This week on Breaking Battlegrounds, Chuck and Sam are joined by friend of the show, Chris Wilson. Later in the program, Maya MacGuineas of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calls in to talk about Bidenomics and our growing national debt.
Prior to starting WPA Intelligence in 2004, Chris Wilson was Global Director of Research for Weber Shandwick International, the world’s largest public relations firm at the time.
In 2021 Chris was named Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his work directing survey research and predictive analytics on the Glenn Youngkin for Governor of Virginia campaign. In 2019 he was named Technology Leader of the year by Campaigns & Elections magazine.
In 2016, as the Director of Research, Analytics and Digital Strategy for the Cruz for President campaign, Chris is credited for playing a key role in Cruz’s triumph in Iowa and helping the Texas Senator finish with the most delegates earned by a 2nd place finisher since Ronald Reagan in 1976. Wilson and WPAi work with organizations like the Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Family Research Council, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee providing data and polling.
WPAi’s data management platform, Bonfire, has become the dominant desktop as a service tool for conservative candidates and organizations from US Senate down to school board. Bonfire has leveled the playing field with the progressive left when it comes to the important use of predictive analytics by those on the right.
Perhaps most importantly, for six consecutive cycles, WPAi clients have outperformed the partisan average win ratio in both their primary and general election contests by double digits.
An Oklahoma native, Chris is a graduate of University of Oklahoma and remains an avid Sooner fan. In the rare instances that Chris isn’t working, he enjoys watching OU and Cornell College, where his son Denver is the starting quarterback, football, spending time with his five children, reading, and racking up impressive amounts of frequent flyer miles.
Chris is a regular political analyst on Fox News.
Maya MacGuineas is the president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Her areas of expertise include budget, tax, and economic policy. As a leading budget expert and a political independent, she has worked closely with members of both parties and serves as a trusted resource on Capitol Hill. MacGuineas testifies regularly before Congress and has published broadly, including regularly in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Atlantic, and numerous other outlets. She also appears regularly as a commentator on television.
MacGuineas oversees a number of the Committee’s projects including the grassroots coalition Fix the Debt; the Committee’s Fiscal Institute; and FixUS, a project seeking to better understand the root causes of our nation’s growing divisions and deteriorating political system, and to work with others to bring attention to these issues and the need to fix them. Her most recent area of focus is on the future of the economy, technology, and capitalism.
Previously, MacGuineas worked at the Brookings Institution and on Wall Street, and in the spring of 2009 she did a stint on The Washington Post editorial board, covering economic and fiscal policy. MacGuineas serves on a number of boards and is a native Washingtonian.
Sam Stone: [00:00:11] Welcome to another episode of Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I’m Sam Stone. Our first guest up today, Chris Wilson, founder and CEO of WPA Intelligence. Prior to starting WPA in 2004, Chris was global director of research for Weber Shandwick International, the world’s largest public relations firm. At the time, in 2021, he was named Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his work directing, survey, research and predictive analysis. Analytics. Can’t speak this morning on the Glenn Youngkin for Governor of Virginia campaign. In 2019, he was named Technology Leader of the Year by campaigns and elections. Awfully impressive resume. Chris, thank you again for joining us and welcome back to the program.
Chris Wilson: [00:00:55] Well, thanks. I made it all up and sent it to you. You know, that’s actually real. So wannabes out there, that’s okay. That’s okay. It’s 2023. You can do whatever you want. Now, this is radio.
Sam Stone: [00:01:01] We’re good with fluff. So.
Chris Wilson: [00:01:03] Exactly. Before we get to before we get talking some politics, tell us a little bit. Your son’s playing at University of Oklahoma and playing quarterback, right? Well, no, they actually moved him to tight end. So really appreciate you asking. Yeah, I actually played quarterback his whole life. I was recruited out of high school to a small college in Iowa as a quarterback, but decided he wanted to come home. And it was a long story, actually. I ran into former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops at a fundraiser for Kevin Stitt, who’s a client of mine, the governor of Oklahoma. And they got to talking. And one thing led to another. You know, Stoops is a walk on wide receiver. Stoops, the son, is a walk on wide receiver at Oklahoma. And he was they were talking about that. And so. Denver yeah, he moved back and and walked on in the in the spring and you got to play about probably two thirds of the snaps in the spring game and we’ll see. I have high hopes for him. The kid works his tail off and he’s really a proud dad.
Sam Stone: [00:01:56] Quarterback move into any kind of receiver position You just up your chance to get drafted by Bill Belichick. That’s right. That’s all there is to it.
Chris Wilson: [00:02:02] That’s right yeah that’s Yeah. Six three about £210 tight end. You can get out there and rumble a little bit. Yeah. There you go. Um.
Chuck Warren: [00:02:10] What a wonderful experience. I know you’re a big University of Oklahoma fan, so that’s probably extra pleasure for you seeing your boy out there.
Chris Wilson: [00:02:16] Yeah, it’s. Yeah, it’s very cool. I’m pretty excited.
Chuck Warren: [00:02:18] That’s very cool.
Chris Wilson: [00:02:19] And, you know, they’ll be out playing at BYU this year.
Chuck Warren: [00:02:20] That’s right. We’re going to see you out there for dinner. Looking forward to it. You’ll you’ll enjoy the Provo experience. All right. We’re going to play a clip real quick. We’ll click here real quick here. We’ll click on Kamala Harris’s word salad yesterday about culture. Jeremy, go ahead.
Kamala Harris: [00:02:33] Well, I think culture is it is a reflection of our moment and our time. Right. And and and present culture is the way we express how we’re feeling about the moment. And and we should always find times to express how we feel about the moment. That is a reflection of joy because, you know, it comes in the morning. We have we have to find ways to also express the way we feel about the moment in terms of just having language and a connection to how people are experiencing life. And I think about it in that way, too.
Chuck Warren: [00:03:14] So Kamala reminds me a lot of your either Sam in elementary school asked to give a book report in front of the class, and we had not read the book. I mean, that’s basically what she talks like, right? It’s just many words as possible. So my question for you is, and you’ve done so much polling for so many years, does the vice presidency even matter anymore in regarding how we view the presidency? I mean, because who no one takes her serious. I mean, polling shows that.
