MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next, a preview of Listening In.
This week, host Warren Smith talks with Grover Norquist. He’s a conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform. That’s an advocacy group he began in 1985.
Their conversation covers a wide range of subjects: from the legacy of Donald Trump to the dangers of deficit spending. In this excerpt, Smith asks Norquist about a dust-up over his group taking funds from the Paycheck Protection Program following lockdowns imposed by the government.
WARREN SMITH: Americans for Tax Reform, your organization, took PPP funds back during the last round. Any regrets about that?
GROVER NORQUIST: No they didn’t, because all the liberal groups and the conservative groups did what it said is, if you have to lay off people, we will lend you this money. So you don’t have to lay off people, then you don’t get to keep the money. And what happened was the government said, you cannot work your business or a nonprofit, I run a nonprofit, because we’re shutting you down, and you can’t come to work. And you can’t do this, we can’t do that, you can’t do that. And by the end, this is not they built a road through your backyard, they pay for it. And if they shut down your restaurant, one, they shouldn’t shut the restaurant down, but two, if they do, it’s not unreasonable for them to compensate the people who lost their jobs, because of the decision by the government to tell people they can’t go to your restaurant. I also think they shouldn’t collect property taxes. If a city says you can’t keep your restaurant open, they got some nerve, continuing to make you pay your property taxes.
SMITH: So the fact that you had to endure charges of hypocrisy, they just sort of went off of your back. And it’s sort of like that’s life in the big city.
NORQUIST: No, it just is not hypocrisy at all. I’m in favor of the government, compensating people when the government does damage to people. And when the government shuts down your ability to function, and then helps compensate you so you don’t have to fire people. I mean, I better off not to do the shutting down in the first place and to keep it down to a dull roar. But that kind of compensation is perfectly legitimate and governments ought to be doing that they should not be able to take your property or shut down your business and then treat you as if they’ve not done you any harm.
REICHARD: That’s Grover Norquist talking to Warren Smith. To hear the complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.