On Sunday night, the debate with Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur was held at Politicon, in Pasadena, California. As much as Uygur tried to present the leftist vision he espoused, it was Shapiro triumphantly decimating argument after argument from Uygur as Shapiro staunchly defended conservative American principles.
The debate began with the moderator, Steve Olikara, asking Shapiro if he was proud or disappointed with GOP senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins for their votes against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. Shapiro brought applause by responding, “I’m wildly disappointed with the entire party. The fact is that we were promised a full repeal of Obamacare; they did not even attempt to pursue a full repeal of Obamacare.”
He continued by doing some teaching of his own:
The fact of the matter is that there’s a significant gap in the Republican Party over whether this should even happen or not. There are people who believe the Obamacare regulations are an affirmative good; there was an attempt to basically leave all the Obama care regulations in place and just remove the funding mechanism, which would have led to the exacerbation of the death spiral. The truth about health care is this; there are three qualities of health care that you can have: You can have affordability; you can have universality, or you can have quality. You can have two of those three things, but not all three … one of the things about Obamacare is that you’ve gotten closer to universality, but you’ve not gotten any closer to either affordability or quality. And the Republican Party seems to be falling into the trap of basically just copying what the Democrats do and being worse at it.
What they actually need to do is relieve the regulatory burden that is driving up the cost of health care and they need to stop acting as though insurance companies’ job is actually just to reimburse people for their bad health. … That doesn’t mean that we can’t have some form of back-up for people who have pre-existing conditions; I would hope that the social fabric would fill that in. This is why I’m a big believer in charity and churches and synagogues filling in the gap, but what we can’t do is to suggest, as the Bernie Sanders Left does, that health care is an inalienable right, and therefore you can put a gun to my wife’s head, she’s a doctor, and you can force her to provide care at any cost you want to pay. You can’t do that and hope to increase the supply of health care. Health insurance is not health care, they are not the same thing, and anybody who tells you differently is lying or trying to sell you something.
Uygur offered his opinion, saying that he believed that the right approach was “Medicare for all.” He asserted that Medicare accomplished all three qualities that Shapiro had said health care could offer. He took a shot at capitalism, saying, “I view it as not something capitalism should deal with, and I believe in capitalism, they make great sneakers …”
Shapiro started his evening-long dismemberment of Uygur by responding:
A couple of notes in response to ”Medicare for all” schtick, Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” schtick, obviously: The problem with “Medicare for all” is that when people say that it’s “affordable” is that it’s affordable to the person who has the Medicare; it is not affordable to the country. In fact, it is so unaffordable to the country that the state of California, a nut-job leftist state, just refused to pass Medicare for all because it would have immediately doubled the debt.
He went back to teaching:
As far as the idea that medical care is a right, but it’s not actually a good or a service, this is a way to make things less plentiful. If you declare things rights, but you don’t actually incentivize the creation of those things, you don’t get more of them.
Then, a shot at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who lauded the South African Constitution as a model that Egyptians should look to, rather than our own Constitution:
The South African constitution has a right in there that health care is a right, that housing is a right. The fact is that you don’t have good housing or health care in South Africa because just declaring things rights does not make them appear. What makes more things appear is a market-based system that creates more doctors, that creates more medical care, that creates more incentive for people to join up. … This is why I say that it is better to treat things as goods, rather than rights, because declaring something a right just means that you have the right to steal it from me. But declaring something a good means that you get a market process that leads to lower prices and better care over time.
Uygur brought up his desire for higher taxes, pointing out the tax rate in the 1950's for the highest tax bracket was between 70% and 91% and citing the booming economy at the time. Then he cited single-payer health care systems in other countries as models the United States should emulate, claiming the United States was 37th in the world in health care.
Shapiro pointed out:
All of this sounds great, except for the fact that Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security eat up 66% of the federal budget every single year; the idea that all of these socialized medicine countries have it so much better than we do, particularly in terms of cancer care, is a joke. We are still number one in terms of five-year cancer survival rates here in the United States. And when you talk about top marginal tax rates in the 1950’s, there are a couple of things that are worth noting: one, that was top individual marginal tax rates, not necessarily the business tax rate; we now have some of the highest corporate tax rates, altogether, in the industrialized world, and if you would prefer for us to destroy half of the world before we become the only country that didn’t have its industrial capacity destroyed, which is what happened in the 1940’s, leading us to be the only productive country on planet Earth, essentially, for the next two decades, I’m not with you there. I’m not really in favor of having a giant world war that destroys all industrial capacity across the West so that we’re the only people who have the capacity to produce anything and just markets that we can provide to.
