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Can We Get Back To A Pre-Pandemic Economy?

Can We Get Back To A Pre-Pandemic Economy?

Episode #1  |  September 16th, 2020
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In This Episode:

On the debut episode of Trish Regan’s American Consequences, Trish takes a deep dive into the current state of the American economy, and what role the FED plays in returning to the norm. Are we headed toward a Socialist America? Writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza joins Trish to discuss his new book and the potential hazards of a socialistic path. Debbie D’Souza, political advocate and wife of Dinesh, shares her experiences from living through her home country of Venezuela’s transition into Socialism. Stay up-to-date with everything Trish Regan by subscribing to the show on your preferred podcast app, or by following the show on social media @TrishReganAMC.


Debbie D’Souza

Born in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuela she grew up in was much like America-prosperous and free, but that has changed dramatically and it is now a socialist country. D'Souza refuses to see America follow Venezuela's path, and that drives her work today. As a warning to Americans, she speaks about how the path that America is taking repeats many of the same policies that destroyed Venezuela. She is an advocate for conservative Latinos and hopes to educate them in the importance of voting for a party that reflects the principles of the majority of Hispanics. She has a unique perspective because of her dual nationalities reflecting both her Mexican-American heritage from her mother's side as well as her Venezuelan roots from her father's.

Dinesh D’Souza

A prominent career as a writer, scholar, and public intellectual, and has also become an award-winning filmmaker. Born in India, D’Souza came to the U.S. as an exchange student at the age of 18 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country,” D’Souza quickly became known as a major force in public policy through his books, speeches, and films.


Announcer:        [Music playing] This is Trish Regan’s American Consequences; a view of things you won’t get anywhere else. Trish talks about the Fed, the White House, and the world like no one. The biggest guests and best analysis starts right now. Here’s Trish Regan. Trish Regan:       Hello everyone and welcome to the very first edition of Trish Regan’s American Consequences. I am Trish Regan. It’s so good to have you here. We have too much to talk about on the economic front, on the political front, on the global front. But given that the Fed is meeting this week, I want to start on the economic front. It’s pretty incredible when you think of the turnaround that we’ve had just recently really in this economy. I mean, people thought things would never get better, and what do you know? Within a span of a couple months, we really started to reverse things. And the trajectory right now is very positive, very optimistic; 8.4% unemployment rate. That is a target that the Fed didn’t think we’d be at until the end of the year. And what do you know? I’ll tell you, if you can just get out of the way and let Americans know that they can do what they know how to do – right, which is go to work and make money – then, what do you know, we’re able to do it. So that was very, very encouraging on the jobs front. We’ve also seen that it’s not as bad as people had anticipated. When you look at sentiment numbers, when you look at retail sales numbers, a lot of these are really indicating that we can get back to pre-pandemic levels in the near-term. But it’s one of the reasons why it’s so critical we make the right choices in the coming months when it comes to who’s in charge. Because there are two different paths in front of us. One is capitalism; which, hey, I know it’s not perfect. But it sure beats the alternative, doesn’t it? Because the alternative is socialism. A little bit later in the program, we have Debbie D’Souza who’s from Venezuela as well as her husband, Dinesh D’Souza, who just came out with the book United States of Socialism. And they’re going to join me to talk about the hazards of a path like socialism. Let’s hope that we don’t do that. It’s so important right now that, again, government get out of the way, let people re-open their businesses, do what we need to take care of the people that need to be taken care of if they have pre-existing conditions, if they are elderly. Then, yes, you’re going to want to make sure that those people are not exposed to the virus. But everybody else, I’m sorry, we kind of got to get with the program if you would, which means schools need to reopen. You can’t be telling me that in places like Los Angeles they’re going to just wait until after the election or Washington, D.C. – which actually communicated that they’re going to wait until the Friday after the election. I wonder what’s so magical, if you would, about the election. You can’t tell me that this stuff isn’t political. Chicago is doing the same thing, don’t forget. You know who it really hurts? It really hurts the kids themselves. It hurts kids. And John Taylor actually had an excellent piece in American Consequences recently – the economist from the Hoover Institution out there at Stanford. But he pointed out that it really is these kids and these challenged, poor communities that are most at-risk because they don’t have the option of a private school. They don’t get a school voucher because, you know, the union’s too strong in their particular districts. They don’t have a teacher that’s going to come into the neighborhood and teach five kids at a time in some kind of pod like so many people out there on the West Coast are doing. And so, consequently, it’s these kids in these communities that increasingly are disenfranchised even more. And so, again, it comes back to making the right policy decisions for our economy, certainly from a fiscal standpoint. But I wanted to talk about the economy in light of the Fed meeting because it’s not just fiscal policy, but it’s monetary as well. And we really need