Live from Music Row Wednesday 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. – host Leahy welcomed Varsity Brands Creator and Memphis Entrepreneur Jeff Webb to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Webb talked about what inspired him to write his new book entitled American Restoration. He also explained what he felt were some of the pressing issues facing the middle class and small business citing political corruption as number one along with unfair taxation, excessive regulation, and a myriad of educational inequalities.
Leahy: In studio with us, the original all-star panelists Crom Carmichael. Good morning Crom.
Carmichael: Good morning Michael. How are you, sir?
Leahy: I’m great. Joining the party this morning on our newsmaker line our good friend author of a new book founder of Varsity Brands Jeff Webb. Jeff, good morning.
Webb: Good morning Michael. How are you? Good to be with you.
Leahy: Well, it’s great to have you on again. So for our listening audience, you’ve been on before but let me tell you about Jeff. Jeff is an internationally renowned entrepreneur. He’s the founder of Varsity Brands. President of the International Chair Union and a business politics and cultural commentator and a good friend.
I suppose Jeff, I think it would not be inaccurate to say you are kind of the inventor and creator of the modern cheerleading industry. That’s how people have characterized your career. Now Jeff you have a terrific new book out called American Restoration: How to Unshackle the Great Middle Class. For those listening, you can buy it at middleclasswarriors.com. Jeff, tell us about your thinking with this book. Why did you write it?
Webb: Well, you know, thank you, by the way. Thank you for your kind remarks there. But I grew up in a middle-class family and was able to start a company at a very young age. I was 24 years old and started it and it was very small. We started the first national headquarters was my apartment. And was able to build it over the years and achieve a certain level of success thankfully.
And I got to a point where the company was really pretty well built out. And I’d done what I could do over nearly 40 years and decided I wanted to do something to make a difference for many of the people that helped me build a successful organization. And as I begin to look at what it would take for other young entrepreneurs to start building a company I became very concerned that there are so many things in place that make it so much more difficult now.
And so I decided to get involved politically and to kind of take up the cause of the middle-class and try to address the things that are possibly holding them back and really putting a lot of pressure on our country. And in the process decided, you know doing all the research that well I think I need to put these ideas down and aggregate them. And so I created a book called American Restoration: How to Unshackle the Great Middle Class.
Leahy: I note actually on middleclasswarriors.com where people can go and buy the book that it’s been a number one bestseller in a couple categories on Amazon.com. So that’s a that’s pretty good. People like what you’re writing Jeff.
Webb: Well, I’m very thankful for that right off the bat. And to be honest with you was the big surprise that it had that much success and had that much interest early on. But I’m very appreciative and hopefully people will find it engaging. And you know kind of in that develop their own ideas about what can be done to help us move our country forward. Especially for the middle class.
Leahy: Really I think it’s very timely. The middle class is under such pressure now. All of the opportunities that existed, you know, when you started Varsity Brands, they’ve been crushed a little bit and made more difficult. Not only by governmental regulation and action but also the current circumstances of the pandemic. You address that a little bit in your book. Tell us the number one thing that you think ought to be changed to make it easier for the middle class to make the American dream come true for them.
Webb: Well my in a book I had actually tackled 13 issues that I think are important. But if you had to say what is kind of the underlying problem and this is the big one that won’t be solved overnight certainly, but it’s political corruption. And in the book, I talk about illegal and legal corruption. And there’s just more and more this unholy alliance between Big Tech, big government, the wealthiest and the elite in this country, and the government.
And they have found a way to partner up and create special benefits and breaks that makes it much more difficult for small businesses, most of which are run by middle-class folks. It makes it more difficult for them to actually compete. So the political corruption is right at the top of the list. But more and more as we’ve seen I think in the kind of a dramatic fashion here in the last couple of months the power of Big Tech and the danger of Big Tech and how it is suppressing so many people.
And it especially does to those of people who are conservative. And many of those are middle-class Americans. If you had to say what’s the biggest one, that’s political corruption. But there are lots of other things too. Like you mentioned unfair taxation, excessive regulation, and what’s happened in our educational system. The cost of health insurance. All these things have a negative impact on the middle class in this country.
Leahy: Let’s talk a little bit on the education side and the negative impact of current national and state policies on middle-class people getting a good education. What’s your take on the current education system?
Webb: It’s the quality of education varies from state to state, city to city, and school district to school district. But if you take a look at public education in particular as a whole we’re in a lot of trouble here. And we’re losing out. We’re going to be less competitive internationally. But one thing that I see right now that you can even see what’s happening in San Francisco by decertifying or changing the names of all these schools including Dianne Feinstein. But that there’s more of an emphasis on political correctness than there is on actually educating our children.
And there is no question that we need an emphasis are an even more emphasis on these STEM programs. They call it science, technology, and mathematics. But we cannot do that by eliminating the kind of these humanities sorts of courses that help us all be better citizens. Things like philosophy and civics and political science and sociology.
Those things have to be a part of the educational curriculum as well. But all in all we’re in trouble. And the fact that you see so many of these government people against homeschooling and against charter schools where there are parents and families that have a choice about how to get the best education for their children. And it’s very concerning.
Leahy: Yeah, and we’re talking about charter schools. They are in terms of the the public schools that are not government-run. They are run privately but are chartered to run. They’ve been very successful particularly for Black and Hispanic parents and their children. It looks like President Biden is siding with the unions and wants to crush charter schools. What do you make of that?
Webb: It’s not surprising. I mean you have to look at who was Joe Biden’s biggest constituency. And I think it’s really not surprising but it is tragic because again, education for generations has been the way for people to lift themselves out of poverty into a different circumstance. And there’s no question that people from a different place and those who are more disadvantaged and who don’t have the opportunity to send their kids to private school and have them involved in all these different activities and helps build kind of a more well-rounded person.
A lot of these a lot of these kids don’t have that choice. And charter schools have given them an opportunity to get a really fine education that allows them to move forward and move ahead and be more successful and productive citizens. Taking that right away from these young people is absolutely tragic. It’s exactly the wrong thing to do.
Leahy: Jeff, you know, I was really looking at your website middleclasswarriors.com where people can go and buy your new book American Restoration. And I’m looking at some articles that you’ve read and you have a little bit of Nostradamus in you I think Jeff (Webb chuckles) because you wrote a great piece. Talk about being in the news.
In July of this year, you wrote an article for Townhall. Headline. To America’s CEO’s: It is Time to Cancel the Cancel Culture. And in it, you cite a couple of people where they need to stop them from being canceled. One of them is Goya Foods CEO Robert Unani and the other CEO who’s being attacked right now for this cancel culture is Michael Lindell of My Pillow. Have you seen that?
Webb: Yes, I have seen it. I’ve met Mike a couple of times and seen him speak. He’s a very dynamic speaker with an incredible personal story by the way. An incredible story. And he’s the kind of person that needs to be heard. Regardless of your political views, it’s important that people like Mike have the opportunity to be heard. And again this systematic attempt to silence people who differed with the elites and Big Tech and those on the extreme left, the attempt to silence them should be the most concerning thing that we have for all of us.
Leahy: Jeff Web, author of American Restoration. Thank you for joining us.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Photo “American Restoration: How to Unshackle the Great Middle Class” by Amazon.