By Rep. Jordan Rasmusson
The holiday season is upon us and increased prices on goods and services and even the meals we share with loved ones this time of the year are putting added strain on family budgets.
This problem often is conveniently chalked up to “supply chain” issues. It is a quick and easy, faceless and blameless way to dismiss the higher costs we face. After all, how do you hold a “supply chain” accountable?
The fact is, our “supply chain” issue deserves far more scrutiny than it’s receiving, and we can start by calling it by name: Inflation.
Simply, inflation is what happens when too many dollars are chasing too few goods. This is especially true when our own government continues to spend money at record levels.
“It's like a tax,” University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management marketing professor Mark Bergen recently told Minnesota Public Radio. “It's taking your budgets, taking your income, and it's slowly eroding away how much you're going to be able to buy.”
I gravitate to this issue as someone with a background in business and economics. Since energy costs are a key input into all other goods and services, I am particularly concerned about the increased cost of gas. President Joe Biden has reacted to soaring gas prices by begging OPEC nations to produce more oil while his administration hinders domestic energy production. This problem is disproportionately impacting people in Greater Minnesota, who often use more gas to get to work, to buy groceries, or even to be with friends and family over the holidays.
It also is disingenuous for Biden, et al, to push for trillions more in federal spending and sell it to the taxpayers as though it won’t cost us a thing. We saw a similar disregard for taxpayers in Minnesota earlier this year. Despite a budget surplus of more than $4 billion, House Democrats and Gov. Walz pushed for billions in tax increases, including an increase to the gas tax and tax hikes that would have hit businesses still trying to recover from the pandemic.
We are fortunate to have successfully defeated every tax increase they proposed but, as the quote from Mr. Bergen notes, inflation is also an indirect tax, siphoning money from hardworking Minnesotans. Our skyrocketing bills are a direct result of reckless government spending and burdensome regulations that are hampering our private sector economy.
If we want to get inflation under control, we need to rein in excessive government spending and allow the private sector to thrive.
It would go a long way toward improving our economy, retiring this “supply chain” boogeyman and pave the way to a more prosperous New Year.