As President John Pudner continues his radio tour across our Republic discussing the $34 trillion US National Debt, which currently is higher than the combined GDP of economies like China, Japan, Germany, India, and UK, he traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina to discuss how this ever-looming issue not only bodes poorly for citizens across the country, resulting in higher prices across the board for families, but also for our standing on the world stage.
Pudner and host Nick Craig specifically get into how China has capitalized off of this issue, selling affluent foreign countries, such as Saudia Arabia, on using their currency, the Yuan, instead of the Dollar, for their transactions, citing the unstable fallout that could result from this national debt. In effect, this is a push to destabilize the Dollar as the world reserve currency, which is what brings much of the Dollar's value and why, despite having such a large national debt, the effects of it have largely been under proportion.
However, with this push, drastic effects could come in the future, and as both President John Pudner and host Nick Craig highlight, the need to bridge political divisions and unite to solve this issue is becoming an ever-important priority not just for the sake of families across our Republic, but also to retain our dominance on the world stage.
To learn more about TBOR Action's efforts on topics including election integrity, please click here.
The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Chinese, Yuan, debt, problem, entitlements, inflation
TBORA President John Pudner and Nick Craig.
Nick Craig 00:00
Well, now that we are in the new year, the conversation is starting to heat back up about government funding, the amount of debt that we have and how exactly all of that is going to play out. I'd like to welcome back to our airwaves this morning the President of Take Back Our Republic Action, he was also an aide to President Bush in 2000, John Pudner joins us this morning. John, good morning to you, happy New Year. $34 trillion and counting, it's out of control, and we're back to the budget conversations already here at the start of the year.
John Pudner 00:34
Well, we knew we were hitting the figure that just supposed to happen in 2029, so we're five years early on the $34 trillion threshold.
Nick Craig 00:41
When you talk about that, you typically like being ahead of schedule on things, right? Most folks appreciate that, It's good to get something done earlier than you were expecting, but I don't know that I'd necessarily say that extends to our out-of-control spending.
John Pudner 00:57
No, sure does not, and just the amount that you're just paying interest, that's where you have to try to bring it home to people as if it's someone you know who's been through a period where all the payments you can make on a credit card were just interest. The debt is going up even if I don't spend anything more so that's the spot we've gotten ourselves in.
Nick Craig 01:19
It's a bad spot, John, I mean, nobody's going to argue we're in a good spot with our debt, the question is what do we do about it? We constantly hear the need to cut government spending, and that's fine, but, to me, it seems like we really got to start talking about government entitlements if we want to try to get this under control.
John Pudner 01:38
We have to, and of course, we know politically what that does to people- You're hitting a specific group. Same thing if you talk about how there are too many federal employees then, oh my gosh, every federal employee then wants to vote against you. Those are the tough ones. There's gotta be some change in the incentives of the system to make people make some tough decisions because, right now, you make political decisions based on sound bites, unfortunately.
Nick Craig 02:05
You bring up the very real point that it's, essentially, a ticking time bomb, whenever you bring up any of these discussions about entitlements. It's nearly 70% of our federal budget throughout the year in one form or another, and John, if we can't seriously talk about that, I feel like we're just kind of wasting our breath sitting here and talking about 6% of the budget here or there. That's not going to have a big enough impact, is it?
John Pudner 02:32
No, it's not, and, boy, I saw it firsthand with Ollie North '94 who mentioned that there might be a different way to do social security, and that next week, the polling, and that was just a mention on doing it differently, but people weren't ready for it. I saw that from the beginning, and just the impact it can have politically, but we got to get people to a table together for real solutions. Just kicking down the can again in a couple of months is not going to solve things, particularly with the dollar not becoming the unquestioned standard. The Chinese are seeing this weakness, and they're starting to get other countries to use their currency instead of the dollar, and that's when it really becomes a problem.
Nick Craig 03:17
And this is an issue that, I don't say, exclusively falls at the feet of Republicans, and I'm not talking about the spending but I think GOP primary or general election voters are more on the side of getting government spending out of control, and they're looking for answers from their elected officials or the folks that they're hoping to elect to these public offices. It's a really tightrope to walk for these individuals, John. Yeah, it's great to talk about restructuring entitlements, but if that means you're gonna get destroyed in the election, it's kind of a zero-sum game.
John Pudner 03:51
That's right, and why even take the risk? When Schumer has been so adamant that that the Senate will not pass any debt ceiling bill that comes out of the House, it's almost why expend the energy then? I mean, you've already been told what you do will not become a law, so why take the political hit on it? So, I hate to make it partisan, but first, Schumer has to reverse on that. I mean, if he's gonna guarantee defeating anything that comes out of the House on debt, then there's nothing to do, there's no reason to even try, I hate to say.
Nick Craig 04:21
We're talking to John Pudner this morning, takebackaction.org is his website. So, John, if you're sitting here and we're talking to Mike Johnson this morning, the relatively new Speaker of the House of Representatives, what do you tell him? I mean, how does he go from here? What does he do?
John Pudner 04:41
I think he's got to approach Schumer first. That can be done in private, we don't know everything that goes on in the halls, but Schumer's got to back off on that, and on the one hand, of course, there's a thin majority, there's kind of the informal-Hastert Rule that you don't bring something to the floor as a Speaker unless a majority of your party is already for it, so he's got to get the majority of the party first, but you just got to start with what are some tough things where we're all willing to say? Is there some magic number someplace just to get some agreement, get one of these bills passed, at least show that it can be done?
