United States Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) at The Mansion with CXRE Asset Director Rick Walker
United States Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) joins Rick Walker at The Mansion for its second episode. Mike Lee is a politician, businessman, and attorney. Mike and Rick cover family, the Green New Deal, Aquaman, Hamilton the Musical, and what it’s like to be in DC in 2021.
About the show: Conversations at The Mansion is a new guest-driven video podcast bringing together the most interesting thought-leaders who provide viewers with unique perspectives at the intersection of media, business, politics, responsibility and work, in a casual, fun and free-flowing conversation at The Mansion.
One of the reasons I’m not likely to move to Vermont anytime soon, notwithstanding the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which is delicious,
James Madison, where Jimmy and I are close we go we go back a long way. So I call him Jimmy.
You’re a vampire. So
yeah, that’s, that’s right.
There what happened when we lose sight of the limited nature of government, and the need for limited government, especially within our federal system,
and Paul, Paul, Paul
said very clearly is for freedom. That crisis sets you free,
is 25 years, my senior. He’s got a lot more hair than I do. He does, which which isn’t fair.
I’m Rick Walker. I’m sitting down with some of my most captivating friends to discuss topics ranging from politics and business, to religion and pop culture. Welcome to conversations at the mansion. Senator Mike Lee, thanks for joining us.
Welcome to Texas.
Oh, it’s good to be here.
So let’s just jump right in with politics. if that’s okay with you. You’ve been in the Senate for 10 years go on your 11th. What? What is it like being in the minority right now in this sort of hyper partisan type of environment, especially working in DC day in day out?
You know, it’s different. It’s different than many would imagine. On the whole, I’d say over the last 10 years, the Senate is actually a more collegial place than people might imagine. From the outside, in part, because you have TV crews follow people in any workplace and you have them capture the most contentious moments in the workplace, and then put those on TV, people are going to walk away thinking that they’re just constantly arguing. It’s not really how it works. That said the last few months have been very different. The last few months have been particularly tense. I’d say that most democrats and most republicans speaking at least for myself here really like each other genuinely as as colleagues, even when we don’t agree on a number of things. But it’s getting a little tense lately, is there have been some growing pains with the Senate, losing the majority among Republicans, and with the transfer of power from one administration to the next. different political parties. It’s tense.
Great, great. And I noticed there’s some some corks that fallen. Everyone saw Joe mansions, comments yesterday about maybe he wouldn’t support the infrastructure bill because of the corporate tax hike. I assume there’s some fun surprises there with the 5050. Split. Yeah,
there are and love Joe mentioned. Talk to him all the time. One of the things I appreciate about Joe Manchin is that he’s genuine, he’s authentic. He is who He says He is. And he’s a man of his word. He’s also not someone who’s going to take orders from anyone else. He views himself as having earned his own election certificate in his home state of West Virginia. He doesn’t work for anyone but the people of West Virginia.
Sure, sure. HB one that that I think just just got handed off to the Senate in the past few days. What are your thoughts on that? Because it seems like it totally changed the entire electoral process. And maybe it’s something that’s contrary to what the what the founders intended.
I have grave concerns with HR one, which is sometimes referred to as the illegal voting act, in part because much of its purpose focuses on federalizing the voting processes, federalizing elections, elections, remember one of the last bastions of state authority, it is states, not the federal government, in charge of elections in charge of registering people to vote of actually setting up the polls, counting the votes, and so on and so forth. HR one, among its many other sins, would make it difficult to impossible for states to call through their voter registration files and get rid of people who have moved out of state who have died who have registered to vote somewhere else. These are things that really should be decided at a state level, sure, not by Congress, and they’re flipping the principle of federalism on its head to great danger, and this would not be without consequence, is could end up putting us in a position. I believe where it would fundamentally change the political paradigm in this country. Sure, sure.
And I think we just got a lecture maybe 90 days ago about the importance of the state legislators in the in the selection process.
No, that’s right. That’s right. And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. What right what what was true a few months ago about the the primacy and in many cases, the sole sovereign capacity of the states. is no less true today than it was just a few months ago. Yes, yes. Yes.
Well, so I have a I have a thank you gift. It’s below the $20 minimum. And you can you can leave it if you have to. But I want to give you a gift. Thank you. And I want you to tell me tell me a story about the gift. So we’re throwing you off off guard here. But there’s there’s certainly a story around the gift.
Oh, yes. Well, this is this is fantastic. First of all, thank you your beautiful t shirt. Though, of course displays Aqua man, one of my favorite superheroes. I think the significance here likely has to do with a speech. Yes, that’s right on this hugely viral speech just a couple years ago, yeah, I gave a speech about the green New Deal. And opened with a picture of Ronald Reagan running on a velociraptor holding a bazooka, and a shoulder mounted missile launcher. And I opened it by saying, you know, this is a picture of Ronald Reagan, fighting the culminating Battle of the Cold War. And then I, of course, went on to explain why there was no culminating Battle of the Cold War it was, it was one without firing a single shot. And this picture and the story I initially told about It is therefore as fanciful as the assumptions underlying the green New Deal. And then I displayed a series of images about how far we can take the green New Deal showing a drawing of a tom tom. That’s
right. That’s right. Yeah.
