Joe Biden can’t be blamed for claiming, as he did at the White House this past week that “we pay for everything we spend” that the cost of his Build Back Better pipe dream is “going to be zero. Zero. As with everything else that comes out of his mouth, this notion was put there by his handlers, which in this case included his economic adviser.
Once the myth was out there, it became a useful meme for Democrats in general. Here’s Nancy Pelosi:
The fact that the Republicans are being so irresponsible is no surprise, but nonetheless, disappointing as always. So in any event, that’s what we spent most of our time on, the debt ceiling. In terms of giving people an update as to where we are, the president is negotiating, as is well known I keep reading it in the daily metropolitan journal about that, and that it is what is happening and we’re hoping we can come to a place. It’s not about a dollar amount. The dollar amount, as the president has said, is zero. This bill will be paid for.
Wait a minute. Has it already been paid for, as Biden seems to be promising, or will it be paid for? And if the latter, by whom?
The answer to that question is nothing new or revolutionary. Every Keynsian Democrat who has occupied the Oval Office since the time of FDR has made the same promise. The largest piece of the puzzle is that the Democrats will bleed the rich, in this case meaning anyone making over $400,000 a year. They will also raise taxes on corporations, which usually produces catastrophic effects, and they will increase funding to the IRS so that it can redouble its efforts to ferret our tax cheats.
The Associated Press sums it up this way:
What Biden is really pushing are two goals that can easily come into conflict. He wants to restore the middle class to the epicenter of economic growth, but do so without worsening the national debt or raising taxes on people earning less than $400,000 a year.
In fact, the bill provides a tax cut “for the poor and middle class, which means he is raising taxes for one group in order to cut them for another.”
A final stumbling block is the 800-pound gorilla in the room:
Democrats also have to contend with how the measures are assessed by the Congressional Budget Office, the final arbiter of how the legislation will affect the federal balance sheet.
The Democrats’ expanded child credit and dependent care credits, enacted earlier this year, are counted as costs in a CBO score. Biden wants to extend these programs as part of the budget, which he is now arguing amounts to one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in U.S. history.
As Fox News media critic Joe Concha notes at The Hill, most of the media are doing the administration a huge favor by focusing away from the voodoo math that informs the plan.