Ep. 13: YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK | Barbara Kopple


♪♪ You have to pay taxes, or else you not gonna
get nothin’ done. I mean, sometimes,
on a week to week basis, you’re like, “Wow, that’s a lot
coming out of my paycheck.” People should really start
asking questions, as far as where our money
is really going. ♪♪ [Mike Pesca]
Where are we, as Americans, generally, on taxes
and government spending, what do we think is worthwhile? Social Security,
Medicare, defense, that is government
actually spending money. [Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings:
“Money” ♪] Think about that,
the arguments we have over the Department
of Education, almost literally,
a rounding error. Most of the debates about how
government spends money is politicians finding a way
to-to grab someone’s heart and make it seem as if some
narrow thing they care about is really what
government spending means, either good or bad. I’m gonna stop
the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things.
I like PBS. I love Big Bird. – Give me one damn program
he said he’d cut. One!
– He has cut entitlements. There’s no more cuts to make. When someone says
we don’t have enough money for this space probe, you are removing the only thing that gives people something
to dream about tomorrow. When I think
of government spending, one of the first things
I think about is my dad. Lives in housing that is
sponsored by the government. Now, I’m glad
my dad lives there. I’m– I would never want
to kick him out. I grew up there.
I loved it. I had a great childhood there.
I like a lot– you know. But intellectually, I’m not sure that
that is an optimal use
of government money. – It’s head versus heart, right?
– Yes. ♪♪ – You worked there, George,
you told me.
– Yes. Two paintings I did of my wife
when we were very, very young. [laughing] Penn South is supported
by the government. It’s middle income subsidized. We probably couldn’t
raise a family in the city without living at Penn South. We have different
generations here. That’s what makes this
so unique. This is really the promise of
subsidized housing paying off. It’s a success story The year I was born,
this place opened in ’63. When it opened,
President Kennedy came here. [applause] [Kennedy] If you wanna have
equal opportunity for all Americans, if we want to rebuild
our cities, if we wanna make this country as wonderful a place
as it can be, for the 300 million people who will live in this country
within 40 years, then we have to do
our task today. [applause] We obsess over things
like welfare and foreign aid and solar panels, but almost all of it
is Social Security, Medicare, defense, so what’s the right discussion to be having
about the big things? I think the obvious one
that is-is most misunderstood is the Social Security number,
and just how to feel about that. My grandmother
was a Russian immigrant, and she didn’t read English, but she used to listen
to the radio all the time, and she said,
“Thank God for Social Security.” That was her favorite saying. And she was right. Bicep curls again. Hope, is it in? Good. I don’t even think I’m
gonna be able to retire at 65. Maybe 70, but… I-I don’t think that’s
the magic number anymore, especially for our generation. The more that people…
being put back to work, the more taxes they are paying. And then you get it
in the middle,
and you get both sides. Kids going to college and
mother-in-laws that need money. [laughing]
Middle generations. It does,
it does get tough, yeah. I think Social Security
gets overblown. With either no adjustments
or very minor adjustments, Social Security’s fine. There’s a broad consensus, and there’s huge room
for compromise and agreement. The military,
I support. They’re giving up
their lives for our country, so I support it. ‘Kay, and there’s no X-rays
involved now, right? Well, my wife just had surgery, and most of it was
taken care of by Medicare. The union provides us
with a pension. Between that, Social Security, and Medicare,
it’s livable. ♪♪

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