Sam Stone: [00:03:41] Kamala Harris brought to you by White Claw. Yeah, yeah.
Chris Wilson: [00:03:44] Yeah. It’s a word salad against word. Salad is a bad name. And she doesn’t she clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. And anytime she starts ripping on time or moments, you know, it’s going to get good fast. Right. And it’s also it’s it’s cringe worthy in the sense that even if you disagree with her and are are sort of watching sitting back going, okay this is now people are going to realize who she is. You’re also thinking how embarrassing for the United States of America that this woman is in the second highest office. I guess it’s arguable, but one of the highest offices in the land. And she can’t deliver a simple sentence without a without embarrassing herself. And then the in the morning and then she does that cackle thing. It’s really embarrassing and it’s embarrassing for the administration. And somebody’s got to just cut her off. They need to travel around like one of those big hooks that they used to have on game shows back in the 50s and 60s and just kind of pull her off stage before she goes so far that the dollar starts losing value.
Chuck Warren: [00:04:47] But so my question. Yeah, I mean, so does she prove that who we So you’re working for the superPAC for Ron DeSantis, correct? I am. That’s correct. So you’ve you’ve I’m sure this is not the primary object of your research, but I’m sure you’ve thought about who’s the best fix for him. Right. Do you think unless you get a real popular governor in a battleground state who actually has a. Political organization. Do they really matter at all?
Chris Wilson: [00:05:14] Well, you kind of you kind of answered the question with your preamble to the question is, yes, it can matter a lot. Did it matter for Joe Biden? No, because it was an affirmative action pick, sort of like his Supreme Court pick was. He made it very clear that he was looking for an African-American woman and he just wanted somebody to fill that role. And so does it matter? Let’s go back a step, though, is remember, whenever Joe Biden was rolling very damaged into South Carolina and he got the endorsement of a very important member of Congress by committing to that member of Congress that he would appoint a black woman as BP and or as to the Supreme Court. And things turned around for him there, because that vote constituency matters in the Democratic primary in South Carolina. So he went from someone who was in danger, grave danger of coming in distant in the primaries, as he had in Iowa and New Hampshire, to moving back into the frontrunner status. So it mattered to him in the primary. And did it matter in the general for him? No, it didn’t. But I think you could argue that you can look at past picks that did have a strong impact. And I think about Lloyd Bentsen, even though he lost, but for Michael Dukakis had a big impact for him in 88, probably made a pretty significant difference. I think Al Gore had a big impact for Bill Clinton. He was able to deliver Tennessee. It’s the last time, you know, Tennessee went for a Democrat.
Sam Stone: [00:06:43] And and there are certainly been picks that that had impact. Kamala, though, Chris, I have to ask, I mean, I don’t remember her being this incoherent previously. And it’s not age like Joe Biden. So what the heck is going on? Or did we all just miss it? And she actually was this this absolutely this big a mess?
Chris Wilson: [00:07:07] Well, I don’t think many people paid attention to her as a senator from California or an attorney general from California. And the good thing about being a prosecutor is you’re one. You don’t really do much prosecuting in those roles. You have people who do it for you to your lines are pretty scripted before you walk out there. And when she’s on script, she’s not bad. I mean, she can deliver a good speech, but it’s just whenever she starts riffing and I think she’s developed a little bit too much confidence in her ability to do so. And so that’s how you end up with this sort of common the sort of ongoing, embarrassing moments that you saw. I think it was yesterday when she gave the cringe speech.
Sam Stone: [00:07:41] How does someone not pull her aside on her staff and be like, this is terrible, you need to fix this?
Chris Wilson: [00:07:48] Well, have you read much about the situation with their staff? I mean, every time they do a camera angle, they all are just sitting there staring at you want to blink if they need help. And it’s I feel like there is there’s probably not anyone who can deal with her in that way. That’s on her staff. She just seems to be one of those horrible bosses that just runs through people on an ongoing basis. And it’s a it’s an unfortunate story. And, you know, it’s I often joke around that being a Democrat press secretary has got to be the easiest job on the planet. And this is certainly a representation of that because you think through what if we had if you were working for someone like that, Chuck, and you’re doing political campaigns on a major level, or if I was today, there’s no way you could survive that kind of situation. So you have one misstep word or, you know, you think back to whenever. Whenever Dan Quayle put an extra two E on potato because that was on the card in front of him. And it was a story that went on for weeks, if not months. And she’s able to just roll right through this stuff as if it’s we’re being unfair or overly critical by by analyzing the fact that she can’t put together a simple sentence about what culture is or what time is or what moments are.
Chuck Warren: [00:08:58] All right. Let’s go. Let’s talk. Let’s talk presidency. What issues do you feel are the winning issues for whoever the Republican candidate will be to defeat Joe Biden?
Chris Wilson: [00:09:12] I think that starts and almost ends with the economy. You’ve got to understand that, that Americans are hurting. The price of everything has gone up substantially under Joe Biden, that the price is almost cost prohibitive for people to be able to commute to work on an ongoing basis. And that’s by design, frankly, by the Biden administration. And so those are the those are the contrasts that have to be drawn and that and they’re important. It’s really just the overall significance, the overall ability of America to continue to succeed is is incumbent is dependent on that. And so I’d say that’s number one. And if you were to go to a second point, I think there is a little bit of building, not a little bit, but there’s a lot of rebuilding America’s stature in the world after the withdrawal in Afghanistan, the way China has acted toward us, the way that Russia has acted toward us, there is just a complete dismissal of the United States as a foreign power at this point. I think that’s an that is an important aspect, someone who can reclaim that. And I think there is another important aspect is just the overall important issue is the ability of parents to raise their own children. It is a a stunning development the way that Democrats have tried to get between parents and their kids. And I’ll tell you, it’s one of the reasons why you mentioned at the beginning that I worked for Glenn Youngkin. It’s one of the reasons why Glenn Youngkin beat Terry McAuliffe, because Terry McAuliffe said made the famous gaffe that he didn’t want parents telling teachers what they should teach their kids.
