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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats continue to pursue their reckless tax-and-spending agenda instead of focusing on pro-growth economic policies that would help working families who have experienced a de facto pay cut due to record-high inflation. Thune noted that the economy is teetering on the brink of a recession, and while Democrats want to raise taxes, Republicans want to make permanent the relief created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, June inflation numbers came out last Wednesday.
“And as is typical for the Biden presidency, they weren’t good.
“In fact, they were spectacularly bad.
“Inflation hit 9.1 percent in June – the worst inflation since November 1981.
“The last time inflation was this bad, America was still a year and a half away from finding out whether Han Solo would survive his time in carbonite.
“Mr. President, we all know how we got here:
“In large part, via a Democrat spending spree.
“When Democrats took office in January 2021, Congress had just passed a fifth bipartisan COVID relief bill that met essentially all current pressing COVID needs.
“But now that they were in charge, Democrats were eager to get spending.
“And so they passed a massive, $1.9 trillion piece of legislation under the guise of COVID relief that flooded the economy with unnecessary government money.
“And the economy overheated as a result.
“Even worse, despite steadily climbing inflation in the wake of their bill, Democrats seemed incapable of learning from their mistake.
“In fact, they spent last fall attempting to double down on the strategy that helped get us into this mess in the first place.
“Fortunately, their plans for a second spending spree failed last December.
“But it’s become clear that they’re not giving up.
“In fact, right now they’re trying to pass a new version.
“In the latest iteration of their tax-and-spending spree, Democrats notably plan to hike taxes on small businesses.
“Yes, Mr. President.
“On small businesses.
“Our country is struggling with soaring inflation, the economy is teetering on the brink of a recession, and Democrats want to raise taxes … on small businesses.
“In particular, on small, individually and family-owned businesses, or what are often called pass-through businesses – which make up more than 90 percent of the businesses in this country.
“Mr. President, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.
“After all, tax and spend is the unofficial Democrat motto.
“And Democrats have made their hostility to tax relief very plain.
“President Biden ran for president on repealing tax cuts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ... the tax relief legislation Republicans passed in 2017 that helped increase wages and incomes, boost economic growth, and drive the poverty rate to a record low.
“In addition to the natural economic recovery coming out of the pandemic, much of the residual strength in the economy that President Biden likes to tout is a result of the tax relief passed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“But that hasn’t stopped President Biden from claiming that the bill just benefitted high-income earners and corporations.
“The only problem with his narrative, of course, is that lower- and middle-income Americans are actually the ones who saw some of the biggest benefits from Republicans’ tax relief legislation.
“Wage growth in the wake of Republicans’ legislation was strongest for those in lower income brackets.
“From 2017 through the end of 2019, real wealth for the bottom 50 percent increased by an astounding 28.4 percent, compared to 8.9 percent for the top 1 percent.
“Meanwhile, government revenue, which Democrats claimed would be hit hard by the Republican tax cuts, last year posted its largest increase in 44 years.
“Mr. President, before the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Democrats charged that reducing the U.S. corporate tax rate – from the highest rate in the developed world, 35 percent, to a more globally competitive rate of 21 percent – would strip the government of corporate tax receipts.
“But that’s hardly been the case.
“Not only did federal corporate tax revenues come in at a record high in fiscal year 2021, corporate tax revenue as a share of the economy rose to its highest level since 2015.
“Total tax receipts are set to increase this year by 19.5 percent, or $800 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, after rising last year by 18 percent.
“The effects of tax reform on business investment, wages, and tax revenue have been a boon to the American people and our economy.
“Mr. President, it’s fascinating how Democrats claim to want one thing yet push for policies that will secure the exact opposite.
“The president claims he ran for office because he was tired of the ‘trickle-down economy’ and that he wants to build an economy ‘that works for working families.’
“The ironic thing is that the pre-COVID economy President Biden complains about was working for working families, thanks in large part to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other Republican economic policies.
“The Biden economy, by contrast, is the very opposite of an economy that works for working families.
“Working families in the Biden economy are suffering.
“Food prices have risen astronomically, and gas prices are nearly twice as high as they were when President Biden took office.
“Real average hourly earnings are currently declining at the fastest pace in 40 years.
“And Americans continue to see a de facto pay cut under President Biden.
“Currently, a growing number of Americans are digging into their savings – when they have them – to make ends meet.
“Others are relying on things like credit cards or visits to food banks – where demand has soared.
“And now Democrats want to make things worse by raising taxes on small businesses and others.
“That is likely to lead to a combination of lower wages for workers, lower returns for business owners, and higher prices for goods and services.
“Combine that with our soaring inflation and more unnecessary government spending, and you have a recipe for continued economic misery for American families.
“Mr. President, if Democrats really wanted to help American families, they’d be focused on making all of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax cuts permanent.
“Instead, they’re pursuing tax and spending policies that will make the economic havoc they’ve created even worse.
“Let’s hope the newest iteration of their Build Back Better tax-and-spending spree will fail before American families have to suffer the consequences.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”