PoliticsNation | February 13, 2013
>>> it is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of america 's economic growth, a rising, thriving, middle class . tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one that works full time should have to live in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
>> it was a call to action on poverty last night. a call to level the playing field for all americans . fairness is the backbone of the obama presidency. but nothing in this world is easy. in order to make it happen, the people have to act.
>> my fellow americans , we were made for this world and we will seize it so long as we seize it together.
>> now is the time to vote for it. for immigration, for gun control , the time is now. joining me now is a man who's worked hard for change for a long time. long before the president was in office, media mogul music entrepreneur and activist russel simmons .
>> you've been working for actresses for a very long time. i thought about you as we're finally seeing people addressing poverty because we have something very successful and saying wait a minute, success is based on what you do to lift the bottom, not just trying to sit on top.
>> we're not going to be able to address poverty in an mediaimmediate way until we address our pursestrings. we talk about citizen's united or just the legal bribery that controls our government last night. if we can address that then a lot of the issues that have to do with poverty or how they work to destroy the fabric of the black community, that's because they pay $10 million. little bits of money to our congressman and our senators. that brings many billions back. that's an important issue that we haven't addressed.
>> legal bribery?
>> is it not? if you can move in somebody's office and promise them, you know, support systems that make them successful, we had a constitutional amendment . he's the war machine , what do you call him that day? what do you call them? investors in military. that these people that, 10-1, and hefrs out of office, after 25 years as a congressman. so we never got to them.
>> the gerrymandering. one of the things you were very involved with all of us last year. the gerrymandering, the voting rights . that's how they manipulated people out of office.
>> but all the money that supports these systems that promote unfair and unequal access to all the corporations and special interests that have a lot to do with controlling our interest. it's in the core, but everything, when we talk about poverty, we have to address that.
>> when you hear the voting commission, they're starting, the president announced a bipartisan voting commission last night. what do you hope will come out of that?
>> we hope that we'll draw fairlines and allow people to vote. we want the country to be -- it's another democracy issue. we want a fair vote. we have examples in the last election and the last few elections before that. that should have proven to us that we need dramatic reform. and we didn't do much. and we still vnt. it's something that the president spoke about and i hope we can address.
>> taxes have been a defining battle for this president. look at this, the bottom 20 pnt of americans only get 3% of all tax breaks . the top 20% get 66% of tax breaks . i remember you yesterday standing at we occupy saying you don't mind paying more. people at the top will pay more. why are we giving the burden to the people that can least pay it?
>> well, there was some at the top who would pay more. but others are spending lots of money to make sure it doesn't happen. so it went back to the issue that i talked about. if you have a big support system and people don't want to pay more, it's difficult for you to move or to vote to make those changes. and i think that's what happened in this country. it's the same as moving jobs overseas. it's the same as the corporate welfare that goes to the oil companies. there's so much that we give back because we're paid to give it back. and sometimes even democrats, you know, disguise bills and they say it's to help the poor. but, instead, it's to help their
rich frenlds: i wanted to make that point tonight, reverend, that is something that the president did miss. i love all the things he said about his progressive agenda. and, today, the dentist told me something that was inspiring. and he said -- and i had realized this always. he said i don't like the president's agenda or the way he wanted to go about about it. he said, but, you know, it sounded like he could execute. but what's important is this could be a conservative way to make america better and there could be a progressive way to make america better. it depends on the execution and the thought process and the way that they go about it. the middle class could make the economy better, just as the rich could provide more jobs if they're given breaks. so the president has a route. he's in office and he's got to be able to get the people to support that rut. i mean, it would seem the middle class would like the idea of allowing -- and they should -- because they like the idea, they have to get behind the president and watch closely those people who don't support an agenda that helps them.
>> a lot of that is also going to go to how we define our culture. i'm always survive i'm sur pridesed to see how the people can help. a lot of actors and actresses, they see that potential. they've been good over this last election. you saw that the president had a great turn out. and a lot of people who are successful, but artistic successful people, they are progressive. and they do want to help everyone grow. they know they can't grow without helping others.
>> russel simmons , thanks for your time tonight. always great to have you. we'll be right