Trish Regan: It’s a big week – inauguration week. As we go to air, we are awaiting the big day. And with that big day is going to come a lot of events in the coming days. Joe Biden, President-elect Joe Biden making it very clear he wants to get to work right away. And that’s going to include a lot of changes economically for our country. Joining me right now for a look at what those changes could be and what they’re going to mean for you, what they’re going to mean for the United States, what they’re going to mean for our place in the world, we have none other than my very good friend – wonderful, wonderful economist – Mr. Stephen Moore, the co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and a former advisor to the president – President Trump – on all of his economic policy, including the great tax cut that we saw during those four years. Steve, good to have you here.
Stephen Moore: Hi, Trish. Great to be with you.
Trish Regan: Great. So a lot coming down the pike. I mean, already we’re hearing rumblings of, you know, we’re going to join the Paris Accord, and we are going to see $1.9 trillion – with a T – that could be heading into our economy in the coming days. And that’s just the beginning, right? I mean, he’s talking about another program for February. How should we as investors interpret all this?
Stephen Moore: Great question. Well, first of all, I think I warned on your podcast a number of months ago that people should not regard Joe Biden as a moderate. He is not a moderate. We’re learning that big time in just the last week or so with the parade of very Left-wing proposals coming out of this new president. And that includes the $1.9 trillion spending bill, which is all funded with debt. And it’s not a COVID relief bill. It’s just a Bernie Sanders wish list of social spending that they’ve wanted to do for 30 years, and they’re using COVID as an excuse to do it.
You mentioned the Paris Climate Accord, which is one of the worst treaties ever, and it puts America last not first. And then, there was an announcement earlier this week about cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, which is important, really important, for our infrastructure and for us, that you and I have talked about over the years. But, you know, we are the world’s leading oil and gas and coal producer. And we need to have pipelines getting that oil and gas from Alberta, Canada and from the Dakotas and Oklahoma all the way down to Texas and throughout the country.
And this is going to make it much more difficult. What are we going to use – rails, cars, and trucks rather than pipelines? Meanwhile, China and Russia are building a $10 billion pipeline to get their oil and gas up from Siberia down to China. So China has no intention of not using fossil fuels. And I’ll just mention one other one, which is this amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants. I’m very pro-immigration, Trish, but immigrants have to come into this country legally. And it’s no surprise that you now have these caravans of people coming to the border because they think it’s just, you know, “Come on in if you can get here.” And so, those are just signs that it’s going to be a pretty liberal agenda. And yet, Wall Street seems to be shrugging it off because the markets are still pretty strong.
Trish Regan: Sure. No. And I think it’s important to think about this in terms of the overall health of the actual economy, right? The fundamentals versus investing because, hey, if they’re going to just print money then there are a whole lot of reasons why the market would go up. In part because I worry about the value of the U.S. dollar. It’s going to take that many more dollars, right, to value the stock market if the dollar is down. But let’s break apart some of these things. I want to go back to this XL pipeline, Steve, because first of all, Canada is an ally of ours. So this is not good for them. It’s not good for all the jobs that this has created. What’s going to happen to those people?
Meanwhile, to your point from a sort of political perspective on the world scale, we run the risk that China and Russia are going to really benefit from their own pipeline while we don’t have that. I guess there’s this whole idea – and you look at the ESG funds these days where they’re really pushing this, you know, environmentally friendly agenda, and you’re only going to invest in things that are [laughs]environmentally friendly. But in the meantime, you got a lot of people that have been put to work. And it was actually pretty exciting how we were going to be able to transport this energy.
Stephen Moore: So these are not $15-an-hour jobs. They are $50-, $60-, $70-an-hour jobs. You know, the people working the oil patch, and the people who are the drillers, the people who are the truck drivers, the people who are the construction workers – all of the associated jobs with our energy industry – Trish, those are $100,000-a-year jobs… $80,000-, $90,000-, $100,000-a year jobs. Those are really good union jobs. And the unions are very upset, by the way, that Biden has sided with the greens over the blue-collar workers.
And I think that’s a harbinger of things to come. But I want to mention one other quick thing because you did mention the dollar falling a little bit. We’re also seeing some signs – I don’t want to get too carried away, but we’re seeing some signs of inflation creeping up a little bit and interest rates creeping up a little bit. Now, they’ve been at historic lows, so I don’t want to get too carried away here.
