAT CRIME IS DOWN.

SO WHAT ARE WE DEALING WITH?

AND DIPLOMACY ON THE STREETS PACE OFF SOMETIMES.

IT DOES.

NOW THE NYPD HAS PUT IN EFFECT, WHAT IS IT, A FIVE-POINT PROGRAM AS A RESULT IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THIS SPIKE.

TELL US ABOUT THAT.

THAT'S CORRECT.

AFTER THE SPIKE WAS EVIDENT IN BROOKLYN, MAINLY IN BROOKLYN, THEY INITIATED A FIVE-POINT PROGRAM WHICH BASICALLY INVOLVED PUTTING MORE COPS, ABOUT UP TO EIGHT COPS IN PARTICULAR PRECINCTS.

ENFORCING THE CEASEFIRE PROGRAM, WHICH IS AN ANTI-GANG INITIATIVE.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

TALKING TO GANG MEMBERS?

YES.

WHAT HAPPENS IS GANG MEMBERS ON PAROLE ARE PULLED IN AND TALKED TO, GIVEN SORT OF CONVERSATIONS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, YOU REALLY SHOULD BEHAVE.

WE HAVE ALL THESE SERVICES FOR YOU.

IF YOU DON'T, WE'RE GOING TO RATCHET THIS UP.

YOU MENTIONED BROOKLYN.

THAT'S WHERE MOST OF THE SPIKE IS OCCUR, AT LEAST IN HOMICIDES.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

I SAW A FIGURE THAT THE BROOKLYN D.A. SAID IT IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE THAT THEY CONVICT -- CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG.

THEY CONVICT 50% OF CASES OF GUN VIOLENCE.

THAT RIGHT?

THAT'S TRUE.

IN BROOKLYN, D.A. GONZALEZ SAID THAT AFTER TRIAL, THEY GET A 50% CONVICTION RATE.

THE OVERALL CONVICTION RATE FOR CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A WEAPON CASES, CRIMINAL POSSESSION 2 IS ABOUT 50, 55%. THAT'S HISTORICALLY THE WAY IT'S BEEN.

IT SEEMS LOW TO ME.

IT DOES SEEM LOW.

BUT YOU KEEP IN MIND A LOT OF THESE CASES GET DISMISSED BECAUSE YOU GET A CAR STOP.

COPS GO INTO A CAR.

THERE IS ONE GUN IN THE CAR WITH FOUR PEOPLE.

FOUR OF THEM ARE CHARMGED CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH POSSESSION OF A GUN.

ULTIMATELY ONE PERSON IS GOING TO OWN UP TO THE GUN.

THE OTHER THREE CASES ARE DISMISSED.

THERE ARE ALL SORT OVS THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON HERE.

AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE, THE MAYOR TALKED ABOUT HOW WE NEED CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IN ALBANY IN ORDER TO HELP COMBAT CRIME IN THE CITY.

WHAT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS IS HE TALKING ABOUT THAT THAT WOULD HELP THE REDUCTION?

HE WASN'T VERY SPECIFIC AS I RECALL FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE.

I KNOW THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO GET NO CASH BAIL ON A LOT OF SITUATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH NONVIOLENT OFFENSES.

HE HASN'T REALLY IN MY MIND FLUSHED THAT OUT VERY WELL.

AND HE THINKS THAT THAT WOULD HELP REDUCE THE CRIME RATE?

SOME ARE SAYING -- SOME OFFICERS ARE SAYING THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE DEFENDANTS WHO DON'T HAVE TO PAY ANY BAIL NOW, THEY'RE BACK ON THE STREETS ON THE SAME DAY, AND THAT THAT'S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS.

WELL, BEAR IN MIND IF YOU'RE A NONVIOLENT OFFENDER, IF YOU CAN'T PUT A DOLLAR CASH BAIL UP FOR A LOW LEVEL OFFENSE OF SOME SORT LIKE A PETTY LARCENY, I DON'T SEE WHERE THAT'S A GREAT PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE.

OF COURSE BAIL IS NOT GOING TO BE DONE AWAY WITH FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE VIOLENT OFFENDERS.

SO IT DEPENDS ON HOW THIS IS STRUCTURED.

