by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Anyone left who wants to argue that our new president, Joe Biden, is a centrist? That myth has disintegrated in just 100 days of this administration. On Wednesday night, President Biden will propose adding another $1.8 trillion in spending and wealth redistribution as part of his aim to be the new FDR. Check out Politico’s preview of the speech.
The sprawling “American Families Plan,” laid out by senior administration officials on Tuesday night, would invest $200 billion in universal prekindergarten and more than $100 billion in free community college. It would extend the expanded child tax credit through 2025 and ensure that the benefit is more accessible to low-income families by making it permanently refundable. And it would set aside $225 billion to create the country’s first national paid family and medical leave program.
How will we pay for this massive expansion of government? Soak the job creators and the successful, of course. They don’t ‘need’ what they’ve earned, right?
Predictably, a senior White House official told Politico that the country “can’t afford not to make” what they call ‘investments,’ and which non-Washington types call massive spending that is well beyond our means.
If you’re like me, you realize the ‘we must act now’ cry for more government isn’t new. In fact, Robert Higgs makes this point at mises.org.in his list of 12 myths fueling government overreach in a time of crisis. As it turns out, Mr. Biden is, indeed, channeling both FDR and Barack Obama. Item #3 on Higgs’ list:
3. Today is all-important; we must act immediately. In his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, “This nation asks for action, and action now.” He then proceeded directly to speak of the most terrifying problem of the day, mass unemployment. “Our greatest primary task is the put people to work … It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our national resources.” In any event, “The people want direct, vigorous action.”3
Similarly, not long after taking office, Barack Obama similarly declared, not long after taking office, “The situation is getting worse. We have to act and act now to break the momentum of this recession.”4 “Doing nothing is not an option,” he said in Elkhart, Indiana on February 9. “The situation we face could not be more serious,” and “we can’t afford to wait.” 5 In the February 5 op-ed, listing a series of objectives he claimed the pending legislation would achieve, he began four successive paragraphs with the words “now is the time to…”6
And now back to the Biden White House.
But as with the jobs plan, the White House says these are investments that the country “can’t afford not to make,” as one senior administration official said.
Asked on Tuesday night about a timeline for when they would like to see the package pass, a second official responded: “As soon as possible.”
Time marches on, but some things never change: big-spending politicians will take every opportunity to expand government with massive spending and tax hikes.