Recent Op-Eds

Democrats Set All the Wrong Records

By Sen. John Thune

October 14, 2022

Almost two years after Democrats took control of the White House and Congress, the results of their policy failures are becoming increasingly evident. Inflation has led to greater economic insecurity. Democrats’ hostility toward American-made energy has worsened our energy security. And a failure to secure the border has led to a record number of illegal border crossings.

If there is one defining feature of Democrat governance, it’s inflation, which began climbing after Democrats flooded the economy with a $1.9 trillion spending spree that overheated the economy. We’ve now experienced seven straight months of inflation above 8 percent, a level not seen in 40 years. The prices for groceries, utilities, and other essentials are straining family budgets. Higher prices will cost households $8,500 over the next year, leading many families to cut back, put more on their credit cards, and dip into their savings to make ends meet – more than they already have.

One major driver of inflation is high energy prices. Electricity prices increased 15 percent last month and utility gas prices surged 33 percent. Home heating is expected to cost households an average of $1,202 this winter, a 17 percent increase over 2021 costs. Democrats’ apparent opposition to conventional U.S. energy production is a key factor in this ongoing energy crisis.

From the Biden administration’s earliest days, its policies have demonstrated its push for a Green New Deal future at the expense of energy independence and low energy costs. President Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline, discouraged investment in domestic energy production, and limited leasing for oil and gas production on federal lands. And as Americans struggled with higher energy prices this summer, Democrats approved billions of dollars in tax hikes on oil and gas companies that will continue to drive Americans’ energy bills higher.

While working families struggle with record-high price increases, Customs and Border Protection is overwhelmed with record-high illegal border crossings. In the last year, more than 2 million illegal immigrants were encountered at the southern border, including 78 individuals on the terrorist watch list. There were also nearly 1 million known “gotaways,” immigrants who evaded apprehension while entering the country. This has been a direct result of the administration’s policies undermining border security and its failure to enforce the laws on the books. In effect, the administration’s policies have been encouraging more migrants to make the dangerous journey to an ostensibly open border. We also know that drugs like fentanyl are coming across the border and contributing to a rise in violent crime across the country.

South Dakotans typically judge a president by his record. And we can evaluate the Biden administration by the records it has set in less than two years: Inflation at its highest rate in 40 years, record-high increases in energy prices, the largest number of illegal immigrants crossing the border ever, and violent crime increasing around the country. Left unchecked, I am concerned – as I know many other South Dakotans are too – that Democrats will undoubtedly try to outdo themselves in the next two years with dismal results for the country.