to think long and hard about what we’re doing from a monetary standpoint. Now, on the one hand, I do believe that there is a time and a place for the Fed to act. You know, sorry to disappoint some people that I know a lot of you would just like to get rid of the Fed altogether. And I understand that sentiment, and I appreciate that sentiment. And believe me, there are times – certainly during the Obama years – that I wished that we could’ve. I do think the Fed has, you know, naively created so many of these problems of its own. You look back over the last 25 years or so, you can really point to some of these problems being created, if you would, under Alan Greenspan. We got the tech bubble under him. We got the sub-prime, real estate bubble under him. And while a lot of people would say, “You know, it was the bank’s fault because they were just lending too aggressively,” I would go back to, well, why were they doing that? Why were they doing that? Because money was cheap. Money was too cheap. That was courtesy of the Fed and Alan Greenspan. So it started then, and it continued on through Ben Bernanke because, of course, when all hell broke loose in 2008, they had to stem the crisis somehow… so what did they do? They printed more money. And so, with more money printing, you had more liquidity. And thus, people were encouraged to take on even more risk. Right? And then fast-forward to what – and that continued, by the way, just continued for years and years – and then fast-forward to what we’re doing right now with the pandemic. I understand the Fed felt like it had to come in. It had to do something. And to the Fed’s credit, unemployment is much lower. And to the Fed’s credit, we seem to be on the mend. But here’s the problem… I think over and over, we have seen that Fed policy has increasingly resulted in success for those that have capital to invest. In other words, if you’re out there buying stocks, you’re in good shape. Because whether the Fed means to or not, it’s trying to create inflation. It’s not getting any in the real economy. Let’s face it, right? There’s no real inflation to speak of in the real economy. But they are getting it, what do you know, in terms of asset prices. And so, when you see that inflation in asset prices, it makes everybody feel good. You open your 401(k) statements, and you feel a little bit better. But what about the people that aren’t investing? What about the wage-earners? What about laborers? How do they succeed in a kind of economy like that where increasingly the Fed doesn’t quite realize it’s actually aiding – it is aiding – in sort of the creation of a two-class system. Right? It’s creating more of a problem and attention between capital and labor because those with capital are so disproportionately rewarded, if you would, compared to those that are laborers. And so, this has created increasingly a problem which – you know what – Donald Trump successively tapped into in 2016. He recognized this problem. I don’t think he’d tell you it was the Fed’s fault. I think he’d probably point to Obama policies and other presidents – and by the way, they are very much to blame, and they really haven’t thought strategically about how the U.S. economy succeeds in a global environment. But simultaneously, the Fed bears some responsibility for all of this, too. Again, I’m not saying get rid of the Fed. I think the Fed serves a purpose. But at what point do they just not know how to stop? Right? You know, they just – they’re like a glutton for punishment here. They’re like, “Okay. All right. Market’s doing well. We got to keep it going.” And they’re not supposed to be watching the market, but inevitably they can’t help themselves. And so, now we’re in an environment where the Fed just says they’re going to do this effectively forever. Right? Now they’re actually saying they want inflation. Think about how revolutionary that is. That got a little too overlooked in my view in the mainstream media. The Fed’s saying that it actually wants to change its bias towards creating some inflation. I do believe the Bank of Japan tried this, did they not, a while back. And what did they have? You know, zero interest rates forever, and they were looking for a little inflation. They just couldn’t get any. They couldn’t get any. We’re getting some, but we’re just not getting it in the right places. We need wage inflation. Right? Instead, you’re getting asset inflation. And so, the moral of the story is, don’t fight the Fed, shall we say? I mean, you may not like the Fed, but it’s kind of a hard entity to fight. And I think investors have learned that. I mean, there’s no risk-reward in normal equation anymore. There’s no yin-yang. There’s no buy-sell. It’s just buy, buy, buy. Right? Maybe go down for a little bit, but again, then it’s buy, buy, buy again. And the reason being that the Fed is there effectively acting as a catchall. So you really can’t hurt yourself. And the problem with that is, it takes out sort of the normal thinking, right, that goes into anyone’s equation and anyone’s analysis when they’re trying to determine whether to buy or sell a stock. And so, I think there’s effectively certain hazards that have been presented as a result of this. And the good news is, if you’re investing, you’ll probably continue to over time do well because the Fed is there. Right? They’re always going to catch you, and they’re always going to pick you up. The bad news is, it becomes increasingly difficult to figure out what to invest in because how do you know what’s real? Right? How do we really know when you take the normal fear, if you would, out of the equation and it’s just, “Get in there,” and they’re acting like the Casino that’s telling their gamblers to just go all-in… Then it makes it increasingly difficult, I think, for people to understand what is what. Anyway. To end on a positive note here in this monologue, we are in a better state in terms of our overall economy. Let’s hope that continues. We’re seeing improvement in the job numbers. I’m beginning to think we don’t even need more stimulus. Frankly, we can’t afford it. Let’s be clear, we cannot