In the beginning, President Biden created a $3.5 trillion spending bill. And the bill was without form, and void; and debt was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of common sense moved upon the face of the country.
And so Biden said, let there be lies. And there were lies. And Biden saw that the lies were good. And Biden called up down, and the left he called right, and the trillions he called zero.
And Biden made the beasts of the press repeat his lies, made everything that creepeth upon the Sunday shows follow his lies; and Biden saw that it was good.
Everyone else was just baffled.
From the moment the Democrats’ plan was conceived, the party has lied about it with abandon. Telegraphing the approach to come, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand contended back in April that the glint in Bernie Sanders’s eye did not represent dramatic or transformational change, but mere “infrastructure.”
Trying desperately to counter rumors that Sanders was working on a $6 trillion sequel to the New Deal, Gillibrand maintained that whatever the package ended up containing should be regarded in the same way as, say, a new bridge.
“Paid leave is infrastructure,” Gillibrand proposed. “Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure.” Presumably, mendacity is, too.
Over time, Gillibrand’s Dadaist argument collapsed under its own weight. But her desire to deceive the public is still going strong.
We are now six months into this ruse, and, far from coming clean about their proposal, the Democrats have descended fully into Wonderland.
Some of the lies on offer beggar belief. Having been told that $3.5 trillion is an extraordinary amount of money to spend — especially in our present circumstances — the Democrats switched this week to the bewildered insistence that, actually, the bill is “free.”
“This package — the reconciliation package,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday with a straight face, “would cost zero dollars.”
Psaki’s preposterous asseveration echoed President Biden, who had contended the day before that the cost was “going to be zero,” and progressive darling Pramila Jayapal, who said last Friday, “I just believe that this is going to be a zero-dollar bill.”
It’s not. A spending bill that costs $3.5 trillion costs $3.5 trillion irrespective of how you pay for it. Unless the government elects to cut precisely the same amount of spending as the bill adds, there is no such thing as a “free” or “zero-dollar” outlay.
One can pay for a $3.5 trillion bill with $3.5 trillion in tax increases, or by borrowing $3.5 trillion, or through a mixture of the two, but, whatever one chooses to do, the cost remains precisely the same: $3.5 trillion.
If, as seems to be the case, the Democrats do not want to be seen spending $3.5 trillion, then they have just one option: to decline to spend $3.5 trillion. They cannot get around this with word games.
But boy are they going to try. Asked in July whether spending $3.5 trillion might perhaps make inflation worse, Joe Biden submitted that, actually, it would somehow make inflation better.
“That won’t increase inflation,” Biden said. “That will take the pressure off of inflation. If your primary concern right now is inflation, you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan.”
This idea is evidently popular in the Biden White House, which seems to assume that government policy could not possibly have an ill effect on consumer prices.
“There are some who argue that, in the past, companies have passed on these costs to consumers,” Psaki explained yesterday during a meditation upon the prospect of tax increases. But “we feel that that’s unfair and absurd, and the American people would not stand for that.”
Got it? Sending people who don’t pay taxes refunds is “infrastructure.” Out-of-control spending reduces the risk of inflation. Companies subject to tax increases do not pass the costs on to consumers.
And outlays are “cost-free,” providing that the government takes the money by force instead of borrowing it. Curiouser and curiouser, Alice.
And in service of what, exactly, has this whirlwind of dishonesty been sown? It would take a literary critic to tell. Joe Biden’s Twitter feed tells us that the president stands for “building back” one of those spiffing non–“trickle-down” economies that works best for the “folks.”
Read rest at National Review
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