Nearly every receipt you get this year is a little higher than it was last year. The cost of groceries is up 3 percent from 2020. Gas prices haven’t been this high since 2014. And a new car now costs, on average, $45,000 – equivalent to the median annual household income in Mississippi. Inflation is eroding America’s Middle Class.
The policies coming out of the Biden administration are doing little to address the crisis. Consider their so-called “enhanced unemployment benefits,” a hallmark of the Executive Branch’s COVID-relief package. Here, the government decided to pay Americans more to stay out of the workforce than re-enter it. As a result, people stayed home. Manufacturers struggled to find workers. Already weak supply chains were stretched further. Production delays occurred. The supply fell. Prices increased.
The cost of gas has fallen victim to poor policy plans as well. From the moment Joe Biden entered office, the progressive climate-change agenda was given precedent over Middle Class finances. In the most recent budget, the administration actually proposed eliminating fossil fuels altogether. Their actions – and rumors of further action – have pushed oil prices to $80 per barrel, up more than 60 percent in 2021.
Most recently, the Biden administration forced a vaccine mandate on millions of Americans. By pushing hardworking Americans who are hesitant about taking the COVID vaccine out of the workforce, we make it all the more difficult to produce the goods and services needed to reignite our economy.
President Reagan once said: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Federal policymakers would do well to heed that advice today. The government does not need to become more involved with recovery, but less. Instead of using this time to mandate worker behavior or eliminate entire industries, the government should be lifting regulations and reducing the tax burden.
One way your State Treasury is working to take that approach is by returning unclaimed money. Believe it or not, it’s sometimes very difficult for banks, financial institutions, and companies to find the rightful owner of big chunks of money. People move – families lose touch – and the money just sits there. After five years, companies will turn that money over to the state to find the rightful owner.
In many cases, it’s $100 here or $200 there. But there are bigger chunks in the mix too. We found and returned $80,000 to a grandmother who never knew it was missing. We found a quarter-million for another family. We even found $10,000 for the City of Tupelo and $15,000 for the City of Biloxi earlier this fall. All in all, we’ve returned more than $35 million to Mississippi. Or to put it another way, we’ve provided a $35-million economic stimulus at no cost to the taxpayer.
Instead of pulling funds from one taxpayer to pay the next, we’re returning your money to you to spend it, save it, or invest it as you see fit. To search for unclaimed money, visit Treasury.MS.gov/UnclaimedMoney.
Big Government’s intervention has not improved life for the average American; it has only made life a little more expensive. We have time to reverse the trend, but action must be taken now to shrink government, keep more money in the hands of hardworking taxpayers, empower job creators, and encourage workers to work.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi.