Op eds

This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in The Ouachita Citizen on January 4, 2024.

If recent polling is any indication, the American people are hoping President Biden’s New Year’s resolution will be to stop promoting bad policies that drive up prices and lower their quality of life.

Some at the White House, however, believe the American people have nothing to complain about. For the last part of 2023, President Biden’s team has been wielding cherry-picked statistics about gross domestic product (GDP) growth or job numbers hoping to convince Americans not to believe their “lying eyes”—or their empty wallets. The Biden administration seems to think that if they celebrate “Bidenomics” as if it were good policy, the American people will join the party.

Unfortunately for President Biden, Americans may be poorer under his tenure, but they can still afford to pay attention. They’ve watched prices climb for two-and-a-half years, and they know wages aren’t keeping up.

Since President Biden’s first full month in office, the average price of all goods has increased by 17%, but average weekly earnings have increased by just 13%. That chasm between the paychecks coming in and the money flowing out is causing serious problems for American families. Hourly wages, when adjusted for inflation, are down 2.9%. Weekly wages are down 3.4%.

In Louisiana, each family is paying an additional $793 per month just to keep up with Bidenflation—that’s an extra $9,516 per year.

This inflation has forced Louisianians to get really good at making difficult decisions. For many parents, it’s choosing between getting the car repaired or saving for their children’s education. It’s buying the insulin they need to stay healthy or paying for the Wi-Fi the kids need to do their homework. It’s saving up to visit family for the holidays or letting another year of memories slip by because gas prices are 37% higher in Louisiana than they were when President Biden moved into the White House.

Rather than acknowledging the sacrifices American families have made to adjust to these tough financial times, the Biden administration continues to paint the current economy as a positive—even bragging that gas prices had fallen slightly from the astronomical levels reached in 2022.

Because of Bidenflation, moms and dads face tough choices every day as they try to make ends meet. Pretending that a bad economy is actually good discredits the experiences of hardworking Louisianians. It’s immoral, and Americans across the country can see through the gaslighting.

Families deserve the full truth about the economy, and here it is: Most of these high prices are here to stay. The rate of inflation has slowed down—and that’s good news—but all that means is that prices aren’t rising quite as quickly as they did last year.

To fix a problem, you have to get to the source, and Washington’s spending spree caused this inflation.

Since 2019, America’s population has grown by roughly 1%. Federal government spending, meanwhile, increased 40%. Under President Biden, Congress blew up our federal budget by passing a $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” package, $1.9 trillion in unnecessary COVID spending, $240 billion for Big Tech semiconductors, and an estimated $1.2 trillion on the deceptively-named Inflation Reduction Act. This wasn’t the normal funding we need to maintain Social Security or keep our troops in fighting form—it was new spending Americans didn’t need and still can’t afford.

Many people, myself included, warned that printing cash would drive up prices. That’s why I voted against all these spending sprees. Now, too many families are facing yet another stressful holiday season where they don’t know if they can afford Christmas dinner, let alone gifts for the little ones.

As January approaches, the Biden administration should make a simple New Year’s resolution: Work with fiscal conservatives in Congress to cut spending. That’s the only way working Americans will get consistent relief from the pain of rising prices.