ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman! During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before, and a new slant on investing: fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine, self-made multi-millionaire who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years, and currently owns property in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it! And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.>

JASON HARTMAN: Welcome to the Creating Wealth show. This is your host Jason Hartman. This is episode number three hundred and fifty-eight. Gosh, we’re almost at 360! Which will be a 10th episode, and of course we’ve got a good 10th episode guest to talk about some life enrichment and success techniques for you, so that’ll be coming up in just a couple of them. But for this intro portion to the infamous Bill Ayers—yes, that is our guest today, Bill Ayers—finally I know all of you members probably heard this interview a while ago, but now we’re just publishing it on the public podcast, and yes, that’s the famous Bill Ayers, who some call the man who made Obama. Who others call a terrorist. Who describes himself as a Communist with a small ‘c.’ So, lest you think that I don’t give equal time to the left—we had Noam Chomsky on last time, professor Chomsky, who was definitely very left, and this time we’ll have Bill Ayers, but before that we had John Stossel! So, we’re a little bit schizophrenic [LAUGHTER]. From a socioeconomic and political spectrum here. So we’ll have that. But to help me do the intro for Bill Ayers is a man who is a big fan of his, and that is Zach, our Kansas City market specialist. How are you, Zach?

ZACH: I’m doing well. Interesting little description of me there. Big fan?

JASON HARTMAN: So you’re saying you’re not a big fan of Bill Ayers?

ZACH: No, he’s a quite interesting guy though, I’m anxious to hear the interview for sure.

JASON HARTMAN: {LAUGHTER] yeah, I know you’re definitely not a fan of Bill Ayers, or Obama, for that matter. We’ll get to Bill Ayers in a moment, but let’s talk about investing and some real estate stuff here before we get on to this broader economic, and definitely going to be political stuff here with Bill Ayers. First of all, I’ve just got to mention something before we move on, Zach. I don’t know if you caught the last episode with Noam Chomsky, but I hope all of you listeners enjoyed how he kind of cut the interview short when I started asking him tough questions. Zach, the guy believes that the stimulus worked and that we should actually be stimulating more, and we should be doing more quantitative easing, all of which are just fancy words for creating fake money out of thin air. Fiat money. And you know, I just can’t believe these people, because it seems like, Zach, that you always have to take any argument and any idea someone has and just expand it a bit to see its fallacy, to see why it won’t work. And one of the questions I asked Noam Chomsky is I said, Professor Chomsky, so, if you think the stimulus has not been enough, but you believe it’s a good idea, which just seems to be screw the rest of the world concept, and just keep printing fake money and forcing everybody to accept our ridiculously inflated away debt, which is a great business plan for the US, by the way. It’s a great deal for us, but a bad deal for everybody else—then why not just create one million extra dollars for every American, and they can wake up tomorrow with one million more dollars in their bank accounts? They’ll go out and spend that money, they’ll stimulate the economy, if they have a business they’ll hire more people who will then spend that money, but hey, if everybody has an extra million dollars, maybe nobody wants a job anymore, because they got an extra million dollars for free. But what’s the ultimate result of that? It’s gotta be inflation, stupid! Right? It’s just—and Chomsky goes, oh no, that would be too much, essentially, is what he says. Well, who gets to decide? Why would a million be too much, but a multibillion almost trillion dollar omnibus stimulus times three is okay, it’s not enough? Zach, I can’t make heads or tails of these guys with their wacky theories.

ZACH: No, I fully agree. They can get by with doing it in a non-completely-blowing-up manner from not dropping a million dollars into everybody’s lap, because it’s a phantom tax. Most of the general public does not understand what’s going to happen over the next 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 15 years, depending on how it all plays out. It’s going to be a phantom tax, and that’s how—I always call this, a politically expedient route, for them to go. Because obviously it’s a phantom thing. It’s not raising tax rates, there’s not a political outcry for doing that. You’re not—you’re putting money into the economy by not cutting taxes, so there’s no political outcry from that—it’s just the politically expedient thing. And unfortunately, it seems sad but true that the path of least resistance is the path of least resistance for a reason, and the political expedient is always the path of least resistance with this type of stuff.

JASON HARTMAN: Right, right. And, what you say when you say phantom tax—what you mean is you mean inflation. It’s the inflation tax, right?

ZACH: Exactly, yeah.

JASON HARTMAN: That just makes people ultimately poorer and poorer, unless they’re playing the game right, by owning commodities like income property with—especially with three decade long fixed rate debt, below the rate of real inflation today, and certainly in the future, from what it looks like at least. And that’s just going to enrich them like crazy! This is why inflation just concentrates wealth. The rich get richer, because they play the game right, and the poor get poorer, because they’re just trying to live on basic items, and they’re not in the investor class. And so, it’s a really unfortunate thing. It seems like all of the plans and ideas that the left—that the democrats have, ultimately just hurt the people that actually vote for and support them. Except the rich democrats, who got lucky—the Hollywood set. But a lot of the democrats—the Hispanic population of democrats, the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, largely—they’re just getting destroyed by all the things, by all the politicians they love! Are just ruining them! It’s so—I just, it’s my mission to get them to notice that. How they’re just getting hoodwinked.

ZACH: Exactly. Which furthers the argument of—and their pitch of inequality and everything, it just continues to further that. And not to get conspiracy theory, but, it furthers that, which in turn backs up their demand for more control within the economy, and just their whole premise of everything.

JASON HARTMAN: And more handouts, meaning that they create this class of dependency, and these people will always come back and vote for them again, because they become dependent on government.

ZACH: And minimum wages—

JASON HARTMAN: Minimum wage, Peter Schiff did a great article. It’s called Minimum Wage, Maximum Stupidity. And it just shows, every time you increase the minimum wage, all you do is increase inflation. Now, if the market were able to set the wages, instead of the government, just think—youth unemployment would plummet. All these teenagers, many of whom—look, nothing against teenagers, but just generally speaking—a lot of teenagers are out getting themselves into trouble when they have idle time, you know? Idle time is the workshop of the devil, as they say. They do drugs, alcohol, commit crimes, drive under the influence. If they had a productive job, you know, they’re not doing these things! Because that’ll keep them busy! So…

ZACH: Also it creates job skills, which in turn enables them to never work for minimum wage once they get older, because they’re creating real-life experience and real-life work experience, which in turn becomes marketable in the job field.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, no question about it. Well hey, tell us, what’s going on in Kansas City in the real estate market?

