U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed Democrats’ plan to flood the economy with unnecessary government money as they continue to ignore the growing inflation crisis. Thune noted that the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree would only make inflation worse and that South Dakota families will ultimately pay the price.
On Democrats’ obsession with taxing and spending (excerpts):
“Mr. President, in all the time I’ve been in Washington in both the House and Senate … I’ve seen Republicans in control in the majorities, I’ve seen Democrats in the majority.
“I’ve been on both sides of that.
“I’ve seen Republican presidents and Democrat presidents, but one thing that doesn't change is that when Democrats get power in Washington, they want to expand government.
“They want to grow government.
“They want to spend money.
“If you just look throughout the history, at least in the time I’ve been here, that’s just a fact.”
“I guess it doesn't come as any surprise that that's what Democrats do when they gain power, when they get majorities – they want to grow, they want to expand the government, they want to spend more money and raise taxes to do it.
“It's almost like a kind of rite of passage that if you're going to be a good Democrat, this is what you do.”
“I think part of this is, you know, President Biden was convinced he could be the next FDR, and to do that you got to spend lots of money. … But they've come up with a big list, and a list again that would be financed with lots of tax increases that I think could be incredibly harmful to the economy.”
On rising inflation (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, last week we learned that economic growth for the third quarter had fallen short of expectations, largely driven by a deceleration in consumer spending and supply problems of goods and labor.
“Meanwhile, American families continue to deal with what is rapidly becoming a serious, long-term inflation problem.
“Last month, consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in 30 years.
“And a recent estimate from the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics suggested that an average household is having to spend an additional $175 a month on basics thanks to inflation.
“$175 a month.
“That may not sound like much to a wealthy Democrat politician, but that is a lot of money for an ordinary American family.
“$175 a month can be the difference between putting something away in savings, and living paycheck to paycheck.
“It can be the difference between whether or not you can afford braces for your child, or whether you have the money to replace a broken appliance or make a needed car repair.
“Our inflation problem has gotten to the point that it has overtaken wage growth.
“Inflation is growing faster than wages, which means that many American families have received a de facto pay cut.
“So how did we end up here?
“Well, Mr. President, a lot of the problem traces back to this past March, when Democrats decided to pour a lot of unnecessary government money into the economy under the guise of “COVID relief.”
“By the time the president and Democrats took office in January, Congress had passed no fewer than five bipartisan COVID relief bills – the most recent of them in December.
“The December COVID relief bill we passed contained almost a trillion dollars in funding and met essentially all the pressing COVID needs the country was facing.
“But that didn’t matter to Democrats.
“Now that they were in charge, they were eager to take advantage of the opportunity the COVID crisis presented to push their big-government agenda.
“And so they decided to pass another – ostensible – COVID bill, less than three months after the December bill and before a lot of the money from the December bill had even been disbursed.
“They gave $129 billion to schools – even though schools had spent just a small fraction of the $68 billion they’d already been given.
“They created a staggering $350 billion slush fund for states – despite the fact that the majority of states already had the money they needed to deal with the pandemic.
“They extended enhanced unemployment benefits until September 2021, despite the millions of available job openings, and made part of the unemployment compensation tax-free – creating incentives for Americans to stay on unemployment instead of returning to work.
“And, among other things, they provided an additional $21 billion in rental assistance – none of which has yet been needed.
“In short, their so-called American Rescue Plan flooded the economy with a lot of unnecessary government money.
“And the results were predictable:
“Mr. President, the definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services.
“And that’s exactly the situation Democrats created.
“They sent too many dollars into the economy – and the economy overheated as a result.
“And you don’t have to take my word for it.
“Here’s what former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman had to say recently when discussing our current inflation problem: ‘The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan. It contributed to both higher output but also higher prices.’
“That quote from Mr. Furman appeared in a recent New York Times article that also noted, and I quote, ‘But some economists, including veterans of previous Democratic administrations, say much of Mr. Biden’s inflation struggle is self-inflicted. Lawrence H. Summers is one of those who say the stimulus bill the president signed in March gave too much of a boost to consumer spending … Mr. Summers, who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, says inflation now risks spiraling out of control and other Democratic economists agree there are risks.’
“So what are congressional Democrats doing in response?
“Well, they’re planning to flood the economy with even more government dollars.
“Instead of keeping a sharp eye on government spending to make sure our inflation situation doesn’t get worse, Democrats are planning to double down on the strategy that got us into this position in the first place.
“Democrats are trying to finalize a new, $1.75 trillion tax-and-spending spree – the so-called ‘Build Back Better’ plan – on top of the $1.9 trillion spending spree from earlier this year.
“I say $1.75 trillion – but Democrats have only arrived at that number through a combination of shell games and budget gimmicks.
“The real cost of this proposal over 10 years would likely be much higher.
“So once again Democrats want to flood the economy with government dollars – including billions for such ‘priorities’ as tree equity and “environmental justice” programs at well-funded colleges and universities.
“Mr. President, I am forcibly reminded of the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
“What exactly do Democrats think is going to happen inflation-wise if they pass this $1.75 trillion legislation?
“Do they think that if one round of excessive government spending triggered inflation, another round of excessive government spending is going to cure it?
“Do they think that dumping more fuel onto an already overheated economy is somehow going to put out the inflationary fire?
“If they do, they’ve got another think coming.
“The only thing Democrats’ latest spending spree is going to do is make our inflation problem worse.
“We’re already looking at serious inflation lasting well into next year.
“Add Democrats’ ‘Build Back Better’ spending spree to the mix, and we could be looking at a very long period of inflated prices … and reduced spending power for American families.
“Mr. President, Democrats were warned that their March spending spree could spur inflation.
“They passed it anyway.
“So I don’t have a lot of hope that Democrats will heed concerns about inflation when it comes to their current tax-and-spending plan.
“But I – and every Republican – will continue to urge my Democrat colleagues to rethink their spending agenda, before inflation soars out of control and American families suffer the consequences.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”