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National Review: Biden's Spending Blowout Is Just Beginning

August 11, 2021
National Debt

Article by Rich Lowery in National Review

trillion dollars used to be a lot of money, even in Washington. Now, a trillion-dollar spending bill is a trifle barely worth arguing over and the stuff of bipartisan consensus.

Oscar Wilde famously said that nothing succeeds like excess, but even he might blanch at the shameless profligacy that is America’s new normal.

In their wisdom, Senate Republicans decided to help President Joe Biden pass a portion of his blow-out fiscal agenda, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that is a prelude to an even bigger, vastly more consequential $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

The infrastructure bill itself is, as fiscal analyst Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute notes, “one of the largest non-emergency spending bills of the past 50 years.”

There’s no doubt that the GOP has blessed — and lent a bipartisan imprimatur to — a portion of the president’s hoped-for historic spending spree. In so doing, they have taken at least a little ownership of an agenda they should want no part of.

Republicans will have much less influence, and perhaps none, on the next spate of spending, which is the so-called soft infrastructure (a.k.a., a wish list of progressive social programs) after the “hard” infrastructure in the bipartisan bill (roads, bridges, rail).

Under the reconciliation process, tax and spending bills evade the filibuster in the Senate, so Democrats can pass whatever they want so long as they hold all 50 of their senators.

The sheer numbers here are jaw-dropping. Including the $1.9 trillion so-called COVID-19 relief bill from earlier this year, Biden wants to spend nearly $6 trillion in three measures passed within months of one another.

In 2019, by point of comparison, the entire federal budget was $4.4 trillion (and at the time, President Trump wasn’t exactly tightening the country’s fiscal belt).

The tide of new spending will add to already extraordinary levels of red ink.

The White House projects that the U.S. debt will reach 109.7 percent of GDP this year, higher than at the end of World War II.

The priorities read like crib notes from his old presidential campaigns. The bill would add new government programs for the young and the old, from universal pre-K to tuition-free community college, to family and medical leave, to expansions of Obamacare and Medicare.

It would make a big nod to the Green New Deal with a slew of new “clean energy” initiatives, including ......

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