While a new era has arrived in government, with a new legislative session and newly elected officials in office, the effects of reckless fiscal policies will be felt for many years. The recent omnibus spending bill is one example of out-of-control...
While a new era has arrived in government, with a new legislative session and newly elected officials in office, the effects of reckless fiscal policies will be felt for many years. The recent omnibus spending bill is one example of out-of-control spending with little accountability. Linda and well-known economist, Steve Moore, discuss paths forward to restore fiscal sanity for America. Eliminating omnibus spending bills is one important step, and citizens must hold elected officials accountable to support a transparent and fiscally responsible government. How can you promote policies that will allow for a prosperous future? Listen to learn and then become involved in charting a new economic course for America.
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Linda: Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J Hansen, your host, and the author of Prosperity 101 Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of The Breakroom Economics online course. The book, the course, and the entire podcast library can be found on prosperity101.com.
I seek to connect boardroom to breakroom, and policy to paycheck, by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement, and retention, and to an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests, and be sure to visit prosperity101.com.
Thank you so much for joining with me today. We're recording this in early January, and my guest today is Steve Moore. Many of you are familiar with Steve Moore because he has been a frequent guest on this podcast, but you've for sure seen him on television interviews, heard him on radio, and I'm confident you've read many of his columns and pieces that he's written. If you have not, you should. Steve is a well-known economist, and he is an expert at simplifying what's actually happening in our economy so that all of us without the economics degree can better understand.
Steve, there's a lot been happening lately on Capitol Hill and in the US, and we're so glad you're here to help us understand. Thank you so much for joining with the podcast again today.
Steve Moore: Well, thank you, Linda. Thanks for everything you do, especially Prosperity 101 and all the other efforts that you've initiated to try to educate Americans about the economy, and about the importance of limited government.
Linda: Well, limited government is truly what we are after, and a limited government helps to have a better economy, for sure. And with a limited government, right now today, we are recording this on January 9th of 2023, and as we speak, the new Congress has been convened, a new Speaker was elected over the weekend after much effort, but now they are debating the new rules package about how Congress will function in the future. And one of the things that happened right before the new Congress came into power was the passage of the omnibus spending bill, and you and I both know that that is just a hotbed of problem for American taxpayers. Could you explain to the listeners what an omnibus spending bill truly is?
Steve Moore: Well, Linda, I call it the omnibusted bill, because it busted our country. It was an
unconscionable bill, really quite harmful to our country, quite demoralizing to anybody like you and me, who is a fiscal conservative and believes that we should be cutting the size of government, and balancing our budget, and reducing the size and scope of Washington's imprint on the economy. So, what the Republicans agreed to at the end of the day was a near-$2-trillion ... I think the final price tag was about $1.8-trillion-dollar last-minute spending bill. It was everything that's wrong with Washington wrapped up in one gigantic package. It was 4,100 pages, with another 600 supplemental pages, so that was 4500 pages of gobbledygook that nobody read, nobody understood. It was written by a bunch of twenty-somethings who don't know anything about how our economy functions, and unfortunately, over 20 Republicans in the senate voted for this rancid piece of legislation.
What is there to say? I mean, we have $4.1 trillion already of government spending under Biden that is going to bankrupt this country. By the way, I said $4.1 trillion, not $4.1 billion. We've spent more money under Biden than we spent to fight and win World War II. We've been adjusting for inflation. So, this is an enormous burden, and Republicans ... This one, Linda, I'm more angry at the Republicans than I am the Democrats, frankly, because we know the Democrats always promise their constituents that they will spend and spend and spend, and they'll just keep spending until someone stops them, but the Republicans had promised that they were going to get control of the budget, and they went along with this bill.
So, now when they make promises about they're going to cut spending, I don't believe them. I mean, I think a lot of them want to, but a lot of them are just as bad as Democrats, and so we had a bipartisan spending spree. Everybody went to play Santa Claus right before Christmas, and now we've got a situation where I think it was not just bad for the economy, which it was terrible, but if you're a conservative like I am and you are, you've got to be demoralized by it, because this is exactly the opposite of what the GOP promised. And then, to pour salt in the wounds, then a week after Christmas or so, Mitch McConnell is the Republican leader in the Senate, does a press conference in Kentucky with Joe Biden celebrating this big spending bill. I mean, I almost fell off my chair that they would do this, when Joe Biden is the most fiscally reckless president in American history, and then Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is applauding him for it.
