Imagine trying to run a small business that requires you to travel a lot every week, while paying hundreds of extra dollars for gas. Imagine you have a fixed income and you have to decide if you can afford to travel to see your grandchildren. Or, have young children and try to decide how to put fuel in the tank and buy groceries. Imagine living paycheck to paycheck like 58% of Americans do.
You don’t need to use your imagination. These stories were told to me at an event we hosted at Sugarloaf with Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania. The group has reduced the price of unleaded gasoline to $2.38 for motorists flocking to fill up, the price it cost when President Biden took office.
Small businesses, families and seniors are suffering from the self-imposed, self-inflicted and anti-energy policies of the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress. To add insult to injury, Democrats have the nerve to blame gas station owners and small contractors for price gouging, while families continue to feel the pain of inflation all around them. . That couldn’t be further from the truth.
My district is home to nearly 11,000 small businesses that employ nearly 50% of my riding’s workforce. As a member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee Ranking Subcommittee, I recently hosted a roundtable in Washington, D.C., with businesses located in the 9th district to discuss the issues they have recently encountered to stay afloat. Each business owner provided details of how escalating prices, from gasoline to building materials to food, reduced their profitability and caused price hikes on their products.
Nor should we raise taxes during a recession and create more government, when we should be taking the reins away. The Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress reported that families in Pennsylvania paid $592 more in June due to inflation, with an annualized rate of $7,099. The Democrats’ tax and spending proposal, “The Inflation Reduction Act,” really should be called “The Recession Extension Act.” The bloated 700-page bill would raise taxes, expand the Internal Revenue Service by 87,000 new agents (almost double the size of the IRS forever!), and will raise taxes on virtually all income levels of American workers, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. This is 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, prepare 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 US oil and gas development, which will also increase household energy bills. The American Gas Association says consumers could see a 17% increase in their bills, on top of recent price hikes. A tax of 16.4 cents per barrel on imported crude oil and petroleum products will also be passed on to consumers. Unbelievable.
Our nation’s current economic and national security issues, including the border and domestic energy war, have created the current state of turbulent economic and geopolitical affairs. And now the Democrats are determined to add fuel to the fire. It makes no sense to go around the world begging countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for help during these times. This leaves America in a vulnerable position. By ending oil and gas lease freezes, reducing red tape for liquefied natural gas export permits, accelerating approvals for pipelines and energy development, and investing in our national energy resources for investors in putting an end to the regulatory assaults, we may be in a much more difficult situation. better and more stable position, and control our own destiny. Such actions will also lead to lower grocery prices.
This tax and expense bill will by definition increase demand and decrease supply, thus contributing to inflation, not reducing it. It is time for us to curb this spending spree and engage in pro-growth economic policies. Moreover, Biden and his fellow Democrats need to put down their shovels and stop driving this economic divide before there is any hope of getting out of it.
Dan Meuser was sworn in to represent Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District in 2019 and is currently a member of the House Small Business and Foreign Affairs Committees. He previously served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Revenue and spent more than 25 years in the private sector.