ZACH: All kinds of stuff. Prices have stabilized; we haven’t seen any more drops. It seems to be that the foreclosure inventory is drying up. One of the developers has their eye on acquiring foreclosure, but we are looking at foreclosure projects, a little different angle. But we’re definitely seeing a floor with those, as far as price points. And we definitely see them being gobbled up from the developer. So, they ‘re a good find. I’m also seeing lots more bricks and sticks flying in the air than we did 12-18 months ago, which is typically a good sign as well.

JASON HARTMAN: Right, bricks and sticks flying in the air, that’s what you say?

ZACH: [LAUGHTER]

JASON HARTMAN: Is the other word for that, Zach, construction?

ZACH: Yeah, construction. Whatever you want to call it.

JASON HARTMAN: People might think you’re talking about a tornado or something, so be careful what you say there.

ZACH: Yeah, we are in Kansas, so…that makes sense.

JASON HARTMAN: So, tell us about your last project. Now I believe we’ve totally sold that out, right?

ZACH: Yeah, I believe we are fully spoken for on that one. So we are finally coming out of the ground on construction. It was the same thing we were targeting in the market, a failed town homes subdivision that was originally purposed for owner occupants on a unit-by-unit basis. And it got a roughly 25%-30% (unintelligible) with all of the remaining infrastructure—streets and curbs and gutter, water, sewer, electric, all that stuff’s all in. So, we found a really good—what we think is a really good niche to acquire these failed subdivisions and repurpose them for high-end class A type multifamily, to capitalize on that.

JASON HARTMAN: Right, so that was a good deal. That one sold out, and we talked about that on prior shows when it was for sale; we had Jessica on talking about that, we had you on talking about that. But that one’s gone. So what is next?

ZACH: Next, it looks like we have a couple projects very similar to that coming up. That as a general focus, we’re focusing on very high-end areas of Kansas City. Suburbs of Kansas City. We need a household income of six figured—an average household income of six figures, so we’re really going after that demographic with really top notch school districts, really good retail and office and (unintelligible) that are nearby, that look like they are going to continue to grow. They had growth trends in the past, and for every intended purpose of growth trends in the near, short-term and long-term future.

JASON HARTMAN: And one of the things I wanted to just say about that last project—I don’t know if the listeners caught this, but, it was designed for homebuyers to buy a single townhome each. But you sold them as triplexes. Or at least the vast majority of the time, I believe. Where people were buying triplexes that were actually zoned condos, so they could split them up later, which is a pretty neat deal.

ZACH: Absolutely. It gives lots of (unintelligible) at a later date. We always look at it as, the more options the better. And with a project, it just helps to extract every dollar at every turn that’s possible, wherever you have options, so yeah, in that scenario we did the deal as the triplex to the investors, but at a later date everything is built out construction wise. Everything is set up to be able to be sold on a door-by-door basis to an owner occupant at a later date.

JASON HARTMAN: Okay, so more about the next project coming up, and when will this be online?

ZACH: Yeah, so, the next project looks like it’s a 60-unit project. We’ve had meetings with engineers—civil, architect, city and everything—it looks like it can come out of the ground April, early May, we should be starting construction on it. So, we are gearing up and starting to take reservations, as far as putting things in the pipeline on it. But it looks—it’s a townhome project, consisting of 4, 5, and 6 unit buildings. So, very similar to our prior project. A little different area of Kansas City, but still the very high end, very nice areas of Kansas City. We’ll have a class A type kind of base. I believe the average household income within a 3-mile radius is $142,000 a year.

JASON HARTMAN: Wow, that’s an amazing—I couldn’t believe it when you gave me that number. Remember how I questioned you, and said, are you kidding me?

ZACH: And I backed it up with third party facts.

JASON HARTMAN: That’s incredible. I mean, one thing that a lot of people don’t know, and I really didn’t realize—now, I’ve come to visit you many times in Kansas City, and I’ve taken many trips to Kansas City for better and worse—I mean, one of them it was like freezing when I was there, I remember one time you came and met me in my hotel for breakfast, and it was literally like 20 degrees below zero. You had a really bad winter storm, and this was a few years ago, of course. It must have been global warming—another political statement—but wow. And you know, one of the things that has really surprised me is how many—well, how much wealth there is in that city. There’s a lot of people with a lot of money in KC, aren’t there?

ZACH: There are. And you’ve got a lot of huge companies that have been founded here. I mean, H&R Block is headquartered here; Sprint is headquartered here. Garmin has big operations here. Hallmark was founded here. Believe it or not, Omaha is only three hours away from here. So you have actually Warren Buffet, that has significant business interests, lots of regional businesses—

JASON HARTMAN: High-end malls, shops, restaurants abound. Beautiful stately homes in the wealthy areas. So, there’s a lot of money there, and you just go to Columbia, where you’ve got the university, and there’s a ton of money being thrown around down there too!

ZACH: Yes, that one’s on our radar as a potential project area. With MU going to the SEC and everything, it’s definitely changed the game a little bit there.

JASON HARTMAN: What is the sentiment among investors that you’re seeing nowadays, Zach? What are they saying to you, what opportunities do you think investors should really be seizing in terms of general concepts about real estate investing nowadays?

ZACH: Well, I think the general sentiment is obviously, interest rates are slowly but surely going to climb up. We’re going to continue to see that, which creates urgency. Also, in most areas—I know we’re seeing it in Kansas City—prices are at the floor. Everything seems to be creeping back up, price point wise. So, those two things obviously work against investors, which in turn creates urgency, to get in and ride the wave up. I don’t think—in Kansas City, we always look at the most attractive areas of Kansas City, all the way out to the fringe of Kansas City. And when I say fringe, I mean at the very outskirts where development and investment is really strong, and the economy is much stronger, and that’s when you obviously have people developing the edges of cities, and keep going developing out. We’ve definitely seen prices stabilize, and in very attractive areas, I believe they’ve stabilized in all of the nicer areas of Kansas City. I believe they’re on their way up, for the most part, in other areas of Kansas City. You could probably have an argument that here I’ll see it down a little bit. But I think what we see in Kansas City from price points and stabilization in most areas with slight uptick, seems to be true in most metros. Most major metros, anyway. So, with that combined with the interest rates slowly rising, construction prices slowly rising, construction starting to come back, all those things combined, it seems like there’s a sense of urgency to get it before it’s gone.

