President Biden is governing in the classic liberal way: Tax and spend.
On the heels of passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill — where more than 90% of the spending was unrelated to the pandemic — he’s unveiling a new $2 trillion infrastructure bill, that will fund everything from charging stations for electric vehicles to child care.
When former President Trump announced a plan to leverage $200 billion in taxpayer money over 10 years for infrastructure related items, The New York Times predicted finding the funds would “not be easy. Republicans have already ballooned the deficit in last week’s spending agreement with their tax cuts,” and that “Democrats are unlikely to go along with cuts that would offset the cost of Mr. Trump’s plans.”
However, with Mr. Biden’s massive bill, their tone has changed. Mr. Biden’s eight-year plan means he’s “embraced the opportunity to use federal spending to address longstanding social and economic challenges in a way not seen in half a century,” The Times reported.
As if tax and spend was a novel concept in Washington. It’s not — and it’s been rejected before because of the debt burden it places on our youth and the fact that the government is not the best steward of taxpayer monies or is as efficient at creating economic growth as the private sector.
Before the coronavirus and the artificial interruption to our economy, wages for blue-collar workers were rising at their fastest rate in a decade. Mr. Trump spurred this positive economic boon by cutting taxes and through deregulation. Median household income increased by 9% in the first three years of the Trump presidency, and 6 million Americans were lifted out of poverty, the largest three-year reduction in poverty to start a presidency since 1964.
Government-driven growth was tested and failed during the Obama presidency, where despite federal stimulus, the number of Americans in poverty increased by nearly 800,000, wages remained stagnant, the middle-class shrunk and 14 million U.S. citizens left the workforce. By 2016, 57% of Americans believed the economy was getting worse.
President Obama’s $800 billion 2009 Recovery Act was meant to stimulate the economy, create jobs and keep unemployment under 8%. It accomplished none of this. Instead, total employment fell by another 4 million jobs in two years and unemployment soared to 10%.
Mr. Biden was tasked as the “sheriff” to oversee how stimulus monies were spent. The U.S. wasted $2.6 billion in 19 “green energy” projects that collapsed, including $790 million for Abound Solar and $570 million for Solyndra. Guess the “sheriff” was out of town that day.
Wasteful projects included but were not limited to, turtle crossings, a non-existent congressional district, and studying behavior after drinking alcohol. At the Energy Department alone, more than 100 criminal investigations were launched into squandered stimulus funds. And by 2011, it emerged that some of Mr. Obama’s biggest political donors were executives whose companies profited off the taxpayer monies.
Big government at work.
Mr. Biden’s own chief of staff Ron Klain admitted in 2011 the number of jobs created from the 2009 stimulus was “hardly a game changer,” and Mr. Obama even conceded the enormous sums of money dedicated to reviving the economy “had fallen short.”
The lesson Mr. Biden learned? The government didn’t spend enough.
So here we are. Mr. Biden is betting even bigger on federally-run initiatives, that include empowering unions, eliminating right-to-work laws, providing tuition-free community college and universal prekindergarten, all paid for by the largest tax increase in U.S. history.
It’s not an infrastructure bill — it’s the entire reworking of our national economy at the cost of our children’s savings and future.
It didn’t work during the Obama years, and it will fail to work now.
• Kelly Sadler is commentary editor at The Washington Times.
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