species of reptile mammalian on the ice planet of Hoff providing for effective transportation. I also showed a picture of Aqua man given that the green New Deal according to its sponsors, would basically and air travel as we know it. So what then I asked, what do we do about places like Hawaii, where you can’t really visit Hawaii without air travel? So I propose, perhaps seahorses you know that that could be really fun, right? They’re, they’re carbon neutral. They’re totally natural, there biodegradable, and all of those things. You know, it’s funny, I didn’t, didn’t warn my family that I was about to give that speech. The biggest warning I provided was to my wife. I texted her from the Senate floor as I was about to speak. And I said, I’m about to use the word frickin on the Senate floor. I referred David Barton line from Austin Powers, sharks with frickin lasers on their heads. I had some fun with with that speech. Carolyn Madden, who’s a member of my staff was in charge of putting the visual aids up because there were a lot of them. And she got great props on us. Hilarious. Yeah, she she kept a straight face through the whole thing didn’t crack up once. But you know, the, one of the thing I’ll say about that one time I was. Now this was good six months or so after I gave that speech. I was riding in an Uber somewhere. And his driver are really young millennial guys said, You know, I found something on YouTube, he might think was funny. He had no idea who I was. And I said there was this guy is giving a speech somewhere. And he kept saying, Mr. President, and he was talking about like Star Wars characters and stuff like that. Yeah, I had to explain to them yeah, I think you’re referring to a senator giving a speech about the green New Deal. And he said,
yeah. So So was there actually, anyone in the chamber when you were giving that
up? That’s Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz was in the Presiding Officer chair. And I was so glad that my friend Ted Cruz was in the Presiding Officer chair, because, you know, he and I are dear friends and we get each other sense of humor. And he was laughing the whole time. Yes, it was fantastic.
And you did close with a serious thing. You said the solution to that the green New Deal why we don’t need the Green Deal? It was because of babies make we make enough babies who have enough ingenuity in the world or some some derivative of that of that statement? Yeah,
yeah. And, look, the thought there was that we do need people we need to rely on human resources we need to rely on the fact that human beings should be viewed by us as a society is as assets not as liabilities. Something like the green New Deal or any march toward bigger government towards socialism inevitably culminates in our viewing human beings not as assets but as liabilities. And that’s a tragedy.
It is a tragedy. I definitely don’t want to get back to that. But the the idea that you’re in DC, you got things like the green New Deal, you got things like, Ah, this HB one bill. That is they’re they’re detached from reality so that he was detached from from the Constitution in the in the authority of the founders intended. The green new deal is detached from economic theory and also from a wide variety of of principles that that that have to do how we live our daily lives and, and they’re just really not based in truth. They’re not they’re not coherent First of all, but they’re both they’re they’re totally illogical and they’re in their formation. Why do you think there’s such crazy things coming out of DC? Do you think that it’s, it’s maybe maybe media driven? Do you think it’s maybe instinctive driven? I know, Dan Crenshaw, who we’ve had on a few days ago, said that there’s this victim versus victim theory that that’s at play, and they try to pick denies everything so they can ran through the legislation that they want? Or is it sort of sort of like moral problem where they feel like they need to maybe maybe been the will and be able to accrue power in certain ways? What What, what is this crazy stuff tend to come out of DC? You know, it’s
a tricky thing, I think it’s very difficult to unravel it and explain any one cause of it. My long standing theory is that the twin pillars of any successful society where the human condition is allowed to thrive, they have to include free markets, and robust institutions of civil society, especially communities of faith, and families, neighborhood groups and things like that, as we’ve allowed government to interfere with both with free markets and civil society, we’ve kind of placed more emphasis on government than civil society. And in many, many cases, we’ve elevated government toward a status that it should never enjoy a status, above community, above free markets, above family. And in some ways we we give to government as some of the reverence that ought to be reserved for the Almighty. That’s right, that’s of great concern to me. You remember in First Samuel chapter eight, when the people of Israel wanted a king, the prophet warned them, you don’t want a king, this is what a king will do to your sons. This is what a king will do to your daughters. This is what a king will do to your grain to your land, your property, and all of your other resources. The people of Israel continued to clamor for it saying we want to be great like other nations. In some ways, that’s what happens to us with a government we become unduly awestruck by the things that a big government can do. After all, it can build big huge buildings, it can create big new programs, it can even create really powerful weapons that impress and intimidate everyone. And when people come off stricken by that, and they they start to think of government as being, I don’t know, almost invested with qualities of omniscience and omnipotence, that, in turn causes us to come apart and disconnected and it causes us to do things we shouldn’t do. Another thing that’s happened there is that it causes us to deviate from the rulebook of governments, which is this, this this document the US Constitution, written in 1787, by wise men who I believe were raised up by God to that very purpose, because the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even Jesus Christ Himself, wants us to be free. He implores us every day to choose Liberty over captivity to choose freedom over bondage. He knows, and those who wrote this document understood that you have to split up power, you have to divide it you have to protect the people against the dangerous accumulation of power in the hands of the few. So things like HR one, things like the green New Deal. They are what happens when we lose sight of the limited nature of government. That’s right. And the need for limited government, especially within our federal system. That’s right. Yeah. And Paul, Paul, Paul
said very clearly is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Like there’s there’s there’s a purpose there to Christ, Christ work. I think about federal he was 30 plus paper number 51. Jimmy Madison, James Madison were Jimmy and I are close we go we go back a long way. So I call him Jimmy. You’re a vampire. So yeah, that’s that’s right. And he said very specifically, that you really can’t trust men that you’ve got to have a government and set up in a way that it’s it’s self governing. They have their they have the checks and balances, kind of what he inferred there. And that because men men aren’t angels. I think he’s maybe he took a quote from john adams, who said that men aren’t men are angels. You can’t trust him like you could an angel. Okay. And so you’re right, that that this division of government is set for a specific purpose. And you talk a little bit about that. You gave a great speech at the I think the Oxford club a couple years ago, on this about the vertical and the horizontal balance. I don’t know if you if you’d want to go into that.
