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March 25, 2022 29 mins

Ryan Gorman hosts an iHeartRadio nationwide special featuring Lori Bettinger, President of BancAlliance and former director of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She joins the show to discuss some of the significant economic issues that recently made news. Then, the conversation shifts to women’s health with Dr. Dorothy Fink, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health & Director of the Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to I Heart Radio Communities, a public affair special
focusing on the biggest issues impacting you this week. Here's
Ryan Gorman. Thanks for joining us here on iHeart Radio Communities.
I'm Ryan Gorman, and we have some important conversations lined
up for you. In a moment, I'll talk to the
former director of TARP about some key economic issues just

about every American is keeping a close eye on these days. Then,
in light of Women's History Month, we'll talk women's health
with Dr Dorothy Fink, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health
in the U s Department of Health and Human Services.
Right now, to get things started, I'm joined by Lorie Bettinger,
president of Bank Alliance and former director of the Troubled
Asset Relief Program. She's with us to discuss some of

the big economic issues that have been in the news recently. Lorie,
thanks so much for coming on the show. And let
me start with the issue everyone has been hearing so
much about inflation. Can you explain what exactly that means?
Of course, Ryan, and thanks so much for having so inflation.
You know, there's a lot of different ways to think
about it, but I guess the way when I in

my head think to myself, what's inflation? What are we
talking about here? It's what do you get for your dollar?
And when you have inflation, your dollar is buying less
tomorrow than it did today, and it's buying less today
than it did yesterday. So essentially, people like to talk
about purchasing power, but it's your money is buying fewer

goods and services in the future than it's purchasing right now.
And that shows up in all sorts of different ways
it really but the way you know that we all
I think focus on it is rising prices. So whether
you're going to the gas station and filling up your car,
or whether you're going to the grocery store, or you know,

whether you're in the market for a new laundry machine
or a new dryer, or a new car used car,
what you're seeing is higher prices. And maybe you made
a similar purchase a couple of years ago. Clearly, in
the case of a grocery store gas, you know you
have like the prior week or the prior months to
compare to you just think to yourself, everything seems to
cost a little more than it did. What's going on?

And we always hear about things being adjusted for inflation
when comparing how much things cost now compared to back
in the day. So is there always some level of
inflation going on in the economy For the most part, right,
there's almost always, you know, some degree of price increases
of inflation over time, but it tends to be sort

of much more minabal and it's not something that you
see as much in your daily life. But certainly, you know,
it's funny. I was just talking about an old illustrated
an whole copy of sports illustrated some like the late
thanking eighties, like the salaries of the baseball players then,
And you know, if you look at salaries now, there's
a big difference. Some of that is inflations, some of that,
you know, might be market dynamics. But yes, there's always

sort of these price increases in the world today. But
when you start to see them and then increases are
coming at you sort of fast and furious and different issues,
that's when you our exflations in a different places than
it was. And we're hearing, you know, all of these
numbers thrown around, But inflation today it's higher than it's
been in forty years, and for many people, you know,
they haven't necessarily lived through the experience of a time

of high inflation, of really high mortgage rates, so it
feels very different, and in many cases it feels unsettling
and scary, and correct me if I'm wrong here. But
one of the real problems is when wage increases don't
keep up with inflation. That's definitely a problem. And you know,
we keep hearing about the labor market, you know, being
really strong. We're you know, seeing very few layoffs, We're

seeing lots of open jobs. You know, a lot of
companies are trying to hire, and we are seeing that,
you know, these wages, average wages are increasing. You know,
if the company wants to hire people and they can't
find people at you know, a certain rate, they're going
to offer more to attract more new employees. But those increases,
while significant, still typically aren't rising as quickly as prices are.

