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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Real Time Response from Michael Moore
Aired October 25, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: He's mad as hell and he's live in our studio.
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: We're against greed and we're against the fact that the 1 percent could get nine slices of the pie and the other 99 percent are supposed to fight over the last slice. That is un-American, that is not democracy.
MORGAN: The self-proclaimed champion of the 99 percent. He's made a career and a fortune fighting for the little guy. Now Michael Moore is here with me to take your questions about the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've always considered myself a member of the middle class. Now I consider myself a member of the lower class.
MORGAN: The election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have the Republican Party that's taking care of the rich. We have a Democratic Party that's taking care of the poor. People in the middle are being totally forgotten here.
MORGAN: And yes, those protesters.
MOORE: A happy day for me is when I'll be unemployed, when I don't have to make another one of these goddamn movies or write another one of these books. When everybody is -- the real people of this country are in charge and I don't have to do any of this anymore. That's my nirvana.
MORGAN: Tonight a crucial town hall event. Who's to blame and who's going to fix what's broken in America?
This is a special edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. You're looking at live protesters on Wall Street and in Oakland, California. And tonight here in New York I'm joined by Oscar winning filmmaker Michael Moore, pinup for the dispossessed and diehard supporter of the Wall Street protests.
Last time he came on this show a few weeks ago, he promised to come back to tackle in front of a live audience the questions tormenting America and the grievances of the ordinary people left high and dry by America's economic crisis. Those people, the self-styled 99 percent, are here tonight, many of them. They want to know why when America faced its biggest challenges in decades the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and they were left bearing the burden.
We'll find out who the real Wall Street protesters are, what they want, will they get it, and try to answer the burning question, how do we fix America?
We'll be taking questions from right here in the studio, over the phone and on Twitter providing a real-time response to big-time problems. If you're on Twitter now, get ahold of me @piersmorgan or use the #OccupyPiersTonight.
And we wanted to be lively and we want to get some answers.
MOORE: Thank you.
MOORE: Can I just say, first of all, thank you for letting the people in to Time Warner here and to have this chance to --
MORGAN: Well, I said we'd do it.
MOORE: Yes, you did, and --
MORGAN: And I think it's going to be a very interesting exercise.
MOORE: I think and -- I know it's not quite "America's Got Talent."
MORGAN: We might have a few red buzzers tonight. I can tell you that.
MOORE: More like "America's Got No Middle Class."
MORGAN: Let's cut to the quick. Who are the 99 percent? Who are the 1 percent?
MOORE: Well, the 1 percent, they have about 40 percent of all the wealth in this country. The 99 percent are essentially, most of them, people who you used to call the middle class. And, of course, a good chunk of them, sadly in this country are part of the poor. We have 46 million people living in poverty right now in this country.
But this large middle class that we used to, people that worked for a living, that put in a hard day's work, got their pay for that, and with that pay were able to purchase a home, were able to send their kids to college, had health care, had vacation time, had all these things that just a decent middle class life, and those in charge, the 1 percent, decided that they needed to take some of that away because the 1 percent didn't have enough money.
They needed more money. And this level of greed that's taken place here -- this really, really started back almost 30 years ago. I say this started really when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. That was the first volley that was thrown at the middle class. And they have succeeded over these 30 years of making life harder and harder and harder for people.
MORGAN: And let me ask you this. Is this really a protest against capitalism, as some have been saying, or is it a protest against capitalist greed and abuse of capitalism?
MOORE: Well, it depends on who you asked. There's -- when you say it's 99 percent, that means there's a whole bunch of reasons why people feel part of this movement right now. Yes, some people, this is a protest against capitalism. For some other people they like capitalism but they think capitalism has become really a system of greed and needs to be reformed or we need to put the controls back on it that used to be there.
And then a whole bunch of people have very specific concerns. Students who are saddled now with incredible debt that they won't pay that off until their 40s. Millions are in foreclosure right now. Millions more their homes are under water. They're trapped essentially as prisoners in their home. They will not be able to sell it. They are -- they are stuck there essentially or they could file for bankruptcy, and have their credit ruined and then have more of their life ruined.
We have -- we have 50 million people with no health insurance in this country. So you have all the people -- so the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country are medical bills. So you have that whole group of people.
You have people who are concerned about our educational system that we've placed this on the lowest rung of our ladder. And as a result right now in this country, we have 40 million functional illiterate adults in this country. Forty million that cannot read- write above the fourth-grade level.
MORGAN: Right. So we've established that.
MOORE: So it's a whole wide range.
MORGAN: And it's a mess. And everybody --
MOORE: It is a mess.