afford it. And if we’re in a situation where we can get unemployment as low as it’s currently been going, then it may prove the point that we can manage through this, again, provided we have the right policies and the right people in charge. Coming up, we are going to talk to Dinesh and Debbie D’Souza. Dinesh has a brand-new book out, United States of Socialism. Debbie is from Venezuela herself. She knows firsthand how hard a socialist economy really can be. And it’s relevant right now in terms of the political environment we’re in. And even in terms of what you think has been happening in New York City with Bill de Blasio coming right out and saying, “Help me tax the wealthy. Help me redistribute the wealth.” Direct quote! And now, Governor Cuomo’s considering doing it. The D’Souza’s are next. Plus, coming up a little later in the program, Michael Pillsbury – he is the expert on China. He’s going to tell us what he thinks of TikTok’s sale to Oracle. [Music playing] I am so happy to have on the program two brilliant individuals who are very familiar with the hazards of socialism. Debbie and Dinesh D’Souza. Dinesh is just out with his book, United States of Socialism, and Debbie is from Venezuela herself. So she knows just how bad it can get. Welcome to both of you guys. Debbie D’Souza:         Thank you. Dinesh D’Souza:         It’s great to be on the show. Trish Regan:               So let me start first with you, Dinesh. What inspired you to write United States of Socialism? Dinesh D’Souza:         I realized that that is the endgame for the Left in the United States. Now, this is something new because, while we’ve had socialism – we’ve had socialist movements, we’ve had a couple of socialist candidates, one named Eugene V. Debs about a century ago, Norman Thomas – socialism has never been in the American mainstream. It has never really overtaken, you might say, the Democratic Party. But that’s happening, and it’s happened, for the first time in this election. Mainstream socialism – even the word “socialism” – has a sort of respectability it never had before. So a lot of the tactics of the Left… you know, we read about the Antifa and the Black Lives Matter and the Deep State, but I asked myself, “Those are the tactics. What is the goal? What is the endgame?” And I think the endgame is some form of socialism. So that’s what I try to dissect in the book. Trish Regan:               I guess the question then is, what is the endgame in terms of the type of socialism? Because if you’re talking about sort of what you see in some Scandinavian countries versus, say, what you see in the likes of Venezuela as your wife Debbie well knows, those are two different things. What is it that they want, Dinesh? Debbie D’Souza:         Well, the Left doesn’t want classic socialism because classic socialism – a sort of Marxism socialism – is essentially about dividing society into two classes: the rich and the poor. Marx is actual division between the workers, or the victims, and the sort of capitalist who are the victimizers. But in American society, you’ll notice that the Left divides society many different ways; into the rich and the poor, yes, but also into black versus white, male versus females, straight versus gay, legal versus illegal. So this is socialism married to identity politics. And the phrase I use is “identity socialism”. Now, they don’t have this in Scandinavia. The Scandinavians do not demonize the rich. They don’t divide society between blacks and whites. They don’t knock down statues of Christopher Columbus. So the socialism that they have in Scandinavia is of a unique type. It works to a point, but it’s not the socialism that the Left wants in the United States. Trish Regan:               It’s really fascinating. I mean, would you say, Debbie, that there are even some differences between the socialism that Bernie Sanders was pushing and the socialism that you see the Ilhan Omars, the Bill de Blasios, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s of the world are pushing? Debbie D’Souza:         Actually, what they’re pushing is exactly what Hugo Chávez and then Maduro pushed in Venezuela. As Dinesh pointed out, this element of dividing the country not just between the socioeconomic classes but also between the indigenous people – the Afro indigenous people – and the white settler people – Trish Regan:               Sort of European colonialism that I myself have heard Chávez talk about back when he was alive. Debbie D’Souza:         Yes. And so, that division in Venezuela started occurring right away. Hugo Chávez made sure that anybody that had any white ancestry or was related to any white ancestors that were settlers in Venezuela – immediately, he started just toppling those statues. And of course, Dinesh mentioned the Christopher Columbus statue. That started happening in Venezuela as well. The demonization of Christopher Columbus – including Christopher Columbus Day, which was celebrated when I was a child, we had a holiday that day – no longer did that happen. So it – Trish Regan:               And that’s happening here, too. I mean, I believe my children’s school now calls it Indigenous People’s Day. Debbie D’Souza:         Yes. And that is exactly what Huge Chávez did. He started calling it that. He even raised an indigenous statue in place of Christopher Columbus. Trish Regan:               Wow. I like to think, but maybe I’m being naïve in doing so, that our spirit as Americans is very much tied to capitalism, is very much tied to this idea of the meritocracy. And we believe that anybody can get ahead in this great country provided you’re willing to put in the sweat equity that is required. Is that going to change? Dinesh D’Souza:         I think the Left would like to change it. So the bad thing, I believe, Trisha, is that we are at a point – we also use the rhetoric of “we.” Like, “Our national anthem,” and, “Our pioneer spirit,” and, “We as Americans.” But the problem is, there’s a whole segment about society and a whole segment about politics that rejects that. So lots of people don’t want the national anthem. It’s not their anthem