But look what’s happened to gasoline prices. You know? I don’t know what they are where you live. But where we live, just the last couple weeks, gas prices are up another 15 cents a gallon. And that’s a lot for middle-class workers. You know, the cost of filling up your tank is a big issue for people living paycheck to paycheck. So I am worried about that. I am worried about, you know, whether we’re going to start to see a new trend in higher prices, higher interest rates. And if that starts to happen, our cost of borrowing when we have $30 trillion of debt, you know [laughs] – that’s a big cost to the American taxpayer.
Trish Regan: Wow. Yeah, you know, because we haven’t had to worry about inflation for so long. I mean, to the point where the Fed actually said, “We’re not going to worry about inflation. We’re OK with inflation,” because it couldn’t get any inflation. I mean, that’s a whole other conversation because I think that sometimes when you push on a string that much, it disincentivizes people to do things now. But, you know, if they know that they can do it a year from now… But nonetheless, we’ve got an environment now where the government’s printing money, people are being paid to stay home… I would just point out, Steve, I mean, look, do you really want to go wash dishes for $600 a week if the federal government’s going to pay you $400?
Stephen Moore: We find in the bill – Casey Mulligan and I have done a study. Casey Mulligan’s one of the top labor economists in the country at the University of Chicago. And we estimate that if we were to pass that so-called stimulus bill that Biden has proposed with the $15-an-hour minimum wage with paid parental leave and with paying people $400 a week supplemental unemployment benefits on top of what they normally get… by the way, when Obama passed supplement unemployment insurance, it was $25 a week. Now we’re up to $400 a week.
Trish Regan: Wait. Wait. Back up a second. When Obama passed supplemental federal insurance, how much was it?
Stephen Moore: It was $25 a week.
Trish Regan: Whoa.
Stephen Moore: Can you believe that? You know, so it’s 16 times higher.
Trish Regan: I didn’t realize that, Steve. I mean, that makes me feel like it was 1952 or something. [Laughs] $25 a week. That was nothing. So basically, they didn’t really pass anything.
Stephen Moore: Even I was surprised when Casey Mulligan told me those numbers. I was like, “Casey, are you sure about that?” He looked it up, and that was considered generous because – by the way, this was not… just so people understand, this isn’t $400-a-week unemployment benefits. It’s $400 a week on top of the normal benefits.
Trish Regan: Is that on top of your normal state benefit? So if, you know, the state of Maryland says – and I have no idea what it is – but if they’re saying you’re getting $600 a week or $500 a week or $200 a week, this is $400 in addition to that?
Stephen Moore: That’s exactly right. And so, that means that two-thirds of unemployed workers today will be paid more money for staying home and staying on the couch than going back and doing a job. And do you remember what happened this summer, Trish, when the economy was really roaring back to life when businesses started to open up again? Remember this? We still had like 20 million unemployed people, and businesses you saw for-hire signs. They couldn’t get their workers back, right?
They were getting paid more from the government not to work. And you’re going to find that problem, I think, in the next coming months. We think, actually, the Biden stimulus plan – instead of creating jobs, we think it will destroy 4 million to 5 million jobs. In other words, we’ll have 4 million to 5 million fewer Americans working four or five months from now than if we didn’t pass this bill. So it’s not a pro-jobs bill.
Trish Regan: I mean, do you have to pay that much more for a dishwasher now because the options for somebody are that much greater because the government will pay them so well to stay home?
Stephen Moore: Of course. I mean, this is just… economics is all about incentives. This is not complicated stuff. I mean, look, there are a lot of Americans who just want to work. And I’m like that. You’re like that. I mean, we don’t want to be idle. But some of these jobs, by the way, are tough jobs: being a dishwasher, working in a factory, being a truck driver. If you can make more money staying at home, a lot of people are going to make the decision, “I’m not going to get up at five in the morning and drive a truck for nine hours if I can get paid for not doing it.” And so, you’re going to see negative effects I think on the jobs market. But the most important thing is, the way we get jobs back in the United States – and by the way, I’ll give Biden some credit. I love the idea of 100 million vaccines in 100 days. We should do that absolutely because once we get Americans vaccinated, then we can get back to normal.
And this economy’s teed up for a big expanse. Here is the problem, Trish. I don’t think a new big government bureaucracy to distribute this vaccine is the right way to go. Let the private sector do it, right? Just like we did Operation Warp Speed, which was getting the government out of the way. I think we need an Operation Warp Speed for the vaccine distribution. And that means let the private pharmacies do it, the private drug companies do it. You know, let the entrepreneurs get this out there. We can do it much faster, don’t you think, without government involvement?
