ATLANTA— Former Vice President Mike Pence warned that President Joe Biden, and some of Pence’s Republican competitors in the 2024 GOP nomination race, have failed to address a central issue contributing to inflation and America’s weakness on the world stage.
“We have a debt today the size of our nation’s economy,” Pence declared Friday at The Gathering, an event at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead hosted by radio host Erick Erickson. “Joe Biden’s policy is insolvency.”
The U.S. national debt stands around $32.7 trillion on Friday, while the U.S. gross domestic product reached $23.32 trillion in 2021, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Unfunded spending obligations such as Social Security and Medicare total $68.1 trillion.
Pence faulted Biden for failing to “even talk about” reforming entitlements. The former vice president also attacked his former running mate, Donald Trump, for refusing to address the issue.
“Frankly, my former running mate’s policy is identical to Joe Biden’s,” he said. Pence attacked Trump for suggesting that “reforming government spending is somebody else’s problem,” an issue for “some other president.”
“I think that runaway spending is driving inflation, that debt is driving inflation,” the former vice president said.
Pence pledged that, if he becomes president, “We’re going to get this economy turned around. Joe Biden came into office and spent nearly $7 trillion in his first year,” spiking inflation and mortgage rates, which “just hit a 20-year high.”
While Biden has repeatedly celebrated reports showing that inflation has slowed, economists have warned that “there’s no indication we’re going lower.” Critics have noted that inflation has increased by more than 16% over Biden’s term, faster than average wages.
“How do we tackle inflation?” Pence asked. “The first thing you do is turn off $3 trillion in unnecessary spending” that has not yet gone out the door. “Second, you unleash American energy,” he added, criticizing Biden administration mandates opposing fossil fuels. “Third, you get back to rolling back three regulations for every new regulation you put on the books,” he added, referring to an early Trump executive order from 2017.
He also blamed the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing for contributing to inflation. Quantitative easing involves a central bank purchasing securities in order to reduce interest rates, increase the supply of money, and drive more lending to consumers and businesses. This “easing” aims to get money flowing but it also helps decrease the value of money, which critics call a hidden tax.
Pence also promised reform at the Federal Reserve. He pledged to “end the dual mandate of the Fed,” tasking the central bank with focusing only on fighting inflation, leaving job creation to Congress and the president. Pence has advocated for this since his time in Congress.
He also named an economist he would like to appoint to lead the Federal Reserve: former Trump economic adviser Judy Shelton. Shelton has heavily criticized the Fed and advocated a return to the gold standard.
Pence said his reforms, particularly on entitlements, will help the economy long term. He said he aims to “give younger Americans what I call a better deal than the New Deal.” He pledged to allow young workers to “enroll a portion of their payroll taxes into a personal savings account.”
The former vice president also mentioned his new plan to move many of the powers and functions of government to the states.
“I aim to limit the size and scope of the federal government by restoring to the states and to the people what was rightfully theirs,” he said. “We have a bloated federal government.”
Pence referred to the Founding documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as “the antidote” to that problem.
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