Imagine trying to run a small business that requires you to travel extensively every week, while paying hundreds of extra dollars for gas. Imagine being on a fixed income and having to decide if you can afford to travel to see your grandchildren. Or, having small children and trying to decide how to put fuel in the tank and buy the groceries. Imagine living paycheck to paycheck, as 58 percent of Americans do.
You don’t have to use your imagination. These stories were told to me during an event we held in Sugarloaf with Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania. The group rolled back the price of unleaded gas to $2.38 for motorists who came in droves to fill up their tanks, the price it cost when President Biden took office.
Small businesses, families and seniors are suffering from self-imposed, self-inflicted, and anti-energy policies of the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress. To add insult to injury, Democrats have the gall to blame gas station owners and small businesspeople for price gouging, while families continue to feel the pain of inflation all around them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
My district is home to nearly 11,000 small businesses that employ nearly 50 percent of my constituent workforce. As a ranking subcommittee member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee, I recently hosted a roundtable in Washington, with businesses located in the 9th District to discuss the problems they’ve encountered lately to stay afloat. Each business owner offered details on how the escalation in prices, from gasoline to building materials to food, has reduced their profitability, and caused price hikes on their goods.
We also should not be raising taxes during a recession and creating more government, when we should be pulling back the reins. The United States Congress Joint Economic Committee reported that Pennsylvania families paid an extra $592 in June due to inflation, with an annualized rate of $7099. The tax and spend proposal by The Democrats, “The Inflation Reduction Act,” should really be called “The Recession Extension Act.” The 700-page bloated bill would raise taxes, expand the Internal Revenue Service by 87,000 new agents (nearly doubling the size of the IRS for evermore!), and will raise taxes on virtually every income level of American workers, according to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation. That’s despite the Biden administration’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning $400,000 or less.
If you think you’re already paying enough for energy on all fronts, get ready to pay more, thanks to this bill. Americans for Tax Reform reported that estimates show there will be a $6.5 billion tax increase on American oil and gas development, which will also increase household energy bills. The American Gas Association indicates consumers could be slapped with a 17 percent increase on their bills, on top of recent price hikes. A 16.4 cent tax per barrel on crude oil and imported petroleum products will also be passed on to consumers. Unbelievable.
Our country’s current economic and national security problems, including the border and the war on domestic energy, has created the current state of turbulent economic and geopolitical affairs. And now, the Democrats are hellbent on pouring fuel on the fire. It makes no sense to go around the globe, begging countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for help during these times. It leaves America in a vulnerable position. By ending the freeze on oil and gas leases, cutting the red tape over export permits for liquified natural gas, expediting approval of pipelines and energy development and making investment into our domestic energy resources to investors by stopping regulatory assault, we can be in a much better and more stable position, and controlling our own destiny. Such actions will also lead to lower grocery prices.
This tax and spend bill will as a matter of definition increase demand and decrease supply, thus contributing towards inflation, not reducing it. It’s time for us to slam the brakes on this spending spree and engage in pro-growth economic policies. As well, Biden and his Democrat colleagues need to put down their shovels and stop digging this economic ditch before there’s no hope of crawling out of it.
Dan Meuser was sworn in to represent Pennsylvania’s 9th District in Congress in 2019 and currently serves as a member of the House Small Business and Foreign Affairs Committees. He previously served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Revenue and spent over 25 years in the private sector.