OPINION

Biden's ambitions come with massive debt

The Examiner

If Joe Biden's American Jobs Program is enacted, the federal government will take a great leap forward toward irreversible control of the destiny of the Republic.

To finance this leap, to subsidize this giant stride toward socialism, U.S. corporations are to be forced to turn over to the government a far larger slice of their earnings. The corporate tax rate is to be raised from 21 to 28%. And that is only the first of the new or added taxes to come – on incomes, capital gains and estates.

Patrick Buchanan

The bait to lure Republicans into embracing this $2.3 trillion in Great Society II and Green New Deal spending is the modest fraction to be allocated to infrastructure – airports, bridges, roads, ports, public transit.

Most of the rest is to be used to grow social programs and launch new ones. Biden plans to lead the nation into a new "forever war," an endless war on climate change. Meanwhile, the Chinese pump ever more carbon into the atmosphere, as Americans sacrifice to take it out. 

Make no mistake. "Sleepy Joe" is determined to emulate, not Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, but FDR and LBJ, and to be remembered as a president who raised federal power to new heights.

The significance of what Biden has already done, with his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, cannot be denied.  Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. was looking at yearly trillion-dollar deficits. Then came a massive surge in federal spending of some $4 trillion.

The final 2020 deficit exceeded $3 trillion. and the U.S. debt now exceeds the gross domestic product for the first time since World War II.

But unlike 1945, when the war was all but over and federal spending was about to recede dramatically, today, the riptide of new spending is coming in stronger and stronger.

Why? The reasons are many. 

First, fear of the social, economic and political consequences of a recession is far greater in Congress and the country than the fear of an outbreak of inflation, which seems to have been contained.

Second, the drivers of deficit spending are growing bolder as the traditional resistance grows weaker. Inside the Republican Party, once a church preaching small government and balanced budgets, the deficit hawks are going the way of the passenger pigeon.

Then there are the other driving forces of larger deficits. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the major entitlements and principal budget elements, are all programmed for growth. 

Nor did Donald Trump extract us from the draining wars of the Middle East.

Also, for a decade, the Federal Reserve has held interest rates down and inflation has not been the threat it was at the end of the 1970s. The only way interest rates can go now is up, and with the federal debt as huge as it is today, interest rates do not need to rise too far to consume a large chunk of the federal budget.

Over the last century, it has been the fate of the Republican Party to retreat, regroup, resist and retreat again on this macroissue of deficits and debt. 

So, where are we?

There appears to be no historical evidence that once a Western democracy expands central power and control of the nation's resources that it ever willingly gives up those gains.

Yesterday's gone. Yet, Biden's remaking of America must be resisted. As was said at Waterloo, "The Guard dies but does not surrender!"

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."