Biden, seen as increasingly liberal, would explode the deficit with new budget

Joe Biden, who ran as the moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is increasingly seen as liberal. In fact, too far to the left. That’s what $6 trillion will get you. …

Joe Biden, who ran as the moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is increasingly seen as liberal. In fact, too far to the left.

In a new Fox News Poll, 46% say the president is too liberal — a jump of 10 points from December, before he took office.

The perception has shifted even within his own party. Some 16% of Democrats say Biden is too liberal, a figure that has nearly doubled since December.

Another 40% see the president’s positions as about right, and 10% view him as too conservative.

That’s what $6 trillion will get you.


By proposing a slew of bills with that much spending, starting with the COVID stimulus measure, Biden has made his progressive wing surprisingly happy. But given that the entire federal budget is $4 trillion, he is proudly wearing the mantle of big-spending liberal, with little pushback from the press.

A few hours after I saw those poll numbers, some truly eye-popping figures emerged, in the form of a leak to the New York Times.

The paper had obtained the federal budget that Biden is proposing, and it weighs in at $6 trillion. That’s just regular spending to keep the wheels of government turning, not all these one-time aid programs he is pushing.

The Times describes the fiscal impact in straightforward prose, but it would explode the deficit well beyond anything that former President Donald Trump ever did. In fact, if Trump had proposed this level of borrowing — albeit more for tax cuts and Pentagon spending — the media would be filled with high-minded declarations of financial recklessness.

While the Times adopts the White House spin — “to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift US industry to better compete globally” — the numbers don’t lie.


“The federal budget deficit would hit $1.8 trillion in 2022, even as the economy rebounds from the pandemic recession,” the story says. And it gets worse.

“Total debt held by the public would more than exceed the annual value of economic output, rising to 117 percent of the size of the economy in 2031. By 2024, debt as a share of the economy would rise to its highest level in American history, eclipsing a World War II-era record.”

Borrowing more money than when we were fighting the Germans and the Japanese? Borrowing more money than the entire output of the United States of America?

I know that to voice concern about the deficit and the debt is hopelessly old-fashioned. Both parties take turns ignoring it when they’re in power. The public doesn’t seem to care much. But this pass-the-bill-to-the-grandkids approach means that interest payments consume a growing share of your tax dollars.

It’s not that Biden isn’t setting worthy goals. Infrastructure, broadband, elderly care, preschool, community colleges, all that stuff is popular. But we are already living beyond our means. Liberal economist Larry Summers, who worked in the Obama and Clinton administrations, is warning of “very substantial risks” of rising inflation and a sinking dollar, saying “we are printing money.”

To his credit, Biden pays for some of his added spending by hiking taxes on corporations and on those making more than $400,000, as he promised in the campaign. This is a non-starter for the Republicans. And while the two sides seem to be narrowing the gap on an infrastructure bill — the GOP coming up to $928 billion on Thursday, the White House having come down to $1.7 trillion — how to pay for those projects remains a possible deal-killer.


Biden won’t get everything he wants on the Hill. In fact, even if he goes the one-party route, he can only get as much as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., will swallow. They want Republicans on board, they want to keep the filibuster, and without them, Biden is down to 48 votes in the Senate.

In that Fox survey, 44% believe the administration’s bills are designed to “jumpstart the economy,” while 47% say they’re meant to  “transform the country with liberal social policies.” 

Both could be true. The sticker shock remains the same. Biden wants to go big, knowing he could lose the House next year, but he might be bolstering that outcome if more voters conclude he’s spending way too much even by Democratic standards.

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