IN FACT, WE'VE DONE MANY SEGMENTS HERE ABOUT DEFENDANTS LANGUISHING IN RIKERS ISLAND AWAITING TRIAL BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PUT UP THE BAIL, BECAUSE THE BAIL IS SO HEAVY FOR THEM.

I REMEMBER YEARS AGO SEEING STATISTICS WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO COULD NOT POST A DOLLAR BAIL, AND THEY HAD TO LANGUISH IN RIKERS.

SO THIS FIVE-POINT PROGRAM, SHOULD THAT ASSURE NEW YORKERS THAT THE STREETS ARE SAFE?

OR IS THERE MORE TO DO?

I THINK IT SHOULD TELL NEW YORKERS THAT THE PD IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING QUICKLY TO REACT.

BUT WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS USING OLDER METHODS AND SORT OF FOCUSING THEM IN ON THESE PARTICULAR TROUBLES AND PRECINCTS.

SO YOU'RE AN EXPERT IN THIS.

YOU KNOW BETTER THAN ANYBODY.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ANY SENSE THAT THESE SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIME IS THE BEGINNING OF A TREND?

MY PERSONAL OPINION RIGHT NOW IS THAT, YOU KNOW, CRIME IS ON LIKE A SAW BLADE.

IT'S CONTINUING DOWNWARD TREND, BUT YOU'RE GOING GET THE TOOTH OF SPIKES.

AND THAT IS REALITY.

WE'VE SEEN THIS FOR DECADES.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, TONY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

THANK YOU.

I'M HAPPY TO BE HERE.

> FOR SEVEN MONTHS IN 1961, HUNDREDS OF CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS BLACK AND WHITE DESCEND ON BUS STATIONS ACROSS THE DEEP SOUTH TO PROTEST RACIAL SEGREGATION IN PUBLIC SPACES.

THE FREEDOM RIDERS AS THEY SKAM TO BE KNOWN OCCUPIED WHITES ONLY WAITING AREAS, BATHROOMS AND LUNCH COUNTERS IN AN EFFORT TO BRING ATTENTION TO SEGREGATION THAT HAD JUST BEEN RULED ILLEGAL BY THE SUPREME COURT.

IN THE PROCESS THEY WERE ARRESTED, JAILED AND OFTEN FACED VIOLENCE FROM ANGRY MOBS OPPOSED TO DESEGREGATION.

LAVE VAUGHN BROWN WAS 16 AND HAD JUST GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN MISSISSIPPI WHEN HE JOINED THE FREEDOM RIDERS.

LEWIS ZUCHMAN JOINED FROM NEW YORK TO MISSISSIPPI.

TODAY THEY'RE ON A WHOLE ANOTHER MISSION TO PASS THE BATON TO A NEW GENERATION.

THEY JOIN ME NOW.

GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO YOU BOTH TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU.

FIRST, I JUST WANT TO START OFF WITH WHAT WAS IT THAT LED BOTH OF YOU TO JOIN THE FREEDOM RIDERS?

MOSTLY ANGER.

AND IT WAS A PLACE WHERE YOU COULDN'T GO DOWNTOWN TO EAT YOU.

COULDN'T GO DOWNTOWN TO TRY ON CLOTHING.

YOU COULDN'T GO DOWNTOWN TO A MOVIE.

YOU WERE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN.

AND THE ONLY WAY I KNEW HOW TO DEAL WITH THAT WAS THE VIOLENCE.

AND SO THERE WERE TWO GENTLEMEN THAT USED TO COME AROUND.

I'D LEFT HOME AT THE TIME.

AND THEY HAD BEEN ON THE FREEDOM RIDES, AND THEY WERE TRYING TO RECRUIT PEOPLE FROM JACKSON TO JOIN THEM.

SO IT WAS THROUGH LISTENING TO THEM THAT I CAME TO UNDERSTAND THAT, OKAY, MAYBE WE CAN DO SOMETHING, AND MAYBE WE CAN USE THIS NONVIOLENCE THAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT TO DO IT.

SO WE WERE -- THE RIOTS WERE GOING ON.

I FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL I THINK IN JUNE.

SO JULY IT WAS THE FIRST ARREST.

IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG.

AND I WAS WALKING WITH JIM TRAVIS DOWN TO DOWNTOWN JACKSON, AND WE PASSED A WOOLWORTH WHERE WE COULDN'T EAT, AND WE DECIDED TO GO IN AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT.

AND WE WERE ASKED TO LEAVE.

WE COULDN'T -- THEY COULDN'T SERVE US THERE.

WE SAID NO.

AND THEY THEN BROUGHT THE MANAGER OUT.

SAME THING HAPPENED.

SO THEN THEY CALL THE POLICE.

AND WE GOT ARRESTED FOR SITTING AT WHITE LUNCH COUNTER, AND WE WERE TAKEN TO JAIL.

AND I THINK FROM THEN ON, I WAS INVOLVED.

I STAYED INVOLVED AT THE VOTER REGISTRATION PIECE LATER.

BUT IT WAS MOSTLY ANGER.

AND IT WAS THE PEOPLE LIKE LEW AND LIKE OTHERS HAD GOTTEN ON BUSES AND COME DOWN AND ALMOST GOT KILLED, SOME OF THEM DID, TO HELP US.

AND I THINK THAT FOR MYSELF, THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME.

SO THAT'S HOW I GOT INVOLVED.

AND LEW, AND I HATE TO SAY IT, BUT THE WAY SO MANY PEOPLE UNFORTUNATELY LOOK AT THINGS, IT MAKES SENSE FOR LEVAN TO GET INVOLVED.

THIS WAS PERSONALLY AFFECTING HIS LIFE.

YOU WERE HUNDREDS OF MILES AWAY.

THIS WASN'T DIRECTLY AFFECTING YOUR LIFE.

WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED?

THERE ARE MANY REASONS I GOT INVOLVED.

EVERYTHING WE DO IN LIFE IS DETERMINED BY MANY PIECES.

MY FATHER COMMITTED SUICIDE WHEN I WAS 2 1/2.

AS I GROUP, MY IDOL IN LIFE WAS JACKIE ROBINSON, WHICH HAD POWERFUL MEANING TO ME, NOT JUST BECAUSE HE WAS A GREAT BASEBALL PLAYER, BUT JACKIE STOOD UP.

HE STOOD ALL UP ALL THE TIME.

WHEN HE WAS IN ARMY, HE REFUSED TO SIT IN THE BACK OF THE BUS AND WAS COURT-MARTIALED.

WHEN I WAS 19, I WAS WATCHING TV.

THERE WAS A SHOW, DAVID SUSKIND.

AND ON THE SHOW WAS HANK THOMAS WHO WAS ON THE ORIGINAL FREEDOM RIDER BUS THAT WAS FIREBOMBED IN ANISTON.

AND JACKIE ROBINSON.

AND WHITNEY YOUNG WAS CAUTIONING AGAINST CONTINUING THE RIDE.

THEY FELT IT WAS TOO DANGEROUS.

AND JACKIE ROBINSON SAID IF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE FEEL THIS IS THE TIME TO STAND UP, WHO ARE WE NOT TO SUPPORT THEM.

SO THE NEXT MORNING I DECIDED TO GO DOWN.

THE LAST THING I WANTED TO MENTION IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU SAID, I'M JEWISH.

I GREW UP -- I WAS BORN IN 1942, DURING WORLD WAR II.

IT WAS AS MUCH MIGHT FIGHT AS AFRICAN AMERICANS.

AND I THINK THE FACT THAT WE ONLY FEEL SHOULD ONLY STAND UP FOR THEIR OWN PARTICULAR IDENTITY GROUP, I THINK IS ONE OF THE REASONS WE DON'T DO MORE, WE DON'T PROGRESS MORE IN TERMS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE.

RIGHT.

I FELT THIS WAS MY FIGHT AS MUCH AS MY AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND WENT DOWN WITH THAT SENSE OF JUSTICE AND DETERMINATION.

