The higher the mountain of overspending President Joe Biden builds, the faster his popularity tumbles down its steep slopes. It’s no surprise but common sense: Americans would not have succeeded in fashioning the world’s most robust economy if they were slow to condemn financial blunders.
On Thursday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an anxiously awaited analysis finding Mr. Biden wrong to swear his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act would be fully paid for. Rather, said the CBO, it would add $367 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade. Not even the president’s recent colonoscopy could discover where he came up with his funky budget numbers.
No matter. Rather than clean up the sloppy, 2,000-page bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed it through the House on a nearly party-line, 220-213 vote. For Democrats, “the land of the free” takes on new meaning as they savor the thought of truckloads of cash enlarging their massive social welfare and regulatory state.
For working Americans, though, a second gigantic spending spree — following the just-enacted $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill – is a deal-breaker. A Fox News survey published Friday found only 27 percent of respondents believe the Build Back Better Act would benefit their family, with 59 percent expecting the plan would be paid for by people like them rather than the wealthy. The Fox survey put the president’s approval rating at 44 percent, and a normally left-leaning Quinnipiac poll pegged it at an even more dismal 38 percent.
For Republican lawmakers, the Biden bill is structured to force the ambitious into servitude to benefit the lethargic. Included among its most unpopular items are a raft of new taxes: One would further drive up the already soaring cost of the natural gas that heats half of AAmericans’homes. Others include a 15 percent domestic minimum tax, a 15 percent global minimum tax, and a surtax on adjusted gross income.
The bill also features a $3,600 child tax credit that illegal immigrants can file for and earmarks $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service to hire 87,000 new agents tasked with vacuuming up all the cash the president suspects Americans have stuffed under the mattress.
When Build Back Better reaches the Senate, where Democrats do not hold solid sway, the measure faces a dubious future. Republicans are not yet ready to trade their symbol of freedom – the Stars and Stripes – for the white flag of surrender.
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” Benjamin Franklin once wrote. If he is proved wrong one day, it is more likely that death will be no more before taxes vanish. And if the Build Back Better Act ultimately passes, overburdened Americans will be responsible for paying off even more billions beyond the trillions of debt dollars already as innumerable as the stars in the sky. That is one more thing that can be said for certain.