IWF’s Patrice Onwuka on How the Tulsa Massacre Exemplifies Self Reliance and Determination Without Government Reparations

IWF’s Patrice Onwuka on How the Tulsa Massacre Exemplifies Self Reliance and Determination Without Government Reparations

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Christina Botteri welcomed the Independent Women’s Forum Senior Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka to the newsmakers line to discuss the Tulsa Massacre as proof that Black communities can thrive without government reparations.

Botteri: On the line with us right now is Patrice Onwuka. Patrice Onwuka is a political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum.

She writes for Newsmax, among others. And you can follow her on Twitter at PatricePinkFile. Patrice, thanks so much for joining us today. How are you?

Onwuka: I’m great. And thank you for having me today.

Botteri: It’s great to have you here. I wanted to hear your extended thoughts about your latest piece in Newsmax, “Tulsa’s Story: Blacks Attained Prosperity Before and Can Do It Again.”

Onwuka: Well, as we know, this past Monday and Tuesday or the hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. Maybe folks did not hear about this or learn about this in their civics the West history class. I certainly did not.

But it’s a really chilling story about the wealth of a small Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Blacks owned the land. They owned the businesses. They owned hundreds of businesses and homes. You had a strong middle class. You had an upper class.

It was phenomenal. Everything from banks to upholstery stores. And this community did it all by themselves. They built this community by themselves with no government funding, no dependency.

Totally independent. Unfortunately, this was during the middle of a dark period in our history of true racism where you had about a thousand white neighbors who came in and destroyed the 35 blocks of this community. Burned it to the ground.

There were dozens, perhaps hundreds of people whose lives were lost. Most of them were Blacks. And it’s unfortunate. But I think the shining story that comes out of this is that this community rebuilt its entire neighborhood within two decades.

And it wasn’t through government funding. It wasn’t through reparations. It was through these people coming together, lending to one another, leveraging the property that they owned to get the loans and then rebuild. And they rebuilt to the same level, if not greater.

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the decades that ensued is government policies very well intended, but the government policies kind of destroyed that enclave of Black excellence. And now there’s very little of that community left at all.

Botteri: Wow. That’s really amazing. What was the flashpoint of this riot?

Onwuka: Let’s think about when this occurred in 1921. At that time if you were a Black man in an elevator with a young white woman, it didn’t take much for a false allegation of rape or assault to stir up the entire community. And that’s exactly what happened.

The young woman said a shoeshine guy, he tripped and apparently touched her. And she said, no, it was an accident. Unfortunately, the community with up in arms. And I think there were simmering racial tensions going on.

As I said, Jim Crow laws were in existence, so it was totally segregated. But despite that, you had an example of Blacks owning property. And these are folks who were not even two generations from slavery.

Some of the founders of Greenwood, this neighborhood, were slaves themselves and newly freed. And they created something out of, frankly, nothing that they had. They created wealth, opportunity, created businesses. Money was kept flowing within the community.

It was really inspiring when you read about the very successful people who were regular middle-class small business owners. Hundreds and thousands of them that lived in this community.

I love the story because it’s also an example of what’s possible today. Surely we have a lot of Black communities that do not look like Greenwood that do not have and specifically Black Wall Street.

One of the avenues in this Greenwood neighborhood that was just holey and solely doctors, lawyers, small business owners, and all Black. We can have that today. You may not have a bunch of enclaves of Black communities, but you can have successful Black people bringing up and uplifting the entire community if people are willing to focus less on what is the government going to give me to do this?

And more on how can we leverage and build assets that we can pass on to the next generation? I would love to see President Biden talk about that instead of talking about equity and Critical Race Theory and all the things that continue to divide us rather than uplift Black people.

And for those listeners out there, I am a Black woman and I’m an immigrant. And I believe that America is not a racist nation. In fact, I believe it’s the greatest nation.

Botteri: Well, Amen to that. (Onwuka chuckles) This is also very, very interesting. History is amazing in that way. When we talk about how the 35 block area that was burnt to the ground literally, there are photographs available in the Library of Congress.

You can go online and look at them. And it is I mean, it is scorched earth to the dirt. There is nothing left. And you’re saying in two decades, they rebuilt. Just imagine what that means.