Shapiro concluded the health care issue by summing up:
The standard of care is the question when it comes to single-payer health care. That is the entire thing. If people felt like they were going to get the same access to care in a single-payer health system as they did in a system where they can pay their own way, then we would have no controversy here. The fact is that rationing is mandated as soon as you start to have the government running the health care system and what care people get. So I don’t want anyone deciding what level of care that I can get. They don’t care about me; they don’t know my child’s name; they don’t know my name. All they know is how much I cost. Ezekiel Emmanuel (creator of Obamacare) is at least honest about this; Ezekiel Emmanuel comes out and says, “I want to die at 70; I want to die at 80. That’s fine with me.” That’s good for him, but what if I don’t want to die at 80 or I don’t want my father to die at 80? That’s none of his damn business.
The dialogue then entered a different phase, as the subject of capitalism arose, leaving Shapiro to destroy Uygur’s leftist arguments, as seen here.
Then came a discussion in which Shapiro schooled Uygur on money in politics. He stated:
You talk about the glories of a mixed economy. I’ve heard about the glories of high tax rates; I’ve heard about the glories of government-provided health care; now tell me some of the glories of actual capitalism, which is the basis of all the things you’re talking about. Tell me why it’s good.
Uygur then extolled a higher tax rate, saying it “recirculates the money.” That prompted a few boos, triggering Uygur to insult the audience as “uneducated.” He insisted irrationally that when the middle class has more money they spend it because “they’re not living in the lap of luxury.” He then said that with supply side economics the money goes to the rich, who do “something logical, they save it, but that means it does not recirculate in the economy.” Then, defying history, he posited, “That is why when you have lower taxes, ironically, the economy does worse.”
Shapiro wholly dissected that argument, starting by acknowledging Uygur was preaching Keynesian economics. He began:
The problem with Keynesian economics is that it doesn’t even work in theory, because again, once you go to the logical extreme, which is remove all of the money from the rich people who are saving all of their money, and give it to all the poor people who buy hamburgers, that doesn’t help the economy or spur the economy. What spurs the economy is the creation of new products and services, and that is only going to be done by people who have expendable capital to actually invest in new products and services that we all enjoy. This is what creates economic growth. It’s also worth noting that this myth that spending is inherently better for an economy than saving, that’s only true if you’re talking about somebody that’s actually taking the cash and shoving it into their mattress. Banks are in the business of lending. When they take the money in, they don’t just stick it in Al Gore’s fake lockbox, they actually lend the money back out to people to actually create new businesses and new products.
You had an investor; when you started TYT, you were given four million dollars by Buddy Roemer to start TYT. That’s great; that’s the way business should work. But that money didn’t come from a bunch of poor people buying hamburgers; it came from a very, very wealthy guy who gave you money to create a business a lot of people want to patronize. If you want better products and better services, you need more investment in the products and services. The basic name, “trickle down economics,” is not something that any conservative even proposed; it’s a leftist revision of what economics actually is, because you’re not giving me the money; it was my money in the first place, created through voluntary transactions that I had with others; I've not stolen any money from anyone; neither have you, and the money has to be forcibly taken from you and handed to somebody at the bottom end of the economic spectrum to somehow jog the economy, that may jog McDonalds, but it is not going to jog all of the creation of all the jobs and services that make all of our lives much better today than they were 30 years ago in terms of the stuff we have access to.
Uygur then cited the building of roads to buttress his call for higher taxes.
That prompted this blistering reply from Shapiro:
You talked about roads, and the fact that we need roads in order to get to work. This is a point that Elizabeth Warren made, and obviously a point that President Obama made at the time. I don’t think anyone argues that we don’t need roads to get to work. The problem is that when you’re talking about roads as a percentage of the budget, we are talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the federal budget, and of the state budget, and even of the local budget. So the idea that you’re justifying massive tax rates on corporations in order to pay for roads is just intellectually dishonest. The stuff that we agree on that government should spend on is a tiny percentage of spending; it’s all the other stuff that we disagree on.
Uygur than got a history lesson on the 2008 economic crash, as seen here.
Uygur called for all money to be taken out of politics. He opined that the 2008 economic crash occurred because of the banks’ use of financial derivatives, which he termed “gambling.” He added that banks bought politicians with “our money,” bemoaning the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. He slammed corporations for “using our money.”
Shapiro eviscerated that argument:
As far as the idea that all money should be taken out of politics, here’s the problem. TYT, I, we both have corporations and we expound upon politics every single day. And we motivate thousands of people, every single day, on both sides of the political aisle. That is, effectively, an in-kind contribution. Now you campaigned with Bernie Sanders. Did you do it because you supported Bernie Sanders or did you do that because you expected some “gimme” for TYT in return? I assume you did it because you supported Bernie Sanders, right?
