Bill Walton on Securing America 12/22/22 Part 2



episode transcript


Frank Gaffney (00:10):

Welcome back. We are visiting with Bill Walton, the host of The Bill Walton Show, which you can find on various platforms. Strongly encourage you to take a look at it. It’s very well done. We’re always appreciative of his time on this particular program, and Bill, I hated to cut you off there, but we had to break. Talk a little bit about what the implications for us might be if it turns out that this chaos further intensifies, Xi’s sense that he needs to engage in what I think the political scientists call a bit of social engineering to maintain control.

Bill Walton (00:51):

Well, that would be one way to put it mildly, but I think we’re seeing all sorts of laws at work here. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it, or the laws of unintended consequences. And I think the analogy here is with Putin and Russia. People have been trying for regime change. And I think we’re seeing a weakened Putin may be more dangerous than a confident, successful Putin. And the same thing’s true in China. Xi has got a lot of internal enemies. He’s still got a whip hand over almost all, but that the ranks are growing of people that think his vanity has got in the way of his common sense. And to recollect something we talked about earlier, he was very proud of China’s low COVID deaths. Well, A, we don’t know whether that was actually true, but B, he certainly got international recognition for that, and so he perpetrated this lockdown week after week, month after month, almost into a year, and the valves blew off. And it’s hard to see that China’s in chaos, but it’s as close as it’s been in decades.

Frank Gaffney (02:02):

And that may prompt him to look for ways to rally people around the party and around him.

Bill Walton (02:09):

Starting a war, get a war going.

Frank Gaffney (02:10):

Starting a-

Bill Walton (02:11):

Always rallies the people. Go to war.

Frank Gaffney (02:13):

Focusing on that external threat, indeed. Bill, let me turn to the domestic challenges that we’re facing as a nation at the moment. You have been following closely, I know, the efforts to get this omnibus bill, as it’s called, a massive legislation that is $1.7 trillion more in spending, as I understand it. And that would be fundamentally a vehicle, talk about lockdowns, locking in, at least, the budget, the priorities, the programmatic initiatives of the Democrats, even though that would be binding on a group that has been given the mandate to lead the House next year. Why is this happening now and why aren’t Republicans blocking it instead of voting for it?

Bill Walton (03:13):

Well, if you’re looking for exhibit A to show that Congress is irretrievably broken and maybe never to return to health in our lifetimes, if then, 1.7 trillion added to the, what, 5 or 6 trillion that this session of Congress has put in place during its inauspicious reign. It’s 400, I exaggerate slightly, it’s 4,120 pages or roughly that, which is 1,500 pages longer than the last omnibus bill. And to put it into context, this is a bill that contains so many moving parts, it’s like 12 bills or more rolled into one. And a responsible Congress would be negotiating each one of these bills separately. But because they couldn’t reach agreement, it all got rolled into one that dropped on Tuesday night, I think at 2:30 AM for a vote, for an initial vote, was taken to the floor on Wednesday. So members of Congress are voting on a bill that no one except maybe a handful, actually none of them, even the handful don’t read it. Their staff does. Nobody’s read this bill.

(04:23):

And so if you look into it, it’s got something for everybody. I mean, it’s even got rent-seeking things like regulating the cosmetics business under the FDA. And you say, why would you do that? Well, you’re doing it because if you’re a big cosmetic manufacturer, you don’t want any impertinent startups coming into your business. And so if you build a regulatory moat around the business by having the FDA approve new entrants, you keep people out. It’s just filled-

Frank Gaffney (04:51):

And you control-

Bill Walton (04:52):

… with really bad stuff in Washington.

Frank Gaffney (04:53):

[inaudible 00:04:55].

Bill Walton (04:55):

It’s been page after page after page. There’s some K Street lobbying firm that’s got its hand in it who probably wrote the language.

Frank Gaffney (05:02):

Almost certainly. And the 12 bills are, of course, the 12 appropriations bills, each of which is usually very voluminous, and they’re filled with fine print of special carve-outs or bonuses or benefits to certain interested parties. You’re right. And not least, I guess there are a whole bunch of retiring senators who want-

Bill Walton (05:26):

Shelby and Alabama.

Frank Gaffney (05:27):

… their piece of this pie and their legacies perhaps as well. Bill, it’s a bad way to do business, that’s for sure. And as I say, the thing that’s particularly alarming to me is the Republican majority in the House will be essentially stopped from doing much in the way of real reprioritizing the budget and the policies of funds for at least the remainder of this fiscal year until the fall. It’s insane.

Bill Walton (06:01):

It renders them toothless. And we ought to be circulating a list of the Republican senators who voted for this. I mean, some of them are obvious, like McConnell and Mitt Romney, who recently assured people, according to Babylon Bee, that he promised he wasn’t going to be leaving the Democrat party. But there are some surprising ones in there, like Tom Cotton, who should know better.

Frank Gaffney (06:26):

I’m surprised at that. Yes, indeed. But Bill, let me ask you this because it’s central to the larger question. McConnell may be obvious and is clearly driving this train in the Senate. He is purportedly being opposed in doing that by Kevin McCarthy, the man who wants to be speaker of the House now, incoming leader of the Republicans, for sure, at least for the moment. And yet, there is a rumor going around that McCarthy actually has signaled to Mitch McConnell that he’s good with having this omnibus bill take care of a lot of natty problems and votes that he’d just as soon avoid in the new session. Do you have any inside skinny on where McCarthy actually stands? And I guess the question is, if he is opposed to it, wouldn’t he be doing more to stop?

Bill Walton (07:26):

Well, I think we’ve seen a lot of Republicans really do not want to be in the majority, do not want to take responsibility for leadership. I’d put McConnell in that camp. He’s been good with judges, but everything else, not. And the thing about McConnell is he’s got a power base that’s really unassailable in the Senate. McCarthy, not so much, not even… Matter of fact, it’s not clear he is going to be speaker, although the odds are 99% he will. But he’s operating with a very weak hand. And he does not want to deal with a lot of recalcitrant members of his caucus. And so by handing this bill to him, Mitch handing it to him as a fait accompli plea means Kevin doesn’t have to do as much work going forward and show some leadership. Would it be a cynical betrayal of the conservative voters who want to see Congress do something good? Yes it would. Are we surprised? No we’re not.

Frank Gaffney (08:28):

No we’re not. Well said. Lastly, very quickly, we’ll have in our next segment a specialist in Texas, Aaron Friedman. Let me say that again. Aaron Friedman served in the Treasury Department of the Trump administration for a time, talking about global taxation. Quick thoughts on this. We got 30 seconds.

Bill Walton (08:54):

Well, the idea behind global taxation is they want every country to charge at least a minimum tax so that corporations can’t go to lower tax jurisdictions, and the higher tax jurisdictions don’t want that to happen. Ireland profited enormously from having low tax rate. Janet Yellen’s behind making a global minimum tax reality, which means they can ratchet up all the taxes collectively, individually, or not individually, and-

Frank Gaffney (09:22):

Unaccountably, I think is probably the key.

Bill Walton (09:25):

Unaccountably. Yeah. So it’s a bad thing for US sovereignty. We should be opposing it. And Janet Yellen is pushing it.

Frank Gaffney (09:31):

I thought you’d think so too. We’ll talk more about the details with Aaron Friedman momentarily. But Bill Walton, thank you for your time today, as always, for your leadership on so many fronts. Come back to us in the new year, if you will. We look forward to talking to you then [inaudible 00:09:45]-

Bill Walton (09:45):

We’ll see you next year, Frank.

Frank Gaffney (09:47):

Yes, sir. Next up, we’ll talk global taxes right after this.