Trish Regan: Well, you’re preaching to the choir on that one. I have no doubt we could do it much faster. I want to go back to something you said. I’m curious about this stat. Two-thirds of unemployed workers, you said, would be paid more if they stay home than if they go back to work?
Stephen Moore: I mean, it seems absurd, right? You know, this is based on Congressional Budget Office numbers. Or another one we did, $600 a week back in the s1pring, almost eight out of 10 unemployed workers were getting more money for not going to work. That’s why you had people not showing up for jobs even as they opened up. And so, this is problematic. By the way, you have to add to that, Trish, that this bill expands food stamp benefits. It gets rid of student loan payments. They get another $1,400 shot from the government. We’re paying people not to work. I mean, it’s just craziness. Now, look, I understand there are people out there who are down on their luck, their jobs have gone away because – for example, in the restaurant industry, a lot of restaurants have been closed.
But the solution to that is, get these businesses opened again. Get the schools open. Get the restaurants open. Get the bars open. Get the little mom-and-pop stores open. They want to open up. I got to tell you, Trish, I just got back from Florida this past weekend. Florida’s opened up for business. You wouldn’t even know there’s a, you know… the only reason you really know there’s a pandemic going on is because people wear masks. But you got traffic jams. Not only are the restaurants open in Florida, you can’t even get a reservation for a restaurant. I mean, they’re so crowded. So the point is, why is Florida open and New York and California closed?
Trish Regan: Florida has – yeah. And Governor DeSantis doesn’t get credit for it because everybody looks at… I joke King Cuomo and Lord Newsom out there are, you know, deciding when and how you can open your business. And DeSantis has done a really phenomenal job getting his state back on its feet. And don’t forget, you know, people want clarity. Right, Steve? I mean, these business owners, they need clarity. And so, when it’s like touch and go as it has been in places like New York and in California – now they’re talking about reopening. By the way, I find that amazing. Somehow, some way. And I guess I should just be happy for New York. But I can’t help but be a little cynical on it. Somehow, now King Cuomo – Governor Cuomo – thinks it’s a good time to open up. And he’s pointing out that if we don’t open up soon, we’ll have nothing to come back to. Yeah. Duh.
Stephen Moore: Well, it is ironic. By the way, some of us predicted that. But as soon as, you know, Joe Biden became president, all of a sudden the coronavirus just goes away. And it is a little suspicious that these blue state governors like Cuomo and Pritzker and Newsom in California are opening up their economy, you know, just as Donald Trump is leaving office. But better to get it right now than to never get it back. And there is a new movement, Trish, that I want to just get your listeners to be aware of. It’s called the “right to survive.” And that is business owners around the country who are revolting against these shutdowns saying, “We have a right for our businesses to survive.” I love it, and I’m with them all the way.
Trish Regan: Well, you know, that happened actually in Erie County in New York. There were a bunch of restaurant owners that got together, and they sued the state government because they said, “Look. You know, it’s not fair. Why are you closing us down? This is in the buffalo area, where we actually have a lesser rate of COVID than other communities throughout the state.” I mean, how is this fair? And then, they also point out that some of the other communities were allowed to stay open. See, it’s the government – once again – picking the winners and losers. “You can open. You can’t.” And fortunately for these small business owners, the court ruled in their favor. So they get to open up at 50% capacity. But how is it that we are allowing such a tremendous, vast amount of power, economic power, the ability for these businesses to survive – why do these governors get all of that?
Stephen Moore: Good question. And, you know, there are a lot of lawsuits around the country. Whether governors really have the authority to just unilaterally shut down sectors of the economy and in ways that are arbitrary and capricious. In other words, you know, you’ve got a lot of communities where the Walmart is open, and the Target is open – the big corporations. And by the way, I’m not against those companies. But, you know, they get to be open, but the little mom-and-pop hardware store or the little mom-and-pop deli… that gets closed up.
I mean, someone explain to me why the virus doesn’t go into Walmart, but it will go into a Joe’s Deli? I mean, these just make no sense. And there’s a real issue of fairness. You know, look what’s happened to the stock of these big-box companies. They’re doing great. Meanwhile, these small businesses that are started by heroic men and women… they are facing bankruptcy because the government has closed them down.
