Biden’s spending, tax plans will have ‘bumps along the way’: Economic Advisers chair

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This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” May 2, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I’m Chris Wallace.

President Biden makes a dramatic break with the past four decades in Washington, calling for a new era of big government.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We got a lot more to do.

That’s why I proposed the American Jobs Plan.

WALLACE (voice-over):  The president proposes spending trillions of dollars on health care and child care, community colleges, and infrastructure.

BIDEN:  It’s a once in a generation investment in America.

WALLACE:  We’ll sit down with one of the president’s top economic advisors, Cecilia Rouse, a member of this family’s cabinet, only on “FOX News Sunday”.

Then — 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  These plans aren’t about creating options and flexibility for America. They’re about imposing a vision.

WALLACE:  Republicans argue the Biden plan will drive the economy down and inflation up. We’ll talk with Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, a member of the “Gang of 10” trying to find common ground in the Senate.

Plus —

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC):  Hear me clearly — America is not a racist country.

WALLACE:  Senator Tim Scott’s comments sparked a fierce debate as Republicans take on a proposed curriculum for the nation’s schools. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the new culture war in education.

And our “Power Player of the Week,” the first college athlete to make money off her personal brand.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE (voice-over):  And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

It was 40 years ago when Ronald Reagan told the nation government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. Ever since, presidents both Republicans and even Democrats have played down the role of big government until now.

President Biden is pushing $4 trillion in new spending and almost that much in new taxes. What happens to his plans over the next few months will tell us a lot about where our nation is headed.

In a moment, we’ll speak with one of the president’s top economic advisors, Cecilia Rouse.

But first, let’s turn to Mark Meredith in Wilmington, Delaware, with the latest on prospects for the president’s ambitious plans — Mark.

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, President Biden insists the country can afford to spend trillions and trillions of dollars but Republicans are upset with more than just the price tag here. They argue the White House is trying to expand government bureaucracy for decades to come.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BIDEN:  We’re way behind the rest of the world right now.

MEREDITH (voice-over):  President Biden says if the U.S. is to compete globally, Congress should spend trillions of dollars rebuilding roads, fighting climate change and addressing poverty.

BIDEN:  Certain things only the government can do. We were ranked number eight in the world for number infrastructure for God sake.

MEREDITH:  On top of infrastructure spending, the White House wants a additional $1.8 trillion to fund universal preschool, two for years of community college and more on employment benefits. Republicans argue it’s all a ploy to increase the government’s role in Americans’ daily lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As government expands, our liberty contracts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think many of these programs are designed to make the middle class dependent on government.

MEREDITH:  Even some Democrats including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are raising concerns with the growing price tag of the president’s proposals.

Still the White House believes a deal with a closely divided Congress is possible. The president plans to sit down with congressional leaders from both parties at the White House later this month.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MEREDITH (on camera):  While Congress negotiates this week, President Biden is going to be back out on the road, trying to convince taxpayers to support the spending plan, making stops in Virginia and Louisiana this week — Chris.

WALLACE:  Mark Meredith traveling with the president in Delaware — Mark, thank you.

And joining us now, Cecilia Rouse, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Ms. Rouse, let’s start by putting President Biden’s plans in historical context. Adjusting for inflation, the programs passed during the New Deal cost $856 billion. Recovery from the great recession in 2009 cost $1.8 trillion.

But in just over 100 days, President Biden has proposed more than $6 trillion in new spending.

Ms. Rouse, you really want to spend more than six times what the nation spent to get us out of the Great Depression in the 1930s?

CECILIA ROUSE, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS CHAIR:  Well, thank you, Chris.

Let’s be clear, the first part of what President Biden was spending is the American Rescue Plan. We’re in an economic recession caused by a pandemic and that was critical support which went to families and businesses to help them get to the other side of the pandemic. And even more important, it provided the funding for an effective and comprehensive vaccination rollout.

It’s because of those shots in the arm, it’s because of the support the families and businesses have had that we started to see our economy come back. Last week’s numbers suggest our — a growth in the first quarter, increased by about 6 percent. We see that unemployment insurance claims are coming down. So the first tranche of that was to get us to the other side of the pandemic.

The other two parts are about investing in our future. What you — to put the spending in context is in the last four years, we’ve been disinvesting from our economy.

And so, what these plans do is they put — would put money into the foundations of growth. Those are infrastructure, research and development and innovation, education because we know human capital is so important, and yes, the support the families need in order to be able to go work because allowing workers to go to work, increasing our labor supply, is also critically important for sustaining our economy and ensuring we remain the most competitive economy in the world.