Chris Wilson: [00:10:53] And moms and dads in Virginia rose up and said, no, I disagree with that. And I really think that and to be clear, I’m on the super PAC side of the partisan super PAC side. So let me compliment the campaign. They put out a video yesterday for moms for DeSantis, which Casey DeSantis talked about the role that Governor DeSantis has played in the state of Florida of protecting the rights of parents to raise their kids in the way they want to and to stop any woke teachers or woke systems from being able to intervene in the right of a parent to make decisions for their children or their children’s education, their children’s, the way their children are raised, whether or not their children are able to go and mutilate themselves with a doctor or have themselves mutilated by a doctor. It’s just the overall the decisions that or the process that’s going on right now. Those of us who have kids have kids. And, you know, I have five that the attempt of the left to get between a parent and their children and inject themselves into everything from the education to the raising to even the mutilation of that child is stunning to me that they believe that that is okay. And so I think that is also going to become it’s a major issue that’s going to come to light, particularly if Governor DeSantis is the nominee because of what he’s been able to do to protect the parents rights in Florida. And I think that is could be the difference between a Republican winning and a losing right again, like we did in 2000.
Chuck Warren: [00:12:28] Great. Well, we’re going to take a quick break. We’re with Chris Wilson. You can find him on Twitter at Wilson, WPA. You can also find him on Instagram at Wilson, WPA. Follow Chris. He has great insights. You’ll stay up to date on what’s going on on country. This is Chuck Warren Sam Stone at breaking battlegrounds, vote. We’ll be right back.
Sam Stone: [00:13:05] Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I’m Sam Stone. Folks, it’s been another crazy week on the stock market. And if you need a opportunity to make a very high fixed rate of return, if you’re looking for a fantastic return, that’s not coupled to the stock market where you’ll know what each monthly statement will look like with no surprises. You need to check out our friends at invest y Refy.com invest y refy is connecting student loan borrowers to to investors and they are just doing great for people on both sides. It’s a fantastic opportunity. We highly encourage you to check it out. Go to their website at invest y refy.com or give them a call at 88yrefy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you. All right. Continuing on with Chris Wilson of WPA Intelligence. Chris, you are working in the primaries right now. One of the things I think there’s obviously a lot of noise with Trump and DeSantis and some of the other candidates out there. But in terms of the issues, what issues should Republican voters be focusing on or Republican candidates be focusing on first to win the primary, but second, and more importantly, set themselves up to win the general election?
Chris Wilson: [00:14:19] You know, I think from an issue standpoint, kind of what we covered in the last segment is, is what matters. I mean, all of those issues matter for Republican primary voters to the economy, parents right to raise their own children, a strong education, things like that. But I’ll tell you what, if I were advising candidates directly, and particularly if I was advising this kind of gets into you move down from the presidential campaign because I still work with and WPA intelligence, we work with dozens, sometimes even hundreds of candidates around the country. And one of the things I can tell you I hear from them to a person is a concern about who is at the top of the ticket in 2024. And I’ll tell you, this is not to nerd out too much on you guys, but there have been a lot of academic research that’s been done about the impact that Donald Trump has had since he emerged on the political scene on elections and everything. Be careful what you wish for. Impact of President Trump endorsed in the midterms by Ballard and others, Comparing the impact of Joe Biden on popular attitudes to the parties. By Jacobson. 22 elections by also by Jacobson. But the most recent one, which is really interesting one by experimental evidence on public perceptions of Trump endorsements by Barron, McLaughlin and others all quantify the impact that Trump has had going back to 2018 on close elections. And the reason why this matters is if Democrats take a majority in the Senate, they’re going to stack the Supreme Court. They’re going to get rid of the filibuster. They’re going to make D.C. and Puerto Rico states these aren’t these aren’t like pie in the sky speculations. These are things they say they want to do, they would do today if it wasn’t.
Sam Stone: [00:16:00] They’ve been very clear they want to do everything you just said.
Chris Wilson: [00:16:04] So the study I just mentioned by Barron McLaughlin and Bloom on experimental evidence on public perception of Trump endorsements is that when Trump gets involved in a race, it actually costs that candidate seven points. It goes a high from nine to a low of five in a competitive general election. So I want you to think back to last cycle. You know, obviously in Utah, Mike Lee got into a close race. He was able to pull it out at the end, but there were some close races we didn’t pull out in Arizona and Georgia and Pennsylvania. We almost I mean, think about how far behind Governor DeWine, JD Vance ran in Ohio. All of those are states are races where Trump had an impact. And so you can quantify that number at 79%. So we as Republicans, I think, should really care about what happens if we have somebody at the top of the ticket that takes 7 to 9 points off of every single candidate who’s running in a competitive race. That’s a and you can real quickly run down the numbers and think about how many House and Senate seats we would ultimately lose.
Sam Stone: [00:17:03] Yeah, I mean, that’s a bloodbath that that you’re describing. And one of the things, Chris, that I don’t think I haven’t really seen polling that quantifies this more so just dealing with anecdotal evidence from independent voters or soft voters, whatever you want to call them, they are completely hardened against Trump, rightly or wrongly. And this is one of the things I tell a lot of Trump supporters.
Chris Wilson: [00:17:29] And moving more against him, by the way.
Sam Stone: [00:17:31] Yeah. And moving more against him.
Chris Wilson: [00:17:32] Surveys, they continue to move more against him. Yes.
Sam Stone: [00:17:35] And so I mean, for him to if he’s going to be at the top of the ticket, he and his team have to address that. There’s no evidence they’re doing so. I mean, they’re doubling and tripling down on all the things that are driving that cohort away.
Chris Wilson: [00:17:48] No, I agree. And it’s it is a real problem because there is nothing that’s been done since 2020 to change the face of the election. If you believe that that weird things went on in Georgia and Arizona last time or there’s there’s nothing that’s being done by their campaign to guard against that. And I’ll tell you, there are weird things that happen in elections, no question about it. We had as many people, as many lawyers in Virginia at the Youngkin headquarters as we did staffers, because we wanted to guard against that. And that’s how you have to do it in any close election. It’s that has been the case since I’ve been involved in politics, which is over 20 years. And so you’ve got to guard against that. You’ve got to understand the rules and play against it. You know, I grew up playing basketball and I was there when the three point line came out. My coach hated the three point line. I said, Well, we still have to use it. Well, the same thing is true with with with ballot harvesting. I may hate that as a rule, but I can’t leave that to the Democrats to do all by themselves. And so we will compete at that level and we have to be able to compete at that level. And I think that’s the challenges that exist is if Donald Trump is the nominee, Republicans lose in 24 and they probably are 24 and they probably lose the House and the Senate by by historical numbers. And it puts us in a situation where America in 2025 and 26 is a very different place than we live in today. I don’t mean to end on a down down note, but since you asked, I think that is the most important thing that every voter should take into account when they cast their ballot for in any primary in 2024.
Sam Stone: [00:19:10] And Chuck, if the things that Chris just said listed at the start of this segment come true, in other words, Court-packing, Puerto Rico, DC. There’s no recovery for Republicans.
Chuck Warren: [00:19:21] No, that’s right. No, no, there is not. Chris, what is something we’ve talked about these main issues, the economy. You know, we have we now have out today that they did a poll of 2500 US adults and they said they need to earn $233,000 a year to feel financially secure. Then you have America’s role in the world. And I think one big thing about that’s always been is our role as the preeminent power have made us feel safe. But I also think Americans like being number one. I mean, just look at Olympic sports, right? When we win. Right. And then we have the parents, you know, being able to, you know, decide what their children do. What are other issues with your crystal ball and research that you think lawmakers need to start paying more attention to? That can be that could really turn quickly against conservatives.
Chris Wilson: [00:20:12] Well, another one that I think is has really come to the top is, is the wokeness of corporations. And I think the the the sort of forcing their values on Americans. And we’ve seen a lot of backfire on that. We’ve certainly seen a backfire with target Bud Light and it’s even Ben and Jerry’s over the weekend where they said you know every every company built on a tribe should give that land back. Everyone should give it a try. And then it turns out their their corporate headquarters on the tribe, they’ve lost $2.5 billion in corporate value since that happened. So because from people from people selling the stock and and the collapse of the company. So I think those are other aspects of it that where you look at someone who has been willing to take on woke the woke corporate left and stand up to them and take away things like tax incentives they asked for, which really I would argue that tax incentives are a conservative way of approaching work on corporations from a from a local government standpoint. And so I think those are aspects that matter, too. And it’s an important thing for us to be paying attention to.
Chuck Warren: [00:21:18] Well, Chris, we sure appreciate you joining us today and wish you the best of luck this cycle. We hope to have you on again before the Christmas season. Folks, please follow Chris Wilson at Wilson WP at Twitter, same thing on Instagram. Wilson. Wp There you can learn you can follow University of Oklahoma football quite well and you can also you can also you can also stay in touch with the research that’s going on in our country. Chris, we sure appreciate your time and we hope you have a fantastic weekend, my friend.
Chris Wilson: [00:21:46] Thank you. Good to talk to you.
Chuck Warren: [00:21:47] Thanks. Bye bye. This is breaking battlegrounds. You can follow us at breaking battlegrounds. Vote and listen to us anywhere you get your podcasts. We’ll be right back.
Sam Stone: [00:22:05] Welcome back to Breaking battlegrounds with your host, Chuck Warren. I’m Sam Stone, continuing on with our fantastic guests for today, we have Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Boy, is that something we have needed for a long time. She is an expert in budget, tax and economic policy and has worked closely with members of both parties and serves as a trusted source on Capitol Hill. Maya, thank you and for joining us and welcome to the program.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:22:32] Yeah, happy to join.
Chuck Warren: [00:22:34] So both the left and right seem to be like Keystone cops on the national debt and budget deficit. They both think this is the one way or highway and that’s the only way that works. So let’s take, for example, let’s start first with the belief that you can just tax your way out of this by taxing everybody who has money in the country. Is that possible?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:22:51] There’s not a chance. This is a problem that, quite frankly, you’re going to have to put everything on the table in order to get where we need to fiscally. But the notion that you can just do this by raising revenues and you’ll hear people who make that case saying, listen, what are the lowest tax countries in the world? We can certainly have higher taxes. True. We can have higher taxes. True. We’re going to have to have higher taxes. But absolutely not the case that you can fix this problem entirely. On the revenue side of the budget, the biggest growth in our budget imbalances comes from growing health care costs, growing retirement costs, most of those fueled by the aging of the population and growing interest costs. Because we’ve borrowed so much interest payments on the debt are the fastest growing part of the budget. So no matter how much you bring your revenues up, the fact that spending is still going to be going, growing faster than your economy means it won’t be able to keep pace. And you’re going to have to bring some of those spending levels back under control.
Chuck Warren: [00:23:50] All right. So now let’s go to the argument the right likes to make. We can just cut all these programs and we can do this all in budget. Everything, balance it in ten years. Is that reality? Yeah.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:24:01] That also not true and not even close. One of the things during the debt ceiling fight that I was really worried about was that people who thought you could do this on the spending side and wanted to be aggressive and are fiscally focused, which I am, and I share those beliefs. But I was worried they would overshoot and that they would say we have to balance the in ten years and do so by spending cuts. We’re not going to be able to come anywhere close to balancing the budget in ten years. To do so would take saving about $16 trillion over that ten year period. The last time we saved $16 trillion was easily never, not not even close. Right. So this is not even in the realm of the possible. Now, a fiscal metric that I think is aggressive but doable would be what if we just stabilized our debt so that it’s not growing faster? That doesn’t grow up to above where it is right now, which is almost 100% of GDP, just doing that over ten years so that we keep it at the same level of debt to GDP that would require $8 trillion in savings. That is an aggressive amount. It is doable, but it is not doable. On just the spending cuts side of the budget. There’s no way that no matter how much you pull back these programs, no realistic way that you could cut spending enough to save $8 trillion. The trajectory we’re mythbusting here, which is good because everybody’s out there making promises we don’t make.