Trish Regan: It’s pretty scary in some ways because you think about our lives and how much they’ve changed in the last year and how much they’re going to change going forward. I’m with you. Incentives do matter, and you need to have the right economic incentives in place, otherwise you run serious risks – to your point about people not going back to work. To your point about our industry, the energy industry, it’s almost as though – correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like they’re trying to shut it down. And if you shut it down, that comes with massive geopolitical concerns, and it comes with real economic concerns for those workers.
Stephen Moore: You better believe it. And all it takes is some level-headed – you know, people should be safe, and they should be smart about it. This virus is very dangerous and deadly. But the fact is, you know, the federal lockdowns have not worked very well. And what worries me – I’ll give you another example of what you’re talking about, Trish. You know, the idea of raising our business tax rates back up… you know, I was part of the Trump plan.
And we cut those business rates on our corporations and our small businesses, and guess what? All of a sudden, a lot of the factories that were leaving for China and Mexico… all of a sudden, they started coming back to Michigan and Pennsylvania and Ohio and states like that. And if you raise those tax rates up again – and we’re now one of the highest tax rate countries again – guess what? Those factories are going to head right back to these low-tax countries. And I think it’s kind of unpatriotic to do that because the American workers are the people who are going to suffer.
Trish Regan: Let me ask you about the immigration thing. I, like you, Steve, am pro-immigrant. I think it should be easy enough to come here. We should be smart in terms of targeting the people that we want. We shouldn’t have a ton of bureaucracy, but we should be, I think, thoughtful about recruiting people. Every other country in the world, by the way, is. It’s not like this is some, you know, newfound thing. Most really developed economies are very thoughtful about who they allow in. And yet, there’s this push right now like everybody can come. I mean, if you – it might’ve been a missed opportunity, frankly, politically speaking, for the Republican Party if Trump had said, “OK. We’re going to provide amnesty to 11 million people.”
That might’ve bred some loyalty, if you would, to the Republican Party. Now that upper hand, if you want to think of it that way, could go to Biden. But my question is, is that it? 11 million and they’re done, or does this mean you’re going to just see people pouring into this country? Because while our demographics might suggest we need more people, I would also point out if you’re offering everybody all this money and these programs and free college and free health care, free this, free that… there’s no model that shows we can afford it.
Stephen Moore: So it’s interesting. There was an article. I think it was the New York Times that I was reading just the other morning about the amnesty program that Biden wants. And this liberal activist said, “See? This is so amazing. Not only are we getting amnesty, but there’s no border enforcement.” You know, the deal was we will build a wall, we’ll have a secure border, and then we’ll provide amnesty. Well, Biden’s saying we’re not even going to worry about border security. We’re just going to provide amnesty. It’s not an accident that you have these caravans coming from countries like Honduras now coming to the border.
By the way, if I was a Honduran, and I’d get in one of those caravans and I come to the border because they’re basically saying, you know, if you can get here, we’ll let you in. And look, without immigrants and the immigrant workers in this country, we probably would not have been able to get through this pandemic. I mean, it’s amazing. When there are so many of the nurses, so many of the delivery people, people working in the hospitals, people working in the airports and so on… I’m just amazed at how many of them are immigrants. They have an incredible work ethic which I just love about immigrants.
So I’m a big fan of immigrants. I just think we need an orderly process. We can’t just say anybody can come into the country. Come on. I mean, that’s going to invite criminals, terrorists. It’s going to invite, you know, people who want to just come here and go on welfare. No. That doesn’t work for America. We’ve got an orderly, legal process that I think has been very generous. And if you want to come here and work, we want you.
Trish Regan: And I love that. I agree with you. Is there an example of a country anywhere that just says, “Hey, come one, come all”?
Stephen Moore: Well, at one point in America we had that, you know, back when we were founding our country.
Trish Regan: Let me just say, like, even then it was tough. You came into Staten Island, and if you had a fever or this or that, you were quarantined. You know, they were changing people’s names because a long Italian name didn’t make any sense to the person that was filing the paperwork. So they’d change… I mean, yes, we did welcome a lot of people. But there were, you know, systems in place to say, “OK. Well, we’re going to track you when you’re here. And by the way, if you have health concerns, etc., then you need to quarantine before you’re out in the community.”
Stephen Moore: That is true. So I stand corrected. You’re exactly right. When all of these immigrants during the turn of the last century came, the Great Wave of the European immigration came in through Ellis Island, you’re absolutely right. We tested for two things: No. 1, do you have some kind of communicable disease? Because if you did, you were sent back. And No. 2, we want to make sure the people would not become what was called a “public charge.” They wouldn’t just come in and go on welfare – you’re able to work and take care of yourself. And those are exactly the same kinds of screens we should have today.
Look, we have the opportunity to bring in truly the best and the brightest, not just the – I mean, the technology people, we need more nurses in this country, construction crews. My goodness, we have a construction crew at our house right now because we’re building a new bedroom. You know, there are seven guys working here. They’re all immigrants. It’s amazing. And they’re the hardest-working people I ever saw. Love this, you know… so one guy’s from East Germany. One guy is from Croatia. One is from Mexico. You know, people want to come and work, that’s what made this country great. But the idea that we’re just going to let these caravans of people in not knowing anything about them, Trish – I think that’s a recipe for disaster.
Trish Regan: No, I hear you. But you know what? You’re just talking sensibly. And unfortunately, this has become so darn emotional and so divided. And we’re going to talk with the next guest a little bit about why that is because I think the media has played a role in it, and the politicians cater to it, right? But for whatever reason, nobody’s thinking about this logically, Steve. I mean, this is why – you and I have known each other a long time. And I always love talking to you because, to me, you should look at politics through an economic lens. And you do that. And, you know, I think the economic lens provides you with a lot of insight into just what makes sense.
Stephen Moore: Well, I’ll just say this because I know we’re running out of time, Trish, which is, the economy is really teed up. It’s like a golf ball that’s teed up. It’s ready to be hit 350 yards right down the middle of the fairway. You know, we’ve got the vaccine coming. Trump has done an amazing job of rebuilding this economy, notwithstanding some of the shutdowns in these blue states. But we have 33.3% growth in the third quarter. We’re going to get something like – somewhere between 8% to 10% in the quarter that’s just ended – the official numbers come out in a week or two. A lot of the forecasts are for 6%, 7%, 8% growth in 2021.
So Biden is now – you know, he’s saying, “Oh, my gosh. I’m inheriting this economy that’s in collapse.” That’s ridiculous. No. It’s ready to boom. And if Joe Biden were to ask me – he’s not going to – but if he were to ask me, “What should I do to make sure we have a strong economy?” I’d say, “Mr. President” – which he will be soon – “Just don’t do anything. You know? It’s ready to go.” Sometimes just doing nothing, letting the system work – keep the taxes low. Don’t pass all these new regulations and all these massive, new spending plans, and I think we’d be teed up for another two or three years for really solid growth.
Trish Regan: I think you’re right, Steve. But I’m not sure that that’s going to happen. I think they’ve got some grand plans. I’ll keep checking in with you on all of it. I want to encourage everybody to sign up for your e-mails like I’ve told you many times. Phenomenal e-mail that you can get. The Committee to Unleash Prosperity sends them out every day, sometimes twice a day, and you are going to find some of the best news in there. Thank you so much. I’ll talk to you soon.
Stephen Moore: OK. Take care. [Music plays and stops]
Trish Regan: All eyes are on Washington, D.C. right now. Very exciting week. The president-elect is about to become officially the president of the United States. But this has not been an easy transition, [laughs] so to speak. It’s been really quite difficult. And you consider what happened at the Capitol building last Wednesday. You consider sort of the challenge that’s being presented right now for our country because you have so many people on both sides so angry with each other, so angry. And there’s all this vitriol… I mean, think about right now even how the Left is characterizing those on the Right.
Recorded voice: Both people that we just showed in the U.S. Capitol – how do you begin to deprogram them?
Recorded voice: It’s the family, friends, and former members that – once we educate them – we coach them on how to interact and empower the person to start thinking for themselves. The most powerful technique is asking a respectful, thoughtful question and being quiet and really waiting a long time for an answer and then following up.
Recorded voice: Here are your tips: how to help free someone from the cult of Trump. You say, always act with respect, kindness, and warmth. Avoid conflict or harshness. Keep the dialogue open and civil. Be collaborative rather than competitive. Don’t get angry. Don’t tell them. Help them make their own discoveries. That all makes sense, but it sounds like you’re saying it has to be done one at a time. There are millions of people who believe that the election was rigged.
