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Let’s End the Madness

By Sen. John Thune

March 18, 2022

I always look forward to the month of March because the weather slowly starts to improve, and, of course, we have the start of March Madness basketball. While I’m all for the madness of the basketball variety, this March marked the first anniversary of a different kind of madness that was happening in Congress. Unfortunately, if many Democrats had it their way, it would never end.

One year ago, just weeks after Congress responded to the COVID pandemic by again providing some much-needed, targeted assistance, Democrats were busy passing their multi-trillion-dollar American Rescue Plan. In my view, the only thing it rescued was Democrats who were eager to spend more taxpayer money. Unfortunately, though, it helped create the inflation crisis that many South Dakotans are dealing with today. While it’s true that supply chain issues and the reopening of economies after COVID shutdowns created certain inflationary pressures, a major cause of our current inflation crisis was Democrats’ decision to pass the American Rescue Plan last March.

The definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services, and that’s exactly the situation Democrats helped create. At the time, our economy was well on its way to a healthy recovery, and the majority of states had the money they needed to deal with the pandemic. It was abundantly clear that the economy was not in immediate need of trillions of dollars more in government spending. But that didn’t stop Democrats and the far-left political base to which they were trying to appeal. 

Now that they were in charge, they were eager to take advantage of the COVID crisis to begin implementing their big-government vision. So, in the name of “COVID relief,” they pushed through a massive, partisan $1.9 trillion piece of legislation filled with unnecessary spending and handouts to Democrat interest groups. Less than 9 percent of that $1.9 trillion was directed to actually combating COVID. And despite being billed as essential and urgent COVID relief, a substantial portion of the money appropriated isn’t required to be spent until after this year.

The end result of the Democrats’ partisan crusade was entirely predictable. They flooded the economy with unnecessary government money, and the economy overheated as a result. Inflation started to rise almost as soon as the ink was dry on the American Rescue Plan, and it just keeps rising. Going to the grocery store is taking up a huge chunk of South Dakotans’ paychecks, not to mention what rampant gas prices are doing to family budgets.  

The bottom line is that the American Rescue Plan was a bad deal for Americans. It was a bloated and unnecessary bill, and it was irresponsible legislating. I hope that Democrats do not have the chance to double down on this legislation and make our current inflation crisis even worse. My message to Democrats in Washington: Let’s keep the madness on the basketball court.