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Yes, I Agree.

I was going through mail the other day when I came across a letter from a high school student in Martin. The letter started out, “Dear Senator Rounds – I am going to be honest with you here, I don’t understand government very well nor do I have a burning passion to do so.” I think that’s relatable to lots of people, not just those in high school.

The student continued on to say: “I am going to have my own car soon and I am not quite sure how I am going to afford gas. It makes me apprehensive, especially since it costs so much to fill a little car even. If it’s out of your control I do understand, I just hope you will do what you can to help us all out.” 

Her note took me back to a different time in my life and reminded me of the excitement of buying my first car. After my first year of college, I bought a 1964 Chevy Corvette Convertible with the money I saved up. While it was a convertible, it wasn’t fancy, and needed a paint job almost as badly as I needed a haircut at that time. I only had the car for about a year but I’ll never forget it. The memories. The music. The long drives down an endless open road. It’s amazing the power a few words have to take you back in time.

The challenges of adulthood unfortunately seem to cloud our perspective sometimes and make us forget what it’s like to be a kid. These days, it feels like kids are having to grow up a lot faster than they did in my day. While many things play into that, the fragile state of our economy certainly isn’t helping, with pocketbooks as tight for parents now as they’ve been in a long time.

Elections have consequences and our country is gaining an understanding of that right now, especially when it comes to the economy. Inflation is currently at a 40-year record high. While it’s easy to get into the weeds rather quickly talking about monetary policy and the tools the federal government has to address higher prices, to put it simply, there are two parts to inflation: supply and demand. Low supply and high demand lead to higher prices. The radical policies of the Biden administration have negatively impacted both factors through reckless spending and excessive regulations. This leaves folks in South Dakota and across the country to bear the costs. Inflation impacts everyone - kids going out to eat or the movies with friends, college students buying groceries, new parents paying for diapers, families trying to put food on the table, grandparents trying to spoil grandkids with toys and even high school students filling up their first cars.

As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to put forward policies that help our economy grow and create opportunities for businesses in our communities to thrive. Our country is deeply divided. The current administration is clearly focused on climate change to the detriment of our economy. They have limited the production of oil and gas by refusing to allow additional extractions from federal lands. They have made it more difficult through regulation to efficiently deliver oil and gas where it is needed, not just in our country but also in other parts of the world.

I believe that we should reduce inflation by reducing the cost of energy—including petroleum—everywhere that we can. This would not only reduce the cost of gas at the pump, but also reduce the cost of goods and services which are higher because of the price of fuel to get items and services to where they are needed by the American public. If we really want to address inflation, we need to address the supply side of energy.

As the student from Martin closed her letter to me, “We’ve gotta work on that.” Yes, I agree.