Recorded voice: Yeah. No. We’re going to need a top-down approach in terms of… I mean, if Congress would like me to come and testify and people can grill me, Republicans and Democrats can ask me. I can bring my colleagues along. But the bottom line is, people who have love and respect for the actual members – they’re the ones who will have the power to deradicalize and help them recover because we’re going to have a huge need for a recovery.
Trish Regan: And then, there was a guy who has made his living being a communications hack, effectively, for the Republican Party. Anyway, now and ever Trumper. He had this to say about the future of anyone who voted for Trump.
Recorded voice: The winners write history. And they’re the losers. And they’re the architects of sedition and insurrection, violence, and death. There will be no forgetting. There will be no forgiveness. They don’t get to rewrite what’s happening.
Trish Regan: I get it. All right? There’s a lot of anger still out there. The problem with this is that we need as a country to set a new course. One of my biggest frustrations with the last four years was how much vitriol was out there, how much both sides hated each other.
And now, it should be an opportunity – and we’re going to hear Joe Biden, President-elect Joe Biden – at the inauguration talk about the importance of unity: things that I do think are critical for this country. And yet, you got, frankly, losers like this guy… sorry, but this is a loser that talks like this, who wants to tar and feather 75 million people. OK? That is basically half the voters out there. So before you do that, shouldn’t you be working to try and help bring everyone together? Isn’t that important for the president-elect, soon-to-be President Joe Biden? For him to get his agenda off the ground, he needs buy-in. He needs buy-in from everyone.
And the more you splinter these communities, the further you dig yourself and our country in a hole. You know what? I want to go right now to somebody who’s really made it now her mission to try and bridge this gap between both sides, to try and understand both sides and to try and promote positive interaction between both sides. Not at the political level, but just at sort of the human level, right? Because we all live in towns together and need to send our kids to school together and go to barbecues on Saturday night together. And the humanity sometimes in the politics gets lost. And so, Sara Goff is really dedicated to trying to find a way to bridge this gap. She is the founder of bridging-minds.com. And she joins me right now. Sara, welcome.
Sara Goff: Thank you, Trish. Great to be here.
Trish Regan: Well, I really admire what you’re doing because, you know, you and I have talked about it before. And I’m like, it’s really hard. Like, I’ve never seen a time in my entire career when people really felt these convictions so strongly, almost like they’re – you know when you’re driving in your car and someone gives you the bird or like flips you off because they’re mad you cut… and there’s like this anonymity, and they feel like they can do that? It seems that way now, right? Because of politics, maybe because of social media, people feel – and this is both sides that are guilty of this – They feel like they can just write off the other side as just crazy people, bad people – whatever. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. Your thoughts?
Sara Goff: Right. Well, we’re working with all sides. And that has been our motto since the very beginning. We started about 18 months ago. And in the spirit of Martin Luther King Junior – whose birthday we just celebrated – he said, “More than ever, my friends, we are today challenged to be neighborly.” Now, that was back in the ’60s, and here we are still challenged to be neighborly. I think it’s a human issue thing, a human nature thing.
Trish Regan: Well, that’s disappointing. It makes me sad for human nature, Sara.
Sara Goff: Right. It’s something that we all struggle with ourselves. And like you said, we are working on the ground with our selves, with our families, our relationships in our communities and schools. And we believe it starts there and changing the mindset from, “Let me attack anyone who thinks differently than I do,” to, “Let me listen to people who think differently than I do” because that is America. We cannot make America one thought. It will always be a vast array of stories and opinions. And that’s largely the beauty of us.
So we have to look on the bright side there and then find ways to help us work against our human nature to want to say, “No. My way is right,” and say, “Wait. There’s a different way to have a really meaningful, purposeful, productive conversation.” And I think if the people lead the way, and we really write our articles, we get our voices out there we contact our representatives and we say, “We want cooperation. We want peace in our country. We want to be united.” And we want leaders who listen to all sides as well.
If you have somebody in the office who’s only working for one side, that’s not going to work. You have to – hopefully going forward, we’re going to have everyone included in the conversation and look for a little bit more compromise where we can. But yeah, I hope I can help here today. I have some steps that might make it easier to have conversations. Think of the people in your family who you really disagree with… that it’s just, “My way or the highway.” And basically, the past four years or longer likely you have had a difficult time in your relationship because you haven’t been able to get past a few issues, right?