Look in my small town of Provo, Utah, we speak of little else. Yeah, and you’re exactly right. James Madison, in federalist 51, wrote one of the best essays ever on the nature of human beings and how that nature needs to be taken into account with government. If men were angels, they wouldn’t need government. If we had access to angels to govern us. We wouldn’t need all these rules. But we’re not angels. We don’t have access to angels to run our government. So we have to have rules. Look, Madison understood something. He understood something about human nature. He was also a student of the Bible. He understood that we’re not supposed to put our trust in the arm of the flesh. I think that’s part of this contrast that he draws between men and angels and fact that we’re not angels and don’t have access to them. We gotta have rules. That’s right. And so that’s why they put in place, a document and a structure for government that separated power. With the structural protections along two axes, the vertical protection, we call federalism, it says that most of the powers to remain at the state and local level where it’s closest to the people, we established this pattern in practice, prior to the revolution of American colonies governing themselves, they did a pretty darn good job, except when the Kenyan Parliament got involved. And then they messed things up a little bit. We put just a few powers that were distinctively unavoidably constitutionally, national, everything else would be left to the States. That’s the vertical protection we call federalism, the horizontal protection operates on that this horizontal axis within the federal government, whereby we say we’re gonna have one branch, Congress, where I work,
the legislative branch,
it’s going to make the laws. That’s the most dangerous branch. And that’s why we make it most accountable to the people at the most regular intervals, all the house representatives up for reelection every two years, a third of the Senate is up for re election every two years, then we’re going to have an executive branch headed by the President that will execute, implement and enforce the laws, then we’ll have a judicial branch headed by the Supreme Court, that will interpret the law, when when people disagree about its meaning, as long as all three branches operate within their respective lanes, and as long as we keep this balance between state and federal power, along the vertical axis, we prosper. And this is, in fact prosper at the development of the greatest civilization the world has ever known. It has offered more people out of poverty, and into a middle class or better environment event than any government program ever could. And it’s precisely because it sets us free. Wouldn’t you lock up government when you restrict government, you unlike you unlock unlimited human potential. It’s kind of like the string on the kite. By holding it down, you allow it to rise, it being the people.
Great. And he Thomas will talk about the constraint versus the unconstrained and those two visions. So so the the basis of this and what federalist 51 was about, and you mentioned that Jimmy was a was a great scholar of the Bible, that you got Romans 323, all sudden falls short of the glory of God. And that’s sort of the thesis of so I’m a Baptist guy. And so we believe in a concept called Original Sin. I don’t think Mormons have the same belief. But maybe there may be something similar there. That because Adam sin, we all eventually sin. We all make mistakes, whether we do it in action, or we do it in thought or do the right thing for the wrong intent. But but that seems to be kind of their their basis for why they need to set these checks and balance. They realize 350 years ago that men, if left to their own devices will eventually do the wrong thing.
That’s right. That’s right. And yeah, I mean, we believe essentially the same thing. We’re not responsible for Adam’s transgression, but we are affected by it. He opened up the seal, to the condition of mortality and all human beings, ever since Adam, had been in a condition where this safe one that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sinless, all others are sinful. And that’s exactly why we need these protections. That’s right. That’s human beings are deeply flawed. We are redeemable, but we’re also flawed. And we got to take that into account with our system of government.
That’s right. That’s right. So you clearly you’re a constitutional scholar. And in some of us are some of us like to be constitutional amateur readers, I guess. Definitely not scholars.
Constitutional amateurs are 1000 times better than constitutional scholars on any day. And part for that reason, and important because I really am just an amateur. I put myself in the amateur camp.
So so I want to know what your thoughts were you were you were on the shortlist for Supreme Court when Cavanaugh got the got the call up. And obviously he did not have a fun time. I want to know what was going through your mind whenever you were you’re watching those those hearings,
just trying to help him get through. Yeah, what was on my mind was there there were accusations raised against them. The accusations, If true, would have been troubling to many. And our job was to figure out whether they were true. And and in deciding whether any accusation is true. You evaluate the nature of the accusation and the nature of the accuser, and you look for any corroboration you can find from the accuser. The circumstances that Dr. Ford described were tragic. We could not find a single single witness to corroborate any detail associated with that account. Not a single witness could even corroborate that the gathering in question ever occurred. That was sad. It made me sad for everyone involved including and especially Brett And actually capital?