LET ME ASK YOU BOTH THIS FOR NOT ONLY MYSELF, BUT FOR ALL OF THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN BLESSED ENOUGH TO HAVE BROKEN UP POST-CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, AND ALL OF THIS IS HISTORY FOR US THAT WE READ IN HISTORY BOOKS OR SEEN DOCUMENTARIES.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE, LIKE TO BE INVOLVED IN THE FREEDOM RIDES WHERE YOU WERE ON THOSE BUSES, AND YOU WERE FACING THOSE MOBS WHO IN SOME CASES, AS YOU MENTIONED, DID KILL PEOPLE?

I DON'T KNOW.

I ALREADY KNEW THAT PEOPLE COULD DIE BECAUSE I LIVED IN JACKSON.

I WAS 11 YEARS OLD WHEN EMMETT TILL WAS KILLED.

AND AS AN ASIDE, ALL THE PARENTS WERE UPSET.

THEY DIDN'T WANT THE BOYS OUT LATE AT NIGHT BECAUSE WHITE PEOPLE HAD A WAY OF JUST TAKING IT OUT ON ANYBODY.

AND EVEN THOUGH WE LIVED IN THE CITY, THERE WAS A LOT OF FEAR.

SO IT WAS NOT NEW TO ME THAT PEOPLE COULD DIE FROM DOING THIS.

SO I DO WANT TO TURN A LITTLE BIT TO THE ORGANIZATION THAT YOU GUYS ARE WORKING WITH NOW AND THE OUTREACH WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.

WHAT IS IT -- WHAT'S THE ADVICE THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WE SEEM TO BE SEEING A N P ACTIVISM AND KIDS WANTING TO GET INVOLVED AND HELP CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.

WHAT IS IT FROM YOUR STORY THAT YOU CAN TELL THEM OR THAT YOU ARE TELLING THEM?

WELL, FOR MYSELF, I GUESS, YOU KNOW, LEVAN AND I ARE CIVIL RIGHTS SPOKESPERSON FOR FACING HISTORY, DEDICATED TO ENSURING THAT THE HOLOCAUST IS REMEMBERED IN THE SCHOOLS AND NOW OF COURSE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CIVIL RIGHTS.

ONE OF THE THINGS LEVAN AND HAVE I DISCOVERED WHICH IS REALLY INTERESTING, BOTH OF US HAD REALLY EMESSED UP CHILDHOODS.

WELL WERE VERY ABUSED AND WE ACTED OUT AND DID ALL THE WRONG THINGS THAT COULD HAVE ENDED WITH BOTH OF US NOT BEING HERE A LONG TIME AGO.

AND HOW LUCKY WE WERE TO BE FREEDOM RIDER, HOW FORTUNATE WE WERE.

SO I GUESS WHAT TRY TO DO IS TO HELP OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, I GUESS TO HELP VALIDATE THEIR ANGER AND VALIDATE THE FACT THAT THERE IS A LOT WRONG IN THIS WORLD, BUT HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DEALING WITH THAT IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T INJURE YOURSELF.

WHAT FACING HISTORY ALLOWS US 20 DO IS GO OUT AND TALK TO CHILDREN AND TALK TO THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT YOU'RE TALK.

WE FAILED THEM.

WE DIDN'T -- WE DIDN'T -- WE DIDN'T FINISH.

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT DIDN'T SOLVE EVERYTHING.

WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE VOTER REGISTRATION, WE TALK ABOUT VOTER REGISTRATION, WE TALK ABOUT POLL TAX, WE TALK ABOUT WHATEVER.

THEY'RE DOING THE SAME THING.

IN PENNSYLVANIA WE HAVE THE VOTER RIGHT.

UH-HUH.

IT'S JUST LIKE WE USED TO FIGHT FOR RIGHTS TO VOTE.

THERE IS NO SUCH -- PEOPLE AREN'T CHEATING.

PEOPLE AREN'T LYING.

PEOPLE AREN'T DOING ANY OF THAT.

BUT THE CHILDREN HAVE TO FIGHT THAT.

AND THEY HAVE TO BE CONVINCED THAT IT'S THEIR FIGHT.

AND THEY HAVE TO LEARN TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF OR EACH OTHER OR PEOPLE WHO DON'T AGREE WITH THEM.

YOU TELL THE CHILDREN THIS.

YOU GIVE THEM DIRECTION.

