By Ryan Meehan
Katherine Timpf is a reporter, columnist, personality, commentator and comedian from Detroit living in New York, NY. She currently works as a reporter at CampusReform.org covering waste, fraud, bias, and abuse on college campuses. Timpf has been a regular guest on Fox and Friends, and has appeared on other national television news shows, including Red Eye, Stossel, America Live with Megyn Kelly and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. Her stories have been featured on several national news outlets, including the Drudge Report. She was also a 2012-13 Robert Novak Fellow, and completed a project titled, “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation: The Consequences of Following Golden State Policy.” Previously, Timpf worked as a digital editor for The Washington Times, the news anchor for NASA’s Third Rock Radio, and as a producer and reporter at Total Traffic Network in Santa Ana, CA. She has also been a contributor to publications including The Orange County Register, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Washington Times, and a featured comedian on the morning drive radio show on Baltimore’s 98 Rock. Prior to beginning her career in journalism, she held internships with Fox Business News and KFI News in California. Timpf graduated magna cum laude from Hillsdale College with a B.A. in English. She is also a stand-up comic, and has performed at clubs throughout the country, including Gotham Comedy Club in New York and The Improv in Los Angeles. We are extremely excited to have Katherine as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You’re from Detroit, so you have seen some of the industry disappear from that city in recent years…How did Ford Motor Company manage to get back on track without the use of federal bailouts?
KT: Oh, man… The idea that it’s considered some kind of novel accomplishment for people to be able to run their own businesses without needing the government to step in and solve problems is depressing.
Ford has stayed on track the way any successful business does: Supplying products that consumers want to buy. If something isn’t working, company leaders try to figure out what the problem is and change the business model accordingly.
A quick fix of free money — such as a bailout — puts a lot less pressure on a company to fix its business model.
In 2009, Ford took out a $5.9 billion loan. To stay afloat, CEO Alan Mulally had to look closely at the business model and make tough, calculated choices. He mortgaged everything. The company sold struggling brands and figured out how to produce popular brands quickly and efficiently. By 2012, the mortgage was repaid.
GM accepted a whopping $49.5 billion government bailout. It still owes taxpayers more than $10 billion, and analysts agree that much of it will never be repaid.
Of course, the story is much more complicated than that. But if a business has a flawed model, throwing money at it won’t do anything but prolong the inevitable. If your product isn’t something consumers want, they aren’t going to buy it.
RM: I read a piece that you did called “Sometimes, Environmental Justice is Neither”, and I thought it was great…
On a scale of one to ten where one is shrugging it off, and ten is total panic, how worried do you think that Americans should be about climate change and clean energy? Do you think that can sometimes be kind of a touchy subject for conservatives if they oppose any “green legislation” because immediately the left will accuse them of not caring about environmental issues?
KT: Thank you. That one was actually part of a three-part series I wrote about environmental justice a few years ago.
The health of the environment is very important. That’s obvious — and exactly what makes the cause of “environmentalism” so prone to abuse.
If a politician says a policy will help the environment, a person will be afraid to question it because he doesn’t want anyone to think he is an unevolved whacko who has never picked up a science book. And politicians know that.
I think it’s important for businesses and individuals to be environmentally conscious. I also think it’s pretty arrogant for any politician to say he is so wise that the new regulation he just drafted will be able to literally alter the course of the future of the universe. Oftentimes, these politicians are wrong (gasp!) and their environmental regulations end up doing more harm than good.
RM: What is the biggest problem that students face on college campuses today? Do you think it’s safe to say that’s something that can be remedied over the next twenty to thirty years? If so, how?
KT: Well, there are a ton. But one I have been writing about lately is an obsession with political correctness that is ruining free speech and open expression on campuses.
There are endless examples. Last month, University of St. Thomas in Minnesota cancelled a “Hump Day” petting zoo because they were worried bringing a camel to campus would offend Middle Eastern students. A fraternity at Dartmouth University cancelled a fiesta-themed fundraiser for cardiac patients over concerns that the word “fiesta” could be insensitive to Mexican students.
A few months ago, I went to a feminist conference and students were telling me that they felt “oppressed” because a speaker had addressed the group as “you guys” instead of “men, women, and people who do not conform to those gender binaries.” Yes, “oppressed.” For the love of god, shut up!
Youth unemployment is at around 16 percent right now, and the average American college student graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Let’s focus a little more on getting jobs and a little less on getting offended.
The craziest part is that most of the groups obsessed with political correctness are the same ones stressing forced diversity initiatives. I agree that it’s important to learn about other cultures and points of view, but their efforts are counterproductive. This obsession makes the open dialogue needed to learn impossible, because everyone is too terrified of being accused of racism or sexism or something else to speak freely.
I don’t know if it can be remedied, because it seems to get more ridiculous every day. I’ve been doing my best to expose it, make fun of it, and not let it stop me from speaking honestly. That’s probably all any of us can do.
RM: Who do you think will be our next president, and why? How will that individual’s approach to transparency be different than our current commander in chief?
KT: Too early to tell. Ask me on November 8. Of 2016.
RM: What was the central focus of “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation: The Consequences of Following Golden State Policy”? Are you mostly referencing the financial struggles California has experienced over the past few decades; or are there other focal points of their policies that you reference as potentially damaging to the rest of the country if applied?
KT: Saying that California has “experienced” financial struggles isn’t really the best way to say it. Financial struggle didn’t just happen upon California, the state has created its own problems by consistently passing idiotic policies.
My project focused on four different areas: business regulation, environmental regulation, education and welfare/overspending. It was a year-long project, and there’s far too much to say about it in just a single answer.
In May, CheifExecutive.net ranked California the worst state for business for the tenth year in a row. That’s not surprising, seeing as its fondness overregulation make it very difficult for entrepreneurs to succeed there and its fondness for overtaxation punishes those who do.
In terms of how California policies affect the rest of the country, the state has one of the largest economies in the world. When California struggles, it has an impact.
RM: In what ways does being a journalist help you when you are on stage performing standup comedy? Is there ever a time where you find yourself writing a column and think “This would be a great bit” and have to momentarily change gears?
KT: It happens all the time. It happens the other way, too — sometimes a comedy show will give me an idea for a column or talking point on a TV appearance.
I’m not sure I necessarily know how to “switch gears,” though. That is sometimes a tough thing for me in terms of knowing how to brand myself. I think my social media accounts might be a good example of that. One moment, I’m having a serious argument with someone about rape culture, and the next minute I am making a joke about texting dudes too many times in a row.
Usually, I think people understand that I can be serious, intelligent person and also make jokes and act silly. But not always.
One time I posted: “Outlaw unlimited text messaging” on Facebook, and people went nuts. They commenting things like “Wow, really?!” and “No, just no!” I even had one person Tweet it to Fox News, saying that they should know I am a communist who wants the government to control how many times people are allowed to text each other. I thought it would have been obvious that I wasn’t actually proposing that as a policy measure, but apparently not.
RM: If you could only do either journalism or comedy for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why?
KT: I wouldn’t even know how to do one without the other at this point. A lot of the experiences I have and people I meet as a reporter wind up turning into ideas for jokes. And I use humor all the time as a journalist — be it in an opinion column I’m writing or when I’m a guest on a show such as Red Eye.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
KT: I’ve always got things in the works! I’ll be back on Red Eye on Wednesday, then again on July 16. As for everything else, people will just have to keep watching to find out.
Official Website: http://www.katherinetimpf.com/
Katherine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kat.timpf
Katherine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kctimpf
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