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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how Democrats’ government-knows-best mentality has created the worst inflation crisis in 40 years and numerous crises harming the American people. Thune noted that in contrast, Republicans believe that individuals, not Washington bureaucrats, are the best judges of what they, their families, and their children need.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, if Democrats have made one thing clear over the past 16 months, it’s that they think that the federal government – or maybe just Democrats – knows best.
“It’s evident in just about everything they do.
“And there’s pretty much no end to the things they think the federal government should be in charge of.
“The list goes on.
“Take the current debate over abortion.
“If there’s one thing Democrats are clearly terrified of, it’s putting this issue in the hands of the American people.
“Overturning Roe v. Wade would return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives, and Democrats are keen to make sure that doesn’t happen – probably because they know that the American people are not in agreement with Democrats’ extreme abortion agenda.
“And so the news that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe and return the issue of abortion to the people has been met with hysteria from Democrats.
“More than one has responded by calling for packing the Supreme Court so that Democrats can ensure that they get the abortion decisions they desire.
“And of course yesterday Democrats responded to the Supreme Court’s pending decision by holding a vote on what has to be the most extreme abortion legislation ever considered by the U.S. Congress – a bill that would rip away even the smallest protections for the unborn and make abortion on demand, at any time, for essentially any reason, the law of the land.
“Meanwhile, today the Senate Budget Committee is holding a hearing on a favorite Democrat proposal – putting the government in charge of Americans’ health care.
“Under Medicare for All, Americans could look forward to a future in which the government decides what health care they can access and what medications and procedures will be covered.
“Never mind the nearly 180 million Americans who have access to health insurance through their jobs, many of whom are satisfied with their coverage.
“No, that coverage would be decimated in favor of Democrats’ preferred one-size-fits-all approach.
“I’m not sure what Democrats have seen that makes them think government can efficiently run health care.
“But maybe they’ve never had to deal with the IRS.
“Oh, and let’s not forget about the part where it’s been projected that this government-run system could cost taxpayers more than $30 trillion.
“So what’s the problem with Democrats’ attitude, Mr. President?
“Why should all of us be concerned by the fact that Democrats think that the federal government – or maybe just the Democrat Party – knows best?
“Well, for starters, it’s clearly apparent that government does NOT always know best.
“Take our current inflation crisis.
“A big reason we’re currently dealing with the worst inflation in 40 years is Democrats’ decision to flood the economy with unnecessary government money with their American Rescue Plan spending spree.
“This legislation was billed as critical COVID relief that was going to help families and our economy recover.
“Instead, it helped plunge our economy into a massive inflation crisis that has left individuals and families struggling to afford necessities like gas and food.
“To give another example, the president’s Department of Homeland Security recently created a so-called Disinformation Governance Board.
“And the individual who has been chosen to head up this disinformation board is someone who herself has been a purveyor of online misinformation – as well as being hostile to what she apparently considers excessive free speech.
“And yet apparently the Biden administration thinks we should trust her to rule on disinformation.
“Of course, Mr. President, this is not to say that we should distrust every move the government makes, or that the government can never do anything good.
“But assuming that government always knows best is to vastly overestimate the government’s abilities.
“The federal government, like society, is made up of flawed human beings.
“And being a member of Congress or a presidential administration does not come anywhere close to conferring infallibility.
“Mr. President, another big problem with Democrats’ government-knows-best attitude is that it usually involves a plan to have government take over ever-greater areas of American life.
“And more government control usually involves less individual freedom.
“Take the child care plan Democrats included in their Build Back Better legislation.
“First, of course, Democrats take the opportunity to add a lot of new child care mandates and regulations.
“But more than that, Democrats’ government subsidy program is set up to favor certain kinds of child care and child care providers.
“It’s set up to favor institutional child care, rather than home care or other models like neighborhood co-ops.
“And it’s set up to place religious providers at a disadvantage.
“Despite the fact that more than half of working families who use center-based care opt for faith-based centers, Democrats’ program is set up to put these providers at a disadvantage.
“Democrats obviously think that child care is better conducted in secular, institutional settings, and so they set up their legislation to favor that kind of child care – no matter what parents actually prefer.
“That’s pretty much par for the course for Democrats, of course, who have made it very clear that they have their doubts as to whether parents are the best decision-makers for their children.
“Who can forget the Democrat candidate for governor of Virginia, who memorably said, “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” – a view President Biden seemed to echo just days ago.
“I’d love to hear the reasons why Democrats think that government can make better decisions for children than the parents who know their children as individuals and raise them and love them.
“But to get back to my main point here …
“The child care program in Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree is a perfect example of what happens when government starts taking over.
“The government, instead of the individual, starts making the decisions.
“And the more substantial the government involvement, the larger the government’s role in decision-making is likely to be.
“Again, that’s not to say that the government has no role to play in American life.
“We need the federal government.
“Our national defense, for example, is most practically handled at the federal level.
“But the federal government should be – and is meant to be – limited.
“And allowing the government to take over ever-larger aspects of American life – whether it’s child care, health care, or anything else – is a recipe for the loss of individual liberty.
“Finally, Mr. President, Democrats’ government-knows-best attitude is a problem because, as we’ve clearly seen, it quickly leads to an attitude of Democrats-know-best – which quickly leads to pushing for special privileges for Democrats.
“Take recent conflicts involving the Supreme Court.
“Democrats have made it abundantly clear that they believe that the only legitimate Supreme Court is a Supreme Court that hands down decisions in line with Democrats’ policy preferences.
“And they haven’t just implied this, Mr. President.
“More than one Democrat has actually straight-out called this Supreme Court illegitimate – despite the fact that every single justice on the Supreme Court was duly nominated and confirmed in accordance with the Constitution.
“In the Senate, despite having the slimmest possible majority – in fact, a merely technical majority – and absolutely no mandate for radical change, Democrats have pushed to abolish the legislative filibuster so that they can steamroll through far-left Democrat legislation, including a partisan federal takeover of election law – and, of course, the most extreme abortion legislation ever considered in Congress.
“Just imagine the howls that would have resulted if Republicans had announced that we were going to abolish the legislative filibuster to institute a 20-week abortion ban – a ban that is much more in line with the sentiments of the majority of Americans than Democrats’ far-left abortion legislation.
“Or take the protests that have been going on at Supreme Court justices’ homes.
“The president and other Democrats have made it clear that they are perfectly fine with demonstrators congregating at the private homes of Supreme Court justices to try to intimidate them into changing their vote.
“I have to ask, would Democrats be fine with pro-life activists appearing at the homes of Justice Breyer, Justice Kagan, and Justice Sotomayor to try to intimidate them into changing their vote?
“I think we all know the answer to that.
“But because abortion is one of Democrats’ pet issues, clearly the usual rules don’t apply.
“’Government knows best’ quickly becomes ‘Democrats know best’ – which leads to one rule for Democrats and one rule for everyone else.
“Mr. President, ‘government knows best’ is not a vision Republicans share.
“We believe that individuals, not Washington bureaucrats, are the best judges of what they, their families, and their children need – and that government should be a backstop, not Big Brother.
“We also know that the more government expands, the more individual liberty shrinks – which is why we are firmly committed to a philosophy of limited government.
“Our country was founded to safeguard individual liberty – and preserving that liberty is a sacred trust.
“That’s why Republicans will continue to oppose Democrats’ Washington-knows-best, big-government philosophy.
“And why we will continue to fight to make sure that Americans’ right to run their own lives and shape their own destinies is protected.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”