Chuck Warren: [00:25:27] I mean, I’m convinced, you know, with our show, we have people I mean, we’re conservative, but I don’t think people understand math anymore. That’s my concern. I mean, this is this is yellow pad, pencil in hand, math. And no one wants to seem to admit it. And we all created this problem. So we’re all going to have to work together to get out of the problem.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:25:48] Boy, do I agree with that one. And let me talk about that fuzzy math, because basically what you have on both sides of the aisle now is kind of made up fairy tale economics. So on the Republican side, you’ll hear time and time again we’re going to cut taxes. It’s going to generate so much growth, it’s going to pay for itself. Just nowhere close to reality. If you cut taxes, it is going to help grow the economy and it will do so so that it generates about $0.20 for every dollar you spend on tax cuts. So you still have to offset the bulk of those tax cuts by cutting spending or raising other taxes. And then on the left, you hear things like this policy is so important, we shouldn’t have to pay for it, just not true. Like if something’s important, the whole point of budgeting is you should pay for it. And if it’s not important, you shouldn’t do it. But the other thing that we’ve been hearing is people for the past year are saying, don’t worry, we can just print more money. That is so fundamentally wrong. And we’ve seen that it’s wrong because we’ve just had a huge bout and are still in the midst of of high inflation kicked off because we we put too much money in the economy. Borrowing for Covid was the right thing to do. But the last bill that we did put way too much money in the economy and created this inflationary problem that has only gotten worse with with additional factors exacerbating it. So there’s a lot of made up economics out there. There’s a lot of made up mathematics. This basically comes down to the basic issue of budgets and trade offs. We shouldn’t be borrowing as much money as we are, and I can talk about that more.
Sam Stone: [00:27:17] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Maya, we’re going to come back with more from Maya macGuineas here in just a minute, folks. Continuing on. She is the president of the Bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. And frankly, Maya, we really appreciate having you on this program. We love having these kind of honest discussions that I don’t think are out there enough. And we’re going to be continuing on with that. More in just a moment. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Sam Stone and Chuck Warren. Folks, are you concerned with stock market volatility? What if you could invest in a portfolio with a high fixed rate of return that’s not correlated to the stock market or portfolio? Well, you know what each monthly statement would look like, but no surprises. You can turn your monthly income on or off, compound it, whatever you choose. There’s no loss of principle. If you need your money back at any time, your interest is compounded daily, you’re paid monthly and there are no fees. The secure collateralized portfolio that delivers a high fixed interest rate and by investing, you can do well for yourself by doing good for others. So check out our friends at Invest by Refy.com. That’s invest the letter Y, then refy.com or give them a call at 88 y refy 24 and see how you can earn up to a 10.25% fixed rate of return.
Chuck Warren: [00:28:50] Maya So I think one thing that gets lost when we talk budgets and deficits and debt is it becomes sort of an Excel spreadsheet. It’s numbers and I think the numbers seem like monopoly numbers to a lot of people, right? So, for example, we want to talk here about, look, we need to have entitlement reform. There’s no if butts ands it’s, you know, two thirds of our budget Congress doesn’t even control. It’s just mandatory. And Sam and myself and you, we have loved ones who need Social Security. They’re in it or they’re expecting it real soon. Right. But I think one thing that doesn’t get talked about enough is I’m a father. You have children based on Wikipedia. And Wikipedia never lies. Yeah. How does this when you look at these things, does that concern you for their future? What you have so much debt where you’re paying interest more, you’re paying spending more than money in the federal budget on interest debts than you are things that matter that it will create inflation, higher interest rates. Does this concern you as a mother?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:29:48] Yeah. I mean, it’s right. It’s both systemic and personal, this issue. And so first, you know, we are actually spending this year more on interest payments to finance the debt of the fast pass than the entire federal budget spends on programs for children. That’s how backwards this is. But absolutely, I mean, there are many reasons that I worry about the effects of the national debt. They’re economic. They’re leaving us vulnerable for future emergencies, their foreign policy and national security, where we’re increasingly vulnerable and dependent on other countries. But one of the bottom line issues here is we are spending a lot of money because we want to we like those things and we are refusing to pay for it because none of us like paying taxes. And so the other option is we are then saying we will borrow this money and we will push those bills onto the future, onto our kids. And I will say, my kids refuse to listen to my deficit speeches at the dinner table. So shame on them for not caring. But no, but it is. And it’s hard to get younger people to care about it because they think, as we all did when we were in our teens and 20s you’re like, the world is great. Everything’s going to be fine. I don’t need to worry about future. But the truth and it’s discouraging truth right now is we are leaving a country and frankly, a world that is much riskier, much more difficult to navigate, much more filled with potential risk to the next generation than we’ve ever seen before. And this goes well beyond the debt. It goes to national security, to the effects of technology, to all sorts of things that they need a strong budget to be able to respond to. And instead, we are giving them tens of trillions of dollars in debt that they owe just because we were unwilling to pay for these things ourselves, even though we are the beneficiaries of them.
Sam Stone: [00:31:32] Yeah, one of the things that I find interesting, Maya, is that the the media and academia or whatever has sold kids on the idea that we are facing an existential crisis, potentially the death of the planet within 20 years from environmental issues. That’s not particularly realistic. But we are facing a financial cliff that would affect them far, far more than anything the environment ever will in their lifetimes coming up very soon.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:31:59] Well, I think it’s interesting. I actually think the environment and the fiscal challenges have something in common, which is there’s no immediate moment where it turns into the problem if you default. That happened on a certain day. If there’s a government shutdown, that happens on a certain day. But when it comes to these issues, they slowly compound if we don’t do anything about them. But there’s no one moment where you say we can’t return. And so you have members of Congress constantly saying we can punt this off until another day. But there should be no disagreement on the severity of having the amount of debt we have. We’re not only are we spending more on interest than we are kids today, five years from now, we’ll be spending more on interest payments than we are on national defense. This is an increasingly risky world. And so I don’t know how you get kids to take this issue on and make it their own. Again, I think there’s this eternal optimism that comes with youth. That means people can’t believe it’s really that big a problem. And numbers like trillion are so hard to follow. It’s very difficult to personalize this. And lastly, the solutions, they’re not fun. Here’s the truth. We have to raise taxes, cut spending, fix our entitlement programs. Nobody thinks that’s going to be fun, but you have to do that for the sustainability of our economic health. And so it’s hard to get people to rally and march in the streets calling for fiscal reforms. But really, it’s one of the most important things that we could do that also affects all the other issues that people do worry about.