Trish Regan: I know someone who was best friends with somebody for 47 years and won’t talk to that person because that person supported Trump, and the other one didn’t. And I’m like, whoa, I mean, it really – and so, now that there’s this talk of deprogramming and Katie Couric saying they need to be deprogrammed and this… I call him a loser just because, to me… and I got to say, like, I consider myself an intellect. I am a registered independent. I actually have voted for both sides. And I like to listen to both sides. I mean, I tend to be more conservative on the economic front – right, rather than liberal.
And most listeners and viewers know that about me. But nonetheless, I always want to listen. To me, you know, if you stop listening it becomes less interesting. Part of developing ourselves as intellects is being willing to hear different sides and having the empathy, frankly, to understand these different sides. But right now, it’s more about – OK, it feels like a post-Civil War, really. I mean, the way you heard that guy talk – the one that we just heard. And when you hear some of these others, it feels like, “OK. We won, and now we are going to kill and wipe out everyone else.” How is that productive? And if you’re Joe Biden, isn’t that actually more of a problem for you than not, Sara?
Sara Goff: We need to choose a different path than the divisive path. Absolutely. That’s pretty clear at this point. And it’s going to come from the way that we talk to each other and the way that the leaders lead us. And the best debaters know all sides. You can’t just be in your own vacuum and think you’re going to get across your belief and really cover a topic if you don’t understand the topic in its entirety. So we can’t shut down half of a conversation and think that it’s going to end up with a productive result.
Trish Regan: It makes me feel old because when I went to school, it was very discussion-based, and it was very much about like, let’s have at it. Right? Like, you know, different opinions. Let’s really dissect them and think about them and really debate them. And then, I can remember being in college. And in college, you would write a paper. But you weren’t going to get an A if you didn’t explain the whole other side. I mean, you’d try and shoot down the arguments on the other side, of course. Right? Because you wanted to have a compelling viewpoint. But nonetheless, you had to explain the other side. And nowadays, the other side is not even being allowed to be explained.
Because, you know, it’s sort of like you can’t even give it any oxygen whatsoever. I just worry, Sara. This is what I worry about. If you continue allowing this kind of division, if you shut off half the population, these people are going to sort of go underground, feel like they’re being discriminated against – right – because of their political beliefs. And it’s been my experience that a lot of conservatives are really, you know… they’re just good people that believe in a meritocracy, that believe in America, that want the same opportunities for their children that they’ve had in the future. And yet, they’re going to be told they’re bad people. So, I mean, isn’t that sort of the antithesis of what you want right now?
Sara Goff: Right. And that’s when the violence starts to stew, and the anger and the desire for revenge starts to stew. And eventually, it boils over as we’ve seen. I think the best way is when we understand each other as people and listen to, “Well, what are your experiences that led you to feel the way you feel? And what are the hardships you’ve endured that make you so passionate about our belief? What are your fears?”
And if we really listen and try to understand and have empathy for the people who are truly angry – and this is not just for now and the group of people that rioted. But it’s for anybody, any group of people that have been suppressed or have felt that they haven’t been heard or feel misunderstood. You needed to get to know them and understand what their feelings are. And a lot of times, as soon as they feel that they’re at least being heard and understood, the anger just – a lot of the anger can go away. It allows room for big, deep breaths and to say, “OK. Well, at least I’m being respected as a human being for what I’ve been through.”
Trish Regan: And I just want to clarify for people that are listening, Sara. Like, this is no exception. Like, this is no excuse for what happened at the Capitol building. I was sick to my stomach when I saw it. And my immediate thought was, “Wow, you know, this basically gives cover to the other side to say, ‘See? You know, you can’t trust those conservatives. Look at this. They tried to take over the government.'” And so, they will keep pointing to this for years. There is a little bit of a double-standard. I get it, right? Because people say, “Well, why is it that the Left was sort of sanctioning or condoning or saying… there was a CNN anchor saying, “Oh. Well, you know, protests aren’t always peaceful,” back when the rioting and the looting were happening. But two wrongs never make a right. And they are in charge right now. So there will be this sort of, “OK. Remember that time when they stormed the Capitol building?”
So I do want to emphasize it. I’m not giving any kind of pass in that way. That was horrible, and the president really should’ve been more forthcoming, more immediate as well, in trying to stop that. But nonetheless, to your point, understanding how people feel, that’s an important part, I think, of breaking through this divide right now. Otherwise, I don’t know. I mean, I get it. When they talk about – especially in France, they have these issues with people from the Middle East feeling very, very suppressed and discriminated against. And you can understand if you’re discriminated against in those ways, you’re going to start to get upset. And it’s going to boil over in ways that are not productive or helpful by any shape or form for society.