The infrastructure, the plumbing, the electricity, the lumber, the cement, and the gravel. All of these elements have to be brought in and bought and engineered and put together. Talk about grit; talk about heart.

Onwuka: Absolutely.

Botteri: It is stunning that this rebuilding took place so rapidly. Two decades. 20 years sounds like a long time, but you know what? 20 years…

Onwuka: It’s not a lot.

Botteri: I know. 2000, right?

Onwuka: Exactly.

Botteri: That was yesterday. Imagine what could happen today if this energy was released. And I just wonder how much of a downer – for lack of a better phrase – maybe that’s a little bit too casual of a phrase to use for something so serious as Critical Race Theory.

It’s just it’s incredibly toxic, in my opinion. How much does that dampen the entrepreneurial spirit and the energy in the Black community, do you think?

Onwuka: It absolutely is disheartening. It is not empowering. It disempowers – if that’s a word – because I think it creates in the mindset this idea that every institution is built on racism.

Racism is in the DNA of every one of our systems of government and frankly, of private enterprise and civil society. And so to a young person, well, why even try if the odds are so stacked against me? Why even try?

And I think that is what Critical Race Theory, these diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, which may be well-intentioned but the unintended consequences create a mindset and a young person that they will never be able to overcome apart from the government interceding.

And you know what? This example of Greenwood and what happened in Tulsa is an example, not of government success, it was government failure. Honestly, in some instances, maybe government complicity because there were people who are deputized to destroy this neighborhood.

So it’s not the government that is the solution. It is the individual. It is self-reliance. It is the community working together. It is entrepreneurship. These are things that we have today. And I am heartened in part because I see so many young Black folks who are starting businesses.

I shop so many online boutiques of young Blacks today and I love it. What I hate is there’s this disconnect between, well the government needs to do something for me, the government needs to be reformed so that I can then advance.

No, you can advance apart from the government. What I don’t want to say is that there have never been racist institutions. I think Jim Crow laws in the 1920s are great examples of how racism was in fact institutionalized. That was systemic.

Today we have challenges and there are areas where the government does stand in the way of the individual. But it’s not the same as 100 years ago. And we need to stop telling young people these untrue voting laws being systemically racist or Jim Crow laws.

What it does is takes away that motivation. That striving and the grit and determination to be able to make something of yourself. While I tell the story about what happened in Tulsa, it was atrocious it was a stain on our history.

I think we can also take away some of the truth and some opportunities for progress by looking at the example of what those folks did. They didn’t have anything. They didn’t have reparations.

A lot of the business owners could not even get insurance claims paid out because the insurance companies didn’t consider what happened to them worthy of being paid for. So these people dug down deep and came together. Why can’t we do that today?

Botteri: Why, indeed, Patrice Onwuka? Join us after the break, won’t you?

Onwuka: Yes.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IWF’s Senior Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka Outlines Biden’s Efforts to Unionize Independent Contractors and Gig Workers

IWF’s Senior Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka Outlines Biden’s Efforts to Unionize Independent Contractors and Gig Workers

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the Independent Women’s Forum Senior Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka to the newsmakers line to explains the consequences of the Biden administration’s PRO Act that would ultimately destroy independent contractors and gig workers.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by a good friend, Patrice Onwuka with the Independent Women’s Forum. Patrice, there you go again, (Onwuka chuckles) using logic to dispute what the Biden administration is doing. You have a piece about the gig economy and how Biden wants to ruin that.

Onwuka: I do. Actually, I’ve been writing quite a lot about what’s happening. We’ve got 57 million Americans who are employed on their own terms. They are freelancers. They are independent contractors. Maybe they’ve left an industry but have a ton of knowledge, and they contract their services and their work out to different companies.

Well, the Biden administration has a problem with that. They don’t like independent contractors because they cannot unionize those workers. Those workers are not employees and they don’t want to be employees. They want the flexibility to create their own schedules.

They want to have their own client roster. They want to carve out the work that is important to them. Unfortunately, the Bite administration is doing everything they can through the regulatory process as well as through the legislative process, to make it difficult to continue to be an independent contractor across the country.

