Jun 22, 2022

Gov. Ricketts: Curbing America’s corrosive inflation

Posted Jun 22, 2022 1:15 PM

By Gov. Pete Ricketts

Americans are experiencing pain at the pump and sticker shock at the store.  Prices continue to soar.  This out-of-control inflation is corrosive to the financial health of America’s families. 

The failed policies of the Biden-Harris Administration are directly responsible for this runaway inflation.  It’s time the President takes action to bring it under control.

Here in Nebraska, we’ve shown how to achieve sustained growth—even in the face of floods, fires, and a global pandemic.  We’re the least indebted state in America.  Politico ranked Nebraska as having the nation’s best pandemic response.  We have the lowest unemployment rate of any state in U.S. history.  We have the highest workforce participation in the country.  And our growth is generating record State revenues that allowed us to deliver historic tax relief to Nebraskans this legislative session.   

President Biden would be wise to consider doing things the Nebraska way.

First, control spending

Families with healthy finances live within their means.  Governments should do the same. 

In Nebraska, we’ve successfully controlled spending.  Over the past eight years, we’ve kept average annual budget growth in Nebraska to 2.8%.  That’s well below the State’s annual revenue growth rate, which has averaged about 4.2% during that time. 

By contrast, the Biden Administration has spent big without regard for the consequences.  Less than two months after taking office, President Biden pushed through a partisan stimulus package with a price tag of $1.9 trillion.  Not a single Republican in Congress voted for it.  That massive spending bill lit the fuse on American inflation. 

Since taking office, President Biden has grown our nation’s long-term budget deficit by $2.4 trillion.  Inflation is at its highest point in more than 40 years, with consumer prices up 8.6% over the past 12 months.  That’s despite the defeat of a $3.5 trillion spending bill President Biden tried to pass last year.  Imagine how much worse things would be if the President had gotten his way!

Second, cut regulations

In Nebraska, we trust citizens and local communities to make decisions instead of mandating what they must do.  For example, we avoided using the heavy hand of government to impose lockdowns, statewide mask mandates, or vaccine passports during the coronavirus pandemic.  This proved to be a successful approach.  

Unlike what we’ve done, the Biden Administration has sought to impose its will from the top down.  The President unlawfully tried to bully private employers to mandate COVID vaccines.  And his team of bureaucrats is challenging the federal court ruling that struck down mask mandates on airplanes in an effort to restore their authority to mandate them.  The overreach goes beyond COVID response.  The Biden-Harris Administration has taken 35% more regulatory actions than the Trump Administration did over the same timeframe. 

This excessive regulation breeds resentment and stifles growth.  The yearly cost of complying with federal regulations is estimated at $2 trillion.  That’s about the same amount of money as the federal government takes in each year from individual and corporate taxes combined!  According to Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG, “the paperwork burden of federal red tape alone exceeds 10.6 billion hours annually, at an estimated cost of $145.2 billion.” 

Third, support U.S. energy production

Gasoline has climbed above $5/gallon, and diesel is nearing $6/gallon.  President Biden has tried to blame these historically high prices on the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022.  The truth is that President Biden’s war on American energy had already caused gas prices to surge in 2021.

The President has put a radical environmentalist agenda before the needs of the American people.  And he’s no longer hiding it.  When asked about high gas prices earlier this year, he had this to say: “[When] it comes to gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition… we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”  It’s reminiscent of the out-of-touch Green New Deal progressives tried to push through Congress not so long ago.

His first day in office, President Biden cancelled Keystone XL.  His first month in office, President Biden tried to suspend all oil and gas leases on federal lands as part of his radical climate policy.  After nearly 1½ years in office, the Biden Administration has failed to hold a successful public auction for oil and gas leases on public lands.  They’ve also restricted the development of land for energy production. 

As early as August 2021, the Biden Administration was pleading for OPEC and its allies—including Russia—to increase production.  Instead of begging authoritarian governments to sell more oil, the President should prioritize biofuels produced right here in America’s Heartland. 

Ethanol saves drivers money at the pump.  Recently, wholesale ethanol has traded as much as $1.20/gallon cheaper than gasoline.  These savings can benefit motorists who fill up with higher ethanol blends. 

In Nebraska, we’re doing our part to grow U.S. biofuels production.  The State of Nebraska has shown that E30 fuel can be used in regular vehicles without reducing performance or requiring extra maintenance.  And earlier this year, we created tax incentives for fuel retailers to offer higher ethanol blends to customers. 

In addition to increasing ethanol production, the President should reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline, move forward with oil and gas leases on federal lands, and cut red tape hindering U.S. energy production.  Americans don’t want some Green New Deal; they want the President to get real about reducing inflation.

In Nebraska, we’ve shown the way to achieve responsible growth.  We’re committed to fiscal responsibility, limited government, and American energy independence.  I encourage the President to follow our lead to get America back on track.

I invite you to let me know how inflation has affected your family by emailing [email protected] or calling 402-471-2244.