WALLACE:  But you take my point, it’s six times what we spent in the New Deal, it’s three times what we spent for the great recession as you point out where the economy is right now.

I want to take a look at that because the economy is doing pretty well.

Let’s put up the numbers. GDP in the first quarter rose, as you said, at an annual rate of 6.4 percent. The unemployment rate has dropped from a pandemic high of 14.7 percent now to 6 percent and the Federal Reserve is keeping short-term interest rates near zero.

With things going so well, why not trust the private sector to do its job and to keep the economy growing, people to get jobs, and get the country back on its way, do it by the private sector, not the public sector?

ROUSE:  So, Chris, first of all, this is not an either/or. But those numbers reflect that we are just turning to come out of the recession. The numbers are, look, eye-popping because of what we call base effect because they were so very low last year but we’re not done yet. Next week, we will also get an employment report.

I expect to see robust job gains but I also expect we’re going to remind ourselves that we’re still 7 million or 8 million jobs down from where we were this time last year.

So we are definitely on the move. This is an economy that’s recovering. We are leading the world and that recovery but we’re not done yet.

WALLACE:  Part of this, I think, Ms. Rouse, is a basic philosophical argument about how — what kind of a country we want to be.

Here is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this week. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL:  Behind President Biden’s familiar face it’s like the most radical Washington Democrats have been handed the keys. And they’re trying to speed as far left as they can possibly go before American voters ask for the car back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  President Biden is saying that he wants government to pay for child care. He wants government to pay for preschool and not just for the poor, but for the middle class, and it will be government that picks winners and losers.

Is that the kind of country we want to have, Ms. Rouse?

ROUSE:  This — we want to have a country that has robust growth, that is widely shared, and that is innovating for the future. What we are proposing here are for a government to step in in places where we know the private sector doesn’t do so well.

For example, I think we’re the envy of the world in the speed with which the vaccinations, specifically those by Pfizer and Moderna, were rolled out, developed and rolled out in the past year. That was breathtaking. It’s the reason why we’re on path to — to get out of this pandemic — pandemic and in this recession.

The basic research that was the backbone of the vaccine developments was funded by the government. We know that when it comes to risky investments, the private sector will not make them. We know that when it comes to goods where the private sector can’t recoup all of the returns, the private sector doesn’t fully invest.

So the strategy here is to really create a partnership between the public sector and the private sector where for both sides to be making the investments that make the most sense, so that we can really increase growth. We know that the investments — when government invests in research, that crowds in the private sector. The private sector then builds on top of that and makes even further investment. This is not either/or, this is both/and.

WALLACE:  So there’s not only big disagreement about the spending part of the Biden plan. There’s also a sharp disagreement about how you’re going to pay for it.

I want to put up the combined U.S. corporate tax rates. And when I say combined, both the federal tax rates and the state corporate tax rates.

Take a look at this.

As it stands now with the Trump tax cuts, the U.S. is in the middle of industrial nations at 25.8 percent. But with the tax hike that President Biden is proposing, the U.S. corporate tax rate would once again be the highest in the industrial world at 32.3 percent.

Ms. Rouse, how can you argue that that isn’t going to hurt U.S. competitiveness in the corporate sphere? How can you argue that that isn’t going to drive some U.S. businesses overseas?

ROUSE:  Well, I would say two things here. First is that President Biden fundamentally believes that government can be very effective and is important and that we all need to pay our fair share. And what we’ve seen over the past several decades is that the wealthiest Americans, the big corporations, are getting wealthier and they are contributing less in terms of federal revenue.

So, the first — the first point is to ensure that everybody pays their fair share, not to increase taxes on the middle class. So, not to increase taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year.

The second point is the corporate tax rate is really being proposed do not even go back to where it was in 2017, just to have an increase. And I think what we can also see is that with the tax cuts that have happened in 2017 when we reduced the corporate tax rate so dramatically, we have not seen a similar increase in investment and corporate competitiveness.

So President Biden is really saying, look, everyone should pay their fair share and yes, internationally, we don’t want to be disadvantaged. So he is also working with other countries so that we have a minimum tax internationally so that there’s not a race to the back —

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  But, Ms. Rouse, don’t you think — don’t you think that we’re going to be less competitive if we’re at — have the highest corporate tax rate in the world as opposed to in the middle of the industrial world?

Doesn’t that just necessarily say we’ve become less competitive?

ROUSE:  So we don’t — of course, we don’t want to, you know, hamper U.S.

competitiveness. You know, to the contrary.

