Bilk Back Better
Joe Biden lied about the cost of his plan, even as House Democrats force it through.
Our readers have heard it all before: The Democrats’
Build Bilk Back Better scheme was originally supposed to cost $3.5 trillion (actually between $5 and $6 trillion). Then President Joe Biden hilariously claimed in all seriousness that it would cost “zero dollars” because it would be fully paid for by tax hikes. Then Democrats compromised with themselves (“unity”!) to reduce the headline price tag to just $1.75 trillion (or $1.85 trillion or $2 trillion, depending on who’s counting, and actually, it’ll still probably be $5 trillion). Just before the House passed it this morning on a 220-213 vote, with all Republicans opposed, the Congressional Budget Office said it’ll add $367 billion to the 10-year deficit. So much for “zero dollars.”
But there’s a lot more to unpack in this deceitful legislative trickery.
First, regarding the CBO. The agency can only score bills according to how the legislation is written, and Democrats loaded their bill with accounting gimmicks to reduce the price tag by trillions of dollars. Just one of many examples: They add enhanced child allowances for only one year at $130 billion instead of carrying it forward for the entire 10-year window as it inevitably will, all while covering the falsely lowered expense with 10 years of higher taxes. And that’s assuming the accuracy of projections for tax revenue, which is usually less than hikers predict because taxes change economic behavior.
Ergo, CBO’s hands are tied. Garbage in, garbage out.
If every temporary program is made permanent, the real 10-year cost will be $4.6 trillion — and even that is likely low.
After the CBO issued its score, Biden lied again: “My Build Back Better Act is going to reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion over ten years.” If you’re wondering how adding $367 billion to the deficit will reduce the deficit by $100 billion, well, just remember that Biden has been in Washington for nearly 50 years and that’s how math “works” there.
Also, we’re old enough to remember when the media had a heyday “fact-checking” presidential claims like that.
Second, the idea that the real cost to the country for this monstrosity is only $367 billion is preposterous. Somebody is paying for this, and that somebody is you. Biden and his fellow Democrats claim they’ll raise taxes on only the wealthy or those dastardly corporations. Technically, this may be true. But trickle down taxes will eventually hit everyone, which means Biden lied about that too.
When corporations are taxed at a higher rate, they don’t just absorb it; they pass it on to shareholders via reduced dividends and consumers via higher prices. You may have heard that prices are already much higher this year.
When the wealthy are taxed at a higher rate, that money comes out of the economy and is transferred to bureaucrats in DC. Maybe it’s an addition to a home that doesn’t get built. Maybe it’s another car or even a yacht that isn’t bought. That may sound frivolous, but someone down the line loses work and income because of the loss of that economic activity.
Shifting the bill for deficit spending from public to private doesn’t mean it’s not deficit spending.
Third, another element touted by Democrats to “pay for” this is more IRS enforcement against a nation full of alleged tax cheats. In fact, CBO says the deficit is only $160 billion if all this extra revenue is confiscated from the scofflaws.
But does anyone seriously think that the most pressing problem with the IRS is that it’s not big or intrusive enough? Democrats have provided no evidence that there is widespread cheating on tax filings. And if there is, why isn’t the IRS already enforcing the law? Instead, what Democrats really mean is that people are good at taking advantage of legal tax deductions — the dreaded “loopholes” that were written into law, often by Democrats.
In his record-setting eight-hour speech to delay a House vote last night, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it the “single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history.”
Likewise, the Wall Street Journal editorial board says it’s “the most dishonest spending bill in American history.”
Remember that when Democrats boast, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did, about it being “historic.”
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