MORGAN: We're going to try and solve some of the issues as the evening goes on. Here's an immediate tweet for you, just to show that we're impartial on this show. This is from @gatewaypatriot. A question for Michael Moore. "You've benefited personally greatly from capitalism, yet you are one of its biggest critics. How do you square that?"
MOORE: Isn't that amazing? I mean really, I'm here talking against my own interests.
MORGAN: Yes. What's the matter with you?
MOORE: What's wrong with me?
MORGAN: Yes. You crazy man. It's a good point.
MOORE: I assume --
MORGAN: You're in the 1 percent, right?
MOORE: I'm not in the 1 percent. No. But I am -- you know --
MORGAN: Probably 0.2 percent?
MORGAN: You're one of the most successful filmmakers in the country.
MOORE: No, I'm not. For a documentary filmmaker, I do very well.
MORGAN: Well, now you're splitting hairs.
MOORE: Well -- no, there's a big difference between a documentary and "Avatar."
MORGAN: I want to establish you -- yes. There is. There is.
MOORE: I'm not that.
MOORE: But let me just say that --
MORGAN: But you know the criticism. There are people watching --
MOORE: Because -- no, I feel blessed --
MORGAN: Michael Moore, they say, rich guy. MOORE: I have -- well, I'm able to do what I want to do and I have the money to make my films in exactly the way I want to make them. I don't answer to anyone. Nobody -- I can't be bought because these people have spent $10 at the movie theater to go buy tickets to my movies or $3 at the old blockbuster when there was a blockbuster.
And as a result of that I get to keep making these movies. But here's the thing. Because I've also -- I've -- you know, I've had a peek behind the curtain because these books I write, these movies I make are made for essentially large corporations. And the only reason they allow this to happen is because I make them a lot of money.
MORGAN: And yourself.
MOORE: And -- no. They don't want me actually to have any money. I'm a dangerous person with a lot of money. The fact that I make money, what am I going to do with my money? Spend it -- you know at Brooks Brothers? My --
MOORE: I put a lot of my effort in trying to change the system and to make these films. And that, I'm sure those in charge don't like that part, but they do like the part where I make them money and they're convinced -- this is what -- this is what I really think it is. They're convinced that the people out there, the people watching this on TV, even if they see my movie, they're not going to revolt. They're not going to stand up. They're not going to get involved.
They're so convinced that they have dumbed down and numbed the American public to a point of utter despair that they can't get off the couch.
MORGAN: I get you --
MOORE: To become active politically. And --
MOORE: And they've made a huge mistake letting me on TV and putting my films in theaters and publishing my books. And I'm so grateful for that.
MORGAN: I might have made a terrible mistake putting you on TV. But listen, I just wanted --
MOORE: Live. That's rule number one, never put me on live.
MORGAN: Well, I like you a lot. I mean it's dangerous. Unpredictable. But I just want to pin you down on one thing.
MOORE: (INAUDIBLE) work tomorrow.
MORGAN: I need you to admit the bleeding obvious. I need you to sit here and say, I'm in the 1 percent, because it's important.
MOORE: Well, I can't. Because I'm not.
MORGAN: Because the validity of your argument -- you are, though.
MOORE: No, I'm not. I'm not.
MORGAN: You're not in if 1 percent?
MOORE: Of course I'm not. How can I be in the 1 percent?
MORGAN: Because you're worth millions.
MOORE: No, that's not true. Listen, I do really well. I do well. But what's the point, though? Isn't that --
MORGAN: I do, because I find it more interesting if you're in the 1 percent because I think you probably are.
MOORE: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: You qualify.
MORGAN: That you are railing against a lot of capitalist ideals.
MOORE: Well, then if you believe that about me, then that's really something, isn't it?
MORGAN: No, I'm asking if you accept that.
MOORE: That even -- that even though -- that even though I do well, that I don't associate myself with those who do well, I am devoting my life to those who have less and who have been crapped upon by the system. And that's how I spend my time, my energy, my money on trying to up-end this system that I think is a system of violence, it's a system that's unfair to the average working person of this country.
And it was a mistake to ever give me a dime from the day Time Warner actually gave me money to buy "Roger and Me."
MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) I thought eventually.
MOORE: No, no, but this place essentially was where I began. And --
MORGAN: OK. Let's go to somebody who is in the 99 --
MOORE: I hope they rue the day that they ever allowed me up on a movie screens.
MORGAN: I'm sure we will.
MORGAN: I want to go to our first question. This is from Monica. Where is Monica?
MONICA BEHNEY, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. Hi, Piers, hi, Michael.
MORGAN: Now before you say anything, I just want to just confirm a new CNN poll among moderates, 32 percent, viewed the "Occupy Wall Street" protests favorably, 26 percent were against it. A third or fewer weren't sure either way.
