OPINION

United States is in the middle of a spending crisis. We need targeted investments, not radical programs.

By Roger Marshall
Special to Gannett Kansas

America has seen horrendous financial crises before, but none that have so quickly developed as the pending fiscal crisis this White House has created with trillions of dollars worth of drunken spending proposals in just the first seven months of control.

The most glaring example is the administration’s $3.5 trillion newly labeled “human infrastructure” package, which is nothing more than a rosy sounding title for socialism. Make no mistake, there is nothing “infrastructure” related about it.

This package is on top of the nearly $2 trillion already signed into law earlier this year for so-called pandemic relief — relief that included guaranteed monthly paychecks and an extension of unemployment benefits largely responsible for the people staying home rather than returning to the workplace and the resulting labor shortage small businesses around Kansas are encountering.

If Bernie Sanders and the Democrats had their way, they would tax and spend up to $10 trillion by the end of this year, tripling our national debt.

The results of these radical spending policies are sluggish economic recovery, inflation and one of the most dramatic expansions of the welfare state in recent history. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index for June, and noted that the “all items index” increased by 5.4% over the past 12 months.

This increase, according to BLS, was the largest 12-month increase since the period ending in August 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession.

In Kansas, we are paying nearly $1 more per gallon at the gas pump, $0.40 more per gallon of milk, and almost 20% more for a home than we were this time last year. While wages have increased, inflation continues as usual to outpace them by over two to one.

Over the past few months, I have heard loud and clear concerns from Kansans and especially from small business owners about the impacts of these proposals. The average Kansas farmer would have a new tax obligation of nearly a quarter of a million dollars if this change were enacted, as cropland values in Kansas have risen 220% since 1997 — not to mention, the economy killing policies of eliminating 1031 exchanges and taxing capital gains at ordinary income levels.

Perhaps the biggest concern I hear from folks around our great state is the extension of federal unemployment benefits which have made it next to impossible for businesses to rehire workers.

As of July 16, 23 Republican led states had put an end to increased federal unemployment benefits, and continue to lead the jobs recovery. Out of the top 20 states with the lowest unemployment rates, 15 are led by Republican governors. With these increased benefits not set to expire until September, it's past time for Gov. Kelly to join governors from around the nation and get Kansans back to work by cutting off the additional federal jobless benefits.

With the country nearly $29 trillion debt, members of Congress from both parties should be coming together to find ways to curb spending and be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. Instead, this administration continues to pursue unsustainable and irresponsible spending policies that are actually ruining our economic recovery.

This is going to crush our children and grandchildren. We need smart, targeted investments, not radical spending that leaves the country at a disadvantage and kills jobs.

Roger Marshall is the U.S. senator from Kansas.