Live from Music Row 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 on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist and former Vanderbilt Professor of Law Dr. Carol Swain.
At the bottom of the second hour, Swain reported from credible sources that Mayor Cooper has purchased 40,000 thermometers for Metro employees while keeping his hands out for federal coronavirus bailout money. She added that the coronavirus numbers don’t add up to a shutdown which has forced Nashville to the top of the list of metropolitan cities that are losing the most money during the pandemic.
(Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy clip plays)
I think it doesn’t pass the laugh test. Clearly she went to her committee chairs. She said give me that which you think maybe we can get in here and a starting point for the negotiations so we’ll look reasonable when we retreat from it. On the other hand, it is shocking it to the American people cynically saying we are here to help you but rather than instead trying to fulfill a left-wing agenda. That is garbage.
Leahy: That’s Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana talking about the latest stimulus bill put together by Nancy Pelosi in the middle of the night with a bunch of staffers and nobody from Congress inputting into it. They want to give about a trillion dollars to bail out reckless states and cities that have wasted money from taxpayers from years and years and years. Carol, Nashville is going to have its hand out don’t you think to try and get some of that money. Whatever it’s passing?
Swain: They already have their hands out. In fact, a person contacted me and told me they were told by some official that the reason they were doing mandatory testing was they needed to get the numbers up in Nashville to qualify for more federal money. That’s why they went into the projects and forced certain people to take tests. Nashville’s hand or hands are certainly out. And I would say that that’s true probably for the whole state.
And Democrats and vying to see which areas can have the most cases because there is money tied to every case. And hospitals like Vanderbilt and various clinics are getting a windfall because of this coronavirus. And so if this virus hadn’t come along they would have to invent something. So this is like a dream come true for Democrats and it gave Nancy Pelosi time to go home and get a facelift. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: And eat some $15 a pint chocolate ice cream in her $30,000 refrigerator.
Leahy: Our lead story at The Tennessee Star at tennesseestar.com by Laura Baigert. “Nashville Reportedly Suffered the Steepest COVID-19 Consumer Spending Drop in the Nation.” In the midst of this drop in consumer spending, it makes sense because Nashville has been a tourist destination for some time. But in the midst of all this Mayor Cooper thinks it’s a great idea to raise property taxes by 32%. Is there a worse idea than that?
Swain: It’s a terrible idea. And I can tell you that I’m working with a group of people you may know Michelle Foreman?
Leahy: I do she’s fantastic.
Swain: Ben Cunningham. We all love Ben Cunningham.
Leahy: I know Ben!
Swain: And some lesser-known people like Jim Roan. Our position is there should be no tax increase this year. And I have written in an op-ed piece that there is going to be a tax increase that needs to be next year after the mayor has demonstrated that he’s done everything to cut costs. And I was notified yesterday that the city purchased 40,000 thermometers for all the employees (Leahy laughs) without contacting people to ask if they needed a thermometer. Can you imagine how much that cost?
Leahy: No. You’ve got to be kidding right? Is that really true?
Swain: I got it from (Chuckles) a person that works for the city.
Leahy: OK. So we have a source.
Swain: We have a source that I could name but I’m not going to name them.
Leahy: Don’t name them.
Swain: But I can tell you that they are wasting money at Metro, it may be federal dollars, but they’re wasting money. I’m also quite offended that there was no money in his proposed budget for first responders but he plans to give them a raise using some of this coronavirus money. So that would be a temporary raise. The Democrat cities see this as such an opportunity to spend federal dollars.
Leahy: Yes. And by the way, I just looked at the budget. Here we have a pandemic. We have consumer spending in Nashville the lowest of any major metropolitan area in the country and the budget that the mayor submitted has a five percent increase in spending. How does that happen?
Swain: It doesn’t happen. The think about it is it has the lowest consumer spending it’s because they jumped into lockdown mode. There was no reason to lock down the state of Tennessee. And the cases in Nashville, we know that they’re inflated. The number of deaths versus the number of infections. The number of deaths have not been that high. And these are inflated deaths, some of them, we knew were other conditions people were suffering from.
Leahy: I have that number here right now. As of today in the state of Tennessee, there have been 273 coronavirus deaths to date. And now that turns out to be about six million people. That’s a little over 40 per million. Put that in contrast to New York State where the death rate is about 1,400 deaths per million. We are waaaay at the bottom in terms of deaths per million.
Swain: Again, those deaths mean nothing, but they mean something because there is a loss of life but when you look at conditions how many people normally die in Tennessee per year? And so you think about people that are counted as COVID-19 when they died of heart attacks, cancer, and all kinds of diseases and strokes. They have them counted. They would count suicides if they could get away with it.
Leahy: And of course remember back in March when the Mayor decided, well we’re going to shut down all the restaurants on Broadway. And for a period of time Kid Rock’s restaurant downtown. The guy who owns that said we’re not going to comply. Oh, all the people came down and he ended up backing off from that. But in retrospect, it’s kind of looking like he was right. What do you think Carol?
Swain: The numbers never justified what Mayor Cooper did. So he has destroyed the economy of the city and these partial openings will not give businesses enough time to generate revenue.
Leahy: No. I’m with you. They need to come back 100% full.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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