JASON HARTMAN: Definitely a good time to be investing. And gosh, when will interest rates really rise in any significant amount? I can’t believe they’re this low this long, and I have a feeling we’re all going to be looking back and we’re going to be kicking ourselves thinking, why didn’t I buy more? Why didn’t I buy more when those rates were so low? What was I thinking? I could have locked in for three decades! Do you realize that means if you got a mortgage today you wouldn’t pay it off until 2044? Oh my God! Like, Zach, let’s comprehend—let’s sit with that thought for a moment. It’s amazing. I mean, in the next three decades, we’ve gotta have some significant inflation, with unfunded entitlements of 60-200 something trillion dollars depending on what kind of math you’re looking at and which expert you’re talking to, you just gotta know that the government has just gotta print money like it’s going out of style in order to meet those obligations, there’s just no other way, is there?

ZACH: Exactly, inflate our way out of the debt, and inflate our way out of the issues. So in turn, that bodes very well for property, real estate values, rental rates, and everything combined all the way around.

JASON HARTMAN: It’s an amazing time. Well, you’re coming out to our Meet the Masters event this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m headed to California tomorrow. I suppose you’re coming out tomorrow as well?

ZACH: I am, I think I land at 5PM?

JASON HARTMAN: 5PM? You’ll be just in time for our welcome dinner at 7. And so all of our listeners, we look forward to seeing you there. Unfortunately, this event did not sell out. The last two of them did. It’s just flukey. We didn’t get all of our marketing in gear, always in time. But—I wish we had a big giant operation that would just do all that for us. But, anyway, this is just the way things work. Anyway, so we’ve got a great group. It’s almost full, it’s just not quite full. So we’ve got a couple extra seats, and I know a couple people even registered last night and bought tickets. So if you’re hearing this now and you still wanna come, especially if you’re local to the Southern California area—www.jasonhartman.com/events, grab a ticket, or talk to your investment counselor. Zach, I will look forward to your presentation at Meet the Masters—I think you’re speaking on Saturday, right?

ZACH: I believe that’s correct.

JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. Well, we’re gonna have a great time, and I hope you’ll join us this weekend. And we’ve got Bill Ayers for you right now. If you hate Bill Ayers, don’t hold it against me for doing this interview. But I’ve got to give him credit where credit is due. You know? I gave him the courtesy of asking him before the interview. I said, are there any areas that are off limits? And he said, no. and I thought that was mighty big of him. I was really impressed by that. Unlike Noam Chomsky, who cut the interview short when I asked him a tough question. Bill Ayers stayed on the phone for a long time. Obviously you’ll sense that there’s more that I wanted to ask him. But he really answered the questions, and it was impressive. So, here’s the interview, we’ll be back with that in just about one minute. Thanks for joining me Zach, and Bill Ayers in one minute.

[MUSIC]

JASON HARTMAN: I’m here with Caeli Ridge, and one of the things, Caeli, that investors are constantly disappointed with, is that they’re quoted a rate in one place, or they look online and they see a rate for a mortgage, and then they’re switched, and it’s kind of a bait and switch. And they find out they have to pay a higher rate. What’s going on with that?

CAELI RIDGE: I get this question almost every day. They’re looking at the difference between owner-occupied type rates and non-owner-occupied type rates, and the one is always going to be less than the other.

JASON HARTMAN: Investor mortgages are just a little bit more expensive, folks. But remember, as an investor, you don’t pay your own mortgage, your tenant does. So it’s a pretty great thing. Caeli, where can they find you?

CAELI RIDGE: www.ridgelendinggroup.com.

JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. And if you forget that, you can contact your investment counselor, at www.JasonHartman.com.

[MUSIC]

JASON HARTMAN: It’s my pleasure to welcome Bill Ayers to the show! You’ve heard that name. Yes, it’s that Bill Ayers. He’s the cofounder of the Weather Underground, and founder of Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, and the author of a new book entitled Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident. Bill, welcome, how are you?

BILL AYERS: Thank you very much, I’m pleased to be here.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, well it’s good to have you on the show, and we should just tell the listeners in advance that you are at a school picking up your granddaughter, and I don’t really hear too much background noise, but in case we do, that’s the reason.

BILL AYERS: I can hear kids screaming up and down the hallways. I’m on the third floor, so I can hear them on the second floor. But hopefully it won’t interrupt our interview.

JASON HARTMAN: Okay, super. Well, first of all, maybe let’s just backwards with this a little bit, and tell us what you’re working on today, and about your new book, and your involvement with schools, and then I want to go way back to the 60s and ask you about the Weather Underground and all of that good stuff.

BILL AYERS: Sure. Well, the interesting thing today is that I’m now 68 years old, so that’s why I’ve got three grandkids. And really, the work that I do today is the work that I’ve done for all of my adult life. The commitments and passions that ignited in me when I was 18 or 19 years old are the same commitments and passions today. The difference is that the times change, and life moves on. But, when I was young it was the desire for racial justice, the desire for peace or global justice, the fight for education, as a great humanizing enterprise inside a democracy. And the fight for economic and social justice. So those are the same things that animate my work today. The book, I wrote the book as a follow up to a book I wrote about the years of the American war in Vietnam, which was called Fugitive Days—that came out in 2001—and this book picks up, actually it begins in the 2008 election, when I became kind of a cartoon character in the national political debate, the election of Barack Obama. And really it goes back to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, and follows along up until the present. So, it really is, surprisingly to me, although not surprising when I think about it, the book is a lot more about teaching and about parenting, and about trying to live a life consistent with your commitments and your passions over a long period of time, over 40 years.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah. So what’s wrong with schools? I mean, these inner city schools in America, most of them are pretty hopeless, and they keep throwing money at them—it’s funny, because I have a lot of friends who are teachers, and they say that when they teach at these schools in the inner cities, they always have the best equipment. They have new equipment, new computers, and tools, but from my eyes, it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe they don’t have the right teachers, or something is just wrong with the whole setup, but I certainly know money’s being thrown at the problem.