anymore. They don’t like the American flag. They would rather burn it than venerate it. So the pioneer spirit that is behind Columbus – I mean, the magnificence of Columbus wasn’t that he was… you know, he wasn’t even looking for America. So he blundered over here. But the pioneer spirit that enabled this Genoese sailor to get sponsorship from Spain and cross the Atlantic – now think about it… No American-Indian tribe at that time could’ve made the reverse journey. They didn’t have ships that could’ve crossed the Atlantic and landed in Europe. So the reason they hate Columbus is because he represents that pioneer spirit. He represents, if you will, the uniqueness of Western civilization. And that’s something that the Left now openly repudiates. And they repudiate it in the classroom and also in the culture. Trish Regan:               Think of how dangerous that is, though, Debbie. I mean, you’re a mom. I’m a mom. I think about even growing up in my own life experience, my father grew up dirt-poor, big Irish Catholic family, but the one thing they had going for them was two parents that believed in them and knew that they could do anything. And he was always told from the time he was, you know, just a couple years old that the sky was the limit. You know, he could only be limited by his imagination; that this was a great country, and you can do anything you want and be anything you want. And that message was then carried on to me as a little kid. And my dad said, “You know, whatever you want. There’s no obstacle in the way.” And that kind of sense of, “you can do it” and that “your relatives have come from challenging circumstances, but they were able to plow through and you can do it too,” and that “this is the beauty of this country”… It helps you approach, I think, the world, Debbie, in a way that’s very much glass-half-full, right, which then affects your psyche and affects your willingness and ability to go out there and tackle anything. Debbie D’Souza:         Oh, absolutely. And the fact that both governments – even the Venezuelan government – have to impose themselves upon that spirit… in other words, you cannot do anything on your own. You have to have government help. “We will tell you what to do. We will guide you. You cannot do it on your own accord.” I mean, this is something that is extremely difficult for people, especially in Venezuela. Now they don’t have it at all. We, thank God, still have it. But in Venezuela, so many people had to flee that country because their entrepreneurship spirit no longer was welcome. They couldn’t make it in Venezuela anymore. And, Trish, I wonder if in America if that will ever happen here where we will have to leave and seek other places that will allow for that ingenuity and that spirit to continue. Because America has – Trish Regan:               It’s a good question. You wonder, I mean, Dinesh, they’re sort of destroying the psyche, right, of American culture by doing this? And by the way, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, but both of you have diverse backgrounds, right? But yet, you are American, and you embrace the values that are American; which to me is part of what is great about this country. The idea that somebody could be living here and not want or think that they can get ahead but accept a victim mentality, I think, is pretty alarming. Dinesh D’Souza:         Trish, I came to the United States at the age of 17, you know, with $500 in my pocket. And what I’ve appreciated about America is not only the opportunity to be successful in a sort of financial or material sense but, even more, the opportunity to be the architect of my own life; to be in the driver’s seat of my own destiny. I’ve been able to develop sort of a career and a level of interest. And, you know, here we are – Debbie and I, we are actually producers of movies; not just documentary films but also a feature film. Now, I could never have done that if I stayed in India. So America for me is symbolized by a sort of ladder of opportunity in which you can climb as high as your talent and a little bit of luck permit. Now, the other side – the Left – doesn’t believe in the ladder. They believe in – I would call it the rope. So their metaphor is something like this. There’s a tall building, and all the American people are at the bottom, helpless victims of society. And the Democrats are in the top of the building with a rope. And they let the rope down. And their idea is, “Listen. We’ll pull you up. Hang on to the rope, and we’ll yank you up,” so government is the mechanism for advancement in society. And I think unfortunately, the experience of many people who grab the rope is that they are pulled up a little bit, and then the people at the top of the building hold so that they are frozen – they can’t get up to the top. And yet, they’re now fully dependent on the people holding the rope. And they realize that if they let the rope go, they will crash to the ground. So they are suspended in this horrible limbo where they can neither advance on their own, and they’re now dependent on the people who are, in a sense “supporting them. Trish Regan:               Wow. I got chills when you told me that story. I knew a little bit about that. But you know what? To hear you say it, Dinesh – coming here, 17 years old, $500 to your name – it’s pretty extraordinary. And both of you have accomplished so, so much. I want to get to Infidel in a second because that is the brand-new movie that you guys have coming up. How exciting. I saw an interview with the main actor, Mike Huckaby, recently. And it looks like a really tremendous movie. But first, just to sort of cap off the Venezuela issue… You know, we’re increasingly see polls, Debbie, that show that Hispanic-Americans are in favor of Trump. What is behind that, do you think? Debbie D’Souza:         Well, you know, I always attributed that aspect to the fact that it was Venezuelan- and Cuban-Americans that understand that the Democratic Party is very much aligned with the party that made them come to this country in the first place. So they were not about to vote for a party like that. I