Linda: Well, it's true that this spending bill is just over-the-top careless and horrible for our nation, and all of the earmarks that are in there, the special projects that have been put into the bill--
Steve Moore: Oh yeah, I didn't even get to that. Yeah. [inaudible].
Steve Moore: We don't even know all the earmarks in the bill, because it's ... Linda, how many members of Congress do you think know what's in that bill, or have read it?
Linda: I doubt any.
Steve Moore: Any. None of them do. I mean, and we'll find out over the next several months, "Oh, did you know this was in the bill?" "No. How did this get in there? How did that get in there?" It was all basically big slabs of bacon for congressional districts, and exactly the opposite of ... When Newt Gingrich came in during the Republican Revolution, and then you were part of the Tea Party movement that really had such an impact, we tried to get rid of all that stuff, and here they are just a decade later, right back to their old villainous ways.
Linda: Well, exactly. And the Republicans in charge could have put this off until the next Congress was in place, and we could have had a budget that was enacted with more fiscally conservative legislators, but they didn't, so now we really don't have a time to really redo this budget until fall again, when the budget comes up; but, in the meantime, if we have fiscal conservatives at the head of these committees, hopefully ... I mean, what I'd love to see is oversight in every single committee; and by 'oversight', meaning, what is the money spent on? Where does it go? How is it used? How is it allocated? This is really important.
And an omnibus, it's kind of like throwing everything in the kitchen sink into a bill, and what I've tried to help people understand is that if somebody wants an omnibus to pass because they want all these different pet projects to pass, they'll put something in there that will definitely make a conservative, or someone, look bad if they don't vote on the whole big thing. So, you can have 99 awful things to spend our taxpayer dollars on, but if there's one good thing, like say military spending, or Medicare, or help for sick children, or something like that, if there's a reduction in that price, or if there's any change to that and the conservative votes against it, then it's like, "Oh, they won't vote for military funding," or something. It makes them look like they're going to throw granny off the cliff, and people don't realize there's a lot more to these multi-thousand-page bills than they realize, and it's coming right out of their own pockets with their hard-earned dollars.
Steve Moore: Well, now there's a little bit of a fight within the Republican party, too, about how much to be spending on the military. You know, I'm not a Neocon. I don't believe the United States should have troops all over the world. I'm kind of more of a kind of Trump, put-America-first Republican, so the idea that we have to spend a trillion dollars over a year defending all these other countries ... Our biggest ... Let me put it ... You know, and I ... Look, I know good-hearted people can disagree on this, but I think our biggest national security threat is our debt. It really is.
Linda: It's really--
Steve Moore: So, [inaudible] we spend all this money that we don't have. And I also think we shouldn't make the mistake when it comes to the military. Everybody wants America to be strong militarily, and we want the strongest military in the world, but does spending massive amounts of money on education improve our schools? No. Does spending all this money on housing improve our housing situation? No. Does the debt of energy do anything to help our energy situation? No. So, you shouldn't measure the strength of our military by how much we spend. That's just stupid.
Steve Moore: And so, we've just got to get the best military for the least amount of money, not the best military for the most amount of money. And I've got to tell you, I mean, I live down the street from the Pentagon; it's the biggest bureaucracy in America, and you could clear out half of those people. So, I just don't think that the solution is spending more money, and the problem is, to get a dollar more of defense spending, we have to agree to spend a dollar more on social programs, so it actually costs us two dollars to get one dollar of defense spending, and I don't think it's worth it.
Linda: Well, especially when they don't spend it wisely, and ...
Steve Moore: Well, yeah.
Linda: And I heard something today that just astounded me, too ... and I don't know why it did; I shouldn't have been surprised, but ... that we are spending more from the American taxpayers on Ukraine than Russia is, than the country of Russia is spending there.
Steve Moore: Yeah, I had not heard that, but I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, we've spent tens and tens of billions of dollars. And there again, too, why ... Look, we're all for helping the Ukrainian freedom fighters against the murderous Russian regime, but you really want to hurt Russia, the best thing to do is to produce more of our own gas here and that'll put Russia right out of business, so we're ... Biden's energy policy is funding the Russian war machine.