The idea is to ensure that corporations are paying their fair share, to button up some of the loopholes which have been really not — which have meant that corporations were actually putting more money offshore, off of the U.S. oil. And having a global minimum tax so that we’re working with our trading partners, working with the rest of the world so that corporations are paying their fair share worldwide.

We do not want to be hampering corporations but we do want to ensure that they are paying their fair share as well.

WALLACE:  Then there is inflation. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who was an advisor both to President Bill Clinton and to Barack Obama, says this, and let’s put it up.

There are already labor shortages in food services and retail. We’re already seeing spikes in the price of lumber and housing.

And I can add to that, we’re also seeing spikes in the price of meat and used cars.

Can you guarantee with all the spending that we’re not going to have a new round of overheating the economy and serious inflation?

ROUSE:  These are very serious concerns and we know that coming out of an extremely deep recession that they’re going to be bumps along the way. So we expect that there have been supply chain disruptions that will cause some transitory increases in prices.

We know that there are some places where employers are struggling to find workers because, let’s face it, we’re still in the middle of the pandemic.

Some workers would like to go back to work but they don’t have child care, their schools are not open, and the pandemic is still out of control in certain parts of our country.

So when we get to the other side of this pandemic, I fully expect that our labor market will come back and be flourishing. That said, we do expect some transitory price increases. The Fed expects that as well. We do not see evidence that at the moment those are — have become what we call de- anchored so that we expect runaway inflation.

But that said, we know we have to be vigilant and we are watching the data.

But for the time being, we expect at most transitory inflation, that is what we expect coming out of a big recession.

WALLACE:  I have less than a minute left and I want to ask you one strategy question. There are reports that the president is willing to break up, particularly the infrastructure plan, into chunks to get at least some of it passed with bipartisan support and that Senate Democrats are saying slow, steady, and piecemeal.

As a matter of strategy, is the president willing to break infrastructure into various pieces? And overall, is he willing to settle for considerably less than the $2.25 trillion?

ROUSE:  What the president has said is what’s really important, is that we act now. That inaction is not an — is not an option. And so he is willing to work with Congress. He’s open to many ideas.

But he believes, fundamentally, we need to be making these kinds of investments in our country. We need to be, you know, stoking and supporting the kind of innovation that we need to in order to address existential threats such as climate change.

WALLACE:  Right.

ROUSE:  We need to be investing in our people and we need to be rebuilding infrastructure.

So, the president has said we need to be making these investments. We’ve been disinvesting over the past 40, 50 years. What’s not an option is inaction and he’s open to working with all members of Congress to make that happen.

WALLACE:  Ms. Rouse, thank you. Thanks for your time. Please come back.

Up next, we’ll get reaction from Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, member of a bipartisan group in Congress trying to reach a compromise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  President Biden says he’s prepared to compromise on his big new government program, but is that possible considering he and Republicans are trillions of dollars apart?

Joining us now from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy, a member of the Gang of Ten Senate Republicans looking for a deal.

Senator, you just heard my conversation with Cecilia Rouse. Your reaction?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA):  There’s a lot in there which is easily disputed.

She talks about big government being essential to vaccine development.

Pfizer did not take federal dollars, for example, to get that vaccine. It was the Trump administration and Congress giving regulatory flexibility.

I would argue that the era of big government coming back will thwart the progress we need to make, and I think we can see recent history about how that is exactly true.

WALLACE:  But let’s look though at some of the key provisions in the president’s jobs plan and in his family’s plan. And I want to put them up on the screen: $100 billion for workforce development, $400 billion to care for the elderly and disabled, $225 billion for child care, and $200 billion for free preschool.

Senator, which of those programs that I just put up, which of those programs do you think people in your state don’t need?

CASSIDY:  Every one of those programs should be evaluated. If it’s important, it should be advanced. It’s not infrastructure.

When people say wait a second, I like this because we need a new bridge across the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles, I’m saying this plan will not give it to you. The amount of spending for roads and bridges is so low that

— and split between 50 states over five years, you’re not going to get your bridge.

Now, we may need this — by the way, we just are restarting our bipartisan working group to come at family support for the dependents, children and elderly. But that is not going to give you a road and bridge, and that’s what people in my state would really like to see.

WALLACE:  Yeah, but I guess the question is — and you know, we could argue, and I have back-and-forth with both sides about infrastructure, but there are a lot of programs that aren’t infrastructure and the question I’m asking you is would you support the government paying for them?

I mean, I looked into it. In your state of Louisiana, the rate of child poverty is 25 percent. One in four of the children in Louisiana are in poverty. And according to the White House, 42 percent of residents in Louisiana do not have access to child care.

