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No Relief from “Bidenomics”

By Sen. John Thune

August 4, 2023

Lately, the president has taken to touting his economic policies. With consumer prices up 16 percent since he took office, though, there’s little for which he should be proud. In that time, inflation has cost the average South Dakota family $895 per month. The president calls it “Bidenomics,” but it’s more like “Bidenflation,” and it has only caused economic pain for a lot of Americans.

One year ago, Democrats passed what they would consider to be a key element of the Biden economic agenda, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which has proven to be little more than a reckless tax-and-spending spree that expanded the federal government and contributed little to nothing to bringing down inflation. Instead it focused on raising taxes, supersizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and spending lavishly on taxpayer subsidies for Democrats’ Green-New-Deal priorities. The best that can be said of this bill is that it was less damaging than the president’s first choice: a multi-trillion-dollar spending spree that included more tax hikes and new entitlement programs.

From the outset, it was questionable whether the Inflation Reduction Act would live up to Democrats’ sales pitch, and it has not aged well. The bill’s costs have ballooned. Its Green New Deal provisions were originally projected to cost an already staggering $400 billion, but they are now expected to cost as much as $1 trillion or more. And that’s just one part of the bill. Democrats also promised the bill would reduce the deficit, but these new estimates suggest it could actually increase the deficit.

So, for all this spending, what are taxpayers getting in return? It’s not an economy growing “from the middle out and the bottom up,” like the president talks about often. In fact, 90 percent of the bill’s green energy subsidies will go to companies with sales exceeding $1 billion. And, it turns out, some of the biggest beneficiaries of these programs are not American companies, but companies based in foreign countries, including China.

Also included in this bill was nearly $80 billion to expand the IRS, an amount six times greater than the agency’s fiscal year 2022 budget. But, while the IRS has struggled to do as little as answer taxpayers’ phone calls in recent years, only 4 percent of this new funding goes to improving taxpayer services, and more than half of it is earmarked for increased audits and other tax collection efforts.

Unfortunately, South Dakotans are all too familiar with the reality of the president’s economic policies, which continue to strain family budgets month after month. Twelve months after one of their marquee legislative accomplishments, it’s clear Democrats’ priorities do not align with the American people’s needs. I hope Democrats in Washington can finally acknowledge what common sense has told us all along: bigger government and higher taxes are not in the best interest of American families. Republicans will continue working to rein in wasteful, inflationary spending and pursue pro-growth policies that help working families, small businesses, farms, and ranches succeed.