Sure, sure. You feel like you’ve dodged a little bit of a bullet there seems like they would have come after anybody. I mean, he’s he’s cleaned the guy’s game. Yeah. And
look, they probably would have come after anyone. And we know that because they do. Yeah. And that’s one of the great tragedies about this process by which we have deviated both from the vertical protection of federalism, and from the horizontal protection of separation of powers. The net consequence of this, as it’s been happening under the leadership of Republican and Democratic houses, Senate and White Houses have every conceivable partisan combination over the last 8085 years is that we’ve inflated certain parts of the government, especially the federal government’s we have downplay that the legislative branch has itself in seizing this power and moving it away from the American people to Washington, DC, has then insulated itself from the American people by handing off more and more power, usually to the executive branch, sometimes executive branch bureaucrats, sometimes in the the white house itself, the President himself. And in other cases, it differs blindly to the Supreme Court for things that aren’t necessarily the Supreme Court decisions to decide. So as a result, people wrap themselves up far too much. Their of their identity is determined by who holds certain offices in Washington, DC, in particular, who occupies the White House and who sits in the seats behind the bench in the Supreme Court.
Has the administrative state that the Deep State has it become more powerful than than the President himself? Or is it is it trained that way?
In some ways? Yes. Okay. In some ways it has in its it’s a great concern anytime you have self perpetuating interest within government that is itself immune from insulated from elections. And so yeah, but the the deep state, if you define it, as I certainly do, is that part of the government that isn’t accountable to elections, and that part of the government that finds a way to persist in doing whatever it wants to do, regardless of the outcome of elections, and actively resist the direction of the Congress and the presidency? Yeah, it’s a big problem. Sure. And you we’ve seen that over and over and over again, especially when you’ve got a perpetual DC workforce that tends to lean overwhelmingly left, like these, these folks, I’m not sure why it’s kind of like, the same reasons why certain professions, including journalists, including career bureaucrats, they tend not to lean right. And so when it says, though, when a democratic president comes into power, that career, civil service bureaucrats are there ready to help advance propel and even accelerate the President’s agenda? Yeah. When it’s a republican president, who’s elected, they’re there to insert the control rods, to make sure as little happens as possible. And they do.
So your most recent book, our last declaration, you cover the sort of the build up to that where you would have governors going walking into state houses. I think it’s I think, maybe the house versus in Virginia, and maybe North Carolina has memory serves between maybe 1765 and 1775. And just walk in and say, You guys are done. Yep. Yeah. And it seems like that puddle that that had a huge impact on our founders.
Yeah, it did, as did the fact that they were. They were largely the people in charge of running their own system of government, during the colonial era. And during the, the period following the revolution, states were more or less in charge of what happened within the state. If you look at the constitution today, the Constitution today still makes states in charge of most things. And so most of our day to day lives, are most properly subject to regulation if there is occasion for government to get involved by states and their political subdivisions, including cities and counties and towns and not by the federal government. And I think we would be better off if we had more of that model today. And the simple reason is in addition to the fact that it’s what the Constitution requires, it’s what the Constitution requires, because it works better. There is immense regional diversity among and between the states and there always has been even In 1787, when they wrote this document, they understood that there was a thin divergence among states in terms of regional preferences for how government ought to operate. Today, for example, I’m told that most of the people in the state of Vermont would much prefer to have a single payer, government run government funded health care system. That’s one of the reasons I’m not likely to move to Vermont anytime soon, notwithstanding the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which is delicious, and it’s made in Vermont. But
the Utah out, by the way,
right, right. Yeah, exactly. No Vermonters ought to be able to go where they want utahns wouldn’t prefer to do it that way. Neither would Texans or Wyoming at Wyoming heights. People in other states have different views. But people in Vermont would be able to get to a single payer government run government funded health care system much more effectively, efficiently and quickly. If the federal government weren’t occupying such a gigantic space within health care,
what that’s part of what we’ve gotten wrong. Is that federalism when we properly follow it allows more Americans to get more of what they want out of government and less of what they don’t want less of what they fear less of what would harm them it’s right
in federal best he could get his books could be could be circulated DC probably probably would do too much damage.
We need Bastia today, perhaps more than ever. Yeah. He, Friedrich Basquiat did so much. And could do so much more. If only we would read him as a society if only he were required curriculum in every school to help explain what government is and what it isn’t. That’s right.
That’s right. So when you go home to Utah, you’re the senior senator. Mitt Romney is the junior senator. And but he’s 25 years your elder. So the question is, do you ever pull rank? Like if you guys go out to eat? Do you ever make him pay the bill?
No, I think he would say, Mike, since you’re the senior senator, you’re going to have to pay the bill. And I’d also note that although he is 25 years, my senior is going a lot more hair than I do. He does, which which isn’t fair. But as he told me, he has told me many times he said it my age. I really do like any title, but comes with the name Jr. So
that’s hilarious. So so you endorse senator romney in 2012. And so when did you know him before that? Not really.
I’d met him a handful of times. Okay, I didn’t know him well, but I have gotten to know him certainly, much better since then, since he’s become my colleague. But yeah, I endorsed him in 2012. I don’t remember exactly what stage it was it I don’t know, if he formerly had the nomination, it was pretty clear that he was going to get the nomination. By then I was slow in making a nomination that year, in part because I, as is now becoming the norm in my life. I knew a bunch of people who were in the race, I had a number of friends who were in the race, including my former boss, john huntsman, Jr. who was remains to this day a dear friend, and Ron Paul, the father of my dear friend, Rand Paul was also when So yeah,
until it became pretty clear. I didn’t want to upset any friendships that I built over a long period of time.
