Shane Vander Hart of Caffeinated Thoughts sat down for an executive interview with Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) in an exclusive interview with Caffeinated Thoughts said that he was just two months away from making a decision about 2016. He said the next president will need to be someone who will make big changes in DC and that he thinks it should be a governor. He said he has been praying about his decision, but on top of that he's been focused on what he would do if placed in that position so he's been busy working on policy statements through his non-profit America Next.
Jindal was comfortable and well versed in discussing a variety of topics. Education policy is quick becoming one of his wheelhouse issues as he has been front and center in the battle against Common Core. In Iowa, as Jindal arrived in the state, Common Core ads were being run touting the math and English language arts standards as "conservative." Jindal said he disagreed with that description, but it is a debate worth having.
"We are going to fight Common Core with everything we've got in Louisiana." Jindal said. "We are in federal court against Arne Duncan. We in our state legislature, when it comes into session in April, we are going to pass legislation where we get rid of Common Core."
He also dismissed the notion that Common Core doesn't impact textbooks or classroom discussion. "The standards determine what is tested. The tests determine what is taught which determines the curriculum," Jindal stated.
Jindal told Caffeinated Thoughts that he wants to shrink the U.S. Department of Education by getting rid of many of its programs and then block grant those dollars to the states. He said the Department should only be focused on transparency, deregulation and civil rights. Everything else he said should be left to locals. "Let's trust parents," he added.
He also encouraged those who on the fence to consider why people are opposed. He shared during our discussion and in previous ones we've had struggles his own kids have had with the math. He said the problems go beyond just philosophical concerns.
"Look at the actual standards. Look at the move away from Euclidean geometry. Look at the deemphasis on getting the right answers at an earlier grade. Look at the move away from the classic texts in the ELA. There are a lot of content specific issues with this," Jindal noted.
He also noted that the current trends from Common Core proponents ignore the basic reason for public education.
"The reason we pay for public education, the fundamental reason we have education is we want a self-governing society. We want citizens who can make critical decisions for themselves and for others when they vote in elections, when they train the next generation of leaders," Jindal shared. "Historically you track the reasons why in this country we fund public education is to train the next citizens, the next generation, in critical thinking to have a self-governing republic."
Jindal called No Child Behind an "awful mistake." He believes that reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act needs to happen so No Child Left Behind doesn't continue to exist in perpetuity. He said he doesn't favor tweaks or status quo.
He stated that our Founding Fathers never intended for the Federal government to be involved in local education. "Instead of being cheaper Democrats, lets shrink the size of the Federal Department of Education. Remove the power of discretionary spending so no future Secretary can abuse that," Jindal said. "We miss a great opportunity if all we do is tinker around the edges."
Jindal currently has a Republican state legislator calling his approach to state budgeting "insane." Jindal said the issue is that he kept his campaign pledge to cut spending and not raise taxes.
"Of course I'm going to keep my pledge. My pledge means something. When I told voters – I wasn't secretive about this. I wasn't ambiguous about this. I was very clear. We are not raising taxes," he asserted.
He highlighted Louisiana's economic record. "I am proud we have shrunk, we have reduced the size of our budget by nine billion dollars – 26%. We have cut over 30,000 state government jobs. As a result our state private sector economy is growing," Jindal stated.
"Our economy is growing twice as fast as the national economy, private sector jobs nearly three times as fast. We are a top-five state when it comes to private sector job creation," he added.
Jindal stated this was done through making government do more with less. He indicated the work is not done. He also added that his administration is trying to get rid of half a billion of dollars in corporate welfare and shrink the state's budget by another billion dollars.
He's tired of politicians not living up to their promises, including ones in his own party.
"You are going to have politicians – both Republicans and Democrats who think the easy way out is to just raise taxes. We have had enough of that, and I think that voters are tired of candidates who say one thing and do another to get elected," Jindal stated. "In DC – 18 trillion dollars in debt – wouldn't it be nice if we actually had Republicans who would tell us that we are going to shrink the size of government, not just slow down the growth."
He dinged Republican Congressional leadership.
"One of the things I think is so frustrating is when candidates promise one thing and do another so now we got leadership in DC that tells us, 'hey we are not really serious about repealing Obamacare.' They just gave up on amnesty. They told us when they were campaigning 'give us the majority' when they campaigned in red, blue and purple states and they won a majority. I don't remember the fine language in the ad that said 'we are not serious' or 'just repeal the easy parts' or 'just repeal part of it,'" Jindal exclaimed.
He said it took liberals since 1993 to take over the healthcare system. He wished Republicans would fight with as much tenacity.
"I disagree with the entirety of Obamacare. The entire thing needs to be repealed and replaced, but you have to admire (Democrats') tenacity. They did whatever it took to fight to take away our freedom. I want our side to fight just as hard to restore our freedom. They don't even seem willing to try," Jindal said. "Republicans need to pass an Obamacare replacement today and it better not be Obamacare light."
If Republicans don't follow through on this Jindal is afraid there will be a voter backlash in upcoming elections.
While the country may be experiencing a recovery, voters have not felt it with their wallets. Jindal noted that to address wage stagnation there needs to be some policy changes in DC. He noted the repeal of Obamacare and then regulations need to be reigned in. He said their needs to be a push toward domestic energy production to bring good paying energy sector jobs which will require technical training. He said there needs to be real educational choice and reform, and real tax reform that cuts out corporate loopholes.
He noted the problem with our current monetary policy.
"Over 18 trillion dollars in borrowing with artificially low interest rates because of Fed policies. At some point, and it is not predictable when and nobody can tell you exactly when it is going to happen, at some point this is going to catch up with us. You can't keep borrowing and printing money like this forever. What I worry about is that you can see a very significantly weaker dollar, you can see very high rates of inflation and the only choice the government has in that scenario is to rapidly increase interest rates," Jindal noted.