BILL AYERS: Well, I’m not sure that they throw enough money at it to tell you the truth, and I’m not even sure that I would use that phrase. Here’s the reality: my kids go to an urban public school in Chicago, my grandkids. And it’s not a bad school at all. It’s a great school. A lot of the kids are poor, and that makes it difficult for them to have the advantages a lot of other kids bring to school. But here’s the basic premise that I start with, and that is that in a democracy, even an imperfect and aspirational democracy, we have to base education on a single premise, and that is a fragile but precious ideal inside a democracy, and that is that every human being is of incalculable value, and that means a couple of things—the implications of that are a couple things. One is, that the fullest development of everyone is the condition for the full development of anyone. And conversely, the fullest development of anyone is the condition for the full development of everyone. So here we are in Chicago. Here I am in Chicago. There’s a wonderful private school on the south side called the University of Chicago Laboratory School. That’s the school that the Obamas sent their kids. Where Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, went for 16 years and sent his kids. It’s where my kids went. It’s where mayor Rahm Emanuel’s kids go. What do they have at the Lab School? They have a class size cap at 15. They have a well-respected and unionized teacher core. They have a curriculum based in part on pursuing your own interests, it’s about asking your own questions and pursuing your own interests. And they have no reliance on test scores whatsoever. So, if it’s good enough for those privileged kids, why isn’t that good enough for the kids on the west side of Chicago? If we invested in the kids of the west side of Chicago in the way the Lab School invests in their kids, I guarantee you we would see a revolution in the outcomes of how schooling is done. But somehow we’ve gotten accustomed to the fact that we have in this country a two- or three- or four-tiered educational system. The privileged get amazing things, and the underprivileged get very rotten things. If you talk about the inner city classrooms—well, on the west side of Chicago I was just visiting a school where they had 35 kids in the 2nd grade. Think what you or I would do. We’re not bad people. How would we function with 35 7 year olds? We’d go nuts. And that’s what these teachers are doing. And that’s why the classes don’t function. So, we are unwilling to invest in the kind of education that would serve our society. And people say to me all the time, where would the money come from? Don’t worry, we have the money, we’re just not willing—we don’t have the political will to spend the money in the right ways. That’s my short answer.

JASON HARTMAN: Well, that’s interesting. And I wonder if it’s more a problem of parental involvement, really. Because at the more affluent schools, the parents are more involved. At least that’s my impression—

BILL AYERS: Yes and no. Let me quarrel with you there a little bit too. First of all I would say, for policy people, and even for educators, while we might want to mobilize parents’ involvement, we shouldn’t get stuck there, because that’s one thing that we don’t have control over. In other words, if you could name the facts we do have control over, like class size, like fully resourced school—look, the Chicago public schools, we have 125 schools without a library. We have 170 schools without an art program. Now, do you think the mayor of Chicago would send his kids to a school without a library, or an art program? There’s no possibility. So, the things we do have control of is what we should worry about first and foremost. But secondly—secondly, there are a lot of ways to get parents involved, and I wouldn’t necessarily agree that privileged parents are very involved. I think a lot of privileged parents are disinterested and checked out, and some of them have their nannies involved, and this or that. But the very privileged aren’t necessarily a model of what we should all aspire to, in terms of parental involvement. But yes, I want parental engagement. The best way to have parental engagement is to have a school that welcomes parents, and to have everyone fully employed—I could go off into a lot of other things. But we don’t have that society. So, I would worry about the things we can control—class size, fully resourced classrooms, arts and music in every school, because every kid deserves it, not just the privileged.

JASON HARTMAN: Well, you mentioned funding though, you said that we do have the funding, we just don’t have the political will to spend it in the right places.

BILL AYERS: That’s right.

JASON HARTMAN: So let’s have you identify—there are very few people would argue that the country is doing well. Certainly we’ve got huge debt, we’ve got entitlement obligations coming at us, municipalities are going broke left and right, some haven’t formally declared bankruptcy like Detroit—they’re on their way to it, or they should be declaring bankruptcy, just because it would be good financial planning, if nothing else. Where shouldn’t we be spending the money? Where do we take the money from to spend on education as you want us to?

BILL AYERS: Sure. The debate that we just saw in Washington, that whole madness that we witnessed. The fake debate was between the fiscally responsible and the tax and spend liberals. That’s not really the debate. Every society on earth throughout history has as one of its core functions, taxing and spending. That’s what societies do. So, the debate we ought to be having is, who do you want to tax, and how much, and what do you want to spend on. And that discussion, I would argue from my perspective—and we may not agree on this, and that’s fine, and that’s why we should argue about this. But from my perspective, we should tax people who are wealthy more than we tax others. We have a graduated income tax. And we should tax all income, including capital gains. And we should spend on education, healthcare, and guarantees of income. That would make a healthier, happier, more fruitful society for everyone. But other people believe we ought to tax other group of people, and we ought to spend on the Pentagon, war, several hundred—

JASON HARTMAN: War’s a huge waste of money. There is no bigger waste of money than war.

BILL AYERS: That’s what I’m saying! So, where’s the money? Number one, let’s close the hundreds of foreign military bases. Number two, let’s stop being ridiculous and spending a trillion dollar military budget. So that’s where I’d begin. But let me ratchet down a step. Because I’m in Illinois, which where we have a terrible pension problem coming at us, the entitlements you mentioned. From a fiscal point of view, and from a budget point of view. But we are also one of 7 states in the country that doesn’t have a graduated income tax! Which means that Penny Pritzker, who owns the Hilton Hotels and is now the Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration, pays the exact same tax rate as her driver and her maid. Now there’s something crazy about that. So it’s not that we don’t have the money. We’re just not willing to make the revenue decisions that would make the budget problems go away. And this is true in DC as well. This is true in the federal budget, that we’re not willing to make the hard decisions, and we ought to debate that openly.

JASON HARTMAN: So what you’re saying is, tax the rich at a higher rate, but then the rich would argue that look, it’s not the rate that’s the issue—I mean, they’re paying a lot more tax. Certainly if you look at the tax revenue as a whole—

BILL AYERS: Go back to the end of World War II and see what they were paying. They were paying a rate that’s in multiples of what they’re paying today. The highest tax rate after World War II was 90%. Now, nobody could even think of that. What did Mitt Romney pay? Something like 17, 18%? Why—if he paid 50% of his income in taxes—Mitt Romney—he would still have a boat and a yacht and five Cadillacs and several homes. Why are we worrying about him? If he wants to be part of a democratic society—if he wants to be part of the population as a whole, we better start looking at each other and having regard for one another, and not think that the major success is hording as much as you can. That’s ridiculous.

