August 20, 2021

Smith Op-Ed: The 'Bernie Budget' is a disaster for working Americans

By Rep. Jason Smith

All across Washington, Democrats are relishing the opportunity to use a budget from Senator Bernie Sanders to unlock $3.5 trillion in new spending and taxes on American families. Washington Democrats have been quick to claim credit for the future success they say their $3.5 trillion spending spree will bring to Americans. But what they are not talking about are the failures hiding in the shadows of this massive spending and tax plan – a roadmap to ruin that paves the way for greater Washington command and control over the lives and livelihoods of millions of working families.

For starters, the $3.5 trillion is just part of the story. The Bernie Budget spends $68 trillion over the next 10 years – the highest sustained spending level in American history by a large margin. In fact, if you combine the spending in the budget with what the Democrats have already spent since taking over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, it will equal more than the total taxes paid by all Americans in U.S. history.

Despite the trillions in new taxes the Bernie Budget will impose on individuals, families, and job creators, it will still add $17 trillion in new debt – more than the value of every economy on Earth, except the United States. America will be on track to spend an average of $1.6 trillion more than we take in every single year. And in just 10 years, it will cost us $1 trillion a year just to pay the interest on our debt – more than what we will spend on Medicare this year, and more than our entire national defense budget in 2031.

Most concerning though is that this budget is being treated as means to an end. A budget is supposed to help guide our nation’s fiscal trajectory and allow the American people to keep Congress honest about its spending. However, over the last 1,000 days since Democrats took the majority in the House, they have failed to pass anything close to resembling a real budget that would get America’s finances in shape. That has not stopped them from spending. In fact, as we prepare to begin debating this budget, even now the House has already voted on and passed several spending bills, including six appropriations bills, without any sort of budget to guide the process. Responsible budgeting means coming up with a plan before you start spending. Working families understand this, so why doesn’t Congress?

At the same time Washington Democrats are proposing record spending, deficits, and debt, inflation is on track to reach its highest level since 1981. Just last month, consumer prices rose 5.4 percent from a year earlier, putting a dent in the White House’s narrative that high prices are merely “transitory.” Working families, especially in rural America, are feeling the sting every time they take out their wallet at the gas pump or the checkout line. If we want to help these families survive, we must address the reckless government spending that got us here in the first place.

If all of this was not bad enough, just over two weeks ago, America reached its debt limit. Historically when this happens, Congress drafts a solution to raise the debt ceiling that is tied to deficit reduction policies, such as spending caps or targets based on the size of the nation’s debt relative to our economy. This has been the norm ranging as far back as 1985. Instituting commonsense spending controls would place a check on inflation and halt the rise in prices on everyday goods and services.

Instead, Washington Democrats have chosen to outright ignore the debt limit and abuse the budget process to move forward with a harmful agenda and trillions in new spending. While President Biden’s budget numbers are slightly more moderate than Bernie’s, the policies both budgets push are right out of the playbook drafted by the socialist power center of the Democrat party.

Amnesty for illegal immigrants, tax breaks and green subsidies for wealthy environmentalists, eliminating right to work protections, expanding government-controlled health care, subsidizing blue state taxes for the rich, and new funding to double the size of the IRS — these are just a handful of the radical policies Washington Democrats are rushing to pass instead of focusing on the needs and concerns of working families.

Socialist experiments that give a powerful central government control over the lives and livelihoods of its citizens have been tried in the past and failed miserably. We cannot inflate our way out of inflation or spend this country into prosperity.

If the socialist powers within the Democrat party write themselves a blank check to spend trillions more, do not expect them to take responsibility for the failures to come. They will leave it to working Americans to clean up the mess just as Americans are having to deal with the high prices and fallout from the massive spending already foisted upon them by President Biden and Washington Democrats.

Read the op-ed here.