IWF’s Senior Fellow Carrie Sheffield joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy to discuss the woke agenda and implementation of critical race theory into public schools and how the Biden infrastructure plan will hurt the lower 20 percent of earners in the U.S.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, whom we’ve never met but we’re glad to meet her now, Carrie Sheffield. Carrie, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Sheffield: Hey, Michael, great to be here. How are you?
Leahy: I’m great, Carrie. We have so many friends in common. You are a BYU grad. You went to Harvard, got a master’s in public policy there. And did you know a Professor there by the name of Dutch Leonard when you were at Harvard? He’s probably retired by now because he was an undergrad teacher of mine.
Leahy: But you also started as a reporter with Politico and The Hill. You’re an entrepreneur. You started Bold TV for millennials. That’s a great venture. Most recently, you’ve been the White House correspondent for our good friend John Solomon’s Just the News and have left now to join as a senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum. Carrie, you’ve had a very, very productive and busy life.
Sheffield: Hey, thank you. That’s so kind of you. I have taken a breather right now. Being a fellow, I’m just delving into the policy and I love it. And Yes, John Solomon, and thanks for the plug for that. He’s fantastic. Go to justthenews.com, amazing content.
Leahy: Well, you know, my sense on this is that although you have been a reporter for a long time, I think there’s something in you. You’re a thinker about issues and I think you want the time to reflect. Do I have that right?
Sheffield: You know what? You hit the nail on the head, Michael. Yes, that’s kind of why I jumped back into the think tank. And that’s what we do at Independent Women’s Form, where we really break down the policy. And I love that. At Just the News it is just the news and I wanted to make sure to keep that firewall. And so I have a lot of opinions and at the Independent Women’s Forum, I’m allowed to share those opinions.
Leahy: A very good point. I know you have several topics you want to hit, but let’s talk about this problem of wokeism in our public and private schools today. It seems you cannot turn around without seeing it. And we have a story here in Williamson County a suburb of Nashville, where they’re introducing critical race theory into the K-12 schools here. They’re saying it’s not critical race theory, but parents are saying my kids are coming home saying, I hate myself because I’m white. That’s going on everywhere.
Sheffield: It really is. And we did some reporting about an elite school in New York City as well called the Brearley School, which is a private school. Very often you think of the private school system as a kind of relief from public schools, but not so in this one. They’re doing the same thing. They’re doing the critical race theory, and it’s coming in everywhere, the public schools, and private schools.
And it ultimately is a rejection of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, which was that we don’t judge people by the color of their skin. We judge them by the content of their character. And what critical race theory is teaching is this narrative of suppressors and being victimized. And if you’re white, you have no choice but you are part of the suppressor class.
And there is just the slicing and dicing of America based on race. And it’s tribalism at its very worst. And it’s really toxic and tragic that this is taken over our school system. And if you even try to say something, I’m white, and oftentimes when I’m talking to liberals and I try to mention Dr. King, I’m not allowed to even say that because I’m white and that by its very definition, is racism.
Leahy: How can we fix this problem, Carrie? Because you talk to state legislators and we talked to a lot of them here in Tennessee but really, they’re not setting the tone for the schools. This critical race theory curriculum has seeped everywhere. Teachers do it independently. The school boards put it in. The school directors put it in. What’s the solution?
Sheffield: I think the parents should absolutely fight back. It’s a different topic, but there was a success. For example, in California, when it comes to school choice, the parents were the ones who took the leadership there to allow for school choice. So I would recommend to parents to be vocal about it and to push back and say, I am not going to allow my child to be indoctrinated, to hate people of other races, or to feel ashamed of their family background. This is just fundamentally anti-American. I think parents should not be afraid to speak out about this. I interviewed Dennis Prager earlier this year, and he said his solution is to take your kids out and to home school them. So that’s always an option, too.
Leahy: Well, it’s interesting because we have a bunch of parents who met last night in Williamson County in the suburb of Nashville here, and the school director refused to show up. One of 12 school board members showed up and said pretty much the same thing, tell everybody you don’t like this. The problem is the parents that do tell folks this don’t get much relief. The institution, to me of K-12 public education, seems to be corrupted beyond repair. That’s my view.
Sheffield: You know, it is local. That is the beauty of America. And we are seeing at a macro level people migrating out of these liberal States like California, and like out of New York. I was reading data from the U.S. Census Bureau and I think it was 16 states that lost population in 2020 just through that census in 10 years. And so that’s the other option. You can always vote with your feet if it really is that bad. And I know a lot of parents do move for schools. You can go to a state where this toxic critical race theory is not allowed.
Leahy: The only state that I see that happening Carrie right now is Florida. That’s not been pushed back here against in Tennessee. And people are moving to Tennessee because we have low taxes and it’s a great place to live.
Sheffield: Right. Well, I think also a lot of it can happen at the local level. I don’t know in particular if this is coming down from the state of Tennessee as opposed to the local level. But I do know that local districts often will respond to parents. And so I think there are options, whether that’s petitioning, maybe putting things on local referendums, or putting things for a vote. There are options.
Leahy: You also want to talk about Joe Biden’s infrastructure program which looks like anything but infrastructure. Where does that stand right now?
Sheffield: I like to say it’s like that phrase, where’s the beef? Where’s the infrastructure? (Chuckles) And Newsweek was reporting it’s only about six percent of his plan overall. This is even according to a White House fact sheet that it was proposing only 115 billion or ‘modernizing the bridges and roads that are in most critical need of repair.’
But the vast majority of this is really just a liberal grab bag of many other things. In terms of the answer to your question of where things stand, the word on the street is that Republicans have their alternative plan they said they want to do. The price tag here for Joe Biden is out of control. He says he wants to do it in two different ways and in two different packages, and it could be upwards of four trillion dollars when you slice and divide them up.
But about two trillion for the first one. What it honestly is is a move to try to unwind what the Republicans did with their tax reform that was passed in 2017. What this bill would do is hike the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent. And what that would do is make us the highest-taxed nation within the OECD.
The developed countries put our tax rate to 32.34 percent and that’s going to cause people to lose jobs. And you know, what’s sad is it the bottom 20 percent of earners the poorest among us are going to see a 1.5 percent drop in their after-tax income in the long run according to the Tax Foundation if this bill is passed. So it really doesn’t have hardly anything to do with infrastructure, it really is just a manifestation of a liberal wish list.
Leahy: Last question for Kerry Sheffield, a senior fellow with Independent Women’s Forum. When are you coming to Nashville so we can have you here in studio with us?
Sheffield: Oh, I would love that.
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