Where do you sit? You've been down there. One of the big questions I hear about "Occupy Wall Street" is what are they really protesting about? What is this movement at its core really trying to achieve? What do you think the answer is?
BEHNEY: Well, for me, I mean, I am a person with a master's degree who has been unemployed since I graduated. Haven't had health care for years. So I understand where the anger and the frustration of many Americans is coming from. I get that angle. And that resonates with me.
But I'm also concerned about corporate influence on government in particular. And I know that's a message that a lot of protesters are talking about. And in particular for me, it's for corporate influence on the criminal justice system.
But when I go down to "Occupy Wall Street," the feeling that's there is not one of anger, it's not one of frustration, it's a feeling of hope. It's a feeling of optimism. It's a feeling that this can make a difference this time. This is really working. And it's like what Michael said, we can actually do it. And maybe this is the time that we can actually change things. We can actually make things change.
MORGAN: Do you feel -- do you feel personally angry to the people that work in Wall Street? Are you instinctively against and do you feel the mood of the people there is against very wealthy bankers and so on? Do they blame them for what happened? Or is it more general than that? Are there lots of people to blame?
BEHNEY: I think there is some of that. I think there is some feeling of personal enmity. But I think it's more the general feeling. It's more of what can we do? How can we all be inspired together to make social change? And I think that is the general takeaway. At least that I'm feeling now.
MORGAN: Michael, do you share that? Is it more optimistic? I'm surprised by that.
MOORE: Why? Because --
MORGAN: I sort of got the sense that it was angrier than this. MOORE: Well, it's -- well, underneath all of that, yes, there's a general anger about what's happened to our country. We love our country. And so we're very upset that the promise of America seems now to be something way back in the distant past. And it doesn't seem like --
MORGAN: Give me a pie chart here, if you can, of blame between the members of the public for overspending, for getting into too much credit, for buying stuff they couldn't afford, the government for the policies that may have precipitated economic crisis and the Wall Street element of this.
If you were slicing a pie up, how would you fairly do it?
MOORE: OK. There's nothing scientific behind this.
MORGAN: No. No.
MOORE: But I would -- I would --
MORGAN: We're going to hold you to the exact figures. But just a sense of where you think the majority of blame lies here?
MOORE: OK. I think I would say that 100 percent of it is the fault of corporate America. And I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why.
MOORE: I'll tell you why I don't assign any blame to Washington, D.C. because the politicians in Washington, D.C. are paid for by corporate America. So they're just the employees. They're there to act as the servants of Wall Street. So why would you blame the servants for the situation?
You blame the -- you blame the core, you blame where -- what is essentially the base of where this problem comes from. As far as blaming the American people, I mean, haven't they been through enough really?
MORGAN: Well, they have.
MOORE: I mean -- I mean --
MORGAN: I would take issue, Michael, about this.
MOORE: Because -- no, listen.
MORGAN: The fact that they're not to blame at all? No one in America overspent? Nobody went against probably all the guidelines from their parents?
MOORE: No, no.
MORGAN: Don't spend what you can't afford? I mean there has to be some sense of self-blame, doesn't it?
MOORE: No. No.
MORGAN: Personal responsibility.
MOORE: Well, yes, personal responsibility is a good thing. And we have -- our main personal responsibility in this is to be responsible citizens. And the important thing you have to be as a citizen is you have to be active and you have to be involved. And you have to -- that's what this occupy thing is happening all across the country because people are standing up and being responsible citizens.
To blame people whose wages have not gone up, you know, more than 1 percent and when you account for inflation and everything, in 30 years there's been stagnant wages. People here -- I mean do you remember how it was with your parents? How they had paid vacations? Do you remember paid vacations?
You know? All they get now is you got to cut back on your health care and benefits, we're going to take away these benefits, we're taking away these sick days, we're taking away this, we're taking away that. And now, oh by the way, we're going to move your job to Mexico. That's what everyone has had to tolerate and put up with.
MORGAN: Hold that thought. We're going to go to a quick break and come back and talk about President Obama. Has he got the right ideas perhaps belatedly to get America out of this mess? Because that's going to be key to how the next few months and years progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way that we can truly attack our economic challenges, the only way we can put hundreds of thousands of people back to work right now is with bold action from Congress. That's why I'm going to keep forcing these senators to vote on commonsense, paid-for jobs proposals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama yesterday talking what he says is job one, putting people to work. He wants the Congress to act, the same Congress that failed to pass his jobs bill earlier this month.
Michael, very quickly, has Obama got it right yet, his thinking? Is he going about this the right way? Are we going to see the jobs crisis being eased at all, do you think? And what is the simple answer to getting America back to work?