Sam Stone: [00:33:22] My I don’t know if you saw the piece that was in the Hill on the fourth by Andrew Hale said China is in default on $1 trillion in debt to US bondholders. Will the US force repayment? This is debt that was created by the previous government prior to the Maoist takeover. But in international norms that doesn’t erase the debt. China is the only country on earth not paying that. He actually suggested. Simply, we essentially nationalize that debt and wipe it off our books, take, you know, balance it against $1 trillion in in our treasuries that China holds, which would free up $95 Billion a month in interest payments. Is something like that practical or possible? And how much would that trillion dollars actually make a difference to our overall financial situation?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:34:10] Yeah, I saw that.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:34:11] Piece and I did think that was interesting. And I definitely think that a lot of this is interconnected with the tensions that we have with China and the fact that we are dependent on them, that they own almost $1 trillion of our treasuries. But I don’t think unilaterally sort of nationalizing that debt or declaring that we’re not going to repay what we owe China would be good because markets are beyond just the bilateral agreements. If we were to do that with China, there would be growing concerns through other countries, and I think that would hasten the effort that there already is to move away from the dollar as a reserve currency. And that is something that benefits us tremendously. So I think it’s actually very important that the US not make changes that risk its status right now, something that we benefit from of being the safe haven and the reserve currency. I think what we really have to focus on is balancing our own books, spending only as much as we’re willing to pay in taxes, borrowing only when there’s economic emergencies and a real reason to do so. And we can’t find any shortcuts around those those hard truths.
Chuck Warren: [00:35:12] So let’s talk entitlements for a minute, a little more detail on it. So like we said, there are people who are on Social Security now. We’ll just use Social Security example, but there’s Medicare, too, and you’ve got people who are close to retirement age. What do you think is the type of retirement reform we really should be talking about without affecting those who really count on this right now for day to day living?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:35:33] Yeah, and I think that’s the right question because I think we need to fix these programs in a way that strengthens and preserves them for the people who most need them, but understands that both of them are headed towards insolvency. Social Security and just over a decade, if we do nothing, there will be across the board 23% benefit cuts. And yet you have politicians of all stripes making promises not to touch Social Security or Medicare. Medicare also will have across the board 10% provider cuts if we don’t make changes. So these folks are promising you not to touch your entitlements, are promising you that you will have provider and benefit cuts that will affect everybody. Instead, what we should be doing is. This isn’t thought out. Policy solutions and Social Security. This is about 4 or 5 options. You can raise payroll taxes or the payroll tax cap. You can raise the retirement age, which makes sense because we’re living longer. And you could start it now, but have it kick in very, very gradually over time for people under 55, 50, whatever. You can slow the growth of benefits. And I would do that on the high end, not across the board. And you can fix the way we calculate inflation, which overstates it right now. There are a lot of fixes we could put in for Social Security, but the longer we wait and we’ve already waited too long, the more difficult they will be.
Sam Stone: [00:36:44] Maya.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:36:45] Oh.
Sam Stone: [00:36:46] I’m sorry. You talked about slowing benefits on the high end of the scale. This is something that’s come up a lot on both sides is means testing for Social Security. I’ve fought this battle with Republicans for years and just said, look, we’re just going to have to do this. This is going to come. There’s one objection coming from the right. There’s another from the left. It’s from the left, though I don’t understand their objection because it seems like that falls in line with everything else that they talk about.
Chuck Warren: [00:37:13] Make the rich pay their fair share.
Sam Stone: [00:37:14] Tax the rich. Why do we need to be, from their perspective, giving wealthy people this benefit rather than means testing it and directing it at the people that need it?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:37:25] It’s just a great question because it’s honestly a policy I have never understood. If you support progressive policies on the tax side, you should also support progressive policies on the spending side. And right now we have actually very we have regressive Social Security benefits where the well-off, their benefits are more reflecting that they paid in more in taxes. And so the concern is, oh, if you if you reduce the benefits for rich people in Social Security, there won’t be a strong constituency of support. They won’t fight to save Social Security. That’s just not true. The biggest growth we’ve seen in government benefits in past years have been like an Eitc and Medicaid programs that were directed towards the poor. So there are support. There is support for smart programs that help people who need them the most. And when I go out and I talk to people in town halls, they always say means test my benefit. If I don’t need it, no problem. I just want it there if I do. So when I hear Democrats saying you can’t touch benefits for rich people or having someone like Bernie Sanders actually suggesting increasing benefits for everybody, including rich people, it means it’s more money getting spent on those who don’t need it and less money for things that you might really worry about, like education, investment in children or at risk youth, things like that. So I think it’s an internally very inconsistent argument. And I think means testing is one of the areas that makes the most sense given the situation we’re in with Social Security and Medicare.
Chuck Warren: [00:38:48] Well, I think I think the left’s argument on this is based upon union loyalties, because they get good pensions and they don’t want to see it cut for their members. But that’s that’s a red meat conversation for another day. All right. So let’s talk about this. What do you think? I think it’s really important that the US stay the economic superpower in the world. We have certain benefits that most countries do not have, nor will they ever have. My question for you is, what do you think we need to do realistically to make sure we keep and maintain that position for the next couple of decades?
