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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” imposes new taxes on businesses in order to pay for Democrats’ radical climate agenda. Thune noted that this new tax burden will largely fall on workers and consumers in the form of fewer jobs and opportunities, lower wages, and higher prices.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, on Sunday the president appeared on ‘60 Minutes,’ where he was asked what he was going to do to help alleviate inflation in light of August’s continued grim inflation news and the resulting stock market nosedive.
“The president’s response?
“‘Well, first of all, let’s put this in perspective. Inflation rate month to month was just – just an inch, hardly at all.’
“‘Let’s put this in perspective.’
“Mr. President, that might be something to say if the inflation rate had ticked up from, say, 2 percent – the target inflation rate – to 2.1 percent.
“But I’m pretty sure that’s not the appropriate thing to say when you’re talking about the sixth straight month of inflation above 8 percent.
“And the ninth straight month of inflation at or above 7 percent.
“And the 11th straight month of inflation above 6 percent.
“And even more concerning than August’s consumer price index rising 8.3 percent from the same month a year ago was the increase in core inflation – a measure of inflation minus the volatile categories of food and energy.
“This measure increased to 6.3 percent in August, up from 5.9 percent in both June and July, suggesting that inflation is sinking its roots even deeper into various sectors of our economy.
“Or in the words of a CNBC headline from last week, ‘Inflation isn’t just about fuel costs anymore, as price increases broaden across the economy.’
“But of course you don’t have to take my word for it about the mess we’re in.
“Here’s what one of President Obama’s top economic advisers had to say last week after August’s inflation numbers came out:
“‘Today’s CPI report confirms that the US has a serious inflation problem. Core inflation is higher this month than for the quarter, higher this quarter than last quarter, higher this half of the year than the previous one, and higher last year than the previous one.’
“‘Let’s put this in perspective.’
“Mr. President, here is the American people’s perspective:
“Fifty-seven percent of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the economy.
“And 37 percent of voters say that President Biden’s policies have hurt them personally, versus just 15 percent of voters who say his policies have helped them.
“These numbers are no surprise, Mr. President.
“The president may somehow still believe that he’s creating an economy that will “work for working families,” but the reality is that in the Biden economy working Americans are suffering.
“Americans’ utility bills are soaring.
“Their grocery bills have ballooned.
“And they’re paying $1.30 more per gallon every time they fill up their car than they were when President Biden was elected.
“Real wages have dropped every single month since Democrats passed their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan spending spree – the bill that helped plunge our economy into our current inflation crisis.
“And 40 percent of Americans report having difficulty paying for their normal household expenses.
“Americans are dipping into their savings or working side jobs to make ends meet.
“They’re charging more day-to-day expenses on their credit cards.
“And in too many cases they’re having to visit food banks, which are seeing huge lines again thanks to continued high inflation.
“And what are Democrats and the president doing about this?
“Of course, last month Democrats did pass a bill called the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The bill will do nothing to reduce inflation.
“And again, you don’t have to take my word for it.
“The nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model said this about the bill’s impact on inflation: ‘The impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero.’
“‘Statistically indistinguishable from zero.’
“Or you could take the word of the Democrat chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who admitted right here on the Senate floor that the so-called Inflation Reduction Act would not reduce inflation.
“But it’s not just that Democrats have done nothing to help solve our inflation crisis.
“They’re also on track to make Americans’ economic situation significantly worse.
“In August, President Biden announced a massive student loan giveaway that could cost anywhere from an estimated $500 billion to more than $1 trillion, and that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget notes would, quote, ‘meaningfully boost inflation.’
“‘Meaningfully boost inflation.’
“Or as the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently put it:
“‘Amid 40-year-high inflation and despite the administration constantly touting its ‘fiscal responsibility,’ these changes will recklessly add to the debt and make the Federal Reserve’s job in fighting inflation even harder, which will amplify our risk of entering a recession.’
“Inflation has spent eight straight months at 40-year highs, and the president has decided that now is a good time to implement a policy that will, quote, “meaningfully boost inflation.”
“Mr. President, the economy continues to show signs of weakening, driven in large part by the inflation crisis Democrats helped create.
“Major companies have recently announced job cuts.
“Sixty-three percent of small businesses are putting a hold on hiring, and 10 percent of those are cutting jobs.
“And we’ve had negative economic growth for the past two quarters.
“And so naturally Democrats decided this was a good time to raise taxes on businesses.
“Democrats’ so-called Inflation Reduction Act imposes new taxes on businesses to help pay for Democrats’ Green New Deal spending.
“I say taxes on businesses.
“But of course, taxes on businesses largely fall on workers and consumers in the form of fewer jobs and opportunities, lower wages, and higher prices.
“In other words, pretty much the exact opposite of what we need right now, with prices soaring and wages failing to keep pace with inflation.
“The Inflation Reduction Act also imposes new taxes on energy that will drive up energy prices for both American families and American businesses – imposing further pain on family budgets and likely prolonging our inflation crisis even further.
“Mr. President, the president may have wanted to build an economy “from the bottom up and the middle out.”
“Instead, he and his fellow Democrats have helped create an economy in which working families are struggling to make it from one paycheck to the next.
“And thanks to the additional tax-and-spending policies Democrats have recently implemented, working families are likely to be struggling for some time to come.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”