Sure. Sure. In 2016, you you endorse Ted Cruz, that kind of out of out of the gate. I mean, there were there were a number of other folks that saw on the race, obviously, was that primarily friendship or ideology? What what what made you pick? Ted Cruz? Well, it was it was both.
It was both and it was also a circumstance in which I could see it. I had a number of friends, a number of colleagues, it seemed like, at times, I felt like maybe the only republicans senator, not running for president. But it became apparent to me that Ted was in a very good position, potentially, to take the nomination is point number two or number three when you endorsed him? Yeah, yeah, he was. He was, and Rand Paul had gotten out of the race by then. And it was looking like neither Marco Rubio nor lindsey graham would remain in the race very much longer. And Ted and I have a lot in common in terms of our professional backgrounds. We both served as law clerks at the Supreme Court. We were both appellant litigators by trade, and we there’s probably no member of the US Senate with whom I share a closer worldview. Within my share a closer political ideology than Ted. Great, great, great Rand Paul, Ted and I are both very close together. We have minor differences between the three of us, but we’re all pretty close. Yes, yes.
Yes. So so the eventual winner that Trump goes through the four years surprises A lot of us about how conservative he was. What do you what do you think Trump’s Trump’s next play will be? I mean, do you I think he’s got 10s of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in the coffers? Does he come out and take vengeance on at least the first 10 people that voted to impeach him? Or does he? Does he go elsewhere? What do you What are you hearing? What do you what do you think?
I don’t know. You know, I’ve
never to make a prediction that is so full of so many variables, as this one is. And and, honestly, I don’t know how to predict his next step other than to say, I think he’s got a lot he can do. And I think he will make this decision carefully. I tend to think he’s not likely to go out and make his cause be retribution. Because I think he’s stronger than that. I think he’s bigger than that. He has a bigger vision than what that narrow focus would entail and end up requiring. I tend to think his next move might well be something to give voice to the many, many 10s of millions of Americans who feel like they’ve been silenced, who feel like cancer, canceled culture. If it hasn’t silenced them, it’s often silenced many others who happen to agree with them, I tend to think that he will come out in support of some kind of cause in order to give more Americans more of a voice. Sure, sure.
I think I saw in the last 24 hours at pinte started a new organization that Trump Trump is backing as well. Maybe maybe that’s something propelled pins more into the spotlight. And I think part of the purpose that that pence was talking about was that it’s a blend between trumpism and traditional conservatism. It seems to me over the last four years that that that kind of tea party ism, has really kind of taken a secondary spot to Trump ism. I saw some polling in 2018. That show the Trump ism was about 36% of Republicans in the Tea Party had had dwindled to about half that over that time period. Of course, Trump was was on fire back then in sort of the late late 2018. time period. But what are your What are your observations about trumpism versus traditional conservativism? towards tea party? in this directory vault of all three are the next few years.
With tourists energy or some tea party is interesting. It Yeah, it. It never surprises me to hear that there are fewer people identifying themselves as such, in part because the term isn’t in a strong usage as it used to be, with the exception of a small handful of groups, most notably Tea Party Patriots, run by my friend, Jenny Beth Martin, which is a fantastic organization. Most other conservative groups and movements tend not to be using that name anymore. And that probably ends up being a good thing for Tea Party Patriots helps with their brand. But people in general just tend not to use that term. But I think many if not most, if not nearly all people who supported President Trump in his efforts to drain the swamp, understand that draining the swamp is first and foremost, something that people who previously identified themselves as part of the Tea Party movement would have agreed with. In other words, I think the future of the party is today and will continue increasingly to be made up of those who realized that something’s very wrong, that we’ve moved power away from the people in a dangerous way. We’ve moved it from the people to Washington, and within Washington from the people’s elected lawmakers to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. It’s been really good for a small handful of elites, small handful of people who either get more powerful, or in some cases more wealthy, because of the accumulation of power and with wealth in and around Washington, DC. You know, a few years ago, I looked and I found that something like six of our nation’s 10 wealthiest counties, or suburbs of Washington, DC Now think about this for a minute. That’s kind of messed out. This is an area that well lovely, it’s got some neat buildings, great architecture, and museums and monuments and things like that. The manufacturers nothing. There, no gold mines there. It’s not a banking hub. It’s not an intellectual property hub, in any sense that we would ordinarily recognize know that the money is there only because the power is They’re concentrated in the hands of a few elites, Americans, even if they wouldn’t use those exact words to describe it, they know something’s wrong when we move power away from them and those two steps. And when we’ve been making the wealthy and powerful, even wealthier and more powerful through government manipulation, they know something’s wrong with that. I don’t know what name will accompany that movement next. But it’s going to be become a very big thing. It’s going to become the next big cause as it’s been slowly developing over the last decade.
So you mentioned economic freedom a few minutes ago, you’ve also just introduced the concept of manipulation, I think of something that’s been happening over the last two or three years. Regarding the treasuries in the in the Federal Reserve or their partnership, I follow the 10 year Treasury yield, and last year was about 25 to 30 basis points a point 3%. And right now, I think it said 170 basis points. So it’s five times more, I think, 500% increase over the last 12 months. There’s some inflation going on there. And then and then we found that even even under Trump, that that they were going in there and buying publicly traded securities, they were buying index funds, they were buying all sorts of treasuries and artificially propped up propping up the economy, it seems like it’s more of a socialistic or maybe Maoist, ik type of type of work to get that ingrained in, in our economy.