Leahy: Well, it works so well in California, though. (Laughter)

Onwuka: All the best ideas come out of California right? (Chuckles) Wrong. What happened is California passed the bill called AB5 which changed the standard to determine whether a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.

Overnight we had stories of translators, florists, and small business owners saying they lost income by upwards of 30 to 50 percent. All of their clients dropped them because they were worried about this new law that made it difficult for someone to be an independent contractor and to be classified that way.

The way the law works is that you would have to hire that person as a full employee, give them all the benefits, all of the overtime pay, or the minimum wage pay. And that’s an increase in cost for businesses. There’s a reason why businesses choose independent contracting rather than employees.

And so lots of California workers were hit terribly. They lost a lot of income and contracts. And this is even before the pandemic. And of course, the pandemic just made things worse. So obviously, the Biden administration would want to take a bad model and make it nationwide.

And that is what’s going on. You’ve got a federal bill called the PRO Act that could be passed that would make this federal law. And we see the Department of Labor also instituting some regulatory changes in a similar vein.

Leahy: Who in the Biden administration or the Bike maladministration, as I call it, is pushing this stupid idea?

Onwuka: The Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh. He is a huge union guy. He spent decades and unions back in Massachusetts. I’m very familiar with him. I grew up there and he is parroting everything President Biden is saying in wanting to push forward these changes.

The Department of Labor, as I mentioned, it upended a Trump our rule that was actually really good for independent contractors. And so the Biden administration is saying, no. They’re working with Congress to push forward on this agenda. Michael, let me just underscore what’s going on here.

There are serious politics driving this. Unions are behind this push. They pretty much wrote the legislation in California. And they are now pushing for the PRO Act at the federal level because it would expand the number of union workers.

It would take away our rights to choose whether or not we want to pay union dues. We call that right to work. And it would make it very difficult to be an independent contractor. And just so that folks know, independent contractors are not just building your houses.

These are small business owners across the country and people who translate from Spanish to English in courtrooms for example. People who are advertisers and maybe their graphic designers. They play mall Santas at Christmas time.

At IWF, we have talked to these workers in California, regular folks who suddenly saw their livelihood’s cut because of bad policy at the state level. Imagine what that would do across the country.

Leahy: What’s the likelihood that this very bad, very stupid bill will pass in the House? It’s passed the House, hasn’t it? It’s in the Senate now?

Onwuka: Yes, it passed the House by a very close vote. Unfortunately, a few conservatives did support it.

Leahy: Who supported it?

Onwuka: I don’t have the list in front of me.

Leahy: But there were some Republicans that voted for this?

Onwuka: There were a few union-friendly states.

Leahy: Oh, my goodness.

Onwuka: And then in the Senate, we are leaning on just a couple of handful of senators. Senator Sinema and as well as Manchin of West Virginia. I believe he might have come out in support of it.

Leahy: Well, he’s a big union guy, though, right? He’s a big union guy.

Onwuka: Yes.

Leahy: Typically the usual suspects to stop the idiocy of the Democrats are Senator Sinema from Arizona and Senator Manchin from West Virginia. On this one, Manchin is all unioned up. So he’s not going to do it. But Sinema might.

Onwuka: Mike Kelly I believe of Arizona is well, could also be one of those is voting.

Leahy: Because he’s up for reelection for a full six-year term in 2022. That is very, very interesting. Well, for self-protection, (Onwuka laughs) if this thing passes first, will there be litigation to stop it immediately?

Onwuka: Absolutely. I absolutely think so. I think there are some public interest law firms that are thinking through legal strategies right now to challenge the law. I think what we saw in California was also a valid initiative that was funded by a lot of the gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft.

They have a very big dog in this fight. Not surprising because all those drivers are independent contractors. The people who deliver your Uber Eats are independent contractors. So you’ve got the gig economy. I think they would be mobilized in a legal fight as well.

Leahy: In California did that initiative make it on the ballot or is it in the process?

Onwuka: It did and it passed by over a margin of 60 percent. Voters said, no, we do not want these gig workers to be classified as employees. That was a win for the gig workers.

Leahy: When did that happen? And where does the law stand there now in California?