Maya MacGuineas: [00:39:18] I think there’s a few things. One, we need to start paying for all the policies that we do instead of borrowing to we need to switch our budget priorities. Right now, about 85% of our budget is consumption. 15% is investment. We need to turn that on its head. We need to be making investments in human capital, basic R&D. We just put a lot of money into infrastructure. So I think that that should be fine for a while and we need to reduce overall spending so that more of that money can be in the private sector and making private sector investments. And finally, we need to switch our spending priorities, which are all focused on the old into investments in the next generation, because just the same reason it’s damaging to borrowed so much and pushed that into the future and to kids not failing to invest in them, but giving very comfortable benefits to my father who doesn’t necessarily need them. Those priorities do not keep us strong as an economic superpower. We also want to deregulate and a lot of ways and smart trade policy, all of those things which are going to recognize the importance of our being an economic superpower in this highly integrated global economy.
Sam Stone: [00:40:22] You know, one of the discussions, Maya, that never comes up that I mean, and this may be a little bit outside your specific area of expertise is the cost of government programs has gone up dramatically, far more than the delivery of services from those programs. You’re seeing a huge bureaucratic bloat. And it would seem at some point like one part or the other needs to start getting serious about leaning down government to actually deliver the dollars where they’re intended to go.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:40:51] 100%. 100%. If you talk to anybody in agencies right now, they are feeling the bloat. There’s been so much money that has been a big run up in funding agencies in the past years, that there are situations where people are traveling because they don’t know what to do with their budgets. There are people who are absolutely underworked and it’s well known and that undermines the morale in place. So, listen, I don’t want to take away from the main point, which is we have to fix our entitlement programs. We’re not going to be able to do this without revenues. But there are savings to be had throughout the government, in the Defense Department, in the health care industries, in every one of our programs that’s out there and in the government bureaucracy itself. And this should be something in order to help regain trust in government that we are able to really go through with a fine tooth comb and revamp a lot of these programs, free them of some of the bureaucratic constraints so that people can have more trust that if they are paying tax dollars, that those tax dollars are going to be used.
Sam Stone: [00:41:48] Well, yeah, absolutely. I think all of that is critical. Maya macGuineas, thank you so much for joining us today. We really, really appreciate having you on the program. Folks, You can follow her on Twitter at Maya macGuineas, Mac McGinnis at Budget Hawks at Fix USA. Org and Crfb. Org. Maya, again, thank you so much for joining us on the program. We love having you on and look forward to having you on again in the near future.
Maya MacGuineas: [00:42:17] Great. Nice to talk with you.
Chuck Warren: [00:42:18] Thank you. This is breaking battlegrounds. Join us next for our podcast segment. We’ll be honored to have Kylie Kipper straight from Houston talking crime and baseball. We’re very excited about this.
Sam Stone: [00:42:29] It’s been a long time since we had Kylie.
Chuck Warren: [00:42:31] She’s got she’s got a doozy. So folks, follow us at Breaking Battlegrounds Vote, share the podcast, and we’ll talk to you here briefly on the podcast episode by.
Sam Stone: [00:42:51] Welcome to the podcast, only segment of breaking battlegrounds. Up next, it’s been a long time. It’s been a very long time since we had a kyli true crime update. Kylie Kipper, our producer, hates being on the microphone today. She’s been forced to be better at it. You know, you’re great at it.
Kylie Kipper: [00:43:10] That’s the I’m getting more comfortable. I meant.
Sam Stone: [00:43:12] Okay.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:12] Two years will do that to you. Two years will do that to you.
Sam Stone: [00:43:14] It’s been a while, huh? So.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:16] Kylie, you’re actually in a state where there’s been sort of this mystery. This young man was missing seven years ago, and then he showed up. And, you know, look, Americans love a kid being recovered. Story. All people do. If you don’t, you don’t have a heart. Right?
Sam Stone: [00:43:29] So this is a strange one, though.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:30] Chuck, So we’re all excited about it then. Come to find out there’s a little bit more to the story, which sadly seems to be a lot to these stories now. There always seems to be a little bit more to the story, right? So you’ve done some digging on it. Tell us about it. What’s what’s the true story here?
Kylie Kipper: [00:43:44] Yeah, So there’s a few pieces of this investigation which it’s still ongoing. They have another press conference tonight, but they had one yesterday which has caused a lot of feathers to be ruffled. So Rudy Farias was 17 years old when his mom reported him missing after he took the dogs for a walk. It turns out that he had just run away and his mom had told him that police are looking for him and we’ll put him in jail if he does not come home. So at that time, he went home two days later, but his mom never reported him of coming home. She just kept the investigation saying he’s still missing. So he was discovered this week unconscious outside of a church in Houston where the police, when they reported to it to the scene, had just ended up calling his mom, saying, we found your son. And she was like, oh, this is amazing. She posted photos. I’m putting in air quotes of him in the hospital, which people, family members, his aunts, cousins have come out to say that those photos were taken in 2012. And they’re not recent photos in which he did not, after being discovered at this church, did not go to the hospital to get any of the help that he may have needed. Um, the yesterday and the investigation. Police chief had said that they had many run ins with their family and that the entire time his mom would just say he is still missing if they would ask who he is in the house, because at this point he’s gotten older, she would say, this is my nephew and give him a fake name.
Sam Stone: [00:45:17] So So he was around. They they like set him up with a fake ID or something and were telling people he wasn’t him.
Kylie Kipper: [00:45:25] Yeah. Yeah. Um, and so the weird part about it is, is when they did the investigation with him and his mom, Rudy obviously would not speak about any wrongdoing of his mom the past eight years. So he would just say, you know, yeah, I was living at home. She just wanted me to keep it private. X, Y, z, until he got separated from his mom, which then he was doing an interview with a detective and this community activist named Quanell X. So this is where it gets like, all kind of. Different sides of the story. So the police chief in the interview yesterday said Rudy did not report any sexual assault charges by his. Or sexual assault wrongdoing by his mom. However, this Cornell gentleman who came out and was speaking and seemed very passionate about it was crying in the interviews. He was in the interview with the detective, and he clearly stated many times of sexual encounters with his mom that ultimately led him to run away after eight years, which is how he ended up at the church. So he had stolen his mom’s car to get away from his mom. And some of these can be a bit disturbing, but you know, many things. So a little backtrack, a little history about his parents is his dad was also a part of the Houston Police Department until he committed suicide in around 2011, I believe, after they were investigating him for being corrupt. So people think that that has something to do with why the police chief is saying that there was that Rudy did not report any of this. However, Quanell has come out and done a bunch of interviews on Newsnation and Fox and is just saying he’s reported that his mom would make him play daddy and would sleep naked in bed together.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:19] And oh my gosh.
