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Out-of-Touch Priorities

August 30, 2021
Weekly Columns

Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called members of the U.S. House of Representatives back from their August district work for an emergency session. However, instead of considering truly pressing matters affecting the safety and security of our nation and allies, she focused debate and votes on ensuring passage of a “budget” in order to usher in $3.5 trillion in new spending on socialist-style policies and programs through the reconciliation process. Considering that the budget originated in the Senate and was shepherded by socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, this should not come as a surprise.

In addition to opening the door to trillions in socialist and unsustainable spending, the “Bernie Budget” recommends eliminating tax cuts benefiting middle class Americans and instead greenlights higher taxes for families and small businesses. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that this plan would raise taxes by 33 percent for 1.4 million small businesses. It would also eliminate the small business deduction, which was used by more than 21 million small businesses to invest, hire new workers and increase employee benefits.

For years, high taxes like those outlined in the so-called budget have forced businesses to set up shop overseas and rewarded countries like Communist China. However, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, businesses were able to stay in America and create more jobs for our own citizens. Indeed, the out-of-touch priorities put forward in the Democrats’ budget threaten to reverse the progress made prior to the coronavirus pandemic in growing our economy, encouraging small businesses to expand and hire and creating more job opportunities for Americans.

American farms and ranches, like the thousands located in the Fourth District of Oklahoma, would also be targeted if Democrats eliminate “stepped-up basis” as the budget suggests. This current policy allows family businesses, including farms and ranches, to be passed down from one generation to the next without being forced to sell off assets in order to pay off a massive capital gains tax, which Democrats have also proposed to double. According to an economic analysis by the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, this would destroy family farms, ranches and businesses and eliminate nearly 1 million jobs over the next 12 years.

While the Bernie Budget would take hard-earned money and generational businesses away from American taxpayers, it would elevate and advance Green New Deal-like and socialist programs, including amnesty for illegal immigrants, expansion of government-controlled health care and Medicare, bail outs for poorly run Democratic states and many other “freebies.” Indeed, programs are not free and will always be paid for at the expense of the middle class. This is why we must always reject socialism. 

Considering that inflation is already at its highest level in decades, America cannot afford to trigger trillions more in new and sustained spending. Put simply, it is unsustainable and a danger to us all. Moreover, small businesses and American families are already struggling to keep up with rising inflation, labor shortages and slowed economic growth. As the highest sustained spending in American history, this budget would add $17 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. 

Indeed, I am astounded by the irresponsible manner in which Speaker Pelosi operated the House last week. Even more outrageous than the budget is the fact that she could not get members of her own party in line and on board within the regular process. As a result, Speaker Pelosi had the House skip critical debate and an individual vote on the Bernie Budget. This allowed the reckless budget to be buried in another measure to ensure its adoption, whether a majority of support actually existed within the Democratic Caucus.

Considering that inflation is already at its highest level in decades and with mounting crises across the nation and around the world, including the terrifying situation in Afghanistan, this behavior is a disgrace and a disservice to the American people. This fight is far from over as the House will be considering the reconciliation and infrastructure bills later in the fall.