attribute it to that. But even more interesting and exciting is seeing Mexican-Americans from south Texas on the border where I grew up, actually, embracing Trump. They have these like caravans of thousands of cars with Trump flags. And it is actually an amazing sight to see. Because as you might know, south Texas is a very poor part of Texas. And it’s a very blue part of Texas. So the fact that they’re embracing Trump is phenomenal and great. And I think it is contributed to the fact that Trump is for freedom, Trump is for economic freedom. And that’s what they’re all about. Trish Regan:               It can really transcend identity politics, that freedom it matters more. People don’t want to be victims. People want to come here for a shot at something better. And I think that that’s a pretty powerful message when you’re telling people, “You can, and you will.” And if government gets out of the way, it enables you to do what you know how to do, and you will be a success. Let me turn to Infidel. Congratulations, you guys. So it’s actually out in theaters! Debbie D’Souza:         Yes. Out in theaters. Dinesh D’Souza:         It’s coming out this weekend. And it’s an entrepreneurial venture. I mean, I’ve done the political documentary – this year, I’ll be releasing the fifth one. But feature films are the gold standard of Hollywood. And the fact that a lot of the propaganda of Hollywood – if you think about feature films, the villain is always the businessman or some small-town pastor. And by the way, if they make a movie about terrorism, the terrorist is always hopelessly unrealistic. It’s some Russian or Eastern European. They won’t dare to make a movie about Islamic terrorism. So, you know, the idea of Infidel is to make a really good political thriller; a fun movie with a big-name actor, Jim Caviezel, who was the count of Monte Cristo and the Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, a political film that deals with radical Islam both at home and abroad and doesn’t flinch from taking on the tough issues but does so in a very creative, entertaining, and moving way. Trish Regan:               Debbie, your husband just mentioned something which is pretty important: the influence of the Left on culture overall. Is it your hope through – and this is, as Dinesh just said, I guess, your first foray into sort of motion pictures; the Hollywood scene – is it your hope that there can be more diverse voices within Hollywood so that the production of the materials that Americans see is a little more varied? Debbie D’Souza:         Oh, absolutely. We want to make a film that people will go to, you know… I realize that this is a very awkward time with the virus. But we want to make a film that people will want to see and send Hollywood a huge message that Hollywood producers and directors can be anyone; can be on the Right, can be on the Left. It doesn’t matter. We want to send that message. But we have to start this way. And we want to also send that message to the media. We need – just like we’re going into Hollywood, we have to do the same thing with mass media. And I think that this is the only way that we will… that our voices will be heard in this country. Trish Regan:               Really, really fabulous stuff. Thank you so much. It’s great to talk to you guys, as always. I always, always enjoy it. And you have such a good perspective on all of it. Dinesh and Debbie D’Souza. Check out their brand-new movie in theaters now, Infidel. And also, United States of Socialism – wonderful book by Dinesh – on sale right now. And he’s got Trump Card debuting in October. So be on the lookout for that movie. Dinesh and Debbie, thank you so much. Debbie D’Souza:         Thank you, Trish. Trish Regan:               I am thrilled to introduce my next quest. This is the guy, the expert on China – Michael Pillsbury. He’s from the Hudson Institute. He’s director of the Center of Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute. And just to give you an idea of how big a deal he is, when I did an interview at the White House with the president of the United States a couple of years ago – this would’ve been fall a couple of years ago – we talked a little bit about China. And he actually specified Michael Pillsbury. And he said, “You know, I think I saw him on your show, Trish, in talking about China. And he was spot-on.” He’s always spot-on, and he’s here with us right now. Michael Pillsbury, welcome. Michael Pillsbury:      Thank you, Trish. Trish Regan:               So let me start first on the news of the week; which is that it looks like ByteDance’s TikTok is going to get picked up by Oracle, as opposed to Microsoft. What’s your thought on that Michael Pillsbury:      Well, one thing we experts have to always do, Trish, is to say, “Well, we don’t know the answer to a question.” Do not exaggerate what we do know. That’s like rule No. 1 for experts, I think. Trish Regan:               Mm-hmm. Michael Pillsbury:      The deal seems to be – the reason all this is happening is twofold. First, the U.S. national security community concerned about TikTok as providing too much data and information about Americans to China. This is not the first time the U.S. government’s been concerned about Chinese Apps or Chinese spying on Americans in large amounts; so-called “big data” being collected. But the second problem is that this TikTok is so successful – it’s gone from like 20 million a month in users in February to more than 90 million now – the reason it’s so successful is it’s got a pioneering artificial intelligence algorithm that figures out what you, Trish, like in your little short video you make. And then, it helps you to make the next one. No one else in the world can do this. So the Chinese are now interfering just in the last few days. And they’re saying, basically, TikTok can’t take the artificial intelligence algorithm with it and go to an American company because it’s a kind of intellectual theft by America which China is glad to pioneer – this new, innovative device, this software. It’s a huge success worldwide. And now, you bet Americans want to steal it from