The author is with the Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation
The national debt is at $31 trillion and rising. The Congressional Budget Office has recently estimated that the Fiscal Year 2023 deficit could hit $1.4 trillion. The economy is still struggling with high inflation, which is a direct result of reckless and out-of-control spending.
Under President Joe Biden, the national debt has increased over $3.7 trillion. Since assuming office, President Biden has increased spending by over $10 trillion.
Both political parties can share the blame for the national debt and the broken budget process. Nevertheless, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, is one of a select few policymakers who is trying to seriously address the debt crisis. Sen. Braun is a rare budget hawk in Congress and his efforts to address both the national debt and rein in spending should be seriously considered.
Progressives and liberals have embraced the radical Modern Monetary Theory, which states that since the federal government has the ability to print money, it does not have to worry about deficits or debt. This theory argues that the federal government can have a “blank check” to continue to spend without any consequences.
An example is having the U.S. Mint produce a platinum coin that would be “worth” $1 trillion.
Modern Monetary Theory repeals the laws of economics and fiscal sanity. It also ignores the numerous examples from history that demonstrate what happens to nations when they simply just print money.
This is why Sen. Braun has introduced a measure that would condemn Modern Monetary Theory.
The theory is a reckless philosophy that has led to record high inflation. Consumers across the nation continue to not only pay more at the grocery store, but inflation is destroying their earnings and purchasing power. Families and businesses are forced every day to make difficult decisions about their budgets. This is why Sen. Braun has introduced the Fight Inflation Act through Balanced Budgets Act of 2023 and the Make Rules Matter Act.
For too long, Congress has not only sidestepped fiscal responsibility, but through institutional rules, is able to waive budget rules in order to increase spending. Sen. Braun is attempting to correct this by making it more difficult to waive budget rules.
Sen. Braun is also calling for the federal budget to be balanced and has proposed a plan to meet this objective. The Braun Budget plan would place a cap on total spending and would balance the budget over a 10 year period and save taxpayers $4.5 trillion.
The Braun Budget proposal would also require much needed transparency and force Congress to review government programs. A large portion of the federal budget is on auto-pilot, and this not only increases spending, but allows wasteful and unnecessary programs to continue.
Sen. Braun’s proposal is also respectful of Social Security and Medicare, and it would extend the life of both trust funds. It would also make the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent, which when passed created economic prosperity and provided much needed tax relief for families and businesses.
Opponents of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act argue that it has led to massive deficits, but the opposite actually occurred. Revenues increased as a result of the tax cut, which demonstrates that the federal government has a spending problem.
Sen. Braun’s budget proposal would make other meaningful reforms to the federal government, and it would provide a path forward for fiscal sustainability.
The national debt is not just a serious economic problem, but it is also a threat to national security.
Sen. Braun should be commended for his leadership in trying to restore fiscal conservatism to the federal government. Further, Sen. Braun has not forgotten that the Republican Party, the conservative party, must be the champion for sound economic policies and to stop the economic insanity of Modern Monetary Theory.
John Hendrickson is the policy director for Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation. This commentary was provided to the News-Press by The Center Square, a nonprofit dedicated to journalism.