So let's just give an example. Maybe you've got a
five percent raise, which is great, but your you know,
your inflation might be running closer to eight percent, so
you're still you know, you feel like you have less
money than you did before, even though your pay checks
might be a little bit higher. So why are we
seeing the inflation that we're seeing right now. People are

hearing you know, seven point nine percent inflation last month.
It's the most in decades. What are the reasons for that?
I'm sure there's a number of factors. It's a great question.
There are a number of different factors, and sometimes it's
hard to say, Okay, like two percent is this driven
by this? Three percent is driven by that. But you know,
so we saw you know, starting really at the beginning

of the pandemic, clearly, you know, things things were pretty grim,
you know, on the economics front initially, but then we
saw a lot of stimulus, right a lot of money
was being given directly to American consumers for all sorts
of you know, good policy reason. And we saw the
job market recover, i think quicker than maybe we would
have thought, you know, back in the spring, and people

who wanted to make purchases right they were like, oh,
I have a little bit more cash right now, and
I'm not necessarily going out as much or trapping as much.
I want to make purchases. I'm going to buy those
durable goods like a new laundry machine or a new car.
And really, you know that the supply, the ability to
you know, to build and transport all of those items
that people wanted to buy couldn't keep up. So you

started seeing you know, some of these upwoard prices in
what you know, people call it durable goods, you know,
not just food or gas. Initially, and then we started
you know hearing about other factors like the supply chain
where it was hard to get you know, good from
point A to point B, and then maybe even you
buy a ship and then take them by a truck
to point see where you know, the customer wanted to

buy them, and so there was less supply, more people
still wanted to buy them, so prices started blowing up.
Then we also started to hear about you know, labor shortages,
as we just discussed, and even if wages aren't going
up as much as inflation um, a lot of companies
were still having to raise wages to attract you know,
more and more employees and good talent, and they were
passing those on and so you had a lot of

those factors. And then this year, you know, I think
people kept saying when they thought about those doctors, hey
they're temporary. These are related to the pandemic. There may
be gonna be here for a few months, but then
everything will start to work out. I think we saw
last year we had a couple of different surges of COVID,
which you know, wasn't it. Economy sort of snapped back

and then you know, everything was fine. We had these
different phases last year, and then come to this year
and all of a sudden, you know, we have um
the war in Ukraine, which certainly had a quick impact
on energy prices. Um it has ability to impact grain
and fertilizer and food prices going forward. We've also even
recently seen things like an uptick in COVID cases in

China which shut down some factories that provide you know,
many of the goods that were buying here and again
delayed shipping. So it feels like there's so many factors
and you think that they're gonna be temporary, and then
if they last a little long as you expected, and
another one comes along to take its place. Anyway, it's
a pretty crazy time we're living in in that sense.

I'm Ryan Gorman, joined by Lorie Benger, President of Bank
Alliance and former director of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
She's with us to talk about some of the big
economic issues that have been making news recently. So, the
Federal Reserve, they made a move not long ago to
raise interest rates, and this is in response to the

inflation issue that we were just talking about. Can you
explain the relationship between interest rates and inflation and what
this move means for your average American? Sure? So, the
idea is, when you start to raise interest rates, you
make it a little more attractive to save money rather
than go out and spend it. You know, maybe you

want to invest in the bank account or a money
market accounts. And when you raise interest rates, you make
it more expensive for companies to go out and borrow money.
And companies like to borrow money to build let's say,
new facilities, to maybe make a warehouse bigger. And so
the idea is you're just slowing down when you have
a higher interest rate. You're making everyone think a little harder.

You're trying to slow down seen days. So maybe you
don't make that big purchase, maybe a company doesn't make
that investment, and you're trying to cool the economy slightly
so you don't quite have so much demand for goods
and services that keeps driving the concept. Now it's a
it's always a balance, you know, because the last thing
you want to do is increase interest rates so much

that all of a sudden everyone stopped hiring, maybe they layoff,
and all of the sudden, you know, you find yourself
in a recession. But what we're seeing here so far,
it's just been a twenty five basis point increase in
what's called the federal funds rate. Now, that really doesn't
affect most of us on a day to day basis,
as actually the rates that banks lend to one another.
But there are various interest rates that are probably near

