Republican U.S. Senate candidates on the issues: The growing federal deficit

Photo credit Chad Kainz. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for office address ahead of this summer’s primary elections. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for Republican candidates running for the United States Senate seat.

We’ll be publishing the candidates’ responses to one item per day each day this week. Today we’re publishing the candidates’ responses item two:

With the tax cuts passed in 2017 and the passage of the relief bill earlier this year, the federal deficit has grown by trillions of dollars. Are you concerned about rising national debt? If so, what steps would you support to reduce it? If you recommend cuts to federal spending, please specify which areas you would cut.

Roger Marshall

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was a landmark achievement that helped modernize the tax code and helped invigorate the economy in an unprecedented way. I was proud to support this legislation and provide every income bracket a rate cut. We were able to put more of American’s hard-earned income back into their pocket. This effort helped spark tremendous economic growth with near weekly stock market record highs, and record low unemployment. The Tax Cut & Jobs Act actually led to record income for the federal government preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats support a socialist takeover of healthcare that would double our national budget, and skyrocket the deficit. I’ve been put in charge of the RSC Healthcare Task Force to write a healthcare bill that secures coverage for those with preexisting conditions, and provides quality care at an affordable rate. Healthcare already consumes 28% of the federal budget. As a nation we need to go on a spending diet and stop pushing for policies that will paralyze us with debt.

The national debt is a burden we can’t leave on our children and grandchildren. I have taken action to combat this crisis including pushing for legislation that requires the Congressional Budget Office to begin including debt servicing costs in all legislative cost estimates. We should know the true cost of legislation before we pass spending packages that continue to grow our significant national debt. The Democrats tried to force “take it or shut it down votes” because they have been fixated on the impeachment charade. Our elected leaders need to put their constituents first and uphold their oaths of office instead of partaking in political games.  This is part of the reason I’ve supported the Balanced Budget Amendment. We have to get serious about our spending problem, and stop the deficit from growing.

Brian Matlock

To be frank–the massive deficits are the only thing keeping the economy on life support during the COVID epidemic. The alternative is massive loan defaults, bankruptcies, and evictions. Speaking as an economist- the deficit is a terrible policy target. The government should spend sufficient to maintain full employment and stable prices—real economic outcomes, not based on the size of the deficit.

The debt is something both parties love to fear monger about to stop the agenda of the other party but is completely ignored when it comes to their own priorities. The truth is that the federal budget does not work like a household’s budget. A currency issuer operates by different rules than a currency user.

A government deficit is a private sector surplus. In other words- dollar bills that we spend come from the government. They are money the government has spent into the economy that it hasn’t taxed back, i.e. the deficit. We don’t print money that the government needs to beg us for in order to spend.

The few periods in history when the government ran a budget surplus were immediately followed by a recession—it is effectively putting a vacuum over the economy and sucking dollars out. This makes it harder for individuals and businesses to meet their financial commitments.

This doesn’t mean that efficiency isn’t important- it is extremely important. There are many ways we could use the real and financial resources that are taken up by government spending. That is why we should make greater use of participatory budgeting and a locally administered job guarantee program where local communities set their priorities and have more control over public resources.

I disagree with the tax cuts not because of their effect on the deficit but because of their effect on the economy and inequality. They had an extremely modest positive effect on the economy, which would have been much greater at lower income levels. They would have been used to buy goods and support businesses at the local level rather than for stock buybacks. The tax and spending policies have overwhelmingly supported and propped up monopolistic corporations, fossil fuels, big agriculture, and loopholes for the super-wealthy. We could instead be using those resources to support local decision-making and economic well-being through local and cooperative ownership and finance.

David Lindstrom

Yes, I am concerned about the national debt. As a business owner, I know there are always areas to cut spending that don’t impact the end product. We need to cut the national budget. I’ve had enough of the DC swamp refusing to cut the federal budget. They’ve forced hard working Americans to have to cut their own budget and it’s time we end that to fund their bloated spending.

 

 

Kris Kobach

One thing we can’t do: Allow the new deficit spending related to COVID to become the new normal. We need to return to pre-COVID spending levels and then cut further. Spending in Washington is out-of-control and must be reined in. It isn’t fair to our children and grandchildren to continue spending knowing they will be the ones required to make good on our debts.

As Kansas Secretary of State, I cut my office’s budget from $7 million to $4.6 million, a 34% reduction in my agency’s spending. We did it without laying people off and without cutting services. One way I was able to cut the budget was by taking advantage of the Baby Boomers retiring. When staff retired, we reshifted responsibilities among those who remained. We didn’t refill many of those vacancies. I have proven that serious budget cuts can be achieved. Every Kansas family must live within its means. If I am in the U.S. Senate, I will work to see that the government does the same.

Lance Berland

Did not respond.

John Berman

Did not respond.

Derek Ellis

Did not respond.

Bob Hamilton

Did not respond.

John Miller

Did not respond.

Steve Roberts

Did not respond.

Gabriel Mark Robles

Did not respond.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item three:

Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?