Political commentator Steve Cortes served on former President Donald Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, advocating for his fellow Hispanics. Recently, Cortes sat down with Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature Americans, for an interview on AMAC’s Better For America podcast. He was “a strong communicator who understood very early on what the people wanted in a commander-in-chief,” according to Maria Bartiromo of Fox News, and continues to support the country he loves.
When Weber brought up the topic of the Bank of America initiative that offers a new zero down payment mortgage policy exclusively for Black and Hispanic customers, Cortes was quick to call it “intrinsically bigoted and an incredible betrayal of American citizens.” These are the same citizens who saved banks like Bank of America during the financial crisis back in 2008 and 2009. “U.S. taxpayers, between direct capital allocations as well as loans, were put to work on behalf of Bank America to save that institution during that crisis,” Cortes said.
Cortes said that instead of a thank you, “the bank is telling white Americans to ‘go pound sand’ because of the color of their skin.” The news media “didn’t see anything wrong … as a proud Hispanic American, I said, what a terrible idea, how overtly discriminatory. If we want to talk about helping first-time home buyers, I’m all for that. But it should be regardless of race, it should be irrespective of your ethnicity.”
He brought up the tough economy we are in and how it “would be a wonderful program for people who have never owned a home, especially young folks who might just be getting married, might just be having children, haven’t saved up enough for a down payment. That kind of program [would be] absolutely fantastic. But once you codify it and put it in a silo based on race or ethnicity, to me that’s exactly the opposite of what America wants to be.”
We’re in the midst of the Biden inflationary cycle — Cortes calls it “sticky inflation” — and he said that all of us, Black, Brown and White are suffering. He explained that sticky inflation refers to the fact that when prices of rent, housing, and services are raised they rarely, if ever, come back down. He noted that the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank even has a “Sticky-Price” Index.
“If you look at the history of inflation generally, the first phase of inflation is commodity-based. And I’m not saying we’re done with commodity-based inflation, but I’m just saying that it’s the first wave to hit. The second wave, the more problematic wave, is sticky inflation, things like rents. So, anybody who rents their home, if they have renewed recently or if they’re looking to renew, they are facing stiff increases on a national basis, according to apartment.com – 15 percent right now is the year-over-year median rise in apartments. For the first time in American history, the average apartment rent in America is more than $2,000 a month.”
Cortes went on to note that “things like veterinary care, medical or health insurance, premium legal fees, accounting fees, all of these services that are really important in our lives, tend to form the stickier part of inflation. That inflation is actually, in my view, now even more problematic. We still have a lot of problems with commodity-based inflation. But that is, to me, the more problematic aspect of Biden’s inflation. The Biden administration, [including] the Federal Reserve, both share blame for this inflation explosion; they lied to the American people all throughout 2021. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Yellen, a lot of folks who should know better and probably did know better, chose to continually tell the American people that this inflation was, quote, transitory.”
He went on to say that while things are bad in the United States right now, better days are coming and that there are legitimate reasons to be optimistic.
Cortes is also incredibly optimistic as he says “I really believe that the patriotic populist movement, what I refer to as the America First Movement, is still a very young political movement. And as a young movement, we have lots of fits and starts. But the trajectory, in my view, is towards success for this movement. It wasn’t just about the election of President Trump, as important as that was. It wasn’t just about one election cycle. It is an ongoing movement that continues to gain steam and continues to broaden in terms of its constituencies. And one of those constituencies, by the way, which I spend a lot of time reaching out to, is Hispanic Americans who are increasingly rallying to the political right and to the patriotic populist movement and to the America First Movement. We’re seeing candidates who happen to be Hispanic getting elected more and more and who are standing for office in the November elections. So, it gives me great reason for hope and optimism. And I do believe as bad as the situation is in the United States, we do have solutions.”