Linda: Exactly. And if we really want to hurt Russia, make a strong America too, not only with our energy, but close our own border and make sure the fentanyl and the drugs and the human trafficking and everything aren't coming through our own border, costing our own citizens a war within our country. I mean, it's maybe not a military war--
Steve Moore: That's another one, you know? Yeah, you're right about the drug epidemic, and
you know, now drugs like fentanyl are the leading cause of death for young people in America. Just to give you a sense, we spend several billion dollars on the war on drugs, but we spend $100 billion on climate change. Well, no American has ever died of climate change, but we have tens and tens of thousands of Americans, young people, our sons and daughters and grandkids, that are dying from the drug overdose.
So, it's just an example of how out-of-whack and out-of-proportion our spending is. We're not dealing with the real problems that are afflicting America, and of course, the single biggest problem in America today is our out-of-control government and our out-of-control debt, and the idea that the government can be involved in every area of your life, which is why my biggest single priority this year is to make sure that Congress does not fund 87,000 new IRS agents. That would be absolutely outrageous.
You know, I've been through tax court, I've been in fights with the IRS; it's not a pleasant experience, as you know. Well, hopefully you don't know, because I hope nobody has to go through that, but it's about as much fun as having ...
Linda: A root canal, or worse.
Steve Moore: [inaudible].
Linda: I think I'd rather have a root canal, yes. But, you know, it's true, and again, this is where people don't understand sometimes. You and I, we're in this. We pay attention to it every day. We want to keep up on all the details. We learn the processes, we learn who the players are, right? But the average person who's going to work every day, trying to provide for their family, feed their kids every night, help with homework, go to the soccer games, all of that, they don't always know that we have incredible power now to not fund those 87,000 IRS agents, you know?
Steve Moore: Oh, we do. The Republicans better do that, or I'll just ... I'll never vote for them again. And incidentally, who do you think they're going to audit? Who do you think they're going to investigate? Well, they're going to investigate you. They're going to investigate me. They're going to investigate the kind of people listening to this show. If you're a conservative or a Republican, you've got a scarlet letter on your back, and you're going to be ... We know this, by the way. This happened, remember, under Obama.
Linda: It happened under ... Yeah.
Steve Moore: They weaponized the IRS, so I get so angry when I hear these poor local commentators [inaudible]. It's like, "Oh, well, if you pay your taxes, you have nothing to worry about." That's BS.
Linda: It is.
Steve Moore: I pay my taxes, and I went through a four-year fight with the IRS, so--
Steve Moore: [inaudible] "Well, these are just tax cheats," no. A lot of people who pay their taxes are being harassed by the IRS, and then you've got $300 billion that Biden wants for a green energy slush fund, and all that money is going to go to his left-wing friends who helped elect him. And how can we ever win an election when we're funding all the left-wing groups with taxpayer dollars?
So, I think there's a lot of room. We could balance this budget. I think the hero of the last year has been Rand Paul. You know Rand Paul.
Steve Moore: He has been so sensational. I wish we could just clone Rand Paul and ... I'd rather have 20 Rand Pauls than 50 RINO Republicans.
Steve Moore: And Rand Paul showed me the other day ... I got together with him ... that if we just went back to 2019 budget, and we could balance the budget.
Steve Moore: Is that so hard?
Linda: Yeah, I saw that, and the other thing too is--
Steve Moore: [inaudible] our hotline, which--
Linda: Yeah. Yeah.
Steve Moore: [inaudible] yeah, that's all it takes. Why does the budget have to get bigger and bigger every year?
Linda: Mm-hm. Exactly. And I know that there's plans ... I know Russ Vought and others, they've put forth plans to balance it within a certain amount of years. There's a lot of different ways to approach this and be able to cut government spending without necessarily cutting what the American people truly need. And people always say, "Oh, you're going to push granny off a cliff, or cut all these social programs"; no, let's just put government back where government belongs, and let the private sector do what the private sector does best, and that is create jobs, create wealth, create prosperity.
Steve Moore: Well, Linda, if you look at the general accounting office reports over the last ... and the inspector general reports as well, we know that the government stole ... well, wasted, and was the victim of fraud in programs like Medicare, Medicaid, earned income tax credit, food stamps, unemployment charts, somewhere in there are $200, $300 billion, and nobody does a damn thing about it. [inaudible] a class of doing business. Well, why don't they start, before expanding these programs, figure out where that money went? Put the people in jail who stole the money.
Look at the PPP program. I mean, we're finding out a lot of money went to people who aren't even living in America. I mean, it's unbelievable.
