It seems like everyone is talking about inflation, and with good reason: it’s a huge problem for Connecticut voters. NPR recently reported that the cost of food increased by almost 11.4% in the last 12 months. Consumer Price Index numbers in September showed a 24.3% increase in health care costs from one year ago. But food and health care aren’t outliers; prices are rising for a wide range of budget items — gas, utilities, rent, clothing, and interest rates — meaning a year’s worth of goods now costs $6,000 extra for the average family of four. For many hardworking Connecticut families, the extra strain on their budgets is too much.
It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. Over a year ago, former (Clinton administration) Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted our current inflation crisis would come as a result of overspending in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. He was not alone. In April, New York Times columnist David Brooks reported that economic analysis showed the American Rescue Plan would add 2 to 4 percentage points to inflation. Economic expert Steve Rattner also predicted this, writing, “We worried that shoveling an unprecedented amount of money into an economy already on the road to recovery would mean inflation.” Clearly, the writing was on the wall, and these predictions unfortunately came true.
So, what did Congress do in response to historic inflation? It spent more money. Worry not, Congressional Democrats said. We have an Inflation Reduction Act that will fix this. The truth is far from it. Both the well-respected Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have found that the act’s effect on inflation would be statistically indistinguishable from zero. In other words, this bill does not address inflation.
At a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, failing to address the problem is irresponsible. However, we shouldn’t be surprised.
For the entirety of his more than two decades in office, John Larson has been a cheerleader for out-of-control spending. He consistently voted for legislation that raises government spending — and eventually debt and taxes — on everything from bailouts to entitlements to a $20 billion pipe dream to put both I-84 and I-91 into tunnels below Hartford (which I’ve written about in the Hartford Courant). In January he pushed to jack up the college loan forgiveness number from $10,000 per graduate up to a staggering $50,000 per graduate. This type of reckless spending results in higher and higher taxes for Connecticut taxpayers, companies leaving our state for more business-friendly locations, and a loss of jobs and economic opportunity for his constituents that get left behind.
It is here that I must thank Congressional Republicans who fought against Larson’s spending, particularly the recent Inflation Reduction Act. They brought the price tag down by almost 80% from Build Back Better ($3.5 trillion) to the Inflation Reduction Act ($770 billion). I believe that in doing so, they did a huge service to the millions of Americans already suffering from inflation.
I’m running for Congress because I know that the best way to help our economy grow is to lower debt and taxes — and the only way to do that is to decrease government spending. Isn’t it time for some good old-fashioned Yankee thriftiness to come out of CT-1?
Larry Lazor is the Republican candidate running in the general election Nov. 8 in Connecticut’s 1st congressional district.