More On: Build Back Better
Even by the abysmally low standards we expect from Congress, it's a one-of-a-kind disaster.
The so-called "Build Back Better" proposal, a multi-trillion-dollar welfare and climate change spending program, was passed by House Democrats on Friday. They're hailing it as a tremendous achievement that will help hurting Americans and the economy recover. So, let's go through all of the reasons why it's such a bad piece of law.
To begin with, the price is exorbitant. The Biden administration and its congressional supporters have made several misleading assertions regarding the price tag. They've repeated the lie that the bill "costs zero" since it doesn't add to the national debt and is "paid for" by new taxes. (It does, in fact, add to the debt, but that's beside the point.) However, this is a ridiculous argument. As I stated previously:
While it may be more fiscally responsible to pair spending increases with tax hikes, it doesn’t make them cost less. That’s like saying that buying groceries with cash instead of a credit card means the price tag is zero—it’s nonsensical. Every dollar the government spends has to come from somewhere. Whether it’s financed through additional debt or new taxes means that the consequences are different, yes, but there are still costs involved.
The true cost of the legislation, once one accounts for budget gimmicks and dishonest political rhetoric, is up to $4.9 trillion. That’s an astounding $32,000 per federal taxpayer.
And the majority of this money would be spent on ineffective government initiatives and welfare state growth.
For example, the law pours billions into electric vehicle subsidies that have a little impact on carbon emissions while lining the wallets of the rich. It similarly wastes billions funding a “Civilian Climate Corps” that would pay people to do environmental activism that even proponents admit won’t reduce emissions. It puts hundreds of billions toward subsidies for healthcare, childcare, and housing that will ultimately push the cost of these sectors even higher and prove counterproductive.
So, too, the Build Back Better agenda openly violates President Biden’s promises that he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000. It raises billions in new taxes on nicotine products that millions of working-class Americans regularly consume and hikes corporate taxes that ultimately fall on workers’ shoulders via lower wages. It does all this while, rather hypocritically, giving the rich a net tax cut.
In exchange for this jumble of wasted expenditure and punishing tax rises, what do we get? Worse economic consequences, rather than the revival promised by President Biden and his friends.
Because the law seizes trillions from the private, productive sector and directs them via the government's political programs, it will result in reduced salaries, employment, and long-term economic growth. That’s the finding of analyses by the Wharton School of Business, the Tax Foundation, and too many other experts to count. (And no, the spending bill won’t reduce inflation as President Biden oddly claims).
In sum, the Build Back Better agenda is a government spending bill that’s uniquely terrible even by the abysmally low standards we expect from Congress. The good news is that it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere once it gets to the Senate.