Onwuka: It happened in November. Last November it was on the ballot. It was a great win there. And so the law still stands. What happened is that the law became so sweeping and it was meant just to hit the Ubers in the list.

But it was written so broadly that every single occupation, you’re talking about hundreds of occupations and millions of workers in California got swept up. Some different groups are able to get exemptions from the law.

And then another law was passed with hundreds of more exemptions. But there are still many people in California who still are under the impact of AB5.

Leahy: Why didn’t that referendum throw that law out?

Onwuka: It was narrowly written to focus specifically on the gig economy. It wasn’t just broad for everyone. At IWF we liked the spirit of the ballot initiative but we also were worried about all of those other people who were not exempted.

And you know what, Michael? You shouldn’t have to use money to lobby to get some sort of exemption. If the law was smart on its own, if it was good policy, you wouldn’t need an exemption.

Leahy: I totally agree with that.

Onwuka: From a principled standpoint, we need to be fighting for more opportunity, more work, and more flexible work for the moms, for the dads, and for the people taking care of aging parents who really want that flexible environment.

Leahy: You obviously will never get a job in the Biden administration, Patrice, because you have common sense!

Onwuka: Well, I don’t want to be there. And yes, I’ve got common sense. And that’s what we’re pushing for. Just common sense solutions for what’s going on in the workforce.

Leahy: If this passes, there will be massive resistance to it around the country I would think. Don’t you?

Onwuka: There would be. It’s scary to wait until after the law passes to find out what’s in it. We saw what happened with Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act.

Leahy: You’ve got to pass it to learn what’s in it. Pelosi’s famous words.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrice Onwuka of IWF Talks Biden Press Conference Softballs and the Recent Signing of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021

Patrice Onwuka of IWF Talks Biden Press Conference Softballs and the Recent Signing of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021

 

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the Independent Women’s Forum Senior Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka to the newsmakers line to give her take on Joe Biden’s recent press conference and Georgia’s recent passing of the Election Integrity Act of 2021.

Leahy: We are joined by our good friend on newsmaker line Patrice Onwuka, who is the director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. Patrice, we’re getting to be good friends. Thanks for coming back.

Onwuka: Absolutely. Good morning, Michael.

Leahy: Well, big news yesterday. Did you see a somnambulant occupant of the White House holding a press appearance yesterday?

Onwuka: I did. I watched the entire thing.

Leahy: You did! Somebody had to do that. (Onwuka chuckles) Somebody had to sit through the entire thing. How did you make it through that debacle?

Onwuka: I was looking for the gotchas, and there were plenty of them. I was looking to see how many of the questions would be softballs. Or let’s get you on the record as supporting a really far-left agenda. And we got those two. And I wasn’t disappointed. Now, I will say I was also doing work and watching babies. The babies probably helped.

Leahy: Well, you were able to make it through because your mind was otherwise occupied because Joe Biden’s mind was occupied with that notebook right in front of him, apparently. And also occupied with trying to avoid selecting a reporter who might actually ask something other than a softball question.

Onwuka: I do hear that Fox News’s Peter Doocy unfortunately he was not given the chance to ask a question, and he was the only one who would actually ask serious questions on the campaign trail. So maybe there’s a reason why there was just not enough time for him.

Leahy: See, if I’m Peter Doocy. I’m thinking, am I just a prop here? Do they just put me in this room with a mask looking dopey just so that they can say, yeah, there was a Fox News guy there. Going into that if you’re Peter Doocy, what do you think the odds are that the president is actually going to call you to ask a real question?

Onwuka: Oh, there is probably like a 1 percent likelihood. But he’s always on his game, and he’s always ready and that’s what I appreciated. He actually would ask. He put his own colleagues on glass by asking the questions that they were not willing to. So kudos to him for just showing up and being ready at all times.

Leahy: Yeah, I like Peter. He was here in Nashville in 2018 when Marsha Blackburn had a press conference. He did a really good job. He’s relatively young. Of course, he’s Steve Doocy’s son. You’ve been on Fox and Friends. I think I haven’t gone in the past. Yeah, a few times this year.

