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June 04, 2024

Schweikert: Repeated Data Revisions Reveal a Lack of Seriousness Regarding the Discouraging Outlook of U.S. Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) delivered a speech on the House Floor this week to bring attention to significant downward revisions of economic data reflecting that the U.S. economy is not as robust as experts initially proclaimed. U.S. Representatives Chip Roy (TX-21) and Scott Perry (PA-10) inquired about growing Medicare costs during Fiscal Year 2024 and received a brief rundown of Rep. Schweikert’s vision for crashing the costs of healthcare. Rep. Schweikert also warned of the nation’s worsening fertility rate and the dangers of financing our brothers’ and sisters’ unhealthy lifestyles. Additionally, he promoted the adoption of innovative technologies impact on our looming national debt.

Excerpts from Rep. Schweikert’s floor speech can be found below:

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Schweikert’s remarks.

On downward revisions being swept under the rug:

[Beginning at 24:34]
“This is what the Democrats did: they had the arrogance of deciding who would get the money [through] their Inflation Reduction Act — the most Orwellian-named bill in modern history — to even things like the CHIPS Act. It was sort of a designation of where the cash goes — even though you wake up the next day and there’s a technology breakthrough. But that allocation theory, if you’d done some of those same dollars in tax reform, the money goes where it maximizes productivity, wage growth, and it becomes part of the base of the economy, where it’s the new functionally cornerstone of the next generation of economic growth. This one buys you lots of political power. This one actually buys you the morality of prosperity. And you’re starting to see it, mark my words. Watch the data coming in on GDP — the size of the economy. I’m not terrified yet. I’m not that worried yet. The fact of the matter is when you’re starting to see numbers predicting now, ‘hey, we went from a four to almost 1.8?’ In a matter of weeks? Something’s wrong out there. And what happens to that debt and deficit when we roll over economically? What would happen if we hit even a short-term recession? This is one of the other great frauds around here. In my time here, I have never seen revisions in the economic data like we’ve been seeing [these] last several months. I mean, revisions where you get this great headline, everyone applauds, ‘hey! Keynesian economics, managed economy, industrial planning, it works! You see here?’ They don’t mention that six weeks later the numbers are being revised WAY down. Because you got your political pop already. We’re actually, in some of the revisions, fourth-quarter wage and salaries we had to revise down again, another $73 billion.”

On policies that Congress implements which incentivize unhealthy living:

[Beginning at 37:24]
“It’s more than just the disability payments that are part of social security/Supplemental Security Income. It’s the labor force participation. When you create incentives in society, to not to be part of society, you lose all sorts of things. What happens in a society where you functionally finance people being sick? Let’s be brutal, we should do some fairly revolutionary things in the Farm Bill because we give people money to go buy onion rings. I would say that’s immoral, when obesity is almost half of health care costs. I have a slide that shows the Milken Institute study from a couple of years ago that shows it’s 47% of all health care spending in the country. We’re dying. And then we have this other issue; we are not having children. This last year, fertility rates in the United States collapsed to [a rate of] 1.62, meaning France has more children than we do. You tell me how we finance things like social security, Medicare — these things which are pay as you go — today’s taxpayers are paying the benefits of today’s retirees, that’s the way it was designed because we always expect population stability. In 15 years, this country has more deaths than births. We are having the fifth year in a row where prime age males are dying younger. A child born today is estimated, particularly a male child born today, is estimated to have a shorter life expectancy than you and I. There is something incredibly immoral happening, and I would say it’s our own policies. We have incentivized leaving the workforce. We finance unhealthy living. We do a number of things where we have indemnified being alive, being healthy, being part of society. It’s immoral what we have done under policy.

On crashing the costs of health care through innovation:

[Beginning at 43:40]
“I would argue that Congress has become substantially a protection racket. We protect incumbent bureaucracies. We protect incumbent business models. And when someone comes to us and says, ‘hey, I have this thing you can blow into and boom, it will tell you if you have the flu, can bounce off your medical records, order your antivirals, and Lyft can drop it off in two hours,” which, that technology exists, and we’ll find a way to make that illegal. We’ll make it so it can’t be reimbursed, so it’s illegal for the algorithm to write a prescription. There is a revolution of technology around us where we can make our life so much easier. You and your family could have more time. We could crash the debt and deficits, and young people don’t have to live poorer than their parents. That’s what the math says, this will be the first generation, coming up right now, that will be economically more disadvantaged than their parents. That is immoral. We can stop it, but we have to think disruptively. Look, maybe I’m a little bit utopian on some of this. The Democrats, all their taxes, you get about 1.5% of GDP when you do economic effects. I have offered some brutal amendments here which are never going to pass on cutting spending in non-defense discretionary. I can get 1% of non-defense discretionary, or 2.5%. The run rate this year — I think it will go down near the last quarter of this year — we are burning 8%, 9% of GDP in borrowing. Here’s my problem: if you are borrowing like 8% of GDP, we have to revolutionize policy. And there is our problem. There will be an army of people in the hallways here really cranky at us because we are forcing them to compete, have a vibrant economy., and bring technology and disruption and productivity to market. That means they have to change their business models. The bureaucracies have to actually be, in many ways, replaced with technology.”

Congressman David Schweikert serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and is the current Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee. He is also the Vice Chairman on the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, chairs the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, and is the Republican Co-Chair of the Blockchain Caucus, Telehealth Caucus, Singapore Caucus, and the Caucus on Access to Capital and Credit.

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