COOPER: Governor Huckabee?
HUCKABEE: Well, I was a governor 10 1/2 years. I was chairman of the National Governors Association, which means that my fellow governors selected me to chair the organization of all 50 governors.
Let me tell you why I believe that Governor Schwarzenegger ought to be able to carry out the plan, because, if he's right, every other state is going to copy him. And if he's wrong, every other state is going to recruit the jobs that he lost in California to their own states.
The genius of our system has always been that, if you have states acting as laboratories of good government, rather than mess it up for all 50 states, you get the chance to find out, does it work? And if it does, we all copy it, and then we make a little change, and we claim it for our own.
If it doesn't work, we do everything we can to make sure that the jobs that maybe he loses we get in our own state. It's the genius of our founding fathers when they had the idea of federalism. Thomas Jefferson was right, and Alexander Hamilton was wrong. That debate we thought was settled.
But we've got a federal government that wants to give us unfunded mandates at the state level and doesn't want us to experiment with ideas in good government that might solve a lot of the problems that our country faces.
COOPER: Congressman Paul, do you agree with Governor Schwarzenegger on this one?
PAUL: Yes, I think California should do what they want, and we all recognize that. But one thing that hasn't been emphasized here that should be emphasized when we're dealing with the environment and gas house -- you know, greenhouse gases is property rights.
We neglected during the industrial revolution property rights, and governments and big corporations got together and colluded. And that's what has to be reversed. You have to emphasize the property rights.
But I would like to take one minute, since I didn't get a chance to answer this discussion on conservative versus liberal.
COOPER: We're going to have -- I promise you we're going to have -- you're going to have another opportunity to do that. I promise you, coming up in like two minutes or two questions.
I just want to go right now to Janet Hook for a question to Governor Huckabee.
HOOK: Let's turn for a minute to the troubled economy we're trying to deal with. Governor Huckabee, President Bush and some of your opponents on the stage here believe that giving income tax rebates is the best way to stimulate the economy. You've disagreed and suggested that spending federal highway money to widen I-95 from Bangor to Miami would do more to help the nation's economy. Now, how is that idea different from the big- government projects that we usually associate with Democrats?
HUCKABEE: Well, if we end up with the rebates, we're going to borrow the $150 billion from China. And when we turn it into rebates, most people are going to go out and buy some consumables like a pair of shoes that they probably don't even need, but they're going to buy them, and they're most likely an import from China. My point is, whose economy are we stimulating when we do that?
The Heritage Foundation did a pretty interesting study on past rebates and found that it does not really stimulate the economy in the way that we hope that it will.
My point was that if you really want an economic stimulus package, look at what infrastructure investment does. And we've got a crumbling infrastructure. I don't have to tell the people of California that their traffic is clogged. And the reason that we have a problem is that because we're not addressing it.
Every billion dollars we spend on highway construction results in 47,500 jobs. But the fact is the average American is sitting in traffic 38 hours a year.
HUCKABEE: That's a full work week, not on vacation, not spent with their kids, stuck in traffic, just sitting there behind the wheel, pointing fingers, usually one at a time, at other motorists and very upset with what's going on around them in this traffic.
The point is we are burning a lot of fuel up in the air, polluting the environment. We're wasting time. Parents never get home to their kids' soccer games and recitals. And the real said thing is we have bridges falling down on people in the United States of America.