MOORE: Well, it's one of the answers, yes. This jobs bill is a good bill. This is -- this is something that should be passed and we need more of that. That's one of the things that needs to be done. But we also need to put regulations back on Wall Street.
His Justice Department needs to go after the people that created the crash of 2008. Those were crimes that were committed.
MOORE: And I don't know why -- you know, there's over a thousand of these occupy protesters who have been arrested here just in New York City. There's more all across the country. And not one single Wall Streeter, not one banker in jail? That's just -- I mean, that just seems so off.
So there's a number of things that President Obama needs to do. But this is a good step. And I think lately he has started to come alive and say the things or do the things that a lot of people wish that he'd done earlier.
MORGAN: Let me go to Mark Weber. You moved to the city to find a job, to New York. What is your view of the jobs crisis and where the president now is on this?
MARK WEBER, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, I think that it's very hard to find a job, no matter what you've got, whether you have a high school education or a master's. I have a master's in journalism. And when I go on Craigslist every day, I notice everybody wants me to do work for free. So I think that's a problem because there's not many jobs offering good pay.
MORGAN: And why do you think there are no jobs? What do you think? What's your gut feeling?
WEBER: I think computers have changed the world. And because so many machines are doing human being jobs, that there's hardly any jobs left for people. And then if you add in China and so many people there doing jobs there, there's not left -- there's not much left for Americans to do.
MORGAN: Yes, Mike -- this is the point, Michael. I mean aside from all the other factors that have caused this crisis, there is also one just called progression, technology, the world changing. What do you do about the fact that computers can now do, in some cases, the jobs of a thousand people?
MOORE: Well, first of all, that's a good thing. Technology is a good thing and advances society. One of the problems that we have right now is that our corporations, our American corporations, many of them who pay no tax whatsoever are sitting right now on $2 trillion worth of cash in their bank accounts.
In the old days what they would do with that money is they would reinvest it in their company. They would put it into research and development. They would come up with --
MORGAN: Why is that not happening?
MOORE: Why are they holding on to the money? MORGAN: Yes.
MOORE: My personal theory? I think they know the other shoe hasn't dropped. I think the crash of '08 was the first shoe. They know the -- they know the other shoe is going to drop because they're still downtown right now playing around with derivatives, with credit default swaps, and they want to have that cash on hand for themselves when the calamity takes place. That's my theory. I have nothing -- no evidence to back that up. But that's what I think.
MORGAN: Let me go to Lindsey here, because, Lindsey, you worked in corporate America. You went back to school to earn your master's in teaching. What's been your concern?
LINDSEY SHINGARA, AUDIENCE MEMBER: My biggest concern, obviously, I'm not going to be able to find a job. I mean I know all the budget cuts in Pennsylvania across the board in education. I mean, I can speak nationwide. But I'm just -- you know, I'm really nervous. And how am I going to pay for health care and just basic living expenses.
MORGAN: How much debt have you wracked up?
SHINGARA: I'll be close to probably 50, 60,000.
MORGAN: So this is -- I mean this to me is one of the real scandals. This can happen where you have a smart person here who put the hard yards in to be well-educated in an increasingly competitive world, where the Chinese and the Indians are getting better educated very, very fast. And you know how can America compete if the brains of the country are being treated in this way?
MOORE: And where they have to go out into the real world at 22 years old or 24 with this crushing debt. It's like a boot on your neck. And the Chinese who are graduating from Peking University this year, how much debt do you think they're graduating with? Zero. Zero.
Now you've come from a country where -- you know, how much debt do students have when they're 23 years old and they leave university?
MORGAN: Well, I see increasingly a lot.
MOORE: Well, it's more now because you had a more conservative government.
MORGAN: Yes. Yes. It's got more of the American way.
MOORE: But -- right. Sadly that's it. We don't want --
MORGAN: But the fact that the Chinese don't is fascinating, isn't it? It's another reason --
MOORE: But you know --
MORGAN: -- why they're going to move faster. MOORE: But you grew up in a time where that wasn't the case. And if you live -- New Yorkers who are here, if you went to the SUNY system when you were -- if you were my age, right, what did you pay per semester? Those of you who were my age if you went to a SUNY school? Or a city school here, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A thousand dollars.
MOORE: A thousand dollars a semester. Yes. That was a lot, actually. That's -- anybody else go to a city college here? It was about $80 to $100 in fees per semester. Why have we made this such a low priority? Why have we wanted to punish people who want to learn, go out and make our society a better place?
You know, in many countries if you want to be a doctor, you know what the cost is to go to medical school? Nothing. Canada? Why would that -- why not? Because they -- society needs doctors. We need -- we need brains. We need people to do these things. And it's very hard to function when your first thought is, how am I going to make money, how am I going to pay off this debt? You know, they've already got me on credit cards, et cetera, et cetera, and that's the --
MORGAN: Hold that thought.
