Live from Memphis on the newsmakers line Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.– Leahy was joined by the New American Populist Founder Jeff Webb.
During the third hour, Webb touched on his recent op-ed at townhall.com explaining how the federal government’s disbursement of funds to American citizens was poorly organized and actually led to less being dispersed. He added that he found it unnecessary to bailout blue states run by Democrats that mismanaged money which had resulted in large debts and deficits.
Leahy: We are joined now by our very good friend, Jeff Webb. Entrepreneur and founder of the Varsity Brands. The guy who invented the cheerleading industry and the guy who knows how to get things done. He’s an entrepreneur par excellence and a very good friend who is now advising us on politics. He has a group called New American Populist and a fantastic op-ed in Townhall “Giving the Financially Mismanaged States a Bailout is Morally Reprehensible.” Welcome, Jeff Webb.
Webb: Thank you, Micheal. Great to be with you.
Leahy: You lead off this op-ed which I recommend to everybody by saying “a crisis is terrible to waste, how are blue-state Democrats trying not to waste this crisis?”
Webb: You got so many of these states that typically are run by Democratic governors and controlled by Democratic legislatures. They’ve been running up debts and deficits in their states for years and years. Many of them have a large unfunded asset as far as their state pension program is concerned.
And of course, then the pandemic hits and there’s all this money that’s been distributed by the federal government, companies, individuals, and states and municipalities and they have looked up and gone hey, there is a lot of money being doled out here why don’t we ask for money and use that money to help reduce our debt. And in particular, take care of our unfunded pension programs.
Leahy: In fact what that means is that residents of financially prudent states like Tennessee one of the most well-managed states financially over the years are then subsidizing the bad reckless spending in these blue states like Illinois, New York, New Jersey and others like that. That doesn’t sound fair or right to me.
Webb: No. One can argue that it’s immoral. But you’re absolutely right. There are a number of states, again Tennessee ours included that have been governed the right way and have been prudent in their fiscal management that don’t have that kind of debt overhang.
Now the citizens of those states are being asked to make up for the bad behavior of these other states. And let’s be fair here. We talk about it just being the governors or just being the politicians but the people in those states that have this problem have consistently elected those representatives. So everybody has to own it if you are in that state. But you are right. You talk about the states and mentioned the ones that are a problem.
Given the idea that Florida is actually larger than New York in population. And yet New York’s budget is nearly twice what the state budget is in Florida. So, of course, you’re going to have these deficits you’re going to have to take care of. And frankly, its come home to roost right now.
Leahy: Yes. Absolutely. Now as people look at this pandemic and they look at all of the draconian steps taken by many of these same blue states that are in financial trouble shutting down the local economy. Everybody has been very fearful about it. The status Democrats seem to see this as the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. The crisis that they just must take advantage of. I think that attitude is very troublesome. What do you think about that Jeff?
Webb: I totally agree with you. It’s been amazing that Americans have been so willing to individually help to address this crisis. They’ve been asked to stay at home and have been presented with a unique situation and time in our country with the curve and what we can expect as far as hospitalizations. And everybody has tried to cooperate.
What I think people didn’t expect was that once the curve was flattened and things did get to be better than these same types of draconian provisions were going to be remaining in place. And there are some states, the states you mentioned, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan and New York we are not seeing those governors come to the table and start loosening things up as we all had expected. And I think it’s frightening. It smacks of authoritarianism.
Leahy: You had in your op-ed on Townhall something that was very interesting. You pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had the temerity to suggest that states that had been overspending for years really ought to maybe consider declaring bankruptcy. Oh, my goodness! Heads exploded among these Democratic governors.
The quotes that you have in this article are just fantastic. Governor Cuomo of New York said the idea was “dumb and vicious.” (Webb snickers) They need 300 billion or so. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. By the way, did you see Governor Murphy on Tucker Carlson defending his decision to arrest somebody who was exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of assembly?
Webb: I didn’t see it. There are a number of examples like that and I think again, it should concern all of us.
Leahy: Exactly. So he was whining about this. He said it was mean because you know this is all mean. He said it was completely and utterly irresponsible. And then Governor Whitmer, (Laughter) oh my goodness of Michigan and Governor Pritzker who’s a rich guy. Did you see the story in Breitbart? He’s got all these stay-at-home orders. But his wife got on a plane and left Illinois and went to Florida. I thought that was funny.
Webb: Again, we’re seeing in spades now the elitist and financial government among us do not really think the same rules apply to them. You saw with President Obama who was videoed playing golf and nobody else was on the golf course and the course was closed. Nobody else was allowed to be there. But somehow he was able to get somebody to take him to the golf course and get his round of golf. This is typical hypocrisy and condescension. I think we’re seeing from the elite.
Leahy: The other thing that you’ve talked about and you had another terrific op-ed about how inefficiently the government and Congress, in particular, have handled this stimulus money. Compare what they did with what you had originally proposed?
Webb: Well you know six weeks ago when it was obvious that things were shutting down and the economy was shutting down and people weren’t going to be able to go to work. And most importantly that there wasn’t going to be much commerce going on and there was going to have to be some type of federal intervention. My recommendation was to give every single man, woman, and child $3,000 boom! Right off the bat. Now, that sounds like a lot of money. We have 330 million people in our country.
Leahy: Was it $3,000 right?
Webb: Yes. I’m sorry, $3,000 to just get started. And they give them that money. Now would we have to do that again in another month? Possibly so. My point there was that if you give the money directly to the individuals and to our citizens they are going to be able to at least provide food.
Forty-five percent of working Americans live paycheck to paycheck. They don’t have all this money saved for some type of crisis like this. So give them that money. Let them spend it on food. We have to give them another one next month the same thing but the government took it exactly the other way.
They said we’re going to appropriate this money and were going to take the money and the treasury is going to give the small business loans to the SBA (Small Business Administration) and the SBA will then fund it to the banks and the banks will give it to the companies and the companies will give it to the individuals.
Now think about the layers of inefficiency. Every single one of those groups is going to take some fee. So by the time you get to the end consumer, the citizens you’re not going to get as much money and it won’t have the same effect. The other problem with the government’s position is that it’s taken too long.
It’s also created this bureaucratic mess that will come back to bite us when people start trying to figure out who has to pay the loan back. What the criteria are? Who doesn’t qualify? Audits to determine who did the right thing. So I think that again this is a classic example of government bureaucracy gone amuck. And unfortunately in this crisis, our citizens just can’t afford it.
Leahy: Jeff Webb you’ve had some terrific ideas put out in this op-eds that you’ve had at the Townhall and Washington Times. We look forward to seeing more from you on this. A voice of common sense and someone who’s protecting the residents of Tennessee from the blue state governors who want to have us subsidize their bad habits. Jeff, thanks for joining us.
Webb: Nice to be with you. Thanks, Michael.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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