Leahy: Well, of course, I was on that show once, a long time ago, and Steve Doocy interviewed me. Very nice guy. Very nice guy. He comes at it from the weather. He was a weather guy for a long time, I think. But he’s very affable. And so his son, Peter, has gone into the hard news. And I agree with you. He’s still in his 20s I think.

But he’s probably the best White House reporter there is at the moment. Which shows you that the rest of them, they are not exactly throwing hardballs and throwing fastballs. In fact, they were the softest of the softball. Did you see that one reporter from PBS? Her intros of the question? Of course, you’re the kindest, most delightfully dignified person ever in the history of the world. Tell us why you are that? Did you see that one?

Onwuka: (Chuckles) Yes, yes. I will say that there were a couple of others at the harping on the filibuster. Certainly, it’s racist. It has groups and Jim Crow laws. If you agree with that, then don’t you support getting rid of it? That I think was the most nauseating of the questions because the reporters obviously were advancing an agenda rather than asking a question and letting his answer be the answer.

Leahy: I’m glad you brought that up because, of course, the Jim Crow laws were passed in the 1880s, 1890s in the South by the Democratic Party. The filibuster has been around the Senate since 1806. They got their history wrong. I know that’s a shock to you.

Onwuka: Exactly. Exactly.

Leahy: So if you were in that press conference, what kind of questions would you ask have asked the current occupant of 600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Onwuka: I would ask about China and our relationship with China. Has his view changed on whether they are just an adversary or just kind of a bad guy? What is the relationship between him and the head of China looks like? Is he serious about holding them accountable for abuses? I would absolutely also ask about the one-point-nine trillion-dollar spending bill.

And the proposed $3 trillion more of infrastructure spending he wants to enact. Where is the money coming from? Is he committed to ensuring that middle-class families are not going to be hit and clarifying what he means by what his administration means by $200,000 or more paying for the next round of big government spending? I would have asked questions like that.

Leahy: They’re not going to invite you. (Laughter) Those are actually real questions Patrice.

Onwuka: I know. I know.

Leahy: One word I didn’t hear there. Did anybody ask a question about all the human rights abuses of the Communist Chinese Party of the Uyghurs? Did you hear that question asked?

Onwuka: I did not hear Uyghurs. He mentioned briefly human rights, and he talked about the great relationship they had talking for two hours, and people were surprised. That does not give me a vote of confidence that he’s willing to hold China accountable. And we obviously know that Hunter Biden is hovering over this entire conversation about China. It is what it is.

Leahy: And the other news, but this is a little bit out of the area that you follow, but I’ll just see if you’ll take a look at this. I’m mostly interested in the competing narratives about this particular bill. Did you see yesterday in Georgia? And we’re talking about election integrity laws. An election integrity law that is designed to prohibit private funding of election administration that limits the use of drop boxes and puts more constraints on absentee ballot voter verification. It’s called the Election Integrity Act of 2021. Yesterday passes the Georgia House, the Georgia State Senate, and signed by the governor, all in just three or four hours. Did you see that? What was your take on that?

Onwuka: Yes. I caught it. Really interesting. I think number one, this is going to be the start of other similar state efforts to shore up their electoral processes, and obviously, particularly in red states, not blue ones. Number two, I think it sends a message that Georgia wants to really ensure that voters stick to a really defined time frame on voting. And number three, it’s going to be the battle of who is able to spin this in the best way. Obviously, the left is spinning this as voter suppression.

The right is spinning it as voter integrity. And I think individual voters in the state, but also nationwide, they’re going to have to figure out where they fall on that spectrum. I think there is nothing wrong with ensuring of states setting up their own rules about how their elections are run and the time frames within which voters can vote. You do have to be careful that some things don’t unfortunately limit people’s access to voting. But I also support voter ID. And ensuring that just like we have to present an ID to buy alcohol, why can’t we people present an ID to vote? So it’s going to be interesting. And this is just the start.

Leahy: I think you’re right. And what I find interesting about it is, of course, the states are looking at this. Georgia did pass that law, which I thought was quite good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better than the current law. But you’ve got this whole it’s going to be Arizona on other red States. But then you’ve got, of course, at the national level HR1 which the Democrats call what was the For the People Act. Which Republicans call the Corrupt Politicians Act. It’s interesting about the framing. I’m so glad you brought that up. Did you read The New York Times the other day? They described the Georgia bill as voter suppression. Unbelievable.