endeared to our lives as American consumers, that are affected
by that. So, for example, mortgages, um, I think we've seen,
you know, last year as an average mortgage around three
percent now it's around four percent. That that might not
affect you if you currently have a mortgage and it's
a fixed rate mortgage, which means it doesn't change according
to the movement and interest rates. You said it on

day one and that's it. But if you're in the
market for a new house, which is already a competitive market,
and so many parts of the country, all of a
sudden you will have to pay more to borrow money.
And even though it only sounds like a small change,
you know, one percent, it's one percent on what's usually
a very large dollar amount when you're talking about mortgages.
So that's an area where I think a consumer will

be affected. There's also some areas like credit card. If
you're holding credit card debt, that tends to be variable,
which means the interest rate you pay on your balance changes.
Is interest rates change, so in another statement cycle or two,
you might see the interest rate and the amount of
interest you have to pay on a start to go up.
There's other areas where you probably won't see and increase

as quickly, and that would be like several student loans
and auto loans. But those are definitely areas to keep
an eye on because you know, if we expect these
interest rate increases to continue, which by all accounts we do,
then I think you're going to start to see you know,
consumers pay more in those areas as well. And that
leads me right into my next question. What should we

all be watching for when it comes to interest rates, inflation,
everything that we've been talking about, what should we be
keeping a close eye on moving forward to get a
sense as to where the economy is headed. Well, I
think that we've heard so many policymakers, especially the Fever Reserve,
continue to say, here's what we expect to do. You know,

we expect to be at about two percent by it
in the year. We expect to raise rates, increased interest rates,
you know, seven times. So if every time we see
a movement it's sort of what's been communicating it just beforehand,
it's meeting expectations, then I think we said, are okay,
you know, the policymakers are expecting this scenario, this is
what's happening. I think that you know, people are addressing

the issue at hand. Let's say, all of a sudden,
inflation really ticks up, you know, now we're not talking
about high seven percent, it's eight, nine, ten eleven percent.
Then I think we're going to start to see much
bigger and more frequent raises and the increase increases and
interest rate And then I think you could see, for example,
mortgage rates start to move quite maturely, which might slow

the housing market, which matters a lot for you, whether
you're a buy or seller, you're going to be you know,
happy or a little disappointed about that, but that's gonna
start to really affect people. If you're in the market
for a car, you know, there are so many factors
that go into an auto. There's a lot of your
credit history. But still, if you start to see you know,
interest rates really start to rise quickly, then all of

a sudden cars can be more expensive, which could cool
off demand and the auto sector which has been so
strong for you know, for so long. And the thing
that you know, might um might head is the most
directly is if the interest rates really start to rise
and you see companies start to just pull back, and
at that point, we could start to see some increases

in unemployment rate, which has been you know, really so
low for so long. If we see a rise and
first time claims which means people who are newly laid
off and filing for unemployment insurance, if we see fewer
jobs being created and happening quickly, then to me, those
can be some of the warning signs for a recession
and we really want to keep an eye on that.

I'm Ryan Gorman, joined by Lorie Bettinger, President of Bank
Alliance and former director of the Troubled Asset Relief program.
She's with us to talk about some big economic issues
that have been in the news recently. There are two
other terms that have been floated around. I'm sure most
people have seen them in headlines, maybe not sure exactly

what they mean. What is shrink flation and stagflation. We
have a lot of flations going on these days. We
do have a lot of inflations, and you know that
it's all of these are around. Like, you know, normal
inflation is bad. But what happens when you know, you
start shrinking your economy or your economy just doesn't grow.

