Ohio Senate Candidate JD Vance on the Crumbling Economy

BUCK: I’m joined by JD Vance. He’s the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Ohio. He was a proud Marine, Yale Law School grad, author of Hillbilly Elegy — great book. JD, thanks for calling in.

VANCE: Thanks for having me.

BUCK: What do you make of this…? Obviously we can get into the recession stuff. I’m curious what you think about Manchin deciding that he was gonna go along with what they’re calling the Inflation Reduction Act — which is very Orwellian, intentionally misleading. Should Republicans have expected this in the Senate, or is this the kind of treachery that is just gonna happen when you’re dealing with Democrats? What do you make of the Manchin move?

VANCE: Well, yeah, I think we should have expected it. We probably got played a little bit. I think that we’ve gotten so dependent on Joe Manchin that I think probably guys just assumed that he was always gonna be there for them, and I really don’t know what he’s doing. I mean, with all my disagreements with Joe Manchin, the thing that he seemed to be pretty smart on was American energy policy. Obviously, he comes from West Virginia.

It’s a state that just wouldn’t exist if you don’t have exploring our coal, natural gas, and oil resources. And the crazy thing about this bill, like you said, it’s straight off Orwell: $750 billion, something like that, which will increase inflation substantially, and they’re calling it the Inflation Reduction Act. I can’t get over the shamelessness of this sometimes. But some of the individual positions — provisions are just so ridiculous if you look at it from the perspective of Joe Manchin, right?

So why do we need to be giving Tesla owners tax credits at a point when we’re in a hyperinflationary recession? Like, how does that make sense? How is that good for the people of West Virginia? “Hey, everybody! Let’s go buy Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles while you can’t afford to put food on the table.” It’s just a preposterous thing. But, you know, it is what it is, and this is why we need to take it back to the Senate.

BUCK: I mean, $369 billion they’re saying in new spending to “address the climate crisis.” You know, there are some things. The chips bill, for example, which I mentioned right before you joined us here, the CHIPS act, right? That’s supposed to make American competitiveness when it comes to semiconductors, chip manufacturing better. Now, you could say maybe the government shouldn’t be involved in that.

You know, the government’s intervening in the markets in a way that’s excessive and also spending in a way that’s excessive. But at least that’s a thing that maybe people could agree would be helpful. It would be good to have more domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. $360 billion for a climate crisis? I don’t think there is a climate crisis, JD, so I don’t understand where Manchin or anybody, for that matter, would want to go along with this.

VANCE: No, I don’t think there is, either. And even if there was a climate crisis, I don’t know how the way to solve it is to buy more Chinese manufactured electric vehicles. The whole EV thing is a scam, right? So set to the side these questions about, you know, how much carbon drives the climate situation. Look. I’m with you on this. I do not wake up in the morning thinking (garbled) “a climate crisis, we need to destroy the economy to deal with it.”

But even if you take these people’s arguments at face value, Buck, the thing I don’t understand is how is manufacturing more cars in the dirtiest economy in the world — and not relying on American automakers, how is that — gonna make our economy more clean? Because of course if you have a Tesla — and I think they’re kind of cool. I don’t own one. They’re pretty fast. But, you know, not my thing. If you plug it into your wall, it’s like do these people think there are, like, there are (garbled) elves back there making energy in the wall.

It comes, of course, from fossil fuels. So you’re manufacturing cars in the dirtiest economy in the world. You’re still relying on fossil fuels to produce your energy, how does this make any sense? It’s like they’ve created this slow environmental crisis just to justify (garbled) Democratic donors. That’s what it’s all about. At least that’s the only way I can possibly wrap my head around it.

BUCK: Speaking to JD Vance, running for Senate in a critical race in Ohio. He’s running against Tim Ryan.