Linda: Yeah. It is unbelievable. And again, I just want to say to the listeners, this is an opportunity. We have an opportunity now with a new Congress in session, we have to hold their feet to the fire. We must let them know that we care about investigating the weaponization of federal agencies against American citizens.
Steve Moore: Hold on, let me, I just ... You just [inaudible] another thought of mine with what you just said. You know, instead of having 87,000 new IRS agents, why don't we have 87,000 new auditors to figure out where all that money is going, and then hunt them down? I mean, why do they want to investigate us? We should be investigating them! You see what I mean?
Linda: I do, and this is the way it always happens with an oligarchy, or a tyrannical rule. So, again, we have an opportunity. Make sure those committees are supported, that we support the leaders of those committees, that we hold their feet to the fire, that we say, "We want the truth in this! We want to know what is happening with the weaponization of federal agencies against our own citizens. What's happening with the 87,000 IRS agents? What's happening with this ridiculous spending that is so out-of-control? What's happening with what we're spending at the border, and not getting anything back, except the cartels are making $13 million a year, and we're sexual trafficking children and adults, and fentanyl is flowing, and "
You know, we have these problems, and we can take care of it, but only if we have that bold leadership. And, as history would show, that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, right? And so--
Steve Moore: So, I want to say one last thing if I could, Linda.
Steve Moore: And I appreciate you having me on your podcast. I love doing this, because I love talking to the real Americans who really [inaudible] our country, and love our country.
Steve Moore: Get out there and fight; either fight in the military, or just fight at the State Capitol. Plead peacefully, of course.
Steve Moore: Which is this: that there will be a, what I call a come-to-Jesus moment later this year, and I want people to be prepared for this if you're a fiscal conservative like you and I are. And if you're not, you're probably listening with a locked jaw.
Linda: Yeah. Or you'll learn something!
Steve Moore: Right. So, the one point of leverage the Republicans have ... Now, look, I understand the Democrats still have control of the Senate, they have control of the White House, but the Republicans have control of the House of Representatives. Now, I want to remind something ... It's just this little civics lesson here that sometimes we all forget. Joe Biden cannot spend a single penny. Chuck Schumer cannot spend a penny without the House of Representatives going along with this. These bills all start in the House. So, all the Republicans have to do is say no.
Steve Moore: All they have to do is say, "No, we're not going to spend the money on that," and they can hoot and holler, and the New York Times can write up headlines about ... but, so, that's the major thing. Now, their point of leverage is this: we have a debt ceiling that's coming up sometime. We don't know exactly when, maybe July, August, September, October, November, maybe even right before Christmas. And that has always been the point of leverage that we as fiscal conservatives have used for 35 years to get the ... In other words, it's like this: if you go into a bank and you have a million dollars of debt, you don't just go say to the bank, "Oh, can I have a loan?" or go to the credit card company and say, "Give me an extension on my credit." No. They're going to say, "What's your plan for getting out of debt?" Right?
Steve Moore: What the Democrats want is to say, "Just give us an unlimited credit card," and I say to that, "Hell no! We're not going to ... We're not ... " And this is what I've been advising Republicans, and I think most of them are for this, but I want them not to back down here. We are not going to agree to any budget or any debt ceiling bill until we have a plan to balance the budget over six years or eight years or nine years, whatever it is. There's got to be a plan in place, with budget cuts, and with spending limitations and other things.
Now, the Democrats aren't going to want to do that, but then you take your case to the American people and say, "The problem isn't that we might default on our debt. The problem is the debt gets so large we don't have any other choice. We need to get this debt and spending under control, and ... " What I'm saying is, the only vehicle we have at our disposal, if you believe as I do passionately that this cannot continue, is to use the debt ceiling as the lever to do that. I don't know if you're with me on this, Linda, but I feel like if the Republicans back down, that's the only point ...
Now, already the media is out there, "Oh, look at the Republicans! They want to shut down the government! They want us to default on our debt!" No, no, no, no. We want to make sure we never default on our debt, by getting our debt under control. Okay?
Linda: Exactly. It's like cutting back on spending, you know? And when you talk about shutting down the government or something, you know, you mentioned before, the Pentagon and how many people are there, and it's bureaucratic--
Steve Moore: Oh, it's over a thousand!
