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September 24, 2021

Fundamental Transformation Sure Is Expensive

Vastly expanding the entitlement state will cost a lot of money we don’t have.

Democrats are bickering over how to spend your money, and exactly how much of it to take and waste. Make that your grandchildren’s money. We know, it’s a bit boring to talk big numbers and spending. The federal government is profligate — what else is new?

But this isn’t just about dollars; it’s about the fundamentals of government and the economy. Or, as Nancy Pelosi put it, “It’s about values, not dollars.”

That’s what’s at stake with the Democrats’ $4.5 trillion bundle of “infrastructure” and a laundry list of other leftist spending items. There are two bills in play: $1 trillion for “infrastructure” and $3.5 trillion for other leftist priorities.

Democrats are engaged in a lot of melodramatic theater, though it’s all about the order of the bills or the specific price tag or how to “pay for” it. Radical leftists want the $3.5 trillion first. Not-so-far-leftists want the $1 trillion first, and they want $3 trillion instead of $3.5. All Democrats want to raise your taxes, though they can’t quite agree on how much. Chuck Schumer says they have a “framework.” Dick Durbin says, “I haven’t see it.”

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is pushing hard for an overall deal because he needs to distract from his Afghanistan and immigration crises by snagging a legislative win.

As for the smaller bill, we typically put “infrastructure” in quote marks because so little of that bill pays for actual infrastructure. But the larger bill is the true problem. It’s basically the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in legislative form — cradle-to-grave entitlement expansion that should outrage, not placate, American voters.

Sanders claims his bill is “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.” He might be right.

Let’s just list a few of the things in the bill to explain why this spending is so dangerous.

  • Paid family and medical leave
  • Subsidized childcare
  • Universal preschool for kids ages three and four
  • Tuition for two years of community college
  • Expanded child tax credit to make it more like universal basic income
  • Major expansion of ObamaCare subsidies
  • Expansion of Medicare and Medicaid
  • Emissions regulations
  • A Climate Conservation Corps
  • Various and sundry other Green New Deal planks
  • Green cards for illegals
  • A journalism “tax credit” to subsidize Democrat propagandists

That’s just to name a few.

One of the things Democrats are making quite the show of is the debt. “Moderates” don’t want to add to the debt, but Democrats will have to raise the debt ceiling to get their bill through. Republicans, understandably, don’t want to help. Democrats blame Republicans and the bipartisan spending passed during Donald Trump’s administration.

“When we talk about the debt ceiling, we’re not talking about future spending,” Pelosi insisted. “This is to pay the incurred cost. Last year, Democrats and Republicans together incurred costs for COVID that need to be paid for.” It’s utterly laughable that Democrats even pretend to care about fiscal responsibility.

Speaking of incurred costs, we’ve warned before that the Democrats’ bill is full of accounting gimmicks meant to hide the true price. That means $3.5 trillion is a false sticker price, and the real cost could be closer to $5 or $6 trillion. Nothing to see here; move along.

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