by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The budget revealed by Senate Democrats on Monday raises the basic question of who, exactly, they believe won the presidency last November.
For nearly two years, Joe Biden enjoyed fawning coverage from the press about how his campaign represented a return to normalcy and moderation. The New York Times described him as a “lifelong centrist” as recently as April. Imagine our confusion when we saw the White House entrust self-described socialist Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) with formulating a $3.5 trillion spending plan, the largest in U.S. history.
A number of the budget’s provisions, such as earmarked funds for a “Civilian Climate Corps,” match legislation introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). A bulk of the spending revolves around various green initiatives, including something called “climate equity,” meant to meet President Biden’s lofty “climate change goal” of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030.
That sounds a lot like a Green New Deal, a policy Joe Biden disavowed several times on the campaign trail. And Democrats are not trying to hide the fact—Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.) said on Tuesday that “the Green New Deal is in the DNA” of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan.
Markey could have accurately stated that most of the Bernie Sanders campaign platform is in the budget’s DNA. Whether it’s lowering the Medicare eligibility age, offering universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, or providing widespread “debt relief,” it’s hard to see how things would be dramatically different if Sanders occupied the Oval Office himself. Sanders, who pitched socialism on the campaign trail as an extension of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legacy, has said that the Democratic budget “will be the most consequential piece of legislation” since the New Deal. We hear Biden thinks of himself as a new FDR, too.
The budget proposal, which also includes mass amnesty for illegal immigrants, has the full support of Democratic leadership.