Message to the GOP, stop the madness and rein in spending
Bring back the Tea Party!
Remember the raucous group that rose up to protest the 2008 bank bailouts and ballooning of our national debt during the financial crisis? That actually convinced Congress to reduce government spending, earning the scorn of the liberal media and President Barack Obama?
We need those voices again, demanding to know: Where did $5 trillion in COVID relief money go?
When Republicans win control of the House on November 8, as they surely will, investigating the political diversion and theft of COVID-19 relief aid must be a top priority.
Not only do taxpayers deserve to know what happened to those trillions of dollars – more than we spent fighting World War II – it is also the single most important thing a GOP-led Congress could do to help win the White House in 2024.
Because, let’s face it, winning control of Congress is only the beginning. Unless Republicans can throw President Joe Biden or, more likely, his replacement, out of the Oval Office, Democrats will continue to lead this country down the path toward Big Government Socialism. That is the path to fewer freedoms, fewer opportunities and it is the path to leaving behind the individualism and enterprise that have made the United States the most successful country in history.
That is unacceptable.
Yes, it will be important to investigate the Hunter Biden laptop story, which will expose the dishonesty of the liberal media, and to pursue malfeasance and corruption in the politicized FBI.
But we have seen that voters tire of such investigations, whether they concern Hillary Clinton lying about the source of the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador or even the January 6 upheaval.
Voters care first and foremost about their own welfare. Before they elect a Republican president they want to know: what can the GOP do for me?
That, after all, is how Democrats have opened the door to a Republican victory. Instead of focusing on voters’ top concerns, which are inflation, the economy and crime, Democrats have been consumed with forcing everyone to buy an electric vehicle and making sure that women can abort a baby any time, anywhere.
Specifically, GOP candidates need to make clear that they have a solution to inflation.
They need to spell out how they will rein in federal spending, which a growing number of economists cite as the prime driver of inflation. They also must propose realistic energy policies that can bring down the cost of gasoline and heating oil, major contributors to rising prices.
Lowering energy costs is easy: engage with U.S. oil and gas producers, clear away the regulatory obstacles, and drive U.S. output higher. To spotlight Biden’s absurd policies, pass laws requiring expanded lease sales and renewed construction of the Keystone Pipeline; force Democrats to block those measures.
Hitting the brakes on spending is tougher, but essential. The federal debt is now over $31 trillion, up from $20.6 trillion just 10 years ago; interest costs on the debt is the fastest-rising part of the government’s budget. No joke, as Biden would say.
Biden has paid lip service to the need to bring down deficits; he bragged about the questionable $300 billion savings contained in the Inflation Reduction Act but then decided to spew another $400 billion on canceling student debt, thus increasing the deficit.
Republicans have not earned the public’s trust on fiscal sobriety, but as interest rates climb, and the cost of our ballooning national debt edges out important programs, they will have to get tough. That means not automatically agreeing to every spending bill that comes along and not approving continuing resolutions for the sake of peace.
It is not easy, because the public, once offered a benefit, will never want that perk to go away.
But Americans know that the spending spree of the past two years is unsustainable. A recent CBS News poll shows nearly half the country blames Democrat policies for soaring prices; pretty consistently, voters have connected the dots between too much spending and high inflation.
One of the best ways to win the public’s support for cutting back spending is to show how much of the $5 trillion in COVID relief funds has been stolen or misused for political purposes.
In late August, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General reported it had identified an estimated $87 billion in potential fraud in the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program — more than 20 percent of the $390 billion disbursed. It has also been reported that as much as $80 billion of the $800 billion given out from the Paycheck Protection Program might have been stolen. Another $400 billion may have been siphoned from the $900 billion paid out for extended unemployment relief.
The estimated theft of half a trillion dollars is the greatest financial crime in history. It is a sum larger than the fiscal 2021 budgets for the Department of Education and Veterans Affairs Departments combined.
As important as investigating the illegal hijacking of our relief programs is exposing how Democrats used the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to reward support groups like the teachers unions that helped elect Biden. For instance, what happened to the $190 billion allocated to the nation’s schools?
We may never know. “According to a ProPublica analysis of more than 16,000 of the reports covering March 2020 to September 2020, just over half of the $3 billion in aid was categorized as “other,” providing no insight into how the funds were allocated.”
Republicans in Congress are spoiling for the fight, critical of COVID-19 relief money flowing to pickleball courts and sprucing up golf courses, and eager to hold Democrats accountable.
But to earn the public’s trust, they need to do more. They must channel the Tea Party’s bold agenda and put a lid on spending, or their leadership moment will be brief indeed.