poor, little China. So that is a factor in terms of Microsoft buying it versus Oracle or even someone else. So the deal is not confirmed yet. But these are two of the American government concerns and also the Chinese government concern, that we’re trying to do to them what they’ve been doing to us for the last few decades; that is, steal innovation and make money off of it. Is that a helpful reply? Trish Regan:               And they have been doing that to us. Debbie D’Souza:         Well, they deny it. We say it’s up to $500 billion a year they steal from us; where, often they don’t pay license fees. There’s a very funny story I heard told by the CEO of Microsoft that China pays a relatively low number – I think it’s like $20 billion – for license fees for its software; implying that a certain number of pieces of software are in China. But every time they update the software automatically, a vastly greater number of users try to get the updates. So they may be not paying license fees also in the billions and billions of dollars. So China’s been cheating. That’s sort of widely acknowledged except by the Chinese themselves. That’s why the trade deal was so wonderful. The president got them to admit that if they’re caught cheating in the future, there’ll be an enforcement process and tariffs and other kinds of punishment on – and that was back in January which was light years ago. But Chinese cheating has been the source of the problem, and they’re denying it until they indirectly admitted it in the trade deal. Trish Regan:               How much of a threat do you consider China? I mean, to me I look at it and, on the one hand, you say, “Oh. Isn’t it great? You know, it’s hunky-dory. Everybody’s economy gets bigger and bigger, and we can all prosper together.” But that really hasn’t turned out to be the situation. Right? I think if anything, Donald Trump was really the first major person in politics – certainly to get to that level – to call this out. Right? Which, you know, this whole globalization thing really has effectively resulted in fewer jobs for Americans. But you look at the trajectory of the Chinese GDP, and their growth has been tremendous. Not as much lately, of course. But really over the last 20 years, they have benefited tremendously from our willingness to trade with them. Where does that go, though? Because to me, they kind of go hand in hand: economic power and military power. You need a stronger military to protect your economy. So at what point do we wake up and say, “Hold on. You know, this is not just them trying to be a bigger player on the international financial scene. This is them actually taking over sort of our spot that we’ve held in this post-World War II economy for so long as the hegemonic power of the world”? Michael Pillsbury:      Now, let’s not forget. You are one of the intellectual leaders on this issue yourself. Yes, President Trump deserves enormous amount of credit. But I have heard you many, many times raise the issue when it wasn’t quite so popular among your colleagues. And that should – Trish Regan:               Yeah, I’m known for that. Michael Pillsbury:      The answer to your specific question is, it depends on the person. A lot of people I know who are – let’s just call them Wall Street billionaires for lack of a better term – they believe in globalism, and their companies and their personal accounts swell enormously and make a lot of money because of their belief in globalism. And that means forgiving China for any given sin. You say, “Well, yes, they stole that piece of intellectual poverty – but for this many times.” As China develops its own intellectual property, there’s this natural process that they’ll begin to be more responsible. Now, people have been saying that to each other for more than 20 years, as you often have pointed out. The question is, when someone changes their mind, as President Trump has, you start saying no. They’re congenital cheaters. They’ve got to be blocked or punished from doing this. We cannot believe what they tell us. And any Wall Street billionaire who is lobbying for China had better be careful because Attorney General Barr in his speech a few months ago said, “If you take something of value from China and you lobby the U.S. government, you better register as a foreign agent. Because if you don’t, it’s five years in prison for each count.” Now, that’s been a scare. Certain people have made massive amounts of money by saying, “We can trust China.” I think that’s the new factor that’s happening now. It’s no longer just, “Let’s give China a break and not crack down.” Now it’s much broader consensus. Yeah. I think individual CEOs of large companies – especially our investment banks – are the ones who led the charge over the decades that China is the new frontier. I remember seeing a figure one time that more than 150 Chinese companies are on the three New York exchanges for a total capitalization of $1.1 trillion. And that was with the waiver that President Obama and Vice President Biden gave. They personally gave this waiver in 2013 to the SEC that Chinese companies need not be audited to be on the three New York exchanges. No other country in the world has gotten that kind of waiver. And it shows the attitude then – that’s seven years ago – but it shows the attitude that we just have to cut China a break and give them a chance because they told the SEC, “Well, our accountings and auditing standards will improve over time. Please don’t make us do it now because we don’t want to give away state secrets about all of our state-owned companies.” So you can see how that attitude has helped the Chinese get so close to surpassing us. The president has said several times in the past year – Trish Regan:               If you’re going to bend the rules for one, you got to bend them for all. I mean, if you have a set of standards – right – to be publicly traded here in the U.S., I don’t see why you would change it just for a Chinese company because then you’re leaving American investors more vulnerable. So they’re an economic power. Increasingly, they are a serous military power. I know that