You know, you're just in this inflationary environment and nothing's happening,
nothing's changing. You know, wages aren't keeping up, and those
can be situations that are very difficult to break the
economy out of. You know, that's where if you think about,
you know, let's go back to our last time with
just good old fashioned inflation in uh about forty years ago,

and you had Paul Vulker and he said, look, we're
going to have to really increase interest rates to get
out of it. So I'm going to make it so
it's you know, people are gonna want to save and
not spend as much a mortgage rates or go up
and it's going to shock the economy, but we're going
to get out of it. And that's exactly what he did.
He said he was going to do that. It was painful,
but it was sort of a short you know, it

was it was harsh medicine and and very painful in
the short run. But he did break inflation. You know,
he got the economy back on track, and some of
these other scenarios that you mentioned. There isn't necessarily a
perfect policy. Sure, it isn't as easy for the federalist
to just take interest rates up high and have like
a short term ghose of medicine that fixes things, and
those can be really damaging to the economy in the

long run, including of course the labor markets. And one
final question for you. There seems to be so many
moving parts here. World events, just like you mentioned, an
increase in COVID in China, the situation in Ukraine, a
lot of that's kind of out of our control, but
that could have an impact on all this. Correct, absolutely,

And the thing that I have found so interesting is
for the past few months, every time, you know, let's say,
the monthly jobs figures come out and the monthly inflation.
It feels, you know, like that usually it's such a
time sensitive, you know, release of data is an economists
like to focus on, and then someone will remind themselves,
will actually this will calculated as of you know, the

calculation ended two weeks ago, and two weeks in a
normal world is not a long time. But right now,
two weeks or like, oh, it didn't capture what's happening
in Ukraine, the tragedy there, or it didn't happen. They
didn't capture the shutdown of factories in China, and so
the world events right now. I mean, it's just everything
is so fast and so furious, and we're seeing the

connectedness right and we're seeing the impact, and we don't
know how everything's gonna play out. So I think, you know,
this is not to pull out the cliche if expect
the unexpected, but I don't think anyone can know where
this is going with any great deal of certain Lori Bettonshire,
president of Bank Alliance and former director of the Troubled
Asset Relief Program. Lorie really appreciate the time and insight.

Thank you so much, Thanks so much for having me
all right, And finally let's turn to Dr Dorothy Think,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health and Director of the
Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Health. Dr thank thanks so much for coming
on the show. And with this being Women's History Month.
What are some of the key issues we should be
thinking about this month when it comes to women's health. Well,

thank you so much for having me on. You know,
Women's History Month is a great time to think about
the women in your life to have made an impact
on you. I like to think about women who have
changed your life and think about their resilience and their
health history. UM. For me, Um, one of my grandma's
died before I was even born a colon cancer, and then,

if you could believe it, her son ended up passing
away years later from colon cancer as well. And that's
what it inspired me to get into medicine and public
health thinking. If we have screening like we have for
colon cancer getting a colonoscopy, how can we think about
inspiring people to know their health history and act on

it to prevent the same thing from happening to you
that happened from from your mom, your dad, or from
another family member, and speaking of that, people putting off
routine healthcare check up stuff like that. It's been a
big problem since the start of the pandemic. What's your
message for women who haven't been able to get their

mammograms for whatever reason or other cancer screenings since the
arrival of COVID nineteen. Talking with your doctor about catching
up on cancer screenings, whether that's mammograms, ornoscopes, or or
any preventive care screening is something that you can do
right now for your health and really thinking about your
health history and using that information to empower you to

make decisions about your health. Whether that's getting a recommended
cancer screening, or getting caught up on a misvaccination, or
even taking time for self care. These are all important
things that you can do to think about your health. Obviously,
since the pandemic, COVID nineteen has been top of mind,
but going into March, say of what were some of

the biggest health issues that women across the country we
were facing. Heart disease was the number one killer of
women before COVID and it continues to be and you know,
it's something where there are so many conditions that we
need to be thinking about whether it's heart screenings, cancer screenings.
You know, there's there's so many things that you need
to think about based on your family history and different

respectors in your in your life. But it is really
important to remember and it's easy to forget that heart
disease is the leading cause of death for women. And
when we think about that, we say, well, what can
we do? And really taking time each day to think
about your food and take your exercise, um, speaking about