Yeah, it scares me to death, especially given we’ve now got $30 trillion
So if you increase the yield rate, fivefold in a short period of time, that’s going to have massive ramifications. Even as we’ve gone from what 20 to 23 trillion up to 30 trillion in the last year or so that’s kind of scary. I think last year, our total interest on our national debt was something in the range of maybe $350 billion, or something like that. It’s an enormous amount of money. And it’s an enormous amount of money that could, you know, otherwise be put to fixing this or that problem within our government. Or if we didn’t spend it returned to taxpayers or something. I don’t know if it’s enormous chunk, chunk of money. But what troubles me most about it is not even that it’s that big, which it is too big. It’s that it’s that small meeting, if you’ve got 30 trillion in debt, and you’re only spending 350 billion a year or so in interest, that is true only because even though Treasury yield rates have gone up significantly over the last year. They’re still at all time historic lows, and some would argue they’re still near zero, or, or zero effectively when you take into account inflation. That’s what scares me to death, because look, what goes down must eventually come up. And one could predict a rebound above the historic average for Treasury yield rates. But let’s let’s let’s assume that’s not even can be the case, let’s just assume that we go back to our historic average of Treasury yield rates within the next few years, it’ll only be another year or two after that, once that happens, before we go from spending about 350 billion a year to well over a trillion a year, just in interest on the national debt, that delta Bay puing what we’re paying now and interest in what we’ll be paying then an interest on par with our entire department of defense budget. Where are we going to get that money? You there’s not a tax increase fathomable that could produce that amount of revenue overnight without simultaneously depressing economic growth, leading to less revenue. The next year, you could always say, well, we’ll just we’ll just print more, we’ll just borrow more. find some other way to tax, any one of those things will have adverse consequences. And you know what? those consequences will be felt more by the poor and middle class than anyone else. That scares me. That’s right. That’s right. I
received an email last night from a friend of mine who’s probably worth maybe $100 million. And he gets these forges email from him from the SBA that says, hey, you’ve got 30 some odd businesses, you took an ideal loan out for one of them mercy for the maximum 150,000. If you want to you can reply to this email. And we’ll put you back in the queue and we’ll increase it up to $500,000 per entity. And we’ll give it to you for I think was 48 months interest free. No payments for four months. 48 months interest. That’s I mean, that is just excessive nature. And you see this sort of outrageous spinning in this in this debt encumbrance that they’re putting on the people right now. And what it looks like, looks like the great reset is underway. I don’t think it’ll be conspiracy theorist about it, but you got the COVID shut down. So you’ve got this this absorbent amount of debt. It’s basically in place in the federal government and all On the population, it’s been just handed out. And if you’re a business person, if you don’t take this money, you’re being inflated your way out of your current currency that you have on hand,
badly, badly inflated. And, look, I saw a chart recently showing the increase in the M one money supply over the last few years, last four or five, six years. And then in particular over the last year, it’s stunning how much more currency we have in the the the M one money supply category than we had just a few years ago. It is, it seems to me almost inevitable, that once that money is being fully employed, seems somewhat inevitable that we’ll see very significant inflation, that that’s a great concern.
That’s right. That’s right. One of the interesting parts of your book was that you focused on this list of grievances from Jefferson wrote about King George the Third Mad King George, which is clearly Jonathan Groff in the Hamilton musical for those who don’t know, and such
a great King George the Third, by the way, that’s fantastic. He was the best part of the whole musical wasn’t really was he really was. And I loved every part of that show, but especially that one that was great.
How realistic was it?
Well, obviously, if the founding fathers weren’t expressing their every thought, in song and dance, with a lot of hip hop influence, there were, but the major facts, the major factual turning points, were more or less accurate. I think they added a few things here or there to make this or that sub plot line a little more interesting. But I thought it portrayed a lot of events surrounding the American Revolution pretty well. Sure. Sure.
You look at you know, you’re a big advocate of human ingenuity having babies for more engineering and world II look at someone like Lin Manuel Miranda, who’s who’s on the opposite side of the of the political spectrum, who could write something like that, which he read 1000s and 1000s of pages about our founding and the founders. And he decided that I watched an interview of him a few few months ago, he decided that the only form where you could get enough words out was was to rap. You couldn’t do an opera, you couldn’t do any other form. And the fact that that guy researches it, he writes every word, every piece of music in there, and then stars in the play. Imagine if you if you got 1% of your citizens that are putting out that kind of ingenuity, that kind of talent. Oh, it’s amazing.
And I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I hear that the average Broadway play has maybe 10 15,000 words in it. And I think Hamilton had something along the order of 55,000 words, yeah, just an enormous amount of data compression in there. And yet, he does it in a way that it’s not a not a tough read, so to speak. It’s uh, it goes down well,
so this is my throat. I have three little girls. They went as the Schuyler Sisters for Halloween last year. And I was in the car yesterday, and they like singing the Hamilton soundtrack. And one of them Google. So the baby was was Peggy Schuyler. And so they Google like want to research Peggy Scott, and they went on Wikipedia. They said her name wasn’t Peggy. I said, What do you mean her name wasn’t Peggy? Yeah, her name was Peggy was Margarita.
