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News on The 700 Club: January 13, 2016

As seen on "The 700 Club," Jan. 13: Obama's final State of the Union: The sky is not falling on America; US Navy sailors held by Iran are released with their boats; Judge approves Tea Party case against IRS; and more Read Transcript


In his final State of the Union speech,

President Obama tried to reignite the hope that

forced him into office.

Remember hope and change?

But what many Americans are really hoping for

is a change or a chance to turn the country around.

The president again praised the nuclear deal with Iran,

but he didn't talk about the persecution of Christians

in the Middle East.

Jennifer Wishon brings us that story from Capitol Hill.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): President Barack Obama

entered the House chamber for his last State of the Union

address much grayer than his first,

but still talking about hope and change that

led to his historic election.

The United States of America is the most powerful nation

on earth.

Period.

[APPLAUSE]

Period.

It's not even close.

He reminded us that we still live in the greatest

country in the world.

The president says he's never felt more

optimistic about the future.

But not everyone shares his enthusiasm.

Polling shows some 70% of Americans

feel the US is heading in the wrong direction, driven

in part by concerns over the nation's security.

Hours before his address, 10 US sailors

drifted into Iranian waters and were detained.

Surprisingly, Obama didn't mention it.

Instead he touted the controversial nuclear deal

with the Islamic Republic.

The president calls protecting Americans

from terrorists his top priority while warning lawmakers

about overinflating the power of the Islamic State.

Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks.

Twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages.

They pose an enormous danger to civilians.

They have to be stopped, but they do not threaten

our national existence.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): The president

scolded Americans who persecute Muslims, but made

no mention of Christians who've experienced

a record year of persecution at home and abroad.

White House officials say there are no immediate plans

to label the plight of Christians in the Middle East

as genocide.

I mean, freedom of religion is very important.

But you can't have freedom of religion

if you're just going to protect the people the president wants

to protect.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): While it

was this president's last State of the Union,

it was Paul Ryan's first as House Speaker.

Still, it was Republican governor Nikki Haley

who made headlines.

There is more than enough blame to go around.

We as Republicans need to own that truth.

We need to recognize our contributions

to the erosion of the public trust in America's leadership.

We need to accept that we've played

a role in how and why our government is broken.

And then we need to fix it.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): There are fights

ahead for the president's agenda,

like his push to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention

Center.

These are some of the worst terrorists in the world.

Any city you put them in, that city all of the sudden

has a target on its back from terrorists all over the globe.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): And there

are chances for bipartisan cooperation.

We think criminal justice reform is possible,

and it's something that would be really tremendous to get

done for this country.

I'm working with Republicans.

We have bipartisan bills that are clearly ready to be passed.

JENNIFER WISHON (VOICEOVER): In a rare admission,

President Obama revealed the regret of his presidency

is that the rancor between Democrats and Republicans

has festered, not improved, under his leadership.

I have no doubt that a president

with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt

might have better bridged the divide.

And I guarantee I'll keep trying to be better, so long

as I hold this office.

Jennifer Wishon, CBS news, Capitol Hill.

Well thanks, Jennifer.

With us now to look at the president's speech

and his record-- by the way, I understand

it was 160 promises that he has made over the last eight years

or so that he has not fulfilled.

But to talk about his own proposals

to turn America around, it's my good friend Steve Forbes.

He has a book called "Reviving America."

And I think it will be another blockbuster.

Steve, it's good to have you back with us.

Thanks for being here.

Good to be with you Pat, thank you.

Well what's your take on the President's State of the Union?

The whole idea of how he has brought Americans together,

but yet he's said they're not closer

than he wanted them to be.

What do you think about that?

Well I think the speech was really a trip to fantasy land.

His description of the US economy

is not what most Americans experience in their paychecks.

And his statements about how we're regarded abroad,

about ISIS, just strike people as a man who

is not in touch with reality.

It's getting uglier out there, not better.

What do you think?

What's the record of history?

I mean, sooner or later history judges leaders.

And every leader, every president of the United States

gets their record in history sooner or later.

How will history judge this one?

I think they're going to judge it

as a massive disappointment, both domestically and in terms

of foreign policy.

America is weaker overseas despite what

the president said about our military being strong,

which it is.

He has run it down.

Reduced the size of the Navy, reduced the size of the Army.

Not made the investments we need in new weapons technology.

And we see the Middle East going through convulsions

which are now hitting our own shores and those of Europe.

A massive refugee crisis, and on the domestic economy-- this

is the worst recovery from a sharp economic downturn

in American history.

We're six years, seven years into a supposed recovery.

And most Americans have seen their real paychecks

shrink, not grow.

Steve, his signature accomplishment

is what's called the Affordable Care Act.

We know it as Obamacare.

How would you change that?

What would you do?

Would you repeal it?

What would you put in its place?

Well Obamacare, and we were propose this in the book

"Reviving America," has to be repealed and replaced

with a system.