your stress levels, your sleep. All of these are important
things that were important before COVID and they continue to
be paramount in caring for your heart out. I just
recently did an interview on that very topic, and I
was surprised to learn the numbers of them in across
the country that have heart help issues. Typically you think

of men when it comes to that, but it's very
prevalent among women, yes, yes, And somewhere we're seeing that too.
Is a lot of times when people think about heart disease,
they think, oh, well, that's that's my grandparents, or that's
that's someone who's much older than me. But where we're
seeing a lot of heart disease now too is even
during pregnancy. And so when we think about maternal mortality

or death during or around pregnancy. We have to say
to ourselves too, you know, how do we empower women
to know what their blood pressure and get a blood
pressure cuff at home and think about the different risks
with their doctor even going into a pregnancy. Whereas in
the past a lot of times, I think we always
saw about heart disease occurring much later on in life.

But it's definitely something where um we look at the
different trends in weight changes over time and different product conditions,
and they're now these kind of conditions are creeping into
much younger age groups, and so having the ability to
know your history and act on it and and talk
to your doctor about different things that you can do

to optimize your health at every decade when it comes
to heart health and really every health condition is so important.
You know, when you sit back and think about it,
there's so much coming at women these days. So many
are taking care of kids while working and trying to
do other things to live a fulfilled life. And in
the middle of all of that chaos, are there any

simple things that you would recommend women do in order
to maintain or even improve their health? Absolutely, and I
love saying that even on the busiest of busy days,
taking the time to schedule the mammogram or schedule whatever
screening it is is so important. And I can even

tell you an example from my own self with my son.
After I had him, I knew that I was at
a point in time where I needed to get a
screening mamogram based on my family history. And it was
the hardest thing because here I am with the new baby,
also needing to get a mamogram, and then going back

to work and balancing all these things, and you think,
oh my gosh, how can I do all this? How
can I make timefidence? And I can tell you that
I now share, you know, with my friends who are
doing for a mamogram based on the family history, and
and to all of you right now, you know, make
time for these things. It's not fun. It's not fun
to go to a mamogram waiting room when you're you know,

the youngest person there and you have a little baby
with you because you're you're nursing them and you're trying
to make this all work out. But taking the time
to do that is so key, especially when you know
when you have great data from your own family history
that it can empower you to think about your health.
And so I'm not saying that it's easy, and I'm

not saying that there's time for all this, but you know,
just saying committing the small things like that to say,
I know my family history and I'm going to do
this because I know that this could change my future
and being around for my son and my family in
the future is something that really inspired me to get
that namogram. And guys, make sure you're helping out. I mean,

let's be honest, make sure you're you're doing your part right. Yes. Absolutely,
my husband with me that day for the vamogram, but
it was quite an adventure after having a new baby.
But it is so important to have family support. Yeah. Absolutely.
Dr Dorothy Fink joins me. I'm Ryan Gorman here with
the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health and Director of

the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Health. Let's talk about the covidanteen vaccines
for a minute. What are the vaccination rates like among women,
Are there certain groups of women less likely to be
vaccinated and and how safe have these seems been for women?
When it comes to vaccinations, we want to make sure

that everyone has the information they need to make the
best decision for themselves and get vaccinated. When we think
about the complications that can ensue when someone gets COVID
nineteen and doesn't have a vaccine on board, we know
that they're much more likely to be hospitalized and to
have much more severe complications. And so our message is

that for all women, UM, no matter whether you have
a vaccine, whether you've had one dose or two doses,
haven't had a booster yet, have had a booster, you know,
think about UM both what you need in terms of
vaccines and then what you can share in terms of
information to help get your family vaccinated and friends and

and all of it you can share UM in terms
of helping people to know that this vaccine can really
help this most severe complications of COVID. Have we seen
any effects from COVID nineteen or perhaps side effects even
if they're minor, from the COVID nineteen vaccines that impact
women in particular? You know, one question that has come

up a lot, that we hear a lot is how
can this covidight teen vaccine impact the menstrual cycle? The
NRH is funding a lot of research and has found
that the COVID night teen vaccine can be associated with
temporary changes in your period, including changes in period length
and sometimes the heavier bleeding. But the good news is

