MMost voters agree that Washington is a political disaster. Our federal politicians have racked up $30 trillion in debt. Recent reports indicate that President Joe Biden was responsible for $2 trillion in just one year.
Also, people don’t seem to trust scientists in the Biden administration at all, who seem to be changing their message every few weeks on the coronavirus response. The public is losing what little confidence it had in the leaders of both parties.
In short, freedom-loving conservatives need more politicians like Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie. Not enough leaders in Washington are calling for spending cuts while eliminating outdated programs. There was a time when a conservative litmus test was to advocate the elimination of the Department of Education, and Massie has a bill for doing so. This effort will put public education back where it belongs – in the hands of state and local government.
Don’t get me wrong – there are a handful of outstanding members of Congress, like my former boss, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee from Utah, and Rep. Chip Roy. But Massie has stood out over the past year on two big issues that have divided the nation — big spending programs and mandates.
In 2021, Massie fought a lonely fight against a massive proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that hurt the economy. The unintended and intentional consequences of the government’s attempt to put a political band-aid on the economic displacement caused by the coronavirus pandemic have caused many of the problems infecting the economy today.
In 2008, when the financial sector collapsed from toxic assets, Congress rushed to pass a massive Wall Street bailout. Many conservatives fought it — and for many of the same reasons they should have pushed back against the CARES Act. The original Troubled Assets Relief Program was a three-page, $700 billion bill proposed by the Bush administration to buy up bad mortgage-backed securities from the financial institutions that held the assets. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain released a joint statement supporting the idea. Conservatives in Congress banded together and killed this first version of the bill on September 29, 2008, with a 205-228 votes. A revamped version of the bill passed, but the struggle served to at least recall the bailout provisions.
Fast forward to 2021. We saw another overbroad idea coming from the federal government in the form of the $950 billion Paycheck Protection Program that was part of the CARES Act. This law has proven problematic for several reasons. First, the government was paying people not to work. As a result, we now have an unprecedented number of people leaving the workforce with a supply chain issue that can be directly linked to this program. Second, the law allowed and empowered state governors to shut down states because they could rely on federal dollars paid to unemployed workers and PPP money to hurt businesses during the shutdown.
Moreover, many small businesses never received the promised money and, like the New York Times reported, about 15% of the PPP program was outright fraud. Finally, the CARES Act allowed the Federal Reserve to engage in a massive money supply expansion that many believe caused the inflation that hits households today.
When a brave member of the House tried to force a roll-call vote on the program, he was attacked by the leaders of both parties. Politics reported on March 27, 2021, “Thomas Massie might be the least popular man in Washington. The Kentucky congressman tried unsuccessfully on Friday to demand House members take a recorded vote to pass a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. It should have been an easy question for the members who led the Tea Party in Washington, but they remained largely silent as Massie fought simply to secure a recorded vote on the biggest government spending program in American history.
The second major issue that Massie has embraced is that of stopping government mandates. Military men and women are being fired from service for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The deputy has a bill it would prevent the Biden administration from imposing a vaccination mandate on the military. Even though the courts have stopped the Biden mandate on private companies, there are still mandates in place that will result in the loss of jobs for health care and armed forces personnel when they need them most.
We need more freedom-loving leaders like Massie to fight the big Biden government and spongy Republicans in these times of big spending and fewer career-minded politicians who care more about what Beltway insiders think than voters.
Brian Darling is the former attorney and senior director of communications for Senator Rand Paul.