The true cost of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan is emerging, and it isn’t pretty. Nor is it fully paid for, as the president and Democrats contend.
The Congressional Budget Office last month issued a scoring on the plan that concluded it would add $367 billion to the federal budget deficit over 10 years.
While certainly a lot of money, it wasn’t horrible for a roughly $2 trillion spending package.
But then Republicans asked for a redo. They wanted the CBO to score the bill under the assumption the myriad social spending programs it contains will require funding for the full 10-year life of the package.
The original scoring accepted the Democratic gimmick of funding certain programs for only a few years, and then assuming they will sunset.
Republicans, using history as their guide, contend the likelihood of entitlement programs going away is quite slim — it almost never happens. So they wanted the cost estimate to assume the reality that taxpayers will have to cover the costs for at least a decade, and likely forever.
Using that more realistic assessment, the CBO pegged the amount of deficit spending over 10 years at $3 trillion, and the true cost of Build Back Better at more than $5 trillion.
That should make the bill a non-starter with any Democrat who purports to be a fiscal moderate.
Build Back Better would destroy the budget, greatly expand the national debt and, given its newly defined size, fuel an already soaring inflation rate.
The White House quickly dubbed the revised scoring as “fake.” It contends the CBO did not factor in revenue the administration hopes to raise by expanding the size and power of the Internal Revenue Service so it can crack down on fraud.
The CBO doesn’t include tax enforcement schemes in its scorings for good reason. They rarely deliver the promised revenue.
Still, Biden says if the CBO’s estimated shortfall materializes, he’ll find ways to cover it. But without specifying exactly where that money will come from, the bill becomes too reckless to pass. It’s almost absurd to think the administration can come up with an acceptable scheme to squeeze another $3 trillion from the wealthy and corporations after pinching them for $2 trillion to cover the original tab. If not, the only revenue avenue would then become he middle class.
House Democrats enthusiastically approved Build Back Better on a straight party-line vote before seeing the revised deficit numbers. The new information should be cause for a re-vote that puts Democrats on record of where they stand on approving $3 trillion in unfunded spending.
It certainly should bolster Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona in their reluctance to put Build Back Better over the top in the Senate.
Democrats attempted to deceive the American people into accepting this huge step toward socialism with the big lie that it’s “free” because it wouldn’t add to the deficit.
That was never true, and it’s even less so now.
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