YOU TELL THEM THAT EVEN THOUGH WE THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS NOBODY OUT THERE WHO COULD ITEM US ANYTHING, THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO GOT US OUT OF JAIL.

THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO REPRESENTED US IN COURT.

THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO HELPED STRATEGIZE.

WE CAN DO THAT FOR THEM.

THEY HAVE TO TAKE THE LEAD.

THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL NOTE TO LEAVE IT ON.

YEAH.

GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR BRAVERY AND FOR YOUR CONTINUED WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT HISTORY IS NOT FORGOTTEN AND REMEMBERED.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

> THE SHOCKING RESULTS OF THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SEEMED TO HAVE AWAKENED AT LEAST SOME WITHIN AMERICA'S RULING ELITE TO THE PROFOUND ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CRISES BLIGHTING MUCH OF THE NATION.

BUT HOW DID IT COME TO THIS AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

IN HIS NEW BOOK, 'THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORKER,' AUTHOR OREN CASS ARGUES THAT DECADES OF BAD POLICY HAVE SACRIFICED THE AMERICAN WORKERS IN THE ENDLESS PURSUIT OF RISING CONSUMPTION.

AND SAID THE NOVEL SETS A FOCUS THAT IS THE WORK THAT IS CAPABLE OF SUPPORTING STRONG FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES.

OREN CASS RIGHT NOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

TELL US, WHAT IS ITS FUNDAMENTAL ARGUMENT?

SURE.

THE BOOK IS ABOUT WORK AT THE END OF THE DAY.

AND IT'S ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK, NOT JUST INDIVIDUALS, BUT ALSO TO THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES.

AND THEN TO THINKING ABOUT WHERE DOES WORK COME FROM?

I MEAN ULTIMATELY, WORK OCCURS WITHIN THE LABOR MARKET, WHICH IS THIS SORT OF BORING SOUNDING ECONOMIC CONCEPT.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT'S THE PART OF OUR ECONOMY THAT DETERMINES HOW MANY JOBS WE HAVE, WHERE ARE THEY.

WHAT DO THEY PAY.

WHAT DO THEY PAY.

AND THE POLICIES THAT WE CHOOSE HAVE HUGE INFLUENCE ON WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LABOR MARKET.

UNFORTUNATELY, REALLY GOING BACK TO THE 1960s, WE HAVEN'T CHOSEN POLICIES THAT PAID ANY ATTENTION TO THE LABOR MARKET.

WE HAD THIS IDEA THAT AS LONG AS THE ECONOMIC PIE WAS GROWING, AS LONG AS EVERYBODY COULD CONSUME MORE, WE'D ALL BE HAPPY.

AND IN A SENSE, IT WORKED.

CONSUMPTION DOES KEEP GOING UP FOR EVERYBODY.

BUT IF YOU DO THAT IN A WAY THAT IGNORES THE LABOR MARKET, THAT DOESN'T PAY ATTENTION TO WHO'S WORKING AND WHETHER THEY CAN SUPPORT FAMILY AND COMMUNITIES, YOU CAN END UP WITH BOTH RISING CONSUMPTION, AND AT THE SAME TIME, REALLY BAD OUTCOMES FOR A LOT OF FOLKS IN SOCIETY.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SEEING.

AND YOU CALL THIS FOCUS ON CONSUMPTION ECONOMIC PIETIES.

AND YOU CALL WHAT YOUR PROPOSING PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU'RE PROPOSING, PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM AND THE ECONOMIC PIETIES?

SURE.

SO ECONOMIC PIETY COMES TO THIS IDEA OF THE ECONOMIC PIE WHICH WE'RE REALLY USED TO SORT OF HEARING AT THIS POINT.

ALMOST EVERY PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, HAS USED THE TERM.

'THE WALL STREET JOURNAL' AND 'NEW YORK TIMES' WERE BOTH EDITORIALIALIZE USING THE TERM.

WELL TAKE FOR GRANTED OH, YEAH, IF THE ECONOMY IS THIS THING AND IF IT KEEPS GETTING BIGGER, WE ALL GET A BIGGER SLICE, AND THAT'S TERRIFIC.

TO STRETCH THE METAPHOR MUCH TOO FAR, THAT IGNORES WHO IS BAKING THE PAR.