So don’t they want — wouldn’t they benefit — forgot whether it’s infrastructure or not, wouldn’t they benefit from these government programs?

CASSIDY:  So I don’t know if they would. If you think about the main driver of elevating out of poverty, it’s good education. Now, what we saw in the pandemic was teachers unions keeping schools shut even when the Centers for Disease Control said it was safe to go back.

The president wants to give universal pre-K run by the same teachers unions. Now, if you’re in Chicago and there’s more money going to the school system and to the unions, and yet, they still won’t open up because the CDC says it’s not safe but because they don’t want to, your kids are not going to have a better education. They’re just not.

So whether or not these programs benefit those who need it, we don’t know, because it’s going through a system which is so poorly served these same folks we wish to help.

WALLACE:  As I talked about with Ms. Rouse, there’s not only a disagreement about spending, there’s also a disagreement about how you’re going to pay for it. And one of the main Republican objections to the Biden plan is it would undo much of the Trump tax cuts.

But I want to — I want to take a look at those tax cuts. According to the Tax Policy Center, the average first year tax cut for a household making less than $25,000, the average tax cut was just $60. The average tax cut for a household making $3.4 million was $193,000.

And contrary to talk that it will pay for itself, the Trumps tax cuts are now projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over ten years.

Senator, of the 2 million tax filers in Louisiana, only 14,000 of them were paying more, filing gross income of more than $500,000.

So what’s wrong with raising the top tax rate to where it was during the Bush 43 and Obama administrations in order to help the working and middle- class?

CASSIDY:  If all you do is look at first-degree effects, Chris, you could make a point like that. It sounds just like President Biden speaking at — speak in the Congress. I’m not accusing you. I’m just pointing that out.

If you look at the overall effect, the aspiration of this Biden administration is to return to the economy we had before COVID, where we had record low unemployment, which means record high employment for African-Americans, veterans, women, Hispanics, the disabled, high school dropouts, with wage growth disproportionally in the lower — in the lower quintiles of the income structure. That’s where we were seeing the economy really help.

Now, that was all part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act bill. You can’t separate them. So if you want to say my gosh, these people are making more money, why don’t we return and keep the Tax Cut and Jobs Act — that’s the flip side of the question you’re asking and I think that flip side is the part that should be emphasized.

WALLACE:  But the argument is, and there certainly is some data to indicate that the Trumps tax cuts benefited the wealthy and corporations more than they did the working and middle-class.

And I want to play a bit of what President Biden said to Congress on Wednesday. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Americans Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America. That’s what it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  The president says that his plan is going to help the working and middle-class by making the corporations and the wealthy, people over

$400,000 a year, pay more. What’s wrong with that?

CASSIDY:  Yeah, so if you raise — academics would say if you raise taxes on corporations you have lower wages, you have less investment and you heard shareholders think pension funds.

Now, if it’s okay to have lower wages for working people, it’s a blue collar — it’s a blue-collar thing. If it’s okay to have less investment, it’s a blue-collar thing. But if you want higher wages, if you want more investment, if you want more efficient deployment of capital, then it’s anti-blue-collar.

We saw under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act bill a blue-collar working bill.

Investment increased wages among the lower quintiles of Americans with fuller employment. That’s the recipe for success, not taking trillions and trickling it through Democratic interest groups and hopefully some of it getting down to the folks that you know you want to help.

WALLACE:  All right. So let’s get to the bottom line here, Senator, after talking to you and to Cecilia Rouse. You’re part of this so-called “Gang of 10” of more centrist, more moderate Republican senators. There’s also a “Gang of 10” Democrats who are trying to work together to get a deal, on infrastructure specifically but I suppose also on some of these family plans as well.

Given that you’re so far apart, trillions of dollars apart in spending, given that your trillions of dollars apart and taxes, what are the chances for a deal here? A bipartisan compromise deal?

CASSIDY:  Well, first, let me push back. We got conservatives and progressives in our group. It’s just that we’re willing to speak. I think if the definition of moderate is what it traditionally is, it’s better to say conservatives and progressives coming together to find common ground.

Now, in terms of being far apart —

WALLACE:  Point taken.

CASSIDY:  — we’re far apart on the scope.

If — if — if you’re talking about a scope which is roads and bridges and Internet and tunnels and airports and waterways, we can be pretty close. If you’re talking about spending hundreds of billions of dollars to benefit public service unions, then we’re far apart.

So if we can agree upon the scope, we can fix those bridges in Louisiana and elsewhere. And I would argue the administration needs to kind of be honest with the American people. If you really want roads and bridges, come where Republicans already are. If you want to give us permission to do a lot of other stuff — well, that’s a different story.

