Fox Business' Gerri Willis: "We Want to Put a Spotlight on Wasteful Government Spending"
It's Red Ink Week on Fox Business, and the network has dedicated its time to uncovering how the government is spending taxpayers' money and what long-term implications the bank and auto bailouts could have on our economy.
Benzinga recently spoke to Gerri Willis, host of The Willis Report, to get her take on our nation's tumultuous situation.
In preparing for Red Ink Week, what has been the consensus thus far? Are politicians still divided on their views of our nation's debt crisis?
Gerri Willis: These politicians are so far apart they aren't even in the same room. The only thing they agree on is that our nation's debt at $14 trillion is far too high – when it comes to solutions the agreement dissolves.
What about business leaders – how do their views differ from that of the average politician?
Gerri Willis: Just like most Americans, business leaders want the federal government to get some fiscal discipline. Nobody understands the tragedy of our momentous deficit more than people who have to meet a payroll each month. They are tired of the games playing and want to see some real progress.
What are some interesting points and counterpoints we can expect to hear on Fox Business during Red Ink Week?
Gerri Willis: We'll be talking to academics, politicians, and business owners about how we got here and how we can get out of this quagmire. I want to focus on solutions. Some are advocating higher taxes, others are advocating lower taxes. Bottom line: we all want government to stop wasting our money.
If the day comes when the debt ceiling can no longer be raised (or politicians simply decide they must stop raising it), what actions must then be taken? How can the government function the way it currently does without raising the limit?
Gerri Willis: Look, the reality is this Aug. 2 deadline is far squishier than most realize. The government collects money in tax revenues every single day. We are not borrowing 100 percent of what we spend – though it is darn close.
In talking with various experts, politicians and business leaders, have you learned anything that surprised you thus far?
Gerri Willis: The most surprising thing I've heard this week is that in Vernon, California, public employees, as long as they are not elected to office, can keep their pensions even if they [are] convicted of criminal charges. Outrageous! That's a loophole that should be closed – now!
Long-term, how significant will the bank and auto industry bailouts be to our economy? Is there a way to reduce any negative effects that may come as the result of these bailouts?
Gerri Willis: To me, the money we spent on bailing out the bank industry is a waste, but it pales in comparison with the laws that surfaced after – namely Dodd Frank, which practically codifies the whole too-big-too-fail theory. In other words, if a bank fails again, the government will no doubt bail it out with taxpayer dollars. That only encourages bad behavior.
Will there be anything that surprises Fox Business viewers during Red Ink Week?
Gerri Willis: There sure will be, but you will have to watch to see them.
What do you and what does Fox Business hope to accomplish with Red Ink Week?
Gerri Willis: We want to put a spotlight on wasteful government spending that is draining our federal budget and stealing from our children. It's an important story that deserves attention.
Can you give us some specific details on the coverage/specials that Fox Business will be airing during Red Ink Week?
Gerri Willis: We are going to do our best to discuss the issues and develop concrete solutions. Additionally, while we will provide broad coverage on a national level, we will also be coming into your back yard reporting on specific issues that face your local communities, so tune in!
Was there anything else you wanted to share?
Gerri Willis: Just that I really feel that this is a critical issue for Americans. Our government has grown so big, so overburdened, that if we don't get this situation under control then we face a real fiscal crisis that will make what Greece has gone through look like a picnic.
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