AS LONG AS YOU ARE GETTING A BIG ENOUGH SLICE, WHO DOESN'T LIKE PIE THIS WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE VERY HAPPY.

THE IDEA BEHIND PRODUCTIVE PLURALISM IS TO SAY LOOK, ECONOMIC GROWTH IN A GROWING PIE IS HUGELY IMPORTANT.

RISING CONSUMPTION AND LIVING STANDARDS IS A GREAT THING, BUT IT'S NOT THE END ALL, BE ALL.

THE ACTUAL CORE FOUNDATIONAL THING WE NEED TO BE FOCUSING ON IS MORE ABOUT PRODUCTION THAN ABOUT CONSUMPTION.

AND YOU SAY THAT'S THE IDEA THAT'S KIND OF DEVELOPED OVER THE LAST HALF CENTURY.

THAT'S RIGHT.

I THINK YOU SEE IT EMERGING REALLY IN THE 1960s THERE IS A LOT OF INTERESTING ECONOMIC TRENDS, THE GDP IS HOW WE MEASURE THINGS CULTURALLY TO THIS IDEA THAT EVERYONE'S AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS TRYING TO MAKE THEMSELVES HAPPY.

AND IF WE HAVE MORE STUFF, WE'LL BE HAPPIER.

FOR A VERY LONG TIME, THERE WAS A MUCH MORRE ROBUST SENSE OF WHT WE WERE TRYING TO ACHIEVE AS A SOCIETY THAT WAS NOT JUST ABOUT CONSUMPTION.

AND IT WAS REALLY THE GREAT DEPRESSION, I THINK, AND THE SO-CALLED KEYNESIAN EFFORTS TO GET OUT OF THE DEPRESSION, THIS IDEA THAT WE NEED TO ESSENTIALLY USE GOVERNMENT SPENDING TO SPUR THE ECONOMY.

THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED SAYING, WELL, LET'S MEASURE GDP, AND THAT'S WHAT WE MEASURE.

AND THEN THE OTHER REALLY CRITICAL FACTOR WAS WORLD WAR II, WHICH CAME RIGHT AFTER.

WHEN YOU'RE IN A WORLD WAR, GDP, WHO CAN MAKE THE MOST STUFF THE FASTEST, THAT'S PRETTY IMPORTANT.

BUT HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE WHO WOULD MAKE THE ARGUMENT AND HAVE ALREADY MADE THE ARGUMENT THAT, LOOK, THE SYSTEM ECONOMIC PIETY HAS CREATED SO MUCH WEALTH FOR THIS COUNTRY THAT EVEN THE POOREST AMONG US HAVE GOODS AND SERVICES THAT THE WEALTHIEST LESS THAN A CENTURY AGO COULD ONLY DREAM OF.

AND IF YOU MONKEY AROUND WITH THAT, WITH THE GOAL OF EXPANDING THE PIE, YOU'RE JUST GOING TO MAKE EVERYONE POORER IN THE LONG RUN?

I THINK THERE ARE TWO THINGS I WOULD SAY.

ONE IS WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL HOW WE DEFINE WHETHER EVERYONE IS REALLY BETTER OFF.

THE FACT THAT YOU CAN GET A BIGGER FLAT SCREEN TV THAN YOU USED TO BE ABLE TO GET IS NICE, BUT IF YOU'RE LIVING IN A COMMUNITY THAT IS SEEING THE JOBS DISAPPEAR, IF YOUR OWN KIDS HAVE LESS OPPORTUNITY, IF YOU SEE YOUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF THOSE AROUND YOU DECLINING, THAT'S NOT CANCELED OUT BY THE BIGGER TV.

WE'VE SEEN NOW REALLY GOING BACK SEVERAL DECADES IT TURNS OUT DECLINING HEALTH, FOR INSTANCE, PARTICULARLY AMONG LESS EDUCATED PREDOMINANTLY WHITE AMERICANS.

DECLINNG LIFE SPANS.

NATIONWIDE WE'VE NOW SEEN LIFE SPANS DECLINING THREE STRAIGHT YEARS.