there's currently no evidence that any vaccines, including the COVID
teen vaccines, can cause any problems with fertility or any
problems with trying to get pregnant. And for women who
are pregnant or looking to get pregnant, is there anything
that they need to know You just alluded to this,
but anything more in depth that they need to know

about the COVID nineteen vaccines for sure, the coconing vaccine
is the sim only recommended during pregnancy and breast feeding
as well as this, you're trying to get pregnant now
or might become pregnant in the future. And the really
good news is that we study the vaccine and it
has not been associated with miscarriage or premature birth. Um

Right now, I think the best way to think about
it is, you know, during pregnancy, as your belly kind
of pushes up on your lungs because there's been a
lot of space um all the time, when you're trying
to wiggle around with when you're carrying a baby, there's
um can be it's already be uncomfortable, and you can
also already sometimes starting pregnancy it go so a little
bit harder to read use what's carrying this baby around.

But then think about it, if you develop a savior
lung infection on top of your already having your lungs
a little bit smushed during the pregnancy, it can be
much harder for you to recover and for your lungs
to be able to get back to where they should be.
And um, the sad thing is is that any time

we hear about deaths during pregnancy due to COVID, it's
heartbreaking because we have this vaccine that can help prevent
those severe complications. So we know it's hard. You know,
there's so many messages that we hear our whole lives. Oh,
you know, be careful what you take during pregnancy. You
don't want to harm your baby. But the reality is

is that when you get COVID during pregnancy, the complications
can lead to pre term deliveries and many other serious
health conditions. And so our our goal is to say,
you know, we at the CDC and we collect the data.
We see the numbers of women who have who have
died during pregnancy due to COVID Night Team, and we

have this vaccine now and we encourage um all to
really think about this because it's heartbreaking to think about
a child who will not have their mom because she
died because of COVID and think about the facts. And
I know it's scary sometimes to think about taking something
that that you know you don't want to take anything
right before pregnancy that you send of women think that,

but this is something that can save your life. I'm
Ryan Gorman, joined by Dr Dorothy Fink, Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Women's Health and Director of the Office on Women's
Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
Final question for you, are there any other priorities, issues
initiatives that you're focused on here during Women's History Month

in the Office on Women's Health. There are so many
of them. I will highlight one in particular just because
of the relationship to COVID nineteen as we're all trying
to become more active um something that has happened to
many people that are COVID nineteen as we haven't been
as active and things that you know has been part

of activities of daily life for many people, like going
to the grocery store, just getting out and moving about
have not always in there to the same extent as
pre COVID, and so so many people have gotten a
lot weaker, whether their muscle strength has gotten weaker, their
bones have gotten weaker. And so we're definitely seeing a
lot more people suffering from different muscle injuries, bone injuries

and falling and so getting back into UM moving more,
getting exercise is so important because we want we don't
want to have people getting hip fractures and and fact
fractures and all those other factors that can occur when
muscle is wasting. So one of our current projects is
really looking at a condition called sarcopenia, which is muscle

loss over time. And it's a normal process that happens
in our bodies, but it can be accelerated when we're
not active. And so I encourage everyone, you know, spring
is here, UM try your best to get outside and
get active, and you know, reach out to someone who
may not be as active, you know, give your grind.

I'll call ask her if she's getting outside and getting
some sunshine and getting UM some walking in each day. UM.
We really do need to do our best to get
back to a time where we um did those activities
of daily lives and got our exercise in UM to
make her our muscle strength and our bone strength as

strong as possible. Dr Dorothy Fink, Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Women's Health and Director of the Office on Women's Health
in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Dr Fink,
thank you so much for coming on and offering all
of that insight. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
All right, and that'll do it for this edition of
iHeart Radio Communities. I'm Ryan Gorman. Want to thank all

of our guests and of course all of you for listening.
Will be back same time, same place next weekend. Stay safe.
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