Onwuka: That’s exactly the language you’re going to hear. And it’s not surprising. I mean, I do have friends who live in Georgia who will tell me, hey, Patrice, you do understand that there are lots of Georgia voters who go to church, particularly Black churches, and they get together on Sundays, and they go out and they go and vote afterward. And so efforts like this could have an impact on the ability of groups to organize voters together.

I’m not going to weigh in on the specifics and things like that. But I do think there is nothing wrong in a state determining for itself what the rules are and what they’re going to allow. And you’ve got to fight back against the bundling of both the large collection of votes and ballots. You don’t know what’s going to happen there. It opens the door for potential fraud. And I think that’s what we need to be looking at.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Patrice Onwuka” by Independent Women’s Forum. 

 

 

 

 

Patrice Onwuka of IWF Talks Biden Press Conference Softballs and the Recent Signing of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021

IWF’s Sr. Policy Analyst Patrice Onwuka Talks Biden Rubber Stamped Policies, Trump at CPAC, and the Hypocrisy of the Left

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed the Independent Women’s Forum Senior Policy Analyst, Patrice Onwuka to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Onwuka reviewed the Biden administration’s COVID relief package that would essentially bail out blue cities and states and sweeping legislation not mentioned on the campaign trail. She also forewarned in the coming weeks of rubber-stamped legislation that would be detrimental to American workers and families and highlighted the hypocrisy of the left.

Leahy: We are joined once again by Patrice Onwuka of the Independent Women’s Forum a very important writer here. And she’s been tracking what’s been going on with the Biden administration. I think you’re perhaps less enthused about it than many in Washington D.C. are. Welcome, Patricia. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Onwuka: Absolutely. Thank you for having me, Michael Patrick.

Leahy: By Patrice that that is very common. People actually refer to me as Patrick sometimes because it’s in their mind that Senator Patrick Leahy my distant cousin whom I’ve never met. Distant cousin. Is perhaps the most famous Leahy of the world at the moment. And I have to say we’ve never met and although I did invite him to be on a Leahy Family Feud program back in 2009 when I was at the PJTV with a little Internet TV show.

He declined. We’re on opposites of the spectrum. But he does look a bit like my grandfather. (Chuckles) I’ll tell you that. You have been talking and writing a little bit about the Biden administration. What’s your current take on what they’re up to?

Onwuka: It’s distressful. Frankly all of the things that then-candidate Biden at the time hid. Everything from his energy policies to his labor policies that he didn’t cover on the campaign trail. But we’re now seeing between the sweeping executive orders that were passed within the first month to now this $1.9 trillion COVID relief package which has everything and the kitchen sink that Democrats have always wanted to pass through.

And that’s just the start. I think over the next few weeks we are going to see some major sweeping legislative proposals that he has been rubber-stamped. Everything from election changes to labor policies. It’s going to be scary for the American worker and the American family.

Leahy: Yes. I must agree with you about that. Many Republicans have said look this one point nine trillion-dollar coronavirus relief package as it’s called, only about nine percent of the one point nine trillion dollars actually goes for Coronavirus relief. About 350 billion goes to bailouts for fiscally irresponsible blue cities and blue states. There is a lot of other pork in that bill as well.

Onwuka: Oh absolutely. There’s money for union pension. Money for Planned Parenthood. For the universities for the arts. Even Nancy Pelosi, she’s going to be bringing home tens of billions of dollars to California for things like transit projects. So it’s not surprising that that that I think progressives or those on the left would try and use this massive sweeping spending bill to tuck their favorite pet projects in there and hope that because it has the name COVID relief that people will just pass it right off the bat.

We did see that the House passed the bill. Although there were there was enough pushback from Democrats. And the question is what’s going to happen when it comes up for a vote in the Senate either this week or next week? And not surprisingly it’s going to be a party-line vote. However, they’ve got to ensure that all 50 of their Democrats stay in line. If not, this bill could be sunk.

