President Joe Biden’s latest some $2 trillion social spending plan will add trillions to the national debt, make inflation worse, and hurt traditional energy businesses. These were the contentions of a group of Heritage Foundation policy scholars.
During a press briefing on Nov. 12, they reviewed the president’s Build Back Better policies.
The original Build Back Better proposal called for $4 trillion in spending. Some progressives said it was not big enough. But opposition from Senator Manchin (D-W.Va.) required the proposal’s price tag come down.
Heritage Foundation experts lambasted both the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the latest $1.75+ trillion social and environmental spending proposal. The latter is pending in Congress.
“The White House’s newly released framework,” the Heritage Foundation said in a statement, “returns to a tried-and-true way to obscure the true cost of the legislation: the budget gimmick. Progressives claim the bill is a compromise when in reality, it is a profoundly radical document that would massively expand federal power, promote a variety of left-wing causes, kneecap the economic recovery, and waste a tremendous amount of taxpayer money.”
The White House Press Office didn’t respond to requests for comment.
At the same time, a high Biden administration was recently predicting the latest package would pass Congress, which might take up the issue next week. Still, Heritage Foundation officials said it would be toxic.
Katie Tubb, an energy analyst, warned that spending billions of dollars proposed for alternative energy companies would repeat the mistakes of the Obama administration, which spent billions of taxpayer dollars on loan guarantees for the Solyndra solar energy company. The company later defaulted.
“I’m not sure why we are expecting this to be any different this time around,” she said.
Tubb contended much of the economic growth over the last few years has come from traditional energy sources. This Biden plan, she added, would punish those industries.
“Why is that important? Because Americans get 80 percent of their energy from traditional sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas,” she said.
Tubb argued, “these are legal industries in the United States that contribute to the wellbeing of the United States, yet you wouldn’t know this by the way this administration talks.”
Tubb warns Build Back Better policies conflict with most of the president’s constituents “because, as you increase energy prices, you increase the cost of almost every product and service.”
She also said Build Back Better would hurt right to work states, states in which workers can’t be required to join unions.
This Biden’s original social spending proposal included $555 billion for environmental programs and $400 billion to pay for universal pre-school and cap child care costs at seven percent of income for most families and $200 billion to expand the child tax credit for families that earn up to $150,000 from $2,000 to $3,000 per child or $3,600 for those under age 6.
Several Heritage Foundation officials also complained that the five infrastructure/stimulus plans that have been passed since the outbreak of COVID last year are too much. And while one or two of these packages may have been justified, they are now excessive, they said. They are adding too much to the debt and will hurt efforts of some private sector firms to recover, especially in the energy sector, they noted.
David Ditch, a Heritage Foundation federal budget policy analyst, said the latest Biden plan is part of a number of spending plans since the start of the pandemic that have “already added $5 trillion to the national debt.”
It would also be the “greatest expansion” of government welfare programs in history, according to Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation analyst.
“The deficit spending has consequences because we have massive structural consequences that will keep growing,” Ditch contended.
“There’s also no way to escape the fact that Build Back Better would increase deficits in the first five years. It’s really important to understand that every important economic headwind we face now would be worsened by Build Back Better,” according to Ditch.
Rachel Greszler, another Heritage Foundation analyst, said most of the Biden child care programs discourage the use of religious, or faith-based, child-care programs.
“To qualify, they would have to take most of the faith out of their programs. None of them are going to do that because the reason they set them up was to be in line with their faith.”
She also said the proposal will primarily benefit urban “high income families” at the “expense of more rural low-income areas.”
Still, a Biden administration official on Nov. 11 said the $2 trillion proposal is in good shape. Vice President Kamala Harris, in a speech in France, predicted the package “is poised to pass soon.”
“Just before I traveled here,” Harris added, “our Congress passed a landmark piece of legislation to make a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Another bill that will support our nation’s working families and help us meet our climate commitment is poised to pass soon.”