But roads and bridges, we’re a lot closer than you might think.

WALLACE:  Senator Cassidy, thank you. Thanks for joining us this weekend.

It is always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.

Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the president’s push for a return to big government. Can he sell it in Washington?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  Coming up, Senator Tim Scott’s response to the president starts a conversation on how educators teach American history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT:  Kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again, and if you look a certain way, they’re an oppressor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  We’ll ask our Sunday panel about culture wars in curriculum.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share. 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  With the regard to the direction of the Biden administration, so far, I think it could best be described as the Biden bait and switch. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  President Biden making the case for raising taxes to pay for his big spending plans, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pushing back hard.  And it’s time now for our Sunday group.  Dana Perino, co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom,” and author of the new book “Everything Will be Okay.” Pollster and FOX News contributor Kristen Soltis Anderson.  And former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. 

Kristen, the White House has clearly made a calculation that in the wake of the pandemic and in the wake of the multi-trillion dollar bills that the Republican Senate and President Trump signed, that there is a shift in public attitude about government programs.  Two questions, does the polling back that up, that shift in public opinion?  Is big government back? 

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  The polling tends to show that Americans slightly prefer more government with more services to a smaller government with less services.  But at the same time we are seeing 20-year highs in terms of the percentage of Americans who say they are dissatisfied with how government is working. 

It’s a little bit of a “the food is terrible and a portions so small” kind of dynamic going on where Americans don’t think that government is great at doing the things it’s supposed to be doing but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking to slash government. 

So Democrats, I think, are in a somewhat precarious position because people do want to see things that will tangibly make their lives better.  On the other hand, trillion dollar big bill after big bill after big bill, if it becomes too diffuse, too disconnected from what people are actually feeling in their real lives and it just becomes huge numbers and headlines, that does present a real opportunity for Republicans to harness that anxiety and bring back the sort of energy against big government that we saw perhaps during the Gingrich era or the rise of the tea party. 

WALLACE:  Dana, I want to pick up on exactly that point because Republicans clearly think that they can portray Democrats once again as the party of spend and tax, but it seems to me the Biden plans are not bailing out Wall Street, as Obama did during the Great Recession, and they are not bailing out people on welfare, as they did with LBJ and the Great Society. 

So is it going to be — when you see programs for child care or preschool or community colleges, is that going to be a harder case for Republicans to make? 

DANA PERINO, FNC HOST:  We’ll see.  I mean, part of the things that the Republicans have to deal with right now is they need something to unify them.  And this bill, this infrastructure bill and the other planning like the American Family Plan, that actually could do that. 

One of the things was that these programs sound popular, and it’s not by a lot, you know, 54 percent, 55 percent say, yes, I think I would like that. 

But when you start asking the second question of how is it going to be paid for, that gets a little bit more difficult. 

Republicans have done something pretty smart on this, I believe, in putting forward Shelley Moore Capito, the senator from West Virginia, who has already said, I want to get a deal done, I’m here, here’s a few options. 

And she is on the phone and she wants to work at it.  And you already have

— forget Republicans getting on board, somebody like a Senator Mark Kelly and Senator Manchin, to name just a couple, they are already saying whoa, this might be too much. 

So I do think that while Joe Biden feels like the planets are uniquely aligned for him right now in terms of people wanting to get back to work, the institutions, like for example, the media and the business on his side, people want the pandemic behind them, that might be the reason they feel like they need to get so much done so quickly, but 2022 is definitely — you know, and in the mirror where it says “objects are closer than they appear,” that’s what 2022 is right now for the Democrats. 

WALLACE:  Harold, as I discussed with Cecilia Rouse, a lot can go wrong when you’re proposing big government.  We saw with the Obama stimulus the government always doesn’t do a good job in picking winners and losers.  And there is that very real threat that Larry Summers talks about, about overheating the economy and inflation.  Those could both blow up for the Democrats. 

HAROLD FORD JR., FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  They could.  Good morning and thanks for having me on.  I think a couple of things.  I think back in the ’80s during the Cold War when we spent massively and spent in a smart way I thought, there were Democrats that didn’t support that, there were more Republicans who did support it.  The internet came out of it, massive job and wealth creation came out of it for the country, and we defeated our foe. 

We are organizing today around a new cold war, how do you go after China? 

I think that’s what the president has to focus on if he’s going to continue to win bipartisan support.  He’s not winning it in Washington but he is certainly winning it amongst voters. 

