You have to hand it to Washington politicians: Their ability to deflect blame for failure can be impressive. Following an election that The Washington Post dubbed an “unmistakable repudiation” by voters “from Virginia’s Tidewater region to the Philadelphia suburbs to Long Island,” President Biden on Wednesday suggested the real problem is not enough of his massive spending agenda has been enacted:
“People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from covid to school, to jobs to a whole range of things,” Biden said at the White House. “If I’m able to pass and sign into law my Build Back Better initiative, I’m in a position where you’re going to see a lot of those things ameliorated quickly and swiftly.”
But that claim runs headlong into the fact that the President promised his last trillion-dollar spending bill would fix precisely those same problems.
In March, the White House released a summary of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that suggested it would “change the course of the pandemic” while also targeting $1 trillion towards “building a bridge to economic recovery for working families.” As the President’s quote admits, many Americans don’t believe that bridge has been successfully built.
Now the White House’s next trillion-dollar spending plan — especially its proposed expansion of safety net benefits — simply reflects a continuation of the same policies. A comparison of how the White House described key features of the March law alongside their current description of their latest trillion-dollar spending “framework” is striking. See below:
It should, because “new” policies like continued expanded child tax credits — now payable each month for the first time to non-working parents, transforming the IRS into the largest welfare-paying agency in America — are simply extensions of policies first included in the March law. The President and other key Democrats really intend for those expanded benefits to be made permanent. But since they lack the offsets to pay for the trillion-dollar cost of doing so just in the first decade, the future will likely include repeated efforts to extend this “temporary” policy.
It’s not that the President isn’t capable of adjusting as he goes. Just this week, he declared that rumored $450,000 settlement payments to illegal aliens were “not gonna happen.” In May he admitted that it “makes sense” that expanded unemployment benefits – which resulted in millions collecting more from benefits than from working — should be allowed to expire on Labor Day, as they eventually did.
And back in March he promised in a nationally televised address that “In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be traveling . . . to speak directly to you, to tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment.” But he also foreshadowed his present refusal to admit his last trillion-dollar spending bill didn’t fulfill its promises, even as he swears the next one will do the trick, adding: “And if it fails at any pa-, I will acknowledge that it failed. But it will not.”