Despite what the White House says, our economy is in a recession, and inflation is the highest it’s been in over 40 years.

Washington Democrats keep telling us not to worry and that the problem is only temporary, yet every month the mountain Americans have to climb to make ends meet keeps getting steeper and steeper.

The reason is simple – President Biden’s tax and spend agenda.

But even now, with our economy in recession, Democrats are ignoring the struggles being inflicted on hardworking Americans, and continue to push one trillion-dollar-bill after another. And as the reckless spending increases, the value of the dollar declines – meaning paychecks aren’t going nearly as far as they did just a year ago.

To make matters even worse, the Biden administration’s ongoing effort to end domestic oil and gas production is fueling the elevated price at the pump, which reached an all-time high of more than $5 per gallon this summer. An internal analysis by the Biden administration’s own Treasury Department forecasts that this fall, gas prices could top $6 a gallon. I am already hearing from Iowans and Iowa businesses about how folks aren’t even able to afford to drive to work!

The unpredictable prices aren’t just siloed to gas: the retail price for a new vehicle is $48,000; the cost of buying a home has reached an all-time high of $416,000; and rent is at yet another all-time high of nearly $1,900 a month. Iowans shouldn’t have to play guessing games about whether or not their paychecks can be stretched far enough to avoid going over a financial cliff.

Each bill the Democrats have passed as part of the Biden Agenda has increased costs for working Americans while moving our nation closer and closer to the edge of the fiscal cliff. Consider that when President Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, the inflation rate was only one percent. After the Democrats so-called “COVID relief” bill, which cost $1.9 trillion, was passed in March of last year, the inflation rate moved up to nearly three percent. In July, President Biden claimed the quickly increasing prices were “temporary” and that his big spending plans would result in lower prices for Americans. And yet by November, inflation had climbed to almost seven percent. In December, President Biden said inflation had reached its “peak.” And folks, he was wrong once again. Today inflation is more than nine percent.

Step by step, President Biden’s and Washington Democrats’ reckless tax and spend policies are taking us closer to going over the fiscal cliff.

But it’s not stopping Senate Democrats who are right now trying to outbid each other with another billion-dollar, budget-busting, partisan package that would raise taxes and increase prices for nearly everyone.

We’re in a recession. Do you really think now is the time to raise taxes and spend more? I don’t. And not that long ago, Democrats didn’t either.

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin said in 2010: “I don’t think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes, or increase any taxes.” The Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in 2008: “If we’re in a recession and we’re in a difficult economic time, I don’t think Sen. Obama or anyone else is going to raise any taxes. You don’t want to take money out of the economy when the economy is shrinking.”

I don’t disagree—and I wish they’d actually listen to their own words right now. Iowa families can barely afford to make ends meet. The last thing they want or need is another liberal reckless tax and spending spree by Washington Democrats.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.