JASON HARTMAN: Well, that’s sort of a hard thing to talk about when you talk about tax rates. Because you’re right, the tax rates used to be very high, but there were so many loopholes, and so many deductions, and so much malinvestment, just to get out of taxes, and until 1986 when Reagan reformed it—and I’m not saying everything he did was right, I have bones to pick with Reagan too—but, granted the rate went down, but a lot of those crazy deductions and malinvestment incentives went away! So, it’s not just about rate—

BILL AYERS: Income inequality has been increasing year by year by year for the last—since 1980. And income inequality is one of the real disasters in a democratic society. The level of income inequality—where one a CEO made 20 times what a—

JASON HARTMAN: And now they make 300 times—

BILL AYERS: Now they make 300 times. There’s something wrong with that. And, as long as you’ve raised Reagan, one of the things we should consider, and think hard about, is that in our human DNA, as well as deep deep deep in our American culture, there’s a contradiction, or a conflict, or a root tension. And the tension is between ‘me’ and ‘us.’ If I’m not for me, I won’t survive for a day. But if I’m not for us, I won’t survive for a day either. And somehow the balance between those two, the tension between those two, has to always be in play. How much am I willing to be for me, and how much am I willing to be for the community? And frankly, I think since 1980 we’ve been going so far in the direction of me me me that we only think in terms of individualistic solutions! And yet, if you stop and think about it for a minute, you would never be alive if there weren’t communities holding you up. You would never have gone to work. We wouldn’t be talking on the phone. The electricity wouldn’t be on. We wouldn’t be driving on bridges, without us.

JASON HARTMAN: We all have to be part of something, and we all have to depend on the collective and the community—

BILL AYERS: Exactly, and we are a society founded on a very profound principle, and that principle, as I said earlier—it’s a fragile but precious ideal, the incalculable value of each person. We’re founded on the idea that everyone is equal. The founders didn’t think that we were all the same. Come on, we’re not all equal in terms of body size or look or feel or talent or skill or interest—a million things we’re different on. But this was both an ideal, a process, and an endpoint. We agreed, at the founding of this country, as far as political life was concerned, as far as social life was concerned—we would ignore all of our differences and say, we’re all the same. We’re all the same in an odd way in that we’re all completely different. Well, I’m saying this to simply argue that we ought to really, really get in balance with the idea that yes, we are each an individual and each precious, and yes we are part of a community, and if the community doesn’t thrive, none of us will thrive. And that’s what I mean about having a real debate. We don’t have to—you and I don’t have to debate tax rates right now, but I’m saying, in our culture, in our society, we ought to be having a serious debate about this.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah. Okay, well, this is an age-old issue, and I hardly think we’re going to solve it now—

BILL AYERS: You and I won’t solve it, but I’m pointing to the fact that it is a discussion we ought to be having.

JASON HARTMAN: Right, fair enough. I want to ask you about some other very important issues, and I want to go back in time a little bit with you too, Bill. So first of all, University of Illinois at Chicago, you were denied emeritus status. Why?

BILL AYERS: I was denied emeritus status—it’s the first time in the history of the university that it happened. The short version is, I was denied emeritus status because I became notorious in the 2008 campaign. I was hired by UIC 30 years ago, I did all the things professors do—I published, I did research, I taught, I did service to the university and to the profession. And I was granted tenure, I was an associate professor and then made a full professor, I was the first professor in the college of education to gain the status of distinguished professor, and senior university scholar. So I was a distinguished professor for a decade. And then when it came time to retire, the faculty said it, the provost, the chancellor, and the president all recommended that I be given emeritus status. The chairman of the board of trustees, Chris Kennedy, picked my name out of the group—this is the first time it’s ever happened—because the board doesn’t have any ability to investigate these matters. And he said, this guy should not be granted emeritus status. And it was based completely on reputation. He claimed that I’d written a book that was dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan, which is not true. So, he and I had a really lovely exchange of letters, very cordial and interesting, but he didn’t back down from his decision—

JASON HARTMAN: You’re being sarcastic when you say cordial and interesting, right?

BILL AYERS: No, not even a little. I’m being serious. He was very cordial, and very honest. But he would not—he said, I can’t—I said to him in my initial letter to him, I’m sorry this reopened a painful part of your life, but I assure you this is not true. I explained the context, and he said, I understand, but I just don’t want to go back into it. And, so there it stood. Now the university has a policy that reviews everyone recommended for emeritus. So the first time in history it was denied. But, emeritus doesn’t mean much, it’s an honorific. It doesn’t impact me one way or the other. I don’t have a parking sticker. But the parking office person called me and said, don’t worry about it, I’ll give you a parking sticker. So you know, it’s just silly things. But I thought it was wrong, because it was the board of trustees putting their nose into an academic issue in an inappropriate way. I think they were wrong. On the other hand, I’m not gonna spend much time worrying about it or whining about it. I’ve had a very good life, and a good life at the university.

JASON HARTMAN: Well, let’s talk about some of the reasons this may have been an issue, and why you came to such prominence in the 2008 campaign. I mean, were you the guy that launched Obama’s political career?

BILL AYERS: Well, we had a fundraiser. We had the initial fundraiser for Barack Obama when he was a candidate for the state senate. And we were asked to do that by the sitting state senator, who was a friend of ours, Alice Palmer. She said, would you hold the fundraiser in your living room? And it was a fundraiser, but our house is a very open house, it’s a public place where we have film showings and debates and discussions and fundraisers, and you know, lots and lots of things going on on a weekly basis. So it wasn’t unusual for us to say to Alice Palmer, sure, if you want to invite some people over, and we’ll have coffee and donuts, and this young man can speak. So that’s what happened.

JASON HARTMAN: How much money did you raise? What year is this, by the way?

BILL AYERS: I don’t honestly remember. The only figure that I ever remember is for the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which is a group that gives money to the children of political prisoners. I think we raised $10,000. But that was a year ago. And that was probably the most we ever raised. For the Obama campaign we probably had 20 people in the room, maybe 30 people. And we probably didn’t raise very much money. I gave a little money. But it wasn’t huge. But really, what’s the difference? I mean, we live in Hyde Park, we have a very—we’re very public citizens, we are very active in a lot of community organizing type activities. A lot of peace and civil rights activities. And, our state senator asked us to do this, and we did it. It wasn’t a big thing.

JASON HARTMAN: Okay, alright. Do you still interact with Barack Obama?

BILL AYERS: Gee, I wish! I mean, I wish I met with him every Monday at the White House and told him what I thought he ought to be doing. But no, I haven’t really seen him since 2008.

JASON HARTMAN: It’s been said that you had a hand in writing at least one of his books. Is that true?

