- - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Joe Biden’s legacy may be still in the making, but he is already known for one thing: borrowing liberally from the work product of others. Building on his well-earned reputation, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president has delivered an economic blueprint he hopes will help him capture the White House in November. If the Biden plan has a familiar ring, it’s because it bums ideas off the Bernie Sanders economic prescription. And even though it also takes a page from the Trump playbook, rather than revitalizing America, it would likely “make socialism great again.”

A Bernie-Biden ideological rapprochement is underway, injecting the utopian dreams that carried Mr. Sanders within reach of the Democratic Party nomination into the Biden campaign DNA. “The compromise they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR,” Mr. Sanders told MSNBC. Lifting material from others got Mr. Biden in trouble in college and the U.S. Senate, but Bernie the Red is sharing his schemes with pride.

The Vermont independent’s prediction about a Biden presidency is bold but probably still understated. Its chief impact upon the direction of the nation could prove to be the escalation of taxes as a means to a classic socialist end: redistribution of wealth. Bernie’s dream of a tax spike would come to fruition with the Biden plan to jack up the Trump corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

“It’s time corporate America paid their fair share of taxes,” said Mr. Biden in a July 9 speech presenting his economic revival plan in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It’s relevant to remember — Mr. Biden obviously doesn’t — the top 1% already pay more than 37% of all income taxes.

The Biden tax increases would raise about $4 trillion over a decade, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Seasoned with a heaping helping of reregulation, Americans would be forced to relive the Obama years, when economic growth averaged a puny 2.0% annually. With taxpayers back in the big-government harness, it’s difficult to envision a halt to the coronavirus-induced malaise and a return to the lowest unemployment figures in a half-century.

The Democrat has vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office, which would obligate the nation to further reduce its diminishing carbon-dioxide emissions. He didn’t mention to his Scranton audience that a Biden presidency would crack down on fracking, a clean-energy technology that provides lucrative jobs for thousands of Pennsylvanians. Favor would shift toward benefits such as universal pre-K child care and a mandatory $15 per hour minimum wage.

Mr. Biden also owes a hat-tip to President Trump, whose 2017 Inauguration Day speech included the following: “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.” Echoing over the span of time, the message has been amplified in Mr. Biden’s economic plan, which vows to “Buy American” and “Make it in America.” Components include proposals to spend $400 billion in federal funds to build and procure domestic products, boosting U.S. job creation. Another $300 billion would pay for research and development aiding in electric vehicle technology, 5G network innovation and artificial intelligence.

“If we make smart investments in manufacturing and technology, give our workers and companies the tools they need to compete, use taxpayer dollars to buy American and spark American innovation, stand up to the Chinese government’s abuses, insist on fair trade and extend opportunity to all Americans, many of the products that are being made abroad could be made here today,” reads the Biden plan.

The bit about China as a quintessentially Biden idea also strains credulity. There has been little more central to Mr. Trump’s presidency than his campaign to pry open China’s markets to U.S. products and correct the U.S.-China trade imbalance amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Noticing the policy overlap on Friday, the president could have simply referenced the old saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” He chose instead to stick to his unique style and stick it to “Sleepy Joe”: “He plagiarized from me, but he could never pull it off. … It’s very radical left, but he said the right things because he’s copying what I’ve done. But the difference is he can’t do it.”

Plagiarism notwithstanding, Mr. Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan won’t be confused with the Trump “Make America Great Again” rallying cry. Socialism, after all, has no room for America.

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