Dana worked for a president who after 9/11 the country had to understand that energy independence had to be a part of a new platform.  Here we are today, America is producing more energy products, petroleum products than anywhere in the world.  The next set of challenges is who can win the next energy production battle, can we beat China, can we beat Asia?  What did we learn from this pandemic, the fact that we don’t have supply chains here in America.  Are we making smart investments there? 

I was intrigued by Senator Cassidy’s comments because he seemed open to some negotiation.  That’s something we hadn’t seen in the last few years. 

So I’m excited to see Senator Capito, I’m excited to see Senator Cassidy, and even equally excited to see Manchin and Sinema — Senator Sinema and Kelly at the table saying we’ve got to find a compromise here that makes sense, that builds bipartisan support and makes this bill more sustainable. 

WALLACE:  I want to pick up on exactly the point, Harold, that you made about the international implications of that, the U.S. place in the world. 

Here’s another clip from President Biden’s speech to Congress on Wednesday night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN:  We have to prove democracy still works and our government still works and we can deliver for our people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Kristen, I have to say, it sounds a bit like a poll-tested line, but can President Biden use this argument, that this is a way of advancing the U.S. position in the world, this is a battle between democracy and autocracy and we have to show that democracy can deliver? 

SOLTIS ANDERSON:  I think it’s, again, as you noted, a very nice poll- tested line but it’s also very 35,000 feet.  And, again, I think in the midst of we are coming out of the pandemic, we are still healing the economic damage of the last year, people’s thoughts are not necessarily at the 35,000-foot level, they are at the level of their own homes. 

And we talked earlier about, you know, the potential risk of inflation. 

Inflation is not something I’ve seen pop up as a concern polls during my entire career.  It really hasn’t been top of the polls during my entire lifetime.  And yet we are beginning to see folks say, I’m worried about things like cost of living going up. 

And so I do think there’s an outsize risk here that if all of the sudden the economic policies put in place under President Trump, which mind you, that was the one thing that actually was very good in the poll numbers for Trump, is people consistently said they thought he was doing a pretty good job on the economy, rolling a lot of that back, if that risks America’s competitiveness globally and it begins to hurt people in their own pocketbooks by cost of living going up due to inflation, that is some real potential downsides to the path that the Biden administration is pursuing. 

WALLACE:  Dana, you talked earlier about the 2022 midterms.  And even though we are only in, what, the 2nd of May of 2021, obviously it’s on people’s minds in Washington.  I was in a briefing this week with the Senate Democratic leader, Schumer, and he said that he had been surprised by how effective Bernie Sanders’s push for putting $1,400 paychecks in people’s pockets, not surprisingly I suppose, people really like getting free money, and his argument is if the Democrats can make a difference in people’s lives this year, that they are going to remember it in 2022.  Is he right? 

PERINO:  Well, I mean, I think — I don’t know.  We’ll see.  You know, there’s a saying in Washington, never mistake a referendum for a mandate. 

And I think that the president — Ron Klain, the chief of staff, who I think is behind a lot of this big ambition, that he felt that Obama just did not do enough and he didn’t do it fast enough, that they want to get as much as they can, do as quickly as they can do it before they start to settle in. 

But here’s the thing, I don’t think it’s just this issue, and I think the inflation issue is very real.  But the House Republicans didn’t lose a single incumbent last year and they’ve got really good recruiting this time around, and they’ve got something to push up against.  And that is going to be — just one, history is on their side, a president usually loses members of his own party during that first midterm.

And don’t forget what — I’m able to talk about this next, and that is the whole issue of the cancel culture, wokeness of the Democratic Party in which you had party veterans like James Carville warning the Democrats, like you are actually heading for a real bruising in 2022 if you keep this up. 

WALLACE:  Well, that’s where we are going next.  Panel, we have to take a break here but up next, the debate over federal government involvement in public schools.  What should we teach kids about race? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC):  Last night what was trending in social media was “Uncle Tim,” they doubled down on this concept of liberal oppression.  It is stunning in 2021 that those who speak about ending discrimination want to end it by more discrimination. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Republican Senator Tim Scott on reaction to his Biden rebuttal this week, arguing the U.S. is not a racist country.  And we are back now with the panel. 

Harold, does Tim Scott have a point, that the left believes in choice except when it comes to freedom of thought and that what’s particularly repugnant to the left is an African American, even an African American senator, who has a conservative point of view? 

FORD:  Probably some feel that way, but unfortunately our politics today, there is a mindless tactic on both sides that suggest that if you disagree with someone, the way to beat them is to cancel them.  I mean, the same progressives who sought to cancel Tim Scott with those awful things being said on Twitter remind me of Mitch McConnell and his 37 colleagues want to cancel out the 1619 Project. 

