U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today called out Democrats for blatantly ignoring the growing inflation crisis and noted the tone-deaf messaging coming out of the White House. Thune also highlighted the Biden administration’s failures in addressing multiple crises that are impacting families in South Dakota every day.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, last week President Biden’s chief of staff retweeted a tweet from Harvard economist Jason Furman describing our current economic challenges – notably the growing inflation crisis and supply chain issues – as ‘high class problems.’
“‘High class problems.’
“I guess working Americans struggling to stretch their paychecks to cover increases in the price of everything from groceries to gas can comfort themselves with the knowledge that they’re experiencing ‘high class problems.’
“Mr. President, the White House chief of staff’s tone-deaf tweet was unfortunately pretty typical of a White House that seems eager to minimize – or disclaim responsibility for – most of the problems occurring on its watch, whether it’s the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border or the high prices Americans are currently facing.
“But as the White House chief of staff – and the president – should know, inflation has become a serious problem for working Americans.
“Inflation, of course, hits middle- and lower-income families hard.
“If you’re wealthy, price increases may be an annoyance, but they’re not likely to break your budget.
“If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, on the other hand, price increases may mean the difference between making it to the next paycheck or running out of money mid-month.
“Currently, Mr. President, inflation is costing a typical household $175 a month, according to Moody’s Analytics.
“That may not sound like much to a wealthy Democrat politician, but for an ordinary American family, it’s a lot of money.
“$175 a month may be the difference between whether or not parents can afford to get braces for their daughter.
“It may be the difference between going to visit family for Christmas, or staying home and not seeing them.
“It may be the difference between having money for the extras – family dinners at a restaurant, or Little League fees, or ballet lessons – or just being able to cover the bare necessities.
“And for families making less than the median U.S. income, $100 or more a month can be the difference between making it to the next paycheck, or running out of money.
“It can mean the difference between paying the heating bill, or going cold during the winter.
“Mr. President, Americans have seen increases in food prices.
“In the price of bacon.
“Fruits and vegetables.
“The list goes on.
“The price of children’s shoes is up.
“So is the price of furniture.
“A recent AP article entitled ‘Winter heating bills set to jump as inflation hits home’ noted, and I quote, ‘the U.S. government said … it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared to last winter.’
“Show me the working family that can easily absorb that increase.
“Mr. President, inflation happens when you have too many dollars chasing too few goods.
“And Democrats helped trigger our inflation situation earlier this year when they decided to pour a lot of unnecessary government money into the economy – despite being warned that their partisan $1.9 trillion spending bill could stoke inflation.
“Now, with inflation clearly becoming a long-term problem, Democrats are preparing to double down on the government spending with a massive $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending bill filled with priorities like $200 million for a park in Speaker Pelosi’s district – a park that already features luxury housing and a golf course – and billions of dollars for a Civilian Climate Corps to provide government jobs for climate activists.
“The massive government spending this bill would authorize would pretty much guarantee that our country would be left with an even more persistent and widespread inflation problem.
“And flooding the economy with government dollars isn’t even the only way the bill would contribute to inflation.
“The bill also contains big tax hikes on businesses, which are already raising prices thanks to the higher cost of shipping and materials – and the challenges of hiring an adequate workforce.
“Raising taxes on these businesses could result in even higher consumer prices, and/or reductions in the quality of the services provided to consumers.
“Mr. President, government revenue for fiscal year 2021 saw a huge increase, driven in large part by tax receipts from corporations and well-off Americans – yes, the same companies and individuals that Democrats like to accuse of not paying their fair share.
“But since Democrats’ appetite for government spending is apparently insatiable, record-high government revenues don’t look likely to stop them from passing their huge tax increases, and driving up prices for consumers even further.
“Mr. President, along with the flood of government spending Democrats passed in the spring, another major contributor to our inflation crisis has been supply chain bottlenecks.
“And the White House has largely failed to do anything to address the problem.
“The president finally took one step forward when he announced the other day that the port of Los Angeles will join the port of Long Beach in operating 24/7.
“Well, it’s about time.
“Major ports around the globe already operate around the clock.
“But here in the United States, unions have largely stood in the way of round-the-clock operations.
“And even now, the port of Los Angeles-Long Beach will not be fully 24/7 for a while.
“Only one of the container terminals is currently open around the clock, and then only for part of the week.
“The others are only slowly moving toward 24-hour operations, with no deadline in sight.
“Other than moving toward 24/7 operations in Los Angeles, however, the president is doing almost nothing to address the supply chain bottleneck.
“Infrastructure upgrades for ports, trucking, and rail are stuck in limbo while Democrats debate their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending spree.
“And while the president’s transportation secretary has talked about loosening trucking regulations, his department is actually pursuing an aggressive regulatory agenda that is likely to make transporting goods around this country more, not less, difficult.
“And I don’t even want to think about the transportation challenges that are likely to result from the government mandates and regulations that will emerge from Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree.
“Mr. President, it’s unfortunate that Democrat elites can’t seem to grasp that inflation is a serious problem for working families – and that the solution to our inflation problem is not flooding the economy with even more government money.
“If Democrats succeed in passing their reckless tax-and-spending spree, high inflation may be the order of the day for many, many days to come.
“Let’s hope that Democrats think better of their spending plans before American families end up paying the price.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”