by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The New York Times headlined a recent article, “Biden’s $6 trillion budget aims for path to middle class, financed by the rich.” But is it possible to confer middle-class status on individuals just by giving them a handful of unearned money? Is it possible for someone to say, “I’m middle-class because I’m getting checks from the government”?
Most thoughtful observers will recognize the absurdity of this notion, but it doesn’t seem absurd to Biden or his progressive supporters — just as it didn’t seem crazy, back in the 2000s, to gift a middle-class home to those who could not pay for it, or today that one can transform a mediocre student into an Ivy Leaguer just by adding points to his application based on race. Or, for that matter, that one can confer health on the poor by buying them health insurance, or that one can end illegal immigration by destroying American energy independence in the name of climate change.
The problem with all of these expensive boondoggles is that self-improvement requires effort. Individuals do not “become middle-class” just because they receive $30,000 or $40,000, or more, from the government. Actually, they become less middle-class, because one of the key middle-class values is responsibility and the self-respect that goes with it. What Biden’s plan will accomplish is the gradual destruction of the true middle class — those who will be called upon to pay for the giveaways in his various “plans” for the poor.
Biden’s plan to purchase middle-class status for the poor goes to the heart of all that is wrong with progressive thinking. One’s “class,” as the word suggests, is earned through effort, intelligence, and training. It also has a lot to do with one’s background and especially the faith and hope that loving parents, or grandparents and others, confer.