MORGAN: Let's have a break, come back and talk more about jobs. And also about Steve Jobs because in many ways he represented the best and worst of corporate America.
MORGAN: Looking at live photographs of Oakland where the "Occupy Oakland" protesters now gathering momentum. There's a standoff there with police.
Michael Moore, increasingly, there is a sense that it's getting angrier, there is violence on both sides. Is this where you want to see these protests go? What is your view when you see what's happening in places like Oakland? It's potentially dangerous.
MOORE: There's no violence coming from the occupy protesters. This is a nonviolent --
MOORE: -- peaceful group. What we've -- what we've seen across the country are a series of police riots, where the police are rioting, where the police have gotten violent. These are Americans who are in the American tradition standing up for what they believe in. And occupying the front lawns of the city hall in the case of Oakland. They're not destroying any property. And this is going on all over the country. This is something that can't be stopped. They can bring in all the police they want. I was down in Times Square last weekend for the big protest down there. And the police looked really frightened because there were simply not enough police.
If the people just decided to go past the barricades and go into the streets and take over the streets because there are tens of millions of people that feel this way. Tens of millions. And this is a movement that cannot be stopped with Billy clubs or this kind of behavior.
MORGAN: Let me ask you about jobs in both senses of this. One, the jobs crisis. Secondly, Steve Jobs. Because Apple has become a kind of symbol of glorious capitalism and at the same time Apple now has more employees in China than it has in America, which is one of the fundamental problems of America.
I've got a tweet here from Gabby Sunhar (ph), saying, "Wake up, America," to stop shipping jobs overseas and stop buying imported goods of lower standard. There's a good merit to this argument that America needs to be more selfish, isn't there? That companies like Apple should lead by example. They're making billions. Bring it back to America. What do you think?
MOORE: If I were president -- and I'm not announcing, by the way, on your show.
MORGAN: Good. Good.
MORGAN: Spice things up, Michael. You'd get a few votes in this room.
MOORE: I would like -- no, no. Please. No, no, no.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MOORE: I would make it -- I would say -- this is what I would say. I would say our jobs are a national resource. And you, corporate America, cannot just take a national treasure like the jobs of the people that make up this country and take them some place else. And I would make it -- I would have laws that would make it very hard to do that. Even illegal to do that.
Where you can -- I mean I'll give you my instance of Flint, Michigan. People of Flint, Michigan, and the other General Motors towns, they built that corporation into the largest and richest corporation in the world. And then in the 1980s, GM decided, hey, you know what? Instead of making $4 billion in profits -- that's what they were making in the '80s -- we could make $5 billion if we started moving this overseas.
So they decided that it was worth wrecking the lives of tens of thousands of middle class people so they could make an extra billion. What was wrong with $4 billion? What was wrong with $4 billion?
So for an extra billion, we have to see the destruction of Flint and Detroit and all these cities across the country?
If I had anything to say about it, I would say, you know what, GM? As long as you're doing well here -- I understand if you're losing money and you can't do it, OK, we'll see what we can do. But if you're making money, if you're making a huge profit, then you just cannot pick up and leave.
I'm sorry. These are the people's jobs. This is what makes this country run.
MORGAN: Let me go to somebody who hasn't got a job, Julie. You've been unemployed since 2009. You and your husband had sold everything that you own. You're living off your husband's salary now. What's your question for Michael Moore?
JULIE FLOWERS, UNEMPLOYED: What are the concerns with the middle-middle class? We're not on food stamps and we've been able to hold on to our home for now, but we're having trouble making ends meet. Would I be better off poor, then at least I'd be eligible for public aid?
MORGAN: I mean, that is an awful question to even pose, isn't it? That as an American in 2011 would even think that way? But does she have a point? I mean would she be better off being poorer?
MOORE: Well, you haven't been poor. I can tell by that question. You haven't been on welfare or food stamps.
MOORE: Not -- yes. But just the fact that you would pose that, I just want to say that the people these days who are on welfare and food stamps, they get nothing. I mean, it is disgusting, they're not even able to make it. And they get so -- no, you wouldn't want that to happen to yourself.
You know, what you need to do is not be thinking downward, but rather, you know, what can we do to preserve what we've got and make it better and get back to -- he asked the question about Steve Jobs. The real answer to this is if there's a Steve Jobs out there now in this audience or watching at home, if you're an entrepreneur or you've got a great invention, you've got a new idea, try to go down to your local bank right now and get a loan.
Try to get -- the small business person trying to get a loan right, they're not loaning the money. They're sitting on that $2 trillion. They're not -- they will not -- if Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs, if he and Wozniak in 2011 had this idea of starting up this --
MORGAN: They wouldn't get the funding, wouldn't they?
