The Biden administration’s embrace of so-called diversity, inclusion, and inclusion — or DEI — represents an effort to “create equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity,” the conservative reform advocate says.
Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, says the Biden administration has taken steps to “use the power of government to enforce political agendas that judge people based on the color of their skin, or gender.”
Bragdon joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” discussing how the Foundation for Government Accountability is working to expose questionable policies under President Joe Biden.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:
Virginia Allen: I am pleased to be joined today by the president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, Tarren Bragdon. Tarren, thank you so much for being here.
Tarren Bragdon: Thanks for being with me.
Allen: Can you tell us a little bit about what you all do at the Foundation for Government Accountability? What is your goal?
Bragdon: Our goal is to work with state and federal lawmakers to ensure that these changes are carefully enacted into law. So we have about 50 employees. We write legislation, we testify, we do research, and then we work with policymakers to help us shepherd it.
Allen: It’s very helpful.
Bragdon: Very much. But our primary audience is policymakers, not activists or academics or the general public.
You recently wrote in the Washington Examiner about the law itself [President Joe] Biden signed in February. You wrote that the law mandates almost all major government agencies to create new standing units tasked with ensuring that issues related to race, gender, gender identity, and environmental justice are addressed in all public enterprises.
Hold this. What is going on here?
Bragdon: Well, I’m sure people are familiar with it Abbreviation of DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion]. And really what it’s about is trying to enforce the Left’s interpretation of diversity, which only tries to create equal outcomes rather than equality of opportunity.
We believe that part of the beauty of living in America is people having equal opportunities to pursue the American dream, to work hard, to get ahead.
But what the Biden administration wants to do, instead, is to use the power of the government to enforce political agendas that actually judge people based on the color of their skin or their personality.
And what the authorities are trying to do is to create a permanent capacity in the public sector to do this.
So it’s not like this is a presidential nominee that a future Republican can unseat. That is, this is a concentrated power within the federal government using federal money, federal power, and government employees to achieve political goals.
Allen: And who pays for that expansion? If we are creating new positions, that is a lot of money.
Bragdon: Well, it’s you and me, in the end, or our children and grandchildren that we spend money on. And in fact, the Left is funded by the government. They use our money against us, if you will. And so I am redistributing money that has already been given to government workers, but for political reasons.
Allen: The Biden administration is pushing this forward. Is anyone pushing back trying to stop it?
Bragdon: What we’re trying to do is start to better understand what they’re doing because this is a whole culture.
At the beginning of Biden’s presidency, in March 2021, he had a policy to look at, how do you use the power of government to increase voter registration and voter participation?
And so we had a public information request that they ignored. We sued them, found out more about what they’re doing, and we’re doing the same for Biden’s latest plan on forcing, in particular, racial outcomes or defining success based on race rather than chance.
Allen: That’s pulling back the screen to see what’s going on.
Allen: When you mention your job it is elections, and votes, I know you all do a lot on the issue of electoral integrity. Talk a little bit about that and how you’re both working to restore that trust, and to bring accountability.
Bragdon: I think the most important thing is the change in the election and everyone wants to know that they can vote easily, but at the same time vote safely and that their vote will be counted quickly and get the results on Election Day. And so we do a lot of work at the government level, how do you have a secure election process that allows for the broad participation that we all want and how do you get results quickly?
I live in Florida, we are early votingwe have ballots by mail, we vote on the same day, but we know the results of the elections on the night of the election.
Allen: Imagine that.
Bragdon: Right, and it’s the obvious way. So if I request my vote by mail, I can go either way. And I also know when the election office has received it after I voted by mail. So it’s very intuitive, it reads fast. We want to replicate that change in other states, and that’s what we’ve done in many states around the country.
Allen: I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about the rules that you all came up with. Your organization recently sued Biden officials over the cost of prescription drugs. And you argue that the president is failing to implement a policy that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs in America. What exactly is the process?
Bragdon: So, this is the equivalent of the Biden administration just using a lot of power, if you will, to achieve political goals that couldn’t get through Congress, or in this case, what the administration is doing is ignoring the law and not requiring hospitals to disclose information about the prices of the drugs that patients are entitled to, according to federal law, to find them. And when we have this knowledge, we can be better consumers as patients.
And so the first step in creating more market power within health care is to lower costs for everyone and have transparent pricing. The Biden administration has actually said, in an FAQ, “We’re going to ignore this rule. You don’t have to comply.” So we sued, as recipients of this information, we can analyze it and help patients. We sued, saying, “You can’t ignore the law and give hospitals permission. That hurts patients.”
Allen: I think when we talk about the different kinds of things that you all do, the most fundamental thing when we talk about making America work is to be able to empower people and empower people to live the American dream. and to make people stop depending on the government so that they can provide for themselves, take care of their families. It is something that is near and dear to your heart and the heart of your organization. Talk a little bit about how you all do that, moving people away from welfare and building self-esteem.
Bragdon: Well, we really believe that work is a miracle. People from all over the world try to come to America to work and live the American dream. And what is happening is the government is paying people not to work.
We saw this on a larger scale during COVID, people are earning more money to stay home and not go to work. But it happens at every level. It’s not just unemployment, but it’s food stamps, and Medicaid, and all kinds of government grants.
And what we do is three different things. First, we want to change the public policy. So you move people from quality to performance, and we’re excited about the Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy has embraced job requirements in a big way for Medicaid and food stamps as part of the debt ceiling. But we also push it at the government level.
Number 2, we want to take the government away from people who are trying to get that good job. So you go from a first job, if you want, to a good job. So it’s things like a work permit or necessary or fees to do a certain job. That’s number 2.
And then No. 3 is for people who want to create their own products, how can we make it easier for them? By reducing transportation, reducing fees and regulations to allow people to do things like owning a home business.
Two-thirds of people who start a business come from outside the home, but often local governments prevent this and it hurts, especially in poor areas. And so we want to protect home businesses and make it easier for entrepreneurs.
So it’s everything from a first job to another job to being a job creator.
Allen: So, for those who want to get involved with the Foundation for Government Accountability, how can they do that?
Bragdon: You can check out some of our different solutions. This includes model rules on our website, thefga.org. You can follow what is happening.
And then I thought, and I say this as a former candidate, the best way to do something is to just raise your hand and run for office. That could be the local school board, maybe the state, or just talking directly with your elected official to give them ideas and support those ideas, nurturing them throughout the process.
The great thing about doing this locally or in the state is that you can go from concept to implementation in just a few months. And so you can actually change what you want to happen and it’s easier than you think.
Allen: Tarren, thank you very much for your time today. We really appreciate and appreciate the work you are doing.
Bragdon: Thanks for the opportunity.
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