Opinion

The Six Horsemen of the Economic Apocalypse

The spotlight on current U.S. senators running for president is shining most brightly on Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Much has been written about their support for expensive and intrusive socialist proposals like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free college and student loan forgiveness, among others, which would send the nation into economic oblivion. It has also been said that these ideas should not be taken seriously because there will not be sufficient support in Congress to get them enacted even if one of these senators is elected president.

Given the voting records of these six senators, there should not be so much skepticism about the viability of getting the “free everything” agenda through Congress.

During their service in the Senate, all six have voted more than 90 percent of the time in favor of higher taxes and more wasteful spending, according to the annual Council for Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CCAGW) Congressional Ratings. In one year or more during their time in the Senate, they each had a CCAGW rating of 0 percent, meaning that they did not vote a single time to cut spending or taxes. 

Sen. Harris has the lowest CCAGW lifetime rating at 4 percent; Sens. Gillibrand, Sanders and Warren are at 7 percent; Sen. Booker is at 8 percent; and Sen. Klobuchar is at 9 percent, belying her claim of being more moderate than her colleagues. In four of the past five years, Sen. Klobuchar had a CCAGW vote rating of 0 percent, the lowest of any senator running for president.  She may be the only one of the six who is not a co-sponsor of Sen. Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, but her voting record indicates she is an equally big tax-and-spender.

A few examples of the votes on which all six agree over the past two years illustrate what taxpayers can expect to be included in their budget and signed into law should one of them become president.

They all voted against an amendment to rescind $14.7 billion in spending proposed by President Trump. The package included money that is no longer necessary, was changed from its original purpose, or went unused for many years, like a Railroad Retirement Board program that was terminated in 2012 and a Department of Energy loan program that has not handed out any money since 2011.  

They all opposed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has been a key factor in the strong economic growth across the country over the past two years. In keeping with their opposition to the tax cuts, the six senators have said they would propose the repeal of all or most of the tax cuts if they were elected president.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse symbolized a fearful sense of foreboding in which the world would be struck by war, famine, plague and death. Or, as the four Ghostbusters ominously said, “fire and brimstone coming down from the skies … 40 years of darkness … the dead rising from the grave … cats and dogs living together — mass hysteria.”

While the election of any of the six senators would not literally herald the end of time, it would have a devastating and lasting impact on the United States by causing the end of record economic growth, prosperity and low unemployment, and the second coming of the Great Recession or worse. 

Since none of the four horsemen have yet to appear, it would also be good if none of the six Senate horsemen take up residence in the White House in 2021.

Thomas A. Schatz joined Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and its lobbying affiliate, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), as director of government affairs in 1986. He has been president of both organizations since 1992.

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