Guest Columnist

Joni Ernst and the Republicans have a spending problem

Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley listen to introductory remarks during a luncheon to recognize the Iowa congressio
Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley listen to introductory remarks during a luncheon to recognize the Iowa congressional delegation for their role in securing federal flood protection funding on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at the DoubleTree Hotel convention center in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Sen. Joni Ernst and I were the first women elected to Congress from our respective states. I was enthused when she was elected.

We are both Republicans. Republicans used to be known for fiscal responsibility.

But today’s Republicans, like Joni Ernst, now say one thing and do another.

If, like most of us, you haven’t enjoyed a Republican windfall, then I invite you to consider who you should support in next year’s election.

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You see, I can’t “cut the pork” by castrating a pig, but I do know that Ernst’s record in the Senate shows she has failed to cut pork from the federal budget as she promised.

Our national debt is an eye-popping 23 trillion dollars! Our budget deficit is approaching a record one trillion dollars.

Yet Joni Ernst supports almost every Republican big spending proposal that crosses her desk in Washington, D.C.

What impact does this have on Iowa?

It’s not a good picture. Iowa’s farm debt hit $18.9 billion in the second quarter of this year — the highest in the nation, according to Iowa State University.

And despite President Donald Trump’s budget-busting farm bailouts totaling some $30 billion intended to soften the blow of his costly trade tariffs, 44 percent of Iowa farmers are “financially vulnerable,” according to ISU.

According to a recent report, the top 1 percent of farmers received an average of $177,000 in government payments to soften the impact of Trump’s trade war and tariffs, while the bottom 80 percent of farmers averaged about $5,100.

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These numbers are astounding. Nowadays, government aid provides nearly 40 percent of farm income, yet many farmers are sliding further and further into debt.

This is socialism cloaked in Republican hogwash about “helping the farmers.”

On a related issue, Republicans promised a financial windfall to American families just two years ago through a tax cut for the wealthy which Joni Ernst eagerly supported. It was rushed through Congress in the final days of 2017.

Republicans promised that their tax cuts would pay for themselves through increased corporate investments and a rise in jobs and wages for all Americans.

In fact, Republicans claimed their corporate tax cuts would provide a raise of about $4,000 per year for the average household!

So how are these tax cuts working out for America’s workers and farmers? Has your family’s financial situation improved by $4,000 per year?

Unfortunately, small businesses, farmers, and America’s shrinking middle class are left holding the bag for the skyrocketing bills that Republicans have racked up on the national credit card.

Republicans promised that the corporations would reinvest that windfall which would lead to amazing new jobs and wage growth.

Corporations have saved $100 billion in taxes from the Republican tax cuts, but these companies have not reinvested this bonanza into the economy.

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Instead, these corporate tax cuts are paying for stock buybacks and dividends enjoyed by the ten percent of Americans who own 84 percent of the country’s stocks.

Meanwhile, corporate reinvestment has slowed to levels not seen since 2016.

Certainly there have been some winners from the Republican tax cut — the wealthy.

Perhaps you are part of that ten percent of stockholders? Congratulations!

Or maybe you are among the 1 percent of farmers who have hit the bailout jackpot? Congratulations!

Has your household income grown $4,000 per year as the Republicans promised two years ago? If so, congratulations on your windfall!

If, like most of us, you haven’t enjoyed a Republican windfall, then I invite you to consider who you should support in next year’s election.

Ernst and her Republican colleagues have left us with a lot of manure that the new Senate will have to clean up in order for Iowans, and our nation, to thrive.

Claudine Schneider is a Republican former United States congresswoman from Rhode Island and is a founding member of Republicans for Integrity.

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