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May 21, 2021

Christmas in July — More Direct Government Checks

The direct deposits of child tax credit payments mark a huge expansion of the welfare state.

“Help is here.”

So said President Joe Biden earlier this week as he touted aspects of the American Rescue Plan, part of a broader, bipartisan $1.9 trillion (mostly not) COVID relief bill passed earlier this year. But his words aren’t anything new. For nearly a century, Democrats (and even some Republicans) have conditioned Americans into thinking they need government assistance to survive.

Contrast Biden’s language with that of former President Ronald Reagan, who famously said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Indeed, that mantra took such hold that even former President Bill Clinton declared in 1996, “The era of big government is over.”

Well, those days are over.

Americans used to be independent and too proud to live off the government dole, but government handouts are no longer looked down upon. They’re expected.

Tapping into this enthusiasm, the Biden administration is making the newly increased Child Tax Credit a monthly direct payment to individual parents making under $75,000 per year and parents filing jointly who earn less than $150,000 per year. According to USA Today, “Roughly 39 million households, covering 88% of children in the U.S., will receive the monthly payments.” The payments are set to begin on July 15.

Recipients don’t even need to pay taxes or fill out a form to qualify. In July, millions of Americans will log into their bank accounts and the money will be there. At a time when unemployment benefits exceed the minimum wage, causing employers to desperately scramble to find workers, this additional “entitlement” is going to have some detrimental economic effects.

Once everyone is accustomed to seeing direct deposits from Uncle Sam, fewer people are going to oppose them. Even some Americans typically opposed to drinking out of the government trough now gladly cash those checks.

One of the evil characteristics of socialism is that it takes advantage of people by claiming to help them. It’s incremental, but never repealed. Democrats have always needed a dependent class to hold onto power, but now they’ve got a dependent nation.

Under the current plan, the benefits are set to expire at the end of the year, but President Biden wants to extend the program … until 2025. (Would the fact that a Republican president might take office then have anything to do with that arbitrary date selection?) Most Democrats, unsurprisingly, want this regular government check to become permanent.

According to the Washington Examiner, Biden is “casting a wider federal safety net that draws the ire of Republicans who fear the start of a full-blown welfare state.”

It’s decades late for Republicans to be fearful. The Left’s “Great Society” welfare state is bigger and bolder than ever, and Republicans have their fingerprints all over it. Despite largely opposing Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, the GOP’s half-trillion-dollar alternative was a concession to socialism, not opposition.

The Democrats’ child allowance increase will add “almost $110 billion to the budget this year alone,” says American Enterprise Institute fellow Matt Weidinger. “The lion’s share of those new costs — and all of the increases for part-time workers and the unemployed — reflect new benefits paid for by others, not relief from taxes a recipient would otherwise owe.”

You can’t really blame Republicans too much. They’re up against an unwinnable fight. Fewer people remember a big tax cut than remember a direct deposit from the U.S. Treasury.

Joe Biden is Santa Claus and every day is Christmas. What’s not to like?

Sure, we’ve got to lend a hand to the less fortunate — those hit especially hard by largely Democrat-imposed pandemic shutdowns — but taking hard-earned money from one group of Americans and giving it to those sitting at home playing video games or trying their hand at microbrewing is downright criminal.

Conventional wisdom says Biden and President-in-Waiting Kamala Harris will scare Americans into voting Republican in the 2022 midterms, but don’t count on it. Any GOP candidate opposing checks for hurting Americans will be portrayed as cruel and heartless.

In the long run, the price to pay for this socialism will be more than the Fed’s printing press can handle. Maybe then we’ll wake up from our Christmas dream and realize that socialism only works for those in power.

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