October 18, 2022

Smith Op-Ed: Biden and Democrats have no interest in cutting the deficit

By Rep. Jason Smith Washington TimesHigher prices on everything from gas to groceries are crushing Americans. Families are cutting back on the necessities, and nearly a quarter of seniors are reportedly delaying retirement, just to stay afloat. But today’s inflation crisis did not appear out of thin air. In his first 20 months in office, President Biden has set records for spending and debt which have driven the massive spike in prices we’re seeing today. In less than two years, federal spending has increased above what was projected when Mr. Biden took office by $10 trillion, and our national debt has increased by $3.4 trillion. Amazingly, Mr. Biden and his administration still have the nerve to tell the American people that they are cutting deficits, despite massively ramping up spending. A lie of this magnitude demands a correction. Here are the facts.



First, the Biden White House and congressional Democrats have not cut a dime in spending. Over 80% of their supposed deficit reduction is simply expiring or shrinking emergency COVID-19 relief funding, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. In Mr. Biden’s first full year in office, fiscal year 2021, the federal government ran the second-highest deficit in U.S. history at $2.78 trillion. In fact, it was $517 billion higher than the Congressional Budget Office had projected for 2021 after Democrats rammed through their $2 trillion American Rescue Plan. Fiscal year 2022, which ended a few weeks ago on Sept. 30, was more of the same story. The deficit registered at $1.4 trillion, which was higher than CBO projected in May due to the president’s student loan forgiveness executive order, which raised the deficit by $426 billion. Helping offset some of the damage of the Democrats’ reckless spending spree is the historic revenues coming into federal coffers thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This Republican-passed tax reform lowered the tax burden on American families. At the same time, this year, the federal government collected $4.9 trillion in taxes, the most ever, and $1.6 trillion more than collected before TCJA was signed into law. Revenues have now reached 20% of GDP, making it tied for the highest level in 77 years. One need only look at how much Democrats are spending to see that Mr. Biden has no interest in cutting the deficit. The $2 trillion so-called American Rescue Plan sparked inflation when the CBO had already noted no additional spending was needed, and simultaneously left behind a massive trail of waste, fraud and abuse, including spending $400 billion to pay people not to work. The next item on Democrats’ agenda was the $625 billion infrastructure law — which included a $400 billion funding shortfall despite Democrats’ claims the bill was “paid for.” Democrats expanded their green welfare for the wealthy and big corporations in their $745 billion Inflation Reduction Act. It bestows $80 billion on the IRS to hire 87,000 new agents to target working families, whose tax dollars will now effectively go toward subsidizing handouts to wealthy environmentalists. Meanwhile, CBO has confirmed that the law will raise deficits by $60 billion in the first five years, and economists at Penn Wharton stated that it would actually increase inflation in the near term. It is a miracle that the Democrats who sold this legislation to the public as “inflation reducing” could keep a straight face. Where Mr. Biden has failed to get his spending agenda through Congress, he simply makes the law on his own. In less than two years, Mr. Biden has authored over 600 executive actions that have cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion with zero congressional authority or oversight, further fueling inflation. The Federal Reserve has been forced to respond to this spending-induced inflation crisis by raising interest rates. As a result, the federal government will now have to spend $2.5 trillion more just to cover the interest on the federal debt over the next 10 years. Judging by the budget Mr. Biden sent to Congress, “deficit reduction” is just a talking point, not an actual goal. His budget proposes to increase — not cut — spending. Under Mr. Biden’s budget, yearly deficits would average $1.6 trillion, $600 billion higher than they were the last 10 years. More debt and higher interest rates will translate into higher prices for American families. In less than two years under Mr. Biden and one-party Democrat rule, America’s economy is weaker and our government less accountable than ever before. In just the first quarter of this year, the wealth of American households fell $2.4 trillion, according to CBO. Americans are tired and fed up with Washington Democrats putting trillions on the public’s credit card while driving our economy into a ditch. Fortunately, under the House Republicans’ Commitment to America, our country can forge a strong economy that delivers better pay and higher wages, and return accountability to Washington where the people – not unelected bureaucrats – have the final word in how our country runs.