Leahy: So the two Democratic senators whose names come up most often as possible opponents to the bill are Manchin of West Virginia and Kristen Sinema of Arizona. Do you have any indications reading the tea leaves of where they stand?

Onwuka: Because the $15 minimum wage increases if not likely to be part of the final package. They’re more likely to vote Yes. Now that’s not guaranteed but that $15 federal minimum wage hike was going to be the death knell for this whole bill. Now thankfully we saw the parliamentarian the person who decides, what can and cannot be in a sweeping spending bill like this.

She said hey, no this can’t be in there. Unfortunately, Senator Bernie Sanders was very sad. I  insert the meme of him sitting with his legs folded and a sad face because this was really his pet that $15 minimum wage. So because it’s not likely to pass with that in there I think you’ll see Sinema and Manchin come on board. Now, that’s not to say that that something someone else may not hop out. I mean, it’s like a basket of kittens you put one in another one can come out if they don’t get some guarantees or something in that bill that they really want for their folks.

Leahy: I’d be curious as to your reaction to President Trump’s speech at CPAC over the weekend. Did you like it? Do you think he was on top of his game? And who reported on that? I didn’t see much of it in the mainstream media.

Onwuka: No, I think Fox News maybe and Newsmax and some of those more right leading Outlets or are actually independent leading outlets. They covered it. I watched a speech I thought I would have loved to have seen more of this President Trump on the campaign trail because he really number one touted a lot of the great accomplishments that his administration passed on everything from Immigration policies shoring up our borders to the robust economies we had going into the coronavirus pandemic.

And thank goodness the economy was as strong as it was because I think that has softened the blow for workers and I know we’ve got millions of people who are still unemployed. But I think it could have been worse. So he did a great job of laying out what he did when he was in office and then contrasting with what Joe Biden is doing.

His far swing to the left and the fact that a lot of these policies that he kept on the campaign trail and that the media did not ask him about we’re now seeing. And so I think it’s in its opening the eyes of many people. I wish you’d stayed away from the electoral stuff and kind of the campaign was stolen language.

But he absolutely did redefine that the Republican Party is a party based on ideas and policies of low taxes, leadership, America first policies that prioritize American workers and American businesses, and of secure safe borders and safe neighborhoods and communities. Those are really strong conservative topics and issues and I think he’s saying this is who we are.

Leahy: Patrice and woke us senior policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum. One word comes to mind when I look at what Joe Biden is doing with the Biden administration is doing what all the Democrats in Congress are doing. That word is hypocrisy. (Laughter) and you know, there’s a case in point. Did you see the story about what the leader of the California teachers union has been doing?

Onwuka: Oh, yes. Oh yes. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Tell our audience about this because it just I mean I saw this and my eyes glazed over.

Onwuka: Oh this guy, he’s priceless. He’s a young man with a little girl and I think she was in Pre-K or a Kindergartner. He was walking her to Pre-K in the morning. Both of them wearing their masks crossing the street. And that should be fine right? Except he is the president of the teachers’ unions in one of the biggest I think cities or maybe the across the state of California and he is taking his daughter to a private institution where she’s able to learn and play.

Leahy: In person!

Onwuka: In person. But all of the kids in California in a lot of districts in public schools do not have that blessing or that benefit. And I think it highlights the hypocrisy of a lot of these leftist leaders and particularly teachers’ union folks who rail against school choice. Who rail against the idea that poor kids should be able to take the federal funds that go to public school and take those two private options, to parochial schools, to charter schools, or even homeschooling and giving them that choice these folks they have a choice they can afford to pay for private school.

They can afford to pay for private tutors, but they do not want to give that to you know, the poor black and brown kids. And hey, by the way, listeners, I’m a Black kid. I grew up in a poor neighborhood with an immigrant family and I made it. And thank goodness. I wish my story could be replicated because of school choice but the teachers’ unions will not allow it.

Leahy: Patrice Onwuka, senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum. Thanks so much for joining us again. And please come back and come visit us in Nashville.

Onwuka: Alright. Thank you, Mike.

Listen to the full third hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Patrice Onwuka” by Independent Women’s Forum.