- - Monday, August 9, 2021

The left must feel incredibly emboldened these days. After all, they control the White House, Congress and have a firm grip on the federal government’s leviathan bureaucracy. They also hold particular sway in the media, academia, and cultural institutions.

Perhaps this is why the left’s political arm, the Democratic Party, just unveiled the biggest spending bill in American history.

In fact, the Democrats’ gargantuan $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill is so big it encompasses the same amount of money the entire federal government spent in 2019.

This level of spending is absolutely mind-boggling. But it is part and parcel for the modern left, which believes a bigger federal government is the solution to everything.

However, unlike massive spending bills in the nation’s recent past, this $3.5 trillion behemoth would change the country forever.

It would immensely increase the welfare state, getting huge swaths of America’s middle-class hooked on the welfare state.

In other words, this bill is meant to ensnare as many Americans as possible on the government dole in some form or fashion.

So, what’s inside the $3.5 trillion bill?

According to a recently released summary, the bill would establish “free” community college for two years and “free” Pre-K for all Americans. It would also expand the monthly child subsidies millions of Americans began receiving in July and create the “first-ever federal Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit.”

In terms of climate, the bill would provide “clean energy, manufacturing, and transportation tax incentives and grants.” It would also include a massive slush fund for “environmental justice and climate resilience,” as well as new government subsidies for electric vehicles and “consumer rebates for home electrification and weatherization.”

When it comes to so-called infrastructure, hard and soft, the bill will provide “historic level[s] of investments in public housing, green and sustainable housing, housing production and affordability.” It would also “invest” hundreds of billions in “workforce development and job training programs,” “research and development,” and “investments to revitalize communities.”

On the health care front, the bill intends to expand “Democrats’ goal of providing universal health care to all Americans.” This would be achieved by adding “new Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit[s] to the Medicare program,” expanding Obamacare, extending subsidies for home health care workers, and creating a “new federal health program for Americans in the ‘Medicaid gap.’”

After unveiling the framework of the bill, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “At its core, this legislation is about restoring the middle class in the 21st Century and giving more Americans the opportunity to get there.”

That statement is downright disingenuous.

The bill is actually intended to undermine the middle class by increasing its dependence on the government.

The bill would certainly increase inflation. The last time I checked, inflation does not restore the middle class. Nor does it help provide Americans with opportunities to enter the middle class.

Furthermore, the bill would add trillions more to our nation’s already out-of-control national debt.

As of this writing, the U.S. national debt stands at a whopping $28.6 trillion and counting. Adding trillions more to the national debt makes the middle class worse-off.

It also is generational theft. Spending $3.5 trillion that we do not have on programs we do not need is immoral.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget, said, “The $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution that I am introducing today will allow the Senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.”

In some ways, he is right.

FDR’s New Deal legislation to fight the Great Depression was a game-changer. It fundamentally altered the relationship between individuals and the federal government. It also transformed the relationship between the states and the federal government.

In both respects, FDR’s New Deal programs decidedly tilted the balance of power in favor of the federal government.

Unfortunately, for those who believe in individual liberty and the Tenth Amendment, this balance of power has trended in the direction of the national government ever since.

Yet, after the Great Pandemic, the Democratic Party is up to its old tricks again. Like FDR did so successfully almost a century ago, the modern left is hellbent on expanding the size and scope of the national government, thereby increasing their power in the process.

For the most part, FDR succeeded in his quest to make Americans more amenable, if not acquiescent, to centralized power.

The left knows this, which is why they are desperate to capitalize on their current position of power, coupled with an economic crisis (of their own making), to try to do what FDR did a century ago: more central power, less individual (and state and local) autonomy.

  • Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.


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