MOORE: They would get -- they would get no help and they would have Republican candidates saying, well, that's your own problem. That's your own damn problem.
MORGAN: How important, Michael, do you think taxation is as an issue in this? In the sense that Warren Buffett came out and said, look, you know, I want to be taxed more. The president said we need to raise taxes particularly on the wealthy. We need to cut the Bush tax breaks for the rich.
And all that gets sexy headlines and it's an easy thing to say, if you're Warren Buffett and you're earning billions. But underlying it, does it really make that much difference to the success of the economy in America, do you think? How important is the tax issue?
MOORE: It's very important. It's not the whole thing, but it's a very important piece of it.
MOORE: Because the wealthy have not been paying their fair share. Again, when I was younger, I remember there were rich people then. And they seemed to live a good life when they were paying 50 and 60 percent of their income in taxes. And yet they still had their yachts and their mansions and their summer homes. And all that. And nobody really minded because they also built factories and created jobs and let all of us who grew up in that kind of existence have a roof over our head.
That's not the way it is any more. They weren't satisfied with what they already have. They wanted more and more and more. And I just -- I think that that -- what you hear from, you know, this woman here, this is -- you're right, it's sad that in America somebody would say that.
I was in an audience the other night. And a 20-year-old young woman said that she's not going to college. And I said, why aren't you in college? She said, I can't afford it. We should never, ever in American have to hear somebody say, I can't afford to go to college.
We are totally destroying our future with what we're doing with young people and with people once they get out of college not having a way to make it here.
MORGAN: And one of the other things --
MOORE: What was wrong with the way we used to have it?
MORGAN: Well, no, I mean --
MOORE: Really, what was wrong?
MORGAN: Let's not be too --
MOORE: With that?
MORGAN: Let's not be too rose tipped it, because there would be people from previous generations who will have a myriad of problems, too.
One of the big issues today --
MOORE: There was a chance -- let me tell you. Yes, there were problems and there was a dark side to the American dream if you grew up in the '50s and '60s. That's another --
MOORE: Yes, back in the --
MORGAN: They had the Great Depression, which is far worse.
MOORE: But my parents went through that depression and my dad who built spark plugs on an assembly line in Flint, Michigan, knew that if he just put an honest day's work in for eight hours, he could buy his own home, he could send his kid to college. He could have a decent life. And he didn't have to worry about if he got sick, that somehow he'd lose his home because he was paying for his medical bills.
MORGAN: It's good to know on the right head for me coming after the break, which his about homes, is people losing home, and many people now in America having homes that are worth a hell of a lot less than what they paid for it. What do we do about this? Talk you after the break about it.
MORGAN: Back with my guest, Michael Moore. And a live audience.
Michael, (INAUDIBLE) for you from @gigawatts2k, says, "So apparently we just ignore personal responsibility, we just use Wall Street as the dart board? Sorry, nope."
And that kind of reflects a lot of people I know who are bankers who've been demonized.
MORGAN: And they say don't tar us all with a brush.
MOORE: Yes. Right.
MORGAN: Capitalism served, as did Wall Street, America very well for a very long time.
MOORE: Yes. I mean that whole time where they believed in the free marketplace and competition where we as the consumers had many choices, you know, before they decided to merge and buy out and destroy companies, and you end up in a town that has one airline or a town if you're lucky that's got one newspaper. You know, you have only -- I mean, they -- these capitalists of the 21st century, they're like the -- they would like a Soviet style capitalism where they're the only ones who get to call the shots.
MORGAN: What is a good capitalist?
MOORE: Well, the thing, again, when we were growing up, there was a system that said -- I mean the way I described it, I think I might have said this last time I was on the show, that the contract with the workers, between the workers and the owners was that if you the worker have worked hard and the company prospered, you prospered.
But they decided to change it to you work hard, the company prospers, and you lose your job. And this has been a shock, I think, to the American people that after years and years of what you put into the company, and then you're just treated like so much garbage that's put out on the curb.
This is -- it's un-American. And these people, these poor bankers, they hate this country, and they hate the people in it and they hate the workers in it, and they're trying to get away with as much money as they can before that next crash. And they have to be stopped.
MORGAN: One of the -- one of the victims of this -- of the huge body of people now whose homes are worth less than they paid for them -- let's go to Lisa Smith.
You're in this position. Tell me what's happened to you.
LISA SMITH, HOMEOWNER: Well, my husband and I both work full- time, we're both nurses, actually, and we have small children. And my home is now worth about 60 percent of what I owe on it. It needs a lot of maintenance. It's falling apart. We're behind in the mortgage, the utilities, taxes, and we're working ourselves to death.