A gradual replacement with a system

that is patient-oriented, where the patients are in charge.

Today it's all third party payer.

It's employers, it's governments,

and it's insurance companies.

And the patient takes last place.

One little sign of where the patient really

ranks in the health care system today

is that even the crummiest motel in the world

would never put you in a room with another person

with a screen in between, as hospitals routinely do.

Nor would they give you a robe that

looks like it was discarded from the Salvation Army.

So we need a more patient-oriented system.

And in the book "Reviving America"

we list reforms, starting with nationwide shopping for health

insurance, so that you get the policies you want,

not what bureaucrats want.

And having hospitals and clinics post prices

for all their products and services and treatments,

so you can see where you get the best value for your money.

You've talked a long time-- and I totally agree with you--

on the idea of a flat tax.

The tax code is just a monstrosity.

More pages in the whole than the whole Bible.

What is your plan?

How would that flat tax work?

The flat tax would get rid of this corrupt tax code, which

now runs more than 10 million words--

versus a little over 780,000 words in the Holy Bible--

and replace it with a single rate system.

Generous exemptions for adults and for children.

You'd have exemptions so that, for example,

a family of four-- the first $52,800 of income

would be free of federal income tax.

No tax on your savings, and no death tax.

You should be able to leave the world unmolested by the IRS.

And anything you earn above $52,000?

That family would pay only $0.17 on the dollar.

Do the same thing on the business side.

Reduce the rate to 17, clean the code up.

And this way, you could literally do your tax return

on a single sheet of paper or with a few keystrokes

on a computer.

We wouldn't have to spend six billion hours a year,

which the IRS estimates that we spend filling out tax forms.

Spend $200 to $300 billion a year

trying to comply with this monstrosity.

What would your plan do in terms of the economy?

How do you see it working if it's put into effect?

By enabling the American people to keep more of what they earn.

Simplify the tax code so we can focus our brainpower

on productive work and innovative innovations

that get the economy moving.

You'd see this economy roar like a rocket.

Over 30 countries around the world have put in the flat tax,

and it's worked very well.

So this isn't a laboratory experiment.

And it's a moral issue.

If you add up, say for the last 20 years,

all the tens of billions of hours

we've spent filling out tax forms, the trillions of dollars

we've spent complying with this tax code.

And just think for a moment if that money and brainpower

and time had been spent creating new products,

new medical devices, new services, new cures

for diseases-- how much better our lives would be.

So it's not just an economic issue.

It's a profoundly moral issue.

Let's focus our talents on productive things,

helping each other, instead of this monstrosity

we have to grapple with today.

You've also been speaking with the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates

to an obscenely low level.

Savers have been killed over these last few years.

And now the Fed's in a box.

Because when they want to raise rates,

they'll kill the economy.

What would you do with the Federal Reserve Board?

Drastically downsize it and simplify it.

You're right.

It's become a corrupt institution

taking on massive new powers.

What the Fed should do is allow real interest rates.

Interest rates, as you know, is the price

you pay for borrowing money.

It's like the price you pay for renting an apartment

or buying a gallon of gasoline.

And when they suppress rates, and we

explain this very simply in the book "Reviving America."

When they suppress interest rates, what they end up doing

is hurting not only savers, but loans

to small and new businesses, which have grown hardly at all.

And as you know, small and new businesses

are the job creators in this economy.

The other thing the Fed should do immediately

is reduce the size of its bloated portfolio of securities

that it's given itself-- almost $5 trillion dollars-- so

that money can start going back into the financial system

to finance new and small businesses and the needs

of households.

And ultimately, Pat, we have to go to a gold standard.

We had a gold standard for the first 180 years

of this country's existence.

And gold is like a ruler.

It's like having 60 minutes in an hour or 12 inches in a foot.

It worked.

It's worked far better than what we

have today, which is sluggish growth, a mammoth bureaucracy

that is out of control and crushing

new and small businesses.

This book, ladies and gentlemen,

is called "Reviving America."

Steve, I want to ask you one last question.

There are a lot of contenders for the presidency

in the Republican Party and for the Democrat party as well.

But are there any that would embrace the principles

that you lay out in this book that you would point to?

Well, looking at the candidates,

I almost feel like it's a dating game.

Finding virtues in each of the candidates.

Ted Cruz, for example, gets it on the Federal Reserve

and the need for a gold standard, as does Senator Rand

Paul.

Ben Carson has got a very interesting flat tax proposal,

as do Cruz, Rand Paul, and some of the others.

So they're coming our way.

But the purpose of the book is to put pressure and give people

the information they need to get candidates,

not only for president, but also for Congress and the Senate,

to do what's right.

The big three reforms-- repealing Obamacare and replace

it with patient care.

Get rid of the IRS and have a genuine flat tax.

And get the Federal Reserve to stop mucking around

with the dollar so it can be stable and strong again.

