BROWNSTOWN — Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., paid Jackson County a visit on Friday as part of a pledge when he was elected in 2018 that he would visit all 92 Hoosier counties.
Braun met with seven members of the community at Kay’s Kafe in Brownstown.
He is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for the U.S. Senate and is Indiana’s junior U.S. senator. Todd Young serves as the state’s senior U.S. senator.
Braun said he hasn’t been working on a lot of legislation lately due to other issues in the country.
“Sadly, there hasn’t been a lot of legislation other than trying to do things to rein in the government that has gotten so out of hand in my mind in terms of how it’s wanting to tax and spend and grow the government … a lot of it is based on fighting COVID,” Braun said.
Regarding the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Braun felt federal efforts were lackluster.
“We found that a lot of what we did do didn’t have as much impact as it should have,” he said. “We now know a lot more about the disease, and it doesn’t, I think, mean the federal government should be solely in charge of what we do, and we need to turn our attention otherwise.”
The Jasper native expounded on what his focuses are when serving his state and country.
“I weigh in on mostly how to fix the government from a budgetary point of view,” Braun said. “That’s my main interest. A lot of others aren’t interested in it because it’s kind of a depressing subject, but we borrow close to 30% of everything that we spend annually for stuff that’s not a tangible subject.”
If it weren’t for topical events like the COVID-19 pandemic, the impeachments of Donald Trump and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, Braun said his work involves weighing in on how to reform the health care system against the “big lobbies” of hospitals, insurance and drug companies.
“It seems like right as you’re getting to a point that might have some impact, you’ve got an outlier event, and it comes in and displaces everything else,” Braun said.
Braun also serves on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in the U.S. Senate. He said serving on the committee allows him to work in an area he has had much experience in since he has been involved in farming for around 40 years.
“It gives me a special insight there,” Braun said. “Most people on the ag committee are lawyers that probably haven’t been on a farm. I weigh in on the things I know a little bit about, being kind of an entrepreneur and business owner involved in farming. That gives you a perspective that most other senators don’t have because they’ve been in the game of politics and that’s how they’ve made their living.”
On the subject of inflation, he said the Federal Reserve and the federal government are responsible for it.
“We spent so much money that was mostly a wish list that the other side of the aisle never had the opportunity,” Braun said. “They always called it ‘COVID-related,’ but a lot of it was spent on stuff that had nothing to do with COVID, and we borrowed almost 100% of it. You know who lent us the money? The Federal Reserve did.”
Braun said inflation is a difficult problem to solve.
“If we had raised taxes or fees to pay for it, then it would’ve offset the inflationary effect, but we dumped all those federal dollars into the purchasing power and then the Federal Reserve lent the system money to do it, so it had the worst of both possible variables,” he said. “And then once the inflation cat is out of the bag, it’s not easy to get it back in quickly.”