Sara Goff: Right. And then, you’re in a situation where there has to be accountability, and there has to be justice. Absolutely. That’s when things have gone too far, and you need to lay down the law. For sure, I agree with you on that. But let’s not get to that point. And I can – actually, we were just talking in our Bridging Minds group on Facebook today about peaceful protests and giving examples of successful peaceful protest. If you have something to say, protesting is a big part of our culture in our country. But you can do it peacefully, and it can be a very successful movement. But I’ll give you – how about if I give five steps that are helpful in having the conversations that hopefully will dissipate the anger and the desire for revenge and where the misunderstandings begin, if you can really work towards having productive conversations.
And it’s easy. These are easy steps. I’m a big fan of steps because when you’re in the heat of the moment, everything goes out the window, and you’re all emotion. But we say don’t let your emotions get in the way of your intellect. So keep hold in your mind steps that can direct the conversation in the right way. And these steps spell out RREAL. And the first one is Respect, which goes without saying. Show people the respect that you want to receive. The second R is Reiterate. And that’s important because it gets miscommunications and misunderstandings out of the way, and it shows that you care and you’re listening.
So if somebody says their point, say, “So let me understand. You’re saying this…” or “So just to be clear, is this what you mean? Just to reiterate…” And also, the E in RREAL is Encourage with questions. So, again, showing that you’re curious, you want to understand the person, you’re keeping the conversation alive by asking questions. And the fact that you want to learn about some view that is maybe, you know, far different from your own doesn’t have to affect your own views. It’s not saying you’re changing your mind, and you can still stand very confident in your own views. But to ask questions and just to create a feeling of camaraderie in the conversation really helps.
And then, the A, which is the be-all and end-all, is Agree to disagree. I think these conversations couldn’t happen without “agree to disagree” [laughs] because you can go into them thinking, “I’m going to convince this person to maybe change generations of a certain belief to my side.” You can’t expect that. It’s not likely going to happen. But you can agree to disagree in a way that is really positive and makes you feel good inside. Because you say, “You know what? I hear what you’re saying. That’s really interesting, and I really appreciate this conversation. We’re definitely going to agree to disagree right now. I still feel differently but thank you anyway.” And that’s for the L – the last letter in RREAL – Leave the conversation open.
Because a lot of times, if we’re talking about family members, friends, people in your community, you’re going to see them again. Leave on a good note, even if it’s not finished, even if you feel like you might be going down the wrong direction. Just try to cut it off and be like, “Let’s talk about this another time because I really want to hear you and understand you, and I think it’s important that you hear and understand me, too. So let’s talk about this another time.” And if you leave it open and leave on a positive note – no matter what, just end positive – there is a chance that you can talk again later. And who knows? After a number of conversations, you might actually convince that person to see a bit more of what you’re saying.
Trish Regan: And I just feel like in some ways – it’s just respect people. Like, you don’t have to change everyone’s mind immediately. It’s just respect. And if we could get a little more respect and appreciation and empathy for different sides into society, I think it would be a more civil place. So I want to encourage everybody they can find you on bridging-minds.com and also on Facebook. You have a really, really active Facebook group there where people are learning a lot about how to have these conversations in good ways. And so, people that are really frustrated right now can go onto your social media platform and talk through it with like-minded – at least open-minded, I should say – people.
Sara Goff: It’s such a pleasure to be here talking with you. Thanks a lot. [Music plays and stops]
Trish Regan: So there’s going to be a lot happening for the next four years, a lot of things that I’m not going to agree with. [Laughs] A lot of things economically that I do not think are going to be helpful for the country. But you know what? Joe Biden is our president, and I respect him as our president because this is the United States of America, and we respect our presidents here. So we may not agree with something. But as Sara was just saying, it’s important to always listen, to show respect.
And if you want to really get your viewpoint out there, then you lead, which is what we’re trying to do here at American Consequences. Make sure you sign up on americanconsequences.com. You can get my pieces there, and I will see you where I am every single day on the podcast, Trish Intel. Have a great, great week. Let’s hope it’s fairly uneventful. OK? [Laughs] I say this, again, just as we go to air right before the inauguration everyone. I think America will prevail. And my advice to anyone is to never bet against this great country. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week. [Music plays]
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