BILL AYERS: Well, as I said to the young blogger who stopped me in Reagan International Airport of 2008 and asked me if I’d written the book, which has been a storyline in the right-wing blogosphere forever—I told her that yes, I wrote every word of his book, and if she could help me prove it, I would split the royalties with her. And I’ll say the same thing to you. I’d love to split the royalties of that book. The truth is, I never wrote a word of his book. He’s a brilliant guy, a brilliant writer, and the idea that somebody else had to write his book—which is kind of the theme of a lot of the writing that I’ve read on the internet—it’s kind of part and parcel with the idea that he’s not an American and doesn’t have a birth certificate from the United States. It’s not true.

JASON HARTMAN: So, let’s talk a little bit Bill, and by the way I just want to tell you that I really appreciate, before we—I should really tell the audience. Before we started recording, I said, are there any boundaries or rules, can I ask you some tough questions, and you said yes ask me anything. And I very much appreciate that. So, I want to just ask you, back to the Weather Underground—what was the goal of the Weather Underground? I remember watching a documentary on it right before or after Obama was elected in 2008, because I was just curious about it myself. And it may have been a documentary you published, or you were certainly the star—

BILL AYERS: I was interviewed for it, but I had no part in making it, and it’s not the story I would have at all. But it’s an interesting documentary, it’s worth seeing, it’s called The Weather Underground by Sam Green and Bill Siegel. It’s worth seeing, because it was made by two young people who were curious about what this phenomenon was, and they didn’t have any agenda, they just went around and asked a lot of people. Including me. But they also asked the FBI and a lot of other people to speak, and a lot of them did.

JASON HARTMAN: So what was the goal of the Weather Underground?

BILL AYERS: Well, I have to back up a little bit. I was a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society, and our goal was racial justice and peace. And when we started—and I joined in the mid-1960s. I was first arrested opposing war in Vietnam in a draft board in 1965, and I was arrested a dozen times over the next three years. The Weather Underground was born in 1970, and it was born out of the failure of the anti-war movement to stop the war. In 1965 when I was first arrested, probably there were 15% of Americans against the war, and probably 75-80% for the war. Three years later, a majority of Americans opposed the war. Part of that was a result of anti-war organizing and actions, which I was involved in both aspects of that. Partly it was the result of the Black Freedom Movement turning against the war. Mohammed Ali, very famously. Martin Luther King, very famously. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. All of these people took very public stands against the war, and argued that we had no business there—that it was immoral, illegal, and so on. But probably most decisively, Vietnam vets came home and told the truth about what we were asking them to do there. The most poignant moment, perhaps, was when John Kerry, now our Secretary of State, as a young officer returning from Vietnam said in front of the US Senate, we commit war crimes in Vietnam every day. Not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of policy. That was true. And he’s run away from that statement ever since, but it was true then, and in some ways it’s true now. But the point is, people turned against the war. We thought the war was over when Lyndon Johnson stepped aside from the presidency. We thought we had won. And yet, we didn’t win. After Johnson announced his advocation, five days later King was killed. And two months later Bobby Kennedy was killed. And a couple months after that, Henry Kissinger emerged with a plan to expand the war, and that’s what happened. And here was the tragedy: every week that the war went on, six thousand innocent people were murdered. Every week. And there was no end in sight. So what should we do? The anti-war movement was in crisis. Democracy was in crisis. And within my own family, one of my brothers joined the democratic party and tried to build a peace wing. One of my brothers joined the great escape, he was a soldier and he deserted to Canada rather than go there and fight and kill. One went to the communes of the northwest. And I did what I did. I don’t claim much for it. But I will say that it was not crazy. It was an attempt to not look away, and to not say we can’t do anything. It was an attempt to look this problem in the eye and say, we must end this war. So what was the goal of the Weather Underground? End the war in Vietnam, and end war. End militarism. End white supremacy and racial injustice. And ultimately, make a revolution where those things were possible. We didn’t accomplish any of that. But we had—those were our aspirations. We didn’t end the war. That’s an important thing to say. The anti-war movement did not end the war. The war ended when the American forces were defeated on the ground and fled from the embassy at Saigon. That was the end. But it was 10 years, and 10 years too long.

JASON HARTMAN: Right. So, then would you say that Students for a Democratic Society, and the Weather Underground, that that was all it was about? And I’ll just tell you my motivation for asking the question. Many people say that those organizations were promoting Communism, or at least Socialism, and some say it’s just a war protest. What do you say to that?

BILL AYERS: Well, there’s no doubt that there were Communist and Socialists in Students for a Democratic Society from the beginning. And anarchists. But most people were like me, which is that they were apolitical people who came of age during the Civil Rights Movement, looked deeply at it, and realized that we have a real problem that we’re not facing. And the more you looked at that problem, the more you tried to find the solution. If you read King’s speeches, Martin Luther King is a good example. Read his speeches from the beginning to the end of his life. He was only an activist for 13 years, but he changed every step of the way, and he too became a Socialist by the end of his life, and there’s no question about it—read his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? And that book is an outline for a fair and just democratic society. So yes, many of us became Socialists or Communists, that’s true. But it’s also true to this day, I would argue, that Capitalism has exhausted itself. And Capitalism doesn’t have the solutions to the problems we face. In fact, the extraction not only of oil but of human labor and of trees, has reached its endpoint, and we are really going to have to face up to the fact that we are going to either learn to share, or we’re going off the cliff together. And that I think is what we’re facing. So sure. But to say our motivation was some kind of abstraction called Communism is nuts. We—actually our motivation in the beginning was without a doubt to end the war. We couldn’t end the war. And the more we tried to end the war, other wars popped up. In the Dominican Republic, and in Laos, and we were like damn! What’s going on here? And the more we looked, the more we thought damn, this is a society bent on war. It’s a war-like society. Now I know we as Americans want to believe we’re peace-loving people. And I think deep in our hearts we are. And I have lots of evidence of it. On the other hand, we are also in a state of permanent war where we spend a trillion dollars a year on the military. That’s not a very peaceful way to live.

JASON HARTMAN: It’s definitely not. You know, I said to somebody recently on an interview, that I think we have to stop calling it the Department of Defense, when we invade other countries. Then it’s the Department of Offense.

BILL AYERS: Exactly. And we always come in peace, our hearts are always full of good intentions, but the reality is that if you live somewhere else, and you see a drone coming at you—and there was a story today in the papers about a drone killing an 83 year old grandmother farming in Pakistan. Okay, and the White House said they were sorry. If you’re sorry, do something about it! First of all stop doing things you would never allow another country to do and justify it because we’re somehow special. We can torture, we can do rendition, we can do targeted assassinations, because we’re always the good guys! If any other country were doing torture, rendition, and drones, we’d be outraged. Well, let’s have a universal standard. Let’s agree. If it’s wrong for someone else, it’s wrong for us.