the Institute for the Study of War – my friend, General Jack Keen over there – had done an analysis that looked at this that said we wouldn’t necessarily win a war with China right now. I have a piece in American Consequences, the magazine, this month that looks at the threat of them possibly using Iran or North Korea to try and take out our grid in some way, which is, by the way, scary stuff. And I in some ways wished I hadn’t started researching it because it’s one of those things that can sort of leave you waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking, “Oh, my gosh. Is this really something that’s possible?” But, you know, I guess I would just ask you, what is their ultimate goal? What do they really, really want, Michael? Michael Pillsbury:      Well, they’ve been pretty clear over the last few years. When I wrote The Hundred-Year Marathon that came out in 2015 – Trish Regan:               Excellent book, by the way. Excellent book. Michael Pillsbury:      It had a subtitle of China’s secret strategy to replace America. And it was pretty widely criticized by the globalists, “This is insane. There’s no evidence.” And I was very lucky because the Chinese – within a few months of publication of The Hundred-Year Marathon – they began to make speeches about how they wanted to basically take over the world. One of them was the famous China 2025 plan to dominate market in 10 sectors; all advanced-type sectors. And then, President Xi Jinping is giving a series of speeches where he said China’s time has come, you know, “We must put a proper return to our” – he calls it “rejuvenation.” To return to what China used to be. And what they mean is when China had a quarter or a third of the economy of the world, and they were No. 1. So they’re much more open about it now. So I’m being criticized for calling it China’s secret strategy, because now it’s better known. It’s not a secret anymore. Trish Regan:               So interesting. Yeah, no, they’re very up front about it. Could I ask you – they were very accusatory towards the U.S. about the Hong Kong protest and sort of pointed the finger at us and thought that we maybe had something to do with that. When you look at some of the protests that are happening regarding, “Defund the Police,” or some of this Antifa stuff, does any of you question whether they’re doing anything in any way, shape, or form – even if it’s as simple as trying to encourage some social media accounts, as we saw the Russians have done – to interfere in our election? Debbie D’Souza:         In Hong Kong, they called it the Black Hand. That was their term. Somehow, the U.S. is behind the Hong Kong demonstrators. And, yes, we provided kind of values and the model that you shouldn’t necessarily be under Chinese Communist party control in Hong Kong. What China seems to be doing with our own riots and looting and protests now is providing the kind of moral support. Almost every day, there’s a Chinese media article on the side of the protesters and the looters saying, “Well, this just shows America is a racist society, and this is long overdue.” Instead of China trying to help, they seem to be tacitly – sometimes even openly – encouraging the demonstrators and the looters. And usually in China, of course, doing this kind of thing, you’d be in jail or even executed within about 30 minutes. Trish Regan:               Wow. Michael Pillsbury:      So they’re applying a different standard to us. But they have a long history of this. Back in the ’50s and ’60s under Chairman Mao, he frequently would host revolutionary black leaders from America to come to Beijing and encourage them to overthrow the white capitalist class structure back in America. So China’s had this view for 50 or 60 years, which is certainly not helping. Trish Regan:               Perhaps they know how they can manipulate us in some ways and use what we have here in terms of tensions that already exist; use those against us. So, not that you can sum this up so easily, but what’s your advice? I mean, what do you say we need to be doing right now? Do we need to effectively have some kind of coalition of countries that we trust? Some of the European countries; maybe you could include Australia or New Zealand or Canada. Do you need to get a group of countries – and this wouldn’t be TPP – but maybe something sort of like it in some ways in that you have one trading block, and everybody sort of squeezes the Chinese out if they don’t play by the rules that everybody else is playing by? I mean, I just don’t know. I’m looking for solutions. Maybe you have a better one. Michael Pillsbury:      No. The solution has several parts to it. But the most important is the recognition of the China challenge and the C-team slogan that’s been around 20 years that China’s going to collapse in the near future. This is really widely believed in our government, in our military, that we don’t have to worry that much about China because they’re going to collapse. Gordon Chang has a book called The Coming Collapse of China, written 20 years ago. Obviously wrong. Gordon himself says he was wrong. But what’s happening is, people in allied countries or partner countries… India is a good example. I frequently visit India. You can be told by most of the scholars there, “China is not a problem for India because it’s going to collapse soon.” And I asked them, “Why do you think China’s going to collapse? Vice President Pence, in his speech a couple of years ago, said since 2000, China’s GDP has grown 10 times – 1,000%. But that’s the year Gordon Chang’s book came out saying they were going to collapse. So not only do they not collapse, they grow at this phenomenal rate. But the Indians are adamant, “No. We don’t really want to partner with you Americans because China’s not that much of a challenge.” So that’s the first problem. The second problem is, all over the world people think America’s time has come and gone. We’re in decline. The Chinese feed this. We catch them all the time saying, “America’s a declining power. There are so many social problems in the United States.” This is what Secretary Pompeo and President