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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript

Interview

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REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): I absolutely agree that the president must be bold. I agree that he must have a jobs program, must create jobs. I'm talking about a program of $1 trillion or more. We've got to put Americans to work. That's the only way to revitalize this economy. When people work and they earn money they spend that money, and that is what gets the economy up and going. I don't think he can shrink from the threats of the right. I don't think he can have a program that simply gives more tax breaks to the very people who got us in this trouble in the first place. And so I'm hopeful, I'm very hopeful that the president is going to put a big program out there, and that he's going to fight very hard for it.

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REP. WATERS: Absolutely not. To tell you the truth, the plight of education in this country is shameful. Just a few days ago I learned that more cities, more states are reducing the number of education days down to four instead of five. And I could not help but stop and think, "Is this America? Is this the country that said and continues to say that education is a top priority?" Why are we not investing more in education? Why do we have dropouts? Why do we have educational systems that are failing? Why is it that we have a situation where many of our young people will not be able to compete in this high technological society because they're not properly educated? And so, no, we do pay lip service to education. We don't really invest in it, and that's got to change. But let me just say this, Americans want to work. This joblessness is not only hitting the middle class, but it is hitting all classes. It is absolutely unconscionable what is happening in the minority communities. When we look at this no jobs haven't been created in August and we find in the African-American community it has increased from 16 percent, 15.9, 16 percent, up now 16.7 percent, and now we're going to talk about cutting government by $1.5 trillion, this new 12 committee membership that we have after the raising the debt ceiling debate? And that means that we're going to lose more jobs, that means more people are going to be unemployed. The African-American rate will probably go up to about 20 percent. I don't know how our country can sustain that kind of...

MR. GREGORY: But this is the issue...

REP. WATERS: Yes.

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MR. GREGORY: Yeah. Go ahead, Congresswoman.

REP. WATERS: Well, as I understand it, the majority of the jobs that were created were government jobs in Texas. And I think we have to get...

MR. GREGORY: Private sector jobs, more private sector jobs.

REP. WATERS: We've got to get the exact information about where these jobs came from.

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MR. GREGORY: Yeah. Go ahead, Congresswoman.

REP. WATERS: Well, as I understand it, the majority of the jobs that were created were government jobs in Texas. And I think we have to get...

MR. GREGORY: Private sector jobs, more private sector jobs.

REP. WATERS: We've got to get the exact information about where these jobs came from.

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REP. WATERS: Before we get to, before we get to the next level, we've got to recognize that there are big problems in this country. Foreclosures, the banks will not do loan modifications, and we have not come up with a program by which we can people in their homes. We need to be bold enough for the president to say to the bankers, "You come into this office, we're going to talk about how we're going to write down principals, how we're going to keep people in these homes, how we're going to make sure the interest rates are no more than 4 percent." People want to hear the answers about how they're going to have just a decent quality of life.

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