The Tea Party I knew cared about excessive government spending and unfettered illegal immigration. In the era of Trump, border security was rightfully prioritized, but running up the national debt and printing historic amounts of money became a means to an end.  Under Biden, the federal government will throw the southern border wide open and put spending into overdrive.

Actions have consequences. Republicans must make spending restraint great again. Failure to do so is to lose the heart of what it means to be a Republican, and is a clear and present danger to the future of our country. Washington politicians in both parties are putting the nation in serious financial risk, yet they act as if all this debt doesn’t matter.

It isn’t about Republicans, or Democrats—it’s math. No nation can accumulate this kind of debt without a day of reckoning. Inflation and higher interest rates will return some day, and in the meantime, the debt must be serviced.

As a society, our dependence on student loan debt, stimulus checks, and deficits have become so commonplace that people have become numb to the terms. Yet spending beyond our means, the Federal Reserve rapidly expanding the money supply, and the monetization of debt will have profound consequences. Inflation and higher interest rates will choke the economy and lead to greater poverty and more social unrest.

Texas must realize that there is no “free money” from Washington to expand Medicaid, address COVID-19, or shore up irresponsible state budgets. Every dollar of additional spending in Washington is another dollar of debt. We cannot become addicted to the sugar high. The Texas Legislature must budget our precious tax dollars relative to the real economy. State spending growth should not exceed family finances, and therefore the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Conservative Texas Budget formula, population growth plus inflation, is a number we should not exceed.

Politics has a way of moving in cycles. I hope that conservative Republicans recall and re-emphasize their belief in fiscal restraint. Your money is what fuels economic and personal liberty. Debt is dangerous. Fiscal restraint preserves freedom. Let’s make it great again!

State Rep. Matt Schaefer is a Republican from Tyler.