This week President Biden repeated an old adage while announcing his Fiscal Year 2023 budget, saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” Well, I have a message for President Biden: your budget certainly doesn’t reflect the values shared by Iowans or solutions to the many challenges our nation faces today.
Amid record-high consumer prices at the grocery store and at the pump, a national debt exceeding $30 trillion, war in Europe, and increasing national security threats across the globe, the American people deserve better than what the president laid out in his budget.
On the heels of releasing his budget, it was reported that the average American household will spend an extra $5,200 this year, or $433 per month, to keep up with the 40-year high inflation created by the Biden administration’s reckless policies. Inflation in the United States has outpaced other countries since President Biden took office. Instead of addressing these rising prices and easing the pressure on consumers, the Biden budget pushes for the largest tax hike in history—$2.5 trillion in new or increased taxes. On my 99 County Tour this year, I’ve heard from Iowans at almost every stop about how inflation is making their lives harder. I’ve yet to hear folks call for an increase in their tax bill.
In February, our national debt surpassed $30 trillion for the first time ever. In his remarks announcing his proposal, the president attempted to mislead the American people—taking credit for “deficit reduction” that is, in reality, a product of the emergency COVID-19 spending coming to an end. This comes from the same administration that spent nearly $2 trillion of taxpayer money on a “COVID relief” bill full of partisan pet projects for Democratic Party wish list items. The budget released this week shows there will be more than $1 trillion with no specified purposed unspent at the end of this year, and will result in deficits of $14.4 trillion over the next ten years. It does little to return “our fiscal house to order.”
As our Commander-in-Chief, the president’s Constitutional obligation is protecting the American people. With Putin and his cronies invading Ukraine, China testing hypersonic missiles and threatening Taiwan, Iran enriching uranium, and the Taliban back in control of Afghanistan, it’s as critical as ever that we provide for a strong national defense. The reality is, the world has become a much more dangerous place under his watch, yet his budget shrinks the size of our Air Force and Navy and does nothing to account for the president’s record-high inflation. Biden’s budget moves us in the wrong direction, reflecting his doctrine of appeasement that’s led to a disaster in Afghanistan and an emboldened Putin in Russia. We should be bolstering our military right now to protect America and show our leadership in the world, and his proposal falls well short.
Across the country, Americans continue to struggle with skyrocketing gas prices. That’s particularly true in rural America, like my hometown of Red Oak, where folks often drive much further to get to the grocery store, work, or school. But what does the Biden budget do? It doubles down on the administration’s deranged climate policies and contains billions for electric vehicles while virtually ignoring biofuel, a cleaner, more affordable renewable energy made right here at home. The president, who campaigned on supporting Iowa biofuel, continues to turn a blind eye to the farmers in rural America who feed and fuel the world.
While the president’s budget calls for plenty of money to expand the size and scope of the federal government and fund left-wing priorities, it fails to include a price tag for his signature plan, the “Build Back Better” Act. The proposal does not allocate a dime for the enormous tax-and-spend package the White House and their liberal allies have spent over a year trying to sell to Congress and the American people. If the administration cannot disclose the cost of their top priority, one might wonder what else they are hiding from hardworking taxpayers.
Things are a drastically different here in Iowa. Our Governor Kim Reynolds has led with fiscal responsibility. She’s prioritized taxpayers, allowing Iowans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and prevented Democrats from saddling future generations with endless debt. Last September, she announced that our state ended the fiscal year with a surplus of over $1 billion, while continuing to invest in education, our workforce, and our rural economy.
Washington Democrats should get out of the D.C. bubble and learn how the real world manages its finances. Between running a surplus, cutting taxes, and investing in our communities, Iowa’s budget is telling the country exactly what we value. I wish our president would take a page from Governor Reynolds’ commonsense approach.
Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.