But But Peggy is a traditional nickname for Margaret and Margarita. So it’s not entirely
devastated an eight year old though.
That’s okay. A lot of people with the name Margaret have historically gone by Peggy so yeah, yeah, is almost not lost.
Well, so we talked about this list of grievances, Kenya’s orders third kind of I got off on a tangent there. So I apologize. So you got this list of grievances. It sounds like some of the same things that you just spoke about. overtaxation, a lack of representation in the proper format because of the federalism, customer federalism, the 10th amendment really kind of going out the window, you’ve got this development of a deep state. The very, very eerie parallels. Yeah, there there are there are.
Big difference here is we don’t want to have to have another revolution. Nothing like what happened. Some two and a half centuries ago, all we have to have is a return to the system that we already have in place, just and we can change that with the way we we vote. When I wrote our last declaration. I wanted to help the American people understand the fact that the Declaration of Independence very much provides the vision of who we are who we want to be. The Constitution in many ways, is the framework. It’s the frame around the picture, the declaration is the picture itself. This is a follow on to a previous book I’d written called our last constitution, in which I spent a lot of time talking about Alexander Hamilton. It coincidentally it hit the shelves at About the same time
the Hamilton play hit Broadway, I’m not going to tell you which one was more successful. But it was not by a fantastic book, or a loss declaration describes the Declaration of Independence, which is the picture protected by the frame. That is the Constitution. It’s the it’s the view that relates to the inherent dignity and eternal value of the human soul. And part of what they did. Part of what I outline in this is that there’s a list of grievances part of the Declaration of Independence, that outlines the things that King George the Third, had done to the colonies that were not okay sending forth swarms of officers to eat out the substance of the people, that not respecting limits on their power, not acknowledging any limit on their own power, things that were making it very difficult for the colonial governments to operate, things that made it impossible for them to pass laws in some circumstances where he was bent, disbanding their legislative assemblies, and all of these things. Put them in a position where they felt they had no choice. But to separate themselves. This was an extraordinary step as they mentioned, they they, they themselves were English subjects, they always understood themselves as such. And so it was an extraordinary step to separate themselves from their mother country. But they said in circumstances like these, where so many of our fundamental rights and liberties have been taken away, we’ve got an obligation to do it. That’s right.
That’s right. I want to talk a little bit about what you what you read, because clearly, you’ve got wide knowledge in different areas. You clearly have read a little bit about about your faith, whether it be in Scripture or other places, you’ve read a little bit about about history, probably a lot about history in the Constitution. And obviously economics as well, but what do you what do you enjoy reading the most? On on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon?
Okay, so, fiction not too long ago, I read a book called where the crawdads sing, okay, I don’t remember the name of the author. My wife started reading it. And then I, I read it after starting the book with her. It was fantastic. I read a book a couple of years ago that I quite enjoyed called half broke horses. This same author wrote another book called the glass castle. Yeah, I can’t remember her name either. Fantastic. So I like fiction, but I also like historical books and nonfiction. I really enjoy. This is the weird of me. I know. But I really enjoy from time to time revisiting classic masterpieces like Alexis de tocqueville’s great work democracy in America. Every so often, I’ll pick up that book and reread it. And it reminds me of what what it is that has separated this country, apart from others, it really is its civil society. And it’s free markets, more than it is its system of government. We sometimes think that the government is synonymous with the country. And it’s not in the subtle,
very clear take away from democracy in America is that it worked here in ways that it has failed so many other places, because we didn’t make it all about government. Because we understood that the true power resides in the home and at the neighborhood level, at the community level, within our faith communities, the government is there, you know, to make sure that we don’t harm each other, that we’re not attacked from the outside and that we don’t steal each other’s property. But the government doesn’t define us. And that’s part of what Tocqueville recognized as separating us apart from others. I love reading the Federalist Papers, and from time to time I’ll I’ll pick them up and I’ll read the Federalist paper here or there because that’s an important material for me to be constantly reading and rereading. As part of what I do for a living. It’s a reminder of what operates, in what way with the federal government. We’ve talked about federalist 51. Today, one of my very face favorite parts of a talking about human nature and the fact that government is just an exercise in human nature, and it reveals what it is that we’re not angels, we don’t have access to angels. So we need rules about government. I love federalist 45. federalist 45, says that the the powers of the federal government are few and defined and those reserved to the states are numerous and indefinite. I think Madison would freak out a little bit. If he saw that today. We’ve kind of turned that principle on its head. ahead. I like federalist 62, especially the part in which Madison explains that it’ll be a little benefit to the American people if their laws are written by individual individuals of their own choosing. If those laws are so voluminous and complex and ever changing, that people can’t read and understand them, and be aware of them from day to day, we’ve taken many of these principles and we’ve openly flouted them. Anyway, I enjoy reading things like that. Makes me happy. Yeah.
Yeah, I think I think one of the funny things I was thinking about your comment about Adams and his his talk of angels, how, if we were angels, he could trust us. But I think it’s I think it’s first Corinthians chapter six verse says that we’re actually going to judge the angels. Yep. And we’ve kind of have a unique, unique twist there.