JASON HARTMAN: So do you disagree with Obama’s use of drones, then?

BILL AYERS: Of course! Of course! I’m a peace activist, man! I’ve been a peace activist my whole life!

JASON HARTMAN: So, what was interesting when you were talking about the Weather Underground and the Communist/Socialist bent in some people—how would you label yourself politically? Would you call yourself a Socialist?

BILL AYERS: Back in the day I would have said I’m a revolutionary Communist small ‘c,’ which meant I had nothing to do with the Communist party, and I had nothing to do with the failed experiment in Russia or China. So that’s what I meant.

JASON HARTMAN: I’m glad you said those were failed experiments.

BILL AYERS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But frankly, I have to take it one step further—Capitalism has exhausted itself, and it’s also a failed experiment. It did what it did. But the point I would make now is that as an educator, I’ve always resisted the idea of labeling myself and labeling other peoples. I don’t like the labels BD, HD, EMH. Those to me are culturally deprived. Those are shorthand that actually dehumanize people. So I don’t label myself. But if you insist on labeling me, I would say this—something like this. I would say, on the First Amendment, I, like you, am a fundamentalist. On prisons, I tend to be an abolitionist. On government, I lean towards anarchism. On the economy, I lean towards a social democracy. So, these are all things that we can mush together and still you wouldn’t get to the bottom of the label for me, because I’m like you, I’m too complicated to label.

JASON HARTMAN: You can’t make generalizations too much.

BILL AYERS: One word or one phrase doesn’t sum it up. You have to get into it and look at it. So I get into these arguments all the time at universities and when I speak and so on, with Tea Party people who are libertarians, and we find that we have a lot in common. Right? Libertarians and left anarchists have a lot in common. We split ways on certain things, but on questions like full queer rights, or close the Pentagon, we’re in absolute agreement.

JASON HARTMAN: Yep, I have an interesting thought about that that I’ll share with you in a moment. But I wanted to ask you this, Bill. Some people say—and, speaking of labels, you reminded me. Some people want to label the SDS or the Weather Underground as a terrorist organization. They want to label you as a terrorist. Are those unfair labels?

BILL AYERS: Very unfair.

JASON HARTMAN: I mean, people died—there were deaths associated with the Weather Underground.

BILL AYERS: No. The only deaths associated with the Weather Underground are the three people who killed themselves. My girlfriend Diana Oughton, Terry Robbins, and Teddy Gold. Those three died in spring of 1970, March 6th 1970. And that is a terrible, terrible tragedy and a loss and a grief that’s never gone away. Beyond that, no one was killed, no one was injured. At all.

JASON HARTMAN: What about Waverly Brown and Brian McDonnell?

BILL AYERS: Oh, these are the people in the Brink’s Robbery?

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah.

BILL AYERS: Yeah, those people were killed, and they were killed in an armed robbery that had nothing to do—the Weather Underground was gone by then. The group that did that was forward elements of the Black Panther party and former members of Weather Underground, and they all were caught and they all went to jail. So, that is what it is. It’s not an action we undertook, it’s not an action we supported. But yes, that happened. But you can’t say the Weather Underground did that. Now let’s go back to the definition of terrorism. If you take—again, a universal definition of terrorism—terrorism is the use of force to intimidate a population for a political end, or some kind of political or social end. Then you have to say that terrorism is carried out by groups, by cults, by religions, and by governments. And by governments! And overwhelmingly, governments are the major terrorists of the last 200 years. And you can talk about the Russians at Chechnya, you can talk about the Iraq—with the Kurds, you can talk about Sherman’s march to the sea, or you can talk about the US in Vietnam. Those were terrorist wars in which innocent people were targeted. Civilians were targeted for the purpose of working the political will. And the initial targets of the violence were not the only targets! The targets were much larger than that. And since that’s true, if you take the 1965-75 period, the government of the United States was killing 6,000 people a week. We killed no one. Who’s the terrorist in that situation?

JASON HARTMAN: You can go on and say that about Iraq and Afghanistan, too. And you’re not gonna get a lot of disagreement from me, just so you know, just because it’s sanctioned by a government, I don’t think that absolves them of the terrorist label. I think that these wars are ridiculous.

BILL AYERS: If your strategy is to intimidate people and work your political will, then when you take a country like Vietnam and you draw gigantic circles around it and say, this is a free fire zone, anyone hit in here is a legitimate target, and you drop bombs from 20,000 feet on hamlets and villages—that’s terrorism, and it’s terrorism carried out by a government. So, that’s my only argument.

JASON HARTMAN: So, is it fair to say that you’re friends with Barack Obama? I mean, even though you don’t really associate with him—you like him, right? You’re a fan?

BILL AYERS: I wouldn’t go that far. We’re friendly. We sat on a couple of boards together in the 1990s and the early 2000s. We knew each other around the neighborhood before he was mega-famous. He was the guy you run into in the bookstore and the supermarket. I always thought, and I still think, he’s super smart, a decent and compassionate human being, he’s a lovely father. But he’s always been what he advertised himself to be: he said during the campaign, I’m a moderate, pragmatic, middle of the road politician. The right wing looked at him and said no, he’s hanging around with terrorists and black nationalists. And he’s got a secret Socialist agenda, and he’s probably a Muslim. The left wing looked at him and said, I think he’s winking at me. But he wasn’t winking.

JASON HARTMAN: Don’t forget, some say he’s a Manchurian candidate too.

BILL AYERS: Exactly. But my point is, the right inscribed on him all kinds of their fears, and the left inscribed on him all kinds of their desires, but neither was right. If you look at his records, he was a middle of the road, moderate, pragmatic politician from beginning to end. Am I that? I am not that. I am a radical, in the sense that I want to go to the root of things and understand the root of problems like war, and root those up. I’m not interested in ending this war or that war without going to the bottom of the problem. One less other thing that candidate Obama says—

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, and here’s what I was going to ask you when I kind of gave that long compound question.

BILL AYERS: Sure.

JASON HARTMAN: I was going to ask you about Syria, and what if Putin hadn’t sort of interrupted the warpath? Obama was on the warpath. He seemed just like George Bush—

BILL AYERS: The astonishing thing is that the British parliament gave Cameron a defeat on that. And that was a wonderful thing, and it opened a space for us. But here is the thing that I think is most interesting about Syria. Yes, the United States government commanding its violent legions, there’s always a faction that says that a good guided missile or a bombing campaign is the solution to every problem, no matter how big, no matter how small.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, that’s called the John McCain solution.

