by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Despite his history as a centrist, Joe Biden has moved further to the left than President Barack Obama and previous Democrats when it comes to his spending policies, economists say.
This has occurred, they say, not only because the Democratic base is increasingly progressive but also because of the extraordinary challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis.
“Biden is presenting himself as temperamentally moderate, which is why he’s pushing back on some of the protests,” said Brian Riedl, an economist with the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. “But his actual policy proposals are far to the left, like much of the Democratic Party.”
Riedl said that the last three Democratic presidential nominees, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, each proposed increases in spending between approximately $1 to $2 trillion during their campaigns. Biden, however, has proposed $11 trillion worth of spending by Riedl’s estimate, which Riedl says is a “humongous” increase compared to previous Democratic candidates.
During the primaries, Biden promised not to “demonize” the rich and said that “nothing would fundamentally change,” if he were to be elected.
However, by the time Biden clinched the Democratic nomination in March, he had started to brand his campaign as one that was working for systemic change in the same realm as Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”
Many political analysts, including those in the Biden camp, say he has the most liberal platform in American politics since President Lyndon Johnson ran for president in the 1960s.
“Biden has always been willing to go as bold as he feels is necessary to address the challenges of working families,” said Gene Sperling, director of Obama’s National Economic Council and an informal outside adviser for the Biden campaign. “Which has only grown larger with COVID, rising economic inequality, and the growing existential threat of climate change.”