These three things-- there are obviously a lot of other things

we have to do-- but these big three things,

big three reforms, would rapidly revive America.

This country is very strong.

We've been through a very rough period.

But I think with these kinds of reforms,

people would be pleasantly surprised at how quickly

America recovers.

Steve you're a brilliant thinker.

I appreciate all that you have done over the years

to give us a more sound economy.

I hope people will listen to you.

It's called "Reviving America" by Steve Forbes.

Available wherever books are sold.

I love listening to him.

He makes sense.

He's so easy to understand what he's saying.

I subscribe to Forbes magazine, and when I open the magazine,

it's his column I want to read.

The rest of it is just, you know.

It's there but I want to read what Steve's got to say.

He's a good guy.

Iran has released 10 US sailors today

after taking them into custody Tuesday

when they crossed into Iranian territorial waters.

The Navy says it will investigate,

even as some point out that Iran has recently been taking

aggressive military action.

Caitlin Burke has the story.

CAITLIN BURKE (VOICEOVER): US military officials

say the two small US vessels drifted into Iranian waters

Tuesday after one of them experienced

mechanical problems.

The other then followed to offer help.

INTERPRETER: The US boats entered three miles

into Farsi Islands territorial waters.

Because of their unprofessional acts,

these forces were immediately detained

by our Naval combatants and transferred to Farsi Island.

They did not show much resistance.

US Naval ships often patrol the waters of the Persian Gulf

near Iranian territory, a source of tension between the two

nations.

Last month, an Iranian military vessel

fired a series of unguided rockets near, but not at,

the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier.

After the two US vessels were seized Tuesday,

Iranian officials claim the Truman

made provocative maritime and aerial moves for 40 minutes.

INTERPRETER: It proves America's lack of commitment

to maintain security and peace in our region,

despite what they claim.

CAITLIN BURKE (VOICEOVER): The Iranian revolutionary guard

says the US soldiers were released

after an investigation revealed that they were,

in fact, in Iranian waters because of mechanical problems

and not espionage.

Caitlin Burke, CBN news.

Thanks Caitlin.

Israel has welcomed a new German-built submarine

that could be used to strike back with nuclear missiles

if a nuclear attack is ever launched on the Jewish state.

At a ceremony in Haifa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu said Israel's goal is superiority

on all military fronts.

Netanyahu hinted that the submarine could give Israel

second strike capability in the event of a nuclear attack

and reinforce its military strength.

INTERPRETER: Our submarine fleet will act as a deterrent

to our enemies who want to destroy us.

They will not achieve their aim.

They need to know that Israel is capable of striking

with very great strength at all those who would harm it.

Reports say Israel's submarines are

armed with nuclear missiles, while Netanyahu

has said that the subs are a defensive force

in a stormy reality in the Middle East.

Well you know, we have what's called the nuclear triad

in the United States.

We've got the old Minuteman missiles, which

are in silos that are creaky and corroding

and probably they don't work.

We've got a World War II bomber, the B-52,

that handles nuclear missiles.

And our most effective weapon is the submarine-based Trident.

Or one of those other types of seaborne missiles.

They are the ones.

And because they have MIRVed missiles,

they could destroy almost any country

on the face of the earth.

And they can stay hidden in the waters where they cannot be

found.

Israel has had submarines they've

gotten from Germany before.

This isn't the first one they've got.

So he's talking about a fleet.

But it seems like if Iran comes up with a nuclear weapon,

the Israelis can take that submarine

and park it in the Arabian Sea just off the coast of Iran.

And they could let them have it.

So I think the Iranians will think twice

before they make an unprovoked attack on Israel.

And that, basically, is what Benjamin Netanyahu

was saying in that ceremony.

It's defensive, sure.

But if they need to get offensive, they won't hesitate.

Back here at home, a federal judge

has ruled that a Tea Party class action lawsuit against the IRS

can move to the next phase.

Judge Susan Dlott certified more than 200 Tea Party groups

were targeted in the same way by the IRS.

They argue that the tax agency violated their first amendment

rights because of their conservative political views.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the judge believes

the Obama administration has been

stonewalling the investigation.

At a hearing last September, she said

I feel like the government is doing everything it possibly

can to make this as complicated as it possibly can,

to last as long as it possibly can.

So that by the time there is a result,

nobody's going to care except for the plaintiffs.

And one of the attorneys representing the Tea Party

group says this is a major step in this now years-long case.

You know, Lois Lerner pled the fifth

because she had been doing some things that were wrong.

Breaking the law, obviously.

I mean you can't draw an inference from that.

But nevertheless, she pled the fifth and that says a lot.

I think the IRS was scoffing at the Congress,

especially the Republicans, saying we're

going to do what we want to do.

And this class action lawsuit is a big deal.

I know the American Center for Law and Justice

has had a lawsuit against the IRS,

and it hasn't been very successful.

So for a judge to come on board and say we certify a class

action, that is a big deal.

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