Gary Franks mugshot

Increasing universal plans that allow all those who qualify to receive certain benefits, regardless of how good the plans may be, is a clear and present danger to America as we simply cannot afford to do so. Our national debt is nearly $29 trillion dollars. COVID-19 spending is adding to that debt. This is not the time to expand.

Compounding the problem is the fact that the Biden administration has allowed thousands of undocumented immigrants to enter the country on an almost daily basis. Most of these noncitizens could immediately or quickly qualify for many of the entitlement programs and benefits that should be reserved for Americans alone, such as health care and public education. Question? Who is going to pay for all this? Future generations? Are we simply going to increase our debt and borrow more money from our friends and foes, such as China? This is not good government, nor is it sustainable.

Some members of Congress should understand this very clearly. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory that comes the closest to being an entitlement state. Nearly 70% of its residents have housing subsidized by the federal government. At least 43% of Puerto Rico residents qualify for supplemental nutrition programs, as they live below the poverty level. Since 2017, Puerto Rico has also been on the verge of bankruptcy.

Subsequently, Puerto Rico had the largest drop in population of all the states and territories. About 12% of the people of Puerto Rico have left the island since 2010. My home state of Connecticut — one of the wealthiest states in the nation — ranks as one of the top destination locations for Puerto Rico’s fleeing residents. Florida is another.

History shows that socialistic practices used in 1607 by early settlers to Jamestown and by Plymouth settlers in 1620, were not the best way to go. Those attempts at a socialismlike society where everyone shared and benefited equally failed miserably.

However, should capitalism break up monopolies? Yes. Should we force all companies to put the American people’s interest above those of their shareholders? Yes.

It should not be all about the “Benjamins.”

In 2020, Americans rejected the Senate’s lone democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders and the far-left progressives in the Democrat Party. President Joe Biden should not allow Sanders to usurp his presidency.

Biden has claimed that the $3.5 trillion package before Congress that ensures more “universal” entitlement programs was his plan, but it is far more likely Sanders’ influence is apparent. Add to that is the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package which Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up until the Democrats can pass both provisions. A whopping nearly $5 trillion on top of all the COVID-19 spending. Wow!

In 2019, 62% of our budget went to mandatory spending. Expanding programs as the far-left/socialist desire would automatically trigger more spending, increasing the bite from available resources, and add a debt service of 8% and defense spending of 15%. This leaves 15 cents to the dollar for all discretionary spending, down from 60 cents a few decades ago. Even aggressive tax increases would be hard-pressed to keep up. I have never seen a federal entitlement eliminated. They have all become permanent.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., are fighting the good fight to save America from this unsustainable path. Hopefully, they will not quit their fight.

Crude tactics of the far left like following a person into the bathroom, accosting them, and then filming them as they enter a stall is sad and pathetic. It is highly disappointing for President Biden to say — “part of the process … it happens.” Never in my 12 years as an elected official had there been an incident where a politician was confronted in this way. Pray that Sinema and Manchin stay strong.

Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 5th District.

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