Kylie Kipper: [00:47:21] Can use that kind of imagination, which ultimately would lead him to try to escape his mom again. After eight years. He would take she would take Rudy to work and make her or make him do her job.
Sam Stone: [00:47:35] Um, she what was her job, do we know?
Kylie Kipper: [00:47:38] It just seemed like some, like, low level.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:41] Clerical type job.
Kylie Kipper: [00:47:42] Yeah. Um.
Sam Stone: [00:47:44] Was there any, like, financial incentive? I mean, was she, like, raising money for the search for him or something? What’s the.
Kylie Kipper: [00:47:50] Yes, she did have, um, a fundraiser online, which her goal was 75,000. I have not been able to find if she actually raised that money. But something else that came up was in Texas. If you have a child that goes missing after three years, you get a basically like a life insurance payout. So that’s another thing that their goodness to see if she got that money. Um, but an ex-husband came out and said this is a little background about his mom now is an ex-husband came out and said that she was a bigamist. And what I could find is in 1997, she married some she married a guy. Then again in 1998, she married another guy in that same year. She wanted a annulment on the basis that she was already married to the previous guy, which neither of these is the police detective. In 2007. She then marries the detective for the Houston Police Department. And then in 1999 to 2010, there’s another marriage that’s been found and then a fourth marriage from 2009 to 2012 that has also been found.
Chuck Warren: [00:48:56] Boy, some kid sure draw the short end of the stick who they get stuck with, parents and folks for you if you don’t know, bigamy is when the crime of marrying someone while you’re still married to someone else. In case you don’t know that term, I hope it doesn’t come up a lot in your conversations at home, but nonetheless, that’s what it means. So what do you think happens now? What are the police saying? Or I guess we’ll know more tonight, right? I mean, that’s really the key.
Kylie Kipper: [00:49:16] So everyone so after this investigation between his mom and his and Rudy, the detective that sat there with Quanell X, this community activist, left the room and Quanell, said, I’m going to do interviews on this. Is there anything you don’t want me to say? And he said, No, you can say whatever you want. The detective then went into the next room and arrested or put handcuffs, not arrested, put handcuffs on the mom, which indicated that Quanell says this detective thought his mom had committed a crime. However, at the end of the day, they ended up just walking both of them out and they left together. So now no one is 100% positive where Rudy or his mom are located today.
Chuck Warren: [00:49:54] Well, how old was he when he disappeared?
Kylie Kipper: [00:49:56] He was 17 and.
Chuck Warren: [00:49:58] He’s been missing. They may say he was of sound mind to be in a relationship. I bet. I bet that’s part of it. So we’re going to have you talking about this again next week. You’ll keep us up to date when you’re back in the studio now, folks, so you don’t understand. Kylie is in Houston today, not because she loves the summer weather of Houston, but nobody.
Sam Stone: [00:50:16] Nobody loves the summer weather or the smell of Houston in the.
Chuck Warren: [00:50:19] Summer. Her fiance, Isaiah Campbell, who’s been playing Double A for the Seattle Mariners affiliate in Little Rock, was called up to the big league club, the Mariners, yesterday. And Kylie hopped on a plane and flew out there. And Kylie, just what was that experience like? What were your feelings? I mean, it’s you know, look, a lot of people don’t get to do this. So how was it for you?
Kylie Kipper: [00:50:41] I mean, sometimes still to this moment, it doesn’t feel real. Um, I think I did an interview yesterday with an MLB TV reporter, and it was very hard to articulate how I was feeling. And, you know, just like the emotions that go into it because he has just had this dream For him since he was little. And it’s finally coming true. He is. Yesterday he was not in the game yet, so we’re still waiting for his. Actual official debut. But he is on the roster and we’re hoping it’s. Tonight or tomorrow.
Chuck Warren: [00:51:10] Well, folks, as you know, Sam and I adore Kylie and the great work she does on the show and Jamie. And so I was last night watching two teams. I could care less about the Astros and Mariners waiting for her to pitch. And apparently Isaiah’s good teammate was the starter last night and decided like, let me pitch like a Cy Young Award winner this year. It’s what he did. So Isaiah did not get in the game. So this weekend, if he can pull up the Mariners and Houston Astros and look for Isaiah Campbell to come in late innings to help the team out.
Kylie Kipper: [00:51:39] Yeah.
Sam Stone: [00:51:40] Can we just get Kylie to post a clip of his appearance so I don’t have to watch a mariners Astros game?
Chuck Warren: [00:51:45] Chuck Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. So before you get Kylie off and end the podcast, we just want to give a congratulations. And since Kylie is engaged, she’ll appreciate this. Jimmy, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter today are celebrating their 77th anniversary. Now, folks, let me let me talk about this for a minute here. The US census says 6% of married couples in the United States make the 50th wedding anniversary, one tenth of a percent make their seventh of those 75 years or more. They don’t even keep the statistic. So that’s that’s how rare that is. And Sam makes a good point. You know, it’s the longevity. The lifespan of.
Sam Stone: [00:52:23] A man is like 79.
Chuck Warren: [00:52:24] Years. There’s a lot to this, but there’s a lot of people who just don’t want to be together 77 years. So there’s something to this, right?
Sam Stone: [00:52:30] It’s an amazing it’s an amazing thing. And congratulations to both of them, without a doubt. And it speaks to great character on both.
Chuck Warren: [00:52:37] It really does. It really does. And it speaks to a great partnership. Yeah. So happy anniversary to the Carters. Kylie, We’re very excited for you and we’re excited for his first pitch to Major League Baseball this weekend. And so we’ll keep in touch with you on that, folks. This is breaking battlegrounds. You can follow us on breaking battlegrounds vote. Besides the radio stations we’re on, you can also catch us on podcasts wherever you listen to a podcast, please share. Please rate. Thanks a million. We’ll be back next week.