Biden Tries To Twist His Domestic Agenda Into a Form Joe Manchin Will Support
During his first year in office, President Joe Biden tried and failed to get Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) and other moderate Democrats in the Senate on board with his expensive domestic agenda.
In Year Two, Biden is promising to market that agenda in a way that seems carefully calibrated to appeal to the objections Manchin had raised about how Biden’s plans would add to America’s record-high national debt and trillion-dollar annual deficit.
“My plan will not only lower costs to give families a fair shot; it will lower the deficit,” Biden said during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
A fine thesis—a welcome one, even—but Biden declined to fill in many details about how he intends to do that. The only specific plan announced on Tuesday was a new office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute waste, fraud, and abuse within the pandemic relief bills passed over the past two years—bills that, in fairness, were wracked by waste, fraud, and abuse.
Other than that, Biden’s domestic agenda sounds about the same as it did last year: Protectionist “Buy American” provisions, a bigger social safety net including tax credits for parents, and a crackdown on the businesses that Democrats increasingly (and bizarrely) are trying to scapegoat for runaway inflation.
Going after waste is laudable, of course, if perhaps two years too late. But the fundamental drivers of the federal budget deficit are a structural disconnect between spending and revenue and unstable long-term costs in entitlement programs. A promise to reduce the deficit that doesn’t address those two things isn’t a serious plan.
Biden’s plan doesn’t appear to be a serious plan.
As he made clear a f
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