Trump have been trying to fight against it and saying, “No. We’re not in decline. We’re still No. 1. We intend to remain No. 1 in as far forward in the future as we can see.” But when the Chinese sap the morale of our friends and allies around the world, and then we are ourselves play China down as about to collapse, this makes it all the more difficult for us to try to take a stand against China. That’s why I’m so impressed with what President Trump has done; against a lot of opposition, a variety of quarters, President Trump to exceed as much as he has. Trish Regan:               Wow. Now, it’s pretty amazing. Well, these are important times. And we got to stand up for ourselves and our values and stand up for what can be in the world. And I think we would all agree that the United States of America is, by far, No. 1 and needs to continue being No. 1. And we have to be very cautious about not allowing China to take over that space. Anyway, Michael, it is great to talk to you. Thank you so much. I feel honored that you’re on the show, and I look forward to doing it again. Michael Pillsbury:      With pleasure, and I feel honored to be on your show. Trish Regan:               Michael Pillsbury, everyone. The man. You’ve got to listen to all of his thoughts on China and check out all his great books. Thank you, Michael Pillsbury. You know, we had the chance to listen to some really interesting people today. Michael Pillsbury, fascinating, fascinating look at China. And he did talk to me a little bit as we went to break there about the threat of EMP’s. And I encourage you all to look at my article in American Consequences this week where I outline that and the challenges that really are presented by it. One of his points was DOD’s not taking it seriously enough. So hopefully, somebody starts taking it seriously enough. Anyway, excellent conversation there with Michael Pillsbury. The D’Souza’s, always on point. I think we really need to focus on what is at stake right now. We are just weeks away from the most important election of our lifetime. And there are two paths ahead. As I started this podcast, I told you, it’s capitalism or it’s socialism. And there’s not a whole lot in between. We heard Kamala Harris recently. I want to play this sound for you because we heard Kamala Harris talking recently with a group of business owners via a virtual event out in Arizona. And she had a little bit of a Freudian slip. Take a listen. Recorded audio:         “A Harris Administration together with Joe Biden.” Trish Regan:               Did you hear that? Let’s play it again… Recorded audio:         “A Harris Administration together with Joe Biden.” Trish Regan:               Okay. So we know who’s in charge, right? Now, she maybe misspoke, she tried to correct herself afterwards. But the thinking is, and the concern is, that Joe is kind of like a little puppet there. So he’s, you know, doing what people tell him. And there are forces within the Democratic Party that did want Kamala Harris and not to take anything away from her. She’s probably… and she is quite accomplished. I actually am a little bit of a fan of hers. However, I do not like that she flip-flops all the time on policy. I mean, say what you want about Bernie Sanders, the guy is consistent. Right? You may not like it, but he’s consistent. Unfortunately, these political animals – whether it be Joe Biden or whether it be Kamala Harris – are willing to flip-flop whatever way the wind blows depending on whatever is going to get them elected. And so, the concern right now that I have – and I think people really ought to share – is that the Left is being increasingly taken hostage by this extreme wing of the Democratic Party. And by that, I mean, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezs of the world, the Squad, or maybe Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar… Ilhan Omar, incidentally, just hours after the whole ordeal in Los Angeles – you know, that tragic night last weekend when two officers were gunned down, they were ambushed in Compton just doing their jobs. And while they were in the hospital being treated for these wounds, you had protesters outside chanting, “Death to police.” Well, Ilhan Omar goes on MSNBC the very next morning and talks about, you know, defunding the police; her platform there of dismantling the police in Minneapolis. She also said that she wanted Joe Biden there in the White House because she thought he had the right economic policies – or partly the right economic policies. It was a step in the right direction. My point being, this is exactly where we’re heading. We are going to see the Kamala Harris Administration – or rather, the Biden-Harris Administration – be held hostage to this extremism. And that is not what we want. You don’t ever want extremism, frankly, on either side of the aisle. But certainly not when it comes to socialism and this idea that every American is a victim, and America is bad. And you get a sort of move on to this new – I don’t know – this New Age theory of new kinds of history where Christopher Columbus is a villain. I mean, I don’t know how that’s ever going to be helpful to anyone. But once again, remember how important these times are. And I am here for you. I’m here every week on American Consequences. You can read my writings in American Consequences magazine. You can read me online at, and you can get my daily commentary Trish Intel on the podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I will see you next week. [Music playing] Announcer:                 Thank you for listening to this episode of Trish Regan’s American Consequences. For more of Trish or to read the magazine, visit and enter your e-mail for special access. We’d love to hear from you, too. Send Trish a note at [email protected] This broadcast is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice. Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you hear. Trish Regan’s American Consequences is produced by Stansberry Research and is copyrighted by the Stansberry Radio Network. [End of Audio]

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