My husband just got another job that he's starting next week. And I just don't know how to catch up. And I don't know how to keep this home and if it's even worth it anymore.
MORGAN: Who do you blame?
SMITH: I blame myself part of it, absolutely. But I do blame the mortgage companies that I dealt with because I feel like I was manipulated. I don't feel like I was represented appropriately in my paperwork. I didn't have a lawyer with me at my closing. And I didn't -- I was rushed through it and I didn't read my paperwork appropriately. And now I'm left with a loan that is worth more money than I can afford to pay on a house that's really worth nothing.
MORGAN: Do you have any confidence that people are going to come up with answers to get you out of this problem?
SMITH: No. I don't think so. And I keep looking into all these government programs that are -- keep becoming unveiled and coming out and coming out, and they don't apply to me. I'm current on some things, on not other things. I make too much money. I don't have a Fannie Mae or a Freddie Mac loan. I don't even know what kind of loan I have, but it doesn't qualify. So I don't see where there's help for me.
MORGAN: Let me bring in another guest here.
Alan Anderson, because you're 56, you lost your home in a foreclosure, you share an apartment with three friends. What do you think has happened to the American dream?
ALAN ANDERSON, HOME HAS BEEN FORECLOSED: Yes, I don't know. I mean, it used to be for many years, as you said, Michael, you know, you could get ahead, you could move up. I was sort of upwardly mobile, you know, in the corporate world. And now I'm working retail.
I mean it's a nice job. But I'm making what I made, like, in the '80s, you know? And it just -- the opportunities aren't there. And you know democracy and capitalism used to sort of work together. I don't know if they're going to work together going forward the way they used to in the past.
MORGAN: What do you think when Michael clearly lays massive blame on the bankers? In fact, 100 percent blame on Wall Street. What do you think?
ANDERSON: Yes, I mean, my loan was, you know, underperforming. And of course the board I guess looked at it and said well, you know, some late payments -- I mean for 20 years they were paid, but there are some late payments because, you know, you get laid off, downsizing, you can't make the payments. So they -- you know, they sell it off. And you know it clears their books nicely, but, you know, you lose a home.
MORGAN: Michael, two different stories there. I mean it all comes down, I guess, to what kind of America do we need to have now? We're in this mess. How does America get out of this mess in terms of a vision for the country?
MOORE: Let me just say one, it was Lisa, right? You are -- if you wanted to, say, move to another part of the country, take a different job, maybe improve your life or maybe go back to school, you can't do that, can you? You have to stay -- both of you have to stay --
SMITH: This is my father.
MOORE: Right there. Yes. Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: OK. We're going to have to -- we'll have to go to a break, Michael. When we come back, I want to talk about health care and a little bit more about that issue. Because people are suffering. They are suffering. And I'm not entirely sure that those positions of power and responsibility realize what people like --
MOORE: Oh, they realize it. They realize it. And they see what's coming, too.
MORGAN: Let's talk after the break.
MORGAN: I'm back with my guest, Michael Moore, and our special live audience talking about how to get America back on its feet.
I'm going to take a call now from a man called Craig Perkins. He's in Panama City in Florida and he has a question about "Occupy Wall Street." Mr. Perkins?
CRAIG PERKINS, CALLER FROM PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA: Hello.
MORGAN: Fire away.
PERKINS: Well, I just want to say, hi, Michael. Big fan. Piers, sorry, not so much but --
MOORE: Watch his other show, it's really good.
MORGAN: And that's all we've got time for for Craig Perkins. No, off you go.
PERKINS: Listen, to all my brothers and sisters on "Occupy Wall Street," the movement that started sweeping the country and now the world, my heart and soul are with you. I, too, have been a victim of this banking system and this incredible financial crisis.
I'm very angry about a few things but I just want them to be focused, to define their message better. Whoever came up with credit default swaps ought to be slapped down and hung in the public square. Banks in general need to be hung in the public square for some of their actions.
MORGAN: And Craig -- and Craig -- Craig, let me ask you.
PERKINS: Congress not working with Obama, they are putting us on the back burner and that should not happen in the United States.
MORGAN: Craig, Craig, let jump in. What do you think of the protests themselves? Do you believe that they are well organized enough? Is the message clear?
PERKINS: I think that their message should be more defined. I know I share their anger. I'm very upset myself. And really, we got to change things very much along the lines of what the Tea Party did for the Republicans. I'm not saying they have to be Democrats, but I think the lines are pretty well drawn here.
MORGAN: OK. Michael, response.
MOORE: First of all, this is much larger and going to be much larger than the Tea Party. No one is going to remember the Tea Party. That's number one. Number two, about issues being well defined, remember, this movement is just in its infancy, it's only five weeks to old, and it already has the support of tens of millions of people across the country.
