ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Balance of Power on Bloomberg TV to Discuss Democrats’ Inflation-Fueling Spending, Storm Damage

December 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Balance of Power on Bloomberg TV to discuss the Democrats’ inflation-fueling spending, the U.S. Senate’s end-of-year work, and recent storm damage across the mid-south region.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on Democrats’ use of budgetary gimmicks: “David, it’s entirely on the Democrat side. They’re engaging Republicans at no level in this conversation. This is really a battle amongst themselves and they’re having a very difficult time with it. The size of this monstrosity has actually been sort of reduced and reduced and reduced through a series of budgetary gimmicks. But on Friday, the CBO released what it would actually look like in reality if it were scored over normal 10-year period. What the Democrats did was they left 10 years’ worth of revenue in, but they cut back the expenditures to just one year, knowing that the programs are never going to be turned off. As Milton Freidman said, ‘there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary federal program.’ So when you score this over 10 years, you get close to $5 trillion more that they’re talking about introducing into the economy at a time when inflation is hitting record numbers. I mean, we’ve had the highest levels of inflation since 1982. That’s when Diet Coke was introduced. The American public is feeling this, it’s hitting them hard. And I think it’s making their path toward getting this thing passed very, very difficult.”

Hagerty on Democrats’ inflation-fueling spending: “I’ve heard this and it’s the most ludicrous argument I can imagine. What they’re talking about is another $5 trillion that is going to crowd out private investment. It’s going to be more cash flowing into the economy like fuel onto a fire. And what happens as well, is there’s a psychological element of this David, meaning that if a person thinks that something’s going to be more expensive tomorrow than it is today, it’s going to accelerate their tendency to buy. Think about it. If you know the gas prices are going up tomorrow, you’re probably going to fill your tank up tonight. It’s that sort of mentality that’s taking place that’s taking hold because of what they can see at a headline level is the Democrats’ promise to spend more and more and more of their hard earned money to flush that into the economy and create more inflation. It’s just been incredible what’s happened so far this year.”

Hagerty on stopping Build Back Better in the Senate: “I think the odds are very low that this gets done before the New Year. They’re having a massive debate amongst themselves. Many elements of this are essentially centralized government. There’s socialism. There’s a war on the fossil fuel industry embedded in this bill. They’re talking about raising taxes and killing job creation in America at a time when we need to be getting our economy back, when we need to be more competitive. They’re talking about policies that will push jobs offshore. There are more giveaways for big business, and certainly the richest of their donors are getting big giveaways in this plan. And I think that’s a very tough argument to make to Middle America who’s feeling the broad base tax increase, if you will, of inflation that’s running rampant.”

Hagerty on storm damage in Tennessee: “It’s very bad in Tennessee. The tornadoes hit west Tennessee all the way through middle Tennessee. Electricity was out from Memphis all the way through Nashville. Thousands of people were without electricity. We’ve had four lives lost already. There’s another person still missing. Ten people are hurt. Millions, if not billions of dollars worth of property damage has occurred. On Monday morning, Governor [Bill] Lee of our state reached out to the White House—Senator [Marsha] Blackburn and I came right in with him to urge the White House to step up and declare this an emergency area. The federal government has stepped up and agreed. FEMA’s resources are coming to us right now. So we’re doing everything that we can to make certain that Tennessee is taken care of. Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Missouri, Arkansas, who were hit, and certainly in Kentucky. They got hit very hard.”

Hagerty on Biden’s radical nominees: “It’s something that’s unfolding as we speak. You saw the hearing with the Comptroller of the Currency candidate that went very, very poorly. I need to see a much more responsible set of nominees moving forward from the Biden Administration. We can’t have nominees of that caliber moving forward at a time that’s so critical. We’ve got, again, inflation running rampant. We’ve got grave concerns about our economy. We need to make America the most competitive economy in the world, and we need the right sort of leadership to do that. So I’m going to be looking at the nominees very carefully, but I think that the Biden Administration should hearken and learn from what happened with their most recent nominee for the Comptroller of the Currency.”

Hagerty on how to grow the economy: “I think at a time that we are suffering as an economy, more regulation isn’t in the answer. Getting the government out of the way tends to be the answer. Responsible regulation is what we need to be looking for, not just more and more volume. The Democrats’ answer always seems to be let’s pile more and more regulations onto a system, make it more and more burdensome. That’s great for lawyers and for compliance people, but I’d like to see our economy grow. So I’d much prefer smart, reliable regulation that actually provides for growth rather than constraint.”

Hagerty on Senate passage of the NDAA: “I just cast a vote on the National Defense Authorization bill. It’s going to increase our defense budget by 5 percent over the prior year. That’s absolutely necessary given the fact that we are facing more crises around the world than we have in recent times. Many of that due to the misadventures of this current Administration. We’ve given a pay raise to the men and women in military, it’s close to 3 percent given the inflation of 7 percent. It’s still not a real increase, but certainly moving in the right direction. And it’s also made a significant impact on my home state because we’re stepping up investment in our nuclear capabilities, and Oak Ridge [Tennessee] is a great beneficiary of that.”

Hagerty on the need to get spending under control: “For those of us that have children and grandchildren, it’s our obligation to be thinking about their future. Right now we’ve pushed the debt limit—we’ve pushed the national debt up close to $30 trillion. And if you look at this new Build Back Better scheme that the Biden Administration is proposing. If you look at the amount of incremental debt that the [Congressional Budget Office] CBO just scored on Friday that would be dropped on the backs of our children and grandchildren—another $3 trillion. This is a massive amount of money. It’s a massive tax, if you will, that’s being placed on our future. It’s something we’ve got to push back onto something. We’ve got to curve now as responsible leaders.”

Hagerty on the need to cut government spending: “There’s two aspects of it. One just as you mentioned, cutting government spending—there’s so much waste, fraud, and abuse. There’s a real opportunity there. The other is to grow our economy to increase revenues over time. Those are business friendly policies like we saw in the previous Administration. You remember our GDP growth rate took off over twice that of any other major economy once we got the 2017 Tax Law Act passed, once we went through a major deregulatory process. That’s the way to get our economy going in the long term—grow our economy and grow our tax revenues. If we can come back and cut federal spending at the same time, that’s how we bring this under control.”