Nate Jackson / March 29, 2022

Profligate Biden Claims Fiscal Responsibility

The president’s budget would set off a massive debt bomb costing most Americans dearly.

$30 trillion. That’s the total federal debt right now, and every American should have it in mind when hearing about Joe Biden’s two-months-overdue $5.8 trillion budget, which is 31% higher than the 2019 federal budget. When Biden first became vice president in 2009, the federal debt stood at about $12 trillion and it was $20 trillion when he left office. His budget calls for $73 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, which would put debt in 2032 at an estimated $45 trillion.

Yet Biden has the gall to boast about being “the only president ever to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year.” Besides the aforementioned numbers, remember another three things about his boast: First, it’s an accident of timing; second, it’s thanks to record revenue; and third, it’s because he failed.

Before we outline those things, Biden’s proposed budget ultimately isn’t about what he wants to spend, and it’s not about the money he wants to confiscate from the wealthy to “pay for it.” It’s about the money he’s taking from you, dear American.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan a year ago was utterly unnecessary spending. Worse, it was largely graft to Democrat states and constituencies, and it launched rampant inflation that is likely to surpass 8% this month. Now he wants even more.

Inflation functions as a massive regressive tax that hits low-income people hardest because they have the least disposable income and the highest percentage of budgets dedicated to items that are more expensive. Put another way, your paycheck is devalued.

In the midst of this rampant government-spending-induced inflation, Biden proposes jacking up government spending and imposing the largest nominal tax hike in history — all while blaming his predecessor for all the bad things.

“We are reducing the Trump deficits and returning our fiscal house to order,” Biden said Monday. He insists his budget “makes prudent investment and economic growth, a more equitable economy, while making sure corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share.”

Now, about those deficits. Yes, Donald Trump was a profligate spender just like the rest of them. But the Republican tax cuts of 2017 did not run up the deficit and were the primary driver behind strong economic growth before government lockdowns over COVID took all that away. Deficits exploded because Congress and Trump scrambled to “do something” to mitigate the government-caused disaster. That Biden happened to walk into the White House after most of that was done is not even a mediocre achievement of fiscal stewardship on his part.

In fact, as we mentioned, deficits are lower because he failed — failed to get Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema on board for this $3.5 trillion $1.8 trillion $0 Build Back Better scheme that in reality would have cost $5 or $6 trillion over 10 years and exploded the deficit in perpetuity.

Which brings us to revenue. Washington is rolling in money. Federal receipts in FY2021 were 18% higher than in 2020. They’re up 26% so far this year. Revenue of $4.53 trillion this year would have meant a surplus in 2019. And yet Biden still manages to run big deficits and demand higher taxes.

Biden wants to raise the corporate tax from a globally competitive 21% to a far higher 28%. That tax would be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher prices and to workers in the form of lower wages and smaller raises.

He’d implement a new “billionaire minimum income tax,” which the Wall Street Journal’s editors say “isn’t limited to billionaires and it applies to more than income.” It would hit Americans with assets of $100 million or more, and it conflates wealth with income by (for the first time ever) taxing even unrealized capital gains — money that has not been and may never be made. Or, as National Review’s editors put it, “Faced with real economic pain, President Biden proposes to tax imaginary income.”

As for the “fair share” nonsense, the top 1% already pays 70% of the taxes on 50% of the income, but that’s not enough for Biden. Also, keep in mind that the original income tax in 1913 was supposed to target only the wealthy, and look where we are now.

On the spending side, time and space permit only a couple of highlights. Biden solidified his pivot toward supporting the police by proposing $30 billion in funding for state and local law enforcement. “The answer is not to defund our police departments,” Biden said Monday, “it’s to fund our police and give them all the tools they need.” Now he tells us.

Speaking of giving tools, Biden wants $682 million for Ukraine, in addition to $813 billion for the U.S. military — a 4% increase over last year. He’d really rather you forgot his retreat from Afghanistan and his responsibility for Ukraine.

In short, Biden’s boondoggle budget is full of tax hikes, redistributionary vote-buying schemes, and accounting gimmicks to make it appear like it works. The truth is Biden is just continuing to stumble up the stairs.

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