BILL AYERS: Yeah, John McCain and Lindsey Graham see nothing they wouldn’t love to bomb. But those of us who want to build the peace culture, those who want to build a peace movement, have to be thinking all the time, what are a hundred alternatives to war? One of the alternatives to war in Syria was to internationalize the chemical weapons. From there we should have said, let’s internationalize all the chemical weapons in the region. The problem is, there’s only one other problem in the region that makes and stores chemical weapons, and that’s Israel. But we ought to say it—let’s say it out loud. Israel makes and stores chemical weapons. They have not ratified the ban against chemical weapons. Let’s work to get everyone to agree—not just in the region but in the world, but let’s start with that very dangerous region—let’s agree that we don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, and we don’t want anyone in the region to have nuclear weapons, or in the world. Let’s say, let’s include Israel in that equation. No nuclear weapons for Iran, no nuclear weapons for Israel. And we can go from there. But you and I, and everybody I know, is smart enough that we could have thought of internationalizing the chemical weapons before it happened. And had we thought about it, we could think of a hundred other things. For example, let’s join, let’s get our government to join the International Criminal Court. Let’s get our government to join the International Criminal Court so that we can bring people like Assad to trial! And let’s say, he committed war crimes, he should go to trial! Why are we so intent on standing above and outside of every international body as if we somehow are exempt from everything that is a standard for the rest of the world?

JASON HARTMAN: And in my opinion, America used to—I don’t think we do anymore, but I think we used to, and I’m not exactly sure when we lost it, I think it was just a declining slope, but—we used to have some moral authority.

BILL AYERS: I think we did, and I think we’ve lost it, big time.

JASON HARTMAN: I agree. Yeah, I agree.

BILL AYERS: Listen, our kids are coming out of their classrooms, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to pick them up. If you have one more, I’m happy to take it.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, one more question. Do you think Obama’s implementing the (unintelligible) strategy?

BILL AYERS: What is that?

JASON HARTMAN: That’s the strategy that was developed in the 60s—it’s more on the socialism issue—to overwhelm the welfare state so that they could really push for a bigger agenda where—and you mentioned it before, earlier in the interview, of equal incomes and better incomes for—

BILL AYERS: I said income supports, but—I have no idea what that is, so I can’t comment on it. But if you look at the policies that he has followed, are the policies of a pragmatic middle of the road moderate politician. Obamacare, there’s a reason that the health insurance industry loves it, and that’s because it’s good for them. It’s a republican proposal. It was a republican proposal 10 years ago, and it’s still a republican proposal. So why all the agitation is beyond me. What we should be demanding in terms of healthcare is Medicare for all. I get Medicare. I’m 68 years old. Do you think I deserve Medicare?

JASON HARTMAN: So you think that’s a better solution than the Obamacare system?

BILL AYERS: Oh absolutely it’s a better solution. Because it’s a single player. It gets rid of the profit in the middle of this thing which makes healthcare so extremely expensive. But you think Medicare is okay, pretty much, right?

JASON HARTMAN: Well no, I think there’s tons of Medicare fraud. I think it’s riddled with inefficiencies.

BILL AYERS: I don’t mean the fraud is okay, but it’s a good idea that we give healthcare to all people, don’t you think?

JASON HARTMAN: Well, I think the problem we have is that—

BILL AYERS: In one fell swoop, Medicare lessened elder poverty by something like 40%.

JASON HARTMAN: It’s not just that—even if one has no compassion for old people, there is a logic and a rationale to it, and that’s because everybody has to be treated, and people will stop using the emergency rooms when they have a cold.

BILL AYERS: Exactly!

JASON HARTMAN: That is massively inefficient, I agree.

BILL AYERS: Exactly. So, if Medicare is good for me at 68, why not at 62? Why 68? Why not 55? If Medicare is good at 68, why not 62? And by the way, why isn’t is good for teenagers and children? Why shouldn’t teenagers have Medicare? I mean, they need healthcare, and isn’t healthcare a human right, and aren’t we a wealthy country that can take care of our people? I mean, it seems to me so simple. I’m not saying we should have fraud. That’s easy. That’s something we should deal with—

JASON HARTMAN: I wish you had more time, because I’d love to talk about this for a half hour. But you’ve gotta go, so…

BILL AYERS: I would love to talk about it forever. But for me, Medicare for all is a much simpler, cleaner, and more just and fair and honest way to approach healthcare. Why should rich people afford healthcare and poor people not? That’s ridiculous. I mean, if it’s a human right, and I think it is, just as I think education is a human right, why shouldn’t we provide it to our community? Why shouldn’t we say, you’re a citizen of Chicago. You shouldn’t have to get an infection in your brain because you have an abscessed tooth. We’re going to take care of that tooth! It really does get under my skin after a while. Reading a story in the Washington Post about a kid 9 years old, his mother doesn’t have 40 bucks to get his tooth pulled, and a week later he’s dead from a brain infection. What the hell kind of country is that? What are we thinking? Why couldn’t we provide him with a tooth extraction so that he doesn’t have to die in an emergency room?

JASON HARTMAN: Bill, I know you have to go. But the country doesn’t have the money! We’ve been overspending for decades—

BILL AYERS: That is wrong. It’s not true. That’s not true. Let’s go back. Let’s go back and have the discussion about tax who, and tax how much, and spend how much. If you closed the Pentagon, you’d have enough to extract that kid’s tooth, I guarantee you. No problem.

JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, okay. Well, listen, Bill Ayers, very lively discussion. I appreciate it.

BILL AYERS: We’ll continue another time. I would love to continue.

JASON HARTMAN: I would love to do that. You are a very interesting guest. Give out your website, Bill, and your book is entitled Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident. That’s your new book.

BILL AYERS: That’s available everywhere. And it’s mostly, it’s a memoir, it’s a narrative, and it’s not a manifesto, and it’s not a big political argument like you and I were having, and that’s available anywhere. My website is www.billayers.org. I’m on Facebook. And it’s been a pleasure, let’s do it again.

JASON HARTMAN: Alright, thanks Bill.

BILL AYERS: Thank you very much.

[MUSIC]

ANNOUNCER: This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company. All rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com, or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, or business professional for any individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own, and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively. (Image: Flickr | Jerome Phillips)

Transcribed by David

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