So the point that I am making is to attribute to everyone else bad intent when it comes to political spending in politics, but to yourself it’s totally fine, but when it comes to other media entities that give in-kind contributions on a regular basis in their coverage, this is — when The New York Times, which is biased to the Left, spends an inordinate amount of time and money reporting on Mitt Romney’s idiotic stories about how he was in high school and cutting a gay kid’s hair in 1932, (laughter), if you’re saying to me that that is less impactful on the political sphere than a corporation, which is a group, giving money to a political candidate for purposes of supporting that candidate, I fail to see how you can, for yourself, that you are innocent in this but everyone else is guilty. I don’t believe it. Either everyone is guilty or everyone is innocent, or, if you can find the actual cases of guilt where there’s a quid pro quo, than we can agree, that’s prosecutable.
Other point: when you talked about the 2008 economy, you talked about Glass-Steagall, and how this led to the crash. The real reason that the crash happened had far less to do with Glass-Steagall — I opposed the bail-outs, by the way — it had far less to do with Glass-Steagall than it had to do with the fact that the federal government was actively promulgating the notion that corporations should give sub-prime mortgages to people who were not qualified as people who should take out loans. This meant, that as you say, corporations are not inherently conservative; they are not inherently free-market; they are inherently profit-driven. So if they felt that they could give a bunch of sub-prime mortgages and this would inflate the real-estate prices, and if things went wrong they would just foreclose on the nearest house, and the market just keeps going up and up and up, and they can, as you say, turn these into derivatives and sell them on the open market, by pretending that these are all good loans, because they have government backing, then of course you’re going to get an inflated, overheated real estate market.
But the question there is not the workings of the free market, it’s the combination that you like in a mixed economy, that I hate. I hate mixed economies in the sense that I don’t believe that capitalism and socialism should be mixed, that corporatism is the solution. What you’re talking about is corporatism; you’re talking about getting rid of Glass Steagall. It freed the corporations to invest in a free market manner, but also they gave a bail-out to all of these corporations by essentially incentivizing them to give a bunch of bad loans knowing that if things went bad, then all the losses would be socialized. The problem there is not the free market; the problem is a government that is acting as a backstop for bad decisions in the free-market by profit-driven corporations.
Following that came an explosive exchange in which Uygur targeted corporations for being involved in politics, and Shapiro got one of the two biggest ovations of the night for turning the tables on Uygur, as seen here. (The other ovation was also courtesy of Shapiro a little later.)
The other huge ovation came right on the heels of that, as delineated here, when the two spoke of money in politics again.
At what seemed like the conclusion, asked what the winning message would be for the GOP in 2020, Shapiro responded, “I think the greatest ally the Republicans have is the incompetence and stupidity of the Democratic Party.” After decrying the identity politics practiced on both sides of the political aisle, he asserted, “What I would like to see is the Democrats campaign on the stronger involvement of government in your life and higher-taxes program that Cenk wants them to campaign on, the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren program, and I would like to see the Republicans campaign on my program: a smaller government libertarian program that says the government should get out of our lives as much as humanly possible.”
But when Uygur was asked, he referenced identity politics by segueing to condemning the GOP for its Southern Strategy, a tactic he used when he debated Dinesh D’Souza. He spouted of the GOP, “They’re the ones who invented identity politics.”
Although the moderator was ready to conclude, Shapiro seized the opportunity to bash Uygur with some facts:
I’d like to point out that the idea that the idea that the entire South solidly moved into the Republican category because of the Civil Rights Act is historically false and has been debunked multiple times, by people ranging from Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics to professors at the University of Pennsylvania. And there’s a bunch of ways to debunk it, including the fact that the Congress did not switch Republican in the South until 1994. Did it take 30 years for the racists to realize what was going on? 21 senators from the South were Democrats. How many of them became Republicans after the Civil Rights Act? The answer? One. The other 20 stayed Democrats.
In 1952, Eisenhower did not win a ton of the South; Eisenhower did win, however, seven states in the South in 1956, after he sent federal troops down South. The reason that the Republican Party started to win in the South, it began in the 1950’s not after the 1964 Civil Rights act, was largely due to the move of industry down South. It was the new fringe members of the Republican Party, younger members of the Republican Party, who switched over to the Republican Party in the South, not old Democrats who remained old Democrats and are still old Democrats today. By the way, Jimmy Carter launched his 1980 campaign at the headquarters, that town in Alabama that was the headquarters for the KKK. So to pretend that it was only the Republicans playing the bad and evil race strategy is just a lie.
Video of complete video below: