Thune columns miss the mark


U.S. Sen. John Thune’s recent guest columns appearing in The Brookings Register warrant responses. In the first recent column he argued that “Defund the Police” policies are responsible for the surge in urban gun violence our nation is experiencing and in the second column he argued that recent popular safety net spending measures approved exclusively by Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate are responsible for the inflation that our nation is experiencing.

With respect to “Defund the Police” it is important to know that it is much more a slogan of civil rights interest groups that it is an actual policy in major U.S. cities experiencing the surge. It is also important to know that President Biden and the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House and Senate have never endorsed “Defund the Police “as a public policy. 

The surge in gun violence has much more to do with the surge of semiautomatic and automatic gun manufacturing and sales in the U.S. than anything else. As the number of these weapons of war become more available in our marketplace, the more likely it is that these weapons will become available to criminals and persons with mental health challenges resulting in a surge of gun violence. This logic has long evaded Thune and his GOP colleagues who continue to insist that easy access to weapons of war is not related to gun violence. You need only to ponder a surge in gun violence in the absence of guns to appreciate the weakness of Thune’s belief.

With respect to Thune’s second column regarding the cause of the current increase in inflation in our national economy. 

I find it amusing that Thune is now concerned about how federal fiscal policy might impact our economy and the federal debt when no concern was shown when he and his colleagues approved a trillion dollar tax cut that primarily benefited corporate America and the very wealthy. Serious economists recognize that our national economy is huge and complex and simplistic explanations for the current state of the economy fail to recognize these facts. 

While the very popular increased federal government transfer payments to businesses including farmers, local and state governments and low income Americans can be expected to result in increased spending or demand in our economy, other factors also need to be weighed. The pandemic economic shutdown and Trump tariff policies resulted in major disruptions in our raw goods and finished goods supply routes leading to supply shortages. When the economy began to open again following the vaccination of adults willing to be vaccinated, there was a surge in consumer demand at the same time that goods could not be produced and delivered and price increases resulted. Most economists believe that the current increase in inflation will be resolved as we solve our supply route issues.