GIVE US A SENSE OF HOW EXTRAORDINARY THAT IS, THE LAST TIME THAT HAPPENED WAS 100 YEARS AGO.

AND IT TOOK WORLD WAR I AND A GLOBAL FOOD PANDEMIC.

WHAT ABOUT WHEN PEOPLE SAY LOOK, STATISTICS SHOW IF YOU HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE YOU WILL TEND TO EARN BETTER INCOME THAN IF YOU DON'T.

SO INSTEAD OF SHAPING THE LABOR MARKET OR THE POLICIES TO FIT THE EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE STRUGGLING AMERICANS, WHY DON'T WE RISE THEM UP IN EDUCATION BY FREE COLLEGE, FOR EXAMPLE, OR BY REEDUCATING WORKERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR INDUSTRIES?

WHY NOT?

THAT TRADE-OFF YOU JUST DESCRIBED IS EXACTLY THE RIGHT ONE TO ASK ABOUT.

ARE WE GOING TO SAY ALL RIGHT, WE BETTER GEAR OUR ECONOMY AND SCOTTY TO THE PEOPLE WE HAVE, OR DO WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO GEAR THE PEOPLE WE HAVE TO THIS IDEA OF THE ECONOMY IN SOCIETY?

AND IT'S NICE AND COMFORTING AND REQUIRES NO TRADE-OFFS FORBE ANYB IF WE LEAVE OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM COULD TRANSFORM EVERYBODY INTO PEOPLE WHO GET AHEAD.

WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THAT AND NO EVIDENCE THAT WE CAN.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE K THROUGH 12, WE HAVE DOUBLED WHAT WE SPENDER PUPIL OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS.

TEST SCORES HAVEN'T MOVED.

IF YOU LOOK UP INTO HIGHER EDUCATION, CERTAINLY WE ARE PUSHING MORE PEOPLE IN, BUT THE SHARE THAT ARE ACTUALLY COMPLETING A BACHELORS ISN'T MOVING VERY MUCH AT ALL.

IN FACT, MOST AMERICANS DON'T EARN EVEN A COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEGREE.

EVEN THOSE WHO EARN A COLLEGE DEGREE, MORE THAN A THIRD END UP IN JOBS THAT DON'T REQUIRE A DEGREE.

WE'RE ALMOST OUT OF TIME.

WE BASICALLY JUST TOUCHED ON EDUCATION.

GIVE ME ANOTHER ONE THAT IS CRITICAL FOR US TO MOVE AWAY FROM THIS ECONOMIC PIETY INTO WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT.

SURE.

I THINK WHEN WE TALK ABOUT TRADE AND IMMIGRATION AND THE WAY WE APPROACH GLOBALIZATION, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IT WITH A MUCH MORE CRITICAL EYE.

IN THEORY GLOBALIZATION CAN BE A WONDERFUL FORCE.

MORE TRADE, MORE IMMIGRATION CAN BE VERY GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY.

BUT IF YOU THINK IN TERMS OF WORKERS INSTEAD OF IN TERMS OF CONSUMERS, YOU REALIZE IT'S NOT AUTOMATICALLY A GOOD THING.

THAT BALANCE REALLY MATTERS.

IF WE'RE GOING TO DO MORE TRADE WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, WE NEED TO BE MAKING MORE THINGS FOR THE WORLD, NOT HAVE THE WORLD MAKE MORE THINGS FOR US.

IF WE'RE GOING TO BE HAVING HIGH LEVELS OF IMMIGRATION, IT NEEDS TO BE THE KIND OF IMMIGRATION THAT COMES TO THE PARTS OF THE LABOR MARKET THAT HAS SHORTAGES OF WORKERS, AND NOT -- IF WE BELIEVE ONE OF OUR BIG PROBLEMS IS RELATIVELY TOO MANY LESS SKILLED WORKERS IN THE LABOR MARKET, AN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT ENCOURAGES MORE LESS SKILLED WORKERS INTO THE LABOR MARKET IS PUSHING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

OKAY.

WELL JUST SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF WHAT YOU COVER IN YOUR BOOK.

IT'S A FASCINATING BOOK, 'THE ONCE AND FUTURE WORKER.'

OREN, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

IT WAS A GREAT CONVERSATION.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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