Look, I’m not afraid of ideas.  I’m still a believer, I will never stop believing or give up on the fact that I can disagree with someone on policy and still like them and very likely learn something from them.  The reason you have multiple biographies, the reason you have multiple pieces of work done on different episodes on people in history is because new things come to light, new things unearth it.  I’m not afraid of a perspective that I may disagree with.  And it’s a little surprising that Senator McConnell and others might be around 1619 Project. 

Shame on any progressive or any American, any conservative who things that the way you win an argument in politics is to cancel someone out.  I’ve said it before, we’ve got to stop being so wimpish, let’s be smarter and better and have a robust debate about the issues. 

WALLACE:  We are going to get to the 1619 Project and explain to folks who may not know what that’s all about, but I want to just pick up with you, Dana, about Tim Scott and what happened to him this week.  I mean, we’ve seen this before, one special target for the left is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and this argument, if you’re a Black conservative, you must be a sellout. 

PERINO:  Right.  And I’m sorry, but his name is escaping me right now, but the attorney general from Kentucky who gave that great speech at the Republican National Convention, he got it too.  So it’s one of those things that’s like the left can sometimes march in lockstep, so can the right, and in this case I think they have a real problem because Tim Scott is a happy warrior.  He doesn’t communicate through grievance and anger. 

They are not quite sure how to attack them.  And I think it’s pretty amazing just because of the attacks on Tim Scott — now he gave a good speech, a good speech, especially a rebuttal.  I would always say no to those rebuttals because it’s so hard to follow a president.  And yet Tim Scott was able to steal the show this week. 

And he’s a person that’s reticent to talk about himself, but when he’s attacked like that, he will effectively push back.  And I think that one of the things the Democrats don’t realize that they are doing is that they are elevating this person who can really try to unify the Republican Party at a point when it could really use some unity. 

WALLACE:  I want to turn to the issue that Harold was talking about, another race issue this week, and that was that more than three dozen Republican senators, led by Mitch McConnell, sent a letter to the Education Department asking them to end a grant program in terms of what it’s going to teach — the curriculum it would push on the issue of race. 

The question I have for you, Kristen, before we delve down more into this, are the culture wars, is that a smart area for Republicans to double down on right now?  And in the wake of George Floyd and the protests last summer, where is the country on the issue of race now? 

SOLTIS ANDERSON:  In terms of the politics of it, of course issues like the economy and health care tend to always rise to the top, much more so than what you might think of as these culture war issues.  At the same time, it does send a signal from one side or the other that perhaps you are too extreme, you are too out of touch, that you don’t necessarily understand what the average American is going through. 

And if, for instance, parents are hearing, you know, oh my goodness, is my child’s school separating out the white children and the children of color and teaching them different lessons and requiring them to view each other through the lens of race, that may not feel like progress.  It doesn’t seem like progress to me.  And is the sort of thing that certainly hits at home and can cause particularly parents to feel very anxious about what’s going on in our country. 

In terms of where America stands on the overall conversation about race, you know, America’s history is beautiful, it’s wonderful, it’s worth celebrating, but we are also an imperfect country.  It’s worth making sure that our children know about the mistakes that have been made, that we can learn from those mistakes.  And that’s where Americans tend to come down, that America is not a racist country, as Tim Scott said, as Jim Clyburn and Kamala Harris followed up the next day, but also a country that’s worth celebrating, but imperfect.  And we have progress still to make. 

WALLACE:  Here was the response to the GOP letter this week from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIGUEL CARDONA, EDUCATION SECRETARY:  The reality is when we are discussing curriculum, the federal government doesn’t really have a role in the curriculum development. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Harold, the argument is about the fact — and let’s put it in context, it’s about a $5 million grant program in the Education Department that has a budget of $74 billion, so we shouldn’t overstate, but what they are upset about is that the grant program was for school districts, to give them money if they would set curricula that were more anti-racist grade, nothing wrong with that, obviously.  But it did mention the 1619 Project, which was something started and pushed by The New York Times which has a revisionist history of the country on race.  So what you make of this controversy? 

FORD:  Look, I think when we are — unfortunately, I think some in the Republican Party are trying to find ways to unite and unify and this may be one of those issues.  But like I said, I’m not afraid of more perspectives being shared.  And if a school district doesn’t want to take the money, they don’t have to. 

