Never before has Congress been as close as it is today to fundamentally transforming the United States. Never before has America been this close to falling off of the edge of the socialism cliff.
The Build Back Better reconciliation bill now under consideration in Congress already has the backing of President Joe Biden and most Democrats in the House and Senate. If moderate congressional Democrats are bullied into voting in favor of the Build Back Better plan as part of a deal to secure the passage of $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the United States will be forced onto a nearly unstoppable trajectory toward socialism.
The Build Back Better plan is outrageously expensive and designed to make tens of millions of additional Americans more dependent on the federal government than ever before.
Among the numerous far-left provisions included in the plan are a $200 billion universal preschool program for all 3- and 4-year-olds, tuition-free community college, and huge new subsidies for childcare.
The bill would also make permanent expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies passed in the American Rescue Plan earlier this year, so that Obamacare enrollees do not have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income on health insurance premiums (It does nothing, as far as I can tell, to help people pay their deductibles when they actually need to use their insurance—a much more serious problem).
The plan would expand Medicaid in states that had chosen not to after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, adding 4 million Americans to a health coverage plan that has repeatedly been proven to offer inferior care compared to private health insurance.
The Build Back Better bill would further mandate that 80 percent of the U.S. electric grid get its power from carbon-dioxide-free emissions generation, like wind and solar power, despite the fact that these energy sources are expensive, unreliable, and environmentally toxic.
To run the country primarily on wind and solar, it would require the destruction of millions of acres of land to build the billions of solar panels and wind turbines needed to run the country on these sources, not to mention the land decimated by the rare earth mineral mining required for their construction.
The plan would also hook tens of millions of families on taxpayer aid by extending the expanded child tax credit through 2025. Under that provision, most parents would continue to receive $3,000 for every child aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under the age of 6. Half of the credits are provided in monthly installments, as a sort of basic income program for families with kids.
Although some lower-income families might need such a tax credit, many of the families eligible for the program are squarely in the middle class, or even upper middle class, and don’t need yet another government handout. Joint filers who earn less than $150,000 would receive the expanded child tax credit amount.
These and the many other costly programs contained in the $3.5 trillion bill would make tens of millions of additional American families dependent on government in a way that we have never seen before, pushing the country closer than ever to a socialism-lite economy.
There is, of course, no way to pay for the Build Back Better plan. The vast tax increases proposed by Democrats to help offset the costs of the proposal would not come even remotely close to paying for the mountain of new government programs, especially when you consider that the plan’s cost estimates assume some provisions will be phased out within the next five years, even though government tax credits and programs rarely ever disappear.
Making matters worse, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimates the tax increases alone would likely lead to a net loss of more than 300,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Democrats’ plan to raise taxes also ignores the fact that the government is already running a $3 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year, three times more than the 2019 deficit.
Increasing America’s reliance on massive, inefficient government programs at a time when the national debt is soaring, deficits are out of control and inflation is skyrocketing—due, in part, to increased money printing—is a recipe for disaster that could lead to a collapse of the dollar and a long-term economic decline.
And most American voters know it, too. A recent survey by Rasmussen Reports found that just 36 percent of likely voters support the passage of the $3.5 trillion plan, compared to 53 percent who said they are opposed to it. Forty-one percent said they “strongly oppose” the legislation.
The United States should help those who truly need assistance, and there are plenty of good policy proposals that would do that, like expanding school choice programs for families in failing school districts, fixing America’s broken health insurance system, and putting pro-growth economic policies into place that benefit small businesses.
The poorly named Build Back Better plan would do none of those things. It would only further increase the federal government’s control over our lives while harming the environment and killing the dollar.
Does that sound “better” to you?
Justin Haskins is the executive editor and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and the editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com. He’s the author of “Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream.” Follow him on Twitter @JustinTHaskins.