Well, we, we all have a role to play. All of all of God’s children have a role to play. And we have responsibilities, regardless of whether we’re aware of them at any given time. And I think every one of us has a responsibility to look out for the safety and well being of everyone else. If there is immense harm that can come from government itself, for the simple reason that government best understood is the official collective use of coercive force under the imprimatur of state authority. That that is a scary thing. And that’s why it’s where we ought to guard against erosions of liberty. Most that come from governments. Yes, yes.
Chesterton said the most scariest, the scariest thing that someone can hear. Is that Hi, I’m from the government. I’m
here to help. Yes, indeed.
I mean, I mean, that’s, that’s they’re the worst people to be helping, right?
They’re exactly who you need to count on. When when you need, you know, in an army or a Navy, when you you need to fight a war. You can’t do it without a government.
That’s right, maybe some free trade every once in a while.
Trade Agreements. You know, what a state and local level, you need police. The more the more things you put in to the government basket, the more contentious it’s going to become. That’s right. And if you make the government the arbiter of who should have what, in terms of merit, material possessions, government’s not going to be able to do that well at all. And it will end up undermining the very purposes it’s there to protect.
That’s right. That’s right. I think I think you mentioned the divinity of God earlier and a little bit of inalienable rights, around ailable rights. I think there’s two different worldviews and they’re they’re generally on the opposite end of the political political spectrum. One is on our side, where we think that our rights are inherited from God Almighty, then we then delegate those to the proper governmental authorities that we deem fit. And that we’re, we’re wise because he gets struck with his wisdom we’d love because because the draw of His love, we are we have a little bit of the immortality and Bretton Woods, none of us really think that we’re really going to die because our father thinks that he knows that you’ll never die in Christ Christ. Ali’s always the famous Louis line that you hear on Christmas time, that the Son of God became a man so that men might become sons of God, like we’re gonna live forever. That’s what scripture shows us. That’s on one side of the political spectrum, the other side then thinks that no, we get our rights because there’s not a god, there’s no ultimate truth there. We’re gonna we’re gonna rise from the government. And since they are the ones, they’re the arbiters of the governmental hierarchy, they are the deep state they are, however, you want to want to put them in power. They’re, they’re the ones that choose the victims and build policy around victimhood. That’s that’s falsely misplace, then that’s where we get our rights from. And that’s, I think, those are the two worldviews that we’ve got to figure out a way, how do we mitigate both those and get them to work together again? Yeah.
Okay. I, for one, don’t, don’t ever want my rights. My inherent worth is an eternal being attached to a government, because when I’m attaching it to a government, I’m attaching it not to an abstract concept so much as a group of people who at any given moment wield power. Human beings are flawed, that redeemable but their flaws, we don’t want to put our faith are eternal worth in the hands of mortals. In fact, I I believe God doesn’t want us to do that very thing. And I think we we undersell our own value. When we do that. In many ways, it feels to me as if, you know, I’ve long wondered why there are so many examples in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament about idolatry seems to be such a consistent warning and As a child, I often wondered whether I guess it’s not really an issue today, or at least not in America. Why do we need to focus so much on this stuff? In some ways, I think if we’re not careful, we can turn government into the new idolatry. A system by which people will infuse a degree of omniscience and omnipotence into fallible mortal human beings or entities that they themselves create. that’s of great concern. We should never be in a position to do that. We should never let ourselves get to that point where we’re that far away from putting our trust in God. Our dignity, our significance, our worth our status as a mortal children of an all knowing, loving, all powerful God certainly deserves more bent, what can be preserved? If you put it under the control of a government? We don’t want that. We deserve more, we should expect and demand more. That’s right. That’s exactly right.
Talking about more, I think it was I think was Tozer and Lewis that echoed him or maybe vice versa, where they talked about the most important institution in the entire world is the family. Your your busy guy, your your long way from home, you can be on the powder, the pottery hills of, of Utah, with your with your family, right now if you want to, but you’re out, you’re out serving You’re out. Spreading the idea of conservatism and God God enabled God to send in God cascading down writes to us, and that gives us a lot to lift stuffs actually. What do you do just as a as a dad, as a as a husband, as someone that’s, that’s in a faith community, to be able to maintain that intactness of your of your family unit, that most important institution, and then also those that are close to that while you’re away.
So our children are, are grown now that they’re all in college or graduate school. And so the demands of being a dad are still significant, less, less intense than they were when they were younger. But I have been in this business for 10 years. And so I had to make a decision at the outset of this that when I was home, I was going to be 100% home, that I was going to check in on them daily, that I was going to make sure that when I was home, I pray with my kids, read the scriptures with them, find out what was happening in their lives, update them on what was happening in mine, to stay close. Wish I could claim that I always done a perfect job of that. And and I make no such claim. But I’ve done the very best I know how and I’ve been blessed with with a wife, who is my best friend was my high school sweetheart, who shares the same commitment to our country and to God that I do. She’s the best mother anyone could ever hope to have. And I’m very grateful to her. So we’ve had so many joys as parents with our children. And she taught me how to be a good dad and how to love being a dad. I didn’t always know whether I would before I had my own kids. I wasn’t sure whether I would like being a dad or not. But she she taught me how to love being a dad and I do know anyway that’s best way I can answer that is to say I I enjoyed nothing more than being a husband and a father.
Well, certainly appreciate your time coming in. Appreciate your service in DC and appreciate your your example as someone that’s that’s true to his faith through morality and true to the Constitution. And protocol, your friend.
Thank you very much. Really appreciate it.