Nick Craig 05:22
I think one of the interesting things, and I'm curious if we'll see it this year or not, pretty much every single American has dealt with some level of financial hardship in the last couple of years, one way or the other, with just our miserable economy and nine and a half percent inflation last year, dealing with the rising costs of goods and services. Do you think that for American voters, maybe those more unaffiliated voters that flip flop whether they vote for Democrats or Republicans, that'll be on their mind when they're casting ballots in November of this year?
John Pudner 05:57
It generally hasn't been, and that's been part of the problem, It's just too big a number for anyone to grasp, but inflation is. If they can start to say that this debt is part of what's feeding inflation, that the debt is part and parcel with why we're almost at 10% inflation, as you just said. The problem is, right now, people don't know who to blame. I mean, there's a YouGov poll right before the near shutdown a few months ago, and it was basically a third blame the Republicans, a third blame either Biden or the Democrats in Congress, and a third blame both. It's just not one of those issues, where, for example, I know most people don't want men and women's sports, we got 75% on that, let's roll with it, versus this kind of a confusing, huge number that no one can comprehend, and how do you survive politically doing something about it?
Nick Craig 06:56
I think that's the struggle that you see Republicans constantly facing and dealing with, and I know it's easy to sit here and throw stones and say the GOP is not doing enough to cut government spending, but John, from what you're just describing, seems like the reality is that most American people really don't know exactly what's going on, they don't know who to pin the blame on, and it sometimes can be political suicide.
John Pudner 07:20
That's right, and I hate it does take a crisis. I just think the fact that you've got these countries, like the Saudis, starting to use Chinese currency for some of their transactions, those things don't mean anything to the average person, but they they do point to where we could have a crisis where people are not accepting US Treasury bonds as freely, and does that really hit home, or is that the first time you're actually talking about cuts that impact the average person? I think that's it, and that's why you've even looked at some of these innovations in elections, like, do you need to go to a Final Five system just to get people talking together to get a little past that pure partisan primary? We're going to have to think outside the box on the debt itself and just how there's a process in place to even allow people to deal with it.
Nick Craig 08:14
John Pudner is our guest this morning, takebackaction.org. When you talk about some of these foreign countries maybe not accepting US bonds, what exactly does that mean? What would that look like?
John Pudner 08:28
So what's happened is the Chinese have, since the US weakness after the Afghanistan pull, the inflation problems, the debt problems, the Chinese have seen this as their chance to suggest that other countries should use their currency, that it should become the standard. And while they haven't won it as the standard, but then to have the Saudis do it, the Argentinians...they've got about eight substantial countries starting to use Chinese currency for transactions, and that's the first step. They haven't thrown out the dollars, but they're one step closer, and if we don't control it, if we don't have the thing that everyone needs, then the debt starts to become a huge crisis because we don't control the currency. That's the looming crisis if China really gets going and we're now talking about 40 countries, and then 10 of those countries decide to go to the Chinese standard...I mean, you can see the catastrophe that would be for us, and then that $34 trillion becomes a real problem.
Nick Craig 09:41
No question about that as we look at this and some of the political ramifications and implications heading into 2024. Obviously, the economy is on the top of people's minds. What do they say to the American people to convince them that this is a real problem? This is something that, yes, it's a big number, it's something that is very hard to comprehend, but what do they say to voters where they can actually attribute this to a real problem?
John Pudner 10:15
I think they have to lead with inflation. Look, we have debt, make the credit card analogy, and say this is one reason you paid 10% more last year. We have to get a deal to address this. I think you've got to lead with inflation, you've always got to get it down to a number that people understand, and I can't comprehend what $34 trillion is, I can look at a piece of paper and write out all the zeros, but it's just such a big number. It's got to be this is $100,000 per American, this is our debt, and the credit card analogy, where this is going to catch up with us, and I think just make that push trying to just set the foundation for going to have to cut a deal, and that they're going to be a few things in it you're not going to like that maybe hit close to home.
Nick Craig 11:04
Tell us a little bit about Take Back Our Republic Action.
John Pudner 11:09
We formed this after years of running Republican campaigns as a team, and then 2015, we just started to see that we needed a group on the right talking about the rules of election and how money comes into elections. How do we stop Chinese dollars from coming into US elections through groups like ActBlue? If we don't fix the rules of elections, then it's gonna be hopeless to actually win them. We just want fair rules and we want to stop this shenanigans. The Chinese are now playing in Taiwan's elections. Imagine that? Because they've seen they've seen their ability to get money in their elections. We're election reform, but if if the rules are rigged on you, and you have these outside influences, we're not going to get a good result and good government
Nick Craig 11:53
How do folks find more info on you?
John Pudner 11:55
Sure, takebackaction.org is the best place to be. I'll be down your way in a couple of weeks for a week, so we do events around, and we'd love to have people sign up and let you know when we come to town and you can stay in touch with a socially or come to a meeting when we schedule in your area, but takebackaction.org is where the signup starts.
Nick Craig 12:14
John, thank you so much for the time, greatly appreciate it.