Linda: Okay. Well, just look, I mean, people have commented there were how many employees at Twitter? And Elon Musk came in and fired a whole bunch of them, and somehow Twitter keeps running. I mean, we could just eliminate the things that are unnecessary. I am confident that if we go through and streamline, I mean, what would any private business owner do? And so, to that end, we need to run the government like a business, and that's the policies that truly help bring prosperity. And you worked in Donald Trump's administration and brought about great economic policy, and I know when I was ... even before that, you were helping us with Herman Cain. We were working on business-friendly policies and things.
So, now we're talking about employers helping employees understand this, and helping just all people in the workplace to understand, this matters to you. Your employer ... or, if you're an entrepreneur and you own a business, you can't sustain a business when the government is growing and misappropriating funds like it is so frequently now. So, it's in everyone's best interest to contact legislators about the appropriations, and about this debt ceiling, and making sure that they run the government like we have to run our household budgets or our business budgets. You know, you can't just keep going backwards. It doesn't work that way.
Steve Moore: Yeah. We have credit card debt. You have credit ... Everybody has some credit card debt, you know. You better pay it off or you're going to start paying ... I tell you, folks, that's what's going to happen with the US Government, too. I mean, they act as if they never have to pay off their credit card debt, but at some point that's going to happen, and the one thing I always say ... and I'll say this in closing ... Linda, you and I aren't going to pay for this. We'll be long in our graves by the time all this debt comes through, but you have kids, I have kids, and I think you may even have grandkids, I don't know.
Linda: I do!
Steve Moore: I'm hoping to get grandkids. I don't have them yet. But, you know, if you care ... Everyone cares, hopefully, about their future generations, and our kids and grandkids. They're the ones who are getting screwed here. So, that's why we have to take a strong stance now. This can't wait another year, another minute. It's like our schools. We can't wait one more day before we take back our education system, and we can't wait another day before we finally take this bull by the horn and stop the out-of-control government. As George Washington said in his farewell address, "Government is a fearsome master," and that is so true.
Linda: It's so true. That's a great closing. And, you know, we do, we need to take it back. People, please, contact your elected officials. Tell them that you support fiscal sanity, you support fiscal responsibility, you do not want to see American debt keep going.
So, Steve, I know that they're going to want to keep learning from you, so I know the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, you can reach Steve at the committeetounleashprosperity.com, and you're a co-founder of that organization, and I know you have a daily hotline that goes out, and people can sign up for free. Listeners, please go to committeetounleashprosperity.com and sign up to receive their free hotline, especially now that we have a new Congress in session. You want to make sure you're keeping up to date on all the things that are happening, and they bring it into good perspective.
Do you have any other closing comments for the listeners?
Steve Moore: Linda, I don't want to put pressure on you, okay? But your job is to turn Wisconsin red again. And they're going to try to reverse so much of the gains that we made when we ... What was it, 2000 ... When I first met you. 2010, was it?
Linda: Yeah, I think ... No, we first met in 2008, I believe.
Steve Moore: Okay, in 2008, and you said, "We're going to turn Wisconsin red," and I said, "I'll have whatever she's drinking." And you did it! That's when we got one of the great governors of all time in Wisconsin, and we ... But we can do it again, but it really takes so many citizens to get involved at every level, whether it's school board, city council. [inaudible] making a lot of progress in that. Get involved.
Linda: It is.
Steve Moore: Do something. Run for something. It angers the left to no end that we've taken over over 50 school districts in just the last two years.
Steve Moore: They used to have a monopoly, remember, on school districts, but people ... Parents got mad and they took action, so there's a lot of hope. We can do this. But don't just sit on your butt. Do something.
Linda: Yeah. Exactly. I tell people, pick at least one thing to do, and put feet to your prayers because we have a country to save. And along those lines, too, yes, run for things, but make sure that when you run, you're going to have clean and fair elections. That's another issue near and dear to my heart, and I've had many guests on to discuss a lot of things related to election integrity and making sure we do that. So, when you're talking about the elected officials, make sure that you bring that up too, to make sure that we leave no loopholes for cheating and fraud in our elections; because we can't have a country with that either.
So, there are so many ways that people can serve to help our country, so whether you're a business owner, whether you're an employee, whether you're a student, a stay-at-home parent, it doesn't matter; there's always something you can do. And I believe, too, that we need to pray for our nation and for our leaders. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and when we turn back to Him, He will bless, so ... yeah.
Steve Moore: All right. We're [inaudible]. Thank you, Linda. It was great to be with you.
Linda: Thank you, Steve. Always great to be with you, too. Thank you.
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