Again, I think that Tim Scott was precisely right, we’re not a racist country.  Yes, we have a history…

WALLACE:  Let me just interrupt for a second.  Harold, let me just interrupt for a second because the specific thing they are upset about, that they’ve talked about, is that the 1619 Project argues that the Revolutionary War was fought so the South could keep their slaves.  And a lot of people say, well, no, it was really fought to flow throw off yoke of British colonialism.  So can you understand where people would be upset by that? 

FORD:  Sure.  I’m not saying if I was a school district superintendent I would take the money, I’m always saying that that option is there and I would assume that there are other perspectives being taught and shared around this very issue.  I mean, Eric Foner, who has written I think brilliantly about this era and about the second founding of our country, I hope that kids learn all of these perspectives. 

And you asked a question leading into the segment, what more do we talk about race?  I hope we talk a lot more about it constructively. 

WALLACE:  Thank you.  Thank you, panel, see you next Sunday. 

Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” the first college athlete to profit, profit off her image, showing others how they can too. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  It has been a debate for decades, should college athletes be able to make money off their celebrity?  Our “Power Player” is in the vanguard of a new era in college sports. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHLOE V. MITCHELL, COLLEGE VOLLYEBALL PLAYER:  I feel super blessed and super grateful to be a trailblazer. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  Volleyball player Chloe V. Mitchell, one of the first college athletes to make money off her own image.  It’s a game- changer for players who for decades have earned millions for schools, merchandisers, and broadcasters, but not themselves. 

WALLACE:  How do you feel about college athletes finally getting to benefit from big-time college sports? 

MITCHELL:  I could not be more excited.  I mean, it’s American, right? 

It’s American to be able to get out there, to make your own brand, and to capitalize off of that. 

That’s when an idea hit me. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  it happened almost by accident and only partially due to sports.  Mitchell gained a following as a do-it-yourself guru during the pandemic. 

MITCHELL:  My name is Chloe, and on a whim I’ve decided to turn my shed into a “she shed.” 

WALLACE (voice-over):  Sharing TikTok videos of how she turned her parents’

storage shed said into her own “she shed.”  

MITCHELL:  In the end, my nasty old shed went from this, to this. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  The number of people following her blew up. 

MITCHELL:  One of my best friends texted me and was like, Chloe, Chloe, open up the app, look at this views that you’re getting.  And at the time I only had about 32 followers. 

WALLACE:  How many followers do you have an TikTok? 

MITCHELL:  On TikTok I have 2.7 million followers. 

I started the demolition process on the fire pit. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  More followers meant more sponsors asking her to plug their products. 

MITCHELL:  I was pretty tired after this so I grabbed my smart cup. 

WALLACE  (voice-over):  But Mitchell faced a choice heading into her freshman year as an athlete at Aquinas College in Michigan. 

MITCHELL:  If I keep working and making money off of TikTok, I will become ineligible to play my sport. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  Then Mitchell’s college athletic association, the NAIA, which is a smaller version of the NCAA, became the first to end the ban on college athletes making the money from their name, image, or likeness. 

MITCHELL:  My dad is going to love this. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  Mitchell made her first ad for golf gear. 

WALLACE:  May I ask a much they paid you? 

MITCHELL:  It was around three grand. 

WALLACE:  Wow, pretty good. 

MITCHELL:  Yes.  Yes, it was awesome.  I mean, I’m paying for college, I’m paying for — I paid for my car and my computer, so for me, that’s great money. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  And it sparked another idea, an app Mitchell and her dad have created called Playbook, where she helps fellow college athletes find their own sponsors.  Mitchell gets a small cut of each deal. 

MITCHELL:  If you are a collegiate athlete, Chris, you could look at the app and say, oh, look at this, I have a kid who wants a video from me or you could get a message from a local business or maybe a national business saying, hey, we would love for you to post on your Instagram about us. 

And ultimately it’s an app that connects athletes to businesses and fans. 

WALLACE (voice-over):  Mitchell says the beauty of Playbook is it’s for any athlete, not just megastars. 

WALLACE:  How big do you think Playbook could become? 

MITCHELL:  Chris, I think that one day Playbook is going to be an app on every athlete and every fan’s phone.  They are going to leave college with money in their pocket.  It’s going to be a springboard for the rest of their life.  I’m just super excited about all of it. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  Mitchell and her Playbook team are now working with more than 250 college athletes. 

This weekend marks 10 years since the U.S. launched that during Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden.  And for the last year I’ve been working on a book that goes behind the scenes of that mission, talking with key intelligence, military, and government officials who pulled it off. 

The book is called “Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice.” You can pre-order it now. 

It comes out on September 7th, just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. 

And that’s it for today, have a great week and we will see you next “FOX News Sunday.”

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