Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: In a Pinch

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014In a Pinch
by Rep. Kristi Noem

People are feeling pinched right now, caught between rising household costs and stagnant – or in some cases, falling – wages.

In recent days, we’ve learned that healthcare premiums under Obamacare are once again set to rise – this time, by a staggering 25 percent nationwide, a number that is expected to be even higher in South Dakota.

And it’s not just healthcare costs.  The Obama administration’s motor-vehicle rules are expected to push the price of a new car up by nearly $3,000 over the next decade.  The cost of common household products – including fluorescent lamps, microwaves, air conditioners, and dishwashers – are also set to rise by around $1,600 per household as a result of onerous regulations.  Meanwhile, regulatory-related expenses are now responsible for almost 25 percent of a new home’s final cost.  And if you’re looking for a break on the utility costs, the administration’s latest environmental push promises to skyrocket energy bills.

At the same time, our economy remains at a standstill.  According to a recent Bureau of Economic Analysis report, America’s real GDP grew an average of just 1 percent during the first two quarters of 2016.  That has a real impact on families.  By some estimates, the prolonged economic stagnation has cost the median American family a total of $69,000 in lost income over the last eight years.

People need relief on both sides of the equation.  To help reduce a family’s weekly expenses, regulatory reform should be one of the first federal policy changes. One proposal I’ve backed, the REINS Act, would introduce more accountability into the regulatory system, requiring that any major regulation is reviewed and approved by Congress before it takes effect.  This is just a start.  Repealing big-government mandates, including Obamacare, and replacing them with consumer-driven approaches would also help cut your monthly bills.

Just tackling expenses, however, won’t be enough.  Families need their incomes to rise as well.  Through a tax plan House Republicans proposed earlier this year, the economy could grow 9.1 percent over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation which also found that Americans of every income group would pay less in taxes under the plan.  This growth, fueled by a simpler and fairer tax code, would help raise Americans’ wages and create an environment where 1.7 million jobs could be created.

Additionally, investing in job-ready training for young people and opening new markets around the world for products grown or made in America could also help increase employment and incomes, while securing our borders can help protect opportunity at home.

It almost doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m talking to, people feel like they’re constantly being hit from all sides.  Virtually everything seems to cost more, but few people are making more.  We know how this can be resolved: the unnecessary mandates and regulations must be lifted while we create opportunities in the economy for incomes to rise. If we can do that, we can relieve the pinch all too many families feel today.