The message will get refined. You can go to the Web site of "Occupy Wall Street", nyc.org, and they have the list of demands that people are voting on and discussing. It's quite clear, it's a great list, and this movement will grow.
Don't -- let's not be too critical of it right now because it's going through the growing pains of any movement, but I'll tell you, in my lifetime, Piers, I have never seen a movement grow this fast and get the support of the American people this quickly, a "National Journal" poll, I think it was on Sunday said that 57 -- 59 percent of the American public agrees with the goals of this movement.
MORGAN: How big a part of this is disquiet and concern over health care in this country, do you think?
MOORE: Well, I think a lot of it is. You've got 50 million people who don't have it and then the people who do have health insurance try to get reimbursed, try and get a doctor to accept your health insurance. It's -- even if you are insured, private health insurance companies, again, if I had anything to say about it they would be illegal.
We should not have a profit-making anything involved when it comes to when people get sick.
MOORE: And need help. So it is the number one cause, as I said, of bankruptcy in this country, it really -- this man, during the break in the audience, spoke out eloquently here about his 76-year-old mother who has worked hard all her life to save up all this money and in one year, she has essentially been wiped out with all that she has saved.
And she worked -- you say about personal responsibility. His mother working until she's 76 years old, didn't quit working until 76 so that she could be OK in her last 10 years of her life? This is how the American people are. That's the vast majority, full of personal responsibility.
I'll you who doesn't have any personal responsibility, companies like General Electric and others who pay absolutely no income tax. Bank of America pay no income tax and yet get money back from the government.
(APPLAUSE) MOORE: That's -- where is their personal responsibility? Where is the responsibility of people that built these companies into great companies? I mean this is -- this is -- we're not going to take this anymore, we're not going to listen to this kind of argument because these are the victims of this and they are -- and fortunately -- can I just say one thing -- good news?
MOORE: The 1 percent, they only have 1 percent of the votes. And they can try --
MOORE: They can buy --
MOORE: Try to buy politicians. They can't buy the people.
MORGAN: Let's take a quick break, a final break, and we're going to come back and take another call.
MOORE: All right.
MORGAN: Live pictures from Oakland where "Occupy Oakland" is in full force tonight, and protesters making their feelings very clear. And I'm with one of the protagonists, the chief protagonists themselves, Michael Moore.
MOORE: I'm not the chief. I'm just one of millions.
MORGAN: OK. Well --
MOORE: One of millions.
MORGAN: Many see you as the chief.
MORGAN: This gentleman, Scott Mooney, from Greer, South Carolina, who has a question for you.
SCOTT MOONEY, CALLER FROM : Yes.
MORGAN: You've got Michael Moore in your sights. Fire away.
MOONEY: Mr. Moore, I'd like to know when is the last time that you've been to South Carolina? You speak of all Americans and I don't know if you leave Hollywood enough to come to South Carolina to know how any of us in the south feel or if you just stay out in California and enjoy your money and making documentaries about the -- probably the best president we've had, Mr. Bush.
You know, you know how all Americans feel or just how you feel in California?
MORGAN: OK. Mr. Mooney. Very quickly, Michael, your response?
MOORE: I live in Michigan, thank you, though. California is a nice state, I guess.
MORGAN: I've never been to South Carolina. It's one of the four states I've never been to. Was that an invitation?
MORGAN: Well, he's right. Obviously you've been snubbing South Carolina. You went (INAUDIBLE)/
MOORE: Yes. I have never been to the Dakotas, South Carolina, or Wyoming.
MORGAN: How much do you blame George Bush -- President Bush as he says --
MOORE: A lot. A lot.
MORGAN: Why? Very quickly.
MOORE: He flushed this country down the toilet. He allowed this to happen on Wall Street.
MOORE: And he sent us -- he sent us to the two illegal wars that are costing us $2 billion a week. What if we had that money here in this country? How many jobs would that create? I mean there are so many things we haven't covered here tonight that I would love to --
MORGAN: Michael, the hour has flown by, we've got to unfortunately end it there. It's been a fascinating hour.
Thank you to my audience. You've been terrific.
MOORE: We can fix this. We can fix this.
MORGAN: Come back, we'll do it again.
MORGAN: And I just want to encourage people at home -- if people at home to get involved in your occupy movement locally, you can do this. Don't wait for someone else to do it. It's in your hands, it's your town, stand up, go to the local Bank of America or Chase Bank, or whatever.
MOORE: Form your own movement. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Michael, got to leave it there.
MOORE: You be there with them.
MORGAN: Thank you.
MOORE: "America's Got Talent." Come on.
MORGAN: Michael Moore, thank you very much.